I’m going to host William L. Hahn’s new release “Judgement’s Tale #1: Games of Chance” tomorrow but couldn’t resist participating in this Blog Hop too. Please come back tomorrow so you won’t miss Will’s fun guest post.
Thank you Danyelle Leafty, @DanyellLeafty, for inviting me to the hop. I admire the way you twist fairy tales like pretzels making them more delicious with every turn. If anyone who likes fairy tales hasn’t read on of hers, please do so. They’re really worth it.
So, what is this bloghop about? All over the world, authors (established and up and coming) share details about how and why they write. The reason:
“We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one’s playlist grows as the draft grows, why one’s poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook…
What am I working on?
I’m currently working on two projects at once. First, I began retelling fairy tales but with a twist. The first two volumes are done but not (yet) translated (see below for my writing process). I hope to start publishing them close to the end of the summer.
Second, I have worked out the kinks in the overall storyline of a Middle Grade time travel series which will have five to ten volumes of roughly 25,000 to 30,000 words. Terry, the main character of the series will be traveling to many interesting but not so well known times in history on her search for her father.
While I’m still polishing, and having my editor go through the texts, I’ll be publishing several short stories that have been collecting on my hard drive during the last year. They are rather diverse. 😉
How does it differ from others of its genre
The fairy tales have twists I haven’t encountered yet. I read thousands of fairy tales from many cultures when I was younger and still love the diversity found in the old stories. The first volume will contain a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” from the dwarf’s point of view (who is not even half as evil as you might think) plus a bonus short story about Rumpelstiltskin. The second volume is a retelling of “The Beauty and the Beast” in a steampunk setting. Both were a lot of fun to write. At the moment, I’m using stories that are not entirely unknown but that might change at some point. I plan to include the original tale in the finished eBook for those who’ve never heard of it.
The time travel story will be very different from other MG time travels. It will not be like “The Magic Treehouse” for example since there will be an overarching problem the main character faces. Although the episodes can stand on their own, they all build on each other. Also, the historical time my main character visits will always be meticulously researched. I want these books to be so entertaining that the readers won’t even notice they learned something about history before they set the finished book aside. I’m a big fan of learning with fun, and what more fun is there than an entertaining story. 😉
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve read so many books, I’ve lost count. Most of them were mediocre or just didn’t fit my taste. Since I had been writing stories ever since I learned my alphabet, becoming an author and writing the kind of books I would love to read myself, was the only sensible option. I’ve been striving to write the best books possible ever since.
How does my writing process work?
When an idea has congealed to something worth writing about in my mind, I sit down and condense the whole idea into a single sentence of 30 words or less. Then, I work out scene cards (my scenes average at 1500 words, so that makes 10 cards for every planned 15K words). The most important bit that goes on each scene card are the scene’s main character and conflict. When I have the whole plot laid out, I start writing (usually one scene per day) the first draft in English. During this time, it often happens that I have to adjust my scene cards, move them around, cut or replace them, or change the conflict or the character.
Once the first draft is done, I set it aside and let it simmer for a while. Then, I start revision (Which usually takes much longer than writing the first draft). When I’m done with that, I send the file to my editor and start translating the story back into German, my native tongue. As son as I finish the translation, I incorporate the changes sugessted by my editor in both language versions and then send both versions to their appropriate proof readers. The, I hand-code them into ePub, mobi and print ready files and get started on the next book. When I’ve got some spare time, I do a little marketing. However, spare time is hard to come by in a family of five…
Finally, I’m passing the staff on to my fellow writers who will be posting a week from now:
Up to this weekend, the weather has been much to my liking; not too warm, not too cold, not too dry and not too wet. However, this Pentecost weekend is growing hotter and dryer by the minute. I’m really happy that we insulated our house or I’d have dried out by now.
With the summer came an avalanche of work. Ever since I opened my kickstarter (btw, it’s still running a few more days), I started connecting with people I never would have thought of. Even if the campaign doesn’t fund, it looks as if my dream-project will still come true. We’ll see. As soon as I’ve got something definite, I will keep you posted, promised.
Meanwhile, I’m preparing for the release of my friend Will Hahn’s novel. I’ll be featuring him and his release here on this blog on the 17th of June (please come by and win something). At the same time, I’m preparing some of my short stories for release. Proofreading took much longer than I had anticipated though, but that shouldn’t delay the release for long. And last but not least, I finished planning the overall structure of my first planned series. The first volume is already written (has been for a while) and I’m currently translating it.
You see, I’m so terribly busy I simply forgot to post on my blog. I’m sorry and blame it all on the weather. Who do you blame if you can’t keep up with the requirements of life?
This is a call to action. I’m trying to get enough funds to finance a print run for the German translation of reMIND, a graphic novel. Since the story is freely available online and suitable for all reading ages, it makes perfect learning material for anyone studying the language.
Of course, if you’ve got relatives or friends who still read German, or if you’ve got relatives over here, in my home country, please let them know about this campaign. I need as many people to support it as possible.
I bought some really expensive piece of software: Dragon Natural Speaking. Currently, that’s the best voice recognition software in the world (as far as I know), and I’m using it to translate my novels (which I write in English) back into German. I’m delighted. Since I’ve been using the software, I get 30 to 50% more of my ususal daily wordcount.
However, the side effects are really strange. Have I told you that I dream a lot at night and that I usually remember my dreams in the mornings? Not, well you know now. Since I started using Dragon, my dreams become weirder. A couple of days ago I began dreaming punctuation too. It went like this:
quote why are you so angry question mark quote
It really drives me nuts.
Have you experienced something similar? I find it really weird.
In the last few weeks, I got quite a lot of negative reviews on my story “Swordplay”. While I still love the world, the characters and the setting, this got me thinking. After coming back out of my self-induced misery, I understood a couple of things:
1. The reviewers might have been the wrong choice of readers seeing that most of them are romance readers.
2. A genre mix like this is harder to sell than plain crime or plain fantasy or plain romance.
3. I should write more than this series so readers can choose.
So I decided to write in three different series this year. The first one (1) will still be my Gendarmerie Magique series (I like the world too much). The second one (2) is a middle grade time travel series, and the last one (3) a single-genre fantasy series. And this is where I need your help. Of the bat, I can think of three stories I can turn into a series, but with some more brainstorming I can use them all. So, please tell me:
Which story shall I expand into a series?
Welche Geschichte soll ich zu einer Serie ausbauen?
If you haven’t read the stories (yet), you can look at their descriptions by clicking on the mini-covers on the right or on the titles in the poll (for voting please click on the white circle).
A few more informations on what I’ll do once I choose my third series:
Since I don’t like cliffhanger endings, you can expect all three to be linked stand-alones (meaning each book stands on its own but is linked in sequential order to the other books of the series). The books will be slightly shorter than the initial stories (maybe around 50,000 words for series 1 and 3 and 25,000 words for series 2) or I won’t be able to write them all this year.
I was lucky to get two places on a Goodreads group’s R4R (read for review) in close succession. So, I offered my newest release “Swordplay” and “Urchin King”. Surprisingly, the copies of “Urchin King” went fast while the ones for “Swordplay” have still not all be claimed. This got me thinking.
Is my Stress-O-Meter stuck at: “going crazy”?
Don’t get me wrong, I like “Urchin King” but I like “Swordplay” better. The world is much cooler, and the characters leave more room to grow over the series (that’s one reason why I decided to make a series out if it). Also, there are so many lovely sidekicks that can have a cameo in the next volumes. But if the R4R is representative for my readers, I might be wrong.
Am I still the weird one out? I know I was when I was a kid, always reading, loving school, living in the middle of a forest with no interest in shopping or make-up. I was never one to fit in easily. But does this apply to my books too? Are they too much out of sync with the rest of the world? Is that the reason why I’m not making a living from my books (yet) despite the fact that I have seven well written (according to my editors) books out there (plus short stories and one audiobook)?
If you’ve read even one of my stories, please let me know what you think. Especially if you’ve read “Swordplay” (or even just the sample on amazon), please tell me if I’m right or wrong to turn this into a series.
I don’t get this discouraged often, but when it hits, it hits me hard. Please help.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my PC, tired but happy, and write my next story. This time, it’s a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a steampunk world. I love the genre. If you’ve never tried it I advise you to watch the film “Wild Wild West” with Will Smith or read the free online-Comic “Girl Genius” (highly recommended but quite long by now).
Next Saturday (Sunday at the latest) I’m going to draw the winners of the giveaway. Please be patient until then. And finally, I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who helped to make this tour a success for me. Hugs to all.
I’m most pleased to know that the first review is up too (on German amazon). It’s a great 3 star review (although it should have been 4, after all 3.5 normally gets rounded up, but I won’t be nitpicky).
So, if you’ve read the book already, please leave a review on amazon and/or any other platform. If you haven’t, enter my giveaway, it’s your last chance. And please remember that writing reviews is the best way to support authors (Indie and others).
Her AMAZING co-hosts are Pk Hrezo, Tammy Theriault, and Michael Di Gesu (I know two of the three, and ‘amazing’ fits quite well). To make the blogfest more fun for all, Crystal asked her friends to post the answer to the following question on their blogs today:
If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, who would you beg your parents to set you up with? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) Who and why?
But first, let me tell you something about her most amazing book (I already read the sample, bought it, and will be reading it on my trip to Texas in March. I’ll post a review when I’m done).
About the Book
YA Historical Fantasy
In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.
Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.
***Coupon Alert*** Crystal’s publisher is offering a $2.00 coupon until February 14th!! To take advantage of this awesome offer, click the link below and use the coupon code!
At first, I thought it’d be difficult to pick my dream match, but as it turned out, it was the easiest thing in the world. Of course, I would beg my parents to marry me off to my ex-boyfriend, ex-fiancée, and now husband. We’ve been an item for close to 30 years already and there’s no one in the world who can compete with him (despite us both getting old and crinkly).
However, I don’t think that was what Crystal had in mind when she asked. After all, being madly in love with your own husband is rather boring, right? So I though for a while who else would suit me, and I really found one. A single character out of a myriad of people (fictional and real) … does that tell you something about me? OK, I’m not going to keep you on tenderhooks. The guy that might, with a lot of luck, tempt me is:
He’s the humanized demon from “Good Omens – The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet, one of my all time favorite novels. What I like about him is his way to see the world. He realized that humans are their own worst enemy and that demons aren’t really necessary to bring about our own downfall. At the same time, he doesn’t want that to happen. Also, he’s the best (only) friend of an angel and despite being a demon, he’s very, very human. But since I haven’t finished reading Moonless yet, there’s still a chance that Crystal’s romantic lead might make me change my mind. 😉 Now, go and get Moonless form Amazon or read the answers to Crystal’s question on the other blogs. Here’s the list: