June 14, 2016
Blog Tour: Memories of Ash Series (The Sunbolt Chronicles 2) by Intisar Khanani – Guest Post and Giveaway
Hello Readers! Welcome to our Tour Stop for
Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles 2)
by Intisar Khanani!
Check out the fab guest post on writing by Intisar,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Check out the rest of the tour by clicking the banner above.
In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.
Title: Memories of Ash
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing
I’ve learned a great deal about writing since I began writing as a “career” (rather than hobby writing which I did for many, many years but without a focus on publishing or necessarily finishing each project). I doubt I could list all the things I’ve learned, but here are three biggies that took me a while to figure out (or make my peace with)…
Writing doesn’t have to be solitary.
Sometime between drafting my debut novel and drafting my seventh manuscript, but before I actually published my debut, social media became a thing. It’s funny how long it took me to realize that sitting down to my computer to work didn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. I loved writing, I loved playing with the stories in my head and listening to my characters, but it would get lonely night after night… and it was hard to get back into the flow of writing if I got up and went off to visit with someone (or call someone).
About a year and a half ago, I set up some online writing sessions with a friend who was having trouble getting into the flow of her novel. We’d touch base on Facebook, chat for a few minutes about what we were working on, and then dive into our daily writing. We’d surface again after an hour to check in, then often do another session or two. My productivity soared. We invited another mutual friend and suddenly I had writing sessions almost every night with at least one of them. I was focused, I was working hard, and when I had problems I couldn’t solve, I had two other authors available within an hour to help me work through what was going on my head. It’s amazing, and I’m grateful for it, and I wish I’d thought to try this out years ago!
Staring at the ceiling is work.
I used to set myself word count goals for each day—quotas I needed to reach. When I was editing, I calculated how many hours of editing equated to that word count. And my writing got harder and harder. One day, I just lay on my bed for two hours, staring at the ceiling and thinking about my story. It wasn’t writing or editing, but my story burst back to life and I was able to write a great deal more in the next few days for it.
I don’t get a lot of down time during the day. I have two young kids, and even the most robotic chores don’t go uninterrupted for more than five minutes on average. So that time staring at the ceiling (or a wall) has come to count as writing time because I don’t get that almost meditative time to sink into my story otherwise. If I can’t point at any words at the end of the day, so long as I know I was working through the story in my head, giving it creative time, I don’t sweat it.
Everyone writes at their own pace.
Yeah, this should be a no-brainer. As it turns out, it wasn’t for me. If you’re an indie author, you’ve heard all the advice being bandied around about how fast you need to write (four novels a year!), what sells (series with cliffhanger endings!), the importance of having a backlist (quick! Get even more novels out!). I have a huge amount of respect for people who can follow this kind of advice and still publish good books—and I’m sure that some of this advice is built on the examples of authors who do this very well. I am not one of them. I will never be one of them. But that didn’t stop me from thinking I could be.
It was truly difficult trying to be a super-productive author writing a series when the truth is I’m a standalone kinda gal who needs at least 4-6 revision cycles to take a novel to completion. I’m in the middle of a series I started because that’s what I was supposed to do. I am not at all sure I will ever write another series—it’s just a different kind of beast, and when I both love to read and write standalones, I should have taken a hint from myself. I should also have been realistic about my own pace. Even working 2-3 hours a day, it can easily take me a year to finalize a novella. The ten-year plan I drew up when I was getting ready to publish my debut? It’s more of a forty-year plan. And that’s all right.
If you write well, your readers will wait for you. They might forget about you a bit, but in our connected age, Amazon or BookBub or Goodreads or someone will remind them that they liked one of your books when the next one comes out. It’s good business practice, and it means my readers are less likely to completely lose track of you. Is this a perfect system for me? No. Would it be better if I could put out a novel more than every two or three years? Yes, of course. But can I? No, and that’s okay—for me and for you.
To wrap it up…
Remember to use the tools at your disposal to keep writing fun and engaging for yourself—it doesn’t have to be solitary or depressing, so don’t let it be that. Give yourself the time you need to play with your stories in your head—that developmental time will save you loads of revision, and help you write a stronger, more vibrant first draft. And remember, you are the writer that you are. Write the way that works for you, and don’t judge yourself by standards that have little to do with your own realities.
But most of all, keep writing!
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
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