Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Do You Write Dialog?

We receive a lot of questions about writing at LegendFire. How do I ...? What do you think about this idea? Am I doing this right? What's the proper grammar rule for ...? Recently, however, I've noticed that the most-repeated question over the years has been, "How do I write dialog?"

This question has always struck me as humorous and, honestly, astonishing. It's like the "What does your watch face look like?" kind of question, where someone says to you, "Cover your wristwatch with your hand and describe your watch face."

How many times a day do people look at their watches? Yet every time I've seen this experiment done, most people are invariably stumped.

So it must be with writing dialog. How many conversations do we take part in everyday, much less hear to our left and our right throughout the waking hours? Most of us are continually surrounded with the sounds of conversation and the visible signs of body language. We even have conversations on candy:

So how does a beginning writer capture conversation on their pages?

1. Actively listen. As in: "What does your watch face look like?" Go sit in a busy place (where you won't be caught eavesdropping) and really listen. Don't think, don't analyze, turn off the phone (ironic tip, that), and just listen. How does a conversation evolve from small matters to hitting the heart of someone's problem? How do the speakers stop and start, hesitate, stutter, hammer their points home? How can you tell if they are nervous, angry, in love?

2. Note the body language that accompanies a conversation. Actively observe.

3. Read. How do the pros capture dialog? Actively read. Note how the author of your favorite book filters through the chaos of real-life conversation to make dialog useful for their storyline. If you're writing a Romance era romance, you'd better be reading a lot of Jane Austen. Her characters never respond with, "Okay."

4. Practice. If you're nervous about writing dialog, write a script. Forget the exposition and the action descriptions for a while. You're obviously comfortable with those. So write your story in script format. Minimal scene direction. Meaningful dialog that moves the plot-line forward.

5. Read what you've written. Aloud. Really. Can a human tongue easily and naturally pronounce what you just wrote? Given the era and subject you're writing about, do average people really use those words on a daily basis? Remember, you actively listened already. You should be able to answer that question.

These are the same tips I find myself repeating over and over again when LegendFire members ask, "How do I ...?" Have I missed anything? Does anyone have any tips to add? Because what works for me may not work for others. How did you learn to write dialog?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chilling Halloween Reading!

Looking for scary, grotesque, or disturbing tales to read during the Halloween season?

Ever since its release in October 2011, Past the Patch has been available for FREE at Smashwords and other sites. This collection by Dark Red Press features stories by thirteen authors (an appropriate number, eh?).

I'm not bringing the book up again because I hope to make a penny or two; we contributors don't make a penny off free books. I'm simply passing it along to you again out of the kindness of my heart. Have fun reading, and have a safe, candy-filled Halloween season!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Like Pulling Teeth - Progress Report

I don't know about you, but I hate having dental work done. Seems like my childhood was punctuated with trips to get teeth pulled or braces tightened, so I do not title this post lightly. *sob* It's been three weeks since I put up a progress report, because I couldn't exactly tell if I was making progress. Some passages are just difficult. This week's rewrite involved a certain character's death and another character's nasty reaction to it, and my poor brain just didn't want to go there. But it finally made the jump, and today that difficulty has been overcome, and I'm relatively pleased with the result. As always, much more character depth has gone into the draft, which often means diving into painful places. But it's worth it.

Chapter(s) of the Week: 7 and 8 
Pages Revised: 25
Scenes Cut: 1
Deaths: 1
Good things that happen: ... (*thinking, thinking* Nope. It ain't there.)
Bad things that happen: Oh, dear. It's all going to hell in a handbasket. The behind-the-scenes action is getting darker by the minute.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Comments on Gardens of the Moon

It's not really proper to do a review on a book I didn't finish, but I worked too hard for too long to leave it alone. So I won't file this under my reviews, but merely voice my reaction in informal fashion.

Some people are sure to throw rotten eggs my way when I say that I could not finish Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. More than once I heard, "If you can finish the first book, the rest are great." Red flag. But I had already bought the thing before I heard this general reaction, so I gave it a try. This book looked like my kind of book: a huge, well-developed world, dense with characters and details and subplots revolving around a big overarching quest. Indeed, this is exactly the kind of book Gardens of the Moon is. Unfortunately, though I have read to the halfway point, I cannot explain what any of those subplots are. I do not know. Seriously.

The problem with this novel is "withholding." There is so much going on, and some of the characters even know what is going on, but the reader is not told what that "thing" is. Some of this "thing" I was able to puzzle out. I think. And I'm not a stupid person. I like puzzles and mysteries in the books I read. I like to have to work for some of the content. That's part of what makes the reading experience so fun, involving, and rewarding. Gardens of the Moon, however, goes a step too far and doesn't let me know enough of what's happening among all the different factions vying for power and survival. Really, it's okay if the reader is told what someone hopes to accomplish; it gives the reader something to hope for, too. Then let the reader see how the characters' hopes are dashed. That creates reader sympathy and evokes big reactions in the human heart.

This also brings up the fact that halfway through the novel I felt little emotional attachment to any of these characters. The characters I liked best are in the book the least, up to this point. I thought, finally, I can get attached to someone, then they vanished again for umpteen pages. At the halfway point, I still haven't found them again. Where did they go? What are they doing? I don't know. I knew this novel and I were not going to work out, when at the middle climatic point where one of the main characters apparently dies, I felt no emotional reaction whatsoever. Eh? Shouldn't I be astonished and boohooing and pleasantly angry or something?

There's only so many times I can say to a book, "Okay, I'll give you another chance. It will surely all click into place today." But nobody's telling nobody nothing and I can't get involved when I don't know what I'm supposed to be hoping for. So when I picked up the book today to try to press on to the finish line, I literally groaned when I saw that after struggling along this hard, an equal amount of the book still awaited (?!?). Grimacing, I asked myself, "What is the point?" Shelve it. Swallow the disappointment. Move on.

If this were an official review, I would give Gardens of the Moon three magic wands. Dock one for massive, frustrating withholding. Dock a second for lack of character-reader involvement.


So now I'm torn. In the queue is some self-pubbed material I need to read and review, along with what I'm sure is a great short by Milo James Fowler. Also, is a beat up copy of Kate Mosse's Labyrinth that a friend gave me, and The Help, which movie I loved.

What to choose first?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Travelogue: Writing, with BATS!

My weekly progress report is several days late because travel knocked me off routine, but that's okay, right? Last week, my husband and I drove to Austin, Texas, for his work. My work got to take place on the eighth floor of a hotel room with a river view. I've had to learn to enjoy writing from hotel rooms. Years ago, the change in location threw me off, and it used to take a day or so for my brain to adjust and start creating again. But now? Glorious. There are no distractions in a well-placed hotel room. No dishes to be done, no cleaning, no weeding, no shopping, no cats to feed and push off your laptop, no reason to even answer the phone because you simply can't come to dinner tonight, you're out of state, see ya later.

I did not expect to like Austin as much as I did. A lovely city. The best part to me was the natural wonder right in the middle of downtown, all of fifty yards from our hotel. Most people are creeped out by bats, but bats are one of my favorite animals. I mean, c'mon, they're mammals that FLY! And they're furry, and they eat West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. So when I heard from a friend that Austin had a colony of bats, I was thinking, "Okay, we'll get in the car, drive to a cave in the hill country, and see the bats." Noooo. We walked out of the hotel, onto the bridge that crosses the Colorado River and experienced the bats. On one side of the bridge, we got to watch an amazing sunset turn the sky and the skyscrapers orange. On the other side, dusk approached. Under the sound of the traffic crossing the bridge, we could barely hear the squeaking as the bats woke up and became more and more excited.

When sunset was almost completely faded and the sky was the right color of lavender-gray, the first bats started darting out from under our feet. Then wheels of bats started circling, and the squeaking became odd little clicks. At last, three narrow columns of thousands upon thousands of bats flew out over the river and into the city. I'm sure I was standing with my mouth and eyes popped wide open. At my house, we have exactly three bats that come out on summer nights and eat our mosquitoes. So I was not expecting clouds of bats. Literal clouds; once they flew out over the city, the three tidy columns bunched up into shifting black clouds. And they kept pouring out, pouring out, pouring out, till after dark when we could no longer see them.

Another unexpected surprise was the scent. Exactly three bats don't put off much perfume, you know. But when thousands upon thousands of bats get the air moving, there is this distinctive sweet, musty odor. I might have chalked it up to some little old lady's odd perfume, but we smelled it the second night as well. The second night was even better, because we walked down the riverside trail and rented kayaks. I had never kayaked before, so I was very glad the river was wide and calm, else I would've ended up in the water with the turtles and catfish. But I stayed in the boat and at sunset we paddled to the bridge. Down on the water, the roar of traffic was much softer and the squeaking of the bats far more distinct. The bridge, we saw, is actually constructed with deep slots made to house the bats, so we couldn't see them until they started flying out.

When the sun dropped behind a skyscraper and the sky turned to lavender-gray, here they came. Three columns right over our heads. I paddled as fast I could to keep up with them as one of the columns followed the treetops along the bank. A second column crossed the river and flew along the water on my other side. Then came that sweet, musty odor and the black shifting clouds as the bats left the treetops and joined up over the city.

An unforgettable experience. So, if you happen to travel through Austin, take the opportunity to see this amazing nightly nature event right in the middle of downtown.

All that to say that, while in Austin, I finished Chapter 6 and it was a doozie. *whew* But writing more about it here would spoil the bat story. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inspiration: Character - Lyrienn

Those of you who have been following my blog for a few years may be aware that I love art and collect it in various files on my computer so that I can gaze at it and ponder or sigh or be inspired or what-have-you. Once, I even posted weekly Art History/Appreciation entries. Remember those?

Well, every once in a while, movies or my web searches for new art will cause me to stumble across images that inspire stories or seem to fit ones that I've already written. And as Wordweaver has come to revolve solely around my writing, I thought it might be fun to occasionally post some of these images and a tidbit about the character or setting that they bring to mind.

The image that inspired this blog idea was this one:

Disclaimer: I know nothing about this image, neither its name nor who painted it, but I would dearly love to know. I found it on some wallpaper site during a random Google search. Please post if you have this information, so I can give credit where it's due and promote the artist with a link.

Point is, the moment I saw this image, I gasped and said, "That's Lyrienn!"

Project: The Falcons Saga
Name: Lyrienn
Race: Elf
Home: Lady's Palace, Linndun
Family: daughter of Danyth and Leavhan, sister to Lothiar and Laniel
Significance to the story: handmaid to Lady Aerdria; helps Kieryn through his darkest time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Falcons Saga - Progress Report #5

Well, last Monday I thought, "This chapter is going to be a breeze. I'll bet I get it finished, plus part of Chapter 6." That was until I saw the need for a new scene, and remembered that I had a contest entry to write for LegendFire. So my contest entry took up the last few hours on Friday, meaning Chapter 5 didn't get finished after all. This is the first week that I've not reached my chapter goal (given normal circumstances). Bummer.

The contest promises to be a fun one, however. We've never done one exactly like it. One of our members proposed a Character Creation Contest, in which we choose between two prompts, flesh out the character in a profile, then write a brief excerpt showing their, um, character. I can't give away too much about my entry before the voting is over, but it resulted in my first-ever piece of flash fiction, so I'm doubly excited about it.

Chapter(s) of the Week:
Pages Revised: 7.5, which became 17
New Scenes: 1, 4.5 pages worth
Good things that happen: Kethlyn and his royal cousin conduct a successful kitchen raid.
Bad things that happen: They end up stuck in a dark, haunted place.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #4

The last two weeks have been slow going on the novel. First a head cold threw a kink into things, then one of my beloved uncles died. Ah, perspective. There I was, complaining about being unable to breathe or sleep, while my uncle was lying in a hospital battling a Staph infection. After visiting the family and attending the funeral, only halfway recovered from that blasted cold, I was exhausted come Wednesday, and so the writing had to wait yet another day. But here comes Friday and chapter 4 is complete.  

Chapter(s) of the Week:
Pages Revised: 8, which became 16
New Scenes: 1, 3 pages worth
Good things that happen: Laral ventures into Fiera
Bad things that happen: Laral must choose between love and loyalty

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #3

 Lots of meaningful information in these pages. Now, just to find the most entertaining, punchy way to tell it. Ah, but it is so painful when scenes I love no longer work and must be cut. Killing one's darlings is never fun. Good thing is, I will still have them saved in the old draft, so they're not gone completely, and readers will never know the difference. Trick is, then, to make the entire final version my darling and be proud of the content that survives the cut.

Chapter(s) of the Week:

Pages Revised: 12
Deaths: 0
Births: 1
Good things that happen: Thorn goes home
Bad things that happen: old tensions surface

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #2

Given that there are currently 44 chapters in the rough draft, and given that there are 52 weeks in a year, and given that there will be holidays and the occasional need to flee the novel for a few days here and there to save my sanity, I think it's safe to say that rewrites on Falcons 2 will take at least a year. That's if I succeed in rewriting one chapter a week. The tally does not make me happy, but there it is. A realistic estimate, for now.

But, like I said last post, rather than look at the whole wall to be built, take it one brick at a time.

Pages Revised: 3 1/2
Pages of New Content: 5
Deaths: 30+
Dreadful Happenings: There is much blood on the snow
Positive Happenings: Kelyn is going to miss a certain lady

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #1

Here we go again. A full week of writing (or rewriting, as the case may be) is under my belt. Ground has been broken, and what do I find but bricks strewn absolutely everywhere. Reconstruction has begun.

I was rather disheartened last weekend when I opened that huge 3-ring binder to read over chapter one and found that what I thought was good was, in fact, shallow characterization and boring exposition. Instead of penciling in corrections line by line, I sat down at my laptop, heaved a sigh of dread, and typed "Part One, Chapter 1." This is going to be an uphill battle, no mistake. I refuse to set a deadline yet. Doing so, I fear, will be setting myself up for failure and expectant readers for disappointment. So, suffice to say, I'm taking it one chapter at a time, one scene at a time, one page at a time. If you look at the building as a whole and how much progress still has to be made, the job can look daunting, even impossible, but keeping focus on one brick stacked on top of another doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

So here's to the long haul! See you at the other end.

Number of pages revised: 5 1/2
Character deaths: 1
Dreadful happenings: a young prince makes a deadly move
Positive happenings: a young prince finds hope in a new friend


Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Wild Cards I by George RR Martin, ed.

“There is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces—those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers—cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.”

When I became a George RR Martin fan some years ago, I kept hearing Wild Card this and Wild Card that, but couldn’t figure out what the hype was about. When Wild Cards: Inside Straight, the seventeenth installment in the series, came out in 2008, I ran out and grabbed a copy. But I still didn’t see what the big deal was. For instance, I found myself asking the same question that opens Inside Straight: “Who the f—k was Jetboy?”

This wouldn’t do at all. I tried to track down a copy of volume one in the series, only to learn that the book was no longer in print. ‘How can a popular series no longer have volume one?’ I asked, highly disappointed. So when Martin announced on his Not A Blog that the book had been re-released and that the ebook was temporarily on sale, I whooped and hollered, grabbed my Kindle and downloaded a copy. I was in for one wild ride…

Originally published in 1986, the first installment of Wild Cards was a collection of 10 stories and several interludes that followed a timeline from the virus’s release in September 1946, up through the social changes of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, all filtered through the lenses of those who suffered the virus.

With its re-release in 2010, the original stories are joined by 3 new tales that enhance the early progression of the Wild Card virus. Michael Cassutt’s contribution, “Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace,” describes the fear in Hollywood after McCarthy’s Communist trials in the 50s, but with a twist. The HUAC hearings not only targeted suspected Communists, but aces as well. “Powers,” by David D. Levine, goes inside the CIA as a secret ace strives to save a kidnapped spy while trying to remain anonymous. And Carrie Vaughn explores Jokertown and the 80s club scene in “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan.”

The progression of stories not only touches on well-known historical and social events, but also on phobias. The kind of phobia that comes to dictate how we treat our neighbors who look differently or live differently from what is deemed “normal.” The authors managed to weave this common and dangerous paranoia into the action until it becomes the predominant theme by the end.

Wild Cards I provides my first run-in with a collaborative work on this scale. While reading, I was continuously astounded by how these authors managed to pool characters and information into an elaborate patchwork that forms a dramatic, cohesive whole. Though the book may be most accessible to readers who have some knowledge of the events that marked the last half of the 20th Century, I think the bizarre elements found in these stories will appeal to a new generation of sci-fi fans.

I give Wild Cards I five out of five magic wands:

(I’m also rating this book Mature, due to language and sexual situations)

For another review on Wild Cards I, visit Book Spotlights at The Bearded Scribe

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fan of the Olympics and Janis Joplin

The games are back again, which means the writing suffers. I just can't help it. Sports were never my thing. The only reason I like to watch football on Sunday afternoons is b/c it's the best thing ever to fall asleep to. An endless drone of pointless noise. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Now, the Olympics on the other hand? I'm glued. Everything else, or nearly, takes a backseat for two weeks every two years. Even writing. That's permissible, right?

Good thing is, despite the games, I finished the short spec-fic involving Janis Joplin yesterday. Lots of fun. A bit macabre. But lots of fun. Now I must choose between endings. I have two options, which I will keep to myself. And where to submit the bloody thing? But first things first, I must cut down the word count, as usual. My stories are always so full of character development that I have a difficult time keeping them brief. But I love the narrator. I can't decide if she's reliable or not, even now. Maybe that will keep readers guessing, too.

Anyway, back to the games. Then, when they conclude, it back to the Falcons saga for me. Don't even want to contemplate the workload waiting in that stack of paper...


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recouped At Last!

Well, at least it feels that way. Rewriting Falcons over 18 months wore my brain thin, I tell you. It felt numb and zombified after that project. My goal, during these months of rest, was to write several short stories and revise some old ones that have been lying around the house, but in that state, I couldn't force my brain to think of  a single new idea. Even sleep was dull. I barely dreamed at all, not dreams that stuck with me after waking up, which is really odd for me. I got to worrying, "Is this how it's going to be? Have I lost it? Has my imagination been wrung dry? Will I ever care to write again?" Really distressing stuff. But I waited. And waited. 

And here it is. At least for now. This week, my brain seems to have come alive again. Bizarre story dreams prove it. Several nights in a row, dreams that have characters, plots, intrigue, the whole bit, so I guess that means all is returning to normal. One dream was about Janis Joplin, and I'm converting it into a bizarre spec fic. After I type "the end" on that one, I do believe it will be time to drag out Falcons 2 and start looking it over. It's been lying on my writing room floor, collecting dust, and tapping an irritated foot. I had to keep telling it, "Not till July. Give me that long to rest, at least, please." So, here it is, the middle of July, and things are heating up again.

What makes me even more eager to get started on Falcons 2 are the sells on Falcons 1. I never expected the response both volumes have received. Both have made it into the Top 100 Epic Fantasy list, alongside George RR Martin, Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, and Tolkien. Then there are the other self-pubbed authors, like Michael G. Manning, on that list. I feel like my twins are competing with the big boys now, and the feeling is surreal. A little unbelievable. But I'll take it and run, thanks.

In any case, here we go again ...

Friday, July 6, 2012

EXPLORERS Available At Last!

It was May of last year that I posted that my short story "A Mournful Rustling" had been accepted by Dead Robots' Society for inclusion in their  anthology. Well, Explorers: Beyond the Horizon is available at last! The collection features characters forever changed by their discovery of lands and worlds beyond their own. Whether it’s by charting new stars, trekking across fantastical realms, sailing new oceans, or traversing the wild and unknown spaces between dimensions, readers will find the unimaginable in the pages of Explorers. Authors contributing work to the anthology are:

J. Daniel Sawyer
Jeff Brackett
Lauren M. Roy
Colum Paget
Vincent Morgan
Ira Nayman
Jocelyn Adams
Court Ellyn
Jesse J. Summerson
Andrew Hawnt
Mark Mellon
Laura Givens
James Ebersole
Kurt H. Hyatt
Daniel Latham

So far, the anthology is available at the following venues:


Amazon Print

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook


Now, the interesting part is, if you purchase a print version of this book from Amazon or CreateSpace and email a copy of the receipt  show(at)deadrobotssociety(dot)com, they will send you the ebook for FREE.

I'm so excited to see how this project turned out. I've been waiting on pins and needs since December 2010, when the call for submissions was extended. The results should arrive in my mailbox soon.

So, cheers! And happy reading!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm a Guest Blogger!

Well, it's now official. I am a guest blogger for The Bearded Scribe. For the record, I do not have a beard, but apparently Joshua Mercier does. He and I met via LegendFire, when he became a member there and he then proceeded to ask me if he could interview me. Remember that one a few weeks back?

Anyway, I'm getting to return the favor by offering book reviews for The Bearded Scribe. My first humble offering is a review of the graphic novel version of Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. The blog features frequent Book Spotlights by other reviewers as well, along with posts focusing on reading and writing the fantasy genre. Hop on over there and check it out!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Novel vs. Novella: A Question of Time

So Blood of the Falcon has been out for a month or nearly and checking the Kindle sells daily has resulted in my overwhelming astonishment. The actual numbers are not the point; the point is that a novel so fat that it has to be broken into two volumes keeps selling steadily, when a skinny, convenient, fast read like Mists of Blackfen Bog stagnates at tiny numbers. In comparison, I've marketed Falcons far less than Mists and the novel's sells keep rising.

Now, I have discussed this question with a writing friend and we cannot come to a satisfying reason why, in our fast-paced culture in which people with shortening attention spans are expecting quick results, that short stories and novellas would be largely ignored while novels, that take up so much more time, energy and devotion to reach the end, would continue to sell like hot cakes. The best I can come up with is that readers who are following this trend are those bookworms who prefer long-term commitment to a character and a situation rather than a one-night stand with a briefer story. Any other theories out there?

From a writer's standpoint, then, considering all the numbers, is it more worth my own time and energy writing full-length novels rather than novellas? Novellas are hard to sell, few markets exist that accept them. Yet fewer publishers take chances on unknown novelists. So the results will most likely end up in a self-publishing venture.Which leads me back around to while novels sell better, I can have more novellas out on the market in far less time, but if few are buying them (aka reading them), why bother? As you can see, I'm torn. Any opinions or encouragement or personal experience to share?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blood of the Falcon Is Published At Last!

After what feels like a billion years of toil, the first novel in my Falcons series is now, at last, for realz, available for sale. Crazy, saying that at last.

So here's the scoop so far. The print version is available at CreateSpace right now. It will take a few days for it to be listed on Amazon. The Kindle version is not yet uploaded, but hopefully tomorrow or the next day it will be. Crossing fingers on that score.

Now, for future reference, all you people who plan on self-pubbing your novels: CreateSpace has a page limit of something like 844 pages (may even be less than that). My novel was like 30 pages over the limit, so I had to publish it in two volumes. Posted Image

So there's less confusion, even the Kindle version will come out in two volumes. Be watching, b/c Volume 1 will be free for a run of five days coming up soon.

Here are the links to each volume's CreateSpace page:
Volume 1
Volume 2

Don't let the prices scare you. These are big books. 9.21x6.12 in size and together, they probably weigh 7 lbs. I'm very pleased I got to price them at a realistic price, instead of having to jack it up to $20 a piece, like I feared.

In any case, the Kindle version will be only .99 cents per volume (at least for now). When they become available, I will certainly post about it.

Now that the business stuff is out of the way, I'm going to do a happy dance and pop open the champagne. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


A few weeks ago LegendFire received a new member who called himself by the mysterious username "The Bearded Scribe." Because it is my job to keep an eye on new members, mildly stalking them, if you will, until they prove themselves benevolent, I checked out the links that the Bearded Scribe posted and engaged him in conversation (it may sound creepy, but I'm Momma Bear where our members are concerned). Lo, and behold! Who would have guessed that my investigation would lead to a valuable network with a fellow fantasy author and an interview and guest bloggerhood?

The Bearded Scribe is a relatively new blog at Blogger that will focus on speculative fiction, writing it and reviewing it. If you're curious, check out my interview there. It's lengthy, but it provides a thorough overview. A little about writing, a little about administrating LF.

About that guest bloggerhood bit. I'm flattered and astonished. I always wondered how that happened, and now I know. Not sure when I'll be posting there, or about what, but I'll let you know how it goes.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Babies Have Come Home!

The proofs for Falcons came in five days before I was expecting them. It's like Christmas around here, folks. I figured that holding a physical copy of my novel would feel good. But I didn't expect a high quite like this. Twelve years of labor, worry, tears and doubts are about to come to a close, and it feels amazing. While I've spent the last couple of days tweaking the layout, I would often pause and just pick up one volume or the other and flip through it, sighing or smiling.

One more set of proofs to order, then final release...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Itchy Fingers

Like the title says, my fingers are starting to itch. The last proofread on Falcons is complete, the covers are designed, the maps are tidied up, and the whole package has been uploaded at CreateSpace and approved. I ordered the proofs today. The estimated arrival in my mailbox is Friday, May 4! What? That's over a week away! Way too long. I can't stand it. I want those copies in my grubby paws yesterday! Ah, waiting. Why must it hurt so?

In the meantime, here is a sampling of cover art:

copyright 2012 by Court Ellyn

Not exactly happy with the muddiness of the falcon pic, but hey, it's a start. Brighten up that puppy and all should be well. Volume 2 gets cerulean fonts and pics. Cerulean ... a very important color on the battlefield, as readers will discover, so that color on at least one of the covers was a fun detail to play with. Set side by side, the two books will make an eye-catching pair on the shelf. Nice.

So, what's left? A bit of formatting once I'm sure about my margins, then final approval and release. Mid-May ought to see it happen. *crossing itchy fingers*

Monday, April 2, 2012


Woohoo! Last Tuesday I finished the major rewrite of Blood of the Falcon! Three days before deadline, too. I was so stoked that instead of posting about it, I dove into the next stage of the project: the formatting and beautifying of the final product. So it looks like end of April might become the release date after all. 

My embarrassing confession is that the text, when formatted in the size I want, is 30 pages too long to fit into one volume. So I used the old dividing point, the one the editor advised way back when, and will be putting the novel out in two volumes at the same time. That way, I also have plenty of room for maps and appendices. I could let the Amazon page limit dictate the content, but because this is a personal project, I feel like I would be untrue to my novel if I let Amazon's thing govern the result. So two volumes it will be.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Almost There...

Over a month since my last post? Yikes. Well, it's only because the end of the novel project is at hand and I've been obsessively rewriting the conclusion. Now, there's only one chapter of Falcons left to revise! One chapter!!! This is the week. I'm stoked. Hoping nothing goes wrong or gets in the way. This project went on for several months more than I expected, but it's almost over now. I can almost taste the glorious words "The End."

Back when I was panicking about the number of pages still to go, I feared I would have to move the deadline yet again, but it looks like the end of March it will be. April will be a whole 'nother adventure. I've formatted a novella and a short story for self-pubbing, but never a full-length novel, a novel that, in truth, is long enough to be two novels. That task will take time and diligence and a sharp eye, or the results may be disastrous. Then maps and covers and proofreading. My goal was also to have a website set up before the novel's release, but I'm not sure I can fit that in as well. Me, busy? Never. So here goes nothin'...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blood of the Falcon, Progress Report

Ack, this novel rewriting business is eating my lunch! My brain is on the verge of fried. Honestly, I did not expect rewriting a novel that I know so well to be so difficult. I was trucking along, enjoying myself until about three chapters ago. Then the end felt soooo near, and for some reason writing became exhausting. Is it because I’ve spent a year and a half revising something that originally only took me six months? Is it because I have a “perfectionist” issue? Is it because all those loose ends are starting to tie up and there are too many details for my shrinking brain to handle? I think it’s the latter, actually.

But I shall persevere! Hoping to be finished with the major part of the project and reach “The End” by the end of March. Then comes the proofreading, formatting, covers and maps, etc. in April. That’s the tentative schedule at present.

So, the updated progress report:

Where We Stand This Week
pages left to revise: 65
bad things that happened: a hero faces the demons chasing him
good things that happened: … nothing? hmm, that’s a good sign

Wow, sixty-five pages left is far fewer than I had feared. Hurray!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mists Climbs the Charts!

Experimenting with this self-publishing thing prompted me to enroll my novella, Mists of Blackfen Bog, into the Kindle Select program. Whatever your feelings may be about this potentially ebook-monopolizing program, I found that it allowed me to experience a momentary high. Mist's first "free" campaign just ended, and while it lasted, the novella rose to #37 on the free Fantasy ebook list. What a glorious sight it was. 

Next weekend, the novella will be available for free once again. Just saying. *wink-wink*

How well will it do on the 11th? We shall see.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Heartfelt Wish For All Spammers...


This post has absolutely nothing to do with writing, sad to say.

Spammers are evil. Up there with lice and the bubonic plague. I haven't posted much this month because the invasion over at LegendFire has really sapped my enthusiasm for almost everything internet-related. They even became a problem at LiveJournal, so I'm probably going to shut that blog down. 

LF's ban filter is growing longer by the day, tons of ip addresses and suspect email addresses that are used to spread useless ads all over the world's unsuspecting forums. The best solution? Dig into my savings envelope and upgrade LF's license so we can have a spam filter. That sounds like a painful process. I am not looking forward to it, though I'm sure the results will be worth the trouble. Better than nailing one spammer after another on a tedious individual basis.

I really loathe spammers. Even more than the taste of cough medicine and hitting my funny bone. If I knew who these people were and could find their computers, I would pour a million hungry, genetically-engineered rats into their cubicles (or secret warehouse basements) and cheer the little beasties on while they chewed every cord in sight and treed the quivering spam people atop their desks for all eternity.

Ahem ... tea, anyone?

Monday, January 2, 2012

"Fire Eater" Receives Review!

There's nothing better than knowing that folks are reading what you write and find themselves enjoying it. Angela, from the blog "The How-To Life," posted favorable words about Mother Mirrah's attempts at prison reform.You may read her review of "Fire Eater" here: Review Of Ebook Fire Eater