Friday, November 8, 2019

Lord's Curse - Pre-Final Edit Stats

I am overly fond of book stats. I don't know why... its just something that always interests me. So today, we're going to geek over the current stats of my novel Lord's Curse. Fair warning that some of these change before the book comes out... This is prior to my final edit, of course, so the exact numbers will probably change. 

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Okay, big story stuff first. Lord's Curse was originally just titled Lord since I knew I wanted to use the game Kitsune-ken as the basis for each novel's name. Not directly focused on Lord, but connected, means that the next books also need names that fit in with this convention even if they don't have to do directly with the game. I haven't decided what all the names will be yet, but I do have eyes on the names Fox's Facade and Noble's Choice for books 3 and 4, respectively.

Going back to the Lord's Curse, specifically the inner workings, my novel is currently 93,847 words long if we don't count the chapter titles as words. It has 44 chapters. While my first book was more based on the girl's pov's (unintentionally for the most part), this novel focuses a lot more on Richard's and Deckard's point of view, though it didn't feel that way when I wrote it. Deckard and Richard each come in at 14 chapters, with Kuzunoha next in the running with 10 chapters. Himiko has 5 and Isashi has only 1. This doesn't mean that the girls don't have their own issues in this novel... just that, in general, the conflict seemed to be with the guys this novel.

The average chapter size for a 93,847-word book with 44 chapters would b 2,132 words long. The chapter that is closest to that total is chapter 18 with 2,106 words. The chapter with the least amount has 1,026 words in it and the chapter with the most has 3,014 words.

Each of the five longest chapters in the book was written one from each character's point-of-view.  The order goes down this way, Deckard (3,014 words), Kuzunoha (2,972 words), Himiko (2,845 words), Richard (2,712 words) and Isashi (2,603 words). I didn't do this deliberately... I just thought it was really cool.

What about you guys? Do you like weird book stats? Let me know!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Lord's Curse is Out of my Hands & a new Stylus is in!

First, I am sorry that this post is coming your way late. I was so eager to begin writing last night that I worked straight until midnight and then started writing. I only realized that it was Friday morning when I crawled into bed. On the other hand, I actually have updates for you! 

On Monday, I finally finished my draft of Lord's Curse. I sent it that morning to my editor, but I don't have an expected date back from her yet. As soon as I know more there you'll get an update as well. Either way, as soon as I have it back I will be working on it. At that point, Nano will become me working on Nanowrimo during the day and the edit of that book during my evenings. 

Still, I am amazingly excited to have finished it finally. 

The other bit of amazingness for me is that my husband picked up the stylus that I have been wanting for a year. Why is this cool, I can practically hear you asking. Styluses are a dime a dozen, essentially. And in most cases, you're entirely right. But this is the Windows Stylus, specifically geared towards use with their Surface Pro systems. Which is what I have. The stylus essentially makes it so that your Surface Pro can be used as a drawing tablet, with all the layers of sensitivity, pen tilt and functionality built right into most programs, you can now use your pen to, as they put it on their site, 'Think with Ink'. For me, it turns my Surface Pro5, which I've been using for my mobile needs into an actual drawing tablet for me. The last time I tried to draw on a tablet like this, it was with less than optimal tools and I got a much less than optimal result. 

This picture was my first attempt with subpar tools.
While it wasn't horrible, it was also very bad.
There was a lot that I couldn't figure out how to do,
and in the end I gave up entirely on shading since
everything was wrong with it and I just wanted to try
it again from the beginning.
This was my second with the subpar tools. And while it was a marked improvement, it still wasn't quite what I would have been able to accomplish on paper with more traditional tools.
Actually, I have an urge to redraw it using my new tools as an example of improvement to myself. Perhaps I'll add that to my list of tasks in December. 

I could have made it work obviously, but it wasn't anything like working on paper and I found it irritating. However, working with the new pen and the Concepts app, I have not only really enjoyed the results, but I have also enjoyed the process of making them. Also, I've never really liked the way most programs deal with their colours, and so to have the colours in it listed and matching the Copic colours, which I already use is great. It makes it easy for me to choose colours and decide exactly what I need to add. 
This was my first drawing attempt with the new stylus. Trying to figure out blending was killing me, but I loved the feel of drawing with it. Also, I clearly need to work on drawing hair more often. Those buns are hilariously bad. Still, as a first digital try, I really loved the potential.

This was my second drawing. While I still can't say that the bun is any better, I do like the shading in the hair and on the face and skin. I really found myself reaching for tools not available with the free program while playing with this; specifically the lasso and copy/move tools. Its why I'll be picking up the full copy when I have a job again.

And I think that will be it for this week. Let me know what you think of the drawings. Also, are you taking part in Nanowrimo? What is your word count so far? I've had a slow start. Day 1 gave me a migraine that wouldn't quit, which led to me only getting 1055 words for my first day. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Obligatory Nanowrimo Post

Obligatory because its nearly November and I talk about November every year. That doesn't mean I don't absolutely love doing it though! Year-round, I tell every person who happens to mention that they once harbored a secret dream of writing a novel about it, write down the site address for them, let them know what my avatar name on the site is and try to get them to add me. Why do I jump into this so gung-ho?

It is because books have always played an important part in my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my father reading my favourite Wuzzles storybook to me. One of his favourite stories to tell is how one day he got tired of reading the exact same storybook for his daughter every day before bed. He suggested that I should read it to him. I was 4 or 5 and if I remember correctly, I was a little confused. But in the end, I did it. My father thought I was a brilliant reader, the best he'd ever seen in a young child. Until he realized that I had finished one line before ever flipping the page. It was then that he realized that I pretty much had it memorized, nearly word for word and I was actually trying (badly) to use his cadence to tell the story. 

He decided then and there that I had to read at least one book (aside from that one) to him every day before he would read me a story. Even when I was too old to have my Dad read me to sleep, I listened to him read to my little brother. Every week, he would bring home comics for my sister and brother and new novels for me. 

Very clearly not a picture of me, but I do all of my writing on laptops, wherever
 I happen to find space to pull it out. I now have an office though. One day you'll
get pictures of it. 

In high school, I took a class called Typing 104. My family had owned a computer for 3-4 years at this point and I was mainly taking the class to learn how to type business letters to prepare me for the real world. I admit that I spent the majority of this class writing a novel. It wasn't a very good novel of course. In fact, it was very bad and I never finished it.
However, years later, it was on my mind when I found out about Nanowrimo and tried my first few years. I hadn't considered that I could ever really write a book and publish it. That was something that important people who were way more brilliant than me did. It took years to hone my craft and more to push past my fear to publish. 

Books have always been one of my catalysts for growth and I want to try to make sure that other people have that same love for them I do. I consider books one of life's necessities, up there with food and water. Your mileage may vary, of course. But for me. I write. 

And every November, no matter what else is happening in my life, I put fingers to keyboard and write. I always will, even if there is no Nanowrimo.

Will anyone be writing this Nanowrimo with me?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cover Reveal - Erin Embly

Today I'm coming to you with another cover reveal! 

Erin Embly's debut novel is going to be coming out early next year on January 17, 2020 and it sounds interesting, especially if you have an interest in urban fantasy. 

I’m not an assassin witch, I swear…
But one bad day at work as a Guardian was all it took to make everyone think I am. 
Darcy Pierce—infamous, soulless, lethal. Betrayer.
It’s all good, though. I fit right in at my new job as the magical bartender in a supernatural strip club, where no one cares about a girl’s deadly reputation as long as she has a nice rack.
Only now I’m being stalked by a schoolgirl bully who breathes fire, and her hot dad keeps trying to get me to touch his dusty old book. I’m used to men trying to trick me into touching things, but this is a whole new level of creepy.
I’m almost grateful when the assassin who framed me comes back for round two…
Except I’m not the only one in danger. My new friends at the club are the ones under fire now, and I can’t fail them like I failed before.
Once a Guardian, always a Guardian, right? That’s what they always told me, even when I ran, and I still don’t know if they were right.
Whatever I am, it’s personal now, and I have a hot-blooded killer to hunt.

It's available for pre-order now!

If you want to find Erin, she's on both Twitter and Instagram as @erinembly and on FB

If you'd like to read the first two chapters of the book, you can check them out on her website. Don't forget to sign up for her newsletter there, if you're interested. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Deep Dive on Historic Women: Murasaki Shikibu

I shared a news article on my FB page a day or so ago about the discovery that the novel, Tale of Genji, has 4 newly discovered chapters to add to its length. Already 50 chapters long, this 54 chapter version is the longest ever found. This book is important, not only because it is considered our world's first full-length novel, but also because it is considered the greatest work of Japanese literature.

However, as awesome as the book detailing the exploits of Genji Hikaru is, it pales in comparison to the life of its author. Murasaki Shikibu was her pen name, and there is some evidence to suggest that her given name was Fujiwara no Kaoruko, since it's known from her journals that she became an imperial lady-in-waiting for the emperor's consort, Shoshi, after the death of her husband and that she was from a distant branch of the Fujiwara line. Raised mostly by her father after her mother's untimely death, she learned many of the so-called "manly" studies of the time. She excelled in Chinese literature and moved around the country with her father, which at the time was unheard of for a young aristocratic woman. 

Also unheard of was her romantic life. While most of Murasaki's peers were getting married in their early teens, it is known that Murasaki herself didn't marry until her twenties and that her nuptials only lasted two years, at that. It is believed that she began writing the Tale of Genji at this time. 

This picture is one I created for Murasaki. While we don't know what 
she would have looked like, we do know how nobility looked in the 
Heian Era. This is close to how they would have looked. I have lowered the
eyebrows from where they would have been drawn to make it look a 
little closer to our current day standards of beauty. Any mistakes are my
own and no one else's.

Afterward, Murasaki chose to remain her own woman and not remarry and was eventually called to become a Chinese tutor to the young Empress and, of course, to become her resident writer. She may have also received the job due to a brief affair she may have had with the consort Shoshi's father, Michinaga, a statesman of some renown at the time, although this connection is tenuous at best. She is known to have exchanged poetry with Michinaga though, which at the time was considered an essential part of seduction at the time. 

There is some discussion about when she died, some saying that she died 1014, but some say that she was seen attending official ceremonies with Shoshi for another 10 years after that.

I have decided to read Liza Dalby's novel, The Tale of Murasaki: a novel and then follow it up with more of the dry research about her life as well as an official reading of the Tale of Genji, eventually.

Have you read any of these books? Would any of you be interested in reading Liza Dalby's novel and discussing it, bookclub style? Let me know and if there is enough interest, I'll create an FB page for it.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Cover Reveal - A Raven's Revenge

I've been in the writing gig for quite a while now and while I usually stick to myself, a few years back I traded work with some other authors and did developmental/beta-read edits for them. One of those authors was Linda Bloodworth. We became friends bonding over not only our books but our shared love for anything Sailor Moon related. Anyway's, I read through her book A Raven's Touch, a kick-ass story about a half-angel fighting the forces of evil. She published that book a year afterward in 2015, and today I have the absolute honour of letting everyone know that she is finally releasing the sequel! 

A Raven's Revenge 
Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned. Justice St. Michaels is on a mission from God to avenge her parents' death, even if it means hunting Seliki to the depths of Hell. Justice and her powerful friends won't back down until His will is done. Can an angel, witch, vampire and elf take on Hell and come out alive?

I have to admit, this cover is fantastic. I don't know who the cover artist was, but they deserve a pat on the back for this one. 

The novel will be out on October 24th, but you can pre-order your copy now. If you're looking for something to read before then, you can pick up the first book in the series as well. Links for both are below.
A Raven’sRevenge $3.99 ebook and $12.99 paperback
A Raven’s Touch $0.99 ebook and $12.99 paperback

Linda Bloodworth is hosting a cover reveal party on FB today (October 4th) and will be hosting a release day party on FB on its release date. Check out the links if you're interested!

Linda Bloodworth - Bio
Linda Bloodworth is a writer from Toronto who often has to battle two cats and a dog to find a comfortable writing position. Through blood, sweat, and a few tears, Linda debuted A Raven’s Touch in 2015 and followed up with A Raven’s Revenge in 2019. Other than writing, Linda enjoys scary tales of the strange and unusual in book and movie form. Most often, Linda can be found binge-watching Sailor Moon ad nauseam. Tsuki ni kawatte, oshiokiyo!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Dreven Creation Story (and an Update)

I feel like I've been saying this since January, but I'm nearly done editing book 2 of Kitsune-Ken! I have found a new editor and if everything goes according to plan, I should have it in her hands by this time next week. Then I can focus on Inktober, starting to edit book 3 and planning book 4 to write during Nanowrimo in November (for perhaps as long as a week before she gets it back to me). It's my hope that by November I will have the edits finished entirely and I can spend all my spare time that month doing the business end of getting the novel out to all of you... getting the cover made and released, the book formatted, proofread, and all of that fun stuff. Now we'll move onto the meat of today's post; the Dreven's creation story. 

Deckard is the main follower of this religion in my Kitsune-Ken series, though all of the Dreven people worship these deities. Even Isashi's Dreven father worships them and made sure that Isashi grew up knowing their religion, though, in the end, she chose to follow her mother's deities. 

The Dreven believe that the world was created when the creator force split into twins; the goddess Kittin and the god Kitaran. The two loved each other but fell to arguing over whether the universe was too empty. Kitaran wanted much more than the emptiness they inhabited, but Kittin was afraid and wanted the universe to stay the same. Kitaran promised to not create anything but eventually his loneliness could not be denied. To create the first island, Kitaran cut off his own hand. When Kittin discovered his betrayal, she slaughtered him and fell into a great depression for centuries when she realized that she'd destroyed the one she loved. 

Eventually, a noise broke through her self-absorption and she realized that Kitaran's body had not simply ceased to exist, but had transformed into an entire planet. While she loved it as she had loved him, she was horrified to find beings like themselves living upon it. Believing they were defiling Kitaran's legacy, she began a slaughter of all she could find. When only seven remained, better at hiding than the rest, she began destroying the world, determined to leave them no place to hide. One goddess came to her, begging that she stop before she destroyed Kitaran a second time. While she hesitated, the goddess brought down upon him the gift of prophecy. In her first moments of Kitaran's final gift to him, she realized that she had been destroying their children, created with his blood and her energy. 

A photo composite I made of Direnai begging Kittin to stop his destruction. 

Kittin realized her error and offered Direnai and her sibling's true godhood, promising never to hunt them again. They accepted though all but Direnai refused to believe in her sudden altruism, thinking that her apologies came too late. When one of the Seven created humans out of a new metal alloy and the began to multiply on their own, they expected Kittin to start destroying everything again. Fortunately, she had learned her lesson and instead blessed the new ones with wisdom she had never had. The humans began to worship her for this gift. The Seven still hide from Kittin, allowing humans to worship them only if they promise to never tell Kittin where they hide. In return for their favour and gifts, the Dreven refer to all seven as a single deity, the Secret, though they are taught the ways to show their reverence for each of the seven. 

Kittin is the only major deity, though most non-Dreven think of Direnai as a close second, not realizing that she is only the face the others hide behind, the one that is willing to be seen. Kittin rules over Divination and Wisdom, hard-won after all of her mistakes, though no Dreven forgets her lesson that without wisdom they will destroy everything they love. The other seven deities are Direnai, goddess of healing, Tormu, god of innocence, and five others whose portfolio's consist of Fire, Sailing, Weaponry, Victory, and Sorcery. Direnai is the deity that Deckard believes has granted him his blessed status. He loves and hates her for it.

And that will be all for today! In the coming weeks, I'll try to keep you guys up to date with where my novel is, how Inktober is going, and of course, more about the Dreven religion.