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Fantasy, Writing Process

When inspiration strikes at the wrong time

The funny thing about inspiration is that it can strike at the oddest times.

I wasn’t looking to start a new story in the midst of preparations for my first ever book launch. I was committed to focusing on only this series until completion. Those authors that work multiple books at once are ridiculous, I thought. They’re putting too much work on themselves.

And then… this happened.

I’ve been watching the movies and listening to the soundtrack for Disney’s Descendants. I know, I know. But I’m obsessed with it. I love musicals. I love villains. And I LOVE their style. It’s pretty much perfect for me.

(I do have issue with the incredibly cheesy portrayal of the adult villains. But that’s beside the point.)

Sunday, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a combination of posts. They were far enough apart that my brain didn’t put them together immediately. And then I landed on a writing prompt. I thought, Why not? and began to type. And type. And type.

Side note: I suck at phone typing. So I rarely do long comments on things because I’m usually on my phone instead of a laptop. Phones are easier to hide from toddlers, who love nothing more than to press keys and try to play games on mommy’s “puter”. TL;DR: I usually do short-to-non-existent comments.

But I typed over a paragraph, and my brain started rushing ahead and into a new story. Fully blown, concept, characters, plot, even cover design. A line from a song from Descendants influences a decent part of the plot, honestly. Thinking back on it, I can pick out 2-3 Instagram posts that my brain pieced together with the song into a new idea.

This isn’t a good time to write a new story. But it never is. We all have so many obligations, both self-imposed and other. When the muse demands it, you must make time.. or else.

Or else you will lose the flame. The amazing story that could have come from this moment will be lost forever. And few things are worse than that, to a storyteller.

So now I’m taking a darker twist on one of my obsessions, and we’re going to see what happens. I’m still making The Wraith’s Bargain my priority of course. But I’m making time for this story, too. A little less idle time, a little more satisfaction.

Worth it.

Fantasy, The Wraith

Announcements for 2020

Hey fam! We’re knee deep in the holiday season.. Christmas is tomorrow! Whatever winter holiday you celebrate, if any, I hope you’re enjoying it.

I wanted to pop on here and dish out a few announcements that I am So Excited to share with you!

First off.. a mailing list!

I’ve finally got it figured out to do a mailing list of my own. I plan to use the newsletter to keep you all in the loop on writing progress and projects, blog updates, life updates, book recommendations… all sorts of stuff, really. I wouldn’t be raining down on your inbox all the time though.. probably just once or twice a month. Readers on my email list would also get access to behind the scenes info and first chance at freebies and other offers.


Which leads me to my bigger announcement…

That’s right, finally. That novel I’ve been talking about for ages? It’s legitimately happening. I don’t have an official release date yet, but it should be somewhere around June.

As for the cover art, I’ll be revealing that in early 2020. Email subscribers will get first looks at the cover, as well as inside info on the novel and my launching process.

The Wraith’s Bargain is for book lovers who enjoy fantasy, dark themes, and of course, demons and magic. I’m thinking Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets House of Night. (Just… without the vampires.)

Intrigued? Hit that subscribe button above and I’ll keep you in the loop! Plus, I’m cooking up a gift for subscribers here pretty soon… but it’s a surprise!

Fantasy, Order of the Hunt

Character Interview: Will Murphy

Hey, fam. In honor of The Strategist being posted this month, I thought I’d start doing some character interviews. I picked Will to go first, since he was the star of the first novella and it would be the least spoiler-y. I’d love to hear more questions that you’d be interested in asking the characters! I just came up with a few that might give a bit more insight into him as a person. I hope you enjoy!

What did you eat for breakfast today?

I don’t eat breakfast… I usually just get up and start my day, and have a snack if I get hungry before lunch.

Where do you live? Who with?

Depends when you’re asking about. In The First Stone, I lived in a rental house with Jeremy. His grandma owned the place and let us stay there for a little bit of our scholarship money. His sister Annie crashed there sometimes too, though she was still in high school. It’s kind of a crappy house to be honest, one story with three bedrooms and only a thousand square feet. Paint peeling on the outside, etc. But it was our own place and we liked it for that.

Later on, I ended up moving back into my parent’s house. They needed someone to watch it and do general upkeep while they moved to Florida. Really stereotypical if you ask me, but no one usually does…

How do you get around town?

Our town is blessed with public transportation, so we either walked or took the bus most places. In The Strategist, I ended up getting to use my dad’s old Chevy truck to cart us around town. I’m not a big fan of driving, but the freedom it gives you is worth it.

How would you describe yourself?

You mean physically? Or like, as a person. Cause those are different.

Well, I’m a tall guy. I’m actually even taller than Jeremy, but no one really notices because I slouch so much. I don’t know why I do it, but it feels more comfortable. I keep my hair short – it’s dark and kind of thick, and I have a goatee and mustache. I wear glasses and neutral colors most of the time.

As a person.. I’d say one word to describe me is ‘reserved’. And a bit of a nerd, I suppose. I had NASA bedsheets as a kid and I played Starcraft.

What’s the best gift you could receive?

Maybe a gift card, so I could download all of the games and music that I want.. the legal way. Or some really good earbuds.

How do you feel you changed from the events in The First Stone?

I grew a lot, obviously. Reaffirmed that I could count on Jeremy when it matters most, and actually experienced a battle.

…. I got a healthy dose of fear, too. It hasn’t quite gone away yet.

What’s something you wish people knew about you?

….That there’s a reason I’m the quiet, reserved guy. I’m not just some super-awkward mega nerd. I mean, I’m a nerd, don’t get me wrong. But years of hearing people’s true thoughts makes you want to interact less. You fade into the background, they don’t notice you, and you don’t have to hear anything you’d rather not. At least, not about yourself. It’s a form of self-defense.

Plus my best buddy loves the spotlight. So I let him have it. After witnessing how depressed he was when we were younger, I’d do anything to make him happy.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone?

Agh, this is a hard one. I don’t want you to think of me this way.. but shortly after we discovered our powers, we were learning to control them still. Jer and I were experimenting, and we felt like we had them figured out. And then the bullies picked up on our new sense of confidence, I guess. I knew Jer wanted revenge for the way we’d always been treated and I went along with it.

… I have no idea how we didn’t get caught or in trouble. But those boys never bothered us again. Anyone else, either.

What do you fear most?

What’s with all these deep questions? Can’t we go back to the breakfast one?

..No? Okay.

Used to be, it was being discovered. But after The First Stone… yeah, I have a new fear. It has wings and tentacles. Once you read it, you’ll know what I mean.

How do you view your powers?

They’ve always felt like a burden to me. I didn’t ask to be able to hear people’s thoughts. I couldn’t shut it out unless I had music playing. So music was my savior for 8 long years. Every sleeping and waking moment, if I wasn’t listening to music aloud I had it playing mentally. It’s very draining, and even now that I have another way to protect my mind I get uneasy in silence. Silence didn’t exist for me for so many years, I don’t know quite what to do with it.

Lately my powers have transformed from being a burden to more of a call to action. A duty. I have them for a reason, and I receive messages that help to keep others safe. Yeah, I like them now. Most of the time.

That’s a wrap! Anything else you’d like to say before we end this?

Uh.. don’t play at summoning demons, kids. They’re serious trouble.

Order of the Hunt, Reading, The Wraith

Now Available! The Strategist

Hey Fam. The day is finally here!!

The Strategist is now available to read for free on Wattpad (limited time!)

Posting schedule will be one chapter each Sunday and Wednesday, to be completed by the end of the month. I’m so excited for you all to check this out!

Between expectations of family and school, Kat only wanted a chance to make her own life. So when she was inducted into the secret society of demon hunters, she thought she had it made. Until the day a message arrived: the next big enemy was coming. And soon.
The last message preceded a battle that left half of their group in the hospital. Only barely healed, the four of them are far from being battle ready.
Now the demon hunters are working feverishly to master their skills in time to face this unexpected threat. But Kat still can’t channel magic. And one demon in particular has its eye on her.

I’d love to hear any feedback you all have. Follow me on Wattpad to be automatically notified of new chapters!

Order of the Hunt

Cover reveal! The Strategist

Between expectations of family and school, Kat only wanted a chance to make her own life. So when she was inducted into the secret society of demon hunters, she thought she had it made. Until the day a message arrived: the next big enemy was coming. And soon.

Now the demon hunters are working feverishly to master their skills in time to face this unexpected threat. But Kat still can’t channel magic. And one demon in particular has its eye on her.

Thanks to Naomi Lastrucci for the blurb help!

You guys, I’m SO EXCITED to reveal this cover. It’s so simple, yet I really love it! I’ll share with you all the moment the novella goes live on Wattpad on Sunday December 1st! And remember.. it will only be free for a limited time, so take advantage of this opportunity to read for free.

Comment below and let me know you’re interested!

Book Review

Book Review: 13 Steps to Evil

13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains

Sasha Black – May 9, 2017

(Goodreads) (Amazon)

Blurb:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. 
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain? 

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

My impression:

Honestly, I’d give this book 3 stars. The formatting is terrible and the narrative voice is super distracting. It’s like she’s trying so hard to be edgy and off-the-wall that she throws extra metaphors in every third sentence. Most of these just made me roll my eyes, but I was determined to finish it because, well, I paid for it.

There’s some good information in the book, though. If you’re new to creating characters, or aren’t sure what things like protagonists and anti-heroes are, this is very useful. The problem is, most of the things that the author talks about for creation of villains goes toward character creation in general. Another point I’d like to make is that the majority of the book, the way the author talks is like every hero and villain story is like a comic book – it’s black and white, cheesy dialogue, guy gets the girl, etc. And I really could not relate to that. The books I read and write.. just aren’t like that.

Notes:

There were two really useful chapters. One was on Villains and Mental Health (which honestly should be talked about a lot more) and the other was on Introducing your Villain. Those two chapters and the Appendix (lists of positive, negative, and neutral traits and values) made it worth the purchase.

I just probably wouldn’t read the rest of it ever again.

Have you ever read any books to help with a craft? How did that go?

Comment below and share your experiences!

Uncategorized

The Winds of Change

Good morning, fam.

The leaves have finally begun to turn and fall here, and it’s starting to feel like my favorite season. We’re in a cold snap right now but it won’t last forever.

A lot of people think of Spring as the best time for change and growth, but I’ve always favored Autumn. Everything old dies and falls away and you’re left with the bare bones of a structure. This is essential for new growth. You can use the winter, when most things are hibernating, to rebuild. To experiment and get messy. To be authentic.

And when Spring comes again, you’re ahead of the game.

And so it is that I hope to be. Almost everyone around me is competing in NaNoWriMo, and I’m working on my own projects. I’ll be revealing the title and cover for the second novella soon, and I’m halfway through the first draft on the third novella.

For those of you who missed it, I’m working on a mini series of novellas that lead up to my upcoming novel. The collection is called ‘The Order of the Hunt’ and it helps to introduce you to the world and characters. The first one is available to read for free on Wattpad now: The First Stone. The second and third will be available to read for free for a limited time, so be sure to follow me so you’re updated when they come out! Links will be posted here, on Wattpad (obviously), Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

I’m going to look in to rebuilding my website while continuing to post content at least every two weeks, and maybe even finally doing that email list. I’ve got lots of ideas.. now we’ll just have to see how great I am at implementing them. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you all.

Till next time!

Writing Process

Back in the groove

Hey, fam. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago I was stagnated in my writing with no relief in sight.

Since then, I finished the first draft of my novella The First Stone, edited it, had a Beta read it, edited it again, and posted it to Wattpad. (You can read it for free here!)

I also finished the first draft of the follow-up novella The Strategist and am in the process of editing. My Beta for the first is quite busy so I’ll be looking for a different one this time. (Any volunteers? Let me know!)

How did I get my groove back?

I know it’s going to sound like I’m a walking advertisement for Paperback Kingdom but I got SO MUCH HELP from her. Paperback Kingdom is the business run by Pagan Malcolm, who is a bestselling author as well as a copywriter and author coach. I’m in her Facebook groups where you have group support and get tons of free information and tips from her, as well as first chances at her paid courses.

Recently in her membership program The Authorpreneur Kingdom she started doing weekly group calls. There have only been two so far but they’ve already been hugely beneficial for me. The first call was an accountability call. We told her our goals for the month and she gave us tips and helped us (especially me) with a reality check on how much we could get done. I’ve learned about micro goal setting and got some great free resources that have helped me tons. The second call was a mindset call and that was more to focus on how you’re holding yourself back.

Check out PBK’s mindset resources. Seriously, top notch!

Turns out, I was doing that a LOT. I’ve got a new outlook on what I’m doing as well as affirmations and journal prompts to more deeply explore my mindset on my own so I can find my pain points and challenge them. I also walked away with homework:

  • Get comfortable putting myself out there by finding a beta to read my work or a writing buddy
  • Decide on three actions I can take to build my confidence and do them.

I’m still working on the first bullet point, but I’ve already taken steps on my second one! I shared my Facebook author page to my personal Facebook and invited some friends and family to like the page. I also shared a link to The First Stone and my grandma actually started reading it! I was a bit nervous for family to know about it, but she called me after reading the first two chapters and said that she was just amazed. She was it was very compelling and kept her attention. So that made me feel pretty great. I mean I know she’s biased, but it was still nice.

Anyway..

All that being said, I’ve made a lot of progress in the last month and gotten so much more comfortable with the whole process. I’ve even started marketing more, which is something I never really saw myself doing before. So keep watching this space, kids. Once I find my beta it will be full steam ahead. I’m hoping to have the next novella out sometime next month!

Fantasy, Order of the Hunt, The Wraith, Writing Process

The First Stone- available on Wattpad!

Hey, fam. I’ve published my first story on Wattpad and I’d really appreciate you checking it out! It’s called The First Stone .

We aren’t alone in this world. It’s a lesson that Will learned the hard way on the night of his twelfth birthday. He and his best friend Jeremy were attacked by a demon only hours after discovering they had supernatural powers. This night was the first of many they dedicated to learning to control their powers and defeat that which goes bump in the night.

Fast forward eight years and they’ve learned all the tricks of the trade–or so they thought. A late night chance encounter with a demon hunter introduces them to an entire secret society and a wealth of knowledge. The only problem is that now Will has become a walking target for a species of demon that has a taste for his psychic energy.

Now the clock is ticking as Will and Jeremy race to seal the demons out of their world once and for all. Can they do it before Will becomes a demon’s dinner?

I’m really excited to bring this world to you all.. I’ve been working on this world and magic style for years and I feel like I know it inside and out.. but then I look at my unpublished novel and I know that people need more information. So I’m working on a collection of short story/novellas to make available, for free, so that people can get to know the world of my characters.

Will Murphy is the first character we get to know. The next story will focus on Kat Flores, and then probably Annie Harris. The last story (probably) will be Jeremy Harris. He’s the leader of their little group and that one will need a lot of build up.

Any feedback at all you can give me on The First Stone would be super appreciated. You can comment on Wattpad, or here, or hit me up on social media anywhere. I can’t wait to hear what you all think! 🖤

Writing Process

6 Things that Inspire me to Write

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Hey there, friends. To celebrate my recent writing resurrection, I thought I’d share 6 things that inspire me to write. These are all types of entertainment or pieces of media, but those titles sounded really clunky so… ‘Things’.

In no particular order….

Welcome To Night Vale – a podcast by Night Vale Presents

This podcast, guys. THIS PODCAST. No matter what kind of mood I’m in when I start listening to it, by the end I’m feeling happy and creative. This sci-fi comedy looks at so many things in our world with such a unique perspective that it helps me to do the same. It takes my conceptions, puts them in a jar, and shakes them around until everything looks a little different.. and usually, a bit more menacing. It’s a great creepy podcast with wonderful characters and moral lessons and even love stories and human interest pieces. Seriously, check it out wherever you listen to podcasts. I like Podbay.fm myself.

“Perforated Heart” by Eric Bogosian

This book is about an author who finds himself reading his old journals from the late 70’s while recuperating from heart surgery. We as readers are immersed in his experiences of New York in the 1970’s with flashes back to his older and more jaded self. There is so much self discovery and observation in this book that I find it very inspiring. And of course, the topics that he covers as an author himself. I might do a proper review on it at some point, but for now just take my recommendation and put it on your TBR!

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith

Mostly, I’m talking about the intro on this one. If you haven’t read this book I really recommend it. The book itself is fantastic, but the intro sets the stage so beautifully. It explains the author’s situation, it shows the passion for writing and the way the story took hold of him and what it did to his life. Sometimes, I’ll just read the intro to this book. It only takes a few minutes. But in that time, I’ll be reminded of the pressing need to put pen to paper, fingers to keys, to get a story out there.

Reading about obsession can make one obsessed.

Do you believe that?

I do.

The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke

Mostly the second one, but they’re all fantastic. What inspires me is both the focus on the world and the element of fiction writing. I love the way the writing literally comes to life in these stories–and the problems they cause for the unwitting authors.

The Sims

Say what you will, but playing the Sims.. well, making the Sims and their homes, is a creative act. You’re essentially developing a character in a visual medium. You can choose their personality traits and craft their physical appearance, choose various outfits, and design their homes. Plus, the music is very soothing and makes me feel creative.

The Lord of the Rings soundtrack

I mean, have you heard it?

Seriously. check this out if you need something epic and beautiful to listen to.

What sort of things inspire you?

Drop it in the comments! I’m always looking for more media to inspire me!