Writing a Series with Kandi J Wyatt

Dragon's Winter, by Kandi J Wyatt

Dragon’s Winter, by Kandi J Wyatt

Writing a series seemed like a great next installment of my posts on writing. So when I heard that fantasy author Kandi J Wyatt was doing a blog tour for her new release, Dragon’s Winter, I jumped at the chance to have her do a guest post. As you’ll see, Kandi is a prolific writer of multiple series and has many ideas on how to develop these kinds of stories. And be sure to check out Dragon’s Winter below.


Writing a Series


Kandi J Wyatt


Writing a novel is hard, writing a series exponentially so. Yet, whether it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment or what, I’ve written multiple series. The Dragon Courage series now has seven books, Myth Coast Adventures has three and a half (a short story that goes with it), and Tilted Planet: The Monarchs (not yet published) has at least seven in the works.

How do you write a series? Well, let’s go back to a January day in 2010. I sat on my bed trying to write an epilogue for Dragon’s Future. My daughter chatted on the phone outside my door.

“Guess what! My mom’s writing a novel!” Pause. “Mom, Jasmine wants to know if it’s going to be a series.”

I glared at the screen. “Not if I can’t finish this one first!”

Needless to say, the story did get finished, and I went on to make it a series. It even was published, which at the time my daughter talked with Jasmine, wasn’t in the scope of my plans. To say the least, when the second book, Dragon’s Heir, was published, I dedicated it to Jasmine, claiming it was her fault.


So how do you go about writing a series? That really depends on the writer and the series. For the Dragon Courage series, I explored different characters throughout the series. It’s all set in the realm of Dragon Courage, but there’s not really any one character who’s the main one. In Tilted Planet: Monarchs, the first six books tell one complete story from three points of view. The final book will explore the first king of the realm. Although there are multiple ways of writing series, there are some helpful things you can do if a series is in your future.


First, you’ll want to pull out a sheet of paper, a document, or a spreadsheet. This will become your friend. Whichever method you choose, start keeping track of characters, plot points, places, and anything else you may need. Doing this will save you from searching through your written work trying to decide if that character had blond hair and blue eyes or was green-eyed and auburn. Trust me. Go grab your tracking sheet.

Another helpful idea is a spreadsheet for the series. Each column represents one of the books. Each row is a theme or plot element in a book. Trace across the sheet what is happening in each book. Yes, even a discovery writer can benefit from this. I used a basic version when writing the Tilted Planet: Monarchs series.

Leave yourself room to work. With the Dragon Courage series, I expanded the world with the first five books, exploring new areas of the world. With Tilted Planet, I’m planning on having multiple series within the larger world. This means besides the Monarchs, I’ll have multiple other areas of the history of the world to traverse.

Realize that every story has a multitude of possibilities. Even my trilogy—Myth Coast Adventures—has the prospect of exploding into more books because the third novel takes place in another world with many different mythical creatures. A whole new series could develop from that world of Shinwano. With Tilted Planet, it’s a planet with vast history—from before the cataclysm that knocked it from its normal axis, to the dystopia after the catastrophe, to the steampunk era as they’re regaining technology. I’ll be investigating all those story-lines.

Following characters can create series as well. The Dragon Courage series began with Ruskya and Duskya. By the end of Dragon’s Future, I knew I wanted to write Ardyn’s story, but that didn’t come until book 5! Between the first and fifth book, I told Braidyn, Kyn, Carryn and Duskya’s stories before finally coming to Ardyn’s. As you write, ask yourself who are the characters I want to know more about? Then discover their story and write it.


Whether you’re writing a series or a novel, there’s one advice that’s the same—write. Yep, no matter how much, little or large, write a bit every day. If you write 500 words a day for six days a week, you’ll write a 50,000 word novel in just over four months. That means you can have a trilogy in a year! See where this is going? Be consistent and guard your writing time. Dive into the world and explore. Who knows you may have the next Redwall or Percy Jackson hidden away in your head.

Dragon’s Winter Synopsis:

Mere’s continuing her apprenticeship in San Valencia, but when a strange illness affects everyone in the dragon colony including dragons, she’s forced to help a pregnant girl find safety.


Rescuing slaves is all in a day’s work for Jareem, until a new slaver in town takes exception to Jareem’s interference. Now, sick and with a wounded dragon, Jareem must free the slave and find Mere and the pregnant girl before the slaver.


The clock is ticking. The baby’s due any day, and the slaver’s persistent. Mere and Jareem must reach beyond who they believe themselves to be in order to bring the former slaves home in one piece.


Cover Designer: Savannah Jezowski of Dragonpen Designs



99cent pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HVWMTRR

Other books in the series:




Dragon Courage series

Dragon’s Future: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzpDq9

Dragon’s Heir: https://www.books2read.com/u/47YQE3

Dragon’s Revenge: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5qvGb

Dragon’s Cure: https://www.books2read.com/u/47kxJa

Dragon’s Posterity: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DA8og

Dragon’s Heritage: https://www.books2read.com/u/3neVN6




Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.


Where to find Kandi J Wyatt:


Website: http://kandijwyatt.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kandijwyatt/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt

Bookbub: https://bookbub.com/profile/kandi-j-wyatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/

Dragon's Winter, by Kandi J Wyatt

Dragon’s Winter, by Kandi J Wyatt

Kandi J Wyatt

Kandi J Wyatt


Writing Manuals and Reference Books for Writers

Writing Manuals and Reference Books for Writers


Writings manuals and reference books have been essential to my growth as a writer. So for part two of a series on writing, publishing, and book marketing, I thought I would share some of the books that have had the most influence on me, including the ones I still refer to often while working on a novel or short story. Let’s start with the writing manuals.


Writing Manuals


A Writer’s Gide to Fiction, by Elizabeth Lyon. My first six years as a writer, I was a pure pantser, using my intuition and artistic sense to guide plot and pacing, drawing heavily on unconscious processes. I wrote some creative stories that way. Problem was, when I submitted my first novel to agents, the feedback I got back was that theme, character, and plot did not all fit together harmoniously. They were right. To learn more how to fix that, I took a class from editor extraordinaire, Elizabeth Lyon. It changed the way I write, and her concepts are found in the above book. If you’re new to the craft, read it. You won’t be disappointed.


A Story is a Promise, by Bill Johnson. In both her book and her class, Elizabeth Lyon drew lessons from this book by Bill Johnson. It’s a real eye opener and gets to the core of how to unify plot, character, and theme. Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, you can still conceptualize your story through the story-is-a-promise lens. I have found it critical to helping me hone down to the essentials of my stories so that I don’t go astray. Alternatively, if I do go astray—because something new, surprising, or compelling appears before my eyes as I write—I can always revise the premise that unifies the story. It becomes a back and forth process with a satisfying result.


Characters Make You Story, by Maren Elwood. This is a classic writing manual, first published in 1942, and was also the first book on writing that I read. I devoured it. While the samples and writing style are dated, the concepts are eternal. She presents all the essential ways of showing a character’s character and how to set up conflicting motives to drive forward a plot. The only downside is that the tenets she presents about writing children’s fiction are out of step with the times.


Write Away, by Elizabeth George. My wife had the good fortune of taking a writing class from Elizabeth George, just as her career was taking off in the 80’s. She’s a master mystery writer with a profound understanding of human psychology and motives, and writes with a literary flair. Anyway, this book outlines her approach to writing fiction. I learned a lot of powerful ideas about setting, voice, and dialogue. I come back to it often. Really, she’s the one that inspired me to write.


The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition, by Christopher Volger. This is an essential guide for applying the Heroes Journey and archetypes to your plot and characters.


The First 50 Pages, by Jeff Gerke. Not sure if you’re hooking readers and building sympathy for your main character? This book spells out ways to accomplish your goal. I really like that he offers alternative approaches and empowers you to decide what works best for you as a writer or for the particular story you’re crafting. He also offers editing and consulting services to authors. If you looking for that, check out his website.


Writer’s Digest. Okay, it’s not a reference book, but you can find lots of great articles on any question you have about writing, marketing, searching for an agent, publishing, etc. I’ve got old editions of the magazine I’ve kept because of great articles, like ways to craft minor and walk-on characters. And what I don’t have, I can find on their website. They also have great services for authors, like query critique, synopsis critique, and manuscript evaluation. Check it out!


Reference Books


Grammatically Correct: The Essential Gide to Spelling, Style, Usage, Grammar, and Punctuation, by Anne Stilman. Confession: I suck at grammar. But over the last twenty years I’ve been bound and determined to master it. This book is filled with clear definitions and examples.


The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. The bible, and an obvious companion to the book above. Probably has more than you’ll ever need, but when you’re stuck, you can find the answers. It’s now in the 17th edition, but this one still serves. I let my editor keep up on the shifting terrain of style.


Daily Life in Medieval Times, by Frances and Joseph Gies. My fantasy stories are often set in worlds similar in social, economic, political, and technological ways to medieval Europe. This volume has been a big help, from food, to agriculture, to the organization of village life. You name it—you’ll find it.


Bricriu’s Feast, by Morgan Smith. An essential reference for fantasy writers creating worlds set in a medieval-like period. This quote from the back cover tells it all: “A thorough look at what the Irish of the early medieval period would have eaten,” including information on ingredients, cooking methods, farming, herbs, and beverages.


Edible Wild Plants, Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate, by John Kallas, PhD. Herbs and other edible wild plants often pop up in my stories, perhaps because I write about characters that need to survive under harsh conditions. This book has been invaluable.


Roget’s Thesaurus. Most writers feel these have limited value when you’re crafting a sentence. In general, I agree. But sometimes I discover words that might not occur to me otherwise. I’ve got an ancient edition I inherited from my mom. Which leads me to …


Use the Right Word, A Modern Guide to Synonyms, by S. I. Hayakawa. I avoided this for years because it was published by Reader’s Digest. Big mistake. Inside, you’ll find a cogent discussion of the subtle difference in meaning between related words. I don’t reach for it too often, but when I do, it’s really helped me write with precision.




From the moment writers pick up a pen, they embark on a journey of growth and development. The books above have helped to shape that process for me. I hope you find them useful!

Editing: What to Expect

Editing: What to Expect


Editing—some writers love it; some hate it. But you can’t be a serious writer without submitting your work to an expert pair of eyes. Probably several pairs. So, as the first part of series on writing, publishing, and book marketing, I thought I would bring in Emerald Barnes, an experienced editor, to give us the low down on this necessary, but often misunderstood, process.


Welcome Emerald! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an editor.


I started out my journey as an Indie author after receiving my B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing. I knew in high school that I wanted to be an author, but it wasn’t until about six years after I graduated did I realize that I wanted to be an editor as well.


Actually, I started out as a proofreader. I’d always been good at picking out and correcting people’s grammar mistakes, which was why I was a beta reader. But it hit me one day that I wanted to expand that into a business.


With the help of a friend, I started my proofreading business. As I began to proofread, I would notice more plot holes than simple grammar mistakes that needed to be fixed, so I’d take note of those for my clients, until eventually, I decided to expand my business into editing as well.


Why do you think editing is an important step before publication, and what do you think an editor can do for writers?


Editing is so important to the publishing process, and authors should never skip editing. Self-edits are helpful, but as the author, you’re simply too close to the book to be objective. An editor can help you see your mistakes and correct them—and with more than just grammar. We see holes in the plot and subplots, character flaws, sections of your book that have no purpose inside your book at all. An editor takes your brilliant idea and helps you develop it further. We help you polish your books.


As an editor, our main objective is to help the author bring an idea into the best possible version of their work as we possibly can. I know that, personally, I only want to see my clients succeed with their books. My goal is to help them publish a book that is entertaining and keep readers coming back for more from this author. If your writing isn’t up to par, readers know that, and it can lead to bad reviews. My objective is to keep my client from receiving bad reviews, especially on the editing/proofreading aspect of publication.


As an editor, I also feel like authors need to have a connection and trust in the editor, and we can provide that. I’ve become good friends with most of my clients, and you need that as an author, someone you can come to when you need advice or help.


What’s the difference between copyediting and content/developmental editing?


Copyediting usually comes after the content/developmental editing. Copyediting is making sure that the author’s work makes sense and that facts are actual. Copyeditors also help with grammar and spelling, but a proofreader is also someone who handles the grammar and spelling (after copyediting).


Content/developmental editing is the main form of edits. It’s when the editor first gets it right after you’ve written it. We see the worst of your writing to make it the best.


It’s where the editor reads through it and tells you what needs to be changed, added, or removed. It’s the point of the revisions where we tell you what works and what doesn’t. It’s probably the hardest part of editing because it’s not always what you want to hear about your own book, but it’s the process of content editing that helps your book become the best it can be.


What are the signs that a writer can benefit from a developmental edit?


If your book has significant plot holes or character flaws, you need a developmental edit. In fact, even if you don’t think your book has it, you still need one. It’s better to be safe than sorry.


If your characters do things that don’t make sense or if you see a mistake in your plot that would most likely need correcting, you need a developmental edit.


If you have any questions about your plot or story, you need a developmental edit.


If you’ve published your book but are getting reviews that say you would have benefited from a good edit, or maybe they say that you have a good story premise but would have done better to have someone read over it, then you need a developmental edit.


What should writers look for when selecting an editor?


When selecting an editor, look for someone who offers references and a sample edit. It’s important to know if you can trust that editor, and if the editor has references that can be trusted.


Sample edits also provide an idea of how the editor works, what s/he finds in a small section of your book can speak volumes, especially if you know something needs to be fixed in the sample.


Also, see if you can find them on social media, see what kind of person they are. It’s important to know who you’re working with, especially if you’ve never “met” them before.


What should writers steer away from when looking for an editor?


Personally, if you’re looking for an editor, you need to find someone who will be open and honest with you, someone who isn’t afraid to tell you what needs to be changed. If the editor cannot provide you with honest, in-depth feedback, they probably aren’t a good fit for you.


Always search for someone who goes in-depth. A simple “I like your book; there isn’t anything wrong,” isn’t what you need.


You need someone who has experience as well. Look for a list of books and/or references. I know some people are new to editing, but they need to be upfront with that as well. If a list of books and references isn’t provided, then ask for it.


Also, steer away from editors who don’t work with your genre. You need someone who has experience with your genre.


Do you recommend a proofreader after the editor is done?


Absolutely! An editor’s job is to correct your plot, characters, etc. And through all of that change and revision, mistakes are expected to be made, which means that you need someone who can catch new grammar mistakes. And, it doesn’t hurt to have as many eyes on a book as possible so nothing escapes notice before publication.


What’s your own approach to editing?


My own approach to editing is very similar to what I’ve discussed through the interview. I will read my clients’ books and get a baseline feel for the book and make comments as I read through it. I’ll take note of mistakes that need to be changed, any confusing parts, parts I don’t feel are necessary, and any character flaws I see along the way. Then, I’ll have my client correct those and return it to me for a second read through. I’ll read the book again, correct their revisions and see if any changes that need to be made escaped our eyes during the first round or see if the remaining parts of the story need to be corrected to mesh with the new revisions. Generally, I only do two read-throughs of a book, but I have done three before if the author and I felt it was necessary.

About Emerald Barnes:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

​She’s also addicted to TV and binge-watching shows, and she has an obsession with superheroes, Star Trek, LoTR, and baking/cooking competitions. When she’s not working, she’s binge-watching TV shows or trying (and failing) to be witty on social media.

Website: www.emeraldbarnes.us

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emeraldbarnes

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Barnes/e/B004PL38QS

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/emerald-barnes

Emerald Barnes, Author and Editor

Emerald Barnes, Author and Editor

Annie Douglass Lima Guest Post


About the Story:

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

More About the Story

Set in a world alarmingly like our own, The Collar and the Cavvarach is the story of fourteen-year-old Bensin, a slave, whose status is made obvious to everyone by the steel collar locked around his neck. A martial artist who competes to win money for his owner, Bensin fights in tournaments with a cavvarach. But his greatest battle is the struggle to protect his little sister from the horrors of legalized slavery in a world where slaves have few rights. Desperate to keep her safe, Bensin struggles to find a means – legal or otherwise – to arrange for her freedom.

(For a fun introduction to the story’s setting and its culture, including an explanation of how cavvara shil works, click here.) 

Sound Like a Book you Might Enjoy? 

Click the play button below to listen to the first 15 minutes of the story as narrated by Joseph Baltz.

Click here to go to the audiobook on Audible.
Click here to go to the audiobook on Amazon.
(Either way, try listening to the free sample to see what you think!)

Like to Read Along While You Listen? 

The Collar and the Cavvarach ebook is available for FREE from July 14-18. Grab your copy now!


Enter the Giveaway to Win a Bundle of Action and Adventure eBooks!

About the Author


Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima
LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn
Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates


Cerberus, Tales of Magic and Malice

Cerberus, Tales of Magic and Malice, by A. R. Silverberry


I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my short story collection, Cerberus, Tales of Magic and Malice. To celebrate, I’m giving away prizes! And the book, available for pre-order, will be on sale for $0.99 from now until a short time after it’s released. To enter the contest, just use the handy Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post, where you’ll also find the pre-order link. But first, about the book!


From Master Storyteller A. R. Silverberry

Nine Timeless Tales of Enchantment

Does Magic Exist? Discover the strange and curious events that unfold when …

  • A belligerent bailiff has his fortune told
  • A little girl searches for one last spell
  • A reclusive actress receives a mysterious knock on her door
  • An orphan fights to survive in the shadow of a menacing terror

Don’t stop there … a wizard, a friendless boy, a devil cat, and Shakespeare’s fairy queen lie within. From the boundless imagination of A. R. Silverberry, these irresistible tales conjure up a wondrous brew of MAGIC AND MALICE.

FEATURING SEVEN ALL-NEW STORIES: Cerberus, Tangles, The Willow Sister, Titania, Blaze, and The Mask

Pre-order from Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Creativity: Supercharge Your Writing, Part III

I made a startling discovery. Back in 2016 I had been about to send a manuscript off to my editor and was beginning to research potential agents to send it to. At the time, there were passages and little problem areas that I knew needed to be fixed, but try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Then tragedy struck and my cat was diagnosed with cancer. A C-scan and several thousand dollars later, the money earmarked for the edit was gone. The novel sat in my computer file gathering metaphorical dust for two years. About two months ago a little voice said, Look, it’s just sitting there. You might as well query it. Long story short, I pulled the manuscript out and began to go through it. To my surprise, those pesky sentences and problem areas were resolved fairly easily. Perhaps I’ve grown as a writer from 2016. I’m sure I have. But I think something else happened. There’s a process in creativity called incubation. It’s when projects or ideas lay fallow. Given time, solutions will come.

I have the tendency to get wedded to my words, the flow and sound of them. If anything changes in the rhythm of the sentences, it sends me into a panic. But with the passage of time, I was not so attached to what I had written, making it easier to kill my darlings and go for clarity.

Conclusion: writing can be improved by resting your work and coming back to it with fresh eyes. It doesn’t have to sit years. But give it a few weeks or months, whatever it takes to read it as a reader, not as the author. Your brainchild deserves the extra time and attention!

For more ideas on supercharging your writing, see Creativity: Supercharge Your Writing Part I and Creativity: Supercharge Your Writing Part II.

WYNDANO'S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

WYNDANO’S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

THE STREAM, by A. R. Silverberry

Unblock Writer’s Block

Unblock Writer’s Block

By A. R. Silverberry

I wrote this several years ago, and it remains one of my favorite posts. Time to re-publish it!

What is writer’s block, and what can you do about it? First off, the term writer’s block is too vague. It specifies symptoms but nothing about the cause. It’s like saying you’re suffering from soar throat, cough, and fever. But what’s the cause? A cold? Flu? Strep?

Same thing with writer’s block. All we can say is that the words are not flowing from brain to page. But why? Until you can answer that question, you won’t know how to get things flowing again.

Here’s a short list of some possible causes:

  • Procrastination
  • Fear of failure
  • A harsh critical inner critic
  • A lack of ideas
  • A lack of time and space
  • The story isn’t ripe
  • A combination of two or more of the above

Let’s look at each separately and see what the solutions might look like.

A Lack of Time and Space.

Suit up and show up! Commit to a regular writing schedule. Write in a regular place, which then becomes a trigger for your words to flow. This can be anywhere. I wrote my novel, Wyndano’s Cloak, while commuting on a train! If the goal of writing a quota of words stifles you (it does me), choose an amount of time you’ll write. When your time is up, no matter where you are, make a note of what you want to do next and stop. You’ll be itching to get back to it!


I don’t believe there’s a lazy gene. Ditto lazy people. There is only ineffective behavior. Personality is hard to change. Behavior isn’t. When people procrastinate, they often anticipate something will be hard or unpleasant. (Think about doing your taxes!) The problem is that we’re often poor predictors. When we’re procrastinating, we’re usually predicting the avoided task will be less fun than something else, or will be more difficult. Two things you can do to counter this:

  • Grandmother’s Rule: Eat your dinner before your desert. In other words, write first, no matter how it comes out, and then do the thing you would have done while procrastinating The second, preferred activity reinforces the first!
  • Test your assumptions; fill out an Anti-Procrastination Sheet. Space doesn’t allow me to describe it here, but you can find it in David Burns’ famous book, Feeling Good.

Ideas not Flowing.

Try speed writing, without consideration for what comes out. Try stream-of-consciousness writing, without consideration for punctuation. Here’s a favorite of mine: write in a different document, someplace away from what you’re working on, someplace that doesn’t matter. I do this in a journal, or in a document I call Sketchpad. My father—a screenwriter and playwright—did it on a paper bag or the margin of a used piece of paper. Once he came home with a poem on a napkin.

Another reason why ideas might not be flowing is there’s a lack of sufficient stimulation. Stock the idea pond. Go on what Julia Cameron calls an artist’s date (see her book, The Artist’s Way). You’ll be surprised how quickly your mind starts making connections between your story and what you’re seeing.

Ideas might not be flowing because you need something concrete as a starting point. I always have photos of my main characters and most of my settings to spur my imagination.

Stimulate your creativity. Challenge yourself to come up with twenty ideas, without judging them. Try merging these ideas, or vary them. Add something smaller. Add something bigger (think of chocolate chunks instead of chips in cookies or ice cream!). Close your eyes, open the dictionary at random, run your finger down the page, and stop. Brain storm how the word you’re on might relate to your story. I did this at a School Visit to a middle school class, with amazing results. It’s like being dropped in an unfamiliar part of town. You always find your way home! (Method and analogy courtesy of creativity pioneer, Edward De Bono.)

The story isn’t ripe.

Ideas might not be flowing because the story isn’t ripe. The characters may not be sufficiently developed. The theme may be unclear, or there are too many of them. The plot may be mired somewhere in the great unknown of the middle. Try developing these areas. If that fails, let it incubate. Work on another section, or set the whole thing aside and write something else. Some stories take years to ripen. Larry McMurtry took a vacation from Lonesome Dove to write Desert Rose!

Inner Critic.

The inner critic is one of the wettest blankets we can throw on our creativity. The critic is all left brain, and when you’re trying to be creative you need to be more in your right brain, drawing on your imagination and the pictures in your mind. Try talking back to the critic, but not harshly. An easy going, “Hi! I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to focus on this right now. I’ll get back to you later when I’m revising,” helps! As does mindfulness: “Those thoughts are just fish, swimming by in an aquarium, and no more significant. They’ll pass.” Humor helps: “Oh, pipe down you wascally wabbit!” said in the most Elmer Fuddish voice you can.

Fear of Failure.

Depending on the severity, fear of failure may be one of the more difficulty problems to tackle. Try writing down your fears. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, and if that thing happened, why would it be so bad? Ask yourself how likely that outcome is? Ask yourself what is the evidence for your fears, and what evidence you can think of to the contrary. Try replacing your fear thoughts with more realistic thoughts. How much do you believe the new thoughts? If you believe them, you should feel less fearful. If not, talk to a trusted friend or relative, and get some perspective. If all else fails, consider working with a therapist to help move you forward. It worked for Rachmaninofff. After seeing a hypnotist to overcome writer’s block, he penned his famous Second Piano Concerto, one of his greatest works!


You may notice other causes for writer’s block. Follow the steps above. Identify the root of the problem. Devise a solution. For most people though, simply sitting and starting will do the trick. Just write. Do it daily. The story is inside of you. Get out of its way and let it flow!

WYNDANO'S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

WYNDANO’S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

THE STREAM, by A. R. Silverberry

An Unexpected Exploit: Cover Reveal and Guest Post

An Unexpected Exploit, by Kandi J Wyatt

An Unexpected Exploit, by Kandi J Wyatt

Cover Reveal and Guest Post

An Unexpected Exploit

As an Indie author, I know how difficult it can be to find readers. That’s why I open up my blog for Cover Reveals, Guest Posts, and Excerpts from other indie authors. Today I bring you all three from fantasy author Kandi J Wyatt. People often ask writers where their ideas comes from. Read on as Kandi shares the poignant origins of An Unexpected Exploit.

Guest Post: Footprints Across the Sand and into a Book

By Kandi J Wyatt


Growing up in a Christian home in the early ‘80’s I saw the poem Footprints in the Sand repeatedly. It was on mugs, magnets, posters, calendars, and everywhere I looked in the Christian bookstores in our area. I fell in love with the poem. It was so awe inspiring to realize that during those dark times in my life, God had come alongside, picked me up and carried me. Not until later on in my adult life did I realize why it resonated with me so well. At the time, all I knew was I could relate to a loving father who picked up a small child and carried her in his arms.


One summer at church camp, we had a guest speaker. His name was Paul Powers. Paul wasn’t his original name. After he came to know Christ, he legally changed his name to Paul to show the transformation that had occurred in his heart. He said he had been like Saul before he met Jesus, and a name change was in order. I remember him as a very dynamic speaker for teens, but one night, he allowed his wife, Margaret, to speak.


She shared how when she’d first met Paul he was still struggling with trying to be the person he should be, and yet he asked her to marry him. As they stood on a lakeshore as a young couple, she wavered in her answer. What would life hold for her, especially, if he turned away from the Lord? In answer to her indecision, Paul scooped her up in his arms and began to carry her. He told how he’d be there for her through thick and thin.


Later, Margaret went home and wrote a poem about that moment. The paper was placed in a box in their attic and one day, their house was broken into. The thieves took their belongings, including the box with her poem. Life passed on, but one day she was in the store and saw her poem on an item! It stated, ‘author unknown’. She fought to receive the credit for her poem, but even to this day there is dispute over who wrote the poem.


As I sat last summer writing An Unexpected Exploit, I remembered Margaret and Paul’s story, at least subconsciously, and wrote something similar into the story. Franklin’s at his wit’s end, unable to keep running as he trains to be a keta-manisa. His trainer, Ladaku, physically picks him up and lifts him onto his shoulders and keeps jogging, while telling Franklin that when he can go no further, he needs to trust Sirjanakarta to help him. The scene is brief, yet potent and happens right before Franklin meets fairies for the first time.


I said earlier that I didn’t know why Footprints in the Sand resonated so well with me. That’s because when I was ten an event happened that I shoved into the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind and left there never to uncover again. Or so I thought. Nineteen years later, circumstances conspired to bring to light what I had suppressed, and I had to face the fact that I had been abused by a foster brother. Facing it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I wrestled with God, with why, and with how I could have lived a lie saying it hadn’t happened. Yet, through it all, I saw God work and truly carry me through it all—just like in the poem I loved so much.


Excerpt from An Unexpected Exploit

Author’s note: Ladaku is the creature on the cover and Franklin’s mentor, a sanraksaka, or as we would call him, bigfoot. Franklin has brought his friends, Will, Karis, Harley, Ana, and Agent Raleigh into Ladaku’s realm, Shinwano, when Franklin was supposed to have protected the realm. Ladaku has confronted Franklin about his actions. Franklin gives a partial answer, and this is Ladaku’s response.


Ladaku paused to consider that, rubbing his chin. “I do not think so, but Sirjanakarta’s ways are wiser than my own. I will trust him to direct us all.” As he spoke the words, his face cleared, and he called, “Now, run, Keta-manisa, run!” Ladaku slapped Franklin on the back and pushed him forward, on toward the sandy shore.

“Is this punishment?” Franklin called over his shoulder.

Ladaku’s laughter followed him along the shore. The sanraksaka had one wicked sense of humor; if only Franklin wasn’t on the receiving end of it. Before long, he had no energy left to consider any problem other than his sore legs. Why Ladaku insisted on having him run in the loose sand, Franklin had no idea, but it was enough to make a saint swear, and Franklin was no saint.

Huffing and panting, Franklin finally came to stop. “I- can’t- go- on.”

The sanraksaka’s large hands clasped around Franklin’s biceps and lifted him into the air.

“Wh—what?” His voice cracked.

“Hush, Keta-manisa.” Ladaku settled Franklin on his shoulder and stretched his stride into a jog. “There comes a time when every warrior must realize that he cannot do it all on his own. When he is at his lowest, and he calls out to Sirjanakarta, that is when Sirjanakarta steps in and carries the warrior. Keta-manisa, you have yet to learn this.”

Franklin pondered Ladaku’s words, but wondered more how the sanraksaka could run with his added weight and still speak normally. It wasn’t fair.

Synopsis: An Unexpected Exploit

Protect a mythical realm or his family?

Sixteen-year-old Franklin follows a Sasquatch through a portal to the realm of Shinwano and discovers a world full of mythical creatures he never expected to actually exist. Upon returning to Myrtle Beach, Oregon, he vows to protect the land, not realizing how difficult it will be to keep his promise, especially when a poacher, a NSA agent, and his friends are interested in the portal—and all for different reasons.


When the poacher threatens his family, Franklin must reconsider his vow to protect this new world to keep his family safe. The consequences of his decision reach further than just a rift in the space-time continuum.


Can Franklin live up to the trust placed on him and save this new world from an even greater danger?

Pre-order Gift!

Kandi J Wyatt has a special gift for anyone who pre-orders An Unexpected Exploit. To collect your gift, pre-order the ebook, snap a screenshot of your receipt, and fill out this form: http://bit.ly/preordergiveaway

Purchase links:

An Unexpected Exploit

Other books in the series:

An Unexpected Adventure: https://books2read.com/u/3yDLX6

An Unexpected Escapade: https://books2read.com/mythcoastadventures2



Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

Where to find Kandi:

Website: http://kandijwyatt.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kandijwyatt/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt

Bookbub: https://bookbub.com/profile/kandi-j-wyatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kandi-J-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/


Other books by Kandi J Wyatt:

Dragon Courage series

Dragon’s Future: https://www.books2read.com/u/bzpDq9

Dragon’s Heir: https://www.books2read.com/u/47YQE3

Dragon’s Revenge: https://www.books2read.com/u/b5qvGb

Dragon’s Cure: https://www.books2read.com/u/47kxJa

Dragon’s Posterity: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DA8og

Dragon’s Heritage: https://www.books2read.com/u/3neVN6


Middle Grade Fantasy:

Journey from Skioria: https://www.books2read.com/u/4AwJee


Biblical Retellings:

The One Who Sees Me: https://www.books2read.com/u/mdrRlb

To Save a Race: https://www.books2read.com/u/49PG5k

An Unexpected Exploit, by Kandi J Wyatt

An Unexpected Exploit, by Kandi J Wyatt

QueryTracker: A Must Tool for Querying Agents

QueryTracker: A Must Tool for Querying Agents

If you’re an author or illustrator and would like a literary agent to represent your work, there’s a fantastic software program that will really help you zero in on the right agents to approach. Five years ago when I was querying my second novel, The Stream, I wish I’d known about QueryTracker. I queried after doing painstaking research, looking for agents who handled Magical Realism. I had to organize all my information and tracked responses on a spread sheet I created. It wasn’t bad, but it was cumbersome, and I have since learned that there are many more agents I could have submitted to. Using QueryTracker to help me find agents for my latest novel, I’ve more than doubled the number of agents I’ve queried, and I had a tremendous amount of information about each agent at my fingertips. Below, I outline many of the key components you’ll find on QueryTracker.

What Does QueryTracker Cost?

While QueryTracker is free, I highly recommend paying the modest fee of $25 for the Premium membership, good for a year. When you query agents, you’ll need anywhere from three to six months for the first stage, submitting the query. Of course, if you’re asked for the full manuscript of your work, you may need another three to six months. Either way, a year membership is more than sufficient for a single project. In my case, I revised my manuscript after the first round (I explain why in my post, Query Rejection, What now?), so after a year, I purchased a second year. It’s well worth every penny.


But What Can Query Tracker Do?

QueryTracker is a powerful tool, offering a data base of over 1659 vetted agents. That means that the agents included meet the highest standards of their profession and follow professional guidelines, such as not charging a reading fee. But of the 1659 agents, who is the best for your project? That’s where the power of QueryTracker comes in. You can set up search criteria. For example, let’s say you want to find all the agents who handle science fiction and fantasy, QueryTracker will winnow away all those agents who don’t handle SSF and leave a list of those who do. But maybe your novel is young adult. Again, you can refine your list and take out all the agents who only handle adult titles. Other handy search criteria are agents who are not open for submission and agents in the US. When you’re done, you will have a targeted list of agents to begin researching. For my latest project, I ended up with about 129 agents.

The QueryTracker List

Let’s take a quick look at your list. Across the top, you see the following categories: Query Status, Agent, Agency, Query Age, Query Methods, Country, Comments, and Query Details. Most of these are self-explanatory. Query Age is handy, so you know how long your query submission has been out. Query Methods tells you the ways that agent/agency will accept submissions. Query Details includes lots of other info we’ll get into below.


My Query List



Researching Each Agent

Here’s where the fun starts. If you click on an agent on your list, a new window comes up with lots of useful links, such as they’re twitter handle, current clients, manuscript wish list, and agency website. In short, these are links that will help you research the agent to see if they are a good fit for your project. There’s even a place to keep notes about the agent, which I found incredibly useful. I usually noted things I liked about the agent and the agency, the kinds of books and genres she represented, what kind of deals she negotiated, etc. Based on my research, I was able to organize agents into separate folders. As I heard back from agents, I noted also what the result was and moved the agent into an appropriate folder.


Agent Information

Agent Research

Authors Helping Authors

Another useful feature is that QueryTracker keeps track of how long it took for agents to respond and what percentage of queries result in a manuscript request or signing an author. Further, users can post questions and comments, which can be incredibly useful. For example, I submitted to one agent using Query Manager (learn more in Managing Query Manager), but when I hit submit, the screen went gray and never came back to normal. I wasn’t sure if the query went through. I posted a question to the QueryTracker community following that agent. Another writer reported that the same thing happened to them, but confirmed that the query went through, as ultimately I found out mine did also. There’s good support from other writers here!

Is QueryTracker Hard To Use?

Query tracker provides excellent videos and Help menus for learning how to use the program, and I found that I was quickly able to come up to speed and get rolling making my lists, researching agents, and sending out queries.

In Conclusion!

I’ve only scratched the surface here for what QueryTracker can do. If you are serious about finding an agent, it’s an indispensable tool for researching, organizing, and tracking agents through the process, start to finish.

Happy Querying To You!

WYNDANO'S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

WYNDANO’S CLOAK, by A. R. Silverberry

A. R. Silverberry, Author of The Stream

A. R. Silverberry, Author of The Stream

THE STREAM, by A. R. Silverberry

THE STREAM, by A. R. Silverberry