Mood Setting Music

When I write I prefer to do so in silence. I’ve heard that a lot of authors like to listen to certain music when they’re writing but I can’t do it. It’s far to distracting. I don’t even listen to classical. I do love music and sometimes a certain song will ring true to a story I’m writing.

That was true at the time that I was writing “Soul Conquest The Ultimate Trial.” Two songs really seemed to fit the mood of the book. The first is from the group Creed, and the song is “One Last Breath.” The other song that fit my book was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” by Green Day. I usually listen to the radio versions though, which takes out the cussing.

My general taste in music is top 40 songs that aren’t explicit or openly sexual in nature. Some of the groups I listen to are; One Republic, Imagine Dragons, and Coldplay. I also like most 80’s music. I like a lot of other music as well but don’t pay attention to the group or the song title.

If you’ve read my book check out the music and lyrics to both songs and tell me what you think. Also if you write, do you listen to music?

Interests

My love of writing is only a small part of what makes me who I am. Actually if you consider the number of years I’ve been alive it’s rather a recent development. I have heard the saying “a Jack of all trades is a master of none.” I however love my multiple interests in life. It’s helped me relate and understand a multitude of people and circumstances. I also believe it has helped widen my imagination.

But as a result I do struggle to focus on just one thing, especially during the spring, summer and fall when the love of the outdoors sucks me out of my house and away from my computer. I decided that I wanted to be a successful author and that calls for deadlines and lots of work. So I’m learning to better balance all of my interests and responsibilities. I believe I will learn and grow as I better manage my time as a mother, wife, farmer, homesteader, author, etc. and fulfill personal goals that currently show little reward.

Today I thought I would post some pictures of what my day consisted of. Well a small glimpse anyway. No one wants to know about the laundry, dishes etc.

My son’s soccer game—

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I took my writing just in case I had a moment . . . I did not. But my daughter appreciated the opportunity to doodle on it while she watched her brother’s game.

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New chicks that I will be taking up to our property and the house we will be building soon. Aren’t they cute, well at least for another week or so before they get into the awkward teenage stage.

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Hope you enjoyed a moment in my life.

Mountain Treasure

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My daughter just found a hood ornament to a 1926-1928 Buick. We were up in the mountains and there was a piece of metal sticking out of the ground and she dug around it and pulled it out. I told her it looked like an old hood ornament. The funny thing is there is no car up there. We did find a rusted fender or something along those lines as well but that was it. No sign of a road or the rest of the car. It makes me curious to know how it got there. Now the rest of the kids want to go treasure hunting.

I love finding old things because it causes us to wonder about the past. Everyone starts to imagine different scenarios of what happened to the car. I happen to love the
imagination and am glad whenever something sparks it.

Current scenarios: The car crashed against a tree and then was left there and the whole thing rusted. Age 8

The car was left somewhere else, but bears and raccoons moved the pieces all over the forest. Also my 8 year old

The car bumped into a tree knocking the fender off and the hood ornament and then drove away. 18 year old.

What’s your idea?

Writing on the Go

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I have a sister that loves to organize. She amazes me at her ability to see a way to store stuff so neatly. I appreciate organization but am not natural about finding the right things to make it happen. As an author I do a lot of writing and revising when I am not at home. Up until now I’ve just grabbed an armful of things and take them with me when I leave the house. For a time I had a bag I just dropped everything into but it was inconvenient as well.

Fortunately for me, I have my sister who showed me this bag the other day. It’s perfect. I can put my pens in the pockets and store my small notepads, my writing helps and my binders and computer in a clean, organized way. I’m very excited to try it out. Hopefully it will make it much easier to just grab my bag as I’m rushing out of the house. That way when I’m at the school waiting to pick up my kids and learn that the coach decided to keep them a half hour longer, I can just grab stuff out of my bag and happily write while I’m waiting.

Editor

I just received some feedback from my editor for a short story I’ve written and am eager to publish. The writing process can be arduous but one of my favorite parts is learning how I can improve my writing. The first time I had my work edited, I didn’t know what to expect. What I discovered, was that my skills could jump to a new level by listening to the feedback given.

This time I haven’t had time to put into practice the things my editor suggested because I’m on vacation. Instead I find myself daydreaming the story changes in my head. Hopefully I’ll remember what those ideas are when I sit down to make the changes when I get home.

 

Let Me Help

As I’m putting more effort and priority into my writing, it’s caused me to reflect on how far I’ve come. I’ve had moments of fear, frustration, and doubt. I’ve also played with the idea of giving up. Fortunately the positive aspects of writing always won. It’s an amazing feeling to learn that someone couldn’t put my book down. Writing has brought me happiness as I enjoyed the process of creating. I truly love turning my thoughts into something others can fall in love with.

As I reflected, I wondered if there are other writers that might find my experiences helpful. I have started to think that maybe I could be their encouragement.

So here I am writing with such a purpose. If you are starting your own writing journey and find it hard, frustrating and overwhelming, please know that you’re not alone.

Let me be your encouragement. Feel free to ask me questions and I will do my best to respond. My own writing journey is still progressing and I still have much to learn but I’ve also learned a lot. At the very least I can help encourage you in your endeavor.

So if you would like similar help, feel free to send me an email or comment on this post and allow me to join you in your creative expression.

Marcel, Bailey, & Ante

Marcel was not a part of my original daydream. I needed a character that would help Devin emotionally so that he could become the person I already knew him to be. Marcel could guide Devin from the start, and help him adjust to his new life. Marcel had an internal struggle of his own, which is only lightly hinted to in the book. Marcel shields Devin and the rest of the gladiators from his own pain so that he can help them with their own. It was Marcel who first suggested that Devin learn to master his emotions and control his tongue. Marcel taught Devin that the less his enemy knew him the better the advantage he would have. Let’s not forget that he gave Devin the opportunity to push himself intellectually.

Now let’s touch a little on Bailey. He becomes Devin’s best friend. As it gets close for Devin’s first real match they become brothers by blood. Bailey is an optimist so he can see beyond what’s happening now. He understands that he’s being forced to act, so he doesn’t internalize what he’s made to do. Instead Bailey pushes the guilt and horror to those that are responsible for it, whereas Devin always blames himself. Bailey however is not as gifted at fighting. Thus, Bailey with the other gladiators, look to Devin for protection from Ante. Due to the horrific circumstances that they are thrust into they become as close as any two brothers can be.

Ante is one of those characters that you just hate from the start. He and Marko are very similar. They refuse to allow anyone into their stone-cold heart. Ante is jealous of Devin from the start. On the streets in Bosnia he was a great fighter so getting knocked out right after Devin and he met was a crushing blow to his pride. As hard as Ante works, he never learns how Devin always has the advantage, which always keeps Ante a step behind. Ante has nothing but glory to fight for, whereas Devin has his friends. Devin keeps his mind active and alert, always pushing himself, like controlling his temper and his tongue. Without those advantages Ante continues to fall a step behind, which only causes his hate of Devin to grow.

Devin Andrew Steele

In the coming weeks I will be finishing my 2nd book of the “Soul Conquest” Series, “The Refiners Fire.” At the same time I will be reworking “The Ultimate Trial” and releasing a 2nd edition. During this process I thought I would create some posts about these two books and my journey in creating them. So here goes.

Devin Andrew Steel is the main character in “Soul Conquest.” His journey onto paper was a rough one. He is, I guess, my guinea pig for character development. I had tried to write down my stories prior to “Soul Conquest” and, being an avid reader I recognized poor writing when I saw it. So consigning myself to the stark fact that I could not write, I stuck with daydreaming. At least, until, one day my husband asked what it was I daydreamed about. At the time of the question, the story I had banging around inside my brain was this very story. After some insistence on my husband’s part, I sat out on the frustrating but rewarding journey of extracting a character and plot from a brain that had no idea how to translate such a project.

So in comes Devin. In my dreams he never had a name, or a childhood. He appeared at the most exciting part of the story. He was who he was. My mind automatically knew how he would act under any circumstance. Sometimes when I was daydreaming he would respond or act a certain way and I would backtrack because it wasn’t true to his character. How my mind does that . . . I don’t know.

So in comes the tricky part. How do I get readers to know him the same way I do. First I needed to give him a name. Names are a big deal to me, so I found a name that felt right and then did some research. If I like the name but not the meaning than It’s a no go. So . . . I named him, now the harder task was giving him a past, a journey, really, into the hearts of the readers.

That is truly one of the hardest and most exciting parts, for me, in writing. Think for a minute, about how you would describe all the different complex parts of your personality to a stranger. Complicated, right? I’ve had discussions with my children about Devin that got pretty deep. There is so much more to him than what is written in my book. I keep my stories pretty simple, and that much information on Devin would turn my books into something that belongs in a psychologist’s office. Which means, each reader will add their own depth to Devin’s character. He will always be Devin in my mind but the exciting thing about the imagination is you can create right along with me.

I love learning about how other people see Devin and why. If you would like to share your favorite things about him or just have specific questions, please comment. I would love to hear and respond.

Deadlines

I realized recently that I’ve been going about my writing goals the wrong way. I have always tried to set time aside for my writing. Sadly, I allow other priorities to encroach on that time.

I’ve discovered a new approach. Deadlines. Just to be clear, I hate the very idea of deadlines. I’ve always felt it restricts the fluidity of my time and schedule. Also I am not a lover of stress. I despise it in fact. Deadlines create stress. Well, at least they do for me. However, I’ve learned that if I don’t set a deadline the goal is unlikely to be completed.

So, I’m excited to say I have decided to, bite the bullet, and be more successful by making deadlines for my books.

I will have Soul Conquest the Refiners fire ready to print by the end of June as well as a 2nd edition of the first book finished and reprinted.

I’m also working on two more books that I plan to have ready for release by the end of the year. One is about a wizard and the other one is about a boy that inherits a curse.

I’ve also decided to write some children’s books that I hope you enjoy.

Please join my journey as I work on releasing the many stories that have been circulating in my head.