Writing Update: February 2017

Did you know this week is midterms? This week is midterms. It turns out taking 18 credit hours (including an internship and an 8-week class) is a lot harder than I expected. But I am still squeezing in the writing between study breaks, social gatherings, and Pathfinder—just barely. Geez, I’m already ready for the weekend. Anyway!

On the Argetallam Saga front, The Chalice of Malvron is now in paperback and I’m going through edits for the fourth book. Yay! The Temple of Tarkoth is set for release in May and I will be keeping you lovelies posted.

As for the Fanged series, I have written a Haddie and Fletcher prequel novella which is also set for release this summer. I am almost done with the fourth series novella which will be coming in October

Covers for all three of these 2017 releases are done and just waiting to be unveiled! Speaking of covers, I can’t get over the cover for Six of Crows.

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Isn’t it pretty? Best Valentine’s Day EVER!

As for Daindreth’s Assassin, it’s out for queries this spring and I’ve already gotten some encouraging responses. We’ll see how it goes!

I’m also putting together articles for publication on political sites. I may regret this. But it’s been fun so far and I’m excited nonetheless. Really hope this doesn’t veer south.

As for the immediate future, my goals for this month are to finish preliminary edits on The Temple of Tarkoth so I can nag beta readers and get some of those articles submitted. Fun stuff!

What are you all up to? Do you have any “must read” or “must write” projects right now?

Beautiful Books 2016 ~ Novel Update

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This latest edition is devoted to an update on my current WIP! Check out my answers and click on the link-up at the end to submit your own post and see all the other awesome NaNo projects!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

Surprisingly well, actually. I’ve crashed a dragon (like crashing a plane, but with more roaring and fire) and gotten into some great character insights. Yay for NaNo!

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2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

“The whole world had gone cold. Even with the after echoes of Blythe’s power dwindling through her, she could hardly move without shivering.”

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Darn. I’m torn between Melora and Zoran. Melora is a badass and Zoran is a fun challenge. (It’s okay, Blythe. Your character will be back in the story soon. It’s okay, I promise.)

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4. What do you love about your novel so far?

The relationship dynamics! We’ve got a man trying to save his daughter by teaming up with the husband of the baby’s mother (awkward); a woman forced to help the man who caused the death of the man she loved (super awkward); and a pair of ex-in-laws caught between a political alliance and the people who want to burn their ex-daughter-in-law at the stake (not sure how this even happened). Fun stuff.

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5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

“In the white mist, the black aura seemed that must more dramatic.”

*shuddering and gnashing of teeth from writer*

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

The end! It means I can start the next thing! Forward, onward, and INTO THE OBLIVION OF ENDLESS PROJECTS.

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7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

This little nerd writes in her dorm with a cup of tea and no music/snacks/time of day restrictions. (She tends to use all those things as procrastination mechanisms.)

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Where the magic (or lack thereof) happens.

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I am more like a groundhog. I go into my writing cave and repeatedly pop out for food/word count updates/food/whining/encouragement/food.

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9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

For personal reasons, I once swore to myself that writing would be at least one thing in life I’d never quit. That combined with pathological ambition and masochism keeps me going.

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10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  • Write the thing
  • Edit the thing
  • Write another thing

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Seriously, though. It’s worth it. 😉

Here are the questions and if you’d like to join in, just hop over to Cait’s blog and get started!

  1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
  2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
  3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
  4. What do you love about your novel so far?
  5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
  6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
  7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
  8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
  9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
  10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Writing Update: October 2016

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College has been—who am I kidding? It’s been crazy, of course! It’s COLLEGE! But midterms are over and I am always grateful for the chance to get this education at all. I’m meeting lots of cool people (definitely stealing at least two names) and lots of them are writers, too!

I’ve changed my major to Entrepreneurship (still getting that Writing minor) after many months of debate. Marketing can be fun, but I really want a subject that doesn’t feel like creative prostitution. Besides, I’m more of an entrepreneur anyway. 😛

I am actually writing this blog post in between edits for the third Fanged novella (which is a lot less terrible than I remember). I’m shooting to have it out by spring break—let’s see how I do! It’s just a matter of avoiding distractions.

Speaking of distractions…my school has this grassy drainage ditch. My brother figured out that if we could turn a box into a sled and, well…

…and that’s why I didn’t get any editing done Sunday.

But look what came in my mail Wednesday! The new edition of The Chalice of Malvron. As soon as I get this baby proofread, she’s out to the big wide world!

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I’m also working on a new project for NaNo WriMo, Fireblight, which involves dragon shifters and forbidden love. It is a few years from publication, but if you’re curious, you can read more about it by clicking on the title above.

(Daindreth’s Assassin has not been forgotten, I’m just trying to figure out some things about it. I swear. Trust me. Meanwhile, I continue to taunt you on the series Pinterest board.)

I’m feeling pretty good about my writing like I haven’t in a long time. The stories are talking to me again and it’s awesome!

Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel

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Thanks to Cait @ Paper Fury for this month’s edition of Beautiful Books! I’d like to let you guys in on my Nano Wrimo project and hope you’ll join in with yours! You can find the questions and link up over on Cait’s blog.

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I was reading a book last year with the “knight who falls for the queen” plot.  I started wondering how that would play out if it were gender bent and I’ve always wanted to write about dragons, so…viola!

2. Describe what your novel is about!

A young knight and her sister’s intended husband who find themselves in a forbidden romance. Meanwhile, an exiled dragon shifter must destroy them both if he is to spare his unborn child.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

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Behold!

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

The three perspectives in the book are:

Melora—shieldmaiden and captain of a battalion of knights.

Blythe—young dragon shifter who has recently come of age.

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Zoran—traitorous dragon shifter who betrayed his people to save his daughter.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Eh. Mostly I just grab myself some tea, hunker down with my laptop, and tell myself no food until I meet my quotas. I have to be rough with myself!

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Blythe and Melora’s relationship! It is a romance after all, and I really like writing the female lead as the jaded one and the male lead as the innocent ray of sunshine. <3 Zoran and his storyline have also been incredibly interesting for me.

dragon-1234534_960_720_edited-17. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

1. Mountain forests

2. Violent religious factions

3. DRAGONS AND WARRIOR PRIESTESSES

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Blythe and Melora have had the terrible bad judgment to fall in love and want to be together. A marriage contract, looming war, draconic magic, and religious faction stand in their way—some want them apart, some want them dead. Zoran is trying to protect his unborn daughter, but the limits of his powers and the superstitions of his lover’s people prove harsh antagonists.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Blythe and Melora are central to the story and it’s really about them learning about love. Blythe is discovering it for the first time and Melora is learning to accept it again after her husband’s suicide. They both learn about pain and loss, too, and become better for it. Zoran has to learn about hard choices and what it means to sacrifice, but most of all, what things are worth the sacrifice.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

The nature of love and the complexity of it. Not just the experience, but how other people’s loves can interact and conflict with ours. Melora and Blythe love one another and that is threatened (unbeknownst to them) in part because of Zoran’s love for his child.

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All in all, I want my readers to be reflective and sympathetic. Besides giving them what I hope is a good story, I would like to have them question the motives of people around them. Sometimes your enemies aren’t out to hurt you, they’re just protecting  someone else.

Did you enjoy this edition of Beautiful Books? What do you think of my WIP’s themes? You can join in over on Cait’s blog and check out all the other awesome featured stories!

Tips for Staying Creative in College

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A lot of writers, artists, and musicians struggle balancing school and creativity. Personally, I’ve had stock market projects, club obligations, roommate drama, and even boy drama. I have scholarships depending on my grades and the angst of whether or not to change my major. In spite of that, I have remained fairly creative.

I reviewed the final edits for The Chalice of Malvron and as soon as I brush up the damnable blurb, it will be entered the big wide world. I even went through The Temple of Tarkoth and I’ve started on my Nano Wrimo project, but it hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to take conscious steps to make it happen and learned every lesson the hard way.

student-849825_960_720Don’t procrastinate

Procrastination is how you get three tests and three papers the same week mixed with a shot of meltdowns and a pound of anxiety. Plan ahead so that you can do a little work on school assignments at a time. Remember, it’s better to have a hundred snowballs than one avalanche.

Take care of yourself

Sleep. Seriously, sleep. Also go for walks and be sure you get to move around. This keeps your brain working its best and makes you feel more energized and better about yourself. Both are great for creativity.

girl-865304_960_720Creative breaks

I find unplugging and taking a hiatus from everything lets my brain reset and works wonderfully. Personally, my best breaks from writing involve reading. I’ve actually broken free of a months-long reading slump this semester and it helps get me in the mood for storytelling. Working on bite-size projects, such as short stories or poems, is also hugely helpful for writer’s block and unlocking creativity.

(Some people tell me they’re always too tired for reading, so they watch TV. Contrary to popular belief, Netflix does NOT count as sleep. If you’re that tired, you should go to bed.)

purse-1478852_960_720Reward yourself

Remember to pat yourself on the back when you do well. Chocolate is a great motivator for reaching creative goals. I have a Half Price Books 15 minutes from my campus and I’ve used that to inspire me quite a bit. I’ve even been known to ban myself from dessert until I reached a certain word count.

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It’s okay to say “no.” There will always be sporting events, social events, and well-meaning friends who want to drag you along. While these are part of the college experience, remember that you have to be balanced. There is always a happy medium or a compromise that can be made, such as giving yourself a curfew or only going to events you’ll actually enjoy (sounds obvious, but I’ve found it isn’t always).

board-928392_960_720You can keep writing, drawing, and creating in college, I have faith in you. If you can dream it, you can do it, and no one dreams like artists.

Do you have any tricks or tips for other student artists you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Beautiful People #21 // September Edition

Cait over at Paper Fury has this really cool link up and blog post and I thought I’d join in! Today I’d like to cheat just a tiny bit and introduce you to both my NaNo WriMo protagonists for this year.

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How did you come up with these characters?
Think a genderswapped Lancelot and Guinevere story. Melora is a Knight in service for her sister, a Priestess, who has arranged a marriage to a young dragon shifter in order to secure her power. Melora is charged to deliver her sister’s bridegroom safely and a forbidden romance ensues. Melora was also named after the only female Knight of the Round table. I wanted to toy with a world where women hold the power and men are the oppressed, so came about the concept of dragon shifters whose magic can be taken.

Have they ever been starving? Why?

Blythe has lived an incredibly sheltered life as the son of a powerful Priestess, but Melora has gone hungry more than once during war time.

And what did they eat to break the fast?
Melora would have most likely gotten food in the form of hard army rations. Like I said, Blythe doesn’t know what it’s like.

Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?

Blythe is insecure, but he is very wise and far more intelligent than he’s ever been given credit for. Melora is a competent, skilled warrior and a great leader. She also knows it, but tends not to advertise the fact.

middle-ages-1434434_1280List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.
Blythe loses his temper at one point over being treated like a child and another time over someone being killed unnecessarily. Other than that, I think cruelty would most offend him. Melora cannot stand incompetence or people who won’t accept responsibility for their actions. She also does not tolerate hypocrisy and gets into a shouting match with Blythe in one scene because of it.

What is their favourite type of weather? Least favorite?
Melora likes the rain because it reminds her of her husband’s homeland. She dislikes bright days because her father was murdered and her husband committed suicide both on bright days. Blythe likes all weather and finds something to love in all of it. Although the humidity irritates his skin and makes his body want to shift.

What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?
Blythe was actually written with the INFP/Healer personality in mind–kind, introspective, and prone to daydreaming. Melora is written as an ENTJ/Fieldmarshal.

Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?
Melora tends to address the present with thoughts of the future, but she doesn’t really…freak out. Ever. Blythe focuses more on the present because that’s his personality. He’s good for Melora that way.

sunset-691995_960_720What is their favourite thing to drink?
Blythe would be more of a coffee addict, I think. Melora briefly sank into alcoholism after her husband’s suicide, so I guess she likes anything that won’t tempt her off the wagon.

What is their favourite color? Least favorite?

Melora has no favorite color, but she prefers sensible, utilitarian colors. Blythe on the other hand loves greens and blues as they remind him of the forest.

What is a book that changed their life?
Spoilers. 😛

Would you like to join in? Answer the questions below for posting on your blog and add your link here!

  1. How did you come up with this character?
  2. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?
  3. Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?
  4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.
  5. What is their favourite type of weather? Least favorite?
  6. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?
  7. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?
  8. What is their favourite thing to drink?
  9. What is their favourite color? Least favorite?
  10. What is a book that changed their life?

Writing Update: July 2016

Summer: when Texas gets hot as the guts of Mt. Doom and the mosquitoes are everywhere.  People become suddenly hard to get a hold of and the only good thing is it’s light out when I wake up. Regardless, the Muse has been hard at work.

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Behold!

You all might have noticed that The Secrets of the Vanmars has been polished and re-released with a new cover. It’s exclusive to Kindle right now, but come September will be returning to all platforms. Yay!

Otherwise, I’m trimming some body fat (aka profusive adjectives, unnecessary characters/subplots, and dialogue tags) from The Chalice of Malvron while the cover designers tweak the new face for it. Getting these damn covers made has been a saga unto itself and I’ve come to intimately understand the phrase “good help is hard to find.” But that’s a story for another time.

We did have some grand excitement last week when The Key of Amatahns hit #1 on the Amazon lists during a free promotion. Whoo-hoo! Happy reading to everyone who downloaded.

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Baby’s taking over the world, folks.

Fanged Princess will also be getting some new covers in time for the third novella’s release and when that happens greatly depends on when this mess with Janir’s books clears up. Regardless, I do plan to have something to show you around October. That would be fun, right? A Halloween cover reveal party? The possibilities are endless…

Daindreth’s Assassin has been out querying to agents and I’ve gotten a message from another Pinterest follower expressing eagerness for that story. There are one or two factual things that need correcting (e.g. Amira kind of walks off a severe head wound in chapter #2), but I’m excited to see what will be happening there.

In other news, I’m moving into the dorms of Concordia University Texas this fall. No, I have no clue who my roommates will be, but I’m looking forward to a fresh start. I’m getting together my hangers and lamps and other fun stuff and putting together some quotes for the corkboard over my desk.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some search and destroy—er—search and delete to do.