We’re Moving On Up…

Authonomy has a ranking system where other authors can back an unpublished book. The higher the novel climbs in the ranking, the more eyes look at it. If it makes it to–and stays in–the Top 5 for a while, it magically gets transported to an Editor’s Desk at Harper Collins.

Beginning as a brand-spanking-newbie two days ago, CAPRITARE: The Cycles Begin started at position 5,334. So far, it has inched up 233 notches, and is currently ranked 5,101.

Here’s to celebrating small achievements, and working our way to the top!

::: raises glass :::

Novel Feedback

Finally, I am getting feedback on my novel from virtual strangers. This means, they have no face-to-face connection to me, no reason to flatter or hold back their true assessment. These comments are from members of the CreateSpace & Authonomy communities.

“Lucas, great imagination!I feel transported to an intriguing mythical world, yet the kids are very much teens,as in real life. The end of the preview keeps you in suspense for what’s next.
The rating is actually 4 and a half stars (they don’t have 1/2 star here).
You have a well-written, enjoyable story that issure to delight many – young adults and adults.”
“I liked the concept thateach one has to solve a different puzzle; my personal favorite character wasNeelid. Found him funny yet cool. He supposedly solves his puzzle quickly, yeteveryone makes fun of him because of it. And he could not even get his shirtoff, which is even funnier. I was interested to find out more about it. I reallylike the concept. “
“Interesting story, even though thistype of fantasy is not my specialty… The imagery is wonderful. It begins in the storystraight away, which is great for first person POV (my personal favorite). Ireally like what you have so far and, even though it’s not my normal read, Idefinitely plan on coming back for more. Your creatures, in a sense, areequally intriguing! On my shelf to support some fine writing :)”

“The most original story I’ve read here. Very, very different. Part Lit Fic, part fantasy,part dreamworld. Imaginative, creative, greatdescriptions, and well written. I have no idea ifthis story will be popular here, but it is quality, and it is unique. Welldone. Recommended.”
It’s great to get this kind of feedback. Even though it is not from “professional” editors/agents, it is good to hear what the Everyday Reader thinks of my work.

ABNA Entry

My entry is in! With a mad scramble over the last month to hone my story to a presentable version, my first novel has been entered into the 2012 ABNA. There was a lot of excitement on the message boards as we awaited the starting gun on 1/23/12 at 12:01am EST.
With only a small issue with my “captcha” not showing up, the process went pretty smoothly. By 12:30am, I received my confirmation email.
Thank you for participating in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest!

We’ve received your entry, “Capritare: The Cycles Begin.”

Your unique ABNA ID is: XHF4QUTB

On February 24, Amazon will announce the round two entries at http://www.amazon.com/abna.

Good luck in the contest!

The Gender Genie

I should be revising my novel. The ABNA contest opens in less than a week. I did tweak my Pitch a bit, and will be editing as soon as this entry is posted.

Discussion threads can be so distracting! Just now, a post led me to Gender Genie which uses an algorithm to analyze a text and guesses the sex of the author. I pasted the first “Cycle” of my novel. Here are the results:

Words: 18431

Female Score: 21692
Male Score: 21345
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Apparently, by a narrow margin, I write like a girl…

Novel Word Cloud

Wordle is an online tool that provides a visual representation of the frequency of words in a given text. I performed the old cut-and-paste of my novel to see what its cloud would look like. Wordle perfomred its tabulating and formatting functions to spit out this visual version of Capritare.

It is interesting to see my novel in this format. I have already begun the process of checking on some of these words to see why they loom so large in the cloud. Alot of “just” iterations have been exorcised! 

Excerpt from CAPRITARE [Cycle 1]

Alright. I feel like this passage is polished enough to post. Enjoy!

Narrowed eyes told me that others were already planning,strategizing. A six-pointer glared at me. I stared back.
Armidy lifted a large, white stone above his head. Hisarms bulged with the weight of it. The tips of his fifteen-point antlers stretchedhigher than his uplifted hands. I scanned for someone smaller than me–someone I could possibly force to touch the tree.

Armidy slammed down the stone. “Begin!”

Frenzy. There was the instant strain of muscle, bone,and roars. Scattering. My mind whirled. Run! My legs jerked. Catch. Don’t get caught. A tree. Hide. I slid, hit the ground. Lay low.
I could see struggles all around me: large groups wrestling, vying for one another, lone beasts skulking. Locked horns. Bucking hooves. Ferocious eyes. The rotting wetness of the mulch beneath me assaulted my nose. A pair of Yramidians thumped past me. An Esque, captive to their strength, struggled to break free. Her loud screeching echoed off the leaves.
Movement to my left—Neelid. Gasping. He hid with his back against a tree. I peeked out, then crawled to him.

“Cap. This is crazy! I got punched!” He lifted his shirt to reveal a red mark in the shape of a fist burning on his ribs.

“What should we do?” I asked. “Team up and try to get someone?”

“Who? The little ones have already been nabbed.” Neelid hunched lower. “You and I are probably the smallest ones left.”

“So what? We just lay low and wa—?”

I was rising. Jerked. Pressure on my chest. Heat.Tightening. Treetops whizzed overhead. Kick! Kick! I arched my back. Squirmed. Kicked—hard.

Bamm! The hardness of ground. I slowed my racing eyes. The six-pointer was already back up on his knees. His red eyes glowing. His face contorted into every shape of rage.
I leapt up and stumbled to Neelid. “We’ve got to fight him together!”
We stood side-by-side with our backs against a tree.Six lowered his head, cut his eyes up at us, and lunged. Two steps, three. Too quick to dodge.

Pain exploded in my side.

Six pulled back, sliding his antlers out of side. Hot blood ran. He took aim again. I closed my eyes to brace against the pain.

Clash. Clacking of five points on six. Antlers intertwined. A snap like the breaking of a twig. Neelid threw punches with a force beyond his small frame. Searing in my gut. Six scooped Neelid up, slammed him to the ground. Neelid kicked out his legs, knocking Six’s out from under him.

Darkness crept in at the edge of my thoughts.

Booming from afar, “We have our winners! Stop thegame.”

What game? My sight dimmed as Neelid untangledhimself from the six-pointer. White heat shaded with redness blazed at my side.A red vividness streamed out of me. Darkness eclipsed my world with black. Oblivion.


The Denial of a Sacrifice to the Slumber Gods

It’s 3:30 in the morning and I really should be in bed. But this writing thing, you see, is an addiction. I can be minding my own business and an idea will pop in my head. I’ll be filling up my gastank when a spark of a sentence I need to rewrite will ignite. (And I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you what a bad mix fueling and sparks can be…)

So, what keeps me up tonight? Nothing in particular. It started with a noise. Some random nighttime sound in the loft stirred me from my slumber, and in that realm between sleeping and waking, I started editing in my head. I can’t recall the first few thoughts, but eventually I ended up with a revision for one of the lines in my Pitch. I got up. Here I am.

I groggily sludged to the laptop to record the amazing change I needed to make before it had a chance to slip away. Otherwise, it would have drifted off into the Land of Forgetfulness. One night’s sleep can do that to you–wipe out the fantastic, phenomenal, groundbreaking thoughts that formed right before you nodded off. I am sure I have lost millions of top-tier ideas that way.

I got up two hours ago. So why am I still here? You know the routine. I started on that first project, then needed to tweak something else. Then, it happened. I clicked on that little blue “e” and the portal to that great devourer-of-time-better-spent-doing-something-else, the internet, sucked me in. I had to check my email, pay a visit to the Amazon Pitch Thread and read the recent gnawings over at Query Shark. I had to. I couldn’t help myself.

Fortunately, I am almost as addicted to sleep as I am to writing. So, with the final distraction of a late night blog posting completed, I’m off to sacrifice a few more amazing ideas to the slumber gods.