Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Wishes, ASID Updates and Roari's Resolution(s)


With 2015 just over two hours away here in California, I'm not so much reflecting on this year past as I am looking forward to the one ahead.... For you, dear Reader, I hope for a year full of joy, and many pages of adventures.

My contribution to the amount of aforementioned pages available for your imagination to dwell within was not as plentiful as I'd hoped in 2014, but with A Shadow in Doubt nearly ready, and my untitled-as-of-yet NaNo novel waiting, 2015 looks more promising.



Originally, A Shadow in Doubt, Book Two of Society in the Shadow of Civilization, was to be released this fall - I almost did it, but something wasn't sitting right with me. Then, I had the ah-ha moment, and, well, made a lot of work for myself revising things. Basically, everything is the same, but rearranged, if that makes sense. It doesn't, I know. Sometimes I wish I could time-travel, it would make things easier.

So, when, pray tell, will it be released? That's complicated too....

Why? Because I've decided to try something different this time. If you know what Wattpad is, you're lightyears ahead of me - but I'm there now too. Since I pulled back on ASID, I decided I'm going to release it on Wattpad and Writing.com, chapter by chapter, as I revise, and then release the ebook in February. But, it's New Year's Eve, so I'll post more about that later this week....

Twelve Days - Jayden's account of her time alone with the Society - is also coming to Wattpad and Writing.com in January. (No, I didn't forget about it!)

Lastly, I have two writer resolutions this year. The first one is easy - no more release dates until the release date is absolutely final, promise. The second one kind of scares me - I signed up for Twitter months ago, but have yet to tweet, LOL! So I resolve to figure it out this year, and use it!

Thank you, dearest Reader, for chasing after my dreams with me ... I hope each day of your 2015 is beautiful!

Roari

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December Roses, Wrapping and Unwrapping Gifts with Friends, the Return of the Rain and Release Day Delay

It's December thirteenth, there are still roses blooming in my garden, and A Shadow in Doubt isn't ready to be published....
Wait, what?- you say? Oh, you caught that last part. Did you see how I tried to soften you up with a flower?  I know, this puts me on the naughty list, but I'm used to it.

I won't bore you with the details as to why A Shadow in Doubt isn't ready yet, because if I tried to explain it, you'd probably be more confused than I am right now. It's complicated, but I hope you, Dear Reader, will understand. Trust me when I say you'll be glad for the delay ... it's worth it.

Okay, now the hard part's over, and if you're still reading, hopefully you've forgiven me! I will say two factors in the push back were/are NaNoWriMo and "the holidays". It was pure insanity to think I would get it there in that time frame. I'll announce the new release date on New Year's Eve - hopefully it will be late January.  But let's move on for now....

Simba
Mufasa

Wrapping presents is more fun with friends, don't you agree? My little lions, aka Simba and Mufasa, were tiny balls of fluff last year, and hid under the bed while I was wrapping. Now, they're Mommy's little distractors helpers. Aren't they sweet?

The holiday frenzy is finally in full swing at my house, a little late, but better than never. The tree still needs lights so we can hang the ornaments, then maybe I'll share a pic of that ;)





The Beasties unwrapped their Christmas present early this year (actually, unrolled it in this case) and they think they've gone to heaven. Instead of going to crazy midnight sales on Black Friday, I slept in, and spent the afternoon running back and forth to Home Depot, picking up sod. Then, while I worked away on finishing my NaNo novel, the love of my life installed it while our darling children supervised from the trampoline.




As you can see, Thor and Athena are delighted.

The the next day we had the most rain we've had in years, yesterday we had even more, and, according to the last reports I saw, we should have one or two more storms next week. I hope so, because the Beasties are already getting spoiled by having a plush carpet outside, and our parched state definitely needs it!

And I think that wraps it up for today! I hope your day is a beautiful one....

Roari

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Character Interview: Samantha Marquet

Today, I share an interview with Sam, catching up with her on what's happened since The Shadow Watcher, before A Shadow in Doubt....


Q: When we left you at the end of The Shadow Watcher, you were in kind of a strange place, wouldn't you say?

Sam: My apartment?

Q: No, I mean, emotionally.

Sam: Strange is a nice way of putting it. (smiles) Honestly, if not for Artemis keeping me connected to reality, I might convince myself it was all a dream. She's helped me keep my sanity.

Q: Some people might consider your relationship with your cat crazy....

Sam: You mean some people think I'm a crazy cat lady?

Monday, December 8, 2014

So, how did your NaNoWriMo go?

Now that I'm caught up on sleep, and my fingers are rested, I'm ready to talk about November....

This was my sixth year participating in NaNoWriMo, and my second win (barely).  Each year, time is the biggest factor working against me. Last year, I realized time is always working against us, so I needed to stop making excuses. It was still a struggle, but in a desperate burst of defiant and insistent typing, I pulled out 9600 something words from mid afternoon on the 28th to five am on the 29th.  I don't recommend it, but I was determined to finish, and finish I did.

When I sat down with my candy stash just after midnight November 1st this year, I didn't know what I was writing.  I wrote something, scrapped it a day later, wrote something else, scrapped that too.  In a panic, I started surfing the net, and came across something that make me think of an old idea, so I turned it into something new and ran with it.

Catching up and staying just ahead of the daily goal into the second week, I thought this year would be a breeze.  Then, somewhere I lost it. I sat and stared at the screen. My goal of finishing before turkey day was a joke by the 20th. And then it was midnight on the 28th, and I still had over 20,000 words to go....

Once again, the love of my life came through in my hour(s) of desperation, and after my Black Friday trips to Home Depot to supply him with projects for the weekend, he and the kids hung out in the yard while I sequestered myself to do something I didn't think would be possible. And yet it was.

It still doesn't have a name, and it's a rough, ugly draft, but it's just over fifty thousand words, so it counts. And I'm excited about it! It's a stand-alone YA fantasy novel involving a young woman who is tormented through nightmares controlled by a dark elf seeking revenge against her grandfather for stealing the source of his power.  Her grandfather sent the elf away when she was young, and her nightmares ended, leaving her to believe his stories were just that - nothing more than fairy tales.  Now, with her grandfather gone, the elf has found a way to return. A mysterious, flirtatious boy starts working with her at the restaurant just as others at school begin having nightmares, too. As students start disappearing, she realizes there is much more to the fairy tales of her childhood than she ever imagined.

(And no, I'm not talking about Santa's little helpers here, or Elrond's kin, these elves are different....)

I think part of my mid-month writing slump was due to all of the fantastic stories I was finding in my research - I kept getting off topic. It's not one of my better habits. In the end, I wrote something closer to seventy thousand words for the month, counting my first scrapped ideas - the scraps I may or may not save for later ;)

With that said.... I'm back to the final polish on last year's novel - A Shadow in Doubt. I hope you're having a beautiful day!

Roari


(Photos from all-free-download.net)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time to Escape 2169

Fore Shadows: Escape 2169 by Roari Benjamin
Check Phase 1 of the Fall 2014 plan off my list -
Fore Shadows: Escape 2169 is now available!

This free 5400 word (approx.) short story is part of the Society in the Shadow of Civilization Series - both a prequel and sequel to The Shadow Watcher - told from Samuel's point of view instead of Sam's.  My initial goal was to keep it under three thousand words, and it got close to seven at one point, but I trimmed it back down.

If you haven't read The Shadow Watcher yet, you won't be lost, but you may get some spoilers ;) The events in Escape 2169 are some of the most important in the series, and it's been screaming to be written for some time, but it's also a stand-alone story.  As tempted as I am to write full length novels about Samuel, it's not part of the plan, right now.  More short stories are coming though, I've already started two. 

At the moment, the mobi, epub and pdf formats are available - for free - at Smashwords.  (Distribution to the iTunes and Nook stores will take a day or so.  The Kindle version is live, but it's priced at 99¢ until the price-match goes into effect, I'll update this post once that happens.)  And, don't forget to check out The Shadow Watcher - now just 99¢ in the Kindle Store.

I hope you'll enjoy reading this glimpse of Samuel's world as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Have a beautiful day!

Roari

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fall Planning...


I just looked at the calendar and said, "Yikes!" (Okay, it was more like "Frack.")  The year is almost gone and I just got used to writing 14 in the date.  I also fell way behind on my writing goals over the summer, but hanging out with the kids was worth it.  They were excited when school started back up on Monday (way too soon!), but definitely ready for the weekend when I picked them up today.

With the days of summer vacation waning and the scramble to assemble proper classroom attire, I haven't posted much, except to promote The Shadow Watcher.   I've been working on a few things I'm excited about, though, and wanted to share, so without further ado....

The second book in the Society in the Shadow of Civilization series - A Shadow in Doubt - is coming along.  Release still looks like late October/early November, though that's not etched in stone.  There are one or two tweaks in the timeline I still need to work out, but for the most part I'm down to the big final edit before the final edit.  Which will be followed by at least two more before the release ;)  But wait, there's more....

Have you found yourself wondering about how it all began?  If you are curious about Samuel's escape from the U.C.E., with the founding members of the Society, I shared a rough sample of Shadows on the Moon Fore Shadows: Escape 2169 here.  The short story covers the hours leading up his departure, and unveils how he pulled it off.  New characters are introduced, and a different side of Tollack Pennington is exposed.  Fun, fun.  This one is my gift to you, when it's complete.

There's also the jungle scene in The Shadow Watcher, you know, where things get weird, even for Michael?  There's a short story that will give you insight into the other side of that story coming too - not titled, yet.  Sorry!

Then there's the novella - yes, novella!  The more I thought about it, the more I knew readers would want to know more about what Jay was doing while Sam was chasing birds and trees for twelve days.  Then Jay's voice started chattering away in my head.  This will fill in some of the gaps of information Sam learns between The Shadow Watcher and A Shadow in Doubt; she'll be much more enlightened by the time we pick up her story.  Which is when, exactly?  I can answer that - Chapter One starts on 11/16/2006, another night like any other, and just over a month since we left Sam and Artemis safe and sound at home.  

I haven't decided yet if this year's NaNoWriMo project will be the third book in the series, or if I'm going to go off and write something completely new again.  I have a few ideas for stand-alone novels I'm starting to need to get out of my system, so I'm going to have to think about that.

Well, I think that's all I have to share for now.  I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Isiterra - The Tale of the Orbs




This version is transcribed from one of three known copies of "The Origins and Histories of Isiterra" written by Terrano, found in the antiquities vault at the Iselos Learning Hall.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Letter to My Muse

Photo: Kathy VanDeventer All-free-download.com

I am listening, waiting,
for you to whisper in my ear.
Sing to me your song,
of wordless meaning 
that creates life with paper and pen.

Speak to me, evasive spirit!
I anticipate our next encounter,
that I might find answers
for questions left on the last page
we wrote together.

I am selfish, demanding
You devote your time to me.
You are timeless though,
and so much of mine is devoted
to other mundane daily rituals.

Tell me, what can I do?
I begin these tasks at your beckon,
And you leave me at your whim,
How do I finish...

(See what I mean?)

I wrote that one awhile ago, but it seemed appropriate for today.  Tonight, and hopefully over the weekend, I'll be working on the Fore Shadows, and the first of the stories supporting Isiterra - my next series.  (It will be posted by next Friday.)  Maybe there will be another post here in there somewhere.  Until then, back to my other mundane daily rituals :)

I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New story - sneak peek!

It's been a quiet week.  Wasn't feeling too well over the weekend, and it carried over into Wednesday.  I think I feel human again.  

I haven't been entirely unproductive, though.  No, I've been busy.  Well, my delirious little mind has been.  What has my delirious little mind been up to, you ask?  Why, of course, I'd love to share!

Obviously, I knew sending The Shadow Watcher out there all by its little lonesome wasn't going to amount to a massive flow of sales.  I knew this before I wrote it.  Not because I don't believe one day it will, it's just all by itself right now, and needs some company.  Takes me awhile to get a novel right though.  

Oh, but wait!  Remember those side notes I talked about before?  

Yes, well, here's the latest.  Or part of it, anyway.  These short stories I plan on putting out for .99¢, or some for free, to help get more content out there faster.  A Shadow in Doubt is still planned for fall, but Fore Shadowing: Shadows on the Moon will be sooner, I think.  For now, please enjoy this entirely unedited excerpt :)  



08/05/2169 - Moon Colony - Gamma Structure

Paranoia is a mild state, relative to the one in which I lived after we administered the vaccination to the colony. Nearly two weeks have passed since the U.C.E. requested a sample of the compound we used.  I couldn't seem to sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time. At two thirteen a.m., I sat up, feeling someone else was in my room, and saw the shadow pass before the clock.


My heart started pounding. My eyes adjusted to the darkness, and I saw a man, wearing what appeared to be a cloak and glasses, standing near the window to my right.


To my left, a woman whispered, "Samuel, we need to talk."


I wanted to cry out, my father might hear in his quarters next door. But not likely. 


She spoke again, "We mean you no harm, but they're coming."  This time I could see her.  She was wearing glasses too, with tinted lenses. 


I snapped on my bedside lamp. They were both strangers - I'd never seen either of them on the Moon before. I assumed the worst. "The U.C.E. sent you, didn't they."


He answered, "No. But like she said, they're coming."


"What do you want from me? Who are you?"


"The truth is often not expected." She smiled. Her eyes, still visible through the lenses she wore, were familiar to me, like I'd known them my whole life, but I couldn't place it. "We're here to help you. Telling you who we are doesn't help right now.  You'll understand, in time."


"Samuel, you have to escape now, you and anyone who helped you with the vaccine."


The story the lab gave the U.C.E. was they accidentally administered all of the vaccine, and they had not been able to replicate a new batch. Time was running out for them to send something back to the labs on Earth - probably Sky Geneva, otherwise Sky Milan - for testing. They won't replicate a new batch, because they didn't make it. My friends at the lab, Tollack, Voorhia and Marcus took a great risk in helping me distribute a juice from a fruit-bearing tree I created. They called it a vaccine, and when everyone one the moon was cured, we destroyed the rest.


I couldn't let the U.C.E. have the real thing, because then they would know about my project, my tree. We were not surprised when they designated me to the Time Travel project, as the U.C.E. considers it my sibling, my parents its parents. But my true love was bio-chemistry, and I couldn't stay away.


The quest for eternal youth from within, long linked to the fuel we put into our bodies, lead me down this path. It was an answer to a question, a problem I wanted to solve from the time I was a boy and read of quests to find the Fountain of Youth. I had no idea what I was creating, and had not thought of the implications - or possibilities - it truly meant for the future.


The UCE had, and they labeled their quest the Sovereign project. They believed if they could defy the aging process, they could rule the universe. Once they'd spread out to conquer it. Which they would do when they could live long enough to travel far enough to do it. Crazy, right? My father would say that's why he went with science, and not politics.


The man snapped me back to the present.  "Their representatives will be here in less than twenty-four hours. You have to execute your plan, and get the tree out of here now."


I was dubious. The fact that I had only just discovered the healing properties of the fruit a week before patient zero booked his flight for the Moon, and brought the Antarctic flu to our virus free colony, was only too convenient. I made my father eat it the minute he showed symptoms of the Antarctic flu, but within minutes of biting into the core, his hair thickened and darkened, and the wrinkles in his face began to smooth. I shrieked out loud, startling him because it was not a manly sound, and all I could do was point to a mirror across the room. 


The age-reversing effects of the fruit were not as apparent in a cat as they are in a human, but I realized what happened the instant it happened. My experiment was a success. I could save the colony. But I had to conceal it from the U.C.E., because otherwise they would take it from me, before I could even study it. I filled a sack with the fruit, and ran called my friend, who worked at the lab. He was sick too, but when he drank some of the juice from just the flesh of the fruit, he felt fully recovered. His fever was gone. We headed to the lab, and called two more of his associates. I couldn't enter, without record of my being there, so I stayed outside.


"I still don't know if it's a good idea." I went on the assumption they already knew my plan. 

"Going back that far, it poses too many risks."


The man handed me an envelope, "Which is why you'll need this."


"What is it?"


"Instructions."


"For?"


The woman sighed, "How to make it all work."


"From who?"


They looked at each other, moments passing that seemed like hours. Hours I apparently no longer had to waste. I could tell they were weighing the outcome of what they told me. She shook her head, he answered. "My instructions were to deliver you the coordinates you need to set the time machine for, and other notes attached. I think you'll know who they're from when you read them."


I opened the envelope, the contents of which consisted of several aged leaves of paper, scratched and scrawled upon in a hand I knew - unmistakably - was my own. 



And, the rest is coming soon to an e-reader (hopefully) in your hands!  

I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

6 Observations on Self-Publishing (So Far)

"What advice can you give new authors?"  I read this interview question on Goodreads and laughed.  Advice?  Am I qualified to give it?  Considering I'm a newly self-published author (I'm not counting the poetry), getting my second novel ready for publication before my first book even reaches XX in sales, I really don't think so.
Photo by Steve Linster from All-free-download.com

Then again, I've read an awful lot in the last dozen years or so since I decided I would be a published author one day.  Some of what I've read is garbage - a lot of it actually.  Here and there, though, I've found bits of wisdom, so I've decided to share some of what I've learned, and how it pertains to me on my self-publishing journey.

If you're thinking about self-publishing (or being a published author in any form), you have to be realistic about your expectations. Otherwise you're just setting yourself up for disappointment, and ultimately failure.  What defines success?  As with most things, it depends on who you ask.  Forbes put out an article in December with some figures that give a real income reality check for indie authors. (Read it here.)

I would be ecstatic, truly, with replacing my previous income.  It was modest, honestly, especially for Southern California.  Will it happen?  I'm not hanging my hopes on it, but I'll keep trying.  That's what I do, chase dreams.  I don't know any other way to live.

Self-publishing isn't as easy as it sounds.  I mean, yes, you need nothing more than a computer, the ability to create a .doc or .pdf file, and an internet connection. KDP will help design a basic cover.  Any idiot can do it.  Well, most of them.  Myself included.  But there's a little more to it than that.

Assuming you've written a complete book, and edited thoroughly, which is a huge undertaking in itself, you now have to format it. I highly recommend reading, and learning, Mark Coker's Nuclear Method on formatting in his Smashwords Style Guide.  When he says "Hug a loved one," I would listen.  It helped, a little.

Then comes proofing, because, yes, even with professional editing, you're likely to find something amiss.  My book still has some minor errors, I think, but I hope they aren't worth noticing at this point.  The most recent release by a formerly self-published author (i.e. it was published through one of the big houses) had three pretty noticeable errors (that I found) in the e-book version I bought.  I'm not the grammar police, and am in serious need of my own editor, but they were there.  It didn't take away from the story, I just thought it was funny that even after she went with the "pros" the mistakes were there.  I'm still looking forward to the next adventure she takes me on.

Books do not sell themselves.  Unless you have money to throw into advertising, it's a grassroots word-of-mouth marketing campaign.  That can take time - I'm talking years - to build up.  The best angle I've found to work - readers want to get to know the writers behind their favorite books, and the internet provides the tools to connect for free.

Social networks only help if you interact with others; you have to build a following.  Don't expect others to "like" your page because you liked theirs, but the more you "like" others, the better chance someone else will come back to "like" you.  Do exercise good etiquette, and try to share another author's post if they share yours.  (I feel like I'm reciting "The Golden Rule.")

Little by little, I see more results from Facebook.  I've still not started with Twitter - I'm scared of getting sucked into it, as I do with everything else - but I keep reading that it can be an indie (or any) author's best friend, so I'm inclined to believe it. (Update 10/20/15: Twitter still scares me, but I've seen more results in the last six months than I did in two years on Facebook. So, if I have to choose one now, I'd probably keep tweeting. )

Write your first draft for you.  Edit for the reader.  I toiled for years over my first two novels - both of which are in need of serious overhaul before I publish them - because I was so concerned with who I was writing for, it dammed the creative flow.  With The Shadow Watcher, it started the same, but last year, when I really set out to do it, I wrote the first draft for me.  It was ugly, but it was something to work with.  That's the only way I was able to finish, and have it published in nine months.  I wrote the first draft of the sequel, A Shadow in Doubt, last November, during NaNoWriMo, but didn't even really start working with it again until mid-April.  If I have it out by October, as planned, that'll be about seven months on that one. (Okay, it actually took a lot longer. Life happens.) 

Not every book is for everyone.  It doesn't mean you quit.  It's a fact we're better off accepting early on.  Not all of us like the same thing - that's the beauty of diversity.  I can't confirm the number of people who've read The Shadow Watcher in it's entirety, only the number of downloads. While I wish everyone in the world would read it, I know it won't appeal to everyone.  Reaching just a thousand readers in a year or two, to me, would be impressive.

More books = more sales.  Simple math, right?  As a reader, I don't like to let go of characters, I like to read series novels.  I'm also more likely to read an author who has written more than one book.  So, I challenge you not to be discouraged if your debut novel isn't flying off the shelves, so to speak.  Focus on the book after the next.  

You don't have to write a series, but having multiple titles available makes you more credible to your potential reader.  Build your brand.  Keep looking ahead.  Plan, be ready for the day your dreams do come true, and they just might.  That's what I'm working on now.

Guess I had something to say after all.... Hopefully, you'll find some of this helpful, or maybe it's just more of the garbage out there - I'd love to read your comments below ;)  Either way, I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sometimes you just have to listen.


This one is for the woman I met in the bookstore yesterday.  A book triggered her grief, and she needed someone to listen.  I'm glad I was there.

To K-
The sadness was plain in your eyes.
I wondered, "What causes the tears she cries?"
Weary wells, windows of your soul,
They poured it all out.
A stranger, I might walk away,
The choice to stay was just as simple.
Could I not lend my ear? 
You didn't expect me to listen,
Much less respond, sharing in kind.
But, I had to.  Someone did.
You needed a tether to the world,
And I let my own fall away,
That afternoon, I needed to hear what you needed to say.
I didn't have the answers you sought to find,
But, I hope it gave you some small comfort,
Knowing I am just as unknowing.


One thing I've learned about grieving, everyone does it their own way, in their own time.  She thanked me as we parted, for taking the time to listen, but I should be thanking her.  It was a reminder of what is important - how we treat those around us.  We share this world together, for the little time we have on it.  Small acts of kindness cost nothing, and are more rewarding than you think.  When others have shown me kindness, I appreciated it more than they probably know.  I do believe things happen for a reason, even if we never understand why in this life.     

K-, this rose is for your mother.  I hope you and I meet again one day.  Even more, I hope your heart finds peace.


I hope you all have a beautiful day!
Roari

Monday, June 30, 2014

Is there a light at the end of this dark cave I've crawled into?



Sometimes I wonder what it would be like without all of these characters in my head, chattering away, nagging me to let them out.  Quieter?  More organized?  More focused?

Starting out, I just scribbled poems and stories for myself.  It was my therapy of choice.  Then, there was the first main character.  I was only concerned with building her world, at first.  And that world kept getting bigger and bigger....

I spent too many years working too many hours at a job that left me too exhausted to focus on writing, so I feel like I'm way behind in the game.  I've read more articles, essays and blog posts about the craft, the business, the art, the culture, the trends, and the futility of a writing career than I can count.  At some point, it all starts to bleed together into one big sign that screams Do Not Enter.  But those are my favorite places to go!

Despite the seeming pointlessness of trying to write books, fictional novels more specifically, I foolishly decided to listen to the characters who wouldn't stop talking.  Now, there are six distinct worlds in which I write.  But the more time I spend in them, the more I feel like I'm burrowing deeper in a cave.  The world continues to revolve around the sun, and I'm here in another one, trying to give it life.

At any given time or place, a large portion of my mind is somewhere else creating scenes, characters, stories, and sometimes I drift over there.  It's not intentional.  I don't mean to be inattentive.  It's just the embers of a story in my brain never completely go out.  The flames may die down, for months and years at a time, but the characters and their worlds are always with me, smoldering.

Do we all seek a light at the end of the tunnel?  I don't know.  For me, finishing a novel, and going through the process of self-publishing isn't enough.  I don't see a light.  I didn't expect The Shadow Watcher to climb any lists, and it hasn't, because no one knows who I am, or that it exists, really.  Not beyond you, reading my blog, those who've seen posts on Facebook, and family and friends who I've shared it with.  But now that I've gone through the process, I know what to expect, and I'll move through it more quickly with the next book, and the one after that.

All I see are more books that need to be written.  I'll worry about the light later....

I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari


Saturday, June 21, 2014

I'd rather be in my own little world....

I've been accused of spending more time in one of my own little worlds than the real one.  It's probably true, but not just of being in the worlds of my own creation, I get lost in those of countless other authors and artists as well.  It's an escape from the ugly reality we see on the news, or may even encounter first-hand, every day.

Photo by Alishba Farooqui at Stockvault.net
I can escape into a piece of art, such as the photo above, as easily as a book.  Now that I think about it, various pieces have been inspiration for several of my stories.  Now this, I just saw today, but it could be the flower fields in the valley of Naharran on Isiterra, though there would have to be five moons in the sky.  Really, it's more of a scene out of The Land of All But Forgotten Things.  See the glow of the fairies, waking up in the flowers?  Places like this are what I've dreamed of seeing for as long as I can remember.  Since I can't draw them, I write about them.

The Shadow Watcher is different from from my earlier novel attempts, the landscape looks like your typical Southern California neighborhood.  (If you've seen Roswell, you've seen Novica.)  It's my first novel set in the "real world," and I was intentionally setting out to write something different.  It resulted in my first published novel as well - who knew?

As much as I'm enjoying the endless possibilities here on Earth, I want to hurry up and be done with A Shadow in Doubt already!  Isiterra is calling to me - that world is truly my own, and I've been away too long....

I hope you're having a beautiful day in your corner of the world - or can at least escape to one you prefer!
Roari








Monday, June 16, 2014

The Weight of Time

The Weight of Time

The weight of Time 

presses against my shoulder,
urging me forward, 
on, and on,
toward what end,
I could never imagine,
I only know Time will not wait.


I started that as a post on a poetry blog last May.  I may or may not finish it.  Maybe it is finished.  I don't think so though...   


I was feeling this pressure of time slipping away, like I was missing out on my kid's childhoods, always saying "maybe next year," knowing there are only precious few of those years before they are grown and living their own lives.  (And that I would never finish writing a book.)  We were fortunate at that time to be in a position where I could leave my job to stay home, so I did.  


There is still the pressure of time.  Getting to school.  Getting homework done.  Filling in the holes the dog digs. Editing the sequel to The Shadow Watcher.  It's a different kind of weight, one I don't mind carrying.  Speaking of editing, I'm going to get back to it now...


Enough rambling for one night.  I hope yours is beautiful!


Roari  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Innocence

"Innocence" - Roari Benjamin

And there it was, glittering in the afternoon sun,
A forgotten jewel of memory
Floating above the schoolyard field,
Where the children - running and laughing -
Unlocked it unwittingly with their unknown magic.
To reach out, to take it in hand, would be too much,
Pain, knowing there is no path by which to return.
To try to make them understand,
Would tarnish their lens to look back in time.
It is better they know not the treasure they hold,
The infinite possibilities that may unfold,
For, in that, is the beauty of it all.


(I was inspired spending the afternoon with my daughter's class for "Water Day."  Oh, the memories it brought back...)


Friday, May 16, 2014

Side Notes Turned Stories

Here I am blogging again, when I should be editing the sequel to The Shadow Watcher - which I keep calling The Shadow Society, but I already know that's not what the title is.  It doesn't work, at least not yet.  I'll worry about that later.

What's really distracting me?  When I started The Shadow Watcher, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.  The idea was to get away from complicated histories and such - I've got enough of that going on in the Isiterra universe.  I needed a break!  What started with two people meeting in an alley, having a strange conversation, evolved into a complex cast of characters with widely varied goals and motivations.

Those two people are still the core of the story, but I found the need to explore some of the other characters more, because their goals and motivations are equally important.  I've already written some short pieces I'm calling "Fore Shadows" - stories from Future Sam's perspective and from Michael's.  I'm saving the first one for after the second book, possibly will include it at the end.  Probably.

Kristoff wasn't supposed to become a main character, but he's becoming one of my favorites.  He was going to die in the attack, but I couldn't let him.  But, there's another book, so no one's safe!  I spent a couple days working out his back-story a month or so ago, which made me like him even more.

And, yesterday, I started on Tollack Pennington's story.  I knew it vaguely, but when I got into the exact reasons behind his resentment of Daniel Marquet, his best friend's son, things got interesting.  I spent too much time goofing around on the internet, but I did nail down some dates and locations that were still floating somewhere in the general fog of back-story.  I also got a much clearer picture of Samuel's life from 1513 on.

Those will be the future installments of "Fore Shadows."  I was going to include them in the sequel to "The Shadow Watcher", but I think they slow down the plot.  They'll make for interesting reading, but won't be central to Sam and Michael's story.

Well, that's what I've been up to, but now it's pool time.  More writing after the sun goes down!

I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Wrong Characters Are In My Head!

All day, while procrastinating with blog and Facebook posts, I've been trying to work on "The Shadow Society" - but I can't get in Sam's head today.  The most progress I've made is deciding The Shadow Society won't be the title.  Those words may be involved, but not in that order.  I don't know....

Instead of editing, I've been thinking about "The Land of All But Forgotten Things,"  I wrote lyrics to an imaginary song in my head, and then there's another character - Kaylie/Tah - who woke up today for some reason.  She's been out for well over a year, and then all of a sudden, here she is babbling away about her past lives, and their relevance to the story.

Charlotte Fairgrey has been bugging me as well.  And then there's Aria, and the whole world there on Isisterra.  It's past time to go back there.

There's a lot on my plate, but the sequel to The Shadow Watcher is what's coming next!

I hope you're having a beautiful day!
Roari

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"The Land of All But Forgotten Things" is not forgotten! And other ramblings....

With Mother's Day approaching, my Kindle book of poetry, "In My Mother's Garden" is available for free today and tomorrow.
It includes the first portion of "The Land of All But Forgotten Things," which is an epic poem, or it will be when it is finished.

To be honest, when I started writing TLOABFT, I was bored.  The first four lines wandered into my head, and were hanging out there for a day or two, and then, one night, after the kids were tucked in, I decided to write start writing an epic poem in rhyming couplets.  For fun.  (Go ahead, call me crazy - I take it as a compliment.)  How the unicorn happened, I don't know.  Maybe we were watching The Last Unicorn? I don't remember, it was a long time ago.

The problem is, I keep getting stuck.  But today, I was thinking about it again, and I think I've been going about it all wrong.  I'm trying to write each couplet consecutively, or is it chronologically?  I need to focus less on the line by line, and just write lines, then put the pieces of the puzzle back together.  That's how most of my poems come to me, in pieces I fit together, so why should this one be any different?  I feel like a weight has been lifted!

So there's a big note now taped on my desk.  EIGHT LINES A DAY.  That's not much at all.  EIGHT LINES A DAY.  Doesn't matter where they go in the story, so long as they rhyme.  They can even be four couplets in four different sections.  EIGHT LINES A DAY.  If I can hold to that Monday through Friday, forty lines a week, well that would be more progress in one week than I've had in two years on this one.  I will let you know how it goes!

As far as what it will be when it is finished ... I love the idea of having it illustrated as a children's book, but that is beyond my personal capabilities.  Then, last year at the kid's book fair, I found "Inside Out and Back Again" by Thanhha Lai.  Totally different subject matter, but it is told all in poetry.  It is a beautiful telling of a sometimes painful and difficult journey, but at the same time a celebration of life.  You should read it.

It also inspired me into thinking a chapter format is more suitable for TLOABFT.  If that's the case, I suppose the excerpt from "In My Mother's Garden" is chapter one, the fairies would be chapter two, the centaurs chapter three, and so on.  Each of the "All But Forgotten Things" represented by its own chapter.  I still don't know if I can finish this year, even at eight lines a day.

I have a bad habit of doing that in my writing, starting things I don't know if I'll ever be able to finish.  (Yes, in other areas of life too!)  That's why I had to move on from Isiterra for awhile, because I'd lived there (in my head) for so long, I was starting to speak in Siyen and Malorian tongues to actual people.  But I think once The Shadow Society is finished, that vacation will be over.  I've been waiting too long to share my Aria's story, part of which is over at Writing.com.  Actually, I think the whole book is still there, but it needs to be rewritten, and I was planning to add three new chapters in the beginning - I think I only finished one of those. If you check it out, don't get hung up on titles, I still haven't decided on that, but I will definitely be working on that again this year.

Oh, wandering through my trove of ideas that need to be written is an adventure.  I could spend days here, but I need to get back to The Shadow Society (sneak peeks at WDC too!).  I hope you're having a beautiful day!

Roari

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another GoT OMG Moment (Spoilers!)

I know, I'm two days late, but The Purple Wedding is post-worthy regardless.  If you haven't watched Game of Thrones this week, then stop reading this entry, because I'm spoiling it all, and I don't care!

Whilst I watched waiting for more of Daenreys or Aria, we did not hear from them this week.  Aria's triumph last week will hold me for another perhaps, however, there can never be enough of the Mother of Dragons, as far as I'm concerned.

This week came perhaps my favorite moment in the Game so far.  No sooner had I said to the love of my life, "Will somebody please kill Joffrey already?" And they did!  Though I muttered "And please let Tyrion be the one to do it," - for he deserves the satisfaction - I didn't want him to be framed!  (I was pissed about the way he sent Shae away, but I get it, he's trying to save her life.  The woman didn't listen to reason before!)

I kid you not, it happened just like that.  I think I asked right before King Joffrey "cut" the cake, and I think it was no more than two minutes later, he started "choking."  It will probably go down as one of my favorite moments in TV history.

I believe I know who it was.  I know, I can read ahead, but as I've said before, I don't want to spoil the show!  On the second watching, I decided they did a good job of setting up the whodunnit, but if you watch the cup ... I think there is only one conclusion that can be drawn.  Who was it that first cried for the "fools" to aid their king? And his bride didn't look all that surprised to me...

Joy of victory aside, I will be sorry to see Jack Gleeson go - it was a beautiful death, Jack, well played.   (In all seriousness) he did such a good job of making me hate him, and because I can't (or don't want to) believe anyone could be so despicable in real life, I'll admit, I'll be looking forward to his next project.

But, it was appropriate.  He needed to go.  The little prick had it coming.  And it was so well timed, what with the new queen Marjorie becoming, if not already, so well loved by the people of King's Landing.  Who would oppose her ascension to the throne?

Cersei.  She is smarter than this - she must be, or I may lose faith in the show.  Or Jaime - Tyrion just went out of his way to help him.  One of them has to come through, because if Tyrion goes next, well.... Can't help it, and I won't know until I read the books if it is all the writing, or Peter Dinklage, he's fantastic, but Tyrion may be my favorite character.  He definitely has some of the best lines.

One thing Game of Thrones has proven to me so far, perils at nuptials in Westeros are plentiful it seems, not even the groom is safe!  Definitely not on my list of venues.  

Roari

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Shadow Watcher ~ Available on Kindle! (With a new cover...)

Happy April Fool's Day! (No pranks here, I promise!)

Just wanted to update the blog with the new cover for THE SHADOW WATCHER -

It's true, sometimes I jump the gun.  I hated the cover, but I published it anyway.  I've fixed it - for now, at least!

I hope you have a beautiful day!

Roari

Friday, March 7, 2014

An Announcement...



Now on Kindle



I know, I've been too quiet. I've been busy. The Shadow Watcher is now on Kindle!

Now, I'm going to take a nap. Then, I'll work on the print version, and other e-book formats. Tonight, I celebrate by watching Catching Fire, which I'm sad to say I missed in the theater. I re-read the book though!

I hope you're having a beautiful day.  If you're looking for something to read this weekend, The Shadow Watcher is waiting for you...

Roari