On the doorstep of April

IMG_0771The daffodils are struggling but coming up weeks earlier than usual. I've nearly wrapped up the first draft of the next Melantha novel. The plan is to finish it this week and send it off to my development editor next week. I'm hoping to release it while it's still Spring. (That gives me right up until June 22, right? ;) ) If you're interested in being an early reader and posting a review, send me an email (sara dot walker dot author at gmail dot com)

I put my book up for a Goodreads giveaway. The giveaway ends on April 23-- that's Canada Book Day and my birthday (and St. George's day and Shakespeare's birthday), so I'm keeping with my tradition of giving away books on my birthday. You can enter the giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/178751-adrenaline-rush

I released a novella this month for newsletter subscribers, and I'm already working on the next story for newsletter subscribers. Click the "Add Me" button on my homepage to get on the list.

What's next? Remember that time I submitted a novel to the Harper Voyager digital submissions and I made it to the top double digits out of thousands? I'm going to revise it and self-publish it, along with its sequels. I'd like to put them all out close together so it might be a while before they're released, but I'll keep you posted. I'm also working on a few other ideas in the meantime.

The surface may look calm, but there's plenty of activity in the depths below.

 

Where you can go to read The Book That Owns My Soul

I'd like to start getting feedback on my current work in progress, so I'm posting it on Wattpad. It's a YA epic fantasy, if you like those sort of stories, about a princess that does the rescuing and a boy who wants to avenge his father. This is first draft stuff, though, so expect it to be wonky. Quite likely chapter 1 won't be chapter 1 in the next draft. But this is the book that owns my soul. This is the book that is holding me hostage until I get it all out. And I kind of want to make it right, so your feedback is welcome.

I created a cover for it, and here's the links to the pieces posted so far.

Prologue Chapter 1

avaline coverMaybe I should put my name on the cover?

 

Plotting Act II

I've been stalled on writing the second Melantha Caldwell book, and I know why. I don't have a firm grasp of the second act. I have the major plot points, but I don't have the shape/feel of it yet. It isn't burning up inside me trying to get out. I need to stoke the fire so I can get back to writing, so I had a look at what I know and what I don't know. Know what I don't know? The story question for Act II. I'm not sure how this happened. Usually I have the acts sketched out with their questions and major plot points before I start writing. I've searched all my notes, but it looks like I just jumped into writing this time. Oops.

The story questions act as focal points for me. They're the lights at the end of the tunnels. Here's the story questions for The Secret Keeper (a YA science fiction (about a boy who gets separated from his body, the girl who races across the desert to save him and the secrets that could tear them apart) that I put away in the Writer's Trunk because I got the voice wrong and have to completely rewrite from scratch if it's going to work):

Act I - story question: will Merrilee believe Jax is still out there, or will she give in to her mom and go for therapy instead? [theme: believe in yourself]

Act II - part 1 - story question: will Merrilee and Jax find each other? [theme: strength in the face of adversity] complications of Brent & parents; adelaide & keeper. Ends when Merry hears Jax and leaves home to go with him.

Act II - part 2 - story question: will Merrilee and Jax make it to Jax's body in time? [theme/story theme: keeping secrets is costly/not worth it. Be accountable for your actions, even when it's hard.] Jax finds his father; tries to save him Ends when they reach the underground lair, but Jax changes plans and decides to go after keeper.

Act III - question: will Jax & Merry live happily ever after or be destroyed by the secret?

Except for Act III, the answers to the story questions has to be either "No, and..." or "Yes! But..."

So now I have to go & do this for Dealing With Demons.

june-july 2012 103

Updates and your Friday Neil Gaiman story prompt

I'm still heartily slogging through the middle of the YA Fantasy-- but at least I know what has to happen through these chapters (and I still love this story!) I remember well the days of knowing the first act and the last act, but not having a foggy idea of what to do with the entire middle act. Would you like me to talk about what I've learned? I don't mind sharing, but I do mind being boring. :) I think I might add a Paypal link for those interested in purchasing Catching A Sorcerer outside a major chain and Smashwords. I've heard rumblings from a few people about waiting to get my books because they don't have a Smashwords account. And with so many distribution channels, I honestly never thought about that. I suppose I could also use eBay. I'll have to look into these options some more. Paypal and eBay will also allow me the ability to offer up signed copies for those looking for them-- once they are available.

If you got my newsletter, you know I'm working on making Catching A Sorcerer available in hardcover. I've had one proof sent to me, but I'm not happy with it. It's too big. I should have measured a bunch of books and thought about the size before I started the Createspace process, but when they said 6 X 9 was the industry standard, I went with it. Turns out it's a little big. So I'm waiting for a new proof in 5.25 x 8, which is closest to what I wanted. *fingers crossed*

After being dumped by my cover designer for pointing out a spelling mistake, I've decided to try making my own covers. I did the covers for The Thatcher Files and Sky Tube, and they turned out okay. (Actually, I think I might adjust Sky Tube.) But I'm nervous about the novel cover. On the other hand I have Photoshop Elements, I might as well use it. Google and YouTube will teach me all I know. Plus, there are some surprisingly good automated websites for very little money. Do you want to see the process? I could show the rough mock-up I've been working on for my fall release (which is unrelated to Catching A Sorcerer in every way, except that it was written by me.) It would feel kind of like getting caught in my underwear, though, so if you're not into that, I'd understand. :)

And without further ado, here's your Friday Neil Gaiman story prompt:

I was so close I could see the ripples of the creature's skin.

- Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

These are not the opening sentences to any of Neil Gaiman's stories. These are randomly chosen by me from Neil Gaiman stories because they'd make excellent first lines-- or at least I feel they prompt story ideas. What you do with it is up to you. But remember, if one of these prompts does spark a story, I'd love to hear about it!

 

 

Busy around the house and whatnot

Owing to the long weekend (Simcoe Day), I did not finish my short story inspired by Friday's Neil Gaiman prompt. I hope to finish it before this Friday, though, because I'll be posting another prompt. It's off to a good start; I just have to figure out how it ends. I tend to fill my long weekends with projects around the house. That wasn't entirely the case this weekend. We did go and order a bunch of supplies for some projects, but most of my time was spent reading over and fixing up the 50k I have on my WIP, getting reacquainted with it after spending a week revising a different novel. I still love it. I'm looking forward to the next 50k like you wouldn't believe.

So depending on when the supplies arrive, I'll be busy with this over the next few weeks:

  • - installing new kitchen counter top
  • - installing new closet doors
  • - putting in a patio
  • - scraping off and replacing the paint and caulking on the windows

I did get a new garden built this weekend. And it looks like someone has already moved in:

IMG_0116 1

This little fairy house should look nice with a few marigolds. Hope the fairy doesn't mind.

And the first sentence has been laid down...

... on the second book in the Melantha Caldwell series. It's officially under way. Still a long way to go... I'm heading to a writing workshop tomorrow. I'll post more about it later this week.

More news coming soon about Catching A Sorcerer, book 1 in the Melantha Caldwell series.

Get Catching A Sorcerer for free in the month of July at Smashwords when you use coupon code SW100.

New Website and a Slight Change to the Blog