The Black Magus

Real Love

I’m a hopeless romantic, through and through.

This was perhaps a bit silly of me, but after “The Scion Suit” gained a smidgen of attention on Reddit, I wondered if I should downplay the romance aspect of The Black Magus to make it sound more appealing to the sort of people who would actually read it — after all, I don’t think that I’d gain much traction with Twilight fans. But, I decided that would be rather disingenuous, considering that it’s right there in the very first chapter.

So there you have it: The Black Magus is the ultimate Mary-Sue fanfic, where the main character is a shy nobody who through sheer coincidence gains the attention of the most powerful magus on the planet. He competes against another magus to win her affection in a saucy love triangle, and ultimately pulls ahead by gifting her the most expensive car ever built. The girl, on the other hand, maintains an emotional affair with the other guy, just to prove how strong and independent she is after she’s married …

LOL JK

I’m totally not awesome enough to write that.

It’s not the sort of crap that’s always portrayed in popular romance novels. It’s also not the sort of “singles together” crap that we’re told to settle for because “romance doesn’t exist”. You won’t find any Taylor Swift songs that fit it.

It’s about devotion and compassion. It’s about two people joining together to become a family, and learning how to be there for each other. It’s about real love.

There’s also some stuff about magic and the world they live in, and a few other characters who have some dialogue and whatnot. You know, that necessary story-type stuff, to flesh it out into an actual novel and set up the sequel.

So, I have decided against downplaying the romance aspect of The Black Magus, because it is the entire foundation and structure of the novel. Please, don’t dismiss it because of a few bad stereotypes — I assure you that this story is different.

About Me

Having Fun

I have a confession to make: I am a nerd.

Okay, so we probably already guessed that, with the whole “fantasy/sci fi writer who plays video games” thing that I’ve got going on, but it’s good to be clear.

Long story short, for Christmas I got an embroidery machine with the goal of learning how to make my own designs for it, because otherwise buying them would turn into a giant money-sink (and I’m stingy). ENTER OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE.

For the month of January, I’ve been learning how to use Inkscape, and the InkStitch extension. The kids are thrilled that I took some of their drawings, traced them, then had the machine embroider them onto shirts for them. It was seriously cool.

So while I was riding the whole, “This is frustrating yet fun!” high, I decided to figure out GIMP, an open source program that’s kind of like Photoshop with more headaches.

‘Cause yeah, sure, why not go crazy.

Hence, graphics.

You’d think that I have enough hobbies by now.

The Black Magus

The Black Magus characters

 

I know.

I spent over a year working on the first draft for this novel, and these are the only notes I made on the two main characters.

Lawl.

I confess, I’m terrible with notes, so I often find it easier and more organized to keep all of the information in my head. I don’t create character charts, or worksheets, or blah blah blah, because I make a point of locking everything in my mind.

Which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t fit in with writing communities.

Besides. Most of the time, I just listen to what they have to say anyway.

So, here we are: introducing the two main characters from The Black Magus, my upcoming fantasy romance novel.

Are you as excited as I am?

About Writing

Almost there?

And just like that, the rewrite is done.

Time for more editing and proofreading, LAWL.

The bulk of the hard work is finished, and now I get to sit back and experience my novel from the perspective of a reader rather than a writer, with mostly nitpicky changes rather than anything major. It’ll be fun.

And

Very shortly, I will start promoting my novel instead of being so darned secretive about it.

Exciting!

About Writing

New Decade

Since it’s a new decade, I have been thinking a lot about what I want out of the next ten years. The themes that kept me occupied during the 2010’s are (hopefully) over and done with, and at this point I feel established enough as a wife and mother that I don’t need to wonder what the heck I’m doing anymore.

I definitely want to write more fiction. I would very much enjoy publishing a new book every year, as well as writing more novelettes — heaven knows it would enable me to get more of my creative ideas out there, instead of having them perpetually on the back burner while I focus on bigger projects. Bonus: I’m more comfortable publishing novelettes as I write them, as the shorter length makes them more manageable and less prone to “I changed my mind.”

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I feel that this is the decade to really put myself out there. I’m not going to expect instant results, but hopefully by the time 2030 rolls around, I’ll have an established audience for my stories.

I’m going to make the most I can out of the 2020’s.

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About Writing

Inspiration and Blocks

The other night I had a dream that can be best summarized as a thoroughly awesome expansion of my Dragon King writing prompt story. The dream had a rich fairy tale atmosphere, and plenty of back story to really get the imagination going. As soon as I was up, I pulled out my binder with the intention of writing a prologue to lock in the idea — and yes, I was going to share it too.

The best I could manage was a rough outline.

Le sigh.

At the very least, the idea is solidly recorded, and eventually one day I will transform it into a proper story. But for now, I have nothing sharable. In all likelihood, it will be about five or so more months before I return to posting any short stories or novelettes. It’s honestly a bit disheartening to feel like that part of my brain is shut off for the moment.

I’m thankful that the first draft of my novel is finished, and I’m editing/rewriting rather than trying to come up with sentences from scratch. On the bright side, I won’t have any new ideas distracting me from finishing it. Just fatigue, lol.

So far I’m on track for finishing by the end of this month, but I’ve also caught a bad case of the gremlins, so fingers crossed and knock on wood. Maybe I should buy a second flash drive to save more back up copies . . . just in case.

About Me

Birthday

I’ll be turning 32 at some point during this month.

I grew up with the whole, “Hide your real age and try to look younger,” shtick, but I’m really enjoying the whole process of growing older and more mature. It wasn’t until my 30th birthday, for example, that I decided I didn’t care what sort of hairstyles everyone else said would look good with my face type, and that I would do what *I* thought was pretty instead. Personally, I like the way I look much better now than I did ten years ago.

I enjoy being a weird homemade bohemian goth with a gazillion kids WAY more than I ever liked wearing t-shirts and jeans, and working a full time job.

Other benefits of being in my 30s include finally working up the courage to self-publish my fiction, without taking it as a criticism when I didn’t instantly turn into an overnight success story. I’m rather glad I don’t have that burden right now.

I think it will be an absolute blast when I hit middle age and start speaking my mind without worrying about what everyone will think of me. Hopefully for everyone else, leggings will have fallen out of fashion by then.

Truthfully, sometimes I fantasize about being more publicly visible and influencing people away from that particular trend. Because seriously, it’s a pretty stupid when women dictate to me that leggings are more “comfortable” when I’m wearing culottes. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that attributes like “breathable”, “nonrestrictive”, and “flattering” didn’t count as comfortable. My bad.

Besides, I’m nearly 32 and I have a gazillion kids. I have no interest in trying to flaunt every detail of my body like I’m 22. I’d like to age with dignity and keep my cellulite to myself.

Lol, tangent.

Anyway, I remember being that t-shirts and jeans person, lying on the floor of my studio apartment, staring at the ceiling and wishing more than anything that I could quit my job and be a full-time author. I wanted it so badly it hurt, but every inquiry I made to publishers went nowhere and I was too terrified of failure to strike out on my own.

I wonder why, when I had all the time and energy I could possibly need, my approach to the world was so limited and fearful.

Oh, my darling young self, you have no idea what could have happened if you had been courageous enough to create your own path.

Live ‘n learn. I was the best I knew how to be, and that was enough to lead me here. After all, 32 is hardly decrepit.

When I think about the future, I see myself overflowing with creativity and surrounded by a gazillion loved ones. I look forward to my birthdays, and marking another year of growing and maturing with the people who matter the most.

About Writing

Back to writing

Now that the holidays are (mostly) over, my delusion is that I’ll be able to jump back into writing and finally finish that novel I’ve been working on for the past 18 months. If I religiously devote just an hour a day, I should have the rewrite done by the end of January.

You know, provided that the sky doesn’t randomly open up and start raining killer sharks or anything like that. Life knows how to be a bitch, so I’m always reticent to make any sort of announcements about the future, only to follow up with a “Lol, jk.” I guess this reflects how many killer sharks I’ve dealt with over the last umpteen years.

But anyway, tentatively speaking, I should start “promoting” in February, and let slip what all my vague references were about all along. That way, this novel can be over with and out of my hair so I can have my new baby in peace.

And start my next novel during all those hours I’ll be off my feet with a newborn. What can I say? My mind is always brimming with stories to tell, and sleep deprivation is a fantastic channel for inspiration, lol.

About Writing

Terrible Reader

I confess that I’m a terrible reader. Every time I pick up a book, I think, “This time I’ll read every word,” then sooner or later, I get bored and start skipping through.

“Why is the author taking so long to call the wagon green?”

“Meh, sex.”

“Okay, this character is stupid.”

“We get it already, they had a good time at the picnic.”

When I read out loud to the children, I adopt that bored, “Let’s get through this massive paragraph as quick as possible” monotone voice, and I’m afraid it’s pretty obvious that I don’t enjoy it.

It always feels like there’s a huge number of words getting in the way of the story, and I can’t remember the last time I found a book engrossing. Sometimes I could swear that authors actually want readers to skim over half of the novel, and throw in lots of filler just to look more impressive at first glance.

“In my book, it takes 800 pages for fifteen characters to make a single grilled cheese sandwich. It’s rich with subplots about running out of bread, taking bathroom breaks, and even falling in love. I also included numerous philosophical discussions about the merits of cheddar versus colby jack, and the different methods of toasting the bread. I included lots of poetry. There’s even a surprise plot twist where it turns out that half the characters are actually grilled cheese sandwiches themselves! The novel ends after the characters burn down the house and die because they tried to make it in the toaster.”

Oh wow!

No way!

The funny thing is, when I read my own stories with the same method I use to read other novels, I do get the whole, “WOAH this story is progressing crazy fast!” feeling. My style really isn’t best experienced by charging through. I do always “test read” my stuff before putting it out there, and following the natural flow of my mind without trying to speed up or edit anything feels good to me, so that’s how I keep it.

I skip writing the stuff that I skip reading. Which is a lot. But hey, that also means that there isn’t anything for you to skip over either, because I’m probably WAY worse than you about that.

Lol.