Investigating Cauldron Fred

May 17, 2018

Greetings and salutations. Dawn Blair here, your multi-dimensional, time-traveling tour guide, and today I’m adventuring out to learn more about Cauldron Fred and the flying hatchets of death. Mentioned twice in the Quest for the Three Books, we never get to see Cauldron Fred to learn who he is. Obviously this man had an impact on the lives of Dominus Steigan and Sapere Martias, but in what way?

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I traveled today to New Lilinar with the sole purpose of learning the answer to that question. Of course, I didn’t have a scheduled an appointment, so I couldn’t get in to see Holy Sapere Martias. Apparently if I wasn’t the person delivering his daily muffin, he didn’t have time for me. When I was told that it would be several weeks of waiting before I could get an appointment with the Holy Sapere, I decided that I would just take this into my own hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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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.


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.


Progress – April 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

I can’t believe we are here at the end of the month. A third of the year is now done.

Hmm, that brings up an interesting question: why do we divide the year into quarters and not thirds? Maybe this hits me strangely now, because I just did my quarterly business meeting with myself over the weekend. I chided myself, as is best when you are having a meeting with yourself because people look at you strangely when you blur out random admonishments at them (Dude! Really? — seek what I mean), that my meeting was coming awfully late; I’d already lost the first month of the second quarter. I’m already starting off this quarter behind. But, considering that people are so naturally tuned to the number 3, why we don’t have 3 thirds with 4 months in it? As I sit here writing and wondering this, I must wonder if I should move to a setup like this. It would force me to think four to eight months ahead instead of three (or two as usually happens) to six (or five) ahead. You know, I might try that for the rest of this year and next year, just to see if that fits my internal nature better. (No, my dear accountant friends, my bookkeeper side is not having issues with that. I already work monthly and yearly, but quarterly only effects me for payroll reports. I am not bothered one bit by shifting my thinking this way.)

I finished the draft of Onesong. There’s still something nagging me about the last chapter, but I’m trusting the process that I already have something rolling around in my head and I just need it to spring forth. It will. It always does. I’m not forcing it right now. And, some of it may come with where I decide to split the story. It’s right about 140,000 words total after all the extra stuff is chopped off. I haven’t looked to see if some of that fluff really needs to stay in the story. I also have a list of things that I kept thinking needed to happen which I need to sift through and see if it’s really as important as I thought it was when I started the list. (which reminds me, I have another Anne Dillard quote that I found when I was researching my previous blog to make sure her words hadn’t been pulled out of context. It pertains to this list exactly. I must write that next blog.) Read the rest of this entry »


Prince day

April 17, 2018

When his friend (2)


Some sugar – Prince of the Ruined Land

April 13, 2018

I know that for the last few weeks you’ve heard a lot about Prince of the Ruined Land. I feel that I owe you for sticking with me and I want to reward you for being loyal readers.

Thank you.

So, here’s the first chapter of Prince of the Ruined Land (Book 4 in the Sacred Knight series)

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

 

Prince of the Ruined Land

by Dawn Blair

Chapter 1


“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

                –Seneca (Roman philosopher)


The fact Steigan held onto life startled him.

He thought the last remnants of his existence might be wiped away by the intensity of the magic. Yet he found himself standing, staring at the gray cobblestones of the ruins beneath him.

More than a ghost on the doorstep.

Prophecy had come true: Steigan had returned.

A soft wind sweeping through the rubble brought a chill to Steigan’s skin as he stared at his hands and flexed his fingers. He couldn’t believe they looked so young again, before the age spots had started to appear. A new future lay ahead of him, yet never had the expanse of time looked so bleak.

Some dim part of his thoughts told him he was home, yet he couldn’t fight through the fog that gripped him. He was back, yet he didn’t allow himself to believe. How could this be?

All he wanted to do was rest. He thought by now he’d be able to do that. Where was all the magic? He felt none of it coming to him. Steigan dropped to his knees and shouted out his frustration, tears burning in his eyes.

With some vague awareness, he heard people clamoring nearby as they urged him to get to his feet. Steigan glanced around, a dull numbness over his senses as he tried to pull himself from the confusion surrounding him.

A crash jerked Steigan partway from his trance. He raised his head toward the sound. The wooden main gate of Lilinar bowed inwards as it was rammed from outside again. The securing crossbar bulged and was beginning to crack. He did have to get to his feet. They had to get moving. He knew their urgency was important, but he didn’t remember why.

Steigan looked over at the flattened landscape of the ruins. This had once been his home. In his memories, he remembered buildings along the path, but now he could barely see foundations. Weeds and little skeletal trees that had tried to grow here pushed the rocks apart. Vast expanses of the castle were missing. Only the wind visited Lilinar anymore. He barely recognized it.

Goddess…

Another boom thundered through the ruins. Dust fell from the aged wood as the main gate began to splinter. Martias, Adonid, the domini from the Temple, they would all be coming through to arrest Steigan and the people with him. He really needed to get up. He had made it. Now, he had things to do. Read the rest of this entry »


Oh no, not another prophecy

April 12, 2018

It seems that every fantasy book has some sort of prophecy in it. I tried so hard when I was writing Quest for the Three Books to keep the word prophecy out of it.

I used “legend” instead.

I get to book 4 of the series and I realize I must just give in to the Dark Side.

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

The prophecy has been fulfilled: the Bloody Saint has returned.

Steigan was known as the saint and betrayer for a reason: where ever he went, death and destruction followed.

Now his enemies attack the gates of the ruined city of Lilinar to capture him. There will be no escape for him this time and no saving his friends. He has nothing but the debris around him.

And the advantage of a lifetime to plan.

Will it be enough to stop the threats retaking the land or to save his friend from turning to the evil powers that he knows will possess Martias?

The fourth story in the legend of Dominus Steigan continues in this epic fantasy adventure.

Releases Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Pre-order now.

No, wait! I better start the series first!