Friday, August 20, 2021

Last Day for FREE Genie Awesomeness

Today's the last day to get Wish in One Hand for free.  Well, until the next time it's free.  Which probably won't be until 2022.  So, if you want to read it for free and don't want to wait, I suggest you hie yourself to Amazon and download yourself a copy.  Tomorrow the price goes back to $3.99.  Save yourself four bucks.

Just do it.  You know you want to.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Upcoming Book Birthday!

Lest you think I have, in my total immersion in this fantasy, forgotten my other books...

On Wednesday the 18th, it will be Wish in One Hand's book birthday.  Six years old.  Just a wee babe in the scheme of all written materials but probably, in book years, middle-aged or something.  

To celebrate, starting Monday, this first of my forays into urban fantasy will be free for five days.  If you enjoy it, I hope you'll pick up the other three books in the series.  

As always, all my books are available through the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you're into that, you can get all the Once Upon a Djinn books free with your subscription to KU and read to your heart's content.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Book... Err... Books

 Just so you know, I'm not dead.  And I really am working on the book.  Books.  Whatever.  

Okay, so it was a book.  As in singular.  Now, I think it might be several books.  A trilogy of books.  Each would complete an arc for the characters, with the overall main arc completed in the third book.  And subsequent books will follow the overall arc for these characters and this world.  

If I'm right, it'll go like this: 1) Training at the Academy 2) Hero Stuff 3) Epic Battle Stuff.  

Not sure if I can pull it off as three whole and complete novels, but I'm digging deeper into everyone and everything.  Fleshing it out.  Making it real.  And re-writing the beginning.  As I do this, I know it's going to be a behemoth if I leave it as just one book.  So, the idea now is to make this one book into three books.  We'll see how that goes as I keep making notes and writing new words into the beginning.  

Fantasy... it's a bear, but it's so much fun.

And hey, since I'm not sleeping, I have plenty of time to write.  Right?

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Writing Spectacle

If you've tried to stop by my other main blog - The Writing Spectacle - this morning, you may have gotten a note that the blog has been removed.  I didn't do it.  They did.

Before I'd even finished my first cigarette this morning, I got the following note in my inbox:

Hello, As you may know, our Community Guidelines ( describe the boundaries for what we allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your blog titled "" was flagged to us for review. We have determined that it violates our guidelines and have made the URL unavailable to blog readers. Why was your blog removed? Your content has violated our PHISHING policy. Please visit our Community Guidelines page linked in this email to learn more. If we feel that a blog's content does not fit within the expectations of our Policy, we no longer allow it to be publicly available. If you think we've made a mistake, you can request a review at :link:, and we'll take another look. Sincerely, -The Blogger Team

So, I go to the link (which I've redacted) and it makes me jump through the anti-spam picture clicking thing to prove I'm not a robot.  Then it says it'll review my request sometime in the next two days.  

By the way, here's the verbiage of their Phishing policy:

Phishing: Do not use this product for phishing. This includes soliciting or collecting sensitive data such as passwords, financial details, and social security numbers.

I NEVER do any of that.  So, this is either a glitch or it's the beginning of the end.  I'll be here at Outside the Box as long as they let me.  I hope it's a glitch because I've had The Writing Spectacle since 2006.  Fifteen years of posts.  And not once have I ever tried to get any information out of any of you.  

Of all the things they could've used to kill my blog, that certainly wasn't the one I would've expected.  If you haven't read the 'Content Policy' lately, it's an interesting read.  For varying definitions of interesting, of course.

Anyway, I'll let ya know if they reinstate my blog.  For now, I'm going to suck down copious amounts of coffee and smoke a lot of cigarettes.  Guess I picked the wrong lifetime to quit drinking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Writing and Editing a Fantasy is Hard Work

Writing a book is hard.  I mean, if you want to do it right, you have all this stuff you have to do and remember and juggle so it doesn't get lost and so every single thing makes sense.

Writing a fantasy takes hard to a whole new level.

Let's say you write a book filled with normal people set in the present.  You can pull from everyday to populate your book and color their world.  Then you write a book with not-normal people (paranormal) or set in another time (history/dystopian).  You can still pull from everyday for the setting or your experiences as a human interacting with normal stuff.

Fantasy has not-normal people in not-normal places interacting with not-normal things.  That's a lot of stuff you have to make up in your head.  And it all still has to be believable.

There still has to be rules.  You make a critter that lives in the dark, and it can't have attributes of critters that live in the light.  That sort of stuff.  You make a character with loads of power, they still have to get tired.  Eat a muffin.  Sleep.  Your rules can go against normal rules of physics, certainly, but they need to be consistent.  (An all-powerful magic user would get pretty boring, by the way.)

Anyway, I kind of understand why a certain author takes forever to get his books to print.  Although, one might think he'd have his world down by now so he could easily slip into it and crank out whatever book number he's on.  For the record, I don't read this particular author's books, but I hear people complaining about them and how long it takes.  Perhaps someone could suggest a series bible type thing to make the process quicker.  :shrug:

As I sit trying to make progress on the editing of this book... still haven't nailed a title yet... and find myself looking at the percent meter and barely seeing it move from day to day, I'm struck by how much harder this seems than editing my other books.  I built a world.  And as I was building it, things changed between the beginning and the end, so now I need to make the beginning match the end in all the world-building ways.  

I don't know how many pages of notes I have now.  A lot.  Everything from a comma to 'this needs to be moved over there' to rewrite this scene.  And I'm only at 9% as of last night.  That's like 9000 words out of 97000.  Blerg.  So, I guess what I'm saying is... if you're sitting around waiting for this to be done, don't hold your breath.  This shit is hard.  I'm loving it, but that doesn't make it any easier.  Might make it harder because I want this to be the best book it can be and that's going to take a lot of work.  

But I'll do it.  Sometimes I lay in bed at night wondering why I don't just go back to mystery and suspense.  Give myself an easier task.  But I started this and I am going to finish it.  I'm mulish that way sometimes.  And this will be so satisfying when it's done.

What's a task you've completed that you knew was hard going in but had to complete?  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Nothing New Under the Sun

There really is nothing new under the sun.  I was scrolling through my newsfeed this morning and saw a post by a cover artist I follow of a cover for a publisher.  On it was a beastie who looks a lot like the beastie I was just trying to draw.  (His was way better, of course, but then again, he's a pro and I'm a dabbler.)  

I assume his drawing was to the specifications of whatever author the cover was for.  Which means two authors who've never met each other pulled similar beasties out of their heads at nearly the same time.  

I've been thinking about this a bit.  I mean, look at the commercials - specifically the taglines.  Marketing people have to be running out of new things to say about their products, or they're becoming increasingly stupid.  (Here's one that's still new and fresh - with a cat - but most commercials aren't this smart.)  I wish I could remember the worst one I saw the other day.  It went something like 'Dog food  brand... because you have a dog'.  It wasn't dog food, but the gist was the same.  'Eye drops... because you have eyes.'  Maybe it was 'Skin cream... because you have skin.'  Yeah, that sound closer to right.

Anyway, with mankind having written stuff for centuries now, it's hard to come up with something totally new.  

I've talked about this before - a friend wrote a book, got it published, and then got crap about it on the internet because it's similar to another book that had been published a couple years prior.  I had read the previous book and I read my friend's book when it was still pre-published.  There were similarities in the plot and in some of the devices, but that's where the similarities ended.  One's book was lighthearted, the other's was more serious.  

So, my friend dropped her book.  Which was too bad because I thought it was the better book.  I had a major sad that the previous author did nothing to stop her fans from attacking my friend.  A 'hey guys, thanks for your support, but she didn't steal my work, so cut it out' would've been nice. And even sadder is that both books had a particular twist in them that was similar to one in a popular movie, so there really wasn't something NEW to 'steal' anyway.

How do we, as writers, keep this from happening?  How do we write something NEW when it seems like everything out there has been done already?  No clue.  I guess we write our books to the best of our abilities and hope that what we've created isn't too similar to someone else's work.  

You could, of course, read everything that's already been written, so you know for sure.  Heh.  You could research everything and change whatever seems similar, but you run the risk of 1) changing it so that it's now like something else and 2) ruining your own damn book.  

For my part, it's a matter of read what I can and research what I can and hope for the best.  Yes, I will probably change some basic things about the mistmorph.  (Have to research that name so I don't end up having named my critter something someone else has already used.)  Specifically, the quills running along its spine - which is what makes it exceptionally close to what that artist had drawn.  Other than that, I think I'm safe.  His had a wolf head - mine has a panther head with bat eyes and ears.  His was furry and mine is furless with slick gray skin.  Not really that big a deal.  

I really am trying to write this so that it comes off as fresh and original.  I already talked about having a similar name to another fantasy author which gives me a slight stumbler from the get go.  Nothing I can do about that.  People will think what they want to think whether there's a rational basis for it or not.  

And there's a slight plot device that similar to another popular book, but the actual thing and its mythology is, I hope, adequately unusual as to make that a non-issue.  

Is it any wonder fantasy novels take so damn long?  Maybe I'll talk about that next time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wednesday Words - A Cloudy Snippet

 My friend, Silver, does this thing called Wednesday Words - wherein she takes a prompt and posts a snippet related to the prompt.  Today's prompt was CLOUDS.  Since I'm at a loss for blog material this morning, I thought I'd just share the words I left in her comments.  

To set it up, this is the bad guy... a dark elf intent on destruction... using his magic to control the dragon.

The sun had set by the time Uliph returned to Kingshead.  The snow was lightly falling, covering roads whose earlier layers were decorated sooty-black.  Uliph preferred the black.  It reminded him of the towns after his dragon had done her worst.  Soon, the soot here wouldn’t be from the scores of hearth fires belching their leavings from chimneys, but from fires on the roofs and the walls and the doors.  And the bodies.  Oh, how they burned brightly from the dragonfire.

Licking his lips, he reached out to the beast.  She was already circling over the city, far above the snow and clouds, waiting for his bidding.  At the touch of his mind, a flame jetted through the night.  Not as far above the clouds as I would like. The people might still see her and attempt to flee.  He sent his thoughts up to her.  Rise and hide.  

His mind encountered resistance.  The dragon was hungry and when she was hungry, she became unruly.  Uliph loosed magic in her direction and felt her cringe.  But she did as she had been told and rose above the clouds.  

The attack would come while these favorites of the Lady slept and not a second sooner.  If they saw the dragon now, they would flee.  Or they would try to fight.  The High Lord wanted his victims unsuspecting this night.  Time enough later to taste their fear.  After the shrouds were either destroyed entirely or had been pushed across this land that had once been theirs.  

It's totally first drafty, so be kind.  I'm working on it.  Really, I am.  I started making edits notes, which I will input later.  And I definitely haven't gotten to this point in the story.