Three months into 2021, and so far, I have six read books under my belt. Juggling two jobs and edits, I’m amazed with this progress toward my twenty book goal on Goodreads, though I’m aware of the irony. When I only had one job, I was lucky to even read ten books in a year. Perhaps, it’s the lack of free time that truly makes me appreciate what time is available. Maybe it’s the carrot of my local library’s Break into 2021 Book Reading Challenge. Or perhaps, after a rough couple of years, I really need a bit of escapism. No matter why, audiobooks have been my saviors.
My love affair with audiobooks began while traveling with my brother and sister-in-law to Indy. It was a Dresden Files audiobook, and it wasn’t even at the beginning, but narrator James Marsters (yes, Spike from Buffy) had me sold. Thanks to Overdrive, I dove into the Dresden Files audiobooks from the beginning, even loading my cellphone with them for a work trip to Florida.
The website has received a complete overhaul along with an official domain name, smwrightauthor.com. Visitors will now be greeted by a static homepage featuring my most recent releases, updates on works in progress, and other news. Shortly, I hope to add a countdown to Descent‘s release and hopefully a new event this September (there are still moving pieces, so we will see).
Several of my site’s pages have also been updated with new information, and I anticipate The Heritage Verse sections will be growing over the next few months. The blog has migrated to its own page, but no worries, I have big plans for it.
Plans For The Blog
Making my blog more active is forever one of my goals, and here I am again in 2021, hoping to make it happen. Right now, Descent revisions are receiving the bulk of my attention in what little free time I have, but I am working on getting more posts scheduled that are broader in scope than just on writing. Some of my plans include:
Once Upon a Time is a case study for plotting out a series. It exhibits why it is important to have a game plan–no matter how rough–in place at the beginning of a creative endeavor. This helps writers avoid retreading past plot points or completely dropping the ball on others. Characters need to go hand in hand with this early plotting–their arcs, their backgrounds, etc.
To start off, this post isn’t going to offer any grand solutions to platform building — I have none. This remains one of my greatest struggles as an author in addition to being a point of frustration and bursts of depression. For every step forward, no visible progress seems to occur, and now that I’m juggling so much more in my day-to-day life, time seems too limited to get anywhere. Making it worse, I’m a massive introvert.Continue reading “The Struggles Of Platforming As An Introvert”
After puttering out in the last couple of chapters, I overcame the rut and finally finished Descent, the follow-up to Heritage Lost. Well, finished the drafting part . . . I’m currently neck-deep in revisions. Revisions, however, have always come easiest for me. My drafts are always sparse, so revisions include more fleshing out, particularly descriptions. Like most other writers, there are intensive rewrites, too.
So far two scenes have undergone massive rewrites, and being only 82 pages in, I’m sure there are going to be several more as the story is refined and characters come into their own.
After a productive April and May where I felt on top of the world and was knocking out words, I find myself stalling. Words are still finding their way to paper, and I’m down to two chapters on Descent; however, I’m not where I had envisioned myself being by July, and each and every word is a struggle to get down.
As with all things, I know this will pass, and until then, I aim to just push through. My ultimate goal is to have the last two chapters of Descent concluded by the end of this weekend. Then I hope to catch up on posts here, including a continuation of the Lessons for OUAT series, several book reviews, and more letter posts. I’m also hoping to launch a profile series of indie authors. If you are interested in being profiled, please reach out to me at the below contact form.
Hopefully, I’ll have a happier report at the end of July. Please wish me luck.
“Hard to say that, ma’am. Especially after what we saw last night,” Aquila responded, tone grim. “We may not all be gems, but I like to think what happened to that girl wouldn’t have happened here.”
“The Promise: A Heritage Verse Story” By S.M. Wright
Beginning May 29, a revised version of The Promise, the prequel novella to Heritage Lost that shows Katya’s life on Reznic prior to The Maelstrom, will be available for download on Amazon for 99 cents: https://amz.run/3EdL. This prequel novella will also be available for free to subscribers of my newsletter; simply sign up using this link, http://eepurl.com/g4lYwr, and wait for the welcome email — you might need to check your spam folder.
If you do sign up for my newsletter, rest assured that I will never spam your inbox. I aim to do a quarterly email, with the odd release email sent out from time to time. My newsletters will include exclusive content, news, writing tips, and more.
In addition to the new release, the Heritage Lost‘s e-book will also be on sale from May 27 (starting at 8 a.m. PT) through June 1 (ending at 11 p.m. PT) for $1.99 (normally, it is $4.99). If you’ve been wanting to dip into the Heritage Verse, now is the perfect opportunity to do so!
If you end up purchasing either story and enjoy them, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or wherever you prefer. Reviews are a major help to authors and can keep us going.
For a bit of fun, I thought it would be great to examine the TV series, Once Upon A Time, which, in my opinion, started strong before faltering in quality and becoming laden with oh-so-many plot holes, inconsistencies, disappearing characters, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I still love OUAT despite all its flaws. However, I thought it’d be fun to glean writing lessons from it. Even though a novelist doesn’t have all of the external factors that can plague a screenwriter or showrunner, such as actors leaving before your narratively ready for them to, there are still commonalities embedded in the simple act of telling a story. (Spoilers begin after this point.)
I have previously written about my self-publishing journey: why I opted for this pathway and how I pursued it. Heritage Lost was my first full-length novel release, and as such, there was an immense learning curve that my short story releases couldn’t prepare me for. There are numerous things that I will do differently (as long as I don’t self-sabotage myself) with my next release.
Here are the top four elements of my release that I would do differently, especially now as I reflect about six months later.
No. 1: Better Time Management
I gravely miscalculated the amount of time that I would need to finish up the final polishing revisions, which pushed back the formatting of Heritage Lost and, in turn, the finished paperback cover as an official page count was needed to determine the spine’s dimensions. Yes, there were circumstances beyond my control–a death in the family–that greatly impacted my original plan of having everything wrapped up by the end of my vacation from the day job. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I should have had a larger dent done in the revisions even before my vacation.
She relinquished her grip, recoiling from the creature’s pinched and pulled face filled with sharp teeth that poked out at odd angles [. . .] Their faces (were) somewhat narrow with furrows around their jaws, flat noses. A large amount of body hair. — Heritage Lost, page 27-28
This mammalian species offers brute force to the Magistrate as one part of its elite special forces–often a collection of species with unique abilities. Breks were made infamous by their role in the Re’alle Conflict, which resulted in the utter eradication of a fringe military group on-world, with some accusations of extensive collateral damage by those residing in Re’alle’s Low Country; however, the genocide occurring on the world has led others to view forceful intervention as a necessity.
Breks are built with muscle and are both bipedal and quadrupedal. Hair covers most of their bodies, except for their faces (much like our world’s gorillas). Like the other species who form the Magistrate’s elite special forces, much of what is known about them by the general populace is hearsay; however, they are known to be carnivorous.
Similar to the Oneiroi, the Breks keep to themselves. They have a strong pack/tribe mentality and are extremely loyal to those within it, which are often family members but sometimes outsiders who are adopted in. There are some divides between certain packs, often extending centuries into the past, but the Magistrate has effectively navigated these to turn the Breks into a uniformed fighting force.
Since the Breks are unable to speak worded languages or to readily understand them, the Magistrate developed a clicking code to communicate with them in addition to a form of sign language based on hand signals Breks used prior to contact. In general, though, Breks communicate with each other through a variety of vocal ticks.