I recently read Michael J. Sullivan’s book, The Emerald Storm, which is largely centered around a sailing voyage by his main characters, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn. I enjoyed the book which is part of Sullivan’s series, The Riyria Revelations. I’ll avoid summarizing the book but I wanted to discuss some of the aspects of the story and how these relate to writing a book.
Once the voyage is underway the ship makes swift progress due to a prevailing wind. However, the ship must round a point. But to make this maneuver the ship’s crew must allow the ship to be swept toward rocks while making a planned changed with the sails. After the tricky move is completed they sail into a head-wind which requires tacking. This means re-setting the sails at angles in order to make zig-zag headway into the wind. It’s slower and requires continual efforts from the crew. Sullivan’s technical sailing descriptions in the book are very detailed but used in such a way as to weave them into the events.
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I’m nearing the end of a major revision and realized writing has some similarities to sailing. I’ve found these sailing situations illustrative during my work on The Bow of Hart. With writing, sometimes you’ve got the wind and sometimes you’ve got to tack.
Learning to tack your creative winds is important. It’s either that or do nothing. What are things you can do to tack as a writer? Can you stay productive against headwinds? I’ve had to learn a few things about deep POV and internalization which meant overhauling my manuscript. Then there were several additions and changes that I don’t want to reveal at the moment but which took a lot of time and effort. If you’re willing to make difficult, time-consuming changes and still make viable progress, then you’re tacking effectively. If it’s going nowhere then you need to try something else: look for different techniques, examine motivations, characterization, scenes that go nowhere and lack of emotion in the characters just to name a few.
There are times when there’s risk in the changes you make. Sometimes if feels like you and your book are headed into the rocks. I’ve found that if I keep working, even if it’s slow and arduous, the creative winds will shift in my favor. So keep writing, even into the headwinds and be willing to make difficult changes where necessary.
Have you found you need to make difficult changes with your writing? Have you felt like you lost the wind in your sails trying to complete your book? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.
This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today’s featured author is Tamie Dearen who writes in several genres including fantasy.
Q: Please share briefly about your fantasy books – titles, plots, etc.
A: I have one young adult fantasy series, the Alora Series. The first book, Alora: The Wander-Jewel, is a story about a fifteen-year-old girl from Montana. She’s a normal, teenager in every respect, except for a jewel in her belly button. One day she has a vision of a handsome boy, while taking a shower. When her vision recurs, and then becomes a reality, her entire life is turned upside down. The strange boy in the shower turns out to be her soulmate, with a bond that strengthens their gifts, but makes them vulnerable to weakness and death from extended separation. She learns from her uncle that she had a secret past and discovers she originated from another world, a medieval land called Tenavae. Her jewel allows her to transport from place to place and between worlds through her gift as a bearer. She meets her father, Vindrake, an evil man who wants to control her or, barring that, to kill her. With the support of her family and friends, she becomes involved in a fight between the forces of good and evil in Tenavae, utilizing the new gift she’s still learning to master.
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The second book of the series, Alora: The Portal, continues the story of Alora and her soulmate, Kaevin, as they fight to contain her father’s attempts to expand his holdings. The leaders are alarmed with the discovery of a portal between Vindrake’s kingdom and Montana. Alora and Kaevin are part of a team attempting to seal the portal, a feat which involves trekking into the heart of her father’s lair. Meanwhile, the lines between good and evil are blurred, as they realize Vindrake is controlling “good people” through his bloodbond, forcing them to perform evil acts. This realization is more disturbing when some of his warriors appear to seek their own deaths, even in the midst of battle, in an attempt to escape Vindrake’s evil bloodbond.
Q: As a multi-genre author how do you balance working on these different types of books?
A: I’ll admit the fantasy books are much more challenging due to the complicated plots and timelines. But I become totally engrossed in whatever book I’m writing, regardless of the genre. But there is a drawback to writing in multiple genres. The second book, Alora: The Portal, has been seriously delayed while I was completing the third and fourth books of my romantic comedy series.
Q: Staying with the multi-genre topic – how do you decide a story idea is best suited to a particular genre?
A: For me, the writing process is much like the reading process. I sit down and think about a story and it flows out before my eyes. The genre is actually determined before the story, and the plot develops in the direction consistent with the genre.
Q: What’s your writing schedule each day?
A: Unfortunately, I work full time. I’m a dentist, and I own my own practice. So my current writing schedule consist of leaving my laptop open in my office and dashing in between patients to write. I’ve given up watching television simply to take advantage of all my available writing time.
Q: What advice can you offer other independent authors based on your self-publishing experiences?
A: My best advice is to join a group of supportive authors who will provide advice, encouragement, resources, and marketing support. Don’t try to do it alone. Without input from my fellow authors, I would still be floundering around. Rave Reviews Book Club isn’t the only such group, but it’s been a great resource for me. I’ve met such supportive fellow authors at RRBC and even discovered professionals to help in areas such as editing.
I would be remiss if I didn’t advise every author to invest in a professional cover and a professional editor. Please, please, please do this. As independent authors, we are already viewed and treated as less talented and less valuable than authors who publish through the big name publishing houses. Please don’t put out sloppy, sub-par work that verifies that poor public opinion. Every good, high-quality book published by an independent author is a boon to all of us. Every bad one is a detriment.
Q: What project(s) is/are pending.
A: The second book of the Alora series is currently in the editing stage, as is a romantic comedy I originally published week-by-week on my blog, A Rose in Bloom.
Q: What usually inspires you to write a book?
A: I’m inspired by the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve observed. I think people are fascinating, and I love exploring the plots that develop by simply watching your characters interact.
Q: How long have you been writing and how did you get into it?
A: I’ve been writing poetry and composing songs since the age of six, but I didn’t begin writing my first novel until January of 2013. Since then, I’ve published four novels and a prequel in my romantic comedy series, The Best Girls, along with the first book in the Alora Series. I began the first book as a sort of semi-autobiographical romantic comedy, writing the story as a lark. But one chapter in, I was hooked on writing. Now I write every spare minute. I find marketing to be a “necessary evil”.
Tamie Dearen lives with her very romantic husband of thirty-three years. She has two beautiful daughters, two amazing son-in-laws, and one awesome grandson. She plays piano, flute, harmonica, keyboards, and guitar, and loves composing and art. And she hates housework. She has been a dentist in private practice for thirty years. She plays keyboard and sings in her church praise team and teaches graduate students each week. In her spare time, she writes books.
Tamie specializes in writing “clean’ books without excessive violence, offensive language, or explicit sex. She has published a romantic comedy series called The Best Girls, which includes a free novella, and four full-length novels. She has also published the first book of her young adult fantasy series, Alora: The Wander-Jewel. Book two, Alora: The Portal, is currently being edited for publication. She has also written a serial romance, A Rose in Bloom, and published it on her weekly blog, where it is currently available as a free book until it is published in novel form.
Thanks to Tamie for the interview this week and please take a look at her books. If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.
Today, I welcome Bethany Turner on her Rave Reviews Book Club SPOTLIGHT Blog Tour. Bethany is sharing her first book in her Abigail Phelps Series – I’ve Loved These Days. Take it away Bethany!
When I began writing the Abigail Phelps Series, I chose the name Abigail because a) I like it, and b) it could be shortened to Abby, which I also like. I chose the name Phelps because a) my son had a teacher with the surname Phelps, and we loved her, and b) because it sounded okay with both Abigail and Abby. That was it. That was literally the extent to which I put serious thought into my lead character’s name. And my Abigail lived in Simsbury, Connecticut because figure skating plays a major role in her story, and Simsbury has an international training facility. Abigail. Phelps. Simsbury. That’s the entire origin story.
So imagine my surprise when my husband stumbled across the real Abigail Phelps, by way of the Abigail Phelps Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution…in Simsbury, CT. There was an entire history which I hadn’t known existed. The real Abigail Phelps had been the mother of three men who fought in the American Revolution, and was a part of the family which had essentially founded the town of Simsbury. The Phelps Tavern, Phelps Homestead, Abigail’s Bar & Grille, Phelps Road…Simsbury’s history is eternally intertwined with that of the Phelps family.
And I’d had no idea.
Once I did know, there was no turning back. My fictional Abigail’s story was forever changed with the knowledge of the real Abigail’s legacy. My novels, which had already been formed with the intent of blurring reality, took on the story of the real Abigail Phelps of Simsbury, CT. Last year I was asked to speak in Simsbury, and I had the opportunity to witness the historic Phelps landmarks for myself. My Abigail is her descendent, and her journey has been shaped by that legacy. As has mine.
Excerpt from I’ve Loved These Days, Book One in the Abigail Phelps Series
March 17, 1994
Dear Mrs. Onassis,
It was such a lovely gift to receive your letter. I did receive some advance notice that it was on its way, of course, but I can’t tell you how touched I was when it showed up in my mailbox. I’m so very sorry that your health is as it is and, as is often the case in life, I wish we didn’t wait for dire circumstances to force us into conversations which should have taken place years ago. And I want to apologize for my share of that blame.
The twelve years since you and I last spoke have not been without their challenges, have they? I’m not certain, however, that I can agree with your assertion that all of the difficulties between John and myself stem from that day. Truthfully, they go back further, and I shoulder the responsibility. Be that as it may, he and I are in a good place now, and I can’t ask for more than the friendship we have developed. It’s the most important of my life.
And then there are your other assertions, which I wish I could deny. I wish I could laugh about how far off-track you are, but of course I can’t. You’re absolutely right. He knows it and I know it, though I really had no idea that you knew it as well. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. He always said you knew from the very first day – which is why you gave him the ring. That very first time you met me you knew that he would never be the same again, didn’t you?
For the record, I was never the same again either. And while times have changed and opportunities have been lost, I still know in my heart of hearts that I never will be. But we can’t go back, and we can’t undo. What’s more, I don’t really want to. While my life is not perfect, it is uniquely, ridiculously mine, and I would not trade it.
So, put away the regret. I have. It didn’t take me long to discover that it didn’t do me any good, and it didn’t do him any good. But thank you. Thank you for acknowledging that you wish it had gone a different way – there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? And while I don’t regret, I’m not too proud to admit that yes, I wish some things had gone a different way as well.
Please take care of yourself. Relish these days, surrounded by your friends and your family and your books, and the people and things that you love. And please know that my affection for you remains strong. You never said an unkind word to me, and I thank you for that.
And yes, don’t worry – I promise to take care of him for you.
Thanks to Rave Reviews Book Club for sponsoring the tour for Bethany. Please take a few minutes and investigate more about her Abigail Phelps Series. For more information about RRBC and these SPOTLIGHT blog tours see the website and if you join, tell them P. H. Solomon sent you.
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.