Random Rambles: Oh Where oh Where has RJ gone, Oh Where oh Where Could She Be?

obscene.gesture I've been quiet lately. I've been quiet on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else on the internet. I'm pretty sure there are those who think I've probably fallen off the face of the Earth.

I've been busy.

So, to catch everyone up on what I've been doing and why I've been doing it, I'm going to write this post. It'll probably be boring. But, hey–I'm still alive, sort of.

For the fun stuff, I saw Jurassic World in theaters on opening night. I absolutely adored it. It was fantastic. It was campy, ridiculous, and fun. I really enjoyed myself.

That about sums up the fun stuff. There were a few birthdays (mine included) but they've come and gone, breaking up the monotony of the rest of my life.

Three words sums it up nicely: cleaning and writing.

I'm taking a bit of a break from novel writing to practice shorter fiction. I've done some short stories ranging from 3,600 words to 10,000 words. I've done a pair of novellas, which were ranging between 15,000 to 20,000 words.

All of them feature Nicolina Desmond and Richard Murphy before the events of Winter Wolf. In short, I'm writing a series of interconnected tales regarding the trouble they got into together before fate tore them apart–and ultimately threw them together again.

I'm getting outside of my comfort zones. I'm writing romance, because let's face it: Nicolina and Richard have a romance before Winter Wolf, and it involves fireworks. Lots of fireworks, explosions, and things like that.

I'm not comfortable writing romance as a primary plot element. I had to do so in Blood Diamond, which made me feel weird the entire time I was writing the book. The main character, Dante, is just that sort of guy. His lady is his life–as are little ones. That means romance is a major part of who and what he is–and who and what he has to become.

I'm the kind of girl who forgets about flowers and doesn't really care if I get a pretty piece of jewelry for Valentine's Day. (When I get them, I am totally caught by surprise and end up squealing for weeks, but that's okay.)

So, writing a romance for me is about as far outside of my personal comfort zone as it gets. I just don't have really good comparison points. Neither my husband or I are really the romantic types. (We make some efforts now and then, but… special occasions only, and our version of a special occasion is a nice steak and playing some form of game together…)

velociraptor-info-graphic In the grand scheme of things, I have about the same inclination for romance as a velociraptor. I mean, what isn't there to love? Look at those pretty eyes and big teeth. Roaaaar!

So, I'm venturing into the great unknown on this project. I'm having a shocking amount of fun with it, too. I have two beta readers to help me refine and improve these stories. I'm getting the hang of shorter fiction, although I still have a tendency to think in novels. In a way, while I've been trying to make certain each short story (or partnered set of stories) is self contained, I do draw on the previous stories to add depth and layer them.

Unlike my other Witch & Wolf stories, Tales of the Winter Wolf uses two first person perspectives: Richard and Nicolina's.

I really like switching between the two of them. Some stories show events from each of their perspectives. Some show the aftermath of one character's tale from the other's eyes. Some are meant to be read together, as the other character plays too important of a role to ignore completely.

Unlike my novels, I'm planning on releasing these in shorter volumes, including 2-5 stories per volume. (I'm looking at roughly a third of a regular novel's length.) Each volume will be priced at $1.99, and once I have enough material, I'll be releasing them on a set schedule–probably once every 2-3 weeks until the entire set is finished.

I'm still working on novels, but I'm stepping away. Until I have the cover art for Blood Diamond, I don't really want to deal too much with longer fiction. Rider of the Sun Horse will probably be produced next since I already have the cover art–Zero will come after, unless the cover art for Project Zeta is ready. It's switching up my order for things, but I don't mind.

I'm writing, I'm working, I'm being productive–most importantly, I'm having a lot of fun.

So, you can expect some new novel releases from me this year in addition to short story and novella collections. My patreon users will get access to some of these stories before they release, though the mix will be scattered and probably only have one story included from each collection.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Winter Wolf, you'll be spoiled on some things here. If you don't want spoiled… don't read beyond this image of blood and a cross, which I'm pretty sure is the fate I face if I ruin one of my novels for some readers!

(c) Jo Naylor (Creative Commons License - Flickr)

(c) Jo Naylor (Creative Commons License – Flickr)

Richard and Nicolina get into a lot of trouble over the years before the precursors to Winter Wolf, so I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship plays out… and I really look forward to showing the reality of Nicolina's past versus the memories she thinks she has during the novel.

Yes, these short stories spoil backstory for Winter Wolf. It's really interesting, as you'll notice inconsistencies in Winter Wolf.

These were done on purpose. Nicole Thomas of Winter Wolf has trauma-induced amnesia. As a result, she has fabricated memories. It's actually not all that uncommon. It's a natural response to fill in the blanks with something that makes sense to the victim, which is exactly what she did.

But anyway. I've been busy. I've been focusing on my work, on cleaning my house, and otherwise dealing with the real life.

Don't worry, I haven't gone away. I have lots of plans for fiction this year. How much will I accomplish? Good question. I guess I'll find out soon!

Crap. Taxes. I need to do those this week. Argh! Taxes!

I'll just file the extension and procrastinate on those a little longer…

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