Monday, July 21, 2014

7/21/2014 - Magnificent Monday


We have moved!

It is with wonderful consideration that I have moved the blog to Tumblr. I believe this will do better to gain traffic and a wider audience for the blog. Please head on over and you will be able to get the same information there as you would have here on Mondays and Wednesdays.

I can't wait to see you all there!!!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

07/16/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I am significantly more coherent than I was yesterday. At least so far, which is good. I have a strong dislike for super migraines, but sadly are a part of my life that part of me is convinced I will need to live with forever. Like I said, mostly better though. Also, my fetch-playing kitten Osiris, has once again lost his collar. Last time he brought it back to me, so I'm hoping that happens again because I have no idea where it's at.

There's been a bunch going on in writing lately, and if you follow the NaNoWriMo people on Twitter at all you may have seen they're doing something called Camp NaNoWriMo. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I see them doing word sprints and such during the day, which are a great way to bust through writer's block. If you don't believe me because you think writing a whole bunch all at once seem to be the opposite, give me the chance to explain.

If you go to write-ins during NaNoWriMo in November then you've heard of these too. They can be fun, and are usually between large groups. How it works is you give yourself an amount of time, usually between 15 and sometimes 20 minutes, and then you just write as much as you possibly can. Generally if there are more people involved it's done up as a competition and there's some kind of "prize" involved, like candy. Competition even if it's just against yourself can be a startling motivator against writer's block because it causes your brain to basically say, "Screw this I'm not losing to Jim, he's writing a weird slash-fic!" This causes the wall to come crashing down by way of lots of words in a very short amount of time.

This is similar to the 'ripping off the Band-Aid' method of doing things. Writer's block is a terrible thing and if left to sit there with the hopes it'll just go away on its own or you'll just give it a bit more time and it'll fade, you run the risk of it never leaving. Doing something sudden, like a word sprint, is really helpful because it forces you to think differently and sometimes that's really what you need in order to get passed it. A lot of the time, writer's block isn't caused by a lack of ideas, but rather too much focus on the topic that you become overwhelmed, so looking from a different perspective, like say that of a competition, is a great way to kick-start your brain back into working. Also, a lot of the time you are able to work from the spot your sprint ended much easier to make progress on your story, not to mention since it's just a whole bunch of words falling into the page, sometimes things take a turn you weren't expecting, and that can be a lot of fun.

Remember, that's the key to writing this summer (aside from staying cool, because wow laptops heat up) have fun with whatever you're doing. If you don't enjoy it, the writer's block won't go away even if you try something from a different angle. Having the want to write a book because you think that it's something you should do and the will, and also the drive to do so are all part of it, but if you don't like the process, it's going to be a miserable experience and having writer's block is a sign that you need to take a look at what you're doing. These words sprints the NaNoWriMo guys are holding look like a lot of fun, and the ones I've done in the past at write-ins super were (and not just because I type super fast and got candy) so if you are having some trouble and just need to work from a different angle, try it out. Set a timer at time and see what happens, because sometimes just challenging yourself is a fun competition too.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! Remember, you can get 'Rending the Seal' now for 50% off at the Smashwords Summer Sale, so please spread the word around. I would really appreciate it. The more people see the more word gets out about the book series and I'm sure you've all figured out how I feel about advertising by now. In the meantime, I hope you have a nice rest of your week, try to stay cool if where you live is stupid hot, and have fun!

Monday, July 14, 2014

07/14/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and good morning. I hope so far this Monday is being nice to you. I have been greeted by cats and a power surge or some sorts. There was a flash from another room, all the power went out and then there was a BOOM outside. Everything came back on a couple seconds later, and luckily I was already awake, but it tells me today will be interesting at least.

Having to work Monday after a Saturday is always really hard. There wasn't enough time to relax after a week of working a weird shift and all I want to do is sleep. Not to mention I'm still adjusting to my new desk and I just want to have a rock accidentally hit the oppressively bright light above my head. I've had people say they'll switch spots with me, but moving is such a hassle that I want to at least try and see if I can get used to it first.

Work is continuing on 'Feathers of the Dead' and it's going quite nicely if I do say so myself. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on that thing once I get this part completed, but I am pleased with how it's going so far. I think it'll be somewhere between 85 - 90 pages typed, which is nice and once it's filled in a bit more it should push it well over the 100 page mark. I'm almost to the part where I get to go into the various Underworlds, which is a point I was fairly pleased with personally, so I am pretty excited. I got to have a lot of fun with all the useless bits of mythological knowledge that's in my head for this story, so whenever I get to a part that has some I get excited. It's also a great refresher when it comes to NaNoWriMo planning for this year, which is an unexpected benefit.

With things going so smoothly for 'Feathers of the Dead' I'm hoping that means once I'm able to have it all in my computer I'll be able to get back to work on 'Through the Broken Mirror'. Of course that means getting it back from the person that has it, but my hope is that once I'm done with my current work that will have happened by then. Work has been making them very busy though, so I'm trying really hard not to be a nag.

A reminder before we head out today! The Smashwords Summer Sale is still going strong! We had a wonderful first half and I hope that all that picked up my books have enjoyed them. You can still get 'The Light Rises' for FREE for the month and now 'Rending the Seal' is 50% off! Please tell everyone so they are able to enjoy it and get a fresh start to the series. I would really appreciate it! The coupons are generated automatically on the site, so just send them over and they'll be able to get the discount.

For now have a great start to your week. I'll be back on Wednesday so if you have a topic you'd like for me to take a look at feel free to drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you and I'd always love to get a discussion started. See you all again soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

07/09/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope so far the week has been nice to you. There hasn't been any "bee attacks" so I'm good in that respect. That doesn't mean I'm not on the look out though...always vigilant. I'm not a sport-liking or caring about person, but we had the World Cup on yesterday at work, and oh man the Blitzkrieg was just awful. It got to the point where the lot of us were just confused as to whether or not it was ok to keep watching. I've been pretty good about being able to just ignore it while it's been on, but when there was a score almost any time I looked back at my computer, that was a bit distracting. I also had no idea scores in soccer (or football, whatever) got that high.

So looking at things people care about, well at least I care significantly more about, writing stuff! One of thine difficult things to do when editing or at least going over your first draft and realizing parts make absolutely no sense so you put more stuff in, is the part where you actually add stuff. Exposition can be a little jarring not just because you need to make sure you keep the feel of whatever was happening before, but because if you're not careful you can easily get out of control with it.

Think about the last book you read that just seemed to go into way too much detail about something you just stopped caring about two paragraphs back. Let's be honest here, it's fine, this is a safe place to talk about it. I'll go first since I'm the one typing and unless there's a discuss in the comments section I can't actually hear you (and it would be scary if I could right now). First let's look at classic literature, 'The Scarlet Letter' is seen as one of the greatest pieces of writing and is also required reading in some high schools (mine), however there were points when I just got super done caring about whatever was currently being described. You want to take 3 pages to talk about the letter A? Alright, but Sesame Street takes less time to do that. Also, I'm pretty sure those 3 pages were all one paragraph and that is a major pet peev for me. I also love the Lord of the Rings books, absolutely, but there were points when I have to agree with that analysis in Clerks 2; there's a lot of walking in those books, even the trees walked.

Those are examples where exposition gets out of hand, in my opinion. I may have just sparked my first flame war. That would be kind of exciting! Another problem is when people do the opposite out of fear of doing too much. I sometimes suffer from this, but it's partially the fear of putting in pages and pages of text that's just description, and also a joining of the fact that the actual things are in my head already. See, for me typing things out is  the only way I can be consistently articulate, but even then sometimes I get ahead of myself and my brain convinces me that everyone else will understand what I mean even though they aren't "seeing" what I am. That's when you get things where you think you put in a good description of a person, and you remember doing it too, but when someone who isn't you has a chance to read the story they will come to you and point out they have no idea what you're talking about there.

There are a couple ways to avoid getting caught in either trap. When it comes to making things too long, look at your paragraph length and also consider what else is happening in that scene. If you are in the middle of some climactic reveal, like a dragon just burst through a wall and is shooting fire everywhere and your heroes are forced to dive for cover, but you take 4 pages to talk about the scales that cover the dragon's skin, there's a chance you're going to want to dial it back a bit. If it's that long by the time the action starts again your reader is going to either have forgotten what's going on, or will have skipped the description entirely to get back to the action. For things that are too short, or if you're worried they are, come back to the story  a month or so later and read it again. If you find you are reading that part over more than once to figure out what you were trying to get at, it likely means you need to put more information into that piece of exposition.

This is also where having a second set of eyes comes in handy. They will be able to tell you where things need to be adjusted since they don't know the things you do. The reader won't have access to your vast well of brain-knowledge (unless they do, then you need to talk to them about other things) and if they are pointing out your descriptions and explainers are causing a bit of issues, then when you go back through the story you should take a look at them to see how to adjust things. It might take some work, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Tomorrow is Rifftrax Live: Sharknado, and hopefully things will work out the way they're supposed to. I am looking forward to it, so I hope everyone who is going has a great time. I'll see you all later!

Monday, July 7, 2014

07/7/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend was kind to all of you. It was a nice 3-day weekend for me, so the fact that I have to go in for my early shift is somewhat sadder than it could be normally. The cats did well during the 4th, though poor little Osiris experienced fear for the first time. He did not appreciate the fireworks one little bit.

Although along with discovering some ants (ongoing battle) my managers put up there is a "bee issue" where honey bees want to live in the apartment next to us. They are trying to encourage them not to want to live there anymore, but I saw one looking for a new home and it was too close for comfort to my door. For the record, I find anything that flies, striped, with a stinger, to be absolutely terrifying. I don't care if some are related or not. We are putting up some anti-bee measures today, but that didn't help that finding a wasp in my laundry yesterday almost gave me a heart attack. The ants, plus the bees, plus the wasp did cause for from hollywood-esque dreams though.

As a reminder of things that don't scare me to death, the Smashwords Summer Sale is going on now. Please check it out if not for me, than for the tons of other authors trying to do the same thing. They are just trying to use this chance to get their names out there and it would be great if you all took a moment to look through the lists and lists of people who put their books up for the month. I'm sure they'd appreciate the time.

I hope the start of the week is nice to you all. I hope that there aren't nearly as many bees for me to worry about. Please check out 'Rending the Seal' and 'The Light Rises' which are both on sale as part of the Smashwords Summer Sale. Also if you could spread the word a bit that would be great too. For now though, I'll see you all back here on Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

07/02/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is being nice to all of you so far. Right now mine has been far too warm, but I will survive (hopefully). So far my morning has involved the kitten accidentally nicking my toe in his enthusiastic attempt to get at a string, and when I thought everything was fine (because cats scratches happen) I then looked down to find out, oh...that's not fine. So currently my big toe is wrapped in a lot of paper towels. It's kind of silly.

Moving onto things that shouldn't make a physical mess, writing! Please note, if your writing makes a physical mess, I don't know if that's writing anymore. The Smashwords Summer Sale is going on now, which means today is a great chance to talk about advertising. I know it seems like kind of a cop out, but getting the word out that your story exists is just as important as writing it, and when a sale is going on is the perfect chance to do so!

Think about the posters, signs, commercials, and other things you see whenever a company has a sale, especially a big annual one. It's like when Ikea has their sale and you get that novel of a catalog in the mail. There are balloons, streamers, people doing crazy stuff, as well as the conventional ways to advertise happening all in an attempt to get you to care about that product or sale. It might seem annoying to you as the consumer at times, but to the person trying to sell the item, it's all they can do out of hope they will get some sales.

You have to be that guy. I know it sounds weird, but you have to. Advertising is incredibly awkward, even when there isn't a sale going on or if you make one up yourself. Just on say a regular Tuesday. It can be one of the most uncomfortable things you can do because you are forced to throw yourself and your product out there and there is a chance that either no one will care or there will be backlash. It's incredibly scary, but if you don't do it, then nothing will ever happen and that's pretty much worse.

Go back to the stores having their sales. Let's say there's this thing you want really bad, but you feel it's normal price is too much for you to pay for so you're waiting for the discount. Then a big store-wide sale happens, you go to the store but that item isn't part of the sale because the company that makes it doesn't believe in happiness or bringing good things to people. This is how it is for people when they don't realize your books are part of something like a large sale for your distributor. Think about how much your got during the Steam Summer Sale, and how much you wouldn't have noticed normally if those games hadn't been put to the front of your screen. Also, good luck playing all of those games before you're retired!

I do have a point in all this, and it's that you have to participate. I know it sounds weird, and if you follow me on Twitter you are likely two seconds from an Unfollow because of how frequent my posts about my books are, but it's important. Do it for yourself because if you aren't paying for an advertising firm (which...don't) telling people is all you can do, and just relying on clicking that you participate to help people see your books isn't going to be enough. You have to bring the traffic to your page and show them.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. As a not-so-subtle reminder, the Smashwords Summer Sale is happening now! You can get 'Rending the Seal' for 75% off and 'The Light Rises' for FREE all month long! Please spread the word! I would appreciate it! I'll be back next week, hopefully not a melted pile of tired.

Monday, June 30, 2014

06/30/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I have decided my level of awake-ness is at a 'I think once I have breakfast I can get to work level' but I don't know if it'll be much else. Let's just say that 'Monday' part of the title was initially written as 'money' and I was kind of disappointed. Mostly because money didn't immediately come shooting out of my computer screen.

Things overall are going well. It is my mom's actual birthday today, though we celebrated yesterday, so Happy Birthday to her! In other words, I will be so happy to be done with June. Every year this month finds some way to kick the crap out of me and this time was no exception. It's going to end with me super tired and barely able to move from muscle and bone soreness, which is...great...I guess.

I was looking over the numbers and I am rather pleased with how 'Rending the Seal' is doing. While my sales are about where I expected them, my number of overall downloads, which includes samples, is higher than where 'The Light Rises' was at the same point after its release. I'm curious as to whether or not I'll be able to get to the 100 mark at the end of summer, or even before then. That would be cool. It may not seem like those numbers are very high, but they're all I've got so I will be happy with what I get.

Also, still working on formatting things for print. I decided to work on them in the same order things were released, so 'The Light Rises' is coming first. That thing is going to need an overhaul, I think once I have a chance to move that into the editing schedule I'll get that done. It will depend on when I get 'Through the Broken Mirror' back from it's from once-over from someone who isn't me, and also when I get done moving 'Feathers of the Dead' to the computer, which that has to come first no matter what.

While 2014 is looking to be a busy and stressful year for me, after having made it past the half-way mark, it is also appearing to be a productive one. I hope to keep it up, the productive side at least, the stress can go eat a pile of garbage for all I care. Right now, I know I need to keep working and just look forward to the things coming up, especially since 'Sharknado' is next week, and that's going to be awesome.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will be back on Wednesday so I hope you can call come and visit. As always, if you have a topic you'd like to suggest, please let me know and I'd love to work something out for it. In the meantime, have a fun start to your week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

06/25/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope this week has been nice to you so far. I am sitting there, wondering where the rest of my month went. Also where my kitten's collar is...Osiris came up to me this morning quite happy I couldn't hear this evil little steps. I am still looking at print options for my books. I have realized there is going to be a cost to this, since I'm going the self-published route, which isn't fun, but I'll figure out a way to make it work...well, depending on the cost.

We are almost to July though, which means it's time for our annual early bird post about NaNoWriMo. I know it always seems way too early to start thinking about it, but the way I see it, with how fast the months seem to go by it's better to be prepared now than to get to October 31st and have no idea what you're doing.

Besides all you're doing is starting the thinking process now. I'm not saying you have to get the planning done in a week because that would be crazy. It's June, you have until November, that would be crazy. My goal is to make sure as many people are ready as possible so that we can all participate together in order to achieve those 50,000 words in that ridiculous month. The other, more personal reason I'm bringing it up now is that it has recently come to my attention just how crazy that month is going to be and I'd like to get some form of preparing out of the way early.

The first thing you need to do is just figure out what you're going to be writing about in November. Of course between now and then things can change, but getting your brain gears turning is what's important now. As you work on settling your decision, think about the overarching plot and main protagonist. Side characters will come next, but if you know who your good guy is and what they're going to be doing that makes things a lot easier.

If you're continuing a series like I will be, think about what is going to happen in that branch of the story. Consider how much time has passed not just since the last one, but also since the first story. This will be a good way to help you figure out exactly how much your characters have grown and evolved throughout it. Also think about which part of the series you're writing; is it one of the middle books, the penultimate one, or the last? What has brought you to that point and where do you plan on going? These are important questions you need to ask yourself when you start your preparations so that when you start on November 1st you can jump in without any hesitation.

Also, outside of writing think about your personal schedule up until that point. Remember to tell your loved ones that you are going to be MIA for a while, and if you explain what you are doing they will likely understand and think it's super cool! Your schedule though isn't just what you're going to be doing in November, but also leading up to it. For example, I take October to do almost nothing productive, at least writing wise (I still need a job) in order to make sure that I don't accidentally take it too far during NaNoWriMo. Usually I find a video game or something that I've wanted to play for a while and obsess over that for the month. It gives me time to relax while getting the final mental preparations in order.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Of course we'll be talking more about NaNoWriMo and the preparations you can take the closer we get to the month. For now just enjoy the rest of your week, as we are getting closer to the end of the month. Have fun, and remember you can pick up 'Rending the Seal' and 'The Light Rises' on Smashwords whenever you want!

Monday, June 23, 2014

6/23/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the weekend was nice to you all. Mine was not nearly long enough and right now I am wishing for at least three more hours of sleep, but I suppose going to work will have to happen instead. Sometimes responsibilities are lame.

The memorial/wake went very well. The ceremony was actually quite beautiful, and the 21 gun salute was the loudest thing I have ever heard. We then all went to a local Elks Club for the wake and for a pot luck where myself and two of my cousins spoke, and we all made it through our little speeches. My little cousin, which was his great-grand daughter, had never spoken in front of people before and had just turned 13, we were all really proud of her. Some of the stories my grandfather's bowling buddies shared were hilarious, and even his old bartender came to the wake. It was wonderful to see just how many people his life touched. My grandmother was very thankful for all the kind words, even if she said she never needed to know about some of the stories of him being the crazy driver. Even members of my family who are being not as agreeable right now showed up and were completely civil. All in all we considered it a success.

Right now I am looking forward to what the rest of the year is going to bring for me. Currently, November is looking like it's going to be a special kind of hell, which...hooray. Along with National Writing Month, they are also looking at having the 21st be the day of the Winter Craft fair, and that is also the day Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire comes out (which I totally pre-ordered), and then four days later Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is released in the US. I know Thanksgiving is in there...somewhere...I just don't have the slightest idea where. Currently I am thinking if I can just get my word quota done by the 21st I should be fine...just trying to work out the logistics with the craft fair is going to be a challenge, which is why I'm trying to figure it out now.

I am also looking at options for getting my books in print. I have been talking with a local print on demand company and heard back from them this morning about information they would need in order to get me a solid quote. I hope it works out, since I would really like to have them available in a physical format. This printer would distribute to Amazon for me, which while I am still not happy with them, means I wouldn't go through them directly. I'll let you all know how that goes through.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Last week was really hard, and I'm hoping this week will be better. As a reminder, please, if you are looking at this via the Facebook pages for my books, please click the Like button. I have learned that if you don't, after a while Facebook decides you are no longer interested and they will stop showing people my pages. Last Wednesday it said my links reached 0 people. It was really hard. So please help out. For now though, I hope you all have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

06/18/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope the week is treating you well. I haven't decided how it's treating me yet, but I suppose tomorrow will be the judge of that. Luckily I will have Friday to recover before going back to work for a little bit on Saturday, so that will be nice. Doesn't mean I have to enjoy it. I did learn of a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor though...I want to eat it.

I wanted to take a couple steps back and look at something we've touched bases on before, mostly because of just how important it is to remember. When you're doing your first draft you are thinking, somewhere in the back of your mind, that there will be things you need to fix, but there is likely something that is fighting against logic that is saying there aren't many. This is what we are going to look at today, because frankly, it's important to remember that your first draft is going to be terrible.

I'm not saying terrible story-wise, mostly because that would make me an absolute jerk, and hopefully by the time you're actually writing out your story you've come up with a story that you enjoy to the point that you have written it out fully and still enjoy it when you're done with it. I'm talking when you go back over it and start finding things like grammar issues, spelling, or words that really shouldn't be there. You are going to find a lot of them, and it's important not to feel surprised by this. When you're writing out your first draft there is so much going on that your thoughts and your writing method are crossing over each other, this is what causes things like typos and misplaced words. It's just something that happens, and also why you don't necessarily catch them when they happen. You are so focused on getting everything out right then that your brain makes you see everything as being correct so you keep going. Now this isn't to say there won't be some typos you catch are you write them, but I'm talking about the ones that are missed, and they will be there.

One of the things I ran into, especially with 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and most recently with 'Feathers of the Dead' is that because they were handwritten first, I became impatient with some details while writing, so there are a lot of places where more exposition is needed that I just haven't put in there yet. Not to say this doesn't happen with stories that are subjected to one medium, but for me it is far more apparent with those two because they were/are in the notebooks first. I wanted to get to a specific scene really badly, and writing out all those pesky specifics took a lot of time, and also my hand was cramping up. These are things that are going to be added in during the editing process, and will also add a lot to the final word count to the story. The other thing is that moving something from a notebook to a computer there is a lot of risk for even more typos than normal because you are constantly having to switch your focus between the original material and then typing it out.

It's important to remember that when you start your editing process and you start to see just how much needs to be fixed or adjusted that you don't get discouraged. It's the first draft for a reason, and while your brain might have wanted everything to be 100% perfect, that just isn't going to happen on the first go; especially with something that is potentially over 100 pages of text. There are so many people that start editing and get frustrated to the point where they just stop because they can't handle having to fix things they don't feel should be there and it's just so sad. Those stories never get finished because they can't get passed the fact that editing is part of the writing process too, it just might not be the most fun part. You can't let yourself get caught in that cycle too, so just remember that each time you fix a word you are one step closer to making your story a highly polished piece of gold and soon the world will get to see it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will see you all back on Monday. For now, I hope the rest of the week is nice to you and please check out 'Rending the Seal' available on Smashwords, and please tell people that you didn't get it on Amazon, that would be great because they are seriously being jerks right now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

06/16/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope the weekend was nice to all of you. Mine was fun, though it was partially spent trying to mentally prepare myself for this week, so, that was great I suppose. I have what I am going to say at the memorial written, I just need to hear back from my mother to know if it is 100% ok or not. I still think I'm crazy for volunteering, and I probably am, but I wanted to do something.

My efforts to move 'Feathers of the Dead' into a digital format continues. I am almost to the 1/3 point, which is a nice little milestone to be at. There was a point when my hands were starting to hurt and I realized it was because I had been so focused on editing for so long that I hadn't done enough actual writing to keep them "in shape" so that was a surprise. That was only for about a day when I hit the 10,000 word mark, but it was a little surprising. I knew to expect my tendonitis to act up, I just didn't anticipate it being so soon into the process.

I'm also still going back and forth about whether or not to use my NaNoWriMo free print out of my book. On one hand, it would be super cool to have a print edition out (and someone in my family would actually read it, but that's another gripe that's not for here) and it would let me sell a printed version for people. On the other hand, it would be using Amazon's printed publishing service and I am super irritated with them right now. Not because of anything they did to me personally (though opening those nice shipping fiasco wounds helps) but because of the ongoing dispute with Hachette, WB Entertainment and several other companies about their pricing model. I'm mostly upset about Hachette because of how it effects new and independent authors that use them as a printed publisher because this is hurting them so badly it's just painful to watch. Luckily one of their biggest advocates is one of my personal heroes, Stephen Colbert, who is also having his books (which are amazing) stifled by Amazon. I would love to be able to actually hold a copy of my book in my hands, but I also want to stand by Hachette and the other companies Amazon has decided they want to pick on by not using their services. Heck, I may just see what I need to do in order to go through Hachette, but I do urge you all to look into what Amazon is doing because it is awful and just so sad to watch. All it does it hurt the people who have made such wonderful products and the customers trying to get them. Please shop elsewhere until (and potentially after) this has all settled.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! I shall be back on Wednesday with an update and hopefully some good advice. If you have a topic you'd like to see, please let me know, it would be great and I'll do my best to bring it up for everyone to read! Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

06/11/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope the week has been treating you well. I feel pretty tired, but I did a lot of running around yesterday after work so that's probably why. I'm one of the people in charge of putting together a basket that's being raffled off this Friday at work, and the raffle proceeds are being donated to the Relay for Life, which is for cancer research. There have been a few hiccups along the way, but mostly due to a lack of participation from people in the department (or just everyone buying candy...we have way too much) or a dispute over what movies are ok to put into the basket. I'm sure it'll turn out great though, so I'm looking forward to decorating it today.

I mulled over several different topics for today and decided to look at things from an emotional aspect for your characters. Showing the impact something has on them is incredibly important, because it makes them more believable as an individual and also helps the reader become more invested in their story. If you have a story where there is nothing but death and destruction all around and your main character doesn't have some kind of reaction to it (unless that is specifically pointed out why they don't) it is going to break the suspension of disbelief and make the story feel boring for the reader. There needs to be that emotional connection there in order to drive them forward.

This is true for any character or character type. Take Superman for example, nigh-invunerable, super smart, can fly, laser eyes, x-ray vision, super strength, probably some other stuff the older comics made up that were called 'Super-Something-Stupid', if you put that all into one basket and to top it all off he's an alien, it makes it really hard to relate to someone like that. However, make it so he's raised by the nicest couple in the world in Smallville, KS, given good moral values, and even the inclination to still get a normal job that he should be struggling with because seriously...newspaper journalist? When he could get all the money he wants by punching his way into bank vaults and flying away. He cares about people, he cares about his friends, he cares about Lois Lane, and you can tell there is fear in him if/when she's put into danger. That is how you start relating to that character because in those times he knows he can rip the arm of that guy and then snap him in two like a tiny twig, but he doesn't because that would be awful (and messy) and that restricts him, and that makes it so you as a reader don't know what he's going to do next.

Now I'm not saying to make your story a giant bubble of emotion and exposition, because that would get ridiculous and probably a little boring. I'm just saying you need to make sure that whatever happens in the story, to make sure that your character's reactions are genuine. Is someone having a crap day, and did that car accident push them right over the edge so they say something they super regret? Great, put that angst in there and have them mull over it a bit until they either get over it or apologize. Did they lose a loved one and now they have need to deal with that as well as a ton of responsibilities that only they can do that aren't exactly waiting for them to finish the grieving process? There is going to be a lot of flip-flopping there, and a don't forget to reference the stages of loss (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) because they are going to be experiencing that at the exact same time as everything else, and those stages are not linear and you can go back to a previous one. Does the character feel overwhelmed or extremely out of place? Think of the anxiety and stress that would cause a person and let them experience that too.

My point is remember the character you put together when you thought of the story and don't forget to make them a person. There is a reason why I don't understand the logic behind some executives decision to make a certain book series about a cardboard cutout of a person falling in love in a guy who who obviously has some domestic violence issues into a multi-million dollar movie franchise. (It must be the 'multi-million dollar' part.) If you have personal experience dealing with something you are putting your character through, it's fine to emote a little because that will make the story seem more real to the reader. There is nothing wrong with that. In the end it'll make the story far more enjoyable and you will be satisfied you did it.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope the rest of the week is good for all of you. I have no idea what next week holds for me. Last I heard the memorial service was going to be Thursday, which I have off since I work next Saturday, but I don't know what my brain is going to decide to do, especially since I offered to speak. With a portion of the family being ridiculous and no longer knowing if we are having a eulogy my brain feels fried. I will do my best to get the posts up, though I may be stressing over what I need to write for Thursday and forget. I will do everything I can though! Have a great weekend in the meantime, remember Sunday is Father's Day, so hug your dad!

Monday, June 9, 2014

06/9/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings all and welcome back! I'm glad you could all make it. Hopefully the weekend was nice to you. Mine was full of plan-juggling, which is my least favorite kind of juggling (and yet the only kind I can actually do) but other than that it was nice. It was both my father and my friend's birthday, so that meant good time were had by all.

Planning is still happening for my grandfather's memorial, which from the outside seems like a chaotic pile of crazy. I'm sure it's a bit better than that, but it's what it looks like. They are hoping for next week though, so we'll see how that goes. I may end up speaking at it, which is absolutely terrifying since I don't remember the last time I spoke in front of a bunch of people, but if I can manage to put something together and make it through that's good for me.

Moving 'Feathers of the Dead' into my computer continues. I have about 36-something pages through the notebook, which puts me at 20 pages in the Word document. I know that gap is going to just keep getting wider, seeing as it was a 10-page gap previously, but we'll see where it ends up. If I can get the story to be over 100 pages before first-draft edits/additions I'll be happy. There is a lot of work this story needs, so we'll see where it ends up.

It's really interesting coming back to this story, since it is a bit of a refresher for what I have planned for later. Also though because a good portion of it is about them dealing with the death of one of the characters, it is hitting a lot closer to home than it had when I initially wrote it. Overall I think it'll help make the characters reactions be a bit more real, but writing out the death scene was a lot harder than it was the first time. I've also gotten a lot more information about some of the lesser deities that show up toward the end, so I think that will be a fun part once I get there.

All in all I think things are going about as well as could be expected. I am working on getting back into a normal routine, which means going back on my low-calorie diet, which is killing me because right now all I want is cake. All of it, specifically chocolate.

Anyway, I'll let you all get to your normal day! I'll see you back here on Wednesday! For now have a good start to your week and let me know if there is a specific topic you'd like for me to cover. Also, if you know someone who might be interested or thinks the blog might help them out, tell them to stop on by. Facebook has started making it so if you don't hit Like on business page's posts after a while, they assume you are no longer interested and stop showing them to people. I got wind of this, I believe, a little too late, and now the pages for my books are being shown to about 3 - 6 people a week. To give an example of how bad that is, 'The Light Rises' has almost 200 likes and it only shows my posts to an average of 4 of them a week. So please tell your friends to stop by! It sounds fun!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

06/04/2014 Writing Wednesday

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I hope this week is treating you well. Mine has been a week so far, and other than the realization that unlike most years I don't have a two week gap between my father and friend's birthdays and father's day, it's going alright. My work is doing a lot of planning, as we are a sponsor for an event called Relay for Life, which supports cancer research, survivors, and honors those who have lost to it, and the talking about it all yesterday was both difficult and inspirational, so I think things are moving forward. At this point I am looking forward to the weekend, especially since there's cake involved, and man I want cake!

Getting back into the swing of things is what I have been trying to focus on though, so I wanted to talk about something completely different today. We are going back to the basics for the post, to the start of any project, right at the very beginning, well maybe not the instant beginning, but close enough! I'm talking about outlines!

Now I will be the first to admit that not everyone uses them, at least not to the same extent. They are helpful on a lot of different levels, and to some people they are just a bunch of squiggles on a piece of paper, but to others they are the guidelines to their entire world. Personally I have found something similar to an outline to be helpful for individual characters, especially ones that tend to have longer lifespans, because it will help give you a visual of what they'd experienced and where they would have been doing specific events. For example, in 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and the books to follow it, there is a character that is over 175 years old, therefore he would have been alive for the events of 'Rending the Seal' and it's group of books. Now he didn't necessarily get involved (he didn't) in the events, but the events did have a trickle effect on his life, so I need to figure that out.

Another point where they come in handy are situations where you have some kind of political ridiculousness going on. Mostly because that insinuates there is so much happening in the background that you need to keep track of, an outline is going to be your helpful little tool for letting you know exactly where things are going. Have a sneaky character that is doing a lot of shady deals no one knows about until it makes it look like the vice president has been laundering money from the secretary of treasury (I have no idea how any of this works, obviously), an outline will tell you who that guy has been talking to in order to make that happen.

Also, if you just have a metric ton of people to keep track of. There are a lot of books/series that pile on the characters that all do their own things and even as a reader it's hard to know who/where/what all these people are doing. As an author it's even harder and an outline will help keep all that craziness in order. As much as I find him to be a jerk, I assume George RR Martin's wall looks like one of those conspiracy-murder-solver-walls with pictures of people with their faces crossed out and strings connecting them because of the number of people that are in that stupid series and/or that have died. That's his outline, yours can look like a sane person's though.

One other use that my friends and I have found, and this was discovered mostly by accident; time travel. If you have decided that your primary plot device/tool is going to be time travel, you need an outline. This is not a request or a suggestion, it is a requirement. Time travel makes so many things go backwards and get confusing that the only real way to know for 100% what is right and what has been changed and now, is to make an outline, especially if you are using a type that will create new timelines once the past has been changed. I am telling you this for your own good, venture where I will not, because time travel makes my head hurt.

I wish you all luck in your endeavors. I hope the refresher on outlines was helpful for today! I will be back on Monday so I hope you all have a great rest of your week.

Monday, June 2, 2014

06/02/2014 Magnificent Monday

Hello everyone and welcome back. Things took a bit longer to come back than I expected, and I appreciate your patience during my momentary hiatus. I was dealing with a lot of stuff last week that I hadn't planned for and I really needed the time to focus on that rather than doing much anything else, so I am thankful for being given that chance.

Overall the vacation itself was good (things got bad this last Tuesday, which technically wasn't part of the vacation). I got to relax, got a kitten named Osiris who is working on fitting in rather well. He follows Thoth around and mimics him, which I've never seen a kitten do, and will bring him toys when he wants him to play. Thoth is still a little unsure of him at times, but after only two weeks they are doing very well. Osiris just needs to learn "sharing" and what "grooming breaks" are and they should be ok. If you haven't guessed, I tend to like themes for any pet names I get to pick myself. If I had stayed at my parent's home longer, and we had gotten more cats, they would have followed the Norse pantheon. My compromise for cats at our place (since that guy I live with is actually allergic to them) is that I name them after the Egyptian one. This feeds both my like of cats, and mythology, so I'm happy.

I also got to go to the Lindsey Stirling concert on the 21st, and that was super cool! I got to hear all of my favorite songs, and I'm still primarily listening to those albums pretty much every day. I took videos of my favorites too. I am really happy her fame is taking off, she is really talented and super deserves it. That whole experience was fun, and there were points when I was awestruck by hearing something that I had listened to so many times to see it done live.

There was also the new X-Men movie seeing, which fixes everything (there are still some plot holes, but who cares) so you should all go see it. I won't say anything else, since well, spoilers and all, and I'm not a jerk, but yeah, fixed everything.

The reason for the extended hiatus was that on Tuesday I lost one of my grandfathers. He had been sick for a long time, and two days before it had been brought to my attention how bad it had gotten. His loss was very sudden though as we were all thinking we had months left with him, not less than 24 hours, so my family is still dealing with the shock. I am dealing with the grief the only way I know how, and I don't know if it's healthy or normal, but it's the only thing I can do along with helping where I can. Especially with my father (and my friend's) birthday this week and father's day following so close behind, all we can do is rally together. Again your understanding is appreciated during my extended break.

This week though, moving 'Feathers of the Dead' to the computer continues (slowly, god so slowly) while Jason reads 'Through the Broken Mirror'. I'm still working out a schedule as to what to do when he gets it back to me. I think it'll all depend on actually how far I've gotten. I might dedicate June to 'Feathers of the Dead' just to get as much done as possible, but we'll see. I am really happy to be making so much progress though.

I will be back on Wednesday though, so I look forward to getting back into the swing of things. If you have a topic you'd like me to cover let me know! I'll do what I can do accommodate! Until then have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

05/14/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is treating you well so far. I am slowly getting some of that sleep back, so hopefully I will be more awake than I have been. Admittedly yesterday was better than Monday, which means today should, in theory, be better than both! That's the scientific theory though, let's see what happens next.

Yesterday I got through one of the editing phases for 'Through the Broken Mirror' now if you remember correctly I said once you do that you should take a break and do something else for a little bit. So, technically I'm doing something else in that I'm going to work on getting 'Feathers of the Dead' out of that stupid notebook, but I know that I meant do something not writing related in order to give your brain a break. The reason I'm breaking my own advice is because next week I am on vacation and will have some 8 days or so to do just that, so I can take 3 days to get some work done if it means over a week of doing nothing afterward. I justified it you can't be mad!

When it comes to moving a story from a written format to a digital one, I don't know if there is a fast way to do it. At least I haven't found one, and if there is one that exists, PLEASE SHARE IT BECAUSE IT IS CRAZY. My hope is that it doesn't take forever and a year to get this done, mostly because I would like to get things finished before it takes another 2 years to release a book. If you are about to do what I'm doing, or are in the middle of it, please take to heart that you aren't crazy (well not completely, you're still taking something you hand-wrote that's potentially hundreds of pages long and deciding you want to type it now) and that it does take forever. I don't even remember when I started typing out 'Daughter of the Shackled King' but I remember it felt like it took far longer than it should have. Also don't panic because it's shorter than you were when it was written, that's going to happen too, this is all normal, it's just weird.

Part of me wishes there was a magical thing that would scan the pages for me and put everything onto a page instantly, but the only thing I can think of is how many mistakes I'd need to correct, and whether or not that would really save time in the end. I think overall it would, but time fixing things would probably make me want to kill something. Unless your handwriting is perfect anything that scans isn't going to recognize every word you wrote for what you intended (if those ATM's that scan checks have taught me anything) and yeah...I think I'd rather just type it.

I am really looking forward to 'Feathers of the Dead' though, even if it's the shorter (so far) between it and 'Daughter of the Shackled King' I got to have a lot of fun pulling from some of my favorite mythologies and playing with some more obscure references. I also got to play with my favorite ritual from Egyptian myth that the God I named my cat after, and his soon to be buddy, were both involved in, so there's that. So even if it drives me nuts, I am looking forward to it, and if you're doing the same thing you should too. You get to relive what is hopefully a really fun story for you, and get reintroduced to your world. If you don't enjoy that then maybe you need more than a few days off.

For now I will leave you with that. I will see you all when I get back from my much-needed break. If you all could do me a huge favor that would be appreciated; my Channel Manager at Smashwords is saying 'Rending the Seal' is available at all my different locations, however at least at Kobo it's not there. If you find the link elsewhere can you please send it to others or at least me so I can make sure it's available? That would be great! I just want to make sure there aren't any problems. Have a great rest of your week!

Monday, May 12, 2014

05/12/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and happy Monday. I hope the weekend was nice to you. Mine was super busy, but it was worth it. Mother's Day was fun; got to spend time with my mom and also see a neat concert by the Seattle Rock Orchestra where they did the entire White Album. Right now though, I am very tired, since I don't feel like I had an actual weekend, but I just need to push through this week and I'll have a bunch of time off. Just need to make it there.

I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I have decided to make any posts of Friday a not-guaranteed thing. I will look for stuff when I have time, but with how infrequent they have been as of late, and with the last of time I generally have on those days, lately I feel like I have been shooting down everyone's expectations. I don't want to promise something that I can't deliver. At some point in the future I may switch it up so that the review post is on a different day of the week, but for now I am setting things up so that if it happens, which seems to be about once a month or so, it happens and it is awesome, but if there isn't a post then the world isn't shattered and I don't feel awful about disappointing people.

Part of it is that there is a lot going on for me and while I think I'm handling it, my brain is not letting me focus enough to actually comprehend reading in the morning as well. At least not to the locating something to read, read it, review it, then put the posts up everywhere. By the middle of the day on Friday typically I am a lot better, because it's the middle of the day, but I'm at work and well, no access to internet. Once things figure themselves out and/or whatever phase I'm going through is over we may go back to normal, but for now I think this is for the best.

Currently I am looking forward to next week. There will be no posts at all or that following Monday as I realized that is a holiday, due to my vacation. I have been needing this for so long and I just want some time to feel like I have very few obligations. Sure I will have a new kitty that I will flood the internet with pictures of, but other than that I don't want to have to worry about really anything else. I will also being going to the Lindsey Stirling concert on the 21st and I am just too excited for words.

For now I appreciate your understanding, and of course if you find a story you want me to review don't hesitate to send it to me and I'll look it over. It's just more that I'm not going to get up on Friday mornings and rush around the internet if I feel too tired to see clearly. I think that'll be best for now. Have a great start to your week though, I'll see you all back here on Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

05/07/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope this week is being nice to you so far. I am pushing through my long week, thankful that I have tomorrow off, but not so much with all the work I have to do during that time. It'll all be worth it though, I just need to make sure it all gets done. My laptop seems to be working normally again too, which is great, a little frustrating because I spent that money, but still great. I have gotten back to work, so I am all ready to go.

Even if it was only for about a week, coming back to everything after that small break was like coming back with a really fresh and clear mind. I mentioned last week how surprisingly useful that video game time was, now it's time to see the benefits of it. Well, I get to see the benefits of it, since I'm editing, you all just get to hear about it I suppose. It would be weird to start posting pieces from my editing progress here, so I won't do that.

My brain didn't feel tired anymore, that was the biggest thing I noticed. I mean I'm still looking forward to my big bout of time off in a couple weeks, and during that time I plan on doing very little that's considered productive, but this was still nice. When I sat down and pulled everything I needed out it didn't feel like some unending chore to edit, it just felt like a piece of the process that needed to get done. That is a big step because editing drives me nuts sometimes.

I am seriously attributing this way of thinking to those few days of nothing. I know it seems silly, but like I mentioned before I had been editing pretty much constantly for over a year if not significantly longer and I just lost track of time, to be able to sit down and do something that had no baring on anything important let me brain finally relax. By the time I was fairly certain my laptop would charge when I came home from work I was ready to get back to editing and it didn't feel like some damning second job that I don't get paid for. I wanted to do it. That is the important piece of all of this; I wanted to edit the project.

For me I would rather write everything and have it all magically come out perfect the first time. As I'm sure every writer ever would. I find actually crafting the story and typing it out to be infinitely more enjoyable than the editing portion, which is why the fact the physical writing part is actually the smallest sliver of time in the whole 'writing project' pie chart makes me sad. That hasn't changed, because I still find writing super lots of fun, however at this moment editing doesn't make me tired, and I think it's because I needed that break more than I thought I did. Sure it was only for a few days, and a smart person with some kind of degree would insist I take a longer one, but that was what I needed at that time. So while I may not have talked about anything specific about writing today, take away from this the benefit of having a few days off; you come back refreshed like when you wake up from a nap and then have ice cream.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will do my best to be back on Friday. As I mentioned in a couple weeks I will be on vacation. I'm not going anywhere, but I'm also not doing anything, so the blog will be on break too. That will be on the 19th through the rest of that week. For now I hope the rest of the week is super nice to you! Have all of the fun! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

05/5/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome to Cinco de Mayo. I'm going to do everything I can to make this a coherent post. The rain was impressive last night and I'm pretty sure it woke me up every two hours so needless to say words are running together a bit. This is supposed to be a 'No Pop' day for me, but we'll see if it still looks like it's going to be that way when I get to my break time.

May is looking like it is going to be an absolutely ridiculous month. I just finished pet sitting for my parents while they were in Phoenix, which was nice because my cat over there is 16 and recently diagnosed with cancer, so I liked being able to see her. That little tabby has quite the set of lungs on her demanding self that is for certain. With mother's day this weekend as well I am looking forward to a Seattle Rock Orchestra tribute to the Beatles where they will be doing the entire White Album. After that it'll be trying to get through one more week then it's kitten time plus vacation, and my Lindsey Stirling concert. I'm excited, but right now I'm just trying to find time to sleep. I'm so tired.

My laptop, in all it's crazy glory, can't decide if it wants to be able to charge or not. However since I now have a back-up battery and external charger, it'll be back to work for me today. Having that break to just play a video game was amazing though, I really recommend everyone do that at some point. Just when you are about to get to another phase of your work, do something different that is completely unrelated for about a week. It is a great rest for your brain and I seriously didn't realize how badly I needed it. Today though it means it's back to work and I will be going into another editing phase for 'Through the Broken Mirror'. I want to think it's going quickly for this today, but I keep telling myself it's actually because it's somewhat shorter than the others. I'm sure once I actually get to a beta-reading portion and have to do major edits that it'll take just as long.

 For now, I am going to be off. My goal for today is going to be to stay awake for as long as humanly possible. I really hope that works considering this is my long shift week. Don't forget, 'Rending the Seal' is available at 75% off with coupon VQ68M, and 'The Light Rises' is FREE with coupon ZE43N. These are good until May 25th, so check them out and tell everyone!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

04/30/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! As tempted as I am to have every word is today's post be 'kitty' repeated over and over again, I will spare you from that special kind of hell. If you haven't guessed, we are working on getting a new kitty, and today I found out it will officially be only a couple weeks until then. I conveniently have a vacation coming up around that time, and then I'll get a new fuzzy kitty to play with! Kitty, kitty, kitty!

Ha! Tricked you! Don't worry, I won't fill the entire post with the word kitty. I wanted to talk about important things like letting your brain do other things even if it doesn't want to and will think its weird you go to do it. I bring it up today because I had the experience yesterday because my laptop is being stupid. Don't get me wrong, I love the thing, but it has decided the battery isn't charging, like almost every other laptop I've ever had, and on the HP forums there's no actual fix. After my fits of rage of having to do this again, for yet another computer even though it's not a Dell (though this one did last longer so...that's something), I am now waiting for a second battery and external charger for said battery. The thing is I am currently unable to bring the laptop to work while waiting, so I need to find something else to do, and my brain was super not happy about that.

I got to thinking about the importance of break time and everything because of a show they pretty much always have on at work during my lunch. Generally I take what they have on there with a few grains of salt because they are still paid to promote certain things, and medical shows I am always a little skeptical about, especially ones that are run by the same people that run Dr. Phil. However sometimes they are pretty entertaining, and once in a while they actually do have pretty good information and I think they actually do want to help people. One day they mentioned burn-out. Now, I listened to that because I actually do suffer from it, but it's more on an official work capacity because the idea of taking time off stresses me out because I am convinced if I do that, when I come back there are going to be a series of fires I'm going to need to put out. Yesterday I saw the same things happening with my editing though, and it freaked me out, which is why I needed to bring it up today.

I have been editing for...pretty much it feels like over a year. I think there were a couple spaces where I played a game (nothing will interrupt my Pokemon time) and NaNoWriMo happened at some point, but for the most part I was editing. Putting myself on some kind of schedule that was more 'this seriously needs to get done' and less 'this needs to get done by noon' was better, but that didn't mean I wasn't doing it. Now I am still editing, and while it is going smoothly, I am now to where I need my laptop to for further. So with me waiting for things like the mail, I brought my 3DS to work and it felt so weird! It was in that moment I realized that I needed that break so badly just to do nothing of importance. I'm not even playing a new game, I'm playing one that I have already beaten I'm just trying to see how close to 100% I can get. I could start Final Fantasy X or X-2 or Braverly Default, but I haven't because right now that is far too much effort. In some sense the only break I've had was playing Pokemon X (and man I played the HELL out of it) and that was months ago, and it was a gap between months of editing/writing while still working my normal job in the mix of everything.

Taking a break is so important because if you don't you will get so incredibly tired. Not in the 'it's midnight I should have gone to sleep a while ago' tired either. I mean mentally and emotionally so. The vacation I have in May is the first week off I will have that wasn't spent jobless in over a decade. If you are feeling frazzled, exhausted, somewhat irritable, or that you are just super done with something that is your normal routine, then take a step back and go do something different even for an hour. It will really help. It's going to feel weird because your brain is going to be confused, but you will feel a lot better once you're done.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! Hopefully I'll be able to do stuff for Friday too. This week is just a bunch of running around for me, so we'll see. Remember, 'Rending the Seal' is available at Smashwords so check it out and use coupon VQ68M to get it 75% off!! For now, have a great rest of your week!

Monday, April 28, 2014

04/28/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope the weekend treated you all kindly. Friday was exhausting, but it was still a good experience. Got some good potential prospects for future projects, so that will be interesting to see what happens with them. For now I am just going to relax and look forward to the rest of this week and hope today isn't too much of a disaster.

I say that because they are letting us do these self-governing think tanks at work. Right now the people who want to be 'in charge' but not actually 'in charge' don't particularly care for one another and one of them out right refuses to work with the other. Our first meeting turned very loud and incredibly passive aggressive. My only hope is that we can make some sort of progress or something that is reasonably looking like progress if you squint and turn your head to the side. I don't know if that will happen, but I can hope. Right now I'm just hoping not to get in anyone's way because this is a train wreck.

On the bright side things are going very well for 'Rending the Seal' so far. I made coupons for the craft fair, so please feel free to check it out and use the code VQ68M to get it 75% off. I am quite pleased with how this story turned out so I would like for everyone to pass it around as much as they can. I also made one for 'The Light Rises' that makes it free, XE43N, so toss that to people too please! I would really appreciate it.

For now I am going to have to get a move on. I have a lot of work to do today, some of which includes calling a billing company and getting answers over something I was just now sent from months ago. Needless to say, I am not happy. I hope you all have a great day and a nice start to your week. I'll see you back here on Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

04/23/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope this week is treating you all well. I had a nice day off yesterday, so that was good. Now I just need to make it through today and tomorrow and everything should be fine. The final actual preparations for the craft fair will be done tonight or tomorrow (need to make coupons) and then everything should be ready. Still absolutely terrified, but I'm sure it'll be fine.

Since I'm fairly certain you didn't come here to listen to me talk about how the idea of talking to a constant stream of people sound really scary or how cute my cat is, I'll actually talk about something you care about. My cat is fluffy and cute though..just saying. As I work toward getting back into the came, I need to consider something, and that is how long it takes to move something from a notebook to a digital format. There is going to need to be time made for this, so I wanted to look at potential options for that today.

We talked last week how progress isn't always a straight line, and that sometimes it's this curvy, twisted mess that seems unending. That's how things are for anything I have written in a notebook. 'Daughter of the Shackled King' took a specific kind of forever to put into my computer because I didn't just sit down and work on that. I had a lot of other things to do at the exact same time. I can already see that starting to happen with 'Feathers of the Dead' and while I know there's going to be some of that, I want to try and organize some of the chaos.

So let's say you have something in a notebook you want to edit. That is really awkward to do without putting it into a more easily editable medium first, and in this day and age that means it needs to be typed. Back in the day it would mean putting it into a different notebook, so I guess we're making progress? Less hand cramps at the very least. The first thing you are going to notice, unless your handwriting matches your preferred font size exactly and the paper you're working with also matches the 'paper' on the screen perfectly, that things are not going to line up. You are going to be all excited because you will be suddenly on page 3 in the notebook, but only about 1/4 of the way into page 2 on the computer. Don't freak out, that is normal, but it will start throwing off how much progress you think you're making. It's fine, but we'll come back to that

The second thing that is going to lead directly into the third is that it is going to feel slow. Partially because it is, but also because if you're anything like me when you were writing things down by hand you started getting a bit impatient with things like exposition or 'details' and started just being kind of vague and jumped ahead a bit. You knew what was going on in your head when you wrote everything down, and sometimes your hand started to hurt or you were just getting frustrated with that scene and wanted to get to something else. Handwriting isn't a fast process, and if you wanted to make sure you could actually go back and see anything you put down you had to make sure those little squiggles on the page were words, so you were writing slower than you would have been typing. However, now what's going to happen since you're moving everything to a typed format is you are going to start filling in the gaps you knew you left in for one reason or another. This will make it so you might be on a paragraph on page 12 for a lot longer than you had anticipated. This causes forward progress to actually slow down a bit and you need to anticipate this going into the project because it's going to drive you crazy along with that other thing I mentioned before.

The page numbers are going to absolutely mess with you. As you start making more and more headway you are going to find that the pages in your notebook are getting way ahead of you. This is going to start tricking your head and along with everything else that's going on it is 100% not helpful. I remember thinking about how short 'Daughter of the Shackled King' was going to end up being and that started to stress me out because I couldn't understand how something so short was taking so long to get done. I was on page 45 in my notebook, but only page 23 on my computer, and that gap stayed until I was done. It didn't matter that I used a composition notebook to write in, or that it was double-sided and my handwriting was larger than the font, I was still convinced there was something very wrong. The whole process took forever too, but I was also working on other things too, but that didn't matter, it still felt like an eternity.

These are all things that can cause a person to just toss something out the window because they are super done with it.  Just remember that you need to keep looking forward and that the important thing, when nothing seems to be connecting, is to use logic with it. The reason the page numbers don't match is because when you were writing by hand you weren't a robot and at times you felt kind of impatient and lazy, which is fine. It's slow going because you are looking at a notebook, back at a computer, typing maybe a sentence and then back at the notebook over and over again. That is not a fast process. The page numbers are messing with your head because your brain is a jerk, and we've already been over how it wants things to make sense and if it doesn't it gets uncomfortable and decides it doesn't want to try that hard. Just tell your brain it needs to shut up and keep working, with how long it's going to take it's only going to feel that more satisfying when you get it into the new medium.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Wish me luck on Friday, as I am really nervous about it. Remember, tell everyone that 'Rending the Seal' is available at Smashwords, also the Barnes and Noble link is up, so that means you should be able to get it at the other retailers too, so start searching! Have a great rest of your week everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2014

04/21/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello and we're back! I hope the weekend was nice to everyone. I wish mine had been longer, but I have tomorrow off, so I suppose that's some kind of trade-off. It will mark being with that guy I live with for 7 years, and while he may not have been able to get the day off, I am going to enjoy it by doing as little that is considered work as possible. I have a craft-store run I need to do (need to get something that wasn't at my primary store and everything was closed yesterday) other than that I think I should be good.

I am continuing my 'I'm so not paying for this' promoting for 'Rending the Seal', and while it is so going, because again, I'm not paying for it, things seem to be going smoothly. I need to stop comparing it to the other books, because it has been out for less than 5 days, and doing so is stupid. I think it's just because all of the numbers are right there next to each other and that makes for easy association. Also, I'm a crazy person at times, so there's that too I suppose.

In all honesty though I am really excited that I was able to put up the links for it on the 18th. I hadn't been expecting to be able to do that. I had assumed either there would have been more of a delay with their vetting process for the Premium Catalog or that something would have needed to be adjusted that I would have needed to look at later. That tells me a couple things: 1) that my saved format in Word is correct, and 2) that I actually did catch the formatting errors and didn't just see a bunch of blurs go past my eyes as i scrolled through that 250-page monster of a document.

As I hope you all also saw, I have lowered the price of 'The Light Rises' as well. I did this because of how I new games and movies and season dvd's get released actually. You have the first one, and it's at the starting price with some sales splattered about here and there, and then when the new one comes out the original drops down dramatically in order to help get more viewership. I really hope that bringing it down to $0.99 does help the series. Personally I think it's a good price, but that's because sometimes I can be arrogant about decisions I made.

All in all I would say this was a good weekend. This week is going to be absolutely crazy and I hope I can make it through. Really looking forward to using tomorrow as part of a resting day, which will be really nice, and then using Wednesday and Thursday as an attempt not to absolutely panic over everything else about Friday. They are opening it up to members/public, which I've heard they've done before, but I've seen the fair on a day like that, and I've never told on one of those days. I am really nervous about the number of people...

I will see you all on Wednesday though. Remember, please check out 'Rending the Seal' and spread the word that it's out, and also let people know that 'The Light Rises' has had a price drop. I would very much appreciate it. I will be back on Wednesday though, so have a great start to your week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

04/18/2014 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and good morning! I hope this week was super nice to all of you. I am sad that I have to work tomorrow and don't get to enjoy an actual weekend, but next week I get a smattering of days off, so I suppose I'll just have to deal with it. There is actually a post today, so I wanted to get right so it!'s shameless self-promotion time! Never have any shame in doing this. Especially when various forms of cheap advertising are the other methods that you have. Today we have the book by me, 'Rending the Seal' (crowd cheers somewhere). After what seems like forever and ever it's finally ready for public view! The prequel to 'The Light Rises', it take place about three years before the first book (give or take some months), and follows the four meeting one another and learning just how important they are to each other. Also, demons.

Detective Keagan Gillette is a homicide detective haunted by what he considers the be the failures of his past. His sister died, and he firmly believes it was his fault. Desperate to bring her back he learns the art of necromancy, but all of the preliminary tests show those won't work either, so all he sees are more failures. Feeling isolated from his colleagues both at the precinct and at the House of Masks, all he has are his memories when a new case is given to him; murders over the last several months. Introduced to a young woman claiming to be from MI6's Supernatural Defense Division, he suddenly learns that not all demons are internal.

Suddenly Keagan is shown the world around him is very different. Sure he knew there was magic and demons, but he'd never come face-to-face with one before. However the more he learns the more he wishes he never did. After enlisting the help of a self-proclaimed master magician named Elizabeth Stirling, and with all of them being volunteered by a strange man named Alexander Trouseau, the four of them learn of a plan to gather the pieces of the fabled Seal of Solomon that could alter the fate of reality forever. The problem is there are archdemons, inner demons, and monsters from the past and present that all must be faced before they can make sure that London and the world is safe.

I would say specifically why I picked this story, but I wrote it, so I'm not going to! It's perfectly acceptable to be biased at times. I am really excited to finally get this out to everyone. I was also happy to see that it was accepted into the premium catalog today, so they made that process go a lot quicker since the last time I uploaded anything. I promise the next release will come sooner than this one. I really, really do, and I am sorry this took forever.

'Rending the Seal' is available at Smashwords, and will soon be available pretty much everyone else. It just needs to get over there and uploaded to the other databases. It is available for $2.99. Also, as an added bonus, 'The Light Rises' has gone permanently down in price. You can start the series now for $1!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I really, really happy to not only be able to do a post on Friday to to say it was for my book. Thank you again for Raegan Millhollin for making my pretty cover, I will pay you in food next time I have the chance (again I wasn't kidding when I said I do that), and thanks for all the support I've gotten. I can't wait for the next one. Until next week, I hope you all have a super fun weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

04/16/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope that a majority of my sentences make sense today. That guy I live with (that is the title he gets right now) is sick and was up most of the night, which means that by proxy I was as well. Very few letters put together look like words to me, but I was with it enough to get stuff from Teefury, so that must mean something.

Let's say you go to a movie (yay!) and see a character that you think is awesome (like Loki) and while watching this awesome movie you start wondering some things about a story you're working on. You know that people tend to latch on to current things in pop culture, and then suddenly it hits you; what if they'll think you're just bandwagoning (it's a word, right?) and trying to bank on the awesome or success or something else. Then there is a wave of panic as you start wondering if you should make changes to your story or even a specific character and then crippled by anxiety you wonder if you should keep working on it at all. That is what we're here to talk about today.

Now if you don't go through this, then I am actually quite proud of you. There are certain genres though where this is a problem. Write a modern fantasy story where your main character just happens to be some kind of spell caster and people are going to assume you are trying to make a new Harry Potter of Harry Dresden. Switch to high fantasy, and depending on the message that's being delivered they are going to assume it's either Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. So for space opera, it's Star Wars. Never a new Star Trek, which I always find weird, it's always someone trying to make the next Star's strange to me. You're seeing this now in a similar way with the surge in YA novels being turned into movies. Everything's trying to be the next Twilight Saga (for some reason) or Hunger Games (this makes slightly more sense to me, even if it's child murder). The point is this is something that you need to be prepared for, and this is how I'm doing it.

In my series, the second half will involve characters that are descended from various pantheons. Some will begin trickling in starting in 'Through the Broken Mirror' but they will be, for the most part, in the last three books. Now I've been working on these since...whenever I was working at Verizon, which I think was 2010-ish? 'Daughter of the Shackled King' was originally put into a notebook, and the main character is descended from Loki. Since then the Marvel movies have started and Tom Hiddleston has started existing (I know he existed beforehand, but shut up). There were also the Percy Jackson books, but they focus primarily if not exclusively on the Greek pantheon, so they only half-count. The point is what I'm preparing for is a bunch of people trying to call me out saying that I am trying to ride on someone's coat-tails. It makes me sad because I would like to think that Lily is a fair original character, as are the other Godlings, but that won't stop people from making those accusations.

If this ever happens to you, my first response would be to ask if they've read your book or not. That will set the stage for the rest of the conversation, if there is one. Sure you have the people that poured over the Harry Potter books obsessively trying to find the places where JK Rowling 'stole' from other books, but I actually don't know how frequent something like that happens. I would be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't guilty of a knee-jerk reaction like this. I'll admit to doing it myself, and I haven't read the source material, but having it put out in front of me I can quickly say that one thing looks like another with the serial numbers filed off.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's going to happen, but you shouldn't let is bother you or let that necessarily stop you. Now if you finish up and discover that your character is a copy/pasted version of the Gunslinger except Rowland is now Rolanda, then there may be a problem. However, if you make a character that finds out they are living in a supernatural world with vampires, werewolves, and they are trying to adjust to life in that world, don't just assume everyone's going to say you're 'ripping off Twilight' instead make it your own because it's probably better and more interesting. Not everything is a ripoff or an homage, but we are just so bombarded by everything that we've come to assume that nothing is original anymore and look for things that are similar in even new things. That's why agents typically won't take on new authors or try new genres or story ideas, because familiar is safe. It's why the trailer for Divergent feels a lot like Hunger Games (it really does, only Hunger Games is way more orange) at least to me.

Just keep working at it, don't worry about what they say. Sure I think Tom Hiddleston's Loki is badass awesome (so awesome) but that's not where I got any of Lily's powers or personality from. She's a descendant of Loki, not the actual God, and that book was written (technically correct) before the first Thor movie came out. That is my argument for her. I would actually say he's more like my character in our Saturday game than anything else...Anyway, not important. People are going to accuse you of a lot of things, because people are jerks, especially when they are trying to find a reason to start an argument or not like something. Don't let them get to you, just enjoy what you're doing.

I hope that all made sense today. I will hopefully be back Friday barring how much sleep I am able to get and the amount of time I have in the morning. Next Friday there will be nothing, since that is the craft fair. For now I hope you all have a nice rest of your week!

Monday, April 14, 2014

04/14/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope you all had a nice and comfortable weekend. Mine was relaxing though as per the usual it wasn't nearly long enough. Especially with me having to work my early shifts this week. It is really nice having a phone that works though, so I suppose that is an added bonus to everything. Also finally saw the new Captain America movie. It makes me wonder if I was the only person who, when they were listed off the potential threats to SHIELD and they said Bruce Banner, that was saying 'Do it, I super dare you.'

This week and next week are going to I am currently stressing over deadlines and the craft fair being next Friday. I'm trying to decide which days I'm going to head out into the wilderness to purchase supplies like printer ink and any crafting pieces I may need. You may think that I'd be excited about all this, but I am actually quite terrified. There will likely be more people at this fair than there have in the past, and that is really scary sounding. For all I know I'll get there and will have forgotten the one thing to make the printer work, or something else really important.

Things are still also going on track for 'Rending the Seal', which barring any sort of disaster or anything, will also be released on the 25th as well. I have one more thing to check with it, but that will take all of 3 seconds and I need to put in the copyright page, but that's more of a copy/paste thing from other stuff. I am actually excited about that part. The craft fair is terrifying, the book being released is exciting. I am full of all kinds of feels.

As a member of the Colbert Nation I am also conflicted of the announcement that he will be taking over the Late Show after David Letterman leaves. You may not think this is blog worthy, but this is actually a big deal to some people. Colbert is incredibly influential so I think signing him is a actually a good move for that particular network, I just don't like change and I already know that I'm going to cry during that episode of the Report. I just hope he gets to have as much creative license with the Late Show as he does with the Colbert Report and that it is just as entertaining. I'd hate to see that wasted.

For now, I will see you all on Wednesday. I hope the start of the week is nice to all of you. If you have any topics you'd like for me to bring up, please don't hesitate to ask. Any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to drop me a line. I will see you then, have a nice few days!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

04/9/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I hope this week has been kindly to you so far. The weather seems to have at least been pleasant for it. I am mostly trapped inside an office building throughout the day, but I get to see it through the window. Remember there's something terrible Heartbleed bug out there, so be careful where you sign into until there is a fix put into place. Though I guess it's been around for a whatever you want? If you've started using the Amazon site so that part of your purchases go to charity, this little tool thingy I found said there is a vulnerability there and while I didn't check is normal Amazon is vulnerable, I am now freaked out and worried, which is of course just awesome for me!

In my seemingly never-ending editing process I am looking at the light at the end of the tunnel that will be getting to actually write again. I've talked previously about how when you go back to writing after editing for a long time it's going to be hard not to look at every mistake and try to immediately fix it. Today I wanted to look at what happens next. I mean sure you want to say that you go right back to editing, but I also want to tell you that you're wrong, but I suppose that will partially depend on what your schedule dictates.

I'm actually going to talk about that scheduling part. Sorry if you feel tricked, but it is actually important. I'm not talking about saying you need to give yourself specific deadlines or anything, because those only lead to a ton of unnecessary stress. Unless you are working directly with an agent or publishing company, specific dates and deadlines shouldn't be used unless you know for 100% certain you are going to be meeting them. I'm more talking about the order in which you are working on things. Please note that this doesn't necessarily need to be the same as the order they are being completed in.

For example let's say you're working on a book series. Sure you could work on one thing at a time, but what will end up happening is that you will have gaps where you are doing absolutely nothing. On average you will have two to three projects in various stages of completion at any given time. That's a more realistic image. That is because if say someone is reading things over for you, because you can't look at it anymore, you aren't going to be working on that particular story, however that doesn't necessarily mean you aren't working on a different one. Either by getting part of it written or starting the editing for it. Then let's say you participate in NaNoWriMo and want to do something completely different for that, that will add something else to that pile. There is always something that is going on, but while someone might come in and think that looks crazy, you need to make sure that isn't crazy for you.

That series needs to have an order in which it's getting released, and you as the author I would hope know what that order is. So that means your primary focus is going to be on whatever is getting released next. Remember that doesn't mean you can't work on anything else, that just means that say when you get stuff back from your beta-reader your other work gets to a stop-point and you go back to the primary story. My personal rule is that whenever someone else has my stuff I work on something else, or the month after NaNoWriMo I will too just because I need a good amount of winding down. After that though it's back to work. As long as there's a method to your madness that's the most important thing.

For me while I have 'Rending the Seal' ready to go, I am working on editing 'Through the Broken Mirror'. Sitting on the back-burner though is the somewhat edited version of 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and the start of the transposition of 'Feathers of the Dead'. Granted that will be the order of release as well, but I was working on 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and 'Feathers of the Dead' long before I even started writing 'Through the Broken Mirror'. It's just that right now things are starting to line up into a release format-line-thing. At first it was work on whatever I wanted to because things were in such early stages it didn't really matter. I know that around September-ish I will need to start getting prepared for the start of 'War of the Pantheons' for NaNoWriMo, but that will be mostly a mental thing. That doesn't mean that anything but November is happening with that story for a long time. That is my crazy now and trust me, it used to make a lot less sense.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I hope I helped out today. Remember it doesn't matter what order you're currently working in as long as the final one is the one you want. Hopefully I'll return on Friday. We'll see. I am not at 100% today as my mother informed me last night that my cat, Nikita, at her house has cancer. That was my first kitten and I got her when I was in middle school. The cat is 16 so they aren't treating her and just trying to keep her comfortable. Right now all I want to do is stay home and cuddle and play with Thoth all day, but I don't think work would appreciate that (something about me needing to get stuff done? I don't know, it's weird.) Hopefully I'll be back to thinking clearly on Friday. For now, please be careful on the internet, I mean...I hope you are already, it's a terrible place, but that Heartbleed thing is ridiculous, so please be extra careful and have a great rest of the week.

Monday, April 7, 2014

04/07/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! We are into the actual first full week of April and I am hoping it is a good one. Right now I am just hoping to stay awake for it. I'm sure it'll work out, but with this not being a day I let myself have pop, we'll see just how successful that is.

I would say that I am going to apologize for the lack of post of Friday, but this time I am not. I know it sounds terrible, but I just can't. If you know me in the real world (not saying this is a real place, but you know the difference) then you know the frustration and anger my phone causes me. On Friday, my carrier (finally) opened pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S5, and I NEED it. I was fighting with their website though and needed to order directly through customer service over the phone because no matter how many times I selected that I wanted to pay for the phone at the full retail price, it would put it into my cart at the discounted price and try to change my calling plan. Keep in mind that I have unlimited data and my hands aren't cold and dead for them to pull that out of yet, so that wasn't going to happen. The phone has been ordered and now I get to excitedly wait though. So yeah...I can't apologize for no post on Friday, I have no regrets.

The craft fair is coming up fast and I am working as much as I can to make sure I have enough stuff to sell, but also not too much. They are limiting people to 1 table per/person this time around, which makes sense because they are trying to encourage more people to participate, however there are some of us that have a decent amount of product and don't want to feel limited for space. As things draw closer the couple of us that would like to have more than one table are hoping they let us ask for them if they are still available. They're also letting us 'advertise' this time around, which this is the first they've let us done since I've started selling, and I've seen the fair when people know it was coming, so there is a part of me that is 100% terrified. I hope paying $10 for that table is worth it.

The most exciting part of it all though will be that alongside the craft fair, 'Rending the Seal' will/should be released as well. I want to say that I'm making that promise, but for all I know my computer will catch on fire and melt before then. I'll cry forever, but it's always a possibility. I don't have a lot of control over technical problems, but for now I want to say the official release day will be April 25th. It might be sooner, depending on how a few things go, but right now that is the day with the gold star sticker on it. I am super excited and can't wait for it! I hope you're all just as excited as I am!

For now, thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will be back on Wednesday. If you have a topic you'd like for me to bring up, please don't hesitate to ask. Remember, if I run out of stuff you might have a day where I just talk about my cat (he's fluffy and orange) so help me make sure that doesn't happen. I hope you have a great start to your week though! See you again soon!