Awards time!

June 29, 2018

Good day, fellow adventurers!

Okay, so there’s no real rewards, but I did want to give some recognition to some people.

Firstly, here on my blog, I would like to give a big shout out to The Stories in Between and to Future Daze who are always liking my posts. Thank you. I appreciate your support.

Over on Twitter, I first want to thank @JDEstradawriter who is never afraid to show off his Read the rest of this entry »

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Self-Improvements

June 12, 2018

I’ve learned skill I never imagined I’d be learning. Plus, I work at learning new things all the time. I think it’s important to always be improving yourself.

Okay, the “advice gurus” these days are always touting how “entrepreneurs or people wish to be leaders” should specialize and niche down — hand off the things that they are not good at.

While this is fine most of the time, what about when you are raising a family with no outside help? There is no one else I could hand things off too that would just do it for free. What are they going to work for? Exposure? (Okay, that’s a bad artists’ joke — doctors, plumbers, accountants, lawyers, etc. all expect to be paid for the work they do, but when it comes to artists (whether it be writers, photographers, artists, actors, etc) they are often asked to do a job as a “favor” for free because it’ll get them great exposure with all the people at the wedding, event, social gathering, etc. Annoying!)

Yeah, trust me, my plumber doesn’t want to come fix the pipes on my old house for the exposure of having his truck out front, even if I were to pay for supplies myself. (“But other people in my neighborhood might need your help and imagine how much business you could get by having your truck there.” Okay, I actually have a plumber living across the street from me, so in my mind, Loki is really laughing at me right now asking if I want a plumber fight on my hands.) So, I learned to fix things and put in my own elbow grease.  Read the rest of this entry »


The energy must give you permission

June 1, 2018

I heard several profound things at Anime Oasis in Boise, Idaho, last week.

One panel I attended was on cosplay characterization. Now, cosplay is not something I do though my son loves to dress up in costume (also different than true cosplay where you not only look like the character but act as them too). I thought it might be interesting to see different people’s takes on getting into character. It might provide me insight into designing my own characters.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There were several things that I “knew” in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t ever really put into practice. A lot of that comes from writing about heroic characters, I’m sure.

Now the actor who cosplays as Jack Sparrow was on the panel, answering questions as Jack Sparrow. He has attended several cons as Jack and does not break character, except for maybe when he actually met Johnny Depp. For the panel, they had a stretch of ten minutes or so where the actor removed his Jack Sparrow wig and answered questions as himself.

He said probably the most profound things I’d heard at the convention.

He asked the audience how many people liked to cosplay because they believed they were the character. Not only did no one want to respond, but everyone kind of looked around as if not sure if he’d lost his marbles.

I whispered to my son, “Does it count if we’re writing, not cosplaying?”

Then “Jack” announced that a character was not a person, but rather an idea. While I could see where he was going with this, it was also something I felt. He continued to say that you needed to have permission to access the energy of that idea.

I wonder if anyone felt as in agreement with that thought than me. I wonder how many people thought that cosplay was nothing but dressing up and pretending.

I have spoken about how my stories have an energy to them, a life of their own, and I’ve probably even mentioned it for my characters. Even Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic mentions how she didn’t listen to one story and it went to another writer. But the idea that you have to have permission from the energy to gain access to the idea really made me stop and think.

Does some permission come easier than others?

Loki’s novellas are very easy for me to tell, but yes, he came to me and started talking to me. I was receptive and he kept going. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to think things up with his novellas; I’m always in too much of a hurry to get things down. He talks, I transcribe. But his energy is not always available to me. I feel it when he withdraws and when he wants me to focus on his story.

All of Sacred Knight and Onesong have been huge stories which feel bigger than me sometimes. I know I have to just keep treading with one foot in front of the other and not think about the whole picture. Yet, I also remember a time when I didn’t have permission to tell this story. It took years for me to get back to it.

Dragons of Wellsdeep is another that I don’t always have permission to write. As is Stonecharmer — in fact, it was only earlier today that I felt like getting back to it. Am I now ready to access another part of the story. Did something happen in my life which unlocked something I need for the story. Is it an odd sort of gamification that goes on? Did I earn a trophy that lets me pass to the next level?

But not only can I see it so clearly with my writing, but with my painting as well. As I’ve been thinking of this concept over the week of having to have permission to access the energy, I recalled writing at one point that I hadn’t really painted a whole lot since my mother’s death. I literally had a series of paintings that downloaded to my brain that day. I have not been able to paint them up. And since then, I’ve hardly painted. I feel as if I did have permission to see these scenes, given to me at a very trying moment, and I rejected them. Is it possible that the energy as a whole revoked it’s permission toward my painting?

Could this be the same reason I couldn’t write for several years (as I mentioned above)?

Yes, I can see it.

I remember feeling so distraught and lonely when I couldn’t write. It hurt. A friend told me I needed to grieve and I did. Once I felt myself healing from that, my writing came back. This wasn’t overnight, none of it. It was a long road.

I would like to avoid taking that long path with my painting. I do want to paint, as much as I wanted to write when I literally couldn’t. Yes, this feels similar. But now I know that I need to respect the energy and have it’s permission.

I don’t what this means, either for the short term or the long term, only that I do have a new respect for the artistic process both as a writer and a painter. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be more to come.


Overnight heroes

May 31, 2018

Overnight heros


Have the strength to persevere

May 22, 2018

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere


Progress – May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018

Oh, shiny!

That describes this week. At least partially.

I started off pretty good. Then I read a blog and it’s accompanying comments that irritated me. It was a writer’s blog by someone I respect, and even though my name wasn’t mentioned I felt as if this writer was taking a shot right at me and some of the things I’ve been saying on my blog lately. I felt as if I was being told that I was completely wrong, I’d never make it as a professional writer, and I might as well give up and quit wasting my time.

I really wanted to fire back with venom, but I listened to the wise little voice inside me which said not to, that I shouldn’t take on this battle, especially since who knows what inspired that writer to start taking fire. Did I really want to play Whack-A-Mole? No, best not to pop up my head.

Let’s face it: I’m probably not even a blip on this writer’s radar. Why take it so personally?

But my irritation stayed with me all day. Later that evening, still unable to shake it, I sat down with one of my oracle card decks and asked why I needed to have that experience.

I got two cards. The first said to remember that Love was the best teacher. The second said to view the situation with Love and see what it was trying to teach. So I did just that. I asked myself why I had to get angry over the lesson being spoken in this blog. Why was it hard for me to accept? Did I view it as true but I couldn’t admit it to myself?

I got an interesting answer. Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – May 7, 2018

May 7, 2018

Can I just chalk last week up under the category of “Strange & Bizarre” and move on?

Yeah, let’s do that.

But because of events of last week, I haven’t quite been feeling myself. I’m okay, but at the same time, something is off. It’s like an annoying slightly pulled muscle, the kind where you twisted your ankle or something and it hurts just mildly enough to let you know it’s sore.

Yeah, it’s weird.

And, it sent me into designing covers mode. You saw the cover for Tangled Magic. After I finished that cover, I went back to the cover design for the 6th Loki novella. I hope to have that finalized this week. I also have design ideas for Dragons of Wellsdeep and Walk the Path (what I am going to call the 2nd Onesong book — more on that in a moment). So here I am with stories I’m working on and covers already in process. I have to admit that it feels a little strange and bizarre — in my new processes of being more prepared for the publishing side of the work, it just feels weird to have titles and covers so early, before the manuscripts are even completed. That’s just unnatural for me. I’m glad to see it, but there’s still the part of me that’s screaming, “BUT WHAT IF YOU CHANGE SOMETHING?” I hate it when the critical voice shouts at me, especially in all caps.

As most of you know, I started Onesong as part of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month held in November). I finished the 50,000 words and had almost a complete novel. Afterwards, I realized that I really had two novels that I’d been writing at the same time – an interesting feat that probably is also under the category of “Strange & Bizarre. Half the novel was Rivic’s story, which I had titled Onesong. The other half was part of a novel I’d actually been writing nearly 25 years ago now. I only have a portion of that manuscript — most of it has been lost to time, mail, bad events, floppy drives, who knows. I still have the general plot in my head and I was trying to recreate it without having to suffer the agony of rewriting a book I should still have — yes, I do have another one of those stories (a complete manuscript called Enchantment’s Flame of which I have only the first three chapters of and which probably suffered the same fate as the one previously mentioned. I’ve tried to rewrite this manuscript based on what I have and new parts I want to add and it’s frustrating. I have cried over the loss of this manuscript.) So, yes, I was subconsciously rewriting a new story which would take over my heart and allow me to release the old draft like a dying phoenix to let the new rise from the ash. Honestly, when I realized my Nanowrimo manuscript was really two, that previous metaphor is exactly how it felt. Oh, it was painful making the split because the stories were like conjoined twins who shared organs.

I haven’t even gone back to the section that I’ve split off yet because I don’t know how much patching I will have to do. But if I’ve learned anything this last year, it’s that I can sew Frankenstein’s monster back together and make it live.

I’m really not sure how I like the idea of conjoined twins being compared to Frankenstein’s monster in regards to my manuscripts, but it feels appropriate.

After a discussion about what the title of the first book for Onesong should be, and agreeing that it had to be Tangled Magic, I soon realized that of course it had to be called Tangled Magic because it’s twin book was already called, Wild Magic. Yes, that’s the title of the story I’d started writing 25 years ago. And, I have this feeling that once I sit down to write it, the manuscript will be of similar length and needing divided into two books. I don’t know what the series title will be, but I’m certain that the second book in that series will be Blaze the Path.

Onesong               Unknown series title

Books #1:   Tangled Magic                 Wild Magic

Books #2:    Walk the Path                Blaze the Path

I know the missing information will fill in.

I suspect, even though I haven’t started designing them yet, that Wild Magic and Blaze the Path will also have similar covers to the Onesong stories. Oh, and before you ask, yes, Wild Magic and Blaze the Path take place on the same world as the Sacred Knight and Onesong stories. The Wild Magic story is about a set of Plenelian twins. (And now you begin to see why I say that the analogy of conjoined twins is appropriate – grin.) And, if you’ve been following Sacred Knight and understand who the Plenelians are and what the deal is with twins, then you begin to see the inherent conflicts in this story. Oh yes, this is going to be fun.

What I don’t yet know is if Wild Magic is before Onesong or after it. I know my brain has been working on it because over the weekend it was spitting ideas like slinging mud at a barn wall to see what sticks.

See, the main issue I have with placing Wild Magic is that I know I have to allow room for Elliot’s story. (You ready for this tangle? Strap on your seat belts and make sure your tray tables are in the upright and locked position because this is going to get messy otherwise.) You see, Elliot’s story is actually the aforementioned story called Enchantment’s Flame. I have the general plot, again, stuck in my head. Both Wild Magic and Enchantment’s Flame started off as fantasy romance stories. Both had major plot issues. Both had publishers request them from my synopsis and sample chapters and both were rejected. Enchantment’s Flame was written first. Wild Magic I was just finishing as the idea for Quest for the Three Books came to me (and yes, that also use to be a fantasy romance, and Keteria was the heroine in the original drafts). At the time, none of them had any relations in their stories.

But then I realized I was working with three timelines in the Sacred Knight series and it all exploded. Suddenly, I knew that the castle that was in Wild Magic was actually in Dubinshire. I also knew that the continent where Enchantment’s Flame took place was on the same world as Sacred Knight. When Ithanes mentions (I believe) in To Birth a Destiny about his father taking him to the northern continent, that’s the setting for Enchantment’s Flame, which I’m now calling Elliot’s story.

So, I’m essentially rewriting my own books, taking them out of fantasy romance to be this colossal, epic, sword and sorcery fantasy which is bigger than me most of the time. In those moments of overwhelm, all I can do is stand back, breathe, and remember to take one step at a time.

Yet its frustrating because I can’t just fix up two of these stories that I’ve already written.

But after a week of doing whatever I can to avoid working on Let’s Make a Deal (a story about an ice nymph that I wrote about 20 years ago), I can say that it’s not always easy to rework a story you wrote so long ago. If I was smart, I’d write a blog about that someday soon.

This has been an exceedingly long post, so let’s get to the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week: 3,561 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,785 words

Score a big #4 for my weekly word count streak.

Writing month to date total:  22,718 total words for April, 5,756 words for May

Writing year to date total: 124,251 words

Drawing/painting last week: Zip, zero, zilch – I so need to get back to painting though.

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio.