Updates, Writing Tools: ORBIS
two wonderful editors over at Alloy Entertainment. There are at least 2 cover-to-cover rounds of edits per book, and we've gone over all four books in consecutive order, cleaning, streamlining and adding unique material along the way. I recently finished the first round of edits for book four (I'm sure my neighbors heard the squeals of excitement and the gibbering wails of nostalgia that night), and now I'm onto the second round of edits, beginning with Haven all over again. Yeehaw!
The experience of the editing process in traditional publishing tends to have mixed reviews by its authors and can seem like a frightening hurdle for indie authors considering a traditional alternative. To be honest, I've heard some authors say that editing is akin to having teeth pulled at the dentist. And, to be fair, I've found others (like Marina Adair, friend and romance author extraordinaire) to completely enjoy the process. My take on it? It's a puzzle... like redesigning a spiderweb while retaining its original shape. It's nothing that cannot be conquered with hard work, focus, and a brimming mug of coffee (Note: Caffeine is not for everyone. Please consult your metabolism before consumption.) Also, the end result is so beautiful, it deserves its own mirror. ;) I have a massive appreciation for my editors (past and present), and feel lucky to have worked with such awesome people. Yes, awesome is the technical term.
ORBIS calculates the the time and distance it takes to get from one place to another, by foot, carriage, horse, military march or boat. There are a lot of variables in using this tool, too many to list, but things like roads, seasons, terrain, speed, river, coastal and open ocean travel--even cost--all come into play and can be toggled. ORBIS is based off of Roman era technology and set in our very own world. It can be adapted for original-world fantasy, medieval, western, historical, or heck, even on-foot science fiction, to give you at the very least, an accurate range of time versus distance and method of travel. If you happen to be writing a Roman historical fantasy, well, then you've struck the gold-mine on this one! Check it out here, and I hope it helps you in your written worlds!
That's about all for now, guys! More to come soon, and as always, thanks for reading!
DIY Writing Exercise
First step: Pick five of your favorite books. Be sure they share your story's POV (whether it be first-person or third-person perspective) and tense (past or present). I also recommend choosing books from the same genre you are writing.
Second step: Open up a blank document or grab a clean sheet of paper, and pick a page from each of the five books at random. It is important to select these pages in no particular order so that you do not become distracted by the awesome and entertaining storyline as you repeat this exercise- instead, you'll be focusing on the writing itself.
Third step: Transcribe! Copy down the entire page, word-for-word, comma-for-comma. When you're finished, you'll have one random page from five of your favorite authors.
Fourth step: Throw it all away. Your transcriptions, not the books. ;) We're not here to plagiarize these amazing authors, but learn from them. Musicians practice the songs of other musicians to expand their skills- this is the same thing.
That's all I've got for now. Time for me to crawl back into my writer-cave like an unnervingly cheerful bridge-troll (not to be confused with an internet troll). Do not fear, my friends, I keep my curtains open and eat plenty of fruit to keep the scurvy away! Just kidding... mostly... when I have a break from writing or working on revisions for my re-release, I plan on finding a pool of water to fling myself into. I hope that you're all enjoying your summer!
What does this mean for the series?
All four books in the series are being republished (and in book four's case, published) by Alloy Entertainment. I'll get back to you guys on the dates as soon as I have them. I've teamed up with a pair of incredible editors who love the series for what it is. The biggest fear for most writers and readers going into something like this, is worrying that there will be huge changes to books we already love--and that is not the case here. We're working collaboratively to make the series better than ever--we're even adding some new scenes!
How about the release of book four?
I have never delayed an announced release before, but this was a pretty good reason. Because of the work we're doing on the series as a whole, the release of book four is being scooted back a little bit. I'll let you know as soon as I have a solid date, but (unless something insane happens, like the moon explodes) it should be out this year for certain.
I clutched my beloved Anne McCaffrey novels, dreaming of getting a traditional deal... now I'm here, and I just can't believe it. This partnership that I've just entered into has allowed me to celebrate my dream a second time and I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity! I'll be honest, getting to this point, for me, has been an emotional experience.
I'll fill all of you in on the details as we go along in this process of re-revealing the books. There will be lots of great things to talk about, new promotions, all kinds of good stuff, so check back soon. If you Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter, you'll be notified of updates as well.
Please be free to email me or message me on Facebook. I will answer you as soon as I have time! This isn't only my series--it's ours. Without you, I wouldn't be here. I want you to know how grateful I am to all of you for your continued support over the years. Let me tell you guys, the party is only just beginning! The doors are open now, and I plan on whisking you away to as many worlds as I can, throughout my career!
Comments have been reopened, so get in there if you feel like it.
As always, thank you for reading!
One Writer's Opinion: Aspirations
Follow your dreams!
It may come across at first glance as cliché, idealistic, overly simple, but I don’t care if I sound like the biggest rainbow-hugging optimist ever born into a world of pessimistic realists--I’m here to you why you should knuckle down and chase the big puffy white cloud that makes up dreams, your aspirations, your passions. If I’m vague about the nature of your dream, it’s because I’d like this blog to include everything from writing to music, arts, crafts, trades, food... as much as I can fit under one umbrella. I’m going to break my reasons down into categories by answering these questions: Why should I? Isn’t it dangerous? When should I? Why support other artists?--Ready? Okay, here we go.
Why should I chase my dream?
Because no one is going to do it for you. We are social creatures, and as such, it is easy to attempt to rely on those closest to us to supply our happiness. It happens in movies often enough, doesn’t it? The truth, as I see it, is that no one can make you happy. That is a feat reserved only for you. The same goes for achieving goals, lofty as they may seem. At best, good friends and family members will support you, at worst, no one will, but regardless of the influences given by the people in your life, no one will do the work for you.
Isn’t chasing an ambition dangerous?
I’m not saying that people should throw their responsibilities out the window, or drop everything that has brought them up to this point in their lives. It is important that we take care of ourselves so that we are in a position of strength to help our families and friends if they need it, but that is no reason not to act. See next paragraph.
When should I do something like this?
As I said, you don’t have to throw everything practical out of your life, but you should begin working on your dream now. Whenever you have a spare moment, chip away at it. Our society is swiftly moving to a culture of instant gratification, but the best things are almost always the things that we fight the hardest to attain. Why? Because it is in the journey, not the prize at the end of the road, that we find meaning, validation, and contentment. Working on your dream won’t always be easy. I can’t promise you’ll always be inspired or motivated--that’s normal--but as you go, you just might to begin feeling fulfilled. You took the reins and you did it. Achievement is in the doing.
Life will always supply you with seemingly endless reasons not to take action, make a change, or strive for your daring goals. More often than not, we’ll push our dreams away, saying that it isn’t the right time. We want to wait for the perfect circumstance to be present, hoping it will pad our fall if things become too difficult. Again, my perception of the truth is that there is no such thing as, “the perfect time.” Whittle away at your dream, little by little, day by day, and a month from now, two months, six, you’ll look back and see a mountain of accomplishment. You have the power to do that, and the secret is: Now. Time is ticking away this very instant and that is one commodity that you can't buy back.
Why encourage other people to follow their dreams?
Even without knowing you, I understand how difficult this sounds, I know that many of you have a million-and-two reasons to talk yourselves out of following your dreams. Life is difficult, and like Odysseus, the odds seem ever stacked against us. Life’s hardships are all the more reason to do something. By bringing your passions out into the light of day, you will inevitably help other people. You’ll make the lives you touch better, because by reading your book, by listening to your music, by eating your food (I could go on and on... sitting on the chairs you carved, snuggling into a scarf you made etc...) your customers/audience/patrons will sense the passion in your creations and be inspired. If you think your work won’t be good enough, you’re wrong there too. This very moment, more than seven-billion people exist in our world, and all of them are equipped with different tastes, loves, and cravings. I’ve always felt that there are many people in the world who would appreciate every (non-harmful) creation brought into existence.
I’m an author, sitting here in my writing chair, encouraging other people to stand up and be authors. Some people might say, “Doesn’t that create competition?” No. Competition in the arts only exists if money is your single goal. I, for one, don’t subscribe to greed. Authors are in the business of sharing dreams. It helps to get paid, because then we’re able to improve our rate of releases, but I can tell you without the slightest hesitation that I wrote before I made money doing it and I would continue to write if I didn’t make another dime. I write because it is my passion, and that passion comes directly from my heart and my soul. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. I love books, I love reading, I love fantasy, and if you write a book that speaks to me, I will adore it and not be afraid to tell you so. Even if your work only manages to touch a handful of people, you have left an impression, you have made someone’s life a little better, and you have achieved your dream.
I hope this has helped to encourage a few people to take action, grab onto those dreams and never let go.
As always, all yours,
I recently stepped up as a guest reviewer on the highly respected Ed Baraf's table-top gaming YouTube channel. What did I review? An incredibly fun card-based game called Once Upon a Time. Catchy title, huh? Ed was a colleague of mine from my video game industry days. He is both a fantastic video game developer and table-top game designer.
This is my very first time doing anything on YouTube, I know I'm a bit of a quirky speaker, but I hope you like what we've put together, and I also hope you try this game. It is a story-based game, but one thing I forgot to mention is that you don't need to be a writer/storyteller to play and win. It's all about having fun with your friends and seeing what wild tale evolves as you play. I hope you enjoy it!
You can find more about Ed Baraf and the games he reviews and designs here:
Thank you guys for watching and for all of your support, as always. Wishing you a very merry winter season!
Books are Immortal
The holiday season is upon us and maybe I'm becoming sentimental. I'm writing, daydreaming and pouring over the ways to write magnificent stories. I get quieter in times like these because I'm working, and that's a good thing.
Today, I feel like sharing a thought that frequently comes to mind: Books are immortal. In a world saturated with mobile devices, social networking and hyper-active media portals, people fear for the survival of the good old fashioned book. They say that in this hurricane of massively broadcasted entertainment, people will stop reading. I see the projected statistics, I understand this fear, but I am optimistic. Reading will never die.
No other form of entertainment is so personal as literature. The moment we open the first page of a book, whether it be digital or paper, we are immersed in a world colored by our own imaginations. Written description is merely a guideline to the richness of detail that develops in our minds. Characters take shape in a manner that is unique to each of us. When we picture that protagonist, we fill them with life and essentially give them a finger print that could not be replicated by anyone else. In this way, stories in books belong as much to the reader as to the writer who created them. Let's look at books as though they were movies. The credits roll: You are the casting director, you are the set designer, you are the score composer. When you read--no matter who the author happens to be, no matter how many other people have read that very same book--the story that unfolds is yours alone.
In the early days of radio, folks were certain that fiction would be put out of business by such a fresh, new competitor. It didn't happen then, and even despite copious inventions of entertainment technology, it hasn't happened yet. Books are wellsprings of compassion. Books are our deepest escape. Books are immortal because once we've read them, their tales exist within us, as real as a memory, as vivid as a dream.
Goodreads: Ask the Author
I'll be available to answer questions about my books and writing in general on Goodreads this week, from Dec. 15th until Dec. 21st. Stop on by and ask me whatever you'd like to know about the War of the Princes series, or about my process. Simply click HERE and type in your question in the "Ask the Author" field.
I hope you are all having a wonderful winter season!
Monarch Print Release!
I'm happy to announce that Monarch's paperback edition is available on Amazon.com right this very instant!
TAKE ME THERE
Thank you for your patience, I can't wait for all of you paperback readers to dig in to the latest issue of Kat's story. I won't offer any further distractions. Enjoy!
War of the Princes Character Art
Need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway!
If you visit the Book Concept Art (beneath the Visual tab on the navigation bar), you'll be able to click to see the full versions of these gorgeous paintings. All three are works of art by the supremely talented Volta (Lavah on DeviantArt). Follow the links attached to her names to Like her on Facebook and Watch her on Deviant art. Lots more beautiful work by her. Just to let the parents know, her Volta Facebook link contains art with nudity and mature themes. As a YA writer I must note those types of things. Volta is a stunning artist and a wonderful person, it has been so exciting to see such vivid representations of my characters! Thank you again, Volta! You're amazing!
Do you have an idea of who you'd cast as Katelyn or any other WotP character (actors, models, you)? Or do you have some art with your vision of the WotP world or characters? Send me a message telling me who you'd cast-- or a .jpg of your drawing-- and I'd be happy to post it on the site. I am making a point of steadily collecting more WotP inspired art and imagery. Specifically concerning fan art, if I get to the point where there are 5 or more contributions, I'll begin random giveaways for signed books and other goodies for the artists.
Just tossing that out there! There is more to come, and I simply can't wait.
August Print Release
Interview with the Author
It's been a good Saturday. I hope yours has gone well too, wherever you happen to be in the world. I hope you have time to take a deep breath and enjoy the sunlight. :)
A. R. Ivanovich is likely typing away at her desk, with a cup of heavily caffeinated tea and a cat on her lap.