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Wow, this place is dusty. I mean, really dusty. Layers of dirt and cobwebs everywhere. It’s not the first time I’ve taken an unintended break from my writing, letting it fall to the side for more than a month, but I think this is the longest gap I’ve had in posts since starting this blog. Previous breaks from writing were at least peppered with good intentions of trying to return, a day here or there where I’d post, and then still fall back into the break.

But it has been almost 2 full months since I posted even an attempt at keeping up with my writing. Which is because I haven’t attempted to keep up with my writing since February 17th. Looking back through my blog, it was even before that that I really started into this slump. It’s interesting to me, at least, to see the progression. It went something like this:

I finished revising my first novel, “Pithea,” to the point of even being able to send it off to a few publishing companies.

I dove right into revising my second novel, the first draft of which had already been written.

I got a new job on the weekends, which largely affected the rest of the week enough to make finding time and energy to write more difficult.

I hit an early roadblock in revising my second novel, and more time and thinking was required to push past it.

My new job started to ask more of me than I expected, including working during the week for a few weeks, thus exhausting me more and making things more strained at home.

I made a conscious decision to put off revising for a few weeks, dropped my daily writing habit, and let myself be lazy in the evenings (my normal writing time) instead of pushing myself to sit at my desk and get some writing work done.

It’s important to note that I am one who in the past has insisted that even people who lead busy lives should be able to find time to write. And I’m not saying now that it’s not true, but I definitely have more perspective on that now. It only took one change to my life and normal routine to throw me off enough to just give up on writing for a while. It took me two months to get to where I am right now, which is starting to feel a strong enough desire to get back to my writing that I’m willing to put aside the lazy evenings for more structured ones again.

It may take a few weeks to be back to where I was for 9 months before this break, writing almost every day. I don’t know when I’ll have time or ideas for another Write Every Day post. It may even take me a few wasted evenings of going back over what I was last doing in my work before I’m able to make any real progress. But the important thing is that I’m finally feeling up to it again.

Something else that bothers me about this break I took is that I fell away from all things writing and blogging. I haven’t read posts by others that I normally keep up with, and I know there’s no way I can find time to go back through 2 months worth of posts (not that I follow all that many blogs regularly).  I’m going to scan through my WP reader and try to hit the highlights, but I don’t want to take so much time reading that it hurts my attempt to start writing again.

I do want to say that I appreciate those of you who contacted me during the last few months to check in or ask if everything was okay. I’m sorry I didn’t respond at the time. I didn’t mean to be rude or anti-social, I just couldn’t get my head into the right space to think about any of this. Hopefully that makes at least some sense.

Thanks for reading my rambling. I hope things get back to normal around here soon. I miss my story world, and even the blogging world I’d created.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 15, 2016

Words/Time:  620 words of writing practice using my Writer Emergency Pack for the first time. With The Triangle published and “Pithea” as far as I can take it for now, my attention turns to “Pursuit of Power.” I’m going to wait at least until Monday to start into revision, partly because my brain could use a rest and partly because I’m not even sure where/how to start. But I didn’t want to let the day go by without writing. I wrote a little bit about the MCs in “Pursuit of Power,” though it was about what would come after that book. It was more enlightening than I thought it would be.

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Pithea, an excerpt

I have posted most of chapter 3 of “Pithea” over on my story blog . I’ll post a little of it here, but if you want to read more, follow the link at the bottom of the text.

If you want some information about the world to better understand some of what is going on here, check out some of the links on this page (Power and Madness would be the key ones for now). However, the excerpt could probably be read without a lot of prior knowledge and be understandable.

This is the first time I’m sharing this much of my novel with anyone outside of family or others who have been somewhat involved in the process. Any comments, questions, or constructive criticism are welcome.


By the time Naolin got back to the inn, it had finally stopped raining. It was dark out, but he wasn’t tired and didn’t want to spend the rest of the night holed up in his room. So instead, he sat down on a bench outside of the inn. He didn’t care that it was wet. He was wet too. A person or two walked by, but nothing interesting happened.

Then two people came flying around the corner of a nearby building, shattering the quiet of the street. Naolin was surprised to recognize his traveling companion as one of the two people, and he jumped to his feet when he saw the frightened look on their faces.

“Missy!” he yelped. “What’s going on?”

His question was answered when a tiger scrambled around the corner behind her. He didn’t know why there was a tiger loose in the city, nor did he care. He jumped up, drawing his sword, and ran to meet Missy and her friend. Blackthore had already turned back to attack the tiger as Naolin reached Missy. Naolin grabbed her arm and pulled her toward him, at the same time stepping past her.

“Ow! What are you doing?” she protested. She yanked her arm out of his grip, and he turned to face her.

As the tiger knocked Blackthore to the ground, Naolin insisted, “You can’t fight this thing. It’s probably maddened, and you only have common training.” Without waiting to see if she would listen to him, he ran over to the tiger and found a nice, open, fleshy spot to insert his sword.

The tiger didn’t like that very much, and it quickly turned around to swat at Naolin with its huge paw. Naolin dropped low to the ground, narrowly avoiding its attack, and then scrambled to the side of the beast. Meanwhile, Missy had gone to help Blackthore up, and then she drew her own dagger. Before she could rush at the tiger herself, Blackthore buried his blade into its rump. It roared in anger and lashed out at the first person it saw, which happened to be Missy. It knocked her down and stood over her.

Blackthore kicked the tiger in the face in an attempt to distract it. It wouldn’t take long for the beast to seriously injure or even kill Missy. Fortunately, Blackthore was successful in his attempt to refocus the tiger’s attention on him, giving Naolin the chance to come around and pull Missy out from under it.

“Just go and find us some help,” he demanded. He refrained from pointing out that he’d been right. Fortunately, she listened to him that time and ran toward the inn. He turned back to help the stranger, who was deftly avoiding the tiger’s paws and teeth while trying to find an opportunity to strike.

Missy reached the inn just as two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were coming out the door. Evidently they had heard what was happening outside because they were leaving the inn in a hurry. As soon as he stepped outside the door, the boy raised his hand toward the tiger. Looking back quickly, Missy saw the tiger struggling against what looked like rope wrapped around its feet.

Blackthore noticed that the tiger was stuck, and took the opportunity to attack from the side, out of the tiger’s reach. Naolin was oblivious to the new circumstances, and Missy saw that he was lying on the ground near the tiger’s front. His sword lay at his side, and blood pooled on the ground next to his head. The girl who had also come out of the inn took a wide berth around the ensnared tiger on her way to Naolin’s side. Missy followed closely behind her.

While Missy was going for help, Naolin had been caught in the side of the head by the tiger’s large paw. If the beast had not been stopped when it had, it likely would have finished the downed Naolin. As Missy approached her traveling companion, she almost had to look away. Long gashes ran down the side of his face, and blood was still streaming out of them. However, the girl who’d gotten there before Missy had already knelt next to the injured Swordsman. Missy was grateful to realize that she’d somehow managed to come across a Cleric right when she needed one.

read more…

Daily Writing Check-in: January 14, 2016

Words/Time:  45 minutes working on another submission for “Pithea.”  I finally buckled down and started on my first query letter. It is nearly done; there’s just one small line that I can’t quite decide how to word. I think (fingers crossed) that after this, submitting to more places will be easier, because I will have created the different documents that I can alter as I need. Except the CV. I’m still unsure what to do about that, so if it comes up…I may spend another 3 days researching.

The Triangle releases tomorrow(!), which I’m a lot more nervous about than I thought I would be. The proof copy of the paperback came today too, almost a week sooner than projected. So things are moving really well on that front.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 12, 2016

Words/Time:  1.5 hours working on a synopsis for “Pithea.” I reworked the synopsis that I sent to the first publisher I submitted to. I found ways to trim some unimportant information and add in more of the meat of the story. Hopefully this new version of the synopsis will usable for multiple submissions before I decide to rewrite it again.

The writing group that I’m part of, which started as NaNoWriMo write-ins and then became a weekly group, met tonight. We’ve decided to make ourselves more official and created a name for our group. Then a Facebook group, so we can better communicate and draw more people in. Though we didn’t get much writing done in the time we met, we have ideas for how to make our weekly meetings more helpful and productive, by adding some structure to it. So that was a lot of fun, to be part of the beginning of something like that.

They’ve already asked me to read an excerpt from “Pithea” sometime soon. I have just the spot picked out, which is actually the same section I will be posting on my story blog soon.

Introducing Naolin

Finally posted something new over on my Made in Pithea blog, where I post more about the story and story world. This is an introduction to the secondary main character, Naolin Dark.

Made in Pithea

From the pen ofDrear

Naolin Dark is pretty much my favorite person ever. Maybe that’s not the most objective thing for me to say, since he’s just one of many people who I’ve researched and whose lives I’ve connected. But I do have a reason to be biased—he’s my brother.

Though Naolin and I lost seven years when we were growing up, when we reconnected, you’d never guess we’d been apart. The most fun I’ve ever had has been when I’m spending time with my brother. Training in the domes is definitely better when he’s with me. I don’t enjoy caving as much as he does, but I’ll go with him anytime he asks.

He’s smart, generous, fun to hang out with, and he cares a lot more than he lets on. On the other side, though, he is also one of the rudest people I know. Some…

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Daily Writing Check-in: January 6, 2016

Words/Time:  50 minutes revising “The Triangle.” I finished the draft and worked on the formatting a bit. Now I’m turning my attention to getting the synopsis and sample chapters of “Pithea” sent off to a few publishers to start with. After doing some more research, I started to question the way I’d written the synopsis. However, I don’t see that there would be an easy way to change it, so I’m just going with what I have for now. I don’t want to start stressing myself over whether it’s right or not this early in the process. I have plenty of time for that.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 5, 2016

Words/Time:  2 hours working on “The Triangle,” a story I wrote 4 years ago. It’s a 15,000 word story that is too long to be considered a short story, but too short to be a novella. It’s a novelette, which is apparently a bit of a dead zone when it comes  publishing. Rather than just sitting on it, since it’s a complete story, and one that I really like, I’m planning to self-publish it.

It’s been a while since I last read through it, and I’ve learned a lot from revising “Pithea,” so I’m going through it one time before formatting it for publishing. I got about halfway through it today. Because “The Triangle” is not related to “Pithea” at all, and it’s not novel-length, I’m having a hard time thinking about it as a serious project to share on here. But I’m going to write up a quick synopsis to post soon.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 4, 2016

Words/Time: 45 minutes working on the brief synopsis of “Pithea” that I’ll be sending to a publishing company soon. All of the people I sent it to have responded in some way, a few of them with some minor notes of things to change. I’ve polished up the synopsis, will sit on it for a day or two without looking at it (if I can help it) and then give it one more look later this week. After that, I think it’ll be time to release “Pithea” out into the world (or at least the first few chapters).

I’ve been working on crafting a decent one-sentence synopsis too, with the help of my husband, who was bugged by a lot of the wording I’d used in my first attempt. I suppose it’s normal to feel like one sentence can’t possibly encompass everything the story holds (especially when you’re looking at a 100k-word novel, and especially when a lot of what makes the story different and interesting is some sort of fantastical element that can’t possibly be boiled down). But this is what we came up with today, and we like it:
Two teenagers discover friends and enemies, triumph and tragedy, as they forge their own paths in a world alive with Power and Madness.

Daily Writing Check-in: January 3, 2016

Words/Time: 3:10 hours finishing the next (and hopefully last) draft of “Pithea.” (WOOHOO!!!) The work consisted mostly of reading, making sure everything flows, and making a few small edits along the way. I got through the last 3 chapters after midnight, and then went on to work on the brief synopsis that I need for the first submission I plan to make.

The synopsis was oddly both harder and easier than I expected it to be. As soon as I realized that even a brief listing of all the plot points would be too long for the space I was given (2-3 pages double-spaced, which is basically 1.5 pages of text), I gave up on a traditional synopsis. Because the book is 4 parts, each with its own sub-conflict and resolution, but tied together by a couple of main plot threads, I gave up on the sub-plots completely and just made sure to explain the main plot lines well. Add to that the space taken up by giving a brief introduction to my story world (no technology, magic-like Power substance, and Madness), and that was the bulk of my 2-3 pages.

The reason I said it was also easier than I expected is because, overall, it didn’t take me as long to write it as I thought it would. Now I’m waiting on feedback from the main 5 people who already know the story, so I can make sure it’s as good as it can be. I anticipate my first submission by the end of the week!