The Fount of Magic Release Day

It’s finally here! The day when I can share the third Songbird River Chronicles book with everyone has arrived. It’s been a long time coming, and launch day is a huge relief.

I am quite proud of this one. I feel like my writing skill level has increased since writing SINGER, and I think it shows here in FOUNT. I’m also giddy over the cover, which I think captures the spirit of the book. Plus, it’s pretty! Don’t you think so?

~o0o~

TFoM Cover eBook copy

Three heroes, three conflicts. The fate of Songbird River City hangs in the balance.

Katherina, the Greatest Fencer in the Realm, faces false charges of murdering Klessia’s Master Magician. Serille, the amateur Magician, struggles for a chance to retaliate against those who attacked the Guild of her heart.

And Singer, beloved leader of Songbird River City, returns to her homeland after defeating a rogue dragon to find her city in smoldering ruins. Her greatest fear has come true: her sword, the energy source for her city, has fallen into the hands of the evil Sorcerers in Chirlinia, and with it, the ability to control her enormous robotic Search-and-Rescue machines.

And as the three friends journey to different corners of the Two Continents, the Sorcerers’ attempts the sow dissonance between them may yet work…

~o0o~

You can pick up your copy over at Amazon or Kobo. Early purchasers will be loved forever, and early reviewers will be cherished like the treasures they are! If you need to catch up on the story so far, check out books 1 and 2 on my Books and Stories page!

And now, back to work on the next novel…

I Was Only Pretending to Procrastinate

I just finished my first real read-through of the first draft of book three of The Songbird River Chronicles, The Fount of Magic.

I finished writing that draft… um… a while ago.

And while I did, in fact, beat myself up over the fact that I was spending all of this in-between time NOT editing it and preparing it for publication, I find now that the distance has actually been extremely helpful.

First off, I had a chance to forget some of the story. Oh, I remembered the big overarching skeleton of the piece, and lots of chunks of the flesh, but some of the details had escaped me. I actually went back and reread books 1 and 2 as well to get back into the story.

Second though, and more importantly, I’ve had time to grow as a writer between finishing the draft and now. I’ve been reading a whole lot for pleasure lately, as well, something I haven’t had time to do since I was in high school, really. I’ve been critical of the books I’m reading, picking out things that I think work really well and things I can see don’t work at all, and I’m analyzing them as best I can. It’s been really fun going through my own work now and using those skills to see how I can make the second draft actually work.

That isn’t to say that the draft is broken, currently. It works, the story is there, and it’s pretty decent. Pretty damn good in lots of places, to be honest. It’s just the bits in between those “pretty damn good” chunks that need some reworking.

And that’s where this whole distance thing is coming into play. Because, when I first finished the draft and immediately turned around and read through the thing again to attempt some clean up, I floundered. I knew it needed something, but I just could not tell what it was. I knew particular chapters flagged, but for the life of me, I had no idea how to make them crackle the way the other chapters did.

So I got frustrated, and I put the draft aside.

And now, many, many months later, when I opened it up and read through chapter one (which needs some not insubstantial work, though is by no means the worst offender) the answer immediately snapped into place in my head. The same thing happened when I got to my other trouble chapters.

Two chapters will need heavy rewriting, and I mean total scrapping, tossing out the window, light those suckers on fire because just GAG me already they sucked. Most of the rest need some light reworking to adjust the information flow, or to adjust for the major changes in those rewrite chapters.

But there are some that I’m just not touching, because as far as I can tell, they are in exactly the form they need to be. Those are the chapters that I was reading along, and suddenly realized I’d forgotten I was editing them. They’d sucked me in, and I’d just been going on a ride with them.

Like I was reading a real book! An entertaining one! With plot and characterization and pacing that worked properly!

And when that happened, I stepped aside, patted myself on the back (because, as writers, we don’t acknowledge our own good work often enough. I say, if your own work carries you away like that, let it! That’s the whole point of writing, after all!), and made myself reread the section more critically.

So, long story short, I no longer feel so guilty about the procrastination. Well, I do, but I feel it worked out for the better this way.

I’ve got the house to myself this Saturday. I’m planning to make some decent headway into this thing, now that I’ve got my edits outlined. Maybe I can even wrap it up before we leave for our Germany vacation in a week?

So long as I don’t start procrastinating again…

Second verse, same as the first

So in my last post, I told you all about my first short story publication in the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and how that was awesome due to a number of factors, including the fact that both me and my dad have stories in it. If you haven’t taken a look at that anthology yet, you really should, especially if you have middle-grade kids who might enjoy reading some science fiction aimed at them.

But today, I have to apologize for what may seem like a repetitive posting.

Two days ago, the Fiction River anthology Pulse Pounders was published. This anthology is really cool, because not only does it mark my second short fiction publication, it also marks the second anthology in which both my father and myself have stories! (Could this be an emerging trend? Is there more Collins take-over to come? Stay tuned, loyal readers!)

Pulse Pounders also features a never-before published original Frank Herbert (Dune) story, so that’s really super cool. Here’s the cover for your enjoyment!

FR Pulse Pounders ebook cover web

Yeah, my dad’s name is on the cover, and that means that half of mine is, too! This is how I know I’ve “made it,” my friends. *self-deprecating laugh*

Another sweet thing about this anthology is that, if you pick up the Kobo special edition, you’ll get some extra stories that aren’t in the print or other e-versions! How cool is that?

This anthology is full of exciting stories, from action to thrillers and lots of stuff in between. My story, “Frostburnt”, is a traditional fantasy, but the stories cover a range of genres. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be bored reading this collection, so check it out!

Published!

It’s official! One of my short stories, “The Sugimori Sisters and the Interplanetary Concept Clash”, has been published! And what’s way cooler is that my dad has a story in the anthology, too.

The 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is available now on Amazon in e-format, and will soon also be available in print. It’s full of science fiction stories aimed at middle-grade kids, and especially focuses on inclusion of girls. There are tons of great stories in here, and I’m honored to include my own beside them. Give it a look!

 

Also, I will be speaking on a few panels at ConFusion 2015 next weekend. I hope to see lots of people there and talk about lots of fun stuff!

An Article About ME!

I recently went to my hometown of Columbus, IN to visit my family and to attend a local festival. We had a lot of fun, both with the family and the festival, but I also took a little time out to be interviewed by a writer for a local publication that focuses on women in the community. The publication is called SHE Magazine, and features articles about how women from the Columbus area are doing their own special things. My special thing, of course, is that I write and have published two novels!

The article came out earlier this week, and I thought I’d shamelessly share it here with all of you. Because I’m awesome, of course, and everyone deserves to know that!

The article about ME starts on page 26. You should check out the rest of the magazine, too, since it’s pretty cool in general.

Obviously, this means that I have achieved “famous” status. The money should be rolling in by the truckload now, right? I’ve “made it,” now, right? RIGHT?


I’m chugging along on a new short story, having achieved 1,000 words on it so far. The finished product should be no more than 6,000, so this is good progress. I’m really enjoying this story, and I’m excited to figure out the best way to tell it. After all, often times the way we first envision telling a story is not the best way to go about it IT ALL. This results in frustration, of course, (especially in longer pieces) but it’s a good kind of frustration, the kind that lets you tear your hair out for a little while, but then sits you down and makes you work to turn something that’s good into something that’s really great (or, at least, better than what it started out as, right?)

And, even though there is frustration, there is satisfaction, too, once you know what needs to be fixed and have an idea of how to go about it. After the hair has been torn and the head bashed against the wall.

Writing is fun! Remember, I’m famous now. You can trust me.

 

Some updates

Some updates since the last time I was around here…

I have sold two short stories! The first is titled The Sugimori Sisters and the Interplanetary Concept Clash, and will be appearing in the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. This publication is full of science fiction stories aimed at middle grade readers, and stresses inclusion and diversity, as well as strong female characters. You can find a preview of my story, and many of the other stories appearing in the anthology, here on their Wattpad page! My dad will also have a story in this one, which is pretty cool.

The second story is titled Man of the House, and will be appearing in the March/April issue of the MCB Quarterly. This is a publication that spotlights LGBTQ fiction of all genres (meaning it’s not all just romance! My story certainly isn’t one!) This piece is a more mainstream one dealing with gender issues.

I’m very excited for both of these, and can’t wait to be able to share these two stories with all of you, my beloved readers!


 

Also, my dad has finally released book one of his eight part fantasy novella series, Saga of the God-Touched Mage. This first book is titled Glamour of the God-Touched, and can be found in numerous places. Check out his blog for the links! Here’s the back cover copy to whet your appetite:

A mage’s apprentice.
Sorcerers on the hunt.
Unnatural magic of devastating power.

Garrick is a mage’s apprentice, soon to be a full-fledged sorcerer. The course of his life is clear—he will be an apprentice, a mage, and then a superior. But a tragic accident finds him wielding a god-like power over life and death, and as rumors of mage war grow stronger around him, he learns his future is not fated to be as simple as he dreamed. Glamour of the God-Touched follows Garrick as he discovers the forces behind his new magic. The lessons he learns and how he deals with them will threaten the very nature of who he is.

 

The whole series is very, very good traditional fantasy. I’ve read them all (I was actually his copy editor for books 2-8) and thoroughly enjoyed them. Book two is available for pre-order as well. If you’re looking for a bit of sword and sorcery with political intrigue, this would be an excellent series for you.


Finally, following from my small comment above, I am thinking about offering my professional services as a copy editor. I enjoyed working on my dad’s series, and now have some substantial proof that it’s something I’m good at. I’ve got to think about things like rates (per page? per hour?) and how to actually find work, but I figured I’d put a little feeler out here and see what happens. Considering that I’m just starting out, I can probably guarantee good rates! I’d prefer to work on fiction, but whatever you have that needs grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage checked, I can do.

See you all next time!

 

Review of Guardians of the Galaxy (Spoiler free!)

That’s right, I’m doing a movie review. Nick and I and one of our friends got to go see Guardians of the Galaxy at a pre-release screening tonight, so I thought I’d take the rare opportunity to give my opinion before the masses get to see it and form their own.

If you are on the fence about seeing it, here is all the review you need:

IT WAS FRAKKIN AWESOME!

That’s all the review anyone needs for a Marvel movie, really. This is totally stamped in that now-classic Marvel charm and humor. It sets up jokes and knocks the punchlines out of the park every time, it makes you laugh, it makes you tear up a bit, then it makes you laugh again. The characters are so much fun to watch just scene to scene, as well as feeling realistic and deep throughout. Yes, even Groot the anthropomorphic tree-man and Rocket the cybernetic raccoon-like rodent (he’s not a raccoon!) feel realistic. Snappy dialogue and zinging one-liners galore here, folks. It’s a highly quotable film, that’s for sure.

Some of the makeup was perhaps a little iffy at times, but most of the problem areas were with meaningless background characters. The main characters, both heroes and baddies, looked really good. And… that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about it. The entire audience was roaring with laughter throughout and gasping at all the right places.

We’re intending to go see it again on Friday when it opens (our viewing tonight was free, and we definitely want to make sure Marvel gets our money for this one) and you should too! If you liked the Avengers, and all of the other Marvel universe movies (honestly, who doesn’t?) you’ll love Guardians of the Galaxy.

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