For My Goddaughter on Her First Birthday

The With Love collection is for the special people in my life.

They say good things come in small packages, but your heart is forever growing.

Your heart can hold immeasurable love and beauty.

Your heart can keep you going when life tires you.

Your heart can light your path when darkness falls.

Your heart can warm you when you are cold.

Don’t let your heart stop growing.

With love,

Your Fairy Godmother.

A Fantasy in Darkness


Check out more from my Embracing Darkness series.

Darkness consumes me in its obsidian, a welcome relief from the blinding light of day. It wraps me in its coldness, and I let it. A black veil draws closed another day, and here, in my stillness, I have only myself.

I am free, yet Darkness traps me in my own imagination. It follows me like a shadow. Never ceases. Never strays. Never stops. Constant thoughts battle in deafening war of truths and lies. They steal the reality of the light and turn them into what I please.

Fantasies grown from a single seed, and I reap the bounty as if famine had denied my imagination of its sustenance. Vines of lies and illusions twist and entwine, but all I see is life and beauty in this dark place. Why can I not see the lie?

I reach for what I think is real only to grasp at air that chokes me. I lose myself in the toxicity of it. Breaths do not come, only retching and agony. Fallen, I flail, reaching for something sturdy, a hand, a rail, anything that can help me up. But here I stay on the floor in my darkness with the fantasies and lies.

Tell me the truth. Why lie?

Image by Kellepics at pixabay.com.

Writing Ranting with Others!

Join my Discord group and rant about writing with others. @LoveFantasy#0367

Writing is scary. Sharing your writing is scary and confusing and chaotic sometimes. I have a small writing group on Discord called Writing Ranting with Others. It’s not the usual kind of writing group. The main aim of the group is to support and help writers find their way as they embark on their writing journey or if they question the path their on. I’m no expert in writing, but I am an expert in losing my way, including in my writing.

Writing is a tough game. We need thick skin if we want to put our work out there and get published. But we don’t all start that way, and sometimes we might slip back if we’re having a tough time.

Below are just some of the topics I’d like to help writers with.

  • How to deal with advice – I posted about Great Writing Advice last week with some of my favourite sources. It took me a good while to work how where to find advice without overloading my brain, but also how to pick out the right advice for me. 
  • Overcoming stagefright – Sharing is scary, so why not share with the very purpose or having that first critique from people who know the feeling? Honesty doesn’t have to be hard to hear.
  • Taking feedback – Critiques are meant to help writers, but they can also be hard to handle at first. Then there are the conflicting opinions on top. It’s a lot to process when you’re finding your voice.
  • Writer’s block – It’s not always easy to find inspiration when life gets stressful. Sometimes brainstorming for someone else can help wake up your creative side.
  • Using your emotions – Write from the heart and use what you’ve experienced in life to put pen to paper.
  • Indecisiveness – Sometimes you don’t even need advice., You need a second opinion because you’re stuck on a decision. Think aloud with us and get some thoughts back, or maybe you’ll come to your own conclusion by sounding out your options.

I want to help writers deal with the scary and confusing aspects of writing as well as creating a safe place to talk about all kinds of writerly things. Call it group therapy if you like. 

Join my Discord group and rant about writing with others. @LoveFantasy#0367

Image by AndrzejRembowski at pixabay.com

Whispers

Check out more from my Embracing Darkness series.

Through the cold abyss, Darkness whispers. 

You’re weak. You don’t deserve friends.

You lie. 

You’re not good enough. You’re nothing.

I cover my ears, hum a happy tune to drown it out. 

They hurt you. Hurt them back.

No. I won’t.  

You’re a vengeful person. Go on, take your revenge.

Shut up!

You can’t silence me. I’m your worst fears, your nightmares, your pain and suffering.

I said, shut up!

Do something crazy. Do something to show them how they can’t get away with this.

Go away.

You can’t fight me. I’m you.

And I’m you. So shut up and do as I say.

Silence. 

Yeah. I thought so.

Image by SuperHerftigGeneral at pixabay.com

Pondering Publishing Processes!

I’m still deciding if I want to self-publish or go for traditional. My novel is one line edit away from finished (as best I can finish it anyway) and there are things I need in place if I choose self-publishing, and it doesn’t hurt to read up on all the ins and outs of the process. 

There are pros and cons to both self and traditional publishing, but my biggest issue is paying upfront for self-publishing. I find it hard enough to save for a €500 PC let alone thousands for editors, cover designers and ebook designers, just to mention a few self-publishing costs. I just don’t earn enough, hence the reason I need another career. 

But if I could, I would seriously consider self-publishing. I have the time to put into marketing and self-promotion. I have the drive and technological knowledge to use things like social media and design and writing software to my advantage. I even studied media and graphic design, albeit a lifetime ago, so working directly with designers would not be daunting for me. I lack the skills to create the kind of cover I want myself, but I know what I want and what it would invoke in the average person skimming book covers and spines in a bookshop. 

After years of critiquing and having my worked critiqued, I feel confident about working directly with an editor. They know the market better than I do, but I also know what I want my story to achieve. Too many changes would take away from that and it I might have to consider what risk that poses to potential sales. There are sacrifices I’m willing to make, and some I’d rather not not. But if I go with traditional publishing, I won’t have that choice.

So it all comes down to choices, and how long I’m willing to wait to save up so I can keep those choices. Traditional publishing takes a long time, so maybe it’ll take just as long for me either way. 

Title image by Pixel2013 at pixabay.com

Great Writing Advice!

Read more. Read less. Get writing books and learn as much as possible. Plan and outline everything. Just sit down and write. Honestly, even the best writing advice doesn’t work for everyone. 

People regularly ask about the best writing advice on the writing website I’m on. So many people jump in with great thoughts and helpful tips for newbies. Honestly, I wish I’d asked when I first joined the site after drafting a 500+k pentalogy without having a clue. There’s so much information on how to write that it can be overwhelming for newbies.

I think the best advice is to take it one element at a time. 

What newbies tend to forget (me included when I started writing) is that writing is so much more than sitting at a document and typing away. It’s creating interesting characters, having your plot points make sense, considering your genre and target audience. There’s a ton of planning and research that goes into a WIP. Some people do this before they write while others do it as they go. 

I started by just writing and seeing if I came up with a story I wanted to make something of. I wrote a horrible first draft, even by first draft standards. But I considered it a very detailed outline. My next version was from scratch after looking up various writing techniques. But again, it was all too overwhelming with the options. 

After banging my head against my computer screen, I decided to get a couple of books. I started with “Writing Fiction for Dummies” because that’s what I was in relation to writing. It gives some great tips on each aspect of writing without overloading newbies. When I wanted to know more, I looked it up online with the basics already in my head. I then bought “Dialogue” and “Grammar for Fiction Writers” from Mary Kennedy’s “Busy Writer’s Guide” series. I also have “How to Writer Science Fiction & Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card. Between these books, I got more than enough advice to start my journey as a real writer. 

Over time, I found more advice and tips online to build on the basics I’d already learned. The best place I learned is from the critiquing website critiquecircle.com. check it out. You’ll be amazed what you learn by having others critique your work as well as you critiquing theirs.

I discovered some great YouTubers who not only gave great advice, but help writers think about what kind of writer they want to be. For me, this was the best advice I’ve found.

Firstly, Jenna Moreci. She has a variety of writing advice as well as marketing tips for those who want to self-publish. But it’s still helpful to know about these things like creating a social media presence, having a personal website, and being part of online writing communities. Below are some of my favourites from Jenna. 

She’s great with getting people to think about how they want to write rather than telling people how to write. I also just adore her realism over how the writing world works. 

Then there’s Abbie Emmons. She covers many of the topics Jenna covers, but delves deeper into the hows and whys of human behaviour to help build believable characters and plots.

Another favourite of mine is Meg LaTorre. She’s done a couple of collaboration videos with Jenna, which I really enjoyed. Their major books, The Savior’s Champion (dark fantasy) and The Cyborg Tinkerer (space steampunk fantasy) are very different in plot and characters. But they’ve still created really great literature. I’ve read Jenna’s Savior’s Champion and am halfway through Cyborg Tinkerer. So far so good.

I also like Sacha Black. She doesn’t beat around the bush and has a fun podcast.

You need to find a few sources who offer advice suited to you and stick with them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep looking for other perspectives. You should never limit your learning. But why change you main teachers if you’re learning what you need from them?

Jenna, Meg, Sacha, Abbie, and my critique partners are my teachers, so I’ll stick with them while seeking an occasional lesson from other authors.


Title image by Geralt at pixabay.com.

Chickpea Salad for a Hungry Writer!

This is a nice filling salad for any season and super healthy. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 jar or chickpeas (I use the whole jar, but for a side salad, use half or less)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 pack of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of parsley

Method

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Chop the peppers and celery into small pieces and mix with the tomatoes. 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas and mix with the vegetables. Add the dressing and adjust to taste.

Additional ingredients

  • Slicede hot dogs
  • Feta cheese cubes 
  • Thick slices of ham
  • Boiled egg

Enjoy as a yummy side salad or full meal. Image by Alexdante at pixabay.com.

Figuring out My Social Media and Scheduling My Blog Posts!

Books, Smartphone, Hand, Keep, Mobile Phone, Computer

Not very exciting news, but I’ve decided to start posting every Saturday and sometimes on Wednesdays if I have a lot to say. But it’s part of my

I keep dipping into future marketing ideas like playing about with quirky logos or getting back on Instagram. I forgot I even had an account. Then there’s my Twitter account. The only activity on there is my WP and Instagram posts. So why do I keep it? No idea. My Facebook is private and purely for friends and family. I’m on Discord, which I’m not sure is classed as social media or not, but I have a writing group on there.

But do I really need all of this right now? I have a day job, which allows me my mornings free to work on making writing a second career. If not, it’s a pretty intense pastime. But I’m serious about making something of my writing, so every morning, I sit at my PC and churn out new scenes and chapters, revise WIPs, critique my writing buddies (although I’ve lacked there lately), blog and plan and plot and do whatever writing related thing I feel needs attention that moment.

I need Discord to rant about writing, and I like this site since it’s a great creative outlet for me. But Twitter and Instagram??? I decided that I do need them, at least for Instagram, which is more suited to me than Twitter. I can’t explain it. But There’s something more comfortable about Instagram. I suppose that if I do become a successful (that’s subjective, of course) writer, then I could simply keep posting on WP and Instagram with the posts sent to Twitter. And I’ll just have to activate my Twitter notifications so I’ don’t miss anything. Right now, I hardly look at it.

Below are a couple of videos from two great author on social media and marketing. I already do some of what Meg and Jenna suggest, but thanks to their advice, I’ll be working on a few things gradually.


So I think for now, I have it sorted. I post one or two pictures a day on Instagram, and at least weekly on WP. I’ve actually started scheduling posts to keep to the same one or two days per week. That way, when I have the time, I can churn out a few posts, schedule them for the next couple of weeks, and then focus on my novel writing. 

Here are some of my Love Fantasy social media images…

It’s never too early to start working on these things if you have the time. Just remember, if you don’t work on your novels, you’ll have nothing to market.

Title image by Geralt at Pixabay.com

Plotting World Domination!

I’m in plotting (well, re-plotting) my Starlighters novels. It’s going well, mostly. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But what I’m pondering it scene order. 

I have already planned the POV carefully based on each scene. Now I have to decide the best order. Some things happen simultaneously in different POVs, and some things are a little flexible if I account for the small details. So how do I decide the order? Honestly, I don’t know. Nobody can give me that answer, and I couldn’t give someone else an answer to the same question about their novel unless I read it. 

My best option is to break each scene down into even smaller scenes like walking from one room to another, breaking down emotional shifts, and making bullet points of each change in topic within the scene. This way, I can see it in its parts, and maybe something might prompt a thought on the right order for the story. 

In the meantime, I have a list of micro events and their best choice for POV so that I can move them around until they slot together. This is a lot of trial and error, but I’ve already fixed a few of the actions which helps me decide what goes in between.

One thing that I do have to consider is cliffhanger scenes. There’s a significant moment that I could quite easily follow on from in the next scene with a different POV, or I could leave it for a few pages and tease the reader. I’ve read scenes like that before where it’s flipped to another situation right in the middle of a critical moment. Do I want to be that kind of author? Probably, yes. But I will still give it serious consideration. 

Plotting and re-plotting can be a lot of fun if you like organisation. But it’s also fun from a creative aspect. Title image by Khamkho at pixabay.com.