Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

Looking Back and Going Forward….   2 comments

Greetings, all! Been awhile since I posted something that wasn’t a review of a book or movie, so time to change that. And I want to start with giving an update on the final book to The Heart of Light Trilogy, and an apology on the lengthy delay in releasing it. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since Crown of Ravens was published. In that time, I’ve furthered my career in graphic designing, and just this year started taking courses so I can move into web development and design. I never forgot about the series and writing in general, but it’s one of those things that starts to get put in the back seat when you’re dealing with life and trying to support yourself. It gets harder and harder to make time when so much is needed for the more pressing issues, and every day you’re racing to catch up and cram as much as you can into that short space so you don’t fall behind. And with the audience for my books not being large, it was easier to put off the third book for “later”.

I’ll be honest, I never did much with marketing my books. I take full blame on that one. 😛 When I first published the series, I had to make the art myself, and while I was confident in the story itself (my mom and I did double-time on the editing) I wasn’t as confident in the cover art. If there’s one thing I pride myself in, it’s knowing a good cover. And while I will never knock my old work (it was pretty advanced for what I knew back then) I am brutally honest. It had some serious flaws, and trying to market a book with a cover you know is not put together very well is scary.

Last year was when my skills with making graphic art got to a point that I knew I could finally, FINALLY, give these stories the spectacular artwork I had always coveted in other books, and that they deserved.

I was already in a competition where the contestants needed to choose one of their older works and redo them. I looked through some of my older artworks, and the one for Crown of Ravens caught my eye. Right there, I decided to go for it. And behold, what I got was the art I had always dreamed of seeing on one of my books. I was even able to make the crown itself, a feat all on its own that I was unable to do before. (And yes, I was kicking myself for writing it as black. Gold sure would have easier. 😛 )

So Crown of Ravens was taken care of. It had a gorgeous cover, but now we come to The Dark Wolf. That book will always be my baby because it was my first, and from the start, I was never happy with the cover it got. Don’t get me wrong, I take pride in what I was able to make back then. I had ZERO experience making that stuff, and at the time, I had only a couple tutorials on Youtube to get me going. So it was big thing for me to even make a cover on my own. But again, I knew it had flaws, and it wasn’t the best work to represent the story. The first cover for Crown of Ravens had its own problems, but even that looked visually more appealing. As the years went by and I continued learning graphic art and design, The Dark Wolf went through 4 different cover variations as my skills gradually increased (I feel so sorry for putting it through that 😦 ). Last year was when the cover switching finally ended with the creation of the fifth and final work with a brand new piece of art.

Before

After

 

Before

After

I got both covers prepped and put together, then uploaded them to Amazon. Honestly, I did get a little thrill when the covers appeared on Amazon. 🙂 It was the art I had always dreamed of having for a story of mine. And at last, I finally had it. I did try to market it, but again I got sidetracked, and that was put on the back shelf. My workload was growing, and when I decided to take the leap into web development, that just added to my already full plate.

It was actually one of my friends who recently read my books that gave me the shot of encouragement and motivation I needed. And I realized I had to go back. I needed to finish what I started, not just for the dear readers out there, but also for myself and for the story that got me started on this journey through life. It was that first book, The Dark Wolf, that led me here. Now, I need to give it and the readers out there the ending they deserve.

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Now you’re probably asking, “The update, man! Where are things with that third book (you dang slow author you)!”
Okay, enough suspense here. 😛 Currently, I’m still on the first draft but have managed to reach the halfway point on it. And I have already plotted out the remaining chapters, so no time will be wasted with wondering where the story should go. While a 2017 release is not likely at this point, 2018 is. I can’t give an exact date, but I’m looking at publishing the third book in either summer or fall of next year, depending on my schedule. Regardless, I want to let all of you know that the third book will be published, and the series resolved. And once again, I apologize for the LONG delay. The last chapter of The Heart of Light Trilogy is coming, folks. May have taken awhile, but it is coming, so hang in there.

Next post, I’ll be sharing some exciting news about what to expect for the third book. And I promise, I won’t do my usual and post a month later. 😉

(Disclaimer: Image and art used is my work and copyrighted)
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Epic Cover Reveal!   4 comments

And what do you know, another post without having to wait three or four months for it. Wonder if I’ll be able to do it again. 😉
But in the meantime, I wanted to share with all of you the remade covers for The Dark Wolf and Crown of Ravens. 😀
It’s amazing how far I’ve come as an artist, and I really do thank God for granting me the skill to do this stuff without having to hire someone for the job. Now The Heart of Light Trilogy is finally getting the covers it deserves. 🙂

Art below is mine and copyrighted. Full list of stock credits can be found here at my DeviantArt page: rreddvar.deviantart.com

Any who wish to buy the books, feel free to check them out on Amazon. 😉 http://myBook.to/TDW

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crown-of-ravens-2-1

Fairy Tale sneak peak   2 comments

It’s a little later than I intended, but I am happy that I at least made it to post on here today! Here is the snippet from the first draft of my fairy tale novel, as promised. Bear in mind that it is the first draft, so it won’t be as polished as it should be. Please feel free to like, comment, or share. Any and all are always greatly appreciated. 🙂
And now, enjoy!

****

A single tear traced its way down Lumina’s cheek. She stared silently at the solitary lump of dull stone, the only sign to remind anyone of the existence of the man who lay beneath it. But no one would remember. Like the passing of a dog, a lamb, or a tiny sparrow, none would really mourn. The memory of the man who once breathed and walked the earth with the rest of them would be forgotten, as though he never even existed.

But that was life, folks said. It was something that couldn’t be changed, only accepted. Why then, was she having such a hard time accepting it?

Lumina picked up her lantern, wiping away another stray tear, and looked one last time upon the grave that held all the family she’d ever had in the world. After another moment, she turned away and trudged down the grassy knoll alone, back to the village where all except her lay fast asleep in their beds.

Like a wraith in the night she passed through the silent streets, her lantern the only light in the murky gloom that draped over everything around her.

Only when she reached one house, smaller than the rest with a thatched roof dyed a garish red did she turn from her solitary march and enter inside.

No booming laugh met her, no twinkling eyes peering at her from under bushy brows. All was dark and empty.
Lumina completed the routine she did every night before going to bed. She washed the dirty dishes from supper and set the table for morning, before changing into her nightgown and brushing her hair, going through all the motions but without feeling or enjoying anything she did.

She placed her brush down and stared into the mirror, at the ghostly-looking reflection staring back at her with hollow-rimmed wide eyes.

Flickering light from the single candle burning on a stand played along burnished silver hair that fell to one side of her pale features, and along two ears, small and narrow, that tapered to a point at the top.

Changeling, the people of the village called her. Lumina wasn’t like them, didn’t look human enough. She did not like the dark that everyone had no choice but to live in, and her desire for light only annoyed them, for in a world ruled by unending darkness it was folly to think of asking for otherwise or wishing for anything different. It was what their lives were ruled by, the only way they lived and could remember living. Anything else was madness. And death.

None had understood Lumina or her queer thinking. But Kron did. Kron, the elderly carpenter, had possessed the same strange desire she felt, that burning passion for more than the small comfort of a candle or lantern.
So he took her in as his own, an unknown, amnesiac changeling whom none could understand him wanting. He became a father to her, gave her a name, and revealed his secret dream.

Posted October 10, 2015 by J.M. Christian in My Books

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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. 😉

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.

Crown of Ravens Cover   Leave a comment

Well, I was looking for something to post on here to hold to my promise of a second post this month, and I thought I might as well show all of you the official cover for my upcoming book, Crown of Ravens. All the art was made by me with a LOT of help by the good Lord above, with the exception of the water, which is a brush by obsidian dawn: obsidiandawn.com
If the image looks a little strange, it’s because I was trying to get it to match up with a scene in the book, which I think I nailed just about right. So anyway, feast your eyes and enjoy!

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