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Beating that Scary Blank Page–A Writer’s Nightmare

If you’re a writer, at some point you’ve probably encountered it. The scary blank page. What makes it scary is that you have absolutely no idea how to fill it…and all the other blank pages that come after. Bits and pieces of ideas are swirling around in your head, and you’ve got disjointed notes scattered across different files on your computer. Your desk is full of barely legible scraps of paper you scribbled on in haste (gotta get that flash of an idea on paper before it dissipates), and notebooks you dragged with you on trips, or maybe to the park. Somehow it all has to come together into a cohesive story. But where to begin?

I’ve been staring at that blank page for a few months now. Mostly because my overly-busy life hasn’t afforded me the time to center myself and organize my thoughts. I thought maybe if I just tried not to stress out about it, the ideas would start coming together on their own. You know, like when you forget someone’s name and the only way to remember it is to think of something else for a while?

But you probably don’t have to be a writer to realize that plan was destined to fail. After all, I’m not trying to remember something forgotten, I’m trying to create something totally new. Its threads must tie neatly into everything that came before, as well as everything that is yet to come after. The further I get into my series, the more complex that job becomes. Sometimes it gets pretty intimidating and I wonder if I’m up to the challenge I’ve set before myself.

So the blank page continues to stare at me, and the longer it looms, the scarier it seems. And that has been bothering me. A lot! So now I’m pushing myself to get past the anxiety and really focus on the task at hand. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. But first I must stop thinking like a writer, and get into the minds of my readers. What are they expecting to happen next? Which of those expectations must be fulfilled, and which do I hold back until further on in the series? What surprising twists and turns will make the story fresh and exciting, rather than predictable? What will move and intrigue my readers to keep coming back for the next book, and the next after that?

It is in answering those questions that I can more easily get back to the job of being a writer; balancing expectation with inspiration, and weaving together what seems to be nothing but a random tangle of loose threads into a vibrant, tightly woven fabric. I’m already starting to see the patterns and colors as they come together in the back of my mind. Scenes are taking shape, characters are whispering their thoughts to me as I sleep, and the mood of the book is building in my chest.

That blank page doesn’t have any words on it yet, but all the signs are telling me the time is just about right to begin. Once again, I’ll do my best to fill it, and hundreds more, with words that will take my readers on new adventures, full of heart, wonder, and suspense. In the end, if I do my job well, my readers will inspire me to face another new set of blank pages. But that’s for another year—one challenge at a time.


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Join my Faith-Filled, Fantastical Journey!

newsletter-banner-bookI’m very excited to announce that I have started a brand new newsletter.

For those of you already getting the Weekly Fantasy Fix, no worries–I’ll still be contributing to that as usual. But some of my fans have requested a more personal, in-depth look into my world views, inspirations, and writing. And since I’m doing my own marketing, I’ll also be using it to help broaden my reach to find new readers.

My personal author newsletter is going to include things like behind-the-scenes glimpses into my world building, character spotlights, how my faith ties into my fiction, and much more. It’s going to be more interactive as well, so I can get to know my readers better. I think you’ll really like it, and I’m already enjoying putting it together!

If you don’t have a copy of Ancient Voices: Into the Depths yet, you can get it free when you subscribe. Ready to sign up? Here’s the link:
http://www.subscribepage.com/AllisonDReid

 

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Can Meek Heroes Thwart Unstoppable Villains?

For the Christmas newsletter, I started a story; one that would give a little Christmas gift not only to my readers, but to some of my characters as well. Let’s face it, I’ve put Einar, the Circle, and their families through an awful lot since the start of my series. But let it not be said that I am a heartless writer. I challenge my characters, and test them, even refine them through hardships, just as all of us are challenged, tested, and refined by real life. But I also allow them to feel joy, love, and yes, even moments of great triumph. The villains don’t always win, and great wrongs can be righted in surprising ways. Sometimes the most powerful, seemingly unstoppable villains, are thwarted not by the strongest and most powerful of heroes, but by the meek, who glide past unnoticed because they aren’t considered important enough to watch. That’s real life, too.

I thought I could finish this fun story in two parts, but it has gained some momentum in the writing process and will take more than that. Who knows, I might even expand it in the future, filling in more detail, and adding more twists to the plot. That’s part of the fun of writing, at least for me. There are always deeper furrows to plow, and from the seeds planted within them, amazing things grow. They just need the genuine warmth of heart, and a fertile imagination, watered with an unquenchable desire to keep creating, day after day, season upon season.

Hope you enjoy “Letters for the Circle,” Part 2. If you missed Part 1, no worries. You can still read from the beginning by following either link.

Keran tucked his head down deep inside his hood and tried to keep his mare walking at a leisurely pace. His heart thumped so loudly he was certain everyone he passed could hear it, including the Port’s Keep night watch. With the Winter Festival just beginning, they were more attentive than usual to the comings and goings of those out after nightfall.

Keran’s mare sensed his anxiety and kept trying to rush forward to outrun it. It took all his strength to keep her reined in. “You’re going to get us noticed,” he hissed, irritated more by his immediate risk than by her behavior. He knew she was only responding to his mood; if he could calm himself, she would settle. Keran took a few deep breaths and tried to focus on nothing but the road directly in front of him. The city gate loomed just ahead—if he was going to get caught, it would be there, by an overly inquisitive guard wondering why a boy would be leaving the protection of the city alone in the dark of night. He sat up straight in the saddle, trying to make the most of his height. He had grown rather tall in the past year. Perhaps they would think he was older, if he kept his head covered and face hidden. It was the only hope he had. (Click to continue…)

 


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Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try!

Did you make yourself some outlandish promises a few days ago about how many books you were going to read or how many words you were going to write in 2017? How are you coming along in meeting those goals.

I honestly have done less than adequate due to being struck by sickness in the first week of the New Year. But, I promise you, I will not be stopped! I have completed a huge portion of Maharia, and I plan to have the rough draft completed by the end of the month. In the meantime, I am working with some very talented authors in prepping their releases from Crimson Edge Press.

For starters, Lyndsey Harper will be releasing her dark fantasy novel, The Fell, on January 18, 2017. The eBook is available for pre-order RIGHT NOW. Make sure you have your calendars marked to join the Facebook Release Party. Take a gander at the blurb!

After the brutal death of his mentor, Leer Boxwell’s only desire is vengeance. However, his belief that the murderer is the mythical Grimbarror has made him the laughing stock of the Vale. When Leer witnesses the beast steal away the princess in an unexpected attack on the royal city, he volunteers to hunt the creature. Battling self-doubt and ridicule, while struggling to control a mysterious power within that he does not fully understand, Leer must decide whether his convictions are worth the sacrifice the Fell demands.

Crimson Edge will also be introducing releases from Matthew W. Harrill and J.C. Boyd in coming weeks. But, I want to share you with another bit of important news. If you have not heard, we have opened submissions for our next annual anthology, The Fae & Fey. You can click on the image for the details! We look forward to reading your submissions.


Joshua Robertson, CEO
Crimson Edge Press, LLC

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Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

The new year is always such an exciting time for me. I love the possibility of a fresh start (actually I’m sort of addicted to fresh starts…long story) and that’s what New Year represents to me. It’s a chance to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished in the last year and start making plans for the new one.

Every year I tend to feel as though I haven’t done much, but as soon as I start going through everything, I always realize I’ve done a lot more than I imagined.

So, let’s reflect. What have I done in 2016 (because I know it wasn’t as much as I was hoping due to being sick for so long)? I finished Part 3 of my Shadow Stalker serial and started Part 4. I’ve begun the process of re-editing Part 1. I’ve started the foundational work on two new novel series, one of which will be written under a pen name. I also started a short story I was going to submit for entry in Crimson Edge’s anthology, but I didn’t finish it in time. Now, I’m reconsidering that story idea for another series. I also finished the edits on my Makari’s Mission novella that’s being published in a charity anthology being released this coming April.

I’ve definitely accomplished a lot more than I thought. 😀

This coming year I will finish Part 4 of my Shadow Stalker serial. I also plan to write at least the first two novels in my A God’s Deception series and the first in my other series. And towards the end of the year, I’ll begin work on my new serial. I don’t have a name for that one, but it’s going to be about the origin of the shadow stalkers, so it will be pretty awesome! Oh, and I’m going to…yes, absolutely going to finish a short story for this year’s anthology that Crimson Edge will be putting out in 2018.

So are you taking advantage of this opportunity for a new start? What do you plan to accomplish in 2017? I’d love for you to contact me and tell me all about it!

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I still want to know…

…what you think I should keep, or change, in my editions of the newsletter for the new year. My goal is to include content that is interesting and useful to you, my loyal readers! Thanks to those who have already answered the short poll–if you haven’t, it isn’t too late. I still want to hear from you. There are only 4 questions, so it won’t take long, I promise!

Did you miss the special Christmas newsletter?

With the holidays, I know many of us were incredibly busy with family, and spent long stretches of time “unplugged.” Christmas is over, but you can still enjoy Saturday’s edition. In it I released part one of a brand new short story related to my series. I’ll be releasing part 2 in an upcoming newsletter. Hope you enjoy it!

 


 

“Letters for the Circle”
by Allison D. Reid

“Get up, now!” Keran woke to find Torren from Tyroc’s castle guard standing over him. A dim glow of flickering torch light spilled in from the open door of his chamber. Despite the fact that Torren’s thick, curly beard masked much of his face, it couldn’t hide the intensity behind his eyes. Something was horribly wrong. His voice carried an urgency that dared not be disobeyed.

“What is going on?” Keran’s voice still croaked with sleep. Surely it was still the middle of the night.

“Treachery,” Torren responded gruffly as though there was nothing more to be said.

“Where are Mother and Father?”

“Just move, and quickly, if you value your life. I told your father I would get you away from here.” He stopped for a moment and took Keran by the shoulders. “I may have to threaten you with my blade if we’re caught, boy. Show your fear on the outside, but know that I would never really hurt you. Do you understand?” Keran nodded with confused alarm. There was nothing about this that he understood.

Torren drug him out of the room and down the corridor at a near run. It echoed with the barks of orders being given, angry shouts, and the clash of steel against steel. They were soon joined by other men being marched forward; some peacefully, others at sword or spear point. Torren gripped Keran roughly by the back of the neck and held his blade at the ready, as though he expected Keran to fight him. And now Keran was beginning to grasp what was happening. But it couldn’t be true—how could it be true? The men of the Circle were being rounded up like prisoners; dragged from their beds, their stations, separated from their families and forced out into the night—to where, and to what end?

Click to read the entire story…


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Merry Christmas!

Welcome to this special holiday edition of the Fantasy Fix Newsletter!

Last week I promised you a rare treat that you wouldn’t want to miss. Renee and I have both written something special just for you, our loyal readers. While you’re spending time relaxing with family and friends this weekend, we hope you’ll be able to take a few minutes to enjoy this bit of fantasy fun.

 


“The Deadline Before Christmas”
By Renee Scattergood

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when on my laptop
Was an unfinished story, no better than slop;

I let out a groan, threw my hands in the air,
Then stood, and I muttered as I paced ‘round my chair;

The deadline was looming, oh that I did dread,
But worse, was the fact that I had been misled;

A call interrupted, I was needed asap;
I went only to find that it had been a trap;

My friends said, “It’s Christmas, so come celebrate;”
Didn’t they see I was already late?

I tried to escape, but was met with backlash,
So, I finally gave in, and I joined in the bash.

Next thing I knew, the bell had chimed midnight;
I had less than eight hours to sit down and write;

Click to Continue…


“Letters for the Circle”
by Allison D. Reid

“Get up, now!” Keran woke to find Torren from Tyroc’s castle guard standing over him. A dim glow of flickering torch light spilled in from the open door of his chamber. Despite the fact that Torren’s thick, curly beard masked much of his face, it couldn’t hide the intensity behind his eyes. Something was horribly wrong. His voice carried an urgency that dared not be disobeyed.

“What is going on?” Keran’s voice still croaked with sleep. Surely it was still the middle of the night.

“Treachery,” Torren responded gruffly as though there was nothing more to be said.

“Where are Mother and Father?”

“Just move, and quickly, if you value your life. I told your father I would get you away from here.” He stopped for a moment and took Keran by the shoulders. “I may have to threaten you with my blade if we’re caught, boy. Show your fear on the outside, but know that I would never really hurt you. Do you understand?” Keran nodded with confused alarm. There was nothing about this that he understood.

Torren drug him out of the room and down the corridor at a near run. It echoed with the barks of orders being given, angry shouts, and the clash of steel against steel. They were soon joined by other men being marched forward; some peacefully, others at sword or spear point. Torren gripped Keran roughly by the back of the neck and held his blade at the ready, as though he expected Keran to fight him. And now Keran was beginning to grasp what was happening. But it couldn’t be true—how could it be true? The men of the Circle were being rounded up like prisoners; dragged from their beds, their stations, separated from their families and forced out into the night—to where, and to what end?

Click to Continue


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