Emery Sanborne

Like much of what she writes, Emery is a work in progress.

 

Bit of a mouthful there, but it does what it says on the tin.

LiveJournal has been our home for nearly nine years now. (Nine years. Where in the hell did the time go?) Anyway, there’s this challenge going around to help bolster content, particularly for us long-timers who have drifted away to the various content sites out there today (I’ve relied far too much on Twitter to keep my LJ looking lively). The premise is to come up with 100 posts of a common theme. You can interpret it as broadly or narrowly as you like and take as long as you like. So having fallen out of the writing habit in general, Grey and I have both decided to use this challenge as a kickstart to get back on our game.

Grey, true to form (and quite smartly too), is committing to set parameters. She’s going to be doing 100 drabbles. Drabbles, for you not in the know, are stories of 100 words. Period. Some people out there don’t give such a strict definition. But true drabbles are 100 words, no more not less. It’s how we got started back in the day, and there’s nothing more satisfying than meeting that challenge. Even if you have to take out precious words to do it.

Grey (aka, sadbhyl)’s entries can be found here: 100 Drabbles.

As for me (aka, mydeira), I’m playing it a bit more fast and loose by going for 100 Stories, Scenes, or Snippets. However I gave myself 10 set categories to work within, so that gives me some structure. Although I’m really thinking Grey had the better idea. Grey, right? No way. ;)

So stop on over. You never know what you’ll find.

 

Hello from Emery. Just making sure this silly updater finally is doing the job it’s supposed to. Of course, it helps if I set the darn thing up right in the first place, huh?

 

Another week done and gone. I still find myself frequently surprised that it’s April already. Where the hell does the time go? The days may drag, but the weeks and months sure do fly.

Not much news on the writing front. Although, Sins of Profession was listed as number five for sales last month at AQP. WOOT! It’s the little things.

Since I’ve been not writing, what have I been doing to keep out of trouble? Well, there’s the brewing beer and a fair bit of knitting (lots of starting and restarting with the Pattern from Hell (TM)), and losing myself in the rabbit hole of Ancestry.com cobbling together a family tree. All roads seem to lead back to Germany, be it the actual German lineage or the mutt route through Canada and New York and the Netherlands or the Polish side. Fascinating really. Of course, the most frustrating part is finding a bunch of stuff on dead side relatives but fuck-all on my paternal grandfather’s WWII service or my maternal great-grandfather’s WWI service. *grumble*

Otherwise, not much new to report on my end. Just keeping on keeping on.

 

One of our publishers emailed us Wednesday asking how we were coming along on the galley proof for our upcoming release. Bwuh? I had been wondering where it was since it’s been a few weeks since we wrapped up edits, but I always think things should move faster than they do. I’m weird like that. So I haven’t given it much thought, and Grey’s had a lot more important things to worry about.

After I emailed the publisher back, I had a brainwave. Was it maybe accidentally in my spam? Having multiple email addresses is always going to result in craziness. But I thought consolidating all but one of them in my main Gmail account would help offset any issues. It has. Until now. So I went into my author email specifically to check the spam, and yup, there the galley was. I promptly re-responded to the publisher saying we would get the errata back by some point Thursday. I had it turned around by the end of Wednesday night.

Damn email, thwarting my efficiency. When there’s something on my plate to get done professionally, I like to get it done and back to whomever asap, regardless of lead time. On the personal side, when it’s not my job and there’s no financial ties to it (i.e., bills), I can drag my feet like you wouldn’t believe. It’s how I roll. Not knowing that I had something to do just makes me feel like a fool for not doing the spam check sooner (although, to be fair, it had only been there since this past Saturday). Such is the exciting live of an author.

 

Appropriately enough, the title of the story Grey and I are reworking is Fade Phoenix. It’s not the first time this story has risen from the ashes in the new form, but it just might be the best it’s ever been. Or will be. As with any work in progress, there are rough patches to smooth out and assorted bumps along the way.

Once upon the time it was a M/M fanfic that we tweaked into an M/F story for publication because…well, it’s a bit fuzzy now as to why we changed the gender. It was as a favor for one of our publishers at the time that did sell M/M stories, so…who knows. The gender change never really worked and the story never got the editing or rewriting love it truly deserved.

Some key components have remained the same since day one, but the writing has evolved and the right characters may have finally fallen into our laps. First came the names and then the faces, and now their personalities are making themselves known.

I finally got through my big first pass. Now it’s Grey’s turn to work her magic. I’m the rewriter but she’s the mistress of detail and coherency. I throw the curveballs; she does the research that ground them in a believable reality. When we’re good, we’re brilliant. And when we’re down, we need to remember just how damned awesome we are.

Being a writer isn’t a stagnant process. It’s a constant evolution of self, of skill, and of story. An ongoing rebirth.

More and more, it’s seeming like that phoenix tattoo I got is quite fitting.

 

It’s something that’s taken me a while to accept. And that acceptance is an ongoing process. I am a re-writer. My first draft generally is not going to be my best work. That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially as a writer, and probably one the most difficult obstacles to overcome.

I think all writers go through a phase where we think we “shit gold”, meaning that the words we put on the page are amazing based on the sheer fact they came from our head. In the “shit gold” phase, we may accept proofing input, but anything too critical and there’s the sense of “you just don’t get it”. Not every writer makes it out of this phase, and some might not need to, but even those of us who do grow to accept that we might not be perfect right out of the gate feel a twinge of ego when we do realize this. It can lead to those bleak periods of “I’m crap, why bother?” and stagnation.

Fortunately I have Grey around to kick my ass and pull me out of those funks, to remind me when I’ve forgotten just what kind of magic I can work between first draft and later on.

When it comes to the “magic” of re-writing, for me at least, it comes down to time. You know, finding that happy space after completing the first draft where the story has a sense of wonder to it. Where you realize a lot of it is better than you initially thought, but you can also see the place where it can be greatly improved. What sucks, however, is when you find that after said story has been published. With some stories, a few weeks or months is all you need. Sometimes it’s years and you just want to shake your younger self for not waiting a little longer.

But writing is far from fine science. Everyone has a different way that works best for them. And even when we do find and accept our process, it’s still an ongoing job of honing it and continually learning from mistakes and missteps.

I’m a re-writer and I do my best work when I have something to work with. That’s the easy part. The hard part is getting the something down on the page to begin with, then having patience to see it through to its best possible form.

This post is brought to you by the fact that both of my solo “series” are currently clamoring for a bit of re-writing. Figures.

 

Grey and I have been rather lax about posting here. Rather meaning very. We’ve fallen woefully behind on our duty here and it’s time to turn that around.

Yesterday, in a fit of productive procrastination, when I wasn’t tweaking and rehabbing my solo site, the two of us were brainstorming categories and topics for posts so we can head off potential “Oh, crap, what the hell do I blog about?” crises.

Although Grey offered, since the calendar says it’s my turn, I’m the one breaking our nearly two-month silence. Where in the hell did the time go?

On the India writing front, we’re working on resurrecting a couple of our stalled WIPs—which both read much better than we recalled and once again made us wonder why we stopped in the first place. Sometime in early spring, the fifth Creatures of Sin book will be coming out, which sees the return of our favorite gigolo Lucas McAndrews, a new addition to Zone Six, and porn…literally.

Solo-wise, Grey wrapped up her albatross of a story and is working away on another WIP, and I’m poking at a Frankenstein-inspired story (not the original idea I was toying with, something else I got inspired to try after re-reading the original).

Life-wise, we’re both trying to get a handle on some things and trying to nail down the respective things that make it worth getting out of bed in the morning.

The year is still young, plenty of time to make it a good one.

 

It all began a couple weeks ago when my Sequel From Hell™ for the Morton’s Pointe gang reared up its head and started begging for me to pay attention to it again…for the umpteenth time in five years. It’s the story that refused to die. Which seems to be a good thing as I finally, FINALLY finished it earlier this week. Beginning, middle, and END (with a few gappy bits in between). The never to be finished story and been finished. Of course there’s the revision/rewriting process, etc. Some stories aren’t meant to be finished…and some are. Those are the ones that just won’t die, no matter how many times you set them aside and say, “You are dead to me, Story, begone!” You just never know.

I think part of what helped keep me forging ahead this time was this nifty little blog post that our too busy cohort Scarlett linked to us. More often than not, that’s what it comes down to. When the muse peters out and you sit there wondering what the hell you were thinking… Fuck ‘em. Your biggest enemy is that doubting voice in your head that says you’re a fool for thinking anyone would ever want to read the words you’ve written. Do you even want to read those words?

And it’s even more discouraging when you have actually published stuff and find that the stories and the characters you love…few people seem to care. You get lucky with one story, then every other one you put out there, well, you’re lucky to fuel your Starbucks habit with them. It’s so easy to get caught up in that, to try to find that formula that gets you the royalty check that makes you giddy when you open it.

But it can’t be about the money. It can’t be about readers. It’s ultimately about the love between you and your creation. Fuck everything else. If you don’t love it, if there’s no joy in it for you…then fuck it. Don’t be afraid of writing the story that no one else will read. If you want to read it and, therefore, write it, then nothing else matters. If the story just won’t die, be it on its first version or tenth, keep going. Clearly something inside of you wants to see this done.

Some stories aren’t meant to be finished. That’s okay, too. You can’t be afraid to move onto something new either. But sometimes, you just have to buckle down and finished that one story that’s been hanging over your head for years in order to be truly free. And let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than finishing something you never, ever, EVER thought you would.

And in the midst of all my tribulations these past couple weeks with the Sequel From Hell™, I seem to have motivated Grey to take down her own WIP albatross that’s been hanging around her neck for far too long. *cheers* It’s those little things that make it worthwhile.

So, lessons learned: Not every story is meant to be. Then again, some stories you just have to plow through and finish because otherwise they will hang over your head and drag you down until you feel like an utter failure and why the fuck do you bother anyway. Every so often you get a story that just seems to click, everything falls into place and the words just flow.

When it’s easy, there’s no higher high. When it’s hard, there’s no lower low. But easy or hard, when you finish…it always feels fucking fantastic.

 

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane –
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn …

You’ve gotta wonder how much overplay that song’s getting this week, you know?  Too bad Snakes on a Plane wasn’t released this year, because then you could argue that the year started with aflockalypse, then we had some mother fucking snakes on a motherfucking plane, followed up later in the year by an unexpected earthquake on the East Coast, and now Hurricane Irene bearing down. Although, I suppose you don’t have to reach quite that far to make it work—since earthquakes make animals act weird (and birds and snakes are animals) and the airports were shut down for a bit following… How Lenny Bruce fits into all that I’m still working on.

So, yeah, it’s been a week, hasn’t it?  If you’ve caught my twitter or LJ or other blogs, you’ll know I not only wiped out emerysanborne.com and am still rebuilding, but that my glass-top IKEA desk shattered/exploded thanks the earthquake (the wobbly action figures didn’t move a fraction). And, save site issues until I switched hosting, I’ve handled the whole crazy week pretty well.

On the writing front, not much new due to the general life-ness of life, but that’ll shake out in the end. It always does.

Until then, batten down the hatches and stay safe.

 

Vacation on Cape Cod was not only relaxing but somewhat productive for Grey and I. After laying the groundwork for a new collection of novellas, we even started poking at one of them, which is more than we’ve done for a while. So, it seems, that sea air was good for something.

In other news, we sold a two novella collection to Amber Quill.  Watch My Back will include Under a Rock and Blood on the Mountain, coming out this fall. Under a Rock even has a shiny cover already.

Additionally, we’ve got two Creatures of Sin novels to revise and submit, and a Rule of Three book that may or may not ever see the light of day.

On the whole, though, I’d say we’re doing pretty well. Now if we could only get moving on any of our solo projects.

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