I write adventures for those in search of a good story. My novels fall in the Fantasy genre, but many people consider them Sci-fi too. Each story is written with what I look for when I read a book: action, adventure, twists and turns, love, heroes, vicious enemies, fighting (weapons and hand to hand combat). All of my ebooks are $2.99 (minus the Taken combo book, which is 4.99). The prices on the paperbacks are based on page numbers (ranging from 8.99 - 14.99). I write because I want to share the stories that are inside of me. I hope you enjoy the adventures as much as I love writing them!
Okay, so it's been much too long since I've been on here. However, I am happy to say that things are as crazy as always.
The Shadow Dragon:
I have handed book three to my editors. I am still hoping to have it out this summer. I am now working on book four. I am almost halfway through it. The story keeps growing and evolving into more than I had expected. I have also updated the cover for Orbs of Fire and am posting its new look today. I am super excited with how it turned out. I finally figured out how to create fire, allowing me to make the orbs of fire appear the way they had in my mind. I did add a bright yellowish/white line down the center which is not part of what I had envisioned, but it created a more powerful appearance.
Also, I have pulled The Shadow Dragon series from Smashwords to put it in Amazon's KDP Select program. (Which means it isn't on Barnes&Nobles, Apple, or Kobo.) Why? Because I'm curious. My plan is to leave it there for the contracted 3months, and then take it out of the Select program and put it back on Smashwords, but still leaving it at Amazon. This is an experiment, so I'm not sure of the outcome yet.
I just finished reading through the first manuscript. And although a little frustrated, I have a better idea of where the characters are headed.
I had rewrote this story, limiting it to two points of view. I was so frustrated because the story had lost its heart - it felt disconnected. I had been ready to cry, because the story is really good, but I was having a hard time telling it in 3rd person and it won't work as 1st person. Then I remember there were two types of 3rd person, limited and omniscient (aka: head jumping). I read up on omniscient and my heart leapt with joy. This is how my story is supposed to be told! And crazily enough that was how I had originally started. So I have to go back and start from scratch, but at least I am a bit more confident about what I am doing.
I printed off the manuscript and am reading through it when I have time. I woke up a week or so ago realizing where I had gone wrong in that story and now I know what needs to happen. It sits in my car so when I'm out and about and know I will have some waiting to do I can bring it with me. For example: picking up the kids, doctor offices, boring time during sporting events, and so on.
My kids brought home a nasty virus and I couldn't focus on my writing for a couple of days so I adjusted my covers for the Solace books. There isn't much difference on book one, but I made book 2's cover look more like book 1's cover. I will be changing those on here also.
Story 9: My friend just got back to me on this story (which is my attempt at an adult book). I gave this manuscript only to two people out of fear that it was awkward. My one friend gave it to me with honest feedback. She loved the story, but there were some parts that needed some touch-ups. So I fixed a few things and exchanged copies with my other friend (who normally edits for me) who hadn't started reading it yet. She just finished today and said it was really good. I asked "not hokey or stupid?" She said "not at all." I of course asked about the "adult" parts? She said "even those were really good." smile emoticon No, it won't be considered Romance because my one friend told me it doesn't really fit in that genre. So it will be Fantasy still, but not for everyone. Hee Hee. Still one more story almost ready to be published! Of course there's still the title and cover... Ugh... Nope. That's not going to bother me, I will figure it out like always!
Well I think that's everything in my writer's world. I hope you are enjoying your adventures too!
So instead of talking about my writing I thought I show you pictures from the hikes I have taken this winter. Views that keep me inspired. The first five are from a 14.2 mile hike on the west side of Michigan. My cousin and I were the first ones out on this section of the North Country Trail after a snowfall. We hiked through about 4inches of snow. It was absolutely beautiful. I forgot my camera so these were taken with my dumb phone. I was so frustrated because the pictures could have been so much better. As we walked, I kept thinking how other-worldly the Earth looked.
These next photos are from hikes in the woods near my home that I take when I have a hard time focusing, the dog needs a walk, or I just need to be outside. They were taken with a point and shoot camera. (I bought it because it was Amanda proof - it could be dropped, it was waterproof, works in below freezing temperatures, and could be ran over by a car. At the time it was a great purchase, but now, since I've been writing, I see so much more beauty in the world that I wish I could capture.)
These last two are my favorite with the last one being a place I love the most in the winter. I love how the branch is curved over the trail like a doorway and the way the snow accents the beauty of it all. They cut the fallen tree this past summer so that it doesn't block the trail which kind of made me sad - I loved to sit there. It's still an amazing place though.
Last year the song "Best Day of My Live" by American Authors grabbed tight to my soul. I listened to it everyday, never tiring of it. For the most part I accomplished what I set out to do. I strived to make each day the best day. It's pretty amazing how one song can speak so much in only a few minutes. As I flipped through my photos I have taken over the year, I was throughly impressed at what a great life I had in 2014. Granted not everything was the best, but when I lacked optimism and strength, God made sure there was someone to help me through it. Sometimes it was just a smile, sometimes an unexpected hug, sometimes my children laughing, or compliment I didn't think I deserved. I can honestly say that 2014 was a wonderful year. I may not have finished as much as I wanted in my writer's world, but I never stopped, I never gave up, and in 365 days I did something for my writing everyday. Whether it was writing, reading, editing, revising, promoting, brainstorming, at the end of the day I can say I accomplished another piece to one of my stories. The conclusion was a resounding: being a writer is not option. It is part of what makes every day the best day of my life. Moving into 2015, "I Lived" by One Republic has rooted itself in my soul:
"Hope when the moment comes you'll say: I did it all I owned every second that this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived..."
I hope this year that each day I will make sure I do something that makes me feel alive. I hope that even when things are bad, I'll believe there's better things to come. I hope I'll always remember that I am blessed because I made a positive difference in someone else's life. I hope at the end of each day I'll swear I lived.
This video is pretty awesome. I find One Republic pretty inspirational in their music and lyrics. And their last couple of videos have left me glad that I watched.
What to expect from me in writing? Definitely the Shadow Dragon book 3! I am very excited with how this story grew. It started from a dream I had while I was camping a few years ago. Something about a girl and a guy who couldn't be together because of what might happen - and he knew it wouldn't be good, but he couldn't not love her. Of course the rest of that dream is nothing like the book. It was just an idea. When I was writing it, I had only expected it to be one book, but it turned into two. And now it looks like it's going to be four books! It's so amazing how that happens.
I'm also hoping to get Story 13 published. On a side note: I read through my list of stories that I have started (it's a sheet of paper with the story number, the main characters, and how many words have been written) and realized I totally forgot that I finished Story 9. However my friend still has it. (I'll have to see if she's even taken a peek. I mean if I forgot about it, what's to say she hasn't.) So hopefully that one should be on the published list this year too. Which makes a definite 3 books published in 2015 with the chance there will be more. My brain never stops, which means the possiblities are abounding!
One thing stands out to me with this song being my inspiration for the year: I am looking forward to the adventure that awaits!
The Shadow Dragon both Orbs of Fireand Aleksertac are now on Amazon. The link to the right will take you to the page or you can click the blue text and it will take you directly to that book.
Three of eight books on Amazon! The Taken series will be next, and will most likely be out in January.
What else am I doing? Well, I've started re-reading Taken. I'm revising story 14 (almost done with doing that), and I started another story (I won't know until I revise the manuscript, but this might be my 1st short story). Writing this one has been strange. I woke up one morning about a week ago and just wanted to write. (I won't knountil I revise the manuscript, but this might be my 1st short story.) I had no idea about what, but I started writing - wrote 5000 words that day. Each time I sit down to work on this book it's like that. Brainstorming for this book has been just about zero, well consciously anyways. I'm at 19,000 words and I really haven't given it the time I normally give a new story, but still I'm impressed. It's when I'm writing it that I get ideas of what to do or what I should have done. Normally a new story takes up my waking hours (if I'm not writing then I'm brainstorming about the story - constantly), and this isn't even the one that has been whispering in my head. Perhaps with everything that is going on in my life and writer's world there just is no more conscious thought available. Ha Ha Ha... Maybe. I won't know until I revise the manuscript, but this might be my 1st short story.
Now that The Shadow Dragon series is on Amazon that will open up some time to get what I am currently working on done. As soon as I'm done revising Story 14, I'm going back to The Shadow Dragon book 3. Those thoughts are starting to yell at me. Which is a really good thing since I want to get it done in the next 3 months-ish so I can publish it in the summer!
You would think if I can write +50,000word stories, that writing a blog should be so easy that I could do it daily. However, I finding the shorter the writing is supposed to be the harder it is for me. Thus my loathing of titles, descriptions, 2 page essays, and the impossibility it seems for me to write a short story. I mean I can write a short story, but it's not good. By the time I fix the "short" story so that I like it, it's about 50,000words with room to grow. Anyways, there are a few things I wanted to let you know about.
First! After much debate, I have begun the process of putting my books on Amazon. It wasn't as horrible and difficult to understand as the first time I had attempted it. As of last night, Heart of the Emperor is now selling at Amazon. I have added the link to the right, under "Where to find my books (ebooks)". Or you can click here! I am re-reading each of my books and touching up the stories. Only because I know I've (finally) learned a lot about sentence structure, flow, the over-use of certain words, and patience. After I re-read each book, I'll be formatting it for Amazon (Ugh. Not hard, just tedious and time consuming - that hasn't changed.) Also, my books will continue to stay at Smashwords, Barnes&Nobles, Apple, and Kobo, so if you don't care to shop on Amazon that's not a problem.
Second. I have The Shadow Dragon re-read and am almost done with Aleksertac. Those obviously will be the next books to go to Amazon. Which is important since I want to publish Book 3 summer of 2015. Re-reading them has been awesome. I was surprised with how much was set up for the sequel books, because when I wrote Aleksertac I did not know that the series would continue. Just one more thing to add to my amazement of my writing abilities.
Third. I am making revisions to Story 14 and am very happy with it's progress. Granted I haven't gotten to the part that needs rearranging yet, but I am adding more details and I like that.
Fourth. New voices have made their presence known. They have moved passed the whispering stage, but they are not consuming my mind yet so I am diligently working on the things above with hopes of finishing them before these new voices begin to yell and I cannot focus on anything but them.
I saw this the other day and downloaded it because it made me laugh at the truth of it:
I am such a work in progress. Working on new stuff, working on older stuff, writing, creating... love learning all about being a writer and author. I had posted a link to Not Human in a writer's group I belong to and it was pointed out to me that the cover needed some TLC. The picture in the link was so blurry, it was quite embarrassing. It looked fine in my pictures, or so I thought until I redid it. So with some advise and opinions, I was able to clean it up. Having a better graphics program (with tons of tutorials) makes all the difference in the world. So very happy right now!
One of my favorite parts about writing is seeing different worlds. Sometimes it's just the environment and sometimes its the people who share a planet but belong to different "worlds". With The Shadow Dragon the world has an Earthy feel to it, but you know by the end of Chapter One that it is not. There are creatures and realms that my mind invented, and as I continued the story I created more - I'm blown away by what I come up with. And it's totally awesome how vividly I see everything. I think that's one of the most challenging pieces for me - to see it so vividly and forget the reader isn't there with me. Although that is why I have three people read the stories before I publish it.
Now I know I don't go into great detail, but that's only because as a reader I don't appreciate a lot of detail. I love reading stories that give me information without making me feel as though I don't have an imagination of my own. Unfortunately sometimes I think I err too much on the assumption that everyone has a wild imagination. (I'm a work in progress and I know it.)
With Taken, I move between two worlds one that is mine and one that we all know - Earth. In Not Human I stay on Earth. A friend asked me if I ever wrote stories on Earth and so I thought sure I can do that, but of course the scenery in that story isn't crucial to the story. It's not that I don't write with Earth as the backdrop because I don't like our planet. I very much love this planet we live on, nature never ceases to amaze me. However, I love the ability to see things differently and so I write new worlds to allow my imagination run wild. I loved writing the planet the Langiro (from Taken) lived on. It was the first time doing that since I was in 7th grade. And writing Solace was great because although the story starts on Earth, it was just the beginning. The Middle of Nowhere, as Karissa called it, created itself as I wrote it. I had no vision of it beforehand. It simply evolved as I created events for Karissa and Creature/Jack to survive. It would have been simple for either of them to survive, but to do it together I knew I had to get creative or the reader would get bored. And then creating the Zarran world in the second book created itself from Karissa's capabilities. It was spawned from the first couple of chapters in book one where she sees the military men on the cliffs and knows that the cliffs of the Stronghold wouldn't slow her down because of her agility and that her body was built for that terrain. In Heart of the Emperor, the story starts on a world that is beautiful, but I didn't want it to be just a place that everyone would want to live. It needed to be both beautiful and dangerous. And here is the world the Heart of the Emperor begins:
"X5401 had a beautiful landscape. There were tall mountains that were forested in the tall, thick plant-life which amazingly enough was able to grow in the rock-hard soil. Gentle, rolling hills led to the edges of steep valleys, giving the planet a tranquil ambiance between the mountains. From space the planet appeared a soft lavender because of the soil. However on the planet, everything varied in color from pastels to deep vibrant colors. The patches of green grass were the exact opposite of the soil and covered the ground sporadically over the planet, except on the mountains. The air stung your nose and lungs, but it didn’t kill you, well not right away. A person’s body would adapt within ten minutes. With that being said, a person could be out in the open air for a day or two, three at the most. It was common within the first day to suffer from nose bleeds, headaches, and/or severe dry skin. By day two, most would lose their sense of direction, some became sterile, others lost their inhibitions, and a few have gone crazy. If a person was found by the end of day three, they were dead. Everyone who lived here has pushed their limits with the air at one point or another. I had suffered the nose bleeds, headaches, and lost my wits and inhibitions. Luckily though, that was only temporary - for some people it has been permanent."
From there Matix is taken to a world that, to all outsiders, is just as horrid to look at as the environment is. As stated in the description for the book it is a world where the sun never shines. I loved writing this world of rock and lava and how beauty really is all perspective.
Okay so those of you who follow on Facebook have already read this. However for those of you who don't, I wanted to share this with you. I was taking a break from what I was working on, yes while eating Candy Corn, and decided to jump on Facebook and just simply post "I love when Candy Corn is in season". Well my brain didn't stop there, it continued with this:
I love when Candy Corn is in season! The ground is a colorful array of different shades of orange, red, and yellow - sometimes the leaves still holding a piece of summer's green. The crisp cool air in the morning that hasn't been captured by winter's freeze, allowing droplets of water to sparkle in the rising of the sun. There is something uniquely beautiful in the bare branches that reach for the sky. Cloudy or not, their darkness that marks summer's end contrasting the brightness of the sky holds me in awe of the nature that surrounds.
~ Amanda Schmidt
I do love this time of year, and the candy corn always taste the best - I often wonder if the bags I find at other times of the year are leftovers. I will sit down with a bag of candy corn and eat until my stomach aches. But does that deter me? Not a chance. As soon as one bag is gone, the next time I'm at the store I buy another - it's a vicious cycle really. I am a Michigan girl. I love each and every season and as one draws to a close, I anticipate the weather of the next with a smile.
I hope you also are enjoying the season... and the candy corn! Hee Hee
Okay so a large amount of time has passed yet again. I am proud to say that it's because I have been lost in my writer's world. I am aiming to have The Shadow Dragon book 3 published next summer and book 4 with in the next month or so. Lots of work to be done there but not too much. Plus, (like I've previously said) I already have the titles and cover ideas! What am I doing now with the books? I am currently reading the printed manuscript for book three. I've already re-read books 1 and 2 to make sure I am keeping everything straight - I even took notes. There was only a page front and back and a half. Pretty happy about that.
Story 13 is pretty much done, except it was brought to my attention (as though I forgot) that I can't publish it without the next book being close to done. So I've started that. The story really does need more. The story doesn't leave you hanging, not really, but at the end you know there is definitely more to come. So I am working on that. I can't tell whether it will be a book 2 or I'll just add it to what I have. Only time will tell. Plus, I can't publish it because I do not have a title or cover idea, ugh. (I know big surprise, right.)
I have also been working on Story 14, and that was going really well until I realized that I wrote a section wrong. Gotta love when characters decide that the story you've written needs to be changed. So, I printed off a manuscript to restructure it. (This is when I want my "Ironman" computer. You know where the elements are up in front of me, tangibly, and I can grab and move things around and throw the other stuff away).
With all that going on I ended up having to work on story 12 too because it kept waking me up in the middle of the night. I am happy with the way that story is moving along too. Turned out that I had tried to put an event to close to the beginning, so once I moved that the story has been moving smoothly.
It is so amazing to me how each world I create keeps itself straight in my mind. I only have to read one sentence and everything becomes clear and my mind starts up right where I left off as though I had just been working on it. I feel truly blessed!
It's almost been a month since my last post! I cannot believe that it's been so long. Honestly, August into September tends to be a time warps as it is. Vacations (camped for 10 days, did the Mackinaw Bridge walk), school (finding the routine that works), sports (coaching for my kids, watching meets, attending games, running practices), work... yea pretty much every aspect of my life. Now add that to my obsessions with writing and here I sit a month later going where did the last 30days go. I'm am not complaining, by no means. Although it would be nice to have more time to write, but there are only 24hours in a day and I do use as many of them to write as I can when I'm not doing the other stuff.
I am pleased to say that I do see the light for The Shadow Dragon series!! Not that I want it to be over, but I do want it to be published! It's not going to happen this year, because slowly, and surely (through the hard way) I am learning the significance of patience. (HA Ha ha...) I did hand off Story 13 to my "editors", got it back, and finished fixing it - which of course allowed me to make it longer. Partly because of the points that were made and partly because I could see some things that I missed - well you would have missed because I didn't write it in. I also re-read Not Human (which was solely for fun). I had been in my car when the song Far Away by Nickelback came on the radio. Which is the song that helped me breathe life into the images in my head for the ending of that book. So of course feeling those emotions again I had to read the story.
So there's my last thirty days. It's not that I haven't been writing, it's because I am writing. If I can be writing that is what I'm doing, or something that will hopefully make my writing better.
Came across this quote the other day and it made me smile (I thought "Yep!"). So I went and found this on the web:
On a blog I follow (Linda S. Glaz), the question was posted "What keeps you writing?" My answer: "I keep writing because I can't stop the flow of ideas that enter my mind. Inspiration is everywhere, and I love it. I didn't believe in myself as a writer for far too long, and now I live with the regret of listening to someone else's dream crushing mouth. I know that not everyone will like my writing, which is only fair since I don't like every author's writing either. I know being an indie writer makes it hard to be found, but I also know that I'm doing something I love and it makes me happy. Every moment I can spend time writing an adventure that I created is one more moment that I am smiling. God blessed me with this talent and I will not give up on my dream ever again. :) What keeps you writing?" Reviews like the following are what help me to not lose faith in my ability: "I really loved this book and had a hard time putting it down. As in her other books this writer kept me captivated, every time I thought I figured out where the story was going another twist or turn took me in a new direction. I especially enjoyed the ending." (Not Human review found at Smashwords) "I sooooo enjoyed this series and I would love it if there was a third book. I have two young kids and it took alot of willpower to put this down when they needed attention." (Taken review found at Barnes&Nobles) "The action and adventure that Karissa has is refreshing. I love that she is strong and capable. I highly recommend this book." (Solace:Uncharted Territory review found at iBooks) One person sharing that they really enjoyed the adventure that I wrote brightens my whole day. Maybe it's the hopeless romantic in me - and the fact that I write with my heart and soul - but those few words grip tight to my heart and energize me. It isn't the reason I write, but it sure keeps me believing that I am doing something amazing, something more than I ever thought I could! I love writing. Honestly, I'm not sure I could ever stop. There always seems to be something to be told. In the last 24 hours I have added 10,000words to a story that I was seriously worried wasn't going to make it into a novel. It's still not long enough, but the way it is all coming together, the excitement that is building within me, the clarity that I am seeing the story with leaves no doubts that it will be long enough. And on top of that I have two other books that have awakened from their simmering, and the book I received back from my "editors" is awaiting it's sequel. So now I pass the question on to you. Whether it be journal entries, novels, short stories, poetry, published works, writings you will never let anyone else read... What keeps you writing?
My first review (on Apple) for Heart of the Emperor: "A friend of mine convinced me to read this book. I was a little leery since I sometimes have a hard time reading sci fy books. This book, I read in 2 settings! From Page 1 I couldn't put it down! It kept me guessing and I had to finish it to find out what happened. Great read! I will definitely look for more books from this author!" This is why I write! I love being able to share a story that draws a person in and keeps them trying to figure out where the adventure is going to go. I am so happy to see this!
I did get a little sidetracked by Story 13, Story 16, and The Shadow Dragon series. I am proud to say that Story 13 is in the hands of my "Editors" and I am happy with "The Shadow Dragon" series so far.
With that being said, I've also been very much enjoying the summer: writing, hanging out with the kids, picking strawberries and raspberries, hiking, practicing Tai Chi, reading... Haven't been to the beach yet, but we'll get there. I am so looking forward to camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! I love camping (and yes the kids and I use a tent), but there is just something so amazing about going north to the UP. Everything feels better. I like to joke and say it's in my genetics (my grandpa is from the Copper Harbor area), or that it's because of all the forests and the air is just fresher there. Whatever the reason, my whole being fills with the most wonderful feeling of peace and harmony and the energy that surges is awe inspiring. As you probably already guessed, I do not take a break from writing. Honestly I think that is impossible. (I read this quote a while back)
So true, and when I'm camping my imagination just opens (a great feeling) and well, yea. Alright enough babbling. I hope you enjoy the day! :)
You know me, I love posting about people doing amazing things - creating their dreams. World Cup 2014 is no different. (Granted I might be a little biased because I love soccer [best game ever played], played it for 10 years). Although I am a little disappointed in the coverage of post World Cup. The goal alone should be plastered everywhere if you ask me. I am very happy for the German's, but more so for Gotze who scored that goal. (And what do I see the next day? Pictures of his girlfriend model. Really?!) I mean that goal was phenomenal. He's 22years old, playing in the World Cup!! Scoring the only goal in that game. And it wasn't a cheap shot, it wasn't a penalty shot, it was a well earned goal! There are a lot of haters out there as far as Germany being the winner, but they played outstandingly in all their games. Sure Argentina should have won because the Cup was in South America, and everyone else loves Messi (I do love the way his first name is pronounced). I haven't decided if he wasn't happy about winning that award because he didn't win the Cup (sore loser) or if he thought someone else should have won it because he didn't play his best? I hope it's the latter, because with all the hype I was not impressed. I know it's hard to watch soccer for some people (mostly because of all the grown men acting like babies so they can get a free kick - not a fan of that), and honestly since I've been coaching recreational soccer I was so much more sucked into the games than ever before. Germany came out strong in overtime, I thought they dominated Argentina, but how can anyone argue against that goal. It alone deserved the World Cup. Yes I am babbling my way through all this just so I can connect you to one of the most amazing game winning goals I have ever seen! So here it is:
I hope you have enjoyed the summer this far. It's been a crazy summer. Some of which has helped with my writing world and some that has hindered it. I finished reading The Shadow Dragon manuscripts and I am very pleased with all the red ink. (Normally not a good thing.) The story continues to grow and I am liking it. I've also started yet another story. Right now labeled Story 16. Over a four day period I wrote 25,000 words, but I had to stop. I need to go back and revise like crazy. A couple of people decided they were going to change their part in the story so I have to fix the beginning so they can be who they want to be. I picked up Story 13 just to take a glimpse at it and well... I can't put it down. I'm reading it and find myself in complete awe that I wrote it. It's not like I don't know what's going to happen but I still can't wait to get there. So, I think it's safe to say that I will be handing it to my "editors" very soon! So expect another countdown in a couple of months. Woo Hoo! Although I do still have to come up with a cover idea and Title. HA HA HA.... ugh. Always more work to be done. As long as I keep writing, I'll keep smiling!
Woo Hoo!!! Everything went perfectly. My 8th book, Heart of the Emperor, is now on sale at Smashwords, Barnes&Nobles, Apple, and Kobo! If you have a Kindle, no worries. You can download the Mobi file from Smashwords to your computer and then transfer it to your Kindle (it's that easy). Thank you all, for your support and believing in my dream too! I really do hope you enjoy this story.
FYI: The paperback book isn't ready just yet. Hopefully next week. I will let you know as soon as it is selling at Amazon and CreateSpace.
Wow! Can you believe I have another book being released? Tomorrow! Me either! I never imagined when I wrote Taken that I would continue writing. I did start another book while I was working on Taken, but never did I think I would keep writing. And never in my wildest dreams did I foresee publishing 8 books (with more on the way)! Proud and impressed can't even begin to describe it! Sorry, I'm a little excited. Let's get back to Heart of the Emperor coming out tomorrow...well tonight really! Ok, so, supposedly ( I say supposedly because I've never done Smashwords' pre-order before) my book will officially be on sale for 2.99 at 12:01am tonight. Woo Hoo! It should be at Barnes&Nobles, Apple, Smashwords, and Kobo (I am confident it will be since they are taking pre-orders). I am excited to see how this works.
Oh, one more thing. Since I've only posted the long description on my blog, here is the short description for this book:
On a planet where the sun does not shine, a place where no other race is tolerated, in a patriarchal society where women are not soldiers, Commander Emma Matix finds herself forced to live. There is deceit and treachery, and she knows she must figure out what’s at the heart of the Emperor’s motives in order to save the Kamtra people’s lives - along with her own.
Just thought I'd share "Love Runs Out" by One Republic. It hasn't inspired any writing, but I absolutely love this song. I think it's safe to say that One Republic has been added to my favorite bands list. I haven't heard anything I didn't like, and I love that they play more than just drums and guitars. As you already know One Republic is the band who did "Secrets", which has brought inspiration to a few of my books, especially Solace: Lost. This song "Love Runs Out" is very up beat, and it reaches into my soul and reminds me of how glad I am that I discovered my passion for writing. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed in the video, which is a rarity. I think it is very artistically done. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this song:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman
Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud. I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
~ Maya Angelou
When I was in college, a young woman read this poem in class. I am so glad that she did. She opened me to a writer whose words were written so simply, but I could not escape the power within them. After hearing this poem I went out and found more of Maya Angelou's works. I was not disappointed, she was a phenomenal writer. I am sad to hear that she has passed away. I am so thankful to have read her wisdom, her gift. I hope you too have enjoyed what she has written.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." ~ Maya Angelou
Very exciting stuff! I have posted the first chapter of Heart of the Emperor! You can find it in the tabs above or click here. Smashwords has also began pre-order. That is kind of cool. I didn't think much about it, but now that I am right on the threshold of releasing my book, I decided to take advantage of it. So if you click on Smashwords or Apple right now you can pre-order the book, plus - as always- you can read the first 20%. It will eventually be at Kobo and Barnes&Nobles to pre-order too. I'm also hoping to have the paperback ready by it's release date too, transitioning Apple's pages format to word had messed with the formatting so i have to go back to the library to re-format (ugh). It's not hard, just tedious and time consuming. I guess that's the price to being independent, and I'll pay that. Anyways, I hope you check out "Heart of the Emperor".
Two other things.
One: As I was going through the "chapter" tabs I found that I had put chapter one of Blades of the Ytinu Srebas instead of chapter one for Marks of the Satrii. Oops. It's fixed now. I apologize for that err.
Two: What would be a blog from me if I didn't give you an update of everything else too! I started reading through a hard copy of book three for The Shadow Dragon and I did not hate chapter one! YEAH!!! Also, looking at the word counts for Book 3 and 4, I just might end up making it all book three. I don't want to have to add information just to hit a word count because I think that the readers will notice and that will not make me or my readers happy. However, I'm not anywhere near ready to hand them off to my editors so, we'll have to wait and see. I've also been writing more on Story 15 - my attempt at a third person book (cringing). I'm going to have to print off a copy to see if I can make sense of it and get my brain to see it properly. I do like the story though, so I won't scrap it. I've also been writing more on the Story 14 too. I've also been trying to stay on top of my Facebook page (Click here) giving it more than just an update to my blog.
In less than 6weeks Heart of the Emperor will be released. I thought I'd share the blurb that will be used in the long description. Hope it intrigues you:
The betrayal of Commander Emma Matix cost her everything. Now she’s in a predicament where she must trust a Kamtra man that is rumored to rip people apart with his bare hands. She has stared into his metallic orange eyes and knows that he is quite capable of killing anyone that stands in his way. She knows he loathes the human race. So why did he save her in the first place? Was it to strip her of her identity, torture her, use her against the human race? Or did he keep her alive simply to prove to all what he is actually capable of? There is always an ulterior motive to kindness. Perhaps if she can figure out what his is, she will be able to survive.
I was working on The Shadow Dragon series and couldn't stop crying during this scene I was writing, which of course makes it harder to write. This particular scene came to life while I was listening "Demons" by Imagine Dragons. Sure hope I can convey the emotion that my characters feel in that scene. Right now I think you all would have laughed at my tears if you read it. In my defense, there is something about selfless sacrifice that gets me every time. The forth book is currently just over 32,000 words (it isn't finished and I haven't re-read it yet). The third book is 48,000 words and is waiting for me to go over the revision I made to the printed manuscript. Both books are moving along. Just thought I'd give you an update. Oh and here's the song in case you wanted to listen to it:
I love birthdays. To me it his not about getting older, it's about, well, everything else. Birthdays always energize me. Today is my birthday and I am extra excited because I've finally done something I've wanted to do since I started writing. I have made Taken (book 1 and 2) into one book. I remember how hard the decision was to make the story two books. Most of this decision was inexperience (obviously). I was impatient - I couldn't wait to publish it. So since I had the first half of the story finished, and was still working on the second half, I decided to go ahead and publish. Although, I must say people have loved it as two books (it is still my biggest seller), plus I wouldn't have two amazing covers, and I think I would have had a harder time with subtitling it. Oh the nightmare of coming up with a new title if I didn't subtitle it ("Taken" is a popular title). I cringe at the thought.
I wanted to do this a long time ago. My biggest setback was I didn't know what to do with the cover. Did I use the first one, the second one, the back from the paperback...? I tried putting both covers on the one cover, you know one cover on one half, the other cover on the other half with a sold or blurred line running between the two. I didn't like that at all - not vertically, not horizontally, not slanted. This was so frustrating. A few days ago as I was attempting to make myself like the half&half cover (because I wanted to have this out on my birthday) when another idea occurred to me. I merged them. Yea, yea, I know, it's still half&half. (I'm sticking my tongue out in a child-like manner.) But now it flows together. Two books as one! If you're familiar with the story then you understand the importance.
I don't know if it will be at Barnes&Nobles, Apple, or Kobo today, but it is at Smashwords (selling for $4.99)! I know you're probably sick of seeing me write how much I love Smashwords. But I am not going to stop. I just love what Mark Coker has done. He had a dream and now he's helping other people achieve theirs. If I don't support that, then why am I writing at all? Life is about dreams: yours and mine. It's passion that makes us love our lives - no matter what else is going on.
What better present for me than to do this! So today I give you the story, that allowed me to realize my passion, in one book!
This is a fun day! I love superheroes for the ideals that they stand for. Sure, it would be impossible for us to ever become like most of them. However, to strive to do what's good, to stick up for - even protect - others, and help those around us are very tangible. In honor of this day that brings a smile to my face, here are my top ten. Keeping in mind that there are a lot of Superheroes to choose from and even more everyday heroes, here's my list. Feel free to add more in the comment section!
1) WonderWoman when she had pre-superman abilities. I don't particularly like what they have turned her into.
2) It's a tie with Batman and Superman. 3) NightWing 4) BlackWidow 5) BatGirl (I only read the Cassandra Cain series when my son said "Mom read this, I think you'll really like it" and he was right - she was awesome) 6) Flash 7) Captain America (He's a gentleman and a hero - what's not to love) 8) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) 9) Robin (Teen Titans/Young Justice) 10) Wolverine My list could go on, and I'm sure if I was reminded of a few others I would have to rethink my list, but these have been my favorite since I was a child - minus BlackWidow and Captain America. I didn't grow up Marvel, but now that they have been formally introduced into my realm they definitely have found their way to my top list. Have a great day! :)
This week has not been a good week for the writer in me. It was my kids' Spring Break, I worked, and Robert had a birthday. I didn't do hardly any writing. I don't know about other writers, but me personally, I get irritable when I don't get to write. I have so much going on in my head that everything else is hard to focus on. It should be the other way around, I know. We did have a lot of fun though! Saw Captain America. Great Movie! The movie was action packed, it didn't lull at all. I love that honor has so much meaning to Captain America. He's always looking to do what's right, no matter what it might cost him.
Since my last post, I have done quite a bit though. I'm jumping around in my newest book, trying really hard not to get upset. I can see the story so clearly, but getting it down on paper is proving difficult. I don't have the option to give up, because I wake up in the morning thinking about this story. I'm about half way through Story 13 and quite happy with it, and I can see the next book in that story pulling itself together. The cover for Heart of the Emperor is almost finished! I started reading through the hardcopy for The Shadow Dragon book 3 and I hate the beginning of Chapter 1 so much that I haven't looked at it since (I almost through it across the room). I'm also trying to read a couple of books that are by other indie writers. So far I like them.
Despite all that I can't stop feeling as though more writing needs to done. I need to print this picture a friend of mine sent me and put it everywhere:
After all if the Avengers think I should, who am I (or my kids) to argue? (I know I'm more of a DC girl, but a great job has been done making these hero's awesome, even in my eyes!)
When I read a book, I love discovering how the cover ties into the book - where does the cover fit during the story. When I design my covers it has everything to do with the story. Each of my covers has a lot of thought behind it, it is never just thrown on there. The cover is pulled from the story itself. I decided that I would use this blog to talk through my covers. My choices.
Taken's covers were done by Tammy Boneburg, a very talented graphic artist. We worked together on that cover. It was a long process, because I partially knew what I wanted but didn't know how to translate, I didn't know what could be done. She obviously worked with me (with lots of patience) until we found something that I loved. I only really knew that the marks of the Satrii had to be on the cover. She did her best to give it to me. When she showed me the picture of the eye with the lines layered over it, I knew we had something to work with. She had given me four other pictures, but the eye was perfect. Especially since I knew that book 2 was going to be following right behind. I knew I wanted to keep the eye on both so that the reader would know they were together. I think she did a magnificent job understanding where I wanted the focus. Not only did she keep focus on the eye for both books, but she also allowed for the focus to be on the blue lines for the first book and on the second book were the blades that contained a power of their own.
Solace was a bit more difficult because I knew exactly what I wanted, which wasn't the cover it has now. I probably could go back and try again (and be more successful), but I love the new cover because it allows me to keep book 2 (and hopefully future books for this story) similar to the original book. The swirling shades of grey, black, and white is actually a scene in the first book. It also defines the title of Uncharted Territory. A story where what has always been as clear as black and white to Karissa now becomes blurred into dizzying shades of grey. Book 2's cover also has significance. The purple swirl is a scene where Karissa is looking into swirling mist where large flashes of bright red bubble up just like Omatha's rage. She is reminded of the times she saw the red enter Omatha's eyes and she knows that she does not want that for Jack. The swirl once again symbolizing Karissa's confusion, how lost she has become.
The Shadow Dragon covers are also significant. Even if I had the ability to manipulate the cover better than I can, I would still only put the orbs of fire on the black background. The cover is pretty much self explanatory and at the same time mysterious. I had asked Mike Kirsten to make the cover for book 2 because he is an extraordinary artist and I was in awe of what he could do. I knew he could draw the dragon I wanted. I wish the wings were bigger, but other than that it is perfect. It shows the strength, the destructive ability, and that he is a dragon of death. We kept the orbs of fire in the dragon, tying the two covers together.
Not Human came to me in my sleep. My hope was that when the reader read the book they would comprehend the cover. They would think, "Oh! I get it." They'd understand why the lines are not smooth, why she has silver circles on her skin, how she ended up with two gashes, why her hair was short. They would also know that Rose's journey was not an easy road.
I have a working computer again! YEAH!!! This makes my writing life so much better! So, I've been working on a few things over the last week. Go figure, right? I've spent time trying to understand photo editing so that I can improve upon the cover for Heart of the Emperor. I'm a slow learner, but I am determined to figure it out. I have a cover, but I'm not totally happy with it. It will work, but I think it would look better with a couple of changes. I'm hoping to get that out to you later this month.
Speaking of Heart of the Emperor. I wanted to share why I really enjoyed writing this book. For those of you familiar with my books, you know that my stories tend to keep you guessing. Whether it's a character, how an event plays out, or how I get the story as a whole from beginning to end, I try to make it as intriguing as I can. This book is no different. In fact with this book, the bad guy was a surprise to me too. As the end began to draw near, I couldn't wait to finish it. Not because I was bored with writing it, but because I couldn't wait to see how it ended. There were so many possibilities to who the bad guy was - it really could have been anyone.
I'm still plucking away at my attempt at a story in 3rd person. Who knew this could be such a challenging task. The story is developing, but I know I've left so much out. Up until this point I've been hand writing this book. However my mom typed it up for me so I could work on my other stories. She told me that i really need to take another look at it. Apparently I slipped into and out of 1st person. I just shook my head. I'm not giving up yet though - I always did like a good challenge. Yesterday I began fixing the revisions for story13, which I am hoping will be ready to go to my editors when I'm done. I've also added more to story 14. Tomorrow I'm printing off The Shadow Dragon book 3. I really want to get it done so I can move on to book 4 and get those two books out to you.
I apologize for the lack of blogs. I was stuck in an blah/not happy-type rut, that seemed impossible to get out of. It's times like those that I can't find anything to say. However, after several days of forcing myself to not let my mood control me, I am re-energized! Now onto wonderful news.
I am excited to announce that my next book Heart of the Emperor will be out June 21st! It's about time, right?
I have also finished The Shadow Dragon book 3. I still need to add a few more details because of the new information that unfolded as I finished fixing the revisions. I am happy that I was handed story 13 and told to read through it again to fix the large amount of stupid errors because more things came to light both in this book and for its sequel. I have also started to play with a book that I am trying to write in third person. I have started typing it, I'm still trying to see it through different eyes - as opposed to only the female protagonist. This is turning out to be a bigger challenge than I had expected. I read books written in third person and try to take notes, but I get sucked into the story and see it as first person. So don't hold your breath yet, since I may not be able to do this. Plus, I have started to work on Story 14 (the one that I hand wrote), I am impatiently waiting to work on book 4 for The Shadow Dragon (my son laughed at me when I told him I was still working on book three, but really wanted to be working on book four), Story 3 is sitting on my desk patiently waiting for me to have time for it (but with story 14 and 15 demanding attention I probably won't get to that anytime soon).
this song is not what I normally listen to, but I heard it on the radio
and I couldn't change the station. First I was like this is a strange
song. However, as I continued to listen to it, images that I see while
I'm writing moved through my mind - sort of like a trailer to my books.
There is definitely something about this song that reaches into me and
evokes the desire that my writing comes from. I'm kinda addicted to
the song now. ( I posted this among my friends on FB. However the more I listen to this song the more mind has dwelled in the story Solace. (Could be the words made their way into my brain.)
As usual the video doesn't move me at all, but I wanted to share this song with you. It actually could be the overlay song to Solace. While I'm listening to the song, I can visualize (in book 1) when Jack and Karissa first meet and they know that the other is dangerous, and cannot be left to live - but they do not get to make that decision. I see them as they battle against one another. Which then moves into the moment Jack realizes that Karissa is not the awful woman he had thought. He sees her in the Kasstah and is taken aback by the brief moments of her kindness - even as she continues to call him Creature and act as though that is all he is (a creature). As the clues begin to piece together (seeing her scars, sees her reaction to touch), he looks beyond himself and strives to be kind to her. I see the brief moment whenhe realizes that maybe, just maybe, she could be a brighter light than the darkness that she has brought to so may others and he knows that he "needs to love..." Throughout the song the second book makes itself shown as Karissa struggles with what to do with this man that she thinks is crazy for wanting to stay with her, when she knows she must keep him safe which means that he needs to be far away from her. A glimpse of her tears as she understands that he is someone that she can trust, but knows that he will die if he continues to stay with her. Which is shown when she injures him, but he still will not allow her to be what Omatha has forced her to be. She watches Jack fall as the deadly woman in the lake assesses the situation. Tears fill her eyes and she closes them, but when she opens them she is no longer afraid. She looks upon Jack's face as she entwines her fingers with his, forcing their palms together. It is "madness" but she understands that here in the end she needs it to not be too late.
The music pulls the emotion of the characters: their frustration, their anger, and yes, their love. While at the same time (the music) strews together the different images of how the characters change throughout their journey, leaving no doubt in the mind that the characters feel very strongly for each other.
That summary doesn't do justice to what I see, but it gives you a glimpse I hope. Sometimes I think how cool would it be if there was a device that would allow me to show exactly what it is that I see and feel during these moments.
Woo Hoo! I finally have Story 9 back from my editors! I've already begun to fix the revisions. I am enjoying the story immensely. I haven't read it since July so it's easy from me to forget that I wrote it. I keep finding myself having to leave the library for one reason or another (kids, work, library closing) and not wanting to quit reading it. I was up all night (literally, I slept an hour if I'm lucky) last night and now when I should be sleeping I'm here at the library because I couldn't wait to read more. However, I can't start reading until I do everything else that I needed to do first. Plus, knowing that this should be the last read through for Story 9 before it goes to copyright also adds to my excitement.
When I'm not at the library, or being a mom, or teaching Tai Chi, I've been working on my newest book (story 14). I wish I could work on the computer with it, but first comes story 13 and The Shadow Dragon book 3. Yesterday afternoon I started hand writing another story. I know, finish what you've started, but the characters get impatient with me and it's hard to work on anything else. The funny thing is, I've been going back and forth on buying a new laptop (or more to the point: how much money to spend on it), and part of me was concerned with what if I've written all my stories and then I have this awesome computer, but did I need to spend that much. So when this new story began to consume my thoughts, I had to smile. Of course, I'm not done yet. This is what I love. It's the insanity that keeps me sane. I know, I know. I am using the word sane very loosely.
I've finally spent some serious time at the library! I cannot describe how happy I am right now! Thursday I finally made it to the point in The Shadow Dragon Book 3 where I get to start writing again (the part I am most excited about). Friday morning my mom tells me I need to take another look at Story 13, because "the writing was too raw for it to have been one of my finals. Ugh. When she showed me all the oopses (typos, places where I changed things and forgot to delete what I changed, strange sentences, and several other things), I was very embarrassed. So I decided since that story is so much closer to done, I would fix that up first. I was very annoyed with myself, but I figured it was a good punishment to have to put The Shadow Dragon aside. (Hopefully I won't do that ever again - I know over-confidence is not a good thing) However, re-reading Story 13 has given me an awesome feeling. I'm re-reading the book, fixing the oopses, and saying: "I wrote this?!" (in a good way) I read 56 pages of my manuscript on Friday alone! I was so into the story that I had to keep backing up because I forgot to fix my mistakes, and I did not want to leave the library. I know I've said this before, but it's a wonderful feeling to read something I've written and just be in disbelief that I created it. The other awesome thing that makes this all so exciting is it means I'll get back to The Shadow Dragon in a few more days (as long as I can get to the library). I've also been brainstorming cover ideas for Story 14, all this snow is just so beautiful and inspiring! Best Michigan winter in a long time! Well that's everything for now! I am loving the time and opportunity I've had this past week to work on my books! Yeah!!!
Wow, this month is really cutting into my writing time. I have been unable to get to the library. There have been snow days (which I love because I get to hang out with my kids), cold days (sub-zero), and busy days. This week though I was stuck in bed for an entire day and not because I wanted to be there. My joints hurt, I wasn't hungry, I hadn't the energy to do anything. In fact it was so bad that the "voices in my head" had become silent. Silent for two complete days. It's kind of crazy, but I didn't like not having my brain thinking about a book I was working on. We joke at home about me hearing voices. I always have three or four stories that my brain is thinking about. When I was asked about how I keep the stories separated I replied they're all very different. It's like how I don't get my friends, kids, or peers' lives confused. So they all have a different "voice"? I again replied of course they do, and their own worlds with their own pasts and realities. In good humor, I was told it isn't normal to hear voices in your head. I laughed, of course. Normal is boring. However I must admit that I had not realized how normal it had become to constantly be thinking about the next character, the next twist, the next adventure until they weren't there. The second day, I was still achy and not hungry, but not being able to brainstorm ideas was a horrible experience. I was actually trying to jump start the thoughts, but to no avail. A very unsettling moment for me. The third day, I woke up both hungry and brainstorming! I thought ahh, now this feels good. My body wasn't up to going to the library, but at least my spirits were good. And that is half the battle to feeling better. With all this being said I still haven't done much of anything productive, but I'm not upset about that because the ideas are flowing.
You'll be happy to hear that the loudest ones are those surrounding the The Shadow Dragon book 3! I really can't wait to pull all the details together so that I can share them with you. I have five manuscripts in my backpack waiting to go to the library so that I can fix the revisions (so missing my computer right now) and keep moving on. I have also handed Story13 off two of my editors. My mom finished typing up my handwritten manuscript for story 14 (20,500 words), and I have read through it. It needs a lot of work but for it being my first draft and having been handwritten (which as I think I've said already, is not fast enough for my creative mind) I am impressed with what is there. I also had a thought for my Story 3 that may make it possible to e-publish, but I have to get to the library to see if it will work. I have one section of that story almost finished (I read through it and made very few revisions/edits - yeah!) Although I can't make that section a book one. I mean I could - I was actually going to - but as a reader I wouldn't like it. And if I wouldn't like it, then I'm definitely not going to try and sell anyone on it.
Well that's what's been going on. I hope to get back to the library soon and put in some serious hours on my stories and get things moving again.
Okay so I thought I had it all figured out. Then I sat down and I don't know where I want to start. What am I talking about? My mother wanted to refresh her typing skills and offered to type up Story 14 for me. I was a little reluctant because I need to learn to read and type. However it was a really slow process that was not leaving me with a feeling of accomplishment. Plus, I realized that with her typing it up for me, I would have time to work on another book. I was very excited at the prospect. Then I didn't know where to start. I sat down and listed my books and was sad to see that out of 14 stories I had only published 4 of them. (Reminder: When I say stories I mean story lines. I have a total of 7 books published, but three of them belong to an already existing story line.) I starred the published titles with a pout, feeling that I hadn't accomplished much. 4 of 14 seems rather dismal, which also made me feel that I finish nothing that I start. That would not do. I then put a line by the stories that are finished and ready to be edited. That gave me three more stories. Okay so now I'm half way. 7 of 14 Now those numbers are a little more reasonable. Most of the incomplete stories are (by word count) almost novels, a couple are over 100,000 words already. I also had to remind myself that it's not that the stories are a result of writers block, but it has been the lack of time to finish. As you already know, once an idea grows in my mind I can only ignore it for so long before I have to write it. I suppose this is when people who write outlines have an advantage over me. Plus, I design and do my covers, minus three so far. So before I came down to the library, I sat down and listed the Story #'s that I have written. I included the Title(main characters when the story didn't have a title), how many books per title have been written (or are in the process of being written), and word count. I must say that - in the almost 4years I've been writing - I am extremely impressed with myself. Each story line is a completely different adventure. A different place, a different time. So far I think the only similarity is that each story is it is a sci-fi/fantasy adventure with a love story entwined into it. Again, leaving me to marvel at just how amazing the mind really is. Now, I'm going to get started on finishing one of those stories before I have to work on something else!