Jean Marie Bauhaus

Paranormal fantasy author and self-publishing explorer.

Of Green Dresses and Green Skies
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

Only 291 words added to Radium Town today. However, I brushed up on a lot of research, as my Pinterest board can attest. No, shut up, it was not just an excuse to be on Pinterest. I learned some useful things, mostly about ladies’ evening fashions in 1907, and that resulted in today’s rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Betty relinquished her wool cape and adjusted her dress. Despite her surprise that the professor had accepted the dinner invitation, such an invitation itself had been anticipated, and Betty had come prepared. Her dress was a simple number of pea green silk and white lace, lacking any elaborate detail. She had made it herself, and while years of working as a seamstress before the government got a hold of her had made her quite good at designing her own dresses, her work left her little time for embroidery or bead work. Still, it would do for a dinner dress, and more importantly, it had plenty of hidden pockets in the silk folds for hiding her weapons. Not that she expected to need them tonight; but she’d be negligent if she didn’t come prepared for the unexpected.

I also had a breakthrough in writing what might be the opening of a short story, but I’m not sure yet. Or rather, I don’t actually know what it’s about yet. I might just keep writing on it and see if it decides to tell me. On a whim, I submitted the first line for the opening line contest Chuck Wendig is hosting on his blog this week. Here’s my entry:

When the sky goes green, you take cover — if you’re smart; if not, you stand on the porch, crack open a beer, fire up the video camera, and wait.

I don’t know what that is, or even what genre it wants to be. I guess one thing’s for sure — springtime in Oklahoma means I’ve got tornadoes on the brain.

Otherwise, today was full of distraction and I was highly distractible. I did manage to finish finishing the laundry (i.e. folding and putting away the last load), so there’s that. My husband is sick, so a lot of my thoughts were occupied with concern for him, and also trying to make sure I don’t catch whatever he has. I’m not sure it’s working, because I’m coming down with a cough, but I’m highly suggestible when it comes to this sort of thing, so that might be psychosomatic. Here’s hoping that’s all it is.

We did our taxes on Saturday, so I didn’t have to worry about that. It didn’t turn out so well for us, but at least that’s one less thing I have to think about until next year.

And now I think I’m going to let my tired brain chill out and watch Supernatural, then try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve got some client work lined up for tomorrow, so it’s best if I get a good night’s sleep.

Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Back in the Saddle Again
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

With not a lot of paying work on my plate so far this week, I decided to set aside today to finally break through my weeks-long writer’s block (well, and to finish doing the laundry. Writing is glamorous, yo). Today was the first time since I said I was going to get back to work on Radium Town that I actually added words to it. 494 of them, to be exact, and let me tell you, getting that first hundred down was like pulling teeth, but I’m glad I did it. As Stephen King said in On Writing, a reread of which I just finished yesterday, the scariest thing is the moment just before you start. So I’m glad that’s out of the way.

It took hours to get done, most of which were spent reading what I already had and trying to get my head back into the story, and then figuring out how to end the scene where I’d left off in the middle. I also had to do some research and fact-checking, although I really should have saved that for the second draft. At any rate, here’s a rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Level Up: Adult
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

When I was in my 20s, I thought maybe once I reached 30 some kind of magical adult switch would get flipped and then I’d have it all together. When I reached 30 and that didn’t happen, I thought maybe it would happen at 35. At 36, still having trouble with the whole adulting thing, I thought, surely, it must be 40. Everybody figures out how to adult by the time they’re 40. Right?

I turned 41 on Sunday, and if you’re wondering if 40 is indeed the magic number, I’m sorry to tell you that it is not. While I have more days where I’m able to pull myself together and get stuff done than I did ten years ago, those days are still outnumbered by the days wherein just brushing my teeth feels like a monumental responsibility that I’m just not sure I can handle.

I’m beginning to suspect that there is no switch. There is no magic number. And as cohorts show the same signs of struggling I do, I’m also beginning to suspect that the entire idea that there is this achievable level called “adulthood” where one levels up and gets some sort of power pack that causes things to come easily like organization and punctuality and meeting responsibilities and obligations and having a perfect home and always knowing what’s up and never flailing about wondering if one should thaw something out for dinner or maybe just eat ice cream and you need to do laundry and yard work and work work and you’re not sure which should come first but really you just want to lie down or watch TV because that’s about all you have energy for and hey who needs pants if you don’t plan to leave the house anyway? That idea, I’m fairly certain, is a myth.

I’m beginning instead to suspect that what learning how to adult really means is to give yourself grace and accept that there will always be areas of struggle in your life. That being an adult is really about having your priorities straight and being able to get the things done that really need to be done and to let go of worrying or feeling guilty about the things that don’t really matter. To accept that you might never be a perfect housekeeper and your home will never look like it should be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but as long as you can keep it from looking like it should be on Clean House or Hoarders then you’re doing okay. Or to make peace with the fact that you’ll never be a time management or organizational whiz, but you’ve got your system that works for you most of the time and who cares if nobody will ever want to feature it on Lifehacker as long as you manage to meet your deadlines.

If that’s what it really means to be an adult, then I think I might have finally unlocked that achievement.

Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Song Lyrics: Untouchable
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

I enjoy writing song lyrics and poetry, although I don’t do nearly enough of it. To date, I’ve got two songs under my belt (not counting a slew of Buffy the Vampire Slayer filk I contributed to the Mighty Big TV forums back in the day). This here is the first song I wrote, back in 2011. Parts of it are a little trite and cliche, but it came from the heart.

This past Tuesday was the fourth anniversary of the occasion that prompted it — my second miscarriage. I don’t feel the need to talk about those as much as I used to, but it didn’t strike me until last night that the anniversary had come and gone, and I don’t know how to feel about that. I still have sadness around due dates that might have been birthdays, but I don’t know what it means that I forgot to remember this anniversary. I guess it’s a healthy sign that I’m moving on, but there’s also guilt in moving on from something like that.

But forgetting the date doesn’t mean I forgot the life whose passing it marked. So here’s the song I wrote to make sure I would never forget. As if I ever could.

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Stripped.
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

So, I redid this here blog. As much as I love my old custom theme, I felt the need to go back to basics, stop trying to live up to a “brand” that I’ve never been able to quite pin down and stop treating this as my “author blog.” It’s just my blog, and I’m just a writer, so I’ve stripped away distractions to focus on what really matters: the writing.

This is all part of rebooting my writing career. I’ve decided to go ahead and take a break from self-publishing for a while (except maybe for short stories) and try to give traditional publishing a fair chance. Like I said earlier, I can’t do it all by myself — at least not as well as I thought I could — so I’m going to try finding an agent and then go from there. This means that Intruder and any other Restless Spirits or Dominion of the Damned sequels are on hold while I see if I can find an agent and a publishing home for those two books. Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to work on Radium Town, and also keep writing short stories.

Speaking of short stories, I also rebooted my Patreon page to put the focus there. I’m still tinkering with the page — for one thing, I still need to shoot an introductory video, which kind of terrifies me — but as far as pledge amounts and what I plan to deliver it’s pretty much set. Although if you have any ideas for what you’d like to see offered there, I’m all ears. At any rate, I plan to write at least one short story per month and publish it exclusively for my patrons — which you can still become for as little as a buck a month. Do you wanna? Then click here!

In other news, I barely slept last night, and consequently got very little done today other than tinkering with the blog. I think I’m going to head to bed early tonight, but not before spending the next hour or so in House of Leaves. Goodnight, lovelies.

Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Radium Town explained, badly.
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

I hate trying to explain to people what my books are about in conversation. To illustrate why, here’s a close approximation to a conversation I had with my husband this morning:

Him: What’s Radium Town about?

Me: It’s a steampunk western with monsters and Will Rogers set in Claremore [my hometown in Oklahoma] at the dawn of statehood.

Him: But, what’s it about?

Me: Um. There’s this Lovecraftian underground monster that gets woken up by oil drilling? And it infects the artesian water that was so popular back then and turns people into zombie slaves.

Him: Where does the steampunk element come in?

Me: Um. Well, it’s the technology that they use to fight the monsters.

Him: But how is it integral to the story?

Me: … Well, see, there’s this whole back story about monster attacks occurring in Europe and elsewhere, so Teddy Roosevelt put together this government agency, and this agent (who is Will Rogers’ future wife) escorts this scientist to Claremore to test this new drilling machine he invented, and that’s what awakens the monster. And also the weapons and technology that the agents use are steam-powered.

Him: Ooookay.

Sigh. At least when I write down my plots I can make them sound cool instead of convoluted and stupid. Not so much when I’m trying to put it into speech.

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing.
Crochet
jmbauhaus

I’m taking a break from my Stephen King binge to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It’s been on my wish list for a while now and when I came across a (battered but readable) copy at the used book store the other day I snatched it up and since then I’ve been doing my very best to force myself to meet my responsibilities and obligations and not just lose myself in this book until I’m done. I don’t want to say too much about it yet — partly because I don’t want to spoil anything; you don’t read this book so much as experience it, and it’s really best if you come to it knowing as little about it as possible — and also because I get the feeling I won’t really know what I’m talking about until I’ve finished it. Anyway, it’s good. Scary. Scary good.

My patreon campaign isn’t going so well, which is discouraging, because to be honest this is kind of my last-ditch effort at being an indie author. I’ve been looking over my sales totals and, despite excellent reviews, despite decent publicity here and there, despite about a dozen other things, the numbers are just pitiful. I’ve said since I started this experiment that self-publishing isn’t for everybody. Now I’m starting to face the harsh truth that it might not be for me. At first I liked the idea of DIYing everything and being in total control, but the truth is I just can’t do it all by myself, and I don’t have the resources to put together a team to polish everything and make it look truly professional. And honestly, if you can’t do that, then you don’t have much hope of competing in this market.

I’ve been kind of depressed about this, honestly. Definitely discouraged. Trying to figure out where to go from here. With nobody showing any real interest in Intruder (apart from a small handful of Facebook likes) I’m wondering if I should back-burner it and focus my wee slivers of writing time on finishing Radium Town and then submitting it to agents. Or if I should start submitting Restless Spirits and/or Dominion of the Damned to some small publishing houses. Or maybe even submit them to agents. I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed and flailing, and this is why I think I might need an agent, so he or she can help me figure out what’s best.

Or should I just stick it out and focus on getting two more books out there and see what happens when I get to the “magical” number six? Six books seems to be the average number when sales really start to take off and royalties start to become a livable wage. Am I just not being patient enough? Not tenacious enough? I don’t know. I only know that I’m very tired and the technical production and design aspects of my books leave a lot to be desired and I’m barely finding time to write, let alone to market them effectively, and it seems that teaming with an agent and publisher(s) could help fix at least some of those problems, but I fear it would also create as many problems as it solves.

Just thinking out loud here. Maybe I shouldn’t, but there it is.

In other news, Hannibal and Once Upon a Time both kind of broke my heart this week, and the Walking Dead season finale was kind of uneventful. Right now on Twitter everybody’s talking about the How I Met Your Mother finale, but I don’t watch that show, so I can’t comment.

And now I’m going to make some cocoa and dive back into my scary book and try not to think about my even scarier sales reports.

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Farewell, Tubey.
Serenity
jmbauhaus

So NBC Universal is shutting down Television Without Pity (normally I’d link that, but I guess there’s really no point, since they won’t even be keeping an archive online). I haven’t actually been on that site in over a year (I think the last show for which I kept up with the recaps was Fringe), but even so, this announcement is stirring up a lot of nostalgia and remembrance. It’s funny how what began as a snarky little website that featured a handful of friends riffing on Dawson’s Creek every week grew into something so big and influential, and how many lives were affected and careers were launched because of it.

I started hanging out on the site when it was still known as Mighty Big TV. I visited it here and there for various show recaps, but I didn’t really get into the forums until Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, specifically right after the episode Fool for Love aired, which marked the point where my fondness of the show (and the character Spike) ramped up to full-on obsession. My burning need to discuss it with somebody who wouldn’t just nod at me with glazed over eyes led me to the MBTV Buffy forum, which led me to several friendships. Most of those have, sadly, dissolved since then, but not before they led to me travelling to places like Nashville and Louisville and Chicago and San Jose and San Franscisco to meet up and have adventures and form amazing memories with some awesome and hilarious women.

The Buffy forum also launched my former fanfic career, so if you’re here because of my Spuffy fic, we can all thank TWoP for that. I still get more feedback and fan mail for my fan fiction than I do for any of my original novels, which is equal parts flattering and frustrating. Would I be a fiction writer now if not for TWoP? Certainly. I was already a writer when I came to it, so I can’t give it credit for that. But writing all that fan fiction, and having it vetted and beta’d by those aforementioned awesome women, taught me a lot about plotting, pacing, characterization, dialogue and other useful mechanics of building a novel. I might have still learned all that stuff by writing in my own sandbox with my own characters, but I wouldn’t have had half as much fun in the process.

Eventually, though, the forums devolved into a lot of drama, and I think I even got banned from them. If I recall correctly, some of my friends got banned, and then all of the rest of us flamed out and got ourselves banned in solidarity. Looking back, I know we all took both the show and the forums and the whole fandom (not to mention the whole Spike vs. Angel debate) just a wee bit too seriously. At least, I know did. But that’s fandom for you.

Which is all to say that, like many People On the Internet, MBTV/TWoP was a pretty big influence on my life, and because of this I’m sad to see it come to an end. Somewhere around here I’m pretty sure I’ve still got a Cafe Press mug made just for the Buffy forum that says “Snark, Snerk and Scoobie Snacks.” I think tomorrow I’ll dig it out and use it to drink a toast to Tubey.

Are you a former TWoPer? If so, I’d love to hear your TWoP memories in the comments. Also, if you’re still addicted to the recaps and this news has hit you especially hard, you should check out Previously.TV, a new iteration created by the original TWoP founders (they just opened a forum, even!). And for hilarious recaps by good-natured people who just really love TV, check out Hey, Don’t Judge Me!

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


How To Help Me Write Faster
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

Note: This post is a bit long, but if you consider yourself at all to be a fan of my books, please read to the end. Thanks.

I’d been kicking around the idea of doing a Kickstarter to fund the finishing and production of Intruder. At the rate I’m currently going on it, managing to squeeze in between 500 and 1000 words per week (on a good week), my thinking was that a Kickstarter, if successfully funded, would allow me to set aside some time every day to work on it without losing income, so I could actually get the book written this year. I also hoped to raise enough to have it properly edited and formatted by a pro, along with a professional cover design for both Intruder and Restless Spirits. However, I don’t think I have a large enough fanbase to come anywhere near the funding I’d need to pull that off.

So in researching other options, I took a deeper look at Patreon. If you don’t know what that is, Patreon is a crowdfunding site based on the old model of artist patronage. It allows fans to subscribe and contribute small amounts — as little as a dollar — on a regular basis to help support content creators and ongoing projects. I didn’t give it too much consideration at first because it seemed to be aimed primarily at YouTubers, podcasters and web comic creators, but quite a few writers are experimenting with it to fund their creative writing. Creators can either set it up as a tip jar, or they can set up a subscription model to accept payments in return for regular content and perks.

The latter model seems like a good compromise. I’m not really comfortable with the tip jar model, which would feel too much like living on charity. But a subscription model would be an exchange of money for goods. It would fill in the income gaps and allow me to set aside an hour or two each day to work on noveling. Not only that, but it would obligate me to do so — I’d not just be able to, but have to give my creative writing the same priority that I give to client projects.

But how does a subscription model work with writing a novel? I actually have several novels in my To Be Written queue — enough to keep me busy for years, even if I’m writing full time. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to serialize all of them for Patreon. If you decide to become a patron — which, again, you can do for as little as a dollar per installment (and you can put a cap on how many installments you’re willing to fund each month) — you’ll have access to each installment as I write them. You’ll also be rewarded with an e-book of the finalized book once it’s ready to publish. Higher levels of support will get you additional perks, including steep discounts on signed paperbacks and the opportunity to vote on which project you’d like me to write next. You can check out my Patreon page here to get all of the details, or just click the big shiny button below:

Become my patron on Patreon

If this takes off, I’ll figure out some more exciting rewards. For one thing, I’d like to be able to offer Google hangouts, but for that to happen I need to replace my computer with one that has a working webcam. But I hope to keep the lines of communication open with my patrons to figure out what they want so I can do my best to deliver.

And one more thing — even if you can’t (or just don’t want to) support my fiction in this way right now, some of the best support you can give me is word of mouth. Spreading the word about my Patreon page — and about my writing in general — will make you a Big Damn Hero in my book.

Thanks for reading. :)

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.


Sneak Peek: Intruder
Masked Faerie
jmbauhaus

Intruder, my followup to Restless Spirits (I really need to come up with a name for this series), is still coming along, veeeeeerry slowly. My word count’s still not up to the 10K mark yet. The slowness is frustrating, but at least slow progress is still progress.

Anyway, here’s a rough draft of the synopsis, and the first chapter to whet your appetite.

The synopsis:

Susan Daly’s abusive marriage ended the night she shot and killed her husband Reggie. A year later, just as she’s settling comfortably into her new life as a single mom, she’s once again assaulted by someone she trusts and cares about. But as the police and Susan’s family struggle to understand why Susan’s neighbor, Alan Doyle, would do such a thing, Susan knows Alan is innocent. She knows because she saw his face as he tried to strangle the life out of her, saw the rage and hatred in his eyes, and the smile on his face. Reggie’s smile. Her husband is back, and he wants her dead, and he’ll use everyone in her life like puppets to accomplish that goal if somebody doesn’t stop him. But how do you stop that kind of evil?

 

Now onto…

The Intruder: Chapter One

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Mirrored from Jean Marie Bauhaus.