Trucking Along, Or Rather, Wagoning Along?

Whatever the appropriate idiom, things are going well. I am two scenes from completing the first pass of chapter fourteen, which makes almost three chapters completed this month, a much better pace than last month. Once this chapter is completed and the next, I’ll do a read-through/edit pass from the beginning.

Back to it, then, and until next time, happy reading!

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That Took Longer Than Expected

Got back recently from visiting one of my nieces and her husband. They just had their second child. Does anyone else freak out at just how teeny-tiny newborns are, or is it just me? At any rate, I just finished the first pass at chapter 11, and I looked back at my posts here on the blog and realized that it took a month to do so. Even with the relatively short trip to visit that itty-bitty baby, I was surprised at how long it took. After all, in my outline, chapter 11 didn’t look that big, but after getting into it, things changed a little. I ended up tweaking a few scenes, adding a new scene, rearranging their order, I also split a scene–putting another scene in the middle, and even added a new scene to chapter 10, all because of finding better ways to do things, better ways to keep flow and pace going.

So off I am to chapter 12. Happy reading!

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Quick Update

It took a while–holidays, illness, and stuff–but I just finished a read and edit pass through chapter 10. Things are looking good, so far. Off to write chapter 11.

Happy reading.

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New Year Wishes and Quick Update

Happy New Year, everyone, and best wishes for an incredible 2018. I hope everyone’s holidays have been fantastic.

I’m currently plugging away at chapter nine. Fighting off a cold, too, that I picked up somewhere along the Christmas holidays. At any rate, in the scene I’m writing, I’m having to present an event that has happened many times in the series so far, but from a different perspective, and I’m working to make it as fun and interesting (so that’s what it’s like from the other side…) as I can.

I have to get back to writing, now (and grab a throat lozenge), so, Happy New Year, and happy reading!

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Blue in New Jurassic World Trailer Acts How I Imagine A Baby Dragon Does

Have you seen the new trailer for the next Jurassic World movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? If not, I’ve included it below. In it, there is a baby raptor named Blue (at the 30 second mark), and in the brief moment it is in the trailer, all I could think of was “Holy crap. That’s how a baby dragon hatchling acts as you feed it: happy, excited, eager, and ridiculously cute.” Seeing how good animatronic characters and CGI characters are getting, it really gets me hoping that we will one day see a movie featuring dragons like those in my Dragonlinked novels, or those in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, or the Pit Dragon series by Jane Yolen, or the series A Familiar Dragon by Daniel Hood, or heck, any books where dragons are intelligent, sentient beings of awesomeness. Anyway, I got excited seeing Blue and thought you all might like to see her, too. (I’ll definitely be checking this movie out when it releases!)

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Of Gods, Trees, and A Sapling Kindle Version is FREE for Limited Time!

My series of books, Dragonlinked Chronicles, is an lgbt-friendly young adult fantasy series, and the Kindle version of book 4, Of Gods, Trees and A Sapling, is FREE from 11/13/2017 until 11/15/2017 on the Amazon.com store, HERE. Take this short opportunity to read the latest volume while I work on the next book! The Kindle versions in the entire series are Kindle Lending Library enabled, so feel free to lend them to your friends with Kindles. Have no fear, Amazon pays authors who participate in that program.

Happy reading!

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Keep Your Creative Mojo Going

As an artist, it can be tempting, ‘safe’ even, to spend all your time on your own art. But if all you do is focus on your stuff, it can be difficult to find new inspiration, or to think in new ways, or to see something from a different perspective (which can apply to your life in general, not just to your art). Doing that, you can fall into the trap of repeating yourself, or of become boring, both terrible places to find yourself. One of the things I do to try to avoid that, as a writer, is to read various magazines (printed and online), and to occasionally pull a favorite book (or books) off my shelves and read it (them) again. I am a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy and have over a hundred books I’ve purchased over the years by authors like Asimov to Zelazny and so many others in between. Having written a few books and sat in on writing groups, I am much more conscious of the technical aspects of a book as I read it, though I am still able to enjoy them. Now, however, I am more able to appreciate a nice turn of phrase, or jot down synonyms that don’t always occur to me as I write, for handy reference later. Taking in these different ways of painting a scene, of describing emotion, or action, or what-have-you, reminds me anew of those different ways of accomplishing something. Having great examples helps me come up with my own recipes on how to mix things up, so to speak.

So I guess my advice here is to take the time to look at other art similar to your own to find various kinds of inspiration on how to make yours better.

Happy reading!

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Read-through of First Six Chapters of Book 5 Complete

I finished the first draft of the prologue and chapters 1-5 of book 5, and so it was time to do a read-through. I found the same things as usual such as logic errors, plot errors, pacing issues, presentation order tweaks and the like. It takes some time to write five chapters, so plot lines, where people are, what they know, and so on, can get fuzzy from earlier chapters. That’s why I like doing a read-through once I complete around five new chapters or so. A read-through takes only a few days, so everything stays fresh and it is easier to spot those kinds of errors.

Anyway, that’s my quick update. There’s some good stuff going on in there. Can’t wait to get on with the rest.

Happy reading!

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Like Grass in Winter

I noticed something while writing book 4, Of Gods, Trees, and A Sapling, that is happening again. Namely, writing the start of the book takes a bit longer than writing the rest, on a per-chapter basis. In book 4, I thought it was because I was struggling early on to figure out how a god would feel and see things when trapped in a mortal’s body, struggling with how to get it on the page, but that couldn’t be the only reason the beginning chapters took longer to write because it is happening again. I am not certain the same thing happened in previous books, they were written years ago and a lot has happened since then, but I get the sense that I did struggle early on with each book. Why is that, I wondered. Why is starting a book as difficult as getting out of bed in the morning (at least for me)? In this new book, I realized that almost the entire reason has to do with working out specifics.

My outlines help work out and point the direction of the plots, give broad strokes as to what is happening and why. When I get down to the actual writing, however, I need to know exactly why a person feels a certain way or why a person does or says something. Much of that comes from their background. Businesses, agencies, history, and even the environment may also need specific ‘reasons’ for why and how they are in the current day of the book’s setting if a part of a person’s character is based on any of them or if any events are predicated on any of them. Why? So that the person or event makes sense. One of the things I absolutely hate is when a book, a TV show, or a movie throws something at you that makes zero sense. Why would the protagonist do that, have that, or know that? Same thing with the antagonist. Characters can’t just miraculously know, have, or do something at the last minute. Things need to make sense. Incidentally, as I mentioned in a previous post, I kind of broke that rule with a certain lightning bolt, but 1) I made it make sense later, and 2) as a sort of punishment, I made certain there were consequences.

It has been some time since I completed the outline, and yet I only just finished the first scene of chapter five, the beginning of the sixth chapter (if you count the prologue as a chapter). It’s because much like grass growing and spreading its root system during the winter with not much leaf cover being added, I’m having to work out the details of new people, places, and things, as well as add details to existing ones so that hopefully everything makes sense. I’m laying down a nice root system, so to speak, a nice base upon which the plots will rest and grow. I’m confident that as in the past, once that root system has been laid down, once the first few chapters are done, the remaining chapters will follow along a bit more swiftly.

Well, back to writing chapter five for me. In the meantime, happy reading!

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That Feeling When Your Hard Drive Dies

Ugh. I’ve been spending a lot of time recovering from a failed boot drive on my computer. I’m still trying to find out which files I’m going to end up losing, but I was able to recover all files in My Documents (As far as I can tell. Because the drive was failing, some of the files that were backed up may have been corrupted already). I copy my writing work to a thumb dive daily as a backup when I finish for the day, so that’s always safe.

My computer had been acting odd, slow and stuttery, and then the other day as I was turning it on, the power on self test (POST) screen stayed up. It normally flashes by pretty darn quick, but it sat there and I finally noticed a message at the bottom that said a drive (it listed some sort of numerical identifier) was going bad and that I should back it up and replace it. I hit F1 to continue and tried to figure out which drive was failing, hoping (to no avail) that it was one of the ‘extra’ drives. After a lot of research and learning way more about the drives than I ever wanted to (manufacturers, volume ids, serial numbers, physical drive numbers, etc), I found out that it was the main drive where the OS is located that was failing. At least with the warning I was able to backup the My Documents folder before the drive gave up the ghost. I removed the bad drive and spent almost an entire day reinstalling and patching Windows to one of those ‘extra’ drives which is now the main drive. I have to set up my email accounts in Windows Mail again and reinstall all the applications I use like my accounting software, Spotify, Chrome, iTunes, the Adobe apps I use for creating covers, and I don’t even know what all else yet. Right now I’m restoring music, photos, and downloads from backups, but those are from the end of last year, so I’ve likely lost some things that I’ll need to replace, if that will even be possible. But at least I do have everything though that date.

Take my misfortune to heart and backup, backup, backup. It likely won’t prevent you from losing every single file, but it will at least get you back to where you were at the last time you backed up.

You know what the worst part is? All this wasted time! I want to get back to writing. 😦

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