Monthly Archives: July 2017

Un-Motivation

What motivates you to write?

Actually, let’s look at the flip side of that question, too:

What unmotivates you?

I’m suffering from an abundance of unmotivation this month, which really sucks because it’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and not only did I, for the first time ever, set my word count goal for under 50k, I actually decreased it from 31K to a miserable 10K because I just can’t seem to get focused and motivated. (I’m not counting April because I had an editing goal instead of a writing one for that camp.)

I don’t know what it is but I’m guessing it’s multiple causes:

1) brain-melting heat and humidity (especially this last week!)

2) the rescue dog fiasco

3) too much free time

4) the project in question

The weather can only be blamed for so much and the dog thing was a week or week and a half of an issue at the most, so that leaves the last two points, both of which are probably more pertinent, so let’s look at them in more detail.

Too much free time.

I think I’ve written about this before. I seem to be more productive when I have not just a deadline, but less time.  It always seemed that I could get more writing done in a couple hours before work than on an entire two days off.

And since I’m currently job-hunting I have lots of free time to not write.

(And to think that since I wasn’t working I had considered upping my goal to 50K…)

So, yeah. Having lots of free time unmotivates me.

Now for the project in question.

I’m not working on a novel.  Well, I am, but only sort of. I’m writing (not writing) a scene to be added to Onyx Sun.  There’s going to be another scene (which also isn’t written) in addition to this one to be added to the book.

So, I’m more revising than writing. And I’m so close to being able to get this book finished and released.

Really.  Finish this scene and write the other one, get them both integrated into the main manuscript, tweak a couple other things that are bugging me, get it printed again and go over it one more (hopefully last) time and release it in September.

You’d think that being that close to publishing would be a big motivator, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

It just looks like so much long dark dreary work ahead.

And if that just doesn’t suck the motivation right out of you I don’t know what will.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet July 23, 2017

 

More from Song and Sword, the first novel I published, since I’m working on a sequel and need the motivation.  This follows immediately after last week’s snippet.

Picking up from last week, Dakkas has left the Humans to find Kashrya.

 

He dismounted when he reached the site of the skirmish and frowned as he studied the bodies.  He had grown up around Orcs — the Drow had used them as slave labor for almost as long as they had been in exile—and he had never known them to form any kind of organized groups outside of some sort of loose family structure.  But these Orcs…  They were different somehow and he knelt to examine one more closely.

Orcs were roughly the same height as Drow, but had a heavier build.  These had the characteristic grey-green skin and the large dark eyes set into a flat round face, but they were much larger than any he had ever seen, both in height and build.  All were wearing a uniform bearing an insignia that he had never seen, and he was puzzled.  An army of Orcs would be formidable, but forming an army just wasn’t in their nature – as a rule they were timid and shy, even fearful. 

The ground was so trampled that it was nearly impossible to read the signs of the battle, but at last he found the place where they had first come across the river. He could see the smaller footprints of the women, could see one set that did not run, that stood facing the oncoming Orcs.

He stood in her footprints and closed his eyes.  She had been in a balanced fighting position, and he could see her clearly in his mind’s eye, the small hand axe that she carried held in a ready position.  He opened his eyes and examined the ground. There was some blood, about at the reach of her arms, but none where she had stood, and he felt a wave of relief.  At least she was most likely still alive.  But why?   Why would the Orcs have captured her?  That, along with the uniforms, made no sense.

 

 

Song and Sword cover

Blurb:
Pashevel: a simple Elven Bard — and the Crown Prince

Marlia: a Paladin of Arithen, the Elven God of Justice – seeking vengeance for the destruction of her village

Dakkas: heir to the Drow throne — if his father and elder half-brother don’t kill him first

Kashrya: raised among a tribe of nomadic Humans, she is unaware of her true heritage — or of the prophecy that made her mother an outcast

Their goal: build a bridge between the Elves and their outcast brethren, the Drow, reuniting them and undoing the damage caused in a time so far gone that history has become legend and legend has become myth.

But first, they have a problem to solve:  how do you stop a war that hasn’t started?

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for everything else

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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Rainbow Snippet for 7-22-2017

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

 

“Yes,” she replied, her voice barely audible.   She drew a deep shaky breath and swallowed hard. “Thank you, Ayess.  You’ve just said what I felt but couldn’t quite grasp.  Luzita would have had no qualms about doing the same to me.”

“Are you afraid that she will try?”

She shook her head. “She can’t.  The collar works only for me and she’s smart enough to know that I’m the one taking care of her, and that if anything happens to me…”  She looked up at Ayess.  “If anything happens to me, the ship is yours.  It’s already recorded,” she added to forestall a protest. “The ship, my accounts, everything.” 

“Nothing is going to happen to you.”

“I hope not.  But if it does, I want you to know that you will not need to worry about your future.  And don’t worry about Luzita, either.  I told her that if there’s trouble I would know where it started and she would be the one leaving the ship, not you.  I wouldn’t put it past her to try to tell you the exact opposite just to try to create discord, play us against each other.”  She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t found her.”  

Ayess’ race does not have words for he/she/his/hers, etc, because they are (for lack of a better term) hermaphroditic. Their pronouns to refer to other members of their race are “ni” (for he/she/him/her), “ni-es” (his/hers), “ni-en” (they/them) and “ni-en-es” for theirs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Read Like a Writer

You see it all the time in advice to writers: read. And read some more. And then read some more. In short, if you aren’t writing, you should be reading.  The idea behind it is that you can learn your craft by reading what other, supposedly better, writers have done. The problem is, the good writers make everything flow so seamlessly that you don’t notice what they’re doing or how they do it.

I had an English professor in college who would always tell us to “read like a writer.”  I never really understood what he meant.

Until recently.

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading, thanks to the Kindle app on my phone. And a lot of what I’ve been reading has been… eye opening, to say the least.

A story in one anthology I’ve read said was by a “best selling author” but it was so full of grammatical errors (especially sentence fragments) that I nearly gave up on it. (It had some other issues too, but that was the most glaring.)

Now, granted, sentence fragments can be used properly but these just… weren’t. All through reading it I kept wondering who edited the story – and the anthology it was in. (Mostly so I never hired them – in case I ever got enough money to hire an editor, that is.)

And there was another story that I really learned a lot from. It had way more telling than showing, and that “telling” read like it had been written by a second grader.

Then there were really awkward scene breaks. (As in: an empty line, a row of asterisks, another empty line then the same scene continued. Why????)

And stilted dialogue. I think maybe it was written with an emphasis on word count because there were few contractions anywhere (except for a fairly consistent use of “you’re” instead of “your.”)  You know that advice about reading your dialogue out loud to yourself?  Well, now I know why they say to do that.

It also just had too much going on. There were too many characters that just showed up with no background or information, just a name, and a few chapters later you discovered that this one was that one’s sister, and, oh, yeah, this other one is also a sister.

Now, maybe this book was part of a series, and the readers were expected to know who was related to whom, who was whose mate, etc, but for someone coming in cold there were just too many characters.

Granted, in the Academy of the Accord series, I do have a lot of characters, but I’m being careful to introduce them – and to reintroduce them in later books. I also remind my readers about which warrior is bonded with which wizard, not just when re-introducing them, but once or twice later in the book too.

Overkill?

Maybe. But I’d rather slip in an unneeded reminder here and there than frustrate and confuse (and therefore lose) my readers.

A few other random thoughts.

Sex scenes are fine.  But when it seems that that’s all the characters do then it gets old and dull and I tend to skip them. (I’m wondering if I should go back through Sanguine and delete some of mine, except the ones in there serve a purpose – they show the developing relationship between the Kaen and Gregor. The ones I’m talking about are just… there. Gratuitous sex. Sometimes while there are pressing issues that need dealt with. (It reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music where they’re running from the Nazis and stop to sing.)

Also, could adult characters please act like adults and not teenagers with their first crush?  Or two year olds throwing a tantrum?  Seriously! Never in my life have I wanted to smack some sense into so many characters in such a short amount of time.

Oh, and see that exclamation point up there? Please don’t use them when describing action.  One really intense scene was utterly destroyed because of an exclamation point. (Or, as another English prof used to tell us, “Don’t tell me how to feel.”)

So, yes. Read. Read a lot.  Read everything. You’ll learn from reading the good writers.  You’ll learn more from reading the bad stuff.

 

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Wednesday Words #134 (7/19/2017)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a hole in the ground
a wizard
a cloud

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Fake Post

It hasn’t been a good day in my world, so I’m just going to leave a few words here and come back stronger on Friday, okay?

No one panic. I’m not dying or anything, and neither is anyone close to me.

It just feels like it.

After two days – less than two days – my roommate decided that she had “tried” but she was “overwhelmed” by the new dogs (who couldn’t be sweeter and who were getting along great with our other two) and as I write this she is taking them to someone else.

And trust me, I’m recording all the emotions and their physical sensations – the writer in me can’t help it. They’ll end up in a novel someday. (Probably not a current one, but there’s always a plot bunny to be found.)

But right now I can’t quit crying (it’s hell to type through tears) and I hate crying. All crying does is give me a headache. And makes my face hurt.

So this isn’t really a blog post but you all can pretend, right?

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Sunday Snippet July 16, 2017

 

More from Song and Sword, the first novel I published, since I’m working on a sequel and need the motivation.  This follows immediately after last week’s snippet.

Picking up from last week.  Dakkas and the hunting party returned to the camp and discovered that the young women had been attacked, and that Kashrya, the object of Dakkas’ interest, is missing.

 

“We have to go get her!”  The words burst from his lips before he could stop them and everyone fell silent, staring at him.

“Who are you?” someone asked.

“His name is Dakkas,” Thanor said before he could reply.  “He helped us with our hunt and I invited him to share our fires.”

“But Kashrya—” Dakkas had started.

“No.” The new speaker was unmistakably Thanor’s father. “I will not risk my people to go after her.”

“But she held them off,” one of the young women protested. “She put herself between them and us so we could escape.”

The chief shook his head. “No. She is not worth the risk.”

Dakkas felt a surge of anger but before he could speak his attention was drawn to the shaman, who was suddenly standing at Rebel’s shoulder, looking up at him. “Find her,” he whispered. “But do not bring her back here. I love her too much to subject her to any more of their whispers and prejudices.”

Dakkas, suddenly unable to trust his voice, merely nodded, and the shaman shoved a bundle into his saddlebag.  “Those belong to her,” he said, and Dakkas nodded again, but the shaman was gone, as suddenly and as silently as he had appeared, and Dakkas looked back to the chief.

“If you will not go after one of your own people,” he said, “then I will.”  He turned Rebel toward the river, shaking with anger.  Not worth the risk?

 

 

Song and Sword cover

Blurb:
Pashevel: a simple Elven Bard — and the Crown Prince

Marlia: a Paladin of Arithen, the Elven God of Justice – seeking vengeance for the destruction of her village

Dakkas: heir to the Drow throne — if his father and elder half-brother don’t kill him first

Kashrya: raised among a tribe of nomadic Humans, she is unaware of her true heritage — or of the prophecy that made her mother an outcast

Their goal: build a bridge between the Elves and their outcast brethren, the Drow, reuniting them and undoing the damage caused in a time so far gone that history has become legend and legend has become myth.

But first, they have a problem to solve:  how do you stop a war that hasn’t started?

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for everything else

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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Rainbow Snippet for 7-15-2017

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Picking up from last week.

And some… some have sex just because it feels good and some… some use it to get what they want.” 

A sickening feeling washed through her as she realized that that was what Luzita did, a thought that she tried – unsuccessfully – to push out of her mind.  “And those people, they… they play on the minds and emotions of others, even pretending to be something they aren’t to get what they want.” 

Like Maureena, she realized. Maureena and Luzita were cut from the same bolt of Numali silk. Maureena had no doubt recognized herself in Luzita and that had been the real reason she had sold her – she couldn’t risk the competition for control of Taliya.

Taliya closed her eyes to fight back the tears that were threatening to spill over.  After a few deep breaths she continued. “For me… sex… love-making… I have to have an emotional bond with the other person.  It’s not a matter of them being male or female or whatever, it’s… I have to have some sort of connection to them.  And with Luzita… that is broken.  I…  When Maureena, my mother, sold her, she told her that I said to do it, and Luzita believed her. She believed that I would do that to her.”

“Because that is the sort of thing that she would do to you,” Ayess said quietly, and she started, opening her eyes to stare at her first officer.

Ayess’ race does not have words for he/she/his/hers, etc, because they are (for lack of a better term) hermaphroditic. Their pronouns to refer to other members of their race are “ni” (for he/she/him/her), “ni-es” (his/hers), “ni-en” (they/them) and “ni-en-es” for theirs.

 

 

 

 

 

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So Much For Writing

On Tuesday I noticed that Riley (one of our boxers) was acting… not right. I decided to see how he was on Wednesday and the answer was “worse” so I called the vet and the got him that afternoon.

He has a slipped disc and is on prednisone. (Fortunately he’s really good about taking pills.)

He’s also now seeing a chiropractor.

He’s doing better. He’ll go down the steps to the yard now and he wouldn’t on Wednesday. He’s also starting to eat.

But meanwhile, I’ve been spending my time downstairs with him so he didn’t have to climb the steps to be in my room with me. (The dog is my shadow. Seriously. At the chiropractor’s this evening I got up to go to the restroom, leaving him with my roommate. As soon as I was out of sight he started barking, so I went back to get him and take him with me.

(Owning a boxer means you never pee alone.)

Anyhow, tomorrow I’ll be getting up early so we can get on the road to bring home two more wiggle butts (see Monday’s post). Helping them settle in will take up most of the rest of my time tomorrow and I’ll be home alone with the foursome on Monday, then Riley goes back to the chiropractor that evening, and the sisters (the new additions) have an appointment with the groomer on Thursday.

In short, the month is half over and I may never see my monitor again.

Okay, so that is kind of an exaggeration. I’m sure that it won’t be long before all four dogs follow me up to my room to hang out with me. (Riley and Jazzy already do.)

Now, with all this focus on the dogs (and considering how much I love animals) I have to ask myself one question:

Why have I never given my characters pets?

(Well, in Hedge House there is sort of a pet, although I’m sure she’d take exception to that term.)

Something to think about…

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Wednesday Words #133(7/12/2017)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

 

(Click for larger image.)

(Found on FaceBook.)

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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