I feel like I’ve been working on a lot of writing projects during late summer and early fall, but for a while it felt like nothing was actually getting done. I felt a bit stuck.
But lately, I’ve been like a mad woman possessed and things are finally starting to break loose.
I finished and published The Unicorn and the Secret. Then, this last week thanks to Thanksgiving (see what I did there? *grin*), I finished the 7th Loki novella. It even got a title! Help Wanted, Call Loki That means the story is real. I even have the idea for the cover.
It will be a little bit longer before you see that as it still needs to go to a first reader for copyediting. I think in my mind I originally had it slated for publication in April 2021, but now that might get moved up. We’ll see just what happens there.
Meanwhile, I’m still working through Walk the Path and Dragons of Wellsdeep, but I feel these projects are moving along now after several months of feeling stuck.
In case you’re curious, this is my current work in progress:
2 novellas (this does include Help Wanted, Call Loki)
4 short stories (though I have a ton waiting in the wings)
7 children’s books (all written, I just need to get to illustrating)
3 audiobooks slated after the one I’m currently recording
That’s a list of 31 projects. And my goal is to be finished with 10 of the 15 novels (or all 15 if I just decide to stick some nails in their coffins or just close my eyes and take a leap from the cliff on some of the older works) and all the short stories by the end of next year. I’m tired of looking at all these titles on my list! I’m ready for some new titles.
I’d love to get those children’s books out too. I’ve had them sitting for far too many years, but I need some equipment fixed before I can tackle those. Hopefully, I’m getting closer. It would be great to do at least one or two of them next year as well.
Martias wants to spend one night feeling at home under the pine trees of his native land. Being bound with a death sentence makes it hard to bring a friend along.
Martias seeks time away from his repetitive daily life of learning and memorizing lines. He doesn’t belong with the humans. Banishment from his centaur tribe means he can never see any of them again. Yet, the forest calls to him and makes him wonder how he can dedicate himself to this life when he feels so excluded.
After persuading his only friend, a young knight in training, to go with him for just one night, Martias longs for more, maybe even a glimpse of a centaur tribe. With some convincing that they might be able to see the knights they know in action, Martias and his friend head off toward a war going on somewhere among the mountains.
Being alone gets harder when running toward battle and perils around them grow. Death might not be the worse fate imaginable. Secrets found in a cave could keep Martias from returning to his quiet life.
The Unicorn and the Secret is the tale longed for by readers of the Sacred Knight series about how Martias’ friend got his unicorn. If you like epic, expanding fantasy worlds, then you’ll love Dawn Blair’s enchanting legend, whether you are just starting this fantastical series or you want to deepen your adventure.
One question I am often asked is how did Steigan get his unicorn.
I’ve always answered that it happened just like the story said it did: Steigan and Martias ran away to “join” the Palin Wars, Martias sprained his ankle, Steigan found Tyana, they got in trouble, they returned home in disgrace. From Steigan’s point of view, that’s exactly how it happened and all perfectly boring.
I realized I’d have to approach another character to get this story. Of course, the only other character there other than the unicorn was Martias.
Well, here’s the thing: Martias wasn’t talking about this time either.
I slowly realized that Martias wasn’t talking about it out of shame like Steigan, but rather because he had something to hide.
While I was writing Prince of the Ruined Land, Martias and I got together quite often to have little heart-to-heart chats. In Quest for the Three Books, he always knew more than Steigan and when he caught on that Steigan was discovering the truth, Martias betrayed their friendship. Badly! By the time I got to Prince of the Ruined Land, I knew that Martias had to have spectacular reasons for doing what he was doing.
The problem with Martias is that he loves attention. He wanted me to know his secret. He wanted me to know that while he was grateful for Steigan’s friendship, he also held grudges against it. The way that Martias views Steigan… well, it’s different. Where Steigan wakes up to the revelation that Martias is not who he thinks his friend is, Martias always guarded his emotions to protect himself.
Finally, Martias dared to let me know that his life changed while he and Steigan were in the Palin Mountains. I knew that the only time they had been there together was when Steigan found Tyana, his unicorn.
There are defining moments in everyone’s life, events that shape them into the person they are.
I remember as we approached 2020 and everyone was so excited to be back in the “Roaring ’20’s,” I just couldn’t join that excitement. I just had a feeling, even back then.
Part of my problem as we moved toward the new year was that I didn’t want it to have another year which had just been a repeat of the last ten years of my life. I needed something different. I felt it, but I didn’t know what to do about it.
When shows started getting cancelled, I saw that I was going to have some “free time” on my hands. I also saw it as an opportunity to change my mindset. I signed up for several classes on that and practiced and studied just as I was told to do.
The problem is that if you don’t get your live out of the same swamp you’ve been living in, you can’t change your mindset. It will always get pulled back in.
The result was that I started to fall behind in the other areas of my life where I should have been excelling, especially with this “free time” I’d been given.
Two things have become abundantly clear.
You have to know what you want and you have to be really clear about it. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to start second guessing yourself or think that you need something else when the real solution might be simpler and better for you. Realizing that I’d been trying to take a really hard route last year made me see how much time I’d spent going in a direction that I wasn’t even ready for. Realizing that I needed to do something different for the time being even if it’s not what I really want NOW will be more beneficial in a few more years.
Once you’re clear about what you want, you have to put energy into that intention. Again, something easier to understand as a concept rather than a practice. We all what we want now, not an hour from now, let alone a year or even a decade from now. Sorry, life doesn’t work that way, especially if you’ve been working against it. It takes time to turn a ship or an airplane.
Know what you want and build toward it. Okay, that sums it all up.
Wishing, wanting, waiting doesn’t help. Energy has to go into that intention. If you want a garden and you have the land to do it (or initiative to build planters and give yourself a way to have a garden as a friend of mine living in an apartment did), you won’t have a garden if you don’t get out and put seeds or plant in the ground and then tend to them. You can’t just walk up to barren ground and shout, “Give me squash!” It won’t work.
If all the other ducks in the swamp are also squawking, “Give me squash,” then you’re all in trouble.
I’m honestly not sure where that last thought came from, but I do see it as a sign that my mindset is still cluttered, though maybe its a remnant of the cobwebs being swept out.
I know that most people right now are tired of the seclusion, angry even. Nothing seems to be going right. Sean Connery is dead. Alex Trebek is dead. Businesses are going under. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Our world is never going to be the same. Doom is upon us. The end is nigh.
The mindset of the world is a mess right now.
But I don’t have to work on the world, only on me.
I’ve defined what I want in life (having even seen a strange correlation with my writing which I might discuss later) and seen what I need to move into place now so that I have things to expand upon later. I have been putting energy into new intentions, different goals that I’ve had in the past. I’m growing in ways I would have if the world hadn’t stopped because of COVID. Rather than whining about what a crappy year it’s been, I’m using 2020 as a time marker. We all mark time in our lives by events that happened (my mom died in 2011, my dad died in 2017 — I remember events near those years because of those two life occurrences). Now, 2020 will be a new marker and a clearing of the slate in some regards.
Never before have I been so ready to get out of the swamp. I’ve had enough of these demoralizing moments in the muck. My energy is going to a much higher and more challenging intention. If I fail, I will fail forward.
2020 will be a defining year. All because I decide to make it so.
Firstly, I signed up for lifetime access to a bunch of learning materials for writers. I have only had a chance to watch part of the “Fear” videos — what, me? Fear? OMG, yes, I do have some! — and in that time I’ve already doubled my writing production. I just needed a kick in the butt, which is why I signed up for this content. I just didn’t know the first video I randomly picked would have such ramifications on my life. I slammed into a major wall that not only is in my life, but that reflects itself in my writing. I ended up making myself a sign that reminds me what I want in my life: “Play. Have fun. Dare to bad.” Now I’m not talking about “bad” in the sense of criminal activity, not in real life at least, but more to dare to not be perfect at everything. The energy is in the creativity. It’s not in the redoing of work. Yes, I know this, but I needed the in-your-face reminder that the instructor gives me.
There is also the “bad” aspect of letting my villains be, well, villainous. Recently, I wrote a scene between Martias-na and Steigan and there was some intense hatred going on. I wondered if I should pull it back. I didn’t. I needed to let the Necroatheling be evil. And I left Steigan stuck in a hole. It was great. Scary too. Loved it. I still feel that there is a scene coming up where I will have to vent more rage between these two characters. I hope I’m ready. No, wait. That is giving into the critical voice and letting it eek fears in. I’m ready and I’m excited to get to that scene. Aw, that’s better now!”
Some people know that I’ve had an oracle card deck which is meant to go with the Sacred Knight series. I always meant to do more with those cards — they were meant to be in integral part of the series. In an early draft of Prince of the Ruined Land, Lucinia gives Steigan another reading. The history of the deck Lucinia has was supposed to be exposed. It never happened, though I’ve been thinking that maybe I can do it in a short story with her and Arlyn sometime.
Once again, I’ve gotten a little off track. Surprise.
I have a friend who has hundreds of tarot and oracle decks. She’s inspired me to build my own “little” library. Lately I’ve been drawing one card per day from The Universe Has Your Back deck and taking it with me to use as a focal point through my day. Now, with all my decks, I keep the cards in that talk about the author and artist of the deck. Many people toss these out. But my friend, again with her good advice, convinced me that they are “Creator cards” to remind you that you create your life. So, these stay in all my decks.
I wasn’t surprised when I got the Creator Card from The Universe Has Your Back. So I thought I’d pull a card from The Artist’s Way since art and creating are so entwined in my life and I really wanted my focal point. The Creator Card flipped from this deck too.
There is no way that this is happening three times, I thought to myself as I grabbed another deck. No way! The odds of that happening would be astronomical, not that I was calculating it (I hated statistics and I wasn’t very good at it – I barely passed the class with a B). Out of this third deck instantly flipped the Creator Card out as if it had no other choice. I sat there just staring at the 3 Creator Cards before me until it dawned on me that I really should take a picture of them; not sure if anyone would ever believe this stranger-than-fiction story even with picture evidence. I still wasn’t certain I believed. Astronomical odds and all.
Here’s the cards with the box lids for the decks.
At this point, with my logic circuits already blown, I’m wondering how long this streak can keep going. I grabbed a 4th deck.
I am pleased to announce that the Creator Card didn’t come out of this deck, though it might as well have been. Of all the decks I have, only this deck would have this card in it and also be right next to me. Are you ready?
Talk about a “let there be light moment!” It almost felt like the universe was screaming at me. Dawn!
Beyond that, I was watching Star Trek Discovery this week. They are doing such an awesome job. My hat is off to the people working on this show. But in the 3rd episode of season 3, there is a character I instantly recognized. I won’t say much more about it because I don’t want to create spoilers for people who haven’t gotten this far in the show. However, the young actor is someone I swear I’ve talked to at a show and possibly even signed a book for. It made me feel like I might just have one degree of separation from Star Trek. I do know the actor is from Salt Lake, so it is very possible. I’m very proud of him. Way to go! I do hope I get to see more of you in Discovery. I’m waiting for my cosplaying son to watch the episode so he can see if he also recalls the actor.
Then, I received my first review on Etsy.
This was twice as special for me since I love several sci-fi shows too and I enjoy providing stories to people. Here’s a case where story loving people were connected by a piece of art. This is why I love being a writer and artist. I get to connect with people in so many ways. I feel humbly blessed.
So let’s take a closeup of this piece that you saw in the header.
It’s a beautiful piece that makes you wish you could walk right into and let the calm surround you.
If you are interested in purchasing this piece or seeing what other work I have available, please check out my stores. Here’s the link to this ACEO:
I am swearing that I am not going to start spewing my dislike of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. Not in this post at least. Now that I’ve said that, let’s move on to something I feel that Amazon has actually done correctly.
Recently, they gave authors control over their own series. Yippee! Finally!
For years, if we wanted to have titles put together on a series page, we had to contact support to do it. Then you hoped they didn’t mess it up. I have been very fortunate, except for a couple issues with the Loki series which was my own doing. I had labeled some of them at “A Loki Adventure” and the others as “The Loki Adventures.” Yes, okay, I’ve done enough Excel and Word searches in my life that I understand these are two distinctly different strings of text. And if that just went over your head, be thankful you live a simple life. My life as a multipotentialite gets interesting sometimes. Once of the highlights of last year was learning about “fuzzy lookup” in Excel which would have correlated those two pieces of text above. But I digress.
This is a tool that’s still a work-in-process, but I’m glad to see the start of its development and, of course, I had to jump on it because I feel that I have so much content that feels scattered for readers. I’m sure I will mess it up a couple times, or that I will do something that I’ll have to change later since I don’t always have the “perfect” future-sight that Ithanes has, but at least I feel as if things are getting corralled a little bit.
In experimenting with this new control, I saw that box sets can be added as related content. This is the part they are still working on, but hopefully soon readers will be able to easily see what has been compiled into boxed sets.
I have added 1-800-IceBaby to the Loki series page, which I had been hesitant to do before, and put the omnibus set 1-800-CallLokias the related content. At the moment, you can’t see the related content, so I hope they have that figured out soon. It’s ready when the capability is there. I now can’t wait to add the 7th novella to the page.
I does also know which books you’ve purchased and you can hide them, keeping only the books you don’t yet own.
As you saw (hopefully) with the featured image on this post, all the short stories for the Wells of the Onesong Stories have been put together. The boxed set for following the imagination dragon, Stardust, has been put in the related content. Again, you can’t currently see it on the series page, but I’ll be watching because I’m excited to see how all that is going to flow together.
I hope that for all the readers out there, this does help you to find connected books by your favorite indie authors. I hope they take advantage of the control they have been given.