I began writing at the age of eight. My first stories were 8-15 pages long, and featured some of the earliest versions of the stories found in The Seven Wars. Over the years, I pursued an education in English and Creative Writing, graduating with a B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington. My series The Seven Wars is available on Amazon, and my next series, The Alkesh is currently in development.
My proof copy for Bound By Blood arrived today! I’m very pleased with it. The text looks great, and the cover looks pretty good too, although I need to make some minor adjustments to color so that it prints a little brighter. I’ll get started on reading it today, and hopefully have any corrections sent off by the end of the week.
Today is also my first book signing. If you’re in or around Fredericksburg, Virginia, I’ll be at Salem Church Library from 4:00 to 7:00 today. I’d love it if you came by to see me.
In celebration of the proof’s arrival, the first chapter is available for free reading below and on the book’s individual page under the Books menu at the top. You can also click here to download it.
(If you’ve not heard the song that I have titled this post with, you should listen to it. It’s very good, as only One Republic can deliver.)
Big news here for me, and perhaps at least a partial excuse as to why I have been so lax in posting anything these past few months: I am graduating from college, a B. A. in English, with honors, with a focus on Medieval Literature. It was a tough last semester, but I managed and by this time next week, I will have received my diploma. As part of my course load this semester, I did an independent study on Muse figures, from their origins in Ancient Greece, through the Middle Ages, and into their realizations within Jungian psychology. I have uploaded my final thesis for the study if you are so inclined to read it.
Somehow in the midst of all my schoolwork, I managed to finish the re-write of the sixth book in my series, and it came in as longest book of the re-writes so far, at about 90,000 words. I’m pleased with how it came out, and it has gotten good reviews from the few people I’ve had read it for me so far. Late last week, I started the re-write of the seventh book, which is the final book of the main series. I’m about 5,000 words in so far and am very excited about it. I’m sure you’ll be seeing some illustrations for it hopefully in the not too distant future.
In terms of art, I’ve not had a lot of time to do anything more than simple pieces, and even then I’ve only been able to do a handful. I’ve uploaded them to the Illustrations page; the first is a wraith from the sixth book, and the other two are just fun pieces that I messed around with as I had a few minutes here and there. I was very fortunate to receive a new tablet for my birthday, an Intuous 4, and the last piece here was my first foray with it. The fiery one in the middle was inspired by my independent study. As Shakespeare once said, “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!”
I also did this very plain piece as an effort to improve on shading and painting facial features. I am particularly proud of the nose.
That’s about it art and writing-wise. I’ve mostly just been enjoying the past couple of days being finished with school. It’s a great feeling. I’ve been able to do all the things I had to put on the back burner while I was buckled down on senior year. Today, for example, I dusted off and oiled my baritone horn. Poor baby probably thinks I don’t love it any more. I need to get back in the habit of practicing regularly. I was rusty enough as it is, but it’s even worse now. I found this piece that I had recorded over winter break of me playing an original composition:
I don’t sound quite that good now, but hopefully with a little practice I’ll be back there soon, and with some time maybe I’ll get back to the place I was years ago when I was first chair in my district.
That’s all for now. I’ll try to update more regularly now I am free from college and intensive school work.
My winter break is going swimmingly, outside of a killer sinus infection that I’m just now getting over. For the past week or so, I’ve been writing about 2000-3000 words a day. It’s been great! I’m definitely making up for the time I lost during my busy semester. The book is coming along nicely, although I think I need to just go through and read it and fix things; it seems a little choppy in places, mostly because I only had choppy amounts of time work on it there for about three months. A little smoothing out and careful polishing should set things straight, though.
I’ve also been able to do a little art; no illustrations this round, but just some doodles that helped me practice a few things. I was working on my trees and snow, and just overall color use. (Yes, there’s a little bit of lens flare in the first one— you may now beat me.) I was very happy with how the costume and colors came out in the last one though, so much so… it’s now the blog header.
I am currently in the process of re-writing the main series of my fantasy novels, a series of seven. I have just recently completed the re-write of the fourth book, putting me over halfway through the series. I’ve attempted to re-write individual books before, but back in October I made the decision to completely re-write the first set of my novels, and thus far have made very good progress. I’m already about 3,000 words into the re-write of the fifth book.
Some reasons why re-writing is a good thing:
It helps me refine my plot, theme, and the overall effect of my novel(s). I don’t think of it as re-doing the whole book, I think of it as polishing. Just because I wrote something before that was good, doesn’t mean that was how it was meant to be. I tend to think of it in terms of learning to listen to my Muse more closely. He’s told me the same story all along, but now I’m paying closer attention.
It creates a fantastic opportunity for loads of foreshadowing. I’ve been able to slip in tons of small details about things that will reappear on a larger scale later in the series, and that, for me, is great fun. I imagine most readers won’t even pick up on a lot of it, not unless they read the series multiple times.
It smooths out the pacing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to judge when certain events should happen or how long something should take. Re-writing helps me avoid dragging things on too long, and expand in places that need more time or explanation.
It creates greater depth of character. Having written eighteen books involving many of the same characters, I know a lot more about my cast, the way they think, and the way they react to things, so I’m able paint a much more vibrant portrayal of them in the earlier books.