The Forest of Heldbreath


Imagine your mind is a forest. The edge of the forest is a place where you pause and get distracted–a place of heldbreath, of course.

Sometimes we wait at the edge of heldbreath for days, months, or years. I’ve been lurking there for several weeks, skillfully talking myself out of a very important task.

Should I start editing now? I asked myself, then laughed and shrugged it off, eager to examine the next tree.

Some writers enjoy edits more than they do writing. I have never been one of those writers; in my haste to move on and write other stories, I put off edits again and again…and again.

In the forest of heldbreath, it’s easy to pretend we aren’t procrastinating. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in that place; the only difference now is that I’m writing about it, giving this place a name and personality.

Heldbreath is procrastination.

I inched away from editing until it was a small place hidden by the trees. I know where it is! Somewhere in that general direction – between two oak trees – it might be that hollow, or perhaps the one after?

Two weeks ago I searched the forest of heldbreath, looking for the corner where my manuscript for The Autumn Prince was. I found myself surprised by the short length of the novel, and thought this couldn’t take long.

It would be quicker if I would keep walking and stop procrastinating.

It’s easy to get distracted while searching the forest of heldbreath; we can convince ourselves we are where we’re supposed to be, when it’s quite far. I want a decent, clean version of The Autumn Prince this summer; I will wander the forest heldbreath in circles until I make it.

Have you been to the forest of heldbreath? Of course you have, we’re both human! Let’s meet at the edge and talk about the goals we will meet someday.

The Autumn Prince Returns


In October of 2015, I released a serial on my blog called The Autumn Prince.

It became more popular than I had anticipated; one reader called it the “highlight of her month,” and I am still humbled by that. The following year it was adapted into a short story for the Crows on Heartstrings anthology, where it shines among dozens of beautiful tales and drawings.

After the release of Crows on Heartstrings, different projects related to my Fallen Faery Tales series distracted me from The Autumn Prince. It managed to slip my mind for a long time, until now.

When the serial finished on Halloween of 2015, the story just wouldn’t get out of my head! I wrote it again as a novel that November because the characters and ideas were still so vivid.

A week ago, a friend encouraged me to find that draft and read it again. I couldn’t believe I had written it! I found myself wanting to know what happens next. So The Autumn Prince is back.

This April I’m working on edits for The Autumn Prince. My plan is to have it shine by the end of the year so I can query it in the winter. For this book, I am going to seek traditional publishing. The Autumn Prince has a different feel from Dissonance and Serenade; it wants to take the different road.

It wants to hit bookstore shelves. It wants to be your autumn read. For that, I need to work on it.

If you enjoyed The Autumn Prince when it was a serial on my blog, I hope you’ll like it all the more as a full-length novel. I’m surprised at how well I did adapting it into a book; it may have been a first draft, but it didn’t make me cringe!

I enjoyed reading it, and being the author, that’s saying something. I hope and pray you will enjoy it too.

What’s Next for The Autumn Prince?


In September I was outside enjoying the days before autumn really kicked up frost. I had my Moleskine with me; as I watched leaves let go of their branches, the words autumnal gold surfaced in my heart, and I began to write.

What resulted was a story I would release in twenty parts on October called The Autumn Prince. I was quite nervous people would think the idea stupid; however, so many people enjoyed it, which shocked me! By the time that serial ended, people were telling me to write a novel.

Which I did—the very next month. I was so immersed in the world of The Autumn Prince that it came to me easily. It’s currently a first draft, and of course will need a rewrite, but the point is I have something to start with.

My plan was to self-publish the serial version of The Autumn Prince (what I had posted on my blog in October) as a novella in ebook form this year. I didn’t want to waste all that writing, and if people enjoyed it then it certainly deserved a chance. Then I would shift my focus to the novel.

But plans change.

3d03e7_321633d03dbf409fb4399ebce6c747c4On October I also found out about the exciting project called Crows on Heartstrings, an anthology of tales about doomed love featuring illustrations and stories from people around the world. When I submitted to Crows, my hope was to get a different story in, one called Starless.

In an exciting twist, arrangements to include Starless in this anthology changed; it needs a lot of work. But I still had another story about doomed love that people really liked.

The Autumn Prince has been edited into a short story to be featured in Crows with an illustration. I am glad the spark that went off on October isn’t going to vanish into history!

We’re in the process of edits for The Autumn Prince for its next adventure in the world.

This year I will also begin rewrites for the novel, which will be the first of a series. Momentum hasn’t slowed since I hit Publish on that first part of my serial. I have a feeling it’s not going to stop.

Thank you to people who encouraged me to keep on with the serial, falling in love with Prince Caspar and the Barn Owl when I thought the idea would be called dumb and childish. Watching those leaves fall in September, I think I caught a story that was golden.

Look out for Crows—not just because of The Autumn Prince! So many of us are working to give you a beautiful reading experience. Visit the Crows website here!

What Art Teaches


Someone dear told me once that art is about learning.This applies to writing as well—but we aren’t just learning how to improve our craft or tell a story; we’re learning how to prioritize projects.

Right now I have two novels to edit and a little something I started in a notebook today. I’m learning to keep the plot bunnies at bay so I’ll actually put books out when I finish writing them. The Autumn Prince and Serenade both need work; if I give those plot bunnies the attention they want, I’ll be writing and writing without publishing anything.

I was going to launch another serial this spring, Daughter of the Forest, but I don’t think I’ll have time. I’ve been working on the draft, but it won’t be done by April; it might become a summer project. I’m eager to dedicate my blog to storytelling again; however, I’m going to do it when I know I can give it my all, like I did in October with The Autumn Prince.

Art is about learning to tell stories, no matter what your medium—but you have to figure out your limits. How much can you handle at one given time? It’s important to allow yourself a breather to binge-read a series or stare out the window at nice weather.

The Autumn Prince (novel) and Serenade should both be presentable by the end of the year if I learn to manage my time. I will keep you updated; I am so excited to have more books out!

If we don’t take the time to rest and reflect, our art will sound lifeless and forced. It took me this long to accept that truth. Each story will have its turn, but right now I have to focus more on editing than writing new manuscripts.

What are your plans for this spring? How do you handle demanding plot bunnies?

What I Learned as an Author in 2015


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Photo Credit J.N. Cahill

2015 was a special year because I finally published my first book, Dissonance, in June. I spent months putting it off–perhaps I was scared to have my story out in the open, or I edited too much. But it finally happened, and I never regretted it! I know it’s a cliche, but leave your comfort zone and dreams do come true.

I haven’t sold tons of copies yet, but I’ve had great readers who were very supportive. Some admitted my book was not to their taste; others gushed about it for weeks after they finished. I’m glad they didn’t pretend to love it. Everyone’s so different, and if Dissonance isn’t someone’s favorite book, one day I might still write something they enjoy.

The most significant change this year was my learning I could do this. I have enough talent to write a good story, and this is only my first novel! It’s exciting to wonder where I’ll be in ten years.

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Now I’m almost through with a coherent draft of the second book, Serenade, which I hope to put out in 2016 (but I’ve learned not to set strict dates! I guest blogged for Briana Morgan about why–click here to read it!)

In 2015 I also did my serial, The Autumn Prince. It had a very warm reception–better than I’d expected. I’m blown away by the people waiting for me to release Caspar’s story in novel form. The tale I released on October developed a little fandom and I love everyone who supported it! Thank you!

I completed The Autumn Prince novel and plan to focus on it more when I finish revising Serenade! I posted for She’s Novel about the adventure of serial writing. Read it here!

Finally, In 2015 my short story Starless was accepted for publication in the Crows on Heartstrings anthology. My short story has been waiting for three years to shine. I’ll write a post with more details later, but I’m proud to have made it and cannot wait to hold a copy in my hand!

I learned in 2015 that anything can happen, but in most activities–especially writing–the key is to wait. If you want to do a good job, you shouldn’t rush. It lowers the quality of your writing, and just because you work faster doesn’t mean you’ve gotten more done.

When it comes to writing, only time can create a good story; only time builds a loyal audience and strong friendships.

My hope for 2016 is to build an audience while exercising patience and improving at my craft. I want to guest blog for inspiring people and have more readers for Dissonance. I want to publish another book, and polish The Autumn Prince into a tale many will love.

In 2015 I learned it’s worth the wait. 

Thanks to the people who’ve cheered me on this year. I couldn’t do it without you! Happy New Year!

 

The Autumn Prince Novel: Cover & Excerpt


How are your NaNo novels doing?

I am pleased to say that I have reached 32k and have an end in mind, which is more than I can say for other NaNo projects–indeed, more than I can say for any writing projects at all. Also, my friend Kristia made a beautiful cover that I could finally display on the website!

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I thought I would share an unedited excerpt from the novel. You guys, I am extremely proud of how it’s turning out–proud that I could turn a short story into something more complex, expanding on beloved characters and adding detail to the environment. Thank you for all the support when it was still a serial; it was that support that encouraged me to make it a novel.

Here’s the excerpt. I can’t wait until you can read the whole thing!

Her eyelids fluttered, but she did not yet wake fully. Dreams pulled her back in; she was running in the leaves with a boy her age, his face glowing as he called her name, “Ginny! Ginny, you’ve got to be faster!”

Her eyelids fluttered again and she thought, I know who that is. “Caspar,” she breathed, not a question but a certainty. Dreams tugged at her once more.

She was chasing the little boy because he’d stolen her button doll. “You’ve got better toys!” he taunted her, but she screamed and threw rocks at him until a tall man in a black coat broke them up.

“Your Highness, Lady Genevieve, that’s no way to behave! You’re supposed to be friends.”

“He took my doll!” she screamed.

The man pried her button doll out of young Caspar’s hand and promptly returned it to her. “Your mother will have to talk to you about stealing things, Prince Caspar,” he’d said, to which the boy scowled.

In the waking world, she felt someone touch her hand. “Lady Kelsea,” said a familiar voice, soft as if he feared she would flee like a spooked horse.

But she wouldn’t. Kelsea finally broke away from those dreams, opening her eyes to blink away more tears. She was still on that armchair, and he sat on his knees before her, eyes shiny with grief.

It felt as though the ground were falling beneath her. She couldn’t question that the memories were real; that very button doll now sat on her bedside table at home.

Caspar knelt before her and waited, almost as if expecting her to strike him. Instead she said in a weak voice, almost a croak, “I knew you were familiar.”

NaNoWriMo 2015 & The Autumn Prince


I haven’t officially participated in NaNoWriMo for two years. Instead I would attempt smaller projects for Camp NaNo, none of which I completed; I always seemed to give up right when I gained some momentum.

This year, though, it seems my Muse really took a liking to me; why not give it a try?

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For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) is a worldwide challenge for writers. The goal? Finish a novel in a month, specifically the month of November. If you win you get prizes and the satisfaction of having completed a book.

Now, I don’t pretend I’m going to finish this book in a month–though my brain seems wired to write more than planned in a sitting. I do hope to make progress and work out some plot issues.

If you’ve followed my Twitter feed for the past two days, you know I had a hard time deciding which novel to write for NaNo. From the start, I wanted to expand on The Autumn Prince. However, I kept reading advice from published authors saying that once you finish a story, you should put it away for a month.

The thing is, though, The Autumn Prince was a short story. What I wrote of it didn’t even scratch 14k. So I don’t think it counts, and for NaNoWriMo I decided to write the novel adaptation of The Autumn Prince.

Not only that, but no two writers are the same. Maybe these published authors need to step away from their work for a while; I find my Muse works differently.

It felt silly to toss aside The Autumn Prince when it’s already so vivid in my mind; why push to the back burner something that’s almost ready? I had considered writing some other plot bunnies which also had potential, but now I’m going to wait–perhaps even try another serial with The Lady of Myrtle Lighthouse. 

Right now, though, I’m making my short story into a book.

For those who are interested in The Autumn Prince, the 2k I wrote so far reveals several new things. Spoiler: We’ll get some scenes from Winston’s POV. Also, there’s more to Kelsea than we thought…more than even she knows.

And Caspar has got a temper in the novel. Of course he does. He’s only going to be awake for a few weeks.

Are you participating in NaNo? Do you have a plot already set, or are you freewriting?

Celebrate October with The Autumn Prince + Serenade is Getting Closer!


October is going to be a very interesting, exciting month on the blog.

If you’ve been following me on any social networks, you’ve probably heard of The Autumn Prince. It’s a short story I wrote in three days–14k–with the purpose of sharing with you guys my twist of a Halloween story. I wanted to pour some romance into a holiday known for monsters.

Also, I wanted to share with you the adorably naive, lonely Autumn Prince.

This’ll be my last personal blog post for a few weeks. Coming up on Friday is my interview with author Jackie Lea Sommers! I recently reviewed her book, Truest, one of the novels that impressed me most this year. She was amazing and answered some questions I had regarding her powerful, poignant novel.

After that, it’ll be serial time.

Starting October 5, I will be sharing The Autumn Prince–bit by bit–every weekday until Halloween. It is my goal to edit this story so it’s worth your time; I’m so keen on sharing it. I haven’t been this passionate about something since publishing Dissonance.

Speaking of Dissonance, fans might be glad to know I finished the first really coherent draft of its sequel. Book two of the Fallen Faery Tales series will be called Serenade. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be renamed; Elegy has been pushed off as a working title for the third installment.

Serenade completed at 62,000 words, meaning it’s a bit longer than Dissonance. I don’t know if it’s going to grow or shrink when I finish revisions, but they’re definitely not far from one another length-wise. I pumped more drama and heartbreak into Serenade, enjoying the challenge of seeing Allie grow into a mature, troubled young lady of 16.

I’ve put away the draft for Serenade and plan to begin revisions on November. After that, we enter beta mode. There will be slots open for volunteers, if anyone wants to help!

After October ends and The Autumn Prince has had his chance to shine, I have more exciting things planned! However, those plans are still in the making. Just know that there’ll be more activity on life, literature, & coffee because I’ve forced myself to learn organization, and have some amazing friends who are going to help me keep up.

Happy October! It is my favorite month of the year, because our imaginations can really go wild. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will, and Happy Halloween in advance!

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Introducing The Autumn Prince (Coming October!)


I’m very excited–and extremely proud–to be trying a serial story on October. Here on the blog, I’m going to post a bit of it every weekday; it is a short story called The Autumn Prince, some of which is already written, but some of which I’ll be writing as I go.

I felt like harnessing the magic of Halloween for something different. You see, October is my favorite month; I feel so much power in the air when people are choosing their costumes. I love that buzz that we feel while telling ghost stories, I look forward to going door-to-door for candy.

Here is the premise of The Autumn Prince:

Nameless and lonely, the Autumn Prince reigns over a golden part of the year. He watches leaves fall from the trees, making a carpet of most exquisite beauty. But what he likes best about autumn is Halloween, his only chance to find a princess without being gawked at.

In a race against time with winter approaching, he meets a girl with a brave heart and vivid imagination. If Kelsea agrees to be his princess, she’d only see him for weeks every year. The Prince must decide if it’s worth hurting the girl he loves for a few weeks of companionship.

Should he beg her to stay in a cold, frozen love–or let her walk away?

Each segment I release will be 500-600 words long, the length of a regular blog post. I’ll post from Monday to Friday every week, and Halloween will be the grand finale. This is a long shot–I don’t know how many people will want to check this blog every day for 500 more words–but for the sake of experience, I’m eager to do this.

It’s teaching me to divide segments so they all have a hook, making the reader want to learn more. It’s forcing me to squint at the paragraphs, pretending it’s like a television series where the viewer needs the next episode now.

There won’t be any personal blog posts here on October. I’ve worked hard to schedule the entire month and see what I can do with my writing.

Are you interested in reading The Autumn Prince? 

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