Updates for November – As I Write Resurgence and …bigger news?

I am still working on/writing the next Academy book/still in progress. (DON’T WORRY, I’M WORKING ON IT. THANK YOU FOR BEING PATIENT WITH ME.) 

I wanted to get that out of the way before anyone asked about it. 🙂 Okay? Okay.

Updated news, you might notice this page has updated:

As I Write

A few changes:

I’ve added Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest delivery systems! If you frequent a site, you can follow me and get posts/updates to your favorite stories that I’m loading online.

I have goals (read below for more details). But I’d essentially like to have most, if not all of my books in the future posted for free in this way (yes, including Academy). (Wait, what?) Yes, Academy books posted chapter by chapter instead of waiting eons for the next 100k word monster to get out and be completed. HOWEVER, I have to meet certain goals, okay? And yes, you can help me.

There will be ads. This will be how I can make this work. I’ll try not to get ridiculous about it. These ads only show up in As I Write areas. If you’re in the normal CL Stone newsletter or Facebook page, you’ll get the normal just updates from me and no ads. We’ll keep it separate.

I’m working on my delivery process. I had a few problems with the old delivery system, basically it was umpteen steps every week to get you guys an update. For now, I think what I can do is link you all to chapters using Google Docs, as well as try to post sections directly to Facebook/Instagram, etc. (I don’t know how this will work! You’ll see experiments from me. Hang in there.)

This all may change as we go, okay?

Wait, how are we getting Academy online? And for free??!?!

Essentially, thanks to you all and continued support with people buying books regularly, I make enough now that I have time to try this out.

This has been my goal from the beginning. FROM DAY ONE.

My ultimate goal is to post stories online and never have to let you guys pay for any more stories, but I still make enough of an income that I can live on via ads. (Audiobooks excluded, as…well, they’re expensive to make and Brilliance will continue to create audiobooks for the Ghost Bird/Scarab Beetle books.) Also, if I ever sell a book to a major book publisher, those won’t be free. But! Those might be rare and far between.

That doesn’t mean the books in the future may never go onto Amazon/ Barnes, etc., okay?  Some people DO prefer to wait until books are done and uploaded to their favorite retailers. Once a Ghost Bird/Scarab Beetle book is completed, it’ll be collected and posted in the usual spots until the collections are completed.

This is my chance to get books out there online for free, and the edited/revised versions may be found in the future on Amazon for you to buy/download and keep.

I don’t know when I’ll start with uploading Academy things. I’m in an experimental mode now so I’m using other stories to test. However! You’ll for sure see updates from me about it as we go.

If that all sounds good to you, that’s great! 🙂 But here is what I need from you:

  1. Sign up on As I Write Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest and newsletter. (Use whichever one you’d like.)
  2. Share with friends who like free stories.
  3. Comment and like on the stories you actually love.
  4. Show support for any sponsored posts.

That’s it! 🙂 That’s all I’ve got. As we grow, you know how this works, I’ll be able to charge more on ads. Basically once the income is replaced, I can just continue to write for free this way and the books for sale will just be if you happened to want it that way.

This might take a while. 🙂 It may never happen that I can take Academy books (Ghost Bird and Scarab Beetle) into this free mode completely (make free versions available online). However! I plan on trying my best and to put any future Academy series online this way. I just a few dollars for coffee, okay? Coffee = stories get written.

This is an experiment, okay? Goal is free stories forever, with ads for income. I’ll fix as I go. Anyway, thank you all very much for reading this.  If you read all the way down here, YOU are my favorite. Thank you. <3 If I haven’t answered something you’re curious about here, you can email me (clstone@arcatopublishing.com). Just no asking for when the next book is out. 🙂 You know as soon as I do. I’m not good at secrets.

What happened to summer?!? – Updates from the Workshop

Hey reader peeps!

This one has a few work details below, and it’s kind of boring, so to get the important stuff out of the way:

  • Currently working on Tempest AND (kinda sorta) the follow up book for Scarab Beetle (The last two in the series)
  • Doing good so far *two thumbs up*
  • I don’t have a release date (I calculate this when I’m actually done with  drafts and I’ve got schedules down for editors.)
  • Books that will release after Tempest is done: Meeting Sang – Nathan, Ghost Bird – Unsung Requiem

And a small update on the merch store, it’s getting an overhaul, so there is a close out sale going on. It should close sometime in August and then re-open in September. I’ll have more information on the re-open later. At first it might just have books as we’re reorganizing things but hang in there and we’ll get new items and old favorites out to you all soon.

That’s it I think? Probably the most asked questions there. IF you care to dive into details, read below. If not, look for updates via the newsletter. 🙂


Current work systems

Work systems for individuals, especially those who work alone, often evolve, and I keep evolving my own systems. I listen to a lot of work-ish type podcasts (Cortex lately, among others) .  Obviously what works for me doesn’t really work for everyone, and other author’s systems of writing doesn’t really work for myself. You just learn over time what does work, and hope to find some middle ground of being productive and not suffering from a burnout from over-working.

(By the way, if you’re noticing some authors pumping out books every other month, and you care about them, ask them how they are doing, okay? Make sure they’re taking time out for themselves and family. Writers get a lot of pressure to produce very, very quickly and get compared to each other far too often if they aren’t “keeping up”. Don’t let them feel like they’re just a book factory. Let them know you appreciate the work no matter the pace of production. 🙂 )

I’m in the middle of a process of going back through all of the Scarab Beetle books to take full notes. It’s a process that feels so slow when I’m used to getting at least a couple thousand words down at a time when in writing mode. I’m in ‘writing mode’ but I’ve found that I really just need to sit down and read and make notes and finish that part of the work before getting too much further into writing the book.

So I’m in a process of going through the Scarab Beetle series, reading, taking notes of things readers probably missed that I want to bring attention back to, loose threads that need to be closed, noting people and references I want to bring into light again, stuff people have asked about the characters and what they want to know that I can also throw in and show, etc. It’s all the needed stuff when you’re trying to wrap up a series.

But once this process is done, I’ve got the information in notes and in my head, my goal is to go ahead and finish up the last two books really close to one another. So bam and bam, they’re done. Monday – Friday during my normal writing hours in the morning, I’m working on the notes and prep work to finish up, and that will get replaced in a few weeks with diving back into the writing. (I’ve got to dig some info out of Ghost Bird, too, since they go to the camp during these two books, so gotta get those timeline notes together.)

Because I’m wanting to do it this way, and it’s taking time, I’ve gone ahead and taken some time to schedule extra writing time into my weekends. (When do I eat and sleep? Is this why I can never finish Breath of the Wild or Far Cry 5?!?!)

Saturdays: For a couple of hours in the morning, I’m working on the next Meeting Sang.

Sundays: Again for just a couple of hours, getting whatever words I can for Unsung Requiem.

I’m not writing every single weekend, it’s just most weekends when I’m not out of town or need to do something with family. Or I just need a break for the day because everyone needs a day off now and again. But I feel like, the way I’ve got it set up, it’s a reasonable pace to keep me a tiny bit more productive while basically trying to complete four books at the same time. Sort of.

But when I marked off an approximate schedule when the rough drafts will be done, it looks like the bigger books will get completed about the same time.  (So like besides Meeting Sang stories, which will obviously get done a bit sooner.) Basically I think it’ll look to most readers like I’m in quiet mode for five months and then suddenly a slew of books released at the same time. Which is exciting but I know readers will be asking what I’m up to. So if you see someone commenting and asking about it, do me a favor and point to this blog post, ok? I mean if they really want to know. 🙂

Anyway, for those who do read this post, keeping you updated on the workload. I’m also working on a new site which includes the additional stories from As I Write plus some other bonus material for people who like the Academy series as well. It’s going a bit slow as I *thought* I’d do it in WordPress, but I discovered Wix had a better system for what I was going for. It’s just a bit slow going. I’m one of those people who has to think and test and think and test a lot before releasing a new project thing. But I hope to add unique things to it, like dossiers of characters and cool surprises. Interactive. Audio. Video. Pictures. Like the notes I’m taking now for Scarab Beetle, I hope to duplicate to this so you all get to see them after the books are out. I think that would be interesting to readers.

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit about work and processes. If you have thoughts or comments or questions, as always, email me at clstone@arcatopublishing.com and I’ll get back to you when I can.

 

Do What You Love – Follow Your Heart

Hey everyone!

It has been a while since I’ve been around fully. Once LCR was in the pipeline to be released, it seemed like a good time to take a month surrounding the release as a break. It was my last chance to visit family and take some serious time out before the rest of the year and all the things I wanted to work on and do. I was planning out my life, not just writing but also just general things. Goals to accomplish and any adventures to go on or projects that were just waiting to be completed.

I also got an interesting couple of questions in emails while on the road and wanted to talk about it. It kind of stuck with me. It was from an author still new to the scene and the whole letter was pretty personal but I wanted to reflect a bit on the very core of the thing.

Two parts in particular that was asked: How do you handle negativity that these days seems to come no matter what action you take? And also, how do you decide what you do as an author, say like deciding what to write and when and how much time to spend on it, etc?

For me, the answer I have for it is pretty simple. I don’t really have time for the negative side because I try to focus most of time time on being productive, happy and doing things that I enjoy doing. I decide to write what makes me happy because that’s where I feel most confident I’ll be satisfied with the results.

Seems easy, right? But it surprises me when some people struggle with this in some way.

Some of us have to do certain jobs because that’s how we survive in life. I bused tables in restaurants and did my share of housekeeping in hotels and all sorts of crazy jobs. Even in those jobs, I made the most of what I could, worked hard, got raises and promotions or moved on to better things when opportunities came up.

With writing, before the indie world, I was doing the same thing. I wrote books that I thought would ‘give me a better job’. I was ready to let go of books to editors and agents who would tell me what was best, what was popular, and write to order basically. That’s usually what happens there, you’re writing something that fits what other people want. And occasionally I still enjoy trying to do that because I find it a challenge and I like a good one.

But being indie opened a whole new world for me. Here was the chance, for once, to write what I loved. I had the opportunity to put it out into the world and if people did like it, they could buy the next one. You get the first one free, you get the previews to see if you want the next one. You can even just get it from Scribd, read them all (or listen to them all!) plus more. Libraries usually have them. Whatever you want to do.

And what a wonderful opportunity it has been! I mean over a dozen books in, I’m still trying to get the details right! 🙂 And I’ve got loads of challenges like every other author faces every single day. It’s the stuff I signed up for trying to do it pretty much solo for the past six or so years (and counting)!

I am very grateful for the chance to be able to say I’m doing what I love, writing the things I love.

But the follow up question always is, what about fans that ask you to write this or that? The answer is, you can. But it depends on what your goals are and what you’re after.

See, I already spent a lot of time doing what other people want me to do. If it was writing for a publisher, they got the chance to tell me what they wanted to see, how to change it, etc. Or if it was a job, they could tell me what to do, take out that trash or tidy that room or be on their schedule.

And if it was about money, then maybe yes, I’d listen to people telling me what to write or how to write it. And I’m not talking like line editing or anything like that. I’m saying the core of your story, what books you write, how long the books are, what goes in them, sex or no sex, this character or not and how they behave, etc.

But then, whose story is it? Not mine. And if I’m going to be working this long and hard at something, wouldn’t I rather do it my own way, if I have that opportunity?

But if you keep it on writing the things you really love, do it the way you really want to do it, it can make a huge difference on everything. You’ll always enjoy it, so when people are being negative, it doesn’t matter. You are enjoying it, no one else has to, and anyone that DOES enjoy it, those people are getting something out of it for themselves, they aren’t reading it for you. But it is great if you’re able to make someone else’s week or weekend reading something they too enjoy and get something out of.

A lot of authors are suffering from burn out and getting severe anxiety from all the pressure from readers (and sometimes other authors) that really doesn’t need to be there. Write this particular genre, release often, be perfect, never complain even when people are threatening you harm or your family harm or whatever else.  We’ve had several authors quit and many more just not even come out to share their ideas with the world because of fear from readers and other authors.

But here’s the secret, and I hope other authors, if you need to do this to be happy with what you’re doing, then I hope you’ll do it or find what does work for you.

Write what you love, and make no apologies for it. You can’t customize your book for every reader. And the moment you start trying to do so, the mindset turns from quality life and love that you have pouring into your book, and it turns into ‘what kind of thing can I write will make the most money right now and makes everyone else happy’. And the ‘make everyone else happy’ is totally impossible. Doesn’t really happen.

And if money is important to you personally, okay. Writing might not be the easiest way to make money (it is actually difficult, I don’t recommend for true wealth building), but you can if you’d like.

But it’s just not the life I live. If something’s broken, let me know and I’ll fix it. Site is down, missing commas, forgot to email you back, let me know and I get it fixed when I can. I just don’t dwell on it. I fix it when the problems arise and then try to avoid in the future. That’s pretty much all you can do.

And please, please, please readers or authors, if there is something that’s making you unhappy in your life, someone negative or perhaps someone threatening harm, get away from that. Even if it’s me. If I’m making you unhappy, don’t let me do that to you. 🙂 Go find your happiness, whatever it is.

Things that make ME happy:

  • Writing stories I truly love, where ever my imagination takes it.
  • Playing video games with friends.
  • Spending time with family and friends when I can.
  • Enjoying working on fun projects, either for myself or things I share.
  • Knowing somewhere in the world, maybe one other person (could be you!) got some enjoyment out of it.

Find the things that make you happy, and do it. Love every moment, because we don’t have that many to experience.

Speaking of which, I’m excited to start getting back into more writing, and also maybe some side projects. I’ll get a bit more into it in the next couple of weeks. I have to get back to planning things out. If you had questions or just wanted to comment, I hope you do. I’m not always on places like Facebook or anything but I am always in my email box. clstone@arcatopublishing.com if you had anything, or otherwise, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter. I always just release a newsletter when there is something important coming up like a book or project or something.

Looking forward to all the fun things I can share with anyone who is interested!

By the way, this video below is just one of the very many positive people I follow in my life. Chrome and his pup Disco are awesome. Love that kind of outlook on life in general. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration from that or something else today.

From the Nether – A Late April Update!

So much happening this month everyone! And in the next few months!

Love’s Cruel Redemption will be out in May. So excited that you all will finally get to read this!

Favored is already up and available on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Don’t forget to check it out. If you followed along in As I Write, you’ve probably got everything. This is the same, just a few editing tweaks but nothing that would change the story significantly.

In addition, I was participating in a fun fairy tale project. My story, The Girl in the Bearskin, is based off of one of my favorite Grimm stories. It is a complete story in itself. I haven’t done one of those in a long, long time. So it was fun to try to wrap up everything nicely in the single book.

WHAT’S NEXT?

TEMPEST is on my radar next. I’m getting my notes together to start doing a rough draft over the summer.

AS I WRITE will be continuing, but it is on hold for now. There were a few issues with how it was handled prior. Not bad things, just inconvenient. I’m working on a better delivery and notification system but had to kind of pause the progress trying to get Love’s Cruel Redemption into the pipeline and ready to go. I’m looking at the best method to where it is simple for me to upload and go, and for you to learn about it and download.

I’m working on it and very excited to see what form it’ll become!

I’ll be doing a bit of traveling as well this summer, so I might find a place to post pics of this somewhere. Instagram maybe?

Not a lot of info in this one, just that things are coming along. Thought it might help at least to know things are going well.  I hope everyone will be looking forward to May, and to the summer ahead!

 

Ghost Bird cover an example of reverse harem in fiction

Reverse Harem in Western Fiction

In a previous article about where reverse harem actually came from, it discusses how in Japanese anime and manga (and fiction worlds in general) a female (hetero) or male (yaoi) can be the center of attention of several different characters, mostly male, but occasionally with a female or trans person included.  However, in Japanese stories, most often the main character will pick one of the suitors.

In Western fiction, the tone has a slight change, where instead of a main character choosing one partner, they could end up with all, some or follow traditional Japanese style and pick one. The style is usually way more obvious, with characters admitting their love to the central character directly.

The options in Western fiction have opened up considerably. While some call it polyamory, a real life reverse harem relationship it is actually a subset type of polyamory. The possibility of outside relationships among the suitors is often completely ignored. However, the expectation in fiction, as noted, is that the main character is the center of attention of everyone.

With the numerous ways a story could be told, reverse harem being introduced into western fiction has been met with a bit of confusion from readers as to what they can expect .

Defining Reverse Harem in Fiction for the West

It’s important to understand that reverse harem doesn’t actually dictate heat level when it comes to expectation in the trope. Just like any romance story, there are sweet romances, more Christian-like romances, erotic romances, etc. Unlike menage stories (derived from ménage à trois to mean three people in a relationship) or gangbang stories (one person being the center of sexual attention from many people), where the trope’s expectation is more on the sexual dynamics, reverse harem is strongly connected to the romance part of the story, not the sex. While sex may be included in the story, how the relationship turns out and the attention one gets throughout determines if the story is a reverse harem.

It’s similar in the idea of a gay or lesbian or polyamory (where all parties are dating openly) stories. A gay romance doesn’t necessarily mean the main character is shown in a sexual relationship. For an example in a reverse harem context, a story could be a sweet romance about a boy who goes to an all boy school, and he joins a group of friends who are suddenly giving him romantic attention. The story could end with a kiss only and still be considered a reverse harem.

Like in the Japanese style, the options for romantic interests or friendships are endless. A girl could be the center of attention with friends who act very sweet with her, and then suddenly dates one or multiple of the guys, and some of the guys remain friends only. The main core of the story is still there is a main character who is the center of a lot of attention.

And also like the Japanese style, the men in a reverse harem also don’t necessarily need to be friends or even friendly to each other. Villains in the story can turn into love interests. Men may fight over the main character. They may not like the main character’s choice in being with other people, but will accept it, not really becoming friends with the others, but having a mutual understanding this is what they do to continue a relationship with a main character.

The Broad Spectrum of Options

With so many variations of reverse harem possible in fiction, it can sometimes be difficult to find a story one may want to read. Readers sometimes want very specific types of stories, like stories with or without bi-sexual characters, or one prefers a male main character getting male attention, etc.

Further keywords may be necessary to develop as the reverse harem trope splinters further. The thing to keep in mind when in regards to this type of romance story is to remember that you could drop in ‘reverse harem’ as a replacement to ‘romance’. For example, if one is looking for a lesbian romance, it doesn’t work to type in ‘romance’ in a search engine. Many, many results will appear. Likewise, with reverse harem having so many options, it would be the same with dropping that term into a search bar to look for a single type of story. Many results, but not necessarily all of them being what a reader wants.

Subsequently, romance shows up in some stories, like fantasy or suspense, but doesn’t necessarily dictate the story is a romance. So someone could write a fantasy with a romance sub plot. It works the same with a reverse harem. A fantasy could have a reverse harem sub plot.

With all the ways stories could be written, authors have a lot of options. Diving too far into how a story goes and putting it into a blurb sometimes can ruin a book for those who aren’t happy with spoilers. However, readers have a long tradition of having expectations of what is in a story before reading. The large publisher Harlequin publishes tons of books based on tropes they’ve come to understand readers really want. Some examples like doctor-patient romances, finding a new dad for a new mother, falling in love with a boss, etc. These are very specific tropes that are recreated over and over in various ways. In many cases one can tell the heat level of a book, or if the book includes possibly bisexual content depending on the cover and the blurb for the book.

A writer who writes doctor-patient romances doesn’t always follow Harlequin tropes to those specifications. Sometimes an individual author develops a certain type of trope within a certain type of sub genre. They could also vary the endings, shaking up expectations, often for the purpose of being less predictable.

Likewise, reverse harem takes on various shades of different types of heat levels and extends into different tropes. So treating reverse harem no differently than romance in regards to looking for such a story, if the type of romance matters to the reader, further research into the blurb, the cover and certain tell-tale signs can depict some details. Unless one reads a full synopsis, it could still be a mystery to how the book ends. Some readers like very predictable stories (Harlequin-style story development) and some like to be surprised. As always, everything has variations and a reader may need to follow a publisher or author who tends to write to a certain style. (Although some authors are known to shake things up.)

Thanks for reading. In later posts there will be examples of reverse harem in anime, manga, video games, books and more, with many personal recommendations. If there are any questions, feel free to email me, and your questions may be pulled together for follow up articles.

 

 

ouran high school host club reverse harem example

A Guide to Reverse Harem: What is Reverse Harem?

Reverse harem has been garnering a lot of questions in many industries, but the definition changes slightly on occasion. It is an unusual term, but this article series will go into the origin, and the expectations from an audience in different types of media.

Where does the Reverse Harem term come from?

The word harem derives from the Japanese ハーレムもの or harumumono and it literally just means a love triangle or polygamous type relationship where a single person is getting attention from multiple people. Unlike a love triangle, where there are usually two people clamoring for a single person’s affection, the number of people can sometimes be three or more.

However, it is important to note that sometimes in anime or manga, a harumumono can often be just two love interests for the main character, while other supporting potential love interests are usually sweet but are completely just friends only. Those additional sweet friend interests are still giving attention to the main character, in a few very subtle romantic moments that pretty much get glossed over later.

There are actually several different types of harems. For example, when a girl (yuri) or a guy (hetero) is getting attention from a group of women, this is called a ‘male harem’ or sometimes people call it seraglios, which is a Turkish term meaning the place (usually apartments) where a man keeps his wives or concubines. 

When a male (yaoi) or female (hetero) is the center of attention for a group of males, this is usually called male harem, reverse harem, or sometimes 逆ハーレム or gyaku hāremuGyaku translates to reverse or upside down.

It is important to note that even in a hetero or even a yaoi story, often there is also a female(s) in the harem who is also after the attention of the main character, although at times this person might just be a friend. There could be some hints that this person is actually romantically attracted to the central character. The same could be true for a seraglios or harem only with a male(s) being around. There may also be a trans-male or trans-female character in either of the types of harems. In some cases, the romantic options fall in love with or are in love with each other. (Example: The twins in the anime and manga series Ouran High School Host Club.) Despite this other relationship, those characters still spend a lot of attention on the main character.

What does a reverse harem story look like?

When it comes to anime and manga, the variations are numerous, but often enough, a male or female character acts as the center of the story. Sometimes the main character has a history of trouble or sometimes the main character is leading a very normal life but is suddenly thrust into unusual circumstances.

At the core of the story, there is a reason why all these other males are focusing on this one central character, a reason for all of them to stay together. The relationship between the central character and the guys usually develop because they are together for quite a while and they just naturally develop feelings — often in the very subtle Japanese standard of romance.

Is a relationship like this typical in Japan?

A lot of this make sense when understanding the Japanese when it comes to relationships. Jealousy is severely suppressed in the culture, and a girl or guy could go out repeatedly with others until she’s in a committed relationship. However, even in a committed relationship, even when married, it isn’t totally uncommon for a man or woman to go out with friends, both male and female. A partner won’t condemn or deny their partner the ability to do what they want.

While cheating is never really acceptable on the forefront, showing jealousy over a girlfriend or wife who happens to be out with another partner, even overnight, is simply not shown. This is a very, very generalization of the culture and doesn’t depict individuals in any way. If a woman or man does catch their partner in the act or is just unhappy with the lack of attention, they can and will break up with a person or asks for a divorce — usually quietly and without drawing attention to it.

While polyamory agreements like in western societies aren’t really discussed (although it sometimes rarely happens), the culture dictates one to turn a blind eye. This gets way more complicated in the culture, but for simplicity, showing jealousy just isn’t cool. So a man showing up with his wife at a party may run into other men or women openly flirting with his wife, and he may not say anything about it or he may even encourage it — in the very polite Japanese way.

However, to understand the stories, it is also important to understand the very huge separation of ‘fantasy’ versus ‘reality’ when it comes to fiction in Japan. Japan is known in the west to be ‘pretty out there’ when it comes to the types of themes in their worlds (think tentacle monsters having sex with women).

This is because Japanese have a firm grasp of ‘this is fiction’. They don’t really believe in a story or anime or movie reflecting real life desires. It’s just…fiction. It’s just fantasy. They are completely separate from reality. No one is hurt when it is ink on a page, so going wild with thoughts or ideas is very much a thing. So just because you see it in anime, it doesn’t really mean there are people doing that in Japan. They could see poly relationships in the same way as they see tentacle monsters or vampires, it is just fantasy and doesn’t necessarily relate to real life.

Back on track: What happens at the end of reverse harem stories?

While this may change regarding anime and manga, the majority of stories usually end up with the main character either voluntarily or through unusual circumstances (other characters move on, they die, etc.) picking a final person to commit to.

This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the story is open ended and you get a sense of they could be together in a happily ever after sort of way. Sometimes the main character picks one, but the other characters are still around her a lot, still flirting.

This is the basis for many, many anime, manga and other media within Japan, and also expanding into Chinese, Korean and other markets globally. The style hasn’t translated too often into western mainstream markets except in some rare instances, although it is gaining popularity in the fiction book market. But more about that in the next article: Reverse Harem in Western Fiction.

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. 🙂