All posts by Casey Wyatt

I write Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance. Come visit me at my site - caseywyatt.com. I can also be found at secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com and smpauthors.wordpress.com. Thanks for visiting me today!

The “Good Parts” Version

Hello, friends.  Casey here. I was all set to write a Halloween themed post, but instead, I’d rather recommend a book and a philosophy.

I recently read Cary Elwes book, As You Wish:Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.  When I heard this book was out, I did a very strange thing. I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the hardcover. And I paid full price! 

Normally, I buy digital. Largely because I am drowning in books. So obviously, to me, this was a special “must have” book.

After purchasing my copy, I dropped everything I was doing and read it. I laughed, I cried (especially the parts about Andre the Giant) and I remembered my own life back then with this strange nostalgia.

It’s hard to believe that when the movie was released in 1987 that it wasn’t a theatrical success. It’s popularity arrived after the video release of the movie. Then, I’m sure there were plenty of people who’d wished they’d seen it in the theater.

I’m one of the lucky people who did see it in a theater. And, while many years have passed, I remember that experience. My college housemates and I went to a matinee (probably to escape studying) in nearby Virginia. It was LOVE at first viewing. I remember thinking it was the most amazing movie I’d ever seen. In short, I knew I’d seen something special. Almost life changing.

It wasn’t any one thing either but a combination of the perfect actors, with the right director and, by golly, the dialogue. So many gems. These  are some of my favorite:

“Inconceivable!”

“Get used to disappointment.”

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

And, the most romantic way of saying, I love you - “As you wish.”

Now close to thirty years later, as a writer, I can’t help but think, “Damn. This is like the most perfect fairy tale. Ever.”

And not just the movie version, but the book too. Somehow, I managed to completely miss reading the book growing up. I rectified that when the 25th anniversary edition came out. One of the writer lessons I learned (and must have internalized) was the subtitle: The “Good Parts” Version.

And it means exactly what it says. No long, boring dissertations about landscapes, clothing, room decor, etc. In short, all the things I hate as a reader. All the parts that I gloss over or skip right past.

I’m in the process of editing my first contemporary romance- Over Easy. And I’ve been cutting like a fiend. I’ve been creating what I hope is, The “Good Parts” Version.

And really, that is what editing should be all about. Creating the best, grab the reader by the pants, version of a story.

Third Time’s a Charm

Hey there Scribes’ fans.  Casey here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddIt’s kind of hard to put into words how I feel about the third book in the Mystic Series. Last year, while I was writing the book, it seemed like I would never finish it.

There were two reasons for that:

One: I was simultaneously writing another paranormal romance –  Lachlan’s Curse (which I did complete early 2014 but that’s a whole other blog post).

Two: the book ended up longer than my target goal of 83,000 – 85,000 words. In fact, the word count after the last round of publisher edits was @92,000 words.

Because I am a die hard plotter, in my mind, this shouldn’t have happened. Obviously I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque or something.

Why so long?

Well, the short answer: that’s how long the story is. For those of you following this series (and I thank you very much!) this is Devlin Ward’s book.

Devlin is a virginal satyr who has a boatload of childhood drama to deal with before he can obtain his happily every after. Lucky for him, his heroine, Mary (aka Ma’at) is more than ready to take accept the challenge.

And believe me, it was a challenge for me too.  Even though I know this world well it didn’t make writing their story any easier. When I realized that the first draft would clock in around 95,000 words, I had a choice to make – stop writing and figure out what was wrong or keep writing because maybe nothing was wrong.

While that sounds incredibly insane, I know from first hand experience that I can be my own worst enemy (hello, Doubt Monster).

In the end, I decided to keep writing and see what would happen because I’m crazy like that. I figured, why not? I can always delete stuff later (which I did).

This past weekend, I read the book again after a final round of edits. And guess what? The length felt just right for Devlin and Mary.

So is there a moral to this blog post? Yes!

Don’t fear the delete key. And don’t be afraid to just see what’s going to happen next.

 

 

 

 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Welcome friends! Casey here.

Technically, I don’t get a summer vacation but I do have a boat load of vacation time (thanks to twenty-five years with the same employer).

So guess what?  Have you ever been cornered by someone eager to share their vacation photos?

Yes? No?

Well, I’m about to do that to you right now! Seriously, it’s hard to believe another summer has come and gone. While I did find time to pen another novel (see #2), I also made sure to have plenty of fun too! Without further ado, I present – my summer in pictures.

1. May – Sheep shearing at Old Sturbridge Village! Yes, May is not technically summer yet, but my kids college classes were over so close enough. Sheep Shearing2. JuneOver Easy was well underway thanks to a helping hand from Scrivener. I’m happy to report that I finished the first draft by the end of July and it’s currently in the hands of my beta readers. The photo below is from a night at Muse Paint Bar with my writer friends. The painting on the left is mine.Muse Paint Bar3. JulyConnectiCon 2014 KICKED ASS. For three glorious days, my family was knee-deep in geeky heaven. The highlights for me and Hubby – meeting Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche. You may recognize their voices from Pinky & the Brain. They were personable and during their panels – freaking hysterical.Pinky & the BrainThe boys were enamored of Lauren Landa – famous for voicing Annie in Attack on Titan. Look at her. She’s gorgeous.Lauren LandaAnd once again the costumes were amazing. These are some of my favorites.Fro- ZoneToothlessClassic CybermanSeriously – attend this convention! There is so much to do and the Connecticut Convention Center is a great venue.

4. AugustRedcoats & Rebels. Another fun year even though it was a big soggy in the morning. The rain made for light crowds at first but we still had fun. By day’s end, the sun appeared and we captured some awesome battles pictures.IMG_0639IMG_0504IMG_0379Ahh. So much fun. Well, back to writing. I have another book to plot and a few to edit. For more photos, check out my Pinterst page. Thanks for stopping by. I hope everyone had a great summer too.

If you have a moment, please share your favorite summer time moment.

Don’t Be Guilty of #Word Crimes!

Hey there! Casey here!

Recently, Weird Al released another album which shot straight to number 1 on the Billboard Chart. Not since 1963 has a comedy album taken the top spot. Kudos to Weird Al!

And lucky for us writers, he’ s addressed a pressing issue – #Word Crimes! Please watch the following instructional video.

Be sure to laugh out loud if you feel so moved!

 

And then, please reflect upon Weird Al’s wisdom.

In an age where social media reigns supreme, it does seem like grammar is becoming a lost art. Sure, for us writers, solid knowledge of grammar is a must.  But it wasn’t until I chortled my way through this song, that I realized how many of these  mistakes also drive me mad.

Now, to be fair, before I began seriously writing, I’d forgotten some of those rules too. Comma placement continues to stump me. See the previous sentence – I probably used too many commas.  I don’t always punctuate dialog properly and the distinction between blond and blonde often baffles me (largely because publishers all handle it differently).

I am, by no means, a grammar nit-picker but one thing that does drive me nuts is spelling words wrong on purpose.

I’m looking at you SyFy Channel. For shame!!

I’m curious to know – which grammar mistakes drive you batty?

 

5 REASONS WHY WRITERS SHOULD ATTEND CONVENTIONS

Happy Thor’s Day, everyone! Casey here.

Hard to believe, but a whole year has gone by since I attended my first convention. During the past year, I did manage to complete two novels – Mystic Hero (and sold it!) and Lachlan’s Curse (still editing it). And I’m in the home stretch of my first contemporary romance – Over Easy.

IMG_4786And while I wasn’t always sure I’d get any of these novel completed, I knew with certainty that I’d be going to ConnectiCon 2014. So this year we pre-purchased weekend passes so we could come and go as we please. This year’s roster includes amazing voice actors from shows my family enjoys: Pinky & the Brain! Legend of Korra! Fullmetal Alchemist just to name few.

In May, me and my guys attended the first ever Hartford Comic Con. While not as big in scale and scope as ConnectiCon, it has the makings of a bigger event in the future.

As a writer, nothing beats attending an event loaded with other fantasy/anime/gaming/sci-fi/you name it/ enthusiasts. Even if you don’t love any of these things, consider attending at least one convention in your area at least once. Here are some reasons why:

1. They’re fun! The crowd alone is worth the price of admission. At last year’s ConnectiCon the vibe was one of pure fun. People were there to have a good time and celebrate the love of things fantastical and fun. Writers tend to be people watchers (and if you aren’t observing, consider doing so). And if you just want to get in tune with your inner geek, this is the place to do it. ConnectiCon also has a squillion different panels and workshops (and, yes, some are for writers).

2. Costumes! The costumes are incredible. Thanks to SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay, I’ve gained a new appreciation for how much work goes into Cosplay. As someone who can only stitch straight lines on a sewing machine, I am in double-awe of all the hand fabrication and planning that goes into the costumes.

3. Networking! It’s a chance to meet other authors and artists. Last year, I was able to meet and spend time with Michael J. Sullivan and I also met Dan Dos Santos. He’s the cover artist for Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thomas books and Diana Rowland’s White

It's the dude who draws Archer!!
It’s the dude who draws Archer!!

Trash Zombie series. He was generous with his time and was happy to answer my questions. He also asked to see one of my book covers (unprompted). He liked  Mystic Ink so much he kept my post card. While standing there talking to Dan, I realized I was rubbing elbows with none other than Brandon Sanderson. Total geek out moment!

4. Vendors! There are so many types of artists: web, comics, graphic novels, television. At Hartford ComiCon – we even saw the lead artist for Archer. If you are a fan of merchandise, you won’t be disappointed. Hartford ComicCon had TeeTurtle on sight (love their shirts) and numerous vendors selling everything from unique dolls to long-lost action figures.

5. Inspiration! Last summer, I was writing Mystic Hero and fell into a bit of a creative rut. As a result of attending ConnectiCon 2013, I was inspired to locate a scene during a convention. Devlin and his cohorts find themselves in hot water with a bunch of goblin baddies, and what better place to have a showdown, then a convention filled with costume wearing mortals. Am I right? Yeah. Trust me. I am.

So who else has attended a local convention? And if you haven’t, what’s holding you back?

 

Bad movie, but awesome car!!
Bad movie, but awesome car!!

It Never Gets Old – Cover Reveal – Mystic Hero

Hey there! Casey here.

Since I’m hard at work penning my next novel – Over Easy – a contemporary romance (*gasp* – it’s not a paranormal), I thought I’d share the cover for book 3 in my Mystic Series.

One of the joys of working with a smaller publisher is getting cover art super fast. Once again, another great design from Rae Monet. Don’t you agree?

Mystic Hero

Here’s the back cover copy. This book is coming soon – Fall 2014. I can’t wait to share Devlin’s story.

A wise Satyr always pays his debts: Pawn shop owner Devlin Ward isn’t stupid. When Karma appears on his doorstep to cash in an old favor, he can’t refuse. It’s a simple request – accept a delivery and keep it safe. Unfortunately for Devlin, the “package” is a sullen teenage oracle who insists that he locate the Feather of Truth. Or else.

A promise is a promise: Mary Swain, aka Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, always honors her word. For the first time in centuries, she’s finally free of her debts and wants a new life, preferably away from Mystic, where every quaint shop and cozy restaurant is a reminder of her unreliable ex-boyfriend. Finally, she’s leaving and nothing’s going to stop her.

But when Devlin approaches her with the oracle’s dire warning and a frazzled plea for help, she can’t resist a tempting new adventure or his quietly sexy allure. Despite his best efforts to feign indifference, she knows Devlin is attracted to her too. He claims to have deep, dark secrets that even the Goddess of Truth can’t pry out of him. Or can she?

That’s all I got! Until next time, happy writing or reading!

Focus is not a Four Letter Word

Hey everyone. Casey here.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And while in my experience that seems to be true, it’s not always obvious that a behavior has moved over into the “insane” column.

ClockHere’s an example of what I mean. Between my family and my writing career, I manage several mailboxes (five to be exact, six if I count the day job). For the last four years, I’ve been deleting annoying and unwanted emails.

Every. Single. Day.

It had become such a habit that I didn’t realize I’d entered the insanity zone. I mean, did I think that by deleting them they would magically stop coming?

I dunno. Maybe.

Like everyone else in the universe, my time is limited and very valuable. So is yours. The world is filled with miniature, time sucking vampires like unwanted, unneeded, unread email.

Of course this got me thinking. What other subtle activities are robbing me of focus? And what can I do to get rid of them?

Do you have the same problem? I bet you do. Naturally, I have some tips:

1. De-clutter your inbox – i.e. stop receiving so many damn useless emails. Do you find yourself deleting the same kinds of emails over and over. Magazine subscriptions, sales at every store known to mankind: Macy’s, Land’s End, Kohl’s – you name it. Go to the bottom of the email and click unsubscribe then follow the directions. See? Easy Peasy.

One word of caution. Do not do this with spam. No, no, no. Actual spam (if it’s coming into your inbox) should be ruthlessly marked a such and sent to the spam oubliette where it deserves to rot.

2. Go to your social media sites and check your settings and eliminate all the needless notifications. Many social media sites send these because you fail to notice all those little check boxes when you first sign up. Or they change policy (looking at you, Facebook) and decide you need to know all kinds of useless stuff. Unless of course you like to know that your brother’s wife’s sister’s cousin has a strange alligator rash on her skin. Ewww.

3. Be in the moment. What does that mean, Master Yoda? It means don’t multitask. GASP. I know. Crazy, right? Believe it or not, it’s not really possible to write a book, talk on the phone, and make dinner all at the same time. Multitasking is a myth people! Focus on the task at hand. The end result will be better.

4. Disconnect. Yup. You heard me. If you want to get in your word count and you can’t stop visiting the world wide web – then turn off the wi-fi. Duh. Don’t worry. Your brother’s wife’s sister’s cousin’s strange rash will still be waiting for  you.

5. Unleash the hounds, Smithers! If your significant other or family can’t leave you alone when you need to work, then sorry, you have to let them know to please leave you alone. If escaping your house isn’t an option, might I suggest a pair of earplugs? They got me through years of younger son’s Call of Duty shouting matches with his friends.

That’s all I’ve got for today. If you have other tips, please share.

Remember to take time to enjoy the flowers.
Remember to take the time to enjoy the flowers.