Erin Ritch

Author, Mom, Founder of No Wyverns Publishing

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Category: writing (page 2 of 5)

“Myth” release date announcement…and e-book pre-orders open!

Myth ebook cover Flat

Cover illustration by the talented Char Houweling

I can’t believe this day is finally here but…my Young Adult Fantasy book “Myth” has a release date of 7.25.16!

Get your e-book pre-orders here!

If you know me and my writing, then you’ve probably heard me talk about this book at least a hundred times. What started as notebooks full of handwritten pages has turned into a novel. It’s traveled with me from Oregon to Vancouver B.C. (where those handwritten notebooks were almost stolen – thank you, nice Canadian thieves, for leaving them in my parent’s car), then to California (where I packed them with my valuables when we were almost evacuated from fires), then back to Oregon, tucked safe atop my bedroom dresser.

Where it sat. And sat. And the paperclips of notes between the pages grew rusty with age. It sat some more until one day I needed this story again. And those characters were still there, dutifully waiting in the place I had left them.

That was August of 2014. So I picked up where I left off, writing “Myth” while working full time. I’d write on my lunch breaks. I’d write after my toddler went to bed or on my days off. I don’t know how many ideas I’d repeat to myself over and over during my commute between home and work – don’t forget it, don’t forget it until you get home and jot it down. It went painfully slow but at least it went.

I was able to scramble one edit through the finished manuscript before taking it to a writer’s conference in August of 2015. I pitched it to several agents and editors, all who displayed interest. But then “Myth” had to sit and wait again. So it sat and sat, waiting for the response from those “interested” agents that eventually arrived, if at all.

Now it’s 2016 and this story is tired of sitting and waiting. When I started No Wyverns Publishing, I knew I’d have total creative control over “Myth.” And while that’s stellar, it’s also a lot of work. You need to get as much feedback as you can. You need to hire and seek out help from professionals. You need to edit and revise and edit again (then again. Oh, and again). It also helps to be married to a brilliant book format expert and all around problem-solving-genius.

But guess what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It takes a lot of patience to write a book. Unfortunately, I’ve had to say ‘no’ to some things and drag myself to the computer when I just wanted to go to bed instead of editing until 1 am. But through it all, I couldn’t put this story down and never tired of it and I hope readers feel the same way.

It’s going to be an exciting and busy summer and I have twenty emails to write about this announcement. But right now I’m going to sit back and reflect on how far this book has come. It’s survived theft and fire and age and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

So that’s the story of how “Myth” came about…but what’s the book about, you ask?

Shogun Saban dreams of becoming a woodsman like his grandfather; to fly between the trees and listen to their stories. But his father wants to keep him rooted on the ground and far away from his childhood friend, a girl of the sea named Madigan who can control the elements.

Beyond their little corner of the world, an evil has sprouted and is quietly spreading; corrupting its victims and marking them with eyes full of shadows. When it reaches their sleepy hometown of Shrunken Hollow, Shogun and Madigan search for the origin of the darkness – but the answer lies in an old myth about a place that only exists in dreams.

With the aid of the forest and the sea, Shogun and Madigan must unravel the myth before the darkness takes over their world – and themselves.

 Thanks to everyone that helped me with this book, got excited with me about this book, put up with my pickiness, waited while I “just need to finish this last paragraph,” or just offered a “that’s awesome!” We did it!

What does “No Wyverns” mean, anyway?

The last few days have been very productive – we’ve made some great updates to ErinRitch.com, including links to all the short fiction on this blog, info on upcoming events, etc. There are still more changes to come, I hope you go check it out! (FYI, “We” is actually my husband Nick. If not for him, I probably would not have a website. Okay, I wouldn’t at all.)

We’ve also added another page to this site – an “About” page.  I’ve been asked the question below a lot lately:

“So…your business name. What does it mean, anyway?”

Whether it’s at the bank, in a business meeting, or just a meetup with friends – I’m explaining it. And I can completely understand why, people are generally curious about the origin of names, anyway. But what people are really asking me is usually What the heck is a Wyvern?

Wyvern Definition

Does this help?

A long time ago (on January 20th, 2015) my very first post on this blog was titled “Nothing against Wyverns”. (Oh, baby blogger Erin!) I remember writing this blog post more than any other, because my husband reminded me Not everyone knows what a Wyvern is, you better write a post about it or something. 

NoWyverns.com was born due to ThereAreNoWyvernsInThisStory.com is just a tad wordy for a website name. (Ya think?) So what started as an inside joke between my husband and I has grown into almost 100 blog posts and a publishing company. Pretty. Freaking. Cool.

I wouldn’t change No Wyverns for anything. Besides, it’s a great conversation-starter about my writing and upcoming projects, even if I do have to spell out W-Y-V-E-R-N-S a few times. But really it’s because I so clearly remember that night on January 20th, 2015 where I took my first step in turning my writing into a career. And that step turned into a job change, more time with my family, books that were no longer “just on the horizon” but real, tangible things.

So when I’m asked What’s the significance of a Wyvern? Now you know the answer.

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Things I Love….Canva.com

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Social media is a big part of being a writer now-a-days – especially if you’re an indie publisher.

By incorporating images or graphics into your posts, it creates a “visual stop” for readers casually scrolling through Facebook or Twitter feeds. And every time someone stops to read your post, it could lead to a visit to your website, where you have a chance to introduce them to your writing.

I typically utilize my own photos or images that I find online which are allowed under Creative Commons. I always have some sort of image connected to each blog post, at this point it just feels weird not to. But due to my extreme lack of knowledge in design, I haven’t been able to include any graphics with my posts…until now.

A fellow writer introduced me to a design website called Canva. It. Is. Awesome. Right from the beginning, the site starts you off with a basic template in the correct dimensions for your desired social media account – ie, certain dimensions are better for Twitter vs. Facebook posts, etc. (Ever seen those images on Twitter that are cut off weird? Oh yeah, a few of them have been from me.)

Canva is very user friendly – they have free templates you can build off or some paid templates available for one dollar. Additionally, there is a plethora of free images, icons, lines, and most of all…text designs. I spent hours experimenting with different text designs while creating several graphics for my currently running Kindle Countdown deal on “Memories Wait Alone.” And I didn’t have to spend that long…I was just having a blast doing it. Here’s what I came up with:

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Keep in mind the only media I supplied was the image of the book cover of “Memories Wait Alone.”

All other images, text blocks, bursts, and the grid of an E-reader were provided free by Canva. I scheduled these graphics to post three times a day on Twitter during this promotion and have had great success with “retweets” and new followers on my account.

I decided to also update my cover pages on both my Twitter account (graphic above) and my Facebook “Author’s Page” – took me less than 20 minutes each as I worked completely off one of the free templates built specifically for cover pages. Finished graphics can be downloaded as a JPEG or immediately posted to social media. Easy. Easy. Easy. I love it.

I will definitely continue to use Canva, I really recommend it for any artists out there trying to create eye-catching graphics for their social media. And did I mention, free? Have fun!

 

Spring Cleaning – Weeding Out the Darlings

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Editing by computer monitor light…yay?

If I fall a bit radio silent over the next few weeks, it’s because I’m diving into Draft Three of “Myth.”

I’ll still be posting “Late Night Writing Prompts” and a few other pieces I have in mind, partly because this helps keep my sanity when I’m doing heavy editing. If you haven’t guessed, editing is not my favorite thing in the world. While some writers love it, I see it as a necessary evil – like going to the dentist. (No offense to any dentists out there.) You’ve got to go. You’ve got to get your cleanings. You’ve got to hear the bad news about what needs pulled or what needs taken apart and put back together.  (Yep, seeing a lot of similarities here.)

But this is all worth it, because I am so excited with the direction that “Myth” is going – I have some amazing things to share soon. Summer will be great.

Now just to survive the work that spring is requiring in order to make summer great.
(By the way, I also need to go to the dentist. For real.)

“Myth” Cover Art Concepts

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Recently I’ve been gathering together images that capture the style I’d like for the cover artwork for Myth. Here’s a few examples above! (Have I mentioned it’s a Fantasy novel?)

Tearing Down the Block: When Your Characters Fight

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Put on your war paint.

Image credit: id-iom

I’m in the midst of working on my next novel (The Reanimation of Robert) and really hit a big ol’ block. I was looking for every excuse to get out of writing. That’s what I get for yammering about how swell this book was going. *KARMA MOMENT*

I’ve suffered from enough moments of Writer’s Block to look for a few key things that signal what’s triggering my block:

A) I need a break and should go to bed.

B) Go back in the story to the most recent part I love. Delete everything that happens afterwards.

 (Editor’s note: This is dangerous territory. After a recent *ahem* over-deleting episode, I’ve started a messy compilation of “deleted scenes” that I can reference back to if needed.)

C) Look for a wrong direction I’ve taken in the story. The best clue for this is…my characters start arguing with each other. Over nothing important or essential to the story. I’m talking really. Stupid. Stuff.

I can’t describe it any better than the below: An example of both points B &C – a deleted excerpt from The Reanimation of Robert. I’ve had to remove a few things to avoiding giving away too much…because hopefully you’ll read the finished book. Void of blather like this.

-Begin dramatic episode-

At work, Piper opened shop solemnly, only half listening to Zelda’s recount of her adventures the night before. She watched the clock until around the time that Robert would be expected. The bell rang and Robert appeared, right on time.

“I need to take -” Piper started.

“I know, I know. You need your break. Just go,” Zelda sighed impatiently.

Before Robert could even order, Piper came and took his arm. He faltered, completely set off track by this change in routine.

“I think I may have made a mistake,” Piper whispered, pulling him against the wall.

“How so?” Robert whispered back.

“The____. I don’t think you should go back.”

Robert blinked, his expression going from confusion to surprise. “You know I went to see____?”

“Yes, I’m sorry,” Piper continued. “I thought ___ would help. But I think, actually I know, ___ believes you_______.”

Everyone thinks I ______,” Robert said coldly.

Piper sighed. “___ told me…some things. About your appointments.”

Robert set his jaw. “Thank you, but ____ helping me,” he said with finality.

Piper raised an eyebrow but shook her head. Robert turned to join the long line that had grown at the counter with only one barista working.

“So did it work?” Piper asked loudly from behind him.

Robert looked over his shoulder. He paused for a long time, his mind clicking over the question again and again.

“____’s homework for you. Did it work?” Piper asked again, walking up to Robert.

Robert looked around, suddenly aware of the eyes turning to look at him.

“Soy latte, please,” he said simply.

Piper sighed sharply and pushed past him. Disregarding the next in line, she quickly prepared Robert’s latte and brought it to him. She walked up to him and shoved the cup in his face.

“Here. Because I know you never hear me.”

-End dramatic episode-

What do you think – should I stop writing novels and write scripts for soap operas instead? Complete with “impatient dramatic sighs?” *Sigh* Oh well, it’s out from the book. It took me a few days to realize “What in the world are they fighting about? This is so dumb. Get that crap outta my story! Onward!”

I guess my point here is to take cues from your story. It may sound simple, but sometimes simple is easy to miss. These characters are supposed to be comrades. The few paragraphs before this excerpt contained a key moment that was a wrong direction for the story. So, in response, I suppose my characters decided to bicker in the coffee shop and it flagged me. And removing that wrong direction got me over my block.

So thanks, Piper and Robert. For fighting in a coffee shop for the good of the story.

Word Beats and Sentence Tempo

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Image credit Tekke

I had a film school teacher tell me once about the “right” way to edit music to a film. That when pairing up your music track, the best way to reach an audience in a scene was to have the emotional beat/upsweep of the song or score hit right after your actor’s knowing glance. You know what I’m talking about, that horrified “What did you just say? look” or that moment of realization that turns your character’s story upside down.

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My teacher’s reasoning behind this was that as we are sitting in our chairs in the theater (yep, this was 2003 so everyone still went to the theaters back then), we are going to connect with the actor on screen when that emotional music beat really drives it home. If you bring that emotional beat in too early – too distracting. If you bring that emotional beat in right at the exact time of the knowing glance – too much. Choose the timing of your emotional beats carefully and you’ll rivet your audience without them evening knowing it.

At first I thought this was crazy, no way was this happening without my notice. Second, I thought the guy was a real @#@$%*!% so I wanted to disprove him. (Which always works out so well *insert heavy, heavy sarcasm*) I started watching for it in movies – and he was right. It was everywhere. Watch a kissing scene in a movie and tell me when you notice the emotional upsweep of the music. I betcha it’ll be right after they lock lips.

Why am I talking about this random film school note? There’s more. In another editing class, I was criticized for cutting “along with the beat.” So my cuts were flowing and keeping pace with the tempo of the music. That teacher argued I needed to establish and fight for my own tempo of images to run complimentary with the music. Looking back, this was great feedback. (I wish 20 year old Erin would have listened, le sigh.)

I think about these criticisms from time to time. Not because they bother me (although that guy was a real @#$%) but because of how emotional beats and tempo can apply to so many other forms of art besides movie making. Music, of course. But with writing, I can create a tempo with the length of my sentences. Maybe I’ll use a lengthy “run on” sentence to sweep a reader into a breathless whirlwind of words. Or a sentence will only contain one, two, or three beats (words) to, in a way, trip a reader and cause them to pause. And think.

Time your beats and establish your own tempo, right? (At least 33 year old Erin is listening.)

March in like a Lion – Self vs Independent

Behold - the Middle of Nowhere, CA.

Behold…the Middle of Nowhere, CA.

 

Wow – it’s March!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been gone for a bit. While I was out of town in California with my family, I had some time to ponder a few things. Well, more than a few things, but specifically my views on “self” publishing.

(*SNORE* right? Well, yes, these are the things us writer-over-analyzer-types think about!)

I’ve been training myself to drop the word “self” and call myself an independent publisher. I write it, I design it (or, for my next book, hire a designer), I publish it, I promote it, I sell it. And in the future, I may coach other authors how to do the same. I realized it was my own insecurities that have driven me to jump and introduce myself as a “self” published author. As though my books needed explaining or didn’t carry the same amount of weight as if they had been published the traditional route. I thought that publishing my book by myself (a story that was rejected time and time again by agents and publishers) was some sort of cop out. You have to think these thoughts before you can get over them.

The thing is, what is known as the “traditional route” of publishing is changing course. It’s evolved so much in even just the last five years. Writers no longer have to invest ten grand for a print run of their books or wait months for a response from an editor or agent. Because instead of waiting on that response, we have the freedom to get our work out there and elicit one. And move onto the next project and the next and the next, being the creatives we should be. I am discovering a new confidence in my writing and new avenues for my stories everyday – which I truly believe stems from the creative freedom I get to keep because I am independent.

 

Read for…free?

Yep, free.*

* = Just means you have to leave a review on Amazon. Otherwise, yep, still free.

Before I started self/independently publishing, I didn’t really understand why authors were pushing so hard for reviews. I mean, I’m hoping if you’re at the point where once you’ve published a book…you’ve had enough feedback on the story, right?

Well, right. But that’s a different kind of review that an author uses (or should use) to craft the best book possible. Right now I’m talking about Amazon reviews, which can be long and hateful or short and sweet. Either way, its evidence that someone read your book. And that helps separate my book from the thousands and thousands of other E-books that have not been read. Which means someone might take a chance and buy that book for .99. Every dollar counts and just allows me to keep doing what I love…writing stories.

I stumbled upon a website called Story Cartel several weeks ago – it seems like a great resource. An author (me) can upload my book (Memories Wait Alone) and they will offer the book as a free download promotion for 3 weeks. Anyone that downloads the book is asked to leave a review on Amazon and in exchange, get entered in drawings for prizes.

So I thought I’d give it a go – if you are interested, check out the link here!

Either way, it’s always cool to see my book on another website. =D

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Well, hello there.

Erin @ The Theopathy League!

See. Think. Write.

See. Think. Write.

Starting this month, I’ll be contributing (along with several other lovely writers/artists/thinkers) to a discussion group and overall-general-awesome-website called The Theopathy League. We will be exploring various themes that are of importance to us about art and religion, but also sharing some of our own art.

You can read my introductory post here, where I briefly touch upon my history and views as a writer. Check back for more posts!