Goals, 2018 Edition #WriterWednesday #Goals #CleanSlateTwoOhOneEight #amwriting #IARTG

Setting.

Here we are in 2018! Honestly, there were times when I didn’t think 2017 would ever end, but here we are in a new year. And a new year means we get a whole new set of goals, and the plans to reach them.

The best part about goals is that when you have a solid and achievable end game the stops along the way can be fluid. For instance, let’s say you have a goal of living a healthier lifestyle and getting in better shape. (Don’t we all?) Your plan could be to lose 10 pounds, or eat more vegetables, or maybe train for a half marathon. Any of those plans will move you closer to your goal of being healthier, but it’s up to you to choose the best path.

I have several goals for 2018; some are writing-related, some aren’t, and I have a few for which the goal exists but the plan is still in the, uh, planning stages. Here they are, in no particular order (though the writing ones did end up first in the queue):

  1. Release the Gallowglass #3, Homecoming, and two or three tie-in short stories. Homecoming is scheduled for an early summer release.
  2. Golem, The Chronicles of Parthalan #4, will release this year. (Keep your eyes peeled for the cover reveal!) I have some housekeeping to do on that series, which means that the fifth installment, Elfsong, might get pushed back to 2019.
  3. Polish up my YA mermaid mystery and get it submission ready.
  4. Outline two other series that are currently in the idea stage.
  5. Attend as an author at least six live events. I had to scale things back A LOT toward the end of 2017, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and hanging out with readers and writers again.
  6. Complete phase 1 of Sekrit Nonfiction Project.
  7. In 2017 we had twelve new experiences with the Wonder Twins. It was such a success I’m listing that as a 2018 goal.
  8. FINALLY install my raised garden beds.
  9. Continue to prioritize wellness for myself and my family.
  10. HAVE FUN! My grandfather always said that you need to make your own fun, and he was right.

I’ll post updates throughout the year with goal progress, event and release dates, and maybe a few updates on the Sekrit Project. Next week, I’ll recap my 2017 goals—what worked, what didn’t, and what was a raging fiasco. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish!

What are your goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments, and we can cheer each other on!

2017-667 Jennifer Allis b02Walker (Gallowglass #2)

Amazon —> http://amzn.to/2AtFIsO
B&N —> https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walker-jennifer-allis-provost/1127329683?ean=2940154604854

Who is hunting the gallowglass?

When Karina and Robert relocated from Scotland to New York, they expected things to settle down. New York is known for many things, but a hotbed of supernatural occurrences isn’t one of them. Karina returned to her life as a graduate student, and agreed to teach a class over winter break. That was when things got weird: first she and Robert encountered an angry centaur, then a fairy enrolled in her class, and Karina learned that her mentor just might be a deity. When the Seelie King started making unannounced visits to Karina’s apartment in the middle of the night and warning her and Robert to be careful, she knew things were serious.

All of these events led to a single question: Who doesn’t want the gallowglass on American soil?

Meanwhile, Chris has problems of his own. The university grudgingly restored his teaching position, his agent and publisher are hounding him for a sequel to his worldwide bestseller… and he wonders if he can teach again. Write again. Hell, he can barely even speak to a woman after what happened between him and the Seelie Queen. Then a woman—a fairy woman—comes into Chris’s life, and damn it all if he doesn’t want her to stay there.

The god plays their hand, and the Seelie King calls Robert to his side. Alone and more frightened than she’s ever been, Karina tries to solve the mystery of who is hunting the gallowglass. Will Karina find the answer in time, or will Robert be lost forever?

 

What Happens When You Don’t Make Your Goals? You Keep Going, Of Course #WriterWednesday #amwriting #goals

About a week ago I started prepping my blog posts for 2017, including my yearly writing goals… And that got me to thinking about my 2016 goals, and one goal in particular that I am not going to achieve. I’d planned to release five novels this year, but that just won’t be happening.

I started off strong, and released Changing Scenes on January 5. The Virgin Queen released on April 5, and Copper Veins FINALLY came out on July 27. And then…crickets.

The other two titles I’d intended to release this year were Changing Fate, the third installment in my contemporary romance series, Changes, and Rise of the Deva’shi, the third Chronicle of Parthalan. After I was done being mad at myself for not making these goals, I took a step back and tried to figure out what happened.

In the case of Changing Fate, there were a few things going on. In all honesty Changing Scenes came out way too quickly (Changing Teams released October 29, 2015, and Changing Scenes hit the shelves on January 5, 2016), and I never got the chance to properly promote it.  Add that to the fact that I have two other currently-releasing series, am querying a fourth, am in grad school full time, and have the Wonder Twins, husband, and pets to wrangle, and, well, I think you know why Changing Fate isn’t coming out until next year. Oy.

The situation is a bit different for Rise of the Deva’shi. Even though this is the third Chronicle of Parthalan, it was originally released back in 2009. (Long story. Someday, when y’all have insomnia, I’ll tell you all about it.) So it was supposed to re-release this year, being that Bellatrix Press picked up the entire series. Everything was lined up, and then… well, I did a thing.

I was supposed to hand over the manuscript to the editor by August 1. In the meantime I’d been reworking and tweaking away, and I kept getting stuck on this one section. It didn’t really fit with the overall tone of the book, and our hero, Aeolmar, was behaving out of character. There were some good scenes in that passage, and some awesome bits of dialogue, but in the end it had to go.

So, the day before the manuscript was due, I cut 24,000 words.

Yes, twenty four THOUSAND.

As you can imagine, this turn of events meant that the manuscript was delivered somewhat later than promised, hence the delayed release date. But you know what? I’m glad I chopped out that part of the story. Now my editor is concentrating on the actual meat of the novel, not trying to make a few bits of dialogue and weird scenes fit into the overall narrative. This means that when Rise of the Deva’shi is released, it will be a stronger story. Since I took my time with Changing Fate, it will be a stronger story, too.

Your take-away from all of this is DON’T RUSH YOUR WRITING. I don’t recommend making huge plot changes the day before your deadline, either, but if you need more time don’t be afraid to ask for it. The story takes as long as it takes. And you do want to put out the best story possible, right?

ProvostHeirToTheSun

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

Heir to the Sun is currently on sale for 99 cents here: http://amzn.to/2cSkNSx

My next appearance will be at Bing Comic Con in Springfield, MA on October 22: http://www.bingcomiccon.org/

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Voice – I Can’t Explain It, But I Know It When I Hear It #amwriting #voice #Gallowglass

If you follow me on a somewhat regular basis, you already know I’ve written an urban fantasy called Gallowglass. There’s a post about it here, and an excerpt here. Gallowglass represents my first NaNoWriMo win, and it’s my most loved project. I mean, I’m a crazy person who gets half an idea and writes s first draft in two weeks, but I researched Gallowglass for years. I taught myself Scottish history, how to speak Gaelic, and gained a working knowledge of geology before I wrote my first word. (For those of you new to the Gallowglass party, it takes place in Scotland, the heroine is a geologist, and the hero is, shall we say, well versed in Scottish myth and legend.) I went into this novel prepared, and–according to numerous critique partners and beta readers–I crafted a compelling and imminently readable story.

Which is why I was shocked when my queries were met with crickets. No, not only crickets; there were rejections too.

Rejections aplenty.

To recap, I had the best story I ever wrote, the tale closest to my heart, and I couldn’t get a nibble. Be they agent or publisher, no one was buying what I was selling. As painful as the realization was, I understood what was wrong: my story was broken.

But how was it broken? It had passed muster of all my critique partners and betas. But, critique partners and beta readers are just that – partners and readers, not people willing to invest months or years in your story as you coax it toward publication. Their help was invaluable, and I never would have completed Gallowglass without them. Fuzzy feelings aside, I needed to fix this beast, and since desperate times call for desperate measures, I wrote a Facebook post asking for a few super-honest, give-no-fucks readers to help me out. Five responded; only two actually critiqued the story. I’ll call them Reader A and Reader B. Protecting the innocent, and all.

Here’s what happened: Reader A, a coworker of mine, devoured the manuscript in a day. Her thoughts were that the beginning was aimless, she had no idea what the characters were doing, and that the heroine didn’t grow a spine for at least fifty pages. Reader B, a fellow writer, said much the same, and added that certain repetitive phrasing – again, in the beginning of the manuscript – might be alienating readers. After I’d memorized their comments I re-read the manuscript, and finally figured out what was wrong.

Before I make the big reveal, let me explain a much talked about concept: voice. You can Google the term, or read about it here, but voice is basically this: it’s how you sound when you write. It’s what makes Stephen King sound like Stephen King, and Madeline L’Engle like Madeline L’Engle. Whenever an agent or publisher or reader likes one of your stories – likes it enough to pay money for it – it’s because they liked your voice.

In Gallowglass, you don’t hear my voice until you’re almost a third in. Basically, I’d researched myself right out of my own story.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to tear down that first third and rewrite it. And then the second third. And, just for good measure, the third third. Gallowglass will sound like me, dammit, and once it does I’ll be able to share it with ya’ll.

Moral of the story: don’t take the stories so seriously 🙂

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

Heir to the Sun, book one of the Chronicles of Parthalan. Find it here.

ProvostCopperGirl

Sara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

COPPER GIRLBook One of the Copper Legacy

Enter To Win A Personalized Print Edition of HEIR TO THE SUN!

Hey all!

Both the print and ebook editions of HEIR TO THE SUN are live! But, who wants to pay for books, right? Not me!

Here are a few ways you can win a personalized print edition. The giveaway on Goodreads runs until July 1. If you’re not a fan of Goodreads, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be automatically entered. Or, you can just follow the Rafflecopter link below.

Hey, why not enter all three ways? I won’t tell.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A mad king an escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm...

Heir to the Sun – available everywhere June 1, 2015. Add it to your GoodReads shelf (and enter to win a signed print edition) here.

Like it on Facebook here.

HEIR TO THE SUN – Live Today!

It’s here! It’s finally here! The ebook re-release of HEIR TO THE SUN is today! It’s available wherever ebooks are sold, from Amazon to iTunes to your local library; assuming, of course, your library has ebooks. If you’re a die-hard print lover fear not, for the print edition will release June 15.

Back cover blurb:

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

When Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her torment it nearly breaks her. Instead, she leads her fellow slaves to freedom. More prisons are scattered across Parthalan, and Asherah vows to burn them all.

Caol’nir, a warrior descended from the gods, is sworn to serve and defend the king. Then a priestess is murdered, and Caol’nir learns that Sahlgren is to blame. Determined to stop the king, sacred oath or no, Caol’nir joins Asherah’s rebellion.

What Caol’nir doesn’t know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman whose abilities are rumored to rival the sun god’s themselves…a woman Caol’nir knows all too well.

~~~

Within the next few weeks look for teasers from the second Chronicle of Parthalan, THE VIRGIN QUEEN.

Heir to the Sun – available everywhere June 1, 2015. Add it to your GoodReads shelf (and enter to win a signed print edition) here.

Like it on Facebook here.

Eleven Days Until The Relaunch of HEIR TO THE SUN

That’s right, the new, updated edition of Heir to the Sun is almost here! It’s been one heck of a ride, but I think you’ll love the new version, especially with that awesome cover. Who knew Caol’nir was such a hottie?

We’re running a giveaway on GoodReads for a signed paperback, and you can enter here.  In addition to the book, check out some of the swag you could win:

Mini books!
And, mini books in a bottle!

Yeah, I have a swag addiction.

While the prior edition already has some reviews, we’re also looking for some new reviewers. If you’re interested, either comment below or on the Chronicles of Parthalan Facebook page. Be sure to specify what version you’d like your ecopy in (mobi, .pdf, etc). It will be up on NetGalley in the near future as well, so that’s another option.

Finally, be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can stay up to date on events, new releases, and contests. The sequel to Heir to the Sun, The Virgin Queen, is scheduled for an October release from Bellatrix Press.

June first can’t come fast enough!