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The Walk of Shame

February has been the WORST month for writing since… well since I first got this new job. Even on the months that I had bronchitis and whooping cough I managed to write more than this month.

Total word count for Feb 2017: 4006

There are four days left. Four days to try and redeem myself, to try and push through this lethargy and get writing again. And I think I know what it is, what’s “blocking” me. It’s this novel. I’m getting toward the end where I have to re-read everything and make sure the plot stays consistent, and the grammar isn’t HORRIBLE. I have 17 of 22 chapters finished, and the last few chapters I’m just filling in the spaces that I didn’t write on the first run through. So I’m almost there.

The endings are always the worst. I have had to push myself to complete the ending of every single book that I’ve ever finished. Even the short stories have issues. Something about the completion of a book, the final words being put on the screen, that scares me. I mean all those little pieces I didn’t write on the first pass, I didn’t write them for a reason. They didn’t come as easy for me as the rest. They interrupted the flow of words. And now I have to face those spots and tackle them. And when I’m done I have to let go, send it to an editor, and maybe…maybe…PUBLISH IT!

But first I have to finish it. I want book one, at least the first run, done in the next two weeks. I only have five chapters, there is no reason I should’t be able to do a chapter every other day. TWO WEEKS CRISSY! That’s all you have! Get writing!

Then book two, which currently has 9 of 28 chapters finished. that one is going to take some reworking to get into the right order, and make sure everything makes sense, and timelines are good. After finishing the first nine chapters I realized I had a bunch of time that wasn’t accounted for, and that the main character, Sybel, isn’t shown learning about her powers, or growing. It was more just assumed. Which doesn’t work. Show don’t tell. So I added some chapters, plot points, and character development for not only Sybel but all the people around her. Fleshed out the world a bit.

I love this new series. I want to put it out there and start sharing it with everyone. I just need to get my butt in the chair and finish it.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in On Writing, Personal Notes

 

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How do some novelists write book after book after book?

I recently started answering some questions over on Quora. I thought I’d share them here now. This particular question is a good one, one that is asked a lot…

*************** Answer *************

Lots of people will be telling you “they write crap.” They aren’t completely wrong. There are some authors who do churn out “crap”, but what you call crap and what the readers like might be the same thing.

Take James Patterson for example. He writes a lot of books, and he sells A LOT of books. He sells them because people love them. Even Chuck Tingle, who clearly writes toward the ridiculous, can churn out a book a week, and sells enough books to never work again.

Then there’s Stephen King who wrote so many books a year that he kept manuscripts in his drawer because the editors refused to publish more than one a year. He eventually publishd under a pseudonym just so that he could do something with the work he had done. And he has contributed a huge amount of work to the horror genre, and inspired many people to build upon his foundations.

List of prolific writers – Wikipedia who have more than 150 books to their name, some with more than 1000. Nora Roberts, RL Stine, Issac Asimov, and more.

Are they geniuses? You might consider some of them to be. But really, if you pay attention to what these authors have to say you realize that it isn’t genius that drives them. They simply want to create a story, and they write it. They don’t agonize over every word, or rewrite 50 times like their counterparts who write less than a book a year. They just write. In Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and On Writing Stephen King both authors insist that anyone can write. Bradbury even suggests writing a short story a week every week for a year (because no one can write 52 bad short stories.)

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, by Rachel Aaron and 5, 000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox offer some fantastic tips and tricks to help you write more consistently, and steadily increase your word count per day. Because really that’s what it comes down to. The more you write the more words you have down on a page, and the faster you get to the end of a novel. The more you practice writing the better your writing becomes. The more finished novels, short stories and novels you have the more practice you have at completing work.

Writing, noveling, is a job. A plummer can’t take a day off because he just doesn’t feel like it. An neither can an author. Call it crap if you want (and clearly a lot of people do) but that doesn’t mean you can’t write a good novel quickly if you just take the time to do so.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Back Again

I took a short break from social media. It did me good to step away from the drama, and look at my beliefs with a critical eye and decide what was important to me, and if I truly believed them enough to stand on those beliefs.

The truth is no one knows everything. we’re all learning from day to day, moment to moment. And none of us have all the answers. If we did then there wouldn’t be so much contention in the world. My core beliefs, the things that I hold most dear, have always hinged upon that fact. That I don’t know everything, and I should be willing to examine my beliefs in order to make sure they still hold true.

Oddly enough I learned this lesson in church. I don’t go to church anymore because I don’t consider myself a Christian, but there were many good things I learned there. One of the things they taught in the churches I went to is that you should examine and know your beliefs. It’s based on the idea that when someone asks you a question about the church, or the gospel, that you will have an answer because you know what you believe in. It’s the fundamental belief of most philosophers that if your belief can not stand up to scrutiny then the scrutiny is not the problem. Your belief is.

So I took the time to pars my beliefs and to really hold them up to a light. The belief that violence, outside of self defense, is not the answer. The belief that endless war is not the answer. The belief that EVERYONE has a right to speak, and assemble even if I don’t agree with what they have to say.

I’m not a violent person. I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t enjoy being harassed, but I think I can’t stay silent anymore. And the harassment will surely follow. If anything has been shown to me recently it is this: If you don’t believe in the group think 100% then you are their enemy. And they will hit you, even if they don’t know for sure what you said.

And that’s the point that scared me the most. All of the thousands of people rejoicing that “the nazi got punched” probably never actually watched any of his videos. They probably had no idea what he actually talked about. I know I only have a vague idea, and what I saw I found distasteful and turned it off. But I didn’t feel like punching him over it.

Then there is Milo and the riots. A man who is gay, prefers black men, and talks about equality for all people. Granted, some of his ideas are little out there, but I have yet to see a single thing from him that makes him racist or a nazi. But no one actually listens to what he says, they just listen to what everyone else says about him and believe it without vetting.

If either of these men have ideas that can stand up to the light of day then maybe we should listen. If not then HOLD THEM UP TO THE LIGHT! Poke holes in their ideas. Show people what’s wrong with them. That is the proper response to someone spreading ideas you don’t like. Not punching. Not rioting. Not denying them their freedom to speak.

I’ll leave with this final quote:

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”  George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in On Writing

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Witch’s Sacrifice by Crissy Mossy

If you like dark fantasy, magic, witches and all things fiction this is the book for you. There is action and drama. It makes your heart melt and then it leaves you in suspense. They story never lags and there is always something that peaks your interest.

Source: BOOK REVIEW: Witch’s Sacrifice by Crissy Mossy

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in On Writing

 

A Year in Writing

Well… It’s the new year and time to go over my stats for writing, as I have for the last four years. And boy is it an eye opener.

yearly-writingFirst, I wrote 20,000 words less than last year. Admittedly, last year was a fantastic year and I wrote 15k more than any other year. I also lost about 12k just by loosing NaNoWriMo this year. I took another huge dip around the time I switched jobs. Clearly major changes have made huge differences in my writing.

But all these numbers forced me to go back and really look at what I’ve accomplished over the last four years, not just in amount of words written, but what I’ve published.

I started publishing in 2012 with three short stories and a novella. Not bad for my first year. 2013 followed with 16 short stories, a novella, and a short novel. 2014 saw a single publication, and a short story at that. I had to go back to my stats for that year and find out if that was true. After two years of writing, and publishing tons of short stories suddenly…NOTHING! But there was a reason behind it. In 2014 I published one short story, and I wrote the majority of the three Witch’s Trilogy novels.

In 2015 I started actually publishing the Witch’s Trilogy. Two novels, and one little short story.

yearly-writing2And 2016, the year that we just finished? I finished the Witch’s trilogy, publishing Witch’s Stand in April, then added a short story prequel in May. I also published two more short stories in my Illicit Gain’s series (Mirror and Scarab Necklace) bringing the total to three short stories and a novel for 2016. What else did I do for 2016? I started on my next novel series. Of the 230k words I wrote this year the majority of them went to “Half-Blood Sorceress”.

When I first saw that list of publications, and how many of them happened in 2013 I was a little shocked. Then I remembered that a lot of the short stories I finished, and published, for that year were already half finished when I started writing them. That while it was a big publishing year it wasn’t a big writing year, I was just finishing words of half completed projects, not taking on as many new challenges.

Even though 2016 saw less writing over all, it was still a productive year. I completed the trilogy, found a new job, and started on a new series that I have already put down 78,400 words in just a few months.

I’m working to get the first two published in 2017. I do not know if that is possible because of editing and cover design, but at the very least they will be written. But since I’m focusing on Half-Blood Sorceress it means I might not publish anything else this year, just like 2014. And I think I’m okay with that.

The Witch’s Trilogy is good because I took the time I needed to write the books. I didn’t rush it, and I’m not going to rush Half-Blood Sorceress either. I want the series to be good, and go on. I have five books planned, after all, and I want to finish all of them.

Learning to write faster was a great help in 2015. It pushed me through, got Witch’s Trilogy finished, and helped me complete something. I need to find that fire again. That’s what I’ll be working on for 2017. Writing, finding the passion for the writing, and making it the priority again.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in On Writing

 

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This year…

Today is the 29th of December, just a few short days to go. While social media is a buzz with yet another celebrity death, and all the terrible things that have happened, I am going to look back on the good things. You don’t need me to remind you of anything bad that happened, I’m sure. Just read Facebook or Twitter for that.

On the good front…

My daughters moved out a few months ago. That has been a huge change in our lives. It’s quieter around the house, less arguing (though my son still likes to try and push back against us.) I can wake up most mornings to an empty house, and it’s marvelous!

Gregg has been doing such an awesome job with his leather work that he started getting commissions. He also started streaming on Twitch occasionally, which has made for a few changes around the house to accommodate that. But it’s worth it!

I got a new job six months ago, which was great for my piece of mind, and our house fund. Not great for my time schedule. I had been writing consistently for a while, and after the new job happened I had to figure that out again. Six months later I have (mostly) got it under control again. Now it’s just a matter of prioritizing things.

mirrorminiSpeaking of writing, I just published a new book. The Mirror. Judy inherited a house, and she found a mirror in the attic, but there’s something dark and sinister lurking inside the silvered glass.

I actually wrote this a while ago, and sent it out to my mailing list at the time. I have since rewritten it, adding parts, removing others, and generally making it better. At least I hope so.

All together I published a novel and three short stories this year. The Mirror, The Scarab Necklace, Witch’s Stand and Witch’s Sight. Also the boxed set for the Witch’s Trilogy. I also wrote nearly a quarter million words this year. No a bad year. I’d like to see what I can do with this coming year. I have a bunch of almost complete projects that I’d like to finish, and publish…now to put action to thought.

I also took my first flight. Looking down on the world from 39,000 feet. Everything seems so small and far away. It makes you feel a bit more insignificant. And then you’re landing, making your way through the airport, and realizing just how insignificant you really are to the other 7 billion people in the world.

In among all the good things, there were a few bad ones. And I mean the personal ones, not the ones listed on social media. Those are for better pundits to exam. For now I’m going to focus on the good, and remember that things have been worse. Things have been dark and bleak and at one point I really had no hope. But life changed, and I changed with it. And the same thing is happening with everyone else around me.

Here’s to 2017, the new hope. And the good, and bad, of 2016. May we learn from our experiences, and keep moving forward.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Review: Spectral

netflix-spectral-prostokat Part war movie, part sci-fi ghost story, Spectral was an amazing cross genre movie. A lot of action, a lot of mystery, and a whole lot of “what the heck just happened?” in a good way.

Set in a somewhat futuristic society where troops are trying to protect yet another city from displaced insurgents, a loan engineer finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Go back home and forget he saw anything, or stay and help figure out what’s killing soldiers and civilians alike. Ghost like apparitions that could be soldiers in invisible camouflage, or….something else.

The main focus of this movie is the battle between the soldiers, and the apparitions, less about the personal interactions. You won’t find a sappy love story, or heart warming coming to know yourself. This is all about the action. And there is a lot of it.

spectralgrenadesThe “ghosts” are grounded in some pseudo science, giving some explanation as to what they are and where they came from. As is the weaponry the soldiers fight with. But the pseudo science is really glossed over, and you can’t take a look at it too closely or you might see just how unrealistic it is. However, some of the visuals they use to get the science across is pretty amazing. Weapons, armor, and techno gizmos are awesome to look at, and a cos-players dream.

Being as this was an action movie, above all else, I had to appreciate some of the military tactics, while scoffing at others. They do make a convincing formation moving into a building. They do not, however, utilize tactics for entering an unknown location. Information is the key, and they didn’t seem to have much before rushing into a building headlong. Plus one of the scientists is so head strong that she takes some stupid risks to prove her point. Bad tactical risks.

I also found it curious how quickly their engineer was able to whip up a bunch of gadgets. The world is about to end and he has time to make enough weaponry to outfit an entire battalion? Hard to suspend your disbelief on that one, but the ending battle was glorious because of it.

For all the pseudo science, I did find the lore of the ghosts to be interesting. I liked how they presented them, and how they stopped them. The visual effects were beautiful, as well. The ghosts had just enough weak points to made the battle scenes more interesting, but were still a formidable foe. It was only the Achilles heel that managed to take them out in the end.

Still, for a military sci-fi movie, it isn’t so overbearingly military that I lost interest, and the paranormal has enough of an interesting angle that it might keep more action junkies happy to the end.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2016 in Review

 

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