Category Archives: H.A.L.F.

3 Loglines for H.A.L.F.

I’ve been working on a spiffy log line for H.A.L.F., my speculative sci fi-ish novel that launches in March. For anyone not familiar with a logline, it’s a one sentence (short) summary of the big idea of the book. It’s the “elevator pitch”.

After playing around with it for some time, I’ve come up with three and would like your opinion. Which of these do you think is the most intriguing? Which one makes you interested to know more? Or have I missed the mark completely?

Please drop a comment below and let me know your honest opinion. And thanks so much for dropping by 😀

1. When a teenager liberates an alien-human hybrid from a government lab, she triggers an inter-stellar war.
2. Three teens become fugitives when they help an alien-human hybrid escape a government lab.

3. While inter-stellar war looms, a teen must liberate the government’s top secret weapon or be terminated.



So let me know which is best for you – #1, #2 or #3 – and why 🙂 Thanks!

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Manic Monday: Martha Graham and Averting a Crisis of Confidence

Last week I jammed on revisions to my current work in progress, H.A.L.F. Friday afternoon I felt great. I’ve done revisions and rewrites to the first half of the book and sent the first chapters off to a few select beta readers for feedback. I felt confident with the work so far and happy with my progress. I even felt a bit disappointed when the weekend started because it meant two days away from my work. But I left my writing office Friday evening feeling that all was well with my creative life.

Natalie Wright, Author
Crisis of Confidence
But I awoke this morning to a crisis of confidence. Perhaps you, too, know this particularly heinous beast and foe of creatives everywhere. The insidious monster, once it takes root, can quickly supplant all feeling of worth and reduce a writer (or painter, dancer, sculptor, etc.) into a shell of a person bereft of a single articulate new idea.

Rather than allow myself to wallow in it (been there, done that), I decided to reach for inspiration from other creatives much wiser than myself. I didn’t have to look any father than my vision board where I had posted this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that activate you.

Keep the channel open. – Martha Graham

Whenever I’m having a crisis of confidence, I usually trace it to my mental habit of comparing myself to others. And that is, of course, the death knell of creativity. This observation by Martha Graham always rights me and sets me back on the path of artistic well being.

Natalie Wright, Author
Crisis Averted
It really is simpler than we make it out to be. We need only “keep the channel open.”

What quotes, beliefs, thoughts, or words of wisdom – of your own or someone else’s – helps you through times of crisis of confidence? 

Manic Monday: What’s Up Natalie?

I’m not sure if I actually have any regular faithful readers of this blog who read what I post here. Or if the thousands of “hits” each month are bots.  But I’m writing this post in faith that there are some actual human beings who read what I write here.

So if you are a human being reading this and if you have read my blog for a while, you may have noticed that over the past year or so (*scratches head and says “Has it really been that long?”*) I have been inconsistent in posting. Yeah, I’ve posted Writer Wednesday spotlights of other writers. Sure, there have been some Sci Fi Friday posts. And yes, there have been posts about my most recent release (Emily’s Heart).

But when is the last time I wrote a Manic Monday post? I can’t remember.

Anyway, I have reasons (numerous) that I’ve been lax in my blogging. Some are lame, like feeling like since no one comments much on my blog that I may in fact be visited solely by Internet bots rather than real people so what’s the point in writing? Or that I was busy – blah, blah, blah.

But mainly I’ve been lax with my blogging because I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit in my life.

“What kind of heavy shit?” you ask.

First, there was my retirement from the practice of law in June of last year. You may be thinking that such an event should have freed up time for me to blog my brains out. And that’s logical.  But in truth, saying good-bye to my profession was a major life-change event which I’d wanted for sooooo long and was glad for but when it actually happened sort of took me by surprise at being sad about it. In recent years I had worked (very) part-time at being a lawyer and had stopped taking litigation cases so I wasn’t in court. It had become a small part of my life taking third seat to being a mom (always first) and my writing. But still, it had been a major part of my life – and my identity – for over twenty years (saying that makes me feel fucking old).

My very wise husband who knows me sometimes too well warned me. “Give yourself six months, Natalie.” I rolled my eyes and let his words of wisdom go in one ear and out the other (as I do too frequently). “Whatever,” I thought. 

Guess what happened? He was right. (Don’t you hate it when your mate is right?) It indeed took me about six months to fully release the old job and identity and to get into a new routine and be okay with the whole thing. It was like for the second half of last year, I’d get up and get my kid off to school then sit at my desk and play at being a writer, all the while feeling guilty that I wasn’t really “working” or having anxiety that somehow I was neglecting some serious shit that needed done, and then feeling worse because I was feeling down about retiring to write full-time when so many writers I know don’t have the opportunity to do that though they want to, so get over yourself all ready and be fucking happy! I wasn’t happy and then felt guilty about not being happy.

But wait, there was more. And this is the heavy stuff that as I writer I feel I should be writing about and talking about but mainly I want to just ignore it and hope it goes away. At the end of the summer last year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.

For the fifth time.

And it’s bad. Really bad. Like the oncologist using the word “palliative chemo” kind of bad.

As if that weren’t heavy enough, on the heels of us finding out about my mom’s cancer, my dad had a stroke. He has been in and out (mostly in) a nursing home ever since. He’s alive, but extremely diminished.

My mom is only 73. My dad 76.

They aren’t that old. And I’ve had to face the fact over the past six months that it is more likely than not that neither of my parents will make it to the age of 80. In fact, it is quite possible that one of them will be gone before the end of the year.

I just typed that without crying. For months I could not have.

The story of my mom’s cancer is actually one of hope and of sort-of miracles and of human strength and endurance. It’s a story of pain and relationships and love and family. It’s a story that could educate others with the BRCA1 gene (my mom is BRCA1 positive). It’s a story that many may relate to and find interest in.

But I’m not able to write it. At least not now.

When I first found out my mom’s dire diagnosis, my writer friends said “write about it.” It was good advice. And I tried.

Some people can wrest poetry from pain. I’m not one of them.

Grief shuts me down. Sorrow makes me withdraw to the within. And try as I might to exorcise it through words, it does not work.

I was able to complete my third novel and maybe I did channel some of my pain into the prose. Emily’s Heart is, after all, an Apocalyptic story that tends to the darker side of things. But *spoiler alert* the end is a happy one and I was stuck for months last year, unable to wrest that happy ending out of myself because I did not feel happy. The fact that it finally came out of me at all is a sort of small miracle that I can’t explain.

Over the past nine months or so, my writing was filled mainly with anger and angst, heartache and unhappiness.

So I spared you all of that and kept my blog a cancer and sickness-free zone. 

The good news is that as this year progresses, I’m feeling more and more able to write without it being filled with misery. The shadowy veil of sad feelings is lifting and I’m more focused on the here and now – on the living – than on things past.

I’m in the mood to celebrate. I wrote three books!! Can I hear a woot, woot?! I completed a whole series (The Akasha Chronicles). *Does happy dance*

I am an incredibly blessed person to be able to devote my working hours full-time to doing what I love to do. I get to write the stories that fill my head. And I get to go out to book events and meet readers and chat story with them (one of my absolute favorite pastimes).

I have a wonderful daughter, husband and three furry critters that I share my house and life with. And I am alive, and this is no small miracle.

So as I move with more hope and optimism than I’ve had in a while into the middle of this year, here is what’s coming on my blog and in my writing:

Natalie Wright, Manic Monday
1. Manic Monday will return! I don’t promise that I’ll have a Manic Monday post every week, but I am feeling the itch to speak my *manic* mind so stay tuned for my rants, ravings, musings and Monday weirdness.

2. Writer Wednesday is here to stay. In the past, I have devoted Wednesdays to featuring other writers and occasionally to posting writing tips. Both of those things will continue to happen on Wednesdays. (If you are a writer and would like to be featured on my Writer Wednesday, please shoot me an e-mail to NatWritesYA (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll speak of it).

But I also have a new feature that I’ll add to Writer Wednesday in upcoming weeks that will appeal to writers of all makes, models and types – and will get the writerly conversation going.

3. Sci Fi Friday continues. For any of you paying attention, you may have noticed my new Friday feature, Sci Fi Friday. These posts are about scientific discoveries that I come across that strike me as having science fiction implications. I also reserve that time to review science fiction books or movies, OR generally to post anything science of science fiction related.

H.A.L.F., by
Natalie Wright
Arrives Spring, 2015
I’ll continue to devote Fridays to all things science and sci fi as I gear up to release the first book of my next series, H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series. While my last series was (mainly) fantasy, I’ll be writing science fiction (mostly) for the foreseeable future AND science stuff fascinates me. So if you, too, enjoy hearing about science fact that seems more like science fiction, then make sure you hang out with me on Fridays to discuss new technology and scientific discoveries. 

So that’s what’s up with Natalie. What’s up with you? Drop me a line in the comments below or you can reach me by e-mail at NatWritesYA (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thank you for reading to the end 🙂

My Writing Process Blog Tour

A Writer’s Space: Where the Magic Begins
I was invited by the lovely and talented young author, Chele Cooke, to participate in this fun and unique blog tour. This week I’m answering four questions about my writing process. I’ve tagged three other authors to answer these questions on their blog next week.

1) What am I working on?

Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright
Having recently launched my third book, Emily’s Heart (Book 3 of The Akasha Chronicles). I’ve been spending a lot of time writing blog posts, answering interviews, and generally flitting around the cybersphere. But I’m also gearing up to start a new teen, science fiction series (working title H.A.L.F.). I’M SO EXCITED about this new series!!! Well, it’s not so new. I had the idea back in 2010 and actually finished the first draft in the summer of 2012. But I shelved it for a while so I could finish up The Akasha Chronicles. But even though it was “one the shelf”, by brain and subconscious were still hard at work on it. I’m stoked about the new direction the story has taken in my brain. It will be like The X-Files meets the T.V. show Roswell with a pinch of The Good, the Bad and The Ugly. I’m in the worldbuilding and character development stage right now, but will be sitting my butt in the chair in March to bang out a (second) first draft. I hope to release Book 1 of the series in the Spring of 2015. Stay tuned 😉

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The Akasha Chronicles
My first series, The Akasha Chronicles, isn’t quite like anything else out there! There are a couple of reasons. First, my writing tends to cross the borders between genres. Take Emily’s House (Book 1). It’s full of magick and myth putting it in the fantasy genre (complete with a spiteful pixie, a banshee, and magickal powers), but it also has a science fiction bent (time travel and black holes at the Large Hadron Collider). Second, The Akasha Chronicles is about Emily’s spiritual journey. On the surface, it’s a fun series with lots of action and adventure, a bit of romance and the third book is a dystopian lovestory. But taken as a whole, it’s a chronicle of a spiritual warrior’s journey. There aren’t many books written for teenagers that are about a young person’s spiritual journey! It’s just about absent from teen literature. But readers (especially the 1.4 million reads on Wattpad) have proven that teens enjoy books that make them think. That make them question. And that give them hope.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because I have to write what I write! It’s as if I don’t have a choice. I have lots of ideas but some grab hold and become like an obsession, begging me to give it voice. Those ideas become notebooks full of notes, folders full of research, drawings of characters and scribbled on maps. The ideas that begin to fill a notebook become a novel.

4) How does my writing process work?

My stories typically start with a plot. I often have a story come to me in beginning, middle, end form. I then work from the plot idea and consider characters, worldbuilding, etc. I do not outline per se, but I do write a synopsis hitting the main plot points. I spend quite a bit of time working on character back story and I try to understand the main characters and their motivations, etc. before I begin to write. I try to write the first draft in a short period of time (short for me means 30-60 days), then I let it simmer for a while. Then I go back to the manuscript and read, revise, re-write and repeat. I do that until I’m sick of looking at it and can’t think of any way to improve it. At that point, it’s ready for initial beta reader/content editor. Then the revision process starts anew. My books generally take about 9-13 months to complete. Now that I’m no longer practicing law, I might be able to produce books more quickly. We’ll see 😉
Chele Cooke
Author of Dead and Buryd

Thank you again to Chele Cooke for tapping me to participate in this blog tour. Please check out Chele at her website and do read her debut novel, Dead and Buryd.

And next week be sure to check out Heather Sunseri’s blog for her post about her writing process. Here is a little bit about Heather.

Heather writes young adult science fiction romance (but don’t let the science fiction trip you up—it’s mostly romance). Born and raised in a small town in Central Kentucky, which can be quite boring at times, she had no choice but to create stories in her head in which she can be anything from an FBI agent to a mad scientist who clones human beings to an actual cloned human with supernatural mind control abilities. You can find out more about the stories Heather writes and her publishing journey at http://heathersunseri.com or if you want to discuss other fun life experiences, join her on her brand new experimental blog, http://alifedissettled.com

Welcome to Metaphysics Friday

metaphysical
Welcome to Metaphysics Friday! What, you may ask, is Metaphysics Friday?

Let’s start with a definition of “Metaphysics.” Merriam Webster defines metaphysical this way:

“[O]f or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses. Supernatural.”

Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in all things supernatural. In elementary school, I devoured every book the library had about ghosts and poltergeists. My childhood fascination with the subject continues to this day and finds its way into my writing.
The Akasha Chronicles, my first book series, draws on my deep love of all things metaphysical. Emily has magickal powers and encounters other dimensions and non-human entities. But Emily’s journey is also a spiritual journey. For that layer of the series, I drew heavily on teachings from both ancient and modern wisdom and spiritual philosophy.

For my next series, H.A.L.F., I’m psyched to explore another realm of metaphysical exploration: aliens! I think that ufology, ancient astronaut theory, and the search for extraterrestrials falls into the realm of metaphysics. At least for now as we do not yet have what most would consider “proof.”
Here on my blog on Fridays, I’ll share with readers tidbits from my own metaphysical studies and adventures. I’ll review books and movies that fall into the supernatural or occult realm. I may post interviews of others who have had mystical or supernatural experiences. You may also see spell recipes, interesting research about ETs or UFOs, or anything else that falls into the category of metaphysical.
Do you have a personal story of a metaphysical experience? Do you practice a magickal craft and have a story to tell about how you have manifested intentions? Have you had an experience with a UFO or other unexplained phenomena? Have you seen, heard, or otherwise experienced anything that can be classified as supernatural?
If so and you’d like to share your experience via a recorded video interview, please contact me at NatWritesYA (at) gmail (dot) com. I’d love to hear and share your experience(s) with the world.
Need incentive? Every person that shares their recorded story will get a nifty prize 😉
Stay tuned and please come back each Friday for #MetaphysicsFriday!

Manic Monday: What’s Up with H.A.L.F.? And other News

Book written? Check. Cover created? Check. Publication date set? Ummm, no.
When I released Emily’s House in November, 2011, I promised readers the first book of a new series to be released in May, 2012. It’s May. But I will not be releasing H.A.L.F. this month.
What’s up? Here’s the scoop. With the encouragement of my beta readers, I have decided to query agents and publishers with H.A.L.F. For those of you that don’t know the story, I did not attempt to get an agent or publisher for Emily’s House – I went straight to self-publication.
And I think it was the right choice for that book at the right time. I’m very pleased with sales and feedback on that book.
The wonderful thing about the current state of affairs of the publishing world is that writers have more choices than ever. So for each book, the writer must decide the path for that book.
My beta readers believe that H.A.L.F. will appeal to agents and editors.
I agree with them.
I am so excited about H.A.L.F. and on the one hand want to just upload it and get it into the hands of readers. But on the other hand, I would like to work with an editorial team at a publishing house to polish further AND have a publisher’s assistance in getting the work into the hands of more readers.
I will start the querying process this summer and I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!

Cat writing on a computer
“Holy cow, this is exactly the manuscript she’s been looking for,” said the agent’s cat.

In other news, the Summer Teen Reading Party continues and I’ve been writing guest posts and answering interviews like a banshee! There are some great prizes, such as Amazon gift cards, signed books, e-books and swag being offered by the authors participating in the month-long event. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, hop on over to the home page for the STRP and check it out. 
And don’t forget to enter my May Giveaway. Now go hoppity hop and have fun!

We Have a WINNER!

Congrats to Jason G. Alexander, winner of my “Judge This Book by the Cover” contest. Jason will receive a signed copy of my forthcoming novel, H.A.L.F. Here is the winning cover that all of you helped create through your comments and input:

I’m working on revisions to H.A.L.F. now. I’ll keep you posted on the release date as soon as I firm it up.

Manic Monday: Hooray for Books! Reflections on the 2012 Tucson Book Festival

Young Reader and Her Best Friend
at the Tucson Festival of  Books

This past weekend I attended the fourth annual Tucson Book Festival on the campus of the University of Arizona. It was a fun, educational and exhausting weekend dedicated to the love of books. For writers, it is a great opportunity to attend workshops and panels – for free!


I attended a funny and informative workshop on World Building in science fiction and fantasy. The panel included Maxwell Alexander Drake, an award-winning fantasy author, Sam Sykes and Janet Hobbs (among others). These fabulous writers shared how they go about creating their amazing fantasy worlds and gave tips and pointers. For example, if your story is set in a current or past time on Earth, make sure you do your research to ensure that you are accurate about details. Drake commented that that’s why he “makes it all up” – that way he doesn’t have to worry about accuracy!


I was impressed with young Sam Sykes and decided to purchase one of his books, Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons’ Gate, Book 1)
and get an autograph. Fortunately for me by the time I got through the purchase books line, there was no signing line in front of Sam. I got to spend a few minutes chatting with him. Sam’s twitter profile (@SamSykesSwears) says that he’s the “angriest man alive.” Yikes! But I found Sam to be funny, personable, and passionate about story. Sam and I discussed whether male fantasy writers and readers tend to prefer a more “world” driven story while female fantasy writers and readers prefer character-driven stories. Sam thought that was true to an extent and commented that he thought female writers were “ahead of the guys” on creating character-driven fantasy fiction and that the guys were playing “catch up.” Sam says that he’s a character-driven writer and that  the worlds he builds and details he includes have to relate to the characters and make sense from their point of view. I’m looking forward to digging into Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons’ Gate, Book 1)
and read Sam’s character-driven high fantasy. If you enjoy fantasy, check it out and let me know what you think.

And weigh in on this: Do you think female fantasy writers are more character-driven than males? And what about readers, do you like your fantasy to be character-driven? Or are you more into reading about amazing fantasy worlds?


One of the things I love most about the Book Festival is wandering around, coffee in hand, checking out all of the booths. One of my favorites this year was the booth for the publishing company Inner Traditions Bear & Co. They specialize in “books on indigenous cultures, perennial philosophy, visionary art, ancient mysteries, spiritual traditions of the East and West, sexuality, holistic health and healing, self-development, as well as recordings of ethnic music and accompaniments for meditation” (from their website). I love to read this kind of stuff as inspiration for stories, sub-plots and theme. Science, metaphysics, religious and spiritual theory and philosophy. I know, I’m a geek of epic proportions! Here’s my haul from Inner Traditions.

I can’t wait to dig into that book Grey Aliens and the Harvesting of Souls. Harvesting of souls?! What the heck is that all about? Since I’m engrossed in revising H.A.L.F. (which deals with hybrids that are part human, part grey alien), I’ll see if this book has any fun details to inspire my imagination.


Then there’s that book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body. In Emily’s House, there is quite a bit of time travel. I didn’t want to create a machine for time travel but instead created an energy form of time travel. I thought I’d just made it up. But this Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body
book is discussing the same thing. Who knew? Since I’m revising the second book in the Emily series, Emily’s Trial, right now too, maybe these mystical books will inspire me further.



Do you have a book festival where you live? If so, do you attend and what’s your favorite part?

Help Choose the COVER!

A huge thank you to all of you that gave me input on the last round of cover designs for my newest novel, H.A.L.F. What insight! But we had a tie between two choices. So I went back to the designer and asked for few tweaks and we’re down to two concepts. I’d appreciate your help once again and let me know your vote between these two options. Thanks y’all!

Option #1 (Please note if this option is chosen,
it will have the title lettering like Option #2 below)
Option #2

Leave me a comment or head over to my Facebook page and vote there – http://www.facebook.com/NatalieWright.Author


THANKS!

Only 56 Hours Left and 12,500 Words to Go – NaNoWriMo 2011

The Writer on Deadline

This year I took up the NaNoWriMo challenge (that’s short for National Novel Writing Month) this year. Write a novel (50,000) words in 30 days. If you’re not a writer, to put this in perspective, my first novel, Emily’s House, is about 84,000 and it took me over two years to get to the end of the first draft.
To make it really interesting, NaNoWriMo hit the same month I released my first book, Emily’s House. A sane person would probably decide that doing both the same month wasn’t a good idea. But who said we writer-types are the most sane people?!
And to make it even more interesting, my daughter was out of school for five days straight for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a known fact that listening to the Disney channel and the Cartoon Network kills inspiration faster than alcohol kills brain cells.
No matter that it took me over two years to get to the end of the first draft of Emily’s House. Or over a year to get to the end of the first draft of my second novel, H.A.L.F.
I figured that if I set my mind to it, I could do it. Hey, when I’m in the groove, I can write about 2000 words an hour. So only two hours a day times 30 days . . . I figured, I can even take some days off.
Here’s what I learned this month. Some days it’s hard to even find those two hours.
But I persevered and wrote whenever I could. And found out something important along the way.
When pressed to write every day, some days I just don’t have much to say! This has come as a shock to me. I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve never been at a loss for words. 
But I’ve never forced myself to try to come up with words every day, day after day, for a solid month.
I’m at about 37,500 words, 12,500 to go and less than 3 days. The bad news is that’s not a lot of time (especially when you consider that I have to work my “day job”, take care of my family and eat and sleep).
But the GOOD news is that just last night I had the story epiphany I’ve been waiting for – the character and scene that I needed to pull it all together and juice it up. The inspiration I needed to push through and see how it all ends.
And I’ve been hearing from folks who have purchased Emily’s House and they want Book 2! Having fans ask for more is a great kick in the pants to press on and keep writing.
Having a first draft is only the beginning, but oh, such an important beginning it is. I’m excited about Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles, born during a crazy NaNoWriMo month, and I’m looking forward to sharing Emily’s Trial with all of you!
If you’re a NaNoWriMo-er, how did you do this year? What is the best part of the WriMo experience for you? The worst? And will you do it again?