Vacation finally comes to an end.

Vacation finally comes to an end.

*cracks knuckles* It’s time for things to get serious around here.

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Now that my major vacations and brain drains are complete, I’m going to be focusing on some major writing.

  • Goal one: get book four fleshed out and ready for some hard-core beta reading.
  • Goal two: if stuck, work on some of my other ‘fluff’ ideas to get creativity flowing again.
  • Goal three: in addition to the above, make reasonable attempts to connect on social media.

That last one is going to be my hardest. Why poor little reclusive authors such as myself are expected to have social anything, I’ll never know. Still, I do like connecting with my fans – so if you have any burning questions (other than when will the next book be ready – I’m working on it!) send them my way! Additionally, if there’s something you might like to see (blog posts, tweets, Instagram photos, or Facebook updates) feel free to share your ideas below.

Thanks, and it’s good to be back again! 🙂

Birthday wrap up and back to the grinding stone … or laptop, I guess.

Birthday wrap up and back to the grinding stone … or laptop, I guess.

I’ve finally reached the end of my ‘bursting with awesomeness’ timeframe. At least until the end of October, when I start gearing up for the whole Halloween, BlizzCon, Thanksgiving, Christmas excitement. But for now, my new World of Warcraft expansion is out (and it’s EPIC), the contest results are back (not-so-epic), I’ve met one of my favorite authors (BEYOND EPIC), and celebrated my birthday (happy birthday to me!)

I mentioned in my last post that I’m enjoying Legion. I’ve now gotten one character to max level, and I’m astounded by the amount of end-game content available. Normally, I’m a bit of an alt-oholic (meaning I play a lot of characters), but it’s pretty hard to tear myself away from my druid when there’s still so much left to do. Heck, I’ve barely unlocked world quests!

What you might not know is that on September 7th, I got to meet Sarah Maas: author of the Throne of Glass and Court of Thorns and Roses series. Let me just say that I adore her writing. I discovered her books the year after her debut novel released and was immediately hooked. Her world building is stellar, her characters are eerily realistic and identifiable, and the way she paints her setting is perfect – as in, I utterly idolize her ability to weave description seamlessly into the story, and hope to one day create books half as good as hers. I pre-order everything she puts out, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

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And I got to meet her! Like, listen to her talk about her journey and inspirations and writing habits … and (theoretically) talk to her while she personally signed her new release for me. I say theoretically because I was so excited/nervous/starstruck that, even though I rehearsed my lines beforehand, all I could do was babble like a weirdo when I was finally in front of her. As in I told her ‘You’re such an inspiration!’ about nine times – and that’s about it. Ugh, why do I have to be such a fangirl? That and I felt the need to explain why I brought her a gift: though I don’t think I explained it very well. Again, all coherent thought flew out of my head when I got to the signing table. (And no: it wasn’t bribery or anything. Her writing is an incredible gift, in my opinion, and I wanted to give her something in return.)

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As if Legion and meeting Sarah Maas wasn’t enough excitement, I also celebrated my birthday on Monday. My coworkers surprised me with great balloons and awesome gifts, as did all my family and friends. (Well, minus the balloons – my boss was the only one cool enough to give me balloons 😀 ) So basically, I’ve been walking on clouds and rainbows for the past month. (Translation: I’m incredibly happy.)

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Now that all the fun is over (for now), I’m diving back into my writing. Yay, right? I know I’ve got a few fans out there desperate for the final installment of the Blessings of Myrillia. I assure you guys, I’m working on it! In the meantime, you can look forward to not one, but two super-cute short stories set within Myrillia. Stay tuned for more information – but I can tell you they’ll be out this holiday season. 😉

Check out my new improved look!

A huge heartfelt, ‘Thank you!’ goes out to Winter Bayne for my beautiful new banner image! I also toyed with a new layout with the hope that it makes the site look a little more polished. What do you all think?

Of course, now that I have this fancy new image that features my current and upcoming novel, it’s a great time to share some news I’ve been holding onto for awhile.

Ladies and gentlemen, UnBlessed now has 10 reviews on Amazon!

Yes, yes, I know, it might seem silly to be excited about just 10 reviews, especially when the book has been out for over a year. But for a self-published author? One who has almost no author platform to speak of and frequently forgets to market herself? I think it’s not too shabby.

While I’m tempted to share all of the reviews one by one, I think that might be a tad overkill. So instead, anyone interested in seeing what others have to say about UnBlessed can go here to read the reviews directly from Amazon. Although, fair warning – any new reviews I get will probably be shared in a blog post. I mean, that’s good marketing, isn’t it?

Anyone who’d like to get a copy of UnBlessed to catch up on the story before the sequel is released can purchase it from Amazon: $11.95 for the paperback, or $2.99 for the kindle version.

You can also order the paperback from your favorite book retailer, or visit my personal estore.

Also, if you haven’t already, follow me (or become a fan) on Goodreads and keep an eye out for giveaways. I still plan on hosting one for UnBlessed to prepare for the launch of Fire Blessed – if it goes well, I might also host another giveaway for Fire Blessed! *hint, hint* 🙂

Okay. I’m done marketing now. XD

Odds and ends.

As a few of you already know, I’ve been struggling with social media lately. Believe it or not, I’m not particularly social – unless video games or books are related. Or anime. But posting random information for (almost) strangers to read? That’s a little more difficult. But I’m working on it, honest!

That said, I’ll share a few fun things that I have going for me at the moment – at the very least it’ll help my blog friends get a better feel for who I am. 🙂

First – my hubby and I finally went out and bought real furniture to replace the rental stuff we’ve had. This means I have an amazing new creative cubby! Complete with a solid birch desk, an actual office chair, and a filing cabinet/drawer storage space. Of course, I’m also thrilled with my new armchair for reading and the new mattress that should hopefully be more comfortable than sleeping on the rock-like surface of the last one. *fingers crossed*

In novel news, I finished my first draft of Fire Blessed (yay!!) and I’m 3/4 of the way through the first rewrite. I’m finding that towards the end I skipped – a lot – to get to the exciting or easy to write parts. I still have a bit of work to do, but I’m really, really close. Which means, any of you interested in beta reading can start giving me a shout! This is the second book in a series, and in addition to readers who are familiar with my world, I’d actually like to have one or two who haven’t read the first book. I tried to make sure I included the basic information a new reader would need to know, without going overboard with what would seem like unnecessary information to a returning fan. Both viewpoints would be helpful – it would be awesome if everything made sense without the boring parts that can result from rehashing previous books. If everything goes well, I hope to have it ready for beta reading by November. Just in time for Nanowrimo. 😀

Ah, Nanowrimo. Or, for those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month. It was just last year that I took the plunge and succeeded in writing 50,000 words in 30 days – UnBlessed was the result a few months later. It was the first time I had written anything longer than 10 pages, and it was exhilarating! The constant pep talks and encouraging emails from the sponsors of the event along with the support of friends helped me push past my insecurity and kept my momentum steady until I hit the finish line. 😀 Obviously, I really enjoyed the event, and I’m looking forward to trying it again this year – I’ve already started brainstorming for book three in my Myrillia series. BUT – I have a major contender this November.

In case most of you didn’t know, I’m an avid player of the online MMORPG, World of Warcraft. By avid player, I just mean that I put in a lot of game time; I’m by no means an elite raider, nor do I participate in PvP – I’m more of a casual player. Mostly because I have too many characters that I enjoy playing. An altoholic, that’s me. That and I love the collecting aspects – I had most of the vanity pets before battle pets or even the pet page was around (which started my multiple character problem) and the new toy box feature that was just added has me drooling. Which brings me to my dilemma this November: Warlords of Draenor, the new expansion for Warcraft, launches on November 13. Now, I’ve gotten a lot better about rationing my time for gaming/writing/work/etc, but I always go a little crazy when expansions first come out. Trying to do Nanowrimo while fighting the temptation of new content will make for an interesting month.

And there you have it! A glimpse into the life of a gamer author. Hope you all enjoyed!

Madly Typing Friday – Back to the grinding stone

I’ve been posting about my world-building strategy for the last few weeks, and letting folks catch a glimpse of how I created Myrillia. I intend to do more posts in that particular vein, but I’m starting to get the creative itch again.

The last few weeks, with the stress of the move and closing on the house has made it difficult to do any real writing. It’s taken all I have to stick to my posting schedule. Now, though, I’m finally back with my husband and things have started to settle down a little. I want to write. I can feel it in my fingers. I can’t stop thinking of my characters; I’ve even started dreaming about them again. Hmm. Is that weird? I don’t particularly care if it is. My point is, I want to get back in my story. I want to surround myself with my world, and I’m eager to add to my legacy.

However, I’m running into a few problems. I imagine they’re fairly normal for authors. First, it’s been so long since I’ve jumped in and just started creating that I’m at a bit of an impasse. I know what I want to do, I just can’t seem to get it started. I’m sure it’ll come once I actually sit down in front of my keyboard.

My other problem is now that I’ve taken a break, all my insecurities have come bounding back. What if everything I’ve written so far in book two doesn’t make sense to readers? What if I’ve gone off on a random tangent that has nothing to do with the actual story? What do I do if no one likes my characters as much as I do?

The only thing I can do is force myself to move forward. To keep writing and ignore that little voice that is trying to stop me. Good thing I excel at ignoring anything unpleasant.

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Thanks to Hayley Knighten for tagging me in this blog hop! I’m not sure that I can really do it justice … but I can at least try. Again, I don’t have a ton of folks that I follow, and all my writer peeps are already tagged in the post that tagged me. I need to branch out more …

 

What Am I Working On?  I’m currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, UnBlessed. The new book is titled Fire Blessed, and the series is meant to be Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy. In addition, they’re more … High Fantasy, I suppose. Definitely not the popular Paranormal or Dystopian that’s going around nowadays. I had hoped for the majority of Fire Blessed be done in April Camp NaNoWriMo, but unfortunately real life has decided to intrude and ruin that idea. House selling can do that. At least I’m 37,000 in. Not bad, really.

 

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?   Well, I can now finally and safely say that my story is completely original. I had an editor friend of mine read it, and he said it first, in a review no less. So, yeah. I’m original. ^_^

That isn’t to say you won’t find some familiar elements of fantasy in my novels. There is magic – but no witches or warlocks. There are shape-shifters, but they aren’t werewolves. Not by a long shot. The societies are semi-feudal, but there are no kings or queens … But there is a ton of intrigue, romance, and assorted other elements for the reader to dig into.

 

Why Do I Write What I Write?   Well, basically, I wrote something that I wanted to read. Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires, werewolves, witches, dystopian societies, and all the other popular stuff going around. (Except for Game of Thrones. But that’s a story for another day.) But I felt there wasn’t enough fantasy fantasy. You know, like Tolkien or Dungeons and Dragons. Originally, I wanted my book to be a story about elves – not Christmas elves, mind you. Fantasy elves. Tolkien elves. Well, as I started writing the story just sort of – took over – and I ended up with something much more interesting, to me at least. I did leave a small nod to the original idea that stimulated the book by having my races keep the pointed ears. But it’s very subtle, and most readers might miss it. Which is fine. It was a tribute to me, really. 🙂

 

How Does Your Writing Process Work?   Process? Well, I’m a very, very new writer, so I don’t know that I have a definite process yet. But thus far, I tend to sit and write fairly linearly. I don’t map out or outline the story itself much – at least, I didn’t at first. With Fire Blessed, I’m going back in time a bit and weaving an alternate story line along with the first, so I’ve created a huge timetable so that I don’t make a monumental mistake. One thing that I have done, is some extreme world building/rules/development. I have a slight obsessive/compulsive issue, so when I created this new world I needed a map for it – so I drew one. Then, when I started creating my magic system I had to create an entire spreadsheet keeping track of the different aspects and how they manifest in my characters … I’ve done entire notebooks of ‘research and development’ – some of it so minor that I don’t know that it makes a difference to anyone except me.

Oh, and a final note about my writing process? I’m super needy. No really! I lucked out and got the most phenomenal beta reader in the universe (no, I won’t share! =P) who has limitless amounts of patience with me. I have to have someone read through my stuff and comment on it – even the stuff that I know is amazing. It’s important to me that someone read through and say, “Yes, this makes sense. No, you aren’t going off on an unnecessary tangent. Yes, this is stupid. Fix it.” Good, bad, indifferent – I just need some sort of feedback before I can move on. It’s weird.

 

Tag People!

Well, all my writer blogs were already tagged. Except for one or two really famous writers who may or may not have time to respond. Oh well. Here’s my list of peeps – maybe having two nominations will push them to answer?

Winter Bayne

Zen/Xen

Write me a book, John!

Rachel Carrera, Novelist

A Writer’s Life for Me

Kim Harrison’s Drama

The start of something beautiful … Maybe.

Welcome to my new blog! For those of you who don’t know, I’m Crystin, a budding new author, as well as an avid reader, obsessive gamer, and mediocre artist. I currently have a manuscript in the final revision stages, tentatively titled UnBlessed. It’s slated to be part of a series, which again, is tentatively called The Blessings of Myrillia. I say tentative, because I tend to change my mind every other day. The original title of the novel was A Race Apart, but I feel that the new one is more fitting for a young adult fantasy novel.

Over the next few days (or weeks) I plan to explain a little more about the world of Myrillia, add a teaser about the novel, post a few excerpts, and hopefully add a little contest or two before the book is officially published. Be sure to check in to see what’s in store!