Uncategorized

Tea Party

Tea Party

“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

I love great quotations and epigraph. In fact, my original draft of Transcender: First Timer, featured an epigraph at the beginning of each chapter, but due to space and copyright considerations, I dropped them before publishing the book. Since, as you may have noticed, I’ve had a bit of difficulty keeping up with my blog recently *blushes*, which I attribute to lack of a consistent theme, I’ve decided to select a favorite quotation or epigraph each week and write about it here.

I chose to begin this blog series with one of my favorite quotations on writing from Steven Pressfield’s the War of Art, a book I highly recommend to any writer or aspiring writer. For me, the above quotation beautifully sums up a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs when I’m writing. During those mystical magical times, when I’m in the zone and the elusive Muse drops by for tea, the story takes on a life of it’s own, almost as if it’s writing itself. It can be an eerie experience. I’ve had characters say and do things I never planned or even dreamed of including in the storyline. But in that otherworldly place where my own existence is subservient to the narrative, it’s the characters’ story not mine, and I’ve found it best to let them run with it.

For example [spoiler alert if you haven’t read the entire Transcender Trilogy]: In a scene in Book Two of the Trilogy, one character tells another that someone with whom she is close is not human at all, but an automaton. Of course she was stunned to learn this—but so was I! It definitely was NOT a planned plot element. I soon realized, however, I should have known it all along, and if he could fool me, he could certainly fool her. In fact it worked so well with the rest of the story that I couldn’t imagine why I hadn’t thought of it in the first place.

These are the mind-blowing moments that make all the drudgery, anxiety, and crippling self-doubt of being a writer worthwhile. Of course, it takes some sustained writing for this marvel to occur, but anyone who has slogged away crafting an entire book has most likely entertained the Muse on more than one occasion. Here’s hoping she visits you (and me) often!

Wishing you happy reading and writing and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads or surrogate dad’s out there!

Award for the short story "Nowhere, Man," by Vicky Savage

Award for the short story “Nowhere, Man,” by Vicky Savage

Okay, okay, I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I’m feeling in the Christmas mood. The holiday season always inspires me to be hopeful and energized. That feeling of excitement arrived a bit early for me this year! free-clipart-christmas-4niBb89cA

This logo in the left corner is an award I was honored to receive in Writer’s Digest’s annual writing competition for my short story “Nowhere, Man.” One of the reasons I’ve neglected my blog for so many months is that I’ve been focused like a maniac on improving the quality of my writing by creating shorter works of fiction (and a bit of non-fiction and poetry). This award was like receiving an early Christmas present. It’s gratifying to have my work recognized, and I sincerely hope to see more of these darlings in the future!

Delving into the world of literary short fiction has been an eye opening, educational, and sometimes frustrating experience. On the positive side, the satisfaction derived from completing a project comes much more often than with novel writing. A novel can take me up to a year or more to complete. On the negative side, the rejections also arrive much more often. One of my workshop instructors noted that the odds of having a short story published in a literary magazine are lower than the odds of getting into Harvard. As daunting as that statistic sounds, the worst part for me is actually having to develop new project ideas at a dizzying pace. Finish one story and bam! gotta start another one. All my old characters and the worlds I created must be abandoned for new ones, and just when I was getting to know them. But the next tale is always waiting to be spun.

I learned something valuable about myself during this process: While I enjoy writing short stories, and will always have one or two in the works, my temperament is better suited to long term projects (novels and series). I like getting up each morning and knowing exactly what I’m going to write that day. It may not always come out precisely as I intended when I sat down, but at least I know what the chapter is supposed to be about. And I like making friends with my characters and having them in my life for more than a few weeks at a time.

Consequently, I’m working on getting back to my roots and developing ideas for a new series (Yay!). I’m also compiling a collection of some of my short stories, which I hope to publish around the first of the year, while continuing to submit my already completed stories to contests and publications.

I regret I’ve been so absorbed in other projects that I haven’t updated my blog more frequently and haven’t posted many (read: any) book reviews lately, but I intend to be more diligent about that. Two non-fiction books I’ve read recently and highly recommend are:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Can’t say enough about this wonderful book and its healthy approach to living the creative life. It’ll make you feel good about yourself and whatever creative outlet you choose to pursue. I listened to the audio book narrated by the author and found it absorbing and entertaining throughout.

How to Write Short, Word Craft for Fast Times, by Roy Peter Clark. Roy Clark is a real smart guy when it comes to the art of writing, and I love all of his books, but this one is my favorite. Not just for writers, it has practical advice for everyone on how to write shorter and crisper, whether posting a tweet, or undertaking the great American novel.

Hope to share more soon. In the meantime, have a Happy Halloween!
jack-o-lantern-630382_1920

 

*On my birthday my amazing daughter gave me Joni Mitchell The Complete Poems and Lyrics. I’d sleep with this awesome book under my pillow if I thought some of Joni’s creativity could transfer to me by osmosis! You may recognize the title of this post from one of her songs.

This week I received this awesome piece of fan art, which had me smiling all day long. It inspired me to compile a list of Ways to Make an Indie Author smile.

Jaden Beckett by Kat Gavin

Jaden Beckett by Kat Gavin

 

  1. Write a nice review on Amazon.com. Roughly 80-90% of Indie Author book sales come from Amazon.com. Good reviews help sell books. A ton of good reviews on Amazon is like a pocket full of gold!
  2. Drop a line to an Indie Author. Most authors have Facebook fan pages or blogs where you can send a short message letting them know you enjoyed the book. I’m always thrilled to get one of these messages, and I make an effort to respond to each one.
  3. Recommend the book to friends. Help the Indie Author get the word out by recommending the book on Goodreads, sharing it with your book club, or just telling someone who likes to read about it.
  4. Tweet about the book. Post the book link on Twitter and say why you loved it.
  5. Post the book link on your Facebook page. Don’t forget to add your recommendation.
  6. Do a piece of Fan Art. Okay, I realize not everyone has the talent to do a piece of fan art, but I was blown away to receive the sketch featured on my blog today. It’s of my main character Jaden Beckett, by talented artist (and Transcender Trilogy fan) Kat Gavin. What a fabulous tribute to the trilogy!
  7. Put together a short Book Trailer. Again, not everyone is talented enough to do this (myself included), but if you are, and a story has really touched you, put your skills to good use helping more people to discover the wonderful work.
  8. “Gift” the book to family and friends. I have a lot of friends who read, and I’m always using the Amazon.com gifting option to send my favorite Indie books to family and friends for birthdays, holidays, or just because I know they’ll love the story. It’s an inexpensive way to make a friend (and an author) happy.
  9. Follow the Indie Author on social media. “Like” the author’s fan page or the book fan page, or both. Follow the author on Twitter. Subscribe to the author’s blog. All authors, Indies especially, need a good social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, and a blog are important planks in the platform.
  10. Buy the next book!  Sorry, I had to get in a little plug for my new book. If you liked the first two books of the Transcender Trilogy, I hope you’ll consider buying ILLUMINOSITY, Book 3. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KC7IVPW Thanks!

 

 

I’m thrilled to announce that the final installment of the Transcender Trilogy has been released and is now available on Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KC7IVPW.  It’s been a long and eventful year for me, and I admit there were times when I wondered if this day would ever come. Thanks to all the loyal readers who stuck by me through the ups and downs to get to the end of the series.

rsz_illuminosity_amazon_cover

Although I’m thrilled to be moving on to bigger and better projects, it’s with a heavy heart and a few tears that I bid farewell to my characters: Jaden, Ryder, Ralston, Asher, and the rest. I hope you loved them as much as I did! Thanks everyone!

In anticipation of the May 15th release of ILLUMINIOSITY, Book 3 of the Transcender Trilogy, a new box set of Books 1 and 2 has just been released on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K8CTRTK.

Transcender 2 Box Set

This Box Set contains TRANSCENDER: First-Timer (Book 1) and STREAMING STARS (Book 2) plus a Special Excerpt from ILLUMINOSITY (Book 3)

A fast paced series full of action, adventure, romance in parallel worlds. Beloved by fans of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance.

After the untimely death of her mother, Jaden Beckett, believes her life can’t possibly become more complicated … until she suddenly finds herself in the midst of an alternate universe fraught with danger, intrigue and forbidden love. The destiny police want her out. Jaden has other plans.

It’s a great way to catch up on the series. Plus it makes an awesome gift!

So thrilled to unveil the cover for my latest book, ILLUMINOSITY, the exciting third and final installment in the Transcender Trilogy. Once again the talented Carrie Drazek has outdone herself with this gorgeous design.

rsz_illuminosity_amazon_cover

Enter the Giveaway for $50Amazon Gift Card and signed copies of the first two book in the trilogy at ENSCONCED IN LIT http://goo.gl/SdJxfq 

Announcing the Upcoming Release of

ILLUMINOSITY

by Vicky Savage

May 15, 2014

Mystery, romance, and high adventure in parallel dimensions.

In this highly anticipated conclusion to the Transcender Trilogy, Jaden Beckett faces her greatest challenges to date. Her choice is clear: leave the love of her life or face certain death.

With Warrington Palace under siege, Jaden and Ryder are wrenched away from each other, as the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency seeks Jaden’s ultimate demise.

 Heartsick and alone, she begins a new chapter of life as a Transcender, only to discover that her fiercest battle has yet to come.

 Is Jaden safe anywhere in the galaxy? Or should IUGA ask itself that question, having underestimated her before?

With her usual wit and tenacity, Jaden fights to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love.

 

 

 rsz_elizabeth_corrigan_photo                    As part of the Raising Chaos Blog Tour, I’m so pleased to welcome my friend, author Elizabeth Corrigan, to my blog. Elizabeth is the author of Oracle of Philadelphia, and the newly released Raising Chaos, both in the Earthbound Angels series. I loved Oracle and looking forward to reading Raising Chaos!

I believe you’ll find Elizabeth’s post on Naming Characters highly entertaining, and I strongly recommend you check out her books. Just click on the covers:

rsz_oracle_of_philadelphia_800_cover_reveal_and_promotional              rsz_raisingchaos-2500x1563

Enter the Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0510ed30/

NAMING CHARACTERS:

I don’t know about Vicky, but many authors I know agonize over what to name their characters. I have one friend who reads lists of names searching for the perfect one and another who surveys everyone she knows, often to settle on something completely different. I’m not going to say I’ve never done this—I had a recent facebook survey to see whether I should name a character in my new adult fantasy Ysabel or Isadora—but for the most part, I find names easy. I just pick the first thing that pops into my head.  Sometimes this leads to things I’m not sure I’m 100% on board with. One of the main guys in my current work in progress is named Baurus, much to my eternal disappointment, and I have a future Earthbound Angels character named Devlyn. Nonetheless, I am overall grateful for the facility of my naming process.

As I was relating this post to the Earthbound Angels series, I realized I didn’t follow my usual pattern in naming the angels and their associates. Most of the names in Oracle of Philadelphia and Raising Chaos were chosen with care and have some meaning behind them.

I had to choose several names for the main character of Oracle, who we’ll call Carrie, since that is what she goes by when the story begins. I picked her first moniker because it was an everyday name that started with a hard “C” sound. I did something similar for all her historic titles—looked up a list of first names common to the period and picked one I liked that began with a hard “C.” Consequently at different times and to different people, she is Khet, Cassia, Callidora, and Caela.

Everyone comments on how perfect Bedlam’s name is—even my editor, who had some concerns about the anachronism of having a character with that name before a Bethlehem Hospital existed in London. But the funny thing is, when I started writing the book, his name was Bael. Or Baal. I hadn’t 100% decided on the spelling. I picked the name as a typical demon name, based on my repeated playings of Diablo II and my vague knowledge that Baal was a false idol worshipped in the Old Testament. My plan was to have Baal give a different meaning of his name to everyone who asked. But then I looked it up and realized that “Ba’al” was also a name for a lord or spiritual leader or god, and it fit in less well with my plans. Plus, Baal was the root of Beelzebub, and I already had one of those. Around the same time, I came up with the idea of calling him Bedlam, and it stuck. And I’m not sorry for it.

The angels and demons ended up being the easiest characters to name, because most of them already existed. I based my archangels on preconceived notions I had in my head and populated the rest of Heaven and Hell using the very useful Wikipedia entry on Theophory, or putting the word of God into a name, which explained to me at long last why angels have names ending in “el.” I actually discovered that my name—Elizabeth—has the same word in it, and I flipped it around to fit my pattern—Zabethiel—and gave it to Siren (whose name is a nod to the idea that all the angels are also mythological figures). For my own amusement, I started to give my angels all kind of names ending in “el,” regardless of their actual root. Rachel is not truly theophory, and I have characters showing up in later books named Raquel, which means “ewe,” and Asphodel, a part of the ancient Greek Underworld. The only name I have that means absolutely nothing is Keziel, which I picked simply because I liked the way the syllables sounded.

So it turns out I put a lot of effort into what I called my angels. But if you ever read anything else I wrote? Those names I probably just made up.

Contact Elizabeth:

Blog: www.elizabethrcorrigan.com (There’s an r in the middle of that.)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Corrigan-Author/136090576538450

Twitter: @ercorrigan
Bedlam’s Twitter: @BedlamFTW

Follow the tour: http://redadeptpublishing.com/raising-chaos/

ILLUMINOSITY COVER PLACEHOLDERLots of fun things coming up in April. On April 3rd, I’ll have a special guest post on Naming Characters by Elizabeth Corrigan, author of the wonder Oracle of Philadelphia, as part of her Raising Chaos tour. Don’t miss it.

Also, I’m Thrilled to announce that the cover for ILLUMINOSITY, Book 3 of the Transcender Trilogy, will be revealed right here, and on Goodreads and a few other sites, on April 15, 2014. Once again, Carrie Drazek has done a superb job on the design.

The ILLUMINOSITY release date is set for May 15, 2014. Those of you who have requested to be first readers will receive it prior to that date. Stay tuned for more Transcender news!

Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and good wishes! I’m feeling great and so grateful that the Transcender Trilogy will soon be complete and I can move on to the other exciting projects I have waiting in the wings.

Much love,

VSsig-small

"Fear Not the Many Paths of Life." ~ Transecender Motto

“Fear Not the Many Paths of Life.” ~ Transecender Motto

Dear Readers, Friends, and Fans of the Transcender Series,

Many of you have been anxiously awaiting the release of Illuminosity, Book 3 of the Transcender Trilogy. My goal was to have it released this year prior to the holidays. Unfortunately, events not within my control have pushed the release date back a bit. Although I completed the initial draft of Illuminosity, the longest book of the trilogy, in early September, after a routine mammogram later that month, I was hit with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

This shocking news turned my world upside down. Thankfully, the cancer was caught very early and had not spread to my lymph nodes. In the last six weeks I’ve undergone a flurry of tests, two surgeries, and I’m about to begin a course of radiation therapy. Fortunately, I do not need to undergo chemo-therapy. The bottom line is: I am now cancer-free, feeling great, and looking forward to getting back to work full time on my writing.

For those of you waiting for Book 3, please know that even though the holidays are hectic, I’m working on the rewrites in every spare moment. I have a wonderful editor standing by to go over the manuscript when I feel it’s in near-perfect shape. The book will be released immediately after the final edits and formatting are complete.

Carrie Drazek has designed another knockout cover for Book 3 (with a glimpse of Ryder and Arumel). I hope you will love it as much as I do.  A cover reveal and announcement will be published as soon as we have a firm release date.

All of your favorite characters are back in Illuminiosity–Jaden, Ryder, Asher, Ralston, and the rest. A few intriguing new characters are also introduced as Jaden’s life takes some extraordinary new twists and turns. As with the first two books, Book 3 weaves elements of romance, adventure, fun, and even a few tears into an otherworldly tale of destiny and triumph.

Many thanks to all who have read and supported the Transcender Series these past two years. I appreciate your generous reviews, kind notes, and hearty recommendations to others. You are all very dear to me.

While working my way through the challenge of cancer, I’ve tried to keep in mind the Transcender motto: Fear not the many paths of life. Though this new adventure is not a path I would have chosen for myself, it has reminded me to live each day in gratitude. Tomorrow is promised to no one. I am so grateful for all my readers. Thanks for sticking with me!

May your holidays be filled with peace, happiness, and good health!

Much Love,

VSsig-small

Writer's Self Doubt

Okay, you’re cooking along on your manuscript. You love what you’ve written so far, the story’s gelling, and it looks like you might even meet your deadline. Then one day you plop down in front of the computer and what the?… it’s just not there anymore. Your mastery of words has evaporated, your ideas have turned to dust, and your brain is completely sucked dry of all creative juju. It’s even looking like the stuff you thought was so brilliant yesterday is actually a pitiful pile of banal blather that needs to be thrown into the trash compactor with wet coffee grounds poured on top. You begin wondering why you didn’t just become an auto mechanic like your aptitude tests all said you should.

Don’t despair, you just have a case of writer’s self-doubt. It happens to us all of us. At one time or another we all face the fear that our writing just isn’t good enough. So, what’s the cure? Some writers suggest that you simply write your way out of it. Well, hello? Writing’s the problem in the first place. Sometimes a different solution is required to remove the grotesque mass of creativity clogging goo from your stream of consciousness and to get your fingers tapping those keys again in that magical, enigmatic rhythm that causes delicious prose to literally pour onto the page like hot caramel.

Soothing Self-Doubt

Researching this subject, I was stunned at the number of articles on writers’ self-doubt. It’s an epidemic! So how do you wrestle the culprit to the ground and kill it? The short answer is: You don’t! That’s giving self-doubt way too much power over you.

The key is to relax and cut yourself some slack. Self-doubt is like the common cold—you can’t cure it, but you can soothe it and shorten it. Eventually it will go away by itself. Trust me.

Here are a few techniques to soothe and inspire you while waiting for your creative juju to return.

  • Embrace your self-doubt. Robert Hughes said “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” All talented writers have experienced self-doubt at one time or another. So, if you want to be considered up there with the greats, self-doubt is something you learn to deal with.
  • Focus on your accomplishments, and resist the urge to compare yourself to others. Re-read your good reviews and fan posts. Ignore the people who just don’t get your work. It doesn’t matter how amazing your writing is, someone is going to trash it. It goes with the territory. Keep reminding yourself of how much you’ve already accomplished and how much more you still want to do. Call your mom, she’ll tell you how great you are.
  • Find a good book on editing and polish up what you’ve already written. I love the rewriting process, because I always find a sentence or paragraph or scene that can be made better with a little shrewd editing. It builds confidence to improve on what you’ve already got, and it’ll give you something constructive to do until this passes. I recommend Stein on Writing by Sol Stein.
  • Re-read a great piece of writing. Dust off your favorite book of all time and be reminded of what inspired you to write in the first place.
  • Make a list of your favorite phrases, descriptions, and scenes of all time. Read through your list when you feel stuck. Find one emotion-packed word you can use or a phrase you can tailor to fit your own plot. Plug it into your story and start writing.
  • Watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s superb TEDTalk “Your Elusive Creative Genius,” http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html. She’ll convince you that the divine attendant spirit who really writes your books is just taking a little break … she’ll be back!

Most of all, be patient!

About


I’m a writer and author of novels, short stories and poetry. My TRANSCENDER TRILOGY blends science-fiction, fantasy, and romance in an exciting cross-dimensional adventure. My latest, The Weight of Air, is a short work of contemporary fiction presenting a tantalizing "Would I?/Wouldn't I?” dilemma.

Bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Follow

Follow by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner