Announcing "Beneath the Trees"

Hot on the heels of the Her True Name collection, I'm excited to announce the publication of my first novel, Beneath the Trees.

I finished the stories in Her True Name over a year ago, and while they were coming out in serial form on my website, I started working on Beneath the Trees. It's about an indie musician whose wife is dying, and who one day after a bad thunderstorm finds a wood nymph sheltering in the wreckage of an old barn.

Beneath the Trees deals with death, self-sacrifice, and the fear of loss, but it's not as dark a story as that description makes it sound. In fact, it's hopeful—and deeply personal to me. You can find it for sale in the bookstore.


Book Signing

Accompanying the release of Beneath the Trees, I've been invited to do a book signing at Books, Wine and Dogs in Downtown Warsaw. This is my first book signing ever! I'm excited, and a little nervous. If you're free and in the area on February 18 from 11:00am to 1:00pm, come out and get a copy of the book, or just enjoy some wine and play with dogs!

Books, Wine and Dogs is located at:

101 E. Center Street
Warsaw, IN 46580

See you there!

Her True Name - the Collection
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Her True Name is a book!

If you've followed along with the Her True Name series of stories that I published throughout 2016, I'm thrilled to announce that you can now get the complete text of all seven stories in one volume—together with an eighth story that I never published on the blog.

If you haven't been following along—well, I'm still thrilled to announce it!

I started writing the adventures of the Unnamed Heroine way back in 2013, but I had been thinking about the character for several years before that. I've been living with her in my head, one way or another, for about a decade now. I haven't nearly finished telling her stories, but I'm so glad I can finally share this first collection of her adventures with everyone. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Get your digital copy of Her True Name at ryanelainska.com/bookzero, and let me know what you think!

I’m Doing This Backwards

I’ve been working for several weeks on an idea for a novella. It started with an idea that wasn’t very “high-concept”, which I usually try to avoid. Before long I realized that all my favorite parts of the idea were the character bits—the parts that got me choked up just thinking about them.

This is not how I operate. I do hook first—always the hook first, so I know why anyone would even think about reading the story. I do not do character bits first.

Now I’m trying to retrofit this character arc onto an actual concept that can hold together a fantasy storyline people actually want to read. It’s brutal. I keep sitting down with my spiral and my 3x5s and cranking on mind maps and outlines every weekend until I think, “Yeah, that’s it, right?” But some tiny part of my brain always knows that’s not it. So I spend the work week mulling over the story, then sit down on Saturday determined to nail the outline for good this time.

And by the end of the weekend I think, “Yeah, that’s it, right?”

Nope.

Building a plot around character beats. Not the way I do things.