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Lambs and WIPpet Wednesday

Which really have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. However, a couple weeks ago, ReGi requested more lamb pictures. So, yesterday I went out with my camera and attempted to get some. Unfortunately, the sheep were not being cooperative. I did manage a few shots, but no one was doing anything cute.

No, not a lamb, just a ewe who decided to step in front of the camera every time I tried to shoot one of the babies. Must be their Media Manager.

No, not a lamb, just a ewe who decided to step in front of the camera every time I tried to shoot one of the babies. Must be their Media Manager.

One of the white lambs, trying to make a get-away.

One of the white lambs, trying to make a get-away.

Coal being shy and hiding behind a couple adults.

Coal being shy and hiding behind a couple adults.

I don't know about you, but the tan lamb looks a bit suspicious...

I don’t know about you, but the tan lamb to the left looks a bit suspicious… like she got caught doing something, or thinking about doing something.

And now… your WIPpet for the week. Utilizing the ever-malleable WIPpet math, I give you 8 paragraphs because today is the 17th and 1+7. Those of you who have read the first two books of my Darkness & Light series will either find this shocking or hysterical — depending how you feel about Bolin, that is. No context for you. I will say, it is well-deserved. Again, first draftish, forgive the roughness of it.

Bolin propped himself up on his elbows. His skull ached, but the steady throbbing he felt didn’t come from any physical injury.

“They are my wards,” Dain said to Bolin’s unspoken question. “At the moment, they are around both you and Maurar. I am still attempting to work out what to do with the pair of you.”

“You might do well to have me executed.” Bolin swung his legs over the edge of the bed and sat up.

“Danya Maurar as well, then?” Dain shook his head, still looking out the window. “No. I think not.”

Bolin dropped his head into his hands, not even lifting it when a gentle knock on the door heralded Blyth’s appearance. She carried a tray with a large mug and a pitcher of steaming water. She said nothing as she mixed something in the mug and then came to stand before Bolin. He never saw her hand move when he looked up, and actually heard the slap before the sting of it across his cheek registered with enough force to bring tears to his eyes.

She shoved the mug at him. “Now drink this.”

Bolin was too stunned not to comply. “Danya –“

“Say nothing. Not one word.” Blyth lowered herself into a chair, looking far older than her years.

And now a quick update.

  • The first draft of EoD is nearing its conclusion and will be going to several Alpha Readers in July. I mentioned that before. Now I reaffirm. I should be writing the climax within the next week. All that remains after that is tying everything up with a nice, pretty, satisfying bow.
  • Driev has a date with his editor firmly in place. Also in July.
  • Which means I’ll have time next month to return to Roe and Fader. Whoot-whoot!

Of course, July is also my busiest month as far as other things. Let’s see… I’ll be in IA over the 4th, then gone the next weekend, home for a week, then in OH for 5 days or so. Yeah. At least I won’t have a lot of time to dwell on EoD and CBC.

Question for the Twitter savvy: I know how to get Twitter to post to Facebook by using #fb. And, in theory, I know how to link Twitter to Facebook. I even figured out how to link it to a page I manage (my author page) as opposed to my profile. HOWEVER, every time I go into the App section of Twitter, make the change, then leave, it reverts. *insert very grumpy face here* What’s up with that??? Anyone have any insight?

And, since I’ve been including music of late, let me dash over to my Pinterest board and grab some random thing… Here we go, Gammy Bird from The Shipping News. This entire soundtrack is excellent. The movie is pretty good as well.

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 Wednesday Interlude

No philosophical arguments for your WIPpet this week. For the 10th day of June, I give you 10 paragraphs from EoD — plus one bonus paragraph just because. This will be your first look at Ferris, a new character that insisted I include him. He (thankfully) did not hire Berk’s agent, and so does not have his own POV. Unfortunately, that won’t save him from just a bit of torment. In this scene, however, he and Ciara are relaxing at the house of a friend. I did have a different scene picked out, but since I’ve been including some music in my posts of late, I decided this one was far more apropos. (Just a side note, Mercien and his son Engel are very minor characters. They’ve a bit role, nothing more.) And, again, this is very first draftish so go easy on me.

No, this isn't Ferris, or Mercien, just an example of a lute playing minstrel.

No, this isn’t Ferris, or Mercien, just an example of a lute playing minstrel.  Bard With Lute by Daniel Eskridge

That evening after dinner Ferris finally wore Mercien down and convinced him to bring out his lute, and Ciara got to see a totally different side to the Lord of High House. The instrument transformed him from the chill, stiff lord into a passionate, animated man who — given his choice of songs and the emotion he poured into them — clearly loved his children and mourned both his wives — even the living one. He proved to be quite an excellent musician, with a rich voice. His youngest son, Engel, paired with him on several songs including a comical tune that had them all clapping along and laughing at Engel’s acting out of some of the lyrics.

“Turn about is fair play,” Mercien said after his fifth song, holding the lute out to Ferris.

“Ah, you should have let me go first, then,” Ferris said, trying to wave him off. “I’m not fit to follow your performance. Perhaps her ladyship –“

“Oh no!” Ciara threw up both hands, shaking her head. “I know nothing of the lute, and my singing is more likely to set the dogs howling and scare the horses out of the barn.”

“Come on, Ferris,” Engel said. “Do The Legend of Khonrah and I’ll join in on the chorus.”

The Legend of Khonrah, with no time to practice? You’re mad, boy.”

But even as Ferris teased Engel, he picked up the lute and began moving his fingers across the strings, humming softly to himself.

“That’s not it,” Engel complained.

“Hush.” Mercien leaned back in his chair, a smile lingering on his lips. “He’s taking the long road.”

“Haven’t touched the strings in quite some time,” Ferris said absently, eyes half closed as though he needed to concentrate on his chording. “I need to find my way back.”

The room fell silent save for the crackling of the fire and the gentle tune lifting from beneath Ferris’s fingers. Ciara had never heard anything like it before. The music started quiet and halting, as though Ferris was searching for just the right song to play, but his voice drew all the notes together. He sang in Cearnease, barely loud enough to be heard, and though Ciara didn’t know the language, images flooded her mind, sounds and smells claimed her senses — waves crashing, the scent of sea salt and lush grass and blooming heather, the feel of the wind — through it all spilled a feeling of longing, as well as great joy tempered by deep grief.

I couldn’t find any specific lute music that fit the bill, but here’s a bit to listen to if you’ve a mind.

 

chapflourish

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You Might Be a Writer If…

kathils:

Kristen Lamb is as funny as they come, and some of these are SOOOO spot on!

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 1.30.15 PM

A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

View original 1,289 more words

Third Time is the Charm

Hello!! This is getting to be a regular habit again. Scary, ain’t it?

I’m going to dive right into my WIPpet today. Another one from Edge of Darkness. No context, and I’m not going to tell you who’s talking because… SPOILERS. Plus, that’s just how I roll. For the third day of the month, I give you three sentences. More philosophical waxing on it appears. Honest, that’s not all they do in Book Three.

“Not so. I am not so vain as to believe I can exist without it. Fire will burn all it touches, and a single breath will blow out a candle flame, yet without air fire cannot survive.”

And now, as an added bonus, three miscellaneous tidbits…

EoD Related Quote from my Darkness & Light Pinterest board:   “Night is not something to endure until dawn. It is an element like wind or fire. Darkness is its own kingdom; it moves to its own laws, and many living things dwell in it.”  ~ Patricia A. McKillip

Bit of music listened to whilst writing: Two Steps from Hell ~ Wind Queen

Number of current writing projects: Three.

 

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.

 

 

Where’s Driev? And Who Is He Anyhow?

I promised an update on Bound in Shadow ~ The Coinblade Chronicles, and what better time than now since it has found its way firmly back onto the center of my plate.

I did a little research and it seems I began sharing bits of CBC for WIPpet Wednesdays in November of 2013. Holy Crap! Wow. Um… eek. Anyhow, the first post is Here if you want to see it. It’s the first book I’ve written in first person, but Driev Talbert, the main character, started talking to me, insisting I tell his story. Driev is not someone I want to argue with, so write I did. Wrote, finished, polished, sent off to Betas and then…

Well, before I go too far, here’s a rough blurb to introduce Driev to those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure.

 Life is full of choices, some easier than others. For Driev Talbert a grey moral code can make things much more complicated. In fact, for Driev, choosing between facing his own personal demons, or sacrificing an innocent boy, isn’t as simple as it would seem.

After spending the past five years in the underbelly of Mossrae, intent on leaving nothing more than a rotting corpse in the gutter, the last thing Driev wants is to return to his old life, no matter how privileged it had been. But the gods do so love a good laugh. Especially, it seems, when delivered at Driev’s expense. So it should have been no surprise to him when his attempt to save a friend from hanging doesn’t go quite the way he planned, leaving him saddled with a street urchin drawing all the wrong kinds of interest. Interest which puts Driev back into the lap of the Coinblades, the elite of Mossrae’s Shadow Guilds. While being on the wrong side of any Shadow Guild isn’t a laughing matter, being on the wrong side of the Coinblades is suicide. For Driev, whose history with them is one of the memories he tries very hard to avoid, death would be preferable. Even a slow torturous one.

Finding himself pulled back into a life he desperately wanted to leave behind, and dumped into the middle of political games with deadly consequences, Driev must finally come to terms with his past before it consumes him, and with it the last thing he holds dear.

I originally began CBC  for a contest. I started too late and the deadline was way too tight, but once into it, I couldn’t stop. And once finished, I *loved* it. I admit, LOVED it. More than anything else I’ve ever written. So I bravely finished polishing and sent it off for a round of Beta reading to make sure I just wasn’t blinded by my own brilliance it was everything I thought it might be.

Waited with trepidation.

Pretended to not care.

WHY ARE THEY ALL TAKING SO LONG TO COMMENT??!!!!????

Waited another hour.

Went back to pretending not to care.

Turns out, no one had any huge problems with it. A few minor plot issues, some little tweaks here and there. In short, they loved it.

So, for some reason, I decided to try the traditional route. I carefully crafted about five bazillion query letters and then settled on one, made my agent query list, agonized endlessly over that document from hell — the synopsis — and started sending queries off. One by painful one.

I began in July 2014. At that point, I would send a query, wait for a response, then send another. I sent a total of three queries in 2014 because of that process. Net result: 1 form rejection, 1 partial request then rejected, 1 closed-no-response.

With 2015 I pulled out the stops and decided to query several agents at once. I first sent the queries in small batches, only sending another out when one came back. I have a lovely spreadsheet with date sent, length of time the agent’s guidelines said they would respond in, 60 days allowed if they gave no indication of response time. (Some times were adjusted based on comments found on Query Tracker, a site I highly recommend if you’re going this route.)

After a while, my patience for the process wearing increasingly thin, I decided to send out all remaining queries. As of this writing, my stats since July 2014 are:

  • A total of 40 queries sent out.
  • 1 partial request which then resulted in a rejection.
  • 11 form rejections
  • 16 closed-no-response
  • 12 queries remain open, only 2 of which are with agents who state they respond to all.

Some would be greatly disheartened by the above. However, after reading many comments on QueryTracker and Twitter, as well as looking at statistics provided by agents and the industry, I’m not. When agents receive literally hundreds to thousands of queries a day, most of which never make it past their assistants, and they sign maybe one or two new clients a year (or none at all)… well, the phrase snowball’s chance in hell comes to mind. And even though many agents now ask for the first 5-50 pages to be included with the query, many are still only going off that all-important query letter which needs to be brief, to the point, and condense all the nuances of a 96,000 word book into maybe 500 words overall.

But that’s nothing new. That’s traditional publishing, and I knew that going in. This ain’t my first rodeo. (Although I do have to say, I find the number of agents who opt to give absolutely no response a bit off-putting. How hard is it to have that form rejection queued up and ready to go?)

Anywho… where does that leave CBC you ask?

In better shape now than it was a year ago.

O_o

Say again?

Yep. And before you ask me to explain myself, allow me to explain myself.

I’ve had another year + to think about what I want for it. To put it to another round of Betas. Not that there was anything wrong with the first round. A better batch of Betas could not have been found (if you missed my post Friday I shared some of the lovely comments my Betas provided). They helped immensely and gave excellent feedback as always. That, in turn, brought about changes. And… the first round of Betas were overwhelmingly woman. That’s not a bad thing. But CBC is written from the male POV and only one male set eyes on it and he is, admittedly, not a huge reader of fantasy. How could I be sure I’d captured the male psyche? How could I know CBC would appeal to the male audience as well? So I scared up some male fantasy fans, some of whom are die-hard gamers, and now CBC is in their hands.

The delay in putting CBC out there also helped ideas claim every available piece of grey matter left unattended. That is not always a good thing. Me and ideas? Oi. And now I have them. Oooooh boy, do I have them. Whether they pan out or not, who can say. But if even half of them do, look out below! Or above! Just… look out!

Finally, because I want CBC to be the ultimate best I can put out there, I sent a sample to the awesome Kate Johnston, editor extraordinaire. She read, commented, we chatted, and in a month or so CBC will be landing in her capable hands. *gulp* That, in case you’re wondering, is its own very special kind of terror right there.

Meanwhile, cover sketches are being developed, and aforementioned ideas are working their way into full-blown plans.

But what about the outstanding queries? What if someone requests a full? Offers representation?

*shrug* I dunno.

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when and if it comes. For now? Damn the torpedoes, and full steam ahead!

 

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.

 

 

Best of the Betas

A manuscript goes through many, many stages before being released to the big, wide world in all its (hopefully) polished perfection. One of the most important steps along the way is the Beta Read. Most would be books see one or more rounds of Beta reads before final editing. The invaluable task of Beta reading is done by a volunteer force of — you guessed it — Beta Readers. Every one of them is a precious gem to be coddled, applauded, and honored at every opportunity. (Also, on occasion, paid back by becoming their Beta Reader. Mwahahahahahaha!)

beta-reader

In all seriousness, I love my Beta Readers. Truly. I adore them, value them, and appreciate them to the ends of the earth and back. For the most part they are just as I like them; brutally honest shredders of the written word, not afraid to tell it like it is. No sugar coating. No pulling punches. What I really appreciate about the majority of my Betas is their exquisite sense of humor. You have to have that if you’re going to work with me.

Critique-online_003

Since Bound in Shadow ~ The Coinblade Chronicles (otherwise known as Driev’s tale) is firmly back in the center of my plate, I took some time to read through my first round of Beta comments. I laughed, cried, swore, grinned like an idiot, scowled, argued my decisions as though my Beta’s were in the room, then decided I couldn’t possibly keep all the fun for myself. So, for the sheer entertainment of it, as well as a look at the life of a writer, I decided to share some comments.

I received this one from one of my most priceless BRs: “There are about eight million semi-colon/comma errors, but I marked ’em all for you, just ’cause I like you. It has nothing to do with me being OCD about ’em.”

Obviously he’s not OCD, and not the least bit over-dramatic either. Eight million? Really? Who can even count that high? But, just to drive his point home there were these in-line comments: JL1

Until finally!

jl2

Followed in short order by:

jl3

Yes, yes I can. And guess what? I DO IT ON PURPOSE! *sobs* He’s so mean. And yet…

jl4

Hurray for me! :D

Outside of nit-picking the daylights out of my creative use of punctuation (aren’t the rules more like guidelines anyhow?), my Betas also alert me to typos, misused words, repetition, things that make no sense, and the obvious faux pas which I’ve obviously missed the first ten times around.

Meme_-_ShakespeareWTF

“A murmur of descent” — should this be “dissent”?
Maybe. But it’s spelled correctly, so points for that, right?

“pinching something from Runoff’s bizarre” should be “Runoff’s bazaar” unless it’s just a really weird place. :)
Hey, it very well could be a weird place. Don’t judge.

 “thru” throws me off (“Do you think you can follow thru now?”). I think it should be “through” unless there’s a specific reason for the drive-thru spelling.  
Drive-thru spelling. *snork* No, that’s shorthand typing when the brain is moving too fast for the fingers.

I’m sorry… the twelve year old boy in me giggles every time I read the word “taint” He needs to quit it. Not your fault. Mine. 
*face palm*

 On the street with Dolph: Did Driev tap his blade against his teeth when there’s dirt and blood on it? Ick.
Yeah. I know. But he later washes it down with alcohol so it’s all good, yes?

“She hurtled her fallen comrade” should be “hurdled” if I’m reading it correctly (hurtle = move quickly, hurdle = jump over) 
Ta-mato, ta-mahto. “She hurtley hurdled.” There. Solved that problem.

-“flat, only slightly angled roof” It can’t be both flat and angled unless by “flat” you mean “untiled” or “smooth.” 
Smooth! I meant smoooooove. Yeah. That’s it. Uh-huh. That’s what I meant alright.

-“I’ll hold you personably responsible.”
Just about everyone decided to pounce on that one. Geez. Make one little typo…

 -“I traced a random pattern…” Patterns can’t be random
Are you sure about that? I mean, it’s random but it forms a sort of pattern. Randomly. In a patternly kind of way.

“A monstrosity of wood and iron, the original architect…”  That’s a pretty unusual architect.
And he made some pretty unusual things to. Mostly out of paper mache and duct tape. Occasionally popsicle sticks. *looks around innocently* What?

“there were getting to be more players in this game than I could keep track of.” Yeah, me too at times … *g* 
Things may have been a bit unclear in the preceding passage. In my head it all made perfect sense.

-“All of them, including the few women I saw as I followed my new friends across the vast foyer, were clean-shaven” Um, clean-shaven women? Maybe reformulate?
Um, well, maybe they were dwarves. I believe Gimli described dwarven females as ‘hairy little women’. So. Yeah. Maybe they were dwarves.
Clean-shaven, dwarven women.

betaheroes

Thank you, Superheroes!

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.

 

 

Here and Now for WIPpet Wednesday

Howza-zowza, another Wednesday and I’m here for the celebration. What celebration, you ask? Why, WIPpet Wednesday of course! What? Were you born under a rock?!!?

Before I get on with my own rambling, I want to throw another huge shout out to author Devin O’Branagan who released the final book in her Legend of Glory trilogy yesterday. Missed the news? Look HERE.

And now for my rambling… I think I’ve made mention in the past about how much music is a requirement in my life. And I’m not choosy as to genre, so long as it moves me somehow. The lyrics, the melody, the overall feel. If it speaks to me, I listen. We all know how searching for one thing on the www can lead you to finding other things. Such was the case when I stumbled across the site for Karliene. If you’ve never heard of her, never visited her site, and never listened to any of her music, I suggest you do so. One song (Become the Beast which you can listen to here) reminded me very much of two much-beloved characters from Kate Sparkes’ Bound trilogy. Two other songs have been on repeat since I downloaded them. Can’t get enough. My favorite is this one The Rains of Castamere ~ The Darker Cut (imagine me liking the ‘darker’ version). Give it a listen if you’re so inclined.

I’ve been pounding away on Edge of Darkness. You know, the infamous Book Three of my Darkness & Light trilogy. As such, I’ve not spent any time with Roe and Fader — I know, big HUGE sad face — but I’ll get back to them as soon as I put ~Finis~ at the end of the first draft of EoD, so never fear. And that is… going. I finally had to break out each POV in its very own file, creating hyperlinks anyplace two characters overlap. I just couldn’t keep track, otherwise. Once I did that I found it started going much easier. Or at least I no longer feel the need to run screaming into traffic.

So, there you have it. And here you have it, from page 5 of Berk’s POV, 27 sentences, no context, first drafty.

The breeze hit him with more force once on the southern wall, gusting through the crenels as he passed. He kept his hood down and lifted a hand in greeting as he approached the wall guard. He knew the man well enough to be recognized, but thankfully not well enough to engage in a long conversation.

“Brisk night,” Berk said by way of greeting.

Halvin nodded. “Aye.” He fished under his cloak and drew out a flask. “Care for a dram t’warm you?”

Berk sniffed the contents before drinking. Taste being subjective, the night guard — especially those who drew wall duty on cold nights — often got creative with their choice of beverages to ward off the chill.

Halvin chuckled. “Jest Mol’s best spice brandy. I don’t have Will’s cast iron gut. I swear, that boy could put the fires of hell themselves in there and not feel any ill effects.” He took a pull from the flask himself when Berk handed it back, before tucking it away again. “What brings you out? Didn’t twist the lieutenant’s ear and earn yourself a turn up here with us grunts, did ya?”

“Not this time,” Berk said. “Just out for a bit of air.”

“Ah. Well then, I’ll leave you to’t.”

Berk nodded his thanks, twitched the cowl of his cloak higher around his neck, and strode off in the opposite direction. High clouds scuttled in front of the stars, and the scent of rain hung heavy. Berk drew it in through his nose, filling his lungs and his senses as though it could scrub them clean. Leaning against one of the crenels, he watched his breath ghosting from him.

“Here and now.” He whispered Sully’s favorite line, trying to feel it as deeply as he usually did.

Question for the Day: Those of you who are Indie published, what has been most successful for you in getting the word out about a book?

 

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.

 

 

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