Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Estrella War is over, but my project list is far from completed. I’m currently about halfway through a couple of tiny embroideries for a gift for a king in another kingdom, I have a hood to make for my husband, an underdress and apron dress for me, three Arts & Sciences projects to get going, and then there’s also some mundane sewing I want to get done soon-ish.

I’m not super stressed out like I would normally be, because aside from the embroidery I don’t have any deadlines less than a few months away. This is great, because for the first time in months I feel like I can relax and take my time. Well, not relax too much. But I can breathe.

I’ve picked out the Arts & Sciences projects that I’m going to do, so since that is the next true deadline I will focus on those once the embroidery is done. I am even combining one of the above projects into the A&S stuff (but I’m not saying which one!) to kind of get a little ahead of the game. Be more efficient, I guess. Now, I need to do research in addition to the physical work, and I need to remember to take pictures as I go, but I’m getting started right away so I’m not too worried. I have most of the research materials I think I’ll need compiled, so it’s just a matter of reading it all.

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the research paper part of the projects. I always aced my research papers in school, so this should be a breeze. I’ll just have to dust off the ol’ “student” cap and put it on and get to typing. I even made sure I knew which format (y’know, MLA, APA, etc.) I will need to use for my citations before I got started. I’m getting kind of excited for it. Yeah, excited for three research papers. I’m such a nerd.

I also need to mentally prepare for A&S, in the sense that I know my works (written and handmade) will be subject to criticism from multiple fronts. My research papers could be metaphorically torn to shreds, or my sewing could be scoffed at. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Can’t let myself get too comfy in my sense of security when it comes to timelines. We still have to move into our house once it’s built, which is rapidly approaching, and there are more SCA events in the meantime. I can do it, though. Just gotta avoid getting to Crunch Time like I usually end up doing.


As I sip my coffee and get ready to get ready for the busy work day ahead, I am overjoyed by the fact that I managed to finish my husband’s fighting tunic on time–early, even! Okay, so it’s only a day early, but still, it’s done. Not sewing at the last minute on the drive up to war, not sewing it at war…done.

There is still some trim to get sewn onto his “Grand Court” tunic, and some minor embroidery to do on the bottom hem, but that isn’t going to be worn until Saturday night, so I have time to finish at war (and actually planned to, anyway). BUT the major major had-to-be-done-before-we-left sewing is complete. The War Crunch (the SCA version of the Con Crunch) is pretty much over with. I may even be starting to get excited about it.

The drama still looms. Less than 36 hours away…not something I want to think about. But it sits in the back of my mind, festering, and I’m sure it won’t go away until the whole mess is over.

I fear that it won’t be over, though.

I shouldn’t let that get to me though. Then the other person will have won. I should just enjoy my war and try to keep a stiff upper lip, or whatever.

Book 1’s editing has taken a back seat to other, more pressing projects, which is disappointing but something that I guess as an author working with a publishing company I just have to deal with. I can’t force everybody to my timetable–self publishing spoiled me for that, I think. I’ll wait, though. Bide my time, occupy myself with other things–maybe even get back to work on Book 2 rewrites.

Time will tell.

Finally! After weeks of waiting and rescheduling and poor timing, my sword tattoo is done! The tattoo artist’s name is Amanda Jiminez at Battleship Tattoo (to give credit where credit’s due) and here’s the outcome:


I’m ecstatic! I love it and can’t wait to show it off at Estrella War next week.

This has taken a majority of my mind off of the continuing drama, but I know it’s just a proverbial band-aid on a bullet wound. If that’s a proverb….if not, it should be. Can we coin that phrase? Let’s coin that.

I still have a few things to make/stitch, but the majority of it is done. A tunic to finish (though most of it is cut out and much of it is sewn) and some trim to stitch onto another tunic…that’s about it that I can think of right now. Oh, and some little piddly stuff to do, but that stuff is minor and less time-consuming than the above-mentioned stuff. These things also can help take my mind off of the drama things, though only temporarily, and mostly only when I have to get out the seam ripper. Gods, I hate seam ripping.

Book 1 is still in the editor’s hands, but I’m waiting patiently because I know she’s been quite sick recently. I totally understand that and have no ill feelings on it (ha! pun!). I’d like to get back to writing, but….maybe after Estrella. Right now, my time is pulled in other directions.

Two more work days until we leave for war.

Let the games begin.

It’s almost the weekend. Just a meeting and half a work day (theoretically), then I’m free until Tuesday.

Well, not completely free. I have sewing to do, of course (though I’m farther along than I expected to be), and my husband and I are going out of town so we can do some “war prep” of another kind, and I have an appointment to get yet another mole removed. That all aside, though, I am mostly free.

I’ll be so glad when war is over. I’m sure in the long run it’ll be fun, but there’s the pre-war stress that is really getting to me. Deadlines and projects and drama are all pressing in to create a ticking time bomb that hopefully won’t explode. Implode? Some kind of plode-ing.

The writing has, sadly, been put on hold while I try to get our garb and other things ready for war. Book 1 is in editor’s hands right now, but she is sick so it will be a few days before I anticipate any kind of return. Health comes first; I, of all people, should know that. Book 2 is still stalled because I have to basically reboot, and I’m not 100% sure how to go about it. I know what needs to happen, but how to preserve as much of what I’ve already written without having to do a complete rewrite? Yeah, not so much.

There will also be projects post-war, of course. Apron dress, underdress, “bib”-thingie, embroidery on all of the above, A&S projects, illumination/calligraphy, etc. etc. etc. Lots to keep me occupied.

If I can just survive the war, that is….


Posted: January 25, 2018 in #dystopian, #publishing, Critique, Novel, Sci-fi, Writing

Can’t ever make things easy for myself, can I? I think I finally figured out how to fix my problems with Book 2’s first draft. The problem with the fix to the problems? I’m probably going to have to rewrite 90+% of the damn thing.

It started innocently enough. I was thinking about the working title when I realized: the title had been intended for X to happen, but X never came close to happening. Y, Z, Q, R, and W happened, but X kind of got lost in all the other stuff that came up. Characters went off all willy-nilly and ignored the direction I wanted to give them.

My creative drive is renewed now, though, and I think if I just open a new Word document and copy/paste all the keepers I’ll have a decent start. Re-start. Whatever.

The Creative Development team at Rhetoric Askew are still hard at work with me trying to make Book 1 the best it can be before publication, but there’s still a lot to do. I’m a stage where they’ve got the manuscript hostage for edits right now, so I can only do so much of the stuff until I get it back. So once I acknowledge some folks and blurb the thing (and maybe write another 3-4 author bios in the hope that one sounds decent), I can dive into Book 2 until it’s time to return to Book 1.

Debut Askew

Posted: January 19, 2018 in #publishing, Interview, Marketing, Novel, Promotion, Writing

So I’ll admit, I haven’t been super vocal about the publisher I signed with. I’m new, they’re new, and I wasn’t sure how much “Oh-My-God-check-out-these-guys” they’d want on the radar yet. Now, though, with their debut author’s debut novel, they’re ready to, well, debut–and they’ve asked a little help from little ol’ Askewian me.

Okay, I’m throwing made-up words at you and you’re probably a bit confused. “Askewian” just means someone associated with the publishing company, which is named Rhetoric Askew. They’ve been around for a while with editing and critiquing and cover art services and a Facebook group that offers writers assitance, but publishing Askew is new to them, and I’m quite proud to be getting in on the ground floor. I can say I knew them when, they can say they knew me when, and we can all laugh about it on Oprah.

This post isn’t about me, though, or my book. (Surprise! Yes, I do know how to write about others. 😉 ) I’m here to tell you about a book debuting today called Whisper of an Angel, written by author Lorah Jaiyn. I don’t know her well, but I had the change to get a sneaky peeky of Whisper of an Angel, complete with a nifty press kit. (Haven’t seen one of those since my Talk Nerdy With Us days lol) Lemme give you a peek of my peek:

First, let’s tell you about the author. That’s always important, because it helps to know a little about the mind behind the world you’re about to enter. Here’s Lorah’s bio:

“Whisper of an Angel” is Lorah Jaiyn’s debut novel. Her short stories have been featured in several anthologies, and she has much more in the works. Her mood dictates genre blend from magic to vigilante justice. She lives in Central Florida and credits her Jack Russell as both her muse and biggest distraction. Lorah enjoys creating with polymer clay and volunteers with a wildlife rescue. She loves exploring the great outdoors and is also totally addicted to the Hallmark Channel. She can be found on Facebook at

Hey, Lorah, I totally like polymer clay too! (If only I could find the time for it anymore…) Still not sure? Well, I also have a convenient author interview! (I love press kits…so cool!)

Q: Lorah Jaiyn. Thank you for sitting down with us today in the Askew News Update room. Why don’t we start off with a little introduction. Tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve got to share with the world, today.

Thanks for having me. I am so excited about this book. I started out in western New York before moving to Florida right out of school. I was the quintessential rebellious teen who thought she knew everything, so I struck out on my own adventure. After a few months of stretching my new independence boundaries, I planted roots right smack in the middle of the state. I’ve been married forever, and our daughter and toddler grandson currently live in Japan where our son-in-law is stationed with the Air Force. Due to a severe case of empty nest syndrome, I’ve finally settled down and started to put all the stories hoarded in my imagination to paper, to hopefully entertain others.

Q: What was the pivotal moment where you said “You know what? I’m going to be an author?”

I remember telling my parents when I was a young teen that I’d have my first novel published by the time I was eighteen – romance, of course. Creative writing classes in high school were my favorite. My big plan was to spend a Christmas in NYCity, because that’s where all the big publishers were. Then, by the time I turned eighteen, life had taken over so it took ‘slightly’ longer than originally planned.

Q: What inspires you to create your fictional worlds and characters?

In a word, reality. I grew up reading Harlequin romances and I’m not ashamed to admit that real life is disappointing when you’re expecting perfect relationships and fireworks. Sometimes my stories contain scenes that are therapeutic and the only outlet I have that is legal.

Q: Every author has their own method to the madness, so-to-speak, what’s your writing process look like?

Get close to the deadline and panic. I’m such a pantser, always waiting til the last minute. I’ve tried outlining, but figured out that I fare better if I just blurt the story out of head and get it typed, then outline afterwards to make sure it makes sense. I also tend to handwrite first so I have something to follow when I type. I have enough partially used notebooks to stock Staples for a year. Or two. Each story needs a special notebook. Back-to-school time is better shopping than Christmas.

Q: When you develop your stories and characters, do you let them grow in front of you or do you have everything all planned out?

Both grow as I write. Trying to plan is just a waste of time for me.

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and books and why you love them.

There are so many – after working in a used bookstore for years, I became very eclectic with my reading. I don’t stick to any one genre (although I avoid nonfiction, history, and biographies), but here are a few of my favorites:

Cecelia Ahern – her stories are always emotional and heartfelt, without being overwhelming.

Nicholas Sparks & Mitch Albom – oh, the feels. Guaranteed to make you cry.

Raymond Feist – Faery Tale – all time favorite horror – the only book I’ve read that actually gave me the heebie jeebies.

Rosalind James – her New Zealand series. New Zealand is my dream location and her books are very vivid with her locales.

I’m also a huge local author person. Connie Mann and Dylan Newton are two of my favorites – they are both multi-successful and have both been huge supports for me.

Q: You chose to publish your work through RhetAskew (a division of Rhetoric Askew, LLC), why did you choose them and do you feel it was the right decision?

I’ve been in several Askew Anthologies and loved the time, devotion, and detail they put into their products. This is my debut novel, and I’m their debut novel, so it was a win-win right from the start. I love the staff and powers-that-be and it has been a very rewarding process. I totally made the right decision.

Q: What did you enjoy about the Askew process?

Communication! This book thing is not easy – parts of the process are very daunting. But using Rhetoric Askew made me feel less overwhelmed, there was always someone right there to ‘hold my hand’ so to speak. I’ve never had to wonder what was going on.

Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading Whisper of an Angel?

I want people to close the book with the sense that no matter how bad things are, it doesn’t mean that something good won’t come along. Keep your heart open to opportunities. And because I’m a big animal person, with a special love for dogs, I want people to realize that a dog can provide a special kind of love that you may not even know you need.

Q: Where can all your Askew fans find you when you aren’t writing?

And if I’m not writing, I’m probably sitting behind a table making something out of polymer clay, so

So now you know a little something-something about the author. Groovy. But you probably want to know about the book, seeing as how that’s what all the hubbub’s about. The genre’s romantic suspense, but that doesn’t tell you much. Maybe the cover art will  give you a hint:

Jaiyn Whisper

Adorbs, right? And don’t worry, I’m prepared if you don’t think adorbs is enough to get you to go buy this book: I’ve got the jacket blurb as ammunition!

Sometimes second chances start with four paws.

In the small town of Marshall Glen, Sofia retreats from life following the death of her husband. Six-year-old Kady lives in foster care and hasn’t spoken since a house fire stole her family. After she saves Kady’s dog from drowning, Sofia attempts to stay locked away, but learns that—

…even though she’s given up, her heart wants to—try again.

When Kady runs away from her foster home, Sofia meets the cop in charge of the search, Brandon—her first love. Sparks fly even as she struggles with her conscience. Is she being unfair to her husband’s memory?

When random acts of vandalism turn to attempted kidnapping, Brandon helps keep Kady safe. As the danger deepens, how far will Sofia go to save a child?

Hooked yet? I have to admit, this wasn’t my usual genre, but Whisper of an Angel was definitely an interesting read. I was hooked from the start, and it made for a quick, fulfilling evening’s read. And don’t let the Table of Contents intimidate you; the chapters, though many, are short enough that you don’t get bored. I could go on, but I’m one of those who will give away the whole plot in an attempt to summarize. That’s why I haven’t gone into details of the plot of my WIPs…I’ll end up basically writing the whole story here and have nothing left to surprise you with when Rhetoric Askew gets my own work on the shelves. You don’t want that–you want to read it for yourself! I totally get that, and that’s why I’m using my handy dandy press kit to give you links, links galore!


Twitter: @writerlorahj


Amazon Author:

Amazon Book:


But wait, there’s more! This fantastic book is available today! That’s right, today, January 19th, is the debut date, and I just happened to schedule this post to pop up on your feed/email on the 19th (I’m sneaky like that).

Now, this isn’t just some “I’m-pushing-another-Askew-author-because-I-want-my-stuff-pushed-when-the-time-comes” gig; I really want to support another author in her publishing journey, and I want word to get out there about this book. Yeah, at the time I’m writing this I have 180-something followers here on this blog, and yeah, my average views (according to WordPress, which I think is a bit off–sometimes I have more people talk to me in person about a blog post than the stats say have viewed it) aren’t the highest…still, it’s another voice in the din, and maybe, just maybe, I got you at least a teeny bit interested.

We authors tend to get caught up in our own musings, and I think we need to remember to support each other and read others’ works. Lorah has a real hit on her hands here, and we all need to band together and make that hit happen. I know there are other writers here; surely you can spare a bit of time and energy to wrench yourself away from your own works to appreciate the works of a fellow wordsmith? I did, and it was well worth it.

Oops! I did it again … telling, telling, telling. Many authors will relate on this one: the “show, don’t tell” dilemma. I have been particularly guilty of telling too often, and in my rereading of Book 2 (which, granted, is just in its first set of revisions following a very rough first draft) I see that I have quite the workload ahead of me.

I’m getting better at the showing thing, but I have a lot of fixing to do for Book 2 to eliminate the telling. I don’t know how I put so much of it in there without realizing it, but what’s told is told and I have to un-tell it … somehow.

There’s another problem that I see after looking at my work with recently-critiqued eyes: exposition. Yeah. I got some of that going, too. I took it out of Book 1 (based on said critiques), but I worry that the point isn’t going to get across with the way I took it out. There are things that I feel aren’t explained adequately, major plot points, but I’m at a loss as to how to convey the things without telling and without boring the reader. It’s not something I think beyond my ability to do, but the fact that I can’t figure it out right away is frustrating.

It doesn’t help that I think about other series that I’ve read, and that I know the exposition is often there to quickly explain what happened in the last book, a “Previously, on … ” kind of thing that you see in TV shows, if you will. So it happens in publication all the time, right? So–why am I concerned? I guess I’m trying to predict what issues the publishers will have with the next book, and even though I see this type of thing quite frequently when I’m reading I still envision my publishers’ potential comments, and it is throwing me.

Maybe I need to back off and not worry about the second book for right now. Take some (more) time off from it and mull a bit. I don’t know. I think I’m overthinking.