Count Your Crows – Available on Amazon!

The day is finally here!

COUNT YOUR CROWS is available for purchase on Amazon.

Count Your Crows by Shiloh Ohmes

Count your crows and make a wish before they fly away.

Taz has only one wish: to find her sister Fred, gone these past four years fighting in a war to secure a better future for witches everywhere.  She would also appreciate not dying horribly and forgotten in the wild Texas frontier, too, but in post-war Texas that is easier said than done.  Packs of hungry chupacabra roam the landscape, slave traders prey on the weak and stupid, and nature herself is entirely unaccommodating to someone who just wants her family back.

Also, her sister has managed to become the most wanted witch in the Republic.  Taz isn’t surprised; Fred’s always been an overachiever.

Wishing on crows got her through a shaky childhood of persecution and running, but Taz will need spells and bullets to make it through Texas.  Even then, that may not be enough.

Get your copy today!

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Character Roulette: The Art of POV

Every character is capable of being the Main Point Of View for a story, but not every character is suitable for it.

See, every story has its own unique needs and parameters that must be filled.  You have a cast of characters with legitimate reasons for existing and taking part in the story, but many of them don’t need to be in the spotlight.  That kinda sounds like something a snotty theater teacher would say, but it has merit when talking about writing.

Let’s take the show Supernatural, for example.  The show follows two brothers traversing America in a classic car hunting down evil creatures and saving people’s lives after a demon killed the boys’ mother.  The story works because the brothers are the main focal points, each one having adequate screen time to change and grow and show us how their differences and similarities drive the story forward.  The story, ultimately, is about their relationship and what they will do to save each other (spoiler: they really have no limits).  The story would have been vastly different if their father had also had a main POV, or the only one, and so the story would have not been the story we have now, just because it would have been reshaped to fit around the father instead of the sons.  Ultimately it would have been a new show.

In my own work, I’ve often struggled with deciding who should be the main POV for any given story, or if there should be several, or if I should give in and do ALL OF THEM because every character has something to say, right?

In my latest piece, I wrote several drafts with two main POVs that tanked every time.  I wrote some pretty cool scenes and bits of dialogue that I’m just in love with, but they no longer work.  I spent a lot of time going down rabbit holes and ending up not where I needed to be before I sat down and really examined the story.  Once I did, the proverbial lightbulb went off.

I only have one character whose POV coincides with the story the most at this point.  Being that it’s a series, I can shift POV for later segments as the story calls for it, but right now only one character’s journey suits the story needs.

It only took me, what, six months to figure that out?

But, everything in its own time, I suppose.  Once I cut out the extra POVs and reshaped what was left, the story flowed out like water over a spillway.  The lack of dead weight allowed the character breathing room, allowed her to take the reins and use her motivations to drive the story from scene to scene and bad mistake into worse mistake, and what came out was pretty damn awesome, though I am biased.

I have other characters who are absolutely essential to the entire story as a whole, and they may get a POV in their own time.  Until then, this story only has room for one person to helm the ship.

That’s not the case with every book.  Like Supernatural a story may require a second lead.  Or three or four, or twenty if you’re George R. R. Martin. Ferreting out these characters may take some time, and you might need to go ahead and write nine or twelve drafts until you understand the story well enough to know what it needs.  Even still, that exercise is not in vain.  The more you write, the more you learn, the more you learn, the better writer you become.  

Just don’t give up.

Other Resources:

Re-Learning Character Development

Where Do Villains Come From?

Count Your Crows has a cover!

Count Your Crows by Shiloh Ohmes

So, this is pretty cool.  My upcoming book has a cover.  😀

Pretty spiffy looking, if I say so myself.  I’m loving how it turned out, and loving even more that the book is done and almost ready to share with everyone.

COUNT YOUR CROWS is the first mini-book in the series WITCHES OF TEXAS, which spans the lives of three witches in a Texas that never joined the Union, where magic and monsters roam free, and that borders the West, which was never tamed or claimed.  Fresh from a war where witches lost the right to practice magic freely and without persecution, they must now navigate a Republic heading into reconstruction, deal with trickster gods intent on messing with their lives, and learn to live in a country that would sooner see them hang than let them live in peace.

Stay tuned for the official summery for COUNT YOUR CROWS.

Doneness Update and Announcements

So, I went away for a while.  I didn’t update the Doneness Project like I said I would, I didn’t even keep up this blog like I said I would.  Things got really stretched thin and pressurize like life is wont to do, but I didn’t die.  I didn’t fall prey to the chupacabra or Bigfoot lurking in the dark.  I just got pummeled by life and had to shorten my focus to the bare essentials.

And I finished my first book planned for the Doneness Project!

In the span of time from January to July I wrote close to 60k words, cut more than half of that, and rewrote the rest about three times.  I had to take time to world build more in depth, set down timelines for stuff that happened before the book, what happens during the rest of the series, and timelines for character evolution.  It was definitely worth it, to take that extra time, and I learned a lot about crafting something shorter than a novel and outlining for a series.

One of the things that helped me the most was Coggle.  If you haven’t heard of this site, let me tell you, it is amazing and free to boot.  My Mom taught me to mind map my stories in this manner when I was younger, and I loved the concept, but I got frustrated when I ran out of room or had to go back and change details.  Coggle fixed both of those problems by offering tons of space and customizable lines I can shift, move around, and bend almost any way I need.  I can also add videos to the timelines.  Laying everything out on the timeline sharpened my focus and gave me a map with wiggle room.

Snip20150717_31
Extreme bird’s eye view of the timeline for book one. It’s basically a rainbow octopus of angst and magic and mythology, yay!

With book one done and with my beta readers, I’m now working on cover concepts for it and outlining book two, which is a continuation.  I’m not going to put such a strict time limit on myself this time, because that kinda failed horribly, but I expect to have the bare bones written by the end of the month and will spend August through October editing and rewriting as necessary.

This has been a Crazy Inkslinger update.  Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about my book launch!

Related Posts:

The Doneness Project

The Upcoming Book Teasers

Spider Webs and Road Maps: 4 Easy Steps to Frame Your Writing

Wishing Crows – Spells and Bullets

Well, look at that, there’s a teaser for my book!

 

Wishing Crows Spells and Bullets Promo

*not the actual cover

 

This is the world that Taz Wyatt lives in: the United States of America has never conquered land past the Oklahoma/Texas border, control over magic is the current hot button issue, and gods walk among women and men screwing with lives at will.

The Republic of Texas, a wild country butting up against the impenetrable West, is deep in a bloody civil war over whether to become part of the US or not.  Monsters freely roam the night.  Wild magic seeps into everything and everyone.  You need bullets just as much as you need spells, and unless you’re willing to use both you’ll never make it out alive.

Narrowly escaping murder by killing her would-be killer, Taz flees the US in search of her older sister, Fred, estranged now almost four years.  Taz’s search leads her deep into the tumultuous plains of Texas, where modern technology gives way to corrosive magic and a way of life reminiscent of the wild west.  Vehicles run on spell box engines.  Blood is being spilled in the name of freedom and the independent way of life.  Fred is not the sister that Taz remembers, and Taz will need to use all of her wits, sarcasm, and guts to survive the story the gods have in store for her.

Because tricksters abound in this lawless country, and the only way to beat them is to become one.

COMING SOON

Hiatus is over (and a sneak peek at my upcoming book!)

Long time, no see, guys!  Hello again, I apologize for the month long hiatus here on the blog.  I haven’t stopped writing, but blogging had to be put aside in my list of priorities, like looking for a job and making money.  I have great news on the book front, though!  I am in the final stages of rewriting and editing my first Doneness Project.  In fact, if things stay on course, the book will be ready for launch near mid to late April.

*gratuitous fist pumps and vodka all around*

To whet your appetites and to give you an idea of the book itself, I am queuing list of posts to count down to the publication.  These posts will include things like exclusive sneak peeks at the characters, the world, my process, music that inspired me, excerpts, and artwork I’ve made along the way, ending with the cover reveal and synopsis.

Sounds cool, yeah?

Guys, you have no idea how excited I am to finally be in this stage of the writing.  This story means so much to me for so many reasons.  I’ve lived with these characters knocking around my noggin for just a hair shy of a decade now, and they’ve all grown so much, yet retained most of their core characterizations that debuted in a dusty notebook scribbled in mostly illegible scrawl.  I’m butt dancing in my seat right now, just stoked to finally share these people and their story with you.

So, to kick off the queue, have a poem.  Now, let it be known I’m not really geared towards poetry, but sometimes the right kind of mood coincides with a moon phase and a set of star positions and I try to poet (can I use poet as a verb?  What the hell, I think I will).

Key word is try.  I write better fiction than poetry, and I write better poetry than I sing, so keep all of that in mind and be happy I didn’t decide to serenade ya’ll with this.

So, without further ado, I present you with a poetical look at my main characters and their story (and the book title!):

Wishing Crows Poem

The Doneness Project: End of Month Updates

Doneness Project

Well, the execution of my first month of Doneness was kinda wild with a lot of unexpected setbacks and lessons learned.  The biggest of which has just been my heath.  Down sick with the same crud twice, with only a week of I CAN FINALLY BREATHE time followed by HAHA NEVER MIND FALSE ALARM really kicked me in the gut like a school bully after my lunch money.  (Sick Tip: tissues with Vicks in them are AWESOME.  Just open a box and stuff your face inside, you get almost instant airflow to stuffed up passages!)  I’m pulling out of the second round okay now, and taking care of the Mom since I gave it to her again (sorry you’re hosting a second branch of my germ culture, I still love you!)  Even still, I got a great amount accomplished.

I now have two half finished projects, which is almost like one full one, so I will be tweaking my original timeline to give myself time to finish and then get into the dark and weedy jungle of editing.

As far as blogging, I’ll be cutting back to posting around 2-3 times a week so that the majority of my time goes into the projects I’m finishing.  Doneness updates will occur everyday I’m working, barring alien invasion/zombie uprising/comet impact/chupacabra infestation.  I haven’t been that great about keeping up with that end of the project, although I’ve been fighting my own zombie-ish infection.  So that’s my excuse and this is me promising to be better about that.

Today I am working on getting through this Monstrous Middle on Project #1.  I have some loose scene ideas jotted down, so I may skip some parts in the spirit of just moving on and getting to the end, because sometimes it’s easier to go back and write problematic scenes once you’re already done and can weave them into an existing structure.  That is the hypothesis, anyway.  I’ll post my findings on whether that turns out to be valid.

Until then, cheers, guys!

Enough Time – Shiloh’s Writing

Enough Time2

I’ll be posting an official update on my the Doneness Project tomorrow sometime since I’m still working on it, but for now I figured I would share some poetry related to what I’m writing.  Not properly edited, but I like the roughness of it.

ENOUGH TIME

by Shiloh Ohmes

We are girls with too many monsters and not enough time

Enough time to kill them

Enough time to see the sun

Enough time, just not enough

We make our home on dusty car seats between yesterday’s polaroids and tomorrows faded map

Cracks in the windshield throw broken rainbows on our legs

Fingers stained with nicotine and Dorito dust tap to the beat of static laced drums

People on the radio, they sing of loving forever like it’s not slow suicide by a bear trap crushing the ribs

They talk of freedom, which is somehow softer than a bare knuckle brawl, or sweeter than tequila burning it’s way back up, because grief is the mother of freedom and all other broken things

We are girls with too many scars and not enough time

Enough time to stitch them right

Enough time for black to fade yellow

Enough time, just not enough

We draw backroads and battle lines on grease spotted napkins, ink bleeding into lipstick bleeding into phone numbers scratched on gas station receipts

They fall to the floorboards, sifting down through the layers of dirt and broken promises and crumpled Coke straws that make up our life

The wind tangles our hair with snatching fingers,  whispers the time into our ears with heartbeats counting down, counting down

We are girls with too many dreams that will never come to pass

Because we went left instead of right

Because the asphalt turned into dirt turned into something we should have never found

Because we keep going instead of turning back

Because raw skinned survival demands cramping bellies and unbent necks and hands steady with purposful rage that does not, will not, can not submit

We are girls with too many thorns and not enough time

Enough time to take root

Enough time to bloom in color

Enough time, just not enough

Cinnamon gum pops between wind-chapped lips

Toes with flaked paint tap to the beat of the static laced drums

We laugh too loud, swear too much, drive too fast, live too hard

Because we won’t last the year

Because there are monsters in the dark

Because maybe we’re monsters, too

Because what we have right here right now is all we’ve got

The people can keep their cotton candy love and imitation freedom, keep them in the shadow boxes high on pristine shelves

We are girls with too many monsters and not enough time for anything less than the hard, ugly truth that cuts and bruises and shakes the bones

There’s just not enough time.

Doneness Project Days 15-22

Doneness Project

 

I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t been updating my Doneness status like I said I would, but I have been working to further it every day, so I’m still succeeding in the completion process, all told.  I’ve officially switched the story I started writing this month, and though that happened mid-month I’m about a third of the way finished with it.  So far I have a little more than 10,000 words written, so, yay me!  *throws confetti*

I haven’t run into nearly as many writing blocks with this story as I have the original, so I’m thinking I can probably pound out another 20k by month’s end if I keep at it.  That will give me the complete manuscript I need to go into February as an editing monster and I can’t wait.  I love the editing process.  Instead of stretching my brain trying to create I can work with what’s already there and make it better.

As for the story itself, I’m keeping momentum by not writing boring stuff.  Which, you know, kind of sounds like an obvious tactic when writing a story, but I have a habit about getting bogged down in something that no longer works and, thus, becomes nothing more than a steaming gray pile of word vomit.  Which sucks on so many levels, though I’m sure it’s something all of you have dealt with at one time or another.  Given the time crunch I’ve set for myself, I sit down at the computer and write only the interesting stuff I have floating around in my brain.  The few time’s it’s started to get boring (no matter how ‘vital’ I thought that scene might be), I backtracked and went on to the next Big Cool Thing.  It’s a constant thing to remind myself that I can always go back and insert any important information later, when I have a finished mass to work with, but now is not the time.  Now is the time to dump everything on the ground and create connecting piles.  Editing will be the time to make the piles and the connections make sense.

So many habits and tricks to learn, even though I’ve been writing stories for as long as I could use the alphabet.  There truly is always something new to learn.

I’m still plugging away at the blog, too.  Any waking hours not used for the story are dedicated to getting my posts out on Twitter and writing new content every day for the blog.  I’m also crafting the bones of several writing ebooks, although I don’t have anything definite written on those yet.  One thing at a time, I tell myself.

Besides writing, I have to share the most hilarious thing that’s happened.  My Mom’s cousin had a birthday a week or so ago and wanted to go to dinner and a movie.  The movie she chose was Into The Woods.  Now, I will say upfront that I had no idea what it was really about.  I did not know it was a musical.  Even the Cousin didn’t, and said the previews made it look like something akin to Once Upon a Time, so she was all for seeing it.

Now, I have nothing against musicals, but they are something I have to be in the mood for.  I really wasn’t in that kind of a mood that night, at least not at first.  But then I started having fun watching it, and catching all the funny little innuendos lurking among the lyrics.  And then came that one scene.  This one, in fact, which is here in it’s glorious, ridiculous entirety:

This barely started playing and the entire theater exploded with raucous laughter.  Well, half of the theater did.  The women in the audience were doing their best to remember how to breathe and the men in the audience were caught between abject horror, questioning all the life choices they’d made that brought them to that particular moment in time, or pretending they didn’t exist, and neither did the peacock posturing on screen.  I really though Random Theater Lady, who sat in front of me, was going to need medical attention.  Her husband, on the other hand, spent most of the movie with his face in his hands.  Pretty sure he was muttering ‘why me?’ as well.

At the end of the Agony scene the theater started to go quiet, the laughter dying off into muted wheezing and muffled tears of joy.  Then the Cousin belted out, ‘Encore!’ and the theater lost any semblance of dignity they were trying to reclaim.  To be honest, I can’t really tell you what happened after that.  The rest of the movie was a blur, except for the comments made by the group I was with, which sent us all into peals of face reddening laughter.

On our way out of the theater at the credits, Random Theater Lady was in front of us.  I heard her tell her husband, “I can never look at Captain Kirk the same way again.”

Me either, Random Theater Lady, me either.  That was one final frontier I never figured he’d traverse, but he did, and evidence exists, so I think the world is now a slightly brighter place.

That’s really all I have to update on.  Besides the snow, which we got a ton of the night before last.  The Mom and I aren’t planning to leave the house until it leaves first, so our days are spent snuggled up in blankets, wrestling with our brains and our computers, and glaring at the nasty white stuff just lounging about on the lawn and threatening to blind us with it’s bright glare in the noonday sun.  I don’t know if it’s apparent, but I’m really not a winter person.

Now I’m off to work on the story and the next blog post.  Shooting for 5k words with a glimmer of hope that I can push on to 10k.  I really want to dive into editing this sucker.

Cheers!

Doneness Project Days 10-14

Doneness ProjectI apologize for the lack of updates on the project.  I’ve been making progress on it, I just haven’t stopped to write about the progress, since I’m working on it and the blog from the time I wake up to anywhere from midnight to 3am.

So far, so good.  I’ve written about 3-4 thousand words on my story in the past few days.  The rest of the time I’ve been writing blog posts, learning social media, and creating plans of action for the blog.  My brain is hella tired and stretched, but I’m waking up every morning ready to get to work.  Never, in the history of my life, have I been excited to do a job.  Most times writing wasn’t even on that list, the excitement usually came later when I was full awake.  To be this excited and ready to go before the brain is fully functioning, that is a strange but awesome feeling.

So, story progress.  I switched to writing one of the other projects I had slotted for this year.  My original story is taking its former place as the summer book.  The characters and the story need some reworking that I’m just not in the right mental space for.  It sucks, but switching stories has really increased my writing productivity.  The scenes are flowing, the dialogue is jumping out of my fingertips onto Scrivener, and I have a loose outline that is keeping me focused.  Guys, I cannot wait to get to the ending of this story so I can write that jaw dropping moment I have planned!  I get giddy tremors every time I think about it.  This version of the story is just so much cooler and better balanced than the previous ones I’ve written.

For anyone interested, here is an excerpt of what I’ve written so far:

Zander slows down and sniffs the air, catching the scent trail.  He follows it across the street and up the block to an alley.  Melody slips off his back.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know.  Stay here where I can see you, okay?”

She nods, clutching at her little cloth bag of paints with twisting fingers.

The blood is fresh, the metallic tang hangs in the air and, to him, overpowers the stacked up garbage overflowing from black bags and the dented dumpster.  That is where he finds the body.  Behind the dumpster, positioned in such a way she seems to be sleeping peacefully, is a woman in her mid twenties.  Her dark hair is fanned out around her and she’s practically pristine except for the ragged gashes like claw marks across her throat.

Above her, on the brick wall, the killer has left a message in the victim’s blood.

Ashes To Ashes, Time To Play.

Now, since I’m at the coffee shop, I’m off to write on Chapter 5-7 tonight.

Cheers!