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Posts Tagged ‘paranormal romance’

Every first draft presents different challenges. And takes its own time.

One memorable first draft (BLOOD WILL TELL) came flowing out in about six weeks. That was quite a roller-coaster ride and I haven’t had another story do that since.

Blood Will Tell Cover

My current first draft for WAR OF MAGIC is way past the six-week range. But it is proceeding at its own pace. And one of the things I’ve had to learn is that I can’t hurry that.

WarOfMagic7

(Yes, by the way, that is a new version of the cover I’ve been playing with. I think I like this one, though it still needs a couple of tweaks.)

The important thing is that the first draft is proceeding. And this week I passed the 80,000 word mark. Which is probably somewhere between three-quarters and four-fifths complete. So, while I’m not going to finish this draft by the end of this month, the end is coming in sight.

Don’t forget the ongoing CIR Mid-Winter Sale.

Midwinter Saleor the

CIR Fantasy Winter Escape Giveaway, still going on.

Winter Sale

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway here.

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NaNoWriMo is an annual event in which thousands of writers commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November. (Actually, why November is something of a mystery to me. That’s a fairly busy, distractable time of year, but I’m not in charge.)

I’ve never done NaNo–and I’m not officially doing it this year, either. Mostly, this is because I know I can write that many words in a month when everything is right. BLOOD WILL TELL was like that.

Blood Will Tell Cover

I think I wrote that entire first draft (probably about 80,000 words) in six weeks. What a roller-coaster ride that was. But I also know that, for me, trying to force the words when something’s not right or the story just needs me to take more time with it won’t lead to anything productive.

But I feel like I need to give myself some more specific–and frequent–goals to really push me on WAR OF MAGIC.

WarMagicBlank

(I really need to go ahead and put the title on that cover.) NaNo breaks down to about 1667 words a day, which should be totally doable.

So, I’m unofficially doing NaNo this month. I’ve committed to posting daily check-ins for NaNo on one of the writers’ forums I belong to. That should help.

Of course, 50,000 words won’t finish the draft. I’m at about 30,000 words now and the previous books in the series have run over 100,000 words. But it’d sure take a big chunk out of it.

Wish me luck.

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So, having decided to explore boxed sets, the next logical step was to figure out how to make a boxed set cover.

The only “boxed set” I currently have is the CHIMERIA OMNIBUS, which includes both BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER. The original cover was a sort of mash-up of the individual covers, but flat, like a regular book cover.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743This seemed like the logical place to start learning how to take this cover and turn it into a boxed set. And . . . I did!

Chimeria Box 2Yes, I did make a couple of changes to the cover, too. It doesn’t make much sense to have the individual book titles both on the cover and on the spine.

Now, on to considering a possible boxed set of my three young adult stand-alone novels. The sticking point here is in figuring out a cover image that works for:

I don’t think that’s going to be as easy as figuring out how to make a boxed set cover.

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BookBub Partners put out a very interesting post on boxed sets this week. It’s made me think.

There’s already, sort of, a boxed set of the first two books in the Chimeria series:

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743It probably needs a new cover–or, well, at least to have this cover made to look more like a real boxed set. (There are sites to help you do that.)

I’ve always intended to do a boxed set of the Dual Magics series after I finish it. This post has made me think a little harder about exactly how I’m going to go about that.

I had never before considered the ideas of a boxed set of the first books in different series (which wouldn’t work anyway until I have another series or two out) or of doing a boxed set of unrelated stand alone novels, like my three YA stories–FIRE AND EARTH, THE BARD’S GIFT, and DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. That . . . sounds kind of interesting, actually.

There’s always another angle to think about. That’s part of what keeps this indie author thing interesting.

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First good thing: Beyond the Prophecy is available right now as a paperback.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Of course, it’s a lot cheaper if you pre-order the ebook for only $0.99.

Second good thing: Two of my book are still available on Wattpad, BLOOD WILL TELL and the sequel BLOOD IS THICKER.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743

Someone read both of them in what must have been a marathon and commented on just about every chapter how much they were enjoying them. That just makes an author’s day. And it made me go back and look at those two again. I’d forgotten how much fun that story was. Someday, I’ll have to go back and write the third installment of that series.

I’m going to let those two good things win out over the one bad I’m still struggling with. More on that later–maybe.

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Mom and Me, Picnic

This is my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I miss her, not so much the way she was at the end, when, frankly, she didn’t really know who I was anyway. (Alzheimer’s disease is a far worse villain than anything I can come up with.) I miss her the way we were back in this photo, which is just an ordinary picnic. After Dad retired, they took up the habit of going on picnics once a week, usually on Tuesdays. If the weather didn’t cooperate, they’d still go for a drive and stop to eat somewhere. It didn’t take long before they knew all the best places–indoors or out–within a three-hour drive in any direction. (Well, not west. You can’t drive three hours to the west from here without a boat. ) Whenever I felt I needed a break, I could just throw my name in and join them for a day.

I’m planning to keep myself busy. There’s a lot that needs doing around here and I’m about two-thirds through revisions to MAGIC AND POWER.

Mothers Day Book Bash Banner

Don’t forget the Mother’s Day Book Bash. Nine great books for bargain prices.

And, just to tie the two parts of this post together, Mom was part of the inspiration for Valeriah in the Chimeria series. Not Vallie’s aggressiveness or her fighting prowess, that wasn’t Mom at all. Though, she wasn’t afraid to make her opinion known. No, the part of Valeriah that comes from Mom was the petite ball of fire aspect. Mom was barely five feet tall on a good day, but she sure was a firecracker.

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Here’s a character interview with Valeriah:

Valeriah strides into the room, eyes automatically flicking over everyone present and all possible entrances and exits. She’s petite with bright red hair and a ruddy complexion. Her presence radiates energy that makes her seem bigger than she really is.

Inspection complete, she huffs impatiently. “All right, I suppose we should get this over with.” She takes a moment to organize her thoughts.

“To begin with, all of the magical races of Chimeria can take human form. It’s our lingua franca, the way we can all talk to each other. Of course, once we take human form, there’s more we can do than just talk. Occasionally, interesting hybrids of the races are produced.

“You need to know this because I’m a hybrid. My mother was a werewolf. Now werewolves aren’t what you think over here. Your movies make me laugh. A werewolf isn’t forced to change by the moon. They take wolf form when they choose. Of course, as a hybrid, I’ve never been able to change at all. But I’m still driven by the moon. It’s not a ravening madness, though. It’s more like a manic energy and, of course, a craving for raw meat. Every werewolf has to find a way to deal with the energy the moon brings out in us, the wild blood. Now, I’m not denying that some werewolves get violent at the full moon, especially young males. But most find other ways to cope. Myself, I run. A tired werewolf is a good werewolf, even at the full moon.

“But I’m more than just half werewolf. My father was a hybrid, too. His father was the wizard Azander and his mother was a unicorn, Elsibel. Being a hybrid is never convenient, and it’s downright awkward when the parts of your nature are as opposite as werewolves and unicorns. For example, at the new moon, when my unicorn nature is strongest, I’m a vegetarian. But at the full moon, I prefer very rare red meat.

“Other than the compromises I have to make to balance my nature, I know very little about werewolves or unicorns, so don’t ask me. Grandmother Elsibel was disowned by the unicorns when she married my grandfather. And mother never had a chance to introduce me to the werewolves. Both my parents and my two brothers were murdered when I was five. I was only spared because my father fell on me and the killers didn’t find me. They seemed to be in a hurry and didn’t look too hard. I know they used a portal, because I saw them step out of thin air. But the portal had been closed by the time Grandfather found me.

“That portal is the only clue I have to find those who murdered my family. My werewolf blood won’t let me forget. I have to avenge them. But, after twenty years, the trail has gone cold. Almost impossible even for a werewolf to follow.

“Grandfather refused to tell me what he knew about the portals, so I left to find out for myself as soon as I came of age. I found work as a member of the Portal Watch. We protect Chimeria by preventing people from your ordinary, non-magical world from blundering in and finding out about us. Sometimes, we also act as bodyguards for the members of the Council of Magical Races when they cross over to your world. I get that duty a lot because of the strength, agility, and instincts I inherited from my werewolf mother.

“It’s not easy being a female in the Watch. There are precious few of us. It took a couple of years for me to convince the male members of the Watch that I wasn’t available for the taking. Every now and again, I still have to show a new recruit how I got my reputation. I can take any one of them in a fair fight–and have–often enough to make them respect me. I stay in the Watch because it’s the only way I know to find out more about the portals, and track down whoever killed my family.”

One brave interviewer puts up a hand. “What do you remember about those that killed your family?”

Valeriah’s eyes take on a distracted look as she stares at the far wall. “I remember that they used a portal. The air shimmered in front of Mama and then men stepped out of that shimmer. I’ve had enough experience with portals now to know that’s what that shimmer was. I remember the blood spurting around the sword point coming out of Daddy’s back. There were no screams. It was too quick for that.

“For the rest, it’s hard to know what’s real anymore, after twenty years. I think some of my nightmares have gotten twisted up in it. I think they were all wearing green shirts. I don’t think that came out of the nightmares.

“The portal is my only real clue, though. I have to find out who could make a portal like that and then close it. It’s the only way I have to find the murderers, now.”

“Is it only your werewolf half that feels the need for revenge?” the interviewer follows up. “Does it conflict with other areas of your nature?”

Valeriah shakes her head. “My werewolf blood won’t let me forget about the murders. Especially at the full moon. The blood rage can be overwhelming, then.

“My unicorn side wouldn’t approve, I’m sure, but the werewolf hasn’t given that part of me a vote. My non-werewolf cousin certainly doesn’t approve. But then Cristel is a pacifist. And my grandfather thinks that seeking revenge will get me into trouble. They don’t understand.

“If I can just get the scent, I’m sure I can hunt them to ground.”

“What about scent? Do you remember the murderer’s scents?” another interviewer asks.

Valeriah’s lip twists up in a snarl. “I only remember the smell of my father’s blood and the beginnings of decay. That covers everything else.”

“You said your grandfather wouldn’t tell you about the portals. Does that make you angry with him?”

Valeriah blows out her breath. “Not really angry. He spent so much effort to protect me after the murders. He just never could let go of the need to keep me safe. He thinks seeking revenge will get me into trouble and I’ll get killed, too. I know he’s scared for me.

“That doesn’t mean I’m not frustrated that he won’t let me use his library. If he won’t help me, at least he could let me do what I have to do on my own. That argument is the main reason I left and haven’t been back to see him or my cousin in eight years.”

Another interviewer raises a hand. “You haven’t seen your family in eight years. Are you alone, or is there anyone else you turn to?”

Valeriah shrugs. “Well, I am a member of the Portal Watch. Some of them are companions of a sort. Of course, there are quite a few I had to beat up when I first joined, so they knew not to try to take advantage of me. Some of them hold a grudge. There isn’t anybody I’d really call a friend.

She sighs. “I’m a lone wolf.”

The interviewer follows up. “Would you seek companionship? What if you found someone who let you be you, but also gave you strength and at times something to lean on?”

Valeriah turns to look out the window. Her voice drops so that the interviewers have to lean forward to hear her. “I’ve never had any luck with that. Gave up trying years ago. I don’t need to lean on anybody, though I don’t mind working with a partner as part of my job. That’s just what it is, though. Nothing else.”

Another interviewer raises a hand, but Valeriah strides toward the door. “We’re done here. I have murderers to track.”

This was originally done for a challenge in which writers contributed different characters and then wrote a short story in which two of them met. You can read my story about Valeriah and a space alien (who looks like a poodle) here.

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