It’s not a yacht.

2016-05-11Being an author means we get cool things, right?  All too often, I see people talk about making enough from their book sales to buy a yacht.  I don’t want one.  Instead, I got a house.

Ok, so I already owned it, and it’s certainly not a mansion.  Our little dream home is a one bedroom cottage in a lovely, quiet town.  It’s also a wreck, but my husband I see the potential for lovely evenings on the porch with our laptops, enjoying crazy storms and mosquitos while the puppies play at our feet.  To do that, we need to do a little work, first.

Yes, that’s me in the bottom of that picture.  I was sitting on a “cooch-choo-choo” (aka floor roller), drinking a bit (hence the fancy name for the floor roller) and papering my floor.  Once that is done, we’ll start putting the finishing touches on the walls.  I’m thrilled because hopefully I’ll get to move into my lovely little cottage in another month… give or take.

The downside is that this is a LOT of work.  The husband and I always dreamed of building our own place.  Sure, what we’re doing doesn’t exactly count, but it does satisfy that urge to live in a home that we made together.  The hundred-year-old house is perfect for us and a complete dream come true.  It’s also the reason I’ve been pushing out my backlist so fast.  The extra income from book sales has all gone into either making more books or those “tiny” things a home needs, like a new roof, walls, floor, appliances….

Well, and that amazing lipstick red hair.

But, this is what I bought with the “big” money I made as an author.  Renovations are ahead of schedule.  Things we weren’t sure we could afford are actually happening.  My little author’s retreat is becoming a reality!

Now, while I won’t be taking time off to tour the world on my yacht (which seems rather miserable to my stay-at-home minded self), my releases may slow down just a bit.  That means 6 weeks before y’all get the next book instead of just 4.  I mean, you might have to wait as long as two whole months before the next release.  (I doubt it, I like releasing books too much).

And when I get the chance to finally move into my dream home?  Yeah, there’s an office dedicated to writing.  My husband jokes that he’s going to build a box around me, with a warning light for when he shouldn’t interrupt.  I figure the frantic slapping of keys will be enough of a sign to warn him off.  Either way, I anticipate my writing to get back into full swing – and then some!

So, if you wonder why I’m behind on my reading, reviewing, and social media commenting… now you know.

A secret about being an author

PV07C4Z2D7

I write books.  I have these ideas in my head and the roll around until they spill out my fingers and onto the page.  The craziest thing is that some people actually like them.  Because the stories I write are all made up, that makes me an author.

But, no matter how many times I do this, no matter how many people love or hate my books, I always get nervous about it.  Releasing a book into the wide blue yonder of the world is one of the most terrifying experiences ever.  I can never tell if the public (i.e. readers) will love or hate the strange, twisted little thoughts inside my head.  I can’t guess if they will approve of my vision of strong women or hate them.  I have no idea of what I find “sexy” in a man will sway them or revolt them.  I can’t even fathom if a plot twist is truly engaging or yet another tired trope.

Until I read the reviews.

So, here I am, a few tequilas in, and hoping that somewhere out there are people who enjoy my book.  I see the sales.  I read the people who love and hate the book (because the extremes are typically most likely to review it) but I rarely know what people wish to see in their next book.  I can’t guess what it is that they like in a novel.

All I know is what I like.  I’m so tired of books that spill everything out in a few chapters.  I’m sick and tired of stories that are only a single layer deep.  I can’t take anymore books that are little more than an author’s self aggrandizing wish fulfillment put to paper (or whatever).  I think that stories are a journey that is meant to be enjoyed.

All too often I read people saying they want more world building.  Usually followed by someone claiming that the story is too slow and focused on the details rather than the plot.  No one can decide, it seems.  So, I have come to a decision.

Keep in mind, I’m celebrating yet another wonderful release with my amazing fans and a new potential career built on imagination and hard work.  I’m thrilled with my books.  I’m stunned with the potential for success as an indie author.  I’ve also had just enough drinks and hours chatting with the people who make me feel confident about myself to have made a decision.

I write books for me.  I am an author.  I can never guess what others will like.  I only know the kind of stories that move ME, and make me want to spend months dwelling inside those worlds.  I am the one that has to put my name to the cover.  I am the one that will read them over and over and over and over again until I am so sick of the characters that I’m ready to move on.  I am the person who holds this whole thing up, and so I must write books that **I** like.  I can’t guess what will make others happy, and I shouldn’t try.

And still….

I can’t stop checking the reviews of my books.  I can’t stop hoping that the readers like what I have spent so many hours making.  I can’t stop wishing that I’m a good enough author to make them happy, or that I can learn the magic to become one.

And this, my friends, is the secret.  All of us, regardless of what type of art we make, secretly hope that somewhere out there is another person who kinda likes it.  I’m not any different.portrait-1097920.jpg

The world of the Iliri

Salryc's SearchEvery so often, an author stumbles into a world that is so real in their minds that they can almost smell the dust on the breeze.  For me, that is Ogun, the planet where the iliri reside.  Yes, in my head it has a name.  No, I don’t use that name in the books for a very long time because it’s not important to the stories.

Now, if you do a small amount of searching (which I’ll spare you) then you’ll see that Ogun is an African deity of war and iron.  On a world where metal is hard to come by and rarely is found in ore form, I thought it was apropos.  And many of my careful readers will notice that most humans are described in shades that are typically dark… I dunno, think there might be a link?

I’ve always seen the landscape as being rolling with extreme outcroppings of mountains.  The climate should be temperate (think Northern USA/England) due to the size of the continent.  The two moons in the sky that orbit in tandem would make ocean travel nearly impossible.  Just imagine the severity of the tides!  In my mind, the sky is so blue that it’s blinding.  The planet is simply gorgeous, filled with flowers, vibrant trees, and all of the beauty of a spring countryside.  It’s the type of place that fairies should play and myths should live.

fantasy-landscape-scenery-4Yet, there’s war.  It seems when humanity is involved and resources are scarce, there’s always war.  The stronger tend to take what they need from those weaker than them.  It’s a part of humanity’s animalistic instincts that we can’t seem to leave behind.  Isn’t it ironic then, that the iliri are the ones called animals?  They growl.  They bite.  They live in packs, yet their civilization hunts rather than makes war.

Then there are the towns.  Without metal, so many things are impossible.  Electricity, as an example.  How do you transport it without a conductive wire?  What about pumping water?  That requires either gravity or electricity to move in any kind of decent amount (or a lot of mechanical power).  Cisterns on roofs?  But wait!  Without metals, building a structure capable of handling that much water would be cumbersome and clunky.  It would encourage the population to embrace massive structures for the strength to have their luxuries.  Over thousands of years, wouldn’t a world like this revert to outdated traditions that seem nearly medieval to us?  And yet the technology wouldn’t necessarily be lost.

I find that dichotomy of civilization to be fascinating.  I can spend hours thinking about how a street should be built.  Debating the cultural changes due to differences in governmental types is one of my favorite past times.  I mean, would living in a judiciary have a more passive population than those in a true democracy?  What about a parliamentary republic?

I’m six, nearly seven books into this series, and I feel as if I could call this world home.  I’m in love with it.  I hope my readers can see the wonders buried in the mundane workings of the cities and countries that the Black Blades travel through.  I also can’t wait to reveal many of the other secrets lurking beneath the surface.  History does have a way of being discovered, and I think a far flung world would be no different.

 

 

 

The mindset to write (and when not to)

young-791849_1920

There are times that an author shouldn’t write.  Well, not on their story, at any rate.  Today is one of those days for me.  You see, I have a cold.  I took something to make it all better.  My head is swimming, my reason has flown the coop and I’m basically stupid.

Anything I put down today would be a waste of time.  It would likely pull my plot(s) off track, alter character perceptions, and just derail everything.  Being sick kinda sucks, but it made me realize something.

I didn’t get where I am by putting off writing.  I made it a priority in my life, pushing other things out of the way to make room.  I can’t remember the last time I watched TV.  I’m certainly not current on the news.  I have a brain filled with strange trivia information – like the average bleed-out times for most major arteries, or what colors birds can see in – because I had to research that for a book.

Everything I do revolves around my writing.  My husband knows this.  Thankfully, he encourages me.  He’ll lock himself away playing video games, make dinner and bring it to my desk, or any number of things to keep me “in the zone” and pumping out the next book.  My day job has hours that are convenient to write around.  My hobbies are planned around my next release.  My world revolves around my books because I am an author.

That means, for me, it’s easier to find the right mindset to write.  I don’t get interrupted anymore.  I don’t have people think that I can answer a million questions while planning a complex plot.  I no longer need to explain that distracting me from the words on the screen means that I have to backtrack and start all over.  (A few brilliant tantrums fixed that very nicely, thank you very much.)

And now, this.  Stupid medication making me silly.  I have time to write.  I have the urge to write.  I’m not gonna do it because………Oh, isn’t that shiny?  I’m sorry, was I saying something?

You get the idea: me dumb on drugs.

So, hopefully, someone is out there writing the next masterpiece.  I’m gonna go crawl back into bed and pretend to be a slug.