RSS

Tag Archives: Books

But that’s HARD!

I recently got an email from a young writer (young in her writing, I have no idea her actual age) and she described her writing to me in the same way I would describe mine. I write until I come to a hard part, jot down a little note, then skip to the next easy part to write. Anyone who is just trying to get their words down for the day has probably done this, or skipped that spot of dialog that didn’t quite work, or put down “battle scene with hero as the winner” or some such. I do this a lot for battle scenes because it takes me a while to puzzle through the moves to make it right.

The problem becomes, and this is me talking more about myself than anyone else because this is where I am in my writing… eventually you have to finish something or you have to admit this is just a project novel. Like that project car your dad had in the garage when you grew up. He kept it to tinker on, and play with, but never really got around to finishing it.

So here I am, 40, with hundreds, if not thousands of ideas in my idea journal, half written novels and partially written short stories, and only a small fraction of them finished. I keep putting aside the hard parts because… it’s HARD!

And damn right it’s hard. It’s hard because you’re writing something that is actually worth reading. Something with detail, and heart, meant to move people and get them to read. If it was easy then everyone would do it. If it was easy then there would be no value in it, but a book on a shelf has a value. People buy it and read it, then take their time to review it. If you expect people to spend time and money on your words then it should be good.

But there is good, and there is perfectionist. Finding that balancing point where you can actually finish stories, and get them out there in good order vrs tinkering on the story for years…that’s the edge that you walk.

Sometimes I do have to walk away from a story. Maybe it doesn’t work, or something isn’t quite fitting together right, so I put the story away and I work on something else. I’ve been working like this for years, and I have over a million words banked in my folders, waiting to be finished. (Here’s a picture, but this is not ALL of the stories I have started. The blue are published short stories and novels. Pink are finished, but not published. The rest plots, or started stories, but never finished.)

I have a whole shelf filled with tinker stories. I add a few words here and there, I might even binge through a few chapters on a novel, but finishing one isn’t easy. There’s always that point where it’s just hard, and I skip it.

I need to stop skipping it. I need to write down why it’s so hard and get my head back into the game. Last year was my worst word count in almost five years. That’s not acceptable, and neither is never finishing another novel.

So here’s to the hard parts! *Cheers!*

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2018 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite Reads of 2017!

I set out with a goal of 30 books this year, and managed to read 30. I will admit, I upped my book count because I realized they wouldn’t all be novels. I had a few graphic novels, and some short stories in the mix, as well as a few audio books for my long commutes.

In all I read 16 novels, ten short stories, and four graphic novels.

I’d have to say the Baine Chronicles were my absolute favorite this year. Jasmine Walt spun a fantastic story about a shifter hybrid who gets caught with her magic on display and has to avoid being killed, then ends up rescuing the arch mage. So much allegory for real life in this series. Lots of magic, and mischief. Loved every page and I read the first six books pretty quickly.

Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker is another favorite. This read very much like Firefly, and Buroker wasn’t afraid to say it up front. That’s what she was going for, and she managed it with flying colors.

Dungeon Crawl by Skyler Grant hit on a second love of mine, LitRPG, which I didn’t even know was a thing until just this month. I’ve been enjoying Sword Art Online, Kilobyte by Piers Anthony, and other movies and books in this genre, but didn’t know it had an actual name until just recently. Dungeon Crawl scratched that itch (so to say) quite nicely, and I’ll be reading more of these types of books this year.

I also read Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to make their story telling better. I had to rewrite a lot of chapters because of this book, but my novels are so much better because of that rewrite. Worth it!

Lastly I’m going to say Grizzly Shark is my favorite graphic novel this year. Oh, Heathen and LumberJanes were good, but Grizzly Shark is one of those books that will stick with me for the rest of forever. With sharks swimming through the trees to eat everyone, and irreverent jokes on every page, I loved it. Crass, unapologetic humor that goes out of it’s way to just be itself. Would read again!

Of the other books, there were some good ones, and a few fell short, but nothing really bad. The books I chose just stood out a bit more than the others, either because I loved the series as a whole, it hit that nestalgia button, or it was incredibly memorable (queue the grizzly shark!)

How did your reading challenge go?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Review

 

Tags: , ,

5min – Day 10 – Declutter Continues

Decluttering continued yesterday, and this morning. I cleared out all my craft drawers in the living room, threw out some paints and pencils that were no longer in great shape, and sorted everything. I still have a lot of crafting supplies. I’m going to have to decide if I want to keep them all. Am i actually going to use them? Or am I just holding onto them because I occationaly enjoy using them?

I also started with one bookshelf and I’m going to be working my way around the room to the other book shelves. I’ll need to get a couple boxes because I’m going to be getting rid of a LOT of these books, and downlaoding the ones I like the most on ebook readers. Some of them I might just add to a wish list so I can pick them up from a library later. It’s clear, though, that I don’t intend to read all of these anymore. How can I? I have other things going on in my life, and there are hundreds of books in this house, and almost a thousand on my kindle.

I do love reding, and I read a lot. But the days of collecting because I think a book looks amazing is over. I just don’t have the room for it anymore. Sad, but true.

On the writing front, I finished editing another chapter last night, and then I came down with something. I’m almost certain that I ate something that did not agree with me. I can’t decide what it was, but it was acting a lot like a slight case of food poisoning, or an allergic reaction to something. So I went to bed, and slept early. Then I woke this morning feeling much better.

Today they were painting the staircase just outside my apartment so I we were not supposed to leave the house until 5pm. That was easy enough, the paint smells terrible.

And that’s my five.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2017 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 Min – Day 6 – What’s free?

Last night I finished editing two more chapters for Dragons Flame, and wrote the last chapter. That last chapter had gone incomplete for a while. But this get’s me even closer to the end of the writing.

I also did a bunch of newsletters to let people know about the free short stories this weekend. If you’re interested you can find them here:  Small Bites 1 and Hidden Treasures for free this weekend, and  Witch’s Sacrifice is back on sale for 99 cents, along with most of my short stories being 99 cents.

 

 

 

But no progress on the declutter front yesterday. Life is about balance, trying to find that sweet spot of work, chores, family and everything else you have going on in  your life. And so I’m trying to do that. I know I work from 12:30 to 10:30 five days a week, including the commute to and from. I know that I have some time in the evenings with Gregg. And I know that in the morning I am carving out five minutes for this blog post. The other things, like writing and reading, and playing a game, or decluttering my life…those all take second fiddle to the facts of keeping a roof over our head, and spending time with my boyfriend so we don’t feel like we’re ignoring one another.

Some days I wish I could go back to being a house wife. I had a lot more time then, and would sometimes spend weeks just doing spring cleaning. Sometimes you  have to spend a lot of time to find all those little nooks and crannies where soup or spaghetti found their way. Especially when you have toddlers.

Maybe I don’t have toddlers anymore, but I do have a house filled with stuff.

And that’s my five.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Updates

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fire and Ice

I’ve been working on the new cover for the first book in “The Half Blood Sorceress” series. Book one, Dragon’s Flame, is finished. Well, the first draft is. I have a few things to clean up before sending it off to the editor, but I am hoping to have it out soon (in relitive terms).

The back of the book:

A tragedy. A secret. A journey to find the truth.

Sybel watched as her mother burned on a funeral pyre, but she never expected her father to push her into the flames. When Sybel survives the pyre without a single burn she’s banished from the village for reasons she doesn’t understand.
With more questions than answers, Sybil’s only hope is to make a treacherous journey to find the wise mages of Kemoor. As she ventures out beyond the edges of her village she finds a world filled with dangers; massive creatures, vindictive humans, and an ice cold wind blowing from the north. A wind that is far more sinister than anyone suspects.
Now the girl who would not burn must trust in unlikely allies to save her life, and discover the truth…

And the best part is I’ve already written most of book two. I’m hoping to have books one and two out this year, with the third one next year some time. I have at least a five book arc for this series.

The Half Blood Sorceress is not part of the same world as my Witch’s Trilogy. In the Witch’s Trilogy there are many sentient creatures created by the elements. In The Half Blood Sorceress series there are three races; humans, dragons, and ifrits. The world building of these two series was so completely different. Peyllen (the world of Witch’s Trilogy) took years to flesh out. But because of all that world building the mythos of Peyllen is an entire series of it’s own that I’m still writing.

The Half Blood Sorceress is different in a lot of ways, and so is the experience of creating the world, and writing the stories. I honestly can’t wait to get it out and hear what others have to say about it.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Stories

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The time has come….

The week is drawing to a close, and, as promised, here I am.

I love reading, and I have a horrible habit of filling my kindle with books, many of which I might not get to read. But every time I open the cover I know there will be something amazing to find inside. And I want to share that experience, that love of finding diamonds in the rough among the countless books. And maybe I hope some of my stories find their way into your favorites as well.

So, tomorrow (4/23) is the last day of the 99 cent sale. You can also find Witch’s Sacrifice and Witch’s Curse on that list. You’ll also find some boxed sets, and a number of novels that look very interesting.

I’d also like to let you know about The Scarab Necklace and Footprints which are free this weekend. The Scarab Necklace is a look into what makes us tick, and what drives us insane. Footprints is about a young man dealing with a tragedy in his life, while also running from something in the woods.

And, as always, all of my stories are available in KU.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2017 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,