Camp NaNo Time!

Hello once again, Readers!!! Tomorrow is the start of NaNo! Woohoo! Can you feel the excitement!? I don’t know if I want to do a cart-wheel of joy or hurl…

I am going to do my best to complete the 50K in the alloted timeframe, while continuing to write, From the Embers. Because of this, I have decided to schedule my posts to one a week…most likely on Mondays. The writing will be my main focus, plus my edits will be back within the next couple of weeks from the editor, so basically I will be overloaded. Oh, and another Craft Fair…

But any who. I have plenty of Red Bull and music to help me through this adventure. I love adventures. Especially the kind that scare the living S$!& out of you!

Okay, maybe not. I digress.

The original girl: photo credit: torpore via photopin cc

Like that?? I made it for my WIP I am attempting for NaNo. They had a spot where you can upload an image for the novel so I figured WTH.

It was just for kicks, nothing serious. To be honest, I really just wanted to play around with the editing site to see what all it can do, which I think it came out pretty darn good. I used Pixlr which is the same site I used for my book button. I found the image of the girl on Photopin and then overlayed a picture of a galaxy (also from photopin) and made it a little translucent so you could still see the girl, but get the sparklies.

This is my first NaNo attempt…to say I am nervous is an understatement though I don’t know why. I’ve already written two novels and am 1/4 into a third. I guess it’s the pressure that I know I will apply on myself. I can’t fail.

That being said, I have three posts started to take care of three weeks worth of blogs. Talk about being prepared! Helpful how to’s and another giveaway. No procrastination here! Muhahaha.

Oh, I forgot to tell you…

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc

Eww I hate spiders. Worse than the dark I think and that’s saying a lot because I hate the dark too. Put them together and you have a passed-out Candace.

I digress. Stay safe Trick-or-Treaters! I will be taking my Red Ninja (Logan) and Fairy (Scarlett) tonight and hopefully score some good candy! I’ll probaby need it. I wish you all the spookiest, fun night!

For the question: What are you dressing up as?

Echelon out ♥

10 Questions To Get To Know Your Characters

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

Hello once again, Readers!!!So I wanted to blog about something important since NaNo is in a couple of days. I have been going back and forth with myself on whether or not I am going to try it. I’m just not sure I can squeeze both, From the Embers and another WIP, in at the same time. I think what I will do is attempt it, but not hold my breath. If I succeed then more power to me, but if not, then oh well…there is always next year.

But I digress.

Let’s talk characters. It is important to jump into NaNo with a clear idea on who you are going to be writing about. If you aren’t sure yet, don’t fret…you are only a few steps away from figuring it out! There is an easy way to familiarize yourself with your characters so you will be a set for the big month. 10 steps to success!

Below I have compiled a series of questions that I use for my own character development. These are basic questions that will mold your character into a real, believable person that a reader can relate to. So grab a notebook and a pen and lets begin (I’m a poet and didn’t know it…lol)!

  1. What does your character look like? (Try to really envision this person. If you aren’t clear on the appearance, neither is the reader)
  2. Detail you characters appearance down to scars on their body and how they got them. Hair, hygiene, style, ect.
  3. List five personality traits and then detail each one as to why they are that way. (Make sure there are good and bad traits. For the bad, explain why and how it affects others. Do enemies occur from this trait? For the good, how they got that way and what ways they use it in their daily life.)
  4. Greatest strength versus greatest flaw. (They need to have at least one of each to avoid Mary-sue-itis.)
  5. What are their likes and dislikes? (Take time to get to really know them. What do they find attractive in the world and in people. What do they despise in the world and in people? Make them as real as possible down to food choice and movie selection.)
  6. What is their dream/aspiration? What goals have they set?
  7. Where were they born and who raised them? (Get into detail on who raised them and how this molded their POV.)
  8. What is unique about your character? (The reader needs something to root for. Something that sets them apart from every other book out there.)
  9. What is their biggest fear? (Knowing this will help you add this into the plot as a character builder. Something they can overcome by character growth.)
  10. Do they have a love interest? How do they feel about love? (You need to know how they deal with relationships.)

If you take a good day to sit down and answer all of these questions, then you are on the right path to writing a believable character. Keep these notes with you and read them again and again to really familiarize yourself with them. Soon enough, it will be a no brainer. Your character will be as real as you or me.

From there you can begin plotting your story or like me, wait until the last minute and just write. I don’t limit myself with a chapter by chapter outline. It’s too confining. I have an idea where I want the story to go and I try to stick with it.

Now I have three characters that I need to sit down and interview! This is the fun part. The beginning stages to an entirely new world. I hope this has helped you. There are so many different ways to do things out there; it’s nice to share and learn new ways.

That being said, do you have any added questions to share?

Echelon out ♥

‘Born in Flames’ Is Now Available On KOBO

 

My publisher has added Born in Flames to the KOBO network! Ibooks will be coming soon as well, and then hopefully print!!!

Echelon out ♥

A Construct Of Angels – Author Interview

Hello once again, Readers!!! It is crazy windy here! I hope it dies off by tomorrow for the craft fair. But enough about that. Today I have a special guest, Andrew Toynbee. He just published his debut novel, A Construct of Angels, and I have the pleasure of sharing with you an awesome author interview. But before we dive into that, lets take a look at the beautiful cover created by Ravven and blurb.

The blurb:

After accidentally triggering the spontaneous resurrection of a dead student, an ordinarily routine day for York-based paramedic Sara Finn erupts into a series of events that propel her on a terrifying journey, promising to forever change her pragmatic opinions of life and death.
Still haunted by her domineering and abusive stepfather and driven by a life-long search for her missing younger brother, Sara finds herself caught in the crossfire between warring forces, powerful beyond human comprehension, that threaten to plunge civilisation into hellish chaos and eternal darkness.
Are you excited yet?? I just bought my copy and can’t wait to begin reading it!! So let’s get to the good stuff and meet the brains behind this operation!

Welcome, Andy! Tell us about your book and what was your inspiration for writing it?

My book follows the adventures of a female paramedic who inadvertently becomes involved in the eternal battle between the Realms that we know as Heaven and Hell. Whilst she’s trying to identify a body that may or may not be her missing brother, using her peculiar ability to retrieve disembodied souls, she accidentally pulls down a lost Angel – one who had been trying to Fall to Earth in order to counter a particularly nasty plot against mankind, but had become lost. Together, they have to figure out who or what is behind the plot and how it will affect us all before they can organise themselves enough to try to prevent a world-wide catastrophe.

The ambulance picture is the hapless Methuselah, the battered vehicle driven by the main character in the first part of the book.

The whole idea originally stemmed from the market saturation of vampire and werewolf novels.  After seeing Twilight, the Vampire Diaries, Blood Ties and True Blood on TV, I began to wonder if I couldn’t write a supernatural story – but one without any Vampires or Werewolves in it. I asked myself; ‘What’s more powerful than either of those creatures? What wouldthey fear?’  The answer, naturally, was Angels, beings that have been around forever.  I remember reading a novel many years ago (the name of which evades my Swiss-cheese memory) where US Marines in flying gear were sent in to battle a group of rebellious Angels. They were torn to pieces. The scene in which the Angels simply ripped the marines apart was graphic and horrific and I have never forgotten it (unlike the name of the book).

So, when the time came to visualise the power of Angels, that scene was foremost in my mind.  But as I began my research and delved into all the biblical accounts of angels and their dealings with mankind, I realised that I wanted to create a more modern approach to the whole Angel-Heaven concept – something that could be explained not only with faith, but with science too.  I’m a confirmed scientist and a big follower of Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, so I envisaged a Heaven that could be linked to modern cosmological thinking, whilst retaining the consistencies that biblical references have documented.


Very interesting. How long did it take to write your book?

The original concept was formed in August 2009, when I began to discuss the idea by email with my long-time friend and fellow Trekker, Louise.  We even began to write the story together, describing an Edinburgh over-run by marauding demons, battled by Angels that walked the Earth in defence of mankind. But it quickly became clear that we were both developing divergent ideas on how the story ought to run.  I’d envisaged a contemporary tale, whilst she favoured a post-apocalyptic scenario.  The project stalled.  After a great deal of thought and several sleepless nights, I realised that both ideas could work – except mine could be a ‘reboot’ of hers.  She could continue to document the consequences of a demon-invaded world, whilst I would describe how the whole disaster had originally come to pass.  So, in early 2010, I set the story in York, recycled a pair of characters that hadn’t been used in Louise’s story and began from there.  It took me until mid-2011 to complete the First Draft.  Sadly, Louise never completed her work in progress.


What is your favorite part of writing and the most difficult part?

My favourite part is letting my Muse have her head and just watching where the story goes.  I am a confirmed ‘Pantser’, but that’s now been tempered with a degree of initial plotting.  As long as the story ends up where it’s supposed to, my Muse can have a field day.

I think the most difficult part stems from something that is relatively new to me – that of fitting my tale into a contemporary setting.  I’ve always avoided writing real-world stories for the same reason that I rarely read real-world novels.  I find everything too restrictive, too contained.  In our world, there are definite limits to what you can and can’t do.  If you set a novel in a city, you must adhere to that city’s layout.  Our world has physics, which means that, unless you utilise magic, those physics must be strictly adhered to.  I’d set myself a very difficult challenge by setting ‘A Construct of Angels’ in modern-day York, with a Main Character who was a Paramedic.  But, if Stephenie Meyer could set Twilight in a real town, why couldn’t I?


What was your favorite scene or character to write?

My favourite scene, I guess, would be the final scene of the book.  This was my Muse’s anchor. This was where the entire story had to lead up to.  When I began to research the city for suitable venues, I’d envisaged a certain crucial event in which Hell attacks Heaven directly.  I’d even thumped Louise’s wooden table (a little hard, I confess) to convey the single hammer-blow that Hell launches.  So I needed a cannon – a historical venue from which to launch the attack.  Actually, you can see the building in Ravven’s marvellous cover for the book. All through the story, I knew that I had this final scene ahead of me and I could hardly wait to get there.  That probably helped to speed my writing.

My favourite character?  Oh, that’d have to be the man with no name.  Actually, he’s a Nephil, a demon’s offspring, not a man at all.  He’s also the antagonist.  And he does have a name…unfortunately no human can bear to hear it – as my Main Characters discover. I’m a good-natured person at heart, but I spent some time trying to get into the skin of an evil antagonist, trying to work on his motivations.  What would it be like, I wondered, to be all-powerful AND evil?  What would you do?  What havoc would you wreak? It occurred to me that if you were a powerful enough villain, you would probably have no fear of consequences.  So, the man with no name, who is only ever referred to by description in the story, became the sinister, shadowy and disdainful-of-authority figure that I most enjoyed writing.


Will there be a sequel to your book?

Currently, there are two sequels planned, both with a specific ending in mind (to keep my Muse in check).  In these, I’d like to explore more of my cosmological Heaven-Hell ideas.  The first book barely touched upon them. However, these two will only take us about half-way towards the previously-mentioned apocalypse, so there is room for a second trilogy, assuming the first is successful.  And there might even be a post-apolcalypse trilogy.  But that’s all a long way off at the moment.


Do you ever get writer’s block and if so how do you overcome it?

I’m fortunate enough not to suffer from writer’s block.  No, really.  I DO find myself standing at a fork in the road quite often, with my Muse panting like a terrier and pointing down an unknown route…when I had planned to take a ‘safer’ path. I usually give in and follow her down the dark and twisty path just to see what happens.  More often than not I am surprised and delighted. If I ever find myself at the natural end that a Chapter break provides, wondering just what comes next, I will lie down, close my eyes and run the scene that I’ve just completed in my head as if I was watching it at a cinema. As I munch on virtual popcorn and squeak my folding seat, the scene will change and show me what happens next, hopefully in such a way that the virtual audience around me doesn’t cry ‘what the hell just happened there?’  If they do object, I have the film rewound and run it again until an acceptable scene-change occurs to me.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot. I usually have at least two, sometimes three books on the go at any one time.  I also make short videos and post them on YouTube under the name Andybee64.  Most of them are movie/music  mash-ups where someone else has done all the hard work filming and composing, but occasionally I get time to head outside with my camcorder and shoot something for real. I’m hoping to use my experience in this area to create a trailer for my book. I’d love to include some live action scenes.  Any volunteers?

What are you currently reading?

‘Planet Word’ by J P Davidson and Stephen Fry.  ‘The Jesus Mysteries’ byTimothy Freke and Peter Gandy and ‘The Cylinder’ – an eBook by Luke O’Boyle.


Any authors or books that inspired you and your writing?

Well, you could say that the books of Stephenie Meyer, PC Cast, Rachel Caine and Richelle Mead (amongst others) got me started by saturating the market with vampire stories, but it was the ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ (all ten of them) by Stephen Donaldson that inspired me to begin the ‘Elementals’ saga (all 234,000 words of which are still languishing on my back-burner), and before that it was E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s classic ‘Lensman’ series that inspired me to my first planned-ending novel ‘Homeworld’ (still unfinished, sadly).


Any advice for aspiring authors?

Start writing!  Now!  Whether it’s NaNoWriMo, a short story or a full-length novel, you have to write to be able to write.  And nowadays, you are no longer required to stand in line before the Gatekeepers that are the Agencies and Publishing Houses.  You can publish independently as an eBook author. But make sure you have your work read by as many independent, trustworthy people as possible.  Even now, after twelve drafts, I’m still finding silly errors.  So check, check and check again – then get other people to check.  And then use the feedback to strengthen and improve your work as much as possible.  Make it as good as you possibly can – and then make it even better.  Jenna Burtenshaw told me that when I was five drafts in – and I groaned at the thought.  But she was right.

And start a blog.  Immediately.  If I hadn’t, I would never have met any of the amazing bloggers who have been my daily inspiration.  A blog can work as a private journal (if you want to keep to yourself, but document your daily writing progress) but it can also be a meeting-place and a venue where ideas and valuable information can be exchanged.  I might never have ePublished without the help and support of my fellow bloggers.


If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

My ideal job would be…Bush Pilot in the Australian outback.  Flying, freedom and daily challenges amongst larger-than-life characters.  That appeals to me.


Tell us something random/share a guilty pleasure.

Something random?  Oh, well, I used to be a cat person, but my wife taught me to be a dog person.  Our two terriers are called Ron and Arthur Weasley after…well, you know.  Their much-missed predecessor was a terrier called Harry.  He used to potter around the garden all the time…so blame him for the names.

My guilty pleasure is chocolate.  Isn’t it everybody’s?  And I adore Honey Rum.  I’ve only ever seen it for sale in Spain and the Canary Islands, but a bottle always accompanies me on the journey home.  It’s lush.

If you have anything else you want said, let me know!

I love to listen to soundtrack and soundtrack-esque music as I write.  My current favourite is Thomas Bergersen’s ‘Illusions’. It lifts me to incredible heights and plunges to stunning depths. I hope something of that feeling has transferred to my writing.

So what’d ya thing, Readers!! Pretty awesome right?? Here’s where you can pick up your copy:

Amazon

What are you waiting for!!??

Echelon out ♥

Swag-a-licious Author Signing ♥

Hello once again Readers!!! What’s that? I’ve been bitten!!? Oh-my-God!!

I’M A ZOMBIE!!!!! A blood-thirsty, pale-as-Edward, Zombie! Somebody grab an axe…oh wait, on second thought don’t. That might hurt.

Okay so I’m not a Zombie, but I sure did a good make-up job! My husband’s friend from work had a Halloween party on Sunday that was Zombie themed so of course I had to dress up. I LOVE dressing up! I even talked my husband into letting me paint him up too! He wasn’t too fond of the corn syrup blood mixture though. I wasn’t either after the mosquitoes discovered I was covered in sugar…eeesh.

But I digress.

I have a few things that I wanted to share with you today. I contemplated breaking the news up for multiple posts, but I am too excited to wait. So first off, for those of you who don’t know what swag is, here is the definition via The Free Dictionary:

2. Promotional items, especially when given for free, considered as a group.
Now that, that is settled, what the hizzle am I talking about? I am taking about Born in Flames freebies people. Well, not all of it is free, but I have a ton of stuff made and ordered for the promotion of this novel!
I was able to score flyers, pens, magnets, notepads, and window decals all for the cost of shipping. How is that for extreme couponing??! I’ve also ordered a bundle of bookmarks for an insanely low price that has recently been delivered and will accompany me to my very first Author signing!!!!Wait a minute, did you just say Author signing?? Yes indeedy, I sure did. It will be held in Celebration, FL from 2pm to 8pm. Sonya and I are also set up and ready to go to sell merchandise from Fae Tis Moor. We have Wish necklaces, paintings, Born in Flames necklaces (pictures coming soon), hand painted journals, Fairies-in-a-Jar, bracelets, and so much more! I will be doing a follow-up post with all the pics from the fair as well as the merchandise left over in case any one is interested.
Wish me luck my friends! I am hoping for a good turn out! Embracing the Flames is on its way. I can’t wait to begin the process to publication. The blurb is finished so I thought I would share it with you:

The Stone of Immortality has been protected under the watch of the Draconta for as long as time has existed. That is, until the betrayal of a Fate. Now everything is about to change.

Aurora Megalos accepted her destiny without blinking-even if it meant succumbing to her dragon side. Deemed the Progeny, she left the ordinary life she knew and has done everything in her power to learn the ways of her new realm and what it means to be part dragon. But when her mentor, Astral, suddenly disappears, she is forced to take the reins. With war on the brink, she sets out on an epic journey to not only find her mentor, but to stop her Arch Enemy, Zordon, from attaining the Stone of Immortality. But what she discovers about him along the way is far worse than she could’ve ever imagined. She will be tested and pushed to the limit. Lives will be lost, love will be questioned, and a battle will begin.

It’s the first step. Next will be the cover (sometime after or during editing?), oh snap!! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about that.

But any who, thanks for stopping in. Now to leave you with a question: What temperature is it where you are and how do you feel about that? Okay…so maybe that’s two questions, but whatevs.

Peace out Peeps,

Echelon out ♥