Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Desolate Mantle Launches Today! Yea!!!

Good Morning, All!

How is everyone doing today? Well, I'm fabulous because today is release day for Desolate Mantle! Yea!!!

This book has been in the works for more than 2 years, so I'm so relieved to finally get it onto the market.

Find it HERE on Amazon!

Tonight is the launch party. I'm hosting it online as a Facebook event and I'll be giving away tons of prized, including copies of Desolate Mantle, copies of my other books, and Amazon gift cards. So come join us for some fun and a chance to win some cool prizes.

Here's the event link if you want to join. I'd love for you to come:

So I guess that's pretty much it. Just the announcement today, but come join us for the launch party. It'll be fun and you could win something super-cool! :D

(Oh, btw, I made a somewhat last-minute decision to make book 1, Dark Remnants, permafree. It hasn't gone free on Amazon yet. It takes a little time for Amazon to price-match and like I said: last minute decision. Totally on me. So you can always wait for Amazon to price match, buy it on another platform if you have the right devices, or if you don't want to wait for a .mobi contact, feel free to contact me personally and I'll send you one. :D)

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 9, 2016

2 Techniques for Coming Up With Premises

Good Morning!

So about a week ago, I had a friend ask me how I come up with story ideas. This is a friend I talk to often and so she knows I always have way more stories in my head than I actually get around to writing. So her question was really more about how I can come up with so many things that can potentially turn into books. We also briefly discussed how to fill out a plot.

For me, it's not very different from coming up with full premises. I have ideas for certain things--often they're situations without full stories attached, or lines of dialogue I think are awesome and want to incorporate. There are hundreds of these little nuggets floating around in my head or in various untidy notebooks that litter my work space. So when I need to round out a plot or character, I often draw on these little idea. Generally I have to find some way to mold them to the story I'm already telling, which can change them a lot from what I had in mind at their inception. But I'll tell you, lovely readers, this is often where the magic happens. 

So how to come up with these premises or little idea nuggets? In my mind, there are two major ways to do it. Either on purpose (sort of forcing it, if you will) or just paying attention to the things that you find interesting. Let me explain.

1. On Purpose - I talked about this a lot in THIS POST and it's a technique I learned from the wonderful Clint Johnson. I know from my description above about forcing it, many people will balk. But I don't mean "forcing it" in the sense you're probably thinking. This is really just about being creative on purpose.

My prowling wolf painting.
Basically, you grab a pen and paper (I find it's much more effective for this exercise than typing on a computer) and you relax your mind. Start with something simple. Mundane, even. The rug on the floor. Maybe that rug has a pattern. What about it? Maybe hidden in the pattern is a prophecy. Maybe the prophecy foretells the end of the world. See what I mean? Just let your mind go. Make associations, do NOT make judgments. Write everything down and just go. If you get stuck, look at something else around you. I'm looking at a painting of wolves on the prowl. Maybe the wolves hold the key to the prophecy. Maybe the wolves are the caretakers of the secret... 

You'll find once you get started that you can go until your hand cramps (or your kids jump on you, your alarm goes off, whatever yanks you unceremoniously out of the Zone). It's such a great exercise for getting the creative juices flowing. Even if what you come up with in any given session doesn't turn into a best-selling novel, you can still come up with nuggets to sprinkle into your writing. Fill in gaps. And occasionally round out stories that win Pulitzer Prizes. (Disclaimer: Have I ever used this technique to win a Pulizter?...No. Other awards yes, but the Pulitzer no. ;D)

(Blurred some plot
stuff out. ;D)
2. Then there is simply paying attention to what interests you. This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but you'd be amazed how few people actually tap this source for story ideas. (The serious writers that do are the ones who carry little notebooks with them everywhere they go.) Of course, it's totally possible these days to do it on your phone as well. I've definitely used that technique before. (The pic at right is notes for Dragon Magic that are on the "notebook" app of my iphone.)

So my friend asked me to give her an example of something I thought was interesting that might turn into a story. Well, I think most of my books have at least something that would qualify, but the example I gave her has to do with a book I'm currently reading and a story I'm not actually writing at present.

As most of you who follow me know, I'm just a little bit fascinated by serial killers.

Just a little bit. ;D

Some time ago--I'm not even sure when or where I first heard it--I learned a little something about the Butcher of Kingsbury Run. He was a prolific serial killer in Cleveland, Ohio in the '30s. The book I'm reading is a non-fiction about the case (In the Wake of the Butcher by James Jessen Badal). But I'm honestly not interested in the Butcher solely bc he was a serial killer (I've read about tons of those) or even because he was never caught (though that does up the interest factor a bit). What REALLY made me interested in the case was finding out that Eliot Ness--yes THE Eliot Ness who brought down Capone and founded the Untouchables--presided over the case. And this was years after his success with the Chicago mob.

Ness was known for being traditional to a fault, extremely moral, and unrelenting in both his strictness and effectiveness at rooting out police corruption. So what would a man like that do with a case that involved an elusive serial killer? How would he handle body parts bobbing in the river every few months, and not being able to stop it. A case like this isn't something you can control or predict. I think it would be an interesting character sketch to explore how a man like Ness (ladybug to Capone's aphid) would react to a situation like that. And then there's the fact that it was never solved. Unlike in Chicago, Ness never got his man.

THAT'S the kind of stuff that fascinates me. THAT's the kind of stuff I want to learn and write about.

Now, chances are EVENTUALLY some piece of writing will come from my research on this, but I have a lot more to do, especially on Ness himself. (The book I'm reading is really more about the facts of the case.) But the point is, I just read a single line about how Eliot Ness eventually presided over the Butcher case and went, "Huh. That's kind of interesting." Boom. A story is born. Don't underestimate the power of tiny tidbits that catch your attention for a few seconds. Write them down, or you'll never know the potential they could have had.

So, what techniques do YOU use to come up with story premises or fill out already-existing plots?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: Time

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! 

It's IWSG day! Thanks to the wonderful Alex Cavanaugh for always bringing us together! Check out THIS PAGE for more info or if you want to participate! 

I wasn't sure what to write about this month, and it's interesting that the question for this month concerns finding time to write, because I thought I might do my post on that anyway. I think I've talked about it before, but it was all I had this month. :D

September 7 Question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

I think it's just about prioritizing and planning ahead. With the way my schedule is now, I can't get any work done until I put my 2-year-old nephew (who I tend full time) down for a nap. Then I get a couple of hours of quiet before he wakes up. It never feels like enough time to actually accomplish much. 

But then in the evening, I get more time, too. So I can plan on having a couple of hours in the afternoon and then a little bit bigger chunk in the evening. 

The only downside is that after chasing the bouncing baby nephew around all day (his name is Lyric but I affectionately call him Booger or just "the boogs") I'm often exhausted and not in a mood to write. 

But if I plan beforehand to get certain things done, the mindset can usually override the exhaustion. And if not, I can take a twenty minute nap to recharge before diving in. 

As cliche as it is, it's really just about the mindset. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. And it's true. Determine that you WILL make time to write, and you will. Even if it's only ten or twenty minutes here and there. At least you'll be making progress. :D

How do you find time to write?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Why Do Serial Killers Fascinate Us So?

Good morning, All! How was everyone's weekend? Good I hope. I'm actually quite proud of myself. I was very productive this weekend. Not that I got EVEYTHING I need to do done (I have a running list of tasks right now) but I definitely made a dent. ;D

So today my post is actually HERE, over at Author Fiona Mitchell's blog. She's hosting me in anticipation of Desolate Mantle being released next week. So hop on over to her blog to read the post, and be sure to thank her for hosting me while you're there. She's awesome, and a very gifted writer.

Desolate Mantle: Release Date 9/13/2016

Click HERE to attend the online launch party, or for more information.

In the most dangerous city in the country, one controlled by the sadistic Sons of Ares gang, Kyra Roberts recently crossed paths with detective Gabe Nichols. She dismissed any liaison with him as impossible, but telling him the truth may prove inevitable...Walking the Slip Mire nightly, dressed in her disguise and trying to infiltrate a homicidal gang, Kyra sees plenty of things she can’t explain. When she begins to suspect a serial killer might be at work, she decides to approach Gabe again.Gabe has plenty to keep him busy: a bizarre missing persons case, a new development in his brother’s cold case, a new neighbor, and the grisly murders that are a nightly ritual in the Slip Mire. When Kyra shows up unexpectedly, he jumps at the chance keep her around, but it’s harder than he bargained for. She’s not an average source any more than she’s an average Mireling. Gabe wishes she would be sensible about her own safety.Their partnership crumbles, but when things become even darker than usual in the Slip Mire, they’ll need one another get survive a hellish situation. If they can’t work together to shoulder their burdens, they’ll find themselves utterly alone. In Abstreuse, it’s not a matter of not coming out of the darkness, but of being absorbed by the darkness itself… 

Happy Monday, Everyone!