Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Category: Blog (page 1 of 6)

The Realms Companion stories are beginning!

If you looked under my Realm tab on the menu, you’ll see this lovely graphic:

Why am I posting this again? Because those blank spaces for covers are filling in. Right now, BROTHERS BORN and LINE OF IMARA are available. A WOLF COMES TO DINNER will be released within the next week. Then it’s DRAKE’S DILEMMA, because Drake gets to finish out the series. It wasn’t planned that way, but I got some email pointing out the mean and nasty that I’d done to him in HEART OF THE GOBLIN KING, and I listened.  Now Drake has his own thing going on.

And he’s fantastic. But then, I am biased.

So keep up with me over the next two months. Book 4 and all the Companion stories will be released during that time. The Realm has ventured into places I never originally planned, but boy, am I glad I went down this path. Because I love the stories of all the characters that are happening. The Companion stories are all shorts – but they are snapshots into the lives of the characters of the Realm when the books aren’t happening, and these are the ones that I needed to share with you all.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

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O.M.G!

First, I owe all my readers a huge THANK YOU! Why? Let me show you!

That’s why! Thanks to you all, this boxed collection hit the USA Today best-sellers list. First time anything with my name attached has ever hit the list. It was a big effort with the other 21 authors of the set, but all the work in the world wouldn’t have done a thing without the readers.

If you got the set, ENJOY! And if you haven’t, it’s still available, now in Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks again! I – and all the other authors – are just over the moon! Woot!

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A book for YOU, and a book for YOU, and books for EVERYBODY!

I mentioned that writing program I’m in a few weeks ago, yes? Well, the publishing ball has begun to roll. And you’re going to get the benefit of it.

First, myself and my fab co-writers, Wilhelmina Kirk and T.M. Catron, published two shorts this week. One, Lost in Blue is a paranormal story of someone who has a chance to find their way home. The other, The Living, is a post-apocalyptic story of the aftermath of other life forms coming to Earth. Both were really fun to write, and I enjoyed this project tremendously.

Second, we, the entire Phoenix Prime group, have published a collection of short stories that are all on Instafreebie. If you haven’t used Instafreebie before, you should. I find a lot of new authors that way. And together, we have a number of collections for you; romance, sci-fi, fantasy, general fiction – something for everyone. So check them out!

Third, along with another co-writing partner, Corinne O’Flynn, I am beginning to put out the first of a new series. The series is titled The Aumahnee Prophecy. You can check out the details Here. This is going to be so much fun to write, I can hardly stand myself! Keep checking in, because once we start rolling – the new releases are going to be flying!

If you like this post, feel free to share it!

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Bring On The Reading!

So I wanted to have Realms of the Goblin King ready to go and released by end of year last year. But things happen, and things definitely happened to me. Unexpectedly, I came across a writing program that had just opened up for submissions for applicants. After reading the description, I immediately applied. I was accepted, and for the past month, that’s what I have been doing.

Phoenix Prime is a Ph.D. level workshop that spans approximately four months. It uses applied industrial psychology to address components of writing, marketing, branding, business and contract issues, productivity, etc. that combine Creative Writing and business perspectives.

The participants will create a portfolio to showcase their work alongside students in doctoral programs in several major universities. The objective, in addition to expanding the professional growth of all the participants, is to study the impact of the independent author-publisher on the commercial fiction industry.”

To say that it’s changed my life would be not giving it enough credit. It has altered my writing technique completely, and because of that, has changed my publication schedule. While Realms was initially delayed, it will be out very soon.

As will 34 other works.

Yes, I said 34.

I am really excited, and as I continue on, I hope you will be too. Stay tuned…I’ll be posting covers and descriptions as things are released.

 

Are YOU ready for the reading???

What I’m Reading Now: January 28, 2017

So I had a series I wanted to share with you, and then Amazon sent me a book I’d forgotten I’d ordered. I tore through it in one night, and decided that I had to share this with you all first.

Fair warning – this is not my normal genre fiction at all.  It’s a mix of non-fiction and historical fiction. And I have to go back in time a bit, so bear with me.

Right before my oldest was born, I wanted to go on vacation.  It was February, in Maryland, and I was cold. That’s saying something, being 6 months pregnant. I said, Let’s do a cruise! The expression my Dear Husband’s face told me that it probably wasn’t going to happen. LOL. He said, Hey, why don’t we go to Arizona? It will be warm there, with the desert and all!

Well. It was warm, in parts. And if you go, I will tell you to please, please, please go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It’s worth the drive and a day to spend there. Go sit in the hummingbird enclosure, and take the walk. Trust me on this. You also need to go to Sedona, but that’s for another post. The big thing on our trip was the Grand Canyon.

I’d like to mention, it was not warm at any time while we were in the Grand Canyon. We drove along the South Rim with the snow falling down in the sunlight. It was amazingly beautiful. I will never forget how that looked. I’ve been at both the North and South Rims and it’s worth going to both – they are almost different worlds.

Anyway, it was phenomenal. Outside of the driving where guard rails fear to go. We stopped at a lot of the rest stop areas along the Rim, and I found my way into the bookstore. I got a book (this was over 10 years ago) that has stayed with me ever since.

Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. It’s been updated since then, but it goes through all the recorded deaths that occurred in the Grand Canyon. It’s rather sobering, and the authors tell you point blank the main thing you can practice to avoid dying. The fact that this has been updated tells me it probably hasn’t taken as a Stay Alive tip. Sadly. But it’s fascinating, and I HIGHLY recommend it. Especially if you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.  The above book is the genesis for today’s post.

One of the supposed deaths was that of Glen and Bessie Hyde. I find mysteries that are never solved both full of sorrow and fascination, and again, this is one that stayed with me. They were making a run at being the first set of rafters with a woman on board to make it through the Grand Canyon. They disappeared, leaving behind their scow raft, which was found floating down river from the last place they were seen in good condition.  Most of the contents of the boat were still there, as well. There have been numerous theories as to what happened to them.  When I was searching for something else, I came upon this on Amazon:

Grand Ambition by Lisa Micheals. This is a fictionalized account of what happened to the couple.  (This is the book that derailed my scheduled post today – but spontaneity is good for the soul sometimes.) I read an interview with the author, Lisa Micheals, where she says she really identified with Bessie, and wrote the book with that in mind. Bessie was what was called at the time “a bohemian”. She wrote poetry, and an avid reader. I really liked the way Micheals portrays their relationship from Bessie’s eyes. Some of her descriptions are hauntingly poignant. I actually went back and read them again because they evoked such a wonderful visual while reading.

And it makes sense – even now, this is one hell of a trip to go on,  putting aside the fact that they were doing this as their honeymoon trip (no, I’m not making that up). You would have to have the sort of depth of feelings that Grand Ambition attributes to Bessie to not only agree to this, but to stick with it. The first year of marriage is hard enough. Toss in a primitive rafting trip on a boat considered difficult and probably not the best style for the intended trip, and no amenities whatsoever – there better be a lot of love. It’s another way to look at this, and with mysteries such as this one, I like more than one point of view.

I don’t want to say too much because while the end result – they  disappeared, and no one knows where they went – is the same, I don’t want to spoil the book for you.

Because I can’t let things that interest me go, I was looking for the link for one of the books, and another book popped up that covered the mystery of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Sunk Without a Sound by Brad Dimock. It came out in 2001, around the same time as Micheals’ book. So this is on my TBR next week, once it gets here, LOL.  It’s written from the perspective of a man who knows the river well – as well as anyone can. I’m excited to get this and see what he says. He and his wife ran the Canyon in a boat like Glen and Bessie used. (I hope Mrs. Dimock chimes in somewhere in the book!)

That’s it for me this week. I have a ton of homework (deadlines – meet one, and another rears its ugly head, LOL!) but I’ll add onto another WIRN to let you know what I thought of Sunk Without a Sound.

As always, if I post a book here, click it for the link.

Have a great weekend, guys!

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What am I doing up this early???

Well, I have kids. But even they aren’t up this early.

I’m in class. I have a weekly class that meets online, and you can choose which class works for you. At this point in time, the 5 am class is where I am at.

I’ve never gotten up this early in my life with any regularity. However, I have found that the early class actually is really good for me. It gets me started for the day.

It doesn’t help that my class has my head buzzing to the point that I couldn’t go back to sleep if I wanted to.

I will be honest, I was nervous about “going back to school”. This is definitely a schooling, too. It’s a writing class.  At 46, I saw an opportunity to learn new methods and ways to work in my craft, and I jumped at it. But it is scary to look at a class syllabus and think, Oh, sure, I can do that.

As you cross your fingers and hope like hell you can. I just got my schedule for the month.

Now, before you ask, yes, the homework involves writing. One of the exciting things about this class is that we are looking at what you’ve done, and what you can do moving forward. So there is a bit of…reorganization in my publishing schedule for the year. The good thing is I am actually tightening it up, and making some changes that will mean more stuff comes out, not less.

What’s the point or moral of this?

I dunno. I think it’s YaY! for me and anyone else brave enough to take on school while in normal life, and misery wanting company for being up so early.

See you Saturday. I have a What I’m Reading post on a great series for you all!

Secret Project #1

Soooo…if you get my Newsletter (you can click right on the edge over there —>), you’ll know I hinted at Secret Project #1.  It’s on the calendar that is becoming more and more jam-packed as the month goes by.  REALMS OF THE GOBLIN KING is first, but in April, Secret Project #1 comes to fruition. And I wanted to share with you all – let you be the first ones to see it!

With much ado and great fanfare, I am thrilled to share with you MYTHS & LEGENDS: A Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Boxed Set Collection.Myths and Legends Boxed Set

A veritable plethora of authors, including yours truly, have come together to bring you this set of more than 20 Full-Length Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy reads, including works from USA Today bestsellers, NY Times bestsellers, and various Award-Winning authors!

Gear up for a collection packed with an exciting mix of as-yet-undiscovered existing titles and brand new content. There’s everything from vampires, faeries, witches and shifters to romantic quests, cities brimming with paranormal shenanigans, tons of secret societies, and of course, the Bad Guys.

There’s over one million words in the collection. Need I say more? All from more than twenty bestselling authors!

Remember Secret Project #1? It’s in this set. This is really special to me – this set will introduce you to an entirely new world and a new series.

I am not able to share anything more at this point in time. I’ll be sharing in my Newsletter (with contests, and Advanced Reader opportunities) as the release date gets closer,

so sign up to stay informed!

MYTHS & LEGENDS

Available For PREORDER!

 

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What I’m Reading, January 19th, 2017

Hello!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m in the middle of a class, and let’s be totally honest here – it’s consuming my life. There’s a reason it’s hard for adults to go back to school. So now more than ever, when I have quiet time, I hide in my room and read. I write paranormal romance, and am getting into urban fantasy, so when I read, I read in a different genre. It’s like I’m genre’d out.

Here’s what I found this week. I like to browse Amazon, and see what’s in the lists, and what’s several pages in when I go looking for something.

It’s the Must Love Series, by Angela Quarles. I initially read the Must Love Kilts novel, but once I read it, I went back and got the other books in the series. It’s in the Romance-Time Travel and Romance-Medieval section, and it’s absolutely fabulous.

This whole series starts with an artifact. It’s not content to be the sort of artifact that sits on your desk, or waits to be admired in a case. It does things. Time travel things. When the right person picks it up at just the right time…well, things happen.

These are romances, so that should tell you a lot. But how all three sets of characters get to the romantic ending is what is so well done. All three of these fit into the historical romance category, and I adore historical romances. The characters are engaging, and for me, when I first go and buy the rest of the series, and read them straight through and  go away thinking about them afterwards, that is an excellent story.

All three of these are excellent stories. So check them out. You won’t regret it.

Check in next week. I have another series on my TBR list, so I’ll be telling you about it here.

Have a great weekend!

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Be the driver

 

This gif is me. I am Dean. I am the driver. I know what’s what, where we’re going, and dammit, what music we’re listening to. Usually. 2016 was a weird year, where I wasn’t always sure what the music was, where we were headed, or even if I was driving.

Since I last posted, TO WED THE GOBLIN KING  is out, and making its way into the world. I’m working on REALMS OF THE GOBLIN KING – but I will tell you, and I’m being totally honest here, I got a bit derailed. 2017, y’all.

The derailment was not by normal shiny (Facebook!) things, but by learning.  I am in a class that I literally stumbled over online, and I was fortunate enough to get a spot in the class. So it’s taking me a bit longer to finish REALMS, because I am working on improving it. Essentially, this was a chance I couldn’t pass up. So it’s coming. Promise.

But that wasn’t the focus of this post. Towards the end of the year last year, I took the opportunity to…*whispers*…go and talk to a psychic. I figured, why not? She came well recommended, and while I am a bit of a skeptic, I enjoy readings.

One of the things she said to me struck me hard. She told me that 2017 was the first year in a new cycle, and 2016 was a year to clear out the rubbish. There have been a lot of shifts, and because these changes involved things, people, and habits – it was tough. I was rather down at the thought of some of these changes. I don’t mind change as a rule, but these specific changes were not ones I expected.

So after the reading she asked if I had questions. I had prepared a couple, and she spoke to the changes. In detail.  She told me, You know, change is not a bad thing. Sometimes, people, things, and habits move out of your life because you’re ready to move on to something else, something different, a new place. In your case, she told me, it’s a better place.

I went away from the reading in deep thought. I thought about the changes, and some things that had occurred after the changes had taken place. People, things, opportunities, events – all things that had come into my life after the changes that brought me concern. The predominant question that kept hitting was, Would I have noticed/appreciated/taken these chances if I were still in the same place I was at the beginning of the year?

Unfortunately, I cannot say with surety that I would have. I appreciate the new people and things that have come into my life in a way I might not have a year ago. Like most of us, I tend to be hard on myself, and expect a lot. I take responsibility when things go sideways, or not as expected. Talking with this psychic made me look at the last year in a different way.

A good way. I’m sad that change has happened that I didn’t expect. It is the pits to let go of things that are part of your life. At the same time, maybe they weren’t meant to always be there, and maybe something else is coming in place of that which has gone.

So as we move into 2017, take stock of the last year. Did things change? Be honest – was it for the better? We’re often taught that change is scary, or bad in some way. Occasionally, you’ll run into someone with no investment in your life who will tell you – Well, maybe not. Maybe that change had to happen for you to get to where you need to be.

2017 is shaping up to be a hell of a crazy year. Crazy in a good way. I’ll have more on that as the year goes on. Enjoy this month, hug and kiss your families, and remember – even when in doubt, you ARE the driver.

So put in your music, and tell shotgun to shut their cakehole.

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The Speech

lisawotyspeech

On September 10, I was honored to give the Independent Writer of the Year speech at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 2016 Gold Conference. I am posting the speech in its entirety for those interested.

Thank you, Susan, for that wonderfully kind introduction. And thank you to all of you. Without you, I wouldn’t be standing here. I mean that. My wonderful critique groups, the members that I’ve become close with, and my fellow finalists, Sue Duff and Nathan Lowell. If you haven’t had the chance to get to know them, take the time to do so this weekend. They are amazing authors. Every one of you has been part of me getting to the place where I am as an author.

I first attended the Gold in 2013, and OMG, did it open my eyes as to what needed to happen in order for me to move from writing that novel, to actually finishing it, and becoming an author. Initially, that list of to-dos seemed huge. Add to that, I joined RMFW one week before the Gold Conference. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.

But I came away from Conference with a burning enthusiasm, and a realization that I could indeed reach publication. I’ll be honest and tell you that I had a completely different path in mind as to how to get there three years ago. I made a list of agents, including my Dream Agent, and set about wooing them with my mastery.

Don’t laugh! I actually had a small measure of success. Requests for pages. Polite ‘thanks, but no thanks’ after they read the pages. I wasn’t crushed, although I did sulk for a day after Dream Agent passed. I figured I’d get one of them with the next book, and I set out to work on the new project.

And that is where I was, in 2014. I’d joined an amazing critique group, and I was learning my craft, and beginning to have a better idea of why my first novel hadn’t gone anywhere. I was in a good place.

I had no intention of being an indie author, none at all. I didn’t even really know about being self-published. But that year, I learned – and that brings me to what I want to talk about tonight – why going indie and being self-published can be an amazing choice for you to make as an author.

Essentially, it’s making the choice to be the captain of your own boat.

You all may not know this, but I spent nearly ten years in another life teaching sailing. Three years of that, I spent in the Florida Keys. I mention the Keys because when teaching there, you’re teaching in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Anything can and will happen. I never, ever had a motor on the boat, the thought being that we had to teach the students to operate without one. In my experience, when sailing, the motor only goes out when you need it most – so you need to learn to do all the things under sail. You have to be prepared, and you learn to be creative, read the wind, and watch for opportunity.

That sums up how I see life in Indie Land, as a self-published author. It’s amazing, in my opinion, because you are your own boss on all levels. Just like when I taught sailing in the Keys, you’re in a wide-open ocean, and the possibilities of where you can go are endless.

Endless doesn’t mean easy.

But to me, the opportunity to be in charge of where your career goes is worth hard work. That’s the joy of being the captain of your own boat. You chart the course.

One of the questions I got the most when teaching was “Will the boat tip?”

My answer was, Sure, we can. We probably won’t, in this boat. The design prevents it. Tipping is what is referred to as turtling in sailing – your boat turns upside down 180 degrees. Generally, if you turtle, gravity and the boat design will eventually right you. The moments when you’re upside down, frankly, will suck. But you have to have faith in yourself, and your boat, and know that you will eventually be upright again.

If you make a mistake as an indie author, if you turtle in some way, just like the boat, you can right yourself.

That is something you must keep in mind as you move through your career. Understand that fear is a natural thing. The fear of what might happen, or of the unknown – if you’re not afraid, you’re not looking at all the possibilities. But you can overcome the fear. Don’t allow yourself to be so afraid that you freeze. Recognize your fear, take a look at what could happen, prepare as best you can. Then get in the boat, drop the lines, and push off from the dock. That is the hardest thing in sailing, as in life, to me. To actually push off from the dock, and send yourself out into the unknown.

Under sail, you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. There are always potential mishaps lurking, waiting for an opportunity. As authors, we’re well aware of many of those potential mishaps. We actually toss a lot of them in our way – we’re our own worst enemies. Get away from that. Don’t undermine yourself – have faith in your boat, in your work. Know that you can’t control everything. All you can do is control your actions.

So as I mentioned, in 2014, I was happily querying, and working on a new novel, and basically, completely okay with being a passenger on someone else’s boat. Sitting in the cockpit, having a boat drink, and enjoying the sun. I wasn’t the captain.

However, I came across an opportunity to leave that boat, and captain my own. How does that happen? I mean, I had total  buy-in for my chosen path.

I’ll tell you.

My critique group moderator had been to a conference where she heard Courtney Milan speak. After she got back from that conference, we talked about self-publishing. I was so intrigued because it was presented in a way I hadn’t considered before. I went home and holed up in front of the computer and googled SP until my eyes were ready to fall out of my head.

At that point, with all this information in front of me, I had a choice to make. Did I stay on the boat I sat on currently, and make another drink, and move along? Or did I step off that boat and onto my own boat, steering towards an unknown horizon to see what happened?

To say that such an idea was scary to me is an understatement. Even now, two years later, I can feel the drop in my stomach as I contemplated setting out on my own, into something where I didn’t see a clear path.

You can guess what I did, because I’m standing here. Even scared to death, the idea of being my own captain appealed to me. And I knew from my sailing experience that while changing course can be challenging, it also has the possibility of being incredible.

This is like when I was out with students one day, and the wind was shifty and weird, and I looked to the southeast, and I saw a waterspout. For those of you unfamiliar with waterspouts, they are tornados that form over water.

Now our teaching boat was not overly fast, and I had no way to get away from the waterspout quickly if it came towards us, because remember – No Motor! And of course, it was coming towards us!

So I did what I had to do on the water – adapt, and handle it. The students put on life jackets, we reefed the sails, and discussed the plan of action should the thing catch up with us. I had to. I was the captain of the boat. The students looked to me for the answers. I’ll be honest, I was winging it, because REALLY? A waterspout? I’d only heard about them before that moment.

The waterspout kept heading towards us, and it was gaining on us. Every time I looked at it, what I wanted to do was huddle in the cockpit, cover my eyes, and hope for the best. But the captain can’t do that. So I shoved down the fear, tried to remember all I could about riding out sudden storms, and braced for it.

Thankfully, the waterspout dissipated before it got too close. But you know what was left over? Shifty, puffy, squirrelly wind. Rougher water. A challenging situation.

And that was one of the best days I’ve ever had out on the water. One of my top five teaching days. That came out of something that began by scaring the pants off me.

And that is what this, my career as an indie, is right now. Being nominated as the IWOTY is one of the rides of my life. It started out scary, too.

That’s what being an indie is all about. It’s a leap of faith – knowing you’ve done the best work you can, knowing your tribe is there to guide you when you need help. With your tribe, you can build your production team, just like building the crew of your publishing boat that will help you get to where you want to go.

Don’t be afraid to act. As the captain, you have to keep up with the boat. You have to do your homework, keep track of the changing conditions, or things will go wrong. That can slow you down, and reinforce the idea that setting out on your own was a foolish choice.

It’s wasn’t. Louisa May Alcott wrote something that resonated with me from the moment I read it: I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship. I read that before I learned to sail, before I began writing with purpose. Once I knew how to sail, and had made it through storms, I realized how true it is. Not only for sailing, but anything worthwhile in life. Everything has less than ideal situations.

Indie Land is full of them. Just like sailing, however, you can make choices. On a boat, you have 360 degrees of choice – and you can go any direction you want. It’s the same in Indie Land. That horizon is wide open.

One of the things about sailing is that you have a lot of time to think. That’s also true for us as authors. We sit and create alone, and make time to stew over things, ruminate, and to fear.

That fear is the Kracken below, waiting for the signal to come out and wreak havoc on you. The secret that no one tells you is that the Kracken is within you. Which means if you see him, you’re the one who let him out.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey of being an indie author, it’s that you can’t let fear drive your choices. Fear makes for some faulty navigation. If you’re feeling lost, all you need to do is look up. The stars are there to guide you. If it’s cloudy, use a compass. In Indie Land, other authors can – and will – be your compass when you’re in doubt.

There are many ways to get out on the water and go sailing. Just as there are many ways to become published. It’s a completely valid choice to go out on a boat with someone else as the captain. It’s where I began my journey. But now, for me as an author as well as a sailor, the best place to be is at the helm of the boat, of my boat, with both hands on the wheel.

I’ll leave you with an amazing quote from William Arthur Ward that I love:

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.

Be the captain. Be a realist. Push off from the shore.

 

 

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