Archive for January, 2017


I planned to get a lot more writing done on the prequel to BECOME this weekend. I also planned to get a fair amount of work done outside. The yard really needs to be mowed. And I’m trying to gradually put in some xeriscape plants to replace the large . . . well, I can’t exactly call it a lawn . . . grassy/weedy area out front.


(This is a very old picture, probably 1930’s or early 1940’s, and the house has been added onto since then, but you can see that the front “lawn” is pretty good-sized. That photo isn’t even taken from the far end of it. No, I have no idea what that big hole was.)

Plus, of course, all of the usual things I normally have to get done on the weekends, like laundry.

Yeah, I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew sometimes. Usually, it just ends with me feeling like a should have accomplished more, somehow.

I’m not sure quite what I did while planting that one-gallon pyracantha. It shouldn’t have been anything I haven’t done a hundred times before. But I must have moved wrong or something. And I’ve been hurting ever since. It’s not nearly as bad today, but enough to kill any ambition to get the mower out. Well, the grass/weeds are still probably too wet from last weekend’s storms anyway. I didn’t even get the two smaller lavender plants out. They’ll hold in their pots for a week or so.

Also, unfortunately, not very conducive to the kind of concentration needed for writing.


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The novella prequel to BECOME is coming along nicely. About half-way through.


About half-way through, but I haven’t made any progress the last couple of days. I need tp rework the next scene–one that had been cut a couple of versions ago–so I need to think about that a little.

I also need to think about where the main story begins if I remove all of the story of the brothers’ early relationship to put it in the novella. There are at least three choices. So that needs a little more rumination before I can proceed with that.


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And this isn’t the first time I’ve said that about BECOME.


So, since the last couple of ideas haven’t worked, I’m going to at least have a go at the latest one. I’m currently working on pulling together a novella about the early relationship between the two brothers. It actually shouldn’t take that long, since I’ve already written most of this story, in one version or another.

Then it’ll go to my beta readers and I’ll find out how well it worked this time–or didn’t. Either way, it’ll be worth the time to work this out. But, if it works, it could even be published as early as this spring.

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I have learned through experience that when I struggle with a story as much as I have been struggling with BECOME lately, it means there’s something wrong.


It’s time to take a step back and try to figure out what and how to fix it.

And yesterday I might have come up with an answer. Maybe. Not sure yet.

I’ve always known that the structure of BECOME was going to be odd.

I really feel I need to include the background of the brothers’ relationship as adolescents. In the latest iteration, I’ve tried to do that through flashbacks, but that just interrupts the flow of the story and forces the early part of the brothers’ story to be very episodic–only the most important events can be included that way.

Then, of course, there are some important events in the protagonists early manhood. In part, because of the weight of those extensive flashbacks, I’ve been forced to keep those somewhat episodic, too. Because it’s already taken way too long to get to the inciting incident.

And, even then, there’s still going to have to be a major skip in the story because there are a couple of important characters who haven’t even been born yet. (That part, at least, has the possibility of being somewhat fluid. I could make some changes in who those characters are, though I’m not sure I want to. I’ve intended more to use that as a cut-off between the first and second books of the series–which, unfortunately, tends to end book one on something of a cliffhanger.)

The result of all of this is that I’m not happy with the story as it’s developed so far. And if I’m not happy with it, I can’t expect anyone else to be either. So, then, the question is what to do about it.

I think, though I haven’t made a final decision yet, that one answer might be to break it up. For example, I might just reconstruct the brothers’ early story–I have a lot more written than I’ve been able to include in those flashbacks–and publish that in novella form. Maybe certain other parts of the early story, too–in a separate novella. Then start this first part of the main story line much closer to that inciting incident and move forward.

I’ve got to think about this some more before I jump in. It’s an unconventional way to publish an epic fantasy. It’s not too unusual to publish prequels, but they’re usually published after the series is complete, not before. On the other hand, that’s one of the advantages of indie publishing–it allows me to try unconventional things when I think it’s the right way to handle the story. And I can always bundle the novellas together. Even include then with that first book.

Well, we’ll see.


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Flash Sale

The Shaman’s Curse is on sale today only (January 18th, 2017) for only 99 cents!



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Three-day weekends really mess up my sense of time. I nearly forgot to blog today, ’cause in some ways is feels like Saturday, knowing I have tomorrow off.

I’ve mentioned before that BECOME has a somewhat unusual story structure.


The relationship between the brothers is important and I’ve tried to show its development. But that’s given the beginning of the book a somewhat episodic structure. And some of my critique partners who are reading the early chapters have a problem with that.

Actually, I’m coming to suspect that I have more of a problem with it than I’ve realized, too. I think that’s at least part of why I haven’t been making better progress with this story. It’s disconcerting to think that I’m almost 44,000 words in and I might not have gotten to the real beginning of the story, yet.

I’m not quite sure what to do about that other than keep going, hope the pace picks up when I do get to the meat of the story, and then figure out how to fix it–what needs to be cut or moved.

As Shannon Hale said,

Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.


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Teenager in the House

Not a human teenager, though.

My Cardigan Welsh corgi, Micah turned 13 today.

Micah and Aliza

Micah is the darker one, a brindle and white.

Digital Camera

Aliza is the lighter one (red and white). Unfortunately, we lost Aliza last May at 15 and 1/2. Micah’s been lonely without her.

Digital Camera

He’s my sweet, silly boy, velcro dog who never lets me walk into another room alone. He’s also the only dog I’ve ever seen sleep in this position. Cats, yes. Dogs, no.

Happy birthday, big guy.


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So, on BECOME:


I’ve been a little stuck on that last scene before that exciting one I mentioned in my last post. I don’t really know why, except maybe just being too distractable.

But I did block in the dialog for an important chapter that will follow the excitement this morning. Because it was in my head and the best thing to do when that happens is to get it down so I won’t forget it. So, that’s some progress.

Also, I’ve been using the time to mark up comments for revisions to earlier chapters based on critiques by some critique partners. It’s always good to get a feel for what’s working, what’s not, and what’s confusing to readers.

Aside from that, I’ve been trying to expand my social-media-promotion toolkit. Instead of just using the cover of one of my books, I’ve been trying for a little more. I started this a little before Christmas. Here are my efforts so far:






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Still working on BECOME, of course.


Just one more scene and then I get to work on one of the more exciting parts of this story. Hint: There’ll be a dragon involved.

This is the point where one of the brothers is going to come very close to betraying the other–only to realize that his assumptions were all wrong.

That’s going to be fun. Dare I hope that writing the story will start moving a little faster?

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