Posts Tagged With: Lethera

Another Kind of Map (and Library updated)

I’ve written about how an outline can serve as a great tool, a sort of map, to guide you on your course as you write. Another kind of map, one closer to its namesake, is a sketch (or much more detailed drawing, if you need it) of the area in which your story takes place. Depending on how much your character(s) move(s) about in the town/castle/prison/whatever, a sketch of the layout will help considerably in keeping your story consistent.

Will the sun be in the character’s eyes when walking out the door? Where will the shadows be in this scene (will there be shadows)? Is the destination to the left or right (or north or south, etc)? Is the building visible to the character from here? If there is a chase scene, where can the character run to/through? A sketch also helps keep things consistent between books, if you’re writing a series (as I am).

Early in writing Dragonlinked, I realized that a sketch of Caer Baronel’s layout would be required. There were just too many locations in the Caer to keep straight in my head and the characters did a lot of walking around. That sketch has served me well all through the three books I’ve written so far. The sketch isn’t meant to be exact; it merely serves as a handy reference to where things are in relation to each other.

I’m adding the sketch to the Library (accessible from the menu at the top of the blog) along with a sketch of the dragon stable layout. The remains of erased pencil (which became much more visible when I increased the contrast to make the fainter lines visible) let you see where I changed the layout of the Caer and changed some of the buildings a bit. The Woodworking building used to be two separate buildings, part of one of which was the armory, and the Water Hall used to be called (only briefly) the Pump House, for instance. Also, vegetable gardens used to be nearby, before I decided that an entire farm would better serve a community as large as the Caer and moved all that off to Baronel Farm ten miles or so east. You also get to see the sheer awesomeness of my chicken-scratch handwriting! I thought some readers might get a kick out of seeing these.

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Categories: Dragonlinked, Fan Extras, Lethera, Tips, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bond on Sale

I like to run a sale when I release a new book, but the Kindle Countdown Deals can only be run after so many days since the last one. I wanted to get the newest book, A Storm in the Desert, into reader’s hands as soon as possible, however, so I released it as quickly as I could. At any rate, starting today, and running over the course of six days, the eBook edition of the second book of the Dragonlinked Chronicles series, The Bond (US, UK), will be on sale under a countdown deal promotion. Two things to know about these promotions: 1) Amazon currently only offers them at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk, so I apologize to my readers from other countries for only being able to set the sale up at those two sites, and 2) the earlier you buy during the promotion, the more discount you’ll get.

Happy reading!

Categories: Dragonlinked, Lethera, LGBT, LGBTQ, New Release, Sale, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Book 3 Draft Cover for Trade Paperback

Here’s the draft cover for the trade paperback edition of the third book in the Dragonlinked Chronicles series, A Storm in the Desert. The ebook edition will have a slightly smaller portion of the front cover as its cover art. Once I get the exact size of the paperback cover from Create Space, I can finalize it. I’m almost ready to release both editions of the book!

Credit for the stunning photograph I flipped (left for right) for use on the cover: “Lightning in Arches National Park Moab Utah 2013” by Anthony Quintano. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

cover art

A Storm in the Desert, full cover (draft), trade paperback edition

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For the Holidays, a Present

As a gift for those who just can’t wait until I can release it, I am presenting the Prologue of the third book here in its entirety. Needless to say, this is all copyright by me.

Now remember, as a prologue it doesn’t give much away at all of what will be in the book. It merely sets some things up, plants ideas in the reader’s mind, and gives a little background.

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Prologue

“Did you have a vision?”

Dellia turned to her husband. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

He blinked in the light of the small lamp. “What was it about? Should I send a message to someone?”

“No, no. It was a fairly pleasant one, actually.” She turned back to the small desk and slid the shield on the lamp a little more closed. “About Ulthis, I think. There was a crown of lightning.” She shrugged. “I’ve just been trying to get it down on paper.”

“Some of those poems you’ve written about the visions are pretty good, at least to my mind.” He yawned and turned over. “You should think about publishing them.”

Dellia blinked. Publish them? She glanced at the small leather case where she kept all her scribblings.

It was easier to record the visions in poem form, because they were as enigmatic as poetry could be. The ability to record shifting ‘scenes’ and link them into a whole served her well when trying to make sense of them. Though, if she were to publish the poems, they would need titles.

She looked down at the sheet of paper before her. What would this one be called? The other poems she could name later. She and Methon were at their home, the caravan wasn’t on the road during the winter, so there would be plenty of time for that.

What to title it? How about, Dellia’s Dream? Yes. That suited it well.

In a luminous ocean of brilliant stars,
‘Neath a halo of lightning—his silver-forked crown,
A mysterious figure watches and waits.
Will the bestowal be accepted or at all found?

Seemingly cold, impossibly distant,
Yet passion exists, joyous mirth to relentless fury.
So dread looms large. Would there be thunderous ruin,
If the gift be cast off in its glory?

Seekers of hope, knowers of hearts,
The pure, blazing truth theirs to see.
So avail you not of masks, hoods, or cloaks,
Nay, revel in who you’re meant to be.

Fill your head with boundless dreams,
Of futures perfect, bright and bold.
Be true to your center, be true to yourself,
And the soul-bound gift you’ll hold.

But remember this, and remember it well,
His boon brings with it a price.
Should you be one whom the glorious gift chooses,
A good heart on its own won’t suffice.

You will need to be brave, you will need to be strong,
For your deeds may be dangerous and frightening.
But you’ll not be alone, you’ll have his gift,
And the grateful Bearer of Lightning.

Categories: Dragonlinked, Fan Extras, Lethera, Update, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

First Draft of Book 3 Complete!

Whew. That took a bit longer than I expected. But that’s what happens when you decide to change the last few chapters of your book, I suppose. I went off-plan, ignoring my outline, so I was writing from scratch, essentially. The ending is the same, but how we get there is a bit different, and hopefully, more exciting.

My next step is to review the entire book again. Then, perhaps while it is with test readers, there’s the title to come up with and a cover.  I’ll then reread it again while making any tweaks I think are justified. Publishing the ebook version will come after all that is complete, and then work on formatting a copy for the trade paperback version will begin. But at least the full thing is complete now, if only in draft form.

Not too much longer and it will be in reader’s hands!

Categories: Dragonlinked, Lethera, Update, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Book 3 Draft Nearly Complete Party

I just finished chapter 23 of the draft for the third book in the Dragonlinked Chronicles series. In celebration, I’ve set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for Book 2, The Bond. That way, if there are Kindle/ebook readers who haven’t read it yet, they’ll get a chance to do so before the third book comes out. Kindle Countdown Deals can only be done on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk, so I’ve set them up there. The UK promotion is shorter because of the way Amazon requires them to be set up, as far as minimum price-point changes (their minimum is 0.99, no matter the currency, which is a little silly, as, for example, 0.99 british pounds is more than 0.99 us dollars). While the amazon.co.uk promotion has only one tier, if you take advantage of the amazon.com promotion earlier, you’ll get a bigger discount.

Both promotions start the morning of Tuesday September 23, 2014. The amazon.com promotion ends six days later on Monday morning, while the amazon.co.uk promotions ends three days later on Friday morning.

For amazon.com, click HERE.

For amazon.co.uk, click HERE.

Happy reading!

The Bond cover

The Bond

Categories: Dragonlinked, Lethera, Sale, Update, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Book 3 Manuscript Progressing

As I think I’ve mentioned before, while I am writing I like to go back every now and then to read over what I’ve written so far. Every five chapters of progress seems like a good number for me. I actually went to chapter sixteen this time, though, as I was on a roll, so to speak, and didn’t want to stop at that point. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that after finishing chapter sixteen, I did a read-through, which I just completed. I found some clunky sentences, a few places where I’d changed the name of something later in the book and hadn’t gone back to correct earlier instances, added or rearranged a sentence or two in various places to get the flow at those points to feel better, adjusted word choice and description in certain earlier scenes so they are better in-line with how I describe the atmosphere later in the book, and so on. Little things that one doesn’t think too much about in the heat (or in the slogging) of getting the words on the page.

It’s looking pretty good so far. As it was a bit in book 2, now that the guild exists, what dragonlinked must deal with keeps piling up. And as they are new, there are no ideas as of yet on what exactly it is that dragonlinked do beyond ‘protecting people’ (which includes dragons!). That also means there are no limitations. It’s fun playing with that.

One of the difficulties with the series at this point is the number of characters. What I tried to do in book 2, and am still doing now, is to pick a few ‘main’ characters for the book and mostly use them as the driving/point-of-view characters. The other characters are still there, obviously, and they do get things to do and say, but the ‘mains’ carry most of the book. Another thing I’m trying to do is to give the different characters a little bit of style. By that I mean, their own quirks—phrases, actions, nervous tics, etc. I don’t want it to be anything in-your-face, though, and it doesn’t have to be. Something as simple as the nicknames used for bond-mates has an impact of how characters ‘feel.’ For many this may seem beyond obvious, and I suppose it is. But the more you get a handle on certain aspects of your craft, the more time you can devote to other aspects not quite perfected. That’s where I am now, still learning and (hopefully) still improving.

Now, back to work on chapter seventeen!

 

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Listen to Yourself

So, I’ve been pecking away at the keyboard for several weeks now, working on the first draft of the manuscript for the next book in the Dragonlinked series. I’m near the end of chapter ten. I started the chapter last week, but the writing slogged down during the second scene. I just couldn’t get into it. I knew what needed to happen in there, in general, and I wrote it out. But it wasn’t clicking. It wasn’t so much that the scene was boring, it just seemed off toward the end. I thought about it, tweaked it, and wrestled with it for two days. Nothing. I couldn’t figure out exactly what bugged me about the end of the scene. It was time to get my mind off the scene and do something else. A first read-through of the chapters so far would serve nicely.

I try not to re-read completed chapters until I have a few done. One can get bogged down tweaking every last thing to perfection. You can end up with something wonderful, but six hours will have flown by and you’ve got one singular paragraph done the way you like it. No. My preferred method right now is to just read through and fix only the things that pop out at me, things that take me out of the reading experience. It could be a spelling error, punctuation, the wrong character’s name used in a speech tag, the flow of an idea/conversation being out of whack…just the big stuff. And there was some big stuff. I had the wrong character making reference to a previous thought. I had references to the wrong time of day (morning vs evening). I had a few misspelled words. Well, the words I had spelled were actual words, they were just the wrong words. Thus, spell-check failed to catch them. All of these things I fixed over the course of two or three days. Then, it was time to get back to that problematic scene.

I didn’t want to. I pictured myself like a kid with feet shuffling and dragging, a kid doing anything to keep from having to do the chore that must be done. Buck up, mister, I told myself, get in there and let’s see what we can do. Well, one thing I realized was that the second scene should be the first scene. It would make the chapter flow better. Easy enough; a quick cut and paste and I’d switched them. Then, as I read through the problem scene it finally dawned on me what I didn’t like about it. A lot of the information that the characters were learning had already been revealed to the reader in a previous chapter. It was repetition of information, a no-no. Repetition, whether information or even the retelling of some action by characters, should be cut out (or summarized) whenever possible, unless it is needed for some dramatic or plot purpose. Neither was the case here, and worse, the information wasn’t really needed by the characters in the scene. I highlighted a good chunk of text, gulped, and hit delete. This left me with a very short, skimpy scene, however. What to do? Well, there was some information that in the previous version of the scene I was going to summarize. Maybe I could flesh that information out instead. With that in mind, I set the scene in my head and let the characters do their thing. I liked where it was going. Once the first write was completed, I read over it. It was much, much better.  And in fact, two cool things happened with the re-write: a new plot-point, a new layer for the antagonist’s evil plan, emerged, and I was also better able to tie what these characters were doing into the larger plot. Sweet!

If something you are writing just feels off, it might be your subconscious letting you know that there is definitely something wrong with it. Take some time away and then come back to it refreshed. And don’t be afraid to scrap it! The re-writing might reward you with more than just better prose.

Categories: Lethera, Tips, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Draft Outline for Book 3 Complete

Whew. The past few weeks have been busy, busy, busy, mostly with work on the outline for book 3. But now, the initial draft of it is complete. I will take maybe a day or two off and then review the outline for any tweaks or additions I think might be warranted before starting the writing process. I’d take more days off, but my brain probably wouldn’t let me anyway. The whole time I was working on the outline, ideas for fleshing out specific scenes kept popping in my head, slowing me down from completing it. But that’s absolutely fine by me. I’d much rather be bursting with ideas than struggling for them!

Categories: Dragonlinked, Lethera, Update, Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Be Afraid to Scrap

I’ve been working on book 3 of the chronicles since Monday. I knew, in general, what I wanted to accomplish with the book, but I had no ideas about specifics. So I spent Monday brainstorming with OpenOffice Calc opened on a new outline spreadsheet. It was completely blank except for the headings: Timeline. Plots. Plot Points. I sat and stared at it. It was so blank. Where to start? Well, what did I have, story-wise? I had a vague idea of what should happen by the end of the book and I had a potential starting point, the epilogue of the second book. But starting right at the end of that would be a little boring. There wasn’t much going to happen at that point, aside from the surprise that had already occurred. And something pulse-pounding or dramatic or scary or something action-y should open a book. But nope. I had no ideas for an opening.

Alright, I thought, then think more about the book as a whole. It took me a few hours, but eventually I filled in some plot points. Not all from the same plot, and not all actual plot points. Some were mere scenes that I knew could eventually become plot points. I think I filled in maybe six that first day. Even so, it felt a little underwhelming. But it was just the first day–I had time. More ideas would come as more plot points were filled in. One idea would lead to another and that to another one or more, and so on.

Yesterday, I decided to use one of my tricks from writing book 2: focus on one subplot at a time. I knew who/what the antagonist was going to be, so I decided to focus on the subplot that would get Antagonist hooked into the main plot. I sorted the spreadsheet by plot and started brainstorming again. It helped. I came up with many ideas about how Antagonist would think and actions (along with Protagonist reactions) that might be taken during the three acts of the book. I also made sure I could come up with justifications for those actions that made sense. At the end of the writing day I had about eight more points for that sub-plot. They were decent enough, would lead to some exciting and cool scenes and events, but something was nagging me.

It wasn’t until a few hours after I’d stopped writing for the day (I never stop thinking about a work in progress, or rather, my brain never stops thinking about it) that the reason came to me: this whole sub-plot didn’t excite me. It wasn’t that it was boring, it just didn’t click for me. And if it didn’t click for me, I wouldn’t be able to make it click for a reader. To make matters worse, another subplot I’d thought of didn’t seem to be related at all to this one, which meant one or both should be eliminated. But I loved that other sub-plot. Not only was it cool, it could dovetail into ideas I had for future books. A few thoughts on adjusting the Antagonist sub-plot popped into my head throughout the rest of the night, but I was still unsatisfied.

This morning I grabbed my mug of coffee, my cinnamon toast, and headed to the computer determined to tweak this sub-plot and make it better. I spent an hour or two brainstorming. What if this happened, or that? What if Antagonist had this desire, or that desire, instead? The ‘what if’ game helps to come up with potentially off-the-wall ideas, some of which can be awesome. But I was having no luck. I decided to think about that other sub-plot. How could I get it involved in this sub-plot? I spent time thinking about it but couldn’t come up with anything. That is, until I thought: How can that sub-plot be connected to Antagonist. I thought about Antagonist a bit and an idea came to me. It would mean abandoning the current sub-plot entirely and scrapping everything I’d done on it the last two days. So what? Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. Whether they are darling because they are awesome, or darling because you worked so hard on them, if they don’t work, lose em.

Now, I’m not entirely crazy. I saved the current outline and then used Save As to create a draft 2. In the new draft is where I would start fleshing out this new sub-plot. I’d have the old one handy in case this new one didn’t work. I sat back then and thought about the new plot. I spent a few hours doing so, following ideas where they lead and considering how everything could be connected into a story. It was working rather nicely. And as I thought and typed in plot points I realized something: this new plot clicked with me. I liked it. I liked where it was going, where it came from, and some of the things that could happen because of it. It also gave me an idea for a dramatic prologue.

That’s not to say it will end up exactly as I have it conceived right now. It might end up being tweaked later, but it certainly feels more right than the previous one. So don’t be afraid of scrapping something that isn’t working. It just might give you the freedom to come up with a better idea.

Categories: Dragonlinked, Lethera, Tips, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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