Anaerfell – Coming October 2015

anaerfell_coverI have been sitting on this beautiful cover for a couple months and I have to say that I am thrilled to finally display it. Coming this October, J.C. Boyd is joining me in releasing another novel in the Thrice Nine Legends series. This bonus book will be a full-length story that preludes the events found in Melkorka. I get chills just thinking about the story that is going to be put within the flaps of this cover. You are going to see dark fantasy at a whole new level!

I want to be clear that this is not the sequel to Melkorka. That novel (Dyndaer) is scheduled to come out in January 2016. However, Anaerfell will give you a hint of the depth behind this story. I do not think you will be disappointed, but you might find yourself having to read Melkorka again to discover new parallels.

I want to say so much! To give snippets and tell secrets – but I cannot. So, for now, just gawk at dragon heads, revel in the contrast of color, and get excited!

WordPress Writers – Don’t Get Sidetracked

And now for something different for published or wannabe published writers…

It was not until I joined the blogging atmosphere that I really recognized the many ‘writers’ that walked on this fine planet. At first, there was an overwhelming sense of connection and community, and I was motivated by the feeling of brotherhood. The fire within me was rekindled and I sprinted forward without much more than a glance back. I found that this was not only an expressive group of individuals, but an extensive group of individuals. The writers, pro and amateur, had infiltrated Goodreads, Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, and any other social media site that would have them. This led to feelings of being overwhelmed, shocked, and even appalled.  I found myself riddled with questions: How many struggling writers are out there? Even if you are a good writer, how do you stand out among the crowd? Are we all being duped? – – I also found myself answering these questions: Too Many. You Don’t. Yes.

Now, there are many things that motivate writers to press forward, despite the odds laid out against them. I won’t go into detail about these odds, because I assume that most folks are aware of the many arguments that surround the writing community. Instead, I want to focus on motivations. For myself, community was one of those motivators that was necessary. But, immersing myself in this realm began to have the opposite impact. I found that there was truth in considering that all things should be done in moderation. [I also found that there is also some truth in what is actually effective for writers in social media, but that is another topic.]

So, let me focus on community. Since I started blogging again in 2013, I have been drawn to spectate at my statistics. I started around a handful a day to about 800 a month, and recently took a plunge back below 25 or so a day, or about 500 a month. For many, this may be discouraging. However, I have realized that my statistics are high when I am interactive and engaging with the people I cherish, and they are low when my voice is absent. I also find people generally only read short posts, ignore any re-blogs, and will like about anything that has a pretty picture attached to it. In fact, most of my followers probably won’t read all this slush, but it will average around 25 likes and a handful of comments that may or may not have anything to do with the context. In fact, some people will like it seconds after it has posted. I would like to think they stalk me, and are superheroes with super reading abilities, but honestly, this is a no-brainer. People are busy. The world is full of shiny things. Attention is a high commodity.

In all seriousness, there are people that I really like on WordPress and that I would enjoy having a closer relationship with, but I suffer from these vices at times. Part of the reason is that I have learned that it is part of the community. Out of the 2100 people that supposedly follow my blog, I barely see or hear from them. This means only 1% of my following actually visit. I am guessing 5% are ghosts, 7% are aliens, and the rest only have access at libraries with ancient IBM computers with exceptionally long waiting lines. There are around 25 people I consider actively interested in my projects, ramblings, and life quests. These are the folks that I go out of my way to read their blogs, converse with, and buy their merchandise. :) I have learned that blogging is fun, some of the people are great, but WordPress has to be done in moderation or I never find time to write the story I feel compelled to tell. Unfortunately, this means that I lose connection with some really cool people months at a time. And then, they don’t visit, and I have to go digging through the website to find theirs again. It is quite unnerving, but I digress.

This is not just a WordPress issue. I have seen this on Goodreads groups, Facebook Groups, Google+, and more. I haven’t had a normal conversation on Twitter with anyone besides one guy in nearly a year. Everyone else tries to sell me something, whether it is there book or promoting my book. The majority of the contributers on any of these websites are not people looking for real connection, or even have a genuine interest in reading a story. Yes, there are some great exceptions to the rule. {I like to think I am one.} But it is hard. I received probably ten e-mails of being solicited on Goodreads just yesterday. And, I get it – I really do. It is not long before any writer finds themselves caught up in discussion groups, writing prompts, shared reviews, beta reading, and debates on the Oxford comma…STOP IT.

I take that back. Don’t stop all of it. Some can be useful to enhance your writing skills.

But – Stop most of it. Surely we have not come to a place in our evolution where the readers of the world are all writers in disguise, or wannabe writers. There must be folks out there, who simply like to read books without trying to write one themselves. But, you are getting caught up in what people tell you is going to work, and what people tell you is the definition of a writer. I want to simplify this definition in hopes of helping you focus your time, energy, and to prevent you from getting sidetracked.

Writer: A person who writes.

That is it. Go out there and write, and then write, and then write some more. After you have spent adequate time writing you might get something published. And when that happens, keep writing. Let your book do whatever your book does, and keep writing. This does not mean that I will be canceling my Goodreads account, or my Facebook page, or any other social media platform. These have some merit, but they must be utilized in moderation – and I would suggest that you use them to primarily build relationships and not sell your works. Otherwise, you might find yourself being sucked up into the idea of being a writer and never actually become one.

Author Spotlight: Writing Snappy Dialogue

by Christine Haggerty

There are some great ways to individualize your characters, including physical descriptions, behavioral tics, and neurotic tendencies. Individualization can also be done very effectively through character dialogue. There are a few simple tricks to make each of your characters stand out from the rest.

Catch Phrase

Remember in The Great Gatsby how the title character always referred to the narrator as ‘old sport’? That’s Gatsby’s catch phrase. This has been used in movies to catch a bad guy who has a favorite phrase and isn’t bright enough to know it, and it’s also commonly used to define character relationships when they develop nicknames and secret phrases in their dialogue with each other.

Pretty Things KindleA recent version of this is “I am Groot” from Guardians of the Galaxy. In The Grimm Chronicles: Pretty Things, I use the title phrase ‘pretty things’ in the story more than I use a phrase in dialogue, but it does essentially the same thing.

Special Syntax

Syntax is the technical term for sentence construction. Have you ever listened to someone speaking a second language? Do you speak a second language? Beyond the accent, second language learners also have a tendency to construct their sentences—the order of their subjects, verbs, and modifiers—according to their first language more than their second language regardless of which they are speaking. You can play with sentence patterns to give a character a foreign flavor.

Joshua Robertson does this in Melkorka with Dorofej frequently ending his sentences in a question, yes? And a classic Yoda from Star Wars is.

Personality

Here’s where I frequently see authors hold back and editors over-correct. In the real world, people speak in fragments, use sarcasm, and say plain dumb things. Even the sharpest man I know will turn into an idiot when trying to pick up a woman at a bar. People have a limitless variety of personality quirks, fears, and amazing insights. Use them. The main lesson I learned between my first book, The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions, and my second, Assets, was that I didn’t need to save my great lines for later in the story. I discovered that if I spent them I came up with more.

I do an editing pass on my stories just for dialogue. In Pretty Things, Maddie has quite an attitude and the wit to match. She’s manipulative and dramatic. Her dialogue expresses that. But she’s not always the smartest one in the scene and other characters get to say some cool things, too. And never underestimate the character who knows when to keep their mouth shut.

Great phrases and dialogue can be stolen from the food court at the mall, the airport, kids of all ages. The best way to get great lines for your characters? Go out and talk to people.

And remember—We are Groot!

chaggerty_croppedsmChristine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

An award-winning young adult author, she is now launching her dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.

www.christinehaggertyauthor.com

Facebook: Christine Haggerty, Author

Twitter: @chaggerty99