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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Snippet Tag



Jenelle Schmidt (you can check out her blog HERE) recently (recently being vague enough that I think I can get away with using it even though it feels like it has taken me forever to do this) tagged me in The Snippet Tag challenge, which was original started at the Short&Snappy Blog. The challenge is to post "snippets" from your stories/books/WIPs in response to 10 prompts.

Now as you may or may not know, I have a lot of books, plus a few WIPs at any given time which gives me a lot of freedom as to how to answer these, but at the same time makes it really difficult to choose which to focus on ... but we'll see how that goes.

I'll include an easy copy paste version of the questions at the bottom of the post for those who want to play along.

The rules are (apparently): Include the fancy-shmancy graphic somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

Creative interpretation ... Me likey.


1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story.

This is hard for me. I don't do the hooks. I do the slow build. I don't like the hook because it seems like a flash bang when when I really love (as a reader and a writer) is a slow burn. If you're too impatient to read past the first line, I'm already NOT the writer for you.

That said (browses through the first lines of all her books really quickly) ... Weirdly a lot of my stories begin with characters trying to get someplace in a hurry or to get other people to move faster because they think they are going to be late for something ... I wonder what that says about me as a person ...

So after some deliberation (and almost giving it to Dragon's Curse and Dragon's Rival because they both start with a DRAGON) ... I'm going with soon-to-be released book, Coiled, just for the atmosphere of it.


Her mother’s words echoed in Laidra's thoughts, No skin must show. What can’t be covered in cloth must be cast in shadow. 


2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.

Couple runners up, like Hart finding out "the truth" in Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors or Cora realizing she has to give up Cricket in Cora and the Nurse Dragon. Decided to go with Lands of Ash when Willa realizes that Karvir isn't with the other returning militia members, if only because as a military wife this is written based on some of my worst fears and the idea of it destroys me the fastest:

Her brother-in-law’s eyes focused on his feet. Willa set her jaw and planted herself before him. She wouldn’t break down. Not yet. Not in front of her girls. She would hear his story and process it. This had always been a possibility. She’d dreaded it but had also imagined it, planning out the best way to control her grief, to tell the girls, to handle herself with dignity in spite of the inevitable pain.
However, when Ketyl raised his gaze to meet hers, her resolve evaporated. Willa’s strength crumbled, and all she could say was, “No.”
I’m so sorry, Willa. I’m so so ...” He swallowed, and his eyes watered.
Willa’s bottom lip shook.
Ketyl reached back and withdrew Karvir’s axe from the straps across his shoulders. “He ... he saved us all, but it should’ve been me. It was supposed to be me.”
There’s no way ...” She bit her lip. Part of her, perhaps a selfish part, wished that it had been Ketyl, not because she hated him, but because she would’ve sacrificed anyone to get Karvir back. Tears blurred her vision. “Karvir knew what he was doing. He always did. He ... this isn’t your fault. Karvir ... Karvir. . .” Her throat closed in on itself, and for a moment she couldn’t breathe.  
Ketyl caught her as she stumbled and gripped the cloth of his shirt. The tears gushed from her along with a wail that came from her gut. Ketyl let the axe clatter to the ground and put his arms around her.
Grief rose off Ketyl’s body like heat. It mixed with her own until the sensation became unbearable, but she couldn't bring herself to let go of him. She needed his touch. He was the closest thing to Karvir.
Please don’t cry,” he said, his voice cracking. “If you cry ... we both need to be strong for the girls.”
Her girls, fatherless ... How could she do this alone? She had to. For her girls, she had to.
She choked and gasped for breath then pulled away from Ketyl. “I will cry. The world owes me these tears. Yes, my girls need to see me strong, but they also need to know that their father will be mourned and remembered.” She sniffed back tears, but more rushed to take their place. “I will cry, but I will go on. I will not give in. Karvir died so that we could have a better life, a chance, and I will honor that with my tears.”



3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY.
So any snippet with Ellis from the Nyssa Glass series in it ... but this is more recent, so I'm going with this first kiss scene between my current favorite couple, Jericho and Rill from my work in progress (working title) Spellsmith & Carver:

Tears brimmed from her eyes. She opened her mouth then shut it.
“Hey, don’t cry.” He sat beside her and pulled her into an embrace. “I promise, I’m going to do everything in my power to get both your dad and your brother home safely. It’s going to be all right.”
“It’s not that,” she whispered, dropping her chin towards her chest.
“Then what is it?”
She raised her face, and their eyes met, her gaze soft yet somehow penetrating. An uncomfortable yet thrilling sensation of vulnerability swept through him, as if she could see straight into his soul. His breath abandoned his lungs. Her fingers twined in his hair, drawing him closer. Their lips met.
Common sense screamed at him to pull away, but the warmth of her held him captive. His arms tightened about her waist. He pressed his mouth harder into hers, hungry for her. Her lips parted in a gentle sigh that melted him like wax.
The kiss broke. She hid her face against his neck, her breath tickling his skin and scrambling his thoughts. He rubbed her back.
“It’s going to be all right,” he whispered. “This won’t be the last time we see each other. I’d move Heaven and Earth to be certain of that.”
“I know, but I don’t want you to go.” Her voice quavered. “Jerry, I’ve wanted to tell you how I’ve felt for so long. I--”
“Shh.” He touched his finger to her mouth. “Not yet. It’ll give me something to look forward to, all right.” Her lips pursed but she nodded. He kissed her cheek, tasting the salt of her tears.

4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.
Yeah, I have to go with Ellis. I have a lot of characters I love, but for whatever reason, Ellis is my guy. He doesn't let much get him down, so this moment in Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid where he wrestles with a little bit of self-doubt as well as the demons of his past says a lot.

Clearing her throat, she pushed the door open. Ellis struggled to get a bandage over one eye, using the mirror for a reference.
Here, let me.” She reached out to help him, but he jerked away.
I’ve got it.” The edge to his voice made her recoil. Ellis finished applying the bandage and bent over the full basin. He splashed water onto his neck and face.
It wasn’t a fair fight,” she whispered.
That’s the thing though, I’ll never be in a fair fight.” His lips quirked.
She winced. “I’m sorry, that was stupid of me. What I meant is—”
I know what you meant.” He sighed. “Look Nyss … I’m not angry at you. I’m angry at … so many things that aren’t you.” Dropping his eyes, he rested his hands on his thighs. “It’s passing. I just needed a moment to breathe.”
She pulled up a stool and sat beside him. “Ellis, by anyone’s standards, you’ve had a rough time. It’s all right to be upset. In fact, it’s a miracle to me how … pleasant you are with everything you’ve been through, between the accident and your father and … and this nonsense with my uncle. You’ve been a saint. It’s okay to be angry. You’re not a computer anymore.” She smiled, but his eyes stayed downcast.
I can’t, though. My dad crumbled when things went poorly for him. He let it take him down, and he ended in a very dark place. That’s not me. I can’t let that be me.” His expression hardened. “I will not end up like him.”
You aren’t going to go mad. Is that what you’re afraid of?” She leaned closer.
Not afraid exactly. I am choosing to focus on what is good in my life, is all, and there is a lot of good. There’s so much good.” He stroked her cheek.



5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.
There are few things that get me as much as when Nyssa threatens to blow up a zeppelin for the man she loves, Ellis, in Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma. Not sure if that's adorable, but Nyssa is not taking any prisoners once Ellis has been taken prisoner.

You aren’t in a position to bargain, Miss Glass.” Blythe nodded towards Ellis. “Tell me why I shouldn’t have Barabbas shoot your friend then you, here and now?”
Nyssa whipped out the flare gun and pointed it towards the fabric of the zeppelin’s balloon. That she could definitely hit.
Because, if you so much as look at Ellis wrong, I will put a flaming hole in this blasted blimp and send us all blazing into the ocean,” she growled.
Blythe recoiled.
That’s my Nyss.” Ellis grinned.
Shut up!” Blythe snapped. His nostrils flared, but he continued in a calmer voice. “You do realize the hydrogen in that balloon will ignite instantaneously. You wouldn’t have a chance to escape.”
Your mistake is thinking I care … no, actually it was before that, when you kidnapped and threatened the only person I care about, the only person who cares about me. I have nothing if you take him from me, and sending you to Hell might not save him or me, but it would definitely let me die satisfied.” She slipped her finger onto the trigger of the flare gun. “So. Let. Him. Go.”


6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like yep, I wrote that beauty.
Going to go with this moment from Cora and the Nurse Dragon:

She brought out the book and found the chapter.
The well-being of a nurse dragon is tied to the health of the colony as well as the life of the queen. Because of this, their lifespans are hard to track. If the colony is in a time of sickness, nurse dragons often experience a mass die-off.” Cora shuddered. “However, there have been anecdotal reports of nurse dragons living as long as queens, or even outliving them as they branch off to form new colonies.” Cora flipped to the chapter on queens. They were known to live as long as fifty years. “I hope that’s true.” She ran her finger down his spine. “When I was little, I had a mom. She … she used to sing to me, and then one day she was just sort of gone, you know? And the only dragons I’ve had before you were mayflies. They die so quickly you can’t love them if you don’t want to cry all the time, but Cricket … you have to stay. You and Dad and Abry, those are the three things that matter. Everything else is just mayflies.” 

7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
90% of what happens between Nyssa and Hart in Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors ... or between Jericho and Auric in Spellsmith & Carver ... or between Shannon and Gnaw in Dragon's Curse. Ugh, how to choose.
Going with Auric and his sister teasing each other at the beginning of Spellsmith & Carver:

He stared incredulously down at her. “No, this is wrong.” He placed his finger under her chin and narrowed his eyes. “No ridiculous hair bows? No silly upturned nose and rosy apple cheeks? Excuse me, miss, I’m looking for my baby sister, but somehow she’s been replaced by a woman.”
“Oh, stop it.” She gently slapped his chest, though her blue eyes twinkled. “You’re one to talk, anyway.” She pinched the hair on his chin.
“Ouch!” He gave an exaggerated wince.
“Last time I saw you, you were putting charcoal on your lip hair in an attempt to make it look like a full-fledged mustache.” She teased.
“That never happened, liar.” He let her go.
“Yes, it did.” She put her hands on her hips. “I remember perfectly. You were twelve and you covered your face with charcoal dust trying to fool people into thinking you were a man.”
“I was eleven, not twelve,” he corrected.
She grinned. “I thought you said it didn’t happen.”

“It didn’t.” He winked. “But if it did, it would’ve been when I was eleven, not twelve.”  


8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain (Mwa-ha-ha!)
I don't really write a lot of villains. I tend to make my bad guys be ideas or even things (I firmly believe that the villain of Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors is the house itself, not any of the human flunkies who show up along the way) and the few villains who serve the plot by doing some bad stuff aren't normally that flashy.
I'm going to go with Uncle Al from Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid just because he has the most ability to get under Nyssa's skin.


Uncle Al smirked, flashing yellowed teeth, at least two missing. “Well, that’s a fine way to greet your old uncle after I’ve tramped all the way from New Taured to see you. Those steamer tickets weren’t cheap, I’ll have you know.”
I thought ships let rats ride for free.” Nyssa steeled her nerves. I’m not a scared little girl any more. He can’t bully me.
His face darkened. “Watch your tongue, girl.”
Nyss, you all right?” Ellis wheeled to her side. Nyssa placed her hand on his shoulder, drawing strength from his presence.
I’m fine.” She stared at Uncle Al. “Your ‘co-workers’ told me you died in a prison brawl, information they used to compel me to work off your considerable debts.”
Al laughed. “That’s just like them, spreading wild tales. Nah, I got released last month. I’m a free man, debt to society paid.” He paced over and stared at the display cases. “Nice setup, here. It’s yours?”
Mine and … Mr. Cormac’s.” Even if Al knew who she was, he didn’t need to know Ellis was a Dalhart. No, a hint that Ellis came from money would be blood in the water to good old Uncle Al.
Speaking of rumors, lot of mixed ones about you.” His eyes glinted. “They say after I was nabbed, you went straight for a while. Then up and murdered your employer, stole his life savings, and fled the country. You must’ve come away with a pretty score to be able to afford all this.”
Nyssa exhaled. She was innocent, but it was hard to prove that.
Nyssa’s innocent. The funds for setting up here were my contribution, not ill-gotten.” Ellis rolled back to his desk and pushed a button. The shop door swung open. “I’m sorry you came this way only to have to leave immediately.”
So you caught yourself a rich pigeon?” Al’s eyes burned into Nyssa. “You plan to murder him in his sleep too?”
Nyssa’s jaw clenched until it hurt. “Leave. Now.”


9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
Karvir, Ketyl, and Meghil as fighting trio from Lands of Ash.

A series of dark, low shapes crawled through the portal, like worms breaking through the earth’s surface.
Now?” Ketyl asked, steadying his first arrow at the head of one of the Charred. It wasn’t an icestone arrow tip. An arrow between the eyes was just as deadly to a Charred as it was to a man, as long as they weren’t in the middle of a vapor fade.
Karvir shook his head. “Wait for it. They will probably have at least a Flare captain with them. That’s the mark we want.”  
That’s the mark I want.” Meghil rubbed his hands together. “Can you keep them off me while I channel?”
Of course.” Karvir strode into the field.
A great yellow and red amorphous being, vaguely man shaped, but with spurs of rock and ash crystals jutting from its body, glided through the portal and stood among the writhing Charred.
Let loose, Ketyl,” Karvir ordered.
The arrow sang as it left the bow. It sank into the Charred’s face, sending it tumbling backwards into the mass of its fellows. The entire swarm of them gave a throaty, dry cry and crashed forward through the waist-high grass of the field, setting it ablaze as they charged. Ketyl drew another arrow and let it fly, but there were too many for him to pick them all off. They’d hit Karvir in moments.
Meghil closed his eyes and extended his hands towards the Flare. Power streamed from the Elemental like a golden ribbon, sparking off Meghil. In battle, Ketyl savored this infusion of energy. Time slowed for him, and his senses steadied, making it that much more certain each arrow would hit home.
The Flare snarled, its dark eyes focusing on the syphonic healer. “Kill the leech!”
Karvir leaped forward as the avalanche of Charred came within axe reach. His blade flashed cold, the icestone tip glowing blue. Like a farmer with a scythe, he mowed through them, kicking them back if they came too close. Ketyl drew his knife and rushed to his brother’s side.
He stabbed into the nearest creature’s neck. The flesh of the Charred crinkled and gave like paper. He kicked the corpse away and swirled into the next attacker. Back to back the brothers fought, kicking up ash and smoke. The Charred let out unnerving, inhuman grunts, cries, and cackles, but fell like dust before the brothers' onslaught.
Watch the big one!” Karvir snarled.
Already reduced to half its original size, the Flare rolled forward, its eyes zeroed on Meghil. Energy radiated through the healer’s skin. The Elemental’s flames flickered. It aimed a blow at Meghil, its flaming fists the size of millstones. Ketyl broke away from the fight, strung an arrow and released it.
The icestone arrowhead punctured the miasma of smoke and flame, and the Flare shrieked in agony. It writhed, clutching at the wound, but it was too late. The blue veins from the icestone’s poison spread like frost up its neck and down into its chest.
Meghil opened his eyes, glowing with heat, rage, and lifeforce, and cackled. A burst of power shot through the air and all of Ketyl’s weariness, even the scorched feeling at the back of his throat, evaporated, leaving him invigorated and strong. Karvir shouted in triumph and with a mighty blow cut through a swath of the Charred.
The Flare blinked out, leaving Meghil grinning and panting.
Karvir stepped over the crumbling bodies of the Charred and jerked his thumb towards the portal. “More will be coming.”
Let them!” Meghil cracked his knuckles.

Ketyl nodded stonily. In spite of the smoke, the air about him seemed clear and cold, alive with the lifeforce Meghil had drained from the Flare. At that moment, Ketyl felt himself the equivalent of a dozen warriors. 

10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.
Again, a really hard choice here because Shannon and Gnaw ... or Nyssa and Hart ... but the meeting in Coiled is the right mix of mysterious and awkward. Going to indulge by going a little long here.

Help! Some—please—me!”
Calen’s heart skipped. He treaded water and listened. The voice was faint, almost indiscernible over the pounding of the distant breakers. Perhaps he’d imagined it.
Help!” the voice rose in pitch and desperation.
It came from the outcropping of rocks near the entrance to the cove. Why would someone be there? Even the few local sailors who dared to come near the island knew about the rocks.
He hesitated. It was still dark enough that he should be able to approach the person without triggering the curse. However, it was risky. If they saw him, and the curse took over, he could hurt the very person he intended to help.
It’s not like I can go get help, though. What if this is a trap?
He changed his trajectory towards the rocks. The breakers rumbled as he approached, but the surf had calmed. Over the crash, the cry rang out again, “Someone, please help! I can’t swim!”
Calen raised an eyebrow. Then why are you in the ocean?
Please! I don’t—I don’t want to die.” Something in the voice grabbed him by the throat. It was high and sweet, like a mix of bird song and the wind whispering through the reeds.
Oh gods. It’s a girl.
His heart drummed, but he steadied his breathing. The ocean pulsed around him like a living thing. As familiar as it was to him, it was still powerful and unpredictable. He'd have to act fast or the girl would be lost in it.
The rocks stood out as slightly darker patches, washed with the white of sea foam as the breakers rushed over them. The girl wore some sort of pale material as well, though the darkness prevented him from seeing her as more than a blur against the field of black. Good. If that’s what I can see, I should be as good as invisible to her.
Not wanting to startle her, he called out, “I can hear you! I’m coming. Just hold on!”
Please, hurry! I can’t feel my hands anymore.”
He powered through the dark waters. The surf pushed him up against the rock beside her. She faced him, and in spite of his confidence in the darkness, he flinched.
No, don’t turn around.” He pulled himself higher on the rock then slipped his arms around her, her back to his chest. “What are you doing out here?”
It’s a long story.” Her teeth knocked together. Her wet clothes clung to her body, waterlogged and heavy.
Well, just relax, all right. The limper you are, the easier it will be to get you to shore. Can you lean back against me?”
Yes.”
He stiffened as her hands felt for and found his shoulders.
She slipped her arms about his neck, then pulled away with a gasp. “Are you naked?”
Sorry.” Calen flushed then frowned. “I didn’t expect to find anyone out here tonight. If you’re going to be squeamish about it, I guess I can go get something to wear and come back.”
Oh no!” Her hold on him tightened. “I’m sorry, it’s just—”
Yeah, I know. Awkward.” He cleared his throat before wrapping his arm around her chest. “Like I said, try to relax. I’ll get you to land.” But what then? How long till dawn?
The girl went limp. Calen kicked off the rock as the water swept away and began to furiously backstroke towards shore. The water lapped against them. She whimpered, her body stiffening.
Settle down,” he soothed. “We’ll be on dry land before you know it.”
What about the monster? I saw it from the ship. It was terrible, long as a tree and thick as a man. If it’s out here, it could swallow us both whole.”
He grimaced. “It’s not, and it won't.”
How do you know, though?”
Do you think I’d be out here swimming if it was? Just lie still. You’re safe with me.” And somehow he believed it. The darkness surrounded them like a blanket. With the water supporting her, she felt light in his arms, barely a burden.
What’s your name?” she asked.
Huh?” He started, his hold on her loosening.
Name. Mine’s Laidra. What do I call you?”
Oh. Calen.”
Do you often swim in the middle of the night?”
You’re lucky that I do.” He snorted.
She subsided.
Did I hurt her feelings? I’ve never talked with a girl before. Supposedly they’re sensitive. How did she even get out here? Oh gods, what if she was on a ship that wandered into my path. What if I attacked it? Did you survive a shipwreck? Is that why you’re out here?”
Not exactly.” Laidra cleared her throat. “I mean, my raft hit the rocks, but I don’t think you could call that a shipwreck, really. I said it was a long story, but the short version is they were going to try and feed me to the sea monster. I didn’t want to get eaten, so I escaped on a raft and ended up here.”
Calen’s stomach twisted. “Who was going to feed you to the monster?”
You—you probably won’t believe me.”
Try me.”
King Gan and Prince Volen.”
Of course. I should’ve known tonight was a trap.
I know it was foolish to take to the sea, not knowing how to swim or sail, but I couldn’t just let them toss me into the jaws of a monster. It was foolhardy.”
It was brave. You did the right thing if those were your options.”
Thanks.”
He could hear her smile, like warm sunlight in her voice. Something in him melted, then hardened again. No use getting attached. She wouldn’t even be able to look him in the eye. Best to get her to safety, which meant away from him, as soon as possible.




ALL RIGHT! That took longer than expected. I'm going to tag

K. M. Carroll
Janeen Ippolito

That satisfies my two ... but if anyone else decides to play along, link in the comments and I might drop in and see what you're up to!









text you can copy paste if you desire:
The Snippet Tag (created by Madeline J. Rose)
Rules:
https://madelinejrose.wordpress.com/
-Include the fancy-shmancy graphic I included somewhere in your post. (Or make your own, just so long as you include a link back to my blog.)
-Answer all the questions, however you want to. Creative interpretation is key here! You can use the book you’re currently working on to answer the questions, or other books you’ve started or have written.
-Tag 2-5 other bloggers.
Questions:
1. Share your most gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story.
2. Share a snippet that literally just crushes your heart into a million feelsy little pieces.
3. Share a snippet that makes you want to shout to the world that you’re SO. HAPPY.
4. Share a snippet that gives a bit of insight into one of your most favorite characters ever.
5. Share a snippet that literally melts you into a puddle of adorable, squishy, OTP mush.
6. Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like yep, I wrote that beauty.
7. Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
8. Share a snippet that makes you feel like an evil genius for thinking up such a malevolent villain (Mwa-ha-ha!)
9. Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
10. Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Paul Regnier

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

The cats were prowling outside and caught our next author lurking. They have dragged him in for an interrogation. Let's see what he has to say for himself.
Paul Regnier
Bio:
Paul Regnier is a technology junkie, drone pilot, web designer and musician with a fascination for all things futuristic. He has turned his childhood love of storytelling into a professional pursuit. Paul lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.


The Interview


What is the best dream you ever had? Alternately, what is the worst nightmare youve ever experienced?
Since your “nine questions/nine lives interview” has a cat theme, I’ll go with a cat induced nightmare. When I tell it, you might think it doesn’t sound scary but, like many nightmares, “you had to be there” to experience the rush of emotions and fear.

I have to start with a little backstory: When I married my wife, she had a cat that was super protective of her. As far as the cat was concerned, I was the intruder to their happy little life. The cat always resented me. But, since it was a cat, it was clever and devious and allowed revenge to take the long road. The crafty feline would lie in wait for the right moment to trip me when I wasn’t looking down, meow in my ear at five in the morning, and shed lots of white fur all over my black clothes.

Anyway, one night I dreamt I was in the civil war. I was in the thick of a brutal battle on a grassy plain. The field was crammed with soldiers. Guns were firing from every direction and bayonets where slashing the air. I was struggling to get free from the crazy mob when four soldiers cornered me. They moved in perfect unison and shoved their four bayonets right into my stomach.

I awoke with a start to find the cat had leapt onto my stomach with her four paws, creating the all too realistic feeling of bayonets driving into me.

I swear the cat smiled as she jumped off the bed.

EVIL KITTY!

Fill in the blanks. I am a were (blank) but I only turn when the (blank) is (blank).
I am a were-dragon but I only turn when the coffee pot is empty.

Congratulations! You are now president of this blog post. What's your first executive order?
Run subliminal ads that give people an irresistible urge to buy my books.

If you could live inside a theme park ride, which would it be?
Space Mountain! A non-stop, full speed journey through the stars in a convertible space ship. What more could you ask for?

Which natural element (earth, wind, fire, water) do you feel the greatest kinship with?
Wind. You can travel anywhere and stay as long or short as you like.

During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
Green Lantern’s ring.

Are computers friends or foes?
It all starts with screen freezes and hard drive failures. These are the passive aggressive, tell-tale signs of an electronic enemy. The attacks will only escalate from here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh, and if they’re listening, I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

You have superpowers. What are they and what do you do with them?
Spiderman’s powers are where its at. I would be all Tobey Maguire-y with them.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Q: Since bread is square, why is sandwich meat round?
A: Bakers and butchers have been locked in a cold war for over a century.


Book purchase pages on Amazon



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kick Perfectionism in the Pants

If you asked me what my best trait as an author is, it's my buoyant overconfidence. If I want to do something, I do it. I don't ask permission. I don't stop to worry about worst case scenarios. I just do it. I keep moving forward no matter what gets thrown at me, because dang it, I can write and no one is going to tell me otherwise. 



Somewhat to my disadvantage, though, is that I am not a perfectionist. When I decided to take things seriously as an author, I had to learn to buckle down and produce a polished product, but it's honestly not in my nature to self-doubt my way through edits. You know those author memes that talk about the frantic author convinced their stuff is the worst thing ever? Not me. Not me at all. I generally speaking love my writing. I'll read it for fun. I will openly chuckle at it when I feel I'm being clever. Yeah, I'm awful. 
The thing is I'm "self-aware" awful, so I do my best to get multiple opinions on my stories from people who have no vested interest in buttering me up before I move onto publishing. 

Recently, though, I realized something about some of my earlier works.

I'm putting out audiobook versions of my first self-published series, The Dragon and the Scholar books. These are the most successful of my various publications. I personally think my later books are better, but people eat up this first series like nothing I've put out since ... 
But anyway, listening to the narrator files on book two made me think, "Dang, I'm a much better writer now than I was when I put these out."

In two years, my prose has gotten more vibrant. There were a few places where I wanted to pause the narration and just go, "Yeah, I would say that a little differently now ... I'd probably delete that adverb ... I maybe should've found a more original expression for that ..." 
But do I want to give back the money I have made so far on the series, take them off the market so they stop continuing to make money, do I regret publishing them?

Heck no.

Not only do those books bring in constant profit for me, they've helped me create a fan base, and I still get readers whose first introduction to me as a writer is that cheesy (but apparently enjoyable) dragon romance series ... I'm even investing in new covers for them this year to help push them even further.

You can polish forever.
You can always get better.
But someday you need to just take a chance or no one will EVER read your stories. 

And yeah, I'm glad I kept working and got better rather than just stop after the cheesy dragon books. If I'd just put out another cheesy fantasy romance, I might've kept a few fans who just want that ... but I don't think I'd be able to expand to reach a larger audience. I don't think I'd be able to be as profitable as I am now. 

So each book I get a little better.

So yeah, you can polish forever, but eventually you just have to take a stab at it, whether that means in submitting to an agent or publisher or taking the self-publishing leap.