The 7-7-7 Challenge

Oh my god, I haven’t posted in so long it’s obscene.

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But to get me back into the blog posting game I’ve been tagged by Madhuri Blaylock to join the 7-7-7 challenge. Which immediately made me think of the Demon Lord, but that’s how my weird mind works.

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Sorry, I had to make a NANA reference. I had to!

Any *ahem* back to the point…

The 7-7-7 challenge has nothing to do with the Demon Lord at all (or Demon-Sama for you purists), instead it’s a way to give readers a teeny tiny taste of your work in progress and whet their appetite. 🙂

It’s also a great way for me to get back into the writing groove because I had to put my precious baby on hold for a month and I really want to get back to Songhay and Niko (they’re proving to be more fun than I expected, heh heh).

What you do is go to the 7th page of your WIP, start on the 7th line of that page and post 7 lines.

So without further ado, here is my 7-7-7 sneak peek of Monster, book 4 of The Outsider Chronicles

Itadakimasu!

There were two types of Slithers, pale, inhuman, monsters with disturbingly colored eyes, a mouthful of long sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh.

They were pretty straightforward in their quest for their favorite meal. They were incredibly stupid but they were also too fast and too strong for anyone to stop unless they were a Slither hunter.

The smart ones were crafty, a regular Slither wouldn’t have thought to hide beneath the house.

Niko thought they had killed the smart one.

She was wrong.

I’m tagging, Betty Cross, and Tima Maria Lacoba!

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Wordclouds

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Since I’m still in the whole second/third draft period with Outsider, I decided to share the wordcloud for my upcoming book. I learned about wordclouds from Scott Westerfeld, who’s the author of the Uglies trilogy, and who’s blog I should frequent way more because it’s awesome. Anyway, he used it as a way to discover words that he might be overusing.

If you take a quick glance at my wordcloud (or a long glance, it’s so beautiful, go ahead, stare as long as you like ^_^) you can immediately tell that ‘Niko’ is the biggest word. No surprise there she’s the main character and since The Outsider Chronicles is written in the third person Niko’s name appears a lot.

Second is ‘Ben’, again no real surprise, as Niko and Ben are currently an item and since I’m concentrating a little more on his story arc this time around his name gets bandied around a lot.

In fact seeing many of my characters names loom large in this wordcloud is not that surprising, it’s mostly a reflection on how many times they appear in Outsider.

Once I move past all of that, I’ll begin to see the more insidious words, the ones that I might not have meant to be so prominent, words like ‘though’ or ‘like’ which could mean I use too many similes and metaphors and might be something I want to cut out.

The word ‘eyes’ is large as well, which mean I use eyes to describe an emotion too much (her eyes widened, his eyes narrowed, they rolled their eyes), which lessens the impact I want a scene to have and causes it not to feel as fresh as I would like. Interestingly enough, ‘looked’ and ‘glanced’ are much smaller than usual as I try to scale back on relying on eyes to hint at emotion.

Luckily, ‘just’ is much smaller than in my previous wordclouds and that means I’m not just using it as a throwaway word just to fill up the space anymore (← see what I did just there? >_<)

Since Outsider is set inside the city of Cherai and there aren’t so many Slithers coming inside, their presence isn’t as big as usual (I don’t think that will be the case in book 4)

Of course, a wordcloud is more of a cosmetic approach to writing and can’t tell me which scenes need more work, but it is a good way to get an overall picture of my writing and clean up a majority of my sentences.

Not to mention it looks really nice on my wall.

 

By the way, for the whole month of July Niko and Harm are on sale at Smashwords.com. Use the coupon code SW100 at checkout and get Niko for free, and the code SSW50 gets Harm on your device for half the price!

Songhay+Roosevelt

 

Yay, at long last! I’ve been asking my sister to draw a picture of Songhay and Roosevelt for months and after some aggressive hovering (and maybe being slightly annoying 😛 ) she has done it.

First introduced in Harm, the second book of the Outsider Chronicles, the siblings were originally only supposed to have a small role in the book but they were so interesting (okay, I’ll admit it, they also totally bribed me with cake), their characters expanded from minor to major and they have even managed to attach themselves to some very important story arcs.

 

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Roosevelt Miller

Age: Approximately 16

Height: 5′ 5”

Hair/Eye: Red/Grey

Favorite foods: None in particular. Can and will eat any and everything but really enjoyed the canned peaches Niko provided and wouldn’t mind having those again.

Distinctive qualities: Punctuates most of her sentences with the word ‘oi’.

One arm is missing below the elbow due to an accident when she was six.

Can touch her nose with her tongue.

 

Songhay Miller

Age: Approximately 19 (neither knows their true age)

Height: 5′ 11”

Hair/Eye: Black/Brown

Favorite foods: Meat. Doesn’t get it often but is very happy when he does.

Distinctive qualities: Has elven scars on his arms to mark his wins as a fighter.

Hates spicy foods.

Check out Niko, the first book in the series here:

 

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17866959-niko

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/311320

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Niko-Outsider-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00FDZTUSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402522278&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outsider+chronicles

Aside

Meet My Main Character Blog Tour (at last!)

Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

I was tagged by my friend Madhuri Blaylock (queen of badassery and author of The Sanctum trilogy) to join the Meet My Main Character blog tour which I think is a great way to introduce your characters as well as find out about other authors characters and books (and you know, ramble on and on about my precious baby).

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m super late and the last person to put hers up since it’s been more than a week already.

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Itadakimasu!

1.What is the name of your main character? Is he or she fictional or historic person?

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My character’s name is Niko ( actually, her name is Harmony Niko but she goes by Niko for about 99.7% of the book). Much like the goddess Athena (minus the insane jealousy) she sprung fully formed out of my head and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. 😀

2.When and where is the story set?

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Since it’s a dystopian novel, Niko is set in the future (a quick glance at my notes says 2093 to be exact). In a world that has been ravaged by acid rain (it’s not like that stuff you heard about in the ’90’s) and strange creatures called Slithers that may or may not have once been human. There are a few people who live protected inside walled cities but most are left to fend for themselves Outside.

Niko lives Outside with her two younger brothers and since her main focus is survival, in the beginning she’s very deliberate and independent as one wrong choice could mean the difference between life and a very painful death.

3.What should we know about her?

Niko is a Slither hunter, which is basically a person who has the speed, strength and agility to take down a Slither while regular people usually succumb to an attack and get eaten.  She’s been killing them since she was fourteen, but it isn’t until she is taken into Amaryllis City and joins the Rose Circle that she realizes she’s actually different than other Slither hunters who only grow into their abilities once they’re eighteen.

She doesn’t learn why that is until the second book, Harm, and I’m against spoilers so you’ll have to find out for yourself 😛

She’s very survival orientated and sometimes that can make her seem cold and closed off but in reality she just wants a safe place where she’s not always looking over her shoulder or worrying about the next few minutes and to create that space she realizes that she’s going to have to spill a lot of blood.

(Oh me gooseness! Niko and Dev are kind of similar, Madhuri!)

4.What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

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The first book starts off with Niko losing her brothers by the end of the first chapter. One brother is killed during a Slither attack while the other goes missing. Niko herself is saved by a group of Slither hunters and taken into the city. It’s an Inciting Incident that gets the ball rolling (also I have a short attention span and must have something blow up within the first few chapters ^_^).

5.What is her personal goal?

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In the beginning all she wants is to find her brother but the longer she stays in Amaryllis City the more corruption she discovers, especially when she learns about the things done to keep everyone ‘safe’. So at first her goals are rather small but as the series progresses all the way to the third book (Outsider, which is coming this fall by the way) she’s planning a rebellion to take control of the city.

6.Is there working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

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Since Niko is already published (it’s been a little over a year actually, woot!) the title is set as well as the titles for the four other books in the series. Two of which have yet to be revealed. *waves hands mysteriously*

7. When can we expect the books to be published?

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Niko was published in May 2013 and it’s sequel Harm was published in January. I hope to release the third book, Outsider some time in late September. Book four and five have tenuous release dates of Spring and Winter 2015 (it’s like they’re in fashion, lol). It hasn’t been set in stone yet but I do have a hammer and chisel on standby.

But while you wait you can check out Book One and Two of the Outsider Chronicles on Smashwords or Amazon.com! XD

Now that all the questions are done and you haven’t run away from my weird humor (good thing I had all that rope handy though), I’m tagging …

Rob Slater author of All Is Silence and whose own heroine is completely bad-ass

Kourtney Heintz author of The Six Train to Wisconsin who has two awesome main characters for her novel (double the fun!)

Paige Daniels author of Non-Compliance: The Sector whose main character uses both brains and brawn to great effect

Have fun you guys!

Bones, Roses, and Random Things

 

I was bored and procrastinating a bit (don’t worry I’m still working on the second draft of Niko 3, I just spent a little time binge watching Attack on Titans), and I decided to compile a list (list= a Virgo’s best friend ) of some random facts that you may not know about the first book in the Outsider Chronicles.

Itadakimasu!

1 Names

Names are everything, they can make a person sound cool, they can make a person sound sinister, and when you’re creating characters names are especially important so here are some things you may not have known about the names in Niko.

Niko’s last name was originally Nickel.

Ben was originally called Chris (this default name only lasted for three chapters though… phew!)

Duc’s (pronounced ‘duke’) name is Vietnamese and means ‘desire’

The Director’s name is actually Sarah Lytle

Niko’s full name is Harmony Ann Niko

The Circle of the Guard was originally going to be named after flowers instead of colors

 

2 Media

When I write my stories are always filled with random references, sometimes their basically super, super inside jokes (I’m lame) but other times those references come in handy when I’m writing scenes. Other times they’re just… random.

The theme song for Niko is Wonderland by Natalia Kills

The movie Ultraviolet was the inspiration for chapters 6-8

When Ari and Ben mention rat creatures and quiche in chapter 5 they are referencing Bone by Jeff Smith

The song that Malik plays for Niko in chapter 9 is Baby Love by The Supremes

Chapters 21-22 have their own theme song, And Counting… by LIGHTS

 

3 Book Influences

Because what would an author be if they weren’t influenced by books?

 

The Turned by Jillian Leigh (Known as Avid Reader on Story Write) inspired me to start writing Niko. Her story isn’t online anymore but if it wasn’t for her Niko would not exist in its present form.

The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan, if you were wondering why the humor in Niko is so weird blame her. (just kidding, my humor is weird too).

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves, if I only had one book in the world it would be this one. It’s dark and bloody, sexy and strange and exactly how I want my writing to be like.

Bleach by Tite Kubo, it’s a manga but if I can write my fight scenes half as well as he draws them I’d be one happy camper.

 

4 Zombiefication

I love killing off characters and in a dystopian world that means more deaths to plot (rubs hands excitedly). But since there would be no story if I killed off everybody (though George R. R. Martin seems to manage well enough) I usually solve this dilemma by tossing a coin (not an American one, I know which side that it’s statistically more than likely to fall on and will cheat #nerdproblems).

So without further ado here are the people who managed to survive the culling.

For now. Mwah ha ha.

 

Jared was going to die instead of Shawn

Ben was going to die instead of Malik

Ari was going to die but she has nine lives and won her coin toss

 

5 Ages

The age of the characters in Niko isn’t discussed much. They’ve got more important things to worry about, like killing Slithers and surviving coin tosses. But in case you’re curious…

Ari is 22

Duc is 23

Ben is 22

Malik was 20

Niko is 17

 

And there you have it folks! That was kind of fun (liiiiiiiiists), I might do one for Harm, the second book in the Outside Chronicles. It might be a while before I do it but then again, I procrastinate a lot so it might be here sooner than expected. 😛

Procrastinating

I’m procrastinating on writing book four of Niko. And how does this lovely writer procrastinate? By starting on a completely different trilogy! The Summer of Dogs is a werewolf story that I’m working on and is currently in the beta reading stages (*nibbles nails* will they like it?). And just when I thought the procrastinating was over, last week I got the bright idea to start on the TSOD sequel. I”m hopeless.

Live Fast, Die Young

Of course everybody knows that stress is a bad thing, it makes you lose sleep, causes breakout on you’re beautiful face not to mention potentially damages organs, but I think there is one ‘good’ stress.

I’ve finally reached that level of stress. Success! *fist pump*

Already, I’ve:

Published one book 

About to publish another 

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Review some awesome books 

Writing articles for Soul Central Magazine

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Wrote a blurb for Madhuri Blaylock’s upcoming novel The Boy

Reaction videos once a week

Plan on starting Niko 4 and 5

Perhaps it’s the Virgo in me but somehow I’m deriving great satisfaction from juggling all these projects. Is anyone else a juggler or are you playing it smart and not risking burnout by concentrating on only one thing at a time.