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Digging Deep

“Digging deep” is a term with several meaning, but what I’m referring to here is when someone reaches deep down inside of themselves to overcome odds that they would usually consider nearly impossible (usually in a pinch, for dramatic flair). I tend to love having characters “dig deep” and squeak out a victory. It’s fun and keeps the reader on edge.

 

I feel Magi of Gaia has a lot of that through its pages, considering how focused it is on high-tension fight scenes. However, as I draft up Aliyah and the Spirit Well, I notice that I keep working with this concept, even though the series is not focused on fighting, but on puzzle-solving. I’m still able to put Aliyah in tough positions and have her use her head to work around whatever is thrown at her. It’s not just that she can solve the puzzles, but that she struggles until the end and doesn’t give up.

 

I’m going to try to work on this new novel with that in mind. Aliyah has been raised by her puzzle-loving father all these years, so she’s developed a keen sense for what she should be looking for in terms of misdirection, red herrings, etc. With that foundation, she’ll have a slight edge when being challenged to solve puzzles under difficult circumstances, such as enduring freezing temperatures or deciding which piece of chocolate is poisoned. Things won’t be easy on her, even with her background, but that’s the point. She needs to be challenged beyond her usual means in order to dig deep and grow as a person.

 

In other words, I’m having a blast writing this story. It has managed to “dig deep” into my brain, apparently.

(Diagonally) Forward!

Spooky month is over, and that’s always sad, but it’s my cue to continue working. You see, I usually take the last week of October off because it’s almost my birthday during that time, so, to me, November 1st is the same as January 1st. It’s back to work and don’t stop until you’re about to drop … or at least until I hit a good stopping point. Whichever comes first.

 

There’s an odd thing happening, though. I’ve made it clear to just about anyone who would listen that I’ve been dying to get to volume three, and I’m certainly happy to write it now that I’ve made it here, but something strange happened over the course of the past few years that have diverted my attention: another story idea.

 

It’s strange, but this new story has been consuming even more of my imagination than Magi of Gaia usually does (which is no small feat), so I decided to take some time during my break and put some ideas to paper. It was fun and surprisingly fulfilling, just like when I write of MoG. For now, I want to work on it a little longer, until I either feel the urge to write it fade or finish it entirely. Of course, I’m not done with MoG. I’m not even having any sort of writer’s block with it. I could get back to work on it right now, but I’m drawn to work on this other story.

 

What kind of story is this new one that is hijacking my attention? Surprisingly, it’s a more kid-friendly book aimed towards middle schoolers to high schoolers. It’s not so concerned with fighting, but there’s still magic involved as well as my specialty of characters slowly growing over time (especially the main character). It’s set in our world at modern times, but where magicians use magic in secret.

 

The main character is a young girl named Aliyah who lives with her father, a work-from-home writer, and mother, who is almost always out of state working. Aliyah has recently moved and finds it difficult to make friends, mostly due to her shyness. As a result, she’s often alone both and home and school, playing a game on her phone. She’s slowly getting used to the idea that she might be what they call a “loner”.

 

Her father is a loving, yet strict, parent who primarily writes books on riddles, and he often shares his riddles with her, just for fun when she was younger, but now that she’s older and quite good at solving them, he often uses her to test out new ideas to see if they’re too easy or too hard.

 

One day, her father decides to go to the library for research material and talks Aliyah into coming with him. There, Aliyah comes across her father’s books and is struck by how strange it is to see his name on a book in a library. She ends up grabbing a few of his books and sits down, flipping through them, recalling be told most of them, and often helping with others.

 

While she looks through the books, feeling a bit nostalgic, a woman walks up to her and starts a conversation. Aliyah doesn’t know her and has trouble communicating through her shyness, but holds a small conversation as she admits that she likes solving riddles and thinks they’re fun. The woman seems pleased by this and offers Aliyah a book of riddles that she was looking to donate to the library, but figured Aliyah would like to enjoy it first. Aliyah isn’t comfortable with accepting a stranger’s gift, but when the woman insists, Aliyah gives in and accepts it, figuring it’s just a normal book.

 

Of course, it isn’t a normal book, and the moment Aliyah opens it, she finds herself in a strange, stone room—a place she will get to know very well over time as a spirit well. Here, she’ll work to solve increasingly difficult riddles and trials, gain a new magical ability for each level she passes, and, through accident, incident, or sheer effort and personal growth, make some friends along the way, in terms of both humans and spirits.

 

There’s a lot more to the story than this, but that’s the general opening. What is a spirit well? Who was the woman that gave Aliyah the book and for what purpose? What kind of magic does she gain and how will they affect her trials? What happens if Aliyah uses magic in public? There’s much to learn, but if you’re interested, let me know. I’ll be working on it either way, but it’ll be nice to know if there is a desire for this type of book. It may be aimed at a younger age group, but it should be entertaining for all ages.

Spooky Month Returns: The Revenge

You know what I love, and that’s October! It’s the perfect month to sit on the couch and watch some scary movies, play horror games, or watch people who are very entertaining play those games. It’s time for all the autumn foods to reemerge and for people to go crazy for pumpkin spice … even though it doesn’t have any pumpkin in it. Thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve had anything with pumpkin spice in it for several years. Maybe I should.

 

Of course, all the fun ramps up towards the end of the year with my birthday and Halloween. Sadly, people don’t really do any trick-or-treating around my area, so I don’t have a reason to get up my own decorations, but, as I posted last year, I love when people make really elaborate set-ups just so the neighbors can have fun.

 

Oh? You thought I wasn’t going to post a video this year?

 

OF COURSE I’M GOING TO POST A VIDEO! LOOK AT THIS!

 

Oh. Sorry. A little bit of my Spooky Month spirit slipped out for a second. My apologies. I think I should get back to work or I’ll definitely start slacking by looking for cool stuff online. I can’t let that happen, so I’ll end this here. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

What happened to August?!

No, seriously. What happened to August? I swear I had just made a blog post last week, and before I knew it, it was the 5th of September! I suppose it’s just another sign of how busy I am that time keep flying like this. I’ve been trying to be more active on my Twitter account, too … for better or worse. Even after this blog entry, I have to fill out a ton of paperwork dealing with personal matters, so even my weekends are a bit hectic.

 

That’s enough complaining about my own time mismanagement, though. A much more pressing issue is that I’ve put the side story on hold for now. Despite the fact that I’ve been brainstorming on it for ages, it just isn’t turning out the way I imagined, so I’m going to let it simmer a while longer while I turn my attention to … working on volume 3!!!

 

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been wanting to get to volume three since I started writing Magi of Gaia. I’ve had all the volumes planned out well in advance, and the third will have the best fight scenes and … wait. No spoilers. I definitely want to, but I have to be careful not to. I’ll leave the part about fight scenes because anyone who has read the first two volumes already knows to expect a fight or two … or three, so I don’t consider that a spoiler. Besides, the fights are all about the substance of the fight, not the actual blows.

 

Um … I honestly wasn’t planning to make a blog today since I only just realize August ran away and hid somewhere while I wasn’t looking, so there’s not much more for me to say. I’m still working on various side jobs for the time being (and just reduced my prices since it’s all about your rating in the beginning), and my writing for volume three is continuing steadily. I wish there was more to talk about since I don’t want to get to that paperwork I mentioned earlier, but I guess I’ll end this one here.

 

I hope everyone stays safe out there!

Always Improving

Well, this month turned out to be a bit more hectic than I first assumed it would be. It started off well enough with my working on the new side story, but it wasn’t progressing all that smoothly. It took me almost the entire month to get to a point where I realized it simply wasn’t hitting me the way I wanted. So, with the first half of the story nearing completion, I decided it might be a good idea to just scrap it and redo the whole thing. This, of course, raises a whole new set of issues, but I’d rather a story be as good as it can be than just “fine” or “passable”.

 

Other than that, I’ve been looking into some doing some very minor jobs on freelance sites to supplement my income. Though there has been an uptick in sales recently (and I’d love for it to stay on this upward trend), the truth is that it simply isn’t enough quite yet, and my funds are starting to run low. I don’t need a ton of extra money, just enough to offset my monthly bills, so it won’t really interfere with my writing too much, but finding a stable position with limited hours in the first place can be difficult.

 

On a completely unrelated note that has absolutely nothing to do with the previous paragraph, remember to support my Patreon account if you are so inclined. It would also be appreciated.

 

There hasn’t been much more going on than that. Like I said, it’s been hectic, and now I’m shifting between looking for a little bit or work, brainstorming how to rewrite the side story from scratch and still be able to get it to where I need it to be, and finally starting on volume 3. It’s going to a long month, but hopefully a fun one, too!

New Volume and Patreon

Well, June certainly was a big month. The second volume’s rollout took up a lot of my energy, but sold fairly well. I would have liked for there to be a larger spike in sales with people buy the first two volumes as a pair (especially since the first volume was on such a major discount), but what can you do? I’m glad I got the sales I did, and I’m even more glad that hassle is over with until volume three is finished … which won’t be for a while.

 

I also set up a nice little Patreon account that might help ease the burden of my limited financial success, but I’m not counting on it, if we’re being honest. It’s there, though, so if you’re reading this and want to support me to make sure volume three arrives in a timely manner, that’s the best way to do it. After all, after how volume two left off, you have to be pretty eager to see what comes next, right? (Okay, okay. I’ll stop.)

 

To be honest, the current project isn’t volume three, but a new side story I’ve been meaning to get started on for ages. It’s proving harder to bring to life than I first anticipated, as my initial characterization of people didn’t make them feel real enough to me. Anyone who has read my books, especially the second volume, know how important realistic character motivations are to me, and that applies to any story I write. It’ll take some work and a bit of time, but I’m hoping for the best, so you should, too!

 

That’s about it. Sorry this was a bit late coming out, but it can get like that around the holidays. Also, I thought about moving all my blog posts to the Patreon account as a treat for anyone who is donating, but there isn’t anyone doing that yet, so I figured it was unnecessary. It’s not out of the question yet, but I’ll let you know if anything changes. Until next time, stay safe and healthy!

Volume Two Released!

It’s here! Magi of Gaia – Volume Two: Nonphysical Damage has finally been released, and volume one is on sale as we speak for only $0.99 (well, the ebook is, at least)! That’s been where the vast majority of my time and effort have been the past month, and I hope my advertising strategy works better than it did for the original release last year. So far, it’s been selling … okay, but not great, but it’s still early. I’ll have to hope for additional sales for volume two to roll in after people have completed reading the first volume.

 

 

Aside from all of that, not too much has been new in my life. Does getting an air fryer count? That probably doesn’t count, does it? It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches, though.

 

 

After this week, I’ll be putting my focus towards fixing up and filling in the website, maybe write an additional side story, and then get back to work on the main series. I already have a few ideas of how I’d like to start the new volume off, so writer’s block will thankfully not be an issue (I hope). I may end up having to completely redo the website from scratch, which will be as fun as it is annoying, but I feel wary every time I access this site and it reminds me I’m still using an outdated editor.

 

 

Anyway, we’re off to a new and exciting start with the second volume’s release, and I hope things continue to go smoothly. Wish me luck, and I’ll wish for your good health and safety!

Here Come The Nerves

Hello once again. Despite my greatest hopes (or, rather, my overly optimistic outlook), Magi of Gaia‘s second volume did not get released last month. Because I’m working with several different people who are all working their own separate jobs, and because certain jobs can’t move forward until other jobs have been completed, it took more time than I originally estimated. Oh well. We move forward regardless of setbacks!

 

Here’s a look at where we currently are:

 

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Drafting: 100% complete!

 

Major adjustments/Checking notes: 100% complete!

 

Rereading/Minor adjustments/Correcting awkward dialogue: In progress, 99.9% complete. (I’m not sure I’ll feel like this is 100% done, even after the book’s release. That’s just how I am.)

 

Finalizing: 80% complete. (This is where I’ll hand the book off to professionals, such as copy editors, graphic designers, and formatting specialists.)

 

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As you can see, the vast majority of finalization has been completed. All that’s left is to decide on how I want the cover, spine, and synopsis to look, then take it to my formatting person who can give me the files I need to upload. Unlike last month where I was overly optimistic, I think it would be pessimistic at this point to think the second volume won’t be published this month. It’s almost a certainty.

 

Outside of the usual update, I’ve also gotten my vaccination this month! It was a strange event, as I signed up for it online, but when I got to the place where the shots were being given out, they said I wasn’t in the system. I thought I had made the trip for nothing, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it and ended up giving me the shot anyway. Maybe they saw the time slot was open on their end and realized it was a glitch in the system? I’ve honestly no clue, but I’m thankful they didn’t assume I was lying and turn me away. That would have been annoying (and embarrassing).

 

I felt rather weak and achy the next day, like I was about to get sick, but that sickness never came. I mostly ended up sleeping it off. It wasn’t fun, but far better than the alternative. I imagine a full-blown sickness taking me right now would be a disaster. I don’t handle getting sick very well. I turn into a complete baby.

 

Honestly, that was the highlight of my month. As usual, I’m not really going out and doing much, though I’m eager to go see a movie sometime in the near future. I don’t know what I’ll see, but I’ll be happy just to get out and do something fun for a change. If I’m lucky, maybe they’ll be playing a nice Studio Ghibli movie. You can never see “Spirited Away” too many times.

 

And that’s it for my usual rambling. Everyone, stay safe and healthy out there! Let’s all have fun together when this is over.

Progress Report

Here we are again, on the eve of a new volume’s release! I feel much less prepared in some ways this time around, yet much more prepared in other ways. I feel like the release is happening much sooner than I expected. It’s probably just nerves, though. In any case, I’m ready for the big day! I even have some ideas for new places to advertise, so that’s good.

 

Before I get ahead of myself, however, let’s look at where the progress is as of this writing:

 

 

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Drafting: 100% complete!

 

Major adjustments/Checking notes: 100% complete!

 

Rereading/Minor adjustments/Correcting awkward dialogue: In progress, 95% complete. (I’m not sure I’ll feel like this is 100% done, even after the book’s release. That’s just how I am.)

 

Finalizing: 20% complete. (This is where I’ll hand the book off to professionals, such as copy editors, graphic designers, and formatting specialists.)

 

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Currently, the book is in the hands of my editor, who is meticulously combing through the book for spelling and grammatical errors. Afterwards, It’ll go to the person in charge of getting the book formatted in both ebook and paperback styles, and finally to the graphic designer who will apply the title, subtitle, synopsis, etc.

 

That’s pretty much it, BUT since you’ve come all this way to read my blog post for this month, I’ll let you in on an upcoming surprise. With volume two coming out, I’ll be putting volume one at a discount temporarily to try and boost sales. I’m not sure if it’ll work, but go ahead and let your friends and family know. Also, books make a great gift, you know.

 

There we go. Shameless marketing. I’ve come a long way haha!

 

Oh, and one last thing before you go. It’s April Fools Day today! In the spirit of a fun day like today, I posted a bunch of April Fools “Quotes” to the Instagram page. Check it out for some non-canonical conversations between characters (that you could absolutely imagine them having). Have a fun day, and remember to prank someone you love!

New Opportunities?

Hello! I hope you’re all still safe out there. I know we’re getting close to having the country (and hopefully world) vaccinated, but don’t let yourself get carried away just yet. We still have a long way to go, so don’t start feeling invincible just yet. Even the Magi are subject to viruses.

 

Anyway, let’s roll out the update and see where we’re at for the second volume.

 

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Drafting: 100% complete!

 

Major adjustments/Checking notes: 90% complete. (Some things still need to be cataloged.)

 

Rereading/Minor adjustments/Correcting awkward dialogue: In progress, 40% complete.

 

Finalizing: 0% complete. (This is where I’ll hand the book off to professionals, such as copy editors, graphic designers, and formatting specialists.)

 

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It’s looking good. Everything is running on schedule, and hopefully by the end of the month, I’ll be sending it off to my editor to give it a good look-over for me.

 

Enough about that, though. Let’s switch over to something a little more interesting. Recently, I’ve discovered (or rather, someone advised me to take a look at) a new platform for authors trying to get their books out into the public eye. This platform is ebookfairs.com and is free for readers (authors pay a small fee, it seems), and from what I can gather, it seems like it’s a large group of people that advertise their books through each others’ social media platforms. This would mean I would post advertisements for someone’s book on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while others would do the same for me.

 

Of course, I need to look into this a bit more to make sure I’m not misunderstanding how things work, but it seems like a great way to advertise for one a small amount of money … which would be useful right now, if I’m being honest. I’ll look further into this, but while I do that, feel free to check out the site and explore it at your leisure. Like I said, it’s free for readers, so look into it and see if there are any books you might enjoy.