December Updates: My Writing Schedule

Hi everyone!

It’s been a few weeks since the last update, but I got a few concerned messages from people noticing me writing the As I Write stuff vs. me (I think) talking about writing Academy. I think some readers had concerns thinking I’m not writing Academy things.

I can say this is very, very far from the case, and those who read this blog and keep up with the newsletter already probably know. But I did want to update that, as I know a lot of people are curious.

Obviously, I am still writing Academy. Like noted in the last update in mid-November, this month is no different. When will I be finished writing the first draft? I don’t know. I just know how many scenes I need to write in until the end, but scenes don’t have a set amount of words before I write them. I just let them flow out naturally and it ends when it should end naturally.

And when I get close to the end of the first draft (like I sort of am getting to now), I tend to do slow down a bit, checking previous chapters, revising a bit here and there as I figure out the ending and how to put the pieces together.

All that said, I tend to tread the work like a normal job. Every weekday, I’m typing. 🙂

WRITING SCHEDULES

So when does CL have time to write/revise books?

I wanted to clarify what my working schedule looks like, and I think that may help answer a few questions.

Monday through Friday schedule, I’m usually up by eight in the morning, sometimes earlier. After a bit of coffee and making sure pets have what they need, I’m at the desk, or I have the laptop with me wherever I am. There may be a few emails answered during that time. Then I tend to write from nine-ish to about twelve or one. Usually at a point where I need another coffee and I’m hungry enough to make lunch.

After that, there may be more emails, answering people on Facebook or Twitter, or marketing (any small business needs near-constant marketing), any accounting work, working with my agent on a project, etc. This might be when I’m signing hundreds of signatures for books or cards or just thank you notes. I save the business side of writing for the afternoon.

However, I’m usually off work at around 4-ish. (Sometimes it’s three, sometimes it’s seven. It depends on how much work I needed to do, usually not writing.)

I do enjoy my work, but like many of you, I work my set hours, and then I have to separate myself from work. 🙂

But I also enjoy writing. And on the weekends, when I tell myself I should be taking time off and not working on anything, instead I get a little antsy. That’s usually when I’m spending time on other projects.

But I’m trying to keep those projects, like Favored and other stories fun for me, and also for those who might enjoy reading them. It doesn’t really take too much time to write up a bit of the story, give it a quick format and upload over the weekend, ready to go out on Tuesday. And most of the stories I have are things I tend to tinker with between edits while an Academy book is with a proofreader, or beta readers, or I take time out between books to just decompress but I still want to work on something.

So I try to not put too much pressure on myself for those stories and just write what I feel I can, but also still take some time off over the weekend to enjoy a video game or hanging out with pets or with friends.

Obviously, there are weeks where there are holidays, or I take time off for travel or I have to help family with something, taking time off if I’m sick, etc.

Why don’t I work on Academy during the weekend? Because writers need days off, too. 🙂 At least one day completely off each week, just like most people, you need to give yourself time to rest. I tend to give myself the two days off.

Otherwise, the writing turns to crap, you get into burnout mode, your health suffers, etc. Same sort of thing for anyone else. You’ve got to take care of your health, take time out for family and for your own personal interests.

But I think people seeing more of Favored and not updates on Academy stuff, I can understand people getting worried that maybe I stopped writing. I haven’t. 🙂 I’m not sure how to update people other than a blog like this to let you know, yes, still writing. Some authors do word count updates, but mine tend to be kind of crazy, because some days I write 5000 words and some days it is 500 because I needed to research or I’m just mentally a little slow that day, or some days it might be -1000 because I revised a chapter and took out whole sections.

I promise, even if I’m not updating every day, I’m still working on the books. If slowly.

But if people were worried I’d stop writing books before the end, the answer is: unless I’m dead, I’ll still write Academy until the whole of the story is done. And I don’t mean just Ghost Bird, I mean everything coming after, too. I enjoy it. I love the guys. I love the world. That’s pretty much my fantasy life right there so, yeah. I constantly tell people if I could just *write* and not work on the business side, I’d do even more of it because I personally enjoy creating those fantasy worlds and living in my imagination.

If there’s ever a time where even Amazon shut down or whatever happens where I couldn’t be paid for what I’m doing, I’d still write on it, albeit slowly. :p

So please don’t worry if you aren’t hearing updates about Academy books vs. how much you might hear about Favored or something else I’m doing on the side. I write these blog posts once in a while to keep you all updated as much as possible. If you see people asking about it, feel free to mention these blog posts and share the information with others. But I hope this helps clear up some things. 🙂

Update, a little Q&A and the Community

Happy Weekend Everyone!
This is just a quick update to say a very, very big thank you for the launch of As I Write.

I wasn’t really sure how many people would be interested in rough draft chapters of books as I’m writing them, but it turns out, over two thousand of you are. 🙂 That is fantastic for me to see.

Out of everything I am doing, I love just writing stories. So being able to write a little more and share it immediately just gives me wiggly sparks all over. :p

I also wanted to update you all on two things:

ONE: I’m mid-LCR. Like over the 50% mark, which is good. I’m also not traveling over the holidays like I usually do, so I should be able to hunker down and complete. It’ll still have to go through the usual editing but wanted to give you all an update there.

TWO: After you all emailed me asking about Tempest, the next book in Scarab Beetle, I wanted to let people know, usually it is two Ghost Bird books to one Scarab Beetle book. So we had Hoax and then we had Black and Green, so it should go Love’s Cruel Redemption, Tempest, and then next GB book.

However, I decided I, too, am antsy for it, so while the GB book is in editing, I’m going to go ahead and start on Scarab Beetle super early. Usually I give myself time off between books to allow editing process to go through, but since I’m hunkered anyway, may as well stay here. :p

Questions!

There are a couple of questions that have popped up now and again.

  1. Are there going to be Academy updates in As I Write?

The answer is, I didn’t really have plans for that. See, Ghost Bird is mid-series, and the books are complicated to write. There are times when I scrap many, many chapters because the direction I was going in wasn’t working. I also tend to add a lot of scenes between drafts.

Basically, you’d get a mess. Even beta readers have trouble at times keeping up with which scenes stayed and which got removed. So imagine 2000+ people with copies of chapters that never really needed to stay in the books, or things changed so much. Such confusion!

It’s the same with Scarab Beetle books. For some reason, it is a little easier with the books I’m placing in As I Write, though. While scenes may be added from draft to final, I don’t think it would be much, and probably a lot less confusing. 🙂

However! That doesn’t mean you won’t see Academy things in the newsletter in the future. For example, one of the ‘rewards’ in the Patreon is if we get 1000 contributors, I’ll include a brand new Academy series in the newsletter.

It’s a long shot, and I may not even wait for that if I get antsy to write something new, but the option is there. An old one would be difficult, a new one would be much easier. 🙂

2. I’m not able to get the newsletter! I’m subscribed, and I can’t seem to get it!

I’m hearing you. Unfortunately with the unreliability of email, sometimes it gets stuck in the Internet highway and other times it is the newsletter delivery system.

I’m looking at alternatives, one being a chatbot that will delivery the story updates via Messenger. This way, you’ll get a message from me the moment a newsletter has become available, and you’ll get a link to it. I’m also looking at alternative ways for delivery. And if you’ve missed one, check out the previous newsletters here (http://us6.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=53ac49471b6926ba116c43b8a&id=12f9e52597)

Community Things!

A long update blog just to say a big thank you to the reader community in general. If anyone may have noticed in my books, I generally love a ‘work together and support’ type of community and this has resonated so much even outside of the books.

With the tragedies that have occurred from around the world, I’m always in awe of those who come together to help out. Sometimes it is just moral support, and sometimes we have people actively on the ground or giving donations to those in need.

And with so much happening, I am amazed at how everyone continues the support. Between the different groups on Facebook, the forums, and just those that send email to let me know what’s going on, I wanted to thank everyone who reaches out to me and allowing me to help where I can as well.

So basically all of that to say thank you!

 

November Begins – Serious Book Talk :)

We’re getting to November! Silas has been out for a bit. I’m currently working on Love’s Cruel Redemption full on. During my off time, I’ve got a few new stories I’m revising/working on. I hope people will enjoy them while I’m writing on LCR.

I’ve had a few concerning comments that keep coming up, so I thought I’d address a few of them here instead. If you see these comments anywhere, please post this link. 🙂

Are you still working on the Academy series? (In regards to As I Write)

Obviously yes. (See above. :)) As mentioned in the previous blog post, I work on the other stuff while waiting. Sometimes on weekends when I’m taking a break from writing a story, I write about these other things. (Yes, I work weekends. When do I have downtime? Not a lot. :))

As I Write is a little thing between books that allows me to get some of that tinkering out of my system and gives you all a chance to look at something while I’m working.

Why are the books taking so long to come out? They used to come out faster.

I write pretty quickly. In the beginning, I was coming out with about four books a year.

However, my process has changed drastically from the beginning:

  • When readers requested preorders, it added at minimum two weeks of waiting time even after book is finished (this is a time frame set by Amazon, and other vendors, I have to have it loaded two weeks ahead of release date)
  • When readers asked for better editing, I added a new line editor and two new proofreaders
  • When readers asked for more, I tried to increase the book word counts, and larger books take longer to write
  • As readers requested, I had been taking time out for audiobooks (this is off my plate now thanks to Brilliance, but last Feb and March and April were pretty much consumed by audiobook things to help them get started)

This means one book of 120,000-ish words can take me about two months (two and a half months maybe?) to write. (It gets a little slower when I need to go back and make sure of plotting is going the right way and double checking notes.) And I’d rather take time to make a great book that really makes the story come alive.

It can take at least month and a half to go through beta readers, revisions, and editing, but I’m pretty much at the mercy of other people. And to make sure I don’t mess up preorders (Or as an author, you can lose this privilege) I try to get books in at least a week or two early prior to the deadline set by Amazon, etc.

This can mean *does hand math* at least five months between each book. That’s about two books a year, and maybe a novella if I can get a Meeting Sang book out, too. So if I do a Scarab Beetle book and a Ghost Bird, it is one of each, or two Ghost Bird… yeah…

And if I get sick, need to move, I have to take time out for family etc., it pushes everything back a little further. Remember where I said audiobooks? That took time, and in January I had gotten pretty sick for a couple of weeks. Writing got slower for me, so everything got out of whack.

I’m a people pleaser by nature, but I’m running up to a few issues, as you can see, with time and what people REALLY want. Faster books or better editing, preorder or no?  Is there a correct balance?

I continue to streamline the system as much as possible. I used to spend more time on Facebook and forums with readers but had to cut out a lot of it to make sure writing gets done. I get antsy, too, though. (Thus why As I Write exists, I just wanna write stories and let them get out there). I miss four books a year, too.

The books themselves need to speed up.

I think everyone is very anxious to see the boys and Sang finally getting the hang of their relationship. 🙂 But there are a few topics that come up again in questions.

1. This is a YA series. So… sex?

I had considered this and for the current Ghost Bird series as designed doesn’t have sex. That’s been the number one concern for most people when they’ve asked about ‘speeding up the books’. (Not everyone, but hang in there with me.) Just remember this is a YA series and while some contain sex, I’m keeping this particular series sensual but not really diving into sex. However…

2. This series has eight more books. We’re at the countdown.

This may contain minor spoilers in this paragraph, okay? Skip to the next one if you don’t want to know.

This series has eight books left, yes. You’ll get to see each guy’s POV book. (Yes, Mr. Blackbourne’s is last and the final book in this series.)

However, there are two follow up series after this. You’ll be able to read the Ghost Bird series in FULL as a whole series and be ‘complete’, but the story does continue.

One set will be novellas when she is +18 and will cover her relationships with each of them in a more mature way. I don’t want to spoil too much but sex will be involved, tastefully.

One set will be full books (but probably 80k-ish words each instead of 100k+), and it will contain snippets from the team in their 30s as full adults, so you see how they turn out.

3. Regarding pacing.

If you aren’t concerned about the sex (that was like 90% of the questions), just know we’re pretty much downhill from this point with Sang and the guys. And I’ve got to fit a lot in eight books. So the books are pretty much a race to the finish line to get to the end of the Ashley Waters issues, Volto, her real mom and that history, and a couple of other things going on. 🙂 The pacing has been pretty much the same since the beginning, but when books take longer between to get out, it can feel like we aren’t getting enough. (You don’t notice it reading altogether, but with the time between each book, it feels like at a crawl and then we’re waiting six months minimum for the next one.) But I’d rather not skip intimate moments and those sweet times Sang shares with the guys in realistic ways as their relationships evolve (and at different paces for each guy).

I think that’s most of the concerns, but if you want more questions answered directly, let me know via email (clstone@arcatopublishing.com) and if there are enough, I’ll answer them here or in a newsletter to hopefully help those in the future with similar questions.

 

 

 

 

 

Update Time: So MUCH THINGS!

MEETING SANG: SILAS

If you haven’t been aware, Meeting Sang: Silas, has happened. It was recently delivered via the newsletter.

If you haven’t gotten it, and you’d like to get it and get the others when they come out, go sign up for the newsletter.

In addition, if you didn’t want to download Silas and you wanted to buy it (thank you), it is on preorder. You can find more information: https://clstonebooks.com/meeting-sang/


AUDIOBOOKS

House of Korba has been released.

Next up: Envy: Scheduled Release Date: 10-28-17

I think Sugar is already out, so we’re just filling in gaps. It’s amazing how fast they were able to come out with each book.

Also, if you haven’t tried it yet, if you’ve bought the ebooks on Amazon, you actually may be able to get the audiobook at a steep discount. Go to the book page on Amazon you want the audibook for, see if when you click on “Digital Download” what the price is.

At Audible, prices can vary, but you may get a better deal going through Amazon. For example, Thief is free, and for a lot of people, the audiobook ends up being $1.99. Sometimes it is $7.99. At Audible, it may be $15 or $20 for the book, so you’ll get a really good deal just going direct with Amazon.


As I Write – Read books free before they are published.

I wanted to introduce you all to a project I’ve been contemplating doing over a couple of years now and I’m finally just jumping in and doing it.

Writing the Academy books takes some time. The writing process slows down a little because I have to backtrack, check notes, check changes around Charleston. The books are very long, too. I love them. I like giving you all details and weaving in a story that you’ll enjoy for years and years.

The editing side is a little slow, so it takes time to piece it together. Especially for books where the word counts are 120,000+ on occasion. Editors, line editors and proofreaders need weeks to check it out and get back to me. If you ever wondered why trade published books take so long, you know their process could take a year or two. Luckily within a few months, I’ve got another book on the way.

But in between those times, sometimes I’m antsy and I want to write. I want to write something new, fresh, and it gets out you pretty quickly. But I wouldn’t want people paying for this. Prior, I talked about doing something similar but in Kindle Unlimited, but a lot of people aren’t in KU and don’t really use it, so to use it just for this seems over the top.

As I Write will have new sections of books I’m writing on the side, where you get to read them as I’m working on them. When I complete a couple of chapters that week, I’ll polish them as best as I can, but remember they will be drafts. However, you’ll get to see how things develop.

But this is a chance for people to read some stuff, and it gives me a little outlet to just go crazy and write a sparked idea.

I am aiming for once a week, although it could be once every two weeks if people prefer slightly longer editions but at a slower pace. Part of the experiment is working out the best way for delivery, the frequency and how it works.

This isn’t a serial, this is sections of novels, a couple of chapters. There may be cliffhangers. There may be times when it is only one chapter, it is just super long.

If you aren’t interested in waiting and just want to read when they are completed, after they are done, I will put them for sale on Amazon, iBooks and the usual publishers (after any revisions or editing). You can wait to read the completed ones, or go back, download all the pieces.

Just know those pieces won’t be as polished as the real deal. But, free, yeah?

The newsletter is absolutely free, but I’ll include a couple of ads in the newsletter itself on occasion just to help support it a little, and also there’s a (completely optional/if you want) Patreon. There are a few rewards for Patreon supporters but this doesn’t affect the delivery of the newsletter at all. I’m doing the newsletter because I want to, the Patreon is if you want to.

Right now I’m going to start with a couple of stories I’ve been tinkering with between books. One of the first ones will be Favored, as I wanted to extend it and add new scenes.

The second one will be something completely new. I will be doing both at the same time, so it is essentially two stories to read the pieces of each week. As one finishes, it’ll be followed up by another one behind it. So far, I have lined up fantasy romances as one, and some contemporary romances for the second option, so hopefully a little something for most tastes.

I’m sure there will be questions. 🙂 I’ll be working through kinks. If you’re interested, there’s a separate newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/c8dL91

If you just want to know when the books are completed and will be published, stick with the main newsletter: http://eepurl.com/03SZj

If you want to support the endeavor, try Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/asiwrite

If you decide to support, there are different tiers.

At a $1 a month, as books are completed, you’ll get the final delivered to you via email as thanks for supporting while I was working on it. So if I write two books on the side at a time, and they take about three months to complete, you’re getting each finished book for $1.50.

For $10 a month, you’ll get a chance to let me know how you want the story to go. I’ll email surveys about different ways the story could go and I’ll let majority rule on certain points. I’ll also send a little something directly in the mail each month as a thank you.

In addition, if you’re really very generous, there is a $30 a month option. This does include everything in the other tiers. With this, you’re also sent a monthly item (mug, tote, custom notebook, it changes each month and sometimes corresponds with something that got released) exclusive to Patreon supporters. You’ll also get to put a message inside each edition of As I Write.

More details are on the Patreon page. Some things may change for it, but we’ll work on that. 🙂

Things may change with all this, so expect some bugs and hiccups at the start and thanks for being patient. 🙂

 

Hobbies and Updates

Update on Silas: I had an itch to write more toward the end. There was stuff going on that I had forgotten about until I was in editing phase and re-reading Introductions again. So I’m tacking that in. (Normal for me to tack in stuff I forgot to put in.)

So close! And then it goes in for a line edit. So it’ll come soon. If you don’t know, these don’t get a preorder. It comes out free through the newsletter, and then later goes wide, usually for sale for $.99. The date will vary on when I can get the line editor. Once I finish this ending I want to tack on, it should start that process.

I did have emails coming in asking questions outside of the books, ideas to post in this blog. If you have additional ideas or things to add, email me and I’ll try to include them.

One of the questions: What are my hobbies besides writing?

If anyone gives me a chance to talk about video games, I’ll talk your ear off.

Video games take up a lot of my free time. Fallout 4 modded out, Stranded Deep… I’ve been playing Dark and Light. I loved ARK for a long time. I swap out games every now and again, and you’ll probably hear about any new obsessions.

I have thought about doing Play Through videos for YouTube, but like the Sims videos, it’d be done when I get time between writing. It takes a bit of work to put those things out. 🙂 But I have been learning Adobe Premier. I guess this may become another hobby of mine in the future. I like the idea of sharing videos, games or maybe not games. Just for fun.

I also do junk journaling. If you’re not sure what that is, this video will answer:

On top of that I do some traveling, and when I’m gone I’ll collect things to put in the junk journals. Sometimes I go with friends. Lately, I’ve been wanting to just go by myself, mostly for the adventure. Sometimes it is good to just go alone, to go at your own pace and see whatever it is you want to see or do whatever you want. 🙂

And sometimes it is a self-imposed writing retreat. A hotel room to yourself for a few days can really give you just a fresh look on your writing, and also give you some experience if you take time out to explore even just the hotel.

But I am always looking for something new. I like learning about what other people are doing. If you’ve got some unusual hobbies, let me know via email.

August is Gone Already?

August Obsessions

Game: Still in Fallout 4, but also Dark and Light, and also Stranded Deep

Audio: The Hello Internet Podcast

Video: Anne with an E

Other: Fried potatoes. 🙂

Things to know:

Silas is in revisions! This is good, but I also have a cold thingie. Nothing deadly (yet). Just may take off a few days. This is why release dates are elusive. Things pop up.

By the way, Meeting Sang: Silas, as always, gets released via the newsletter first. We’re also trying out Instafreebie for delivery. This will allow you to be able to load the book to your e-reader of choice, instead of having to side load.

I’m also feeling more comfortable with Adobe Premier as well. I’m hoping to get a good head start into Love’s Cruel Redemption and then try to work in getting Sims started up again. Also, perhaps some other reverse harem games, natural or via mods. We’ll see!

July Faves Plus Talking Audiobooks

Obsessions I enjoyed through July:

Games: Modded Fallout 4 (Reverse Harem style!), The Trail (Android and iPhone, Free)

YouTube: MyLifeMits

Food: Fried eggs on toast, roasted potatoes (going through a vegetarian-ish eating habit thing, but now I live on toast and potatoes)

Projects: Digging into reading through the Ghost Bird series to make sure I haven’t forgotten some random plot threads, tinkering with Silas, plotting for Love’s Cruel Redemption, also learning Adobe Premier.

Anything you want to know about me here? Email me ideas and I’ll add them in. 🙂

♥♥♥

Good morning, friends!

It has been a bit of time since I posted update. These aren’t going to be *that* regular, as…well…writing is kind of a boring thing. 🙂 You sit at a desk or with a laptop somewhere and stare at a screen and type.

But within the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the release of more audiobooks, thanks to Brilliance Audio.

I have to admit, I was very torn with continuing to do the audiobooks myself. However, I was facing only being able to get around to it perhaps once a year.

Kind of stinks, I know. So when Brilliance approached me about doing the audiobooks, I listened.

Brilliance does an exceptional job with audio, having worked with familiar authors like Nora Roberts and Fern Michaels. Plus, they promised to be able to deliver all of the audiobooks within a couple of years.

Now I was surprised when recently they launched not just the remakes of previous audiobooks of Ghost Bird, but also continue into book four of that series and also start on the Scarab Beetle books. They did far more than I was able to do in a very short amount of time.

In addition, the audiobooks should now become available in local libraries, and we’re able to get print audiobook editions, something I didn’t think I’d be able to do.

I’m not able to offer the audiobooks through my own website any more, but if you did buy the previous audiobooks through that system, you should still be able to download from there at any time. If there are any problems with this, just contact me and I’ll make sure you’ll get a copy.

The same should happen if you purchased from iTunes or ACX. If you have any problems with those, contact their customer support. No matter what, if they are unable to fulfill your purchase, contact me and I’ll make sure it happens.

♥♥♥

If you haven’t yet seen them, the new A Report Cheat Sheets are out! Click below to find them. Remember, spoiler ones sometimes contains mega spoilers!

Spoiler Cheat sheets July 2017

Non-Spoiler Cheat sheets July 2017

Author Interview – For Funsies

I get asked to do interviews sometimes, and I usually don’t accept too often, but I found a list of questions in different places and I thought it would be fun to fill out. Something outside of the typical questions I get that are usually all about the books.

I’ve tweaked and added a few question on my own of things I love. Maybe other authors can take the questions and answer, too. 🙂

Or maybe I’m boring. 🙂 Either or.

THE BASICS

When did you start writing?

I think when I was 16, I was trying to write poetry for a boy I liked. The boy didn’t stick around but the writing did. I didn’t really think of writing professionally until years later. At some point I leaped into trying to write novels. I wrote a very cruddy rough draft for a book in three weeks, and at the time I was very impressed with myself, and tried to write another very quickly. I still have those manuscripts tucked away to possibly never work on again.

What were you doing before you started working full time as a writer?

I was working from home mostly, although I’ve had a number of really odd jobs. I did some journalism work for a newspaper in a small town. I wrote many, many articles for websites, magazines. If you want to write books, I recommend not getting a job where you write all day. My brain quit after work writing that I rarely ever got around to wanting to write my own fiction pieces.

Do you write every day?

When in book writing mode, I’m usually at the desk writing in the mornings, although my work schedule sometimes shifts on me. Sometimes it is early morning and sometimes I am up late at night writing. I try to write at times I am feeling very alert and ready to write.

If I am on a deadline, I usually will spend 14 hours at a computer. Not good for your health. 🙂

What does your desk look like?

Right now, I’ve got a set up that I call ‘the rig’.

gallery_r3v_workstation

Crazy? Yes. Although often I’m on my laptop on the couch doing work there as well. I like being able to move around the house.

THE NITTY GRITTY

How long did it take you to write your first book?

The very first one took only a couple of weeks to write the first draft, and I wrote the sequel immediately after. They were pretty bad and I started writing other things, occasionally going back to them to perfect them. I’ve never published those.

That’s how you did things when you first started out back then. You wrote something, and while you were proud of it, you were new and knew it would need work. You study books on writing and then one day you find you start getting the hang of it.

Eventually, I got better, but it took a lot of work, a lot of reading up on how to write a story, and later I learned everything I could about the publishing industry. You never really stop learning.

Introductions itself only took four days to write, I was so excited to be writing it. Sometimes it is like that. Sometimes you can write a book in a week because you are fired up and sometimes you need a lot of time. Depends on the writer, how complicated the book is, etc. Starting a book is the easiest, or starting a series. All you have to do is write something interesting.

Where did you get the idea for the basis of your story?

I’m going to stick with The Academy series since that’s the most popular (although Spice God is good, one of my favorites, highly recommended, and yes, that’s my ego talking, and also because I love it.)

The Academy story really stemmed from the characters and a mix of almost true life events. The way the characters are so real to me really does help build up the plot. Sometimes you’ll hear me say “I don’t know what’s happening yet.” This is because I never put the characters in the situation yet, so I don’t know their reaction. They’ve surprised me. When you build strong characters, you end up just following them around in your head and see what they end up doing.

But really, I watched a few reverse harem animes, etc… One day I was hearing someone talk about Japan and how the Japanese will come up with some very wild and wacky animes and stories. He was suggesting that nothing was really too taboo for Japan because the Japanese separated fantasy from reality. It isn’t real. It is just a story or just a cartoon. They treat it as such.

I took this to heart when I considered writing a reverse harem story. I hadn’t seen it before in anything other than erotic fiction. There were plenty of those but I wanted to see what would happen if it were a slow romance. And I happen to love the slow build of Japanese romances, although I avoid the tragic endings.

But what he had said about separating your fantasy and reality gave me the courage to just write it how I wanted. What if I could combine a lot of my favorite types of characters and then see which ones fit together? And then what if they *had* do stick by one girl for whatever reason? Sounds taboo to say “nine guys with one girl romantically” but the challenge was to get people to accept it gradually. This is why I never really announced what was in it. I let people figure it out as they go through the books.

The Academy itself was stemmed from the idea of being the reason they had to stick together. Especially with Ghost Bird, their ages make this a reality as well. Sang’s young and so are the guys, so there are limitations.

Some of the anime that are out about reverse harem, including some I watched when I was tossing the idea around:

anime

Where’d you get the ideas for the characters?

Every character sprung from a mix of all kinds of places. I’ve often said I’ve been a big fan of things like anime and video games.  I’ve often said to readers, in some interviews and in social media, my love of things like Ouran High School Host Club, Darker than Black, Girl’s Side, Mystic Messenger, Fullmetal Alchemist, Skyrim, Dragon Age, etc.

Each game or anime will basically take a character arc type, a stereotype about people. For a character, you may start with a real person, and then bend it to a character arc type, add some flavor, and you’ve got someone new, someone lifelike.

For example, I have a friend I refer to all the time for Silas. “Real Silas” and I have been friends for many years. He came to America from Greece when he was about ten. He actually does amazing woodwork and he’s always telling me about how he’d love to one day buy a boat to sail.

You take him, and give him a character arc type, like someone who loves baseball and loves sports and is passionate about it (a common arc type used in Girl’s Side and other games) and maybe give him some quirks from something else (strong, silent type like from Ouran High School), maybe something from someone like Farkas from Skyrim, simply strong, always there, doesn’t need to say a lot, etc.

You just chop all those pieces up, mix them together, bam, you get a Silas Korba, a Greek who moved to the States when he was young, is okay with construction, loves the sea, loves baseball, strong silent type. They’re all pretty much like that: real life mixed with this, that and the other.

Silas Example

How much real life is in the fiction? How much do you take from real life and add it to the books?

Very often. For example, the camping scenes are ones I experienced when I was younger going to girl’s camp every year. The church turned diner was a church on my old street in South Carolina, and I’ve worked in a diner-type restaurant, so I had some background in this. Obviously, Charleston itself is real. Victor’s house is a real location. So many locations are just real life.

There are a lot of characters based on real people (only added to and mixed up with other things, as mentioned). Scenes you’ll see like in the hospital, I grew up going into a lot of hospitals so that is familiar territory for me, the school, the bomb threats, a lot of things. A surprising amount now that I’m thinking of it, but that’s kind of what you do. That and you mix it together with stuff you’ve read and played video games of and TV. I mean, the question essentially boils down to ‘where do you get your ideas’? And the answer is just ‘everywhere’. I think if you ask any author anywhere about this, they’ll say the same thing. Generally stolen from life, the universe, and all the things — just spruced up a bit so it is somewhat believable.

What’s it like to be a full time writer?

It is much busier than I thought it would be like. I think I imagined sitting in a cabin in the middle of the woods, waking up to make breakfast, sit at a computer and write, and then after a good session, you take a walk, play a video game. The dream life. 🙂

The reality is I spend a lot of time managing different aspects of the work. A lot of it is general indie based work, like making covers, marketing, responding to emails. I could spend hours in emails and still not get to anything else.

Basically, it is the freelance-type work I used to do before, only with 200% more to do and less time to do it in. 🙂 This is probably self bias, but it just feels like it. I was someone who always just loved free time over anything else.

Most of what I enjoy about the work is the writing, so a lot of my writing friends will often hear me complaining about the ‘work’ part but I never consider the writing to be work. That’s the fun. I’d rather do that.

Have any more questions for me? The best way to reach me is via email. Some I add to newsletters, so don’t forget to join that, too.

THANK YOU – USA Today – Black and Green

As always, this is you all.

A bestseller list doesn’t happen without you. This isn’t like I ran the fastest mile, or performed a backflip on a polar bear. Bestselling lists takes thousands of people coming together to buy the same book at the same moment.

This is readers showing interest and wanting to be part of this world.

Thanks for being a part of this.

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