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’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. 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 https://budgetreport.com/best-cheap-gaming-laptop/.

I still love AlienWare and keep it at home for gaming. 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). 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. 😉

10264688_1463370013945045_7725103808870214630_nIt’s exciting to be working on a new project, especially a contracted 3 book deal. I have a basic idea of when the series will be released and am in love with my characters, my plot, my new genre.

But while it’s all very real to me and I’ve plunged into the deep end of this world and this series, it’ll still be a while before you — my readers — get to share it with me. A year is a long time to be teasing you all with little bits and pieces. Especially when I don’t have a cover or a specific release date or an official blurb or pre-order links.

My awesome agent was the first to caution me on frustrating you all. And then the fortune cookie wisdom pitched in its 2 cents.

It’s too early. And there’s not enough tangible to share. So I’m going to keep working on this new romantic suspense series, look forward to learning from an editor at Carina Press I’m super excited to be acquired by, and prepare for the day when I’ve got fun stuff to share with you closer to my first book’s release date in fall of 2015.

Until then, we’ll have adventures in research and writing here. Travel shenanigans too. And mostly, I’ll give you all some peeks into what it’s like to be Piper J. Drake. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride. 🙂