Rumination on Books, Project Update, Excerpts, and More

I was reading one night, far later than I should have been (but what else is new, right?) but when I did finally pull myself away and closed the book, I paused a moment to consider it. It wasn’t a very large book, and without its dust cover it was very plain: black cardboard binding and a number of thin pages sandwiched between; and I thought to myself, ‘This is just about what every book is, in its most basic form’. A stack of paper between cardboard.

Humble. Yet mysterious.

We see these books everywhere, especially if you frequent garage sales, second hand stores, and library book sales. Piles upon piles of them like treasures hidden in plain sight, and I wonder at it. As a writer I can understand even more now than before that these books, these simple stacks of paper bound together, carry the heart and soul of the person who wrote them into being. Somebody somewhere had an idea. A dream. And they put the time and effort, the blood, sweat, and tears, the long hours and the late nights, into bringing that dream or that idea about. They battled doubt and struggled against fear, celebrated triumph and wept in frustration, maybe even teetering on the brink of despair at times, but never gave up. Never ran away. They pressed forward to emerge with a creation all their own, a piece of their very being in tangible form. A book is an amalgamation of all of that.

To hold a book is to hold a piece of someone’s heart and soul, and while you may look at the fancy art on the cover and read the title and summary, you never really do know just what this book is about until you crack it open.


Project Update

Hello, Readers! This is me, reporting in with an update on how things are coming along in regards to Falconsbane. Looking back, it’s been five months (just about to the day) since I took fingers to keyboard and began. At once I think ‘Wow! How time flies.’ and ‘This is taking forever!’

Jumping into a completely new world and working with a whole new cast of characters has been a challenge, after spending the last five years engrossed in the same place charting the journey of the same people. I feel it might take a couple of draft run-throughs to truly settle in, know my characters well, and tell their story to the best of my ability. So thank you for all of your support and patience!

As for the state of this first draft: we’re almost done! Finally! I’ve tried within these past two weeks to finish by the end of the month. I really wanted to write ‘The End’ tonight.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly going to happen. There’s a quote that fits the situation perfectly:

Image result for i love deadlines quote

There was just too much that needed to happen and I couldn’t get it done in time. But don’t despair ─ we are close! If I can keep up this pace and restock the highest caffeine tea I can find, it’ll be finished within the next fortnight (Lord willing). And after that? Why, round two, of course! I’ll share more about that when the time comes.

But now? The best part!


Excerpts

I promised excerpts, and it’s finally time to let you at them. This is rough, unedited, first draft stuff, people. About as raw as you can get.

Roscha ducked under the first swing and brought his sword up to block the next, hands trembling for the shock of the blow. Eijun meant business this time.

“If you don’t surrender, I’m going to have to slay you,” Shyloh warned. “My conscience wouldn’t like it, but he’s not at my shoulder at the moment. What’s it going to be?”

Silence hung over the assembled troops like a blanket, a mixture of emotions riling for supremacy. For at once they were thrilled at the opportunity to finally be going on their first real mission and anxious at the reality and severity of the occasion. Border skirmishes weren’t anything to sneeze at.

The need for relief forces was even worse.

Judah scoffed. “Heroic. That I doubt. There is little heroic in what we’ve just accomplished. Nothing more than a necessary slaughter.” He didn’t look at any of them when he spoke, remaining by the battlement and staring down at the dead dragon with his arms folded across his chest.

They were a noble people, and proud; resolute in justice, firm in conviction, and unmoving in judgment. To be condemned by them, one was hard-pressed to prove his innocence.


In Other News:

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)Currently (still) reading Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. I was hoping to have it finished by now, but such lofty aspirations fell short in the wake of trying to finish this first draft. I’m about three quarters of the way through, and so far I’m enjoying the novelty of it. Check back in next week for the whole story (and by that I mean book review)


Lastly, I want to share with you a little craft project I’ve recently finished. When I get into a writing project I always wind up investing my rudimentary crafty skills into it, but these silly little things give me a warm-fuzzy, so you can’t stop me! Mwa-ha-ha!

A-hem.

Anyway.

A couple of years ago a neighbor of mine got me into kumihimo braiding (a Japanese style of braiding with typically 8+ strands), and I’ve picked it up as a hobby ever since then. This bracelet is made of seven such braids, and each one features the tribal colors of each of Phen’s regions from Falconsbane. It pleases me to look at it.

You may recognize the dark gray, light gray, and yellow one of Nyan from a post a couple of weeks ago, and my intent is to write a feature post for each of the regions (namely their individual branches of the Phennish army, because it’s been a large factor in the development of the story). Within the next couple of weeks I’ll have another one ready, so be looking forward to that!


How about you? What kind of hobbies do you fiddle with in your spare time? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Sayonara to ’17 and What’s Coming

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! How was your Christmas? Merry? Bright? We were a little scattered over here in the Writing Corner and beyond, what with all that’s been going on this past year, but we pulled off another great holiday with the family nonetheless. The Lord’s blessings abound in all types of life’s weather.

Taking a moment to look back at the past year, I can remember feeling that 2017 was going to be a big year in my family ─ and boy did it turn out to be true! Here’s a bullet point list of some of what’s gone down:

  • The final volume of The Journey Taken was published, completing a seven volume, five year project
  • My younger brother got married, giving me my first-ever, super cool sister
  • In fact, I ended up attending a whopping 5 weddings this past year, with a life total of (I’m thinkin’) 6. So it’s a record, I dare say. I think it’s wonderful and exciting to have been witness to the beginning of so many new lives.
  • The farm’s greenhouse finally got covered
  • My older brother brought us a cat (poor thing was orphaned). This may seem small to most people, even undesirable by some, but this writer has been wanting a cat for years, and this wee, furry spaz has brought us a lot of laughter. He is also very warm when he decides to sit on your lap while you’re trying to write. His name is Chestyr.
  • We fixed up and sold (almost there!) the house we’ve been renting out
  • I’ve developed a fancy for making earrings ─ the whimsical sort, not fashion. I’ve never been very fashionable.

Quite a doozey, yeah? And that’s not even everything. But now the old year has come to a close and a new one has opened ─ it’s like turning to the first page of a brand new book you’ve never read before! The possibilities are endless. Here’s a few things that I am looking forward to:

  • More weddings! Oh, how the young ones have grown . . .
  • Plying my culinary craft at the farm stand (gotta start small, right? For those of you nearby, keep a lookout for magical munchies come spring)
  • Riding a thousand miles on my dual-sport hybrid bicycle of beautifulness (this’ll be the summer . . . this’ll be the summer . . .)
  • Getting that blasted license
  • Working on my new story. Last November I participated in NaNoWriMo, kicking off the start of a whole new writing project that I’m calling Falconsbane (many thanks to everyone who voted and helped me out). I won’t say an awful lot here, but I’ll tell you that it’s not a part of the TJT universe. Don’t be alarmed, I’m not anywhere near done with Jasinda and its peoples, but this time I felt like branching off to a new location and building something from scratch again. It’s about a young man by the name of Roscha who goes from a fairly anonymous existence to discover a bigger destiny than he ever could have imagined. There, that’s all I’m going to say about it now. You can read the synopsis here and check out the Pinterest board dedicated to it here. I’m super excited about it and pumped to share the journey with you all, so stay tuned!

Now how about you all?

Take a moment to look back over 2017, what things ─ big or small ─ happened? Have you grown, changed because of it?

What sorts of things are you looking forward to this year? Don’t be shy to share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo Finale and Excerpts

Happy December!! Tis the final month of the year, 2017’s last hurrah, the season of giving ─ and taking a deep breath after the marathon of NaNo! The race has finally come to a close, and so many of us have crossed the finish line exhausted, sweating, bloody and bruised from the trials . . .

Okay, maybe not sweating, but who’s looking at details, right?

Right?

The month of November has brought into this world innumerable brand new, beautiful, bursting-with-promise-and-potential words. Magic has happened. Blood, sweat, and tears have been shed. Caffeine has been consumed in excessive amounts (really, I think November is the month coffee and other caffeine containing beverages spike in consumption). And the result has been the genesis of many brand-new stories well on their way to spread inspiration, wonder, adventure, and marvelous characters across the globe to eager readers everywhere. How mighty the word!

 

Book, Old, Clouds, Tree, Birds, Bank, Rush, Landscape

Over here in the Writing Corner we’ve contributed 64.5k to the pot, and over the next month and more I plan on adding to that as this new project progresses.

Now, because I know you’ve all been as thrilled as I am about this project, I’m going to give you a few short excerpts of the rough and unrefined, raw first draft.

•  Roscha didn’t respond. His teeth were welded together, hardly allowing even a grunt to escape his throat, let alone an answer.

•  That had never stopped him from accepting Shyloh’s challenges. It had never once deterred him from climbing trees, or the cliff by the lake, or the church turrets. “I must be a sucker for punishment,” he muttered.

•  Roscha lifted his head to find Shyloh standing in the doorway, a lantern in one hand and a bulging satchel in the other. “What are you doing back so early?”

“What, do you want me to leave?”

“No, but . . .”

Shyloh smiled in the corner of his mouth and walled in. “You didn’t show up and I was getting bored of waiting.”

•  Roscha’s attention zeroed in. This is it . . .


Also, if you’ve been curious about what this new world and theme of the story looks like, check out my board on Pinterest dedicated to the project!

Concluding(ish) Thoughts on TJT and the Infamous ‘What’s Next?’

Hello, everyone! Can you believe it’s the end of July already? We’ve been anticipating this month for a long time, and now it’s over ─ funny, how time works. My brother is married, I have an awesome new sister-in-law, and the finale of The Journey Taken is out in the world, the saga completed.

We all knew this was going to be a big year, and it’s only half over! Who knows what else is in store?

Just a couple of days ago the giveaway for An Odyssey’s End reached its conclusion (congratulations to the winners!) and the books are already off and on their way. For me, that kind of marked the end of the end for this project, and the feeling is rather surreal ─ having the subject that consumed five years of your life finally reach its completion ─ yet at the same time there’s a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, having set a goal and reached it. Anyone who has done similarly, with any objective, knows the feeling. I have become what I’ve wanted to be for a very long time: a published author with a complete series under my belt.

So now what?

Well, the thing about walking is that it’s a series of steps, and when one is taken, the next must follow in order to keep moving. There are many options and opportunities (as well as responsibilities) open to me as both a writer and regular human (the line between which is faded at best and the question of whether a writer even can be considered a ‘regular human’ being highly debatable). Consumed by this project, I have neglected a few normal life things that require taking care of. I had decided that when this series was finished I would focus more thought and effort into those areas, and the prospect is both exciting and nerve-wracking (as is per usual when changing one’s status quo). But in the midst of all that?

Another story, of course. I’d debated putting writing aside for a while to focus on other things (people thought ‘taking a break’, I thought ‘purgatory’). But that thought depressed me too much, and the impulse to write has become reflexive. Stories and ideas come from everywhere and are perpetually bouncing around in my head ─ I cannot stuff them neatly (or otherwise) inside a box and shove it into some cobwebby corner and say ‘someday I’ll work on this again’. Writing is life, and even if I have to supplement it this time around with other, slightly-less-important-but-nonetheless-necessary facts of existing in the ‘real world’, I cannot stop.

And now that that’s settled, I, personally, feel much better.

I’ve also decided to do some learning on creative writing. I hadn’t done much of that at all when I began TJT, and while I’ve learned a truckload since then, I’m going to do more in-depth studying about the art, to develop my skills and make something even better next time. I want to always be improving in my craft, for the Lord and for you, my readers. You both deserve my best, and I want to strive to find my limits and break past them to new heights.

So, now that this new chapter in my life and career has begun, you just might be wondering what writing project I’ve taken up now, or if I’m still mulling over an idea. The only mulling, I assure you, was over which project to undertake, as there are MANY. So. Very. Many. But I have made my selection, and it is one that’s been brewing for a while. I’m super excited to be working on it ─ ecstatic, really. All that I’ll tell you about it right now is that it is not set in the TJT universe (we’re FAR from done there, though, believe me).

I’ve also decided to make this a NaNoWriMo project. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an organization centered around the thrilling side of creative writing. The objective for participants is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, and the site provides a mountain of resources to help make that happen, along with a vast community of fellow writers to get in touch with and discuss virtually any topic on the forums. You can keep track of your word count and earn badges for participation, writing goals reached, and milestones passed. I’ve heard about it for several years, and I thought that now was a good time to start. (To learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit the website and get involved to help writers make the world a better place!)

In conclusion, I wanted to thank everyone who has come along with me on this journey, who have encouraged me and pushed me to see this through, and it is my hope that you will continue to do so as we step forth to new horizons and what lies beyond the other side of the next hill.

The Beginning of Something More

It has begun! Happy new year, my lovely readers, here’s to a year full of exciting new things. I’ve a feeling that 2017 is going to be a BIG year, and I am so very excited to share it with you all.

To kick things off, here’s the OFFICIAL edition of volume 1 I’ve been working on alongside the final installment of our saga. Other than a brand new coat, this edition features an updated interior with some sweet little details I may be a wee bit too thrilled about.

In addition, we’re going to celebrate further by running a Goodreads giveaway, which will initiate on the 7th, and I’ll make sure to pass around the link when the day comes, so be looking forward to that! Giveaways are great fun, they really are (both winning one and sending out the prizes) and if you don’t have an account . . . well I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Goodreads is a booklover’s haven outside of a library, chocked full of titles, and if you have an account you can add books to any number of lists, organizing them into to-read lists (my personal favorite), rate and review books, enter giveaways, and join any number of groups to discuss any number of topics, read books together, and generally get involved with other fellow readers. So give it a look-see!

Later on I’ll also be running a Kindle version promotion, as well, and I’ll update you on the details when the time comes. Good things are in the works this month!

New Year Project Announcement

Hello and greetings, my fine folk! How was everyone’s Christmas? Merry? Bright? I pray that this is so, for my own proved rather jolly and downright relaxing, chilling with the family all day.

Now that The Clandestine Crusade is out and running, I can focus more centrally on the next two projects coming up. Two, you ask? Yes, two. One of which is, of course, the next and (final!!) volume of TJT (super exciting, right?) The second project is what I’ve alluded to in the past and what I’m going to announce today.

In honor of the series finale, I have been (and will be) working on updating each volume to a more uniform format inside and out and re-releasing one every month leading up to the due date of vol. 7. The interiors are getting a fresh suit and even some of the narrative (nothing drastic, mind you, just making it cooler, like adding details I should have thought of four years ago). The covers will also be spruced up, although the most dramatic changes will be most evident in the first two volumes, when I was a baby to this publishing process.

So far I’m super excited about this undertaking and can’t wait for it to come to fruition, so this coming new year will start off with a whirlwind for me! To kick off each re-release I’ll be running a giveaway on Goodreads, and later in the month a KDP (Amazon Kindle) promotion as well, but your help in taking part and spreading the word would be a super duper assist and greatly appreciated.

The celebration begins in three days! So be looking for another post here announcing the kickoff with links and a cover reveal for vol.1’s new coat and all that jazzy good stuff. Thank you all for your support, and here’s wishing you a great finish to 2016 and a happy new year ─ I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a big one.

The Promised Day has Come!

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It’s here! The long awaited release day for The Clandestine Crusade has finally come, and that’s not only why today is so special – it’s also my mom’s birthday! Below are the links where you can find vol.6.

The Createspace Store (straight from the publisher)

Amazon

Kindle version

Thank you all so much for supporting and sticking with me for these past several years and helping reach this point – it really is amazing. I apologize for not being around much during this time, but with the Christmas season underway and prepping for this publication, I’ve had my brain tied. However, things will be coming up soon that I’m expecting to change all that (fingers crossed!) I really do want to add more content to this blog – subject posts, book reviews, maybe even some nonish-book related things that’ll share a little more about this rare and elusive author. We’ll see about that. Anywho, the above links are where you can find your very own copy of The Clandestine Crusade (and if you would, a review would be monumentally appreciated. Reviews not only help other people decide if they want to read a book (influence of gigantapithicus proportions) they also aid bunches and tons with visibility, so more people actually see the book while they’re scrolling around. So if you would, even just if you liked it (and what appealed to you) or didn’t like it and why (constructive criticism goes miles and leagues) I would so, so, so appreciate it.

And so now, until within the next fortnight (promise), Merry Christmas and God bless!!!