Progress – 05/22/17

May 22, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 743 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  1,659 words

Writing month to date total: 17,436 words

Writing year to date total: 121,590 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 6+ hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  After fighting last weekend to get my MP3’s on my phone via iTunes, I finally got it synced. Then I ended up spending all the normal time I’d spend on writing listening to the audio. That’s why my word count is very low. When I did write, it wasn’t very productive. I do still have some audio for a story that demanded that I get it started rather than listening to The Doorway Prince, but I haven’t taken a moment to transcribe it. So, I do have a few extra words there — not that it’s going to make up for anything. I also did work on the 5th Sacred Knight book, but I didn’t count the words for it. I killed Aeribela off (again) in the most gruesome way. It just kind of happened. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. I kind of feel like the Prince of Persia game where when the character dies, he says, “Wait, that didn’t happen.” Don’t worry. I don’t think Aeribela’s really dead. As I recall, I was setting her up for an important scene; I just don’t remember what that was. I’m sure than when I go back to re-read I’ll remember what it was and start again. Besides, I’ve killed Martias off at least three times and we see how well that’s worked out for me. I’ve killed Keteria off a couple of times — again, not any death that has been permanent for long. I’ve even killed Sim and Lucinia off in one draft of what is now the 5th book. Oh, Arlyn too. Don’t get me wrong — there is a character that dies in Prince of the Ruined Land and he is dead-dead. By the same token, I won’t go all George R.R. Martin all over my characters. But some characters will have to die. And, what I do find scary about Aeribela’s death scene which I wrote last week, it’s all perfectly plausible and set up earlier. My timing might just be off. Anyway, I didn’t count the words because at this point I don’t think they are staying.

I did also get the print version of The Three Books all revised and settled. It is out with the newly updated cover.

Even though I spend so much time listening to the audio for The Doorway Prince (which is not included in the 6 hours I have listed above), I don’t know if it will be completed in May. I’ve got a lot of small issues to work out. There is a part of me that wants to re-record the whole thing. I’m refusing to do that. I’ve already spent so much time editing. But, I do have several things to correct. The Drifter’s voice was a work in progress thoughout. I did have to re-record his lines for two tracks in the book because of the difference. I also went back and re-recorded Eclipse’s voice for the first few tracks because I dropped it severally later on without realizing I’d done that. Yeah, I’m definiately learning how to be a good narrator. I admit that I didn’t put too much effort into differentiating the voices in either Fractured Echo or The Last Ant, I had worked on it quite a bit in trying to record 1-800-Mischief and The Three Books. I can pretty much do all the voices for The Three Books without much thought because I’ve done them so many times that it’s becoming natural. But with The Doorway Prince, I started off not intending to do too much vocal work for the characters, but then I got into it and started developing the characters out to how I heard them in my head. Thus, now I’m having to go back and fix. And that’s why there’s a part of me that wants to say, “One more time, eh!”

Then, on Saturday I did a show in Burley, Idaho. I tried to write at the show, but I just couldn’t get into it. I probably should have taken my paints. That might have worked out better.

Sunday I thought I’d get caught up and get a bunch of writing done. I was just too tired to work, so I didn’t. I kept telling myself I really needed to focus and get something done, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t even have the energy to let myself get distracted. I just sat there. I finally went off to get some reading done. When my energy is that low, I’m better off not forcing it. I tell myself it’s okay because I’ve already written over 120,000 words this year — most people who want to call themselves writers can’t manage that and I’m certain that I didn’t manage that many most years. Speaking of which, I did also spend some time refocusing on what I want to accomplish. I have my goals set out for this year, but what would I like to see happen in 5 or 10 years? Still working on that. At least I’m getting started thinking forward.

Hopefully, I’ll be re-energized this week.

 


The Three Books (my favorite scene)

May 17, 2017

So last week I shared with you the first chapter of The Three Books (Legend 1 of the Sacred Knight series) and I said that I’d let you read my favorite scene in the book, as well as tell you a story about why it’s my favorite.

I was writing The Three Books during a very difficult time in my life. I won’t go on about how many years it took me to write this book because it was far too long and I’ve already discussed it in many other blogs. No more lamenting. It was a season of my life and now I’m in another.

Anyway, one night when I was reading through the manuscript, I was at the scene (this scene) where Martias, Steigan’s best friend, has put Steigan down into a tomb to hide Steigan. The problem is that Steigan doesn’t know if Martias will come back down here to get him or if this will wind up being his tomb.

I was really into the story, completely wrapped up in it. It’s two in the morning or so, a cold dark night with a slight wind blowing. Just enough to be spooky. A good time to be reading this scene. I was alone in the house because my children were off visiting their dad for the weekend. I probably should have gone to bed long before.

In the scene, Steigan starts hearing this “scratch, scratch, scratch” noise. I’m right there with Steigan and I felt my heart start to pound.

Suddenly, in the back of the house, I start hearing this “scratch, scratch, scratch.” No, really! I stopped reading. Now I’m listening. Silence.

I go back to reading. I hadn’t read more than a couple sentences when I start hearing, “Scratch, scratch, scratch,” again. This time, I know that it wasn’t just my imagination. I’m looking around to see what’s around me that I can use as a weapon.

Scratch, scratch.

What if it’s the corpse from the tomb? What if I’ve written Saint Steigan to life?

Scratch.

Okay, so I know that can’t be happening, right? Right?

The scratching grows louder.

My heart’s racing.

Thump!

I jump completely out of my chair. I’m ready to go running from my house.

Then I realize it’s my cat, Coville, back in his litter box. He’s the one scratching and trying to properly cover up the business he’s just done there. There is no one coming to get me.

As I settled back down into my chair, I grabbed my computer and started adding to the scene while my heart still fluttered with the memory of the fear. I deepened this scene for myself that night, adding little details in which came out of my experience of being scared by my cat. (scaredy cat – grin!)

I’ve never been able to read this scene now without thinking about my cat in his litter box. Stranger is that when I hear Coville back in his litter box, trying to cover up his business just so, I think of this scene. Yes, strange, but true.

So now, let’s read the scene, shall we?

The Three Books cover new small 041817

 

The Three Books (Legend 1 of the Sacred Knight series)

Excerpt

This excerpt was available for one week only and has now turned back into a pumpkin. If you missed it, click on the links below to get the book now. There’s also another free story or story partial somewhere around my blog – I try to post something new every Wednesday. Hunt the story down, read, and enjoy!

Read the entire book now.

The Three Books – Copyright © 2011 Dawn Blair

Published by Morning Sky Studios
Cover and layout copyright © 2017 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Vadmary | Dreamstime.com and  © Bborriss | Dreamstime.com


Progress – 05/15/17

May 15, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 5,645 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  981 words

Writing month to date total: 15,034 words

Writing year to date total: 119,188 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did sketch (doodle actually) in my sketchbook this week.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 9 hours on recording and editing  audio. I have finished all the tracks for The Doorway Prince. I just need to transfer the files to my iphone so I can do a final listen though and make sure I haven’t missed any areas where the sound is bad. However, my iphone and my itunes account are not playing well together. Apple needs to go back to the drawing table with itunes. It use to be so easy to use. The last few versions have been garbage! Now, I get an error with my phone all updated and a new install of itunes. So, an error with fully updated stuff = Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. There has got to be a better way!!!! Apple, are you listening? There has got to be a better way! Itunes needs fixed from the ground up. There has got to be a better way.

Week’s happenings:  Okay, sorry for my frustration there. I’ve spent 12 hours now trying to get my phone updated, itunes downloaded to my other computer, and no matter what I do (or my children — isn’t that supposed to make it work? If you can’t get something to work, just hand it over to your children? Yeah, that’s not working either) it will not sync. So, needless to say, my Sunday went out the window with me fighting with computer problems. My other computer spent all day trying to upload my audio files that I’d spent Sunday morning creating to the cloud. Two computers down in one day equals me not getting any work done. I am so frustrated that I’m about to burn them onto a CD – yikes!

I did, however, get my newsletter out to subscribers earlier this week. I also got The Three Books all reformatted and the new cover completed for the print version. It should be coming up on Amazon soon. I am running an experiment to see how this all is going to work, so I’m interested to see what the results will be. Curious, I am. (When I’m not being frustrated that is.)

Loki is coming along well. I figure I’m nearing the halfway point for completing the novella. I thought I was coming up on the ending of Mystery of the Stardust Monk, but then I got surprised along with my characters. That’s the best thing about writing in the dark; I have no clue what’s going to happen. And see, with Loki, I couldn’t have planned what happened there, even though Loki was sending me the vibes from the very beginning; he got to be amazed right along with me. (grin)

Along with those two stories, I started working on another idea which actually blossomed from two real tragedies I heard about in the week. While I have no desire to say more than that, let me just remind you to always tell you loved ones what they mean to you. You never know when you might never see them again, at least in this lifetime. I can tell that this is going to be a fun story though. I thought at first that it would be hard, considering the reality behind the idea, but when I started digging into it, I realized I was exactly the person to write this. I have no idea where it’s going — again, writing into the dark now that I have the initial inspiration. Where ever it goes, it will be a journey.

Onward. Wish me luck in getting my files onto my iphone before I have to burn a CD.


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!


The Smelly Prince

May 3, 2017

Just the other day, I came across something (I think it was a Facebook post) complaining that it seemed like princes were always out to slay the dragon and there were no stories where the princes were actually the ones in need of saving.

I just smiled to myself. I didn’t comment, just walked away.

You see, I’ve already written that story.

Now, I’m going to share it with you.

I was 15 when I originally wrote this story and turned it in for an assignment to a college-level workshop on writing children’s fiction which  I was taking at the time. I have only made minor corrections to the story here — it is pretty close to the first writing. I keep thinking I will go back and flesh this story out some — it would be fun to do. But here, now, I will share it with you in all its cheesy glory.

A children’s fantasy about a prince who has met his match. Available for 1 week only! Then, it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new story will appear.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »


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.