Well Hello There #Myfirstblogpostrevisited

I was tagged by the amazing Tolkien-fiend E. E. Rawls to participate in a blog hop! It’s my first one ever, so yay!

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop

I had to dig way back into the archives, almost seven years ago, to this little guy:

Well Hello There

Hi! I have never had a blog before, so this is going to be an adventure for me! I will try to post something fairly regularly, however I cannot guarantee that it will be every day. Mostly look for story tid-bits and excerpts. I’m sure actual blogs about my life will be very boring. Happy reading!!

That’s it. That was my first ever post. My how things have changed!

In 2010, I was still in college at TAMU and had just started dating the love of my life and my future hubs. Neato, right?

As an author though, I was struggling. I was busy with school, didn’t have a lot of time to write, and overall frustrated and worried about my future and where I would end up. If now-me could back and tell past-me that things would turn out fine, that would have been majorly helpful.

Today, I’ve written 60 (WOW!) posts and I’ve finished my ten-year book, and even had it published! Past-me could have never fathomed that. Past-me wouldn’t be able to believe that I’ve been to Colorado for a writer’s conference, won an award at that conference (!), started my own business, and am now involved in my book in ways that I didn’t even know existed.

I guess the lesson here is that YOU CAN DO IT!

It took me seven years to get to this point, ten years to write my book, but I’ve learned so much along the way. And I’m still young! I’m just now putting the effort into making my dreams work. Like it says in this Fifth Harmony video, “DREAMS DON’T WORK UNLESS YOU DO!”

Now it’s time for me to choose the next victims, er, participants for the blog hop!

Joynell Schultz

Amelia Jacobson

Lara, The Book Heathen

Monique Desir

Book Adventures

Don’t forget the rules!

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…ten two twelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Completely silly rules that E. E. Rawls made up that I liked (so I kept them!):

  • Drink a glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, mug of herbal tea or whatever floats your boat after you hit “publish”. (In other words, toast yourself. Go you!)
  • Read the post out loud in a Mickey Mouse voice.
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Let’s talk about Cover Design.

This week is going to be a little light. I’m writing this on Tuesday night because by the time it hits on Friday I will be heading to a cruise ship! Yay!

So instead of a usual post, I’m going to share a video that I did as part of a web series for my publishing company called NOW WHAT? This is part three, but you can find the rest on Facebook and YouTube.

Leave a comment on what you think! What’s your experience been with covers?

What Do You Think Your Characters Look Like?

I’m a very visual person, as you might be able to tell from my maps. I like to have pictures that I can look back at and be like, ‘oh yeah, that’s what it looks like.’ Unfortunately, I sorta suck at drawing, which is super lame because my mother and my sister draw like pros.

I have so many sketches of my characters. Just like the maps, they’ve gone through some changes over the years, but they’re just never it. Whatever it is. I feel like I’d just know it when I saw it. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just never be satisfied! *sniff*

Anyway, here’s how I wish my drawings would look:

nyx-and-jet-sorta

But here’s how they actually look:

dante-and-amber-001

Not too bad, but not a Monet! Seriously, all I want is a good representation of who my characters are! Is that so much to ask???

When I picture Nyx and Jet, the two main characters of Return to Royalty, I can never complete a concrete picture. I always have feelings about who they are and what they look like; just general impressions. But every time I put pencil to paper, it’s not right.

For example:

Nyx is a 20-year-old college student. I know what I looked like in college. I always wore my hair up, always had on stretch pants or jeans, and never put on makeup. I like to think that Nyx would be a little classier than that, but we all know that college kids only roll out of bed when they have to be somewhere.

The only time Nyx would dress up would be for going out with her friends. And she’s a blonde-haired, green-eyed, Texas country girl, so she’d wear boots, jeans, and maybe a cowboy hat.

The first picture I found that I thought was close to what she looks like is this one:

157hpv4

I obviously did not create this (as is demonstrated by the one I did make above). There’s something about this girl that isn’t right, but she’s close enough that I saved the picture. I think it might be the face…

Anyway, the point is that what I see in my head is never quite what I see on paper. And don’t even get me started on Jet!

This would probably be closest to Jet:

2cb70ef5db4e37185dd3286913e75aff

But even still, this isn’t quite right! Something about the eyes and maybe the hair. And not really the right build. Why did I even bother to save this one??

Ugh! Maybe I just wish I was a better artist!

What do you guys picture your characters to look like?

Building Your World With Maps

Maps are hard. Especially for people like me who have trouble visualizing what the heck even goes on a map. My most basic map of Gexalatia, from years ago looks like this:

Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

 

Awesome, right? (It’s okay to say no!)

Gexalatia has come a long way since its early days. Now it looks slightly better, like this:

img_4395

Definitely starting to be flushed out a bit.

So what should your map have on it?

1. The easiest place to start was the countries.

So the overall land/continent is called Gexalatia. So far Gexalatia consists of Ymber to the north and Siccita to the south. Once I decided that, building around the two countries wasn’t too difficult.

2. Every country obviously needs a capitol city!

For me, the capitol cities are Regius Carmen in Ymber and Celo Cavus in Siccita. I chose to put them at opposite ends of the map for no real reason. That’s just sorta where they ended up.

3. Next you gotta add some landscaping.

I decided I wanted Regius Carmen to be encased in mountains, and the royal city is even built into the side of one, making it a great fortress. Enemy soldiers only have three ways to get to Regius Carmen: funnel through a mountain pass, try to make landfall by boat through the bay, or fly over the mountains with dragons. None of these would do much to intimidate Regius Carmen or its citizens, especially since the bay is heavily policed by Ymber soldiers and the country that supplies Siccita with dragons is on strike.

For Celo Cavus in Siccita, I decided that it would be bordered on the western side by mountains and be surrounded by open plains. I’m not a military strategist by any means, but I figure it’s hard to attack someone if they can see you coming. And of course, to the north is forest and a pretty large river that runs from the Coracinus Mountains (left-hand side) to the bay (right-hand side). Siccita also has the benefit of being the aggressor. They have Ymber pushed well within their bounds of their country, so the risk of attack on Celo Cavus is pretty minimal during the events of Return to Royalty.

4. Add some character to your map.

So once I added the countries and the cities, my map was looking pretty sparse. This allowed me to decide where I would put rivers and forests and mountains. This also gave me opportunities to really explore the people who live in these regions. So far I’ve really nailed down Ymber, since that’s where most of the action in the series will take place, but I plan to expand on Siccita as well.

In Ymber, from left of the map to the right, we have the northern Coracinus Mountains, where the Limen is hidden, the Abjure forest, the Plains of Aduro, the Forest of the Aife, the Forcia Mountains, and the Bay of Antiquus. A wall was built in between Ymber and Siccita during the reign of King Paries to keep enemy soldiers in Siccita and protect Ymber from their attack. It has only one opening along the main road, called the Custos Obduros, which are watchtowers. Anyone who comes to Ymber from Siccita must pass through the Custos to enter, unless they come by water.

In Siccita, I have so far only mapped the ruins of Dirvo. Before Ymber and Siccita split in two, Dirvo was the capitol city of Gexalatia. Dirvo will feature in book two of the series, when Nyx takes an unwilling trip there (no spoilers!). The river that runs through Siccita is called the Eluvios, and I picture it like the Grand Canyon, wide and deep. I’m not sure about the forest yet.

Then, in the Coracinus Mountains and to the west, not on the map, is the country of Fornax. Fornax is where dragons are bred. Fornax will also be featured in book two as Nyx and Jet meet some new friends…or enemies….

Image result for spoiler meme

So that’s all I can say for now, but hopefully this was helpful! Of course, I’m also learning the difference between estates, manors, provinces, etc. There’s so much to building a world! It can get overwhelming, so take your time and let it fill itself out as you go!

Leave a comment and tell me what your struggle with world-building is!

Finding your Garret (Best Place to Write)

This is so true. My best place to write used to be beside my bed, on the floor where no one could see me when I was in high school. I would sit there for hours and crank words out. Now, even though I have a desk, it’s sometimes a struggle to feel like it’s the right place to write. That’s why I cover it with clutter! Drives my hubs crazy, but feels like home to me.

by Samantha Fenton Garret: a top-floor or attic room, especially a small dismal one (traditionally inhabited by an artist). I once read a book on writing which mentioned “finding a garret.” I had not heard this term before, and didn’t quite know exactly how it related to writing. But the book had explained it […]

via Finding Your Garret — A Writer’s Path