2018 – 2nd Quarter Writing Updates

It is that time again! Let’s how much progress I’ve made on my goals. Not as far as I want but The Nowhere Gate is all scheduled for release in two days! Also, I wanted to share this really pretty picture at a botanical garden I visited.

Goals for my writing for 2018:

  1. Finish getting The Gate Trilogy Ready
    1. Book 2 – Publish Summer August 8 of 2018 (The Nowhere Gate)
      1. Beta readers (First came back two are behind and I’ve scheduled a fourth)
      2. Schedule Cover Reveal (July 7, 2018)
      3. Professional editor
      4. Pre-order link: Amazon
    2. Book 3 – Publish Summer Fall of 2019
      1. Edit (August update: Lots to rewrite – nearly done!)
      2. Cover Completed
      3. Transcribe edits
      4. Beta readers
      5. Cover reveal
      6. Create Landing page
      7. Professional edtior
  2. Publish Audiobook
    1. Unfathomable Chance
      1. Release in 2018 – Release happened in May. 
    2. Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand
      1. Find voice
      2. Consider publishing 2019
  3. Focus on Unfathomable Plan
    1. Finish writing in 2018 (August Update: Hit 40,000 words!)
    2. Start editing 2018
  4. Work on other writing projects after Unfathomable Plan is done.
    1. Temporum: The Four Seasons – Book 1
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 2018 (On Hold)
      4. Edit
    2. 1001 Islands 2
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing
      3. Finish Writing 20##
      4. Edit
    3. Seven Eves – Alaskan Supernatural Crime Novel (on hold)
    4. Demon’s Due – Paranormal Erotica/Romance
    5. Noble Chronicles Series (5 Books Planned)
    6. Zendar 2 (Added April)
      1. Finish Outline
      2. Start Writing (August Update: 1,000 words!)
      3. Finish Writing 2018
      4. Edit
    7. Write Anthology Short Story – (Part of Gate) – Romance
      1. Write!
      2. Submitted for review!
      3. If you are interested go to my new anthologies page: The Truest Gate
    8. Write Anthology Short Story – Epic Fantasy
      1. Write!
      2. Submit for review!
  5. Consider Publishing Love’s Metamorphosis in eBook
  6. An Honest Misunderstanding
    1. Publishing on Wattpad in 2018 – To come out over the winter! 
    2. One Beta Reader is editing
  7. Editing Projects
    1. Red Door
    2. Truthseer
  8. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018
  9. Work on Escape Room information.
  10. Keep up momentum on writing events, speaking events, and conventions.
    1. Book and Attended Steamposium CANCELLED BY COORDINATOR
    2. Book and Attend Arctic Comic Con (April 2018)
    3. Book and Attend SenshiCon (September 2018)
    4. Book Read Alaska
    5. Attend Read Alaska
    6. Submit Application for World Con 
      1. If I get in Attend WorldCon in San Jose.
    7. Apply for Emerald City Comic Con (2019)
  11. Read 503516 books before December 31st

Writing updates:

Now I’m over 40,000 words into Unfathomable Plan but I’ve been very busy getting the Unfathomable Chance audiobook done and The Nowhere Gate published. I’ve been busy! I’m going to have to focus on the last book in my trilogy which I’m tentatively scheduling for September 9, 2019.

Locally I’m also working on a project for a local escape room. They needed a writer to flesh out story ideas and, well, write. So I’ve been busy working on that and an accompanying short story. More to come on this, but I’m very excited. For those of you who don’t know what an escape room is, you should look into them. I’ve done quite a few at this point and I love them.

How is everyone else’s writing projects going?

Anthologies:

A lot has happened. The romance short story anthology (10K-13K) fell through and was turned into a serial romance series. When that happened the story was already written so I’ve had to find a different anthology. As luck would have it one of the participants recommended Crazy Ink Anthologies and they had an Anthology that fit the bill! The Curse. Woot! It is now scheduled for next year but I’ve already submitted it for review.

The Epic Fantasy anthology story is over half done. It has been fun and so far I have a working title – A Ghostly Gate. Just need to buckle down and finish it. I have two months before I have to worry that I won’t submit on time, but I know I can do it!

Audiobook:

Audiobook is published and now I wait to see if I want to do a second one. It is an interesting concept and I think it has lots of value, I’ll see how it goes. For those of you who are interested, it was done through ACX.

Reading Goal:

It is my goal to read 50 books. So far I’ve completed 34 reviews and have finished two more books but haven’t written the reviews. So technically I have 14 to go, but have the next 6 books lined up. I’m going to blow the goal out of the water.

Happy reading!

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Inspirational Art: Owl Arc, Part 4 (Final)

In my coauthored book it includes messenger owls. So far I haven’t gotten into them much but at one point my frost character is going to go and see them and have some interactions with them. Getting a real sense of the owls and what they can do. At this point I also intend to have one bob its head and her pick up a little cotton ball with a face.

Although Snowy Owls stick to cold regions here on Earth, in the fantastical world in Frost Burn the characters are split in half by Fire and Frost nations. You can check out the map here: http://ryuyujin.deviantart.com/art/FrostBurn-Map-515023447

The Frost nation uses snowy owls that are common in their half of the world as messenger birds. They are already featured twice in the first part of our coauthored book. Which is available for free in a few places. So of course I had to deploy my knowledge of these amazing birds again. Which I can tell you was very exciting. I was also excited when my partner in writing decided to use hawks. Seemed like an excellent balance to the birds of prey used by the Frost Nation.

So I dug up my research from a month or so ago and read through it. What I did miss and found interesting was that most owls have asymmetric ears. Well they don’t have actual ears like humans or most animals but more like ear holes. That still don’t take away the amazing idea that they have one ear higher and one ear lower. This is so they can get a three dimensional take of their surroundings. Deploying their use of sight and sound to get an entire picture. Which is what makes them such efficient killers. They are the terminators of the bird world.

Yet despite all of their deadly instincts I still find them to be such majestic and magical creatures. Which is why I am posting todays artistic piece highlighting their beauty. I really feel like this artist captured the amazing feel of an owl. If you like this piece you can find this and their other works at: http://otkman1995.deviantart.com/

Inspirational Art: Owl Arc, Part 1

I’ve always loved owls. Who couldn’t love something that asks questions all the time? It is like a child asking ‘why.’ So when I was coming up with the idea of Spirit Animals in my new NaNoWriMo novel it was easy to choose owls among other animals.

The three main spirit animals is a tiger, a panther, and, surprise surprise, an owl. I also had the ability to choose one baby animal and it was so easy to do here. OWL!!! I mean, sure, panthers are adorable but have you seen owls? If you are looking at your screen like I’m crazy please go here and check out these baby owls. I swear owls are like cats of the bird world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzy-Fio2tjo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyw6_lu3Y7Q

The first one involves an owl family that discovers a GoPro camera and curiosity gets the better of them. Although for the baby it seems focused on what most babies are focused on: food. I was most interested in the sounds they make. The best parts are the beginning, when the baby tries to eat the camera and right at the end when it makes this adorable sound.

The second video involves a baby that takes a bath. You can tell the species between the first and second video is different. I don’t intend on using the Screech Owl (second video) in my book but it was important to see what it looked like when they puffed out their feathers.

So important distinguished point here, the owl in my book is not a new born owl. Although quite young I don’t intend to have it be cotton balls with faces. So my little owlet, much like the picture I’ve featured in today’s picture, has recently developed its flight wings. (Just in case it wasn’t obvious an owlet is a baby owl.)

My first fun fact about owls to kick off why I love using owls in my books (I’ll mentioned by other book here soon) is that only some owls’ actual ‘who-o-o.’ Much to my disappointment if you do come across an owl that actually does make that noise they likely won’t do it. You’re more likely to be whistled, hissed, chattered, or clicked at. Not as fun but much more realistic. Perhaps that is why this owl looks so sad in the picture; he knows you know.

I’ve got multiple more fun facts to present alongside some beautiful artistic pieces over the next week or so. If you don’t have owls in your backyard but want to know about them or write about them perhaps my research and insights will help.

This piece was graciously allowed to be posted here for your entertainment. You can see this and other work by this artist here: http://jarrettonions.deviantart.com/

The Devil is in the Details

There are all different kinds of art in this world. Literature, music, theatrical, and ‘traditional’ art (paintings, drawings, etc.). In fact any art form you can possibly imagine. All of these attempt to capture something and portray something to the person who is seeing/reading/listening/watching or whatever. However, how do you compel your thoughts to paper? How do you get the image in your head out?

I’d regale you with all of my struggles; if only people could see what was in my head. I am sure that I am not alone. I am sure that some people create masterpiece after masterpiece but they don’t feel they are perfect. They aren’t what the author/artist envisioned in their heads. Yet as everyone knows the details are what captivate. They draw us in and make us a part of the world we are reading/seeing, etc.

I get lost in my thoughts sometimes. I can see the image clearly but how do I translate what is in my head into words? Today’s featured artist is someone who clearly understands the importance of details. I can see every inch in complete clarity and little is left to the imagination besides the story behind it.

I stared at this and realized I am looking at it, I am seeing it with my eyes. How can I possibly improve the details in my stories so everyone sees what I see? Now there is a fine balance here. Too much detail and you lose your readers, too little and they are seeing blank. I am learning more everyday and the day I looked at that picture I realized something. I don’t need them to see every detail of every moment I need readers to see these moments. A frozen moment in time. I need to describe things like a picture assuming I am the only one who can see it.

I recommend a writing exercise to test yourself. Describe this in detail today’s featured picture and ask someone else to read it. When they are done have them describe it to you. See where you left off a detail or it was missed. Remember you can’t get them all so choose a handful of things. I choose the dragon, the specialized bow, and the red hue in the background. Choose at least 3 points but describe everything. I can tell you that the person I asked to read it totally missed the background. It was completely missed! However she got other details. Perhaps it will help you figure out how important the little things are!

Take a moment to appreciate today’s artistic piece and more like it here at the artist’s site: http://chebayev.deviantart.com/

Starting in February I am going to be doing 4 pieces on owls! Stay tuned!

Inspirational art pieces: a new direction in finding yourself as a writer

Lately I’ve been wandering all over looking at amazing artists and their works. There are a few artists that delve into fantasy that have really been catching my attention lately. I find just looking at their pictures I am inspired. I jot down images that come to mind; the idea of what came before and what could come after. One particular hit me hard because it reminded me how much I’ve neglected my life long writing of Lady of the Light Trilogy.

I’ve recently decided if I found inspiration from them so should other writers. I’ll be mostly looking at fantasy pieces and those that really catch my interest. Perhaps then other people that are struggling with plot development or how to take the next step will also be inspired.

With the artist’s permission of course, I intend to feature them here. Along with little interesting tidbits of information or points on writing. Today I am just going to start by saying inspiration is everywhere; go and find it. What inspires you?

You can find this and other works by this artist at http://saschakhan.deviantart.com/.

Happy writing!

Finding a writer to co-author with.

Considering coauthoring a book? You are considering to undergo and amazing adventure. However, where to start? Where should you find someone to do this with? These are interesting and vital questions when considering where to go next.

Firstly, there are some places to look. Do you participate in anything specific? For example, part of a fan fiction club, on DeviantArt, or NaNoWriMo? If you participate in anything that other authors do, you can be sure to find a similar minded author. It is important to cover topics that make you passionate, and make sure the other person isn’t completely opposite.

Next is finding a common genre; usually it is wise to stay within those that you are comfortable. That or combining two; romance with fantasy.

Usually it is important to be on the same level. If you’ve published an indie book, usually you’ll want to find another indie author. Once you’ve established the common genre, and the same level, it is time to find someone with traits opposite of yours.

If you are good at world building but have difficulties writing the book, find someone who can finish a book but the world is lacking. You can’t build good characters but great plots. Find someone who can do the opposite of what you can do. Read some of their works, and see if you like their style.

Contact them once that is all done. See if they are interested.

If they are, begin discussing ideas. See if there is a story you are both interested in writing. If you both do, congrats, you might just have found someone to coauthor with. If you do, tune in to my future blogs about additional processes to consider.

Check out my coauthored book Facebook page: Facebook. The first part will be available for free in the coming weeks!

From a blank page to a first chapter

Sometimes trying to get that hook can make us drag ourselves along. So hopefully you have an outline, a plot all figured out, and the ending in mind. I’ve discovered that the best way to go from a blank page to a completed first chapter is a few simple steps.. Well maybe not that simple, but I’ll try to keep them simple. This is how I decide where to start every time I start a new book.

Firstly consider what type of book you are writing. Is it an adventure? Start with action right off the bat. Is it a historical? The focus should be the setting of era. Swash buckling good time? Pirates, lots and lots of pirates. Once you’ve established your genre and the main focus you want to really get into the next step is deciding where to start,

Prologue or just starting into the book? The next step is to decide if you want to do a prologue or not. Prologues usually happen for a few reasons. To establish something long before the beginning of the book. To show a point of view of someone besides the main character (particularly if it is first person, or third person singular main character). You want to give a back story to the character or story that is a president for the premise of the book. However, if you write it and feel like, oh, I don’t need to call this a prologue, because it flows right into chapter 2. Then you need a chapter 1, not a prologue.

If you have multiple characters, who is the best character to start? If you only have one character, don’t worry about this part. Of all your characters who could set the pace? Is it funny or serious? You should choose a character that matches the overall tone of the novel. The second chapter could be the opposite tone, but the first will be setting the tone.

The hook. A literary hook can either be a sentence or a paragraph. It is a way to get the readers interested. Once you’ve established the other 3 things, this is your starting point. How do you hook a reader? Something that would pull someone in and make them want to read more. If you need an example go back to your favorite books and read just the first paragraph. Once you’ve read a few, particularly those of the same genre, give yours a try. I’ll write another post on prologues and writing literary hooks.

Once the chapter is done you’ve finished the first step. You’ve gone from a blank page to a first chapter, whether it is a chapter or a prologue. I hope it is with exciting new zealous that you begin your book. If NaNoWriMo and the people I talked to on there taught me anything it is that starting is half the battle and finishing is the other half. So get started today.

Happy Writing.