Monday, May 28, 2018

Beautiful Books #3 - More About Processes and Writing

(Series by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In)
Note to self - remember to finish posts before scheduling them, ha ha. That being said, let me go and fix this post.

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?

So I think it's a 10, otherwise I wouldn't be publishing it, but maybe in five to ten years I can reevaluate that.

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?

I have - and I kind of just go for it? I don't really do anything special to get ready, ha ha.

3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?

135, 219 words. And since that is the rewrite of the rough draft, I don't have any plans to change it at this time.

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?

Characters - Dandy especially. She's a really complex character and hard to keep realistic while also not being completely unlikable.

5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?

To keep from spoilers - page 425, last paragraph.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?

Probably getting better at expositing with less words.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?

The characters and dialogue - both were really fun to write!

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed out?

I think my characters are pretty well rounded - the two main characters go through different growth arcs, and the characters from the last book have some interesting times as well.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?

I'd want to be able to write faster with the same quality.

10. Did anything happen in the book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

See #5. I love that scene.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think they came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring them out more?

Uh I didn't really have one? Maybe just be a good person?

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?

I like write it as it comes but that led me to not really finishing stories so I need to give myself more deadlines.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

Uh between my reviewers and my editor, Studio Ghibli story meets director Kevin Smith's sense of humor.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!

Publish it, ha ha. No, I don't really have a particular ritual or anything, I just feel very accomplished. but after you finish it you still have a lot more work ahead, so it's not really like being "done" done.

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

I have no idea - that they enjoyed it?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Beautiful Books #2 - Processes and Having Fun

(Series by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In)
1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

Well for my upcoming book it's done and my editor is running a bit behind, but I should still be able to get everything ready in time. For what comes after Dandy... well, I need to buckle down. It's just a lot of tracking what a large group of characters are doing, which tends to be a lot of moving parts.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

For Allaha of the Mountain - I remember the day my mother died very clearly.

For Dandy - Allaha is gone.

(I actually forgot that was the first sentence, and was thinking of a different one, but no matter.)

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

I think I've shown this quite a few times - if you think the cover looks great, let @karasawr on Twitter know!

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

I did this for Dandy and Toru already I think, and Allaha is the cover of her title book, so the others:

Tamara: "A thin girl sat on a lithe silver stallion with only a blanket and no saddle. Her dark skin and voluminous, curly black hair marked her as one of the Menori people. Like many of them, she wore loose, shambled together clothing and no shoes at all. She smiled easily, causing one of her cheeks to dimple. A beauty mark rested just above the corner of her mouth on the same side. Her arms and legs were reed-like, and her hands and feet looked large in comparison - a sign she was not yet done growing." 

Hibu: "There was also a Jeongwonee boy of teen years, easily placed with his monolid eyes - though his skin was darker than a typical Jeongwonee, and he had a broader jaw, higher cheekbones, and wider nose than his pale skinned brethren. He sat on a large black mare; larger, in fact, than the knight’s steed. His head was uncovered, leaving his straight black hair to fly outwards from his head and tangle. He wore a pair of round glasses, and looked about with interest, a small journal in his hand as he took notes of their surroundings with a stub of charcoal. He was stocky, with a softness about his face where he had not quite lost the weight evident by his chubby stomach and arms."

Karejakal: " He appeared as an overly large orange cat in clothing, and one of his eyes was a milky white... He did not wear shoes, but had cloth wraps around his feet instead."

Goric: "...a misty orange head... a man, with almond shaped eyes and a wide nose, his features soft around his jaw and eyes. It had long hair that flowed around it, dissipating at the ends as orange smoke. Its eyebrows were thick ovals, and its nose was wide and shaped more like a deer’s than a human’s. His ears, too, were those of a deer." 
and also
"He stood at around six feet, with an extra foot of deer like antlers. His skin was ruddy brown, and from the waist up he appeared as a muscular human. His chest and arms were covered in thick white hair that thinned over his stomach. His hands ended in sharp claws. From the waist down he had thick stag legs, with white fur. His hair, white as well, fell over his shoulders and down to his abdomen. His eyes were a rich brown, and slit pupiled."

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

If you don't want a spoiler, read the book chronologically (well this is a guess page wise until my editor gets back to me): pg116- 124

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

This is from the above scene, but really won't spoil anything without more context:

Akui offered Dandy a hand, “I get the distinct impression that was not your intent.” 
The bounty hunter accepted, rising to her feet, “What? You don’t think my aim is good enough to graze a guy’s ankle while he’s running away?" 
“No. I also do not think you would be foolish enough to attempt such a feat while falling.” 
“You clearly don’t know me very well then,” Dandy rolled the shoulder she’d landed on, then shrugged, “I once jumped off a building and took a shot at a sparrow on bet.” 
“Did you hit it?” 
“Fuck no - I was drunk off my ass. I couldn’t aim straight standing still. It is how I got three fake teeth, though…”

7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

Quite a few scenes played out differently, and some new ones found their way in that I think really help develop the characters and their relationship to each other. The backbone is the same, but I feel like I know them a lot better. I try to make my rough drafts skeletons that focus on key scenes, and the rewrites for filling in the gaps.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

Dandy - she's a very difficult character, because on the one hand I want to paint an accurate picture of someone dealing with trauma (poorly, though substance abuse), but I don't want to make her such a hard character to like that... well, no one likes her. I also wanted to avoid the "with a heart of gold" trope - like, she's a decent human being, but I wouldn't exactly call her a kind person or anything.

That goes for most of the other characters - Zeung could easily be defined as "an information broker with a heart of gold", Gurujhal "a thief with a heart of gold", Lily "a prostitute with a heart of gold" - and that's... it's a lot of golden hearts. Very expensive merchandise and I do not have that kind of money.

Trying to create realistic characters that don't come off as overly kind, but rather depicting human decency and empathy in an admittedly dark setting... it's challenging, and I hope I pulled it off.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

My favorite aspect is that Dandy lends itself to a lot more humor than Allaha of the Mountain did; fair warning, though, some of it is dark humor.

My favorite character strictly for Dandy would probably be Menatabu Azuka, spymaster of Korinwa.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters?

I have ADHD, anxiety and depression, and a lot of my friends are also persons with mental illnesses. I also try to keep my ears open when discourse comes around, so there's a fair bit of my experience, the experiences of my friends, and other things I've heard mixed in from that.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

Yes, I answered this here.

Though I will probably start working on playlists for the characters from Allaha of the Mountain now...

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Zeung and Gurujhal, who I have not yet actually mentioned in detail, but honestly I'd trust them to look out for me the most.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha... daily word count... that's a good one... ha ha ha... *sobs*

Seriously, though, I should push myself to that.

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

Everything's a rule until it isn't.

Don't restrict yourself to doing things just because that's the way it's been done. Experiment, learn the rules, then make up your own, try something new, imitate a style to get out of your own head for a bit - you might fail, or you might hit a stroke of genius. The worst thing that'll happen is you have fun with no "reward" - but I don't ever want to hit the point where I'm not having at least a little fun writing.

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

Now that it's done I'm relieved - but I'm also daunted, because it's a long road ahead, and if I don't want to take fifteen years to finish this series, I seriously need to pick up the pace. Part III is five books with concurrent storylines I need to finish outlining and timelining so I know who gets done when and crosses paths with who where and... sigh, it's a lot of work, ha ha.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Beautiful Books #1 - Changing it Up to Talk About the Book

(Series by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In)
So where before the questions focused on the characters, now they have shifted to the book itself. So instead of Beautiful People, we'll be talking Beautiful Books. I'll probably go between the book and the series overall for this one, so strap in!

What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'd say the characters came first when it came to the series, but the plot came first for Dandy since it's a sequel and all.

I'm a plantser - I tend to pants at first but then I need to outline and plot to remember what I meant to do when I started out. I can still go off track sometimes, though.

Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?

So obviously the title is Dandy, and here is the blurb:

Convicts, bounty hunters, and spies - seemingly disconnected groups working towards the same goal.

Allaha and Goric are on the run from the Sanctum, traveling for days on end with little rest. They run into friends old and new on their flight, and the former knight tries to get the demon to open up about what he knows.

In another part of the world, a mismatched but famous bounty hunter team work together to bring in a variety of low lives. During the course of their partnership, they begin to learn more about - and from - each other.

Meanwhile, Alistair, Tamara, and Karejakal team up to follow after Allaha. After some initial missteps, they get help from an old acquaintance and manage to get on the right track.

The world of Magdra is changing - and the one person that seems to know why has yet to reveal it.

What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

I was aiming for less than 150k (word count of the first book) and... well... 130k is less than 150k... ha ha ha...

Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

Toru and Dandy are bounty hunters that don't seem like they work as a team, but do. Allaha learns more about Goric's past through his old friends. Alistair, Tamara, and Karejakal play catch-up and Alistair is terrible with directions.

Sum up your characters in one word each.

I did this for Toru and Dandy earlier, I think, so the others:

Allaha - Stoic.
Tamara - Naive.
Hibu - Curious.
Goric - Annoying.
Karejakal - Determined.
Alistair - Moderate.

Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!

Ok honestly I'm most excited to write more with Commander Scorun because I shouldn't have favorites but I do and it's him. He started out as a character I made for a friend's original RPG (Code Nebula) and my original character concept was going to be "aloof and enigmatic"... he actually ended up being "grumpy old man and sad drunk". I'm really excited for the future when I get to dive more into his backstory, so that's all I'll say for now.

What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?


So by the end of the first book it's pretty obvious that Devera is my "villain" - though I think of him more as a main antagonist, and when I do actually get into his reasoning and goals, I hope you'll see why!

What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

The thing is at this point in time there isn't a big goal for the characters - there will be soon, but there isn't one right now. I went into this a bit with Dandy and Toru already, so let's back pedal to the continuing characters specifically in Dandy.

Allaha just wants to find a place to stay where she can stop running from the Sanctum and live in peace. The Sanctum sending Hunters after her is stopping her.

Goric wants to run away from some responsibilities he has coming up, but knows he can't because the fate of the world is at stake.

Alistair, Tamara, and Karej all want to find Allaha and make sure she's safe. Being separated and loosing time is making it difficult for them to catch up.

What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

For Dandy, running away from home. Toru would be the death of his father and brother.

Since I'm rehashing there, the other characters:

Allaha - being falsely accused by the Sanctum.

Goric - it has to do with how he got the title "Destroyer of Worlds".

Tamara - SPOILERS realizing Hibu was going to sacrifice himself for Allaha.

Karejakal - Allaha being taken to the Sanctum.

Alistair - to avoid more of the same, almost being burned at the stake is the real origin here.

Where is your novel set?

The fictional land of Magdra, where magic is real and I have pages and pages of rules on how the magic works I will try to share at some future date cause I have a cool idea on how to do it.

What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

To avoid spoilers, I'll just put the chapters they take place in:

The Order of Kelvin
Mia the Viper
Yks the White

What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

For Dandy and Toru, their relationship with each other is the most dynamic.

Dandy also starts a romantic relationship with a nobleman named Mentabu Azuka.

Toru also has a romantic partner, and that'll just have to wait until the book is out.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Dandy and Toru both do a lot of growing in this story, and I think they both come out of it better people than where they started. If nothing else, they're definitely better friends by the end.

Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?

I 100% have a planned ending.

What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?

I really hope that readers can forge deep personal connections with my characters, and that at the end they feel like all the effort was worth it and are emotionally satisfied. I also hope I can pull off the ending I hop to pull off, so we'll see. (Of course, at the rate I'm writing, that'll be in about fifteen years so I'll get plenty of practice in...)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Digital Storytelling: The Selfie

So, as I said in the viedo, I'm starting a new class called "Digital Storytelling", which is all about making videos like this one. I know it's a little rough, but hopefully as I learn more in the class I can polish up the edges. That being said... hi guys!

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the Allaha of the Mountain giveaway!

Laura Bailo
A. M. Blaushild

I'll be mailing your prizes out soon! Congratulations again!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Beautiful People #4 - Writing About How Two Emotionally Challenged Characters Show Love is Hard

(Series by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In)

1. What is their motive?

Dandy - To get paid.

Toru - To avenge the death of his father and brother.

2. What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?

Dandy - Well, since she's a bounty hunter, it usually involves paying for information, gathering her own information through other means, and killing people.

Toru - Kill. 

3. How do they deal with conflict?

Dandy - Either doesn't or creates more conflict. 

Toru - Faces it heads on and tries to resolve it, then get to the root of the issue so it doesn't happen again.

4. Describe their current place of residence.

They both stay in the Mountain's Beard:

"The bounty hunter shook his head as he went past his partner’s room. He went to the end of the hallway, where there was a door and a staircase leading downwards. Toru went down the staircase, to the main floor of an inn. This early, there were only a few patrons. Low tables with cushions for seating were set up around the main floor, with a square fire pit in the center of the floor. A fire blazed merrily in the pit, chasing away the morning chill from the floor. 

There was a stone top bar against the wall opposite the stairwell...

The inn sat near the top of a small mountain peak. The stone behind it roughly resembled a Korinwanese face, and the inn and its grounds spread in a crescent under the face. This was what gave the place its name, the Mountain’s Beard."

Both live in rooms on the second floor of the inn. 

5. If they were writing this story, how would it end?

Dandy - With her slaughtering the Choi family.

Toru - Waking up to find his father and brother's deaths were a bad dream. 

6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?

Dandy - Goes in and out of a looser slang depending on her mood.

Toru- Doesn't use contractions, and carefully considers everything he plans to say. 

7. How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?

Dandy - She's a tough love kind of person on the one hand, but on the other she'll make herself a target to take the heat off her friends. Physical affection is another thing. She likes to help people in practical ways more than giving gifts, but usually tries to make it seem like she's helping herself.

Toru - He shows love by spending time with people. He isn't very physically affectionate in public, and tends to be more reserved. He likes to give gifts, but only on special occassions, because he feels they have more meaning then.

8. Do they have any pets?

Neither has pets. 

9. Where would they go to relax/think?

Dandy - A bar. To relax, she'd try to get into a fight. She isn't the self-reflexive type, so she usually drinks to stop thinking rather than start.

Toru - The garden outside the Mountain's Beard to meditate. If there are too many people there, his room. 

10. What is their weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons too.)

Dandy - Throwing daggers or crossbow. When particularly incised, fists.

Toru - Sword. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dandy Pre-Orders are Live!

If you haven't read it already, the second book in the Wildflowers Saga, Dandy, is coming out on June 23rd! 

That being said, pre-orders for the book are up on my Square store! 

Pre-orders will run from now until June 8th to make them available for pick up at the book launch party on the 23rd, so make sure to select pick-up if you intend to be there!

Allaha of the Mountain Giveaway!

If you're opening this blog, you can see by the sidebar that I'm hosting a giveaway for the first book in the Wildflowers Saga, Allaha of the Mountain!

Since I'm getting ready to release the second book, Dandy, in June, this is an opportunity for you to snag a free, signed copy of the first book in time to read it for the release! 

So enter now for a chance to win one of five signed copies of Wildflowers, Part I: Allaha of the Mountain

Beautiful People #8 - Siblings

(Series by  Cait @ Paper Fury  and  Sky @ Further Up and Further In ) Alright! Getting back into the swing of things! So my plan is to ...