Romance Writers Weekly – The First Time…

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Welcome to the romance Writers Weekly blog hop, where every week a great group of romance writers answer questions and accept challenges. Diverse in what we write, we are unified in the quest to bring you, the romance reader, a very happy ever after.

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Check out Ace by Lyra Parish

Check out Ace by Lyra Parish

If you’re starting your blog hop here, or just hopping over from Lyra Parish’s wonderful blog, welcome.

Today I provided our topic – Think back to that day you first decided you were going to write a book/story. Tell us about what led you to start putting those first words on the page.

I came up with this topic because I was remembering back to that time I first decided to write a book. I was completely naive about what it took, but I had this story rattling around in my head.

June, 1980: Yup, 36 years I’ve been at this, and I’ve got the rejections to prove it.

Anyway, I was a new father, and a few days after my son and wife came home from the hospital, we’d just put the baby down for his afternoon nap. I grabbed up my old manual typewriter (no computer back then) and just started typing. IMG_0389Yes, I still have that typewriter. I can’t seem to let it go.

Anyway, the story was a fantasy inspired by Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. I typed for days, every free moment I could find. And it was pretty bad. My spelling, grammar, sentence structure – complete crap.

But I still think the story is pretty good. It took me over 10 years to finish. And by finish I mean just barely begin. I had a very rough, rough draft, but I didn’t know that at the time. I packaged it up and sent it off (with the mandatory Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) and waited for the money to start rolling in. When it came back, it included my first official rejection.

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Dear Author? Oh, that can’t be good.

The novel is still a piece of crap, though I have taken it out to work on from time to time. Maybe…someday…until then it’s hidden safely away from the world, in a drawer full of my early writings.

So, what inspired Leslie Hachtel to put pen to paper? Find out, as the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop continues at: https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com/

Check out Emma's Dance by Leslie Hachtel.

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A Wicked Perspective

My wife and I spent an incredible evening in Appleton WI that included going to see the musical production of Wicked.

I, like Dorothy, was completely blown away.

Without giving up too much of the story, in case you haven’t seen the play or read the book, it’s the Wizard of Oz story told from the Wicked Witch’s point of view.

It also made me think about perspective. So much of what we ‘see’ in a book is filtered through the eyes of the character whose perspective we are in at the time. While the same events happen, the way they are viewed and experienced, along with the internal dialogue of the character, can completely change the scene and the story.

I sometimes find in my own writing that, even though I know what’s going to happen, just changing the perspective character can bring out nuances and surprising insights.

In my romances I usually stay in the hero’s or heroine’s viewpoint, so there are really only two options. I just finished writing a high fantasy, with quite a large and diverse ensemble cast. Chapter to chapter I used the character I felt told the story best at that time. Some of my beta readers suggested I might have used too many different points of view. I’m not sure I agree, but I do plan on going back in and looking at each scene through different character’s eyes.

The book is titled Amulet of the Fallen God, and is hopefully coming yet this year. It’s a bit of a divergence from what I’ve published before, and there’s still lots of work to do on it, so we will see.

Recovery and beyond.

I apologize for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. I spent most of last week at the Gencon Gaming convention in Indianapolis. I was able to do a bit of promotion and made some great contacts. The payback has been a few days of lethargy and lousy writing. I feel I’m back on track now, though, and ready to plot my way into the future.

I’m going to be stepping back a bit, over the next few weeks to reevaluate my game-plan. The past two years have been a real learning experience. One of the things I have decided to do at one point, is to pull all my books and redo the covers. This will make those original versions incredibly rare. So if I ever do make it big, my original fans may have a real collectors item.

Anyway, around the time I finish the third Demons Rising book I will be pulling the other two off the market for a bit then relaunching the series. I have also decided to scrap the title of the third book. I haven’t come up with the new title yet, but Knight of the Night just isn’t fitting the story that’s emerging.

Also on my platter for later this year, I have decided to self-pub my Fantasy novel, Amulet of the Fallen God. I am considering doing a Kickstarter on this book to raise money for professional editing and a nice cover. It is again something new to look into, but I was able to talk to some people doing this and it seems a good path to take.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my little world. Now back to writing…

Until next time,

Steve

Good things happen in threes

In writing there is the Rule of Three. It’s not so much a rule as a guideline, but it works. Sometimes the rule of three carries over to the real world and today I’ve got three pieces of good news to pass along:

First: The print version of Swiftly Beats the Heart is now available to purchase on CreateSpace by clicking here. It will also be available soon from Amazon.com (but I make a little more if you buy it direct from CreateSpace). I know there are some of you that are unable to read the Kindle Version. I hope you will pick this up and let me know what you think.

 

Second: Yesterday I received a request for a partial of Amulet of the Fallen God from one of the literary agents I queried. Of course it’s not a sure thing, but it is the first step in getting a new agent for my writing. Also, this was a well respected agency, who represent some awesome authors, with many books on the best sellers lists. I sure hope they like what they see.

 

Third: I am moving ahead on a deal that will possibly make Spanish & French translations and Audio books available for Swiftly Beats the Heart and any future self-published books.

 

There is so much happening right now, and it’s all very exciting. For the first time in my life, I think, I’m really looking forward to going to work each day.

 

Until next time,

Steve

Query time

Amulet of the Fallen God is complete and extensively edited, which means it query time. I have been planning on using this novel to search for a new agent, so it is once again time to cast a wide net and see if I can get any nibbles. I’m really happy with the way the novel came out. It’s 99,040 words and has a lot of action and romance. It’s a fantasy with romance elements. It’s not a romance because I just couldn’t get Allsa and Dravious together at the end for a ‘happy ever after’ ending. It will probably happen in a sequel, but there was a a small roadblock at the end of the book that needed to be there for the right ending of this part of their story.

I’m very happy with the initial results for Swiftly beats the Heart. Lots of copies were downloaded during the FREE promotion, and I’ve also had a few sales for real money. I just received the proof for the print edition today, and I am hoping to have that available soon for those of you without the ability to read the kindle ebook version.I’m also hoping to get some reviews on Amazon and GoodReads to help create new interest. It’s still amazing to me that so many people are reading my story.

There is so much to do. I am now planning on my next release. I’m going to try and release my Demon Gate series. First will come There’s no such thing as Werewolves and I hope to have it ready to upload by the middle of next month sometime. That will be followed by Templars Gate and after that Demons of Dusk. I still need to finish writing the last book, and give the first two a really good edit run. Then there’s covers and formatting.

It’s a lot of work, but I have to admit…I’ve never been happier.

Until next time,

Steve

 

 

Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Star Trek vs. Star Wars

 

I’m spending a lot of time in space lately, working on two novels at the same time (not something I would recommend) that both take place in the future. These two stories, however, take place in two very different futures.

Hearts in Orbit is my new romance which takes place in a bright future, where people live for the most part in harmony and technology is used to benefit the human race. A beneficent galactic government guards and protects, provides education and stimulates opportunity for the people of the Federated Planets. There’s no hunger or need. I see this as my ‘Star Trek’ world. It’s that utopian future so many of the early science fiction writers embraced. Threats to the galaxy’s peace come from external sources (alien cultures, asteroids, viruses, etc.). For the most part, people have found a way to work out their problems and live in peace with each other. Well, except for Mari and Rigel (my H/H) who will have a bit of internal conflict on their way to falling in love.

Destany: Cloud Fist is a dystopian space opera I’m playing around with. Think of it as Battlestar Galactica meets Hunger Games. It’s a dark galaxy with various human factions fighting over limited resources. Greed, fear and self preservation motivate the action. The conflict comes from within. People against people. Beliefs against beliefs. This is my ‘Star Wars’ world, and this is NOT a romance. Michael has to struggle just to survive in a galaxy full of conflict. If you’re looking for happy ever after, look elsewhere.

I love Star Trek and Star Wars. These two epic science fiction franchises are both inspirational in their own ways. I think that Star Wars tends to give us a sense of who we are, while Star Trek gives us a vision of where we want to go. Getting there, of course, will make for some fun storytelling, and I plan to revisit both of these worlds in my future writing, but most especially the dark world of Destany: Cloud Fist.

Political forces thrown into an epic fight for the heart and soul of the human race is a great backdrop for drama and storytelling. I have to admit, I am many times drawn to the ‘dark side’ in my writing. In my last novel, Amulet of the Fallen God, I discovered just how much fun it was to write from the viewpoint of my villains. Good and Evil are rarely absolutes and it was as much fun to find the humanity in my villains as it was to find the shortcomings in my heroes.

That said, I consider myself an optimist. While I will continue to write about dark, decaying worlds (Star Wars) I still think it’s possible for us to achieve a much brighter (Star Trek) future.

Until next time,

Steve

New year, new novel(s)

Happy New year!

I ended 2011 and the first draft of Amulet of the Fallen God on the same day. I’m very happy with the story. It ended up at 95,823 words, a bit short of my goal of 100,000 words, but the story is complete and solid. I just sent it out to my beta readers, and their comments and input often lead to me adding more words so I might still make that. In any case I am happy with the result.

My resolutions for 2012 include writing 2 new novels and getting at least one more thing published (even if I have to self-publish it). I am in the process of tweaking Cheetah and Zoom and will probably play around with self-publishing this novella.

I already have the plot and main characters for my next novel. I’ve entitled it Hearts in Orbit. It will be a futuristic, space romance. I plan on diving into this within the next few weeks to see where the characters take me. I think the second novel of 2012 will be one I started last year entitled Destiny: Cloud Fist, a Dystopian Science Fiction story which also takes place on a space ship and distant planet. So it looks like I will be spending next year in outer space. People who know me will be asking: “…and this is different how?”

Anyway, I have a bright new year ahead, and much to accomplish. When it’s ready I’ll be using Amulet of the Fallen God to search for a new agent, hoping to find one that deals with Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance. I will also look at shipping Son of Thunder around for a second time, hoping to get some interest in it.

Busy, but busy the way I like it.

I hope you all have a safe and fun year, and will stay with me as I venture out to a galaxy (or 2) far, far away.

Steve