Lost: Days in July and August
If you find them, please return to 2017 and turn back the time machine and/or pick me up in the TARDIS. Thanks.
Okay, a bit silly, but these last couple months have been brutal in terms of achieving my To Do list. Basically nothing’s been going as hoped, mostly because I can’t seem to get good enough sleep or rouse enough energy so I can think clearly and critically to get things done. I have spurts of time where I can focus, read, and work, though most of its been stare at screen, curse my blurry mental clarity, watch words blend together into blah-blah-blah, and close the documents before something disastrous happens. Eyes are working, brain is checking out — kind of like after my mom died, though I don’t know what’s triggered this.
Funny enough, this forced downtime has been great for kicking up new story ideas. LIKE I NEEDED MORE. *pulls hair out* To be fair, I’m digging these new things, so really… At least something’s happening?
The NEW & Shiny: Rebel Call
A few weeks ago, I was reflecting on gender and sexual orientation in The Republic series. I finally sat down and composed a list of LGBTQA+ characters to see how the rep balanced out across the board, the beginnings of a post I might write one day for a blog tour or post here. The list resulted in a lot of bi and pan characters, several lesbians and gays, a couple aces, and a few trans characters, one of whom is non-binary/genderqueer. It got me thinking that I want to add another NB character so Adren isn’t the only one. I loved exploring Adren’s story in Blood Borne, so I’d like to work with another character who comes from a different background.
/Cue my brain going “OKAY!!!!! I’ll get right on it!”
Next thing I knew, the muses dug into ideas I’d logged for a later book in the series, which includes the appearance of a set of hunters/fugitive recovery agents that are asked for help in handling the Big Problems. I hadn’t named those hunters or anything. I did have an inkling that within the group there’d be a couple hunters (or three) that were involved with each other.
Scratch that inkling — it’s legit now, committed onto paper.
Enter Rebel Call, #5 in the series… because when I offered the book the 7th or 8th spot it said “NOPE”. Actually, the conversation looked like this:
Me: Dammit, I didn’t want to add another book to the series. It’s long enough!
Brain: But NB rep… poly…
Me: Yeah, I know, and they’re important. It can go after Touch Unleashed, because that’s heavy on the Goddess-touched.
Brain: Um, no, it can’t. The story is about how these three hooked up. In TU, they’re already together and Severn fawns over them. Check your logic?
Me: *scrunched nose of annoyance* Okay, how about one back–
Me: How about–
Brain: #5 or I’m walking.
Me: *exasperation* *an overabundance of chocolate* *50+ pages of story notes* Fine, I YIELD.
And so the brain won. Again. I even laid down the first 700 words during the first week of August — SHOCK. It’s the first thing I’ve written since January. :O It felt great to get those words down and be creative again. Since editing doesn’t require the same line of thinking as the writing process, I’ve been feeling the lack. So the book is now officially a WIP and has an outline the length of a novella. There are three main characters in this one: Dawne, Massy, and Geyle.
Dawne is a wounded soul with the urge to be a troublemaker. Not only is he a widower (part of a triad that ended tragically), he’s also been mourning the loss of their son. His days are spent working as a mason and getting from moment to moment, wondering what the point of living really is. Life’s sucked for a while, though he takes a shot at doing something fun: a fancy party known for being frivolous and sexy (what can I say… it’s Midsummer shenanigans).
Enter Massy, the life of that party (and teacher by day). Massy’s just broken up with nir boyfriend and needs happy, so ne gets gussied up to the nines and goes with all the fierceness ne’s got… especially since Massy’s ex is also at the party, with a new lover. To flip the bird at that ex and get over him, Massy really gets into the party, catching the attention of both Dawne and Geyle — who, incidentally, also have a thing for each other. No insta-love here, but definitely an insta-“holy ffff you’re HOT”. Things happen and then things happen. The morning after turns into the three of them having a lovely breakfast, starting a relationship that becomes something more, especially after Bad Things occur.
That’s where Geyle comes in: the poor guy gets blamed for a murder he didn’t commit, after a life of things he never wants to repeat. Like Dawne and Massy, Geyle’s past includes tragedy, mostly things with his family and his first marriage to a nasty husband. This is the bit that will require trigger warnings for the book: Geyle is a survivor of domestic abuse, and while his husband is long dead, the effects and PTSD remain. This new relationship becomes a big thing for Geyle, opening up new opportunities and a chance to trust. Also important is what happens in the rest of the book, which involves Dawne and Massy saving Geyle from being arrested and catching the person who actually committed the crime. The journey offers Geyle all sorts of things, including a sense of control, significance, and impact he’s never really had. As long as life keeps kicking him, trying to keep him down, he’ll serve that crap back.
There’s so much more to it, but that would take a much longer post. Then again, the outline is like 20,000+ words long. :S
In the end, it’s going to be an M/NB/M romance. It’s also high fantasy with magic, because all three are descendants of the gods: Dawne can manifest objects, Massy is a tracker/seeker and highly intuitive, and Geyle’s magic sorts truth from lie. A happy ending is guaranteed!
I’m really looking forward to writing this. It’s going to get into the messier side of the magical community — the forgotten, the abandoned, and the distanced. All three characters have a deep need to rebel against that community, a calling they don’t fully realize until things fall together among the three of them. None of them believe society can stay as it is, not with things falling apart around them. Separately, they’re at a loss for where to start; together, they can contribute what others won’t.
As with every book in the series, there will be more world-building, more history, and more of everything that makes the republic. That includes digging into things that are considered myth but were real. (It’s one of my absolutely favourite things about fantasy: the chance to dig deep and pull out amazing stories within the story, exploring fantastical beings and people. I love, love, love making up names, events, abilities, and everything that comes with legends and myths. Case in point: I asked myself “Where did Massy’s bloodline come from?” In less than two hours, I had a chunk of Massy’s family tree figured out, including two consorts in a F/F/M relationship with their Goddess of Wisdom, the epic battles they fought, and a bit about their children, including the daughter that led to Massy’s side of the family. That ancestor is one of eight Witches of War, a powerful and heroic peacemaker, a tough-as-nails shieldkeeper, and she was married to the People’s General, an esteemed leader who was NB just like Massy… leading to Massy’s adoption of the ne/nir pronouns the General used, because those words are a documented part of Massy’s family history.)
I LOVE writing high fantasy.
It’ll also be nice to work with these characters: Dawne’s a bit torn around the edges, Geyle’s filter doesn’t always work, and Massy is all confidence. In terms of comparison, Massy is the opposite of Adren from Blood Borne: Massy knows full well who Massy is, with a positive sense of self-worth and value that won’t be compromised. Where Adren’s story arc was about identity, Massy’s journey is about making nir life matter — about fixing the world instead of participating in the apathy of the Goddess-touched. Massy has the ability to make things better, and that’s what ne intends to do, even if it breaks rules.
Old WIPs & What’s Happening
To Live A Dragon is still on my list to write — I really want to finish Soulbound first. I have a crap load of notes written down, needing to be typed. I also started the outline a while ago, enough that I could start on the first chapter if my heads clears.
Hunter and Light from Shadow are being bumped since Rebel Call made itself the firstborn child in that set, which is all about the hunters in law enforcement. Rathen (Hunter) and Kirra (Light from Shadow) will show up in RC, using their fists to make new friends. I have to restructure Rathen’s story, rewrite the outline, and rework the chapters already written. I’m hoping to write these books at roughly the same time, since they’re connected.
Ashsender is also on the back burner, though I’ve got tons of notes for it and started its outline. Most of the hold-up is because of world-building. If the story were just about Eve and Lexx sharing their feelings and being all mopey, I probably would’ve written a portion by now. Unfortunately it’s sci fi in a fictional universe meaning I have to make up everything… name everything… set up galaxies instead of just villages/countries, call their ships something, and their weapons… -_- Basically a lot of work that I’m doing in bits and pieces. So far, I’ve been having a great time making up character names and call signs. It’s also reminding me that I shouldn’t name anything. Considering one guy’s call sign is Clusterf#$k and his best friend is Cockblock Opera… Quick, someone take my keyboard away!
(To be fair, a couple characters in the series have serious call signs. Lexx is “Ashsender”, someone else is “Ghost Maker”, and another is “Despair”, so maybe it’s not all bad?)
Soulbound: Out, damned words! Out, I say!
Still editing this beast. It’s down to 138,000 words and slow on the editing, given my lack of (predictable) mental clarity. There’s a long way to go before it’s good enough to send to the publisher. I’m a perfectionist with an A+ in nitpicking and micro-edits.
On the other hand, the extra time means a chance to add extra little bits and fix holes. One of these is more about Priestess Kee, whose personal story hasn’t ended up on the page. There’s a reason she’s tough and has a soft spot for those who need refuge, especially those who are in trouble. I haven’t disclosed much about her, though I want to, being that she’s trans and has a rather close connection with their Goddess of Protection, who is also trans. Since Soulbound includes both Mayr and Tash’s POVs, I can talk more about Kee (and Armamae) from what Tash knows. Actually, this book has plenty of important tidbits about other characters. I just need to edit it without destroying them.
… and that’s where things stand. I’m at a point where I feel like starting the new stories all at once, knocking out their first chapters and working with them later. Here’s to hoping my health starts to perk up.
Thanks for reading. Until next time!