Jan 26, 2015

#tuesdayteaser - Malrith's Shield

It's been too long since I've done one of these #tuesdayteaser things. Do people even do these anymore?

Oh well. I'm going to do one today! If anyone has read my Christmas flash story, I'll give you another quick peek into my character Sawyer from my current WIP "Malrith's Shield".

***

Flames lit up the night sky. A fiery roar of a dragon’s voice sounded in the distance. Atrocious wings created a whoosh of wind that blew Sawyer’s hair away from his face. He stood frozen with eyes wide as the entire castle burned before him. There was nothing he could do to stop the attack. 

Maids and workers darted through the hallways, searching for protection from the ongoing assault. Smoldering beams fell from the roof. The folk stopped and screamed as the dragon flew above them, dousing them in a blast of heat.

Sawyer’s body shook in fear. The dragon would find him if he didn’t move. He tried to lift a leg, but could barely take a step. All he could do was watch while the whole world around him was destroyed.

An unfamiliar voice flitted through his thoughts. Standing on the opposite side of the hallway was a figure... no, the dragon’s summoner. In red heavy armor, the summoner wavered with broadsword in hand. 

Sawyer tried again to move. He yelled out for help as more people passed him by, but it seemed no one heard him. The summoner stalked closer. Long, red hair coiled down the man’s chest. His extravagant chest plate and bracers shone in the firelight from above. Sawyer had never seen such masterpiece armor before.

“You there,” the summoner said with his sword drawn toward him. 

Sawyer’s heart dropped as he dared not to stare at the blade, but at his killer’s face. Brown eyes shimmered with bloodlust. The man’s lean, youthful face showed no sign of fear nor regret. This summoner was... Sawyer lowered his head in spite of himself. 

“Beautiful.”

Jan 15, 2015

Lessons learned in 2014

I've been thinking a lot lately (hehe, when do I not?) about the things I'd learned in 2014 and throughout the four years I've been a published author. Now, I've learned a lot. Some of those things are completely random like writing tricks, word usage, editing, etc, etc, but what I'm talking about are the bigger things.

What's bigger than deleting all the filter words from your manuscript? Life stuff, that's what. Especially if they can be used while writing.

I'm usually quite talkative on social media. If you haven't yet, check out my Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/AzaleaMoone, where I'll ramble on about plot ideas, writing, and totally random stuff. But otherwise, I'm a pretty private person. One thing I didn't tell anyone, except in private forums of course, was that 2014 was the year I went through a(nother) pretty big depression/anxiety kick.

It was a year of learning, in both real life and my writing life. There were a lot of things I had to learn to put aside and let go, this included parts of my writing. It took almost six months for me to get out of "la-la-land" -- this is what I called it -- and to start enjoying writing again. But I was still learning. I needed to be strong. And I'll always be learning. It's the best thing about this hobby/career that I love.

So what have I learned in 2014?

1. Self-publishing is way too easy: And it's the "easy way out". It requires almost no promotion, unless your willing to take the time, and I wasn't willing last year. But it's still easy to just edit, format, and slap it on Amazon. No sending to review sites, no need to attend FB parties or blog hops. Nothing. Just set it and forget it.

And unless you want to set your career down and forget it, most likely, it won't get you anywhere if you're not willing to do the work of marketing. Writing is fun. It's supposed to be. Promotion is fun if you make it. But I admit, I'm guilty of doing nothing when it comes to promoting new releases last year. Part of it was lack of motivation, part of it was just not knowing what to do.

This year, my goal is to start submitting to publishers again. And doing the work I need to, aka marketing.

2. Be Mindful: or "take things one at a time". This is something I've tried to strive for these last four years and I just gotta keep working on it. It means if you're writing, just write. If you're editing, just edit. If your ready to submit, submit it. Don't think about submitting when you're still writing. And don't worry about edits when it's still out on submission.

This one is tough, because what if you're thinking of publisher X for the story, but you don't know if said publisher will be the best spot? This is my problem. I constantly go back and forth between deciding on which publishers to send to when I'm not even done writing the damn story!

So yes, stay mindful. If your doing the dishes, do the the dishes, don't think about cooking dinner at the same time. FYI: I started practicing mindful meditation and DBT skills last year. Even though I constantly have to remind myself to stay mindful, it's a great thing for anyone to have -- a moment to yourself to just breathe.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff: this is another one I have to constantly strive for, and it goes along with "Be mindful". But basically it means don't worry about what readers are going to think. I'm writing for myself at this moment. Don't worry about the editing process, don't worry about sales, don't worry about this, that, and the other shit you cannot control.

Don't worry about the drama happening over there in the community. Don't worry if a reviewer only gave you three stars.

Don't worry about all these damn filter words in your manuscript, right now. That's what editing is for.

4. My skin is not as thick as I'd like it: and it probably never will be. At least it's toughened up since my first book. *smiles* But it wavers at times, and especially during that time of month and that's okay.

5. Writing is not the most important thing: I used to want to write A LOT of books. Why? It meant more fans and sales. I didn't necessarily write the things I wanted to, though, and for that, I paid. Now you ask, but aren't you happy with the books you've written so far?

Yes and no.The one's I'm not happy with are gone (see previous post about books no longer in the market).

But also, I needed to learn that life is the most important thing in life. I have a family, a house, a cat, everything else that needed attention. And I think I'd paid too much attention to my "fantasy lands" and not enough on myself.

It was a rough year in 2014, but then again, it was the most beautiful year. I adored autumn in Nebraska. I had paid mindful attention to the gorgeous fall leaves and comfortable temperatures, all while attending to real life. And I also found time to attend to my creative side as well, without too much avoidance.

I had found a way to enjoy everything without getting too overwhelmed.

I had done this by focusing on one thing at a time and by staying positive.

2015 is set to be a great year.

Jan 12, 2015

Introducing: The newsletter!

It's been a long time in the making, but I've finally decided to create a newsletter. Now I just need some people to send it to.

If you're interested in staying up to date on my new releases, subscribe now!

What other benefits does it include?

News about sales
Special subscriber only coupon codes
Free safe-for-work (SFW) flash fiction
Work in progress excerpts
And more!

Plus, it's only sent bi-monthly around the 15th, meaning it will not spam your inbox once a month!



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Dec 21, 2014

Midwinter Flash Fiction Blog Hop!

Heya all, I'm participating in the Midwinter Flash Fiction Blog Hop presented by the House of Manlove M/M critique group!

We have a lot of awesome flash fiction stories to keep you warm this winter's day, so take a look at the list of all the fantabulous authors participating this year. Click to go to Inlinkz list

Here is my story, a cute introduction to a couple of the characters in my current fantasy wip "Malrith's Shield." Enjoy!


*****

Winter in Anscien

Sawyer crossed his arms against his chest, staring out into the snowy night. The first snowfall of the season started early, meaning a long, unproductive winter. Snowflakes glistened in the yellow candlelight from his room as they fell around the window. The pile on the ground was getting deeper.
“It’s snowing,” Fithel said, softly closing the door.
Sawyer nodded his head. Unfortunately.
“Well have to postpone the hunt until spring.” Fithel’s announcement made Sawyer cringe. He’d trained for years to hunt dragons and their summoners. How could a simple snowfall stop their progress in its tracks?
Behind him, Fithel’s footsteps echoed in the silence. The hunt never seemed so important to him as it had to Sawyer. Instead, Fithel had performed the king’s duty, while to Sawyer, hunting dragons was more about keeping his own sanity in tact.
“Are you okay with this?” Fithel asked. He stood at Sawyer’s side, now; his stringy dirty-blond hair folded back around his once pointed ear, thin arms straight at his sides, and wearing his familiar emotionless face. Fithel was always the model of perfect attentiveness. Surely a skill necessary for the king’s first knight.
“I’ll have to be,” Sawyer said, glancing over his commander; his first love since he was fifteen. “Not much to do until the first melt, though.”
A slight grin lifted Fithel’s lip. “Sure there is.” He leaned against the wall with his hand on his hip. “We can build a snowman.”
Sawyer raised a brow. “A snowman?” Fithel nodded with a full, toothy smile. His immature suggestion, and the grin on his lips, made Sawyer even more irritated. “What good is such a frivolous activity meant for children? We’re young men now, Fithel. I don’t think—“
“And what is wrong with a little playfulness?” Fithel tipped his head. “It’s never bothered you before.”
“When I was younger.”
“Why not now, then? You’ve been quite different since the becoming of your nightmares. Sometimes it is like I don’t even know you anymore. Are you still Sawyer, who used to frolic in the stream near the castle and who used to wrap himself around me for attention?”
Sawyer let out a sigh. Of course, age had matured him, but so had his dreams. Those dreams of their castle burning under the enormous eyes of every dragon called to attack it. The summoners who not only controlled their monsters, but fought every army with precision and power. Since those dreams, his life seemed to be geared toward one thing—ridding the world of dragons and their summoners.
“I suppose you’re right,” Sawyer whispered. The lighthearted smile on Fithel’s lips wavered. “It is getting late, though.”
Fithel dropped his arms. “Nevermind that. Hurry and dress in your thickest leather. We’ll build a snowman before dark,” he said quickly before rushing out the door.
That was... odd. It’d been a while since Fithel had such a suggestion. In any case, Sawyer took one last glance at the glistening snowfall before hurrying to dress. It didn’t take him long, and when he stepped outside, he met Fithel up to his knees in fresh snow.
“It snowed this much?”
“Didn’t you know? It’s been a blizzard all day. Just now calmed enough to open the doors without snow blowing in.” Snow crunched under Fithel’s boots as he stepped down the staircase to the ground. Or what was the staircase? Sawyer couldn’t tell where the stone steps ended and ground began.
He hadn’t seen such a snowfall since his thirteenth birthday, and even then, they didn't go outside in it. Carefully, he stepped down in the thick white blanket, snow covering up to his calves, then right above his knee. The cold seeped in quickly, but worst of all, he could barely lift his leg to take another step.
“We could build a snowman army—“ Fithel turned to spot Sawyer’s struggle. “Need a hand?” He waded in the deep snow toward Sawyer.
Sawyer reached out to him, couldn’t quite grasp on. A cool wetness built around his heel as he tried to lift his leg. Damn, did he lace his boot tight enough? He stretched out again, attempting to seize hold of Fithel’s hand to free himself. “J-just a little bit...” Sawyer grumbled.
“You can do it,” Fithel gasped, his fingers brushing against Sawyer’s. One more try. They clasped hands, and with one yank...
“Hold on!” Sawyer’s boot slid off as he went barreling down the snow hill with Fithel beside him. He stared up at the gray skies, white flakes landed on his forehead, and his naked foot chilled. It was much warmer in the castle.
Next to him, Fithel’s laughter lit up the gloom. “You oaf.” He slapped Sawyer in the arm. “Now how do we get your boot back, huh?”
“Oh, shut it.” Sawyer rolled over and smacked Fithel back. Although his toes burned from the cold air, he couldn’t help the chuckle. “You pulled too hard.”
“Did I?” Fithel punched him in the leg, harder now. “I’m not the klutz who doesn’t secure their boots.”
“Ow!” Sawyer scooped up a handful of snow. If Fithel continued this spat, he’d get a faceful. “What was that?”
“You heard me,” Fithel said.
A chunk of frigged moisture landed on Sawyer’s cheek, dizzying him a moment. He ran his fingers across the cold, wet spot, his face growing hot with fury. Fithel chuckled hard. “That’s it.” Sawyer threw his ball of snow, clocking Fithel in the forehead, stopping his furious laughing.
With wide eyes, he glared at Sawyer. Scooped up another handful of snow. But Sawyer quickly prepared with a shot of his own. Immediately, they aimed and hit each other. Sawyer’s face and chest was covered in a layer of snow before he could scrape up another handful. Anger brewed through his body. Damn that Fithel.
“Why you...” He pounced to his knees and slammed into Fithel, catching him off guard, and pushing him onto his back in the snow. Barreling in laughter, Sawyer snatched up a large snowball and shoved it in his face.
Fithel spat. Choked. Wheezed.
Sawyer moved his hand. Fithel’s skin reddened; where the snow sat had turned a pale blue. “What—“ Fithel opened his moist eyes.
“You okay?” In that moment, Sawyer’s heart hammered. Had he not pulled away, he could’ve suffocated him. “Guess I got a little carried away.”
Fithel narrowed his brows. Grasped hold of Sawyer’s sides. Suddenly, Sawyer found himself on his back, the cold invading through his leather. Fithel straddled his legs, his heavy weight pressing Sawyer deep into the snow. He leaned in close, hot and intense breath against Sawyer’s cheek. “You’re an ass,” he whispered huskily. “But that is why I love you.”
Sawyer’s eyes widened. He’d only heard Fithel’s confession once before, two years ago in a moment of heated passion. “You truly mean it?” Sawyer asked.
“Of course I do.” Fithel brushed his warm, moist lips against Sawyer’s. “I always have.” He raised his head, a grin on his lips. “Now let’s get your boot and build that snowman.”

Dec 18, 2014

What's Coming in 2015!

I hope everyone's Christmas is off to a wonderful start. It certainly went awry in my home. So how was 2014 for you?

This year, I've been a little more quiet than I wanted to be due to personal stuff. It's been a year of discovery and learning in both my personal life and writing life. But we're gearing up to bring in 2015 with a bang.

Next year, expect a few changes to the Azalea Moone backlist and some new, fantastic reads!

Here's the unofficial list of what's to come.


Backlist changes - These books will no longer be available by the 1st of the year:

"Night Shift"
"Once Upon a New Years Eve"
"The Man Who Spoke My Name"

"A Rogue's Power" will no longer be available after June.


New releases and re-releases! - Expect some new stuff, including:

The re-release of "Angel's Redemption"

"Project Wasteland: The Chaos" Book 2
"Project Wasteland" Book 3

"Malrith's Shield" (working title subject to change) A whole new fantasy world that's been a blast to work in. I'll introduce you to a few characters on Sunday with my short piece for the Mid-Winter Flash Fic hop presented by the House of Manlove.


Okay, okay, I know I said this last year, but next year I would like to post more on this blog. I also need to find a place to post other things like gaming, yaoi, manga, anime, etc... Maybe Tumblr?


Curious? Stayed tuned for more good stuff coming soon, including (possibly) a end of the year giveaway! :)



Merry Christmas.