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.

Character like a Coloring Book

Hello, all!

So, first I want to tell you to get your butts over to my social platforms! I’m talking about my (soon to be released) fantasy romance, Soul Bearer, in a July challenge for the next couple weeks, and you should check it out. 🙂 Also, check out World Indie Warriors (the group hosting the challenge) if you want to participate. There will be a giveaway at the end.

Now, with the plug behind me, I want to talk about the work that goes into building a character. Because there’s a lot of work involved.

You don’t just come up with a name, their appearance and favorite color, and then that’s it. That would make for some shitty characters, and an even shittier book.

So, here we go. Because no one wants to read a half ass book full of characters as vivid as the pages of a brand new coloring book.

Okay, first (and most obvious thing) is their personality. Snippy? Compassionate? Ice queen?

Pick one per character, and fucking stick to it. Unless a plot point catalyzes a personality change. If someone is super kind and sweet and optimistic and soft spoken, and they have everything ripped away from them, don’t fucking tell me they won’t ever question the point of caring.

Life changes us. Why wouldn’t it change the characters? We need to see how they develop, what they learn, what they struggle with…

Now, you have to figure out why they’re that way. You don’t get to just say, “Because I want them to be that way.”

Nah. That’s some bullshit.

So, this is where their past comes into play. Some people are naturally shy, yes, but has their life intensified that? Or maybe it taught them to come out of their shell.

Or maybe they pushed through all sorts of hardship, through sheer force of will, because they don’t see any option but to keep going.

You have to plot out a past that helps to shape them into the person they are, and makes sense.

Keep in mind, it has to make sense. Unlike real life, people expect fiction to be believable. If I threw every shitty experience I’ve ever had at one character, people would throw the book away.

“Oh, of course she walks out on the front porch, first thing in the fucking morning, and finds a dead kitten, in pieces. Of fucking course.”

(Side story, but yeah, that actually happened. One mama cat had her baby, her first litter, and it didn’t make it. My husband and I couldn’t get to it to bury it, because we’re not cat size. Another mama wanted the spot a couple weeks later, got the dead kitten out, and promptly deposited it on the front porch for us to see. Not a good day.)

So, you have to meter the trauma. Spread it out a bit, make it believable. Look at statistics. Study psychology to see how shit affects people. Make it believable.

Give them quirks and habits and odd behaviors to make them real and relatable.

Now, there’s the issue of friends. If your MC likes who they are, they’ll probably seek out people with at least some similarities. If they dislike themselves, they might have friends who are their opposite.

People seek out friends and significant others who embody traits they find desirable. That’s why there are so many books and movies where shy girls befriend super outgoing party girls, and vice versa.

Or, maybe they want to be around people like themselves for the sake of common ground, even if they don’t like their own personality. Because then they can be miserable together.

My point is, there needs to be a reason (aside from convenience for your plot) for them to willingly surround themselves with these people.

And then there’s family life to consider. Good childhood vs. bad, and what made it that way. What influenced their thinking as they grew and developed?

Chances are, since they’re your MC, their childhood was probably shit. Or maybe it was fantastic, until they reached adulthood, and then everything went to shit, making them the equivalent of a 90s kid. A bitter, nostalgic adult wishing the world looked like the one they were promised as a child.

Oof. That may have been too real.

We’re talking about fiction here…lmao.

Anyway…Making people is incredibly complicated.

Read up on psychology. It helps. This wasn’t what I intended to use my bachelor’s degree for (I planned to go to grad school, and become a therapist), but I like this use of it better. This career path is for me.

Becoming a therapist was just so people wouldn’t question my career choice. Because no one questions that. They just say they know a few people who need to come see you, and offer to send you clients. Lol.

Though…it is ironic. I didn’t want to spend hour after hour hunched over a desk or worrying about whether people would hurt themselves or others because of something I said wrong. Now, I’m trying to make a career out of spending hour after hour…working away at my computer…worrying over which people will hurt others or themselves…because of things I say…Lmao.

But it’s fictional people. And that makes it okay. Lol.

Alright. I’ve rambled long enough.

I’m more than halfway through this round of edits for The Gem of Meruna, with a possible cover. I’m a quarter of the way through the final edits of Soul Bearer, and am introducing it on IG and FB.

Forward progress. 🙂

I’m pretty excited.

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.

It’s a Trap!

Hello, all!

So, you’re probably going to think I’m being wishy-washy, but I swear, I’m not. I’m going to have to edit The Gem of Meruna.

Now, hear me out.

Last week, I said I would only edit it if I found a lot of grammar errors or problems, and I cannot, in good conscience, rerelease it in its current state.

Not that it’s bad, but I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing over the past five years, and the state this book is in just…falls way short of the mark.

For those of you who’ve read it, don’t worry. The story isn’t changing. It’s just sentence structure and stuff like that. It needs tightened up. Honestly, it could probably stand to lose about 5,000 words, over all, just by fixing the lengthy sentences and losing the few instances of passive voice.

But this is a good thing.

It means that I’m learning more and more about writing as time goes by.

Which, in my opinion, is how you tell a good writer from a bad one. Good writers keep trying to improve.

Bad ones…think they don’t need to. They think their work is the best in existence, a gift to the world, and to edit or tweak it, or change their process at all is tantamount to blasphemy.

But that’s bullshit.

Bad writers can write good stories, and good writers can write bad stories. That’s not what I’m getting at, here.

The day you stop learning and growing as a writer (or as a person) is the day that you become a bad writer. Even if your stuff is gold, there is always room for improvement or experimentation.

And there is always room for editing.

Of course, at some point, you have to pull the trigger, and release your work upon the world, but it needs polished, first. I’ve read several books lately that could have stood to undergo one or two, or five, more rounds of edits. (I won’t name them, because I’m not here to trash talk other writers. My point is…edit your fucking books. Lol.)

Anyway, this will be the last rerelease I do. Any future books will be edited, published, and left the fuck alone.

The first time around for Meruna was a train wreck, though. Lol. (And I need it rereleased under my married name so it’ll be on my Amazon Author page with the rest of my books.)

You see, I went through a vanity press, because I didn’t know better. At that point, I didn’t know what that meant. I assumed it was a normal publisher, and that everything they did was, well, normal.

But…no.

Not at all.

They did no professional edit.

I arranged the cover art myself. (A.K.A. My husband, an incredibly talented artist, did it.) A traditional publisher (what I thought I was doing) would have done editing and had a cover done by their own artists.

They formatted and printed the book, and charged me for their services. Since I didn’t know that isn’t how the publishing industry is supposed to work, I gladly signed and paid.

Then, I regretted it when…nothing happened.

Because, unless I paid them more money, they weren’t about to do any marketing.

All this was in the contract, of course, making it completely legal.

But I didn’t know, at the time, that that wasn’t how it would have happened with a traditional publisher.

The big difference is that traditional publishers and self publishers make their money off sales.

Vanity presses make their money off the authors.

Which is why I still get calls from them, five and a half years later, trying to talk me into paying them for more (subpar) marketing, primarily by talking over me and not letting me get a word in edgewise.

The worst part is that…once I realized my mistake, I was super embarrassed. I didn’t know any better. I was just a noob, trying to get a book published. But I was mortified. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I was terrified that someone would ask how I got published. But I should’ve talked about it.

I’m certainly not the only person who’s done this. I know of others who’ve had much MUCH worse experiences with vanity presses than I had. So, I’m definitely not alone in this. I could have been commiserating with them so much sooner, helping myself to feel less awful about it, and actually dealing with the problem.

Now, this isn’t where I intended to go with this blog, but I think people need to know that vanity presses are not the same as self or traditional publishers. People need to know how/why they’re different. (I’ll talk about what I was going to talk about next week.)

So, learn from my mistake.

If a publisher requires money upfront, run.

They should pay you, not the other way around.

Of course, if you self publish, the cost of editing, cover design, formatting, and a copyright is on you. Some of those things, you can do yourself, but the cost is on you regardless. But the printing and distribution costs come out of the purchase price of the book. Not your pocket.

Keep that in mind.

For now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

P.S. – Fun fact, for those of you who came here via my IG or FB…The picture I chose for this is especially fitting for me this week. I got bit by either a tick carrying lyme disease or a brown recluse spider…eight goddamn times. Two of the bites did that whole…bullseye thing. Red ring with bruising around the outside (one the size of a fruit can, and the other the size of a half dollar coin). Feels great…

Antibiotics are helping, though. So, yeah.

But yeah, the two things have the same symptoms, apparently, and look pretty similar. The main difference is that tick bites usually have a tick in them, and brown recluse bites usually happen in pairs (at most) and turn necrotic. None of those things happened. I found no tick. There was no necrosis.

So…who fucking knows. All I know is that I want to rip the skin off my legs to stop them from itching. Yay!

Bye.

Lol.

*waves*

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.

Whose Eyes Should I Look Through?

Hello, all!

This week, I did something with Salt and Silver that’s a pretty common mistake. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the video I posted where I deleted a large chunk of text. I wrote that section of a scene, then realized it would be better told from the perspective of my other main character. So, I rewrote the scene from the other perspective, and deleted the original.

Writing from the wrong perspective for a scene can really hinder the flow, and the story, as a whole, and it’s so easy to do.

So, today, I thought I’d go over why main characters are main characters, and why we show certain things from certain perspectives.

Ever wonder why the main person in a book or movie is always “the one?” Or why everything happens to them? Or why they have so much going on in their life?

It’s on purpose. Believe me.

Why the fuck would we write about the hero’s cousin? Who wants to read a story about someone who heard about this kid who got magical powers? Who would sit for two and a half hours watching a movie about the woman who works with a woman who became a vigilante, even though this other woman never did anything cool or funny or daring?

No one.

Because it wouldn’t be interesting.

We write about “the one” because, in their world, they have the most to lose, or face the hardest decisions, or have to sacrifice more. They’re the main character because they’re the main one dealing with the issues of the plot.

Everything happens to them…so we can actually show it to you.

If I write a scene from the perspective of every single character involved in a book, 1) that’s going to be a hell of a lot of work for me, and 2) that’s going to be incredibly convoluted and hard to follow. So…everything has to happen to that character, or, at least, to someone they’re close to, so it still impacts them.

They have a lot going on because…well…they have to have baggage to be realistic. If they have no baggage, if their life is easy and perfect and blissful…that’s hard to relate to.

And unrelatable characters just aren’t as interesting.

Now, if you don’t choose the exact right character to spotlight, that doesn’t mean it’s a complete loss. For instance, I watched a movie called The Silence, recently. It’s on Netflix, one of their originals, I think.

It was good. I enjoyed it. But. They picked the wrong main character.

They weren’t off by much, of course. And, yes, the deaf daughter has her own merits as a character. She’s certainly got some things she deals with (being deaf is a hindrance in our world, and in the apocalypse, as neither world cares much to cater to people).

But the dad is a much more interesting character. He has to make the tough calls. He’s the one to sacrifice, time and time again, getting creative in times of great duress.

The daughter just worries about a guy she likes, and watches the struggles going on around her.

Not quite as interesting.

But I still liked the movie.

So, it’s not necessarily the end of your story if you choose the wrong character to highlight, but it will have an impact.

So, if you’re writing, think about which character has the most at stake. Which character has the most to gain? The most to lose? Who will play the biggest role in overcoming the issues at hand? Who has the most to overcome?

If you’re writing from multiple points of view, and need to decide who to write a specific scene for, which main character will be the most emotional during that scene? Which will be hit the hardest? Who will be the most excited?

Or, depending on what you’re going for, who will be so overwhelmed by emotion that they enter that strange, drifty-numb state where processing anything new becomes too much?

Find the answer to the questions above. That’s your main character.

Sometimes, it turns out to be the villain. Sometimes, it’s a more obvious choice (the chosen one, or some such thing).

And, of course, there are exceptions to the rule, as is the case with anything, especially creative things. Sometimes having one character frame the events that unfold for the true main character is a good way to write. But most of the time, the most interesting character is the best perspective to go with.

Anyway, now that the educational portion of this week’s blog is over, it’s time for a status report. This week, I pulled off 4,649 words for Salt and Silver, not including the deleted portion or the (approximately) 500 words that’s sitting in the notebook in front of me, waiting for me to type it up.

I also just wrote a 1,229 word short story/flash fiction piece. The story was stuck in my head, so I just hammered it out real quick before doing my blog. Lol. I’m still deciding on how to get that out for you all to read.

Posting it in my blog kinda eliminates the possibility of actually publishing it later. Self-publishing something that short without other stories along with it seems silly. I couldn’t get a paperback for it, and I refuse to not have the option of a hard copy.

I may look around for some anthologies that are taking submissions, and see if it fits. Granted, I still have to edit it. But whatever. I can do that later.

For now, I think I’m going to get to work on Salt and Silver. So…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Sating the Monster

Hello, all!

There’s a quote by Franz Kafka that I love. “A non-writing writer is a monster courting disaster.”

It feels 100% accurate, most of the time, let me tell you.

When you write a lot, it becomes such a huge part of your day, of your life, really, that not writing makes you…anxious. Like there are a million words about three thousand worlds and people, all itching to get out.

Because there are.

Beneath the skin, behind the eyes, of every writer, there lie untold universes. And they’re all trapped, until they meet the page (or the screen). They claw and scratch and shout for freedom.

It’s hard to explain, but every character feels like a real person, with their own mind and heart and decision making abilities.

And they all want their time in the limelight.

Denying that…is hard. Focus drifts back to the story, to the world that you so badly want to be putting to paper. Things that stop you from writing become…a hassle. (Work, chores, etc.)

So, a non-writing writer…a bit of a time bomb. Lol.

But this week, disaster was averted.

I started the week on page 41 of 102 with the rewrite of the first half of Salt and Silver. Now, I’m sitting rather comfortably at the end of page 86 of 112.

And I’m so freaking excited about it!

Of course, I’m still anxious to get through the rewrite and finish the story, but this is just going so well. Now, that I’ve given myself over to the idea of cutting things out, somehow, I’m actually adding pages to the story as I go.

*sighs contentedly*

It’s been a good week.

Anyway, a couple other updates. I’ll be doing an alchemy themed photoshoot in the coming days or weeks. One of the MC’s in Salt and Silver, Ness, is a demi-demon, and she isn’t exactly accepted in polite society. So, she mixes potions and salves in her mountain cottage to sell for coin when she has to venture into towns.

I plan to base the photoshoot around her.

I even made some of the pendants from the story. She has various necklaces draped around the necks of bottles throughout her home, and I wanted to include them. Since I’ve pulled the symbols from thin air, finding pre-made ones wasn’t going to happen.

But I have them, now. I just have to attach them to chains and suede bands.

At any rate, that’s exciting for me.

In other news…

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know, but Annabelle is being featured in another indie writer’s giveaway. She’s put together a collection of books by indie authors, is reviewing them, and giving them away.

Annabelle received one hell of a review, which I’m incredibly thankful for. Today was the last day to enter for the April boxes, but there will be another drawing in May. So, find @write_read_talk_live on Instagram, and check out her giveaway post for rules for entry. Follow her to stay posted on when the new giveaway will open for entries.

Or, if you don’t want to wait, you could always check out Annabelle on Amazon. Lol.

But follow her, regardless. She’s super cool, and posts a ton of awesome stuff.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I may or may not be self-publishing another novel this year. I’m still debating, to be honest. Currently titled “Where Darkness Leads,” it’s a dark fantasy novel. Like…real dark.

It’s one that…will be hard to find a traditional publisher for. But I’m still toying with the idea.

Traditional publishing just has this…lure about it, this prestige. Being the one out of thousands to be chosen by a big publisher is a very nice thought. Honestly, submitting a manuscript to agents and publishers isn’t unlike playing the lottery. The odds are never in favor of the author. Ever. Most traditional publishers make offers on 1% of submissions. Maybe 2%.

But gambling can be so addicting.

The lure of the reward keeps pulling me along, despite the risk (time and effort that could have been put into writing, not to mention the painstaking research on which publishers/agents to submit to, all of which could very well be for naught).

It’s rather discouraging, at times.

And this particular novel…well, the only publisher I’ve found so far that seemed an absolute perfect fit…closed three years before I wrote the novel. Lol. So there’s that.

*sighs*

*rolls eyes at the ludicrous odds of such terrible timing*

Anyway…

I’d stay and ramble on a bit longer, but…I’m just so excited to get back to writing.

So, 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.