Saturday, January 25, 2014

Input Wanted!

Out of curiosity, I am wondering how much you, the people who take their time to read this blog, are interested in me continuing to write some reviews on lesbian themed movies from around the world. (Okay, mostly form Asia.) I was thinking about this after I watched a great movie tonight, and am thinking that I should share it with all of you tomorrow when I have time to do so.

I always want to share more reviews of movies I watch, but it's difficult for me to find the time to do so. I usually watch these movies when I am performing chores online and around the room, so when they're finished I'm usually busy right away with other things. By the time I have the, well, time to write out a review, I often forget most of what I wanted to say. Then I reach a point where I'm not sure I should take out even more time because it might not have much of audience.

There are other great blogs out there that review lesbian themed movies, so I'm not sure if my opinion matters much in that regard. But if any of you are interested in my recommendations and why, let me know! If there's enough interest then I may add the topic to my need to update this blog more.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Writing Check-In: The Return

Thought I should bring this back from the blog topic grave. Until a few months ago I used to "check in" every Sunday to talk about how my writing was going. Back then it was mostly a self-motivation type of thing. The more I did it, the less I needed it to be motivated to write. Since doing this full-time it's just become natural for me to write anywhere between 1-3k words a day. (The rest of my work day is editing, outlining, formatting, marketing, etc. as necessary depending on the stage of a story's development.) But I've noticed lately that my blog has become a bit... sparse. Outside of release announcements and sales I don't seem to talk about much anymore. That's mostly because I am usually so focused on work and "real life" that I forget maybe readers want to read other things as well on my blog.

So I think I'll try to start this  up again. Not as a motivator to get me writing, but as a way for me to tell you about my current WIPs.

Right now I am working on what will be the first RR release of the year. Technically it's a part of the RR series, although it doesn't focus on Reina and Aiko as we are all used to. Instead I am letting the minor characters Kaori and Haruka have the whole spotlight by giving them a novel about their entire relationship thus far - from their first meeting until "present day" in the RR universe. That's about three years I am covering in one novel. Right now the thing I am struggling with the most is the pacing - I mean, three years! The longest a RR novel has covered is about a few months. Definitely less than a year. It's a new change of pace I have to plan and write, and I admit it's been a challenge!

The other thing that is new for me is that I am literally rewriting some scenes from SEIKOU and KOIBUMI. Literally. Rewriting. From another character's POV (there's the rub.) This book will cover the breakup that occurs offscreen in SEIKOU, leading Reina and Haruka to first meet. The difference is that I am rewriting it from Haruka's POV! It's both mindnumbingly horrendous and super fun at the same time. I have to find ways to use the same actions and dialogue to give a fresh spin. It's something I've never done before!

All of this, though, is happening while there was a bit of an allergy blitz in my house this week. Our Xmas tree finally bit the dust and released a score of allergens that left me bedridden for a couple of days - massive sore throat, congestion, and terrible fatigue. (Fun fact: I was hospitalized as a small child because of a Christmas tree allergy, so yay!) I've mostly grown out of SEVERE allergies to the, well, world outside (if it has pollen, I am allergic.) But this was so bad that it felt like I was a kid again. So I am  a bit behind right now... but uh, at least I'm caught up in my 3DS games?

I'm gonna take this clear brain of mine and get back to the some serious writing. And some serious Pokemon battling, because my work reward system is totally awesome.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brief Update On Photo Guide

So I realized that in my last post I didn't mention anything specifically about the photo guide, although I count it as one of the side projects. Currently I am sifting through all of the pictures I took and trying to think of how best to organize them. This project has turned into something bigger and will take longer to complete, but I will definitely keep you all on the up and up about what's going on with it! I mean, I still have to figure out what to do about a cover. But I ain't gonna worry about that right now. No, tonight my goal is to backup these hundreds of photos!

To tie you over, here's two random photos - click on them to enlarge them!

Rowboats docked in an Ueno pond.

Garden of Asakusa Park

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Resolve Is Strong This Year

Courtesy SXC
Happy New Year, readers, friends, and fans alike! I hope you had a wonderful set of holidays and are ready to take on 2014!

I have no hard feelings toward 2013, which is the first time I can say that about a year in... quite a few of them. It started off fairly rocky, but by April I was in a good groove and ready to tackle my schedule. I ended up getting a lot done in 2013. Five novels and... pffft... I dunno how many shorts! Seven? Let's say seven. I published probably around half a million words and have just as lofty goals this year.

So what does 2014 have in store for me? (And by extension, in store for my readers?) Most of you will be happy to know that this will be another (and probably final!) year of REN'AI RENSAI. I plan on rounding out the series with two more novels and two more spin-offs. One of those is in production right now and slated to drop at the end of February. There will be at least one short, but for the most part I think I'm done with those as I'm tapped out of ideas.

While I have the first half of 2014 pretty well thought out, I'm not sure about the second half. After book 7 of RR (currently untitled) I may go many different ways. I have a couple of "for fun" side projects related to the series I would like to round off with, but I will follow my muse at that point. There has been a non-RR lesbian romance cooking in my head since early 2012, and I am eager to write it. I plan on writing it when I finish the rounds of RR, as a segway into my next projects.

You see, for many years now I have also been a fantasy writer. I write both high fantasy and urban fantasy, with an emphasis on the urban as of late. For many of these years I have been working here and there on a large scale fantasy series that I originally intended to be my debut. But it went into the editing drawer and I've only recently started working on it again. It is my intention to have this series ready to start publishing either by the end of this year or the beginning of next. Depending on my RR schedule, that is.

For those of you who have come along on this ride with me because of my lesbian romances, I don't want to scare you off! Most conventional publishing wisdom says that you should only have one genre under each name. Well, I do have some pen names for my bread and butter projects (even though RR is very prolific... would you believe me if I told you that it's actually my creative escape?) that I adhere to this advice with, but I've had a long time to think about my "author brand." As you probably know, I am Hildred Billings. Since I was a little kid I knew I was going to be an author one day, and it was going to be as Hildred Billings, damnit. My name means a lot to me. Anything I slap my real name on is going to be straight from my heart, from the innermost creative workings of my brain. RR means a lot to me. You really have no idea. Many of the stories and the characters you have read come straight from my personal experiences, from Reina's gender dysphoria and Jun's crippling disbelief that anyone would sincerely love her, from the hurtful things Aiko has heard to even some events in Saya's past.

That's why I want to assure my readers that anything I write under this name comes straight from the parts of myself that I hold most sacred. My "author brand" is, in essence, who I am. And as a gay woman I will always be writing about my fellow women (and some men) who love each other. I hesitate to say that my brand is "women who love women" because that could always change. But for the next few years at least, it is who I am!

So even though I will gradually move on to focusing more on fantasy projects (although you can't keep me away from romances, so those will definitely pop up when the mood strikes) you can rest assure that it will be with the same force as always. In CROSS//, the series I've been talking about for the past few paragraphs, "queer identity" is a huge theme. Two out of three MCs are women who desire other women and make no qualms about it. In fact, you will probably be VERY interested to know that one of those women? Is Michiko from RR. ;) (You read that right. What, you thought her weirdass backstory was just there to confuse you? Nope!) Both series take place in the same "world," so to speak, so many characters that you already love will be making appearances! (Did you know that Reina, Aiko, Yuri and Michiko were all from CROSS// originally? RR is technically a spinoff! Or is it the other way around now?)

Regardless, I have big plans for 2014. I thank each and every one of you for your support throughout 2013, and look forward to you joining me as we go through the new year. Some things will change a little, but not the things that count. ;)

Happy New Year!