2015 Cover Contest

The Story Behind the Spark in My Writing

SparkLast year, my daughter was doing some alpha reading on The Bow of Destiny. She suggested adding a dog so Spark is what I came up with. In the book, Athson identifies this dog as a Mountain Hound but to you and me he’s a German Shepherd – or very much like one.

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Spark is a rather interesting addition to the book as well as a comparatively late one. You see, Spark is a dog but not just any dog. He’s a dog that only Athson sees while he’s not taking doses of his elven medicine, Soul-ease. You might wonder if Spark is real and so does Athson. However, Athson considers Spark as an old friend who watches out for him.

If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess on what I based this character. But there’s more to the characterization than just being like a common breed. Spark is actually based on both of my dogs, appearing more like our female, Chloe, while sometimes acting rather like our male, Sam.

GSDsWhile Chloe is all guard-dog, ready for action all the time, Sam is more of a friendly bloke with a nasty side when necessary. But the unique quality of Sam is his way of communicating with us – he wags his tail for “yes” and doesn’t for “no”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Sam (Spark)-talk which is through yes and no questions (and of course you have to catch Sam at a good time since he’s usually easily distracted like most dogs by things like food):

“Sam, is it cold outside?”

Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).

“Sam, do you like the cold?”

Sam wag his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in cold weather.

“Sam, do you want to sleep outside?”

Sam doesn’t wag his tail because, while he likes cold weather, he prefers to stay near his people like most GSDs do. This question is one that’s meant to ensure he’s really answering rather than just wagging his tail in distraction.

“Sam, do you like Chloe?”

No wag because Chloe can really pester him and bite him often since she’s rather feisty.

“Sam, did Chloe bite you today?”

Sam wags his tail. Funny thing about dogs is that, being like wolf puppies, the males often let females win. Sam is much larger but always lets Chloe win.

“Sam, do you want Chloe to sleep outside in the cold?”

Sam wags his tail. Yep that’s right, Sam wants Chloe to sleep outside.

We often can ascertain if Sam feels sick (he gets colitis) or achy (he’s getting a little older now and is starting to get stiff some). We even found out that Sam wants a pet cat though this is likely the fact that he actually misses the old cat, Becky, who was still alive when Sam came to live with us. The cat hated Sam but he loved her. But you get that idea – Sam talks in his own way. He’s rather intelligent that way and even plays tricks on Chloe to get her to do what he wants. Now don’t think that Chloe is dumb by any means. She recognizes aggression easily and can solve some puzzles that Sam just won’t bother with.

So guess who speaks Sam-talk? Spark! I have a number of instances where Spark reveals something to Athson about his surroundings that Athson just doesn’t get. But you, the reader, get to understand that Spark may just know more about what’s going on at times than Athson.

TBOD SF ContestAs announced on 11/2, the book cover is a semi-finalist entry in the Authorsdb 2015 Cover Contest and member voting ends tomorrow. To celebrate, I’ve extended the October sale until 11/7. If the cover makes it to the next round I’ll extend the sale again. But there’s no guarantee the sale will continue past Saturday so have a look today – it’s $2.99 (regular price is $4.99).

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events. You’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. Speaking of which, it is now available on Amazon – Kindle. Additionally, I have FREE book, What Is Needed is available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords & Amazon. 

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Scrivener and the NaNoWriMo Marathon Writing Challenge

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

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Starting LineThis week marked the beginning of my first year of participation in NaNoWriMo. Take a look on my sidebar and you’ll see that I’m off to a rousing start with the third book of The Bow of Hart Saga, The White Arrow. The week has been busy but I wanted to share some of my thoughts about my work as it relates to Scrivener.

First, Scrivener’s reputation as outstanding development software for writers has not failed me. With the preparation I put in I’ve been able to meet the necessary writing total each day for a very good start.

The Binder and Outliner have been great to work with as I’ve been writing. It really helps to have this information easily available so I can get started each day. Reviewing the material plus notes without looking through lots of different files has been very helpful. I don’t have to think much – I just write.

Running ShoeOne tool that has stood out to me is the Auto-Complete List. With all my custom fantasy names, I’ve been able to type just a few letters, hit enter and move one. I don’t know how much this is cutting my time but I think it is some. Plus I’ll have less need to edit names when the time comes.

Scrivener makes for the equivalent of a great running shoe! Well, that’s all my thoughts for Scrivener and NaNoWriMo this week. If you’re using Scrivener for the writing challenge this month, what’s been most helpful to you?

As announced on 11/2, The Bow of Destiny book cover is a semi-finalist entry in the Authorsdb 2015 Cover Contest. To celebrate, I’ve extended the October sale until 11/7. If the cover makes it to the next round I’ll extend the sale again. But there’s no guarantee the sale will continue past Saturday so have a look today – it’s $2.99 (regular price is $4.99).

TBOD SF ContestPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events. You’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. Speaking of which, it is now available on Amazon – Kindle. Additionally, I have FREE book, What Is Needed is available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords & Amazon.

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Just as a note: I now have a marketing affiliation with Scrivener. For support questions, pricing, licensing and other concerns please contact the vendor. As such a buy ad for Scrivener appears on the sidebar. I’ve started this program since I like the product so much and want to offer readers the chance to obtain this software. I’m not required to write about Scrivener to be an affiliate; I just like it that much. You can also find my FTC statement on this site’s sidebar.

 

The Bow of Destiny Cover Announcement!

I have exciting news to share today! The Bow of Destiny cover is currently a semi-finalist choice in the Authorsdb 2015 Cover Contest. Voting closes on 11/5 (that’s Thursday). I think voting is for members of Authorsdb but if you scroll below the cover you may see a blue button to vote. Support the cover here! If not share it on one of several social media channels with @Authorsdb #Semifinalist added!

Can you judge a book by it’s cover? I think so! The Bow of Destiny is starting to receive good reviews and ratings. I’ve extended the sale to 11/7 for just $2.99 ($2 off the regular price). If you like fantasy, have a look!

TBOD SF Contest

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events. You’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. Speaking of which, it is now available on Amazon – Kindle. Additionally, I have FREE book, What Is Needed is available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords & Amazon.

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