More from “Aftermath” #WIPpet Wednesday 6/28

So, I admit it. I’m experiencing a writerly crisis when it comes to my latest novel. Sales are lousy, I can’t seem to get a review despite my efforts, and I can’t even give away free copies in contests. Right now, I’m banging my head against the wall just to push away the negative thoughts concerning this mess, but it’s getting harder by the day. I’ve never had these issues with my work. Well, at least not this bad. Sales weren’t the best on my last novel either, but I was too caught up in trying to make ends meet (working sixty hours a week while my spouse was waiting for her VA disability and SSDI to begin) to make any real effort to help my sucky sales figures. Four years later…new series but same situation only much worse despite all my time, effort, and money. (only a little money, emphasis on little since now I’m the one waiting for SSDI to start) &^&^$%*&?#@##!!!

I’d kill for a few decent reviews on Amazon or elsewhere with any kind of oomph.

Sorry for the rant. I’ll get over it soon enough, but, until then, I’m going to be a jaded, surly writer who’s internally snarling every time someone brags about how good their sales are.

Writing is my release, one thing I can still do these days without anyone’s help. I am no longer permitted to drive for health reasons, I’m on so many meds I need an assistant to do my pills weekly, (blows kiss to spouse) and I need an assistant to grocery shop, (nods to sons) but writing… that’s all mine, mine, mine. And, right now, I seem to be failing at even that.

To top it all I found two of my novels (including my latest one) on three illegal download sights this week. Only one complied to my demand to take the page down…  but only because Blogger deleted the page when I complained. The other two are offering my first novel… again illegally… and I’m ready to kick someone’s tail feathers out because of it.

*Takes a deep breath* Okay, no more pity party pony rides today. It’s not healthy for the mind or body, so I’m donning my big-girl drawers and dealing. Let’s get back on track.

This Week’s #WIPpet Wednesday * comes from Surrogate: Traditions, from the same chapter as last week “Aftermath.”  I’m picking up where I left off, and here’s my math to explain the length.


17 x 28 =476 + 6 = 482 words.

As always, feedback is welcomed.

NOTE: The text in green comes from last week’s WIPpet.

“I know.” Etain sat on the bed’s edge. Leigheas and Dresh had sworn they’d come for them when things had calmed, but it’d been quiet since day three. “I will mildew if I stay here much longer.” Actually, she already was. She was raw in every bend and crease despite her attempts to stay dry, and now it was spreading down her extremities.

     “You’re rawer than a…a dry fuck in the…desert.” Merch slid down in the bed. “You still can’t…sand scrub?”

      “At this point it would tear me open.”

     “Then we have to go today.” Merch looked toward the bathroom. “Have you slept?”

     “A little.” But Etain hadn’t. She couldn’t.

     “No signs…of life?” Merch groaned and reached for her missing limb. “Hurts like a mother— you sure the…infection is gone?”

     “Yes. The fever went almost as soon as I…” Etain kissed Merch’s forehead and ran her hand over her greasy, matted head. She’d chopped Merch’s ponytail when her fever had burned uncontrolled. Little good it did. “Stop trying to sit up.” Merch had survived the virus when few Humans did only to lose half of her left arm to secondary infection.

     “You heard anything?” Merch, for once, obeyed.

     “No.” Etain wiped her brow on the bed sheet. Sweat. Nothing but sweat. So much humidity that surfaces felt slimy. It coated the bedding, the floor, their bodies, and dripped from the ceiling. The only thing worse was the dark. They’d lived five days in perpetual wet and almost continual dark. We’re bottom dwellers. But Etain’s home world, Gno’, was arid. Merch wasn’t native to Takran either, but that’s where they’d found each other and built their families.

     “When’d you last eat?” Merch’s cough remained hard and fluidic but it didn’t resemble anything it’d been. The blankets on her left side smelled despite the towels covering the dried blood. Etain needed to change the bedding, but she’d used the only sheets for dressings.

     “Stop worrying about me. You are the sick one.”

     “Don’t lie. You’re sick too.” Merch rolled toward her. “Are any of the…workers still alive?”

     “Let me check.” Etain rattled off a series of clicks, beckoning any remaining Panpobal forward.

     “Here.” A single Panpobal scurried over the pile of empty water bottles and blood-stained towels surrounding the bed and into Etain’s extended hand. “Here, Queen Etain.” The small worker dropped her head in a bow.

     “Where are others?” clicked Etain. Panpobal language was binary, ones and zeros, short and long clicks which took meaning from their repetition, pauses, and speed.

     “Dead from rot.” The little Panpobal shook from her antennae to her back legs, shedding some of the fungus that grew on her too. “Not good.”

     Etain scratched the worker’s head. “You still here, Mary. Good.” Merch had named Mary when she was delirious. Panpobal workers didn’t have names, but Mary had stuck, especially when the other workers stopped returning from their trips to check outside conditions.

     “Well…look at that.” Merch smiled when Etain showed her Mary. “Take her with you.”

So now you’ve three characters from three species. Interesting mix, isn’t it?

There are another 201 words in the chapter that I’ll somehow crunch into WIPpet format for next week.

* WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet Math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.


  1. Oh, I understand your frustration about sales, so I won’t be bragging. My latest isn’t doing great, either, but that’s been the case for the past couple. I just have to remember I write for me and those who choose to read and keep going, because I can’t not write. I really hope your sales pick up soon, though.

    This snippet is intense. What an awful situation they’re in. It seems so hopeless. 😦 I hope they make it out of there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I just have to remember I write for me and those who choose to read and keep going, because I can’t not write.” I’m working on that one too, and it’s generally enough, but this time I’m worried about losing my publisher and the contract for my newest novel. I do have a backup plan, but I don’t wish to use it unless I absolutely must. It would give me greater control over pricing and the like, however….

      Thanks for the feedback. I was told during my MFA to think the worst thing that could happen to your character and put them there… which I almost do here (but it’s early in the novel too…*cues ominous background music*)


  2. Ugh, I hear you as well on sales. It’s really sad that when I got my last royalties, I could literally identify the people who bought every copy (because they either reviewed it or told me they were reading it). Though weirdly, I sold one copy of my first novel as well. I hear you on having a backup plan too–I *always* have another one, just in case.

    I’m intrigued by the various species here, and now I’m wondering how they’re going to make it out of this awful situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, my last royalties were nada. And the ones before that were primarily my own doing–I bought three copes from Amazon for my contest(s) and had one actual sale out of the UK. As for the contest(s)… I’m verging on a writer’s “why bother” crisis right now and I know it. It looks like I had one sale a few days ago on Amazon, but not soon enough to escape the nada sales report. Gives me a little hope for next month. Think I’ll go make a sweet cream pie to go with dinner… a diversion sometimes helps.

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve five species in the Surrogate series at this point. You’ve been introduced to three and will be introduced to the other two in the next few weeks. Now about that pie…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The short stories that I published under my pen name haven’t been doing so well – but then, I never really advertised them or promoted them like I should have. I really thought my newest endeavor would do better since it’s being published under my real name, and my husband and I have a pretty wide circle of friends, but I’ve only had one pre-order. It’s frustrating.

    I really like this snippet. Seeing all the differences between the series is very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really think family and friends are often the last to order books…mine think I should give them copies, which I do to a select few. The rest…buy your own, please. I need the sales.

      I’ve never really advertised or promoted on my end for any of my works until now. That’s what astounded me, I guess. I’ve worked hard this time and come up against nothing but resistance at every turn. In hindsight, there are several reasons why I’ve failed at this, but none of them are my doing. The reasons might be a future blog post, maybe not, but it’s been a definite education into both the Sci-Fi and LGBTQ+ community I didn’t necessarily ask for.

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m enjoying doing WIPpets.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn! These people (all three species) are having a rough time here. I’ll have to head back to see what actually happened to cause this, but it’s clear that it was bad, and that things aren’t getting better.

    I would have liked a bit more location (probably something I missed in the previous snippets) to ground myself on where these three are, but your use of sensory details is… fierce. I could almost feel Merch’s wound-fever.

    As for sales… I don’t know what to tell you there. I am constantly astounded by people who can sail through the chaos of market trends without some major scars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t expecting major sales, but with this novel I’ve hit the level of any sales at all for the first time and it’s frustrating the hell out of me, especially since I’ve worked so hard at getting the work out there. I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face just for inquiring from both Sci-Fi and LGBT review sites saying they don’t review my kind of work, but I’ve never gotten a decent answer as to what “my kind of work” means. Been a lesson in human behavior, I’ll say that much.

      The next few WIPpets will begin to flesh things out better for you, set the world, etc. That should help. I was experimenting with using rock-bottom as a start point and the jury’s still out on how well it works.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Seems like the characters are in a tough situation and I am interested in seeing how they will get out of it…

    I am sorry to hear about your sales. Seems like it is an uphill climb even after publication. I hope things will make a turn for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li, I tried to get to your WIPpet this week, but the link takes me back to the page I clicked from.

      As for the rest…yes, it’s a climb–a both rocky and slippery one. Can’t not though, so I’m digging in my heels and hope for the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is far from my first sojourn into publishing… I’ve had five novels in the last twelve years, and I’ve faced plenty of rejection, believe me. But something seems different this time, almost angry. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it might be reflective of the current political atmosphere. *shrugs* Doesn’t mean I won’t keep being myself and writing what my characters say. Oh, and Dr. Seuss had just as many rejections than King, if not more so. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.

        Liked by 1 person

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