A Heart of Salt and Silver: Inspiration and Process

Do you ever struggle to turn your brain off when it’s time to sleep?

Like… it just keeps going, anxious and desperate to pick something apart, and all you want to do is sleep because you have things to do the next day and it’s already so late and it isn’t getting any earlier, except that it sort-of is because now it’s early morning instead of late at night, but that thought doesn’t really help, it only makes you more anxious, which only makes it harder to sleep.

That’s the kind of evening that A Heart of Salt & Silver is born of.

Or rather, a series of those nights.

You see, there’s this little thing that I do on nights like that, a little trick to calm my restless mind.

I curl up and close my eyes. I picture a character, just fabricate them on the spot. Then, I drop them down in the middle of my head and see where they end up. My brain starts scrambling to put together a world for them rather than scrambling to assemble a to-do list for the next three months.

And then, I just watch it play out in my mind, letting that character wander through some random scene, some random event.

And it centers my mind.

Gone are the worries of the day. Banished are the stressors that have yet to hit me, the arguments that I’ve never had and never will have that my brain insists on playing out.

All that remains is that character, that scene, that world.

And I relax.

And eventually, I fall asleep.

If I have several of these terrible nights in a row, or if I have one a few weeks later, and happen to like the person my mind conjured, I’ll pick the scene up where I left off. Because my mind is a bit of a steel trap for these things. I’ll pick up the thread, and follow it wherever it goes until I decide that I like it enough to start actually writing.

And that’s how I got this book.

I imagined Ness, this demi-demon hiding in plain sight, disguised in human form, out in the middle of the forest. I conjured a man being chased into the little meadow she was trying to relax in, crashing through brambles and sprawling across the ground. I pictured the bandits chasing after him, one of them even stabbing him.

Then, Ness unleashed hell.

And I had to write the book.

Now, I don’t plan my books. But of all my books, I knew less about this one when I started writing it than with any others, with the exception of my current WIP.

What I said above is all I had.

I didn’t know why Ness was trying to relax in that meadow or any of the things in her past that she was hiding from. I certainly didn’t know the route her thoughts were travelling or the… act she was about to attempt, laying there thinking about her ex, Nolan. I didn’t know Nolan was werewolf.

I didn’t know that the bandits weren’t bandits, that one was a vampire and the other his pledge, a Nether witch, or why Elias was wandering through a forest chock full of dangerous immortals to begin with.

I just knew that those lives all converged at that one point, and I wanted to figure out why.

So, I started writing.

I got a few chapters in and realized that one of the bandits was a vampire, so I had to go back and adjust the first chapter to reflect that. Then, a few chapters later, I realized that the “bandits” were assholes.

More adjustments in chapter one.

And it just kept going. I found out more about the characters’ internal lives and even the premise for the book in chapter two, or at least part of it. I started pulling at that thread, and quickly realized that I didn’t have the whole plot yet.

About halfway through the first draft, I had an epiphany about the characters, one that solved all the problems I was struggling with at that point. It, quite humbly, stared me in the eyes and demanded an entire rewrite of everything I had, including the complete elimination of a few chapters, one of which I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow.

Things just kept spiraling, and what I thought would be a simple romance novella that just happened to be set in a fantasy world with immortals quickly became a dark and gritty novel with stakes so high that their world could shatter and so many fucking love triangles that it was more like a square with an X inside.

Normally, I hate love triangles, but the story had many demands. They were just one of them.

And it actually ended up being one of my favorite character dynamics in any of my books, because it isn’t just a simple “Oh, no, two hotties are into me, how will I ever choose?” type thing. (Btw, if that’s what you like to read, go for it. It just isn’t my thing.)

These love triangles are rooted in genuine psychological and emotional struggles.

And if you’ve read any of my books, you know that psychological and emotional struggles are always at the heart of every story. They’re my bread and butter. They’re the thing that hooks me.

The ones in this book, though not the darkest I’ve ever written, certainly aren’t light.

But I love the way they turned out.

It’s been such an amazing journey getting this book written and edited and ready for you to read. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Release day is tomorrow! Can you believe it? I can’t.

I’ll be posting a deleted scene tomorrow around noon (CST) and going live on Instagram for a reading of the first chapter and a Q&A session. Follow here so you don’t miss it.

Preorders are available here.

And as always…

Keep writing. Keep reading.

Later.

Three Types of Writers and What They Might Mean For You

Hi, guys!

There are so many ways to write a book. Every author has their own method, their own process. But there are a few basic types of writers that most can agree on, though some have different names for them.

For all the readers out there who are curious and for all the writers just looking to figure out where you fall (maybe you’re looking for a group of like-minded writers to seek out tips on streamlining the process you prefer, but need a name for your group), I’ll be going over three types of writers.

There’s the pantser, the plantser, and the plotter.

Basically, it’s a range of planning.

Plotters do ALL the planning.

They’ll take personality tests as their characters, building in depth profiles for every single one. They might spend months or even years building their world, ironing out every detail of that realm’s history, weather patterns, physics, and magic before ever putting down a single word of prose.

And they need that.

A lot of plotters feel lost or overwhelmed without those things. They need to have that organization, that detail, laid out before they start writing to ensure that when they start to write, they never mess anything up or forget anything.

Every twist and turn, every angle, every character development is planned and accounted for before they start writing.

Then, there’s the other end of the spectrum.

Pantsers (aka discovery writers, aka flashlight writers) jump right in. No planning. No outlines.

All that extra stuff, the detailed character profiles, the story bibles… feels like a waste of time to pantsers. It cages them in, restraining the characters and the story. It impinges on their creative freedom, a thing they value above all else.

They’d rather let the story unfold as they go, exploring the world and learning about the characters as the plot develops. That might mean going back and adjusting things every now and then to accommodate new developments, but that’s something they’re willing to do.

For these writers, the book is every bit as much of a mystery to them when writing as it is to readers. And they love it.

Characters often feel like separate entities and sometimes “refuse” to talk to them, a thing that plotters often put down to inadequate planning, but plotters chalk up to fully developed characters.

And then, there are the people in the middle.

Plantsers do some level of planning, but also enjoy the exploration and mystery.

They might put together a small outline, maybe a page or so, but deviate from it if necessary. And they probably won’t lose sleep over doing so.

They like to have an idea of how things will go and where the character arcs will lead them, but are open to change.

Personally, I tend to fall on the pantser end of the spectrum. If I know too much about a story when I start writing, I lose interest. Because there’s no freedom left in it.

There’s one story that I started writing several years ago, and one day, the ending just appeared in my mind, and I wrote it out, word for word, in complete detail.

And in my head, that story was done. I knew the ending. I knew how all the characters developed.

But the middle of the book wasn’t written.

And it still isn’t.

I’ve written several others instead.

Eventually, I’ll go back and write the middle of that one, but there are all these other ideas that haven’t reached a conclusion in my mind. Those just pull me in more than the one that’s “finished.”

Now, I do take notes as I go, putting character descriptions into a separate document as I go so I don’t give a side character blonde hair at the start of the book and black hair at the end.

But that’s about it.

What should all my fellow writers take away from this?

The resolution to write how you need to write. Everyone has their own process. Writing a book is an intensely personal experience. What works like a charm for one person might stop another in their tracks.

Write your book however you need to.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Celebrate Accomplishments (Even if there’s still more work to do)

Hi, guys!

Today, we’re talking about something that I’m particularly bad at… Celebrating your own achievements.

I know it’s important to step back and look at all that you’ve accomplished, every now and then. Keeping your eyes on your to-do list is a good way to end up overwhelmed, especially as writers, because our to-do list is basically infinite.

Between seemingly endless edits, all the nit-picky things involved in formatting, and the literally endless march of marketing…

It’s a lot.

Sometimes, you get into the groove and just start knocking shit out left and right. But other times, usually when you get to a step that you don’t feel like you excel at or one that you’re particularly picky about, it can feel like a lot.

For me, it’s the marketing that tends to feel overwhelming. For you, maybe it’s the writing or the editing or who knows.

There are all these different ways to measure your progress, all these different people and famous authors to compare ourselves to…

Which just makes our own progress seem lackluster by comparison, even when we’re making great strides.

Sometimes, you just have to set the to-do list aside and look back at what you’ve already done.

I’m not saying stop making forward progress altogether, but maybe just take a second to appreciate the work you’ve already put in.

I’m particularly bad about this.

I have a lot of perfectionist tendencies and a fear of disappointing people and always put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. And in such a subjective field, i get to define what I consider success, but since it’s me, that means the standards are always going to be insanely high.

So, I keep my gaze trained on the stuff I have yet to do, rather than the things I’ve already done.

On the one hand, I keep pushing forward. But on the other… I never quite feel good enough or like I’ve done enough.

And sometimes, being a perfectionist can actually stop you from reaching completely reachable goals.

But there’s one thing I know I can do to try to help myself with this.

I need to start celebrating my accomplishments. And if this is something you struggle with, you probably should, too.

Instead of thinking, “I only wrote 1,000 words today,” celebrate the fact that you wrote 1,000 words. That’s 1,000 words that didn’t exist in that order before. That’s 1,000 words’ worth of character development and world building, bringing things and people to life that weren’t there before.

If you submit your book to an editor, don’t stress over the changes you’ll inevitably have to make. Celebrate the fact that the book is written.

I’ll be trying to focus more on thoughts like this in the future. If you struggle to feel like you’re doing enough even when you’re making progress, maybe you should too.

To that end, instead of being upset with myself that I haven’t finished writing Second to None yet or finished my read through of The Regonia Chronicles, I’m going to celebrate the fact that I’m almost done with both of those things.

And instead of beating myself up for not having all of my release prep stuff done for A Heart of Salt & Silver, I’m going to be happy that I’ve finished the formatting and have the cover reveal set up.

Rather than lamenting the books I haven’t sat down to read, I’ll just remember (and review!) the ones I listened to.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me something you’ve accomplished lately, be it in the comments here or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

An Unexpected Visit from the Science Fiction Muses

Hi, guys!

Exciting things are happening.

The week before last, I completely redid the cover for A Heart of Salt & Silver. I’m so happy with how it turned out. I have a few more steps before I can reveal it to you all, but it’s coming.

But last week, something happened that hasn’t happened in a long time.

The sci-fi muses visited me.

The Regonia Chronicles has been sitting on the back burner for a while, like… a long ass time.

But while at work, I was listening to music and came across a song that just… resonated with the story.

It had an epic sound to it, with lots of dips and crescendos.

And I just started picturing the scenes from the book as if they were in a movie trailer.

And now, for the first time in about a year, I want to jump back into writing that one.

It’s insane the effect that music can have on us, especially in creative endeavors. Finding that perfect song to listen to during a scene can really make the writing experience that much better.

It’s part of why I’m trying something new with The Regonia Chronicles. I’ve written a soundtrack into it.

The Regonians of Daen Tribe are very music oriented. it’s deeply rooted into their culture. So, of course, when they hear human music, it’s a big deal. They notice the songs, and check displays for what song is playing.

So, when they check, I put the song title and artist (and year, because in the human society of 3018, songs over 1,000 years old are completely free, songs over 500 years old can be downloaded in batches of 100 for a single credit, over 250 years old cost a credit for 50, etc., so the year is necessary for their pricing.)

I’ve timed them for my reading speed, which I know isn’t universal. I’ll have to look up average reading speeds and go from there later. I’ll also need to make the playlist public on Google Play at some point. But those are tasks for editing.

Of course, the songs aren’t necessary for the reading experience and have no bearing on the plot. The books can be read without ever looking up a single song.

But I kinda like that extra element.

And it’s just one more thing that makes me excited to jump back into that series.

I just need to push through the rest of Second to None, first.

And if i’m being honest, this thriller may well turn into a short story. I’m about halfway through the plot and sitting at about 10,500 words.

So, basically, I just need to keep that song around me, wrap up in it like a blanket, and hammer through the rest of Second to None before the sci-fi muses desert me, again.

Which means I have some fun times ahead of me. Second to None is about to get bloody. Those characters have a lot to deal with.

But compared to the shit going down in book two of The Regonia Chronicles…

Let’s just say those humans and aliens are facing down some serious shit.

For now, I’m going to jump back into Second to None and wreak absolute havoc on some characters that are only just beginning to see how fucked up one of their friends really is.

If you want a peak at just how dark the human soul can get, check out my recent release, World for the Broken. This dark post-apocalyptic romance gets into the nitty gritty of human emotion and resilience.

Check it out here: mybook.to/WorldForTheBroken

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Why my book title had to change…

Hi, guys!

I finally announced the official title for World for the Broken this past week, and today, I thought I’d explain why I changed the title, to begin with.

Originally, World for the Broken was called After.

It was simple and easy to remember. It fit with the post-apocalyptic theme as well as the themes of coping and resilience.

But then the After series by Anna Todd hit it big. Then, it became controversial and absolutely blew up.

And I knew my novel would be buried under the avalanche of posts about her books.

I wen’t back and forth on whether to change my title or not. I toyed with the idea of keeping the title simply to have it show up in the same searches, but the people looking for her books (contemporary romance, possibly YA)…probably aren’t looking for a visceral, intensely dark post-apocalyptic romance.

Then, when I came up with World for the Broken, I fell in love with it. This title stands out quite a bit more. Obviously, it still fits the post-apocalyptic narrative.

And I’m so glad I changed it.

I had a similar thing happen with Salt and Silver. Not exactly the same, because the title wasn’t exactly the same. And the other book has yet to be released.

But I want my books to be unique, just like any other author.

So, here are a few quick tricks for making sure you have a good title for your book.

First of all, get feedback.

Just like every other aspect of writing, working in a vacuum without any outside influence isn’t the best idea. You need more eyes on your work and more opinions than just your own.

If you have a few potential titles in mind, don’t be afraid to ask other writers or perhaps book club members for their opinion. They know books. Of course, it’s best if they know the genre you’re working in, but ask away.

Second, think about which one embodies your book best. Genre, themes, and all.

Abandon catchy and trendy for just a second and dare to twist words around for effect. Words are so versatile. Double meanings abound. Maybe use a contradictory double meaning to your benefit, if both meanings fit your book.

Swap words around. Try synonyms. Try different variations of whatever you’ve come up with.

Okay. It’s time to go back for the catchy, trendy shit. Consider it briefly. After all, trends are trendy for a reason. People like them. And they work. Look at titles within your genre. Is there a pattern that tends to pop up a lot?

There are a lot of books out there that are “blank of blank” (City of Ember, Crown of Conspiracy, House of Night). Lots of book titles lately have just been a list of three things in the book, often with the first two obviously fitting together but the third being “random.”

Do those formats fit your book? If they do, use the shit out of them.

They obviously work.

Now, the advice lots of writers hate when it comes to the actual book, itself. Cut unnecessary words. For the love of everything good, there’s a reason book titles aren’t usually a full paragraph. It’s too hard to remember and no one wants to type a 14 word title into a search bar to pull up a book they heard about and were sorta interested in but wanted to look it up to learn more about it.

There’s a good chance that’ll drive away buyers that were on the fence.

Last but certainly not least, type it into amazon or google. Make sure there aren’t an absolute fuck ton of results. If there are, I don’t care how good your title is…you probably need to change it.

If a couple hundred things come up, your brand new book is not going to be at the top of the results. Not without a shit load of work on search engine optimization, a ton of build up before launch, and probably some paid ads.

Believe me.

I didn’t think about it when I titled my novella, Annabelle, and it DOES NOT show up unless it’s typed in with my first and last name.

Because…well, you know. Ghosty-possession movies or something. Some doll. I don’t know. Lol. I don’t watch horror movies often, so I haven’t watched them.

Anyway.

Picking a title is hard. I know.

But it’s important. Which means it’s worth doing it well.

Now, to hold myself accountable for the past week…

I’ve been alternating between knocking out some more edits on Where Darkness Leads and writing my new novel. I think I wrote about…3,000 words? So, nowhere near as much as I wanted to. That was only two good writing sessions.

But I have to keep editing so I can get these other books out. Lol.

I also sketched a quick map for the new story, made a gif and a trailer for The Gem of Meruna. I’ll be unveiling the trailer soon. I already posted the non-looped video from the gif.

All in all, not a bad week.

For now though, I’m exhausted. Work was…well, exhausting. Lol. It’s time for me to sign off and get some sleep.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Then Comes the Crash

Hello, all!

Now, those of you who follow me on social media (thank you!) probably already know this, but I finished the first draft of Salt and Silver!

God, it’s exciting. I can’t even begin to express how much of a high it is to finish writing a book. (Not without taking absolutely forever about it, and, lets face it, that would get pretty boring for you guys.) The feeling of accomplishment is incredibly overwhelming, though.

Of course, now there’s the problem of…the crash.

You see, finishing a book is huge. But I’ve spent the past 4 or 5 months (since the first or second week of January) in the minds of these characters. I’ve lived and breathed their lives and breaths.

Ness, Nolan, and Elias have become so real to me, as do the characters in every book I write. And they have to, really. My writing is deeply psychological and very emotional. I have to flesh the characters out, have to know what drives them. I have to figure out their deepest desires, their coping mechanisms, their humor, the things that make them nervous…

All of it.

And by the time you do that, they’re like real people.

Add to that the fact that I’m a pantser, and it’s basically like the beginning of a friendship (or rivalry, in the case of villains). Every time I sit down with these characters, I learn something new. Every time I think through their lives, I figure out something new in their past that explains the personality they’ve taken on.

Yes, I know. I can practically hear the scoffs and see the eye rolls I’m sure some of you are giving me. I’m perfectly aware that most people who do a lot of outlining and plotting think that all this pantser mumbo jumbo is…well, mumbo jumbo. “You made the characters. You control their personality and their actions.”

Yeah, I do. To a degree.

But for the sake of realism, I have to treat them like people. The only alternative is plotting everything ahead of time, and feeling like I’m suffocating. If they each have their own code, their own personality, then writing them by the seat of my pants is easier. Because there are certain things they would, or would not, do.

Plus, much like real people, fictional people cause all sorts of drama for themselves when left to their own devices.

But treating them like real people has a price. Now, there’s the emptiness left behind by getting their stories out. Because, now, I don’t have to learn more about them. I don’t have to figure out their lives. I don’t have to learn what these friends like to eat, or why they like the sound of the birds in the woods beyond their cottage window, or why they feel guilty all the time.

It’s all done. It’s all figured out.

These friends, in their own way, have moved on. Which makes this “crash” seem a lot lonelier than I intended it to. Lol.

And since I’m going to be editing for a while, rather than starting another story immediately, I’m not building a new world or creating people. It’s honestly…a bit boring. Lol. 12 hours shifts go by so much faster when I have a story spinning through my brain. My mind is desperate to work on something, but…I can’t edit while operating heavy machinery.

Not if I expect to come out the other side of the experience with all my parts attached…I kinda have to watch what I’m doing. Staring at a screen is just a bad idea. Lol.

It’s not like I don’t have ideas, though. I intend to finish The Regonia Chronicles this year, and then there’s Second to None, the thriller that I’m dying to get started on.

But if I don’t do some editing, and get all this other shit done, I’ll never get any of these stories out to be read. Between the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna, Salt and Silver, and the other completed standalone novels (I specify standalone here, because technically book one of Regonia is done, but I’m not far enough with the series to even think about a release for that one yet), I have five books…just…waiting.

And since I’ve decided to self-publish, all they’re waiting on…is me.

We’ll see how stir crazy I get, not writing. It genuinely drives me batty. I may have to do a chapter here and there for Regonia, just to maintain my sanity.

For now, though, I’m about five chapters into the preliminary edits of Salt and Silver. (I have the edits for the next couple chapters handwritten, though, because I worked on it in the cafeteria at work. So…sorta seven chapters into the edit.) This is just the “I put that in to fill a plothole, so don’t forget, take it out, and fuck up the story” edit. It’s also the “Why the fuck did I choose that word?” edit…

Basically, just catching wonky flow and typos while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

I have to tighten it up, basically. Not that my first drafts are absolute monstrosities, or anything, but they certainly need work.

Then, I’ll let it sit while I get The Gem of Meruna ready. Then, back into the minds of Ness, Nolan, and Elias in the world of Salt and SIlver for more edits. Then…drum roll…writing something else. Eventually, some more polishing for Salt and SIlver, and then it’ll be off to beta readers.

So, in case you thought books were quick and easy…They’re not. Lol. There are so many steps involved.

Now, I write fast . The last two books I’ve written took about 4-5 months each, while working full time, with overtime almost every week. Hell, since I started taking my writing seriously in 2014, I’ve written six complete novels, a novella, and a lot of short stories. (RIP the novel I wrote in college, that was lost when the laptop and the external hard drive it was backed up on…fried.)

But there are so many things to do to get a story truly ready for readers. Writing it is only the beginning.

Anyway, though…

That pretty much gets you all up to speed with where I’m at, right now. I’ll set a release date for The Gem of Meruna once I get through some of the updating, and I’ll keep you posted.

For now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Bits and Baubles

Hello, all!

The end of Salt and Silver is in sight. I can feel it. Just a few more chapters…It calls to me. The notebook lying in front of me on the desk is begging me to open it, and type up the bits that I wrote at work.

After adding over 7,000 words this week (which is pretty damn good, considering the full time job), I’m sitting at just over 61,400 words. I also wrote another piece of flash fiction.

So, overall, this was a damn good week. And, honestly, Salt and Silver hasn’t taken that long. I started it at the beginning of January. The 10th, maybe? So, four and a half months, with a rewrite for the first 40,000 words, overtime every week, a vacation, and a couple short stories included in there…

That’s pretty fucking fast. Lol.

Gotta say…I’m kinda happy with that. Of course, it’s not done, yet. It’ll take another week or two to round it out. Then, one round of editing, and it’ll go on the back burner while I do some revisions on another project. (Gotta give myself some time to forget what I’ve done, and gain some distance before I go in for more serious editing.)

Now, as for the release of my other finished novels and the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna…

I don’t have a schedule pinned down, yet. I have to go through them all, one last time, to ferret out any problems I may have missed before. Plus there are the covers to sort out, and formatting to do. Not to mention marketing…ugh…the part I suck at.

But, I have updated my Works in Progress page to tell you all a little more about each book. If you haven’t checked it out, you totally should. There is so much for you to see. Title and genres are revealed, plus a tiny bit of information on each one. (I can’t give away too much, all at once.)

Now, on to a completely different subject. In the past, I’ve told you all some very, very personal things about me. Today, I thought I’d tell you some random facts about myself.

Preferred writing drink?
Hot apple cider

Background noise when writing?
Preferred, but not necessary. If I’m near a t.v., I turn on Friends. (I can watch it if I get stuck, and find it perfectly amusing, thus taking my mind off the story for a moment, and letting my subconscious work through the puzzle. But, I’ve seen it all the way through so many times that, if I’m writing, I know exactly what’s happening, so I’m not worried about missing anything.) I apply this show to way to many aspects of my life, and quote it…far too often.
Music is always a favorite, but the genre varies widely. Sometimes it’s Celtic metal, other times it’s Russian pop or electro-swing. Sometimes classical, other times rap. It just depends on the scene I’m writing. Different songs fit the mood better than others, and genre really holds no bearing over the mood of the song. And, since I spend 40+ hours a week listening to music at work, I can customize playlists for each story.

Favorite band?
Chelsea Wolfe and Balthazar are tied for first place, because I can listen to just about any of their songs, any time, any place. And they’re both so eclectic. Chelsea Wolfe is grungy folk metal, and her music lends itself especially well to moody scenes or any scene involving magic (the darker the better). Balthazar is indie pop/rock with elements of jazz, vaudeville, and British punk rock, with an overarching Bohemian feel. I always picture a romanticized, turn of the century opium den when I listen to them. People lounging about on hundreds of pillows in the floor of darkened rooms, tapestries lining the walls, incense burning everywhere…Overall, it’s just fantastic music.
NF is second (technically third, since two are ahead of him). His music, specifically the Mansion album, hit me pretty hard the first time I heard it. He’s open and real. He’s seen some shit, and the song Mansion explains how he deals/compartmentalizes in a way that really resonates with me. But I’m not in love with all his songs. He has some that are strictly posturing and flaunting his prowess as a rapper. Those, I could do without. So, I can’t give him the number one spot.

Favorite animal?
Octopus

Hobbies?
This one could take a while.
Reading (obviously), Dungeons and Dragons, video games, photography, singing (though not with people around), archery (novice), shooting guns (novice), car modification (not even novice status), blacksmithing (complete amateur).

Favorite movie?
Moulin Rouge. It gets me every single time.
Also, important note…I’m not a huge movie person. I never really watched them growing up, and only recently started catching up on the ones I “missed out on,” though most of them…I was okay without. Lol.

Worst movie I’ve ever seen?
Titanic 2 or House Shark
I feel like…I don’t really have to explain either of those. Lol. Yet, terrible as they may have been, objectively speaking, they were certainly memorable.
Fun fact: House Shark was funded through a kickstarter or gofundme, in which they didn’t get even a third of the amount needed, but they were like…”Fuck it. We’re doing this.” And then, they did.

Education?
I have a B.A. in Clinical Psychology.

Favorite food?
Pizza, Reese’s cups, or chocolate chip cookies (warm and gooey, of course).
Or maybe bacon cheeseburgers and french fries…
Or KitKat’s…
Basically, I like junk food. Lol.

Any collections?
Old books and documents, four leaf clovers ( I find them often), skeleton keys, random bits and baubles that I find and like (my library is running out of room).

All right, well, I think that’s plenty for now.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Death, My Darling

Hello, all!

Don’t worry. This blog post won’t be as violent as the title suggests. It’s only metaphorical murder that I speak of.

Lol.

There’s a saying most writers have heard, possibly coined by Stephen King, though I think he was actually quoting William Faulkner.

Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.

I don’t know if that’s the original phrasing, or not, but the meaning remains the same.

As writers, we tend to get attached to particular characters, chapters, paragraphs. Perhaps, a specific turn of phrase catches our fancy, or makes us feel clever.

All of these things, all of these parts of our stories, are parts of us. They’re things that we created, things we literally pulled out of thin air, and, somehow, shaped so that meaning and images and thoughts and worlds and entire people can be put into the minds of others in the way that we imagined them.

It’s a powerful thing.

As such, there is the potential for fixation. This lends itself to the thought that any one thing, if removed from the manuscript, could drastically, and catastrophically, impact the overall story.

So, we hoard our creations, holding fast against the eroding tide of editing.

We get stingy, whether unwittingly or by stoutly refusing to adapt depends on the person. Which, in the end, proves far more detrimental to our writing than the changes we resist.

It keeps us from seeing our flaws. It holds us back from seeing the entirety of the world we’ve created, because this one particular phrase needs defended with every single scrap of attention we can spare.

And, sometimes, changing a manuscript is just downright scary.

Now, as you all know if you’ve been following my blog, I’m in the process of rewriting one of my WIPs (works in progress). It had problems. Plot holes large enough to swallow a double decker bus. Forced romance where it shouldn’t have been. Jarring cut-off points.

In the process of rewriting this week…I had to cut an entire chapter.

Which hurt.

A lot.

That chapter provided a nice bit of humor and a touch of background information for a character that was rather central. It also introduced other characters, which did nothing but hinder the plot. They play no pivotal role, and quickly became loose ends that I would have had to scramble to tie up at the end.

Not to mention…The character whose background we were gaining…has been downgraded.

So, a brief conversation was added later to cover all the vital information, and the entire chapter was killed.

Sort-of.

I saved it in another document, so it’s more like it’s been…locked in a far far far away tower, never to see the light of day. Lol.

In it’s place, there is a much better chapter which highlights a character whose role has been elevated significantly.

And I love the new chapter. Far more than the original.

FAR more.

So, my point is, for all the writers reading this, writing is a mess. Embrace that. Kill your darlings, when you need to. Save them in a separate document, just in case the original was better than the new version, but often times…you won’t need that backup, won’t want it.

For all the readers reading this, writing is a mess. Embrace the polished works wrapped up in gorgeous covers with bows and shiny bookmarks for your pleasure. Because it’s a long road, getting the story to you in a nice, cohesive, easily comprehended, pretty package.

Love them, as we writers have loved them.

We pour our souls into our books. Our time, our thoughts, our tears (yes, seriously, I cry when I write sad scenes), our joy (sometimes to the point where our fingers move too quickly over the keyboard, producing gibberish, as we rush forward, too excited to slow down), our hearts…It all goes in.

One way or another, bits of ourselves find their way into our books. Whether we intend it or not.

We just have to pick and choose which parts to send forward to the readers.

Sometimes, we have to kill our darlings.

But we end up so much better off.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Thank you all for coming, for taking the time out of your day to read what I’ve had to say. Thank you for reading my books, if you have. If not, they’re here, on my website. *shameless plug*

Aaaaanywhoo…lol. (Don’t worry, I won’t do that again.)

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.