Friday, November 30, 2012

11/30/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I apologize for the lack of anything on Wednesday, but I seriously just needed a day off from everything. Still do wish I had some time off, but I suppose I'll take what I can get. For now though let's get to work.

Today I bring you 'Fatal Melody' by Aubrey Campbell. It's told from a first-person perspective, which I always find impressive, and is a story about a siren named Liana who has decided she's had enough with killing sailors that come by her island. Each death has weighed on her and she has finally decided that she is finished.

Liana and her sister Callista are bound to the island they live on, and after Liana destroys yet another ship she discovers a survivor and vows to keep him safe. The deaths had always brought a heavy weight to her soul, and now with a man who survived she sees it as fate intervening. She vows to change her ways, who she is, and all that stands in her way is her sister.

I picked this story because the tales of the sirens are a piece of mythology that has lasted for so long, and yet I don't recall hearing how the stories ended. Obviously modern society has moved on from thinking mythical creatures caused storms and shipwrecks, but that's kind of sad if the end to the sirens' story is that we all just out-grew them.

'Fatal Melody' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free and I hope you all get a chance to check it out. I think everyone would enjoy it very much, so please tell your friends and help out the author a little bit.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I have been working on this blog for, it seems like ever, and it has been a great amount of success for me. After this year's NaNoWriMo however I am beginning to see the limits in what I am able to do. I have already come to the conclusion that next year if a gave I want is coming out at the same time, I can't participate in the contest unless it's something I can wait for. It is with a heavy heart that this blog is also coming up on the list of things I probably shouldn't do as much. I'm not saying I'm done forever, however what I am saying is that I severely need a break for at least a little bit while I heal up. I pushed myself a little too far and while during the writing I thought everything was fine, it was when the muscles came to rest that I discovered otherwise. I will be out for at least the next couple weeks while things calm down. I'll still be available on Twitter @explodingrunes and the facebook pages for 'The Light Rises' and 'Uncrossed Paths'. Thanks so much for all the support, loves and hugs, and I hope you have a nice weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend treated you well. Mine was spent with friends while family was with family I wasn't able to visit. It was also spent obsessing over Persona 4: the Golden on my Vita, but let's just be honest and say that we all knew that was going to happen regardless of what happened over the weekend.

NaNoWriMo may be over for me, but there are many of you that are doing the last big push to get in those 50,000 words in by this Thursday. To those of you who are doing that, I bid you the best of luck and happy thoughts. I know it's a tough thing to do and sometimes our bodies give out before our minds do in that regard, but I wanted to let you all know that I'm still cheering you on. It's a momentous undertaking and the fact that anyone is able to focus on something for that long and put that must thought and creativity into it is fantastic. You're all winners to me!

I'm hoping that if nothing else this week will be a little less hectic than the last one. Whenever there is a holiday during the week work gets super crazy because people are trying to get all their things done before the days off. Though now that I think about it, I doubt that will happen at least today because of all the people who are going to be playing catch up, but there's hope, right?

I'm alright trying to determine how long my break is going to be before I jump back into 'Through the Broken Mirror'. I know I want to spend sometime not bringing the laptop to work, mostly because I don't like always dragging my bag around, I just need to figure out how much time that's actually going to be. I think once I got to the 50,000 words mark that I am just under halfway through the story (yeah right, I know it'll end up longer, but I can dream) and while I'm able to work on it at my own, more reasonable pace, I just need to figure out what that pace is going to be. My original plan was to get some of it done before work, however my schedule changes weekly so that may be a bit more difficult.

Also I am still trying to figure out which retailer actually has the new edition up of 'The Light Rises' and which ones don't. I checked on Thursday and Apple DOES have the new edition, however, Sony and Barnes & Noble do not. Smashwords has said all they can really do is keep resending the file, so I have taken it upon myself to contact Barnes and Noble and as them about it. We'll see what they say, or if they say anything, so this is bound to be interesting. I'll keep everyone posted though, because frankly I would like people to be able to see the new edition and not keep getting the old one even if it says it's new. The best way to tell is that on the title page, there will be a list of actual other titles, and not just something that says more will be coming soon. If it has the list of titles it is the new edition, and please tell everyone you know and love. That would be appreciated.

For now though I must be off. I appreciate everyone for stopping by on this Cyber Monday. I've already gotten some good deals and I hope you all have too. I'll be back on Wednesday though, until then I hope you all have a great start to your week!

Friday, November 23, 2012

11/23/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back on this Friday! If you had the Thanksgiving experience yesterday I hope it was great for everyone and that you had the best of food. If you are among those out Black Friday shopping, I firmly believe you are a crazy person, so that if something I have only done once, will never do again, and also don't have the day off for.

Today I bring you 'Z' by Manuel Alves. It's about a boy who is the last of his kind that is kept in a room by himself and monitors his own security. He wants to know what he is and why he is the way he is, but the only answer he ever gets is 'Z'. He knows he is smarter than everyone else there, but what the scientists don't know is that he has figured out a way to escape his prison.

The reason why I picked this story today is that I am always a fan of stories where the protagonist is seeking freedom. They always have their reasons, and I always find it interesting how they handle the situation they're in. Z is the last of a whole list of children that were created artificially and he is smarter and more skilled than some of the smartest scientists and professors in the facility. He knows he's the last one, and the real worry is why that's the case. So he does what the others before him never did; he figure out how to escape his confined world to freedom.

Z is available on Smashwords for free, so I encourage everyone to check it out. It's relatively short, so maybe you can look it over between Black Fridays stops (though please don't do that while driving to and from those locations) or maybe, because it's free, you can give it to someone as a gift!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! It looks like some of the links at other retailers are starting to actually work for 'The Light Rises'. I haven't checked Barnes and Noble yet, but I was able to look it up on Apple yesterday, and they DO have the new edition. The way you can tell is that on the title page it will actually have a list of other titles to come. If you see that please spread the links around for me! Until then I'll see everyone on Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11/21/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is seeing you all well so far. Mine has been kind of rough, but also productive. I'm hoping that today (and the fact that I have tomorrow off) will make the rest a bit better. We'll see though, at least I have video games to keep me occupied and distracted.

As you may or may not have seen, I got to the 50,000 word total yesterday. Now this is fantastic and I'm super excited to have gotten it completed before my goal, even after the discovery of their math not working right on the NaNoWriMo site. For those who are also participating in NaNoWriMo, the question once you are finished usually is one of wondering where to go from here. This can take a few different directions depending on what your goals are, naturally, so I will bring up the few I can think of off the top of my head here.

The first is to get your work published. Well, start the process of doing so anyway. If you went the short-story route for the month, then there is a strong possibility that your work is done for the initial writing portion of your story. If that is the case then it's time to get editing (after your 'I just got to 50,000 words, I'm going to do whatever I want for a little bit' break that you rightfully deserve) because that is going to take some time. In some cases editing can take just as long, if not longer than the initial writing process simply because of the number of times you have to go over everything and make sure it is 100% perfect. Once that's completed you have to decide if you're going to self publish or go through an agent, which is another ordeal in itself. However you decide to take your story that is up to you and I wish you the best.

The other path you can take is just to finish your work. This is the step I am on, seeing as I used NaNoWriMo this year to start the third book in the trilogy for 'The Light Rises'. Currently the book is (I think) just under halfway completed, and I plan on finishing up the writing portion as soon as I am able. As much as I want to plow through the next 50,000 words, I know that logically I should take a break or at the very least slow down. This is fine because while I am still happy I can pace myself and NaNoWriMo done without absolutely destroying my wrists, I'd rather not push it anymore than I already have. Once you finish your book then it's off to that editing process I mentioned before and then pretty much everything follows the same path from there.

The other option I can think of is to sit on the file and stare at it lovingly with affection and pride because you managed to accomplish a great feat of progress. Not that the people that are doing the other two options aren't going to do the exact same thing, but I also understand that sometimes people participate in the month not because they want to get something published, but so that they can feel the sense of accomplishment that comes along with it. I know and completely understand that there are people who a lack of time to actually get a lot of things done that aren't just associated with the stresses of life, and sometimes just being able to put your focus and attention on something that isn't life is a fantastic achievement. I salute and say congrats to you for being able to grasp onto something and have it mean that much to you. I am a firm advocate in work/life balance and I am incredibly happy for you.

No matter what route you're taking for your work this year, I am happy for everyone that finishes, and even for those that get closer or don't finish. This is a momentous project and sometimes it becomes a little more daunting once you actually start it. The important thing is that you got progress done and that you are proud of your work. Good job everyone, hold that sense of accomplishment up high for the world to see because you have earned every ounce of it.

Thanks so much everyone for stopping by. I will be back Friday for my normal review. I wish I had the day off the avoid everything like the plague it is the day after Thanksgiving, but that is not the case. I will however will bring you a wonderful story to look at! I hope everyone has a great rest of their week and if you celebrate it, a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

11/19/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I welcome you all back and hope you had a great weekend. Mine was short and kind of tiring, but I'm here now and that's what matters. We've made it through the halfway point of the month of November, which means that if you're participating in NaNoWriMo that you should be at around 35,000 words as of today. I wish everyone who's part of this great endeavor the best of luck and all the support in the world. It is a daunting task and I'm sure we'll all make it together.

Sometimes I don't understand how the math on the NaNoWriMo site works, but I suppose that is not my place to question it. Whenever I get closer to the finishing mark it makes it easier and easier for me to see it. For example; when it says you're average words/day is somewhere in the 2300 - 2400 range, and it says you will be done by the 20th, and you have some 5000 words left, that doesn't really add up. So according to them I need to go over my average word-count for two days in a row. I mean, I plan on doing it, but I just don't understand why it doesn't say the 21st.

In other news, I am currently (still) working with the Smashwords IT department to try and figure out why the new edition of 'The Light Rises' still isn't actually available in the other retailers' stores. So far Barnes and Noble is the only one to change the description, which had filled me with hope and joy last week, however last night I decided to check out the sample and discovered that it is still the old file. One of my friends, Elizabeth Marshall (who you may recognize from a couple months ago) has suggested unpublishing and then republishing with just the new edition. I may try that if nothing else works. This is just getting incredibly frustrating seeing as I have been trying get the other locations to actually sell the new edition for now well over a month.

Also, the Holidays are now officially upon us, and while that may bring some of you a sense of dread, I wish to bring you hope. A lot of people have ebooks now, or an app that lets them read them, and for you who want to give a present but may also be a victim of the economy, I give you a coupon! With this coupon you can get 'The Light Rises' through Smashwords (don't worry, that is the right edition) for $1. Just go there and enter coupon code ER65P when you go to check out, and then POOF it'll be $1!

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. This is bound to be a busy week, so I wish you all the best of luck. I'll be back on Wednesday hopefully victorious and with my Vita in hand so I can play Persona 4: the Golden until I go insane. Until then, have a great start to your week and let the finish month off right!

Friday, November 16, 2012

11/16/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope your week has seen you all well. Mine has been quite nice, though today is a little too cold for me. I just want to curl up under a pile of blankets and never move forever. Since that isn't an option though, let's get to business!

Today I bring you 'Grandpa's Genes' by Ted Stetson. It's a little story about a man telling his grand daughter a story of his earlier life. It's something all our grandparents do, but there's something different about this story. This grandfather's story is about how he saved the world from would-be invaders.

There aren't any names given throughout the story, and is just told as the man telling the girl the story from his younger years. He was out fishing one morning when he saw the fleet of ships, all of them different, but like the ones you'd see in movies. He saw the aliens come down, and he knew it was up to him to stop them or else the world would suffer. He managed to take out one before he was taken onto one of the ships to be examined and then interrogated. It was there he was able to show the aliens why invading America would be an absolutely terrible idea.

'Grandpa's Genes' is a nice little story if you just want to read about saving the day. No matter how small or short a story might be, if someone is doing something that makes a big difference it will make you feel better in the end. Since the teller of the story is giving the information to their grand daughter you get a sense for just how important what he did was. It is also free and available on Smashwords.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. I am in the home stretch for NaNoWriMo, and I am looking forward to it. I hope everyone's progress is going well; remember how we get there isn't the important part, it's getting to the 50,000 words no matter what. I believe in everyone and I will see you back here on Monday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11/14/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello! I'm so sorry this is a late post! Getting some errands done and then my writing and all with a mild migraine made me completely space out! Please forgive me! As a token of my apologies, please have this coupon to get 'The Light Rises' for $1: ER65P.

I have been super busy trying to organize myself to make sure I have time to get all my writing done during the day and still have time to do, pretty much anything else. This year has been tough, but I keep telling myself that I'm almost done and it'll just be a little bit longer, then I won't have to stress as much.

I hope everyone's progress is going well. We'll be at the halfway point tomorrow for the overall month, and I know that doing the 50,000 words in one month is a daunting task, but I'm sure we can all complete it together. It's also apparently National RPG Developing Month, or NagaDemon as that guy I live with keeps calling it (I don't actually know the acronym for it), so if there's anyone working on that too I wish you all the best of luck!

Something that has been working for me during my points of writing fury is going back to the idea of having a soundtrack to work with. Music is a great motivator, but if you focus too much on what your playlist is going to be, can also be a killer. The way I balance this is by picking music that a) doesn't have lyrics and b) is just a complete soundtrack anyone so there's no picking and choosing necessary. At least for me, music helps block out other distractions, and depending on where you're doing a majority of your writing this is incredibly important. For example, a lot of mine is done during my lunch break at work, and there is a TV people like to have on pretty much constantly. So I picked up a pair of headphones and queued up my Dr. Who soundtrack and got ready to go. Does it make me feel a little anti-social during lunch time? Yeah. Do I get a lot of writing done though? Absolutely.

However you write, I am excited for everyone participating this year. I know we can all make it to the 50,000 words together and just keep focused on how awesome it's going to feel to win this year. Be ready to give yourself a present of sorts to pat yourself on the back, and also be ready to take a little break. You will have earned it.

Until Friday though, I hope everyone has a great rest of your week. Again, I'm really sorry about how late this post is. I hope you can all forgive me with that coupon. Thanks again and I'll see you on Friday! Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

11/09/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I have a lot of writing to do and very little time to do it in today, so I wanted to get right to the normal review for everyone to enjoy!

Today I bring you 'Zombie Kitten' by Dawn Harshaw. The world ended a long time ago and now Vampires are in control of what's left of major cities. They're not your normal vicious species, something about watching the world end changed them. Now, though they are still predatory, they are forced to watch over their own, and they've learned they're not the only things to be feared.

Elise has been dealing with a bully in school for far too long, and she's finally decided to put an end to it. She learns of where he's been hiding to discovered he's been torturing small animals and infecting them with some kind of zombism. One he has infected is a small kitten, which she decides is the last straw. The question is will the young vampire stand up to her bully or will she be forced to run even more now.

I picked this story because there is pretty much an epidemic of bullying in the world right now. It's not that I suggest the main character's method is the best one, but honestly anyone finding the courage to stand up to someone that's hurting them is a good read. No one deserves to be hurt by someone else, and Elise is a good example of someone finding what motivates them to stop their own pain and help someone else in return.

'Zombie Kitten' is available for free on Smashwords, and I recommend picking it up for anyone who wants to read about a strong girl who just wants to do the right thing. She knows what's right and wrong and she wants to help the kitten, even though zombies aren't really seen as anything good to a vampire's eyes.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and checking out the review today. My NaNoWriMo progress is still going strong. I'm hoping to be at the halfway mark by Saturday (but we'll also hope for a more responsible day and say Sunday or Monday too) and then it will be onto the home stretch. I'll be back on Wednesday though, Monday is a holiday here in the states and I super need that day off. Thanks again and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

11/07/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I hope your week has been fun and productive so far. I won't get political, but no matter who you voted for you have to agree that race was intense. It was like every time I looked at an update things were either one vote off or flipping back and forth. I don't remember an election like that before!

Hopefully you weren't all too distracted watching the political stuff and forgot about NaNoWriMo. I know getting to 50,000 words in such a short time is tough, especially with things like "family" and "the needs of others" and "eating" are getting in the way. I know there are a lot of you out there struggling to keep up with the word quota, and it's not like I'm assuming you all type and create slowly. I'd never do that, it's rude, and I know my own typing speed is not average. I completely understand that life just wants to shove itself in the way sometimes, and you can't always put it off until you reach that daily quota.

The website io9 had a great little article about how to finish your novel during NaNoWriMo the other day, and while I don't agree with all of their tips, it's still worth noting as helpful. For me I do agree with idea of rewarding yourself both in the writing sense and also post-writing sense. Sometimes people just need something to motivate them and using the 'If I finish X then I get Y' mentality is a way to do that. Granted you need to also have the self-control to not throw X over your shoulder and immediately go for the reward. I was hope that as writers, and that craft itself not being a fast one at all (Stephen King is the exception and a robot) that we'd all have the patience and self-control necessary to make that work.

Something else that is really important, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, is to have some kind of support structure. I'm not talking about people that will read your stuff as you're doing it, but more just people you can talk to that will encourage you to keep going. If you have an epiphany and you work out how something works that's been kind of bugging you for a while, tell someone that you know will appreciate that. If you are excited because you went above the daily word quota and put yourself ahead of the game, shout that to the heavens. Encouragement is incredibly important when it comes to writing because it gives us as authors something to work with. It's basically our test audience, if the actual test audience was filled with people who will say nice things.

Keep it up everyone who's participating along with me this month. My projections are still good to finish before the 22nd, which is fantastic. I'm going to try and slow it down a little typing wise just to make sure I don't go one week and have to take a break that sets me back. Remember what I said before, if it starts hurting, no matter what or where, it is time to take a break. I can't stress that enough. I'd hate to come back on December 1st to hear about how many people have hurt themselves.

I'll be back on Friday with my normal review. I hope you all have a great rest of your week and make wonderful progress on your journey through NaNoWriMo. Just remember to have fun with it and I'll see you back here!

Monday, November 5, 2012

11/05/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I hope your weekend saw you all well. I'm a little tired, but because of Daylight Savings time I was able to get an hour back. I'm just a little convinced it's an hour later than it really is, which is kind of throwing me off. It hasn't hampered my Nano progress though, which is good because I am making good time despite feeling like I have a severe lack of time.

I'm getting back into my rhythm for the month, and while I'm reasonably convinced I'll be able to get done before Thanksgiving there is still that concern that a couple days before something is going to force me to take a break for a day or two. After Nanowrimo of Christmas Past a couple years ago I have done what I can to make sure that I pace myself with all my typing, and there are points when I'm still nervous about it, or I have to force myself to not do more, no matter how badly I want to.

So far, so good though this year. I'm also trying to see how things work out by writing out the chapter numbers as I go. My normal way of thinking was that speed was more important than determining chapter breaks at that moment, so I would just put *** where I wanted potential breaks to be. The problem came later when I was numbering chapters on something that was over 200 pages long. Sure, the first few were fine, but it was later, when I was putting say 'Chapter 12' when I was paused, go back to the previous one and make sure the order was right before going onto the next. I don't want that to happen this time around, so I'm see how this works.

For those that are working on Nanowrimo with me, I with you all the best of luck. This is a really hard month for all of us, and some things are going to get neglected in order to make time for the daily word quota to get done. Make sure your loved ones know what you're doing so they don't get upset, that's the most important part, and also do what you can to make sure it wasn't completely interfere with your work; Nanowrimo is fun, but so is getting paid for your work. Let's each go at a pace we're comfortable with, and let's get to that 50,000 (I was so happy to learn I was wrong about the word total, again) together so we can celebrate at the end.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'll be back on Wednesday and hopefully I'll have a B&N link for you with the updated 'The Light Rises'. Smashwords has told me their techs are now making sure the new edition shows up at the other retailers, and I am giving them a week or so to actually see if it happens. So far nothing, so if I don't see them by Wednesday I'll be sending another e-mail. Until then though, good luck and I'll see you then!

Friday, November 2, 2012

11/02/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you've all decided to come by today. I've been trying to get through my own word quota for NANOWRIMO, so hopefully I'll be able to get something done before I go to work. For now though, let's get right to the review.

I bring you 'The Keening' by Keith Gapinski. It's a short story about a man trying to deal with his anxieties. It was bad enough that he moved away from the city he lived to try and get somewhere quiet and safe to help set his mind at ease. Unfortunately, life has a way of making things difficult and a strange cry one night threatens to bring all of the stress of the city back to him, and even possibly more.

Robert is someone who is just trying to figure out how to get through life without having to worry about what might cause his next set of stresses or possibly panic attacks. He figured the city was a major cause of this, so he moved away from it. Somewhere quiet, somewhere safe, somewhere he wouldn't need to worry about all the hustle and craziness of the city. What he heard that night though was different, that was something he shouldn't have heard, and now he feels the stress levels rising, yet still he knows he needs to find the source of it. The only problem is that something about it, that sound, has the possibility to make everything he hated about the city 10 times worse.

'The Keening' is available for free on Smashwords, so I do suggest you all go and check it out. I picked it because sometimes we all have to face what causes us stress and anxiety or else we're never going to move beyond it, and all it does is control our lives. I know there are certain things that are harder than others, but what's important is to identify the sources and try to help ourselves to fix it. I hope everyone picks it up for either a lunch or coffee break, it's short enough for anyone to enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by today. I am going to go into over-time with my NANOWRIMO progress. I'm at 2460 words right now, which is great if I was going for the normal word quota. However, my attempt at finishing up before Thanksgiving is making things a little difficult. We'll see how things go today though. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fun and relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10/31/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hi everyone! Today is October 31st, which marks not just Halloween (yay!) but also my last day of freedom. Tomorrow is the first day of November, which means that all of my free time will be spent frantically typing away to meet daily word quotas. I hope you're all ready for it, because you have less than 16 hours to get prepared!

I think I'm mostly ready, and hopefully if I run into any spots where I'm not completely and totally prepared I can wing it appropriately. I keep getting told the overall premise is depressing, and that's really because it is, but I think I figured out how to make it have not a complete and utterly terrible ending, so there's that! Like most years I'm also not sure if the story will be finished at the 60,000 word mark.

For those that are participating, remember to go to to get registered to track your progress and also enter in your novel information. It's also a way to connect with people also enjoying the prospects of NANOWRIMO and where you can go to meet people in write-ins and other such things. It's also fun to put in your daily progress and see where you stand against where the numbers say you should be. At least for me, but I also give myself different daily goals.

I'm looking forward to this year's NANOWRIMO, mostly because it lets me start working on 'Through the Broken Mirror', which will be the third and final book in the trilogy 'The Light Rises' belongs to. It's the sequel to it and takes place roughly 17 years after it, (13 after the epilogue, if my numbers are adding up correctly, which is always a mystery) and will follow the story of Juliet Petri. She is Amelia's daughter and a budding young metalurgeon who is trying to find her place in an early 1900' England. However, when her mother vanishes and people start forgetting her, Juliet must venture out, accompanied by Enrico's apprentice, Michael, to discover what really happened to her mother on the fateful night almost thirty years before and save Amelia before reality rejects her. Personally I think it will be an interesting experience, since a majority of what I write doesn't involve teenagers, and also historically it will only be a handful of years away from WWI. Let's see what happens!

I hope you all get to participate and have fun with NANOWRIMO this year. I'm looking forward to it, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the 60,000 word goal. I'll be interesting to see how my work schedule plays with it though, since it changes every week. Hopefully I'll be able to adjust, either that or I will be staying up later than I should to get everything done.

I'll be back on Friday with a new review and a word count update. If anyone is participating and wants to post their progress here they certainly can, and frankly I would encourage it. Just remember to have fun, and try not to hurt yourself, it really sucks. See you all Friday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

10/29/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back on this rather cold Monday! I hope your weekend saw you all well. I feel like mine was far too short, though that could have been because I was fighting back a migraine pretty much all Saturday, so it felt like working overtime. Oh well, I just need to last today and tomorrow, then I can get some catch-up rest on Wednesday; my last day of doing whatever I want with my spare time before the flurry of writing begins.

Though I'm pretty much ready for it, I'm still a bit nervous about NANOWRIMO this year. I just keep thinking about my schedule and how little time that actually leaves me for writing. I know I'll be able to get stuff done during my lunch, but the problem is going to come on the Saturday's I work. My lunch is only a half hour on those days, and in general they are fairly busy. I feel bad about writing at the game, but it looks like I won't have much of a choice. Well, unless I want to work double-time on Sunday, however I don't know if I am up for that. Oh well, I suppose this weekend will be the best test for it.

I am now on the waiting end of Smashwords watching 'The Light Rises' for me. I have told them about the digital shipping issues I've noticed with the new edition and have been informed there is now a tech watching it. I don't know if that means they'll fix it, or just look at it and nod affirmatively that there is something weird happening with it. For those who would like some context; Smashwords distributes my book for me to pretty much every retailer but Amazon. I can go into my settings and see when it was shipped and a rough estimate as to when it should be available on those sites. However, I have noticed, since I uploaded it, that the dates it was shipped keep changing every week, and the book is never updated at the other sites. Finally last week, after waiting several, I contacted their tech support and pointed out the problem, using Barnes and Noble as the example. They said there have been some shipping delays and now they'll keep an eye on it. I just hope 'keep an eye on it' means 'they're going to fix it' because frankly, I would love to be able to start spamming other links.

For now though I will wait and remember wake it feels like to be awake. I appreciate everyone's continued blog support, it means a lot. I hope that whatever advice I put out there is helping those who need it, as well as the reviews on Friday. I will do my best to keep everyone as up to date as possible regarding NANOWRIMO progress and such as well. Until then, I will see everyone on Wednesday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

10/26/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! It's finally Friday, and I am going to make the best out of my last Friday to do whatever I want for the next month. I looked for a good story for today's review and I decided to go with something a little fun to make up for a crazy work week. Also, Birdemic: Shock and Terror was amazingly terrible and the riffing was hilarious.

Today I bring you 'There's Starving Vampires In Africa' by Sarah Seeley. It's a short story about a young man who follows his roommate to a blood donation at school only to get thrown into a whirlwind of action and possibly some romance. Sure it's a little over the top at point, but sometimes that exactly what you need.

Othel had barely paid attention when they had an assembly talking about the group of Vampires living in Africa; he was more focused on homework, and the playoffs. However his roommate had insisted on donating blood to help them, so he went along for the ride. He hadn't been planning on donating himself until he met Kelly, a girl who seemed to be the exact opposite of everything that was him. He though he was lucky, until there is a break-in and someone else decides they need the blood for their own group of starving bloodsuckers. However that might not be the only problem the blood drive has going for it.

I picked this story because it is a bit different premise; since it's not every day you find something that paints vampires as the victim in such a way. Also because, quite frankly after the week I've had, something a little ridiculous at points is a nice way to relax. You don't have to feel stressed out or guilty, you just sit back and enjoy the ride. Frankly, isn't that something we all need from time to time? I say get it while you can and remember that everything will be alright.

'There's Starving Vampires In Africa' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free. I encourage everyone to pick it up and enjoy it over a break or lunch. It'll brighten your day a bit, and I think will make things a bit more bearable, especially if you're having kind of a bad day. Please check it out and help the author out too while you're at it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again this week. Next week should go as planned, but I don't know how NANOWRIMO is going to work with my work schedule this time around. I'll keep everyone posted, and if anyone is going to participate, feel free to put your progress in the comments so we can all get to 60,000 together! For now though, I'll see you back on Monday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10/24/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! With just over a week left before NANOWRIMO I am enjoying what free time I get, because I know that soon it will be all gone and out the window. I'm also super excited because I'm going to see Rifftrax Live: Birdemic, Shock and Terror tomorrow, and if anyone's seen those before, you know it's bound to be amazing.

Last week we talked about how to listen to your body when it comes to writing, and how if it starts hurting maybe you should take a break. That's good advice for all times, not just when it's about to be a month full of writing insanity. Right now though, it's coming to the wire when it comes to planning, which means frantic timeline and/or outline construction/hoping everything will come together and your head won't explode time!

Let's say you have your idea for NANOWRIMO, right now it's a beautiful and unique snowflake you are excited about and want to write more than anything else in the whole wide world. It's going to be full of action, suspense, drama, and all those wonderful things you love so much. Now then, jump to November 1st, you sit down, pull out your laptop (or sit at your desktop, or grab a notebook if you want to hand write some 2000 words a day) all ready to begin the new whirlwind adventure, when suddenly...disaster strikes. Not the kind of disaster where there's a massive power outage and you watch your writing medium explode (which again, if you're hand writing and this happens, you have some very volatile paper and should probably switch notebook brands), but more the kind where you realize all those scenes you've come up with aren't from the beginning. No, they are from somewhere in the middle, but then you realize you're not actually 100% sure where they're going to go, and then panic begins because now you have to spend time figuring out how to actually start your project rather than use what precious free time in your evening going after the daily word quota.

Never fear though! That's what I'm here for! As I've said before having a plan of action when it comes to writing is super important, and this is especially important for NANOWRIMO because of the limited amount of time you're actually going to have. Well, it'll be a limited amount of time for those of us who also have full-time jobs that aren't work-from-home. I believe previously I mentioned how the first sentence is the most difficult. That's because a lot of writers have their overall plot in their head, but sometimes the smaller details get overlooked, and the first sentence or even first few paragraphs are often sucked into this sad black hole.

Now luckily I'm going to be starting a sequel for my NANOWRIMO project, so the actual beginning has been stuck in my head for a long time. However I know that there are a lot of people who don't have that option. For all of you who will be participating this year, I'd like for you to think about your project, and start thinking now how you'd like it to begin. Do you want it to open with action? Exposition? Dialogue? Those are really your options, and each one of them has its unique benefit. Action sucks the reader in right away and sets the pacing for the entire story, so if you go that route keep that in mind. Exposition tells the reader about the world and gives them a quick  introduction to how things work. Dialogue gives at least a small sense of character introduction, or even a brief idea of what the central conflict is going to be. If there is another option, please someone let me know, because that would be great!

Once you have your first, let's say paragraph down, hopefully the creative juices will have begun to flow. For a lot of people just starting a project is the hardest part, but once it gets going everything seems to flow a lot smoother. There are a multitude of reasons for this early onset writer's block, and they range from a sort of self defeating mentality to anxiety. Everyone has their reasons, and what's important is to keep a support group around and also remember that your worst critic is yourself. That may sound cliche, but it is absolutely true. Go back and look at something you wrote two years ago and tell me that you think it's a work of art. Chances are you won't, and that's just fine, but don't let that stop you from jumping into NANOWRIMO and getting to that word quota like the boss you are. Remember, this is the first, first draft, and the purpose of that is to just get the idea out of your head and worry about editing later.

I hope this helped, at least a little bit. I'll be back on Friday for my normal review. Barnes and Noble STILL doesn't have the new edition of 'The Light Rises' up and I am getting a little miffed. If I don't see it updated by Friday I'll see about contacting Smashwords, since it originally said it was digitally shipped on the 12th, then said it was shipped again on the 18th. I hope you all have a good rest of your week, see you later!

Monday, October 22, 2012

10/22/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope your weekend went well. Mine wasn't nearly as long as I would have appreciated, but that's what I get for working on Saturday. I apologize for the lack of post on Friday, I woke up with a terrible migraine and could barely comprehend any summary I was reading, and that any review I did would only end up being a disservice to the author. After going through almost ten and spending most of my time re-reading them before I realized it was different than the one before, I decided to just give my brain a rest. This week should be better though!

This week marks my last full week to do whatever I want during my free time, and I hope to use it wisely. Next Thursday marks the beginning of NANOWRIMO, and while I think I'm mostly prepared, I'm nervous about it. I've come to the acceptance that I might have to decide that I'll finish just after Thanksgiving, and while I don't like that, since that weekend is always full of crazy, I won't cry if I have to do it that way.

At least I know I'll be SUPER motivated to finish once it gets to that time though. Persona 4: The Golden comes out on the 20th, and until I finish my 60,000 words, it's going to sit in its packaging and mock me. Now if I do manage to finish by Thanksgiving that would mean only two days worth of it, but if it's longer than that, I get to experience some form of insanity I'm just not prepared for. We'll see what happens though, either way it'll be an experience and I will finish the final word count again.

I remember the hardest part of NANO being the first sentence, and I'm working on figuring out what it is going to be right now. I keep telling myself that if I can just get it started, then the rest will be easy. I'm also curious about how far into the story the 60,000 words will end up getting me. I haven't figured out how long it's going to be in the end, aside from 'novel-length', so it'll be interesting to see where it ends up at that point. I super can't wait!

Thanks everyone for stopping by! I'll be back on Wednesday so please come back at that time. I'm still waiting for 'The Light Rises' to appear on other retailers, and it's getting kind of frustrating. It now says it was digitally shipped on the 18th, but it said previously it had done so on the 12th. I checked Kobo and any other ebook retailer and it still looks like the original edition. If anyone sees it on their retailer's site and it says ***NEW EDITION NOW AVAILABLE*** please let everyone know! That would be great! Until then, I hope everyone has a great start to their week!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10/17/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I'm working "abroad" today and by that I mean that I'm currently in the waiting room of my local dealership while they make my car work better than it already does. There's nothing wrong with it, mechanically, it just needs a tune-up, and I want to take care of my little car!

As I mentioned before I'm getting myself mentally ready for NANOWRIMO, and while I've been slacking off in regards to writing lately I know that is likely for the best. I've had too many bad experiences to know that pacing myself, no matter how frustrating it can be at times, is something that I need to do or I will be in a world of hurt.

Taking a step back from what I usually do, I did want to briefly talk about what you should watch out for while you're writing. I don't mean like wild badgers sneaking into your house and trying to steal your soul while you focus on your work (though if that is an epidemic in your area, try to keep your doors locked) I'm more looking at physical things that you might not notice until it's too late. The last thing I want is for my readers to find themselves in some trouble.

This is kind of a talk about ergonomics in that the people who make it their job to make sure everything is positioned perfectly at a work desk are sometimes onto something. The first thing to say I suppose is, throughout the course of your writing, if you feel pain anywhere, take a break. I know that part you're writing is super involved and you've mentally and emotionally invested yourself in it, but you are also having that pain for a reason and you need to catch it before it gets worse.

If you're at a desk, the possible problems are going to be with your wrists and back. A lot of people have those little foam things at the bottom of their keyboard to give their wrists lift so that your hands aren't as bent while you're typing. Those things are awesome, but that doesn't change the fact that writing is a metric ton of repetitive motion. If you feel your knuckles and hands starting to feel stiff, or a sort of burning in your wrists, pause what you're doing and try and stretch your joints a little. Give it a little bit and if the "burning" continues or turns more into an "agonizing pain" wrap the wrist in a damp cloth (warm if the actual pain hasn't started, ice cold if it has), take some advil or tylenol and call it a day. If you feel a similar sensation in your back, it will likely be in the lower back, and is happening because you've started leaning forward or slouching without your realizing it. Adjust how you're sitting and try to stretch your back, walk around for a bit and maybe lay down on something flat and hard, like the floor, just to give your back some rest.

Laptops cause their own set of problems, not only do you have the wrist issues that are far more abundant because you don't really have the option to put something below the keyboard to make it more comfortable for you, and a lot of people use them as their name suggests, and it's very hard to keep your hands flat and even when you're keeping them bent so you can use it while sitting on the couch. There's still the risk of back problems too, but also because you tend to be looking down while using a laptop rather than straight ahead it can cause strain to your shoulders. You can try and keep everything straight while you work, but let's admit it, that's not comfortable at all, not to mention it's really hard to work on a laptop that's resting on your knees while staring forward.

The most important thing to remember, especially while you're getting ready to work on NANOWRIMO, is to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Yes, your mind is working 1000 miles a second and you want to meet that word quota and be awesome, but if your hands and back are screaming at you to stop for at least a few minutes, listen to it or risk causing damage you'll have to live with for the rest of your life. Being in constant pain is not worth any book you write, because when you think about it once it's done, you won't think about how proud you are to have accomplished it, or how many people you made happy by writing it, or even how enjoyable the experience was to write it. The only thing you'll remember is how much pain you are in right now and that is when it started.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope the week is treating you all well so far. I'll be back on Friday with my normal review. I'm still waiting for the new edition of "The Light Rises" to show up on Barnes and Noble and the other retailers. If you see it somewhere and the overview has the words ***New Edition Available*** that is the new one. If for some reason they don't update those, the file itself will have the list of other titles to come. That is the new edition! Please tell everyone you know and love! I'll see you all on Friday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

10/15/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I'm glad it seems like we all made it through the weekend, even if it felt all too short. There are a lot of times when I wish every weekend was a three-day weekend, but then I think about how long that would mean my workdays are throughout the week and I take that back.

I'm starting to do my annual writing slow-down in preparation of NANOWRIMO, which is good in that it means hopefully I won't do damage to my wrists (well, any additional damage), but also sad in that any ideas I currently have either get to be put on the back-burner or will drive me crazy until I cave and write them down anyway. Not to say that's happening now, but I know my luck and am trying to prepare for it. As always my goal will be to get through the 60,000 words before Thanksgiving, and as I've mentioned before there is a bit of concern this year with that day being on the 22nd, but I'll do my absolute best and not cry if I can't make it by then. I'll at least be close and it'll just be a matter of getting the rest down in order to finish up.

I'm roughly 1/4 of the way through my notebook containing 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and it feels nice to revisit that story since I was being lazy about it. I like this method of writing in that it lets me add details that I either left out or was in too much of a hurry to write down when I was handwriting it, so it feels more like a content edit than simply transposing it. I know that's not true, but it's a nice feeling. As I've mentioned previously though this is an incredibly slow progress, and that does drive me a special kind of crazy.

As you all are likely aware by now, my weekends are generally filled with gaming of some sorts. I would like to say a word about that, mostly because of a situation that I find is still bothering me several days later. I won't go into the rule-specifics, but what I will say is that if you're at a friendly gathering of people who are involved in a casual tournament and you happen to be playing against someone who has a crappy deck build and is the only girl there, don't be a jerk and assume they don't know what they're doing. That's what happened to me, and when it initially happened I was rather tired and just didn't want to deal with arguing about rules, but when I was more awake the next day it was still on my mind and I went back through what happened and discovered that was actually the situation. So yes, don't be an ass is my recommendation there, it just makes you look like dirt.

Anyway! I hope everyone has a good start to their week. My Wednesday post will be up, but it will likely be a bit later. I'm going to be doing the point 'on the road' and by that I mean I'll be writing it up while I'm getting my car worked on. Until then, I hope everyone has a great couple days, and I'll see you then!

Friday, October 12, 2012

10/12/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back on this Friday morning! I don't have a whole lot of time, so I'm going to get right down to the good stuff. Besides, that's why you're all here anyway, isn't it?

Today I bring you 'Ours Is Just A Little Sorrow' by Gwen Hayes. It's a steampunk novel that, rather that playing on the idea of an alternate history like most have, took it another route and set the story in the future. After the world ended it was up to humanity to rebuild, and looking back at what historical records were left, the colony of New Geneva rebuilt itself based on the Victorian Era, since everything seemed to go wrong after that.

The story is about a young woman named Violet who is purchased from an orphanage by the man who owns Thornfield Abbey as the governess to his youngest son. However, his two older sons have taken a liking to her and want her for their very own. The only problem is that something else has noticed her, and it's going to have her, even if the ghosts that quietly haunt the abbey need to be awakened and everyone is taken to hell.

I picked this story because for one, it's been a while since I've played with another steampunk story, and two, I do like the concept the author used for it. As I mentioned above, most steampunk stories are set in an alternate past, usually in England (though there's been a rise in old west style lately), but this one took the opposite route and used it as a method humanity is trying to rebuild after a cataclysm.

'Ours Is Just A Little Sorrow' is available on Smashwords for $2.99, which is a reasonable price for the length of the story. I encourage everyone to pick it up and let the author know what you thought of it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope everything sees you well this weekend. I'm looking forward to relaxing, seeing friends, and also seeing my blog reach 4000 views! How exciting is that! I'm still waiting for Barnes and Noble to post the new edition of 'The Light Rises', but I'll post that up as soon as I see it. If anyone's see the new edition on Apple, please post your link! I don't have access to the iBookstore, so that would be lovely! Until then, I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10/10/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week has started seeing everyone well, we're at the halfway point, so that means just a little bit more to go until the weekend! If you follow me at Twitter (@ExplodingRunes) you've probably seen me spamming the internet regarding the new edition of 'The Light Rises' as well as it's FREE short-story companion 'Uncrossed Paths'. I would like to say I'm going to be slowing down, but that would be a lie...advertising is super expensive, which is what brings us to today's topic.

Advertising is expensive. I seriously can't stress this enough. If you go the cheapest ways, or the seemingly cheaper ways, you're likely going to be look at Facebook, Google, or doing actual promoted posts on Twitter, or even (awesome) Project Wonderful. All of these services charge per click, and you also set what you're daily "budget" is going to be. Sometimes you can go as little as $2.50 a day, which may not seem like a lot, but quite honestly my statements don't seem to reflect that at all. I have been completely turned away from Facebook's version of the ads, mostly because it has recently come out (and please correct me if this isn't actually happening) that their own system will click on the ads to boost how much traffic they're seeing. I have seen evidence of this on my pages, where I've seen the visits go up into the hundreds in one day but not a single sample (which is free) was downloaded. With "Uncrossed Paths" it was even more obvious since the entire story is free and there weren't any new downloads (aside from the one or two that generally happen a week) for the month. Google was a bit more reasonable, but it still didn't help with sales.

The other option that is available, that costs an absorbent amount of money, is to go through a promotional service. These are people who make it their lives to promote people's work and businesses, and they know they're good at it. A lot of the time you pay for packages (typically with the Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Adamantium levels) and each package will get you a different level of work they'll put into your product. I've looked at these as well and suddenly the cost I ended up paying for both Google and Facebook didn't seem so bad. I've also talked with people who have used promotional services before and they say the level of success is about equal if not less than average. Quite frankly I don't care for those odds.

In my experience the most successful route is the 'word of mouth' method. This is where social networking is a viking, especially Twitter. You tell someone about your product, let's say you have 20 people who follow you; if even one person tells their friends/followers, that opens your product up to let's say another 20 different people. This numbers continue to grow exponentially to the point where the amount of people talking about your product are seriously higher than anything you imagined. I always ask people to tell everyone they know and love about my books because I know this method works the best. Sometimes it's just friends helping friends, family helping family, but it's when you get that one person who isn't either talking that you're going to start making a lot of headway, since the likelihood you know any of the people they're telling isn't very high, which means your work is getting out to an entirely new audience. Facebook is similar since you can make Pages for your products and spam your news feed (guilty) until more people find it. There's also putting your links into your signatures in forums you frequent as well, since people there will click all on sorts of stuff.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. I hope this wasn't just seen as a rant and that it actually helped people make some choices regarding advertising. It's a tough world out there and I know that any bit of publicity helps, which was the whole point of this blog in the first place. For the most part indy authors aren't made of money, so paying some ridiculous price for advertising isn't very helpful. I'll be back on Friday though for my normal review, until then I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

10/08/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Welcome back everyone! I hope your weekend was full of fun and excitement. I was tired through most of mine, but I'm hoping to make up for it today. While I don't care for not having PTO, I do appreciate having banking holidays off, so I'll take whatever I can get.

According to Smashwords, the new edition of "The Light Rises" should be appearing in the other retailers soon, since it says it digitally shipped on Friday. I'll keep everyone posted though and will post links when they become available. It was a rewarding and humbling experience, and I'm glad it seems to have turned out well. I'm going to keep this all in mind for future projects as well.

I'm still trying to get mentally geared up for NANOWRIMO. I know I still have a few weeks, but it's good to get the creative brain juices flowing now so that I have less chances of getting stuck during the writing explosion that is November. As always, my goal will be to get finished before Thanksgiving, and since it's on the 22nd this year, that means I will need to average almost 2860 words a day. I'm a little worried about that number, since last year I averaged 2100, and while I did manage to achieve my goal, that did a number on my tendonitis riddled wrist. I just need to remember that pacing is important but that doesn't change my concern.

That's why I am letting myself rest as much as possible before that time comes. While the transposing work is slow on 'Daughter of the Shackled King' in the end I think the speed is probably for the best. It lets me work on something without doing more than I likely should. As I go through the month of November I'll continue to post my progress, and if anyone would like to do the same here that would be wonderful and fun. I know there are people who can do the entire 60,000 words in one night, and to those people I say "Congratulations" and also "Are you a robot?" because quite frankly that is just a staggering number that I can't comprehend doing in a 24 hour period.

It's really nice seeing some things come together, and as I also ponder getting ready to actually edit 'Rending the Seal' and how huge of a task that's going to be (mostly because the thing is super long) I can't help but wonder what it's going to feel like when one third of the whole story is told. It's going to be an experience, that's for sure.

Again I'd like to thank everyone for stopping by. As another plug at shameless self promotion, I'd like to remind everyone that "The Light Rises" is available on Smashwords. It's the new edition and I would appreciate everyone telling all the people they know and love about it. Advertising is expensive and I'm trying to save costs wherever I can, and word of mouth is the best kind of advertising. It's up there for $2.99, and if you've already purchased it, you can also get the new edition as an update to your e-reader, so you won't need to purchase it again. Thanks everyone and I hope to see you all back here on Wednesday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

10/05/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back on this day! I hope your week has seen you well. With a lack of time this morning to do a bunch of searching, I have decided that today will also be about shameless self promotion, so listen up!

Today I bring you 'The Light Rises' by me! It took a lot of blood and sweat, but the new edition is finally completed. It's been polished and made pretty for everyone to love, enjoy, and tell their friends because advertising is really expensive!

The story begins with a homicide detective and freelance necromancer, Keagan Gillette, returning to England after leaving two years prior in a bout of drunken grief. When he comes back he finds the world has moved on without him, including his friends, and for once he thinks he might be able to have a normal life too. That is until he sees a man in a white suit hold his hand up to the sky and create a blizzard in the middle of August. Seeing that he's once again been thrown into the thick of it, he must repair the bonds he severed and get ready to save the world from the coming Apocalypse.

I like this story, not just because I'm the one who wrote it, but because after not looking at it for about a year I can really appreciate where I pulled everything from. I'm a mythology buff, and I wanted to be as close to accurate to the source material as possible while still taking a bit of creative license with it. It helps me feel motivated to jump into editing for 'Rending the Seal' and also get ready for NANOWRIMO so I can start work on 'Through the Broken Mirror'.

'The Light Rises' is currently available on Smashwords for $2.99. It will be available again, at least the new edition will be, at the other retail locations once it goes back through the review process for the premium catalog. We needed to do some work on the cover image, so it needed to be resubmitted, but I'll let everyone know the second it digitally 'ships' to the other locations. In the meantime, check it out and tell your friends!

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. I hope you all have a great and fun weekend once this Friday is complete. I appreciate all the visits I get to this blog, it really helps keep me motivated to keep it up, so again I thank you for that. Until Monday, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10/03/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone, I hope your day is going well so far. I apologize for the late post, but I wanted to give my back as much rest as possible. That's a better excuse than I just wanted to be lazy, right? Anyway today will be when I hopefully complete Phase 3 of 'The Light Rises' overhaul. Then it will be sent off to Harper Voyager and also to Smashwords for everyone to enjoy.

All this editing though is seriously making my head spin. I know, and I have stated before, this is the step in the writing process that takes the longest, no matter how hard you try to make it not. If it wasn't for the fact I have a deadline to meet I would like likely be taking it slow, but since that isn't an option I think my head is going to actually explode. It doesn't help that I have decided that working on transferring from notebook to digital is going to be too slow of a process for NANOWRIMO as well, so my brain is going to melt, I think I just need to accept this.

With NANOWRIMO so close (in that there is now less than a month before it starts) I have been trying to mentally work out any kinks that will slow down the creative process with the story I will likely be working on for that month. I'm kind of nervous because I feel like I am going in at half-strength, and I really don't want to risk not getting to the 60,000 word goal. This is the point where solidifying plot becomes vitally important, which is what I wanted to talk about today.

So let's say you have your main character, awesome! They are dynamic, strong, have their own faults, and are basically a person. The question then becomes what are they going to do? Do they have goals, dreams, aspirations, and how do they work with the plot? These things need to fit together, since if you have someone who's dream is to become a steamboat captain and your story is about a post-apocalyptic wasteland of death where there is no water (kind of like the opposite of Waterworld, I guess), there's going to be some clashing. The point is that the people need to feel like they fit in the world you're making, and that's the only way the plot is going to feel organic.

This also goes back to what I mentioned previously about making your antagonist. They also need to fit into the world in a similar fashion, but it's alright is they go against the grain a little. If they didn't, they wouldn't really have a reason to be evil, right? There's something about the world they are against, and they are going to do everything in their power to make it go with them, and that's one way you can make your plot work. While the protagonist works to gain allies, fight the bad guys, and save the day, it's the antagonist that is helping drive the plot and create the problems the hero has to fight against. If you can make these two people fit together you will strike gold.

You also need to decide what kind of plot you're going to make. Is it going to be an overarching epic of fantastical journeys and magic? Or a coming of age story where someone needs to learn what it really means to find their place in the world? Both? It can be both, nothing says it can't, but if you do make sure it doesn't feel forced.

I hope this helps, it actually helped me remember things about my villain and such for the third story in 'The Light Rises' trilogy, so that's a step in the right direction. I appreciate everyone stopping by, it's really a big motivator for me. I also see we're almost to 4000 views, which is simply a staggering number. I hope we can get there by Friday, that would be super awesome! I will be back on Friday with my normal review, so I'll see everyone then! Have a Good rest of your week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

10/01/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope your weekend saw you all well. Mine was filled with friends and fun, which is nice even if it didn't feel like I had a day to just relax. That's fine though, that's what Wednesday's for, right? Well that and a couple errands-running adventures, but other than that, relaxing!

Right now I'm in my mini-break-ish period while waiting for someone to finish looking at 'The Light Rises' to let me know whether or not it makes sense and where I need to adjust a few things. I've been working more on getting 'Daughter of the Shackled King' out of its notebook and let me tell you, I am still shocked at how slow of a process that is. I was convinced that taking something that I wrote down and just typing it out would be something that would happen at a reasonable pace, but even after working on it all week I feel like I've only added two or three pages to the digital document. It's kind of bizzare.

I'll admit I'm a little concerned for the page difference I'm seeing right now. My notebook is on page 36-ish while my Word document is about ten pages less than that. If that page difference holds up I think it will be alright, but I have the feeling that gap is only going to become larger. I just hope the final document still ends up being over 120 pages; at least then I can feel like it's a real novel and not just a super (and ironically) long short story.

I'm also working on getting my brain in gear for NANOWRIMO, so at some point I'll have to take an actual writing break so as not to destroy my wrist during November. I must remember how I handled pacing last year and also decide what I'm going to work on for it. Likely it will be 'Through the Broken Mirror' so I can get the jump on finishing up that trilogy, but we'll see. There are still some details I haven't fully worked out yet, though I'm hoping they will happen in the form of grand epiphanies!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope everyone has a great start to their week. This week looks like it's going to be a little tough, but I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, and Wednesday will be a nice cool-down day. Until then, have a good couple days!

Friday, September 28, 2012

09/28/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I'm glad you made it here today and I hope you've all had a great week. I'm looking forward to a full weekend, and hope to have lots of fun through it all. For now though, let's get right to work!

Today I bring you 'Dead Birds' by Chad Inglis. Now because you get on my case like PETA or something, this story is not about how to kill birds. That would be awful and I would be sick to my stomach. Instead this story is about a city in a universe that's cracked and broken, and a homeless man named Holister sees to be the only one who notices the pigeons appearing without heads. He takes it upon himself to figure out why they're dying and what it means for everyone else.

Holister's been on the streets for several years, and finding the dead birds is the strangest thing he's seen so far. He The first one he thought was just an act of animal cruelty, but when he finds more, and then starts finding strange rings painted in their blood on the walls, he knows he's onto something more. Eventually another homeless man tells him to talk to an old woman named Maria and she shows him just how broken their world is.

I picked this story because it's about a man who would know the city better than anyone else seeing something wrong when no one else does. He takes it upon himself to solve the mystery, and there's a bit of hope that it inspires him to clean up his life and stop the one who's putting up the rings. This story feels like a small piece of a much bigger picture, so if this is a prequel I wouldn't be surprised. I also think the old woman is supposed to be the author's take on the Babba Yagga, so that was a nice surprise.

'Dead Birds' is available on Smashwords for Free and is relatively short, so I recommend picking it up on a lunch or coffee break. A word of note though, as of right now, their online reading/HTML format has something buggy going on with it now. In order to read this story I had to download a PDF. I'm sure they're aware of the issue and are working on it now, but I wanted to give a heads up before people started getting frustrated.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. My hope is that next week I will be able to do a promotional special thing for 'The Light Rises' since by then it should be ready to be tossed back out into the world. At least that's the hope, we'll see what reality believes in. Other than that, I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

09/26/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and I hope you're all having a good day! I apologize for the late post, but I decided that since I am at home celebrating my birthday by not being at work, that I could sleep in and be lazy a little. I have tried my best to be as productive as possible after completing Phase 2, and it has worked marginally well. Right now I am waiting for someone to read through the new and improved 'The Light Rises' to let me know where little fixes need to be made and then it will be all ready for the world!

I have become disappointed with my ability to get 'Daughter of the Shackled King' moved to a digital format, so that is what I have been working on since finishing Phase 2. Now the story itself I'm hoping to release after the sequel to 'The Light Rises' is done, mostly because I don't want to risk confusing people with a timeline, but then I have to ask myself, since that story takes place in modern New York, is that really an issue? Which is why I wanted to bring that up for today's topic.

Now technically, the books I'm working on are all set in the same universe, they are just broken up into two trilogies: 'Rending the Seal', 'The Light Rises' and 'Through the Broken Mirror' are all set in London between 1887 - 1907, while 'Daughter of the Shackled King', 'Feathers of the Dead', and 'War of the Pantheons' will be between 2012 - ??? (likely 2013 but that will depend on how I feel and publishing dates.) Sense they are the same universe there need to be consistencies between them, which there are, but because there's so much time in between the first and last stories, is release order really so important? They won't have the same characters or same conflicts, so does that mean if I finish 'Daughter of the Shackled King' that I can release it without any problems? I've seen many discussions regarding release order before, and I can understand why it would be preferred to do everything in chronological succession, though in this circumstance I'm curious about whether or not it will be fine as long as the set trilogies are together.

Let's say you're writing a series, and it is going to be five books long, and each book is supposed to be the events that happened in one year. The Harry Potter series is a good example of this. Now in that case having the books released in order was a very good idea. It helped the reader connect and grow with the characters, and also with the intended audience for those books being children it was a wonderful way for the readers to literally grow up with the characters. If you take your series and decide to write book 1 and the next book you release is taking place five years later, but then the next one is taking place three years after the first (so technically you went 1, 5, and 3) that has a high probability of confusing a lot of people. This is also going to lead you as the author to doing a lot of continuity checks before releasing anything. I'm not saying this doesn't work, I've seen where it has worked out wonderfully, but my thinking is that if your stories are less than a year apart, maybe releasing them in order is a good idea.

I'll admit that I'm not doing that with 'The Light Rises' and it's pairing stories. Part of that is because I got the idea for the other two after 'The Light Rises' was about to be published, the other side is that each story, while connected, is more than a year apart from the other and in the case of 'Through the Broken Mirror' will be roughly 16 or 17 years after 'The Light Rises'. They are also going to be fairly obvious that one is a prequel, the other is a sequel and will reference each other accordingly. Now then, with 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and it's successive stories, those will be released in chronological order because the amount of time that will pass between the three will likely be a year and a half (at the most). It's less confusing for the reader (and author!) to do it that way, and also more believable for the characters as well. In the end though, do what you feel is right in terms of your release order. If it makes sense for the world and the characters, then I'm certain you can make it all work out for the best.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today! I hope my ramblings made some kind of sense as well. I will be back on Friday for my normal review and will the enjoy my weekend filled with Magic and friends. Have a good rest of your week, see you on Friday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

09/24/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and thanks for coming back after the weekend. I am super tired, but I'm sure I'll figure out some way to wake up. I hope it went well for everyone, for me I look forward to a relatively short week since I have taken Wednesday off, which will likely help my sadness from having a one-day weekend.

At the very least Phase 2 is complete, which means there is one more to do before 'The Light Rises' revision is complete. That guy I live with has graciously volunteered to read it over for me to make sure things make sense. Which is good because frankly after doing technically two rereads in a row I don't think I can technically look at it and know whether or not it makes sense right now. I'm really excited though and I will keep everyone posted about progress.

Going through all this has kicked my brain into high gear regarding the prequel 'Rending the Seal' and the details about the sequel 'Through the Broken Mirror' and that is really exciting. My hope is to have everything mentally ready for 'Through the Broken Mirror' by November so that I can get a jump-start during NANOWRIMO. December will likely be a tiny writing break time in which I play Persona 4: the Golden, but we'll see how that ends up.

I also listen to lots of music at work, and whenever 'Dust in the Wind' plays it reminds me of my mental 'opening music' to 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and every time the only thing I want to do is go home and work on it. I honestly just wish there were a few less hours I could be at work so I could write, or that the day was a little bit longer so I would have more time. Though I'm going for the first mostly because I would rather those few hours longer be spent sleeping.

All in all I'd say things are going well. As I said, once things are ready I'll put up links and such for the revised edition of 'The Light Rises' for everyone to see. In the meantime, please take these moments to check out my short story collection 'Uncrossed Paths' and share it with your friends. It's almost to 500 downloads, which I know after a year doesn't seem like much, but it would be great to get it to that number this week.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. I'll be back Wednesday with my normal post. I hope everyone has a great start to their week and I'll see you then!

Friday, September 21, 2012

09/21/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you were all able to stop by for another quick review. I'll get right to it so you won't have to wait any longer.

Today I look at 'Sword of Kings' by Matthrew Iden. It's a short story about a king who discoverers his sword, passed on through generations, is dying. He must now find a way to save the sword that has been a symbol of his family for generations, but he must also consider the cost of doing so.

Andreas always thought of himself as a good king, as did his people. He was bold, courageous, and was always strong and just, however when his sword, aptly named the Sword of Kings, begins to break and become heavy in his hands, he fears what that image means to his people. The sword has always been as light as a feather in the hands of all kings, but now he is barely able to lift it and he must discover why.

I picked this story because I like the idea of a short story proving to people that you can have a massive and very powerful story with so few words. Story stories are challenges to a lot of people because they want to put in more detail, description, and other things that make full-length stories what they are. The author here has managed to do all of that while keeping his story under 10,000 words, which is a talent.

'Sword of Kings' is available on Smashwords for .99, and I'm sure will be available at other vendors soon. I recommend picking it up, as a tale of self discovery is always a fun read. So please pass it along to your friends as well, I'm sure the author would appreciate it.

Another quick message before I go, yesterday I learned that Elizabeth Marshall, you may remember her name as the nice lady who wrote 'When Fate Dictates' a while back, is in a bit of a bind. Recently she signed up to publish through Amazon, and they have a contract that states authors can only sell through them, so being the good person she was, she unpublished her works from other publishers. Recently however her books have been popping up in order retailers (such as Apple and Kobo), but she did not put them there. Her newer books (I'm not sure about what's going on with 'When Fate Dictates') are only supposed to be available on Amazon, but someone is posting them elsewhere, so if you see them please report them or somehow get a message to her so she knows what's going on. She is writing Amazon, but is really worried they will think she's trying to breach the contract. Please help her out anyway you can.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! I will be back on Monday, so hopefully my short weekend will be alright. Phase 2 is almost done, so I am getting more and more excited! Hopefully I will have good news to report on Monday too. Until then, I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

09/19/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! Sorry the post is later than normal, but it's my day off and I felt like relaxing for a little bit. I would have just blamed a cat, but that doesn't seem fair. I got news at work regarding the status of things, but was given good reviews and compliments, so I feel a bit mixed today. I think not being at work will be a good thing overall. Especially since that means I can get lots of progress done on Phase 2.

Today I wanted to take a look at how to handle your environment while writing. I'm not talking about fighting off wild animals (or in my case cats) to defend your right to create. I'm more trying to focus on your ability to stay focused while the world tries to distract you from writing. The world will try to get you to lose focus in a number of ways, and sometimes it just feels like fate is against you, so I'm going to talk about that.

This is something that is a bit harder to go into detail about because it's very subjective. Some people can get work done on a crowded bus, while others can't even focus on something that isn't the road or else their insides feel like they are going to explode. Myself, if I am sitting still (that is not in a moving vehicle) I can write pretty much everywhere, but there are still the risks of distraction. Some people get around this by creating a solitary work area just for them that's quiet and away from everything else. If you're able to do that and the quiet doesn't drive you crazy, more power to you. Though if you're a parent or have pets that seem to require as much attention as a small child, this really isn't an option for you.

Other people give themselves a designated writing time, which I've mentioned before I approve of. I like this because it helps form routines and humans like routines, which in the end will mean that there will be more writing in the future. Now when this 'time' is will vary depending on your circumstances. It could be as simple as when you get home from work and just want to relax and focus on something that isn't office politics for a couple hours, to when the kids are finally asleep/quiet and you can get some time to wind down.

Some people have the ability to block out almost all possible distractions while writing, which means they can do it just about anywhere at anytime. I would say I fall into that category, but I know I don't. There is always something that has the ability to pull away my attention, but there are people who don't have that issue. I don't really know what to say about them except that I hope they notice fire alarms and other emergency alerts when they're 'in the zone'.

Something else that there is little control over is problems with the medium. Some people still hand write everything, but eventually the manuscript will need to be put into some kind of typed format, and who knows what sort of problems can happen there. Maybe you go in with a plan to write a ridiculous number of pages that day, but your computer just wants to update and restart, or (god forbid) there's an actual problem with the computer. This is something I've run into and I nearly died. Obviously I didn't because we got everything fixed (and a new computer) but this is something that not everything has the chance to enjoy.

The important thing about writing in today's world is to partially accept what it's going to throw at you as a distraction. Loud noises, animals, people, explosions, computer problems, fate kicking you in the pants, and the like are all things that you're going to have to face as a writer. The crucial part is how you handle them; if you can stay focused and keep telling yourself that no matter what your story will get told, then it will happen. Now it might be a little slower than you'd like, but speed is not going to help you. As much as everyone would love to be Stephen King and have his ability to pop up a new 1000+ page epic in less than a year (you know, because he's retired, and a robot), that just isn't going to happen. Be happy with what progress you make, and remember that any progress is still progress.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. I will be back on Friday with my weekly review. I've noticed that our visitors have been increasing over the past several weeks, and that is very promising and uplifting. I appreciate everyone who's told their friends and who also keep coming back. Thanks a bunch and I hope you have a great rest of your week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

09/17/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope your weekend was fun and hopefully productive. I am getting ready for my slightly earlier/long shift this week, so I am working hard to get myself to wake up.

Phase 2 of the re-read of 'The Light Rises' has commenced, and my hope is that I can plow through it as quickly as possible. The reason for that is that Harper-Collins, if the name isn't familiar they are a big deal Publishing Company, has said they will be accepting submissions for the first two weeks in October via their e-book branch for the first time since 2001. This is really exciting, but it does mean I have a deadline. It's not that I don't love having the book available via Smashwords it would just be fantastic to also have a big-name publisher that will also put the book into print have my book series.

Now none of this means that I'm going to abandon the indy publishing circuit. It absolutely doesn't. However, with a chance like this I really can't just let it pass me by. I'm aware that there will be thousands doing the same thing I am, and since I was doing this work anyway it's not that big of a deal to me to just do it a bit faster. I figure with how long 'The Light Rises' is, if I do about 10 - 20 pages a day I should be able to get it completed by the end of the first two weeks in October. Here's to hoping my plan works!

I'm sorry this post is relatively short, but time is of the essence, and I need to make sure I get everything done. The interview went well last week and they say I should hear back this week to know the results. There are a lot of good and deserving people going after the two permanent positions, so I hope whoever gets them are really happy. For now though I'm going to focus on what's important. I'll see everyone back here on Wednesday, so until then I hope you all have a great start to your week!

Friday, September 14, 2012

09/14/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I don't have much time so I'll try to make my little intro as quick as I can for you. The interview went well (I think) and I bring you a story to celebrate it with!

Today I have 'Wired: A Broken Fairy Tale' by Rabia Gale. It's a retelling of Rapenzel set in a post-apocalyptic world. A girl who's more machine than man is raised by a woman who sees her as a chance to control the world. Giving her the chance to learn and experience information on her own, it's not until she meets her prince that the girl sees the true blight around her.

The Wizard Grothel told her the story of how her parents abandoned her, and how she was better than any of that. Once she was even told she was part of a race that would rule the world, but that's not what she wants. She just wants to learn about everything, and her hair acts as wires to connect her to that information. She always thought of her mother as her savior and protector until she met him, her prince. Now she must choose between staying in her tower or fighting for her freedom and that of the people who fear her mother.

You know me, I'm always a fan of fairy tales getting mixed around, and this story is no different. 'Wired: A Broken Fairy Tale' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free and is a fun way to spend a break of lunch. The author even says he enjoys re-imagining fairy tales so do check out what else he has floating about too.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! I hope you all are looking forward to a fun weekend. I'll just enjoy the fact I get a full one this time around. I also need to get to work on speeding through Phase 2 of my editing project for 'The Light Rises' and while I seriously doubt I'll finish this weekend, I'm hoping to make some vast amounts of progress. For now though, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

09/12/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. The temperature is slowly starting to drop and things are making progress regarding my reading. Today I will bring my laptop with me, not because I assume I'll get to Phase 2 today, but if I do I want to be ready. There are also interviews starting for a permanent position, and myself and my fellow temps are excitedly hopeful!

The question I pose to you all today is a rather simple one: How do you remember all your ideas? I've been asked this before when someone was curious about how I can pick up a notebook, write for a few minutes, go to work, do some other things, and then come back to it and pick up where I left off. I thought it was an interesting question mostly because I didn't have that good of an answer for them.

For me, a majority of my ideas live in my brain. Sure there are pieces that I write down to keep everything straight (timelines are your friends, especially when dealing with something that spans at least one century) but for the most part I keep everything locked away in my brain bits. I have the general plot, major scenes, characters, and how they relate to one another in my mind, but I know that there are others that write everything down and make fantastically complicated looking webs of plot and characterization. I've been curious about making one someday, just to see what it all looks like, but I'm always worried mine will never be as interesting looking as others.

Sometimes people just need to write out an outline to help fuel their memories of what's happened, what's happening, and what's going to happen. This is also helpful when keeping track of events across multiple stories, or in the event you're dealing with time travel. This is by far the most organized way to keep things cohesive in my opinion, and I've done some of it myself since in 'Daughter of the Shackled King' there is a character that's lived for almost two centuries, so I used him as my guide for 'when things happened and how old was he when it did' so that I know at what point his life was at during 'The Light Rises' and so-forth.

So again, I ask what works best for you? Is there some kind of method that I haven't thought of, or that you're particularly proud of? I'd really like to see other examples, especially since I know there are some things that work for others, and things that don't, but if something is completely different it might work for them. My goal here has always been to help out where I can, so if there is something I'm missing I'd love for people to see it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I look forward to seeing everyone back here on Friday for another review. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of my schedule, which is a great relief. I hope everyone has a great rest of the day and I'll see you back here Friday!