Podcast Interview | The Lotus Bloom Podcast

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I was interviewed by Morgan Wylie of The Lotus Bloom Podcast a little while ago, and it was a great chat. We covered everything from pen names to outlining to magic and burnout. We also discussed how to stay creative in challenging times, especially within the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Have a listen!

I also included a transcription of the podcast below, for those who prefer to skim + read.

Enjoy!


Introduction:

This is the Lotus Bloom Podcast and here’s your host, Morgan Wylie.

 

Morgan:

Welcome back to another episode of the Lotus Bloom Podcast. I’m your host, Morgan Wylie. I hope wherever you are that you are staying safe and healthy and sane or at least doing the very best that you can. I think during this time of COVID-19 and really any time of challenge or trauma or hard things are out of our control especially as creatives, it’s hard to stay creative. And we’re going to talk about that today.

My next guest is author Boyce. She is known for her action-packed epic fantasy series The Grimoire Saga. She creates powerful heroes and riveting magical stories and I’m excited to have her share with you today. And while she is a writer, she is so much more. She’s a multi-passionate creative with a lot of insight and a lot of wisdom to share.

So, even if you are not a reader or a writer, stay with us because she’s going to cover all kinds of things from pen names, why and when to use them, magic systems in fantasy. We’re going to talk about what she’s working on now but we’re also going to talk about your hobbies and burnout and COVID-19 and the trauma that is affecting us all on various levels.

You’re also going to hear how Boyce tries so wonderfully hard to refrain from using any language in this episode. I had told her that I created this podcast with my daughter in mind because she has been wanting to listen to some of the podcasts I listen to and quite honestly, she can’t yet or at least I’d prefer her not to. And so, I wanted to make this family friendly so that she could listen. So, thank you to Boyce for trying your hardest. I really appreciate it.

So, as you can tell already, we are going to cover the gamut. So, stay with us and I hope you enjoy this interview with author Boyce.

Hello, friend. Welcome to the show. I’m so excited you’re here.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. I am really excited to be here. This is so fun.

 

Morgan:

Awesome. So, will you just take a minute and introduce yourself to our listeners and share what it is you do.

 

Boyce:

No.

 

Morgan:

I love it. Boyce’s personality right there.

 

Boyce:

Bye, y’all. Good talking to you. My name is Boyce. I am a fantasy novelists and I have a couple of secret pen names. But I am most known for The Grimoire Saga so far and I have several series coming out in 2020 that I am super stoked about.

 

Morgan:

Woohoo. I’m excited too. So, did you always want to write or how did this journey start for you?

 

Boyce:

That’s a good question. I am one of those aliens who has always known what they wanted to do even when I told myself that I what wanted was wrong. Because you know there’s that period I think every writer goes through where they’re like but writing isn’t a real job. And it’s kind of not. But that’s the best part about it.

So, I wanted to be a lawyer at one point. I wanted—what else? There was an actress which I still want to do like voice acting and stuff. Musical theater. It was very either writing or performance based which even a lawyer is performance based if you’re in a courtroom. So, I thought that was really interesting when I looked back at kind of history of what I wanted to be. Princess was never on there surprisingly. I did want to be a mermaid. That was high on my list though.

 

Morgan:

I could you as maybe like a ninja princess.

 

Boyce:

A ninja princess. That’s so funny. Thank you. That is a great compliment that I will cherish through the rest of my days. Ninja princess. Putting that on the wall. I almost cussed. I’m really trying to be as PG as possible. You may need to bleep me at some point but I will do my darnedest.

 

Morgan:

You’re good. Okay. So, at what point did you really make a go at writing as a career?

 

Boyce:

As a career. Okay. Well, specifically as a career, that would be 2011 when I published my first book. But I published in November. That was Lichgates, the first book in The Grimoire Sage which I wrote funnily enough on a superman sleep schedule while I worked as a software tester because my other gift is in breaking software. I’m really good at it.

 

Morgan:

So, wait, they hired you to break their software?

 

Boyce:

That was literally my job. My job was to find weaknesses, bugs, vulnerabilities. And it was so funny to have—there were a couple of times where the programmers would look over my shoulder while I was testing and I kind of looked back at them like hey, how can I help you? And they’re like we just are completely baffled by what you’re doing right now. This is not in any way the use case we were expecting. You’re so hard on the software. It was just was fun. You’re welcome. So, go sit down. I’ll have bugs for you in a bit.

 

Morgan:

Wow. That’s fascinating.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, yeah. So, I decided to write my first book in January of 2011 and I had been working since was 16 so that was like 2004. How old am I? No. It was a while before I actually wrote the book. I’d been world building The Grimoire Saga series for a long time. And I hadn’t really believed it was possible to actually do it as a living. I always thought it would be this hobby I would had. But reading was a passion growing up. I read instead of going to birthday parties. It was what I loved to do and I got such a thrill out of all those adventures and getting to live all those lives through all the stories.

This idea actually started out as Harry Potter fan fiction and evolved into something far beyond anything it started out as. And 2011 after I had shared the story with my husband, he was the first person—then my fiancé—that I had ever shared it with and he was like you need to write this. This is fantastic. This is so intricate and fun. So, that was really great encouragement that I had from him and my parents. They were always very encouraging. Very lucky. I know that.

 

Morgan:

Very cool.

 

Boyce:

And then in 2011, I had a writing degree actually because it was always a passion. I graduated with a writing and marketing dual degree from Florida State University and I just had always assumed that I’d write for fun and get paid through the marketing. But I started to really research the industry and when you’re classically trained as a writer, they just tell you traditionally published, you’re lucky to get 15%. You have to share a lot of that with your agent. That’s life. Suck it up. That’s basically what they teach you.

And in 2011, Amanda Hocking was big, J. A. Konrath was really big with his Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and the more I researched indie publishing, the more the business side of my brain was kicking in and thinking I don’t have to do it the way I was taught. And there’s nothing against traditional publishing. I think for some people it is a wonderful choice and I plan to traditionally publish at some point in the future.

But what I wanted to do first was build my audience so that when I come to a traditional publisher, when I come to an agent in the future and become a hybrid author, I come with an audience. I come with strategy, marketing, a whole pipeline already built into what I do and for as an author, it makes me more viable to publishers to come in it that way.

 

Morgan:

Absolutely.

 

Boyce:

And so, I’ve always approached it from this entrepreneurial business mindset because that’s how I was raised and that’s what my degree’s in.

 

Morgan:

Very cool.

 

Boyce:

That was a long answer. I don’t know if that was the answer you were looking for.

 

Morgan:

No, it’s great. You kind of answered my next question so I had to figure out where I was going next.

 

Boyce:

You’re welcome. I’m also psychic until Thursday.

 

Morgan:

Awesome. It’ll make this interview so much easier.

 

Boyce:

That’s my goal. Life should be—

 

Morgan:

I’ll just let you talk.

 

Boyce:

Okay. Just let me babble for a solid hour. Like okay, nice talking. Bye.

 

Morgan:

So, you mentioned pen names. Can we talk about that for a second? Why would someone choose to use a pen name?

 

Boyce:

Sure. There are a lot of reasons. One is to experiment in a new genre. I think most importantly the reason why you want to pen name is if you are writing in a genre that does not have a crossover audience. For instance, my pen names are in romance, specifically fantasy romance and the reason I have two fantasy romance pen names is the first one was a total experiment.

It was kind of an experiment gone a little wrong. So, I rebranded and relaunched with the new one and that’s why there were two for the same genre. And typically, I don’t recommend you do that but the nice thing about pen names is you can screw it up and no one cares.

 

Morgan:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

I just censored myself twice. So, I’m really trying.

 

Morgan:

You’re doing good.

 

Boyce:

So, you can make mistakes and it doesn’t matter. And a lot of times when you look at Amazon and specifically curiously—you see this very frequently if not the most in romance genres—you will see names that are very obviously not someone’s first and last name. And so, you see pen names a lot in erotic fiction.

But in romance in general, like with rom-coms and all of that, there’s this branding element to your name and your name needs to sound relatable. It needs to sound fun. It needs to sound maybe funny. Your name is part of your brand when you are in romance specifically.

And so, I think that’s why typically you see so many pen names in romance probably more so than you see in other genres. Now that’s not backed by anything. That’s just kind of my gut and I’m totally okay with being wrong.

 

Morgan:

No, I’ve seen that as well. I would agree with that statement.

 

Boyce:

Cool. Okay.

 

Morgan:

It’s definitely interesting.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. But I think that the most important reason why you would want a pen name is if you don’t have a crossover audience and that’s because if somebody’s following you, they follow your Amazon page or they’re on their email list or whatever but they look you up on Amazon and they know you for hard sci-fi, like hard sci-fi, no wiggle room, no hand-waving. That’s what they love, that’s what they read and they really love that you write that.

If you then release a rom-com, they’re going to wonder what in your life fractured. They’re going to be so confused and they might stop reading you entirely. There is that risk.

Now some authors have this magnetism to where they can release absolutely anything if people love it. But if you look even 1% of authors—Stephen King is the exception to this. He’s been in this realm so much longer than any of us that I think he gets away with things the rest of us maybe won’t.

But there are other authors, you see a lot of what they write is very niched. It is very focused even if it’s not in like a sub-genre of a major one, like even if it’s not urban fantasy only, even if they have like epic fantasy, urban fantasy, maybe a little portal fiction, it’s blended. They are still under the umbrella of fantasy.

Neil Gaiman is evidence for that. Pretty much everything he’s done with the exception of the occasional poem or charity work, it tends to be fantasy driven because that’s just what he likes do. But if he released a murder mystery that had absolutely no supernatural component to it and it was like a cut-and-dried murder mystery, I think a lot of his fans would be like I love you, dude but what are you doing? I’m so confused. And we saw that too with J.K. Rowling when she wants her pen name. I don’t remember what it was.

 

Morgan:

Oh, shoot. I had it in my head. I lost it.

 

Boyce:

Well, anyway she released a mystery and it’s totally okay for writers to want to write multiple things. That’s normal. We are all over the place. We want to do all the things but when it comes to your launch strategy, I do think that especially as a self-published author but also this is true of traditionals as well, it’s very important that you weave strategy into your online presence.

There is nothing wrong with having multiple pen names at all. It’s a little more work but in the end, I think that extra work will be worth it. And there are people who disagree with that and that’s totally okay. I have an assistant and she helps me keep everything together and everything moving and I think this would be very difficult to do on my own. But it would be doable. It would just take a lot more time.

 

Morgan:

Well, that’s what I was going to ask you is how challenging is it for you to switch back and forth or to be the other person or to try to keep track of two different names? I would find that challenging.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, it is challenging and as an author especially in the self-publishing sphere, you learn a lot of hacks. You do a lot of jobs. You are the publisher. You are the marketer. You are the advertiser. Sometimes you’re the assistant. You’re the creator. You’re the brand manager. You do all these things and I really think it’s important to really keep in mind why you’re doing all this because if you lose track that why, that motivation, that purpose driven gumption, you’re going to derail.

And that’s what you see a lot of. You see a lot of people who could try to do everything all at once and they burn out. And of course, if you feel like you have to do all the things right now, you’re going to burn out. I’ve been there and it sucks. So, finding all the ways you can to build in structures is really important.

For me, part of my structures is actually how I build my day and I used to work every single day. I used to write six to eight hours a day. I would rarely take off and effing shocker, I—sorry, this so hard to censor. It derailed me because—

 

Morgan:

No, that was good.

 

Boyce:

I’ve just got to try to—okay, shocker, get burned me out. I cuss like a sailor all the time. It burned me out. And so, kind of my structure now is I build in time to just play and go do whatever feels right. Sometimes I’m going to go play Animal Crossing for eight hours and sometimes it is you know what? I really feel like writing all of my social media for the next two weeks today.

So, what I do is I get up at the same time every day and that actually is a big opponent, like getting good sleep is having that structure of getting up and going to bed at the same time every day.

 

Morgan:

That’s good.

 

Boyce:

So, get up and that first three hours of my day is writing and that’s just a non-negotiable. And then lunch and then whatever I’m going to do and usually this is where I do my admin, my marketing stuff like that. I have a couple other projects that I’m working on so this is also when I do that kind of stuff and it’s very open.

What do I feel called to do today? And I usually have a list of everything I want to do this week and I just pick from it and that kind of helps me have a bit of freedom but at the same time make sure I’m getting everything done. And my team uses ClickUp which is a free service.

ClickUp is really great for—if I think of something and I’m like okay, well, this is definitely my assistant’s wheelhouse, then I just create the task, assign it to her, put a due date on it and I know it’s handled because that task isn’t going away until she’s done.

 

Morgan:

That’s cool.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. So, when you start to build in structures like that, you start to realize like oh, okay, I can breathe now because I know it’s going to be handled. I think that when you have so much to do, the biggest fear is something slipping through the cracks.

 

Morgan:

Absolutely.

 

Boyce:

But if you build in structures to avoid that, then you’ll be okay.

 

Morgan:

I think that’s great and it’s so good to recognize that, like you said, because burnout is real and we get so overwhelmed by all the little things or trying to fit it all in that it just kills our creativity. And we have to have that time to play and to be re-energized and to be able to keep creating. So, I think that’s huge for you to be able to have found that structure but loosely so that you can play and I think that’s really cool.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. Yeah. I’ve been exploring a lot of masculine and feminine energy and I think that—I don’t want to derail this is like 12 podcasts just talking about that—but a lot of times people mistake masculine/feminine energy for like gender roles and it’s actually not the same thing.

We all possess both within us and it’s maybe not labeled totally correctly because I think people get caught up in the name. But like right masculine energy tends to be more of the structures and feminine energy tends to be more of the creativity and the play. And it’s all about a give-and-take between the two and it’s this fluid back-and-forth that you do throughout the day.

So, what I really started to realize was I like to be more in that creative air-quote feminine energy. That’s my central core but without the structures in place from the air-quote masculine energy, then I would just be like out in the back playing with my dog all day. It’s all about finding that balance and when I really started to study those energies and how they’re present in all of us, I started to really get in tune with okay, what I need and what I need isn’t the same things you need.

It’s not the same as the people who are listening. All of us need a different balance in our day and come from it one or—typically, you come from either more of the structured energy or more of the flowing energy or you’re happiest in one of those two. But again, 12 other podcasts. We don’t have to do this right now.

 

Morgan:

No. Well, hey, we can come back and do it tomorrow. I love that though. I love that there is that balance. But like you said, we all have our own balance and I think that’s really cool and important to be aware of that and to learn that about ourselves.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, definitely. And to forgive yourself as you learn because I think we’re raised in this kind of hyper-vigilant society that’s like you should have all of your stuff figured out and you’re not allowed to feel uncertain about things and really you needed to get all that stuff done like yesterday. So, come on. Let’s go. But having forgiveness for yourself as you figure it out and experiment and play with it and tweak it, I think that’s really important to avoiding burnout.

 

Morgan:

I think that’s good. I think sometimes even for myself I could be nervous about experimenting because well, what if I try something and then I don’t get anything done because I’m doing what I normally do. But I think that it’s cool to be able to experiment and to find a better way of being for ourselves.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. And part of experimenting is growing up. Every time you make a mistake, go okay, well, that didn’t work. I spent the first three months of this year getting very little done and being absolutely frustrated with myself about it unfairly. It just wasn’t productive by any means to give myself crap for it. So, sorry, now I’m like well, was that a cuss word? Should I…?

 

Morgan:

No.

 

Boyce:

I think about this way too much.

 

Morgan:

Don’t stress. Crap is fine.

 

Boyce:

Crap is fine. Okay. Good. So, yeah, it’s like as long as you learn what worked and what didn’t. I had a coach tell me this: every time something doesn’t go the way you want it to or honestly even when it goes brilliantly well, ask yourself what works, what didn’t, what can I do differently next time. And that is the best way to no longer be afraid of failure because it’s not failure anymore. It’s just a lesson.

 

Morgan:

It’s brilliant.

 

Boyce:

And even when you succeed, there’s probably something you could have done differently so learning from your successes too, it’s such a freer way to look at life.

 

Morgan:

Absolutely. Yes, I like that. That’s good. Okay. Well, before we move on, I have to say it because it was going to bother me but J.K. Rowling’s book was The Cuckoo’s Calling and she used the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

 

Boyce:

Right. And curiously, you’ll notice what she did there was very strategic. Typically, men do better in that genre. So, she had a male pen name.

 

Morgan:

Yeah, that’s interesting.

 

Boyce:

So, like it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. It’s important to use strategy when it comes to your pen names and be okay with understanding marketing and demographics. There’s nothing wrong with that. Now if that sucks all the fun out of it for you, then yeah, absolutely, don’t do it. If you’re not enjoying this, don’t do it. But I just think it’s so interesting that she had a…

 

Morgan:

All right. Well, good interruption there.

 

Boyce:

Yeah.

 

Morgan:

Well, let’s move on.

 

Boyce:

Okay.

 

Morgan:

So, I want to make sure and mention this because I have you on the show but you had sent in your outlining process to me for my other segment on ‘It’s Time to Write’ and we shared that in I believe it’s episode 12 and I just want to make sure to mention that people can go check that out. Because you’re outlining process is definitely worth mentioning.

 

Boyce:

Thank you.

 

Morgan:

It’s a craft unto itself. I know that you have worked really hard to create it, to be that.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. I have literally made a course on it. So far, it’s only for the writers that I mentor.

 

Morgan:

That’s amazing. You should.

 

Boyce:

I found that when I teach, I cement the concept for myself and I also realize what I don’t know because when I’m trying to teach someone something and they come to me with a question, I’m like wow, that’s not an amazing question and I don’t have the answer. Let me get back to you and I go have a deep dive crash course in it and I come back.

And so, when I teach, it really cements the concepts for me. And for the writers that I mentor, I created a plot structure course: world building, characters and immersive writing.

 

Morgan:

Love it.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. The plot structure course is done. The other three are so massive. They were originally one and when I saw how absolutely overwhelmingly massive it was, I decided that I wasn’t a total jerk and I was going to make it easier for them to actually use.

So, I broke it up into three. But yeah, it was really fun. And the more I put in there and the more I learn, like one of the sections is on magic systems which is crucial in fantasy and as I was designing it, I realized that a lot of what I had been doing up to that point was intuitive based on all the fantasy that I’ve been reading.

A lot of what was doing with the soft magic too. Do you know about the magic systems and Brandon Sanderson’s rules for magic?

 

Morgan:

I do not.

 

Boyce:

Okay. So, I didn’t either. And so, when I started researching more because I knew of Brandon Sanderson and I knew he had rules for magic. That’s one of the things he’s most famous for is basically his theory on magic.

 

Morgan:

Okay.

 

Boyce:

And the more I dove into that, the more I realized there was a lot I didn’t know and it was so great to get in there and start to understand okay, hard magic versus soft magic. Hard magic is Mistborn. Hard magic is there are set rules and it’s almost like magic is science.

 

Morgan:

Oh, okay.

 

Boyce:

A plus B equal C every time.

 

Morgan:

Okay.

 

Boyce:

Whereas if you look at soft magic which is more Lord of the Rings, it’s kind of like a wizard did it. It’s just the wizard. Hand wave. It’s fine. That’s more kind of ethereal and you notice that a lot of times in soft magic systems the people actually telling the story don’t have magic because magic in unto itself is more about making them feel small.

It’s kind of that almost religious fervor to it, that otherworldly I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it feeling that we get when we think about the universe or where we fit in there, all the unknown questions that we have even in our world. And so, magic on both sides of that spectrum has an integral part in a story and it’s all about how your magic weaves into your plot and your world building.

And so, there’s this entire world of theory just in magic systems and that was one little section of my course.

 

Morgan:

Oh, wow.

 

Boyce:

And so, I got to do these deep dives and just explore and learn and that’s one of my favorite things to do in life is learn. And the more I learn, the more I absorb, the more I can compress it into a usable little nugget and then hand it to someone.

 

Morgan:

Oh, I love that.

 

Boyce:

And that feels really good. So, that whole process is kind of how I learned. I absorb, I process and then I teach and I give it to someone else. That helps me internalize it.

 

Morgan:

Oh, that’s awesome. I’m going to have to check those out.

 

Boyce:

Well, I don’t sell them. They’re not public.

 

Morgan:

Oh, no. Well, girl, get on that.

 

Boyce:

It’s funny and this is totally a limiting belief in my head that I probably could get over. But I kind of haven’t wanted to be some kind of writing guru because it just felt weird. I felt like but I’m not Stephen King. Why should you buy a course from me? Go buy one from Neil Gaiman. He’s got this. Like go over there.

But the more I do this, the more I realize how much of a limiting belief that really is and I just want to be really careful of how I position myself in the field. Writing is always my passion. Talking to readers is one of my greatest passions and I just don’t ever want to lose that for the sake of teaching writing.

And I don’t necessarily have to, right? That’s not a give or take. Neil Gaiman again is—can you guess who my idol is?

 

Morgan:

It’s a good idol.

 

Boyce:

He is, he is. And he’s a great example of somebody who writes fabulous work but also teaches. So, that is a possibility for my future is all that and we’ll see.

 

Morgan:

Okay. Well, yeah, we’ll let that evolve as it is meant to and keep us posted.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, absolutely. If I launch it, you will be the first woman to know.

 

Morgan:

Fantastic. Because I learned a lot from you.

 

Boyce:

I’m so glad.

 

Morgan:

And you inspired me to use your index card process.

 

Boyce:

Oh, really? Great.

 

Morgan:

Yeah. And I’ve loved using that so I’ve put that into my own outlining process which that has elaborated in and of itself because of how you do yours.

 

Boyce:

That is so cool.

 

Morgan:

Well, and I’m definitely not on the extent that you’re—I mean y’all, you got a listen to that episode because it’s very in depth.

 

Boyce:

[inaudible] And the craziest part of it, Morgan, is that was the short version.

 

Morgan:

I believe it.

 

Boyce:

Sorry, y’all. I love that stuff.

 

Morgan:

It’s awesome and it shows. But that’s amazing. If that’s what you do, that’s what lights you up. You’re a creator.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. Yeah.

 

Morgan:

So, what are you working on now writing wise? What can we expect to see?

 

Boyce:

Okay. I have made announcements about this so I have no guilt in telling you all the things.

 

Morgan:

Great.

 

Boyce:

So, I am working on two series simultaneously which is a challenge because these are epics in the fantasy sense.

 

Morgan:

Oh, wow.

 

Boyce:

They are there each their own individual world. I have developed extensive histories for both of them. They each have unique magic systems like we just talked about. Wraithblade is the first one that’s going to become coming out. I would like that to come out in May. But with the whole COVID thing, I’m just being very careful about how I launch now.

But we’re looking at probably May for Wraithblade. And then the other series is called Blazebound and that’s going to be coming out in June or July but that one isn’t as far along as Wraithblade. So, I’m not entirely sure yet.

 

Morgan:

Okay.

 

Boyce:

We’ve already sold audio rights for Wraithblade which is really cool. I get to work with Tantor which is just this fun new experience I haven’t gotten have yet.

 

Morgan:

Yeah, congrats.

 

Boyce:

Fantastic audio company and I’m so excited.

 

Morgan:

That’s exciting.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. And then I haven’t sold rights for Blazebound yet because it’s not really far enough along for me to comfortably release them yet. But we will see what happens. So, Wraithblade is a hard magic system world but Wraithblade is about a peasant in epic fantasy world who suddenly becomes fused with the darkest magic in the land and everyone around him starts haunting him.

And he’s a survivor so that is his one asset against these basically armies of elite magical warriors. And the whole beauty of Wraithblade is actually the magic systems, one of my favorite parts about it because it is a hard magic system and really all I’ve ever written is moderate to soft.

 

Morgan:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

So, this truly is this beautiful, exciting, new challenge for me.

 

Morgan:

Very cool.

 

Boyce:

And I have had so much fun with it. And so, the coolest part of the world for me right now—besides the characters who I’m just in love with—is the magic system and this concept of reagents. So, everything in this world is based on potions and all the magic comes from potions. And so, basically, this ore called spellgust gets refined and that’s the source of all magic is this spellgust ore.

And there’s multiple refining methods and basically, if you have money, you have magic. And so, I really looked at how inherently no one is really better at magic than anyone else. It’s just were you lucky enough to grow up with it in your world and you understand how to use it.

And basically, power in this world relates to how many recipes does your family own. And so, it’s interesting to see the cultural and economic impacts of that as it plays out within the series.

 

Morgan:

Oh, fascinating.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. And then Blazebound is very much a coming-of-age. Wraithblade is more so a man finding family and his purpose. It’s about fathers and sons. It’s about protecting what you never trusted yourself to protect before and letting yourself be happy. That’s what Wraithblade is.

 

Morgan:

That’s good.

 

Boyce:

Thank you. Blazebound is a coming-of-age. It’s about the implications of having power and how power can both protect or destroy. And so, everything in Blazebound is more of a soft to medium magic. It’s a little more what I’m familiar with in the wheelhouse of what I’ve been doing up to this point. And it is fire based but fire has to come from somewhere and it has to burn something. I don’t want to give too much away but that is the crux of the magic system.

 

Morgan:

Nice.

 

Boyce:

And anyone can technically get power but there’s a lot of religious control over how it’s distributed. So, there’s a lot of elitism. There’s wealth disparity within it. There’s a 1% definitely. And so, we get to explore a different kind of cultural implication and economic implications in Blazebound.

 

Morgan:

Interesting.

 

Boyce:

So, I really like to have diversity and just expansive worlds within the stories.

 

Morgan:

Love it. Oh, I’m excited.

 

Boyce:

Thank you.

 

Morgan:

So, you mentioned during this time of COVID-19. I tend to not like to date the podcast but because this is such a global tragedy that we are all experiencing and being affected in different ways, how has this impacted you or business or creativity? And really, I guess it doesn’t even need to be limited to COVID-19. This could be for how do we deal with being creatives during trauma or difficult things that we have no control over?

 

Boyce:

Yeah, it’s a really good question. And I think the most important thing we can do is take the time to feel. I think a lot of times we vilify crime, we vilify feeling, we vilify the idea that crying is weak, emotions are weak, you shouldn’t feel bad.

Basically if you hear yourself should-ing—that’s what I call it, don’t should on yourself—if you should on yourself, then that’s not really you. That’s not really what you think. That’s not really what you want. That’s what you feel you’re supposed to.

And with something like COVID, we’re in the middle of the global trauma and the thing with trauma is we can’t fully process it. We can’t fully shield from it until it’s over and right now the most devastating part of this is that we don’t know when it’s going to be over.

 

Morgan:

Right.

 

Boyce:

There’s so much uncertainty. There’s so much unknown. There’s so much pain. There’s so much just heartbreak right now and it is really difficult to create when you’re in the midst of that. So, I’m very lucky in a way because I built my structure before all this hit. I knew that writing for me is a non-negotiable thing and if I don’t do it, I start tweaking out and I’m only partially kidding. I go a little crazy.

 

Morgan:

No, I get it. Yeah.

 

Boyce:

Regularly. And so, I have several rituals and routines when I sit down to write that really help me escape whatever’s going on in my world.

 

Morgan:

Oh, good.

 

Boyce:

I’m very visual so I light a candle when I’m working and that’s always on when I’m working. And then when I blow it out, I’m done with it. And I also wear a necklace, a very specific necklace every time I write and that helps me immerse in the world. And symbolically when I take it off, all of the characters’ problems that I was working through, they hang out on the necklace until I’m ready to dive back in.

And that may not work for everybody but because I’m very visual, very tangible things have a really big impact on me. So, when I have that little routine, it really works and actually this is really funny. I finished writing one morning and I had an appointment at one o’clock. I was on the go and I needed to stop by the bank on the way. And in the bank, I noticed that I was kind of absent and a little spacey and I was just like I could hear what they were saying but it took me a second or two longer than it should have to process all their questions.

And I came out of there feeling kind of like what is wrong with me today and I sat down in the car and looked up and I’m wearing my necklace. Like oh, I’m still in Saldia. That’s why I’m having trouble like interacting with humans because I’m thinking about vogels and magic potions.

 

Morgan:

Interesting.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. So, it actually even works for me. But I think the key is to find ways to metaphorically shut the door. I think it was Virginia Woolf who said that. I think she was speaking specifically about women. But in general, creatives need a room with a door.

Creatives need a room with a door and they need a place to shut out the world and just breathe something into existence because that is such an integral part of happiness and our likelihood and our ability to function is to create.

 

Morgan:

Yeah, I like that. I can’t remember who it was. I was listening to someone that’s used green running shoes for when he would write. So, he’d put on the shoes and while he was wearing it, he knew I’m writing. That’s all I’m doing. And then he would take off the shoes and switch to whatever else he was doing. But yeah, just those symbolic things that trigger something in our minds that oh, okay, this is what we’re doing and now we’re done.

 

Boyce:

Yeah, same idea. Yeah, you know what’s funny is I have a literal hat that I wear when I edit for writers that I mentor. I literally put on a hat and it’s the same hat every time. It’s my Boyce hat and when I can do that, then I can like be brand editor for them.

 

Morgan:

Yeah. Oh, I like that.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. That’s a real thing.

 

Morgan:

You’re like this is what we’re doing now. That’s great. So, I remember that—this was a while back—that you were making jewelry. Are you still doing that or do you have other creative outlets that you engage in still?

 

Boyce:

Yeah. That’s a great question and I specifically love this question because most creatives are multi-passionate. We love a lot of different things. We just like to create and the whole thing with being in that creative energy is typically you can only do it for about three to four hours at a time. And I have seen a couple studies on that but I can’t remember the name of them. So, maybe that’s just hearsay.

But typically you can work on something creative for about three to four hours at a time. When you need a break, you need to step away from that and sometimes I step away from it and sometimes I stay. But you want to create and do stuff. So, we tend to create multiple copies around that.

With jewelry, this actually started because I was too stubborn to pay someone to make me a tree of life pendent. So, I was like screw it. I’ll learn how to make it myself. I’m smart. And I did. I don’t know if it looks as good as theirs. It was probably better to just buy it from them but it’s a nice little hobby. And from there, I did wire wrapping for time then I got into beading.

The downside of a hobby like that is I have about a hundred, two hundred bracelets. I’m never going to wear them all and some of them are not even my thing. They don’t even fit me. It’s just I wanted to make them and look pretty. So, either everyone in my life is going to get bracelets for the rest of their lives or I need a way to sell these.

And so, my tendency is typically to turn any kind of hobby into something profitable and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think a lot of creatives try to figure out a way to profit on this and it’s totally normal. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think what I noticed was when I started trying to create an online business to sell these things, required effort, attention, ad spend. It was this whole other business and I wanted to treat it like a side gig but you don’t create a renowned jewelry brand as a side gig.

And even on Etsy, it’s so flooded with jewelry that nothing was sold. And so, I realized that the more I tried to make this work as a business, the less I enjoyed it and the less I did it. So, that is kind of the give-and-take. You can just have a hobby and you don’t have to profit off the hobby.

 

Morgan:

Yeah. And I think maybe you’re probably even should.

 

Boyce:

You probably should because it’s important to have something that’s just for you.

 

Morgan:

Yeah.

 

Boyce:

And again, everyone in my life, you’re just all going to get bracelets for the rest of whatever. So, make space in your jewelry box because that’s coming for Christmas. So, what I did find was I found a local artist guild that has a storefront at a mall and they’re kind of tucked away in the back. They don’t get a lot of traffic but I sell maybe a couple pieces every month and it doesn’t cost a lot for me to put my displays in there.

So, that makes me feel good because at least I’m not wearing it. At least somebody gets to enjoy it even if it’s looking at it for a second. So, that feels good to me and it’s a business write-off. It works for me. That’s a nice compromise for me. If anybody wants to go buy jewelry, check out the Sunset Mall in Las Vegas. My stuff’s in there.

 

Morgan:

That’s great. And I think that is important, just to have something that’s yours that you can escape to do or that you need a break from your other creative outlets, just to have something different. And sometimes it’s really great to have a tangible thing to do with your hands.

 

Boyce:

Yeah. My husband makes fun of me because I can’t just talk on the phone. I have to pace while I talk on the phone. This is kind of like I’m seated while we’re doing this and I’m fidgety as hell.

 

Morgan:

My husband’s like that. Well, do you have any final thoughts to encourage other creatives especially during this time or really during any time?

 

Boyce:

I think that remembering your why is probably the most important thing at any given time at any point in your life.

 

Morgan:

That’s a good one.

 

Boyce:

To live and breathe from your why and come back to it when you feel lost because if you have that guiding why, what that really is is your purpose. And as humans, we strive to find purpose everyday. It’s what fuels us. It’s what gives us meaning because I think we’re all a little bit nihilistic just by like default.

So, having purpose helps us breathe through that fear of the unknown and breathe through that fear of death and breathe through that fear of but what if this doesn’t mean anything. Well, your life has meaning and especially your life has the meaning you give it. And I think in those moments where you feel uncertain or you feel lost, come back to who you are, come back to what you know and trust yourself. I know that can be so hard to do sometimes.

But trust that what to do and trust that if you come back to why you do what you do, you will never be lost.

 

Morgan:

That’s good.

 

Boyce:

Thank you.

 

Morgan:

So, the big final question, how hard was it to censor yourself?

 

Boyce:

Oh my God, I’m just like tweaking. There’s a shake.

 

Morgan:

Shake it out.

 

Boyce:

I can’t tell you how many f-bombs I wanted to drop. I’m really proud of myself. I did f-ing and that was the extent. That was my one. I did it.

 

Morgan:

I love it. That’s awesome.

 

Boyce:

Well, this was so fun, Morgan. Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed being here.

 

Morgan:

I’m so glad you’re here. How can our listeners find you? Where should they go to follow you, to find your books?

 

Boyce:

Yeah, sure. Right now, I am on Amazon and that’s exclusively on Amazon for pretty much everything. I’m probably going to take the Grimoire Saga off Amazon in the near future and it will be available everywhere. Probably going to be June.

 

Morgan:

Okay.

 

Boyce:

So, check out Amazon. My website is smboyce.com and I am on Instagram, Facebook, pretty much everything as thesmboyce because smboyce originally was taken on Twitter. So, I had to be creative. Actually, funny story about that, I still feel bad about this to this day. But when I joined Twitter, I couldn’t get smboyce because a gentleman already had it. And so, I took thesmboyce and everybody was tweeting him instead of me.

 

Morgan:

Oh, no.

 

Boyce:

And he was like girl, tell them to stop. I’m like I’m sorry. I’m not telling them to go there. I promise. And he finally—he was so sweet—he messaged me and he’s like just take it. I felt so bad. Well, thank you for letting me have it. I really appreciate it. But I felt so bad that I drove him off the handle. Oh my God, I felt so guilty and it wasn’t even intentional. It wasn’t. He just got sick of people being like are you Boyce, the author? No!

 

Morgan:

Oh, shoot.

 

Boyce:

To this day, to the poor gentleman who gave up his Twitter handle to me, thank you so much. I am still immensely grateful for that and I’m so sorry. So sorry.

 

Morgan:

That’s funny. Well, we will make sure and link all of your links in the show notes.

 

Boyce:

Okay.

 

Morgan:

Thank you so much for spending time with us and sharing all your insights and your journey with us. Appreciate it.

 

Boyce:

My absolute treat. I’m happy to come back anytime.

 

Morgan:

Awesome. If you enjoyed this or any of the episodes in The Lotus Bloom Podcast, please consider subscribing where you listen. You can also leave a review and share with your friends. It means the world to a growing podcast and it means the world to me. Thank you.