AUTUMN DREAMS IS HERE!

I am so excited to announce that Autumn Dreams, book two in my Seasons of Love Series, is now available.  This book was so much fun to write (and it had its difficulties), but it is dear to my heart as I overcame a lot of personal difficulties during this book.  I enjoyed the paranormal world I created, which was both challenging and fun. I feel that as a writer, I did a lot of growing.

autumn cover sm

Here is a short blurb:   

Kangee is a SpiritWalker, haunted by dreams of her mother held prisoner by an evil spirit.  She turns to Night Warrior, a young shaman, for help. Together, they explore the dream world and come face to face with the father of evil.  Autumn Dreams  takes them into a world filled with beauty and terrifying darkness.

This book follows Summer of the Eagle, which is the first book in the series. Winter’s Heart follows and is slated for release November 2014. The hero and heroine are going to be so fun to write and the villain truly evil.

You can go to my website to read more:  Http://susanedwards.com   Click to the Autumn Dreams Page to read the first chapter. For fun, here is the link for the book trailer:

I also had a lot of fun creating a movie trailer for the SpiritWalker Legend. Part One. 

You can purchase Autumn Dreams for your Kindle, Nook, other E-readers, Tablets Computer and Smartphones at:

Smashwords:     https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/379813     
Amazon:               http://tinyurl.com/ne3qtfm
B&N:                      http://tinyurl.com/mv832w2
 
Contest: Win a T-Shirt & 2 free e-books: Summer of the Eagle & White Wind and a little something special. Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway    
Visit my the contest page on my website and you can also enter the current contest there.

Party Time!:     To celebrate Autumn Dreams, I’m also hosting a Facebook Party November 25-27th.  Should be lots of fun!   I hope you can make it!    https://www.facebook.com/events/1396209007287363/

Here is a longer blurb:

Evil lurks in the shadows, just a dream away….

Night Warrior is destined to become a great shaman but it is an honor that he will not accept. He is a Dreamer, and no one knows better than he that power can easily be misused.

Kangee is a SpiritWalker, a child of the gods, whose mother disappeared during an attack. Her nights are haunted by dreams of her mother being held prisoner by a monster. She turns to the young shaman for help.

Together, Night Warrior and Kangee explore the dream world, searching for answers. They get more than they bargained for when Kangee learns that her mother is trapped with the Father of Evil, a monster believed to be only a myth . They embark on a dangerous quest to save not just her mother, but the world from the evil spirit.

Autumn Dreams is a story about love, passion, courage and acceptance as Kangee and Night Warrior find in each other a strength that neither knew they possessed before Autumn Dreams took them into a world filled with beauty and darkness.

I look forward to hearing what you think of this book!

Writing Is A Lonely Pursuit, Right?

IMG_1812Today I am trying to write and do some marketing but my desktop seems to be a bit crowded, more than normal.  Now aside from a lamp, monitor and keyboard, most people have an assortment of office implements: tape despenser, stapler, pen and pencil containers, maybe a photo and other, you know, stuff. Me? I have the lamp, the monitor and the keyboard and mouse.

And cats…

As usual, the two beds on my desk were quickly occupied by
first-come-first-serve opportunistic cats. And not unexpectedly, a third cat arrives to find all the prime beds taken. He was quite miffed so I put a knitted vest in front of the monitor and pulled the keyboard to the edge of the desk. Presto! Two cats has grown to three. But the third cat, Koko, isn’t quite happy with the vest today. Normally, it’s acceptable. So I pull down a small, narrow bed from elsewhere in my office and put it in front of the monitor. Okay, we’re good. Nap time commences and I’m back to working.

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Except I’m multitasking on the computer and I’m having trouble seeing the progr

ams on the task bar with the way he’s sleeping.

No problem. Book under monitor takes care of that. Beneath my desk, at my feet, there are two dogs in dog beds and a stool for my shot little legs.

Not long after, a fourth cat decided he was cold and lonely. No room for this big guy who is 25 lbs. So into the “cat drawer” he goes (last time he actually broke the drawer).

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This drawer holds my lap robes I keep there in case I get chilly.  Okay, I now have four cats, two dogs.  This is typical of my writing time at my desk.  I’m missing one cat and one very large dog.

No Lonely Writer Club for me.

After lunch, I went back to my desk and the fun began anew.  Fifi retained her pink bed, Molly decided she wanted front and center and Snowy, the  big cat, decided he wanted the big bed. Makes sense.  Then comes Koko, who  had the middle bed before lunch. He’s not happy. He’s not opposed to sharing but his sister Molly gives him a swat to the face. Hmm, not good.

cats

I show him the nice, warm drawer bed. Nope, he wants to be closer to me. So he finds a small bit of space between Molly and Snowy’s bed. I move Molly, bed and all, over a tad, spread the vest out a bit and Koko pours himself into this narrow space and we’re back in business, right?  Well, except for not much space to put my arms to type, anyway.

A week ago, I had all five cats. Four on the desk, and snowy insisting my lap was his perfect place. Let me tell you, there is no writing at the desk with a twenty-five pound cat on your lap. Oh, he’s a good thirty-plus inches long (not counting tail

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I’m shaking my head, wondering how come I’m not a mean cat owner who can just toss the lot of them out. I mean, I have a beautiful desk, and it’s huge. I bought it to put all my necessary office supplies there, and maybe my amethyst candle holder, a nice hunk of fluorite that I like to handle while writing or even my pretty, pastel kaleidoscope

<Sigh>. I’m a push-over. The cats want me, they got me.

What’s that you’re thinking?  SHUT THE DOOR!

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<Another sigh> My office is the family room. With no children at home to make use of both family and living rooms, we literally turned it into a shared office between myself and my husband.  It’s large and has a fireplace which is nice for ambience and warmth in the winter. Unfortunately, there is no door!

No door means my animals know where to find me and most of them are happiest when they are with me. And truthfully, I love my kitties and I’m never lonely when I write, though there are times when I’d love to give “lonely” a shot!

IMG_1801Oh, it’s not just cats on my desk I contend with. One of my pups has caught on to the cat tricks to be close to me. Abby loves to sleep in one of the cat beds. If they are taken, she’s game to curl up in front of the monitor.

Of course, this means that I can’t leave the desk for even a second in case she tries to jump down, and being a yappy, barker, she often has to go see what the other dogs are barking at.

How about you? Do you have writing companions? Do you put your foot down and tell everyone and thing to go away?

Susan Edwards Delivers Magic, Myth & Wonder
Historicals: Breathing Life into the Past with her White Series
Seasons of Love: Series: Paranormals with a Twist
Autumn Dreams Nov 2013 ***** White Christmas Dec 2013  ***** Autumn Dreams Trailer

POWER WRITING

I recently started writing a new book, along with a new writing process, and decided to journal my journey. Be warned, I journal as though I am talking to you in person and this means I can be a very chatty, talkative person!

This all started when I decided to self publish my SpiritWalker series. Book one, Summer of the Eagle, had been published many years ago in print format. The publisher went belly up and I got my rights back. I decided to make it digitally available. Book two, Autumn Dreams had been around the publisher/editor block and back and I have two more unwritten books to this mini-series.  With no publishers interested in the first two books, I decided not to even try to sell the other two. But in order to build my readers again after so long a time since the first book came out in 2007, I knew I had to power up my writing, set up a production schedule and treat myself as though I were under contract and deadline.

First, a bit about me.

I AM A PROCRASTINATOR

I WORK MY BEST UNDER DEADLINE

Being out of contract for so long has been horrible because I had no one to answer too. So putting these books out there on my own is a great way to put pressure on myself.  But one of my problems is, that although I am a fairly fast writer, I am extrembly slow to start. When I start a new book, it takes me forever to get the first 3 chapters solid. This is due to the fact that it can take time to get to know the characters, the setting, and even the theme, even if it is plotted out. It can take me as much time to do the first three-four chapters as it takes to write the remaining fifteen chapters!!

This process does not make for very productive, fast writing. I can take three-six months on the first part of a book, then finish the rest of the book in two months or less—that’s when a deadline looms! And my writing is more polished and needs less rewriting once I’m past the beginning.

So I set my own production schedule and it is brutal, much more demanding than when I had contracts and deadlines. I’ve set myself the task of completing seven books by the end of 2014, (2 are done) seven books for sale, and at the end of 2014, I’ll be half way though book eight.

HELP!!!!

At the time I was setting this up, and getting Summer of the Eagle ready for release in July (I did my own covers, readied files for Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, sent out for reviews, and created my own trailer and am working website updates), I was rebuilding my social media presence and noticed on facebook that an author friend was doing something called Power Writing and was very excited about it. I called her up and we chatted. Before I could ask her about it, she told me all about it and how wonderful it was for her.

Here’s what Power Writing is (at least the way she and her friends work it)

The rules are simple: write for one hour.

No interruptions

No stopping to research

No going on the internet to check facts

No distractions period.

No checking email, facebook, twitter, etc.

No phone calls.

Write. Write. Write. THIS IS SO SIMPLE

Warn your family that you are taking an hour—JUST ONE HOUR—to write.

My friend’s group scheduled 3 separate writing sessions during the day—early morning, afternoon, and evening.

At the start of the hour, everyone gives their word count for their chapter or document. Those in edit mode stated their goals. One person had taken charge of figuring out word and page count using a spreadsheet.

At the end of the hour, everyone reports their word count and is told how they did. After, figure out who is joining in the next session and who is in charge of calling.

The beauty is, you are held ACCOUNTABLE by people who are not going to sabatoge your writing time. It’s not like you’ll be yelled at or publically shamed, but you’ll know that everyone is expecting you to produce and no one wants to admit to others that they failed. A procrastinator like me needs to be held accountable!

Also, with a couple to a few hours in-between power writing sessions, there is plenty of time to do plotting, rewriting, as well as marketing and promotion and unfortunately, housework and other mundane chores. If you have kids, they can be given a timer and can look forward to some mom/dad time when the timer dings! Another plus is the fact that you can get up and move. Much healthier for our bodies than sitting for 4-6 hours or more.

I had tried something similair with my critique group. Problem was, we chatted too long before starting—you know, “how is everyone?” which always leads into long, drawn out conversations that often end in woe is me or bitch sessions or problem solving. Sometimes more than 30 minutes was spent on our greetings before we got to work.  Although we wrote for much longer, two or three hours before reporting back in, we were often back on the phone for another hour or more. Some of that was discussing our writing sessions but more often, it was gabbing. And because it took so much time, it didn’t work.

So back to my story. My friend invited me to join her group and try it. I jumped at the chance, and was hoping she’d ask!  On my first day, I was called and conferenced in to the others taking part in that writing hour. I was asked for my current word count. After, everyone hung up and the writing began. When the hour was over, one person called and we reported our progress. I was impressed with “the call” because:

There was no chatter.     No gabbing.     No wasted time

We were all told how we did—how many words we wrote that hour. Another great thing—each writer pretty much writes about the same number of words from one session to another and once you know what your average is, you can tell whether you had a good session or a not so good hour of writing.

That is what Power Writing is and how it works. Now I’ll take it a bit deeper for me—for this journal.

Day One I got “the call”. I was asked where I was. Well, I was staring at a blank page. I had not started this book which made it perfect for this experiment. Trouble was, I only had the basic premise of the story. I knew who the heroine was as she was a child in a previous book. I knew she had a grandfather looking for her and I knew she didn’t like the man. Being a romance, there was a hero in there somewhere—maybe hired by grandfather—but he had no name, no face.

Normally, I spend some time plotting a book before typing that first word and plunging myself into the writing process.  During this call, I almost said that I was going to be plotting for that first power hour of writing.  But the purpose of this hour is to write. To produce. So I took a deep breath and told everyone my word count was zero! I jumped in with both feet and figured I would drown!

After I hung up, I stared at the horrible blank page, not knowing where I was going to start or even which character to start with. But the clock was ticking so decided to start with the hero with grandfather in grandfather’s study.

I started writing. I pulled a name out of the air for the hero and just applied butt to chair and fingers to keyboard. I resisted all urges to do plotting, look up names, or research what city this first scene takes place in. I kept my focus and just wrote.

At the end of the hour, the phone rang. I was in the middle of a sentence but the rule is, you stop. No matter what. So I did. And a funny thing happened when I checked my word count for the report:

I had over 400 words!

The scene was solid.  And I already knew a lot about the hero and his goals and conflicts just from being forced to put words to that blank screen.  That first day I think I did 2 or 3 sessions with working on the plotting and characters in-between. And of course, in order to finish this book, I’ll add more Power Hours into my day.  What I came away with was a good, solid start to my book. I was jazzed, and wowed and impressed that I was able to break my “normal mold” of writing.

I didn’t start this journal from the beginning so don’t have a day by day to accounting, so to start, I’ll sum up the first 2 weeks of doing this.

Week 1, I ended with over 6000 words.  Unheard of for me. 

Week 2, I ended with 8584 words. I think I did around sixteen-eighteen sessions total for the two weeks and have an estimated page count of 50. This is 2.5 scenes, almost three complete chapters!

I am so happy with this progress. In the first scene in chapter three, the hero told the heroine something I didn’t know! It just came out and appeared on my monitor. I love it when that happens because it means I’ve breathed life into the character, or maybe it means he’s taking over—whatever—it’s a pretty heady feeling. My first sessions netted me 4-500 words. In week two, I was writing 6-950 words!! Whoo hoo!!!

June 18 The last three session were less as I am going back into each scene I wrote and doing some rewriting. So much was revealed that for me to continue, I have to get those early scenes set to reflect what is happening now. I liken my writing to pulling taffy.

I write until the “taffy/words” start to thin and become so stringy that it breaks. By going back and fixing and strengthening, I can then zip forward. I have a feeling that this method of focused writing will mean less having to go back and shore up my story, that I’ll be able to produce a more polished draft of at least the story/plot/character elements. I do write in layers, and part of revising, is adding layer upon layer, like a painter applies paint to the canvas, until there is a finished “picture”.

I will get one session in tonight and start off at 8772 total word count.

I will be adding my progress, thoughts etc. for this book, as much as for my own growth as for your look into the mind of a writer (I know, scary!) and even for your entertainment as I have at least 3 cats who do  not understand the concept of 1 hour, leave me alone.  Sigh.  I don’t have a door to my office as my office is the family room…

MY WRITING SPACE

01c89-img_1299Today, I, and other Carina Press authors were challenged by fellow Carina Press author David Bridger to show a pic of ourselves at work in our office, or in our favorite place to work.  Sounded like fun, and of course, an excuse not to write.  I write here in my office, at Starbucks and in a comfy chair in my mom’s room.  Lately, a friend who went back to school has been coming over to do her homework so we end up in the livingroom.  Have laptop/netbook, will travel!

We converted our family room into office space.  With no children at home, our living room serves as a very lived in room and my mother has a studio set up in the master bedroom which just leaves 2 very small bedrooms.  MY WRITING SPACEOne for us and the other a cozy TV room/craft room879fb-img_1276 (my stash of yarn!).  The family room works nice and if there isn’t stuff piled in front of it, there is a fireplace for cool winter days or nights.  I used a roll top desk and hutches to form a wall blocking the kitchen and bookcases to make a “hallway”.  The other entrance is partially blocked by a hutch which if I suck it in, is my entrance/exit.  Hubby uses the kitchen “hall entrance”.

I love my office.  Before my mother came to live with us, I had the masterbedroom as my office as I also ran a home business.  This room serves us very nicely.  The walls and ceiling are 4 shades of blue which a73cc-img_1296I love.  de692-img_1290I surround myself with my books, and all my “pretties” and always have music of some sort playing and candles as well. A high up window has cystals and dream catchers and Native American is sort of the theme in my office along with my collection of cat statues and photos of my family. At the moment, it’s also shared by more than few webs and dust bunnies…

I usually end up sharing it with my animals who have to be with me. Out of 5 cats, there are usually 3-4 somewhere in the room. I have to reserve space on all flat surfaces and even one drawer for cat beds or else there are some unhappy felines.  Sometimes a cat bed and a fleece on my main writing desk!  Below is Snowy.  In his defense, he is a huge cat.  Nearly 3 feet in length stretched out, not including tail.  He is about 2-3 lbs too heavy.  And he is going to get a lion cut as he’s getting too old to groom his fur and he and I fight like cats and dogs when I decide the mats have to go..

My pups sleep on bedding under the desk at my feet. Especially at night as I am a night writer.  Snowy claims the round bed if he wants.  At 2.5 times the weight of the pups, he wins….  Moments ago, the pup on the yellow blanket was curled up in the bed.MY WRITING SPACE

 And this blog on my writing space would not be complete without a picture of my office-mate and husband.  Yes, he has just a corner of this room that used to be ALL mine.  One of these days we’ll get him a  nice desk instead of a table.  He gave up the small bedroom office so we could have a cozy TV room.  What a guy!

THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL

THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALLThis entry is part of a blog hop and is a bit late going up but I have a good excuse:  my mother was in the hospital and I remained with her for the 2 days.  Since coming home, I’m doing breathing treatments every 4 hours round the clock.  So I figure that’s a pretty darn good excuse.

When faced with what to write, I was undecided.   All I could really think about was that I was very grateful that my mother is with me for yet another Christmas.  You see, 9 years ago, she was given 6 months.  Stage 4 lung cancer.  She has beaten the cancer.  One of only 2% to pass the 5 year mark.  But a Thankful or Grateful post is more of a Thanksgiving blog.  So I decided on Christmas Wishes.
When this season rolls around, we are asked:   “What do you want for Christmas?”  And like everyone else, I sure have a list of wants and needs.  But when it comes right down to it, I have what I want.  I have my family.  I have my mother for another Christmas.

At the heart of Christmas, buried beneath the commercialism and brightly wrapped packages and the anticipation of tearing into those lovely wrappings, is Family.  Who do we share that morning with, the day with but Family.

We gather to celebrate the day and what it means to each family.  We eat, visit, laugh, gather around beautiful trees with music in the background and share traditions and of course, those lovely gifts.  But the greatest gift we share and receive this day is the love of Family.

I remember the first Christmas my mother was with me.  I  brought her to my home end of January, knew how close I’d come to losing her Christmas the month before when she was not with me.  That year, it was day by day.  Each day a blessing, each doctor visit a sigh of relief but when that first Christmas came, it was joyous.  I still had my mother with us.  And each year is a stolen year for she was not supposed to have survived 6 months, let alone nearly 9 years.

And every year that passes I am grateful to have that one so important part of Christmas to share:  Family.  My husband, my children, and my mother.   So when asked what I want for Christmas, I have a list for my kids and my children but in my heart, I have what I want.  Another year with each of them and another stolen year with my mother.

So what is Christmas to you.  Who are you most grateful to share this holiday with?

Books available at Carina Press (also on Amazon & Barnes & Noble)
Also, follow me on the following sites

.http://susanedwards.com

http://susanedwardsauthor.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/susan_edwards

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Edwards/40226247104

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