April 7, 2017

Writing After Life Kicks You in the Teeth

I always thought that writer's block wasn't a real thing. That you could just sit down and start writing, and eventually you would figure out what should happen next. I wrote for over seven years and hadn't ever experienced a block that I couldn't work free of in an hour. Free writing, brain maps, and character interviews are all useful for that sort of thing. I've even written ridiculously impossible scenes before and then edited them into coherency.

Then my life blew up.

It's not that I didn't have time to write. Everyone has time to write, if they make it a priority. (Or so I've been told.) But my life was falling apart, and I felt like I couldn't talk to anybody about it for over a year. And the emotional stress, or depression, or whatever you want to call it (neither of those terms seem quite right) whatever it was, it sucked the creativity out of me. I can't really explain it any other way. I had no desire to be creative or think about stories or even read. Which is kind of a big deal, for me. I didn't read a single book for a year.

Like I said, it's not that I didn't have the time. It's not that I didn't have ideas or something to be working on. (I've been in the middle of Lost Princesses for an embarrassingly long time.) I just didn't. Or couldn't. I'm not sure which.

During that time, I moved twice and took care of my kids, took a few college classes, and prepared to build my life back from the ground up. And I'm still in the middle of that process. But recently, I had a story idea.

Not just any idea. The first idea I've had in a very, very long time. The first inkling that I would ever be able to write again. (The guilt of not finishing my other books had been the only motivation I'd had during that time, and it wasn't enough motivation, obviously.)

I wrote down my idea, sketching out a short story from beginning to end. And I've been kinda excited about it.

And then today, I had an idea on six other related short stories that could become something very cool. Something I've never seen before in fiction. And I got so excited about it that I felt an almost panicky feeling. The feeling that I needed to write. Now.

So I did. I wrote a thousand words today.

I'm not sure what will happen with my writing. I don't know when the next book will come out. But what I can tell you is that I am writing. And it feels awesome.

April 3, 2015

Get 10 YA Fantasy Ebooks, at a Price You Like

If you haven't heard, The Fairy Tale Trap is part of a name-your-price ebook bundle on storybundle.com. Ten ebooks, all of them Young Adult Fantasy stories about crossing worlds.

The covers alone for this bundle make me want to do a happy dance. Aren't they gorgeous?

And, if that's not enough, the authors of these books have come together to offer a contest. By helping to spread the word about this bundle, you increase your chances of winning.

What's the prize?

You get to choose. $100 Amazon gift card, or a Kindle Fire. (I'm imagining a nice stack of new books. $100 could buy a lot of ebooks.)

Click the image to go to the contest

March 3, 2015

Adventures in Genre-Hopping: The Short Story Plunge

Okay. I did it. I finished a time travel story. It's short, but it's time travel and it's mine.

My first published short story is out!

Time Killer
by Emily Casey

Detective Dominic is trying to solve a dozen murders--all with the same MO. The catch is, the murders have happened so close together, it would be impossible for one person to commit them all. 
At least, that's what she thought. But everything changes when Dominic finds a time machine in the desk of one of the victims. 
Now, Detective Dominic has to chase down a time-hopping serial killer before he commits one more murder, one much closer to home.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers.

February 27, 2015

Adventures in Genre-Hopping: Getting the Story Down

So, I had a premise. I had a character. I had an opening. Now it was just time to sit down and write the darn thing. Right?

My first time travel novel. It was supposed to be great. I was going to write the best dad-gum YA time travel book ever written. I'd done the research. I'd thought long and hard. I had everything. This was it.

I sat down to write. And I typed. The words came slowly at first, then faster. I build a few new settings, I had new characters walk onto the page. My character learned the ins and outs of being a time traveler working for The Agency. (Clever name, right? I was just trying to get the words down. "Names can be changed" was my mantra.)

And as Kass (my main character) learned how time travel worked in this world, I learned how time travel worked. I had to invent a lot of it as I wrote. I didn't want to slow down and figure out every little detail before writing the first chapter. People have died of old age doing it that way.

So I got 50,000 words of this story written. There were some unexpected developments. There was a nice, fat plot twist I hadn't seen coming. There was some witty banter.

But the book was destined for the recycle bin.

The plot was cliche. The plot was slow.

The character was flat. A puppet, doing what I needed her to do because I needed to figure things out.

I looked back at what I'd written. The majority of a mediocre (at best) story.

You know what would be better? If Kass broke that rule, without understanding it, and then had to suffer the consequences. That's much more interesting than getting lectured on every possible thing that could go wrong, and then being afraid of breaking said rule.

Also, I should probably try to figure out this character who keeps popping up. His motivations are confusing to me because all he does is taunt my main character. WHY is he doing this?!

And... the whole having-to-do-schoolwork thing? It's really cramping my style. If I made her six months older, she could go to college. Maybe I should treat her like an adult.

Can I do that? Wouldn't it not be YA anymore?

These thoughts, and more, are what brought me to the conclusion that I need to rethink this book. I've played around with the world and met a ton of characters. But now, it's time to get serious. I need to KNOW this world, its laws, and its characters. And I need a main character who makes mistakes.

Let's try this again.
.i2Style{ font:bold 24px Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif; font-style:normal; color:#ffffff; background:#67b310; border:0px none #ffffff; text-shadow:0px -1px 1px #222222; box-shadow:2px 2px 5px #000000; -moz-box-shadow:2px 2px 5px #000000; -webkit-box-shadow:2px 2px 5px #000000; border-radius:90px 10px 90px 10px; -moz-border-radius:90px 10px 90px 10px; -webkit-border-radius:90px 10px 90px 10px; width:96px; padding:20px 43px; cursor:pointer; margin:0 auto; } .i2Style:active{ cursor:pointer; position:relative; top:2px; }