Progress, goals, and deleted scenes!

I’ve had a busy few weeks! Balancing writing and a day job (plus family) is certainly a challenge. There comes a point, though, when you have to decide whether you want this or not, and saying no to my writing is out of the question. So I’ve been working on several projects and trying to wrap my head around promoting for self-published authors. It’s an exciting journey, and it takes a lot of time, but at the end of the day, this is what I want. And every day takes me one step closer to my big goal.

First of all, I’ve finally finished writing and revising my three ‘deleted scenes’ – additional content for Naheli’s Sacrifice. I’ve revisited the Spire and spent some time eavesdropping on Naheli, Thilkhan, and Dhamikhan, to name just a few. I never thought that Naheli’s story would turn into a series, but I was surprised at how much fun I had writing these scenes, and also at how much background story there still is to discover. So aside from the planned prequel, I may (perhaps) dive more deeply into that story again and see what sacrifices other characters had to make.

Deleted Scenes SMALL

For now, though, if you are interested, you can download the little e-book of deleted scenes by clicking on the following link:

Please note that these scenes contain SPOILERS, so do not read them unless you have already read Naheli’s Sacrifice. You can download Naheli’s Sacrifice for free from Kobo, Barnes&Nobles, Nook, Scribd, Tolino, and soon Amazon as well.

Aside from that, I’ve also been working on said prequel, which is turning out to be about Dhamikhan’s first arrival on the island, the challenges he faces, and the troubles in his family, mainly his strained relationship with Rhima. The completion of this story is still a bit away, but I’m looking forward to uncovering it.

Finally, I’m working on my new novel, Darklight Rest. I’m hard-pressed to say what genre it belongs in. For now, I’d classify it as a dystopian novel with SciFi elements. I’m nearing the completion of the first draft, at which stage I’ll better be able to say what it’s actually about. 🙂

I hope your weeks are as productive as mine, and that you’re making great progress with the projects that matter to you. I’d love to hear about them – please do leave a comment for this post, or write me an e-mail at I’d be thrilled to hear from you!

Happy reading, writing, and ‘projecting’!

The dreaded middle

It’s finally here, and knowing that it would come doesn’t make it any easier. Three days before the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I’ve hit the dreaded middle of my novel. The point where I hate all my characters, I don’t know where this story is going, I don’t know how I thought it was a good idea, and I don’t remember why I ever thought I could be a writer. Or that I had anything interesting to say. Incidentally, I still like Naheli’s Sacrifice, but I guess it has to be, then, the only great story I had in me. I’m guessing most writers know this feeling.

The good thing is, this isn’t my first novel, and this isn’t the first time I’ve hit this point in my writing. I was semi-prepared for it, and I have some strategies to pull myself out of it. My logical mind knows that this is a normal part of writing, that I’ve come through it before, and that it’s a matter of persistence and careful examination of the story now. Why did I come to a halt here? What problem is there that my Muse has spotted but I haven’t? Knowing that I’ve been here before, and that this is fixable, will stop me from giving up and throwing this story away.

What I’ve done so far is a read-through of my manuscript so far and a collection of all the story points that seem valuable and important to me. I’ve also found that my main character has reached a point where her initial compelling need won’t carry her anymore, so I need to look at that and figure out how her needs have changed and what she wants right now. These are some starting points. Then of course there’s Holly Lisle’s brilliant writing course How To Think Sideways (I’ll never stop talking about that one), which contains a chapter exactly on this problem, so I’ll be going back to that and reading up on her advice. I know it’s helped me before.

The interesting thing is that a very clear split of Feeling and Thinking occurs here. The first half of a novel, for me, belongs mostly to the feeling part of my brain (although I’m such a structured person that probably a lot of thinking goes into it without me noticing), but this middle is thinking business. Most importantly, it’s now the thinking part’s task to convince the feeling part that we can do this. That it’s okay to stall, to falter, and that we’ll stand up again and see this novel through to the end. That it may take some time, but we’ll find the right path and we’ll turn this story into something we are happy with, even if it takes a long revision.

I kept a writing diary while I wrote Naheli’s Sacrifice, and it’s funny to read in retrospect. Having published Naheli and being so happy with the result, it’s easy to forget that it was a piece of work, too. I wasn’t by far happy all of my writing days. I messed up the ending horribly in the first draft. I had a story in shambles before I went into revision. And some days, I hated the story and Naheli and Thilkhan and their stupid island.

Then I revised it and I ended up loving it.

Keeping a diary like that makes it easier, coming to this point now with Darklight Rest. Once you have pushed your way through one, two, or several novels, you don’t encounter every problem for the first time. Of course there are always new ones, but some are familiar, and even if you don’t have the one-fits-all solution, it’s a comfort to know that you have fixed it before. I’ll fix it this time around, too.

NaNoWriMo starts in three days, and I’ll be ready to write on Tuesday. I don’t know how at the moment, but I will be writing. This part of a novel requires persistence, and that’s something I’m good at. So, off to diagnosing the problem.

Ever hit the middle of a novel and stalled out? Tell me about it!

Room for writing

I’m incredibly inspired lately, and very suspicious of it. I know, I know, I ought to be thankful, and I am, but it’s been so long that I felt like this that I keep fearing this rush might end. Though deep down I don’t think so, not right now. I’ve cared better for myself this past year, I’ve tended to my Muse, taken time for my writing, been in closer contact with myself through morning pages, so this isn’t a fluke. That’s just my Old Critic’s voice creeping in, telling me I’m not cut out to be this, a writer.

But while it lasts: It’s fantastic! I am now over 40,000 words into Darklight Rest and still haven’t hit “the middle” where things slam to a sudden stand-still. Even better, I’ve failed twice before trying to write this story, and both times for the same reason (I think): It was too character-based, centered only around Liya and Mariany and ignoring the rest of the people and the immense conflicts that could arise from a setting like that. This time, there are half a dozen other characters who have interacted with Liya as much as or more than Mariany, and I have (gasp!) subplots!

Now, I realize this doesn’t sound very confidence-building, coming from a supposed author. But this is first draft, and first draft is chaotic, and I’m just glad it’s flowing as well as it is. I’ll pick up the pieces in revision, and I know that I can. Revision is a beautiful, powerful process that can turn a real mess into a brilliant story. I’m looking forward to it!

Favourite quote from today’s writing:

Just that the sky over Darklight Rest would never be full of stars. Liya wasn’t even sure that stars existed in this place.

My Muse was really with me this morning. The words just flowed from my fingers, beautiful, easy, right. Those are the moments I write for, and would write for even if I could never earn a cent with my writing (now that I already have, I guess that statement doesn’t work anymore; still true, though).

Another cool thing: I keep having little glimpses of ideas for a prequel to Naheli’s Sacrifice. I thought I was done with this world, but the idea of returning to the island, if only to meet those characters again at a different time in their lives, keeps enticing me. It’s one of those that won’t let go, I think. Right now, I’m thinking a young Dhamikhan, coming to the island for the first time, and a story explaining who he used to be and how he turned out to become the powerful Lord Dhamikhan supervising Naheli’s Sacrifice. If Darklight Rest shouldn’t last me through all of NaNoWriMo, I think I’ll be doing this prequel next. 🙂

Finally: I’m up to six reviews on Amazon now! 😀 During my latest free promotion, I was able to give away exactly 100 copies of the e-book. How great is that?! People all over the world reading (or at least owning) my story! And I can’t wait to put more stories out there. It seems the more room I allow my writing to take, the more my Muse comes out of hiding. I love this!

Progress – Naheli’s Sacrifice

After three weeks of being a published author, here are the facts up to date:

  • I’ve sold three paperback copies of Naheli’s Sacrifice — one to my mother and two to good friends. 🙂
  • I’ve sold eight e-book copies, one of which went to my mum again. 😀 The others were mostly bought by other writers I know via Holly Lisle‘s forum, but I think there are one or two that are unaccounted for, so they may have been actual sales, no telling.
  • I have 900 Kindle pages read via Kindle Unlimited, which makes for two people who read the book completely. Or ten who read a fifth each. 😀
  • I have five reviews on Amazon, two four-star and three five-star ones! Which is fantastic, I think.
  • I’ve been able to give away a total of 51 free copies via Amazon KDP Select, using two of my five free promotion days.
  • I’m doing another free promotion this Sunday.
  • I’m getting really good feedback from people who are reading Naheli’s Sacrifice right now. Better than I’d hoped for, actually, which makes me happy. The story has been described as tragic, stark, beautiful, hopeful, with an ending that might bring a smile — sums it up very nicely, I think!
  • I’ve earned too little money to even pay a tiny bill with it, and sales will very likely go down next months since my friends now all have a copy. 😀 I don’t mind, though. A writer friend just told me it took her six months before the first unsolicited sales started showing up, and I’m fine with that. It’s still grand to see my novel out there and to have the paperback right in my hands!
  • Also a fact: My best friend cried because she was so moved by what I wrote about her in the Acknowledgments. Isn’t that sweet?
  • Last fact: I’m SO going to do NaNoWriMo again this year! My eleventh time. Looking forward to November and 50,000 words on Darklight Rest. 🙂


Naheli’s Sacrifice is live!

Oh. My. God.

It’s so much. There’s so much! I don’t know where to start, I don’t know how to catch up, there’s just so much to do and tell and brag about! (This is me grinning here!)

Last week, I finally published Naheli! I ended up settling on Naheli’s Sacrifice for the title, and I’m so proud of the cover. It may not be the final one, because there’s always room for improvement, but I think it’s okay for now, and good enough to be out there. I can’t image Naheli is actually being looked at, being read by people!

Of course, the big crash came already a day or two later. Two copies sold: to my wife and my mother. 😀 I was prepared for that, though, so it’s all right. It takes time to get the book out there, to even get people to realise it exists. This self-publishing business is IMMENSE. There’s so much to learn, there are so many resources out there, and I’m excited and so enjoying the process. Finally I am working on my big dream for real!

But for now, just for today: I’m happy. Naheli is out there, it’s gone to about 20 people for free when I ran a one-day promotion last Sunday, and I’m excited to see if there will be any feedback at all. It feels strange, knowing that the story is there in the hands of people I don’t know. I’m so curious to know them. I want to know what they are like, why they decided to download it, what they usually read. If they are like me or completely different, where in the world they live. So… if you are one of them, one of the 20 people who own Naheli’s story right now… please leave a comment and tell me who you are. I always imagined myself as the kind of writer who would actually talk to her readers. 🙂

The latest days, I’ve worked on putting together a free e-book containing some bits and pieces of notes and pictures I’ve collected during the whole Naheli-creation-process. Amazing, the things I found! Maps that are four years old, things I hardly remembered planning to put into the story. I had time travel planned, of course! 😀  Along with alternate dimensions, dark angels (those still fascinate me — I may go back to them one day), the mainland, a fanatic sect called TRUTH… oh, it was exciting. 🙂 But I do think Naheli’s story turned out better this way.

I’m working steadily on a new project. Will post more about that later. AHHHH, I’m so happy and proud! Talk to me, treasured readers! 🙂