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Among the Flames Update

Alright, I’m a little late on this update. But Among the Flames is officially off to ARC readers! Yahoo!! I had this book finished a couple years ago, and took a little break to go to school. But I’m back in full swing.

And with Among the Flames going to ARC readers, that means a publish date has also been decided. Are you ready? April 25, 2017! I wish there hadn’t been such a gap between From the Ashes and Among the Flames and I apologize deeply to any readers I left hanging. But I can make this promise. Not only will Among the Flames be released this year, but Into the Storm will be released this summer, and Through the Mist this Winter. That’s right. The rest of the series will be coming this year!

Lastly, in case you missed it, or like me, just like looking at it. Here is the cover reveal for Among the Flames.

Best Writing Software for Authors

I can’t even tell you how long I’ve spent researching the best writing software for fiction authors. It had so many requirements. I wanted a one-stop-shop when it came to my software. What does it need to have?

1. Affordable – Yes we all love free things, and in this day in age, many things are free. But we should also learn that better things cost some money. It’s about finding the thin line between value and getting a rip off.

2. Planning/outlining – I don’t want five different programs to write my novel. I want one program to do it all. So it needs to have tools to plan and outline, take random notes, have character sketches, hold research, organize scenes in a big picture way, and more!

3. Act/Chapter/Scene Breakup – I need to break my writing into scenes (and you should too!) It makes organizing soooo much easier! And it helps navigate and improve your writing easier. This was mandatory!

4. Compile feature – I needed to easily be able to produce a full-length story with all of my scenes. I wanted multiple export options as well.

5. Customization – I wanted to make it work for ME. I want my own labels, my own status updates, my own tracking, my own folder names, my own colors and fonts and everything! I don’t like the same thing.

6. Distraction free writingThis is soooo crucial. I need something to help me. I may end up getting another software that locks me out till I finish or something to keep me from ADHDing and going online. But if you have the strength, this will be enough. Full screen writing, choose your own background and paper color, put on some music, and get into the writing zone.

7. Series writing This is my latest discovery. I had a separate file for each of my books in my series and planning was becoming annoying and time consuming opening up various documents, checking old projects for details, and keeping everything straight. Then I learned some people were writing all of their books in ONE Scriv project! What the what?? So I did it too.  Now finishing my Legend of the Liberator series is going to be so much easier! So worry not – this is an awesome perk of if you write series.

Alright, there are probably more things I wanted, but those are all I can think of right now. And if you’ve read past posts, you know I’ve tried them all. Ywriter, write way pro, liquid story binder…. (enter other writing software) and I even looked into Novlr (but that price, are you kidding me??)

So what has it all???

Scrivener! If you’ve looked at all into writing software, you’ve seen this. And for good reason.

Get it. Seriously. Stop researching writing software and just get Scrivener. It’s only $40. That’s it. None of this subscription garbage that seems to be trending nowadays. And boy is this baby full of features. You don’t need to use them all or learn it inside and out to begin using it. I’m pretty sure I only know a tiny portion of it. I’m trying to learn more to make it more advantageous to me. There are tons of books on it too! I’m not an affiliate or getting compensated in any way to write this, that is just the link to the Windows version but they have a Mac as well. In fact, Mac was what they started with so it is a bit better so lucky you. I purely want to share my experience with authors like me!

So stop wasting time researching writing software. Just go get it. Join the crowd of real writers. I’m sorry it’s taken me forever to update you on what I use for writing but I’ve been using it for years. Get writing!

Found a different software you like? Share it in the comments? Love Scrivener? Share the love for it and convince other writers!

Legend of the Liberator UPDATE

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you likely already know my latest decision. I was still putting off searching for an agent, mostly because of the dreaded query, summary, and all the other things a writer must put together for an agent. The other half because I just wanted to write. After some thought and recalculating, I’ve decided to step back into the self-publishing game.

The crowds just went wild right? Alright…maybe not.

Still! It is true. I’m going to try to use what I’ve learned and do things differently this time around. The number one thing I’m changing is speed. Therefore, since Among the Flames is ready for publication save for a cover, I plan to put out the entire Legend of the Liberator series this year! Which means finishing Into the Storm by July and Through the Mist by October.

Now will the crowds go wild? Hey. Where are my crowds? (Oh yeah…I went off the map for a while.)

So I hope to keep you updated and share cover reveals, release dates, and more here soon! If you watch my progress bar on the right, I’ve updated them recently. Into the Storm, book #3 of the series, is 27% written in the first draft! Dance party!

Well I’ve got to get back to writing. But I wanted to share the good news. Are you excited? I’m excited.

Let’s do this.

A Degree Richer

Alright, so not quite a post on my book progress, but I figured I’d still check in so any readers know I’m still here. I graduated! I now have my Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies. Yay! It only took me 8 months through Western Governors University, a competency-based school. It’s like being able to test out of college courses because you already know the material, WGU only requires you pass a test or assignment(s) to demonstrate competency. As all college should be, in my opinion. What does sitting in a desk for several hours a week prove? Nothing. It’s passing the test and proving you have the chops that means something. If this sounds like something for you (only for the very self-motivated) then look into them. Anyhoo, endorsement over, what’s next? Obtaining my TEFL certificate. That should take about 3 months. Then I’ll be certified to teach English as a second/foreign language!

With regards to writing, I’m still working on Into the Storm (book 3 of Legend of the Liberator) as much as I can. My plan involves heavily pursuing a literary agent within the next six months to two years. With any luck, within that time frame I’ll have some good news and we’ll see more LotL books on virtual, even physical, shelves. In the meantime, I just keep writing and staying the course.

Other than that, what else is new? I’m moving this weekend. Ick. My landlords decided they want to sell the house we’re renting. Joy. But moving has its highlights. Moving is a change. And I LOVE change. I get bored of the same things all the time and I need a change in scenery. This will be good. How’s that for enthusiasm when it’s farther from work and more expensive?

So what have you been up to? Reading any great books? Experiencing any changes you’d like to bemoan/celebrate? How’s Spring Cleaning coming? Let’s chat!

Back in the saddle…

Oh how nice it is to be back! It’s only been about 7 months as I’ve turned my focus momentarily to my schooling. Taking time away from writing was much harder than I thought. Now that I’ve come back, with only 2 months of school left, it feels like a part of me has been found. I’m whole again!

What am I working on? Well as you know if you’ve read the last post, I am going to be pursuing the traditional publishing route. I haven’t really dove into the mess of getting an agent yet. I want to be completely finished with school first so I can fully dedicate myself to the search. Submissions take a lot of time! However, in the meantime I am continuing my work on Legend of the Liberator series.

I am currently writing Into the Storm, book 3 of the series. The second book, Among the Flames, is ready for publication whenever I find an agent and publisher. Until then, I can just continue writing. If anyone knows of a literary agent who is searching for YA/NA Fantasy with a grittier edge, send them my way. If you’ve read From the Ashes, please continue to support and leave reviews or suggest the book to your friends and family. The more support I can get, the higher likelihood of being picked up by an agent. I need your help readers of the world!

I know this wasn’t what you wanted to hear. You were probably hoping I’d say “I’m publishing Among the Flames!” Sadly, that isn’t the case. Yet. Just popping in to say I am still here and I’m still working.

Among the Flames to Editor!

Hello!! Hello, hello! It’s been a while!

So what have I been up to since publishing From the Ashes? Relaxing? Don’t make me laugh. I’ve been hard at work on the next installment of Legend of the Liberator, Among the Flames. And after lots and LOTS of work, I’m here to report it has officially gone to my editor!
NOW I can relax. For a little at least. I’m off to Oregon for a week. My first vacation in years and I couldn’t be more excited! Portlandia here I come!!

Among the Flames has gone to Betas!!

Ahhh! I can’t believe that time is already here! From the Ashes hasn’t even been published yet and I’ve just sent off Among the Flames (Book Two) to my beta readers! I’m so excited to get feedback on this one. I think it’s so much better than From the Ashes…which is should be, right?

But it’s also longer, coming in at 122k for this draft. I know once it goes through my final editing stages, I’ll end up cutting a few thousand, and even more when my editor gets her hands on it. But for my poor betas, they must read the sloppy, bulky copy. I’m sorry guys. 🙁
So in 4 weeks, I’ll have my feedback and the final stages will begin! In the meantime, From the Ashes will be published May 3rd! Oh and also sometime in all this craziness, I’ll be moving. What a horrible, amazing, fantastic month!

Character Interview: Cole Balain

I’ve decided to change how I do my character interviews. I want to show you the character you won’t read in the book, the character outside of doing…heroic stuff. Let’s get deep, let’s get dirty, let’s get real. I’m going to ask Cole a variety of questions and he’ll answer. And away we go!

  1. Favorite Color: Hmm…does it have to be a color? How about steel? That’s sort of a color. So simple, so real. 
  2. Favorite Food: Well that is easy. I love meat. Particularly meat with potatoes. Ooo with some gravy. Does this all count as one food?
  3. If you were an animal, what animal do you think you’d be? An animal…an animal…I don’t know. Maybe something like a wolf? Ugh, this is a stupid question, next!
  4. A man just stole something from a stall. What do you do? A guy just stole something? Well that depends. Did anyone else see him? Was he a beggar? Do we know why he stole something? Do we know what he stole? Without all the details, I can’t say. If you want to assume it’s a common thug, then I’d chase him, obviously.  But turning him in…that depends on those details.
  5. Views on religion: Oh boy, now we’re getting deep. No one wants to know this about me. *Sigh* Okay, I think religion is great for those who need it. I think if it makes you feel better that someone is watching you, that someone has a plan, that things happen for a reason, then you should think that. But as far as what I believe? I believe there is a lot of suffering and a lot of pain in this world. I believe if there is something to believe in, we haven’t found it yet or things wouldn’t be so screwed up. I believe if there was truly something greater, there wouldn’t be so many mixed opinions on it. We’d all be in the same school of thought. Until then, we’re just grasping at anything and naturally everyone has a different opinion.
  6. Your most embarrassing moment: Embarrassing moment? You realize I’m the masculine hunk, right? Mighty’s sake, let’s see. Embarrassing moment…embarrassing moment…Oh, okay.  Once while I was training, I must have been about nine or so, this girl came to watch us train. She was cute and dainty and I liked that once. But I wasn’t trained long and hardly had any experience with a sword. I sliced at the dummy but then I couldn’t get it out. I finally pulled so hard, the sword released and smacked me right in the forehead. Knocked me out cold. I woke up a day later in the infirmary. There, you happy? You’ve opened up old wounds.
  7. Favorite thing about the opposite sex: Ladies, eh? Hmm…what won’t make me look like a prick? You’re setting me up, Shelby, I swear it. Favorite thing…I like the way they look at the world. Laugh all you want but it’s truly fascinating. They see things so differently. They are gentle, they want to understand, they want to love every little thing. They think things through, over think them till they’re blue in the cheeks. It’s amazing to me and I can’t help but love that about them. Also, their hips.

Thank you, Cole! I hope everyone enjoyed seeing a side of Cole. Get to know more about him in my book, From the Ashes, to be published May 3rd. If you are interested in an advance copy in exchange for an honest review, contact me!
More questions for Cole? Leave me a comment!