Pithea Released!

Pithea cover, Kindle

My first full-length novel, book 1 in a series of futuristic speculative fiction with a Christian worldview, is now available to purchase as both an e-book and a paperback! What a momentous occasion for me, which I’ve been building toward for 10 years! See synopsis below and go here to buy the book.

Pithea on Goodreads

PITHEA

In the near future, a devastating global war leads to a worldwide ban on the use of all technology. A few hundred years after the war, a sort of magic—called the Power—manifests in every living person. Thousands of years later, the Power has become a part of everyday life in the country of Pithea.

Missy Seeger is struggling to find her place in the world. She reluctantly decides to follow in the footsteps of her well-known and well-respected father. As other options begin to call out to her, she can’t let go of the need to please him.

Naolin Dark knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. He finds the adventure and excitement of life in his local militia, with a sword strapped to his side, to be the only worthy path. The primary goal of Pithean militias is to protect the country’s citizens from animals afflicted by the Madness, and Naolin is eager for his chance to prove himself.

In this account told by Naolin’s brother and spanning over two years, Missy’s and Naolin’s abilities, ideals, and even bodies are put to the test in many ways as they are forced to deal with villains and monsters that are made possible—and all the more dangerous—by the Power and the Madness.

Writing Wednesday: IWSG Jan 2020

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I’ll be honest–I love talking about my writing history. So today’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group question just begs to be answered. Here is the question posed for today’s IWSG post:
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?

The journey I took to get to this point amuses me greatly when I look back at it. The furthest back I can remember (on this topic) is when I was about 10 years old. I wrote a story about a couple that adopted two girls. When I think back to this story, I remember it as much longer and grander than what it actually was. I typed the story on my parents’ Tandy 1000, and even wrote a sequel. A few years ago, we fired up that old computer and I happened to find the story:

The Nickersons

Apparently I didn’t like the space bar…

I actually remember how that story was supposed to end, but there wasn’t going to be much more to it.

I also remember being sent to an enrichment class in school, though I don’t remember how old I was at this point (late elementary school, I think), due to my penchant for making up stories. They wanted to encourage my creativity, and I was taken out of normal class time for it. There were two other kids in the class–one was was an amazing artist, and I don’t recall the other one’s talent.

Around the age of 14, I got even more ambitious and started to write a story that I anticipated being a full-length novel (full-length for middle grade fiction, at least), and the beginning of a series. The main characters were a set of twins (girl & boy), and I based a lot of the other characters on a lot of people I knew at that time. I never finished the first story, but I still have what I did write, in the below notebooks.

1

Overall, I think both of these dreams were inspired by series like The Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Addie McCormick, and Mandie books, as well as many other series and stand-alones I read back then.

Fast forward to high school, and my fiction writing dropped away. I wrote some poetry in high school, a few notable pieces, but nothing spectacular. I took a creative writing class in my junior year, I think it was. A few years ago, I dug up a reflection paper that I wrote at the end of that class where I stated that though I’d enjoyed writing the short story required for the class, I didn’t think I’d have a reason to write fiction again in the future. And I didn’t until I was inspired by a computer game.

Pithea cover, KindleMy first full-length novel, Pithea (which releases this Friday!!!), had its foundation as fanfiction for the game Ragnaok Online. This started about 15 years ago, and about 7 years ago I began the journey to use the characters and some of the basic plot lines and create my own world. Now, with book #1 about to come out and at least 7 more planned, I really can’t imagine not being a writer.

Wherever this book and series takes me, however big or small they turn out to be, I know I will always be a writer at heart, and really, I always have been.

For my fellow writers, what does your writing history look like?

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Pre-Order Pithea Today!

Pithea cover, Kindle

My first full-length novel, book 1 in a series of futuristic speculative fiction with a Christian worldview, is now available to pre-order as a Kindle e-book! Both the e-book and the paperback will be released on January 10th, but if you want to get ahead of the game, you can pre-order the e-book here.

PITHEA

In the near future, a devastating global war leads to a worldwide ban on the use of all technology. A few hundred years after the war, a sort of magic—called the Power—manifests in every living person. Thousands of years later, the Power has become a part of everyday life in the country of Pithea.

Missy Seeger is struggling to find her place in the world. She reluctantly decides to follow in the footsteps of her well-known and well-respected father. As other options begin to call out to her, she can’t let go of the need to please him.

Naolin Dark knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. He finds the adventure and excitement of life in his local militia, with a sword strapped to his side, to be the only worthy path. The primary goal of Pithean militias is to protect the country’s citizens from animals afflicted by the Madness, and Naolin is eager for his chance to prove himself.

In this account told by Naolin’s brother and spanning over two years, Missy’s and Naolin’s abilities, ideals, and even bodies are put to the test in many ways as they are forced to deal with villains and monsters that are made possible—and all the more dangerous—by the Power and the Madness.

Weekly Writing Update: December Week 2

Last Sunday, I listed 3 goals to be working on. In the week since then, I finished 2, plus another task that I decided needed doing, and have just started into the 3rd:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel – This took a couple of days, but it’s finished, and now this draft can be filed away for a while.

2. Update Kindle version of “Pithea”, upload it to KDP, add Kindle version to Goodreads – This also took a couple of days, and now I have very little left to prepare for publishing my first novel! (Read the first chapter here!)

At this point, I decided that I needed to make a minor edit (which of course turned out to be some major work) to the paperback cover, which took about 45 minutes, but the cover should be set now.

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – This particular goal is going to take a bit longer than the others. I’m already about 90% of the way through the revision, according to the math I did for a post back in August when I was last working on this revision. However, I hit on an idea some time in the last month for a way to cut out a character that I’ve realized isn’t very important to the story by giving the little bit that he does do that’s important to a bigger character, so I’m making that change before I go back to the rest of the revision. This is what I will be continuing with for the next week.

Writing Wednesday: IWSG Dec 2019

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The optional question for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post is quite timely for me, and very close to the topic I was considering writing this post about anyway. Here is the question posed for today’s IWSG post:
Let’s play a game. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream?

With the impending release of my first full-length novel, I have started to dip my toe into marketing. I am the absolute worst person to be self-publishing, as I have 0 social skills and don’t know how to carry a normal conversation even in everyday life. Add to that a very small budget and every common writer insecurity, and well, all I can do is the best that I can.

Last Saturday, I took part in a Local Author Book Sale at the library in a nearby city. It was part of a holiday shopping extravaganza downtown. To participate, you basically have to have a book you can sell, so I qualified with The Triangle. I took some copies to sell and some items with which to promote my future novel “Pithea” in advance of its release.

I did hand out some promotional bookmarks and talk to some people who showed interest. But I think the biggest thing I got out of this event is an understanding of what to do better/differently next time.

There was a man at the table next to me, younger than me, who had something like 6 books to sell (mostly novella-length from the look of them). When he arrived and started setting up, he lamented how many things he had forgotten to bring (we loaned him our masking tape). He said he used to do events like this all the time, but has gotten busy with school recently and didn’t take much time to prepare for this.

With him as an example, as well as other authors I met or studied during the event, I commented to my husband that someday I’d like to be as confident as he was with the people walking by his table (though I’ll never be the talker he is), but that I’d never want to get to the point where going to an event like this is so run-of-the-mill or unimportant that I don’t still do my best to prepare for it and make it a great event.

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That’s me at my table with my pitifully meager display compared to most of the others. My husband insisted on the banner, which was a splurge for our tiny budget, but was well-received. I was dealing with imposter syndrome pretty heavily the whole day, and questioning why they even let me come to this event. But I was really glad I did. It was a huge step up from the only other event like this I’ve been part of, and yet, still small enough to give someone like me a chance to attend and learn.

All of that said, I don’t want to end this post without saying that I am not as disheartened as I may sound. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I’m definitely just starting out. I may never get to the point that I’d like to, regarding confidence and self-promotion, but I do know that I’ll get better than I currently am with practice. And if along the way, I can find an audience of whatever size for my books, people who enjoy the characters and their stories and want to know what happens next as much as I do, then I’ll be pretty happy.

For my fellow writers, what does your future writer life look like?

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Weekly Writing Update: December Week 1 (NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up)

(Before I get into this long update, one last time for 2018, be sure to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2019 – December 1st It’s also the very last NaNoToon ever!)

NaNoWriMo is over, and boy what a month it was. I spent pretty much all of my free time in November either writing for NaNoWriMo or working on “Pithea” for its upcoming release. Still, I came out on the other side with 82,750 words and, more importantly, a finished draft! This book will most likely be book #8 in the Pithea Series. But since I’m just about to publish book #1, and all of the books between here and #8 still need a lot of work, who knows what could happen by the time I get there.

I had some highs and lows during NaNo, but was more happy than not with what I was writing. I had some “Aha!” moments, which I absolutely love, even though they were mostly minor. Still exciting! I already know a lot of places that need work, but it will be a long time before I get back to it for revision.

I had hoped to leave myself with little to work on for publishing “Pithea” during November, so I could focus on NaNo, but being that this is the first novel I’ve ever published, I can say now how silly it was for me to think that would be the case. I managed to find a balance, though, and now I have only small details left to work on.

I now have a finished cover, the paperback interior is completely ready, and the digital file just needs updated to minor changes I made when finalizing the paperback interior. I’ve added the book to Goodreads (just the paperback for now until I finish the digital file), added it to Reedsy (read the first chapter here!), and the ebook will be available for pre-order on Amazon soon!

So with NaNo over and my attention turning not only to final publishing details, but also to working on book #2 so that it can be released in a timely fashion after book #1, I have a new list of writing goals, related to all of these things:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel – Sometimes I’ll spend the first few days after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time. It shouldn’t take long, and is better done now than later (I know that from experience).

2. Update Kindle version of “Pithea” – As part of this goal, after updating it, I’ll need to upload the final version to KDP, proof it, and decide on when the pre-order should be available. And add the Kindle version to Goodreads.

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – Going by what is widely understood to be acceptable word count lengths for books of its type, “Outcast” is currently quite a bit too short. However, the amount I’d have to add would basically be entire new story arc. Rather than stress about how to lengthen it right now, I’m going to finish with the revision of what is already there, and then send it to 3 people who were most helpful with revision of “Pithea” and ask them to read it and tell me what they think–if they think there’s a lot that could be expanded on, plot threads they’d like to see followed, etc. And then I’ll go from there.

NaNoWriMo Day 22

Day 22 writing badge

The Words: 2040 words and happy to get that. I did some freelance work for my old job today (helping get an app built, which is really not my area of expertise) and worked on the cover of “Pithea” (which comes out on January 10th!) to try to make it look better on the paperback. By evening, my head just wasn’t in the first-draft writing space. But I dug down deep and did some sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter and at least wrote a bit past par.

The Story:  Today was all conversation for storyline 1. I really like how the characters are developing in this storyline, but I will probably have to put more variety into it in the next draft. For now though, big news has been revealed that may or may not be as much of a huge revelation for the readers (someday far in the future) as it is for the characters.

Total word count: 71,575

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 22, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 19

Day 19 writing badge

The Words: 4118 words. The weekly write-in at my local library was today. It’s a small writing group that meets throughout the year, and none of them really do NaNo. Some like to come to the write-ins, though, and work on whatever writing they’re doing. No one showed up last week, so I went home after waiting about 15 minutes. Today, I had higher hopes that some would come, because it’s the Tuesday we normally meet monthly. But when no one was there at the starting time, I decided to start a 20-minute sprint myself, and at least get some writing in while also giving others a chance to arrive late. No one did, but at least I went home with a 1139 jump on my words tonight. The rest I got in a #1k30min sprint and a regular 20-minute sprint with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. It felt really good to get a higher word count again.

The Story: For the sprint at the library, I wrote for storyline 2b, which I haven’t spent as much time on this month, but is also the shortest of all the storylines (it is a sub-storyline, after all). The main character in that storyline got a little snarky and called his counterpart out, which was not in my plans.

The rest of the time was spent writing for storyline 2. That included more stress and anger, from the same character, actually. And then I started pantsing a scene that will transition from where I was to the next plot point in my outline.

I don’t quite know if I’m still on track to reach the end of the draft by the end of the month. Going strictly by the numbers, I’m about 70% of the way through my outline, and we’re only 63% of the way through the month. I keep adding new scenes that come up organically, or that seem necessary to get from one plot point to another, though. I’m still hoping to finish with all the little formatting thins I’m working for “Pithea” soon, which will give me the ability to go back to spending more time on my NaNoNovel. Publishing a book is a lot of work.

Total word count: 64,270

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 19, 2019
This is a good time to watch episode 4 of the NaNoMusical, where things really heat up!

NaNoWriMo Day 13 (50k!)

Day 13 writing badgeThe Words: 3118 words. I sat down to write just in time to catch several back-to-back sprints on my region’s Discord server.

I realized earlier today that I am going to need to start splitting my writing time between NaNo and finishing final edits on “Pithea,” or I’m not going to have my book ready to submit for reviews in time for when I want to publish it. So today, I still had to push for 3k words because I was so close to 50k(!), but after this, I’ll likely stick to around 1667-2500 words per day so I have time to work on my soon-to-be-published book. I don’t know what this means for whether or not I’ll finish the first draft of my NaNoNovel, but we’ll just see how the rest of the month goes.

The Story: I really enjoyed writing more of storyline 1 today. Though most of it was back to diplomacy between the main characters’ country and their northern neighbor, I got to get into the head of a brand new character in this book (I don’t get the chance to do that much by this point in the series), and even got to write more about my favorite character in the entire series!

Total word count: 50,068

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 13, 2019
If the week 2 blahs have got you down (or even if they don’t), it’s a good time to check out the 3rd episode of the NaNoMusical!

Weekly Writing Update: October Week 4

Even though I got through 2/3 of the revision of my proof copy of “Pithea” in less than a week, it took me the rest of this week to finish it. This was mostly due to the fact that my husband wanted to spend time with me a lot in the evenings this week (evenings are my main time to spend on writing). How dare he…

I’m done with the main revision though, with only minor aesthetic things to proof, so I’m going to go ahead and order another proof copy to check my hopefully clearer cover that I had to redo again when the revision I did cut the pages down by just enough to require a different cover size.

While I wait on that proof to come, I need to spend the rest of this month prepping for NaNoWriMo. Thankfully, the outline has been done for months, but I need to get my mind back into that story, catch up with the remade plans for the story that comes before, and maybe flesh out the outline I already have. But no matter how much or little I get done during the rest of Preptober, come November 1st, I will start writing!