Rose Circus – Legacy of the Fae, Book 1

Rose CircusI’m trying something a little different with the first book of my newest series. I’m publishing it on Wattpad a chapter at a time before I start editing it. This freaks me out a little bit, but I figure it’s good to try things that scare you.

The first draft is finished, but there are a couple of little story changes I’ll be making as I post. I’m excited to share this new book in this format before I publish it later this summer or early fall.

You can follow the link here to read it on Wattpad.

Make sure you follow me on Wattpad so you get updates about new chapters!

My Editing Process

It’s editing time again!

Editing is my least favorite part of writing, which makes sense. I’m guessing most writers write to create new worlds and live in new stories. When you stop to edit, you aren’t creating anything new. I even took a break from Illaria, thinking I’d finish one more new book in a different series before I started editing. However, the completed Illaria book is calling to me.

This book was finished in November. That’s right. It’s been sitting there, waiting since November. When I started writing a short story from Max’s point of view, I ended up down a rabbit hole that became Oracle of Illaria. Now, I’m in the position where I need to make sure the second book I wrote – which is now book 3 in the series – fits with the world. Thankfully, this book started 2 months after Heir of Illaria ended so there was room in between.

So where does that leave me now? Starting the editing process for Book 3.

Everyone has a different process and I’ve found it interesting to see how other authors go about this stage. So I figured I’d share what I do. Here’s how it goes down:

  1. Create a Kindle File of the book and read the entire thing for content. At this stage, I try to read the book the way a reader would. Looking for any plot holes, places I skipped things, or need to add more info. Really, anything that would leave a reader confused if I didn’t put it in there. Notes in this section are minimal. Unless it’s a major problem, I don’t allow myself to make notes during this stage.
  2. Print the whole thing. Yikes. It’s a big document. I print it out and get it bound at Kinkos in a nice little sprial thing. It looks official and makes me feel like it is complete. Kind of a nice part of my process.
  3. Red pen time. I read it again, on paper this time, and make notes on everything major. I make notes on plot issues, places to add detail or remove unnescessary things, and any grammer / usage / sentence structrue things that are too big to ignore. However, I try not to do much with the grammar, etc. stuff at this stage. This is just notes to myself. I don’t actually fix things here.
  4. Back to the computer. Time to add in my notes from the paper into the actual draft. This is where I actually type in the changes. While I’m doing this, I might even catch more things to fix.
  5. Read through on the computer to check for grammar, punctuation, spelling, typos, etc.
  6. Send to editor. In the past, I’ve done two rounds with an editor, with me making changes in-between before sending it for proof-reading. This time, I will be doing just one round with the editor.
  7. Make changes based on editor recommendations.
  8. Create updated kindle file – read through for any typos.
  9. Send copies to proof-readers.
  10. Make corrections based on proof-reader comments.
  11. Format for Kindle again. Send to ARC team.

Note: I didn’t create a step for my procrastination blog post….looking back, I’ve noticed that I write a lot more blog posts while editing. So, I suppose that’s part of my process, too!

Oracle of Illaria – Sneak Peek

Oracle-of-Illaria-GenericI wanted to share a scene from Oracle with you all as we prepare for its release next week. I’m so excited about this book! It was tough to choose a favorite scene that wasn’t too much of a spoiler. The scene I’m sharing with you is one of my favorite in the whole book. When I wrote the last line, I got chills. That’s one of the amazing things about writing. When it is going well, there’s nothing like it. I hope you enjoy the scene and I can’t wait for the book’s release! Less than 1 week!

 

Sneak Peek from Oracle of Illaria

The silence was deafening and goosebumps rose on my arms. Thousands of people had gathered. All of them were quiet. I’d never seen a crowd this large before and couldn’t figure out how they all unified enough to wait for me to speak.
Say something, Etta. Swallowing back my fear, I stepped toward to the front of the platform. I lifted my chin and pushed my shoulders back. I needed to feel in control somehow.

“The king is hunting me. You’ve seen my face on the posters.” I waited a moment, expecting the crowd to react. Instead, they stayed silent. “The king is afraid of me. And he should be.” When nobody spoke, I continued. “Because I am the true heir to the throne. Rightful Queen of Illaria. And I will reclaim my throne. We will have peace again in Illaria. You have my word.”

I stared out at the crowd, feeling defiant, powerful, strong. “He can come for me, but I will fight.”

The crowd erupted in applause and cheers. I took a deep breath, trying to make the knots in my stomach subside. It was not easy to speak in front of people but I knew it was part of the job. And I’d accepted the position the night I sent Max away.

Movement in the back of the crowd drew my eye and I strained to see over the heads of the gathered people. A large group of King’s Guards were pushing their way through.

“Etta!” Celeste was behind me, a sword in her hand. I took it from her and stood my ground, waiting for the guards to come to us.

They never drew nearer, though. The crowd was pressing in on them, pushing them away from the platform. A murmur rose and grew to a chant. “Down with the king, down with the king.”

I lowered my sword and watched in awe as the people of Campari fought back against the guards. They outnumbered them and the guards were fleeing the square. Another cheer rose through the crowd and I joined in, fist in the air, crying out in unison with the crowd.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The people were turning. Down with the king.

On Editing Oracle of Illaria

For some reason, writing the second book in the Illaria series has been harder than anything else I’ve written. Keep in mind book three is already written and stands at 100k words (it may be getting some cuts). That might be why it was so tough. I had to fit this story in-between two already existing works. I’m also feeling a bit of pressure because I want this book to be just as exciting and fun to read as my first book in the series. Second books are tough to write!

But, I prevailed!

The first two drafts are finished and now it’s time to move on to draft 3. In this part of the process, I use the feedback and notes provided by my editor. Her notes are tough for this book. At least they feel that way. It could be that this book scares me a bit because it’s been such a challenge to write. But whatever the cause, it’s time to get over that and move on.

After a week away from writing, I opened her notes so I can begin the next round of editing. Draft 3 will officially be underway this evening! Then, it will head to the editor again for a second round and I’ll do it all over again. Editing is my least favorite part of writing a book. To help motivate me and get me through it, I set up a pre-order for it before edits were finished. By doing this, I created a hard deadline. My first book took 4 months to edit and much of that was procrastination. I know I can do it faster. So cheers to the process. The sooner I finish, the sooner I can get back to doing the fun part – writing a new story!

Oracle of Illaria

Oracle-of-Illaria-GenericIt has a cover! It has a title! Book 2 of the Illaria Series has officially launched for pre-order! It will be released on May 30, 2017 and I am so excited to share the next book in the saga with you all. This book has been the most difficult one for me to write so far and I’m very excited that it’s in the final editing stages. Then, I get to tackle book 3 – but that’s another post.

I’m celebrating with a few giveaways – check out TeacherofYA’s Book Blog for details!

Finished First Drafts – TWO Books!

First, I want to start this post by saying thank you to those who have been supportive. It is crazy hard to put your work out there in the world for all to see and all to judge. For those of you are going along on this ride with me, thank you for believing in me and believing in Illaria.

On to book 2 – I wrote the second book in the Illaria series in the four months following the completion of the first book. I even got to finish during NaNoWriMo (I know, I cheated a bit and continued work on a work in progress instead of starting something new…but I guess I’m a bit of a rebel that way).

After finishing that beast of a book (105,000 words!) I started to work on a short story for in between the books for fun. The story was written from Max’s perspective and was supposed to be a short story. It grew. Sadly, the Max portion has now been cut, but what came from that story evolved into a new book 2, making the original book 2 into book 3. Still with me?

When I stopped typing at the coffee shop I was writing in on Thursday night and realized I was finished, I was wrapping up book 2 with book 3 already written. Both books are shorter now, some of the original book 2 found its way into the new book 2. And they are both ready for editing! I’ve got a deadline with my editor for this week – yikes! My cover artist is also scheduled for this week to start working on the cover! Can you believe it?

If all goes according to schedule, and I can limit my sleep, I’m hoping to be able to share book 2 with all of you by the end of March. Stay tuned for updates on pre-orders and all that fun stuff.

Tales of Illaria: Max and Saffron

It’s here! The first prequel novella in the Illaria series is finished and available for download. It will be free from February 14th – 21st. It’s my Valentine to all of you!  Want to learn more about how Max and Saffron met? This is the beginning of their story. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

Follow this link to get your free copy today!

On Writing Heir of Illaria: Part 1

When you tell people you wrote a book, one of the surprisingly common responses is “I’ve always wanted to write a book!”,  followed with a variety of excuses as to why they can’t write a book. Ignoring the excuses that come across as condescending, there are often some pleas for help buried in their excuses. Writing a book is on a lot of people’s bucket list, but it isn’t easy. Now that I have finally published my first novel, I can tell you, it was was worth the pain and tears it took to make it into a finished product.

The story of how this book came to be is littered with a series of incomplete manuscripts that will probably never find their way off of my hard drive. And that’s okay. In fact, the version of this book that saw the light of day is miles away from the first outline I wrote in 2011. All books have  a different path from idea to completion. There is not one way to go about it. Some writers can take an idea to completion in weeks. Yes. Weeks. Others take years. Some take a lifetime. Often, it’s hard to tell the difference between the books that were written quickly and those that took years once they’ve been through proper editing.

So how did Heir of Illaria go from idea to finished novel? For me, it began as a dream. (Yes, I know. Just like Stephanie Meyer. But that’s how it happened.) I had a dream about siblings who were kidnapped and had to escape. They were fleeing an evil king because they were the rightful heirs to the throne – though they didn’t know they were. If you’ve read my book, you can see the foundation for the story that would come later. The original outline was typed up five years before the book was finished and it evolved a lot between drafts and had a lot of starts and stops. It isn’t the same story that I ended up writing, but it was my starting place.

I tried writing it for a while, but at that time, I didn’t yet know anything about how to write a book. I dabbled. And that’s okay. It works for some people. It didn’t work for me. Eventually, I put it down for a couple of years…and had a baby…and didn’t write for a while. Life happens.

After I figured out how to juggle working while being a mom (which took about two years) I started to write again. I attempted, and failed to complete my first NaNoWriMo. I needed help. So I joined RMFW and started to learn about writing as a craft.

I was working on two novels when I joined my first critique group. Illaria, and a dystopia that will never see the light of day. After my first chapter for Illaria was ripped apart at critique, I focused on my dystopia for a few months. (Critique group disclaimer: Yes, you need one. Yes, they will criticize your work. That’s how you get better. Yes, it can be painful, but you get over it.)

Anyway, dystopia…I did not have an outline, and eventually wrote myself into a plot hole I couldn’t write my way out of. While talking through the plot with my writing friends, we ended up talking through Illaria, too. I found that that story  was much more developed and I created an updated outline that changed a lot of what I already had written. The new outline made me excited to write. The dystopia went into a drawer, where it will probably stay – and I went back to Illaria, which at the time was titled The Kingdom. Good, right?

Which meant, I started over. Like throw out the first 15,000 words, over. In the grand scheme of a novel, that’s not the worst that could happen – it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Because I jumped in with both feet and I went for it. I wrote every single day. And finished that draft in 6 weeks. SIX weeks. To finish something I’d started 5 years earlier. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

So what changed from when I was struggling to write to when I finally finished my novel? The big thing was support. I joined a writing organization, joined a critique group, and started to learn from other writers. I started to learn about writing and learned about HOW to write. In my next post, I’ll share some of the stratgies that I learned that allowed me to write a strong outine and increase my word count. Also, mindset. But that’s a big one that I’m not ready to tackle yet.

 

520,000 Words for 2017

2017

Happy New Year!

A new year is a good time to evaluate your current goals and set new ones. I tend to think of the year as beginning in August since I am a teacher, but I’m a big fan of goal setting so when it comes to setting goals for 2017, I’m in.

So welcome, 2017, it’s going to be an amazing year! This year, my focus is on my writing. Last year, I took the leap and started telling people that I was spending free time working on writing projects. I’d kept that a secret for years, afraid that I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t a “real” writer. By sharing what I was doing with my family and friends, I started to view myself as a writer. I joined a critique group in April and started sharing what I wrote with strangers. Those strangers are now my friends and they have supported me through finishing two manuscripts. As somebody with a hard drive full of abandoned work, that was a huge accomplishment.

This year is going to be an even more amazing writing year for me. I am publishing my first book in a few weeks and working on a third manuscript. By the end of the school year, I will have the first three books in my first series written – and published.

To help reach all of my goals this year, I set deadlines for myself. As an indie author, I don’t have deadlines unless I create them. To accomplish what I want to, I need deadlines. I printed out blank calendars (Google Calendars are pretty great) and spread them out on a table. I then added deadlines for first, second, and third drafts for the books I plan to write in the next six months. I even added in when I’ll need to schedule in my editor. She’ll be getting an e-mail from me this week to set up the dates. That gives me an extra push on my deadlines as she’ll be expecting me. My covers are already booked with my designer. So it’s all on me now to write the words.

With a full time job and a family, it is a challenge to find time for everything. Something has to give. For me, it’s TV and long distance runs. I intend to get back into running but I won’t train for anything longer than a 10k. I just don’t have the time.

So where do the half-million words come in? To accomplish everything on my list, I have to write. A lot. I’ve set a goal of writing a minimum of 10,000 words each week. On good weeks, I hope to hit closer to 15,000 words. The 10,000 mark is the “you can’t go to sleep until you reach that word count” goal. That is about 5-6 hours of writing time per week – I can do that.  I encourage you to set a goal that is just a little out of reach. Something that feels attainable but pushes you outside your comfort zone to reach it.

And, here’s where I apologize in advance to my husband. I foresee a lot of evenings where I’m attached to my keyboard ahead this year. Thank goodness he’s a fan of my work. Find what works for you and make it happen. Happy 2017!

Do you have writing related goals for 2017? I’d love to hear them!

Seeking Readers

72-dpi-cover-1I’m getting ready to launch my first book and am looking for a few people who would be willing to read it and post a review on Amazon. Below is a description of my book. If it sounds like something that you’d like to read, I’d love to have you on my team!

Heir of Illaria – Book One of the Illaria Series
In Illaria, there is a fate worse than death.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to fear the Necromancer King. He controls the kingdom of Illaria with dark sorcery and the constant threat of his undead army. I never thought I’d have reason to cross his path. Everything changed the day his guards tried to kill me. That’s when I found out my whole life has been a lie. By joining a resistance group called the White Ravens, I’ve claimed new roles. Princess of Illaria, sorceress in training, and threat to the Necromancer King.

If you are interested in joining my Advanced Review Copy (ARC) team and getting first dibs on my books, please fill out this form.