Eyes on the Horizon
For the last 3 years, I’ve blogged pretty much every week. At times I posted more than once a week and I actually can’t remember if I ever skipped posting during some of those busy months in 2018 and 2019! But for a long time, it's been steady at one post per week, shared in the newsletter on weekends. I have been putting a lot of attention into my blog posts, but blog activity and promotional activity to market older books are both taking a lot of my time. I really want to start writing new books and since I'm also busy with other things, I have to prioritize where my writing time goes. So I will be cutting the blog posting down to about twice a month, which means you’ll be getting a newsletter update every other week instead of weekly.
I kept a few sporadic blogs in the past when my posting was much less consistent. But this blog has been a steady place for me to discuss my work and my artistic vision over the last few years and I’m very blessed and grateful for that. The continuity of this blog has been a product of the stable newsletter following I’ve had during that time and writers are beings who want their words to be read by a public audience. Having my ideas discussed through this blog has been beyond meaningful and kept me feeling so encouraged during a time when I wasn’t producing any new material and was instead contemplating my journey forward and how to become an author who truly helps readers.
However, it’s also true that many writers only send newsletters occasionally and keep their blog (or podcast) as a separate stream people can also subscribe to. I’ll do whatever feels right at the time when I am able to produce weekly blog content again. I will still post weekly images on FB and Instagram (there are follow buttons at the top of the newsletter or in the sidebar if you've clicked through to the blog) and in the next few months I plan to do a little more video content. I will continue to connect with you every other week via email during this exciting upcoming new year. I have three WIP now—two are more fleshed-out ideas and one is just lurking around the corner—and I am so eager for you to see all of them. To do that, I must write more on my manuscripts and less on my blog. And in any case, twice a month is still pretty often to get an email from me. 😊
And there will be more updates.
A Christmas Fiction Playlist
I mentioned that I have been collecting Christmas songs. And when I was listening to them, I noticed the people that each song represents. The songs are the echoes of real people in life, people who find their place in the Christmas narrative year after year. Those people read books too. So I started to feel some songs were closer to particular stories of mine than others were. I could almost imagine the characters singing these songs, although Christmas has actually never been mentioned in any of my books to date. (I’d like to do a Christmas-themed book. On the bucket list. On the bucket list.)
It's true that some of the carols I gave each book weren't written in the historical era the book is set in (or they were from another culture so the characters probably wouldn't have used the song) and that my fantasy characters don't celebrate Christmas because their worlds are imaginary and I never included a Christmas-type idea in them. But if these characters lived here and now in December they might sing these songs. The people who have such and such carol as their favorite—they are the people who I wrote about in those exact books.
Just for fun, I put together a playlist for you of some of these carols. Because these songs are likely so familiar to you, they might literally ring a bell. The arrangements are choral, vocal soloist, piano soloist, even Celtic. The last two are representative of several songs I associate with my two WIP. I trust by next Christmas that one of them will be published. And after that there are always Christmases to come.
(list below for which songs go with each book. This list won't appear in the actual playlist, so reference it here.)
This Merry Summertime
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
A King is Born
City of the Invaders
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
I Saw Three Ships
Facets of Fantasy
I Wonder as I Wander
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Emmanuel (God is With Us)
Ryan and Essie
Ding Dong Merrily on High
What Child is This
The Test of Devotion
The First Noel
Joy to the World
A Year with the Harrisons
Angels We Have Heard on High
The Trumpet Shall Sound (from the end of Messiah)
Victoria: A Tale of Spain
Oh Holy Night
Sing We Now of Christmas
The Birthday Present
Away in a Manger
Do You Hear What I Hear?
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
And there will be more updates.
Coordinating the Mutants
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been given quite a few clothes that I’ve never or rarely worn. So last month I looked at them and thought, “you know, you never wear these because you’re not sure if they coordinate together and what goes with what. That means you most likely WILL never wear them unless you start trying them on and putting them into outfits.” I started putting stray pieces into sets. I assigned a dedicated blouse/poncho/something to wear on top for each skirt or pair of pants. And I went on until, eventually, I turned a pile of random things into something less random, something with a purpose. For clothes, since being worn is their purpose, I guess they now have one.
Millhaven Castle and The Birthday Present used to be random little strays too. While people liked Millhaven Castle, it didn’t belong with the semi-epic fantasy mood of Facets of Fantasy, so to improve Facets of Fantasy I took MC out. It was too short to stand alone, so it went to The Birthday Present. These two stories didn't fit with anything else I'd written, but they didn’t seem to go together either. Presenting them as a contrast was my initial idea, but that’s like wearing bright green with bright red. It only works sometimes, like at Christmas, and other times it’s just silly.
A sci-fi story about how mutants almost wiped out humans just had nothing to do with Millhaven’s little spinoff of period drama. Until I noticed (and my readers probably saw it before I did!) that Millhaven's setting needn’t actually be viewed as historical. In fact, while castles are from an older culture they still exist and can even be inhabited. Farming, socializing through dancing, and people holding a position of wealth or importance over others happen today and could certainly exist in the future. So gradually the visualization of Millhaven Castle moved from a separate world into another story about the Birthday Present world. The Birthday Present is about the old conflict between humans and mutants being ended. Millhaven Castle is a little episode that takes place within the society of the mutants themselves. Typical, middle-class people who aren’t connected to the royalty or the military that appear in TBP. The different regions of the country have a lot of autonomy and their regional leaders almost have a position of minor kings, like Lord Timson.
So the people in these two stories are in such different spheres that they have never interacted with each other, keeping their episodes distinct. I have already added a new introduction to the book, called "The World of Aure's Dominion," in which the connection between the two stories is clarified, plus I have assigned regional tags to the story locations. The Birthday Present mostly occurs in the Kaline district, of which Arnea is the capital, and Millhaven Castle takes place in the Milland district, of which Flangost is the capital. And the book's description now elaborates that GMFs are like superheroes gone bad and they tried to crush normal humans instead of saving them. Although that's not the end of the story, of course.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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