Breaking loose

I feel like I’ve been working on a lot of writing projects during late summer and early fall, but for a while it felt like nothing was actually getting done. I felt a bit stuck.

But lately, I’ve been like a mad woman possessed and things are finally starting to break loose.

I finished and published The Unicorn and the Secret. Then, this last week thanks to Thanksgiving (see what I did there? *grin*), I finished the 7th Loki novella. It even got a title! Help Wanted, Call Loki That means the story is real. I even have the idea for the cover.

It will be a little bit longer before you see that as it still needs to go to a first reader for copyediting. I think in my mind I originally had it slated for publication in April 2021, but now that might get moved up. We’ll see just what happens there.

Meanwhile, I’m still working through Walk the Path and Dragons of Wellsdeep, but I feel these projects are moving along now after several months of feeling stuck.

In case you’re curious, this is my current work in progress:

  • 15 novels
  • 2 novellas (this does include Help Wanted, Call Loki)
  • 4 short stories (though I have a ton waiting in the wings)
  • 7 children’s books (all written, I just need to get to illustrating)
  • 3 audiobooks slated after the one I’m currently recording

That’s a list of 31 projects. And my goal is to be finished with 10 of the 15 novels (or all 15 if I just decide to stick some nails in their coffins or just close my eyes and take a leap from the cliff on some of the older works) and all the short stories by the end of next year. I’m tired of looking at all these titles on my list! I’m ready for some new titles.

I’d love to get those children’s books out too. I’ve had them sitting for far too many years, but I need some equipment fixed before I can tackle those. Hopefully, I’m getting closer. It would be great to do at least one or two of them next year as well.

Well, I’m off to get back to those manuscripts.

Finished a story

I finished a novella length story last night. Now I’m trying to figure out what the title should be. Usually somewhere in writing the story the title comes to me. Not this time.

Maybe I’m trying too hard because I know what I want to have in the title but I can’t make it work.

Of course, once I have the title then I can prepare the cover. And get it ready for publishing.

I really enjoy this world of indie publishing. I’m glad that I can write and release stores. As I’ve said before, my job isn’t done until someone reads my story.

This means that even though I’ve finished this story, it’s not done until it’s released. I’m only halfway there.

Don’t be lost in the forest of books any longer

I am swearing that I am not going to start spewing my dislike of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. Not in this post at least. Now that I’ve said that, let’s move on to something I feel that Amazon has actually done correctly.

Recently, they gave authors control over their own series. Yippee! Finally!

For years, if we wanted to have titles put together on a series page, we had to contact support to do it. Then you hoped they didn’t mess it up. I have been very fortunate, except for a couple issues with the Loki series which was my own doing. I had labeled some of them at “A Loki Adventure” and the others as “The Loki Adventures.” Yes, okay, I’ve done enough Excel and Word searches in my life that I understand these are two distinctly different strings of text. And if that just went over your head, be thankful you live a simple life. My life as a multipotentialite gets interesting sometimes. Once of the highlights of last year was learning about “fuzzy lookup” in Excel which would have correlated those two pieces of text above. But I digress.

This is a tool that’s still a work-in-process, but I’m glad to see the start of its development and, of course, I had to jump on it because I feel that I have so much content that feels scattered for readers. I’m sure I will mess it up a couple times, or that I will do something that I’ll have to change later since I don’t always have the “perfect” future-sight that Ithanes has, but at least I feel as if things are getting corralled a little bit.

In experimenting with this new control, I saw that box sets can be added as related content. This is the part they are still working on, but hopefully soon readers will be able to easily see what has been compiled into boxed sets.

I have added 1-800-IceBaby to the Loki series page, which I had been hesitant to do before, and put the omnibus set 1-800-CallLoki as the related content. At the moment, you can’t see the related content, so I hope they have that figured out soon. It’s ready when the capability is there. I now can’t wait to add the 7th novella to the page.

I does also know which books you’ve purchased and you can hide them, keeping only the books you don’t yet own.

As you saw (hopefully) with the featured image on this post, all the short stories for the Wells of the Onesong Stories have been put together. The boxed set for following the imagination dragon, Stardust, has been put in the related content. Again, you can’t currently see it on the series page, but I’ll be watching because I’m excited to see how all that is going to flow together.

I hope that for all the readers out there, this does help you to find connected books by your favorite indie authors. I hope they take advantage of the control they have been given.

How much longer?

One question I am frequently asked is: How much longer until such-and-such book is out?

That’s always a hard question to answer.

However, in my roaming this week I discovered progress bars on another author’s website in regards to where the books were at. My first question was, “How did he do that?” immediately after thinking, “Well, that’s bloody awesome!” My answer came up fast with a Google search. How did I ever live without Google?

Then, it was a matter of changing a few things to get it to adapt to my blog, but BOOM! Now you have a progress bar off the right.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

You should see it there near the top. So, if you are ever in doubt of where a certain book is, check here. If you don’t see the one you’re looking for, drop me a line and I will add it. For right now, I’ve only included the ones I think are what most people are waiting for.

Where did I find this cool information so that you don’t have to go looking for it later? (This is also a reminder for myself so I know!)

Code for progress bar: https://jabrambarneck.com/2014/04/02/how-to-add-a-progress-bar-to-your-blog/

Color picker: https://htmlcolorcodes.com/color-picker/

I hope you enjoy watching the progress changes for your favorite books/series in the future. I know it will inspire me to keep working on them so I can change the bars (except maybe for those times when I’ve gone from writing (where I’ve reached 100%) to editing (starting over at 0%), but that is the nature of the beast.

Let’s get to that progress! I’m off to write now.

Tangled Magic

Ah, yes… in the post of my weekly chapter last Friday, I did mention that I would talk about why I’d been absent. Look at how well I dodged that!

Hehehehe!

Okay, well, if you figured from the not so discrete announcement, I’ve been busy getting Tangled Magic up. I had so wanted to let it have a longer pre-order time, maybe get some hype worked up for it. But after finding it delayed for nearly a year, I couldn’t do that. I just didn’t want to wait any longer.

So, I finally had to draw the line in the sand and say that I was getting it done.

I wish this here was even a better announcement, but I’m going to leave it at: the ebook for Tangled Magic is now available for pre-order (releasing January 28th) and the print book is out now. You can get an author signed copy here (Sorry, I’m not Amazon, I have to pay for shipping and this is a very heavy book — so heavy that it qualifies automatically for the priority mail).

Rivic’s story starts now.

Read it before the Sacred Knight story starts towards its conclusion with The Missing Thread (more on that to come!)

In case you are wondering, this story has changed significantly since it here on the blog under the working title of Onesong. Which, honestly, it should because the chapters I release here are merely work in progress to keep me moving. By the time I make them into a book, they should be worked out and cleaned up. It’ll be familiar, but (hopefully) delightfully different.

Let the adventure start anew!

Progress – March 4, 2019

I keep having imaginary conversations with myself. I really hate that because it’s such a time waster, which is not something I can afford right now. But, my mind keeps regurgitating things.

Dumb primitive animal brain!

Dumb things that I am forced to think about, things I want to say, things I don’t know that I should speak.

Grr! It’s irritating.

Continue reading

Palladium – Chapter 3

The last few weeks have seemed like “whack a mole.” Every time I get one of the little buggers back in the ground, something else pops up.

I guess that’s the fun and adventures in space and time.

For you Loki fans, I have been getting some done on the 7th novella. Okay, when it snows in Los Angeles, I get the point. *grin* I did have to get words done on the novella so he wouldn’t dump snow on me coming home from Sandy, Utah. It certainly was aiming that way as we headed toward that weekend. Guess who had no snow? Yep! Me. People may think that I’m weird, but that’s okay. I know the reality: Loki loves to pester me with cold, snow, and ice if I do not pay enough attention to him.

I really want to go get my words in for the night so I can get some sleep. I can’t wait until spring and the sun returns for good. I needs it, Precious, I needs it! You can clearly see I’m losing my mind here.

We should get you to the story and away from me. *grin* Happy adventuring!

This story is meant for new adult audiences. It is rather mature in nature, not that there’s anything really detrimental, but it certainly isn’t meant for readers under 17 as there is content of a sensual nature. If you are younger or prefer completely clean content, please go no further with this story.

Previously: The novihomidrak, Cirvel, heads through a festival on his way to meet up with an old “friend” who has a map that Cirvel needs. The friend, Sapere Imor, isn’t happy to see Cirvel and tries to persuade Cirvel with other temptations. Irritated with not getting his answers, Cirvel seals Imor into a genie lamp. A ninja steps from the shadows and steals away the lamp containing Imor, leaving Cirvel holding only air. He returns to the shrine to discuss the situation with the Grand Sapere, who demands to take it to the Dragon Council. Cirvel knows the Council will take far too long to come to a decision. Cirvel decides to act on his own.


Cover and layout copyright © 2019 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Rodjulian | Dreamstime.com, ©
Xneo | Dreamstime.com, and © Gualtiero Boffi| Dreamstime.com

Palladium

Chapter 3

by Dawn Blair

Continue reading

Progress – January 28, 2019

There are some weeks when I am just tired. Last week was one of them.

In trying to reboot my painting, I have several decisions to make. That lead me, of course, to research to find tools that will help me and that, obviously, leads me to testing several different tools to see which one(s) I like.

What frustrates me is that I had a tool I liked. It had years of data in it. I did want to clean it up some, maybe divide the database. But because of changes in technology, the program doesn’t work quite right any more. The company that developed it still has a website that for the last two years has asked for patience while they update their systems — they want to move to a cloud platform. However, I’m not sure they are serious about that any longer. I have exported the artwork data from the program, but it’s not easy to import without a lot of cleanup, mapping fields, and making it fit a new program.

With that experience, I don’t want to start something else that could potentially disappear or become obsolete. Which makes me think about paper files — good until a fire, or flood, etc.

So, it makes me leery to pull the trigger on anything. I don’t want something I will just end up rebuilding in seven to ten years. I realize that technology changes and that we have to have forward movement, but it seems like everything always needs constant updating and when a business no longer wishes to continue, they just close up. No one wants to build for a legacy, only for the current moment (and dollar, though I’ve read that the average lifespan of a solid business is about 30 years). It makes me tired.

Continue reading

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.





It was a date, remember?

So on yesterday’s blog, I showed some pictures of a space painting I’d been working on in 2018 and thought I had done.

But then, as any good tale would have, conflict struck.

I painted another picture that made it look like garbage. Well, what’s an artist supposed to do?

I’d say that the correct answer is not to pull is back up on the easel and keep working on it, but I know that’s exactly what a lot of painters do. But I do understand the need to let something hang for a bit so you can look at it just to let your mind mull it over.

So let’s talk about this painting.

I started this painting the same night that I started the other two paintings, but I was way too embarrassed to show it. I honestly thought I’d be painting over it. I mean, what do you do when you have a mess like this to start off with? So I let it sit with some creative procrastination for a while. I figured if I didn’t look at it, I wouldn’t think about how badly I would feel at having to paint it over because it was a horrible start. However, I had some ideas I wanted to experiment with, so I decided I’d play and see what happened. I figured it was only a 8″x10″ flat panel canvas, so who cared if I messed it up so badly that I ended up breaking it in half over my knee like a ninja master? If nothing else, I would learn something.

But I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my intent to fail.

Nope.

I took a picture for me to document my learning process and didn’t show it to anyone.

Then, on January 1st, I decided it was time to pull out the painting and play with it. How better to get a start at painting for the new year than to learn if I could or couldn’t pull this painting out of the fire.

This was the next layer. Honestly, by now I was a little wowed by the hole thing. It was so simple, and yet so pretty. Just brushstrokes.

Look at the depth now starting to come into this piece. There was a part of me that wanted to stop right here.

But, I’m a fool and I pressed on.

Here it is finished:

Yes, there are parts of this I wish I’d been able to express some self-control on, but I do wish the picture did it justice too. I’m happy with the lessons it taught me and and that I managed to save a painting I wasn’t sure would work out.

So, for hoots and giggles, let’s look at the “finished” painting from yesterday compared to this on:

I hope you see what I mean when I said it nearly made me want to cry. The “finished” painting seemed so clumsy and blockish compared to the smooth grace of the new one.

Now let’s see them both together after that 1st one had the reworking:

What a dramatic improvement, don’t you think?

I wonder what will get cooked up this weekend on my easel. Just after I continue working on my edits for Tangled Magic.