Beautiful Books (Out of My Head and Into Yours)

Somewhere, out in the blogosphere… specifically, on the blogs Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In… a meme is under way…

Just like every year, we’re giving our monthly link up “Beautiful People” a small rest so we can focus on “Beautiful Books” [and] our NaNoWriMo projects. The format is the same as Beautiful People. We’ll post 10 questions to answer about your WiP — aka your beautiful book.  Answer the questions in a blog post of your own and then come back here to link up!

Consider this the sequel to last month’s Beautiful Books post, in which I gushed about the pair of novels scheduled to release (and re-release) in March of next year – “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”!


Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

*laughs and laughs and weeps and laughs at my current mental state* But hey, let’s not blame the novel! After all, I had the good sense to make myself NOT do NaNo this year, leaving me free to have internal breakdowns over other things – like my baby sister’s recent wedding, and my imminent move across the country, and the fact that I had a clear plan to read 3 specific books this month, but then borrowed 4 million different library books instead…

I don’t know what to say about that one.

As concerns “Inspired”, though, I’ve reached out to quite a number of bloggers, asking if they have any interest in an early read ‘n’ review of the book. Some have even said yes! The reviewer hunt’s stalled out, for a bit, while I focus more on trying to land a job in the state to which I’m relocating. (And, y’know, reading 4 million library books.) But if YOU – yes, you reading this blog post – want a review copy of “Inspired”, let me know! We’ll make it happen!

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Of “Inspired”:

There are people, Luc found, who are very good at having ideas.

Bonus! Of the sequel, “Out of My Head”:

There are muses, Luc knew, who are very good at developing ideas.

(As readers of my Wilderhark Tales and Outlaws of Avalon novels may have observed, I’m big on first lines following a pattern within a series.)

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

While drafting Book 1, it was Wilbur, since he’s based on my favorite character of the time. Then for a while, in the neighborhood of Book 2, I think it was Yves, since I’d grown closer to the character he was based on. XD Now it’s probably Uri – not because of who she’s based on, but just because I enjoy her as a person. A hardass with a heart willing to learn to soften, when necessary. Sayer of things I wish I gave few enough lip tricks to utter in public. Also, one of my small batch of characters who inherited their author’s asexuality. (Or, in Uri’s case, her author’s author’s asexuality. Though, I mean, Annabelle’s ace, too, and sexuality isn’t hereditary, so what am I even babbling about anymore.)

What do you love about your novel so far?

– How the characters’ relational dynamics grow from Book 1 to Book 2

– The narrative’s uniquely changeable style; keeps things interesting for me, even during my umpteenth read-through of the manuscripts

– All the little things from my own life I get to include, since Annabelle’s life is so closely based on mine

– When the language EVOKES THE VERY SOUL of what I’m trying to convey

– Mach x Annabelle (I sibling soul mates ‘ship it)

– Wilbur x Uri (I bromance ‘ship it)

– Yves x speaking (compared to the rest of the cast, he doesn’t do it much, but I like what he says when he does)

– The “Phantom of the Opera”-esque short story in Book 1

– The surprise solution chapter toward the end of Book 2

– I’m not even the illustrator, but can we give it up again for the books’ covers, tho???

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

None that I haven’t already caught and vanquished, I hope!

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

Probably middles. Beginnings are often shaky, because every new book is its own beast that you have to learn how to handle. And my sense of urgency tends to kick in toward the end, since I can feel how close that finish line is. Whereas in the middle, I’ve had time to get to know the project, and can just enjoy sinking into the story as it unfolds.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music?

Back when I was in the habit of writing, you mean? <_< I basically just had to shut out the distractions of social media until my brain got lost in building the story’s scenes, word by word. I almost never draft to music – with the notable exception of #CamelotWIP (as I’ve dubbed it on Twitter). For some reason, I really needed noise reminiscent of a Faerie isle for that one. As for snacks, lol, I generally forgot to eat breakfast ‘til 2pm…

What time of day do you write best?

I liked to get cracking first thing in the morning.

My muse liked to show up just after I’d turned off the light for bed.


1 Light Bulb, Inspired Countdown, long

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I don’t prefer to let anyone see my work until the first draft feels finished. Then I run it all by my writing bestie. Beyond that, I’m okay with sharing short snippets here and there – so long as they don’t give away any important surprises!

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

If my characters need me to. I’ll push myself to my limits and farther, for them.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

1) Find out what you love about the writing process

2) Chase that

3) Tell yourself that you can do the hard thing (whether that hard thing is pushing forward, or giving yourself a break)


And that is that. To any o’ y’all doing NaNo this year: How’s the first half of November been treating you, and how ready are you and your characters to tackle the last two weeks? ^^


He Said/She Sighed (HYSRT!)

There will be people, my dear writers, who will tell you that “said” is the old, new, and only black – the final word in dialogue tags.

You may cry (or, according to Them, you may absolutely not cry, nor exclaim, demand, or wonder), “Says who?”

He Said, She Sighed

Not Catherine Austen, that’s who!

In her blog post trilogy “He Said/She Sighed”, Austen has her say on “said”, to which I – speaking as one who’s been jarred aplenty by the overuse of the so-called invisible word, who’ll take colorful and creative variation over bland repetition any day of the week, and who just plain doesn’t like being told which pieces of perfectly proper English I should and shouldn’t use in the stories of my creation – say, shout, and cheer, “Hear, hear!”

Parts one, two, and three give full and humorous vent to Austen’s thoughts on the matter, perhaps flying in the face of advice you’ve had hammered into you from sources innumerable. My advice to you, fellow writers? Hey, You Should Read This! Particularly this summary of the posts’ shining spirit:

It is silly to think there are words denied to writers, that there are entire classes of words off limits to good writing. That is just crazy. Lists of writing tips are shallow by nature – they will never tell anyone how to write well. We must dig deeper for that. Don’t get sidetracked checking off boxes for a paint-by-number book that follows tips like “don’t use adverbs” or “use said as your only dialogue verb.” You don’t have to do that. What you have to do is much, much harder. – Catherine Austen

Any thoughts on “said”, or similar writing advice, you’d like to share? Say on in the comments – here and/or over at Catherine Austen’s blog.

Tour for Two, and Two for Tour

It’s another twofer day! First up, a blog swap with author Jessica Dall. I’m on her blog talking about when classic tales are your writing inspiration. And she’s over here, talking about “The Copper Witch ”, her NaNoWriMo novel turned newly published novel! The floor is yours, Jessica.

Part One: The Copper Witch: A NaNo Novel

Jessica Dall

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a crazy time of year for those who have never experienced it. Writers from all walks of life come together to try to write 50,000 words in one month—which can either crash and burn, or actually leave you with a good start to a novel come the end of November. I was very lucky to find myself in the latter camp with my 2011 project, The Copper Witch.

A diehard pantser (someone who “flies by the seat of their pants” when it comes to writing), I started The Copper Witch with very little idea what my plot might be. A few weeks before I had been playing around on and found a name, Adela, which stuck with me for one reason or another. With thoughts of family lineage, this “Adela”, and November 1st arriving, I decided to start writing to see what came out.

Luckily, not having a plan at all didn’t seem to be a problem. I managed to churn out about 60,000 words in November leaving me about 70 percent of the way through what ended up being the original manuscript. Using the holidays to finish up, I started 2012 with something that actually wasn’t half bad for having been written in two months (sure, there were some scenes that had to be cut due to “NaNo babble” but all in all, the story worked). After a quick few rounds of edits/critiques (the critiques forum on the NaNo site is a great place to connect with critique partners) I was willing to consider shopping the manuscript.


While, from the start, I did have positive responses from publishers, I didn’t find anyone interested in offering a contract (or at least a contract I was interested in—there was a UK press who offered an ebook run with possible print run after I decided to pass on). With new story ideas popping up, and NaNo once again approaching, I set The Copper Witch aside for the time being and went back every once in a while to edit when the mood took me.

Come September 2013, I was introduced to 5 Prince Publishing through its founder, Bernadette Marie. After reading some about them, I remembered The Copper Witch, sitting there patiently on my laptop, and pulled it out to see what they thought. From there, it was only a couple weeks before The Copper Witch was sold along with the rest of the Broken Line series—just in time for Book 2 to be shoved onto the docket for NaNoWriMo 2013.

All things said, NaNoWriMo 2014 will be my seventh year in the program, and with the friends I have made there, and the books I have written, I don’t see any end to that involvement in sight. Especially not when I have the rest of this series to write.

The Copper Witch, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and All Romance.

Part Two: Meanwhile, on the “Inspired” blog tour…

On Friday, I guest posted on the OriginiqueEquanimity blog about the crazy quirks that make “Inspired”…well, a lot like its author. X)

On Tuesday, Lucianíel took the spotlight (lol, leave it to a light elemental) on The Flight Reflex, blog of my “One More Day” anthology sister Kimberly Kay, guest posting about what he knows best: The work of a muse.

And Wednesday on The Book Diva’s Reads, we looked at book-making from the author side of things with an Annabelle-style 5-step plan to authorship.

Plenty more tour stops still to come (full schedule available on my website’s homepage), and the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!


P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win awesome free “Inspired” goodies. (: