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The Writing Process Blog Tour

The Writing Process Blog Tour 

Author Kimberly Pauley tagged me in this blog tour about the Writing Process. She’s the author of the Sucks to Be Me teen vampire series (Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me, Still Sucks to Be Me…Even in Paris) and two other YA novels, Cat Girl’s Day Off and Ask Me which goes on sale April 8, 2014. She is an amazing writer and you should all head over to her blog when you’re done here and check out her ‘writing process’ post from last week. She’s also the person who helped me create the book covers for my three books. 

And just so you all know up front, I’m breaking one of the rules for this blog tour (shame on me!). Many of my other writer friends were busy working on projects right now, so rather than tagging two other authors and having them write a specific post about their writing processes at the end, I’ll just link you to some of my writer friends and you can check out their wonderful blogs at your leisure. (Edit: One of these authors might just surprise you next week…) 

So now, as they say, let’s get on with the show.

What am I currently working on?

Two different projects…kinda.

Back in 2008, I took a short break from editing my epic fantasy novels and wrote a 60k word sci-fi, fantasy, action, adventure, buddy-‘cop’-like mash-up that was set in a wanna-be utopian future earth where magic had usurped technology for almost everyone, except the main character. It was a bizarre creation with oddball characters and snappy dialogue and it was something I knew eventually I’d want to work on again. But then I misplaced it. Recently, I found it again while going through some old computer files and while it needs a lot of work, eventually, with enough editing, tweaking, and polish, I’ll publish it (and perhaps it will be the start of another series for me).

The book I’m primarily working on though is a sequel of sorts to both The Penitent Assassin and The Rush of Betrayal books, Deception and Absolution. My goal is to write it in such a way that it could also be a stand-alone novel. I suppose David Gemmell’s Drenai book series is a model of sorts for the type of series I’d like to write. Characters from different parts of the same world with their own individual stories, sometimes interconnecting, and all creating a complete and full world, and yet, you can read just one and have a satisfying experience.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write epic fantasy with some grit and darkness, but also with a twisted sense of humor. I’m probably a little heavier on dialogue than some and I love to maintain a high level of action in the story. As I’ve told some people, the books are epic fantasies with the pacing of the “24” TV series. I don’t spend a lot of time describing each individual blade of grass, if you know what I mean. My books also seem to have a lot of villainous characters in them but I write them as if they’re the heroes of their own stories. If you hate to love them, or love to hate them then I feel like I’ve done my job.

Why do I write what I write?

This is asked as if I have a choice! LOL. I write what I write because the characters in my head won’t be ignored. They won’t let me not tell their stories. I have people come up to me and say, ‘you’re such a nice guy, how could you possibly write some of these characters?!’ It’s amazing how well I have some people fooled!

I should probably add a “LOL” after that, right? Or maybe a :)?

I think even the nicest people in the world have a ‘darker’ side; I just tend to tap into mine when I write certain parts of my books.

How does my individual writing process work?

You’re too kind to assume that it does. Oh, you mean, how do I do what I do? Magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming. Being very quiet and listening to the characters in my head. Mostly the last one. In the past, whenever I’ve gotten stuck while writing, it is usually because I’m trying to write something that wouldn’t be true for a certain character.

It makes outlining a little difficult, but I do attempt to keep track of the novel’s general direction. But Shawn, I can almost hear some of you say, your novels are constructed like little puzzles, how could you not plot out all those little details? Well…some of it I do, and thankfully, most of the time the characters are willing to follow my lead, but occasionally, the book will take an unexpected turn and I have to go back and tweak the rest of the novel just to make sure it all matches up. That’s where the daydreaming comes in handy. When I have to make changes to the novel, I usually run the new scenes in my head like a movie over and over, tweaking this, changing that, until I’m ready to write again.

So wait, you might be saying, how do you actually get the novel finished if you’re constantly going back and making changes? Well, that’s the part I’m attempting to stream-line even now. My writing process is continuing to evolve even now. Like editing a book, I keep in the parts that work really well, and delete the parts that don’t.

Speaking of editing, I think it’s one of my favorite parts about writing. Yes, I love the initial discovery of the new story, but it’s in the editing where the real magic happens. That’s where the crappy first draft becomes the slightly less crappy second draft followed by the ‘hey, this isn’t so crappy’ third draft which leads to the ‘okay, I won’t be embarrassed if anyone reads this’ fourth draft and then I add the final polish and the ‘It’s alive!’ final draft is done.

But, you might be saying, what’s the secret to your writing process? How do you do what you do? It can’t just be ‘magic and lots of Mt. Dew. Plenty of ‘butt in chair’ time. Daydreaming and being very quiet and listening to the characters in your head’. There must be something more.

Must there?

Perhaps there is, but I think for each writer you just gotta do whatever works best for you and the only way you’ll discover what that is, is to write. Write. Write.

And then write some more.

Good luck.

Other writers you might want to check out.

Lorijo Metz (YA sci-fi author)

Walter Shuler (adult fantasy author)

Ciara Ballintyne (adult epic fantasy author)

Have a great day!

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Interview with Indie Author Anastasia V. Pergakis

Hello Online Friends and Welcome to 2012. Today, I’m interviewing Indie Author Anastasia V. Pergakis, author of the fantasy novel, Cleanse Fire. We ‘met’ on Twitter (I’ve met so many wonderful authors on Twitter) and I thought I’d share with you my interview with her. Without further delay, Anastasia, welcome…let’s begin:

1. Anastasia, I understand you’re married, a mother of a young boy, and a stay-at-home mom. Being a stay-at-home dad myself, I know how hard it can be to find free time to write. How do you find the time and energy to be creative? Do you have a writing schedule? If so, does it help balance your writing life and your family life? 

I don’t know if I ever really “find” the time and energy. It’s more of…I overdose on caffeine! And really, I just have the mindset that it needs to be done and so I do it. The caffeine merely allows me the energy to do it all at once!

No actual writing schedule. I do what I call Binge Writing. I’ll write 5,000 words one day but then not write anything for three days after that. But then I’ll punch out another 5,000 words on day four. I don’t think it keeps my life in “balance” exactly but it makes for less stress for me. I don’t have to stress out over “Oh no, I didn’t write today!” because I know that it’s okay. I still make my bigger goals and deadlines and that’s okay with me. 

2. Tell us about your recently published book. Do you have a short synopsis you’d like to share? Who do you see as your target audience? Where can we go to buy it? 

Cleanse Fire is a fantasy adventure novel, with edge-of-your-seat action. Epic battles, suspense, and a bit of romance too! Follow the Kinir Elite as they track down a traitor and find more than they bargained for. **Portions of profits for this book are given to the Wounded Warrior Project** 

Complete the mission, no matter what…

Captain Derac Vidor has served Kinir for nearly twenty years. It’s his life, his blood. And then his Commander betrays everything Derac holds dear. Now he has to focus on his own life and his team instead of saving the citizens of Kinir. 

Treason is only the beginning…

Fueled by rage, the team chases the source to their Commander’s betrayal – a powerful wizard bent on revenge. The wizard seeks to destroy the Kinir Elite, in both mind and body. No place is safe, even among their allies.

 The past holds the key…

Derac’s tragic past may be the key to saving the team. But can he face the gruesome nightmare in time?

 Purchase Cleanse Fire

3. When did you first realize you were a writer? Has writing been a life-long dream or a recent development?

Read More…

A Year of Books

Yeah, yeah, not a fancy title but it’s still early on 2012 and my brain isn’t fully functioning yet. And before you jump to conclusions, no, I didn’t drink heavily last night, nor am I suffering from a hangover, I’m just a little off on my already odd sleep cycle. Blame it on the new video game. (More about that in another post).

First off, Happy New Year. While 2011 was a pretty good year – hey, I published my first book, The Penitent Assassin in 2011 – I’m really looking forward to new adventures in 2012. New books as well. Both to read and to publish. One of my writing goals this year is to publish at least one more novel. I’d love to make it two, but I’m not sure if I’ll have enough free time to accomplish that. I’d also love to get my short stories polished and perhaps publish a few of them as well.

But this post is supposed to be about the books I read in 2011. If I include my own book, The Penitent Assassin, and the rough draft of the new book I’m currently working on, I read 50 books in 2011. Eight of those were graphic novels — that counts, right? Still, even if you don’t count them, I’m happy that I read over 40 ‘books’ in one year….plus published a book…plus began a second new job at the bookstore…

Yeah…I hear you…on with the list! I debated about writing comments about the books, and then decided that I’d only make a few comments after the list was complete–primarily on the books I loved. However, please keep in mind, even if I don’t comment on a book, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. For the most part, I enjoyed almost all of the books I read in 2011….(I normally don’t finish books I dislike). Read More…

An Interview with Walter Shuler, author of Celadonian Tales Vol: 1 Blood and Brass

Welcome Readers to a new addition of The Ink-Competent Writer Blog — Author Interviews. My first interview is with the very talented Walter Shuler. Recently, I had the pleasure of reading his book, Celadonian Tales Vol: 1 Blood and Brass. As I wrote in my review, the book “is primarily three well-crafted, well-written short stories linked together by a mysterious narrating storyteller camped outside the great city of Celadon-home to things both beautiful and terrifying.” If you have not had the pleasure of reading this book yet, you should get over to Smashwords or Amazon and pick up a copy of it.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present, Walter Shuler.

1. Let’s start by having you tell the readers a little about yourself? And not just where you’re from and what you like for breakfast, but what makes you tick (besides coffee)?

You mean there’s something OTHER than coffee out there? Ha! Well, I’m a fantasy writer who lives in Georgia… oh, wait. You said what makes me tick? Hm. You know, that’s actually a pretty tough question.

I’m a pretty uncomplicated guy. Providing for my family gets me up in the morning, and telling stories helps me keep my sanity in a world that increasingly bewilders me. I value family and good friends (and a good stout!). I’m an escapist at heart, and that’s definitely one of the reasons that I choose to write and read fantasy.

I’m not sure that really answers your question, but I hope it’ll do. We can always do a vivisection to find out for sure!

2. When did you realize you were a writer? Read More…

Who Needs a Hero?

According to my old Webster’s Dictionary a ‘hero’ is defined as: ‘a man of exceptional quality who wins admiration by noble deeds, esp. deeds of courage // the male character of a play, novel etc. about whom the action turns and in whose fate the readers or audience are sympathetically involved.’

In considering those words, I believe the important part of the above definition is the ‘in whose fate the readers or audience are sympathetically involved’ because frankly, while I love reading epic fantasy, high fantasy, call it what you will, stories with grand knights performing great deeds or powerful wizards casting impressive spells to save the world, they aren’t the only characters I sympathize with… Read More…