1 January 2013 - 10:30 am

2013: plans and dreams

I’ve done the retrospective for 2012; now it’s time to look to the future. Now is the time for possibilities and ambition.

I usually like to aim high at a time like this. I know I probably won’t do everything I put on this list, but if it’s not here I’ll never do it. I’ll most likely get to most of it and that’s all good.

Let’s get the boring, necessary stuff out of the way first.


This is settling down for me at the moment. I’m hoping to stay with my current team for a stretch and make a bit of a home for myself, and the management have assured me that this is likely (as far as their current plans say, but, well, you never know with these things). Some stability would be nice.

The stress is a lot less than it was and I’ll be aiming to keep it that way.

Financial Issues

Now that our house move is complete and we’ve reduced some of our overheads, I’m hoping that this will plateau as well. We’ve got a bit of work to do on this front but, with luck, our situation should be sustainable for the next few months at least.

I’m working to worry less about this stuff.


The CFS isn’t going away anytime soon, and as long as it doesn’t get any worse, it’s manageable. I’m used to dealing with it (I was diagnosed over 7 years ago), so not a big worry there.

I’ve got some testing coming up in a couple of months to investigate some other issues I’m having. I’m nervous about the tests (mostly because they’ll put me out and anaesthetic doesn’t get along well with me), but I’m glad at the possibility for answers and, hopefully, treatment. I won’t say ‘cure’ because I don’t believe in unicorns and there’s no way I’m that lucky. Progress is good, though, and it’s moving in the right direction.


Ah-ha, here’s the important part! Here’s the section of my life where I get to have fun, where I aim for the stars and am quite happy with landing on the moon. So, what’s on my list for 2013?

Starwalker: Web Serialising

First up, I will finish Starwalker. I keep saying that there’s still a lot to come, and while I don’t want to put a date on its conclusion, it will definitely finish this year, probably in the first quarter.

When I say ‘finish’, I mean that I’ll get to the end of Book 3, which is the end of the original story arc I planned when I set out on this journey. Will that mean the end of the web serial completely?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t believe in stringing stories out for the sake of it (which is why I haven’t gone back to the Apocalypse Blog in so long: I haven’t felt like I’ve got more story to tell there). However, I’m pretty sure my readers will have something to say if I kill it completely and I’ve come to love my readers a lot.

I do have a follow-up story in mind. There has been a notecard with the name of the story-arc on it pinned to my planning pinboard for a couple of years now. I don’t think it’ll be a full novel-length story – it’s a novella at best at this stage – but maybe it’ll make a good interim story for me to tell while I ponder the future of the Starwalker and her crew.

Starwalker: Ebooks

This is something I’ve had my eye on for a while now. I’d really love to package the Starwalker saga up into ebooks and release it.

However, that’s not a quick process. Firstly, they have to be edited. I already know of some rewriting I want to do (nothing major, but it’s work that needs to be done), and I’m sure there will be more honing and polishing that I’ll do as I go through. This all takes time, and how much I continue the web serial will impact on how quickly this happens.

Next up, I need covers. That will probably cost money, which I’ll talk about later. I have some base graphics already but I want something really slick and professional for the book covers. Which means no home jobs by me (I freely admit that I suck at graphics).

The formatting and releasing parts are easy once all the above is done. I’d like to get at least one book out this year.

Starwalker: Shorts

I made a start on this in 2012 and I mean to continue it. I have stories planned for almost all of the crew (the shorts are character-focussed stories) and I’d like to get through all of them eventually.

It’s hard to have a fixed goal with this, because so much depends on other commitments. Shall we say one a month? That’s probably a bit ambitious; one every two months is more realistic.

My end goal with this is to compile them into an ebook – a Starwalker ‘get to know the crew’ anthology – and release it. Possibly for free. (Having a freebie available really helps draw people into paying for the series: this is what the Apocalypse Blog ebooks have taught me!)

Alternatively, I could release them individually, but that depends on being able to get the covers for them. On the plus side, I would be able to release them sooner if I didn’t have to wait for the anthology to be complete. Also, individual character covers would be awesome.

Vampire Electric

My goal for this year is somewhat simpler here: finish the first draft. I already have a pile of notes for the second draft, including a bit of a restructure, but I really need to get the first run-through finished. I’d love to find out how this story will end! (Yes, yes, I have something in mind, but as always with me, it’s a general, blurry picture that I won’t truly figure out until I get there.)

Tales from the Screw Loose

This is, potentially, the next web serial on my list to pick up. It’s set in the Starwalker universe and is the first spin-off that I have in mind to tackle (I have a whole list of spin-off ideas for the Starwalker universe!). You may have heard me refer to it as the ‘robot brothel story’: Tales from the Screw Loose is its proper name.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to this over the next year. A lot depends on whether or not I keep Starwalker going (as a web serial), because I have a strict rule of one web serial active at a time. I know my own limits well enough to know that both stories would suffer if I tried to keep two going in tandem.

Regardless, I still have some work to do before I can get started on this story. I have made a start on the worldbuilding (it’s set on one of the colony planets) but I need to work out the cast and some of the plot elements before I start putting fingers to keyboard.

I also need to sort out the website and I’m pondering some custom graphics/design for it. This may cost money, so is dependent on a number of factors. On the plus side, I’ve already got the domain: screwloosetales.com (yes, it’s a bit early, but I’m determined like that and I didn’t want to lose the domain while I sorted the rest of it out).

For this year, I think I’d like to have the prep all done and the story ready to go. Actual words on the page will be a bonus!

Apocalypse Blog

The ebooks are going pretty well. I’d like to capitalise on some of the good reviews and see about marketing it, but I’m pretty bad at self-promotion, so I won’t make any firm plans about this.

I would like to do paper book editions of it, however. Most likely through Amazon’s CreateSpace, which will link nicely up to the ebooks on Amazon (and it seems like a better and cheaper system than Lulu).

I’ve had a look at the work required to do this and it’s not as easy as the ebooks were. It’ll take some time to get the formatting done for printing, and I’ll also need to get the covers redone.

I’d also like to get the books re-edited, and will most likely refresh the ebook editions when I do that.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing an omnibus edition, at least of the ebooks, so I’ll look into this, too.

There have been many calls for another (fourth) book in the series, and a part of me really wants to satisfy this desire. However, I’m not sure what that fourth book would entail. I’m letting it rest in the back of my brain for now; if inspiration strikes, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Never say never!


Ah, my annual nuttiness. I don’t have a huge amount planned yet, but we’re all pretty sure that there will be another Writer’s Retreat. This time, up a mountain! I’ll be heading on a roadtrip soon with my lovely co-MLs (I might have two this time!) to check out the options. I’m sure that it won’t be long before that ball is off and rolling.

The rest of the NaNo stuff will be worked out over the months leading up to November. No other firm plans yet, but there will no doubt be plenty of write-ins at our favourite Coffee Club, drinkies, and possibly a write-out or two.


This is an option that I’ve been looking at lately. I know other writers have had success with platforms like Kickstarter and have raised money to allow them to develop a new story, pay for covers and printing costs, and that sort of thing.

As mentioned above, some of what I want to do requires paying for services. I’ve had donations through the links on my websites and I am endlessly grateful to the donors for their generosity: they helped to pay for the Starwalker graphics I had done in 2012. But what I have in mind is going to take rather more.

Due to being based outside the US and UK, I can’t run a Kickstarter campaign. However, there are other options available: most notably, Pozible and iPledg look promising, but I haven’t gone through all the crowdfunding platforms available to me yet.

A campaign seems like a lot of work but I think I want to give it a go. I am terrible at asking for money (see previous comments about self-promotion), but I have always been astounded by the generosity and support of the online community. I approve of the notion of the rewards you can offer to supporters, too. And at the end of the day, what’s the worst that could happen?

It’s good to know that I have this option when I’m looking at commissioning covers for Starwalker, or a website for Screw Loose. All those things that require money for me to achieve could actually be possible!

Now all I need to figure out is what to ask for and what I can realistically offer as rewards. And then the time to do it all.

Other Stuff?

Wow, I’m not sure. What else might 2013 hold for me? No doubt I’m forgetting about something. These are the things that are buzzing around in my head right now. This is what I’m taking with me into 2013.

Now excuse me, I think I’m going to go away and write something.

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  1. Francisco says:

    Hopefully, your health will improve this year.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Starwalker coming to a (possible) end.

    What’s Vampire Electric about?

    January 8th, 2013 at 3:45 am

  2. Francisco says:

    Just had a read of the 0th book of The Apocalypse Blog. When I get some time, I’ll read the others.

    January 8th, 2013 at 6:34 am

  3. Mel says:

    Thanks, Francisco! 🙂

    I’m not sure about how I feel about Starwalker ending, either. On the one hand, it’ll be a relief to finally get there (after three years!). On the other, I’ll be sad.

    I do have a small-ish story I can tell to continue Starwalker, though. Need to do some work on it but that might stave off the End for a while.

    Vampire Electric is my vampire steampunk romancey adventure novel that I’ve been working on over the past couple of years, on and off. Electrical vampires, steam- and clockwork-based tech, an ancient scroll promising the next step in electro-vamp evolution, and a librarian in way over her head.

    …I am never calling them ‘electro-vamp’ again. That just sounds wrong.

    Glad to hear you’re thinking about picking up the Apocalypse Blog! Hope you enjoy it. 😀

    January 8th, 2013 at 10:02 am

  4. Kunama says:

    Character portraits don’t just have to be used for covers. If you get hi res ones you can resize and repurpose for a lot of uses.

    Why do you have to be in the US/UK to do a kickstarter? I’ve see people from au and the middle east on there.
    Re kickstarter success, haikujaguar (LJ) has tips.

    January 10th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

  5. Mel says:

    Very true about the portraits, Kunama! If/when I get them done, I’ll most likely use them for several things. Covers are probably going to be the first, burning need!

    I looked over Kickstarter’s site, and you have to have a UK or US address and bank account. Unless I’ve misunderstood something about their rules, but it seemed pretty clear in their FAQ information. I could, possibly, sort out a UK address to use because I have family over there, and I guess that others may be doing that? There are other crowdfunding platforms that I can use, so I’ll have to weigh up the relative success rates/factors to see where I should go with it.

    Thanks for the tip! It was the experiences of writers like haikujaguar that nudged me towards the idea of doing a kickstarter-like campaign. (I lurk in the Web Fiction Guide forums periodically to keep up with the latest news.) Always grateful to learn of new sources of information. 🙂

    January 11th, 2013 at 8:33 am