Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moving forward.

Well, another chapter completed, and What Hides In Shadow now stands at 118, 468 words. I can *feel* the story's end growing closer, although those two elusive words, "The End", still seem a long way off. Maybe. We'll see.

More death, more chaos, more intrigue yet to come.

GOD, I love being a writer!

More soon.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

The News Is Out... And It's Good!

Hi Everyone,

As hinted to earlier, we have some good news in our household. Verna's fantasy series, A Familiar's Tale (Gate of Souls, Tree of Bones and Fires of Rapiveshta), has been picked up by Sky Warrior Book Publishing!

Can't be more pleased or proud of Verna. She's worked so hard, and dealt with a great deal of disappointment in getting this ENTIRE series to print. Now, things are really looking up for her and I'm hoping you will all join me in congratulating her.

I also want to thank Maggie and Larry Bonham for bringing Verna into the Sky Warrior family.

In other news, as promised I want to keep you up to date on my own efforts.  What Hides In Shadow is now at a comfortable 117,000+ words, with only two chapters to go (where everything hits the fan, and the wrap-up into the next book.) As always, I'll keep you posted and be making some serious noise once it's completed.

See you all soon.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Time for a little shameless promotion!

Now in paperback!
Twenty established and up and coming fantasy writers, (including Dragon Toast, by Verna McKinnon and my own work, Square William's New Charge) all members of the Fantastic Fantasy Writers Facebook Page, stretch their creative muses with 19 highly creative tales ranging from non-traditional dragons to mud maidens to a two-headed centaur. Here imagination knows no bounds!

Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Exciting news in the household, but...

Hi everyone,

Received some wonderful news this week for the other half of our writer household. Too soon to reveal, but great things are coming.

In other revelations:

What Hides In Shadow is now at 115, 000 words + and going strong. However, it HAS been brought to my attention, that the old school way of story writing (i.e. prologues, epilogues)  are no longer used. Huh... Oh well, I sure I can solve the issue easily enough. After all, I am a writer. Hard to keep up on such things, though.

Will have more soon on all novel-writing goings on in the household.

Stop by & say 'Hello' if you like.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Absent without permission.

Hello All,

Sorry to have been away. The only excuse I have is that it was birthday week (Verna's) here at the lair. She and I both had the week off (happens VERY rarely) and we took some much needed us time. Still managed to knock out some pivotal scenes for the novel (another chapter nearly finished - a primary character dead, another behind bars, and a third finds his magic!)

Oddly, I've discovered that being so near to completion of this story has made me a bit trepidatious. It's not that I'm going to miss the characters (well, the one who died, certainly) as they still have two very important stories to be told, plus random appearances in six other novels, so it's not as if I won't see them again. Still...

Also during the week, Verna & I have made some serious decisions regarding our writing careers (pedal to the floorboards) and for the first time in a long while, I'm feeling good about it. More on that later (if all goes well.) Meanwhile, the mundane world must go on and tomorrow begins a new work week, but now it doesn't seem so overwhelming. We'll see.

I'll do my best to keep you posted on my current writing progress.

If you like, you can visit some of my old friends at my website (rickhipps.com) and at http://www.loreleisignal.com/Grayleigh.html (if you like the story of Brenna and her family, check out the entire anthology (links are also at my website, including a new anthology coming in September, A Forest of Dreams, published by Indie Authors Press. - in paperback and on Kindle!)

Sorry for the shameless bout of self promotion, but as I said, pedal to the floorboards.

Hope we'll talk soon.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

As promised...

Well, as promised I have new website and I'm creeping ever closer to the completion of a WIP which, I must confess, has been on-going for far longer than I anticipated.  But, life does manage to get in the way sometimes. While not using that as an excuse, it does offer an explanation, at least to family and friends who've been enduring my long-term efforts... somewhat.

This novel was originally intended as a stand-alone piece. But the characters, and my imagination didn't seem to agree with that intent, so in the coming entries to my blog, I'll try to explain my process, and change in attitude, toward the characters and stories of the good, gray and dark folks residing in Fortune's Gate. Let's begin,

On Creating A Series:

For my first novel, I decided on a main story that offered the reader a murder mystery. Yes, I know murder mysteries already fill the shelves of many a used bookstore.  But when writing a fantasy, especially dark fantasy, a simple whodunnit just isn't enough. Hence, the tagline "Magic, Murder and Mystery" entered my mind.

So, creating fantasy murder brings a whole set of ideas and problems with it..

         How do I keep it original (or, at least out of the norm)?
         Creating a killer worthy of the name.
         Providing a motive worth the risk.
         Writing a horrific series of murder scenes.

In the days ahead, I'll try breaking down these ideas and discussing the problems, without revealing, I hope, too much of the story.

So, come back if you'd like to see how a new guy handles the beginning of a series that was never intended. Perhaps you'll learn something, right or wrong, about creating your own series.

See you next time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New & Improved.


Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Spent a few hours on Sunday working with my uber-talented webmistress toward a new and improved website (rickhipps.com), Accomplished a lot; adding new links for upcoming and already released work, improved website look, maybe a picture, not sure if I'm up for it.

Am now only two chapters (and a bit) shy of completing What Hides In Shadow, first in a series from the bustling port city of Fortune's Gate. Seems somewhat surreal, but I'm looking forward to moving deeper into the other stories to come.

Next up, of course, will be shopping for an agent, editing and MORE WRITING!

Well, back to it. Enjoy the day & stop back if you're in the neighborhood.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rules for Not Being a Writer

Recently, I came across an interesting article on the website of K.M. Weiland, author of both fiction and non-fiction, including several how-to books on writing and editing.  A Nebraska native, like myself, she offers some sound advice to beginning / returning writers that, on the surface, may seem redimentary, but valuable to those who haven't considered the obvious: 

How Not to Be a Writer: 15 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong
Ever wonder if you’re doing this whole writing thing wrong? We have a bad writing session. The words are all glomming up in the back of our minds and refusing to flow across the page. Our editor hits us with a tough critique, in which he offers the humble suggestion that we change, well, pretty much everything about our story. Someone reads our story and, instead of laughing and crying in all the right places, his best response is a half-hearted, “Meh.
In the face of evidence like that, it sure doesn’t seem like we’re quite acing the How-to-Be-a-Writer checklist. Maybe we’d do better on a How-Not-to-Be-a-Writer checklist.
Let’s take a look at fifteen sure signs that maybe we really are acting more like non-writers than writers—and how to remedy that.
1. You’re trying to be the next Janet Evanovich/J.K. Rowling/G.R.R. Martin.
If we’re investing all our energy and hopes in surpassing some of the biggest names in the industry, we’re focusing on the wrong thing. Worse, if we’re trying to imitate great authors’ styles in hopes of one day mimicking their success, we’re dead in the water before we even start paddling.
2. Your time is better spent on activities other than reading.
First, if you don’t love reading so much you can’t stay away from it, you’ve probably signed the wrong job application. Second, if you aren’t absorbing storycraft through every pore, you’re missing your most important opportunity to better your understanding of what it takes to write an amazing story.
3. You’re obsessed with following The Rules.
The Rules may be very important guidelines, but writing is about so much more than that. Don’t get so hung up on The Rules that you lose touch with your own guiding story sense.
4. You’re protecting your originality by avoiding instruction on the craft.
The techniques of writing and the theories of storytelling are so much bigger than anything we can realize all on our own. The more we study our craft, the better our art will be—and the sharper our ability to create original material.
5. You change your writing process every time an expert suggests something new.
Writing experts may know a lot, but they don’t always know what’s right for you. We all have to find the processes that best suit our personalities and lifestyles, and once we find them, we need to stick with them.
6. Your genius doesn’t need to be critiqued.
The worst mistake any writer can make is that of claiming a genius that, ahem, doesn’t really exist. Much better to assume you’re less skilled than you really are, so you’ll then be able to ask for (and accept) the help you need to improve.
7. Your tender ego can’t bear to be critiqued.
Yeah, critiques hurt. Sometimes they’re about as much fun as a hug from the Iron Maiden. But delicate writers die. Only the strong survive and, more importantly, write better stories.
8. You believe everything everyone tells you about your story.
Joe over here says your main character is awesome. Lucinda says your ending is a stinkfest. Angus likes your ending but hates your main character. Don’t believe all of them—or even any of them. Weigh their opinions for exactly what they’re worth and make up your own mind.
9. You spend more time checking your email than working on your manuscript.
Procrastination is a parasite. Most of us struggle with it from time to time. But if we’re going to be writers, we must learn to purge it and gain the discipline to focus on what really matters—our writing.
10. You start ten stories for every one you finish.
Sooner or later, every story gets tough, and when it does, we become vulnerable to the lure of shiny new ideas. But writers finish stories. Cultivate discipline and force yourself to bring at least eight out of ten manuscripts to an end.
11. You don’t believe you’re really a writer until you get something published/you’re a bestseller/you get a movie deal/Stephen King blurbs your book.
Writing is not about glory. It is not about acclaim. It’s not about being published. Writing is about writing. Enjoy the journey, do your best, and let the chips fall where they may. You’ll be much happier for it—and your stories will probably be all the better.
12. You’re only writing a book in order to sell a gazillion copies, quit your day job, and retire to the Bahamas.
The other thing writing is not about is money. If you’re very, very lucky, you’ll get to quit your day job. But, honestly, just forget about the rest of it and focus on more productive and probable dreams—like winning the Powerball.
13. You talk about your story more than you write about it.
Talking isn’t writing. Talking won’t get that manuscript finished (see Sign #10). There’s nothing wrong with sharing a little of your story-fueled enthusiasm with friends and family, but for every time you mention your story in conversation, you’d better have written a least a page in your manuscript.
14. You only write when you’re inspired.
Inspiration is like a very cute puppy dog. You can’t depend on it worth beans. And you sure as heck don’t want it being the master. You have to leash it, take charge of it, and train it. And sometimes that means sitting down to write even when it may appear that inspiration had stood you up.
15. You’re not writing.
Writers write. Bottom line.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Drink coffee. Make stuff up.

I guess every writer has a favorite place; a place where they feel comfortable enough to let their imagination run. Where, on good days, the words flow and images and dialog fill our minds, so that we can scratch them out on paper (or the computer screen.)

So.  Where are you most comfortable? Where does your imagination flow best? At home or away?

For me, it’s a coffeehouse. Something about the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and pastries, combined with piped music in the background, wobbly tables and chairs, snatches of overheard conversations, and the warm feeling that most everyone around you is in the same boat. Tapping at the keys, scratching with the pen or pencil, and trying to put enough words together to form an idea. An idea into a story.


But, which coffeehouse? You would think that in a city like Seattle, there would be no shortage of writer-friendly coffeehouses. I wish I could say that’s true. In the four years Verna & I have lived here, finding the perfect coffeehouse hasn’t been easy.  Not impossible, mind you, just not easy.

We did find a great place, a comfortable place in the center of a quiet neighborhood on the far side of town.  Stumbled across it completely by accident & fell in love with it. A place where those of us who love fantasy, science fiction, whatever could find others with the same interests. It was an incredible place to be. Then...
A fire. Closure. Dark oblivion. It was back to searching the backstreets and alleys in a renewed quest to find - our place. One coffee shop after another, always ending in failure. Bleakness enveloped us like a shroud.
God, I hated being a writer without someplace to write.
Then, it happened.  Word of a miraculous event. Our coffeehouse had reopened! Initial disbelief turned to reality. Reality turned to joy. Joy turned to WRITING!
Different location, same owners & staff, same clientele.
Since that time, I'm happy to say that I've completed, and sold several stories, and I'm only two chapters from completing my first novel. Granted my writing did not come to a complete standstill during that coffeehouseless (it's my word, deal with it) period, but it certainly felt like it.
In the coming weeks, I'll be revamping my website (rickhipps.com) with the help of my webmistress, and continuing to blog about the writing / editing / (hopefully) publishing process.
So, don't be a stranger. Stop by when you can. Comment if you like.
I'll do my best to keep you interested.
Until next time.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

An Introduction

Hi, and Welcome.

My name is Rick Hipps, and I am a writer. Yes, I know, there are a lot of us writers out here; droning on about things that seem important to us... Sometimes to others.  I hope to make this blog helpful, informative, but most of all interesting and entertaining.

Your comments are welcome, and appreciated.

As I said, I am a writer.  From an early age, fantasy, science fiction and adventure stories have been an important part of my life. Among my favorite authors: Robert E. Howard, my mentor and guide in absentia to the world of high adventure. Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose Tarzan and John Carter took me to new worlds and breath-taking exploits. Lester Dent's Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze and his loyal companions kept me enthralled with each new and dangerous endeavor. H. Rider Haggard's Alan Quartermain took me to the dark continent where exploration and thrills were one and the same. And Ray Bradbury's hometown stories of summer wonders and Martian landscapes fueled my own imagination and instilled in me the two greatest words a writer can ever learn - "What if."

Of course, I can't forget the poor man's literary heroes: The Phantom, The Shadow, Dick Tracy and oh so many others from the Sunday Comics that helped shape (although I didn't realize it at the time) my own storytelling skills.

Though, I suppose of all my literary companions from younger years has to be, and will always remain Conan The Cimmerian. Strong, silent, deadly and one hell of a good read.

Robert E. Howard's Conan stories have done more to shape my writing style than any other. Let me be clear, it's not about the violence, the thieving, the drinking or the wenching. It's about the STYLE.  Bob Howard could say more in a single paragraph, than most writers can in an entire page or more. His descriptive style was incredible. Let me share a sample with you:

From Howard's The Hour of the Dragon:

The long tapers flickered, sending the black shadows wavering along the walls, and the velvet tapestries rippled. Yet there was no wind in the chamber. Four men stood about the ebony table on which lay the green sarcophagus that gleamed like carven jade. In the upraised hand of each man a curious black candle burned with a weird greenish light. Outside was night and a lost wind moaning among the black trees.

Does that brief description of four mysterious men with an unknown and likely sinister purpose make you want to read more?  Me too!

It is my hope to one day approach the Master. To write stories with the passion, life and fire that drove Bob Howard to be "The Greatest Pulp Novelist in the Whole Wide World."

It's a dream... An ongoing adventure.

Hopefully, you'll check back from time to time to see how I'm faring.

Until next time!