Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ponderings

First, I just want to send out a quick thank you to everyone who've stopped by to leave me some advice! 

I've decided to call Wo6C3 done for now. 

On making this decision, I'd thought that I'd just launch into another of my many active projects to get that done too. The thing is, I really just don't feel like it at the moment. 

I'm guessing it's a combination of my work hours and my life once again taking a turn towards chaos, but right now, the urge to write just isn't there. 

For a moment, I thought I'd go into a blind screaming panic, but then put some thought into it. 

Sure, I have a ton of stuff I want to do, but my main goals for this year are currently out of my hands (while I wait for cover designers, betas, editors etc. to get back to me.) So it's not like I can do anything else. 

And honestly I'm just not in the mood to burn myself out. For some reason, I thought that last year, which was awesome, would go into an awesome 2014 if I just kept grafting away on the same momentum. 

You know what happens when an "unstoppable" ball hits an immovable wall? 

BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

So yes, to say the least, I have not enjoyed 2014. I've kept hoping that things would turn around, but shoe biz (which is still awesome) aside, there has been about ten months of near continual suckage for me to deal with. 

Almost everything that made 2013 a great year has been either ruined or destroyed. 

What's left is now quivering as the last three months of the year rolls towards it. There are two exceptions: The first is that my awesome family is largely intact and I'm praying that this continues. The second is that my love for writing gave me an escape whenever I needed it. 

However, if I force myself to write, writing is no longer an escape. It becomes a responsibility. Right now, I just can't deal with that. So I'm just... not going to. 

What I am doing is to critique some awesome books, and to read other awesome books. And then if I feel like writing, I'm going to write. 

Yes, I know I have goals. I have everything planned out in a timeline. But right now, I'm not going to worry about how to get everything done on time. Next year can seriously take care of itself, but for now, I have to do everything I can to get through 2014 in one piece. 

Honestly, now is a really good time for a turnaround. That's the hope I'm holding on to now. It would just be beyond wonderful if everything could get sorted out just in time for 2015 to start on good note. 

How are you doing? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Of two minds

As some of you know, I'm currently drafting the sequel to The Heir's Choice. The weird thing about it is that I sorta think it's done.

But I'm not sure.

See, my rough drafts are done as soon as I feel I have enough information mapped out in my head to rewrite the whole thing to my computer. This rewritten draft will be the draft that I edit.

Unfortunately, the completion of my rough drafts always creep up on me. I can't say something like "Only five chapters to go and I'm done." Instead, I'll be writing along happily, only to realize that I don't have to write any more of the story. At least, not yet.

I've been getting a hunch for two days now that I'm at the end of this draft. And today, this hunch crystallized in my brain into "Yup. This is done."

Thing is, this happened much sooner than expected. Almost exactly 20k words in. Okay granted, this is the second time I rough drafted this story. So maybe my brain's feeling like I rehashed some stuff that I can use in the rewrite. Which means that yes, I probably do know everything I need to in order to write out the whole thing.

But therein lies the rub. Probably. 

I have a ton of aspects to the story left unexplored. I know they're there. I know that I haven't really figured out how everything fits together. Which means that there's a very real possibility that I might want to start rewriting early next year, only to discover that no, the story wasn't as done as I thought. Something like that happening could be catastrophic to my plans.

That said, my gut and my muse says that this is done. That I can turn what I have between the two drafts into a plot and (more importantly) a story.

But at the same time, I just can't help wondering if my muse doesn't want to move on just because she's working to a schedule.

Advice? Anyone?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

And for today, something deep, but beautifully written.

Hi all. I was going to blog about something else entirely, but this caught my eye and I thought I should share.

Basically, this is about trolls and bullies, written and spoken by a guy who had been bullied himself. But basically, I think this is one of the best written pieces on the subject that I've seen/heard in a while. In fact to me, it has a stark sort of beauty that moves me to think.

So give it a watch and maybe share. Heaven knows, I think more people aught to hear this.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

If there's no new post by Monday, my house probably burned down.

It's funny how lately, my insecurities have nothing to do with writing. Well, actually, it sort of makes sense. I've been pulling 18 hour days for three days out of four until Thursday. Went to sleep at 9, imagining the bliss of being able to write, or read or SOMETHING NOT RELATED TO SHOES starting at 5 a.m.

Boy. Did I get my wish.

At 3 a.m. this morning, we got a phone call that there's a wildfire coming down the mountain, straight at us because of the wind direction. Which means that I'm going to pull a 20 hour day or worse, waiting to hear if we have to evacuate.

To put that in perspective, it's 4 p.m. and I've been awake for thirteen hours.

Right now, I'm sitting in my room, wondering if I'll still have any of the things in it by tomorrow morning.

That sorta puts things in perspective for you. Right now, the biggest material things of personal value to me is my laptop and my MANY notebooks containing first drafts to all of my stories. However given that space is limited, I know I'll be leaving the laptop behind if the evacuation order comes. Luckily for me, the whole computer is backed up because I'm sort of obsessive about it.

No. First things first, I'm loading up the pets. Then my notebooks, cellphone, tablet, medication and our family's important documents. And that's it.

No clothes. None of the various arty things I've created. None of the antiques passed down to us through about 10 generations. None of the many things that sit next to me right now. The signs of my life. The projects I'm still to get to. My VAST collection of oil paints. My and my mother's HUGE collection of books (over 20 thousand of them reside in our attic). My swords. My perfume collection.

Nothing.

I'm not going to lie. Right now, it feels like I'm sitting at the edge of an abyss. Where the hand pushing me in might bypass us and I'll breathe a sigh of relief. At which point I'll probably laugh at all the melodrama in this post.

Or, the fire will keep coming.

So yeah. Please pray that it doesn't. And if I'm not back by Monday to let you know I'm fine, keep praying, because that means my laptop and internet connection burned down along with the house.

But you know what? It's worth it. We know that we might have to sacrifice the house in order to save our lives, as well as the lives of others. Because the one thing I keep remembering is this:

Yes, there are memories connected to the things I might lose, but it's nothing compared to losing the people I share those memories with. And while eyeing the abyss is terrifying, it's still better than thinking that one of my loved-ones was lost protecting mere things.

I'd rather have the people and animals I loved, than this house, or anything in it.

But the point is that if the fire does reach us, our lives will be changed forever. And that terrifies me. But even as I write that, I realize that the threat alone has changed my life already.

For the better.

Before I post this: I might be insanely busy, so to keep track of what's happening, please follow me on twitter (@MishaMFB), google plus (Misha Gericke) or Facebook (Misha Gericke).  Or else, if you're REALLY worried, mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. I'll do my best to keep everyone updated via social media. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Update Day: September Edition

For those of you who've missed these posts, Beth Fred and I host a bloghop once a month where people can share their crazy or crazily important goals with us. Mine is, as stated at the top of the blog, to earn $7500 in royalties per month, every month, for a year, by 2018.

So how am I doing with that?

Well....



I got set back by a lot this year. At first, issues with my former publisher. Now, my business. The wonderful thing about the business is that it's taking off in a huge way and very fast. The bit less than wonderful thing (specifically when it comes to my five year goal) is that it's slowing down my process. By a lot.

I mean, I currently have very little time in which to do edits. Problematic, because I wanted to publish the two YA Epic Fantasy books in my series by 31 October. The problem is that I'm just not happy with the editing to the second one. (As in, I've edited a lot, thanks to some awesome critiques, but I'm still not sure that the story is "done" enough to start with final polishing.)

As such, I'm going to postpone the publication date by a month and see if I can make that. I might. I suspect that those extra 30 days will be all I need. That said, it also depends on the editor who'll do the final copy edits and the cover designer. And of course, given that I'm sending my book out to another round of beta readers, on how long they take to get through the Heir's Choice. Incidentally, if you're looking for a crit partner/beta reader/just plain sounding board/help on finding the flaw in your submission, I'm looking for Beta Readers too. Click here for more info.

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention "formatting two books for publishing." I've decided that I'm just going to have to learn this skill for myself, so you'll probably be reading a lot of grumbly posts on this subject in the near future.

Okay. So let's look at what's been done in September: 


1) I've almost finished the rough edits to The Heir's Choice. I'm hoping to finish them completely by Monday.
2) Got ISBNs for three books: The Vanished Knight, The Heir's Choice and Birds vs Bastards.
3) Gave Birds vs Bastards (and both its planned sequels) an awesome name. Which I'll announce specially when there's not so much going on in a post.
4) Wrote and edited the blurb to The Heir's Choice. At the moment, I'm pretty happy with it, but I'll look at it again at the end of the month.
5) Sent Birds vs Bastards out for copy edits. Yep. This one really is almost publishing ready.
6) Contacted graphic artists to design all three covers.

What should be happening in October:


1) I want to send out The Heir's Choice to beta readers.
2) I want to do the copy-edits on Birds vs Bastards. (Assuming the lovely ladies helping me with this get the editing done.)
3) I want to critique/whatever the exchange is for someone beta reading The Heir's Choice. 
4) I want to start playing with formatting to learn. Birds vs. Bastards will probably be my test subject for this.
5) Lastly, I want to resume drafting my mystery project, the sequel to The Heir's Choice, ES1, SS1, P, MDtS and RH. I want to see if I can finish the rough drafts by the end of the year.
6) I also want to get some reading in. I'm woefully behind, but being honest, this is pretty low on my priority list.

One more thing in October: 

Remember in the beginning of the year when I mentioned writing a story for an anthology? Yup, it's coming out on 14 October. 


TwistedEarthsAnthology (4)

This cover really is perfect for this time of year, don't you guys think?

Blurb: 

Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets--sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons.

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and "patch" AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, "You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?"

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he's hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He's given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to "open it alone" or pay the price. With switchback twists you won't see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby's Fire, offers The Day of the Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan's hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust, presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband's gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of the Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She's much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she's trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.


If that's not awesome enough, check out this offer:

Preorderdeal

Preorder at: Amazon, iTunes or Barnes & Noble

Wow. This was a LOT of news!

How are you doing? Anyone want to beta read The Heir's Choice?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cutting Babies and Killing Darlings

As I mentioned on Monday, I'm busy editing The Heir's Choice, which is the second book in my epic fantasy series. (BTW, I also put out a call for beta readers, so if you need a new crit partner and like reading Fantasy, I'm your lady. Click here for more information.)

Right now, though, I'm in the home stretch of my big edits. Stuff like characterization and plot order should be fixed by the time I'm done.

I'm pretty much at the point where I should be winding down my edits. Because usually, my ends are just fine. So are the latter halves of my middles, for that matter.

But not yesterday. Yesterday, I realized that I'd written a chapter in an illogical sequence. As in, something INCREDIBLY important happened, and my main character proceeded to do nothing about it until hours later. Which wasn't a big problem in itself. Except that rearranging the chapter's scenes to make more sense meant that I'd have to cut one of my favorite scenes.

Man. That was hard. All I wanted to do was keep things as they are and get to the last bit of the book. (I only have about 50 pages left.) The temptation was real, though. See, out of the six people I'd sent the book to, only one picked up on the error. I guess I'm just that good at dragging readers into my story. *Wink*

And truth is, I follow Stephen King's advice on crit partner opinion. I have more than four CPs. I give them the work in the exact same stage of edits. And if half or less of them say something needs to change, don't change it.

Which meant that just based on my own editing methods, I should have let that little illogical moment stay right where it was.

But I couldn't. See, I do have an overall picture of what I want to happen and where, and why. But to me, presenting the strongest book possible for my paying readers is the most important thing to focus on when editing. And that moment, that one small moment, weakened an entire section.

So I picked up my scalpel and cut into that chapter without mercy until everything was arranged in a way that made sense. It hurt in the beginning. Especially when I had to rip out the scene I loved. But then something happened. I wrote in a scene that was even better. One that actually does a lot more to progress the story-line.

Needless to say, this makes me a happy writer, and made me think I should share this story.

Because cutting into our stories hurt, but more often than not, it's worthwhile. Cutting out weaknesses gives us space to replace them with something stronger, and if done right, the story is always better for it.

Anyone else find the bright side to killing their darlings? Do tell me about it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Calling All Beta Readers!

Hey all! I hope you're all doing great.

Me... wonderful. Shoe biz is taking off, while slowly but surely allowing me more time to work on the books I want to publish this year.

I'm hoping to finish my current round of edits by the end of the month, but I don't think I'm going to make my self-imposed 31 October deadline. But that's okay. I've achieved a ton.

That said, I need some help. More specifically, beta readers.

For those of you new to the term, beta readers read over the story and comment on things they liked, or didn't, or things that didn't make sense, that sort of thing. In particular, I'm looking for people who can highlight where I still haven't brought in enough information from the previous series.

And as always, I'm willing to repay by critiquing your work, beta reading, or even searching for and finding what's making a story not work. (I'll try my absolute best at this, of course.)

If you're interested, please leave a comment with info on your book (name, genre etc), what you'd like for me to do in return, and your e-mail address. 

Now, the information on my book:

Genre: YA Epic (Portal) Fantasy
Name: War of Six Crowns: The Heir's Choice
Blurb (still needs editing): 



Sixteen-year-old London girl Callan Blair thought that going to the elves would unlock the mystery around her past. Instead, it thrusts her right in the middle of Tardith’s political games. On the one side are the elves and King Keill, her grandfather. On the other, King Aurek of Icaimerith, who also moonlights as the evil entity that has destroyed Callan’s life many times over.

Aurek is on the edge of erasing the elves out of existence. The only thing that will stay his hand: Callan marrying his heir. Not wanting to let her choice destroy a nation, she agrees.

At least she isn’t going into the lion’s maw alone. Quinlan Westenmere, the Nordian commander who had brought her to the elves, swears to go with her. Only he insists she take more Nordians with her. Darrion and Gawain are tasked with rescuing the Black Knight, Nordaine’s last blood heir, and Aurek has him.

Things don’t get simpler as the wedding approaches. Gawain refuses to support Callan's decisions. She has to betray both the elves and Aurek to help find the Knight. On top of that, her elvish entourage leaves much to be desired.

But nothing compares to her meeting the man she’s to marry.   

So... what do you think? Anyone interested in helping a girl out? 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Interviewing Graeme Ing

Hey all! Misha here. Remember me? Yep. I'm still around. Nope, the shoes haven't yet caused my demise. I am just incredibly busy at this time, since our first big shipment has arrived and we're unpacking it.

Still, I'm taking break from all that to host my Untethered Realms buddy Graeme Ing for an interview as part of his blog tour for his newest book.


Welcome to the Five Year Project, Graeme. First things first. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

Thank you for inviting me, Misha. Born in England, I've been living in San Diego in the U.S. for 18 years now, with my wife, Tamara, and six cats. I must say that the climate here is very agreeable. I'm a software engineering manager by day, but my passion is writing and exploring. Apart from traveling the world whenever I can, I'm an avid mountaineer (from my armchair!), and student of famous explorers. I dabble in astronomy, piloting, map making and navigation. It should come as no surprise then, that my favourite part of writing is creating exotic worlds and characters. Speculative-fiction is a real passion for me.


Another cat person! (I have five cats.) How did you get into writing originally?

I've been scribbling stories since before I was a teenager. I even typed screenplays on a manual typewriter. I blame my mother for introducing me to Tolkien and McCaffrey at an early age! Seems like being a storyteller was my destiny (said in my best Darth Vader voice). It's a shame that I never did anything with my writing until about eight years ago when I finally decided to pursue being a published author. I've got a lot of ground to make up. Thankfully I have hundreds of plot ideas.


Sounds a lot like me, growing up. What inspired you to write Necromancer?

Great question. For years I'd had this idea of a girl wanting to be a necromancer. At the same time, I'd developed this sarcastic character who believed he could defeat anything. His voice was so clear in my head, begging to be written. Since one of my favourite fantasy series are Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar books, I wanted to design a brooding metropolis that I could write lots of books about. Then, while finishing my first book, I had this idea for a secret society holding the city to ransom. All these pieces slotted together rapidly to become Necromancer, and if you read it then you'll see how. :) Many of my book ideas come to me in pieces like that. I plan to write more books in this city, some about the characters from Necromancer, and some about totally new characters.


I just love that aspect to writing fantasy, creating a setting that seems to come alive on its own. What's your favorite thing to focus on in world building?

I love a setting that comes alive! My favourite thing is to draw maps, be they of the Kingdom, the world or even just a city. That's me - I love maps. What I focus on though is culture. For "Necromancer" for example: Why was the city built here? What is the weather like? That determines the types of buildings they have. Who lives in it, what races? How are they governed? What are the exports and imports of the city? How do people travel? Horses, carts, flying creatures, magic? What do they eat and drink? Do they worship Gods? Every city has low-life and slum areas, so what are they like? What peculiar customs are there, like greeting someone? What laws? And so on. It's so much fun layering up all this in the context of the story(s) I want to tell. Then I have to resist dumping all this super information into the book, but instead dribble it in bit by bit, adding flavour to my characters and plot. You can see why I say that I "engineer" worlds. :)

That's definitely my focus as well when I do world building. History and culture. I can spend ages exploring my fantasy worlds through stories, but then, I'd probably end up boring my readers. ;-)

Now please do tell us what Necromancer is about and where people can find it!

Perhaps I can cheat and include the book's blurb?



A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city's leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.

Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.

His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.

Can only evil defeat evil?



It has a host of nasty creatures lurking in and below the streets of the city. Being a Necromancer certainly is a dangerous job! But it's not all grim - there's some romance in there too. It's out from August 23rd on all ebook formats and paperback. Just check your preferred online retailer.


Great! Let's finish up with something positive. What's the best piece of writing advice you have for new writers?

Write as often as you can, no matter how little, even 500 words a day. Don't listen to the naysayers, don't listen to the myriad of internal fears (all authors have them, you're not alone), and don't get dismayed by slow progress, other people's success or things like marketing. Just write. Write for yourself. Write what you like to read. You can do it. Just keep writing. Good luck, and tell me when your first book comes out!

Thanks so much Graeme! It's always a blast to chat with you. 

Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.

Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.

You can find him at: