Category Archives: Just Chatting

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 now 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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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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Announcing Some Changes

Hey Epic Dreamers!

It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted an actual blog post with actual written words, and I wanted to let you guys know that I’m not turning this into a video-only zone. 😉 I’m still going to be posting good old regular blog posts, I’ve just been so busy starting the YouTube channel and Instagram account (not to mention editing The Hashna Stone) that I haven’t gotten around to writing a blog post.

Since the whirlwind of publishing and YouTube has entered my life, I’ve decided to make some changes regarding the types of posts I write.

Book reviews

For the past year, I’ve been posting book reviews every third Thursday of the month, but I’ve decided that I don’t feel comfortable writing honest book reviews now that I’m publishing my book. I feel like any negative reviews may make me look like I’m just trying to trash competition. I could be completely wrong about this, but I’d rather not look like a catty author who thinks everyone’s work is beneath their own. 😛

I’ve also been too busy with all my new pursuits to read much, so I might find it hard to have a book to review. I might post a book review every now and then if I really enjoy the book and think it deserves some love, but except for that, I’m retiring my monthly book reviews.

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Posting every Thursday

I don’t know how long I’ve been posting on this blog on Thursdays (probably since the Ice Age) but Thursdays aren’t going to work anymore since that’s when I post my videos. I’ll still post my YouTube video on here, so there will be a post on Thursday, just not a written one.

My regular written posts (like this one) will be published on Tuesday mornings. At least for now. 😉 I’ll try it out and see how that works for you all.

 

Growing as a writer posts

I am still going to be posting tips on how to grow as a writer this year. Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned that too. I’ll be posting  them on the last Tuesday of the month.

 

Taking a break

Between making videos, looking for someone to format the book, searching book covers, working with my editor, researching self-publishing, starting a new Instagram account, and plotting my next novel, I’m running about like crazy. As much as I like to think that I’m Wonder Woman and can do everything I want to do in spite of the fact that I need things like sleep and take breaks for food, I really can’t hold myself to impossible standards. In short: I need a break!

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So, I am giving myself a break every third Tuesday of the month. And no, I refuse to feel guilty about it. 😉

 

Here’s what the new schedule will look like.

1st Tuesday: Poem/flash fiction

2nd Tuesday: Writing Tips/ Just Chatting

3rd Tuesday: Break for me!

4th Tuesday: Growing as a Writer

(And every Thursday I’ll post a video, so you’ll actually be getting two posts a week instead of one.)

 

New look for the blog!

If you’re are reading this in an e-mail or the WordPress reader, you may want to switch over to my site because it has a whole new look! I’ve been thinking about changing the theme for a few months now, and thought, “Why not? I’m changing everything else. Might as well make all the changes at once.”

My old theme didn’t allow widget sidebars on the sides of the home page, and I didn’t like how whatever was set for the header would take up the entire screen so all you saw when the site first loaded was the Invisible World logo. This new theme takes care of these things and also shows the entire post instead of just thumbnails so you don’t have to click to read the post. (I know clicking is so difficult and wanted to save you from that taxing effort :P.)

I also added a tag cloud so it will be easier to find topics and navigate posts. I hope you all like the new look.

 

Phew, I think that was all! I’m so excited about all these new projects. I can’t wait until The Hashna Stone is ready for you guys (which looks like July or August), and I’m loving making videos. I hope you all are enjoying the videos too!

Before I end this post, I have to say one more thing; It feels so good to be talking with you like this again. I’ve missed writing posts and the interaction with you all. No matter how many other social media platforms I try, this will always feel like home. I just love you guys!

Okay, I’m done being sappy. Until next time Epic Dreamers!

Before you go though, tell me what you think of all these changes. Do you like the new blog look? Have you had a chance to check out my YouTube channel (because it is pretty cool, if I do say so myself :P)? Any thoughts on the changes with the time/content of my posts?

 

 

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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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Why I Haven’t Posted Lately  (and why you should be excited about that)

Hey Epic Dreamers!

It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d let you know why I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. There are three reasons actually.

First one is that I moved to a new apartment.  I’m totally excited to be where I’m at. It’s a cozy little place close to all the stores, but in an area that still feels peaceful and secluded. And there’s a lake!

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The second reason is that I don’t have Wi-Fi yet, which can also be blamed on moving. There are several other things that I need more than Wi-Fi (like electricity and food) so easy internet access will have to wait a while. For now, I’ll just have to be a library bum and use their Wi-Fi.

The third reason is the most important, most exciting reason. If you don’t think that moving or restricted internet access are good enough reasons for missing the last two weeks, than you will think this reason was worth it.

I’ll start at the beginning…

A few weeks ago, I was in a class that was discussing a book, The Obstacle is the Way. I haven’t read this book (but it is on my ever-growing reading list), but basically the concept is this: sometimes what we see as the obstacle to getting what we want is actually the way to getting what we want.

So, as I was sitting in this class, I thought, “How does that apply to my life?” Of course I thought of my book first thing, because I’m a nerdy writer whose whole life revolves around books.

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I’ve tried getting an agent to represent it, sending off query letter after query letter. I got one agent from Writer’s House that asked for the manuscript, but no one has agreed to represent it, so I’ve kind of put The Hashna Stone aside. Maybe it isn’t meant to be published. Maybe I should work on something else.

Or….Maybe the obstacle (no interested agents) is showing me the way I should be going. I’ve been so focused on finding an agent and getting published traditionally that I forgot my original idea for The Hashna Stone: to self-publish.

Maybe my path to traditional publishing is being blocked because I’m supposed to change course.

So, I’m sure by now you’ve guessed what I’m about to say. The decision I’ve made, the reason I’ve been too busy to post is…I’m self-publishing The Hashna Stone!

harry-potter celebrate Happy fans

I’m not waiting for someone else to publish my book. I’m going out and making this thing happen. You all have waited a long time for this. Some of you have been here since The Hashna Stone was just a choose-your-own-adventure story for this blog. Some of you have been on here long enough to remember the day announced that I decided to turn The Hashna Stone into a novel. And some of you have just been around long enough to get annoyed at how many times the words “the Hashna stone” come up in blog posts. 😛

This is a story we wrote together. You all deserve to enjoy the story whether I can find an agent that clicks with it or not.

So, I may have been a bit distracted from the blog because I’ve been busy researching self-publishing, searching for editors, and looking into cover designs.

And I’m having the time of my life. This is WAY more fun than sending query letters to agents. 🙂

I have another little surprise to tell you, but that will have to wait for another post (I can’t give away all my secrets at once.) I’ll keep you updated on how things are going.

Until then, keep dreaming!

 

 

Growing as a Writer: Blogging

Hey Epic Dreamers! Welcome to the second post in our Grow as a Writer series. The last Thursday of every month we’ll be discussing ways to grow as writers. It’s all about how we can stretch ourselves and strengthen our writing skills.

Today we’ll be discussion how blogging can make you a better author.

Most of you Epic Dreamers already have a blog of your own…that’s how you came across Invisible World in the first place. So you’re probably thinking, “I already blog. Tell me something I don’t do. This isn’t the big writing secret that will give me a writing superpower.”

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It may seem a bit anticlimactic since it’s something you’re already doing, but knowing why we are doing something keeps us motivated to continue doing it even when it gets repetitious or we run out of ideas.

It’s pretty obvious why writing a blog post would improve your writing skills.

1. You get use to putting your thoughts and ideas on paper.

2. You get better at wording things and making your sentences flow.

But that’s the boring stuff (well maybe not that boring…we writers are a bit nerdy). What we’re really looking for is how to be better authors. We want the skills that will make us better storytellers. If all we cared about was the technical side of writing, than we would spend our time creating a textbook on grammar. What about all that stuff that will help us pursue our dream, whether that’s finding an agent, self publishing, or gathering a following on Wattpad?

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Posting on a blog may not have all the bells and whistles of story writing, but it will still strengthen the skills needed to be a writer.

There are two main reason why I’m glad that I started blogging before I started writing my book. And as I’m sure you guessed, I’m going to share them with you. 🙂

 

Discipline and Commitment

If you start a blog, you have to be committed to it. It can’t just be something you start one weekend because you’re bored and you’ve already read your copy of Me Before You five times and are tired of sobbing when you get to the end.

Starting a blog means committing to a certain number of posts each month. It means disciplining yourself to write even when you don’t feel like it.

Making yourself sit down to write regularly and building your skills at committing to a long-term project are exactly what you need to be an author, no matter the platform.

If you don’t have the discipline to write a 500-word post, how will you write a 100,000-page novel? If you aren’t committed enough to post regularly, will you have the dedication to put out new chapters for your Wattpad audience?

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A blog gives you a place to practice discipline and commitment on a small scale so when you decide you want to give that 100,000-word novel a try, you already have the skills needed.

 

Gets you used to others reading your work

It’s a bit daunting for new writers to share their work. Writing isn’t like completing a math equation. You’ve put your heart and soul into it. You’ve created something that wasn’t there before. From somewhere deep inside, you’ve pulled out a whole new universe. You’re basically a magician.

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But in spite of this incredible gift you have and all the effort you’ve put into your story, there’s still fear rising in the pit of your stomach at the thought of anyone actually reading it. What if they don’t like it? What if they think it’s boring? And what if they have *gasp* critiques?

This is your precious, perfect little baby and if anyone says anything negative about it, that would stab a knife through your heart.

That might seem a bit dramatic to any non-writers reading this, but anyone who’s written a story knows exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not just sharing a story. You’re sharing a piece of yourself that no one has seen. And that’s scary.

Instead of waiting until you have a whole novel before you let someone see that piece of you, try sharing snippets at a time.

A blog is a perfect platform for you to share short stories or scenes from longer works before throwing your 100,000-word baby at someone and hoping they don’t tear it to pieces.

I never experienced the deer-in-the-head-lights panic that so many authors talk about when I first shared my book with people, and I attribute that to this blog. I was so used to people reading what I wrote that it was like, “Yeah, that’s why I wrote this…so people can read it.”

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Besides teaching you discipline and getting you used to sharing your work, it also gives you a place to experiment with what styles or genres work for you and gives you a place to meet other writers.

I highly recommend blogging to anyone even remotely interested in writing stories, even if you aren’t sure writing fiction is for you. Once you’ve blogged a few months, you’ll know. I started this blog as an experiment and now, four years later, I’m still doing it. And if that isn’t a writing superpower, I don’t know what is. 😉

So if you haven’t started a blog by now, what are you waiting for?!

 

 

 

The Theme for 2019

So, I Cheated on NaNoWriMo

Hey there Epic Dreamers! 
It’s been a while since I’ve said that. I think since early November. It feels good to be back after two months of auto posting. I hope I didn’t forget how to write a post. 😛

The month of November was NaNoWriMo, so I spent the month attempting to get 50000 words down. I’ve done this a few times before, but this time I made it harder on myself and tried to get those words out of a detailed outline and not a first draft, which is the best way to utilize NaNo. I didn’t do this on purpose (who would torture themselves like that?). I had just finished my fourth draft of The Hashna Stone the day before NaNo (Bad timing right? All those words going uncounted). But I couldn’t waste the opportunity to use the motivation NaNo gives to push myself, not to mention I really an addicted to NaNo and the thought of interrupting my winning streak was too much for me to bear. For every year won, a little flame decorates the year of participation. My OCDness wouldn’t let year  5 go without the flame.

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So I decided to use November to work on a detailed outline of book two of The Hashna Stone

The problem was that outlining starts with brainstorm, and while sometimes that includes sitting at the computer and word vomiting, it also includes a bunch of walking in circles while muttering to yourself. In the brainstorming process, there is a lot of time spent away from the computer. Needless to say, this didn’t help my word count. I did write a more detailed outline than what I did for The Hashna Stone (which I think will make the actual writing of the book easier, and it allowed my to do a bunch of cool things that would be a mess if I tried to figure it out in the first draft). I also did some world building and character development that added some words to my floundering word count, but in the end I was still about 10,000 words short.

So what did I do? I cheated of course. 

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I took the words from the last three chapters I rewrote in The Hashna Stone and added it to my word count. 

This seemed fair because I did think about waiting for NaNo to write those chapters since it was only a week and a half away, but I couldn’t stand to hold myself back from writing. Life does that enough without me doing it to myself. So I went ahead and wrote them, naively thinking that I would still have enough words to write. 

I may not have the words, but I still put the time in. I could have blabbed on for 10,000 words about nothing, but I would have rather used that time to come up with terrible situations to put my characters in. When you spend two hours going over possibilities in your head and come away with two sentences, it’s unfair to measure success by a word count. In one month, I went from having no clue what would happen in the second book to figuring out everything from beginning to end.

So yes, I borrowed 10,000 words from the week before November and didn’t actually write all the words in November. But I did reach my goal for the month: to have a detailed outline. Moving forward with the story matters more than a certain number of words. Isn’t that why we do NaNo in the first place?

I guess you’re going to call the NaNo police on me and I’ll be put in a room with no laptop, no pen and paper, and ordered to refinance from writing while serving my time. 
But I still think it was worth it, just to have those little fires all in a row.

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I Really Shouldn’t do NaNoWriMo this Year, but it’s so Addicting

Today is a very special day. November first marks the beginning of days filled with typing frenzies, word-count goals, and long nights in front of the computer hammering out the next scene in your story.

Yes, it’s NaNoWriMo time again. Time for writers around the world to quite procrastinating and actually, well, write.

I’ve participated for the last four years but this year I questioned if I was going to do it or not. For the previous years NaNo came at the perfect time. I had either just finished up a project or not working on anything so I could start a fresh draft of a story, which is perfect for the seat-of-you-pants, quantity-over-quality style so prevalent in NaNo.

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This time around however, I was working on the fourth draft of my story and didn’t want to start something new and time consuming that would distract me from working on the revisions.

But those blasted “Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?” emails kept coming in my inbox and making me feel like I was missing out. So I fell for the bate and visited my NaNo page, and all the nostalgia of previous years came rushing back.

I simply could NOT miss out on all the panic, stressing over word counts, and feeling like Thanksgiving is a waste of  precious writing time that comes with writing a novel in a month.

So just a few days ago, I decided to give writing a novel I haven’t even slightly planned out. Not even in my head.

I’ve never done this before, so it could be the biggest disaster, but I really couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try to reach that 50,000 words this month.

For the rest of the month, I won’t be following the normal schedule. Instead, I’ll be posting every week about something I learned while doing NaNo last year. Hopefully, these posts will motivate you to finish if you’ve decided to do it this year and inspire you to keep working on your writing project whether you are doing NaNo or not.

Wish me luck! And good luck to all of you doing NaNo this year!

Book Update: Good and Bad News

Two weeks ago, I talked about how I wanted to throw my manuscript in the trash, but my novel writing journey hasn’t been one big discouraging experience.  I had a lot of moments where celebration bells went off in my head as I finished certain milestones:

  • When I came up with a plot some unplotted chapters after pacing for an hour
  • When I finished my first draft!
  • When I finished reading through and marking up my first ever manuscript in paper
  • When I wrote my first query letter
  • When I queried the first agent
  • When I got my first rejection letter (yes, I saw this as a badge christening me as “a real writer.”)

I’ve grown so much since that day I first decided to write a book, and each of these milestones gave me the motivation to keep going. But there’s one milestone that REALLY gave me a supercharged boost in motivation.

And now for the drum roll….

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An agent from Writer’s House asked to look at my manuscript!

Yes, you read that right. It isn’t a typo or me being a writing and making up stories. 😛

She didn’t choose to represent it, but it was just about the best news I’ve received all year. It meant that at least something about this story was worth interest. It also meant that I must be writing my query letters right too. 😉

The agent said that The Hashna Stone was an “original concept” and that I’d “done a great job creating a novel with a strong voice and engaging characters.” She said that she didn’t connect strongly enough with the book to represent it though.

This agent’s interest gave me more than just a ray of hope that one day, someone would represent it. She gave me an opportunity to look at my work, yet again, and be a little more critical.

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Her email left me thinking, “What made her say no?” It could truly be that she loved everything about the book, but its style wasn’t quite something she wanted to represent. But most likely, there was something flawed about the story.

It wasn’t the idea, the overall story concept itself. She said it was an original concept.

It wasn’t that a lack of voice or that I had flat characters. So what was it that turned this agent away?

As I started thinking about how the story unfolds, I realized that I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending, and chances are, if I’m not happy with it an agent wouldn’t be either.

It needed to be bigger, there needed to be a few more scenes, the other viewpoint character has a last scene that just doesn’t seem to wrap everything up as nicely as Dalan’s.

There was a LOT of work that needed to be done. And here I was thinking it was finished. *sigh*

So, that is what I’m working on now, dear Epic Dreamers. Sending to agents has been put on pause so I can rewrite about ten of the last chapters (which also means rewriting quite a bit in the first and middle, because it has to reflect and foreshadow what happens in the end). I’m excited about these changes because it’s making The Hashna Stone a better story, and hopefully the next time an agent asks to read my manuscript, she’ll say yes.

 

Book Update: Can I Throw it in the Trash?

Hey there Epic Dreamers!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Just Chatting” post and it’s been even longer since I’ve shared any news about the book I’m working on. So I thought today would be a good day to spend some time chatting about my book.

For those of you who are around here, I’ll give you a quick history of how this book got started. About two years ago, I posted chapters of a story I called The Hashna Stone that ended with a decision to be made and a poll so readers could vote on what would happen next.

By the time we reached the end of this little story, I realized that this could be more than a choose your own adventure. With a little sprucing up, it could be a book.

So, I spent a year writing and rewriting and rewriting some more to turn this little story into a novel-sized story.

At the beginning of this year, I announced that the manuscript was finished and I was ready to send it off to agents.

Woohoo! All my hard work has finally paid off and I’m going to be rich and famous from the product of my labor!

Okay, that’s not exactly what I thought. At that point, I’d read tons about how difficult it was to get an agent and have a book published. I knew it would be tough, but I was hopeful. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but it could still happen right?

Fast forward to eight months later (now) and I’m about ready to chuck the thing in the garbage and finally accept that I’m only good at writing short stories for my blog. (Okay, not exactly… I could never destroy something that I worked on for that long  😛 )

I did set it aside after finishing the third draft, which is what I sent agents. The break was good for me though. It allowed me to look at the story more objectively and see some problem areas.

I haven’t sent a query letter to an agent in months, partly because I got burned out after so many rejection letters and partly because I realized that the story could be better, but didn’t know how to fix it.

At the moment, I have some ideas about the new direction I should take the story in, and I’m slowly (VERY slowly) making the changes needed in yet another draft. I’m going to finish making all these changes before I start sending to agents again. I don’t want one to ask for a manuscript that isn’t finished.

I’ll give you a little more detail in another post, but for now I just wanted to do a quick update so you wouldn’t think I’d forgotten about it or threw it in a river somewhere. 😛

Until next time Epic Dreamers!

 

 

The Fellowship of the Ring Book Tag (Part Two)

Here’s part two of the book tag created by my friend Nandini. This tag takes members from the Fellowship of the Ring and has them each represent a different type of book. It’s my favorite tag ever! 🙂

Last week I did Frodo, Legolas, Gimli, and Merry. Today I’m doing Pippin, Boromir, Sam, Aragorn, and Gollum.

Pippin – A book that made you laugh

Free the Darkness (King's Dark Tidings, #1)

By the cover, you’d never guess that this book is funny. The comedy comes in when Reskin’s delirious, dying master croaks out that the most important rule for him to follow is to “protect and honor your friends” when he is supposed to say “your king.” All of a sudden the cliche fantasy story of a hero trained from birth to become a killing machine and be sent out on a grand mission becomes the story of a trained killer making it his mission to find these friends so he can carry out his purpose and protect and honor them.

As you can imagine, this puts him in quite a few humorous situations. He takes this “duty” so seriously that even a casually mention of friendship sends his head spinning. Also, growing up in a secluded area leaves Reskin clueless about everyday social interactions. It’s hilarious to watch him try to analyze what every detail of an interaction means.

 

Boromir – A book/series that you think ended too soon

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Technically this series hasn’t ended because the author is still working on the last book, but I was crushed when I got to the end of what I thought was the last book and found out that I had to wait another who-knows-how-long

until I get to find out what happens.

At the same time, I’m exited to have another book to read set in this world and with these characters because both are phenomenal.

So, it ended too soon because I want the last book out right now. 😛

 

 

 

Sam – A book with memorable side characters who stole the show

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Warbreaker is about two Idrian princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna was contracted through treaty to marry the God King of rival nation Hallandren. Instead, Siri is sent to marry him.

These two characters are far from boring, but when you throw in a mute God King and a god who doesn’t believe in his own deity, they can’t help but steal the show. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

Aragorn – A good book with a bad/average cover

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It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, but really enjoyed watching the antics of the main character even if I did figure out right away what was suppose to be a big reveal at the end.

The cover isn’t bad. Just so-so. It’s definitely a better read than the cover makes it look.

A nobleman in the court rounds up some orphan boys off the streets who look similar to the prince who went missing a few years ago. He trains them to act like royalty, quizzes them on members of court, and so on. One of them will emerge a puppet prince whose presence will settle the civil war that is brewing.

 

Gollum – A book that had great potential but disappointed you in the end

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This book could have been such a good story (not to mention it has a beautiful cover!). A modern twist on Ester or Cinderella… A common girl gets the chance of a lifetime to become a princess through a competition. If she wins, she marries the prince.

I was disappointed from the opening.

First, there was the info dumping. One of the first things you learn as a writer is to never dump a bunch of information in the first chapter (or really ever). The first few pages of this book give throws a bunch of random information to the reader about the main character’s family. It would have been much better if they’d been introduced as the scene unfolded.

I could overlook that. Sometimes good books have bad beginnings.

But then it got worse. It was so bad that once I started writing, I realized that it was too much to put here. So, I’ll probably write a review on this later. 🙂

 

Well, that’s the end. Thanks Nandini for tagging me. This was a lot of fun!

I’m going to tag

joyroses13

Writing Block

Tales from Eneana

Forever Aspiring Writer

Here’s a link to the original post so you can see all of them together.

I hope you all get do it! It’s so fun!