Writing Projects in 2018

0000HelloDragonlings!

In my last Shifters & Mages update, I mentioned that I didn’t want to publish the Shifters & Mages series until I was sure it was nearly ready to go, and I don’t, but one of the major hang-ups with that series is the fact that I don’t have covers for it currently.

There are other stories I’ve been working with off and on that do have covers though, and I think it’s high time to start working on them more seriously. So while my main focus will be on re-writes and edits for the Shifters & Mages series, I also want to work on other projects as well in 2018.

Weres Trilogy

Come the end of January, I’ll have the third cover for this series. I currently have two, neither of which I’m revealing… yet. These novels are outlined, and the first draft of the second one (the one I don’t have a cover for; go figure) is written – only because that was the idea that smacked me in the face during NaNoWriMo and demanded it be written.

Packless
Broken Laws
Wereling

Surrender

This is a contemporary romance I purchased covers for a couple years ago, but never finished writing. The first draft of the first book is written, but it needs a complete re-write. Then the rest of the series (outlined) needs to be written.

Hold Me Now
Leave Me Never
Say You’ll Stay
With Me Forever

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll publish them under the name “Skye Hegyes” or “S.D. Hegyes”. The paranormal romances will be under the name S.D. Hegyes, but I don’t know if I want both genres published under the same name or not. What do you think?

Stand Alones and Anthologies

Endless Starry Nights
A contemporary romance I already have a cover for. The first draft is written, but it needs a heavy re-write.

Moon Blessed
An LGBT anthology I have a cover for. This will have four short stories revolving around the moon and includes the short story, “Changeling”, which was originally published in the anthology Myths Untold: Faery.

Fur, Teeth, & Claws
I bought this cover on a whim, but I don’t really have a story idea for it. There’s a couple that could work for it, but I haven’t decided yet. Until I do, this one is on the back burner. At the time of purchase, I had an exact book in mind, but that project has since fallen apart as the research and the idea itself weren’t meshing. I may, in the future, pick a couple of random ideas and create a poll and let my fans decide what story I should write for this cover.

Writing Schedule

This is the hardest thing for me to do because of how busy my life seems to stay. I seem to do really good some months and others I do next-to-no writing. November and December are proof of that. I wrote 90K words in November and I haven’t written even half that in December.

My main focus will be the Shifters & Mages series because I know I want to get those published in 2018, but I’d also like to get a good chunk of work done (if not all of it done) on the Weres Trilogy since I’ll have covers completed for them. After that, I want to go ahead and try to finish the rest of the books I have covers for (except maybe Fur, Teeth, & Claws since I don’t have a set idea for it yet). You know… So I can start buying more covers for other ideas.

I plan on writing at least 1K a day Monday through Friday. I want to start treating it like a real job. If I write more, especially now that I have Dragon Naturally Speaking up and running well again (Yay! I fixed it!), then great, but I’ll be happy if I can get 1K in per day during the workweek. Yes, even holidays. (My five-year anniversary is on a Thursday. Justin can play video games while I write.)

This is not only about making it a habit, but turning my writing into a career, and it’s time for me to get serious about that. Don’t you think?

0000ThanksDragonlings!

A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop: Name 5 Fictional Characters You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party

A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop

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I’m participating in another blog hop, but this time, it’s Christmas themed! I’m the last post for this particular hop, but I hope you’ll head over to some of the other posts and read everyone else’s questions and answers (links at the bottom). Enjoy!

Name 5 fictional characters you’d invite to your New Year’s Eve party

This is a tough one, but the five people I’d invite are:

  1. Vanyel Ashkevron, his Companion, Yfandes, and his lifebonded, the Bard Stefen from Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey. Vanyel is the last herald-mage and is pretty dang powerful in his use of magic. He could definitely teach me a thing or two. On top of that, he’s shay’a’chern, which is a term some of the characters use (I can’t remember which language it is in the book) for homosexual characters. And he’s lifebonded on top of that, meaning he’s got his soulmate. He’d liven up my party and it would just be great to meet his Companion (a spirit in the form of a white horse with brilliant blue or purple eyes), even if I couldn’t hear her like he can. Stefen also has his draws because he and Vanyel are nigh inseparable and he can play some music for everyone that would keep everyone in good spirits.
  2. Prompto from Final Fantasy XV, the video game. Prompto is a gun-wielding jokester in the FF universe, and I love him for it. He loves to have fun, but he is also a deeply caring person. Can I haz? Seriously?
  3. Haurhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori. Haruhi is a down-to-earth girl, and she has a way of making sure escalated fights drop before they become a problem, so I imagine it would be a lot of fun to hang out with her and have someone help “keep the peace” so-to-speak.

JoLinsdellJo Linsdell

  1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series as she would probably bring Harry and Ron with her. She’d be great conversation, probably help save the day if anything went wrong, and could do magic tricks. Perfect!
  2. Phoebe Martin from Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira as we could talk about books and share reading suggestions for the new year ahead.
  3. Percy Jackson because he would have awesome adventures to share and be able to do some cool tricks with any water at the party to entertain everyone.
  4. Prince Rafael from Royal Games by Sariah Wilson because having royalty at the party would be cool, and because he is total crush material.
  5. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary because she’s one of all of us.

Leslie ConzattiLeslie Conzatti

Five? Okay, I’ll go with the characters I’ve come to be obsessed with!

First of all, Emma Beaumarchais from The Talented Series by Amy Hopkins. She’s a half-blood witch who runs a small tea shop outside of London and serves up enchanted teas and she is utterly fantastic.

Next, I’ll go with Baran and Raina from the Therian Way series by Kimberly Rogers. Definitely winners of Most Adorable Ship in my opinion! As Therianthropes, they belong to a special breed of mythical fantasy creature that I particularly enjoy, and the way their characters are written comes across so delightfully I would have so much fun if they were at my Christmas party!

Church, from the Grave Reports Series by R. R. Virdi! Strange and enigmatic, his would be a weird addition… but ye gods, the fun we would have! Mostly consisting of me probing for more information about him and his job–but also there might be a lot of jokes at Vince Graves’ expense!

Finally (dang, has it been 5 already??) I would invite Sean King and Michelle Maxwell from David Baldacci’s King and Maxwell series. (So it’s another couple; so what??) Especially if they were represented by Eric McCormack and Rebecca Romijin, like the short-lived TV series based on the books! 100-percent would NOT mind having those two over for dinner!

Casia SchreyerCasia Schreyer

Okay, if I don’t have to stick to books it would be the boys from Supernatural: Sam, Dean, Cas, and Bobby – plus John because I can invite anyone.

If I have to stick to books: Jack from Geralyn Wicher’s Cursed Seed; Hagrid (Harry Potter of course); Jacob Kowalski (Fantastic Beasts – does that count as a book if it was a movie first?); and Charles and Anna (Alpha & Omega series).

BelindaBekkers
Belinda Bekkers

This is difficult for me because I’ve been reading a lot of essays this year rather than fiction. I would have to invite the wife from Dept. of Speculation because she’s a writer with interesting stories to tell. Mark Watney from The Martian because, you know, he’s been in space and he’s funny. His nerdy knowledge would also lead to interesting conversations. Ania from With Blood and Scars. My amazing friend wrote the book and I imagine that if I sat down with Ania it would be like getting to have a chat with the author. I think Rob Fleming from High Fidelity would be great to help with the music. Also for the stories he would be able to tell, it would have to be Pi from Life of Pi.

Laurie Lucking Author HeadshotLaurie Lucking

Ooh, this is fun but hard! I’ll start with Audrey from Julie Hall’s Life After series because she has a great sense of humor and she’s so easy to relate to! Plus she could tell me cool things about heaven 🙂 Next I’d pick Brenna from J.M. Hackman’s Spark – the girl is hilarious and I’d love to see her Firebrand powers in action! Next would be Kamryn and Reese from Illusionary by Desiree Williams, because they’re both amazing and I can’t pick between them! And last I should have another guy, so I’ll go with Ky from Unblemished by Sara Ella since he would definitely keep things interesting 🙂

A Bookish Christmas Blog Hop

10th December Belinda Bekkers – Name a book you love so much you want everyone to find it under their Christmas tree this year, so they can read it too
11th December Jo Linsdell – Name a book cover that has a wonderfully Christmas feel to it
12th December Upstream Writer – Name a book you’d like to find in your Christmas stocking this year
13th December Casia Schreyer – Name a fictional character you’d like to spend Christmas with
14th December Lands Uncharted – Name a fictional character you’d like to kiss under the mistletoe
15th December Angela Guidolin – Name a fictional creature to replace Rudolph and meet on the roof
16th December Skye Hegyes – Name 5 fictional characters you’d invite to your New Year’s Eve party

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Movie Discussion #4: Trolls Holiday

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It’s nearing the holidays, so I figured I’d watch a holiday short movie and since I’m in love with the Trolls movie, why not watch Trolls Holiday?

I watched this movie on Netflix after my girls told me that’s where it was.

Trolls Holiday

This is an extremely short movie, but it’s super cute. The trolls have sooo many holidays, and since the disbanning of Trollstice and the start of the Bergens friendship with the Trolls, the Bergens have nothing to celebrate, and Poppy tries to help them out, with the aid of her friends.

Just like with Trolls, there’s a conglomeration of songs with words changed here and there to match the Trolls’ lifestyle. It was adorable as always. Also, the same is said about the holidays. The Trolls have such weird and abnormal holidays. They celebrate the strangest things that come across as funny to me, but are completely normal to them. That being said, some of their holidays were based on fads I’ve seen in my lifetime. Anyone remember when wearing jewels in your belly button (no, not belly button rings, but actual jewels) was popular? Welcome to the nineties all over again!

Poppy is a wonderful character. She’s chipper and enthusiastic and definitely a “glass half-full” kinda Troll, but she can also be overbearing and over-the-top, which is what she is in this short film. While she wants to help her Bergen friends and she does have good intentions, she goes a little – okay… a lot – outside their comfort zone. They aren’t used to celebrating and Poppy bombards them with holidays that have little-to-no meaning to the Bergens. And to top it off, she doesn’t listen to her friends as they ask her to stop.

The only thing I don’t understand about this movie (and I’m sorry if this is a spoiler for those who haven’t seen Trolls) is why Branch is his original gray color again. Don’t get me wrong. I actually prefer him with those colors versus his “actual” colors, but he got his color back at the end of Trolls, so why doesn’t he have it now. This is something that happens with a lot of short films based off movies, and while most can be blamed on the fact that they take place during the time their movie counterparts didn’t show (Anyone remember ALL the Beauty and the Beast spinoffs where Beast was still… a beast?), but that’s definitely not the case here. It’s a small detail, but it bugs me for reasons I can’t explain. Surely, I can’t be the only one…

Favorite Character

Branch is still my hero. I loved him in the movie. I love him in this short film. He’s still the most level-headed of all the Trolls, and he helps bring Poppy down a few notches, as she needs in this film.

Memorable Quotes

“So much flippin’ glitter!” ~ Poppy

Have you watched this show? What did you think of it? Talk to me about it!

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Long Books Or Short Books?

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Do you like short books or long books? Do you want something like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, or do you want Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin?

Me? I actually prefer shorter books. And stand alone novels. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s what I like – a mouthful of story I can read in a short period of time. I think that’s why I like short stories so much.

I’m also discovering that’s what I like to write as well. I am looking over the plots of several “novels” I have planned out, and if my word counts for those outlines come out anything like the books I’ve finished in the past, they will not be novels, but novellas.

And while most people wouldn’t like that, I’m finding I’m OK with it. I don’t want to write really long novels. I want to write shorter novels (novellas). Like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut or any of the Harliquin romance novels. I want to be writing the stories that someone who doesn’t usually read can read in a couple of days and those who read all the time can read in a couple of hours.

These are the kinds of stories that make me happy usually. It’s actually been one of my biggest complaints about some of the romance novels I’ve read and even some of the fantasy ones too. Some of them have a lot of material I feel could have been cut and it would still be a compelling story, albeit a lot shorter.

I find that a lot of my first drafts are between 30-40K, and then I work through them to add more, but I don’t really want to do that. This is what I was trying to do with Hunters’ Betrayal and it fought be every step of the way until I gave in and made it a novella. Then, and only then, did everything finally click into place and then I did the same with Warren’s Rage and Scott’s Investigation.

Instead of trying to increase my word count, I want to try just strengthening and tightening the writing I have and publish shorter works.

What do you think? Do you like longer novels or shorter novels? Why (or why not)? Let me know below.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Movie Discussion #3: My Little Pony, the Movie

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For my oldest’s birthday, instead of getting her presents we had a day out and saw a movie that she and her sister wanted to see. And… If we admit it… Both my husband and I were excited about it as well… My Little Pony, The Movie.

We saw this movie in the “dollar” theater, which costs more than a dollar these days, but is still cheaper than traditional movie theaters.

My Little Pony, the Movie

There are so many good things about this movie. So many. First of all, it’s My Little Pony. While I didn’t grow up with the show, as a horse lover, I adored just collecting ponies. I never had many, but they were still awesome. When the show renewed with My Little Pony, the Magic of Friendship came out, I was just as excited about it as my children were. It’s cute and it teaches so many lessons while keeping a compelling storyline.

The movie was no exception. With a good storyline, fantastic artwork (which I’ve been told is actually hand-drawn animation; not certain if it’s true, but if it is, that’s TOTALLY AWESOME!) and message about friendship and teamwork, My Little Pony, the Movie is certainly adorable.

If you’re a fan of My Little Pony or animation or musicals… Yes, musicals, then this movie is for you.

The music numbers are amazing. As usual, my favorite song was the villain’s song. I mean, seriously, villains have the BEST songs. How can you not like this song? *points below*

There’s so much going on in the story and you almost expect, with so many characters, for the personalities of each of them to fall through, but I love that it doesn’t happen. Each of the ponies have such a unique voice and personality that it’s easy to follow which one acts which way. This… This is fantastic storytelling. There’s so many different character archtypes, it’s wonderful and deep whenever our main character (Twilight Sparkle) learns something new – about herself, her friends and even her enemies.

And who doesn’t want an enemy with a name like Tempest Shadow? If you have to have a nemesis, that’s a pretty good one to say the least.

Oh, the puns! There were so many of them, I could not keep up, and I loved every single one. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments on top of ones that went over the girls’ heads, but had me and Justin grinning at each other as we understood the references.

This movie was definitely meant to fun for the whole family, those new to the My Little Pony universe and those who’ve been avid fans for years and generations.

Favorite Character

Tempest Shadow is a fantastic and well-rounded villain. I understood why she’d turned to the dark side and actually partially wanted her to succeed in her mission. I love the ponies, but even their mushy goodness makes me gag sometimes. Tempest’s thoughts about life and the way it works was such a breath of fresh air to all the goodness of the ponies at times.

Memorable Quotes

“Not like the queen of the lions, or tigers or bears?” ~ Capper

“Yeah, yeah! Friendship and flowers and ponies! Bleh! I’m so totally over the cute pony thing.” ~ The Storm King

“I hate epic adventures!” ~ Rarity

Have you watched this movie? What did you think of it? Talk to me about it!

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Shifters & Mages Update #9

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The Shifters & Mages series has gone through many changes as I’ve worked on it, but I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on it. In a past update claimed it would be four books and that the first would publish in March.

Well… It’s not. It won’t be ready for publication by March. The whole series won’t be ready. I want to do this series justice, and I want to release them quickly so that the voracious readers will have something to munch on fairly quickly. I’ll have drafts completed and done. Right now I only have three re-writes and a draft to finish, but that’s not the point. What’s hurting me now is making sure I’m able to get them edited and covers made in time to release them. I can do one, but not both.

I do plan on having covers in the process starting in January. I have a cover designer and we have discussed the series (although not in great detail) so we have a plan of action. I plan on attempting to get one or two covers a month until I have all six.

Yes. You heard that right. Six.

While editing Jenna’s Story, it occurred to me that since separating the two narratives and changing some other things, that a lot of what worked in the original draft of the novel no longer worked. I ended up cutting a lot of it. It was around 52K just taking out the second narrative, but I shortened it even further, finally bringing it down to about 30K with this final re-write.

And that gave me an idea. I’d like to get this series to be mostly novellas. It already was anyway.

Original Series Layout

Puck’s Choice – 72K
Jenna’s Story – 72K
Untitled Novella Collection – 75K (Warren’s Rage, Hunters’ Betrayal, and Scott’s Investigation)
Mages’ Sacrifice – 72K

New Series Layout

Hunters’ Betrayal – 25-30K (after re-write)
Puck’s Choice – 72K
Warren’s Rage – 25-30K (after re-write)
Scott’s Investigation -25-30K (after re-write)
Jenna’s Story – 30K
Mages’ Sacrifice – 70-80K (after first draft)

Because of the number and the length of the novellas, I no longer feel comfortable releasing them as one collection. I will probably still make an ebook omnibus for them in the future, but I’ll be releasing them individually as well, so that they can be read in order of occurrence.

Another thing I’d like to do is write a few short stories (this is a far future project AFTER the rest of the series releases) from some of the other characters’ POVs – Myles, Jay, Gem, etc. I have some vague ideas for those, and they’ll probably be here on my site for free until I have enough to create an entire collection, at which point, I’ll create an anthology. This is still a far future plan and may change though depending on what readers decide they want – or if I’m willing to dive back into the world after I finally leave it… Because, let’s face it. I’ve been in this world nearly ten years (off and on since 2009 when I wrote the first draft of Puck’s Choice), and I’m ready for something different to be honest.

My plan is to finish the re-write of Hunters’ Betrayal this month, and get it to my editor sometime early February after I’ve had another edit of it. I’ll have a cover by that time too, and hope to do a cover reveal then.

After Hunters’ Betrayal is complete, I’ll focus on Warren’s Rage, which will need a series edit/re-write. I was in a hurry when I wrote it, and in my mind right now it’s complete and utter crap. I have decided that I don’t like writing villians. I have a bias of hate for Warren and can’t relate to him enough to write his story correctly, but I will suffer through it because his story connects some of the dots and answers some of the questions I’ve been asked about Puck’s Choice. I hope to have a cover for Puck’s Choice in March (while Warren’s Rage is being edited) and Warren’s Rage in April.

The last re-write I need to do is Scott’s Investigation, which I don’t like the title of… still… I’ll need to come up with something better before I get a cover for it in May. Editing for this one will also probably take place in May as my editor is also a writer, and I’m not certain if she plans on taking part in Camp NaNo or not. It’s not something we’ve discussed yet.

I still have to finish the first draft of Mages’ Sacrifice and when I start working on this again, I’ll be comfortable enough to come up with a new release schedule. The one I’ve mentioned in the past will no longer work, as I won’t have the books ready. I was hoping to. Seriously hoping to, but if I’m realistic, I won’t. There’s too many factors out of my control on the matter. They will all get published next year (2018). I do know that. I just don’t have any exact dates yet and won’t give any until I’m comfortable with where the books are with covers and editing in order to talk about it further than that.

For those of you patiently awaiting this series, I applaud and appreciate you. You are amazing, and I hope you love it. I sincerely do. We’re almost there. I can feel it.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

Previously on Shifters & Mages Updates: Update # 8

November Reads

collage-2017-12-06

0000HelloDragonlings!

November was NaNoWriMo month, and as such I didn’t plan to read anything. That being said, I went ahead and read a few children’s books and several graphic novels and mangas because they are fast reads. I also finished reading the chapter book I was reading aloud to the girls because My Little Pony is the bomb.

  1. Disney Manga: Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuka
  2. Be a Unicorn by Sarah Ford
  3. Open the Suitcase by Ruth Wielockx
  4. My Bed by Anita Bijsterbosch
  5. Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell by G. M. Berrow
  6. The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais
  7. The Scarecrow Princess by Frederico Rossi Edrig
  8. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Crystal Chan
  9. Streak of Chalk by Miguelanxo Prado

Disclaimer: All images pulled from Goodreads.

0000ThanksDragonlings!