Sunday, April 28, 2019

cover art

I love showing off covers just as much as I love creating them. I've been wanting to put together a boxed set for the Luriel Cycle but could not grasp a concept for a cover. If I can't come up with a concept, there would be no way an artist could.

It may take a while, but eventually, I get there... I got there. The same thing can happen in writing. Sometimes you just have to push through the creative block.

At last, I have a cover for the boxed set of The Luriel Cycle: the Complete Trilogy, which will be available soon...

Edit 4/28/19: I started looking at the previous cover and saw a Disney movie. Not good. This is not a Disney-audience friendly book. Loved the cover model, but she looked too young. I went with a modification that took the model out.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cat pic spam

We have four cats in our house. They keep us smiling, and you'll see why.

The three musketeers - (left to right)
Suki, Jack, Dargo

The boys are BFFs

little miss tortitude cleaning her belly

Dargo is a big baby and a goofball

"My towels!"

Our geriatric Siamese, Padme.

The two Siamese and oldest of our kitties - Dargo and Padme

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A wonderful day with my Buddy

I don't get many days like this, so I really enjoy them as fully as I can.

It's Easter weekend and I felt the blessings I have, despite middle-age health issues and having my horse fifty miles away. Today could only have been better if my sisters had been home to visit. But it was a great day, nevertheless.

I drove out to my family's farm to see Buddy and my parents and all the new baby calves. (It's that time of year.) I brought him in from the pen with his friends and trimmed his hooves, then had a great ride. It didn't start out great, but it ended that way. He started out being mister fussy-britches-somewhat-naughty boy, so we worked through it to get him focused. He even gave me some trot leg-yield. Seeing that he could do that, I asked from some walking haunches-in. Bending like that was a little difficult, but it kept him focused on me instead of worrying about not being with his friends. We had gone over the hill from the farm and back.

Then we rode around the yard a little and to the other side of the farmyard. He was trotting nicely, suppling in his jaw, and even letting me let the reins out while walking without him hurrying to go where he wanted to go. We had a puddle in our path that he took some convincing to walk through but not much. Seeing how he didn't need much more than to see that there wasn't any way around, I was pretty proud of him for that. But he got even better.

Saying "Hi" to Babe and Freckles on our
way back to the barn.
We continued around the first-calf heifer lot, then continued out to where his friends were in their pen. By then, he was walking on a nice loose rein with his head level with his withers. We walked by his friends with them following us and out through a steep, dry ditch and out by the south pasture, where he got a little nervous about a huge rock and a little calf, but otherwise continued with a moderately loose rein. We rode back over the culvert rode of that ditch we had ridden through to get out to the pasture, then came back riding on the buckle along the pen with his friends. I was very proud of him by this point.

Coming back brought on some anxiety for him, as we rode between the yearling and bull lots to return to the barn and untack. He earned a double helping of grain with his supplement. For once, he wasn't super sweaty, despite the 76 F temperatures and his winter coat, which you can see in the pictures. I think his mostly relaxed state today made a big difference, since he normally is a nervous nelly (and sweats a lot to go with it). Buddy seemed so much more confident than normal today, but not yet ready to ride among the cattle. Around them with a fence between him and them, okay. With them... We're working on it. This trail riding is what he's needed for a long time. It's building his confidence tremendously.

Nom Nom Nom!
After our ride, I gave him his spring 5-way shot including West Nile Virus while he enjoyed his treat. Then, I gave him more of a treat by letting him enjoy some of the spring grass coming up--he more than earned it! He even ate along the yearling lot on our walk back to his paddock with the yearlings crowding around him. (Yearling cattle are always curious. My horses growing up who were used to working cattle would occasionally get spooked when the yearlings would run to the fence to check us out.)

I didn't get many pics, but I managed a few.

Curious yearlings couldn't ruin his treat

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Forgotten Worlds -- more to come!

The third book of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds series is going up for pre-orders already. Amazon's listing will be up in June. VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS (book 3) will be released on September 12, 2019.

Before then, THE RULE OF YONDER (Book 2) will be released on June 20, 2019.

Currently, A NEW BEGINNING (Book 1) is available for purchase.

Those are the first three books of this series to date that are written. However, there are many more to come!

I will be busy writing this series throughout the next two years at least.

I have now outlined Book 4 and it will be a fun one. It will be a return to the overall feel of the series. Book 3 is a bit different, more fully establishing the history of this universe, or at least the galaxy in which the series takes place in this fiction universe, so it became a puzzle to solve, both in writing and for my characters. I feel that after all the action of Book 2, it was a good time to have a change of pace and lay down some more foundation, including with the Starfire for those who might be new to the Starfire Angels universe. Book 4 goes back to being more action like I want for this series.

Get ready. This will be a fun series with many twists and turns.

I hope to have Book 4 out around Christmas of 2019.

This is only the beginning...


Monday, April 15, 2019

cover reveal - Vault of the Celestials

At last, the cover and description are ready for their initial release, and there is a release date!

Book 3 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Words is finally ready for pre-order.


Returning to Ethal wasn't what Nik wanted. His leaving wasn't on the best of terms—he defied his family and abandoned his responsibilities. But he has sworn to help Nya complete her mission. Unfortunately, confronting his past is only the beginning of their troubles; Nya's life may be in danger on Ethal.  

To make matters worse, when Nya disappears in the Vault of the Celestials, Nik and Vel get trapped trying to rescue her. The temple contains mysteries never revealed, until Nya's presence provides the key. They must solve the puzzles of an ancient past to learn the secrets of the Vault and expose the shadow threat to their mission.


And don't forget to check out Book 1 -- A NEW BEGINNING, available now for only $0.99 (USD).

Book 2 -- THE RULE OF YONDER is available for pre-order, to be released on June 20, 2019.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

the puzzle box

Writing is a puzzle, but a three-dimensional puzzle, like a puzzle box.

A well-crafted story has a conflict and actions that lead to a resolution at its most basic plot. But there are layers, extra dimensions, and also subplots that deepen a story and draw readers in. The trick is to give away just enough to spark questions in the readers' minds without giving away the idea, then lead the readers on the journey.

Every step of the story should inspire readers with questions of what COULD happen next.

That can be one of the most difficult parts of the craft of writing. But what happens when the puzzle pieces don't fit? I don't usually focus on the technical until something isn't working and I can't quite put my finger on it. That's when it's time to walk away and do something else for a while.

Think of it this way--corn starch and water aka oobleck. Put pressure on it, and it solidifies, becomes impenetrable. Release the pressure and it flows.

Sometimes creativity is like an oobleck. We push and push and it's like our creativity freezes. Then, we put it aside and at some point--poof!--the answer comes without effort.

I finally resolved an issue with Vault of the Celestials that had been bothering me throughout writing it and then after finishing. I knew there was something missing but could not put my finger on it and was getting frustrated. I took a break, did some editing on The Rule of Yonder (available for pre-order), and then needed a long drive. The best ideas always come during mundane tasks, like long drives, showers, and walking. Sure enough, the idea struck.

When I finally sat down to write, it all came together, FINALLY! Now, it all makes sense, and those extra layers of the story all tie together the way they were meant to. And what is resolved at the end is sparked early on in a way that will create the right questions to lead readers to what comes next.

Persistence pays off, but so too does knowing when to step back and take a break.

Friday, April 5, 2019

fixed it

Yesterday was the first day that A New Beginning was available.

And last night, I checked the formatting and cringed. How can it look good on the preview but turn out so poorly in the "Look Inside" and on my Kindle? I wanted to cry. It wasn't terrible terrible, but it wasn't as nice as my other books.

It's fixed now at least. I stayed up late last night and worked on it, then saw an NCX issue with the table of contents this morning after the other formatting fix and fixed that before heading out to work.

I thought I had it all ready to go and then my worst fear was realized. On the book's birthday.

This never gets easier.

But, now it's corrected and looks good. I know what went wrong--trusting Amazon's software for creating a mobi file. I'll stick with formatting in .docx. (Part of the problem was the images inside. I tried a different way to create the mobi files because I've had issues with trying to insert cute little images for decoration in chapter headings or scene breaks from .docx files before. However, this ended up not having that problem. Either Amazon fixed something or those other files had glitches with the images.)

Now, I'm on a mission to check other files.