I’ve written many, many words in the last year.

HIDDEN IMPACT released in November 2015 as the first Safeguard novel via Carina Press.

EXTREME HONOR released in January of this year, the first in my True Heroes series from Grand Central Publishing’s Forever imprint.

I’ve completed and turned in developmental edits for DEADLY TESTIMONY, the second Safeguard novel. And I’ve completed both my developmental/line and copy edits for ULTIMATE COURAGE, book 2 in the True Heroes series.

That’s four novels, a lot of words.

I have two more contractual deadlines this year and have still more words to write. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matthew J. Drake and I drove into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee today and we’ll be two of about twenty writers in an intensive writing retreat.

There will be many words.

image

All Aboard for a Cruise!

Piper’s last trip to Cozumel was 2003

In less than 48 hours, it will be all aboard the Independence of the Seas for the 2015 Out of Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat for a Western Caribbean cruise!

The summer, it isn’t over yet.

I am about to embark on a nautical adventure of epic proportions with such great company as Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. I admire all of these people, not only for their writerly works but also for their podcast: Writing Excuses.

I’ll be working on Deadly Testimony, a Safeguard Novel, on the cruise because if I don’t, my editors at Carina Press may be incredibly angry with me. (I’m on deadline!) Somewhere in there, I also hope to record the next episode of #EMEPiper. There may be a Piper Travels or Piper Notes video coming out of the cruise too. Hopefully.

But first and foremost: WRITING.

I’m looking forward to several of the workshops scheduled for the cruise. There’s sessions on description, worldbuilding, revision, giving critiques, deconstructing structure, writing with multiple viewpoints, dialogue, and much more.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been on a cruise and I’m delighted to be leading a discussion on one of the excursions at Grand Cayman as well.

There’s so much nifty about this coming week, I can’t even hope to describe it all. So there will be pictures and video and podcasting involved. 😉

See you when I return to port!

As you might know from seeing my “Piper’s Travel Hijinx” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I am on the move rather often. Mobility is key to my productivity. Or more specifically, mobile writing. I’m always exploring technology solutions to allow me to write from anywhere, anytime. Recently, I’ve been pondering my choice in personal writing laptops. (I make it a practice not to write on my day job laptop. I keep the work for day job as separate as possible from writing.)

I’ve been an AlienWare user for a long time. I love the look and feel of these laptops. I used to play a lot of StarCraft II and World of Warcraft, so a gaming laptop made sense. I’d plug in my 4k gaming monitor and have a blast of a time. I’ll also admit to recently giving Final Fantasy XIV Online a trial run. But writing takes priority over gaming in my time nowadays and the software I use for writing does not have the same heavy-duty system requirements that gaming does.

AlienWare laptops are heavy and bulky. They’ve gotten more streamlined over the last year or so, but there’s only so much streamlining to be done. Though the new M13 is interesting at 40% thinner than previous models, it’s still heavy on long walks through airports.

As an interim solution, I was using an iPad for a couple of years with a bluetooth keyboard. This was working but I truly missed being able to work in Scrivener which is one of the best writing apps out there. I struggled to do edits, almost always waiting until I could work on a laptop instead. Not a viable long-term solution.

And yet, a lot of writers love their Macs. Love them. I can’t count the number of times a MacBook Air has been recommended to me and Scrivener–my favorite writing software–was originally developed for the Mac OS, to help me decide what laptop to get I read this really useful blog here.

I still love AlienWare and keep it at home for gaming. My friend does something similar and he loves to play games like League of Legends on his laptop often enjoying Unranked Smurfs so he can have some fun with his lower-ranked friends. But now I have a Macbook Air specifically for mobile writing and my shoulders/back appreciate the consideration. Especially when I’m running through the airport terminal to catch a connecting flight. 😛

PipersMacBookAir2015

10264688_1463370013945045_7725103808870214630_nLast weekend I had the opportunity to explore a new friendship. It was delightful, fun, entertaining, and inspiring. It also got the gears turning in my head – pondering productivity.

What I also realized, as I chatted to a wonderful woman (who is also one of my long time favorite authors), was that I really need dedicated writing space. My productivity is much better if I can move from a sleepng area to a day job working area to a writerly working area. It helps me change mental gears and makes me more productive. Over the last five years or so, I haven’t had these spaces.

I’ve been saving money and living in a 2 bedroom apartment with my roomie. Now that boyfriend has moved in and begun to share my sleep/day job/writing space, we’ve hit maximum saturation of the living space. It’s crowded. And worse, no room for pets.

I find I need to kick both roomie and boyfriend out of the apartment (which isn’t fair or feasible, really) or I need to leave in order to get my writing done.

I need a writer’s space.

This past weekend and previous visits with more writerly friends gave me a lot of ideas. Patricia Briggs uses a trailer as her office (for the time being while her more permanent awesome office is under construction). Even though this is only a temporary arrangement in using her trailer as an office, I told her that she should consider looking for some office furniture online that she can store within this space so that she can have the same amount of productivity that she would have if she was in a professional environment. At least that way, she can just move over this furniture into her new permanent office when it’s finished.Scott Sigler has an incredible studio space with designated areas for writing, podcasting, packing books for his fans, and even a sound booth for recording audio books. Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine have their new, actual, Shared Desk.

I’m making plans and hopefully by the beginning of next year, a few more variables will resolve. I’ll be able to pull the trigger on some lifestyle enhancements. Until then, I’ve got a deadline to hit and I’m working in the space I’ve got.

Whew! It’s been a while. I had some serious deadlines taking priority and unfortunately, other things got put on hold. But I’ve turned in my latest manuscript and plan to clear my head by working on the next #EMEPiper podcast and a few Piper Note videos.

Check in over the coming weeks too, because there’s a couple of fun things to share coming down the pipeline. 😉