Friday, December 30, 2011

12/30/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back everyone! It's the last Friday of the year (wow that went by fast) and I hope you're all looking forward to this weekend and the new year as much as I am. For now though, let's take a look at the last book review of 2011!

Today I look at "Crimson Rain" by Vanessa Finaughty, it's from the first person perspective, and tells the story of how vampires were created from blood that fell from the sky. I liked it because of the different origin story for them, they weren't just undead hunters of the night, but they also weren't drastically changed to be something a tween would be interested in (you know what I'm talking about, but I'm not going to say it.) They still drink blood, they're still super powerful, and they are still things that bring fear to mankind. Those are the vampires I'm talking about.

I also have always been interested in first person perspective. In my opinion it lets the reader fully involve themselves with the work, since everything becomes from their point of view rather than the sometimes nameless main character. Whenever I read something like that, I tend to get more drawn in, and more attached to all of the characters in the story, and "Crimson Rain" does that rather well.

The story focuses on one vampire that was turned as a young man and the decisions he must make. His choices are either save the humans or save the vampires. It deals with their constant struggles with Mother nature, and how she has a streak of vengeance that shouldn't be ignored.

"Crimson Rain" is free on Smashwords, and according to her insert at the end, is available in print via Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I good fit for the end of the year I say.

Thanks for checking out my blog all of you, and I hope you'll still be stopping by well into 2012. Monday will be another off day for me, so I'll see you all on Wednesday. I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend! See you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12/28/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back! The year is almost over and man has it been a productive one! Thanks for your patience with my lack of post on Monday, after last week at work I really just needed a full day off after it and the holiday. If anyone is familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and/or Rifftrax, I highly recommend checking them out, they can make any terrible movie enjoyable.

Today I thought I would continue the trend of last week, this time focusing on characters rather than plot development. Remember these are characters that are being made from scratch, so they take a bit more time than ones you're let's say, basing off characters that someone else made like from a weekly tabletop game, or fanfiction.

The first, and sometimes the most difficult choice is do you want your character to be a man or a woman. Writing styles are going to change rather drastically depending on which one you pick, since men and women think in different ways. This is for the main protagonist too, you can have your main protagonist be a male, and have another character be female and jump between the two, this is just the starting point.

Next you need to figure out what they do, nothing too specific, but at least so you can get some idea of the world they live in and also the skills they may have. Your character, let's say his name's Phillipe, maybe a farm hand turned mob boss, that is going to tell you he's likely diligent, good at organizing, and always able to get the work done. Maybe he runs things on a strict schedule, and always knows where his people are, and also how to solve the problems they're in. You know he's going to be decent with heavy machinery, various farm tools, and weapons. In the right circumstances he can be terrifying.

After you know the basics, it's time to work out some kind of back story. This can be long or short, depending on how detailed you want to get, either way it's important to know where the character comes from. Let's use Phillipe again for all intensive purposes; he was orphaned and left in a barn as an infant, he was raised by a loving couple who couldn't have children of their own. When the father came into debt, Phillipe could only watch as the man was killed before his eyes by the powerful crime lord, and he made it his goal in life to become powerful enough to protect his adoptive mother from the same fate. He stole some money from people on the street until she could pay back the mob, then used himself as a bargaining chip, saying they could take him if they left her alone. They then trained him, taught him the ways of the hardened criminal, and somewhere in that time, Phillipe started to lose sight of what his true goals were, and success became the only option. He rose through the ranks until the Don, sick and dying in his bed, proclaimed that his successor would be the young man. Before anyone could protest, the elder man passed away, leaving Phillipe to carry on his legacy.

Something like that will tell you also what kind of personality the character will have. Sure you have the criminal boss who is ruthless and likely a killer, but on the other hand, he was raised by two very sweet people, there's likely going to be some kind of soft spot there, it will just be hard to bring out unless someone tries incredibly hard, or tugs at what little heart strings he has left. Now, I know that at this time, the 'jerk with charisma' is the cool thing to do, but in my opinion, that only works in TV/movies. When it comes to reading a book, if the main character is constantly cruel, uncaring, non-sympathic, and so forth, it's going to make it incredibly difficult to actually feel attached to that character, especially if it's the main protagonist, because that's the person the readers are supposed to focus on. If they don't have any redeeming qualities, they're going to get mad and throw your book across the room.

When you have their background figured out, it's now time to figure out how they will be fitting into that plot you figured out last week. This will also help you decide other characters, secondary and antagonist as well. It's up to you if you want to toss in the love interest, since they will likely be a driving force for a lot of character development/background reveling, but that is also something that a new 'second in command' or protege can do as well.

Thanks for stopping by! On Friday there will be another book posted up here for you all to look at. Next week I'll go into melding the character into the plot a bit more as well. I hope everyone had a fun holiday weekend, and I look forward to seeing you all again in a couple days!

Friday, December 23, 2011

12/23/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back! It's the day before Christmas Eve and wow are things crazy at work! I am going to blame that for why this is up kind of late, but I'm writing this quickly so that you can see what we're looking at today!
Today we're looking at "Hunter's Heart" by Christine Pope. If that name sounds familiar that would be because a few weeks ago I looked at "High Noon at Hot Topic" by her as well. This story is also short, and free at Smashwords. It's the story of the Huntsman from Snow White being given his assignment to kill the beautiful princess for the evil Queen.

I've said it before how I love new takes on myths and fairy tales and this is a fun example of why. When things are taken from a perspective they aren't often done from and you can see the other side of the story, even if it's from a character that was relatively small in the scope of the much larger story, it adds depth to the character and gives you a sense they too are a real person thrown into something that is much bigger than they are.

Since this is short and free I won't go into too much detail, I don't want to give spoilers, but I do recommend looking at this story. It's very touching and you get an idea of the choices the Huntsman made when he took the job, and also let Snow White go so she could meet the Seven Dwarves.

It's almost Christmas and to those who celebrate I wish you a good one. Monday will be an off day so I will be posting again next Wednesday. For those who are doing some last minute shopping, "Hunters Heart" is free on Smashwords, and using the previous coupon code "The Light Rises" can be too. I wish you all a good weekend, happy holidays, and a happy new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12/21/2011 Writing Wedneday!

Welcome back! Congratulations on making it to the middle of the work-week. I have received my new glasses, and though looking at a computer monitor is (strangely) fine, it's when I look away the world looks strange. Yay for transitioning time!

Today I thought I would talk about starting a story from scratch. This is often both the easiest and hardest portions of the work since obviously you have some sort of idea or else you wouldn't be thinking 'Maybe I should write a book!', but you know there are things like characters, plot progression, character progression, and such that need to be done as well.

Sometimes I wonder what's more important to start with; characters or plot? Today we are going to start with plot, since the character need to fit in somewhere (but for those who disagree, characters also progress some aspects of the plot, I understand they are equally important, but I needed to start with something, and plot won the dice-toss.)

Now then, for your story-to-be, you already have something along of lines of 'These characters are like this, then something happens, and they have to go do this thing too!' That's pretty much the basic plot to most movies/books/TV shows/everything ever. That's the standard three-part writing style, so that's cool. What you need to do is make sure your plot is as original as possible, or if it's something standard, make it work in such a way that grabs the attention of anyone looking at it.

Since you have your basic one-sentence description of what your future plot is, now it's time to figure out how things will progress. This includes the pace you want the story to flow in, so you need to decide if you want it to be short or full novel length. A lot of stories can work out just fine on a shorter scale, so don't feel the need to make everything an epic novel length, it's not always necessary. If you want things to be a fast pace 'every scene opens with an explosion!' kind of story, you're likely going to want to go for something a bit shorter, because there's only so many times you can do that and have your readers take you seriously.

Once you have your basic plot and pacing figured out, now it's time to do an outline, it's hard to do that without characters, so right now just take basic forms of them like 'main protagonist' and so forth and put them into your outline so you know where they're going to fit. If you know how they are going to be effecting the plot, it'll be easier to incorporate the details with them later.

Something else you will be forced to do, if you're writing a story from scratch and not using today-time Earth as your basis is world creation. You need to figure out the rules your universe plays by, which would include but aren't limited to: magic vs technology, man vs alien, man vs animal, man vs man, man vs magic, and man vs technology. For instance, your world has technology rather than magic, humans are the major force in the galaxy as compared to other alien races (not to say they aren't there), man still uses animals for domestication purposes, but the animal population is diminishing because of ecosystem destruction, the humans are at war with each other are are in 3 factions, there are a handful of people who use an ancient art to live their lives that could be called magic, and humans are relying on technology to do almost everything, but there are some groups of AI that have started to demand rights.

I hope this helps, at least to a point. Next week will be about characters, so that will be lots of fun, I love character development, I'm a total sucker for it. Also remember, with so little time left before Christmas and other Holidays, "The Light Rises" is still free to my blog readers with coupon code: UQ59B from Smashwords. Happy Holidays to all, and to my Jewish readers, happy first day of Chanukah! I'll see you all Friday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12/19/2011 Magnificent Monday

Welcome back, I hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was filled with much money spending, and wanting for the holidays to be over. This time of year is a stressful one, and once it is done I can go back to not freaking out about money. (yay!)

I hope to get more writing done this week, and hopefully your projects are going a bit better than mine. My initial goal was to get the story done by January, but I don't think that's going to happen since now there is less than 2 weeks left and I'm just past the half-way point. Maybe I'll finish in January, that will be the new goal. I have learned that giving myself until 10:30 to write something has been working, the issue is I look at the time I go to start and realize I won't even get anything significant done, and decide to not do something that day. It also doesn't help that looking a screens lately has not be a fun one.

Maybe once I can see better I'll be able to get more done after work, but for now my time will be spent writing in the morning and not looking at a screen when I get home. I'll be calling my eye doctor (again) today to see if my new glasses are in, then once I do get them, I'll proceed to hate my life for roughly a day, then finally be able to get something done.

For now though, I must be off. I'll see you all again on Wednesday! I hope this week finds you all well in whatever holiday you celebrate. See you then!

Friday, December 16, 2011

12/16/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Hello all and welcome back for another Friday! I hope your week has gone well, with new product launches and such, mine is rather hectic, but luckily I have still found the time to get this all done for you, so let's get to it!

Today we have "Eventual Revolution" by Benjamin Cheah, it follows the story of a magician named Michael, who's kind of down on his luck. Look for a few extra dollars, he does odd-jobs on the side, and this time he is just bringing a runaway home. It should be easy enough, but this job will force him to face demons, monsters, and his own past.

As I said before, I always like stories that cause a character to look back on his life and atone what mistakes he's made. It also helps there's magic involved, which gives this story a sort of "Dresden Files" feel. Michael is somewhat jaded with his life, and is just trying to make some extra cash so he can continue on living. It makes me wonder just how expensive it is to live as a magician in the modern world.

"Eventual Revolutions" is available via smashwords for $3.99, so with the holidays almost here, it's an inexpensive gift to give someone for their e-reader. It's not available on Barnes & Noble yet, so I'm not sure if this book has been submitted into the premium catalog or not.

Thanks for stopping by again, I hope everyone has a good weekend and stops by again on Monday. Remember, next week is crunch time for those who celebrate the holiday season, and any of the books that have been showcased here would make wonderful gifts! I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/14/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings all! We're almost half way through December, which means the holidays are fully upon us. It also means that we're close to the end of a very busy year. I hope it was as good for everyone else as it was for me. Right now is about the time to start figuring out New Years Resolutions, if you do that sort of thing, and the best way to keep them. I generally don't, but I may try it out for 2012 and see what happens.

For the writing portion of today's post, I wanted to look more at editing/proofreading, since that has been a key topic the last few days in my life. I've said it multiple times that it is probably the hardest part of writing, since it means you have to take the thing you've worked so very hard on, and chop it up into little pieces to make sure they fit together right. Doing a few reads will help limit how much you have to work through in the big copy-edit, but also having someone else look at it is important.

The reason for this is simple: You've written something, you know how it plays out, you know everything that happens, how, and why. You will not be able to see small errors in grammar or spelling. You will not be able to see where things don't quite make sense. It's simply a fact, having a fresh pair of eyes look over it is the only way to make sure those things aren't missed. Hopefully you have friends or family who are willing to take that plunge to help you out, because depending on how long your work is, if you look for a freelance/professional reader, be prepared to shell out a sum of money you were not expecting to see. Now for shorter works, that might end up being a bargain, and if that is the case, awesome for you! Several of the places I saw had prices ranging between $4 to $7/page, and if you're story is 20 pages long, it's not that awful. "The Light Rises" however, is 202, and some places wanted the files to be double-spaced, this is money I do not have.

Networking helps with this as well, since you will have people you can reach out to, who you hopefully trust, that will assist with proofreading, and in some cases even do copy-editing as well. My recommendation is to at least do some on your own, and basic formatting as well, since that way they'll at least be looking at something that had almost be considered a final product.

I appreciate you all coming back today, remember, the previous post has that free coupon for "The Light Rises" as a thank-you for getting this blog to the 700 mark. Come back on Friday where I showcase another book I find!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/12/2011 Magnificent Monday!

Welcome back and I hope you all had a very fun weekend. Mine was spent relaxing while seeing friends and family. Sadly I didn't get much done, but that is what the week is for, since that is when things related to work happen.

I have been trying to find editing services that are affordable, and let me tell you that is incredibly hard to find. The cheapest one I found would only do a proof-read of my story for $2000, yay! I either need to make some friends, make lots more money, or become an editor. These are the only options. I only think I need to have a proofread done, but even still finding someone to do a read-through on an ebook that isn't exactly short for a reasonable price is difficult to find.

In other news, I think the story I'm handwriting at work is almost to its finish point. I'm excited, but also a little sad because it'll be weird not to have something to work on while I'm there. Realistically I'll just get another notebook and start its sequel, but I don't know when I'll be able to type up the story itself, so that'll be the challenge. I'd like to get everything out, at least from this point on, in chronological order, for the most part (the last story that will be written actually takes place in the middle, but that's intentional), and with my prequel not finished, the sequel not started, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get this taken care of.

Also, I saw the ticker at the bottom, and thanks a bunch for getting this blog up to the 700 mark! As a token of thanks I have created a special coupon specifically for my readers: VJ78M will get you a copy of "The Light Rises" for absolutely free! This coupon will last until the 31st! Thanks a bunch for making this blog a success, I'll see you all on Wednesday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

12/09/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back! I hope you all had a good week, either way it's my hope that we end it on a good note. I'm writing this relatively quickly, so let's get right to it shall we?

Today's work is call "The Troll Hunter" by Keith C. Blackmore. The reason I picked this as my selection is because amongst other things, I am a sucker for mythology, and when it's thrown into fantasy I find it incredibly enjoyable.

It follows the journey of a group that's been given the duty to delivery a relic to another land. The area they are going to is dangerous and live with peril, and it's up to their leader to get them out safely. However there are monsters that dot their path, and not all of them are the ones that can be fought with a sword.

There are warnings of graphic language and violence on the main page for the book on Smashwords, so if you aren't into that, I recommend looking away or maybe glossing over those parts when you get to them. "The Troll Hunter" is $2.99 through Smashwords ad I was unable to find it at B&N, so I'm not sure if it is available in the premium catalog as of yet.

This is a good story if you're looking for a longer read, the author lets you know it is approximately 475 pages, so it will definitely keep your interests for quiet some time. I always enjoy stories that are more than just hack and slash, and if it involves deep character back story/development I'm all in. So I say check this one out!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you all have a great weekend. I look forward to seeing you all back on Monday, let's see if we can get that hit counter up to 700 by then, if we do I'll put up a special coupon specifically for my blog readers to use as a big 'Thank-you' for being so great. Until then, have fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12/07/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back! After my harrowing day yesterday, I am hopeful that today will be more of a success. I'm looking forward to when my new glasses come in, let me tell you. At least I was able to get some writing done yesterday, that was something.

Today I would like to take a look at criticism, it's not really writing technique or anything, but it is important because you need to expect it. I am bringing this up after my own experience with that reviewer, sometimes people say things because they want to complain, and some of my favorite article writers on Cracked always say don't read the comments (then they point out they have some masochistic joy from reading them anyway), but no matter what, taking a look at what was said and trying to learn from it is important. Even if it's hard to find sometimes.

When I took an art class in high school, we had what were called 'critique days' and that taught us all how to give constructive criticism, and also how to receive it. The important parts were a) don't take it personally, even though it's about something you made, b) listen to everything, even if it's something you don't necessarily want to hear, or completely disagree with, and c) find something in it to learn from it and apply it in the future. This all applies to writing as well, which is why when people send stuff to editors/friends/family and ask them to mark it up what comes back to you is something that look vaguely like what you wrote but now covered in red pen.

Remember the first thing is to not take it personally, there are many reasons why someone could be telling you something, and while there are those that only want to hurt, we're not talking about them right now. We're talking about the ones that honestly want to help you succeed and do so by pointing out places that need improvement. You also don't need to change something just because someone says you should, if they say something doesn't seem to fit, but you really like it and are attached to that point, you can always say you aren't changing it and move on. On the same note, if you are told something by several different people, for example, you need to add more descriptions to your work, that may indeed be something you need to work on, and you can take that back to your drawing board/computer/paper and start adding things to brings your world to life.

Learning how to accept criticism is incredibly hard, and sometimes even when you think you have it down, one or two words can send you into a spiral that's hard to come out of. When/if that happens, sure you'll look at something and be convinced they are wrong, or are mean, or so forth, but eventually when you calm down enough, try to find something to take from it for future reference. Sometimes that last bit is impossible to do, that's fine, that's when you take it with a grain of salt and move on with your life. The important thing is that through it all you are proud of what you've created, and I understand completely that when someone says something about your work that you think is insulting and uncalled for, you get offended and hurt because it's like they are saying those things to an extension of yourself, and most of the time in the writing world they have never met you. I suppose what I'm trying to say is to never lose love and pride for the things you've done.

I'm glad you were all able to stop by today, Friday will be normal with another book up for review. I hope to see you all there, as is the normal, "The Light Rises" is still 50% off at Smashwords with coupon code: UQ59B until Christmas. That combined with "Uncrossed Paths" makes a great gift if you ask me! See you all Friday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/05/2011 Magnificent Monday!

I hope your weekend found you all well. My eye appointment went about as painless as it could be, and now it is all a matter of waiting for my new glasses to be ready. I just need to deal with almost daily headaches until that point, then go through one more massive one as my eyes adjust to the new lenses, then POOF! I'll be able to see clearly again.

Something I had to re-learn this weekend is that I can't please everyone, some people are just going to be harsh and negative no matter what I do, and that is just how the internet works. I received a rather scathing review on B&N in regards to "The Light Rises", and while I won't quote it here because I'm trying to look beyond it, there were rather hurtful things written in it. While it made writing over the weekend difficult, I understand that this is how it's going to be from here on out. I can't please everyone, some people aren't going to be happy with what they've read, and they are going to feel the need to not only tell the world, but also be insulting when they do it. The important thing to remember at times like that is that not everyone in the world agrees with them, and there are people who do like your work who will support you and help you when things get hard.

I'm over the 110 page mark in "Rending the Seal", which I'm hoping means I'm close to half-way since for some reason this project feels like it's taking absolutely forever. I think that's partially because with Nano last year I finished "The Light Rises", but this year I only added about 80 pages to the new one, and it's nowhere near completion. I want to say I'll be done by January, but I make no promises there.

This month brings holidays and such, and I hope you all enjoy every one of them. For those still shopping for gifts, I recommend "The Light Rises" for 50% off at Smashwords, just use coupon code: UQ59B and you'll get it! I will be back Wednesday, so until then keep up the good work!

Friday, December 2, 2011

12/02/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back! I can see again, well ,mostly, my appointment went well and the eye drops have worn off to the point where I can see letters again. As soon as I was able to, I got right over here and found a story to show you all today, so let's get right to it!

Today I bring you "High Noon at Hot Topic" by Christina Pope. I found this free ebook on Smashwords, and though it is short I feel it is absolutely delightful. I always love stories about monster hunters, and with all the recent hype of vampires, ones that turn them into dust get special attention from me.

The story is about Kara, an assistant manager at a Hot Topic location at a Southern California mall. A little jaded with her current position in life, the English lit. major runs into some unexpected excitement when a man shows up who isn't the normal tween-goth-hypster shopper. His name is Gregoire, and he most definitely doesn't belong in a Hot Topic, or does he? I don't want to say too much since it is a relatively short story and I'm worried about spoilers, but let's just say there is vampires turning into dust.

"High Noon at Hot Topic" can be found at Smashwords, and is a recent addition so will likely be available in the premium catalog soon. For now though it is absolutely free, so you can load it up in your browser for some good short reading, and also a good Christmas present for those with e-readers!

Thanks for coming back. I look forward to more posts and such. Come back Monday, and hopefully I will have made some more progress on my prequel. Also, to all that finished NanoWriMo with your 50,000 words, congrats and good job! Now comes editing! Also, another note, "The Light Rises" is still 50% off until Christmas with coupon code: UQ59B . Until then, I hope you all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11/30/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Hello and welcome! November is almost over and for those of you still working on NanoWriMo it is the last day to get to 50,000 words. I wish you all the best of luck on this! If you are like me though, and even at 50,000 you are still not finished with the actual story, keep it up! Try to get at least a little something done every day, just remember you don't need to do the 1667 word count, but any progress is good progress!

I have stated before how much I like the idea of having a daily word quota, it helps give you a goal, and a rather simple one that each time you complete it, you feel proud of yourself and before you know it your story will be ready for editing. Now as for what that quota should be, that all depends on the time you have during the day. With my own projects, I have to balance it is with a weird work schedule and other such life things, so I do my best to get at least 1000 done (or close to it) before I go to work, or get to 10:30, whichever comes first.

It's not exactly a word quota, but it is an attempt to get something done every day, and with my own project only at the half way point, there is still a lot more than needs to be done. I would like to say it would be done by January, but we'll see. With Nano being almost over, it's time to think about how to finish the projects, either with more writing, or editing. Yes getting 50,000 words done in one month is an incredibly accomplishment, what's important now is making sure you don't immediately drop the momentum and look away from your work.

When you were working on Nano, what did you find that worked in order to get you to that goal, and whatever that was, keep it up! Obviously it works, admittedly you may not be able to dedicate your life to a high daily word quota, but what's important now is to take that working method, if necessary maybe pull it back just a little so you can make sure you can still make progress but also enjoy that life thing everyone's talking about so much. It can happen, trust me, just no matter what don't just stop writing because you just got to 50,000.

Thanks for stopping by again! Friday will have another posting of a book you can find on smashwords. I will do my best to get it up at a reasonable time, I have an appointment that morning, and we'll see how well I'll be able to see after that happens. There will be a posting though, that I can promise. Until then, have a good couple days and keep up your writing!

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28/2011 Magnificent Monday

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a good long weekend (if you celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US) and that it was full of good times and lots of food. My NanoWriMo work was finished on Wednesday, so that means I am good to go on my normal schedule. Getting to 50,000 was tough when only able to do just over 2100 words a day, but I made it and I am happy for it!

I had heard about setting a daily word quota, which is something I highly recommend for someone wanting to write, but finding it hard to find motivation/time, but I had to impose a word limit on myself, and that was difficult. All through my school-life when it came to having to write a paper/story/essay/whatever I could always reach the minimum number of words needed for it, but had absolutely no problem writing more. So when it came to this year's NanoWriMo I needed to make sure that I paced myself appropriately so as not to cause more damage than last year had already done, and after some thinking and rough estimation, I decided that roughly 2000 words a day should be fine, and even then it ended up being more.

I am proud of myself though, I learned (somewhat) how to pace myself, and even though I finished really close to my self-imposed deadline, I still made it. It helped me see that I can still get things done even if I'm only adding about 3 1/2 pages a day (depending on font size and spacing and whether or not that part if full of description or dialog) and that was incredibly helpful. I think that is something that's important for any writer to come to accept, it's not a big deal if you don't write like the wind and get as much done as quickly as you can, it's more important that you actually get it finished. If it takes you one month or 3, or even a whole year, that's perfectly fine, the important part is that you completed your work and want to share it with the world.

I'm glad everything is back to normal though. I hope to see you all back here Wednesday! Also, I recommend seeing the new Muppets movie, it was positively delightful and made me remember why I liked them so much as a kid. "The Light Rises" is also still 50% off until Christmas with coupon code: UQ59B to help with your e-book shopping needs!

Friday, November 25, 2011

11/25/2011 Fantastic Friday

Hello and welcome back to my more normal routine! Nano has been completed, though the story is not, but at least now I can get back to taking care of things on my own schedule and not some crazy one. With that being said, let's get back to business shall we?

Today we are looking at "Agents of Light & Shade" by S.L. Pineda. It follows the story of an ex-superhero who's looking to capture the glory they once had, and a former super-villain who's fresh out of prison and just wants to have a quiet normal life.

It takes place on the world known as Auda, and I really enjoy the fact it takes two tropes that people are familiar with and kind of turns them upside down. I love stories about people who try and make their lives better and things end up going a bit differently than they had intended. In this case you have a superhero who is trying to bring back the spark they once had in order to save themselves from monotony and insanity. You also have a former super-villain that sees what they have done in the past and just want to move away from it. I can easily see this being the first in a series.

"Agents of Light & Shade" is available currently on smashwords, and will likely soon be in the premium catalog. It is $2.99 and with the holidays and all, is an inexpensive gift to give anyone with an e-reader.

Thanks for stopping by and putting up with my lack of anything for the last 20 or so days. Doing Nano again was lots of fun and I was able to make a pretty significant amount of progress on my prequel. I also hope everyone had a good holiday so those who celebrated, and for those doing holiday shopping, "The Light Rises" is still 50% off with coupon code: UQ59B until Christmas. I'll see everyone on Monday, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23/2011 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello! Yes it still says 'Nano' edition up top because I'm not sure what magician worked out their 'you'll be done by ___ day' thing on their site, but if my average word count is 2200 and they say I'll be done on the 22nd with 3800 words to go, they are not correct. I will however, be done today, so yay almost celebration times!

I thought I would talk about characters a bit more today. I was talking to my boyfriend about his own story, and he said he needed to develop the characters more before he could dive into it a bit more. I thought about this and realized that each character, whether they're main characters or secondary/support characters should deserve a full background story. If they have a name, and are even a shred important to the story, you should at least know where they're coming from, that way you know their personality, their drive, their motivation for helping/hindering the party of protagonists, everything.

I think I said it before that I feel that my time being a table-top gamer has helped me with this greatly. The characters that I have made have all needed backgrounds in order to be played correctly, during party creation the players all need to know if they're going to be good/evil and why their characters have chosen that path. It's the same for writing, and as I said, it goes for every character. From the normal person who has been given super powers, to the all-powerful one that no one can determine for certain if they're descended from a God or are one. It's backstory that really makes the character, take Superman for instance; he's nigh-invulnerable, does pretty much everything ever and always wins even after being killed. This is a character no one would care about if it weren't for the fact he was raised by the Kents (spoiler alert?) in Smallville, KS and learned the importance of humanity.

Long story short please gives your characters backgrounds, it makes them so much more interesting and helps readers get attached to them. It's the reason why if you choose to kill off someone incredibly important to the main character, or hell, the main character, you get the reactions that you do. It's the reason why the 'big reveal/twist' is so important, because those are the scenes people are going to be talking about for decades to come.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back Friday after stuffing myself with delicious turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate! I'm thankful to all of you who have made this blog a success and have helped it get over 500 hits. I'll see you all then!

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/21/2011 Magnificent Monday - NanoWriMo Edition!

Greetings all and welcome back! I hope your weekend was spent well and if you're in the states, looking forward to having a few extra days off later this week. I love short weeks, they're always so nice. Though this year I'm doing a little more in the cooking area than I normally do, it will be an interesting experience. I just hope the food I'm making that isn't just a dessert comes out well.

Nano is almost done, and I'm somewhat convinced their website is lying to me. In the corner there is a little calculator that says 'at this pace you will be done by X day' and it keeps telling me I'll be done by the 22nd, however I still have just over 5000 words to go, and with an average of 2200 words a day, that isn't going to have me be finished by tomorrow. I'm not good at math though, so I could be wrong, it just doesn't work out in my head.

I have had a lot of fun this year though. I have discovered that I can, in fact, pace myself, and still not only get work done, but have somewhat of a life along with it. Sure there are times when I want to write more, faster, but I know it is for the best, and it is overcoming that compulsion to do more than I should that tells me that I truly can do this a bit slower than I have in the past and still make a deadline. I don't think the story will be finished by the time I get to 50,000 words, but this has been a wonderful addition and hopefully I'll be able to continue at a similar pace until it is finished.

Hopefully by Wednesday I will actually be done with Nano so things can go back to a little normal here. Friday is still on for a normal book promotional post, so look out for that! In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and have a good Monday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

11/18/2011 Fantastic Friday - NanoWriMo Edition!

Welcome back and happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a productive and at least interesting week. Nano is past the half-way point, and according to the site I'm still on track to be done on Tuesday (though I don't know where they get their math from, but whatever) so next Friday should be good to be back to normal.

I have come to realize that the novel, while having 50,000 words added to it, will not, in fact, be finished once I reach that point. I'm not sure if that counts as a success or victory, but I'm going to count it as something! Hopefully I will be able to finish the story shortly there after so that I can pretend it doesn't exist for a while, then dive into editing when I can look at the tiny words I've printed again.

The problem I've been having is that I'm afraid it's jumping around too much, I'm trying to put in the significant things that were in "The Light Rises" and I'm sure it's fine, but as I'm writing it I'm afraid certain things will end up being cut in editing, or shortened, or whatever. I think the re-read will help, but who knows right now. I have been told everything is flowing nicely though, so I am taking that to heart and pushing forward. I love things being internally consistent, continuity is probably one of my favorite things next to stuff making sense. Your readers will appreciate you too if you make sure that all the 'rules' of your world are followed in every story you write that's in the same one, or if things are different that you clearly explain why. I get to that at some point (a story and a half from now) so that'll be interesting to see how that goes over.

I thank you all for stopping by again during my time writing for NanoWriMo. I hope you're all having as much fun with it as I am. As always, feel free to post, comment, and contact me. Also, remember, purchase "The Light Rises" now until Christmas and get it 50% off with coupon code UQ59B.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/16/2011 Writing Wednesday - NanoWriMo Edition!

Greetings all and welcome back! Though I am still fending off the remainder of my cold, I am more focused and remember I have this blog thing to do. I also think I may have fixed my ctrl key so...that'll at least stop some of the rage I've been feeling when trying to copy/paste things throughout the day.

So far on my quest to complete Nano before Thanksgiving, I have done a lot of writing, currently I'm up to ~32,000 words, I consider this a victory, but I know there are others that struggle with getting to the based 1667 a day. Whenever I tell my mother how far I am, she is convinced that all I'm doing is writing the same word repeatedly, then reminds me it's 'quality of quantity' I try explaining to her that's what editing is for, and that the point of the month is to write as much as possible in the time given, but that doesn't work, then it dawned on me: that could be why some people get caught up in the word count.

I understand wanting to do quality work, and I'm not saying mine isn't, or that anyone else who participates in Nano doesn't write quality work, however as I tell my mother, that isn't the point of the month. The idea is that you vomit words and plot onto paper/digital page and then once you're finished go back and fix any issues during editing month. If you don't have a name for something just yet, that's ok put it in little brackets like this: and go back later and figure out a name. If you know you want to put something between two scenes, but you're stuck on what it is, but already know what's happening after, put some **** there and hop over to the next scene, then come back later. Whatever it is, don't let it hold you back from accomplishing your goal, no one writes a book and has the first draft done so sparkly perfect it's ready for publishing.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by. As a reminder, I have a holiday coupon going for "The Light Rises", use the code UQ59B and get 50% off until Christmas! Keep up the Nano progress, I should be done by next Tuesday if everything keeps up, so hopefully next Friday's post will be back to normal. Until then, have a good day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/14/2011 Magnificent Monday - addition

Also! Before I forget again, to celebrate the coming of the holiday season, I have a special coupon for my followers! Just head over to the page for "The Light Rises" and enter in this coupon code: UQ59B, good until Christmas, and get 50% off!

It's a big thank-you to all my friends and followers who have helped support me while I work! It can also be used as a gift for someone else if you think they'd like it!

11/14/2011 Magnificent Monday - NanoWriMo Edition!

Welcome back, and I apologize for today's delay. I took the day off from work and in my cold-caused confusion I actually didn't remember about anything I was supposed to do today until I was half-way up my apartment stairs after returning from getting food. Hopefully I'll be able to make it up to you all in some way or another.

Nano goes well, as I hope it does for those of you participating. Currently my word count total is 28,544, I should be at 30,000 by tonight. I'm excited because it means only 20,000 more words to go and I'm only on day 14. I know there were some people that were going at it like the wind, which I would love to do, so yay for all of us probably-finishing-early people! I haven't had nearly the issues with writer's block as I thought I would, which has helped, though I also generally have bouts of doing my actual job to help me think between writing sprints.

The only issue I'm having right now isn't so much writing related, it's more that guy I live with gave me his cold, so concentration is a strange thing. I'm not usually sick, so when I do end up catching something, it ends to kick my ass a lot, so I am loading up on medicine right away. The last actual cold I had turned into a sinus infection (I think...I didn't have insurance at the time,'s really just an assumption) that didn't clear up for months, so I'm super afraid it'll happen again.

At least being at home today gives me plenty of time to write, though hopefully not too much time, remember I'm trying really hard to avoid destroying my wrist like I did last year (word of advice, just because it's a snow day, does not mean that someone with tendonitis should write 13 pages non-stop during that day. It's super not worth it!) For now though, I'm going to write a little, watch some Futurama with commentary on, then see if I can write a little more. I'll see everyone on Wednesday, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11/12/2011 Surprising Saturday - NanoWriMo Edition!

Terribly sorry about the lack of posting yesterday. As I'm sure any of you can guess, I happen to like cats, and my mom called me Thursday and told me the one that we had rescued, and I'd help raise from the tiniest kitten I've ever seen (who then became the biggest cat I've ever seen) has cancer. They said there's nothing they can do for him, as it's wrapped around his throat, and that they told my mom to keep him comfortable and happy for the no more than 6 months he likely has left. This came as very sudden and upsetting news because Odin is 8, and this was the last thing we thought we would have to worry about with him. It's not feline leukemia though, which is at least good, because it means the other cat at her house is safe, but still, that was why I couldn't concentrate to do the post yesterday.

Today though I am getting my car worked out and decided I'd do my best to get this and some of my writing done for the day. Things are going well so far with Nano, I'm decently about the daily quota still, ending yesterday at 24,000 words. I wish I were actually at the halfway point, but I suppose I'll just have to take care of that today! There's also a lot of talk of 'inclement weather' and 'snow' at work, which I'm hoping doesn't happen until I'm finished, because that was my downfall last year, and I can't guarantee it won't be that way again if given a whole day to stay at home, wrapped in blankets and cats with a laptop in front of me.

All in all, I appreciate your patience with my lack of book posting and also the delay. Nano is taking up a lot of mine time and I just haven't had time between work and this to do much book searching. I hope everyone is having as much success with it as I am and I look forward to posting on Monday. I hope you all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/09/2011 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hi all and welcome back. Nano's been going on for a full week now and let me tell it has been productive! I think I've finally figured out this pacing thing, and roughly 2000 words a day seems to be the comfort-zone. Currently my word totally is 17,773, which is ahead of where I should be, so I'm still good to be done before Thanksgiving. I hope everyone else is having just as much fun and productivity!

Today I wanted to elaborate more on what I mentioned on Monday regarding outlines. As I said before, these are extremely helpful, especially if you're working on something from the ground up. They can assist with world/universe creation and can also help to make sure you are leaving out some kind of glaring plot hole. There are many ways to make one, the type I find most helpful is one that is similar to a timeline, that way I know the order of events, and also possible days/months/years to go along with it to make sure certain things get referenced at the right time.

For the most part, my outlines are in my head, which I'm guessing is commonplace, though there are many people that work a bit more visually and need to have it in front of them. There is an image of Tolkien's wall that is just covered with notes, images, and the like for his outline to make sure nothing got mixed up and everything was consistent. That's the other reason I like them, outlines keep everything consistent and help make sure you keep the continuity strong, which when it comes to writing, are probably two of my favorite things! If there are gaps in your plot, it is going to throw the reader off, and either make them confusion, angry, or both.

So my suggestion would be to try it out, especially if you're new to the game, it will save you a lot of heartache, especially if you get stuck. If you use an outline to remind you of what's supposed to happen next, it will make those bouts of writer's block few and far between (hopefully) so that you can get your project completed.

I appreciate everyone stopping by again, I will try my best to get something up for Friday, but I have been finding I have a distinct lack of time due to Nano. I hope to see you all then, and as always, any questions, discussion, and so forth, feel free to post below, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

11/7/2011 Magnificent Monday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello all! I hope you all had a good weekend! Mine was full of write-y goodness and gaming, I managed to get both Friday and Saturday's word counts posted before midnight, and Sunday's went relatively fine, so as of right now the running total is 13,099 words. I realize I could have written one more word to make it an even 13,100, but generally when I go in trying to add 'one more word' it turns into adding 'lots and lots of other words', and while I'm trying to be ahead of the game, I also am working on my pacing, so yeah, 13,099.

My boyfriend/roommate is trying to write for the month as well, and though it's not working out for him as swimmingly as it is for me, it's partially because his methods are drastically different from my own. I find it interesting, mostly since it's something I can watch while I work on my story. He is very structured, so even if he has the story in his head, in order to make sure things work out the way he intends them, he is going to work out an out-line.

Now I love the idea of outlines, and I think all writers use them, it's just different how everyone executes them. Mine are, for the most part, in my head, the only time I really put them on digital paper is if I'm working with a particular time frame in the story itself. For example something big and plot related will be happening in 3 days, I need to keep track of what day they're on and things that need to happen before that day 3 point. This works for me because I'm not great with numbers, but the overall plot is already in my head so I don't generally need an outline/timeline of all of the events. Jason on the other hand does need an outline for his plot, so he can make sure all of the events line up the way they're supposed to. So, the way I see it, if you think you need one, try it out, they are incredibly helpful either way, and can also help clear up some cases of writer's block.

For now though, it is time for me to get cracking at today's daily quota. I'm hoping to break 15,000 today. According to my dashboard info on the Nano site, if I keep up my at least 2100 words a day, I'll be done by the 22nd. That exceeds my goal of finishing before Thanksgiving, so let's up I manage to keep it up! Again, for anyone who is working on Nano and wishes to post their word quota, methods, questions, etc please feel free to post below! For the meantime, have a good day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

11/04/2011 Fantastic Friday - NanoWriMo Edition

Today is one of those days when I am happy my internal clock is amazing. Woke up late to discover I hadn't set my alarm, so even if I wanted to do a book review today there wouldn't be time at all to a) find one, b) read it, and then c) post about it. I'm terribly sorry about this, and with Nano still going strong, finding time is difficult.

I'm at 6,444 words as of last night, which has put my happily above the word quota I should be at. I will be doing today's writing later on during my lunch and after work. I should be at 10,000 after tomorrow. This time of year is always so busy, but it feels so satisfying once I'm done. Then the editing happens, oh the mountain of editing!

Someone purchased "The Light Rises" the other day, and if you didn't see my shout out on twitter, I'm going to repeat it here just to be safe: Thank you mysterious person who bought my book! You made my day! Hugs to you! I seriously nearly cheered like a little girl over in the department I was working in when I got the e-mail notification. Luckily I was able to stop myself because everyone already thinks I'm strange, but I did it when I got back to my normal work area. That was nice.

Again, I thank you all for your understanding about why there isn't a review today. Hopefully once everything gets in full swing and I can stand not to go crazy about Nano for one day I can get it done. Until then I will see everyone on Monday! Have fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11/02/2011 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello all! I hope you're all having a great week, and if you are working on Nano like I am, that your progress is going well. I haven't started today's work yet, though I will shortly, but so far I'm at 2,137 words! I always try to be ahead of the quota, in my desperate attempts to be done by Thanksgiving, so yeah, awesome!

One of the things that has been brought up to me in the past is that people think it's hard to write so much, so fast, and keep all the ideas coherent. Normally my answer is 'well, making it make sense is what editing's for.' but it's not just that. Writing a novel is hard work, as I've said before, and having 30 days to motivate someone into actually sitting down and doing it is great! The hardest part is actually finding the time to do it.

Of course there may be other limitations you need to overcome, writer's block is a huge problem when trying to do a certain amount of words every single day. Normally what I do is put a bunch of *** between the two paragraphs, if it's just filler I'm trying to work out, and then I come back to it later. There's also the aforementioned time issue, things are going to be neglected, so hopefully your loved ones know that, just make sure you still eat, breathe, bathe, and feed your pets (if you have them.) You may also have physical limitations, which I personally struggle with, I never know how much I can actually write before the horrible wrist-hurty starts. Don't even get me started on the dreaded computer malfunction. This is a terrible thing and I don't want to think about it (again, some more)

So once you get through all these issues, or figure out how to work around them, you can get started on your work. Write like the wind and hope your hands don't fall off! At least that's my hope. Remember to pace yourself, and that Nano isn't some competition, there's no real prize (though that would be neat...) except the satisfaction of actually finishing a piece of work. It is a wonderful feeling and makes everything worth it.

I'll see you all on Friday, as I said before, I will try to feature a novel, but I make no promises with Nano going on! Happy writing to all, and if you're participating, like I said before, feel free to post your progress and such!

Monday, October 31, 2011

10/31/2011 Magnificent Monday

Hello all and sorry for the random time to be posting. I took today off (it was much needed this is wonderful) and decided that getting up before noon was for working people. I'm realizing I should have done that sooner, but learning from one's mistakes is what makes us human I suppose.

Today is Halloween in the states and even though I have quite literally nothing planned, I'm still excited. I love this holiday and I think I will forever. I have nothing but fond memories of this day so even if I just hand out candy to the local kids, I'll still enjoy myself. I even got my 'Team Van Helsing' t-shirt to celebrate!

Tomorrow marks day one of National Novel Writing Month, which means the people at my work will once again see me lugging around my Bag of Holding ( will take all my money one day) containing my purple laptop. I'm hoping my plan of spacing out my writing time throughout the day helps me be able to actually complete it.

My goal for this year, aside from finishing before Thanksgiving, is to be able to either complete, or get mostly completed with my prequel "Rending the Seal", it takes place two years before "The Light Rises" and will put the group up against a man who wants complete control of reality, and will try to do so by reforging, then breaking the Seal of Solomon. I have a lot of little back-story plot points I'm playing with and I'm hoping they don't make everything too all over the place. Though I suppose if it does, that's what editing is for!

For now though, it is time to rest my wrists and wait until it's time to wake up in the morning and get to work! It'll be at least 1600 words a day so that the total by the end of the month is 60,000. I've done this for the last two years and have had a lot of fun. I'll be posting my progress on here, Facebook, and Twitter. If any of you are also participating, feel free to post your progress as well, that way it will be like we're making it through the month together. I'll talk to you all on Wednesday though, until then have a good couple days!

Friday, October 28, 2011

10/28/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Hello all! Welcome back on this glorious Friday! It's the Friday before Halloween and let me tell you, I am excited. I may not have any real Halloween plans, but it's my favorite holiday, so I'm happy. For right now though, let's get a book out there!

On Wednesday I mentioned that I joined up with a Steampunk Writers guild, and today, while searching through smashwords I found this! "The Lost Airship" by Joseph Robert Lewis, who happens to be a fellow guildy! Neat! It's a steampunk adventure set in an alternate earth where the ice age didn't really melt all the way, so northern Europe is still covered in ice, the Roman empire never existed, and northern Africa is rich and vibrant and not just a desert.

The story follows Omar Bakhoum and his quest to discover the answers of the aether, specifically how it carries the knowledge and souls of the dead. He joins up with an airship crew to find the answers in the lost and mostly forgotten north, only to be accused to murdering two of the crew members. It's now up to him to prove his innocence and learn the lost secrets before the crew decide he should be killed and left at sea.

This steampunk adventure is available on smashwords for absolutely free! It's also on Barnes and Noble for .99, so there's really no reason not to pick it up for your e-reader. It's a fun adventure that is set 4 years before his series, "The Halcyon Trilogy". I must enjoyed this read, and it was really exciting to see a name I recognized!

Next week marks the start of nanowrimo, so I have no guarantee I'll have time to find a novel to put up on Friday, but I will certainly try my absolute best. If you're participating, feel free to post your word-count progress or any tips, tricks, and so forth you've found useful. Until then, I'll see everyone on Monday, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10/26/2011 Writing Wednesday

Hello all! It's Wednesday which means the week is half-way conquered, yay! I'm still doing my pre-nano wrist-not-killing, but I'm ready for next week and am super excited! I can't wait to dive right in and beat up that daily quota like no tomorrow!

Yesterday was rather exciting for me, because I was able to join up with a writer's guild. Not just any, but one for steampunk writer's and artists. It's really exciting to be able to talk about writing, and in particular writing in the steampunk genre, and not get confused looks, or a bunch of instant criticism. This is also important when it comes to marketing, when you can focus your efforts on the demographic that is likely to have the strongest reaction to your work.

I have been told at when it comes to marketing, you need a plan, not just throw yourself out in five billion different directions and hope it works. As I mentioned on Monday, this is particularly hard for me because I don't know much of what I'm doing in that respect, but it was also recommended that I join writer's groups and such, so I'm trying it out and let me tell you so far it has been delightful. I highly recommend it, if for no other reason you will get support, and for new writers in a crazy world where getting even the smallest piece of recognition is hard and there are mountains of rejection from agents and such, support is something that will keep you going.

There are writing groups all over the place, whether they are just on the internet, or also in the real world, all you have to do is look. Most have websites or facebook pages, or what-not. The one I joined is S.W.A.G or Steampunk Writer's and Artists Guild and they are always accepting new submissions. I highly recommend it, because it also helps getting yourself out there be a bit easier when everyone will know what you're talking about.

I hope everything is having a good week so far, I'll be back Friday with a new book to promote. As always, any questions, comments, recommendations, suggestions, and so-forth, feel free to leave them below, or send me an e-mail or also a twitter dm @explodingrunes until then!

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24/2011 Magnificent Monday!

Hello all, I hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was spent with friends and my boyfriend gaming, so I had lots of fun. Still preparing for Nanowrimo, and my wrist seems to be agreeing this is a good idea, so I'm hoping I'll be able to make it through the month.

I started a Facebook ad this weekend, well, technically on Friday, to see if that helps get some sales/traffic to 'The Light Rises' and it seems to be working. No actual sales yet, and only one sample has been downloaded so far, but it is getting people seeing it, and if they're clicking on the ad, it means they're at least somewhat interested, or they might know someone who is, so I'm trying really hard to think of any of this as a good thing. I also had a quote given to me from a book marketing agency, and well, that is way outside my budget, so I'm trying to figure out how to write out the reply.

I also realized I don't have a marketing 'plan' but the problem there is I also realized I don't know how to make one. I understand going out towards your demographic, I get that, and I've tried getting involved in some steampunk forums, but it is still difficult because I don't know where to go from there. I'm also not someone who is used to putting themselves out there where everyone can see everything, so it's also a matter of breaking out of my shell a bit, and let me tell you, it feels like every mention I make of an ad, or my book itself, I am incredibly embarrassed and awkward.

Hope to see everyone back here on Wednesday where I talk about writing and such, likely some more nanowrimo preparation. I look forward to seeing you all again, as usual, any questions, comments, of discussion topics, please feel free to post them below and I'd be happy to bring them up. Until then!

Friday, October 21, 2011

10/21/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Hello all! I have been busy working away at attempting to do real marketing. It's really hard, and I am trying really hard not to be embarrassed, but it must be done! I have a facebook ad up for 'The Light Rises' and am trying to get some done at Project Wonderful, so if you see them, let me know! For right now though, let's get a book up here!

Today's selection is a short story called 'The Day Nobody Died' by Amber D. Sistla. It follows an angel of death named Ezhno who takes his collections job the way any of us do. However there's a problem when the other death angels disappear and because of that, the collections stop. It's then up to Ezhno to figure out what happened and find his co-workers before all death stops for good.

'The Day Nobody Died' is a really fun short story sound on Smashwords, as well as Barnes&Noble, Apple, and other locations the Smashwords Premium Catalog distribute out to. It's .99 cents in all locations and in my opinion is well worth a dollar. She has other books available as well from Smashwords that you can find through her author page.

One this doing all this has taught me is that authors are notoriously difficult to contact. Ms. Sistla, if you are not pleased with me putting this story on my blog, please let me know via either e-mail or twitter. I wasn't able to find your contact information otherwise.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by! A lot of my friends have some terrible plague, so I hope you all stay healthy and have a good weekend. I'll see you all on Monday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19/2011 Writing Wednesday!

Hello all! Today is October 19th, which means it's 12 days until National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) and I'm super excited! I've been cutting back on my type-y style writing so I can hopefully make sure that when the time comes for me to reach a daily word quota, I can do so without completely destroying my wrists in the process. If you'd like more information regarding nanowrimo, you can check it out here. There are also going to be seminars throughout the month you can attend based on your location.

I've mentioned it before how having a word quota does make meeting personal goals easier, at least in my opinion. Today, I'm going to talk briefly about setting those goals in the first place. No one ever said writing was easy, and if they did, they obviously have a special savant-like talent and likely do nothing other than that. For the rest of us though, writing is a process that we each do in our own specific way based on our level of comfort. This is normal.

When it comes to my own personal goals, I generally look at what I'm trying to accomplish, for instance, we'll use my nanowrimo goal as an example. This year I plan on using the month of November to finish the prequel I'm writing. How this is going to be done is by meeting/exceeding the daily word quota until it is completed. According to the website, that is roughly 1600 words a day, which ends up being roughly 2 1/2 pages. When it's broken down that way, it's not so bad, however, there is another trick to it, and I'm fairly certain this happens to everyone: writers' block.

This happens when you get to a point when you're just not sure how to handle a particular scene, then what ends up happening is when you do write it out, it feels so disjointed you're just not sure what to do with it. My general thought is just push through it, or at least get to a point where having a scene change happen makes sense, and move on from there. The time for editing will come after you've actually completed the story, and that is where you'll pick everything apart. It's during the first stage of the writing process where it's ok to just throw everything on paper to get the idea out of your head. I have a problem with filler between major scenes, I'm always afraid it takes up too much time, or it feels strange. I have been told by my readers it is fine, but I still wish it were different/better.

I believe I mentioned before the way to make achieving your goals a bit easier is to have at least a vague idea of what happens in the story you're writing. Make sure you have a definite beginning, middle, and end, with particular twists, turns, plot, and character development already planned out, then it's just a matter of filling in the spaces. I can see how this can lead to the issue I have with filler, but it does make things easier than sitting down in front of a blank document, staring at it and trying to use some arcane willpower to make it write out itself from the depths of your imagination. Having a plan helps a lot.

Have a designated time to write, work it into your schedule, and make sure you keep it also helps. this makes routine and people love routine. It's comfortable, and gets your mind prepared and ready for it. Whether it be in the morning before work, during your lunch break, or when you get home to unwind. Just make sure you are ready to do it and everything will work itself out.

That was my post for today. Thank you all for stopping by. Come back on Friday where I'll have another book up for you all to check out. Until then, have fun!

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17/2011 Magnificent Monday

Good morning times to all! I hope you all had a good weekend! I am posting this a bit early because I am working a little over-time today, which is good for money, bad because I didn't get much in the way of sleep last night.

I know I haven't talked much about gaming, like the title of the blog had hinted at, and I am going to make up for that today. I have been playing table-top games since my freshmen year of high school, and in doing so it has helped me make friends, be a little more social, and has also given me the creative motivation to write, it also helped me meet my boyfriend of nearly 5 years whom I love dearly. So as you can see, I quite frankly owe a lot to it.

One of, if not my absolute, favorite game setting is "Conspiracy X" by Eden Stuidos, it takes place in modern times, and you play characters working as part of a secret government organization trying to protect the US from alien forces. The agency, known as AEGIS, recruits people from other government initiatives and branches to aid in this threat, as well as people with psychic or magical abilities. They are constantly at odds with another government group known as the Directorate, or more commonly, Black Book, that's run by the DOD and the CIA. There are three primary alien threats, the Atlanteans, the Saurians, and the Grays, and quite frankly they all have pretty good reasons for wanting us off their rock, from trying to rebuild their utopia civilization, to a time-steam mix up that made it seem like they were gone for only a short bit of time and suddenly these fleshy humans are all over everything, to just trying to save their species because the way our psychic abilities work is killing them. In short I love this game.

They moved to a 2.0 version of the game that uses the unisystem, the same system used for their other games like "Witchcraft" and "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" and to give you an idea of how long ago that was, I think I had just finished high school when the first book came out. The Extraterrestrial Source Book came out in pdf form several years ago, but then...nothing.

Every year they would mention 'coming in August' and I would hold my breath and be sad. Then, last night happened. My boyfriend sent me a link to a Kickstarter. It was Eden, and they were doing one for ConX. So here, I give you all, their Kickstarter link:

I cannot begin to express how excited I am. This has been literally YEARS in the making, and soon it will see the light of day and I'll be able to hold the book in my hands! That is, of course, if they make their goal. So all I ask is that you please help them, or show it to someone who can, or someone you think would love the game to absolute death. I must be off now, but I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

10/14/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Greetings everyone! Today is Friday and do you know what that means? (aside from tomorrow being Saturday, which is full of awesome?) It means it's time for me to feature a book from smashwords!

Today's feature is called "Lost World Found: The Dragons of Bastogne" by Robert Larrison. Set in World War 2, this story shows how the war would have been different for England if they had been able to use dragons as part of their warfare. It's a short, fun read that happens to be free. I have a soft spot for alternate-history, if you haven't already guessed, so I had a lot of fun with this story.

I won't say how it's done, because I don't want to give spoilers, but rest assured they aren't using dragons for everything. That would be a little over-kill. Rather they are used when desperate measures are needed, and man was it desperate! I was rather impressed that in such a short amount of time, the writer helped get the reader attached to the main character, and it's easy to see that when the battles die down, he's going to need a lot of help coping with all of the battles, death, and violence he experienced at the hands of war.

All in all I had a lot of fun with this story. It's available here at Barnes&Noble, as well as here on smashwords. The nice thing about the B&N link is that it also shows it's available in paperback, if you don't necessarily want to read it on an e-reader. However, if you go through smashwords, it's free, so I suppose it's all up to your preference!

Thanks Mr. Larrison for writing such a fun book, and to those of you who stopped by today! I'll be back Monday, hopefully with word of my writing progress. Have a good and exciting weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10/12/2011 Writing Wednesday

Hello to all! I hope this middle of the week is finding you well. As I mentioned before I have returned to my normal schedule, so I am awake, and not having to wake up at ridiculous early in the morning. This is a good thing!

On Monday I mentioned the importance of backing up your data because at any moment your computer can decide it wants to stop being cooperative. I seriously cannot stress how important it truly is. Just the idea that I might lose everything had me practically losing it. There are multiple ways backing things up can be done whether it be by just putting them on portable or removable hard drives, cloud systems like Google Docs, Dropbox, or even just having them in an e-mail you've sent somewhere, these are all forms of a backup that can save you lots of heartache and stress.

Anyway, while I was in training, I was asked how I keep my ideas straight when going between several different things. The example I was given was, I write during my break for about ten or fifteen minutes, come back and do something work-related for another 2 hours, then pick up where I left off during my lunch. I found this question incredibly difficult to answer, because to me, it's simply just how my brain works. Which is why I wanted to bring it up here, I was wondering if anyone else has a similar way of working?

To me, when I get an idea, it will stay with me no matter how distracted I get until it is finished, which is why I'm currently working on 6 other books before I go absolutely insane. Not to say there aren't points where I hit a bit of writers block, I think that happens to everyone, it happens to me with filler, but that doesn't mean the idea is weak or is floating away, I just need to bridge the gap between two scenes. Normally what happens is I try to at least finish the sentence I was working on before having to hop back to work, or whatever I was doing previously, then if I do forget what was happening, I look at the previous paragraph and get back to work. That was how I answered his question, though I'm never sure if that's the standard one.

When it comes to multi-tasking, how does everyone else do it? If you have any tips, tricks, or want to post your own method below for others to see/try out to see if it helps them in their writing, please do so. The way I see it, other authors aren't your competition, they are your comrades in arms, and right now we're all in this together when it comes to getting our voices out.

On that note, I hope everyone has a safe and fun rest of the week. I'll see everyone on Friday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

10/10/2011 Magnificent Monday

Greetings everyone! I am back on my normal work schedule, so I am awake, and looking forward to not being absolutely exhausted all the time forever. I apologize for not posting anything on Friday, if you caught the twitter/facebook posts you will know I needed to spend my time fixing/reformatting my laptop rather than finding a book to read. I apologize for that, and hope to do better in the future.

My experience in having to quickly back everything up with the hope that not everything is going to explode into flames and computer parts, is backing up your documents. Even after I was done and was working on moving the files back to the laptop, I had a brief moment where I nearly had a heart-attack when I opened the Dropbox folder before everything had synced and it was empty. Rest assured everything is fine now, but that moment of panic was very telling.

Now luckily I have passed my stories back and forth between myself and a friend of mine that she likely has a copy of my prequel, and with "The Light Rises" and "Uncrossed Paths" being on the internet, that does help, however I have more documents than I know how to count that aren't in either of those places. If for no other reason I haven't put them on the internet, or time has required the e-mails be deleted. I was more worried about losing those. So I suppose the moral of this story is: back your stuff up, and do it multiple times in multiple places because if one back-up doesn't work you want to still have access to everything.

I felt really bad about my computer crashing, I couldn't work, I couldn't blog, I couldn't read new books. It was awful. I was fairly certain the reformat was going to work, but I'd never done one before so I was incredibly nervous and kind of short with pretty much everyone. I just wanted everything to work perfectly because a new laptop isn't exactly in my budget right now. Now everything does work, the laptop has some strange feelings towards IE (Internet Explorer) so I've been using Firefox almost exclusively, Office is back on along with all my documents and music, so now I can get back to focusing on what's important: writing/reading!

I appreciate everyone's patience these last few weeks with my work schedule and now my laptop getting near-murdered. My schedule is back to being that of a closing shift, so my posts should be more consistent and earlier in the day again. Thanks again so very much, and I'll see everyone on Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Hello and welcome! I hope everyone's week has been serving them well so far. Mine has been educational and eventful, I will say that. Customer Service Appreciation Week is so much! If anyone else reading gets to experience it, I hope it's as fun for you as it is for me.

As for writing, I have been wracking my mind trying to figure out exactly what today's topic is going to be, and honestly it was rather hard. The conclusion I've come to is: balance. It's something that is incredibly important, and I have found I need to manage better. When it comes to writing, it's important to, just like any other job, that you have time to work and time to play. Doing this can mean the difference between progress and frustrations.

I've said it before that having a designated time to write has helped me incredibly much. It makes it so there is a specific time of the day where you are writing, and doing nothing else. I particularly like this because it means that after I get home from work, I get to sit down, relax, and do what I enjoy rather than dwelling on whether or not work was difficult that day or not. Now this scenario works out for me because I have a full-time day job as well as being a writer. Not to say that I don't have times where I'm specifically not writing, that's important as well, those are the times where I hang out with my friends, or go to a game night, or just play Magic or a video game. Seriously having times to unwind is important.

I understand that not everyone has the same experience that I do, some use their writing as a full-time job, and it's part of that job to write like the wind, edit, market, edit, market, write, and try not to go completely crazy. It's those situations where having the time where they're not writing is even more important. There are times when I'm not writing when I do feel guilty about it, I'm actually in one of those times right now, but life has a way of making it so it's difficult to get anything done, and next week I'll be able to get back on my normal schedule, so I keep that in mind.

Also try to keep in mind that taking a break is find. I've said it before that it lets the ideas marinate and fully develop before you throw them down on paper or whatever writing medium you may use. Just because you're a writer doesn't mean you have to do that 100% of the day, everyday, all the time forever. Having an opportunity to think about something else will save you from going absolutely crazy, which should be a win-win for everyone in my opinion.

I hope this has helped some people, remember writing should be something you enjoy, not something you feel obligated to do. Have fun with it, because if you don't, it's going to come out in your writing, and your readers will know. Thanks everyone. I'll try to have something up on Friday for everyone to look for. See you then!

Monday, October 3, 2011

10/03/2011 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone! It's the start of October, which means I'm starting my countdown to NANOWRIMO! I really wish I were further ahead in my prequel, but hopefully I'll be able to get a lot done by the time November rolls around so that I can either finish, or be close to it by the end of that month.

This weekend was busy again, so not much happened in the way of writing aside from a short thing about a couple characters from a friends game. It's fun to do that sometimes, just take something and play with some other characters to maybe work out a few things you find challenging. I also didn't get much done due to distraction, a certain trading card game had a new release and well, I was all over that.

I will likely be able to get some kind of writing done this week though, as I am going to make it a point to not be stupid busy when I get off work, so I will be making progress on my prequel there. At least some progress has been made in the story I'm working on at work, "Daughter of the Shackled King" which makes me feel like I'm not completely being lazy. I'm really looking forward to when that story is done, not just because it means I can start playing around with it's sequel, but also because it means I can start typing it out and cleaning things up a bit. Writing between calls may be nice to keep myself sane, but I am convinced it is full of repetition and plot-holes as well as a distinct lack of description. I tend to get impatient with details when I type faster than I hand-write.

I look forward to being able to actually get things done again, this is my last week of being 8 - 5 so that also means that starting next Monday my posts will be back to being in the morning. I appreciate everyone who continues to visit and puts up with my late or sometimes boring posts. For some reason it doesn't load the ticker at the bottom of the page for me anymore (no matter what format I view the page in) and I wanted to say that I appreciate you all. See you on Wednesday, if you ever have a suggestion or something you'd like talked about, just leave a comment or contact me and I'll do everything I can to make it happen. Thanks a bunch!

Friday, September 30, 2011

9/30/2011 Fantastic Friday!

Hello all and happy Friday! I hope you all had a good week. Mine may not have been as productive as I would have preferred, but that happens sometimes. I just keep thinking about how I'm going to make up for it in November and I don't feel so bad. Anyway, like I said yesterday today I was going to post up links and so forth for books I've already featured, as a reminder of some of the great stories that are out there. So let's get right to it!

First up: "Uncrossed Paths" and "The Light Rises" by myself. They are set in a world where steam, magic, and the unknown are frequent. "Uncrossed Paths" tells the stories of the main characters from "The Light Rises" before they even knew one another existed. "Uncrossed Paths" is free and was recently accepted into the Smashwords premium catalog, so it will be available through Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, Diesel, Scrollmotion and Sony soon. "The Light Rises" is $3.99 and currently available at all those outlets as well as the Smashwords main site.

Next we have "Strange Fruit: Prologue" and "Strange Fruit: Episode One, Feather", by Raegan Millhollin. These stories are set in a modern world where magic is everywhere and forces of the divine have a place in almost everyone's lives. "Strange Fruit: Prologue" introduces the characters and opens up the world to the reader, while "Strange Fruit: Episode One, Feather" begins with the story of Azriel and Ephriam and how not all meetings happen by chance. "Strange Fruit: Prologue" is free and available via the Smashwords main site as well as Apple iBookstore, Diesel, Barnes & Noble, Scrollmotion and Sony. "Strange Fruit: Episode One, Feather" is $.99 and is also available through those locations.

"Smite Me, Oh Dark One", by Steve Thomas is a delightful short story that tells the story of a God who hates his job, and those he works with, so he decides that rather than destroying the people they had all created like they want him to, he would become a dark lord to spite them. It is free, available through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel, Scrollmotion, and also Amazon.

"Smoke: A Ghost Story", but Aaron Polson is about a young man who was raised in a strange town full of ghost stories and other paranormal happenings. When he finds himself crushing on an art student, he finds that the strange things were even bigger than he first thought, and that he may be more involved than he would have hoped. It is $.99 and available through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, Diesel, Scrollmotion, and Sony.

Thank you all so much for stopping by this Friday. I hope you find all the books that have been posted so far enjoyable. As self-published authors one of the best ways to help is to spread the word. Let your friends and family know how much you liked these books and where to find them. That's the best way you could possibly help all of the authors who are just trying to get their voices out there. Thanks again and I'll see you all on Monday!