5

A New Series!

So I’ve been sitting on some news and I wasn’t sure how to share it, so I’m just going to go ahead and blurt it out:

I’m releasing a new book later this year!

Everyone, I liked to introduce you to THE FADING DUSK, the first book in the Smoke and Mirrors series. It’s YA, it’s fantasy, and it has magic, action, romance, and, of course, a little bit of humor sprinkled in.

So, what’s THE FADING DUSK all about? Lucky for you, I have a blurb:

            In the gritty city of Dusk, seventeen-year-old Irina makes her living as the street magician Bantheir’s assistant. The job isn’t glamorous, but she loves the crowds, the shows, and most of all, the illusion of magic. But Irina’s world is shattered the night she is arrested and charged as Bantheir’s accomplice to murder—murder by magic.

            Real magic, the kind that’s been forbidden since the old wars.

            Irina finds the idea of flashy showman Bantheir using actual magic to kill someone laughable, but she’s the only one who sees how ridiculous the claim is. But how can she convince everyone Bantheir is innocent when they’ve already made up their minds? Desperate, Irina must decide who she can trust to help her win her freedom. Is the surly, handsome Captain Leonid telling the truth when he says he believes Irina is innocent, or is he just using her to get to Bantheir? What about Aden, the sweet soldier and longtime fan of Irina’s who claims he’s on her side?

            Irina said she wanted to know the truth, but when she stumbles across a dark secret that changes everything, will she be strong enough to survive?

And for a visual aid, check out my Pinterest board! Not only are there photos of the characters, but you can also get a feel for the city of Dusk itself. Like the blurb says, Dusk is gritty, but it also has parts to it that are beautiful and mysterious. I’m really, really excited to introduce you all to this world. And the characters! I cannot wait for you to meet Irina! She may not be as sassy as Gabi, but she’s definitely just as fierce.

It’s on Goodreads, so you can go ahead and add it to your to-read shelves! Right now it’s set to release in July, but that might change. Please be patient with me. There’s going to be a lot of fun things included inside the book (a map! Chapter artwork!) that will make the wait worthwhile, I promise. And yes, this is the first book in a series. I actually started the first draft of the sequel (which I’m calling Dusk2 for now) yesterday. I’m very excited to dive back into this world and continue Irina’s story.

So that’s my news! There will be a cover reveal in a couple of months and all that fun stuff, so make sure you keep an eye on this blog, my Twitter, and my Facebook page for any news regarding THE FADING DUSK!

8

Cover Reveal for The Shadow Stealer!

So here we are. I’m about to unveil the very last cover for the very last book in the Silver Moon Saga. That’s both bittersweet and crazy. Did I ever think, those forty-two days I spent writing the first draft of THE SIGHT SEER, that I’d publish not one, not two, but FIVE books about Gabi and her demon-hunting friends? No, definitely not. So thank you to everyone who has joined me on this adventure. You are the reason I love this writing thing. 🙂

And now, without further ado, I present to you the gorgeous, stunning cover of THE SHADOW STEALER. I won’t even make you scroll down to see it.

The Shadow Stealer (Medium)

And there it is. What do you think?! Do you love it as much as I do? Because, and don’t tell the other four covers I said this, but this one right here is my favorite. Her expression, the way she’s looking at you dead in the eye as she glances over her shoulder… Even the green background (is she in her garden? A forest? Somewhere else?) is perfect. I literally just stared at my computer, my mouth ajar, when I opened my email and saw this for the first time. A huge, huge thank you to Rue Volley for giving me five beautiful covers.

THE SHADOW STEALER releases February 27th! The blurb is up on Goodreads, but here it is in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Ever since that fateful night Gabi Saw her first demon, she’s been questioning who and, better yet, what she is. When given a chance to find the answers she seeks, she seizes it, even if it means putting herself—and her beloved friends—in danger.

From upstate New York to the streets of Manhattan, Gabi chases after the truth that has, until this point, remained out of reach. But when her whole world shatters, Gabi wonders if it would have been better to remain ignorant. Because once you know the truth, there’s no going back.

In the final installment of the Silver Moon Saga, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been for Gabi and her friends, and no one’s guaranteed a happy ending. Will Gabi triumph or will the shadows claim her for their own?

This is one of the longest books I’ve ever written, and if you’ve been following me on here and Facebook, then you know I struggled with it for almost all of last year. But the more a book fights me, the more I end up loving it (well, I spend a lot of time cursing it out, too). I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

That’s not all! To celebrate the end of the Silver Moon Saga, I’ve decided to host a contest. Click the link below for a chance to win a SIGNED paperback copy of THE SIGHT SEER, the book that started everything. The contest will run until February 2nd, and it is open INTERNATIONALLY. I’ll throw in some book swag too, which includes stickers and a signed mini-poster.

Enter to win a signed copy of THE SIGHT SEER!

Good luck and happy reading!

Contest is over! Thanks for playing!

1

What I wrote in 2013

In my last post, I discussed what I read in 2013. In this post, I’m going to talk about my writing!

My biggest accomplishment, of course, was publishing my first novel, The Sight Seer, in June. That was both exciting and scary, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I have always, always wanted to be a published writer, and to finally hold a book of my own in my hands? It’s amazing.

I thought that was going to be it for me this year, in terms of books being published, but then the fates aligned and An Autumn Dream came out in November! I don’t know how it works for others, but when I write something, I hope it’ll be published, but I’m realistic and know that it’s never guaranteed. I felt that way with The Sight Seer, and I felt it even more with the novella. It was just a few little stories that I wrote for myself because it was hard for me to let the characters. So to have this one out there as well? It’s even more meaningful.

In terms of writing, I wrote the sequel to The Sight Seer over the summer, from June 8th to August 12th. The first draft was 78,442 words, and the current draft is 79,416 words. After I finished the sequel, I wrote the third short story for the novella. And then, starting November 11th and still going strong, I began writing the third book in the Silver Moon Saga. It’s currently 58,374 words, and I have a ways to go. I had been hoping to finish it before the year ended, but I quickly learned that writing during the holidays is a very bad idea. At least now I know for next year!

In 2014 I hope to completely finish that series before venturing into something new. I’ve had an idea for a fairy tale since May that I’m itching to write, along with an idea for a contemporary. There’s always something, but never enough time to write it all. I’m excited to see what I come up with in the new year!

Have a wonderful 2014!

9

The Outline

Here’s a confession: I don’t enjoy outlining. I’m not one of those people who sits down and HAS to know what happens BEFORE writing the story. Oh no, I make things up on the fly. While writing my latest manuscript, I kept telling Amy, “Yeah, I’ll figure out the ending when I get there!” Which I eventually did, although it took me a couple of tries to get it right (not just the ending, I mean. The whole manuscript!). This is perfectly normal, and I highly doubt an outline would have helped me get the story to the place where I wanted it to be.

One time I spent a summer outlining a story I knew I was going to write for National Novel Writing Month. I was commuting to college and spent my time on the train writing out every single thing. By the time November rolled around and I sat down to write the actual story, I was bored out of my mind. I had basically written the thing already, now I was just adding in the details. I already knew the story, and had no desire to, in effect, write it again. Lesson learned, I never outlined like that again.

002 (Small)

When I’m writing, I keep notes in whatever notebook is closest to me at the moment. I do take notes on the computer as well, but there’s just something more satisfying about grabbing a notebook and curling up in bed to scribble down names, descriptions, and plot points. It feels more real to me. And it’s convenient. Maybe I’m trying to fall asleep, and I suddenly think up an important plot point. It’s much easier for me to grab my notebook than my computer. Again, this is just to take notes, or maybe quickly write out a scene or dialogue I just know I’ll forget the next morning when I wake up.

For potential sequels, however, I do try to outline the plot because I know I’m not going to go back to the story, the universe, the characters, for months, maybe years, and I don’t want to forget what I had planned. But again, it’s all very basic, because I WANT to give myself the chance to fill in the plotholes as I’m writing. I’m not sure how other people outline, but mine look a bit like this:

A and B go to the movies

  • A suddenly screams and says she saw a ghost(?)
  • B tells her she’s crazy, there’s no such thing as ghosts
  • A gets mad and storms out(?) or maybe she stays, and gets mad at B later(?)

That’s exactly how I do it. Characters are reduced to the first letter of their first name, and question marks for anything I’m not sure about. The question marks don’t bother me, because I know once I’m writing the story, I’ll figure it out. I just list the basics, no little details. And, of course, the outlines are NOT permanent. They’re just there as a guide, a reminder of what I want to happen. But the possibility of me changing things halfway through the story is more than likely.

I have outlined while in the middle of writing a story. With one manuscript, the beginning was far too long and plodding, so I ended up starting over again, deleting a huge chunk of it as I revised. To help keep myself focused, I outlined the middle and end, and followed those notes (again, my summaries for chapters were ONE sentence each. No excessive detail!) as I wrote. I’ve noticed, also, that when I’m creeping towards the end, I will outline what I want to happen as a way of encouraging myself, to show that the end is in sight and I just need to keep at it a little bit longer. I guess I don’t have a set method when it comes to outlining, besides knowing that I cannot plot out the entire thing in extreme detail and still be interested in actually writing it.

Do you outline? If so, is your method similar to mine, or do you have you own way of doing it?

4

The Perfectionist Problem.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, it’s impossible for me to send my beta an incomplete manuscript. Oh no, I need to have the whole thing written, edited, revised, and edited again before I can send it to her. And even then, if it’s not quite where I want it to be, I get all nervous, knowing she’s reading something that’s not, well, perfect.

Which is so ridiculous.

Take my current manuscript. Novel Number Nine. I wrote the first draft and then went back and proceeded to rewrite a huge chunk of it. There are still a few parts that I’m not completely happy with, but after writing some chapters two, three times, I knew I needed a fresh pair of eyes to look at it. She’s currently reading through it for the first time, letting me know which parts don’t work. Those parts are usually the ones I had problems with, and after emailing one another back and forth, I’m able to finally turn the scenes into what I want them to be. The whole process is actually a lot of fun, too!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write a chapter and pass it on to her just like that, without having the rest of the story written. Once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist. But at least I’m now able to pass along a flawed story without feeling (too) uneasy about it!

3

The Emotional First Draft.

I always experience a multitude of emotions when writing a first draft. It usually beings with excitement:

“YAY, I’m starting a new story with new characters and a new world!! I can’t wait to write all day long!”

But then, somewhere around the middle, it hits me:

“WAH this is terrible, I hate it, I can’t show it to anyone!!”

Suddenly, writing becomes a struggle. I want to give up. I want to throw the draft away and never think about it again. I hate myself for being such a poor writer. Luckily, I’m also incredibly stubborn, and always have a fierce desire to see things through to the end. So I keep writing and eventually, I get over that middle hump, which means it’s time for the ending:

“I love the ending, the endings are always so much fun, ooh I can’t wait to write this part and that part and…”

And before you know it, I’m done. And happy again. Until it’s time for edits:

“I hate editing arghhhh–oh wait, this part is actually better than I thought, let me just read a little bit more…”

Writing. It’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish.

4

Yes, I’m still here. Promise.

Hello all! Sorry for the silence, but when I’m in the middle of a project, I tend to go MIA. I don’t enjoy staring at the computer screen for too long, and once I finish the day’s writing my brain is usually mush, so I walk away and do something else. But the WIP is coming along! It’s 25000 words, and I don’t think I’m even halfway done. I figured out a ton of stuff Tuesday night and then again Wednesday morning during a long commute, and I’m really excited to get it written! Hopefully the first draft won’t be too long, but I already know I can cut some stuff from the beginning, so I’m not overly worried. I’ve had a feel difficult spots (rewrote one scene three times before I finally got it right!), and a difficult character, but I’m loving every moment of it, and that’s all that matters!

In other news, one of my oldest friends (seriously, we’ve known each other since we were two!) got himself a wordpress page, so definitely stop by and say hello!

2

The Beginning.

I started a new work today! As in a brand new story, set in a brand new world, with a brand new set of characters. It’s an idea I’ve been playing with for the past couple of weeks; I had an idea and I’ve been expanding on it whenever I can. Today I actually sat down with my trusty notebook, jotting down some notes. I’m not the type of person that has to outline every single little detail before I can write, but I like to write down the general direction I want the story to go. Of course, none of this is set in stone, and it’s fun to go back and look at my notes when I’ve finished the first draft to see the differences. I don’t even know how I want this story to end, but I’ll figure that out while I’m writing. That’s how my brain works!

The only reason why I didn’t start writing the moment I came up with the idea was because I didn’t have any names picked out. And as you know from this post, I can’t write unless my characters have names. I was hesitant about starting a brand new story (as when I write, the story consumes me like a black hole, taking over my life until I’ve finished it. Also, I forget how to speak properly. And I have crazy, bizarre dreams. I’m not exactly sane during the process!), so I refused to even think about names. But the story was calling to me today, so I spent some time browsing through sites and playing around with letters. Once I got my names (for the main characters only. Apologizes to the secondary characters, but I spend very little time on their names!), I was ready to start.

Like usual, I found it hard to tear myself away from the computer, and I wrote almost 2000 words. Already the story is surprising me, with the main character acting not quite as I intended her to. But that’s not a bad thing! And also like usual, even when I’m not sitting down and writing, I’m working on future scenes–see why I don’t have to worry about not having an ending just yet? It’ll come to me when my brain is ready. Usually this is when I’m trying to fall asleep at night (hmm, maybe that’s why I have strange dreams?).

I’m going to chart my progress this time around, recording how many words I write per day. It might only be interesting to me, but I can share it if anyone would like to see. Maybe on a weekly basis? While I have no deadline for this, I want to continue my tradition of writing everyday (unless I have a headache, in which I then go to bed extra early and try to write even more the next day!). Wish me luck! Anyone else working on a project right now? How’s that going?