Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#IWSG- Book Domination Wednesday!

Welcome one and all to another episode of how the writer’s world turns—aka the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Once a month, writers from all over the globe gather online and share our thoughts, fears, and hopes.

Today is that day!

The suggested question for this month, is where do you see yourself (writing wise) in five years. A fair enough question.

I see a drunken faery on every bookshelf and a pissed merc at every desk!  World book domination!

Okay, so maybe not.

Part of answering such a question is to look back at where you've been.  In March 2014, I decided that I was going to take my writing career into my own hands and self publish in March 2015.

March 26th, 2015 The Glass Gargoyle came out.

I am now working on final edits for the fourth book in that series (my fifth book over all since I started publishing).

Within five years, I would love to be able to leave my day job, to spend all of my time wandering around all of the worlds that live in my head. If you read my books, you’ve seen two of the worlds, but there are many more beyond those.

If, however, I still have to maintain my day job by then, I see myself still getting my worlds out there—just not as quickly as I could as a full-time writer. 

At my current pace, I can probably hit 2 and a half books a year (based on that, if I were a full time writer, I’d say it would be closer to 4 a year).

At least 10 books—probably more. This would mean, The Lost Ancient’s original six book series would be finished; The AsarlaĆ­ Wars trilogy would be done. The steampunk series would have launched and be a few books in. At least two other series would have started. (And most likely some short stories or novellas from the two finished series--nothing is ever REALLY finished ;)).

My writing and book processing routine probably won't have changed--but with each book my skill and knowledge would hopefully have grown.

In five years I hope to be a better writer, with more books, that are enjoyed by more people. Aka doing more of what I love.

Happy IWSG day!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NaNo Fail

Well another NaNoWriMo has come to a close--and for a second time in a row I didn't make it. But a lot of my friends DID make it- some are listed to the right ----all those folks who have over 50,000 words won. If you've never tried doing 50,000 words in one month you might not know the epic achievement that is. To make it easier to see--that is completing between 175 and 200 PAGES in a month (depends on word counts per page ;)).

That. Is. HUGE!

So for all my NaNoing friends who won- CONGRATS!!! 

Now for the folks like me, who hit the wall.

Totally not making excuses here, but I did know it was a long shot since I was editing The Sapphire Manticore at the same time I was NaNo-ing Victorious Dead. But I love the excitement and madness of NaNo, so I tried it anyway.

Sadly, the combo didn't work as well as had been hoped and I also hit an emotional wall Thanksgiving week.

But even though I didn't win, I am so glad I did it.

NaNo 2016 Round up:

Victorious Dead is now at 159 pages (I had some words down prior to NaNo)--I wouldn't be that far, especially while in edits, without NaNo.

I still love all the energy around NaNo. Seriously folks, it's the one time of year writers can spend a month with folks who are as crazy as they are--if you write, you should try it at least once.

I will most likely go for it again next year--even if I am doing something like editing another book. Not everything created during NaNo is usable--but I always find parts that are.

339,407. That is the number of words I have done during my NaNo lifetime (they keep track--I sure wouldn't have known. )

This was my 8th year- I won 5 out of those 8. Last year was like this one where I just knew that there was no way I could catch up without killing myself. That day job I have doesn't understand, "Can I take a week off to just write? I'm behind on my NaNo."

Even if you don't write- find something to push yourself!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Okay, I just made up that word. It’s not a misspelling of scheming, it refers to schema (psychology’s usage) “A schema is a mental concept that informs a person about what to expect from a variety of experiences and situations. Schemas are developed based on information provided by life experiences and are then stored in memory. Our brains create and use schemas as a short cut to make future encounters with similar situations easier to navigate. “

What all that says, is that as we build more experiences and repeat situations, we begin to form expectations about a situational outcome in similar situations.

For writers and readers that means if you pick up a book with a demure 16th century maiden on it, being clenched by a big burly highlander, you are NOT going to be expecting a slasher scene in the middle of the book. Or anywhere in it.

People who design covers, whether it be the author themselves, someone they hired, or a publisher and in-house artists, strive to make sure the cover is appealing, but also targeted to peoples’ schemas for the book’s subject matter. If I want a historical romance with a good-looking Scot, that book I mentioned above is perfect.

When we pick up a book based on the cover, then read the blurb, maybe a page or two, more of our schemas engage. A word might through us off and we think of other books that we didn’t enjoy based on a concept or wording that seems similar.

So what has this to do with writing you ask? Everything.

If I am writing a slasher book, but no one gets slashed until page 130, I have a problem, and any readers have probably dumped the book in disgust.

Same thing if I were writing something with a lot of sex—I’d better let the reader know up front (through cover, blurb, etc) and I better not wait until page 200 for the action. Inversely, if I’m not writing graphic sex, springing it on a reader at the end of a book, or in a later book in the series when it hasn’t been in evidence at all previously, can shock a reader.

Working with schemas doesn’t mean being predictable—we all read for new adventures—it just means falling within the expectations of the reader.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Two awesome reviews! Thank you #RT!

I have been horribly remiss in not posting this sooner--but I received two wonderful reviews from the big kahuna's of book reviewing- Romantic Times Book Reviews!

To be fair, I just found these-LOL. Tell's you how focused I get when I'm racing to a deadline ;).


RT Rating:

auhor(s): Marie Andreas

Andreas has already been making a name for herself with her terrific fantasy series The Lost Ancients, but now she kicks off a fast-paced and high-energy SF series featuring a band of mercenaries led by Starship Captain Vaslisha Tor Dain. There is plenty of action, thrills and some humor in her new series, The AsarlaĆ­ Wars, as these mercenaries become reluctant sort-of heroes in the face of treachery and fanaticism. The launch book sets up this dangerous universe and fills it with amazing characters who are sure to grab reader’s hearts and minds. This is going to be a very twisty and dangerous ride!
Captain Vaslisha Tor Dain only planned to be on vacation for a couple of weeks, so when she returns to find that her beloved ship The Victorious Dead has been “mistakenly” scrapped for parts, she is livid and bent both on revenge and getting her ship put back together. In the meantime they have a job to do, so Vas takes the only ship available, The Warrior Wench, that used to be a brothel. Vas then rounds up her second in command, the telepath Deven, and the rest of her crew. However Vas nearly dies of a poisoning and only Deven’s quick work saves her. Who or what is after Vas and her crew? Ominously it seems that things are not right in the Commonwealth of Planets. It may be up to Vas to kick butt and take names! (MARIEANDREAS.COM, May, 368 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith

And The Lost Ancients got represented as well!

RT Rating:
Four stars

Author(s): Marie Andreas

Aficionados of action-packed fantasy laced with a generous dose of humor should immediately check out the talented Lost Ancients series. The Emerald Dragon is the third installment in this terrific series which follows the semi-apocalyptic adventures of archaeologist Taryn St. Giles. Elves supposedly disappeared from the Four Kingdoms eons ago and Taryn makes a living mining their ruins. Andreas does a fantastic job building a compelling world and developing characters that leap off the page! Fantasy fans should not miss out.
Beccia used to be a quiet little city until Taryn’s talent for digging placed them at the epicenter of two previous destructive encounters with ancient relics. Although Taryn and her friends/allies (including her trio of often-drunken fairy sidekicks) prevented previous doomsdays, they again find trouble after a series of explosive tremors rock the area. When Alric the elf disappears while investigating, Taryn starts a hunt to find him. Suddenly she is up against bloodthirsty relic hunters and nightmarish monsters as they all hunt for the legendary lost emerald dragon! (MARIE ANDREAS, Apr., 324 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith

Thank you Jill M. Smith and RT Book Reviews! These really made me scream, cry, jump around like a mad woman, and generally mean way more to me than you could know. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#IWSG- Joys of writing

Welcome to another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! 

 Every month, writers from across the globe join and shout our fears into the Universe!  Join us!

Today's question was "What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?" I really have to give two answers- just because ;).

1) Creating new worlds and new characters- my people become very real to me, and I might not like all of them, but I respect them. Many I adore, most I wish I was more like. The joy of creating new characters and setting them lose in a new world is amazing. Knowing, "Oh, she'd NEVER do that" just after a few pages of meeting a character is very very cool. 

I've always been a storyteller, creating people out of anything around me or just in my head. Writing takes it out of my head and lets me tell larger stories.

2) The second part didn't happen until I published--total strangers reading MY books, and some LOVING them! That is a very VERY cool aspect to being a writer. I would still create my people and my stories even if I couldn't share them, but sharing my worlds is a very special feeling.

I count myself extremely lucky that I can create things and share them-it's a wonderful feeling.

Happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Finishing a book

I'm writing this moments after finishing the first draft of book four in my Lost Ancients fantasy series. The Sapphire Manticore is alive!

This is a seriously big book, currently at 400 pages. I know it will shift a lot with rounds of editing, mine and others, but right now it's a very big, bouncing, baby book.

I have mixed feelings right now. I'm glad it's done- been waiting this week to get there, and finally hitting it was amazing.

But I'm also a little sad. Yes, I'll be re-reading it until I'm blue in the face, and editing like mad the next month or so, but it's not the same. This book I really pushed. Since the end of August I've been hitting 5 or more pages a day- for a writer with a full time day job, that's pretty good (at least this writer ;)). That type of rate builds a closeness to the story I wasn't expecting.

And it's left me a little sad. But like I said, there will be edits, and book five and six will be waiting :).

Sleep well my little drunken hooligans, another adventure has been recorded.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Push it...

Yeah, okay, so sorry if some of you now have Salt & Pepper's song in your head. But today I wanted to talk about pushing ourselves--in this case for writing, but it's true for most everything.

It's easy to believe we are driving ourselves as hard as we can. That we're doing the most we can do. This is especially true if we're trying to do more than one thing with the bulk of our time--in my case, a full time day job and building a writing career.

I would love to say that I am a naturally driven person, that I set goals before the sun comes up and have them weeping in the corner before breakfast.

But that would be a lie.

I'm naturally very lazy. REALLY lazy. Unless I'm trapped somewhere I don't want to be, I am never bored simply because I am that good at doing nothing.

Yet, I have written more words since the end of August than I probably did for the six months prior. And, as noted in prior blogs, it's not because my day job slowed down--I work at a college and the start of the semester is intense. 

It's because I made a conscious effort to stretch myself, to increase my writing goals in the face of intense madness at the day job. I started with a goal of 1500 words a day in The Sapphire Manticore (the fantasy series), and if I hit that, I could start working on Victorious Dead (space opera trilogy) at 500 words a shot.

With a few weeks of that under my belt, I increased to 1600 a day--these are work days mind you, the weekends are between 2000 and 3000 depending on what is going on. But I am writing every day. If I'm sick, I might write less, but I am still writing something. It keeps me set in my worlds, so even when I'm not working on them, part of my brain is thinking about them.

I've been at 1700 words since October first, and am now going to bump it to 1800 (aka about 6 pages a day). I am actually kind of surprised at this pace, but I've noticed that I feel much better when the words are done. And I feel better about the books in question.

When we push ourselves, even just a little at a time, we stretch what we're able to accomplish. Right now, stand up. stick your arms out from your sides, and twist one direction. Go as far as you comfortably can. Note how far you go, then turn back to where you started. Now do it again. Your "as far as you can go" is a little further. Because you stretched yourself, and can now reach further.

That's why things like NaNoWriMo (Google it ;)) can really help some folks, they make you stretch further than you thought capable. 

Pushing what you think you can do by constantly stretching just a tiny bit further will get you closer to your goal. And will help you realize just what you're capable of.

If it works for a lazy person like me, it will work for anyone.