How Rivic’s story almost wasn’t

Did you know that Rivic’s story, Tangled Magic, almost didn’t happen? 

As I was working on the first three books of the Sacred Knight series and thinking about Alityka’s part, I started seeing scenes with Rivic and Alityka. I even wrote several of these scenes down. All were from Alityka’s point of view. 

Then in 2015, I started writing a story as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month held in November). I had fully intended it to be a rewrite of the start of a novel I had written many years ago and lost the beginning chapters. Soon, I realized that I was actually writing two books. Yes, I had the start of my lost novel, which I wrote nearly 30 years ago and I certainly don’t remember how it started then so this was fresh, but I also had a major piece of another story. I finished NaNoWriMo with over the 50,000 words needed to “win,” but I hadn’t actually finished the novel.

After giving it some time to cool down and really figure out what I had going on, I split the two pieces apart. Yet now I had to figure out the characters I had. I so much wanted to write Alityka’s story that I resisted telling it from Rivic’s point of view, yet I knew in my heart this was exactly what was what needed to happen. Yes, Alityka’s side of my Sacred Knight story needed to be told by Rivic. 

It’s a choice I’m glad I made.

Filling the Shelves

Been trying to post this since Tuesday, but the time never felt quite right until now.

Photo courtesy of © Kittichai Boonpong | Dreamstime.com ID 81867124

Now, if you were been reading between the lines on my Monday blog, you noticed that I’ve also been working on other stories too. Lately, I’ve been doing this massive brainstorming on Cirvel’s plans. This has led me to working on the entire story from Palladium on through to the Sacred Knight series where I’m currently struggling on book 5.

I remember when I was working on Quest for the Three Books and was getting overwhelmed because it was such a large story. I mean, there were three timelines involved! When I consider Cirvel’s story and how his plans literally run through three series (which right now are a total of nine books – more on this in a moment) and a span of about 5,000 years, I know that I could easily face that same overwhelm. This is an important story. When I add to it that between Cirvel and Moonhunter’s stories, I am building the backbone for a plethora of stories in a connected universe and I know it must be solid. Who wouldn’t hurl under these conditions? But I feel extremely lucky that I worked through those issues of overwhelm when I was at the smaller level, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a few anxious moments. There are some things that when I’m having to make a decision, I feel as if I’m standing on a ledge looking out into the vast expanse of space.

Then I remind myself that no one’s life is on the line and I mellow out about it. It’s just a story.

It’s my own desire to get it right, as close to perfectionism as I come, that drives me. And I know I’m much better if I stay loose and trust the process. Again, not life or death.

So above I counted nine novels in the full scope of Cirvel’s tale. This includes Palladium (which hopefully you are reading along with on my blog right now), Tangled Magic and Walk the Path (the 2 stories which make up Rivic’s part of the tale), and then the six novels of the Sacred Knight series (even though only four of them are released right now). I haven’t included two other stories. One of those is where Martias and Steigan go off to the Palin Wars when they aren’t supposed to. I’ve been working on that story in this time too. In fact, I discovered the answer to the story that I thought I needed, but when I went back to it, I discovered that at some point I had “finished” the story. Now I’m left wondering if I want to do what came to me in the last few weeks, if I want to leave it as it is even though the new idea is so much better, or to figure out how to merge the two ideas which might overload the story. There is also the possibility that I break off the aspect of the story which “finished” it and make that another story. It would be so easy to do. It has left me wondering if Martias has an even bigger part than I ever imagined.

Not bad for a character I initially murdered off in an early draft.

Yes, Martias was supposed to die in Quest for the Three Books.

I am very glad my critique partners screamed at me killing him and told me to completely lose that draft. Sherri even made me feel very guilty about it. I remember her telling me that she was going to get “Team Martias” shirts made – I sometimes wonder if her comment spurred the turn in Martias’ character. He was never meant to become so evil. He was always supposed to be a helper for Steigan. The moment he became the Shapeshifter character and dropped the metal trap door on Steigan down in the catacombs, it surprised the heck out of me. Trust the process! I even know the exact moment he takes the journal from Steigan. There are things that only I know about Martias. Most of it has come out, but there is more. Even as I’m writing these words, I realize that I do have more locked away in my head, things that I’ve hinted at to myself. I have chills crawling over my arms. See, I might even have to write more stories with Martias.

As a side note, the world lost Sherri earlier this year to cancer. She was an amazing storyteller and I wish I had craft she did. She always spurred me to write better. And especially to pay attention to my grammar – I’m trying I swear! I have often thought about what Sherri would think about Martias now since I don’t know if she ever read books 2 through 4. Now that she’s gone, I invite her to my side often to help me through plotting all this. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel the overwhelm I did. I have promised another reader that Steigan will get a happy ending (though if you paid attention when Onesong was running on my blog, you know it didn’t last), but I hope that I can give Martias a happy ending too in memory of Sherri.

There is one more book that I didn’t include in my list of Cirvel’s stories and it might be an important one. It’s the story where Elliot is the main character. Now Elliot is a different breed. If you read For a Good Time, Call Loki, then you saw Elliot as a (pre)teen. Yeah, I’m being vague on that. His novel starts many years later and involves characters that I believe are Cirvel’s children. What I am missing is the little spark which really pulls this into being a book in the chain of Cirvel’s long-term plans. I feel like I am so close to finding the tie, but I have yet to put the bow on it. You’ll probably hear me screaming with joy the very moment I discover it. (grin)

So yes, if you were paying attention in that last paragraph, you see that in my “connected universe” I even pull Loki’s and Steigan’s stories together. Elliot is not the only connection I have either, it’s the only one that has been published (and I guess doesn’t fully count until I publish Elliot’s book too).

I love these mind games I get to play with myself! Best job in the world. To me, this is what makes writing so exciting.

And now I’m going to get back to it. So many books to write. So little time.

Alexander’s Den – the audiobook

Come across the sands to a place where some people want their stories told and others don’t. You never know what you will find at Alexander’s. For Thomis, this storyteller’s days grow short and he merely wants some peace.

Find it on your favorite audio distributor or start your search here. While it is available in several places, I also noticed that it is still working its way to some platforms, so if it’s not on your favorite platform currently, keep watch for it as it should be soon.

Audiobooks can be the perfect option for people who think that they don’t have time to read or who might struggle with reading a book. I find time to listen to audiobooks while I’m taking my daily walk, doing dishes, or while commuting to work. It’s not just for long trips. (grin!) I know many people who tell me they listen to audiobooks while at work — lucky dogs!

Happy listening (or reading!)

Progress – November 26, 2018

Last week was a busy week. It was perfect week.

As I said last Monday, my son had come home from college for the holiday. It was great having him home (of course). He hung out with me, he hung out with his brother, we all hung out together — it was a whole holiday hang out party.

While enjoying his company, I finished the audio on For a Good Time, Call Loki and got it uploaded. That meant I also had to design the cover for that edition too. I do hope that in a couple of weeks I can report that the audiobook is available.

Meanwhile, I also started on editing the audio I recorded for Fall’s Confession. I also fixed the errata I found in Fall’s Confession and re-uploaded it.

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Thoughts on Write, Publish, & Market Like a Boss

I am often asked how someone can get their book published. Or I get asked, “What advice would you give someone writing a book?”

Most people don’t want the real answer: finish the book you’re writing first.

Just finishing the book (whether fiction or non-fiction) is usually the most challenging for anyone. See, it seems simple to sit down and write a book. If you just leave the bull your mind will try to feed you at the door, yes, it is that simple. However, most people can’t do that; the myths that an artist must suffer for their art is just too alluring, especially to those who like the idea of writing but don’t actually want to write. So, I always tell the inquirer to write the book first.

Surprisingly (not!), no one has every come back to me and said, “Okay, I wrote the book, now what?”

For a long time I wished that I’d had something I could tell people to go read and it would help them answer a lot of questions on their journey, including step 1: writing the book.

Now I do.

Enter Write, Publish, and Market Like a Boss.

I picked up this set because I really wanted to listen to Market Like a Boss, but the price on the audio for all three was irresistible.

I did listen to most of it at double speed. I found the narrator painfully slow at regular speed and 1.5 speed was about what I considered normal reading speech. At double speed, I felt like he was really at 1.5 speed.

Since I’ve been writing nearly all my life and have published 25 titles, I wasn’t certain there would be much information there for me. I was surprised that I did find a few nuggets of good information — you can always learn something. Besides, it was a good pep talk for me too.

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Free Fiction: Dragons of Wellsdeep – Chapter 11

Okay, that’s it! The weeks must quit going by so rapidly. Someone needs to put the brakes on this speeding monkey ship!

Speeding monkey ship? That sounds like something Loki would say.

Well, you all are caught up to me and so I need to either work faster or time needs to go a little slower so I can get ahead. Either way.

I’m certain this is the result of having too many stories going at once. I’ll quit my complaining, take responsibility for it, and let you get to the story. Shall we be off?

Dragons of Wellsdeep is an epic science fantasy story filled with action, adventure, space travel, magic, dragons, and flying. Chapter 11 is available for 1 week only! Then it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new chapter will appear! 

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 11

by Dawn Blair

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Progress – October 22, 2018

Four hours of yard work on Saturday has left me sore and achy. I didn’t even get up Sunday morning to record audio as I usually do. I was hard to get my words in Saturday night, but I did. I should have listened to the little voice that said I should have gotten my words done in the morning before tackling the pine needles in the back yard. Whoever thought to put a Ponderosa pine in a residential neighborhood was an idiot. The tree was planted years before I moved in. Now it’s a behemoth.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get back into routine this week from Adrian’s play last week. My maniac drive to get audio done seems to have subsided for the moment, giving way to my need for sleep.

The only thing I can really claim that I’ve accomplished this last week, other than my daily word count and my daily Inktober posts on Instagram, is that I’m nearly done with the full plot outline for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. I’m so glad that I’m building this because I’ve found some spots where I can move things around if necessary as well as a few holes from the mess of writing I was doing posting it as Onesong here on my blog. These two books are so going through two readers — one for continuity and the other for proofreading — before they see the light of day. I hope the two readers I have for this are ready.

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