TO BE WRITTEN Character tip #2

Our first character tip was BE BOLD.

We all want our main characters to stand out and be unique.  Who wants to simply copy one character from another story?  That’s no fun.  And it won’t make us feel proud of ourselves.  Sure, characters from other stories can INSPIRE the characters in our own stories…but they shouldn’t be exactly the same.

Similarly, being bold means being pronounced and having a sense of identity.  Nobody likes a character that is wishy-washy and, in essence, has no character.

Which brings me to Character Tip #2

Tip #2: Have integrity

Have you ever read a book where one character makes a decision that is TOTALLY against…well, his or her character?

It’s like if the Balrog started gushing about how much he loves puppies.

Image result for pic of the balrog
MY PUPPIEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

Essentially, we must make sure that our characters keep in character.  Sure, characters can change in the same way that real-live people can.  There’s nothing wrong with that…it’s realistic!  But what happens when characters are ALWAYS changing?  Grumpy here, selfless in this scene, a bully in another…it just doesn’t make sense.

If your character doesn’t have integrity, make sure you give the reader a good explanation as to why.  Maybe the hero of the story is having a rough day, and THAT’S why he acts like a jerk…that makes sense.  But if the hero suddenly just decides to act like a jerk, for no good reason other than, say, to advance the plot?  Uh, no.

Have integrity.


So the next book in my fantasy series, Elithius, is coming out in December.  If you haven’t already, check out Book One of Elithius here.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

 

The Darkness Within Overview

So, it’s officially happening.  The second book of my fantasy series, Elithius, is coming out in December.

It’s crazy to think of how far I’ve come with this series…it’s crazier to think about how much is left to go!

I’m so excited…so proud…and yet so humbled to be making this journey with all of you.

I thought I’d provide and overview of my upcoming book, just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Here goes:

Front Cover Elithius 2

Name: Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within

Genre: Fantasy/Dark/Supernatural/Romance/Anime

Length: 385 pages

Description:

John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie.  Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies.  Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.

The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.

EXCERPT:

The force of Kiilda’s first attack makes me stumble backwards and I flail my arms in an attempt to stay on my feet.  I right myself just in time to block Its second attack.  I was expecting Kiilda to be set upon killing me; I figured that that was all It cared about.  I showed up here, dangling from a chain in a giant hole in the ground, to fight to the death.

For my sister.

Nevertheless, the proficiency of Kiilda is startling.  For being so large, Kiilda moves with agility and speed that even I don’t possess.  And, of course, the monster possesses strength; It is made of stone.

But there’s more to It than that; there’s more to the fear and sense of intimidation that is being driven into my heart.  Kiilda shows no expression.  Its face never changes.  The monster charges after me, Its mouth hanging open, a dull, ghoulish look etched across Its face.  The truth is, as I stand my ground, blocking blow after blow, I finally come to understand the inhumanness of Kiilda.  My sense of understanding is so real, I know that it cannot hold any falsity—I have experienced this thing for ten seconds…and I can already sense that It isn’t even alive.  I can sense that It has no soul.

I feel my heart drop to my stomach.  Shivering inwardly, I think to myself, It’s like It’s…a doll.  A body without a soul.

I deflect a slash for my face, ducking underneath my sword, and then I take a chance and abandon defense, stabbing for Kiilda’s stomach.  Kiilda was lunging after me, leaving Its body completely exposed.  Maybe It thought that I would have been too focused on protecting myself to attack.  Or maybe It makes no such considerations at all.  Either way, I already know my sword will meet its mark….


I’m so excited to share this story with you.  I poured so much of myself into this book, even more than the last one.

As always, I’d like to know, What do you think???

How To Determine Who Your Real Followers Are

Image result for pic of supportive followers

Sooner or later, whether you like it or not, you’re going to find yourself wondering, “Who are my real followers?”

Sometimes I see these blogs where the author has gained a following of 2,000…or 20,000, or even 120,000.  That’s a LOT of followers, and I dream of having that many.  That being said, it’s interesting to note that these blogs only merit about 15-70 Likes per post.  You might think, “What’s wrong with that?  70 Likes is a lot!”  But compare that to the number of followers.   If you have 10,000 followers, and you only get 70 Likes…wouldn’t you be disappointed?  Shouldn’t you be getting…hmm, maybe at least a couple thousand Likes, assuming that other few thousand weren’t online that day?

What’s going on here?

All right, I’ll admit, we could get crazy with the statistics of blogging; maybe it’s not fair for me to say that only 70 people care about your blog when you have 2000 followers, just because you got only 70 Likes.  Maybe those 70 Likes consist of 70 different people each time you publish a post, so from that perspective, you really might have a huge following, depending on how many people are online on different days.

Whatever the case, that’s what this post is about: recognizing that Likes aren’t love, for better or for worse (I just made a political pun and a marriage pun right there!).

Why?

When someone Likes a post of yours, they don’t necessarily need to View it.  You don’t need to go far to see what I’m talking about.  In your Reader, you can see that–without having to click and OPEN a post–you can press the Like button.  And you don’t even have to know what you’re Liking.  You can appear to be a faithful follower, but in reality, you’re just going through the motions.

People can and have done this to me multiple times.

How do I know?  How do YOU know?  Well, go to your Stats page.  Heck, just go to your “Blog Posts” page, where you can see your most recently published articles.  You should be able to see the number of Likes, Comments…and yes, Views!

Does the number of Views outweigh the Likes?  If it does, then great job!

Image result for wordpress symbol for views
the image is not mine

Now, the people who Liked your post STILL might not have Viewed it.  We can’t tell if the people who Liked also Viewed.  But still, the number of Views is more important, because in order to tally Views…well, someone has to actually open up your post!  Which means it’s more likely that they read it.  Which means it’s more likely that they care.

And bingo.  You’ve found your true followers.

You’re followers are the people who read your posts, not Like them.  Because you can Like without reading.  

Monitor your Views.  If they are lower than your Likes, try to change that.  Work hard to make posts that are attractive and that really draw people in.  Make your writing desirable and View-worthy.  It’s easy to Like something.  It’s harder to View.  Which means Views are worth more.

What do you think?

Elithius Excerpt–Blood and Shadow

In preparation for the release of my newest book, which will be published in December, I thought I’d share with you an excerpt from Book One of Elithius!


 

A loud, terrifying scream sounds just outside our house, and an instant later I hear the front door get broken down.  Cassie and Luke begin screaming with panic and horror and immediately I rush for the only decent weapon I own; the sword standing upright in the corner of my room.

With a surge of speed, I burst out of my room.  They already have my siblings.  Fear is the only thing empowering me as I stab one of the intruders in front of me.  Only then do I acknowledge what I just attacked.  It is a horrifying beast, black as the shadows in the room, standing like a man, but with horrible teeth and eyes, a grotesque face, and a large, muscular body.  The room is filled with them.  I immediately know what they are.  They are Evil.

They begin dragging Cassie and Luke out of the house.  I cry out to my siblings, raising my sword, but I am blocked by a horde of the beasts.  The darkness is so thick around me, so dark I’ve never seen anything like it, as though the darkness is a black wall connecting the beasts, emanating from their skin.  The way they move makes my head swim, like they keep multiplying and then vanishing into the darkness.  Finally, I abandon caution and charge them, and two of them step out to meet me.  One after another, I cut both of them down, reacting out of pure instinct.  I hear my siblings scream from outside and I raise my head to look for them beyond our demolished front door.  I see them with their arms outstretched for me, and then, all of a sudden, I feel pain erupt in my stomach.

And I gasp.  Time freezes for a moment, and I grunt with alarm again, looking down at the blade sticking into my body.  The blade retracts, and I release a quivering breath.  Falling to the ground on my side, I watch as my blood pools beneath me, warm against my side.  As I lay there,—sharp, burning pain running through me—I look up, seeing outside in the fading light of day a distinct figure: a beast with long, matted hair, and a red cape.  Every Evil returns to his side, swarming about him.  And I know that he is their leader.

Then they leave.  Their cries sound for long, pain-filled moments after, and then they fade into silence.  And all that’s left behind is blood and shadow.

New Interior TGL 1
Art by Clare S, my awesome little sister


As always, I’d love to know, What do you think?

Click here to read more of Elithius!

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

I. Am. A. Writer.

eren

Have you ever been able to tell that to someone? “Yeah, I’m a writer.”

It feels awesome. Naturally, we don’t like to share things about ourselves with people we don’t know. That being said, telling people about our love of writing seems like something we all look forward to. I know I do. I’m proud of what I love, and, if you’re like me, you’re dying for someone to listen to you talk about your writing experiences.

So maybe we like telling people “I’m a writer”.

But do we even realize what we’re saying?

If you really are a writer, analyze what I’m about to say with a writer’s eye. By saying “I am a writer”, what verb are you using?

“Am”. It’s a verb of being.

Do you realize what you are saying?

Some would say that you are defining something deep about yourself…something so deep, it’s akin to your very nature. What is the definition of nature, as ascertained by philosophers that are way smarter than me?

“Nature-Essence at its center of activity: a thing’s fundamental function”

To say that you ARE a writer implies that it is your nature. It is your fundamental function.

I dare you. I DARE you. Ask yourself a simple question:

“Am I really a writer?”

(“Or do I just write from time to time?”)

Does writing define who you are? Do you need writing? Is writing your fundamental function?

I’ve read a lot of stories about the experiences of successful authors. What those stories had in common was how much those authors had to dive into a lifestyle of writing, whether it was easy or not. They made writing their fundamental function. It was write or die.

My dear followers, are you willing to do the same?

Are you a writer?

If the answer is “no”, then what are you willing to give?

If you want to be successful, if you want to be true to yourself, don’t just write.

Be a writer…

…so that you can say this and know it in your heart: “I. Am. A. Writer.”

Now go for it, and apply this to any part of your life that involves (or should involve) passion.


This post is dedicated to Cristian Mihai, the awesome author of The Writer.  If you haven’t already, check out his blog and pick up one of his books.  You won’t regret it.


What do you think?

COVER RELEASE: The Darkness Within

As promised, I’m about to reveal the cover of my newest installment in Elithius.

Skillfully crafted by the ever-patient and steadfast Elizabeth M, I present to you the cover of Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within!!!!!!!

COMING DECEMBER 2017

Front Cover Elithius 2

How cool is that????

I must say, Elizabeth really topped herself this time.  This cover is amazing.  As I said yesterday, it perfectly captures the feel of Book Two.

The darkness challenging light.

Light fighting back.

Look at John’s face.  Look at the determination.  The sense of battle.  The motion of the entire picture.

This cover is obviously something epic in and of itself but, without a story, it would lack meaning.  So, what is Book Two about?

John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie.  Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies.  Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.

The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.

If none of that makes sense, then you probably haven’t read Book One.

Which is okay, because there’s still plenty of time for you to read Book One before Book Two comes out.

If you’re interested in Elithius…and I mean genuinely interested…check out the story here.  I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.  It won’t be a waste of your money or your time.

And did you know it’s National Buy A Book Day????

Cheers to a new book coming out!  I’m so excited about this, and I hope all of you are too!

I Must Believe

stressed-out-writer

The power of the mind is incredible.  The power of our own emotions, our own imagination, is incredible.  We take in so much information around us; ever since we were fetuses, ever since we were babies, we were able to process information.  And we continue to do this constantly.

The mind is incredibly powerful…so it’s not surprising that your mind can turn against you.

Sometimes we learn things from our surroundings.  We process things without needing to think about it.  I can see the doorway ahead of me, therefore I head there, and not into the wall.

However, sometimes things happen in which we do sit down and ponder “What just happened?  What does this mean?”  And that’s when our mind really becomes powerful.

Because we can influence ourselves, depending on the circumstances or the information we have…or the information we think we have.  And the more powerful our mind grows, the more we start to analyze and think about what’s wrong…what’s wrong with ourselves, what’s wrong with this situation, or this event, or that person.

And it so happens that, because our mind is so powerful, but our spirits are weak…we start to doubt.

We doubt ourselves.  We doubt the people around us.  We don’t even dare to hope, that’s how much we doubt.

Are you powerful enough to overcome your own mind?

Your mind is telling you to doubt.  You can’t do it.  You’ll never make it.  You’re not good enough.  The world won’t let you.  God won’t let you.  This is what your mind is constantly telling you, because you’re so smart, because this is how you processed the information, or how you interpreted the happenings of this or that event.

But are you willing to be stronger than your own mind…and BELIEVE?

Are you willing to have faith?  Are you willing to care, even when your mind says it’s stupid?

The mind is strong.  So make your spirit stronger.  Have faith.  It is a quality that all writers must have.


What do you think?

Who Wants to See My New Book Cover?

Elithius 2 banner

That’s right.  The cover for Elithius, Book Two, has finally been finished!

It’s hard for me to express how excited I am about this upcoming installation in Elithius…and the cover of Book Two just makes it SOOOOO much better!  Like seriously people: this cover is a work of art.

It perfectly captures the feel of Book Two…which is what a cover should do!  The sense of action, of intensity, of darkness, of magnificence and mystery…it’s all there in the cover.

And so I’m going to reveal the cover to you…

…tomorrow 🙂

I know, that was mean 🙂

To anyone who’s interested, the first book of Elithius can be found here on Amazon.

What’s Elithius about?  Well I’m glad you asked.  Here’s a brief description:

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

Genre: Fantasy/Action

Length: 305 pages

Description:

His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

With a story that combines the feelings of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson, Dominic Sceski brings to life a riveting tale of light versus darkness, magic, friendship, trust, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption that will leave you on the edge of your seat and desperately yearning for more.

Don’t wait. Embark on the journey now. Enter Elithius!


So what are you waiting for??? Go check it out here!

Character Tip #1

All right, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good character versus a bad character.

Everybody wants to craft likable characters, right?  You want people to be so in love with your characters that they’ll laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, get angry when they get angry—you get the picture.

So here’s my first tip to creating a good, solid character:

Character Tip #1: Be bold.

Image result for pic of captain america

What does that mean?

Be bold with your character.  No one likes picking up a book where the character is no-personality-average-Joe.  Everyone likes a character that is unique.  We want characters that stand out.  If you’re just like every other character, what’s exciting about that?

Be bold with your characters.

Is she funny or witty?  Then make her really funny and witty.

Is he a hot-head?  Then make sure he gets heated about stuff.

Is he a lonely outcast?  Then let his thoughts reflect that.

What if you want your character to be relatively “normal”.  Well, that’s okay too!  Just be bold in expressing how normal that person is.

My point is, creating a good character means effectively DEFINING who they are.  And that’s where you have to be bold…even “explicit”.

I chose the picture of Captain America because I feel like he embodies both versions of bold…when he’s a weak little shrimp, he is still a BOLD character….namely, BECAUSE he’s a weak little shrimp.  When he transforms into a solid, hunky man, he is once again BOLD…because, well, he just is!

Be bold with your characters.