Posted in Sneak Peeks

Exclusive Poetry

Check out the Exclusive Poetry section under the Poetry header. I’ve published some never before seen poems here and will be occasionally putting new pieces out.

The first two out are: The Fight and Stilettos, about the start of a breakup, and feminism, respectively.

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Posted in Articles

Importance of Reading in Writing

I’ve always leaned towards fantasy in my writing, and obviously magic, witches, and dragons aren’t things I can tap into real life experience for. Hell, even some of the emotional experiences my characters go through (losing a father figure, extreme danger at the hands of monsters) aren’t something I’ve experienced. So I rely heavily on an overactive imagination and a really strong sense of empathy.

Our society is immersed in flashy articles, internet communications and multimedia, but we’re detached from each other. We watch and absorb, but how often do we process? In school we’re taught to analytically process, but not emotionally. We’re not taught to empathize and the further we delve into our electronic world of today, the further we separate from the pathos that makes us human.

Now, I know everyone’s grown into different situations and they shape us, create our worldviews and opinions because of them. However, reading is one of the few things that can truly bring us together. Growing up, I read about heroes who were brave, who were scared, who had daddy issues, or struggled with their choices the same as I might. I’ve read characters who were polyamorous, assassins who were forced to kill due to bad situations, and people struggling with racism–whether it be our own society or some fantasy setting. All of these new perspectives forced me to look at people in different ways and reach outside of my own life to grasp what others might go through, or how I might’ve changed given my own situation.

We live in a world where we can flick on the TV and watch actors cry, fight, anything. And maybe, it will stir some pathos in us, particularly the people who are already open to it. But nothing expands worldview like sitting down and reading. Putting yourself in someone else’s head for awhile and living life through their eyes. That, my friends, is empathy.

And empathy? That’s how you create the most realistic characters in your writing and live a thousand lives.

 

Posted in Updates

Editing Time

Here’s the part where I roll up my sleeves and do the tougher part of the job–the edits.

Right now I’m tackling my pirate manuscript that still has no name. My titles for other stories either fit from the get-go, or struck me in an inspired moment. So far, all I keep calling it is…pirate story. So original.

When I go through my edits though, I’ve got a certain process I utilize. First, I do a readthrough of the story to see if major plot issues, pacing problems or character inconsistencies stand out. Secondly, I do a cursory edit of the whole thing, only touching upon glaring grammatical issues and such. And then I find a critiquing partner.

Why, you ask? After all, don’t you want your best work to be shown?

Yes and no. Look, we all know getting critiques can be rough and we can get defensive or stubborn about making changes to our babies. At least, I get that way. This has been my method to keep an open mind during critiques. If I haven’t poured all my time and lifeblood into editing this baby, pruning all it’s tiny little word issues and fixing all the big stuff, I’ll be more open and welcoming to making major changes–I’m talking cutting a chapter, adding a section in, etc. I’m less liable to hold onto what I’ve written, which is where I become the best person for editing my work: when I’m flexible. It’s taken years to figure that delicate cusp for me, but so far, it’s worked.

Hence why, right now I’m working through that cursory edit and snipping a bit here, tweaking a bit there.

And I’m already past page 100, so I’d say I’m making pretty good time. I’ve reached the section where Serafina and the crew of the Crimson Orchid are infiltrating one of the elite’s parties. It’s a blast to write the elegant ballroom scene, but it was also a brilliant place to display the atrocities that the elite can commit and push her over the edge. It’s a big catalyst to the turning point in the book–and one I’m excited to get to.

Posted in Articles

Books That Have Shaped Me: Dealing with Dragons

Why the pulpy young adult novel, you ask? Yeah, this isn’t any Flowers to Algernon or the classics they spoonfeed you in school. However, I definitely have to say, Patricia C. Wrede’s oft underrated series definitely left a mark on my life and my writing. The story is great–I could read it again and again, but what I found so profoundly refreshing was the heroine.

As a tomboy, I had a tough time finding females in fiction to connect with, especially in older novels. Mind you, I mainly stayed within the fantasy genre, however across the board complex women were the exception not the standard. So often, you’d have a simpering, whiny princess, or some aloof and reserved queen that always held their temper and never said a bad word. Or just went gunning for the stereotypes like the beloved Belgariad and the Mallorean, where Ce’Nedra’s irrational behavior and lack of communication is attributed to her womanhood. On the flipside, if the ladies were tough in books, they were these sexpots that wielded sharp sarcasm and even sharper blades.

Cimorene was different. She was practical, stubborn, and didn’t give a damn about what people thought. While she had tomboyish tendencies, she wasn’t afraid to get neck deep in cooking and cleaning either. After glossing over so many caricatures of women, it was refreshing as a kid to find a heroine so realistic. As the series continued, I only admired her more, especially watching the banter between her and Mendenbar, because they operated as equals from the very beginning.

Now as an author myself, Wrede’s characterization has definitely rubbed off on me, because I find myself incapable of writing anything less than complex, interesting women. Strength takes many forms, whether it be emotional, physical, or simple common sense. Cimorene, Morwen, and Kazul are all such different characters, and yet I could identify distinct characteristics from each one. Cimorene’s stubbornness, Morwen’s practicality, and Kazul’s wiliness. (I also happened to adore that Kazul, despite being a female dragon, became King of the Dragons.)

So, if you haven’t read Dealing with Dragons, do yourself the favor. Plus, if you have kids, it’s a great option to read together. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a fantastic place.

Dealing With Dragons

Posted in Sneak Peeks

Twisted String of Pearls

Since I’m almost finished with the Beyond Fairytales challenge: String of Pearls, I thought I’d share a snippet!

 

He opened his mouth, but stopped. He had nothing to counter with, because at the heart of it. She was right. Unfortunately he’d lost his chance to choose a long time ago. He had too much of his debt to repay still and no end in sight, meaning he was trapped in this miserable existence. Dabbling with her had been a mistake, simply because getting a taste of true happiness was exquisite pain once stolen away.

 

Stay tuned, kids! More updates, news, and sneak peeks on the way