So You Want to Write A Novel

It’s interesting, how the media portrays everyone as ‘having a novel in them’, waiting to be written.  I don’t think so.  Most people are content to read.  Why?  If you’ve ever written a book, or even started to write a book, you know.

Writing a book is hard.

It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect plot, and the perfect setting, and amazing life-like characters all mapped out in your head.  Go ahead, type it out.  Be warned, this will consume your life, and if you find yourself finishing this first novel and loving the process, even through the torture that comes with it – you are in it for life.  One book is never enough.  You must write.

So, here I am, telling you how difficult it is.  Writing is a job.  If you can’t commit to it, it won’t commit to you.  That might sound silly now, but it’s a real thing.

I’ve written 4 novels that I felt were good enough to publish, and I did it independently.  I’d never sell my rights to them, and publishing houses don’t really have that much to offer authors unless you are an established ‘big name’ in something.  Save yourself years of rejection, and do it yourself.  It’s oddly satisfying.  Also, I don’t claim to be an expert, these are all just my personal opinions.

One of the several novels I have in various states of progress is 35,000 words along, and my brain, which apparently loves intricate plots, decides the main idea is a bit stale and boring.  Great.  Then my brain spews out all the interwoven sub-plots and twists, which involve me going back 35,000 words to rewrite the thing.

Now, there are some great scenes in this, and I’m keeping them.  I just have to . . .   readjust.  Just.  (I have a file of words to replace or delete, and that is the first one on it.  More about that in a future post.)

The most difficult part of this, for me, is Word Count.  I worry entire too much about it.  Is the book too short?  Should it just be a novella?  Why do I think I can do this?  Guess what – the story is done when the story is done.  I should know this by now.

So, about Tau Scorpii.  I hope to have it ready in the first half of 2020.  (My life is in a massive transition right now, and has been for the past two years.  I hope that evens out in the first half of 2020 also.)  This is going to be a fun adventure across the desert of a distant world, by humans that have been transplanted there.  They don’t really know what they’re doing, but being human, they have to go off and mess with things they shouldn’t.

This is one of my favorite scenes, and I’m keeping it.  Also, it might change a bit, but not so much.  Here, Skye, a mercenary with the clan Alles Aran, is having an argument with Taryn (Shaye), a scholar of the clan Serae Alles.  Many years earlier, when Taryn was a child, Skye had been a warlord for her father, a clan chieftan.  Each of them believed the other was dead after a siege on the city, and moved on to new lives.  A chance encounter reunites them, despite the fact their clans are not friendly.  (Things get complicated after this!  I told you, I love to plot.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t see you as Shaye, I’ve tried and I can’t. I know that’s who you were, but not for me,” Skye explained, as if she were a child still.

You never changed your name.”

No one was looking for stray warriors from Tycho Alles. Ianto had distant blood kin in a ruling family, and you as far as we know, were the only two related to any of the Patrons.”

It doesn’t matter now.” She was walking close enough beside him, her hand brushed his every few steps.

It does.”

Skye, let it go.”

He cut in front of her, making her stop. “Say that again,” he leaned close, challenging her.

She didn’t waver. “Let it go. There’s nothing you can do to change it.” Then she fiddled with the collar of his dusty jacket, pretending to straighten it. Neither of them blinked. Taryn pulled him forward and kissed him, brushing her lips over his for a few lingering moments. “I know you were a good man. Show me who you are now.”

You might not like who I am now.”

I was going to say the same thing. I’m not your princess,” Taryn used a childhood fairy tale to make her point.

Skye had been read the same stories when he was young. “I’m not your knight in shining armor.” It was a stare-down, and for a few moments, he didn’t know if she was going to kiss him again, or slap him. Both would have the same effect. “This isn’t over, it’s not even started yet.”

That was my intention.”

Do not trifle with me,” he growled.

I don’t ‘trifle’ with men.” Taryn didn’t budge, having learned to stand her ground a long time ago.

I don’t play easy.”

You don’t scare me, Skye.”

  He believed her.  At the same time, he knew they were attracting stares. “We’ll continue this conversation, in private, damned soon.”

Good. Now that we have that straightened out, let’s get to Freeport. I think you’ll be able to appreciate what we’ve done there.”

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, clans Alles and Serae don’t like each other.  Add to that, the self-appointed leader of the largest city in five territories has decided to send them off across the alien desert in search of an unspeakable treasure – proof that human cities exist, and that SolTerra isn’t merely a myth.  The problem, other than the constant conflict among each other, is the real possibility that the weather is changing on their world.

Summary

  When Taryn rescues another human from a marauding band of Caeruleum, she is reunited with clansmen from her past. It puts her at odds with their new chieftan, as well as her own partner, a powerful privateer. They discover, there are more imminent problems, ones they cannot control, and must unite to survive. Easier said than done, when each of them are strong-willed, intense, and have their own plans to set in motion.

  Sedna is home to hundreds predatory alien species. Humans are one of them. They’ve been there long enough to adapt, but not so long that all of them have forgotten, it’s not their world. The weather is changing. Humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

Promo time!  I have a completed post-apocalyptic trilogy available now, follow the link in the graphic to my website.

 

WeWriWa 10/20/19

wewriwa

Check out the amazing authors sharing their snippets.

Also drop by Snippet Sunday.

This snippet is from Outliers, the new Wildblood novel.  I’ve already changed it up a bit, telling the story of Shannon and Green, and a lot of history about The Vista not seen in the first trilogy.   Here, Green and Dallas are discussing their options, in light of recent events.  No one ever said life was fair.  While there are Security officers aware Council has its own agenda, they are also aware the situation is beyond their control.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  “In the meantime, we’re going to pretend nothing out-of-the ordinary is happening, that we’re not watching for stragglers wandering in from Estes Park, that Council hasn’t been hiding the fact they’ve had contact there for over a decade, and that the Altered are an urban myth.”  Green was as angry about how Council had deceived Security as he had been when he figured it out, a year and a half ago.

So, nothing new,” Dallas added with biting sarcasm. “Are you really willing to let it go, everything Council has done, and what its caused?”

Truthfully, yes. There’s nothing we can do. Even if we could, remember the oath you took when you joined Security?”

Dallas looked pissed for a few moments, knowing full-well his anger at Green was displaced. “Protect all citizens of The Vista and external allied communities first,” he recited.

Council members are citizens, last time I checked.”

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I wish I had a time frame for release, but those never work for me.  I need someone standing behind me with a whip and a cup of coffee, apparently.  There are also 3 other novels in various stages of progress, a time travel thing, a dimensional travel thing, and a colonization thing.  So many things.  In my fantasy world, I’d like to release these next year, one every couple months.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I’m so jealous of people that can keep to their writing schedule.

And now, for a promo.

old grungy texture

As a huge fan of the Fallout franchise and post-apocalyptic fiction and media in general, the Vista series feels like it has fallen from the sky into my grasp!
– Amazon Review-

No one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.  The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood – Available in paperback and eBooks at www.topaz08.com .

This is Your Brain On 1st Draft

Right to the snippets.

I’ve rewritten this scene a few times, and while I can’t guarantee it hasn’t been tweaked in the final version, this was an interesting bit to write.  So for something completely different, I’m going to post the snippet, with my personal thoughts interjected in parenthesis.  This is really how my brain works.  you’ve been warned.

Hunter and Shannon have a reunion, about halfway through Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood.  They are on the verge of a serious relationship. The problem being, they have very different backgrounds and ideals. Read the bold lines first, that’s the actual snippet.  Reread.  My smarmy comments are in italics.  Have fun!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You’re not wearing body armor,” Hunter observed.

(Did you really think he wouldn’t notice that??)

She glared at him, dropping her canteen and clamping her mouth shut instead of saying something rude.

(You’re so lucky she didn’t punch you.  She’s twenty, for god’s sake.  Her hormones are running amok. Pay attention!)

He knew that look. “And you’re pissed at me. Because I kissed you?”

(I was right, you really are clueless.)

For a moment, Shan was astonished. “You think that’s why I’m angry?” She put her hands on her hips, only accentuating the fact she was mad, and that she wasn’t wearing body armor.

(No comment.)

Apparently, no. What did I do wrong?” Hunter asked, leery.

(Oh, Hunter, you silly, silly man.)

You could have asked me to come with you, when you left Estes Park.”

(See? You’re not paying enough attention, Hunter.  You should run now.)

You told me not to.”

(See previous statement.)

I might have alluded to it. The point is, you should have asked.” Shan was frustrated. He wasn’t like the men she knew, the ones she’d grown up around. She had no trouble expressing herself to the select few of Team Three’s inner circle, or talking them in to things.

(Men.)

There was no winning the argument, he knew from past experience. “What about Mac?” he expressed his own frustration.

(Noooooooooo!!  You did not just say that!)

Mac?” she repeated, puzzled.

(It’s OK, Shan.  He’s clueless.)

Tall guy. Wears a cowboy hat, watches a lot of old movies when he’s off-duty. You two are . . . involved.”

(I’ll bet she knew that.)

She sighed. “I forget, sometimes. You think my relationship with Mac has some bearing on my relationship with you. It doesn’t.”

(TAKE THE HINT.)

Maybe not for you,” Hunter corrected. “And maybe not for him. I have trouble working around that. Once I figure it out, I’ll tell you all about how I feel.” He knew exactly how to push her buttons, or to make her think about it. His choice was the latter, this time.

(~headdesk~)

I don’t even know how to respond,” Shan decided after a moment.

(Me, either.)

What do you need my help for?” he changed the subject none too smoothly.

(YOU EEEDIOTT!)

I’m a Scout, I might as well see what I can about this trade route. Maybe it will keep Command from firing me, later.”

(looks for another cup of coffee)

Hunter folded his arms, never sure if she was joking when it came to Command.

(You know nothing, Hunter.  Nothing!)

There are times I really despise that . . . smug look,” she folded her arms, daring him to respond.

(You’re really not going to let him walk away like that, are you?  ARE YOU??)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is a bit farther on in the same book. JT is Hunter’s brother, and they’ve been separated by war since they were children.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I ended up in front of Command and Chairman Haines as soon as we started working together,” Hunter mused.

(To be fair, you were warned about this sort of thing.)

Sounds like a good story,” JT said, wandering in. The mess tent was the first place he’d looked for them. “Join me at my campfire and tell me the rest. I’ve brought beer as an offering.”

(Mmmmmm, beer.)

We can do that,” Shan said, finished with the meal. She stacked her dishes on the pile and waited for them “Because I bet there will be some interesting embellishments.”

(Now, let’s all agree, I’ve spent 2 & ½ books letting you all embellish. Let’s step this up a notch.)

I don’t exaggerate,” Hunter defended, following his brother and holding the door open for her. She still wasn’t wearing body armor. There was a Sig on her shoulder, always.

(Man, that lack-of-body-armor obsession is going to get him in trouble. Or something.)

Shan grinned at them. “Please, do tell.” It was a short walk along the trail, passing other fires, and groups of people enjoying the evening. There was music, and laughter.

(They all need to learn to laugh more. This is a me-problem.)

Let me know if I get close to anything classified,” Hunter added, finding canvas chairs already waiting.

She shook her head, gesturing for him to continue.

(Giving him more rope to hang himself with.)

JT took a seat on the other side of her, passing out the beer. Two each. “There’s plenty more, but keep in mind, we break camp at daylight.”

(~sigh~ I have coffee, anyway.)

I’m not talking about the Sweeps run at the end of April,” Hunter warned, back on the subject.

(Go on.)

No,” Shan agreed. “We got called up to Command when we came back from following Wade to Colorado. Or, trying to follow Wade to Colorado. Someone had different orders, ones that superseded mine, and ones he didn’t tell me about until later.”

(See, she takes out her frustrations on whoever gets too close. You didn’t run away when you had the chance, Hunter, you’re on your own.)

Hunter shrugged. “That was the second time we worked together, and ‘bam’, this close to a reprimand on my record.”

(True enough. And then?)

Shan laughed. “I’ve heard about your time with the caravans. Don’t act like you’d never been in trouble before.”

Second time out,” he repeated.

(OMG, she likes you. DO SOMETHING.)

Is that how you two met, with the caravans?” JT asked.

(You had to ask.)

He hasn’t told you?”

(He’s quiet, until he isn’t. You know this.)

Capt. Allen, you’re a mystery to me. I asked my brother how many women he was involved with and he said, just one, when she’s ready to be serious.”

(Alrighty then!)

Shan raised her eyebrows, savoring the beer. It was dark and rich and cold. “Really? And you think he meant me.”

(Duh. Just duh.)

He has spoken your name. I recognize that look of someone infatuated.”

(You can tell they are related.)

You were worried about me embellishing stories,” Hunter said, settling back.

Did you say that?” Shan asked.

(~sigh~)

Yes, I did.” Hunter drank some beer. If there was going to be drunk confessions, he intended to fully participate.

(Ah-HA! Let’s do this!)

How did you meet?” JT repeated, genuinely curious.

A year ago,” Hunter said. “We met a year ago last week, on a road, in the middle of the night. She ordered me to get the hell out of her way. When we actually met face to face, she told me I drove like shit and that rookies shouldn’t be allowed out to play.”

(He remembers things, too.)

Fairly accurate,” Shan gave him that one. “Letting a rookie drive at night, on that road. Questionable.”

(Stop being a show-off. He gets it, you’re Captain Fantastic.)

I’ll let Dallas know, next time I talk to him,” Hunter countered.

(You’re on your own. Dallas knows better than to get involved.)

Pretty sure I told him.”

(And he told Hunter he was on his own then, too. Don’t start none, won’t be none.)

You really are his senior officer?” JT asked.

He’s been in Security two years. I’ve been in Command that long, Security since I was fifteen.”

( . . .)

What does a fifteen year old do in Security?”

(Annoys her CO with silly questions.)

Mostly, I sat in the com center. It didn’t take me long to qualify as a Dispatcher. I’m close quarters qualified, too. I drive, mostly, and mostly by myself.”

(Mostly.)

On the ice, in the dark,” Hunter added his color commentary.

(We’ve all seen how she drives. Get in, sit down, hold on, shut up.)

When did you tell him about, you know, that unspoken thing?”

(Yeah, there it is. Everyone wants to know, up until they hear it, then they wish they hadn’t.)

When she had to. When we were following Wade to Colorado. She didn’t want to, and couldn’t prove a thing,” Hunter said.

(And you followed her around like an idiot.)

Trust issues. Every person like you I’ve run across has those, in spades.”

From what I’ve seen, with damned good reasons,” Shan said.

JT nodded, agreeing.

(Just smile and nod. It’s safer that way.)

When I got her to go home, we were sent right to Command. At least I knew why. Then they gave us Cody. The rest,” he shrugged.

(If you only knew.)

A fabricated tale,” JT figured.

No comment,” Shan added.

I’ll bet you say that a lot.”

I really don’t have to. Very few have seen anything that could indicate I’m different. Most of them don’t even know it, if they see something unusual.”

(Plausible deniability. A politician in the making? Gee, I hope not.)

How would I tell?”

She’d never let you,” Hunter said. “I had to resort to bribery.”

Yeah, there are some things I don’t want to know.”

You have a dirty mind,” Shan pointed out.

(OF COURSE HE DOES!)

All men do, Shan. If you don’t know it now, you’ll figure it out soon,” Hunter mugged it up for her.

(Get a room.)

What’s next?” JT meant both of them.

(Well, that would be telling. There will be . . . tanks.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Through 3 books, a quarter million words, their relationship has various changes, all being growth. That’s the key for me, making a character grow and learn. Sometimes it’s simple, most of the time, it’s not.

The Wildblood: Trilogy One is now complete and you can find it here.  It’s in a box set, or you can find the books individually as well.  (PS – the prequel novella is free.)  The segue novel is well underway, leading in to a new series – look for Outliers soon!  In the meantime, The Vista (book 1) is also on sale, so you can grab it now for 99c.

Road in the mountains at rain
Country road in the mountains

WeWriWa 09/22/19

Aaaaaaaand, go check out the WeWriWa site & Snippet Sunday for authors sharing snippets.  It’s fun!

wewriwa

You know what happened in The Wildblood: Trilogy One, but what are the stories you don’t know? Outliers explores parts of The Wildblood world kept hidden, the stories yet to be told.

A generation after World War 3, children of the survivors struggle to overcome the all-too-human penchant to fight with each other. The only thing more dangerous than the people you don’t know, are the people you do know.

The first book explores Capt. Shannon Allen and Capt. Damon Green’s efforts to uncover the truth about The Vista and its Altered, the genetically engineer humans, while remaining loyal to the oaths they swore to protect their home. The Vista is no longer alone, and the world is a complicated place.

This novel is a segue between The Wildblood: Trilogy One and the new stand-alone Outliers novels.

 * * * * *

As we skip forward a bit, we find Hunter and Shannon discussing his family ties, and growing concerns about things the Council has been hiding for years.

 * * * * *

It doesn’t hurt to have powerful allies,” Hunter smiled.

Or any allies, as long as you can trust them,” Shan agreed.

I think you can trust him.”

You do, so I do; my concern now, is the people I’ve known all my life that have been lying to me, all my life.  Half the Council members from when this thing with Vance started are dead, two of them are over seventy, two of them are in Command,and one is still on the Council. That leaves me in a precarious position.”

Are any of them Altered?” Hunter understood her concern, and he’d be damned if he let them hurt her.

I used to think I’d know, now I’m not so certain.”

Shit,” he exhaled

I’m not on my own here, so don’t go out of your way to worry, because they’re more concerned about establishing relations with Estes Park and other cities, than what I might be up to on my own.”

 * * * * *

More mystery, more intrigue.  More explosions?  Could be.  For now, the one that started this journey, The Vista, is on sale for some promos I had this month.  Good news for you, if you’d like to crack open this series – it’s 99c for the rest of September!  You know what to do.  If you don’t do Amazon, go to my website for all the other retailers.

Road in the mountains at rain

Thank you all for visiting!!

WeWriWa 09/15/19

Do you enjoy sneak peeks of books in progress?  Looking for something new & exciting to read?  Check out the WeWriWa page and Snippet Sunday, too!

wewriwa

You know what happened in The Wildblood: Trilogy One, but what are the stories you don’t know? Outliers explores parts of The Wildblood world kept hidden, the stories yet to be told.

A generation after World War 3, children of the survivors struggle to overcome the all-too-human penchant to fight with each other. The only thing more dangerous than the people you don’t know, are the people you do know.

The first book explores Capt. Shannon Allen and Capt. Damon Green’s efforts to uncover the truth about The Vista and its Altered, the genetically engineer humans, while remaining loyal to the oaths they swore to protect their home. The Vista is no longer alone, and the world is a complicated place.

This novel is a segue between The Wildblood: Trilogy One and the new stand-alone Outliers novels.

* * * * *

A continuation of the chapter from last week.  Shannon and Green have had a complicated  relationship since they met while working in Security.     While many things have changed, they are still complicated.

 * * * * *

How’d it go in there?”

Like you’d expect; I told Richard Cameron all about Wade.”

Green made a noise, disgruntled, knowing he didn’t really have the right to tell her she couldn’t.

I looked around at all the men staring at me, and Perro said ‘He’s the only one that doesn’t know’ – he was right. When did we get so afraid of our families that we had to lie about most of our lives to them?” she held his hand, relishing the human contact.

You’re not afraid of them, you’re afraid for them. Have dinner with me, and I’ll drive you out to the airport,” Green changed the subject. “Otherwise, you can hitchhike on an empty stomach and I’ll come see you at the hospital tomorrow,” he smiled at her, daring her to argue. 

Fair enough, Capt. Blackmail, buy me dinner.”

Green broke out in a real smile, “I love it when you’re reasonable.”

 * * * * *

This will be a book sometime.  I’ve heard December is a bad month to release a book, so there’s that.  I’ll let you know, when I know.  Please forgive my creative punctuation.

The Vista is 99c for the month of September, FYI!  If you don’t use Kindle, there are other retailers here.

Abandoned Farmhouse Saskatchewan Canada

09/08/19 WeWriWa

wewriwa

Another week, another 10 sentences.  Seems about my speed of writing lately.  Weirdly enough, there are 3 stories floating around waiting to get typed out.  Watching Carnival Row has made me want to write a story about the fae, too.  I know nothing about them, and if a real plotline starts, I’m afraid I’ll be in for weeks of research.  That’s how I roll.  (PS – my kids told me to never say that again.  It’s not cool.)

Oh, heck!  Check out the WeWriWa page (follow the graphic)!  There are always entertaining snippets to be found.  Snippet Sunday too.  Here’s the C&P blurb.  I need to write a real one, but those are just hideous to deal with.  So, this.

 * * * * *

This is a bit from a WIP Wildblood book yet to be named.  It follows after the trilogy, but is a stand alone novel.

The Gen En Shannon Allen, has sworn to protect her home.  After recent tragedies, she is more determined than ever to discover the secrets kept from her all her life.  Her kind, the genetically enhanced, the Altered, are being hunted, they have been since World War Last.  Venturing out into the post-apocalyptic world is dangerous.  Ignoring the truth about the Altered could be deadly.

Shannon is have a discussion, off the record, with her superior officers, determined not to show her human side, not to let them pull up tell-tale emotions.

* * * * *

Did you kill Vance?” Haines asked bluntly.

No.”

Did Cmdr. Wade?”

Has it occurred to you, the same group that ambushed us might have been fleeing Estes Park for a reason – Vance being that reason?” Shan put to them.

And you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?” Cameron added. He didn’t want to think Wade might have done it, but he knew it was possible.

It wouldn’t be the first time,” she said.

You’re very nonchalant about this, Capt. Allen,” Haines pointed out.

It’s actually the opposite of that, Chairman Haines. Six days ago, everything in my world stopped.”

 * * * * *

So, there it is.  Working title is Outliers: A Wildblood Novel(la?).  The stories between the other stories.  It might get another name, or a number later, I’ll worry about that when it’s time to find an editor.  At the front of the line, right now; Tau Scorpii is here, and Cascadia.  Plus, if you see someone sneaking around Pinterest looking at fae art, it’s not me!

A promo.  The Vista is on sale this month.  I may actually get to move this year, so there is no set timeline now.  This is my life.  No set schedule.  I don’t mind.

99cSept_1

09/01/19 WeWriWa

wewriwa

Welcome to my part of the WeWriWa blog!  Go to the website to find other authors sharing their snippets.  It’s fun, and there are a lot of great books out there in progress.  Same thing for Snippet Sunday over at FB.

This is a bit from a WIP Wildblood book yet to be named.  It follows after the trilogy, but is a stand alone novel.

The Gen En Shannon Allen, has sworn to protect her home.  After recent tragedies, she is more determined than ever to discover the secrets kept from her all her life.  Her kind, the genetically enhanced, the Altered, are being hunted, they have been since World War Last.  Venturing out into the post-apocalyptic world is dangerous.  Ignoring the truth about the Altered could be deadly.

* * * * *

This week, Shan & Green are continuing their discussion.

* * * * *

I don’t think it’s a good idea, for you to go to Texas, Damon,” she finally voiced her concern about his ongoing involvement with Team Three.

Why, specifically?” He wasn’t surprised, or hurt, by the statement.

Mostly because I need eyes in The Vista, ones I can trust. I don’t know who’s going south, I have no control of it, either. I do know, not all of them are going to be the friendly sort. Oh, they may look that way on the outside, but I can see on the inside, too, or at least have a damned good idea about their intent and I need to know, if I have to retreat, I have somewhere to go.”

He didn’t answer, not right off. Then, “I’ve told you, I can’t even remember how many times, you’re always welcome in my home, in The Ranchlands. We’ve had long discussions about the seven roads, and how I got picked to take care of you, if there was ever a time when you needed it.”

   * * * * *

I’m trying to shake some words loose for Tau Scorpii as well, but I don’t know when.  It’s in the works, for certain.  I keep mentioning Cascadia and never giving you a snippet.  I’m rude.

The Wildblood: Trilogy One is out now, and just for kicks, The Vista is 99¢ for September.  You know this, follow the links or click on the pretty picture!

99cSept_2