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USA Today Bestselling Author!

USA Today Bestselling Author!

It still setting in. I’ve been working all year on this. First drafting ‘A Fistful of Magic’ then promoting the heck out of the box set it is in, Fire and Fantasy. The book itself is hands down my best. Each one I write I hope I improve over the last. I plan on doing a few sequels to Wash and Caitlyn’s adventure. They will have to wait a little while. Life is complicated for everyone! In the meanwhile, thank you for all your support and time in purchasing, reading, and reviewing A Fistful of Magic. I don’t write for me, or for my family, or honestly for the money (it is always nice though) I write to tell stories and entertain. If only one person ever read my book I would be okay with that, as long as they enjoyed it. Until next time,
-Cassy

Purchase Fire and Fantasy today!

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The Wait is Over!

The Wait is Over!

Wreathed in Flame is now available on Amazon.com and Kindle Unlimited. Buy or borrow Book 3 of Faith of the Fallen, today!

cover by www.vividcovers.com
Wreathed in Flame

 

Children are disappearing all over Seattle. When Detective John Yu’s niece goes missing under mysterious circumstances he fights fire with fire and calls in Alexi and Savanna. Missing children, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. With the help of a new coven of witches and some old friends, the duo has to find the missing children, save a stranded fae from certain death, and fight a bloodthirsty pack of werewolves. All in a day’s work for a vampire and a witch, until things get personal. With the fate of the world in the balance, Alexi must choose between saving her daughter or saving the planet. 

Amazon

How I turn an Idea into a Novel: My Process

How I turn an Idea into a Novel: My Process

The number one question I get asked is, “How do you come up with a story?” Quickly followed by, “How do you turn that into a novel?” We won’t talk about the umpteen million times I get told, “I have an idea for a book”. I used to think authors exaggerated that. Who tells another person, “I have an idea for you to do something in your profession, and oh yeah, it is so good I could make money off of it, but I am giving it to you for free”.
Regardless, I thought I might share with you, my process.

Ideas come from a lot of places while reading, watching TV or a movie, or about any time during the day. They come from about anywhere. The two biggest places I receive revelation for stories is in the shower, and through conversations with my significant other. I kid you not. The other day we were looking at some art together and talking about the current political climate and *BAM* an idea hit me. I won’t go into the idea because I haven’t written it yet.

What then? How do I turn a single idea, or image in my head, to a fully fleshed out novel? Good question. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. Before I buckled down and put my shoulder to the wheel of writing, it would appall me to throw out words. I wouldn’t do it. Eight thousand words in and the story wasn’t working at all, I would ride that train right off the cliff! What I had to learn to do was to write, and not be afraid to start over. If you’re not feeling the story in your bones, then you need to think about tossing it out and starting over.

For With the Dawn I had several incarnations of the characters, the story, even the setting. In my first attempt at writing it, I didn’t want it to be in anyone city. I tried to keep it generic. Halfway through the book, I realized that I needed to be specific because of certain magical things that happen. I love Seattle decided to use that.

My point is that you have to be willing to start over. Do not fall in love with your first draft, if you’re serious about writing, you will need to get serious about drafting. I promise you that you will know the best version when you write it, and it ‘s rarely the first one. When we brainstorm our minds go for the easiest things to grasp, it is called low hanging fruit. In nature, that is the easiest fruit to pluck. In our heads, we have a lifetime of novels and movies and it all coalesces with our imagination. The first thing that bubbles up to the surface will be the thing we’ve seen the most.

What next? I write. A lot. A lot a lot. Four to five hours a day, twenty minutes at a time, totaling three to five thousand words each day. Some days it’s magic, some days it’s garbage. There isn’t anything you can do to replace this one simple task.

Notice that nowhere did I mention outlining. Because I don’t. Everyone has their process, and for some people outlining is their jam. For me, it is a deathblow to my creativity (See my earlier post). You have to be in a creative mode to come up with the best ideas. I can’t do that while trying to figure out what should happen next. When I’m writing the story flows out of me like a river. I know what happens next because it feels right. Weird, I know. Remember, I’ve spent my whole life telling stories, reading stories, and reading about storytelling. It is the number one subject at my house. Ask my friends what I talk about the most and they will say, “Movies, TV, Books, Comic books, and storytelling”. You have to live and breath it. I think that part is true for most authors. Writing is not a sometime thing, it is an every time thing.

That is about it. I find an idea, I write about it until I think it can be a whole novel, then I start writing. Sure, pantsing isn’t the most elegant way, I have to create backstories on the fly and fill out the background as I go. This means I have to be extra careful in the editing phase to make sure my continuity is correct.

The one thing I want you to remember is that all of this means nothing if you aren’t willing to write. You need to be hungry to write, you need to be willing to put aside all your hobbies and time wasters, and focus on this one thing. Trust me when I say, those things won’t mean as much to you, as finishing your first novel. They certainly won’t mean as much if you manage to publish it through a publishing house. The same goes for when you make money on your work, your words, your imagination. There is no feeling quite like it.

In the words of some of my favorite podcasters,

You’re out of excuses, go write.

 

All the best,

Cassy

How I Upped My Game and Blew the Roof off My Words Per Hour.

How I Upped My Game and Blew the Roof off My Words Per Hour.

When I started writing seriously three years ago, I thought it was a miracle that anyone would pay me for my work. I sold my first story to a magazine and they immediately asked me for another one! That was quite the vindication of my creative writing.

The novellas they were asking for were around twenty-thousand words. I could do one in about a month, take a few weeks off, then do another. It was a nice side income, but unless I could find a way to do more than one a month, there was no way I could write enough to make a living. Not at 500-700 words a day, anyways.

Over the following years, with hard work and practice, I was able to increase my daily average to about 1200 words. Mind you, these were solid words, and ones I liked. If I went further, I would always end up with writing that fell flat.

When I started With the Dawn a year ago June 1st, I assumed that 1200 words per day was my best. While I was drafting and outlining, I would occasionally have massive days, but they were more like storyboarding than writing prose. A drafting outline, as it were.

In September of last year, I began Blood Sacrifice, which is book 2 in Faith of the Fallen. I was still going at the same rate. It took me a little over two months to finish the first draft. I took a month off and started Book 3, which I’m still working on.

Other life events have forced me to pause or slow down my writing. Since I have a book on Kindle Scout, I started looking for a way to up my game. Writing two-to-three books a year wasn’t going to cut it. I’ve tried some methods of increasing my writing before, Rachel Aaron talks about her method of writing ten thousand words a day. I admire her greatly and thoroughly enjoyed her Eli Monpress books. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get her method to work for me.

You might have noticed my implication that I started book 3 in January, and you would be correct. Now it’s June. and I’m still working on it. What happened?

Well, I tried to outline.

Many authors who write a lot of words per day sing the virtues of outlining. I thought for sure that this was the way writers were supposed to write. Virtually all the authors I admired wrote to outlines. After several stalled attempts at book 3–and even getting to the point where, at 20,000 words in, I had to start over–I came to this realization:

I. Can’t. Outline.

It isn’t that I don’t know how, or that I’m not good at it. But when I outline, I’m not at all creative. All my ideas are low-hanging fruit. They sound great in my head, but when I actually start writing… zero excitement.

I’m what Gene Doucette calls a pantser. I have an intuitive grasp of storytelling, and when I write, I need only a vague notion of where I’m going. If I try to overthink it… *poof* creativity gone.

Which brings me to Chris Fox. Specifically his 21 Day Novel Writing Challenge. I didn’t write a book in twenty-one days. However, I watched him do it, and I realized two things. Like Rachel Aaron, he outlines everything. But, because he demonstrated his process in a video, I was able to watch, and it shed some light on my own process.

When I write, I always know where I’m going. If I get lost or stuck, it’s usually because I went the wrong way. I back the truck up–or in my case, the stylish crossover–and I go in a different direction.

I needed to find a way to do that, and write 3-5k words a day. Last Monday, I followed Chris’ advice. I set my alarm for five AM, something I haven’t done since I was in the Army, and went to bed.

When the alarm went off, I woke up and snuck out of the room so as not to wake my sleeping darling, got dressed, and went for a walk. Twice around our block is a half mile. Afterwards, I took a shower, blow dried my hair, sat down at my desk and wrote.

In the past, I would write for about four hours and get in about 1200 words–total–on average. On Monday, I wrote for one hour and cleared 2,500 words. On Tuesday, I wrote even more. This morning I hit 3200 words.

What am I doing differently? For one, the mornings have always been my most productive. Even when I had to get up and punch a clock, I always resented my employers for getting my best hours.

The other thing is the biggie: sprints.

Instead of staring at the screen for four hours, I would spend ten minutes thinking about the very next thing I wanted to write–sort of like outlining, but restricted to only the next scene in the queue. Then I set a timer for twenty minutes, put on my writing music (right now it’s Twenty-One Pilots’ Tear in My Heart to get me started, before switching to mostly classical) and write.

Suddenly the timer beeps and I’m 700-800 words in. A five-minute break to grab some water and stretch my legs, then I’d sit back down to rinse and repeat. Four sprints later and I’m hitting 3200 words… by 9:00 A.M. Good words too. Words I’m proud of.

I know I can write, and I know I can write books people enjoy–the real question for me has always been “Can I write enough in a year to bring in a decent income?” Because to be perfectly honest, I desperately do not want to go back to working outside the home.

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