Bacon Typos: Round 3!

Hey all! Welcome to another week of weird typos. Before I jump into the guts of the post, I just want to throw out there that I’m about to send out my first newsletter later this week, so sign up for that if you haven’t! Now, without any further ado…

A little shorter this week, but I’ve been busy with things. ;) Hopefully you still get a laugh!

Bacon, out.

Cover Reveal: Steadfast by Michelle Hauck

I’m so excited to share the cover of this amazing book! But first, let’s have a few words from the author herself:

It all starts, of course, with getting hit with the writing bug. You have an idea for a story. You bravely sit down and write it. You learn that you don’t know how to write quite yet and you begin to gather experience plucked from other writers farther down the road.

A manuscript or four later your craft has improved enough to land an agent. Your brilliant story goes out to the scary land of editors and may or may not sell. But you persist. You write other stories if the first one fails. And eventually you make your first sale for, say, three books.

Now you are faced with the scary fact that you need to write your first sequel and carry on a story line. You get the wonderful news that the characters you adore will live on. At the same time, you are full of anxiety that a sequel is a daunting thing and you’ve never tried one before. Bravely you forge forward and write a sequel that meets your editor’s approval.

A new first appears now that you conquered the other challenge. You now have to write the ending book of a series. You have to take all the characters and all the obstacles you created and bring them to, not just an end, but a highly exciting end. Once again you doubt your talent and ability. You plunge forward nonetheless. And you succeed.

Cover reveals. Release days. Publishers Marketplace announcements. All those days are great days, but they are blips on the actual journey. The true test is the challenge you meet everyday to go out and do what scares you because you might fail– and see yourself instead succeed.

So a cover reveal is not so much a celebration of art as it is a celebration of spirit. Another test passed. Another doubt proved groundless. A forging forward on the journey of you, whether you are a writer or something else.

Proof I climb this mountain in the form of a third cover for my Birth of Saints series. Thank you for being a witness and may you climb your mountains.

Do what scares you my friends and face those challenges.

Against an angry god whose only desire is to wipe out all life, what hope is there to survive?

The army from the north has left a trail of burned and captured cities. In trying to stop them, Claire and Ramiro unleashed the northern god, Dal, but now they face two monstrosities and no amount of honor or hope can stop the killing as Dal grows in power.

Searching for a miracle, Claire finds the elders of the Women of the Song, who might teach her a thing or two about using her voice magic to fight back—if they can put aside their own problems first—while Ramiro searches for truth in his dreams, leading him to the northern priestess Santabe, the only one who could share her knowledge of Dal and the mysterious magical Diviners.

Claire must unite the Women of the Song in the face of utter destruction, and Ramiro must decide how far he will go to get the answers he needs to defeat the rampaging god.

It will take nothing less than a saint to rise and face the leviathan before they all become martyrs. (unofficial blurb)

Steadfast releases December 5, 2017

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Enter Giveaways to Win Signed Copies of the First Two Books in the Series:

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Book One, Grudging, Here.

 

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Book Two, Faithful, Here.

About the Author:

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two college-going kids. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, Picture Book Party, and Sun versus Snow. Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging (November 17, 2015) and Faithful (November 15, 2016) and Steadfast (December 2017)  is published by Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Find her on twitter at @Michelle4Laughs or at her blog.

Deep POV

 

So, back when I was a wee writer, before this blog was even made and all my posts were on Tumblr, I talked about deep point of view. Pretty much everything I say in that post still holds true. Thought Verbs and Three Easy Steps to Deep POV are still two articles that are invaluable to developing an understanding of deep POV.

But to really get deep POV, we need to go deeper. (ba dum, tss)

Let’s start with what deep POV is. Deep POV is drawing as close to your POV character as you can to give the reader the most immersive experience possible. And wording it like that makes it sound like some magic trick, but that’s what the goal is. You want to create as little wall between your character and your reader. Yes this can work in both third person and first person. No you don’t automatically achieve this by writing in first person. It’s something you consciously do. Unless you’re McTalentpants and already do it.

Now, on the surface level, look at the words you’re using. I used to scoff at filler words. I thought that pretty little roses emerged from my butt as I plopped out new words and that since the sentence I crafted sounded right to me, that it was fine.

As you can guess, I was wrong.

To create as deep an immersion as possible, there are filler words that create distance between your prose and the reader. When you’re thinking throughout the day, do you ever think, “I thought,” “I said,” “I wondered?” No, you just do the thing. And by cutting these words, you enable more room for characterization, world-building, and movement–especially with things like dialog tags. (Watch a movie. Does anyone ever stay still while talking? Your scenes shouldn’t stagnate throughout a conversation, either.) If you want to go all out, here are a couple of giant lists to cut all the filler words. This is my personal list that I always start with:

was, is, even, see, hear, feel, think, just, very, up, down, seem(s), then, that, now, wonder, notice, begins, starts, get, walk, try, only, like, as if, of, really, forward, backward, had, find

Obviously, change tense if you’re in past/present/future/whatever. A couple of other things to watch out for that break reader’s immersion are scene breaks, and italicized thoughts in third person (you shouldn’t be using them in first, period–you’re already narrating from their head, unless you’re implying they never actually think). They’re meant to be used, but with purpose.

All right, now for the part that I didn’t mention in my previous post, and that the posts I link to don’t touch. Let’s go… deeper.

(Please don’t hurt me, I just like puns.)

Every sentence should be infused with your character’s voice. I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but rarely have I seen any practical applications of it. Yes, obviously make sure the word choice fits what your character would say. But that doesn’t make it sound like it’s coming from your character’s head.

I swear I’m not all ~hoity toity~ and ~special~ here. Just listing things in a character’s dialog makes it stiff. You might as well be playing a videogame (which I love and have worked in the medium before, but the immersion is different) rather than reading a book. For example, let’s take some action, since that’s the sort of scene that falls into this trap the hardest. I normally sigh when people put in excerpts of their own words as examples, but bear with me:

I kick, and he blocks. I raise my fist again, but he’s faster and gets in the next blow, knocking me down.

It gets the point across. There isn’t much voice, but it’s action, right?

You can do better.

You’re in this character’s head. There’s adrenaline and pain and emotion running through this character’s brain. Every scene, every sentence should have senses, and should have thought. I don’t care about a character that doesn’t care, that doesn’t think–most readers don’t. So you should be using every opportunity you can to show this. Bear with me again as I try to show you what I mean; let’s twist this two different ways.

Sweat drips, stinging in my eyes as I throw my foot forward. He blocks easily, wide grin visible despite my blurred vision. Breath ragged, muscles screaming, jab my fist at his gut–but he blocks it. Again. How am I supposed to prove myself against him? He’s what they say he is: indestructible. His knuckles meet my cheek, the taste and smell of iron flooding my senses. I’m on the ground before I can register falling, dirt caking against my face.

And for a different perspective:

Energy sparks through my body as I kick out–but she catches it. She’s bruised, bloody, half-broken, but she managed to block me. Me. Fire rolls through my veins and I swing, faster than anyone could block.

And yet she knocks my blow off course, nearly keeling over with the force of the blow.

Screw her. Screw this girl who thinks she’s better than me, who thought–

She moves, no flinching for all her wounds, no hesitation as she strikes her fist to my head. Nothing I can do before my world goes black.

Apologies for my trash writing. Now, the same series of events happen in both scenes. In one someone’s giving up, the other someone’s pissed, and hopefully that’s pretty obvious. Now go back and consider that first excerpt. The you get a sense of character through it? But you get any emotion? Any thoughts? I don’t. If we can’t even tell who’s winning, I say that’s a pretty crappy action scene.

I know this is rather nebulous, and it’s hard for me to give you direct advice without seeing your words first. but it’s important, vitally important. Most stories are character driven, and your character can’t drive anything if they aren’t thinking and feeling. So I want you to look at your work, scene by scene, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, and ask yourself what your character thinks and feels about what’s happening. Is it conveyed in the text, or is it in your head? Be sure you’re combining thinking and action–there are a million reasons behind a smile, but unless you specify that your character is forcing that smile to hide their doubt, or genuinely smiling because they love something, I have no way of knowing. Show me.

Deep POV is all about that immersion, getting your reader as close to the story and the character as possible so they’re invested and right there smack-dab in the story–no matter how uncomfortable it is, or how much more painful it makes the plot twists. The more emotion, the better.

Bacon, out.

Weekend WIP: A Little Bit of Broadtrip

Since I’m jumping back into drafting, when I saw the #8sunday bloghop on Weekend Writing Warriors (check out the rest of the authors on the hop!), it seemed like perfect motivation to keep me going. I’ll be posting a few sentences from whatever I’m working on to keep me accountable, and show you guys what I’m up to.

This week, here’s the opening sentences to Broadtrip (bro-roadtip or broad-trip, either words–and yes, it needs a better name):

People always warn not to get involved with wild serpents.

Thing is, those people have obviously never met me.

A black streak floats lazily in the distance, a serpent sunning itself. I’ve never seen a black serpent. The serpents at home range from all sorts of blues and greens — like mine, Nuci, pale green scales with deep blue stripes — and wild ones are sometimes paler, the color of sand and seafoam. But never black.

Which means I have to have it.

I pat Nuci’s side twice, and they slide quietly down into the water, me clinging tight to their back. The thing with wild serpents is that they will always see you coming from the side. It took about a dozen attempts to find their weakness — not like I’ve ever really succeeded in getting on one, per say, but this time is going to be different.

So, what do you think? What are you working on this weekend—writing or otherwise? If you have your own excerpt, feel free to share so I can check it out!

Bacon, out.

Bacon Typos: Round 1!

If you’re following me anywhere other than here, you might have seen me messing with my latest project: bringing my infamous typos into graphic format! I won’t won’t waste your time rambling about it, check it out!!!

 

So, what do you think? Good idea? Terrible idea? Only do the text? Do a monthly round up? Weekly? I don’t want to spam you guys with something dumb that doesn’t at least make you smile. But if you do like it, feel free to reblog the photoset on Tumblr, or check out the Pinterest board!

(In other slightly related news, I have an instagram account! Give me a follow so I can follow you guys back!)

Hope you guys are having a great June so far.

Bacon, out.

Bus

Plotter Shmotter, Pantser Plantser

If you’ve been in the writing community for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of plotters and pantsers — people who plot their stories before they write them, and people who write by the seat of their pants.

Thing is, from talking to a lot of writers, it seems like everyone does a mix of things. This pantser outlines a little in advance as they go, or has a short list of major plot points when they start writing. A plotter may use a super loose outline, or knows that nearly everything on it will change by the end. So though most people pick sides like some odd writing sports team, it almost seems like they’re nonexistent.

What I have noticed, though, is that a lot of people who identify as pantsers end up spending a lot of time revising, and tend to enjoy it. And a lot of outliners take their time to create highly polished first drafts and avoid tedious revision they dislike. So, instead of pantsers vs. plotters struggling in an age-old writerly battle, I think something more accurate might be drafters and revisers.

How about you? Do you think you’re a drafter or a reviser? Or do you think I’m totally wrong, and you’re a pantser or a plotter?

Bacon, out.

The Mythical Existence of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block debates seem to come in waves. Lots of arguing about the existence of this apparently mythical psychological state that always ends up bringing out this statement: It doesn’t exist, only weak writers give in to writer’s block!

That one makes me want to scream.

Whether or not you call it writer’s block, I claim it does exist. And I’d go so far to say this mythical beast comes in different breeds:

  • Inadequacy – This is the kind of writer’s block you push through. “But my words suck, but no one cares, but, but, but!” No buts. Or butts, please. Only words. (If your words include butts, they count.) This beast may look big and scary, but is the easiest to conquer—you just have to face it first. This article has a a lot of good advice for knocking this one out.
  • Stuck – This is a toss-up. For me, personally, I need to write through it, because I normally find where I need to go by forcing the absolute worst thing to happen (setting people on fire is a favorite). Some people need to stop, sit, and plot, though. For others, this means they need to go back and edit. Learn how you work, and don’t let this one stop you—even if you aren’t writing words, keep moving forward. This beast is a little grisly, but may end up being an ally in the end. Maggie Stiefvater just posted a great graphic (and another version) of navigating the twists and turns of this battle.
  • Emotional Constipation – Oh, this writer’s block. This is the one that knocks you off your feet when your personal life explodes, or the publishing industry destroys you. It would be so nice if writing could only be a work of love, some magical process that’s entirely rainbows and unicorn poop and catharsis. But, if you’re like me, the greatest reward to writing is having others reading your work. Which adds that lovely, stifling expectation to every word you write. And of course any additional stressors in your life love to add on to it. For this one, I have no answer on how to get right through it. This is the one I feel is the most mythical, evil being of them all, gross and rotting and dripping and oozing with doubt and insecurities. You can try stabbing and punching and screaming at this one, but sometimes it refuses to move off your words, hoarding them just out of reach. And that’s okay. You’re a human (I assume). Sometimes you need to take a break and re-focus, re-charge. Then come back and stab that sucker through the eye socket.

What about you guys? Do you believe in the fabled create called writer’s block? Do you think my list needs to be longer? Wanna share your battle scars?

Bacon, out.

I Have a Book in the World!

Long time, no post!

Like the title says, as of last Friday, I have a book in the world!!! Well, a graphic novel/illustrated urban fantasy for adults, but it still exists and is buyable. It’s a project that I’ve been working on with my wonderful editor Villipede Press for about three and a half years of uncertainty and progress, and it’s insane to think that after all that time people can hold this book I wrote in their hands—it’s insane that anything of mine ever got published! Anyhow, if you’d like to check it out, it’s up on Goodreads and Amazon, and here’s some more info:

Sacrifices of Shadow is a graphic novel in the vein of dark urban fantasy, written by K. Kazul Wolf and illustrated by Matt Edginton. Anya is on her way to visit her mother when she comes upon a strange man lying in the road. It’s the middle of the night, pouring rain, and through the headlights it looks like something has just tried to tear this guy to pieces. He asks if she has a weapon on her, and before she can scoff or run back to the safety of her truck, something large begins to growl behind her…

Anya finds herself drawn into an eldritch world where hellish hounds stalk the between-worlds, magic-infused firearms are bought and traded, and shadowy entities in human guise appear to be eerily common.

sos-front-cover-d_web

I also have plans for blog-ish stuff in the future, but for now I’m just going to bask in the internal screaming that is this book existing. :D

Bacon, out.

Bus

 

An Interview of Sorts with Hayley Stone

Today I have Hayley Stone (author of MACHINATIONS and its sequel, COUNTERPART) on the blog, delving into the dragon’s den to answer some questions that may or may not be a little random and/or crazy.

Let’s get into the guts of it, shall we?

What’s the weirdest place you’ve written about?

In a trunked zombie YA novel, I wrote about a hedonistic club for the infected (those who would transform into zombies shortly) where entry required showing your bite mark. Inside, there were also zombies in dancer cages suspended from the ceiling and a lot of nasty stuff going on.

It sounds bizarre, but it was supposed to be based off of the crazy parties European nobility had during the black death, their one last huzzah before the end. In hindsight, I’m not even sure that actually happened, historically speaking. I think I was confusing history with an Edgar Allen Poe story, but anyway. It was pretty weird.

What’s your favorite word?

This is going to sound weird, but I really like the word blood. There is something visceral about it that I think calls back to its very definition, as being something intrinsic to the human body. It’s also amenable to metaphor, and always stands out in a sentence. Kind of like the word sex. (I bet your eyes sprang to it just now, right?)

Favorite writing snack?

Honestly, I don’t typically snack and write at the same time. I’m more likely to be drinking something—water, chai tea, or Coke.

If you could have lunch with one of your characters, which one, where would you go, and what would you order?

Oh, I’d definitely have lunch with Rhona. Probably somewhere casual with burgers, because it’s been years since she’s had fast food and would probably appreciate that. I think I’d also like to take her somewhere bustling with people—a reminder of the world she’s fighting to return to in her universe.

If you got sucked into a wormhole through time and space, what time/place would you HOPE to end up on the other side?

As tempting as it would be to go into the past, the idea of being stranded there is not appealing in the slightest. I’d hope the wormhole would deposit me in a bright, exciting future where mankind has colonized

What (artificially intelligent) kitchen appliance would you most want as your sidekick during a robot apocalypse?

My instinct was to say a KitchenAid, because you could probably fit all sorts of weapon attachments onto it, and it could also bludgeon someone to death. But I’m not sure how it would get around its lack of mobility—the thing is so heavy!

So maybe a hand mixer instead? A hand mixer of death!!!

If you were a dragon, what would you collect and guard in your hoard?

Books. Oh, wait… *glances at huge TBR collection*

Leaving aside all forms of literature, I’d probably collect Funko Pops. Those things are adorable.

What kind of apocalypse would you MOST want to see/experience end the world?

Zombie apocalypse, no question. First, I think The Walking Dead’s portrayal is entirely too cynical; I believe people would band together fairly quickly, reestablishing society to protect themselves. Second, I already judge buildings for their ability to withstand a zombie horde, so I think I’d do all right.

This may come as a surprise, but robot apocalypse actually comes in third on my list, right after alien invasion. Because ALIENS.

What kind of apocalypse would you LEAST want to see/experience end the world?

A global epidemic of some kind. I hate being sick—plus I’m a slight hypochondriac—so even if I wasn’t infected, I would probably worry about it 24/7 and complain that I’m dying at least once a day.

 

HAYLEY STONE

hayley-stone_author-photo_1-resizeHayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento. Counterpart is her second novel, and a choice for Amazon’s Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Books of the Month for October.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

 

COUNTERPART

counterpart_stoneThe high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone.

The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.

But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

There you have it! Awesome words from an awesome author. Now go check out her impossibly more awesome books.

Bacon, out.

Bus