Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's New...

My Facebook page is up and running--search "H. A. Titus, Author" and like for updates on writing and publishing!

I've started a new blog, Tales of Courtship, for courting couples and families who are considering courtship. It will contain stories of others who have courted and married, and words of wisdom from young adults/parents who have committed to courtship being a part of their lives.

"Courtship" means different things to different people, so for the blog, I've defined it simply as "not dating". This isn't a place for debate, rather for encouragement. If you know of a couple who are married as a result of a courtship, then feel free to tell them about the blog and encourage them to contact me about publishing their story/words of wisdom. I have contact information and submission guidelines on the blog's sidebar.

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Adventures and Writing

I wish that my body would just pick a few days to be stuffed up and miserable instead of this on-again, off-again annoyance. Allergies...grrrr.

On the brighter side, Justin and I took a fall tour yesterday. Everything up here is beautiful! We spent 12 hours yesterday taking pictures and seeing how pretty the Keeweenaw Peninsula and the Porcupine Mountains are! I really want to go back to the Porkies for a couple of days to hike and camp. We stopped in Copper Harbor for supper at the Harbor Haus restaurant. It's expensive, but if you're ever in Copper Harbor, I totally recommend it! (And when you order your side salad, the sun-dried tomato basil dressing is the best!). I had shrimp and scallop penne pasta with basil pesto--yummy!

For writing, I have some big news: I'm going to be published!! Finally, I can say, "I'm an author" without feeling guilty. The article will be coming out in November--I'll post a link.

Nightsword has been on hold since the beginning of this month. But, the short story that I'm submitting for Port Yonder Press's Elves anthology is in the hands of my first readers/editors. We'll see how much they maul it. ;0)

Also, Half Blood is coming along very well--I'm almost finished with chapter 3 for the rewrite. One or two more chapters to go, then I can start my substantive edit. I'm really pleased with how Jevran's character is rounding out, and I have deepened the mystery surrounding why Varian never learned about the Highlands.

And for those of you who are on Facebook--good news! I'm in the process of creating a Facebook like page. Yes, even though a couple of years ago I said I wasn't going to. There are pros and cons, of course, but with well-regulated posting times (just as I've regulated the blog posting times), I think it may turn out to be a good thing. I'll let everyone know when the page is up and running.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Benefits of Weekly Goals

I used to be totally against goal setting of any kind. I thought they'd rope me into not being as creative.

A year or so ago, I tried giving myself a daily word count goal. Yuck! Talk about tons of stress. Every day was stressful as I tried to meet my goal--especially on days that I didn't feel very well or super motivated.

Then this June, I thought I'd try goal-setting again. This time, I set weekly goals of things to be done. My weekly goals this week are: 1) Post blog. 2) Edit short story for Port Yonder Press. 3) Send out short story. 4) Finish new chapters of Halfblood.

I like this system a lot better because it gives me a little more flexibility. I can take it easier on days when I don't have as much time, and on days when I'm really motivated, I might finish all my goals for the week all at once. Today won't be one of those days ;0). I've found that it really helps me to remember what I need to do, and when. Plus, it motivates me to beat the clock.

I do have a list of yearly goals in the back of the notebook too, where I don't look as often because that way it doesn't make me stress as much.

Of course, I also find it easier with this system to not overload myself with goals. I pick three or four, or even five if the tasks aren't much, of the most urgent or short term goals. I write them down at the beginning of the week. Also, I can adapt this system to Justin's work week. If he's working only 5 days that week, I plan for that. If he's working 8 days in a row, I plan for that. Then when he's off work, I might get a little bit done, but I don't plan for it.

How do you motivate yourself? Do you use weekly/yearly goals, word count goals, or do whatever you want?

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Lies Behind the Wall of White?

I sit at the table, cupping my hands around a steaming cup of chai tea. The window is beaded with the tapping raindrops. The wind is blowing fall leaves across the wet parking lot, and rustling the branches of the trees. A gust howls between two buildings.

I can barely see Sugarloaf Mountain in the drizzly fog. As I squint, the siren--used for calling out volunteer firemen--wails eerily over the valley that is Marquette.

Past Sugarloaf, past the dark pine forest and the turning maples, I can just make out the shoreline of Lake Superior. The lake is the same color as the sky, storm gray. The difference between the color of the lake and the fog is so slight. If I couldn't see the vague choppiness of whitecaps, there would be no difference at all.

Not far from shore, the lake disappears behind a white wall of fog. My imagination takes over.

I see a ship, sailed swelled with the wind, as it ventures deeper and deeper into the fog. When the mist surrounds it, what will the crew find? Is there a land that lies undiscovered? An enemy ship with cannons a the ready? A great sea monster?

Does the fog embrace them, protect them? Or does it chill their hearts with dread? Are they warm and content, willing to let the breeze carry them where it will? Or does the crew grip their weapons in fear, sweat prickling down their necks, eyes straining into the chill blank whiteness?

No one will know--unless I put pen to paper and write their story.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got a Story To Tell?

Port Yonder Press will accept submissions for fantasy novels 80-100K starting in October. Also, they are compiling an Elves anthology, also open for submissions in October. They're a Christian royalty POD (print on demand) company like Marcher Lord Press. Click here for their home page.

Give 'em some brilliant submissions!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Reads Favorite 2010: Raven's Ladder

The book of the year pick is Raven's Ladder, by Jeffry Overstreet.

Back Cover:
A deadly menace is breaking through the ground. The people of Abascar must abandon their stone refuge and flee into the forest. But their king has seen a vision...
Following the beacon of Auralia's Colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream-creature, King Cal-raven has discovered a destination for his weary crowd of refuegees. It's a city only imagined in legendary tales. And it give him hope to establish New Abascar.
But when Cal-raven is waylaid by fortune hunters, his people become vulnerable yo a danger more powerful than the prowling beastmen--House Bel Amica. In this oceanside kingdom of wealth, enchantment, and beauty, deceitful Seers are all too eager to ensnare House Abascar's wandering throng.
Even worse, the Bel Amicans have discovered Auralia's Colors and are twisting a language of faith into a lie of corruption and control.
If there is any hope for the people of Abascar, it lies in the courage of Cyndere, daughter of Bel Amica's queen; the strength of Jordam the beastman; and the fiery gifts of the ale boy. who is devising a rescue for prisoners of the savage Cent Regus beastmen.
As his faith suffers one devastating blow after another, Cal-raven's journey is a perilous climb from despair to a faint gleam of hope--the vision he sees in Auralia's colors.

My thoughts:
There are trhee things I absolutely love in this book.
The first is Cal-raven's story. Cal-raven is full of hope and joy, then he plummets into doubt and struggles with his faith. That resonated with me deeply. I felt sick to my stomach when he doubted. I wanted to say, "Cal-raven! There's so much that has been done for you--how can you loose faith now? Keep going!" It just highlights just how richly rounded Overstreet's characters are.
My second favorite was Krawg's story. I read online that some reviewers said they found it boring or jarring and just skipped over it. What? The Six Tricksters was not only a great showcase of Krawg's character and storytelling talent, but a lovely story within itself.
The third thing was the true beauty/inner beauty versus false beauty plot thread. It was satisfying to read, especially given our culture's obsession with the airbrush.
This book is my favorite of the series. I can't wait for The Ale Boy's Feast!


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