From the Blog

Problems with the novel Spyder’s Web

woman warrior carrying sword bathed in red

I realize this may come as a shock to many of you, but I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, and apparently, I made a doozy with my last book in my fantasy series, Spyder’s Web.

Somehow, I only uploaded half the book to all of the various places you folks go to buy books. The story stopped right in the middle of chapter eight, and people were left kind of confused.

confused cartoon dog

Can’t blame them there. Anyway, if you were one of the unlucky readers who only got half a book, mea culpa.

By now, you have received or will receive a notice from Amazon instructing you on how to re-download the corrected version of Spyder’s Web.

Alternately, on Amazon, you have the option to use the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page on Amazon.com to receive your book updates.

I’m really sorry for the inconvenience and won’t be too upset if you write to tell me how shocked you are that I’m not always perfect…

 

Intro

As most of you know, I write in several genres, and within those genres, I write short stories, novellas, and novels. Several people have asked what the difference is between each type of writing. The answer comes down to numbers, and even these aren’t written in stone.  Whenever I list my books for sale, if they are a short story or novella, it will be easy for you to tell because they’re always labeled as such. Let me give you some examples:
 In a nutshell:
Short Stories: 1,000 to 7,500 words
My short story Sansha is an example of this coming in at 6,436 words
Novellas: 7,500 – 40,000 words (some people consider anything over 30,000 words a novel – like I said, nothing is cast in stone.
My novella Lilas comes in at 16,174 words
My novella Credo’s Revenge has 21,564 words
Novels: 40,000 – On Up
Credo’s Hope, for Example, has 97,935 words
As I mentioned, this is variable. Some of the greatest books–referred to as novels–ever written are under 32,000 words. The list goes on, but I thought I’d give a couple of examples.
The Call of the Wild
Jack London
27,000
Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck
31,465
Animal Farm
George Orwell
27,695
Anyway, I hope this answers your questions and as always, please keep your questions coming. I love hearing from you guys and always try to get back to you as quickly as possible.

Walking the Moors With Agatha

As I sit out on my deck watching the fog roll over the fields of my farm, I realize what a wonderful opportunity I’ve had to be able to write in such beauty. It seems wherever I am, I’m usually drawn outdoors to a porch or a patio, especially in the spring, summer and fall, when flowers are blooming, the hummingbirds are sipping their nectar and the cicada’s are singing their songs. My writing seems to flow easily when I’m outside the confines of four walls.

Apparently I’m in good company, as Anne McCaffrey once told an interviewer, “I think writers need windows on a view to remind them that a whole world is out there, not the minutiae with which they might be dealing on a close scale.”

One writer friend, who shall remain nameless, has 5 children under the age of twelve. He says the only place he can truly settle in to write in peace is comfortably seated on a sheepskin rug he carries into their large, oversized bathroom where he can lock himself inside for some quiet writing time. I thought this strange to the extreme until I discovered that Agatha Christie did much of her writing while soaking in her oversized Victorian tub.

On that note, there have been several other famous writers who have found sitting behind a desk in their library untenable. Gertrude Stein used to sit in the driver’s seat of her Model T Ford while parked on the streets of Paris.

It’s said that Sir Walter Scott wrote many of his poems on horseback, and several famous writers wrote from their bed.

Agatha Christie plotted out her first mystery while walking the moors near the Haytor Rocks in Dartmoor, and Ernest Hemingway is said to have written while standing at a writer’s podium.

I know that writers write wherever they find themselves, at all times of the day and night, but what I wouldn’t give to have walked the moors with Ms. Christie, eavesdropping as she plotted The Mysterious Affair at Styles, or to have stood gazing out over the rooftops of Paris with Earnest Hemingway and listening as he admonished himself with these famous words:

“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

So, as I sit on my deck getting ready to write and watching the ghostly tendrils of fog roll in, I close my eyes and imagine the heavy air carries the distinctive aroma of Hemingway’s pipe and I quietly put my fingers to the keys and say to myself, “Do not worry. You have always written before…”

My Newest Epic Fantasy, Duchess Rising, is Published and Available for Your Reading Pleasure

As most of you already know, I just published the latest book in the Seven Realms of Ar’rothi series Duchess Rising. I absolutely love writing this series. I’m getting to know each character better and better with each book, and am looking forward to seeing what adventures and romances they get themselves into.

As with most of my series, this one has very strong, kick-ass women characters who, much to the relief of my friend and reader Rob G., aren’t men haters and bashers. I definitely enjoyed getting to know King Leopold in this book. His personality and leadership really began to shine, and his obvious affection for his cousin, Duchess Bree Makena, shows through. His love for his ten-year-old son, Prince Darius, is evident as well.

Speaking of the crown prince, we begin to see how very much he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, although there are times where learning to be everything to everyone can be a little overwhelming for the young man. And of course, Kaiti, The Spirit Child is learning and adapting to Anacafrian ways while still learning about how she can help the Spirit Guides battle the Tevaiedin.

I also had fun with the healer Becca Solárin and her Shona lover, Nashotah. The two of them are reunited in Duchess Rising, which causes just a little bit of erotica and romance to appear for the first time in any of my books. Hey, what can I say? They hadn’t seen each other for a while, and well….

Anyway, here’s a brief summary of what you can expect when you once again enter the fantasy world of Ar’rothi:

If you love stories about smart, strong, capable women, swords, kings and queens and Spirit Guides, sprinkled with a touch of lesbian romance, this is the book for you. In Book Two of the fantasy series, The Seven Realms of Ar’rothi, Duchess Aurelia (Bree) Makena, first cousin to the king and the former commander of the elite Huntington’s Cavalry, finds herself once more taking up the sword in defense of her king and kingdom.

Stormy clouds of war are moving against Anacafria on two fronts; the Tevaiedin, the dark spirits of the seven realms, and Desdamea, the cruel and grasping queen of the neighboring country of Organdy, are both gathering their forces in a bid to dominate and destroy the kingdom. The Duchess finds her loyalties divided between her adopted daughter, who is the only one who can lead a defense against the Tevaiedin and her king, who needs her skills as a warrior and as one of the commanders of his elite troops.

Duchess Rising is the second book in a powerful and moving fantasy series by Alison Naomi Holt that will appeal to fans of Anne McCAffrey and Mercedes Lackey — one that blends the lyrical and mystical with pulse-pounding action.

Five Reasons a Writer Should Run From Social Media

multi-tasking

Multi-tasking using Social Media seems to be all the rage these days. You say you’re a writer. Do you want to be a successful writer? Do you want to take your writing to the next level? Then I highly suggest you jump off the Social Media bandwagon and turn off your internet while you write. Why, you say? Here’s why…

1. Let’s say we’re true writers who allot so many hours per day to write. Remember, writing is a job. If we want to be professional writers, we need to, and must, commit to spending x amount of hours at our desks putting words on a paper. How many of us have been happily typing away, and a notification pops up on our desktop reminding us that today is Ralph’s birthday. We have only written 300 words so far out of the 3000 that is our daily goal. But, it’s Ralph’s birthday! Let’s just pop over to Facebook and wish him a Happy Birthday before we forget about it. Happy Birthday, Ralph! Oh look, Auntie Mame is getting a breast reduction done on her size FFF breasts this morning. Let me just take a few minutes to wish her well.

2. Auntie Mame just happens to be on Facebook and sees our well-wishes. She shoots us an instant message and wants to tell us all about her ungrateful children who won’t call or write and who don’t care about the fact that she’s having major breast reduction surgery because all of the weight she’s carrying around on her front half is causing debilitating pain on her back half and she’s so happy we took the time to write and did we happen see this interesting article on the cute little puppy who dances the merengue?

3. Hmmm, there’s a puppy in the next chapter of our book. Maybe we should just take a minute to do a little research. We click on the link Auntie Mame so generously provided and find a cute little five-minute video of a Havanese puppy dancing in front of a delighted audience of oriental children. Wait, what’s a Havanese puppy? Let’s just Google that breed because we may just want to use that one as the second puppy who comes to meet the first one in the chapter we haven’t written yet.

4. Oh yeah, that reminds us, we only have 300 words written so far. Back to Word where we stare at the page a few minutes wondering what we’d written so far. Let’s just start at the beginning and re-read what we wrote because we need to keep the flow of the book going with just the same rhythm we had when we first sat down to write. Oh yeah, there’s that word we couldn’t think of in the second paragraph. Let’s pop over to the online thesaurus and try to come up with just the right word. Hmmmm, there’s one that might work, but what’s the exact definition of that particular word? Let’s click on the dictionary to find out. Oh! How cool! That word has a link to…

5. Wikipedia. Whew. Now we can really find out why the word we were going to use might not work because it was used in ancient Greece to let the hedonistic slaves know when it was time to come in to work for their owners. Uh oh, we know what that means…and we certainly don’t want our readers to think we’ve stepped into the slightly erotic zone in our writing. Phew, we dodged the bullet on that one.

Well, the time we allotted for writing is now over because we have to go make lunch and walk the dog. But wow, what great research we did, and we scored points with Auntie Mame and Ralph. And well, we did get those 300 words written, didn’t we?

To Live or Not to Live

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Not Feeling Too Well 🙁

We had several chicks arrive today. They’re barely three days old and already I can tell the timid from the bold, the strong from the weak and then, there’s this tiny little one that I have tucked up under my shirt because she needs just a little bit more warmth and extra care. Her eyes are closed, her wings are limp, and her breathing is almost nonexistent. She’s nestled in close to my chest, fighting to live as I write. Every now and then I feel her adjust a wing or reposition her teensy toes. I wonder if she’ll pull through, if she has that intangible ingredient that gives her that extra little oomph that I’ve seen in so many other wounded or weak animals throughout the years. I’ve found that the trait I’m hoping to encourage in this little Silver Laced Wyandotte, that intangible will to survive and to thrive, is found in all aspects of nature. It runs true in successful human endeavors as well. It’s the difference between a very talented shower crooner who is too afraid to sing in public, and, say, someone like Barbara Streisand, who ignored the naysayers of her youth and rose to the very pinnacle of her profession. Why does someone like Cesar Milan triumph while thousands of other wannabe animal trainers languish in obscurity? And, along those lines, since I love to write, I wonder why some people dream of becoming a writer “someday” while others crank out novel after novel after novel. Why do negative reviews completely derail certain authors to the extent that they never write again, yet others laugh at the negative comments and publish another book on the heels of that negative review? I think it has something to do with whether or not this little chick is going to pull through. If she has that drive, that little extra belief in herself, combined with the will to live—to succeed where others have failed and died. At some point, will she tell herself she’s just too tired to try anymore? Will she decide that the three days she’s been in existence have simply been too difficult to even want to go on? Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people who have a thirty page manuscript tucked into a drawer that one day they’ll pull out and dust off and hopefully crank out the other two hundred and fifty pages necessary to complete their book. But it’s just so hard to find time to write. It’s not fun waiting for inspiration to hit. It’s easier to simply say, “Maybe one day.” The successful ones are the people, and chickens, who shout out to the world, “Just let me write one more word, take one more breath, finish one more page, and swallow one more dropper full of sugar water.” They believe, unequivocally, that they’re going to make it no matter what. Nothing is going to keep them from their success.

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Silver Laced Wyandotte

I just heard a few tiny peeps out of this little chick. As I pull her out from under my shirt, her eyes are open again, her wings are tucked in tight and she’s telling me she’s ready to live. I guess she has that little extra something that all truly successful creatures possess. How about you? Are you ready to pull out that dusty manuscript and finish it? Do you have what this tiny little chick obviously has in abundance? Of course you do. Now get out there and put that one more word into your story, finish that next page, and start that next chapter. Decide to succeed. It’s really as simple as that.

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