Fantasy Month Photo Challenge on Instagram

Fantasy author Jenelle Schmidt is celebrating February is Fantasy Month and has posted the Fantasy Photo Challenge taking place on Instagram. If you don’t use Instagram, you can post to Twitter or Facebook, or all of them.

Schmidt has fantastical stuff planned for the month, so check it out.

Free eBook (February 1st, 2nd and 3rd): Destiny Governed their Destiny

February is Fantasy Month

Destiny Governed their Lives short story fantasyTomorrow, February 1st, is the beginning of the 5th Annual February is Fantasy Month. I first heard about this special month three years ago. At that time, I thought of participating, but I think we were two weeks into the month, so I made a post and left it at that.

Last year, I was too busy to take on more work and to be honest, I had forgotten about it until someone announced it. I could have thrown together something, but I chose not to.

This year, I’ve been thinking about fantasy month throughout January, so I think I’m ready to tackle it. I’ll make posts here, but most of my posts and promotions will be on my Diane Lynn McGyver blog and on Twitter. With most of my books enrolled in Kindle Select, I’m able to have free eBook days. This will be the only month of the year (possibly ever) that the full-length novels of the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series will be offered for free.

To start, the first short story that introduced the Land of Ath-o’Lea, Destiny Governed their Lives, will be free to download  from February 1st to the 3rd. It’s available at:

This short story provides the back story for Catriona Wheatcroft, who, unbeknownst to her, will play a pivotal role in the over-all plot of the series.

If you are a fantasy author, are you marking February as Fantasy month? If so, drop me a link in the comments, and I’ll share it.

Editing the Crutch Word Could

Healing Stones coverDecember has been unexpectedly busy outside my writing life, so I’ve not completed all I planned this month. That includes releasing Healing Stones, book 4 in the Castle Keepers series. The final edits are taking place. It will be released near the end of January.

One of the many edits of a manuscript includes searching for specific words to see if I’ve overused them. These are often called crutch words. A selection of these crutch words are filter words, words that show the story through the lens of a character instead of allowing the reader to experience the story first hand.

Filter words include ‘heard’, ‘felt’, ‘watched’ and ‘noticed’. For a more detailed explanation of filter words, check out my post: Filter Words: Who Knew? Not me.

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Book Launch: Revelation Stones at Dartmouth Book Exchange

Tomorrow, Saturday June 15th, between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, I launch Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series at Dartmouth Book Exchange, 1187 Cole Harbour Road, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. I spent the first 29 years of my life in that community and return often to visit family. While I’ve not lived there since 1996, it still feels like home.

I’ll also have paperback copies of Shadows in the Stone (book 1) and Scattered Stones (book 2), as well as book 1 in the Mystical series, a series within a series, Beyond the Myst.

This is my first event in a book store, so I’m going in with no expectations; my goal is to have fun, meet readers and sell a few books.

I laughed out loud when I thought of the fun that could be had if that’s all that’s expected. It’s a good goal in life. I think I’m going to milk it.

If you’re in Cole Harbour tomorrow, pop in, have a chat. The Dartmouth Book Exchange has thousands of used books; you’ll find one you love.

The Value of Writing Every Day

My goal for more than ten years has been to write a long epic fantasy series, and while I was set on the goal, little had been accomplished. By October 2018, I had two books written and book number 3 containing about 30,000 words. It was far from the epic adventure I’d envisioned more than a decade ago.

For a few years, I’d had wonderful spurts where I’d write 10,000 sometimes 30,000 words in a month, but there were many months I didn’t write anything. And there were writing projects I took on unrelated to the Castle Keepers series. While I’m glad I wrote the humour and two romance novels, they didn’t bring me closer to my goal: author of a ten-book fantasy series.

Last October, I put my foot down and I promised to not only focus on the fantasy series but to write every day. Every day.

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Why Do I Write?

Why I writeI’ve been asked many questions over the decades concerning writing, but one that often stands out is: Why do you write?

I’ve answered this with a question of my own: why do you fish, why do you build houses, why do you do what you do? The obvious reason is because I want to.

Telling others why I loved fishing was easier than explaining why I loved to write. I mean, to many, writing was school work, which they were thankfully graduated from and wouldn’t have to do again.

Lately, I get this question with an add on: Why do write so much?

Ten years ago, I couldn’t answer this question nor the simple one (why do you write) as accurately as I can at this moment. It’s not that I’ve thought about it any more; the answer simply comes to me when I’m asked.

Why do I write like a mad woman?

The Short Answer

I have stories that need to be told before I die, and I want to live where I love.

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What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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NaNoWriMo Saturday Word Count Update

NaNoWriMoThis is the last Saturday update (late, but still here) to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo.

Between November 24th and the 30th, I wrote 34,835 words. That brings my total world count for NaNoWriMo to 143,770 words. The most I’ve ever written in a month.

Beyond the Myst still needs about 45,000 words to complete it. I plan on writing those by December 31st. Revelation Stones was almost complete by November 30th, so I spent the first three days of December finishing up the final chapters, writing the major battle scene, the homecoming and the epilogue that carries readers into the next book. The first draft stands at 164,256 words. I hope to trim that to 150,000 words.

Later this week, I’ll share what I’ve learned about writing so much in one month and working on two novels at the same time. All I can say is I love writing more now than when the month started. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than this. I’m so psyched about the next book, Healing Stones, I’m already dreaming up the opening scene. I’m excited to see January 1st, although if I finish Beyond the Myst early, I cannot promise I won’t dive into Healing Stones to let the adventure continue.

NaNoWriMo Saturday Word Count Update

This is the 4th of 5 Saturday updates to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo.

This week, I passed three milestones:

  • 100,000 words in the Revelation Stones novel
  • 50,000 words in the Beyond the Myst novel
  • 100,000 words written for NaNoWriMo

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written between November 17th and 23rd was 22,978. The book now sits at 112,669 words.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M [official name Beyond the Myst], now contains 52,059. I’ve added 12,646 words between November 17th and the 23rd.

In total, I’ve written 35,624 words in 7 days and drank countless cups of tea and hot chocolate.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMo Saturday Word Count Update

NaNoWriMoThis is the 3rd of 5 Saturday updates to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo. Life’s been busy, so I’m a little late with the report, but it’s better late than never.

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written between November 10th and 16th was 17,135. The book now sits at 89,691 words.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M [official name Beyond the Myst], now contains 39,413. I’ve added 12,409 words between November 10th and the 16th.

In total, I’ve written 29,544 words in 7 days.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMo Word Count Update

NaNoWriMoThis is the 2nd of 5 Saturday updates to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m ecstatic with my progress.

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written between November 3rd and 9th was 20,347. At this rate, I’ll reach the intended goal of 130,000 words in about 20 days. This means, the book will be completed by the end of the month.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M [official name Beyond the Myst], now contains 27,004. I’ve added 11,981 words between November 3rd and the 9th. I plan to finish this 100,000-word novel in mid-December.

In total, I’ve written 32,328 words in 7 days.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

NaNoWriMo Word Count Update

NaNoWriMoThis is the first of five Saturday updates to share my progress writing for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m happy with my progress. The two novels I’m writing, Revelation Stones and Project M, were already works in progress, so I wasn’t starting cold.

For book 3 in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones, the number of words written in the first three days of November was 9,004. I’m putting extra effort into getting the words down now because I have a 3-day craft show next weekend, and I doubt I’ll reach my daily writing goals.

Book 1 of a new series, nicknamed Project M, had 4,864 words added since November 1st. This is second in priority, so my daily goal is only 1,500 words.

In total, I’ve written 13,868 words for NaNoWriMo and drank 11 cups of tea.

At this rate, Revelation Stones will be almost completed by the end of November. I may have to add an extra 10,000 words, but I’m aiming for around 115,000 words.

Project M will only have 57,000 words. I am aiming for 100,000 words for that story, so it won’t be finished until mid-December.

I plan to write book 4, Healing Stones, in January, then I’ll self-edit Revelation Stones and Project M. My totally insane goal is to release Project M in April, Revelation Stones in May and Healing Stones in June.

Good luck to everyone who accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Reclaiming my Disclaimer to reflect my personality and the story

A few months ago, I happened upon a post on The Book Designer blog regarding writing disclaimers. I have never given much thought to disclaimers; they’re as necessary for publishing as ISBNs, and just as boring.

I created the disclaimers for my novels by consulting already-published books to see the wording they used. It’s all pretty standard, and I’ve never read one that stood out. The main point was to tell everyone you didn’t write this book about a real person, so you wouldn’t be sued if someone thought they saw themselves within the story. Basically, you wanted to tell the world, “This is fiction. Nothing real to see here. Move along to the end and buy the next book in the series.”

Original Disclaimer

The disclaimer I created and used in print and eBooks came out to read as…

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Help Me Choose a Cover for my Epic Fantasy Novel

Scattered Stones 03Over the past few months, I’ve been toying with the cover for my next book: Scattered Stones. I’m usually not an indecisive person but with covers, I’m starting to flip flop.

A cover is vital to a book’s success. Almost everyone at some point in their life has judged a book by its cover. It doesn’t matter if the story is awesome or cruddy; the cover alone can sell a book. The goal, however, is to catch the readers’ attention long enough that they give you a second look to see if they want to buy your book.

I’ve learned a lot about how to make covers, but I know there is a large room for improvement. I also don’t have the programs designers use, so I use what I can. And I keep my ears and eyes open for tips.

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Writing a Book Acknowledgement

Scattered Stones Diane Lynn McGyverThere are many sections to a book. The two important parts that need the most attention are the story and the cover (in that order). For the past several months, I have focussed on these two things; without a doubt, I want them to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

As launch day approaches for Scattered Stones, book 2 in The Castle Keepers series, I need to start playing with the other parts that go into a printed novel, the little details that occupy the spaces between the front cover and the story, and the back cover and the story. Playing is the exact word I want to use.

This time around, I want to be less formal and allow a slither of my silly side to lighten and brighten these little details. I love fun, funny and silly. And I love putting a twist into things that readers don’t expect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I have never written an acknowledgement for any of my books, but I’ve seen many books that include them. In essence, it is a few words to thank the people who provided a helping hand to bring the book to life. This might be direct or indirect help.

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