Birthday Blog and Future Plans

I’m writing this post on July 1st, the day before my 28th birthday.

And I’m trying to figure out what I’ve achieved with my life.

I don’t often share a lot about myself – not the stuff that really matters, anyway – due to a combination of it being hard to talk about things, and the paranoia of someone from my meatspace life (ie, work people) seeing it (no matter how unlikely that is) and being able to judge me IRL.

As far as the people at work are concerned, I’m as normal as they are – stressed, obviously (but so are a lot of people), but they don’t know I have panic attacks on a neverending basis (bathrooms are like oubliettes, they feel like the safest place in the world), freak out and can’t function (just an unproductive day, but I got the important things done), or why I’ll just shut down when someone jokes about killing themselves.

Some of this comes through in my writing – and quite well, if I believe people – and if you’re of a similar mind, you’ll recognise a certain veracity about some elements of Stef’s crazy or some scenes.

Stef’s a different kind of crazy to me – I always worry that when I talk about this, people will think she’s a self-insert Mary-Sue whatever – but my crazy still impedes my life in a lot of…really quite detrimental ways.

I’ve got to maintain a career, which is often truly hard, so that…yanno, I can cover the cost of living, and maybemaybemaybe try to get a little bit ahead in the world. (Yeah, that’s not working out so well so far). And this does suck a lot out of me – when I have a stressful time at work, my creative output basically drops to zilch. (And a lot of this year has been stressful, which is why you haven’t gotten much from me).

My commute isn’t insane, but I’m going to be trying to use it to write. I used to do that all the time, but when the stress gets bad, I usually end up just stare out the window, trying to convince myself it’s a good idea to continue to pretend to be a functional person.

I’m also basically a constant ball of anxiety. This can also freeze my output, because I go through fairly regular cycles of “omfg I’m totally shit, why am I even bothering?”. And I get hyper-jealous and frozen because of other people’s success – every time I see a book come out that claims to be a different kind of UF, I wonder why I should even keep going.

So while I do have logic to help me combat this, it gets hard sometimes. A lot of times.

So I reach every birthday pretty much feeling as though I’ve achieved nothing. That I’ve done nothing of value. That I am nothing.

I see people my age who have sold a hundred thousand books, or can write full time, or have houses and cars and babies, and compare it with all of the nothing I’ve achieved. I weigh myself against my peers and find myself wanting.

And I really do understand a lot of why I haven’t achieved anything.

Web fic isn’t the most popular of mediums, so you’re already on the backfoot compared to webcomics and podcasts. I have an irregular update schedule, which puts people off. I’m not writing the usual kind of stuff, so it makes it hard to market. (“Just read it, you’ll love it” doesn’t always work. Or “…I can’t really explain it, but it’ll hook you” makes it sound like a drug).

I’ve lost swaths of readers by killing Stef the first time, and by doing the initial rewrite (when I went from 1.0 to 2.0 and took all old content down), and others just didn’t want to stick around and read a rewrite, vehemently demanding new content and for me to “rewrite on my own time”. >_>

3.0 took even longer – I had a couple of false starts (remember when I initially put them under “Once More with Cookies? No? See. :/).

I’m happy with MF3.0 – I understand the criticisms it gets, but at the same time, a lot of those come under “things I didn’t really want to do with the story”. It has its flaws, but I’m happy to leave it rest and just improve from there.

I’ve spoken at length about the problems with MH3.0/4.0, and I really don’t think I need to say anymore. We’ve got a new path, it’s going well, and I hope it won’t take as long as MF3.0 to do.

I put up my first books for sale last year – I did serialise Mirrorfall – it was something I went back and forth on, but I thought it was worth doing: it gave me the impetus to get stuff out initially. I will not be serialising Mirrorheart, I’ll just release the full novel when it’s done.

How you can help: If you reviews MF on the episodes, could you please review the novel, and if you haven’t reviewed, this is your chance.

Serials are working for some people, and whilst serialising on the site here appears to work for us, I don’t think it’s the way forward on Amazon.

I haven’t sold a million copies yet, or even a thousand. And whilst this does play into my jealousy of other people and proof against myself that I’m shit, it’s one of the places where I can truly take refuge in logic. Some single books take off, but there’s more than enough data and anecdotes that show that series books take off more than single books – so I’m not going to entirely give up until I have like four or five books for sale.

This is also why I haven’t done too much advertising – I’ll start in earnest with that when I’ve got at least MH out.

It’s still in my five-year plan to be supporting myself full time or part time by my writing – I’m not sure how it’ll go, but it’s something to aim for.

So all this ramble brings me back to the other point of this post, the plan moving forward.

Mirrorheart – rewrite is in progress. I need to get the cover finished out with the artist, but it’s on track. I want to get it completed this year.

Mirrorshades – I want to get this done this year as well. I’ll be able to reuse a bunch of what I did with MH3.0, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. There isn’t a lot I want to change. Science, torture, Russia, then the new third dealing with the fallout of Russia. It’s going to be so much fun (I use the word, er, loosely) – Curt is going to have so much turmoil after what he did. It’s going to be good to write (and hopefully good to read).

[I may or may not include the armless-Curt Christmas special in MS, or as a novella follow up, but it needs to included somewhere visible, due to how important it is].

Nature of Nurture – I was actually running through this yesterday to see what I need to do with it. It’s almost done, it needs one chapter to finish out “present” sections, and another chapter or two to deal with little!Stef, then it’ll be ready for editing and covers.

I want all this dealt with by the end of the year.

Next year we’ll be working on new GE – however that turns out (part of me want to do three Mags books – a little Maggie, a teenage Mags and Magnolia as she gets recruited) to round out her backstory.

…then we’ll get to the massive task of rewriting Oubliette. Which is going to be a lot of fun. Also, as I’ve said, at least three books (Carol, Petersen, Phoenixes – with the possibility of the phoenix section being split into two books).

So that’s my ramble.

Here’s to a more productive year.

A rough view of the future is:
Mirrorheart
Mirrorshades
Nature of Nurture
Grey Edge
Possible Mags trilogy
Oubliette – split
NEW – sexy science romp. I want this to go in before Blue Dust in the rewrite, due to a change that’s going to happen in it.
Make Believe (this may change – or get written in the background – this is the young!Stef novel with Hook and Peter).

And then…other stuff.

We’re going to be officially bringing Shade and Vincent into canon at some point in the near future, and Shade and I have a book planned to write together (…it’s so insane I can’t begin to describe it. Madchester, the Liars and the Agency are involved and that’s all I can say.)

The summation of all this is basically: my crazy isn’t going away, but neither am I. I want to be writing this series for decades to come. There’s so much I want to do with the Agency, so many stories I want to tell, and so many Courts I want to explore.

It’s a big, wide, cookie-filled world and we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Just trying something...
One of my birthday presents...

40 Replies to “Birthday Blog and Future Plans”

  1. for the life of me, can’t keep an account to save me life, i don’t comment alot anymore, but i’m still here. RJtheWolf that is. ^_^ this story is important to me, no matter how many times you change or rewrite it i’ll always come back… it’s not like i don’t go back and re-read it occasionally anyway xD. i have found that i don’t find most web novels interesting, but this one has me… being able to talk to you in the comments and on messengers helped with that i think, but i really feel like a part of this story! i love it. i know quality over quantity doesn’t pay the bills but it’s got to mean -something- and you have some very serious die-hard fans! heck you’re the only artist i’ve ever seen with fanfics -on- their site, that may or may not become cannon! that’s a big thing to me atleast. anyways ^_^ you’ve accomplished more then you know! wow i hope it lets me post this.

    1. heh… i figured i’d be a vampire, or a guest or something… but no it made me put my name in…so… guess the naming myself in the post was redundant.

      1. Ya, no vampires any more. I’m kinda sad about this, but one the other hand, I don’t have to call people “hey, nameless bloodsucker”.

    2. This will be the last change, I promise. I don’t intend to do a 4.0 sweep.

      (I may come back and do Glitchworlds [ie, what we’re calling our Elseworlds/What If stories] of earlier stuff, just to play around with certain permutations of ideas – what if Stef had been made a Stef, what if Stef remembered the Parkers but not Ryan, what if Death had adopted Stef, what if Hook had taken Stef, what if Stef was a boy…AGH TOOOO MANY IDEAS).

      //being able to talk to you in the comments and on messengers helped with that i think//
      I think what people fail to understand is how much that means to me. Page views are nice cause I like looking at my stats, but when I get comments about X, Y or Z and how much that had an impact, it makes me feel like I’ve actually done something right.

      //heck you’re the only artist i’ve ever seen with fanfics -on- their site//
      People are afraid of fanfic because there’s the worry that one or both parties will sue or whatnot. My fanfic policy is a big heaping of Wil Wheaton’s rule: DON’T BE A DICK. If you want to get involved, get involved (it’s what Shade has done), if I want to use something, I’ll chat to you, and we’ll come to an understanding. It’s really not that hard. ^_^

      //you’ve accomplished more then you know!//
      It’s just hard to feel sometimes. :/

      //wow i hope it lets me post this.//
      You usually only get put in the moderation queue the first time – you should be fine from now on.

      1. I’ll be working tomorrow (I think I’ve only done that once or twice) – tomorrow night, not sure, maybe dinner down by the bay. Or sitting and staring at Tumblr.

        …or following Shade’s prompt and trying to write some Death POV. That boy is completely, completely mad.

    1. I wanted to get the mopey stuff out…but I probably should do a master plan list at some point – I was going to have a private Google doc, but maybe a post on here would be good, and people can visit it every so often and realise how much they need lesbian mermaids in their life and beg for it to come next in sequence.

  2. Stormy! Stormy stormy stormy… How come I had to go search amazon myself to go buy your book? I couldn’t find a Link to your author page or a particular book from this site to your work on amazon anywhere. I appreciate not having ‘give me money’ things plastered all over the site, but is a simple link too much to ask? ^_^

    I also reviewed your novel, but it’s based on what I remembered from the serial because I haven’t had a chance to read the rewrite yet. Kind of can’t wait to reread it again anyways, I <3 Stef so much, and now that it's a Book instead of 'web fiction' I can start recommending my book-only reading friends to read it! yay!

    Thanks,

    -Fluffy

    1. //How come I had to go search amazon myself to go buy your book?//
      I am going to add a couple more buy links, but there is one of those little Amazon buy panel ads on the front page (top of the right-hand column) – though I think they can be invisible with certain types of ad-block software.

      //Kind of can’t wait to reread it again anyways//
      Do let me know what you think – you should enjoy it though, it’s better written and has more cookies, more crazy and more d’awww. ^_^

      //I can start recommending my book-only reading friends to read it!//
      Now I just have to do up dead tree versions, and I’ll have all my bases covered. (Well, except audio, but that will come one day).

      1. Ahh, yeah, good trusty addblock plus. I think it’s because your amazon thingy is an iframe generated by another site. I bet if you cut-and-paste the …. section into your own box with wordpress it would probably work. and without the tag on it too, the url’s will have been rewritten by the time you can see the code from a browser to cut-and-paste it from.

        1. Ahh, it ate the tags:
          the …. section is == the div id = content
          without the tag == without the script tag

          -Fluffy

        2. I’ll update it – I’m also going to add a couple more links to the book pages themselves (the ones under “start here”) – but I do always worry about putting BUY BUY BUY links everywhere.

  3. Something in the rant got my eye. You’re jealous of people with success, family, homes. There’s no secret to it, no special way to handle it, but I’d like to give a point of view from my end. I’m married, I’ve got a 7 year old, and a trailer I’m working on paying off. The part I don’t let out is it’s paycheck to paycheck. Seriously, if I lost my job I’d be missing payments a week after my last paycheck. My tax guy (friends discount or I’d have to do it myself) uses my family as an example of people who stick to it and make things work regardless. We’ve never been on a vacation, we haven’t even lined up our vacations to have a week off work as a family. When we went on our honeymoon that our families paid for, we brought half the spending money back because we had bills to pay.

    If you want to chat let me know, I honestly keep a good “All will be well” attitude about it, and I like trying to cheer people up.

    1. Yeah, there seems to be a grit cloud flying around. >_>

      Talking might be great – as it’s often hard to speak to people who objectively might be seen as my peers (ie meatspace work people) who are in vastly different situations (ie, both halves of the couple work, then spend more money than I make in a year sending their kids to private school).

      I don’t begrudge people what they have, and I know it might come across like that sometimes, it’s just hard to…see people going “well, just do X and it’ll work itself out”. (Particularly when X is “have a baby”. Um. No.)

      We’ve taken one holiday (though it was back when we were renting a room at my family’s place, so finances were much different), and we had an overnight stay when Wraith came to Oz (had to show him the beaches!).

      …though honestly, if I have time off, I like spending it internetting and writing anyway. 😛

      1. Yea, there is no X to do. We’re in different parts of the world, but everyone here I’ve heard of using the “Have a baby” route… it’s easy to do but the people who aren’t doing it hate you for it in the states. It’s so easy to get government aid, I’ve got friends and family who’ve had it cut in half for them because other people are having more kids, it’s a point my Dad still gets mad at, he had to listen to someone giving that advice over the phone in a crowded bank.

  4. it’s been ages… but i’m not gone.

    i’ve not hidden that i prefer new stuff over rewrites, but meh…

    i still love the crazy

    happy b.day 🙂

    ps: smartphones are shit to type in

    1. Long time, no see. ^_^

      I just want to get the rewrites over and done with so that everyone can enjoy the new content as equals. 🙂

      And I know, just from the experience of Blue Dust (which, if argued, could be put in the 2.0 continuity, but I’m trying to avoid writing any elements that directly clash) that I’m doing a much better job on first drafts.

      There’s a couple of things I’ll want to change in the editing process of it (chapters that started one way and ended another) and little “pick up shoots” where something needs to be added to a scene. But on the whole…it’s probably the first book where I’m close to happy with the first draft, because I’ve had five books to get comfortable with the characters and the world.

      (…even though with the new continuity, there will be an additional story crammed between the end of the phoenixes and BD, but that will only make things more awesome).

      And smartphones are shit to type in. 😛 (Though I do like the predictive text on the Galaxy 3…though due to a conversation with Shade and Wraith, it now associates “Stef” with “porn” far more easily than I would like…).

        1. Ah, okies, I’ve fixed that up – I’d marked you as a “contributor” (well, a few people) to separate them out when I was killing spambots.

        2. About this, have you found any decent way to prevent bots from registering? I have to delete 2-5 accounts a day from my wordpress site.

        3. akismet. Use it. love it if you are self hosting, as Stormy is, wordpress, make a regular wordpress.com acocunt as well to get the API key you need to activate it.

    1. Not counting that one day where nearly 1,000 of them ended up slowing the Drupal site to molasses flowing uphill in January.

      1. God…yeah. We need to file that away as a dark period in history. It was half the reason I wanted to move platforms.

        We’ve had hundreds sign up since we started here…but like, five spam comments, all of which were caught by the filter. I think that’s an improvement. *knocks on wood*

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          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
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          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

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          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

          This is the serial that doesn’t end…
          Yes it goes on and on my friend…
          Some people started reading it not knowing what it was…
          And now they’ll continue reading it forever just because…

        2. *grin* I agree with Wraith – and hope the text is true. 🙂 (with certain limitations, obviously)

  5. //*grin* I agree with Wraith – and hope the text is true. 🙂 (with certain limitations, obviously)//
    I do mean it when I say that this is what I’d like to work on for decades to come.

    I’ve had some comment that it limits me as a writer, only wanting to focus on one series, or that I’ll outgrow it…but I prefer to think that the series and I will both grow, and that it’s big enough and wide enough to encompass pretty much any kind of story that I’d want to tell.

    I will step away from Agency stuff on occasion though – lesbian mermaid love stories won’t write themselves. (…though, considering half that couple is a recruit, it’s still Agency-ish. And yes, it’s someone we’ve met before).

  6. Something about I’ll be disappointed with myself at a later point – or that I will want to create something more grown up, or deeper than RC.

    1. A girl who never grew up, with no family, discovering people who love her, and that she loves, and growing up while growing better.

      There’s a deeper, more grown up story in existence? I am unfamiliar with that story.

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