rhienelleth: (mass effect shepard)
2016-02-20 11:55 am

Being published

 This is going to be a long post. I know it's been awhile, journal. I've been pretty busy. With what, you ask?

With this:

Yep. That is the print cover of my first published book. It is a novella, and it is, of course, the first publication in what will be known as my Telepathic Space Pirates series. You may remember it from my many posts and tags. It is currently up for pre-order on Amazon, here: 


But this post isn't about telling you where the pre-order is. This post is about the journey it took me to get here. I know a lot of the old LJ gang isn't around anymore (on LJ or Dreamwidth), but I think a few still are. And I would be very remiss if I didn't post here and talk about how very instrumental your role has been in getting me here. When I joined LJ back in 2003, I was very active in fandom. I was writing fic and visiting forums and participating in chats with a lovely group of ladies who were also huge fans of the TV show, Alias. I started writing Sarkney fic before it was a thing (seriously - there was only one other writer at the time writing genuine Sark/Syd that didn't involve ugly rape-fic, and I wish she was still around to be reading this. Wherever you are, Rach, your stories gave me the confidence to write again.) This was during a period of my life when I had lost confidence in myself as a writer. I'd gone to a writing con, and a big time NY editor ripped my work to shreds in front of a room full of people. At the time, I thought I was okay. What was one woman's opinion? But I stared at a blinking cursor on my screen, and didn't write another word on that WIP. Ever. I didn't write another word of original fic for a very long time. Only discovering fandom and finding a safe place there allowed me to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and write again. I wrote, I posted, and people gave me instant feedback! They asked for more, they were positive and encouraging, and many of them became my friends. Without the confidence they gave me, I would not be here, looking at my book up for pre-order, looking at that gorgeous cover with my pen name on it. 

For a long time, Livejournal was the center of my writing world. Not just for fic writing, but for my own original work. I posted progress meters, snippets, and talked about what I was doing when I finally started writing my own stuff again. The agent who originally asked to see the full manuscript of my first draft of the first Telepathic Space Pirates book, did so because someone she knew had pointed her to my Livejournal, and told her "I think you would like this." Even though I journaled anonymously, when I queried her for something else entirely, she recognized me, and asked to see the full draft of Nemesis when it was finished. 

That was my first lesson in "you never know who is reading you online". A good lesson, thankfully. 

That book, the book that was Nemesis, will be going up for pre-order in March, and will launch in June. I already have a gorgeous cover that is so stunning, I cried when I saw it for the first time. It wouldn't be happening if not for Livejournal, if not for those fandom friends who supported me, encouraged me, cheered me on, acted as beta readers, told me I had what it takes, and were generally the best damn group of friends a girl could have. Maybe someday, some hopeful writer will be writing fanfic of my worlds, and won't that be a kick? Words will never express what this community has done for me. Even though most of us have moved on, I will never forget it, and I do not regret spending the money for a "lifetime" Livejournal account. At times as I wait out this pre-order period, I am happy, excited, so anxious I want to throw up, and filled with self-doubt. And I remind myself, "This is no different than putting your fanfic out there for the world to read." And I take a deep breath, and know it is all going to be okay. Thank you, members of the Harem. You know who you are. I still think about you all. Some of you, I keep up with on Facebook, and some of you, I have lost touch with completely. But you are never, ever forgotten. 

This is a copy of the acknowledgements I wrote to include in this first book. It doesn't say everything I wanted to, because I was limited by word count, which is why I wrote this post. I love you ladies. I hope you are all having excellent lives, and achieving your dreams. 

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-09-15 08:25 pm

Writing Update

So close to the midpoint!

Favorite bit:

“Did you know he once swore to kill a Queen, if we ever came across one again?” Treon asked.

Mercy didn’t say anything. She felt a sudden chill, and her hands tightened on the edge of the table in front of her. Odd, how real it felt, the metal digging into the palms of her hands.

“From a Killer," he continued, "such a vow is particularly binding. I can’t think of any one of them who, after committing to such a thing, would have taken the time to think it through and not kill you at the instant of your meeting. In fact, as you say, he rescued you. And when I suggested seducing you, as a way of coercing your connection to us as a people, for a moment I thought he might kill me.”

Mercy stared at Treon.

“You suggested what?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

But he ignored her, continuing on in an aggrieved tone, as though she hadn’t interrupted him.

“Do you know he hasn’t looked at me like that since I was six years old, and he was eight?” Treon looked away from her for the first time, his gaze distant. “He used to practice his Talent on me, until our mother realized what was happening, and told him one didn’t stalk family, or plan out how best to murder them.”

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-09-12 08:38 am

Haven't done one of these in awhile

Writing update:

Almost to the halfway point. Well, realistically I think the halfway point will be happening slightly after 50k words, more like 55-60k. 

Most of my favorite bits are spoilery. But since it's been awhile, have a whole snippet, that mostly isn't:

Snippet )

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-08-18 01:46 pm

Back at it!

 So, after all of the excitement and training around getting the new job, and then having a houseguest for a week, I am finally back at it working on the novel. It continues to move forward, which is a good thing.

Officially a third of way finished. 

Favorite bit:

“Such a pleasure to have everyone together,” Vashti said aloud. “The family, and Nikolos, of course.” She gave Reaper a chastising shake of her head. “I keep telling you to visit me more, boy.”

rhienelleth: (Cannon)
2015-06-26 11:04 pm

Word Count Update

 Super tired tonight, but officially over 1/4 done with the book. Not 100% sure the last chapter will stay in its current form, but we'll see when the alpha readers and critique group get back to me. 

Ironically, it was really tough to choose a favorite bit for this one (ironic given I'm not sure the chapter does what it needs to! Ha ha.). You can check out yesterday's snippet if you like, or here's another (smaller) favorite:

“I understand why family might be the most difficult for you to trust, at least at first,” Cannon conceded. “That doesn’t change the fact that you need training, and someone to keep an eye on you as you recover.”

“Reaper.” Mercy leaped on the name, so fast it startled even her.

Cannon stared at her. He couldn’t have looked more shocked if she’d pulled out a disrupter and stunned him. He looked over at Doc and Vashti. The latter shrugged.

“For some reason, she trusts him.”

rhienelleth: (Vashti)
2015-06-25 12:37 pm

Writing Update: Snippet

Hello everyone! I will be posting a word count update later tonight, but suffice to say things are moving along very well, indeed. I am nearly 1/4 done with the book, and I thought it was time I posted a snippet. (Note, words encased [like this] denote items that will be in Japanese. I am waiting to hear back from my language consultant.)

Snippet #1 )

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-06-18 08:35 pm

Word Count Update

 So, the last week and a half or so has played hell with my time to write. It is always chaos here leading up to the husband's annual trip to Japan. There is a lot that goes into traveling to another country for three weeks, let me tell you. Plus, I always get kind of cranky and depressed before he leaves, so that didn't help.

But now he is over there, and I have a quiet house all to myself. what to do, but write? So here is the latest update:

You guys, I am almost 20% done! Only 80% more to go. Ha ha. 

Favorite bit: Emotion swept her, the same feeling she had watching a solar storm erupt on the surface of a star, as though she was looking at something as terrifyingly beautiful as it was powerful and deadly. 
rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-06-03 10:05 am

Word Count Update


Chapter 4 was difficult for many reasons. One, it switches to and introduces the other POV character for the book (Reaper), which in turn introduces the pirates and their whole identity, as well as the five specific characters who are with Reaper. Two, it begins the catalyst of the story, which will culminate in the next chapter. It took me a couple of days and several "thinking breaks" to finish it, to make sure I was doing justice to all of those layers of complexity. 

My real favorite bit is super spoilery, so my next favorite bit: 

When we go in, said Reaper, speaking telepathically to all of them, Zion and I will take point. Then Knox, followed by Mateo and Jax. Titus stays here. They needed their pilot in place for a fast extraction, in case anything should go wrong. Once we’ve dealt with any immediate hostiles, Jax will lead us to the target.

What if you need a medic? Titus did not sound pleased at being left behind.

Reaper gave everyone a long look.

Don’t need one, he ordered. 

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-30 09:24 pm

Word Count Update

 Yesterday was an awesome day of writing accomplishment, which carried into this morning. Weekends will be tougher, I think, because the husband and I are often busy, but my weekdays are pretty free for the next few weeks at least, so these should start showing a lot of progress.

I will say that having my storyboard done is really helping things to roll very smoothly, indeed. I had the catalyst happening at 12k words, and I am right on the precipice of it now, so everything is proceeding as I had it paced, and I am not having any moments of being stuck with where the story is going. Instead, I get to do scene planning in my head. How I want to lay things out, specific things I want to make sure and include, how I want to approach it through my MC's POV. So far, so good. 

Favorite bit:

It felt exactly like that time she and Atrea got into the old Wolf’s private stash of Bennethan rum, and drank the whole bottle between them. When he’d caught them, too late, Captain Hades took one look and said the morning would be punishment enough.

He wasn’t wrong.

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-27 09:47 pm

Word Count Update

 I expect there will be a lot of these in the coming weeks. 

Favorite bit: 

She spent a pleasant few moments visualizing herself stuffing him out the nearest airlock. Watching the pretend version of Will float into the cold dark was one of the more satisfying things she’d indulged in lately. 

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-25 04:46 pm

Word Count Update

 After all of that storyboarding, the first chapter went nice and smooth! I am very pleased so far.

Current word count total:

Favorite bit: Whenever Mercy woke, her mouth dry and tasting faintly metallic and gritty, something would be different. Her clothes. A fresh tube of water. A new stock of nutritional bars. One time, her hair was cut. The heavy, dark length of it, threaded through with hints of red and gold without the necessity of a nano-treatment, was gone. The air prickled her skin, blew a cool shudder over her head and down her neck. She reached up with a tentative hand and found a short, prickly stubble covered her crown. 
rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-24 10:39 am

What's in a name?

 I need help.

There is this particular pirate family in my novel that has a tendency to name their children in rather unconventional ways. Examples:

Reaper (Although this is a nickname.)

Basically, there is a running joke amongst the characters saddled with some of these names regarding  being stuck with them. But I need more! I need more names that sound, you know, like a family of violent pirates wanted the very names of their children to have meaning! They obviously draw from a whole variety of myth and legend, and also pull words like "cannon" into the mix. Please comment with any suggestions you have! 
rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-20 05:48 pm


 I'm reading this awesome writing book called Save the Cat, and it's changing the whole way I approach structuring novels. I have been restructuring Nemesis, and I think this is possibly the best thing to happen to my writing in some time. 

Anyway, one of the steps is coming up with a logline for your book. This is a one line summary that identifies your protagonist, and what they must overcome, and it should contain a sense of irony and emotional impact. A sample one for the movie Die Hard goes like this:

A street-wise cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife, only to find her office building taken over by terrorists.

An enhanced, more detailed logline would be something like: On the brink of a divorce, a bullheaded, street-wise, New York cop is trapped in his wife’s office building by terrorists, and teams up with an L.A. “desk cop” to stop them; but when his taunts of the terrorists risks exposing his hostage wife’s identity, he must learn to adapt and change to outsmart the lead terrorist and prevent the true goal of a billion-dollar heist.

Here is what I have come up with for Nemesis:

A galactic courier with the outlawed gift of telepathy is searching for the mother she lost fifteen years ago, when she is kidnapped by pirates - the family who tried to kill her as a child, but now need her to embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive. 

What do you think? Would you be intrigued and want to read that book? Yes or no. All feedback is appreciated. Any suggestions for tweaking it further?

ETA: (new version)

A resourceful space pilot with a troublesome telepathic gift is searching for the mother she lost fifteen years ago, when she is kidnapped by pirates outlawed by the government for their own psychic abilities; but when she discovers her kidnappers are also the family who once tried to kill her as a child, she realizes the mystery of her mother’s disappearance holds deadlier secrets than she knew, and she must embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive. 

rhienelleth: (Default)
2015-05-11 09:12 pm

Word Count Update

 World building has taken a lot more time than I anticipated. So has rewriting the opening sequence...let me see, three times. Technically, I've written more than 6,000 words since the last update. Unfortunately, most of them will probably never be used. 

So here is the "real" count, of words I am keeping:

Favorite bit:

Mercy’s memory of him was vague, now. More of an impression, one of towering size and the smell of fried food and engine grease. His thoughts were dark, malignant things that made her press hard against her mother’s leg. So young, she had no words to describe the things he imagined, but they filled her with a wordless terror. Pallas knew. She took his coin and his darkness, and left him a dazed shell of who he’d been, missing all memory of the woman and her tiny daughter, and what he’d meant to do to them.

rhienelleth: (Treon)
2015-05-07 09:41 am

World building

 There should be a word count meter update later today, but the last couple of days have pretty much been used as world building time. I needed to nail down some stuff that will have a huge impact to the entire series, and I think I've got the bare bones taken care of. Needs more fleshing out, but some of that will happen outside of writing, and some will happen organically as I write. 
rhienelleth: (mercy1)
2015-05-04 07:47 pm

Word Count Update

 Hmmm. I may have to make new Mercy icons when I have time. 

Anyway, today's word count:

All new writing. Not sure if it is stuff that is going to stay with the final draft or not, but for now it is part of things and working for me. 

Favorite bit:

Choosing which ship to catch a ride on was complicated. It couldn’t have too much security. It couldn’t be too official, too wealthy, too criminal, or too desperate. It needed a Captain reluctant to turn her over to the authorities, if she was caught, and it couldn’t be someone likely to sell her off to slavers.
rhienelleth: (Cannon)
2015-05-04 09:15 am

The Return of the Word Count Meter

 So, some exciting things are afoot these days. One, the new job is going really well. I kind of love it, and while the teaching part is mostly fun and makes me feel like I'm using that expensive education that I will owe money on for the rest of my natural life, yes, the schedule is a HUGE part of my happiness. Why? Because it matches my husband's, and because...it LEAVES ME PLENTY OF TIME FOR MY FIRST LOVE, WRITING. (No worries, the DH knew that when he married me, and besides, he has a first love, too. We have often joked that his was actually part of our wedding vows: "...and I promise not to interfere with your soul deep need to continue training in the martial arts and go to Japan every year to train with people better than you." No, really.)

Anyway. Yes, the job goes well. The writing goes well. It makes me happy, and there is stuff that I'm SUPER excited about that I cannot talk about on social media, even a locked LJ post social media. Suffice to say, I have more incentive than ever before to get my butt into gear and whip this manuscript into shape. 

And while yes, I can take as much time as I like to do that, I am giving myself a self imposed deadline to finish the first draft by mid-June. I already have around 40k words, but I had an epiphany last night about the beginning that means I am going to have to rewrite some of them (but it will be so much better! I am excited by this, rather than put off.) So, my goal is 100k words (about) by June 15th. This should be pretty doable, given my schedule and the fact that my current job ends on May 30th, so then my schedule will be really open.

In the meantime, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays are my lightest "work days", which means they will provide me with ample opportunity, and I plan to write every single day. If I look at it as a whole block of words (disregarding what is already written, which will give me a nice jump start anyway), I will have to write 2,325 words per day. This is totally doable. Back when I was writing all of the time, some days I averaged 5k words or more. Obviously, some days were less, but that's okay. That number isn't really accurate anyway, since like 30k words are very likely already written and won't be changing much. The point is, I've done the math and I know I can do it, and as long as I do my word count thing here and keep reasonable track, holding myself accountable, I have pretty strong faith that it will happen.  

So, be prepared for lots of daily word count updates to return. There may be small snippets. There will be pirate icons and such. I don't even know how many people are still on LJ who would remember the first time around. Hopefully it won't be too obnoxious having me post about the same thing all of time. :)

This is what they will look like:

rhienelleth: (dragon age lady hawk -pixelempress)
2011-03-28 07:27 pm


 Hello everyone!

Things Rhien has been doing lately - 

~ Disneyland! We went for a week with some friends. Overall, a great trip. It rained, though, for most of the time. Our first day there, it rained sideways, and that night there was us, many rain-drenched cast members, and maybe 150 other brave souls in the park. We walked onto Space Mountain. At Pirates, they told us if we wanted to ride again, we could just stay in the boat. It was amazing! Somewhere, we have a picture of main street with no one there.

Also, we saw a REALLY AWESOME Pirates: On Stranger Tides sneak peek on our last night there. They had a really amazingly good Jack Sparrow we weren't allowed to interact with, which made me almost cry. When asked if he was going to be out in the park at all, a cast member told us he would be, starting this weekend (after we were already gone), through the release of the movie.

Sadly, we had to leave before that was going to happen. :( 

But, did I mention the AWESOME Pirates preview? It was awesomesauce. Ian McShane is going to be an amazing Blackbeard!

Also, we are now Disney pin collectors. I won't tell you how much we spent on pins. Because it's kind of embarrassing! I am sad that we had to leave before we could find and trade for all of the sets we wanted to complete, since it'll be a few years before we get back. Alas! (Did I mention the Jack Sparrow I will never get to meet?  *sad face*)

The ElecTRONica rave thing they put on at California Adventures was also awesomesauce! Members of our party alternately danced, played classic arcade games in Flynn's Arcade, or purchased and consumed glowing mojitos to drink (they were heavy on the rum, and came in glowing glasses! Actually, it was a glowing fake ice cube. I still have mine!)

World of Color was fantastic. Well worth the price of admission, so to speak.

~ Dragon Age 2

WTF game??  OMG, talk about traumatizing! I played last night, and I cannot believe <<spoilers>> ) Wait, it's Bioware, I can totally believe it!  Still, if this is midway through the game, I'm afraid of what I'll have to deal with at the end!  

Party banter continues to win, btw. I may play this game through a second time, just to see what other party configurations give me.

~ Pirates!

Yes, I got lots of nefarious ideas while in Disney, because it was a lot of pirate thinking time for me.  I wrote today, and will continue writing until the rewrite is finished. Also, the villain is way more evil now, which makes me happy. Although I kind of don't want to kill her off. I'm not going to in this book, I don't think. We'll see when I get to the end. 

~ Back to Dragon Age 2

Seriously, Bioware, WTF?  Do you guys lie awake at night and think "Now what can we do in this game to TOTALLY TRAUMATIZE THE PLAYER?"  Yes, I think you do! You are making me afraid for Mass Effect 3!
rhienelleth: (Reaper)
2010-12-31 12:34 pm


 Hey guys.

Cutting to the chase: It's taken me nearly two years and a handful of rewrites, but I think Nemesis is finally where it needs to be.  Or, you know, firmly going where it needs to be.  It bears such faint resemblance to the original draft I sent to beta readers, I marvel now that I ever thought that draft "done" and "polished".  Along the way, I've gotten invaluable advice from beta readers, critique partners, industry professionals, and friends.  But at the end of the day, I'm the one that has to decide what makes the story good, and when and how to implement those changes.  I've cut so many pieces that didn't really belong in the old draft, and beefed up and concentrated on others I never thought mattered.  

Mercy as a character has come so far.  I hope it's far enough.  At some point, a writer becomes too close to the work to really know.  I never realized before, that people weren't able to connect to her emotionally as well as they should.  A fault in how I wrote her.  A lack of the reader's ability to know what Mercy was thinking and feeling, because I just didn't put it in there (even though I really thought I did.)  

Now, things are different.  Now, the reader gets to know not only Mercy's innermost thoughts, but also Reaper's.  (Something that has made my beta readers very happy.  His POV did not really exist in the original drafts.)  

I know I've mentioned occasionally here that I'm working on the rewrite(s).  That has had a few starts and stops, as I've struggled with what to get rid of, and what to keep and expand.  But the extra time it took me was worth it, because it allowed me to put some space between the old draft and my connection to it, to look objectively as some things I would never have considered getting rid of before.  

Now, here I am on the fourth (fifth?) rewrite since that old draft, and I'm feeling better about the book than I have since I was so certain that old draft was the draft.  I'm rewriting scenes I never thought needed to be rewritten before, and cutting out whole chapters, and adding new ones.  I think only a handful of scenes from that old draft even resemble themselves anymore, and that's not a bad thing.  It's a better book.  A stronger book.  

So, have a word count meter:

I'm averaging about 8K a day, and hoping to keep that up until school starts on Tuesday this next week.  

Oh, and have a snippet:
 Brotherly affection. )
**end snippet**

Oh, and just a note that I am looking for a couple of additional beta readers.  If anyone feels up to volunteering.
rhienelleth: (coffee)
2010-03-09 12:50 pm

This morning was a two cup day.

After yesterday's epiphany, I thought I'd post an example as I work on fixing it.  Also, unexpected things about one's characters often come out on the page when you aren't looking for them.  Apparently, Drug (a minor character) is devoutly religious.  And Mercy (my MC) isn't.

Since I myself am of a religious bent, this is an odd realization to have.  Especially given that this counts as the third rewrite of this book, and religion has never particularly played a role before.  But what do people do when faced with death?  If they believe in a God, often they pray.  

So, without further ado:

The old (from draft 2) opening to Chapter One. )

See how, not once do I mention how Mercy feels in this situation?  Everything is conveyed through dialogue, or a description of her doing something.  Even though the story is told from her POV, we aren't really in her head here.

And here's the new opening.  Same scene, different approach:

New Chapter One opening. )

See how adding bits about what Mercy's feeling makes the situation more immediate?  At least, I hope it does.  In fact, I think it changes the entire mood of the scene.  Let me know if you agree, or if you don't! :-)