Progress – January 21, 2019

Boy did I make my inner artist-child angry last week!

She got so mad at me that she hijacked the ship. Every time I went to get my words in, I felt her sticking her tongue out at me. I will share more about this later in the week. Trust me, my artist-child is such a brat!

I went over the weekend to Boise to watch the Dragon Ball: Broly movie. Certainly not as good as Spider Man: Into the Spider-verse, but it was fun to spend time with the boys. They also let me pop into Guitar Center so that I could play with some microphones. I found one I really liked. Now I can’t wait to get it hooked into my booth and get to working with it. I still have the second half of Oxygen to record before I do that though. I might keep my AKG mic and do character voices on it, but this new mic will be great for narration. I’m so excited.

It has taken me a week to get through the audio on the first part of Oxygen which I recorded last week, but I’ve been happy with the editing speed. It’s much more reasonable. The channel strip I added works well.

I’ve also been working on the edit for Tangled Magic. I haven’t gotten in time every morning, but since it’s a new habit, it’s taking time to get into place. As I had figured it would.

That’s really all I have for this week. Let’s look at the numbers.

Fiction words written last week:  2,914 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,533 words.

Daily word goal reached for 163 days! Weekly word goal reached for 26 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  16,020 words

Writing year to date total: 16,020 words

Drawing/painting last week: I only got in a little 5″x7″ painting. Better than nothing.

Audio: I spent 3 and a half hours editing audio.

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Dragons of Wellsdeep – Chapter 23

I suspect this is the end of the line for this story.

Sorry, folks, but the train stops here. I just don’t have any more for this story at the moment, nor have I felt like working on it. I suspect it’s in a cooling off period. There must be something coming.

On the bright side, this means that a new story will come up next week. I haven’t yet decided what to do. I’m kind of thinking about either Cirvel’s story, but since that hasn’t been finished, I’d hate to run two stories in a row where I didn’t give the reader some sort of conclusion for at least one of them, or Stonecharmer. It would be a good first look at that series. So far, it’s completely unrelated to anything else I’m writing. So far! It would also give me the opportunity to go back and write the outline for it. But, I also know I have people who are waiting anxiously to read about Cirvel. I hear their mischievous laughs in my head all the time. Of course, running one does not mean the other also won’t run at some point. Do you have an opinion?

Whichever way I go, I’m going to have to work up a cover.

On a personal note, I’m really not liking WordPress’ new editor. I hate everything about it. My workflow is so disrupted. I find this layout cumbersome and annoying! I hate the way my blog looks. Yeah, I’m very displeased with WordPress right now. I feel like the Grinch. Isn’t he supposed to go away after Christmas? Thank you for listening.

Okay, let’s get to the story.

Previously: Moonhunter was born and his novimather (dragon mother) left him in the care of an older man named Balthier. Years later, during one of there missions, Moonhunter believes that Balthier’s informant has sabotaged them and they barely escape. After they get off the planet, Balthier is trying to figure out if they were set up and, when that leads to finding it has something to do with Moonhunter, begins to dig harder. Balthier speaks to one of the saperes he trusts (a rare thing), and finds out that there is a plan for Moonhunter by some of the other saperes. They want to send Moonhunter on an off-world operation, but Balthier convinces the sapere that he should really go along. Balthier learns that they shouldn’t trust anyone. Bathier fetches Moonhunter and they head off-world. During their mission, Balthier is captured, allowing Moonhunter to get away. Moonhunter runs from the police and steals an airster (a type of flying craft on this planet). Unfortunately for him, the man who he is taking the craft from, insists on coming with Moonhunter — to him, he thinks its an adventure. Besides, if’s obvious that Moonhunter has no experience flying an airster. Ralph gives Moonhunter basic driving lessons. Though Moonhunter doesn’t realize it, Ralph seems very intuitive to what Moon needed in stealing the airster. They head to the suburb where Dr. Melstone (the target of their mission) lives. When Ralph mentions that they don’t have space travel, Moon begins to wonder why they have a dark matter mechanical scientist — the pieces don’t match. They see a long procession with security leaving the city. Moonhunter drives into the procession, pretending to be in ignorant kid. They follow the procession from below. Moonhunter thinks they have been spotted as an alarm is raised, but it’s something much worse, something coming in at top speed. Ralph says it’s Rel. Moonhunter and Ralph follow Rel, who is chasing the caravan, until the dragon hits a force field. Ralph leaves Moonhunter in the airster so that Moonhunter can go talk to Rel. Meanwhile, Balthier gets questioned about why he is back. The people holding him want him to kill the crazy Shil’mak dragon, Rel. Moonhunter breaks into the military base only to discover they are in fact hiding something. He makes a mad dash, trying to get away so that he can find out what it is. The energy coming from the Humline leads him to the basement where a sapere awaits him. Balthier continues to remain in custody while the saperes try to get him to agree to hunt down the crazy dragon. The sapere admits that his own father tried to rescue a younger Balthier from some of the horrible things that were happening to him back then. That doesn’t bring Balthier any comfort. Moonhunter is shown down into Welldeep and told about how it is a sanctuary. He finds himself surround at attacked. Ralph, meanwhile, continues to negotiate with Balthier. When Balthier continues to refuse to do the Wellkeepers’ bidding, Ralph leaves in anger. Moonhunter finds himself in a modified airster being blasted to the planet’s moon with only himself and an airtank. After crashing on the moon’s surface, he is attacked by a monster called a Grekish. Balthier gets released and tossed out after receiving a significant jolt of electricity. When he wakes up, he realizes here is only way to find Moonhunter: he has to go talk to a crazy dragon.



Dragons of Wellsdeep cover small
Cover and layout copyright © 2018 by Morning Sky Studios Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios Cover art copyright © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com, © Digitalstormcinema | Dreamstime.com, and © Kalcutta | Dreamstime.com

Dragons of Wellsdeep

Chapter 23

by Dawn Blair

Moonhunter loosened another arrow into the beast as tried to glom onto him. The tip went solidly into its chest. The beast didn’t scream in pain, as Moonhunter wished, but it did take a step backwards. But whether that was because of the dragging force of the arrow or because of the injury itself, Moonhunter wasn’t certain.

Either way, it gave him a moment to back up and draw another arrow. Then a third, and fourth. Soon, he had a good half dozen arrows into the monster.

But it didn’t fall. Rather, it looked more than just a little unhappy.

It charged for Moonhunter.

Continue reading

Progress – January 14, 2019

I’ve still been working on the story about Martias and Steigan heading to the Palin Wars which I referenced last Wednesday. I’m trying to slant it so that a reader could pick it up at any point in the story, even before reading Quest for the Three Books, without much in the way of spoilers. So far, so good.

It is a little strange because while I have known Martias’ motivations for quite some time, I hadn’t every really thought about where his head would be at when he and Steigan ran away to the Palin Mountains. We’ve “chatted” about how he felt when he first arrived at the Temple, and even how he felt when he was nominated for the position of Holy Sapere, but I hadn’t really needed to know how he felt along the way on that path. So, this provides me with interesting insights into his character.

I also love his view of Steigan. I’m so use to being in Steigan’s head, where he is always so noble and upstanding. Let’s face it, even when he had no memories, I knew who he was because I knew how he’d act on instinct alone. Admittedly, that might be why I’m having issues working on book 5 (The Missing Thread) because Steigan’s headspace is so messed up that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. That, and the fact that I have no idea about Keteria waking up. I know when I write the correct scene, I’ll know it. It just hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, that aside, it’s fun to see what Martias thinks about and what he withholds. Steigan is cut and dry. He speaks his mind. Marias, he refrains. Again, that’s not something new with Martias — I’ve known he doesn’t always tell Steigan everything, but I see how he is event the trickster character in his own mind. It’s fun.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Secret Thoughts

Let me begin by saying that I don’t suffer from impostor syndrome. Absolutely not. No way.

At least not until the moment I step up to the canvas and begin painting. Then, all bets are off.

For the last couple of years I have been asking myself just what is wrong with me. I have all the confidence in the world when I’m writing, and heck, even when I’m narrating. But I would just turn myself inside out when I thought about drawing or painting. It use to not be that way. Call it “beginner’s luck” or whatever, but I started off feeling successful with my newly discovered art skill, but as the years went by, I felt more and more like a fake, a fraud, and a hack — a full-blown impostor. It ground me to a halt. No matter how many times people told me that my art was beautiful (and I only believe about 50% of the people that tell me that), I didn’t believe anyone. This reaction made no sense to me.

I, like everyone else, don’t like to be judged or criticized. I know this is part of it, but I realize that there’s a certain amount of exposure that comes with creativity. I’m all right with it in my writing. But my art… it just feels different. I don’t even think I can explain it.

I have no schooling in art, writing, audio engineering, or acting. Oh, I’ve taken a class here or there, gone to a few conferences, read lots of books, and bloody well jumped in and started doing the work figuring out what I need to know as I go along. I have no fear; I know I can learn anything I need to know. I’ve even taken painting classes with Jerry Yarnell. But for some unknown reason, not being school in art, art history, color theory, etc., really bugs me. I have taught myself about artists I’m interested in and can identify their work on sight. I may not know everything about them or their work, or even their creation process, but I can say that about many writers too. Why do I not feel worthy of being an artist? If it’s just a matter that I haven’t put in as many hours as I have for my writing, why can’t I drag myself to do more, to practice?

I realized toward the end of last year that I really needed to work on this, especially if I was going to get back to painting this year. So, I focused on some articles and books for writers about overcoming self-doubt.

There’s still a part of me that venomously hates that word, especially in reference to me: self-doubt.

Now that I’ve spat the awful taste off my tongue, my search took me down some very strange places, places I really didn’t feel I belonged. At least not when I took it from a writer’s point of view. I got into things about intelligence and creativity, multiple talents, creative anxiety, etc. I’m still working my way through some of it. But, in my search and while I was looking for my next audiobook to listen to while I walked, I came across The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young.

While this book is geared toward women, it also addresses men and the impostor syndrome. It is not slanted to creative types — Valerie Young works more with students, professors, and professionals. I have many people in my life who I really think would benefit from listening to this book.

It was very hard for me to listen too. I kept thinking, “This does not apply to me!” I suspect this is what many women I know would say if I suggested it to them. I kept having to round myself back and remember that I was not needing this for where I was confident, but where I was weak, where I did feel like an impostor in my own life. In trying to stay focused on this and knowing that I was seeing where I felt other people needed to know about this book, I realized that deep inside, many women felt small and insignificant. I kept thinking about all the quotes that speak to the fact that if you feel fear about something, that is the direction you should be heading in.

I have long known exactly where my own feelings of inadequacy came from. So when Valerie describes coming to understand your Crusher, the thing that gave root to the impostor syndrome in your life, I already knew mine. I could feel it.

Now for me, because of how my life has gone, I could see oh so clearly how I overcame this Crusher, which could have stopped me from telling stories, and gave me the confidence that my writing has today. It was sheer, dogged persistence that I could reject my Crusher in regards to writing. But art was always so different. It was clear to see how that became my impostor path.

I didn’t agree with the whole book or the exercises to help, but how much of that was coming from the extreme self-directed part of me I don’t know. I did bookmark a few questions and places that I thought would be helpful if I started feeling like a fraud again. I really do want to conquer this irrational side of myself. It’s holding me back from achieving my goals.

Are you being held back because you feel unworthy or because you feel like an impostor who is waiting for someone to find you out? If so, this book might be worth your read.

Dragons of Wellsdeep – Chapter 22

Unless I write very fast and miraculously discover how this story is to end, we’re down the last couple of chapters. The world may just have to wait to figure out how this ends (including me). 

Yeah, I know — it would be so cool if I’d focus on one project at a time. Sorry, I just can’t write like that. My artist child is a 2 year old who wants to play with everything at once. And a new story is like a new toy — it gets the attention.

Aw, you know me too well! Yes, I have a new story. 

For some time, I’ve wanted to write the story of when Steigan and Martias ran away to go join the Palin Wars. For Steigan, it was all pretty cut and dry. He got in serious trouble afterwards. I kept telling myself that there was no story there. A series of events do not a story make. 

But on Monday, the story started “downloading” to me from Martias’ point of view. At first, I started thinking that there was no way that I could make it work from Martias. That’s not going to stop my 2-year-old artist child from whining and crying to get her way. So, I figured what the heck could it hurt to at least start writing it down and see how far it went. After the first session, I kept thinking that there was no way I could write it without giving away parts of Quest for the Three Books

Yeah, that’s definitely not making the artist child happy. She’s stomping and demanding that she can do, that she is a big girl and doesn’t need to listen to me. 

So far, she’s been right. 

She’s so giving me a raspberry, big and wet, full of thththtp sounds. 

We’ll see how far she gets. She just can’t tell this story without diving in deeply into Martias’ deep, dark secrets. 

On the other hand, I’m getting to know Martias pretty well. I know how this adventure changes him. I’m also seeing a character arc that I didn’t know was there. 

When I stop to think about my theory to “trust the process,” I realize that I’m probably needing to write this story now so that I can get back to work on The Missing Thread

Yeah, my artist child might be very right about this. So sorry that she doesn’t want to play with Moonhunter and Balthier at the moment. Who knows though. Sometimes she surprises me. Well, let’s get you to the story. 

Previously: Moonhunter was born and his novimather (dragon mother) left him in the care of an older man named Balthier. Years later, during one of there missions, Moonhunter believes that Balthier’s informant has sabotaged them and they barely escape. After they get off the planet, Balthier is trying to figure out if they were set up and, when that leads to finding it has something to do with Moonhunter, begins to dig harder. Balthier speaks to one of the saperes he trusts (a rare thing), and finds out that there is a plan for Moonhunter by some of the other saperes. They want to send Moonhunter on an off-world operation, but Balthier convinces the sapere that he should really go along. Balthier learns that they shouldn’t trust anyone. Bathier fetches Moonhunter and they head off-world. During their mission, Balthier is captured, allowing Moonhunter to get away. Moonhunter runs from the police and steals an airster (a type of flying craft on this planet). Unfortunately for him, the man who he is taking the craft from, insists on coming with Moonhunter — to him, he thinks its an adventure. Besides, if’s obvious that Moonhunter has no experience flying an airster. Ralph gives Moonhunter basic driving lessons. Though Moonhunter doesn’t realize it, Ralph seems very intuitive to what Moon needed in stealing the airster. They head to the suburb where Dr. Melstone (the target of their mission) lives. When Ralph mentions that they don’t have space travel, Moon begins to wonder why they have a dark matter mechanical scientist — the pieces don’t match. They see a long procession with security leaving the city. Moonhunter drives into the procession, pretending to be in ignorant kid. They follow the procession from below. Moonhunter thinks they have been spotted as an alarm is raised, but it’s something much worse, something coming in at top speed. Ralph says it’s Rel. Moonhunter and Ralph follow Rel, who is chasing the caravan, until the dragon hits a force field. Ralph leaves Moonhunter in the airster so that Moonhunter can go talk to Rel. Meanwhile, Balthier gets questioned about why he is back. The people holding him want him to kill the crazy Shil’mak dragon, Rel. Moonhunter breaks into the military base only to discover they are in fact hiding something. He makes a mad dash, trying to get away so that he can find out what it is. The energy coming from the Humline leads him to the basement where a sapere awaits him. Balthier continues to remain in custody while the saperes try to get him to agree to hunt down the crazy dragon. The sapere admits that his own father tried to rescue a younger Balthier from some of the horrible things that were happening to him back then. That doesn’t bring Balthier any comfort. Moonhunter is shown down into Welldeep and told about how it is a sanctuary. He finds himself surround at attacked. Ralph, meanwhile, continues to negotiate with Balthier. When Balthier continues to refuse to do the Wellkeepers’ bidding, Ralph leaves in anger. Moonhunter finds himself in a modified airster being blasted to the planet’s moon with only himself and an airtank. After crashing on the moon’s surface, he is attacked by a monster called a Grekish.

 

Dragons of Wellsdeep cover small
Cover and layout copyright © 2018 by Morning Sky Studios Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios Cover art copyright © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com, © Digitalstormcinema | Dreamstime.com, and © Kalcutta | Dreamstime.com

Dragons of Wellsdeep

Chapter 22

by Dawn Blair

Balthier had to guess that the man next coming into the room was a low ranking military officer from the lack of badges or brass on his uniform. He wasn’t quite sure what to expect, making him doubly surprised when the man took some keys from his pocket and began unlocking the cuffs holding Balthier to the table. “Let’s go,” he said in a voice not nearly as gruff as Balthier was expecting. This man seemed full of surprises.

“Where are we going?” Balthier asked back.

“Off base. My instructions are to release you as soon as we are outside the force field. After that, what you do is your own business, but we highly suggest you get yourself off world and back to your own.”

“That right? Why?”

“Kill orders, I suspect. You’re marked as an enemy of the state now. Not safe for you to be here. Why stay where you’re not wanted if you have the option to leave?”

Balthier stood and followed the officer. With his hands still cuffed, they weren’t treating him as if he were much of a threat. Might as well let that play out. He looked around as much as he could, taking in the details of the base he saw, without looking like he was actually scoping the place out. He sauntered as much as he could, trying to delay, trying to sense Moonhunter’s presence.

As they were nearly out of the building, Balthier saw Ralph taking to a sapere. “Hey, where’s Moonhunter?” he shouted.

Ralph glanced casually over his shoulder at Balthier, then returned to his conversation with the sapere.

Balthier moved in their direction, making the officer he was with change course suddenly. “Where’s Moon?”

The officer grabbed his arm and tugged him back. Balthier wasn’t going to let this go. He fought against the officer’s hold.

“Where’s Moonhunter?” Balthier hollered again.

Ralph broke away and walked toward Balthier. He motioned with his hand for the officer to release the novihomidrak and back up a bit. “Moonhunter is gone. He has been sent away from here. Go home.”

“Where’s he gone? Where did you send him?”

“No where that you will be able to help him. He is on his own.”

That familiar tingle from the Humline ran through Balthier again. “Where is he?”

“He’s on the moon. He has truly become a hunter on the moon. He’s going after the Grekish.”

“What’s this Grekish?”

Ralph shrugged. “You had your chance to help. You denied it. Officer Madison, take him out of here. Deadly force is authorized.” He started back toward the sapere once more.

“Get me there,” Balthier yelled. “Let me go help Moon.”

“There is no help for Moonhunter. It was a one-way trip. His trip took all the resources we had. We don’t have enough to get you there as well, or for Moonhunter to return.”

Balthier morphed, his dragon teeth coming down, claws extending. His dragon lids cast a red color over the room, sharpening details. “There has to be a way. Let me help Moonhunter take on this Grekish. He’s an apprentice and can’t do it alone.”

Ralph jerked his head. “The mission is done. And so is yours.”

Balthier felt a sharp jab in his side, along with a jolt of electricity. He began to turn, ready to mock the wielder that the tip of the shock dragon tail was weakening and it would take more than that, but his world spun out from beneath him as he fell. He realized as he started to slip to the floor, that the shock dragon had only been the means of delivery for a tranquilizer and wasn’t supposed to be extremely potent. He hit the floor, bounced, then slipped away into the blackness waiting to welcome him.

When he woke, the startle brought him to a sitting position. His novihomidrak aspects responded to the alarm. He growled, bringing himself to his hands and knees, one hand raised to attack with his extended claws. A flood of memories from long ago conflicted with his thoughts about where he was now.

The nearby birds and crickets grew quiet.

The silence calmed him enough to gain awareness of where he was. They no longer had him at the compound, but he was outside. On grass. Among many trees as far as he could see in every direction even with his dragon vision.

A sight through the branches caught his attention.

The moon glowed with a pale white in the sky above.

Moonhunter was there. And he was here, now outside the military compound. He couldn’t help Moonhunter from here.

But there might be someone who could. Unfortunately, it was a Shil’mak.

Balthier got to his feet. Time to go talk to this crazy dragon.

 

***

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Dragons of Wellsdeep – copyright © 2018 Dawn Blair Published by Morning Sky Studios Cover and layout copyright © 2018 by Morning Sky Studios Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios Cover art copyright © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com, © Digitalstormcinema | Dreamstime.com, and © Kalcutta | Dreamstime.com

This excerpt is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

All hail Loki!

She's smiling because it's Loki!

Even among fans of The Loki Adventures, this is one of the favorites. I am very pleased to announce that it is now available as an audiobook. You can find it at the following locations:

Audible – U.S. 

Audible – UK

Audible – France

Audible – Germany

Google Play

Nook Audiobook

Kobo Audiobook

Audiobooks.com

Scribd

Playster

This is only a partial list. More audio outlets (including libraries) may also have the audiobook. Go find Loki and let him make your day.

Progress – January 7, 2019

I’ve spent the day working on a story called Alexander’s Den. I wrote the story a couple years ago and it spent all year in submission with a magazine I was hoping would publish it. The story was apparently very close, but not quite. They were kind enough to give me a few comments on it, so I’ve been looking at the story again in light of their comments. What I found was a whole bigger problem. I had actually fractured the story in many different directions, which makes their comments make sense. So I’m trying to cut away everything that isn’t part of the story.

My son also took me to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse today. What a brilliant use of the hero’s journey. They use so many elements and mix things up very well. Bravo!

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get words in and do some painting. I showed some paintings here last week. I did also work on more planning for 2019, built some spreadsheets, tinkered with the one that I use to log my production and time on, and set up other things to help me keep track of progress. Oh, and I worked on website items, including one for my audiobooks. That one isn’t anywhere near completed yet, so I can’t show it to you yet. Soon, hopefully.

Speaking of audiobooks, I’m throwing out all that I’ve recorded on Manifest the Magic. I bought a channel strip which, once it’s in, I need to add to my setup. I’m hoping it improves the mixed results I’m getting. I’m just not happy with what I’m getting because every now and then I get these metallic sounding artifacts. It’s kind of frustrating. Anyway, I hope this helps. My next option is to get a new microphone. Baby steps. Anyway, I thought that when I get the channel strip in and set up, I might try recording Oxygen just to see how it sounds. That should be short and fast. Then I can get back to Manifest the Magic.

Well now, let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  2,952 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  3,116 words.

Daily word goal reached for 149 days! Weekly word goal reached for 24 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  4,714 words

Writing year to date total: 4,714 words

Drawing/painting last week: Completed 2 paintings last week for a total of 34 linear inches. Also finished repairing the canvas for “In Living Color,” my lotus in the clouds painting.

Audio: I spent almost 4 hours recording and editing audio, all of which I’m probably pitching out. I might be able to salvage the voices — we shall see.