Introducing my best Friend

Hi Epic Dreamers! I have some exciting news to share with you. I usually don’t post about my personal life, but this particular event in my life is worth mentioning even if it isn’t writing related.

I’m just going to say it…I got married!

Not only did my dream of publishing a novel finally happen, but a few weeks after, I got to marry my best friend.

I bet you’re all wondering who this guy is and how we met so I’ll tell you our story (and I’ll throw some of our wedding pictures in too).

It all started with The Hashna Stone and this blog. Well, in a way, I guess it started before because Eddy and I went to the same church for years, but we never ended up in the same groups and never really talked. I’d seen him around and I knew his name and he knew mine, but that was about the extent of the relationship.

Eddy found my blog and started reading the chapters of The Hashna Stone that I posted.  He must have been impressed with my fantastic story-telling abilities *wink* because he messaged me and told me that he was enjoying the story.

I was flattered as any writer is when someone shows interest in their work, but I had no idea that he had another reason–besides complimenting me on my story–in starting the conversation.

Over the next month and a half, we sent messages back and forth. I thought he was just being nice–having a friendly chat. Even when he invited me to go skating, I still didn’t suspect a thing.

It wasn’t until he stayed by my side for the whole night that I realized he was interested in more than friendship.

The next day, he asked for my number and after only a week of texting each other like crazy I knew that this guy was going to be my best friend.

In the months that followed, I learned more about him.

He was an amazing, empathetic listener. Being an INFJ, I was used to everyone spilling their problems on me, but not having much patience with listening in return, but when Eddy and I held conversations we spent equal time listening and speaking.

I loved that he was an introvert like me and didn’t need the constant noise and stimulus that most extroverts never seem to get enough of. I was thrilled that he didn’t shy away from deep conversations and enjoyed talking one-on-one for hours. (Which is what totally makes an INFJ happy 😉 )

There were little things that we found that we had in common, like we were both interested in archery (I’d only gone as far as owning a bow and shooting it a few times…he was in archery in high school and went to tournaments). We both loved music and he played the guitar and I played the piano (well, saying that we can play is generous…more like we play around and pretend we can play 😉 ).

But what really made my little writer self happy was that he loved books and had an affinity for fantasy which–being a fantasy author– makes me ridiculously happy. 🙂

He’s been with me through this entire writing-a-book process and was even one of my beta readers for one of the early drafts of The Hashna Stone.

So–to speed this story up a bit–we hit it off right away, he stuck with me and was my support though some of the roughest patches in my life, and three years after we started dating, I am now married to my best friend.

I can’t say enough about this guy. I didn’t believe that someone like him could exist.  He makes me feel like I am the most beautiful, exceptional, loved girl in the world.

If you would have asked me before we started talking if I believed in soulmates, I would have said that I  wasn’t sure if something like that existed, but now I know it does. Something about him called to me from those first few conversations, and we connected so easily and quickly.  It seems strange that I ever lived without him and it feels like I’ve known him for my whole life.

I know this sounds terribly cliché and like romantic drivel when I say this, but I’m going to say it anyway; It feels like my life didn’t truly start until he came into it. Like life was frozen, waiting for something I couldn’t explain, and it didn’t began to thaw until I met him.

I’m not sure how to end this post, since it is so different than my usually content, so I’ll end it with this: I’m one happy little writer. 😀

If you want to see more wedding pictures, follow me on Instagram. I’m sharing a picture every week. 🙂

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More than a Coffee Cup


There is such a cool story behind this adorable mug, and I just have to share it even though this is a bit different from the usually type of blog posts I have here.

It started when I saw a friend’s  (Barb) post on Instagram of her own adorable little coffee cup and I commented, “So cute. I want one,” not really expecting to get one of course, but Barb unexpectedly offered to send me a mug.

See, the mug in her post was sent to her by someone in Canada after Barb had commented on how much she wanted a mug like that. (It has it’s own little story you can read in Barb’s post @barb_ready_writes)

Barb told me that she would find the perfect cup for me and she did!

The cup talks about being courageous and not giving up when you’re being tossed by a storm, and that was exactly what I needed to hear.

For the last two week of so, I’ve been wondering if wondering if I should set this whole writing thing on the side…not give it up completely…just not devote so much time to it.

I’m thrilled with the accomplishment of actually writing and publishing a book and don’t regret the time and money I put into it at all, but I did wonder if that season in my life had come to a close and if I needed to back off on the writing/marketing/Patreon/blog posting (you know…all that stuff that comes with being an indie author).

It can get exhausting and, frankly, I was getting discouraged with it all. I knew that a book isn’t going to be an overnight success just because you put it out there and tell your blogging and Instagram friends about it, but I had hoped that sales would be a little better than they are.

I believe that God can speak through a stranger and his voice whispers through acts of kindness. Barb and the coffee cup she sent reminded me that I shouldn’t give up just because the waters are rough.

I believe that God has a purpose for everyone and I know that writing stories is mine.

Every time I look at this coffee cup, I’ll remember that I have the strength inside to keep going no matter what.

 

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The Hashna Stone’s Publication Journey and What it Taught Me

I can’t believe it! The little story I wrote for this blog three years ago has grown into a 400-page novel with a beautiful cover. I am beyond excited that it’s turned out so well and that I finally get to share it with the world.

Who knew that the choose-your-own-adventure story we played around with would plant the seeds for my debut novel? Looking back on those first few chapters I wrote, I would have never thought they’d turn into a book.

You see, the idea I had for The Hashna Stone wasn’t one of my “real” book ideas. I had quite a few ideas tucked away in my head or in some word documents on my laptop, and they were my real story ideas–the ones I would one day turn into those books I’d always dreamed of writing.

But The Hashna Stone? I was just playing around with it. I didn’t feel it was “good enough” to be a full-length novel, but it was the perfect little story to post on my blog. It was fun, but not complicated. The characters were engaging without being too complex.

But once I was finished posting those small chapters here on my blog, I realized there was more to the story than what I first thought.  I realized that if I dug into the characters a little deeper, thickened the plot, and expanded the story, it would be what I thought all those other story ideas were: book worthy.

It still wasn’t going to be one of my “real” books though. It was just going to be a little something I wrote for the fans that played the choose-your-own-adventure on my blog. I wasn’t going to pay for editing, formatting, or a cover because it was just a fun little project that I had going. I looked at it as more of preparation for when I wrote my “real” book.

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BUT…after working on it for about 6-8 months and realizing just how much there really was to the story, I didn’t want to put it out there without giving it a fair chance. To have any chance at success, my book would need an editor and professional cover at the very least. The problem was that these things can get extremely expensive. We’re talking $1,000-$3,000 for editing and $300-$500 for a cover.

And that was just the bare minimum. If I wanted it to look good on the inside, I would need to hire someone to format both the paperback version and the ebook. It was also highly recommended that a book goes through more than just an editor, so I would need to hire a proofreader as well (another $1,000 or so). And I didn’t even want to think about marketing. It would be a waste to spend so much on the book and not have anyone see it, but marketing costs would really put me way in over my head with expenses.

I had a problem.

we have a problem

I’d put way too much work into The Hashna Stone to make it a free eBook that I put out there with a cover I made myself and no one to check for errors but a few beta readers (which really isn’t even a beta reader’s job). But I couldn’t afford all the bells and whistle I needed to give my book the makeover it deserved.

With those facts in mind, there was only one way for me to do this: start querying agents.

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If the self-publishing route was too experiencing, than I would have to throw my book on the all-too-slim mercy of agents and publishing houses.

I knew I’d chosen a tough path that not many authors have had success with, but it was better than letting my book languish away in a metaphorically dusty folder on my laptop.

Fast forward 30 queries later and I still didn’t have an agent.

My lack of an agent didn’t make me doubt the quality of the book. I’d read plenty of authors’ stories and knew that even good books take time to get an agent and it could take me sixty queries to get an agent.

But I wondered if my lack of success was because I was going in the wrong direction. Maybe The Hashna Stone wasn’t meant to have a publishing house dictate its final outcome.

I decided to go back to my original plan to self publish. By this time, a year had passed (full of a lot of events that were unrelated to the book but that forced me to have to put it on hold) and I found myself in the perfect spot for self publishing. I had some extra time on my hands as well as some unexpected funds that would just be enough to pay for an editor, proofreader, cover artist, and some one to format the book.

I have never felt more alive in my life than in those early months after I decided to join the ranks of indie authors. It was a whirlwind of searching for the right people, hours and hours of editing, tons of internet research on self publishing and (surprisingly) having a blast at marketing.

There were a few setbacks along the way but (you know about the cover trouble), for the most part, the self-publishing journey has been smooth–a fact for which I am so thankful. This being my debut novel, there are a ton of things that could have gone wrong.

But The Hashna Stone is a stubborn little thing that wouldn’t let anything get in its way. Not being categorized as a “little story for my blog” by me. Not agent rejections. Not being sat aside and neglected for months because other things in life needed attention.

It knew what it was and wouldn’t let anyone or any circumstance tell it any differently.  It knew it was just as great as any of the other story ideas floating in my head, and it wasn’t going to let me rest until it proved that it was a real story.

The Hashna Stone taught me a valuable lesson: just because others can’t see who you are, doesn’t mean you aren’t that person.

For so long, I couldn’t see the true value in the story, and it wasn’t until two years later, after a lot of hard work and learning, that I’ve sifted though the dirt and found the “gold.”

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Which is another valuable lesson The Hashna Stone taught me. Some things take time to mature to the level of excellence that they were meant to be and as much as you may be tempted to rush the process (publishing it myself without the prep work) or to throw it away and start on something else more “worthy” of you time, you’ll never see the true value of that thing if you don’t stick with it until its process is finished.

If you find yourself in a place where you don’t feel valued, don’t feel talented, don’t think that your goals and dreams could ever be achieved, remember The Hashna Stone and how, even when its own author didn’t see its true value, it refused to give up.

Just because things aren’t working out now, doesn’t mean that you should give up, and just because people can’t see your real value doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable.

The Hashna Stone’s own author didn’t think it was a “real” story, but its joined the ranks of millions of published books out there and proving to me and everyone who didn’t believe in it that it is indeed a real story.

*For those of you who have read about the cover trouble I’d been having with the paperback…Yes, this post means it’s over! I’m so pleased to announce that The Hashna Stone is available as a paperback as well as an e-book.

Want to stay in the loop with real-time updates? Follow me on Instagram! That’s where I did the cover reveal for my book. I share my progress on whatever I’m working on at the time, and Instagram followers will be the first to know about my new book projects. 😉

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Writing Doesn’t Have to Come Naturally

Sometimes it seems like writing comes so much more naturally to everyone else. I mean, Brandon Sanderson can sit and write for 8-10 hours a day and I’m over here trying to keep myself from thinking about the ice cream in the freezer so I don’t get out of my seat for the seventh million time in ten minutes.

After the year and a half it’s taken me to finish the four drafts of my WIP, I feel like I’ve been hunted by the nine riders, stalked by a schizophrenic mole-looking creature who only knows one word (precious), and carried an all-powerful ring that will only make you go stark-raving mad if you hang on to it for too long.  In other words; finishing a book is like traveling to Mordor and back.

(This is me when I finally finish a story.  Yes, the rigors of writing leave your face smeared with dirt and scattered with scratches.  You didn’t know that?)

But before I can celebrate my hard-one victory, I realize that Brandon Sanderson’s book totaled 1,087 pages.  Talk about wanting to crumple up my 419 pages and throw them into the fires of Mordor.

I think I’ll get that ice cream now and eat the whole carton.

That’s it.  I should give up writing.  Let’s face it; Writing is harder for me than everyone else. Some days it takes me an hour to come up with a hundred words because I’m like Kronk in Emperors New Groove.

Okay, okay.  I shouldn’t compare myself to other writers. There’s a lot of talent out there, but that doesn’t make me less talented. Besides, every word I do write is a drop in the vast amount of practice needed to be a successful writer. It’s alright if writing is hard. It isn’t supposed to be easy.  Like Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

That’s not painful at all.

Writing is a challenge, and it’s okay to admit that to yourself. You may think that you’re the only one struggling with it, but guess what?

You aren’t.

Want to know a secret? (Okay, well it’s not exactly a secret, but act surprised anyway). It took Sanderson twelve novels before he was published. Twelve of them! What was wrong with the guy? Didn’t he realize that writing was too hard for him?

No, he didn’t. Because it wasn’t. Writing is a process that gets better with time. The more you write, the better you get.

What would have happened if he’d given up after that 12th novel? We wouldn’t have impossibly long books to read, that’s what!

huge book Brandon Sanderson book

(An actual Sanderson novel)

I’m sure sometimes he thought, “This writing thing is so much harder for me than everyone else,” but he didn’t let that stop him. And because he kept going, he is now a best-selling author with more than 20 books and novellas published. The guy is so popular, that his signings can last up to five hours!  (He needs someone to build him a robot arm that can sign things for him. I mean, he probably has to wear a cast after all that).

The next time that you think writing is only difficult for you, be glad that you aren’t Sanderson in an arm cast.

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Why The Hashna Stone is Currently only an Ebook (The Cover Epic)

If you are wondering why The Hahsna Stone is available as an Ebook, but not a paperback, wonder no more. I am about to reveal to you the many, many trials that my book’s cover has had to endure. This string of evens could be its own book…an epic even.

So without further ado, I present to you….

The Cover Epic

The first attempt at a cover was from someone on fiver.com, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way it turned out. It is a very inexpensive place to get a cover for your book, but it shows in the quality.

After several revisions to the image, I finally bought my own image of a gemstone from IStock. It looked better with my image on the front, but it still had a less-than-stellar look to it.

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I thought I would be stuck with it because any other cover design service was way out of my budget, but then I came across someone who designed beautiful covers for a price I can afford on Instagram.

I thought I was finished with the cover difficulty, but it turned out it was just beginning.

The girl I got to design the cover did a stellar job. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way it turned out. She did the whole thing within four days, which I was thrilled with because it put me about two months ahead of schedule. And even better…there was only one change that needed to be made with her original design. I’ve heard of authors going back and forth for months with their cover designer, so it was a relief that I wouldn’t have to do any of that.

It was a minor change about the way the claws looked–which I had anticipated might be hard to pin down immediately since they were attached to an animal that was a figment of my imagination–and she said she’d get on it right away.

Then two weeks went by with no word at all. Not even a “Hey I’ve been busy, but I will get to your cover soon,” type of thing. It seemed strange that this one small change was taking her so long when the entire cover only took four days. So I decided to email her to see if it was giving her trouble.

No response. I even messaged her on Instagram, but days went by without a single thing. It was fine if she hadn’t completed the changes yet, I just wanted to know what was going on. I hadn’t paid for the service yet, so if it didn’t work out, I could just find someone else to do the cover, but I wanted to know if I should wait for her to complete it or look for someone else.

A MONTH went by without a single word from her.

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I’d placed my order for the cover on June 7th, received the first version on June 11th, and on June 12 she emailed to say she was going to make the change.

Here it was, July 2nd and with my two emails and three Instagram messages ignored, I was about to panic. The messages on Instagram hadn’t even been marked as “seen” so I was a little worried about her. She seemed to have disappeared into thin air. There weren’t any new post on her Instagram account or anything.

I was worried for my book as well. The days until The Hashna Stone‘s release were counting down and I now had just a little over a month to find someone who could create a good-quality cover within my budget, and do it in such short notice.  I knew it would be difficult to find someone who could commit to finishing the cover in a month because they have other clients and may not be able to even start on my cover for a month.

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Ideally, the cover should have already been finished by now so I could do a cover reveal and market it a bit before it launches.

I went to sleep that night of the 2nd, with all these thoughts running through my head, and decided that I’d waited on the girl long enough and I just needed to find another cover artist before it was too late.

I wake up to find her email in my inbox. No joke, she FINALLY emailed me, and even had the cover finished.

I was thrilled to finally have things moving again! I paid for the cover (eBook version and paperback) and was sent…ONLY the eBook cover.

I had to email her back that I hadn’t received the paperback version and had to wait another two weeks to hear from her again. She apologized and said she thought she did send the paperback cover, but it turned out she  forgot to hit “send.”

I was just happy that I finally had both covers and…wait…is that a JPG?

She’d sent me a JPG when Amazon required that you use a PDF for the paperback cover.

By now I was dreading emailing her because her response time was so slow. By now it was July 22nd, exactly three days less than a month before my publication date. At this rate, she wouldn’t even respond until two weeks before I released the book, which would give me very little time to do a cover reveal, market, and send a proof copy to myself to look over one more time for any mistakes.

By some miracle, she emailed me the next day with the correct version of the cover.

Well, at first glance I thought it was the correct version, but it turned out what she sent was a PSD (I’ve never even heard of that one).

At this point, I was internally kicking myself for not just spending the extra $300 for a professional to create the cover. It would be worth it to avoid all this hassle. I’d be willing to sacrifice the discount to have peace of mind that my cover would get to me on time and that I would be able to upload it to Amazon without any problems.

By yet another miracle, she emails me the next day and this time it is a PDF.

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I am about to throw a party! I was so relieved to finally be done with the dang cover.

Things hadn’t gone so smoothly, but that was all in the past and I could upload them to Amazon and then I could get to the fun stuff and do a cover reveal.

But the cover drama wasn’t over. This is the lovely sight that I was greeted with when I uploaded it to Amazon.

Kicking myself yet again for going for not just spending the $300, I emailed her about the trouble I was having and had to wait a little over a week for a response.

It was now the very month of my book’s publication and I had 18 days left to do all the aforementioned things that are supposed to be done before a book launches.

I won’t bore you with the string of emails that followed in the next two weeks (thankfully her response time got a little better), but none of the covers she sent were sized right.

She finally sent me one that looked correct when uploaded to Amazon, but when I went to approve it (Amazon requires that you launch a previewer and look over it and hit an “approve” button before going any farther in the publishing process) I wasn’t allowed to because Amazon caught an error in the sizing.

I ended up having my brother look at it. He isn’t a cover designer, but an engineer, so he’s really smart and knew how to resize it using some other program that wasn’t Adobe (I didn’t have Adobe, so I couldn’t even attempt to resize the cover myself).

After playing around with it all night, he got one to work, and I could hit the magic “approve” button.

Of course, I was wary after all I’d been through with this cover, but I was hopeful that this time it would work.

I sent for a proof copy and in a few days got one, but it turned out that the sizing was still wrong because there was a thin white line at the bottom where the cover didn’t quite reach.

My brother resized it again and I ordered another proof.

And never got it…

Today is three days after my publication day, and I still don’t have it. All I got was an email from Amazon saying that the package was delayed.

I went ahead and hit the publish button Sunday, so it would be ready by Monday, the 19th. All I could do was hope that the cover was the way it looked on the online previewer.

Amazon doesn’t let you publish your paperback immediately like it does an eBook, so it was in “review” for about 18 hours or so.

Since I never got to look over a physical copy of the book, I wasn’t really surprised when I got an email from Amazon saying that there was a problem with the way the cover was sized and that it needed to be changed in order for me to publish it.

That left me no choice but to contact the cover artist, yet again, and see if she can get the cover she made to meet Amazon’s requirements.

And this is where the story ends. The Hashna Stone is in “review” again with the latest resize of the cover, and I’m waiting to see if this cover drama is finally over.

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I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m complaining about the girl who made the cover. She’s very sweet and she did an excellent job with the cover art.  It’s just disappointing to not be able to use something you paid for…especially when I asked if she could do book covers for Amazon specifically and was told, “yes.”

Needless to say, I’ll be forking over the standard price of a book cover next time publish a book. 🙂

***If you do what to read The Hashna Stone, and don’t want to wait for the cover drama to resolve itself, you can get the Ebook!

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The hashna Stone is Available for pre-order!

I can’t believe it! The little story I wrote for this blog three years ago has grown into a 417-page novel with a beautiful cover. I am beyond excited that it’s turned out so well and that I finally get to share it with the world.

Who knew that the chose-your-own-adventure story we played around with would plant the seeds for my debut novel? Looking back on those first few chapters I wrote, I would have never thought they’d turn into a book.

(Isn’t the cover gorgeous?!)

It’s been a long road to this point, but I’m proud to announce that The Hashna Stone is available for preorder and will be published on the 19th!

I’m doing something extra special for those who preorder: I’m giving away an exclusive short story about Samel, one of the characters in the book.

There’s only four days left to preorder so don’t miss out on this FREE story!

***To be added to the list of people who will receive the exclusive story, take a screenshot of the page that says you’ve preordered and email it to me at authorafox@gmail.com.

It makes me ridiculously happy to get to finally share this book with you all!

I’m so thankful for for all of you and all your support. Your kind words and encouragement has meant the world to me and has, quite literally, made a dream of mine become reality.

I have a feeling you’ll  enjoy this version of The Hashna Stone even more than the blog version  because the characters are richer, the plot is more complex, and the world more colorful.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story and hope you will enjoy reading it. 🙂

***NOTE: at this time, Amazon doesn’t allow preorder on paperback books, but I will be releasing BOTH an eBook and a paperback on the 19th.

 

And I can’t end the post without saying saying… Happy Birthday Invisible World!!! (And sorry you didn’t get your own birthday post this year 😛 )

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for five years already.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve just started, and sometimes I feel like I’ve been doing it all my life and can’t imagine a time when I didn’t blog.

When I started Invisible World in 2014, I had no idea that it would lead to me writing and publishing a book.

Thank you Invisible World and thank you Epic Dreamers!

Want to stay in the loop with real-time updates? Follow me on Instagram! That’s where I did the cover reveal for my book. I share my progress on whatever I’m working on at the time, and Instagram followers will be the first to know about my new book projects. 😉

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Grow as a Writer: Pick up a New Hobby

We’ve all felt guilty for spending our free time doing something other than writing, but what if I told you those hobbies that stole from your writing time actually helped your writing?

It may seem counter intuitive to take time to do something that isn’t writing and expect it to improve your writing, but there are some really good reasons why hobbies make you a better writer.

 

Helps you relate to characters

If all of your characters have shelves of books and stacks of notebooks with half-finished stories in them, you have a problem.

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Sure, it can be fun to give characters a love for reading or writing since it is what you are passionate about (and it’s definitely not wrong to do so) but your characters won’t seem real if they all enjoy the same things. People in real life have divers interests, so your character should be no different.

But how do you give your characters different interests and still make those interests seem real?

Give them an interest in one of you non-writing hobbies.

You will already know a lot on the subject, so you can pepper your knowledge into the character’s thoughts or dialogue to make the character’s interest authentic, and since you are passionate about that subject, it will be easier to translate that passion on the page.

And to give yourself more options, it doesn’t even have to be the exact thing that you do. For example, I love to sing and took piano lessons as a young teen and wanted one of my characters to have a love for music as well, so I gave him an aptitude for the guitar.

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I may not play the guitar, but I could use my memories of my first piano lessons to write his first attempt to play the guitar–all the wrong notes,  feeling awkward as you try to get your fingers in the right positions, the thrill you feel when you get a succession of chords right and excitement that you are actually playing a song. 😀

You can do this with any hobby. If you love to knit, give your character a love for crochet or sewing dresses. If you create digital art, your character could love to paint.  If you took ballet as a kid, your character could love to salsa dance or break dance.

*(I thought I’d add that there is nothing wrong with researching a hobby if you want to give your character a love for something that you’ve never done. It just saves time and makes it easier to write when you already know and love the hobby you give your character.)

 

Gives your brain a break!

Have you ever had a tune stuck in your head, but you couldn’t remember the lyrics? You would sit there for minutes, thinking so hard about it, but the words just wouldn’t come. Finally, you’d give up and go do something else. The moment your brain completely unfocused on trying to remember and got absorbed in something else, those lyrics would miraculous spring into your head.

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The same thing happens with writing. When we come across a problem in our story or an obstacle our character is facing that we need to create a solution for, we will sit at the computer screen and agonize over it when sometimes all we need to do is step away.

Our subconscious is a brilliant thing and will come up with a solution for us as soon as we distract our thinking minds and push our problem to the back of our minds to work out.

If you hobby is something like jogging or biking, then it gets you out of your head and gets oxygen and blood flowing to your brain so you can better solve those problems.

If it is something like sketching or photography, it keeps your creativity flowing while still giving you a rest from writing.

Whether your hobby is active  or more sedentary, it gives your brain a break so even if you don’t come up with an answer to your story’s problems while doing whatever you are doing, you’ll be refreshed and ready to think of something creative to fix it.

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So, writers, don’t feel guilty for spending some time doing other activities besides writing. You’ll get some valuable incite to your characters (not to mention you’ll know how to write a fight scene if your hobby happens to be something like jiu jitsu or boxing 😉 ), and make your writing time more productive because you’ll avoid feelings of being “stuck.”

I hope I’ve inspired you to start a new hobby or go back to an old one you’ve dropped!

I’d love to know what hobbies my fellow writers have! I enjoy singing, as I’ve mentioned, and I also like to paint (and am guilty of pushing it aside so I can write…I haven’t picked up a paint brush in months!)

 



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Book Update

Hey Epic Dreamers!

It’ s been a while since I’ve updated you all on the book (The Hashna Stone), so I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of where it’s at in the publishing process.

Editing

I’m so excited to announce my editor has finished with it! Not only that, but I’ve finished making all the changes she’s suggested and sent it off to be formatted. (If you are following me on Instagram, you’ll know how excited I was to get to that stage. 😉 )

My editor was great. She went the extra mile to not only look for grammatical errors and places where sentence structure could be better, but she took the time to get to know the characters and pointed out if they said something that seemed unlike them.

It was so refreshing to have someone read my story again after so long since it’s been a year since it went through the beta-reader process. It was nice to have a second opinion after so many drafts with just my own thoughts to go on.

Then, when the editing was finished, she told me that my book was one of her favorite projects that she’d worked on and said that I was a talented writer.

Me? Talented?!

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I might sound egotistical for saying this, but it really felt good to hear that. When you put so much time and effort into a project as large as a 140,000-word novel, you’re bound to have some self doubt. What if I’ve wasted my time? What if after two years of working on this, no one reads it? The smallest compliment or encouragement does so much to combat these thoughts.

Formatting

I’m just as excited to announce that my book has been formatted as well. 🙂

Formatting may sound like the boring part of getting the book ready for publishing, but it was actually the most fun. It isn’t just making sure the text is lined up correctly and that the gutters are wide enough (although it is those things too). Formatting also covers the font and pictures in the book. And that’s where the fun comes in. 🙂

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I loved getting to see my book transform from plain Times New Roman text to being filled with the beautiful, fantasy-looking text my formatter filled it with. (I know, I’m such a nerd!)

I was really lucky to find such an amazing formatter. She created the most epic looking chapter title image ever! She also put an awesome background to my act title pages.

I am so in love with the way this book looks! (I’ll reveal what the inside looks like on Instagram…cough, cough…you should follow 🙂 )

Cover

I had someone from fiver.com design a cover, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way it turned out. It is a very inexpensive place to get a cover for your book, but it shows in the quality.

After several revisions to the image, I finally bought my own image of a gemstone from IStock. It looked better with my image on the front, but it still had a less-than-stellar look to it.

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I thought I would be stuck with it because any other cover design service was way out of my budget, but then I came across someone who designs beautiful covers for a price I can afford on Instagram (which is also where I found my formatter), so I’m going to get them to create a cover and see how it goes. I have a good feeling about it, judging from the example covers I saw.

I can’t wait to get started on it!

Publishing

Besides the cover, the only other thing that needs to be done is a final proofread. And then…it will be PUBLISHED!

Finally. Finally! After two NaNoWriMos, one blog version, four drafts, and two years. It’s actually going to be published!

I am beyond excited! Publishing a book is a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I don’t think I’m going to fully believe it until I hold it in my hands.

The Hashna Stone will be coming out in August and will be  available on Amazon, both in eBook and paperback. I’ll know the exact date once I know how long it will take my proofreader to get through it. 🙂

Well, that’s what’s been happening with me and The Hashna Stone (and also an accidental plug for Instagram–I mentioned it four times 😛 ).

I hope you all have a great rest of the week! Until next time, Epic Dreamers!

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The first 20 to become patrons will get their name mentioned in the “thank you” section of my book. This is regardless of which tier you select. That means you can get your name mentioned (which is something only the highest level patrons get) for only $1. Yes, one dollar will get your name in my book!



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A Second

A second

A voice spoke, the deep heard

Light created by the word

 

A second

The world weaved

Life breathed

 

A second

Lies believed, man fell

Forever separated from the everlasting well

 

A second

A baby born

The veil between heaven and earth torn

 

A second

A kiss betrays

An innocent, convicted stays

 

A second

The guilty released

God betrayed by his own priest

 

A second

Blood ran red

Lamb to the slaughter was led

 

A second

Death defeated

Earth given the savoir it needed

 

A second

Creation doubts the existence of creator

No one needs a savior

 

A second

Death, destruction, hate abound

No one believes the trumpet will sound

 

A second

Heaven opens, one who was pierced appears

The glow of his light calms all fears

 

A second becomes eternity

God is all that is seen

 

The beginning, the end, the word, God

Time doesn’t hold him–out side of it he does trod

 

What the Word spoke in the beginning

Never faded, kept on spinning

 

Our struggle seems an eternity

When we look back, it’s only a second we see

 

Life in the seconds seems forever

Only because to this earth we have a tether

 

In the end, when the beginning starts

Time will be taken apart

Growing as a Writer: Read!

If you want to write, you have to read. There’s no getting around it. Writing without first reading is like trying to paint a watercolor without having ever seen one, or trying to compose a song without every hearing one. If you want to get a sense for the style and genre you want to write, you have to first explore it by reading.

If you’re like me and the whole reason you started writing was because you loved reading, then you’re probably thinking that reading isn’t going to help you grow as a writer: you already do it. But I’m not just talking about any type of reading. There are two types of reading that will really boost your writing skills.

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1. Read books on writing

While reading fiction is useful in learning the craft, there are just some things you aren’t going to absorb subconsciously by reading fiction. You can get a sense for the kinds of things that done in a story and the kinds of things that are expected in your genre, but sometimes you need someone to just tell you.

You can see from reading a story, that the characters change from the way they were at the beginning of the story to the way that they were at the end, but you may not notice all the subtle ways they were changing in the middle of the story or the way the author artfully set the character in situations where they were forced to confront their flaws.

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You may have a pretty good handle on the flow of dialogue from all of the fictional conversations you’ve read, but not know the tricks authors use to get inside their characters heads to make their dialogue authentic. You may know that a plot is needed for your novel, but be lost when coming up with one.

The list goes on and on.

Sometimes we really just need someone who’s done this novel-writing-thing before to tell us how to do it.

 

2. Read books outside of your genre.

Remember when you were a kid and you would skip around from mysteries, to literary fiction, to comics, to manga? You didn’t know what your favorite genre was, so you didn’t limit yourself.

For some reason, when we get older, we stop exploring. We know what we like, so we stick to that–especially if we start writing in a certain genre. We think that we need to accumulate a vast knowledge of every book ever written in that genre so we can write the best (name of your genre).

While it is wise to know the ins and outs of the genre you’re writing in, it can actually stifle you to only read in that genre. This is where we fall into the danger of using over-used tropes of that genre such as the old-man-with-a-grey-beard mentor character or the chosen-one-whom-the-prophesy-spoke-about-will-save-us-all plot.

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We need to read outside of the genre we write to give us fresh ideas, to keep us from using what’s already been done, and to give us new ways of looking at things. And who knows? You may decide to write in a different genre.

Do you read a lot of different genres or do you stick to the same one? I tend to read a lot of fantasy (both high and all the sub genres) because that’s what I write. Yes, I’m guilty of this too. 😉 I do love a good historical fiction novel too.

Speaking of reading…my book is coming along nicely and it looks like it will be out in August! So put The Hashna Stone on your reading list because it will be available soon! 🙂

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The first 20 to become patrons will get their name mentioned in the “thank you” section of my book. This is regardless of which tier you select. That means you can get your name mentioned (which is something only the highest level patrons get) for only $1. Yes, one dollar will get your name in my book!



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Advice for Teen Writers

It’s hard when you’re a teen and adults aren’t taking your aspirations seriously and everyone is trying to talk you out of your goal to one day publish a novel.

I’m here with a pep talk and some advice I wish someone had shared with me when I was a teen writer. 🙂

 

 

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The first 20 to become patrons will get their name mentioned in the “thank you” section of my book. This is regardless of which tier you select. That means you can get your name mentioned (which is something only the highest level patrons get) for only $1. Yes, one dollar will get your name in my book!


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Where Imagination Soars