Veteran’s View – from the Trenches


My guest today is what you would call a seasoned veteran.   I always pay attention when someone is giving advice who has been there, done that, and succeeded. These are people that we can learn from.

Such a pleasant person to talk with, and open to sharing  his experiences.  Talk about a fascinating mind – this man has one! I got a sneak-peak into  his upcoming book and I am already hooked!  Please welcome Mr. Jeffrey Cook on NaNo.

10799790_1507392576190986_78876232_n

  • Are you a nano newbie? Seasoned veteran? Old timer?

I’m a seasoned veteran at this point. This will be my 5th year doing Nanowrimo.

  •  Have you finished and/or won nano in the past?

I’ve won every year that I’ve taken part. Usually, technically, winning 3 or more times over. I tend not to feel satisfied with Nanowrimo unless I get a first draft of a project done, though. there has been a couple years where I’ve made a lot of progress, and gotten 200k words done on three or four different projects, but didn’t finish my main draft.

  • How many words do you usually average per day? 

I usually get around 5 to 7k words a day during most Nanos. My best year was my first at a little over 10k per day, but that was all I was doing then.

Yeah, in the first nano, I wasn’t setting out to write a trilogy. I was just writing. It turned into 315k words, so I ended up breaking it up into 3 books. But they were all written, in terrible first draft form, that first year. This time, I set out to write a series.

  •  How do you prepare for nano? 

Ahead of any new writing project, Nanowrimo or otherwise, I make a playlist first. As soon as that’s done, I write an outline, usually with 1 or 2 sentences to sum up each chapter. The outline usually doesn’t last long before its revised, but I like to have the rough roadmap.

  • How many hours do you see that you wil be able to write each day?

I’m a full-time author now. Sadly, that doesn’t leave as much time for writing as I’d like, or as it seems like I’d be able to, amidst editing, marketing, keeping up with the social media side, going to conventions, etc., but I still put in at least a couple hours a day on actual writing projects, and more when I’m able.

  •  How do you feel about the marketing side of it? 

Honestly, I’m of two minds. I love making new connections and talking to people. I’ve made some new good friends from it. But I hate the busywork aspects. I wish I could hire a publicist who knew and understood a lot of it to handle a lot of it. It takes time away from writing for little idea of any return. That’s part of why I’m always grateful for bloggers and other people who are looking for content – it benefits me in terms of exposure. In general, outside of the actual face-time with people, though, I don’t like marketing much.

How do you handle editing?

I have a professional editor who is also sometimes a co-writer who is wonderful and saves my sanity on a regular basis. Finding the right editor is also a big help. I’ve worked with a few – and my current one really clicked well. So I’m keeping her. She deserves all the credit I can give her.

 But that is consistently part of my advice to authors, because I love meeting other writers and helping people get through the rough patches based on my learning experience and the things authors told me when starting out…

There are 2 things any author should be prepared for, unless they’re part of the minority with the right skillset: a professional editor (or friend who will be honest with you and has the right skillset) – and a cover artist.

  • Cover art – I have an idea in my head of what I want, and I need to find someone that con execute that idea to look good because if I try to do it – FAIL.
  • Yeah, I’m not an artist. I lucked into the first cover. I found it, already done, on Deviantart. I asked the artist if I could buy it, he said I could have it, just credit him on /everything/, because it was an old piece for him, and he wanted exposure. Then he disappeared – no responses, his website stopped updating, etc., just as there was lots of chaos in Eastern Europe. So, just as I was discussing hiring him for book 2. So aside from not knowing what happened to an awesome person, I needed to find someone who could duplicate the landscaping style for book 2 on short notice.

    Thankfully, Will Sweet does a really good job with landscape type work

  • Tell me briefly your nano book idea, and what inspired it.

I have a few projects going at once, including anthology submissions and an idea that refuses to go away if I don’t add to it now and then. My primary project, though, is a YA Urban Fantasy. I love mythology, and have been wanting to do something with a lot of inspiration drawn from myth – so I’m working on a project that will tie in the four lost cities of the fae, the four treasures of Ireland, and faerie myths. The main character is a teen girl who didn’t know she was a half-breed, whose sidhe blood has led her to have severe ADHD most of her life. She learns that she’s the daughter of one of the Unseelie lords, and has to navigate the faerie courts to make sure the Unseelie, often seen (not always undeservedly) as the ‘bad guys’, takes power when they’re supposed to on Halloween. The hope is to make it the first of a four book series.

  • Your book idea sounds amazing. I am a total sucker for mythology and specifically Celtic mythology and the Tuatha deDanaan.

Thank you. And yeah, I’ve been a huge mythology buff since I was little.

 One of the first things I really read was an old issue of Thor #276 back in the late 70’s, when I was 4, and comics were a great reward. It got me started researching the real mythology.
  •  Do you have a routine or ritual that you go through before you begin writing?

I get most of my actual writing work done late at night, once my wife and two of the three dogs go to bed. I can get editing and other work done before that, but I do my best actual writing when its quiet aside from the music, and when there’s less likely to be many interruptions. Otherwise, there’s not much ritual involved.

  •   I’m a nightowl by nature, but it doesn’t seem to work in  our family structure. I guess I still have to work on that aspect. What do you use for your writing?  Word? Scrivener?  Pen and paper?

Open office.  I also keep a notebook with me at all times when I’m not at home.

Do you find free writing during nano liberating or do you struggle to not edit as you go?

I find Nano extremely liberating. I’ve become pretty comfortable with editing later, or doing a little clean-up and sending things to my editor as I go, which she has said she specifically prefers over getting whole books at once, even if the ‘as I go’ method means she’s getting short bits of first draft instead of larger third drafts.

 Do you write chronologically or when you hit a  tight spot, do you jump to another scene and come back?

I usually write chronologically, but I will do bits and pieces of other scenes. I do tend to write my last paragraph early on, so I at least know the ending, even if I need to twist some of the middle later to make sure it still happens.

How long do you let it sit before you go back and edit and revise?

I used to let things sit for about a month. I have a professional editor now, though, so things tend to be sent to her as soon as I finish each chapter. Then I do revisions and rewrites when needed as she gets back to me.

What kind of support system do you have?  Family? Friends?  

It really has helped to have friends and family who support the ambition. I know a lot of people don’t. And I really do appreciate it when people ask me how the next book is coming along. It helps keep me motivated. I know a lot of aspiring writers don’t have that.

My wife has been really supportive, and doesn’t read anything I write so she can just be happily supportive instead of feeling the need to critique. My housemate loves asking how things are coming along. He’s driven me to Portland and Bellingham – 3 hour drives, repeatedly, because I’m disabled and can’t handle driving that long. My mother and close friends have been consistently very supportive – they like my posts, share events, encourage me to keep going, and buy signed books.

front-cover-only-2500

10656201_1507406052856305_318663866_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio: Author Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He was born in Boulder, Colorado, but has lived all over the United States. He’s contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle, Washington, but the Dawn of Steam series are his first novels. When not reading, researching or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.cook.54390 and https://www.facebook.com/dawnofsteamtrilogy

Twitter: @JeffreyCook74

Website: http://www.dawnofsteam.net

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-Cook/e/B00IRMC3H6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

And current books:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/149427650X/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N5D9BK4/

Advertisements

The Darius Groove


A creative voice if I’ve ever heard one, Darius Sayers expresses  his views and experience with NaNoWriMO.  I’d be willing to bet If Darius went through my creative series, he’d find himself in at least three of those categories.  Today though, he is sharing   about NaNo. 

writing

I joined the NaNoWriMo site back in 2009 fully intending to join the event every year. I didn’t exactly make it. That first year I think I got in about 3,000 words before I threw in the towel and simply gave up. I was going through a stressful time personally and I am in the military, so there  – some who would say I had an excuse. I myself don’t believe in excuses. The fact of the matter is, I was scared. I didn’t have the drive and I quit.

Last year I saw a post around mid-September about the event and thought… I should try it. I’m still in the military, still have stressful things going on, but there was something different. To put it simply, I found my drive.

I entered for 2013 and wrote a little story about a young man with schizophrenia and the love affair he kindles with his neighbor and one time babysitter called “Secret Words”. So, 2014 is my third time attempting NaNo and it will be my second win. I’m not a newbie, but I’m not a seasoned veteran either. I like to think of myself as a rough-around-the-edges sophomore.

I am normally a hands-down plotter. I like knowing everything about my work, where it starts, where it is going and who is in it. Last year I plotted the ever-living heck out of my novel and it flowed beautifully. Since then I have written two more novels and I plotted both of them. This year, for NaNoWriMo, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to do more/different from what I did last year. So, I solemnly swore to myself that I would Pants it. I’ve kept that promise, for the most part. I went into the beginning of the event with no more than a plot, the characters and an idea of where it would lead. I have to say it is going just as well as last year. The words, sentences, paragraphs all flow right along, and I’ve only hit one small hurdle that was easily overcome by a break and quick trip to watch “Interstellar” (great movie btw 😉 ).

As I said I am in the military, so my hours and activity vary widely. There are days where I work, work, work and then there are days where I have pretty much the whole day to myself and can do what I want. I’ve found that this chaotic lifestyle is a bonus to my writing. I used to think I needed it quiet, for no one to bother me, and to be calm and relaxed to write. Nope. Not happening. I need chaos to write. I guess that might be the change between 2009 and 2013/2014 that helped me win. I found the ambiance that I needed to flourish in. That chaos makes it so that I can sit down and bang out 2-5K words a day, and, I feel almost embarrassed about admitting this, I can do it in a few hours. So, it doesn’t affect my life that much. I have a great wife and she totally supports what I do and gives me the time to do it.

I don’t say it to one-up anyone, or toot my own horn, it is just how I work. I suppose it helps that I learned to type 125 words per minute in high school. So, if I am giving a tip, a bit of advice for those who are doing or planning to do NaNoWriMo, I would say find what works for you. There are a lot of people out there who will try to sell you a road map on how to write a novel. They will tell you what software to use, what books to read, how to plan or not to plan, they will even tell you what music to listen to. Maybe you can take that and follow their path, and do just find. Maybe you can’t. My advice to you is to experiment. Try different things. Find what works for you and then apply that to your writing.

Writing is an art and art is personal. Everything about it comes from within and in doing so you have to find your own path.

If you want more great advice, tips & tricks, or if you’re just bored out of your mind, you can find me at these lovely places on the interwebs:

Blog – http://starry-eyed-potboiler.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/waywardson74

Twitter  – @dhsayers

Google+ – +D.H. Sayers

Thank you Darius, for sharing today! Show him some love by stopping by his sites! 

Write on my friends, and let’s DO THIS!

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!


Winner-2014-Twitter-Profile

 

I did it!  50,000 words in 30 days of literary abandon.  It’s rough,  its raw, it’s unpolished but I did it!

2014-11-04 17.19.20

Here’s a mock-up of the cover.  It was for my motivation only. I know I am not a cover artist.

The synopsis: 

Scott’s summer job excavating ancient ruins turns out to be more than he bargained for. The opportunity to spend it with the girl of his dreams quickly turns into a nightmare.With a maniacal killer on the lose, the world in the balance and the clock ticking down to world destruction can he save Helena and stop Ragnarök?

Brief Excerpt:

(Keep in mind this a first draft. )

Down the hill from the camp towards the water’s edge, a man in a black coat, black sock cap and thin leather gloves spread the herbal concoction in a ring around the altar stone as he voiced the Incantation. It was only the beginning step to his plan. As he walked, he repeated the incantation a second time. He’d arrived barely with enough time to get things into place. Glancing over at the girl who would be his sacrifice, he felt anger at her for delaying him. If it wasn’t for the ritual requiring her to be conscious to give consent, he would have kept her sedated. The tone of his chants changed with his rising ire on the third repetition.

He heard the music begin at the camp up the hill. He lifted his eyes skyward and said a thank you to Tyr. This provided an excellent cover if the girl made much noise. He closed the circle with the herbal mix. He took the gold ring, the bronze cuff, and the silver clasp to the altar stone. He set them in the middle of the stone, filed the center with the ash bark, dried heather, and small bits of mica. Striking the ceremonial dagger against the stone key causing a spark. Once the heather ignited, he tossed on the lavender. A thick white smoke poured off then a sudden flash of brilliant light before the fire burned out. He set the items at the top of the stone and stepped out of the ring to get the girl.

He spoke the next line of the ancient spell that allowed him back inside the sacred circle with the girl.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Erik nearly carried Helena the last few feet to her tent. She seemed drugged. He had not observed her taking anything that would cause such a reaction. Inside her tent door, her head lolled forward as she went completely limp. Just like in the car, she was simply out.

He carried her the last few feet and lifted her, settling her onto the cot. He threw her blanket over her and went for help. Inside the mess tent where everyone celebrated, he sought out the medic, Jim Draves.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The girl squirmed in his arms, glancing up at him. “Are we going to your yacht now? You said you’d take me sailing on your yacht.”

“In a few minutes doll. Be patient.” He patted her arm as he moved her to the stone. “Sit here for me. We are going to play a little game.”

“Ooh fun. I like games.” She grinned seductively up at him.

He took her hands in his, wrapping the string tightly around her wrist.

“Ooh daddy. I didn’t know you were kinky. Tie me up and spank your dirty girl.”

He smirked. It was a good thing that this first sacrifice didn’t have to be a virgin. “Yes my dear girl. Daddy is going to get downright kinky with you. PUnish you for your wickedness.”

She giggled and held her hands out towards him. “Wouldn’t we be more comfortable on your yacht though?”

He secured the knot. Then stepped away from her, bending to the dufflebag which held his items. “My darling girl. This part has nothing to do with comfort. Now be a good girl for daddy and lay back on the stone.”

“OK” She batted her eyes and gave him a seductive smile.

“LIft your head sweetheart.” She complied as he slipped a silk handkerchief around her head covering her eyes.

“What if I get scared daddy?”

“Not to worry sweets. I’ve got that covered as well.” He glanced down over her body, her hard nipples pressed against the thin cotton Oxford that she wore. He reached into the bag for the other silk handkerchief and put it over her mouth, in a tight gag.

“Mmm mmmm ggg ammm” She tried to voice her protest. He could see her heartbeat had increased by the pulse at her neck.

“Excellent. You’re doing very good sweetheart.” He bent and retrieved the silver dagger, slipping the black cloth back into the bag. “Do you trust daddy?”

She nodded even as she turned her head back and forth trying to scoot the handkerchief down from her eyes.

He tore open her shirt, buttons flying and cloth ripping. With a flick of the knife he had cut through the fabric of her bra. She gasped.

He began reciting the last line of the incantation as he began carving the runes across her chest, pressing his forearm down over her shoulders to hold her still. Her muffled screams drowned out by the pulsating music above them. At the last word, and speaking the name – Tyr, he plunged the dagger into her heart. Slowly the blood began to pool from her flesh. He swiped his fingers through it and wrote the remaining runes. He positioned the bowl to catch the blood in.

By the time he finished writing the last rune on her body,her heart quit beating.

I’ll bet it’s not what you expected from a romance writer is it?  I’m thinking that this will be  more in the thriller genre.  After I  get done with revisions and edits,  I’ll get a couple of beta readers to give their opinions on it as well.

For my friend’s that said I couldn’t do dark – be afraid, be very afraid.

I must go celebrate now that  I have achieved a goal that honestly I felt was out of my reach.  Dragon Naturally Speaking  was an absolute lifesaver!  OK,  it doesn’t get all the words right,  but it’s learning.

Write on my friends, write on!

NANO – Roadblocks and Detours


My next guest’s tale is all too familiar to me .  Well, with the exception of  the release of her book –  but that will be me soon.   This is reminiscent of my experience last year.  Sometimes even the best laid plans get  blown to bits.  Miss Renee Fournier shares her experience.  Although the details are different the story is  the same for many of us. She sent this  to me on the 8th and  shortly after that all hell broke loose in my life. 

Some of her indications may read for the beginning of the month, but I find the 25K mark the hardest obstacle to overcome.  I am behind in my word count,  trying desperately to climb out of my hole.  I’ve managed 32K so far,   but I should be at 36,667.  So with that  in mind, here’s Renee’s contribution while I go back to the trenches.  

writing-habits

According to the word count chart for Nanowrimo I should be well into double digits by now. I, however, like everyone else have a real life outside of writing. In the last week I had a book release for my charity book which has been an incredibly important endeavor for me. It went well but understandably it took up the day and therefore I was unable to get anything accomplished on day one.

Day two I did write and made progress hitting just over the target word count for the first day. At least I had a start. Then on days three, four, and five I worked back to back double shifts. Between waking up at 1:30am in order to drive to my first job and not returning home from the second until nearly 9:00 pm I was completely exhausted. I also had to get a few hours of sleep when I could so writing any additional words at that point was simply out of the question.

Along came Thursday the sixth and lo and behold a beautiful day off. My boyfriend was also off that day but had made plans with friends in order to give me time for some much-needed rest and then some writing time. Yet as we all know best laid plans and all, so as it happens I slept as much as my body would allow and awoke to a screaming migraine that managed to hold on until well into the early evening. I got zero words written that day as well.

Friday came and went with a shift at one of my jobs and a quick stop to a Marine club to celebrate the kick off of Veteran’s day weekend, my boyfriend is a veteran. Saturday was our annual bike ride in honor of wounded veterans. We rode forty-six miles and I managed to dislocate my knee having to reset mid ride. After that was the visit to the air show at our local Air Force base before retiring for the night in an effort to regain some strength. Again no progress made.

Finally came Sunday and another full day off. I sat down in my chair readied my hands above the keys and watched an episode of Numbers on television. Home simply wouldn’t work so I packed up my computer and files and headed to a coffee shop a few miles away. I took up residence in one of the chairs and managed to get my word count up to a respectable eighty-one hundred words. Today I made the same trek but with little results. I have struggled desperately adding a mere thousand words.

This is where things could get dicey. I could give up because I am only about halfway to where I should be and quickly closing in on the halfway point of the month. I could get discouraged by all the people I see saying they want to change their goals and not go for the full fifty thousand. I could make excuses about working too much and having no time to keep up. These are all things I could do.

Instead I am writing. I plan all the times I can write and I make a promise to myself to get it done. I need a jolt I grab the coffee, a little concentration I get a writing buddy if I need an escape from distraction I plug in my headphones and hit the library. This is a marathon and I am in it for the long haul. I may struggle, I may slip but I look at my goals of publishing and telling the stories that are important to me and the one thing I don’t see written on that list is giving up.

Writing might be a solitary activity. My characters live in my head and tell their stories to me but at no point do I ever think that I am alone. I have a network of support between my writing buddies, my family and friends and with great appreciation, my readers. I have laughed and cried with them. I have asked advice and given sneak peeks. I have listened to critiques and shared secrets my characters whisper in my head.

Whenever you feel like giving up, and now going through the middle of the month it can be truly tempting, I ask you to give the respect that your characters deserve and make the valiant effort to push on. Use the support laid out. Read the pep talks and post to the group. Attend the write ins if you are able or organize a sprint or two online. Share your successes and slip ups with us we have all been there and will high-five or comfort you in your times as we travel the literary path together.

Well said Renee!

Write on my friends, write on!

Maintaining NANO Momentum


My next NANOer is Ryan Nelson.    Ryan has been my guest on here before for his recent release, The Fifth Clan. (see links below).  I  think Ryan explains quite well the  struggle that most of us face with our real life responsibilities, and finding time to write. It has to be a passion to continue to write when life makes constant demands on you pulling you in twenty directions already.

Are you a nano newbie? Seasoned veteran?  Old timer?

I’m not a newbie, but I wouldn’t say seasoned veteran or Old Timer either. This is my third year doing NaNo.

 Have you finished and/or won nano in the past?

I have not, unfortunately. My first year, 2012, I managed just over twenty five thousand words before the wheels fell off the wagon. Last year, 2013, I did less than fifteen hundred. Not even one full days worth of writing and life just got so crazy that I gave up out of frustration.

How do you prepare for nano? Or if this is your first time,  how have you prepared?

Wait, we’re allowed to prepare ahead of time? 0_0 In all honesty though I got the idea for this years NaNo project about three weeks before NaNo officially kicked off. Prep consisted of bouncing the idea off of a few friends, then I sat down and started outlining individual ideas in a paper notebook with a pen. After that I sat at my computer and started outlining individual chapters in Scrivener.

How many hours do you see that you will be able to write each day?

Man, who has enough free time that they can measure it in hours? I have kids and a day job. I measure my writing time in, ‘Hey, look! The kids are distracted, grab the laptop! Go, go, go, go!’

OH man!  I’ve so been there!  Now that my kids are teens it’s getting easier. Tell me briefly your nano book idea, and what inspired it.

Briefly? Ok, briefly. Well basically the idea consists of Will-o’-the-wisps. In this fantasy world that I have yet to name, everyone knows that if you follow the Wisps they will lead you to adventure,  fame, and glory. But you will also have to deal with being cold, hungry, and scared; which all goes along with ‘adventure’. Most people don’t bother anymore since it’s not really worth dealing with all the downsides. David is the first person in generations to decide to follow the Wisps, and things don’t go exactly as planned.

Do you have a routine or ritual that you go through before you begin writing?

No, no ritual or routine, really. I just start writing. After the obligatory animal sacrifice to the gods of creativity of course. They accept bunny peeps in sacrifice, right?

Last I heared they did.  You’ve made  alms to the great god of caffiene, right?  You have to appease that one or  there  is no release from the great river of creative thoughts.

What  do you use for your writing?  Word? Scrivener?  Pen and paper?

Pen and paper for my notes and such. The actual manuscript is in Scrivener, all the way. I still haven’t gotten into the more advanced tools but even just using the basics it is an amazing program. And I love how there’s a word count goal and daily minimum counter. I can set myself a deadline and it helps me stick to my goals a little easier.

That is one of my favorite features of Scrivener! The daily word target, I love that .  It really does help me stay on track. Well, most of the time it does. Do you find free writing during nano liberating or do you struggle to not edit as you go?

I still find myself editing. Mostly in the fixing of typos and such, but I’ve rewritten a sentence on occasion because as soon as I typed it I realized there was a better way to do it. Otherwise though it is fun to just get it out on paper (so to speak) and worry about fixing it later.

Do you write chronologically or when you hit a  tight spot, do you jump to another scene and come back?

I tend to write from Chapter one to chapter End, in order. I have on occasion skipped ahead, but not often. It might help me actually to keep from getting bogged down in one thing to just skip ahead and at least continue the story elsewhere until I can figure out how to fix that one tight spot.

How long do you let it sit before you go back and edit and revise?

Are we supposed to let it sit? Last book that I published I let sit for a couple of days and then I was editing and revising like a mad man.

My Facebook author page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/authorryantnelson

shadow's birth

The Shadow’s Birth can be purchased at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007C7UU1S?cache=a98deb9bfad2d665a913410d0dc82e1a&pi=SY200_QL40&qid=1401495649&sr=8-2#ref=mp_s_a_1_2

‘The Fifth Clan’

fifth clan

http://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Clan-Ryan-T-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00KYKKS26/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1402662691&sr=8-2&keywords=Ryan+T+Nelson

 

Wisdom Nuggets


Senna  Collings shares some muddy middle advice for those of us who get bogged down. This is usually the point when I  start to go back over my  writing and edit.  Bad Idea! I always lose steam in the middle. In the past I’ve given into the Nazi editor, and cut over 25K words from my work. What was I thinking? 

This year I am trying a different approach. I have implemented Lazette Gifford’s system, and broken down my outline into 30 points.  I have an index card with notes for each day.  So far it’s working pretty well except for those days I haven’t been able to write. ( See Senna’s point #3) 

I must admit to violating #1, 3, and 4. (hangs head in shame) But we keep at it, each year  learning to do better.  I think anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo will benefit from these nuggets, as well as anyone who is considering tackling it in the future. So now I will hand things over to Senna Collings!

 

The halfway point for NaNo is always super rough. I find myself rejoicing that I’ve made it this far, and then getting frustrated that I still have half a novel to write and less than half of the steam I’d had when I started.

Usually around this time, I start snooping around the forums. The NaNo veterans always have these little Nuggets Of Wisdom hiding in just about every thread they post in. Now that I’ve been doing this for four years, I probably have my own Nuggets to hand out to new writers, but any time anyone asks for advice,  I end up going “someone else has to have a better Nugget for this than I do.”

I end up feeling like just a little baby WriMo, still fumbling through blocks of text and sloppy character development. The truth of the matter is, though, that I have learned a few things through the years, and these things have developed into Nuggets to add on top of the Nuggets I’ve harvested from others.  In an attempt to transition into a wise, seasoned veteran of NaNo, I will pass along my own Wisdom Nuggets to you.

  1.  Nothing is permanent (usually.) I know you have the best plotline, the best name for your novel, the best characters who will do everything exactly the way you planned, but I’m going to drop a bomb on you here; there is about a 75% chance that something is going to change in there. Rather than fight it, go with it, see where it leads you. This is great writing advice in general, but it’s especially good for NaNo, when you need to make word count for the day. November is the time to write. December is when you can (and should!) revise. Don’t like where that passage went? Take care of it in December.
  2.  The Pixar Storytelling Rules are probably your best friend. My personal favorite? “Coincidences that get your character into trouble are great. Coincidences that get your character out of trouble are cheating.” Does the bad guy just happen to not be home when your heroes sneak into their lair? You’re cheating, my friend. It’s a lot more fun to write (and read!) about your characters wriggling their way out of problems.
  3. Don’t stop when you hit your word count for the day. Seriously. Believe me. If you have even a smidge of time and energy left to keep writing for the day, DO IT! There are going to be days where your writing time is sabotaged by family, or friends, or possibly even bears on skateboards. There’s also going to be days when none of these things sabotage your time, but your muse is out to lunch for the entire day. Writing as much as you can on days when you have the time and energy is a way to give yourself a buffer for these days. And if you never have an off day, you either have a higher word count than 50,000 by the end of November, or you finish early. Woohoo!
  4. Take care of yourself. Set a timer on yourself for reminders to do so. It’s really easy to neglect to eat (and I mean real food, not chocolate and coffee,) or drink water, or to walk around and rest your eyes from your computer screen or notebook. If you have someone you can ask to remind you to do any of these things, do it. It’s seriously important that you keep yourself healthy through November, since it’s the start of cold and flu season. (Plus, if you get sick, that takes time out of noveling!)
  5. Word sprints are your friend. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, they’re a great way to power through writer’s block. Most write-ins have sprints, but if you’re not able to make it to a write-in, there are a couple alternatives. First are the virtual write-ins NaNo hosts here. You can find the schedule of the upcoming virtual write-ins there, also. They’re really fun and I totally recommend them. If you can’t make it to those, or want something right here, right now, this twitter runs word sprints almost non-stop through November. Give it a shot!
  6. Write. It doesn’t matter how overdone you think your idea is, or how awful your current passage is, or if you don’t plan to publish your novel. It doesn’t matter. Just keep writing. Because once you’re done, you will feel accomplished. You worked really hard on this and now it is finished. Done! Fin! You can now take a load off and celebrate – and you should celebrate. If you want, you can come back and revise your novel in December. But for right now, the best thing you can do is write and write and write so you can get to that celebration point. You can do it! I believe in you!

 

Senna is a 19-year-old dork who probably could use a nap. When she’s not writing, she should be. She wishes she was Barbie so she could feasibly pursue every career that interests her. For now, she’ll stick with writer and photographer If you’d like to read her ramblings on the world and her childhood memories, you can have a look at her blog here, or you can look at her pretty pictures here.

Are you enjoying my NANO blitz?  Do you have a few tidbits of advice to share? Why not leave them in a comment?   Have you found Senna’s  wisdom nuggets helpful?  Why not leave her a comment to let her know!

Write on my freinds, write on! NANO NANO!

Pressing In For the Win


My guest today Tara Seaks is not a stranger to NaNO.   I like her approach,  her persistence and strategy.  I think you’ll find some valuable insights from her as well.  

Please welcome Ms Tara Seaks!! 

  1. Are you a nano newbie? Seasoned veteran? Old timer?

Do I have the privilege of calling myself a newbie veteran? This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo.

  1. Have you finished and/or won nano in the past?

I did manage a win last year. Though, this was only after validating at 49,997 and quickly adding a line or two to get over the hump.

  1. How do you prepare for nano? Or if this is your first time, how have you prepared?

Once I’ve got an idea that excites me, I run with it. First, I strive to solidify that idea. Rarely does it stay the same from its initial conception. It seems to morph little by little as I start researching. My research comes in many forms: TV shows and movies, books, Google searches, random conversations, etc. I keep a pen and notebook handy for anything that might be relevant to my story. Once I’ve got a better formulated story concept, I create an outline for chapter structure as well as character profiles. All of this preparation helps me stay on task through November. However, I always keep it flexible. If the story takes me on an unforeseen path, I’ll let it flow wherever it wants to.

  1. How many hours do you see that you will be able to write each day?

Last year, I allowed myself around two hours each day. It worked out very well for me, as I also had a goal of 2000 words per day. That way I was able to get ahead in case I needed to miss a day for some reason. This year, my life is much more hectic. So, I’m going to try to maintain the same system, though probably not in a solid two-hour time slot each day.

  1. Tell me briefly your nano book idea, and what inspired it.

My idea was initially inspired by the Ebola scare as well as my (somewhat) obsession with survival tactics. I started contemplating government conspiracies of experimentation and the kinds of repercussions that could follow from such experiments. Somehow, throwing this stuff together in my wild imagination has excited me enough to write a novel.

  1. Everyone loves a conspiracy theory! Do you have a routine or ritual that you go through before you begin writing?

I guess you could say I do. I like to write while consuming nectar of the gods (coffee, of course, which I cannot function without). So, I typically start by making a rather large cup and warming a rice-filled heat wrap to rest my wrists on during the writing process. Carpal tunnel kills the spirit big time. I also switch on some mood music suitable to the scenes I’ll be working on.

  1. What do you use for your writing? Word? Scrivener? Pen and paper?

I actually use a software program called Q10 for the first draft. Someone mentioned it in a forum last year. So, I tried it and absolutely loved it. I like that it shoves everything else off the screen, leaving less room for distraction. It also shows the word count at the bottom of the screen, which helps to keep me motivated and wastes less time if I want to check my progress. When I finish the draft, I send it to Scriviner to be split into sections and edited.

  1. Do you find free writing during nano liberating or do you struggle to not edit as you go?

I have always found free writing to be liberating. So, it isn’t very difficult for me to let the writing flow without editing. However, I do find it rather frustrating to edit later. Apparently, when I write without any form of editing, I am left with a ton of work to do later, including some of the most ridiculous mistakes possible. Not that I think anyone should edit as they go. The goal of NaNo is, afterall, word count. It is much easier to reach that 50k goal if the urge to edit can be subdued.

  1. Do you write chronologically or when you hit a tight spot, do you jump to another scene and come back?

I’m definitely a chronological writer. I find it difficult to jump around and still keep the whole thing together. One thing that kept me from getting stuck last year was the outline I had created. Every day, when my session was over, I would pull out my outline to see where I’d be heading the next day. This gave me time to consider the next scene and play it all out in my mind before sitting down to write it.

  1. How long do you let it sit before you go back and edit and revise?

The wait really depends on the story. It could be anywhere from two weeks to three months. Any longer than that removes me from the story too much. Any sooner and I’d be too attached. I think it’s important to find that balance where you can look at the novel objectively and still be in love with it.

  1. Share author bio, photo if you like, buy links for other books, and any place you want to be found

Tara Seaks is a writer and musician from southern Pennsylvania. Her work can be found in the form of published poetry, self-improvement blogging and the album “Balance In Transformation” by Shattered Beneath The Shade. She resides in a small town with her fiance’ and son. Other life passions include reading, video games, learning, and spending time with her loved ones.

DSCF2797_levelsBlackWhite

“Growing Wings” Blog: http://dhargeykhandro.wordpress.com/

 

A Family Affair


My guest today is Margo Upson. I  think you’ll enjoy her unique amazing story. When I first heard her talking about this I was absolutely blown away.  I hope this touches your heart and gives you some encouragement.  I so needed to read this today  when I was at a point of nearly giving up. 

A Family Affair: What My Daughter is Really Learning from NaNoWriMo

The first time I heard about NaNoWriMo, I was 25, and working from home while raising my then one-year-old daughter. It was the middle of October; I only had two weeks to decide whether or not I wanted to participate. I did research and character work on October 30th, drew a very brief outline on October 31st, and then started writing early next morning. It was a wild month, but I finished.

I’ve participated in every NaNoWriMo since, save one year, and I’ve won each time. My strategy now is a lot different from what it was when I started. I have a plot by mid-September. By the middle of October, I have a detailed outline, character sketches, and a notebook full of research. I have postcards stuck to the dining room walls (which gets a little awkward when I host Thanksgiving– I write romance!). I tend to start strong, fall behind in the middle, and then catch up during the last week.

This year, I’m struggling to find time to write. It’s really the first year that life has really caught up with me. Between work, school, and family life, time is short. I’m behind; according to the NaNoWriMo word count tool, I need to write 2,161 words a day to finish on time.

Whew.

Fortunately, I’m not facing this challenge alone. In addition to a few super-supportive friends, my oldest daughter is joining me for her second year of NaNoWriMo. She’s seven, and working on a story about pirates. On any given evening in November, you’ll find the two of us sitting out in the dining room, working towards our word count goals for the day. Her younger sister usually joins us, bringing along her crayons and a coloring book.

I don’t plan on my daughter growing up to be an author (but I’d be very supportive if she did). I encourage her to join in for the experience of taking on a huge challenge, and then working diligently through the month until she reaches her goal. It’s an opportunity for her to experience a world outside of her school and friends. She’s not old enough to go onto the forums, but she loves knowing that there are so many other young writers out there, writing along with her. We’ll also be going to our first write-in this year. She’ll get to sit in a cafe with all of the adult writers, and work along beside us for an hour or so. It will likely mean missing a day of school, but I consider the experience of meeting other authors to be just as important, probably more so, than a single day of second grade. (Apologies to all of the teachers out there. I’ll get all of her make-up work in advance–I promise!)

My daughters are growing up with a writer for a mom. That means that their bedtime stories are often bits of research from my current work-in-progress. It means that I’m going to hand them a book to read instead of turning on the TV. It means that, when other parents are taking their children to amusement parks, mine will be traveling to wherever my current book is set. Where, admittedly, we will probably also be visiting the nearest amusement park. Children need roller coasters, spinning tea cups, and overpriced hot dogs just as much as they need historic sites and dusty museums.

But it also means that they are growing up with an appreciation for the time and dedication that it takes to turn a dream into reality. So, when November rolls around and it’s time for NaNoWriMo, I’m going to invite them to join in.

Because when my daughter sits down to write at my side, I’m not encouraging her to attain my dreams. I’m giving her the tools she needs to reach her own.

 What an amazing woman!   As enjoyable as those spinning teacups and fairy tale theme parks are,  this is some real quality time.  I encourage my childrens’ creativity.  I’ve never had my girls sit down with me like this, but I do encourage them  in their own ways. This  just blessed me  on a level that I can’t  fully express.  Margo – you rock! 

Isn’t this what it is about?  Not only reaching our dreams but  training up our children to become  strong people in their own right, encouraging them in their individual choices.  I think it’s so cool that NaNoWriMO is able to help in that endeavor!

Write on my friends, write on! 

Author Information:

homeBecca

Margo Upson is a marketing  major, a freelance writer, and    an aspiring author. She writes  time-slip romance, and her  first novel, Grisamore, is set for release in Summer 2015.

 

 

 

Website: http://writerathome.com

Twitter: @MargoUpson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMargoUpson

The Mirey Middle


What pushes you past the muddy middle?  What does it take to get over the hump? In our day jobs, we tend to have that midweek slump then are rejuvenated by the thrill of the approaching weekend.  We have deadlines, and more work piled on us but yet generally manage to push forward.  Why is it then when it comes to writing,  we often let the slump get the better of us?

 

I know for myself personally, the tyranny of the urgent rises and trumps all other personal endeavors.  This is when I have to go seek out encouraging blogs, motivational books,  and  make a concerted effort with time management.

Maybe for you it’s different.  Maybe you have the sure-fire cure to getting bogged down in the middle mire.  If so, can you message me?

Continuing with the NANO theme, my guest Leslie Conzatti is going to share a bit about how she pushed through the middle.

Are you a nano newbie? Seasoned veteran? Old timer? This is my fourth year participating in NaNo, but only my second year officially registered. My first year, I just wrote a story and tracked my word count; the second year, I “accidentally” started the story on September 29 and ended up writing for the month of October instead. So yes, I would consider myself a NaNo newbie, even though writing is not a new thing for me. I have yet to actually achieve 50K within the 30 days of November.

How do you prepare for nano? Or if this is your first time, how have you prepared? I am a planner. My first attempt, I thought it would be fun to just “pants” a story for pretty much the first time, only because I did not have any ideas for it to plan ahead of time… Day 3 I woke up with the whole plot in my head. No more pantsing. Typically my story ideas start out with a single scene, or an idea. For example:

Cipherstalker (2011)—started from the idea of a serial killer who starts sending warnings about his targets to the town recluse—a cryptophile—in code. The recluse is forced to learn about people and observe them so that when he cracks the code he can warn the potential victim and save their life.

A Writer’s Tale (2012)—Based on a friend who complained of writer’s block when I happened to be reading “Arabian Nights,” I wrote in first person the adventures of a writer whose work had become “predictable” and so she goes through a series of adventures in all different genres to rekindle the spark of imagination.

The Suggestion Box (2013)—based on a series I did on my blog, where I asked readers for lists containing just four items: a name, a place, a time, and an object. I then had to take the list and create a scene to connect all four items. For November, I pulled all the lists into five parts, and wrote them as one continuous story.

Clay Heroes (2014)—started as just a scene where a young boy gets captured by the six-inch high clay figurines he has made, which have come to life and reverence him as their Maker.

From there, I start making a bulleted list of plot points that provide a context, conflict, conclusion, and characters for the story. Then I go through and map out chapter divisions, just so I am not caught rambling. I work best with a clear starting point and a clear end. The middle can go where it will. I’m not one for doing research if I can help it, so I typically use ideas that don’t require any research. I think it’s more fun that way.

How many hours are you able to write each day? What program/processor do you use, or do you write by hand? Well, working full-time at an elementary school, I basically have a total of 45 minutes during the work day, and maybe a couple of hours once I get home. On the weekends it’s better; I give as much time as possible to writing. Those are my catch-up days. I don’t have a specific ritual or “tradition” when it comes to writing. It has always been “Sit. Stay. Write.” I listen to my characters; I imagine describing them to other people. I see the world through their eyes, and I try to come up with as many words as possible to describe what I see in my mind. I stopped writing by hand once I got my first mobile device… Mostly because I was forced to admit that my handwriting really sucked. I started tapping out my stories and other notes to myself on just the basic Notes app, which meant no more carrying around chunky notebooks that are either too small to write in or too big to actually fit in my purse, and plus I can save the whole thing as an email and access it on my computer for an easy cut-and-paste. (just as long as auto-correct didn’t do anything funky!) I keep my plan on a separate note from my draft, so I can always refer back to it as I am writing. On my laptop I just use Microsoft Word and it works well enough for me.

Tell me briefly your nano book idea, and what inspired it. To be honest, I can’t really remember what inspired it—Transformers, maybe? From the design of the robots? It’s called “Clay Heroes” and it focuses on a 9-year-old boy who is constantly getting bullied. He’s small, he’s creative, and he always has a story running through his head, which sort of distracts him from what’s going on in front of his face and makes him an easy target for bullying. One day his mom gives him a pack of clay and he makes seven figurines: six of them are noble, heroic types with special superpowers. The seventh he makes after the bullies catch him and ruin his clay. The figurines come to life, and the heroes want to help him realize his potential and believe the inner strength that he has, but the seventh figure—the villain—wants to tear the boy down just like the bullies did and set himself up to be the ultimate “Maker.”

Do you write chronologically or when you hit a tight spot, do you jump to another scene and come back? Most often, I do tend to write chronologically. It helps me follow the plan better when I have everything in order, and the “lines” of the story (as I call the space between plot points) are much cleaner. Sometimes, I might come up with a scene that should happen further in, and I only write it down because I don’t want to forget it by the time I reach that point in the story. Interestingly enough, during NaNo 2012, I was writing this ingenious idea of a serial story that changed genre and setting, but I decided to have the same core group of characters (The Hero, The Sidekick, The Traitor, The Reject, etc.) and follow basically the same plot in each genre setting (think “Cloud Atlas” meets “Arabian Nights”), so for that one I could be writing multiple sections at the same time, whichever “mood” I was in. That was a fun method! It all depends on how tight the spot is; sometimes I can just write through it, and sometimes I just have to leave myself notes on what I want to happen and move on to the next plot point. But most of the time, I choose to write linearly.

What advice would you give now that it’s halfway through the month, for people who feel like they are more than halfway through their novel? Ah, the mid-month slump. I am going through it, myself. Heck, I hit the midpoint of my novel last week!

The best thing is to do whatever it takes to keep writing. In an attempt to keep up with my own goals despite not having any inspiration to move forward with my story, I went back over the chapters I had already written, and added adjectives and descriptions and little expansion passages (the excuse of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is always an appealing one!) here and there and everywhere. But that was just my tactic because I have a very tight plot-line with not a lot of room for anything too outlandish.

Maybe you have a plot with room for something unexpected that fits the genre and adds to the plot without side-tracking the story. Use it!

Another thing I like to do when I am writing, to generate ideas is to ask “what if?” What if your character responds in the opposite way of what you might predict? What if something happened to completely destroy your hero’s plans? Would it destroy him? Or would he be able to rise above it and figure out a way around it?

I would encourage you at this point that YES, with a modicum of editing, what you are formulating right now IS WORTH READING. Not in the moment, of course, but after a hearty round of editing (and the removal of all those parts you just added for word count anyway, but they’re not vital to the story) it will certainly be something new and fresh that someone will enjoy. So keep writing!

unnamed

Bio:

Leslie is a native of the Pacific Northwest and a committed bibliophile. Leslie holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and loves nothing better than reading, writing, and spending time with her family. When she isn’t writing (at least, not that anyone can tell) Leslie works full-time as an elementary school staff assistant. Though she has written many stories and started many novels, Leslie has yet to publish… But she hopes to remedy this situation in the coming year! Happy writing!

You can follow her on her blog:  http://www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

The Vengelys are Back!


ww front cover

I’ve been waiting for this for some time!  Absolutely a must read! The continuation of the Vengelys story.  If you haven’t read Aedan’s first book, Through the Oracle’s Mist, I suggest  you do!

Aedan is a masterful bard, weaving a tale that has you on the edge of your seat waiting for what happens next. There are places where I let out an audible sigh making the  people in the room question what I was reading.

Here’s a teaser:

The idea that my brother had not only killed her, but had damaged her before that fateful day had me twitching with rage over and over again. Until the time came that we all remembered and laid our truths on the table, I could not explain it. That Mastema and I had an uneasy relationship to begin with only furthered the injury and rage. I did stop my fuming long enough to thank Rigor for his intercession. If Dom is going to bear the brunt of my wrath, he at least has the right to know why. I believe, knowing my brothers, that any of us would do the same and would expect the same from each other where our match-mates are concerned. It is another troubling thought altogether that has me questioning if Mastema somehow thinks Georgie is or was his. That scenario is likely to become a dual to the death between us.

 

Beast and Fae are reunited once more.

Returned to their world through different doors.

Sanctions become future as the lots are cast.

A hunter becomes hunted to correct the past.

To return once again they must first breach the gate.

It’s the price they must pay to claim their true mates.

~The Pythian Scrolls

 

 ●Foreword●●

 

They jumped.

If I would have blinked I would have missed it. It was that fast. For every breath of every moment of my life one or more of them were there and yet in the span of time between breaths every one of them had disappeared.

Playing it back in my head, it was just too fast. I didn’t see it coming until the moment it happened, and then I couldn’t believe it happened.

“What have you learned Vengelys?”

“We have learned we are at war.”

“What else have you learned? You should have known we were at war.”

“We have learned that our adversary is wily and cunning and we have been, but should not underappreciate his tenacity in the war he is waging.”

“Do you infer that the strength of the enemy has been misrepresented to you Vengelys?”

“No.”

“Do you believe then that the complexities of the war we wage are beyond our abilities?”

“No.”

Tynan reached up to tap him out and take over. Rigor would never allow that I’m sure, but Tynan had tried anyway. I’m not the only one who noticed. Amaranos seemed to launch at the action as Rigor refocused fully on the God.

“Do you act in union or from a divided front? Perhaps it is not the war that was the problem with your ability to deal with the situation you discovered.”

“We stand as one, Amaranos.”

“Do you? It would seem that your kin believes they have the ability to stand before me with a calmer presence. Perhaps you should let them try.”

“We stand as one, and I speak for us all. My brother was reminding me to remember my place. It is his job to protect me as it would be mine to protect any of the others of us here before you.”

“Do you need reminding of where you stand? Is my presence before you not reminder enough?”

“No, I do not need reminding, though I appreciate his reminder just the same.”

I had never seen my father sit so still. His eyes were the only things that changed. They grew larger and larger as the comments flew between Rigor and Amaranos. My mother’s hands were red from wringing them and shaking in her lap. As I watched, Asmodai started to twitch and shake in the line behind Rigor. Tynan and Mastema traded worried eye glances. They were all showing the nervousness and fear I was feeling and I wasn’t standing there so I imagine it was multiplied for them. Kyrna’s forehead wept a large shiny sweat tear. I watched it splat on the stone floor before I looked back to Rigor again as Amaranos continued his verbal siege of my brothers.

“Do you supposition then that the task you were charged with was beyond you and your brother’s abilities? Is that why you flinch and fidget before me?”

“No my liege. I believe, as we all do, that we will become better with more training and that we completed the charge given to the best of our abilities.”

“So you instead infer that you were sent out ill-equipped for the battle you were asked to take on. To read between the lines of your answer, you are yet unskilled and need training to become that which Amarine believed you had already evolved to. Perhaps my other face had seen something that I myself cannot, as I see a group of brothers with far to go.”

Rigor shook. He looked like he was going to explode apart he was shaking so hard.

“Stand. Down. Vengelys. I will not say it again.”

Rigor stood, but barely. My father grabbed the arms of the chair, but his whitened knuckles betrayed the energy he was fighting to stay put. My mother dropped her head to look down and I could hear her muttering something to herself. All I caught of it was ‘Please…’ I could only look on in disbelief.

These were my brothers. These were the heroes of my waking and dreaming times. The sight of them fidgeting and failing in front of the God and the people was breaking my heart. Rigor turned to the line behind him and turned back on a rough growl at Dom who had lifted a foot toward him. What that was about I had no idea, but Rigor was having none of it. When he turned back to face us, he was different. His face was a mask of rage and his eyes had a fire in them I had never seen before. I loved every one of my brothers, but the idea of facing any of them as Rigor appeared right then had me torn between tears and screams.

“No Amaranos I would not stand down, and I am evolved. We took on a charge from Amarine and completed it. We have brought forward four Eupion, three males and a female found on this side of the portals and demonstrated by the items they had with them that they were here establishing an operation on our lands. We did this because we believed Amarine wished us to do so. It was not simple. It was not without confusion, and it was not without knowledge that we could have been better prepared, but in an effort to honor the charge, we did as we were told. Could we have done better? Perhaps. Could other warriors of longer tenure done better? Perhaps. Will we know one way or another for certain? No, because we did as we were tasked without stopping to question if we should or should not. We sealed into purpose for the throne and the throne bid us proceed.”

The collective gasp was so loud it hurt my ears, or maybe that was just me. Amaranos was visibly angry…red. faced. angry. The air in the room changed and any in the gallery who had been whispering, went silent.

“What did you say to me?”

“With respect, I said…”

With a gesture of his hand Amaranos silenced Rigor, freezing him in place.

“No Vengelys, as you have not respected, you will not proceed. Let all who are herein know that this impudence and blatant disrespect is not tolerated in the high house of Amaranth.”
A flash of light sparked between Rigor and my brothers in line behind him. As we watched it grew fatter and deeper between them. Rigor had no idea. I wanted to shout, knowing that would lump me in with them, but I could not find my voice. The six of them in line behind Rigor looked at each other, but that was the only movement before I watched them slide together. As the gaping hole got closer to Rigor, though he couldn’t see it, he must have known. His frozen form did not change, but his eyes grew larger and the fire in them blazed. He seemed to get bigger before my eyes too, but I think it was me feeling smaller and smaller as I knew I couldn’t help him.

It was all over but the jump and I nearly missed that. As Rigor began to tip over backwards, the rest of them grabbed on and they were gone. Replaying it in my mind changes nothing. I still cannot believe it.

I cannot breathe. I cannot cry. I cannot fathom the implications of this. I want to rub my eyes and see them there, that their disappearance through the now perfect floor was just an illusion. It isn’t.

I’ve never seen my father weep until this moment. My mother is caught in a vortex of rage, grief and denial that mimics the emotions I cannot summon to the surface.

They’re gone.

Before I know or notice, everyone else is gone too. The gallery, full to bursting earlier, is now empty. The court high seat, where Amaranos waved them off to no one knows where, is also void. All that remain are my parents and I; all numb, all shocked, all stilled in our disbelief.

Amaranos had raged all through the high light rise to peak and pitch before my brother’s arrival. For the neutral between the faces of the God, he was ruthless in his rule of the people. News of raids, open portals, and reports of missing emgur, durab and mataur from near the boundary had soured the day before the seven men I loved best after my father had walked in to stand at court center.

I imagine they were blind-sided. Given the notoriety they had gained in the war, I think everyone in the room was. I had expected their strides against the Eupion advancements to have been met with praise, not disdain. How wrong we had all been.

“They’re gone.”

Saying it out loud, even as a whisper does nothing to make the obvious more real. The echo of those two little words around the now empty court chamber only serves to lance the wound in my chest to a deeper cavern of empty. It can’t be, but I know it is.

They’re gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                    ~Jondre

This fantasy/fantasy-paranormal romance is definitely a page turner!  I’d give this one 5 stars!!

About Aedan Byrnes

There is no simple description for Aedan Byrnes. Obsessive, dreamer, reclusive, compulsive, outdoorsman and wordsmith would be among the list if one were started. The displaced Gael lives in the upper Midwest with family between jaunts wherever the road goes. A frequent traveler, Aedan is as likely to be found rock climbing, spelunking, sitting fireside dreaming or aimlessly floating away as hiding with pen and paper working on the next tale.

A lifelong lover of words and writing, Aedan claims a diverse reading appetite and the writing reflects the myriad influences. A self-proclaimed ‘reader’s writer’, the emotional and sensory results of word combinations outweigh the visceral comprehension of phrases for the stories and drives the prose.  The original ‘Eclectic Bard’ enjoys the special magick of storytelling, those who embrace the challenge of writing, and the dreamers who get whisked away by the words making the journey worth taking.

 

You can find Aedan Byrnes here:

Website:

www.aedanbyrnes.com

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AedanByrnes

Facebook – Personal Page:

https://www.facebook.com/aedan.byrnes.7?fref=ts

Facebook – Fan Page:

www.facebook.com/AedanByrnes

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7397349.Aedan_Byrnes

 Café Press:

http://www.cafepress.com/authoraedanbyrnes

Buy Links:

61tXWdbhuEL._AA160_

Through the Oracle’s Mist (The Vengelys Series Book I)

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/pd5eamh

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/pbboq9w

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/kbjekz4

Warrior’s Watchtower (The Vengelys Series Book II)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Watchtower-Vengelys-Book-II/dp/0692314466/#sthash.Vbg0PZy1.dpuf