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 – November 12, 2018

I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through November now. When did that happen?

I’ve been reviewing where I’m at and all I accomplished (or didn’t) this year. It feels strange to not have my next publication date at least in mind — the calendar right now is barren, at least in that aspect. I do know what’s coming, I just don’t know how long it will take to get there; more on that in a moment. Right now, I’m about 10,000 words away from hitting my yearly word goal that I’d wanted to accomplish. I figure I’ll be there by the end of November. There is a part of me that’s tempted to take a month off. Don’t worry, I won’t — I fully plan on breaking the tape and continuing beyond, mostly because I’m curious how far I can go. Last year was too much of a push, so I had backed off some this year and still wanted to make it a challenge. I think that challenge has pretty much become norm for me, but I might want to shift my goals a little next year, so I need to take good stock of what I can do.

Next up on what I plan to publish is Tangled Magic. I’ve been working that over this week and am finally getting to a place where I’m satisfied with it. If you read the whole thing here on my blog, you are in for some wonderful changes. I hope you will be as delighted by the arrangement of scenes (it was getting a bit fragmented there at the end) and new scenes that have been added as I am. I do still have a lot of work to do on Walk the Path, but I hope it comes together just as quickly. Obviously there is also Dragons of Wellsdeep which is getting close to… well, I feel as if I should be three quarters of the way through, but I don’t think I am. But I know the direction I’m heading. I don’t know if I’ve ripped out a scene that will be coming up in the next couple of weeks or not — in trying to structure as I go, I can clearly see that this scene doesn’t fit, at least now where it’s at. I really liked the scene too. But maybe another book. Maybe it’ll be a book where I write the story around the scene just so I can have it (then I’d probably end up tearing the scene out of there too because it wouldn’t fit –writers are weird creatures).

That’s three books I plan on having out next year.

I know, I know. I hear you! There’s no Loki or Sacred Knight in that list. I know already!

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Progress – November 5, 2018

This week, I started the cuts on Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. It was frustratingly hard to make that first surgical incision, yet it had to be done.

The little voice in my head kept telling me that I should be working on designing some covers. “You’re not finding this fun because you don’t have covers designed for the next few books, like Cirvel’s story. Yeah,go design a cover for that. Just a quick little jaunt to see what you can find for cover material, it won’t hurt. You’re just sitting here with you head in your hands anyway.”

Fortunately, I recognized the liar for what she was: a distraction! I often shot back with, “Well, I don’t even know the title yet, so it’s kind of hard to build a cover without knowing the title. How about you go and work on that?”

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Progress – October 29, 2018

I want to personally apologize if anyone heard my near continuous, mental screams of anguish this weekend.

It has been very difficult.

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Those blurs are my many eraser marks! Writer fortified with much coffee and a chocolate biscotti. 

I finished the plot outline for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path, which meant it was time to sharpen the focus. That’s kind of hard to do when you don’t even have focus. On Saturday, I obsessed over the dang thing so much that I nearly didn’t get my words done for the day. I did, but I totally had to shove the story out of my head and not let in any distraction. I did write about Cirvel, but he took me on a wild ride and showed me a piece of his world from before the time of Tangled Magic and so I was on a thrilling adventure. If Cirvel had turned to me, as character often do, and asked if I now really, really, really wanted Rivic to win, I probably would have sank to my knees, giggled, and said, “No, Cirvel, you are forever the Lord of Gohaldinest. Only a monster would want that wimpy kid to beat you.” **giggle**

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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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Progress – October 15, 2018

Here we are, halfway through the first month of the last quarter of 2018. I can’t believe this year is rapidly coming to an end.

I was looking at my projects this weekend. I don’t think I’ll have any more publications this year, but there will be several novels released in 2019. I currently am actively working on 6 novels and one story which I’m not sure if it will be novella length or a full novel. Several of these stories I hope will be released next year.

My son was in a play this last week and so it was a week with an odd schedule. My youngest came to watch Adrian’s play, which allowed me to see him for a bit. I kept myself flexible in order to keep myself working and getting things done.

And yet…

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