Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How Much Is Too Much...

Hmm... that's a very open ended question there. But in this case, I'm referring to stories in general.

How many stories do you work on at once?

Personally, I can only focus my attention so far. Which means, I can only work on one thing at a time. But that does NOT keep the ideas from flowing in! I have well over a dozen ideas sitting, waiting patiently in the wings.

Every so often, I have to get the ideas that come down on paper somehow. More often than not, I'll resign myself to the couch, notebook and pen in hand, and write out as much of the details as I can without getting completely sucked in to a new project. I have a composition book for each one. Working titles written on the cover.

I even have one designated to short stories. I think I need an intervention.

Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I pick up at least 3 or 4 more. I have two blank ones, but I already have an idea for one more.

I'd love to work on more than one idea at a time, but I've tried doing that and it just all gets too jumbled. And more ideas start creeping in. So I'll just take my time and do one, complete it and move on.

How about you? How many stories can you work on at once?

Monday, March 23, 2015

How To Get Past That Block...

Got writer's block? Don't worry, you aren't alone. Every writer experiences it at one point or another.



The main thing is to keep moving, keep writing and get past that block!

How?

It's different for everyone. There have been times when I've had a block, and I stare at my computer screen until I go cross-eyed. Or, I'll avoid writing altogether and do something else, but that isn't productive. Because, I know, and most of you know, I won't write for a very long time.

You can't wait for inspiration to strike, you have to push past it, sort of like that runner's wall. If you're jogging and you hit that wall and stop every time, you won't improve. You won't further your distance. So you hit that wall, and you keep running. Eventually, it goes away.

So does writer's block.

I have spent time searching the internet for help, but there isn't much help out there, just advice.No one is going to give you a magical key or formula for bypassing this experience.

Find what works for you.

Here's what works for me, and yes, every time is different, but the one that works the most? Writing.

I'll go on Pinterest, type in "fantasy art" and start browsing. I write fantasy, so it helps me a lot. I'll find an awesome piece of artwork that inspires me and I'll write a piece of flash fiction for it. I'm getting quite the collection, because I found I enjoy this exercise very much.

I also have a book of 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder. I have it on my Kindle. I popped it open one night, went to the first real prompt, (because he included some freebies in the first few pages for previewing) and was immediately inspired to write a short story. So I finished that short story before I moved on to the next one. Now, not every single one of them is inspiring, to me, that is, but I am going to make an effort to write something off of every prompt. What was awesome, though, is just one prompt not only inspired a short story, I worked out some issues for a couple of my other projects I'm working on.

I will also listen to music or watch a fantasy movie. More often than not, I've got the soundtrack to so many fantasy movies queued up and ready to go. I have a Writing playlist on my iPod. I even subscribe to lots of musicians on Youtube. I will find fantasy music, plug into it, and start writing. There are days, though, when I don't have a lot of time. So I'll go to Youtube, find some "Epic Fantasy Music" that lasts an hour and hit play. When it's over, I step away from the writing if I have to. Otherwise, if I have time, I'll find something longer and keep going.

There are so many places to find inspiration. No matter what you write. It's up to you to find it!

So those are my helpful tips. These are things that work for me. Leave a comment and tell me what works for you! Maybe I'll try it.

Have a good week, all!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review of "Tea For Two" by Cheri Chesley...

Title: Tea for Two

Author: Cheri Chesley

Publisher: Chesley Books

File Size/Book Length: 2030kb/ 96 pages

ASIN: B00TQ2L2C8

Purchase: Amazon



About the Book:

He finds her intriguing, she finds him dangerous. Can Shannah protect a long held family secret from the persistence of her handsome employer?

The world of Eeryan is not unlike our own—kingdoms and principalities with rich histories of love, hate, vengeance, war, peace, epic battles, and natural disasters. There are diverse kingdoms to discover and vast land masses to traverse, as well as a Great Sea that essentially holds it all together.
In the land of Brundidge, so far across the Sea from kingdoms like Demarde and Fayterra as to be almost unheard of, there is no remaining magic. There is, however, a just king and stately queen, the right amount of heirs, and a love story that will warm your heart.

My Thoughts:

This was a super fast read, being a short story. Sadly, I started late at night and had to put it down, but couldn't wait to finish it.
Cheri Chesley's writing is fresh and imaginative. She paints the pictures of the scenes so easily and effortlessly.

This story, being a short story and a fantasy romance, is one of the best I've read. First of all, it's clean, meaning your teen or pre-teen could read it and it would be perfectly fine. There's no foul language or hardcore sexual scenes. Yet adults will love it, too. If you're looking for something that dips your toe into the world Cheri Chesley has created, it will certainly pull you in and pique your curiosity, so you'll want to read more.

Even for a short story, the characters are well developed. You get all the information you need about them in 96 short pages and it still leaves you wanting to read more. You want to continue learning about Shannah and Brenden's lives long after reading the final word.

My rating is totally five out of five Skull and Crossbones.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Final Scenes...

I'm well into the final scenes of "Veritas", book two in my trilogy. I've even sort of outlined them.

*Gasp!*

I know, right? This Pantser, outlining? Heaven forfend! (Really, spell-check? On forfend? It's in the dictionary!!!)

Anyway...

So like I said, hitting the end of book two and even have the majority of book three all planned out. Except the end. I think the voices in my head are keeping quiet on purpose. Waiting until I get there before revealing all to me.

Selfish much?

If any of you are on Pinterest, you can find me there. I have a board for my book with pictures of what most of my characters look like. Plus, I have a TON of fantasy art. I want to get back to my usual Friday posts, at the very least, but just show some of this fantastic artwork. I like the funnies, but hard to find ones that just about everyone will get and not go, "Huh?" over.

Any suggestions for an end of the week post? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your ideas!

Hope you all have a great weekend!



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Something For Writers...

Hey all! I hope you're having a good week so far.

Now, I usually don't push books on here unless I've reviewed them or someone has contacted me to join a virtual tour. Anything on my own is slightly unusual, but not unheard of. On that note, I want to share a book link with you all that has helped me SO much this weekend.

It's for this book right here:






You can find the e-book on Amazon for just .99 cents.

I read the introduction about a week ago, then put it down because it was late at night and I didn't want to get sucked in.

Then, the other night, I pulled it up again, just before bed and well, got sucked in. Ha!

I'm currently writing a short story based on the first prompt, I've figured out what to do with two other stories I've been mulling over in my brain for some time now and I haven't read this book beyond the first prompt.

I love it!

A friend of mine also downloaded it when it was on Bookbub listed as free and she's been working with the prompts just about every day. I've been handwriting the one short story and have been writing almost every day myself. It's helped me a lot. So, if you don't have it, give it a whirl. It's a good deal!

Have a good rest of your week!

Do you like writing prompts? Why or why not? Do you look for them in a book or online?

Monday, February 2, 2015

What I've Been Doing...

So I'm trying to get back into my writing groove. The whole tricking myself, or rewarding myself has been working. The other night I got an idea in my head and was watching TV, so I quick grabbed one of my many notebooks and wrote it down.

Now, I call these flash fiction pieces because they're super short and you get the idea of the story being told. It is helping me enhance my story-telling. I'm trying to get more in depth details of the surroundings as well as the people, because apparently that is something I am lacking. Which, is true, and I'm trying to change that.

The last piece I did with the pirate battle has been one of my best, so far. The one I wrote the other night is still in my notebook, but it's kind of sad, so I'll wait to share that one. So far, all of this has sparked my writing once more and I am trying to take the time to work on things.

I have a zombie story in my brain. It's basically a dystopian style, but it is definitely something I have never done before. I'm trying to figure out the tone of it all, but I think it would be a hit, especially if I can incorporate all the details I see in my mind's eye.

Wish me luck!

So what do you have waiting in the wings? What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whipping Myself Into A Routine...

I've decided that since I am spending far too much time on the internet and not enough time writing, that in order to get back into a routine, I've got to trick myself.

So I am making myself write before I do anything online, be it Facebook or gaming or whatever. It doesn't matter the amount, the length of time, or even content. I have to write before I "reward" myself with doing other stuff.

Jewelry has even been put off these days. Mainly because I don't have a good enough space to work on it. I can go back to my little T.V. tray, but at night, the lighting is not very good in the living room. So, until I get decent lamps, it's on hold. Which is all right. Writing is what I want to be doing, now that I have my computer desk. I have everything (well, almost everything) I used to have around me. My map is up on the wall, I have my index cards and index card files, I have my binders with all my notes... whoa, wait... Just realized my main binder is missing.

Crap.

I'll have to find that later.

For the most part, I have everything I need. So whether it be a blog post or flash fiction, or even some revisions, I've got to write something before I can have fun. Sounds reasonable, right? And if I was truly worried about getting into a game or something, this post would look like this:

"I'm rewarding myself for writing ANYthing so I can play Guild Wars 2. See ya."

Ha! But not only would that be cheating, I'd be cheating you out of the time you are taking to read this as well as cheating myself of some good quality writing time.

Did I mention it is also nice and quiet at my house? That's another reason for writing something. Love my granddaughter to bits, but she's hitting that age where she's learned the power of the screech. So I'll take what quiet time I can. Never realized before just how important that was to me.

The things you learn, right?

Hope you have had a good week so far and continue to have a good rest of the week.

What are some of the silly things you do to get yourself to write? Do you need noise or quiet? Music or silence?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Flash Fiction...

The long irons thundered around them and fire crackled like lightning. The screams of dying men filled the air like background music of some macabre symphony. Men fought in the water, between the two behemoth ships, unaware of the collision course. Just as two men swung into the air, cutlasses drawn, the bow of both ships connected with a resounding crack of wood that rose above the noise of the fight. More men lost their balance with the collision and were tossed mercilessly into the drink to fight for their lives as embers drifted down like fiery snow. The Captains, locked in combat on one ship, lurched at impact, but did not lose their footing.
"Now you owe me a ship, as well," Alyxsander snarled at his one time friend and crewmate.
"Me? It was your ship that ran into mine!" Rastuff growled back, incredulous.
"If you hadn't taken my gold, started a mutiny and tried to run off with my sister, we wouldn't even be here in the first place!"
The two men grappled, then pushed off of the other. Alyxsander parried a blow, then quick like a striking snake, pierced Rastuff's chest with a lunge.
Rastuff looked down at the blood that bloomed from his chest, soaking his shirt. His fingers loosened and his blade rang out one final time as it struck the deck. He crumpled to his knees, his eyes fixed on Alyxsander's face.
"She loved me," he whispered. "She came to me. I did not pursue her because you were my friend."
Alyxsander turned as pale as his former friend, eyes wide, as the man toppled to his side, dead..

~Artwork titled "Hellstorm" by Anastasia Bulgakova




Friday, January 16, 2015

Using Twitter To Your Advantage...

Even though I've been "radio-silent", I'm still reading stuff out there that is writing related. The one thing I keep seeing is using Twitter. Lots of people want to use it to help promote their writing and they should! I've blogged about this before, but I offered up a lot of info and might have overwhelmed people. I'm going to attempt to break it down even further. But this post might run long, so bear with me.

Just to be clear, Twitter isn't about who you are following, or about who is following you. That is important, because people following you will see all your Tweets. But those who are NOT following, can see them as well. How? Well, read on!

The very first thing you have to do is compose your Tweet.

Composing: You are only allowed a maximum of 140 characters. Not words. Characters. This is each letter, space and punctuation! If you are just starting to use Twitter, you're probably thinking, "How the hell can I communicate about my book with so few characters????".

The answer is: Creativity!! Trust me. It'll be fine. "But I don't want to sound like a caveman, either.". 

Well, you won't.

Here's my Tweet Trick: I write out what I want. Then I figure out a way to shorten it and then figure out which words should have a Hashtag. Then I add my book link. So, for example, I wrote out this Tweet:

Readers and Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing Dungeons and Dragons. You don't ever want to be without them.

Okay, now first of all, that is close to 140 characters. Left me with 11 characters to spare. Seriously, it will get irritating, but it will also get easier. But at the end of that Tweet, is my book link. Which was too long and made Twitter spaz out. So, I played around with the Hashtags to see if I could shorten it somehow.

First of all, you can search just about any Hashtag. Up in the upper right corner of Twitter, you'll see a SEARCH box. Your Tweet you are composing, it won't go anywhere, so go ahead, type in a search for a Hashtag word and then click on HOME to get back to what you were doing. I typed in #Dungeons and Dragons and discovered it was there, but without spaces. So it ended up looking like this:

#DungeonsandDragons

Which got rid of two characters and shortened my post by two. Now I have 13 to spare! Woohoo! But I still had to add in my book link. Well, I shortened that, too. How? Go to Bitly.com. You can shorten just about any link there to work with Twitter.

Now, after you have composed your Tweet, checked for Hashtags, shortened your book link and Twitter says, "Okay! You can Tweet this, now!", your Tweet should look like this:

#Readers and #Fantasy fans are like Cheetos and Mt. Dew while playing #DungeonsandDragons, you don't ever want to be without them. http://amzn.to/1dwb0ef
 

Hashtags: Hashtags (These little guys: #) are very useful when you are about to use Twitter. Just about everything you can think of has a # (hashtag). Hashtags allow you to reach a LOT of people . Especially Trending hashtags, but I'll get to those in a second. Like I said before, searching for a hashtag is easy. Type it in the search box and see what happens. If you don't see a lot of other Tweets with your hashtag of choice, don't use it. You want ones that seem to have a lot of posts. People use these hashtags in different context, but that doesn't mean they won't see it. And these people don't have to follow you, or you them, to see it. Anyone else searching for that specific hashtag can see your post.

In my Tweet, I've got three. So I've reached "Readers", "Fantasy" and "DungeonsandDragons" people. What's even cooler? I've had people I don't follow, or who don't follow me, "favorite" my Tweet (which is similar to "Liking" on Facebook) and I got the notification. If they like your Tweet, they can "ReTweet" what you've Tweeted. Which reaches people who follow them. So by adding in hashtags, you're reaching thousands more than just your followers.

Trending Hashtags: Now, Trending Hashtags are even more awesome than just a regular hashtag. To the left of your scrolling main screen of Twitter, you have "Trends". Most of these will have a hashtag, some will not. But if you are clever, and you are, because you are a writer, you can work these into your Tweets.

Right at this moment, I have a trend of "#FiveWordsToRuinADate". If I really wanted to, I could Tweet something like this:

"I'm fluent in Tolkien's Elvish might be #FiveWordsToRuinADate, but let your geek show anyway! #Read #fantasy! (booklink)"

And I did. Ha!

This is the basics of Tweeting on Twitter. If you don't want to go through all that hassle all of the time, I do recommend making a list of your best posts and keeping them handy in a Word document. Something you can just open up and copy and paste from. The Trending Hashtags will always change, so you'll have to keep making up new ones, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. You don't have to use the trending ones, but I highly suggest it, to reach more people.
 
So, now you know how to compose the Tweet, shorten the links, add hashtags and all that good fun stuff. Go forth and Tweet! Let me know how it works out for you. Also, let me know if this has helped you at all. I'd appreciate your feedback in the comments.

Got any advice? Any Tweet Tips? Leave a comment!