Sitting down to write
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, working on The Darker Lord along with some freelance projects, and I have due dates in May and June. It’s been a crazy few months, and there are still other obligations, like my day job, being a Dad and obstacles like allergy season.
Still, one of the biggest obstacles I face is that feeling I get when I sit down and have to write. It’s a little like the picture to the left. I’m staring at my equivalent to the Death Star, a blank page.
It’s a terrifying experience which I think every writer has. Sometimes, you wonder who you are and where these ideas come from and are they any good? You do things even when you start writing and ask, “Should I have put a question mark at the end of the last sentence or a period?” You could even go through this entire sequence of events in your head where everyone wakes up, realizes that your writing is terrible, and you are laughed at ceaselessly.
I want you to know that it’s okay. Just write. It’s simple advice and you can find it all over, but it works. As soon as that blank page is filled with something, it gets easier. You can add to it or subtract from it or rewrite it a dozen times. In the Service of the King (A Crimson Hawks Adventure), started with a simple idea and became a two page short story that I wrote when I was twenty. I wrote the novel nineteen years later, so you never know what might happen.
All writers are afraid or nervous, but get started typing or writing with a pen and fill the page. It helps.
If you have the chance this weekend, April 28-30, please come see me at RavenCon in Williamsburg, VA. It should be a great time.
I’ll be be getting back to The Darker Lord now. All the best!
Daughter of Orion Prologue
I came to the realization earlier this week as I was reviewing my year’s writing goals that I needed to spend some time focusing on Rigel and Freedom Squad. Currently, there are over 200,000 words written on the character, spread across three novels and one novella. I’ve asked Harper Voyager about their interest in her and her team, but I’m still awaiting a reply.
I keep reading that this is the time of the female superhero. As Rigel was originally created nearly 27 years ago, I think she’s ready to burst onto the scene. She even has a fantastic piece of cover art ready to go.
Most importantly, she’s meant to be an inspiration to kids like my daughter. While she’s a legacy hero, she’s not a Supergirl or Batgirl, with the powers and and identity of another character. One of her story arcs is her effort to separate herself from the legacy of her father, Orion, and prove herself on her own, while continuing to uphold her father’s ideals.
I’m currently undergoing a rework of all of the Rigel novels, with some assistance from the capable Heather Curatola (the original creator of Rigel) and my Jack Heckel co-author, John Peck.
So while many of my good friends are at GenCon or the Richmond comic convention today, I thought I’d share the current rewrite of the prologue for Daughter of Orion (formerly In the Stars). Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
Life After Publication
I feel like I have a million things to do and no time to do any of them. After having Happily Never After published, I’ve spent time trying to coordinate all the social media aspects of publication. I’ve been working on interviews and trying to do tweets and checking in on Facebook. I’ve been attempting to keep up with my email, although I’m getting overwhelmed by holiday messages. It’s been a mess.
And it’s not even been two weeks.
I think it’s amazing the speed at which the world works. There are so many opportunities for writers to promote and market themselves, but no one really seems to know the magic formula to get your work in front of your audience. There are lots of theories and probably a half billion people on the internet who’d offer to help, but as far as I can tell it’s just hard work.
I spent most of this weekend working on a Christmas Pageant script, doing holiday related activities, prepping for this week at my day job, and trying to find time to get household chores done. It was largely successfully, however, I fell behind on my own Book 3 deadline schedule for Charming as well as blog posts.
Bishop O’Connell told me that the real work begins after publication. I thought I knew what he meant after Once Upon a Rhyme, but it’s a lot more with Happily Never After‘s release. That’s a good thing, by the way, but it’s still crazy. I suspect that as long as I keep taking it one piece at a time, everything should work out.
Now on to reading, writing and a million edits…
All the best,
Nanowrimo 2014 – What to write?
So, we have only a few days before Nanowrimo, and I feel like I’m a kid who doesn’t know what costume to wear for Halloween. One of the most important things to do before getting started on National Novel Writing Month is to have a good idea on what you want to write. You don’t want to lose momentum on writer’s block with only 30 days to do 50,000 words.
As each day ticks down, I find myself still uncertain. Here’s my logic so far:
- I’ll need to work on Book 3 of the Charming Tales as Jack Heckel, but John Peck, my co-author, agrees that Nanowrimo has been good to me and that I should participate.
- Whatever I write should be something that I already know and love so I don’t have to spend a lot of thought energy on it.
- Therefore, I should do my superhero team that I did last year, or the Crimson Hawks or Krueger.
- I think the mood of Krueger and the Hawks will take away from my ability to focus on Charming.
- In conclusion, I should write Freedom Squad.
- Finally, I can’t think of a plot for Freedom Squad. ACK!
LOL! Having gone through all of that, I’ll probably write Freedom Squad. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment. I don’t mind suggestions. Also, if anyone else is going through a similar issue with decisions, let me know.
Nanowrimo is coming!
Nanowrimo is Coming!
It’s early October and I’m suddenly struck with that feeling. It’s coming. November, aka…
50,000 words of total writing madness in 30 days, all the while dealing with everything that life throws at you. Plus, this year, I have an extra challenge or two – new book proposals and writing on Book 3 of the Charming Tales.
Part of me, the sane part of me, says “Don’t do it this year. You don’t have time. You can’t. Would you risk Charming for National Novel Writing Month?”
The crazy part of me, says “AHA! What a great story it would make if you succeeded!”
I’ve done it every year successfully since 2009. I certainly don’t want to stop now. I always tell people who want to try that whether you succeed in writing 50,000 words in a month or not, you will certainly have more words than you started. I believe that. When I first tried Nanowrimo, I failed utterly and ended with only 8,000 words or so. That failure eventually turned into Souls of the Everwood, my first Krueger novel.
The Long Night
By the time I wake up tomorrow, Once Upon a Rhyme will be e-published. It seems like such a huge turning point in my life. All the characters that John Peck and I created become real somehow tomorrow. People that I’ve never met will talk about them. Someone who I don’t know will laugh at my words.
I want to thank everyone. My co-workers at every job I’ve ever had, my relatives, more friends that I can count, classmates, all my fellow Harper Voyager writers who feel like siblings to me, and the writers and editors who’ve made me better over the years. I’ve called and spoken to a few people, but there are so many more.
Thank you all.
For everyone out there who is writing or has written a book, please don’t give up. It’s taken me over 20 years to get here. I know that there are talented, brilliant people out there with incredible stories who feel like they can’t get a break. To all of you, keep writing. It can happen.
Tonight, I was cleaning my shed, which wasn’t something that I intended in any way, shape or form. I found an old folder in a storage box, and inside was a spiral notebook filled with short stories that I had written when I was 13. It seemed so very appropriate that on this of all nights, I’d happen to find that beat-up notebook, cover long gone, containing some of my first attempts at writing stories.
I’m not going to sleep much tonight, but I’m wishing everyone the best of dreams. And please, whatever dreams you have, don’t give up on them. And if you have given up, don’t be afraid to chase new ones.
All the best,
Nominated for an Award and some Updates
I’m still chugging along in Nanowrimo, running over 34,000 words. Charming, my fairy tale fantasy novel with the amazing John Peck, is still being considered by a major publisher. HeroNet Files looks good to be published before the end of the year, although I’m feeling guilty as the one who has slowed the project down. I’ve still got some roleplaying stuff going as well. For Crimson Hawks fans, the second book is still really close. I’m hoping to have it out first quarter next year.
I want to say that I’m really pleased that another blogger, Becka, nominated me for an award. I’ll do a full post on that as I want to do it justice, but I want to say thank you. I’ve added a link to her site on the links on my sidebar. She’s a very nice lady, and I encourage everyone to cheer her on as she tries to complete Nanowrimo.
All in all, things continue, and I’ll be trying to post on a regular basis. With all that said, there should be a new Freedom Squad post up in a short while.
All the best,
Part 10 – Nanowrimo Freedom Squad
An afternoon of concentration had yielded nothing on Defiance. Cori sat in lotus position on the floor of her bedroom and continued to project her mind, attempting to sift through the thoughts of thousands of people at a time without disturbing any of them.
In many ways, the experience was similar to diving to the bottom of a pool and holding her breath. She would concentrate, telepathically send her thoughts out, shift through as many minds as she could, brushing against them ever so gently. When too many thoughts touched her mind, she’d have trouble sorting and discerning them. It would feel like she was drowning, so she’d come up for air and open her eyes.
A picture of Melbourne hung on her wall, or rather the Puffing Billy Steam Railroad, outside of Melbourne. Nightstar had once asked her why she didn’t have a picture of the Sydney Opera House on a wall or Uluru if she wanted something to remember Australia. She had finally purchased and framed a picture of the Sydney Opera House and put it on the opposite wall.
The truth was that though she had spent a lot of her life growing up in Australia, she was an American. Her father had gotten worried that one day his enemies might find out that he had a daughter, so he had spirited her off to Australia. She learned later that she had almost grown up in New Zealand instead, but apparently as a toddler had gotten very excited when she saw a kangaroo at the zoo.
Little Cori liked kangaroos, therefore, she had to grow up in Australia.
However, she had her US citizenship and had certainly spent a lot of her time in the States growing up at her dad’s house in San Francisco. She had always wanted to go to university at Stanford or Berkeley. Being a child genius, she had attended both by age 16. Now, all she had of Australia was a slight accent that she cultivated and the occasional “G’Day”.
She wondered if she sounded more like an American steakhouse commercial than an Aussie.
The picture of the railroad caught her eye again. It wasn’t really a picture of Melbourne or beautiful Victoria (because she would have chosen the beaches), but it was a picture about her father taking her to celebrate a day about a kid’s tank engine and riding on the train with his little girl. She loved her dad, and she missed him.
She was thinking about calling him and waking him in the middle of the night, when Starlight contacted her on the communicator.
“Rigel, I have received a strange message. Could you please come to the monitor room?”
“No worries, Starlight. On my way.”
She found herself wondering if Starlight was misinterpreting a news broadcast or possibly a mockumentary. She imagined that it would be hard to be an alien surrounded by modern American media sources.
Strangely, she decided that Starlight was growing on her.
When she reached the Monitor Room, she said, “So, Starlight, what is it?”
“That,” he said simply and robotically, pointing at a large monitor screen with the image of a playing card showing on it… the Ace of Spades.
“It appears to be a malfunction. I am unable to remove the image.”
Rigel felt her blood run cold.
A soft male voice spoke, “Hello, Rigel.”
“Fascinating,” stated Starlight. “The auditory message was timed with your arrival.”
“I don’t think it was timed, Starlight… G’Day? Is this the Ace of Spades?”
There was silence for a second.
“Such a poor question from such a brilliant mind. I suspect that you had quite the experience with our friend, Carlos,” said the voice.
Rigel tried to mentally contact Starlight, but she didn’t seem to be able to link with him. His alien thoughts were too strange for her. She wondered if he might be a robot of some sort or at least, some type of artificial being. She reached out to Nightstar.
“Nightstar,” she thought, “the Ace of Spades is talking to me in the Monitor Room. Make sure the team is ready.”
“Sure, JR was helping me with some engineering issues with the Night Cycle. We’ll contact Rockslide and Protector,” he thought back.
“Not Protector,” she responded. “Doctor’s orders for Alex.”
“I hope this will be the first of many talks for us, Rigel,” said the Ace of Spades. “But you need to leave soon.”
“What? Why do I need to leave?” she asked.
“Oh, I think you are going to want to visit your friend Daniel Hunter before Defiance gets to him. After all, maybe he’s me. Oh, but as Daniel says ‘The Ace of Spades doesn’t exist’, so I suppose you can ignore this warning if you’d like to… Cori. Goodbye.”
“Wait!” Cori said, but the image on the screen fell backwards and began spinning, flipping and growing smaller until it became a point of light in the center of the monitor. A second later and Doppler radar scans from the Megalopolis airport appeared on the screen.
“Excellent,” said Starlight. “I was hoping that a flying villain, such as Defiance, might display on your Terran radar systems.”
Rigel was barely listening. She knew Daniel. She could reach him telepathically. “Daniel!” she shouted.
“What is it?” came the return thought.
“Defiance is coming. Get your suit on. Now! We are on our way.”
“I’m at the Top of the World restaurant on the Megalopolis Tower having a late lunch/early dinner.”
“And I know you have your suit in your briefcase. Go. You don’t have much time,” she thought.
Telekinetically, she hit the alarm. Setting her communicator on full broadcast, she announced, “This is Rigel. Protector to the Monitor Room. Everyone else to the Freedom Flyer. Hurry!”
As she ran to the Freedom Flyer, she contacted the Megalopolis police. “This is Rigel of Freedom Squad, please evacuate the Top of the World restaurant. We have reason to believe that a team of super-villains is about to attack.”
As the team got into the Freedom Flyer, a terrible thought struck her. What if they were being set up and the real attack was coming to Freedom Squad Headquarters?
“Here we go. Hang on!” shouted Ion and they launched.
They soared across the city. “Using the hovering engines so we don’t crash into any skyscrapers,” announced Ion.
Nightstar activated his psychic blade. “So, how do we know there’s an attack coming?”
“The Ace of Spades informed Rigel of the attack on Daniel Hunter,” stated Starlight.
“Who’s Daniel Hunter?” asked Ion, as he made a left turn past a bank.
“He’s Poltergeist,” said Rigel.
Nightstar stood up.
“Nightstar,” said Starlight, “I wish to advise you, old chum, that you should remain seated while the Freedom Flyer is in motion and wear your seatbelt. I understand that they may be inconvenient or uncomfortable but they are one of the greatest safety inventions in the modern era.”
“Thanks, Starlight,” said Nightstar nonchalantly. “I figured it was the conversation with the Ace of Spades. Cori, how do we know that we aren’t being manipulated?”
Rigel stood up to face Nightstar. “We don’t, but how can I take that chance, Nightstar?”
“Excuse me, Rigel, but as I advised Nightstar…”
“Not now, Starlight,” said Rigel and Nightstar in unison.
Nightstar adjusted his mirrorshades. “Okay, we are about to engage in battle on top of the highest building in the United States.”
“My apologies, Nightstar,” said Starlight, “but both the Willis Tower Building in Chicago and One World Trade Center in New York are considered higher…”
“Understood, Starlight. Nightstar, what are you thinking?” Rigel asked.
“If they are after Daniel, we need to get him out and let them know about it. You locate him mentally, project the location to me telepathically, and I’ll teleport in, grab him and get out. I’ll head to the roof so the bad guys can see me. It won’t do us any good if the villains think he’s inside the restaurant. In the meantime, Cori, since only you, Starlight and Ion… wait, Ion, do you fly?”
“Only Freedom Flyers,” he said. “I can’t fly.”
“Right,” said Nightstar. “Everyone else, land in the… park I guess. I want to avoid as much collateral damage as possible. I should be able to teleport that far, though it will be a strain. Cori, make sure Daniel knows I’m coming too.”
“Talk time is over,” said Ion. “I’m hovering outside the restaurant.” Ion waved through the front windshield.
“Ion, waving is illogical. The windshield is tinted,” said Starlight.
Rigel sent out her thoughts to Daniel, explaining the plan as quickly as she could. He was in the men’s room trying to get his costume on. She projected the location to Nightstar, who wasted no time cutting a hole in reality with his psychic blade. In a flash of yellow and red light, he vanished.
“Don’t say anything, Rigel. I’m heading to the park,” said Ion.
Rockslide made a rumbling noise that sounded distinctly like a groan.
As Ion banked the Freedom Flyer, Rigel nearly lost her balance for a second. She telekinetically caught herself and levitated off the floor.
“Again, I recommend seatbelts,” stated Starlight.
Rigel shook her head as she watched the green of the park fill the windshield. She telepathically projected. “Nightstar, you will let me know what’s going on and if you and Daniel get into the least bit of trouble.”
“Will do,” responded Nightstar. “I’ve got him. We are outside. He’s getting his power packs activated, and I’m waving this brightly colored psychic sword of mine around and making it flash rainbow colors. Defiance is bound to see us.”
Cori felt a sudden chill. Something bad was about to happen. Nightstar sensed it as well.
“Something bad is about to happen,” thought Nightstar.
Rigel felt a sudden jolt.