Monday, October 8, 2018

The Next Level Up

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner celebrating the joint venture between SCBWI and North Dakota's Indian Education Program for Books for Readers. The speaker that evening was Newbery medal winner, Linda Sue Park! I'm so glad I was able to hear about her writing process, and questions to ask ourselves as writers. Here are some of my hastily scribbled notes:

When considering whether or nor to start writing a particular story, ask if it would be an interest or a passion for us. A passion might include elements of our own identity and time we have deeply invested in something that we wish to explore more, while an interest will not last.

Also, consider whether the subject of the story (especially sensitive topics like writing about a different cultural identity) is one where you are well-informed and would feel appropriate sitting at "the kitchen table" rather than at the more formal "dining table." In other words, consider the  relationship and level of familiarity you have with the subject matter.

I was especially grateful for Park's discussion of habit in her writing. She trained herself to write 200 words every day (though sometimes that may mean 5 days instead of 7, because, life!), but the point is every day she has the goal of writing 200 words. She also emphasized the importance of teaching others that your writing time is work even when it is at home and should be respected as work time.

As writers, we should think about how we would work on our craft in "the next level up," and write as if we had already reached that professional level to have a chance of making it there. In essence, treat our writing goals and craft with the rigor of professionalism!



Thursday, October 4, 2018

New Paperback Cover for Iffy Magic

So Iffy Magic has a new paperback cover:


As I received a lot of positive feedback about Audrey Bagley's beautiful wanted poster, I chose to turn it into the new paperback cover.

The original lovely cover is still available with the ebook!




Friday, September 21, 2018

New Adventure! Joining SCBWI

Despite my ability to engage in a seemingly never-ending stream of effervescent babble, I am actually quite shy. Pair that trait with chronic procrastination and it is all too easy to socially isolate oneself.

Well, I finally decided to challenge my comfort zone! I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and attended the first meeting of my local chapter. I am really excited to engage in critique groups, try out webinars and explore all the SCBWI's resources. I also found out I can submit Stealing the Dark Moon for consideration for a Spark Award; why not!

In the words of Paulo Coelho, “If you aren’t pushing your limits, you aren’t going far enough, and you still don’t know who you are.” 

Here's to new adventures!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Stealing the Dark Moon made the Watty's 2018 Longlist!

So I was shocked to learn that Stealing the Dark Moon made the 2018 Wattys Longlist (Thanks for the kind congrats, GTKnight).

(Cue the squees of happiness!!!)

As I hadn't received any notification yet, I scrolled through the entire list of over 700 stories until I found the dragon cover by my fabulous illustrator Audrey Bagley.



Today, I received the Wattys media award kit and felt just like a kid getting an early Christmas present!



Update: Kit's misadventures also made this Hidden Gems Watty reading list! 

Any reader who wants to follow the Dragon Den's orphans can read the story here.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Adventures in Japan

In July, I had the lucky opportunity to go back to Japan with my husband and sisters.

Flower of Unoma Koen
Did I do any writing? Not a bit! I used to mentally berate myself and feel worthless if I didn't meet an imaginary daily ink quota. This time, I let myself . . . enjoy . . . just being alive.

I ate tofu ice cream (best stuff ever!) and uni (sea urchin) sushi whenever I could, washed my hands in the cool cleansing waters of many sacred shrines, rode the Hakodate Ropeway over a glittering evening cityscape:


Traveled deep into Hokkaido to take a cruise on Lake Akan

 
 
All to see the mysterious Marimo ball!

 

Caught hordes of chanseys and other Pokemon in Sapporo at night



Oh, and very nearly perished from sheer exhaustion on the mountainous climb up to Yamadera Temple in Sendai!
 


Sure, I got sunburned, sweat rivulets in the super humidity, was glutened several times, not to mention suffered major jet lag from the time difference, but even with all the physical exhaustion I ended up ultimately feeling rejuvenated.


Now, I am tackling chapters of Iffy Magic with my audibook narrator, getting my novel A Fair Account of the Traitors Snow White and Rose Red ready for (hopefully) October publication, as well as working on waaaaay too many other writing projects.

Sometimes, I have to let go of my almighty lists and starry goals and precise measuring sticks. It is good to give yourself permission to be a human, with all the failures and wonder that entails.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Writing Experiment: Agent Regalia

Breaking my arm really messed with my writing plans this year, but I suddenly find myself at that point when I am out of valid excuses for why I have not started my next story. While I am finishing last revisions of my Snow White Rose Red tale, I can finally tackle my new scifi project! Calling it "Cyborg" for short.

Starting a new story is like standing on the edge of a pier staring into a wide harbor and trembling at the might of the breakers, and the wideness of the churning waters, and how far the journey will take me from firm ground. But there is also nothing better than that first breath of freedom!

I have decided to approach my writing projects a little differently this time. While I will diligently plan my main Cyborg story down to the nitty gritty details, I am going to allow myself one hour of free-writing a day for another scifi fantasy project: Agent Regalia.


 
I don't want to give any hints on the plot yet, but I will say Regalia's story arose from watching way too much Say Yes to the Dress while I was dosed up on pain killers after breaking my arm. Here's hoping I can turn this year's misfortune into a lucky break (Not apologizing for the pun, I earned it!).



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lessons from Spring

Spring is my teacher. Each year, this brief season unfurls wild banners of fragile petal and new leaf that remind me I know nothing but surface secrets. The diadem or end beauty of every living thing is hidden in the bulb and root long before time shapes color into a blushing bud.

How many trees have I passed by, oblivious to the gem cloud that was always a part of their being, but unseen except for a transitory primaveral window?


For my irises, I mulch them before winter, I trim their leaves back, I remove the mulch in the spring and give them a thin layer of garden soil. I apply Miracle-Gro pellets for extra nourishment and water them every few days (Sometimes I weed, though not as much as I should!).

The end result? An instance of ephemeral, rainbow-robbing beauty.











Plants teach me humility and patience as a writer. The story must start in the deep and dirt, germinating out of the nourishing detritus of hard work and old dreams passed on. And like my irises, I hope to bear a bright coronet of ink one day.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I have failed

After breaking my arm in January and then reinjuring it in April, I haven't felt like writing very much. One-handed typing sucks (my brain has grown too dependent on a digital medium for my stories and paper and pen translates them into a black hole of incoherent scribbles)! But more than physical impediments, I must confess that my mind has been blanketed in a heavy depression.

Or maybe just slapped with a reality check on naive ambition.

Since I graduated from college, I have written five novels. Two are self-published and another will be coming out in September. Two will never see the light of day because they were practice novels. And then I have another four novels totaling about 500 pages of half-finished work. I had a marvelous agent for about six years, but my work just never quite cut it on the traditional publishing market and we parted ways last October.

My bone is broken. So is my will. I'm tired. I want to quit writing. I've tried again and again. But the stories won't leave me alone, and truthfully--I don't want them to go. My soul grows blank and paper-thin without them.

So I will keep trying to learn from my mistakes, to revise, to read, to soak in the world, to ink something bright and dark and dreaming.

Life . . . dares





Monday, April 9, 2018

Worth the Wait!

So I was happily surprised to get another review of Iffy Magic, which was published in 2016. This five star review from Readers' Favorite was well worth the wait!


*The Amazon editorial quote excerpt:

"An often surprising, always magical romp through a fairytale you wish would never end. With an incredible opening containing just the right amount of intrigue and despair to hold a reader fast, S.E. Page sets the pace and introduces the world of Iffy Magic in one deft move."

*But this has to be my favorite excerpt:

"Trying to steer a human venture, more suited to going on knightly quests than playing the princess in peril, towards wedded bliss was doomed from the start after all, right? The resulting battle of wills made for great humor and poignant growth for both Prim and Ember."

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Prickmedainty Poetry

I am currently buried in the middle of my Rose Red revisions, but just for fun, I have started a poetry chapbook on Wattpad! I will be sharing fresh ink every weekend.


"Prick-me-dainty" is one of my favorite archaic words. It has several meanings, including a fop, fancy and/or finicky dresser, someone overly fastidious about appearance, language or behavior. As a writer, I feel like quite the prickmedainty character in my own life story sometimes. So I guess I am trying to have a little fun with my poetry and not be quite so serious.

What do you do to get out of your writer's shell and drink in the world?




Friday, February 9, 2018

Winter blues and Cyber Stars

So at the end of January I broke my arm in my driveway after slipping on black ice.

My writing goals have been shoved to the side for the last few weeks, but I hope to tackle the revisions of my Snow White Rose Red tale a little bit each day. It's amazing how tedious typing becomes with one hand. But I've become so accustomed to a digital writing process that a paper notebook quickly becomes a black hole of  illegible ink scribbles. Time to stretch my brain into new ways of processing creative energy!

On a happier note, I am thrilled to share a five star review of Stealing the Dark Moon from Readers' Favorite. I even get this spiffy web medal:




"S.E. Page combines everything that's captivating about fairy tales with the need to belong . . . The characters are endearing, amazingly written, and will completely melt your heart."

-Liz Konkel, Readers' Favorite

Friday, January 12, 2018

Day of Dragondom III: Braving Skies



So, how does a dragon steal your heart? 

For me, it was not a theft, but rather a thrill. Every ounce of imagination tingled and shot like a dream from my chest—straight into the illusion of wings, razor fangs snapping, cinders blasting, and rippling tail spikes curling serpentine across a page.

Perhaps I lost a bit of my heart to the clever malice of Smaug from Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I traded more pieces for cherries jubilee with the fierce yet sensible Kazul from Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and rides with Anne McCaffrey's dragons of Pern. I’m not ashamed to admit the hot tears that fell when Draco became a new star, or the wild rush of happiness I felt when Toothless pressed his head to Hiccup’s hand for the first time. And I am currently relishing the stubborn pacifism and diplomacy of the “nice dragon” Julius in the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron. Each dragon that I have encountered in print and film has made me crave ever more glint of scale and fiery indomitable freedom. 

Growing up, I spent countless hours drawing sketches of dragons. The earliest creations I can find all seem to characterize them as rather brutish creatures in the most traditional sense of a monster:



But over time, dragons evolved into creatures of sinuous symmetry in my art:




And I ditched the damsel in distress trope for fearless girls braving the skies them.


I suppose I love dragons because human creativity will never be able to tame them. They belong to themselves, and we just make up stories to brush our awe against their wing tips.


So what are the dragons, or other creatures of myth and legend, that spoke to you as a child and still stoke the embers of your ambition and imagination today?





Thursday, January 11, 2018

Day of Dragondom II: Free Wallpaper



To celebrate the official launch of my new novel Stealing the Dark Moon, I am sharing the full print cover art by the fabulous Audrey Bagley:
 

*Back cover quote:
“There lie many ages before I rise, yet this magic twisted in your soul, 
it was mine once. It should not have awoken
 without me.”

Stay tuned tomorrow as I share how various villainous, erudite, feral, and/or stubbornly good-natured dragons have stolen my heart. 





Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Day of Dragondom I: Stealing the Dark Moon Launch



I am proud to kick off the Three Days of Dragondom with the official release of my next novel, Stealing the Dark Moon: Dragon’s Den Orphanage Volume I!



Fourteen-year-old Foxkit plays with fire by striking a bargain with the ferocious dragon Aerohim: Let six runaway orphans hide in his den in Galefang forest, and they will help him find a lost artifact in his vast treasure hoard. But the longer they search, the more Kit hopes they’ll never find it as the dragon’s den becomes the home he never had. 

Kit’s wish is threatened when Aerohim starts growing weaker by the day and a mysterious girl, Sheen, warns him their dragon is dying. Sheen promises to heal Aerohim in exchange for one little thing from the hoard—the Dark Moon, a talon that once belonged to the powerful ancestor of all dragons.

But Sheen isn’t the only one hunting that ancient relic. Lord Ash, a fallen unicorn that harvests magic bones from other creatures to replace his broken horn, storms the Galefang. Not wanting harm to come to the only one that has ever treated him like family, Kit must decide whether or not to steal the Dark Moon. Steal it, and lose Aerohim’s trust forever—but just maybe save his life.
Now available on Amazon in ebook and print.

*If you buy the paperback, you can get the ebook for free. The same deal now applies to Iffy Magic, too.

Stay tuned for more dragon surprises tomorrow!