Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Map-making Quandaries

It's easier to dream about creating maps than it is to actually build them--so many options!

I've recently learned that I can create maps using GIMP shareware, so I've been dabbling with possibilities here:
Love the clear colors and outlines!

A basic parchment-hued landmass surrounded by aquamarine seas. I love this color mix and the way the program defined the continent's edges. But I'd have to draw my own mountains, roads, boundaries, rivers, and landmarks.

I also reloaded my old CC3 software and upgraded it for a modest fee. and by the end of the day, had only this to show. 
NotSoMuch!
Less is More ...


I'm returning to the drawing boards tomorrow--watch for revisions! Aaaand ... back to the beginning! :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unexpected Inspiration



Recently, my dear husband and I finally took a belated anniversary trip--only two years late--up into Colorado's mountains.

From my seat in the train
We planned to ride in a wonderfully restored 1890s coal-burning, narrow-gauge locomotive and check out the beautiful southern-Colorado landscapes, while I did some fact-checking on my 1890s manuscript, The Blessing. But plans often go astray, so why should our mini-vacation plans go smoothly?

We arrived at our hotel and checked in, only to realize that our train reservations weren't for the next morning, but two mornings away. We're on a budget, so we debated. Should we return home and drive up again tomorrow? Or should we toss aside our budget for once and spend an extra night in the mountains?

Of course, we were sensible. We booked an extra night in the mountains at an eclectic, creaky old hotel (an adventure all by itself) then took a deep breath of mountain air and made uncharacteristically light-headed plans.

Fresh deer tracks
We headed for the nearest scenic destination: Colorado's famous Sand Dunes. Real dunes, with altitude. And my idea, because there are no beaches in land-locked Colorado, and I NEED occasional doses of water running over sand. This day's therapeutic dose of water-and-sand goodness came with a few Colorado touches.




(Ignore my previously broken toes and check out those fresh deer tracks--woo-hoo!)

As well as inspiration for new writing adventures.

Below flood level. For now.



Within yards of the deer's hoof-prints, I found a rushing mountain-dune stream that carried my imagination straight into future books! A hunting blind ... for hungry travelers. A river escape for fugitives in a wilderness.

So many possibilities ....

Time to write!



Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Brewing Up New Ideas

Calming? Not exactly.

NOTE: Don't be deceived by the tranquil pink tea in my cup. It's Angel Falls Mist tea, which inspired the revered tisane Serena brewed just before her epic clash with *unnamed villain* in Queen

[Post Begins]
This evening, I completed the first draft of book one in The Forsaken Empire series. Finally! Celebrate with me!

It's been an unexpectedly tough write--one of my longest ever--and I'm counting on considerable trimming and polishing during my second draft. The manuscript currently measures a hefty 133,358 words. Yes, it's a new personal record that deserves to be shaved down to a manageable size.But I'm pausing for tea and a day off.

To allow ideas to brew.

Not only do I need to think through the cuts and revisions I've been pondering, but I need to consider a possible prequel novella that sneaked into my dreams just before I woke up two days ago.

Do I seriously want to take on a novella in the midst of a new series? Would you?
 
Hence the tea and a day off.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Forsaken Empire Origins

Recently, I was searching for copies of my original files for The Genesis Trilogy (see previous posts) when I came across copies of my first book, my apprenticeship book, laboriously stored on 3.5-inch "floppy" disks. Who remembers those compact floppies and the original floppies? Ancient history, right?

Deservedly so.
Forsaken Empire Origins

Four 3.5 compact disks held my single precious manuscript in backup, just in case our PC crashed and offered only the heart-stopping blue screen of writing death. Actually, I might be guilty of using as many as 12 disks to back up my massive tome. Excessive? Perhaps. However, because my research involved reading more than 300 books I'd either purchased or borrowed from the regional library when the fledgling worldwideweb couldn't provide answers to my authorly questions concerning all things medieval, the prospect of losing my work induced nightmares.

Nowadays, my nightmares involve storing info in The Cloud (aren't thunderstorms possible?) as well as emails and random thumb drives--all more convenient than my vintage 3.5 compact disks. Even so, these 3.5 inch babies make me smile. After all, they hold the framework for my current Forsaken Empire series. Thankfully, I've managed to protect my PC's files for more than two decades, because .... I no longer have a computer capable of reading these shiny little disks.

Does anyone still use these?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Genesis Trilogy Ebooks now available!


At last! The Genesis Trilogy is updated, re-edited, and officially re-released under new covers! I feel as if I've welcomed kids home after they've taken a long journey--and what a journey it's been. 

The Genesis Flood

The Heavens Before, He Who Lifts the Skies, and A Crown in the Stars have been translated and published in Dutch, Thai, Ukrainian and Romanian, as well as large-print, far exceeding my hope and prayers. 
Nimrod (Nimr-Rada)


Currently, the new covers are available only in ebook format, but I'm working on paperback versions and hope to release audio versions within a year--as time/tech issues/budget allows. The ebooks are available through Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Amazon, Scribd, and other sellers.

The Tower of Babel
It was a joy and a privilege to have Moody Publishers sign on for these books fifteen years ago, and it's a delight to re-introduce the second editions now. 

Thank you, dear readers for loving and recommending the trilogy to others. 

I'm blessed to share this amazing publishing journey with you. 

Kacy (and R. J.)
 







Monday, May 01, 2017

Genesis Trilogy Publishing News

As many of you know, I write fiction under my own name, Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, and my (most likely) better-known pen name, R. J. Larson.

Bear with me, R. J. Larson readers--I'm stepping into Kacy-mode to share some news.Moody Publishers has returned rights to me for The Genesis Trilogy, which includes The Heavens Before, He Who Lifts the Skies, and a Crown in the Stars.

What does this mean? Well, it's the publishing world's version of having your kids return home after a LONG and fascinating journey. They show up at the door with a ton of laundry, expecting to relax. Being a mom, however, I'm encouraging them to keep their work ethics in shape, and to tackle that laundry!.

The Heavens Before, 1st edition
Because reversion of rights from publishers rarely includes the right to use the books' original cover designs, I'm currently designing my own. In other words, over the next few months, I'll be sending my bookbabies out again, repackaged and re-proofread. They'll look a bit different, but still pay homage to their first editions in style and storyline:

 For example, here is the original version of The Heavens Before, a novel inspired by The Genesis Flood:


Below, is the new cover for the revised/repackaged edition:
I'm encouraged--the Blogger program evidently realizes this is the same book; it just attempted to merge the covers' captions together.





The Heavens Before, 2nd edition






Are they similar enough to avoid confusion?
Dear Readers, what do you think?

Blessings, Kacy/R. J.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Keeping Secrets From Characters




 Ancient verses hold links to their own pasts.



While writing Legends of the Forsaken Empire, book 1, I've realized that I'm keeping secrets from my characters.

The mysterious, dangerous manuscript they've translated holds hints, links to their families' pasts, and their own spiritual heritage.

My characters haven't a clue.


Ela and Scythe, from Natalie B.
Their world's Dark Ages and the chaos following the empire's collapse has completely obscured all knowledge of the wondrous lands and creatures their ancestors took for granted.


Readers of the Infinite series will open Book One and within the first chapter, they'll know long-vanished secrets pertaining to my new characters' heritage.

Should the secrets remain hidden? 

 

Being a history fanatic, I've often wondered which ancient events from my research books were witnessed by my ancestors.

I haven't a clue.

Should my characters learn about their ancestors' lives?

Or should I take a page from real life and allow them to face events armed with their own resources and whispers of the past hidden within their own dna?

Who knows?  

     

I'm trying to decide.
Somehow, allowing readers of the Infinite series to open book one and chance upon clues, granting them knowledge about my characters is appealing.

Time will tell. ;)




Blessings,

R. J.