The learning curve

This morning I was thinking about all the changes in the last 8 months. Some are good and definitely for the better, some sparked a steep learning curve, and the last one was an expensive lesson. Didn’t need that. At all.

Without going into detail: Lesson learnt and sometimes (professionally) change isn’t a good thing. Now I know exactly what I need to do for Vaporbyte next year, and I best start saving!

One of the other changes was a trackpad malfunction which has forced me to use a mouse again. This is not a good situation. Two weeks into this new hell and my wrist is more fucked than usual and now I remember why I made the switch to total trackpad use four years ago. 😦 Would be nice to get this trackpad sorted but it’s ridiculously expensive and I’d have to send my Mac away and I can’t work without my Mac. Catch 22 and then some.

Right now, I’m going over notes for todays writing group. And quite excited to meet the participants. It’s nice having a week day group. Hopefully this will help the next few weeks race and I’ll be in Perth before I know it.

Readers, I’m a bit over this ‘being apart’ bullshit because this is a long stretch and it’s no fun. The sooner we’re back together the better.

You know what would help cheer this author up and keep me motivated to move forward despite the stress of the last few months? Come on, I bet you do … yeah, see, you got it. Buy a book! 🙂

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Drinking coffee with Jimmy Buffet …

Obviously not in person, but I’m drinking my coffee and listening to Jimmy Buffet on YouTube – so that’s close, right?

Don’t have much time for mucking around this morning. Got a rep rugby game to watch at 9. Grandson 2 is playing. Last time our surname was in an Upper Hutt rep team it was my brother and it was about 42 years ago

Yesterday was supposed to be a writing day – but for whatever reason it wasn’t. And that’s okay. Because, sometimes you need to take a moment. I learned a few years ago that I need to trust the process and trust my brain. (Who we call Brian brain because I can never spell brain the first time.)

Despite knowing exactly what was happening in the story I’m writing, and I thought I had a handle on the subsequent scenes … Brian had other ideas. Brian decided I needed to take a moment. Once upon a time I would’ve pushed on regardless … but I’ve learned a thing or two. And I know, the next scene will be a shit-ton better because I stepped back.

Sometimes writing is about not writing. Sometimes it’s about letting your subconscious do some work. Usually (for me) that’s because I didn’t see something than can change everything … 🙂

Anyway, when you’re writing (or doing anything creative) how often do you listen to your brain and take a minute?

“How do you start to write a story?”

Now there’s a question and a half. It’s something I’m asked fairly frequently and I still don’t think I have particularly helpful answer, even after writing 16 novels and countless short stories. Yes, I said, 16. Four still sit on a flashdrive and remain hidden away from the world. Those four were the beginning; my teething novels, my sandpit, and actually where the Byte Series began. Those four novels are about Cait O’Hare. If you’ve read any of my Byte books then you’ll know who she is. Setting those aside for now … How do I start a story?

Generally, I have a question and uncovering the answer requires writing. The question can be anything. Over the years I’ve answered these ones (and more): What’s the worst case scenario here? What happened to the children? Who killed the jeweler? What is the Wayward Son Protocol? What does Devil’s Breath do? What if … there’s almost always a ‘what if’. In Terrorbyte the what if was, ‘what if the initial crime conceals another crime?’.

How do I know there’s a question and what that question is? Well, that, Readers is an entirely intuitive process for me. Before I even know there is a question (and there is always a question, in fact many questions) I have usually glimpsed a partial scene. Sometimes what I see makes the question more along the lines of ‘ What the actual … is going on here?’ For example when I started writing Qubyte the scene I saw first was Ellie waking up to a call from Kurt and realizing something had happened to the Director. Straight up there’s a question, right? What happened to Director O’Hare? And that, Readers, was the first question. That question was the foundation of an entire novel. 95,000 words or thereabouts because I needed to know the answer. Pretty soon there are questions popping out of questions and words on the page. (Without those words on the page there is no story, folks. It’s that simple.)

You’ve probably seen a few posts on the ol’ social media regarding Cryptobyte and might even know that the release date is Nov 10 (which is Terrorbyte’s official 10th birthday). The question posed early on in Cryptobyte came about because of a conversation on the way home from the bookshop with THA. I can’t even remember how it started but by the time we reached home I knew more than I wanted to know about a woman and her strange hobby and that lead to a question, ‘How did the families disappear?’ and then, ‘What did the families have in common?’ and eventually, I found, ‘Why?’

Stories can start from anything but I find there is always a question or thirty that require answers. 🙂

The answer to where I start is … I answer the questions and I keep an open mind, it’s pretty rare for everything to be as it appears. And sometimes the beginning isn’t.

Where to start? Start with something that makes YOU want to know more. It doesn’t have to be the beginning, you might start in the middle and work out, or the end and work back, or maybe you’re more like me and start close to the beginning and work to the end. Pick a place. Write. Because the thing about stories is they don’t write themselves no matter how often you hear that from people. Just write the story and edit it once you have all those words out. 🙂

FYI we have a Facebook group now attached to my Facebook page. Come on over!

It was Crashbyte …

This morning I opened a file called ‘Crashbyte’ – that’s what Vaporbyte was always supposed to be called. Book 12: Crashbyte. Somewhere as I was following the story, (and it happened pretty fast – two chapters in) I realized Crashbyte wasn’t going to be book 12. It may not ever be an anything. That’s okay, it happens. I left the file and a few days later I saw an entire scene – nothing at all to do with the two chapters I’d written.

I started writing. I knew straightway it the beginning of something. By the third chapter I knew it was something called ‘Vaporbyte’. Great.

This morning I opened that other file, the Crashbyte one. As I read, a slow dawning occurred. By the time I’d finished I knew what I was looking at. It’s not a nothing at all. It’s part of Vaporbyte. It’s the other story thread.

Apparently I’m writing again. Need to catch up? Then, here …

July!!

Hey, come here! Gotta tell you something.

It’s July.

That’s right, July, and that means the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is on now. There are some serious bargains to be had.

FYI the ENTIRE Byte Series is on sale – if you hop through the link you will notice that there are 11 books listed in the series (so far) that is because Snakebyte has now taken its rightful place as 5.0 BUT the site only accepts integers so it had to be 6 which has a flow on effect. We also have sale prices on the boxed sets. Remember the Boxed Sets have additional content. You get an extra story in each boxed set. In in-between Bytes category Dead Flowers is free, the others are already very very reasonable. [The in-between byte are stories for series fans who already know the characters.] Just a little note: Snakebyte was missed out of the boxed sets so it still needs to be purchased separately. Despite being a novella it is an important story and a vital part of the series. 🙂

Don’t daly! Now’s the perfect chance to get in there and meet Ellie or pick up the next book in the series. (You could probably get the whole series for two cups of coffee, not even joking.)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen the 15 second videos created for each book in the series. There are more to come so keep an eye out!

xxx

Carry on (Fun)

Another Tuesday rolled around and disappeared. Keeps happening.

Thought I’d share something with you today. (Not the delightful cold/flu business that TBH incubated and decided to share with me, you’re welcome.)

But this: Mo Mhuirnin – it’s a little thing on Amazon. It’s also now on Smashwords (which means it’s available in ePub), yeah, that’s new. Haven’t seen this little thing in ePub before. (9mm Press strikes again!)

Some of you might have come across Ginger Fendalton before via ‘The Scent of Seduction’ – which will be magically appearing in ePub on July 18th, 2019. That’s pretty cool.

Other joys of the day … made soup this morning before I left for the bookshop – that, friends, was a stroke of genius. Came home to hot delicious vege soup. Nothing better on a freezing wintery day.

Writing wise … not much accomplished, but, I did get a few paragraphs down. So, that’s progress in the right direction, just slow progress but sometimes that’s the best kind.

ActorKid and I finished watching Lucifer tonight. I’m pretty sure I saw on Twitter that there is another season? Here’s hoping. Hard not to love it.

Friday we have a book launch for those young readers (reading at a 7+ age) – check out the Writers Plot Bookshop Facebook page for details (under Events).

Actorkid thought making an oreo cake would be awesome – it’s delicious. Truly!

Last Chance Train

Blog title is a song from “100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong”.

You know what makes an author happy? Come on, you do. You got this … say it with me, “REVIEWS.” There ya go. I knew you had it. I would be ridiculously delighted if you’d leave a review of the Byte Books you’ve read – but especially ridiculously delighted if you left the review/s on Smashwords, Kobo, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble … pretty well anywhere that’s NOT Amazon or Goodreads. Why? Because most of my books are no longer available on Amazon and I don’t think “3rd party sellers” should be benefiting from my reviews. Thanks in advance for being cool about this.

In other news: I went home. I came back. That’s all I have to say about that.

I’m working on Crashbyte – and kinda feel like it might get a name change because of Cryptobyte. Do we want to C’s back to back? No we do not. So, I’ll be fossicking through my Byte list shortly looking for something suitable … meanwhile, I know where this story is headed location wise. Ellie is going home. Where is home? Where is she really from? If you’ve read the series so far, you’ll know, or maybe have enough information to guess. It’s going to be a fun book. I can feel it in my bones. There’s a few things my bones are good for 1) detecting weather changes and 2) knowing when a story is going to be fun to write.

EDITED TO ADD: Crashbyte is now known as Vaporbyte.

FYI it’s cold and building up to a storm this afternoon. So here’s a picture of Mahau, (where I was for the weekend).

Mahau Sound, Marlborough Sounds.