Pacific Northwest Writers Blog Hop

I had a different post planned for today, but I was hit up by fellow Pacific NW author Michael G. Munz, author of Zeus Is Dead and several other novels (learn more about his books here) for the Pacific Northwest Writers Blog Hop. Not only did this sound like fun, but it bumps my other post to next week, freeing me from coming up with a new idea. procrastinate So Here's my contribution to the hop...

1) What am I working on?

My immediate goal is to finish editing the second book in the Clockwork Cat series and get that to my agent by the end of October. Why the end of October? Because we all know what November is.

NaNoWriMo!

TheGirlWiththeClockworkCat-NikkiMcCormack-500x750[2]I know a lot of authors aren't into the NaNoWriMo write 50,000 words in a month thing. I love it! I won't wax eloquent on why here, I've done that in several blog posts previously. If you really want to know why I love it you can learn more on some of those old posts (My NaNoWriMo Tips and Lessons Learned and Confessions of a NaNoWriMo Addict (and Lessons Learned)). For a short answer, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat started life as a NaNoWriMo novel and that alone is reason enough for me to keep doing it. I already know what I'm writing this year and, after all the editing and book promotion, I'm dying to get started.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

In the Young Adult category, I think having a really strong female protagonist without having a heavy romance is fairly unusual. In all my work, I like to establish the women as self-sufficient and strong before I let them get too involved in romance that might take away from their own self-discovery.

November Silence: Head Down in the Steampunk NovelOn the steampunk side of things, the low-key gradual development of that technology throughout the series is also uncharacteristic of that genre. It has been a source of disappointment for some readers who are heavy steampunk devotees, but hopefully I can win them over by the end.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love working in fantasy and science fiction, mostly because there is boundless opportunity to explore creativity while still giving ample opportunity to research and learn. In The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, for example, I spent days researching Victorian London and learning everything I could about that time, but the fact that it is fantasy gave me the ability to take what I learned and turn it into something new.

4) How does my writing process work?

I do actually outline in a sense, but not in the typical sense. When I get an idea, I bounce it around in my head for a while. When I have a good feel for my primary character(s) and I know, at the very least, what their goals are and where I want the book to start and end, I begin making notes and sketching out pivotal scenes. Sometimes I'll rough out a more detailed timeline, but most of the time I let that information live in my head and start writing, allowing it the story to move dynamically while I work. And there you have it. My contribution to the Pacific NW Blog Hop. Don't forget to drop by Michael G. Munz and follow through to some of the other authors on the blog hop.

Now to keep the blog hopping I'm passing the torch to another Pacific Northwest author.

CDevine_Headshot41414_smCeejae Devine

Ceejae Devine focuses on personal spiritual experiences, which is something she never imagined she’d be doing because she’s not religious and she doesn’t fit most people’s ideas about what it means to be spiritual. She is a feminist and a single parent with two daughters who are both strong in art, math and science. Ceejae spends most of her time following thoughts to see where they lead, and she’s been making surprising discoveries. She is currently fine tuning her memoir and developing a mini-book called “Critical Revelations About Contemporary Spirituality.”

Ceejae's links: Facebook, Twitter, Website

Enjoy!

In the Interim

The last week has been a little crazy with adjusting to the idea of having a book out, trying to keep track of social media and writing up guest blog posts and interviews. Outside of that, I've been trying to edit the next book,

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get Teagan established with a vet in our new town,

No. Not the vet!

get my horses in to a vet for their dental appointment,

Say what??

prepare for a book release party,

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and manage all the other little details of life (like going to urgent care for a cat bite). I hope to have something more fun up on my blog soon, but in the interim, if you're curious about my book, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, you can follow some of the reviews and guest posts on my blog tour here managed by the fabulous YA Bound Book Tours.

Happy adventuring!

Cover Reveal: Cat-tastic!

I'm really excited to share this with all of you.

I've had several author friends tell me horror stories about getting good cover art. I was so relieved when I saw the cover art for The Girl and the Clockwork Cat. It was almost perfect. So much so that I even altered the book a tiny bit to match the art better while the cover artist tweaked a few other details. The result is a cover that I am quite delighted to share.

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You can also see the cover reveal with story description at the Entangled Teen blog (and marvel at how much the cat looks like my boy Neko below, only with fewer neurotic issues).

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If it catches your fancy, you can also add The Girl and the Clockwork Cat to your Goodreads list.

Enjoy!

I Remember You

Thomas, I brought you home today. I must say, you look different. (Humor is the best medicine, right?)

But I remember you.

After

I was upstairs editing late when Michael called my name in that voice. You know, the one that makes everything in your chest fall into your gut. You had collapsed and gone into respiratory distress. The vet put you in an oxygen tank and gave you pain meds to make you comfortable. Your heart had broken.

Our hearts broke too. But I remember you.

I remember you as a kitten, born to a pregnant cat we inherited with our first house. Unexpected. A surprise that would lead to so many years of joy.

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I remember you helping us garden. We would have gotten twice as much done without you, but it would have been half as fun.

Gardening

I remember you walking us to the barn and back every time we took care of the horses knowing we couldn’t make it on our own. You were a great hunter. You could protect us from anything.

I remember how upset you were when we made you an indoor only cat because of the coyotes. It took many months and a very large outdoor enclosure to convince you we were old and wise enough to go to the barn on our own.

You had a grand life and you left it quickly. Those are good things for you. This is not for you. This is for those of us who will always remember you.

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Dramatic Paws

I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Several things have contributed to that, including illness, injury, writing and editing books (seems to take up a lot of time), and cats. Today I’m not going to talk about the writing or editing or even about my upcoming debut The Girl and the Clockwork Cat coming spring 2014 from Entangled Teen. (Yes, I am shameless, but it does have a cat in it, in the title even, so it’s loosely related.) I’m here to talk about cats. More specifically, about introducing a new cat into our home and the ongoing challenges we’ve faced with this particular cross-section of felines. I’m hoping this actually turns out to be helpful for others facing similar drama, but we’re dealing with cats. Anything could happen.

new cat

For this first post, I will introduce the cast of cats and the problems we have to overcome.

Agent Request: Surviving Another EditThomas (the grumpy old man):

Thomas is 15. He’s been with us since day one and is convinced of his own awesomeness to the point that he knows, for certain, every person in the world is just holding their breath in anticipation of the day they will get to meet him and stroke his silken fur. He is very social and very demanding of his adoring fans. He enjoys long naps and watching TV with his people. He is prone to occasional regression to kittenhood in the form of wild sprints around the house and friendly Thunderdome (outdoor cat enclosure) matches with Neko.

Thomas is the dominant male in the household and deals with feline interlopers by preemptively yowling and striking at them whenever they come close to establish the hierarchy quickly.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful

Shai (the special needs princess):IMG_2527

Shai is Thomas’ blood sister. At a very young age, she got under one of our horses and was stepped on. She has significant neurological issues and, as she gets older, arthritic issues due to injuries sustained in that incident. She has survived many other dramatic injuries throughout her life. I’m not sure if she’s lucky because she survived them or unlucky because they happened in the first place. She enjoys long naps and … well, long naps. Sometimes on heater vents. Not in front. On.

Shai prefers to solitude though she often naps and shares grooming with her brother. When faced with an interloper, she ignores them. If they persist to the point that she feels cornered, she will throw herself on the floor and scream bloody murder. The offending interloper is usually left staring at her with a look of mystified horror.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful (oddly enough)

IMG_1391Koneko (the gentle giant):

Neko is about 20 pounds of giant feline paranoia. About 5 years old, he joined the family as a kitten and has always been highly anxious. He will cuddle on occasion, but rarely if more than one person is in the room. He has a disturbing fascination with having his butt spanked and enjoys such lovely past times as going out in the rain in the Thunderdome at night then coming in drenched to wake me up so I can towel him off and cuddle.

Neko’s tendency to slink about apprehensively makes him a delightful target for a more aggressive young interloper. He prefers to avoid the new cat unless attacked, at which point he will fight like a crazed demon.

Interloper Management Tactic = Highly Ineffective

IMG_2528BC (the interloper):

BC showed up on our property shortly after the 4th of July and made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. We ignored him. We shooed him off. He broke us down with his stubborn affection and we took him in. After having him tested, neutered, and vaccinated, we attempted to re-home him only to discover that he had a severe fear of dogs. Having already grown rather attached by the time this effort failed, we decided to make him part of our family. He enjoys aggressive cuddling, full-force head-butts, knocking glasses over (the fuller the better, especially if it happens to be beer and there is a lap nearby to dump it on), and playing with his favorite toy, Neko.

Some sensible people would suggest simply finding BC a new home or giving him up to a shelter. This is wise. We are not wise. We love our cats and BC has wormed his wicked way into our hearts. So, this is the tale of our efforts to integrate him into our home. This tale involves blood and pain and broken things and lots of expenses and life changes. I can’t promise a happy ending, but that’s what I’m hoping for. Stick around and see. :)

Next time: Bloody battles and broken bones. Is there any hope for this quartet of cats?