Category Archives: From Michelle’s World

Interview with A New Look on Books

Rae over at A New Look on Books asked me to to an interview and I can finally share it with you!

Tell us about your journey of becoming an author and publishing your first book. Any extra advice to fellow dreamers?

I wish my journey to being a published author was inspirational, something novelists told themselves to bolster their spirits as they were working toward publication. I spent years wanting to be an author, writing in my spare time, and thanks to National Novel Writing Month in 2010, finally writing what would become my first book. I half-heartedly revised Witch for Hire several times, but life marched on, and I abandoned the book.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that I started to get serious. At the time I was horribly depressed and was clinging to anything that I enjoyed. I went back to work on Witch for Hire. Over more than six long months I did the best editing I could, had a cover made, and figured out how to format an e-book.

The entire time I spent working on the book, I held onto the project with dogged determination, not letting anything get in my way. My fears and doubts didn’t matter any more. I didn’t care if I failed, so long as I tried. I knew, with absolute certainty, that I would regret never trying far more than I would regret failure.

January 11, 2014, I published Witch for Hire. I published it without telling my family because I didn’t believe the book would do well and I didn’t want to fail in the eyes of my loved ones. To my total shock, the book did well and in the spring of 2015, I quit my day job and started writing full time.

As for advice to fellow dreamers, I recommend finding a happier path to publication. Aside from that, you should find some likeminded friends, work on your craft, and you absolutely must read and write a lot. Odds are you’ll end up working two jobs to support yourself the one that pays bills and writing. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to write after work, and on your weekend, instead of sleep, Star Wars, or friends. Along with the work ethic of a god, you’ll need an iron will, and the determination of a starving dog guarding a juicy bone.”

 

Looking on your website I see you have multiple writing projects at once. How do you manage to juggle all the characters, themes, and arcs for each project?

It isn’t easy, but after several years of working on my Witch’s Path Series, I wanted some variety and Fey Hearted wanted to be written. The story arcs are the easiest things to keep separate because Fey Hearted and its sequel are stories of personal growth, while the Witch’s Path Series is adventure based. In addition, the characters, worlds, and themes are distinct, which helps.

The Witch’s Path series is typically somewhat humorous, with magical absurdities, snark, and a strong connection to the world we live in. Fey Hearted is serious and thoughtful, focusing on themes of love, happiness, and consequences. The themes have helped shape the world and story into something very different from my other works.

The most confusing part is the creatures. Often when I dream up a new creature there’s the potential for it to go into either world depending on how it’s presented. I’m still working on that issue. Hopefully that aspect of the two worlds will clearly delineate while I’m writing the sequel to Fey Hearted.

 

Why focus on the fantasy/supernatural/science fiction genre?

Dragons! Unicorns! Magic! Things I always wished were real.:-)

Wait, I should give a serious answer. Growing up I read so many novels with fantasy elements and I fell in love with the genre. Not only does it transport the reader to a wonderful new world, but it’s allows you to enjoy adventure without living through the hardships. Plus, many of the problems characters face in a fantasy world mirror ones each of us face in life. To me, that gives the reader a way to process a problem that they may struggle with in real life in a much less threatening way.

 

What is your favorite element of writing about the supernatural?

The ability to create anything. The only limits are my imagination and ability to convey the information to the reader.

 

How do you go about creating one of your characters?

It depends. Every character develops slightly differently. Some are created because of what the story or other characters need. I find my main characters usually shape the characters in the rest of the story. Michelle, my main character from the Witch’s Path Series, came to me in a dream. Rose, from Fey Hearted, was more a creation of the world. I really wanted someone different from Michelle, and who could still be fierce. When I started to develop the world, I realized that it wasn’t enough for her to be fierce. She needed to be strong enough to fight convention, live with harsh consequences, and be passionate about family and happiness. Rose developed into a much quieter character, which was more challenging to write, but well worth it because I found new ways to demonstrate her abilities.

Excerpt from Fey Hearted

Fey Hearted is on sale for $0.99 June 9-16 on Amazon

 

Originally published at A New Look on Books June 11, 2016.

Sequels of all Flavors

I’ve had some questions about a potential sequel to Fey Hearted and the status of the Witch’s Path Series. So, let me answer the burning questions!

Fey Hearted will have a sequel. I plan to start work on the story line in a few weeks. Now, before you get too excited, it took eight months (maybe more?) for Fey Hearted to be written, edited, and publish. That’s not counting the year or more I had the idea in my head before I started writing. I’d like to see the sequel to Fey Hearted out later this year, but I am making no promises on a publication time frame.

Witch’s Path Book Five is about to go into the editing process. And the naming process. I’m eyeing a late summer release. While (what I lovingly call) Draft Zero is complete, it still needs a lot of work. (Editing, rewrite, a lot more editing, a title, cover art, and blurb.)

The Witch’s Path Short stories are still in the works. I need to do some rewriting on them and then they need to go to through the editing process. I don’t have a release date, but I’m crossing my fingers for late June.

For those of you questioning how I’ll manage two ongoing series, I have an answer, but none of you will like it. The plan is to alternate books. For example, I wrote Fey Hearted and then wrote Book Five. Now that Book 5 will be out of my hands for a while, I’ll start of Fey Hearted 2. This will continue until one or both series ends. Now, if you guys like the first set of Witch’s Path Short stories, I’ll try to release the short stories when I know you’ll have a wait for the next Witch’s Path book. Does that make sense? If not, ask questions!

Edit: I forgot to mention that I’m planning a Fey Hearted Prequel.

From Draft to Draft

After reading A Witch’s Concern one reader asked what changed between the first draft and publication. This reader remembered that I had said I was changing a lot of things and the book was giving me trouble. As much as I wanted to give her an answer right then, there is no short answer for that question.

Between drafts a lot of things change. How much changes depends on the author and the individual book. Until A Witch’s Concern, I would’ve said that I don’t do big rewrites. That book proved me wrong.

From inception to publishing I change a lot of things. Generally, they are small changes. I fix gobs of awkward sentences, horrible dialogue, and typos. Now, that’s not to say I don’t do larger changes. I reordered most of the second half of A Witch’s Path during editing because that was how the timeline needed to work.

(Warning! Spoilers below!!! Seriously, Big, Epic, Spoilers if you haven’t read the A Witch’s Concern!)

However, in A Witch’s Concern I ended up rewriting most of the book. You know the sequence of events for AWC, right? Okay, if you’re fuzzy, keep reading. If not, skip down.

A Witch’s Concern Published Version: 
– Michelle gets a flat tire and is abducted off the side of the road by the Wapiti.
– Michelle meets with her grandmother, Gretchen, before escaping.
– Elron gets the news that’s she’s gone missing and his calling helps him find her.
– The witches are chasing Michelle through the woods when Elron saves her and takes her home.
– There’s a lot of wind-down. Michelle has a breakfast with her dad’s mother, Marti, then goes to get her car back, and on the way home is attacked by more Wapiti. Ty kills Thomas (a wapiti wizard).
– After dealing with that, Michelle has lunch with Amber and Tiffany and is attacked by a possessed teacup.
– Elron’s office has spells on it.
– Tammy, of the Wapiti, comes to visit Michelle. Leaves a book. Hints that all is not well in the Wapiti.
– Michelle goes to her parent’s wedding.
– Michelle and Elron go deal with a greenhouse overrun with magic infused plants.
– Ethel, the premier, visits Michelle. Tells her she has to join a clan or cut off communication with all witches.
– Elron gets a note from the Wapiti that indicated that some of them are on Michelle’s side.
– Tiffany calls to tell Michelle that they can’t be friends anymore. It’s too dangerous.
– Michelle gets comforted by Marti and they get clues to Gretchen’s motivation from the book Tammy left.
– Michelle calls her mom and Gretchen answers, informing her that she’s taken Michelle’s parents.
– Thomas’s parents cast a spell on the lodge and Michelle has to undo that spell before she can rescue her parents.
– At Gretchen’s house, Elron helps Michelle’s parents escape while she deals with the witches.
– Meanwhile, Michelle ends up joining both her father and her grandmother’s clans.
– Thomas’s parents try to kill Michelle.
– Gretchen sacrifices herself to save Michelle.
– Skipping forward, Ethel reveals that she wants Michelle to be the next Premier and help end the separation between clan law and common law. Nancy takes over the Wapiti.

 

The Changes: 
Now that we have a baseline, I can talk about the changes. In the original version, almost none of that happened and if it did, it didn’t connect that way.

I started a round of editing/rewriting by deleting 25% of the book. A large chunk of that was from the beginning, so I had to rewrite that section and then weave the rewrite into the rest of the book.

The first big change is that in the original draft there was nothing from Elron’s point of view. After that most of the changes are of equal size. How Michelle gets home after being kidnapped changes, when she meets Marti changes, and there are several small cases that were cut.

A Witch’s Concern First Draft: 
– Michelle gets a flat tire and is abducted off the side of the road by the Wapiti.
– Michelle meets with her grandmother, Gretchen, before escaping.
– In the woods a centaur finds her and takes her to their camp. Lots of stuff happens, and she’s given a ride home by a wyrm.
– Elron and Ty meet her in the woods and take her the rest of the way home.
– There’s a lot of wind-down. Michelle goes to get her car back, and deals with a case involving cows.
– After dealing with that, Michelle has lunch with Amber and Tiffany and is attacked by a possessed (kinda) teacup.
– An unimportant Wapiti witch comes to visit Michelle. Tries to talk her into joining the clan.
– Michelle goes to her parent’s wedding and meets Marti for the first time.
– Michelle and Elron go deal with a greenhouse overrun with magic-infused plants.
– Ethel, the premier, visits Michelle. Tells her she has to join a clan or cut off communication with all witches.
– Michelle deals with another case, this one involving a bear.
– Michelle calls her mom and Gretchen answers, informing her that she’s taken Michelle’s parents.
– At Gretchen’s house, Elron helps Michelle’s parents escape while she deals with the witches.
– Meanwhile, Michelle ends up joining both her father and her grandmother’s clans. Ty breaks up the fight and carries Michelle to safety.
– Skipping forward, Ethel reveals that she wants Michelle to be the next Premier and help end the separation between clan law and common law. Gretchen is still alive but is being replaced by Nancy.

The bottom line is that it was a less cohesive book. The changes were badly needed. While I very much enjoyed writing the first draft, it wasn’t a complete picture. Had I wanted to keep the events that were in the first draft, I would’ve had to do other restructuring to make everything work together and serve a purpose. All in all, I think I went in the right direction with the rewrites and I am very happy with the published version of A Witch’s Concern.

May Update

A Witch’s Concern (Witch’s Path Book 4) is back with the editor. One beta reader liked it and hopefully, the editor and other beta readers have the same feeling. By the time I worked through the edits, it was a very different book. To me they were good differences, but I’m never sure how you guys will feel.

I’ve turned my attention away from Michelle’s world, or at least writing in that world, because I want to get A Witch’s Concern good and settled before I think about what comes next. Some good material was cut from the first draft and I’d like you guys to be able to read it, but I have to find the right home for it. Maybe that will be in Book 5, but I have a feeling some of it will end up as short stories, novellas, or as extras on the website. I’ll let you know when decisions have been made.

The first “other project” I’m putting time into is my Fey book, which needs a lot of love to come to life. While that’s going on, I’ll also be working on the long awaited print version. Thats one project that keeps getting pushed back because I know you want new material and I want to give you new material.

On the personal side of things, my house is starting to come together. There’s still a long list of things that need attention, but it’s moving past the things that make the place fun to live in and to things that are good for the health of the house. (I’m very luck to have helpful family members!!) As more and more of the livability items go away, I’ll get happier, more comfortable, and more productive. It always takes me some time to get settled after a big move. Oregon to Georgia counts as a big move.