Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2013.
I have been a very busy girl, travelling up and down the country, visiting friends and family, all while editing the rest of Extraordinary Part 2.
I am very pleased to announce that the complete Extraordinary story is now live on site. I am preparing the e-books for release via Amazon and Smashwords.
I am also considering posting a a discount code for my readers here so that you can purchase the two e-books together for a very good price.
Also, I am very close to having Extraordinary Part 1 available in paperback via Amazon CreateSpace. I will post the link to that once it is ready.
In the meantime, please leave feedback on the site here, letting me know what you think of the story so far. Feedback can be left through my Comments page, or through the comments boxes on each of the Table of Contents pages. You can even leave comments here on the blog!
If you don't want to leave any comments, then please complete the survey set out on the Comments page. However, I am looking for feedback to post up on site! Good, bad or otherwise :)
Also, you can follow me on Twitter and Pinterest (where I have posted some images relating to stuff set out in the story) or join my circle of friends on Google+, keep an eye on me on LinkedIn, or Like my page on Facebook. Links to all of those are up on the top of each page. Just click the appropriate icon, then it will send you to my pages, where you can Like/Follow/Friend to your heart's content.
I'd also love some questions for my Q & A Spot here on my blog, so if you have any questions, whether about my books, my characters, or me personally, then please ask!
I really look forward to hearing from you.
I am super-stoked to announce that Extraordinary Part 1 is now live on Amazon. I have posted links to it on the Novels Page and also throughout the book here on the site (at the bottom of every 5th chapter or so).
The link will direct you to Amazon.com's listing. However, if you are outside of their region (ie UK, Japan, Italy, France etc, then Amazon has different pages for the other regions, and the book code is the same for each page: B00A4SGRGY
However, if you go to Amazon.com, via the link it will give you the option near the top of the page to be redirected to the correct region for your country and will redirect you to where my book is on those pages. Nice and Easy!
In other news, I have been frantically working away at Extraordinary Part 2.
I learned a lot about all the little things I wanted via editing Part 1, so I'm now working on getting all the edits rolled into one, fixing everything on my way through instead of going through multiple times and fixing one thing at a time (i.e removing "stray" commas, getting rid of contractions in narrations, ensuring that my punctuation and plurals are set up correctly - to name but a few!) I think this one will take less time than the last to get right, but now I know what I'm looking for it does help!
However, I have updated the online chapters 1 - 9 of Part 2, and once I've updated Chapters 10, 11 and 12, I'll be putting up 13 and carrying on from there.
My aim (though this might be a bit too out-there) is to try to have Part 2 released for Christmas/New Years. Unless the world ends first.
So thank you for your patience, all of those who are hanging out for the next chapter. I promise you it is coming, and there are many more books in the series to come too. Lots of stories in my head too, so I'm sure I'll be keeping this site up and running for a good long time yet, all going well.
*** Update 10/11/2012***
I have updated Extraordinary Part 1 on this website to the latest version, so what you read here is what you'll get in the ebook. I have also added links on the Novels Page and also at the bottom of every 5th page or so of the Extraordinary Story to the Smashwords page where you can buy the book.
In addition, I have submitted the ebook to Amazon for sale as well, so you should see it there within the next couple of days. I will upload the link once it's available here on the site.
And finally it's done!
I am very, very pleased to announce that Extraordinary Part 1 is now available to purchase through Smashwords. Here is the link:Extraordinary Part 1 - The Ebook!
I will be, over the next couple of days, placing the official link on the "Novels" page, and also updating the online version to match the e-book version (there have been a few small changes made prior to publishing, but due to my overdue deadline, I didn't update the site as I went) so there are a few things left on my list of things to do!
I am super excited and so happy that I have finally completed it. I have published it using all the available formats there, so you can purchase and download it for Kindle and Sony e-readers, as a PDF to read on computer or tablet, or can opt to view it on web page or in RTF format (which reads it using Microsoft Word).
I will also be looking at publishing via Amazon over the next few weeks, and also through Lulu (who both have the option of doing print versions of the books as well). But those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and on this site, will all hear about it first!
Well, I'd better head to bed. In amongst all my writing, I'm also working, and I need sleep to function - unlike the Graysons!!
I have discovered one good thing about self-publishing:
Deadlines are (slightly) flexible.
I had every intention of having Extraordinary Part 1 up for sale through Smashwords by the end of October. But then life, as it does, jumped in and caused some delays.
I started a new job (which I love) and managed to get a bit of time off before starting to visit my family who live about 515 kilometers (that's about 320 miles) away. I don't see my family often, so I took the opportunity.
But then, two weeks before I was due to visit them I came down with what our NZ doctors are terming "the 100 day cough".
I still visited my family, but in the last 4 weeks I have had very little sleep thanks to this darn, frustrating, irritating cough! However, I managed to get what I thought was my final draft of my ebook done while I was visiting them.
I arrived back home and realised that there was one or two other things I hadn't checked my draft for, so yes, I started editing... again!!!
Meanwhile, I've started working, been editing (and coughing) through my evenings. But right now, once I finish typing this, I will be doing one final read-through, to make sure that my changes haven't messed up the readability of my draft. Then I'll be getting ready to convert my file into those lovely file versions that all those e-readers love to read (and completely updating the book on this site too.
So, my new deadline is now the 4th of October (Sunday night to me!).
Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well! I want to get back to posting updates on Part 2 for my readers!
Over the last week I've been struck with yet another bout of writer's block, which I affectionately (but without much affection really) term "the-black-hole-inside-my-head" or otherwise "where-oh-where-have-my-characters-gone?!"
I don't know what it's like for other writers, but since I'm currently not getting any further writing done, I thought I'd at least blog, to keep my fingers working, even if my creative-brain is not.
So, here is what block is like for me: Torture!
Well, perhaps not torture in the traditional sense of the word. It's not like my characters have me tied up in a dark room, while they dance around me cackling evilly and poke me with sticks...
Writer's block for me is like having a black hole in my head. Where once were colourful and entertaining characters and scenes and "chatter" (the noise my characters make as I go about my day - essentially flashes of inspiration drawn from my everyday life), there is now absolutely nothing. It's almost as if they have been sucked into another dimension, leaving me here, waiting and hoping that they'll one day return. It happens so suddenly, and so completely, that I'm left feeling a bit like a stranded passenger on a cold and lonely train station, where no more trains run along the line. My characters have hopped on board the last train through, without warning me that there will be no more trains. And so I sit, hoping that one day the powers-that-be will allow a train to return them to me.
Gosh, that sounds quite miserable doesn't it? I don't mean to depress you, but I'm only telling you this in an effort to help you understand just how much it rocks my creative mind to have this happen. It is truly an empty, lonely feeling.
Of course, I'm in my own head here, and I have no idea how others think, or how other writers create. I only know how I do. I fully expect that to most I sound a little crazy. Hopefully to others it makes some sense.
I usually view my creative mind as a bit like a theatre.
There is a stage, which changes according to the scene I'm trying to create. In the case of my books, sometimes its setting is the Grayson's living room, sometimes their back paddock, sometimes Cassie's house, sometimes Castle Rock High School. Sometimes, when I'm creating a scene where the background is not as important as what is actually shared between the characters, there is nothing except a dark stage with a spotlight on the characters, drawing them into focus.
As the scene develops, characters enter the scene, to say their part, do their thing, or to provide backing dialogue or presence. Sometimes they're only there to draw comparison in my mind, or to "jump in place" of an existing character... after all I often play with dialogue, deciding who would be best to say what is being said and to my surprise it is sometimes someone unexpected!
I am a cruel director. Sometimes it takes dozens of "takes" before the dialogue or events are set out in a way I'm pleased with. My characters enter and exit repeatedly, saying things over and over, in different tones, using different words, chopping and changing dialogue until the director (me!) is pleased. It's the same with the physical performance. Sometimes I'll "make" a character go through the same door a few different ways, before deciding that he should come from a different side of the room altogether. When I'm particularly mean, I'll cut the offending character altogether, only to decide later to bring him back in because, gosh-darn-it, I did need him there after all, even if only to become the foil for the joke!
Occassionally, I'll use the trick of "walking a mile in the other's shoes" and step inside my characters minds.
Figuring out "how" they will react to a certain situation - taking into account their history (the reason "why" they react that way) - and puzzling that into how their reaction will impact on the other characters, and the storyline of the scene, and the storyline of the book, is always very entertaining to me, and oftentimes enlightening as well.
Figuring out how they "feel" about a situation is just as complex - and complicated. Emotions are tricky. Often I'll have to recall a situation that made me "feel" the same way. Whether it's related to the situation my character is in, or not, often doesn't matter. It's the emotion in the moment that I'm searching for. (Developing Cassie and Alex's relationship, for example, I often had to relate to my own relationship with my husband. We fell in love at a young age as well, which has aided me in sorting out Cassie's confusion and eventual amazement as she figures out how she is feeling and all of the issues that come along with that. At the same time, I had to try to keep her and Alex as their own individuals as well. They both have completely different backgrounds to my husband and I, and of course that had to come into play with their reactions to scenarios. However my own experiences did help me with writing those quiet intimate moments that most chose not to share/talk about in the general public!)
I will even "walk" in background characters minds for a while, getting to grips with how they "feel" about what they are being asked to do. This has been handy, and as I've gotten to know (aka "fleshed-out") more of those background characters, I've ended up developing some interesting histories for them, which has led to further books in the series being developed.
Over time, this procedure has almost become subconcious. While I go about my day, while travelling, while editing, and while proofing, and even while sleeping, I'll be "watching" my characters act it out on stage. I'll often find myself smiling at things my characters do. I'll add a "quirk" or an "action" or a "comment" that I've seen or heard in my day, and sometimes that will be enough to completely change a scene for the better - or worse!
The procedure has meant that I'm able to "jump" between books in the series, fixing errors here, and timeline issues there, as my characters and their histories - and futures - develop in my head.
So, though they're set out in some detail in my books, you can imagine that, in my head, my characters are nearly as real to me as my actual friends and family. They are like my children as well as like my friends.
So, you can well imagine, suddenly having all this activity, all these very real friends of mine suddenly "disappear" for days or weeks on end, can be quite scary! I never react well to it, when it first happens. I'm always terrified that they'll never return to me and I'll be left holding the remains of several half written manuscripts, and even more partial drafts.
This time was no different.
Yes, I even cried for a bit there, mourning the "loss" of my companions.
Then I realised.
I realised that every time I've been blocked, I've reacted this way.
I understand why I do it - it is like a sudden and debilitating loss to me, as far as my writing goes anyway. A grief that no-one else really understands because no one else spends 24/7 with the characters like I do. I am their creator, so no wonder!
I then realised that the last few times that this happened, the characters DID come back. It took time, and patience, but they did return. There was no point in trying to "rush" them back, searching my head for the flashes of inspiration that usually set me into creating another scene, or trying to start a conversation between non-existent characters. I realised that I'd have to just sit back, relax, read a book or two, and employ some patience... and WAIT for them to come back to me.
This time, however, my good friend Kelly pointed out to me something that I'd never considered.
(A side note to this: Just over the last weekend, I became severely ill for a period of 2 days. Just a bug, but still enough to leave me bedridden for the duration).
"Your body was sending you some messages, telling you it needed a break. When we don't listen, our body has to MAKE us listen... i.e. take the voices away, or illness."
I realised that she made a good point.
I had a lot happening in my life just recently. A change in job, after two months of nothing to do but write and job search, after leaving a job which had stressed me out quite severely - enough in fact to force me to quit before I'd lined up another job.
This meant that though mentally I didn't feel as stressed as I had been, physically, I was drained. Mentally, though not stressed, I was getting a good workout learning all the ins and outs of my new job's requirements.
Combining that with the amount of writing I'd been trying to keep up with, which I had easily managed while off work, meant that I was set to blow out, like an old, overworn, tyre.
Hence, my block started, just before I got sick. I'm over the worst now, but still feeling a bit drained. I imagine that once I'm fully back to normal, that my characters and scenes will return to me as well.
I'll welcome them, with open arms, and laptop at the ready.
But until then, I'll rest, and thank heaven for my body's ability to slow me down (aka: letting the air out of the tyre!) before I completely blew it!
So for now I'll say goodnight, and hopefully I'll be back up to editing more of my completed story to post on here, and write some more, once I'm feeling better :)
Okay, so anyone who has read my story will know that Cassie suffers from strange dreams, as part of her Oracle gift... But now it's my turn! I don't often dream much to do with my books, and they're not often something I remember 12 hours after the fact.
However, in amongst everything else weird I usually dream (lately: food dreams anyone?? Making me hungry!!) I had the most bizarre dream that I was back in high school.
I was at the school library, looking for books on drawing dragons. That in itself isn't so weird, since I have actually been looking for books like that to help with some concepts images for my Astra character.
Anyway, in my dream I found such a book. It was awesome, since it had an image of a Black Labrador (!!) and the section description was "Drawing dragons using a dog as a base form".
Too perfect, right??
Anyway I went to the librarian to borrow it, and found out I had no library card. So I got an application, filled it in, and gave it to her. Then she told me that the book was not able to be released to me "because it is in it's holding phase, which all new books go through."
I thought, "Well, okay. Whatever their rules are, it's TOTALLY worth the wait."
They boxed the book up with a whole lot of other books in a massive box, and taped it up. They told me that the book was registered against my name, and once it was released from "holding" I could have it.
I was just about to ask them how long I'd be waiting, when I woke up! HOW FRUSTRATING!
Yes, I know it was just a dream! It was definitely one of those dreams that Cassie describes as "one where you want to go back into it to finish it".
Perhaps, maybe there is a book out there like what I'm looking for. Or perhaps someone way more artistic than I am would be able to draft up some concepts for me? I have images in my head that want to get out!
Okay, enough of my waffling about my crazy dreams!
In other news, I spent my lunch hour today looking at my Smashwords format manuscript of Extraordinary Part 1. I'd made some changes as I formatted it, so was comparing it to the original manuscript to make sure the changes got transferred. After about ten minutes of side-by-side comparison, I started editing some more. Just small tweaks to the original (and therefore the Smashwords one) but it is now slightly different to the online version I've posted on here. Therefore, once I've finished each chapter, I'll be posting the further edited versions online, replacing the chapters that are there. They aren't TOO different, so you won't have lost out if you don't re-read them. I am just hopeful that the changes mean the story runs smoother (every writer's dream - and by that I mean mine!) and is even more enjoyable.
In the meantime, please share my story, "Like" my Facebook Page, Follow me on Twitter, and let me know what you think, good, bad or otherwise,
Also, please feel free to comment leaving questions for my "Q&A Spot" here on my blog. I need questions to answer please!
Can't wait to hear from you!
I have been busy over the last few days making decisions, editing manuscripts, writing some new stuff and doing research into e-publication.
I have been to-ing and fro-ing over the next book to post. I was trying to choose between Extraordinary Part 2 and The Secrets We Keep Part 1.
Extraordinary Part 2 is of course the second half to the already posted novel on this site. The Secrets We Keep Part 1 is the same story told from Alex's perspective, which does provide some insight into his thoughts and motives for doing what he does. His story runs in parallel with Cassie's, however it does have some spoilers - including some plot lines and information that don't come up in Cassie's story until near the end of Extraordinary Part 2.
I have decided, based on that point alone, to post Extraordinary Part 2 as the next Novel-In-Progress on the site. The Secrets We Keep was written in such a way that it is actually designed to read after Extraordinary, however it can also stand alone and be read without Extraordinary having been read.
For those who are planning on skipping over a "retelling of the same old story" and not read The Secrets We Keep for fear of boredom, or repetitiveness, consider this:
I have written Extraordinary in such a way that there are certain "gaps" in Cassie's knowledge/ awareness of what is happening, that can only be filled in by reading The Secrets We Keep. It is not so obvious in the first book - mostly relating to Alex and Amaia, and how they interact, but it becomes more obvious in the second part that Extraordinary has information "missing" that can only be filled in by reading The Secrets We Keep .
I don't mean that Extraordinary is incomplete, or missing vital information, but there are certain things that happen, that the reader hopefully puts down to Alex's mysterious nature, which become a lot clearer and are covered in more detail than in Extraordinary.
I believe reading both books together (or one after the other) will leave the reader feeling as though they have been told the full story.
Both Extraordinary and The Secrets We Keep lead into Amaia's story: A Guardian's Love.
So keep an eye out on my blog for updates, and anyone who follows me on Twitter or "Likes" my Facebook Page, will receive further updates and be advised as soon as I start posting Extraordinary Part 2.
In the meantime, If you've read Extraordinary Part 1, please leave feedback, or comments in the various places around the site designed for that purpose. I have posted my novel here in order to receive feedback, so don't be shy. If there is anything that is unclear, or that I've missed, please let me know.
Also if there is anything about the layout of the site that you think could be improved, let me know.
Anything that improves the story, or the website, I'm happy to consider and attempt to implement. Plus, I love to hear from my readers.
Yesterday, I posted Chapter 40 - Frightening Times. In this Chapter, Jennabeth arrives with the news that Cassie and the Graysons have been dreading - the Craevyrn are on their way.
But don't worry, Chapter 41 - Last Minute Preparations (and the last chapter in this part of the Extrarordinary story) which I have just now posted, reveals some new vampire and Star Kin friends, who have rallied around the Graysons to help.
And, my reader friends, don't panic... Part 2
is definitely on the way. I have written it, but I just need to do as I have done with this part of the book, and run in through a hard edit, then do a chapter by chapter fine edit to iron out any wrinkles, then I'll be posting it up here as well.
In the meantime, I have also been working on some ideas for book covers for the Part 1 story. I've come up with a couple of concepts, which I will post up here over the next few days. In the meantime, they are up on my personal Facebook site, which you can find here: Evie's Facebook.
Now I have a favour to ask: I know I post requests for feedback ALL the time, and I"m sure you've heard enough of that, but I am going to request it once more, from those who have completed the first part of the story. Please leave feedback in any of the following places:
1. On the Table of Contents page - you have the choice between answering my poll question or leaving a slightly more detailed response in the Comment field there; or
2. On the Comments/Feedback page - again a Comment field, however if you leave feedback, I will post it up on the page for you to see. With the Comment fields,, it does request an email address - if you leave one, I will send you a quick message back.
3. On this blog you can click the "comment" option and leave a quick note there.
If you leave any questions, they may end up in my "Q&A Spot" here on my blog with my (probably) longwinded answer. So feel free to ask anything you like.
If you do not wish your comment to be made "public" on my site, just say so in the comment field, when you leave the feedback, and I won't post it up.
I would love to hear from you!
Chapter 39 - The Stuff Nightmares are Made Of is now up.
In this chapter, Cassie and Alex are trying to deal with Cassie's now very vivid and frightening dreams. She's heard all about the Craevyrn, and now she is dreaming of them, much to Alex's dismay. But is it set in stone? Or can Alex use her dreams to protect her, and his family?
The posting of this chapter means that we only have 2 chapters left in this book. It might be becoming obvious that Cassie and Alex aren't going to face the enemy in this part of the book. That is, unfortunately, what will happen. When I made the decision to split the book originally, it happened after they met the Craevyrn. However, due to the darker themes, decisions and concepts that are set out in the second Part, when I reconsidered placing the division in this story, I decided to place the Craevyrn's meeting at the start of the second Part.
Hopefully you're enjoying the story so far. Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from more of my readers.
Today I was pondering the fact that I'm nearly at the end of posting my first novel on this site. That is a massive achievement for me, since I've never published anything before, though I have written a lot. So feeling quite surprised at myself, and pleased at the same time.
So this brings me to the question now playing through my mind: What next?
As I have mentioned, Extraordinary is a two-part book. The second part will be coming soon, though I still have to take it through a hard edit from the initial manuscript I prepared, before I can look at putting it up here.
In the meantime, as I've been editing Extraordinary, I have also been editing Alex's parallel story, to keep things gelling between the two characters and their portrayals of their points of view of the same story.
The Secrets We Keep a.k.a. "Alex's Story" is coming along well, and I'm wondering whether I should post it up here too. Admittedly, I had designed it to be read after the complete Extraordinary story had been completed. There are two fairly big plot twists that play out in The Secrets We Keep which are only revealed to Cassie late in the Extraordinary story. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. However, on its own, it is a good read (in my own humble opinion).
The other option is for you, my readers, to wait a bit for me to get the first few chapters of Extraordinary Part 2 up-to-date and ready-to-post.
What should I do?
Leave your comments on this blog post, letting me know what you'd like.
In the meantime, I am also looking for a graphic designer/artist to help me prepare my cover imagery for Extraordinary Part 1. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please let me know.
I am also not 100% sure what my cover should have on it. Should I keep it basic, just some images that relate to the story? i.e. Stars and staffs and dogs? Or should I pick a scene and have that used instead? i.e. like the image on the Table of Contents page and the header of each page of the story, (which is based on Cassie and Alex's date - if you hadn't picked up on that).
Ahh, decisions, decisions, decisions! Your input would be appreciated. What would make YOU want to pick up and read this book?