Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Blog Merging! (Updates)

Covers for my Christian fantasy ebook series

Hey everyone!

It has honestly been quite some time since I've been able to keep up with this blog, much less the rest of my blogs and so I've come to the inevitable conclusion that I am spreading myself too thin and as a result am unable to uphold my end of the bargain as a writer and a blogger.

I blog for fun, to share thoughts, opinions, little snippets of things I work on and to be able to meet and talk to new friends, writers and readers For the past year and a half, blogging has felt more like a chore than something fun and interesting, so I decided I needed to do something about that.

When I first started In Shades of Scarlet, I wanted a place to put my awkward musings, my random silliness and to participate in some of the fun blog memes I saw going around. I didn't want to clutter up my fiction blog with "stuff" so I just made a personal blog and had fun updating both of them a few times a week.

Today's note is just a head's up to let you know that I'm now merging this Scarlet blog with my fiction blog, Fiction Fusion and I'll be tagging my posts appropriately from there on. My personal posts and ramblings will appear from time to time, but so will my fiction posts.

I've gotten out of the habit of blogging and I'd like to get back in, but I'd also like to take the stress out of it and put some of the fun back in, so follow me over on Fiction Fusion. At the moment, I'm posting daily snippet or flash fiction (under a 100 to 200 words, usually), for a one-word prompt and I'm fiddling with the Friday Fiction schedule again.

Updates for my writing projects, my novels and so on will now be over there as well. Thank you for sticking with me the past few years, even with my sporadic posts and prolonged absences. Your support and encouragement means the world to me.

All past posts here will be merged with the ones I have on Fiction Fusion, and the tags will copy over, so you should still be able to find your favorite posts and comments. I will leave this blog up for a little while and then I will remove it.

Thank you!
-Sara H.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

RIP Maya Angelou

The first time I heard of Maya Angelou was in my second comp writing class. I had never heard of her before, but we were moving on to poetry in the curriculum and we were going to watch a video. I was somewhat interested, because most of the poets we'd covered were men or dead, like Emily Dickenson.

We slid our chairs out into the aisle and turned the lights low so we could all see the video. It was part of an interview and she was reading one of her own poems. The first thing that caught my attention, was her voice. It wasn't at all like I'd expected her to sound.

At that point in time, my grasp of poetry was a bit skewed. I thought everything had to be deeply profound and extremely flowery. I thought it had to be complicated, because the more I learned about poetry, the more confusing it was.

Maya read her own poem, "And Still I Rise" and I sat there, transfixed until the end of the video and a bit in awe by the end of the class. When the day passed and the week, I felt stuck. I didn't know how to process what I'd experienced.

The poem that she'd read, in the voice she'd had, was beautiful and broken to my ears. Broken, because it picked at all those little things that made your heart hurt, if you really thought about it and wasn't poetry supposed to make you happy? Beautiful, because I'd never, ever heard something like that before and I hadn't realized that words could reach so deeply into a person.

She changed my perspective on poetry and simplicity in writing, through a recorded video that was barely ten minutes. I found her death listed in the headlines this and I felt stuck all over again. I couldn't believe she was dead. But going back and reading her poems, watching a video or two and reading the articles, it reminds me that there's a courage on a page, whether you're alive after you've written it or not. Maya will be one poet who will have her history documented not just in books, essays and articles, but in videos, her last tweet and digital memorials. It's a thought that is just as bittersweet as the first time I heard her speak.

R.I.P Maya.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trial by Earth Update

Twilight Trials Books 1-3

Hey everyone!

Camp NaNo actually went pretty good. I did make my goal and I have a much more viable story draft to work with than I did from last year's attempt. Hurray for NaNo! Anyway, today's post is for a huge milestone in my Twilight Trials series today. (no relation to vampires and werewolves, I promise!).

I'm so excited to have an update for the Twilight Trials. I started them in summer of 2011, with Shatila Briston, a fire elemental with an anger management issue. It continued on to Layta Arrons, a air elemental with low self-esteem and then to Marcus Gillen, a water elemental with a murky personal code of ethics. Strong young men and women learning to balance their powerful elements with the responsibilities that came with them, while growing in their faith.

These first three books gave me an outlet for my crazy imagination and a way to write about elements, one of my favorite superpower styles. I promised at least six books, however, an Earth, Metal and Storm, to follow after the Fire, Air and Water. Due to my academic career, family and some personal complications, I was unable to keep up with such a large project.

So, drumroll please: Today I'm announcing a complete rough draft finished for TBE (Trial by Earth), which is Ellis Lathmore's story, finished just this past week. 

This means a book cover reveal, an official excerpt, and some more fun stuff to come. ~_^ Thank you for your support, encouragement and sticking with me and the Twilight world for these past three years! It means the world to me.

Have a great weekend,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Carrie Underwood - Blown Away

Feels like a good writing day to have Carrie playing as the backdrop while I work.

Happy Friday!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Camp NaNo : 1st Session (2014)

Are you camping this year? 

Guess what time of year it is?

Camp NaNo!

I've been changing my web badges all over the place, to show off the nice, cozy looking new icons for this year's April session of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you've never participated in a Nanowrimo noveling adventure, now is an excellent time to give it a shot. Camp NaNo is ten times more relaxed than the hardcore hyperness of NaNo in November and it's also very flexible.

How does it work?

Camp NaNo follows some of the basic rules of NaNoWriMo--mainly, to have fun, to write as much as you want or want to--in 30 days and cheer your fellow writers on.

Camp NaNo actually allows you to choose your own word count goals and it locks it in near the final week of the month, so you'll find the right balance between pushing yourself and an impossible challenge. Instead of the giant forums and nano hype from November, Camp NaNo places you into a virtual cabin of your own, (you can opt out if you like, or request up to five friends) where you can get to know your fellow writers and stay focused on your project.

There are Pep Talks, just like NaNo and there's even cool merch (check out this year's camper mug, it's awesome!), but the flexibility is what really calls to me. You can write as much or as little as you want and you can even define your project and genre.

It's pretty much a relaxed nanowrimo experience and if you'd like to give it a shot, now is a great time to try it! The first session is in this coming April and the second is in July. I am gathering my plot points and character bios together for the April session, I've already managed a title and a sort of working synopsis. If you'd like to request me in your cabin, you can message me as "scarletfury" and I'll be happy to add you.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Reasons to do NaNoWriMo 2013

Just in case my monster NaNo Post scared you off, here's the bare bones of my favorite writing adventure.

Why should you do NaNo? I don't know--but I'll gladly tell you why I do.

  1. It's fun. You get to join in on a crazy challenge with fellow writers of all ages all around the world. The NaNo community is absolutely amazing. 
  2. It's the easiest way to write a rough draft without agonizing over the details. If you tend to take forever to get something down on paper, NaNo will be fantastic for helping you to get in the habit of writing every day. 
  3. You'll actually have written something resembling a novel-manuscript in a decent rough draft if you give NaNo an honest-to-goodness actual attempt. Plan stuff. Plot. Or just take random notes. But go ahead and do it in the spirit it was meant to be enjoyed--pure fun. 
  4. Stress relief. I write quite a bit. Stories, papers, articles and so on. Most of the time, it's pretty serious writing, with heavy emphasis on perfect first drafts and things making sense from the get-go. NaNo lets me write like crazy and actual follow my writer's instincts in crafting the kind of story that made me want to start writing in the first place. 
  5. It's good writing practice. Some days I love sitting down to write. Other days, I could probably chuck my laptop out the window somewhere. NaNo reminds me that keeping a writing practice is important--and fun. Sometimes I don't want to write--at first--but once I start? I can't stop. 

If you've never tried NaNo before, I'd advise you to give it a shot and take it as easy or seriously as you want. Join me. Try it. Enjoy it. Have fun.

See you in November!


T-2 Days to NaNo 2013

Whew! It's been a busy week.

There are exactly two days left to NaNoWriMo, the  2013 edition and my month of yearly crazy, creative hyper and constant speed writing. Actually, it's not as crazy as it sounds, but I kind of like the little touch of crazy there, because it reminds me that NaNo is all about writing--and having fun while you do it.

So, now that it's almost NaNo, I mean, November, it's time for my obligatory NaNoWriMo Post. I try to do these earlier in the month in hopes of dragging more innocent interested writers into the adventure with me, but as this is my graduating semester at University and as a 4th year ML(Municipal Liaison), I've been plugging NaNo around on campus, rather than my blog.

But, I would never forget my loyal readers, so here's the updated "Why I do NaNo" in complete excessive rambling style. The short version will follow shortly.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month where the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 Days. Wouldja like to hear my campus pitch? I've been practicing it for nearly the entire month and somehow, (big surprise!), it seems to sound better in written words than the spoken ones.

Alrighty, here we go!:

What is it?
NaNoWriMo, shortened to NaNo, is an international, month-long, non-profit writing event for writers all around the world. The idea is to write a novel (or novel-length manuscript) of 50,000 words during the month of November in a mere 30 Days. As crazy as that sounds, it's a tremendous amoung of fun with an amazingly supportive writing community of like-minded writers. It was founded in 1999 by Chris Baty out of Berkley CA. NaNo is now in its 15th year.

Where does it happen? 
Everywhere! Literally half a million writers will be joining in the NaNo madness this year in over 600 regions across 7 continents. It's going to be amazing. To know where local events (such as writer meet-ups and weekly write-ins) are hosted, home in to your local region by finding your state and the closest city. If your city isn't listed, try the "elsewhere" region--you'll find online events and chatrooms where you can participate.

When does it happen? 
As mentioned above, NaNo takes place in November. Too busy in November? A more relaxed, stripped down version of NaNo called Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in Spring and Summer with alternate months. For instance, this year, they ran Camp NaNo's for April and July. The year before was June and August.

Who participates? 
You! and me! and any other writer interested in using NaNo as a kick in the pants to get some words down on a page. You do not have to write fiction to qualify to give NaNo a shot. It is free for everyone to join. To sweeten the deal, there's a touch of the real writing world with the solid Nov 30th deadline, prompts to keep up with your project through a daily word count goal and encouraging pep talks from famous authors like James Patterson and Lemony Snicket. (writers under 13 can participate in the YWP).

What do you win?
Web badges. A certificate. Up to 50% off amazing writing software for both Mac and PC, such as Scrivener and Storyist, as well as discounts on editing packages. You will also receive up to 2 free proof copies of your book through Amazon's POD, CreateSpace. And of course, you'll have a rough draft or a Zero draft, if it's rougher than rough, to help jumpstart your writing project. The hardest part of novel writing can be starting or continuing, NaNo helps you to build forward momentum and get the story out. Because it's quite difficult to edit/publish something you haven't written yet, eh?

Why should you do this? 
Because it's fun. No, I'm not kidding. Writing should be fun, something enjoyable and refreshing. Sometimes it's easy to get lost in all the technical points or the difficulties of writing a specific draft or required proposal that you forget why you started writing in the first place. Every year, I look forward to NaNo because it's pure stress relief. I can do what I do best--unleash my creativity on a blank novel-shaped canvas--and I can have fun doing it. There is no pressure to share, edit or craft perfect sentences, I just write what I'd want to read--a really fantastic story. Through NaNo, I have produced several decent drafts of novels in the process of being edited, reworked and someday, will be published. I owe this to NaNo. I would recommend that every writer give it an honest shot, at least once. If you hate it, fine, but at least you would have tried it.

How do you do this? 
This is actually my favorite section in my presentation. How do you do NaNo? Honestly, one word at a time. No, I'm not being smart, I'm being serious. I sit down and I write one word after the other and I keep on doing this until the end of November and sometimes into December or January, so I can finish the story. November is a ridiculously busy time for me, but I have a fantastic time thinking and puzzling through the finer points of writing my story, getting to know the characters and bringing it all together. 50k words works out to be 1667 words a day or 1700, if you want to round up. Most of us write about 1000 words a day on a daily basis, through emails, texts and random things like notes to family and grocery lists. 1667 isn't that hard.

Ah yes, the rules. It's simple. Don't write anything before November 1st. Nothing. Nada. Zip. You can outline and plot and character sketch and world build to your heart's content, just don't actually start writing until November 1st. You're welcome to keep writing after Nov 30th.

If that sounds a little crazy, let me mention something interesting--writers like Sara Gruen(Water for Elephants) and Erin Morgenstern(The Night Circus)--wrote their first drafts during NaNo. Then they polished them up and sent them out. Pretty inspiring, huh?

This year's theme is 8-bit, just in case you were wondering about the pixelated web badges, the theme changes every year. Last year was Venn Diagrams(very cool!) and they are free for your blog, website, Facebook, Twitter and everything, so you can find fellow wrimos and declare your noveling passion.

The bottom line?

Go ahead and give NaNo a shot, because it's pretty hard to edit something that you've never written. If you'd like to novel along with me, find me here as ScarletFury. Feel free to add me as a buddy or drop me a nanomail. I love hearing from fellow Wrimos.

Happy nanoing!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

NaNoWrimo Prep: Book Cover (2013)

Well, it took me the greater part of an hour, but I think I have something that resembles the image in my head for this year's NaNo Novel.

I've finally decided on the title of Broken Glass with the logline, "Something twice broken can't be once repaired." I may change that later on, but for the most part, that's what I've got. The FMC's name is finally official, Cynthia Harlocke. I'm so excited!

It took forever to decide on a name that I truly loved and I think her best friend's name is shaping up to be Marcella or Marliandra, something like that. We'll see.

Anyway, that's the story behind the new cover and banner. Let me know what you think and feel free to share some of your own NaNoPrep adventures. Did you settle on a title for your NaNo? How 'bout a cover or banner? Let me know in the comments below. I'll be happy to swing by and take a look.

If you want to find me on NaNo, click here for the link to my profile. Happy weekend!