Goodbye, July! And cheerio June, May, April and March. I can’t believe it’s been five months since I last wrote one of these news and updates posts. Or, indeed, that it’s been a full year this month since I decided to stick my nose out of my writer’s room and look for some writing buddies. And what a year it has been!
In my wildest fantasies, I saw myself making connections, forging partnerships, and engaging in some kind of intellectual debate. Hel, I could even see myself having some kind of social interaction with other writers. Covid style, of course. I knew it was a pipe dream, a silly fantasy, but it was beautiful. And it gave me hope.
So there I was, dreaming away on me ole pirate ship, when someone came a-knockin’ on the hull. Trust me, there must have been some Tolkienesque kinda magic in the air last August. I just spoke friend and there she was, the sweet little crow whose fantasies were as wild as mine. Then the weirdest thing happened.
You know in the fellowship film, after they solved the riddle, spoke friend and opened the door to Moria? Do you remember how this tentacle monster crept up on them, pounced and caught Frodo by the leg? Well, after I’d spoken friend, I went for a walk around Twitterverse. I was just checking things out and sassing a bit, maybe flirting a little. Like we do. Then I saw this open door into a new thread and thought I’d step inside and take a closer look.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t read too many scary stories. I never considered the possibility that this was a Philip K. Dick story and that I was the tasty treat about to fall into the frying pan. No need to rub it in.
Just as I was about to step inside, something crept up behind me and pounced. He was a master, not a monster, but he caught and collared me in a few, blurringly swift moves. Even had the audacity to give me a new name, the bugger. And that was it. A cliffhanger. The start of a new chapter in the book of my Life.
The Resilience, my imaginary pirate ship where the As We Write writers’ room is located below deck. The New Paris Commune campground is on deck or on land depending on where we are.
It wasn’t long before master and crow occupied the Quartermaster and First Mate’s cabins on my ship, and the three of us spent days and nights charting a new course. Together. We decided to pool our competencies and resources together to make The Resilience the flagship she was always meant to be. And to build a magnificent flotilla of diverse pirate ships sailing the stormy indie-pub seas with us.
See, that’s the beauty of being a writer. We are weavers of magic. Our fantasies take shape in the omniverse where we’re all connected and everything is possible. We transcend realities and jump between planets and pirate ships. We can lend each other a hand with events unfolding in different realms, on different timelines, and still be home in time for tea. Because, let’s face it, we all need recharging and refuelling at regular intervals.
That’s exactly what happened one day, just after the blasted yuletide season of 2021. I woke up on a Monday morning to find myself frozen stiff and completely drained. So I did what we do when the going gets tough in the writing community. I tweeted. “Please, DM, can I roll for charisma?” I shouted into the void. (Yes, I know there might’ve been smarter choices, but I figured charisma would be more beneficial given the situation I was in. Don’t judge.)
I swear, I heard the cogs turn and snap into place as the master of dice, cards and spreadsheets popped up in my notifications like a genie on speed. I’d never seen her before, but she rolled her dice, gave me a much-needed charisma boost, and told me to check in again the following Monday for next week’s forecast. It’s been one of the highlights of my week ever since. Needless to say, by springtime, she’d moved into the guest lodgings on quarterdeck and donned the Second Mate’s hat. That’s how we roll in #TeamSuperfly.
But let’s go back to springtime. High on my charisma boost and the joy of collaborative storytelling, I decided to jump off yet another cliff. Stakes-wise, it’s probably fair to say it’s the highest cliff I’ve ever jumped off. It meant putting my writing on hold for a while and return to my roots. To a previous life where media production was what I did for a living.
Third Mate already had four published titles under her belt, Quartermaster had three (but wasn’t really going out of his way to promote them) and both him and First Mate had a pile of short stories just waiting to be published. So we made a plan and got to work.
In April, I decided to attempt Camp Nano even though I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to pull it off. But tradition is tradition, right? As I always do, I tweeted an invite to my camp tent and another happy camper came over for smores and ghost stories under the flashlight.
Unfortunately, or luckily as it turned out, the NaNoWriMo site was trolling us and we couldn’t get the group features to work properly. I invited my companion to come with me to our campground on the riverbank where The Resilience was moored instead and here we are. We’re finally ready to close the doors on the past five months and tally up the numbers for my recap.
As I write these words, quarterdeck is getting ready to publish our fifth title in as many months! Through our collaborative efforts, we have been polishing manuscripts until they pass the developmental, copy and line edit tests. We have been proofreading again and again and again. And then one final round for good measure, just to make sure we didn’t miss a bloody guinea pig somewhere.
We have been hanging cover designs on the wall in our vernissage room and discussed their individual merits. We have made tweaks and changes and voted and voted again until we’ve found the one. The best possible cover option a zero-coin publishing budget can buy. And then, five times over, we’ve pressed publish.
Five titles published in five months, and that’s not all of them.
Click on the image above to see all our books.
Our publishing plan currently stretches way into 2024, and I am proud to say that I’m beginning to find my old feet. It hasn’t been smooth sailing. It’s frustrating when you know what you want to do but your brain is refusing to co-operate, and endless software updates have rendered your muscle memories obsolete. Still, formatting these books, typesetting, working on covers and promo materials… It has been a wonderful experience. With each title, I feel like I’m getting a little better, a little faster, and now I’m beginning to reclaim some of my time.
But it’s not just our two Quarterdeck authors who have been productive these past five months. Our Third Mate decided to re-launch her 2021 trilogy with new titles and covers. Since then we’ve seen her release a total of six books and set up a seventh, under a new pen name, for pre-order. Meanwhile, in camp we are eagerly awaiting the birth of the final instalment in a trilogy by the fifth messmate to join our diverse crew. That’s 12 books and counting for our little group of revolutionaries. I can’t tell you how proud I am of us all.
My social media game is still as erratic as ever, but I’m okay with that. I need some goals to work on in 2023 as well, innit. For now, building a shared author platform and publishing a monthly title or two takes precedence over everything else. We have opened a separate account on twitter, but we’re using my old Linnea accounts on the other platforms. It was easier to de-me something that already had a presence and some following than to start fresh all over the board. Next year, when the platform and all its branches are in place, growing that presence and looking for ways to put our books in front of more potential readers will be the main priority.
As for my writing, I’ll tell you more about that in my next update. For now, all I can say is that I have started to write again and that I’ve made some decisions that surprised me. They do make sense, though, and I’m well chuffed with this turn of events.
The private sphere, you know that part of Life that deals with things like family, health, food in bellies and roofs over heads? Well, it’s in a bit of a turmoil at present. The dust is still settling on recent events, and this sodding heatwave has turned my room into something of a near-death trap, so I’m not quite ready to share what’s happening on that front yet. Suffice to say, the times they are a-changin’.
Today, as I close the books on March, April, May, June and July, I’m still just as humbled by the numbers and milestones we have reached as ever before. But more than anything I am so grateful for the connections that have been made. For my beautiful ship and the marvellous crew that have jumped aboard to sail with me. With us.
From long working days wrestling manuscripts on quarterdeck to lively evenings in our camp and the milestone celebrations at Jamaica Inn, Life in this new chapter is already so far beyond anything I was dreaming of a year ago. And the gods know I dreamed big.
– What are you dreaming of?
– And where could you be a year from now if you decided to take that leap?
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of an imaginary pirate ship, a weaver of stories, and a certified pain in the arse. She spends most of her days daydreaming and writing fantasy, smut and painfully crappy poems.
Named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a fiery fallen angel, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.