Goals: December 2017

November Nanowrimo went really well. Tamara and I finished our draft (81K) of The Seventh Symphony in two weeks, making a new record for us. With all these drafts in my hands, it looks like December and January will be months of revisions, my favorite part of writing.

In November my goals were:

  1. WRITE THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY first draft with Tamara-CHECK! We did it easily. Now the draft will stew while we revise the earlier book, The Eighth Octave, to match any changes needed due to the new branch of the story.
  2. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA, possibly titled Myra Justice-CHECK! I managed to get in about 8000 words on this, two chapters or so.
  3. Odds & Ends-CHECK! I got through a big push on the Alaska Essays editing project, getting through line edits. Now I’m heading into the photo editing part of the project, a whole new kind of problem solving for me.

December Goals:

  1. RIVER RUNNING REVISION with Tamara- We wrote Book Two in our Indigo Elements series in October. Now we need to revise Book One to mesh with it. We have a list of 26 items to fix or change, ranging from smaller, one sentence matters to larger, stickier ones such as magic system clarifications.
  2. LIGHT & SHADOW REVISION- I plan to take the second half of the month to work on Light & Shadow. I have not read it or looked at it in a few months, after doing a big revision and rewrite.
  3. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA- I’m going to continue drafting this new idea, though again, I don’t expect to get very far.
  4. ALASKA ESSAYS- I’m going to make a big push on the organizational edit for the Alaska Essays volume I am “producing.” It’s a diverse project that involves co-ordinating various writers, editors, and contributors. I’m glad for my work with Flashdogs that helped prepare me for this kind of project!

Another cover treat. Here’s a sample cover I made for The Eighth Octave (just for fun):

teo3

 

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Goals : November 2017

October proved to be an excellent writing month, as Tamara and I plunged into a Nanowrimo-before-Nano in order to draft the sequel to River Running in one month. After an early rocky patch, we pulled it off, and happily we now hold an 82,000-word draft of Wind Winging in our blistered hands.

Up next, we face the real National Novel Writing Month, during which we intend to write the sequel to The Eighth Octave. This book is titled The Seventh Symphony, and we are well prepared with an epic 19-page outline.

In other news, we have had some bites for River Running and The Eighth Octave from small presses. We are still deliberating about what the best direction will be for these two book-babies and their associated sequels, but expect some news someday in the near-ish future.

My October goals were:

  1. FINISH LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- CHECK! This was easy, as expected. Light & Shadow is now marinating until December, when it will come back into the line up for read-through and revision before being sent out for line edits.
  2. WRITE STONE SPEAKING first draft with Tamara. CHECK! We ended up renaming the book Wind Winging during the drafting process. 

My November goals will be:

  1. WRITE THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY first draft with Tamara- We plan to have a draft by Thanksgiving Day, ambitious women that we are.
  2. WRITE NEW BOOK IDEA, possibly titled Myra Justice- I don’t expect to have much time for this, but I’d like to at least get down a chapter or two. I have an outline, a few images, and an idea vaguely based on a (female) Thomas Cromwell-like character.
  3. Odds & Ends- I’m working on two related non-fiction editing projects having to do with rural life in Alaska, and Tamara and I are hoping to make some forward progress with the submissions for RR and TEO. Wish us luck!

And here’s a little treat for you–an attempt at a cover for River Running. This was just for fun. Eden Reign is a nom de plume Tamara and I made up to possibly use on our co-writes.

I’m always looking for ways to learn about photo-compositing in Photoshop. Can you guess what I worked on here?

RR1

Goals: October 2017

September was a strong and consistent month of writing for me. I’m nearly finished with my Light & Shadow rewrite and Tamara and I managed yet another small revision on The Eighth Octave after a revise & resubmit opportunity from one of the agents we pitched in New York.

In October Tamara and I have big plans to get a jump start on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, usually November) by writing our sequel to River Running, tentatively titled Stone Speaking. Can we write a whole book in a month, and then turn around and write a whole other book, the sequel to The Eighth Octave, tentatively titled The Seventh Symphony, in November? Two drafts in two months? Why not?

Last month my goals were:

  1. FINISH River Running AND The Eighth Octave REVISIONS and submit to requesting agents- CHECK. We are eagerly awaiting replies. We’ve had a few partial requests get bumped up to full MS requests, and we actually turned down an offer for publication that did not suit us last week. We hope for more news on our submissions this month.
  2. CONTINUE LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- CHECK I have only 2 chapters and an epilogue to go! I’ll finish the draft in October for sure.

 

October Goals:

  1. FINISH LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- Nearly there, this should be manageable.
  2. WRITE STONE SPEAKING first draft with Tamara. This will take up the bulk of my writing hours in October, but I look forward to the madness.

 

 

Goals : September 2017

Whew! What a whirlwind of a month August was. I experienced a highlight of my writing life when I went to NYC to meet my co-writer Tamara Shoemaker for the first but not last time, and we pitched our two co-written books to agents (with a cheering amount of interest!). The pitching was nerve-wracking, the conference was good, but the best thing was getting to meet Tamara face to face and enjoy four days in her company. It was a creative supercharge, and Tamara and I, after living like the (g)literati for four days, taking in Broadway shows and sipping prosecco at rooftop lounges, came home to a mad revision cycle on our books which have kept us occupied for hours a day since.

Needless to say, such excitement has befouled my August goals.

  1. FINISH LIGHT AND SHADOW REVISION- Nope, not even close. After the conference I had to shift my entire focus and all my time onto the books we needed to review for submission to our interested agents.
  2. FINISH MIDNIGHT OIL REVIEW/REVISION- Nope, see note to goal #1
  3. ATTEND WRITER’S DIGEST CONFERENCE AND PITCH THE EIGHTH OCTAVE!! CHECK! It was a blast and very successful, too.
  4. VARIOUS EDITING AND FORMATTING PROJECTS. CHECKI did keep on top of these. My favorite thing is formatting on an airplane. It’s  good activity to throw on the headphones and pass the time.

 

In September I shall:

  1. FINISH River Running AND The Eighth Octave REVISIONS and submit to requesting agents- This is sure to occupy most of my writing time.
  2. CONTINUE LIGHT & SHADOW rewrite/revision- I probably won’t finish, but I want to at least make some progress.
  3. And that’s it! Back to just a few goals so I don’t keep missing my CHECKS.

 

 

 

Interview by Mark A. King

Mark asked me some fun questions about Mage and Source and other various topics over on his blog. Read the full interview here: https://makingfiction.com/2017/07/23/mage-and-source/. Yu’ll get to see a few images ideas for Gante, as well as my soundtrack pics for the book’s opening scene.

Enjoy!

 

Fan Art Friday: Week 2

I’ve finally found a regular blog feature that I love doing. It’s FAN ART FRIDAY!

In fact, I was so excited about FAN ART FRIDAY that I completely forgot that my book release is today, too. Yep, today is Mage and Source‘s book day! So before I get into the fun of fan art, have a look at Mage and Source over at Amazon, and order your ebook or print version today!

Get Mage and Source here!

Thank you!

Also, all three earlier books are now only $.99!

Ok, now onto the main course, FAN ART covers for awesome indie books.

This week I have two polar opposites as my fan art exemplars, and it’s the fact that they’re entirely different from one another that brought me to present them together. One is a stark black-and-white graphic style, the other is sparkly, colorful, and cinemaplex-bright.

For your viewing pleasure, this week I have covers for Metropolitan Dreams, a New Weird novel by Mark A. King, and for Hex Breaker, a YA-fantasy by Taryn Noelle Kloeden.

How did I end up with two such opposite projects? Well, one of my goals in making my fan art is to represent the book as I see it–and as differently as I can from the real cover. Mark’s original cover by Tamara Rogers was a lush, cinematic extravaganza of color and delight. So I decided to make him a stark black-and-white cover image that still captured one of the elements I loved about his book: the play of dualities and polarities in his themes and images. Here’s what I came up with:

metdreams

Mark’s book is set in London, and so I made this silhouette image of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which has a cameo in the book, and then reflected it to suggest at those dualities that are so central in his story (light/dark, above/below, past/future). The central “railroad” that separates the text also has something to do with the story, but you’ll have to go read the book to find out what!

Up next, Taryn’s real Hex Breaker cover is a restrained, grown-up, greyscale illustration, so I decided to make her a bright, colorful, teenage-movie-poster-style cover mishmash similar to Tamara Shoemaker’s original  covers for her YA Fantasy series. I also wanted to experiment with text effects, namely beveling and embossing.

Here’s my Hex Breaker fan art:

HB1

I ended up only keeping a very light bevel on the text. Some of you with sharp eyes may see that I re-used the nebula image from some of last week’s fan art here, too.

So, two covers, two completely different directions. Which style do you like best? Graphic black-and-white or bold bright color?

 

 

Maps

I drew a map of Galantia, the High City, to include in Mage and Source. I think it will go well with the two other maps, one of Lethemia and one of the East, drawn by my friend Jermey Jensen (see his maps below, labeled “Lethemia” and “The East”).

All the maps are hand-drawn.

I also drew a map of Solmari (last map), another fantasy world that I co-wrote with Tamara Shoemaker (that book is called The Eighth Octave). Tamara and I are currently tweet pitching The Eighth Octave in various forums over on Twitter.

galantiamap2 copy

LethemiaMap

THeEastSterling copy

solmari copy