11/17/17

Coming soon! And later!

***I've been a little absent lately on my blogging, and I'll spare you the excuses.***

I have a sweet little Christmas story coming out December 11 with Nine Star Press! It's called As the Snow Falls, and it's a friend-to-lovers tale that looks at becoming an adult, depression, and love (of course). It's just the thing to read between those hectic moments during the holidays!


Christmas is fast approaching and Kade's parents have abandoned him for the holiday. Thankfully his best friend, Byron, invites him to spend the holidays with him and his family. That night, in the dim glow of the Christmas tree’s lights, Byron and Kade share a kiss, but Byron backs off before it can go further.
Can Kade stand up for what he wants and convince Byron he’s not so easily broken, or will he need a Christmas miracle to bring them together?


Also, later this year my m/m fantasy romance novel, Magic Runs Deep, will be coming out with Riptide Publishing! I'm so excited for this story to be out in the world for you to read!

Finally, I'm currently writing a light fantasy, outlining what was meant to be a Marriage of Convenience that has gone terrible wrong (the outline, not the marriage), and there's a menage Christmas story that wants to be told but is being stubborn.

If I don't pop by again....Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

8/30/17

Writing Exercise

I'm not sure if it's been the pet-sitting (and getting out of the habit), the revisions, or the lack of keen interest in my current projects (or a combination of it all), but my writing has been unenthused lately. To help break my slump, I did a writing exercise tonight that's a little silly and a little weird, so I figured I'd share it with you, if you feel so inclined.

Murdered, She Be?

There had been many theories about how she had been murdered.

They were all, unfortunately, wrong.

Meyers Ling was right that her day had started at the dog park. But it wasn't the one by her house, where she normally went. No, that one always became a mess after it rained, and they'd had a downpour that night, so she'd gone to the one across town.

Elliot Finkle wanted to know why she would have gone to the dog park when she didn't have a dog.

"The answer is obviously," Ling said. "She liked to visit with other people's dogs."

He was right about that as well.

The last thing he was right about was that she met her murderer at the dog park. He was wrong that the murderer followed her home.

"Nonsense," said Finkle. "This was obviously a crime of passion. I suspect it was an ex"lover." He eyed Robert Anderson and Julie Bowler.

"That's ridiculous!" Anderson said, possibly because he'd been the one to find the body. "If it was me, I wouldn't have called you all here! I would have covered it up!"

"Unless you knew that one of us knew that you were going to come over to her house today," Ling pointed out.

"Which none of you did, as I just decided to do it five minutes before ariving."

"Oh?" Finkle inquired. "And why was that?"

"Because she loaned me a twenty for dinner last week and I knew if I didn't come over immediately I'd keep forgetting to pay her back."

"That sounds like a likely excuse!" Finkle accused.

"Well, it does seem too stupid an excuse for him to have made it up for just this purpose," Ling admitted.

"Um," Bowler said, but got no further.

"Care to admit to the crime?" Finkle shouted, and everyone's attention turned toward her.

"Uh, no. I was just thinking maybe we should call the police."

Finkle, Ling, and Anderson were reluctant, but eventually conceded it might be best to involve the authorities.

In the end, the police questioned each person thoroughly and determined that based on the scene and the information that she had walked her neighbor's dog down to the dog park for him--as he was getting up in years--and back home, she'd been slicing some chicken for the big bruiser when something had startled her and the dog, and in a fumbling of limbs, she'd fallen on the knife.

She had rolled over--possibly with the help of the dog--but the wound was too grievous and she was unable to call for help. She bled out. When Richard arrived, he opened the door to the sounds of a frantic dog--which ran out and away as soon as he opened the door, and he found the body and called their three friends to figure it out.

"Why didn't you call the police immediately?" the officer asked.

"Well, she was already dead," Anderson said. "What good would that have done?"

The end

6/1/17

Writer's Block, What Writer's Block...

At the end of April I finished a project I was working on. It was a full novel and I was super excited about it. It was fun to write and hopefully will stand-up to being read. I finished it on the first morning of vacation, so I didn't expect to write much for the rest of that weekend.

And then it happened.

I had planned on jumping back into my not-a-rock-star-any-longer story. So I brewed on it. Thought on it. Reread it. But didn't write a darn thing. Bit of a slump, I thought after the first week. Just coming down off that finished-book high.

By the 13th I was getting worried. I hadn't written a word all month. I wasn't going to hit my monthly word goal, THAT was for sure! (The creeping panic of I'm never going to write again was screaming in my head, but I'll ignore that.)

Then I saw a submission call retweeted about an alien romance. I happened to have an alien romance that I wrote yonks ago. It was roughly 2k and pretty much skipped all of the story except them meeting and the fun alien sex. So, hey, I already had a basic plot! I could write that. Not fret about it too much, get me writing again.

Golden.

Right?

Well, it sort of worked. I wrote a little, then a little more, then a little more. All told, I wrote just under 4K. And then I heard about a holiday submission call, and was like this alien story isn't due until later, let me work on THAT. And I wrote just over 6K.

In the end, I met my word goal for the month (I snuck in with 10,003) and I have two possible stories started. They might both be terrible and uninspired (one is definitely depressing), but I wrote. And that's a big step of the process--because once you start writing, it's easier to continue. It's that lethargy of not writing that drags you down.

Or at least drags me down. I don't write every day, but getting out of habit of exercising my writing gives me weak writing--in that there isn't any writing at all.

To my brother: Yeah, you were right, I did it.

5/1/17

A Progress Report: April

A progress report! (And an aside to say I had a couple post ideas to do this month and somehow failed to do any of them.)

WIP: In the month of April, I wrote 13K on my hot motorcycle boyfriend with tattoos story (...which needs a title) and finished it off on the first morning of my vacation (before my devices all decided to NOT recognize the hotel internet). It comes in at 62K and I hope readers will find it as sweet, funny and sometimes emotional as I did writing it. (WARNING: PUNS)

Also, check out the sweet setup I do most of my quick morning writing on (using Google Docs): iPad with a keyboard case. Works best with tiny hands, but is better than booting my laptop in the morning before a busy day.

Revision: I still have ONE scene to write to finish out the revisions on my trans cowboy story (totally not writing this post to delay doing that, I swear....). I'm definitely going to need another beta read, because it went from 26K to 40K. Which the story definitely needed, and hopefully it satisfied all the issues the beta found (and a shout-out to my beta for this, who was awesome and pointed out some weak points).

Knitting: I've also sorta started knitting for profit, but it's not really a venture, so much as when I can't decided on my next project I'll start knitting a pride scarf and make them available for purchase. I started with asexual pride, because I'm biased (and aces don't get nearly enough merch love!). I have three for sale (one with vertical stripes like pictured, two with varying thickness of horizontal stripes). But the pictured one has a "defect" that might not be noticeable but makes me feel guilty. I'll either keep it or sell it for less than the others.

Publishing: Nothing at the moment. One story I'm still brewing on publisher comments (and is with another reader for some more thoughts). One is still in a pub's submission pile (no word back yet). Have a few stories that might be ready soon to go out, but will probably be making a call for beta readers too.

Elsewhere: I also went to a small anime convention in Lancaster, PA, this past weekend (see the above comment about trying to sell scarves), which was a good time with friends, although exhausting as always. I was smart and took Monday off though, which is rocking.

Now I just wrapped up a WIP, will be wrapping up a revision WIP, and finished a knitting WIP. So I'm a little lost right now! (And I have plenty of new projects/currently projects I need to get back to, so no worries there....but I'm floating at the moment.)

Finally, if you want to see more random pictures from my life, be sure to follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alextherate/. Mostly pictures of food and horses, with some proof of me writing/revising, and a game of Where's Alex Now.


4/7/17

What's Alex Up to Now

Now that spring is finally spinging (aka, having a day of pouring rain for every two of sunshine), I'll start getting more motivated to do stuff! Of course, I also have more stuff to do... (see picture for a guess on what that is!)

But I hope by the end of April (that's what month this is, right?), I'll have finished the rom-com contemporary m/m romance I'm working on.  I've crossed the 50K mark and I'm happy with what I've got so far. Now it's just ripping out hearts and stomping on them. Um, lightly, I guess, since it's rom-com. And then making it all okay again.

My other current project is doing revisions on my trans cowboy story, which is going fairly well. My beta gave a lot of feedback suggesting some heavy additions, and I've been working them in. One fear I have is that the scenes will make the story drag instead of developing character and relationship like they're meant to, but I'm sure a re-read (in a different month) will clear that up. Again, I'm hoping to wrap up the revisions by the end of the month, which is going to mean putting my nose to the grindstone, but I've already added 4K-6K words? So it feels like good progress, even if it makes my end goal further away.

I want to say that's all I've got on the writing front, but last night, while mixing up tea flavors at Adagio, I suddenly wanted to write a story focused on a tea shop and then make teas for all the characters!

So now I'm sort of brainstorming that. I love the concept, but it's not a story that's jumping fully formed (or even vaguely shaped) from my head, AND I don't want to get distracted from my current story (plus all those stories I started and haven't finished yet). So it might end up coming to nothing. But we'll see!

For now, sexy motorcycle nerd...which desperate needs a title!

3/31/17

A Guide to Publishing

I had a thought one day and then it became this. 
Note: These are just guidelines/things to think about in your life/publishing adventures. They are meant to be both serious and a little silly (the advice is serious but presented in an Alex way).

1. You will disagree with your editor/an edit at least once. Likely more.
That's fine--as long as you and the editor can discuss it like civil human beings. If an edit/comment makes you upset, then just pass by it at first. Take some time to consider it, then re-evaluate. It keeps tempers calm when the trigger could just be a misunderstanding. The editor just wants to make this book the best it can be, but the editor is also human. It could be a misunderstanding, the editor could be seeing a different vision than you meant, the editor could have just misread something and just needs that pointed out. The editor could be stating it in a way that pushes your buttons, while the editor is completely unaware of how you're reading it. 

But, also, this is your book. Stand up for what you want to keep, whether it's for voice or flow or preference. However, keep in mind that editors have some experience, so listen to what they say and then decide. Don't, for instance, decide that the serial comma needs to die in a fire and be unwilling to change no matter what.

2. No matter how many eyes see it, the book will be published with at least one error/typo.
I'm pretty sure this is a law of reality or something. The longer the work, the increased the likelihood one (or more) will show up. Don't be angry. Just come to terms with this reality. Most readers will skip over it without even noticing it. If your publishers is amenable, feel free to let them know about the typo.

3. Writing is hard.
Not always, but sometimes. You probably already knew this.

4. Editing is hard.
You usually send to a publisher with a vague idea that this book is really good and finished and ready. Then they send back notes, whether in rejection or during revisions, and you realize your precious baby wasn't perfect. And you get several rounds of this, to the point where it's just wounds on top of wounds. (See back to point 1.)

This doesn't happen every time of course, but if you go in with the mindset that it's OK if your words are going to get poked at--sometimes hard--then it'll make it an easier journey.

5. Publishing is hard.
In some ways that feels like it should be the end. But then there's marketing and PR and unless you hire a publicity person for yourself, you have to take care of it. Even if the publisher has a marketing department, they aren't your personal slaves and you have to be out there and working it. The great thing about social media is you get to be out there! The bad thing about social media is you have to be out there! Obviously you can choose not to, but you'll be doing yourself (and your book) a disservice. 

6. Read your contract.
Every time you have to sign a new one, read it. Every publisher will be different and even the same publisher will make changes over time. Know what you're getting into. Don't be afraid to ask for changes--the publisher can always say no, and it won't result in them pulling the contract. You then just have to decide if you still want to sign. Don't be afraid to ask if you're confused about something. If you don't trust the publisher to tell you what it means (which should be a warning sign...), then google, ask friends, ask Twitter. It's important, don't feel (too) rushed.

There are lots of other points I haven't covered here, and I didn't cover any of them in depth, but this is just to get you thinking about your place in the process.

2/18/17

Keeping Focused

One of the hard things about writing, aside from all of it, is keeping focused on the current project. When the words (and ideas) are flowing, it's fairly easy to keep on task. After all, the story wants to be told, so it seems natural to tell it.

Until you hit a block--either a lost desire to write or a tricky scene or you're unclear where to go next. That's when temptation strikes.

It might be to not write at all. After all, you have two seasons of Voltron: Legendary Defenders to catch up on (and so much knitting to do). Or you'll suddenly get an idea for another story. And since that's new and exciting, you are raring to go write that one! Trust me, your brain/muse/shoulder-devil says, this story is much more interesting.

This is where focusing comes in. Because as tempting as that shiny new story is, if you run off with it, you'll be leaving the other story behind, likely to never get finished. Sometimes this might be a good thing--maybe you really aren't feeling the story and it's not something you want to finish. That's a decision that needs to be made. But if you want to finish the story, then wandering off with the newest floozy story won't help. 

I speak from experience. See, I have my current contemporary romance all plotted out (sorta) and I know where it needs to go. And I sorta knew how to get there. But there were a few scenes that were about to happen that were....not going to be incredibly exciting. And I didn't want to write them, because I didn't have the heaviest drama pulling me along, and I can't have the guys arguing in every scene. 

Then, while working one day, I got this idea for a steampunk story inspired by The Glass Menagerie. At first I threw the idea on Twitter, because I totally wasn't writing that story.

And then spent the rest of the day thinking about it, plotting it out, checking the original plot of The Glass Menagerie and now I have a fully fleshed-out plot.

The important part of this post, though, is that while I took notes, I didn't start actually writing the story. I said, "Well that's a fun idea, maybe later" and jotted everything down, and put it aside, and the next day I talked with the puppy and worked out the kinked section of my current story, and kept on writing.

Of course, I have a binder full of story ideas that are waiting to be written, so we'll see how that goes. But the important part is that if you keep getting distracted by the next pretty story, you'll have a bunch of unfinished ones littered around you that the world will never see. 

Keep on task! That's the only way to submit to a publisher, finish a knitting project....or complete anything in life, I suppose.