A Woman’s Scorn Now Available!

I have been out of the blogging loop for the past couple of months, but it has been for good reason. I spent the time labouring to get thnanowrimoings finalized: dotting i’s, crossing t’s and making sure the cover is just right. I even skipped this year’s NaNoWriMo to get everything done. And now, I am proud to announce the release of my second novel, A Woman’s Scorn.

Book One of the Trials of the Chosen trilogy, A Woman’s Scorn tells the story of the Munaedaar Raftennon. The wizard made his first appearance in Knightfall as a secondary character. Now his mysterious origin is told, from his earliest childhood. You will learn of Raftennon’s humble roots and what made him an extraordinary young man, even before he became one of the few Chosen by the god of knowledge and magic. You will follow him as he discovers the worlds of spells, of love and of loss. Most of all, you will witness the events that led him down the road to a destiny that has yet to be revealed.

 

He made his choice, now he will pay!

A Woman's ScornA simple fisherman’s life was not in the cards for young Raftennon. The wonders of the Arcane Arts drew him in. He devoted his life to them, mastered their secrets. Now his peers deem him one of the most powerful mages in history.

The sacrifices he made to attain his strength did not seem too much to bear—until she decided payment was due. The cost will be high and he will have no choice but to suffer the consequences.

Will he be ready for what is to come?

Can he survive what is demanded of him?

 

Published by Lupyne BooksA Woman’s Scorn is but the first instalment of the spellcaster’s spectacular journey. The story will continue in The Daemon and The Lady, which has a tentative release set for the fall in 2016. The trilogy will conclude in TwinSoul, where everything will come together.

The paperback is available for purchase at Amazon, while the e-book version can be found at multiple on-line retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, ITunes and Smashwords.

Stay tuned for the progress on my future works. I will keep the progress bars on this site updated so you know when to expect the upcoming novels. And do feel free to leave reviews, good or bad. We often need others to point out our flaws to us. And only by knowing we have them can we move forward to correct them.

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A Matter of Character

Are you ready for some football!

NFL ShieldWeek 1 of the NFL season is in the books. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to curse at the TV and wring my hands to prevent myself from throwing either my laptop or my phone across the room. If not for a few of my fantasy football players having good enough outings to make up for the atrocious play of all the others, I’m not sure I would have had that strength to save my electronic devices. It’s also a good thing I’m not an habitual betting man. Only picking 6 of the possible 16 winners would have cost me more than the shirt off my back.

I can see the rolling eyes and hear the derogatory remarks.

celebrating_football_fansI know it’s just a game. I know the players are paid far too much for running after a ball. I know, in the greater scheme of things, none of this matters. But in the here and now, for the next 13-16 weeks, it’s a big deal. There are millions of franchise owners out there poring over the numbers, fine-tuning their teams, and treating each and every one of their players as if they were in the room right next to them, able to hear their demands for better play or cheers for needed scores.

It’s entertainment, pure and simple. You sit in front of the TV, usually at the edge of that seat, holding your breath, hoping, wishing. You share the players’ pains and triumphs. You voice your frustration along with the coaches. You high-five the fan next to you because your quarterback who just threw the touchdown pass is miles away and you can’t reach him.

It’s still just a game.

Football Character CompareI’m going to make a correlation that is scarcely ever made: football players, in the scope of fantasy sports, are like the characters in a novel. You watch them as they step up to an obstacle. You see them struggle, wince when they fail and feel joy when they succeed.

At least, this happens when the author succeeds in making their characters believable and the story is well written. When the reader relates with the protagonist, they essentially become exactly like the football fan. They wait with bated breath to see what will happen next. Of course, no one expects the reader to jump off their seat and scream at the book when the hero plunges her sword into the creature’s heart after it has been hurting her loved ones for the past 10 chapters. But, as an author, I do hope the reader needs a few moments to bring his or her heart rate down to normal.

As coaches foster a relationship with their fantasy roster, so I aim to create that bond between the players in my fantasy realm and the fan who wishes to see how they fare. I want them to sit up when everything hinges on one character’s decision. I hope they fall back with a sigh when they survive a foolhardy plan that virtually promised to skin them alive. I strive to have them want to throw the book across the room when the antagonist smashes the weapon needed to destroy him before the heroes even have time to finish it.

So, it’s not just a game.

Fantasy football reaches its fans down to the core of their desires and dreams. This is a worthy goal for anyone wanting to entertain the masses. As an author, I use these intense emotions to help form my characters. I know what it feels like to will someone I’ll never meet in person to achieve the impossible. I shake my fist and hang my head with defeat when they fail.

I harness these emotions and use them as targets. If my readers experience this sort of connection with the characters in my novels, than I have done my job as a writer.

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A Question of Sanity

They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different results.

Let’s take a look at this:

10232322_sAs an author, I never pick up my novel to read it. I know that sounds bad, like a negative opinion of the story. I assure you, that is not the case. Knightfall is the only book I have read four times (on top of the writing of the manuscript). I did it from start to finish, each time poring over every single word. There was no skimming. There was no speed reading.

Sometimes I took a week off before starting the next round of edits, but I went back, again and again…and again and again…poring over the same words. I changed a few of those words with every read, so I guess I achieved a different result, which doesn’t make it that crazy. But believe me, while you’re slaving away over the same words you just read not that long ago, you can feel the madness gnawing away at you.

And this process I will repeat many times over. I have more novels to come. I am in my second round of edits of Trials of the Chosen Book One: A Woman’s Scorn, while the first draft of Meeting the Dark is done and waiting its own set of rewrites. So here lies the insanity, for the repeated process will result in the same improvements. While my writing is getting better, so is my editing, so the margin of betterment remains pretty much the same.

And then there’s this:

Authors spend their time in unreal places, giving life to imaginary people. Our stories may occur in cities known to the world, or town known only to those that live nearby. That doesn’t make it real. Read the fine print at the beginning of the book. It clearly states we writers take creative license and twist whatever fact we want to make our story work. We distort reality.

DSC00270As for fantasy authors like myself, we go miles further than that. I play God, putting mountains where I want, directing the flow of rivers along courses to please my fancy. I plop villages wherever I want, create metropolises that span hundreds of miles (I actually haven’t done that, but I might someday). I do have an ocean in Kagendur (the fantasy world in which Knightfall is set) that continually churns as if in a storm, but without the winds and the clouds. And in the middle of that impossible sea lies a minuscule island, a slab of rock that somehow survives the crashing waves when the barrage of waves should sweep it away with ease.

Novelists create imaginary friends and treat them like real people. We need to do this, or they won’t be believable. You need to find the quirks that make the characters interesting, or funny, or down right despicable.

Then we write to make others believe. Of course, we all know what we read isn’t real, but while we pore through the pages, if properly written, the impossibilities sweep us along and make us feel something.

Conclusion:

Let me recap:

  • Authors perform the same tasks over and over
  • Authors have imaginary friends and enemies
  • Authors live in their own world
  • Authors try to convince others their delusions are real

There can only be one way to describe us novelists:

We are insane.

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Questioning Ideas

In my as-yet limited fame, I still have the luxury of walking down the street without having every passer-by stopping me to drill me about every single detail of my life. All right, that is a pipe dream I know will never happen. Unless my books become blockbuster movies starring yours truly. But I’m sure the people in Hollywood have enough sense to see early on I’m no actor.

I know very little about the luxuriant life of established authors, but I doubt they have throngs of fans bothering them every second of every day. I have seen videos clips of conventions, where a panel of peers spend their time bestowing their knowledge on the avid listeners.

I have had some readers come up to me and ask a few of the expected questions. The recurring inquiry I wish to discuss in this post is probably the most-asked of them all:

Where do you get your ideas?

thinkingThis is a question I hate hearing, let alone answering. You might as well ask me why air is transparent. How do you decide what to eat for supper? How do you decide which item to buy as a birthday gift for a loved one? How do you choose a name for your pet fish?

Ideas come from the ether, not matter what they are for. Whether you’re in your office and you suddenly realize there’s a better way to perform a task, or you’re in your garage and you figure out how to squeeze more power out of your engine, you have just received inspiration from the same place we authors find the scene depicting the troll missing the knight and smashing his toe with the tree trunk he’s using as a club.

But I know this isn’t what you meant by the question. What you want to know is:

Where do you find your inspiration?

There are as many way to go about this as there are writers. I won’t go through the list, or this post will end up becoming my next novel. Feel free to visit author blogs or corner them at book signings and ask them. Just make sure to not use the word “idea.”

What I do is simple: I write and imagine. My mind is always working, whether I want it to or not. My brain likes to keep me awake at night. Every time I try to fall asleep, that’s when new ideas pop up to keep slumber away. I have forgotten more story plots than I have typed up or put on paper. But the good ones I replay in my mind so I don’t forget. Those will find their way in print or digital editions some day.

I don’t plot ahead, so my stories twist and curve and make u-turns as I write them. Another question I never answer is “what will happen next?”, because I honestly don’t know myself. As my characters dive into an argument, I get swept up in their emotions and before I know it, 500 words have somehow found their way onto my screen. And somewhere along the way, the story has told me where it needs go.

While I lay in my bed, staring out into the darkness, images of magic and dragons invade my thoughts. I envision different ways to portray these classic and stereotypical characters. This brings new plot ideas, which would don’t necessarily fit in the story I am writing, so they are shelves for future projects. I have enough basic ideas to sustain four distinct series of novels. The problem will be finding the time to write them.

What about outside influences?

DSC01343Taking nature walks may help some centre themselves and open their minds, but as far as I’m concerned, a tree is a tree. People watching helps one see the effects emotions have on our expressions and how different personalities react to differing situations. Though that does help, there are not that many brutes out there who would bludgeon you to death to make you their next meal, so finding examples to flesh out the aforementioned troll would prove difficult.

I do read, a lot. This is my equivalent to sitting on a bench in a mall or strolling down wooded trails. I see how other authors form their stories and characters. This is the only way one learns of wyverns and dracolisks, or how gods would act if they interacted with the mortals who worship them. And this is how you learn what other novelists are putting in their stories, so you can avoid repeating the same plot.

So, to answer the question, I don’t know where my ideas come from. Having the knight in Knightfall treat the elf as he did just came to me. It fit in the story. And the story dictated Ohliaman’s fate. I had envisioned it quite differently when I started writing the book. I think of basic plot lines, then let my fingers do the rest. Sometimes I’m as surprised when I finish writing as the reader will be when they read it.

Below would be a good place to tell the world where you’re inspiration comes from. Maybe I’ll even try some of them.

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Finishing

The hour was growing late, the day nearly at an end, when it happened. She…

Well, you’ll just have to read the novel once I publish it to find out what happened.

Camp-Winner-2015-Twitter-ProfileAs I mentioned in my previous post, Nearing the End, I participated in this month’s Camp NaNoWrimo. Challenged by a friend, I was to write 25,000 words in 31 days. A much easier task than the 50,000 words in 30 days I am used to attempting each November.

I do not say this to boast. I am so used to the gruelling schedule of Nanowrimo that having to push myself to write 2,000 words in a sitting is ingrained in me. Missing a day makes me nervous, because sometimes you fall short of your daily writing goal and you need to catch up. Just knowing I have a deadline puts me in a mindset where every minute counts. There is no time for writer’s block, or the nagging feeling what you just wrote just doesn’t feel right and needs to be fixed right away.

So I found myself writing more than I needed to this month. I wasn’t reaching the insane levels of my November output, but I gave myself enough leeway to take some extra days off. It has been much less draining. I won’t need to step away from the writing or editing process as I always do after completing Nanowrimo.

It was nearing midnight when I wrote the last sentence. I had reached my word count goal twenty minutes earlier, but I was so close to the end I needed to keep going. Only a few more words and the story was done.

10232322_sNow comes the truly tedious part: the editing. I wish I could skip this part, or have someone else do it for me. But I also don’t want anyone else making changes to my story. I’ll take suggestions, but the tale must be told as I want it to be. Which means I have to go through it, as much as it pains me.

Trials of the Chosen  Book One: A Woman’s Scorn must come first, however. Fans of Knightfall have been waiting for this novel for years. But don’t fret, Meeting the Dark will see its day on the virtual shelves of on-line book stores.

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Nearing the End

Here I was, playing with plugins and other widgets to enhance this new blog, when the unexpected happens.

I find some nice progress bars to show you just how far I am in the writing process of my various works. I was looking for these, because they were part of the old site and I liked them. So this is not the surprise I mentioned. These are a different style, which makes no difference to me. But I digress.

I enter the stats for the five projects I have on the go. I don’t know how other authors work, but I never envisioned myself having so many stories building around me at the same time. Not to mention, I also have ideas for three more series. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get to those, but it’s a good sign. I’ll have something to write for a long time yet, which I hope pleases a lot of people.

Get to the point!

Yes, well, all this to get to the realization that took me aback.

Filling in the numbers for those fancy progress bars, I notice the blue under Meeting the Dark almost reaches the right end. I am under 3,000 words away from my projected goal. The story is almost done, and I had no idea it was coming!

I mean, I knew where I was in the telling. I know what is coming, and I know roughly how many chapters I have left to write. I just didn’t realize the word count was already that close. Of course, the novel will have as many words as is needed, which now looks to be more than I envisioned.

How could you not know?

3326379_sAuthors use different tools to write their manuscripts. There is software that helps you organize your ideas, some to plot your story, others to get down to it and compose. Some use good ol’ word processors to do everything. I have no doubt some even stay away from keyboards and put pen or pencil to paper.

Personally, I use Scrivener. This tool puts everything at my finger tips in one convenient place. It even tells me just how far I am in my writing. It does that, if I do things like I’m supposed to.

I started writing Meeting the Dark in November 2013 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I reached my goal of 50,000 words during those 30 days. But a writing stint like that is always draining, so the story took a back seat while I rested for a bit before working on other projects.

Along with their November writing frenzy, they have Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. With a variable goal, it’s not so intense–unless you want it to be. I usually skip these, but this summer, a friend of mine challenged me to write 25,000 words.

I decided to work on Meeting the Dark. With my previous work in November and the little bit I did in the year and half following, 25,000 words would finish off the novel nicely. To make it easier on my to submit my word count to the site, I opened a new file for this part of the manuscript. So, the progress I was seeing on a daily basis was only for the last part of the book, not the entire thing. This is why I was surprised when I added the counts from both file together to see how far I was.

clockFor those of you who don’t write, reaching the end of a manuscript is like watching the clock in class on the last day of the school year. No matter how much you enjoy school, everyone wants that break where they don’t have to wake up, sometimes before the sun comes up, and get ready for the day. You just want to spend a week sleeping in.

I’m nearing the end of the first phase of a new novel. I love experiencing that accomplishment. I’m not the only one who feels this way, am I?

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