The End of an Era

Warning: a lengthy post, gif usage, many sappy feelings lie ahead

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The Final Advent has at long last been published. The reality of that still hasn’t quite seeped in for me. Why, you ask?

Turn back the clock to 2005, eleven years ago. For me that meant fourth grade in Mr. Leeland Looper’s class, Girl Scouts, and a crazy amount of playing make-believe.

Mr. Looper always gave us at least thirty minutes each week so we could write whatever came to us. (He was big on childhood literacy. Woohoo!) In those thirty minutes, something came over me and I wrote an eleven page story, the basis of what would become No Angels today. My parents encouraged my writing, and so then I expanded it to thirty pages. Then I wrote a second one, clocking in at 50 pages. You get the idea.

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Actual photo of me after finishing a draft.

Over the course of the next few years, I dreamed up plot ideas and character concepts and so on to flesh out my writings, and in eight grade I completed what would become today’s No Angels. In my sophomore year of high school, I completed Collapsed Cathedrals, and in my freshman year at university, The Final Advent. While all of the aforementioned have undergone a massive amount of editing and reconstruction, still the effort stands and boils down to one truth: working on the No Angels trilogy had been a constant in my life for eleven years, by my side from childhood to adulthood.

Now the last book has been published. I will never again work on No Angels.

It’s immensely satisfying to have seen this project through to the end, yet it’s also bittersweet. Finally I can release this story and continue down my journey’s road, but I would be lying if I said I won’t miss it. These characters have become my friends over the years. My own life story has been threaded into the pages. And now it’s time to move on. The phrase “thanks for the memories” has never been more apparent to me than it is now.

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Yet more actual footage of me.

I want to thank everyone who’s helped me reach this point, who’s helped me achieve my still-startling reality of completing and publishing a complete trilogy by age 20. Never in my wildest dreams could I have done it without the following:

JD Hinze – My dad, the person who introduced me to storytelling and fantasy in the first place. He read over eight (horrific) versions of my first book, but with each of his edits I learned and my skills grew. Without his belief in me and his fostering my abilities and telling me to go and just do it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

John Nagle – I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Nagle about eight years ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He was the first person to introduce me to the idea of independent publishing, and has offered his assistance and feedback in many of my efforts to this day. Without his suggestion and encouragement, never would I have taken the plunge into indie publishing.

Elizabeth Wheatley – Elisabeth Wheatley and I met at the Texas Book Festival a few years back, exchanged contact info, and have been writing buddies from then on out. We’ve beta-read one another’s novels, talked about story ideas, and supported one another since. She’s cheered me on and given me incredibly valuable insight for years, plus gave me the confidence and motivation to continue on my journey.

Intisar Khanani – Much like Elisabeth Wheatley, Intisar has beta-read stories of mine and given me great insights into the craft of writing. (Once she even mailed me a signed copy of her novel Sunbolt, which I LOVED.) Without these writing friends, it would have been near impossible to see this trilogy through to the end.

Matthew Bogard – I met Matthew nearly over a year and a half ago, and from day one I knew he was endowed with a sharp wit. I’ll admit to you (we’re close, right?) that we’ve also been dating for just as long. (Anecdote: I wiped the floor with him during a sparring match and he immediately asked me out to dinner.) One of my beta readers was too busy to go over The Final Advent, so Matthew volunteered in their stead. I was hesitant at first (it took him MONTHS to convince me to let him near it), but he ended up being fantastic.  Not only that, but he’s been an incredible source of support throughout my endeavors.

You – Yes, you, reading this right now, long-time reader or complete newbie who just stumbled across this post. Without the support of those in the background (especially my lovely commenters and like-rs!) I’d feel and be fruitless in my efforts, without support save those I’ve mentioned above. Knowing that my blog followers and readers are here makes everything worth it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

For me the publication of The Final Advent marks the end of an era. And so, here’s to the next one, where ever it may take us!

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Find The Final Advent on Amazon.

TFA-Cover-Reveal Death overshadows everyone at some point, but for Liz Patrona that time comes far too soon. Word comes that Wily, her ruthless enemy, survived being thrown into the Black River and crossed into Geminus to usurp the kingdom’s throne. Now his sights rest firmly on her world. Knowing Liz is the only threat in his path, he curses her to die in one year’s time—unless she can kill him before the clock runs out. In the months she has left, she must travel into Geminus, forge precarious alliances with those who’ve survived Wily’s reign, and battle for her very survival. Yet what lies in Geminus may be more than she bargained for. In these foreign lands looms a sinister secret about her own past. Something that has been guiding her from her first breaths to her final steps.

In the long-awaited conclusion to the No Angels trilogy, Liz is pushed one last time to discover the bounds of how far she’s willing to go to protect those she loves—even if it means losing herself along the way.

Writing Update: January 2016

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At long last, The Final Advent has been published! This brings the No Angels trilogy to a close, which is a bittersweet moment for me. (There’ll be an entire blog post on this later.) This is a huge accomplishment for me, and is a promising way to start off the new year!

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I’ve finally started drafting The Immortal! I plan for the first draft to clock in around 70k, and have already knocked out 6k. To be honest, while first drafts famously suck, I am having a LOT of fun writing it! I hope you guys will like reading it just as much. ;)

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The Stolen Sun

Still subbing away on this one! It’s at Tor right now, a place that can take months to respond, but hey, we’ve all gotta play the game at one time or another, am I right?

Where Gold is Born

Yep, this piece has already been published. I know. But! Since the previous place didn’t have exclusive rights over it (the window for their rights have since expired), I’m trying to squeeze another credit out of this one by subbing it as a reprint.

Heartless (WIP title)

My current sci-fi/horror piece! To be honest, drafting this one is . . . laborious. I feel like the story is quite literally dying under my fingers with each sentence, but that’s also how I used to feel about TSS, and look where that is now! I’m holding out hope for this one. I’m aiming for 6k for the first draft, and am at about 2k as it stands.

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Stay tuned, everyone! What progress have you been making on your goals?

My 5 Favorite Characters when Writing No Angels

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1 – Liz Patrona

This one should be relatively obvious! She’s strong, endlessly determined, and, no matter what, does what’s right by her, damn the consequences!

2 – Riven Samson

Oh, Riven, I’m so sorry. I put this poor soul through so much suffering, and lets face it, he was pretty mean in the beginning. However, the gradual process of softening him was one of my favorite things to write across the series.

3 – Azriel Patrona

Azriel is sort of loosely based off my dad, so how could I not put him in my favorites list? He’s kind, welcoming, and devoted to being a thoroughly good person who fiercely protects his home.

4 – Vita

Since this post is leading up to the release of The Final Advent, you have no idea who Vita is yet. But! It doesn’t mean I love her any less. She has a deadly sharp wit paired with iron resolve, plus all the patience in the world–making her incredibly deadly when she wants to strike.

5 – Jakeus Vinco

My tragic baby! He had quite the hard life, but still, I know that doesn’t mean he’s exempt from morals or, y’know, basic human decency. Since he had control ripped away so early in life, he’s been fighting for it ever since, though not always with the best of intentions.

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Who’re your favorite characters? Comment below!

What’s Changed in NO ANGELS

As with all long projects, No Angels has had a multitude of alterations made to it. While the bare-bone structure has largely stayed the same, that’s about it. Below are just a few of the most memorable changes that’ve been made to the series over the years.

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Riven used to be little more than a comic relief character. His name was Bobby. (And no, I’m not kidding.)

For a time, Liz was actually supposed to end up with Mark. I’d liked the idea of the non-special, normal friend getting the girl, but as Riven’s character developed, Mark got cut out of the picture. Muggle.

There were originally four books. Count ’em. The extra (and initially second) book took place in the Australian outback because, as a kid, I was obsessed with the deadly variety of creatures the continent hosts. I deemed it extraneous pretty early on.

Originally Guards who’d been brought back to life existed only in animal form, but I’d found that didn’t work into the mechanics of the story as well.

Liz’s primary weapon used to be a flame-arrowed bow. She also used to have power over stone/earth, but I thought that was getting a bit too Avatar: The Last Airbender-y so I gave those powers to a different race, the Viri Lapideus.

Liz’s last name was originally Crenshath. She had about 10 last names before I finally just picked one.

Liz initially had another best friend in addition to Mark: Josie. In the end, she betrayed Liz by trading confidential information to Jakeus in exchange for him not attacking her when his plans came to fruition. She didn’t serve much of a purpose in the story overall, though, so out she went!

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Did any of these surprise you? Did you see some of them coming? Comment below!

 

Writing in 2014: My Year in Review

I have to be honest, 2014 was an extremely trying and difficult year for me. So, it was difficult to get myself up and writing. But I also didn’t recognize just how much I’d accomplished this year either until I sat back and started reflecting!

Without further ado, here’s a compilation of everything I’ve accomplished this year.

No Angels

I finished re-editing No Angels; cutting out no less than 14,000 words, adding in scenes, cutting scenes, etc.

This monster weighs nearly two pounds!

This monster weighs nearly two pounds!

Afterwards I reformatted the novel in both eBook and paperback form and held a giveaway to celebrate its release!

Collapsed Cathedrals

This one wasn’t a huge priority, but I still felt it needed tending to. Long story short, Gaiman’s Law got the better of me, and, since I couldn’t bear the idea of there being potential typos in my book (unavoidable as it may be), I gave it another read through and uploaded the edited version.

The Final Advent

I’ve been making progress on editing TFA and getting beta edits done. Also, I’ve made a lot of headway in creating the cover. Nearly done, too! This one will definitely be released in the earlier half of 2015.

The Stolen Sun

I wrote The Stolen Sun, edited it multiple times with the help of many an amazing beta (shout out to Intisar Khanani & Elisabeth Wheatley!), and have been submitting it to quite a few places! No bites yet, but my fingers remain crossed.

Where Gold is Born

This piece finally got picked up for publication by the Sagebrush Review! Volume 9 is actually out now, if you want to pick yourself up a copy ;)

The Immortal and The Cradle 

The Immortal and The Cradle became significantly more fleshed out versions of themselves than they ever were. I fleshed out the outline for The Cradle, and even though I’m still not totally satisfied with it, progress is progress. The Immortal took on a whole new life, the plot getting fully brought to life, characters created and given backstories and personalities, have conducted mountains of research, and so on. The Immortal has been itching to burst out of my fingertips, and will likely be my central writing-focus of 2015.

Silverhart

I’ve done little bits of work on this one, creating the world, developing some story arcs, and building up the mythology and world rules. This story is HUGE though, (at least 5 books), so it’ll probably be at least 5 more years before I start actually writing.

So, there’s you have it! My writing progress of 2014. How did this year go for you in terms of accomplishments, writing related or not?

Also, I want to tag Elisabeth Wheatley and Intisar Khanani to do a post similar to this as well! How did y’alls year go in terms of writing?

Have a great rest of your year, everyone!

Writing Update: November 2014

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At long last, No Angels is back on the market in its new, revised form! Not only that, but I held a giveaway earlier this month with signed books (plus a poster!) up for grabs. Time to kiss this project goodbye, once and for all. Though I must admit, it’s a bittersweet feeling. I’d been working on this book for over a decade straight. But, all good things must come to an end. Onto the next project!

As far as other works in this trilogy go, I have finished a quick read-through of Collapsed Cathedrals and put the up-to-date version back on the shelves. It’s not a huge deal, – I was mostly just wanting to catch typos. (Darn you, Gaiman’s law!)

I’m in the process of editing The Final Advent daily! In addition to that, I’m handing off chapters I’ve already edited to beta readers piece by piece, as opposed to all at once, so that I can hopefully speed the process along. Also, I’ve already begun making the cover. I’ve decided this time around to record my process so you guys can see what it takes for me to make my covers from beginning to end!

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The publisher who has Where Gold is Born is still putting together the collection, but it should (hopefully) be out before 2015.

I’m still subbing The Stolen Sun! I got another personal rejection this month, making 60% of the rejections I’ve received so far personal ones. Not a bad percentage. Now TSS is at its sixth destination, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. Fingers crossed!

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Guys, I gave in. I’ve started up my research for The Immortal again, plus I’ve been refining the outline more. Then again, I actually have the time for it now! I’ve never not worked on multiple projects at once, so it feels nice to begin piecing something together while finishing up another work. I’m about 80% of the way through the outlining/research process, so it shouldn’t be before long that I’m ready to sit down and start writing!

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Only one month of writing in the year left. Stay tuned to hear more about my progress before 2014 leaves us for good!

NO ANGELS Re-Release Giveaway – Winners!

It was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. At long last, here are the winners of the NO ANGELS re-release giveaway!

1st Place – Suzinzski Suzy
2nd Place – Matthew Bogard
3rd Place – SB Morales

Send me a message on Facebook with your address and I will mail your prizes to you as soon as possible. Congratulations to everyone who won, and thank you to all who participated!