Monday, December 30, 2013

12/30/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! Can you believe that 2013 is almost over? How ridiculous is that? It seems like the year just blew by and while I haven't decided exactly how much I'm looking forward to 2014, I don't really have a choice in its arrival so I suppose I'll just have to deal with the fact that Wednesday's going to happen whether I want it to or not.

I hope everyone saw the link I posted on Friday. I really don't know what's wrong with my ability to manage time in the morning lately. Luckily I was able to at least get that out there for everyone to see. Right now I'm just trying to make it through the morning with the hope that the afternoon will be better than right now. I feel like I'm dragging my everything behind me. It's sucks. It's one of those days where I wish I could use the fact my cat really doesn't like the idea of me getting out of bed as a viable excuse not to go into work.

I keep wondering if I'm going to do a resolution for the new year, I usually don't, mostly because they are really difficult to keep. I know that sounds incredibly lazy, but so many things could potentially happen to screw them up that I haven't figured out what would be a realistic one. Sure I'd love to lose weight, but wouldn't all of us? I'd also like to get at least two books completely finished and published, but I really don't know if that's realistic or not. It's just really up in the air and part of it will end up depending on how my family does. We'll see!

What are everyone's plans or goals for the new year? Even if you don't do the resolution things, it's never a bad thing to at least try and do some goal setting. Do you plan on finishing that story or starting a new one? I'd love to hear all about it!

For now though, I'm going to get ready for that work thing they decided that I needed to do. I'll hopefully be back on Friday unless I forget how to manage my time again in the morning. If not I'll at least get another link between my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Wednesday I will (hopefully) be sleeping in, at least that's the goal and also hopefully be feeling a bit better. For now I hope you have a great start to you week and also a fantastic start to the new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

12/23/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. We are closing in on Christmas which means it's time for the last minute panic that people generally go through when trying to figure out if they got everything done, or if they have everything they need to get those last-minute pieces completed. That's where I'll be today after work as I do some baking and get my present wrapping done while I don't need to be hoovering over everything in my kitchen. Hooray for December, right?

Also, I'm sorry there wasn't an actual post, but hopefully everyone saw the link to the author's book that I posted everywhere. I had time to find and read the story, just not enough time to actually write up the review for it. I'm sure I've mentioned before how crunched for time I am sometimes on Fridays, and I had spent part of my morning trying to get some fudge to solidify a bit more. Sadly that part ended up not working as much as I had hoped, and even after putting it in the freezer it was still not a solid mass. White chocolate is weird. At least the flavor was good.

I am taking a look back at 2013 and deciding that it was a fairly good year overall. There was a bit of stress at times, but in general I'd say it was a pretty good year. The end of it is appearing to be a bit rocky, but we're getting there, and things'll be just fine in the end, but for the most part it was a good year. I have some big plans for 2014, so hopefully things will go my way to help me accomplish them. January will mark the start of the last round of edits of 'Rending the Seal' and then it'll also (I really don't see that part taking the full month) mark the beginning of 'Through the Broken Mirror' starting that process. I sense good things coming, and I am really excited about it.

 I'm sure I don't need to let anyone know there won't be a post on Wednesday, but just in case I'll still mention it. I will be getting up at some ridiculous early hour and starting my celebration with family and friends. I like Christmas, I really do, I don't like that everything has to start earlier than my normal shift at work does and I am most certainly not a morning person. It's only one day a year though and I am willing to make that sacrifice!

Thanks for stopping by today, I will be back on Friday. Have a great week and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and that it's full of warmth and all of the fun times you could ever ask for.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12/18/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is being nice to all of you so far. I am still in my calming down stages, which is very nice to have even if I am still at work during them. Things went well so now it's just a matter of getting things fixed (like the washer) and then everything will be back to 100%. We are also literally a week away from Christmas, so I know a lot of you have also just realized that and have started your own form of panicking. Don't worry, you'll make it!

I've talked about a lot of things here in regards to writing and various topics, which is why sometimes I repeat myself. That is sometimes on purpose, because things are important and should be repeated, but other times I will forget what's already been covered. So if we've already talked about this recently I will apologize and someone can yell at me about it later.

Right now my current mission in life is to find things for a good cover image for 'Rending the Seal' now there are several ways to go about it, and my first method is to go to the internet for images that don't have some kind of watermark or have a copyright on them. There are several royalty free image sites around, and I have used them in the past. They are quite helpful. However my search for part of what I'm looking for appears to be in vain and that is incredibly frustrating. I didn't know there was a plant called the Seal or Key of Solomon or just the Solomon Flower or whatever, it comes up whenever I search for Seal of Solomon so that tiny little flower is incredibly frustrating.

I'm sure that I'm not alone in this, not that there are a bunch of other people looking for images of the Seal of Solomon...which there might be? No, more than they can't find the one thing they're looking for that would be absolutely perfect for their cover. There are a few ways to handle this. One would be to use a design software, a reference picture and hope for the best to make your own. Another would be to pay someone you know in some kind of food to do that, especially when you know they are a lot better at it than you are, and have the tools (and computer, and software) to do it without worrying about hardware melting. Another option, and I understand that not everyone has this one, is that through Smashwords, they have a list of people who do cover art and they have access to their own stock images and such. You will need to pay them in real cash money (not food, though I think it should be a viable payment system) but you will get a good cover out of it. Now I also don't know how much creative control you have over it when you work with someone from the Smashwords list, but I'm sure it is different for each person, and the last time I glanced at it the list was some 50-people long, so you do have options there.

Remember your cover is one of the last things you do before officially publishing your work. It is the single cause of both the least and the most stress among a lot of authors. Mostly because they don't think about it until the very end, and then suddenly they need a cover and they hit this blank wall of crazy and can't do anything about it. Then they think about how important good cover art is, and things get overwhelming and the stress piles on from there. I'm sure that isn't doing a whole lot to help. The point is though that in your downtime when you're taking a break or between edits, or whatever you're doing, try to at least get an idea for what you want your cover to look like. That way when the time does come to start working on it, you have a general thing to work with, and you have considerably less stress going into it. You, your brain, and whoever you're potentially working with will thank you.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! Remember, 'The Light Rises' is still on sale for the holidays and until the end of the year. so please stop by Smashwords and use the coupon UM87K to get the discount! I'll see you all Friday though, so I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Monday, December 16, 2013

12/16/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I'd like to start things off by apologizing for Friday. There was a substantial lack of notice and information, except on twitter, and even then it was misspelled about why there wasn't a post. It really wasn't planned. See on top of my pretty much god awful stressful week, I woke up on Friday with a bloody nose, and while I'm sure you all love the visual early in the morning, I will just say this wasn't one you could stuff some paper up there and pinch the bridge of your nose and be done with it. I sat down at the computer to try and get some work done, but by the time I did that I saw the time and realized that wasn't going to happen, and just as I put up the twitter message, things went from slowing down back to 'yeah it's just pretty much worse again' so I had to run to try and get things taken care of. Luckily I somehow managed to not be late for work, but I really wasn't able to do anything else productive that morning. I am really sorry, I haven't had one of those like that in over ten years, and of course that is how my Friday had to start.

I got 'Rending the Seal' back from my beta-reader/mother this weekend, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of the things I need to fix aren't, in her opinion, plot points that made no sense. There are some spelling issues and grammar things, which I expected, and realistically I couldn't see those anymore, which was the whole reason I needed someone to look at it. There were some contextual things, just some sentences don't seem to work or need to be structured a little differently, but overall not a whole lot needs to be changed. Even the parts I was worried about she said were fine, and considering previous conversation haven't gone nearly as well I was a little shocked. I am enjoying my break though, so I figure once January starts I'll jump right into it and get to work. I actually don't think it should take me too terribly long either.

Which leads me to trying, desperately, to find images for my cover. I want to put the Seal of Solomon on it, but apparently finding a good picture of it doesn't exist! That is so frustrating! Admittedly it is also a much simpler design than I remembered, but that doesn't change the fact that finding a high-resolution image shouldn't be impossible. So if anyone knows where I can find one, because it does not exist on the royalty free site I am registered at, that would be awesome!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'm hoping really hard that today goes well. I hope your week starts out nicely and that you all have a lot of fun. Remember, 'The Light Rises' is on sale until the end of the year using coupon UM87K at Smashwords, so please check it out and tell everyone you know!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12/11/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the week has been nice to you so far. Mine has been a whirlwind of everything that I am SUPER done with and yet it's only Wednesday so that isn't an option for me. I am going back to work today though (basically took Monday and yesterday off) even though my stomach is still a twisted ball of stress pain with the hopes that having time to not think about everything will be a good time. For now though, I'll get to something that I'm sure you all care about significantly more.

We are roughly halfway through December, which is always a fun time I suppose, though I'm sure there are a lot of you out there trying to balance writing and the holiday season. Never fear, for this is a joyous time and just like with NaNoWriMo, pacing and scheduling will be your friend. There's no reason that you need to stress over one thing or another, unless you have some kind of deadline that's coming up, then by all means, carry on and don't let me stop you. Just also remember that we're all human and by that logic hopefully also reasonable and understanding individuals.

Now admittedly any deadline that I have given myself I can do so because I don't work at the mercy of an agent or a contract telling me what I have to do and when. I know there are people out there that don't have that option. This is where that scheduling thing I mentioned before comes in handy. Work out your day so that you have a designated time to do your writing, and to do whatever else it is you do. This will help lower you stress levels significantly and you will find it comforting too, mostly because of that little routine thing your brain likes so much. Also, just like with NaNoWriMo, talk to your family and loved ones about what you're doing, they will seriously understand what you're doing and why it seems like you're going crazy and tearing your hair out.

This time of year is hard on all of us, whether you're taking a break after NaNoWriMo so that your hands don't seriously decide to sever themselves from your body and wander off to live a painless life, or you've jumped right back into things and are editing the crap out of stuff or are writing a whole new story. You have to work that around holiday planning, shopping, people, working, and all bunches of other stuff. It's hard, so don't take it out yourself. Make sure to make time to rest because come a couple weeks from now you are really going to need it.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by today. Hopefully I'll be back on Friday if things don't continually implode. I hope this week is nice to all of you. Have a great rest of it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

12/09/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope your weekend was nice and that you were able to at least stay a little warm. Here where I live we are still in the middle of this god-awful cold snap, but they are saying it's going to get better soon. Now better means moisture is going to be coming through the area, so that only means a couple potential things will happen, but then they're saying it'll get too warm for snow afterward so I'll take that happily. For right now's still too freakin' cold...

I happened to get a glance at where my beta-reader is for 'Rending the Seal' and was pleasantly surprised to see  they are about to the last 4th of the story. Hopefully that means come January I can dive right back into everything. I'm also hoping that anything I need to adjust (spelling errors and what-not) will be easy to find and won't necessarily require me to search through every single page. It'll also be interesting to see what happened to a specific area that I was worried about being a little crowded/unnecessary.

Currently I would just like things to work the way they are supposed to. Our washer is still broken and the maintenance people are "researching" how to go about fixing it and yesterday the property laundry room broken down entirely so I wasn't able to do laundry at all. Luckily I have things to wear, but that did put a huge wrench into everything. We've now been without a washer since before Thanksgiving, which admittedly we didn't expect it to get fixed until after that holiday anyway, but still, being told they have to vaguely 'research' it and then having not heard any real update until that guy I live with directly asked the management about it is a little frustrating. I understand they are trying to determine if they'll have to replace the whole unit, and since we're on the 3rd floor and I really have no idea how they got the thing up here in the first place, I get that part, but at least keep us updated.

In other news you actually care about, 'The Light Rises' is still on sale until the end of the year. Just head over to Smashwords and use coupon UM87K to get it 75% off. Tell everyone you know since there might be someone they can get it for as a present on their reading device!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'll be back on Wednesday so if there's a specific topic you'd like for me to look at just let me know. For now try to stay warm and have a great start to your week!

Friday, December 6, 2013

12/6/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I did everything I could through the bitter cold this morning to find something to post and I did it. I don't have a lot of time though so I will apologize for the post being short, but I'll get right to it! I bring you 'The Christmas Ornament' by J.E. Bolton and it tells the story of Marcus who had become very bitter about the holidays until one moment when he hit rock bottom and had a conversation he didn't think was possible. He learned not the 'true meaning of Christmas' thing but more of what it means to keep going in the face of darkness and how to turn a bad situation into a good one.

Things hadn't always been had around the holidays for Marcus and his family, when he was younger he loved it, but as time went one and the older generation started going away he started becoming jaded. Then the ornament that had been in the family for generations broke and the rest of his faith with it. Now he also learned the secret that his grandfather had kept from them for years and with it questions about all of the good he'd experienced in the past started coming up. Seeing really no other way out Marcus goes to the cemetery trying to find answers in his darkest hour.

'The Christmas Ornament' is available on Smashwords for free, so please go check it out and tell everyone about it. I'm sure the author would appreciate the holiday boost for them. The story does have a feel good end to it, so don't worry, I'm not going to promote a super depressing holiday story for everyone to read.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'm sorry it was short, but I'm a little short on time, I'll be back on Monday though. So I hope you all have a fun weekend and that you all manage to stay as warm as you possible can!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12/4/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! It was the coldest night of the year up here apparently and I am feeling it. Well I feel all of the cold, but I am especially feeling it now in that I am convinced I will never, ever be warm again. Almost all of my shopping is done with just a few stray things floating about that I still need to get. I'm rather satisfied with myself with how quickly that happened, though I suppose nothing's arrived yet so it's really only half done.

Now that it's December I'm sure you're all wondering what you're supposed to do now. Your brain is winding down wondering what just happened, since you built up a habit, got it all happy, then tore it down suddenly. There are a few options, and what you do is really up to you and depends on where you are in the grand scheme of things. Are you writing a series, is the thing you were working on for NaNoWriMo done, was it something you were going to publish, and do you want to do more for it? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before taking whatever next step you want to take.

Also, did you want to take a break? The standard for December is that it is a month spent editing and driving yourself absolutely crazy. For me it is spent pretending stuff doesn't exist anymore. Not because I didn't like it or don't appreciate it, but because after spending a month focusing on something like that, immediately going back to the beginning isn't going to help me look at anything objectively for the purposes of editing. If you are going to take a break of any kind you need to schedule it for a specific length, so make sure to put an end-date on there if you do. None of this 'I'll just play video games until I decide to do something else' business, if you're taking December off, you take December off, then on January 2nd (because the 1st is a holiday, let's be realistic) you grab your stuff and get back to work. Right now that is my plan, mostly because I think my health will benefit. My hope was that 'Rending the Seal' would be ready for the world around that time, but I wasn't able to factor in my beta-reader's sudden travel time and also their reading speed, so it'll likely be the end of January that it'll be ready (unless there's something massive that needs to be done, which is entirely possible) then it might be later. However, I have other stuff to work on, so even if she doesn't get it to me by then I'll still be working.

If you do want to work on the stuff you wrote for NaNoWriMo you need to think about what it is you want to do with it. 50,000 words is roughly 75-ish pages (if you're using 12-point, Times New Roman, single-spacing font) which is a good short story length. If you want to expand on it you can always edit and put in more detail, or you can keep the length, do some edits and show the world what you did. Or maybe you don't particularly like that story, but you do like the world, you can always do somethings completely different. There are so many options it's ridiculous, even the series word I mentioned up there. Either way remember to have fun with it, because if you don't enjoy it there's really no point.

Thanks so much for stopping by. As a reminder, 'The Light Rises' is available for 75% until the end of the year using coupon UM87K, so please tell everyone in order to help with their holiday shopping. I'll be back on Friday, and if you have anything to tell me just let me know!

Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2/2013 Magnificent Monday

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope your weekend was long and served you all well with lots of food at parts. With having a day off, then working, then a day off, then working, mine messed with my internal schedule something fierce, but I'm sure I'll be good after today. I also hope that the end of NaNoWriMo was great for all of you and that everyone reached the 50,000 words without issue and that you all wrote fun stories. That is the point of that month after all, I mean ideally the stories are interesting too, but if you don't have fun with it, then there' really no point!

Right now I'm still waiting for 'Rending the Seal' to get back from my beta-reader/mother, so that will give me more time to continue resting my hand. As much as I really do want to jump right back into things I know it will be better to keep resting rather than push it more than I need to. I know that right now it's in the delicate stages of being better/can go back to being worse at anytime so I need to be careful. I just feel anxious and want to get back to work so badly! Oh well, I suppose it just means more Pokemon X for me.

The shopping season is now among us, and that means more spending and more stress, which is just nuts. I hope to do most of mine online, but we'll see how that ends up going. I'm sure there's going to be at least something I'll be forced to get in store. I just hope to do that somewhere in the middle when the crowds aren't too ridiculous. I wish you all luck in your similar endeavors as well.

I also hope that with December will get me back onto my normal posting schedule. I do appreciate all of the patience and understanding about how things went in November. Each year I can feel my wrists getting closer and closer to where they will need to get worked on, and I want to try and delay that as much as possible, especially since the books aren't done yet. So I really do need to work out the writing time as much as I can during November, so I do appreciate the understanding if there were days that I couldn't do a rush post like Friday's generally are. Things should be better this month though.

Thanks again every for stopping by today. As a reminder, you can pick up 'The Light Rises' for 75% off for the rest of the year using coupon UM87K through Smashwords, so please tell everyone you know and love about it! I'll be back on Wednesday! See you all then!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11/27/2013 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello everyone and welcome back once again to this last actual week of November! This is a really ridiculous week for a lot of people so I hope it's being nice to you all. I am trying to work out how to do all of my Christmas shopping by doing as little...going out into the world and actually shopping in person as I actually can because that will solve a lot of the lack of actual time to do that problem that I have. However I know there are some of you out there are still working on finishing up your stories for NaNoWriMo, so let's talk about that and not about my stress for holiday shopping!

We are getting down to the wire, which I'm sure just made all of your blood pressures spike a little and I'm sorry. The good news though is that it means you're almost done! If you've managed to get this far without having to deal with any of that pesky pain or anything either it means you have done better than I have and you deserve a cookie (or more food than anyone should ever eat, but you'll get that tomorrow). The thing is that if you are finishing up your story in the 50,000 words, it also means your brain is about to become a huge jerk and we need to prepare for that, mostly because it's likely already started.

So remember how I mentioned because that the brain likes habits? Well over the last month you've started a new one and the brain likes it, and it also realizes that you are coming to the end of it, and it does not want that to happen, so it is going to try and sabotage you everywhere. Again, because it's a jerk. I'm not talking about reminding you about all of the Holiday crazy that has probably already started (though that is part of it) I'm talking about sewing the seeds of doubt and all that stuff that will try and make you not actually finish it.

Your brain is a jerk, and you need to keep going. If you are doing the 1667 words a day quota that means you have only a little bit more to go. It is a wonderful feeling to accomplish the full 50,000 words and you are so very close. If you think you can get more done, then do that too! Go for it, your brain wants to keep the habit going that's all it's doing and it will put up roadblocks in order to keep it up, even if it means you get to 49,9992 by the end of the day on the 30th. You can win, just keep going. It is a fun month and you can't just focus on all of the stress of everything else because then you'll never want to do it again.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by today. I hope this week is and will see you all well. Whether or not there will be a post on Friday will determine how Thursday night goes. If I am up all night again like I was tonight I don't think there will be one because I don't know if there will be enough time for me to wake up enough to find a story to review, but we'll see. I really feel bad about being a slacker, but I do think the time off has been good for my hands. If anything Friday is the 29th, so happy shopping, happy almost end of month, and happy NaNoWriMo! You all deserve it!

Monday, November 25, 2013

11/25/2013 Magnificent Monday! - NaNoWrMo Edition!

Hello everyone and welcome! I'm terribly sorry for the lack of communication regarding the whole lot of nothing that happened on Friday. I was still enjoying the fact that I had finished up my writing Thursday and had come to the realization of what that meant for everything I had been working on, and also I seriously felt what finishing Thursday morning had done. It was like working out way too much but not actually feeling it until the next day. I have spent the whole weekend trying to get that to calm down and have been partially successful, so I apologize, but oh man am I still excited!

I do hope that everyone who is still working on their stories for NaNoWriMo is having a lot of fun with them. You are almost done and that means this week is your home stretch, and that this week is also going to be the one that is going to throw the most non-writer's block related curve balls at you, especially if you live in the US, due to holidays and shopping in order to prepare for them. The day before Thanksgiving is a ridiculous day for shopping for groceries (guess what I get to do after work on Wednesday?) and the day after is the absolutely nuts day some people decide it's ok to kill each other for things they didn't want to kill each other over a week ago. These days not to mention the day of Thanksgiving are going to be a serious roadblock in regards to your writing, but don't fret I'm sure you can do it!

If you are done with the 50,000 are you able to "validate" your novel now on the NaNoWriMo website. That's basically where you copy and paste what you wrote and their little computer will actually agree that the 50,000 words are legit and not just 'kitty' written a bunch of times. I might actually accept kitty, I have no idea. I've gotten mine done though and pre-ordered my t-shirt! Yay stuff!!

As for my moment of excited self promotion and somewhat uncontrollable gloating or bragging and I really don't want it to come off as me trying to rub stuff in people's faces, but I am ridiculously excited about what it means to be done with the writing portion of 'Through the Broken Mirror'. It means that the first trilogy is done for the whole series. My, what will end up being a 6-book series, is halfway to being written (I won't say done because, haha....editing) but it is halfway written and in my computer. Technically it's more than half because 'Daughter of the Shackled King' is now being edited too, but one full trilogy has been done and it seriously just blows my mind just how many pages that really is. I am appreciative of all the support that I have gotten from friends and family and am thankful to their patience in the future while I get the rest completed. We're halfway there, just got to get the rest done!

For putting up with me this month and all of the others, I want to give a token of my gratitude, 'The Light Rises' is on sale for the rest of the year using coupon UM87K which will make it 75% off! Please tell everyone you can so they can all get the discount! Have a great start to the week and I'll be back on Wednesday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/2013 Magnificent Monday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Good morning everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend saw you all well. I took the time to relax a bit after last week's rush to get everything ready for Friday while at the same time getting my writing done. Luckily I managed to get everything together, but still, man that was tough at times let me  tell you.

The craft fair went well. I ended up doing a bit better than I did last time, which is promising. Hopefully that means that I'll be even more prepared the next time around too. I have a few prints to touch up and once those are delivered I'll be all done. It was a fun experience, but I am really happy that it only happens a couple times a year. It is exhausting on a social level for me and I just need the time to calm down afterward.

NaNoWriMo is going right along too. I am currently in the homestretch to get to 50,000 words. I'm not sure if the story will be finished within that span, but I figure it won't be long after that if it isn't so I might just take a bit of extra time at my own pace to finish things up if I need to. I am to the really dramatic parts though, so that's kind of fun to finally get them down. Right now my word count is at 40,948, and according to their little ticker thingy I should be done by the 21st which is cool because I'd love to have a Friday to just relax and not feel rushed, especially right before the holiday hits. I am really happy with how this story is turning out too, it feels very solid, at least from what I can remember of it having read it before to get read and adding to it now. I think the character's reactions are all very realistic for what's happening, and I think the ending will be satisfying to all of the future and potential readers out there.

Couple things I wanted to give a heads up about. I just remembered I have an appointment Wednesday morning, so that post will not be happening, my apologies there. Also, for the craft fair I made a coupon for 'The Light Rises' so if you want to get it for 75% off, feel free to use coupon UM87K through Smashwords. It's good until the end of the year too! So that'll get you through all of the holidays if you want to use it as a gift for someone.

For now, I'll let you all enjoy the start of your week. I hope it's a great one. I'll try to look forward to my appointment with all of the enthusiasm that anyone would for a doctor's appointment. I hope everyone's NaNoWriMo progress is going well too, I'd love to know how everyone's doing. Let me know and have a great week!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

11/13/2013 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello everyone and welcome back. We're on the official second full week of NaNoWriMo and I hope it's going smoothly for everyone. I am looking at breaking the ridiculous number of 30,000 words today and watching my hands fall off and beat me to death because of it. Not because of any particular damage, but mostly because that is just a crazy thing to be at. I am having a lot of fun this year, partially because of how dramatic this story is, and also I think because it means once I get to the end of what will end of up being this story's epilogue it will signify the end of the first trilogy and that is super exciting.

While thinking about the fact we're in week two, we've already mentioned how this is where people start drifting away mostly due to them getting over the initial running-start that is week one, generally this happens due to a bout of writer's block. I mentioned how the best way to get around this is by taking a little break just to let your brain rest for a bit, since it is super working overtime right now. Looking ahead to week think the are other potential villains you must face along with the dreaded writer's block.

Life is a jerk, and it is going to want your full attention next week. The reason for that is that is' drawing ever-closer to the actual start of the dreaded (what? you don't fear it and feel the chill of winter down your neck? weird!) holiday season. Yes it's true that Thanksgiving isn't until the end of the month, but that doesn't mean the stress doesn't start with it. The general panic of where people are supposed to be and/or go usually starts about a week or two beforehand and that includes what to make, what to buy, and who do you need to stab with a basting fork to get it. Some families even like to break things up so they are all-inclusive and will have more than one dinner, which means more days you will need to spend planning. Not to mention early holiday shopping, or even family coming into town. All of these are potential real-life and legitimate distractions for your writing.

I'm not saying to be a complete jerk and wall off your family, because that would be terrible. I'm just saying to do your best to make time for all of it, if you can. Remember NaNoWriMo if something that you are doing for you, it's not a real contest, and you have the whole month to do it. The other thing is that if you explain to your friends and family what you're doing, and let them know that you need at least a couple hours or maybe even an hour a day to write about 1700 words (if you're going to minimum word count) they are likely to support and understand. Sure there may be days when that isn't an option, but no one says you can't double-up one day. It's nowhere in the rules. If there were the case then I wouldn't be able to finish early.

The important part about week three is that with life starting to show its crazy head to you, not to stress over everything. NaNoWriMo is meant to be fun and wonderful, not something that you have to feel is a chore or some kind of obligation like everything else. It's something to enjoy and share in the accomplishment with a lot of other people. Also seriously, tell your family what you're doing. They might look at you like you just spoke to them in some kind of foreign language (like mine), but they'll be excited for you and will be understanding if you are a little rushed.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. I'll be back on Monday and let you all know how the craft fair goes on Friday. I am absolutely terrified about it. I have jewelry to sell and I am so scared about of how small some of the bracelets are. At least they are stretchy. Anyway, have a great rest of your week and I'd love to hear how your NaNoWriMo progress is doing!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

11/6/2013 Writing Wednesday - NaNoWriMo Edition

Welcome back everyone and happy November! I hope you are all have lots of fun! We are only on the 6th day but so far things are going well. Today I will be breaking 13,000 words, which is just a crazy thing to think about something to do in less than a week but is will be happening today. Also my hands haven't fallen off yet, so let's have a really careful round of applause for that!

So one of the fun things about the start of NaNoWriMo is that everything for your story is relatively fresh and new in your head. It's coming into next week when you are going to start seeing people float away from their word quotas, which means you need to start latching into them before that happens.

The thing that will start happening next week is that those walls of writer's block are going to start happening a little more frequently. See, NaNo is super fun, but part of the issue with writing in such a rush of time is that sometimes the ideas are jerks and have problems letting themselves be formed before its time to be put on paper. Week two is when the frustrations really start and that's when the first wave of people start throwing up their hands and giving up. I cannot stress enough how much this is supposed to be fun, so if you are getting frustrated just go take a break for a bit and come back to it.

Also, those times of writers block are going to happen during NaNoWriMo, they happen to all of us and while they are irritating they aren't something that will be there forever. They are a symbol that your brain just needs a little bit of a break to work everything out, which is normal. It's like a conversation I had with a buddy of mine the other day; when it gets to the point in your studies when you've highlighted the whole page, it's time to turn on Netflix. Just like studying though you need to come back to your writing eventually though, so if you do decide to watch something on Netflix, don't decide to binge watch an entire nine season series of something, watch like a documentary or whatever, but come back and get back to working on your word quota. Your brain will appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! I hope you are having as much fun so far this month as I am. As I mentioned on Monday, I think I am going to need to forgo my Friday post, at least for a bit until I get things wrapped up this month. I appreciate your understanding while I try not to completely destroy my wrists this year. I'll see you all next Wednesday (ha! Monday's a holiday!) so have a great rest of this one and start to your next week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

11/04/2013 Magnificent Monday - NaNoWriMo Edition!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend was nice to all of out, and to everyone that got an hour back with the time manipulation that is daylight savings time, yay for sleep! Also yay for not actually knowing what time it was all day despite looking directly at a clock all day long! This is why I don't deal with time manipulation people!

I really think not having a post on Monday to get a jump-start on NaNoWriMo was a good idea, as much as I'm sad that I wasn't able to do a review, having the time to get the word quota done in a safe amount of time for me was necessary. I am actually considering keeping that up, at least until I get to 50,000 words and no longer need to worry. Luckily that will only be for a couple weeks more, so I will appreciate the understanding, it's just that Friday's are enough of a rush as it is, I don't want to make them even more of one by adding in more stuff to do in the morning.

Speaking of word count, currently I am almost to 7000, I am quote pleased with that total. It was also nice to get to a scene that I have been working out for quite literally years, work out all the little kinks with it, and get it to finally be on a piece of digital paper. I am really excited to see it in action, well you all know what I mean. Currently my actual word count is 6893, and that is before doing anything this morning, mostly because I don't know if I'll have time to do anything before I need to run out the door for work. Where is everyone else at so far? I'd love to see what everyone's word total's are, and if you haven't done so yet, go update with too.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. This is always a really fun month for everyone and never forget that part; it's supposed to be fun. Other parts of November are supposed to be stressful (holidays and shopping and/or cooking for said holidays) but not this, so if it starts stressing you out, take a step back and calm down for a moment. I'll be back on Wednesday and I really look forward to seeing how everyone's doing! Have a great start to the week!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/30/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone and happy almost-Halloween! I'm sure you all remember just how much I enjoy the holiday and the fact I actually get to dress up this year makes it extra special awesome! I managed to get my department to hold a costume contest, since people were allowed to dressed up anyway, in order to help motivate participation. This is going to be so fun! I seriously doubt this is why you're here though...anyway, I'll get to that then!

So right the start of NaNoWriMo just two (TWO!) days away, I wanted to make sure that everyone is prepared mentally and physically. Hopefully the mentally preparedness is pretty much done, with the exception of the 'Day 1 Panic' that I assume happens to everyone that's not a robot. That leaves the physical one that we need to focus on, and as with every year, I really can't stress enough how important this is. Listen to your body, because if you are doing too much it will tell you and if you don't pay attention you will seriously regret it.

I'm sure that I sound preachy about all this, and if that's the case I really do apologize. I know I've made no secret that I have tendonitis in both my wrists, the left is worse than the right since I'm left handed, and having that for over ten years has taught me that I really do need to pay attention to when it's time to take a break. NaNoWriMo is a time when this is extremely important because there is a word quota that will be in the forefront of everyone's mind and the stress of getting to that is going to be seen as a stronger motivator than the weird kind of tingling or scratching pain in the center of your wrist.

The thing that I have found works the best is breaking up your writing time throughout the day. Do some 400 - 500 words in the morning, then something at lunch, and then a little when I get home, and all of this of course depends on my schedule for the day. I might be able to do half in the morning, half at lunch, and then take the rest of the night off to rest. As fun as it is to finish early, the key is that if you do have something that forces you to limit the amount of time you write, to work within those limits. Pushing yourself too much is only going to cause damage and make things worse in the long-run. Remember the other year when I had to take a month off because I couldn't do anything? Yeah that was because I did too much and had to be on medicine to get things to calm themselves down. I was so bored. So if you say that you're going to do some 2000 words a day so you can finish early, then that's awesome, do that, but don't sit there next Thursday and say that you want to do 3600 instead because you feel like it. (You'd be done on the 25th if you did 2000 words/day anyway, so that's awesome!)

I mentioned last year that your hands are not the only potential victims of NaNoWriMo, and this is very true. Your back is also at risk, especially if you are using a laptop to write at. A lot of times you don't realize how much you're slouching over when you're using one, at least not until it's too late. One way to help with this is to get one of those nifty little lap desk things. I got one and it is surprisingly helpful. It only changes things by a few inches, but those few inches really do count.

The long and short of all is that you need to be careful. If your body is telling you something in the form of pain that means it's time to take a break. It doesn't need to be a long or permanent one, but just a break, even if it's for an hour or so to get food (oh, also don't forget to eat, that is also very important) it will be a good thing for your body. Do some stretches for your back when it starts feeling stiff, and while applying the science of advil to your hands and back is useful, all that does is do some temporary relief, so if that is needed maybe do something else that doesn't require you to sit hunched over and typing or holding something awkwardly for a while. NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun, not damaging. Let's all get to 50,000 words together, at our own pace.

Thanks everyone for stopping by, remember, no post on Friday as I will be in the throws of the Friday's Day 1 Panic that I mentioned before. I'll be back on Monday though with an update. I'd love to keep a tally of everyone who's participating and where they're at. Let's see if we can all get to 50,000 words by the 30th! I for one was pleased to discover that Thanksgiving was on the 28th, yay more time for me! Happy Halloween, happy writing, and happy NaNoWriMo!

Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the weekend saw you all well. As always I wish it had been longer, especially with how busy things are going to be toward the end of this one, but I suppose I can't have everything that I want. With Halloween, a potluck, and the first day of NaNoWriMo I am currently feeling a little intimidated by what Wednesday through Friday is going to bring me. I say Wednesday since that will involve a lot of prep for Thursday in it. Anyway that is totally not what you're all here for today.

While getting myself mentally prepped for NaNoWriMo, I am also still working on getting things edited. With the transposing of 'Daughter of the Shackled King' done, I have been working on doing the first draft edits of that story. There are about as many so far as I had anticipated, mostly because I found when writing something by hand I would become impatient and would skip over a lot of details, so going back over everything gives me a chance to fix that. I have added on 2 1/2 pages overall already to the total page count, which does make me happy. I want to have it be at around 150 by the time I'm done.

It's really weird seeing something that is so close to being a finished product being so much shorter than the other two. 'The Light Rises' (which is still on sale until Wednesday with coupon CN49P by the way) ended up being 211 I think, and currently 'Rending the Seal' is at 248, though that may change after the beta-reader is done with it. Knowing that something else is about 100 pages less than that but is still a finished product in the same series just seems odd to me, especially when you look at a book series like Harry Potter where there later books became murder weapons, it makes me wonder if I did or am doing something wrong.

For this week though, all thoughts and whatnot will be on NaNoWriMo! With Friday being November 1st that is a great day to get things ready to go. Again, I do apologize there won't be a review that day, but I want to get as much of a jump on things as I can, especially with November being as holiday and event-riddled as it is. Though the nice thing this year is that Thanksgiving is the last Thursday of the month, so that does add an extra week onto my potential time. As nice as that is however, that doesn't mean that I don't still have family events, appointments, work, and craft fairs to battle against. Do any of you have any strategies you will be implementing this year, or have ones that have worked in the past? If you want to share them feel free, I'm sure everyone would appreciate hearing them.

For now I will take my leave though. I will be back on Wednesday in full 'Holy crap two more days!!' panic mode. I hope the start of the week is nice to all of you and again if anyone has any tips, suggestions, fond memories, or even emotional outbursts feel free to post them below. I'm sure someone would be able to help or start a discussion with you. Have a great few days!

Friday, October 25, 2013

10/25/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week has been nice to all of you. Going to Rifftrax last night was super fun, and I am now debating whether or not I'll be going to the next one. They will be showing what I believe is the absolutely worst movie of all time, 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians' and I cannot begin to tell you all how much I hate that movie. I saw them riff it on MST3K several years ago and that barely made it watchable. I'm sure you're not here for that though, so I'll talk about something else.

Today I bring you 'Revolution' by Kyra Dune. It mostly follows a man who is tasks with performing the grisly task of an assassination and what goes through his mind in the process. The world is broken, at last to them, and this is the only way to start things on a better path.

Now in this story there is a topic that I am not a fan of, but because I didn't want to make anyone miss out, similar to last week, I decided to still do a review of this story. I won't go into detail because that would be a little spoiler-ish, but the purpose of these reviews is not to punish the author for writing about something that makes me frown. They are to help them get their voices out. Not to mention it all happened at the end, so I was already invested at that point. I just wanted to do a little bit of a disclaimer there.

Eric is the one that has been given the job of the assassin, and his beautiful partner Robin is the voice that the people of their cause listen to. The plan right now is to show the world where the problems lie, even if that means the president is in the way. Her speech is finished, now it's Eric's turn to keep an eye on the secret service, the president, and the rest of the spectators, for the revolution is in his hands and if he doesn't pull the trigger nothing will ever change.

'Revolution' is available on Smashwords for free, so please check it out and let Kyra know what you think about her story. I'm sure she'd appreciate it very much.

I also wanted to give a bit of a heads up/announcement, with NaNoWriMo starting next Friday, I don't want to promise there will be review posts on the Fridays in November, as I will also be needing to keep up on my word quota. For my giving myself a pacing schedule is incredibly important, because it will limit the damage that I am potentially doing to my wrists. I'm not saying that for certain there won't be, I just don't want there to be the expectation they will be there. The other posts should be fine, since I tend to have more time during the mornings to get them done. You're understanding is appreciated!

For now, I hope you all have a great weekend. I work tomorrow, which does make me sad, but I'll make it through. I'll be back on Monday and don't forget, 'The Light Rises' is 50% off until the 31st with coupon CN49P! You're almost out of time, so please tell everyone about it! Thanks so much and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10/23/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope your week is going well so far. We're at the halfway point, which means just a little bit more until the weekend. I have to work on Saturday, so it's only part of a weekend, but the rest of you might not and that's awesome! We are also just over a week until October is over, which means, yes, it's time for NaNoWriMo prep!

Now I'm sure you were all expecting my post on pacing, like last year, but I decided to hold that one off until next week. There's still time left, and I want to make sure it's fresh in everyone's mind before the 1st. Last week we took a quick look at anti-heroes and how to make them work, which I thought was kind of fun. Today I wanted to look a bit at planning overall, especially with NaNoWriMo coming up next week, it's especially important to remember your outlining steps and whatnot.

The whole goal behind National Novel Writing Month is to write a full story in the 30 days of November and get it to at least 50,000 words. Now there are some ways to work within that, and some people do, but if you are starting from scratch, adding the idea that you need to write a first sentence along with the stress of the word and day quota is a little intimidating for a lot of people. It's really interesting watching the national word count sky rocket the first week and then start evening out by the second as well. The reason that happens is that a lot of people don't do all of the planning they think they need before they start. Let's try to avoid that this year.

I'm sure I talked about it last year too, but outlining for NaNoWriMo is ridiculously important. With so much going on, it's imperative that you know the path your story is going to take and the only way to do that is to take notes, plan, and maybe even give yourself a little cheat sheet. I understand there are some people that can do most of that in their heads, and everyone's reference page is going to be different, but the important thing is that you have one to go to when you get stuck.

Also, before the freak out happens, keep in mind you are going to hit a point during NaNoWriMo where you are going to get stuck. It will happen, it happens to all of us, and it happens no matter how well or how much you plan. Things don't always go the way you want them to when you're writing, and sometimes you get a new idea in the middle of writing something, which throws a wrench into your plan. Before you panic just remember to calm down, look at everything rationally and if needed take a break for an hour or so to re-work your ideas together. If you panic and freak out all it's going to do is delay you more and cause a higher probability that you won't finish. You will go through all the stage of panic and your brain will instantly become too tired to want to finish everything as words no longer make sense, but that's why you take a moment to look away from the page and do something else (but not for too long) so that when you come back you are able to jump right back into it. Always remember how important it is to come back.

The other thing that helps is to give yourself a schedule. This partially will come up with the annual pacing post next week, but the brain loves repetition and habit, so make sure to put your NaNoWriMo times at a point where you realistically have time to do what you need to do without too much stress on yourself. If this means breaking out your writing times, then that is perfectly fine. Also, remember that the average number of works you're looking at doing, if you plan on writing from the 1st to the 30th, is 1667. That's about two to two and a half pages a day, if you're using Times New Roman and size 12 font. When you think about it, that isn't that bad, and if you're breaking up when you're writing to help your brain or your personal schedule demands it, don't think of that number as insurmountable, think about it as only a couple pages and that will help. It's kind of like how people don't like seeing something that costs $1.00, but $0.99 is ok.

I really hope this is helping, remember, NaNoWriMo is all about challenging yourself and having fun. If you go to their site, you will find a lot of community stuff going on during the month like Write-Ins and get-togethers locally. They are a great way to find people who are doing the same thing as you, and there's always a point where you can ask others about what you're doing or any potential issues you're having. You'd be surprised to know how many others are doing the same thing you are, and maybe their methods will help you along as well.

For now I will take my leave. I will be back on Friday for the normal review. If you could, please tell people that 'The Light Rises' is 50% off until the 31st using coupon CN49P at Smashwords. I would really appreciate it. A big boost in the last week would be super fun! Have a great rest of your week and I'll see you all Friday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

10/21/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and happy Monday. I'm glad you could all make it here today. I am currently trying to figure out how I'm going to push myself through work on however much sleep I ended up getting. So far the cat trying to convince me to go back to bed is the best argument for what I should do that I've heard. He seems to know what he's talking about.

The main draw this week is that on Thursday I get to see a Rifftrax Live event. They're going to be showing the original 'Night of the Living Dead' which while a groundbreaking movie for its genre, when compared to everything that's been made now, well....yeah. It's bound to be fun though and I'm really look forward to it. Let's hope I can keep myself functional until then.

I have been editing the first actual draft of 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and there have been points where I've wondering what was happening to me while I was transposing it. Some of the words that were typed don't even make sense. I'm really happy I'm catching them now, but at the same time it just makes me curious and also a little concerned about how my brain works to see so many mistakes there. It is a nice thing to pass the time with while waiting for November 1st though; it's not a very wrist-intensive thing to do, which means that I can actually take a little bit of a break.

Also I keep thinking about how busy November's going to actually be. I mean, one of the nice things was when I discovered that Thanksgiving is actually the last Thursday of the month this year, which means that my goal to finish before that day just had a whole week added to it. I also have a craft fair right in the middle I need to prepare for, and I'm sure the closer I get to that day the more nervous about it I'm going to become. I will have more than just those cards to sell this time, so it's going to be a real test of my customer service, social, and sales skills. I really just hope I made some extra spending money for the holidays.

That does ask who is all going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year? I'd love to hear from anyone that's going to be doing it. We can all keep a word tally and such to keep everyone motivated. It's a really fun event to partake in, and getting to the 50,000 words mark is a very satisfying moment. Do you know what you're going to be writing yet for it, if you are participating? Feel free to answer below, I'd love to start a discussion about it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Hopefully I will wake up more before I get to work, or at least halfway through it. I will be back on Wednesday and if there's a specific topic you'd be interested in seeing me cover feel free to drop me a line. For now I hope you all have a great start to your week and have a good day!

Friday, October 18, 2013

10/18/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I made it through the week, yay! I hope the week has been nice to all of you and that you are about to be thanked for all your hard work by given a weekend to relax. That's what I plan to do at least and hopefully get rid of this cough for good in the process. Let's get to the real reason you're here though, shall we?

Today I bring you 'The Crow That Reaps' by TFB (Tyler Brown). It's the story of a man that is so bogged down by depression and stress that he starts having dreams that the birds of death are after him. Wanting to face the fears head on, he ventures out into the wilderness and reclaims the life he was starting to lose.

I picked this story because the concept intrigued me. Now there is a lot of talk about hunting and trapping, which I personally am not a fan of, but I didn't want to let that be the reason why I didn't pick a story, since I know there are a lot of people in the world that don't have a problem with hunting. I didn't see that as being fair to any potential readers here or of this story. The main character is nameless, I assume in an attempt to help the reader identify with them more in their quest to put the darkness behind them. There is also a lot of how the character's grandfather prepared them to eventually face down their own death by going out against nature, which was interesting as well.

Something I did want to bring up is that this story does need to be edited a bit more. It's not that it's difficult to follow or anything, no that's not it at all, which is why I still posted it here. It's more that there were spelling and grammar errors that I caught. I wanted to give everyone a heads up before they started reading and potentially became frustrated. I know there are people like that in the world. Keep in mind that didn't take away from the story, at least in my opinion, because frankly there are a lot of people who are thinking there isn't much more to life than stress, bills, and pain, and while this story isn't a cure-all for those things, it does a good job of showing there was more to living, at least for the main character, and they found a reason to go on.

'The Crow That Reaps' is available on Smashwords for free, so please feel free to take a look. I'm sure the author would appreciate the boost that was given to them.

Thanks again everyone for stopping by today. I hope that you have a happy and fun weekend. If you'd like something else to read, since today's story was short, 'The Light Rises' is still on sale until the end of October. Just use coupon code CN49P at Smashwords to get it for 50% off! I hope that gets your through the weekend and just as excited for the prequel as I am! Have a great weekend and I'll be back Monday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10/16/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! So sorry for the delay, I don't remember if I said anything, but Monday was a holiday and my morning was spent sleeping in and playing Pokemon X (I needed to get my Sylveon, I have no regrets) so I'm sorry for any confusion. I'm more able to think straight now, which is a good sign. Now if I could only get rid of this lingering cough we'd be fully in business.

So something I wanted to talk about today is the use of an 'anti-hero' as your main character. These are your Punishers, your Dr. House's, your Dexters, or your guy from Breaking Bad (I think I'm one of like...4 people in the world that didn't watch that show) and in the end they might not actually end up being good people, but you still root for them because there are a lot of people that are worse than they are. This is a risky game you play using them as your protagonist and a TON of people are doing it right now, so I thought it would be a good thing to talk about, especially with NaNoWriMo right around the corner.

So generally the world of the anti-hero is going to be a bit darker than the one of your standard 'good guy' mostly because you need to show why they are the person you need to be cheering on. I think my mother said it best when trying to justify why the character Dexter was the 'good guy' and it was 'He only kills bad people!' Of course my answer was that 'that doesn't make it ok!' but that's not the point. The point is that Dexter is the good guy, even if he murders people, because the people he's removing are absolutely awful and shouldn't exist. You want the Punisher to win because awful people made him the way he is and they are still worse than him. There are still the instances of the antagonist and protagonist, they're just sliding down that scale toward the morally gray and really bad more than shining example of good.

Another version of this is House. He's an anti-hero because he's a jerk, a super big jerk to everyone, but he has a charm that makes you laugh, also everyone that tries to stop him is wrong. Always wrong. He's also a force that causes the other people around him to develop a conscience and act as the good person to House's constantly being a jerk. I'm sure you're all expecting me to bring up Tony Stark (using the movies as reference, as it is an easier continuity to use than all of the hundreds of comics) but I'm not, mostly because while he has an ego and is an ass at times, Tony Stark does want to do good and learns over the course of the movies he's in. House is always a jerk, and didn't actually do something nice until the end of the series, and even then it's still kind of jerkish because he was a medical genius who left the practice to ride off into the sunset with his (admittedly cancer battling friend) but still that's literally what he did.

A good anti-hero causes the people around them to be better than they are, while still making you root for them. It's really weird that this is becoming more of a popular thing to do, but the way you need to look at your anti-hero when you're writing is that they are a kind of antagonist. Not the "bad guy" mind you, because as stated before there are going to be people FAR worse than they are that give them motivation to react, but they are going to be someone that causes another character(s) to step up and start being better as a result of what the anti-hero is doing. There is always a character that looks better while standing next to the anti-hero. Dr. Wilson next to Dr. House always looks like the stronger moral character because Dr. Wilson wasn't a dick. I heard everyone loved Jesse in Breaking Bad and that he did things that weren't completely as awful as Brian Cranston's character (again I didn't watch that show). Niles goes through more character growth and is a much better person than his brother Frasier if for no other reason his psychiatry practice doesn't immediately break doctor/patient confidentiality in concept. I'm sure you get my point by now.

Just remember when you're writing a story with the anti-hero as the lead that there needs to be a lot of justifiable motives for them. Maybe they were made bitter by years of the world punching them in the neck, or there's a revenge thing because awful/terrible/evil people did unspeakable things to someone and then killed them, or maybe they moved back home after spending almost every day in a bar in Boston and realized those years there being wasted all the time were wasted and the world has moved on without them. (I've...been watching Frasier) Either way there needs to be motive and it needs to be something the audience can watch and say 'yeah that makes sense, go be awesome!' and if they can't then you have a problem.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. If you have anything to add about anti-heroes or anything we talked about today, please feel free to bring it up. I'd love to see what you guys do when you're working with an anti-hero, or even a protagonist that has to deal with one. Also, if you're curious, I can go into my whole theory about how Frasier's the antagonist and Niles is the protagonist in that show. Either way, I appreciate the visit, and don't forget 'The Light Rises' is 50% off until the end of October when you use coupon CN49P at Smashwords. I'll be back on Friday, pending more disasters, so I'll see you all then!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10/09/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone. I will say in advance that I am sick, so anything that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, that'll be why. I haven't been sick in years (all of my medicine was expired) so this is kicking me in the back really hard, and I'm currently just trying to push myself forward because if I don't go into work today, someone is getting their car repossessed.

So with the idea that the post today is going to be likely short, what I wanted to bring up was something that was mentioned in the webcomic Penny-Arcade on Monday. It was talking about some advice that author John Scalzi gave Jerry (Tycho) which was simply 'you write short to write long'. This is so incredibly true, and I really cannot stress enough how much it is. It's impossible to jump in and immediately write something that's 150 pages long (unless you're a robot) especially when you're just starting out.

Before I got into my whirlwind of editing I used to write short things all the time. They are fantastic ways to develop characters or concepts before putting them into the bigger picture. It gives you a way to work out how their brain will work in certain situations even if you don't plan on that happening in anything you write for them in the future. What doing that does is give you a full picture of who they are and also what the world is like. I'd recommend doing this for everyone at least a few times to get an idea of how the process is on a smaller scale.

I would go into more detail, but concentrating is so hard right now. I've had a few more skips in posts than I would like though, so I didn't want to disappoint. With the hope that I will be at least at 85% on Friday, I will be back at that point to write up my review. Again, I appreciate your patience with me and I apologize there wasn't more, mostly because this topic is incredibly important. I'll try to write more on it next week when I'm better. Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, October 7, 2013

10/07/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone. I hope the weekend was nice to everyone. I wanted to give an explanation as to why there wasn't a post on Friday. That was because Thursday night we had to put one of my cats down. He had been sick for a long time, and now he's comfortable and not suffering anymore. I had hoped beyond hope that there would be some miracle cure to make him better, but the reality punches to the face convinced me otherwise. We got home from the vet close to midnight and when I woke up in the morning I didn't have the mental strength to put up a review. I appreciate everyone's understanding, but please be assured that right now I'm focusing on solidifying his memory (they're going to give me his ashes in a pretty little box in a couple weeks and I'm going to put up his show ribbons with them) and also getting things back to a normal state, so this week should go on a it generally does.

I know I keep saying that I'm almost done transposing 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and it's true, it really is. I would have be finished last week but other obvious stuff happened. It might actually be done today, definitely between today and tomorrow, but maybe today! It's really hard to tell how long anything is going to take when I'm transposing stuff mostly because it's like how big optical illusion. My handwriting is larger than size 12 font, and the pages in the notebooks I use are smaller than the normal 8 x 11 that you get in a Word document, so when I look at my notebook and get excited because I've gotten through several pages, in my computer I've only added about a page and a half or so. To give a better example, in my handwritten pages, I have about...I think it was 210 (off the top of my head) pages long, however the typed version MIGHT get to 140. That is madness causing.

Now granted I know it's going to get longer in the draft 1 edits because let's face it, handwriting is irritating. Not in the way that I won't ever do it again (I do get bored at work and sometimes I just don't know what to draw) but more that when you're typing something you generally have some kind of time to go over details and everything and do these elaborate pieces of exposition. However when I physically write something I get impatient, especially when there's a scene in my head I really want to get to, and some details are glossed over. So those will get filled out more when I go to start from the beginning. Also the likely glaring typos or other such errors that come from looking at one thing and typing in another. No idea how many pages it'll add, all I know is that it will be longer.

One more thing before I go! We made it to over 8000 page views! That is a wonderful and ridiculous number. As a token of my thanks, I am offering a gift of 'The Light Rises' for 50% off! This is only until October 31st, so let everyone know right away! Just go to Smashwords at the link to the book provided above, and put in coupon code CN49P at check out to get the discount. Thanks again for putting up with me for these few years and for all of the success!

Thanks also for your patience. I'll be back on Wednesday with my normal post and likely an update on my transposition progress. I hope you all have a great start to your week and that things go well for all of you. Until then!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10/02/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope your weekend saw you all well. Even though I had Monday off, I still would have preferred at least a couple more days off. If for no other reason just to get some more peace of mind with the cat. He's still not considered 'stable' and even with the pills that are suppose to stimulate his appetite he didn't want to eat last night and was sick this morning. I know it'll take baby steps but I really wish he'd get back to normal.

With October now officially here, all eyes are now turning to November. There's a lot of different ways people approach NaNoWriMo, and I thought that given the amount of time left, it would be good to bring up today. Now obviously there are going to be things people do differently and/or things I just plain left out. If there's anything specific or special you do to get ready for NaNoWriMo feel free to post about it below! What's your plan? Do you let yourself have one? Do you participate and why or why not? I'd love to hear all about it!

Now one thing I've heard of people doing, and keep in mind I am not this person, mostly because I don't think I physically can be, is that they sit down on November first and are done within the first week, some people even within the same day. Again, I cannot do this even if I wanted to and had the time/motivation to do so. There is a reason it can be done though, and that's because those are the people (generally speaking) that plan out everything months in advance and schedule each and every detail out so that when they sit down on November 1st they know each and every word that is going onto their page. They are also robots, but that's a different thing.

I'm not saying I don't plan, or that no one else does. If you want to get the word quota completely done you need some kind of plan before you jump in and expect everything to work. Outlining is incredibly helpful for NaNoWriMo, since it gives you an idea of what you're dealing with before starting and you will have enough time to work out all the details as you go. Honestly this is closer to what I do, since I have a series I'm working on and NaNoWriMo is my main area for writing it, I know what happens in the stories, and being able to work on them for that month gives me a chance to get everything out. I might not know each and every detail or piece of dialogue going into it, but by the time I get through I do. The benefit for the previous method and this one is there are very few places you're going to be hit in the face with writers block. Though if it does happen during NaNoWriMo, remember it's important to mark that place on the page and move forward; if you get stuck for too long you're going to find yourself falling behind.

Another method, and I don't think I could do this honestly, is sitting down and just doing everything as a piece of 'flash fiction'. For those who aren't familiar with that term, it's when you sit down with no idea what's going to happen and let everything just sort of...happen. There's no plan, no outline, just a genre (and sometimes not even that) and your imagination. I'm not someone who could use this method to work in November. I've done it for considerably shorter things, but not for NaNoWriMo. There are people who can though, and I find that impressive. Flash Fiction is a form that usually ends up with a product that is entertaining and fun to read for both the author and the reader, since you get to go back and see exactly what happened. It's also the type of writing that, at least I think it would, takes a lot of the pressure off. You're sitting down and basically doing what you want at the pace you want, so the only real pressure you have is the word quota.

Again, what methods do you use? This applies not just for NaNoWriMo too, but any form of writing you do. Is there something specific to you that helps get the creative juices flowing? I really would like to get some discussions started here and I thought those questions might be a good bunch. Especially because for the ones today there really aren't any wrong answers. Don't be shy, I'd love to hear it and you might help someone else who's stuck!

Thanks everyone again for stopping by. As a way to celebrate 'Rending the Seal' going to beta-read/edit, here is the link to 'The Light Rises' so you can all get the series started. My hope is that the prequel will be ready to see the world early 2014. I apologize for the gap between the two, but hopefully the other books will come out sooner than these  two did. I'll be back on Friday though and I look forward to seeing everyone here! Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

09/27/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Greetings everyone and happy Friday! It was so nice to have my birthday off and even nicer that I'm getting off work early today. At the very least it saves me the times of having to do a few things before work in the morning. Still working on the cat though, but he has some new appetite stimulant and he's currently interested in stuff, so I'll take that as a step forward.

Today I bring you 'A Numbers Game' by Amy Spahn. It is a short story about choices and the consequences that we have to face when we make them. It specifically deals with the consequences we didn't even know were there and the debate of whether or not that means the right thing was done in the end. Thomas Withers must now face those same consequences and decide for himself if what he did was right.

Imagine you are in an extraordinary circumstance and there's someone staring you in the face begging to be saved. You do what you firmly believe is right and tell the world about it. Then you learn that if that one person had died almost thirty more would have be saved. That is the quandary facing Thomas, and even if it knows deep in his heart that disobeying orders was the right thing to do, not everyone sees it that way.

I picked this story because things like that are something that people face everyday. People in law enforcement and/or military need to make those what-if decisions and face those consequences. To many who live away from that it's hard to picture how much it eats away at them, which is why a story like this is so important.

'A Numbers Game' is available for free on Smashwords, so please stop by and take a look. I know this still isn't the story that was recommended to me in the comments. There is a reason, albeit a silly one, and that is simply being told to check out something and given a link is not something that I readily click on. I have been burned before and know many others who have. So please, if you are going to recommend something to me to read, please give me some kind of synposis or description so that I know that not only is it likely not Spam, but also probably isn't some kind of horrible virus. I don't want to sound mean, but we are on the internet.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I will be back on Wednesday. I will be taking Monday off, because I can, so I will be spending that time sleeping in. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. I will fight with whatever system I'm on the respond as fast as I can! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

09/25/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hi everyone and welcome back. I hope the week is being nice to you all so far. I am mostly looking forward to the rest of mine, since it involves time off or getting off work early, but I just need to be patient and it'll get here. I will warn everyone, I am a little tired today. Something about car alarms going off at some point in the early morning. I understand it taking a while to turn it off the first time (no one wants to realize that irritating sound is coming from their car) but what about the second, or third times? There's no reason for it, you know the car alarm is going off, so why make everyone else suffer? Jerk. Anyway, you're not here for this.

You're actually here to talk about writing and things like that. I've mentioned patience before and how it is a beneficial part of every step of the writing process, which is why it's going to be an underlying theme for today. Today's topic is going to be able building up your own confidence. I know that doesn't actually seem like a 'writing' topic, but hear me out, because at the core anything that you create yourself and put out there to be scrutinized by the public is a test of your confidence. Which is why we're bringing it up today.

Putting yourself out there even for a job interview is an absolutely terrifying experience. The fact you are completely exposed and asked to talk about yourself is just terrible, at least for more people who aren't narcissists. Think about the scale that is releasing a book, regardless of whether or not you're going through an agency or doing it yourself. Even if at first you're just showing it to people that you know, they will show it to others and then suddenly people you don't know are asking you what your writing process is. This is incredibly awkward and there is a strong desire to give them the right answer, but it's all a trap; there is no right answer. Your process is your process, not someone else's or the universe's, it's your's and really that's all the people want to talk about.

This is a test of confidence because you are going to feel picked apart, especially when someone does a review. Look at anything on Amazon, even a calendar of cat pictures, there are going to be good and bad reviews. Some of them are going to be legitimate pieces of constructive criticism, but one doesn't need to go further than YouTube to know that isn't always the case. There will be people who will rip into your story simply because there's something in there they feel is insulting to the way they live, or they are just being a jerk and trying to start fights on the internet with anyone they can because that's how they think it makes them powerful and in control. Those situations will be a beating against your self esteem, and all you can really do is keep yourself up. Yes it's hard because quite frankly as cool as it would be, not everyone is going to like your book, but you already know you can't please everyone, so just take what you can get and go with it

When things seem down, you need to remember the reason you're writing in the first place and use that as your strength. Maybe you're writing your story so that you can honor someone you love, or you wanted to write something your children or young family members could enjoy, or maybe even just to prove to the world you can take on something like writing a full-length novel. You don't need to let the world get you down as long as you remember why you're doing what you're doing and keep moving forward. Keep your circle of friends close since they will be your support and will be able to remind you in times you aren't so sure of yourself. Either way keep it up, it's a long process and you need to keep moving.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope my post was helpful at least in the confidence building way. I am looking forward to a day of not doing anything followed by a half-day of work and the Launch Party for Theros (that's right, more M:tG and I'm not sorry). I will be back on Friday barring any disasters early in my day. I hope the rest of the week is nice to all of you! See you then!

Monday, September 23, 2013

09/23/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I hope the weekend saw you all well. The prerelease didn't go nearly as well for me as I would have liked, but going 2 for 2 isn't bad overall. Hoping the launch party on Friday goes better. While this is my Saturday week I am will happy about it because I have my birthday off! I hope to spend that day doing little to nothing productive. Let's see if that happens!

'Rending the Seal' has been sent off with my beta-reader in hopes that someone who isn't me or already familiar with the story will be able to pick out all my spelling/grammar issues. It's a bit of a gamble, since the person is not my target demographic, but it's something that I need done and having someone who is a complete blank slate look it over is for the best. They are under instruction to be done by December, so we'll see if that happens too.

As things start coming together more and I also keep staring at a calendar I am becoming nervous and excited for November. I really hope I am able to finish again without hurting myself, and if I follow a similar pacing plan like I did last year I should be able to pull it off. There's always the bit of nervousness that I won't be able to though. I keep being told by multiple people to try dictation software, which I know logically I should, however getting over the embarrassment that comes from talking out my book, and also the fact that I sometimes stutter, especially when reading, is something that is holding me back. I need to work on getting over it though...just have no idea how to actually start doing that.

In other news the cat is still on the mend. I think we've settled into a good routine, but only time will tell. It drives me nuts because the weight came off relatively quickly, but not like...liver-damaging quickly, but getting it back on is proving to be an emotionally draining task. It'll take time and as I see one cat miserable and the other bored and huge I wish that it didn't. I don't like watching my cat be sick/allergic to everything.

Right now I just need to focus on one thing at a time. Especially because as soon as November hits I'm going to be focusing on way more than that. With a craft fair and also a game coming out in the same week while I sit there and try to get my word count up, it is going to be a test of resistance for me. I'll want to do everything and know that I shouldn't. I'm just hoping that the day of the craft fair is one I can spend at home afterward and not just running around more. We'll see though!

Thanks everyone for coming by again today. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about something mentioned about or something you'd like to see on Wednesday just let me know. I always like it when people start a discussion here. I hope you all have a great start to your week too. I'll be back on the 25th!

Friday, September 20, 2013

09/20/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. We made it to Friday! Yay! I appreciate everyone stopping by. I did have a suggestion for a book to review, but things have been so 100% crazy I haven't had a chance to look into it yet. I will do my best to do that for next week, since in theory I should have more time. For now I have a book for you all.

I bring you 'Night Sentry' by Greg M. Hall. Horror generally isn't my go-to genre, but I decided to give it a shot today because the synopsis sounded interesting. Mikey is a watchman for Omaha after the world went dead. They built a wall and its his job to make sure no one gets in, especially during the middle of the night. However when a man shows up and doesn't seem to want to leave, he starts wondering if things aren't necessarily right.

Mikey had always been a good boy, even if he had to put up with gruff people in town that were technically his boss, but not the best people to get along with. They'd come to Omaha after deciding they couldn't go on any further after some of the other refugees started dropping like flies. It's up to him to make sure everyone's safe, at least while he's watching, and the man that came to the wall that night wouldn't go away even after he said 'no' to the request to enter. He knew things weren't right, and when it was time to switch posts he alerted the guard captain, however what Mikey wasn't sure if was whether or not it was already too late.

'Night Sentry' is available for free on Smashwords. When I was reading it I had to adjust the spacing on the page, and it could just be a weird system glitch, but I wanted to let you guys know. Please check it out and let the author know what you thought of it, I'm sure he'd really appreciate it.

For now I will thank everyone stop for stopping by. I know this post is a little shorter than most, and I do apologize for that because I don't want to feel like I'm doing anyone a disservice, however having to deal with some things in the morning makes me have very little time to do anything else. I wish I had a bit more time, but I just don't know if I'm up for waking up earlier than I need to. I'm sure once things stable out more with the cat I will have more time. I do hope you all have a great weekend though, I have a prerelease tomorrow, so let's hope I don't do terribly!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

09/18/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. This week is going to be a challenge in patience for me as the cat has decided that eating too much is the best thing for him to do. Hint: it's actually not, he's stupid. This post is also being written as slowly as I can muster in an attempt to not hurt my wrists at work today. Writing intentionally slowly is incredibly difficult and I don't like it.

I was trying to figure out what the topic of today's post should be, and was running into a bit of a wall. Then I knocked the wall down with a sledge hammer and laughed at the pieces left on the hypothetically ground. I had trouble with figuring stuff out all last week, which means that's the perfect topic for today!

So naming stuff is hard. I mentioned briefly how difficult it can be sometimes to pick a title that seems to encompass your story while at the same time not just give away the ending. Normally I would use an example like ____ Dies in the End, but that's been done, and 'John Dies at the End' is a real thing and is actually quite entertaining. Now what about your whole series? If you're not writing a book series, you can just black out for a moment. Well...don't actually, because again, naming things is almost as hard as figuring out your first sentence so it's still something important.

The reason I have been mulling over this is because Smashwords has added in something called a Series Organizer (I actually think it's called something else, but the word 'series' is in there and 'organizer' still tells you what it does) which means you can put your books into one ore more series and give that series a title. This is giving your book a title pushed up to 1000% because now not only do you need to figure out another title, but it has to be appropriate for multiple books, not just one. Potentially more if you did what I did and put things into both a trilogy and an overarching series.

The process that needs to be done is just like if you were giving a title to a single book; make sure it's appropriate, doesn't give too much away, and is still eye-catching to your potential reader. Admittedly you can just name the series after the first book, I mean even Tolkien did that, as did JK Rowling, and lots of other people. Or you could just try to find something that fits all the books together in a neat little package. I could name a few people, but one of them is an author I'm not too fond of and it's too early for me to think of others. If you'd like to know who it is, feel free to ask me later and I'll happy go into a rant for you, but since that's not the purpose of this post I am going to politely avoid it.

The issue I was having is that in the first trilogy the first two books center around the same people, and the last one will be different ones, but it's still the same era (kinda) with the same characters, but a completely different premise/style. So the initial series titles I was coming up with would either have everything to do with the first two books and not so much the third, or more to do with the last one and only a hint with the first couple. After banging rocks together I figured it out, but it still felt frustrating. The overall series title was a bit more challenging, but because everything is moving to one last big conflict that did make the decision quicker in the long run.

Also, this is going to take longer than you think it should. Not like editing where I am still convinced there is a way to make that process go quicker (there isn't, I'm crazy), but naming something, especially something that is technically "done" is going to make you twitch. It took me two weeks to name my trilogy...and I just remembered I'm going to have to do that again when 'Daughter of the Shackled King' is ready to be in my head that shouldn't have taken that long. This isn't necessarily true, especially if life is throwing bowling balls at your head at the same time. A name is important, if you ask magicians the most important, and you need to make sure it fits all of the esthetic criteria before you settle on it. So even if you feel silly for taking weeks to name something, just remember that it'll be awesome in the end no matter what.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. If you have any questions, or if you have your own methods for naming stuff that I didn't mention that works for you really well, please put it in the comments section. Everyone has trouble naming stuff and I'd love to see everyone helping everyone else as much as possible. For now though, I will be back on Friday (unless cat decides to have another emergency) so please have a great rest of your week!

Monday, September 16, 2013

09/16/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I'm somewhat awake and I hope the weekend treated you all well. I am currently trying not to think about the fact there is a spider wandering around my kitchen somewhere, and also not thinking about the fact spiders can move and it can be anywhere by now. As you can all tell, that's going quite well. One good thing that happened is that the cat is officially on the mend now. He's eating somewhat normally, even though he prefers the high-calorie stuff to his actual food, I'm just happy he's eating.

On Thursday last week I remembered that 'Daughter of the Shackled King' existed, which I felt a little bad about, mostly because I had completely forgotten about it sitting in my bag I carry with me everywhere I go. I felt really stupid. It was nice to pick it up again though and remember just how close to finishing the initial transcription process I am. I might be able to finish this week, but we'll see, since I'm not 100% on the number of pages left and the number I can get finished with each day seems to vary.

Smashwords has also added in a tool that will let me add my books to a series. This is super cool because it will help readers locate all the books together (when they are all available) but I have been mulling over a series title since I got the e-mail saying the thing existed. It's neat because I can set things up as individual trilogies and then add them into a larger series later, which is what I think I'll end up doing, the problem I'm running into is the names for everything. I have had multiple suggestions and I just haven't felt sold on them, even if they make perfect sense. This is almost as bad as coming up with a starting title for something, except instead of having to think about the events in one book, I have to think about the events in 3 (or 6, potentially 7 if you include everything) and that is where I am hitting this huge irritating wall.

I also did want to extend the reminder that if you have any suggestions about topics for Wednesday or books to review on Friday I am always willing to look things over. I would love for discussions to start and any comment that gets posted here makes me happy. If there's anything you want me to look at, please feel free to leave a message below or send me an e-mail. Even a messaga via Twitter is something I'll take a look at (as long as it's not spam) so please don't feel awkward or shy.

I appreciate everyone stopping by today. I will be back on Wednesday, again barring any sort of disaster. I hope the start of the week treats you all well and I will see you then!