Awesome Arynethian Females Volume II.

In my continuation of this series highlighting the kick-ass women that populate my Aryneth books, we take a look at the second and third books for the Third Asyentai arc, The Sun-Scorched Land and To Cross A River of Blood, where we meet two young women with unexpected importance to the party of heroes and the most ancient being existent in the world. Two of these characters were originally intended to be a part of Serpent in a Cage, but in the last rewrite, I streamlined the story a lot, which booted their storylines out. It was a little devastating, since, not only did they amp the female population considerably, but they’re a lot of fun to write as well. Turns out, though, that by adjusting their stories a little and moving them to later books, I’m allowed to give them more focus and room to shine. They don’t have to contend as much as background characters in a story mostly about Locke, Gilferen, and Auferrix, and come into their position as main characters more directly.

Now, I am pleased to introduce to you the Analisian Flower, the Songbird, and the ak’jinn.

(Nikki SooHoo)
1. Awngel Demarkus.

Defiantly, Awngel has spurned away her unworthy lover, despite the fact that this has left the young Analisian woman penniless in a land very far from her home, something the boys of the Battaracks can definitely understand. She decided to make an attempt to appeal to the newly crowned Queen Captain of A’aefar to help, and winds up tangling herself in the Battaracks’ quest. She’ll help them gladly if it means getting the resources together to return to her village, though a big part of her never truly wants to go back, knowing there’s nothing left for her there after the death of her sister. The idea of travelling with these strangers to more strange lands is too appealing to refuse, even if they drive her a little crazy. Still, involving herself with Locke and Gilferen is one of the saner relationships she’s been in, though she sometimes wonders what she’s gotten herself into, especially as she starts to slowly understand why Jaxson looks so familiar and realizes that she’s more tightly wound with the group than she could have ever imagined.

(Gillian Zinser)
2. Rrynn Songbird Locin.

Rrynn is one the first Dri’in we get to know in the Aryneth world (well, everyone assumes Megg is one at first, and I haven’t outlined all of The Sun-Scorched Land yet, so that may change), one dedicated to the old ways of the ancient Dri’in that insist that Dri’in are superior to Humans, despite the Human’s virus-like ability to take over everything they can reach and destroy it. They are people of the world, pure beings created by the god of Pryston, believed to be descended from the first mortals of Aryneth, long before Humans came about to muck things up. (Protip: Dri’in are basically elves, but with fancier names, tufts of hair on their pointed ears that match their region of origin, eyes at 45 degree angles with cool markings underneath, and cat-like noses).

But Rrynn hasn’t been getting along with her tribe lately. She’s convinced there was some foul play afoot in the death of her parents, though she can’t prove anything. When she discovers the Battaracks stomping on her tribe’s ground, she uses the opportunity to side with them and get them through without being killed, only to find out that she might be inclined to kill them herself. Instead, she helps them get through the dangerous territory to reach the Valley of the Sparrow, with the intention of leaving them soon after and promptly forgetting. But we all know it never happens that way…

(Jamie Chung)
3. Megg ak’djnn

For her bubbly, often ditzy personality, no one would ever peg Megg as one of the most ancient and powerful beings in the known universe, but she happens to be just that. Appearing mysteriously after Locke takes some of the A’aefarean treasure offered by Auferrix, she seems surprisingly attached to the young Battarack. Only when the more well-versed Taluin puts the pieces together do they realize that Megg is an ak’djnn, a legendary creature with access to the ana’ae’anexis, where the gods were banished centuries ago. She’s bound to Locke now because he holds a necklace with the same gem embedded in her throat, which she’s okay with. It beats being stuck in the ana’ae’anexis for eternity, and he’s a million times better than the first person who she bonded with. There are restrictions to her powers, of course, and Locke never wants to exploit them, but it all comes to a difficult head when the one thing that will make her mortal suddenly appears, and that’s falling in love. Whoopsies!

Our next volume will be mother-based, delving into the women who brought some of our heroes into the world. Until then, happy reading!

Previous Volumes::

RoW80 Update: Putting the “Labor” in “Labor Day.”

We’ve reached Sunday yet again, readers, which means another RoW80 update, slightly different, because this is one of those rare Sundays I have to go into the part-time job. I don’t really mind so much, because we actually get “premium” pay (if you count $1 more an hour premium) on Sundays. I also worked yesterday and Monday, and so I’m pretty sure that means I get holiday pay on Monday, so, yeah, no big complaints here, only that every hour at the part time job means one less hour in front of my computer writing. LE SIGH. There’s also the moving, which is going…badly. I just have so much stuff! Thankfully, the landlord at the old apartment is a family friend, so he might be lenient about me needing until Wednesday to get completely moved out. Overall, though, it’s been a pretty good week for me, though, as I continue to settle into the new apartment (I take a long time to fully settle) and focus back in on my writing.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Goal One: Promotion. The conversation the other day regarding what inspires you to give a book a try really highlighted the key essential part of promotion for me: networking. Of course, that’s the one part that I don’t think I’m that good at, but it’s something I’m definitely getting better at. Ever since I quit my full time job, I can dedicate more time to helping other authors, because authors who help other authors help themselves. Now that I’m finally moved (for the most part), I can hone in on some of that networking, talking with other authors, getting to know them, reaching out to readers, and maybe even doing some discounts and giveaways soon. Some of the same mistakes I made when I first published Bowlful of Bunnies were improved on with Soulless, but a lot of mistakes were still made and there’s a lot to improve on.

The biggest thing I’m learning about promotion so far is that it really is a long game. You can’t pop your book up on a bunch of lists and expect magic to happen. You have to do that, but you also have to get out there and schmooze a little, get to know people and get them interested. Sometimes, that can be exhausting, sometimes I’m too scatter-brained to be any good at it, but, like I said, I definitely think I’m getting better. Slow and steady wins the race.

Goal Two: Short Stories. Reading through “Shadow Wolves,” as I do when I receive a rejection before I brush it up and send it elsewhere, I realize what a great story it is. This did get to the second round of consideration, so I think that just really shows what a marvelous pool of talent there is out there and that this is definitely a story that I need to keep shipping out. Today is the deadline for the Gothic Blue Book, so I hope I can really focus on typing up the story I scribbled down for it, but I don’t imagine that will happen. I work later, so I doubt I’ll have the energy to cram out a story when I want to just veg in front of the TV for a little bit. It was also terribly slow on Thursday for my grueling eight hour shift (did I quit working my last job because of eight hour shifts??), so I sneakily wrote practically an entire story. It’s contemporary fiction, which I’m stoked about, because, while they’re usually not my strongest stories, they’re the ones accepted by most places. No need to search out a niche genre market. So I hope to type that up and get it sent off, probably to American Short Fiction.

Goal Three: Madeline. …mmm, let’s not talk about Madeline right now. Hahaha. My focus has definitely been elsewhere.

So, that’s it for me. A lot of squeezing in writing whenever I can, which hasn’t been much, but soon, I’ll be able to focus and I’ll be really grateful for all the little things I’m doing now to make it easier and more productive for me then. How’s everyone else doing? Did you get a chance to check everyone else out here yet? You should~!

Happy writing!

Friday Funday.

So, it’s Friday, I have the day off, my paychecks and bills aligned in such a way that I actually have a little spending cash to go shopping and buy some nice things for the apartment, I got my first official Amazon review for Soulless (thanks, Lauralynn!), so I want to do something a little different and just fun and light and not about writing or promoting or anything like that. Let’s talk books.

The other day, Morgan Dragonwillow posted this on her Facebook:

(Text: You are now the main character of the last book your read. What are you doing?)

So, I’d also like to know! What was the last book you read, and, as you’re the main character now, what are you doing?

I’m currently in the middle of reading Seeds of Time by Kay Kenyon, and, as such, I’ve just landed on a new, Earth-like jungle planet and roped into patrolling with that guy I accidentally slept with when I was a little bit weak, and he thinks it means way much more than it does, and he thought he could make it happen again, but he didn’t take into account my gun, that son of a bitch. I might just have to splatter his brains all over his shirt.

What about you? I took my answer straight from the book, since I’m in the middle of it, but you could easily take it from the ending of the last book you finished reading and, in that case, give us the ever-after. If I did that, I’d be turning to Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Sharing Knife Book 3: Passage, where I’m helping my friend get ready for her impending wedding to my brother! (And that’s a little bit of a cheat, because I’ve started book four and that’s how it starts).

How about you?

What Will You Read?

Since I’ve been really exploring a lot of advertising online, I’ve been thinking a lot about who even looks at these random sites looking for books and what exactly they might be looking for. I haven’t gotten any return from them yet that I know of, so there’s something that’s missing. I know it’s not the cover; that cover is catchy as fuck, thanks to my brilliant cover artist Ingrid. It’s not a bad title, and I guess the description can be a little cheesy, but, hey, it’s actually a pretty cheesy book.

I ask myself: Would I choose Soulless out of a line-up of a lot of other books? I like to think I would. The cover would catch me, as, let’s face it, we always judge a book by its cover, and the story would intrigue me enough to justify it. The Kindle price point ain’t bad, either, though I would probably hesitate on the print version price.

I ask myself: Would other people choose Soulless out of a line-up of a lot of other books?

That’s a question I can’t really answer for myself, because, as cool as it would be to do it, I can’t get inside my reader’s head. I can ask for you to tell me what’s inside your head, though. So, tell me, dear readers, what makes you decide “I want to buy this book”? Do you often buy books from promotional sites like GoodKindles or Wall of Books? If so, how do you decide among so many? Are you more likely to try a book from these sites, or do personal blogs (like Therin Knite’s book spotlight) have much more influence?

I’d love some insite on this, anything you’d like to share at all!

RoW80 Update: Ups and Downs.

It’s funny how the world can shift, isn’t it? Not too long ago, my Wednesday check-ins were my better check-ins, filled with all the work I used to get done on Monday and Tuesday, since the weekend left me scrambling for an update on very little for Sundays. Now that I’ve moved into a new living situation, a new lifestyle, and a new town, everything has pretty much been flipped over backwards, and it seems that the beginning of the week is my rough time while the weekends are more productive. Hey, as long as something is productive, right? I think I’ve just still got the growing pains of the change, but I’m still diligently attempting to keep up with my RoW80 goals.

Let’s break them down, shall we?

Goal One: Promotion. I’ll admit to feeling a little disenchanted with the idea of ads on websites shipping books for you. I haven’t seen a lot of return from those, though I wonder if there’s something more I should be doing to make those work better for me. I recently got on the Wall of Books, and reached out to Therin Knite in an attempt to get back down to the more personal way of marketing. Therin is great, supporting lots of writers through blogging, so I’m excited to have Soulless featured there.

I’ve been talking a little more about World Unknown Review, and some interest has started to spread (thanks for the shout-outs, Eden and Shan!), plus I even got my first submission, so that’s pretty rocking.

Goal Two: Short Stories. I haven’t had much time lately to really focus on my shorts and sending things out, although I have finally pulled up “Shadow Wolves,” which I plan to send…somewhere by the end of the day. Finally having a day off hopefully means getting short work finished. I finally narrowed in on a story I’d like to submit to Gothic Blue Book, after several attempts, and just in the nick of time. The deadline is August 31st, so I’ve got to get that going. If not today, I also have Friday off, thank goodness. Here’s to hoping I can get it worked out!

Goal Three: Madeline. I remember how excited I was last check-in to attack Madeline in bits and pieces, but I’m back to writing it more stream-lined. I think that’s just how I write best. I’m moving on through Chapter Three, which builds up the main plot of the first half of the book, so it’s been a little interesting building the pieces up. Chapter Three should also (finally!) be finished by the end of the day.

So, a few ups, a few downs, but overall a pretty solid check-in. How’d you all do? Have you checked in with my fellow RoWers here yet? ‘Cuz you should.

Happy writing, everyone!

Five Reasons to Submit to World Unknown Review.

Some of you may be aware that, this year, in addition to publishing my second book, Soulless, I intend to finally published the World Unknown Review, a literary journal of all the short stories I would like to promote and share with the world. I attempted to do this last year, and really dropped the ball, but now that my writing career has become my top priority, I’m determined to make this dream a reality. I helped run a journal when I was in college, and I’m excited to take it to the next level and make this an annual tradition. Of course, an integral part of this journal is you, my fellow readers and writers, because I wouldn’t have a journal if I didn’t have people submitting their stories for submission. So here, I present to you five reasons to consider submitting to World Unknown Review before the deadline of October 31st:

5. You never know if you don’t try. If you’re like me, you’ve got a whole heap of stories you’re working on. Maybe you’ve even got them finished. But you haven’t sent them out yet or the market is so saturated that they haven’t yet found a home. It might have been waiting for World Unknown Review. I have no delusions into thinking that I’ll be inundated with submissions (though that would be really, really nice!), so odds are, the pool will be a lot smaller than some of the other pools. Statistics will likely be working highly in your favor.

4. It’s a great way to get your words out into the world. WUR will be available in both paperback and ebook via Amazon at a great price, opening up the door for it to fall into a lot of people’s hands, just as it would should it be in any other literary journal. There’s also likely to be an online presence for the Review, making your stories even more accessible to the reading public.

3. WUR is a paying market. Not a highly paying market, but every approved story earns its author more than just a contributor’s copy. The current rate is $15 USD for each published story.

2. Being a part of something new and potentially great. Who doesn’t like to be one of the people who can look back on something successful and say, ‘I was there when it all began’? And I definitely intend to make WUR successful It may take a few years. It may take a decade. Hey, it might even take longer, but I’ll refer you to number 5. You never know if you don’t try…

1. Community. World Unknown Review is a lot of things, but my main goal with this journal is to spread community love between the various authors within. Think about it: you submit to WUR, get accepted, and find yourself published in this shiny new anthology. So does this other writer. You tell your friends about it, the other writer tells hers, and then all those friends dive in and discover all these other authors that are also published within. They end up falling in love with a story and looking into that author’s work, checking out their books, recommending them to more people, so on and so forth. It’s the ideal way the writing community works these days. It might be a little idealistic for me to think it would happen, but, on the same token, why wouldn’t it? I know I’m always eager to check out new things, and anthologies are a fantastic way to discover new voices and find new favorites.

Bonus Reason: D.J. Lutz did it. Don’t you want to be like D.J. Lutz?

There are plenty of other reasons why you should go submit your favorite work for World Unknown Review, but why would you need them? What are you waiting for? Flood that old inbox of mine today! This is also a great chance to ask any questions about World Unknown Review that you may have. I look forward to hearing from everyone soon!

Awesome Arynethian Females Volume I.

So, a while ago, Infinite Free Time put up this post about ten awesome fictional female characters (all of whom I agree with completely), and I thought of doing the same, but I don’t know how I could possibly choose ten of my favorites, and another thought struck me to turn it into shameless self-promotion. Now, while the idea of picking only ten awesome females is daunting, picking only ten from the world of Aryneth is pretty difficult, too. Even outside of Aryneth, I love my strong female characters: the cast of Soulless is heavily female and the men are kind of off to the side. But I did want to take a moment to highlight the varied female cast that populates the Aryneth books and makes them so awesome.

And, of course, since I want to fill this post with pretty pictures, it gives me the chance to try a hand at some “dream casting,” which is always more fun than it should be. Honestly, these are mostly in order of appearance, as I’m firmly in the belief that all my women are pretty damn awesome. I’ve also decided to break it down by book, leaving them to manageable little tidbits and saving more awesome women for future posts. Today, we take a look at Serpent in a Cage, which is, admittedly, a little heavy on the male characters, but the pure awesomeness of the ladies within make up for their smaller numbers.

(Also, it appears that Photobucket, which I use to host my images, is kind of wishy-washy with its servers today, so if you don’t see the images, that’s why.  Of course it would crash on a day I’m doing a picture-centric post! Ugh)

1. Auferrix Ferrore.
(Frieda Pinto)

A seventeen year old girl who seeks revenge on the jackasses who killed her parents and kept her locked and abused in a dungeon for a few years before deciding to kill her, too, is a pretty good place to start when it comes to Awesomeness. Auferrix goes through hell and torture and still comes out in a blaze of glory, ready to rule and kick some more ass. She was trained from the moment she was born to become that fierce leader, so, sometimes, she can be a little cold on the personal side of things, but there’s no denying that she’s a stand-out figure who refuses to be a victim of her circumstances.

2. Taluin Sera Cohl.
(Cate Blanchett)

Of all my characters, Taluin consistently comes out as one of my absolute favorites. She has a rich and tragic past, having lost everything and finding solace and a new life through books and prophesies and destiny. Now that I think about it, perhaps I like Taluin so much because she reminds me of my own sometimes rocky life. She’s strong and independent and fiercely interested in history, the past, and how the things we do today shape the world tomorrow. She’s caring and loving, and, sometimes, that gets her into situations she’d rather not be in, where other people turn to her for support she can’t always offer. Kind and gentle but a fighter when she needs to be, she has a quiet grace that catches people off guard, usually in a powerful way.

3. Tayahyla Ma’a’goric.
(Teyonah Parris)

Another fierce young woman from Serpent in a Cage, Tayahyla starts out as a mystery, an irritable Majani with great power and a short temper. As we get to know her, though, we realize that she’s much more than just a bad guy set to ruin all of Taluin’s well-laid plans, with a complicated past and an extremely complicated destiny. She’s constantly at odd with who she is, having been raised by her absent father’s best friend while her he<bart longs for the nomadic life of the mother who shunned her (or so she thinks). She’s hyper aware of her strengths, especially as a woman, though incredibly ignorant of her emotions and feelings. She believes whole-heartedly in what she’s doing, despite being at odds with everyone who tells her it’s wrong. Tayahyla is constantly breaking my heart, while astounding me with her determination and stubborness.

These three women open up the door to the great cast of females that populate Aryneth, and, without them, there would be no Serpent in a Cage. Thanks for taking a moment to be introduced to them, and here’s to looking forward to learning about them more!

Happy writing!

RoW80 Update: Let’s Stay Together.

Now that I’ve pretty much officially moved into the boyfriend’s apartment (the cats are settled, so that makes it legit), this next week or two is going to be about getting all my crap moved over (no easy task, as there’s significantly less room here) and finding myself a new routine that works around sharing my time and space with someone else. In a way, Friday’s post about breaking from the tyranny of the clock was borne from this exact thing. He likes to sleep in, and I feel bad waking him, so I no longer set an alarm clock (except in cases where I have to be up well before when I would naturally awaken). The only schedule I have to work around is my part-time job, which only accounts for 25 hours a week on a busy day, so things are getting very “go with the flow of whatever” around here. I like that I’m not as concerned about time, but I still need a structure around which I use my time wisely. That’s where my RoW80 goals come in real handy, and these updates help keep me on track so I don’t waste away too many days in this new laisse-faire approach.

Let’s break down what’s coming into swing now that I’m coming into my own at the new place:

Goal One: Promotion. With the exception of one day, I’ve actually been finding venues to promote Soulless pretty consistently, some free, some paid. It’s still to early to determine which venues have been the most beneficial so far, but I do know that I’ve already made more with Soulless than I have with Bowlful of Bunnies. I’m sure the higher price tag on the former might have something to do with it, but it confirms for me that the approach has been solid. I’d like to shift a little more focus onto promoting the World Unknown Review more aggressively, too, so I’m going to start tracking Soulless‘s progress a little closer. If it’s taken a jump up from the previous day, I’ll promote WUR that day. If it’s taken a dip, I promote Soulless. If it’s about the same, I’ll go with which ever one I feel needs the next venue. A little bit of a balancing act, though I feel it’s a little crazy to be nitpicking at them this closely. However, I like that kind of approach, as long as I’m mindful of when it starts to become a little obsessive.

Edit: Literally two seconds after I posted this, I received emails from both Goodkindles and One Shot Pitch that my ads with them went live! So it’ll be interesting to see tomorrow if they did any good. You can check them out here and here!

I might even do a little promotion for BoB coming up here soon, especially since I discovered /r/wroteabook on reddit.

Goal Two: Short Stories. I’m still going to use the excuse that I still haven’t unpacked one of my notebooks that helps me keep track of what I’ve submitted where as the delay on brushing up some stories to send out, but, really, I haven’t had the mind-set. I’ll get there. Some August 31st deadlines are moving in quickly, so I might just buckle down next week and see what might work where, or if I can pull something out of thin air before those submissions close. I pushed myself to finally get “Flesh and Feathers” (those of you who have read Bowlful of Bunnies might recognize that one!) to The Maine Review‘s Rocky Coast Contest, so hopefully that gets the trend of submitting more going along.

Goal Three: Medeline. Not a chapter a day, but I’m getting at least a page a day, just as I expected. One thing that happened with this project that’s kind of exciting is that I’ve started writing some of the scenes out of order. That’s right. The habitually beginning-to-end L.S. Engler is playing around with the idea of writing scenes all higgly-piggly then trying to put them together in the end. This project is the perfect one to play around with this, though, as, really, since it’s based on a short story, I only have a few major points to hit, and the rest is essentially filler. So I can really play around with which scenes help the main story, which are useless, which can fit in where in the timeline…it should be pretty interesting, as I’ve never written like this before, and it gives me something to write while I’m at my part-time job, since my efforts to write short stories in the downtime there haven’t been very successful.

I’m also traipsing through Fallon Brown‘s manuscript, hopefully offering lots of helpful advice and encouragement, while also cheering on my fellow RoWers, who you can find here. How’s everyone else doing?

Happy writing!

Auhor Quotes: Alexander.

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” ― Lloyd Alexander

It’s been a while since I’ve done an author quote, so I felt it was appropriate that I pick one that resonates so completely with me. It’s a beautiful snippet for any lover for the fantastical and magical, one I think would be a great one to have posted up on the wall of my workroom to remind me of its strength, which isn’t something I say about many quotes. I like a lot of quotes, but this is truly one I wish to hold in my heart always.

My whole life, fantasy was always my favorite genre of fiction; I was raised on a lot of quest adventure video games, fantastical dragon and fairy movies, and our basement was stuffed with fantasy paperbacks with the most entrancing covers I had ever seen. My wild imagination has always fully embraced fantasy, even through the efforts of my college education trying to convince me that genre fiction was absolutely rubbish. I spent hours, days, weeks building fantasy worlds every chance I got, through notebooks, coloring books, even pretending our farm was an adventure game and running it while my brother grudgingly obliged as I directed him through it (is it any surprise I’m the go-to DM these days with my group of friends?). A lot of people might lean toward the suggestion that I was trying to escape the world; I’m sure my counselors, teachers, and therapist did. But I believe now that I was merely attempting to make sense of it.

For me, the thing that stands out most as far as helping me “figure things out” are the King’s Quest games, which made me think critically as well as creatively, and even gave me some of the best examples of girls being as awesome as boys growing up. I remember the DragonLance books doing very much the same thing, making me feel as though I was just as capable of defeating monsters as anyone. How about you? What fantasy works have allowed you to understand reality in your own unique way? I’d love to hear some great fantasy-inspired life stories!

Today is NOT Saturday.

With fair warning, the following post can be catergorized as “Random Late Night Ramblings.” It’s probably best left collecting dust in my drafts folder on WordPress, but I’m posting it anyway. Because why not?

Between moving, releasing Soulless, and my work schedule being all out of whack because two of my coworkers are going back to school, I honestly thought that today was going to be Saturday until about 9:30 last night. That’s something I’ve noticed since I dropped the day job and put most of my focus on writing: I’ve been losing track of the days all too easily. Of course, that might have nothing to do with the career change and a lot to do with getting older, but I have to wonder if anyone has this occur every so often.

In a way, writing puts us in a little bit of a time warp, and I’m still getting used to it. Though I prefer to do the majority of my writing early in the morning with the sunrise, the fact of the matter is that I can write whenever I want. My entire life until this last year has been dictated by timetables….get up at this time to get to school or work at this time, rehearsals at this time, meetings, interviews, you name it. This week of moving and not setting my alarm in the morning has really challenged my concept of how I manage time…and really put some perspective on the fact that time really is a construct we place on ourselves.

What do you think? Is time relative? Will the novelty of suddenly feeling free from the previously ironclad restrictions of schedule lose its appeal eventually, or have I stumbled onto something interesting here? Or are these just the ramblings of someone who should really get back to a routine of sorts because she’s forgetting what day it is?


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