Saturday, March 31, 2012

Popular Highlights: Twist

Popular Highlights for "Twist" just went up. It takes the most popular lines that readers highlight in the book and displays them. I think it's interesting to see which parts readers enjoy, since I always have my own personal preferences. Amazon always takes forever to post these, but I love seeing them.



Just because a flower will fade, does not mean we should neglect its beauty.”
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users

“Fate brought us together for a reason; there are no accidents. Everything that happens in our lives leads us to a greater destiny, even if we don’t always understand the purpose."
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users


“Self-doubt is a persuasive mistress; careful not to shag her or you’ll never get your balls back."
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

“There’s a difference between fighting a man who’s pointing a gun at you, and fighting with a gun against your head.”
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users


"Your arms will tire of holding that grudge,” he said, rising to his feet. “Find something better to hold.”
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

Justus was karma in a pair of combat boots.
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

“I am announcing my intent to court Silver.”
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

The events in our lives mark us, carve away the edges, and determine our shape as a sculpture to an artist.
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

“Marco, my friend doesn’t like you very much. State your business, and I suggest you do it quickly before he gets manimal on your ass.”
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

A torch lit behind those eyes, burning bright as he leaned in and whispered softly beside my ear. “Sweet little raven, dusted in sugar—I will possess your heart.”
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

Tips for Writing

I've seen serious lists, and I could make a serious list, but I wanted to have a little fun with this.


1. When you walk back to your PC after you have heated up your dinner and noticed that it rebooted all by itself - don't panic. Chances are you didn't save your last edit before you got up. No biggie, just rewrite that entire chapter over again from memory!

2. When spraying a can of air like Endust in your keyboard and liquid shoots and and you hear something crackling, it's nothing to worry about.

3. Who needs to save copies on a flash drive, other PC, or an online storage site? Your computer will never ever break down.

4. Your keyboard can not only serve as a Chia Pet - storing cat hair in large quantities - but also a depository for potato chip crumbs. Nah, these won't hurt it. If the spacebar gets stuck, just bang on it.

5. There is a setting on your PC for adjusting how fast your cursor blinks. Sync it up with your heartbeat, because if you aren't typing any letters on that screen, you might as well make sure that your still alive.

6. Idioms? Who needs to look up the meaning. I know what it means! I know how to spell it! And if you think you can sit there and suggest that I don't know what I'm talking about, then you have another thinG coming.

7. Tears of lament for two hours wasted watching "Dancing with the Stars" while trying to write a chapter can be used to wipe the dirt off of your screen.

8. Make sure to use a lot of hippy dippy cool slang. Because your on the down low with the x generation and know what teens foshizzle want to scope with their peepers. You know how to use the slang - you're a pro! You hear it all the time on 80's movies. Rad slang never gets old.

9. There's no need to organize your thoughts on Word or Excel, or other software. You can jot down every bleeding thought on a post-it note (Front and back!). Writing is so much easier when your entire desk or table is covered with them. Plus you can make little paper airplanes when you're done.

10. Write your entire story in all caps. It will make everything you say seem more important.



Have a great weekend everyone - lots of smiles and reading! I'm taking breaks between drafting, reading, and running errands. If anyone thought the "Hunger Games" was worth checking out (who read the books), drop me a note and let me know!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Here is how it all went down

I'm in such a strange mood today I don't even know where to begin. When I write, I usually formulate ideas from events that have happened in the book and think them out. It's not rocket science, I just let the story weave it's way through my mind until something feels right. I don't have dreams like Stephanie Meyers, nor do I get all my ideas from movies, songs, or other sources. It just plays itself out in my head.

So this is where it gets weird. I'm sitting at work, focusing on a project at hand so I can wrap it up before leaving. In my head I swear - hand to God - I hear the words "She falls to her knees". I could see a character and scene in my head, but couldn't figure out where the heck that came from. So I jotted down a couple of things on a sticky pad and went back to work.

Except questions started forming. Why did she fall? Who came to help her? What is happening?

By the time I got in my car, I was writing up a storm. Naturally, I hit every green light so my writing looks like someone tied a pen to a chicken's foot. Each time I'd throw the paper down, another idea came. Next thing I knew, I'm ripping away pages of notebook paper with this whole concept written out. At one point I shouted, "Gods!" when I thought I could at least order a burrito in the drive through without having to jot another item down on the side.

And that's why there now has to be a book five.

Sigh. I could see the series extending another book, but there's no way things are going to wrap up in book four which is going to need some major work now. It could go into the scrap pile of ideas, but I had to wonder why I was so damn excited scribbling all this down. All from a phrase. Now obviously that means my hamster wheel that does the creative thinking is working non stop all the time and no matter what I'm doing at any time of day, when the hamster stops, the idea will pop in my head. Probably the same as when you're trying to think of someone's name and you wake up at 3am and remember it.

I also bought lottery tickets. The Jackpot is up to $640 million. That's almost a billion dollars, people. I told everyone at work if I'm not there Monday, don't shed a tear for me. But guess what? If I won the lottery and didn't have to work, I would be writing all day long. Finally, I would have my financial situation, future, and medical insurance taken care of and I could focus on what I love to do in life. Maybe then I could own a car that doesn't have the driver's side window get stuck when it rolls down, or live in a home where I don't have to hear my neighbors beating each other through the thin walls, or not hesitate about going to a doctor when I need to because I dread the out of pocket expense.

Although I'm not sure who I'm kidding, as my friends insist if I won that much money I'd still be driving my POS car until the wheels fell off.

They're probably right.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Logan

I know some readers want to connect characters from books to actors or models. I don't really do this myself except for a couple of books where I've gotten so into the series that I have strong images in my head of who that person *could* be. The bottom line is: everyone will envision who they want, and that's great! I thought I'd bring this up because at least three people suggested Chris Hemsworth.

Not really who I envision as Logan, but then I am particular about how I see characters in my head so I haven't made any connections to actors or models. But, I stumbled across this pic today. He is a cutie


It also reminds me that I really want to see the Snow White and the Huntsman movie coming out, along with Hunger Games once the crowds die down on that. I'm hoping for a better year at the box office this year because it seems like there hadn't been that many movies in the past few years that captured my interest enough to pay for the ticket price.




Fingers crossed it's worth seeing.

And I should say that I managed to get quite a lot of reading done on Saturday night, thanks to my boss. I was required to go to work for only an hour at about 7pm, but things got delayed and I was there until 11pm. Not really my idea of a Saturday night, especially in a spooky building where the lights kept shutting off and I had to walk myself out to a dark parking garage without escort. However, I kept myself busy during the downtime by reading, and managed to plow through a quarter of a book in a couple of hours. It felt great, to tell the truth. Nothing to distract me.

I would also like to thank my friend for sending me magnetic bookmarks. They are the best thing since sliced bread. You just clip them at the top of the page and it never slides out.

Be afraid

The first draft of the Mageri series book three is already 101,000 words. Be afraid, be very afraid.  I did say that I wasn't going to hold onto a number if I felt nothing could be cut. Then again, I always start off big, trim down, and on the last few edits, bulk it up. I have no idea where this one will end up.

There is no time frame as to when this book will be complete. I'm playing it by ear. So if you wandered on this page from the internet, please, please bookmark or follow this site, or "like" me on Facebook to stay informed of any updates.

PS: Book three is not called "Kiss me, little raven."

LOL Those of you who read Twist might know what I'm referencing. ;-) I saw it floating around somewhere so I wanted to be sure that wasn't a rumor going about. It is untitled at this time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ready to begin drafting soon

I finally managed to go through the series and do some extensive note taking, since there will be a few modifications that could impact the fourth book. While I have everything documented in Ywriter, I'm a fan of paper. I know, it kills trees. But I really need something in front of me to scribble on and work things out. I documented the key points of the series, book 3 and 4, and for fun - created bios.
Sorry the picture is blurry...hehe.

I also learned how much I despise modern technology. My printer refused to print black and white pages because I was out of light magenta. Really? There's no way to bypass having no ink in a random color I have no intention of using? So I went to the electronics store and picked up the cartridge, and when I got home and ran it through, my printer decided it wanted some cyan while I was at it.

I managed to print everything without cyan, because it was only running low - like every other color. At some point I'm going to have to refill all of them. I miss the old days with a simple black cartridge. Maybe I just need to upgrade.

Maybe I just need to hurl it off of my balcony.

I've been very busy and not online as much the past week or so. I'd love to get started on drafting out book three tonight, but unfortunately my job called me in. So instead, I'll be sitting on a high floor in an empty office building, with no guards to escort me to the leveled parking garage after dark when I go home, because my manager has decided that putting my life in peril is worth signing off on their project.

That's okay. I've always done what I needed to in life to get the job done; it's not the end of the world. Sometimes we have to endure the things we dislike so that we can enjoy the things we love. I'm also going to take my Kindle, because a kind elf decide that Santa lacked compassion this year by stuffing my stocking with coal, and made a special trip so that I could enter the age of modern technology. Hoorah! No more reading books on the PC Kindle app. :)

I think it's great because it's going to allow me more opportunity to catch up on some of my reading, simply because I hate hauling paperbacks around and it's something you can do while standing in line or sitting in traffic. I will purchase and love my real books, but e-readers really give you more flexibility as a reader.

Thank you to those who continue to write me, and tell me you've read the book more than once. That's the coolest thing! I try to respond to all e-mails, but I may not have the chance given my current scheduling.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Literal Addiction Interview & Contest

Check out the interview on Literal Addiction and Book Monster Reviews, and enter for a chance to win a copy of "Sterling" (If you don't already have one tucked away on your Kindle) I have to say the interviews are a lot of fun and I love some of the questions asked that give me an opportunity to provide details on certain aspects of writing or the story itself. This site always has a great lineup of author interviews and contests, so be sure to bookmark them.

I'm close to finishing the first read of my third book and I'm feeling that sense of "egads!" There are a few changes I want to make and I'm not sure of how a couple of chapter swaps are going to work in the timeline, or if they're necessary. I need to mull them over.

If you visit my Facebook page, you're going to think I have a cover problem. I designed several of them today at my bar counter top and decided to switch out Justus. I know, I just put him up, too! But I'll be switching back and forth, just to keep it interesting. Right now, Adam is up. So check it out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Timeline

Well, Facebook is forcing me over to the new timeline. I'm not happy, but I've switched over. If you read this blog, hop on over to my facebook page. I decided that I'm going to try and make some lemonade out of those lemons. Every so often, I'll have a "Character in Profile" cover image. Currently, it's Justus. So check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannika-Dark-official/148451945238628?ref=ts

Fact Friday

Yes, it's a fact - it's Friday! Unfortunately I had to call in work today because I'm feeling under the weather, but that will allow me to get some reading done on Mageri: Book 3 to take my notes. If my real job would hook me up with working at home on the computer, I'd probably do it. I'm no stranger to that as I used to work at home for many years operating a company. Of course, the advantage of working in an office is being able to leave it.

Every so often I try to think of fun facts about the book series or writing to share. It gets hard to remember what I've already posted! Some of these are based on questions I've received. But here's a few.

Models of my characters are near impossible. I have an image in my head, and I understand that each reader does as well. We all  see characters the way we want to. I have to say out of all my looking around, this was one model that looked very close to how I see Novis. He's physically young but ancient, and yet tries to look modern with his hairstyle. This cut isn't exactly how i see it, but he could be close. I think the broad mouth sells it for me with those eyes, as the slim physique. His name is not pronounced as "novice", but No-Vis. :)


LOGAN - From the looks of the poll so far, you guys really like him. This character was almost a Vampire, believe it or not. I had another idea for a unique character, and I was hesitant about introducing brand new Breeds into the story, but took a chance with him. It meant reinventing a name for his species, and while those text to audio may pronounce it as 'ki-tah', it's pronounced like the animal. He didn't have the personality of a vampire, anyhow. He might have been insulted.

GHUARDIAN - The word came about when I needed something unique to use for this particular position. You'll notice I use capitalization for some words that I want to stand out as having a unique meaning. A Ghuardian is similar to a guardian, but the word is a Mage word. Anytime the Mageri is concerned, different rules apply. It was a no-brainer for me, actually, and you can thank my ex boyfriend. He was into those interactive online games where you walk around a vast land and acquire skills and fight other players, and it was the handle he used. I had to laugh at how serious he got about the whole affair, and the things they would type to each other. I kept saying, "You're a grown man playing a video game and asking someone if they can sell you some potions." But, we all have our forms of escapism, so you can't really knock it.

HELL - The scene with Eli was re-written entirely. Initially it was a lot more graphic and I felt it was unnecessary. I wanted to give a little more insight to how a Sensor lives and does business, so it was a created opportunity. Each Breed has found a niche in their world, and they all play by different rules. The idea of the bartering system became an interesting concept to me, because many of these immortals have acquired money over the years, so often it's a turn of a favor that proves more valuable than a coin. The scene I think also served as a test and a lesson to Silver about what she's willing to sacrifice for her pursuit.

I like to see the series as a growth of character for not only Silver, but others as well. In real life, we all have our stubborn ways, and things from our past have shaped who we have become and how we behave and treat others.No one is perfect, and we are the worst at judging others. It is interacting with new people and situations that changes our perceptions, and helps us grow as an individual. So you may see a slow evolution with the characters, because each of them has influenced and changed one another with their friendship/relationship.

ROUND 3
As you know, I've been doing my first read through of Mageri: Book 3. I wrote these books few years back, and in the process of publication, I'm rediscovering them with fresh eyes. During this first read, I've been expanding on scenes. That has so far bumped the word count from about 92K to 99K. I've seen quite a few people comment about how the books seemed like a quick read, and that's actually a fairly decent size book, so I'm not going to get hung up on size.

Don't go there.

Here's an example of the range of a series:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 76,944 words
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - 85,141 words
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - 107,253 words
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 190,637 words
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - 257,045 words
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 168,923
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Approximately 198,227

 Started out a fairly short book but a whopping 257K on Phoenix? Wow! I'm thinking if readers are invested enough, and the scenes are relevant and not just filler, then this is all that matters. While I've kept myself in the 90,000 ballpark, if I top over 100 and have nothing left to edit out, then I'm going for it.


I've already been seeing questions about a timeline for book three. Sorry, I don't have one. I play it by ear depending on how the drafting and editing process goes. I'd like to target summer, but it will depend on a number of variables. Before, I ran into a snag with editing, and had to patiently wait in line for several weeks longer than I anticipated. Given many authors release dates are stretched apart a year, I don't think waiting until summer or fall is a big sweat. I'm not just a writer, but I'm a reader, so I need to be able to squeeze my reading time in with the writing. Have pity!

Also, excuse the slight modifications on the blog. I'm testing post backgrounds out to find out what works easiest on the eyes. While the muted grey was aesthetically pleasing, with the white text it made my eyes burn. Of course, it could just be me, but I'm going to try out the lighter color for a while.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview and Giveaway

Stop by Claire's book corner to check out our interview! If you know someone who might like a chance to win a free copy of "Sterling", you can submit your entry at the bottom of the interview. You have six days....Claire was such a nice hostess!


http://clairesbookcorner.blogspot.com/2012/03/interview-and-giveaway-with-dannika.html?spref=tw






I'm really excited to report that "Twist" is now the #1 title in it's genre in the UK!

This is really awesome! It's funny when you look out there and notice reviews on the foreign Amazon sites that you can't read because they're in another language. I found myself in that position again when I received a German review, but a very kind woman gave me the translation.

Oddly enough, the one thing I've been looking forward to is "Popular Highlights". I think it took a month or more for them to show up for "Sterling", so I don't know what kind of delay Amazon has in reporting those. For those who don't know, go to your favorite books on Amazon and scroll towards the bottom and you'll see the most popular highlighted passages by readers. I've mentioned this before because I love reading lines from my favorite books I had forgotten about.

Somehow I've managed to progress really far in my reading of book 3. There's a lot going on!

This morning when I left for work, I thought to myself that if "To Kill a Mockingbird" were an instruction manual - I would buy it. I had about an hour of sleep last night off and on because a Mockingbird has taken up residence outside my window in a tree. In fact, I can hear him right now. He chirps non-stop all night. At one point, even my cat sat up in the bed and looked at me like, "Are you going to take care of that, or am I?" So I'm looking into buying a fake owl, or something. A coworker suggested a rubber snake, but I'm liable to get reported to the landlords by some nervy neighbor if I hang one of those over my balcony. On a warm summer day, they're a beautiful thing to listen to. But after 9 straight hours, the novelty usually wears off.
I found this video on youtube and had to laugh at the opening. I can so relate to this guy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNNX3f3_svo&feature=related

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Poll for Twist Readers

For those of you who read "Twist", a new poll is up on the blog, so check it out.


Here are the results from the "Sterling" poll (We'll see how they compare!)


I'm actually on the first read through of book 3, and have reached Chapter 22. I had to do some minor rewrites, but the drafting won't begin until I've taken down some notes and assembled my thoughts.

Does anybody else hate this whole Daylight Savings thing? I don't remember getting the vote when they decided to extend it even longer during the year. I actually grew up in places that did not have daylight savings, so it CAN work. I don't believe it helps reducing energy usage, because if you're up early in the morning and it's still dark, you're turning on all the nights anyhow. I think sometimes people are afraid to break habits.

Well, if we just sprang forward, does that mean I time traveled to the future one hour?

Friday, March 9, 2012

What a day. Seriously.

This morning, I woke up bright and early at 5am so I could get an early start at the DMV/DPS to get my driver's license renewed. When I got there, in a thin leather jacket and jeans, I saw that the line was out the door and wrapped around the building.

(insert silent scream here)

I waited in the car watching the line and it wasn't moving, but I had to suck it up and get it over with, because my birthday is tomorrow and I'm all out of time. Suffice it to say that styling my hair this morning was a waste of time. It was 41F with a wind chill in the 30's and the wind was BITING cold. I stood there, pressed against the edge of the building getting blasted by northern winds. They were only letting us inside in groups, and while there was a lot of room in there and an entire room of empty chairs, they still felt we needed to be severely punished. I finally got to the door, and the trooper said "Get back outside".
"But sir, there's room for me to stand here," I offered, staring at the end of the line where at least three more people could fit.
"I don't care. Get outside."

The man behind me grumbled, a woman was on her phone hollering at someone trying to get a supervisor, and I was shaking so bad I couldn't feel my extremities. Fifteen minutes I might have endured, but this went on for an hour.

Needless to say, my license photo is horrendous. I look pale, cold, and pissed.

After that was a trip to the dentist. I decided to put off my taxes, since I've squeezed enough punishment into one day. The great part about the day was when I came home, I had a wonderful box on the patio waiting for me. It was a birthday present from a friend, and exactly what I wanted.

I have a lot of work to do with the next two books. I call the first draft: "The idea". That's the very first go at writing the book where you have the main plot down. A book can change dramatically from the first to the 8th draft, and of course it may not take that many, but it's contingent on how well the story works. I refuse to publish anything unless I'm 100% happy with it. I can't let everyone's expectations cloud the vision I have for the characters and story; as I've said before, there's no way to please everyone. I can only hope that readers continue to love the characters enough that they want to see what's next for them. I feel like an author offers a reader a roller coaster ride. You have no idea when you buckle in what you might be in for - the ups, downs, the unexpected turns, the stomach turning drops, and jubilant highs. I'm not doing everything entirely traditional with this series, as some of you may have noticed. It's not a traditional UF, and I do mix 1st and third person in because it gives me a chance to circle around to other perspectives or stories. I feel like writing the series I've taken chances, but ultimately I can only write what's in my heart and head, and in doing that...I will always be happy with the story I created.

So, I will need to read through book three and four to see where I want to bend and shape the story. I decided I want to start tonight. Once I start the actual drafting, I'll let everyone know. But give me time to shape this clay into something. First, I need to look at it. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Timeline for book Three?

I've been thinking a lot about when I want to start the next project: Book 3 of the Mageri series. It's already written, but requires several drafts and reads prior to editing. Essentially - that's numerous rewrites. The first part of this process requires me reading the book all the way through and taking notes. I use a great program called Ywriter and it helps me organize the chapters and summarize them, but I still need to go through it with a fine tooth comb. I have to heavily consider cuts and what I want to expand on or change.

Anyhow, I've been enjoying the free time I have since publishing "Twist",because finding time to read while writing is challenging. With that thought in mind, it seems that I will have to break down and purchase a real life Kindle. I do have the Kindle app on my PC, but I need something portable that I can read at work and in the car. Honestly, I don't like having paper books sitting on my desk.

The next weekend I'll be busy as its my birthday, but I think after that I'm going to start with the first read through for book three of the Mageri series. There's a lot of work to be done on it, so I hope that you continue to follow my blog or facebook page so that you can stay up to date on the progress.

I'd love to actually start on Friday since I have the day off, but I have a dentist appointment and a trip to the DMV and possibly the tax office. So naturally, the universe decided to combine my three most favorite things into one joyous occasion. I do have a scheduled vacation coming up at the end of April, so I think in addition to goofing off during that time, I'll also be doing a lot of work. It's hard to find a work life balance when you have two jobs!


I just finished "Cry Wolf" by Patricia Briggs, and am currently reading the Darkest Passion, in order to catch up with this series! (Book image to left)

Yes, I read all kinds of fiction. In fact, it was either this or "Winter's Bone", but I decided since this book had a new release I wanted to get it it quickly!











TWIST is doing pretty great!

US charts:
#14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary
#17 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary
#51 in Books > Romance > Fantasy & Futuristic

UK charts:
#2 in Books > Fantasy > Contemporary
#2 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary
#5 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Paranormal

The market is more competitive in the U.S., so those are really fantastic numbers. I had a surreal moment last week or so when I was right on top of Stephen King. That'll never happen again, but it was like virtually brushing shoulders with a God...praying you don't get struck by lightning for enjoying it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to dig through my kitchen and cook up something with zero nutritional content.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Twist & Other thoughts

I put up a couple of quotes on Goodreads, but I'm more of a fan of readers selecting favorite quotes. This is why I'm anxious to view the "Popular highlights" feature on Amazon once it appears. Because the book is a new release, it takes a while for it to show up on all the searches and lists. Did I mention how thrilled I am that the initial response has been positive? Not just from reviews, but the e-mails and personal messages I've received have been awesome.

Something I do want to mention: Often when I read books, I sigh a little because I feel like I never get to know a little more about other characters. Personally, I don't like writing novellas. My main story revolves around Silver, but I hate ignoring other stories that need to be told. That's all that I'll say about that. :)

Currently I'm reading "Cry Wolf". I've taken a little longer than usual, but I had a busy week at work, so I'm going to finish it up this weekend. I started "Greywalker", but I wasn't in the mood. I'm strange that way; I usually read certain books based on the reading mood I'm in. So I'll tuck it away for later, but I think right now I'm searching for a little adventure with a splash of romance.

I think if you haven't read Patricia Briggs, that you would enjoy the "Mercy Thompson" series (these are spinoff books).

On a side note, I have to laugh at this because a friend of mine thought readers might think I looked like a school teacher. I'm not sure what's wrong with that, because it shouldn't matter how an author looks, and I would hate to put off anyone because I didn't have the right outfit on. I've chosen to remain behind the scenes, at least for now, and let my books do all the talking. I did stick a picture on my "About Me" Page of the blog - but the only thing you're going to see is what I look like almost every day when I get home from work and start working on my writing. ;-) I'm just a regular person, with a job, a broke down car with a window that sticks, who just so happens to enjoy pouring my imagination into stories.

Stories I hope that you as a reader will enjoy.