Tag Archives: stones and finger bones

Setbacks

Newsflash: I’ve grossly underestimated the time it would take me to get Stones and Finger Bones ready to send out into the world. Anyone surprised? No? I’m definitely not. Ugh.

The good news is that I have a delicious brunch scheduled for Sunday to meet with my final reader to gather up her thoughts and edits. And I’m working on scheduling a final pass with a proofreader (after I take one more look at the ms).

I’m throwing around the word “final” in the hopes that it motivates me to hit a final deadline. *fingers crossed*

🙂

In other exciting news – just in case you missed it – I’m officially a homeowner! I closed on my condo about 2 weeks ago, and while this is very exciting and adult, it’s also taking quite a bit of time away from doing anything else. Like writing. Or blogging. The fact that I don’t have internet at home isn’t helping, either. I’m typing this post on my phone.

Ever try writing a blog post on a phone? Bugger.

image

my front door!

Anywho, that’s about all my little thumbs can manage for today, I just wanted to keep y’all updated!

P.S. Cover reveal coming soon! If anyone is interested in helping me with the reveal (I would love you forever!) send me an email at jessicaminyardbooks @ gmail (dot) com. Or message me on Twitter or Facebook. Or leave a comment and I’ll contact you!

I still have to finalize the back cover copy, but I just wanted to go ahead and start asking for minions. 😉

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WIPpet Wednesday: Back Again

Greetings minions!

So if you were following me back when I was still I before E, you may remember that I participated in a weekly party/gathering/hop of lovely Wippeteers posting snippets of their works-in-progress that somehow relate to the day’s date. I’ve been trying to jump back in for a while now, but life has been sadly interrupting my internet time (I’m a homeowner, yay!).

Today, I’m offering up 2 lines from page 2 of book 2 in honor of October 22nd:

“Peach.” Her voice was strained, hoarse, as if she’d been screaming. And maybe she had. “I just can’t.”

Peach nodded, the moonlight glinting off his silvery hair. “It’s about him.”

What’s that? No context, you say? Well, that’s just how most Wippeteers roll. In my case, giving any context would spoil the ending of Stones and Finger Bones, and this is a strictly spoiler-free zone! 🙂

I’ll be making the rounds to check out all the other snippets, and you can as well by clicking this link. Many thanks to KL Schwengel for always hosting!

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Writing Back Cover Copy

One of the many perks of being an Indie author is having complete creative control over all design, promotional, and marketing elements of your work. Unfortunately, this also means being responsible for writing back cover copy (or BCC if you’re hip to the lingo).

Teaser

putting my photoshop skillz to work

BCC is exactly what it sounds like: the text that goes on the back of your book…and on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, blog tours, etc. Anywhere and anyplace that requires a summary. But — and here’s the kicker — BCC is no ONLY what your book is about, it has to SELL your book to readers.

And that is why BCC causes so much frustration and heartache. At least, that’s been my experience (and if you’re following me on Twitter, you got a little taste of that experience last week).

Authors who can churn out BCC like butter, I salute you.

And now, on to the purpose of this post…I think I’ve finally written something halfway decent that I’m halfway happy with…for the moment.

I won’t be sharing it today! Sawry. That’ll come with the cover reveal (squee!). But I did want to talk a little about my process, and get y’all’s tips and tricks to writing BCC.

So, what I did first was write and overly long, over-indulgent first draft and set it aside for months, I think. Then, I brought that version back out when I was ready to seriously get down to business, discovered it was terrible, panicked a bit, and then started doing my research. Research consisted of reading blurbs on Amazon, and trying to pick out a pattern.

Here’s what I found (and how I subsequently structured my working BCC):

  • Start with an interesting, yet brief, summary of the MC’s current state/life. Bonus points for quippy one-liners.
  • Add the inciting incident (or hint of) that is going to make the MC take action
  • Sprinkle in tidbits of his/her journey and/or new friends/companions
  • Top that all off with a couple of foreboding statements about the MC’s future

And voila! BCC sundae.

🙂

 

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Stones and Finger Bones: The Playlist

Okay, so I know a lot of writer’s don’t listen to music when they work. They find it too distracting. I, on the other hand, get too distracted without music. And when I get “in the zone” the music disappears and leaves only me and the page.

Usually I just shuffle through my Pandora stations, skipping songs I don’t want to listen too, which can also get distracting. I know book playlists are suuuuuuper popular these days, but maybe there’s something to be said about a well-crafted and tended collection of songs that remind you of your WIP. What better way to get immediately inspired and emotionally connected?Playlist

What better way to procrastinate, amirite??

Without further ado, I present to you, the working playlist for Stones and Finger Bones!

*trumpet fanfare*

All of these songs speak to the story in some way, whether it’s a lyric or a melody or a theme. Or the conjuring of an image or a mood. Or just a plain ‘ole sucker-punch to the feels.

WARNING: Some songs contain explicit language.

WARNING AGAIN: This is probably the most random collection of music, ever. Like, srsly.

Stones and Finger Bones: The Playlist 

 

I haven’t figured out how to work/share playlists via Spotify (can you even?) so I just had to link to YouTube!

 

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Updates Galore!

Greetings, my lovely peeps!

Thing have been a little hectic here lately, and I don’t have the energy for a useful informative post, so you’ll have to settle for a “life update” post instead.

Business Item Number 1:

I started a new job about 3 weeks ago, which accounts for all the busyness I’ve been encountering recently. I haven’t had nearly enough time to cultivate and tend to my social media outlets. And my Pinterest boards. The struggle is real, y’all.

Business Item Number 2:

I got that infernal prologue written and sent it off to my editor. She returned it with minimal revisions (yay!), and I got it critiqued by my writing group last Monday. Besides a few piddly issues — like Track Changes deleting spaces — I’ve officially finished the heavy-duty editing process! Woop woop!

I cleaned up the piddly issues (hopefully) and literally just sent Stones off to a second round of beta readers.

With all that being said, here’s an updated, still-subject-to-change publication schedule:

September: Stones in the hands of new betas, start working on that back cover copy (do not want).

October: More editing and proofing. Depending on what kind of feedback I receive from betas, I may or may not send it back to my editor. If changes are minor, I’ll just prepare for a final proofread for small errors. Also, COVER REVEAL MONTH!

November: Formatting, final cover design for the paperback version, and any miscellaneous issues.

In my mind, I’m still on schedule for an early December release. Of course, since this is my first time, I could be seriously underestimating the time it takes to get Stones out and about. I also don’t think I’ve got much wiggle room for catastrophic events or grievous errors. Anyone know what those could be??

December seems to be creeping up on me so fast!

Oh, and I’ll be throwing promotional stuff around in there as well. Oy. So much to do!

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The Macanaw Peaches

Two posts in a row? What’s going on here? *checks self for fever*

Anyway, so I’m having some issues with writer’s block. I might have had a small epiphany about adding a new first chapter/prologue that shows a very important scene that’s mentioned towards the end of the book. It has the potential to be a total badass scene if I can get any words put on the page. And my editor would like to see it tomorrow. Heh heh heh.

I’m feeling the pressure!

I told a good friend about my blockage (mer) issues and he offered to help by writing something to inspire me. And thus the first piece of Stones and Finger Bones fanfiction was born. I was highly entertained so I thought it would be fun to share this piece with y’all. 🙂

**Note: This piece contains some mature undertones. Proceed at own risk.**

“Why have I been awoken?”

Marel was unprepared for the question, unprepared for anything that happened in the cluttered castle cellar.  This summoning had not gone as he had expected, not in the slightest, but it’s not as if he could send the being back into the void.  No, the books only talked of the acquiring, the controlling, nowhere did it discuss what to do when you tired of the power.

It dawned on him, too late perhaps, that he was now indelibly tied to the unlikely figure standing within his chalk and blood runes.

“You are… a Drathraq, yes?”

“Why have I been awoken?” it asked again, his voice sounding of smoke and leather and dark alleys.

Marel found himself becoming annoyed, and then found himself annoyed at his own annoyance – this was a being plucked from the ethers of a distant and magical plane, a swirling amalgamation of powers and charm words and forgotten rituals.  Of course it would have questions.

“I need your aid, Drathraq.  I need your powers.”

The being considered this request.  Stubby legs propelled it about its prison, toes testing at the edges of chalk but never daring to touch them.  Eventually it stopped, a man in appearance only, to lock its gaze with Marel’s.

“I am not Drathraq.  I command Drathraq!  They bow to my desires!  I command legions of them, I send them forth to collect secrets from dreams, to drip poison into the ears of chancellors.  I am no pale shade flitting about a planescape.  I am Kostadin, Drathraq-curr.  I am King!  Now release me, fool.”

Kostadin drew himself to his full height.  His egg-shaped body straightened, doughy face gleaming with triumph.  Candlelight gleamed over his glossy, balding head.

Perhaps he would be more regal in clothing, Marel considered.   The books he had pilfered from the wizard Kreemar had said nothing about this.  Clothing was a human construct, a point of shame – would clothing even materialize when a being was summoned from another plane?  Would clothing be magical as well, an ethereal glimmer of…

A match lit from inside the circle, breaking Marel from his thoughts.  Kostadin lit a hand-rolled cigarette that now dangled from his lips, and with a flap of his hand he snuffed and tossed aside the matchstick.   With a slowness only presented in the immortal, Kostadin inhaled.  The cigarette glowed, illuminating his face, for a full minute as he pulled.  He was left with a singular tube of ash, which he ate, and exhaled a plume of smoke that’s majesty was only  marred by his wet-eyed gasping and coughing.

“No, no, that’s not what I wanted at… a Drathraq-curr?   King of… oh, yes, this will do fine.  Just fine!  I need your aid, King of Shades.  You will help me… with my brother.”

“Your brother?” Kostadin asked, “Which brother?”

“My only brother!  The King!”

“Your brother The King?”

“Yes, my brother, The King.  Too long I’ve waited in his shadow… I need you to help me remove him from power.”

“Remove him from power… yeah, yeah, I think I can do that.  So, what kind of removal are we talking about, Marel?  Are we talking, remove him from the throne?”

Marel shook his head.

“Remove him from the country, send him on a vacation?”

“Ugh!” Marel threw up his hand in exasperation.  “He’s the King, his whole life is a vacation.  No!  I want him dead, Kostadin!”

“You want him dead?”

“Yes, I want him dead.”

Kostadin ran a hand over his bald pate, and resumed his pacing in thought.

“Alright.  I’ve got this.  You ready?”

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Okay,” Kostadin clapped his hands.  “Here’s what we do.  First, we’re gonna butter up your brother, really get him buttered, tell him he’s handsome, tell him he’s the greatest, tell him no one can beat him.  Then!  You ready?  Then we get him to enter a contest with you.”

“Like it so far… go on.”

“So we get him to do a contest he can’t possibly win, but he’ll be so buttered-“

“Will you stop saying buttered!”

“-that he won’t even see the danger, and – are you with me here?”  There was a flash, and a single moment in eternity where the candles snuffed and time stopped and the world ceased to exist.  Then the moment had ended.  The darkness abated.  And Kostadin stood at the edge of the chalk, a sardonic smile splitting his moist lips.

“The loser gets executed.”

Marel loosed a long, toneless whistle, and rocked back on his heels as if pushed.  He nodded, slowly at first, but soon it had turned emphatic.  “Yeah… yeah!  That can work!  Ohh!  But come on, he’s really good at everything, what would I do?  Go up and say ‘Hey, you sure are looking good today, why don’t we go hunt some rabbits, loser gets killed’?”

“No, that won’t work… no, it’s gotta be something you can be sure to win…”

“Well…” Marel said, “There is something.  Our, ah, our mother caught him…”

“Caught him?”

“You know.  Alone…”

“Alone?”

“Yeah, Alone.  She caught him.”

Kostadin’s eyes widened, his mouth opening and tightening into a perfectly puckered circle.   His laughter rang out in a sharp, sudden peel.

Marel’s voice rose to be heard over.  “So what I- SO WHAT I WAS THINKING, is I make it a contest.  Who can go the longest, without, you know.  Without figuring out The Business.”

“You want to do a contest with your brother on who can go the longest.”

“That’s right.  ‘Cause, you see, he’s done this before, mother catches him regularly.  It’s awful.  So he can’t resist.  It’s the perfect plan!”

Kostadin did not flinch, but Marel jumped as the door to the cellar slammed open.  The lanky form of wizard Kreemar flailed into the room, head bobbing, arms waving, curly mass of hair bouncing.

“Marel, they’re in!”

“What’s in?”

“THE MACANAW PEACHES, MAREL, THE MACANAW PEACHES!”

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What I’ve Learned About Revision (Part 1)

Trolling

sometimes i troll my editor

Since Stones is back in the hands of my editor for the third (and maybe final?) time, I figured I would let y’all know what I’ve learned (if anything) so far, as a first-time indie author.

I’ve titled this “part 1” just in case I think of any more gems of wisdom later on. 🙂

Trust Your Editor

Hopefully, since you’ve hired them, you trust them…but this point goes further than that. You have to trust that they understand your vision. You have to trust that they know what they’re talking about, as a professional and as a reader.  Which is why I would recommend that you ALWAYS find someone who either reads or writes in your genre. And LOVES every minute of it.

When I first get something back from my lovely editor, I read through all her comments first…and then go complain about her to anyone who will listen. I bitch and moan for a couple days and then go back and read her comments again. And begrudgingly admit that she might be right about a few things.

Buuutttt…

Trust Yourself Too

Only you know what’s at the heart of your story; an editor only helps you get there in a clear and concise and grammatically correct way.

The Littlest Fixes Are Buggers

Okay, so this one might just be relevant to me because I’m a tad special. I had the hardest trouble doing line edits and addressing comments like “need tag”, “need to see a reaction”, “needs to be reacting”, “why isn’t she reacting???”

Clarifying character motivations and fixing plot problems were a piece of cake compared to fixing the little inconsistencies.

 

What have you learned about yourself or your writing through the revision process?

 

Related Links:

15 Questions You Should Always Ask Your Editor Before Hiring Them

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TEASER: Stones and Finger Bones

Today I’m offering up a little teaser from Stones to celebrate the completion of one round of edits. This excerpt features two of my favorite darlings, Tyr and Kostadin. *huggles*

Enjoy! 🙂

 

1606
16th Day of Kuldakast

You only truly know life when you have known death. When you have felt Death reach icy hands inside your chest and settle round your heart. When death has knocked on your door, beckoning, “Come, brother.”

I should have died by now.

My disease eats away at the body, taking bits and pieces day after day. The Maker’s fever, as they call it, is a curious ailment. Unpredictable. Unfathomable in its destruction.Virtually unheard of. There are only a few known cases of Maker’s fever in hundreds of years of our race. The same magic that prolongs my meager life – destroyed it. Normally, extreme fatigue or unconsciousness will occur before someone reaches the point I did. But I went beyond the reach of my powers; farther than anyone I’ve ever know. Reaching for energy that was not there. So now I lay dying.

The healers speculate thirty more days at best. Hopefully I’ll make it till Bolvadur; I would dearly like to see the earth come alive once more. A year would be miraculous. By Maker’s chance I could be dead tomorrow. I’ve decided to write you, my dearest Erylie, as much as I can, for as long as I can. Maybe I can earn your forgiveness. I hope the most for your understanding. Understanding of my decisions. Understanding of how I became this man you claimed not to recognize. This husk. Empty shell. A slave to my power and my king.

I will not start at the beginning – there is little to be achieved by that. Let me start instead, at the beginning of the end.

It was a beautiful night, considering it was mid-Kuldakast. A full moon.Clear purple-black sky. Our breath frosted in the air around us. We stood on the top of a ridge, Kostadin virtually hopping with his excitement and anticipation. He turned to me with a big, childish grin, eyes bright with the fervor of our discovery. Even now, when I think of Kos, this is the image I see. Him: young, strong, sharply intelligent, carefree. Impetuous. Foolish. Oh so foolish. But then again, we both were.

The valley before us was covered in a thick blanket of fog – nothing was visible, not even the tops of the trees. I can still feel the strange pressure on my chest – pushing me back – when I wandered too close to the edge. Danger! My mind screamed. My legs itched to flee. Kos clasped my arm briefly before plunging fearlessly into the unknown.

The preternatural miasma clung to my limbs and clothes, dragging me down. I struggled to keep up with Kos’s labored breathing, since I could no longer see him. Quite suddenly – almost as if it had been swept away by unseen hands – the fog cleared. We were in an unusual circular depression in the ground. Trees and snow-covered underbrush surrounded us, but at our feet the land was resolutely brown and hard. The most curious aspect of the clearing was the five large towers, equidistance apart, forming a circle. They were not true towers, more like colossal obelisks that reached further into the sky than I could see. Thicker around than four men. They were glossy black and smooth, cracked through with a dark orange crystal that glittered like fire.

It was incredible, the feeling of standing there, the call of power. I could feel it on my skin, taste it in the air. Only a coward would resist the pull of such magic.

Kostadin felt it too; his hand was trembling as he reached out and laid a palm against one of the black towers. His face a mask of unbridled joy and triumph. We were standing in the annals of history. We had found what other claimed existed only in memory, or legend. We had found the place where the Consort had landed, after falling from the Maker’s arms. We had found the Rewengärd; the gateway to death.

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One Round Down

After one all-nighter*, a marathon writing weekend, and 4,000 additional words later, I’ve officially completed one round of edits and returned them to my lovely and patient editor. Yes, I ended up with more words, but filler was still trimmed and the additions are decidedly juicy. Stones was already rather skinny for a fantasy, at only about 76K words, so I’m not worried about buffing it (her? him?) up a bit.

Everything anyone has ever told you about editing and revising is true. It is so hard. There was much squealing in frustration, which my dog loved. I’m exhausted, starving (although, probably because it’s lunch time), and my little writing brain is totally fried. Compared to this, writing the blasted thing was a piece of cake.

There was also cake eaten…to inspire productivity.

On that note, I’m off to find food…

editing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Note: I did not finish edits in just one night. The whole process took about two weeks, but I apparently saved all the hardest parts (read: heavy emotional scenes) for last and had to stay up extra late to meet my deadline. 🙂

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Deadlines

deadlines

 

I’m drinking the haterade and feeling the pressure!

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