The Fatal December series

The poll is closed, and the lovely people of Twitter have voted that I write Backstage Confessions, the first in the Fatal December series next. And so I shall!

I also thought I’d share a little bit more about the overall series, such as the characters, the general plot and so on. It’s a comparatively new series of mine, as most of my ideas are up to ten years old, whereas I first had this idea in 2013.

As mentioned in my previous post, this series revolves around the members of a band, set up in high school between four friends. They’re known as Fatal December (FaDe, for short) and used to do mostly small-scale gigs, playing at local bars and parties, hoping to make it big.

Dante is the lead singer and guitarist of FaDe, and at the beginning of Backstage Confessions, he’s struggling personally and professionally. His girlfriend died at FaDe’s last gig, and he hasn’t been able to play since. Instead of pursuing their dream without him, his bandmates have decided to go on hiatus until he gets better, unknowingly putting a lot of pressure on him. Dante meets Kate (the where and how still need to be figured out), an aspiring musical actress, who gets under his skin even when he repeatedly tries to push her away.

I’m not sure I can tell you more about the other books without giving away spoilers, but each of them is dedicated to one of the other three members.

  • Hometown Sweetheart: Chase (bassist, back-up vocals) and Nala
  • Behind the Scenes: Rick (guitarist) and Kerry
  • Blindsighted: Will (drummer) and Abby

One of the four also gets a sequel, but I can’t tell you who that is 🙂 I’m also considering a spin-off with Kerry’s brother, who’s an actor, but that’s still up in the air.

I have a lot, and I do mean a lot of research and planning to do before I get started on this series. For one, I have no idea how bands work, what goes on behind the scenes and all that stuff in the music industry. For another, I really want to get into the habit of planning ahead, having a complete outline and maybe even character profiles and all that, before I get to the actual writing process.

I’m really excited to start this story, and I keep wanting to just dive in and write, but I’ll be strong and do the prep first 🙂

You’ll find updates on my progress of this story on my Twitter, and I’ll make sure to write a blog post every now and then with the latest news.

Happy writing!
E.

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Help me pick my next project!

I have what I call “brain troubles” a lot, where my brain won’t shut up and keeps giving me new ideas and whatnot when I’m busy doing something else. Some recent examples:

Yesterday, it insisted that I start a new story, which is all fine and dandy, except it decided writing a whole book series would be a good idea. I mean, I am ‘between stories’ so to speak, since I finished writing my NaNoWriMo novel last week, but seriously, a series?

Even worse is that I’m actually indulging this asinine thought and trying to decide which of my series to work on first. My brain picked out three from my idea folder, but one of them is a trilogy, another has five intended books and the other five plus four spin-offs. You see my dilemma?

I’ve got a poll happening on my Twitter right now, asking my followers (and anyone else who wants to vote) to choose the series I should start next, but I figured it might help if you know a bit more about the genre and the plot.

First up is Backstage Confessions, the first in a five-book series about four members of a band and their personal and professional struggles. Dante and his band went on hiatus after Dante’s girlfriend died at one of their gigs. He hasn’t played his guitar since, but slowly finds his way back with the help of his bandmates and Kate.

The second series begins with All About Business, a story about Janie and Gage, who have little in common and live in different worlds. Janie runs an inn with four other women (her twin, her cousin, her friend and her ‘sister’) in a small town, while Gage is a successful engineer from New York City. They clash and sparks fly, but Gage needs all the noise and action that can only be found in the city, while Janie can’t imagine living anywhere without the strong sense of community and support of her hometown.

And lastly, Meant To Be, the first in the The Tales of Chance trilogy. It’s the only supernatural/fantasy series that I have, and the titular hero is Chance, the son of Lucifer, who has a mission to fulfill, but he begins to struggle between following his destiny and protecting his love once realizes he can’t have both.


Here’s the poll again:

Backstage Confessions is currently in the lead, but voting will be open until later today, so pick your favorite and let me know which one you’d like to read most 🙂

Thanks to everyone in advance!
E.

AMA + Giveaway!

* Note: NaNoWriMo has kind of hijacked my brain and I completely forgot about this giveaway. I know, completely stupid of me and I can’t apologize enough! Since it’s not likely that I’ll be done by Thanksgiving (in fact, I’ll most likely be writing until the very last minute, squeezing out enough words to get to the 50K,) I’ve decided to extend the deadline to the end of the year.

Thanks to everyone who has participated so far!


 

A lot has happened since I wrote a blog post thanking my 200 followers on Twitter. I went through a slump that made me angry at everything, right when I was in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo, then slowly crawled my way back to everyday life and writing. Just as slowly, I started to be more active on Twitter – participating in fun events like #LoveLines, #2bitTues and #1lineWed, and more recently #WIPjoy, and also trying to interact more with others. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’ve really gotten more comfortable at putting myself out there and less self-conscious about my tweets. I’m still not at the point where I’d share a picture of me or reveal other personal things that aren’t writing-related, but I’m getting there!

It’s therefore kind of mindblowing and incredibly encouraging that after just three months, I’ve managed to interest over 800 people enough to follow me, and even more to like and retweet what I post about. I get a huge smile on my face with every notification on my phone!

Even so, I feel bad about being so closed-off. I don’t have a profile picture that shows you what I look like, I don’t tell you where I live or what my occupation is (and I don’t know when I could ever do that) and sometimes I feel like I keep so much distance between myself and all you lovely people that I’m not allowing real relationships to grow. I can’t just tweet a “thank you” whenever I reach a milestone of followers, that just doesn’t seem enough to truly let you how much I appreciate you and the way you encourage me, whether that’s by simply reading my words or liking, retweeting and/or following.

I’ve been thinking about how to adequately express my thanks for a long time, and there are so many things I wish I could do! Being a closet writer and one with such a paranoid insistence on privacy as me really limits my choices. I thought about a book giveaway, but how would that work when the stamp would reveal where it was sent from? I admit I was a little too lazy to figure out a way around that problem, but I think I’ve found a good alternative 🙂


AMA + Giveaway

  • Ask me anything on Twitter!
    Use the hashtag #askelyne and ask me about anything you want, whether it’s about me, my stories/characters, my writing process or something else. I don’t want to be restricted to less than 140 characters, so I’ll reply to the questions here on my blog. Please understand that I might take the liberty of not answering a question if I feel uncomfortable to and/or it might compromise my need for privacy. I promise I will try to answer everything and not just take the easy road of ignoring them!
  • One $15, two $10, three $5 Amazon Gift Cards!
    Leave me a comment* on how I can improve my Twitter and blog, as in what you would like me to post about OR what you enjoy about my Twitter/blog that I should keep doing. Simply put: why do you (or don’t you) follow me? I’ll choose winners among all participants, who will get either a $5, $10 or $15 gift card from Amazon! If the winners don’t get in touch with me within 24 hours, I’ll choose others. I should add that constructive criticism/ideas have a higher chance of winning. Since this is a giveaway meant to express my thanks, it will end on New Year’s Eve, December 31! The winners will be announced a week later on January 7. Note that this is a separate event from the AMA. You’re welcome to participate in both 🙂

 


 

You do not need to be following me to be eligible for the giveaway, but I naturally won’t complain if you do decide to follow me 🙂 


I’m looking forward to your questions, suggestions and – most of all – to interacting more with you all!

 

* You can tweet or DM me, comment on this blog post or send me an e-mail (elynewrites@gmail.com) to participate.

Why it’s okay to stop writing sometimes

(This sounds like an excuse, doesn’t it?)

I’ve heard/read many say that you should write even when you don’t want to, force yourself into a daily routine and stick to it no matter what. But I’ve seen just as many others claiming that sometimes, there are more important things than writing.

I figure that it all depends on what you expect to gain from it. If you want to be published, but spend more time socializing or procrastinating in other ways, then hell yes, get your butt into a seat and get writing! Chase your dreams and make them happen, because you deserve the very best this life has to offer.

I personally don’t have “published writer” on my list of things to achieve – not yet. I don’t think my writing is nowhere near to being shared with the public yet, not to mention I’ve barely finished the four first drafts I have now, and I’ve yet to even think about editing them. As of now, I have a lot of fun writing all the new stories as they come to me (although I admit there’s a fair amount of jumping from one story to the next) and this is probably a good thing, since it’s recommended to take a break between finishing a story and starting the editing process.

But back to the point of why it’s okay to stop writing. I’ve had this realization during July’s CampNaNoWriMo, which started out well and then went to hell less than two weeks into it. It wasn’t really that I didn’t have enough interest in the story anymore, but that life was throwing curve balls at me and I found it difficult, or rather impossible, to cope with it all and also build up this fictional world on top of it.

It sounds so dramatic in hindsight, but at the time, I felt like I was going through an existential crisis that I felt too young for. I had plans, and the next couple of years had been set, and when that fell away, I felt like I was standing there with nothing. No future, no job, no goal in life to pursue. I’ve been struggling, and continue to struggle, with the feeling that I’m not particularly good at anything. I have a lot of interests (most of them in the area of handicrafts) but I don’t actually know how to do most of them. I don’t feel like I’m a very smart or knowledgeable person, in that I was a mediocre student in high school and only got decent grades during university because I studied a major that I liked, not one that’s of any particular use. I kind of slid into my current job with more luck than experience, as I got hired straight out of university, and I’d started to think that I’d like to continue working there for several years at least. It’s a fun job, though some co-workers can be really tiring and like any other company, there are some things I just find really stupid. But overall, I can definitely see myself doing this for a long time.

I, and a few other co-workers, had a job interview at the company for a promotion of sorts. I was worried, because I hate interviews or just generally being somewhat at the center of attention, but everyone assured me I’d do just fine, that it was mostly just protocol and I’d get the job, easy. I guess I jumped the gun, started to think about all the things I could do when I get the job – move out from company housing into my own apartment, use some of the vacation days for actual travel and all that – so it was a very unexpected slap in the face when I was not among those that got promoted. So there went my future, up in a giant ball of flame.

And thus began my spiral into the existential crisis, full of bitterness, whining and worries. “What will I do with myself now,” “I’m not good at anything else, I don’t even have any experience for other companies to want me,” and similar thoughts ran through my head several times a day, and I fully admit that I threw myself an enormous pity party. I also admit that I don’t think I was mentally well, because I was feeling like a failure and even little things would cause anxiety.

My mind was full of bad thoughts, even hateful ones, and I was so worried about my future, that CampNaNoWriMo was forgotten. Or well, not really forgotten but simply discarded. After all, how could I make up a fictional world and write about the problems of a female vampire in a supernatural love triangle with her vampire mate and werewolf ex-boyfriend when I couldn’t even figure out my own life? I hadn’t noticed before, but I’d just always had a lot of good luck and things just seemed to fall into place without me having to worry too much. So this rejection, if you will, turned everything upside down and left me in the middle, unsure which side was up and where to go.

I was questioning every decision I’d ever made in my life, questioning every thought, and just about everything made me really anxious. I thought about quitting everything and just crawl somewhere where no one would bother me and stay there until it all went away, but that would be running away like a coward and I’d have to be an adult sometime, right? I think I totally exasperated my friends by whining all the time, or ranting (I was so irritable during that time, almost everything seemed to annoy me and make me go off on a long rant that would last several minutes) but they indulged me, stood by me, and I think I’m getting over it.

I didn’t catch up on all the writing I missed, but spent the rest of July plotting a little here and there so now most of the story is complete in my head and I “just” need to write it all down. I will – once I’ve finished this rewrite that I randomly started, just because I got the sudden inspiration to.

Wow, this turned into a really long, personal rant, didn’t it?

In any case, I realized after my own incidence that it absolutely is okay, even necessary, to stop writing sometimes. There are more important things than hitting your daily word count and finishing your novel. Now, what exactly those things are is different for everyone, I guess, except one thing: your health, both physical and mental. It can be really cathartic and satisfying to channel feelings and put them in your writing, but make sure you’re taking care of yourself, and not letting the writing consume you. Stop to let your mind breathe a little and let it, and yourself, recharge often.

Writing may be your life, but you’re more than just your writing. You’re a beautiful, inspiring person with a tremendous amount of talent, but writing doesn’t define you, not all of you. I agree that it’s a big part of our lives, greater for some than for others, and thus a big part of our happiness. But it’s not all we have and all we deserve.

I guess what I’m actually saying is, is this: Don’t let anyone or anything – writing, a job, whatever there is – define who you are, because it’s not all you are or all you can be. Life is made up of so many aspects, some great and some not very much so, and I don’t think it’s fair to let one single thing take control over everything else.

I’m just getting the hang of this myself, trying to take things in stride and not despair when things don’t go as planned. After all, if I ever decide to pursue publishing, I have to get used to rejections and drawbacks, right? I won’t get everything right, but I don’t have to. I’m allowed to fail, because that will help me be better and improve, and that’s what’s important.

Failures and mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of, because in the end, that’s how we become stronger and better.

I hope that if you went, or are going through similar struggles (whether they’re personal or professional) like I did, this helps to let you know you’re not alone in this. At the very least, I hope I didn’t sound like I’m preaching at you. These words, encouraging myself that it’s okay to fail, are easier to say now, and I wish I’d been able to tell myself all this when I was feeling low. Who knows, maybe when life hits me again, I’ll read this post and smile, because I’ll know that it’s okay to let go?

Gratitude and Apologies

As I’m writing this, I’ve somehow managed to accumulate 202 wonderful followers on Twitter, and I wanted to use this opportunity to get some things off my chest.

I started using Twitter with a half-formed plan on getting to know other writers, express myself in ways I didn’t know how to do in person and take a few hesitant steps towards getting my stories out there someday. I didn’t think about how to gain followers or how best to make use of Twitter to really connect to others. I actually still don’t really know what I’m doing, and it’s almost been a year since I opened up my current account.

It’s incredibly hard being a closet writer with no one in your personal life who also loves to write. It’s also hard to be so introverted and socially awkward that even talking to other people over the internet, anonymous as it can be, is sometimes a terrifying ordeal. I haven’t really interacted with anyone on Twitter (I can count them on one hand) and even when I have, it took forever for me to write the tweet and then actually have the courage to send it. With every tweet, I keep worrying how it’ll reflect back on me and I keep thinking, “Please like me.” I always tell myself to be more … approachable, shall we say? I try to reply to tweets instead of just liking them, and to answer to replies for my own tweets in a way that doesn’t seem like I’m trying to shake them off or like I feel too good to talk to people.

I question myself and my actions a lot and, in the words of a friend, I put myself down too much. So it’s very encouraging to know that 200 people found my tweets – and me – interesting enough to want to follow me. It’s even more encouraging to see so many people like, retweet and/or reply to my tweets.

On that note, I would like to thank everyone of my followers, everyone who’s ever read, liked, retweeted or commented on even one of my tweets. I appreciate you all, even though I’ve never said so, and it makes me really happy to know that I can make myself heard – and be heard – by people who love writing as much as I do and that I can have a way to connect to and learn from other writers.

I’m sorry that I don’t interact much with you all, and reply to tweets often. I’m trying not to feel so socially awkward on the internet, and I’m getting better at it, but there’s still too much self-consciousness for me to be able to interact freely with you. But I hope you’ll bear with me and continue to support me, whether that’s just by reading what I write, or by liking/retweeting.

Thank you!
E.

July Camp project

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or read my last few blog posts, you’ll probably have noticed that I’ve decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this July. I even got my project info updated already!

I was supposed to do a lot of prepping, getting to know my characters and make the antagonist more … antagonistic, but I haven’t really done anything. I still don’t know half of what’s going to happen in the story (especially concerning the second plot with the antagonist) or why the antagonist does what he does. So it looks like I’ll be pantsing most of it again, but that doesn’t surprise me at all, haha.

I do have a little summary and excerpt that I’ve written so far, and a few random scenes from the early-ish part of the story. You can find the first two on my Camp profile, and I’m considering sharing a couple of lines from the scenes on Twitter today (June 14) but I also figured I’d put the summary and excerpt here on my blog as well.

The general idea for this story, tentatively titled Forever Is Not Long Enough, is as follows.

Tal “died” when her boyfriend Channing went through his first werewolf transition and killed her. When they meet again, she decides to get her revenge by breaking his heart, but things become complicated when her feelings for him resurface and Jason, another vampire who claims he is her mate, reappears in her life determined to win her back.

I’ve had this story in mind for several years now, but it’s definitely true that it’s best to write a story when you’re ready for it. I didn’t feel like I was prepared enough to write a supernatural romance story, or that my writing was good enough for it. In all honesty, I still don’t feel quite as ready, but I’m also very excited to kind of write out of my comfort zone. I’m hoping that if I do well enough with FINLE and feel that my writing of supernatural romance doesn’t totally suck, I’ll finally start working on Tales of Chance, my trilogy about Chance, the son of Lucifer, and his quest(s).

Anyway, here’s the prologue-y opening of FINLE that sounded a lot creepier and foreboding and gloomy in my head. But oh well, I’ll have enough time to improve it later 🙂

~*~

The moon hung low over the eerily silent forest, illuminating the meadow and the two figures among the flattened grass.

A young girl lay unmoving in the arms of a man, even as he held her gently and swayed back and forth as if rocking her to sleep. They were both covered in blood, and the scent of copper was strong in the air.

From within the shadows, he watched, waiting.

The faint beating of the young girl’s heart slowed, then stopped. In the deathly silence, a raw sound of grief shattered the stillness and echoed through the air.

And in the shadows, he smiled.

Excerpt from “Through It All”*

*Formerly known as “Endless Love”

I’m about 89% decided on writing Forever Is Not Long Enough for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. The other 11% is mainly the ever-present doubt whether I’ll be able to pull it off, not to mention whether I’ll have enough ideas and plot to write my first ever supernatural story. But that’s another problem for another post (maybe.)

It wouldn’t hurt starting to prep FINLE now, what with all the worldbuilding, character profiling and outlining I have to do, but I decided to dabble with Through It All, one of my completed first drafts that was option two of the Great Debate of What to Write During Camp (I wrote about it here.)

The result of a couple of days of thinking, mentally rewriting and actual writing is a 265-word scene or something. I say “or something” because I don’t actually know what it is. It could be a prologue or prelude to the story, or just some sort of journal entry. At this point, I can’t say whether it’ll be included in the final draft, but it did give me some insight into how the plot will be going (as I realized the original plot wouldn’t work and decided to change most of it) and into the female protagonist, Lilly.

I debated whether to share it or not, but I figured it would be good practice for whenever I decide to post a story (or several) online, which is a vague objective of mine.

So here it is, the scene-or-something. I hope you like it! 🙂

~*~

I can’t remember a time when Chriss wasn’t there.

He was 18 months old when I was born, so his presence in my life was true in the literal sense, but also in so many other ways.

He and his sister Hannah were like fixed features since the very beginning, and all memories of my childhood include one or both of them.

While Hannah was my best friend, Chriss was so much more. He was the one who was always there, who taught me how to ride a bike and climb trees, who defended me against neighborhood kids who teased me. He was the one who gave me my first kiss, long before we knew the significance of it, and the one I could turn to for comforting hugs and a shoulder to cry on.

No one was surprised when he and I fell in love. I’d always loved him, in a way you can only love someone who truly understands you and supports you and accepts you for who you are. I suppose it was only logical that I would come to love him as a woman loves a man.

He made me smile and sometimes he made me so angry I wanted to shout at him until he went deaf, but through all the ups and downs, he made me happy. He made me think of forever, of a family and happily ever after.

He never changed. He was a solid, supporting rock in the confusing storm of adolescence, and he was always there.

Always. Until he left and broke my heart.