31 May, 2014

Another hurdle passed

What an incredible feeling! I've just completed edits on Chapter 9, and that only leaves three more to tweak before I can start sending out agent queries. Truly, this is the turning point in my progress that I've been waiting for, and I know you folks have been waiting for it, too. I can't wait to share with you the next leg of my journey, and I hope you'll continue with me.

I know the blogs have been kinda slow lately, but that's all because I'm focusing on the novel as I promised you. However, if you'd like to keep in contact with more real time updates, please consider following me on twitter. @joshinyasha

Catch ya later!

24 May, 2014

Dividing attention

I've had this thought lately: "How do I focus with two projects vying for attention?"

Uncertain Heirs is my priority, there's no doubting that, but in the last few months I've gained clarity on a story I started four years ago. A story that, while originally one tale, has expanded itself into four, possibly five novels. So with that clarity came the whispers "write me, write me" while I'm trying to stay on task with Uncertain Heirs.

I'm not sure what to call it yet, but this once-abandoned story keeps poking and proding me at odd hours of the day, showing me where it's meant to go, filling in the plotholes I couldn't get around the first time. It is, for all intents and purposes, finished in that I know what happens now, where it goes, and what I need to write. The problem is making time to write it.

For now, I've figured out something that works for me. Basically, I keep a dedicated time carved out on my calendar -- my hour of lunch during the day job is spent editing on Uncertain Heirs, and my 8:30PM-10:30PM time block is also spent editing on Uncertain Heirs. Those are my absolutely writing times, dedicated to nothing but writing. Of course, given a good day, and no where else to be, I may work from 5:30PM on, so I'm free to write on Uncertain Heirs whenever I want.

The thing is now, with this other story vying for my attention, I've had to figure out ways to appease it while still making my (self-imposed) required writing goals. So, I've come up with a way that makes sense. This once-abandoned story is a side project, a pet project, if you will, and I have to give it attention like any pet. When it howls and insists on playing ball, I turn away from Uncertain Heirs and write on whatever scene had come to the forefront of my thoughts. I write, and write, and write until the pet's worn out, until it doesn't want to play anymore for the night. Then I put it to bed at 8:30PM, and get back to my block of time dedicated to finishing Uncertain Heirs.

If I'm out and about even, and I'm outside my lunch block or out to dinner with friends, I scribble what notes I can on the pet, so's I can save them for another time. Writing it (despite being out of sequence) when I can makes it so much better for me when I can lay it to rest for the night and focus solely on Uncertain Heirs.

So far, this is the best method I've discovered, but I realize it only works because it's only two competing projects. A few months ago, I wanted to work on everything at once (short stories included), and I ended up freezing, unable to work on anything. It was only after I tried focusing only on Uncertain Heirs that everything else, save the once-abandoned story, calmed down.

I can handle two, just not twenty.

12 May, 2014

Starting strong, ending strong

What was the last book you struggled to read? Do you remember what it was about the book that made it difficult? Did you give up reading it, or power through until the end?

These are questions I fret over when I'm starting what I think will be a good book, only to find out it's a disappointment. These are questions I worry will come about with my book.

11 May, 2014

A wonderful happenstance (A Most Majelicus Review)

I left this review on Amazon, but I thought I would also post it here for my readers to check out.

My story began when I pid-padded along a Twitter hashtag journey, clicking here and there based upon my interests. Then I came upon a picture of someone working on a handmade hare doll, and what became a compliment turned into a tweet exchange that left me asking, "What in the world does peffa-shindinculously mean?"

Twitter led to the blog run by artist and writer team, Jacqui and Phil Lovesey, and not only was I enthralled by their majickal crafting skills, but the excerpt of Matlock the Hare on Amazon had me at hello. To be honest, I haven't been this ensnared by a story's opening since The Hobbit, nor as convinced by a fantastical culture since Watership Down.

Everything grand about my favourite childhood stories -- Wind in The Willows, Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn, and even Flight of Dragons -- Matlock the Hare could fit in with all the best of them. And it should. Every bit of whimsy in this novel belongs right up there with the greats.

Now, probably because I'm a language nerd, I will say that what I loved most about this novel was that the land of Winchett Dale isn't just brought about through dialogue. The reader (or traveller, as the opening would say) is totally immersed in the saztaculous narrative from beginning to end. The Loveseys help you out, of course, by providing the most commonly used words in the front, but by the time you've reached the end of the first chapter, you've become so fluent in the language that you don't need the cheat sheets anymore.

Overall rating: I love this book, plain and simple. I was already recommending it to friends before I'd finished the first chapter. It's. That. Good. Frankly, it's everything good and whimsical of my favourite childhood stories rolled into one, and if Matlock the Hare doesn't become the next big children's--oh, hell, the next big book for everyone, then a great injustice has been done.

Five out of Five stars for memorable characters, original plot, and solid world-building.

______________________________________________________________________

Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.