Beyond the Waterfall: Published!

It’s done.

It’s finally, finally, finally, finally done.

Words cannot express how happy I am to have Beyond the Waterfall finally in the Amazon.com “review” process. I’ll be doing another post as soon as I find that the book it actually live, providing everyone with links and everything.

For now, it’s going to be an exclusive Kindle publication.

Wow…finally done.

It’s ironic. Jenn Hunt, who’s an amazing professional editor, did the final edits for me. And do you know where I went through them? Mission Viejo Library, the inspiration for the McKinley Heights Library in Waterfall. But for the record, all the drama and stuff was completely fictional, hence the name change. I do love that library.

It’s been a very long week for me. More mounts and fun in WoW and I got to attend the Cinematic Premiere for WoW: Warlords of Draenor. That was pretty damn cool. Even got to shake hands with Mike Morhaime at a New Hire Mixer that night. What I love about him is that he seems like a really normal guy. I suspect he actually is and I secretly wonder if he’s as astounded by Blizzard’s growth as everyone else was back in the day.

I love this darn company. Love it.

It’s been a very long week but with the publishing of Waterfall, it’s finally over.

My next writing project is to finish the rewrite of Stormhaven. And then? I think it’s time to go back to Taylin and get that ready to actually rock and roll. But for tonight, it’s a time to finally slow down and enjoy myself.

So have a PMV!

Good luck and have fun everyone!

I’ll post tomorrow most likely with links!

-rks

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Distortions in Reality

I hope you’ll excuse my lack of a post last week. Things remain extremely difficult for me at the moment. Emotions can be quite overpowering, quite overpowering indeed. The panic attacks have not stopped. Indeed, I seem to be getting them more often, but also getting them at very strange times, like after good social events. It doesn’t make sense to me. But what else is new? Emotions are not logical or rational.

But let’s talk about the writing shall we?

I’ve actually made some progress lately. I did another edit of “Beyond the Waterfall” and I hope I get the time tomorrow to actually finish the edits I’ve been doing. I’ve been sitting on it for too long. Some folks have had the chance to give me critiques and reviews, some have become too busy. And that’s okay. Life happens. But I know I’ve waited too long already. This was supposed to be out at the end of January.

So…let’s just put this on the books, shall we? I’m aiming for next Sunday for the release date, if not sooner.

Steam and Magic is slowly progressing. I managed to have a single day with 910 words, which was a personal best lately. The emotional state continues to drain my creative energy…and I haven’t found an effective way to combat that. The discipline I had before I returned to work seems to have crumbled in the wake of my new responsibilities…namely dealing with both Tali and Caitlyn. Harder than I expected…especially lately as Tali has become almost insanely fussy at times. *Sigh* Such is the life of a parent of a 4-month-old.

The OC Inklings is going very well. People seem very happy with it. And I got to meet some of those I hadn’t met in person this last Thursday when Laura had a shift that allowed me to attend the Lake Forest Panera Bread Write-In. I think that was the 910 day. There’s also potential for another story of mine to be launched sometime in April. But it felt so good to actually get to go to my writing group. I’ve missed it terribly. There’s something so energizing about meeting face to face with other writers, even helping other writers with different perspectives on their work.

Job wise? Nothing to report, sadly. Nothing at all.

I don’t really have a lot else to say personally. I have no desire to dump my depression issues onto the internet and subject you to such things. Well, there’s a little bit of a desire, but I’m not going to do it.

However, I do want to share something close to me. You all know the story of Michael Morones and his struggle after his attempted suicide at the end of January. I just searched for an update on him…and was shocked to see my initial blog post the SEVENTH entry under a Google search for his name. Good Lord, didn’t see that coming. How many people have read that post?

Anyway, that’s not what this is about. I wanted to share the latest update, taken directly from MichaelMorones.org:

***Update from Michael’s Mom***: As of late, we have not posted an in-depth update about Michael. Not because we don’t want to share, but because we have been busy and I have become a little shy about what we share because some people have said very unkind things. But I really want to share with you guys! So, here we go!

Michael has been making huge strides. For you and I, they are things that seem small and simple, but we have to keep in mind that Michael has brain damage and everything is huge for Michael. We DO NOT know if he can see. We suspect he has SOME vision, but to what extent, we just don’t know yet. He has a neurological condition that is common with his brain injury called myoclonus. What this means is that his brain and spinal cord are working to reconnect, but the transmission of signals has a bit of static so he shivers or when startled, jerks uncontrollably. This could resolve in time, get better or never go away. The brain is going to heal to some extent or completely, we just do not know. Only time and patience will help us see where it will go. Michael is not speaking, yet, and he may or may not be able to. We are trying to start the very long process of weaning him from the trachea. It may or may not be successful, but we are incredibly hopeful that it will be. During physical therapy, Michael will sometimes hold his head for a few seconds, but more often than not needs support for his entire body. As you could see in the video, we believe that he hears and comprehends, but to what extent or how delayed his reactions are we don’t know. Only time will help us know these things.

So what does this all come down to? Michael, for the foreseeable future and according to doctors, will need medical care and will be dependent on others for the rest of his life. While he is FAR beyond where they saw him being on the night of January 23 when he attempted suicide, he is a LONG way from being where he was on January 22.

Our lives, not just Michael’s, will never be the same. Something terrible and tragic happened, and you just can’t go back to like it was before. But out of this tragedy, something wonderful will rise. My son is still alive against the odds. A community of people full of acceptance and love for a complete stranger has come together. Not only to support Michael, but also each other. It is a truly amazing thing, and will only continue to grow and get bigger. The love and strength from all of you in the GUMC Community, the Brony community and the human race in general has kept me going for Michael. The moments I have felt weak, or simply not good enough for this task set before me were when all of your cards, comments and well-wishes kept me going. I will make sure that something good will come from this, that Michael will always be safe and loved. Thank you everyone for your love, support, prayers and positive thoughts.

Hugs and loves,
Tiffany
#TeamMightyMichael

This is a wonderful thing. There have been a few YouTube videos showing his recovery…but I can’t bear to watch them. Because I’m worried I’ll start crying and won’t be able to stop. You can check out one of them at Equestria Daily’s Post.

Anyway, as life continues for me…I understand this kid more than I ever expected to.

But let’s stop for something fun. It’s PMV time folks. If you’re a gamer, you’ll love this.


Until next time folks. Good luck and have fun.

-rks

A Mixed Bag

This week has…you guessed it…been a bit of a mixed bag.

I’m starting to actually make some progress with “Steam and Magic,” but it is slow, very slow. The frustration and depression have pretty much sapped my creativity to the point where I have next to nothing. However, during the course of the week, I’ve found some inspiration in these short beginnings I’ve called “Fragments.”

A fragment is a lot like it sounds. It’s usually a beginning of a story. Something random. Depending on my mood, something often combat related. I might post a few of them later. I might turn them into short stories or even novels someday. Not really sure what I’m going to do with them. I’ve even made a little progress just today with Steam and Magic itself.

I’ve spent some time plotting out the overarching story of Steam and Magic, but I’m concerned I’m not getting enough of it really into beginning. I’m already 107,000 words into the story and I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s really at stake in these novels. However, that is something I can “fix in post.” So I’m pushing myself forward.

The OC Inklings is also going pretty well. I’m getting some great feedback for my own work and I think everyone else is really enjoying it too.

I have some possible help coming in the whole work thing. Some generous individuals have offered to come to my aid. I’m hoping that good things will come of it, but at the moment, I’m keeping things on the down-low.

Let’s see…what else?

Oh, Laura and I had a pretty good Valentine’s Day, which was actually done on the 15th, Laura’s birthday. After leaving Tali and Caitlyn with the wonderful babysitter Chelsey, who used to watch Caitlyn when she was much smaller, we headed out to this great little Italian place named Maggiano’s. After an excellent dinner there, we headed over to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa to for the Valentine’s Day Special starring Matthew Morrison, or better known as Will Schuester, the optimistic and charming teacher on “Glee.”

We started with a good old symphony orchestra from our seats in the nosebleed section (I actually had vertigo when we first got up there!). And the songs played were:

Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah (this was freaking great, adventurous sounding too!)
Love is a Many Splendored Thing
All the Things You Are
Someone to Watch over Me (Very sweet)
Suite from Father of the Bride (Beautiful, especially the way the wedding march was woven into the piece)
Stuermisch in lieb und taenze, op. 393 – “Tempestuous in love and dance”

But the real treat was Morrison himself. He was hysterical and brilliantly talented. He did all sorts of things such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Luck be a Lady Tonight” and the excellent “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” Laura and I both loved it. It was a spectacular performance, even though we were way up in the rafters. He ended the night with “Sway with Me,” “Singing in the Rain” and finally did a duet version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with a student from his former school (which was wonderful.).

In the end, it was a very good night, something that I think Laura and I both needed desperately. Some time to actually enjoy ourselves together without juggling two children.

There’s not a lot else to tell right now. I’m sorry, but it’s been one of those weeks. I’ve been fighting panic attacks and depression a lot of the time and that’s made things hard on my writing. Thankfully, I’m on the path to getting help.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying/fighting the whole Skyrim mod thing. I’ve probably gone just a bit nutty with the level of Mods, forcing me to get various managers and such to work them out. It’s a huge challenge, but since it’s something new and deals a bit with programming, I don’t mind as much.

And now, just for fun, I’m going to post a Fragment called “Dungeon Fight”

The blade clattered to the cold stone at our dancing feet. The iridescent runes vanished on impact, casting half of the decrepit room into darkness. I followed up with a two handed strike at the creature’s head. The Raket slapped away the blow with one of its iron claws as if I was a child.

The second blow I didn’t even see coming, but it sent me flying across the room and into a musty, half-rotted bookshelf. Bits of moth-eaten leather and paper cascaded around me as the creature roared in defiance.

I didn’t hesitate, instantly taking advantage of the pause. I slammed my right open palm into the ground and the blast of shadow propelled me to my feet. It would take a moment for the nightglove to recharge, but I didn’t waste the time. I gripped my main hand blade, a twin of the one on the other side of the room and rushed the feral Raket.

Bulging muscles under thick greasy fur tensed as I swung my weapon at its neck. All four of its eyes tracked the movement, but it still wasn’t ready for the feint. It swung, but I was a hair quicker, twisting the arc of my blow away from the neck and down toward the legs in a great sweep. The thing hadn’t been ready for such an odd attack and screamed as Gemheart’s icy edge bit into muscle and sinew.

I rolled with the swing, creating a great gash that forced the creature to stumble and took a moment to grab my fallen blade. As soon as my hand closed around the hilt, I felt the nightglove connect with the ebony heart built into the crosshilt and the runes sprang to life again, pushing back the darkness.

I popped my neck and fell into the Esar stance, holding each blade out in front of me, swinging them around in my hands to keep the creature focused on the right thing.

It turned and bellowed, favoring its right leg. I eyed the glowing keystone around its neck. It was the last piece I needed to open the great gantry beyond the ancient library.

It came at me flailing, maddened by the gash in its leg. I dodged left, using a half pulse of shadow from my left nightglove. It wasn’t much, just enough to get me clear of those claws and to land a double slice across the monster’s side. Blood dripped from the wounds when the beast crashed into the thick lichen-covered stone.

I pressed the attack and struck hard with Gemheart, slamming the blade into the creature’s shoulder. It howled in agony and backhanded me, but I saw it coming and infused a shadow-grip, using the weapon buried in the Raket’s side to keep me there.

I was quicker this time, using both blades to cut the tendons above the feet. The earsplitting shriek deafened me, but it didn’t stop me.

And finally, for my own entertainment above anything else, it’s time for a PMV.

That’s it for this week folks.

Good luck and have fun.

-rks

Dreams with Deadlines

Dreams with Deadlines

This blog is sort of my public journal of sorts. I honestly don’t know how many people actually read it. I know some read it by email subscription and a very small few actually come to the main page. I just added Google+ and LinkedIn, but I don’t know if that’s really going to matter or not. I’ve shared a lot of thoughts on this blog since I became serious about it. A lot of thoughts on writing, my progress, gaming, Caitlyn, Talissa and a lot of other things. 

But in the end, -rks is a writing blog. It’s about my journey to becoming a full-fledged author. To becoming a published author. One day, I hope someone will be interested enough to go into the archives and read posts like these to find out how I made it as an author.

Why am I doing this blog? Sometimes, I don’t really know. Part of it is that I know I’m supposed to. I’m supposed to do a blog. That’s what authors do these days. I know most of the time I’m talking to myself. But somehow, I’m okay with that. I’m one of those people who tend to figure out things as I write them. It’s one of the ways I think. So if I ramble, it’s probably because I’m trying to work something out. Part of it is because I hope that I might somehow find a community out there where I fit in. Part of it is because I can.

Why am I saying all of this?

Because in about a week, my Baby Bonding Time will be at an end. And that means my time at home is at an end. I haven’t worked at Apple since the middle of September due to my panic attacks and the birth of Talissa. Very soon, I’ll be going back.

I’ve been thinking a bit about what that means. About what that means for my daily writing goals. About what that means for the OC Inklings Critique Group. About what that means for me as a person. About what that means for my future.

The conclusion is one that I’ve already come to, but somehow it seems different now.

In 2011, I won Honorable Mention in the Blizzard Global Writing contest, the last one they ever did (the person who spearheaded it was laid off during that Winter, sadly). For me, that was the proof I needed that I could write. And I could write pretty damn well. Enough that out of the thousands or maybe even tens of thousands of entries, mine warranted a “Honorable Mention.” That I could take characters who were not my own and create a believable story enough for the people who originally crafted the world…that was a major milestone in my writing life. Since that event, the little voice in my head telling me that I can’t write has had no power over me. Because I had the proof that I can do this.

In the last three months, I’ve learned a lot about writing. I’ve learned a lot about networking and that “Ashes over Stormwind” was not a fluke. “Beyond the Waterfall,” the first story submitted to the OC Inklings, was 9,000 words. The assigned goal for critiquing was 3,000. Nearly everyone burned past the 3,000 mark and just finished the story. They were so interested in the events of this short story that they read their required reading twice over.

The results? Overwhelming positive. Reviews on “A Glimmer of Perspective?” Overwhelmingly positive. Comments regarding “Soul of the Scribe?” Overwhelmingly positive.

A while back, I decided I wanted to be an author for real and I wrote an extensive post on it.

As I head back to my normal day job, I’m realizing that’s exactly what it is: a normal day job. A vast majority of authors have to hold down the standard day job to make ends meet as they worked on their craft. And as I go back to Apple, that is my new mindset. I will do my job to the best of my ability. I will search for ways to push myself and learn all I can. Because places like Apple are ripe for stories. Not necessarily because of the events that happen, but in watching the way people interact with and react to one another. Coworkers, customers, managers, kids, regionals, Geniuses, salespeople…I can learn from this place and it can make my craft better.

What I believe my greatest story, “Soul of the Scribe” which spawned the “Crafters of Taylin” universe with 5 books and over 300,000 words (or more) started while I was sitting in my car on my lunch break on a hot summer’s day, staring at the screen because I was bored with the story I’d been working on and wanted something new. So I started with that. An author with writer’s block on a hot day. That became what I believe to be my masterpiece.

My passion is for writing. And one day, I hope to pursue that passion full-time. But until then, I must remember that the environments around me are what show me human interactions, which is almost always at the core of any good story.

So what does this all mean? It sounds all really fancy and hypothetical and theoretical and a lot of other -reticals.

Well, Saddleback Church is going through a series called Transformed. Heh, ironic, considering what I write, right? (Pun mildly intended there). And the lesson today was about goals. Pastor Rick Warren said that the difference between a Dream and a Goal is a Goal is a Dream with a Deadline.

So what’s my Dreams with Deadlines?

By January 27, 2014, I will have “Beyond the Waterfall” ready to go up on Kindle.

By June 1, 2014, I will have at least one novel ready to shop to traditional publishers.

By October 1, 2014, I will have a second novel ready to shop to traditional publishers.

Every week, I will continue running the OC Inklings Critique Group.

And by 2019, five years from now, I will be making enough income from my published works to pursue writing full time.

There are many who might say a few of these goals are impossible or absurd. Way too high. Especially the last one. I’ve got to be crazy right? Well, part of the whole goal this is that it stretches your faith. I can’t do this alone. I don’t have the self-discipline, I don’t have the self-control. I need God to help me…and I need writing friends to help me.

If anyone would like to be a writing buddy of mine and you’ve actually gotten this far, please let me know. I’ll tell you about my ideas.

But the true challenge? Tomorrow morning. It’s easy to make big plans in blogs. It’s easy to do big promises. And then I need to actually do the editing I need to do. It’s hard. I hate editing. But it has to be done. It has to go through that process. I need to do that work. Which is why I’ll spend some time tonight working on my critiques for “Beyond the Waterfall” after I’ve done my personal journal.

By the way, did you know I write 2000 words a day in my current work and another 1500-2000 words a day in my journal? 4,000 words a day. That’s pretty cool. Psychotic. But cool.

Other Things

I could mention other stuff, like my complete and total obliteration of the English Empire in Civilization V and the joys of seeing my invasion fleet crossing the ocean between our continents. About sending their navy to the bottom of the ocean and watching their cities fall in quick succession and enjoying wielding my insane amount of power across the globe, to the point where I send frigates wandering icy straits to take out marauding bands of pirates just for something to do.

Or the joy I got in playing “The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime” this week, in revisiting a very old and dear friend who looks damn good even after 15 years.

Or the photo shoot we did yesterday in Irvine Park which I hope to post pictures of soon.

Or the fact that we got Tali to take the bottle fully yesterday.

But today, today is about the writing. So the rest of that can wait for another time.

However, I will add a Pony Video. Because it would be weird if I didn’t, right?

It would.

IT WOULD.

This one you probably won’t get unless you’ve actually seen the episode it’s referring to, but still. It’s awesome.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. They’ll be a special post next week before I return. 🙂

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

My Birthday Results!

Well, a total of 41 people now have a copy of “A Glimmer of Perspective!” That’s awesome. Sadly, I only got one review from it and it was from a person who I already knew. I was hoping for a blind review, but still, the review was awesome.

I received a free copy from the author in a birthday promotional.

The beginning starts a bit rough and wordy. In my mind, I was simplifying sentences as I read. But you can tell the author gets into his groove around the third page or so.

Unbeknownst to us, our feline companions are far more productive in our happiness and well being than we’re aware. The author drags the secret of that revelation to the very last page which made a nice reveal. And of course they do all this with very little praise or appreciation from us. The narrator (a female I believe?) comes off sarcastic and jaded, obviously very good at her task, taught from birth – a power passed down from mother to child.

I found this idea VERY refreshing and new. It kept my attention from beginning to end. If the author wanted, I think there is the potential for more plot lines around this premise. Can you imagine a whole fantasy story with these cats as main characters? I could.

There were a few snags. The author repeats a lot of phrases and words which pulled me out of the narrative a few times. Those could have been smoothed out by more editing. For example:

“As I grew wise, I learned I could guide…” and in the next sentence: “It’s not a difficult thing to learn…”

That sort of thing.

A Glimmer of Perspective is a great read. I recommend to anyone owned by a feline 🙂

I really enjoyed reading the review actually. I might actually do a short anthology of stories like the reviewer recommended. I don’t think the idea has enough in it to get anything bigger. Unless I expand the idea quite a bit, which is an option.

Critique Group Update

The OC Inklings is going very well. I got some great feedback on my own stories and for the most part, they were overwhelmingly positive. Which is impressive since that version was a half-done rewrite of the story. Heh. I plan on getting that up on Kindle before I go back to work. In fact, after I’m done here, I might work on that a little bit before allowing myself to play Civ 5.

We’ve moved to Week 2, which were two different authors. Now that’s the struggle. Each story was radically different. One was a fantasy novel in the vein of Narnia one was the beginning of a story that the author wasn’t quite sure what to do with. They both proved to be challenging in their own way. And that’s the hardest part about critiques. Sometimes, you need to be a little harsh. I try to limit that as much as I can, focusing on ways to improve rather than simply tearing someone apart.

But it’s hard.

What I am looking forward to is submitting Soul of the Scribe to the entire group. 🙂 That should be a great bit of feedback. I can’t wait to see that.

Birthday

The birthday didn’t go as planned. Sadly, my mom got ill the night before and couldn’t watch Caitlyn. However, I started the day with my writing group, which was awesome. Then Laura and I just had a pretty relaxed afternoon before going to Benihana’s where she surprised me with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Always great to see them. The next day, we started the day at IHOP and ended it with seeing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Pretty intense at places. I had to admit that I loved the way the elves are portrayed…especially in combat. Quick, agile and practically unstoppable. It was amazing and I loved it.

Laura was a little upset that everything didn’t go as planned since we couldn’t have the dinner she wanted to have, but I held her and told her how happy I was with the time we had together. And then we ended up watching more of the Lord of the Rings series I got her for Christmas. 🙂

Gaming

As for games, I’m going back and forth between Civ 5 and Skyrim right now. I do love how well the stories seem to flow out of Civ 5. It’s a great freaking game, especially with all the various expansion packs. Yay! I forgot to mention that I did finish Uncharted 3 some time ago (mostly during a night when I couldn’t sleep) and I agree with the statements my friends gave me. It was good, but not nearly as good as 2. I felt entire sections of story were left out…and a lot was unexplained. However, I am a romantic at heart, so I did enjoy that little part. ^^

And that’s really all I have for this week. In truth, I’m a bit nervous about going back to work in a couple weeks. It’s sneaking up on me. But that’s for another time. Right now, since I already finished my 2,000 words and my critiques for the week, it’s time to relax for a bit. Maybe then I’ll look through some of the critiques on Beyond the Waterfall.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

It’s My Birthday! So YOU Get a Present!

Birthday Presents for All!

Okay, today isn’t my birthday, but this coming Friday is. It’s hard to believe I’ll be…an age I don’t care to disclose. I’m on the internet, so I’m allowed to keep a few secrets from you all. But you don’t care about that. You’re curious about this present thing aren’t you?

Well, as you might have known, I upped the price of “A Glimmer of Perspective” to $2.99. I realize this price might be a bit high for a 10-page short story. (However, according to some publishing professionals, they believe $2.99 should be the true baseline of ebook short stories) There is another reason however. As you may or may not know, I only get a 30% royalty from all sales if the price is under $2.99. At $2.99, I get a 70% royalty. And even though I’d sold a fair amount of copies..I had made maybe a couple bucks and that’s it.

While I don’t have any plans of ruling the world with the immense wealth I’m making from “A Glimmer of Perspective,” I would like to make something. So when I went to the Kindle Select program, I upped the price. But there’s another reason for this: I can do free days!

So I’ve decided that I’m going to give presents on my birthday! Anyone who hasn’t picked up a copy of “A Glimmer of Perspective” will be able to download a free copy on January 10, 2014! In fact, you’ll have 2 days, the tenth and the eleventh to pick up my inaugural short story.

I only have two requests! If you enjoy Glimmer, tell a friend and leave a review on the Amazon.com website. The nice thing is, you don’t have to worry about different formats, since the others have been discontinued for the time being.

Anyway, I hope you’ll take this chance to snatch up Glimmer!

Writing Events

Things are going fairly well with “Steam and Magic,” though it’s taking longer than I’d like to write this. I wish I could pound through those 3,000 word days I once could fly through. However, I’ve also been fighting this stupid allergy/cold thing for weeks now, which makes it harder to focus

However, something else really cool has happened. Last week, I successfully launched the OC Inklings, the online critique group for the OC Writers. And we started with “Beyond the Waterfall,” a 9,000 word short story I wrote earlier this year. Originally, the critiquers were supposed to do only 3,000 words, but most of them decided to just go through the entire story! They were too interested to stop, which is always a win in my book. For the most part, I’ve gotten rave reviews on it, but even more importantly, I’ve gotten some excellent advice on how to improve the story. That’s what I’m most excited about it. I think with this advice, I can make this story a smash hit. And I hope for it to be my next Kindle story! It also helps that it leads into the Crafters of Taylin universe. ^^;

I’m looking forward to the next round…because unless no one submits anything, we’ll be doing someone else’s work!

Life

And that’s really it this time. I’m still not feeling great. Sometimes the coughing gets so bad that I get insanely dizzy and actually fall over. Stupid cough. However, I’m happy with the way the writing is going and I’ve had a really good day with Caitlyn today. Tali’s smiling more and more too. And I’m systematically taking over the world with Chaos…in Civilization V. (Heh).

Since it’s my birthday week, you definitely don’t get to escape the Ponies. Here’s the Safety Prance…which I was way too entertained by.

Good luck and have fun folks! Make sure to grab Glimmer this weekend!

-rks

2013 – Looking Back, Looking Forward – 2014

Happy New Year to all of you!

I know there are a great many people out there who take New Year’s as a chance to go out, get drunk and party…thereby preventing themselves from having any memory of the night’s events. As you may have guessed by now, I’m not that kind of person.

Instead, I’d like to take a look back…and take a look forward. I’m sure you had no idea that’s what I was going to do this time, right? No, stop looking at the title. There’s nothing there. I said stop.

*Sigh*

Let’s move on, shall we?

What I’ve Written

A Glimmer of Perspective

Since this blog is supposedly about me as a writer, that should come first, right? Well, let’s start with the biggest accomplishment: I’m finally published.

A Glimmer of Perspective” was released on Amazon Kindle on September 6, 2013. For the first 90 days or so, I sold it at $0.99 and it did fairly well. A total of five reviews, with four five-stars and one four-star. A short time later, I published it on Nook, KOBO and iBooks using the Draft2Digital platform.

I’m not saying that it was a huge success. It wasn’t really. In fact, I’m still not sure how to promote it.

In September, I sold 11 copies of the book on Amazon.
In October, I sold 2 copies.
In November, I sold 1 copy.
In December, I told 2 copies.

In all that time, I only sold a single copy through the Nook, KOBO and iBook Channels.

In truth, I have a lot to learn about the process, especially about promoting my books. But at least I can say that I’m out there. This was a huge first step for me and I don’t think I should let myself feel marginalized just because I wasn’t an immediate smash hit.

In the Sun Eagle’s Wake

This project was supposed to originally be a short story that ballooned into a small novella I managed to finish the day before National Novel Writing Month Started. Perfect timing too. Set in a previously-unseen area of Taylin (The Scribe/Dreamscape universe), it was the story of a boy with the obsession of wanting to fly like his beloved sun eagle…but never being able to find the right kind of book to help him Change into a bird. When the chance to get access to a book that might just give him that power coincides with his first date at an impromptu festival, which will he choose?

I started it on October 11, 2013 and ended on October 30, 2013 at 12:01PM. The story clocked at 28,491 words.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this story, to be honest. Maybe one day it’ll go in an Omnibus. But it’s another story with more of the rules started.

Solstice by Starlight

I talked a little bit about this story two weeks ago. I was hoping to have it done by today, but I got rather sick in the last few days and time just managed to get away from me. *Sigh* And in truth, I really am not sure what I’m doing there. It’s supposed to be about how Pauline becomes Ak’s apprentice. However, I’m having trouble with the conflict. There are two primary conflicts…but both of them get answered in “Soul of the Scribe.” I can’t answer them early, since this is supposed to happen 4 years before the events in “Scribe.” So in the end, I decided to move back to my NaNoWriMo story…

What Lies Beyond Magic and Steam

Another great writing accomplishment for this year: winning National Novel Writing Month, even with having a second baby on October 31, 2013. I’m still not quite sure how I did it, but I did it. And this one finally gets my hero cast out of Rosan City to see the various fantastical locations all across Taylin. At the moment, our heroes are under attack by strange flying contraptions, pinned down by technology they’ve never even seen before. And that was after getting blown out of the sky (literally) as an elevator shaft was destroyed around them. They’re having a rough day, to say the least.

Anyway, while I won’t be able to get to this tonight, I’m looking forward to getting to it tomorrow. I haven’t been writing in it the last few days because I’ve been as sick as a darn dog.

In the Corridors of Light and Dreams

The second of the Taylin stories, this mammoth beast was originally my National Novel Writing Month story for 2012. In the end, it became nearly 175,000 words. I’m not quite sure what to do with it, but right now, I’m still nailing down the general universe. But I think I might be reading too much Brandon Sanderson. My novels are too darn long most of the time. Anyway, I was happy to finally finish this on March 14, 2013. It needs an immense amount of work before I’ll let anyone even see it, but there’ potential there. I should also mention that I did my NaNoWriMo with this, but I actually started this story on July 12, 2012.

Beyond the Waterfall

Beyond the Waterfall was my original entry to the OC Writer’s Anthology (which is eventually coming out, I promise!). However, the story I wanted to tell refused to fit into the guidelines provided. In fact, it was my story that stretched them quite a bit. In the end, I decided to finish this story as it was and write an entirely different story in the space of a couple weeks. I always felt this was a stronger story, but at 9,000 words, it definitely wouldn’t fit under the 4,000 word limit. I also enjoyed pouring my own burgeoning issues with my interest in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic into the main character.

Waterfall Steps

My second attempt at the OC Writer’s Anthology, it still ended up around 5,000 words, but managed to pass. This one happens six months before the events in Beyond the Waterfall, both of which are loosely tied with the Taylin world. I haven’t decided if they’re “canon” or not, but that’s a decision I can make some other time. But it’s another accomplishment, especially since I did both stories while working at another Apple Store.

A Secret Project

I also did one other short story this year that you don’t know about. And I have no intention of sharing. So ha! But it’s another one I can add to my list of accomplishments.

Stormhaven Revision

This is what I worked on during summer, hoping to create a full novel out of this. I got about 1/3 of the way into the revision before my time was demanded elsewhere.

The rest of July-August was spent working on “Glimmer” and another story I can’t quite remember trying to figure out which one to publish first.  I worked endlessly on Glimmer to make it perfect.

Other Writing-Related Projects

Taylin Map: I had did a map of the entire Taylin world, including places that shouldn’t be spoken about for years in book time.

OC Writers: After getting some time away from work, I managed to start being able to attend the OC Writers Group every Thursday. This was a huge encouragement to me. The whole no-work thing also saved me in regards to National Novel Writing Month, giving me the time I needed to work on it.

-rks Blog: I got serious about the -rks blog, as you can see, doing posts almost every week for a good portion of this year.

What’s Coming

OC Inklings: I’ve decided to take the initiative and launch the OC Inklings, which will be the OC Writers official online critique group. It’s launching January 2, 2014. And so far we have about 10 members. Which is probably all we can handle at the moment. I’ll admit I don’t have any idea what I’m really doing. I’ve ran an in-person writing group before, but never an online group. It should be interesting

Finish “Magic and Steam”: Obviously, this will be my main writing project for the time being. I’m also hoping that by finishing this, I’ll get the answers I need for “Solstice by Starlight.”

Publish “Beyond the Waterfall”: This little guy is begging to be published, which is why I’m offering it up to the critique group as a guinea pig.

Submit “Glimmer” to PodCastle: PodCastle is a great fantasy podcast that I used to listen to all the time. I don’t have the time anymore, but that was a huge influence on me several years ago. In fact, some of the ideas of Scribe came from “In the House of the Seven Librarians,” my favorite short story of all time, which I found on PodCastle. I’m hoping they might be interested in Glimmer. 🙂

There are plenty of other projects running around in the back of my mind, but right now, I want to focus on what’s achievable and doable. That’s important. Very important. And all four of those can be done before February, I think (except for maybe Magic and Steam…I’m not sure how long this one is going to be).

Life’s Events

There’s more to life than just writing. And this year, life has been interesting to say the least.

We found out we were pregnant and were expecting on November 5, 2013! Of course, little Talissa didn’t wait that long and she arrived on October 31, 2013. Whoo! Caitlyn also turned 3 just a few weeks ago. Now that was an interesting event…a bit crazy, but fun nonetheless.

However, tragedy hit when Laura’s grandmother passed away and we were forced to fly all the way to Michigan during…April? That was an adventure and a half. But in the end, Laura got to show me a large part of her family and Caitlyn’s grandfather on Laura’s side finally got to meet Caitlyn, which honestly…didn’t look like it was ever going to happen. And it went fairly well.

Not only did I get my long-desired Genius promotion at my Apple Store shortly before the end of 2012, but I finally came into my own there too. I created a “Get To Know You” Project at work so everyone could actually learn about the other people on the team, which turned into a rousing success.

And of course, during the middle of April, I decided to take Caitlyn home and watch the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And all of you know what that led to. A radical change in my perspective and a whole new kind of obsession.

Finally, we had the big one. The panic attacks that forced me to take time off of work and in combination with my Baby Bonding leave, I was gone from work from the middle of September and will continue to be gone until near the end of January.

I’ve read a lot of books, played a lot of games, written a lot of words.

You know, it’s common for me to look back at my life and think that I’m wasting it. But in truth, I would burn out if I really tried to write every minute of the day. If I didn’t take breaks for gaming and stuff…I would self-destruct. It would eventually kill me. It’s hard to remember sometimes. But when I write something like this…I realize that I have done a whole lot this year. Finally published, multiple stories on the way, networking with other authors, beaten games, introduced Laura to new authors and stories (Name of the Wind, anyone?) and so much more.

It’s been a crazy year.

I don’t expect my life to get any less crazy.

But God willing, maybe it’ll get a bit more focused.

And maybe you’ll be able to pick up one of my books off of a bookstore bookshelf this time next year.

After looking at all I did this year…it doesn’t seem like such a long-shot after all.

Now…what do put for New Year’s Eve PMV?

The first thing that came to mind is something powerful…something energetic…something ascendant.

So how about Ascension?

But then I realized there’s another one that’s even more beautiful…and it works so well with my writing, that I can’t help but put it in. Because there’s still one wish that hasn’t come true. Ironically, it’s the whole point of that show I’m so obsessed with.

I’m still lonely. And I still really need some true friends. And God, if I can have a real wish, I’d like some more friends this year. Real ones.

 

It’s been one hell of a year guys. And I hope you stick around for 2014. It’s going to get interesting. That I can promise you.

Until next time, good luck and have fun.

-rks

(PS Just not too much fun tonight 😉 )