A Novel Shout-out!: Pendragon University by Kaitlin Smallwood

Pendragon_U_1

Three days on campus and Darcy knows she’s only scratched the surface of a deep, magical world that few humans have ever been allowed to see. She experiences a world where cities unfold like pop-up books, and streets grow restless and take off like magic carpets.

Darcy goes through much of what any freshmen experiences when she begins college life. She misses her friends and her parents, and yet the thrill of living away from home for the first time and finally being independent keeps her spirits up. The fact that her classmates are werewolves, witches, zombies and vampires is only a small factor as she finds a place among her new group of friends.

And then there’s Ulrich, who lives down the hall in her dorm. His presence continues to build up questions in Darcy’s mind. He seems like a student, but is he really? Why does he have such an influence on the faculty? Why won’t anyone answer her questions about him? How is it that he always manages to show up when Darcy falls into harm’s way? Her curiosity increases when she suspects that he could be the reason she was accepted to a university for monsters in the first place.

Pendragon University is a smart, romantic, urban fantasy for anyone who wanted to go to school with their favorite Halloween monsters.

A very close high school friend and fellow writer, Ms. Kaitlin Smallwood, has beat me to the punch and self-published her first novel, and what a story! We grew up developing our writing styles together, so if you like my short stories and the excerpts from my novels, you will definitely fall in love with Kaitlin’s book. Not to mention the artwork, also created by Kaitlin, and the incredible storyline itself! I won’t give away any more than the above summary, though. You’ll just have to get on Amazon, pick it up, and try it out for yourself!

I hope you all enjoy, and if you’re interested in supporting this lovely up-and-coming author, check out her brand new Facebook page for Pendragon University. You can also support her artwork on deviantArt! Be sure to leave your rating if you decide to read, and let me know what you thought of it!

Cheers!

My religion began in Houston

Here is a quick poem I wrote a while back.  Good memories getting me through tough times. 🙂 Let me know what you think!

    There are times when
Houston comes back to me.
Flowing water curtains
the outer glass, its thunder
the only sound I hear
besides you.
Feet swaying in
chlorine water, I can only
imagine the smell of the rain
and you.
A comfort smell, shear
strength and a hint of Axe.
The smile washes over my face
recalling your tone of voice.
How silly I thought you were,
your desperation to hold
the sound of me
just a moment longer.
But it was time for dreams
of showers on Palm Sunday,
holding hands under the pews.
You listened to me then,
eyes closed and fluttering.
Now I sit in the fading sun,
clinging to the words typed
on the screen.
The distance is different now.
Your concern for distance is
my concern for frequency;
once a week is not enough.
But patience is the religion
that has kept us strong.
My memory gives me
belief to carry on,
and you are the church
of my faith each day.
And so I pray,
as I lay me down to sleep,
under the covers with you.

 

~SVG

[end action scene]

Okay, so after another long bout of quiet, I’m back with some updates and some questions.  I’m struggling to work more on my Elaseim story and actually get the ball rolling on the main manuscript.  It’s not easy with all the major changes going on in my life right now, but I’m trying my best on such a sporadic schedule to make a random time every day to write.  It hasn’t worked out every day, so the writing is getting inconsistent, which makes me not want to write the next day or gets me caught up in editing the previous days’ writing, which is an evil cycle of hell for me.  I have an awful habit of editing while I write.  So my first question to you all is how do you break that hideous habit? What tricks can I use to keep myself from editing while the words appear, and how do I keep the stream flowing instead of editing before its even on the paper? I take forever to write because I want that perfect word sometimes, even though I know I can put that perfect word down at any time, erase or scribble and make it pretty later.  For some reason I just can’t convince myself of that while the pen is in my hand.  And as for typing the first draft, there’s a combination of my love for hand-written drafts, to see something tangible of my work, and a lack of time to boot up the computer and sit and avoid all the distractions of computer bs to get a couple pages done.  Despite the pace I have to take while writing, I still don’t type my work faster than I write it.

My other problem I run into coincides with my pace.  My brain works very fast.  I can see my whole novel finished in my mind, practically page for page, but not in the same format.  All my stories, even the little short stories I’ve written, and heck, even my poetry I can sometimes see as film playing through my head.  I don’t know how many of you have the same thing going on when you write, where your story is a movie you just watch over and over, but this is me in a nutshell, and it’s obnoxious sometimes.  I see the main fights, the first encounters that make the bulk of the movie, and I can imagine immediately how the writing will play out to show that scene to others the way I see it.  But then I realize that scene is only about 20 pages of writing, 10 or so if it’s only a low-action first encounter.  Then there’s travel sections where I know the next big scene is across the continent, but they have to get there, and perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce some other, less significant characters along the way so they can show up later without introduction, but how much time do I want to take up, and how many should I include, and is this getting too long or is it still not long enough, and… and… AND!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

So my other question for you all is how many of you have this kind of problem? Do you see your stories play out before you? When do you know that you’re writing something that is more for the big screen and not for the progression of the story? And have you ever made your story into a screenplay or vice versa because of the conflicts you come upon writing the novel? Some of my stories, like the Elaseim novel, I know will stay as novels, and perhaps someday I will expand into the world of film with them, but not before the whole story is told. But there are other stories, such as my WWII idea, which I’m now thinking is actually more meant for the theater, simply because there aren’t enough scenes to fill a book.  Perhaps I could make a novella, but even that would be stretching it a bit too far.  A nice thing about that is that I love writing screenplays, I really do.  But I’m not in the zone for it right now. That is something that I sit, I work on every night for a couple weeks, and I’m done.  I can spit out screenplays when I know what I’m doing.  Novels, for some reason, do not work that way. I have to portray all of the emotions and scenery and personality that the actor would develop for the audience in writing, because I am all the actors, the stage director, the background and makeup artists all in one as a novelist.  Knowing how seemingly easy that comes to me as a screenplay writer and then how hard it is as a novelist sets me back.  It’s even more aggravating because I haven’t written a screenplay in over a year.  Perhaps once my schedule actually becomes consistent I will make my first new project a new screenplay to get me back in the swing of things. Would anyone be interested in a screenplay from me? Anyone have any ideas on what I should write? Write some comments on your ideas of what you’d love to see and I’ll make sure you get credit for the idea. 😉 Until next time, and hopefully again with my more consistent schedule I’ll be posting and writing more often. Cheers!

 

~SVG

Thank the Universe for re-writes

This is my favorite pastime. 😀

Okay, so as I said on my last post, I’m re-writing all of my notes and chapter work into new, labeled notebooks.  I’m still working on Elaseim notes right now, which is much more daunting than I ever expected.  Good grief did I have a lot of ideas for this story.  It is actually scaring me some of the ideas that I had.  They are so pitiful!  I mean, for a long while I didn’t even have a creation story.  Here is how it was going to work out. Don’t laugh at me. 😛

The Wakening/ Pritus

  • all the creatures of Adalan Eu were asleep, woke up with only the memory of their names, names of those they were close to
  • Rana wakes up next to Salocar
  • when she meets Kido, instantly knows he is her brother
  • Rana and Salocar- possibly lovers before Wakening, but only very close friends after

War Before the Wakening

  • caused by de-evolution back to human nature/imbalance among human form creatures
  • human imbalance overwhelms some of animal’s nature
  • weaker, simpler creatures succumb
  • battles between human forms and animal forms begin
  • Elaseim avoid battles
  • Salocar and Rana watch final battle between all creatures
  • wolf/Elaseim instinct takes over Salocar, releases ‘power’ that puts everyone to sleep
  • he is overpowered by his own ability and falls asleep as well, everyone asleep and forgets

 

I mean, seriously, how sad is that?  No explanation of why Salocar has this random power, no explanation of why the hell it puts everyone to sleep, let alone why they forget.  This was supposed to be the beginning of the book and already I want to put my notes down and burn them!  Die, stupid plot with holes like cheese, DIE!

Okay, okay. I’m being mean to my younger self.  But there is a point to it all.  How does one know when their storyline is full of holes?  When do you stick to your guns and say, “This is a good story, no more changes.”  When do you know where explanations are not needed? When is the mystery of a creature’s power acceptable and when is it just dumb?  I know this old plot idea is bunk, I know it’s sad and full of holes and useless.  But how do I know the one I’m sticking to right now isn’t the same? Have I fallen in love with a stupid plot and just don’t want to admit it?

And don’t get me wrong. I want to put this out there. I do NOT write for my audience.  I write to tell my story, and those who like my style, my story, they become my audience.  If it a small audience, that is okay.  But I will not change my story to get more readers. I want to improve my story so that it is the best it can be.  I want to be happy with what I have created.  When I make a big change, it is because I have found what I consider a big hole.  As an example, I’m considering whether to keep Rana’s current plot position or make her the youngest Elaseim instead, more vulnerable mentally and more malleable.  But I haven’t decided if it would be more impacting for her with all her experience to crash mentally from the loss she suffers.  There are little holes in each of these possibilities, but that is the fun of it.  Figuring out which is the lesser of two holes entertains me, and makes my writing worth while.  And all the steps that get me there are worth it in the end, no matter how sad and pathetic when I look back.

And so I thank my sad little writing self of the past.  I thank all the stupid plot options I’ve given myself to get to the great story I will cherish, even if I’m the only one.  Thank you, bad writing, for giving me the ability to re-write and re-write until I get it right.

 

~SVG

Boat therapy

Well, I still haven’t gotten the chance to sit and write or even read much on my vacation, but it’s not so bad. There are other things that can make a person relax out here.
I never would have suspected that going out in a boat on the bay would be the answer for me. Considering I have a fear of drowning, since I can’t float for beans and have never had swimming lessons, this wouldn’t seem to be a good match. But by god, once we started to move out into that open water, it was magic. The smooth, subtle bounce of the waves, the roaring continuous thunder of the air flying by. Even in the rougher water, there was just nothing that could wipe the smile from my face. It was the perfect moment, a touch of fear with a bucket of exhilaration pouring over me. Its been a long time since I could just leave everything behind and get completely caught up in the moment, black out in the high of whatever I’m experiencing.  It was beyond refreshing, and I can’t wait to try it again. A week of vacation can be a nice thing, but that kind of therapy doesn’t come so easily. I couldn’t be more happy with my life.

A tip for boyfriends: Dump Dat Ass

So I’m on vacation for the week, hence the silence for  the past few days.  I’m hoping to get a little chapter work done with my Elaseim story this time around, but we’ll see how inspiring OC can be for a fantasy novel.

I do have a little advice for the world of men.  Now I haven’t been on vacation for very long, but there is something that always seems to come up while the boyfriend and I are away from home.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the worst of situations, but its something that all men must come to terms with about their women, and you boys might as well learn now.

When your woman says, “Go ahead, have fun!  That’s not my thing, but I want you to enjoy yourself. Go for it! I’ll chill here.”  Always assume she means it.

Now I know what you all are going to start screaming.  “But when I do go enjoy myself I get back to them bitching at me that I wasn’t considerate of their feelings or they were kidding or I’m an ass for leaving them for 5 minutes to go enjoy myself without them, blah blah blah.”  Well, here’s the thing. The girl that has a fit at you for doing what she told you to do IS NOT WORTH YOUR TIME!  She is a selfish, sadistic bitch. Dump her. Now. You do not want to waste years of your life being wrong no matter what you do.  If you do what she says, you’re a horrible, selfish person.  If you don’t do what she says, you’re calling her a bitch with your obedience because she told you not to have fun.  Why do you want dat ass? I don’t care how hot she is, the mental stress is never worth it.  I am one of those women who means what I say.  If you have fun swimming and I have a phobia of drowning, I’m going to tell you to go swim.  I’ll chill by the pool, take a nap, read an book, and watch you have a blast, and be happy by seeing you happy.  It’s the way the world of good relationships is supposed to work, and it’s great.  Everyone’s happy, no one is stressed.

A slight detour of this subject is this, and it may be more important.  It’s okay to try and inch your woman into trying new things, doing the daring do with you that she says she doesn’t want.  But you MUST LEARN where her no-fly zone lies.  At some point, she will not budge, and when you cross that line she will get defensive and she will get angry.  I speak from experience.   If she’s not a bitch, she will not hate you forever for it, just for a few minutes to hours.  But bitches will hold a grudge, and this is another way to indicate when you need to dump dat ass.  Test your girl, if she doesn’t hold it against you or over your head, you can subtly learn her breaking point and steer clear.

This has been a public service announcement.  Thank you. 😀

 

~SVG

How Far I’ve Come

A couple days ago I decided I needed some stability in my writing life.  A great supporter of this idea came from shopping at Target, a very dangerous thing for me.  Target is one of those places where I can just shop for hours and not realize I’ve been there more than thirty minutes.  I stand and ponder my purchase so thoroughly, I’ve actually had women yell at me to move.  But I stand and I stare and I create the possibilities of my purchase.  This last visit was no exception.

Walking through the aisles, I always manage to navigate myself toward the books, and more importantly to the planner and journal section.  I love small journals.  I collect them out of need and habit, and it’s so much fun!  Expensive, but fun.  So I’m browsing along the endcaps, and there sitting among the funky clearance jumble is a big, pretty box.  Intrigued by the orange edging (I am a freak for orange anything) I lifted the magnetic lid and found a filing container.  Exciting, right?! It’s sad, I suppose, to be so happy over a box I can file things in, but this is something I’ve been mulling over for weeks.  How can I keep my journals in order and in the same place from now on? I was hoping to just try magazine holders, but it’s not as easy to see which journal is which and they don’t hold too many things.  This filing box is not only attractive (orange orange orange :D), it is also wide enough for plenty of journals, more than I already have filled. And on clearance? MINE!

And that, of course, led to more journal buying and a consideration of how best to begin my organization montage of the evening.  I began looking through all my journals and realized that I had a big mess of notes for poetry, novel notes, and novel draft chapters all in the same place with no markers.  I found simple little notes I had been looking for months ago and had given up on, only to change that part of my story.  I unearthed long-forgotten poems, cut in half, with the second half still floating the backwoods of my brain.

So that brings me to now, as I sit with a personally historical journal in one hand, a blank slate and pen in the other.  Each new journal will have its own function, either poetry, novel notes, or novel chapter drafts, so I can look back on each one directly.  And I couldn’t be having more fun with it.  I’m only working on the Elaseim notes right now, and the changes through this story since when I started college are just incredible. There are pieces I forgot I had kept from the original idea, and it amazes me I can hold onto these ideas for so long and have them so seamlessly blend into my new storyline ideas.  Characters morphing from one idea to the next, and who knows if they’re really at home with themselves yet or not.  My idea to have Rana as a child during the fall of the Elaseim instead of an adult is a testament to how much these things can change, and why I have held back from going too much further with chapter writing.

I just wanted to share the little journey with you.  It’s tons of fun and will continue, I’m sure, to be full of discovery.  What kind of changes have your stories gone through over the years? How did you know when your storyline was really ready for manuscript? I’m worried I’m falling into a circle of notes and mind drafts instead of just writing manuscript and being confident in the story I’ve developed.  When do you stop making changes and just write? Give me help, guys, anything will do. Thanks and cheers.

 

~SVG