Ugh…

It’s been a hellish week. I haven’t gotten much done in regards to writing due to a fibromyalgia flare, combined with nausea from acclimation to birth control.

Also, I’ve been having some difficulty with the chapter I’m on of Resurrection. Mainly because I think it would work better in Orell’s point of view — but I haven’t used it before in the book and I don’t know if I will again. Also, I need to dip Xalidora’s (other villain) thoughts, because he’s semi-telepathic. My inner censor is screaming, “Head-hopping! Bad girl! No donut!” 🙄

*beats head against desk*

I’m probably going to end up handwriting it — as for some reason, that seems to help anytime I get into a sitch like this. Unfortunately, my hands don’t tolerate it as well as they used to. *muttergrumble*

In regards to pen names, at this point I’m pretty much wavering between Elisabeth N. Morgan and Elisabeth Drake. Someone commented on my LJ post about the subject that there was a famous court case some years back regarding an Elizabeth Morgan, so there might be some negative associations with the name. However, I really do like it — but I like Elisabeth Drake, as well. (Which is a pen name I’d considered before.)

I’m so indecisive. 🙄

Also working on stuff for A&B — next lecture is due tomorrow, so I need to get that finished sometime today. I’ve got it mostly written from last class, but there are a few things I’m going to add/edit.

Book in a Week starts today over at Evolution. I’ve got a 10k goal for this week. Let’s see if I can do it. *crosses fingers*

Pondering on Pen Names

By this point, most of you know I’m intending on finishing Resurrection and Stronger than the Night and submitting both this year. Hopefully I can have Resurrection in the mail by May. (Perhaps sooner, but I’m not going to hedge any bets on that, what with my health and all.)

This has gotten me thinking about pen names. When I very first started writing, I intended to publish under my legal name, Heidi Elizabeth Smith. My loathing for that name has grown over the years, though, and I’ve since instead used H. E. Smith.

However, I’ve been considering changing my name. At this point, what I’m leaning towards the most is Elisabeth Nonny Morgan, when my male and I are handfasted, married, or whatever we decide to do. If I change my name to that, I’d use it as either Elisabeth Morgan or Elisabeth N. Morgan. Which I like — it looks and sounds very elegant.

There’s other names I’ve considered using for pseuds at various points, but that’s not quite the dilemma I’m running into.

The other day, I found some old notes regarding the world setting for Resurrection. I’d forgotten that I’d connected it with the world for Stronger. Not directly — multiple worlds are connected by portals which powerful mages/shamans/etc can open. There’s a subplot in the book I had plotted involving the MC and a character from the vampire homeworld.

So… Stronger is fantasy/romance crossover. Resurrection and the rest of the books set on the Shifter World will be erotic romance. But they’re both set in the same universe. Do I use the same pseudonym for them, or different ones?

To make it even more complicated… I have an epic fantasy trilogy, Shadow’s Blade, that takes place in the distant past of the vampire homeworld. As in, thousands of years ago. I have another book plotted, A Cry For Elaine, that is set in the same world, about 500 years behind present day, which is fantasy/romance a la Jacqueline Carey. (And this isn’t counting books I have in other unconnected settings.)

So I have three, perhaps four, different classes of fiction all set in the same universe. Do I use the same name for all of them? Do I use different names per series / obvious setting? Like, use one for Stronger and the other books in that series, a different one for Shadow’s and A Cry For Elaine and other books, etc?

Should I use one for the stuff in that particular connected setting and use pseuds for other work? Or should I just give it all up and use one name for everything?

I really don’t know. I’ve heard from writers who span genres that it’s best to use pseudonyms, even if you’re open about them on your website and in author bios in the books. On the other hand, with so much connected, it might make more sense to write them under one name.

… help?

Plans and Goals

Okay, so it seems to be another one of those days… *sigh* Not hurting as badly as I was yesterday but am possibly having more difficulty concentrating. Grumble.

The past few months have been … interesting, in a number of different ways. Back in January, I discovered the root of a three-year-long writing block. I figured, even with making the realisation, I’d still have lots of crap to struggle with before I broke through.

Every time I started working on a project, I’d feel really good at first. I’d start to get back into the “zone.” Feel great about my writing. But then something would happen. Hell, not even that. I’d start feeling depressed and crappy around writing. I attributed it to a lot of different things — the fibromyalgia, my ex-fiance’s discouragement, visceral memories surrounding old WIPs, Seasonal Affective Disorder, starting the project too early, not having people around to write or brainstorm with, not getting the support I needed, etc.

This isn’t to say that they didn’t contribute. I’m sure all of them played a role to some extent. At the very least, they exacerbated an existing condition.

So when I started to feel good about writing again in January… well. I figured it wouldn’t last. I figured by mid-February, I’d be back to feeling depressed. Certainly by now.

Except I haven’t. I still feel confident about my writing in a way I haven’t for … dear gods. Three years, when I left college in order to pursue my writing career. I was willing to do whatever it took and I believed I could do it.

And then… so much happened. *sighs* It’s all a long story, so I’m not going to get into it – most of y’all have already heard it and those who haven’t can ask, if interested. Suffice it to say I got knocked majorly off track.

So … to be feeling like I did three years ago, only … stronger than that. More confident and less arrogant. Because — I know I can do this.

The plan, as of now, is to finish Resurrection, do a one-pass revision, and submit it. If it sells, I’ve got enough planned in that setting that I could do other books in it, as well. I’ll be hitting the ebook market with it, as it’s non-trad erotic romance. Ebooks may not bring in the advances, but if they take off, it’s a good amount of steady income. Right now, something steady, even if it’s not a lot, would be enough.

At the same time, I’m going to rewrite Stronger — which at this point will involve writing some 30k-odd new words — do another pass on it, and start agent/publisher-hunting.

I’m also teaching A&B at Evolution and will be developing a novel for that, too.

I’m going to do this.

Wow.

It’s just the year for discoveries, I guess.

and I were talking yesterday afternoon about writing and epublications, after reading this thread over at Romance Divas. (Note: I believe you need to be a registered member to read the forums.) We got talking about erotica/erotic romance WIPs and publishing and such.

I happened to remember one WIP I’d been working on a few years ago, Resurrection. Some of you might remember it as the spawn of that story I wrote where the shapeshifter fucked the Dragonlord back to life. (If you haven’t noticed, yes, I come up with weird premises. ^_^)

Long story short, I stopped working on it that summer. Stopped working on pretty much anything erotic in nature, to be honest. Writing erotic fiction while with someone who would promise sex, tease, not follow through, play mind and control games surrounding anything sexual, and have freak-outs about the content of my work lasting hours to days… well. Let’s just put it this way, it wasn’t pleasant. Then everything went to hell in a handbasket at FM, and I didn’t have anywhere near the energy to deal with it, so set it aside.

It stayed set aside.

So I went to look at it again yesterday, curious, as I couldn’t remember exactly how far I’d gotten on the WIP. I’d thought I’d gotten about nine chapters in, out of an estimated thirtyish. Not surprising, because that’s all that was in its folder. But, I vaguely recalled getting to chapter thirteen. Considering Summer 2003 is pretty much a blur at this point–there was so much going on, between FM, writing, Robert, soul-searching, etc–I really didn’t think anything I’d found would surprise me.

Hah. Hah. Hah.

I spent a good hour just tracking down files. Back then, I was shuffling between using Robert’s desktop and laptop, my laptop, and Vel’s desktop and saving stuff to the network. Between migraines exacerbated by the brightness of my monitor and my then-chronic tendonitis due to ergonomic stress, finding a setup that worked was difficult. The following summer, I was mostly using Shay’s Pele, because of the fried laptop motherboard, and my Compaq 233, which then died. Nutshell version, while I tried to keep everything mostly organised, I ended up with multiple copies of files in multiple different places. Tracking everything down… pain. in. the. ass.

But when all was said and done, I found I’d written up to chapter seventeen. That floored me. I knew I’d gotten further than nine, but … seventeen!?

Upon closer inspection, several of the chapters preceeding and including seventeen are incomplete. That could be because I skipped the scene when I started having trouble with it (amusingly, most of the cut-offs are right around the beginning or in the middle of a sex scene). It could also be that I backed up an older copy of the files; as I had multiple instances of the folders, I only checked to make sure everything was there. I didn’t compare dates. Either is equally possible.

I double-checked the outline. 17/26. That’s roughly two-thirds of the way through.

I’m beating my head against the metaphorical keyboard here. Seventeen. And I didn’t finish it!?

*shakes head*

Reading through the MS… it needs work. The first nine chapters are pretty damn good, imo. After that point… well, you can tell I was starting to have trouble. I don’t think it’s anything that won’t need some minor rewriting, though. Description, for the most part, kicks ass, especially in the first half. Dialogue… could use some work, especially in regards to character delineation.

Most of it? Stuff I can do in a one-pass revision. No big deal.

So.

Current game plan?

I’m not stopping work on Stronger. I definitely need to get that finished. But I don’t see any reason not to work on Resurrection at the same time. While it definitely won’t fit print market, there’s a lot more in the way of reputable erotic romance epublishers than there was three years ago. (At that point, Ellora’s Cave was about it, or at least, the only one I ever heard about.)

So Beyond Temptation goes on backburner. With all luck, I can get the rough finished within the month, considering I have essentially ten scenes to write.

*crosses fingers*

Wish me luck!

Dear gods…

(x-posted from the LJ. Originally posted 02-0-06.)

For the first time in nearly three years, I believe I can do it. Deep down, I believe.

I used to believe that I could–that I *would*–be published. That I’d manage to make it. Break out. Affect change, if even in my own quiet little way. Even a tiny pebble dropped into the waves ripples outward, after all.

I don’t know exactly what happened, or maybe it was everything combined… but something in me *broke* three years ago. Cause I’d try to tell myself it was true, try to force myself to believe it, but it was like my heart was … empty. Like where there’d once been a well of hope and determination, there was a gaping hole… the abyss.

I don’t know what changed. I don’t know if it was the realisation I made a few weeks ago regarding writing, or if that was only the catalyst… but I have hope again. Determination. And confidence.

I’ll do it. I *know* I will… and this time it’s not me parroting words in a vain effort to convince myself. I *believe* it.

And that… that feeling is euphoric.

Further realisations…

(x-posted from the LJ. Originally posted 01-21-06.)

So. I’ve been back to working on Stronger recently. This actually happened about four or five days after I made my prior entry regarding writing, but I’ve been busy and haven’t gotten around to it. But… it’s another, very large piece of the puzzle.

While working on one of the subplots, I realised I needed to reference old notes, because I couldn’t quite remember what I’d originally planned. Except that said notes weren’t notes; they were part of an IM transcript from January 2003. Probably a couple weeks after I’d finished Stronger, if I’m not mistaken.

Anyway. They were, unsurprisingly, conversations with Robert about Stronger, the world setting, later books, etcetera. This time, though, I noticed something I hadn’t.

Usually when I brainstorm with people, they either tell me what I’ve got already is good, or make suggestions to improve it.

Robert didn’t. Robert leapt into the story like he was part of the writing. Snippet from the logs:

Nonny says:
How would you feel about being a main or secondary character in a novel? With him as mage? *grins*
Robert says:
ANd he has the same realistic attitude to his world that I did to mine where I knew how it worked.
Robert says:
Ooh neat neat neat! You mean a few years later when he grows up and is teen magician?
Nonny says:
Yep.
Robert says:
And gets a girlfriend?
Nonny says:
Later on in the series.
Robert says:
Ooh purr!
Nonny says:
No, love, I was going to keep him single forever. /sarcasm
Robert says:
I could see his answer to ‘don’t cross kreshida and kreshida’ being as simple as a vasectomy if he’s in love with her.
Nonny says:
Oh yeah–WOW.
Nonny says:
Didn’t think of that.
Nonny says:
Didn’t think he’d get a lady kreshida
Robert says:
She could be human or kreshida, but if she’s kreshida and that happens he’d get a vasectomy, not rely on condoms. They fail.
Robert says:
and another Queen would make the kreshida world that rough.
Nonny says:
Yep–oooooh that could almost be worth doing, though.
Robert says:
The healed kreshida magicians would still have a Dark Court and Cassandra still lead it.
Robert says:
Yeah. I don’t know what your concept is but it’ll be fun!
Robert says:
Gods.
Robert says:
Nonny, the parent that’s kreshida — is that another Abomination?
Robert says:
Which is kreshida? His mother or his father?
Robert says:
If it’s both they hid him.

I’d never finished a full-length novel until I joined FM and brainstormed with Robert and others. The farthest I ever got before stalling out was about 30k. I wrote Sanctuary, Mercenary, Bridge of Faith, and Stronger all with that kind brainstorming.

So, what happened when it was gone? When I didn’t have anybody telling me what to do?

… Yeah.

It’s not that there was anything wrong with the brainstorming in and of itself. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, I probably owe him an apology, as I’ve accused him of sabotaging my writing (although I don’t believe deliberately) in the past.

*sighs*

I wish I’d been able to figure this out before. It would’ve saved me years of head-pounding and heartache. But, I’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of ways since making these realisations. I don’t think I’m out of the woods yet, not by any stretch of the imagination… but I think I’m further along than I was before.

Have the courage and be yourself,
Forget your heros, believe in yourself
Find the right way that leads you to the end,
The end of this control
Until your soul is free….right now!

— “Believe In Yourself” / Girls Under Glass

Introspection…

(x-posted from the LJ … originally posted 01-07-06)

I think most everybody who knows me knows I’ve been having trouble with writing for quite some time. As in, several years, at this point. (Gods, it’s hard to believe this much time has gone by.) I’ve been trying to figure out why for the longest time. Most recently, I’d attributed part of it to the difference in atmosphere between early Forward Motion (from the time I joined) and Evolution. IE, lack of activity, difficulty finding people to brainstorm, etc. While that’s certainly a contributing factor, and something that needs to be (and is being) addressed as a matter of course, it’s not the main issue.

I think I figured it out the other day.

It’s kind of odd how it came about, actually. I was thinking about magic, and how I know people who are able to trust what they sense in the magical/psychic “world” without doubting themselves. I haven’t been able to do that, for the most part. I talk with others, get their opinion, check it out … basically, validation. I have trouble believing myself.

And then it struck me. I do the same thing with writing. I had the same trouble I’m having now before I joined FM and got with a group of people who gave me encouragement and support. I brainstormed Stronger with Robert and other people in BN course… and got used to that. Very used to people being there for me to toss ideas off of … and it wasn’t even that I needed alternative suggestions all the time. Sometimes it was just enough to say, “Yup, you’re going in the right direction. Keep it up.”

And… well. That’s a problem. Because I don’t, at the core, trust my own judgement. I’ve known for a long time that I have issues with needing permission. Even when I was a kid, I didn’t dare do things for fear that I might get in trouble. I was the little girl who went to her friend’s sleepover party and wouldn’t want a particular TV show with them the next morning because my parents didn’t let me watch it at home. And it’s not just stuff like that, it was even things I knew for a fact were okay. I still have trouble with that. Like, going out on my own without Morgan telling me it’s okay.

I guess I have issues with (in)dependence. And that’s a hard thing for me to say, because … well. I’m not exactly a weak-willed quiet woman here!

I just… I knew about it on the magical level. And I knew about it on the personal. And I’ve been working on it. But I didn’t think it stretched out to my writing, too. Cause it’s not like I’m not confident. To be honest, I know at least as much, if not more, than most of the other writers I hang out with … yet I need permission/validation. I guess that’s been the problem. Because before, at FM, there were people that I considered my “superiors,” as it were. People I could go to, ask questions, get answers… and that’s not the case at Evo. If anything, I’ve been put in the position of the “superior,” and that’s a little odd for me.

*sigh*

In a strange way, though, it’s … empowering to have made the recognition. Because knowing about it… I can change it. I couldn’t when I didn’t know quite what the problem was. Now that I do … I can start to move forward again. I’ve been treading water these past few years and, well, I’m sick of it.

Onward!

(Should I be disturbed that I can psychoanalyse myself like this? o.O)