Mid-Year Changes

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope you are all able to have some fun today. We hosted my family for grilling burgers and dogs. S’mores fixings were brought, so we also dusted off the propane fire pit to toast some marshmallows. The weather turned out a perfect mild, sunny day after that heatwave we had last week.

The long weekend is a great way to start the second half of 2021 and head into some changes. I will be starting a new job in the middle of this month. A big driver for me looking so soon after a job change last year is the commute factor. You may have heard some horror stories about Seattle traffic. After working from home for nearly eighteen months, I did not think I could personally handle a ninety-minute commute in each direction when we go back to the office, so I decided to look around.

It worked out for me and happened faster than I ever thought it would. The new job is at a company that sounds like it has a great culture that I will enjoy, it is part-time remote even after we go back to the office, and the office is only about a ten to fifteen-minute drive away. Maybe this one will take me to my career as an author!

That is the other change as we head into the second half of the year. My goal of publishing before year-end means several key steps pick up over the coming months. I recently shifted this site over to my domain. In July and August, I’m looking into working on some of the business requirements for publication, finishing the book description and frontmatter/backmatter, and looking into the ISBN purchases. September will be looking into the Amazon account and publication requirements and process.

As for editing, I worked through another chapter and a half after work this week. I am targeting another chapter or two tomorrow. If I can keep up the pace, I’m looking at sending it out to beta readers in August, the final edit in September, the copy editor in October, and a final check in November for uploading. That is my rough schedule, and I hope to run a bit ahead of it for all of the stumbles I’m sure to run into along the way. For now, back to editing!

Soccer, Heatwaves, and Editor’s Block

I will keep this week’s post short as we are going through a heatwave in the Puget Sound area right now. To help our AC out a bit, I am trying to keep as many electronics turned off as possible. We are supposed to hit record temps today and tomorrow. This will likely be the hottest we have ever reached here on record.

Even with the heat, I managed to go to two soccer games in Seattle this week with the Sounders back in action after the international break. We stayed hydrated and braved the heat to watch the Sounders win four of six points between the two games. It is exciting to spend time in Seattle again and support local businesses before spending the time in the stands with our fellow supporters.

My niece toughed out a COVID test to make sure she was eligible to join Grandpa and me for the game!

These things are not helping my editor’s block. As far as my book goes, I’m working through the final major edit before it will go to a copy editor and back out to betas. Even before these convenient – but probably not helpful – distractions, I was slogging through it rather ponderously. I have more distractions in store for this week, but I should make some progress in between. If I don’t make progress in that time, I’m promising myself I will dedicate time on the fifth of July to knock out a couple of chapters at least. Maybe that will shake off the dust and regain momentum.

Stay cool out there!

Hidden Memory Status Update

A brief status update today on my path to publication!

I wrote previously on my findings on alpha readers, and Hidden Memory (book 1) has been out with my expanded alpha reader list for more of this initial feedback. My work of late has been on filling out some of the gaps in book 2 of the series. I finished my run at it this week and will be moving back to addressing the new feedback on Hidden Memory.

Before I jump into this round of editing, I am researching some of the administrative/business work. Some of this was speaking with an accountant about how the taxes would work and if I would need a new LLC for selling my books and doing state taxes. While I am still debating on the LLC part, I will need to do business under my name and pay B&O taxes. Based on the thresholds, I think I will only have to file those taxes annually. Unless all of you spread the word so thoroughly Hidden Memory hits the top of the charts right out of the gate. Crazier things have happened.

The publication checklist I received through some friends gives me a lot to think about for action items to complete soon. I have been focusing on frontmatter and backmatter. This work has been reading example acknowledgments and about the author sections in preparation for writing mine with the names on my acknowledgment list. This location also has good information on copyright pages that I have found useful for the frontmatter.

Feedback from a couple of alpha readers indicates a map would be helpful, so I am looking into a simplified version of the Inkarnate map I maintain for my use during writing to include at the front of the book. It will need a note about a cartographically challenged author and distances being more accurate as written than drawn. At least it will be directionally accurate. I also enjoy maps in books I read. The final map will need experimentation on how it translates into the e-book, but I have some time to verify.

One decision I am debating is the second format to target for publication. Do I look at turning the e-book into a physical book or an audiobook? Both have their merits, and over time I will likely get to both, but I think I only want to tackle one at a time. If you have any preferences or thoughts on this question, I would love to know what those are and your reasoning.

Lazy Weekend

This past week was relatively relaxed, and that carried into the weekend. My nephew’s baseball game had a time change that was not well communicated among the opposing team’s parents, so only two players were on time. Instead of a game, they ended up playing against those two along with a handful of parents in a game/batting practice.

My husband and I did not hang around for that. Don’t judge us. It was colder than expected, and we are just the aunt and uncle. He did wave to us, so he saw us there supporting him. We do want him to have the support he can take with him as he grows up.

Sunday, we scheduled a homemade pizza lunch with my sister and the kids. I had purchased some pre-made crusts earlier in the month. We cooked up some topping and shredded a variety of cheese. Of course, my niece only wanted cheese. My nephew was daring enough to add some chicken to his half. I thought they turned out pretty good for a fun and relatively easy meal.

Mine has ALL the toppings!

Beyond that, I have been at my computer most of the weekend. I am editing book two while waiting for this round of readers to finish up book one for me to run through it again. Book two will pass to my alpha readers once I finish this revision.

Between chapters, I also put in some Dungeon Master time. I am running Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and we are rebooting the campaign in June now that everyone in the group is vaccinated. I am reading through the book again and updating Realm Works with some additional notes. My DM style is to have a lot of prep and helper files to try to make the world real for my players. It helps me with improv in-session by having potential options at hand when the players do something crazy.

I am excited to get started again. The reboot session in June will not be new material. We want a refresh of the first session a year ago. I have planned some mock encounters to get everyone back in the RPG habits. There will be so much side chatter getting to visit again that introducing new material would only frustrate me. Instead, it will be prep, practice, recap, and hanging out. I will be sure to share some of the mock encounter antics after the session!

Big Cat, Little Cat, and I all hope you had a great weekend. Until next time!

A New Threat

Her body told her it was time for another break. They were demanded more and more frequently, and she suspected the beginning of a fever. She eased herself to the ground and off her cut and blistered feet, taking as much care as possible for her other bruises, breaks, and lacerations. When her rear finally touched the ground, she was breathing more heavily from the effort than from simply walking along. Once it was done though, and she lay still, her aches and pain became a pulsing numbness. 

Were it not for the healing ribs, she would have heaved out a sigh of relief, but she wondered if she was actually feeling better or worse. Moving up her body, she consciously worked to relax every muscle. Calves, then thighs. Tighten. Relax. Butt. Abs. Her efforts aborted at her shoulders. Every muscle tensed suddenly at a new noise coming from behind. Skin prickled as every hair stood on end. Something instinctual told her this sound was very bad. There were ticking, or clicking, noises along with what she would best describe as many scurrying legs. Her stalker hissed and growled at this new player. 

Perhaps my stalker found other prey? No, she is an ambush hunter. This hissing and growling is defensive posturing. With that thought, a more disturbing question arose. What would be attacking a natural predator? 

Whatever it was could not be good for her. Any doubt the cat was the one in trouble vanished with an eruption of yowling cries cut suddenly and sickeningly short. The cat was not well-fed and might not keep this new hunter – or hunters? – sated for long. This was the reason the forest was so barren. The thought washed over her with uncomfortable certainty. Fear and panic, so long held at bay, surged to the fore and held her paralyzed. 

The world froze with her. Nothing moved, nothing sounded in the woods as she held her breath, her eyes darting from shadow to shadow. The shuffling resumed and threw her fear up another level, but it also startled her into action. With teeth clenched against groans of pain, she pushed back to her feet and set off at a rapid pace. 

Sometime between fighting down the fear of her pursuers and the pain drilling into her deeper with every step, the sun finished its course through the sky. The chill settling in was simply another minor discomfort, but she could not continue in the complete darkness descending. It would be hours before the moon rose enough for her to travel safely, if she was able to continue at all. She found tears on her cheeks she had not even known she shed. Her body betraying the agony her mind denied. It lanced through her with the effort to lower herself into a resting position. Exhaustion, rather than relaxation pushed her drifting into blackness.