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Archive for the ‘Writing About Writing’ Category

That’s right, I finished the third draft of Renegade of Opshar. It still needs minor tweaking, but I’m happy with how it came out.

Of course, the next steps are many. I need to get it off for proofreading. I need to stop dithering and choose the cover art. Then I will make the title images, and put them all together. Next will be setups for the e-book, through Bowker and Amazon and Draft2Digital. Even with all that, it looks like I will be able to make it to a June 1st release. Huzzah!

While I’m working on those things, I also have a lot to do on Queen Titania’s Court. Gathering everyone’s introductions, and their questions, and their cover images. Making decisions about which author appears when, and getting to work on actual posts.

So, I’m going to be a busy bee for the next couple of weeks. But it will be a lot of fun.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I FOUND THE MISSING E-MAILS!! Somehow they were being shunted into a hidden folder. The fairies must have done it. Yeah, that’s my story.

Now that I’ve recovered them, I made a new folder just for things related to Queen Titania’s Court, and set up a “rule” to sort all those e-mails into it. There were a lot more replies than I had realized, so now I’m hastily going through and letting everyone know I didn’t ignore them. I hope to get that set in the next few days, because Queen Titania’s Court is supposed to start in a couple of weeks. Yikes!

So, once again, if you know someone who had reached out about Queen Titania’s Court and not heard back, please let them know to try again.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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My beta readers have returned their comments on Renegade of Opshar and I have a bit of thinking to do. It would be a spoiler to say what I have to think about. So, instead, I’m going to blather about the music I have been listening to while working on this story.

Like a lot of writers — maybe even most writers — I listen to music while working. As I get deeper into different projects, I’ll focus in on certain music and listen over and over. For instance, while writing one of my earlier novels, Too Many Princes, I listened to the Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar.

For the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas, I’ve listened to more classical-styled game soundtracks. Initially the music was from Dragon Age Inquisition, since I was sparked to write by that series. (Also, I don’t have the music from Dragon Age Origins or Dragon Age II in my library).

Partly with Wailing Tower and definitely with Renegade of Opshar, I shifted a bit to the music of Thomas Bergerson, who has done a lot of music for commercials, movies, and games. (Not for the Dragon Age games, though.) Bergerson’s music is… just big. Full orchestra, full chorus, a few additional instruments and vocalists.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here is a link to one of Bergerson’s compositions that got the creative juices flowing for Renegade of Opshar.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Every once in a while, you run into those things online, where someone is declaring that a Famous Author has been “cancelled” by overzealous <choose your faction> who don’t understand that things were different in The Past. And we’re told that we can’t judge the art of Yesteryear by today’s standards. There’s more, but I’m sure you all recognize this kind of rhetoric.

I saw one recently (you probably guessed) and it got me thinking. How are contemporary people to judge the artists of the past? It is truly possible to separate the odious views of a creator — for instance Wagner, whose anti-Semitism is well documented — from their beloved artistic works?

CAN we separate the artist from the art, and if we can, SHOULD we?

I can only speak of my own experience, which is that my written works are deeply personal. They embody my thoughts and philosophy, and often question the way things are in society. If my books are a statement to the world, I cannot consider them separate from the rest of me.

Maybe it’s different for other writers and artists, who are more connected to traditional publishing. There are deadlines to meet and trends to chase, and they may quickly produce work to suit different markets. So for them, they may not be trying to make a statement in the same way.

I would suggest, though, that the words they write still spring from somewhere within them. And if there’s something in those words that deserves to be questioned, it’s kind of a cheap dodge to claim that the art is somehow separate from the artist’s identity.

That’s just my thought. I’d be interested in hearing what any of you think about this.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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My revisions are going well (cross your fingers) and I’m within shouting distance of a completed second draft. A couple of lesser character names are still nagging at me, but I’ll get them fixed, never fear.

One major decision left is the updated title. I’m playing with a couple of possibilities. All of the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas have had longer titles: The Tower in the Mist, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. So I’m looking for something that will match that same rhythm and sense of place.

Some of the possibilities are:

A) The Renegade of Opshar. Opshar being the small village Berisan lives near.

B) The Renegade of Weeping Falls. Weeping Falls being a landmark near Yamaya’s farm.

C) The Renegade of Dolarus Falls. This is an alternate name for the said landmark.

This is where I ask you, my expert audience, which option you think works best. Let me know in the comments!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? At work, the issues around my negative review are more or less resolved. But as I reflect on my experience with this particular school, I recall that my district went through a wholesale reshuffling two years ago, and I was involuntarily transferred to this building at this time. If I had interviewed through the regular process, they might not have selected me. So as I continue doing my best there, I am also watching the job boards for new opportunities.

What I’m Working On. Despite the above mentioned stress and drama, second draft revisions are proceeding on The Renegade of Opshar. I know what themes I need to deepen, where I need to explain more clearly, and so forth. So, it’s going!

What’s Next? I’m in the planning process for Queen Titania’s Court, looking forward to that start of that in June. But there still is room for more friends. Do e-mail me if you’re interested! CAT09tales -at- hotmail -dot- com.

Fun and Games. Animal Crossing has been a haven from the stress at work. I’m also revisiting one of my favorite games ever, Dragon Age Origins. The developers have announced the next game for 2022, and I’m laying out a new sequence to bring me into that. Even after several playthroughs, I still find complexity in the writing, especially in the dialogue wheels. Depending on what dialogue you choose, characters will give different replies. It gives me a new level of respect for game writers.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Is this thing on?

For some strange reason, there are a number of blogs I follow that I suddenly stopped getting notifications for. Most of my regular blogs, I receive a daily digest. About 2 weeks ago, they no longer came through. I don’t recall un-following them. It’s weird.

If people have to stop blogging, that isn’t something I want to pester them about. For most of us writers, we’re trying to reach an audience. If the blog doesn’t seem to be working, it makes sense to focus elsewhere.

Still, it can be distressing if one’s following starts to drop. So I’m going back through, searching for the ones I remember. I’ve found a few that I had to follow again. I hope no one thinks I’ve turned my back on them.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Some e-mails, that is. I know I’ve seen at least two responses from people asking about Queen Titania’s Court. The thing is, I looked at them on my cel phone. When I went back to my desktop computer, the messages had vanished. I want to follow up on this, but I can’t find those original messages. Just this morning, I combed through over 1,000 deleted e-mails both on the cell phone and the computer, to see if they somehow got swiped-right into the trash. No such luck.

So if you or someone you know reached out about Queen Titania, please ask them to try again. I really do want this to happen! (But if your initials are A. L, you are the one I didn’t lose, so you’re all good.)

In other news, I’ve mostly got the names reassigned for The Renegade, although not a new title, yet. I’ve completed a book map to help me find where the weak spots are as far as plot action. I know where I need to deepen the character motivations and amp up the emotion.

The obstacle to starting the second draft is that I’ve received my annual review at work and it was unexpectedly negative. Like, “needs improvement” in every category, where every previous review noted that I exceeded expectations. This year has been rough for everyone, but I thought I had a good working relationship with my supervisor and I’m really discouraged by this review.

So I’ve been in touch with my union representative and have advised the principal that I’ll be protesting the evaluation. But I’m just going to have to allow myself to be depressed and distracted for the next week or so.

Hope it’s all been going better for you!

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Now that I’ve finished The Renegade Count (or whatever I end up calling it) it’s time to take a break. The weather is supposed to be in the 70s here, perfect weather to be out in my garden. I have a few transplants to get in, and more than a few weeds to get out. I’m also taking in a webinar about soil care, because if you don’t have good soil, your flowers and vegies will only struggle.

While my hands are busy, I’ll be thinking about the new names and titles I need. Some of them might sound strangely botanical. Nobody will notice that, right?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’m still doing a bit of work on the very end of The Renegade Count, just making sure everything fits together the way it should. While I do that, I’m also starting the first step of my revisions, which is to name or re-name a few people and places.

Names are a detail that I pay a lot of attention to. The sound of them, and how they fit together, is an important part of my world building. I want them all to sound like they come from the same place and time. Although I try to come up with a list of good names before I start the first draft, and pick from that list when I encounter a new character, there are always a few I get stuck on.

For this novella, I’m re-naming a couple of characters whose names are too similar and might cause confusion for readers. There are also a few, very minor, characters who I didn’t anticipate needing names. No big deal, I’ll just play with sound combinations until I get them how I want them.

The major problem that I have it with the title. The Renegade Count was supposed to be about Berisan accidentally being appointed “count” of an obscure village. Since the people are expecting military-style magic to defend them, and Berisan is a pacifist, I thought that would be an interesting conflict. As it worked out, though, Yamaya’s character arc took up a lot more of the story. The village didn’t draft Berisan as their protector in the way I had anticipated.

This leaves me the choice of completely re-writing the plot to force my original intention on it — you writers out there know this hardly ever produces a better story — or coming up with a new title. Guess which one I’m choosing?

So the work goes on… or begins, depending on where you count from!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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