Ithanes

Not too long ago, I showed a picture from my sketchbook of the main character of my Sacred Knight series, Steigan.

A few nights ago I was flipping through my sketchbook again and came across a picture that reminds me of Ithanes. Ah, Ithanes!

He doesn’t come into the story until book 2, Manifest the Magic, but he was so full of surprises for me. I’ve come to utterly adore him. He’s like the king of snark, and very powerful with his magic. He knows what he’s good at, and lets people follow their strengths. He’s a good leader in that he finds people to compensate for the areas where he is weak. I think that’s why he likes Steigan so much. Yet, he also doesn’t often show weakness in himself. He’s lord of two lands, Dubinshire and Gohaldinest, and he lets everyone know it. Don’t let him fool you, though. He does have his deep, dark secrets.

And speaking of which, I so want to look through that curio cabinet he keeps locked in his chambers. In book 3, To Birth a Destiny, the reader gets to see that curio a couple of times and Steigan even describes some of what he saw. But let me tell you, I was right there when Steigan was discussing what he was seeing and he certainly didn’t get to some of the more interesting items toward the back. Some day I’d like to draw that cabinet and all the trinkets in there. I’d also love to sit down and talk to Ithanes about how he collected all of them. Oh, the stories!

This sketch was done in 2018. I do think if I’d intended it to be Ithanes, it should have had a teardrop-shaped gemstone hanging from the circlet. Maybe I just needed practice drawing a circlet, even a wiry one. (grin)

Maybe someday I’ll get around to doing an illustrated Sacred Knight edition, or maybe even a graphic novel. Someday.

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 7, 2019

I’ve spent the day working on a story called Alexander’s Den. I wrote the story a couple years ago and it spent all year in submission with a magazine I was hoping would publish it. The story was apparently very close, but not quite. They were kind enough to give me a few comments on it, so I’ve been looking at the story again in light of their comments. What I found was a whole bigger problem. I had actually fractured the story in many different directions, which makes their comments make sense. So I’m trying to cut away everything that isn’t part of the story.

My son also took me to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse today. What a brilliant use of the hero’s journey. They use so many elements and mix things up very well. Bravo!

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get words in and do some painting. I showed some paintings here last week. I did also work on more planning for 2019, built some spreadsheets, tinkered with the one that I use to log my production and time on, and set up other things to help me keep track of progress. Oh, and I worked on website items, including one for my audiobooks. That one isn’t anywhere near completed yet, so I can’t show it to you yet. Soon, hopefully.

Speaking of audiobooks, I’m throwing out all that I’ve recorded on Manifest the Magic. I bought a channel strip which, once it’s in, I need to add to my setup. I’m hoping it improves the mixed results I’m getting. I’m just not happy with what I’m getting because every now and then I get these metallic sounding artifacts. It’s kind of frustrating. Anyway, I hope this helps. My next option is to get a new microphone. Baby steps. Anyway, I thought that when I get the channel strip in and set up, I might try recording Oxygen just to see how it sounds. That should be short and fast. Then I can get back to Manifest the Magic.

Well now, let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week:  2,952 words.

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  3,116 words.

Daily word goal reached for 149 days! Weekly word goal reached for 24 weeks.

Writing month to date total:  4,714 words

Writing year to date total: 4,714 words

Drawing/painting last week: Completed 2 paintings last week for a total of 34 linear inches. Also finished repairing the canvas for “In Living Color,” my lotus in the clouds painting.

Audio: I spent almost 4 hours recording and editing audio, all of which I’m probably pitching out. I might be able to salvage the voices — we shall see.





A Day for Giving Thanks

Here in the states, we are celebrating Thanksgiving today.

I know I have readers from many different countries, so today I would like to share my Thanksgiving with all of you, whether you are in the U.S. or not.

I certainly have many things to be grateful for.

Thank you for being a reader of my blog, my Twitter, my Facebook, my newsletter, or however you find me. Thank you for following me. Pure and simple.

Happy

Thank you to those of you who like and share what you read.

Thank you for your comments, whether they have been on my blog or to me via email or spoken.

Thank you for letting me share with you the things I find and believe entertaining or helpful. It delights me when I can share things I’m a fan of too.

Thank you for allowing me to not be perfect. I certainly never claimed to be and I’m glad I can fix forward.

Thank you for letting me share my stories and thoughts. Thank you for being there on my adventures. Thank you for sharing a moment in time with me on this small world. I hope that some of what I do (especially in my blog) entertains and occasionally makes you laugh.

Thank you for being with me through trying times and through my successes. Thank you for listening to me talk to myself sometimes, giving my pep talks, and hoping that others might find encouragement from them.

Thank you. This day, I celebrate you.

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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A good deal on Books Gone Bad

I just heard about a promotion going on for the Books Gone Bad bundle and I thought I better hurry and pass it along.

Now until August 28th, you can get 40% off the bundle — the whole bundle! This isn’t just one book — at Kobo.

These books wait for you with spine-tingling surprises. Get started on your fall reading now.

BooksGoneBadPromo

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

 

Ideas in weird places

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas.

While I can’t speak for other writers, I know that generally something (anything) sparks a character to start speaking to me. The ones that stick are typically very loud and won’t leave me alone. They tell me their story.

But that’s how the stories get started. Sometimes the more important plot elements of the story come from different places. I never know where I will get inspired.

Here are some examples and a little bit about what they roused:

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Progress – December 4, 2017

I didn’t get as much done this week as I would have hoped. I spent most of my time trying to figure out what to do with Onesong. At the moment, my timeline for the story covers two medium sized white boards, plus has about 10 pages of notes. I have the poor story in shambles, trying to get it all wrangled around to where it needs to be.

That’s not even mentioning my own internal angst about how much work this is and how much I have to go. I realize that this part of it is just my brain whining about it like a two-year-old child who would much rather be watching television than cleaning her room. Writing is so much easier than fighting through this slog and trying to get it all to make sense.

Which is only made worse by my own doing of posting a chapter here on this blog each week. (grin) This is what it’s like to write/edit a novel in public!

If you really want to hear my two-year-old self whine, remind it that it still need to do the

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Dragon bundle release

Dragon Tales

A while back, I said that I was going to be in a second bundle and that an announcement was forthcoming.

Well, here it is.

My story, Fractured Echo, is included in the Dragon Tales bundle along with several other great writers like Kevin J. Anderson, Stefon Mears, and Russ Crossley.

About the bundle:

Dragons have been part of myths and fairytales for thousands of years. In this collection of stories you will discover the legends behind these fantastic creatures

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