Authorial Intrusion Alert!

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The Authorship Club that I advise asked me to give them (in their words) a “mini-lesson” about the writing process. In preparation for my big (mini) lesson later today, I decided to write down some tips to share with my students. And you readers! Lucky you…

Getting Started

As far as I know, most human beings, at one time or another, have thought to themselves: “This would make a really great book!” For most people, the book ends there. Some people I know have a running list of good book ideas that sits and collects dust. A brave few actually decide to buckle down and write out the entirety of the story they thought up, and that is where things begin to get good.

The tricky part? Joining the club of (possibly self-delusional) people who think they can actually tell a story. I want to let you in on a little secret: anyone can write a book. The tricky part about writing isn’t coming up with an idea, or polishing your writing, or finding a title, or choosing character names. The trickiest part about writing is believing in yourself enough to begin.

Keep Going

Once you’ve started on your novel (good job!) you’re truly on your way. Now the trick is to keep pushing yourself. If you drop out of the habit of writing, you run the risk of losing the motivation and self-esteem that got you started in the first place. I recommend setting writing goals for yourself to hit by specific dates. While I was writing Regnum Terra, I set a goal for myself to write 1,000 words each week. Now, I wasn’t always perfect. Some weeks I struggled to find even ten words that sounded right. Other chapters seemed to have been pre-written in my head, pouring out of my mind and onto the page almost faster than I could type. Overall, though, I stuck to my goal.

You goal might look very different than mine. Maybe you want to write a chapter a week. Maybe you really want to whip out a full novel in a month, so you need to write 10,000 words every three days. The details are up to you, your plans, and your life. Without setting goals, though, your dreams will remain dreams rather than becoming a reality.


Everyone likes to plan out their book differently. J.K. Rowling used a spreadsheet-style planning design to help keep track of all the plots in her books (check it out!) I put all my miscellaneous story details in a huge word document, and having everything all in one place was a lifesaver. It helped me keep track of dates and timing, character names, plot arcs, and ideas for subplots.


There will come a point where you’ve written what seems like a billion drafts of your novel. For any artist, the hardest part of creation is knowing when to stop working on a masterpiece and let it be complete as it is. Will your book be perfect? Probably not. But it will be pretty darn close. And moving a comma here or changing a word there won’t change the feel or essence of the story enough to keep making edits for the rest of eternity.

You’ve Got This

These are probably all tips you’ve heard before, and really, everything can be summed up in one phrase: believe in yourself. If you want to write, write. Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t. Some of the most popular authors of all time were scorned their whole lives because people just weren’t quite ready for what they were producing. Imagine the loss to the world of literature if those writers had given up on themselves and their dreams.

Believe in yourself.

You’ve got this.

It’s Friday!


For all of you loyal fans who have read through to the end of Regnum Terra, thank you! And I’m sorry… I know ending a book on a cliff hanger like that is particularly cruel.


To make amends, I’m posting the 1st draft of the prologue to the sequel of Regnum Terra.

Without further ado, I would like to introduce the beginning of my second novel, Hespera.



He knew he was dreaming. Happiness like this could never exist in any real realm. It was too clean and pure; too pleasant to be anything other than a dream.

            Reality was always much harsher.

            The river running beside him was a sheet of polished crystal gleaming in the light of the warm summer sun. He heard the water racing along; heard the splash and jump of fish in motion, and yet the river was perfectly, unnaturally still.

            The last time he had been in this shadow world had been a lifetime ago. He wondered how he had wandered here, out of all the hazy dream worlds he could have stumbled into.

            He wondered if it was possible that she was really here too.

            She was curled up beside him, her head on his lap, her hair shining brighter than the river where the light of the sun caught it. He traced the hints of auburn and gold lurking amidst the chocolate-brown strands; the touches of color gently teased out by the late-afternoon sunbeams trickling down from the heavens.

            She shifted slightly in her sleep and he winced as she brushed across his healing side. The sharp touch of pain threatened to wake him, the edges of the dream world blurring as the air around him thickened uncomfortably.

            His breathing quickened as he struggled to stay here, in this gleaming haven with this angel perched on his lap. He knew that if he left, he might not be able to find his way back. Worlds were tricky things, and with the stargate gone…

            As the image of a looming, ancient tree filled his mind, the girl sat bolt-upright as though startled into wakefulness, her brilliant blue eyes wide and fearful.

            Their gazes met, emerald and sapphire sparking against one another across the divide.

            A wistful smile lifted the corners of her mouth as she looked at him. He saw the pain in that smile, and his heart ached in his chest. She probably thought he was dead; a mere ghost her memory had filtered into her dreams.

            He wondered painfully if, outside of dreams, she even remembered him at all.

            Timidly, tentatively, she stretched her hand toward him as though to test his physicality; as though worried that her fingers would pass right through him like trees through a heavy fog.

            The air grew slick and oily, the pressure dropping suddenly as his breath caught in his chest. He stared into her gleaming eyes hungrily, hoping that, just by looking, he could cross the space between them and come home to her.

As her hand gently landed on his chest, the mark on his hip blazed a brilliant, blinding white. Her eyes widened hopefully as the world dissolved around them; the frozen river disappearing in an angry, consuming flood of starlight.