Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 38 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

(Again, we shall revel in my teenage originality.  Everyone groan in unison.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

Fate’s senses return to the sound of loud, dripping water and the smell of rotting, half-eaten flesh.  The small room he finds himself in is extremely dirty and damp.  Pairs of tiny, red eyes look at Fate from the many shadows and patiently wait for him to lay down and die.  Distant yells and howls can be heard from the pit where the other three guardians are being toyed with.  Fate finally notices Infinity looking out of the only window in their cell.  They are trapped and neither of them can see a way of escaping.

“What’s happening out there?” asks Fate as he gets off the small, uncomfortable bed that he was lying on.  A small stretch causes the sound of popping joints to fill the room.

“Nothing interesting.  From what I’ve been able to piece together, they seem to be waiting for Psylon.  Adriana is getting very restless and screaming louder every time I hear her voice.  But Psylon must still be out cold where we left her.  You feeling okay?” replies Infinity while staring out the circular window, which is the size of a classroom globe.

“Great for someone who just got smashed into the ground by an angry immortal killing machine.  Are Draveon and Kilanus by the pit or are they stuck guarding us?”

“I think they’re stuck guarding us, but I’m not absolutely sure about that.  You have better eyesight when it comes to distance.  I’m so glad you made a foolproof plan that would be easy to follow.  Any other bright ideas, Fate?  Maybe we can escape and take on every villain out there with our arms cut off.”

“Stop with the sarcasm.  Just give me a couple of minutes to look around and maybe I can get us out of here.”  Fate walks toward the large, green door that is holding them in.  After a closer examination, he notices several badly camouflaged wires running along the hinges and finds a big battery hidden in the shadowy ceiling.  Other than the wires on the hinges, it appears to be a harmless cell door.

“Did you try to break this door down while I was knocked out?” mentions the Mars guardian as he kicks a human leg bone that is lying near his boot.  The bone bounces into the shadows where loud squeaks and sickening crunches follow the bone’s disappearance.  The noises help in making both teenagers a lot more nervous.

“No.  I wanted you to wake up and be able to walk on your own two feet.  You didn’t expect me to drag you out of this warship.  Why do you ask?” states Infinity while he turns away from the window.  He walks over to Fate and looks at the big door in an attempt to find the weakest spot to punch.

“It’s an electrified door.  Or at least has an alarm on it.  See those almost camouflaged wires on the hinges.  They go into the battery attached to the ceiling, which means electricity is going through the door.  There’s no telling how many volts are being sent through it.  It might be enough to knock us out for years or even kill us.”

“That could really wreak our day.  Hey, Fate.  Now I got a plan.  As soon as we get out of this walk-in closet, we’ll split up and try to find a way out of this warship.  We can figure out how to destroy it after we get the others and return to the sun base.  A retreat is definitely in order due to our lack of skill already.”

“What are you talking about?  We can’t leave this cell without the key or touch the damn door without shocking ourselves into unconsciousness.  This battle is over and we lost.  We weren’t ready for this.”

“Is that any way for the future leader of the guardians to talk?  I don’t think acting like all hope is lost will give any confidence to the rest of us.  So, shut up and we can get out of before those creatures run out of bones.”

“Who told you about me being the new leader?  It was only between me and Solix.  And probably SEAS if he was in that red diamond of his.”

“You kept mumbling about it while you were asleep on the bunk.  I warned you long ago that you tend to talk in your sleep.  Especially when dreaming about Miracle.  Thank god we don’t stay at each other’s houses anymore.  Anyway, don’t worry about it.  I have no problem with who’s in charge of us as long as it isn’t me.  Miracle will probably be happy for you, but Hydrana will want to be our leader instead of you.  No big surprise there.  Now stand back and marvel at my genius,” explains Infinity.  He points at the door and releases a spark of telekinetic energy from his extended finger.  The heavy door silently falls off its hinges and the two guardians escape into the dark hallway.  They swiftly put the cell door back up in order to make it look like nothing ever happened.

“Which way are you going, Fate?  Left or right,” whispers Infinity.  Before he turns around, he sees Fate running off to his left.  He tries to call to his friend, but the Mars guardian has already melted into the shadows.

“Okay.  I guess I’m going to the right,” mutters the Earth guardian as he leaves the cellblock.

Soon after they leaves, Kilanus arrives so she can give the prisoners their last, disgusting meal.  It is a bowl full of dead cockroaches and a thick green sauce covers them.  A pitcher also holds murky water with pieces of meat in it.  When she notices that no one is in the cell, she sprints off at top speed in the direction that Infinity had went.

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7 Tips to Using Addiction in Fiction

Kind of strange to end the War of Nytefall: Ravenous promo posts with this subject, but here we go.  It was the biggest challenge of the story, but I think I learned a lot when doing it.  Nothing is perfect and that’s okay.  In fact:

  1. People are imperfect.  That is important to remember when it comes to addiction.  The addict is flawed and suffering, which is why they turned to whatever it is that they are hooked on.  Those who help them are flawed and suffering, so they may think more about how they are feeling instead of the person they want to help.  Understanding is not automatic and might never happen to the fullest extent.  We tend to think understanding and acceptance are the same thing too.  This combined with people being flawed means that it will always be messy.
  2. An addict doesn’t do it because they want to destroy themselves.  There are events and feelings that lead to the addiction.  It can be depression, anxiety, peer pressure, or a severe loss.  Might even be an injury and they accidentally get addicted, so they don’t entirely realize their situation.  Many times, fiction authors will present the addict as someone who is consciously out to wreck themselves.  This is rarely the case and is typically done to make sure that character is never seen as a victim.
  3. It will not always be obvious to the other characters that their friend is an addict.  With it being well-known that this type of behavior is frowned up, the addict is more likely to keep their activities hidden.  It gets more difficult as they move along, but people don’t pick up on it right away.  Now, those who are close to them might catch on fairly quickly because they see clear changes.  It could just be knowing that something is off or they might investigate to figure things out.  Either way, the addict doesn’t come out as one within a week of getting hooked in order to make things clear.
  4. You may be tempted to have another character get angry at the addict and lash out at them for being selfish or stupid.  If this fits that character’s personality then it might be the way to go.  In reality, may people attempt this with the idea that such actions will snap the addict out of their addiction.  It’s really for the person to release their own emotions of anger, frustration, horror, shock, and/or betrayal.  It hurts to see someone you know fall into such an abyss and PEOPLE ARE IMPERFECT.  That being said, you really can’t have the addict go ‘you are right and now I’m done’.  Guilt-tripping and shaming rarely, if ever, works in this type of situation.  Not for any long-term sobriety since the addict might only be keeping clean to avoiding getting yelled at.  If the angry person is removed from their life in some way, they could go back.
  5. Humor is a difficult thing to do when it comes to stories about addiction.  You don’t want to make the addict come off as a joke, but people are weird when it comes to dealing with tension.  There are those who try to joke about a situation because they are uncomfortable and use laughter as a shield.  The addict can take offense at this if you go this route, but it’s a big risk.  Readers can mistake what you’re doing as mocking the concept of addiction.
  6. There is no way to write about addiction without touching on the emotions.  You need to make it clear what the characters are feeling.  It can be through words, actions, or inner monologues.  The addict’s reasoning needs to be made clear as well as the intentions and opinions of those who seek to help.  If the reader doesn’t see the depth of the emotions that lead to and/or come from addiction then the topic will come off more as a gimmick.  So, do not be afraid to having crying, shouting, physically lashing out, and as much of the ugly side of the human psyche that you can muster for something like this.
  7. If or when you decide to tackle the rehabilitation part of an addiction story, you can’t make it a quick.  You can’t make it clean.  It is going to be difficult and painful because the addict is trying to get over a mental, physical, and emotional crutch.  They have become dependent on whatever they are using, which means they can easily fail in their first attempt to get clean.  Making it too easy can be perceived incorrectly since it rarely works that way.  In fact, people may think the author wants to rush through the subject and only added it for some attention.  Especially if the addict goes completely back to what they were right away.  There may always be habits that remain after the addiction is gone.
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October

Great tour and overview of what C.S. Boyack has to offer this Halloween season.

Entertaining Stories

October is my favorite month of the year. I’ve made no secret about it. The temperatures suit me just fine, I like the Autumn colors, and seeing pumpkins everywhere. It’s the month of my birth, so maybe that’s part of the attraction. I think you can see how some of that influences my writing choices.

I’m about to go back on the road with a new book. I always try to have something for the Halloween season. It’s been a good month for me, year in and year out.

Somewhere along the way, I’ll give Entertaining Stories a facelift. Some kind of creepy background and an updated banner to help with my new story. By the time this goes live, I may have already done it. No firm commitment, but it’s happening.

All of my regulars have read at least some of my work, but there are new people surfing…

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Editing Phases

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

Not that you asked for this, but because someone I know had nooooooo idea what I’m currently doing to put bread on the table (“Um, writing?” was the guess), I thought I’d share what I do before I announce the winner of John Howell’s scrumptious novel, Eternal Road. Feel free to mentally check out if you’re not interested. Or, find yourself some coffee/tea and a doughnut/muffin/cookie/peanuts/whatever if you are.

 

I mentioned in a previous post that I wear many hats. These days, I am a freelance book editor/writer. Some people think editing is glorified proofreading—that all I do is check for typos and maybe correct a few mistakes in grammar.

Usually, when I’m hired by a publisher to edit a novel, I have to do what’s called a revision pass on the book. During that phase, I read the book and make notes on what the author needs to…

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Teaser Tuesday: The Mistress and the Lady #fantasy #vampires

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Hope people have been enjoying the War of Nytefall: Ravenous teasers.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue it going through October or take a break to do something more Halloween-y.  Anyway, I figure it’s a time for Nadia Sylvan to get a scene.  Check out the full book for the whole story.  Feel free to leave a review too.  Those are more precious than gold and infinitely harder to find.

Continue reading

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Writing Addiction in Fiction

This might be simplifying up above, but it does come off that way at times.  As I said on Friday, War of Nytefall: Ravenous has a very serious subplot that deals with addiction.  You might be wondering how I could add that into a fantasy action adventure series about vampires.  Well, it wasn’t easy, but I tackled PTSD in Legends of Windemere to some extent, so why not plunge into a sensitive topic this time?  My third series will be more light-hearted . . . I think.  Anyway, I’m going to talk about how I went about adding this into the story.

Over my lifetime, I’ve interacted with recovered addicts and those who I would later learn were current addicts.  I’ve read it from a science and personal story perspective as well as watching videos.  Being born in the 1980’s, I was nearly bombarded with the concept of addiction and how destructive it could be.  In college, I wandered through articles about the psychology around it as well.  One thing that always struck me is that many addicts reach a point where they want to stop, but can’t do it.  It’s when you need friends and family the most, which is an on-going concept in Nytefall.  Many characters get their strength from those around them, which is another reason I thought that this could be a perfect opportunity to tackle the subject.

Another thing I’ve learned is that everyone reacts to addiction stories differently.  It can depend on what the person is addicted to.  Notice that I haven’t given a specific here, but I’m sure people have thought only of drugs and alcohol.  Anyway, people do have more sympathy for some addictions than others.  Others immediately look down on the addict and consider them a worthless character even if they recover.  There is a lot of judgement when it comes to addiction in real life and it carries over into fiction.  Sadly, these judgments are rarely nice or sympathetic.  When somebody doesn’t pull out of their spiral even with help, we can get frustrated and think that they truly don’t want to.  This may be true in some cases, but others are simply that they can’t.  People ignore the psychology behind this, which can include anxiety, depression, self-destruction, and a sense that one is defined entirely by their addiction.  I considered all of this when I tackled this subject in my book.  Can’t say it goes off perfectly, but I’d like to think I made one where you can get the sense that there is more to it than ‘needing a hit’.

Addiction can be triggered by many things.  The desire to fit in is one that we tend to forget and it can be overshadowed by a sense of rebellion.  Peer pressure can be really destructive for those who are already psychologically struggling to find their place.  Keep in mind that these people could have been turned to healthier paths, but they weren’t for one reason or another.  It could be that they were targeted by someone with dark intentions or the healthier groups already ostracized them.  You never know.  This also shows that anxiety and depression can lead one to addiction as well.  It’s the whole dulling of pain and distracting yourself mentality.  You can’t cope with the powerful emotions, so you try to kill them off.  You can end up destroying the positive emotions along with the negative and leaving only the numbness.  Again, this depend on the addiction.  I’m definitely leaning more towards drugs and alcohol here, but others have a similar effect.

Adding addiction into War of Nytefall was a difficult decision and it came about during a rewrite of an outline.  I realized that the character was in so much pain that they couldn’t shrug it off.  They were drawing into themselves, but then had moments where they were incredibly manic.  I gave them an addiction to see if it explained things and it created this agonizing, raw subplot.  Not only watching the person go through the addiction, but those around them trying to help.  Never forget that you have to factor in how people react to the problem.  That was probably the hardest part.  It’s easy to have a character do the physical act of addiction.  Emotions and psychology of them and their loved ones are harder because you need to open yourself to some uncomfortable truths.  Not everyone can understand the mentality.  Not everyone will support that person.  There can be times where things are made worse.  People can start to recover and fall again.  It’s simply how it seems to work.

So, what do you think about addiction in fiction?

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How to Publish with KDP: Part Sixteen

Story Empire

Image courtesy of bigstock.com

Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part sixteen in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Sixteen: How to get your categories and keywords right.

You enter your keywords and categories on the book ‘details’ page, which is also where you will have input your book title and author details, etc.

Because Amazon’s search algorithms take into account your book title and subtitle, you don’t need to repeat any of those words in your keywords choices.

Currently, you’re allowed to input a total of seven keywords and two categories.

Amazon, for whatever reason…

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It’s Here! Series Finale: THE LAB

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! I feel like I’ve been waiting more than a year to write this post… because I have! Though I’m sure you feel like I’ve been doing nothing but releasing Astral Conspiracy Series books lately.

Also because I have.

I wrote this series over the course of many months, but my publisher saved them all to release within a short time frame so we wouldn’t keep readers waiting for long between books. Today, it’s my profound honor and pleasure to announce the fifth and final book of the series, The Lab, is now live.

This series is a spinoff of the Invasion Universe saga by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. I had to work within a world and timeframe they’d already created. I’ve written in pre-established worlds before and didn’t think I’d do it again. Doing so comes with unique challenges. But this world was fascinating to…

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Time for More Completed Puzzles . . . Eh, It’s a Hobby

Took me a while to figure out when I last did one of these.  It was back in May when I finished all of those Thomas Kinkade superhero ones.  I kept wanting to post more, but I kept forgetting.  So, here’s the newest set:

Strange NY Giants puzzle I got for $10

This is the one I did after the previous two had missing pieces

Harder than expected because I didn’t have a decent guide

This one came from my aunt

Love tigers

I was really worried about this one. The puzzle is a different material than the others and seemed to have actual paint on them. So, scratching was a risk.

Self-Explanatory

Another puzzle where I had no guide other than the picture on the box.

This one was fun. Felt like a good one to end on too.

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Goal Post: Weekend Before the Hunger Strikes (Yom Kippur on Monday)

I feel like these posts don’t really have anything interesting these days.  I wish I was doing more exciting things or stuff that I could talk about in public, but that’s not how my life is going lately.  One would surmise that life is boring from what I just said, but it’s really just busy.  Ending every day tired and fighting to get a little me time shows that I’ve been working hard.  The thing I’m battling against isn’t even a person, but my own fatigue, so it isn’t even an exciting struggle.

All that being said, I am proud of how work went.  Very proud of the students I work with and how they did.  The other responsibilities that I have are going well and I’m helping to put some systems together.  Realized that I’m becoming a little more social and energetic too, which could be caused by getting to ‘create’.  It isn’t a story, but helping to build something new always gets my energy going.  Predicting issues, fixing problems, smiling at successes, and even the headaches of failure are a mix that leaves me oddly happy.  It’s like writing a novel where you start with an outline and then adjust as you move along with the actual story.  I get to be creative and use my problem solving skills, which I don’t get to utilize as often as I’d like.  Definitely helps with handling all the changes caused by Covid-19.

War of Nytefall: Ravenous is still for sale.  Nothing gets it to move and I can’t afford to do anything.  This is added frustrated because I feel like my lot in life is to publish books that nobody reads.  Maybe I’ll get everything written and out then people will discover me long after I’m gone.  How morbid is that?  Look, we all know how this rant goes, so I’ll spare you the rest.  I’m still writing and plan on publishing when I can.

War of Nytefall: Eulogy got 3 more chapters added to it since the last post.  Well, I’m doing one of those today.  Maybe it was 4?  This book is harder to do because it’s the final one, so I’m saying good-bye to characters.  Unlike Legends of Windemere, I’m putting a higher death count and ending on a darker story.  Another thing is that you have to read more than just the one book to really get the impact.  I’m seeing how this aspect of the story is the real core instead of the titular war or the fate of the Dawn Fangs.  Honestly, I could have inadvertently made another vampire love story here.  Hard to tell since I still do a lot of action adventure, but the Clyde/Mab relationship is showing itself to be the cornerstone.  Hard to explain this without spoilers and with the knowledge that most people haven’t touched the series.

In other writing news . . . I got nothing.  I designed 1 short story for a future collection and I don’t even think I finished that.  Usually, I work on this during my free periods, but I’ve been running around a lot during those.  Might be able to finish this one outlining project by the end of next week since I have only 1 more short story to add.  Then, Ruins of the Zodiac Gods will get its turn, which I haven’t figured out yet.  Thinking of making that a short story collection with 14 tales.  This involves a blind main character and another with power that she can’t quite control.  If you’re curious, check out a post from earlier in the year.

Haven’t been able to do much biking because of my schedule.  I wake up around 5 am, which gives me no time for biking.  I shower as soon as I get home, so it’s ridiculous to bike and shower again.  Waste of water and toiletries there.  So, I’ll carve out a few weekend days and make sure to spend most of my time on my feet at work.  I walk around a lot, which may help.  The diet is changed a little too.  I have a big breakfast of bacon omelet and some toast with chocolate milk, which helps me get through most of the day.  I have a small lunch of Kitu Super Coffee around noon, which makes sure that I don’t get hungry until 5:30 PM.  Then, it’s a decent dinner, which varies.  I try to avoid snacking as much as possible and stick to seltzer or water.  Maybe do 1-2 cheat meals a week, which I plan so I make sure I don’t eat a lot before or after that.  I’m sure people will be tempted to criticize and suggest ‘improvements’ to what I’m doing.  All I ask is that you don’t.  Nothing is as demoralizing as creating a method that works within your schedule and doesn’t add stress then being told how it’s terrible.  I really believe that the biggest destroyer of diets is unrequested advice.

Let’s see . . . Finished watching ‘Black Butler’.  Began watching ‘D-Grayman’, which is 116 episodes.  I’ve watched up to 51/52 in the past, so I’m glad to have access to the rest. By the time I finish that anime, ‘The Boys’ Season 2 should be entirely out and I’ll binge both seasons.  Hard to watch that show when I’m getting used to the new schedule or have my son around.  I’ll have to think about what to watch after that.  I’ve got time since I use most of my free time for War of Nytefall: Eulogy.

Goals of the week

  1. Survive Yom Kippur on Monday.  Jewish day of Fasting.  My blog responses may be highly delayed.
  2. Write another chapter of War of Nytefall: Eulogy
  3. Spend as much time with son as possible.
  4. Work, which is really a given.
  5. TV when too tired to do anything else.
  6. Start a new puzzle.
  7. Maybe prepare some January blog posts.
  8. Rue something.
  9. Possibly get ice cream one day.
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