Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tyrean Martinson on Starting Over

Hey everyone! Today I'm welcoming the lovely Tyrean over as part of a blog post exchange. If you'd like to read my post, you can find it here.

Take it away, Tyrean!

Starting Over Again



Since 2007, I’ve been working in one main fantasy world. Champion in the Darkness took several re-writes to bring to completion in 2013, and I followed it with Champion in Flight (2014), and Champion’s Destiny (beginning of 2016).

As I finished the last book, I started thinking of other ways to expand the Aramatir world with other trilogies. However, I had promised myself that I would do something different this year. I even had three “new-old” projects lined up, partially prepared to go.

Then, in the midst of my Short Story Writing Time (I have time set aside for each kind of writing), I stumbled upon a character and a dilemma that wasn’t going to resolve quickly. In fact, I was 7,000 words into it before I realized that I had written the start of a new novel, and not a short story.

So, now I’m in “A Whole New World” (Cue Music from Aladdin).

But I feel like Luke looking for R2D2 on the horizon, unsure of how much trouble I’m going to be in as I chase down the new droid idea.

I thought I would have my rough draft of this new project done by now. Cue: hysterical laughter.

What was I thinking?

I love entering a new story, but getting all the layers of world-building together has been both challenging and exciting. I’m only a quarter of the way into my rough draft and it’s a completely horrifying mess. I changed from 1st POV to 3rd POV and back to 1st POV in the first three chapters as I’ve been challenging myself to write in 1st POV; it’s distinctly weird for me to write like that for a character but I felt I needed to get closer to her. I also changed from present to past tense in two chapters, and I’m not sure which one I like best.

I feel like I’m starting everything all over again – everything.

I’ve been doing research, taking notes, asking myself questions, digging into the history of the world as well as the history of the characters, and I feel like this project will be better than anything else I’ve ever written. (Or . . . no, I just won’t go there.)

However, it’s going to take more than a month or two to write. It might take six months, or it might take a year. (I’m trying not to think longer.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep a few non-fiction projects running and some real short fiction moving through the submission cycles.

Is it just me, or is it hard to start over again?


Tyrean Martinson

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I don't even know if I want to laugh or cry anymore.

Just when you think you've hit the bottom, some asshole throws shows up with a shovel.

Things have gotten ugly here. So ugly, I can't even really write it out in public.

Anyway. If I'm not here tomorrow, that's why. I'll have a guest post up tomorrow at Tyrean's blog. (Sorry Tyrean! I meant to do more to generate traffic. But the best laid plans of mice and men and all that) and on Thursday, she'll be here to talk about Starting Over with a new story.

In the meantime, can anyone tell me where I can find the reset button?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hey everyone! Before I get started, I just wanted to mention that the lovely Crystal Collier is hosting Endless on her blog. So if you'd like a chance to win an e-copy, please head over there and guess which one is the lie. 


Hey everyone! Today's the first Wednesday of the month, so I thought I would stop by and give a bit of an update. For those of you wondering what The Insecure Writer's Support Group is about... We're a group of writers who come together on the first Wednesday of the month to share our insecurities. The idea is to be encouraged, but also to visit each other and find that no, being insecure as a writer really isn't all that strange. If you'd like more information or just to sign up, please feel free to visit the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh (he's the host). 

So. Why am I so quiet? 

Long story. Mostly, I'm busy trying to change up the way my whole social networking strategy works. I know what I want to do and why. The issue is that right now, I just don't have as much time as I'd like. 

Another long story. If you're really interested in what's going on in my life, please feel free to go check out my previous two or three posts. 

So. Big deal that I don't have so much time left, right? (Pun not intended.) 

Wrong. 

See... I have this one thing left where, if I manage nothing else this year, I want to see book 3 in The War of Six Crowns published. We're already past half way and because of my consistent lack of time, I'm nowhere near where I want to be with it. 

So. I'm cutting back for the next month or so just to get myself on some sort of track, because as it happens, I belong to the school of thought that the best marketing to do is to publish a new book. 

Which won't happen if I'm more obsessed with my social networking than... you know... editing my story. 

Speaking of edits... I sent book 3 to my first CP last month. Usually, I send to more people at a time, but right then, I needed someone to tell me if my sneaking suspicions about the book were wrong or not. They weren't. 

Which isn't much of an issue, except that the issues I had been avoiding until now require that I basically re-do the first third of my book to get more information in. 

Excellent. 

Except, I'm currently somewhat stuck on the subject of exactly how I'm supposed to manage it without turning book 3 into a 200k word monster. Right now, it's at 90k because I already split it in two. Now I have to add a third to it. Which means I'm looking at a book that's twice as long as The Vanished Knight. 

And I'm worried that that extra third will throw off the pacing. 

I'm worried, yet again, that this series is just too... big for me. Yes, this has been a reoccurring theme from the first time I started writing the first books. But I don't always think people realize just how big this series is set to become. 

Somehow, I'm supposed to manage the scope of the story while still keeping the pace to at least a reasonable pace. 

Which is just... not something I'm dead sure I can do right now. 

So for now, I'm rereading The Vanished Knight and The Heir's Choice, trying to see which strings I'd left untied and if I've forgotten anything that can be worked in. Or just if anything in the story shakes loose something that I might use to bridge the gap between the end of The Heir's Choice and the start of the main action of Book 3. 

Long story short, I'm super insecure about finishing Book 3 for publishing this year. How are you doing? 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Belated Update Day

So after all this time, I finally managed to be way late for my own bloghop. It’s been a long week and I got home so late that I just couldn’t focus. I decided to sit back and sort through my goals for July in the morning (because I didn’t have time to do it all week).

And when I finally managed to sit down and put this post together, I realized that I’ve got to be realistic and completely change the way I’m approaching my goals.

Why?

Let me show you…



Writing Goals:

1) 60 000 words written, 60 hours of edits or some combination of those.
The equivalent of 23k words.

2) Find and submit to Critique Partners for Wo6C3
Sent to one CP and in short, Wo6C3 needs only a ton more work before I can send it out to more.

3) Critique works by critique partners.
I’m waiting for my CP’s work.

4) Edit ES1
Didn’t look at it.

5) Prep rewrite for BvB2.
I managed to think of this a few times before I had to do something else.

6) Complete revisions to O1
I revised two chapters.

7) Add 10000 words to StW1
Added almost 8k words.
8) Work on CdW concept
Nope.

9) Start Sci Fi Project. (Still thinking about an suitable acronym.)
Nope and Nope.

10) Work on concept for a new story that came to me while I rested.
A little bit of this done, but not much in the way of a concrete start.

11) Edit my Untethered Realms anthology story.
Done. Yay. I managed one thing.

Reading:

Read 6 books.
I read 4.

Read some chapters of Les Trois Mousquetaires.
Nope.

Networking and Marketing:

Rethink Social Network Strategy
This I did and it’s huge. So much so that it’s taking a chunk of my writing time to implement.

Regular updates to at least some of the social networks.
This I was spotty on because I’m basically rebuiling my entire social network from scratch in some places.

Confirm new covers for Wo6C series.
Done.


Life:

Maintain balance between life, writing and work.
Bahahahahahaha *cries*

Go to dancing classes once a week.
Didn’t go because the week before I was to go to my first lesson, I discovered that I’m moving again, so I couldn’t sign the membership contract.

Get into the habit of eating more frequent, smaller meals. (Stress and an ulcer don’t mix, so I have to help where I can.)
This I did and also cut way back on carbs and sugars to help even further.

In short: I managed to do precious little that I set out to do.

There are a variety of reasons for this:

1) I’m having to rebuild my day-job business from scratch yet again. Which means I have to put in more hours.
2) I’m having to restructure my social networking (see here if you’re curious as to why and what I’m doing.)
3) I’m a bit of an emotional mess due to reason number 1
4) While being an emotional mess, I default to working on The War of Six Crowns, which means that I broke my own rule of not working on a sequel before the earlier book is ready for publishing, so that I could work on Book 4 while waiting for CP feed back on Book 3. And now Book 3 needs more work.
5) People, I feel like crying this morning.

In short, it’s taken just about two years of unrelenting pressure, but I’ve buckled under. This month was the most unproductive I’ve ever been and it’s been a downward trend from January.

Yesterday, I spoke to my mother about how I’m feeling right now and… It’s not good. I’m exhausted. Completely and utterly. I’ve expended every ounce of my energy to keep going earlier this year and in return I got my suppliers and clients stolen by someone I trusted and nothing to show for it because all the money I’d earned went into surviving.

So.

The situation is this.

I’m not catching a break.

My hard work does not result in anything. Because in this life, it seems, the only thing that matters is being rich or being lucky. I’m neither.

And yet, I can’t just give up, so I have to keep going.

I have to keep working in the hopes that this time I strike it lucky. And heaven knows I’ll keep writing because the day I stop that I might as well stop living.

But I can’t keep trying to do so much because I have readers waiting for Book 3. I probably have one or two people hoping I get the sequel to Endless out too. Since The War of Six Crowns is my happy place, that’s my priority, but other than that, my only priority right now is to survive rebuilding, moving house, and doing everything else I need to do in order to have a shot at making it as a writer.


Sorry if this is way too much of a downer, but this is where I am right now. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Update and a shout-out for friends.

Hey everyone! I'm a bit quiet at the moment, mainly because wrangling the monster that is my social networking process into some semblance of order is taking A LOT of time.

So. What am I doing, you might ask?

Right now, I'm busy with sorting out my Twitter. The one most of you follow (@MishaMFB). To say the least, I have been awfully silent on there lately for one simple reason.

Ahem.

Buy my book.

Buy my book. 
Buy my book. 
BUY MY BOOK! 
BUY MY BOOK!   

BUY MY BOOOOOOOOOOOOKK!!!!!1!!!!!
Oh and while you're at it, click this link please.


Don't get me wrong. I'm all for promotion. 

I'm just not all for promotion when it's spamming my Twitter feed so much that all the promotion take all of the "social" out of social networking. 

SO. 

If you have a twitter profile that you've automated. If you have a twitter profile where you're mainly posting links... 

Know that I love you to bits, but I don't love your twitter profile, so I'm just going to stop following it. 

Because honestly, all the clamoring for attention and links instead of real interaction is driving me nuts. So much so that until now, I've actively been avoiding my twitter. And worse still, I only posted links there myself because I didn't want to trawl through my feed looking for people to talk to. 

But no more. I'm trying to become the solution for myself by clearing out my feed.

It's taking long, though. I followed almost 3000 tweeps in my time on twitter and now I have to manually go through all of them to see who's only posting promos. 

So that's where I was (and where I will probably be over the next couple of weeks.) 

And then. 

I'm moving again. 

Yes, I know. Again. But the house I'm moving to will be super awesome and actually big enough for all of us. I can't wait. 

But it does mean that I have limited time in which to get everything done, and since my twitter feed sort out is part of a larger reorientation of my social networking time, I have to get that done first. 

Which means that I'll only really get around to full-steam blogging in July. The obvious exception being my bloghop post on Friday. 

If you missed my whole post on what's making me reorganize, you can find it here

I've entered the Wattys

Continuing my hunt for exposure, I've entered both The Heir's Choice and Endless into The Wattys, which is Wattpad's way of awarding good writing posted on the site. If a book wins, they put a bit more extra marketing effort into it, which is exactly the sort of thing I want at the moment. So if you're on Wattpad and you've been waiting for an excuse to read my books, please do check them out here

Before I go, I just want to give a shout-out to some awesome blogging friends of mine...



“There was a time when a girl’s wedding day was the happiest day of her life.”

In Falside, girls are a rare commodity; protected, controlled, and tracked by the administration. They spend their days idly waiting to be married off to the highest bidder.

When the marriage announcements include Tale’s lover, Freda, the women will do anything to stop the match from happening.

Their relationship is forbidden, and as members of the resistance, they’re already risking everything.


But as their attempts to stop the wedding fail, both women have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice for love.


BIO

Angeline Trevena is a British dystopian horror author. She was born and bred in a rural corner of Devon, but now lives among the breweries and canals of central England.

In 2003 she graduated from Edge Hill University, Lancashire, with a BA Hons degree in Drama and Writing. During this time she decided that her future lay in writing words rather than performing them.

Some years ago Angeline worked at an antique auction house and religiously checked every wardrobe that came in to see if Narnia was in the back of it. She's still not given up looking for it.





Purchase from Amazon (merchant sites will be updated on the author's site)

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

That's it from me. How are you doing? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Day of Announcements.

Hey everyone!

So lately, I've been thinking.

And thinking.

And thinking.

Yeah. I haven't been able to write much, so it's given me plenty of time to consider where my writing career needs to go and what I need to do in order to get there.

The main thing for me is my approach to social networking.

But then something happened that made me re-evaluate EVERYTHING. And I warn you, this is going to be a downer if you're a self-publisher.

So... What happened?

It started with The Vanished Knight getting over 175k reads. 

The pictures I used for its cover and for the one on The Heir's Choice are creative commons pictures. I'm not really worried that I'll get sued or anything like that but, you know... The more people read the story, the more nervous the free image idea makes me.

Besides that, the fact that I used two swords on the covers kind of limited the direction in which I can go for book 3, which I'm planning to publish later this year.

So. I started designing new ones. While doing that, I did my usual thing of going to Amazon and searching my genre (Epic Fantasy) to see how my covers compare.

And I noticed something very, very worrying.

Amazon now cuts off search results at 20k books. No matter what I did, I never got more than 25k books out of my search.

Maybe there's a way, but I'm only a run-of-the-mill user type. You know, the exact type of person who'd be looking for a new book to read.

You're seeing the problem, I assume.

Even if I enter the specific key-phrases into the search, I still couldn't find my books, presumably because I'm not ranking high enough.

Which, as a person only barely starting out in the publishing game, is a nightmare scenario.

Because in my world, all this means that if you're going to self publish or going to go the indie route, you better go in with a huge following of your own. 

Yeah.

Major.

Major.

Major Downer.

So what's a girl like me to do?

She puts all her chips on the table. 

I'm doing really well on Wattpad. (175k reads for Fantasy is nothing to sniff at.) The Vanished Knight has its own built-in fan-base. But it hasn't reached critical mass.

But it'll get there. But to get there, I have to re-think my strategy.

So.

I'm taking a leap of faith and posting The Heir's Choice on there as well. And I'm going to keep posting books on there for the foreseeable future. Because for me, Wattpad has something that Amazon doesn't:

Discoverability

But, of course, this brings me to my big concern: 

I want to make a living as a writer. 

Which means that making my work available for free kind of defeats the object. (Except if you totally correctly point out that there's no chance at making a living if readers can't find me.) 

The solution? 

I've also decided to join Patreon

Patreon

What is Patreon?

Basically, it works on a similar concept as Gofundme or Kickstarter except for one major difference. With Patreon, the point is for patrons to pledge small monthly amounts (that they can pick) that will be paid over to the artist every month instead of one big fund that is aimed at something specific.

Here's a bit of a better explanation (but the video is about per-artwork pledges. I'm too prolific for that.)


If you'd like to help me out, you're awesome-sauce. All you have to do is click here and pick your poison. (There are rewards available if you want them.)

Maybe you'd like to check out Patreon for yourself? Click here. (it's an affiliate link. I get paid for people who join.)

But what does all this mean? 

For one thing, I'm changing my focus. To me, it makes sense to direct traffic to Patreon, so it also makes sense to use that as a hub and branching all of my social-media out of it.

For one thing, Video gets better responses on Patreon, so starting next month, I'm moving over into Vlogging. I'll still update this blog, but I think this is going to be the next step. I'll still be writing posts here and there, though, but it makes sense to make sure that my time is spent on content that I can use everywhere.

As part of my Patreon rewards, I'm going to start hosting a weekly online hang-out, but you're all invited anyway. I'm thinking that as my fanbase grows, it might be a great way to give my favorite writer buddies (I.E. you) some extra exposure.

There is also an All Posts page on Patreon where patrons can interact with each other and me, and I think this has vast potential as a different kind of social network.

So come on! It's only $1 to get in where all the cool kids will be. Please do consider helping a girl out. Or just go check out the page and tell me what you think of it so far. :-)

Any questions? 

What about my new covers? 

Well.

I'll share the first two here now. The others will be revealed later in the year...




Thanks for reading! 

Thoughts? Anyone think I'm insane? 

Any further suggestions? 

Monday, June 13, 2016

You. I. Us. Blog Tour

Hey everyone! I'm back again! Lots of news coming up this month, since I've decided to totally over-haul the way I'm going about my social media. But more on that later.

First things first, I'm welcoming Annalisa Crawford to The Five Year Project as part of the blog tour for her new book You. I. Us. Take it away, Annalisa!

Do you like listening to music while working on your stories?

Hi Misha, thanks for inviting me onto your blog today!

I go through phases, when it comes to music. During my first drafts, I watch a lot of TV—repeats of Castle and Murdoch Mysteries mostly—I’ve seen every season of each of those programmes multiple times! It’s nice to have a distraction in those moments when the next scene just isn’t quite right, and on occasion, they’ve provided a little inspiration too.

Music comes later, either an old-favourite CD that I play on a loop, or a fantastic 80s radio station that has a no-repeat guarantee. Recently, I discovered a YouTube playlist of all the songs from How I Met Your Mother (another series I’ve watched repeatedly), which is brilliant, because some of those songs evoke immense emotion.

For my current WIP, I’m listening to Try Whistling This by Neil Finn (from Crowded House, and fantastic as a solo artist!) This track is Last One Standing https://youtu.be/1BZFrYcgeGs If my WIP ever got made into a film, this would be the title track.

What music do you like listening to? 


You. I. Us.
Publication date: June 10, 2016
Genre: Short Stories (Single Author)


In You. I. Us., Annalisa Crawford captures everyday people during  poignant defining moments in their lives: An artist puts his heart into his latest sketch, an elderly couple endures scrutiny by a fellow diner, an ex-student attempts to make amends with a girl she bullied at school, a teenager holds vigil at his friend’s hospital bedside, long distance lovers promise complete devotion, a broken-hearted widow stares into the sea from the edge of a cliff where her husband died, a grieving son contacts the only person he can rely on in a moment of crisis, a group of middle-aged friends inspire each other to live remarkable lives.

Day after day, we make the same choices. But after reading You. I. Us., you’ll ask yourself, “What if we didn’t?”

 

About the author
Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, a dog and a cat. Annalisa writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories. She has been winning competitions and publishing short stories in small press journals for many years, and is the author of Cat & The Dreamer and Our Beautiful Child.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday Feature: Libby Heily

Hey everyone! Today I'd like to welcome Libby Heily to The Five Year Project. She's here to tell us about where her newest main character, Grape, came from.

Take it away, Libby!

The Birth of Grape Merriweather


Welcome to Sortilege Falls is my second novel. My first, Tough Girl, was about an eleven-year-old who is bullied and starving and loses herself in an imaginary world to combat the misery of her life. I wanted to write something happy after that and WTSF is about as “happy” as my writing gets. The idea was to come up with a main character whose very name sounds like a smile, thus Grape Merriweather was born. Stories grow and writers hardly ever end up writing the book they intended. That is definitely true with WTSF. My “happy” story grew to encompass the themes of beauty worship, celebrity, as well as delving into the mysterious relationships between child stars and their parents.

But I tried to stay true to my original idea of Grape. She’s not without her troubles and woes. In the beginning of the novel, Grape is new at school and eager to impress. She spends over an hour the night before trying on outfits to find the perfect one. But she is ignored by students and teachers alike. Everyone is too caught up with the beyond gorgeous models to bother with one new student. The more time passes, the more Grape realizes that Sortilege Falls is not what it’s cracked up to be, and she’s going to find out why.

We discover this weird world along with Grape and I tried to stay true to her voice. It was very important to me that Grape wasn’t perfect, that she partially fell under the Models’ spell. She fights throughout the novel to make her own decisions and not bend to the Models’ will.

Hopefully, Grape comes across as a complex character. She stands up for herself and her friends but she also senses social pressure and makes awkward comments to try to fit in. She wants friends and to be liked. Don’t we all? But she won’t allow herself to be pushed around either.

But maybe explaining Grape isn’t best. Maybe I should let you meet her instead.  Below, we see Grape deal with a potential stalker.  It’s late at night and Grape has just watched as her brother, Brad, heads into the woods to take plants (Brad is huge into botany).  Graeson, the only kid at school who talked to her, surprises her in her back yard:


Grape screamed.

“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim. He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well. “It’s cool. It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.

Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backward. “Don’t touch me. What are you doing here?”

He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him. “I wanted to see where you lived. That really hurt.”

She slit her eyes at him. “I’m glad it hurt. It was supposed to.”

“That’s not very nice.”

Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head. “Are you a stalker?”

“No.”

“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.” She readied herself to swing the lawn chair. It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot—his face.

“No. I just thought... I don’t know. I thought you looked nice.”

“Do I look nice now?” She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches. She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again. He got one warning shot, that was it. The next swing would break his nose.

“I’m sorry. I thought this would be romantic.” He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out an iPod with a little set of speakers attached. “I was going to play a song for you.”

“Totally creepy!”

“No. Really, listen.”

He pressed play and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare. He shut it off quickly. “Wrong song. One second.”

“Leave.”

He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes. “I just need one second.”

“Shoo! Go! Off with you!” She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backward.

He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.


Grape rushed back into the house, chair in hand. She locked the door. If Brad didn’t have his key, then he’d just have to knock and risk alerting their mother to his late-night shenanigans. She was not leaving the door unlocked for that boy to break in and serenade her. 

Buy Links:



Are you a book reviewer?  You can find Welcome to Sortilege Falls on Netgalley.

Author Bio:


I was born during a blizzard. I’m told it was pretty cool but I have no memory of that time. I grew up in two tiny towns in Virginia and spent most of my twenties moving around the US. I’ve lived in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Washington. I’ve settled down, for now, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’m a writer and improviser. I studied acting in college but spent more time rewriting lines than memorizing them. My first play, Fourth Wall, was produced my junior year. Since then, I’ve written several full length plays, one acts, and screenplays. I started writing fiction in my late twenties. Now, I focus mainly on novels but still dabble in theater.

Fun facts about me: There are none. I’m sorry to disappoint you so soon. But, I do love to read, write, and run. My hubby is my favorite person on earth. Dogs are my second favorite. All dogs. I love orange juice, especially when it’s mixed with club soda. Carbonation is better than alcohol. Jaws is my favorite movie. Everything I’ve said so far is true.

Find Libby on the interwebs: