Posts Tagged ‘indie author’

Where’s RR?

Posted: April 22, 2017 in Writing News
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Hi Everybody!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. I decided to post about my current plans and writing.

Right now, I’m working on two projects. The first is Book Three of my Darkness Falling Trilogy. I’ve been having some trouble with it and it’s slow going. But it is going.  Hopefully, I’ll be close to completing it in the falls. My plan is to have it out before the end of 2017, the 20 year anniversary of when I first started writing.

Secondly, I’m working on my fantasy comedy: Legends of Auhlg. I’d also like to get this story out this year or early next year.

How do I work on two things at once? Well, I’m writing on whichever I feel more inclined to write on every day.

I’m also still working on The Hunted, but it’s more of a back seat right now.

Anyway, that’s my update. I’ll be posting on the blog again but not sure if I’ll post every week like before.

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In June, I decided to start posting some of my work on Wattpad. If you’ve never hard of it, it’s a place where indie authors and young writers can share their work and receive some form of feedback, such a up-votes, being added to reading lists, and comments.If you don’t have an account with them, I recommend one, either for sharing your own work or for reading.

A few weeks ago I received an announcement via mass email that Wattpad had joined forces with TNT and was having a horror writing contest. The grand prize is $20,000 and the story being purchased by the TNT network. This would be an exciting prize, but contests are just like anything in writing; a lottery. However; this one was free to enter and I qualified, so why not give it a chance? If nothing else, it could give my writing some visibility.

I’ve submitted a short story, and now begins the waiting.

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The winner will not be announced until January 17, but until then stories will go through stages depending on how many votes they receive. This is where I’m going to shamelessly plug that if you read my story and like it, please share it with others. If you share it on social media, please use the tag #TNTHorrorContest.

Okay, shameless plugging over.I’m working on the next installment of The Hunted. I’m also going to be diving into Book Three. Thank you for reading!

In other news, I’m working on the next installment of The Hunted, which is going to add a new dimension to the storytelling. I’m also going to be diving into Book Three. Thank you for reading!

Many writers are very organized people, and they are called plottersfractal-1681742_960_720, making their outlines and using bullet points before really setting down to write.

Other writers use their intuition to guide them. They are called pantsers because they “fly by the seat of the pants.”

Then there are those of us who do a little of both, one way or another.

The funny thing about my NaNoWriMo project is I have the whole thing planned out in as close to an outline as I can get, but I’m not able to tell the story.

Why?

For me, outlines are very bad.

I didn’t intend to “plan” the story. I wrote down my idea  so that I wouldn’t forget while I was working on Book Two of my trilogy. This has tricked my brain into thinking that I’ve already written this story and now I’m struggling to actually write the story.

Instead, as I try to push through and find the words, I end up researching. I’ve spent hours
reading up on Mesopotamian history and culture, and I’ve learned some amazing things. My story doesn’t take place in Mesopotamia, but a place inspired by it. All of this research is great, but it’s putting a damper on my actual writing time. I already don’t have much time to write to begin with considering I work 40 hours a week, have a family, write a blog, and of course get caught up in the random distractions we all have.

Another reason I think I’m struggling is because I’m trying not to edit. That’s a “writer rule,” and one that I don’t follow at all. I edit while I write. By the time my first draft is done, every chapter has been edited for content at least once. NaNo rules say “No Editing!” but that’s like telling me “No breathing!” My mind is gasping for air as I try to create the new without fixing the old.

The point of NaNo is to build a writing community and to teach young (or new) writers how to be disciplined and finish something. I’ve never participated before. I have finished things I’ve started – stories, articles, and novels, – doing things my way.

While I struggle with my NaNoWriMo project, my chaotic mind still needs to write something. I’ve been working on part eight of The Hunted. I also started a short story for a contest, because of course I did. The project I thought I would be working on is simmering quietly, taking shape, but also fighting me. With my chaotic mind, I could suddenly find the right thought and it will send me flying through the narrative.

At least you can all expect another episode of The Hunted next week.

Thank you for reading. If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

 

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To celebrate the one year anniversary of my first book, I am offering it for free today on Amazon! It’s hard to imagine that a whole year has already passed, and it is only the beginning of my publishing journey.

You can pick up a free eBook copy at the links below.

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That’s right, you’re hearing it here first (unless you follow me on Twitter.) I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time every. (Hurray!)

Because this is a writing contest and technically Book Three has been written before (it’s just very dismembered and in need of much repair,) I will not be working on it for NaNoWriMo. Instead, I’m going to be taking on an entirely new project that has been simmering for some months.

As you may know, I’m a “plantser.” I don’t really plot and I don’t really fly by the skin of my teeth, but I do a bit of both. This is a rare instance where I’ve actually a pre-written synopsis of the story. It’s not an outline, but it is. Sort of. A disorganized organization type of outline, my favorite. I don’t do that very often, or ever, so that was a sign that this project needs to get off the ground.

 

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It all starts with a blank page.

 

What is this project, you ask? It’s a fantasy with hints of mystery and horror. Set in a non-Western inspired  civilization, it has a loose comparison to 1001 Arabian Knights with a female protagonist relying on her wits to get her through unexpected situations. Unlike Sharaezade, however; my protagonist will be up against forces she doesn’t fully understand.

What does this mean for my other projects such as Book Three and The Hunted? Well, The Hunted will continue to get updated through November, perhaps once or twice. I’ll be starting on Book Three once NaNoWriMo is over, so December or January. My goal is to have it out by the end of 2017, as that will be the 20 year anniversary of its inception.

If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo you can find me as RR Willica (shocking, I know!) I’ll be leaving updates on the blog with my progress.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment.

 

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I previously reviewed the first book in this series: Tails by Rails. I was looking forward to the second instalment of the Rays of Sunshine series, and I was not disappointed. In fact, the second book is better than the first, which says a lot since the first was very good.

Jewel E. Leonard is a master of characterization. Her characters all feel like real people that you could run into on the street. This was true of Rhea (pronounced Ray) and Adam in the first book, and it continued in the second book with a growing cast of characters. The newest edition being Brianna, an acquaintance from Rhea’s high school years.

Besides the excellent characterization, Leonard knows how to pace her story. Her descriptions are vivid without being overwrought. The storytelling stays on track through all of the twists and turns, guiding the reader through conflict, steamy encounters, and the real-life drama that is both believable and true to the heart of each character.

My only complaint about this book is that it ended. I would have loved to have followed Rhea through many more chapters of her life. I’m hoping that there will more books in this series so that I can do just that.

Be aware that if you pick up Tails by Rails or Smiles by Trials, I would rate it M for Mature due to sexual content and strong language.

I give Smiles by Trials 5 Stars.

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You can purchase the book on Amazon.

You can also follow Jewel E. Leonard on Twitter @JewelELeonard and on her blog.

 

 

A new version of Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves is now available on Amazon. After receiving feedback through reviews that there were some typos and formatting errors, I re-edited the book and updated both the Kindle and paperback versions.

I also reworked the cover to be a darker. You can see the difference below.

 

Now that I’ve done this with Book One, I’m going to go ahead and do the same for Book Two. I haven’t received any feedback on Book Two yet, but I figure it’s just for good measure.

The nice thing about being an indie author is that we can take feedback and use it to improve our books. An example of this is how Andy Weir, author of The Martian, listened to the feedback of his readers and improved the story by making the science realistic. Because of that, he was able to reach his target audience, and eventually the world. If he had just said, “Yeah, well, this is just science fiction, so what if the chemistry is a little off? Most people won’t know,” things could have turned out very different.

Even if we do not achieve that type of success in our own writing, we can all use constructive feedback and turn it into a positive result. The goal is to always be improving. None of us are masters at our craft.

Thank you for reading and if you have anything to add, please feel free to in the comments.

Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves

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Summer is finally over! I know some people love summer but it’s too hot for me. Now for my favorite season: Fall!

With my favorite television shows starting, I’m looking to once again discuss storytelling in the mass media by blogging on some of my favorite shows. I’m hoping to do this for The Walking Dead and maybe even Jane the Virgin to look at things from a different perspective. I’ll also be continuing with my serialized story The Hunted and more world building, characterization, and storytelling techniques as I go.

As for my books, Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves is nearing the end of more edits after feedback received. I’ll be announcing the completion and relaunch once it’s completed. Once that’s done, Shadow of the Seeker will receive a similar process just for good measure. Book three of the trilogy should still be expected in 2017, but the exact time is going into To Be Announced mode for now.

I’ll also be doing book reviews again once I’m able.

I’ll see you next week!

 

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ONE
Attack in the Night

The demons came in droves, pouring out of tears in the night sky unhindered by walls or guards. Locked doors could not stop them, and the magical wards of the holy were overwhelmed by their sheer number. There was no hope but to run, to hide, and be hunted. Walled in by their own defenses, the people were trapped with death.

Primary among the demons’ targets were those born with magic. Lexanna awoke to the screams outside her bedchamber window. She rushed to look out, horrified by what she saw below. Demons did not merely kill their prey. They fed on the flesh and torment they inflicted.

Lexanna’s father appeared at her chamber door. “Hide, and do not reveal yourself until I return for you,” he said, leading her to the heavy wardrobe.

Her parents were the most powerful magicians in the Klimok region, assigned to the town of Shirgrand as emissaries of the Ossuary of Minds. They would be the only ones capable of saving the town. Their daughter, however; was useless in the fight. She had no magical talent to speak of and required protection.

With her faith in her parents intact, Lexanna slipped into the wardrobe. As a child she often would tuck herself away behind her clothes and leap out at Mircy, her maid, to frighten her. The space was a tighter fit as a woman nearly grown, but it would suffice.

When the door clicked shut, Lexanna sat in the dark and waited. Tears streamed down her face as the noise from the battle grew louder. Even in hiding the screaming of innocents rang in her ears while she listened, helpless. If only she had been born with her parent’s skills. Instead, she was naught but a girl raised in the manner of a noble lady. Her talents of sewing and dancing were worthless in protecting others.

After some time the noise diminished. Lexanna waited anxiously for her father to return with word of their victory. She considered opening the door to peek out, but feared the quiet could be a ruse to lure people from hiding. Many minutes passed and it became more difficult to remain ignorant of the events transpiring. When she thought she could take it no longer, the door of the wardrobe opened. Lexanna flinched against the sudden light.

“Come with me, hurry.” It was Mircy, and Lexanna sighed in relief at seeing her maid unharmed. The elder woman took her by the arm but Lexanna pulled away from her grasp. “What are you doing? The house is on fire, we must go.”

“Father said I am to wait here until he returns.”

“He sent me to fetch you, quickly.”

Lexanna did as she was asked. Mircy took her by the hand, leading her down the back stairs into the kitchen. At every turn there was evidence of death. Blood smeared the walls and floor, shreds of cloth and dismembered pieces were strewn about like leaves in autumn. Militiamen and servants alike had been slaughtered. Lexanna tried not to look, but it was impossible and she felt both rage and sorrow at the losses of life.

They ran out into the court yard. Immediately she was met with a horrible truth. Her mother and father lay dead. Demons feasted upon their corpses.

“No!” she screamed, and the beasts turned in her direction.

“Here!” Mircy yelled, gripping Lexanna tighter by the arm and dragging her forward. She fought against the woman but was wracked by grief and confusion.

At the far end of the yard stood a greater demon, looming taller than the wall. His muscled form was reminiscent of a man but from his head grew curled horns and from his back were mighty wings. His skin was color of smoldering ash, the glow of fire seeping out from within. He took a step forward, and another, but as he crossed the short distance to where Lexanna struggled against the maid’s grip, he grew smaller in size. When he reached them he was the size of any man, and his demonic features were hidden by illusion.

“You have done well,” he said, his voice strange and inhuman. Snatching Lexanna’s arm from the maid, the old woman backed away.

“It is as I have promised. She is pure and untainted by man or magic.”

The demon leaned in close, encircling Lexanna’s waist with his other arm. He smelled of smoke and blood. Hungrily he sniffed at her neck. “She will serve my purpose; a child born of magic with none for herself, such a tragedy.”

“Let me go,” Lexanna pleaded, but the more she attempted to twist away the tighter he held her, pressing her body against his. She could feel the heat beneath his skin through her nightdress.

“I cannot let you go when I have only just found you.” He moved in as if to kiss her and she turned her face away, terrified. The demon began to laugh, a resonating noise that shook her soul. “You do not have a choice. I am your destiny.”

“Release the girl!” A voice from above boomed down at them, and the demon hissed as he turned in its direction.

Lexanna raised her eyes to the manor wall to see a man standing there, a giant sword as long as he was tall in one hand, resting across his shoulders. She could not guess how a single man could wield such a thing, but was grateful for the interruption.

“Kill him!” the demon commanded, and the horde of smaller beasts rushed forward.

The stranger leapt down, swinging his giant blade as he moved, and cut the demons back. The beast that held her pushed Lexanna backward and she stumbled, falling to the ground. She watched as the monster began to grow in size once more, but the stranger was unafraid.

Taking the opportunity, she sprinted for the gate, but Mircy lurched forward to grab her once more. Although the woman was old, she was faster and stronger than one would expect.

“Why are you doing this?” Lexanna pleaded. “You’ve cared for me my entire life!”

“Insolent child! Always making the fool of me but it is I who fooled you all in the end. From the minute of your birth it was known that you would be the one!”

“The one for what?”

An answer was not forthcoming. As Lexanna struggled with the woman, so too did the stranger battle the greater demon, and their fight was fierce. Both Lexanna and Mircy were forced to scatter as they moved in their direction, lest they be caught by the swinging blade or trampled by the demon.

Moving faster and with greater agility than any man should, and swinging the giant blade as if it were naught but a regular sword, the greater demon was no match for the man. Feinting to trick the demon into lowering its guard, the stranger leapt up high, as if taking flight, and plunged the full length of his blade through the beast’s unprotected abdomen. The giant demon roared in pain, flailing to knock his attacker away.

Lexanna watched as the stranger used his weight to ride the blade downward, cutting the demon wide. Its innards and black blood spilled out into the yard, and she backed away to avoid being splashed. The man was drenched in the stuff, and momentarily vanished from view until he appeared again, seemingly unharmed. The greater demon toppled backwards into the house, crushing the roof and the walls as it fell.

“No!” Mircy screeched, flying forward to attack the stranger.

He put out his arm, catching her by the throat and lifted her from the ground. She kicked her feet wildly, pounding his wrist with her fists. The man stared at her from beneath his blood-soaked hair, anger clear on his face.

“You are a traitor to our people and this world, siding with demonic forces in your ignorance and offering your own charge into the grasp of something you do not understand. There is no place for you in this world.” With that, he snapped her neck and tossed her to the ground, running her through with his blade for good measure.

Lexanna stood by the gate, frozen in her own horror. The stranger cast a glance in her direction and she took full stock of him. He was dressed simply in a leather jerkin but wore no shirt beneath. Simple trousers made him appear to be little more than a militiaman. His skin was a strange color, dark but in an unnatural shade that hinted at the ashen hue of the demons. His hair was covered in blood, but she believed it was dark color.

Turning toward the greater demon, he lifted his blade. Lexanna was born without magic, but in that moment she saw what could be described as nothing else. The blade absorbed a fine dark mist from the bodies of the dead demons, and the corpses disintegrated into ash. She watched in amazement as his body absorbed the blood, and he appeared revitalized.

The stranger looked in her direction once more when it was done. “Leave this place. It is tainted and cursed and much time and magic will be needed to purify it, if it ever can be cleansed at all. There is nothing left for you now.” Without another word, and before she could thank him for saving his life, he bounded back onto the wall and leapt down to the other side, disappearing from view.

She did not instantly heed his words, knowing other demons were still in the city. Instead, Lexanna rushed to where her parents lay dead. Mutilated, there was nothing left of the faces, and their chests had been torn opened to allow the demons to feast upon their hearts. Falling to her knees, Lexanna was wracked by sobbing. When at last the tears slowed, she reached out and tore off ruffle around the sleeve of her mother’s robe. It was red velvet, scalloped, and trimmed with gold. Lexanna had helped make the robe. It was a gift to her mother, and one she wore often.

“Here! There’s one here!” someone shouted.

Lexanna turned her head to see militiamen running through the gate. The first to enter was a young man. She recognized his face as he knelt beside her.

“How did you survive?”

“There was a man. He killed a greater demon and saved me.” She motioned to the giant mountain of ash and the ruins of her home.

“We’ll get you safety,” he said, trying to help her to her feet. She collapsed back to her knees, unable to stand in her grief. “Help me, she’s in shock,” he said over his shoulder.

Two more men came with a stretcher and carried her out of the yard to where a carriage waited. She was put inside and glad that she could not see the carnage of Shirgrand, the only home she’d ever known destroyed in a single night.

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Thank you for reading the opening of my new serialized story. More chapters will be posted in the coming weeks. You can read the remaining parts on Wattpad.

July 25th is the one year anniversary of my blog.

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I remember the very first day. I tried to find a theme that would fit the idea that Darkness Falling is a dystopian novel. I wasn’t sure what to call it, so I just called it Weekly Writing News and Updates. I figured that I could at least write one blog a week. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

It all began by writing my posts each week into the endless void of the internet. I was talking but was anyone listening? There are many voices and singaling yourself out among them is not an easy task. Despite knowing that I was talking to myself, I continued to write my posts and link them to Twitter and Facebook.

The journey of writing is often a solitary one. This is something I know very well, and I do well in solitude. The point of writing, however; is to reach others. Little by little, I started to take note of readers coming back. Posts were being liked. Comments were being left. Those are small things, but they are powerful. All writers and artists understand the positive effect of a little feedback and how motivating it can be.

This year was not only monumental for my little blog. When this all began, having a book published was only a dream. The excitement of eBooks and being an indie author was new to me and I was unsure of what to expect.

Over the course of twelve months I have published two books. The story is one that I’ve been telling to myself for almost twenty years. To finally have those words available, read, and responded to by readers is a dream come true.

I’ve written short stories and excerpts. I’m making plans for more projects, new words to share with the world. Book Three of my trilogy is in the first stages of rewriting. Friends are being made in a writing community I never knew existed. I’m discovering wonderful books by writers just like me, all of them dreaming to have their words read.

In the year to come I hope to finish book three, continue my blog, and begin new projects. This first year has been better than I imagined and I hope to continue to have the opportunity to share my stories, tips, and crazy ranting about storytelling in popular media.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me on this journey. Whether through a simple comment or hitting the like button, or to purchasing and reading Darkness Falling, and to leave feedback, all of it has been important to my publishing journey.  It’s an honor to have you read my words and be part of your busy schedules.