SFFSat, January 12th, 2013: Silva finds her new True Name

I’m finally doing this again!

I started work on Stranger Skies again this week, and decided I should start posting snippets again — if only to keep myself motivated. (Joking. I’m motivated because the story is awesome.)

In this snippet, Silva, our goddess-turned-mortal, has just finished reading a large tome at the behest of Enendoa, the local witch. The tome is the grimmerie of the first witch of this town, whose name was Thalaea. Silva feels something when she reads the name, but isn’t aware what until Enendoa speaks….

“Thalaea.”

It was like a blow to her hearts. She reverberated with the sound of the word; it flowed through her, tasting as true as sunlight.

Thalaea. Her True Name.

She looked up. Enendoa stood, arms folded in front of her chest, looking at the Lady of the True Woods.

“It means forest, so far as I know.”

Silva stared at the witch dumbly. Didn’t the woman realize she’d just Named a goddess?

 

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the other awesome snippets here, and I’ll see you next week!

Or, you know, hopefully during the week too. 😉

PS: If you just can’t face the rest of the week without more reading material from me and you haven’t yet read Bellica, chapters 1 – 29 have been published both at my writing site and at Wattpad. New chapter 3X/week. So that’s pretty awesome.

The Next Big Thing Author Blog Hop

KariAnn Ramadorai tagged me for this blog hop, and I figured it’d be a fun thing to do. She also said some very nice things about me in her blog post, which made me blush. Yes, I’m blushing. Shush.

And it’s totally still Sunday. Because I haven’t slept yet. That’s how it works because shut up.

What is the working title of your book? 

I have two that I’m working on currently, and plan to have released in 2013.

  1. The Jade Star of Athering, sequel to Bellica.
  2. Stranger Skies, my NaNoWriMo novel and a True Woods book.

What genre does your book fall under?

Speculative fiction, for both of them. Gods, it’s probably all I ever write.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

  1. Bellica Agate is forced to embrace the past she ran away from in order to save her country, her soldiers, and her marriage.
  2. When Silva, Goddess of Wolves and Lady of the True Woods, falls to an alien planet and becomes mortal, she must find a new True Woods, stop a war, and save the wolves of Min, or she may never regain her godhood.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

  1. A name. There was a character who was mentioned in Bellica, and from her name(s) I came up with the idea for The Jade Star of Athering. I…really can’t give any more information than that without majorly spoiling Bellica; if you’ve read it, then you can probably guess the character of which I speak.
  2. I had the idea of a story of a goddess who fell to an alien planet and became mortal while in search of a missing god-friend when I was working on Islands of Fire and Water. Originally, the goddess in my idea was Pele, searching for Lono, but I soon realized the character I was building in my head was nothing like Pele. So I let it sit and percolate for a while, until a few months ago the idea seized my brain, held it hostage, and demanded to be written for NaNoWriMo (even though I’d not planned on doing NaNo this year). During October I planned, and I decided on Silva and making it a True Woods book, because I was working on publishing How to Keep a Human by Kaimana Wolff — the first True Woods book.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

  1. The characters in Bellica. I wanted to know more about them; I wanted to continue to write about them. I also wanted to explore loose ends that I’d left during that story, and see where they lead.
  2. My mom. She started the True Woods series, and I grew up believing in Silva as the Lady of the True Woods and the Wolves. And I wanted to tell Her story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

  1. Still not done. I’ve been working on Jade Star for several years now.
  2. I’m going to say 2 months for Stranger Skies. I started in November, and I plan on finishing it by January 1st.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  1.  I…really have no idea. Jade Star is sort of standard fantasy: a quest, party members, a nation threatened by war. Except, you know, feminist. So if you know what’s comparable to that, please tell me, because off the top of my head I’ve got no clue.
  2. The Through Wolf’s Eyes series by Jane Lindskold.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

  1. Off the top of my head? Kandyse McClure for Bellica Agate. She’s definitely got the right look, and I think she has the acting chops to pull it off. Also I’ve met her, and she’s a lovely person. (Yes, I’ve met actors from BSG. Go ahead. Be jealous.)  Beyond that I’m really not sure who would play Major Damien or Queen Rain-Looking. I don’t really get a good sense of who I’d cast in a movie version until I finish a book.
  2. Thalaea/Silva: Zoe Saldana, Thandie Newton, or Nia Long. In order of preference. Brinna: Amandla Stenberg (when she’s a bit older; Brinna is 19). Scoas: Idris Elba. Natai: Naomie Harris. Alaev: Donald Glover. Annnnnd I really want Morris Chestnut to play someone, but no idea who. He doesn’t really strike me as a Laeanai, but hell, maybe he could do a really good job. (Or Chestnut could play Scoas, and Elba could be Laeanai. Idk.) *kermit-flail*

<

p>Side note, it’s really difficult to remember black actors aside from the five everyone knows or whatever. Racism? Yeah, super-ingrained and programmed in. Hard to shake that shit.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither will be represented by an agency — or rather, I don’t plan on that. They’ll both be published under The Pack Press, as Bellica was. Which is basically self-publishing, because I do all the layout work for The Pack Press.

Wheeeeee it’s fun not having anyone to delegate to. Watch Katje work zirself to death!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

They’re fucking awesome?

Also, pagans should take special note, because I posit — in all of my stories — that the gods are very real and They matter. Because They are, Morrigan-dammit.  (Yes, yes, I totally respect your beliefs if you don’t believe in god, or gods, or whatever, but I do, and other pagans who do believe in the gods as real beings may find special interest in my books because I don’t write off deities as fantasy.)

Lovers of wolves would really like…well, actually, both books, because there’s a wolf or two in Jade Star, too.

Definite Mayan feel to Jade Star.

Humongous snake-people in Stranger Skies. Also, Brighid saying She’d like to snog someone. And queer gods. And witches. Oh, and the wolves can shapeshift. They’re not werewolves, though. They’re wolfweres. (Wolf first. Human second.)

Tag 5 authors

Patrick Stutzman — he’s a geek, he’s a writer, he even creates games. Patrick is a friend of mine from the SFFSat circle, and he’s pretty awesome. He’s got three books out (one of which I have on my ereader, and am enjoying so far — yes, yes, I’m a slow reader, I know leave me alone): Alone on the Edge, Alone With Her Thoughts, and Alone in Paradise.

J.M. Blackman — another SFFSat writer, Jalisa is a teacher, a feminist, and she loves Batman. A woman after my own heart. Also, she’s fucking tremendous at word-wrighting — if you haven’t read any of her SFFSat snippets you should repent of your sins now, dammit.

Heidi Ruby Miller — Heidi teaches, writes, manages a publishing imprint, and is about a hundred times more professional than I will ever be. Which, granted, isn’t hard, but I’m trying to give a compliment here. She also wrote Ambasadora, which I loved and you should read.

Wayne Basta — author of the Aristeia series, which I’m on book 2 of and loving. Wayne is also quite geeky, and leans the same way I do on the political spectrum — so you can tell I like him.

You! Yes, this is lazy of me, but it’s 2 am and I want to go watch The Wedding Singer and eat muffins with Mr. Katje. So if you’re an author and you want to participate, tag thyself and get thee to a nunnery blogging platform!

Weekly Round-up, November 16th: Bellica, SFFSat, Savita, and mom’s book

The title of this post makes it seem like the “weekly round-up” is an actual thing here at Bacon and Whiskey, but this is probably the first time I’ve ever done it. Also, not sure if it’ll happen again; there are just several short things this week that I want to cover in one post.

~*~

Science-Fiction Fantasy Saturday

If you read my blog at all you know that I try to do this weekly. I hate taking hiatuses from it, but I’m going to have to this week at least, and probably next week as well. Life is just getting so eating-of-my-face-y that I just don’t have the time to go and comment on everyone else’s contributions, which means I don’t feel right contributing myself and soaking up all the delicious comment glory when I can’t give back the same way.

I’m hoping to be back in the saddle by the end of the month. Regardless, you should go to the SFFSat blog and read everyone else’s amazing contributions. I’m going to continue to read this week and next, even if I won’t have time to comment. You should too.

~*~

Savita Halappanavar

You may have heard about this. Savita deserves more than a spot in a weekly round-up, but I only had enough spoons to blog about it once, over at Innocence and Immanence. I still wanted to mention it here.

Savita was denied a pregnancy termination during a miscarriage because “Ireland is a Catholic country”. She died, after three days of suffering.

The one thing I’m going to say about this is that if you’re not pro-choice, you’re an accomplice to murder. Full stop, and no, I don’t apologize for that stance, and I don’t care if it hurts your feelings. Either you’re pro-choice — which means you respect someone’s legal right to choose abortion, no matter their reason, regardless your own personal beliefs — or you’re as culpable in Savita’s murder as is the hospital that denied the procedure, or the government of Ireland that has refused to change the law for two decades.

~*~

Bellica

Yeah, more news about my book. SO BORING I KNOW.

In honor of the one year anniversary of the publication of Bellica’s first edition, I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to start publishing it serially online. Again.

I won’t be doing it via the site I currently have up for Bellica, however. I’ll be doing it via Wattpad.

If this upsets you because you were reading the serial posts of Bellica before I published it and then had to buy a copy from me to read the whole thing…I’m sorry. I’m an asshole.

On the plus side, you get to read more fantastic writing from this asshole for free, because Bellica‘s not the only thing I’ll be publishing via Wattpad. Not only do I plan on putting up both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies, once they’re finished and edited and such, but I’m also toying with the idea of doing an actual web serial. (As opposed to just publishing full novels serially.) More news on that as it develops.

Regarding Bellica: chapters are going up starting today, November 16th, and will continue to be posted three times a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday). I’ve divided up the book into three parts, so once I finish putting up all of Heavens, there will probably be a brief hiatus and then I’ll start with Earth.

That’s probably way too much info for a short bit in the weekly round-up, but watch me not give a fuck.

~*~

Speaking of Wattpad, and my mom

My mom Kaimana Wolff is also on Wattpad now, and so is her book of short stories, How to Keep a Human. For free. It’s also available via Smashwords, for free, and I’m currently in the process of arranging a blog tour for her to advertise that fact. You know, if she ever gets some blog posts put together for it. *snaps fingers* Come on, mom! Get on it!

How to Keep a Human is set in the True Woods universe, as is Stranger Skies. How to Keep a Human is excellent, and I say that because I’ve read it a million times and I never get bored.

Also, it’s all true, and I love reading about my mom’s exploits with her best friend Amaruq. My favourite story? When she beats the living hell out of a guy who not only assaults her, but Amaruq too.

Pure unfiltered badassery runs in my veins, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, if you like dog stories — go check out How to Keep a Human. Mom’s busy writing the next book in Amaruq’s series of stories (Must Love Humans), and you can see an excerpt from it over at Lobos Locos, where Amaruq and the rest of the furry Pack members blog about all sorts of things.

~*~

I think that’s it for this post. See you tomorrow, when I swear copiously while ranting. (Because that’s new.)

SFFSat, November 10th: the agony of living

This week we’re veering away from The Jade Star of Athering snippets so I can share with you a bit from my NaNoWriMo novel, Stranger Skies. The first two chapters of Stranger Skies is available on Smashwords for free, by the way, so I’ll be sharing the first few sentences of Chapter Three: Flesh Prison.

Silva woke to alien smells and sounds. Her hearing was duller than a wolf’s, but sharper than a Terran’s. The sounds of a fire crackling, bacon sizzling, people outside chopping wood, talking, laughing — all the sounds of a morning on a farm — assaulted her.

There were too many hearts. The rhythms were off. She was used to one heart per body; now she had…two? Three? They thrummed in her ears; she could not escape the beat of them. Her chest felt as if it would explode.

Stranger Skies is the story of the goddess Silva, Lady of the True Woods and Queen of the Deep Furs, Wild Goddess of Wolves, and how she falls to a different planet and becomes mortal. Trapped in her new mortal body and life, she has to discover her destiny in this new world and find a way to reclaim her godhood.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the other great offerings for SFFSat here!

Eight Days In, Halfway Through — the magic of planning my NaNo-novel

You read that right. I’ve already hit 25K in my NaNoWriMo project, Stranger Skies.

The story is fleshing itself out nicely, and I’ve gone ahead and done the Smashwords NaNoWriMo promotion — you can read chapters 1 and 2 for free. Curious as to what it’s about? Here’s a short description:

Silva, Lady of the True Woods, Goddess of the Deep Furs, falls through a portal during her search for her missing friend, Etan. She lands on the planet below, suddenly mortal.

On an alien planet, she must navigate her new and strange mortal life. Soon she discovers there’s a reason for everything, and her coming to this new world was not by accident.

As war brews on the horizon, Silva goes on a journey to reclaim her godhood, find Etan, and save the wolves of Min.

I’m experimenting with several different things for this story. I’ve named chapters with things like Falling to the Future, Flesh Prison, or The Wolf in the Woods — instead of my usual practice of naming chapters with the name of the character who’s telling that particular part. (I say ‘usual practice’, but truth is I’ve only done that for one book — Bellica. The Jade Star of Athering is, so far, simply divided up by numbered chapters. So is Islands of Fire and Water. That may change.) Another, I’m not writing about Terrans, or Terra, or Terran colonies at all. The main character is original from Terra, yes, but she’s also originally a goddess — it’s not exactly the same as, say, writing about a Terran mortal traveling to a new planet. So that’s interesting.

The big experiment is that I actually planned out the story. Not every scene was decided ahead of time (and a lot in the latest chapters have changed), but the big ones were. I decided, ahead of time, what my First Plot Point was, my Second Plot Point, my pinch points, my resolution. I have Larry Brooks to thank for that — while I don’t agree with him wholly on his philosophy that planning is superior to pantsing or percolating, I do concede that planning my Nano novel is leading to an infinitely better first draft, and a higher likelihood of my hitting 50K well before the month is over. And I wouldn’t have been able to plan if I hadn’t read the majority of his posts on how to plan your Nano novel.

If you’re a pantser or percolator and you want to give planning a try, I recommend reading Larry’s posts for some ideas as to where to start.

Now, full disclosure, while planning has yielded higher word counts and better writing for me, I don’t fully like it. It’s contrary to my nature, so I may never fully like it. But I find that when I do a beat sheet and figure out the big five scenes ahead of time, I get sort of bored with the story early on. I wasn’t able to do a complete beat sheet, and I found myself wanting to skip ahead to where I’d quit planning out scenes — I wanted to “get to the good stuff”.

Which tells me something important about myself. As much as I dislike having my routine changed unexpectedly, I love the unknown when it comes to writing. I like getting stuck and having to think about it for a few weeks until it suddenly hits me, a flash of inspiration while I sit in the bath, getting pruney. Running naked down the street shouting EUREKA! appeals to me.

I also find that I’m not always sure what will take a full scene, or more than one. Some things that I had planned out as one scene took three; other things that were planned as four scenes only took two. I’m having to adjust as I get through these bits, re-numbering scenes and re-structuring chapters.

Which is fine. It’s a learning experience. I’m not knocking it. It works.

But I don’t think I’ll be planning all my stories. The NaNo ones, yes. Possibly short stories, as well. The other novels?

I’m going to keep on percolating, I think.

This, of course, means that The Jade Star of Athering will probably not be done until the end of December, and released at some point in early 2013. I’m aiming for April. Cross your fingers that that will happen (and let me know if you’re interested in being a beta reader).

What about you? If you write, do you pants, plan, or percolate? Some combo of the three? No idea what I’m talking about? Wondering where the pie you ordered is? I love hearing from my readers — leave me a comment below!

Day one of Nanowrimo

I stayed up late on Hallonanoween so I could start writing at midnight. I didn’t start writing until 12:30 or so, because my Samhain ritual ran a bit late. Kept writing till 4 am.

Totals

Longhand: 7.5 pages.

Typed: 3,814 words.

Those are about equivalent with each other — I typed up almost all I handwrote. My goal for the rest of today is to do another 28 pages longhand. Tomorrow I’ll start the day off with doing another 7.5 pages longhand and then typing up 3,666 words.

I’m doing the NaNoWriMo Rewards System this year, with a few modifications. Every Wednesday I’ll be working on The Jade Star of Athering instead of Stranger Skies. This gives my percolating writer’s brain a break, too, from the NaNo story. I’ve got most of it planned out, but the details in the last two parts are pretty hazy and probably will be until I write some more. This is the first time I’ve ever really planned a NaNo story and so far it’s going really well. Sending my thanks to Larry Brooks at StoryFix for his tips and tricks (even if I don’t agree with everything he says, he does know his way around story mechanics and beat sheets).

I’ve got a beat sheet mostly worked out (missing some details between the second plot point and the ending), some maps drawn, character profiles done up, chapter titles written.

So far, so good, though I’m running desperately low on junk food. (No, I didn’t stock up. Silly me.)

I’m going to share with you the opening lines to Stranger Skies. This month expect me to be pretty sparse on the blog entries — I’ll be doing SFFSat and regular progress reports for NaNo, to map the decline of my sanity. Probably won’t be doing much else.

Without further ado, a bit of Stranger Skies:

Chapter 1: Falling to the Future

She was falling so fast, so hard, plummeting like a dying Ice Crown Starling.

Yes. The bird. Desperately she tried to change shape — her humanoid figure stretched like elastic, briefly, then bounced back into its shape.

She was falling faster, hurtling to the ground below, and she was stuck in the form of a bipedal ape. Her powers weren’t working.

How did this happen to me?