An epic fantasy series that tells the tale of three men, a soldier, a warrior, and a knight, all of whom are forced to take a path they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves, all of whom make unusual choices when it comes to love.
And I welcome her with open arms. Winter equals more time for writing and beautiful sunrises. What more could you ask?
My brain feels sluggish this morning. I haven’t written a word in two days, which is a long time, although I admit that it was probably for the best to stay away from my laptop. I’ve worked intensely with the standalone novel (I think) I mentioned earlier. I started it to alienate myself from Braenduir Chronicles for a while now that the (hopefully) final draft of the second book is ready. I didn’t expect the story to engulf me. It was meant as a way to air out my head, something that I wasn’t sure whether I’ll ever publish.
I still am unsure about it, even though the standalone (it has no name yet, not even a working title) is coming out more reader-friendly than BC was ever meant to be. That’s a smallish miracle because I am writing it in the first person, something I practically never do. And definitely something I tried to avoid simply because “everyone” is doing it nowadays. However, the first person felt like a natural choice for this story.
But so much for rambling about a book that’ll most likely never see daylight. I’ll give you another picture that has nothing to do with anything but the title, and wish you a fantastic new week!
I’ve started dozens and dozens of blog and Instagram posts since I published Runecursed but deleted most of them unfinished. I have a debatable habit of writing what I actually have on my mind and realizing with my finger on the ‘enter’-button that one can’t publish their true, uncensored thoughts on social media. I often wish I had the nerve to do so, but then again, why would I.
Some things are best left unsaid, and one could as well stab oneself in the foot as reveal their weaknesses and misgivings even to those closest to them. That’s how I feel, at least.
So, instead of typing down what I’d really want to say, I will tell you that I am happy that it is autumn. I love autumn. It’s my favorite season. Many Finns hate it because the days grow short and once the trees have shed their leaves, it looks rather miserable outside. To me the darkness means more time to do what I enjoy the most; write and read books and do handicrafts. I’ve knitted two pairs of socks during the past two weeks, for instance.
I’ll also mention that the third book is coming along nicely. Or rather, the third version of the third book, as I have written it twice already and ditched both earlier versions. I’ve probably said this before, but I’m one of those writers who plot as they go, and sometimes I scribble tens of thousands of words that, after a few months, turn out to be a sheer waste of time. I also keep changing my mind about what’ll happen to my characters, and it doesn’t help that some of them have developed a will of their own by now.
Regardless, I’ve finished book two and am pretty happy with it. I should try to find people willing to read and review it before it comes available for everyone, but (and here’s one of the things I shouldn’t publish) I am sick of advertising. I always knew my utter inability of selling things (Honestly, I couldn’t sell even fresh water in the desert!) would become my stumbling block, but in the spring I had a routine in it that made me feel I might have a hang of it due time, but then the summer happened and now, I seem unable to resume my former rhythm. But I’ll get there. I have no choice.
The Finnish translation of the first book is also getting along better than I dared to hope. I intended to publish it chapter by chapter to spare myself from the pressure of getting it done, but I’ve already all but finished the first part and wonder whether I should just publish the rest at once.
(Looks like I have (almost) everything under control, doesn’t it? Looks like I’m doing fine and haven’t yet lost all hope.)
Before wishing y’all a magnificent new week (regardless of everything that’s going on in the world), I wish to remind those who’ve read Runecursed that I am still looking for early reviewers for the second book. Contact me by the end of October if you’re interested!
I knew I can’t get much writing done with my spouse home on vacation, so I thought I’d read, instead. What better way to spend long, lazy summer days than reading a book? Shoveling dirt, breaking down a porch, and shoveling some more dirt if you ask our dear, old house. Thanks to the leaking water pipe, my summer included no reading and only a little writing.
Now things are back to normal, thank gods. My spouse returned to work and I to my daily routine. Some people need chaos to create, I require an orderly routine. With my spouse home on vacation, regularity is the first thing that gets ditched out of the window, and with it goes my concentration. It’s lovely to have him home but his vacations are also immensely stresful for me. Without routine, my focus is all over the place. I putter around, doing a bit of this and a bit of that and am unable to slow down for even a moment.
So, here I am, contently back to my guilty pleasure (which is writing)! I have two parts of the sequel done, and I am quite pleased with how the story is developing. I’ve probably said this before, but I plot as I go which means I can write a chunk and ditch it the next day when a better idea comes to mind. I’ve tried more disciplined methods, but always return to my own (bad) ways as that’s how I get the best result. Eventually.
I have high hopes of getting the raw draft of Slavemarked done by the end of September which means, the early reviewer version is ready by December. If you’d like to become an early reviewer, do check out the homepage (<- click, click) for more information! You don’t need to sign up blindly. There’s a FREE SAMPLE of the book AVAILABLE via PAYHIP! Downloading intends you to nothing, and you cannot know if you’ll like the book or not unless you give it a chance, so be brave and check it out!
Now, back to writing. I wish you all a magnificent week! May the gods and Fortunes smile at you.
Long time, no blogging. I’ve been busy with summer and the sequel. When one lives in the countryside in an old house with a vast garden, the summertime doesn’t mean lazying in a hammock, binge-reading books. Would that it did!
Despite all the work it requires, I love our house. This is where I’ve finally found the peace of mind to write. When we lived in the town, I was always too stressed by the constant ruckus of traffic and neighbors to concentrate on anything creative. We aren’t utterly isolated here either, but our 1920′ house is a place where the silence dwells.
As said, I’ve been working with the sequel, and it’s coming along nicely despite my protagonist disagreeing with pretty much everything I’ve planned for him. He might be right, though. Maybe I should just let him have his way, but I fear that if I did, he’d end up dead before the series is even half-finished.
Anyway, I’m happy with how the second book is coming along. I’m prone to think that it’ll be miles better than Runecursed. There’s more action, and the overall atmosphere is many a shade darker even though this
is what I’ve been listening to while writing. I don’t usually listen to music with lyrics when I write as I tend to get distracted by the vocals, but FAUNis an exception to that rule. I don’t know German (at least not enough to understand but a word here, another there), and their singing voices sound more like some otherworldly instruments than human voices, so it remains in the background, inspiring me.
I could rambble about music as an inspiration forever and link a dozen bands that I’ve listened while writing but the time is limited -although, fortunately, it seems it’s going to rain again today which means I can remain inside and work with the sequel instead of having to go mow the lawn- so, I wish you all a great day and fantastic Pride Month!
I eyed through my old writings this morning. Poems I wrote in the year 2000. They are pregnant with teenage anxiety, the woe of someone who feels like she’s been born in the wrong time and place, among all the wrong people, none of whom understands her. The pain was real back then, but today the laments I had the guts to call poetry just make me chuckle.
Pathetic as they are, a few of my poems were published in one of Finland’s biggest newspapers. I don’t know if that can be called an achievement as they probably published every poem, think piece, etc. they received, but to me, it was a huge step even to send my texts there. Although I’ve dreamed of becoming an author since childhood, I’ve always been shy to share my work with others. That hasn’t changed after publishing Runecursed. My heart still skips, for fright as much as joy, every time I see someone has purchased the book or is reading it through KU.
I’m stepping out of my comfort zone every time I publish anything, but here I go again. Here’s a piece of my history as a writer (the Finnish original as it was published in the paper on the left). I tried to make the translation sound as clumsy as the original is to preserve the authentic feel.
…is like a blind hen trying to find a grain. I peck about randomly, and sometimes, without ever knowing how I did it, I hit the jackpot. Then I teeter around, frantic to find the source of my success until I realize it must’ve been just a stroke of luck.
When talking about jackpots and success, I don’t mean anything phenomenal like my book zooming on the top of Amazon’s best-seller list overnight. To me, success equals 110 downloads of my ebook in two days. The book was free, but I’m thrilled, nonetheless. So many people found my story worth giving a go! (At least, I hope that was why they downloaded it, not just because it was free… Do people do that with books; pick them up just because they are free of charge? I know I don’t.)
What makes me even happier is that every one of those 110 downloads was authentic. I have no army of friends I could ask to go to Amazon and download ten copies of my ebook each to make it rise higher in the listing. I’d do it if I could, but as my social circle is practically non-existent, I’m down to spamming ads on my social media accounts and FB groups and praying someone swallows the bait. For once, the gods of marketing were on my side!
I’m excited to start a new week, thinking that someone ,somewhere, might be reading my book right now. I would keep writing even if no one ever read a word of it, but still, knowing that someone does makes me happy. Maybe this is how a mother bird feels when watching her chick hop out of the nest and try its tiny wings. It might never soar to the sun, but it not crashlanding right away is a reason to rejoice.
With this small piece of shared joy, I wish y’all a fantastic week and much success in whatever you do!
This is a post I’m all but intimidated to write. The gentleman I’m going to talk about has had such an enormous effect on my life through his work that I fear the words might turn inadequate in expressing it. Nonetheless, I will try, for I wouldn’t be writing at all (I might not even be anymore if not for his music) if not for A. W. Yrjänä, a Finnish musician, poet, and author. No worries, I’ll call him Mr. Y henceforth, so your brain won’t get stuck wondering, “How the hell am I supposed to pronounce that?”.
In the first part of the series, Why Do I Write, I talked about Tolkien and how he’s the reason I write fantasy. However, had I not discovered Mr. Y’s music, I wouldn’t be writing at all, save maybe in a diary. Y is the singer/basíst/songwriter of a Finnish rock band CMX. They’ve been making music since the late 80s and are still thriving. I found them in 1998 when their seventh album, Vainajala, was published. I hated the single ‘Ei yksikään’ when I heard it for the first time. Still, it kept ringing in my head until I gave in and bought the CD.
I didn’t fall in love straight away. I was 14 and had been “kept in a barrel” till then, and the themes of the songs didn’t quite unfold to me. I liked the album enough to buy the older ones, and in those, I found pieces in sync with my rebellious teenager mind.
I found out that Y had published a book of poems in 97 and asked for my mom to buy it for me for Christmas. She did, and I plunged into the pool of poetry. I swam there for many years, thanks to Mr. Y, and scribbled some poems myself.
Unlike Tolkien, Mr. Y’s work has never had an off-putting effect on me. I looked up to him and wanted to become as brilliant a writer as he is, but instead of his brilliance making me think, I’ll never reach that level, so why would I even try, I was encouraged by his music and poetry. Not just to keep writing but at one point also to keep living.
I wallowed in quite deep waters back then. I was lonely and never allowed to go anywhere in the evenings and weekends, so all I did outside the school was read, listen to music, and roam in the woods with our dog. CMX became my lifeline. When I felt like crumbling, I listened to them, and the ocean surrounding me seemed a little less murky.
The brightest beacon in the blackness of my youth was their double album Dinosaurus Stereophonicus (2000). In there, I found the comfort and gentleness I so craved for. Listening to DS felt like being enfolded in the arms of someone who cares about you and wants you nothing but good. It was like an embrace of a dearest friend. (I warned you that I have no words to describe the enormity of Mr. Y’s influence on my very existence…). When our world felt like the last place to be, I locked myself in my room and listened to CMX, Y’s words and voice that ensured me that life could be something other than frost and thorns one day.
Though my life today is anything but bleak and loveless, I still turn to Mr. Y when I’m doleful or discouraged. When I feel I suck at writing, I read a few poems of his or listen to one of the albums. His words are my happy place, an endless source of inspiration and motivation.
To give you some insight into what I’m talking about and to wrap up this post that I could well continue for a few thousand words more, I translated the piece above, Sulaneet muovisotilaat, for you. Now, this is very sketchy a translation, but I believe it’s better than ravaging the lyrics with something like Google Translator.
So, here you are! Enjoy one masterpiece of Finnish rock lyrics.
That was the mantra one of our teachers parroted to us in the business school. And she was so right. Always, always, always make a backup, preferably many, of any work you wish to keep because the machines are treacherous bitches and will die on you when you least expect it.
My computer has been in use only for a year and was brand new when I got her. Yesterday morning, she woke up screaming. In pain, or terror, or both, I’ll never know. Might be that she just felt neglected and wanted my full attention to her as something else than just a piece of equipment. She caught it, for sure.
I started her. She piped up a “PUUUPUUUPUUUPI” -sound at the top of her mechanical lungs. I asked her what was wrong? Her face remained dark and unresponding, and it loomed to me that something more might be going on than just her being cranky for having been woken up so early.
The noise went on and on. At one point, we were screaming together, for it had also dawned on me that she held too many files as hostages that I hadn’t saved anywhere else. At this point, I was shouting louder than her.
I plugged her off. She stopped peeping. I was on the verge of ditching her out into the yard. As I am a grown-up and as such obliged to act reasonably, I called the maintenance instead. The guy was very compliant. Sure, you can send her here. The warranty is for two years. We’ll fix her, no worries.
But what about my files? I asked, fearing for the answer. Well, they’re lost. He had the decency not to chide me for not having saved a backup.
No, no, no… I can’t lose all that work. I was on the edge of tears. Will I order the maintenance? He asked. Don’t! I was thinking fast. What can I do? Why, take her to a friend who knows how to dig your precious files out of her cooling bowls. I’ve got no such friends… Well… What about that maintenance? I’ll call you back.
I plunged into Google, found the local computer maintenance business, and called them, an emergency call. The guy there was like super calm. No, we’re not busy. You can bring her straight away. If the hard drive isn’t dead, we should be able to salvage your files.
So, I carried my wounded machine into the car and drove to town. The computer guy was magnificent, an ocean of tranquility.
By the time I got back home, I could think clearly again and check my pen drive. I hadn’t lost as much as I had thought, but the edited version of my book was gone. Days and days of work. And some sections of the sequel were also gone. Something that I can live with, I decided.
Still, I was forlorn. Bloody bitch! How could she do this to me? On my birthday of all days? I stared vehemently at my old laptop, a loyal and tireless servant, just as a machine should be. I hate writing with a laptop. And she is so slow! Yet, she’s all I’ve got, and I’m grateful for her unwavering fealty.
I’m also grateful for my partner. He comes home with a bundle of flowers and a broad smile. Happy birthday, love. How could I not smile back? Thanks, honey. My computer crashed. Why would she do that? Dunno. She got off on the wrong foot, I suppose.
I had made curry for dinner, and we ate. Ice cream for dessert. I went to my little laptop after, for I needed to be present on social media. He watched me for a while. I said I didn’t like working with the laptop. It makes my neck hurt. We never watch our telly, he said. True.
So, he grabbed the TV, planted it on my desk, attached it to my laptop, gave me his keyboard, which he wasn’t using anyway, he claimed, and here I am, with a 32″ screen and proper keyboard, thinking that I must’ve done something right during the cycle of my lives to have deserved him.
At least I had the file loaded on Amazon before the computer failed me.
…you sometimes suffer after having finished a brilliant book. Everyone who reads, knows what I’m talking about. The book ends, and you feel wrecked, hollow and at a loss like a withered seed pot in an autumn gale.
The last thing to do then is to pick up another book straight away, but if you’re greedy (and hoovering) like me, you choose one and tap ‘play’, knowing it to be a mistake. The book you try to go for after the one that left you adrift does nothing but irritates you, regardless of how magnificent you’ll find it after a couple of days. So, if you’re yet to experience this, take my advice and spend a few hours in silence after a book that gave you goosebumps. Or listen to some music—anything but grabbing a new read straight away.
Another thing reading an outstanding book does -to a writer (unless your work is on the top of the best sellers’ list)- is to shove you into a slump. Though you know you shouldn’t, you compare your humble, little scribbling to the masterpiece you just closed, and all its flaws sprawl before you, reminding you of the enormity of what you’ve still got to learn. You hover on the verge of deleting all you’ve written because it can never be as good as.
That’s one way to deal with the issue I’m struggling with on daily bases -the feeling of not being good enough. Or rather, not being as good as I’d want to be. Reading/listening to excellent stories others have written helps not at all, of course, but one must read to learn how to write, and I rather give what little spare time I’ve got to a fantastic work than waste it on something that might make me feel a little better about my own writing.
I’ve always had this weird love/hate relationship with books. I love reading. I’d choose a good book over pretty much anything if I were made to choose. I’ve lived a thousand lives just because I read. Yet, the insecure writer in me sometimes wants to burn all books. Especially those I classify as “good”. I would regret such a vile act as soon as I tossed the match into the heap of books that make me want to exterminate everything I’ve ever scribbled myself, because it would mean burning to cinders friends and loved ones, arms that are always open when I need encouragement or just a comforting hug.
If you read this far –no, there was never any gist to this post. I felt like writing, but after having just finished a magnificent book, I couldn’t return to my script in the fear that I might indeed end up wiping the whole document clean.
I still ask myself on a regular basis; why do I write? I always come up with three reasons (besides the fact that writing is the only thing I’m any good at), three authors whose works have inspired me so much that I wanted to become an author myself.
!Runecursed, the ebook, is FREE WORLDWIDE on MAY 7th and 8th on Amazon!
Before we get to the first of these three gentlemen who are to thank (or blame) for this obsession of mine, I must give credit also to my mother, who read tons of books to me when I was little. She’d take me to the library, we’d pick up the books together, and she’d read them to me in the evenings. So, I was already more than familiar with the written word when I went to school and learned to read and write myself.
I started writing stories as soon as I learned the alphabet. My first “book” is written with hyphens which means I was in the first grade of elementary school when writing it. It’s about ponies. I was obsessed with ponies back then.
At this point I wish to point out that this is not an author nor book review. This is rather a part of the tale behind a tale.
So much for the rambling. The first man to thank (blame) for my decision to become a published (fantasy) author is none other than John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. His work has inspired tens of thousands of fantasy authors, artist, and musicians, so I’m just one fish in the sea. Still, his books are the reason why I write fantasy.
I read Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was around 12. I loved it. It was amazing, inspiring… The best book I had read so far. It was also disheartening. I wanted to write a book as brilliant one day but was convinced that I could never do it. I wasn’t good enough. (Well, obviously. I was twelve and just finished my second “novel” about ponies and ponygirls.
(Un)Fortunately, I was damnably stubborn already back then, and instead of ditching the pen and finding another hobby, I kept writing. I didn’t write much fantasy, for I knew I could never be as fantastic as Tolkien. I created imaginary worlds, though, drew maps, and invented creatures and characters. I also weaved stories in my head but rarely put them on paper.
During the three years of junior high school, I read every Tolkien book I could find in the local library and bookstore, most of them twice or thrice over. I read tons of books from other authors, but Tolkien remained the one to whom I kept returning. I’ve re-read my copy of LotR, so many times its cover has been broken.
Then I went to high school, and we make a time jump to the present. I still don’t think I could one day write like Tolkien, but it doesn’t keep me from writing fantasy anymore as it did when I was a kid. Still, his influence is evident. It lances through my world-building, plotting, wording… When writing, I catch myself rambling page after page about small things that even I’d find irrelevant and tedious as a reader. And that’s saying a lot, for I love, love, love details! It’s more than a little irritating, and though I was determined to write like Tolkien when I was twelve, today, I struggle free of his influence. Not all of it -I enjoy myself in a Middle-earth type of world and like the archaic language- but I could definitely jabber less.
Nonetheless, I owe John not just my passion for writing fantasy but also my interest in folklore and mythology. He showed me the door to a world that I might not have discovered otherwise, at least not at such an early age. Of that, if anything, I’m grateful.
Lastly, to close the circle in a way, something else Tolkien-inspired that has inspired me (Yes, there’s a lot of music behind my writing even though I cannot play a chord myself. I will be returning to the subject at some point, for music is the fuel that keeps me running.):