Progress – May 14, 2018

May 14, 2018

My son was home from college last week and we had a lot to accomplish in the time he was here since he was going back to keep his work study job through the summer. It’s going to be strange with him not at home, but hopefully we’ll still get to see him often.

It’s just been a strange week and I know part of it has been having him home and knowing time was short. I got dictating done, but transcribing came much later in the week. I got to fill in a couple of scenes for Onesong through. You Wednesday readers, you have another week added to the story. Lucky you!

I feel like the most important thing I got done this week was putting together my Loki cover.

Microsoft updates, followed by Adobe updates and issues because of the Microsoft updates, really slowed down my progress too. I lost dang near a whole day because I was either waiting for updates to go, researching issues I was having with programs, or just generally being frustrated because things were going wrong. I really hate IT work — there’s a reason I made a choice several years ago not to pursue it deeper. I deal with enough computer problems as is that I certainly don’t want them in my creative work. Unfortunately, it’s an evil in nearly every profession these days. I need a non-tech hobby! Maybe something like blacksmithing. Or spinning. I do like weaving.

Kidding — I don’t have time for a hobby now.

I tried to get a print version of my children’s story ready, but that’s been painful and frustrating. I prepared a cover, but that’ll have to be redone now. I’m glad I’m dealing with all this now before I start my next story, but dang… This is where I’m learning a lot, but pounding my head against the wall at the same time.

I had an outdoor show on Saturday which got cut short due to rain keeping most people home. It was cold and I was sore on Sunday, but I got to hang out with a friend and sold a couple books, so that makes it a good day, right? Dumb me decided to go home and make the spaghetti I had in the freezer rather than heating up the leftover chicken I’d made the day before in the crockpot and had been planning on for dinner. Even with the short show, I really didn’t have the energy. It left me tired as well on Sunday. I should have been writing more than I did after my son left and the other one went to work, but I didn’t have the focus. I thought I’d been writing well, but then it ended up being less than 600 words.

I did get to hear from readers this week that they are excited for Onesong and 1-800-IceBaby. Those moments have been the highlight of my tired week. Thank you for your notes to me and your words of encouragement.

Fiction words written last week: 3,445 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,435 words

Score a big #5 for my weekly word count streak.

Writing month to date total:  11,636 words

Writing year to date total: 130,131 words

Drawing/painting last week: None

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio.

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1-800-IceBaby — new Loki novella coming soon

May 11, 2018

Yes, Loki lovers, it’s true. While I hesitate to say that it is the 6th novella in my Loki series because they are now supposed to be individual adventures as I had originally wanted them.

There are tie-ins the the first 5 in the series, but hopefully readers won’t be so lost if they start with #6.

I should note that some of the novellas in the future will come after The Loki Adventures, and others will come before. The way to tell the difference will be the preamble at the start of each story. If he mentions Asgard, it is before the first 5 novellas. If he says Midgard, it is after the first 5 novellas.

It couldn’t get any more confusing than the titles are already, right? (grin)

Okay, just so everyone is on the same page, let’s have a quick review:

The first 5 novellas which make up 1 story arc (which will be cataloged under the series name The Loki Adventures) are:

1-800-Mischief   *** For Sale, Call Loki *** For a Good Time, Call Loki *** For More Information, Call Loki *** For More Mischief, Call Loki

Okay, got that?

Now, the book titled 1-800-CallLoki is the full omnibus containing all of The Loki Adventures.

Now we start a new “series” called A Loki Adventure. Not plural. Single. As in single stories. (Do you hear me, Loki?) There will still be threads that run through the stories. But hopefully someone will be able to pick up any one of them from #6 onward and know what’s going on. At least, that’s my plan right now.

Are you ready to see the cover? Let’s do this! 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.


The 6th Loki Novella – update

April 24, 2018

I don’t often give updates on the Loki novellas I’m working on other than to say that I’m writing.

The 6th novella, which takes place after the first 5 and makes up a complete arc, took some time to get back to since I finished writing it in my dad’s hospital room shortly before he passed away. I was glad to have other stories to turn to. Friends asked me if Loki was bugging me because he’s always got this “Me, me, me, me, me!” going on in the back of my mind, but even he has been quite since last year.

Until I started finishing up Prince of the Ruined Land.

As I neared the end, even though I still had things to do, I heard Loki whispering in my mind, “6:00 tomorrow morning, you are mine. Now finish this up and let’s get back to me!” Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

I have been designing covers like a mad woman this week.

It all started out when I decided to do a “quick” mock-up of the cover for The Missing Thread (the 5th book in the Sacred Knight series). Yeah, it was neither quick nor what I should have been doing. Writing the book would have been a much better idea! (Ya think!)

That cover is still a work in process — I’m still tinkering. But, other than me chiding myself about not writing, I also got irritated with myself for not working on the cover for Mystery of the Stardust Monk. Yes, it’s part of the Stardust series. It’s actually a prequel (shock! Not!) and is a tie-in for Dragons of Wellsdeep. I had started a mock-up for this cover, but hadn’t finished. Well, now it’s finished.

In looking at images for The Missing Thread, I came across an image which was perfect for a story about an ice nymph I wrote many years ago. I came across it last summer and scanned it into my computer. I had been working on editing it up for publication before my father passed away. It’s been on the back burner since then. But it has a cover now! I couldn’t believe that I had to do the cover. Seriously? But it does make me excited to get back to the story. Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 9, 2018

April 9, 2018

First I lost my daily word count streak, and now my weekly word count streak tumbles.

There’s just been too much going on. So I must learn from this experience and move on. It’s all I can do.

What did I learn? Mostly that when I plan a publication date, I really have to look at other factors in my life that can put me behind. Even though I’d set the publication date for Prince far enough in the future, I didn’t think about having extra work hours, taxes for three people, and having to put my book back together because I couldn’t trust my instincts about the story to begin with and what a landmine that would be. Okay, that last one I couldn’t have foreseen, but it should have been a “what if” factor. Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018

Feeling a little bushwhacked.

No lie.

I have spent all weekend working on Prince of the Ruined Land. Will it be ready by the  release date of April 17th? The ebook version will be. Still not sure about the print, but it’s getting there. I mean, hopefully formatting won’t take too long. If I have one done, the other shouldn’t be too hard, right?

So, I’ve been revising this latest draft by using the strikeout feature in Word. That allowed me to kill passages without actually taking them out. Now, before I broke Prince, the manuscript was about 96,000 words as I recall. As of Friday when I finished threading it back together, it was over 102,000 words. After I lopped off all the scrap sections and the chapters I was pulling out, the manuscript was 70,000 words. Now it’s approximately 72,000. I hope that helps put a little perspective on why this has been a major project.

I’ve done an initial continuity read-through. I still have a little work to do to slow down or revise one scene that goes a bit too fast — end-of-book-itis? Possibly. It might need a complete tear down and revamp, but since I’ve done that to all the rest of the book, what’s one more scene?

I would still love to read through it one more time since I was still revising as I went. If I can have one draft where I don’t correct major issues, then I’ll feel a lot more confident in releasing it.

I still have a map and a character list to build. The cover needs some tinkering. Blurb for the back needs to be written. Just a few things. No worries!

Last week I also decided to start to get up earlier in the mornings. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 a.m. to work for about half an hour on audio, twenty minutes on Weblinks or Rockin’ Life, and about an hour editing. So far, this has been a workable schedule. We’ll see what happens as the weeks progress onward. I do like the idea of having scheduled time for editing. Right now it has obviously been time I’ve used on Prince, but next up is Loki. I really hope that someday I get well versed enough at my craft that I can cycle back better than I do now. It would save me a lot of time. But writing like I am now doesn’t afford me this looping. Someday.

Well, I’ve been looking at words all weekend, so I don’t even want to write at the moment. Let’s just get to the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week: 4,958 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,160 words

Writing month to date total:  29,009 words for March. April has a whopping total of 630 words mostly because I was reading today and deleting nearly as many words as I was putting in. No joke. At one point my word count was actually negative. My writing streak for hitting the weekly goal is now at 13 weeks.

Writing year to date total: 96,407 words

Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 2 hours working on Rockin’ Life and Weblinks.

Audio: I spent almost 5 hours editing audio.