Progress – 05/15/17

May 15, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 5,645 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  981 words

Writing month to date total: 15,034 words

Writing year to date total: 119,188 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did sketch (doodle actually) in my sketchbook this week.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 9 hours on recording and editing  audio. I have finished all the tracks for The Doorway Prince. I just need to transfer the files to my iphone so I can do a final listen though and make sure I haven’t missed any areas where the sound is bad. However, my iphone and my itunes account are not playing well together. Apple needs to go back to the drawing table with itunes. It use to be so easy to use. The last few versions have been garbage! Now, I get an error with my phone all updated and a new install of itunes. So, an error with fully updated stuff = Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. There has got to be a better way!!!! Apple, are you listening? There has got to be a better way! Itunes needs fixed from the ground up. There has got to be a better way.

Week’s happenings:  Okay, sorry for my frustration there. I’ve spent 12 hours now trying to get my phone updated, itunes downloaded to my other computer, and no matter what I do (or my children — isn’t that supposed to make it work? If you can’t get something to work, just hand it over to your children? Yeah, that’s not working either) it will not sync. So, needless to say, my Sunday went out the window with me fighting with computer problems. My other computer spent all day trying to upload my audio files that I’d spent Sunday morning creating to the cloud. Two computers down in one day equals me not getting any work done. I am so frustrated that I’m about to burn them onto a CD – yikes!

I did, however, get my newsletter out to subscribers earlier this week. I also got The Three Books all reformatted and the new cover completed for the print version. It should be coming up on Amazon soon. I am running an experiment to see how this all is going to work, so I’m interested to see what the results will be. Curious, I am. (When I’m not being frustrated that is.)

Loki is coming along well. I figure I’m nearing the halfway point for completing the novella. I thought I was coming up on the ending of Mystery of the Stardust Monk, but then I got surprised along with my characters. That’s the best thing about writing in the dark; I have no clue what’s going to happen. And see, with Loki, I couldn’t have planned what happened there, even though Loki was sending me the vibes from the very beginning; he got to be amazed right along with me. (grin)

Along with those two stories, I started working on another idea which actually blossomed from two real tragedies I heard about in the week. While I have no desire to say more than that, let me just remind you to always tell you loved ones what they mean to you. You never know when you might never see them again, at least in this lifetime. I can tell that this is going to be a fun story though. I thought at first that it would be hard, considering the reality behind the idea, but when I started digging into it, I realized I was exactly the person to write this. I have no idea where it’s going — again, writing into the dark now that I have the initial inspiration. Where ever it goes, it will be a journey.

Onward. Wish me luck in getting my files onto my iphone before I have to burn a CD.

Progress – 04/10/17

April 10, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 3,586 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  977 words

Writing month to date total: 5,803 words

Writing year to date total: 82,892 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8.5 hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  I’m off my rhythm. It feels like nothing has gone quite right this last week. Nothing major, but just enough to make me feel off. Just weird. I sketched in my sketchbook last week. Nothing amazing. Stupid stuff actually. I felt depressed for a couple of days. My weekly routine is off. Yeah, it’s just been unusual.

To top it all off, I’ve been trying to work on clean-up edits for Fractured Echo, History of a Dead Man, The Doorway Prince, and By the Numbers. Somewhere in all that I thought I needed to do edits for The Last Ant, but I seem to have gotten that done at some point. My head is just spinning with trying to keep track of where I’m at. Remember I did mention I have several projects going last week; well, that hadn’t included these titles where I was trying to get rid of little errors and such. I had to start a spreadsheet to keep track of myself. There are just too many titles where I think I’m done but then I find an issue that needs fixed so I have to fix it, recreate all the PDF, epub, mobi, etc. files that need done, then get them uploaded across all the sites where I have accounts. There are so many steps now that it’s no wonder I get a little confused.

If you haven’t taken a moment to read the first part of Ninjas: By the Numbers, I suggest you do so before Wednesday when it goes away.

I had a big realization that just because I know the reasons and the appropriate types of people behind some of the scenes in the 4th Sacred Knight book, that doesn’t mean my characters would know. Especially since that knowledge has been kept from the people for so long. Yeah, that meant I had to delete scenes and rewrite to fill in gaps. I feel more  scenes to come. I’m still aiming for 90,000 words on the manuscript.

I also thought this week about rebranding the covers of the Sacred Knight series. I like the fonts, but I wonder if they wouldn’t sell better if I used photographs instead of art. I’m thinking of mocking up some covers to try. Time, where are you!

My oldest son also took me to Boise this weekend to see Your Name. It’s a very good movie. I didn’t see the major twist coming. As a storyteller, I can usually see what’s going to happen before everyone else. Yes, some of it I did see. The movie had a lot of foreshadowing. But it still got me! I love it when a story surprises me. If you aren’t use to watching anime, don’t be fooled that it’s “just a cartoon.” It’s not. The coloring of this movie is amazing. Yeah, I’d put it on my “watch again” list.

I sense that the next two weeks are going to be amuck too. If I can get figure out these edits and where I’m at with all of them without messing the whole thing up, then maybe I can progress forward and feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Progress – 03/27/17

March 27, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 8,715 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  902 words

Writing month to date total: 23,603 words

Writing year to date total: 70,248 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent nearly 9 hours on recording and editing  audio for the second week in a row.

Week’s happenings: Even with my child home for Spring Break, I still managed to get 9 hours of audio and nearly 10,000 words of writing done. Yes, I got to spend good time with my son and even managed to get 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. No, I wasn’t on vacation from my regular job either. I just made it happen. It’s funny that when you set your mind to doing something, the way is made.

It did help that I started a new story. No, it wasn’t Loki pestering me. I think I mentioned  last week that I wanted to work on my Dragons of Wellsdeep story (sorry, I’m not really sure if I did or not and I don’t feel like going back to look – bad me!). The characters from that novel came into this new story. It’s the second time I’ve mentioned Moonhunter in a story — the first being in The Doorway Prince. I feel as if I’m writing a timeline of this character without actually writing his novel. I pounded out over 7,000 of this new story in just three days. The rest of the word count for the week came from working on the fourth Sacred Knight story. I really wish I’d discover the title for it. I’ve been trying to do that as well as come up with a cover design. Maybe this last week hasn’t really been a good time to focus on that with so much going on.

The audio for The Doorway Prince is coming along, except for one whole track where I mispronounce a character’s name. I’m debating whether to merge it in or to re-record the whole track. So, I’m playing with Adobe Audition and continuing to learn new tricks. I’m always amazed at what it can do.

I’m hoping to get some drawing done this week. Something about spring always makes me want to start sketching. I’ve been reading Terry Goodkind’s Debt of Bones this week and enjoying the sketches in the book. I have plans for what I’d like to do with the Sacred Knight series, but it feels like I’ll never get there. If I don’t get better at drawing, that will certainly be true. I don’t want it to be true. I want to succeed with my ideas for it.

I did also finish up reading Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m in the middle of listening to Enchanted Glass, also by Jones, and it reminds me more of the Chrestomaci series.

There were a lot of things I didn’t get done this week. I have a lot of corrections to make to books, but that hasn’t been happening. Again, I hope to get to it this next week. There always seems to be more work to be done and more things I want to do. I keep reminding myself that the writing it the most important. I am a storyteller and that’s what I do. That’s what makes me happy. As I’ve been writing the longest, it is the easiest form for me to use to tell a story. Audio really is next on the list. It’s a lot of work, but I love where it has made me explore and stretch my skills. Drawing takes the longest for me, which is probably why I don’t find the time to work on comics as much as I’d like — again, something I hope to change very shortly, but we shall see what really happens. I still have a great desire to tell great stories and draw beautiful pictures to go with them. That was a goal I realized a decade ago and I’ve never quite been able to let it go.

No matter how productive one can be during the week, when someone loves what they do, it still never feels like quite enough. There is always more to be done. That is why the journey must be enjoyed and celebrated. Thank you for joining with me on my journey and sharing my experiences. I hope that my weekly progress entertains and inspires you. The path is always better with a friend along to walk it with you.

Progress – 03/20/17

March 20, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 2,352 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  297 words

Writing month to date total: 13,986 words

Writing year to date total: 60,631 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent nearly 9 hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings: The Last Ant finally published to audiobook outlets. It sounds better than Fractured Echo, but I’m still unsettled about how it changes once it goes through the final processing. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I’ve spent a significant amount of time working on The Doorway Prince and getting the audio ready for it. I’m only about halfway through recording it, and a quarter of the way through editing it. Considering how much time it use to take me to edit audio, I am definitely finding Adobe Audition as a huge time saver. Considering the difference in the audio quality of Fractured Echo to The Last Ant, I’m happy that I made the switch too. Let me just say that it seems pretty cool to be able to say that I’m an audiobook narrator now too. It feels “more official.” (grin) I am really looking forward to this summer when I can kick out The Three Books and 1-800-Mischief as audiobooks too. Chances are, though, I’m going to have to re-record them. I don’t know. I still need to go back and listen tot he audio files I have and see how they sound.

Yeah, so I’ve been really kicking it on the audio side as you can tell. Writing, not so much. I’ve been trying to get to doing the edits on a few stories but that hasn’t happened. I’ve been reading the fourth book in the Sacred Knight series. But I just haven’t been in the mood to write. I tell myself that’s a falsehood — that I should just start writing, but every time I open a document, I just sit there and stare at it. It’s easier to go work on other things that really need maintenance, like my website or posting blogs. In the back of my mind, I hear Loki rattling his cage. He wants out. He’s been quiet for a couple months, let me work on other projects. Such is his routine. I start hearing him in my mind, feeling the serpent essence crawling around through me and in my life, and I know he is about to strike. Maybe I am resting before the storm. I’d really like it if he’d let me finish the fourth Sacred Knight. It now feels like a race to the finish line and we shall have to see who wins.(Probably Loki!)  I feel him tempting me back to the file that I started for the next novella. Just open it, read through it, that’s all I have to do. I don’t have to work on it now, just get it back in my mind. But I know what happens if I crack that door! Chaos ensues. I’ll be back to writing at 3:30 in the morning because I can’t stop. Right now, I don’t have time or energy for that. Yes, now I can feel it: Steigan struggling against the chains that Loki has him in. Can you hear the clink as Steigan rushes forward and the chains tighten with a heavy clank? Loki steps closer, the tempting smile, the chill reaching me without a touch. I feel his shadow cross over me. He comes and I am helpless to resist.


I saw a tagline on a writer’s website last week that read something to the effect of “I will lie to you and you will like it.” Yes, my little sidetrip above may have seemed like a bit of storytelling drama, but that is exactly what it feels like to have characters vying for attention. And I enjoy being able to entertain their struggles in my head. I don’t have a schedule or a timeline or even a deadline. I just write what suits me. And, if I don’t write for a week, I know that I will be pounding away hard at the keyboard some other time. It’s a cycle. I trust the process.

In other news, my son came home from college for spring break late last week, so that might be the other reason I didn’t get any words done since he’s been back. I’d rather be spending my time with him. Still, he knows that writing is important to me and would allow me the time if I needed it. Again, the mood just isn’t there, so I’m happy to give the time to him. He did give me time to record; “I’ll be in my room, making no noise, and pretending I don’t exist,” was his quote. Thanks, Harry Potter! The point is that I could have found time to write if I’d wanted it.

I hope you all have enjoyed Part 1 of The Doorway Prince on my blog. Part 2 will be posted this week, so be sure to finish up Part 1 before it goes away. Next week, the third and final part will be posted. Then we’ll get started on By the Numbers, the story of one of the side characters from The Doorway Prince. I certainly hope that if you enjoy my writing, you share it with friends you feel might like it too. A writer’s work is only completed when someone reads it.




Progress – 03/13/17

March 13, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 7,254 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  659 words

Writing month to date total: 11,337 words

Writing year to date total: 57,982 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 4.5 hours on editing  audio.

Week’s happenings: I finished writing By the Numbers, which is a “sequel” novella to The Doorway Prince and it’s off to my first reader now. I feel like I’m working with a whole menagerie of characters — anyone who has read the Sacred Knight series will be familar with the saperes, and readers of Fractured Echo know that the saperes cross over to the realm of the novihomidraks (human born of the dragon). The Doorway Prince goes deeper into the novihomidraks, but it also exposes a type of oracle character. By the Numbers explores the journey that this character takes to discover her powers. Strangely enough, shortly after I started writing By the Numbers, I had this idea for something I knew would become a series. As I neared the end of By the Numbers, I realized that I had been working toward that series idea the whole time. Seriously, it was just something I thought would be neat to do in about 5 years or so. I wrote down one sentence, enough to jog my memory and give me a reference point to go to. I’ve already started the “1st book” of that series and By the Numbers becomes a sort of prequel for it. It just feels so weird. I just hope that whoever is holding on the boxcar of my writing can keep it on the rails — it feels like it’s a runaway train, but I trust the process.

Best of all, who knows what tomorrow brings; it could be an all new adventure!


Progress -03/06/17

March 6, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 3,905 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  679 words

Writing month to date total: 24,448 words for the month of February, March to date is 3,424 words

Writing year to date total: 50,069 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 7.1 hours on editing  and recording audio. It was more than that because I didn’t count a lot of time when I was testing and learning new software — this was only actual time that I was editing and mastering.  More to come on this below.

Week’s happenings: Another low week for the word count. I was busy reading the 4th book in the Sacred Knight series instead of writing. Worse, I hit a spot that really needs work — I’m not quite sure what to do with it, if I want to move it or just adjust it. I really haven’t decided other than to say that I have issues about where it’s at, so I have been reading through various sections trying to decide what to do. I also started a trial of Adobe Audition last week. I’ve been using Audacity to record and edit my books, but it takes so much time. I really want something that will speed up my work flow. I think I’ve found it in Audition. I used Audition to finish editing and mastering the audio for The Last Ant. I’ve uploaded the audio to ACX, so I’ll be able to officially announce its release in the next couple of weeks. My hours above also didn’t count the time that I used to adjust the image for the dimensions that ACX wants for their covers. I also started working on the audio for The Doorway Prince. So far it takes me far less time to go through the edits in Audition than it did in Audacity. Basically, it does what I wished I could have done in Audacity. On the downside is that it can become very easy to overprocess the voice. It didn’t help that I went and listened to several other “professionally” produced audiobooks and found issues in them similar to ones I was having in my own recordings — all that did was tell me that I’m trying to make mine too perfect. I just want to be releasing the best that I’m capable of at that moment. Right now, to me, it sounds like I’m working way too hard compared to the professionals. That makes me wonder what I’m missing too because on the other end of the spectrum I’m probably becoming lazy. But I guess that’s not the point. The point is that I spent 7 more hours on audio and was finally able to upload 39 minutes. Yep. Sad.I have probably spent about 30 hours getting those 39 minutes. That certainly doesn’t count the hours in which I was testing tracks and learning what the features of the program were — what does this effect do? Oh, not good! Let’s try something else. Hey, that’s pretty cool. Etc. I try not to think of it as lost writing time. That would depress me way to much. Especially since I do love recording my own stories. I really wish someone had told me sooner that voice acting was a real job. Anyway, I have decided to stick with Audition at least for a year just to see what happens. Next week I’m looking forward to getting things evened back out — I’ll go back to my normal routine. Of course, I’ll still be working on the 4th book and wrestling with that scene, but I know an ephiphany will come. I also hope to finish up By the Numbers, which features Amanda from The Doorway Prince. I thought her story would only be about 8,000 words long, but so far it’s over 10,000 and will probably end up being close in length to The Doorway Prince. That feels like a good story length to me. Overall, not a bad week considering.

Progress – 02/13/17

February 13, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 6,216 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  1,687 words

Writing month to date total: 10,446 words.

Writing year to date total: 32,603 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent almost 3 hours on editing audio.

Week’s happenings: I accomplished much last week. I finished reading through The Doorway Prince. I just kept having to add scenes to it. Adding, adding, adding until it clicked and announced that it was done. After that, it seemed like a flurry of activity to get it uploaded for pre-order. Watch for Wednesday of this week when I have an excerpt from the book here on this blog. I also got History of a Dead Man up as a print book. At this moment, it hasn’t been released and while not a new book, I hadn’t planned on it being in print version until I released the 4th Sacred Knight book. Surprise! Well, more on that in a couple weeks. I updated my Zibbet store to add items. I also updated my book website. I got my February newsletter out. What, you didn’t get yours? Well, be sure you’ve signed up. Click the “Sign up for Dawn’s email newletter” button off to your right to make sure you don’t miss out on more sneak peeks and fun stuff.

I’m surprised I didn’t get any painting done yesterday. I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with this piece of advise someone in a dream was telling me. I couldn’t completely shake off the dream to write it down, but I remember waking up several more times during the night with it repeating in my head. The advise: “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible.” This probably doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t paint, but I remember the context of the dream right before this line was said to me. I was talking to this unknown someone about the gesso (a preliminary paint used on canvas) being white already so why did I need another layer of white? I know that probably has no meaning for anyone, but let’s see if I can explain and maybe even I will glean some additional value out of it. In the dream, I was complaining that the canvas already had paint on it, white. How could I do anything when it had already been painted on? I was obviously having blank canvas syndrome.

After I woke up and began to write down the quote, I had to expand it. “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible. A writer who believes his page is blank remains untold.”

That was when this really started to come together for me.

Many writers I have both known and heard about have faced the blank page, whether it be a literal piece of paper or a blank computer screen. They sit there and do not write. They fear that they won’t be perfect. They can’t get out of their head to tell their story. I thank my lucky stars that I have never been afraid of the blank page, even when I had writer’s block and spent many years not writing. Even then, I could always find the hole on the page and slip through it to another world; I just felt all my words were crap. Hint: that’s usually a sign that you’re leveling up. I know that now. The blank page never remains that way for me for long. I write. I tell stories. I don’t even care if anyone else reads them or not. I’ve shared if people want to access them. I’m moving onto the next story. No blank pages. I see through to another time and place; I take the next adventure. My page is never blank and so my stories get told.

My illustration on the other hand, is a whole different creature. My canvases are blank. I am remaining invisible. I don’t know who I am as an illustrator. That’s what this dream was telling me. I have to find that same hole and slip through to see the artwork that is already created. I don’t know how to do that.

Okay, so there are some people who would say to just start throwing paint at the canvas and see what develops. I’ve done that, and I’ve had success (which in itself can be scary because it’s a power one has no control over and yet needs to respect). When I have a story idea, I usually start with a character who begins just talking to me and won’t shut up. I don’t know what to listen for with the painting. I don’t know what to look for. I feel blind. It’s invisible.

And yet I really wanted to paint on Sunday. Badly. I’d written early in the morning and by the afternoon, I wanted to switch to painting, but I didn’t know what to paint. I didn’t even pull out my paints because I didn’t want to face the blank canvas. Or, blank Bristol Board as the case probably would have been. Do I believe that my painting surface is white? I must for my work remains invisible.

I remember thinking at one point last night as I woke again with the quote circling my head that I could paint all my canvases with a light coat of burnt sienna. But all that would be doing is changing the color of the canvas, not solving the problem.

I know the answer, for it is the same thing answer for the blank page syndrome for writers: Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. Just do something.  Give yourself forward movement. The block points to leveling up.

If I let my canvases remain white, the magic I want to share with the world will never been seen.