One Year Anniversary


In two days it will be the one year anniversary from having this blog (just renewed, that’s how I know).

Since that time I have completed my first novel, and the readers of this blog walked with me as I went on the journey of getting it self-published, and the various decisions made with it. I consider that first book, Fall of House Nemeni, a definite success, even though I have not been able to market it recently.

Then, I had an older work re edited, and released it (Mandatory Paradise). Although it has a small vocal fanship with me, this did not feel as successful. I do not know if I did not market it well enough or if because it was so tonefuly different than my first (but newer in terms of when I wrote it) released work, but it never found the same footing as Fall of House Nemeni. I feel like I have learned from it too, and want to do something with this book or world sometime in the future, but for now it is not my focus.

Currently I am working on the second of the Allmother’s Fire trilogy (most likely to be titled “Rise From the Sun Below”) and although a move and then more recent real life events have slowed my work on this, it is nearing the 2/3rd mark and I am making progress on it.
I am considering writing a short story when this second novel is finished and going through the various layers of editing, but my original plans of maybe doing another novel in another world are on hold until this trilogy is finished. I would like to think that one of the things I have learned from Mandatory Paradise is not to shift my focus when working on another novel too much.
I also had my encounter with other obstacles, but they seem to be in the past too.
So realistically what can be expected from the future? I plan on finishing and publishing book two before 2013 is done. 2014 should finish the trilogy, and I may or may not (schedule permitting) release another short story during that time. After that? I have decided it’s probably smart to wait until I finish the first trilogy to make any other decisions.

One other plan, is you notice my first book is getting close to having been out for a year, and yet it has never been released on the Nook as per my original plans. A variety of factors have contributed to this but the biggest are twofold. One is that Kindle promotions are too important to give up, at least for now. Maybe when more books of the trilogy are out I can decided to let the first book go multiplatform, but for now, it’s too important to keep things Kindle Exclusive. The other is originally the process to convert to smash words and then nook was so specific that it was annoying to meet all of what they wanted. Then, nook re did how to submit books just to it, but their newest terms of service leave something to be desired. For a person who owns a nook (in addition to kindle on their tablets) this annoys me that I won’t be releasing in that format any time soon, but I do not see any way around that for now.

So all in all, it’s been a great year, and I will leave you with a dialogue snippet frpm the current chapter(pre editing of course):

The youngest Nemeni pointed to her back and said, “I did not mutilate myself here either, all the people from where I live don’t have wings … yet.”


Web Fiction: Smiling Krakken Part One


I was at a Convention this weekend, so I did not get anything done then.  So for this week’s blog post, here is the first in a Series of Web Fiction in the same world as “The Allmother’s Fire”.

The problem with sword fighting while falling from one flying ship to another was the wind kept whipping Noviani’s hair in her face.  Well, that probably wasn’t the one problem with it, the lithe Air Pirate Captain admitted to herself as she spread out her arms and legs, hoping the wind would catch her pantaloons and allow her to glide slightly to the right so that she would land on the rapidly approaching deck below her and not miss it, plummeting to her death when she would eventually fall into the Sun Below.

The large brute that was slightly above her and relatively horizontal was another problem, she conceded.  More likely the large cutlass he brandished at her repeatedly was the true issue, and she had to spastically crane her head and flail her limbs away from him rapidly so as not to lose them, breaking how she was trying to position herself to catch the wind.  Fire seemed to erupt from her shoulder as the tip of his weapon shallowly scratched Noviani there, slicing effortlessly through her silken sleeve.  Thankfully he was not of noble blood, so that fire was a figurative feeling, and not a literal flame burning her skin.

“DIEYOUSCURVYDOG” or some other such nonsense was screamed at her by the First Mate of the Sky’s Embrace, the grandiose ship the two of them were descending from.  Another shallow cut slashed through her other sleeve, and blood began to freely splash out, obscuring her vision almost as much her red hair as it sprayed out everywhere due to the wind.  It was not as much as his aim was true that allowed him to land so many blows, as it was that he had a weapon and all she had really was her pouch on her belt, her silken shirt, and her voluminous pantaloons which did not parry sword swipes well.

Noviani decided to focus on that advantages she did have before she bled to death or the big ox landed a luck blow across her neck, so she used both her hands to pull on the exterior of her pants again, this time as she locked her legs together, mildly imitating a horizontal version of the sails the flying ships those of her profession loved to use.  To her shock it seemed to do as she hoped, and almost immediately she slowed her decent.  This caused her to try to swerve her body, so she did not crash into the large bald cursing moron who was now moving slower than her.

He screamed some sort of impotent threat as she was now above him, and then he finally seemed to focus on what was below him, which was not Noviana’s ship.  This allowed new torrent of cursing to eloquently pass his lips as he missed the Smiling Krakken, and would eventually reach the Sun Below.  If the giant oaf had not thrown both of them off of his ship Noviani would have sympathy for him and his eventual fate, but as he did she allowed a small smile to curve on her lips.  Then she steered herself towards her ship, and saw to her relief the pilot Miano was trying to intercept her as well.

Novianai was definitely stunned when she hit the deck, but something about the strange properties of the wood of the ship that allowed it fly also absorbed most of her energy and she did not break any bones when she hit it.  This allowed her to sit up and laugh, as the crew crowded around her.  Donello, her First Mate approached her and held out his hand as he said, “Good job Captain, did you get it?”

She sprung to her feet, ignoring Donello’s hand and laughed a full and rich laugh as she unbuckled her pouch and responded, “Why yes I did,” and brought out from the pouch a large gold necklace festooned with gems of all colors and sizes.  It seemed to sparkle of it’s own accord, like the Allmother herself was contained within.  Not that the prior owner was particularly religious, considering Noviana had met him in a dingy dive bar on a small floating island the day before.  It had not taken long to get into his bed, and then his personal chest and run out to the deck where she had fired her musket into the sky trusting that her crew had been following the Sky’s Embrace as planned.  The powder had burned bright in the night lit only by the Sun Below, and almost immediately her ship that had been trailing far enough away and below to not be spotted moved towards her, but she had not seen the First Mate who immediately knocked her over the side after she fired the signal.

This did not bother her much now, as she was on her ship and the First Mate would soon be burnt to a crisp, or worse.  Her “Uncle” had taught her how to be a Pirate Captain well, and now it was time to pay him back, for a reasonable finder’s fee of course.  “Miano, loose these feeble dogs, and set course for Lofonzo for our meeting with Captain Bloodeyes the Allmother’s Grace.”  Being a Pirate, who stole from Pirates, to sell to other Pirates was always an adventure.  Noviana had avoided any serious consequences so far, and she was sure she would continue to do so.

He woke up feeling empty.

The screams of almost seconds ago were a fading memory, and the pain that had caused them was gone too.  Something called “The Sky’s Embrace” had meant something to him once too, but even that idea faded away.

There was one thought, one image in his mind.  She had red hair, a pouch that he needed back, and aship that was soon to be dead.  A thing with the memories of the First Mate got to his feet and started to climb up from the well he found himself in.  His fingernails tore, and blood slowly leaked on his hands as he moved up to the surface.  He could feel her approaching, and hopefully it would only be days before his fingers could wrap one final time around her laughing throat.


Over the top or just Epic enough?


Another personal emergency happened recently, but this time when things calmed down, I  got to use writing (moving more on book two of Allmother’s Fire) as a way of dealing with things, instead of letting the events of life throw up another obstacle in the way of completing the next book. It’s a nice change.

The biggest issue I am having with this next book I think is deciding what tone to sent.  Recent influences have been very pulpy, and it feels to me like a lot of the plans for where the plot is going and recent scenes have been full of big ideas and cinematic concepts.

There is not a problem with that either, but a few of the readers of my last book in the Allmother’s Fire let me know what they  like the most was the characters, the family, and the occasionaly bits of humor that peeked out more.  They prefered this to action and giant ideas screaming across the page.  I even had a small amount tell me what they liked most was the when it was serious, and the ‘realistic’ aspects of the book.

Overall, flying Airpirates that shoot blood out of their eyes and raid giant floating castles filled with gold does not really speak of realistic to me.  Like all writers I want to hope people like what I write, so let’s just assume they like the character moments, and the way people respond to what happens.

This leaves me with the fact that however I write this second book, if I shift away from the kind of hodgepodge mix of themes and attitudes I will probably disappoint someone.  The next book won’t stray greatly in themes from the first, hopefully not enough to be jarring, but as a writer I tend to write with what inspires me, and often what I want to read or see at the moment.

At heart, this really a is a tale of how the remenant of a family faces the rest of the world against them, so character and relationships will matter and stay central to the plot.  At the same time, besides some revelation of things that went on behind the scenes in the first book that show the scope was grander then though of orignally, I am just in a mood to write those crazy  kinetic gonzo scenes and images.

So you will still ships dueling in the sky and blades flashing in between semi witty repartee, but you will also get more lost tribes, unexplored worlds, and all of existence in peril.  Let’s hope this comes off as more epic, and not so over the top that it feel incongrous with the tone of the other books. This is what editors and beta readers are for, so I can blame them if it comes out wrong!


It Rises like Krakken from the deep!


Ok, so moving and a new job altered everything a lot more than I thought.  Oops.

Now things are calming down, and I am re establishing some control over my schedule and timing.   What does this mean to my readers?  Starting Sunday I am going to use any Sunday that I am not at a convention to do some writing. This blog, the book, and a few other things.  Something happened yesterday to re ignite me, and I won’t stop till the whole Allmother’s fire trilogy is finished. It still won’t stop then, but now the need to finish it is consuming me.

As for what stoked the fires for finishing my tale of swashbuckling, flying ships, family warfare and Revenge, well, it’s rather silly.

Er, it was an episode of the 2002 He-Man series.  No Really.  I have no idea why.

My need to write pulpy over the top action laced with a family drama somehow re asserted itself watching that show. What silly thing to be my inspiration, but it is.  you would think it was all the people I heard talking about Princess Bride recently.  But no, silly goofy he man somehow inspired me with a neat solution to a story issue.

My blogs will more likely be weekly then three times weekly they used to be, but they will be more often and more regular.  Honest.

As for a hint of what to expect in the next book all I can say is — wings.


Legion (first snippet of a short on going fiction)


Well adjusting to my new job and location took longer then I thought.  With the holidays behind us I am hoping I will have time to work on my writing once more, and I have taken the suggestion to do small snippets of an ongoing web fiction in this blog in the Mandatory Paradise world. This will be supplemental to the main story, and contain some of the characters form the book in it, but from a different point of view.  As I get back to writing, I hope to start updating this blog on a regular basis once more.

 

Below is the first snippet from this on going web fiction:

 

Curano liked familiar things.  There was something about a well-worn path and often repeated steps that made one feel secure.  As a member of the Legion, security was something important to him.  It was obvious from his profession that he wanted Nimoa to be secure, but he also liked to know his place in the world, for it gave him value.  He had a dim memory of a woman who once liked change and all the chaos that it brought, but it was not that important obviously, because as soon as he thought of her face all of his thoughts would slow down and get fuzzy.  So instead of focusing on her he focused on his patrol, as he weaved slowly around the Labyrinth that ran along the islands inner walls.

He turned to his left and smiled at Sagea, a member of his Legion that was for lack of a better term, his partner.  They always seemed to pull the same duties together, and he spent a decent amount of time with her after hours drinking wine and commenting on gossip they had heard about other members of the Legion.  That was all they were, and all they could ever be however, for her knew she loved another member of the Legion.  She would never be with him as more than a partner, and Curano was fine with this.  He understood Sagea and even if his life seemed on hold as he never ventured to meet new people, it was a life he understood, for the same things happened every day, and that brought him contentment.

A series of loud noises and then a shriek brought him out of his internal enthrallment, and he unslung the shield that had been resting on his back, and then pointed his spear outward as he shifted paths towards were the sounds were coming from.  Other’s might get lost in the twists of the labyrinth but he and Sagea knew those tunnels more than most knew the markets and quickly he was at the location of the noise.  His spear shook when he reached around the corner and saw to his surprise something that he had not seen before, a fabled basilisk!

Shivering underneath it was a younger woman, clad in ragged red robes and twin bracelets.  Strangely the woman who he was sure was the source of the shrieking seemed to be giggling as it licked her!  She appeared to be an Artist, and those fomenters of change were pretty stupid, so it was possible her wits had left her and she did not realize it was obviously about to devour her.  The beast towered over her and twice her size.  It had a head like lion but it’s body was covered in scales, and flames misted from it’s eyes as it continued to cover he in saliva.

He could see Sagea facing her shield between herself and the beast as she circled, to get near it’s flank.   The basilisk began to move his head towards her, and Curano remembered there was something deadly about it’s gaze so he rushed forward with his spear, Dancing  into it as he did so that his spear flamed with power, and the basilisk’s head exploded.  Sagea almost rolled backwards from the explosion, and before he could tell his partner that all would be fine, he got a good look at the Artist who passed out after he destroyed the beast that was threatening to her.

The earlier thoughts, of a woman who caused chaos and delight solidified once more as he realized she lay unconscious before him.  At the same time that he knew he had never seen this Artist, he knew that she had once beneath most important woman in his life.  How was that possible?  Images of himself in red robes with jade bracelets as if he was an Artist too drifted through his thoughts, and he shook his head to clear the obviously false memories.  Without thinking he let his body go through the motions of picking the woman up off the floor and saying the words that she was to be tried for the crime of unlawful entry into the Labyrinth before fog over took him again, and he heard his body as it crashed to the floor and darkness overtook his sight.


Returning from Hiatus (and possible fiction coming up)


So as most people who can read this blog know, I just finished a 2000+ mile cross country move. Multiple cats in a car for that long is definitely a recipe for insanity and has given me ideas for new dastardly deeds for some of my villains to perform.  The trip, settling in, and new job related tasks have kept me away for a few weeks (and only posting once a week before I left). Now it’s time for me to jump back into the swing of things, for both this blog and my book (and social media).

This is the first actual hiatus I have taken for a long time (since going down the path of getting the books published), as even when the first book was being edited and prepared for publication, I was still working on the edits and this blog.  This time however I have not done anything writing related, and I want to get back up to shape before jumping back into writing.  I feel like if I just start where I left off in the second Allmother’s Fire book (about two thirds or so the way through) that it won’t be as good  as it can.  I kind of feel like a car engine in an old back up car that hasn’t been used all winter, and now I have to get back to premium shape.

That’s one of the tough things I think for Kindle authors.  Most of us have other jobs and a pretty busy life with our families and friends, and sometimes those things interfere with writing.  It’s OK for that to happen, e-book writing is a marathon not a sprint, and it’s the long term that matters.  At the same time when you do stop for a while because of time consuming events in your life, finding the right way to get back into the groove can be frustrating.

So I am contemplating writing snippets of fiction (possibly even too small to be true stories, something serialized) just to get back into the groove.  I have some other ideas, but it would help both my blog and my story back so that’s what I am considering the most.

The  question is if so, what should I write?  I lean towards setting something in the Allmother’s Fire World, but not directly connected to the current story since that is what I am trying to write in again.  Then again I know a few people who would love anything in the Mandatory Paradise universe, so I am at least considering it . I could do something completely new also, so I really do not have a preference yet.  As always you can write me directly if you don’t want to put them in the comments but either way would help.

Also, although I am often dispensing what I have observed while following this path as a writer to others in this blog, this time I would love to receive intelligent advice if people have encountered other ways to ramp things back up after a hiatus.  Some of the people I would normally ask are actually on hiatus themselves right now, interestingly enough, so I would be more than willing to listen to the tips of others.

World Info

Just leaving you with one small tid bit.  So far in the world of the Allmother’s Fire the only sentient race are humans, and as of book one that is all that appears to exists.  The next book expounds upon this Universe more, and so far as of the current writing there are three other sentient races (well two definitely sentient, and one debatable) and it’s been fun to write.  I’ll let you know none are “standard” fantasy races, although one race can be found in most clockpunk novels.  Some of my reviewers (especially on goodreads) referred to my works as having a sci fi influence, which I had not thought of as much before.  I have a feeling more statements like that will be made in the second book (more in a John Carter of Mars type of sci fi, then in a Star Trek/Star Wars way).


Fleshing Out Characters Part Two: Behaviors and Quirks


Another thing that can help a character feel more real is having a consistent behavior when reacting to situations.  Behavior in this context is not just a single emotion or reaction; like angry, jovial, blunt, polite, or quiet.  The character’s attitude is an overall guiding way they react which is normally a mixture of emotions or styles depending upon what they are reacting to.  Like the idiosyncrasies we covered earlier sometime aspects of their behaviors can seem to conflict, but if you know the character more fully then it is consistent to who the character is.

One example of a characters behavior is someone that reacts to events in a Patriarchal manner.  This definition was first broadly used to define the relationships that often occurred in Rome, and still has some influence on how people see fathers in general.  Someone who reacts Patriarchly tends to be stern, but protective to those below him as long as they are given proper respect.  They even show moments of warmth and kindness sometimes to unexpected behavior from their subordinates, but have no tolerance for rebellion.  They tend to try to create orderly environments, and are resistant to change.  This combination of attitudes creates a fleshed out behavior pattern that makes it so in hypothetical situations one could say, ‘I am pretty sure (insert Patriarchal character) might act this way,’ or, that reminds me of something that character would do.   Of course keeping in mind the tips from the first article you will want some inconsistencies, or a person will be completely predictable.

To get ideas for behavior patterns you can look at both basic archetypes that are in all sorts of stories (like the hero, the wise woman, the soldier, the trickster) or even modern types, the wall street power monger, the dilettante, the activist, etc.  You can even take the basic behavior patterns of one type of character (like a Robin Hood), and then add additional attitude or tweak basic concepts like this Robin Hood type only works alone when doing her job  of taking from the rich, but prefers to be surrounded by people in her time off.  Overlay that with the fact that she is very calculating, and does not like to make snap decisions and you get a twist off of a well-known behavior type.

Another thing that can flesh out your character is quirks.  These are small random likes and dislikes that are less about a personality, and more small things that identify what a character is like without being necessarily as meaningful. The character who tugs on a lock of her hair when thinking, or prefers his music to have heavy drum beats, the person who can’t stand reading but wants to hear stories told by bards constantly, or the woman who loves spicy food.  Random small things like this can be simple likes and dislikes (music, food, hobbies, fashion, etc.)trademark physical patterns (has a limp, closes eyes when thinking, whips hair around when enters a room), odd preferences (likes to be surrounded by dogs, talks to self when making decisions, etc), phobias (bodies of water, pigs, etc) , and so on.

Adding both meaningful consistent guidelines (through the behaviors) and more surface attitudes (the quirks) combined with the tips from before (motivations and inconsistencies) will give you three dimensional characters which will be more engaging.  If people would like, I could also do some more blogs on this, but the above is a good way to get started.

Not a Poll Exactly, but Close:

I am not technically doing a poll this time, but I would love to hear from people there favorite character types, and even characters in literature or other media.  My favorite type is probably the trickster.  Character wise it’s too diverse for me to pick just one but some favorite characters in various media include Wally West, Perrin Ayabera, Coyote, Walter Slovotsky, Silk, Tim Drake, Jamie Lannister, and Monk Kokkalis.  Quite a mix of media types, but some similar strains in many of those characters.

Book Update:

The book is still moving but very slowly, due to my upcoming cross country move (that starts in a week).  I hope a week or so after I move to fit into a regular schedule, and it is still possible book two of the Allmother’s Grace will be ready for publication in December (I can’t guarantee it but the first half is already being edited and it depends on how quickly I can catch up after my move whether the book is ready late December or early 2013).


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