Out with the Old, In with What’s Next

So long, old year! Helloooooo, 2015! And how better to ring in the New Year than with Ever On Word’s official reveal of the cover of my next publication? Those of you who bump elbows with me on Facebook and Twitter may have seen this already, but it’s still just as purty the second (or, if you’ve been staring at it like I have, the umpteenth) time around!

The Toll of Another Bell

The Toll of Another Bell (now on Goodreads! Add away!), a Xchyler Publishing fantasy anthology including my own short story, “Reality As We Know It”!

A voice from the back calls out, “What’s your story about, Danielle?”

Well might you ask, anonymous person who is not Will Scarlet at all.

In a realm of infinite possibility, impossibility, and immortality, a broken boy begs to die.

Devoted childhood companion to the shattered Singer, Row will do anything to resurrect his friend’s will to live, including join him in exile in real-world London, where if the grueling battle against unemployment doesn’t kill you, the dodgy neighbor in the upstairs flat just might.

But as Singer’s grief festers and eviction looms, even irrepressible Row begins to doubt whether single-minded determination is enough to make ends – and two hurting hearts – meet.

This story and more are coming for ya on January 31st, along with the book’s Release Party! More on that as the date nears.

Now, then – in other headlines…

What’s New for Ever On Word?

For the last good while, I’ve been largely sticking to a three-day blogging schedule, with posts of various sorts on Mondays and Thursdays (book reviews, blog tour stops, snippets of fiction, miscellaneous chatter…), and Will Scarlet shenanigans on Saturdays. That’s been going all very well for me, but with all the other writing / rewriting / editing / publishing I continue to heap upon my plate, I’m ready to ease up on myself just a tad.

So from here on into the indefinite future, I’m cutting back to two regular posts a week – Scarlet’s stuff on Fridays (starting a week from tomorrow), and whatever else I wanna on any other weekday selected at my discretion. It’s a new year, baby. I’m gonna try this “flexibility” thing the kids keep talking about; see how it affects my quality of life.

Other resolutions of sorts for the year to come include:

My nocturnal experiment

– Get the remaining Wilderhark Tales (Books 6, short story collection 6.5, and 7) out into the world

– Figure out the steps required to run away to Germany to become a butler*

(*If you think I’m joking, think again.)

– Rewrite an old novel of mine into publishable shape

– Remember the encouragement that bolstered my poor little authorial heart upon reading this and this – each of them pieces worthy of “HYSRT! (Hey, You Should Read This!)” posts in their own right, but if I don’t stick them in here now, I may never get around to sharing them, so let’s seize the moment

– Continue seeking the balance between pushing myself and abstaining from self-cruelty

– Don’t lose the internal good I gained over the long, hard slog of 2014

*turns mic out toward the audience* What’s next for all of you? ^^

“To-Do” or “*Want* To Do”

Life being, y’know, life, there is always something that needs doing somewhere, and some of those things just have to be done by you. This has given rise to what many of us call the To-Do List – “a list of tasks that need to be completed, typically organized in order of priority” (thanks for filling in my dictionary’s gap, oxforddictionaries.com). These lists will vary from person to person, and from day to day. For the sake of illustration, my list of things I ought to get done on Random Example Day could include:

– Write blog posts

– Eat breakfast before 2pm

– Retrieve laundry from basement (and perhaps actually fold and put it away in a timely manner, for a change)

– Hit the treadmill for at least ten minutes (brisk walking acceptable, but jogging/running ideal; stretch before and after to avoid injury)

– Complete some edits on an old novella

These are things I may or may not particularly feel like doing, but will hopefully have discipline enough to make myself do anyway without a great deal of to-do in the “commotion or stir” sense.

What do I feel like doing? Well, that’s another list entirely – the Want To Do List, if you will. I would love to…

– Hit upon a thrilling new novel idea and run with it for tens of hundreds of words

– Play songs at my piano, with as much volume and abandon as I please

– Just drop everything and read a book, guilt-free

– Gab on the phone with my best friend for hours on end

– Tell you all about the totally awesome wonderful super-exciting news I hinted at in my last post (I still don’t get to do that, yet. Soon, soon, soon!)

And those are just my somewhat realistic wishes, never mind my fanciful desires to fly like Peter Pan or teleport to Disney World or suddenly discover that I’ve morphed into one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men.

Now, there can be some best-of-both-worlds overlap, here. There are hours enough in the day that I could feasibly get everything done that I need to AND play the piano, do some reading, and maybe even chat a while with my friend, if her own To-Do List allows her the time.

As it happens, novel-writing is a lot like this.

There are things that really ought to happen within your book if you want it to be any good. It would do well to have:

– A beginning, a middle, and an end

– Characters with their own personalities, motivations, and all that other good stuff that makes them come across as people rather than just words on a page or girls who beat up on bison

– Action of one kind or another (because a novel is a heck of a long time to watch paint dry. …unless there’s a lot more drama going on with that paint that I’m imagining, right now. Convince me)

– Something that makes the readers feel something (gladness, sadness, indignation, surprise, horror, relief, whatever – just get them emotionally invested, and you’re winning!)

These are some of the basic marks that we writers aim to hit, no matter the overall plot, the genre, the target audience. Then there’s the stuff that we just feel like throwing in there somewhere because, come on, wouldn’t it be cool? Random things like:

What about some chick in chainmail attempting a Spider-Man pose? Think we can work that in, at some point?
What about some chick in chainmail attempting a Spider-Man pose? Think we can work that in, at some point?

– Dragons whose singing brings the sun up in the morning

– Swashbuckling with swords forged in Death’s own blood

– Somebody named [insert the coolest name you ever thought of here]

– A sweet romance between the royal heroine and the guy who tests her food for poison

– That one inside joke that no one will get except for you and your friend, but that’s okay because you don’t need that context for it to make sense within the plot

It is fully possible to combine these two lists into one fantastic story. So long as we writers get done what we need to, we can build whatever we want around it – even the crazy stuff like Peter Pan flight, teleportation to Disney World, and waking up as Allyn-a-Dale.

Fiction is flexible like that. Life can be, too, in its own realty-bound way. Thank goodness for that, or I’d have to feel really terrible about how one thing or another on my To-Do Lists so often get put off until another day.