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Weekly Word Count #93

Word Count: 4,332

What story I’m working on: Slowed down a bunch because of finishing Forged Alliances last week! Still super proud to have that story complete, and now it’s out with beta readers! What that means is my sole focus is back on Future King, which is slugging along at a snail’s pace as I hit 33k this week. I came to a realization on that though, one I want to share. Normally, I rip through contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy and the sort because the locations are so easy for me to describe, the settings natural, and even the monster creation comes readily. However, Future King is science fiction and I need a level of precision and detail with my worldbuilding and language that I can’t convey with my normal racing through a story through the characters. So, I think it’s a good thing for me to work on writing multiple projects currently, since it forces me to take my time with Future King and seriously give this story and its unique world the attention it deserves.

What I’m editing/marketing: I started resubmitting the Iron Legacy, so we’ll see! In other related news, I’ve finally got word on Waking for Winter! The final book in the Philadelphia Coven Chronicles is now under contract! I recently started submitting Captivating Melody to publishers, so fingers crossed, because that series would be glorious.

Line of the week:

“You’ll be searching for a metal you’re connected with—the piece will have the signature of your forefather imprinted in the very make of it,” Merlin murmured in my ear, his breath tickling from his closeness. His alchemy wove through mine, like the circuits and wires of a motherboard, transferring information in a seamless flow.

Everywhere I searched, from copper to nickel, from gold overlay to platinum filigree, nothing jumped out as dangerous or resonated with me in the way Excalibur did. If anything could have convinced me of the truth behind Merlin’s declaration of my history, of what they sought to accomplish, it had been the punch to my gut the moment I boarded that ship. I’d never believed in destiny until I stepped inside the Excalibur and was forced to confront my own.

 

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Writing Inspiration Wednesdays

“If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favorite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable.”

-Joss Whedon

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Travel Tuesdays- Sandy Beach

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More from my pale kid adventures in Hawaii! So this day, we took a bus out to Sandy Beach (creative name, eh?) to go see some different beaches than the main one on the Waikiki shoreline. It was about a twenty minute to a half hour bus ride, and sort of just cool to take public trans up to our destination, but the beach was definitely gorgeous. This wasn’t a swimming beach though, and all around were posted signs about not going swimming. Though plenty of folks ignored them to go surfing on the gigantic waves. Luckily for me, I hate swimming and wasn’t deterred. I’m also terrified of deep water. All sorts–I refuse to swim in lakes even, and the ocean just makes things a thousand times worse.

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But I do like looking at water, and the volcanic rock at Sandy Beach was well worth the excursion!

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Music Monday- Chalvaren Rising

Want the perfect playlist to accompany the book you’re reading? Well, Music Mondays gives the authors a chance to weigh in on the music that inspired said story!

Today let’s welcome Paula Millhouse to discuss Chalvaren Rising!

Chalvaren Rising_FINALHere’s the novel playlist for Chalvaren Rising: https://play.spotify.com/user/pmillhouse.1/playlist/48pM8IoZwVaNjbiVvG5J0A

Music is such an amazing part of the arts. It inspires my creativity and often embodies the perfect emotions for my characters. I often write to movie instrumentals, but these five songs from the novel playlist inspired tons of scenes.

1) Leader of Men by Nickleback because in the beginning of Chalvaren Rising Elf Price Kort Elias questions the notion that he’s the kind of man to lead his kingdom. But, by the end of the story Mia gives him the incentive he needs to be the leader of his men, the dragon riders of Chalvaren.

2) I See Fire by Ed Sheeran because these characters all love their dragons so much. When I first heard this song from the movie The Hobbit, I could not get it out of my head. It fits Chalvaren Rising because the castle with the most dragons wins.

3) Feeling Way Too Damn Good by Nickleback because it fits the angsty magic of the romance between Kort and Mia.

4) Far Away by Nickleback because Kort loves Mia so much his whole world is focused on her being his princess. He loves her, and if he loses her he won’t be able to breathe.

5) A Thousand Years because when I first heard this song I knew there were two lovers in my heart I had to tell a story about. Yes, Bella and Edward from Twilight commanded the song, but Mia and Kort embody the romance and beauty of this timeless tune. Time does stand still for these elves, and every time I hear this song I think of Mia and Kort. They have loved each other for a thousand years. They believed in each other, weathered every storm thrown at them, and in the end they will love each other for a lifetime. Just wait until you read the final scene of the novel.

My next project on the horizon is a romantic suspense where a female FBI agent teams up with a Mafia hit man to take a killer down who has both their names on the top of his list.

Most Excellent Readers can find me here:

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Chalvaren Rising

With the love of Kort, Chalvaren’s warrior-prince heir, Mia Ansgar will seize her birthright and become the great dragon-riding wizardess prophesied to free that elven kingdom from her embittered sorceress kin.

TO ASCEND TRIUMPHANT

Twenty-five years ago, Theo Ansgar abandoned the Kingdom of Chalvaren for a hiding place on another world. Some called him traitor. Some, thief. Now his fully grown daughter Mia must return to the land of her birth…and their war.

It was the elf prince Kort Elias who brought her back. Theirs was an instant connection, an inescapable union of body, soul and sorcery, reminding Mia of what she truly is, and what she must become. There is also Magnus, destined to be more potent than any wyrm Chalvaren has ever seen, a three-day-old dragonlet Mia must nurture and then ride. And then there is the Dragonstone, an artifact of power nonpareil. Joined, they can tip the scales of battle against the wraith-possessed forces of darkness, of Mia’s own embittered kin. Redemption will be offered, the protected will become the protector, and an ancient prophecy will come to fruition, but only righteous love can conquer all.

Buy a copy HERE!

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Travel Tuesdays- Inch Beach

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For me in particular, it was incredibly important to go to the Dingle Peninsula where Inch Beach is located. Why, you ask? I’m absentminded as get-all, and when I’m hunting for something, or babbling on, the words come out faster than my brain likes to process (mostly because other tabs are open and taking up memory space if you catch my drift). So I have a habit of replacing terms with dingle or doodle. Like, ‘get me that doodle,’ or ‘I want the dingle.’ Funny enough, anyone who’s spent enough time around me usually can interpret and catch the drift. I’ve had my husband and a couple besties pick it up.

So when we heard that there was a Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, naturally we had to go. Alas, we didn’t make it all the way in. Let me explain. We were driving along the roads on the opposite side of our comfort zone in a teensy car and even teensier lanes. And as the cliffs grew higher, what separated us from that breathtaking ledge? Shrubbery. Fucking shrubbery. So we reached a point of white-knuckled steering that grew too much and turned back around. Yes, we’re wusses.

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Regardless, Inch Beach rocked. Literally. All sorts of rocks along the beach and I absolutely loved it.

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Travel Tuesdays- Snowy Park

Key thing about taking an adventure doesn’t have to do with going to the most remote place on the planet or most talked about. The spirit of an adventure is exploring somewhere new, even if it’s just new to you.

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So for me and my husband this past Valentine’s day, our date consisted of a wintry walk through a local park in Pennsylvania. While I had explored this place before, something about the light slow drifting down made the walk positively magical. The cold pinks your cheeks, chills your ears, and the fluffy snowflakes clung to my hair, my clothes–everything. But with so few people on the trails, the pale accumulations were pristine, and the snowfall didn’t accumulate so much as to deter our walk, just make it a bit more treacherous. Of course, that just makes it all the more thrilling.

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Travel Tuesdays: Diamond’s Head

One of the places that’s high on the tourism charts is Diamond’s Head in Hawaii. We were on Oahu, specifically staying in Waikiki for my cousin’s wedding in August of 2014. And me being a pale Irish kid had the genius idea of doing hikes since the beach wouldn’t work well for my tender complexion. This was a lovely lesson in different terrain.

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Beautiful, right? Half the time I spent applying sunscreen. Little did I realize, a lot of the hikes through Hawaii involve open sun with little tree cover. So thankfully this was just a two hour hike, but I kept leaving my husband in the dust to cling to what minimal shade I could find. I’d wait for him in the shadow and then scamper off to find the next bit of shade.

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I will say, it was worth it for the view though.

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Love Letter to Fellow Writers

We’re in one hell of a business, aren’t we? Every job, every career has it’s ups and downs, but I’ll leave those who are mired in theirs to communicate those woes. For me, it’s always been about writing. I’m sure my story’s like so many others–from the tender age of who-can-even-remember, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. The ability to touch, reach, and change people with my stories. Sensitive, shy little me, always buried in a book.

So I worked hard. I read every book I could get my hands on, studied the guidebooks of writing, forced myself into the disciplines. Like so many others, soldiered through NaNoWriMo. I honed my craft, and even today I’m still learning. I’m ALWAYS writing. My college years were spent jotting down stories between classes, and my spare moments stolen by my laptop, a pen and paper, and whatever story claimed control of my brain.

And then came submission time–and the ensuing rejections. There’s nothing quite so vulnerable as that first time throwing your work out there and receiving those emails. That your work isn’t good enough–and let’s face it guys, there’s a part in every one of us longing for that validation, even if it’s as simple as someone wanting to share your world for a moment. So I’d get shut down, take my open wounds, and learn from them. Countless hours spent in scouring blogs for tips, spent workshopping with friends, or in forums. As so many of us do.

Over time, you build the thicker skin–you grow more resilient to the blows. Query rejections? What ever! Try, rejections to your full. Try rejections to your manuscript when you sub it off to indie publishers. That’s when the nails pierce deeper, when the vital organs are hit, and some days, you wrap yourself in a blanket and hide away, too torn and tattered to face the world. Those are the darker times, and I don’t wish them on anyone–but I also know we all go through them. Get angry, get sad, get desperate–but get up. You keep getting up. And you keep writing.

For me, my first book was independently published, and I’ve gone that route through several others. Here’s the deal folks, publishing, whether it be with the big leagues or the little guys, isn’t the end. It’s not a Jane Austen novel where you’ve had your back and forth repartee and marriage is the big final ending. Any married couple will laugh at that novelty, because we all know it’s just the beginning of the work. Same goes with publishing. Get a book out and you don’t bask in the glow of a thousand suns.

The reality? Unless you’re one of the rare few who gets lucky on first strike–lands an agent, a book deal, and a mass following–it is hard, excruciating, and often defeating work. And you’re still fighting. Always fighting. One thing doesn’t change though–even with the heartbreak, even with the negative reviews, bad days, poor sales, rejections–we’re still writing. Most times it’s a tireless, thankless job, but it’s always there. The compulsion to write never leaves a writer. Maybe you take a break, maybe you spend some time apart, but it’s there, the words written in your bones, your DNA, in every strand and fiber of what makes you whole.

Bleak outlook, right? Anyone who knows me though can expect what’s coming next. I go through my emotional swings all the time, but at the end of the day, I can’t help but hope. I can’t help but dream and believe.

One thing we have through all of this is each other. We’ve got a community full of people WHO UNDERSTAND. Who get it. Who’ve been there. Others who have faced the rejections, who’ve faced bad reviews, who’ve been knocked down a thousand times and keep standing back up. We keep writing. So this is me, reaching out, in case you haven’t found your community yet. In case you haven’t found those folks who dust you up when you’re down, and understand what you’re going through.

Your struggle is valid–it’s real, and it’s tough. All the negativity and all the hurt can threaten the gentlest of souls, but don’t let it harden you. Don’t let it scare you away, make you quit, or make you snuff those dreams out. From that struggle, learn. Grow bolder, and stronger, until the world has to take you seriously. But for now, when the world is harsh, and it threatens to steal your summers away, take solace that you are understood. We’re here in the trenches with you.