Mystery of the Stardust Monk release

I’m pleased to announce the release date for Mystery of the Stardust Monk: June 19, 2018.

My reader has declared this as one of her favorites (so far).

This is a deeper glimpse of Moonhunter. I’ve been writing about him in a novel I’m working on, Dragons of Wellsdeep, and hope to have out later this year or early next year. That kind of depends on how other projects go. But, I was glad to get to know Moonhunter better in this story.

Mystery of the Stardust Monk is a prequel to Stardust (and is a sequel to a story called Alexander’s Den). Yes, I do seem to be writing quite a few stories in reverse order these days.

This story was inspired by a little monk statue I saw in the courtyard of the Anchor in Lincoln City, Oregon, while I was there for a writers conference a couple years ago. Last year when I journeyed back, I had to get a photograph of the statue for the cover.

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1-800-IceBaby — new Loki novella coming soon

Yes, Loki lovers, it’s true. While I hesitate to say that it is the 6th novella in my Loki series because they are now supposed to be individual adventures as I had originally wanted them.

There are tie-ins the the first 5 in the series, but hopefully readers won’t be so lost if they start with #6.

I should note that some of the novellas in the future will come after The Loki Adventures, and others will come before. The way to tell the difference will be the preamble at the start of each story. If he mentions Asgard, it is before the first 5 novellas. If he says Midgard, it is after the first 5 novellas.

It couldn’t get any more confusing than the titles are already, right? (grin)

Okay, just so everyone is on the same page, let’s have a quick review:

The first 5 novellas which make up 1 story arc (which will be cataloged under the series name The Loki Adventures) are:

1-800-Mischief   *** For Sale, Call Loki *** For a Good Time, Call Loki *** For More Information, Call Loki *** For More Mischief, Call Loki

Okay, got that?

Now, the book titled 1-800-CallLoki is the full omnibus containing all of The Loki Adventures.

Now we start a new “series” called A Loki Adventure. Not plural. Single. As in single stories. (Do you hear me, Loki?) There will still be threads that run through the stories. But hopefully someone will be able to pick up any one of them from #6 onward and know what’s going on. At least, that’s my plan right now.

Are you ready to see the cover? Let’s do this!

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Progress – 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.

Head games we play with ourselves

Yesterday on my blog, I mentioned a problem I was having.

Here’s how it started:


I have Mystery of the Stardust Monk completely ready to upload to distributors for both ebook and print. Completely ready. As I said, I don’t want to be unprepared when going to publish something again. So, everything is ready.

Guess what I can’t do.

Yep, you got it. I can’t even click the “Add new book” button on any of the distributors. I’ve tried. I log into my account, then I sit there staring at it.

This is such a dumb problem to have. Dumb, dumb, dumb.


I wrote it all out, but then I decided to make this a separate blog entry. Partially because the progress post was getting long, and second because there’s a lesson in this that I want to share (as well as remember myself when I need a good kick).

Let’s pick up where I left off:

Okay, maybe some backstory is needed here. Mystery of the Stardust Monk was supposed to be my March release. Didn’t happen. I skipped a March release because I had too much else going on. Now that it’s ready, I though, okay, June release. Then I put out Prince of the Ruined Land (as you all know) and I got “challenged” to have the next book in the series out by July 1st. There is no way that’s happening, especially with my current lessons. But, silly me, I thought I could push it for Onesong. Irregardless of how I split it, I could have book 1 out by the last week of June, so that it would be out by July 1st and still fall into my traditional publishing day of Tuesday. I think there’s a part of me that’s trying to see if I can do it. Challenge accepted! Except, I don’t want to be pressured. I don’t want to have two releases that close together. There’s a lot going on in my head about this, both from a writer and a publisher point of view — which, if you’re going to be an indie writer, you must hold onto both hats at once sometimes.

So I sit with this dumb problem.

I thought might get a handle on it when I finally had Onesong written, but there’s still so much to contemplate. Plus, a cover that needs a decision when I have 8 various versions of the mock-up (all of them frustratingly fun!). If it weren’t fun, I’d have to quit doing this because, grrr, at the moment none of this is worth what I’m putting into it. Whenever I once again think about all this, I teeter on that edge of thinking dangerous thoughts which have no good end.

See, it’s a dumb problem. I write for myself, but sometimes I like to challenge myself. I have learned hard lessons and want to learn and grow from them. I think about my readers and I want to make them happy because my job isn’t done until the story is finished and someone reads it. There is so much work to be done (all by myself at the moment) to publish a book and make sure people know about it. I’m invested and so are several loyal readers. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to disappoint myself. I want to enjoy the ride.

But now, I’ve basically tucked Mystery of the Stardust Monk away under my bed, or in a drawer, or the closet, for publication later. No one gets to read it.

To me, that’s depressing, and if I were a reader, I’d be disappointed knowing the writer was intentionally withholding something from me.

Logic says that I should set it up as a June release or a May release to go along with Eggs at Play, since that’s a children’s picture book. But Logic’s friend, Fear, says I should wait because it might be better to save it for a month I don’t have anything else to release (like in March when I went without a release because I had too much going on). And their arch-rival, Reality, says that no one gives a damn so just put it out there!

Dumb head game.


That’s where I ended the original post, but now I’ve given myself some clearance to think about it and I want to dive deeper.

That’s all it really is. A dumb head game. It’s the publisher hat trying to dominate the writer child-self. After all, the artist-child is wild and irresponsible. The publisher must control and regulate that artistic side because she might throw a temper tantrum and nothing will get done. We have those new lessons for the publisher, remember? I think it’s the publisher getting all steamed up about having regulations placed on it. Now it’s second guessing itself. Wow, it’s not even the publisher trying to focus the artist, but the publisher trying to swim in a brave new world. Now that’s a mind trip! Wow. I don’t think I would have realized that if I hadn’t moved this off onto its own post.

It is the publisher hat fear that demands that I be regular and consistent in putting things out to the world. To look at Reality’s argument that no one really cares when it comes out as long as the reader has the story available when they want it is really the truth. Anticipation is one thing, and it’s a great marketing tool, but should be used appropriately. A novella? Probably not the best thing to get people anticipating (unless it’s Loki, of course, but that would be the exception because he’s already got a fabulous fan base). But right now, no one cares when I put out a novella. And I don’t treat my books the way a traditional publisher would — that it’s fruit that spoils in 2-3 weeks and must be pulled from the shelf. We’re not in that era any more.

I guess I must ask myself the big question:

Am I ready to release Mystery of the Stardust Monk now?

No. Surprisingly, no.

But it’s not longer a dumb head game problem. I literally do not feel like putting it out there yet. I think about it and I feel my energy drain.

Does my publisher hat have a process that it must trust too? It must. Both hats sit on the same head.

Maybe this problem isn’t as dumb as it looked. Maybe it’s not simple either. Maybe it’s not a problem either. Maybe it’s must my inner knowing tuned into something bigger than myself that I will see when the moment is right.

I do feel like I have to trust the emotion running through me. It says, not now, but soon. Soon I will be able to get on all the various sites and upload it. This might be a continuation of the lessons I am learning. Maybe it is about when to let go. It certainly is about letting the publisher hat trust the process too.

What was disguised as a head games ends up being a clever little lesson. Look at that.

The 6th Loki Novella – update

I don’t often give updates on the Loki novellas I’m working on other than to say that I’m writing.

The 6th novella, which takes place after the first 5 and makes up a complete arc, took some time to get back to since I finished writing it in my dad’s hospital room shortly before he passed away. I was glad to have other stories to turn to. Friends asked me if Loki was bugging me because he’s always got this “Me, me, me, me, me!” going on in the back of my mind, but even he has been quite since last year.

Until I started finishing up Prince of the Ruined Land.

As I neared the end, even though I still had things to do, I heard Loki whispering in my mind, “6:00 tomorrow morning, you are mine. Now finish this up and let’s get back to me!”

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Space Ninjas Aren’t Real

Or are they?

I will be the first to admit when this title popped in my head and I started writing it, I thought it would be a comedy, something along the lines of the humor in my Loki series.

Yeah, not so much.

Selena was too serious of a character right from the start. As the story progressed, I realized why she was so uptight. It took some prodding because she really didn’t want to admit that she’d done anything wrong. I’ll save that for the story.

But I did want to give you a preview.

Space Ninjas Aren’t Real hasn’t been run on my blog as a free story because I’ve been putting up Onesong instead. But now Space Ninjas Aren’t Real is up for pre-order and will be released on November 21, 2017 – just in time for reading while you are waiting for the turkey to cook this Thanksgiving.

Let’s go check out a sample of the story, shall we?

Space Ninjas Aren't Real cover small 082817

Space Ninjas Aren’t Real (excerpt)

by Dawn Blair

~1~

Selena Bennett stood at the large, cold, plastiglass window of the space dock and watched as shuttlecrafts flew to and from the larger spaceship, the Honeycomb. It would be her new home for the next couple of months. Thinking about all the supplies the

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Ninjas: By the Numbers – Part 4

A black-winged angel and a homeless man gave her hope. Now, Amanda searches for her destiny. Numbers point the way and a star guides her.

But some things cannot be calculated. Will the numbers add up, or is there an error in the Universe’s designs?

A fantasy adventure told in four parts. Available for 1 week only! Then, part 4 will turn back into a pumpkin and a new story will appear.

Enjoy

By the numbers cover small

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