Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice!

The summer solstice was technically last night in the Northern Hemisphere, but I figure it's not too late to celebrate with some music, both really old:

and a little newer:

Also, happy birthday to Jenna, the Summer Avatar and heroine of Chaos Season!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Outlining a Trilogy

After I wrap up the Season Avatars series, the next big writing project I want to tackle is an urban fantasy trilogy. (I also have a partial draft of a children's book, but so far that's a standalone. I may write a sequel or two later if there's interest.) I have a general sense of the characters and the situation, but instead of plowing in, I'm trying to outline not just the first book, but the overall series. There are still a lot of unresolved questions, but at least I'm thinking not just about what the heroes are doing, but also their antagonists want, what are the worst things I can do to the heroes, and what their emotional arcs should look like. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to write the entire series before editing and releasing it, or if I'll go book-by-book the way I did with the Season Avatars series. As long as I end up with finished books that make sense, the path to them doesn't matter too much.

If you write a series, do you plot it all out before starting or do it book-by-book? Feel free to share in the comments. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wanted: Beta Readers!

I finally finished revising Young Seasons, a quartet of short stories set in the Season Avatars universe. Including front and back matter, the collection is about 84 pages or nearly 27,000 words. Here's the word count breakdown:

"But Not Today" (Gwen's story): 4500 words
"Last Locomotive from Wistica" (Kay's Story): about 4700 words (title is still tentative)
"To Name the Anilink: (Ysabel's story): 9300 words
"Jenna's Rosebush" (Jenna's story): 7100 words

As you can see, I didn't worry too much about making sure all the stories were the same length. Now the important thing is checking how readers like the stories. I'll be reaching out to my mailing list, but is anyone interested in being a beta reader, someone willing to read the stories and point out any plot holes or inconsistencies? You'll get a free eBook when the story is published and credit in the Introduction. In the meantime, back to another round of corrections for Summon the Seasons--and also time to work on the next project!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off 2017

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off is an annual contest for self-published fantasy novels. (There's also an additional requirement that they be standalones or the first in a series.) Although this is its third year, I haven't heard of it until recently. Nearly three hundred books will be reviewed by ten bloggers. Each blogger picks a favorite from the thirty or so books he or she was assigned, then of the bloggers decide on an overall favorite. The prize for winning? Glory--and a selfie stick. In addition to the main contest, there's also a side cover contest.

I've entered Seasons' Beginnings into this contest, and it's been assigned to The Qwillery. There are a lot of books competing, including some I've already read. Odds are low for any individual book making it to the top ten, but this contest is still good for exposure. If you want to follow along, there's a Facebook group set up for the contest. If you'd like to help spread the word about it, Laura M. Hughes has prepared several banners for the contest, including the one I'm using.

Thanks to the organizers and bloggers for doing this, and best of luck to all!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

IWSG: Adapt, Don't Quit!

The June blog post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group is sponsored by JH Moncrieff, Madeline More-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner. My regular reading are probably familiar with the ISWG, but if you'd like a reminder of how this writer's group supports other writers, you can learn more on their website or their Facebook group.

This month's question is a doozy: Did you ever say, "I quit"? If so, what made you come back to writing?

I wrote my very first novel (and believe me, it showed!) in my mid-twenties, then set it aside for a while. I didn't commit to writing until a few years later, when the Beatles inspired me to write what would become the Season Avatars series. At that time, self-publishing wasn't easy and was looked-down upon, so my 187,000 word book made the rounds at agencies and publishers. I got some interest, but never an acceptance. I wrote a second book in that series and started a third, but ultimately I moved on to other projects, such as Beatles fanfiction. Some stories, like Lyon's Legacy, Twinned Universes and "A Reptile at the Reunion," were eventually completed. Others remain unfinished. I wrote for friends' webzines and participated in National Novel Writing Month, but after shopping around a combined version of Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes and getting no interest, I stopped submitting stories to agents and publishers. Nothing I was working on seemed ready to me--or even able to break through to publishers.

Finally, Kindles and eBooks arrived. Self-publishing became easier. I did some research before jumping in, but I published Lyon's Legacy in 2011 and haven't looked back. It hasn't been a quick path to success, but it's gumption-building to take charge of my books instead of hoping to approach the right publisher at the right time. I think what's been key for me (besides being stubborn by nature) is being willing to move onto new projects and try different things. I've had to adjust my writing goals since I first started, but hopefully they're more realistic--and obtainable--now. Besides, writing has always been a vital way for me to find meaning and an escape from everyday life. If I gave up writing, I would lose a core part of myself.

What would you say to someone who wants to quit writing? Feel free to share in the comments.

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