Charlie Dragon and Goals

Good morning. How is everyone today? I’m taking a vacation day and working on I Need a Hero, book two in the Riven City series I’m publishing on Kindle Vella.

My goal for September is to finish up I Need a Hero so that in October (my favorite month) I can write and publish Drop Them Bones, the first holiday special in the series. It revolves around a recently renovated hotel, a masquerade ball, some supernatural happenings, and a firefighter and his girlfriend trying to survive the night.

I’m still loving Vella. I can share so many more stories with you all there. I am planning to publish Deceit, book two in the Traitors War series, in either October or November, too, alongside my Riven City books.

I also got a new writing friend, Charlie Dragon. He came from Menards, and though a bit pretentious, I’m enjoying him. He does like to offer suggestions for my book, which isn’t always appreciated, and he asks a lot of questions, some of which I don’t know the answers, because I don’t outline or plot out my books. At least, not in any great detail.

Have a wonderful day, friends. And if you want to read Drop Them Bones in October, I would suggest reading the first two books in the series, Got a Bad Case and I Need a Hero, first.

Meet Charlie Dragon, my new writing companion and mascot.

Big Decision

As most of you know, I made the decision to publish all my future books to Kindle Vella. It was not an easy decision, as I have enjoyed working with Kate Conway and Wicked Whale Publishing since 2018.

But indie publishing is expensive, and while my first two novels sold quite well, my last two have not. Some of that has been due to Covid, and not having the chance to get to book events. And some of it is because indie authors in general have a more difficult time getting their name out there.

Kindle Vella is changing that. It is free to publish my books there, and I have access to sites with free imagery I can use for the covers. I can publish episodes (chapters) as often as I want. While it’s true these books can only be read on Amazon, they are always available as long as you have a phone or device and internet.

So far, Got a Bad Case, first in the Riven City series, is available and I am currently writing and posting I Need a Hero, book two. I am planning shorter holiday books to fit into the series as well. The first one, Drop Them Bones, will be published in October, after I finish I Need a Hero.

If you have read Destiny, book one in the Traitors War series, you will be able to read book two, Deceit, this fall/early winter as well.

I hope that if you have enjoyed my books, you will continue to read them on Vella. I appreciate the support, and I love sharing my books with you all.

Book Issues

I know I haven’t posted here in quite some time, and I need to do better with that. I’ll fill you in on my issues with the second edition of Lift, the first novel in my Flying Ponies trilogy.

I ordered some second editions for an author event that I ended up cancelling out of due to family visiting from out-of-state. The first issue I noticed is that the manuscript is actually the first one from my ARCs, and not the one we used for the first edition. So there are some extra scenes in the second edition that shouldn’t be in there.

The second issue is that some chapter headings are not right. Those will need to be fixed now too.

I’m not sure what to do with the copies I have; I don’t know as Amazon will replace them, and I don’t really want to sell them. Once the issues are fixed, I will order more copies for my event in New Era, Michigan, in September.

The third book in the trilogy, Spin, has been pushed back to at least spring of 2020, instead of this December. This is due to my publisher being busy and some lack of funds. I’m hoping for late April or May at this point.

This pushes the first novel in my YA fantasy series, the Traitors’ War, back to probably June/July of 2021. I am planning to put the first chapter of Clandestine in the back of Spin so readers get a chance to see what the new series will be about.

I plan to keep this website updated more frequently, so please check back for more news and/or ramblings about writing.

A New Year Cometh

Here we are, on the cusp of a new year. We all have things we didn’t get done in 2018, things we never even got around to doing. Will those go on your 2019 resolutions list? Or did they turn out to be not as important as you thought?

I’ve found that making resolutions rarely works for me. It might for a day or three, or maybe even a week, if it’s something I’m serious about. So I make goals, instead. It might be in the same spirit as resolutions, but it sounds better, at least to me

New author goals include: publishing and selling Tilt; writing Spin, the final volume in The Flying Ponies trilogy; selling more copies of Lift; researching and starting a new novel (more on that later); and learning as much as I can about writing.

I’d also like to ride my pony, BJ, more and take my Jeep Cherokee to the sand dunes more often and go trail riding. And, of course, spend as much time with my family as I can.

Whatever your resolutions are, I wish you well with them. I wish a blessed New Year on you as well. May 2019 be amazing!

Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

The Magic of the Carousel

The carousel horses in my trilogy, The Flying Ponies, are all based off real-life carousel horses. They are either aboard machines still in operation or in museums, where people can admire them. Some of them are on the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum; their literary equivalents debut in Tilt, book two of the trilogy.

Two of my fans (and nieces) visited the museum with their family earlier this month and took a spin on the 1928 Spillman carousel. They also took selfies with a couple of the horses; Contessa is a palomino mare and Oriflamme is a palomino armored horse (the names belong to their counterparts in my books). I was given permission to share the pictures.

I love the beauty and majesty of antique carousels, and I love the fact that these two girls were able to ride this one and enjoy it. Carousels have charm and a certain grace, and if you are able to stand quietly next to their painted ponies, you might just hear them whispering.

Magic might not exist in a literal sense, but it can be found in life. One only has to believe and be willing to seek it out in the ordinary.

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

The Middle Blues

So this is what’s going on: I’m a little better then halfway through Tilt, the second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I’m tapped out. I’m just done. The muse is sitting in her garden, sipping tea, and I just don’t feel like writing.

This happens. It happened with Lift, too. It usually happens to me right around the middle of the book; I’m tired of working on it, the story isn’t flowing, and when I open the story document, I sit staring at the screen wondering if there are any cool pins on Pinterest to look at.

It’s also known as the dreaded writer’s block. It happens to every writer, at different stages of their work. Mine tends to hit in the middle of the novel. How do writers deal with it? They each have different strategies. There are even writing books devoted to writer’s block. I’ve learned that giving myself and the muse a couple days off really helps. I also listen to songs that remind me of the story and the characters.

I really should be writing Tilt. I should be staring at that computer screen. I definitely shouldn’t be watching The Big Bang Theory, which is exactly what I’m doing while typing this. Ah, well. I know where Tilt is headed. I have a solid idea of the ending, which will lead into Spin, the third and final book in The Flying Ponies trilogy. And later on today, I’ll head into my office, boot up the laptop, tell the muse to hop to it, and stare at that screen.

And maybe, just maybe, the words will flow, and I’ll be closer to that ending that I can see glimpses of.

This image and quote are from (where else?) Pinterest.

Write Your Story

I did an author meet and greet yesterday at Gales IGA in Hart, and I had a ball! I sold some books, but what was more fun was just talking about Lift with the people who came. They were genuinely interested in learning about the process and the inspiration, and I thoroughly enjoy talking about it.

It’s been said that if you can’t find the kind of book you want to read, then you need to write it yourself. There’s a danger in doing that, of course – what if no one else likes your story? Well, to be honest, should a writer care about that? Yes, at least a little. Most working writers hope to make some money, though most of us know we will never make enough to quit our day/night jobs. That’s a reality that needs to be faced.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t write that story that you want to read. Somewhere out there are other people who need your story, too. They might not even realize it until they see it sitting on a local book store’s shelf or on Amazon. Not every person will click with your story, and that’s okay. How many books have you read that didn’t do it for you? That’s no reason to hold back.

I love my story. I love my characters. I can’t wait to share book two of The Flying Ponies trilogy with all of you. It’s a story I would’ve loved to read, but no one had written it, so God gave it to me to write. For better or worse, the Flying Ponies are mine now.

What story do you want to read that hasn’t been written yet? Perhaps it hasn’t been written because it’s waiting for you to do it.

Have a blessed Memorial Day, everyone. Remember our fallen soldiers and what they did to protect the freedom we as Americans enjoy.

(I found this quote on Pinterest.)

FANS!!!

It’s true – Lift has fans! I am so excited! I had the opportunity to talk to a reader last week at the library who asked about book two and told me how much she loved Lift. And this past Saturday I received my first piece of fan art from another reader who loves my story. I am so geeked!

As a writer, I knew Lift would not be for everyone. There are millions of readers in not only our nation but the world, and no one book could make each of them happy. Still, to interact with readers who connected with the story and enjoyed it has been such a wonderful part of being an author.

I am halfway through Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I expect to publish it around April of 2019. This second book will answer questions left over from Lift and introduce more of the 32 Flying Ponies of the carousel. I am looking forward to sharing this second book with the fans!

Isn’t this fan art cool?! I’m so glad readers are enjoying the story – I’m enjoying the experience of being an author!