Such a Busy January

Whew, it has been a busy week! Between Stolen’s release day back on January 22nd to helping my sister with her art festival all weekend, I’m mentally pretty tired. I finally got to do one thing that I’ve wanted to do for a while since I’ve been working on promotions and prep work for the last few weeks. I finally got to write on Broken some more.

Now granted, it’s not a lot, nowhere near to where I need to be, but it’s also a really intense place so I’m fine with it. I’ve been talking about Stolen and about the characters in it so much that it was fun to dive into what I think of as their current timeline again and pick up where I left off. Dang, it’s so cool to see the changes!

Here we go, my latest updates on Broken, the sequel to Stolen, which I can now say is an Amazon Bestselling novel!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
1/28 – 787

Current Word Count: 48,085

Progress:
Some very tense political negotiations at a time when things could easy go very bad very quickly.

Next Up:
Making some progress politically, but not much, and the storm is coming on fast. Shaleigh really doesn’t have time for these people.

Commentary:
Considering how long it’s been since I’ve worked on Broken and posted about it here, I’m really pleased with the progress it’s made! I still have a lot left to do but I’m excited to see how this story will go. I know I still have quite a bit to have to go back and clean up later, but for now I’m very happy with it.

Originally I wanted to try to get my rough draft of Broken done by the end of January. Clearly I didn’t anticipate the amount of work I had ahead of me at the time that had nothing to do with Broken. But I’m still moving forward and I’m happy about that. Nothing has stagnated.

Considering tomorrow has been declared a snow day though, I foresee me getting a lot of cleaning and writing in tomorrow! Hopefully I have a much more impressive wordcount on this book by then.

Abstract Emotions & Writing

I went to bed last night thinking of black spirals climbing up into the sky, like enormous screws climbing out of the ground. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? Let me assure you that it will all make sense once Broken gets released.

Or I hope it will…

The words flowed again today and I was grateful, even if it did start in fits and bursts. On my drive in to work I realized that I wasn’t happy with how a previous scene had turned out. It was the perfect time for bonding and I was afraid if I didn’t go back to fix it today, I would forget it. So that took up about half my word count. I was glad I did it too, even though it meant a slower pace for my brief writing time and having to switch between characters again. That scene feels much more complete, and I know from experience that those kinds of scenes are the best.

When I wrote Stolen, there’s one scene between multiple characters that it took me forever to figure out. I kept rewriting it and rewriting it, trying to get at that difficult emotional exchange that is easy to feel but so difficult to describe. Finally I think I got it by the end, but that scene is now one of the more moving sections of the book. It certainly is one that hits your heart — and that’s the goal.

Or I hope it does at least.

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
12/4 – 1,166

Current Word Count: 43,586

Progress:
Expanded on some very intense character interaction. Also had some nice exchanges and world-building time.

Next Up:
Expanding on a new place with new rulers along with new rulers. For as nice as it sounds, it’s not quite as nice in person.

Commentary:
Not as much writing in today, but it’s not for a lack of inspiration. More like a lack of time. Can I find a way to double my free time on work days so I can increase my output even more?

Still haven’t hit that 45k mark yet, but I’m getting close! Hoping to maybe even hit 50k by the end of the week – which would be phenomenal.

The People in Your Head

When you finally get through the block that you’ve had for too long, the floodgates open, and all the words start pouring out. I love that feeling. I also love making progress finally. Sure, it’s post-NaNoWriMo, but progress is progress! I get away from a set of characters for a bit and then come back to them and I’m in love with them all over again. It’s like seeing a close friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, and then they’re just as witty and entertaining as always. It’s refreshing.

It also sounds crazy when you’re talking about people in your head that you made up, but let’s be honest, that’s what writing is all about. You chronicle the lives, the loves, the struggles, and sometimes the deaths of people that are part of you. Sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it’s inspirational. Only you get to control the outcome. As Stephen King said in his book, On Writing,

All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation.

On Writing, Stephen King

Each character is a little mental child that I’ve molded into existence and send off into the world. Yes, they’re part of a book or a story, but they also exist in their own bubble of a world, isolated from everything else. The fact that I can write about them and share them with others and others can love/hate them too is pretty damn amazing if you ask me.

With that, I give you my progress on my latest WIP this evening!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
12/3 – 2,357

Current Word Count: 42,420

Progress:
We had an unexpected adventure – which I always enjoy! My characters never do, but I do! 😉

Next Up:
I’ve got the perfect music to set the mood for this place, and some great build-up going for it from multiple points in this book and from Stolen. I left a number of hints around that this would be introduced, so I’m curious to see if readers pick up on it. Now I get to enjoy setting the mood for it and giving it some life.

Commentary:
I’ve been loving how many words I’ve gotten in just over the past couple of days. I know this won’t be sustainable long-term, but I’m just going to sit here and bask in high wordcounts while I can.

Also this whole scene was largely unexpected so I’m really pleased with how it fleshed out and the twists that it took. Things started so mildly at first and took a turn for the worst (like they do in my books). Really curious to see how this next location is going to be for these guys!

Getting Inspired

Last night I joined many of my fellow Parliament House Publishing authors and had a two-hour chat on Twitter where we discussed all sorts of things about the writing process and our experience in writing books. It was a busy chat filled with funny revelations (wine was the drink of choice for many) and heartfelt conversations. One of the best parts was that other authors hopped in giving answers as well! I checked the tag (#PHPChat) earlier and saw that the conversation was still going with other authors. I absolutely love it!

It was a really inspiring evening and I honestly can’t wait until our next chat. There are a lot of new faces in our author family so it was great to put our feet up and not only get to know everybody, but also to talk about our books and about writing.

Speaking of, I made some major progress on my WIP today! Woo-hoo!

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
12/2 – 2,202

Current Word Count: 40,063

Progress:
One character had a major realization and a bit of a guilt trip. Then just as expected, someone lost their head. It wasn’t pretty, and things got pretty twisted by the end of it. There were tears, screams, and serpents.

Next Up:
Approaching a lonely tower on a hill and the group of men who run it. All parties will be converging here and once again, it won’t be pretty. This is ultimately where the climax of the book will take place. After that it’s all about setting up for Book 3. Whew!

Commentary:
I’ve finally reached the halfway mark! Oh my goooosh. I was so inspired after the chat last night that I knew exactly what was going to happen when I settled in to write this afternoon. Then everything fell into place and I understood how I was going to wrangle these cats in the direction they needed to go.

I’m excited to see the final few legs of this story unfold and to see what these characters do as a result of what happens. That’s the great thing about being a pantser, you have all these ideas but at the end of the day, the characters usually choose where they want to go. Sometimes you get to be as surprised by their decisions as the reader is.

A Month of Recovery

This month has been pretty interesting. Not bad, just… interesting.

I was hoping to get a lot of catch-up writing done on Broken and put aside time to do just that, but then I got sick for like weeks. The weather down here in GA has been all over the place. Highs of 20s one day and then highs in the 60s the next, so everybody is having allergy problems. I think the plants are as confused as we are. I’m still recovering after 3 weeks of struggling with it.

So I’m not a winner of NaNoWriMo this year, but that’s okay! There will always be more – and I usually do better during the Camp NaNo events anyway. I still got around 10k+ words added to my manuscript, and NaNo helped me do that.

Now it’s December and I’m gearing up for the release of Stolen in January, meaning that I’ll soon be announcing all sorts of opportunities. I’ll soon be organizing tours, book signings, events, giveaways, and all the things that you do with a new book release. If you’re interested in getting any book swag or even a holiday card from me this month, make sure you check out my Moonlight Wanderers Facebook Group or join the mailing list. I’m collecting addresses now to ship out goodies this month. There’s going to be a LOT going on next month and these folks always get the early access & opportunities for swag.

I finally got into the writing groove today for the first time in weeks. It felt good and I really needed that creative boost that it caused. Here’s hoping I keep this going!

Project:  Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
11/26 – 808
11/30 – 1,150

Current Word Count: 37,861

Progress:
Escaping one danger only to run head-first into more. You know how it goes. It’s difficult to work with someone who is so unstable and unpredictable, and it’s also frightening when they have so much power.

Next Up:
Somebody’s going to be real mad once they are back on their feet again, and someone is going to get hurt. It’s not going to be pretty, but when dealing with matters of an injured heart, it rarely is.

Commentary:
At times I feel like my writing is too disjointed, and then at other times I see how I can stitch the parts together again. As the storyline progresses, I see the story arc fall into place. I feel the direction take shape. I’m usually a complete pantser and this book is no exception. Because there’s so much to balance though, each scene does take a careful approach. I think that’s why this book is taking me longer to tackle. Each movement is like a chess piece getting moved and the landscape changes with each turn, until finally we reach the final confrontation. I’m getting closer and closer to that moment, and I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it for a number of reasons.

Happy December, everybody!