Why I’ll Never Write A Happy Ending

There are an awful lot of romances in my stories and I try to make them as realistic as possible. I don’t go for characters no one can ever resist–the brooding, muscle bound hero meets the dainty, helpless damsel in distress–and I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s real and it’s something a lot of readers can identify with. I read a lot of romances, too, and I love them. I just don’t want to write them.

gentlerogueRomantic heroes are often stereotyped and, while that may suck, there’s a reason for it. Apparently, lots of women like the man next door, the hunky fireman, the long-haired, shirtless werewolf… And, this stereotypical romance hero is often given a bad name for being just that, so let’s not do that here. As I said a paragraph ago, I read a lot of romances. I like them. But, you’ll never see Fabio rescue a fair maiden and ride of into the sunset on a unicorn in one of my books. Never.

The closest to a perfect romance novel hero I’ve ever come to writing was The Demon King. He was close, but no cigar. He had the look, he had the brooding demeanor, and he had an excess of power, but he was flawed from the beginning because he wasn’t in it to marry the girl and live happily ever after. I just don’t think demon kings get that sort of an ending. Realistically, they might achieve other goals, but how on earth would a romance really work in the Underworld? I just don’t get it.

Moving past romance novels, other stories with happy endings make my head spin, too. Does every single time traveler make it home safe to live out the rest of their lives as though they hadn’t just traveled through space and time? What about the traveler who becomes trapped? Or is obliterated en route? What about the traveler who wanderers onto an alien planet and is captured by the emperor of the Zed People and thrown into a rusty cage for the rest of his life?

And, what about crime stories? Does the PI always capture the bad guy? What if they didn’t? What if the main character lets the guy go because he’s paid an amount of money he simply can’t refuse? Or, what if he doesn’t let the bad guy go. What if, during the climax of the story, the PI meets up with the mass murderer in an alley somewhere and the murderer does what he does best–murder?

I don’t write happy endings. I did when I was a kid, but then life floated through me and I through it. At some point in my life I realized that not every story has to have a happy ending to be a good one. Not every book has to end the way we all want it to. Characters can fall into their destinies the way in which they are meant to and the endings of THOSE stories can be just as satisfying, just as wonderful, just as horrifying as a story with a happy ending. And, people will continue to read them because some of us enjoy a good book full of wonderful, flawed characters doing beautifully flawed things. I enjoy it when the outcome of a book isn’t what I might have thought it was going to be. I don’t like coming to the last chapter of a story and already knowing what’s going to happen before it happens because at least a million other stories have ended that way. I like to be surprised, both pleasantly and otherwise.

I think that’s why I’m drawn to horror and realism. There isn’t always a happy ending in those stories and it’s almost expected that the author is going to shred their character’s lives into a zillion pieces. I like that, no matter what’s going on in my life, I can crack open one of these stories and realize that it’s entirely possible that someone else out there might just be having a worse day than me.

All of the many things that go through my head kill me sometimes. I’m a constant thinker. Sometimes my thoughts are darker than velvet and sometimes they’re light as air–but, they are always realistic because I can’t stand the thought of writing a story that isn’t somehow true (even if it’s not). There’s no way on this earth I could ever convince myself to write a story where everything turns out okay because that’s just not how the world works. I will always tie up loose ends in my stories and if I leave something up for interpretation, it’s because sometimes life does that, too.

gwtw

“I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.”- Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind

Romance novels are notorious for their happy endings (there are few without them, but Gone With the Wind comes to mind, though I don’t think that book was classified as just a romance novel). It’s totally possible that I might write romance again one day, but know that if I choose to do so, you’re not going to see the hero rescue the damsel in distress and ride off in a million dollar car to a million dollar wedding where their friends and families are waiting on them with smiles and bags of rice to choke the birds with.

It’s more likely that my romance novel will end with the anti-hero and anti-heroine in some sort of stand-off. They might be together at the end of the book, but at what costs? Their fortunes? Their dignity? A limb? Or, possibly even their very lives.

I don’t write happily-ever-afters because that just isn’t real. People pay taxes, they lose properties, they have accidents causing permanent impairments, and they fight like cats and dogs (or demon kings and half-mortals, as the case may be). So, ask me again why I don’t write happy endings.

In short, because shit happens, that’s why.

frankly

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”-Rhett Butler, Southern gentleman not giving any damns (on film) since 1939.

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Welcome to high school, Rhiannon Mills style.

sick sad worldMy kids have gone back to school already. Their first day was Thursday, August 13th. Yeah, it was a wee bit early, but that’s off topic. Tonight, I was reminded of my own high school days. I’m thrilled to death they’re over and done with, but I’m notorious for my trips down memory lane.

This particular trip is being brought to you by my overwhelming sense of nostalgia and my absolute hate of high school and middle school bullies. Yeah, I had to deal with bullies sometimes, too. I think most of us nerdy writer types have a few bully stories. We’re weird. And we were born weird. Most of us have come to terms with that and we’re all okay now.

But, not toooooo (yes those extra o’s are necessary) okay. Otherwise we’d never sell any books.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the high school I went to. It was SMALL. Super duper tiny. There weren’t a lot of students at all, but all of the other kids I went to high school with spoke of how big it was when we first started. This is because the beginning of my 9th grade year was also the very first year the school opened. It was built to consolidate a few high schools into one. But, I’d already gone to a middle school elsewhere that was about three times the size of that high school, so for me, it was tiny and that meant one thing.

There was nowhere to hide. I was alone.

This was the pair I wore most often, though I had red ones, too. And other ones...I had a lot of shoes. Five pairs were Docs.

This was the pair I wore most often, though I had red ones, too. And other ones…I had a lot of shoes. Five pairs were Docs.

I had friends, though. As a matter of fact, I made friends quite easily with a group of girls I’m (mostly) still in contact with. We’ve all changed over the years, but I’m so glad I have them in my life still. They were  a small group, but they accepted my weirdness. There I was in my Doc Martens, band shirts, and larger than life thick eyeliner, and the rest of the girls were wearing sweaters and jeans and dressing to impress. I wore jeans and sweaters and nice little girl things, too, just not every single freaking day. I dressed to impress nobody. I liked what I liked and didn’t try to hide it. I think some of them actually did try to hide it because every once in a while I’d get a compliment from someone I didn’t know about how they liked my killer eyeshadow or how they wished their parents would allow them to wear black fingernail polish.

And, there was this one time… A very sweet young girl in my class came up to me one day and smiled. She was one of the more popular girls, so I had no idea what she wanted with me (I was always skeptical of people). But, instead of being mean or teasing, she was pleasant. She asked me about an assignment we had while she’d been sick and then, as she turned to walk away, she stopped and said, “Ya know, you’re kinda like a living, breathing Daria. Daria is awesome, ya know. You look and act just like her!”

From that point on, that young woman was okay in my book and we talked often in classes we had together. And, both of us were damn smart, so we had a lot of smarty pants nerdy things to talk about sometimes. Ya know, books and homework and stuff. She passed away just a few months after graduation and every time I see a picture of her or hear her mentioned on Facebook from another classmate, I remember her kindness because not all of the other kids were always nice to me, the freakazoid fatty in the big boots.

I think I was probably called every single name in the book when I was in high school. Everything. And, because of my insane love for bands nobody in my high school liked  (or would openly admit to listening to), I was branded a Satanist on more than one occasion. Do you people have any idea how that can affect a kid? It was pretty terrible. If I actually HAD been a Satanist, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But, I wasn’t. I also wasn’t a witch thankyouverymuch. If I’d been a witch, I promise I would have turned several boob grabbing boys into toads.

But, I wasn’t just a kid in a Marilyn Manson tee shirt. I was smart, too. It was confusing to some people, though (my mother, mostly lol) because I made straight A’s in most classes, but was failing in math and wound up taking Applied Geometry just to pass. For those who don’t know, “applied” in Wyoming county is the same as remedial in other places. So, I guess that meant my brain was one sided. I’m okay with that. Artsy types like myself can probably relate. It was crazy difficult for me to explain to friends that I couldn’t help them with math, but I could explain any piece of Shakespeare to them in three seconds without even thinking about it. I could diagram sentences with the best of them, but I couldn’t figure out what X was equal to. I’m sure my teachers wanted to strangle me.

I'm the one in the Manson shirt. Bet you didn't see that one coming! *coughs*

I’m the one in the Manson shirt. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! *coughs*

I liked a lot of things other kids didn’t like. I was not particularly rebellious, though I had my moments. I liked bands nobody else liked and I liked to read books. Big books. I read “A Game Of Thrones” by George RR Martin in 9th or 10th grade. I read Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when I was thirteen and was totally unimpressed by it. I thought they were idiots. I also thought Romeo was sort of pervy. I was also the only one of my friends who even knew who Dr. Who was. But, I liked to kick back with my friends more than anything else. We did a lot of cool things together that I’d absolutely strangle my children for if they did the same things. Like jumping off train tracks into a rocky creek. Like throwing quarters at the sign dancer at Little Caesars. Like smoking behind the bus and hiding the cigarette between my boobs when I knew I was about to be caught (I didn’t that time, FYI, but I got burnt pretty darn bad). Like taking off on fourwheelers with boys and wrecking and ending up with a million stitches in my head and leg. I still have the scars from that one.

I wrote a lot in high school, too. I kept notebooks and notebooks full of short stories and the beginnings of novels that I’d never finish. I wrote every thought that popped into my silly little head. I kept journals and I sketched a lot, too. I wrote my own magazine (and if anyone has an old copy, hit me up because I’d love to see my old work lol). Most of my stories, though, were written because I was afraid of something. I was afraid of monsters. I was afraid of vampires and demons. I was afraid of my own shadow sometimes. Whatever it was I was afraid of at the time was the hero of my next story because the best way to overcome a fear, at least in my teenaged mind, was to discredit it. I still do this. Have you ever read a little novella called “The Demon King” by Rhiannon Mills? Hey, I wrote that.

I always thought I’d be a big shot author one day. I thought I’d take on the world. I thought I’d be the next big thing and live in some loft in New York somewhere and I’d be writing novels and selling them faster than you could say Stephen King. I didn’t quite understand how it all worked back then. I thought I knew, but I had no idea. I had big plans. Very, very big plans. I was going to write. The people would make movies out of my books. And I’d be a recluse, too, because being a recluse sounded fantastic to me (it still does). I wanted to write the books that Tim Burton would turn into creepy, weird movies for creepy, weird kids like me. Honestly, that would still be awesome…

daria_star

Yeah. This Daria was going places…

I am a writer today. I’m an awesome author. I write the awesomeness. I pull the darkness out of my head and spew it forth onto the page. I am a knight in shining sweatpants and write whatever creeps into my big head. And sometimes, when I think back to the bullies of high school hell’s past, I smile because maybe they knew something about me that even I, myself, couldn’t have seen back then. Maybe they saw that I was different, that I was weird, and that I stood out. I didn’t see it that way much. I wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else, but I wasn’t about to pretend to like things I didn’t like to do it.

So, thanks, asshats. I’m a reclusive independent author now. The minute my kids are out the door for school every day, I’m writing another chapter of epic science fiction/fantasy/horror proportions. I work with coffee stains on my shirt and a furball black cat in my lap. I don’t make a lot of money doing it, but people pay me to hear what I think. I take the darkest periods of my life and bleed them onto a blank page for other people to read and judge me by. I’ve learned to let go of my fears by typing them out into a blank document. I don’t live in a loft in New York, but I have a hovel in Itmann, West Virginia where I wake up to a tiny army of minions of darkness (my four awesome children) and am greeted by my two black cats, Salem and Scrappy, and my pitty mix, Thor, every single time I come in the front door. I’m not into name dropping (har har har), but I have friends and acquaintances who have written books that are now films (and you’ve probably watched at least one of those). Some of the same writers I grew up reading are now names in my email contact list. Not George RR Martin, though. My books aren’t bestsellers and have never made it to the New York Times, but I don’t care. I’m pretty pleased with my life. And I owe all of my successes to the bullies.

Had you not all called me a fatty satanist witch, I might have wound up sitting behind a stuffy desk all day, working 9-5 for The Man, and miserable every minute of it. Instead, I’m happy and dropping cookie crumbs on my keyboard. Cookies, coffee, and great books are bliss, bitches.

Yeah. What she said.

Yeah. What she said.

BRUSHING UP-10 Facts about The Demon King you may not know.

 

Artwork by Danny Kelly

Artwork by Danny Kelly

In celebrating that THE DEMON KING’s long awaited sequel has been picked up by KnightWatch Press, I thought some of us could use a quick brushing up about our much loved and much hated king of the underworld…So, here you go. Ten whole factoids. Demon Cover

1. I was highly influenced by Jonathan Rheys Meyers portrayal of Henry VIII in The Tudors when I wrote The Demon King.  henry

2. The first fact on this list will become quite evident in the sequel.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

Am I hinting? Maybe. But, it may not hint at what you think.

3. I wrote many, many scenes of the first book as a way to work out my own nightmares and fears.

4. The king’s birds will play a bigger role in the second book.

5. The Demon King was originally written with the intention of the story being an erotica novel. But, it took on a life of its own.

6. There will be new characters in the second book.

7. The second book still has no title. I’m working on that. I’m not good with titles. I could write ten books before I could come up with a decent title. I usually have help titling stories.

8. One of my favorite characters from the first book, Thrack, was modeled to look like Michael Clark Duncan (RIP, MCD).

mcd

9. A character from my Immortal books will make an appearance in The Demon King’s sequel. In the Immortal books, Lilleth was my bad guy. In The Demon King’s sequel, she’s just the girl next door. Though she’s the same person, she is perceived as quite evil in the mortal realm, but once you put her in the Underworld, where she’s known Draken his entire life, she’s nothing out of the ordinary. Well, maybe a little out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, the king will be giving her quite the honorable title. I won’t tell you what that title is, though. Spoilers!

10. The second Demon King book will be longer than the first. Yup.  You asked, I’m delivering. You’re welcome.

Bones Of Willow Lake to be released on Valentine’s Day!

bones covers

Back cover, front cover. Both originally artwork by Mark Hogg. Link to his fanpage can be found at the bottom of this post.

Well, the day I’ve been waiting for since forever (no really…FOREVER! LOL) is finally upon us. My most recent novel, BONES OF WILLOW LAKE, has a release date! And, of course, the novel will be released on the very same day my awesome novella, THE DEMON KING, was released. FEBRUARY 14th! That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know. Also, it’s my son’s 7th birthday, so Valentine’s Day is special to me for many reasons. Not just book releases, although I do believe I should probably just go ahead and reserve that day every year to release a new book because it looks like it’s just my day.

I promise I won’t just sit here and prattle on and on about how absolutely enamored with myself and my release date I am, though. I promise! Instead, how about I give you a blurb and an excerpt? Will that appease the masses? I sure hope so. We’ll start with the little blurb intended to be printed on the back cover.

BLURB:

Celia Burne bought a house in LaGrange, Georgia, thinking she’s found a place for herself and her dog, Barnibus, to find rest and solitude–a break from the heartbreak of her mother’s death and the resulting incarceration of her younger sister. What she finds in the beginning of her new life, however, isn’t what she bargained for.  Celia discovers two of the house’s former residents still live there decades after their deaths.  

 Although artist Paul Gray only wants Celia’s friendship, and perhaps a little bit more, Celia begins to feel that finding Gray’s body would allow him to pass over into the light.  In order to find the body, however, Celia has to solve a 1947 triple murder mystery, and the angry spirit of Ruth Wilkins doesn’t want this to happen.  With help from an elderly neighbor and her cartoonist grandson, Celia wrestles with the mystery until she’s thrown into a tailspin and is forced to decide whether she is willing to let Gray go or if she would rather keep him for herself.  All the while, the story begs the question of who is helping whom? 

EXCERPT:

The fire is warm and I like to sit in front of it, but the sound of boxes shuffling around is still distracting me.  “Gray!” I shout again. “What on earth are you doing up there?” Frustrated, I push the covers back off my legs and get up to wander to the attic.  I stomp up the stairs, as though my noise is going to aggravate him enough to stop making his noise, and stop at the small opening to the attic at the top of the stairs.

To the left, there is a small broom closet where I keep my ladder.  I pull it out and open it up.  As I climb the few steps to the top, I push the attic opening back and poke my head inside.  It’s dark, but I can see a blue glow from the window.  “Gray?” I whisper as I push myself into the attic.

He doesn’t answer, but I knew that he wouldn’t—he can’t.  “What are you doing up here?”

I walk to the window.  Gray is sitting in the windowsill as still as a picture.  In his hands, he holds a lady’s hatpin.  It is a blue flower, but plain and ordinary.

“Ruth’s.” I say.  It isn’t a question.  There is no one else it could have belonged to.

Gray nods and shrugs before peering back out the window. He is lonely, I think to myself, feeling a bit discarded.  Doesn’t my company mean anything to him—the way his does for me?

I want to shake him.  Ruth is dead.  Henry is dead. They’re obviously not here, but he is.  What’s the connection?

I sigh and rest my hand on his shoulder for whatever comfort I can offer him.  I don’t know what happened to my sweet Gray, but whatever it was, it scarred him for his entire afterlife.

I am going mad, I tell myself.

Gray turns from the window and looks up at me.  There is hopefulness in his eyes and he rests his head against my chest. He raises a finger and sits up.  He begins to trace a word in the dust that’s settled on the glass. I give this one hundred percent of my attention.  His fingertip begins to curve around on the glass until he’s formed a perfect C.  He traces the letters very slowly, as though it’s been a very long time for him—and I’m sure that it probably has been.  Eventually, he’s written my name in the dust.  When he’s finished, he looks up at me and goes back to tracing.

Next, he traces the word alone and looks to me for approval.  I nod.  “I am lonely.” I say.

He folds me into his arms and pulls me close.  He is cool, but not cold.  I allow him to do this because I feel no fear whatsoever in what the dead can do—it’s the living that scare me the most.  Gray rests his cloth-stitched face against my cheek and I feel the weight of each horrible, likely painful stitch and wonder why the bits of dark blue material would be stitched over his entire face like that, but it’s not likely that he’ll tell me anytime soon and I’m too polite to ask. I smile at the awkward ridiculousness of the situation—I have no one alive on this earth save for Velma, but it seems I’ve made a really great best friend in this dead man.

I look up and realize that Gray’s hair is showing today. Typically, he keeps it back somehow and I can’t tell if he even has any.  Gray, it seems, is/was a ginger. I reach up and roll my index finger around in an unbelievably soft lock of reddish-blond hair.  It’s short, but neat, and combed out of his blue-gray eyes.  His face tightens rom under the cloth and I realize that he’s probably smiling at me.

“I like your hair.”  I tell him with a playful grin.

Slowly, he reaches around to teasingly pull at my long, dark ponytail.  Then, he holds his finger over where his mouth should be to tell me to be quiet. Or to shut up.  I’m not sure which one he means, but it makes me laugh and I am enjoying his company.

I wonder if, wherever they are, Ruth and Henry Wilkins can see what Gray and I are doing tonight in the attic—playfully enjoying the night. Then, another thought creeps into my head and I have to ask Gray another question. I’m positive that my questions are an annoyance, but I want to know anyhow.  “Did you know Velma Beatty?”

He nods, but doesn’t look at me.  Instead, he’s staring out the window again. I don’t push the questions further.  Something I’ve said has made him sad.  I wonder if maybe he might have been a lover of Velma’s so many years ago.  I shake the idea from my head—she had a husband and he died in the seventies.  Sometimes, he was all she ever talked about.

Gray releases me and I take that as my cue to leave him to himself.  I back away, but as I reach the little crawl hole over my ladder, I see that the ladder is gone. It isn’t down there at all, so the possibility that my larger than life dog has knocked it over is out of the question and there isn’t anyone else in the house—or at least I thought there wasn’t up until now.

“Gray?” I breathe.  He turns to face me and shifts his weight in the windowsill.  “Gray, my ladder is gone.  I can’t get down.”

It takes only a few seconds before he materializes at my side.  He looks down the hole and then at me.  He is just as puzzled as I am.  He groans as he lifts me in his arms.  He’s cradling me like a baby and, with his index finger and middle finger, closes my eyelids.  He holds his fingers there for a moment and when he removes them, I open my lids and see that we are standing at the top of the stairs and he is no longer holding me. It’s as though time was temporarily erased.

I have no idea what to say, but manage a quick thanks and a nod.  Gray disappears in a low flash of blue light and I look up to see the opening to the attic shut behind him.  He’s up there again, all by himself, and I have no idea where my ladder is.

I go to the broom closet and open the door.  Cold water flows out of the closet as though it’s been submerged.  Some of it falls down the stairs like an indoor waterfall.  My feet are freezing cold now and I see my ladder folded carefully inside the closet. I’m shaking as I step forward and inspect it.  The top rung has a spot of dried blood on it and a discarded sewing needle with twine laced through it.

Of all the houses in LaGrange, I had to pick the one with dead folks, I think to myself. I pull my flannel pajama pants down and pick them up as I  wander to the upstairs bathroom and push them into the hamper. I go to my bedroom and pick a clean pair of sweats from a drawer and put them on before going downstairs to the kitchen and reluctantly pull the mop out of the corner and grab my bucket.  I take the mop and bucket back upstairs to clean up all the water, but when I reach the stairs, the water is gone.

I swallow hard and walk up the stairs to the closet to see that the ladder is back underneath the opening to the attic.  There is no spot of blood or needle on the top rung.  There is no water damage to my closet.

It’s as though the entire thing was a figment of my over worked imagination.

EXTRA STUFF: 

As promised, here is the link to Mark Hogg’s fan page on Facebook, Mr.  Markzilla Artist! Go give him a like and check out all of his artwork!

STAY TUNED FOR: Okay, so we’re going to have a contest called the HAUNTED VALENTINE GIVEAWAY. Yes, we’re giving away a free copy of BONES OF WILLOW LAKE! Stay tuned to this blog because this is where the contest will be posted FIRST.

 

 

 

How to prepare for Nanowrimo and other crap…

nanoHow many of you are planning on participating in Nanowrimo 2013? I made a post on Facebook today asking what others were doing to prepare for the month of November and all the National Novel Writing Month entails, but mostly the responses I got leaned toward planning and plotting. Makes sense, right? What else can you do?

Well, I have a list of things that may help you. At the very least, it may make you laugh or give you some food for thought.

1.) Hook yourself up with a good writing playlist. A lot of writers need some music to help them along while others would rather write in complete silence, but if you enjoy a tune, Youtube is a great place to start. But, if Youtube is too much of a distraction–what with their shiny, sparkling videos and all–then you can try a site called Grooveshark.com. No videos, just music and the ability to make playlists and save them.

2.)  I refuse to get into a long debate over the concepts of plotting versus pantsing, but if you’re a plotter, perhaps now would be a good time to jot down some notes or get a few key phrases or reference photos for characterization rounded up and put together in a folder on your computer.

3.) Consider using Google Drive to make your documents or creating a profile and downloading Dropbox to keep everything organized. I use Google Documents through Google Drive because I’m constantly bouncing back and forth between my laptop and my desktop computer. However, Dropbox is equally as accessible and very helpful. I’ve heard great things about both.

4.) On about October 30th or so, go to the grocery store and buy what you need, be it toilet paper and coffee or snacks to nosh on through your adventure into Nanowrimo. You should also make sure you have a few legal pads, pens, pencils, a sharpener, highlighters, or whatever else you may need.

5.) If you’re making your participation in Nanowrimo official, head over to the website (Nanowrimo.org) and make a profile. It’s free. However, you can take part without creating a profile and making it “official” because the greatness behind this particular month is that it gives you an incentive or a special drive to FINISH THAT DANG NOVEL already! LOL.

6.) If you already know you’re going to need some reference materials for your project, locate those things now. Bookmark sites on your computer you might need, locate books you might need as desk references, and get everything together in one spot (or in a folder on your computer). Great places to bookmark would be baby name websites for naming characters and maps of places you’re thinking of including in your story. Another great resource for reference books or other books you might need is Thriftbooks.com. I buy a lot  of used books there because they’re cheap and in great shape and there are no shipping fees in the US (and I just happen to live in the US).

7.) Don’t do any of these things. Just wing it. Some of the best books were written that way.

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

Bones Of Willow Lake has a cover artist! The very talented Mark Hogg will be creating a wonderful cover for my pending release and I’ll report more when there is more information available. Other than that, I’ve been listening to you people. One of the most searched keyterms for this blog is “Demon King Rhiannon Mills sequel.” Somebody really wants more Draken, huh? Well, I hear you and I’ve got something coming.

FOUR HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

While working on the sequel to my novella, The Demon King, I wrote a Demon King short story and it’s now available as an ebook download for Kindle.  That is the news of the day! This story sort of bridges the gap between The Demon King and The Demon Queen, but is a great standalone read and is not necessary to read this story in order to understand either the first novella or the sequel. I don’t know that I’ll publish very many short stories like this because I don’t write very many shorts, but enjoy this one!

The Demon King knows who the traitor is and will go through incredible lengths to find him. How many executions will it take before his highness has the answers he seeks?

The Demon King knows who the traitor is and will go through incredible lengths to find him. How many executions will it take before his highness has the answers he seeks?

My Advice For New Writers

Ever wonder what his advise to writers would be like? I'd be afraid to ask him...lol.

Ever wonder what his advise to writers would be like? I’d be afraid to ask him…lol.

A fellow blogger published a post earlier called 10 Things Aspiring Novelists Should know.  Well done.  The link is there for you if you’d like to read it–and you very well should–but, I thought about this over and over and there are a few things I wanted to add to that list.  I had a running commentary in my head the entire time I read the post. I’m not going to give you her post and then my response to it, but rather write an entirely new list.  After all, if I just gave you hers and then added my two cents, you would’t learn nearly as much from either of us lol.

So, without tweedle-dumming around, here is my list.

1–Write whatever the heck you want to write. Just write. And then write some more.  And, after that, write in the bedroom.  Then, move to the kitchen and write in there.  Write all over the place or keep one specific place to write.  But, just write, okay.

2– Read stuff. Lots of stuff.  Read magazines, comic books, romance, horror, science fiction, non-fiction, and pamphlets in the doctor’s office.  The more you read, the better off you’ll be.  After all, a writer who chooses not to read is like a scientist who chooses not to learn the periodic table of elements. It just doesn’t work. Chances are, if you’re not fond of reading, you want to be a writer for money and fame and nothing else.

And as you can see by my overwhelming lack of celebrity status and the missing yacht from my driveway, writers do not always become rich, famous celebrities.

3–Some folks say to write what you know, but I say write what you see.  Depending on the genre you’re writing, you may not know anything about what you’re writing because it may not have been invented or discovered yet.  Like time machines and the planet Uberdork. Some writers will see things they actually do know, which is wonderful.  But, never think you have to fit into a mold and do things by the book just to be published.

4–Create your characters first.  This is a lesson that was particularly difficult for me to learn, but my friend George hammered this habit into my head fairly hard and I think it finally stuck.  And, you know what? He was right.  Create normal people or create immortal creatures, monsters, goblins, or whatever your heart desires.  Give them depth.  Write out a character sketch for these characters and write out some background for them before you start writing your story (if you want to…but, if you’re new to writing, I would suggest at least giving it a try).  As long as you can create real, lifelike characters and really give them their own voices, your story will pretty well tell itself, sort of.  Not completely. You still have actual work to do.

5–Set up a writing schedule and try your best to stick to it.  Stop making excuses.  Sit down and write, even when you’re not in the mood.  You can always go back and change things that ultimately suck later if you have to.  Don’t beat yourself to death if you can’t stick to your schedule to a tee, but make a conscious effort.  You will be much more successful in finishing your projects this way.

6–Read some more, but this time read something in a genre you’re not used to or fond of.  Choose a book you wouldn’t normally choose.  I’ve gone through genre phases throughout my life.  As a kid, I started out reading comic books. By the time I reached eleven years old, I’d moved on to good ol’ Billy Bob Shakespeare.  After Romeo and Juliet, I phased into reading historical romances, then historical anything else, and by the time I was a freshman in high school, I began reading more horror and science fiction as well as romance novels ranging from historical to contemporary to paranormal. Nowadays, I lean toward paranormal novels of any sub genre.  I love horror–zombies, gremlins, imps, witches, and of course, vampires.  I also have a real sweet spot for books of any genre that include time travel. The more you read, the more open your mind becomes the more you’re exposed to new possibilities. Don’t cut yourself short by only reading one thing.

7–Do not limit yourself, your stories, or your characters in any way, shape, form, or fashion.  Characters shouldn’t have to fit any cookie cutter mold and neither should their plots.

8–Take some time to smell the roses.  Go on a fishing trip. Book a hotel in town for the night just to order room service and watch television uninterrupted by your normal life.  Take a walk through the park. Go to your local community center and take a knitting class.  Join a gym. Live your life.  Life experiences make you a better, more perceptive writer.

9–Take advise from more experienced authors, but don’t take it all straight to heart.  Just because bestselling author XYZ drinks 3 oz. of lizard spit every morning because he swears it helps his creative juices start to flow doesn’t mean you should do it, too.  Like most things in life, rules you were taught as children often apply to the writing business–as far as etiquette and common sense goes–as well.  Just because Bob jumps off a bridge, do you think you should jump with him? No. No, you should not. But, you could bungee if you want to.

10–Do not measure your success by comparing yourself to other authors.  Authors who write for the love of the craft are just as valuable–more, in my opinion–than writers who write with the full intent to become millionaires.  You’ll meet your fair share of each of those kinds of authors when you get started. You’ll quickly learn to figure out which ones are which. If you write romance, do it because you love it, not because romance books sell. If you write horror, write the heck out of that stuff! Don’t worry about what Stephen King is doing (but, buy his books because he is awesome).

Alternately, do not measure the worth of another author by the amount of money they make, the status of their publisher, or what their sales are currently looking like.  There are a lot of diamonds sparkling in the coal pile, just waiting to be picked. Well, read. Whatever.

me

A quick note to my followers and anyone else who happened upon my blog:

From time to time, I do post things intended to help other authors along.  We all have our moments of doubt and sometimes we need a push.  Sometimes, when we read things focused on the craft of writing, it ignites a fuse inside our weirdo brains that causes us to write marvelous things.  That’s why I do it. Not because I feel like I have to. Just because I want others to go forth and write. I do like to read, so I suppose it’s rather selfish of me to push others along if you think about it that way… Nonetheless, if you feel like something I’ve said is wrong, please explain which thing and why in comments.  A good conversation or argument with intelligence instead of nastiness is always welcome. 😀

Write on, folks.
Rhiannon Mills.