I woke up this morning, a bright sunny Sunday morning, to one of my favorite things. Flowers. It makes such a lovely May day. Wisteria, lilacs, forget-me-nots, and my big bunch of phlox. I am watching the buds on my roses anxiously and will fertilized them this week. But today, a Sunday, the beauty of nature gives me peace.
The weather has changed now, no longer cold. I had to pick my broccoli because it is getting too hot. I’ll plant something in its stead, any suggestions gladly accepted!
Less than 48 hours. You can get the whole series in this campaign, up to Cassandra’s Castle, read up, and get ready for this fall when my brand new never before published book 7 releases on Kickstarter. I am really excited about this grand finale. Everything but the epilogue is drafted and I’m spending the summer free time polishing it and getting some awesome rewards ready for it. Any requests? What would you like to see? I’m thinking about painting a picture or two to add to the computer generated illustrations. I’m guessing Sept/Oct maybe but I might also have a long prelaunch to get momentum. As it is, you can get all the other books now and read them. That’s a lot of reading, too. You won’t find a better deal than in these campaigns, not for eBooks of the series nor paperbacks and the LE hardcovers are only offered once (although there will be standard hardcovers available). Anyway, this is the last 48 hours.
Olivia Atwater explores love, grief, and the very last bit of chocolate in this sweet modern fantasy, full of wit and heart. By 2022 SPFBO award winning novelist.
Check it out!
Browsing through Kickstarter site can be pretty amazing, especially when you happen upon projects like Brandon Sanderson’s campaign that landed 41 million dollars last year. There have been some close seconds in the fantasy division and I’m always curious to see who is acing it.
And how they’re doing it!
I’ve been fortunate to be rubbing elbows with high funders in a Facebook group that shares campaigns with each other. Sharing projects by posting links to them in our updates , newsletters, and blogs has been somewhat successful for my 10th anniversary launch of Ian’s Realm. My current campaign (book 6, Cassandra’s Castle) is doing well, though I was hoping to reach that audio book goal. Maybe still.
But as you can see in Olivia’s project, who is both traditionally published and self published, concentrates on the beauty of her book, offering her limited edition as a piece of artwork. As an artist I appreciate that. I love physical books, and these look extremely beautiful with original art, gold foil, the works. So take a look at her remarkable rewards and drop your dime on this campaign. I bet you’ll be thrilled you did!
Of course, I’m talking about writing first drafts and other literary attempts.How many times do we start a project that we think works, and then show a few people and they shake their heads, or smile forcefully and say, “That’s a nice story.” But you know deep down it isn’t and so you stuff it in your drawer because there are some passages in it that are genius but the rest of it…well, the rest of it kind of sucks.
I have some works like that. Most of them are filed away, some still on a floppy disk somewhere that will never be seen again unless I pick up an old computer at a thrift shop that can still read floppies. I’m not sure it’s worth it though.
I remember the very first try at Ian’s Realm. I sent it off to an editor who was so sweet and kind and encouraging she said she’d give me a critique. The manuscript came back with so much red on it my eyes burned, but the comments were helpful and I learned so much from just that one read through.
I recently pulled that manuscript out of its file and re read it and thought, you know, after ten years of honing my craft, I can fix this! It’s the same story, (sort of) of my best selling novel, but with a totally different twist and I like it. The characters are not as nice as in the final one. They’re actually kind of mean to each other. But it isn’t unrealistic at all. I mean, sisters and brothers fight. And older teens might manipulate. This story leans more to gaming than the final version and it has an appeal if only for that.
So I fixed it.
It’s called The Dragon Targe and I’m offering an illustrated paperback on my Kickstarter campaign if we meet the next stretch goal.
Anyone who pledges a physical tier…(and the lowest is the $30 paperback of Cassandra’s Castle which comes with color illustrations and a special edition bookmark), will get an illustrated paperback of The Dragon Targe free! You’ll also get all the other rewards from four different stretch goals! Come take a look!
An alternate path from the Ian’s Realm Trilogy, two siblings who have traveled to the Realm use the software as a vendetta against each other, with Ian and Abbi paying the consequences
Here in the Pacific Northwest we finally had some sunshine for it’s been raining pretty much non stop these last few months. My husband and I have a lovely piece of property in a valley along the Puget Sound and one of the reasons we bought this place is because it has a small orchard.
It’s not just the fruit that was so alluring, it was the blossoms. Now don’t get me wrong. We’re not wealthy. We’re fortunate to have come across a small home for a really good price but the price was good because the person selling us the house fell into a sad situation and had to sell. And I hope his circumstances have turned around for the better, just like I hope all the young people struggling can find a way out of their financial woes. I cannot turn the tide for them, all I can do is help when I can. Goodness knows I spent many a year praying for a home because I lived out of the back of my truck, in a tipi, by the river, and in shelters a good portion of my single mother life. So I know what it’s like and because of that I hope to sell books so that I can be of assistance to my children and grandchildren and others. Life is not easy. It can be a rose, but it has its thorns.
Anyway, I digress. That’s not why I’m writing this blog. Yesterday when the sun shone for the second day in a row (quite a feat for WA) and all our trees popped out in blossoms, I had to take pictures. So I’m sharing with you these blossoms.
This is our cherry tree bloom.
One of our apple trees. Don’t ask me what kind. This tree was planted over 40 years ago. The apples are huge, soft when cooked so they make great applesauce, and delicious when golden. We also have Macintosh apples and another mysterious cultivar.
Here is our pear tree. This bosc pear tree is also gorgeous when its golden fruit is hanging from it.
And a peculiar fruit that has the consistency of a pear, but isn’t. We have no idea what it is.
And our purple plum tree that has so many plums the poor thing has to be supported in the summer!
I just wanted to share with those of you that love nature and are not fortunate enough to have property to enjoy, whatever the reason. I love my place. It’s a haven. When people talk about “getting away” I count my blessings that my home is equal to such a getaway.
May you also be blessed with beauty, fresh air, and peace!
I just came across this really awesome Kickstarter project developed by a friend on Facebook. What a novel idea! A publication that takes us to actual places that our favorite books are located in!
Authors AND readers should be backing this.
Do you want to know more about towns and places you find in your favorite book?
Or have you found yourself asking any of the following questions:
“Wait! Stranger Things was filmed there?!”
“What books take place in….?”
“What’s a new way I can share the local spots that inspired my newest book?”
Have you found yourself asking these questions on social media or googling for answers? Then Where the Stories Take Us is the project you’ve been looking for.
The Where the Stories Take Us travel guide will be a quarterly publication that brings the heart of the story to the readers through an on-the-ground and in-the-middle-of-it-all ebook and blog that puts the adventures right into the hands of readers and give a new way for authors to reach their readers.
For Readers: Through author interviews, book features, spotlights on amazing indie bookstores, beautiful pictures that spotlight locations in books, film, and small screen favs, and awesome hotels that have a story all their own, Where the Stories Take Us will pop you right in the middle of the action. Then it’ll take you even further through a regularly updated blog and the option to receive monthly subscription boxes filled with great novels that I would personally recommend based on the featured locations along with all kinds of travel and bookish goodies.
And by the time you’re done reading, you’ll likely be inspired to build your own story – either close to or far from home. Maybe even both.
For Authors: Where the Stories Take Us will give you a unique and fun way to allow readers into your world – the spaces that inspired your story and that inspire you to write.
From the bookstores you frequent, the coffee shop you write in, and that covered bridge where your favorite scene took place, we will give you a chance to share those things with the readers in a fun, unique way that will never cost for advertising.
And you never know, we might just pick your book to feature as one of our “location” reads that we love!
There are moments in history that cause us to reflect and often those moments stir emotions in us because of the bitterness mankind too often carries for one another. I cannot argue that the oppressed feel the brunt of the iron rod. But sometimes, just sometimes, the oppression comes not from the wealthy and those in power, but from mobs who have been lied to.
Such was the case in the revolution in Portugal in 1908 (in my opinion, though I wasn’t there). So ruthless were the revolutionaries, that they failed to speak the truth but rather lied about injustices that weren’t even happening, and by so doing, a family was not only destroyed, but for a long time, the country was destroyed.
I took great pains in researching what happened in Portugal at the turn of the century, when the mob became discontented with the monarchy. They cried tyranny, but the king was a righteous king and actually pulled the country out of debt. He had two sons who were raised with an amazing education in the arts, in oceanography, in diplomacy, in grace and charity by a mother who did nothing but love her husband and children. The father and the brother were assassinated in broad daylight, and the youngest son, 17 going on 18 years old who had not been trained to be a king, suddenly became the ruler of a nation of unrest. With the help of his mother, he ruled for only 3 years until the insurrectionists bombed the castle, and then he was exiled. He was never allowed to return to his homeland, and not long after he was poisoned in England for fear he might have offspring who would come back and claim the throne.
So moved was I by his story, I wanted to give him a happier ending, and someone he could love to see him through the hard times, and that’s how Cassandra’s Castle came about.
Book 6 of Ian’s Realm Saga, a time travel fantasy, Cassandra’s Castle, has been rewritten to account for new technology in this SFF story, illustrated, and is going to an off-set printer for its limited edition hardcover.
This has been the most popular story of the Ian’s Realm Saga, as it can also be read as a stand alone.
In this Kickstarter project all books up to this point are available. I’m revising and relaunching the series in honor of its 10 year anniversary and am almost finished with the draft of the final conclusion. Book 7 (yet untitled) will wrap up this series on Kickstarter in the fall.
I hope I can persuade you to take a look at Cassandra’s Castle. My dream stretch goal is to raise enough funds to commission Robert Miano to record the audio book. If we do, anyone that pledges on a $30 or more tier will also get a recording of the audiobook. You’ll hear his voice in the trailer.
Please consider supporting this project. I think you’ll love this time-travel fantasy.
I sit here at my computer and by connecting my imagination to my keyboard, I’m able to disappear from this world to another. I meet actual people with fantastical experiences unfathomable to reality but are very real none the less.
All it takes is letting loose of what roots you to normalcy. If you spend enough time creating, your little creations live with you. It’s nothing to fear. You’re in control. You can shut the door by closing the book. But what’s fun is that the book is there in your mind and will open again at your command.
It’s a joy being a writer. I love C.S. Lewis’s comment when he said “You can make anything by writing.” Because you can!
Writing stories is my magic carpet and what’s so glorious about this tapestry is that so many others have come before me, alongside me, and after me doing the same thing. Novel writing is like being offered the ‘extended version’ of life. It makes living a three dimensional joy.
I invite you to the worlds that I’ve discovered deep in that dimension somewhere because reading is the exact same experience! I go there with any novel I read. Please do turn a page and follow along!
Writing book 7, almost done. Yet untitled but getting closer.
I’m not going to do this, I don’t think…but I can see where C.S. Lewis ended his Narnia series with the children dying in real life so they could spend eternity in Narnia. I didn’t like his ending the first time I read The Last Battle. It was sad, it was unsettling, but my thoughts have now changed as I come to Ian’s Realm’s conclusion.
After writing a portal fantasy where the characters are torn between the real world, and the fantasy world, it would make sense that they want to stay, despite the dangers. I keep thinking, where would Ian really want to be? Where does Cassie want to be? what about Ian’s Dad. I have to make these decisions in this book and if it were me, I’d step into the Realm and lock the door behind me. But does Ian think the same way? Does Cassie? Does Alex? Do Brad and Elisa? These are questions I have to answer in this book. Does the family stay together? Or is there a bittersweet parting?
“The king is a tyrant, oppressing the poor, and spending thepeople’s money on luxuries.”
When Cassie stumbles into an alternate world through a portal into a kingdom in turmoil, she is outraged at these words and joins the rebellion. But is it true?
Eighteen years after her father visited the Realm, (Ian’s Realm Saga books 1 – 5) Cassie takes a selfie on her cell phone and travels through a portal to the same world. Thrilled to have an adventure, she stumbles into the den of the cranky old wizard, Silvio.
Through him she learns of the unrest happening in the kingdom called Alisubbo. When a handsome cavalry officer, Valerio, appears with his troops in all his pompous attire, Cassie is breathless.
The cunning Valerio immediately recognizes the opportunity of befriending a lovely, young, and naive stranger. He sweet-talks her into helping his cause and gives her the task of delivering an Appeal for Peace to the king.
Tragically, unbeknownst to her, the letter is not what Valerio says it is.
As Cassie travels to the castle she encounters the royal family, and reconsiders her involvement in the rebellion, especially after meeting the king’s son.
My friend has just released her hardback edition to her paranormal mystery and you’ve got to check it out! I am.
Selina is a woman with a secret…and she has been hiding it for a very long time.
With her nieces, she runs Luna’s, a nightclub in downtown Seattle, catering to Steampunk and Goth clientele. When someone leaves a body behind her club, she is drawn into a web of mystery and murder. Puncture marks on the body indicate a vampire might be responsible and as more women are killed, a red rose is left by their bodies.
When a vampire hunter with secrets of his own comes to investigate, Selina wonders who she can trust.
I have a very sweet friend who is doing a Kickstarter on for her books and she has been helping so many people I wanted to see her campaign fund. She’s got some awesome rewards starting at $5 for the ebooks and her paperbacks are 2 for $45 which isn’t a bad deal at all.
Canyon isn’t the best Alpha, but he’s a good wolf. He has one goal, pay off the debt he owes to another pack and keep his small pack from breaking apart. His wolf has another goal… Claim his mate.
When an Alpha female strong enough to lead with him crosses his path, she’s perfect. There’s only one problem… She has another goal.
Luna isn’t the best shifter, but she’s a good sister. The only thing she cares about is finding her sister. No matter the cost. When Canyon’s path crosses with hers, he gives her his protection. Whether she wants it or not.
But Canyon wakes up the Alpha wolf in her along with the emotions she keeps locked away.
With her sister’s life in the balance, destiny and love confront the danger head on. Will Canyon lose his mate or will his love be enough to keep Luna safe?
Ares isn’t the best shifter, but he’s a good vice-president. He has one goal, keep the club stable and the pack out of the news. His wolf has another goal… Claim his mate.
When a curious reporter follows a lead to Thunder River and crosses paths with the Savage Stalkers, she piques the interest of the vice-president and his wolf. There’s only one problem… She’s a human.
Marlowe Briar isn’t the best reporter, but she’s a tenacious investigator. The only thing she cares about is uncovering the truth behind the rumors of a griffin sighting in New Orleans. No matter the cost. When Ares’s path crosses with hers, she finds the heart of her story. Whether he wants to be or not.
But Ares wakes up the emotions she keeps locked away.
With the secret of the Savage Stalkers in the balance, destiny and love confront the danger head on. Will Marlowe tell Ares’s story, or will his love be enough to change her mind and keep the Savage Stalkers and shifters safe?
So who is this friend of mine? Her name is Jules Crisare
Jules Crisare loves writing sexy shifter romances. The growly and dominant males of Broken Peak and the Silver Sentinels are the ones bending to the strong wills of the smart heroines who cross their paths. Seriously, only strong heroines need apply to capture the hearts of these sexy alphas. Born and raised in the Midwest, she hopped from one coast to the other for several years before moving back to the Midwest. If she isn’t at her laptop writing and it’s not football season (Go Pack Go!), she’s reading, knitting (she has a serious addiction to yarn), dehydrating fruit, or testing small batch bourbons for her Old Fashioneds.
Sometimes when we write books our first attempt falls flat, or so you think. But eleven years after drafting the final Ian’s Realm, I’ve gone back to the beginning. Though The Dragon Targe has some huge flaws, (like my characters needed some tempering) I found that flawed or not, they made a pretty good story. So you can look at this little novella now as a path not taken, sort of a side-step to the original one (some parts of it are the same and made it to the series) because I’m going to finish it as a special Kickstarter stretch goal reward if the Diary of a Conjurer project hits $2,000.
Yes it’s this draft that inspired the Ian’s Realm Saga.
And we’re only $48 from doing so.
Here’s a little explanation of the story.
Just as in the published novel, Ian goes into the Realm with his dad, comes back without his father, and prepares to go in again, this time with Abbi. He knows Elisa, Abbi’s neighbor’s child, has a magic shield that the Kaemperns need for the war. So Brad, (Elisa’s brother) thinking he’s doing the right thing, takes it and gives it to Ian to take in the Realm with him…under the condition he gets to go into the Realm too.
Well, when Elisa finds out she’s livid. So she decides to take matters into her own hands. Here’s an excerpt.
“Elisa opened the character files, found her brother’s cartoon folder, and dropped the whole thing into the Realm files just like she had seen Abbi do. She clicked on ‘add soldiers’ and scrolled through the menu until she found Mr. Black Tights. She right-clicked on his box and dragged and dropped the biggest sword she could find into it. She dragged the box to the environment and hit ‘save’. The tall figure dashed into the woods with his sword, his bright yellow cape cascading behind him. She sat back with her arms folded and waited to see what would happen.”
I’d love to get you this novella, so please pledge to the campaign. 9 more days left. You won’t be disappointed. There are a lot of perks you won’t get just buying the books.
Transcribed by Whomticker, Silvio wondered if he was making a mistake giving the old wizard so much information as to pen his diary. The Magic Thief was hardly a trustworthy soul. Still, since Whomticker was a known crook, maybe his skills would come in handy.
“Imprisoned within a tree, I was. With only my wandering mind to keep me alive, that and the magic brewing inside of me. Though I could not move to conjure it, I felt the energy keeping me and that old cedar alive.” The wizard grunted and turned to fix his eyes on the old stump.
“It would have died had I not been there, burned into flame like the rest of Alcove Forest. In the same manner, it kept me safe.”
“Did you want me to record the years before you were… let’s say… pinned to the tree?” Whomticker asked, scribbling Silvio’s words on rabbit parchment. He looked up at the old man and gave a pout. “How did you escape the island?”
Silvio shook his long silver hair and glared at Whomticker. “How did you escape?” he countered.
“Someday I’ll tell you. For now, we must dive into your past, find out how that devil took your magic, see if there’s something you can do to retrieve it. Surely there are spells still flowing in your veins you can call on.”
“If there were, I would have already!” Silvio sat on a log and rubbed his knees. They were hurting again, just like his fingers. Old age was creeping up on him, though wizards weren’t supposed to show senescence until they were at least three hundred spins around the sun.
“Why do you look so chipper?” Silvio asked. “Is it because you have everyone else’s spells tucked neatly in your vials?”
“I doubt it. I don’t use stolen magic for myself. I save it.”
“Ha! For what?”
“Mm,” Whomticker scratched his beardless chin, raised a brow, and grinned. “To save the world perhaps, if it should need saving again.”
Silvio turned away. “You’re a magic thief. You should know more about how I can get mine back.”
“I should know more. That’s why I’m here recording your dialog about it, Silvio. You must tell me everything that happened.”
Silvio took a deep breath. It’s true, Whomticker knows nothing of the circumstances that caused the young Kaempern to rob him.
“If you hadn’t trained him to handle magic when he was small,” Silvio accused Whomticker under his breath.
“I did not train him. He asked, and I refused. The child was full of curiosity, but his dealings with it went nowhere. That Rolando boy is a different story. What ever happened to him?
“No idea,” Silvio said.
“Well, it doesn’t matter now. Go on. Tell me your story.”
Silvio leaned against a tree and closed his eyes. His voice floated on the wind as he recalled every detail. He could see the past as if it were yesterday.
“It all began on a stormy night. So wild had the sea been that I couldn’t sleep. Flashes of lightning lit up the horizon and when it did, I saw a ship out there, far from shore. I recognized the sails. A Taikan ship sailing too close to Bandene. It worried me, Whomticker. The old witch queen still looks for us, you know.”
“I’m aware.” Whomticker said, scratching ink into the hide with a steady hand.
“Rain poured down, and I figured I had better get to shelter. Wood still burned in my campfire, but it would be drenched soon enough, so I made a lean-to deeper into the woods. When I returned for driftwood, I stopped myself before venturing to the beach. Coming ashore was a small boat. I wanted no confrontation.
“So, I remained hidden in the shadows, observing the small gig that vaulted on the surf. A woman wrestled with her oars as the tide sucked her craft into the oncoming wave. The ocean refused to let her reach shore, it seemed. After several futile attempts, she jumped out of the boat and dove into the water, pulling the vessel with her.
“Wicked trespasser,” I said to myself. No one comes to Bandene Forest from the north, not rowing boats in a stormy sea, they don’t! It reeked of Taikan sorcery!”
Silvio, wrapped up in the memory, wiped the saliva from his beard as he hissed.
“That leather armor, those silky slacks soaked from swimming, everything about the woman stunk of her sect. I stayed camouflaged until I learned more. What was she doing?”
“I would have as well,” Whomticker said, gawking at Silvio.
“Are you writing this down?” the wizard asked.
“Once beached, the woman bent over the skiff and lifted a body out of the boat. She slung it over her back and trudged up the shore to dry sand. She must have smelled the embers, for she walked toward them quickly. She laid the body down, took off one of her fur wraps, held it to the flames to gather warmth, and then placed it over whomever lay motionless at her feet.”
“I’m presuming this was Ivar?”
“The woman threw several pieces of driftwood on the coals. She blew on the embers until flames shot into the night sky and when she did, I could see her better. There was no doubt she was one of Hacatine’s sorceresses. There’s no mistaking that yellow aura. Cursed wickedness! Not on my beach! She won’t haunt me again, Whomticker. Not here. Not her cronies either.”
“What did you do?”
“Why I conjured magic, stretched out these crooked fingers as far as they would extend, and said the words. Baldervinquish Smote!”
“A temporary freezing spell?”
“Best way to stop someone in their tracks. She spun around, but it was too late for her to react. The magic stunned the woman, and she froze solid as stone. I waited. When I was sure no movement came from either of the trespassers, I approached her and saw that body lying helplessly under the fur. Ebon hair hung in wet tendrils over the young human’s forehead; his thick, black lashes sealed his eyes shut. Though the moon cast a blue glow over the entire beach, I could tell the boy’s complexion was dark, not pale like mine. He wasn’t a man, not yet, but he wasn’t a boy either. I knew right away who he was.”
“Ivar. You felt sorry for him.”
“Fool youth,” Silvio grunted. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I would not have been so unkind to the woman had I known what would come.
“What did you do after that?”
“I turned my attention to the statue, removed the sword from her sheath, and tossed it into the woods. The cursed weapon turned into a stream of sizzling green smoke, disappearing into a puff of flakes that settled quietly on the forest floor. I didn’t bother with the boy. I had questions for him when he woke.”
“Why was he on a Taikan ship? Why did a sorceress save him? Smelled fishy to me. I sat by the fire and waited, sipped my tea, and eventually fell asleep.”
Come take a look at all this project has to offer. A more than just buying the book or series, there’s swag, there’s short stories available only on Kickstarter, and you won’t find a less expensive deal anywhere.
I’ve always thought of Ivar, my main character in Diary of a Conjurer as my Anikan Skywalker, the lost soul who gets lured to the dark side. No one liked Anakin. (no one I talked to). Maybe that was because … Continue reading →
This is the last lap for Layla’s Kickstarter. If you haven’t seen my million posts about it I’m surprised because I’ve been blasting my horn every where I go. I probably should apologize for being such a blatant spammer, but when all you’ve got is you, it’s necessary!
Honestly, I’ve worked hard on this issue. The book, in my opinion is even prettier than Ian’s Realm because I learned a few things. Each one should be getting better.
That being said, I’m working on the next book. Dairy of a Conjurer, and it too will have a limited edition. Did I tell you I am giving out loyalty rewards for people who pledge a physical tier for two or more of my campaigns?
Also, these LE editions will not be available anywhere else except on Kickstarter. I will have editions similar, but not with the 3D diamond covers and as many images.
I don’t write about werewolves, they never appealed to me very much. But I respect fellow authors who do and of course the readers who follow them, and because of that I’m introducing to you Mike Timmins who has written a popular shape shifter book and gained pretty impressive acclaim for it.
The series is called The Lycan War Saga. Check it out. I’m tempted to read it myself even if it isn’t my genre.
Over two millennia ago, Kestrel, a Celtic druidess, waged war against civilization. She believed that civilization was the bane of nature and needed to be destroyed. Sylvanis, a Celtic druidess who believed that civilization and nature could coexist, rose to stop her. To fight this war, they create: WEREBEASTS!
Sylvanis defeats Kestrel… but does she? Through powerful druidic magic, Kestrel has cheated death and sent her soul into slumber in order to one day return and continue her war. Sylvanis is left with no choice but to cast her own spell so that she to can return and stop Kestrel one more time.
When Kestrel awakens in our time, the ancestors of her Were warriors, whose blood still courses with lycanthropy have their powers awoken as well. But once again, Sylvanis has put herself in Kestrels way, and the ancestors of Sylvanis’ Were warriors find themselves shifting into powerful monsters as well. Will they learn to control these powers in time to stop Kestrel again?
Michael Timmins grew up in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo, where he currently resides with his wife and two sons. He became interested in writing at an early age and wrote several short stories that were never published, but were well liked among his peers. Later he honed his writing by creating modules for his friends to play Dungeons and Dragons. His first novel, The Awakening has been in the creative process for almost a decade
Well it’s time to say goodbye to what was and move on to what is to be! I can’t say 2022 was a fantastic year for the world, but for me, it wasn’t bad.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of watching my three-year-old grandson grow from a toddler struggling to communicate to a little fellow who actually cracks jokes and mesmerizes his grandparents with clever conversation.
I’ve been blessed with new roses this year. The most beautiful colors in my garden!
I’ve written books! Revised books! And came up with an awesome way to get my books out to the public (Kickstarter) and have made a lot of new friends in the process, readers and other writers as well.
I’ve had the opportunity to nurture friendships both online and off.
I’ve discovered AI art and have been having a fun time with it, even using my own artwork as a prompt! (Hence the New Year greeting!)
My husband continues to be cancer free.
My sons and daughters seem to be tackling their problems with less assistance from my husband and I.
And though I’ve had Covid a couple of times, I’m healthy now, losing some pounds (yay) and I’m ready to see what 2023 has for me.
Thank you so much for following my blog. My resolution this year, if we have to make one, is to try not to make this blog so spammy, but to come up with more conversational things to post.
So in all that, I hope you (and I) have a Happy New Year.
100 Illustrated LE hardcovers. “…fans of J K Rowling and C S Lewis will find much to enjoy here.” -A Wishing Shelf Book Review.
Abbi and Elisa didn’t mean to enter the Realm. It was all an accident, one which sent Ian and Elisa’s brother Brad on a dangerous journey to find them.
Fighting a dragon can leave youexhausted,in pain, and vulnerable.
After a grueling struggle with Stenhjaert the dragon at the portal entrance, Ian manages to escape, collapse in the Realm, and as a bedraggled hero, continue his quest. He stumbles upon a beautiful woman in the woods while searching for Abbi and Elisa. In the condition he’s in, it’s little wonder that this stranger’s campfire, her warm meal, and her gentle massage makes him lose touch with who he is, and why he had entered the Realm in the first place.
How was he to know the woman was a sorceress…or had a sinister agenda?
Well, at least a late comer. Not sure I “bloom” whatever that means. I’ve been around more than half a century (leaning toward the century marker) and I’m just now reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. Where was I when you all were reading them?
Of course I’m enjoying the books. I just can’t figure out why I never read them when I was young. I had my nose in Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, and classics like The Last of the Mohicans, Scarlet Letter, and Count of Monte Cristo. I wish I’d gone to the fantastical worlds. Maybe I would have started writing sooner.
Then again, I wish I had taken an English major instead of fine arts. Being a painter is lucrative…for very few. But there are worlds of opportunities as writers and not just novelists.
Note to young people. Do it now!
While we’re on the subject of doing it…my editorial review from Wishing Shelf came today. A little note on this awesome organization…they have all sorts of services for writers, are very personalable, and have an annual competition. The founder, (who writes as Billy Bob Buttons) keeps in constant contact with everyone. You should check them out!
This is a skillfully plotted fantasy from the pen of D.L Gardner. I have enjoyed other books by this author including The Keeper which I very much enjoyed. In Layla, the author returns the reader to the Realm, a magical world full of wizards and dragons! Ian (the protagonist) and Brad (Elisa ́s brother) return to the Realm to find Abbi and Elisa. But the plan is thwarted by a nasty queen and Layla, a temptress of sorts who ́s very keen on Ian. I must say, there ́s a lot going on in this young adult novel. There ́s plenty of peril for the characters to battle through; and I particularly enjoyed Ian ́s dilemma as he ́s bewitched by Layla. The ending is also strong; the best way with an adventure story as it ́s the part the reader always remembers best.
In terms of readership, this is very much for teenagers, say 13 – 16 year olds. There ́s suspense, but it ́s never scary, and the writing style is accessible for that age group. I would recommend reading the trilogy first, just to get a grip on the characters and the fantastical setting. And why wouldn ́t you? I just checked out the blurb for the trilogy and it sounds excellent! All in all, this is a wonderful book, and I think fans of J K Rowling and C S Lewis will find much to enjoy here. A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review
I’ve decided on the reward that will be offered for pledging the first 24 hours on Layla’s campaign. If you pledge a physical reward, you’ll get a print of the dragon ship and a digital copy. If you pledge a digital reward you’ll get a high res PDf of the dragon boat.
Lost of images will be included with this campaign!
The dragon boat is the ship that Queen Hacatine sends abroad in which she plans to have the dragon transported to Taikus in when she captures it. It will be on the back cover of the book and you can see it on the banner too.
It could be misconstrued to be a fault, this desire to have an audience. I’ve seen this yearning in creative types, some of us more so than others. There are those who are uninhibited with their inclinations and act out on stage, or in front of a camera, and their audience delights in what they say and the characters they portray.
Others, the more silent ones, take their feelings out on a piece of canvas, their thoughts mingling with colors, shapes and shadows. I have traveled that route in the past, but found that my story telling through visual arts is not as well received, the audience is smaller and sometimes not at all.
Then there are those of us who write.
A common idea is that non-fiction is the outlet that makes your voice heard best. I differ with that philosophy. I’m amazed at the incredible ability a fiction writer, yea, a fantasy writer has that they can give voice to an array of thoughts molded into a heart warming (or heart felt at the least) story that conveys exactly what they’re trying to say. And in so doing, the reader walks away contemplating.
I hope my books trigger my readers to think, or feel. I’m not even sure what it is I’m saying until those 100,000 words are typed, and then I, too, scratch my head and breathe a silent “wow”.
Indeed, communication is an interesting phenomena. Do we hear more than what the actor, the writer, the artist, the dancer, the musician expects us to hear?
I would hope so. Enjoy your creative selves. And while you’re at it, check out and follow my new Kickstarter campaign. This story says much, and in several different ways. The illustrated collector’s edition is slowly coming together. I’ve been formatting, designing the artwork with AI, and shaping it. I’m pretty happy with the way its taking form. I’ll tell you more later as I progress.
I’ve already changed the cover of Layla. And the video is made with some of the illustrations that will be in the LE edition on Kickstarter. Take a peek here and let me know if you like it. The project launches Jan 1 and will run only 17 days. I’ll have a special award if you pledge on day 1.
You can pick up the entire series on the project, eBooks, paperbacks, and hard covers plus swag so everyone can enjoy the fun.
I don’t know about other writers, if they feel the same way I do, but I have some books that should have been read a lot more than they were and Layla is one of them. Granted the original was written quite awhile ago, and I’ve revised it, rewritten and re edited it, so it’s much more polished now. Still, the story has been, and is a page turner, as there is a lot is happening in it.
I’ve combined Layla and Fallen Morning into one volume just so you can read the entire story arc.
I’ve been watching Mythica on Amazon and man, for an indie film it surpasses a lot of what’s been streaming coming from Hollywood They have a Kickstarter project for a brand new feature film in the world of Mythica, following the events of the original epic five-movie series.
I, for one, want to see this fund. You can watch the other episodes on Amazon Prime. I just finished watching episode 3 and I’m hooked. They have $133,140 out of their funding goal of $200,000 at the time of me writing this. Having worked in Indie film I know how important funding is.
The Kickstarter for the limited edition ended Oct 25 and was funded at a whopping 3,500! I’m so thankful for your support. What is even more fun is that in my desperation to think of a new stretch goal, I chose to record a few chapters of the next installment. Layla. Now Ian’s Realm has been on the market for 10 years and has been in the hands of thousands of readers. Layla, not so much. One reason I think is because I ended the trilogy too well. No one cared to go on even though I had some reviewers (well, one) say they didn’t want Ian to leave the Realm.
So Layla came into being. Now Layla not only continues the journey and predicament of the Realm, but it also continues Ian’s coming of age. He starts off the series as a 15 year old. In part 2 he has just finished high school and returns to the magical world, is trusted with some pretty critical responsibilities, and proves himself capable.
But Ian has never really tackled his softer-side emotions, nor the part of growing up that involves a woman. So when he returns to rescue Abbi he encounters Layla, a seductive young woman who has a mission of her own. A new trial for Ian, and we wonder will he pass?
The new version of Layla will be bundled with a book I published as Fallen Morning since both those stories are actually one story arc. Be on the look out for it.
Not only do we follow Ian’s dilemma in this book but we meet a new character named Whomticker. A little wizard who steals magic. In fact, since January is the Make 100 project month, Whomticker is going to be charitable enought to throw out some of his magic to you all.
I’ve been reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series and this is the second series in the last couple of months that I’ve read where the author has no qualms about head-hopping. (using more than one POV without giving warning that the point of view is about to change). The other series was Frank Herbert’s Dune. I came to the conclusion that if it was so common in times past, why are instructors drilling us authors to not head hop now? New writers are cautioned to only use one point of view per chapter and never to change?
And I thought, wow!
Anne McCaffrey head hops. Continually. Her writing is pretty amazing, and understanding where every character is coming from by exploring their thoughts while they’re all in the same room at the same time makes me slow down and think. I’m actually reading the story, not just skimming it. I’m getting into everyone’s head and I can visualize the tension.
Frank Herbert’s head hopping is unique. Reading the character’s thoughts and words and whisperings of what to say and what not to say is like watching a tennis match or high stake chess game.
In a sense, to read their writing is work. Literally. Anytime you use your muscles more than what they’re accustomed to is work. And the brain is a muscle. So reading a story that is complicated is work.
So are we supposed to make things easy for our readers? So they don’t have to work?
Are we spending so much time “dumbing down” our writing to fit the general public that we are lowering the bar? That we aren’t challenging readers to stretch a little out of their comfort zone?
How often have I heard people tell me not to use a certain word because readers might not know what it means?
What? How will they ever learn what that word means if they never see the word? Anne McCaffrey uses an extensive vocabulary. A lot of words I’ve never seen before. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying the story. In fact, it pulls me in. It makes me want to read more. I don’t stop to look the words up, though I could. Maybe I should. Instead, I let those strange combinations of letters grow on me and by reading the context I begin to understand them.
So are modern-day writers lowering the standard and actually doing harm to the intelligence of the human race? It seems like a crude suggestion, but in my conversation with a friend, Jason Harris, he put it eloquently.
“If you read a letter written by a young, confederate soldier to his wife during the civil war, and compare the language and vernacular to today – you can see that the decline started a long time ago.
In the early 1900’s, Latin was a core study.
In the 1960’s, The Lord of the Rings was reading (material) for as young as 10 years old.
The decline has been notable and increasing in tempo.
We are absolutely dumbing things down, and lowering the bar.”
Something to think about.
My Kickstarter is still going on. Ian’s Realm is 10 years old this year. Come help me celebrate! So many cool rewards and this LE edition won’t ever be sold anywhere else ever again! Ian’s Realm Magic Portal 10th Anniversary
Ian’s Realm’s Kickstarter has a bundle of rewards. The LE signed, numbered hardcover with color illustrations, the illustrated paperbacks, and eBooks, some backstories, and a bundle of my fantasy work called Fables and Fantasy…but I’m cooking up some stretch goals that are going to blow you away. Especially the newest one I’ve hinted at. Granted the big stretch goal is going to give us a center foldout for the hardcover, and some foil on the cover.
But I stumbled across something I wrote a few years ago that sparked my creative juices again.
This is the story of Ian’s mother, Lorraine, the woman who died and whom Alex (Ian’s father) thinks he sees in the dragon’s lair.
Lorraine is an immigrant from Mexico and how she and Alex met is a story worth its own novel. I’ve started the story, and I will finish it. In fact, it would give me an opportunity to delve back into a sweet romance novel, as well as it will let readers know more about Ian.
Actually, when I do get around to writing the final sequel, this story will be crucial in Ian’s final character arc, especially in Ian’s relationship with his father.
It’s funny, picking up a story you shoved into the closet years ago, reading and realizing it’s quite good. I can’t wait to share it but I’ll have to finish it first.
Every once in a while a book will come along that you just can’t refuse to read. This group of Kickstarter authors has some really interesting books, and they’re all very tempting. But this one, in particular, whet my appetite and if I could afford it, I’d buy the entire series right now. The issue is, I don’t read on my Kindle much anymore, preferring paperbacks. But we’ll see how my own campaign goes. *scratching chin and scheming.
But here, let me show you his campaign and you tell me if this isn’t a tease.
The Claus Universe? Some legends are forged in fire. Others are born in snow. The Christmas stories you never heard growing up.
You have to go to this campaign and watch the trailer and pick up some of his books. They sound like so much fun!
Writing can be a lonely business, at least until you find other authors of like minds. I’ve been greatly blessed with a group of writer friends, all of who are slaying it on Kickstarter and who are helping each other with their campaigns.
Add to that, Kickstarter has offered some awesome specials (and seasonal) promos like October’s Witchstarter, featuring books (and other projects) that have a magical, maybe even witchy theme. Our Facebook group decided to put together a website where you can see all our magical Kickstarter projects on one page.
So if you want to check out some awesome stories in line with this month’s theme, Click Here!
For a long time I have been wanting to put together a volume of Ian’s Realm that includes more than just the story, but some of the artwork that I’ve done for the books. I’m thrilled that this project is finally coming together. I found someone, Judah Lamey, who consented to color those black and white illustrations I did for Ian’s Realm in the first editions that were published by Hydra Publication. I hired Mario Teosodio, whose work I admire so much, to create new covers for the series, and I even found a printer here in Seattle who will bind it all up and foil the cover. So I’m thrilled to announce the
I beseech you (is that still a word, I’ve been lost in another realm lately…) to click the “Notify me on launch” button so that we can give this Kickstarter project a boost when the doors open to the public!
Limited Editions will be signed and numbered, and the number of the book will be on a first come first serve basis, so if you are the first person to back the project with a LE tier, your book will be #1, and so on.
There are more rewards than just the hardcover edition of Ian’s Realm. I’ve created a hardcopy AI-illustrated songbook from the songs of the North Wind that you find in Ian’s Realm. There’s also an excerpt or two from the book. It’s really pretty and I think you’ll enjoy it!.
The audio narrated by Teresa Garcia is also being offered in this Kickstarter, and my bundle of Fables and Fantasy is an add on as well as some of my backlist.
Again, the more people who ask to be notified at launch, the stronger this campaign will become from the start and I’ll be able to add bonus rewards. And as far as the book goes, I’m excited to see it myself. It’s a dream come true that everything is coming together to create this piece of art.
As of this second, there are 61 hours left for my campaign for The Keeper, A fast-paced tale of monarchs and ladies – wizards and dragons – and even a teenage boy who joins forces against the miscreants of the future and their machines, to fight for the beloved tradition of the elders. Download a sample of The Keeper.
I beseech you to take a look! This is a fun book, even my editor says so and I only say it because I had fun writing it. The digital will be fulfilled by the end of September and there are so many more bonuses.
Bookmarks, character profiles, maps, short stories, #free novels. Tiers from $5 to $500
I’ve been having a lot of fun doing the character profiles. Take a look at a couple. Imagine having these as a collection that you can slip in each book of the series!
And the entire series is available in this campaign, eBook, signed paperbacks, and special Kickstarter Edition hardbound. Don’t miss out…the hours are counting away!
I have a friend who just launched a campaign for her books and I wanted to tell the world about it because her books are imaginative and unique and she’s the nicest person!
She commissioned me to do her cover and being as they are fairy tale books, with sweet romance I had fun painting it. She’s offering prints in some of her tiers.
I would ask you to please take a look at her project. She has always been so generous with her work and these Kickstarter rewards prove her dedication to giving her readers as much as she can. Lots of back lists offerings and more. Please go take a look and consider helping her make her modest goal!
So many awesome perks. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Someday I will join my father in the world beyond when our broken bodies become strong again. But I can’t speak for him or the goddess. I don’t know what they can or will consent to do. What I do know is that your badgering has made things worse.” Unsettled, the Keeper spread his wings, quivered, and spat another breath of flame which lit up the air surrounding him, warming Maurice’s cheek as the sparks brushed by. –
FYI I noticed some of you following the workshop failed to find the last lesson. That’s because I accidentally numbered it wrong. It’s correct now and Lesson 6 so if you missed it, scroll down and finish up!
Now that you know your story’s plot, which is really fleshing out the premise, you can put it in order.
This is where you can also plan your word count. For my stories, I try to get at least 60,000 words for YA. No more than 80,000. (When I do epic I reach for 100,000 but I never get there in the first draft. That takes revisions). I average 2,000 – 3,000 words per chapter give or take. So if I have 30 chapters at 2,000 words each I have my count. If you are doing NaNoWriMo your count is 50,000 to finish so that’s somewhere between 20 – 25 chapters.
Now make a list of 20 – 25 events that need to take place in your story.
Include a chapter for introducing the character and the world in some way. Include an ‘inciting incident’ that sparks the action. You can divide up your chapters into 3 acts if you like doing it that way.
5 chapters for the beginning: Act I. 10 for the middle, Act II and 5 for the end, Act III
YOU MUST NAME YOUR CHAPTERS!
Naming your chapters will help you write a synopsis. It will be a guide for you if you need to go back and add or delete or rearrange. Do not just number your chapters. This is imperative!
Now on to getting those events moving forward.
Act I Introduce the world, characters, relationships, and inciting incidents.
Chapters 1 – 5
Act II Send your MC on a journey into the darkness.
Make things harder and harder for them. If you’re writing a mystery, build up suspense. If a fantasy, show some action. Throw in a subplot with some of your supporting characters. Have the story revolve around your premise. Toward somewhere in the 8th or 9th chapter things blow up out of proportion.
Chapters 6 – 16
Act III is the climax and then the resolution. Make sure you resolve all your subplots too.
Chapters 17 – 22 or 25
Now for each chapter make a headline as if in a newspaper. Number these.
Example: Chapter 1: Josey goes to the circus
Chapter 2 : Josey meets Mary and learns about her being sent away to Timbuctoo.
Chapter 3: Josey, devastated, goes to the beach and considers diving into the water.
Chapter 4: Along comes Mildred to distract him and make false promises
And so on…. all the way to your last chapter.
When you have the events that lead your character from point A to point B, his personality, his trauma, his relationship with the antagonist, more trauma, his revelation, the final confrontation, and then the resolution all mapped out, go to a word document or whatever software you use, and put each one of these headings on a separate page. You can number them now but keep the headings. Make a page break in between them.
Once that is done, go back to the first one and explain in a short summary (I usually italicize them so I remember to go back and delete them) about what should be in that scene. Develop it. Each chapter should also have a beginning, middle, and end and a conflict that builds and leads into the next one.
When you’re finished summarizing your chapters, go over them again and check for continuity. You’ll probably have to have a number of conversations and actions in each chapter to get your word count to 2,000 or 3,000 so detail it as much as possible. The more detailed the summary, the easier it is to write the chapter.
When this is finished, you’re ready to write your draft. You’ll be surprised as to how quickly and fluently it will take shape.
There is plenty of room to improvise and change things as you go. Your characters will take a life of their own now. Be spontaneous. If things change, remember you’re the one writing the story. You can adjust. If you do, just make notes in future or previous chapters of your changes.
You’ll be surprised now how quickly your story will take shape. After the draft is finished you can go back in and develop subplots, twists, and whatever your story needs but you’ll have that foundation to build on.
Let me know if you use this method and how it turns out for you!
Planning your story is like tilling the ground and getting things ready to plant. Think of all the things you need for your veggies to grow. Good soil, irrigation, and plenty of sunshine. Likewise, your plan for your story should have a decent premise, interesting characters, and a healthy plot.
First off, let’s discuss just exactly what a plot is.
A plot is the main group of events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence that has a beginning, middle, and an end.
In other words, your plot is your premise worked out. Remember Lesson 2? Remember that little one-sentence ditty that we wrote out at the beginning of this workshop? The one that most instructors tell you to write after your novel is done? Well, guess what? You’re three steps ahead of the game. You have your premise!
And you have your characters. So now all you have to do is figure out
1. How is your main character going to overcome their obstacles and reach their goals?
2. How is the antagonist going to try and stop them?
3. What events will take place to present the problem?
When you have those three things decided, you have a PLOT.
So let’s look at some of the details you’ll need to begin your story and this string of events.
You’ll need to introduce your characters, primarily your protagonists and antagonists, and their strengths and weaknesses in live action at some point in your story so answer these questions on a notepad for both of them
Who are they?
Where are they?
What is their relationship which each other?
How does the obstacle or crisis affect each of them individually?
How do they overcome (or are overwhelmed by) the crisis that they are faced with?
Now comes the fun part! The story. This is putting your premise, your characters, and your plot all on one page. So fill in the blanks with the instructions given for each line. You’re going to want to do this and save it so fill in the spaces.
MAKE SURE YOU WRITE YOUR PREMISE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE SO YOU CAN REFER TO IT.
Once upon a time there was _____________
who was _____________
but had to ___________
and then _______________
but much to their surprise they ________
Until finally they _________________
Introduce the character.
Give us a description of their strengths.
Introduce us to the problem.
Build the problem with the antagonist.
Take us to a climax.
Resolve the issue.
A good story will have some subplots going on with your supporting characters so work on their characters, but they should never take away from the main premise.
Next step tomorrow we’ll talk about fleshing this out.
Hey if you ever feel like paying it forward, I have a Kickstarter going on right now that would love some love. Take a peek!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Where I live it’s supposed to be cooling off a little. But then, the weatherman doesn’t control the weather, he’s only supposed to report it, so we’ll see what happens! Aside from having a nice weekend, I hope you had a little bit of time to develop your characters, at least two or three of them. Did you give them some wants and needs? How about conjuring up a monkey wrench to throw in their game?
Today we’re going to make one more decision before we start writing.
We’re going to decide who is going to be telling the story, and what tense it will be told in. This lesson might be the hardest part of storytelling because whatever you decide, you must stick with it. As you get more comfortable with writing, you’ll be able to alternate points of view (POV). But stick with one for your first novel as practice. You can’t alternate tenses, and people who have edited my work, know this is something that I still struggle with.
Most writers have a default setting. They automatically write a certain way, be it past tense or present, first-person POV, or third person. Figuring this out ahead of time can make a huge difference in terms of rewrites, revisions, and editing.
I almost always write in the third person past. It’s how I like to read a story, and I find it more exciting because I can switch POVs easily and follow more than one character. That gives me the ability to develop subplots and create a large and detailed world. But I write fantasy and this fits well with that genre. (When we explored the genres, we might come across popular POVs and tenses that readers expect, so make a note of that.)
Only once did I switch from writing in third-person and that was with my novel Dylan, which I wrote in first-person. Why? Because what I wanted to do with the story was better told from Dylan’s point of view.
The story is inspired by my passengers on the ACCESS bus I used to drive for the physically and mentally impaired. I felt such compassion for so many of the individuals, I wanted to write a story that showed how I conceived their innermost wants and needs. I did this by diving into Dylan’s thoughts, to show how intelligent he was, but how the world viewed him as different because he lacked communication skills. There was no other way I could do that but to write it in first-person.
First-person: Written from the perspective of the I. We get to learn all of the character’s thoughts and feelings this way (unless they are an unreliable narrator). It can be very immersive, but it is hard to pull off more than one POV in a manuscript like this and make them all feel unique. It can be used most effectively from one person’s POV.
Second-person: This is from the perspective of the “you.” It is sometimes used in short stories and never used in manuscript-length work in a sustained way. It is very limited and for the most part distracting.
Third-person objective: The facts of the story are reported by an impersonal observer. This can work well in short stories but is very tricky to pull off in manuscript work.
Third-person omniscient:An all-knowing narrator interprets events and also conveys the thoughts and feelings of the characters the book contains. This is more common, although still unusual. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is narrated this way.
Using present tense (is, hopes, walks), is comparatively rare, but more common than it was a decade ago. The present tense is more common in debut novels, short stories, and literary fiction.
Past tense is more common in everything else, particularly genre fiction. Past tense is more familiar to readers and they are less likely to notice it at all. It reads more seamlessly.
Yet present tense gives you a sense of immediacy that past tense doesn’t.
Either way, it is something to figure out when you start writing.
What is the most comfortable POV for you to write in? Write a brief paragraph in that POV.
Tomorrow we’ll begin plotting. That’s the fun part so have lots of paper ready.
I’m adding to the I love Kickstarter posts because I have something to say about it. Please read the other ones too and VISIT THE KEEPER!
I first started following Kickstarter when Zombie Orpheus was filming their series. I was fortunate to be one of their zombies in season 3! Seriously, that was my acting debut and maybe the end of it I don’t know! We had so much fun and when I went to their Kickstarter I was blown away at the money they raised!
You see, Kickstarter is for fans to support what fans want to see. They (you) become the producers. You have an active involvement in what gets produced! Isn’t that a novel idea? To actually get a vote on the quality of products that are out there? With publishing, you are pretty much pre-ordering a product, but ONLY if the project funds do you buy it. You give Kickstarter your credit card but no money is taken until the project is over (usually 30 days from its launch) and it is funded. And you can withdraw your pledge if you change your mind.
So as an author of fantasy I’ve found an audience that likes my books wants to read them and is excited about them. Kickstarter gives me a lovely page to build, and they have a huge resource of readers and creatives that find my project through them! It’s so much more encouraging than being on the bottom of a slush pile of other retailers’ search engined. I believe I will be launching all the books I write from now on through this platform.
And by the way, be on the lookout for Ian’s Realm’s 10th Anniversary Kickstarter project. It will be great!
I’m taking the weekend off from our Hacking the First Draft Lesson to bring some real posts from some real people about the awesomeness of Kickstarter.
When asked why these authors enjoy Kickstarter both as a patron and a creative, Here are some informative answers you might want to mull over (and take a look at their projects.)
Steve doesn’t have a Kickstarter going right now, but here’s what he has to say.
My favorite thing about Kickstarter is that it’s a great platform to pre-order books and get exclusive materials. I don’t have a Kickstarter running now, but I’m looking forward to launching my first one this fall.
Rebecca Carter says:
Kickstarter for me is the new eBay, where I can find all kinds of cool stuff. When I had a gift shop before, I went to eBay to find unique hand-crafted items to buy wholesale and re-sell. Although I don’t use Kickstarter to do re-sales, I love scrolling through the projects to find all kinds of fascinating projects I can support, even if I don’t want the rewards they are offering.
As a creator, I love Kickstarter because it offers me a chance to offer followers some of that said cool stuff. They can get so much more than simply a book that they could buy from any retailer.
You have your premise, and you know your genre. Now what?
And I’m using Kairos to escort you through this phase because he’s a wizard, and you are just about to perform magic, so I thought he’d be a good icon to inspire you.
Your premise is going to define some of the qualities of your main character. So grab a piece of paper or a blank word document or whatever program you use, and write your premise at the top. You don’t ever want to lose sight of that.
Think of a name for your MC (main character).
I have a little bit of a process when I invent names, but I write fantasy and different worlds where people’s names might need to be more unusual than in today’s world.
Now considering your premise, think for a minute.
What does your main character want? This would be the conscious goal that he’s striving for. Perhaps he/she wants to further their education, or become rich and famous, or maybe they want to get revenge for the death of a loved one. Maybe they want to make a mark in the world or be in the limelight. Or maybe they just want to live in peace. This conscious desire is going to be what motivates him. So, considering the premise that you wrote, there’s going to be a driving force within your character that moves him throughout your story.
EXAMPLE: Kairos has two things he wants at the beginning of my story. He wants to be in good favor with the king, and he wants to marry the king’s daughter.
Now! What does your main character need? This has nothing to do with what he wants. Put yourself in the place of his psychologist. Sit him/her on the couch and determine what this character really needs, especially as opposed to what he wants. Maybe he needs to put his ego aside. Maybe he needs to take a closer look at his heart. Maybe what he really needs is an awakening to the world around him. Maybe he needs to get off his duff and do something about his circumstances.
EXAMPLE: Kairos needs to be himself. He tries too hard to be who his father was (a famous all-powerful wizard whom the king loved dearly). Because of that, he fails miserably, and the king considers him inept and doesn’t want him anywhere near his daughter.
While you answer these questions, feel free to write up some back story for your MC (and for your antagonist.) This will help you and give depth to your character, make him real and by making him real you’re going to grab the hearts of your readers. He has a reason he wants what he wants, and there is an even deeper reason for what he needs, even though he might not realize it. Needs and wants will create conflict within the character. Some of their backstories can eventually be integrated into yournovel.Not as aninformation dump, of course, but in little pieces here and there.
What characteristics make your character want the goal listed in your premise?
What is the crisis or obstacle written in your premise?
Thinking only about your character, his wants, and his needs, (forget about the antagonist for now) answer this question.
Why is he/she going to have trouble overcoming this obstacle?
What characteristics does your MC have that will help him overcome this obstacle?
All right. Now that you’ve done that, let’s bring another person into the story. The antagonist. Not every story has a human being as an antagonist. Sometimes the thing that creates conflict can be the MC himself, or it could be a power or force against him. But usually, we’ll want to see that thing that stands against the MC personified in some way. So without considering unique circumstances, let’s look at the antagonist as if it were a human being.
Who is the antagonist in your story?
Without thinking about your MC, what does your antagonist want?
What does he/she need?
What good traits does he/she have?
What weaknesses does he/she have?
How does his/her desire put a stumbling block in front of the MC? To what extent will they go to ‘win the prize’?
Think of some supporting characters.
These people are usually helpers to either the MC or the antagonist. Sometimes they are comic relief, sometimes they are there to give a helping hand. Sometimes they are treacherous and spoil plans. List a few supporting characters you want in your story.
NOTE: Subplots will involve these people. They can have love affairs and problems of their own that hamper the MC or the antagonist. The subplots will always have to interweave with your main plot and somehow give substance to it. It is good to plan a subplot or two even if you don’t use them all.
Watch your favorite movie or read a good book and ask these questions as you do. It will help you develop your own characters.
That should be enough homework for the weekend. Come back for lesson 4 on Monday!
While you’re thinking, feel free to pick up some of my books on Kickstarter! I could really use the boost and there’s a special flash tier this weekend for $25.
3-Day only Sale! the ebook of The Keeper ebooks of Books 1 – 4 of Sword of Cho Nisi (Rise of the Tobian Princess, Fall of the Kings, Curse of Mount Ream, and Darkness Holds the Sun PLUS the eBook of Silver Threads 4 short companion stories to the Sword of Cho Nisi series AND A Sneak Peak at the opening chapter of The Keeper. Hurry. Ends Sunday at 11 pm July 31. This tier is eligible for all the unlocked stretch goals.
First step. The Premise! Where are you going and what might get in your way?
Through my years of writing, I’ve seen most authors write the story and then try to pull the premise out of the story. But if you do this first, you no longer have to rack your brain trying to figure out what your story is about by condensing 70,000 words into one sentence. Plus you have a blueprint, small as it is, to follow during the course of writing.
I learned this trick from John Truby’s Anatomy of Story. He calls it a plumbline. A wonderful book that I keep referring back to whenever I start a new novel. Pick up a copy if you can.
If you begin your entire writing journey by starting with the premise first, believe me, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief, especially if you ever have to query an agent or write a blurb on the back of your book. You will save yourself time and create a better end product if you settle on a solid premise before you start writing.
So… get yourself a piece of paper, and from that creative mind of yours, write a premise. It’s simple. You’ll see hundreds of different ways to do it, mostly by people teaching query writing. It’s too bad few of them tell you to do this before your novel is finished, but I’m telling you to do it first.
Here’s what you need:
A protagonist in two words, e.g. young girl or a world-weary witch.
When his son is swept out to sea, an anxious clownfish embarks on a perilous journey across a treacherous ocean to bring him back. (Finding Nemo)
Write a premise for your story. Copy these questions on your notepad and write a few until you’re happy with it.
Who: This will be your protagonist.
What: The character’s needs, what’s their goal?
Conflict: The obstacle that the character must overcome.
Give your character a notable description i.e. young, old, troubled, angry. You don’t need a name yet. I will talk more about creating characters a little later. Once we develop your character you might end up changing the adjective in this premise.
Remember, this is all tentative. Everything can be changed. It’s your story.
If you’re not writing fiction, but a memoir, look back on your life and focus on who you were, what your goals were as a child, and what in your life kept you from achieving those goals.
HOMEWORK: Perfect this, make it exciting enough that you want to write the story. Visualize how it might work. Get your creative juices cooking. Sleep on it tonight. Take notes. But don’t start writing yet because lesson 3 is tomorrow. Remember, we’re going through this novel-writing process step by step. Give yourself plenty of time to mull over your premise.
This is the foundation of your book. Make it strong!
I promised I’d post a workshop on my blog to help authors so here it is. This is for people who have wanted to write a FICTION story and don’t know where to begin. And if they do begin they don’t know how to continue. I tell you I remember well being in that very place. It was overwhelming. Before I had any instructions, or read any good books on the subject, I was lost and alone. In fact, I didn’t even think there were instructions on how to write a book. I thought people were so talented that they just sat down and started typing and in a few weeks there it was, a complete novel!
Not so my friend.
What I’m going to show you here is a compilation of years of study. I’ll also be referring you to information online too.
Now I’ll be honest with you. I am not a best-selling author. I’ve had some of my books on the best seller’s list on Amazon but that was only because I paid a ridiculous price for ads or a BookBub deal. I make no claims to being a marketer. That has nothing to do with writing. You don’t have to write good books to be a best seller and you might write the best novels in the world and still not sell well. Those are two completely different talents and sometimes they are related by only a thread!
With that out of the way, I write a lot and I write well. I could write better, agreed, and I’m working on it. But the part of this whole business is that I love to tell stories. It’s fun. And I think that qualifies me to give you the following information.
We’ll take it in several posts. There will be assignments so be ready. I was selling this course for $75, but not anymore. I’m doing this to help you because it’s so simple and I see so many would-be authors struggling, and I’m getting old, and so many people have helped me, that I’m paying it forward.
First Step to writing…sit down and ask yourself what do I want to write?
The answer will most like involve genre, which is a category of stories and you can do a search yourself on the different categories and tropes that they include. I’m not going to go into this in detail, but study up on the genres you might like to tell a story in. I do fantasy, but I also have dabbled in sweet romance and it seems all my stories end up with a mystery in them. That’s okay to cross genres. But you’ll do yourself a favor to understand what puts a book into what genre because you should fulfill your reader’s expectations.
Different genres have different expectations in terms of length, content, and even main characters.
For example, a work of middle-grade fiction has to be on the shorter side of things. The content generally can’t be too dark (there are exceptions, but there are often reasons for those exceptions), the language tends to be “clean”, and an adult character will never be a “Point of View” character.
If you know what genre you are writing in, it can also help you to read other books in the same genre.
Some rules for your genre you might want to look up. These links are from a Writerswrite workshop.
So as you can see, there’s a little bit of study that is required of you before you begin. If you want to do this course on a step-by-step basis, I suggest now’s a good time to look up these genres and determine where you best fit in. Do you want to write for children? Teenagers? Adults? and I’m adding one more category…seniors.
Yes, don’t laugh. I’ve always believed we older people need our own category because we have our own likes and dislikes in novels and they tend to be somewhere between young adult and adult with some literary thrown in.
So there’s your homework. Research the genres, follow my blog, and feel free to write me a note telling me what genre you want to write your story in.
Just yesterday I heard of the passing of a dear friend. Kim Mutch Emerson. Maybe some of you knew her or heard of her. She was an author, an encourager, a life coach, a prayer warrior, a lover, and a friend. I only knew her through the Internet. She published some of my books through her publishing company Master Koda but we became close, sharing our manuscripts that we didn’t dare show anyone else, helping me with edits and brainstorming. We joked together and sometimes we even dreamed about meeting up and spending real-time together – Maybe I’d go to Utah or she’d come here to WA. We dreamed about taking a train ride with our writer friends just for writing. We shared our dystopia stories and talked about how we were going to save the world through literature.
She added so much to my life, and with her death, that part of my being is gone.
But she isn’t. She left a legacy. Not just for her family but for the writing community. She has done SO much for us, and I’m left thinking…would I leave the same imprint?
Have I passed the baton to anyone?
Sometimes I look at my posts and I think how selfish I am always talking about my books. Half of me argues…”well no one else does, someone has to!” And the other half of me wants to just slap me. (Just kidding). But seriously, I want to help people too. I know I’ve given art lessons and seen my students grow. But I haven’t really done a lot for other Indie authors.
Some of that is because I think….well, I have 24 or 25 books out there. I should be making a living off of my work. But I don’t. I’m lucky to sell one book in three months. Who am I to teach anyone anything about writing?
I don’t believe my lack of selling books is because they aren’t good books. The few people who do read them love them. It’s mostly because I’m a lousy marketer. But maybe it’s also because I’m not contributing enough.
So I’ve decided to share a little workshop that I made up. It’s titled Hacking the first Draft in 30 days. A perfect lesson for NaNoWriMo people.
It’s really a simple procedure and I will give you the steps and assignments on my blog here starting with my next post. But I wanted you to know where I’m coming from.
I’m upset about my friend’s death, but I’m also upset that I have not done for others half of what Kim has done for us.
Remember that love is the most important thing in the world, and love is not a noun. It’s a verb.
And while you’re reading these free stories, why don’t you go on over to the Kickstarter page and help support the next book in the series, The Keeper.
This story is, in a sense, an analogy of how the future sometimes invades the past like a thunderstorm wrecking havoc on a quiet farm.
Just when things have quieted down in the kingdom of Prasa Potama (see the series Sword of Cho Nisi), and everyone is living happily ever after in their respective lands, invaders from another country, and seemingly another time in the future, steal the one thing that means life to the natives of Cho Nisi Island.
The Keeper, which is named after the ancient dragon, is a fast-paced tale of monarchs and ladies – wizards and dragons – and even a teenage boy who join forces against the miscreants and their machines, to fight for the beloved tradition of the elders.
I would love to have you back this project. Epic fantasy gets invaded by steampunk! Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Three Muskateers via Leonardo da Vinci style.
We have this world where there are natives on the island that use their magic to protect it, and King Barin in his kingdom on the mainland. And all the villages and river towns and Tellwater Valley where they grow the best wine in the world.
And then the northland pirates, Captain Geraldo’s men, hear about the wine. And the king of that nation, whose technology is much more advanced than Barin’s and certainly loftier than Cho Nisi, decided he could use the wine to make the fabric they’ve invented…the by-product of which can fuel their airships. So they go on a raid and hire the wizards from the Neverworld to put it all in a package for them!
But the Neverworld sorcerers have a vendetta against King Barin.