Writing Update 8/28/17

I finally hit 46K! I’m well into draft two of THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN at this point and am currently working on lengthening most of the chapters and adding to the word count. I’m hoping to hit a  minimum on 50K for the second draft, but do really hope  I can get this book up to 65K.

For the third draft I’m not going to be focusing on grammar, but rather on the plot, plot holes, and whether the story flows well and makes senses. The fourth draft will be grammar focused mostly, hopefully with a higher word count. For the third draft I’m hoping to print off my manuscript through Lulu Publishing, though I will not be making the book public until I finish editing it, which probably won’t be until the end of the year.

I ultimately plan to query with the novel, hopefully by the end of December or early January. I’m super excited to share this project with everyone, and I hope you all love it just as I much as I do!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

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How do I come up with book titles

I haven’t had anyone ask about how I title books just yet, but I’ve seen the topic floating around on Instagram for a while. I usually go through at least five to ten different titles for each book I’m writing.

Trust me when I say not one has just come to me. I have to do some serious work to find the right title, the one that captures the whole book in just a few words. It can hard a lot of the time. Sometimes, a title will just come to you and it will be perfect but, more often than not, later on down the line, a new title might just suit the book better. I use two different websites when trying to title a book.

Here is the first: http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator.php#.WaMxdVWGNPw

Here is the second: http://www.adazing.com/book-title-generator/

The first one is not just a title generator. You can get real and fantasy names, among others. You can get the names of different real and fake places and planets, etc.  When I need a name for a character this is the site I use!

The Second one is a generator. You input a little info, like your protagonists occupation, best trait, worst trait, etc. I usually pull from a few different generated titles

Both of these sites have worked wonders for me in these last few years and I hope they work for you too! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I’m more than willing to answer any questions you might have.

Writing update 8/24/17

So, for today’s  writing update, I’m going to get a little personal. As of today TDOC is 44,215 words and 168 pages. And that’s just the first draft. I’m onto the second draft, lengthening most of my chapters this round. For my third draft, I’m going to be doing a full read through and focus on grammar.

I’ve written three books and have upwards of thirty unfinished manuscripts saved to my computer. I always say this book is ‘the book’ every time I start a new one, but something about this project feels different. I’ve also probably said that before, but this time it’s true. I’ve never really dived head first like this into any other project and am really happy with how everything is going so far. I’ve put so much time, energy, and research into this project and I’m so excited to share it, as I’ve said multiple times before.

I don’t have a synopsis yet, as I’ve found it literally impossible to write one. Nothing seems right, but hopefully soon it will. I do have a cover and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s been a while since I shared it so here it is again!

TDOC cover

It’s a planned duology, inspired by Celtic and Welsh mythologies and legends. I’m happy  and proud of what I’ve written so far!

I plan to start querying by the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018, spending the next three months or so polishing up my manuscript, getting feedback, and finally writing a synopsis. I literally cannot wait to see what the next few months bring and will update as much as I can.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Writing Update 8/23/17

I hit 43K today! I would just like to start by saying I started this novel on August 4th and since then I’ve written 43.3K and that’s insane. I finished the first version of the first draft and am working on polishing up the second version. It’s currently 167 pages and 43,249 words. I can’t wait to share more information about THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN in the coming months.

I’ve gotten a lot  of questions this month about how I write so fast/so often and how exactly I outline and I thought I’d answer some  of those right now.

I’ve been writing about three, three and a half years now and have always been a pantser. I sworn by that fact and have always hated outlining. This year alone, with my last book and this current one, I’ve found that I’ve started to enjoy outlining. It’s helped considerably and I feel that it’s made my books better. I’ve felt more motivated to write and have found that I’ve not only written more consistently, but have also written more in each writing session.  I like to think of each chapter in my outline as an episode. I only write a small description of how I want the chapter to go and run with that. Each chapter is an episode and each book is like a season of a show. It’s honestly worked wonders for me recently.

Now, onto how I write so fast and so often. I am someone who loves distractions when I write. I love watching a YouTube video, a TV show, or a movie on Netflix and have it on as background noise when I write. I also love listening to loud, obnoxious music as well. I also block out the word count so I don’t focus all my attention on that. I force myself to sit down and write for, let’s say, an hour. Even if I only churn out one word or one sentence, I count that as a success.

Something else I swear by is writing every day. I know a lot of people say not to do this, but it has worked super well for me for the last three or so years. I usually write 5 or 6 days out of the week,  but I do work on something book related every day, whether I’m writing, making an aesthetic, a Pinterest board, or something similar. Everything book related is a success to me! I bought this big calendar on Amazon and have been using that to plan my months out in advance for writing.  It’s been working for the last three months.

I’ve written three books and am currently working on my fourth. For those first three books, I was definitely a pantser. I would just open a document and go for it. I would plan during or after the first draft was done and this was horrible for me. With my fourth book, I outlined the entire 61 chapter novel (my longest book to date!) before even making and titling the document. This has really helped me in writing this particular novel and it’s been working so far. Another question I got was how did I settle on one idea and go with it. I don’t focus on figuring out what I want for the first draft of the outline. I decide on those things the second time rereading the outline. I really settle on a specific idea when drafting for the first time. I just go with whatever makes the most sense, whatever moves the story along in a positive way.

If you have any other writing questions, feel absolutely free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thanks for reading!

Excerpt from ‘The Daughter of Cerridwen’

Because I promised, here’s a long excerpt from THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN, my newest project, a high fantasy novel inspired by Celtic and Welsh mythology. I like to explain it as SABRIEL meets THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES. I’m so excited to share a little more of this book with you and hope you love it just as much as I do! I’m so close to finishing the first draft and am one step closer to polishing it up for querying!

 

PART ONE

Shimmer and Burn

Rapid breaths fell from my from my lips

She struggled to her feet

Fracture patterns encircled her

Eye glued to the ground in shame, and in defiance

She didn’t dare look back

Until she was out of that godforsaken room

-Be my canvas, be my muse

Chapter 1- Amberlee’s POV

The collar was tight and binding around my pale, slender throat. I knelt on the ground, knees digging into the hard, crack marbled floor. The cold metal collar was fitted around my neck and welded in place, secure and unmoving.

The King sat on the throne directly to my left, hands hugging the sides of his perch. Though I wasn’t physically chained to the floor, invisible hands grasped my ankles and wrists. My long, russet colored hair fell down my back, my bright blueish grey eyes narrowing as squirmed. I had been dressed in a dark, blood red gown, with a deep, plunging neckline that left nothing to the imagination.

“You’ll be happy to know we have guests arriving tonight” he drawled, casting a glance at me. My eyes flicked up to him as he turned away from me, not paying any more attention to me. I took a deep breath, smoothing my skirts. The King didn’t look at me before he flicked a hand towards me and I rose from where I knelt. I inclined my head towards him, walking down the marble steps as his attention shifted to some courtier as I slipped from the room. I made my way to my bedroom in silence, internally groaning as three soldiers shadowed me, only leaving me alone once I entered my chambers. I slipped out of the blood red gown, letting it pool at my feet as I pulling my hair atop my head. I walked to my bed, running a hand over the preselected gown, made of pure silver. I sighed, dressing before I sat at the small oak vanity in the right-hand corner of my bedroom.

I let my hair fall across my shoulders, taking a silver backed brush to my hair. I left it loose down my back, securing a loose band of diamonds and lapis lazuli across my brow. I clipped a pair of raw sapphire earring into my ear, securing a matching necklace around my throat. The dress was sleeveless, leaving my pale and slender arms on full view, the fabric hugging every curve of my body. I clipped a pair of raw sapphire earrings into my ears before doing a once over, swiping ruby red color onto my lips and rosy pink onto my cheeks. I didn’t say anything as I exited my rooms to the guards who stuck to the wall, hands on the hilts of their swords, letting them escort me back to the throne room.

As we approached the massive oak set doors, I could hear deep rumbling voice from inside and it piqued my curiosity. I took a deep breath before signaling to the soldiers, watching carefully as they opened the door, not saying a word as I strode in the room, eyes only for The King.

“Amberlee” the way he said my name sent shiver up and down my spine, but I schooled my features, stopping just before his throne, sinking into a low, deep curtsy as I ignored the guests, eyes on the floor.

“My Lord” I answered, keeping my eyes on the floor as he stood from his perch, grasping my chin in hand and lifting my eyes to meet his gaze. He smirked as our eyes met, hands grazing my sides and it took everything in me not to vomit on his shoes.

“You look beautiful” he murmured and I seized as he twisted a stray strand of hair around his finger. I lowered my eyes as he finally focused on our guests. He let go of my hair, stepping around me to speak to our guests.

“It is truly an honor, Commander” he bowed at the stranger.

“The honor is all mine, Your Majesty” I turned around just as he bowed, revealing a shock of dark hair and slender neck. I met his gaze as he rose, piercing violet eyes staring back at my plain blue ones.

“Allow me to introduce the fated ‘Savior’, Amberlee Avery” the king gestured to me, pulling me forward with force. I was suddenly face to face with a tall, broad, and muscled man, with deep, grey eyes and dark hair. He wore elegant gold armor, armed heavily with a hand on the hilt of his blade. I stilled, looking to the ground.

“She’s quite scrawny, Your Majesty” his tone was light, lilting, and teasing. My face burned at his words as The King’s thundering laugh sounded. The King hand snaked around my waist, pulling me closer to his chest and I had no choice but to comply. I tucked my head closer to my chest as I stood there.

“Yes, you’re right, Commander. She could use some more meat on her bones” he squeezed my lower back tightly and I tensed at his touch. I saw him take note of it out of the corner of my eyes, casting my gaze down in shame. The King kept his arm around me as he walked back to his throne, allowing me to stand beside him, hands folded in front of me. I paid no attention to The King and the Commander as they spoke of meetings and battles past, leaving me out of the conversation.

I let my thoughts wander, thinking of the beautiful field just outside of the castle walls. I had only seen them once, from inside a carriage when I first arrived at His Majesty’s castle when I was four years old. I was almost eighteen now, my life much different than it had been fourteen years ago. I was always carefully supervised, almost never let out of my room, with the exception of parties or when we hosted guests.

The Commander was very important to The King, or so he said. He commanded all of his armies, spending the majority of his time on the battlefield, cutting down his enemies.  He rarely visited and I had never been allowed to meet him before tonight.He towered over me, eyes bright and piercing as he conversed with The King, never acknowledging me. I just kept my eyes trained to the ground like a good girl, hands clasped in front of me as I stayed silent. The conversation continued on for only a few more moments before a maid came to collect me, to take me back to my bedchamber. I was glad to be released from The King’s grip and the Commander’s stare. I left quickly, the doors slamming shut behind me. I sighed as I began to move down the hall, following the maid in silence to my chambers.

She helped me from my gown and jewels, changing me into a nightgown before helping me step into bed, pulling the covers over my body and tucking me in. She blew out the small candle in the corner lighting the room up before leaving the room, closing the door behind her as quietly as she could. I settled myself into the array of silk covered pillows, hugging the thick, heavy comforter to my body as I closed my eyes, willing myself to sleep.It didn’t work. I couldn’t help but think of the Commander and The King, of what they were speaking about. It was clearly about me, if they had been leave the room and banished to my room. I didn’t like it when I wasn’t included. I knew who I was, I knew the power I possessed. I knew people feared me. I liked to think The King feared me, but I knew that wasn’t true. He thought he owned me and that bothered me. He was possessive of me, liked to touch me even if I said no. My opinion, my voice, didn’t matter to him. Every no was perceived as a yes. Every moment I tense, or cringed away from his touch was met with a punishment.

I knew I could fight back, knew I possessed the power to do so. I only had to have the courage to stand up against and I didn’t think I did. I was always taught that my powers, my magic, was never something to be afraid of. This magic was a part of me and it wasn’t going away anytime soon. It was something that took me a long time to accept.I had never been willing to let go of the past and that’s what had held me back all these years. I barely remember my life outside of the dismal grey walls of the castle walls, barely remembered the people who had raised me.

I had struggled with myself for long enough, under the rule of The King.  I pushed past all those thoughts, turning onto my side as got more comfortable, closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep.

 

Chapter 2- The Commander’s POV

Amberlee wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I knew she was quite powerful, but she was small and scrawny, a tiny little thing. She was slender and pale, with long, curling red hair and bright blue eyes.I saw the way her arms and legs shook with every step, with every touch from The King. I saw the hammered collar, the way it tightened around her slender neck. I saw the grimace that was painted across her mouth. She cast her eyes to the ground, never able to look anyone in the eyes. The King had explained her magic to me months ago, over a feast in some far away land.

Amberlee Avery was unexpected in every way.

“She’s not quite what you were expecting, I take it?” The King clapped me on the back, a deep laugh resonating through him.

“She’s very small. Are you sure you’ve got the right person, Your Majesty?” I joined in his laughter.

“I’ve seen her in action, only once. I found her quite on accident, actually. I was passing through her village nearly fourteen years ago when I saw her. She was being harassed by some older boys and used her magic to beat them. If you can believe it, she was only four years old” The King’s servants poured us two glasses of wine as we sat at the large oak dining table.

“Do you train her?” I asked, taking a small sip of my wine as I reclined against my chair.

“No. She’s fully aware of her powers, but I don’t allow her to use them, under any circumstances” The King explained and I quirked an eyebrow at him words.

“Aren’t you worried that an instance will arise when she’ll need to defend herself?” I eyed The King warily as he began to eat.

“This castle has never been breached and she has the best protection possible here.

“Of course, Your Majesty” I inclined my head to him respectively, before beginning to eat myself.

Book #2 Title Reveal!

I’m here to give you the title to the sequel to THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN! I’ve been sitting on this title for such a long time and am so excited to share it with you. I came up with the title for book 2 long before book 1 and just love it so much. This is just the title, as I don’t feel like releasing the cover just yet. I also have a few things to explain regarding the cover, so don’t forget to scroll down past the reveal.

Here it is…………………..

book 2 title

This really reflects the actual cover for TSOTD. The cover is extremely different from the cover for book one and the mock up of cover I made for book 3. The covers for book one and three are both blue, with more of spacey/magical element to them. The cover for book two is orange and much more contemporary. This is meant to signify how different not only the plot of book two is, but also how different my MC, Amberlee, is.

I’m still currently writing book one and outlining book 2, but everything is going well. I’m really happy with what I have written so far (30,268/65,000 words) and literally cannot wait to share this book with all of you. I’ve said repeatedly that this is a passion project and that couldn’t be truer. I am so in love with this book, these character, and this world. As I end this post, I’m going to give a little tease of the cover for THE SONG OF THE DRUID and the title/cover for book 3, TMOT.

Hope you enjoyed and stay tuned for more information.

First up is a sneak peek at the cover for book 2 and then the cover for book 3!

A tease at the title for book 3: TMOT

 

Writing Update 8-7-17

I haven’t done a writing update since mid July, when I was knee deep in Camp NaNo. I only set myself a goal of 12K, getting to nearly 20K by the end of the month. I’ve pushed that project aside, which was sort of a Beauty and The Beast meets Hades and Persephone retelling.

Now, I’m working on a novel heavily inspired by Celtic and Welsh mythology, titled THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN. I’ve put a lot of research into this book, which not only will I put up on Wattpad, but also plan to self-publish and possibly query.

I’m very proud of this project, nearly done with act one and half way through writing the first draft. This is very much of a passion project, as I’m super into every type of mythology, mainly Greek and Celtic. I’ve put a little bit of everything into this novel and can’t wait to share it with everyone.

After I posted an aesthetic, someone on my Twitter said they were so interested in the novel, they wanted to know if it was already published so they could read and review it! That made me so incredibly happy and really instilled new hope and love into this novel. I sent off an excerpt, along with some interesting information about the project. I’ll be sharing some of that information, as it helps understand why I’m so in love with this project!

THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN is a high fantasy heavily inspired by Celtic mythology. It is the first in a duology, with two planned novellas. I plan to self-publish the first in the series once I finish and revise it. I also plan to query an agent with this novel. I have two novella’s planned as well. I would explain it as SABRIEL meets THE TUATHA OF DANAAN.

The Tuatha of Danann is a Celtic mythology story about of the peoples of the Goddess Danu. They are large, strong and beautiful beings, superior to mortals. I also pull from the story of Cerridwen, specifically the mention of her being the ‘Keeper of the Cauldron’ and goddess of the moon and art. The first book in the duology is based on the mythology surrounding Cerridwen, Keeper of the cauldron, goddess of the moon, magic, agriculture, poetry, music, art and science. Her name means “chiding love.” Other common spellings of her name include Cerridwen, Caridwen and Keridwen.

I hope you found all of this an interesting insight into this project and just why I love it so much! I hope when I do finally share this novel, you’ll love it just as much as I do.

My plans for TDOC

I am currently 17K into my newest project, on track to finish the first draft before the end of the year. My ultimate plan is to self publish the novel, beginning to query it after extensive revisions. I want to give people a chance to read it before being published traditionally, so I will also be posting it on WattPad, not the entire book, of course. If people really enjoy it and there are lots of people who can’t afford the book, I’ll post the entire novel.

I’m really enjoying writing this book and hope other people love it as much as I do. I’ll be sharing more information as it releases, along with a full synopsis and more information about the characters. I finally settled on the official title for the first book, already settled on titles for the second book and the two novellas.

THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN is a high fantasy heavily inspired by Celtic mythology. It is the first in a duology, with two planned novellas. I plan to self-publish the first in the series once I finish and revise it. I also plan to query an agent with this novel. I have two novella’s planned as well. I would explain it as SABRIEL meets THE TUATHA OF DANAAN.

The Tuatha of Danann is a Celtic mythology story about of the peoples of the Goddess Danu. They are large, strong and beautiful beings, superior to mortals. I also pull from the story of Cerridwen, specifically the mention of her being the ‘Keeper of the Cauldron’ and goddess of the moon and art. The first book in the duology is based on the mythology surrounding Cerridwen, Keeper of the cauldron, goddess of the moon, magic, agriculture, poetry, music, art and science. Her name means “chiding love.” Other common spellings of her name include Cerridwen, Caridwen and Keridwen.

Super excited to share the title and cover, though I’m sure the cover won’t stick.

TDOC cover

Interview with Amy Ewing

Hello everybody! I had the honor of interviewing author of The Lone City series, Amy Ewing, recently. I’m a huge fan of Amy’s and can’t wait to read what she releases next. I hope all of you enjoy reading the answers as I had dreaming them up!

 

  1. Tell us a little about The Lone City Series

It’s about a city where young girls are auctioned off as surrogates to royal women who can’t have children naturally on their own. Violet is sold and forced to live in the Jewel, the glittering center of the city where the royalty live. She quickly discovers that behind the glamorous façade, the Jewel is filled with danger, where surrogates are abused, humiliated, and even killed. When a forbidden romance threatens everything, Violet has to choose where her loyalties lie.

 

  1. Which of the books was your favorite to write?

I always say that each book is its own little monster. There are wonderful and difficult parts in each one. The Jewel was my first book baby, and so will always have a special place in my heart. But I love each and every one of them. And the novellas too J

 

  1. What is your writing process like?

It really depends on where I am in the process. First drafts I usually work in the afternoon at one of my local neighborhood spots, and I can only work 2-3 hours a day. My goal is 1000 words per writing session, and that seems to be working for me so far. When I revise, I start in the morning and work on my couch with lots of coffee. My days are longer when I revise, and my word counts generally higher.

 

  1. Planner or pantser?

Panster all the way! I’m abysmal at outlining. It’s never really worked for me. I discover so much through the actual writing process—and often the characters dictate where they want the story to go.

 

  1. Best writing advice you’ve ever received?

One that has stuck with me was from my first workshop teacher in graduate school. She said, “Every first draft is a shitty first draft.” It took me a long time to fully understand and internalize that. But once I did, I felt such a wonderful freedom to let go and fail while drafting.

 

  1. Best publishing advice you’ve ever received?

This isn’t advice, but I’ve learned over the years that publishing is all about hurry up and wait. It can take months to get notes and then you may only have a few weeks to revise. I’ve definitely had to learn to be patient!

 

  1. Working on anything new?

Yes! I have a new series coming out next fall – the first book is called The Cerulean. It’s more complex than The Jewel series, with multiple narrators and new magic systems and several different countries. It’s challenging but I’m really excited about it!

 

  1. I love how The Jewel is pitched as The Selection meets The Handmaids Tale. Is there any other way you would pitch The Jewel other than that?

Nope! I really think those examples are terrific, and I’m honored to be among such amazing books.

 

  1. How did you come up with the idea for The Jewel?

From the movie Taken, with Liam Neeson, which is weird, I know. But there’s a scene in it when his daughter (the one who gets taken) is paraded onto a stage and bid on by wealthy men to serve as a sex slave. And as I watched that scene I thought, what if instead of men buying this woman, it was women? Which lead to the question why would a woman buy another woman, which led to the Auction scene, and thus Violet’s story was born.

 

 

  1. Any advice for young authors just starting out?

Don’t give up! Writing is hard and can be really discouraging. Just keep putting words down on paper. Sometimes that’s all you can do, even if they are the worst words you think anyone has ever written. You can’t fix a blank page.

 

  1. Tips to get through writer’s block?

For the adult audience? Wine, in general though, I find just trying to hit a word count, whatever it may be, is really helpful. 1000 words works for me, but even if it’s 500, at least your are getting something down on the page, and that’s the most important thing!

 

  1. What are some elements that you think make books great?

I think character is so important, especially in fantasy. You can have the coolest world building or magic system ever but if a reader doesn’t care about the people in the story, then why continue reading?

 

  1. How do you have the patience to sit down and write a whole book? (this question comes from my friend, Shelby)

It’s really hard! To be honest, I can be a pretty lazy person – I love lounging around reading books or watching Netflix. And writing is all about self discipline. I’ve grown to love it over the years, spending time with my imaginary friends in strange and wonderful places of my own creation. But it can definitely still be a struggle. Not every writing day is a “good” writing day!

 

  1. What inspires your writing? (this comes from my friend Cassie)

I’m not one of those people who has a million ideas and trouble choosing which one to focus on. Usually when an idea comes, it’s huge and takes lots of books to tell. And I never know what’s going to inspire the next project – with the Jewel it was an action movie, while the Cerulean came from a writing exercise I had to write for a panel I was on.

 

  1. How do you plan out your story’s? (this is from my friend Liam)

Honestly, I usually don’t. I get the seed of an idea and then the character takes hold. I’ll have a general idea of where I want the story to go (for example with the Jewel, Violet gets sold, Violet falls in love, Violet discovers danger, Violet plans to escape) but the specifics come as I write. I often feel like my brain leaves me little breadcrumbs, things I look back on when I go to revise and think, Oh that feeds into this plot point! I love the discovery that comes with first drafting, the delicious feel of not quite knowing where you’re going.

 

  1. How much do you plan out before you start writing? (also from Liam)

I really don’t plan much. Once my editor gives me notes on my first drafts, everything usually changes a whole lot anyway, so I try not to feel too married to anything in the beginning. I want to stay flexible and see where the story and characters take me!