Tag Archives: The Trials of the Core

Inspiration – What Makes It Happen?

So, this is my first post on this blog for a year or more now. It’s interesting, then, that I should write something about inspiration as I have not seemed to have it for the past year or more. And while that’s not entirely true, I did want to sit back and comment on a few things that I think writers have some trouble with and some easy remedies as I have found that these things have helped me more than I know. Hence, the reason I am writing now.

#1 Problem = Coming up with Ideas

Whenever I tell people that I have written a novel they always ask me two questions to begin. (A) “What is your book about?” … And after I tell them typically the second question is (B) “How did you think of it?”

The second question is the one I want to answer here. To be honest, one of my best friends in high school had a collection of drawings of people and figures. I was fascinated with it and in middle school we went through the process of creating a card game from these figures based off of something like Yu-Gi-Oh. It was an interesting concept with it’s own twist. Anyways, these cards became the characters for a short story that I wrote in school. And then three years later as I was cleaning out my room in high school I found that short story again and I thought to myself, “Well, what would happen if I continued writing it.” So, after many many revisions and character additions and reductions, I arrived at The Trials of the Core by Michael E. Thies. My first novel.

And, although this may be self-explanatory, I wrote because I saw things. It seems elementary but if you take a look at any writer one of their greatest tools is the power of observation — to see something that is beyond the page or beyond the person in question. In Californication, for example, during the first season we see the author protagonist, Hank Moody (David Duchovny), tell a woman who she is based off merely the power of observation. She gets mad (because Moody is not very tactful) and storms off, but under that an analysis is that perhaps she was embarrassed that he was right about her. In the second season we see him shadow the life of a rockstar in order to write a book about him.

And that’s what we do as author, we observe. So, when I saw those drawings in my friends book of sketches, I saw more than just figures I saw people that were dying to come off of the page and hop into a story. And, now, I have actually gotten many inspirational ideas through sleep. I have crazy dreams, and I mean crazy dreams, that I wake up and wonder, “Well, what if that turned into a novel…” So, I jot down what I remember quickly into one of my notepads for writing and at a future date maybe I’ll get back to it and actually write a story or short story about it. Right now, I can’t, because I’m focused on Guardian of the Core but when I finish that series I will need something new to write about and who knows by then!

So, in essence, we get inspiration because we use our eyes and not just physical ones, but a mental eye (your brain as it dreams) and it’s imagination, as well.

Problem #2 = Coming up with sentences

Alright, another problem. Maybe you have a vivid imagination. Maybe you have an idea for a story. But, you don’t have the words. Where can you draw your inspiration from then? Well, I have had this problem, too, with inspiration. Honestly, this is how I solve it.

I read.

I remember that my writing improved so greatly after I started reading The Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. After reading such a great book like that, it makes you want to write. It makes you want to see if you can craft a sentence as perfectly constructed as he does. At least, this was the side effect I had.

Even if a book isn’t necessarily good, like the book I am reading now, I still find it an inspiration, but an inspiration in a different sense. I want to write to write better. i see the flaws of that work and I write and make sure I don’t see any of the same flaws happen in my own book.

But, regardless of if it’s a good book or a bad book there are still ways that it can enhance your writing. Vocabulary, for instance, is something that is built through reading.

Problem #3 = Time for writing

This is probably the hardest issue to deal with. It’s true, there is just not enough time in the day. It gets more complicated when you have a family and a job. I am extremely fortunate that I have a profession, an English teacher, that allows me time for writing. In the States it would be during the summer when I don’t have the hustle and bustle of the school year to contend with. Now, while I’m over in Chile, it’s when I go on vacation to renew my passport. My mother came down to take me on a cruise from Valparaíso down around Cape Horn up to Buenos Aires. It was the best 14 days of my life. And, while on that cruise, I managed to write five to six chapters. I had never been more into my writing (besides when I’ve had to write for a deadline). It was fantastic and I wish I could live on a permanent vacation, but, alas, my books aren’t popular enough for that yet haha. But, maybe one day.

Anyways, like I was saying before, as a teacher not only do I get vacation time, but I get the luxury of being able to teach anywhere. I am currently taking a position to teach English overseas in China for a year, or more, and I’ll have lots of time to explore and write about the places I see. I am positive that Chile and my experiences here will turn up in my writing eventually. In fact, unknowingly, it already has, but it wasn’t as intentional as I would have liked.

So, what happens if you don’t have a profession like mine?

Then you have to go above and beyond in order to tackle this boundary to inspiration. Like the Corona commercials you have to “Find your beach.” Meaning, find a place that relaxes you and where you can write. Ideally, this is a beach, but not everyone has a beach in their backyard. So, without a beach, maybe you can have a beach be your writing den, or living room before the kids wake up, or the kitchen area. The idea is, though, that you need to create a routine that works for you in a setting that works for you.

Analysis 

For me, inspiration comes and goes like the wind, although I definitely do have more inspiration in any of the three situations I outlined above. Unless if I have to, I never force myself to write, because when I do it doesn’t come out as well as I want it to. That is why I stopped writing this blog a year ago when I was cranking out a post per week. Now, I want to continue but at my own pace, maybe at once every two weeks or once a month. I don’t know the exact time table but I had the itch to write a blog post today and that is what I did.

So, the next time you have any type of writer’s block, don’t feel that you have to write. It may be more painful for you to do so. Instead, perhaps try one of the methods outlined above, and then see how you feel. Welcome writing, don’t worship it or feel inclined to do it.

-Michael E. Thies

Looking Ahead to 2014

So, my last blog post dealt with everything that has happened to me in 2013. This one will focus on everything I plan on accomplishing in 2014. Boy do I have my sights set high. But, you know what, that’s fine. If anything writing a book last year has told me is that nothing is impossible, only you decide what is and what isn’t, so I’m gonna tell myself “I’m Possible” and get stuff done!

Well, first things first, my schooling. This next year will be CRAZY! On January 21st I officially start schooling again in UW-Whitewater in order to get my teaching degree which will also be my second bachelor’s degree. I will be taking 18 credits in the spring, 9 over the summer, and 17 in the fall. Needless to say I will be busy.

My resolution for this part of schooling? Well, I want to maintain a decent GPA of at least a 3.3, but I am striving for that 3.5. That is what I got in Eau Claire, so I feel as though it should be obtainable for me here, the only thing that worries me is my outrageous amount of credits that I will be taking along with the organizations I want to be a part of. A few of those organizations being: Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society), Boys and Girls Club (looks good on a resume for teaching) and even a hip hop dance club cause I think it’d be cool to learn some of those moves.

Secondly, I have a large battle ahead of me with my writing. Here is my tentative layout for how this year will go so that I can accomplish my dreams of having the second book published depending on finances in 2015.

Book #2 Draft 1 = December 31st, 2013

                                                                                         2014

Book #2 Draft 2 (Outline #3) = March 21st

Book #2 Beta Readers Test = March 21st – April 30th

Book #2 Draft #3 = June 29th

Book #2 Developmental Edit = August 15th (This will depend on finances)

Book #2 Draft 4 = September 30th

Book #2 Copyedits = Done by November 28th (Depends on finances)

Book #2 Final Draft/Proofreading = Finished by December 31st

2015

Book #2 Pre-Release Marketing Begins = January – June

Book Launch Party = End of May

Book #2 Release Date = June 21st, 2015

And, that is the tentative schedule for when I want to release my book. Now, why do I have a specific date for launching it already in 2015? Well, the major event of the second book deals with the converging of the two suns in an event called Pirini Lilapa (The Great Inferno). Although overly beautiful to see, it is very deadly and something bad always happens during it. What better day to release it than Summer Solstice when the days are longest and hottest?

What else is going on this year in 2014? Well, I have a trip to Savannah Georgia planned for late February. I have a trip to Vegas planned for late March. And then, just living life I suppose.

Even though I have all of these goals, here are some of the other resolutions that I plan on following through on during 2014.

Resolution #1 = Read 12 books within the year that are non-school related. One book per month, I think I can handle that. There have been a few on my to-read list that I really need to get into.

Resolution #2 = Completely finish (drafts and all) of my second book. I do not think this will be too much of an issue, the only problem comes from financing the project. I have taken a hard hit with this first book and am not seeing as much of an ROI on it as I would like to see so it will greatly determine whether or not this second book goes according to plan.

Resolution #3 = Be Healthier. I already am pretty healthy but these past couple of months I have been going out way too much. Mostly being due to the fact that I recently broke up with my significant other, but I really need to slow my role a little bit. I think that going to college will help this (especially the course load I have) because I won’t have that much time to go out.

Resolution #4 = Keep up with my once-per-week blog. I know it may not seem like a lot because many people blog a lot more than I do. But, it’s good enough for me and I’m already seeing the significant benefits of it.

 

Woh! That was a long one. Glad you could stick with it for me and I hope you enjoyed learning about my goals in this new year. It is full of possibilities and I am hoping to take advantage of all of them as I start this new phase in my life.

Looking Back on 2013

What. An. Adventure.

I couldn’t find a better way to word it. Trust me, if there was, I would have, I’m an author after all 😉

Anyways, let me explain what I mean by that. This year I have had some pretty significant developments happen. At the beginning of 2013 I said that I would publish my first book by the end of the year. And, well, that’s happened! What has made me even more excited is that people are liking it and giving it good reviews. I couldn’t have asked for anything more (well, I suppose #1 New York Times Bestseller would have been up there too). But, this is a start, and for the people who don’t know how book popularity works, it is a slow process. There isn’t ever overnight success for a book (especially the first one in a series). I knew I wasn’t going to make money on the first book, but where you start to make money is the other books in the series cause that first one is all about establishing a fan base. Hopefully that fan base continues to expand. You can never have too many fans. 🙂

Next, I have tried the job market. Seriously I have. For those you reading this who don’t know much about me, well I have a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Creative Writing and Advertising (double major). I graduated Magna Cum Laude. Now, I’m not saying that to be a braggart, I’m saying that to tell you how real the struggle of the economy is right now. It is tough out there to find a job! All of the jobs I found were commission only sales jobs which, maybe at one point in my life, wouldn’t be that bad, but with my goal of publishing my book I needed for sure money.

And, then, do to pressures of not finding a job and the devolution of our relationship over the past years, me and my Fiance broke up. We were in a relationship for seven years, and I don’t regret any of it, but it was definitely hard on me especially when I decided to do it in the midst of my whole publishing adventure. We still try to maintain contact, but I believe in serendipity quite a bit. If it’s meant to be, it’ll work its way out in some form or another.

Anyways, it was in the midst of this soul searching and job hunting that I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life–become a teacher! Now, I wish I could just stay at home and write all day, that would be fantastic but I have a long way to go before I can make that a reality. So, I started thinking to myself (in the midst of all this) what is my personality suited for? What kind of career is suited to match the needs of both things, my hobby of writing and my need of money to continue my hobby? How can I become just a better individual? Well, I chose on the path of a teacher and am now going back to school to University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in the spring in order to pursue a teaching degree. I would like to be a High School English Teacher. This way I can inspire people to write, I can get summers off myself to write (and, in Wisconsin, the occasional cold day and snow day!)

I think, for me anyways, that coming out of college I will have a greater marketability about me. How many people do you know have published a novel by age 23? Not. Too. Many. So, I really hope that stands out, on top of the fact that the second one is in the works too. But, to make sure I increase my chances of landing a job (because I really don’t want to not have a job, it sucks. And, I’m broke) I want to join a few organizations. Sigma Tau Delta (English honor society) and I am actually attending a convention in late February to give a roundtable panel presentation on how to market your work effectively. Secondly, I want to join Boys and Girls Club or Big Brothers Big Sisters because it would show that I can work with kids, which always looks good on a resume.

Wherever my life decides to take me in 2014, I am ready for it. The struggles I have faced this year, have made me so strong and I am confident in what is in store for me come 2014. Stay tuned for a post soon that discusses what i plan on doing in 2014.

An International Review

Hey everyone,

So, more good news. Another review came in this one was from a, Nadia Batista, who lives in Portugal and has read my book. She gave it a ★★★★ 4 Star review on Goodreads. That is awesome on so many different levels. Hopefully it starts picking up some international steam now. That would be fantastic. There is a bunch of things that need to happen before that happens, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

With that being said, here is the link to the actual blog post. http://eu-e-o-bam.blogspot.pt/2013/12/li-ate-pag100-36.html  What I post below is the rough translation of what is posted in the blog post. Keep in mind that I do not speak Portuguese nor does my mom. She was a Spanish teacher for 35+ years and there are similarities between Spanish and Portuguese so that is why I say this is a rough translation. Where she got stumped, we went to Google Translation.

 

1st part – First sentence on Page 100:

-> “If water is blue, why must this one be red?”

2nd part – What does the book deal with:

-> Trials of the Core tells a story of six youngsters who compete amongst one another in order to become Guardian of the Core.

3rd part –   What have I found until now?:

-> You are going to enjoy the book more than one expects. In spite of that at times it reminds me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this is going to be quite agreeable literature.

4th part – What does the protagonist find?:

-> There is no protagonist in this story. Amongst the six competitors the story is told, not favoring one more than another. Now, how much to like all the characters…that is another story.

5th part – ??? No idea. Couldn’t understand this.

6th part – Are you going to continue reading?

-> Of course.

7th Part – The last sentence of the page:

-> “Everyone else had to travel by foot – but time was no issue for him now.”

 

I was very excited for this review. As a first-time author, not really knowing what to expect going into this whole process, I find it really really interesting that people from other countries are enjoying my books. That makes me feel good on a whole different level. Again, I think a big reason for this is because this book deals with the issue of self-realization which is an issue that is global, and not just in an isolated pocket.

Spread the word about, The Trials of the Core, to your friends. Also, don’t be afraid to check out the website at www.guardianofthecore.com.

Thanks for reading!

A Delayed December Launch :(

Hey everyone,

Alright so this is the saddest thing in the world to announce (at least for me) but I have been promoting my official book launch for December 10th, for forever now it seems. And alas, I do not believe it is going to happen (unless a miracle happens). In truth, I am not sure when it is going to happen anymore. How did this fiasco happen? Well, that, my friends and followers, is what I’m going to explain because I was quite distraught when I read the news.

So, with self publishing, we publishers have a few options to go with to let our books have the chance to be distributed nation-wide. Those options are CreateSpace (CS) or LightningSource (LS). There are probably others, too, but these two are the main players. Anyways, I went with LS because they offer a return policy, unlike CS, which is very important to get your books into bookstores, some bookstores are hesitant not to take books without a return policy because it is a rough economy out there. Also, LS does not put that they are the publisher on their books like CS does.

This July LightningSource split off into LightningSource and IngramSpark (IS). IngramSpark is where they transferred all of their self-published authors, like me! Now, this is fine, I don’t have a problem going with IS. However, I did not take time to read thoroughly the time delay it would take from the time it is submitted on IS to the time it actually gets put up on websites like amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. I though it would be an instantaneous process like LS, however, it is not. With that being said, I just approved everything a week and a half ago. This was all before I knew the fact thtat a new, never before published author like me, can expect up to 4-6 weeks to get out onto Amazon. Now, I have NO IDEA why the heck there is such a lag or delay in this process (it’s electronic after all). But, so far, my book is not up there yet, and I don’t really know when it’s going to be up there. So, if you were planning on buying the book, The Trials of the Core, on Amazon you will not be able to until I find out that it’s up there. When that happens I will let you know.

Anyways, there is my plight. So, maybe it’ll be up on Amazon tomorrow, but I doubt it. But, do not fear, there is still hope! You can order the book from my website, www.guardianofthecore.com and not only will you get the book sooner than what Amazon would deliver, but you will also get a personally autographed book, something that Amazon cannot give you. So, go there, check out the site, and if you feel inclined to buy, then go for it 🙂

For other aspiring authors out there who are reading the blog, keep this new timeline in mind when you are planning your book’s release date. I do not want to see any other authors affected by this like me.