Many times with the books I am asked: “How do you come up with this stuff?”
The short answer is: I don’t know.
The truthful answer is: I don’t know.
I honestly don’t have a clue. Sometimes ideas pass through my brain (which can be a kooky place to hang out) in a fleeting instant. An idea is there and then it’s gone like a fart in the wind. Other times the idea sticks. Sometimes I can think it over and flesh out something more solid. Other times I just jot it down for later consideration if I don’t readily come up with a way to develop the story to something more than a one or two liner.
I don’t know where the ideas come from. I don’t know why they sometimes stick around and turn into a trilogy while others vanish in a wisp. I guess with that said, and the third book coming out soon, I can no longer call the Burnt Mountain series a trilogy. There will certainly be a fourth book coming out, perhaps a fifth. Like those ideas that take time to develop, I need to work on this one a bit more to see where things are going to go. At this point, I know how I will end the series which is the easy part. Now I just have to figure out how to get there. Where those filler ideas and plots will come from: I don’t know.
…and that’s OK.
Photo by me: Yellowstone National Park, Roosevelt Junction, 2014
Frequent flyers and frequent hotel stayers accumulate the almighty miles or points. For airlines you can redeem your miles for free flights once you accumulate enough of them. You can also donate your miles from the airline to Children’s Wish or other programs if you choose to do so.
With hotels, you accumulate points. One of the nice things with these points programs is you can swap points for STUFF if you don’t want to use them for hotel stays. Traveling often for work and living in hotels means I don’t really want to be in another hotel when I have a day off. I tend to give my points to friends to use for free hotel nights when they travel. You can also exchange hotel points with airlines or credit cards programs or use them through the hotel rewards programs to buy things such as electronics, gift cards, etc. If you have unused hotel points, check with your program. You may have some options to use them rather than them sitting on your account gathering dust.
Here are a few links to exchange points for hotel chains:
Image from sxc.hu
I enjoy sitting by a camp fire or bonfire and watching the flames dance. I’m not a pyromaniac though, at least not with real, physical objects. In fact I have a huge respect for fire and always get my town’s burn permit when I burn brush in my fire pit. I go into full tilt safety mode with rake, shovel, water hose, and cell phone in pocket when I’m burning. I will hack brush and limbs into small pieces to keep the fire down rather than torching a big pile to make the process go faster. I’ve avoided burning brush, even though the town gave me a permit to OK me to do so, because I thought it was too windy. I’ve seen grass fires go out of control and they are scary. When it comes to real life, I’m the farthest thing from a fire bug. Writing is where the game changes.
Burnt Mountain, the name of the series alone indicates something getting toasty. In The Monster Within, the back story is that the mountain burned as an accident, or was it? One in the Chamber, I torched a house because it fit with the series, and I loved the mechanism I used to start it. Tuars + Fire = A Whole Lotta Fun. The third book, Do and Die, involves yet another torching event. In the first two books things burn, so why not keep that trend and do it again for number three?
I may turn into an overcautious nervous nellie when it’s time to burn brush, but with the Burnt Mountain series, setting things on fire is fun.
Image – cover of upcoming book Burnt Mountain Do and Die
One of my most favorite parts of working on these books has been working with my cover artist, Steven Catizone. I adore the work he’s done and continues to do. Per the title of this image, it is indeed the draft cover to the third book, Do and Die.
I am still working on editing and will have drafts of the third book out to my beta readers very soon. Release date will likely be in September. I was shooting for a late Aug/early Sept release, and I’m still mostly on track for that. I will admit to being distracted by some World Cup action. Love me some futbol. But I am still making progress each week.
During my vacation a few weeks ago in Yellowstone, the setting for the third book, I took hundreds of photos. I gave some of those to Steven and told him what I wanted. So this book cover is based off actual Yellowstone National Park photos that I took three weeks ago.
I have returned from vacation to Yellowstone, and I am back on the grid, more or less, perhaps less. I will be back to my weekly posts, but with vacation over, it’s time to get back at the computer in both work and with writing which means I’ll be back up to my eyeballs in busy. I didn’t get as much writing done over vacation as I wanted, but that was OK. I satisfied the creativity bug with my camera lens.
Last spring when Mom decided she wanted to go to Yellowstone, that put the idea in my head to set the third book, Burnt Mountain Do and Die (DaD), in Yellowstone. I had heavily considered Scotland since that’s where I was currently traveling when I started writing DaD on the train there. Ultimately I decided on Yellowstone. I wrote scenes initially based on memory from a prior trip to the Rockies when I was in high school or perhaps early college. I was on the YNP website and dug through pictures, lots of pictures, and looked at pictures friends’ had from their own trips to the park last year. I did all of this so I had story scene background images in my head while writing. This current trip allowed me to put my own pictures to those mental images. With so much stunning scenery in YNP, it was easy and something I did every day while I was there.
I don’t know all the names for geologic formations or the ins and outs of hydrothermal features, but I do know a cool landscape when I see one. So I took over 500 pictures of various scenes, animals, structures, and a few pics even had people in them. During this trip to YNP, I decided that while I am currently editing DaD that I’d add an entirely new scene/event to the story. I mean you’d have to be a corpse to be in YNP and not be inspired by all of the amazing things to see there. Even the afternoon thunderstorms fascinated me, and the days of freezing temps and snow/sleet in June sure reminded me of a not so distant winter in Maine we had just finished. So DaD has a completely new scene as a direct result of the YNP trip. It also has some improved scenery descriptions for some scenes now that I have more details to reference in my picutres. Many pictures that I took have a direct link to specific chapters in the book.
So I will get back at it now that vacation is over, and I will keep everyone posted on the third book’s progress. Still shooting for a late Aug/early Sept release.
Photo taken by me, 2014. Mammoth Terraces, YNP