Tips for Engaging to NaNoWriMo

Well, we are one week down on the prep work for NaNoWriMo and discuss some tips that have helped me in the past that you might find helpful as well. The first tip that I would like to share maybe simple and that is to take out a piece of paper and jot down any ideas that I have had for my novel ideas.

I have done this tip a lot, I have done this since I was about nine or ten and have continued to do to this today. The main reason why I do this is so that I can make a list of the ideas that have in mind. This way also I can go back to the list if I ever get stuck. Granted, for The Raven Prophecy, I have made like a hundred or so of these lists. The two times that I have strayed from making the list is with Ravages of Time and The Zodiac Tower.

I can tell you that when it came to Ravages of Time, I so had the story in mind, that I didn’t need to make the list, for I knew what I wanted in the story, who was in the story and where I was going with the story. As for The Zodiac Tower it was similar to Ravages of Time, but only I didn’t have a lot of time to write the story, for it was

written for a class. Now for The Zodiac Tower, I wish that I had more time so that I could make a list of ideas. Here is the beautiful thing with the re-write of The Zodiac Tower, I’m starting to make a list and I’m thinking of doing the same thing with Ravages of Time. The reason for this is since I have written the first drafts, and moving on the to the second drafts there are some things that I want to improve on so that I can make them stronger novels.

My second tip that I have is to get a folder and in that folder I put everything that is for that novel in that folder. The reason may simple but for me I find it helps keep it organized and it doesn’t get mixed up with another story that I might be working on. Also getting stories mixed up is not a good thing either. Now you can put them in one folder if that is what you want, just make sure that you label on the top of your pages which story that page belongs to.

My third tip is to find an image that will inspire you or keep you focused on the project. I find this very helpful when looking at where I want to go with the story that I’m currently working on. Just as an example, with Ravages of Time my focus point was a house. The reason for a house, was the story starts with the house and it ends with the house or more focused on the word home. If you can find a focus image that works for your project, stick with that image, even if the meaning of the image changes, for it will be a focus point.

My fourth tip, which has helped me in the past is to picture if your novel was to be published what would you want the cover to look like. Yes, just draft up a cover so that you have something to hold onto of what a possible goal might be for your novels. I have drafted several covers as you well know for The Raven Prophecy and Ravages of Time. I recently worked on the cover for The Zodiac Tower and my new project for NaNoWriMo, which I will discuss my project in another post.

Granted, I don’t have fancy software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, for what I do have is Microsoft Word, and I think that my covers are turning out quite well. Just as an example, here is the latest cover for The Zodiac Tower:

The Zodiac Tower- Front Cover Design 2-page-001

I love making covers, and each time that I make a cover, I learn something new about the process and what is even possible. But that is something that you can do to with just a little bit of time and patience you can craft covers just as easily.

My last tip for NaNoWriMo is don’t ignore yourself or what you need. If you ignore yourself during the NaNoWriMo then you can’t complete your best work. You can’t focus on the story that you want to write or tell. This is making sure that you are eating, drinking, talking walks, breathing and anything else that you need to make sure that you are being taken care of. Yes, we all know that as writers we tend to eat, drink, sleep, and think primarily on our stories. While that is all good, if we don’t take of us the creators then the story is not going to be written let alone told. So taking care of the creator is key.

These are five tips that have helped me with NaNoWriMo or any writing project that I happen to be working on at least for the first or second drafts.

I hope that you have found these tips to be helpful. I hope that you all of have a lovely writing day.

Let Castle Rock Writer’s Conference Begin

Granted, the Castle Rock Writers Conference began last night, and I did attend the session and put out one page for analysis. After, getting some of the feedback from the panel on the one page that I put out there from the Raven Prophecy, I do know that there are some good things that I am doing with my writing, but with the good also comes the bad. The bad is that there is still room for improvement.

Let’s face it, if we don’t improve then we cannot grow. As I have said before, we all need to grow as writers, for without growth we cannot become better writers.

There is more that I will share will share with you all later after, the conference is over. That includes how important voice is to a story, not just to your characters. I hope that you all have a great writing day!

What’s going on?

Hi everyone! Its the start of another week, which means another week of writing and seeing what is currently going on with other writers. So if you want to think about it pretty much the same old thing. Except that there is some news that I want to get to. I will be attending a writer’s conference on Saturday, July 9 at Red Rocks Community College. This conference is known as the Write. Market. Publish. Sell!. Granted to attend the conference is like almost $120 but I thought that it might be worth the cost. If you are going to be in Denver, or are going to the conference let me know.

As for the Castle Rock Writers Conference that is happening at the end of September, I’m still waiting for the prices to go up so that I can RSVP for my spot. When that becomes available I will post it on here so that you can also attend if you are going to be in the area for the conference.

In other news work on The Raven Prophecy is still on going. I’m like over 100 thousand words. Granted, I never thought that I would get that many words written, but I have and I am so happy about the progress that has been made in the last few weeks. I hope to get part one of the manuscript finished by either the end of this week or by the start of next week. It all depends on what happens.

Yes, this is a shorter post than normal, but I thought that I would digress and talk about normal things that I’m on the look for currently.

I’m back…

I would like to star again by apologizing for not being on here for a while. But I was taking a bit of a break from writing. I know that’s bad, but I was getting ready for shearing season. The alpacas got sheared on Sunday and now I’m getting back to writing, and above all trying to get back to giving advice on writing. Also, things are happening in the writing community besides #cockygate that are having an effect on us writers.

I would say at this point, pay very close attention to what Amazon is currently doing in the next couple of weeks or even the next month. Amazon makes most of its changes during the month of July so any policy changes will be taking effect then. I do know of a couple of changes that Amazon is going to be putting in place, such as when you release a book you can only have 5 advanced copies. Anything more than 5 will have to be purchased or your readers will have to purchase so that they can leave a review of the book. One reason for this change is that there are so-called scammers, who would get over 1,000 advanced copies and would say that they are advanced copies and those readers would put out reviews. This was giving a disadvantage to those that could not get a whole lot of advanced copies. Therefore, Amazon is trying to make it fair for all.

Granted, there are bad and good things to come from this change. But there are other changes that may be taking place too, as I said before that will affect us, writers. As for readers, they are also becoming aware of the changes that are coming into play for us and some are like it’s good to know information and there are others that really don’t care. That’s fine, but right now our job as writers is to assure our readers that what we are doing is not changing, for we are still going to be putting up content and writing the stories that they want to read.

In other news, there is so much discussion going on with traditional publishers, indie publishers, vanity presses and the like that I want to write a post on this. The issue that it boils down to is that you and me, as writers trying to publish our works, should not have to pay a so-called “publisher” to publish our books, and therefore, some of these different avenues for publishing are considered as scams. So when I get into that it will probably be lengthy, as we as writers, even first time published authors should not be taken advantage of.

So I know that you are all probably wondering about The Raven Prophecy. The book itself is still being written, the front cover is done, for I do not have any more desire to re-make my front cover. But I have also been spending some time making/working on the back cover, which I will put down below both the front and back cover images. Overall, I just got back to working on the draft, for I last touched it on May 27. Trust me, when I say looking at it again it’s been a while but on the bright side, I knew where I left off so I wasn’t lost again.

As much as I say this, I’m back and I want to get more content on here about writing, what is going on in the writing world, what is going on with my writing, and furthermore some tricks and tips that we as writers can take on with our projects. But I must say that I’ve missed you all and hope that you will look forward to what I have in store to share with all of you.

So here is the latest design for the front cover and the back cover:

The Raven Prophecy-new14-page-001The Raven Prophecy Back Cover 9-page-001

The Line in the Sand…#cockgate

Hello, my friends, I’m sorry that I have not been on here for a while, and that is because I have been hard at work on The Raven Prophecy. That’s right, for I’m currently still working very hard on The Raven Prophecy. I will get to the latest updates later in this post; however, there is something more important that needs to be discussed.

cockygate-audacity-faleena-hopkins1

If you have not heard, my dear writing friends and members of the writing community, there is a writer by the name of Faleena Hopkins, who is an independent author that publishes/writes her novels in the romance genre. The name of her series is called the Cocker Brother series, which she has now trademarked. This is fine for that is part of her brand; however, she has now trademarked the word “Cocky” in a font that she does not own or had permission from the makers of the font to trademark.

The other part  of this claim/made up ownership of the word “Cocky” is that this woman is writing letters to any author that has the word “Cocky” in the title of their book and asking them to stop using the word “Cocky” and to change their title, cover, and any part that uses the word “Cocky.”  This is not just for new titles of novels that have the word “Cocky” in them but also previously published works that were published before 2016. This is what the writing community has been dealing with over the weekend. Granted, I’m pleased to say that the Romance Writers Association (RWA) is getting involved and their lawyers are also helping any other that has received a letter from Faleena Hopkins.

There are many points, that have been made by authors across the community on Twitter, and Facebook for the most part. There have even been a few that have expressed themselves on Amazon in the reviews comments and one book got so many negative reviews that she closed the comment section down for that book. But on the other hand, her readers are also going after any author that went after Faleena and also made comments on these author’s books as well.

There are so many ways that this is getting out of hand. I agree that a stance needs to be taken on her trademark of the word “Cocky” and the font that she is also claiming is hers, which it is not. Secondly, this is not only troubling for the romance genre industry for any industry of fiction, for it means that we have to check to make sure that every word that we use in our titles is not copyrighted or trademarked. Thirdly, from an independent author and publisher stance, there is just more than just making a few little changes for it takes time and money. Fourth, I’m upset that her readers are out there calling us bullies when their beloved author is being a bully to writers first. Fifth, what she is doing is so wrong on so many levels.

I should include in this conversation as to her reason for why she is doing this, it’s because her readers have complained that they lost money for they bought books that were not her’s. Okay, the answer there is that if the reader can’t see her name on the cover then they should not have bought the book in the first place. She also states that so many romance authors are copying her. Sorry, that doesn’t fly either when you look at so many romance novels and they look almost the same except for the title, the font of the title and the author’s name. All you have to do is do a search in google for romance novel covers and dozens if not hundreds will pop up and some of them will look the exact same, except for the changes listed above.

To end this discussion, I have some choice words for Ms. Faleena Hopkins:

Dear Ms. Hopkins,

Welcome, to the writing community but please, take your shit and leave. You are not a productive member to the writing community, and your “loyal” readers not productive readers to the reading community. You have called us writers, even the ones that never you knew you until you popped up with your ridiculous claim over a word that has been used in the dictionary and a thousand other places for hundreds of years.

You have no real claim over the word and to futher the point, your readers must know how to find your name on the cover of your books. If this the way that you want spend your money, then fine spend your money but you are not only hurting yourself but you are hurting others as well, and that also goes from an ethical point as well.

Futhermore, as another author put it, you not only burt the bridge but you destroyed it. You are not better than dirt at this point, and I hope you enjoy being there. Please, don’t come to any writing functions, for if you do you will find several drinks and food thrown at your face. Please, leave the community and never return. Also may karma bit you in the ass.

Sincerly yours,

Faerie Rose Press.

Sorry, if I ranted it just there, but this woman just has to know that the community is not small and she should also stop thinking that she is the only author in the romance genre, or in the writing world.

Dear reader, if you would like to learn more about this issue, please, google the term cockygate hashtag and it will be explained more in general. As far as she herself goes she is one nasty piece of work and she is playing the victim rather well. But it doesn’t fly when you are hurting the community not helping.


Here is a current update on The Raven Prophecy:

I would like to start this update by saying that I’m editing the parts that I have written so far and retweaking a new draft, which includes new chapter headings and new cover and title pages. I know in the past that I said that I would not re-do my cover but I have and this is the last and final time that the cover will ever be worked on. So here they are one is for the paperback/hardcover and one is for the e-book:

The Raven Prophecy-new14-page-001   The-Raven-Prophecy-new14-page-001-ConvertImage

Thank you for joining me today and I hope that you will continue to follow the updates on #cockygate and my updates for The Raven Prophecy.

Things to Think about when it comes to your Book

This morning, I got a call from a publisher, granted I signed up on the sight for information about a couple of years ago. Let’s preface this conversation, with at the time that I signed up it was way before I had any of the knowledge that I have now. Anyways, I was talking about The Raven Prophecy, and where I was currently in the story, and I gave all the details of how many pages I had so far, the word count etc.

Also, I talked about the premises of the book and where it came from, how it started and the first thing that he said, “You sound like you are going for a series and you have some interesting detail.” Granted, I never thought that The Raven Prophecy could be a series, but I guess if I had to depend on the length of the book, I could make it into a series.

Then we started talking numbers, and this gave me some more things to think about in terms when it comes to my book. Granted, at some point, I would have to pay for an editor, which I already knew that part of the equation. Then there is the design of the book, which I pretty much have made as I went along as I was typing/writing the story.

There is just a part of me that wants to go, here I have done part of the work just help me out to get to where it is polished. I know that from publishers, the point of view is that there is a lot that goes into a book from the typeface, fonts, size of fonts, book size, type of paper, etc. I mean this is also things that we as self-publishers also have to keep in mind, which to a point I have.

Granted, the submission rules are totally different went seeking an agent/ traditional publisher, and if I was going down that way I would have to change how my manuscript feels and looks. But I’m not quite ready to go down that road since this book is like my baby.

Granted, like a baby it has taken me time to get to this point in the story and writing it and maturing it. I guess that I’m not quite to the point when I’m ready to let it out into the world and allow it to fly. Yes, I know sooner or later, it will need to take wings and fly but its just not right now

I’m having fun writing the book, and that is something we as all writers should be experiencing as we take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard as we dream about someday having our manuscript published. But as we dream we don’t think about the hurdles that we will have to deal with as we work and think about our dreams, for that is the part that we don’t want to think about, such as the possible rejection or the cost that comes with our baby.

But should we have to think about the cost that will come when we are already putting so much into it? I mean really think about, we have already poured breath, sweat, tears and maybe some blood into the soul of the book. However, as of today I will put a bit more of myself into my book and keep dreaming about being published and finding my book on the shelves of a bookstore.

The Troubles That Come with Being a Writer

Yesterday, while I was working on The Raven Prophecy, which I’m like two pages away from being on page 200, I received a call from a writing buddy of mine, who asked me to come meet them for a discussion about my book and their book. They wanted a second pair of eyes to look at it. I agreed to this meeting of the minds, and while we were talking about some of the difficulties that he was having with his story, I addressed some of the difficulties that I was having while writing The Raven Prophecy. He expressed his surprise for he thought that I had it all figured out and was on such a role.

I agreed with him to a point, until I stated that there were some of the finer details of the inner workings that were giving me trouble. He agreed with that point when I started pointing them out to him, then he stated that he figures that all writing projects can give writers their own share of troubles.

As he put it we have trouble with our characters doing what we want them to, we have troubles with trying to make sure that our story goes where we want it to go, we have troubles with finding the balance between the details and the other parts that go into a story. At the same time, we are trying to keep up with tenses, and the other rules that come with writing a novel.

I told him that while I agreed with him on that aspect of writing, but it is what also makes writing fun. He agreed with me up until he said as writers we should not be torturing ourselves with the craft that we enjoy so much. But I said to him, “But to be an artist means that we must suffer.”

That’s when he thought that we should change the subject and talk about book covers. Is problem is that he enjoys looking at them but he has a hard time making them, whereas he pointed out I don’t have much of a hard time doing it based on the previously drafted covers for The Raven Prophecy.

Then when I admitted that I was working on the back cover and the spine for the book, he rolled his eyes and asked me to show it too him. I did and he said that I should post it out there so that again it can be gazed upon. But when I told him that I made a promise he said just put it out there.

So as he has requested here is the full design cover that I worked on last night, which still has some tweaks that need to be made:

Full book cover

Another Update on The Raven Prophecy

At the end of last week, I gave a current update on how The Raven Prophecy was going and on that day I was at page 150. Well, as of today I’m almost at page 200. Yeah, those fifty pages went rather quickly to include a couple of extensive writing of the passages of the one religion that is part of the focus of the book.

Let me start by saying that while I was creating it and writing about, I was having fun doing it.  But after spending all day Friday writing it, I was exhausted by the end of the day.  I was overjoyed beyond belief to be exploring writing as I have never done before. Although, if I ever created the chances again to explore this sort of thing, I would be more than up for the challenge.

Then on Saturday, the day after I was writing about religion that is in the world of The Reaven Prophecy, I went back to what we were talking about romance and I included a very extensive scene of love-making between two of my characters. Again it was very much exciting for me to explore what I have read from others that have written romance and be able to correlate it within the breadths of what I’m writing.

To say that I’m feeling newly energized is an understatement for I’m feeling like I’m breathing life into the very soul of my book. Granted, this book, as I have said before, has been a work in progress for the last fourteen years but I’m feeling that I can accomplish what I want for this piece of work.

I’m feeling excited to see where this work takes the written word and my knowledge about writing, which is one of the many joys that a writer can get from writing.

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Update on the Raven Prophecy

First, I must apologize for not posting anything is past week on here, but I have a really good reason and that is that I have been enthralled in working on The Raven Prophecy. Yes, for most of this week I have been working a great deal on The Raven Prophecy to include I made a major milestone of making it to page 150 and over on my current version of my manuscript.

This includes inducting some points from previous drafts of the novel, but now that I have finished with that major task, now it is writing and making notes on the draft going forward.

I feel right now that I’m making strides in the manuscript and am pleased with where I am currently. The novel is far from complete for it is still a work in progress. Granted, I know at some point that I should start thinking about Camp Nanowrimo, which is next month, but even with camp upon us, I am still going to be taking that month to work on The Raven Prophecy.

I know usually when I post an update on the novel, there is also a new cover design but I must say as of right now, I have no desire to create a new cover. But if there should be a new cover design will post it here first. However, as of right now I don’t need a new cover for The Raven Prophecy.

Although, I will post this right now, that I feel that I’m working towards my goal of having a completed first draft of the novel before the end of this year. But to make that a reality I have to stay on top of it and part of my goal for today is to continue writing and working on my novel.

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Dream Interpretation

When we sleep, we tend to dream and when we dream we get ideas for stories if we think back to those stories. Granted, we may get even more curious about our dreams and we seek out or try to look for their meanings. Dreams are wonderful things, and there have been scientific studies done on dreams. However, as writers, we tend to reflect back on our dreams, especially the ones that either speak loudly to us or those that we have over and over again. Some people spend so much time reflecting on their dreams that they tend to have a journal to record what happens in their dreams, or at least what they remember in their dreams.

There have even been a few authors that have claimed that their stories came to them in a dream. Stephanie Mayer the author of the Twilight Saga claimed that it came to her in a dream. J.K. Rowling has also said that the inspiration of Harry Potter came to her while she was on a train and she was drifting off and then she saw a boy in a black cloak running through the train. From that moment on for Rowling, she started to jot down her notes and ideas for Harry Potter.

Dreams can be remarkable things and times they can come back to us without any indication that they are doing so. Dreams can be used as tools in our writings as many authors have shown us countless times when a character falls into a dream state. When we use dreams in our stories, they should pay apart in the motion of the story. If the dream has nothing to do with the story, then the tool of the dream will become wasted.

Here is an excerpt from a dream sequence that is in the Raven Prophecy:

While Draco saw the kiss continue on, the scene began to spiral and several more images came flying past him. The images came fast like a spiraling storm inside his head, for he saw the woman over and over again. Different men wore the crown, several blackbirds that he presumed to be ravens flying in every direction towards him. He tried to duck from them as he felt their talons against his face. Dragons being destroyed and their bodies burned to ash. Then finally the spiraling storm stopped and he found himself in a clean, white room.

Granted, while this is just one example of a dream sequence and this dream sequence is at the heart and soul of my book.

If you are curious more about dreams, you can spend the time either reading about them or doing research on the web. But I hope that you find dreams useful in our writing.