A lot has happened this year, already. I don’t often get the chance to vent and just hang out with you guys, so that’s what this post is. It’s a little bit about what’s going on with me and a lot about what’s going on in life.
I’ve signed up to become one of Divine Magazine’s reviewers, which is amazing. There are so many awesome books to get my grabby hands on that I can hardly keep up. My key to doing this successfully – since I also do blog tours for other companies, like Pride Promotions and such, which offer review options – is that when I have books to review, I keep my reading for when I can get a real run at it. So, if I know I’m going to have a full day of peace and quiet, I’ll do my writing/editing at night and keep my reading for the day, when I can get a full 5-6 hours worth. Which, when you think about it, could be an entire book, depending on its length. Then, at night, when I only have some sporadic hours or minutes at a time, to get any work done, I can crank out a few pages of edits or a few paragraphs of writing, as and when I feel it. Unless there’s a book I absolutely want and the review schedule is tight – as the saying says – never the twain shall meet.
Another hectic thing for this year is my editing schedule. I mean, crazy just doesn’t cover it. Over the holiday period along, I edited 5 novels (3 for Evander’s series and 2 for Esthim series), 2 novellas (1 for Evander’s and 1 for an anthology) as well as a short story. My editor sent me back the notes for my short story and I got them back to her within a day or two. My “novella” for the anthology was supposed to be 15K, but by the time I’d finished writing it, it was more like 25K. Then I sent it to a Beta friend, who helped me squeeze it down to 20K, then I spent an entire week bring that down to 18K. Another full day of edits got it down to 14,995. Perfect.
But, as well as that, I’ve got to complete edits for Avelina book 4 by February, (read and review the 4 books I mentioned above) and try to get books 5 and 6 done relatively close to it, if not directly after it, because I’m not sure how soon they’ll be needed. After that, I have an 11 book series that I started editing book 1 and never got further than halfway, before other demands had to be met, that I really have to get back to. (I also have to finish writing book 11, which will be hard). After that, I have 1 massively over word count LGBT young adult novel that desperately needs edited, but shouldn’t take too much work. I have another LGBT adult novel coming out in Sept, so no hurry on that one, but I would like to go over it with my Beta’s, which could take a few months.
Oh, and let’s not forget the 3 solo novels that I’d like to get edited, the 15 novels that need written; having been started, to some degree, it would be great to finish them sometime this year. I’d also like to get some time to go back to old characters and see if there is a potential second book in them, which my readers have often asked for.
All of that, of course, depends on schedules, other people, editors, publishers, Amazon and my Beta’s, all helping out and doing their bit. So, you see, just a teeny tiny bit hectic.
Let’s not forget the other major bane of my life – blogs! I’m joking. 🙂 I have my blog, two company blogs and a boat load of reblog material and blog tours that I want to share with you guys. But, I also don’t want it to get stale, so I’m always thinking up new ideas, new plans, new ventures, that I could share with you. That’s not easy. Luckily, the three blogs I run are entirely separate entities, with audiences who are unlikely to cross-read with the other two, so I can use one post on all three blogs, if it’s appropriate. One is 18+, so anything goes (except too much LGBT, because it’s a M/F blog, mainly) and the other is YA, so I really have to be careful what goes on there. No swearing, no sex, no explicit anything. And you guys know that I go right across the bar with what I post here, so that’s cool too. Either way, it takes a lot of planning and thinking. It can make a girl tired, to multi-task to this level.
The other thing that’s been bugging me this year are my programs. Now, I’ve really loved watching Blindspot. It has so many twists and turns and the idea of the tattoo map on Jane’s body really is a stroke of genius. I mean, I’m never lost for a tense, dramatic moment and I’m not always sure what’s going to happen next. I love that in my crime drama’s.
I was really sad to see the end of CSI: Vegas and Rookie Blue last year. I didn’t even know Rookie Blue was ending forever, until I went through my list of ‘Never Miss’ programs on Sky. It didn’t seem like a great ending for the entire show, but a great season closer. It took me by surprise, for sure.
Another one that surprised me was Vampire Diaries. Now, I’ve watched this from the beginning and even attempted to read the books at one point. It didn’t go well (the books), as you can read in my reviews, here. The books and I didn’t get along (a little like Twilight), but the show was good. It became great when Klaus started and I’ve always been a fan of Damon, the drool worthy Ian Somerhalder. However, there were so many whiney characters that it wore on me after a while. Elena was my biggest problem. I mean, urgh, that girl never stopped crying, dying, coming back to life, wanting Stefan then wanting Damon, then forgetting who she was, then becoming someone else. And the whole Katherine plotline killed me, because it just meant more of Elena, just with a new wardrobe and a ‘kickass’ attitude, which wasn’t all that kickass. The great thing was that it led me to The Originals, which is probably one of the best vampire shows I’ve seen since Buffy. Although, to be fair, I’ve never watched True Blood or some of the others out there.
My biggest problem with Vampire Diaries was always Elena, so when Nina Dobrev said she was leaving the show, I was relieved. I mean, she’s a great actress, but the stories they kept giving her must have been so draining, because I got exhausted just watching them. I often said to myself “if this season isn’t any better, I’ll stop watching it”. Of course, that never happened. My dad is a big fan and since I still live with my folks, he gets in that grumpy way of “well, if you’re not watching it, I’ve not got time, either” which really just translates into “I want to keep watching it, but we’ll never have time, if you’re not going to watch with me”. Since we do most of our TV show watching when my mum works a late shift (3 pm-9 pm) he has a point. He’d never bother, if I didn’t want it with him, so that’s what we do.
Only, this season (Season 7), there’s no Elena, so I was intrigued to see how it would work. Surprisingly, it’s going well. There are interesting flashbacks, new characters (which I’ll get to in a minute), plus some amazing flash forwards. This is an entirely new concept for Vampire Diaries and it raises questions that the show tends to answer within a few episodes of that particular flash forward. I’m actually enjoying it again, being surprised and not sure where it’s going to lead.
Now back to the new characters, because this is the entire reason I brought up TV shows. There is one major character that gets introduced this season. She’s important, she has a touching, heartbreaking back story and – most importantly of all – we’ve NEVER heard of her before. Get that? Never! Not once, not in passing, not a hint, whisper or sniff of her, in any previous episode of Vampire Diaries or The Originals. Why should that matter, you ask? Only because she’s got some major history with Stefan, which is supposed to make her one of THE most important people in his past. Even Damon knows about him. But us? Nah. Why tell us? I mean, why even bother to let us know there’s this mysterious person in his past, that is even more important to him than Katherine ever way?
That’s the only thing that annoys the heck out of me, about this new season. As a writer, I know that f you’re going to introduce a character in Book 3, 5 or 12 of a series, that has some MAJOR significance for one of the main characters of EVERY book you’ve ever written (as Stefan is a major driving force of every previous season) then you’re going to want to put some hint of them in there somewhere. Even if it’s just a mention of a familiar face in a crowd, that is not described and is dismissed. If it’s a past event mentioned in passing, that everyone seems to know is a touchy subject, so never brings up, until this surprise person shows up. However you do it, you know that your fans are going to be royally ticked off if you enter a character this important so late in the stage, when their existence has never even been hinted at before.
But, somehow, TV shows get away with this all the time. It’s called “suspense” and a “twist”, yet if a writer were to do it it would be grossy inappropriate, cheating and a failed attempt to throw surprises and twists at the reader that they just wouldn’t buy into. So why are we expected to buy into it in a TV show? Because, let me tell you, I was one of those royally ticked off people. I’ve faithfully followed this show through many ludicrous plots and whinging characters, but there has never once been a mention of the event or this character EVER. Yet, no murder mystery would allow you to reveal that the killer was actually a super secret ninja, with such amazing powers that they couldn’t be seen or found until the final reveal. It would be ridiculous.
Yet, we’re given no excuse for why this hasn’t been brought up before, except that Stefan was “heartbroken” and it’s been 100+ years, so it’s in the past. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. That’s writer speak for “we just came up with this and it lets us fool around with the storyline a lot, so we hope you swallow it.” Nope. I don’t! I won’t! I want my plots to make sense, even in a paranormal TV show about vampires, witches, syphons and werewolves!
Read a book, people! Then you’ll see how writing this kind of thing is meant to be done.
Another thing I don’t really get about TV is why they bother bringing a show back in November, for the start of a new series. I mean, you get about 5 episodes, then Boom! it takes a break for the Christmas and New Year TV. It doesn’t come back until late Jan or later. It’s such a waste of time. Why not just wait until January to show the entire series in one go, like some sensible people do?
Oh, rant over. Sorry.
As you can tell, the whole subject of “surprise” characters made me kind of angry. What actually surprises me is that writers don’t get any credit for making this work, while TV shows get praised for doing it wrong! I mean – so I don’t get personal about books or authors, I’ll use my own examples – in my Decadent series, Book 1 is about Lachlan, but I introduce Konnor as his bestie. Book 2 is Konnor’s story, but I introduce Tam, who is as much of a force in Konnor’s story as Konnor was in Lachlan’s, as his ex. Then, in Book 3, Tam gets his story, with a touch of his ex, Giovanni. And, if I ever finish writing it, Giovanni’s story will be the end of the series, bringing a circle round to Lachlan, who will have a short presence, along with Konnor and Tam.
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? If you plan on having a series, you link them with a tangible character – either your previous MC or by previously introducing your new MC as an old minor character.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, I think I’ve made your ears bleed enough. I’ll toddle off and get some actual work done. Let me know if there’s anything you agree or disagree with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.