Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

My Return   2 comments

Well, after another long hiatus, I thought I would finally get this blog back in running order. I won’t bore you all with lengthy descriptions of how busy I’ve been, but suffice it to say, I’ve organized my slate so I can start being active across all the social media platforms I’m on. For the past few months I’ve mainly been hanging out on DeviantArt and honing my skills as an artist. But I haven’t forgotten my writing, and I have been making progress on the third and final book in the Heart of Light trilogy. I’ve been working on updating the covers for the first two books, one of which is almost complete and the other which is in development stage. I figure since I got the skill, it’s time these books got the covers they deserve. And just because I’m still tickled about it, I thought I’d post a bit of news. I made a book cover and entered it in a cover redesign contest a little while back which, to my delight, not only won second place but was so well liked by the author of the original cover that she swapped hers for mine. *takes moment to do happy dance*

 

Phoenix Cover.JPEG

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Posted September 5, 2016 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

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October Doings   Leave a comment

A happy October to you all! It’s fall time, and it’s a season I always get excited about. Everything is colorful and the scent of Christmas seems to fill the air. It’s like magic comes to life in this world. This month, I thought I’d go ahead and leave an early post instead of leaving this blog unattended for months on end. Due to being almost ridiculously busy, I never got to leave a post here on Crown of Ravens being finally published. Below is the cover I made for the book, as well as the link if you wish to check the book out.

Crown of Ravens Full Cover

http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Ravens-Heart-Light-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00VS6KRX0/ref=sr_1_1?tag=geolinker-20&s=digital-text

Gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s almost hard to believe that there’s only more book left to write in the series before the adventure is finished. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it! But all good things must come to an end, sad though it is to admit. One adventure ends, and another begins.

Currently, I’m almost a quarter of the way through the first draft of the third book, and things are looking good. The story is really shaping up into what I think is the most epic of The Heart of Light Trilogy, with a lot of surprises and twists that even caught me unawares. As I mentioned a couple posts back, I wanted to get to work on a new series to get published for next year. Good news and bad news. Good news is, most of the kinks have been worked out and I’m currently polishing things up in the first draft. What’s the bad news? I had a little over 6000 words written up for it that will mostly get scrapped, leaving me back to almost square one. Still, with everything mostly all set and ready to go, I should be able to make it up quick. I have also started two other projects, which I am super-excited about. Both are fairy tales and one of them I’m writing for this contest here.

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The other is inspired a lot by the movie Maleficent and a fantasy book from the ’90s called Children of the Night by Harold Mrya. This one I’ve probably made the most headway in. Over fifteen thousand words and growing. Not too sure where it will finish at, but I’m hoping for something over the twenty-five thousand mark.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. Feel free to like or comment. Next Friday, I will be giving a sneak preview of one of my fairy tale novels, so make sure to tune in then. 😉

The Death of the Underground   3 comments

Happy September, everyone! Little late again in posting, but hey, at least it’s not another month gone, right? I’ve been wanting to post this for awhile, but I kept getting sidetracked, so here it finally is.

A few months back, the first forum I ever joined bit the dust. And on the anniversary of my fourth year on there, too.

In a way, it was to be expected. The forum had been hacked numerous times and was consistently plagued with problems, but with its official demise, it’s still saddening. The Underground may have been a small forum, but it was clean and most of the members on there were fairly decent. It was also the first public site I began to post my writing on, and ultimately, provided the stepping stone towards me becoming a published author. Sadly, now, it is no more. While there is a backup forum one of the members created, it is not the same. The activity on there is next to nil, and most I believe won’t even know it exists, as they would look for the one first associated with the series of the book the forum was named after. In a way, I can’t help feeling that the owners of the forum, Christopher Hopper and Wayne Thomas Batson, are to blame. It’s not like they did not know what was going on and could have invested a little money into making the site more secure. Instead, they did nothing.
While everyone was told that the site was going to be moved, it never happened. Months went by with no word on what was going on, until at last the UG disappeared. And of course, the authors aren’t doing anything about it. Everyone is supposed now to shuttle off to the alternate forum that one of the members had to start, but again, it’s not the same. The place is practically like a tomb. I guess when you’re a big author and people are following you across most social networks, it’s not necessary to really take care of the stuff you start for your readers. It’s sad to say it, but it seems that’s how it is.

Still, I have my memories of the place, good ones, that I will always cherish. God used it in a big way for me, because it really was the kicking off point for my writing career. And for that, I will always look on the Underground with fondness.

Posted September 9, 2015 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

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Rules of Writing   Leave a comment

You hear a lot about how you should or should not write. More description, less description; passive voice, active voice; long word count, short word count-it seems like no matter where I look, I always find conflicting opinions. Everyone has their own “rules” which, if you follow, supposedly make the story better. I can say from experience that if you are looking to mutilate your story and give yourself a great deal of headache, go ahead and follow what everyone says. When I first got into writing, I naturally wanted to know what I needed to do to make the story perfect. So I surfed the internet, found a lot of do’s and don’ts, and tried applying it to my writing. After nearly driving myself bonkers, I had to abandon that approach and, in the process, learned something very important: you have to write like yourself. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to improve your craft. Far from it. I’m always trying to improve my writing skills, but what I do not do is try to follow the supposed “rules” out there that many authors give. You have to realize that every story is different. Some stories can have a lot of description of the minute details and be done so good, it doesn’t bog the tale down, while others you need to be light with on going into too many details.

I like to think of a story as a piece of music, as liquid magic running through the soul. It’s not something that we can create at will. It comes from above and has already been composed. While we can tweak with it a little, we cannot force the story to be what it was not meant to be or make it go in a direction opposite of its purpose. I’ve seen many stories ruined because the author forced the story to adjust to what he or she thought it should be, and the end result sabotaged the story’s full potential. I did it, and I saw how bad it came out, whereas when I just let the story go where it wanted, the result was a beautiful, rich tale that began and ended with a contented smile on my lips.

If you have a story that needs to be told in this world, then go ahead and don’t hinder it. If it requires extra words, give it. If it needs a little less description, then go ahead and trim it. Don’t worry about not knowing what it will need or how you will know when to give it more description or less, active voice or passive, or simply which POV you should go with. If it’s a good story that you love, trust me, it will make itself known and you will just lose yourself in the flow of words like a musician does with the music he plays. Because it’s from the heart.

My 2015 Post   Leave a comment

Happy 2015, everyone. Hopefully all of you are having a splendid new year (or at least passible anyway). Resolutions are something I tend not to really both with, unless it’s something like trying to just post more often on my blogs, but this month I decided to make two big ones in the area of writing. As those of you who follow my blog know, I am the author of a fantasy book series, the second book of which I have been working on to get published. My goal originally was to have the story published last year, but I ended up blowing past that entirely due to both lack of time as well as waiting on my proofies to finish with the story. This year, I’ll confess that I haven’t done much writing. Actually, to be honest, I haven’t done any. I just joined Deviant Art, a site where you can post your works of art, and have been caught up with polishing up my digital art making capabilities. Due to God’s excellent tutelage, I’ve actually become fairly good at photo-manipulating and am creating a fancier piece of art for Crown of Raven’s cover.

I’ve missed my writing, though, and so I decided to create a couple goals which I’m praying to meet. The first is to finish the series I’m writing now, The Heart of Light Trilogy. The second book is practically all set to go except for fixing the places in the story where the proofies thought needed work, a few tweaks to the cover’s art, and we’re all set. Then I can concentrate on going full speed ahead with the third book and getting that done. My second goal is to get work started on a new series which I hope to have done in time to publish for next year. It’s a tad ambitious, given my schedule and the fact that I usually like to work on one story at a time, but I figure why not? God gave me the talent and brains for the job, so let’s use them and see how far I can go. One other thing which I’m looking to do, which is not a resolution but something I’d be interested in doing, and that is making book covers for folks. In making my own covers and those for my sister, I’ve ended up creating five with a sixth on the way, and they have turned out pretty good. What’s more, due to surfing Deviant Art, I’ve come across a treasure trove of unrestricted stock photos that allow me greater freedom to make art that I before did not have the ability to create. And have I made some sweet art.

Anyway, there are my goals for the year, and I wish you God’s help (not luck since I don’t believe in that anymore than I believe in leprechauns) in whatever goals that you folks are looking to achieve this year.

Writers’ Block   6 comments

Writer’s block. You’ve heard of it before, especially if you’re a writer. In fact, as a writer, you have firsthand experience with it. It’s something all of us have experienced at one time or another and dreads with every fiber of their being. It’s the moment when that well of inspiration runs empty, the flow of words and life injected in the story come to a wrenching stop, and you’re left sitting there staring at the screen, your mind struggling to come up with what happens next and frustration boiling as the minutes tick by with no progress. Every avenue you try ends up meeting a dead end, and sometimes that block lasts for days. You’ll write pages of stuff and in the end discard it because it just doesn’t fit or sound right. Yes, this is what every writer hates and hopes desperately to avoid.

But what if it wasn’t just the well of inspiration running dry? What if it was something more, like a warning light signaling that the story is not going in the right direction it is supposed to? What if the direction we’re pushing for is wrong, and this is trying to warn us to turn the story another way?

And now you’re probably asking, ‘is he nuts?!’

Well, to quote Tony Stark, ‘jury’s out.’ One thing I do know, though, is that every great story comes from God. From Him we receive the talent, and from Him we receive the inspiration necessary to write those stories. So if we suddenly run into writers’ block, that moment when we can’t get the scene to play as we envisioned it, does it hurt to turn to the source of all inspiration and ask what is going wrong? If God is the one from Whom we get our talent and if He cares enough to give it to us, would it not make sense that He would try to help us with our work? And if we are forging ahead in the wrong direction with the story, would it also not make sense for Him to intervene and warn us?

It’s funny that when I ran into writers’ block, I would spend hours, days even, trying to figure out how to write the scene out. I’d be tearing my hair with frustration and looking to hurl that computer across a football field. But…as soon as I asked God where He wanted the story to go, immediately I saw the path it needed to take and shazam! I was blazing a path like nobody’s business. It’s really embarrassing when one thinks about how much time I wasted with trying to figure out how to go my way, when all I had to do was ask God what His was. And you know what? It was so much better than mine. The story ended up coming out richer, deeper, better written and developed—everything a writer desires with their book. Writers’ block used to be a hated foe; now it’s a friendly flag waving to catch my attention if I begin to go the wrong way.

Many times we get so focused on doing this on our own, that we forget that there is Creator above that does love us and tries His very best to help us out, in spite of our thick-headedness. So when and if you ever encounter writer’s block, don’t ignore it and push on with your own idea. Stop, and take the few minutes to ask God what He wants for the book. Trust me, His stuff will always fit better than yours, and you’ll be glad that you listened.

Posted September 26, 2014 by J.M. Christian in Random Thoughts

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SUPER FANTASY GIVEAWAY!!!   Leave a comment

Great news, folks! If you’re a fantasy lover or simply looking for a new read to add to your bookshelf, then this is for you. A friend of mine is having a book giveaway to promote her newest release, and due to her gracious invitation, I also will be participating in it (the first giveaway I’ve ever taken part in 🙂 ) and my book, The Dark Wolf, is one of the prizes. For the giveaway, my friend is giving not one, not two, but four books of amazing epicness! Add in mine plus another book by another author (also another friend of mine), and that makes a grand total of six beauties being given away for FREE. So if you are looking for some great reading material of adventures, epicness, and a stirring story, click the link below to head on over to my friend’s blog and start earning some entries! The giveaway starts today and ends at 12:00AM on September 1st. (EST)
http://tristavaporblade.blogspot.com/2014/08/gunsmoke-giveaway.html

Posted August 25, 2014 by J.M. Christian in My Books, Random Thoughts

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Your grace is enough...

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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