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September Update

News

First up, the Grimbold Books Kickstarter project “From Dream to Team” surpassed its target and, I believe, reached its stretch goal. Thank you so much to everyone who backed it.

The fact is that not all of us authors are ready to self-publish right out of the gate, but neither may we be prepared to sign our lives over to a large publisher. But good small publishers are hard to find and be confident in. Oh yes, they’re out there, but you just never know.

I took a punt on Kristell Ink, just as they took a chance on me. They were new, I was new, but both sides felt each had a future.

It’s hard to get a brand new book from a brand new author noticed. It’s not a lot easier when it’s pushed by a brand new publisher. Kristell Ink, and Grimbold Books as a whole, have done their darnedest to give each of their books a good shot, but it’s been a slow road for us all (well, except for the success of February’s HT BookBub promo). Sammy and Zoë have funded the book productions themselves, so far, with, I imagine, little reward to date. This Kickstarter will help them fund the next round of books, and get them under the kinds of noses that other people listen to. Yes, this may mean that WARRIOR’S TOUCH will have something of a delay in coming out (it takes time to get books onto NetGalley and the like, but that’s what the big players do, to help their authors make a big splash come release day). If WARRIOR’S TOUCH is as good a book as I think it is (and, in my opinion, it is significantly better than HEALER’S TOUCH), then I want to make sure it has the best chance of being noticed by the many when it launches onto the world’s stage. I want to please my already keen readers and get it to them as soon as possible. But my “career” (she says with a day job still to go to) is still very much a fledgling. I’d love to see it make inroads to taking off.

So we wait.

Writing Progress

About a week after my August Update I penned a new opening to MAGICIAN’S TOUCH that I feel is a keeper… for now. It’s enough

Read more…September Update

July Update

Hey, hey…

So, I have been thinking about the way life works and how it’s really tricky trying to fit regular blogging into life, but also how regular blogging can be a good thing. And so I have come up with a plan… a monthly recap blog post, interspersed with the occasional “I gotta share this” blog post…

Also, down the track I’m looking to redesign my website so it has a better landing page and the blog is more of a side project — and I’d probably separate out the different topics I like to touch on.

Writing Progress

Early July saw a few more Beta reader comments come in for WARRIOR’S TOUCH which I worked to address. I also still had a few of my own niggles about the ending, but I thought to wait until I received feedback from

Read more…July Update

And so it begins… again

The blank page.

That dreaded blank page. It’s horrible!

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I think, largely, it is because writers are gluttons for punishment. We’re never happy, and if we should be then we will find something to keep us down. And what better way than to start a new project?

Read a 1-star review of our work, you suggest? Yes, that is a good plan, too… Unless you get the kind of 1-stars you’re proud of (and I have been, lately… I’ve really liked them).

I am lucky this time around in that I’ve written two previous books in the same series I’m continuing on, so I have a decent string of events I already know I need to cover to tie off the loose ends. But

Read more…And so it begins… again

Welcome New & Faithful Few

Well, hello there.

So, about ten days ago, my publisher advised me there had been some 37,000 free downloads of HEALER’S TOUCH. Now, this is where I have to remind myself that these are downloads that would not have happened had it not been free… because, well, I still have a student loan sitting there… looking at me… and I’m looking at it… yeah. Maybe next time.

Anyway, that was a highly successful promotion we had there… and we didn’t expect it. I guess it just goes to show what a decent cover, blurb and the few kind reviews I already had can do…

Over the course of the month, I’ve gone from having just 22 reviews on Amazon US to over 90. That’s amazing. 22 in a year… another 70 in a month. Goodreads has seen a jump, and I even got my first review on Smashwords. B&N also got some action.

It has been an amazing time

Read more…Welcome New & Faithful Few

Stories have a tendency to write themselves…

… no matter how much you think you know better… you probably don’t. The story knows.

So, I’m still writing. Yes, yes, I know, I haven’t kept you updated… been too busy writing, or thinking up marketing strategies for HEALER’S TOUCH – often having to remind myself that the best marketing strategy for HT is to get WARRIOR’S TOUCH out there…

But I just felt like sharing something…

This may not be true for everyone, but for me, it really is: my stories write themselves, and if I try to go against them, I get stifled.

I’ve been reminded of this fact a couple of times recenty.

A few weeks ago I had an idea for WT. I thought “That’ll be really cool, and according to well-established story beats, a good time for that to happen would be… later in the story.” Cool, I thought. I have something to work towards.

Wrong.

I stagnated.

I kept pushing on, telling myself “Come on, write, there’s good stuff coming.” Not that I thought what I was writing at the time was terrible, or even bad. I was just struggling to find momentum in my writing.

Then I had an epiphany. That idea that I thought would work best coming later in the story could easily

Read more…Stories have a tendency to write themselves…

Welcome to the Team…

I would like to welcome to the Healer’s Touch team…. dun dun duuuun… Matt Donnici.

Matt is working (like, right now!) feverishly on a cover illustration for Healer’s Touch! How mega exciting is that? Yeah! Mega MEGA exciting! We’ve been discussing concepts and finer details the last couple of days, and Matt has done amazing work shaping his initial sketch into something that looks really promising. Really promising. I’m excited. Can you tell?

Read more…Welcome to the Team…

Coincidences = my friends (or, What’s In A Name?)

So, now that I have “finished” my first book and am working on books 2 and 3, I have been doing some researching (some might call it procrastination … but I’m sure it will all be useful in the end).

Xena – Warrior Princess (and a Kiwi, too! – yep, from Oamaru, just up the way …)

Anyway, along with working on these next two books, I am being bombarded by ideas on how to improve my first book – some scenes will need a re-write, some stakes will need to be ramped up … I wanted it to be finished, and I know I am close, but I can see some of the comments I’m likely to get from reviewers/editors already, and I want to fix them so they can be left to only say the really hurtful things.

I was checking out a website full of advice on novel-writing, and one of the things it pointed out is that nothing in a novel should be a coincidence. Sure, they happen in real life. Not in fiction. Well, according to a lady at Pixmar, bad stuff can happen at random. But not good stuff.

But my point from the first site mentioned isn’t about “bad” or “good” events. It’s about everything, even character names. Yes. Apparently, they have to mean something to the story. So I thought Uh oh, I’m gonna have to change some names here

Read more…Coincidences = my friends (or, What’s In A Name?)

Novel Factory [Software]

So I’m beginning work on Book #2 of the “Weapons of War Trilogy” (current title … what can I say, I am rather attached to it). I’m trying out the beta version of the upcoming writing software “Novel Factory“. It’s challenging, because I don’t naturally work in such a structured way. And yet it’s very helpful, because that structure is exactly what I need to help me create a quality follow-up to the first book.

Novel Factory Screen Shot
I love the fact that you can link several images with each character

I learned a lot working on that first book. I learned from Larry Brooks about story structure – midpoint reversals and plot points, etc – and Randy Ingermanson about the Snowflake method of developing an idea through to a publishable novel, and I have learned TONS of stuff from Janice Hardy, from various methods of writing strategy through detailed how-to’s when it comes to reducing passive voice and writing dialogue and the like.

The Novel Factory Software combines a lot of those ideas and helps the novice writer (or the semi-experienced with heaps more yet to learn) apply the theory. It still leaves a lot of room for the writer to do their own research, but it even helps a bit with that, with a “Resources” section with links to where you can purchase well-known writing advice books. But it basically guides you through the Snowflake method, while also getting you to think about the major plot points. It even gets you thinking about Scenes and Sequels (Heads and Tails in the software) … It’s really rather cool. The more I look at it, the more I can see it being incredibly helpful.

Another feature I really love – because I thought about doing it for my first novel but didn’t get myself organized enough to do it – is that for each character, it encourages you to write a mini-synopsis for each scene re: what each character is up to. To me, that is a really good idea. As I said, I wanted to do it the first time around, I just got lazy. But this makes it so much easier – I believe it automatically links the scenes a character is in to the character’s profile so you can then go and make notes about what that character is doing at the time.

Novel Factory Screen Shot
Multiple images per character, and scene-links that allow you to really delve into each character every step of the way

I haven’t actually started writing yet, I admit, but that is because I don’t have the story worked out just yet. I have a couple of scene ideas, which are evolving as I think because of other ideas that have cropped up – and changes I made to the end of the First Book, which affect character knowledge at the start of Book Two … probably for the best.

The one thing I have requested is a bit more of a sandbox area. I mean, I love the organizational structure of the software. But I am a partial-pantster. I need a little space to just play. Also, whenever I delete scenes or sections, I always keep them. So I need a place to move them to. We shall see if that shows up in the final edition of the programme. I have played with yWriter and Scrivener previously (Book 1 was greatly developed in yWriter and completed in Scrivener). I made the switch to Scrivener because I liked the flexibility it offered me to design my own work area. Well, actually, the main draw was that I could build my character profiles and link as many photos as I wanted … (Hello, Novel Factory … you do that too, you say? Hmmmm). The total freedom of structure in Scrivener did lead to my files getting rather messy. I actually have three Scrivener projects leading to the final version of my story. Although, that’s not really a reflection of the software – that’s how different some of my versions were … They were so different I had to basically start over.

Anyway, this post is turning into a bit of a ramble, and bedtime is fast approaching. I just wanted to toot the horn for this new piece of writing software. I think it shows a lot of promise.

Officially done

The final draft of what I am now calling “Healer’s Touch (Book 1 of Weapons of War trilogy)” – trilogy being expected, but tentative until I nail down a few more details – is done and submitted in a competition to, hopefully, win a critique.

I have also forwarded copies to two willing beta-readers.

So the plan is to try not to look at it for the next 4-6wks. I may look at it for the sake of:

1. studying it for structure so I can learn from what I’ve done and hopefully do things more efficiently next time

2. making notes re: character details/timelines so that I have good reference material to go on with

I have several other things I can do instead:

Read more…Officially done

Beta Reading … result number 1

My first “Beta Reader” report came back tonight. This is good. I may just have enough time to address the issues raised (which were already in the back of my mind, anyway) before the Tuesday deadline for the Manuscript Contest.

It sucks a little bit that I was aware of some of the issues already. It means I had chosen to put them in the “Too Hard” basket. But then again, I like a challenge. Can I deal with htem without fundamentally changing the story? I think I can. It’s amazing how much I have had to leave out of this just over 100,000 word story (currently at 103,908), and I’m about to take out a little more (because it is simply an issue I didn’t have the space for my characters to deal with in this story). I was worried I wouldn’t have material for a trilogy. I think I do now that I have to keep relegating all this stuff to Book 2. It is stuff that readers will want to know – it’s good back story! But it was awkward to bring up in this Book.

Oh, one comment from my reader was that the title (“Weapons of War”) wasn’t all that “interesting” … hmmm. Anyone got any ideas?

That could still be the title of the Trilogy, of course. I haven’t finalized that, yet.

So themes to base titles on …

* I have a girl who can heal (she is a Syaenuk – the most superior form of the Aenuk race).

* I have a man who is super fast and strong (he is a Syakaran – the most superior form of the Karan (pl. Kara) race)

* I have two warring nations

Read more…Beta Reading … result number 1