How I write

I in no way feel qualified to tell anyone how to write. So I’m not telling you how you should write or what your process should be. I can only tell you what works for me. What works for me might not work for you and that’s okay.

Being a writer is something I have dreamed of since I was in the second grade. When I was younger I was either reading, listening to music and building things with Legos or I was writing. Mostly I was writing. All of these things were done alone in my room. I stopped writing for a while and focused on other things.

Getting back into writing proved more difficult than I thought it would be. I just couldn’t figure out how to start. Naturally, I looked to authors I admire to find the best way to write a book. Here’s what I learned, there is no best way to write a novel. There is no right way to write a novel. The best way, the right way, is the way that works for you. One way doesn’t work for everyone. It doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as you get it DONE!

Sometimes I feel so inadequate because I’m not doing things like everyone else. Or it’s not as easy for me as it seems to be for other people. Or it’s taking me longer to finish a project than it does other people. But I know I have to put those feelings aside and focus on the work. No matter how long it takes or how I go about it. Just get it down.

First, I was told I had to outline everything that was going to happen in the story. Outline every backstory, every chapter and that I had to know every little thing about the setting before I could write the first word. Tried that and…no. That did not work. It turns out that knowing every little detail made the story incredibly boring. So boring I never finished it. I knew everything so I lost interest. It was a chore getting up in the morning trying to finish it.

Then I was told not to outline anything. I was supposed to sit down at my computer and just start writing. Let the story and the characters come to me. Tried that and… no. That didn’t work either. Not knowing anything about the story made me anxious. I was never sure if I was going in the right direction.

Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors. I follow her on Instagram where she talks about her writing process openly. She says, “you have to find the way that works for you.” After listening to her method I was ready to try it. I made a few adjustments to fit me and added some things I learned from other authors I follow.

I learned with writing I can’t know every single detail but I can’t know nothing either. So I make an outline. I keep the outline in a notebook that is solely for the story I’m writing. Each story gets its own notebook. I know the setting first. Sometimes I draw a map to get a better sense of what the world looks like. The drawing trait skipped me and went to my sister and brother so it’s not a very good drawing. It’s a crude map of where I think things are.

After the world, I know my characters. Usually all of them but sometimes one or two will pop up when I start writing and I have to add them to my notebook. For instance, I’m writing a novel now about pirates. I knew all of the characters first except for one. Isla popped up on the island of Dreamers and Death when I was writing another chapter. I had to go back and add her backstory to the notebook. When it comes to my characters, I know their names and their backstories. I write all of this down so I don’t forget anything. I also know where the characters start in the story and where they end up. Now what happens to them in between that is a mystery, I don’t find out until I start writing. I write mostly fantasy so the magic system of the world is important. I know some of how the magic system works but not everything that way if I have to change, add or tweak something later I can.

I know how the overall story ends. Sometimes I know the ending before I start. When I was writing the Moon Investigations Novellas, I knew how the last book was going to end before I started writing it. While the ending to Restless Bones on Crystal Lake(the 2nd book) came to me after I had already gotten halfway finished. And sometimes I’ll have the ending before I start but then as I’m writing it changes.

Once I know all of this and it’s written in my notebook I get out my note cards. I make notecards for each main character and for the important places in the story. For the important places I write the name, the location, what the people are like, and what happens there and any other important fact I should remember.

For the characters, I write down their name, characteristics, what they look like and their mannerisms, their goals and their reason for doing what they’re doing. I learned this from author Robin LaFevers. She posted on Instagram a while back about how she kept track of all of her characters. The note cards are with me when I’m writing so when I switch character POV’s I can look at the character’s note card and remember what they are like and why they are doing what they’re doing. It helps put me in the mind frame of the character.

Once I know all of this, I can start writing. Now even though I know all of these things, doesn’t mean it’s easier to write. Some days are great and some not so much. I think it’s the curiosity that keeps me going on those bad days. I know where my characters start and where they end up but I don’t know how they get there. I want to know and the only way I’ll ever know is if I keep going. Even if I only write two hundred words a day. I have to keep going so I can learn why the ending is the way it is.

Well, that’s how I write. It’s a borrowed system that is working well for me. At least for now. What is your writing process?

 

 

 

Moon Investigations

mooninvest

All three Moon Investigations Novellas in one! Available on Amazon. https://buff.ly/2pDoTov
If you are a magical or mythical creature in your human form or other and need help the police can’t or won’t provide, come on down to Moon Investigations. Where help may be only a spell away.
On the island of Crystal Lake where technology and magic are intertwined, magical gangs will rob and or curse you and dragons strut their stuff down the street, anything can happen.
Private Investigator Hazel Moondance tries her best to help those in need. Family members of the missing, forgotten and runaways are her main clients. In trying to help those the police overlook, Hazel is taken to places she has never been, sees creatures she’s never seen before, and comes face to face with a murderess hunting for blood.
Follow Hazel as she tries to help those in her community and inevitably herself.
#amwriting #writerslife #writerscommunity #books #amreading

Next Project!

Black raven on the skull. Halloween scene

 

Follow the Raven

 

 

A raven sat on a branch and watched as the lost souls shuffled down the dirt road headed towards a bleak horizon. Each one perfectly in tune with the soul in front and behind him. A soul spotted the raven perched and staring as if he, waiting to be asked a question.

The soul asked, “What are you doing there, bird?”

The raven answered, “I’ve seen where you are headed. It is a bleak and mundane existence filled with bad men who do bad things and good men who do worse but disguise it as for the greater good. That is not a life you want. I am the Raven, follow me.

The soul stopped and stepped out of the mindless shuffle. Robbing the soul behind him of his perfect step and caused a chain reaction down the line behind him. The souls turned to the raven and stared in confusion and wonder.

“That line is filled with rules from men on thrones, injustice and deceit, and mediocrity. It’s filled with men tricking you into thinking they are good and just, and you are nothing. I am the Raven, follow me and you will know freedom.”

The souls stepped closer.

“Follow me to the sea and let the waves kiss your feet and rock you to sleep. In this, you will know true peace. Where the rules are your own and your life is what you make it. Follow me and that thing inside of you yearning for destruction and mayhem can be set free. And your enemies will fall before you and whisper your name through bloodstained lips. Follow me to riches so immensely beautiful and ripe for the taking.”

The souls gathered around the tree the housed the bird.

“For I am the Raven, ferryman to the lost and the damned. Friend to the outcast, who shun complacency and conformity. So bring me your thirst for blood and adventure. Your lust for riches and freedom and follow me to the sea.

For I am the Raven and your freedom lies within me.”

Fallen Queen on Crystal Lake

fq (2)

 

Fallen Queen on Crystal Lake is live on Amazon!!! Free with Kindle Unlimited! It’s a shorter novella with two bonus stories at the end. And Restless Bones on Crystal Lake the second novella in the Moon Investigations Series is free today and tomorrow! You can find it here.

Hazel is drawn into a dark family tradition. The Mason Family were cursed hundreds of years ago. In order to stop the curse from activating a child must be sacrificed every fifty years.

When the mother of Sarah Mason comes to Moon Investigations, Hazel will do everything she can to help her even though it goes against Syn’s and Lola’s wishes. While Hazel understands them wanting to keep her safe she refuses to let Sarh Mason die. The case to break the curse becomes a missing person’s case when Sarah disappears somewhere on the Mason property. Now Hazel is in a race to not only find Sarah but to stop the curse so no one is sacrificed all while dodging angry ghost who attack her in her sleep.

As if Hazel didn’t have enough to deal with, a queen descends onto Crystal Lake with one thing on her mind. Hazel’s blood. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H7SXH3F

If you enjoy the book please leave a review. I would greatly appreciate it!

 

Restless Bones on Crystal Lake

bk2

 

 

A revised version of Restless Bones on Crystal Lake is now on Amazon. If you liked the ebook please leave a review. I would really appreciate it.

A soggy decrepit ghost visits Hazel. And with her new ghostly admirer comes a new case and a new hidden danger.
Lola is wanted for the murder of Royce Habernath, a pirate treasure hunter whom she has fought with many times over a treasure map. In their search for the truth, Hazel, Syn and Blossom struggle with the realization, Lola is the mistress of secrets and killing someone is definitely within her wheelhouse. But when it becomes clear that Lola was framed it becomes a race to find the real murderer before Lola is sent to a prison most don’t return from. At least not whole.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Hazel may have a hidden power a queen is searching for. Whether Hazel truly has it or not the Blood Queen and her minions now know she is on Crystal Lake. And if they find Hazel, her death is certain.

Witch Hunt on Crystal Lake

 

 

The paperback version of Witch Hunt on Crystal Lake is now available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0784RDXDK

If you are a magical or mythical creature in your human form or other and need help the police can’t or won’t provide, come on down to Moon Investigations. Where help may be only a spell away.
On the island of Crystal Lake where technology and magic are intertwined, magical gangs will rob and or curse you and dragons strut their stuff down the street, anything can happen.
Private Investigator Hazel Moondance tries her best to help those in need. Family members of the missing, forgotten and runaways are her main clients. So, when a mother comes to her looking for her daughter Rose Stone, Hazel is determined to find her. With the help of a bounty hunter and a seasoned witch, Hazel must sort through the life and secrets of Rose. She finds a secret that leads to other unsolved cases and a ritual that could destroy the island.
Now Hazel and her helpers must find Rose, the other missing girls and the person who took them before the night of the Emerald Stars or it will be too late.

I want to thank everyone that bought a copy of the ebook and left a review. I really appreciate it!

Fallen Queen Free Chapter

Chapter 1

And now back to our Local Programming

 

 

Stupid!

Stupid!

The sky darkened as the shadow man transformed before us. The large shadow twisted and stretched until it resembled a man in a dark cloak. The dark hood covered everything except his thin pink lips and his pale hairless chin. Kiki coiled her tail tighter around me.

“Haaazellll. Dear take the bracelet off.” His voice soft and calm.

How does he know my name?

When Blossom and Syn first thought that I could have been the phoenix the Blood Queen was looking for, Blossom made me a bracelet. She warned me to never take it off, and it would protect me from dark magic. If I took it off, he would be able to take me and then kill me.

“Sorry, can’t do that.”

I glanced at Kiki. The water dragon’s furrowed brow and quick glances around the perimeter told me she was worried. I glanced around the lake. We were alone. At the arrival of the hooded man, the lake’s inhabitants disappeared. The birds stopped chirping, nymphs stopped frolicking around the trees. And there wasn’t a ripple nor a splash coming from the lake. We were on our own.

“How did you even find me?”

He chuckled. “It wasn’t that difficult. We found you before the spell around your building was activated.”

“That fast?”

The man shrugged. “After that, we just had to follow you. It’s that simple really. We did our research and learned you were the only one in that building that could use fire magic, so it had to be you. Then we just had someone following you at all times.”

Was it that easy for them to follow me?

 Who was watching me?

 What kind of private investigator am I when I didn’t even notice someone following me all this time?

“Come now”—a wicked smile crept across his face— “don’t make this difficult. It doesn’t have to be. Just take off the bracelet and come with me. My queen is eager to meet you.”

“Come with you so she can kill me? That would be stupid.”

“You’ve already done something stupid today. What’s one more thing?” His smiled widened.

I opened my mouth to say something but decided against it. After all, he was right, I had done something stupid. I came here all by myself and didn’t tell anyone where I was going.

Had I told my professor?

With my heart pounding in my ears I couldn’t remember if I had told him the whole story or not. I had to so he knew where to send me. One person knew where I was, but what could he do about it. The man was right, I had done something stupid, and now I was going to get Kiki killed for trying to protect me. How could I have gotten so comfortable and forgotten I was in danger?

Kiki wrapped her tail tighter around me. “He works for her.”

“Yeah I know. How did he look like my friend?”

The man coughed and then cleared his throat. “Well, that ghastly skeleton was following you too. So was the soldier. I just created a spell to stop them from contacting you. Again, quite simple.”

The nonchalant way he talked about finding me was both scary and irritating. If it was so easy for them to get to me, why did they wait until now? Why this moment?

You’re alone dummy!

“Well, I’m glad you didn’t have to break a sweat in your efforts to get me alone and kill me.”

“I do appreciate it.” He gave a short bow. “Some targets can be so bothersome.” He took a step closer.

“Why now? Why did you wait?”

“While my queen is very dedicated to her mission, she feels there was no need for more casualties than necessary. Everyone shouldn’t have to die.”

Well wasn’t that thoughtful of her. Why kill more people than you must? Yeah, that makes sense. Kiki coiled her tail tighter around me. Her head darted towards him. Fangs ready to take a bite out of his flesh. The man laughed.

I stared at her. Someone I didn’t know was willing to protect me so fiercely. I appreciated it, but I couldn’t let her do it. If she died because of me, I would never be able to forgive myself.

I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. Kiki’s light blue scales were cool and wet as I climbed onto her back and then down to the ground.

“What are you doing?”

“I can’t let you die because of me.”

I spun around and headed back down the path I came from. My slow jog turned into an I need to get away from here run when I heard Kiki yell, “Don’t Hazel! I know what she does to people!”

I had to get away. As far from Kiki as possible. The clearing, my Intermediate Magic class and I landed the first time I came here, was dark and empty. I ran through it as quick as I could. Trees clipped my face and arms as I ran into the wooded area on the other side of the clearing. I could transport myself home if I could just see it in my mind. If I could visualize my office or my apartment or even just the building I could get there.

An orchid colored tree branch smacked me in the face knocking the mental picture out of my head. I kept running as I tried to visualize my apartment. The picture came to me, but it wasn’t right. It was dark and distorted. The place in my head was like my apartment, but it wasn’t mine. The furniture was different. The walls were red. The carpet black. It looked so familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Stacks of books littered a wooden table by the door. On one stack rested a slip of paper with my name on it. There was a darkness to the room. Like a dark cloud hovered over the space. With the curtains drawn, I could see the sun outside, but I could not feel it in the room. There was no warmth. No happiness. Just darkness.

“That’s quite enough of that.”

The voice surrounded me, and yet I couldn’t see where it was coming from. My shoe slid over a fallen branch, and I fell to my knees. My legs ached, my feet throbbed. The more air I sucked in the more my lungs burned. I looked up at the sky. The moon had ducked behind a cloud. I tried to picture home again. But again, it was a distorted image of an apartment.

“You’ve had your fun. Now come back.”

The trees in front of me bent to the side as if they were being broken. A crack appeared in the sky above the trees and everything else faded away. The scene around me dissolved, and he was standing in front of me. And I was where I had been before. By the lake standing next to Kiki. Only now Kiki was on the ground in her human form, blood seeping into the ground beneath her.

Had it all been a trick? I had never gone anywhere. My efforts to save Kiki were all in vain. How did he do that?

“Come, come now, I told you just take off the bracelet.” He grinned.

A gurgling noise came from Kiki as more blood crept out of her mouth. I wasn’t going to let her die. Not because of me.

What I’m working on

I just wanted to give an update on what I’ve been working on lately.

I took the books down to re-edit them. The first one has been done and is back up on Amazon. The paperback edition will hopefully be released next week if everything goes well.

I’m waiting on the proof copy of Restless Bones so I can review it. I’m re-editing that one as well and will put it back up on Amazon when I’m finished.

I’m almost done with Fallen Queen, so that will be out soon.

I’m also working on two other projects one fantasy and one murder mystery. Hopefully, the first drafts will be done within the next few months.