Friday, March 30, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

Opps, It's happened again. I've gotta watch my back around that Summer girl. She's always tagging me! But seriously, I want to thank Summer from Writing Belle blog for tossing me another tag -- this time in the Lucky 7 meme. In this meme, you need to go to page 77 of your current manuscript and go to line 7 and copy 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs. Then you pass the tag along to 7 more bloggers.

I'll share a snippet from the upcoming Rise of the King: The Chronicles of Vlandaymuir Book Two, which will be coming out in April. So, if this wets anyone's appetite you can dive into the rest of the story very soon.

“Mayhap Sera is just with me this night. It has been a long stretch since I had time to test the fates.” Chance shrugged and tossed more coins into the pot.

Another few rounds and again the dice tipped and toppled into new formations after Chance tossed them. He grit his teeth and clenched a fist as it cost him another win. He hid his discomfort behind his mug, drinking deep as Jayde giggled in his mind.

“Enjoying yer game, Jayde?”
Laughing louder now, he could just picture the gleam in her eye, “Aye, I am. You should have taught me the game. I would be better at fixing things for you.
I hope this little tease has caught your attention. Now, it's time to announce the recipients of my tagging! Here they are, in no particular order:

 Georgina Taylor
Ann Cory
Liv Rancourt
Angela Scott
James Garcia
Morgan Shamy

Sunday, March 25, 2012

To pen name or not to pen name -- That is the question.

While I love my fantasy series, and as I'm anticipating the final touches on Rise of the King, book two in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir series, I've had some other story ideas bouncing around in my head. I'm excited about them, and have already jotted down some basic story points as I continue to let these new ideas develop.

The thing is, my new stories are in different genre than the fantasy I've been writing in so far. One is a horror short story. Well, short story right now. We'll see where it goes as it develops. My stories tend to start small and want to grow as I write. The other story is a murder mystery/romantic suspense.

I know. I'm all over the map. So, what I've been wondering is do I release these different genre under my name, which is already established as a fantasy writer, or do I release them under pen names? I know that some of my favorite authors have released different genres under different names, but eventually, it seems that they all end up feeding back to whatever name is the most popular.

I guess what it comes down to, especially in these days of social media, do we just write what we want to write and use one big brand name to cover it all? Do we establish different brands for each genre especially if they are vastly different? Is there no crossover? I know that I read many different genre so I believe that I would read something out of what I would consider the author's main genre just because I enjoy their writing and story telling.

There are so many questions, and I'm sure a ton of different ways to look at this situation. It's not something I have to decide right this moment as the other stories are still early on in the planning, plotting and writing stages. However, if I'm going to use a pen name -- the sooner you get that name out there the better, right?

My biggest fear is that I barely have enough time to attempt marketing with one name, what would I do with multiple pen names? I think I'm overwhelming myself. I definitely don't want to get swamped in social media overload -- at least not more so than I already am. Decisions, decisions -- I can see this debate lasting a while. Let me know what you think. Do you write in multiple genre? Do you write under multiple names?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Writer to Reader

It's always a nice time to get that work in progress finished. No matter how annoying all the editing is, I am grateful to have something accomplished. I can then take some time to enjoy another passion -- reading. When I'm in the middle of writing, I have a hard time concentrating on anything else. My characters clamor at me during all hours. My mind fills with scenes and dialogue leaving very little room to concentrate on other things.

So, when I set aside that finished work in progress my characters quiet down for a little bit, and I can drag books off my to-read pile and dive into other stories. I love that change of pace. It's exciting to explore the worlds others have created and it's nice to enjoy characters that I know have been bugging other writers. It's like a breath of fresh air. It clears the mind and usually allows for some new set of characters or story to begin forming.

Yes, I still have to stop and jot down ideas or plot additions or some other inspiration, but for the most part I am transported to some other place and time for a bit. I managed to make a small dent in my reading pile. Of course, that just gave me the excuse to add a half dozen more books to the list. Read one, add two. It's not a formula that actually shrinks the pile, but I've always loved to read as much as I love to write. Keeping that pile looming reminds me to take some time to indulge in a little reading from time-to-time.

I'm going to dive back into a few more books. The next round of edits quickly approaches. The beauty is my mind has been free of my own characters for a week, and I will be able to approach my own work with a fresher set of eyes. See, reading does do more than just entertain -- well, at least that is my story this week.

Where do you sneak in your reading or other passions?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Perfect timing for March Madness

I'm not saying I planned it. Sometimes you just get lucky. I am so lucky, at least in the timing, not so much with everything else. This timing worked out exactly in my favor. I finished my first round of editing and passed the book off to beta readers just in time for March Madness. Yes!

For those of you that don't know, March Madness is all about basketball. I love college basketball, and having 68 teams battling head-to-head until the championship game in April is just the best. Only thing better is of course baseball, but we have a few weeks before that gets started.

With all the focus on my editing on Rise of the King: The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Book Two, I wasn't sure I'd be able to enjoy the games. I'd hate to be writing -- Kallum swung his sword up and the shot was good! Three pointer! -- It just wouldn't work. I have to watch out at times that I don't write what goes on around me and stay focused in one world at a time.

Now, I don't need to worry. I can sit back enjoy the games and wait for the readers to get through with the book. My basketball reward for getting the book finished. Don't you just love how things work out sometimes? The next great thing -- The book should be ready for release before opening day of baseball. Wonder how that worked out so well? Guess it's just the luck of the Irish working for me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Where does the time go?

Have you ever noticed that there are just not enough hours in a day. I always begin my day with a long list of tasks that I want to accomplish. I do admit I am easily side tracked from time to time, but still, at the end of the day I often only accomplish a fraction of my wish list.

My excuse -- the day is just too short. It definitely can't be MY fault! I mean, not like time management or prioritizing tasks would be wise or something -- would it?

I accomplish big tasks. I get out of bed. I find time to eat dinner. I watch a favorite show or two. I don't miss a Giants game or the Blue Devils playing. So, I just don't understand how the laundry doesn't get done, the dishes don't get washed or the carpet vacuumed. I mean, I did get the important stuff covered. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, LOL. I mean paper plates are cool, right?

Then there are those days when I get lost in writing. I love those days. It's a lot easier to get lost in the writing than in the editing. I think my misery over my lack of daily accomplishments comes from the fact that I can write two chapters in the time it takes me to edit one. My frustration level rises and I suddenly have a dozen new stories that I'd rather be working on instead of slugging through passive voice, too many adverbs, and weak words.

In the end, I remember why it is all worth it. When I sit back and get to admire something that I hope brings as much enjoyment to others as it has for me. It makes it all worthwhile when I have offers to be beta readers because they are so excited to get the next book in the series. Sometimes, accomplishing only one thing in a day is awesome -- when it's the right thing.

I still blame not enough hours in a day most of the time. Just think what I could accomplish. I mean, I'm down an hour now because of daylight savings. I could have read a book for that hour. Dang that spring forward.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's here! It's here!

So, the mail came and usually there isn't anything exciting in it. I mean, who mails things anymore, right? Anything that might make me happy would most likely arrive via email, so when the package awaited me, I got a little giddy.

I opened the package, I was pretty certain it wasn't a bomb. I mean no one would want to take me out, and there it was. I stared. I giggled. I clapped. I jumped up and down. There it was! My book in print, The Path of Light: The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Book One! I couldn't take my eyes off it. I almost was afraid to touch it, then of course I couldn't let it go. I rubbed it and stroked, I hugged it and petted it, I thought I might call him George.

It was just a proof copy, sure, but it was my book. Suddenly, it made it all so very real. All those ideas that rattled around in my head were now tangible. I could hold them. I could stroke the pages. I could snuggle them. It was a magic moment. I'm still in shock. I can't wait to go over it for final approval and get it available to everyone else. This made my week!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I did it! I did it! I DID IT! Made my own map.



It wasn't easy. Some of it wasn't pretty, but I did it. I wrestled them pixels and programs into some sense and finally created my very own map. I wasn't sure that I would be successful, but I did it! I couldn't help but take a few moments to admire and gloat over it. After all, I wasn't sure I'd ever get to see it on my computer screen in a recognizable form. It is nearly identical to the sketch I made oh-so-long-ago when I started writing The Path of Light. Now, here it is in digital form made by me. Can I gush? Can I? Oh wait, I did!

I used a combination of AutoREALM and Gimp to bring this map to life. I drew the basic map pieces in AutoREALM and then uploaded it into Gimp. With Gimp I was able to add the background, wording and compass to make it all into one piece. Then there it was, my map! Now everyone can see what I'm looking at when I'm writing on The Chronciles of Vlandamyuir. This is Vlandamyuir!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Editing drama or a God complex?

You've poured your heart and soul onto the page. You've agonized over word choices. You've carefully crafted descriptions and dialogue. Now comes the dreaded red pen and that nasty delete button.

No matter how hard we try to craft the perfect mix of characters, storyline, dialogue and description, there will be portions of our newly finished work in progress that has to go. Sure taking out a word here or there is easy. Fine tuning a sentence or changing what you describe in a particular scene is no problem.

Then you come to a point when you realize you have to make the big changes. Deleting chunks of your work and even removing entire characters. It's like severing a limb when you have to lose one of those characters. They are our friends. They have been our companions through the wee hours of the night as we've sat huddled over our keyboards pouring our passion onto the page, but there comes a time when you have to say goodbye.

The first time I had to face the fact that I needed to remove a character I was heartbroken. Don't get me wrong, I liked the story much better without the character, but I didn't want to say goodbye to him. I felt like I was killing a friend. It was like a betrayal.

You never really understand how entangled a character is in a story until you have to cut one out. Dialogue, scenes and sometimes whole plot lines have to be removed. When I eliminated my first character, I had to rewrite the whole second half of the book. I felt so bad each time a reference had to be removed.

I do have to admit there are some characters that just beg to be eliminated. I've cringed when writing sometimes thinking about how much I want to get rid of a particular character, but instead I continue the plot. It gets easier the more characters you cut. Sometimes, it's better to delete a character than kill one. I mean sure you can relieve some stress by writing a death scene, but erase them from existence -- talk about power! I have to watch that head rush. I think I might develop a God complex from it all.