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Archive for October, 2017

Blurbs

Okay, so I took a little break from the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING

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to work on the blurb for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

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Here’s the old blurb:

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend–and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that–a dream. She’d better be.

Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know–or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.

Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

The two kinds of magic have always been separate. Until now.
 

It focuses a little too much on the girl. Not that she’s unimportant–far from it. But, it doesn’t exactly communicate that this is the first book in an epic fantasy series.

Here’s the new one:

The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend–and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. He’s forced to flee his home, at least until the shaman’s thirst for revenge cools.

Taking shelter with his mother’s people in one of the coastal cities, Vatar learns more than he bargained for. He agreed to learn to work iron and steel, but he never suspected to find a magical heritage as well.

And that’s a problem. A huge problem. Because unlike their own Spirit magic, his people regard the city magic as the work of Evil Spirits. If the shaman ever found out about this, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar.

And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy and win more than his freedom.

I’m sure this one is still far from perfect. But it hopefully does a better job of communicating what kind of story this is.

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My rule about first drafts is that they only go in one direction–forward. Creating the first draft and revising/editing it in subsequent drafts are two very different tasks that each require a very different frame of mind. Writing a first draft all the way to “The End” requires that I resist the urge to let myself get into the editor frame of mind.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that I can’t go back and make a note. I almost have to since I discovery write and sometimes I discover something that will require a change to something I wrote earlier or, more often, something that will need at least a touch of foreshadowing–you know, like the fact that dragons exist in this world if a dragon or two are suddenly going to show up in, like, Chapter 30. (That’s a reference to another story I need to circle back to sometime, MAGE STORM.)

I also belong to one writing group that reads a few chapters at a time every month or so. This works really well. It lets me know what aspects of the story are working and which need a bit more work. As per the rule above, I incorporate ideas from these critiques as notes and move on–usually.

However, right now, as I’m trying to rebuild momentum after a couple of unplanned stops pauses, I’m thinking this might be a good time to break that rule.

In this particular case, my critique partner wanted more emotion about a particular past event that isn’t directly shown, but only referred to. I agree, in general. Particularly because this event is the cause of one of my main characters . . . what K. M. Weiland would refer to as his “ghost”. Something he believes, that isn’t really true, that holds him back, at least temporarily.

The problem is that this particular place in the story–at the start of a battle–isn’t the place for soul searching or a lot of emotion that doesn’t have to do with not getting killed or letting too many of his men get killed, either. I had actually toyed with the idea of deleting that paragraph or two for just that reason. But I need to get the information in somewhere and I’m not sure where else to put it. Plus, it ties into his motivation in that moment.

What I can do is have him firmly repress that emotion and memory because this is not the time or place for it. But then I still have to figure out how to get that emotion in somewhere else. And I can see pretty clearly how and where to do exactly that. And it would be adding not editing.

So, this feels like a good time to break that first draft rule, just a little. Hopefully, it’ll even help me build momentum for the story as a whole.

 

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Forgot to blog yesterday. Having Monday and Tuesday off was very disorienting. I spent half the day thinking it was Monday instead of Wednesday. Then today was very busy–which means I didn’t get much writing done, but I’ve got this bit of description stuck in my head, so I’ll likely at least get that out.

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Building momentum in writing is a little like building physical momentum. There’s inertia to overcome before things start moving more freely. Well, we’re almost to another weekend–only an ordinary one, this time–so, hopefully, I’ll start making better progress.

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Late post tonight, sorry. Busy day.

I’m going to have to work on rebuilding my momentum in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING . . .

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. . . after being distracted for several days with the Amazon X-ray thing. I still think it’s a really good idea, at least for certain books.

For example, my DUAL MAGICS series. I mean, hopefully the readers will remember the core characters, and the ones that only turn up for one scene or a couple of closely related scenes shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But in four books there are some characters–and also some geographical features and magical terminology–that may not be referred to frequently but might come up repeatedly across the series. Having the ability to have a quick refresher of who or what that is sounds like a positive to me.

But it does take a long time to go through the list and provide some sort of reference–and remove all the things that shouldn’t need an explanation. Like, for instance, for some reason–probably because I capitalized it as part of a common name–Amazon’s default was to want to provide a reference for Forest and then offer a Wikipedia article. Not really what I had in mind. Then it’ll probably take me even longer to figure out which terms and places Amazon didn’t ask for a definition of. (Yeah, I’ve found a few already.)

And then there’s the boxed set, which is going to be more complicated because the reference I might want to give in the first book will necessarily be less complete than the one I would offer in the third book, but I’m not going to be able to split that up.

So this is the kind of thing that needs to be more of a background task. Something, maybe that I do while thinking about the next scene or something similar. And I need to get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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I received an e-mail earlier today from Amazon that their x-ray feature had been activated or was at least available on my books. X-ray provides a function somewhat similar to the dictionary where you can get a description of a character or term in the book. Overall, a very good thing in a fantasy story, I think.

So, the first thing I did when I got a chance was to check THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. Sure enough, x-ray was enabled.

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But what they list as the description is just the very first sentence to contain the character’s name or the term. So, this means I need to go through all of that and change it to something actually useful. And then do the same for all the other books in the series. And then check all my other books.

Like I didn’t have any writing to do. I’ll squeeze it all in somehow. At least I have a four-day weekend coming up.

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to share a sample from the audiobook of The Shaman’s Curse.

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Of course, you can listen to the sample right there on Amazon, but I wanted to share it more broadly.

Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me share the audio, here. (Well, they would, if I was willing to pay for the privilege.) And Facebook doesn’t let you share audio, even though you can share video–which makes little sense to me. But anyway. Then today I was watching a podcast from ACX University where it was suggested to make a video by just using the audiobook cover and the sample.

Well, that diverted me into getting the software (free) to do that and create said video. Of course, I still can’t upload that here. But I can upload the video to Facebook–it just takes a really long time, for some reason.

I’ve been waiting for Facebook to finish, which is in part why this post is so late. But it’s still thinking. Eventually, you may be able to listen to the video on my Facebook author page. I hope.

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