Monday, August 3, 2015

Editing- The Level that Dante Forgot.

Last month for the Year of Living Authentically as a writer, I typed about what the process of writing was like for us hermitting types. Well, once you finish that first draft, the one that has helped you see the world and yourself a bit clearer, then you have to make it fit for human consumption.

Editing is hell and where I always realize that I am a pretty decent story teller. It is where I curse all my English teachers for not cementing all the comma rules in my brain, and where I want to hug all of them for nurturing the little creative I was as a kid.

My editing is usually a four-tiered process (I have a process now- the first time was just chaos and it shows). Once I have a draft, I walk through at least two rounds of revision. Revision is sort of when the draft is in flux, text is still moveable and malleable. The first round is focused on story structure, making sure I have strong subplots, and all my characters are where they need to be, physically and emotionally. The second round of revision, I look at adding emotions, reactions, and sensory tidbits to fill up the world. I make sure what I have in there still makes sense. I usually do my wordsmithing on these first two read throughs and this draft goes to my beta readers.

Revisions is fun. Its fluid and finding parts that were awesome, mining out themes and subplots that were unconsciously in there already and pulling them to the surface. It is like the photoshopped pic to the left. It is still the same story, but so much clearer and with more punch.

But then comes the un-fun part. The real work. The little edits that I have the hardest time seeing. It has nothing to do with the story, but more to do with the ease of the read. Capitalization of proper nouns that I didn't even know were proper nouns. Making sure that I'm using the correct work, versus the word that I grew up using. Getting all those commas in the right place because I swear they move around on their own. And the three times over spellcheck. I love me some F7.

By this point in the process, I'm starting to think no one is going to read this and I should just stop now and take up underwater basket weaving, because all the zeal I had from revisions is gone and I'm finding so many little instances of fat-fingering, that I'm convinced I should not be allowed near a computer.

When I get comments back from my beta readers, then I take one last very slow look through the manuscript. Checking the beta's comments for emotional punches as well as reading for ease. Making sure everything is smooth and polished and easy to read. I get a little more confidence off this read. The final product, or at least the most final product that I can be comfortable with other people reading.

And then I send it off where someone else will go through the entire process again with a hatchet. It is the fun part about sending your little brain children off into the world.

Hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into my world right now as I'm just about to send my passion project off, so I'm living in Dante's little unsung level of hell known as edits and then submission!

Until next time, LIVE AUTHENTICALLY!


Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther
(and hopefully something else soon!)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Super Supernatural Underground Feature: The US Cover For Daughter of Blood, The Wall Of Night Book Three

Early in July I featured the UK cover for Daughter Of Blood, The Wall Of Night Book Three.

Today I'm delighted to be able to share the brand-new US cover from Harper Voyager a Supernatural Underground super feature!

What better way to start August, I reckon. :)

This cover heralds the re-release of The Wall of Night series in the US, so there'll be matching covers for The Heir of Night & The Gathering of the Lost as well. Watch this space for their reveal very soon!

Also, when the UK cover was revealed, a reader asked a question about whether the ebook would be released concurrently with the mass market paperback in the US. I have checked with Harper Voyager and the answer is a resounding yes, it definitely will be.

To find out more, check out their site for:

 Daughter Of Blood

And otherwise, roll on January 2016, I say!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Saving the Day

Super Girl Returns by Jungwon Park
Hi Everyone,

Happy New Moon!

If you want to check your scopes for this month, jump on Facy and find your sign. (I've been a bit under the weather this week so popping them there was my easy option.)

For my writerly friends, from published authors to emerging newbies, I 'm posting a couple of quick tuts.

The theme is saving the day, in two very distinct ways.

Number one is literally about saving your work in a way that not only insures against lost files, it give you the freedom to edit at will.

I learned this technique from a film animator and I swear by it now!

Save the Day - Part 1 


Number two delves into plot and character, what it takes to write narrative with stakes.

Whether your hero saves the day or fails, there is one thing your writing must have - stakes! This short tutorial talks about what stakes are, where they come from and how they fit into the storytelling.

Quick references to great resources including Donald Maass, Joseph Campbell and Blake Snyder. Clear and concise, what it takes to raise your stakes.

Save the Day - Part 2 


I'd love to know how many of you 1) save your work in this way and 2) have favorite books or films where the stake drag you to the edge of your seat.

Feel free to share in the comments.

Happy New Moon, everyone!


Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month.

Her latest release is "Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild

Monday, July 13, 2015

w00t! The UK Cover For Daughter Of Blood,The Wall Of Night Book Three Is Revealed!

And here it is for all you lovely folk, right here on the Supernatural Underground! You can also check out the Big Reveal on the Orbit blog.

And there's extra synopsis goodness below the image. :)

Meanwhile, here's that cover -- ENJOY!

A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness...

Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.

Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.

While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Alone is not Lonely

Year of Living Authentically: A writer is never alone.

I was a kid who spent a lot of time alone, but looking back, there are very few times I felt lonely. Even as early as third grade, I would choose to be writing or reading, rather than socializing and that's probably why I don't have the suave social skill of my little brother who loved to be in the crowd. I had the people in my books and the people in my head and a family who took me to the library every week. 

As I grew up and life got decidedly less fun, I would retreat into the world in my books and the people in my head. While others were boozing away their Thursday nights in collage, I was curled up with a spiral notebook creating the world that would become Diaries of an Urban Panther. I have characters in my head who have been with me longer than some friends.

I teach as part of a writing program and we are always talking about building your writing tribe and finding others who speak your language. I talk about the synergy of writing with a group of people and the relief that comes when someone else gets a 'Call to Adventure' joke. How finding others who share your passion for writing is one of the best things a writer can do.

But fundamentally, writing is an alone process. It is you and your story and maybe a cup of coffee. Writing isn't lonely. You have characters who are making you as you are making them, but the process is not a communal one. You have experiences that you crafting for others to live, but you can not share in the creation because it is creating you as you go. The writer you on page one  is not the same writer you as the one who finishes the manuscript. You have been changed. You know more about yourself than you did on page one and that change is just as important as the one on the hero went through.

Writing is an intrinsic force that almost demands you shut yourself away from the outside world to focus on the internal one. Writers are stereotyped as hermits, because hermitting is a natural reaction to the need to form a cocoon around yourself so change can happen.  I haven't met a writer yet that doesn't fantasize about cabins in the woods or cabanas on the beach where they can just "be" with their stories.  

I advocate both. Find quite time. Find a ritual that takes you to that internal world and spend lots of time there. Get your story on the page before you share it. But then, find flesh-and-blood humans you can talk to this stuff about, who you can share this process with, who understand the desire to hide under a blanket because change is hard: writing is hard. Find those who understand that a first draft is a new creation, fragile and still hardening its wings, and will respect it as they do their own. 

So when you see that girl in the coffee shop with her over-the-ear headphones typing away at something, instead of making a big show of 'why does she even come here if she's just going to take up a table on a Saturday afternoon,' give her a knowing smile, so she doesn't feel lonely, but let her be alone. She's already got a table full of friends, and maybe an enemy, and there is magic happening right before your eyes. 

Until next time, YOLA!

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's Copyedit Time...

The Wall Of Night, Book One
... which means I shall be totally 'head down, tail up' gal until this round on Daughter Of Blood, the third novel in The Wall Of Night series is a wrap.

Exciting times, though — because after the copyedit there will only be the "first pass proof" and then my part in Daughter Of Blood will be pretty much done.

After that, it's all up to the publishers (Voyager in the US, Orbit in the UK) to get Daughter out into the world and into readers' hands...

The Wall Of Night Book Two
What this means, of course, is that I will then be able to concentrate fully on The Chaos Gate (working title), which is the fourth and final book that wraps up The Wall Of Night series.

Exciting times!

I got a hint of even more excitement to come today — apparently both my USA and UK covers for Daughter Of Blood are about to be revealed Very Soon.

I'll be sure to let you know right here on the Supernatural Underground when that happens!


Supernatural Underground regular, Helen Lowe, is a novelist, poet and interviewer whose work has been published, broadcast and anthologized internationally. Her first novel, Thornspell, was published to critical praise in 2008, and her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. 

Helen posts regularly on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, occasionally on SF Signal, and is also active on Twitter: @helenl0we

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Things to Do on a Gemini New Moon

Ex Libris by Michael Parkes
The New Moon is in Gemini this month, a time to light up the mind, communicate, learn and circulate ideas! One of the best ways to do this, of course, is read, read read! And write!

Gemini is a symbol central to connecting via the written or spoken word —in Gemini we ask, "What is this like? What does this mean? Where can I learn more?"

The answers will be different for all of us, but honoring our thoughts, curiosity and ideas is a way to begin.

The energy of each new moon carries us up until the full. Gemini New Moon begins:

NEW MOON in GEMINI June 16/17th

LA – Tuesday – 7:06 am
NY – Tuesday – 10:06 am
LON – Tuesday – 3:06 pm
SYD – Wednesday – 00:06

Things to do on the Gemini New Moon




Start a blog

Join Goodreads 

Start a book club

Read a new genre

Write a letter to a friend

Start a Pray Rain Journal

Write an email to a friend 

Play with manifesting magic

Research, study, contemplate

Contact a sibling and clear the air

Have a dinner party and play word games

Multitask, communicate, enjoy the complexity of you mind

More Tips for the New Moon: 

Set an intention (state what you want aloud or write it down) on the new moon. Your desires have more power than at any other time. Sign by sign suggestions here.

Gemini Reminds us that Thoughts are Things – Tune in to what you are thinking! 

Have a wonderful New Moon, everyone!

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month.

Her latest release is "Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild