|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on May 11, 2012 at 4:55 PM||comments (63)|
I've just completed a short story for the Genesis II An Anthology of Black Science Fiction to be published later this summer, so I will update with a blog to share the details of where to purchase and read excerpts.
This is a short story prequel to Journey through Darkness: Book I of the Journey Saga and the genre is fantasy/horror. It tells the story of Mhonsu, Zarlyn, and their son Tjenna before they became soul-stealing concubus. Be on the look out for it!
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on May 21, 2011 at 8:41 PM||comments (1)|
A year has passed since the publication and release of Journey through Darkness: Book I of the Journey Saga. May 21st 2010 was the day that this novel was officially released to the world and a new saga was born. Celebrate with me by visiting my official website journeysaga.com to read excerpts, brush up on the characters, or leave any thoughts, questions, or observations that you've had.
The soundtrack Darkness Before the Light is still going strong with online visitors from all over the world. "Amazon Ancestors," the first instrumental release from the soundtrack, continues to be a favorite to listeners. If you haven't heard it, or it has been awhile since your last visit, please stop by Kandake Soul Music Productions for a free listen (kandakesoulmusic.webs.com). If you like what you hear, please spread the word to others about my project.
Today I have celebrated the novel's release by working on Journey of the Damned, something I have not done in many months. Some of my focus has gone towards scenes centering around Tizra's rise to power and the Medjays adjusting to a new life away from Kush. Where Book I introduced some of the major players of the saga, Book II expands on those characters, their relationships with each other, and introduces a few new main characters.
I have also been outlining a secondary project which will probably become a short story on the concubus. My goal is to write a prequel to the saga that will show how Mhonsu, Zarlyn, and their son Tjenna became the most powerful soul-stealing demons in the cosmos. As soon as samples are ready I will post them to my web sites.
Thanks to those of you that continue to be enthused about this project as I appreciate your support and motivation. This has been a very busy year for me with the newest edition to my family and adjusting to a new job but the journey continues!
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on July 29, 2010 at 12:21 PM||comments (1)|
Journey of the Damned is going well. I've been writing diligently every day even when some days I can only fit in 30 minutes into my hectic schedule. My biggest challenge is rewriting it because the original first draft no longer applies due to changes I have made to plots and the story line, so I am literally rewriting the book over from scratch.
The format for JOTD will be similar to JTD and divided into three parts:
Part I: Present Day
Part II: Three years Ago
Part II: Present Day
I won't include any spoilers here, but I will say that JOTD Part I immediately picks up from JTD Part III in the first novel. That chapter is short and serves as an introduction to the current conflict as a result of the rising Aksumite Empire.
Part II will go back three years to the situation in Kemet and Kush before the Aksumite occupation and will be told from the third-person perspectives of General Joval and her rogue Medjays: Naji, Dhadja, Kysen, Nekau, Rangi, and Osirri.
Part III will go back to the current conflict of dealing with the ongoing Aksumite occupation that will set up the next novel Book III Journey through the Silent Land (JTSL).
I can say that JOTD will probably be a little longer than JTD only because the remaining books of the saga are not broken up into 3 parts so I have to complete the story-within-a-story in Journey of the Damned. The reason why I have done that for the first two novels is to allow readers insight into what led to the Aksumite occupation and the Ascendancy.
JTSL and the novels following the third book will not go back into the past . They will all address the current Aksumite occupation and the war of the gods.
New Characters to look out for in Journey of the Damned::
Kayin, the Lord of the Slaughter
Tiharqo, Kayin's eldest son
Syene, the Phoenix Guardian
White Antelope, Shamaness of the White Antelope Clan
Chione, Amazon queen of the White Antelope Clan
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on June 24, 2010 at 7:12 PM||comments (2)|
It has been perhaps a month or so since my last entry and that was because of all the editing and setbacks involved in the publication process for Journey through Darkness. But finally all of that hard work as paid off and the novel is complete and available in ebook and paperback edition.
I am excited but overwhelmed. When I began this process in 2008 I thought it would be much easier than it has been. I figured I would spend a few months getting the word out and by the time publication was complete, I could take a little break and wait for the sales to happen. But I am already running into a few problems. My inventory won’t be stocked until mid-summer due to the processing time of the publisher. Amazon.com has the wrong description for my book in their marketplace. And currently I am unable to track any sales through the publisher so I have no idea if the book is selling or not.
The strangest thing about this experience has been the reception of the book. I am getting mixed results from family and friends. Ironically, I have received more encouragment and support from strangers than from people I have known for years. But I can’t let that get me down or discourage me. I have accomplished a lifelong dream in getting published. As my husband so often reminds me, people will come around after they discover the book is selling.
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on April 20, 2010 at 12:47 PM||comments (0)|
I had a brief setback with the edits, so that caused for a delay with the production of the book, but we are back in business. I am spending my day off on Friday getting the book ready for release this weekend, so cross your fingers for me!
I've spent this past weekend at Barnes and Nobles networking and meeting really interesting people. The management at the store were intrigued by the book and are willing to display it in the front of the store which is really cool. I have my husband to thank for setting that up.
I also have my first book review set up in the near future with Synchronized Chaos Magazine, so I will keep you all posted with that.
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on April 20, 2010 at 12:45 PM||comments (1)|
While I'm wrapping up the finishing touches on Journey through Darkness, I am beginning the long process of organizing and outlining Journey of the Damned, Book II. This book is longer, more complex, and therefore more challenging to work through, but the good news is it's already written.
I originally wrote JOTD in 2000 in seven journals, and it took me six months to type everything up. I haven't read it for many years, so I am getting my notes together and organizing my plots. My first job is to read the first draft from start to finish and to take notes on things I have forgotten.
I have recently discovered writing software. For Journey through Darkness I tried using Rough Draft and Page Four but they were really too simple, so I graduated over to Writer's Cafe, a software made in England. I like it a lot. It's not too complicated, and it allows me to create a virtual database for the saga. Too often I forget minor characters, details, websites, and books that I have used. This software allows me to create my own personal encyclopedia of information. The hard part is converting years of notes, index cards, etc into it.
But once I have some order in my life, I can concentrate on writing Journey of the Damned so that it will be completed by the end of this year. We'll see how it goes.
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on February 11, 2010 at 4:42 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Kandake E. Brockington on December 28, 2009 at 10:46 PM||comments (8)|
The Journey is Long (Wordpress Blog)
by Kandake E. Brockington
This is the Blog for Journey through Darkness, the first novel of my dark fantasy saga. Here you can get the latest updates on the novel and follow my progress through publication and beyond.
Right now I am in the process of editing and revising this novel that was originally written in 1999. It is set to go into publication by mid-December and will be available online through Barnes and Nobles, Amazon.com, Borders Books, and my publishing company Xlibris Publishing around April 2010.
It will be my first officially published novel. So far there are 9 books total in the works.
I am also composing instrumental tracks for, Darkness Before the Light, the Journey through Darkness Soundtrack.
You can find additional information on my website www.amarnawest.com
Or contact me via email: [email protected]
The Journey is Long X
I have had a lot happen over the past month. A sprained ankle combined with family drama resulted in a delay in revising the novel. I just completed the final chapter last night and now it is time for the hardest part of all…editing.
My husband read the last chapter and was completely shocked. “You’ve really changed things,” he told me.
I couldn’t tell if that was a good or bad thing. You see, he read the original Journey through Darkness draft back in 1999 and each draft leading up to the 8th book of the saga. So if he had his way I wouldn’t change a thing. He would have me keep characters that I no longer had plots for, and storylines that gave me writer’s block. But I had to do what was necessary to keep my sanity.
Revising this novel was a very difficult task because it required plenty of research. In 1999 the information was fresh in my head because I was studying archaeology at the time. So while I researched for term papers I ended up killing two birds with one stone.
But it has been awhile since I’ve read up on hyenas, lions, leopards, elephants, and cobras. I had to go back through my books and learn the flora and fauna for the time period for which I was writing. I had to reread my collection of mythology books and study ancient Egyptian temples. It was information overload.
What really helped was going to the children’s section of the library. Not only do those books provide plenty of pictures, but they are very brief and to the point without all the fluff. Children have short attention spans and I hate to say it but so do I.
The Journey is Long IX
I think one of the greatest things about self-publishing is meeting kindred spirits on the same path. Everyday I meet both experienced veterans and rookies like myself. Initially I was stressed out over how to begin the process of publishing my novel.
The first thing I did was find cover art to bring the book to life. Then I worked on a website, a blog, flyers, and business cards. Once I had all of that done, I began doing my research online. I searched for websites that catered to my genre and found a gold-mine of fellow writers. Then I went to local libraries and bookstores to meet people to tell them about my upcoming book, ultimately putting my flyers and business cards to use.
But that is only the beginning of the process. It is ongoing and it never stops. That is one of the major differences between traditional and self-publishing, you always have to find time to promote yourself. You’ll face plenty of rejection, so much that you’ll wonder if it’s even worth it to continue. It is.
My two-cents? Lick your wounds and keep going–even when it feels like no one cares, or no one supports what you are trying to accomplish. You are doing this for yourself, so don’t let yourself down.
The good news is that with determination, perseverance, and even a little stubborness, you will eventually gain acceptance within the community that is right for you and you will accomplish your lifelong dream to become a published author. So keep at it!
As far as last week’s crisis…it’s over. For now. I managed to complete the chapter, and I am proud to say that I have 2 chapters left.
How did I get over that major hurdle? First I read my outline. Yes, I use one of those–sometimes. For me it’s like a map. Though, it’s rare for me to stick to my outline word for word. I often detour from my original destination, but least I have some guidance to start with.
Second, I wrote the draft out in my journal, then typed it. Next I read it on screen but that got me no where. So I printed it out, scribbled notes on the draft, and asked myself questions. I had to work out the tough parts like a puzzle. In the end I decided that anything causing too much grief had to be cut, including plots and characters.
Maybe later I’ll revisit those ideas with a fresh perspective. But then again, maybe I won’t.
The Journey is Long VIII
Writing has become almost painful. Before I decided to self-publish I used to write for fun, so I paid very little attention to what I wrote. Now I find myself analyzing every little paragraph while trying to remember all those grammar rules I learned back in English 106.
And finding the time to write has gotten a lot more challenging with a 22-month-old who wants all of my undivided attention. After working an 8-hour shift I usually spend the remaining five hours with my husband and daughter. By 10PM I’m ready to write. The problem is I’m usually exhausted. I’m staring at the computer screen or my pile of journals wishing that I could just go to sleep. However, my deadline to submit my manuscript is just 20 days away, so I can’t allow myself to give in to temptation. I must finish!
This week I kept rewriting the same scene over and over. I’ve been stuck on the same chapter for almost 3 weeks. What am I doing wrong here? What is missing? Should I give up the chapter altogether and just move on? Am I being lazy and not working hard enough on it?
At a time like this I think a writing group or a mentor would help a lot, but I have neither, so I’m going to keep working at it until I get it right. Wish me luck.
The Journey is Long VII
I am finally down to the last five chapters of the book and I couldn’t be happier. Finally, I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Remaining disciplined is still challenging at this point because my mind wants to go in so many different directions. Already, I am looking forward to beginning the second book of the saga, Journey of the Damned. In addition to that, I am writing a series of a different genre so I expect to be very busy in 2010.
This week I’ve been working out fight scenes and writing my last five chapters completely out of order. I knew how I wanted the novel to end, so I completed my last chapter before returning to the more complex ones. I have had to go through drafts and cut out chapters then add them back again—it’s been a crazy week! And on top of that, I’m getting myself situated back in school which means that as soon as the novel goes into publication in January I will have even less time to work on all my projects.
However, the good news is that Journey through Darkness is still on schedule to be released in April. I chose that month because it is my birthday month. I also think that spring is a great time for the release. The semester will be coming to an end, and people will be making preparations for the summer early.
In the mean time, the soundtrack for Journey through Darkness is coming along nicely and I have recently released the first single for listening on my website. It is called “Amazon Ancestors,” the first of eight instrumental tracks that I have composed.
The Journey is Long VI
I’m definitely feeling the pressure now. With approximately 60 days left until the deadline to publish, I am asking myself how reasonable that goal is. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of months building a website community as well as introducing myself to fellow authors.
Instead of waiting until the book was published I began early with the networking process. I have limited experience with this, so I am sure I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’ve sent out email campaigns that have not been very successful. Unless you already have contacts willing to receive your email, most people will consider it spam. There are companies that will allow you to pay to utilize their contacts, but I have a very limited budget.
I’ve had to depend very heavily on business cards and flyers to get the word out about my book. It is also an expensive tactic but necessary. I’ve learned to keep business cards close within reach at all times. When I’m at work, school, or even grocery shopping I never miss an opportunity to promote my book. It’s a full time job but it’s the only way to make a name for yourself.
My word of wisdom this week is to keep a progress journal. Mine includes weekly to-do lists for the book as well as a list of contacts that I’ve collected. I also keep a list of online websites with my login information for easy access. In addition to that I make frequent entries on which strategies have worked and which ones haven’t over the course of a week.
Order and time management is the key.
The Journey is Long V
One of the biggest problems with writing a saga is deciding which characters you really need to move it along. Sometimes you start off with ideas for interesting characters and end up using them only once. How do you really know which characters will end up being the ones that your audience truly identifies with?
That is the challenge I face this week. During this revising period I must analyze each character that I have created and determine which one gets to stay and which one gets eliminated. It’s almost like being the judge on a reality TV show.
Major characters are easier to sort through. You’ll know by the end of your first novel whether or not to keep them around. But minor characters pose a different challenge. They move the story a long in other significant ways. Their purpose is to test your main characters and help develop their storylines. Certain minor characters will be more memorable than others, but the goal is to make each one of them count.
I find myself going back to the beginning…again. And revising…again. But somehow I’ve to get over this roadblock and keep pushing forward.
Sound familiar? Usually I end up writing down every idea that comes to mind before sorting through all the dribble for quality. It’s one of the most difficult tasks of revising because you immediately start second-guessing yourself.
Over the weekend I found myself dropping 7 chapters from the novel. It was painful but liberating.
The journey continues…
The Journey is Long IV
I’ve been reading a lot when I should be writing this week. But in my search to find a future publisher for my second novel, I’ve discovered more rumors and controversies surrounding the self-publishing industry. I have to wonder how accurate all of this information is.
I read a blog last week written by a self-published author that claimed amazon.com was no longer selling self-published titles in their marketplace. I immediately had to check this out because I needed to know the truth. After all, companies like Lulu, Createspace, Xlibris, etc. all offer the service of allowing authors to sell their works in online stores like amazon.com. So I researched titles in their marketplace and found several thousand.
False alarm. What a relief!
But the author’s blog had made an interesting point. There is still a stigma attached to the self-publishing industry. New authors have to go out of their way to prove themselves to their public because of it. You’ve got to sell yourself and earn a fanbase. Fortunately, it is getting much better for us. Many self-published authors like David Moody and Christopher Paolini (just to name two) have achieved commercial success. And how about the latest newcomer Boyd Morrison, who self-published his novel on Amazon’s Kindle and has now signed a contract with publishing giant Simon & Shuster?
It can be done. But you have to do your research and get the facts. Many well-known authors have chosen to self-publish because they wanted to maintain all of the rights to their work. The good news is, and I am quoting this from another wordpress blog, “Self-Publishing is the new black.”
Self-Published Kindle Author gets contract with Simon & Shuster
Self-Publishing is the New Black
The Journey is Long III
Sometimes everything seems to go just right. You find your groove and the writing comes so easy it’s as if your book is writing itself and your hand is struggling to keep up with the speed of your brain.
Well, this was not one of those weeks for me.
After running into one obstacle after another I came to the conclusion that this was just a bad week to write. While balancing family and work life, at the end of the day I just didn’t get as much progress done as I would have liked. It started like this on Monday and by Thursday I realized I had only written a page.
For a writer it is a constant balancing act. Most of us don’t have the luxury of locking ourselves away in a cabin to write our masterpiece. We’ve got day jobs, night jobs, and other priorities demanding our constant attention.
A writer’s life is unpredictable. We write when we can in our minds, in a notebook, on the back of a napkin at Starbucks… We’re serious about this.
I know I would have given up a long time ago if I had allowed outside forces to get in the way of my progress. I think other writers would agree with me when I say that there is nothing more rewarding than looking back over a pile of scribbled notes knowing that you’ve made progress.
This week was not a great one, but I know next week will be better.
The Journey is Long II
It worked for Vickie Stringer, but it didn’t work for me.
For those of you that don’t know who Vickie Stringer is, she is considered the queen of Urban-Lit. Her book, “How to Succeed in the Publishing Game,” explains how she got started as a self-published author. She eventually built her empire, Triple Crown Productions from a single donation letter. She sent out the donation request to her friends and family and because they believed in what she was trying to do, they sent her what she asked for and more. She now has several novels and a publishing company under her belt.
I was not as fortunate because what initially began as a good idea ended in heartbreak.
There was no sudden rush of phone calls, emails, or letters after I sent out my donation request letter. In fact, most of the people I sent the letter to either ignored it or claimed never to have received it in the first place. Ouch!
I had to regroup with a new strategy very quickly and I learned a very painful but valuable lesson.
Rejection is a necessary and inevitable step towards success.
How to Succeed in the Publishing Game (Triple Crown Publications Presents) by Vickie M. Stringer
The Best in Urban Fiction www.urbanromancebooks.com
The Journey is Long I
I started this process back in December 2008 when I first started shopping around for a self-publisher. There were quite a few to choose from, all offering different features, but most were expensive and I had a limited income to work with. I settled on Xlibris because at the time I didn’t know how many other companies were available offering the same services.
Why did I choose to self-publish rather than attempt traditional publishing you may ask?
I wrote Journey through Darkness in 1999 when I was 23 years old, so fast forward to today and I am faced with the issue of time constraints. I can wait to get a master’s degree in English (my original plan), submit query letters to all the publishing houses I can think of, or take my chances marketing and selling my own book.
But isn’t self-publishing sort of taboo in the literary world?
Some articles and books I’ve read completely bash the idea of self-publishing because it is not the “preferred” method. According to these critics, a self-published writer is not a real writer. I completely disagree. I’ve been writing consistently since I was a child. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “You know what? Today I’ll wash the dishes, take out the trash, and oh yeah…I’ll become a novelist.”
I struggled with the decision to publish for many years. I wrote this book for myself and was completely fine with keeping it within the safety of my closet until I realized that if I didn’t tell this story, eventually someone else would. Maybe my discarded drafts would make it into someone’s else’s ambitious hands or by fate another writer would come along with the same vision.
Now all of a sudden it is a race against time.
I can’t really afford to wait for agents and publishers to love my book. I have the option to go for it and take a chance, so that is what I’m doing.
Doesn’t self-publishing encourage sloppy, inexperienced writing?
Sure, almost anybody with enough money can see their book in print these days but if no one buys it then you have your answer. There is an audience for just about everything. Somewhere in the world people are going to love your book. Write for those people.