Blue Blood-ties

I came across an old draft from 2012 that was never posted a while back. It was written on November 20th, the day X Japan’s Yoshiki was born, emotionally scribbled down as I was watching live DVDs, celebrating by myself.
I don’t know why I didn’t post it, but once the day had passed I supposed there was no point to it?

Today however, marks 27 years since X Japan’s debut album was released, and I can’t not re-write that old draft. Because this band has had such a profound role in my life and perhaps more than anything, in my writing.

The first time I heard an X song, I was around 17 and although the lyrics were mainly in English, the words were broken and hard to decipher, but it didn’t matter, I still found myself overcome with emotion, and like the name of the song itself, I was overcome with tears.

When I started working on SNOW,  X were a natural part of the process – largely thanks to those heart-wrenching and emotional lyrics, which were a perfect backdrop to the scenes I was writing down, but also because of Maaya.
When Maaya first appeared before my inner eye in 2006, he had pink hair; it was cut short, but I knew that he’d used to wear it long. I think from that moment, I knew he was a hide fan.

At that point, the connection between the music and the novel was made.

I didn’t make him a fan because I myself am a fan, but because it all seemed to fall into place so easily, so obviously. But this connection has been deepened by some really striking coincidences .

Maaya’s birthday is March 15th. I picked it for no particular reason, but as with all my characters, I spent a lot of time mapping out their personalities and matching zodiacs.
March 15th 2011 was set to be the release of X Japan’s single Jade – a song played at almost every show since their 2007 reunion, but which had yet to see an official release.
Jade  means an enormous deal to me personally, but the fact that it was scheduled for Maaya’s birthday with the name that it had, and the message it carried… It was almost a little too coincidental.

Due to the tragedy of 3-11, Tohoku and the subsequent tsunami, the single was postponed, and not released until about a month later, but that didn’t change anything, least of all the way Jade was a bridge between my two novels, between Maaya and Aki’s stories.

At the time, I was mid-Jaded, and at a crossroads. For the longest time I had no idea what I was doing, or how the story would turn out. I was struggling with an element that no longer seemed to fit into the story, but which I had been holding on to for years already. I didn’t know if I should keep holding on, or if I should just let it go and let the story evolve into the new direction I had staked out. Somehow, the decision was made – albeit unconsciously.

I’m going through the old draft as I am writing this post, and being reminded again, of how deep this connection runs. It’s almost a little freaky, I think to myself as I sift through the lines and find facts long forgotten.

Apparently, the night I finished Jaded’s first draft, though nowhere near completion of anything but the overall story, was on this day, the anniversary of Blue Blood.
When the album came out, I was 9 months old. I wish I could say I grew up with this night, but at this point that’s what it feels like. I didn’t, but my writing certainly did.

On the date of the original draft, November 20th 2012, I announced the release date for Jaded. I wrote the following:  “Seems only right that events would drag out long enough for the announcement to be made on Yoshiki’s birthday.”

Today, I’m having a day off, and by chance this first day off in months falls on the anniversary of Blue Blood. At the end of the original draft, I wrote that I was watching them play Joker while smiling crookedly. Four years later I am listening to Celebration, and I hope that this strange connection my writing has with this fantastic band will never let up.

 

 

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Jaded available for international readers!

Finally!
I’m so sorry you guys had to wait so long for this. I was mortified when I saw a repetition of SNOW’s disastrous first print (well, it wasn’t half as bad, but I feared the worst), and though fixing the script was no problem, the proofing was more of a challenge, as I had no time to sit down and read. I edited between bouts of studying for my exam and working on other projects, and I also waited for feedback from my friend who was reading at the time – she has an eye for typos! It does deflate me a little, whenever I encounter something like this, and I feel like I didn’t work hard enough, or fast enough – all though it’s working too fast that creates these situations in the first place.

Anyway, I’ve spent my free time since Christmas break started (with the exception of the 24th), reading through the script, and proofing it digitally. Hopefully there won’t be any more problems with it. I’d probably die of embarrassment if there were any more mistakes at this point.

Okay. Mandatory whining is over.  I hope it’s still Christmas in some part of the world, as I wanted to have the webstore up by Christmas Day, but I fear I’m just a little too late.

Since I feel so bad about this having taken so long, I’ve marked down the price of the novel. Until January 6th, you can purchase Jaded for $20 at the webstore!
Afterwards the cost will be the planned $25. As usual, I’m feeling guilty as nothing else when I list the price, but keep in mind that I’m paying for the costs myself, and the royalties are fairly low. Through the webstore, you can order Jaded from all corners of the world, and their shipping fees have gone down, which is great news!

Jaded will also become available through Amazon.com within the next week or so, as soon as they’ve listed it. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for that, and provide a link once it’s been listed. As for Amazon.uk and other European sites, I’m unable to list the novels on there as of yet, due to some pesky issues relating to sales and the EU.
I’m also going to update once I’ve enabled extended distribution – which will make Jaded available to all bookstores and webstores by request.

But enough of my rambling.
If you would like to order Jaded, please head on over to the webstore!

I’ll be back with more information regarding Amazon etc. at a later time.  I hope you’ll all continue to enjoy your holidays!

cover3d

 

All I want for Christmas

After my last non-AC related post and last year’s posts about a white Christmas and Respect, where I talked about things I want people to think about during the Christmas season; respect other people and their rights, do something for someone in need, think of the animals and don’t give animals away as presents, and consider how your alcohol intake might affect children if you intend to drink during the holidays.
All of these are things I wish people would think about during this season (click on the links if you want to read the full posts), after all, this is the season to show compassion and heart.

But at the same time, if I can have one selfish wish for this season. Can I ask for one thing?
For those of you reading (or who have finished) Jaded, I hope that you will take the time to give me some feedback. It means the world to me, and I would really appreciate your comments ♥
I’m super curious about what you thought, what you liked or didn’t like, favorite scenes, favorite characters… Pretty much everything.

If you’ve ever had a secret wish to give me a Christmas present, here’s your chance! (´▽`*)アハハ

I feel really pretentious posting something like this, but honestly, I don’t think it’s all that bad that I ask to hear what you thought~
(Actually, even after writing that, I feel even more pretentious.)

I already have a previously written a post that I intend to publish at a later time, about the emptiness that comes with finishing a novel and sending it out to the public, where I also touch upon wishing for feedback – which I’ll post at some point when Jaded has been out for longer, moreover, when I’ve finally done the final (!!) edit for the webstore release.

If you want to make me smile with your comments, feel free to post them on facebook (beware of spoilers on the wall), or here, or you can even send me an email via the website, if you are like me; really shy about posting on a public forum.

I hope everyone’s enjoying Jaded so far, and appreciate you all so much for reading it!
Wonder if there are any copies under the trees around the country? (゚∀゚ )

Well then, hope that wasn’t too demanding! Have a nice night everyone.

A regrettable setback

Happy Friday!
..Is what I want to say, but unfortunately I have some bad news. If you read my last entry, you will be aware that some nasty typos in Jaded have been pointed out to me this week. Because of this, I have decided to push back the online release a short couple of days. It sucks, because this year I wanted to have a simultaneous launch of the webstore as well as the Outland sale. However, it’s more important to me that the product is of acceptable quality. Of course, the pre-orders have been shipped out (and some even arrived at their destination), and Outland has already stocked their copies. So the first batch of copies will be flawed.
In regards to this, all I can do is apologize profusely and say that if you’re a typo-nazi, I suggest to you await your purchase until the second batch has been stocked. If you think you can handle a couple missing quote marks and spaces, and the occasional typo, feel free to pick up your copy at Outland from tomorrow on.

As for online sales, they won’t be pushed back too long. I need to update the interior file with the edited version of the script, and approve it. This process takes 1-2 days, so I’m aiming to have the book in sale over at the webstore by Monday if all goes according to plan.
In any case, I will post a link when the webstore is up and running. And as compensation for the extra wait, I’ll extend the sales-period so that you can purchase the novel at release-price for a week after the release.

I’m really sorry for the inconvenience, and hope that you all understand.

Announcement: Jaded release

Thank you so much to everyone who have pre-ordered, reviewed and expressed their excitement for Jaded’s release.
You know, I’ve been dying to reveal the release-plans, but they kept being pushed back due to various events, such as the editing process dragging on, and the shipments taking longer than expected. My originally intended date was November 10th; Yuuki’s birthday.
Then I kept pushing it back Saturday by Saturday. In the end, we were finally able to get everything ready in time for December 1st. It’s way later than I had hoped, but better late than never!
I am thrilled to announce the official release date!

On December 1st “Jaded” will be released simultaneously both at Outland and in my webstore. Because the online price tends to be a bit steep due to the publishing costs, I’ve decided to give a special discount for the release weekend only! If you live abroad, I particularily reccomend buying “Jaded” from my webstore on December 1st or 2nd. Link will be provided as soon as I’ve authorized the sales.
Amazon sales will be available about a week later, aprroximately on the 7th of December, once Amazon have updated their listings.

Finally, the big announcement: As you might’ve heard already, I will be at Outland Trondheim from noon and throughout opening hours on Saturday December 1st!
Come by and say hi! And of course, get a signed copy of Jaded! If you wish, you may also bring your copy of “SNOW” if you would like to have that signed as well!
I will be looking forward to seeing you there, and most of all to see your shoulders drop and (hopefully) excitement as you receive your copies!
There’s a limited stock though, so I hope we’ll have enough copies for everyone!

As for those outside of Trondheim: Outland ordered copies for their stores accross the country, which should be available from December 1st as well! Again, stocks might be limited, so make sure to encourage them to order more! (*´∀`)アハハン♪

I can’t believe this is finally happening. I’m nervous, but also so excited. I hope you’re all looking forward to getting your hands on Jaded as well; and I hope you will enjoy it.

By the way, did you see the “trailer”? Σ(^∀^;)
My friend laughed and told me it was the first time he’d seen a trailer for a novel, wondering if my ego was sky-rocketing!
Honestly, what happened was that I had no idea how to get a proper impact when finally announcing the release-date, and after so many setbacks, I wanted it to be special. In the end, I had been playing with the thought of making a short promo video for it, and we decided to just go for it, because why the heck not?

Have a great weekend everyone! Only one week left!

Congratulations!

*phew*
I finally got the time to draw a winner of the contest. I had a hard time finding out which would be the most fair way to choose the winning review; whether I wanted to put more weight on it being well-written or written from the heart.
In the end, I decided to pick the reviews that spoke to me the most; by speaking about the characters as if they were real people, or even friends. This is how I myself think of them, and in the end I ended up liking the reviews that mentioned this the most. Then I had my dear impartial webadmin draw one of these “finalists”, to make sure it was a fair selection.

Without further ado; congratulations to Martine Hana Løken aka Winona Flammery!
Send me an e-mail with your address, and I’ll ship out your copy of Jaded next week!

I had such a good time reading all of your reviews, and believe me when I say that picking a winner was immensely difficult. If I could, I’d give you all free copies… but that would be bad for business! Σ(^∀^;)
Thanks to everyone who participated. I honestly enjoyed reading these very much ♥

Victory!

Well! I actually wrote a couple of drafts before the start of NaNo, thinking I’d be clever and still keep the blog up and running while writing, but in between writing, schoolwork, and a little thing called sleep, there wasn’t really any time. On top of that, the proof copy of Jaded arrived in the mail last Friday, so I had to proof it for errors, and hopefully I succeeded better than I did with the first round of SNOW. Altogether, the process took most of the weekend, and me, annoyed with myself for having “slacked off” (even though I was working) for two days, and ended up writing almost 9000 words on Sunday. About 5000 of those were written between Saturday night and Sunday morning. I went to bed at six am, having hit 50k at five sharp.

Of course being full of caffeine and adrenaline, I don’t think I fell asleep until closer to seven, and then I was forcibly wakened by my phone at ten. Well, in any case, I’ve hit the 50k for this November, and although my goal is actually to finish this script by December 1st, we’ll see howthat goes.
The story I’m writing now is much simpler than Jaded, and I have a very goodrelationship to put it that way, with the main character, os it’s a much easier story than Jaded, which is fairly liberating. But also weird.
My biggest problem is that that 50 000 word mark is like a carrot, and once I’ve obtained it my determination kinda burns out. That was the case with both SNOW and Jaded, which were left hanging at about 56k for a year each, before I continued. This time, I’d like to do it all in one push, so to speak.
Wish me luck!


Luckily, Sanza is always ready to “help” with the script.

I also went to the city on Saturday to demonstrate against the fur trade in Norway. Honestly, I was disappointed by tehe crowd that had assembled; an estimated 250-300 people. I’m so glad that people get involved, but in this kind of relatively big city, there should be more people speakng up against this kind of organized animal cruelty.
However, it was amazing to see all the torches and hearing the crowd scream at the top of their lungs that they wanted this cruelty to stop.
Hopefully this will be the last time we need to do this; it’s time that they put an end to this.

Aand, while I was in the city to begin with, we stopped by Outland to make some arrangements.
I’m bursting with excitement, and plans, but I guess I’ll have to keep quiet for a while longer.
What I can say is that I really wanted to get Jaded out before the end of November, but that the release date is in limbo, courtesy of the printer’s and shipping time. So until I know when the orders will be delivered, I can’t say anything. However, things are definitely happening,and I sincerely hope that the wait will be over soon. I’m also going to work on the possibilites for pre-orders, but we’ll see what will come out of that.
In any case, I hope you all keep your eyes peeled! Things are going to happen really quickly from now on.

I’ll keep writing now, fueledy by my top 3: Caffeine, Pringles and Donuts!

Have a good Tuesday everyone.

The difficult balance

I’m well into what I believe is the 5th round of editing. At this point I’m close to losing my mind. I spent most of yesterday working through the same chapter (and procrastinating, because I had NO idea what to do with it). It’s another one of those situations where I’m unhappy with it, without knowing what’s actually wrong. It’s another one of the infamous situations where it’s my heart vs. my mind, and a really old, set in stone scene might have to go. It makes me horribly uncertain.

The scene in question, is a sex scene. This complicates the matters further.
Why?
Like I said. SNOW is Maaya. Jaded is Aki.
SNOW was composed, mature and contained.
Jaded is wild, playful, obnoxious and fickle.
I need to let go of the mindset from SNOW, in order to see Jaded for what it really is – or should be.
Usually this isn’t a problem. The problem is only encountered when I think about how SNOW was written as an attempt to cross the borders between mainstream(ish) fiction and yaoi.
In that sense, Jaded is more shallow.
In that sense, I become doubtful. This scene doesn’t fit with the image I made for SNOW. But it’s a different story. Moreover, considering the genre, it’s entirely acceptable and appropriate.
If I asked the readers, I’m quite sure what the majority of them would think. And the part of me who is a fujiyoshi of dimensions feels the exact same way. The critical author however….

So now I’ve called on a friend. Who in many ways knows the most about these characters. I’m gonna go throw my problems over on her, and if she can’t help me I’ll be in despair~

Apart from this wretched chapter…I’m having a really good time rereading and tweaking. And I really hope you’ll continue to stick with me and wait for the finished product.

Haha, based on this, maybe I’m overthinking things.

Reflections

You know, not a single day goes by without me thinking about my readers. Daily, I think that I’m in over my head. Promising things I can’t keep. I’m feeling really bad about keeping everyone waiting, and taking so long.

That said, Jaded is in a very different place right now than it was the last time I dedicated a post to it. The whole thing is pretty confidencial at the moment, although there is so much stuff I’d like to just blurt to everyone.
I go from being very confident, to losing all confidence, depending on where I am in the process. So this won’t be done in a day (as has been proven by the massive amount of time that has gone into this project already).
I think part of the reason is that it took me so long to actually get started, that by the time I did, I had all these excerpts and side-stories or side-plots that I have grown to love. Some of them will be incorporated, some will be cut, some will be kept, and depending on how my outlook on it turns out after the next round of editing, we will see what kind of story this will eventually be. Of course, there is a distinct mindset behind it, and I definitely know the main story and all that. It’s more a question of “how much is too much” , and “what is redundant?”

Like I said before, my battle with Jaded is a battle between my biased self and my professional self.
It’s important to me that my stories are relatable, that people can read and love them, understand them and get attached to the characters based on what they go through. But I’m not writing this entirely for an audience. In the same way that I’m not entirely writing it for myself.  There’s a balance, and I’m struggling to keep it. In order to bring you the best possible version of Jaded I can.

I guess if you were to reflect on the main characters of the stories it would be like this:
SNOW is like Maaya; collected, composed and more or less level headed.
Jaded on the other hand, is Aki: Complex, confusing and demanding.

I think that gives a better imagery of what I’m struggling with. I want to keep the essence of what I had in mind, but still make it as reader friendly as I can.

For now, I’ll finish this round and then start over. I do have a tentative release date in mind, but I’ve learned not to rush things, so we will see. Please be patient.

Oh, and although I was born somewhere around 3am, I guess it’s happy birthday to me~ It’s said that one grows wiser with age, so let’s hope this is a good sign in terms of writing.

Time paradox

Know what those are?
Unless I’m horribly mistaken, those should be chapters 4, 5 and 6 of Jaded. For the time being anyway. There might be some major rewrites happening within short time. We’ll see how that works out.
There’s been some major changes in the way I see this story as well, to the point where I was starting to feel like I’d never finish it. I’ve been stuck for a really long time.

And finally…
I decided that enough was enough, and swallowed my pride. It’s been a big deal over the past years, ever since Aki waltzed into my head in 2005 and set up camp there, that noone knows anything.  The Jaded SNOW project has been kept under lock and key in my brain. Top Secret.
SNOW was one thing. Everything there was more or less figured out to begin with. Sometimes I wish I’d let people see the finished product before the whole ‘Original 70’ thing happened, but all over, I didn’t have any major problems with that story. Which is odd, considering that was the one that I thought was the least developed in my mind.

Jaded has been the way it is for the past six years. Just as complex, just as seemingly endless, with all the loose strings I try so hard to tie together. 
And herein lies parts of the problem. Because the notes and outlines for Jaded are old, the story itself carries alot of my older, more reckless style. Even if I didn’t start writing until 2009, there is something about the script that feels old.
I feel like it’s a good thing, because I’m so attached to things the way they have always been, but I also know that I’ve improved alot since then, and so, the script should also improve from where it stands now. And I can’t do this improvement by myself.

With SNOW having so many realistic qualities, I’m nervous by Jaded’s rough, more BL-angled themes. Where SNOW aims to cross borders and blend in with more mainstream literature, Jaded will surely sit in the BL/yaoi category. I’m both fine and worried about this.
Worried, because I don’t want to disappoint anyone by letting the level drop – like BL isn’t a “real” genre. Fine because I love BL.
Biased, in both negative and positive ways.

So I asked for help. Over the next week, we’re going to be going through the script the way it is now.  I’ll get feedback, and I’ll get to see if I’m right in the assumptions I’ve made. We’re going to discuss and take notes, and I’ll take advice.  Any major rewrites will be purely on me, but I need to have someone do discuss my concerns and test the material on.

It was horrible handing the first few pages over. I’ve kept this stuff to myself for such a long time, the thought of actually letting someone see it before I had even finished it…was horrifying.
At the same time, it was an incredible relief. Between hyperventilating and sweating, I felt somewhat calm, knowing it wasn’t ALL on me anymore.

The scariest part is the clash between my old and new style, and how this might affect the storyline I have come to love.

I’ll need to buy more post-its…