Latest

Title Brainstorming for WIPpet Wednesday

Yes, I’ve been a little absent from the web the past week or so. Not on FB much, not up to date on blog reading…it’s been a busy streak. Plus we had a few days of nice weather before the pseudo-winter returned, and that meant I was outside working dogs and getting a jump on some of the things that need fixing, dismantling, setting up, etc.

Anyhow, I’m trying to come up with a title for the first installment in CBC. I know which one I’m leaning toward, but I thought it would be fun to throw them all out here and see if anyone else has a favorite, based off just reading the bits of it provided as WIPpets over the past…um…6 months. Wow! Have I really been working on it that long? Ah well, here are the results of my brainstorming session (which was a very small storm as it consisted of…well…my brain and…my brain.):

Bound in Shadow                  A Brother’s Oath                   The Devil’s Bastard

A Sword Reforged                 A Brother’s Bond

Comments? Suggestions? Ideas?

Now, for the 16th of April (which feels and looks more like the 16th of February) no crazy WIPpet math, just a simple 16 sentences from CBC.

I grabbed Gylan by the arms and shook him hard enough to make his teeth clack together. “Listen to me.”

He sucked in a shuddering breath, then another.

“I want you to find someplace to hide. Don’t come out for anyone but me, understand? No matter what happens, or what you hear. No one but me.”

“Tam–”

“Tam’s not coming, but not even her. Only me.”

“But I–”

“Damn the gates, Gylan.” I moved my hands to his face, cupping it as I forced him to meet my eyes. “Remember once I told you there would come a time when you would need to trust me?”

He nodded against my grip.

“This is that time.”

 Will Gylan trust Driev? What does he have to hide from? Are they both going to make it out alive? *shrug* Guess you’ll have to wait and see. Mwahahahahahaha!

And now, a surprise for those of you who read down this far. I give you a preview of the newly recreated full spread cover for First of Her Kind. I like it way better than the original.

FOHKRedo2b

And with that…I’m outta here!

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

A Passing Shadow for WIPpet Wednesday

I’ve been pondering a bit of late. As I dive deeper into Edge of Darkness and continue working on CBC, I’ve started questioning why it seems I can’t write happy, light, sunshine-filled stories. Even some tales that I’ve started out in a lighthearted tone, turn dark along the way. My characters always seem to have issues; they’re damaged at some deep level, and I find it impossible to take it easy on them.

This bothered me for a little while. I remember the first novel I attempted to write. It was filled with snarky comments, and sassy characters. Nobody took anything seriously, and I approached the entire thing with a light hand. I still have the unfinished rough draft. I toy with taking it out and trying to pound it into something finished, but I’m afraid it would take a turn along the way. Could I force myself into writing it as I intended when I started? I have my doubts. But maybe that’s why I never finished it.

Anyhow, I think I may have figured it out. See, no matter how much we’d like it to be, the world is not all rainbows and unicorn kisses. People struggle. Every day. Against their own demons, against outside influences, against powers beyond their control, and situations of their own making. For some people, a happy ending is simply being alive after the storm passes.

I’m reminded of something Sam Gamgee says,

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

Not that I claim to be writing the “great stories” Sam refers to. But maybe that’s why I write the type of stories I do. Why I don’t craft the happily-ever-after ending, but more the “She’s tore up plenty, but she’ll fly true” type of story. (Bonus points if you can tell me where that quote is from.)–because I like to show the strength in people. The resilience. The quiet courage it takes to get back up even after you’ve been knocked down again and again. I put my characters through hell, I admit it, but trust me, it isn’t always easy. I dive deep into my their skin, channel their emotions, bleed onto the keys with them. But their stories deserve to be told as well. Don’t they?

Okay, enough rambling and spouting of doom and gloom. To prove I can provide my characters with some relief and some reward for all I put them through, I give you 9 sentences from CBC of a somewhat lighter, happier tone–hopefully without any unintentional spoilers. Keep in mind, I said ‘somewhat’. We’re not talking Pollyanna here.

I followed Dell out of the carriage, our conversation coming to an abrupt end as a blur of motion streaked towards us from the steps of the manse. I braced myself; for once catching the boy before he managed to get his hands on me. His face scrunched as I held him at arm’s length.

“Aren’t you happy to see me?” he asked.

“When have I ever been happy to see you, boy?” And my attempt at sounding gruff failed miserably.

He smiled, a light dancing in his eyes that I’d never seen before. “Well, I’m happy to see you.”

“And why would that be?”

“Because it means you didn’t die.”

See. Not so bad. Gylan is actually happy. :)

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Writing Process & Interview

If you recall, last week Monday I took part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour and tagged three other bloggers to carry on. They were:   Ruth Nestvold       Xina Marie Uhl        Mara Valderraan  Don’t forget to wander over to their blogs at some point today and check out what they have to say about their own process. (Although, I do believe Mara is on a cross-country journey at the moment, so I’m not sure if she’ll get her post up.)

Also, I’m being interviewed by the awesome and talented Kourtney Heintz today. She asked some great questions about the Darkness & Light Series.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

WIPpet Wednesday, Book Tours, and Nefarious Plans

As it turns out, fellow WIPpeteer Adrian Smith has a Book Tour taking place for the release of her book Forever Burn. I missed the boat on officially signing up, but I hear there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway going on, and if you’d like to read a review and a bit more about Forever Burn, wander on over to Sarah Hart’s Blog.

http://booksbysmiles.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/foreverburntourbutton.gif?w=249&h=187

More news: I have it on good authority, the wonderful Kourtney Heintz (whose interview of me will post April 7th) is planning to review Emergence tomorrow. There have been quite a few good comments regarding Emergence this week, which really helps make up for some of the daily crap I’ve been dealing with. I especially like these kinds of tweets:

tweetEvil plans for my characters?? Moi? *tries to appear sweet and innocent* *epic fail* Mwahahahahahahaha!

So, moving right along. That brings us to today’s WIPpet. No complicated math this week. For the 2nd day of April, two paragraphs from CBC in which Driev attempts to impart some of his vast *cough* wisdom to Gylan, aka ‘the boy’.

“Gylan…” I looked away, shaking my head. I had no idea what I wanted to say, or why I felt the need to say anything. I should have been on my way out instead of bandying words with a snot-nosed boy. “Look, I’m sorry I frightened you. I’m not a nice man, you’re right in thinking that, but not everyone who shows you a friendly smile is trustworthy. Sometimes they hold out their hand just to use it against you. I’ll never do that to you. Truth, I don’t give a rat’s balls if you like me or not. I don’t want to be your friend. But there’s going to come a time you’ll need to trust me. I’ve never lied to you, have I?”

He shook his head, his face scrunched in thought.

For a character who wasn’t even in the first drafts of this tale, Gylan sure has taken over. I’m just as helpless as Driev is where that boy is concerned. *shakes head* In case you’re interested in what inspires me while I’m working on CBC, who I would cast, what music reminds me of the characters, quotes, and any other assorted visuals, visit the ever-growing Coinblade Chronicles Pinterest Board.  If you have any suggestions for the board, images or songs that put you in mind of Driev and his world, feel free to pass them along. The same holds true of First of Her Kind and Emergence ~just visit The Darkness & Light Series Pinterest Board.

I’m hoping…ho-ping…to have this tale finished by the end of May. Sooner would be better, but we shall see. Anywho, I’ll be looking for a few folks to read and shred. If you’re interested, let me know.

And with that, a bit of music that always puts me in mind of Driev, sadly enough.

“All the times
That I’ve cried
All this wasted
It’s all inside
And I feel
All this pain
Stuffed it down
It’s back again
And I lie
Here in bed
All alone
I can’t mend

~ Staind Outside

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Happy Monday. Today, as forewarned, I am participating in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. The gist of it is for authors to, as the title suggests, share a bit about their process by answering four questions. In turn, we pass the torch to three more authors (you’ll see my choices below). I was tagged by the awesome Leila Gaskin along with Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie and Kim Drew Wright.

So, here goes:

What am I working on? Maintaining my sanity. I’m afraid, however, that’s a lost cause. Oh, you meant as far as writing it concerned? Sure, I knew that.

I currently have two main WIPs–both of which I hope to release by the end of the year (see answer above). Edge of Darkness –the third (final?) installment in my Darkness & Light fantasy series stands at maybe 20k but it’s all disorganized and random scenes. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the plot. There is a lot that has to happen. If readers thought Emergence got darker and more intense than First of Her Kind, EoD looks like it’s going to be more so. I know how it begins, I know how it ends. Now to fill in the gaps.

The Coinblade Chronicles is my second main WIP. It’s more a sword & sorcery type fantasy than an epic/high fantasy. I can’t seem to write ‘light’ so there are some issues in this one that are tough for me to write, and will probably be tougher for people to read. It is much more character driven than most of what I’ve done, and written in first person. That’s a huge switch for me. I usually shy away from first person. I’ve been sharing bits of it on WIPpet Wednesdays. I’m pretty sure Coinblade Chronicles will be more of a series name, though each book that winds up in it will be a stand-alone. But I love the character and the world, and have many words written that don’t go with the current plot, so there may have to be more tales. Right now, that stands at a little over 67k.

Then there are the Back Burner projects: my UF/Paranormal Romance Crossing Paths. And another fantasy that needs quite a bit of beating into submission, The First House. Beyond that are all the miscellaneous snippets and bits of things that always have the potential of growing into something larger.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Well, first off, I wrote it. Seriously, it’s my voice so it’s going to be slightly different than anyone else, right? I mean, ask five writers to draft a story about a tree, and you’re going to have five very different tales. I read a lot of fantasy and I can’t even say how mine differs. That’s probably a bad thing. I should have something that makes me stand out from the crowd, right? I’ll have to go back to my original answer: my voice. The way I tell my story. The details I add, or choose not to. My writing style, pacing, flow, characterization…and I don’t let my story be constrained by genre labels. At least, I don’t think I do. I don’t worry about the ‘rules’. I tell my story how it needs to be told. That’s either something a reader likes, or doesn’t.

Why do I write what I do? Because the voices in my head will give me no rest if I don’t put their story’s down on paper. And because I’ve always loved fantasy, medieval history, swordplay, and all things connected with them. Not that I haven’t written in other genres–see Greylands and Witch Hunt: Of the Blood on my Published Works page. Crossing Paths, my backburned UF/PR is another example. But fantasy holds my heart, and is what I always return to.

How does my writing process work? I’m supposed to have a process? Is lack of a process still a process?

Ah…well…I’m basically a pantser. That means I don’t outline a plot so that I have a distinct road map of where they story is going. Basically I start with a character in a situation, and fumble my way from there. What normally happens is that a scene, or character, or both, pops into my head and I write it down. It begins to grow. I continue to write. Characters lead me around by the nose hairs. Then, just about the time I think I have things figured out and I’m feeling all sorts of cocky, they sucker-punch me. Don’t ever believe that characters can’t do something totally unexpected. It happens. Words pop out of their mouth that I didn’t put there. They react ways I don’t expect. The sub-conscious…she’s a bitch, let me tell you. Anyhow, I tend to know the beginning, and the ending. In fact, most times the ending is the second thing I write. Then it’s a matter of connecting all the dots. Or finding the breadcrumbs before the damn birds eat them.

There’s a scene in the movie Labyrinth where Sara is making her way through the labyrinth. She has a piece of chalk, and starts marking stones with arrows as she makes turns, or comes to crossroads. As she moves on, little creatures pop up and turn the stones around. That’s pretty much how things go for me when I’m writing.

I will admit though, lately, I’ve been jotting down more plot notes than is normal. I think because some of my plots are becoming more complex, and because sometimes there are days between writing sessions and I lose the threads of what I’m weaving. I’m actually trying something totally different with CBC and mapping out the scenes in an Excel spreadsheet. But CBC contains a lot of flashbacks that tell the character’s earlier story. Their placement coincides with certain events in the current tale, so keeping track of them is vital. Normally, my plot notes are scattered about on bits of scrap paper and post-its that no longer stick. Or they’re just rattling around in my brain. There’s a little old man up there, perched on a stool, hunched over behind an old-fashioned desk, just about buried in scrolls, musty books, and sheaves of parchment.

Art by Jean-Baptiste Monge...the best representation of what the inside of my brain looks like that I've yet to find.

Art by Jean-Baptiste Monge…the best representation of what the inside of my brain looks like that I’ve yet to find.

Yes, I did offer to replace all that with a high-tech computerized system. He refused. He keeps track of things for me, so however he wants to do it is fine by me. So far, it seems to be working.

Most days.

And now on to introducing you to the three authors who will answer these same questions on Monday, April 7th. I give to you:

 

Ruth Nestvold: Ruth’s short stories have appeared in numerous markets, including Asimov’s, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, and Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction. Her fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella “Looking Through Lace” won the “Premio Italia” award for best international work. Her novel Yseult appeared in German translation as Flamme und Harfe with Random House Germany and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. In 2012, she shifted her focus from traditional to indie publishing and has since brought out several novels and collections of short stories.

 

Xina Marie Uhl: Xina spends her days laboring in obscurity as a freelance writer for various educational projects and dreaming of ways to scrounge up enough cash to: 1. travel the world, and 2. add to her increasing menagerie of dogs, cats, and other creatures. The rest of the time she writes humorous titles such as The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior and fantasy novels like Necropolis, The Gauntlet Thrown and The Challenge Accepted, Books One and Two of the Gauntlet Trilogy.

A deep and abiding interest in history has prompted her to tackle a historical adventure series that follows the travels of a knight in early medieval Europe, Asia Minor, and Africa.

 

Mara Valderraan: Mara is not just an author of young adult and new adult novels. She has dabbled in screenwriting, retired from acting, and drawn some pretty mean stick figures in her time. She is an avid reader and loves all things fantasy. She contributes to the fantasy blog There and Draft Again: A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers. Her debut novel, HEIRS OF WAR, has been met with great reviews and was featured on Wattpad in 2013, raking in over 600k reads. The series continues with the second book, HEIRS OF WAR, CROWN OF FLAMES to be released in Summer 2014. Her short story “The Austenation” will be included in the Borderlands Anthology and she is looking forward to publishing her young adult dystopian ALTAR OF REALITY with Curiosity Quills Winter 2014.

Mara is more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or spending time at her favorite local coffee shop.

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Bad Boys Galore for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday and the wonderful world of WIPpeteer wackiness. As usual, I have other business to address first, for those of you who may have missed it elsewhere. Emergence is now available in e-book format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and…well, still waiting on Kobo. Paperback copies are available on Amazon. And, as always, signed copies are available from my Published Works page (follow the link above). I’ve already received some great reviews and ratings, which is so awesome it even made Loki smile.
oh_yes_creepy_loki
I know, I know, gratuitous Loki insertion. But, it’s my blog. I can do that. And I like Loki.

And, while we’re talking about Emergence,  some more Thank Yous to fellow bloggers helping spread the word: the lovely and talented Ruth Nestvold interviewed me here. Rachel O’Laughlin gave First of Her Kind an awesome shout-out with an Emergencecover reveal here. Several of my characters and I wandered over to the blog of Kate Sparkes and asked her about her experience as a Beta Reader here –that, by the way, was outrageous fun, and almost dove into awkward when her own characters threatened to join in.  Coming up in April, the fantabulous Kourtney Heintz rakes  me over the coals. (Which I’ll thoroughly deserve if I’ve forgotten to thank anyone.)

Now, on to today’s WIPpet. As I’ve been struggling a bit with CBC and Edge of Darkness because of the whole exploding-pumpkin-brain syndrome and other life bits, as well as being preoccupied with the release of Emergence, being out of town, and did I mention life in general…I admit to not getting a whole lot of new writing done on my WIPs. I wrote other stuff, notebook stuff, the kind of stuff I may or may not ever use, so I’m still exercising the muses, just not on the important stuff.

However, I have written some. And, because I’m feeling the need to be just a wee bit evil today, I’m going to pull out the magic WIPpeteer calculator and give you 15 words (2+6 for the day = 8   2+0+1+4 for the year=7    7+8=15). Yes, a mere fifteen words. A memorable quote from everyone’s favorite damaged bad boy Driev.

“You’re a whore short of a brothel if you think I’m doing anything for you.”

Okay, scroll back up to peek at Loki again, I won’t mind. Then dash off and visit the other WIPpeteers to see what they’re up to. Better yet, join in the fun by posting a bit of your current WIP that somehow relates to today’s date, then adding your link to the Linky thing up there on the sidebar. Easie peasie. Everyone’s welcome and, for the most part, we don’t bite. Though there have been some flying monkey incidences…

Make sure you come back Monday when I’ll be taking part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour and tagging three other writers to join in the fun.

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest
Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Grey Fluff or Smashed Pumpkins

“No brain at all, some of them [people], only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake, and they don’t Think.”
A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

The human brain is a totally amazing creation, don’t you think. One moment it can be in high gear, on top of the world, nothing will stand in its way and you’re just going along for the ride.

The next?

Yeah. Like that. That’s my brain right now. Little bits and pieces of mushy stuff scattered about. The problem with my brain is that, even in such a condition, it insists on chugging along. All the while, one of the solid, semi-coherent pieces is insisting it stop for just one moment. Maybe a day at the most. I think it’s an illness.

So, anyhow, enough babbling. If you missed the big announcement Monday, Emergence is now available on Amazon Kindle in various countries (this is the US link), B&N/Nook, and iBooks. Kobo is forthcoming. I’m still waiting on the hard copy proof so signed paperbacks will be a bit yet. If you’d like to read the first two chapters, follow the link at the top of the page under Published Works. I strongly suggest you read First of Her Kind prior, if you haven’t.

And now, the moment you’re all here for, this week’s WIPpet. I’m sticking with Driev and CBC.I tried to pick one of the lighter moments but…well…there don’t seem to be a lot of those. Although I have worked out somewhat of a happy ending. No, not butterflies and Snow White happy. That just wouldn’t work here. I think it’s as happy an ending as Driev can look for out of this particular tale. Someday, you may actually get to read it. ;)

To set the scene, this comes after last week’s and before a section that I shared a while back. Got it? No? Refer to the pumpkin picture, please. Driev and Gylan interacting again. I give you 20 short paragraphs. That’s 19 plus a bonus one because of all the reasons.

I laughed, and it sounded harsh even for me. “Fathers are the last ones I feel inclined to be nice to.”

“Are you inclined to be nice to anyone?”

I ushered Gylan into my room and closed the door behind us, leaving him to stand there while I started pulling things from the chest and tossing them onto the mattress. Something bounced onto the floor, and the boy grabbed it before I could get to it. He upended the small, leather pouch, letting a pebble fall into his open palm.

“What’s this?”

My breath stopped. I’d forgotten I still had Andel’s firestone. He’d been all of nine or ten when he bought the thing. I remember telling him to get rid of it, but he wouldn’t part with the damn rock. He’d pull it out from time to time just to watch the flame dance above his hand. Gods if I knew what he found so fascinating about it.

“Put it back,” I said, the words strangled. “Go sit down, and don’t touch anything else.”

No surprise the boy didn’t listen. He pushed at the firestone with his finger, rolling it from one side of his hand to the other and peering intently at it.

“I said, put it–”

A flame like none I’d ever seen Andel conjure from the stone rose into the air. It stopped just shy of the ceiling before settling down to about half that height. I shielded my eyes against the glare.

“Whoa!” A smile lit the boy’s face; a look of sheer joy that, for a moment at least, chased off all the sorrow that surrounded him.

I felt the corners of my mouth twitch as though they wanted a piece of that raw happiness, but then the reality of what I was seeing stomped it into oblivion.

“How are you doing that?” I asked.

The radiance turned my way, and I scowled.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Isn’t it supposed to happen?”

“Not like that.”

Gylan looked back at the flame.

“Put it out.”

“How?”

“Close your fist.”

His fingers curled over the pebble, extinguishing the glow of the firestone along with his joy. “Can I keep it?”

And with that, I leave you to scoop up the remnants of my grey matter and see if I can’t piece it back together.

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest
Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 157 other followers