Symphony of Dragons

Hi, guys!

So, we all know music is awesome, and lots of writers like to listen to music when they write or edit. It isn’t exactly rare for songs to inspire stories or complete novels.

I’m certainly not an exception to these rules/happenings.

One of my short stories (Vivification, currently on submission for an anthology) was inspired by a song by Phaeleh. The Regonia Chronicles was inspired by a conversation with my husband and the song “Turtle Ship” by Ghasper. “Various Storms and Saints” by Florence and the Machine inspired the rewrite of Salt and Silver (soon to go into another round of edits, then be sent to beta readers).

Not to mention the new story idea I got a couple days ago, thanks to a song called “BFF” by Leah Kate, not that I know when I’ll get to actually write that one. Lol. Too many irons in the fire.

Anyway…

I almost always have music on when I write. Each story gets its own playlist, full of songs handpicked from the 100+ gb of music on my phone. (I’m one of those people that gets every single penny (and then some) of the monthly subscription for Google play music. Lol.)

I hop genres often, typically just putting stuff on shuffle, and seeing what comes up. There’s just too much music out there to limit yourself to one or two genres.

Plus, you never know what genre will resonate with a character or a scene. Some of my characters like blues metal, and others prefer electronic. Some like classical, others like grungy folk.

And sometimes you stumble across a song that just fits a certain ambiance. I have a playlist on my phone comprised of songs that are perfect for a 90’s vampire nightclub. The beats are slower than your average club song, more trance-inducing and sensual than beat-your-brains-out-with-your-eardrums. The vocals are almost…bored. Like, if the singer could be somewhere else, they would be. But they have to be there, so they may as well do the song. And there’s just enough of an industrial feel to make it seem a little dangerous, because, lets face it, vampires were more dangerous back then. Lol.

(I have a scene in my head for that playlist, and eventually I’ll write it, but that’s a journey for another day.)

Sometimes, thanks to my OCD and the luck of finding the perfect song, I put a single song on repeat for the duration of a scene. Whether it takes me thirty minutes to write it or an hour and a half, it doesn’t matter. Then, every time I hear the song, I’m taken right back to that book, that scene.

And I love that.

So, today, I thought I’d share my playlist for Soul Bearer with you all. Not all of them seem fitting for a fantasy romance, but each one fits a character or a scene.

And each song comes with my wholehearted recommendation that you listen to it, because, well, they’re all awesome. Lol.

First and foremost, my MCs’ songs:

Aurisye’s theme song, of sorts, is “Gold” by SHELLS. She’s always felt kind of…out of place. Showing her true colors has never really worked out for her, and she wants to just be seen as normal. More than that, she wants to be loved.

Rafnor’s theme is “Simple” by The Moth and The Flame. Rafnor wants a simple life. He wants a wife who loves him and a huge family. But, getting a simple life is difficult with the return of…dun dun dun…dragons. Lmao.

The rest of these are in the order that I found them, and thought, “This would be perfect for Soul Bearer!”

“Say it” by Blue October

“Tell me lies” by Deorro (feat. Lesley Roy)…Btw, her voice sounds like the vocal equivalent of a pan flute. Just saying.

“100 years” by Serj Tankian (feat. a lot of people with really long names, and lets be honest here, its 2:00am and I’m tired. Lol. By the way, this one is perfect for scenes showcasing utter devastation.)

“Lover, Please Stay” (Live) by Nothing But Thieves

“Outside” (Explicit) by The Weeknd (I told you not all of them seemed appropriate for the genre. Lol. But it fit a scene, very well.)

“Fingertips” by OneRepublic

“Hear Me” by Kelly Clarkson

“Should be Higher” by Depeche Mode

“Shiva” (Live at La Finca Venado Volando) by The Human Experience

“Another Word for Beautiful” by Sundara Karma

“Cherry” by Lana Del Rey

“Notions” by Lovedrug

“Light” by Sleeping At Last

“Kettering” by The Antlers (This one is good for romance scenes, and leads very well into the next one…)

“Wolf Like Howls from the Bathhouse” by Sonny Smith (Excellent for scenes of sexual tension.)

“Nothing” by Vessbroz (feat. Kyle Davis)

“Can You Hold Me” by NF (feat. Britt Nicole) (The scene this one is associated with…Oh my god…I cried when I wrote it, and every time I edited it. Lol. Good luck, guys.)

“Clouds” by BØRNS

“You’re Special” by NF

“Do You Feel It?” by Chaos Chaos

“Round” by The Moth and The Flame

“The Flood” by Cyrus Reynolds and Gregg Lehrman (There’s a drop in this one that is amazing.)

“Synthetic Love” by Sarah Jaffe (This one is also in my Regonia playlist, and is very strongly associated with a scene in the first book.)

“Lux” by Cyrus Reynolds and Gregg Lehrman

“Can You Feel My Heart” by Bring Me The Horizon

“My Neighborhood” by Lovedrug

“You’ll Be Fine” by Alex Clare

“Angel” by Tokio Meyers (Breathtaking song.)

“The Warden” by Chelsea Wolfe (Perfect for magic/casting scenes)

“Running For Your Life” by UNSECRET

“Nobody Else Will Be There” by The National (Another good one for romantic tension.)

“Sour Breath” by The Devil Wears Prada

“Riverside” by Agnes Obel

“Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch” by Alasdair Fraser
(This one…oh my god…the scene it goes with…it hurts.)

“Healing” (Original mix) by Phaeleh

“Burn the Witch” by Shawn James

“A Different Time” by Phaeleh

“Víðbláinn” by Peter Gundry

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” (DARK) By Tommee Proffitt (feat. brooke) (Super intense build up, good for gathering courage and slaying dragons…)

“Onward and Upward” by Tommee Proffitt (feat. Fleurie) (Another excellent build up song. Think fire and smoke everywhere, with the roars of a massive beast vibrating your chest as you run, sword aloft, into battle…)

“Finale” by Michael Abels

Whether you’re excited for Soul Bearer (which I hope you are) or whether you just want music recommendations, this is a pretty good list, in my opinion.

Update time! I got all my formatting done this week! It was a mind-numbing, infuriating, blur of tedium, and I’m not quite looking forward to doing that again. Lol.

Now, I’m on to copyright stuff and ISBNs and uploading and swag and proof copies and ARC readers. But first, I’m beta reading a friend’s novel.

For the time being, though, I think I’m going to sign off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Happy listening.

Later.

Note…I don’t have rights to these songs, and I’m not being paid by them or Google play (though wouldn’t that be nice?) to promote them. I just really like music. Lol.


A different path, perhaps?

Hi, guys!

So, I figured I’d get back to writing related topics today. I don’t know if you guys will be relieved or disappointed by that (let me know in the comments below), but that’s what’s happening.

I been trying to make a pretty important decision regarding publication, this week. I think I’m going to publish my books through Ingram Spark instead of KDP.

Now, that may not sound like it would be make a difference to anyone but me. But it does mean something important to readers.

Ingram Spark allows the option of… *drum roll* …

Hard back books!

KDP doesn’t have that. At all.

Ingram Spark also allows me to do a couple different types of ebooks. So basically, I can offer my book in more formats, so people can read it however they want. Now, to save myself some money, I’ll be using KDP specifically for the Kindle ebook.

That brings me to the impact for me.

Amazon KDP generates its own ISBNs and Barcodes…for free.

Ingram Spark does not provide free ISBNs. And let me tell you, they aren’t cheap. I never expected a little number on the back of the book to cost so much.

But, at the end of the day, it’s an investment in the career I want, an investment in my dream. And if that’s what it takes to get my book out in every format (fucking hard back books, guys!), then so be it.

Another plus side to Ingram is that they offer preorder for all formats. Amazon KDP only allows preorder on ebook. :/

Which is dumb.

Ingram Spark also seems to concentrate more on expanded distribution (bookstores, libraries, etc.), which is nice.

With Kindle, it’s just kinda…there. Lol. Just an afterthought. It’s an Amazon company after all, and brick and mortar stores are the competition.

Amazon keeping their competitors afloat by having their stuff sold in stores? Stores keeping their competition afloat by selling Amazon stuff? Not super likely.

So, while this did just become a much more expensive endeavor, I’m psyched to get a hard back option for my books.

And I’m glad I made this decision now, because I’m almost done with the final edits of Soul Bearer.

I’m within 20 pages of the end!

Granted, there’s an adjustment that I need to make which may add a page or two, but still!

It’s so close!

I got to this point a couple days ago, but I had 12 hour shifts both days since. They were only 12 hours apart, so I had to go to the store, eat, take care of animals, shower, and sleep. I never get to do book stuff on weekends.

(Side note, don’t work in a tire factory over the summer. It’s fucking miserable.)

So, all day at work, today and yesterday, my head was stuck in the ending of my book, circling, waiting, begging me to get back to it…

And, tomorrow afternoon (I still have yet to sleep since getting off work and have to run errands in the morning), I’ll have it finished.

Then, I just have to do formatting, make final adjustments to the cover, and learn how to navigate a new publishing process. Lol.

No big deal. Just a bunch of shit that’s gonna be difficult and tedious.

The formatting is what I’m looking forward to the least. KDP has these helpful little plug-ins for Word…Idk if Ingram has that. We’ll see what happens, there. Lol. But I’ll figure it out.

I always do.

Anyway, after that, I’ll be looking for ARC readers. (I have a list of reviewers to ask.) Then, I need swag for giveaways.

Yeah, you heard (saw) that right. Every book release will have giveaways. I’ll choose winners from IG, FB, and from my email subscriber list. (Participate/subscribe on all three platforms for extra chances to win.) A grand prize winner will be selected from my subscribers, btw. So make sure you subscribe. Don’t forget. (It’s down at the bottom of the page, btw. Lol.)

I’ll announce more details on the prizes (and subscriber grand prize) closer to time.

So, if you’re an indie author trying to decide between the two, maybe this will help. Maybe not. You may like ebook better, and not care about hard back books at all. Maybe you don’t want to buy your own ISBN for your book, which makes complete sense.

You may have stock in Amazon. I don’t freaking know. Lol.

If my post wasn’t thorough enough for you, or didn’t hit the points you were curious about, there are plenty of reviews out there.

But for now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

How do you have the time?

Hey, guys!

I know, it’s not my normal intro. Ahh! Change! Scary! Let’s all take a second to visualize ourselves rampaging through a city because one of the few safe things in our lives has been shattered, and replaced with something different! (It’s obviously a different premise, but the movie, Falling Down, comes to mind, here.)

Anyway…

So, I’ve been on vacation this week, and I’ve made a ton of progress on my editing. Now, I haven’t spent the whole week editing, as I’m visiting family that I only see a couple times a year. But I’ve still had way more time to work on book stuff.

Not only do I now have my e-mail subscription set up (sign up below to stay up to date on release dates and future giveaways), but I did a shit ton of editing. I’m two thirds of the way through this round of edits of The Gem of Meruna, and nearly halfway through the final edits of Soul Bearer!

I didn’t intend to spend so much more time on Soul Bearer than on The Gem of Meruna, but every time I start doing anything with Soul Bearer, I just get sucked in. Lol. I assume that’s a good sign, especially since I’ve literally made myself cry going through this one.

Anyway, I’m pushing through this all at breakneck speeds, and I don’t even have to go back to work for a few more days.

After that, I’ll go back to working around my work schedule.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog…

Priorities.

So many of the writing groups (not all of them) that I’m in are filled with questions about how we have the time for writing. Often times, people say they struggle to fit it into their day, while still enjoying their other hobbies. They say that since it isn’t paying the bills, they find it hard to stay motivated, and end up playing video games or watching tv or whatever. (Btw, those things probably aren’t paying your bills either. Just saying.)

Now, I’m not about to tell you that you can’t do any of your other hobbies. Being a well-rounded person and experiencing life is important for writing well-rounded characters.

But.

If you want your writing to be taken seriously by anyone else, YOU have to take it seriously. Writing will never pay the bills if you don’t fucking write.

I love playing video games. I have a million and one hobbies that I enjoy. I like the occasional tv binge.

But I want my writing to (eventually) pay my bills, so I can stay home and write EVEN MORE. And I know that if I don’t write, if I don’t put in the time, and do what I need to do, that will never happen.

Ever.

I don’t expect a winning lottery ticket to blow into my lap. I also don’t expect some magical muse to flutter into my life, and give me the ability to type 3,000 error-free words a minute so that my novels will be written in less than an hour, then for them to somehow be magicked into New York Times bestsellers.

That’s not how the world works, and it sure as hell isn’t how writing works.

If you want to write, you have to give some things up. I used to play video games for hours on end, every night. Now, I haven’t picked up a controller in weeks.

Because that’s a hobby.

Writing is what I want to do with my life. There’s a huge difference there. I’m willing to put aside a few things to make it happen.

If it means I only play video games when my computer is updating or the day after I finish a manuscript, so be it. If it means that only I pick up my bow or crossbow for target practice when my entire body is restless from sitting still for too long, that’s fine.

Because writing is my thing.

It’s an art and a craft, and that requires time and dedication.

I don’t write because I HAVE the time for it. I write because I MAKE the time for it. That’s what you have to do. With anything, really. If you want to do something, if you want to accomplish something, you have to make it happen. Watch a couple hours less tv each night, and work toward your goal.

It isn’t going to happen, otherwise.

Now, there are things you can’t put off, I understand that. The job that pays the bills, taking care of kids, spending time with your significant other…Those things need prioritized, as well.

But if it comes down to choosing between spending a fourth night in a row vegging out on the couch with a show you don’t really care about on the tv and your phone glowing into your eye balls for 6 hours…or doing something that helps you achieve your dream?

Why is that even a question?

Even if you only put your phone down for an hour a day, that’s better than nothing.

For those of you who work two jobs, and take care of a kid on your own, and have to care for an elderly neighbor…Yeah, your time management struggles make more sense. But I assure you, that’s not the case for everyone asking, “How do you have the time?”

I don’t. I make the time. I prioritize my writing because it’s important to me, and I know it will never mean a thing to anyone else…if I don’t fucking write.

Whew…That was…not intended to be a rant. But that’s where it went, and I’m sticking with it. Lol.

Anyway, I’m forging ahead with editing, which means the release of Soul Bearer will get here that much faster, as will the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna (though it will need yet another round of editing). I’m fairly certain I have a cover for The Gem of Meruna. There’s a second design in the works, and I’ll choose between the two after it’s done.

As I mentioned above, you can now subscribe for my newsletter (the sign up bit is down below). I promise, I won’t fill your inbox with a bunch of shitty spam.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep fucking writing. (Lol)

Later.

TV, Movies, and Other Sacrificial Lambs

Hello, all!

Today, i wanted to give budding writers, readers, and just plain old curious folks a little glimpse of the sacrifices made to write. Because writing a book, let alone multiple books, is not a passive process. it takes time, a hell of a lot of patience, and a ton of work.

So, here goes.

One of the first things to go, for me, was tv and movie time. I usually watch a bit with my husband while we eat, but beyond that…it’s just background noise.. we occasionally have a binge day, where I set my writing aside for a few hours, but that’s like…every couple weeks.

Now, for me, that was an easy thing to do. I’d already sacrificed these poor creatures to the OCDemons when I was a kid. Remotes were “dirty,” as was the couch, even though nothing in the house I grew up in was ever all that dirty. It just violated the rules set forth by my OCD.

So, tv and movies were never a huge part of my life. For some, this is a big problem.

But you can’t expect a book to materialize in front of you, with your name on the cover, if all you do after work is sit in front of a tv for hours on end.

Not unless you want it to take about 20 years.

Now, video games have been harder to let go.

When I was younger, these, too, were sacrificed at the alter of the OCDemons. But after college, they were resurrected. And they found me.

Hell, for a while, when Final Fantasy XIV came out, my husband and I would alternate nights, and that was just…what we did. One of us played, and the other either did chores, or watched. Then, the next night, it switched. We did that for months.

And don’t even get me started on Skyrim or Fallout 4. I sank so much time into those games, and I loved every second of it.

But I want to write. I want to, eventually, make a career out of writing so I can write even more. That means cutting out other things to make time for it.

So, I put less time into video games.

And…all my other various hobbies. Lol.

And…also some social time.

Basically, what I’m saying is that it takes work and dedication.

And if you’re going to do it, if you’re going to put in the effort of writing a book, you may as well put in the effort to do it right. That means learning about grammar, and style, and flow, and character arcs, and so many other things…In addition to writing time.

So, anyone beginning a writing career, balance is going to be hard. You’re going to have to give up a lot. But if it’s your dream, do it. Make time for loved ones, of course, but if it comes down to choosing between watching a show you’ve seen several times or hammering out a chapter…

You know what you have to do.

Readers…please just appreciate the effort that goes into a book. As a ton of online posts would say, “feed an author, leave a review.” Lol.

But seriously, leave reviews.

Amazon doesn’t put books into certain featured lists until they get a certain number of reviews. They’re pretty important.

Anyway, I’ll stop ranting and raving for now. It’s been a pretty productive week. I typed just over 6,600 words for Salt and Silver, and have a chapter handwritten. Then, just the epilogue and I might add a chapter. I’ve got it planned, and it’ll help with balance and closure, but it isn’t completely necessary.

We’ll see. I’ll probably write it, and then go through the story with and without it. Then…it may face the guillotine.

Either way, I’m getting so freaking close to being done with the first draft. And the closing line of the last chapter…

I can’t tell you (literally, because spoilers) how happy I am with it. That one line wraps it all up so damn nicely.

I still have to type that part up, and I’m genuinely looking forward to typing that last line. It won’t be the last part I type, because I’ll still have to do the epilogue. But I want to get to that part of the story, again. The rush of it when I wrote it out by hand…

*sighs contentedly*

Well, for now, I’ll be signing off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.