The Aftermath of NaNoWriMo – Pt. 1

*NaNoWriMo:
Aka: National Novel Writing Month.
A challenge to writers to write 50,000 words of a novel within the month of November.
50,000 words.
30 days.

Sound challenging?
If you answered yes, then you just may be correct.
Unless you’re a writer, or are friends with one, chances are that you haven’t heard NaNoWriMo. And if you’re not a writer, you may also be thinking to yourself… “Why would anyone ever put themselves through that kind of torture?” Because, if you really stop to think about it, 50,000 words is A LOT of writing. Especially if you think about the big picture and having to write all that in a month’s time. Remember those exercises in English class when you had to write a 500 word paragraph? Yeah, that’s nothing.

If you divide out the 50,000 words by the 30 days given to you to write them, that leaves you with a daily goal of about 1,666 words. From my four years of experience with WriMo, that’s about 2-3 pages of writing, depending on your font size and your spacing. It might not seem like a whole lot, and there are two sides to that argument:

– If you have a clear goal in your head of what you want to write, if you’re buzzing with excitement to sit down at the computer and put your fingers on the keys and take off like a marathon runner, then no… it’s really not. (I’ve had these days. You sit down to write and the words just flow from your fingers like magic and the world around you fades away and you become lost in the story – completely unaware of the fading daylight or of the fact that you haven’t ate in six hours.)

– And then, there are your off days. Or, for some writers, maybe these are your normal days (and the aforementioned seem to be flukes, though ones that you wish you could repeat on a more frequent basis.) You have the story in your head, maybe even clear as day, but you sit down to write… and your mind is a blank wasteland, complete with tumble weeds and swirling clouds of dust, choking out all creative thought. You keep your butt in your chair, telling yourself that you just need a second. And yet, an hour passes, and all you’ve managed to do is check the same four sites over and over, eaten a bag of oreos, stared at the wall, and have somehow found yourself either washing dishes, reading a book, or lost deep in the abyss of Youtube, watching endless cat videos… or, possibly answered the siren call of Netflix. (Unfortunately Netflix and NaNoWriMo start with the same letter – guess which one comes up first in my browser when I type the letter “N”…)

Though I’ve had great years regarding NaNoWriMo, I’ll be frank and say that 2015 fell into the latter category about 95% of the time.
Am I proud of that? No.

Either way, for those that follow, here’s a more in depth look at how November shaped up on the writing front:

October 31-2015

With NaNoWriMo, this day has become a night filled with both dread and anticipation. The downfall here is that Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I like to dress up (not that I don’t any other random day of the year) and enjoy myself, but there’s also that lingering thought in my mind that once the clock strikes midnight, it’s time to place butt in chair and get to writing. Starting to write at midnight and getting the majority of my word count done at night before I go to bed so that I have words to wake up to has become my way of blasting through WriMo since first undertaking the challenge back in 2012.
Halloween night: It was chilly, windy, and I’m pretty sure it was rainy as well, but I still dressed up – nothing like wandering the house dressed as my villain from Nyte-Fyre (that’s one way to get into the writing mood, and literally into character). My best friend came over and we ate candy and watched movies.

November 1-2015

I wrote a good chunk of the second Nyte-Fyre novel last year for NaNoWriMo, and with that 50,000 words, it was some of my best writing to boot. So, easy enough to pick up where I left off in the midst of quite the commotion in the storyline, right? I thought so anyways. With the final push to publish my first novel, I had kind of burned myself out on writing/editing and hadn’t done much writing since the end of August. But, I was still excited to continue on the path that “Isle of Hell” was taking me down. I knew the main points of where the storyline was taking me, and I’ve known the ending of this particular novel for over a year and a half.
I sit down to write around noon the next day (possibly my first mistake: I didn’t start writing at midnight as per usual), and… nothing. On that first day, I wrote a whopping 59 words. Yes… not even 100 words.
Despite all my enthusiasm, I just wasn’t feeling that writing magic. I wrote a sentence, didn’t care for it, and walked away. Got distracted, and never got back to the computer that day. I went to bed feeling disappointed in myself, but that was okay. It was only the first day, and I could easily catch up with one good writing spree and be back on track. I still had this.

November 3-2015

Though still rather unfocused (I still chalk some of this up to the fact that I unfortunately started November with a cold. I was tired, had a runny nose, and mildly irritable.), I sat down and did my best to write. I ended up writing just under 2,500 words – great for a day of writing, and over the daily WriMo goal… except that it didn’t bring me back up to par with that golden line that you strive to keep up with on the WriMo website throughout the month. Once again, I told myself that that was fine… it was only day two. Even if I just wrote a couple hundred more words than the 1,666 a day, I would catch up in a matter of days. It sounded easy enough in my head, anyways.

November 4-6 – 2015

Once again, easier said than done. My mind just wasn’t focused, my heart ultimately not in the game. And let me tell you, no matter how many years you’ve been writing, it’s just not easy to put words to the page when you’re feeling that way. The writing becomes a chore, and real chores, like cleaning the house, become far more appealing than they would on any other given day. However, like any true writer (or, stubborn person) I continued to write, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with a little more fervor than someone giving a cat a bath. I wrote at least 1,000 words a day – sometimes going beyond the daily 1,666 word goal, sometimes falling short. However, it felt like I always remained consistently 1,000 to 1,500 words below that line. I shrugged… so I had a bad starting week. It wasn’t the end of the world.

November 8-9 – 2015

And then my first 0 word day hit. Nothing new, to be honest. In the four years I’ve done WriMo, I’ve always had a couple days where I wrote absolutely nothing. However, they were usually far later in the month, when I’d reached a bit of a writing burn out. Looking at my past calendars that I’ve printed for keeping track of WriMo word counts only left my guilt worse – on day nine on the first year I participated I had already technically won the competition.
That day was followed by a second 0 word day. It wasn’t looking good. Two days with not a word written, and quickly falling far behind target.

November 10-2015

I refused to let myself be saddled with a third 0 word day, and yet, I sat at the computer and couldn’t contemplate what to write. I printed out the last chapter that I had written the previous WriMo year and studied it, and it occurred to me that maybe the reason I was having problems was that in my rush to finish WriMo in 2014, I had kind of blended scenes from 2-3 chapters into one in order to get my thoughts on the page and to finish (I had a relatively difficult time in 2014 as well, but nothing like this year). Was that my ultimate problem? Did I simply need to go back and write out that chapter as it should have been? Maybe, and who knows where it would have ended had I done that. However, still feeling rather uninspired, I didn’t feel like getting out another sheet of paper and sifting through my thoughts to create the outline that I should have done in the last weeks of October in the first place. Yet, I just couldn’t get myself back on track with the second book. So, I did the next best thing… I moved on. In the same document, I started writing a relatively new scene in my head that is actually a part of the after novella that I’m planning for the Nyte-Fyre series (after book 7 or 8). With something fresh and new in my mind, I did far better, managing 3,400 words that day.

November 11-15 – 2015

I did okay for a few days, and then troubles started to arise again. I had a few more 0 word days. I had other days where I hardly even managed a couple hundred words. Despite having so much story material in my head, I began to lose hope.

November 16-29 – 2015

And so that idea continued to fester in my head. The halfway point came and went, and I continued to struggle along. The lure of Netflix become brighter. What was usually cold weather at this time of year had given way to warmer temperatures than was normal, leaving me to want to play outside, rather than sit at my desk. I fell victim to both.
However, no matter how down I was feeling on the writing front, I kept going. I wondered at times if maybe this time couldn’t be better spent on doing something else… anything else. Yet, I routinely sat at the computer and opened Word. Sometimes I wrote a few paragraphs before losing ambition. Other times I stared at the screen and wrote absolutely nothing.
But, the one thing that separates true writers from those that simply say they write, is just as simple as that: be it good days or bad days, we continue to write.
The greatest thing about NaNoWriMo is that although you are competing alongside millions of others, none of those people are your enemies. The only enemy, and the only true competition, is yourself and that nagging voice in the back of your mind saying that you can’t do it. And it’s to prove that mocking voice wrong that we keep going, despite how little hope we feel.

November 30-2015 (Do or Die)

And finally, it was the last day of the competition. Never before had I ever been writing on the last day. You can start validating your word count around the 25th, and I usually do. But this year it was actually down to the wire, and I finally understood the panic of the last days that I had heard other people speak of. I had never been in this position, but the thing was that I could have easily quit at any time during this competition, and yet, I didn’t. Here I was on the last day with 48,000 words. I couldn’t quit now.
The thing was, that it was the last day – whether I finished or not, this was the last day. I could wake up the next morning, a winner. Or I could wake up, having come some close, yet still so far, and feeling that utter disappointment in myself that plagues us writers constantly.
So, though it took me most of the day, I wrote.
And, low and behold: I finished!
I got my pretty certificate saying that I was a winner, and the pride in myself that, although difficult, I still powered through.
And, maybe that in itself made the win all that much better – knowing just how close I had come to losing, to giving up. It felt in a way that if I were to give up, I wouldn’t just be giving up on the 2015 round of NaNoWriMo, but on my writing dreams. A little dramatic? Of course, we’re writers, that’s what we do best.
But, I had just published a giant novel, I couldn’t let myself fail now.
I’m pretty sure I had a tea and simply stared at the wall after writing that last hundred words and validating my word count – 50,732 words.
Though it wasn’t nearly as magical as the first year I participated, I still feel a thrill looking back even now – 14 days after the fact – and realizing that even if I think they’re the shittiest combination of words in the history of the universe, I still wrote 50,000 words, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. 78 pages isn’t just a few thoughtless paragraphs to throw out later. I’m certain that, although it’s definitely not publishing material, there’s definitely some gems in there that I can mine later.
The fact is, that I powered through.
As I say to people who ask about NaNoWriMo, or in these posts each subsequent year, the greatest thing about this competition, is that whether you’re an actual published author, or still a kid in middle school with writing dreams, or just someone that writes as a hobby, NaNoWriMo brings out some form of writer in us all – begging us to simply write. No one ever needs to read what you wrote, and that single thought in itself can be one of the most freeing realizations. It gives you the opportunity to suck. It’s not going to be published. It’s not going to be graded. It’s only going to be read if you decide to give it to someone else to scan through. The truth of the matter is that you don’t even ever have to read it again yourself. If you want to delete all 50,000 words on December 1, then go for it… though I wouldn’t advise it.
The solid fact is that you completed what many see as an unattainable goal, and that right there is something you should be proud of.
Even if you didn’t make it to 50,000… whether you wrote 500 words or 20,000, before calling it quits, you still have more than what you started with. And that right there is something that usually keeps me going throughout the month.
What I think helped even more this year was the NaNoWriMo community. One thing I’ve discovered is that if you’re on social media, you can connect with so many people over one common goal during a challenge like this. I know one girl that I follow on DeviantArt that wrote over 220,000 words! (Supremely jealous! Blows my first year 100,000 out of the water). And I know another girl over on Twitter that powered through and wrote 10,000 words on that last day and won with less than an hour to go.
It was the posts of all these other writers that kept me going, and that reminded me that all writers are different and yet the same. Some really can power through, day after day with what appears to be little problem. And others, like me, really do have trouble most of the time, and yet we still keep going… why? Because, whether the muse regularly visits or not, we still love writing (even when we declare that we hate it.)
And at the end of the day, that’s what makes us writers:
Whether people know about our goals and ambitions or not, we power on, and we write. Because, deep in our hearts, we know: We’re writers.

And whether you’re an outliner, or a pantser, we’re all in this together.

My Worst Start to NaNoWriMo Ever, and Why I Will Persevere

So, I’m just going to (sadly) go ahead and admit this: As the title claims, this is my worst start to NaNoWriMo, ever.

However, does that mean I’m going to give up?

Nah. And you know why? Because I’m a writer.

Writing is what I do. Sometimes, the words flow without pause – feeling more like you’re reading a good book than feeling like you’re the one creating the story, the world. And, well, then there’s the times when they simply don’t. The well is drier than the desert, and there doesn’t seem to be a light on upstairs. In fact, someone stole the damn lightbulb.

But, that’s just the way things go. What separates the writers from those that simply say they write, is that the writers do just that: they write. Whether the words are there or not.

And I think that that’s why I’ve come to love NaNoWriMo – though I’m sure that anyone else that has spent the month of November in a caffeinated, “I haven’t slept in a week haze,” knows that it’s more along the lines of a love/hate relationship.

The people that don’t write look at that final number – 50,000 words – and think we’re crazy. “There’s no way that that’s an attainable goal!” While us writers look at the daily average of 1,666 words that will get us to that number, and think “well, that doesn’t look bad. I can do this.”

And plenty of those that participate do, every year. And then, there are those that don’t. However, that doesn’t make us failures if we don’t reach that ‘magical’ number. The fact of the matter is that whether you get the 50,000 words, or only manage to write 2,000 we still managed to write. If anything, it’s more than you had at the beginning of the month. Sometimes all it takes is a fleeting idea, or a sentence or two to start a whole story.

If you only wrote two sentences, you may never look at them again, or you might start a whole book three years down road simply because you jotted down the beginning kernels of an idea. Who knows where a few words can take you, because, honestly, the imagination is a wonderful – and sometimes frightening – place.

I actually started NaNoWriMo in 2012 with low expectations. I started writing the first book of my Nyte-Fyre Prophecy series way back in 2006, averaging about 5 chapters (anywhere from 15-40 pages a year). In other words, I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. I loved to write, and yet, I seemed to have a problem getting the idea from my head, where it sounded fantastic, amazing, and downright magical, to the blank page that sat staring back at me with that blinking cursor that made it feel like it was laughing at my aspirations. So, when I had a friend a fellow author friend at the Renaissance Festival tell me about NaNoWriMo, I originally scoffed at the idea. There was no way I could do that. How could I? I let this be known, and yet, he insisted (Thank you, Dave!). So, I grumbled, said maybe, and went on with my day, with my week.

As November approached, I followed his Facebook updates that frequently made mention of WriMo. I heard it other places on the internet. And I began to wonder. Could I maybe do this? What could it really hurt? Would participating in this make me feel more like the author I wanted to be? That I dreamed of being?

Looking back on my own writing, I reminded myself that I had just completed my first novel December 29th of the previous year. And I remembered that feeling of putting the last word on the page. That thrill that I had accomplished something huge. Nyte-Fyre had begun as a project for myself, a challenge to myself to actually finish something. To this day, it’s still one of my largest undertakings. Yes, I wanted to be an author. But, whether anybody ever read a word of that story or not, I had made myself proud. And, honestly, I wanted to feel that again.

Unfortunately, I’m a wicked perfectionist, and also a defiant procrastinator. Two things that do not go well together. That’s probably why it took me so long to write. I could stare at a paragraph of my own writing for 6 hours, rewrite it 100 times, and still end up deleting it at the end of the day. The problem is, that that’s not going to get you very far.

Still grumbling about the idea of it, yet intrigued by the challenge, I signed up on the NaNoWriMo site at 11pm on October 31st.

I went in with exceptionally low expectations. And yet, I had the time of my life. I sat down and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I told my inner perfectionist and editor to piss off, and I just let the words flow. I actually ended up completing the 50,000 words on day 9. I had never felt so damn invincible in my life. Though I had a few slow days after that, I met the end of the month with just over 100,000 words. And you know what? It ended up being some of my best writing.

I honestly think that that’s because having to keep a certain pace, you’re not really given the time to stop and think. You don’t over-think, you don’t edit, you just do.

Now, I’ll admit, all my NaNoWriMo years have not been equal. As a matter of fact, that first year almost feels like a fluke, or just the fact that it was the excitement of something new. The second year wasn’t quite as magical, but I still managed to complete the 50,000 on day 15 and then continue on to validate my novel at 80,000 words.

Last year, I almost didn’t compete at all. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to do. I had resigned myself to the fact that I had other things that needed attending to first – like continuing to edit my first novel for publication. I was fighting health problems and I was battling depression from the health problems. In a nutshell, I felt like absolute shit and writing was one of the last things I wanted to do. I would have preferred to curl up in a ball in the dark and watch Netflix forever. And yet, there was this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I had done NaNoWriMo for two years. I almost felt obligated to not participate. I started to feel bad about not wanting to take part. Not because I felt that I would be judged by my friends on there, but because it was a month of writing, and wasn’t that what I wanted to do? Yes, it’s hard at times – really hard at times… just as any author – but, down or not, writing is my happy place. Even if I have to fight for it tooth and nail… sometimes feeling like trying to pull a ten ton tree out of a lake of molasses… there are those times, sometimes brief, when you’re writing that you simply feel like you can conquer the world.

So I begrudgingly got on the NaNoWriMo site, entered my novels info for the year, and sat my butt down to write. Though I had planned on starting the fourth novel – feeling that I HAD to start a novel – I decided to continue where I had left off on the second novel that had been plaguing me. I reread the chapter I had left off, wrote a bit of an incredibly sketchy timeline, and opened a new Word document and started writing. There were days when it felt like pulling teeth. The writing didn’t always flow as I would have liked. And it was super dark. I actually think that one of the reasons that I had been so slow to write the second book was because I had known even before writing that first word that it was going to be a dark novel, and in a way, it scared me to write that. I didn’t want to explore that part of myself. And thought I only just managed to make it past 50,000 words last year, the fact of the matter is that I still did it. And, reading through it afterwords, it’s some of my best writing yet. It’s incredibly dark, and I love it. I think that having a word goal per day gave me the drive to power through those scenes that I didn’t necessarily want to write, reminding myself along the way that I was the author, I could make those scenes as dark and as gritty as I wanted. No one ever had to read them. If I wanted, I could edit those out later to appease readers. And yet, uncomfortable as they may be, I’ll actually probably end up keeping them.

Now, fast forward to this year:

I don’t know where things went downhill to be honest. I was excited to start NaNoWriMo this year. I honestly was. I haven’t touched the second book since last year because I’ve been editing the first, and I published it the end of September, finally! Which was super exciting! I still can’t believe that I have a finished product, available for people to read. Now, when people ask – “Oh, do you have anything published?” I can give them a big smile and declare that, “Yes! Yes, I do. You can find it here, here, and here.”

I left “Isle of Hell” (my second book) at a rather dark place last year, and I was excited to get back to that. Though I know where I want the book to go, how it will end, it took me awhile to actually sit down and sketch out a bare bones outline. In all honestly, I actually just completed that a few days ago. But that didn’t stop me. I was still happy to be facing the month of November again.

So, November 1st rolled around,

And I wrote a whopping 59 words.

Exciting, right?

I thought so, too.

I looked at that, and of course felt disappointment in myself. But, I shook my head, went to bed, and told myself, that’s okay, it’s the first day. Tomorrow, I’ll just make it up. The second day, I made it to 2,500 words. Nowhere near where I wanted to be. I don’t know what’s been going on this month, but for some reason, I just don’t feel the drive I’ve felt in previous years. I look at the page and my mind goes blank, or wanders. I look at my stats on the WriMo site, and simply feel disappointed in myself.

The thing is, that I could very easily just give up and tell myself, yeah it’s just not working this year. I’ll take a year off. But, you know what? I’m not going to. Because that’s not how I work. I might feel disappointed if I don’t make the 50,000. Who am I kidding, of course I will. However, I will feel even more so if I simply give up because I had a bad week of writing.

No book would get written if authors gave up like that. Everyone has bad weeks. That’s no reason to throw in the towel. It’s called perseverance.

It’s just life. The things that we love, tend to be the things that kill us. It’s the artist way, especially. I love writing, but if it’s going to fight me, well then I’ll be damned if I won’t fight it back.
Looking at my stats thus far on the lovely graph that NaNoWriMo gives you on the site, I’ve been riding about 1,00o words below the average line per day. One of these days, I’ll surpass that line. Hopefully, soon. Yes, this hasn’t been my best NaNoWriMo year ever, but it doesn’t have to stay like that.

If you’re feeling down about your own writing, just know that it’s only day 9. There are still 21 days left. Looking at the stats I wrote down for myself over the last three years of participation, I’ve had days where I wrote nearly 10,000 words in a day. I still have plenty of time to do this. And so do you.

So, to any of you out there struggling, I raise my tea to you. Here’s to us. Here’s to writing. Because hardly anything is impossible if you put your mind to it. You simply have to get out of your own way.

So, off to writing town – I have some catching up to do!

P.S. Do these 2,120 words count for today?

Time is Running out for a Free Book!

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Yup, that’s right! You’re running out of time to win one of three *signed* copies of Sparks and Shadows!

There are currently only 4 days left to sign up for your chance to win over on Goodreads. I can’t believe that the giveaway is almost coming to a close already. Seriously, where does the time go?

I think that so far, it’s been a relative success. It would be nice to have higher numbers, but as a new and completely unknown author, it’s nice to have any response. So far, I’ve had 173 people sign up, and 76 of those add it to their to be read lists on the site. I won’t complain about that. Each one of those people is a potential fan in the making. Do I wish the numbers were higher? Of course? As artists, we all want our artwork out there, gaining the recognition that we so feel it deserves, but it does take time. Especially when you don’t have the backing of a big name publisher to market. And honestly, as I shy, introverted person, I know that marketing is going to be my biggest challenge. I’m not a huge fan of talking to people I don’t know – though far more in person than online – and I always feel like I’m bothering people when I talk about my book. But, I guess that’s just something that I’ll have to get over.

The good news for you reader is that with only 100 or so people signed up for the giveaway, you have a better chance of winning!

Speaking of winning – I got an email the other day from Goodreads declaring that I won a copy of Red Rising by Pierce Brown. So, I’m excited to receive that in the mail in the coming weeks. I’ve been a member of Goodreads since 2010 and this is only the second time I’ve won, but just like anything else, if you don’t give it a try – in other words, sign up – then you have no chance at all.

And, back to things taking time to build, I was in the bookstore the other day and decided to look at the detail page of the first Game of Thrones novel. I had  no idea that that was first published back in 1996. So, that just goes to show you how long things can take. I don’t know when exactly the series began to grow in popularity, but really it’s only been the last 5 or so years.

I believe that’s all for today… I’ve still got a number of things to do before NaNoWriMo begins in four days. One of those is that I will try to get up a blog post focusing more on NaNoWriMo in the next few days.

So, once again, here’s the link for the giveaway:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26838217-sparks-and-shadows

Giveaway of “Sparks & Shadows”!

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Just a quick post, but just wanted to let everyone know that I’m currently hosting a giveaway on GoodReads for this book. Ends on October 31st – 2015. If you follow the link below and sign up you gain the chance to win one of three signed copies.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26838217-sparks-and-shadows

Synopsis 1:

At the height of the reign of the Sect of Seven, a prophecy was brought forth that depicted an end to the way of life as people knew it – a land destined to be ruled by darkness. In their arrogance it was laughed at, cast aside, and soon forgotten.
Now, generations have passed since it was thought that the Nyte-Fyre prophecy had been laid to rest, but signs point to its resurgence. Destiny refuses to be manipulated.
Against all odds, the fate of Izandüre will fall to rest in the hands of two mismatched teenagers…

Fura: A girl who’s played with fire all her life until it destroys the only home she’s ever known. Thrown head first into a land she never knew existed, she must find the strength in herself to rekindle that fire and pull from the stories she grew up with that she never once dreamt were real in order to make sense of the devastation.

Kiyani: A self-exiled rebel who’s resolved to living life in the shadows. Emerging into the light, he must dig deep within to realize that no matter how dark of a past may haunt you, there’s always a future.

Brought together by fate, it’s up to the two of them to put aside their differences and work together to restore Izandüre back to its glory. Will it be a new beginning or a brutal end?

Like the phoenix, she must pick up the pieces of her life and rise from the ashes.

Like the wolf, he must put aside his solitary ways and learn to lead the pack.

Synopsis 2:

When seventeen-year-old Fura Fueur’s life is torn apart one night in the wake of a devastating house fire, she finds herself left with nothing. Taken in by the only other family she knows – the firedancer group of Pyropheric at the local Renaissance Festival – she quickly discovers a world she never could have imagined. Dropped into a whole new realm, filled with tragedy, myth, and magic, Fura finds herself on the journey of a lifetime. Coupled with a man who acts as if he’d rather have never met her, she’ll learn that darkness lies ahead, for the Nyte-Fyre Prophecy has been unleashed…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sparks and Shadows by Kendrick von Schiller

Sparks and Shadows

by Kendrick von Schiller

Giveaway ends October 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/157426

“Sparks & Shadows: Book one of the Nyte-Fyre Prophecy” – Now Available!!!

Been a busy few weeks since my last post, but it’s been a good and exciting busy.

First off, I want to say that I am almost officially sold out of my first run of twenty-five copies (I have one left, and it’s reserved for someone.) But, don’t worry. The second run of fifty is on its way with an estimated shipping date of October 15th. So it won’t be long before I have them for sale through me again for those that want signed copies.

However, more exciting news:

I DO have the book now available on Amazon.com and on Amazon Kindle as an e-book.

So, spread the word! Even if fantasy isn’t your genre, or if you don’t read much, share it with those that do. I am self-published so word of mouth is my marketing. And it’s truly amazing just how far social media can take you. I’ll say, it’s definitely surprised me in the last couple of weeks. My Facebook page has gone up in likes, and my post with the picture of me and my books reached almost 1000 people! And that was with maybe a half dozen shares on a page with just over 50 likes right now.

The Facebook link is on the side of the page for those that want to follow updates – I probably post a bit more on there than on here. And for those that are interesting in acquiring a copy, here are the links:

Amazon (Physical and Ebook copies – both are linked on a single page):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1517182999/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1517182999&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

So, get on over there and get yourself a copy! Remember, Christmas is coming up. A brand-spanking new book would make a great gift.

Also (I’m going to keep this post relatively short), just want to let it be known that there will be a giveaway for Sparks and Shadows over on Goodreads. Starting this Wednesday – Oct. 7 – and ending on October 31st three copies will be given away.

Here’s the link for that page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26838217-sparks-and-shadows

As exciting as this has all been, I feel like this is only the beginning of a lot of work. Writing it hard on its own, but marketing can be just as hard. Especially when you don’t have a big-name publisher behind you. But I’m not all too worried about that.

I don’t seek fame from this – though I won’t lie and say that wouldn’t be cool – I just want to get my work out there for people to see. It’s so strange finally being able to have people read what’s been specifically in my head for close to ten years.

I just want to say that this last week or so has been so fantastic. I never expected the response I’ve gotten so far – the praise, the excitement, the comments of “Holy crap!” when people see just how long the book is. I feel like I’ve had a smile permanently plastered on my face since the moment I got the first shipment of books and opened the box to see them all staring back at me – shiny, and new, and mine.

Thank you again for all your support!

On a final note – the Renaissance Festival season has once again come to a close, and though I wasn’t able to make it down there to sell books (missed the deadline by a wide margin) I still had a great time. My costume turned out fantastically, and with a little bit of money from my book sales, I was able to purchase a few things that I’ve been wanting for a couple of years. My next post will probably be unrelated to the book and revolve around the Ren Fest and the costume I made – so if you’re following the blog for my other projects, or even if you’re just interested in all that I do, stay tuned.

That being said, the rest of the year will be dedicated to marketing and selling books, and getting back on the writing track. I’ll return to the writing of the second book – Isle of Hell – this November for NaNoWriMo. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

For right now, I leave you with probably one of my favorite pictures ever, and what has now become my author photo:

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The Other Side

As promised, here’s my blog post from the other side of all that work.

I meant to do one much sooner, but I completely burned myself out doing so much in such a short period of time. I started working with the final formatting and grammatical revision on August 15th, and finished – with only a few days reprieve in between to keep from a nervous breakdown – on September 8th. Keep in mind, that this, in total, is a 697 page book with 80 chapters. It was in no sense a small feat, and I’m incredibly proud of myself. That is an immense amount of work in the span of 24 days… probably closer to 20 actual days spent working on the book. And that work encapsulates not only the grammatical edit, but also some additional rewriting – two of my short Zariah chapters were written in their entirety in those last few days. Also, a lot of copying and pasting into one document, and then the formatting. Ugh, the formatting. I really do like the formatting at times – once you know what you’re doing. But it took me one long and incredibly frustrating day trying to figure out specific formatting – page breaks, and headers, and footers, and all that ‘fun’ stuff. However, I got it figured out. I made the chapter titles pretty. I created over half the chapter titles. And I tweaked the cover artwork just a bit. All in all, I ended up with a novel that was 137 pages longer than the first draft printing.

However, I was 15 when I first started writing Nyte-Fyre. The beginning, though acceptable, was on the juvenile side and lacking a whole lot of detail. So, that’s where a lot of the extra writing comes in. The storyline itself has remained the same for the most part, but the first 200 or so pages have been entirely rewritten, and the rest reworked to read more smoothly. I believe now that it’s closer to the story that it was meant to be in the first place, and I’m proud to finally be able to introduce it to the world.

With that being said, I ordered a first run of 25 copies on the 8th of September and received that first shipment yesterday. I had only ever ordered 4 copies at the most of the first draft printing for a few close friends, so that was a rush to open a large (and very heavy) box to find 25 shiny new copies of a newly printed book looking back at me.

And here is me with those first 25:

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Yes, I might have dressed for the occasion, and to match the book cover – though, to be honest, me wandering the house in a ball gown is really not that out of the ordinary.

Now, on to the information that a large number of people are waiting on:

“How can I get a copy?”

First off, I just want to let everyone know that although this might be slow to start, and include a bit of trial and error here, everyone who wants a copy will get one. Be patient, and keep an eye on the Facebook page and on this blog here for updates.

The shipment I got yesterday is only 25 books. I wanted to do a small run first to make sure – with all my changes – that everything looked good before printing larger runs.

I have a list of people who have been wanting one for awhile who have priority, as well as a few people that I have a limited time window to get them to. This first set will probably go quick. But, if you don’t get one, don’t worry. More will be on the way very soon.

For right now, the only way you can get a copy is through me. I have a little bit of tax information to fill out and some investigation into other channels.

However, very soon I will make the book available on both Amazon.com and as a digital download for Kindle.

As each channel becomes available I will post the links on these pages. It shouldn’t be too long.

That being said, even once those options are open, if you want a signed copy, you will have to buy through me. I will keep the Facebook page updated as to when I have physical copies available, and will most likely use Paypal for the payment method.

Books bought through me will be $20, with probably $4.50 shipping. If you want it signed, just let me know. 🙂


Right now, this is the tentative schedule for the next week:

Today: Tweaking a few very minor things on the cover artwork, and a minor thing or two on the interior. Because of those changes, I’ll have to send it back through CreateSpace for review again. It should be back by tomorrow afternoon.

Friday: I have to get to the bank to transfer money that will go to the second large print run.

Weekend: This is the weekend I’m going to the Renaissance Festival. So, I’m taking the weekend off and enjoying myself. I could really use it. Not to mention, that in between all the book work this week – I’m also trying to figure out a last minute costume, which means crafting and making things.

Monday: I will place my second order. Probably another 50 copies. I will probably also try to do my tax information on the CreateSpace site that night so I can get it on Amazon.


Right now, and probably for awhile here, all of my profits from books sold will go right back into ordering more copies.

With that being said, I’ll pose a potential option. Depending on if I get any feedback from this, I’ll let you all know if I go through with this:

For those that definitely want a copy and don’t mind waiting a few weeks (it took me two weeks to get this last shipment from the date I ordered), who would be interested in pre-ordering? Those that pre-ordered and pre-paid would be placed on a list and will be the first to get their copies in the mail when they arrive at my door. If anybody is interested in that, I would be able to order more during this next shipment. However, I would only be able to leave that window of pre-ordering open for a few days.

—————

Overall, I definitely have a lot to work on in the next few days, and probably throughout the rest of the year. My goal is to get everything up and running smoothly for the holiday season.

I want to get the book available on Amazon, Kindle, and maybe even Barnes & Noble.com. I also plan to have it available to buy at my local Barnes & Noble stores in both Midland and Saginaw, MI. I also have the idea to do a small giveaway of maybe five copies on GoodReads.com.

I definitely have a marketing plan – have for awhile, actually. Now is the time to finally put it into action.

I have a feeling that this post is getting long, so, thank you for reading, and I’m off to continue work.

Once again: Just be patient. Everyone who is interested in buying a copy will get one 🙂

And I just want to thank everyone again – those that have followed me for some time now, and new followers – for all the support thus far. I always knew there were people through the years that wanted a copy of my book, but the comments, likes, and messages I’ve received in the last day alone on Facebook has come as a great, but welcome surprise to me. I value each and every one of you. I have a feeling that big things are going to come from this, and that both excites me and terrifies me, but it’s a great feeling to finally have my dreams come to life!

~ Kendrick

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

“Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way…”

Yeah, sorry, couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the Metallica reference.

Moving on.

But, wow, what a long and trying few weeks. When I said last year that I would never try to edit a full book in a week again, I really should have taken it more to heart. It always sounds like a good idea, until you’re halfway through, going loopy and wondering what you’ve done. Especially when you look at just how much is left to do and you feel that overwhelming weight that there’s no way in hell that the task you’ve undertaken is plausible.

And, in fact, it may turn out that you’re right. However, that’s never kept me from at least trying. Yes, I may have been continuously placing impossible deadlines on myself, but I’ve continued on regardless through each missed one. All the work up to those points is still work. More than would have been accomplished if I’d simply stepped back, evaluated the situation, and said, “Nope, can’t be done,” before walking away for good. I’ve discovered that with many projects, the best thing is to not look at the big picture at all, but to continually pick away at small pieces. Before you know it, you find yourself at the end, able to look back at everything you’ve accomplished.

Now, before I continue to wax poetic, I will let everyone know that this is a post that this book, after so many long years, trying times of frustration and wanting to give up, and numerous self-doubts of if I was even good enough to lay claim to being an author, that there is actually a light at the end of this tunnel. And though I might have said it before, this is the first time that it’s felt real. That I’ve seen an actual end to this long and twisting path.

And by close, I mean that either tomorrow or Thursday this book is being sent to print! No longer just a test copy to look at to keep myself going, or to show people when they wonder about my legitimately being an author to go “This! This is what I’ve been doing”, but the final copy that I will proudly be able to sell to the world. That I’m going to let free to endure people’s judgment. It’s a scary thought, but one I knew I would eventually have to face in this line of work.

I will admit that this last push has not been easy, nor has it gone nearly as quickly as I’d hoped. Then again, though going through ten chapters a day seems completely doable, you begin to quickly realize that it’s not a good idea if you actually want to be able to catch all the mistakes. On average it’s been taking me about an hour and a half to run through a chapter. Coupled with the fact that you can only focus on small writing on a computer screen for so long, it’s honestly just a recipe for disaster.

I might have had a minor breakdown last week, but I pushed on regardless. I’ve left a lot of things behind these last weeks in this pursuit. I even gave up a chance to go to Ren Fest early. As hard as it’s been, I know it will all be worth it in the end.

I had some days where I would go through my writing – the sections between my fantastic rewrite and where it began to filter into my better writing of my first draft, where everything I read looked like complete and utter crap. I had a number of those days where I had to rework sentences to read better, to omit words and a few lines here and there, even add a paragraph or two. And then, I suddenly hit a chapter that hardly needed any work at all. And then, another one after that. I think that was when I was finally able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. The task no longer felt as ridiculous.

From that moment on it’s been better. Though, I will admit that no matter how hard I try, I still seem to get my best work done at night. Late at night. More times than not in this last week I’ve still been awake at 4am. Yet, not fighting fatigue. In all honesty, I haven’t felt this alive in ages. There’s just something about the late night hours that strip away all self-doubt of creativity. The world is quiet, so few people still awake, leaving only you and the project you’re focused on. It’s been a wonderful feeling. Reminding me a lot of NaNoWriMo (Which is coming up soon.)

And it reminds me of one of the most inspiring quotes that I’ve run across is actually from Pinterest, and goes something along the lines of “An author is a writer that has had his work published. A writer is simply someone who has written.” So, essentially, even if you don’t have a book published, you’re still a writer. I don’t have to heft my lofty novel around to claim the title of writer – though it does help.

That being said, as for what’s left to do:

I have a chapter or two left that still needs some minor revision. A small list of things that need to be looked over one last time.

And then, it’s on to the fun part of formatting. And I’m not being sarcastic about that in the least. I love the actual writing. The editing and rewriting makes me want to pull my hair out. The formatting allows my visually creative side take over. That’s not only the sign of the final push to completion, but also gives one the chance to make things look pretty. Something that I have absolute freedom over because I’m self-publishing and doing the formatting myself.

Basically, I have to do all the visual fine-tuning. Making sure all the Chapter titles and page numbers in the table of contents matches – one of my test copy versions didn’t match. Making sure all the spacing is correct. One of the things I’ve been playing with the most is how the chapter titles themselves look throughout the story. In my test copy, I was starved for time – not that I’m not now as well – and only ended up simply typing the names in capital letters. Nothing all that special. Just enough to get the job done. The one thing I didn’t care for was that I couldn’t find a way to make the chapter numbers look good with the title so I simply omitted the numbers. However, I prefer to keep the numbers. Below, is what I’ve been messing with as options. Because it matches the overall darkness and style of my story, I’m leaning towards the second with the Slythra (the winged snake).

  Untitled3            Untitled2

And then, beyond that, I’ve got some tweaking I’ve got to do to the cover artwork, and a possible rework of the synopsis.

Still quite a bit of work, but it doesn’t look so daunting now.

So, back to the grind. And I will see you all again on the other side!

~ Kendrick

Frustrations of Editing

I wouldn’t ever suggest editing and trying to finish up rewrites on a book that’s over 500 pages in a week. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly trying. I’ll admit, that as much as I wanted to be able to do it again, I am not done. It’s been far more work than I’d initially imagined. And that’s saying something because I’ve already gone through this process once when I did my test print with the first draft. Then again, I guess there’s a fair amount of difference between the first draft and the final draft.

Just reading through, line by line, and checking for grammar is trying. You can only read so much on a computer screen before your eyes hate you. Or, you just start skimming without realizing it. I will say, however, that I now know what it feels like to actually use the internet for good. In other words, most of my internet searching this past week has been in trying to figure out the correct usage of a few words. Lay vs lie, and who’s vs whose, still remain some of the trickiest things in the world. Not only that, but I’ve had to fill an entire notebook page with notes to myself… words I’ve made up and their correct spellings, what I’ve created that needs to be capitalized throughout the story to retain continuity. Just a lot of little things that you’re not forced to think about so much when you’re in the throes of writing just to write. Don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like the editing process. However, I like the formatting more. That’s the easy part. I really don’t mind at all going through the document and making sure all the spacing of chapter titles and page numbers for the table of contents are correct.

My biggest trouble so far has been trying to edit out some things because of repetition. The thing I’ve faced with rewriting most of the first half of this book is that there are lines that I really liked in the first draft that I wanted to keep. Yet, in rewriting I didn’t necessarily pay attention to exactly where they were being placed. So, not only have I reintroduced some of those lines and paragraphs, I have some of them repeated, and not only twice, but sometimes three or four times. So, trying to edit that out… as well as finalize a few of my trouble chapters that I didn’t like in the rewrite. I have two left right now that are driving me up the wall.

Not going to lie, I’d like to, quite literally, throw them out the window… which, I could, because my window is right next to me. However, then I’d have to extract my butt from this chair and go outside to retrieve them, or else I’d be littering. I have a feeling that it’d be extremely therapeutic, though.

Though I definitely don’t feel as if I’ve accomplished much today (in other words, nothing has gotten copied over to the printable document yet), I do think I’ve finally figured out these accursed chapters. Hopefully, once I get these two sorted out, I can start getting a lot more done again.

On a positive note, the weather is cool and fall-like today, with overcast gray skies. It may seem gloomy to some, but to me this is the perfect day to light a pumpkin scented candle, drink a tea or three, and mull over writing.

So, I raise my tea to you, reader, and return to my work.

~ Kendrick

In my next post, I’ll relay some news about the Renaissance Festival.

Getting Closer and Closer

Good afternoon, all.

I’ve got some work ahead of me still, but I thought I would drop by here for a moment to post a short update. Yes, I will admit that this edit and rewrite is taking me a bit longer than I had hoped. As you can see, I didn’t reach my self-imposed deadline of getting the book printed by the end of July… though if I’m honest with myself, that was probably a bit unrealistic. My next goal may be as well, but there’s no harm in trying.

That being said, I am closer than ever! There are a few spots in select chapters that I still have to go back and fix, but I could honestly spend ages staring at that and not writing a word. So, in lieu of keeping this train moving I have made a note of where those are, and will return to them when I reach them again. I have finally gotten past the point of dramatic rewriting, and have just started the formatting process. Which means that the final product is getting closer.

When I did the formatting for the first draft copy I printed last year, I said I would never do that in a week again… yet, guess what I’m doing. I seem to work best under pressure unfortunately. Now, some may say that I should just take my time, and yes, I would love to, but the Michigan Renaissance Festival is fast approaching – in fact, I think it begins next weekend. I would like to do a short run of 50 or so copies to make sure that they are all okay before doing my large run of 500. So, time is ticking down. In reality, that isn’t much of a problem. I actually quite like the formatting process. What’s going to make it take a bit more time is that this is also my final read-through for grammatical errors.

Which means, it’s time to get back to work.

Overall, I’m excited! A bit more writing, my villain is getting an additional chapter or two, some formatting, and I’ll be done! The light at the end of this long, long tunnel is growing brighter as each day passes.

Soon, my followers, this longtime dream of mine will finally become reality 🙂

Until next time,

~ Kendrick

Back From the Dead

Okay, so not actually back from the dead.

I just know that I’ve been inactive long enough that people probably at least think I fell off the face of the earth.

If anything, it got your attention, right?

That being said, I have returned to the online community, and will hopefully not disappear again.

This may be a short entry for me, but I just want to let my followers know that I am still around and I am still working on my book. In fact, I’m finally kicking it up a notch and have been working on it pretty much nonstop these last few weeks. The goal – though there is still quite a bit of work to do – is to have this final edit completed by the end of this month, and, in turn, have the final copies in print starting early next month.

In other words: You will finally be able to purchase the first book of the Nyte-Fyre Prophecy series – “Sparks & Shadows” – and read the final product very soon.

My biggest goal is to have the book ready to roll so that I can get into the Michigan Renaissance Festival to sell. And then, the Christmas season is not too far after that.

I’ve had the beginnings of a marketing plan sketched out for ages, and have recently added a few things to that as of late. However, that is another blog post altogether. Probably once I’m actually done with this edit. I can focus more on that once I get the final file sent off to the printers, since that will leave me about a week to a week and a half waiting for books in the mail.

Hopefully, from here on out, I will be more active on both this blog and the corresponding Facebook page. However, the main reason I’ve been so silent on both is that I never feel as if I have much to discuss regarding my writing. At least nothing of major consequence.

I will admit that having this auto-immune disorder (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) has thrown me for a loop. I won’t go into much detail regarding that because I don’t care to recognize it, but though there are numerous side effects from it, what has been causing me the most trouble is the extreme fatigue and brain fog – neither of which are productive for a writer and artist. So I’ve had quite the go-around trying to squeeze in editing and writing on the days that I do feel particularly awake. Thankfully I’ve found a different medication, that although doesn’t make me feel exceptionally human as I would like, does at least give me more days where I am alert and not struggling with fatigue. As a writer, I couldn’t ask for much more than that. I terribly miss the writer I was when I first began this series so many years ago – the one that wrote for hours a day, sometimes till two in the morning. I remember a time – two years ago for NaNoWriMo – where I was actually up until 4:30 in the morning finishing a chapter. I want to be that writer again – writing because I want to, rather than getting caught up and frustrated with the technicalities of editing.

That being said, though I’ve had to push myself to return to this edit (as I’ve felt far more inclined to explore the darker latter half of the series, as opposed to working on the first book), I have found that I’m enjoying the process again. It is amazing to go back and see just how much work I have completed, and even how my writing has changed over the years.

Regarding the editing/rewriting process, I have probably one more chapter that I want to completely rewrite – filling in a chapter that got cut – and most of the rest of it is more grammatical editing, and simply rearranging sentences to make them read better and mesh with my current writing style.

As I mentioned, I’ve still got quite a bit of work ahead of me, but I do see the end of this particular chapter. I can very easily complete this. And this is just the first book. There are plenty more to keep me busy after that. At least six more (possibly seven), a potential book of a series of short stories involving the characters that take place either before or after the actual series, a compendium of information – character histories, histories of the land, and all the other facts that I wanted to either explore, or just didn’t have a place for within the story, and an after series novella. At least I say novella for now, though I won’t know until the time actually comes just how long it will be. It might end up being a full novel in itself.

All I know is there is plenty of writing ahead of me in the years to come, and I’m looking forward to every moment of it. Yet, it all really starts with this first book.

So, welcome again to all my followers, previous and forthcoming.

Keep your eyes peeled, for exciting things are finally around the corner for this series.

I will return soon

~ Kendrick