Book Reading!

Hi, Guys!

Doing a blog two days in a row isn’t exactly normal for me, so clearly it’s something special.

Here’s a video of me reading the prologue. 🙂

(I stumble a bit through the intro, but bear with me. Lol. I’ve never done this before.)

🙂

Obviously, I hope you like it.

Lol.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Soul Bearer: The Beginning

Hi, guys!

So, with Soul Bearer’s release date coming up (freaking tomorrow!), I thought I’d talk about the creation of the story. I’ve talked about my writing process (or lack thereof) before, but I’ve never really gone into specifics for this story in, particular.

The spark, the catalyst, was a dream, which I know sounds corny. But that’s what the prologue was. I woke up with a dream of a princess and a burning necklace and the return of dragons.

So I wrote down the bare bones of that scene and ran with it.

The princess in that scene just happened to fall into a trope I don’t particularly like writing. She’s prissy and overly concerned with her looks. She’s led an easy, privileged life and as such, follows whims even when they’re definitely a bad idea because well…what are consequences?

She doesn’t really know because she’s never faced them.

I hate that trope, that stereotypical princess type.

And she certainly wasn’t going to be the one fighting the dragon.

So her part ended, sort of, in the prologue. I can’t say how her part continued because spoilers.

But that meant I had to come up with someone else to sort out the problem of the dragon and a means for them to do so.

And therein lies the problem with writing something from a dream. It takes a lot of work to make it work. I know, writing a book takes work, in general, but dreams have a tendency to make little to no sense.

And fiction has to make sense.

You have to have a reason for everything. Anything you put in the story has to be justified by a fully built world and three dimensional characters whose backgrounds support the information you’re giving.

Everything has to line up.

Because if it doesn’t line up, you end up with plot holes and angry readers.

And no one wants that.

Now, I tend to have these little…half imagined bits of story floating around in my head, pretty much constantly. A character here, an encounter there. There’s always an assortment to choose from.

I just have to find the world, and the story, they fit into.

Well, Visan (the world of Soul Bearer) turned out to be the home I’d been lacking for Aurisye. I hadn’t named her yet,and her story ended up changing drastically by the time it was all said and done. I didn’t know she’d be so powerful before I found her home in this story. But the core of her, the basis of who she was before the dragons rose, was already in my head and it belonged in this world.

There was another little tidbit, a chance encounter, that eventually became her mother’s story. I had no idea it belonged in Soul Bearer until I got to close to the scene, though. Lol.

As for Rafnor, he was always a part of this world. He developed with it, grew with it. He was never separate from the world of Soul Bearers.

Now, there was something I was asked about by a couple of ARC readers: the names. They wanted to know how I came up with them.

So, in case any of you are curious, this is what I did.

I chose a few languages that I don’t speak, picked words that I associated with the characters, and then looked them up in those other languages. When I found a translation or translated synonym that I liked the sound of, I altered it to fit the sounds of the cultures in the book.

For the Elves, I mostly translated stuff to French. I wanted it to have a soft, seductive feel. It just seems like something that would whisper through the leaves of their wooded kingdom.

The Elves in this story (dark elves, btw) are intelligent and witty, but also conniving. Having such smooth sounds set up a nice contrast.

I wanted the Orcish names to be the exact opposite. I wanted their names to embody the harsh, rough culture (and climate) they live in. So I translated to German and roughed the words up a bit more, smashing consonants together.

For the Humans, I went with variations on old English and Nordic words and names.

No matter what word I chose, I always…massaged the spelling to make it sound how I wanted, though.

It took about 6 months to write the first draft of this one. Then, after many edits, I started submitting it to traditional publishers. Before it got accepted anywhere though, I decided traditional wasn’t the way for me to go.

I’ve been heading down the Indie road ever since.

Now, I’ll be posting a video on release day, aka October 22nd. (Freaking tomorrow!)

*gasp* A video?

I know, I almost never show my face. It’s almost like I don’t like being in pictures or videos…

But, for you guys, I’m going to get over it, and do something that I always dreaded back in school. I’m going to read aloud for the group.

I’ll be doing a reading of the prologue of Soul Bearer!

It’ll be posted here for sure. Possibly on FB or IG, if I can figure out how to get around the time limit on IG. It’ll be at 3:00 p.m. central time. I’ll post about it on social media when it’s up, and I’ll send out an email to all my subscribers to let you know.

Then, I’ll be going live for the first time EVER on Instagram at 4:00 p.m. central time to answer questions and….*drum roll* announce the winners of the giveaway!

Don’t worry. If you can’t tune in, it doesn’t null your winnings. I’ll message each winner directly to let them know.

It’s going to be an exciting week.

And I finally get all three of my days off this week! No overtime, just my actual 40 hour schedule. That hasn’t happened in a while.

Now, normally I would do a full-on update on how my week went, but this time, I think I’ll just say that I got a lot of editing done on one story, some formatting done on another, and managed to get through all of my days.

I might do a full blog about this past week…next week. I’m not sure yet. It’s been an absolute train wreck.

These three days off could not have been better timed.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Making Up Words

Hello, all!

Today, we’re talking about world building! Specifically, language creation.

Over on Facebook, I’m part of a very large (89,000 members) writing group called Fiction Writing. (If you’re a writer, regardless of experience level, seeking to learn about writing fiction or just looking for a writing community, go join.) Members can post questions or helpful advice, and basically drink from the knowledge of the group.

Here lately, I’ve seen several posts asking for advice on creating a language.

They get responses ranging anywhere from “study linguistics” to “don’t” to all manner of genuinely helpful tips.

Now, I’ve only created a language for one of my WIPs (sci-fi series), but I do have some tips. If you’re going to tackle this beast, keep these in mind.

1. Identify the sounds you want them to use, and formulate an alphabet based on that.

Not every species is going to use the same convoluted alphabet we do. I think only 4 letters in the English alphabet make one sound, no matter what letters are next to them, or what word they’re in, or whether they want to be silent that day, or whatever.

English is a bit of a monstrosity like that.

Since I got to decide, Regonian is phonetic. Their letters have one sound each. They always make that sound, and they’re never silent.

2. Numbers! How do they count?

Please, for the love of God, don’t have them count like the French. Or do. It’s up to you.

But…that shit’s a mess. (I’ll put a link at the bottom for a video about French numbers.)

3. Come up with grammar rules. (Verb tense, showing possession, plural vs. singular nouns, punctuation, etc.)

Again, English is a fucking monstrosity. Your language doesn’t have to be. Mine isn’t. Because I didn’t want to deal with that shit.

4. Figure out how the words interact with/modify each other.

For instance, in Regonian, the word for smile is literally the words “lips” and “wide” smooshed together with a syllable dropped, because that’s how I decided nouns and adjectives interact.

Maybe your verbs join with the noun to illustrate the action framed by the actor. Who fucking knows? You. You know.

5. Decide the word order sentences will follow.

Do you want the noun to be the beginning of the sentence every time? Okay. That’s how it is. Do you want the adjectives to come after the noun (like in Spanish)? Got it.

For mine, for the sake of simplicity in writing the stuff, I stuck with the sentence structure that I’m most familiar with (English). But you don’t have to do that.

6. Identify key elements in their culture, and shape phrases around them.

For the Regonians, sound is a very important, almost religious aspect of their lives. It ties into their views of the afterlife. They’re a very musical people, using a multitude of instruments, singing, and even aspects of beat boxing in all important aspects of their lives. So sound influenced how they reference emotion and how they show their love.

Thus, I centered a lot of phrases around words pertaining to sound.

Do they have any neighbors? Most civilizations don’t develop in a petri dish. (The one in The Gem of Meruna developed without outside influence, but that’s explained in The Regonia Chronicles. Yes, there’s a tie in, which I’m pretty excited about.) How has that other culture shaped them? Because that’ll affect their language. Maybe they borrowed a few phrases or words.

7. Build a word database.

You never know what word you’re going to need. Believe me. Lol.

This part can kinda be done as you go along, just be sure to reference everything you came up with for numbers 1 through 6, so you don’t accidentally contradict yourself.
It’s not easy or quick. Lol. No advice in the world will make it simple. You’re literally trying to do something that took millennia to evolve naturally, in the course of, what, a few months? A year?

And it has to appear to have evolved naturally, changing over time. Certain phrases have to have been abandoned because they were too antiquated. New slang will erupt. Disdain for said slang may or may not be whispered amongst the older members of the community. Maybe your new race embraces the fluidity of language. If so, you’ve got your work cut out for you, because that means a lot more change is going to happen over time.

To a degree, creating a language an exercise in masochism. In all likelihood, only a few tidbits will actually be written in this new language. A quote here, a thought there…maybe a passage that a character sees written out before them.

So, for the most part, the readers will never know that you built a 2,000 words dictionary. But for the sake of doing it right, for the sake of continuity and feeling like a real language…you almost have to.

So, good luck.

I’m glad to have that part behind me. Lol. I have no intention of ever doing it again.

But I wouldn’t take it back, either. It really enriched The Regonia Chronicles.

Anyway, I’m about a fourth of the way through the edit for The Gem of Meruna, but…it may need another round after that. So, I may do the final edits on Soul Bearer or After (pending the feedback from final beta reads), and release one of those, first.

Man…you’d think all this planning would wear me out. Lol. Jk. I barely plan anything. Until I get one fully edited and ready for formatting, I’m pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants, for which…I apologize.

It makes sense, though. That’s how I write, so why wouldn’t it be how I edit?

Once I get one ready for formatting and ARC readers (thus setting in stone which one will be out next), I’ll set dates. Then, I’ll start posting about it, and telling you guys more about the story and the characters.

For now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Cavemen and Rants

Hello, all.

*sigh*

So little time.

*sips hot apple cider*

It feels like I’ve been spinning my wheels, stuck in the mud, and going nowhere. So much time has been going to this rewrite. It’s necessary, believe me, and Salt and Silver can’t progress until this is done. I have to relearn who a couple of the characters are after throwing a few new curve balls at them.

And the fixes, the new tensions, the momentum of it all…It’s so much better than the original.

But it’s taking far longer than expected.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the importance of editing/rewriting. If not for editing, most stories would be complete garbage. The ones that wouldn’t be complete garbage, would still be rough as hell. Loose ends would fray, rather than being tied off. Plot holes would swallow entire worlds. Characters would be flat. Grammar and spelling would be appalling.

So, yes, I know this is a vital step in my writing, this rewrite. But I’m so excited to move the story forward, rather than fixing the messed up first half.

Of course, working overtime every week certainly doesn’t speed the process. Every extra minute in the factory is one less minute typing.

Every author knows the struggle of not having time to write, though. Hell, every person who ever existed has felt the pressure of time, except maybe those who lived before time was invented.

But I have to wonder…did they feel it, too? The onward march, the fleeting nature of life? Were they, perhaps, able to perceive the crush of time, even if they had no idea what they were feeling? Did cavemen lament another day passed, another day closer to death?

I digress. That’s a concept for another day. At any rate, I have no answer. All I know is that time is a cruel mistress.

And certainly cruel, tonight.

I just worked a 12 hour shift, and then came home to do a bunch of cleaning. My husband and I are having a new dishwasher installed in the morning, and the house mustn’t be a wreck when the installers get here. (*rolls eyes at own need to impress total strangers*)

Also, note that I said morning.

I am not a morning person. My job usually works quite well with that, given that I don’t have the seniority to get day shift.

But appliance installers…morning works for them.

So, I’m typing all of this up as quickly as I can, for the sake of going to bed. I could wait until tomorrow, but…let’s be honest. I’m going back to sleep once the dishwasher is installed, and the strangers leave my house. Lol.

Anyway. I’m very ramble-y today. For which, I apologize.

So, some positive stuff.

I’m nearly halfway through the rewrite. 41 pages of 102 done.

And I did get some important world building stuff done this week. I made a world timeline, nailing down exact dates for important events. From the start of plagues that happened nearly 400 years prior to the story, all the way to invasions and wars that changed the landscape of the countries involved. I even figured out birthdays and…death days.

I also finally made a map. I had it in my head the whole time, of course. But seeing it on paper, rough sketch as it may be, is helpful. I’ll do a better one later, and I may even put that one online.

So, while it doesn’t feel like enough progress, it actually was a decent amount of work, given the amount of time I actually had. I suppose I should also consider the fact that no amount of progress ever meets my standards for myself.

Again, a topic for another day.

Before I go off on another rant, I’ll let you all get back to your day.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Journey of the Mind

For those of you who don’t know me, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you a little about myself.

Writing is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time, and though I’ve only recently garnered the confidence to pursue it professionally. Throughout my life, I’ve come across so many stumbling blocks, that even the thought of counting them up is exhausting. Now, I’m determined to use all hardships, funneling them into my books.

When not writing, I indulge in a great many hobbies. Everything from reading to archery, from video games and Dungeons and Dragons to learning survival tactics. I even have my very own project car, though I still need a great deal of help doing anything with it. By and large, I have more hobbies than I have time for, especially since I also work full time in a factory.

My husband and I have an abundance of pets, some indoor, some outdoor. While I love our dog like a son, I find that, when it comes to any other animal, I am definitely a cat person. (A fact which, I’m sure, will be greeted with mixed reviews.) I prefer tea over coffee, any day of the week, another controversial fact, and I have an unbelievably insatiable sweet tooth.

Now, to bring it back around to the whole point of this website: my writing.

I LOVE writing. I genuinely enjoy getting to know my characters, and building the worlds they live in. I even sometimes feel guilty for the great tragedies I inflict upon them, of which there are many. For added realism, I tend to pick qualities I possess or experiences from my own life to build characters around. (I’ll let you all try to determine which are from my personal experience.) It’s fun for me to exaggerate these traits, and set them up against each other on the page. 

More importantly, it pulls the words off the page, shaping them into actual people. It makes the world I build with two-dimensional words that much more real for me, and, hopefully, for you, too.