Over the past several months (though mostly this last several weeks in a time crunched panic) I have been working on my latest Halloween costume. For anyone who has seen The Mandalorian, you are familiar with the fact that they are a people who wear armor and live by a code of honor. So while I’m not going to be the Mandalorian, I will be a Mandalorian.
You might ask, “Emma, why the rush? You have two weeks till Halloween!” And you would be right. But this past weekend was Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI and it was my intention to dress to impress.
I went alone so there are no good selfies of me as selfies are difficult enough to take when full armor isn’t involved but I’ll have some for my halloween post!
Finally, this is my TWO HUNDREDTH blog post, guys! I’m stunned that I’ve managed to keep this going as long as I have to be perfectly honest but I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.
For my OG fans who read The Sword & Shield in the past year and a half you are familiar with the rough around the edges first attempt at a debut novel. Recently I re-released it with a few updated tidbits, edits, and an all around better version. But because I’m not Scrooge McDuck, I’m not going to ask people who paid for the original to pay for it again.
Therefore, I will be providing a link to a free copy of the e-book! It will be based entirely on the honor system since there’s really no way for me to verify a previous purchase without employing Orwellian tactics. So if you did buy the original version (e-book/audio/physical) then that link is for you!
For those who haven’t purchased it but just want a free book, I can’t stop you but I do ask that, if you enjoyed it that you purchase it afterwards. This is the result of years of work on my part and the blood (papercuts), sweat and tears that I put into it.
In addition, I have a giveaway that any and all purchasers of my book (the new and old versions) are eligible for!
Take a selfie with my book or your tablet/ipad/kindle open to a page of my book. Post that to Instagram or Tiktok (bonus entry if you do both) with the hashtag #catladyEzraToth along with your favorite part of the book. That will enter you to win a limited edition, signed, HARDCOVER edition of The Sword & Shield.
Why limited edition? Because I’m special ordering them and am only going to order five.
So if that’s something that interests you then sign up! Contest runs till the end of October and the winner will be announced November 1st!
If you’ve been on a plane you’re familiar with the pre-flight spiel. Life vest under your seat, lights will illuminate the aisle directing you to the nearest emergency exit, and oxygen masks may drop from the ceiling.
Without fail, during this one man show put on by the flight attendant, they will instruct you to put on your own mask before assisting others. The reason for this is that, if due to cabin pressure the oxygen is low and you pass out while helping someone else then you’re kind of SOL. The lesson to take away from this is that you can’t be of help to others if you don’t first help yourself.
It took – and is still taking me – a lot of work to even begin to grasp that concept. As contradictory as it sounds, taking care of yourself before you take care of anyone else will allow you to better help others.
Selfish is the word that first came to mind when that concept was introduced to me.
A lot of new interpersonal concepts have been introduced to me as of late and I just do my best to process the new information and when I stumble I remind myself it will be good fodder for my books.
This Friday I have my third and final meeting with my agent to discuss edits of the first draft of Seer. Not to say that this is my last meeting before the book is finished. It’s the last meeting before I have all the necessary feedback to bring Seer up to it’s second draft. How many drafts will there be? No one knows. It is beyond all comprehension both first and third person omniscient.
I found myself a little overwhelmed near the end of last week with the sheer volume of work that lay ahead of me. I was a bit spoiled in the process of writing Seer. The first draft flowed so easily and was done in roughly six months. The problem with that is that it reads like something that was written in six months. So there are quite a few rough edges that need sanding and holes that need to be sealed up.
It’s not that I’m not excited about the prospect of a shiny and more perfect manuscript. It’s just that I’m naturally a lazy person and would prefer to be put into a medically induced coma and to have someone wake me up after the final draft has been completed. Not too much to ask for, if you ask me…
Then again, given the dark circles under my eyes, a medically induced coma might have the fringe benefit of finally getting me a decent night’s sleep.
On that note, I clock in for work in four minutes so
This past Saturday (9/11/2021) I turned 31! That’s right, for any recent readers my birthday is September 11th at 11:30PM. If my mom had crossed her legs I might have squeaked by with a 9/12 birthday but oh well.
Michigan weather smiled upon me on my birthday with 81 degree weather full of cool breezes. I celebrated with my bestie Amanda, her boyfriend and son, my sister Laura and my boyfriend.
We watched The Rogue Blades Comedy Show (as I do everytime I go to the festival) along with the joust and I got to eat my traditional lobster mac and cheese!
It was a fantastic way to celebrate my survival of another circuit around the sun and I’m looking forward to all the new adventures this year will bring!
Writing can be difficult and sometimes feel like pulling teeth but for the most part it’s a wonderful process.
Editing, however, is the bastard child of Satan and a Grammar Nazi.
I hate it.
Seer is currently going through that process.
In an effort to make this as painless and efficient as possible I’ve decided I’ll do a pass where I review and implement any cosmetic or simple quick fixes throughout the entire manuscript. During that initial pass I’ll take in the more intricate and detailed edits necessary and let those ruminate until pass number two when I actually attempt them.
The reason for this is because, at my core, I’m a naturally lazy person. Which for some people is a bad thing but for me it means I’m always working smarter and not harder.
What does that mean in the long run? It means that the manuscript is going to go through at least two, but probably three or four passes just to bring it to it’s second draft. God knows how many drafts there will be and how many (many) months will pass by before it’s ready for release but that’s a problem for future Emma.
When I opened the 20,000ish word document that held the beginnings of The Sword & Shield’s sequel (The Sea & Storm), I was shocked to see that the last time I touched it was back in December 2020. This was less a writer’s block and more a writer’s monolith. The Kaaba would be a more appropriate reference as far as size is concerned.
But, much like the lightning that consistently struck metro-detroit the night of my epiphany, so too struck inspiration. The problem was simple. I had a beginning but no middle or end. I had the premise and a solid beginning but no middle and no major event. Without the second 3/4ths of the story, I felt stuck and aimless. I attempted to do an outline but that proved fruitless.
Then it came to me. The rest of the story. I drove into work early. Like early early. Like HELLA early.
(It helped that the storm woke me up at 4:45AM)
So I got to work, opened my laptop, and got writing. And writing.
I was on a ROLL!
Alas, I was interrupted by the beginning of the work day. But I made a solid start and have been inching closer and closer to a completed sequel every day since then!
To everyone who commented that they want a sequel, like the Sea & Storm beating against the rock that is my resolve, I eventually crumbled.
So look forward for that!
In other news, the new and improved version of The Sword & Shield is up and available on Amazon! For people who purchased the original version we’re cooking something up that you’ll be happy about so hold off buying a copy for the moment!
Last Thursday I went to my first Post-Covid concert. Lindsey Stirling, a ballerina/violinist is one of my favorite musicians and as soon as I saw that she was coming to Michigan I knew I had to be there to see her live! I also knew it would be a good stress reliever and some filling food for the soul.
The only reason I felt comfortable attending, in light of recent trending variants, was because it was outside. I could have gotten an actual seat under the pavilion at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights but then we would have been crammed together. So, picnic blanket in one hand and umbrella in the other, Mike (bf) and I, made our way to the lawn section.
I had cause to be anxious. It’s been raining cats and dogs on the regular (as recently as Wednesday) and the lawn seating offered no shelter from the elements. Thursday morning I was woken from a dead sleep by lightning striking right outside my window. Flooding was present on nearly every major thoroughfare in and out of Detroit but I managed to make it in. I attribute that, in part, due to the fact that I got in at 6:45AM to work on an epiphany I had (details in next week’s post). Things looked grim.
But lo and behold, the clouds quite literally parted (though the humidity stubbornly stood its ground) and it ended up being a cloudless concert! And it was a stunning experience. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the artist that is Lindsey Stirling, she plays an electric violin WHILE dancing. Yes, you read that right. And while I understood that on some level, watching it on a screen and seeing it live were two very different things.
It was a night I’ll never forget and I’m almost certain that the next time Lindsey Stirling is in Michigan I’ll be at her show!