122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Writing Process - On the Blog Tour

Author L. Jay Scott
It’s blog tour day! I am so happy to get to be involved in this promotion of my fellow writers and their craft. My friend and cohort in crime Erin Albert posted hers last week. Forgive me while I shamelessly plug her book, The Prophecy, which comes out November 15, 2013. Check out both her blog and her book. You can read about her writing process here: Erin Albert.

Without further ado, prepare to enter my mind!

What am I working on?
I am going through the final edits of my debut novel, 122Rules. My writing journey has been an epic adventure as it probably is for most first time authors. In my case, I missed the debut-novels-need-to-be-80,000-words rule, so my first fully edited version was almost 160,000 words. Yep, pass the Literary Kaopectate; I’ve got diarrhea of the keyboard. The beta reader reviews were good, but the length wasn’t acceptable.

So I began a rewrite and have successfully broken the story into two books: 122 Rules and 122 Rules Redemption. My plan is to have the first book completely edited by December and out to beta readers. When I receive it back from them, I’ll make changes based on feedback then enter it into the Amazon new authors contest at the end of January.

I read about the contest last year and just missed the deadline for entering my tomb of novel by a few weeks. So glad I missed the window because, in my humble opinion, what came out of the ashes is by far a better product.

In addition, I have the third story in the trilogy about 1/3 done. I also have several synopses written for future stories that are bubbling and percolating like a witch’s cauldron in the back of my mind. Lastly, I have a complete short story, Birth of an American Gigolo, which I will  submit to whoever picks me up for publishing.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Super high-level summary: My story is a thriller novel about a man who lives outside the law tasked to find people who don’t want to be found.

I believe that my work has a different voice than anything else I’ve read. As much as I like to think I am creating something completely outside of myself, I read it and hear me talking, telling the story. A strange brew of serious, sarcastic, funny—at least I think so :-)— and adventurous. I find it entertaining, which is a good thing since I have now spent over two years working on it. Hopefully my readers will too.

Why do I write what I write?
This is an interesting question. Let me start by saying I am not dedicated to any specific genre, as either a reader or a writer. I read most anything that strikes my fancy. I’m a story guy. Tell me a great tale, and I’m hooked. So far, everything I’ve written and have in the hopper is of this same thriller genre, though it could be argued that Redemptionleans towards a more romantic classification. Oh, how everyone likes to bucketize everything!

All that being said, I don’t believe I choose the stories; I think the stories choose me. Stephen King said that he thinks of stories as something that already exist. They are buried deep in the ground like artifacts, and you have to dig them up. In my humble opinion, Mr. King is spot on.

I started my story with a vision in my head of a scene, nothing more. A woman asleep in her bed, blankets heaped all over her, with an open window overlooking the ocean and a breeze rustling the drapes, blowing dust bunnies across the floor. She is not an early riser, and when she sits up, she sees a freezing sea of cold hardwood she has to cross to get to the magic elixir that is coffee. She gets a cup and sits out on the balcony, looking over the ocean, and we learn that she is hiding. She has a new life and new identity. We get a little glimpse into her old life though we don’t yet know why she’s here or what made her leave.

At this point, I didn’t even know the why until several chapters later. There was no planning, no plot development, and no character development. I just yark my stories out like a cat coughing up a hair ball, and most of the time I don’t know what’s coming. Maybe that will make things seem more spontaneous to the reader…or maybe it will seem disjointed and random such as are the thoughts in my head!

How does you writing process work?
So I talked a bit about not planning or plotting my books. I write whatever comes out as fast as I can, and I don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Sometimes it isn’t too bad, but other times, it looks as though a mentally challenged middle schooler wrote it. After the initial dump, I move stuff around the timeline that needs to be moved—things don’t always come out in the right order—then I start editing. I am a SLOW, plodding editor. I’ve spent entire days working on a single page—,reworking sentence to clean up passive voice, POV problems, and wording. Even now that the final edits of the first 17 chapters are about done, I have a few sentences here and there that have been flagged to review for months.

I do not write at a desk. I usually work from my hammock. Though in the Pacific Northwest, days nice enough for hammock writing are few and far between, so I also write from the couch, the coffee shop, my bed, and, on some rainy days, the back seat of the car. There is nothing quite like hearing the patter of rain while you write. The scene I’m writing as well as my mood dictate the music I choose and often affect the raw content.  Edits are almost always done to quiet or to background noise such as the rain.

I usually have something to drink while I’m writing . I used to enjoy sipping a glass of wine, but lately, it’s been tea. Like some internal switch got thrown a couple of months ago <insert old age joke here>… Coffee in the morning, and tea the rest of the time.

Thank you for stopping in and reading about my writing process!

Next week:
JenniferMoormanJennifer is a southern writer who can be won over with chocolate, unicorns, or rainbows. She divides her time between working full-time in a publishing house, writing, and freelance editing. Her whimsical debut novel, The Baker's Man, tells the story of a young woman who creates much more than cupcakes in her enchanted bakery. She is hard at work on her next novel, Honeysuckle Hollow.

LucianaCavallaro - Luciana taught in government and private schools and during this time studied Ancient History, attended writer’s workshops and concluded a course in proof reading and editing. She has traveled extensively and has revisited her favorite destinations—Greece and Italy—the inspiration for her stories. After working in high schools for many years she resigned to concentrate on writing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Erin Albert Reveals Cover of The Prophecy

I am beyond thrilled to get to participate in the cover reveal of The Prophecy, debut novel by Erin Albert, being released on November 15, 2013!

One often finds destiny on the road taken to avoid it....
Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence, working very hard to keep her true identity hidden.  But her carefully constructed life falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride.  He's grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear...not love.  Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms.  When he accidentally meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.  

When Nash's secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the very center.  Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.


“Everything must be taken down.”  A rotund man, with beady black eyes, surveyed the town, disdain in his expression.  While he did not appear distinguishable from the other black and purple clad men, he spoke with authority. “The First Ones and their great Prophecy must be honored properly.” He sniffed, his actions indicating the very existence of Medlin and its occupants offended him.

Layla wondered what this man considered a “proper honoring” of the First Ones.  The First Ones…they’d been dead for centuries, and, as far as Layla could tell, hadn’t done much in life except start a never-ending war.  She knew nothing more about them except that she was to thank them for good things, curse them for bad, and celebrate them on this day.

“That’s Elder Werrick, head of the Ecclesiastics,” whispered Samson, glancing back at Grant.  Layla noticed the look that passed between them.

Grant nodded his assent. “Get her out of here, brother.”

Samson tried to steer Layla away, but she held her position to get a closer look at the man whom her family so feared. She knew they had good reason to worry—her black hair and purple eyes marked her as a Fulfillment candidate, one with the potential to bring about the long awaited peace. But she couldn’t quite bring herself to believe Elder Werrick would notice her on the crowded streets, especially with her eye drops and hood. Could he really be responsible for dragging candidates from their homes, forcing them to undergo strenuous, sometimes gruesome, testing for the sake of the Prophecy?  To Layla, he looked like nothing more than a short, fat, unhappy man.  The very notion that he could strike such fear into the hearts of her people seemed almost laughable…almost. As his gaze swept over the crowd, she glimpsed a sinister undertone that made her shiver.

Waving his pudgy arms at the awaiting townspeople, Werrick commanded, “Take it down.”

Suddenly, his body stilled and his tiny eyes grew wide.  They briefly connected with Layla’s, narrowing with calculation.  The Elder turned to his nearest black clad companion.

“Do you feel that?” Layla heard Werrick ask.

The other man looked skeptical.  “Feel what, Elder?”

Werrick leaned in as the two whispered, stealing furtive glances in her direction.  When the Elder’s companion pointed at Layla, Samson grabbed her arm. She heard his breathing change from rhythmic to jagged as he pulled her away from the men.

“We have to go now.” His urgency spurred her into action.

Grant moved to block them from the Elder’s view.  “Get her away from here, Samson.”

The Elder looked up to see everyone staring at him as if frozen. He repeated his demand, “I said take everything down.”

The townspeople, joined by the Elder’s minion, scampered to remove their decorations, anxious to “properly” celebrate the First Ones.  Their flurry of activity concealed Layla as Samson and Grant escorted her away.  Layla scanned the streets, horrified, as the people of Medlin stripped the town’s center barren.  In no time, everything appeared as it always had, devoid of any celebratory adornments.  She looked up at the sky with its gray clouds lingering overhead.  A bad omen…

On the hill, a safe distance away, Layla watched a group of Ecclesiastics erect a monstrous stage where the donkey races should have occurred.  She heard the braying of the angry animals, harnessed and corralled on the orders of the Elder to avoid interfering with the “true” Day of Dawning celebration. Her ire rose.  Who did they think they were coming in and changing everything?

An icy, phantom finger traced a frigid line down her spine.  After hearing warning after warning from the Mantars her whole life, Layla knew exactly what the Ecclesiastics could do, what they had done to others in the past.  Maybe Samson and Grant had been right.  Maybe she should never have come, especially today.  Layla turned her back on the town, resolved to go home, to safety.

“Layla!” Samson’s alarmed tone sliced into her, and she swung around toward him.

To her horror, two Vanguard soldiers forced Samson to the ground.  She knew just how much strength he possessed, yet he couldn’t free himself. Her hands balled up into fists, shaking with their desire to unleash the full force of their fury.

“Run!” Samson screamed before a soldier’s fist smashed into his face.

His body stilled.  Panic, coupled with indecision, crippled her.  She should run like Samson commanded, but she couldn’t leave him lying there.  To her relief, Grant ambled toward them, his eyes full of rage.

“Run!” Grant echoed Samson’s warning.

With a final glance at the two boys who’d been as close to her as brothers, Layla fled.  She flew down the hill, swinging her head from side to side in alarm.  Ecclesiastics swarmed throughout the city, making a clear escape route difficult to discern.

Terror rose within Layla.  Why hadn’t she listened to her family?  She’d been foolish to believe she could sneak around under the ever-watchful eyes of the Ecclesiastics, and that hubris put Samson and Grant in danger as well.  She choked back a sob.

“Run,” she whispered.

Willing her feet to move forward, Layla darted toward the back of the baker’s shop, hoping to take a shortcut through the back alleyway.  She swerved to miss a wooden box and stumbled, arms flailing to right herself. Unfamiliar hands reached out to break her fall.  Once stable, Layla looked up to find Elder Werrick staring down at her.  She screamed but no sound came out of her open mouth.

“I’ve been looking for you,” he said, a wicked smile on his face.

About Erin Albert

Erin Albert is an author, editor, and fitness trainer. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.  Her favorite place to be is at home with her family and easygoing tabby cat. 

Buy The Prophecy!

The Prophecy is now available for Preorder!
From Muse It Up Publishing

Learn more about Erin and her upcoming YA fantasy novel, The Prophecy:

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