Wednesday, February 1, 2023

IWSG - February - Cover Art

The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!

February 1 question - If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

Well, since I only have one work published in a book, this is a tricky question. I did not have any say in the cover of the book, but it was an anthology and short story authors would seldom have input.

I am currently working on a side project for the AtoZ challenge involving an artist (my aunt by marriage). I will be using her paintings to inspire a collection of short stories. Now that I have said that here, I better actually do it!! I imagine if I use her paintings to one day make a hard published work, I would get her help to create the cover.

And just for fun, here is a cover I designed when I wrote my first-ever manuscript (in 2016 I think? Goodness that isn't that long ago, and I have come sooooo far--as an author and a person.) While I used a few elements from this manuscript in my current WIP, it is a totally different (and much-improved) story. And of course, there is a new title. But I really like this aesthetic. It's simple and spacey.
Credit goes to my husband for creating the starry backdrop. He does 3D animation and some sort of VR magic and has a bunch of textures and images he makes at home as a hobby. I think that backdrop was for a game he wanted to create. He says one day when I'm a famous author, he will hire me to do the story writing for his future game design company. Isn't he sweet...

Also, I'm glad I shortened my author name. That's so many letters! What do you think?

Use the badge below to find links to tons of great author pages!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

WIP Update - The Edits Continue

Two nights ago, I finished another pass and read the last words of my WIP. My son actually fell asleep on the ground behind me while I read the last few chapters out loud (which could be a bad sign...). But when he returned after a quick shower, he listened to the very last chapter quietly. 

When I reached the end, he asked, "Aren't you going to write some more words?" I told him that was the end, and tried to explain how it began (the end of a journey) versus how it ended (the start of a new journey), and how that seemed like a good way to close the story. Then he wanted me to read from the beginning. But it was bedtime.

I'm still high on the feeling of another milestone met! I know I'm still not done, though. I've fought with deciding the next step. I made a few notes along the way. There were two or three places that needed a quick revision to make the characters/plot consistent. Those are pretty much fixed now.

I reached out to my coach, but he can't meet until next week. 

So, here I sit, with tons of motivation and creative juices boiling, and no certain path.

I know there is more to do! I noticed something on this read, though. It's strange how stories and writing shift as the plot moves along. The beginnings are always more descriptive and once the action slips in, the story speeds up. I find myself questioning if that acceleration is the right amount, and if there is more that could be revealed to the reader throughout. 

I'm also afraid of those scenes when the character is experiencing something humans would not be able to fathom. Did I describe it well enough? Most of the reviews about my published short story contain the word "confusing." This is my ultimate fear now. Will the reader grasp the experience through my words?

So possible next steps:

  • Make another pass and go even deeper with character voice and narrative description. 
  • Focus on "out-of-body" scenes and sharpen the description.
  • Focus on the mythology and reveal more to the reader (sooner?) so it doesn't come on so heavy.
  • Add more to the secondary POV so the story has a stronger dual perspective (not much, maybe just one or two extra scenes/conversations).
  • Put it away again and work on something else with all this creative fuel. (Really don't want to do this again! I need it to be fresh. Remembering an entire novel in your head while you make small changes without creating huge ripples is as hard as it sounds.)

Decisions, decisions.

While I consider these options, here is a piece of early description from the first chapter. I was working on making the description active so the reader learns about the scenery and the story while she explores.

She stood on top of the dune with her eyes closed, soaking in all the vibrations of the planet. She listened to the water—crashing, rolling, sliding, hissing away into tiny holes in the sand. A perfect decrescendo. The scene mesmerized her. Her surroundings comforted her and made her feel at home despite having absolutely no similarity to the constant sound of thrusters, air recyclers, and feet tapping on metal floors. Memories of past lives threatened to surface but she pushed them away. This moment was hers. The ancestors would not take this from her.

 I really like this paragraph. It reveals a lot about the character and the threshold in her life she is about to cross.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend/week. Enjoy the closest new moon in a thousand-year span. Pretty strong symbolism for new beginnings and long journeys!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

IWSG - January - My Word

 Happy New Year!

The awesome co-hosts for the January 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

January 4 question - Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? What is your word for 2023? Why?


(Really this is my word for this decade or even this life.)

I love to do, I love to learn, and I love to create. I love it so much I can't help myself. While I refuse to slow down--or lower my expectations for myself--I do want to become better at balancing all the things!

This doesn't mean I'm terrible at letting go. I feel like I am progressing toward mastery on this one! So I know that when things don't balance, I have to let something go. 

Balance all the things.

Balance the things to keep and the things to let go.

Balance the desire for perfection and the realistic boundaries of time and capability.

Balance the moments for myself and the moments for others.

Yep, this is a good word.

(Also, I'm a Libra. Insert sarcastic "Surprise" here.)