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.

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.

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Inktober #2

Here are my drawings from Inktober since last Thursday:

Prompt #4 was “spell.”

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While “spelling bee” came to mind, I didn’t go with it. I also didn’t want to do someone casting a spell. I’m am trying to “think beyond what I see.” Then I thought of the doorway in the Lord of the Rings movie.

Prompt # 5 was “chicken.”

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Again, I didn’t want to go for the ordinary. Hmmm, it was also the second time I’d been thinking about chicken. Remember, the first time was with the word “roasted.” Okay, I really like chicken in my Instant Pot. And now that I’m writing this sentence, that would have been really funny if I’d drawn my Instant Pot. (grin, and some maniacal laughter)

Instead, I let the chicken get some revenge on those Chick-Fil-A cows.

Prompt # 6 was “drooling.”

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FanX Salt Lake 2018

I’m currently out at FanX Salt Lake. We’re still an hour away from the show’s official start with VIP’s entering.

I hope I’ll get out to walk around tomorrow, but for now I’m sitting at my booth trying to get myself psyched up for the day ahead. Yeah, I was ready for this a week ago (grin) and now I want to be out adventuring instead. Maybe that speaks to my vibe being off.

Oh, I’ll get there again. I always do. I’m ready to rock this. I have new titles on my table: 1-800-CallLoki (the Loki Adventures omnibus), Let’s Make A Deal, and Space Ninjas Aren’t Real. I guess Prince of the Ruined Land is new to this show too, so if you have the first 3, you better come get #4.

I forgot my hat. That makes me a little sad. I wonder where it went because it wasn’t with the rest of my show stuff. As I wrote that, I wonder if I had taken it home. I think I did because I’d been planning on re-packing my shirts in there as soon as I had the dry cleaned. After I did that, I went to plan be and forgot my hat. Yeah.

Outside, the crowd cheers. They are really getting worked up. I hope the attendees have a great time.

It’s time to show some fandom love.

Let’s get this game on!

Progress – August 13, 2018

For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling myself that “this weekend I’ll get to go upload audio.” Well, this last weekend was when it came true.

When I upload an audiobook, I like to go sit at Starbucks. First off, coffee = yes, please! Second, I don’t often go to Starbucks (I usually go to Barnes & Noble which is a cafe serving Starbucks coffee. It never quite tastes the same. I have yet to have a drink at B&N that tastes exactly like Starbucks — and I prefer the way B&N does it, so double yes please to books and coffee). So a trip to Starbucks is actually a break from my usual routine and and therefore a treat. Thirdly, killer Internet! I can upload the files much faster than anywhere else I’ve found so far.

Now, I just sit back and wait for my files to be approved. Fingers crossed on that one. I’m a little worried. Plus, I didn’t do my final listen through on this book (another worry). After spending 6+ years trying to record this book and trashing so many rotten versions, I just can’t listen it to once more. You know, this book is the whole reason I threw in the towel and bought myself a Whisper Room; I despised the sound I was getting, not to mention having to wake up at 2 a.m. on the weekends to record so I didn’t have noisy neighbors, cars, birds, cat fights, barking dogs, owls, crickets, etc. in the background of my recording. When I had the rain and wind in the middle of the night, plus I was a wreck for several days afterwards from a strange sleep schedule, I decided trying to have my own homemade studio was not what I wanted to do. I wanted it to be quick and simple: a good recording, quick editing, done and released to the world.

Quest for the Three Books audiobook cover small

Yeah, let me tell you, even with the Whisper Room, it’s a journey I’m not sure I’ve ever been prepared for or one that I will ever be successful at. And I feel this way every time I release a new audio. I never feel like it’s good enough. I know there are still flaws in this, which is why I had to let it go. If I went through it again (and I can say this as a fact from where I’ve re-listened to parts of it in trying to find something I wanted to use as a sample), I would ditch all the audio again and re-record it over again. No matter how careful I was when I was going through it, I was always going to hear something that needed fixed. You get the loud clicks out of an audio and all the small ones come jumping back at you.

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Books Gone Bad

I am so thrilled to announce that Quest for the Three Books is in a new bundle coming out from BundleRabbit.

Books Gone Bad

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Much as the title says, it’s all about books that are not the pleasant little tales we like to think sit on our shelves quietly, making no noise, but there to comfort us when we need them.

No, these books have twists, turns, magic, betrayal… oh, so dangerous to touch. 

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