Progress – 05/08/17

May 8, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 6,958 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  1,450 words

Writing month to date total: 8,408 words

Writing year to date total: 112,562 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 5 hours on recording and editing  audio. I’m still planning on having The Doorway Prince out on Audible and other platforms in May. I really thought I was going to have it done this week, but I just couldn’t put in the time I wanted.

Week’s happenings:  First, I want to give a big Happy Birthday shout out. I won’t say who it is that is receiving it, but I know that the receipent will get it.

Well, Adrian’s hands are still healing from the bike accident over two weeks ago. He’s almost there. So I’m still walking Merlin in the mornings and evenings. That’s what’s really cut into my audio time, but in some ways, it’s kind of been fun doing that chore. I occassionally even run with Merlin for a block or two and that’s really been interesting. I think he’d be a good dog to jog with. He keeps me inspired and moving. And he loves it. Unlike bicycling ( which according to my app, I rode for 41.5 miles in April — holy cow!), I can’t keep up any distance with jogging. It’s hard on my knees, but I am up to about a two blocks, so I keep reminding myself of the Zig Ziglar method of running (a block and a mailbox) and that’s really what I’m doing.

I went and got my other son from college. I can’t believe it’s summertime already. I know it’ll fly by and I’ll be sending him back in no time at all.

Then, on Saturday, I had a show; it was the Jerome Music Boosters’ Spring Craft Fair. Just one day, but I did set up Friday night, so I only had to walk in on Saturday and start to share my enthusiasm for my stories with people. Then we packed up Saturday after the show. I was tired and went to bed early that night.

For the writing, I’ve been focusing on a story called Mystery of the Stardust Monk and the next novella in The Loki Adventures. I feel like I’m two-thirds of the way done with Mystery and about a third of the way done with Loki.

In other news, I’ve tenatively scheduled Prince of the Ruined Land to be published on June 13th. This is not set in stone yet — I’m waiting to hear back on what I sent out before moving forward on it any more than to close my eyes and point at the calendar for a date.

Well, time to carry on now. See you next week!


Progress – 05/01/17

May 1, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 9,518 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  806 words

Writing month to date total: 27,065 words for all of April

Writing year to date total: 104,154 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8 hours on recording and editing  audio. I’m still planning on having The Doorway Prince out on Audible and other platforms in May.

Week’s happenings:  I have been taking care of my son still after his bike accident last week. I think I’ll have another week of cleaning and bandaging his hands every night. We’re still picking out gravel. Bikers — always ride with gloves! I’ve also gotten in at least half and hour of walking every day in taking the dog out for morning and evening walks, so that’s been good. I’m the only person who is still bundled up though. Until the wind stops, I won’t find any warmth in the days. I don’t care if it’s almost 60 degrees out now. It still feels like 40 to me. Thank goodness for my “no hat hair cowl” from Stacy, which I’ve been wearing to keep the wind out of my ears. It’s black with flashy gold trim around the face, so I feel pretty when I wear it too (added bonus – grin).

Writing-wise, I had my best week of writing so far this year at 10,324 total words for the week. I finished drafting the manuscript for the second origin story in the Ninjas series titled Space Ninjas Aren’t Real. It ended up being way more serious of a story than I thought it would be. I’d hoped it would be humorous and more along the lines of The Loki Adventures, but nope, it had other plans. I still see an edge of humor in it, so there is hope that by the time I bring the character to the real ninja story, she’ll be my funny one. We shall see. These characters have minds of their own.

So, if you’re curious about how all these things I’ve added up work out considering that you’ve been seeing a word count here but for a long time I hadn’t actually been finishing things, here’s how it goes:

During the end of March and in April, I created:

2 stories under 10,000 words

1 story over 10,000 words

2 novels (1 currenly 89,000 words long and the other at 85,000)

So that’s approximately 204,000 words that have come together in the last month. That’s really not to shabby.

I currently have one story that is coming up on 10,000 words, plus I have a good start on the 5th book in the Sacred Knight series, and I am over 3,000 words into the next Loki story. I don’t expect that May will see quite the same number of completions as I saw in April. I really think it was strange timing that it all worked out that way, but I do want to illustrate that if you keep working at something, eventually you will see results.

Also this week, I redid the cover for By the Numbers. And I prepared the cover for Prince of the Ruined Land (Sacred Knight #4). You can see them here.

I listed By the Numbers online, so it is now available for purchase. Yeah, getting the story ready for publications was certainly now how I imagined spending my Friday afternoon, but it’s what I got done. I now have copies of The Doorway Prince and History of a Dead Man. I’ve ordered copies of By the Numbers which I hope to have by this weekend when I do a show, but we’ll see. I’m not counting my chickens there. I got the first set of books mentioned super fast. I doubt I can be that lucky again. But it would be cool.

The show? For the sake of time, here’s a link with all the details. 

I mentioned that I was working on the new Loki story, right? Well, he’s babbling in my ear now, so I better go and get to work on him. Ever since I told him that he was next in the funnel and actively got back to work on the document, he’s been charging ahead as normal. I fully expect that I’ll be up until 3:30 a.m. again. See you all later after I’ve gotten some sleep!


Two new covers

April 30, 2017

If you’ve been reading along with Ninjas: By the Numbers during the month of April, you saw on each post the picture that I thought would be the cover. I had a thought that I’d try something a little different with it and that didn’t work out. But like Bob Ross, I had a “happy accident” with it. I think it’s definitely the touch I needed for the cover. Here’s the updated cover:

By the numbers cover small

If you missed part (or heaven forbid, all of it!), you can get the full version in print or ebook here.

I also sat down yesterday and made the cover for Prince of the Ruined Land (Legend 4 of the Sacred Knight series). Here’s a peek at it:

Prince of the Ruined Land cover small

I still don’t have an official release date for it, but that will be announced shortly. I’m betting I will figure something out this week. All I keep thinking is that my blue and gold hero is back so Holy Sapere Martias better watch out. (grin) Yeah, I’m a little EXCITED!!!!! Best yet, with the new rate at which I’m writing, it won’t be long until we get Legend 5 in the series. Are we there yet? (Okay, I admit, when it comes to Steigan and his story, I’m unbearable. Sorry, DWS, but Steigan is my special snowflake; I can’t help it.) He just jazzes my world and I am so thankful that I get to share his story.

There will be so much more in my progress post tomorrow, but I just couldn’t wait to share these updates with you. Thank you for being here to celebrate with me! And if you’ve been enjoying my stories, remember to spread the joy of reading as entertainment with all the people in your life.


Progress – 04/24/17

April 24, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 3,345 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  659 words

Writing month to date total: 16,741 words

Writing year to date total: 93,830 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent just under 8 hours on recording and editing  audio. I am close to having The Doorway Prince completed — it’s all recorded and I’m down to editing it with only a few tracks left. I hope to have it out on Audible and other platforms in May.

Week’s happenings:  I certainly didn’t get as many words written as I’d hoped I would. However, I got lots of other things done. I redid the covers for the first three books in the Sacred Knight series (again. Last week I showed off the redone cover for the first book, only to do it again during the week). Only the ebooks are done — I haven’t gotten to the print books yet, but I will. I caught up on my bookkeeping because I wanted to review my financial statements when I had my quarterly goal meeting over the weekend. I finished the draft of Onesong (which I had originally started during November 2015 while participating in NaNoWriMo), as well as finished another short story. And, I also had my quarterly meeting as I said above.

If that weren’t enough, my oldest son, Adrian, who has recently taken up biking and loves to ride long distances decided to make a quick stop from 24 miles per hour to zero in a split second. This was his first bike wreck. His foot slipped off the pedal and went into the wheel. Thank goodness he didn’t have a car behind him. Unfortunately, he peeled up a hearty section of each palm, gave himself major road rash down one side of his body and pedal marks up the other leg, and went from needing a tune-up on his bike to needing a major overhaul. All I have to say is thank goodness I had 8 years of veterinary science in 4-H as a kid! I brought him home and got him all patched up. The repairs to the bike will come later after his hands heal, which will probably take longer than he wishes it would. Not something either one of us had planned and certainly broke the stream in the writing I was doing. I’m glad he wasn’t hurt more seriously because it could have been so much worse. Fortunately, he’s already talking about his next bike rides, so I’m glad to see he wants to continue. I’d hate for this to have scared him off. All a mother can do is hope that he doesn’t take any more tumbles like this. I’m sure he will though. Goodness knows I had my share of bike accidents (never at that speed though).

The day after that accident, we drove to Pocatello where we picked up my other son and we took a family trip to Idaho Falls to visit the museum where they are currently having an exhibit on Rome. I took lots of pictures and came out of there with a bunch of ideas. I will share some pictures on this site soon. We took a walk around the river loop (we had been planning on biking around that, but obviously that was no longer an option — next time!). We visited the library in Idaho Falls where they were having a book sale. Two very dangerous words. My boys told me to take all the time I wanted — they soon regretted that! I did walk out of there having spent less than $5 in books and a couple of them weren’t even for me, so I think I did well. We also spent an afternoon at the zoo. A lot of walking around in two days and my legs were sore before we started. We had a great hotel room — it had a kitchenette with dishes and a dishwasher. I felt so spoiled, but the clerk gave us a complimentary upgrade on the room so we could have a roll away bed — two queen beds were perfect when my boys were little but just don’t work now that my boys are now both over 6 feet tall. It was great to have the extra room. It allowed me to spread out my notes for my meeting while my boys played their board and card games — video games weren’t an option considering the condition of Adrian’s hands. We sat around and watched an episode of Doctor Who, which we haven’t been watching in a while, and old, original episodes of Star Trek. Yeah, it was a good weekend.

Overall, last week was a very productive week. I have a lot of things I’d like to do in the next quarter. Certainly more stories to write. Even more to be sharing with the world.


Sacred Knight – Following the legend

April 21, 2017

I’ve completed the manuscript for the 4th book in the series: Prince of the Ruined Land. I’ve also rebranded the covers. I’ve only had a chance to update the covers for the ebooks so far, but I will get to the print editions soon, so if you want the original 1st edition covers, I suggest you buy your print copies soon.

Let’s visit the series so far, shall we?

Magic returns to a planet with deadly consequences. One boy vows to stop it, but discovers it possesses him. Can he overcome the superstitions and demons in order to save his world-

Pick your platform or bookseller!

The Three Books

Manifest the Magic

To Birth A Destiny

Remember, if you’re a book collector and you want the 1st edition covers, you’ll have to purchase it quickly. The covers will be updated soon. 

 


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.

DRAMA QUEEN!

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.

 

 

 


History of a Dead Man – excerpt

February 22, 2017

Until recently, I thought I would publish History of a Dead Man in with the 4th Sacred Knight novel. Imagine my surprise when one morning I woke up with a little voice telling me that I had to release it as its own novella? After all, why not? I am releasing a lot of short stories and novellas on their own right now. Why withhold the print edition of History of a Dead Man?

I couldn’t find a reason.

So what is History of a Dead Man? It’s a side story to the life of Saint Steigan and is meant to be read between the 3rd and 4th novels in the Sacred Knight series.

Here’s the blurb for the book (that’s what the ad on the back of books is called, a blurb):

History of a Dead Man

Annae Bytherhourn’s life changes when she discovers the truth about her father and he becomes a stranger to her. His past contains terrible secrets. History remembers him as a thief, conspirator, traitor, and killer. Now he has manipulated her life to position her in as much danger as he would be in if the world found out he still lived. Can she overcome her own personal anger to leave the unbiased account of a life that needs to be remembered for a thousand years?

History of a Dead Man chronicles the missing forty or so years in the life of Saint Steigan as told by the daughter he raised. Only she knows the true story of a man who had to make hard decisions to carry on a difficult mission and become a champion.

So, in celebration of the print version now being available, here’s a sample:

History of a Dead Man

I sat on my father’s lap in the darkened room, his warm arms around me. His heart pounded and an occasional shudder ripped through him.  I felt like sobbing and I wondered if he did too. Even at ten cycles old, I knew this new situation to be wrong.

Only moments before, a strange man had stumbled into the house, the door slamming behind him. Dirt splattered the stranger’s green shirt and the lacings hung loose as if he’d been too hung over from the previous night to do them up correctly earlier in the morning.

“Come here, Annae,” I heard my father’s deep voice call softly. It felt like a strong undertow current, safe and familiar, compared to the chaotic, cresting waves on the surface.

I left my seat at the square, wooden table and dashed for the room which served as my father’s library. As I skirted around the stranger, I half expected him to reach for me, but his dark, glassy eyes never left my mother as she ran her fingers through his disheveled hair. The scent of smoke and ale stirred in the air as they laughed and moved through the kitchen, heading deeper into the house, arms grabbing and tangling each other as if drowning and gasping for life.

Roused by the commotion, my dad had hobbled to the doorway and stared venomously at the embracing couple. He scooped me up in his arms and took me into the secluded room, closing the door behind us. His walking cane thumped hard against the floor as he went around the room and blew out all the candles as if pretending we weren’t even there. Then he sat down on the floor against the wall with me on his lap.

 A resounding thump followed trilling laughter. I glanced toward the door, wondering if they were coming into the library too. Dad placed one hand on my head, covering my ear so the only sound I heard was his heartbeat. Was he struggling to keep me from hearing the stranger?

As the ticks deepened, he began to tap his head against the wall behind him as if he could bang out the frustration he felt. I tried to look up at him, wondering if his expression would give me an explanation for what was going on, but I couldn’t see him in the dark.

At last, he stood up awkwardly bracing himself with the cane while holding me and carried me outside to the forge house. I glanced around, awed by the blacksmithing tools and creations he had in here. Normally, I wasn’t allowed inside, but the arrival of the stranger with my mother granted me an exception, though I wasn’t quite sure why. Pliers, hammers, pinchers all arranged neatly on the wall, tables set with different size anvils, nails, horseshoes, chainmail, plate armor, swords, arrow tips.

Setting his cane against the wall, Dad opened a cupboard and pulled out a cloth sack. Inside the sack, wrapped again in more cloth, he took out a loaf of bread and handed a chunk of it to me. “Sit and eat up,” he said, then he set to work. His gait took on a more pronounced limp as he walked around unaided. Tonight, I could tell, his leg bothered him more than usual and he’d probably looked forward to spending the evening writing at his desk as he did most nights after supper. Instead, he’d been driven out here. He removed his vest, hung it from a hook on the door, and put on a leather apron which had been hanging from another peg.

The hot, metallic odor of blacksmithing stung the inside of my nose and I could barely bring myself to eat, but I did anyway as I watched my father work. His tunic grew damp with sweat as he worked over the forge and pounded away at softened metal. His short black hair was soon plastered to his head.

With the heat and my belly filled with bread, I felt my eyes grow heavy. Rhythmic tapping urged me to sleep. I wanted to stay awake, to watch my father work, to know when the man would leave our house, to know why he was there, but all my curiosities fell away like sparks blown from the bellows when Dad would stoke the forge’s fire and more warmth surrounded me.

I woke for but a moment when Dad sat down beside me and pulled me against him. I felt him slide the rolled up vest beneath my head, picking away a piece of straw stuck to my cheek.

“Little Annae, I’m so sorry,” Dad whispered into my hair before he breathed in deeply. “It should have been me.”

I woke before Dad the next morning, though my stirring roused him. He helped me to my feet, then straightened my hair with his fingers, pulling out more straw, and adjusted my clothes so they didn’t look like I’d been sleeping all night in them though I had. He licked his thumb to wipe a smudge from my face and gave me a reassuring smile as if to say it would be all right. I believed him.

I didn’t want the strange man to still be in the house.

Dad took my hand and guided me along the cobblestone walkway to the door. The morning chill vanished as warmth from the fires of the kitchen hearth greeted us along with the scent of baking bread. It suddenly felt like a regular day. The normal moment almost erased the abnormality of the night. We came into the kitchen where Mother was making breakfast. She turned at our arrival and wiped the back of her wrists hurriedly over her cheeks. Rushing to put down the knife she’d been holding, she rubbed her hands inside her apron, then dried her red eyes once more. She’d been crying for a while.

Dad released my hand as my mother dashed over and hugged me.

“I thought you might have taken her away forever,” Mom said, her hands flat against my back, pressing me closer to her.

“If you want to act like a dog, keep it out of the house and away from Annae.” He started to step by her, but hesitated. “I will not be put through that again.” He continued on to the washroom.

How could my mother and father have come to this? I knew we were different from other families. I’d seen the way my friend’s parents acted together and wondered why mine didn’t do the same, but I’d been too young to understand why mine slept in separate rooms. It was our little secret which we hid from the world behind well-chosen lies.

To the outside world, we seemed like the perfect family. A mother and father swinging their young daughter between them, all of us smiling and laughing as we headed to Cliff Park in Dubinshire for the annual Springsday Festival, the annual celebration kicking off our holiday season.  Dad would participate in the sword challenge. I loved watching the young boys take on my father; none of them could ever land a blow unless he let them. Which he did; he always let the boys win. Lord Freygorio, ruler of Dubinshire, would jest about another defeat and tease my father about losing his edge, but Dad and I knew the truth: he was a great dominus and had fought in many battles for the Temple, defending the Goddess from naysayers. It’s how his leg had gotten injured and his face scarred.

My mother and I were so proud of him. Or I thought we were.

Dad made sure I had the best schooling, lining me up to become a Temple historian. It suited my intellect and penmanship, he had once told me. Little did I know that I had the biggest piece of history right in front of me.

One evening when I was thirteen cycles old or so, Dad and I were in his library after supper, as was our usual custom. I had my lessons spread out on the table before me. Dad sat at the desk nearby, two books open before him as he copied text from one into the other. I couldn’t read the beautiful scrolling writing, but I couldn’t stop watching how it flowed effortlessly from his quill.

He paused to ink the tip and saw me staring at him. “What did you learn today in your classes?” he asked with a sad smile.

“Your friend, Sapere Hyrin, came in today and spoke about the ethics of history,” I replied.

He went back to his writing. “So what did he say about the ethics of history?”

“He said that it meant we, as historians, had a job to record events like they really happened and not let our emotions cloud it. We have to be truthful and unbiased in our chronicles. He said we shouldn’t be influenced by what others would have us record.”

Dad frowned at the page he was working on. “What if that endangers the lives of those around you?”

“I didn’t think to ask that. But why would the truth endanger people?”

“Did he care to give you any examples?”

“He spoke about Saint Steigan and how he was a dominus who first transformed the Temple at Lilinar, then nearly destroyed it. Sapere Hyrin said that period of time became known as The Breaking and the Reunification in Lilinar, which is now dubbed New Lilinar to fully mark that devastating era as concluded.”

Dad put his quill down and covered his face with his hands.

A terrible thought hit me. “Were you there? Did you fight against Saint Steigan?”

Tears caught in the candle’s light highlighted the bitter pain across his face.  “The Temple was in flames, walls crumbled, there was smoke everywhere. The Breaking was a terrible time to be in Lilinar. Saint Steigan put you and your mom in a wagon and got you out.”

“Why don’t you tell her the truth?” Mom’s small voice asked from the doorway where she’d been listening.

Dad slammed his hands on the desk as he stood. “Have you been conspiring with Sapere Hyrin now? You will not destroy this family!” He grabbed up his cane and started toward her. I wondered if he would strike her with it. “I have worked too hard to let you break it up,” he shouted at her.

Mom fled and shortly the house door slammed behind her. She was gone for the evening. Dad’s shoulders slumped forward and he stood there for a moment before turning back toward me. I wondered if I might get the truth, whatever it was that Dad was hiding from me. Instead, he limped over to the table and put his hands over mine. He looked like he was about to say something, then patted my hand. “’Tis time to get ready for bed. Go on.”

I knew now that Sapere Hyrin had been telling me that history contained lies because some things were too terrible to drag into the light even within families. I also had been given a mystery within my own house. What did my parents know that they were trying so hard to keep from me?

 

I hope you enjoyed that except. Continue reading in ebook or print forms. Order your copy now.

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