Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Book Release and NaNoWriMo


It's release day for Tears of the Tyrant

The Narvan continues with book five:

Rumors of Tyrant Ta’set’s killing sprees have spread throughout the known universe. Or are they truths?

Vayen’s hold on his deadly Arpex abilities is slipping. If he loses control, he’ll be executed and his mission of unification and peace will die with him. Desperate to help Vayen maintain his precarious balance, Anastassia is willing to offer him a week with another woman as a diversion from his dark urges. Can she live with her decision if he wants more?

In the public spotlight by association, Daniel unwittingly ignites a political uprising when, in the spirit of love and unity, he adopts the Jalvian practice of taking a second wife. While he works with Neko to guide the debate within the Narvan, he must also work alongside his volatile, tyrannical father as they race the rumors to seek out amiable worlds for their advisory union. Daniel struggles to take on the brunt of his parent’s mission while facing his own darkness.

Spending a guilt-free week with Vayen is a dream come true for Buria. She’s had her eye on him for years. Securing a place within his inner circle could mean a serious job upgrade and notoriety. Managing Vayen’s addictions and temper will require every skill beaten into her as a slave if she is to stand a chance at coming out on top.

Is the Ta’set family, the Narvan, and the newly-formed advisory union prepared for a future where Vayen takes the one life that will send him over the edge?

Would you like to check out the first chapter for free? Download from BookFunnel.

Available in e-book and paperback today!  Amazon / B&N / Kobo

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
We've reached November, which means we're going to talk about National Novel Writing Month. This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question asks: Have you ever participated? The short answer: Yes.
Want to know all about it? Let's dive in!

For year 18 of my NaNoWriMo adventures, I'll be sinking my writerly teeth into four projects as muses and time allow. I've managed to meet or exceed my goal of 50,000 words in 30 days 15 out of the 17 previous years so I'm feeling pretty good about keeping my words hopping. 

This year I'll be working on:

 A new chicken picture book - Laya's Vacation

A Narvan novella - Anastassia and Chesser's Story (title TBA)

A YA fairytale along the same vein as Spindelkin - Godmother

A sci-fi standalone - I9

We'll see how much of any or all of these I can accomplish. I know I have 3 days that nearly nothing will get done due to Grand Rapids Comic Con. I also have a 3 day work trip to St. Louis to contend with but I'm hoping to be able to write in the car (not while I'm driving, of course) and at night. Fingers cross that there are no other unexpected major interruptions.

My NaNo secrets for success

1. The point is to write 50,000 new words in 30 days. That can be done a lot of different ways. Do what speaks to you. The pure experience would be to work on a totally new novel. You could also veer into the rebel camp and write a collection of short stories, an epic poem, multiple projects, non fiction articles, etc.

2. Don't sleep. Ok, maybe this one is just me. But I don't sleep well in general so I get up several times a night, and during November, that means I might write a couple hundred or thousand words at 2am before heading back to bed and then doing it again at 7am. Maybe grabbing another writing session after work and again just before bed. Write when you can.

3. This is writing month. That means my brain is in writing mode. I typically don't read books or watch Netflix or play on my phone during November. If I'm not working, eating, or sleeping, I'm writing. And when I'm doing those other three things, I'm thinking about what I will be writing the next time I sit down at the laptop.

4. Have fun with it. Join your local NaNo group. Attend write-ins online or in person for group support and motivation. Find a writing buddy and get competitive. Urge each other on and duel with word counts. Do word wars. You don't have to write alone. Unless you prefer to, then hey, write alone.

5. Get the words on the page and don't be afraid to suck. Rough drafts are not meant to be perfect. That could mean experimenting with a scene or chapter or a bunch of chapters that might not make it into the final novel. Sometimes you need to tinker around to see what POV works best or explore a subplot. Those words all count for NaNo purposes. If you get stuck, skip to the next scene, throw words at the page and see what sticks to get you going again. Get all stream of consciousness if you have to. Just keep moving forward. Or jump around if that's your thing. Keep writing.

My NaNo history

2006 - Sahmara was my first NaNoWriMo novel. It took 10 years between it's word birth and actual publication. Noveling isn't a race. Sometimes books need time to come together.

2007 - A YA Fantasy that has yet to come together though I've toyed around with it a couple of times. I'm not giving up on it yet.

2008 - Not Another Bard's Tale - This was my favorite NaNo book to write as far as it being fun.

2009 - A Broken Race - My first book to be published in 2015

2010 - Destiny Pills & Space Wizards - My first rebel year when I wrote short stories instead of a novel.

2011 - Chain Of Grey - Narvan books are an easy (comparatively)  because those characters just flow onto the page.

2012 - A failed attempt at a Broken Race prequel that ended up providing additional content in the second edition of ABR. While I did make it to 50K, the story didn't work.

2013 - A sci-fi novel that I'd like to revisit at some point to see if I can pull it out of it's tailspin because I really like this one.

2014 - 20K of a sci-fi novel that I don't even remember writing because it was while we were building our house. Someday I'll have to read it and see if it's worth pursuing. 

2015 - Interface, oh you poor YA sci-fi novel. I've said I would finish you so many times. Yet, you're not finished. One of these days, I'll follow through.

2016 - The Last God - After several years of novels not going anywhere, I got back in the groove. Yay.

2017 - Bound In Blue

2018 - Seeker

2019 - Spindelkin

2020 - The Minor Years

2021 - Frayed - While I didn't get to 50k on this project for NaNo because: life, I did recently finish writing it and it will be released in 2024

2022 - Everyone Dies, part of Tears of the Tyrant and Kay-Kay - a very productive year

For those keeping track, that means all my novels but Trust and Dreams of Stars and Lies started as NaNo novels. NaNo isn't for everyone, but it works for me. If you're participating, feel free to shoot me a buddy request on the NaNo site. Hello, I'm Gypsywitch and I'm a nano addict.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

October is for Getting Book Stuff Done!

September was a relaxing month as far as previous months go. I found time to sleep, edit, and format Tears of the Tyrant. I finished Frayed. Yes, really. Finally. And also started edits on Frayed. Woohoo!

I did a craft show with an author friend last weekend. It didn't go near as well as it did the year before for us. The organizer is doing too many similar shows at the same venue, which appears to tapping out the buying audience. That one is crossed off my list for next year, but we had a good time and met readers. 

October is for cramming in as much as possible before writing month takes over. I have one event this weekend, a new to me outdoor Halloween show. We'll see how it goes. Crossing my fingers for nice weather. 

What's on the to-do list for October?

• Getting Tears of the Tyrant ready for release on Nov. 1

• Getting as much wrapped up on edits of Frayed as possible

• Finalizing my plan of attack for NaNoWriMo year 17

• Applying for events for 2024 as applications go live

• Seeing if I can sneak in time to work on Interface (YA sci-fi)

• Getting panels written/finalized for Grand Rapids Comic Con

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is about generative AI uses in writing. Will it assist or replace writers? 

I'm not a fan of AI for writing or artwork. Is it useful? I'm sure it is. Will I be jumping onboard at this time? No. Paranoid me has seen this movie. I've read variations of this book. I will not be assisting in training our AI overlords. No thank you. #TeamHuman.

Seriously though, yes, it's a tool. I'm sure it has it's uses. At the moment, my muses are chatting it up so I don't feel the need to ask AI for ideas or sketch out scenes or plots. I've got this.

Have I toyed with AI for cover concepts, sure. But in the end, I went an entirely different direction. I've avoided purchasing AI generated art elements for my covers from my stock art source.

Will I change my mind later? Possibly. But today is not that day. Oh, and in case they're watching, all hail our supreme and benevolent overlords.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

August IWSG and A Narvan Cover Reveal

August was insane. Yes, okay, fine. All my months are insane, but this one was more so than most others.
Kay-Kay and I started out in my home town at an art fair which was easy and busy all day.

Then Kay-Kay and I traveled back and forth to South Haven for a weekend for another art fair where we met lots more readers. 

Then things got crazy. Laya and I traveled to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for yet another art fair. We camped and did some exploring and in the process, ended up in a lot of people's vacation photos. As it turns out you apparently don't see a lot of people taking their chickens on touristy walks. I may have also composed another children's chicken book while I was there. The words are not yet on paper but reference photos were taken. 

After a long weekend up in the UP, Laya and I headed down to Indiana for our last renaissance faire of the year where we had a great time and met lots of new and returning readers. 

Then, finally, Kay-Kay and I traveled to Newaygo for the annual logging festival. You can't beat chainsaws and chickens. But not close together. That would be bad. 

Now that insane August has passed, we move into a more sedate pace for the rest of the year. This is very good as I need to wrap up the blurb, proofing, and formatting on Tears of the Tyrant, a Narvan companion novel (book 4.5 for those keeping track). 

Did I mention a cover reveal? Oh, I did. Bloggers get the first look at the newest Narvan novel cover right now!

Where will I be in September? You can find me and Author Vera West in at the Kalamazoo Expo Center Craft Show on Sept 30. That's right. Just ONE event. Whew!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
That brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group portion of the post! Happy 12th birthday to IWSG! 

I discovered IWSG from my local author pal, Diane Burton. She even gifted me with a IWSG mug. Woohoo! From the looks of it, I first joined in the monthly posts early in 2016. Holy cow, has it really been that long? 

Thank you IWSG for the kick in the butt to at least post monthly on my blog. Since starting this blog in January of 2010 and being fairly active for years after that, I'd been struggling with the motivation and inspiration to keep up with posting with everything else I always have going on. No seriously, it's always insanely busy here. I know no other way.

I've meet some new blog friends, learned things from members' blog posts and have enjoyed being part of the author community. Thank you all for for being you!  

Thursday, August 3, 2023

August IWSG and more chickens!

I'm a day late and several dollars short, but things have been hectic both on an off the writer front. Work has been crazy, sending me out of town twice last month for a couple days at a time and book signings fill my weekends. Lots of deep breaths have been taken.

New chicks were also purchased and Henifer is 
doing her usual good momma chicken duty. Yay for cute little chicks!

Edits for Tears of the Tyrant from both editors showed up in my inbox this week. I've been busy reading those over, finding what comments they had a in common and where things differ. One has read the whole series, one only the first couple books. I do like my companion novels to be able to stand alone (ish) so having insight from someone who is out of the loop on a large part of the story is helpful in knowing what hints and gaps I need to touch on.

We did our annual panel at Kogan con last month. This year
we discussed the differences in worldbuilding between gaming,
graphic novels, and novels.

While I'm busy pondering how to fix things the editors have pointed out, I'm also busy reading. Because Jacqueline Carey's Cassiel's Servant fell into my hands on release day when I went to the book signing. I know. Weird, right? LOL. I'd met Jaqueline Carey at a signing she did for one of the earlier series books in 2009, wherein she patiently offered advice to those of us aspiring writers who lingered afterward. Inspired by her advice, my first short story was published in 2010 and then I was off and running. In as much as we author types are off or running. Writing a lot and waiting for responses is more like it, but I digress. 

Authors have author heroes too. 

Have I made progress on Frayed since last month? Other than a few edits on the later chapters, no. Will I by next month? With edits on Tears of the Tyrant on my schedule, probably not. I'll get there eventually though.

In talking to my daughter about her writing/graphic novel journey, we ended up in a discussion about ideas that pop up when your supposed to be focusing on a current project. I mentioned writing the idea down, maybe doing a synopsis or outline. That lead to me trying to remember where I'd saved (and what I'd called) the two stories I'd done exactly that with that I plan/hope to write this November for NaNoWriMo. And then I had to read what I'd written for both. And get excited about them. And force myself to put them away again for a few months. Is revisiting the synopsis for your project distraction, also a distraction? Yes. Yes, it is.

While we're on distractions, where can you find me this month?

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
August 5 - Art in the Park - Holland, MI

August 12 & 13 - South Haven Blueberry Festival - South Haven, MI

August 18-20 - Wild Blueberry Festival - Paradise, MI

August 25 & 26 - Michiana Renaissance Festival - South Bend, IN

I don't have anything exciting to share on the question of the month this time around. I've shared that answer before in a couple different posts so I'll keep this month's post short. Do go check out what everyone else has to say though by clicking that link right over there --->

Thursday, June 29, 2023

June is already July and IWSG

Sooo...June flew by so fast that I forgot my monthly post. To be fair, I had nine back to back weekends of events. Everything was a blur. In fact, it's still a blurry. My schedule doesn't slow down until October.

June in summary: It was good. It was busy. Many books were sold. Chickens did a lot of traveling.

A few highlights of that whirlwind:

Lakeshore Art Festival - Muskegon, MI

Cherry Capital Comic Con - Traverse City, MI

Royal Stagg Renaissance Festival - Marshal, MI

Magical Realm Fantasy Faire - Charlotte, MI

Niles Renaissance Faire - Niles, MI

Onward into July. I'm still slowly, oh so slowly, plugging away at Frayed in between events, an editing job, and both of my kids moving to different places, from different places, at the same time. One for the fourth time (youngest), one for the first (oldest). For those wondering, this is not a recommended parental participation event. Muscles are sore, schedules are tight, and already scant free time is non-existent. On the plus side, as of reading this, our house is officially spawn-free. Hooray! I mean, I love my spawn, but it was time.

Tears of the Tyrant is currently under other editing eyes. I have NaNoWriMo projects lined up for November. Writing things are happening. Slowly.

Where can you find me in July?

June 30 - July 2  Capital City Comic Con in Lansing, MI 

July 23  Kogan Con in Grand Haven, MI

July 29 Island Art Fair in Grand Ledge, MI

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

June's Month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question was:

If you stopped writing, what would you replace it with?

I'd probably dive back into gaming. Back when I was a young person without children, I spent a lot of time in world building games (sim-anything and tycoon-anything) as well as games like Fable and Bard's Tale. Every now and then I get a little itch to sink back into that, but I just don't have time for it along with writing (and all 'writing' entails at this point in my writing career). 

Or get more fully back into art. I had to pick my one thing to spend time on in addition to kids. Writing won. Now that my kids are grown and my non-work time is no longer eaten up with kid activities and parent volunteer obligations, I've had the opportunity to dip my feet back into a few artistic endeavors with painting and drawing. And sewing. And beadwork. And cross stich. Arts and crafts, oh my. 

Or maybe I shouldn't stop writing.   

And July's question is: Where do your story ideas come from?

Everywhere. Conversations with people, dreams, random thoughts, watching tv, or reading an article or book. Sometimes a character name pops into my head and I start building a character around it and oh hey, then I need a conflict and a plot. Ideas are everywhere. If only the same could be said for motivation and time.