Crazy world #IWSG

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

Well, we all know that this is the time of year that I start getting nervous as the next book goes into its final stages for release. I took a huge gamble on this one and I hope it pays off.

IWSG Question: The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Scary. Seeing what is normally a lively and vibrant city become so quiet. There’s still some traffic and people moving about as they go to work, but… It’s not the same.

I am grateful for the generosity of the community though. People reaching out (with maintaining social distancing) and checking in on each other. Offering to pick up and deliver for those who are stuck. So much has happened and I wonder how it’ll shape our world once this threat has passed.

In terms of writing, I’m still pushing along. I’m waiting to get working with my cover designer on 5 (I’ve held the title this long – might as well reveal with the cover). 6 is written and in editing. I’m fairly happy with the alpha version (and so is my alpha reader), but it’ll be a while still before it’s ready. I plan on working on it during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get ahead and get to some other projects I’ve been letting gather dust. At least I’d like to think that, but as I’ve found out during this time, the house can go from quiet and peaceful to chaos in under 5 seconds.

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Worth a thousand words #IWSG

After some confusion, mishaps, and much cursing, I’ve regained control… of my blog. I claim that on nothing else.

I’ve been pretty quiet anyway over the past few months. Life’s been hectic to put it nicely. I’d like to think perhaps this month I can actually start getting started on some projects I’ve been putting off for a long time, but I need to return my attention to book 5 (and stop poking at 6 for now). Especially if I want to get it out on time.

February IWSG Question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

For the setting, yes, which of course was integral to the story. I remembered when I was getting ready to start Twice Cursed, I had the rough concept, but no location. Someone in one of my critique groups at the time would occasionally send out an email when he found something of interest. I don’t have the original image (or at least I can’t find it right now), but it sent me into looking at what would become Ghost Forest.

Actually, he sent me a few things that I eventually used. The wizard storm in Conjured Defense was another. Thanks, Ellis L. Knox!

Those two I’ve obviously finished. I’m trying to think of others, but those were the big ones. I’ve used other pictures here and there for small things: the necklaces Ketayl and Kitteren wore in Shattered Illusions, what some articles of clothing/armor would look like, etc.

Plenty small ones used in things I haven’t finished or is simply background story for me to have.

I’d love to hear of some fun inspiration other have used.

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RP Fun #IWSG

IWSG Question of the Month: Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Um… I’m going to pass on this one. Mostly because I’m drawing a blank.

However, let’s talk about role-playing and character generation. This conversation mostly comes up when I talk with other gamers at events. Have I played any of my characters at the table? Yes, but probably not who you think.

Retanei, Lockonis, Savanas, (younger) Lindale, Sparky (he was after being written in a book)… I need to check and see who else. There are others who are in books that are not yet published. And for those wondering why all my tavern-type places have the initials WD, it’s a nod to my first D&D group who suffered through me developing the first three on the list.

I find role-playing them helpful, even if it is in a completely different setting (Mystara does not equal Terra), to get a feel for their personalities and skill sets. The dice and whatever else we’re using brings in that chaos factor.

Granted, if it’s the Deck of Many Things, most of my characters have an aversion to it.

Do I find out everything about them this way? Nope. I have one coming up in book 6 who surprised me with a secret she had been keeping.

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Stranger than Fiction #IWSG

IWSG Question of the Month: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

You know, I’ve been asked this before and my mind always goes blank. I know I’ve researched some strange things, but nothing stands out as the “ultimate strange thing.”

Though, while not strange, the most headache inducing was trying to understand financial terms for a story. This one hasn’t been released yet so I can’t really talk about it, but yeah… that hurt.

Maybe the wizard storm? GAH! I’m bad at trying to find something that stands out in among all of the research I have done.

Anyone else got anything interesting that they’ve researched?

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Write where? #IWSG

ISWG Question of the Day: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

Um… yeah, I have no idea. It would be somewhere that I could view nature, but there’s not one specific thing I’m looking for. I’m also not opposed to cityscapes either.

I would prefer not to be staring at the side of my neighbor’s house though. Sometimes they stare back.

Despite being in the middle of the city, I am pretty fortunate that I’ll catch quail running through my front yard or a deer hanging out across the street. This is among the other common wildlife.

In short, no, there’s no one place I want to write. If I could visit the location that I’m basing a particular story off of, that would be cool. Maybe someday I will. At least the places I’ve used as a basis for locations.

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Incident Report #IWSG

Late in the day, but not completely late for this month. I forgot to get it written early like I normally do and then I forgot that I needed to remember all of my login stuff because I got a new computer.

So, yeah, new computer (last one was dying a slow painful death and I couldn’t work on it) and I’ve booked events for most weekends this month. This coming weekend, August 10-11, I’ll be at Nampa Festival of the Arts. August 24-25, I’ll be at Boise Comic Arts Fest. And if everything works out, I’ll also be at Experience Garden City on August 31.

What I’m most insecure about right now is getting 5 moved along. I’m behind my normal schedule, but I’m pressing hard so I don’t have to move the release date.

IWSG Question of the Day: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you’d forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

Oh, what a question for me. This happens ALL THE TIME. Have a character I plan to kill and I end up liking him/her too much. A character dies who I hadn’t planned to kill. Silver decides to do things he’s not supposed to for a couple of books and I have to hit the reset button. I could go on.

Usually it’s Silver who does things I’m not expecting, but sometimes things just go in a completely opposite direction. The following quote is the most accurate thing I’ve ever seen when it comes to how I write:

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Getting personal #IWSG

IWSG Question of the Day: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

I had planned on opening this up with a quote, but damned if I can find it now. I thought I knew who said it, but…

The short version is I write characters that are both aspects of me as I am and those of who I wish I was.

Except for Silver. I don’t think I have anything in common with him.

Joking aside, Ketayl is the closest to me as she’s my oldest character. She’s gone through a couple of decades of changes and growing to become her own character until she found her way into the series I’m working on.

Does she have some of my traits? Yes. Some deeper ones than I’m prepared to discuss here. Those became part of her character before I even knew what they were.

To give a more direct answer, we’re both introverts. I know those who have only met me at events might not realize it as I end up shifting into a different mode for that time period. If you catch me out and about, it’s another story.

Since this is something I know intimately, the trait easily made it into Ketayl. And in one regard, I hope there are people out there who can connect with her because of it and see that it isn’t a limitation, but just one part of who she is.

My own traits often make it into other characters as well. One thing here, another there. And as I stated above, it could be an active trait or maybe one I wish I had. I’d spend way too long trying to figure out who has what.

It makes one wonder who else writes their traits into their characters. Also if readers connect with characters because they connect with the traits portrayed.

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