Finally Writing, but is it Worth It?

Yes, I'm finally writing and not just talking about it. I don't know if it was the trauma of this past week, the huge amounts of overtime I'm doing at work and the subsequent need to carve out some time for me, or if I just finally got into it. Regardless. over the past day, I wrote about 10 pages.

I don't know if the other writers feel this way, but when I put in a shit-ton of work like that --- especially after a long period of not writing ---  not only do I feel like I'm coming home, but I'm not sure about the product itself.

It's the same way with binge watching shows or devouring a novel. I feel like the finer details slip through the cracks. This allows me to enjoy reading or watching a second time, but it makes me wonder what the hell I was doing the first time around and makes me fear that my brain isn't functioning properly.

With writing it makes me wonder if what I'm doing is worth it at all, or if I'm essentially pooping into a Word document and trying to pass it off as an achievement. I mean, I liked it, but it was my fantasy, my little slice of fun, so that was no real surprise. I still can't tell if it's any good, but I suppose I will get to that in the rewrites where I can see more objectively, where the act of creation isn't so momentous that the achievement overshadows the quality.

It's about Greek mythology and what the gods and goddesses would do if they presided over our time, focusing on one mortal's love life and what that will mean for those around him. Since the gods can never agree on anything, it escalates as the human tries to wend his way through life, totally unaware of the strife going on in his wake. The first half is decidedly without climactic action, as it takes time to build up. However, a certain action takes place about midway through which sets the tone for the remaining interactions.

I decided to share an unfiltered, unedited, raw segment of when the action starts to escalate. Again, don't judge me. I haven't even proofread it once:


All the gods gasped as Eros' golden arrow was rendered in two.

Ares' great sword glowed red with the flames of war and chaos. Eros' arrow burned with these flames and fell into the Pool, dissolving into nothing.

Athena whirled, her shield in her hand, and struck Ares in the face with it. There was a great clanging as Ares flew back, striking the marble lip of a nearby planter. He rebounded, landing on his feet, his lip bleeding. He was laughing.

"How dare you?" Athena breathed, her sword in her hand. "It is not our place to interfere…"

"Nice hit, sister," Ares said. "But I beg to differ with you: it is our place. Is that not why we are here?"

"It is why I am here," she said, her body pulsing with controlled wrath. The owl Nycti appeared and flapped to her shoulder, ready for battle. "It is why the Fates are here. It is NOT why you are here."


Again, I don't even know if it's good, but I like it and the story surrounding it. I guess time will tell if I like the final result and, after all the other writing stuff has been done, if its good enough to get into the upcoming anthology I'm aiming for. And if not, well, I will have something I like and something that helped me get into the mood (and discipline) for writing again.

Here's hoping...and all that crap.

1st Anniversary of Publication (and future projects)

Apparently, my publisher has been around for eleven years. They sent us an e-mail to tell us to promote a sale they will be having (which will likely expire before anyone reads this) and to encourage us to reminisce about our first book published with them.

 That made me think—I totally missed the one year anniversary of my first novel being published and of being published in general in August. It’s definitely something to be proud of, and I am. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the sheer mediocrity of life afterwards. I knew it wasn’t going to be an earth shattering experience—I wasn’t going to get on the best seller by writing a gay werewolf novel. I did expect to feel different, though.

 I’m a slacker of a self-promoter, I loathe most social media, and I’m very secretive about my writing. I’ve counted, and only four of my friends know I’ve written anything. Why? We’d be here for some time. But I expected to have this inner glow or something. I’m thrilled, but I think I naively expected some constant, ongoing mental orgasm. It just doesn’t feel like a year yet for many reasons.

And what of the future? I’m working on something new that’s sort of beating my head in, constantly mewling like a needy child with volume control issues. When writing the synopsis, I knew that something was going to happen, but wasn’t exactly sure how, but as I was writing the synopsis, I sort of zoned out. When I finished writing the synopsis scene, I sort of snapped out of this daze, realized that was exactly what I wanted for the ending scene, and that it touched on and linked together all the things I needed it to. It was almost trance-like. I know how lame-bordering-on-pretentious-insanity that sounds, trust me. I’m making myself sick just typing this. But it was like I wasn’t even in the room when it happened. I sort of snapped out of it and realized that I had the ending I needed and wanted. And it was not only infinitely more exciting than what I had planned, but made more sense. But I didn’t see it coming. It’s logical, and when I finish writing it, I’m sure that absolutely nobody will be shocked, but I was unaware.

It’s times like that that I think Stephen King might have something. Maybe stories really are artifacts and we are just the archaeologists. Hopefully, I can assemble this one to be as good as it can be.

As for my wolf series I had a dream/cusp of sleeping thought which basically wrote Taylor’s book or filled out the remaining parts in the back of my mind. It’s a little dark, so I think that some of it will need to be lightened up, but knowing myself, it will likely stay right where it was. Taylor’s book is third (please, he was only 16 years old in the first and will be 18/19 in the second—he’s not ready to handle his mate yet, because...well, anyone who could handle Taylor would be a handful...and he is, trust me), but that did give me more direction with Quinton’s book.

One of the reasons I haven’t started Quinton’s book yet (aside from being distracted by life and working on other stuff), is that I have not liked his mate. I know who his mate is, I know that he’s an interesting character, I know his entire history, but I don’t yet understand him, and consequently I don’t like him all that much. It’s going to take some work to make him not only empathetic but to bring out the story there. Seeing how Taylor responded to Quinton’s mate (his name is Lucian, or “Lucky”, by the way) told me something about not only Taylor (who wants to take over every single scene he’s in. Freekin’ ham), but how he and Lucky react to each other and why. I think they will be hilarious together.

I am mostly over how difficult the publishing and editing process was, so that’s not the reason I haven’t written much. It has been a challenging time in my life, and things are finally evening out. Then…well, for the writers out there, have you ever done all the groundwork for something, researched, did family trees, lineages of magical creatures and their offspring, maps, cultures, religions, character sketches, and were starting to work on the synopsis…only to realize that it just wasn’t time to write it yet? It’s enough to give you an aneurysm! I’m sure the stuff will remain the same, but my enthusiasm wasn’t there, I don’t think I have the experience to pull it off yet, and (aside from being a giant chicken) it just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t in the mind set. I was more doom, gloom, apocalypse, and (apparently) pseudo-steampunk rather than fantasy. So, I put it off and it felt right. I’m not abandoning it…it’s just not time yet.

But mostly, I have been lazy and preoccupied for a year. That has changed. Writing can support life rather than the other way around and it is a valuable lesson I’m still learning.

Better Late Than Never -- Snow Queen

So, I'm not going to pretend that I have been good with updating this site, something I need to change. I have received some very positive feedback on Winter's Trial from some very wonderful people here and elsewhere. Therefore, it is remiss of me to not (finally) promote my short story, The Snow Queen.

Back in January I submitted a short story to Torquere for their Torqued Tales anthology, which is the retelling of classic fairy tales. It may not shock you, based on the title of this entry or the story itself, that I chose The Snow Queen. I rather liked it, and have received some positive reviews on it.

It was published in late April...right when I had a very, very terrifying health scare. The word "cancer" was used more than once as a possibility. Two months, several anxiety attacks, a meltdown, and umpteen doctor's appointments later, I was told everything was fine. What this did was send any updates or promotions into the toilet. I didn't come here, because it represented what I wanted to do and couldn't bring myself to. So, I am updating now and will try to do so more often.

Here is the blurb:

Gavyn's childhood love, Kain, is enchanted by the shards of a vile mirror and flees to the mountains with a mysterious woman. Visited in the night by the mirror's bestial creators, Gavyn realizes Kain has been bewitched and sets off to rescue his beloved.

On his journey, Gavyn encounters magick, danger, friends, and allies as he uncovers depths of strength he never knew he possessed. Yet, as Gavyn journeys toward Kain, sinister tendrils of magick suffuse his travels, and the Snow Queen herself may bar his way. If he survives, Gavyn will never be the same.

This story is also available in the Torqued Tales M/M Anthology.

Here is a buy link on Amazon:

The point is that, despite my total lack of activity, my publisher has been doing what they do. Since The Snow Queen was only a 30 page story in a much longer anthology, many sites didn't review it. Many will only review stand alone novels and novellas.

That being said, I have garnered two reviews, both of which are very positive. As a way of weak ass promotion and of phoning  in this blog entry (my hands are aching...more on that later), here are the links to the reviews I have garnered:

Rainbow Book Reviews: (They don't do stars, but it was very positive)

Joyfully Jay: (4.75 stars out of 5 for my story, though the review has a huge spoiler...or at least I hope my story wasn't so transparent so that it wasn't at least a little bit of a spoiler. Who can say?)

Very cool, right? Until next time!


Note: This was on my blog a few weeks ago. I should have put it here, but did not. Oopsie! I will try to be better about such things. It's important, after all.


After my novel-sized post last week, I’ll try to make this update brief.

1) For those who remember my irritation at a certain vituperative (LOVE that word) hag of a coworker, my whole team has finally been moved. And we are all so happy. This is our busiest time of the year, my shoulder blade muscles are knotted from all the typing, I’m working 10-12 hour days, I’m up at 4am every weekday, I have to pack my apartment and move in a month...[update note -- obviously since this was posted time has passed. I am moving this coming weekend. Uuuuuugh!] …but I’m okay. I don’t dread work, I don’t hiss at the thought of going in, and it’s like a different workplace — which is good.

Apparently, tazing and pushing a coworker down an elevator shaft is frowned upon by Human Resources.

2) I lost my way with the new writing stuff I started during my aforementioned Book in a Week exercise. Then I found it again. Then I decided to change everything. Then I decided that I wanted to change only some of it. I think I’ve got it now. So, here’s hoping that I continue, since I don’t want to fall into the post-release slump like I did with Winter’s Trial.

I bring this up because…

3) My short story got accepted this weekend!

I’ve always loved fairy tales and I wanted to train myself to write smaller stories, to be compact, to be more concise. I’ve never been successful at short stories because everything wants to have worlds and worlds behind it, so this was good for me. My short story combines all those things.

Remember the snippet with the pumpkinheads I posted during the BIAW exercise? Yeah, that’s the one that got accepted. Not only that, but it’s for an anthology (though it will also be sold separately), so spaces were limited (I assume) and that makes me pretty proud.

I’ve only signed the contract this weekend, so I don’t know how much info I can give out yet, but I’ll give more details as I know them. This is only the second thing of mine to be accepted, so I’m pretty thrilled. I’m learning to trust myself and be creative, even in the confines of the anthology and the framework I chose. Even so, my mind kept spinning the thing out, making the world bigger, adding details which will likely never see anything other than the inside of my head. Sucks. I kinda liked them. There was a lot going on in that story.

So, that’s happy me. Have a drink for me or do a private shimmy of support. I’ll know somehow. Hahaha.

Xmas Wishes and Mental Betrayal

So, this is the last week before the Pig Launching Extravaganza which always taints the beginning of the year at my day job (the one we are always being admonished not to quit). (For those newcomers, I don’t want to say where I actually work and therefore curtail what I might otherwise say — people have gotten fired for openly maligning the Almighty Company on public media. So, I state that my job entails launching pigs from cannons.) We got the e-mail today and are looking at 10 hour days, 6 days a week for the first month and “as needed” for the ensuing months. It was expected.

However, Christmas draws nigh. I have consumed my weight in Hershey’s Candy Cane kisses and watched my Christmas movies — chief among them Disney’s CGI A Christmas Carol. If you want a traditional Xmas movie with horror overtones, this is it. An argument could be made for its rating to be bumped up to PG-13 (the end of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s scene alone…). It’s very true to the book, and these aren’t your cuddly Muppets (however awesome they are). Also included in my movie fest were Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Polar Express, The Grinch, and Nightmare Before Christmas (duh). And hopefully that deranged  horror version of Jack Frost…the horror movie about a possessed snowman. (I’m not even kidding. Look it up. And I don’t mean the one with Michael Keaton).

What all this should point to is that, in a very rare instance (almost unheard of), I was more excited for Xmas than Halloween. I must be terribly ill — I’m broke and don’t give a crap about presents, that cuddly family stuff does nothing for me, it’s going to be 80 degrees here on Christmas (and for almost a full week afterwards), and yet I’m as excited as a kid who sees a dozen large presents under the tree bearing his name.

Should be fun.

In other news, while getting ready to prepare to move, I was also assembling notes for the novella I was planning. Because my mind is a perverse, awful thing which delights in nothing more than my torture, I noticed two special calls for short stories (I suck at short form writing), and my mind switched. Totally jumped ship.

I thought it was some form of mental rebellion, a diversion tactic to avoid loading anything more onto my already burdened back and to cause me to get distracted and not write the novella yet. I tried to force myself to focus on what I originally planned to write and also to consider if I should write anything during this busy time. That never works. I dreamed about the stories.

Even more than that, if your mind is so intent on some other creative project or (for instance) one character seems to “want” more screen time, then you don’t fight it. It is probably supposed to be that way and doing anything else interrupts the flow.

I started on the first of the two short stories today. About three pages later, I’m still going strong — the most I’ve written since Winter’s Trial was published, sadly (and isn’t even that much). The bonus to this project is that even if it is rejected, I can still use it as part of a larger work I plan to do. Besides, I really like it so far, and that’s what counts for me. I’m not good at the short format, and my betrayer brain wants to add all sorts of extra bits and keeps fleshing everything out, but I could stand to learn the (incredibly difficult) short story format. So, if nothing else, this will be a valuable training exercise. Is that mental self-preservation in case I’m rejected? Probably, but there is truth to it, so I will let it slide.

I took a break from that to write this entry. Now, if I can keep Valkyrie Profile and Disgaea D2 (Laharl, Etna, and Flonne again…finally!) out of my clutching claws, I will be well down the road to my next project.

The other short story has quite some time before it’s due, so I may write it and let it sit, or go to the original novella I was ripped from by my traitorous mind.

Anyway, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Yule/whatever makes you happy and warm inside. May we all be a little more positive and gracious throughout the year (especially my evil ass). *cackle, throwing Xmas confetti*

Writer of the Month Nomination

Note: I posted this on my blog a while ago and forgot to update it here. I also added one link to a site I didn't even know reviewed my book.

My friends often tell me that I try to soften or mitigate all my successes, so I will just state the facts here.

I was nominated for Writer of the Month on Mrs. Condit Reads Books’ LGBT section. They gave me five out of five sweet peas (their versions of stars, apparently) for my first novel Winter’s Trial. From there, I think there is an elimination round and then all the books with two or more votes get nominated, people vote again, and the ones with the most votes go to the finals. I can’t seem to load who the finalists were, but it’s not going to kill me.

You know all those stars who say bullshit things like, “It was an honor just to be nominated” and you think, “Whatever, freakin’ liar. You want to WIN!”? Yeah, well, winning is great (I assume) but as a first time author with a novel that is very high end expensive and with a high page count for the genre, it was amazing.

I didn’t know about it until the voting was over (I just found out this weekend), but it truly was awesome to be nominated.

Almost all of my “professional” reviews, save one, have been 4-5 stars, so I guess it’s doing well. Here are some links to the rated reviews I have been able to find:

5 Sweet Peas

4 ½ stars

5+ kisses

4 ½ hearts

4 Nymphs

In addition to that, I’m apparently on several lists on Good Reads (a site I can’t decide if I loathe or love). My current low, low, LOW placement on those lists makes me giggle, but I’m on them nonetheless.

I’m on:

Best M/M Book by a Debut Author of 2013

Best Gay Romance with Abused/Traumatized Characters

M/M Books with Themes of Restricted Freedom and Personal Choice (wtf?)

Best Gay Shifters

I’ve also had some very wonderful people go out of their way to reach out to me, be it on Facebook, my blog, or here, and that’s wonderful. I had another one this weekend, and I appreciate every last one of them. There aren’t words to express how satisfying it is to have produced something you love and to find that other people love it, too.

Not bad, I guess. Right?

Motivation and Signs

Truth is, I might just be a lazy sow, but I just don't have the motivation to write much lately.

Whatever higher power you believe in is immaterial, even if yours of is one of coincidence and indifference. I have often been lost and dazed about what to do, or wondered if I am on the right track. When this happens I have asked the Universe (insert your preferred god here) for some sort of sign, and have been rarely disappointed.

For instance, my first published novel Winter's Trial started as something written only for myself. Wanting to be a writer, I would think about how great it would be if I actually got it published but with something only resembling inactive hope. Werewolves? Yawn. Gay novels? Generally unimpressed. So, why the hell was I writing about them both? True, I loved Austin and Cristiano, Taylor, Quinton, Pearl, and the whole cast. Writing was like spending time with friends, but I started to doubt if anyone would want to spend time with them, too. I kept wondering if I should even bother or move on to something else. Maybe even abandon the idea of professional/novel writing altogether.

Walking home one day thinking about this question, I noticed something on the ground. It was an abandoned green name tag sticker. On it were the words, "Hello, my name is: Austin". I literally stopped in my tracks. I got the chills.

Hello, sign! How are you? Next time please don't his me so hard, thanks!

I was going to take a picture of it with my phone and decided not to at the last moment. Some things should remain imprinted in the mind. I think memory is sometimes better than proof.

I wasn't above taking the sticker, though. I tried to nudge it, pick it up, whatever. It was very much stuck to the sidewalk. I decided it was best left alone. My spirits raised, I went home and wrote and wrote and wrote.

The next day I was determined to take a picture of it. The sticker was gone.

There were none of the remnants of sticker, nothing indicating it had been reluctantly removed from the sidewalk. Sure, it wasn't super glued, and it shouldn't have been difficult to get it off, but why? Had this mysterious Austin come back to claim his property? Was someone offended by the name and removed the sticker? Was it less stuck than I thought and ended up on the bottom of someone's shoe?

I will never know. And I think that's all for the best. It was there when I needed it, and gone before it could become common and therefore have all its imagined magick robbed from it.

Coincidence? Probably. Unremarkable on any other day? Certainly. Really means nothing? Yeah. Am I making a huge deal out of nothing? Of course.

But what if?

That was the first in a series of such signs, but that was the first and the one that kept me going. Now, when I allow life to intrude to the point of lunacy, I think I may ask for another sign. I am plagued by doubts. Do I have any right to ask for more than one? Should I find that strength within myself? We all know the answers to that. But even if it means nothing more than widening my perception to see something to point me in the direction I know deep inside I should be going, isn't that enough? Even if I attach mystical meaning to some unrelated, totally mundane coincidence, if it sets me on the right path, then who cares what set me on it, right?

Either way, that's enough for one night. Maybe I will discuss some of the other signs which led me to produce what I did. Winter's Trial, incidentally, can be bought on Amazon, Torquere's site, or any number of other book sellers.

Maybe the sticker was right.

Release Day!

My terror and elation have not abated. Am I a writer now? Will I ever be? I don’t know, but for good or bad, the day is here. For anyone who wants it, you can get my book here: To buy the book:



I have also set up about a billion pages for myself. If you want them, here they are:

Twitter and Facebook I can be found under Darren Endymion (both of which have very little of anything right now, I assure you)

My (very much in process) web page:

(It's hideous and new. Don't judge me. Yet.)


Okay, so I'm in the process of setting up my author pages on Amazon and Goodreads...and I noticed that someone is reading my book right now! *cheer, nervous, vomit, die* This shit just got real. Hahaha.

I’m so nervous, I don’t know what to do with myself. I think I may drink heavily today. Cheers!

What now? Now I work on the short mer story I mentioned before. I think from there I will branch into something bigger and more ambitious than I have any right to try at this stage, and maybe even write a novel about some super heroes, a life-long geeky passion of mine. In the meantime, I will be here, annoying, terrorizing, and hopefully amusing people. Now everything won’t have to be about this novel, because I’ll be able to think about something else. I’ll keep everyone updated on writing and all that, but with the ability to think about something else comes…bliss.

I’m ready for this stage to end, but at the same time I don’t want it to. I’m not actively working on anything else right now. I just have snippets here and there and a short story to edit and submit. I have too many ideas to run out of stuff to write for a long, long while, but I’m not involved in any of them right now. Not yet. For now, I will be adrift at sea. It takes me about 3 months to pound out about 360+ pages, even with my atrocious writing habits, so I will let people know what’s going on. And it won’t be long.

I will miss Austin and Cris. I will miss Pearl, and Quinton, and especially Taylor, and all the others, but I think I’m ready to move on. I’ll come back to them—there are at least three more books to write there. But I think I’m ready to move away right now.

Until the separation anxiety kicks in. My editor thinks it started for me about a month ago. J.L. Langley has mentioned suffering from it frequently in her Yahoo group. I have read many, many other authors talking about it, and it makes sense. You spend so much time, effort, and love on these people, and then they are gone, but with you forever. They aren’t just yours anymore; they belong to anyone who wants to pick them up, for better or worse. They are out in the world. It’s like a mental empty nest.

But, this is a happy day, not time for examining the melancholy of a writer’s (?) separation anxiety. I’m sure I’ll talk about that in a later entry. Lucky you! Hahaha.

Thanks to everyone who has read my babblings up to now, and for those who might have just joined. I’d have a drink with all of you if I could. *cackle, clink*

Holy Crap, the Big Day is TOMORROW!

Luckily, I have the day off tomorrow, because I think there will be little sleeping tonight. Tomorrow I will be a wreck, likely flitting about my apartment in a daze, like some deranged hummingbird with ADD. Tomorrow, my first novel, Winter’s Trial by Darren Endymion, published by Torquere, will be released.

The very thought loosens my bowels. *cackle, stealing my dearest friend’s line* It’s my first, and I’m proud, scared, and…horrified. What if people hate it? What if they love it? What if nobody, not a single person, buys it? What if all this work was for nothing? What if it actually becomes popular?

It all seems like terror and happiness wrapped in seaweed and bile. I don’t know how to feel. What I do know is, as the illustrious Blanche Devereaux once said, “I’m as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo.”

Blanche at the rodeo

I will leave you with that. Tomorrow I will have links galore for all the imaginary readers of this blog and for all my future (hopefully not so imaginary) novel readers.


Being Difficult and Thanks

I sincerely hope not, but I think I might have been difficult through this whole publishing process, and several misunderstandings only added to this. Luckily, I was surrounded and helped by some wonderful people. First, there was the acquisitions manager/owner/head honcho. “This contract doesn’t say ‘novel’ it says ‘novella’. Will it be billed that way, therefore excluding me from a print book after the eBook?” No, idiot, it was a mistake. She was kind and good humored, and went through extra work to appease my throbbing insecurity. I appreciate it.

Then there was the author liaison. She was great and very understanding with my million questions right after my book was accepted. When do I start? What should I be doing now? Is there anything I should know? After a while, I’m sure it sounded to her like the cacophonous kawing sound of a flock of crazed ravens.


Second, (and the biggest hero here), was my editor. She and I do have a rapport, and I think she’s a clever, witty woman. One of the biggest misunderstandings was with her, and it led to us (me, mostly) being a little snippy with each other. Once we uncovered the misunderstanding (curse you, Mercury Retrograde!), things were fine. As a professional, she recognized that her unrelenting beating of me about the ear, nose, and throat with a certain aspect of the process was making me absolutely insane. I was a man on the edge.

She realized this and decided we should back off from it and come at it fresh. She couldn’t have been more correct. Not only did it help, but I was able to give her six examples when she needed only one, and together we decided on the best short blurb we could come up with. Her sense of humor was intact and charming throughout. I’m sure she wanted to choke me, though.

Obey me!

Third, the establishment pissed me off. I mentioned the pronoun rule in a previous entry. Again, I don’t know what’s okay to divulge, but this gave me severe angina. It seemed so arbitrary to me (and still does). If a pronoun is unclear, the editor should mark it and I should fix it. A blanket rule applying to all pronouns and all paragraphs seems unnecessarily limiting. People do not naturally read or write that way. I thought it would actually pull people out of the book. “Why the fuck is this idiot writer name dropping a billion times in this freakin’ paragraph? There are only two people in this scene!”

I said as much to my longsuffering editor. While she understood how I felt, and even said she felt the same way once upon a time, she very kindly (and with a lot of humor) told me it’s a publisher rule and I had to suck it up. I did, but with ill graces.


Once again, taking a step back, and the fact that I was paired with an amazing proofreader helped this. (My editor was more excited than I was. “Oooooo! You got the good proofreader!” And she was right.) The proofreader was almost like a second editor, not just fixing commas and run on sentences, but commenting. She also helped elevate the language. If a sentence was unclear, she helped me upgrade it, not downgrade it to make it less intelligent.

I was in contact with an author, J.L. Langley (recently seen on Huffington Post along with my publisher’s head honcho), who has been supportive and kind through this process. She told me more than once that I shouldn’t feel pressured into changes and that I should basically stay strong. I have told her since how helpful that advice was.

Even if I’m a wordy bastard, I churned out something I’m proud of. Pronoun changes and all, though I emerged from that fight bloody, strong, and still unconvinced of the necessity of these changes.

Leave my pronouns alone.

Third, the cover artist. This was total misunderstanding, and I hope he believed me. He sent me a cover with a comment that if I liked it we could move on to the next step. I assumed that “next step” meant “not done  yet” and said it was a great start.

“Uh, asshole, that wasn’t a start. That was the goddamned cover.”

No, he didn’t say that, and he was nothing but patient and professional. I, however, was mortified at my own misunderstanding and the jerkface it made me seem like.

He was amazing and incredibly kind, despite my babbling insistence that I misunderstood. He said he felt that I wasn’t satisfied with the cover and asked for suggestions. I was floored. I didn’t think that was an option after I turned in my Cover Art Request form. I asked two friends and they helped slap me into reality. I gave some suggestions, he took them, and he gave me back the cover art I currently am in love with.

Winter's Trial

I hope it all seemed like a noob, fretful, insecure, green writer with a little strength (as that was the case), but even if I came off as the biggest, most high maintenance ass-face on the planet, everyone was professional, kind, and absolutely wonderful. I have learned a great deal, especially about this particular publisher, and for the future books in the series I will know what to do. And, when I decide to branch out, I will take with me a treasure trove of knowledge.

And I can’t thank everyone enough for putting up with me. Hopefully I wasn’t as bad as all that.

Winter’s Trial excerpt

Well, here is a snippet from my upcoming novel, Winter’s Trial by Darren Endymion, released through Torquere on August 21st. I suppose I’m late in the marketing game, but as discussed previously, I am seriously terrible at that. This is the scene where my two protagonists, Cristiano and Austin meet for the first time. As werewolf True Mates (soul mates, more than the typical Chosen Mates, divinely linked), their meeting is something strong and life altering.

Well, the excerpt is long enough (and the indents refused to work consistently), so here it goes (hope you like it):


As the official claimed that he had business to attend to, and the other members of the local architectural firm had left as well, Cris continued to talk with Mrs. Hill. She led him back to the front desk, leveling with him about what she wanted and what she could spend.

They were laughing together in quiet library whispers when Mrs. Hill raised her hand and positively beamed as Cris heard the library's glass doors open behind him.

Cris' senses exploded.


      Austin got out of his car and shut the door, unable to stop the nervous growling in his stomach. He wasn't hungry, but he was… excited? Nervous? Yes, both. But more. His insides seemed to be boiling with anticipation. He seemed alive, the pale white of the world outside seemed too bright, too full of life.

He giggled and peered through the glass door to the library, noting Mrs. Hill talking to a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark skin and neat, slicked back ebony hair. She waved at Austin and he raised a hand to wave at her as he pushed open the door.

Then his world came together with an almost audible click.


      Austin Holcomb's nostrils flared, the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and his eyes shifted back and forth from lupine to human.

Cristiano Raposo winced as if in pain, his hands clenching into fists. He leaned forward and turned, as though he had been hit in the stomach.

Their senses reached out, like gentle, smoky hands, and came together in a sweep of ecstasy, pleasure, and longing. They knew each other in that moment. Part of each of them knew it before their minds knew that they had come together. Their souls meshed from across a barren library lobby, and the True Mates looked into each other's eyes for the first time.

Austin looked up and gasped. There before him stood a gorgeous man, 6'2", dark black hair, deep brown eyes, thick red lips, a slight goatee, broad through the chest and trim in the waist. The light blue sweater he wore dipped down into a V neck that showed just the barest bit of short chest hair and was pulled tight around a body that made Austin suck in his breath.

Cristiano gazed into green eyes that were a deep, gorgeous shade of emerald. When he could look away for even a second from those eyes that Called him even now, even this close, he gasped. His mate was beautiful. He was 5'8", his buzzed brownish red hair stood out in perfect contrast to pale, smooth skin. His lips were not as full as Cris' but they were shaped in a downward bow, as though just managing to suppress impish thoughts and comments.

They felt the other in a way they never would again, though they would often come close. They knew each other. Memories and quirks and feelings shuttled from one to the other in a swell of empathy and desire and need. They became one being, their thoughts and memories whirling across the small space between them. No longer separate people but one throbbing soul, an aching hole between them that only closeness and the weighty task of getting to know each other could fill.

Cris thought about kissing those lips and stroking the delicate, pale face, even as Austin thought how it would feel to press up against this man's chest, to feel those powerful arms around him, stroking the small of his back.

And there was more. Their memories flashed out at each other in globs of empathy, visions of things past, like one being thinking of how it came to that place, how it suddenly became whole. Memories of…

      …summers in Brazil, sunning on the beach, digging his feet into the sand, thinking of the time when he would meet his True Mate…

      …jumping through the snow in a Minnesota winter with the Matriarch and the Alpha, young and just his third time as a wolf, thinking that the only thing that could be better would be to have his True Mate at his side. Before things got bad…

      …watching his video, loaded into his suitcase back at the hotel even now, and hoping his mate would be fair and have blond or auburn hair. Looking at his own dark hair, dark features and wondering what his skin would look like next to his mate's…

Time and space were meaningless as shards of memory stabbed and shone and healed. Things sped up, memories flashing across the void in rapid succession, like twinkling flecks of light in the dark, running over and through each other, separate, confusing, and perfect.

But there were horrors, too.

      …broken leg in the jungle before he had Changed…

      …tumble from a rooftop before he had Changed and been banished…

      …fight with his brother, the worst ever, and the split lip he had given him, the smell of blood, and the instant remorse…

      …wandering through the snow, weeping, alone, frightened, and betrayed…

      …leaving his father, his mother, his pack, leaving everything for a job and for the reality that lay behind it, but most of all leaving his younger brother, his best friend, and how much he missed him already…

      …his mother and father turning away from him, scared hurt in her eyes, and scorn in his, the rocks thrown by his former friends, the growl coming from deep in the throats of those he had once cared for…

And then there was greatness.

      …becoming a lab technician, testing his theories about the wolf blood, about the healing properties of it, and being right…

      …getting accepted to school, passing the tests, getting his architect license…

       …the love of the Matriarch, the slight support of the Alpha, and the acceptance of a small child…

       …the Sage and his Alpha and his brother, all wishing and…

      …not comparing to what he had…

      …knowing that his life had led up to…



I'm really sick of being wrong. Re: my upcoming novel (duh, what else do I talk about these days?)

My previous assertion that 145,000 words would end up being about 360 pages was both true and false. In a Word document with Times New Roman font at size 12, with double spaces between paragraphs, that's exactly what it is.

Poured into a .pdf file, 360 pages somehow turns into a mammoth 527 pages. This behemoth has been puffed out to the actual size it will be when put on sale -- I just confirmed with my editor.

Basically this. This man has clearly gone insane with the unmitigated size of my novel.

If I had any strength left, I would do my normal wailing that it isn't my fault. I think I'm over that now. It is what it is. I love it and I'm not ashamed anymore (though this may sound suspiciously like self-justification).

Going over it, the font is unbelievably huge. Being near-sighted, in the dark, and dangling upside down, one could still read this monster from across the room. During a severe earthquake. With one eye closed. I wouldn't be surprised if I were to see the dotted lines across the words, like it was given to a kindergartner to knuckle out.

One whole page of my novel. (Different text, of course. Let's not be silly).

It's bloated, as though someone threw an old dictionary into a puddle of water to watch it swell like some magical dinosaur terror-sponge.


Before and After.

My first thought was that someone is going to see the page count and flee immediately. There's nothing I can do about that, or my publisher's choice of font. Not a single word is different just because it has been poured into a .pdf file. It's still good, despite it's size. Or perhaps because of it. Luckily, it will be in eBook format first and Kindles (and other eReaders) have this handy feature to adjust the font.

There's no need to fret, mainly because there's nothing I can do about it now. It's long, but not the bloated monstrosity it will seem. I hope people will give it a chance.

When am I a Writer?

While watching Hemlock Grove recently, I had an epiphany of sorts that bewilders me. I don’t think I see myself as a writer.

One of the characters in Hemlock Grove—I believe she’s about 15—tells everyone who cares (and many who don’t) that she is a novelist and that it’s important for her to understand people’s motivations. She says this right before asking a series of questions which are both obnoxious and insightful.

I want to slap that heifer bald-headed.

My knee-jerk reaction was to think, “Wench, you haven’t written shit. You’re no more a novelist than my intestinal leavings.”

I see this online, too. On dating profiles (gay ones, specifically, I imagine), people will say they are writers (or dancers, or models, or *yaaaaawn*). My first reaction in the modeling example, is to recall a Scott Thompson quote from Kids in the Hall. “’Modeling’ can mean a lot of things.” Ron Jeremy can be considered a model. William Hung could consider himself a singer. Stephenie Meyer, gods help us, can be considered a writer. That drunken sow you last saw galumphing around in the club also considers herself a part-time dancer.

My thought process on this disturbs me, so I had to ask myself: Is success the measure of what you feel in your heart? My mental answer was immediate: Hell no!

Then why this feeling about my status as a writer (or others')? Am I railing against perceived pretense? I don’t know. I am certain what I think means nothing to anyone but me, so I keep my mouth shut. (Until this entry, I suppose.)

I have always felt this way. It’s not that this haughty, jerkface attitude started when I got the acceptance for my novel. I love writing. I love reading what I write for myself (as most everything I write starts out), my first novel will be published on August 21st, 2013, and I have written little stories and snippets my whole life. Yet, I have never truly considered myself a writer. Not enough to proclaim myself so. Am I being too hard on myself, and therefore on others? I think it’s defining myself as a writer that kills my confidence.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m shy and (apparently) stupid. It’s not fair of me to judge others or myself against a prejudice I don’t even understand. What makes a writer? Anyone who loves to do it and does it, I guess.

Logically, that makes sense to me, but I don’t know when I will personally consider myself a writer. My editor recently outlined the few remaining steps I have before the fateful release day. She said something like, "And then you can call yourself an author!" But I don't feel it. I don't feel like it's on the horizon, either.

When will I feel it? When I am published? When I have ten books under my (fake) name? If I break into the mainstream? If I am ever fortunate enough to make a living off of my writing? If I ever manage to get critical acclaim?

I still don’t know.

What, really, makes a writer? And, ultimately, does it really matter if you’re doing what you love?

The Cover and Back of the Book Blurb

So, what the hell have I been babbling about all this time? What’s the freakin’ book about already? Well, here’s the synopsis/blurb that will go up on sites and will eventually be on the back of the book (if/when it goes to actual, physical print). Hope you like it.  

The blurb:

Cursed to be a Three Form, blessed to be a True Mate, Austin's life is a nightmare. He is hated and bullied by his pack, because under his timid exterior lies the strength and savagery of a Hybrid werewolf. Only the thoughts of his True Mate, and his desperate desire to escape his pack, sustain him through the daily abuse.

When Cristiano finds Austin, things go from bad to worse. The True Mates must keep their connection a secret as Cris is inducted into a conspiracy for rebellion. The pack's trust in Cris grows, even as their loathing for Austin spirals into escalated violence. Soon Cris and Austin are drawn into a battle for control over Austin’s pack. Both sides will gladly exploit Austin -- his strength, the venom in his claws and bite, and his inability to leave the pack.

However, though Austin is both gentle and savage, more than anything he is vulnerable. He and Cris have one last chance at getting away and finding a new pack to take them in. Because unless he and Cris can get out, neither of them is likely to survive the coming storm.

The cover:

I got this a while ago and I’m still not over it. The cover artist, Brandon Clay (his cover art here:, was very open to what I wanted and incredibly nice and accommodating. I was probably annoying and demanding, but in the end I think the cover is great (I even got to pick out the boys).


Winter's Trial


I hope everyone else likes it, too.


One of the (many) reasons I wanted to go with a traditional publisher for my first novel is that as a self-published author, you have to do all the marketing yourself, hoping that you can get your name out there enough to make people want to buy your stuff. Once you have a name people recognize, then you have an advantage over a newly published author desperately trying to market himself. I don’t know dick about marketing.

I have read numerous cautionary articles that indicate how unwise it is to not market yourself, relying on a book being contemporary, or relevant, or even good to light your way through the mires of everyone else. The publishing company I’m with does a lot of that for you, and offers a lot of opportunities for guest blogging, giveaways, etc., to get your name out there. They also send your crap around to be reviewed, I believe. They tell you about a dozen different places and ways you can help yourself, each unfortunately less practical than the last. From taking out ads to banners on web sites to parading an elephant with the title of your book down LA and Manhattan streets.

The opportunities they provide through them and their contacts are great, though the really good ones involve having a book already out there. There are giveaways (awesome—give your book to someone, they read it, they tell others. They are already happy about not having to pay, and the more people who read your stuff, the better), contests, etc. Many of the authors will feature other authors on their blogs.

It’s daunting. So many options and methods are thrown at you that I cannot keep them straight. What’s the most effective? What works? What’s easiest? And what would be a waste of valuable time I could spend working on something new? I am bewildered and lost in a sea of things I simply do not understand.

And, I find that most of the marketing opportunities are for those already published. What do I do right now? I’m going some guest spots, and I am branching out, but it’s all too little, too late.

One author expressed some disdain for all the methods above. He said that the marketing he did had no impact on his sales and that he would prefer to actually be writing instead of spending months promoting what he is done with. I don’t know what outlets he tried, but I understand the sentiment. I’d rather be working on something new or editing, as will be the case this next week when I get my last round of proofs. That’s the ideal situation, really. I’d rather be writing my next project rather than focusing on self-promotion and pimping myself out anywhere I can.

Some authors have Twitter, Facebook, personal websites, Goodreads, blogs, billboards, skywriting, telepathic goats, lights from the sky, trained dancer-fireflies in synchronized tandem, and cyborg flamenco dancers stomping the titles of their books in sexy Morse code. I just can’t keep up with all that.

I will do what I can, I will expand, and I will promote in ways I can. I loathe social media, but I’m fond of my writing and I would like others to be. If I have to suck it up, then I will. I have a feeling that this is all Newbie Terror. I adjust well once the first time is over. The very idea that my first novel will be released in less than a month, that someone believed in me and my writing enough to think they could make money off of it, that it will be out there for anyone in the world to read, scares my bowels loose and moist. (Ewwwwwwwwe! I’m sorry. I don’t know where that came from, but it’s so horrifying that I think I will refrain from editing it out.)

I still don’t know dick about marketing.

What’s Wrong With Size?

Elevate your minds from the gutters, brethren; I’m referring to book length. I have been reading a bit on this subject and most sources seem to think that anything over 200 pages is bloated and beyond anything any reasonable person could ever be expected to read. (Yes, that's a slight exaggeration. Work with me.) Maybe it’s this first genre I’ve chosen to write in, but this seems to be all the worse with gay novels. Meanwhile, many of the books out there can be considered fluff to pass an afternoon with (and I am a very slow reader).

For instance, there is a book I found on Amazon which weighs in at a paltry 135 pages. It is touted as a novel, which after 50 pages, I suppose it is. However, this retails for $6+ in eBook format and $10+ in print. For a rather dramatic contrast, Stephen King’s IT weighs in at 1,104 pages and retails for $9, both eBook and paperback formats.

135 pages is a pamphlet. I could wash that out of my hair in a couple weeks. I downloaded a sample and was not impressed, nor was I appalled. It was okay. However, for that price and with what I read, I declined to buy the whole thing.

Granted, I have been repeatedly told that my forthcoming novel, Winter’s Trial, is long. Longer than average. Much longer than it “should be” for this genre. I thought about it, looked at it, and asked my beta readers and editor what could be cut. I cut wordiness (a crime I am guilty of), I eliminated crap, I cut out the pointless stuff, and I elaborated if needed for clarity. At least three people have been over it a total of eight times in seven months. And there are two or three more to come (final proofreader and then me, and probably my editor after that).

My astronomical total? 364 pages. 146,000 words with Times New Roman 12 font. A full space between paragraphs. Long? Meh. The vast majority of books I own are between 300 and 500 pages. Even the gay books I pulled off my shelves are about 250-300+.

I recently read online that an author was worried that his/her current project was going to go over 100,000 words and was asking for advice from other authors on if this was acceptable or not. I stayed silent. I am far too biased and too green to comment to someone who might even potentially care what I have to say on the matter. I am opinionated and new and so I shut up. Until I got here.

But I like to read books. Not pamphlets. I like robust characters I can love or hate or understand (and sometimes still hate). I want a story I will remember. Not watered down, brief snippets. I want to feel something. I tried to make my novel closer to this; I tried to write a novel, not a pamphlet. Even if I failed at all these other things, I learned a great deal through this process and I can only get better. And this is only the beginning. Pamphlet or novel, you can fit good characters and plot in almost any space. It’s about the story. We shouldn’t shun the pamphlet, the novel, or the tome based solely on length.

As the vernacular goes, it’s not the length but how you use it.

Mercury Retrograde Aftermath

For those who don’t know: Mercury Retrograde is a period of three weeks where the planet Mercury appears to be in backwards motion. This happens about three times a year. Astrologically speaking, it’s a great deal more. And it's horrible. If Mercury showed up like this, everyone might not be so pissed off.

During this time, we experience much hideousness.  Technology seems to go to hell, communications are difficult, misunderstandings are common, tempers flare, bitches from the past spring into the present, things begun tend to fail spectacularly, travels are difficult, and odd coincidences abound.

No, these things do not only happen at this time, but Mercury retrograde seems to have way more than its fair share. Cars break down, windshields get shattered, exes come around, people you haven’t seen in ages appear out of nowhere, computers crap out, that already annoying coworker seems to be on his/her raging period for three weeks, someone you start dating during this period becomes a bitch-face and the dating ends, you can’t seem to form a sentence, etc. You should never start anything during this period, sign any contracts, go anywhere, or have any communication at all with anyone in the world.


Sure, it’s a lot of superstition, or astrology, or Wicca, or crazy talk, or ancient fuckery, but it’s the one tenant I can’t get rid of, the one superstition I can’t shake off, the one I seem to get confirmation of every damned time, and the time I hate more than all others.

This last one, ranging from June 26th to July 20th seemed to produce all these things. From the aforementioned coworker, to huge misunderstandings with the editor, to short tempers, to a random, unknowing friendship which struck up between me and my ex-roommate’s current roommate (without either of us originally knowing the connection we had). An old friend of mine looked me  up, appeared, decided to get back with his ex-girlfriend, and thereafter decided he had to stop talking to any males he might be attracted  to (*raising my hand and waving goodbye with one finger.*), a friend’s car collapsed, my work computer crapped out on me, I ran into another old friend I hadn’t talked to in about a year, etc., etc.

Mercury retrograde bitch

Since time seems to be going backward, it’s supposedly a good period to reconcile with the past, to pick up old projects, to do all that nonsense. It’s generally good advice, and if you think the heavens are aiding you, all the better.

Think back. Have the last few weeks been a pain in the ass? Coincidence? Very likely. But what if? Yeah, this all could happen at any time…but all this and more…in three weeks? Piss off.

Though it’s far in the future, Mercury goes retrograde again from October 21st to November 10th. You've been warned.


There's douchery afoot!

So, in addition to everything else I've been doing (which is why my posts are so infrequent), I have been trying to lose weight. About a year and a half ago I had several inches of my intestine removed. My surgeon said those inches were normal, healthy, and fine, except that they were significantly narrower than the rest of my intestines. He thought it was congenital and that it explained issues I've had all my life. Suffice it to say that I am now able to eat and *ahem* process things which would have previously been both unlikely and very time consuming in a remarkably short time. The end result was that I shoved my face with everything I had ever avoided eating. And there were no immediate adverse reactions.

Well, it took over a year, but I gained about 20 pounds. If you knew almost anyone in my family, you would only express scientific interest that it was a mere 20 pounds. I don't know how I have remained relatively svelte, unless my mother and father (some of the rare exceptions to rampant obesity in their respective families) were genetic anomalies and I inherited this from them. For instance, my aunt has been unfairly compared to Ursula the Sea Witch (unfair to poor, unfortunate Ursula, mind you) and has been known to wipe gravy off her chins with a towel at Thanksgiving dinner. Classy.

So, I was apparently blessed with a good metabolism -- until I get to be a certain size. I inherited my mother's height (or lack thereof) and so 20 pounds is considerable on me.

I have attempted to diet (as in, not eat chocolate, hamburgers, pasta, bread, etc. in immeasurable quantities). My friend had me download an app called Lose It! and, if nothing else, it makes me aware of all the bullshit I shove into my face. I lost 10 pounds in about a month.

And I wait on the Plateau of Pain.

This has forced me to the gym. Gods help me.

The things I have seen! A guy better suited to modeling than any earthly career looked at me as I was passing, said something, smiled, dropped his towel, and, still smiling, began to open his mouth to speak to me. I, of course, ran. It wasn't until later that I considered he may have wanted my gaze, or something else rather more licentious. I doubt it still, but...I suppose if someone else had that experience I would have suggested the very thing I currently laugh at -- there was some interest. I take pride in my intelligence, but it absolutely leaves a concave in my senses when someone might possibly be hitting on me.

I have seen couples with a distressing surplus of public affection. One in particular, she very hot and him merely adequate, could not bear to be separated through a set. They took turns, kissing and fondling between those sets. Given my previous experience when leaving the locker room, I thought I might have unwittingly entered Sodom and Gomorrah. Too much PDA between any couple makes me cranky. I wanted to shout, "Oy, Hansel! Gretel! You're leaving a trail of lube and nasty juices on the equipment! Dry it up!"

Another very attractive, very gay male with a muscled chest Dolly Parton would be envious of was involved in a facetime chat with someone while he did one set. Phone in his crotch, looking up at his finely chiseled features. When that ended, he took a picture of his chest -- twice -- and uploaded it onto a web site. (Our machines were fortuitously (?) situated to where I could see all this, even with my blurry vision and looking very infrequently) What I didn't see, I didn't want to. He then moved to another machine right next to me, smiled amiably, and actually proceeded to work out. His first set corresponded with my last, and I saw him take another picture of his chest as I fled. What kind of comparison was he hoping for?

I used another machine. He was on his still, unmoving, on his phone. I finished there and went upstairs to get on an elliptical machine and worked out for 30 minutes. There are mirrors all over the gym and I was still able to see him, which I did out of aghast curiosity. He stayed there for another 15 minutes doing one set. Total. He then pranced upstairs, passed me, and walked to the sit-up benches. I no longer cared to look, but I did anyway once or twice. I either had damnable timing or he did not move. Once. He walked by again and smirked, so I can imagine my glances were less than subtle. I cursed my indiscretion, if for no other reason than that he clearly thought I was interested. He was very pretty, but I believe there is only room for one other entity in his life -- his ego. It taxes my resolve to coexist in the same room with someone such as he, so even had the offer been extended, I would have had to decline. Guys like that only want clones of themselves. They are eights looking for elevens and will settle for nothing less.

Humility is sadly underrated.

I almost went face-to-chest with some wall of beef in one of those hallway which-way-are-you-going misunderstandings. I cackled, and it sounded high and crazed in the hallowed halls of Gay Church, as it was once referred to in Will and Grace.

I am apparently exceedingly awkward. I also have little control over my expressive face and my mouth. I should never be allowed in public.

There were other guys checking themselves out, bro-ing each other, slapping palms, grunting, laughing loud so all the little people stare (as P!nk once said), and generally acting with total, unabashed douchery. Where else would one expect beefed-up douchebags to hang out, if not the gym? I hated them all.

And, sadly, I would have had sex with almost every last one of them. I would hate myself in the morning, and them even more, but such is the way of a sad, apparently typical gay male.

The shame.

Give Me Back My Life!

Okay, so I've been gone again, this time working on the second round of edits for my first novel. It's experience. I don't agree with some of the editorial rules the publisher imposes, specifically regarding pronouns. I think it alters the normal flow of reading (and of writing) and forces the author to name drop over and over for perceived clarification. Have you ever read a novel where the author seems to have a penchant for using characters' names repetitively, way more than is normal, even if there are only two people in the scene? That's what I'm afraid might happen to my novel and to others because of publisher rules like this. (Yes, this is me wailing, "It's not my faaaaaault!")

So, don't judge me. Hahaha.

However, let me not denigrate the publisher (not only because I'd be playing with kindling on a bridge, but because it's not all bad). Not at all. My editor is funny, concise, open, and warm, and for a first foray into traditional publishing, that's an enormous benefit. I could have had an emotionally dead harridan, but I was lucky. She has been accessible and professional. And may the gods bless her sense of humor!

The publisher is involved, reputable in their field, and full of sweet staff and authors. I really only have that one complaint (and now that I know what their rules are, I can change it as I go rather than in one long, sweeping bonanza of frustrating editing). I'm very much content and would recommend them to anyone looking to publish in the very broad gay genre (yes, I will reveal them eventually...but not in this entry. *cackle!*)

However, I'm a wordy beast, and my editor wanted me to cut out a lot, and I think she was right. It wasn't anything particular, like an offending scene that I decided to keep against her wishes, but more general than that. I tried, and my novel is long for the genre (about 350 pages), but I think we did a good job.

I told my editor that there was a time where my writing was devoid of life, of feeling, and of description. I was writing for myself yet it was boring me to write and to read. I worked with myself and over time I managed to get the descriptions and life back. I wonder if I didn't over compensate.

Also, there may be up to four books in this series, each with a larger part of a story, and almost all the characters are in, mentioned, or alluded to in this first volume. At the end, one could go back and pick out several instances of, "Oooooh!" I guess there's some world building, though not that much, considering it's contemporary.

So, the editing is done, and while it was grueling, I loved it. My days were full of something that's endlessly fulfilling. I don't have that nagging feeling of, "You know, if you ever wanna be a writer, you should know...writing." I have a cover art form and a marketing form I have to fill out, but that's not that difficult because I've been working on them (and may have the much maligned blurb done already).

However,the editing was the big thing. I was tired, frustrated, elated, and buried. I haven't gone out with friends as much, my DVR started to delete things, my day/real job has seemed intrusive, my weekends have been working and little relaxing (unless out of obstinate refusal), two friends are cursing at me to finish watching Netflix's Hemlock Grove, and I started to feel like I was running up hill through waist-deep snow toward a goal that was never going to be as big as I want. At the top of that hill were not the temples of ancient Greece, but a Target in the ghetto.

Still, I'm proud, happy, and relieved. The process has been good, it has shown me my flaws and strengths as a writer, and I have emerged on the other side feeling like I'm better for it. However, I'd be lying if I said I was upset at having a life back. I just hope this whole process ends well.

*faint, drool*

I'm back! (For those who noticed that I have been MIA). What have I been doing? A great deal.

I hate to sound like a one-note hussy, but that's pretty much how my life has been. I had a birthday in there, which I will thank nobody to mention and which took some time to recover from. My friends insisted on doing things with me. What the hell?

Anyway, the majority of my time has been spent editing my novel. Yeah, about that.

First, I was very, very wrong about the time frame I was looking at. I got my edits back from (who else?) my editor along with a lot of paperwork. That has probably been the biggest shock to me, which is a little stupid if you think about it. I have had cover art request forms, marketing forms, the obligatory W-9, style guides, etc.

When someone tells you that the easy part of writing a novel is the actual writing of it, I assure you that it is absolutely the truth.

Another thing I didn't expect was the formatting and style rules that would be imposed on me. Since my novel will start its life as an eBook, some of the formatting rules are understandable -- certain things will, paraphrased from the words of my editor and her colleagues, give the code vertigo or make it want to drink  whiskey.

This involved omitting certain characters (symbols on the keyboard, not people in the story), no indents, double spacing after a paragraph, single spacing after sentences, etc. (I'm not sure if this is standard for every publisher, but if you're thinking of writing a novel, it's something to consider and research. I'm horrified that, during all my research, I neglected this *ahem* detail).

That was painful because I used the tab to indent. So, I had to go through about 350 pages and correct every single tab-indent in the document and double space between paragraphs. Since it was for formatting, it wasn't something I could finagle with Word and make pretty. It had to be done manually.

Now you may understand the title of this entry.

The only other thing that really bothered me was what seemed (and still does to an extent) an arbitrary rule from the backside of Satan himself. In a m/m (usually romance) novel it's important to always know who is doing what and who is speaking. Anyone can understand that (and it's not limited to m/m novels). However, this publisher has a rule regarding pronouns that essentially gave me cholera, shin splints, arthritis, Hanta, and scurvy. *cackle* (Please do not take that literally. Could you imagine me trying to hobble into the ER with those ailments? "Hel... *cough, fall, die*")

I don't know how much is proper to mention, so let's wrap this up by saying that the edits I got back -- as in the things my editor specifically thought needed altering, enhancing, or elucidating -- were relatively few. However, because of these aforementioned rules, I had to go over the entire novel, paragraph by paragraph, and make adjustments, whether it be to the tabs or to comply with the pronoun rule. (A moment of self defense here: I don't think the pronouns were out of control or that their references got lost, but I figured it was better to comply if it didn't change the style, tone, or timbre of the novel, which it didn't. And clarity is rarely a bad thing).

Did I learn something? Lord, yes. Will I use it in my further writing, even if I don't stay with this publisher forever? Absolutely. As much as I protest, do I see the literary wisdom in MOST of the changes? Yes.

However, as with any time I write, I fear I may have gone in and over-edited. Fixed things which weren't broken. So, I am requesting a second editing cycle (bless my editor, she's been so amazing through this process and hasn't tried to have me killed yet), and rest in the faith that there will be fewer changes to make and therefore the process will be easier the second time around.

To squeeze into the time frame I was given and to have time for that second editing round, I had to sleep, eat, wake, and dream about editing. (Yes, I had dreams of pronouns assaulting me, their sharp edges and lack of clarity making them like drawn ninjas with the power to annoy). I finished in what I thought was good time, despite my computer having an aneurysm on me during the home stretch and switching the colors of the tracked changes in the document.

I took today off, but I will have to get back on that proverbial diseased nag and get to the paperwork tomorrow. While I wait for my new round of edits I will edit the short story I might have mentioned in an earlier post.

This may be weird to say, but I consider deadlines challenges, and the whole editing process, this whole writing thing in general, has been a high unlike anything I have ever known. I don't want to stop it, and think I may do my best to stay in motion. Launch from this novel to that short story, into more edits, and from there into the next novel (not in the series, but in general). During all this I hope to post more here, and not just about that one-note trick I'm apparently not so bad at.

This summer, however, will be a challenge. This project will end, and it will be the culmination of a dream years in the making. Of course, then I have to face the idea of possible reviews and sales. Terror incarnate. If I don't have something to leap onto when that ends, I may fall into the cracks.

One dream ends and another starts on the day my first novel will be published -- August 21st.