Finishing Strong in a YA Fantasy Series (Concluding book two “The Mirror Sliver.”)

As any writer knows, its finishing that last sentence of the story which is the trophy of any writing. When writing a series, books can be spaced apart as many as three years, and it can be difficult remembering certain points or plots which you constructed in a previous book. So how do you finish up strong towards the end when there is an apparent space of time between the books?

First of all, giving yourself a good outline for each book is a healthy way to organize your thoughts. Put together a binder, separate each book by a tab, place notes and things you’ve jotted down within each tab so you have a reference point to go back to when writing the next part of your series. If you make a change in the book, note it in your outline. Have some small notecards with characters names from each volume. This can help you with remembering who is who. When finishing a part of the series, attempt to write some lingering questions that will have the reader anxious to find out the answer. If you’re like me, you may write a cliff hanger into the last chapter. This is  going to happen in book two – “The Mirror Sliver.” Not only is the story line gathering strength through each individual book, but it is also gathering momentum towards the last book itself, climaxing in the last few chapters of the last book.

Book two is ten chapters away from its conclusion.  I’m finding that as I write these last chapters, the story itself is somewhat deciding on its lingering questions.  The Mirror Sliver will finish strong with a cliff hanger that only book three will be able to answer.  I’m getting excited about this book’s ending. (Mainly because the next book’s characters are already clamoring for their time in the story.)

Happy Writing all!writing

The End! Or is it?

100_2480Well this last semester of undergraduate work is winding down.  I have less than two weeks of student teaching left and I find that I have to admit – I am going to miss the kids.  I’ve enjoyed being with these ninth graders from Union County High School, and they’ve taught me a great deal of what it means to teach.

But now it’s time for graduation and the end of undergraduate work.  Yet, it’s not going to be the end of my learning experience.  I’ve been accepted to Clemson’s graduate program.  I also found out today that I was awarded a Fellowship.  I was proud and excited to be one of the ten students chosen nationally for this Fellowship.  I’m also excited because it means that the beginning to a new chapter is opening in my life.   I’m looking forward to summer because now I can concentrate on finishing Book Two of Legends of Green Isle, “The Mirror Sliver.”  Even though I am not very far away from 50, I have this feeling that my life is just beginning.

Are You Committed?

The past couple of days I’ve really been thinking a great deal about this word, commitment.  This semester is the last semester I have of classes before I do my student teaching and I’ve started to prepare my applications for graduate school.  I’ve sent the manuscripts of Book One “The Forgotten Spell” and half of Book Two “The Mirror Sliver” off to Laura Blum Guest of Mariposa Press in France, as she has taken the series under her wing, and agreed to represent Legends of Green Isle as an agent.  Things seems to be going pretty good, right.  Yet, there are always some kind of bumps in the highway of life.  Nothing is ever easy; I learned that a long time ago.  My bumps seem to becoming more frequent in that road.  Because of my school, I haven’t been able to work a normal 9 to 5 job.  I work little part-time gigs when I can fit them in.  Recently I spent a day in the hospital where I had to have numerous tests and so forth.  I don’t have great insurance, so I cringe every time I open the mailbox.  We haven’t been able to make our bills every month without robbing Peter to pay Paul, so the medical bills are going to throw another kink in the works.  I wonder how it’s going to be next semester when I won’t have my history intern job or my tutoring job at the school.  These thoughts bring me always back to that word commitment.

Are you committed Connie Wallace to see this to the end?  And how far does that commitment go?

Yes, that was me talking to myself as I stare at my notebook with my story outlines in them, waiting for me to write.  I heave a heavy sigh because right now I’m committed to graduating.  It would be easy to allow these bumps to get the better of me and just give up.  But I think of my boyfriend who gets up at 4:30 am every morning and drives two hours to work down in Atlanta and then drives the same distance home every night.  He is always committed.  I need to be the same way.

So, even though money, gas, food may be tight, I need to remind myself that I’m to be committed to finishing. I’m not a quitter. My commitment runs deep.  I set goals for myself a long time ago, that I wouldn’t leave this world until I managed to make some kind of mark in it.  Whether it be a small one or big one.   Let’s hope that the mark stays…as a testimony to my commitment.

 

Are you one of those? Pro-active or Pro-crastinator?

Well the semester is in full swing, and my plate is overflowing with stuff and more stuff.  This week I have two response papers due for two separate history classes and a French test.  Plus I am interning in the History Department, and I am the History Tutor at the Academic Success Center.  I also decided that I would lend a hand to the college’s yearly student driven publication called the “Corn Creek Review,” and we met last week to get an agenda going for the next couple of weeks to look at students submissions. {take a deep breath} Then I am also getting the redesigned cover in place on the e-book and paper book of “The Forgotten Spell” and hoping to get book two “The Mirror Sliver” out this spring, and talking to my designer about its cover.  Plus I have several poems and shorts I am finishing up for submitting else where.  And let’s not forget, the hours I must spend in the local schools for my education courses.

I try to be one of those people who are extremely pro-active, and utilize every moment to get ahead of the game.  But lately I am finding that I’ve been the other kind, and adopting some pro-crastinating traits.  This is the next to last semester of full classes I will have, and I am taken back to my senior days of high school. Could it be I am getting a touch of that disease that hit most seniors as they approach the last leg of their education process?

I am wondering if it is because as an Indie Author, I am wrapped up into the social media network plug, self-marketing and self-promoting my series.  Some days I find that I spend over three hours just in the social network web, and then I just want to veg in front of a book or the TV, my brain spent already, and I haven’t even touched the books.

Well, which ever it may be, I need to get off this blog and start studying that French.

Or, maybe I’ll just watch the History Channel.

Sneak Peak at Book Two “The Mirror Sliver”

Saturday, a great day to get caught up on things, like some leaf raking, trashing burning and general clean up around the house.  {Sigh} But not this day, its raining cats and dogs.  So homework, it must be for me today and of course, my favorite project at the moment, Book Two of Legends of Green Isle, “The Mirror Sliver.”  Here’s a little tidbit for you of what’s happening in the book.  Hope your day is filled with sunshine. 🙂

The loud crash of limbs and vines, dirt and rock, which gave way to his weight, flooded his ears, as his body slipped downward.  Sliding out of control, Ned’s arms failed to grasp a hold of anything, and he plummeted into the earthen world below.  Black darkness swallowed him as his body continued to tumble down and down, away from the tiny light above, until he could see nothing, his journey hurling him further into the mysterious, gloomy womb of Black Isle.

Without warning Ned shot out of a hole in the subterranean walls and dropped into a large cavern lit by an unearthly glow of red.  Plopping onto a hard rock floor, Ned laid still for several seconds, mentally going over the extremities of his body.  Was he hurt?  It did not feel like it, he surmised finally as he wiggled his fingers and toes.

His eyes watered from the dusty debris which had traveled with him into the belly of the island.  Cautiously, he rose into a sitting position to view his surroundings.  Where was he?  What happened?

Something inside of him told his mind that the figure of Matt was a trap, and he fell for it.  “Well what’s new?” he questioned himself aloud.

“Other than you dropping in, nothing,” a raspy voice acknowledged.

“Who’s that?” Ned asked, as he back up to the cavern wall. His eyes darted nervously; the sound of someone else in this place was frightening and surprising.  Looking around, he tried to see who had spoken, but in the dim redness, everything took on a sinister appearance.

The cavern was large, very large, so big in fact, that where he stood was the shore on one side of a hidden lake in the world beneath Black Isle.  He could not see the other side of the monstrous body of water, but there were strange tall mushrooms and brown fernlike vegetation growing around the rocks and boulders which littered the rocky beach.

“Well, if you must know, my name is Bijan.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen anyone here, well except for the Brollachan.  They visit every now and again.”

Ned remembered his introduction to the Brollachan at the Nuada Finda fortress in the Great Pine Forest. His fingers touched the scars on his neck.  It had not been a very pleasant situation.

“Where are you?” he demanded.

“Not where you are looking?  Up here, behind you.”

Ned turned and saw a large pile of boulders and rocks.  Climbing up on one of them, he could see that the pile of rocks was very vast.  Up towards the top of the pile, he could make out a giant golden eye staring down at him.

 

 

It’s over already? Reflections on an upcoming birthday.

Kevin and I at the Ranch

Kevin and I at the Ranch

Okay, so this last weekend was like the last bit of honey from the bottom of the jar.  I took off on Thursday to go down to the ranch to get some writing done on Legends of Green Isle Book Two “The Mirror Sliver,” and Kevin followed up on Friday.  It was the last great adventure for me before the Spring semester started at Young Harris College.  We spent two days riding around the trails in the mountains. and my little Cash (horse) was spoiled, as I kept pockets full of carrots and treats.  Don’t know when I’ll get to see him again, as semesters get so busy, we don’t find time to get there to the Ranch as much as we would like.

I did manage to get a lot accomplished on the book, and did some rearranging of things that didn’t fit. Of course Kevin offered to do some editing, which was a big help.  But I kept thinking, it’s over already?  The winter break is gone?  What the heck happened to me getting Book Two completed all the way as I planned? What happened to me getting my paper ready for February’s conference in Dahlonega?

Time does seem to fly now days.  I always thought my parents were crazy for saying that.  When I was younger, it seemed that the days just stretched way too long, and I thought I would never reach 21.  Now I’m  saying “Wait a minute, I don’t want to be 47,” but it’s happening in just a few days.  I know I’ll look back in another 47 years and say “It’s over already?”  “Where did that time go?”
I guess I am a driven person because I don’t want to come to that time in the future, and reflect, thinking to myself, why didn’t I accomplish this or that?  I want to be the person who looks back on life and smile, thinking of all the fun and adventure I had with my loved ones, and say to myself, “good gravy, what a ride! Thanks for letting me be a part of it!”  Everyone says life is too short to worry, and I’m beginning to understand that phrase.  So, I’ve made a deal with myself that this year for my birthday, I’m gonna stop worrying about not having enough time, and just concentrate on making the most of time.  Okay self?  Okay!

One Day My Soul Just Opened Up

Roxi

Kicking back after finals is going to be a challenge, as my mind seems to never want to quit.  But the next month shall be constructively used for finishing Book Two – “The Mirror Sliver” of my Legends of Green Isle Series and preparing for a History Conference in Dahlonega in which I’ll be presenting a paper on the Colors and Cockades of the French Revolution.

While rattling around the house today, and fixing the Christmas tree, because two very playful little puppies decided to introduce themself to lights and beads, blowing out half the strand, I started organizing a lot of my history books and other stuff, and found something that didn’t belong with them.  Tucked away on top of some of the books,  I came across a brand new book which I don’t remember buying called “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up”  by Iyanla Vanzant.  The caption above the title read “40 Days and 40 Nights toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth.”  It caught my attention.

Lately I’ve been having a feeling that my spiritual growth has been a little stunted.  Seems my joy has been in the lacking department too.  I find myself crying at weird things, and I know my boyfriend probably thinks I’ve gone a little insane.  I have really been talking with God lately about the issue because I THINK I’ve gone a little insane.  God’s answers seem to come in little things like a page I’ll read in an article, a phrase I overhear from a conversation, and I think the discovery of this book too.  The author begins her introduction with writing about how she discovered the truth out about her “so perfect” life in the middle of night, as she slept. The reality of it, was her life was not what she told herself it was.  Here let me quote something from the book:

“The feelings of misery, confusion, and despair began to grow like an annoying fungus in my mind.  My thinking was fuzzy. I was snapping at people.  I had become professionally aggressive and competitive to the point of being combative.  Each day, I would push myself to exhaustion so that no more truth could be, would be, revealed to me when I was sleeping.  I clung to the relationship {talking about her boyfriend here who was a married man} believing that if it ended, I would surely lose my mind.  It did. And I did. I lost the mind that had kept me in denial for the better part of my life. I lost the mind that was so full of distortions, half-truths, and the ideas of others that if fed my misery like a ravenous dog. I lost the mind that was angry at my mother, hated my father, resented my brother, wanted to control everything and everybody in its midst that could in any way hurt me. At the time, I didn’t realize what was going on.  I thought I was having a string of bad luck. As I watched my life fall to pieces, I did what any mindless person would do.  I got totally pissed off! It is called temporary insanity.” (pg 11)

This particular paragraph reminded me of a time before my wonderful Henderson came into my life.  I was at this point about three years ago when my life fell apart.  This paragraph reminded me of that shift when I began shedding all the things I covered up in my mind, exposing to myself mis-truths about my life, hanging onto the notion that I could control the outcome of my existence, and believing that the bad relationship I was in, was good.  I moved into that temporary insanity position and remained pissed off for about a year.

My life continues to evolve.  I believe that we humans all are in a great process of finding Truth. I think I am feeling stunted in growth right now, because there is a lingering Untruth  I am hanging onto too at this moment.  The unwanted crying is my soul’s process of shedding those layers, peeling them off until that Untruth is exposed, bared for me to see in all its horror, so that the joy of knowing the real Truth can be experienced.

I leave you with this wonderful poem by Ms. Vanzant.  Dedicated today to my friend Phyllis, who believes in some crazy notion that I am inspirational.  Hugs to you P.

One day my soul just opened up

and things started happenin’

things I can’t quite explain

I mean

I cried and cried like never before

I cried tears of ten thousand mothers

I couldn’t even feel anything because

I cried ’til I was numb.

One day my soul just opened up

I felt this overwhelming pride

what I was proud of

only God knows!

Like the price of a hundred thousand fathers

basking in the glory of their newborn sons

I was grinnin’ from ear to ear.

One day my soul just opened up

I started laughing

and I laughed for what seemed like forever

wasn’t nothin’ particularly funny goin’ on

but I laughed anyhow

I laughed the joy of a million children playin’

in the mud

I laughed ’til my sides ached

Oh God! It felt so good!

One day, my soul just opened up

There were revelations, annihilations, and resolutions

feelings of doubt and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness

memories of things I’d seen and done before

of places I’d been, although I didn’t know when

there were lives I’d lived

people I’d loved

battles I’d fought

victories I’d won

and wars I’d lost.

One day My soul just opened up

and out poured all the things

I’d been hiding

and denying

and living through

that had just happened moments before.

One day, my soul just opened up

and I decided

I was good and ready!

I was good and ready to surrender

my life

to God.

So with my soul wide open,

I sat down

wrote Her a note

and told her so.

[by Gemmia L. Vanzant]

Glad I’m not the only who realizes God is a woman. 🙂