Creative Writing With Diabetes

Yes.  The D word.  Diabetes.  It caught me.  Diabetes is now afflicted with Daniel A. Roberts, and while I’ve always been called a very sweet guy, it looks like the genetics has caught up with me at last.

Becoming Insulin dependent is a hard thing to balance for the first time ever.  Inject too little, my blood has too much sugar in it.  (Don’t tell any vampires!)  Inject too much, my sugar is too low, I pass out while seeing the world change colors as if I’m stuck in a 70’s acid trip, and until somebody notices and squirts my mouth with maple syrup or something sickening sweet, I won’t be able to function very well, much less move or talk.

I have not toasted myself yet, I’m very careful.  However, there have been moments when I was so tired, I needed to nap for far too long, and there have been times I felt like climbing the walls like Spiderman.

I lost about 3 weeks of writing in getting and keeping this adjusted.  I’m back in the author’s seat and I’ve been writing steady now for the last few weeks.  That’s why the word count for Darya: Queen of the Galaxy is going up on the right.  Right now, I need to do roughly 10,000 to 11,500 words per week to make my goal in time.

Wish me luck!  Now I’m off to take my insulin shot.  Yay!  I get to stab myself with needles now…

Talk to you all again real soon!

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Questions And Answers Time

The end of November is upon us, and now things are moving along quite well for Darya: Queen of the Galaxy.  In the last three weeks, I’ve gotten some fan emails about the cover changes to the series, as well as a few other interesting questions.  I’ve answered them all personally, but I decided to share a few here.  So here are the relevant questions and what I replied.  In order to respect the privacy of my fans, I won’t be publishing their names. This is from one of my fans in South Africa.

Q:  I love the cover updates for the Darya series.  Will you change the others, like for your Valinthia and Passion series?”

A:  Excellent question, and the answer to that is no.  The Passion series is from an artist contest before I owned any ability to create covers on my own.  They are also my friends, and loyalty is a big thing to me.  As for Valinthia, again, that is not my cover art.  The contributing artists take great pride in their work, and the compulsion to upgrade them isn’t there.  As for second editions where there are rewrites and also for newer novels that I have done the covers on my own for, that is another story.  I’ve been raised to treat other people’s property, and their contributions, better than my own.

Another related question came a few days earlier from an email that originated in Australia.

Q:  Who is the model for Darya?

A:  I don’t know her name.  The photo stock was purchased in a bulk download deal, which reduced the costs significantly enough for me to put them together.  The model is the same woman for all three covers, just from different angles.  Among the models I could choose from, she is the one that fit the best.

While I don’t have many fans here in America, my home country, I did get one interesting question from Tennessee.

Q: Dude!  Why did ya kill off Lizzy?

A:  I almost didn’t.  Elizabeth’s role in Darya’s life was complex, and she was slated for death in the original plot line, but earlier in the novel.  Having her loss on Darya’s mind is what I needed for motivation to organize their crime syndicate into something bigger.  So I reserved that for part of the end of the first novel, which also freed up Darya to act with less dependence on her mentor, and with more reliability on her own skills in the next novel, which worked out better than I expected.

Finally, I got a question about my Valinthia series that came from a fan in Spain.

Q:  Will there be more Valinthia novels?  I’ll scream for joy if you say yes!

A:  It’ll be a few more years before you can scream for joy, but it will happen.  Valinthia is one of my most popular series, and I get emails more about that universe than any other.  I will admit it here and now, I took great joy in writing that trilogy.  The gloves were off.  Anything became possible.  Good and Evil were essentially tossed up in the air, and let the chips fall where they may.  Putting fun into a comedy based fantasy with some science fiction sprinkled in, became a dangerously sweet combination.  I feared that I might spend my creative coin too soon if I kept writing in that manner, so I’m building up my reserves for down the road.  Once I get the other stories out of my head, then I can refocus on Valinthia.

So there you have it.  Those are the most common types of emails I get, and perhaps this will answer a few unasked questions from the rest of my readers.  Or maybe they will generate more questions!  Either way, if you ask here on my blog or in a private email, I will always answer within a few days.

Happy holidays, I’ll be posting again in December.  ^_^

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Darya: Queen of the Galaxy – Update and Beta Reader Sign-Up Info

I promised in a previous post, some time ago, that there would be an announcement over Beta Reading for Darya: Queen of the Galaxy in November.  Today is the first day of November, and thus here we are!

Darya Queen of the Galaxy Official Cover

If you look on the right hand side of the blog near the top of this post, you’ll notice a word count for this novel.  It’s been creeping up over the last 45 days.  That’s because I’ve been spinning the plot, measuring the action, and adding content a little at a time as I’ve adapted parts of the story in my head to the now complete plot outline.  Meaning I’m ready to steam forward in the creation process.  That number won’t creep up anymore.  It should jump in large chunks from here on out until the goal is met.

The window for Beta Readers will be from January 14, 2015 to February 14, 2015 – so they have 1 month to read this novel for free and provide feedback.  I intend for the novel to be completed by then, semi-edited for grammar errors and plot structure, for the enjoyment of my Beta Readers to get it all up front, from beginning to end.  

The most important thing to get across, this is like a focus group for a new product.  It comes free, share what you like and don’t like, and that is that.  This novel is Science Fiction, and the Beta Reader should enjoy reading that genre.  This is not about being an editor.  I have an editor, who will get the completed novel after I’ve adjusted the updated content, right after my Beta Readers provide their feedback.

I will be making a Beta Reader Feedback Page by January 1, 2015 in the hopes to attract some more Beta Readers.  Amy Safeunderdark has made it clear to me she is a Beta Reader for life, and I would be dumb to argue that.  Three years ago, I had a dedicated team of four to five Beta Readers, but life is a challenging thing.  Only Amy remains, and now it’s high time I recruit a new team, if possible.

More than a hundred people will see this update.  With this novel starting the Beta Reading process in two months, you all have some time to think about signing up.  The benefits are cool.  A free novel in ebook form, and a thank you mention in the novel itself, your name (if you so choose) to be immortalized for all time, so those who have to buy the book can envy you a little bit.

In order to be included, email me at daniel_a_roberts@cox.net with ‘Beta Reading‘ in the subject line, so I can see it faster.  (I can get up to a hundred emails every few days, but you will get an email back from me welcoming you aboard the moment I see it.  It’s not form generated, I’ll actually make the time to write you back.)  You’ll get the link to the free novel in PDF form on January 14, 2015 and the link to a new Beta Reader Feedback Page to post your experience.

As an extra incentive to be a Beta Reader for Darya: Queen of the Galaxy – When you email me to sign up, I’ll reply as soon as possible with a Smashwords coupon code to reduce the cost of Darya Rising and Darya the Pirate to $0.00 – so you can enjoy the first two Darya saga novels right now! Neither of those novels are free to the general public, nor will they ever be.  Apply the code I will send you at checkout over at Smashwords, and the price will zero out.  It will be my thank you for signing up to be a Beta Reader, and even though both Darya novels can stand alone in their story-lines, you’ll be up to date on Darya’s life among the stars.

This is not like reading a book and providing a review.  I actually interact with my beta readers, discuss the issues, the characters and the plot.  I’m not one of those writers who thinks every word is golden and can’t be modified.  In fact, I’m just the opposite.  The better of a reading experience for you means the better of a novel it can be for the rest of the world.  If you want to see an example of this, click this link here to take a peek at the last Beta Reading Feedback Page for Darya the Pirate.  (The cover is different on the Smashwords page from the Feedback page, but the story content is the same.)

Please note, that at the end of this Beta Reading project, your email is deleted and the ‘list’ is gone.  Your contact info isn’t saved, isn’t sold, and isn’t retained in any way, for your privacy and safety.

The only difference between now and then, is this novel will be completely finished, rather than posting the updated new chapters every Monday at the start.  I can also promise that in the end, you’ll have more fun than you can expect.

Oh, and please consider this!  If you’re also a writer with a Beta Reading project in the near future, I can and will Beta Read your next novel in return.  Just let me know in the email you send me to sign up that you also need me to Beta Read for your next novel, and it’s as good as done!

^_^

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If “Defenders of Valinthia” got made into a movie, which actors would I choose to play the main characters?

Keep in mind that every author’s dream is to see his written word go to the big screen. Having said that, the next best dream is for the author to pick the cast for the main characters.  If you have read and enjoyed Defenders of Valinthia, you’ll know from the very start, the main list of characters is rather large.  So, let us go into Dan’s Happy Place where things are happening and his ultimate wishes come true.  This is Dan’s pick for the main characters!

Emily Bett RickardsEmily Bett Richards currently plays the role of Felicity Smoak in the television series Arrow.  She would be my pick for Ariella Misthaven in Defenders of Valinthia.  All they would have to do is colorize her eyes a sapphire blue, and that would be that! She’s a relatively new actress on the Hollywood scene, but also a good one from what I could tell.  Remember, I’m a life-long Thespian, so I know good acting when I see it.

Ah, please note, I’m not listing these in any particular order.  In my novel, Ariella is instrumental in stopping the war against Valinthia, at a great cost to herself.

 

The next character from Defenders of Valinthia would be Jasra SKarlie Klossongweaver, the mystical Bard who can use music to make magic function.  I would have her be played by Karlie Kloss, who fits Jasra very well in both attitude and physical makeup.  Tall, shapely, long legs and with sassy short hair, she’s just breaking into film work, but is also a well-known model in the fashion world.  Google her up, you’ll see what I mean.  If she doesn’t know how to sing, that’s fine.  I know Hollywood has an express school for singing for those who need to know how for a role.  Jasra Songweaver is Ariella’s best friend, and also a spit-fire for taking action.

Brett DaltonMy next major pick would be for the dreaded Agent Fisher, who is responsible for the attacks against the planet Valinthia.  I would enjoy seeing him played by Brett Dalton.  He is one hell of a good actor.  He can be soft spoken and kind one moment, and deadly serious enough to scare the horns off of any demon the next, if he so chooses.

The really interesting part is that I actually pictured Agent Fisher as a good looking guy who is walking a dark path, only caring for the profits generated by invading Valinthia for its resources.  When he talks, you want to listen, but what he says should chill the blood.  Brett can do that on-screen, because I’ve seen him with my own two eyes completely pull it off, and then some.  Brett would make an excellent Agent Fisher to the very end.  Oh, he isn’t killed off in the novel… sort of.  He is punished… so very punished!  My readers will know what I’m talking about, and any who wish to comment has full authority to reveal what happens to him, if they so desire.  ^_^

Adrian Pasdar

My next character in mind is Invasion Leader Roger Stevens.  He’s military, chiseled, tough looking.  I would be happy as all get out for that role to be played by Adrian Pasdar, who is better known in the TV series Heroes than anywhere else.

Adrian has a unique gift for making his voice very sharp and threatening when he needs to intimidate, and this is crucial for that character.  Roger Stevens is no fool in my novel, and he does give Agent Fisher a hard time when they learn, quite by surprise, that the people of Valinthia, who was to be sold as slaves on the other side of the galaxy, could fight back from their castles and farms by using a functioning magic.  How’s that for some fun, right?

Having SeSean Conneryan Connery playing Xarduvik Vandicar would be the ultimate part for this well known actor.  In Defenders of Valinthia, Xarduvik is an aged wizard with long gray hair, and is instrumental in discovering the invasion, as well as helping to thwart it.  If anyone could pull it off, it would be him.

Besides, his accent alone can sell movie tickets.  So why not, right?  ^_^

I thought I could do a few more, but these are the first five that have grabbed my attention when considering the novel, the characters, and their roles.  I was looking for a Ro’Veen Fingers (the full name of the young thief) and hitting a brick wall.  So if anyone who reads this, who has read Defenders of Valinthia, has any suggestions for Ro’Veen, or anyone else not mentioned, and there is a lot of characters not mentioned, feel free to comment below.  ^_^

If you would like to read Defenders of Valinthia, it’s still free pretty much everywhere ebooks are sold.  Here, let me help you find it!

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Four Decades and Six Years Later

It was a warm day in Erie, PA on October 2, 1968.  The high was listed as 78.1°F  and a low of 64.9°F with the winds blowing at about 15.5 knots.  In St. Vincent’s Hospital, Daniel A. Roberts was born unto the Earth.

Four decades and six years later, I am a long, long ways from that day.  So much has changed.  So little remains.  I’m a writer.  I’ve gone through three major careers.  I’ve fought tooth and nail for the things I believe in.  I still do to this day.

Intelligence comes from the mind, wisdom comes from the heart.  Imagination is the glue that keeps our minds fresh, up to date and full of hopeful, if not grand, expectations.   This world we live in is not what you may think it is.  Our soul doesn’t just live within us, we live within a spiritual envelope, a seed one might say, building our qualities through the fire of our will, much as a blacksmith forges a sword.

That internal forge isn’t the same for everybody.  Some people forge their swords with the intent to do evil, and those with the intent to do good, to protect and serve, have to make sure our own swords are well crafted.  Then there are those who would forge their mental shield, or a full suit of armor, to withstand the attacks by those who don’t know better.  Or to stand in the way of wrong doers, with intent to prevent harm to themselves or others.

We are all given options in our lives, and we choose among them.  Some don’t believe in anything beyond their daily routines.  Some believe in a higher power with such fervor, they drive themselves towards violence.  Then, there are those, the majority of mankind, who pray to God for a better experience in this life, and that is merely that.

Most people see our lives as going from cradle to grave.  That is how we measure life.  From the moment we are born, to the moment we die, everything of concern to us happens in that time frame.  That is a human view.  Human eyes, and human understanding.  It’s normal, but then, I take great joy in not being normal in my own views.

I see my time here on Earth as a short visit, nothing more.  I was born, but life doesn’t stop in the grave.  As I said, we are seeds.  We germinate over the years.  How we live, how we love, how we grow up, it all forms that seed deep within us.  When our body grows frail, or is tragically killed, we are planted in the ground.  Just like a seed.  What our spirit grows into is something we won’t know until the time comes.  For those who fill their lives with hate and anger, they will learn very quickly that to be a weed in a spiritual world is to get pruned, while the rest of the flowers are well-tended.  Goodness, I love metaphors!

I am a Christian.  Non-Denomination.  Most of the time, especially for those who are angry at Christians, such a declaration can produce eye-rolling of epic proportions.  They have a prefabricated model of what they think a Christian is, based off of flawed humans who can’t help but act badly.  It’s okay, I forgive them.  It’s human to assume that everyone who says they are Christian is to be all lumped into one index card.

I refuse to let my belief and faith to shut my mind.  What we humans know about this world can fill a volume of encyclopedias.  What we don’t know can fill three planets worth of libraries and still need more space to hold thick volumes.

We all need to look at each other a little differently, but that is difficult, as human nature by default is a dark, powerful entity that is waiting to pounce.  Those of us who have large hearts, are filled with empathy, who wish no harm towards others… most of us don’t realize that we are still in the minority.  On a planet of more than seven billion humans, around sixty percent are still trying to kill each other on a daily basis.

Can you blame other world beings for not giving us a second glance on a fly by?  In fact, I’d be shocked to find out that the Earth isn’t in some form of strict quarantine, at least until we stop killing our own kind.

Those are my thoughts, on average.  The world is still a place to be worried about, but I have friends here too.

My friends.  Those are some unique people.  If you know me, and are my friend, know this now.  You’re loved on the same level as brothers and sisters.  This is not lip service.  This is not some type of patronage.  I love you all.  I’m as empathic as any human can be.  I feel your pain when you hurt, I feel your joy when you’re happy.  I bury it deep, close to the heart, where everything matters.  I may not always share this, or show it, but it is there.

Do not hold your hearts with a heavy hand, deep regretful thoughts or fearful aspirations.  Enjoy your life!  Wake up every morning, smile at the sunlight, breath in deep, enjoy the scent of the air itself.  You’re alive, and no matter how much pain you are in, no matter how physically in shape you are or aren’t, know one valuable thing.  Your life matters.  Not just to you.  To everyone.  Everything you do, from the moment you are born, causes ripples through everyone’s life.  Even to the people you never meet.

Consider this… your coffee pot breaks down one morning.  You end up leaving late as you must have that cup of coffee, rushing to get to work, or to whatever destination in mind.  Halfway there, you spill the remainder of your coffee, causing yourself further delay.  You arrive two minutes late.  Every path you crossed happened two minutes later than normal.  People who were delayed when they would have not been, has their path altered forever.  Those two minutes you altered, could have saved a life.  By preventing that accident from happening, that college student goes on to cure cancer.

It’s possible.  We’ll never truly know how much that has happened, at least in this lifetime, but I believe this world is filled with things like this.  Our world is in constant flux, and every little thing you do, or don’t do, can mean the difference between life and death for the rest of humanity.  Something tells me that if we knew what those odds and actual numbers are, we would be shocked silly as to how often it occurs!

So please, don’t review your own lives as less than adequate.  You are one of the most valuable souls in this world.  All of you.  For who you started life as, for who you have become, to whom you are destined to be, and every second is precious.  So live your lives like it matters.  Because it does.

That is my birthday message to the world.

^_^

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Screenplay Review: Buggins’ Turn – 5 out of 5 Stars

buggins coverBuggins. The name alone is as quirky, humorous and downright terrifying-to-the-funny-bone as this well-written screenplay easily suggests. The opening scenes not only gave me a solid glimpse into the ramshackle life of the main character, but also got me laughing, quite literally, way out loud.

The leading woman in Buggins’ life is also as provocative in her own charming, electric way. Celia is a formidable force who is the glue that keeps Buggins together through both crisis and victory. Every character has their own place, their own quirks, their own agenda, and it’s a form of chaos that lends credibility to the order of things that happen to Buggins from the very moment he encounters each person, friend or foe.

I can’t stress it enough; this is a read you won’t want to pass up on. Everything that hides in the shadows of our own daily lives gets pounded with the humor bat, and not lightly.

If I was a billionaire with the influence to get the ball rolling in Hollywood, I would produce this for the big screen and rake in the results. So I have to be content with one of the biggest smiles on my face at the end of this story, because it ends as it should. I’m not telling you details about that for a reason. Read it for yourself, but be warned, make sure you’re not in a situation where you wake up your household from noisy fits of laughing.

Well done, Mr. Jute. Coming from an old Thespian who has done his own fair share of comedy on the stage in days long gone, that means something. If you write another screenplay, I’ll be one of the first to pick it up.

 

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Vacation Will Be Cut Short

I planned on 60 days.  Two months.  On October 1st, one day before I turn 46, I was going to make the announcement that my vacation is done.  That has been changed.

As of tomorrow, I start writing Darya: Queen of the Galaxy, in full time mode once again.  I will use a few days in between chapters to keep working on The Muliebral Order.  I intend to have both novels completed and offered during the 2015 writing season.

Why did I cut it short?  Honesty moment; It felt too dang weird not to write full time.  Too much going on in my head that is being delayed, it’s like have traffic backed up for several miles.  I have to get the lanes moving again.  I think I’ll be much happier for it.

^_^

Sometime in November, I’ll be making the Beta Reading announcement.

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