Monday, January 30, 2017

Character Madness: The Covens of Misty Haven


Aunt Elsa


From The Covens of Misty Haven

A little bit crazy and a whole lot of maternal, Aunt Elsa adds just the right amount of humor to the story. Witches stay young longer so many don't look their age, Aunt Elsa is Khayrie, Rylan, and Catara's mother's sister.

She visits, cooks, babysits, and cleans, while Khayrie does his best to make sure she doesn't do something serious, like burning the house down.

Aunt Elsa has no qualms about shutting Kitty outside.


It's possible Aunt Elsa knows more about what's going on than she shows us, but who can tell?

To see more of Aunt Elsie, check out The Covens of Misty Haven in my newsletter. You can sign up using the form on the right, or watch for it on my website.

Learn more about kitty here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Character Madness: The Covens of Misty Haven


Pagan




As Belshazzar's closest friend, and part of the first coven, Pagan is one of the first werewolves, and honored as a man just lower than the gods. Quick tempered, he has a cantankerous personality, and expects things to be done decently and in order. An ancient man, he is old fashioned, and has no qualms about punishing anyone that falls short. 

Pagan holds the Sovereign of Misty Haven, Khayrie to a high standard, and is more hands on than the other Paladin who watch over the world. He has a secret just like Khayrie, but his is out of the bag early in the story, and soon he becomes Rylan's lover.

As part of the first coven and Belshazzar's inner circle, he shares responsibility for Belshazzar's fall, the benefactor of Misty Haven. 

You can read part of Pagan's story in Belshazzar, The Legend of Misty Haven, a short story in Haunted by Darkness, A Collection of Dark Fairy Tales and Legends, and also in The Covens of Misty Haven, posted each month in my newsletter. You can join the newsletter using the form on the right side of the page, or watch for it on my website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Twenty-one days makes a habit?


21 Days to Make a Habit? Think Again




I've been thinking for a while now that I need to get things in order. Healthier eating, more functional writing schedules, blogs with more output and focus. I have three, along with my website. A friend of mine worked on habits one at a time last year, using the 21 days plan. I was impressed with the idea, so I decided to do the same one day, but I couldn't remember the number of days, so I googled it, and found that the numbers have changed. It is now believed that it takes sixty-six days to make a habit. That's a lot more than twenty-one. What's worse is I told a friend, and he decided it's more like ninety.

I think statistics are based on what the researches see as average. In college we were taught to look at who researchers tested. I didn't do that this time, because like my friend said. It took him longer to quit biting nails, and stop smoking. My guess is that we're all pretty different, we just need to figure out how many days will lock in a habit for us.

My new program will start at sixty-six days. It seems like a good goal for me, and twenty-one days is not that long. If I need more than sixty-six, I can always extend the process. I haven't decided what all I'll be working on, but here's a list of five of the goals I intend to accomplish and why, if that isn't self-explanatory. This year would be great, but if I spill over into twenty-eighteen, I'm okay with that. As long as I get it all done, and form some good habits.

We all have things we could work on.

-- The first goal is writing, because it's what I love, and what I agreed to do. Some time ago, my husband worked a job where he traveled a lot. He liked me to join him, and it was fun, but work gets in the way. So, I agreed to write full-time, but I've fallen off the wagon a couple of times, and I'm not as functional as I was in the beginning. It's time to keep up my side of the bargain.

-- The second goal is healthier eating. This is a strange thing in our house, since my husband and I are diabetic, although he's managed to control his sugar with the Keto diet. He eats fat, with as few carbs as possible. He's lost more than eighty pounds, but it's such a major change for me. I think when the time comes it will be all about chicken and vegetable recipes. We eat some keto recipes anyway, since that's the path he chose.

-- I might flip the third goal with the second. It is to simply be more active. Health club, walks, the beach. It picks up the metabolism, and that will be helpful for any goals I pursue.

-- Next is better control of the finances. We like to play games on occasion to save money, and have a competition of who can save the most in a specific period of time, as I type. There are other things we can do though. Like making a list that will save penny's; turn out the lights, walk or bike instead of taking the car, wear a sweater to use less gas for heat, and so on. We also liked saving all our five dollar bills, but we rarely carry cash these days. Another way to spend less since we both have an aversion to credit cards. I've recently started using e-bates.

-- My fifth goal will be to learn and understand better marketing techniques. Almost everyone has to do some marketing these days, and some of us are better than others. I fall in the 'others' category. I'm a writer, but need to learn how to be a salesperson. I do a few things, but I'm a long way from amateur, let alone Guru. I hope to open an online store this year, where I can sell my books, books from authors I like, and soaps and trinkets. I love to make soap, and would do it everyday if I had the funds and the room. And that takes me back to 'better control of the finances'.

What goals and challenges do you have?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character Madness: The Covens of Misty Haven


Khayrie




Khayrie is the Sovereign. Ruler of the supernatural communities. He is the most powerful man under the Paladin whose positions are only a little below the Gods. They do tamper with his life on occasion, but usually let Khayrie handle things on his own.

He lives in Misty Haven with his brother Rylan, and teenage sister, Catara. As Lord of the family, their safety and welfare is his responsibility. This is something, Kitty, a black panther he found in the rain forest, helps with.

His strength lies in his silence, and he takes on many projects himself simply to see they are done correctly. He has a secret only he and Kitty know, and he guards it carefully. His best friend is the Lord of Vampires, Yvain. 

The highest covens are separated male and female, and the two parties are arguing over who should have the final authority under the Sovereign. Khayrie has declared a period of separation between the two until the matter is solved, except in the case of family members. But when he comes upon a Brielle, surrounded by wolves in the forest one night, he finds himself struggling to honor his own edict.

The Covens of Misty Haven is released a chapter a month on my newsletter. You can sign up for it using the form on the right side of this post. Or watch for the chapters on my website a month after their release.

Learn more at www.jenabaxter.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Biggest Distractions and How I fight Them




Writing takes determination, courage, and focus. There are so many distractions around us. These are the worst for me.

1 - Noise Noise Noise. I made this number one because it's my biggest challenge. My husband likes to watch TV constantly, and there is nowhere to go to get away from the cacophony of sound. For him, it's static in the background. For me, it's total distraction. I've tried earplugs, but don't really like the way they feel, and they don't block everything. He says to tell him and he'll wear headphones, but why do I need to tell him what he already knows? And the bottom line is that this is his home too.

How to combat the situation?
The only thing I've found to help is listening to instrumental music while wearing headphones myself. This can actually be helpful, if I find something that suits the mood in the story I'm writing. It needs to be loud enough to block the other sounds, so you might be courting a headache if it's loud.

I try to write while he's asleep or working. It might not be the best situation, but it works.

2 - Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Google+. As Authors, marketing is a necessary activity, but how much is too much? When it keeps you from writing for more than a day at a time. I'm tired of the cliche, 'writer's write.' While it's true, we all need to find a way to keep ourselves focused and moving forward, especially when we're dealing with tough edits. And call it like it is, it's easy to get caught in posts and conversation in these places.

How to combat the situation?
There are programs that allow you to schedule your posts. Buffer, Hootsuite, Pluggio, and many others. It isn't one on one, so I use it to post my ads, and sometimes uplifting quotes or excerpts. After that, I don't need to worry about the marketing side too much. I visit for short periods when it's convenient, and interact with friends, family on fans at that time. Most the time they understand when you need to cut it short, especially if they are waiting to read your next book. Limit your time, and don't allow social media to take over your life.

3 - Moods and Attitudes. Moods can affect your writing, especially if you argue with a friend or Colleague and need to write an endearing scene. Maybe you're in a romantic mood, but the story calls for some kind of battle. This happens to me all the time. The writing gets done, but the emotion is siphoned out.

How to combat the situation?
The only thing I've found for this is music. I've created playlists on Youtube to combat the issue and it's worked really well. I also have them in Itunes, Playlists focused on breaking up, love, anger, cheating, there are songs that focus on any emotion you can imagine.

4 - People running around the house. This kind of falls under noise, but not exactly, since noise can be as simple as hitting the off switch sometimes. We can't turn the husband and kids off.

How to combat the situation?
First I have to say that I'm a big advocate of family first. There are some things you just can't replace once they are gone. When there are people you love around, time is precious. So make sure you set time aside for them, but also for you and your writing, and don't let them cross the line unless it's important, which sometimes happens. You can write when the kids are sleeping or off playing too.

5 - There's so much to do. Housework, yard-work, meals, parent/teacher conferences, or even friends stopping in. Most of us are busy these days. I look at the house and sigh constantly. Most of the other issues rarely show their head.

How to combat the situation?
Make a schedule, and keep it. Tell friends to call before stopping by. If you're on a roll, this will help you finish, and stay focused.

The bottom line is taking hold of your life so you can control it. It's not always easy, but determination helps too. Nothing compares to being excited about your story, but some days we're just tired. Like I've said before ... you can always write two-hundred words, and work from there. One of my teachers said that even if you only wrote a paragraph a day, you would eventually finish. That's true, but I don't have the patience for such a small amount. There are occasions when I've found it necessary though.

www.jenabaxter.com


Monday, January 9, 2017

Character Madness: The Covens of Misty Haven


Brielle



I always say story ideas come in a myriad of ways. Misty Haven was initially meant to be a love story, and it is, but it's so much more. This week I would like to introduce you to my Heroine, Brielle.

Brielle is a young woman ready for medical school, until she awakens from a dream to find her Aunt and Mother, kneeling before a wolf that becomes a man. She learns she is a witch. A witch with very little power, but witches must be taken to Misty Haven and be trained in the covens that police the balance of the natural and supernatural worlds,

The wolf is a Paladin. A Witch from the first coven, and friend to Belshazzar, He was also one of the first werewolves. While Brielle's Mother argues she has no power, Vaden, another Paladin gifted with sight, has given a prophecy that indicates Brielle will be an important part of Misty Haven in the days to come.

Against her will, she goes to Misty Haven to find a Priestess who hates her, werewolves that want to kill her, and the Sovereign of the supernatural communities who is very much attracted to her.

The Covens of Misty Haven is released a chapter a month on my newsletter. You can sign up for it using the form on the right side of this post. Or watch for the chapters on my website a month after their release.

Learn more at www.jenabaxter.com

Monday, January 2, 2017

Character Inspirations


This was initially meant to be a character blog. Musings was added later. I think it added a subtle balance, but lately it seems to have more musings than characters. It's time to get back to it's roots. I have some interviews out and I hope they will eventually come in, but in the meantime, I'll be showcasing my own characters, one day a week. Today I'm kicking it off with a few animal creatures you'll be seeing in the future, and where you can find them.


Kitty from The Covens of Misty Haven

Characterization is different for all of us. This is just about the things that inspire me. Most of my characters are simply what the story called for as it came to me, but sometimes there are special circumstances.

When the idea of Misty Haven began to form, I wanted to add a cat to the story. Most witchy stories have some kind of a cat after all. My main character is guardian to his thirteen year old sister, What would be the most aggravating type of babysitter? An eight-hundred pound panther. Catara can't get anything past her to her dismay, and Kitty adds a good deal of humor to the story.

Kitty has a story of her own to add a bit more spice to the story, but that might be a short story. I haven't decided yet.

To see more of Kitty, I'll be posting The Coven's of Misty Haven in my newsletter, a chapter a month, When the next chapter comes out, the first chapter will be posted on my website. You can sign up for my newsletter on the right side of this post if you're interested in joining.


Screech from Hunted

Screech is an owl that debuts in Hunted, a short story in the Haunted by Darkness Fairytales and Legends book I wrote with Raven Williams. Screech wasn't originally part of the story, but I felt the character needed some kind of mentor to urge her forward. We have an owl that hunts in the area where I live in the evenings. He was after my little dog for awhile. I'm happy to say the dog died at the age of eighteen, never becoming Screech's dinner, but Screech still hunts the area. I talk to him when he screeches right behind me to make me jump. I'm convinced it's his or her, favorite game. In the story, Screech is a lovable owl that tries to help Darla find her way.



Gabby

While Gabby doesn't have a place in my stories yet, in time, she will. In the meantime, I have a character named Achavoust who is half man and half hawk. He is from Denbria's Betrayal, a story that's been on the back-burner indefinately, since I need to deal with some issues. Achavoust's personality is much different than Gabby's. He's a wild creature with a cruel edge, while Gabby is loving and fun, with an edge of wild. Where does she come from? There are numerous red tailed hawks that fly over and through the area where I live. I've always loved the sound of their call, but most are relatively quiet. Gabby is not. She loves to hear her voice, and she calls for hours sometimes, sitting on the telephone pole, or in the tree beside our home. I talk to her all the time, and she seems to like that too, Watch for her in a future story.

See more about my stories at www.jenabaxter.com.