Passion

Next week, I start writing the next novel. (Yes, this is a full time job.) It’s War Among the Crocodiles, the conclusion of The Shadow Wars trilogy, that started with The Raven and the Dancing Tiger and continued in The Guardian Hound.

This weekend, I’ll start looking at my notes for the series. Next week, I’ll spend some time re-reading those novels, as well as doing research. Like the other books, this novel has a historic base, and I need to get some of the facts into my head. I have a general idea of the history of the times I’ll be writing in–but there are some specifics I need to pick up as well.

However, as important as all of that is to the process, what’s more important is that I’ll be building excitement for the project again.

As a writer, I need to be passionately involved with whatever I’m writing. From this post about writing quickly you’ll note that one third of that triangle involves passion, excitement. For me, that’s vital. I must be passionate about what I’m writing. I must love it, think that it’s the coolest thing evah, fiercely want to share my vision with the world.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

When I find myself losing passion, I always stop and look at why. Is it because I’m writing the wrong thing? (This happens the most frequently.) Is it because I need to go do more research? (Occasionally this is the case.) Or am I actually tired/sick/burned out? (This happens as well, though in recent years, because I’ve gotten so much better, it’s rare as opposed to often.)

I’ve given myself more time to write this novel, which honestly, going into the project, is a relief. I will still drive myself to succeed, to complete this novel quickly, because that’s just me. But that I have some breathing room to think things through, to do research, to plot and plan…it feels like heaven.

I know I could probably write this novel more quickly than I’m planning. However, taking some extra time doesn’t make me lazy. Instead, it insures that I’ll also be able to write the next novel. And the next. And the next. And that I’ll be able to keep that passionate involvement with each and every work.

Because in the end, that’s still the most vital thing, that get my butt into the chair, fingers on the keyboard.

Passion.

Righteous anger

The last couple of weeks I’ve been going through both copy edits as well as first reader comments.

Most of the comments are fabulous. I find myself nodding in agreement, or going, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or just accepting and moving on.

However, every once in a while, I run across something that just makes my blood boil. It might just be a word change, or a simple piece of punctuation. (Something bigger and I tend to not get angry so much.)

Those who know me, know I’m pretty easy going. I’m not necessarily quick to anger. The reaction I have is out of proportion to the change that’s being requested. I’m aware of this. I still react this way.

Fortunately, one of my mentors finally explained this reaction to me.

If I react with anger, it’s because the change is messing with my Voice.

Things sound a particular way in my head, how a character says something. If a change messes with the way that sounds, I shouldn’t accept that change. However, if something in the draft has confused a first reader, I should redraft it so it’s more clear, using my words, my Voice.

It’s funny, but fonts also sometimes make me react this way. I’ve flowed a book into a POD format, changed the font, and got pissed off. The font was Not Right. It had, somehow changed the Voice of the piece.

I once heard someone describe font as the clothes your words wear. The basic structure is still there, the bones, but the font dresses them up. Or down.

So–pay attention when you get angry at a comment. Possibly you’re being unreasonable. I try always to be a reasonable person. Rational.

But sometimes, that anger is a clue.

Lazy

One of the things that I continue to work on for myself is my perception of myself as essentially a lazy being.

On the one hand, I know I’m lazy. I spend an awful lot of time goofing off, reading blogs, playing games, etc.

On the other hand, I’m also aware that I’m not actually that lazy. I get a tremendous number of things done. Other people certainly don’t see me as lazy.

My most recent novel, Poisoned Pearls, that I finished writing today (woo hoo!) is a prime example of this.

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Burning Flowers now available!


Burning Flowers

Burning Flowers CoverCollection now available!

See China through a wide range of characters, like a little girl in the Tang Dynasty determined to honor her sister, or an old woman in the Qing Dynasty who believes she has the best daughter, or even a boy on a Chinese colony in space.

These unexpected stories carry you far away, then back again, leaving you wanting more.

Fox and Hound originally appeared in Fiction River: Hex and the City.

Sisters originally appeared in Fiction River: Unnatural Worlds.

Stories include:
Fox and Hound
Old Friends
The Dutiful Daughter
Dragon’s Son
The Tortoise and the Maiden
Sisters

Available for $5.99 as an ebook, $9.95 as a trade paperback from Createspace.

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Appearance tonight!

If you’re in the Seattle area and want to come see me read from my new book When The Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes come to the SFWA Northwest Reading Series.

It’ll be starting at 7 PM on Tuesday May 29th at Wilde Rover Irish Pub & Restaurant, Central Way, Kirkland, WA.

Or if you’re in Portland, I’ll also be reading at 7 PM on Wednesday May 30 at Kennedy School, Portland, OR.

When the Moon Now Available!

When the Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes CoverMy latest novel, When The Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes is now available!

When the red moon rises directly over Kualina Mountain, madness follows.

–Southern Islands proverb

Centuries ago, fate forced the witches to move from the mainland to the Southern Islands. The peace-loving people there accepted and welcomed them.

Now, centuries later, the gods begin to make their will known again.

Ephanie, a young northern witch, waits impatiently. The certainty of youth fills her, assures her that she will do important things in her life. Then her destiny finds her, but it isn’t what she thought it would be.

Jahaka also waits, but for a sign. As head priestess of the northern witches, she despises the changes she sees in the witches, the corruption of their magic. How can she lead her people back to purity?

Mahina lives in the jungle, unclear which dreams come from her and which belong to her sisters. Until the goddess gives her a sign and the southern witches come back into their power.

Each of them must follow her own destiny to the bitter end, despite the cost.

All the while, war surfs toward them, carried on western winds.

A name is just a vase for the girl until it overflows into the woman.

–Northern proverb

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Available for $5.99 as an ebook, $14.95 as a trade paperback from Createspace.

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But wait! There’s more!
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SO MANY THINGS

And just not enough time to blog about them all.

There will be more posts, and more regular posts, coming from me, starting in the next couple of weeks.

In the meanwhile – if you’re in the Seattle area and want to come see me read from my new book When The Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes come to the SFWA Northwest Reading Series.

It’ll be starting at 7 PM on Tuesday May 29th at Wilde Rover Irish Pub & Restaurant, Central Way, Kirkland, WA.

Or if you’re in Portland, I’ll also be reading at 7 PM on Wednesday May 30 at Kennedy School, Portland, OR.

When the Moon Over Kualina Mountain Comes

Story Inspiration Sunday

I blog about inspiration both here and over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or over there!

This week, I’m afraid, is again going to be about a different type of inspiration.

However, this week was also very different.

I hadn’t planned it this way. It was my choice.

This week turned out to be the last week I worked my day job.

formerly-caged

Let me explain.

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