Metaverse Muses: The Oracle


A common meme passed from writer to writer is that you can’t wait on inspiration to write. Supposedly, you must plant your butt in the chair and bang out drivel until something useful shows up on the page.

I don’t see that either waiting for inspiration or pouring out pages of glop to find the good stuff is terribly efficient.  One is a static method of waiting on the muse and the other active. It's all waiting. Why can’t you just go out and hunt down the inspiration you need? Or, my preferred method, conjure inspiration from pixels.

Not all of my muses look the same. I think I have an army of them stashed away in the metaverse to call up as needed. There’s nothing like creating their home and appearance to catch  muse's attention. Once you have that, it’s not long before they start offering input.


This is the Oracle. She loves learning. She can’t resist the lure of new knowledge. She digs into the past and applies those lessons to current trends in science and technology, predicting where those might lead in the future. She treasures her solitude and her books. I’m spending quite a bit of time with her as I work on my current project, The Wildlings Tale. The protagonist, Virginia, would be right at home in the oracle’s tower.


Spending time with the Oracle in her retreat is like peering into the soul of my character. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 3D world must be at least 1000 cubed. When you can find your character there, that's where the magic lives. Where inspiration takes hold.  Words spill out faster than you can type.

If you'd like to visit Nara and her story worlds, go here to learn how to login. Follow Nara on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ to contact her directly for assistance.

Setting is the Wizard’s Retreat by artist Avia Bonne
Oracle’s Hair and outfit by author  Shannan Albright
Photographs by Nara Malone


WIP: Daring to be Different

Trella Dare from Storm Runners--a Game-4-Love book
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).
- Mark Twain: Notebook, 1904

I like exploring boundaries and discovering new ways to do things. Some folks are really happy with consistency and familiarity.  That's okay, but if you're an author trying to get your book seen in the 35 million + books on Amazon, you might try, just once, going outside your comfort zone and doing something no one else is doing.

For the first few years of my publishing career I was confined by what my publisher was willing to allow, and they did make room for a little experimentation. Snatch Me was the first virtual world romance I wrote and I had more planned for that series, but my former publisher ran into hard times and eventually closed down. My new publisher, Troll River Publications, is more daring and my first book with them was a merging of the worlds of my shifter series and the Quarterz game-world for Snatch Me. The reader/reviewer response to that has been amazing. But those were first steps toward something more daring.

Storm Runners is my current project and due to release this spring. It's a merging of romance and multi-path story, with virtual reality motion graphics sprinkled throughout. This addition to the Game 4 Love series will be a true game book, but still a book with an emotion-packed story. Readers will decide which path is the right path to give Trella the happy ending she needs. That might not be the path she thought she wanted.

With VR poised to be the next disruption of the fiction markets, authors need to start exploring the possibilities the genre presents. Creating books that link traditional story with virtual graphics is one way to brand yourself as an innovator ready for the future of storytelling. A good place to learn more is the free Future of Fiction magazine. I write a monthly column for it in which I walk you through the process of creating Storm Runners.

A Virtual Reality Romance is Romance of the Day at Kindle Nation Daily!

Award-Winning Pantherian Tales series (graphic from BookBuzzPromotion for Pantherian Tales)
The Grizzly's Tale is Romance of the Day over at KindleNationDaily.com

The response to The Grizzly's Tale has been wonderful and I want to thank the readers willing to embrace something a little different.

The day after release this was the ranking at Amazon:

Thank you readers and reviewers for getting The Grizzly's Tale up there in the ranks. Check it out, almost in the top 100 for genetic engineering. Tell all your friends and be sure to get a copy yourself. Let's grow the market for virtual reality fiction.

And this review was shared from theKindle Nation Daily site:

When the game puts hearts and lives on the line, taking a loss is the only way to win.
I was expecting the typical shifter novel…wow was I wrong! Great plot and the characters were very well written. I could not put it down!” 5 star Amazon review

So hop over to Kindle Nation Daily and tell them what you think. Happy Reading!


Four Stages of Romance Novel Writing

First Draft
 This is the baseline sketch. It all feels black and white, prose is wooden, characters flat.

Second Draft
The elements begin to merge. Ideas flow. The story starts to breathe. This is the place where you first start to weave a connection between the story world and the words.

Third Draft
Now we're cooking! The characters have a voice and life on the pages. You disappear into the story while you write. Maybe at this stage it is good enough, but why stop there when you could go one level deeper?

Fourth Draft
You tweak for drama and page-turning emotion until the story consumes you. Then it's ready.

If you're looking for a hot read to get you through this weekend's ice storm, The Grizzly's Tale--the third book in my award-winning Pantherian Tales series--releases this weekend. And if you order today while it is still available for pre-order, you can get it for 99 cents. Stay warm out there!