Category Archives: A Drift of Quills

A Drift of Quills: In Search of (Writing) Time

Writers, what do you do to find time—or to make time—to write?

Readers, are you curious how the minds behind the books work some of their magic?

It’s the First Friday of the month, and A Drift of Quills is sharing tidbits on their MO (modus operandi). Ooooh, secrets!

A Drift of Quills

Time—we all need more, right? Can I have a secret extra day in the week? Or how about a clone?

In Search of Writing TimeI’m one of those blessed souls who theoretically has time. Awesome, right? Mmmmaybe…! Anyone who looked at my life would assume there are great gobs of the stuff lying around, waiting to be used.

I have plenty to do, believe me. There are the regular chores that come with being an adult and the extracurricular chores that spring up when you belong to a group or indulge in hobbies. On top of that, there are the tasks that fall on the plate of any indie author (a.k.a. “marketing”).

And there’s research (a.k.a. “rabbit holes”).

And homework (a.k.a. “reading”).

Quote-IfYouDontHaveTheTimeToRead

So for me, it boils down to making the time to write. Or rather, making myself write. I seem to be most productive late at night, but convincing myself to stay up when my comfy bed is calling and my eyelids are drooping is almost as hard as scheduling dentist appointments.

Okay, not really. I’d far rather stay up late writing every single night than go to the dentist.

But…

Structure and Goals Are Not Bad Words

If when I stick to a schedule and plunk my keester in the chair before my computer every morning, I’ve found I build up steam. I might start small; I’ve set a goal to write no less than 100 words a day. In the beginning, that hundred words can be like pulling teeth. (Ha! Pun!)

But the more I stick to the schedule, the more I write.

You’d think that with such a reward,the sticking would be easy. Inspiring. Exciting!

Quote-WithoutConsciousAndDeliberateEffort

It is exciting. It’s also challenging.

So what helps me?

  • Joining a writing challenge (x-number of words per day)
  • Having someone to be accountable to
  • Giving in to my competitive side (trying to beat the high word counts in the above-mentioned challenge)
  • My awesome writing partner, Kristie
  • Reading
  • Music
  • Letters, comments, and reviews (especially reviews!) from my readers

I don’t list these in order of how well they work, it depends on the day and it depends on my mood (and health). The more of the items I employ, the more likely I am to sit down and write.

And apparently writing about writing helps, too. Bye, I’m gonna go practice being a fictionista!

Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

 

Time in a bottle.

Time will tell.

A time to love, and a time to hate.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .

A time for every purpose under heaven.

Time flies.

The time is right.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Hey! Have you got the time?

This is the question we Quills consider with our post for July 2016.

Most would agree, I think, that there never seems to be enough time to go around. So how, in a life filled with family, friends, day jobs, and more, do we find time to write?

I recall as a child, my mother saying that it annoyed her when people asked her how she found the time to do things. With eight—yes, count them, eight—children, she was a busy woman. She always said: “I don’t have time, I make time.” I guess… (Read more!)

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How do you find—or make—the time to write or read?
What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: “Clock” via StockSnap.io is licensed under CC0 1.0
A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

Does the word “research” give you the shivers? Dark memories of term papers or visions of endless numbers and figures? Well, it’s the first Friday of June (already!), and A Drift of Quills  is here to show you what research means to fiction writers!

A Drift of Quills

“My name is Robin and I am a member of Researchers Anonymous…”

ResearchOrTreasureHunt_DoQI blame it on my mother. I read a lot when I was a little girl. When I’d come across a word I didn’t know, I’d ask Mom what it meant. She invariably sent me to the dictionary.

A hundred years later (okay, not quite a hundred…) I find myself somewhat suspicious of her motivations. Did she actually (sometimes) not know the definition? Or was that just her way of making me an independent, curious wordie?

Either way, what happened was an addiction.

Oh, it started innocently enough. Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quils: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills is back on this beautiful First Friday! This month we’re talking about tough writing challenges we’ve faced, and how we’ve resolved them. And—we’ve got a guest! We’re so pleased to welcome P.S. Broaddus, who has  recently released his debut middle-grade fantasy novel.

A Drift of Quills

My partners in this month’s endeavor will probably not be glad that I’ve procrastinated writing this until the last minute (I have a laundry list of excuses reasons!), but it’s given me the opportunity to get a sneak peak at what they’ve chosen to write about.

It’s good stuff— Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love (#5)

“Books We Love” is a recurring topic for A Drift of Quills. Sometimes there’s a feast, and sometimes there’s a famine… Does that ever happen to you? Luckily, we’ve got a couple of tasty tidbits to whet your appetite!

A Drift of Quills

On to the Books!

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

At the beginning of the year I joined the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. I started out with a bang, burning through 14 books in a little over two months. Last month? Not so much, though I’ve started several. In order for my “read” to be counted for the challenge, I actually have to finish it, and there have been some books that I’ve set aside. (Gently, because I love my Kindle—Otherwise, I’d have thrown them across the room in frustration.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
Books We Love: The Woodcutter, by Kate DanleyMuch to my delight, I stumbled across Kate Danley’s The Woodcutter. What a wonderful, unique twist on fairytales! Danley weaves her own style into a retelling of familiar stories and does not disappoint. I love the brevity of her descriptions; it is a rare author that can convey so much information and emotion with so few words and still maintain such a lyrical quality. I was completely enchanted by her prose and by the story itself. Duty, treachery, love and sacrifice wind throughout a mystery that the Woodcutter must solve. He has help on his long and twisting journey, and we’re given a sizable dose of the old-fashioned magic one rarely sees outside of fairytales. Humor, setbacks, and plot twists lead to a climax and resolution that surprised and delighted me with its emotional impact.

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Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

I’m going with an Indie read this time. Truth to tell, one must wade through some things to find gems, whether they are traditional- or Indie-published. But for those who enjoy fantasy for the young, I can recommend, A Hero’s Curse, by P. S. Broaddus.

What intrigued me when I read the blurb for A Hero’s Curse, was that the main protagonist is a young—blind—girl. Since so much of our world is what we see, and since in our writing, we authors must disclose that world to our readers, I was intrigued with the concept of using a blind heroine. P. S. Broaddus did not fail to deliver . . . (Read more!)

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What have you been reading lately?
Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to share this page!

Are you taking part in the Goodreads’ Challenge? Be sure to hop over to my TBR Challenge post and link me up to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my upcoming book!

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction?

A Drift of Quills: The Purpose of Magic

Magic—what’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. Naturally, we’re talking about why we, as authors of fantasy, write about magic.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folksSince we were wee sprouts we’ve been enchanted (punny, right?) by stories about magical beans, geese, unicorns, dragons, kings, gingerbread houses, swords, ships, and all kinds of diverse things. Magic opens the doors to new ideas, exciting places, amazing people. It encourages our imaginations and broadens our horizons. Best of all, it allows us to step out of the mundane, lift our heads, and engage in wonder.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

Magic in fantasy is a feast for the eyes, a symphony of the senses. Anything is possible. Charles de Lint said something absolutely profound about magic and life:

I do believe in an everyday sort of magic—the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we thing we’re alone.

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? In my book As the Crow Flies, magic plays several roles. I like the complex depths that mix offers. I like the contrasts. In Crow’s life, it doesn’t have a particularly good reputation and his opinion isn’t improved when a wizard sends him on a suicidal mission. He comes up against more “bad” magic but… he also has an experience that affects his very notion of himself. His imagination is sparked; his horizon changes.

In the Mirror, a short story, encourages reflection of self. What choices have we made in the past, how have they impacted us, and how might we change our path in the future?

The story, The High Roads, focuses on talents and responsibilities. How do we use what we’ve got?

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

Some of my earliest reading memories are of stories that included magic. I recall reading, over and over again, Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett, and Mio, My Son, by Astrid Lindgren. Also, Bewitched was amongst my favorite television shows. When Samantha’s nose twinkled, you never knew what might happen next. Those tales engaged my imagination and sense of wonder. They moved me out from my world of cares and worries (such as they were as a child) and into another realm where anything was possible.

When a story engages my emotions, I’m involved. But when it also encourages my sense of wonder, I’m hooked. This is what magic does. It creates something I’ve never before seen, heard or felt. It makes me wonder, each step of the way, “what if…” (Read more!)

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What does “magic” in fantasy mean to you?
What book have you read that best illustrates the ideal magic?
Are you an author? What is the purpose and value of magic in your writing?

Comment below—then be sure to hop over and join my 2016 reading challenge!

A Drift of Quills answers the burning question, “What is our favorite social media outlet and why?”

A Drift of Quills: Playing Social Media Favorites

A Drift of Quills is on the loose again! Today we ask the burning question, “What is our favorite social media outlet and why?”

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Oh, decisions! Decisions! There are so many outlets to choose from and so many reasons to choose them (or not)! It’s no surprise that they each accomplish different things, so if I wanted to be technical (I don’t. Lucky you.), I’d list which ones are my favorites for which purposes. But… Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Playing Social Media Favorites

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth (Happy New Year 2016)

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth

in It’s a new year! Happy New Year to you! Today A Drift of Quills is taking a look back and a look forward. What happened last year, and what are we looking forward to this year? Read on to discover our inmost thoughts as we reflect on our bookish (mostly) progress—or lack thereof. 😀

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

 

I can’t help thinking “Wow! 2015 went by WAY too fast.” It really did. But ready or not, it’s 2016 now—I feel like I need to fasten my seatbelt for another speedy ride!

A Drift of Quills: Looking Back and Going Forth (Happy New Year 2016)Thanks to Leeland Artra and the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Writing Challenges I (finally) finished the first draft of a book I’ve been working on for far too long. (You’re probably sick of me dribbling tiny tidbits of info about it…) Revisions took a back seat to NaNoWriMo, but the good news is that I’m 47,000 words into the second book of the series. (Yes, I went back and tidied up my Very Messy Manuscript. I couldn’t help myself!) And… I wrote a fair number of words for another book in the same series, but it comes further down the road.

I am soooooo looking forward to releasing Book One soon, and Book Two by early summer. I have another book for Crow sketched out (Woot! Woot!) and plan to jump into that after I get the current project wrapped up—

And if that sounds confusing, it’s because I haven’t settled on a title for Book One yet, and because One and Two are kind of a “parts A and B.”

Yes, that’s clear as mud, isn’t it? Hang in there. As my hubby says, “It’ll all come out in the wash.”

Last year I also took part in the reading side of things with the annual challenge that Goodreads runs. I’m planning on doing that again this year. I keep telling my hubby that we need to set aside one night a week (at least!) for Reading Only. Generally, our lack of oomph degenerates into watching television, and the last year or two has seen some really good programs come out. Not to mention our binge-watching of Falling Skies… I must put my foot down! More reading, less turning into a zombie!

I really enjoyed these books and gladly recommend that you read them, too:

In Siege of Daylight (Gregory S. Close, where is the sequel? Huh? HUH?)

Warrior Mage, Chains of Honor Book 1, by Lindsay Buroker

Transformation, by Carol Berg

By Divine Right, by Patrick W. Carr

The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold

In Siege of Daylight, but Gregory S. Close Warrior Mage, by Lindsay Buroker Transformation, by Carol Berg By Divine Right, by Patrick W. Carr The Curse of Chalon, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I did read more than these, but they were particular favorites during the course of the year!

Also on the schedule is the creation of the two covers I’ll need for the new books as well as reworking the cover for As the Crow Flies. And a map. I’m making a map! Or two! One for each world?

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

At the outset, I am happy to say that 2015 went a bit better for me than 2014 had. That was the year from . . . Well, enough about that. For 2015, there were a few interesting events that I’d like to share with you.

I wrapped up Select: The Oathtaker Series, Book Two, in late May. To write the final scenes of a story is to reach a true milestone. One cannot compare the feeling to any other. (Starting the work is a bit akin to bearing a child. Publishing it is like setting that child free to live its life. It is scary but necessary …) (Read more!)

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What was your favorite post last year from A Drift of Quills?
What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#2)

Wow. This is the last first Friday of the month for this year! (Did I bend your brain with that?) Today A Drift of Quills will take you on a short visual expedition. We want to share with you pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Levin Liam (in the movie "Wolfskinder")
Levin Liam (in the movie “Wolfskinder”)

For my person I’ve gone with the obvious choice: the main character. Sherakai’s tale begins when he is a youth, about fifteen years old. As the youngest of four boys, he’s got a pretty easy life. His father and his older brothers are warriors, and although he admires that, he has no inclination to follow in their footsteps. He’s not keen, either, on being sent away from horse and home to study at the faraway College of Magic. Of course nothing goes the way either Sherakai or his parents plan…

Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr
Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr

Sherakai’s beautiful home is located in rolling hills at the edge of the mountains. His father raises the Indimi-o per’la Tojitu there. The Children of the Wind are horses endowed with just a little bit of magic.

When Sherakai arrives at Nemura-o pera Sinohe—The Gates of Heaven—his life takes a turn down a dark path. His guardians, Fesh and Teth, look something like this:

Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry
Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry

 

Teeth clenched, Sherakai pushed the threads away, but it hurt as though he were tearing out parts of himself. The creatures howled, and Bairith’s voice rose above them, his spell-weaving become a command. Desperately, Sherakai reversed his actions and tried to pull the threads back into himself. He had more success at that, but the creatures came to their feet, writhing as they tried to escape the hands on their heads. Their howls increased to very human screams. The guards crouched next to them, wrapping arms around the distorted bodies to hold them immobile. A third guard moved behind Sherakai, clamping a hand around his throat and applying steady pressure.

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.As consciousness began to fade, the tugging renewed and the dog beasts quieted. Darkness edged his vision, but it could not blanket the helpless sense of violation.

“There,” the mage said at last. He released Sherakai’s hands and gently stroked the animals’ misshapen heads. “There, it is done. All is well. Hush, hush …”

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

As we are approaching this holiday season, with all the “busy-ness” that it entails, it seemed right to keep things a bit simple this time around. Thus, we’ve decided to share with you, pictures of our imagined people, places and things from our work.

For a picture of a person, I’m actually going to expand this definition to include a character that is not a person. That is “Bane,” from Select: The Oathtaker Series, Book Two. Bane is a wolf that Jerrett mistakenly takes for a dog. Because of his connection to the animal via his attendant magic, Bane assists Jerrett in an escape . . .

… (Read more!)

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This is how we see our stories, and we hope these pictures pique your interest in the tales!

Guest author H.M. Clarke joins A Drift of Quills as we talk about what makes us write.

QUILLS: What Makes Us Write?

Welcome! It’s the first-Friday-of-the-month again! A Drift of Quills is talking about what makes us write — and we’ve got a guest today. We are so pleased to welcome H.M. Clarke, author of a variety of books ranging from fantasy (yay!) to sci-fi, to paranormal. She writes a lot, and now we’re going to find out why!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

HMClarke_230x230H.M. Clarke
Author of The Way to Freedom series, The Kalarthri, and Winter’s Magic
Haley’s website

What makes me write?

Oh, that’s easy. The little blue imp with the electric cattle prod makes me.

Well, not really, but that is what it feels like sometimes. Especially when you are not in the mood to put pen to paper, but then your conscience digs at you to move your butt and get writing or else.

Guest author H.M. Clarke joins A Drift of Quills as we talk about what makes us write.But seriously, I would dearly like to give a flowery response that will be made into a Twitter/Facebook graphic and get posted everywhere for the next twenty years… But I can’t. What I have to say is not really inspirational or mind-blowingly philosophical. It is in fact quite the opposite.

What makes me write is determination, lots of hard work and the bull-headedness to think – ‘There, I’m doing it and I don’t care what people think about it.’ (Well, actually that’s not true. I’m a writer after all, with a writer’s ego. Please tell me you like my work…)

What makes me, and many other writers write, is the need to get stories that I actually want to read and get involved with down on paper. That is really the crux of it. What keeps me writing is the determination and hard work that I mentioned before. Determination and will power is what drags writers out from the immense pool of wannabe authors and makes then actually dry off and finish something.

Writers write; the rest talk about it.

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Robin_0123_pp_300My Two Cents

What makes me write? There should be an easy answer for that question. Something uncomplicated. “Because I must” is woefully inadequate. It only prompts more questions. I write because… I grew up surrounded by stories, immersed in stories. I dreamed them by night and played them out by day. They penetrated my blood. WhyIWrite_reason-85And I embraced them. I cannot even begin to imagine my life without writing. I am head-over-heels, passionately in love with writing. With the symphony of words, the tangle of emotions, the twist of action and reaction, the incredible possibilities of creation.

But, like any other occupation/obsession, it is not always easy.

Some days I am grateful to manage a word count of a couple hundred. On others, I fly on the wings of thousands. Some days I search my mind, heart and soul for the right words, the ones that mean something; because they are not merely words, they are articulations of hope, fear, excitement, pain, despair, love… It is exulting. It is exhausting. There is, for me, no middle ground. It would be boring if there were.

Like anything worth doing, it takes (as Hayley pointed out) dedication and will-power to make writing work. To get all the way to the end of a book — and keep going. This is not an easy path to take, but oh, how rewarding it can be…

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and the soon-to-be-released Select
Patricia’s website

My reason for writing today differs from what it was when I set out to write my first book, Oathtaker. Although I’d done a fair amount of creative writing back in the day, it had been some time since I’d taken pen to hand (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), to tell a tale. My “day job” requires that I write on a constant basis, and I’ve been at that for . . . quite some while. But legal writing is altogether different from creative writing. So, what was the impetus at the outset of my journey? Quite simply, I had to see if I could do it.

… (Read more!)

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Do you write? Why?
What other topics would you like to see us write about here on A Drift of Quills?

A Drift of Quills discusses movies made from books we love—which did we like better and why?

Movies Made From Books We Love

Welcome! It’s the first-Friday-of-the-month and time for A Drift of Quills! Patricia and I are talking about movies made from books we love—which did we like better and why?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Yanno… I don’t often watch movies made from books I’ve read. In my opinion, something seems to get lost in the translation. I was just talking about this in the first installment of A Drift of Quills discusses movies made from books we love—which did we like better and why?Geeking Out on Steampunk, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi with Epic Authors with fellow authors Leeland Artra, Wendy Van Camp, and H.M. Clarke. Movies can’t get into the characters’ heads, and books can’t perfectly show the action. Movies take away from my imagination: they put fully formed characters and settings in the place of my own visualization. However … Wendy pointed out that books, movies, and radio plays each have a certain feel. “You get a strength from each medium.” Each version is a little different and adds layers of interest.

I agree.

And so, from my limited exposure to “movies made from books,” I’ve selected The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. I’ve chosen this one because my experience with it was so funny to me. My brother-in-law loaned the book to me, telling me I simply had to read, I’d love it, yada yada yada. It was a good recommendation. I read it. I disliked it. A lot.

Then I was forced to watch the movie at a family gathering.

And you know what? It was great. It made me laugh.

PrincessBride_WilliamGoldman
The way it looked when I read it…

So I went back and read the book again, and I loved it. Go figger. The movie was wonderfully true to the characters. The same clever sense humor prevailed. True, the movie could not possibly hold all of the brilliant storytelling of the book. It can capture only a hint of the superb prose, but it was a movie. (See comments above!) It is my favorite book-to-movie adaptation.

The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, the Harry Potter books, Hunger Games, The Bourne Identity (See? I DO read some non-spec-fic books!), Timeline — were all better in book form, but I will say that I enjoyed the movies, too. I have to compartmentalize, though. In my brain it’s like they’re completely different tales.

On the positive side, consuming them in multiple formats inspires me to really think about the stories. And that’s a good thing!

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker
Patricia’s website

In my experience, people seem to have strong feelings about whether books should be turned into movies.  Some can’t wait for the film while others claim the movie version of a story ruins the written one. For my part, as much as I love a good read, I also rather enjoy stories that take form in pictures and sound.  So, while I agree that often when a truly good written story is turned into a motion picture, things are lost, there are exceptions.

… (Read more!)

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What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Which one do you loathe the most? Share below!