Island Shifters - An Oath of the Children released in paperback. Ebook coming within a few days. Hope you enjoy. For me, it is now on to Angels of the Knights - Blane...
Did you hear that monstrous sigh? Sorry, it was me. I am just so relieved to have the onerous and tedious, yet, oh, so important editing of An Oath of the Children complete.
Once I wiped away the blood, sweat & tears, the manuscript was shipped off to the e-book formatter and the cover art to the designer. That means I should have a finished product within two weeks.
Now, I can sit back and relax and immerse myself in the joy of the holidays. You know, all of the low stress stuff like shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, decorating, cleaning....Hey! I want that manuscript back!
A warm and heartfelt Thanksgiving wish to you all.
What are you thankful for today? I know that I have much to be grateful for. Let's see...I'm:
May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey plump
May your potatoes and gravy, have nary a lump
May your yams be delicious, and your pies take the prize
And may your Thanksgiving dinner, stay off your thighs!
In a nod to the anniversary of my first published book, allow me to say "what a year!" Whew! Highs and lows, for sure, but mostly highs because I don't take success too seriously. It is fleeting and unreliable at best, an ethereal thing that can disappear as soon as it's grasped. I prefer to focus on my more tangible successes. Well, they're 13, 14 & 16 at the moment, so perhaps I should wait awhile before declaring victory there.
Anyway, during my year-long journey over the chaotic landscape that is publishing, I ferreted out a few little secrets that I thought I'd share. New authors, you heard it here first...
1. Your family will not read your books. Oh, sure, they'll buy them because they love you and want to support you, but they will not read them. It took me a very long time to get over this fact.
2. You will meet some really smart, really cool people. I had the opportunity to interact with amazing readers and writers this year (who do not share my last name or blood, I might add!) who happen to love reading and writing just as much as I do. I never once heard any of them whine "I'm just not a reader."
4. I've learned that slow and steady wins the race. Do not obsess. Ditch the cyber stalking of ranks, ratings, and reviews. I wish I had some of those hours back. If I did, I’d probably have another book out by now. But, you should cherry pick a few great industry blogs and read them regularly. It will eliminate having to weed through all of the time-wasting minutiae.
At the end of the day, secrets & pitfalls aside, it's been a great year. I am head over heels in love with the worlds and characters I have created. Beck, Kiernan, Airron, Rogan, Kenley, Kane, Kellan, Reilly, Jala, Izzy, Fallon, Kade, Blane, Nikki, and so many others in their supporting roles. They're friends now, good friends, and I don't want to ever let them go. So, I'll keep writing and sharing their adventures, and I'll owe it to extreme good luck and a healthy dose of Karma if a few of you decide to tag along with me.
Thanks for reading.
Yes, I know. My writing schedule has been a little sidetracked this month. And, it was all because I stumbled across an outline I created more than a year ago of a quirky tale of modern day kids (with a touch of magic, of course) who find themselves thrown into a very harrowing situation.
After re-reading it, I suddenly didn’t want to wait until the other novels were complete to publish it, so, I decided to turn it into a short story instead. So, after a little tweaking, Classroom Heroes was born.
It is quite different from what I usually write, so if you get it, let me know what you think. As always, I thank you, dear readers!
This little thing we call “life” has definitely curtailed my writing progress this summer. And, you know what? It's been a welcome break. My creative batteries are recharging, I’m relaxed, I’m having fun. Of course, it has still been a bit schizophrenic. With three boys running around, eating me out of house and home and stock piling enough dirty laundry to make a hoarder jealous, there is hardly a day to sit back and read, let alone write. Edgar Howe said it best. “It there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers." How true! But, in a few short weeks, the house will be quiet and I will have that full green bar once again. Good thing, too, because I will need all of the strength I can get when I return to Massa. For some reason, there is quite a bit of turmoil brewing there. ;)
Thank you always, dear readers, for your amazing support.
Great time at the book signing! Thank you to all of my amazing supporters. A special thank you also to my husband/packhorse/assistant on the left. I could not have done it without him.
There for You gives Angels of the Knights 5 stars! Read it here. Thank you, Melissa!
As some of you know, I am having the cover art for Island Shifters - An Oath of the Blood (Book 1) redone. Below is the first draft image of Kiernan, and I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. The amazing artist is Nick Deligaris and you can check out more of his work at http://www.deligaris.com/.
Whew! What should I do next? Work on the tan? Clean the windows? Go on a weekend getaway? Not!
Now that Angels of the Knights is complete, I told myself that I would take a break before starting Island Shifters - An Oath of the Children (Book Three). After all, I have written three books in the past nine months. If you include all of the time necessary for story development, research, writing, editing, designing, and promoting, my publishing endeavors have left little time for much else this year.
But…there’s always a but…I literally get goose bumps whenever I think about the Draca Cats in Book Three and the story I want to tell. I have always loved the use of intelligent animals/creatures in fantasy. Eragon’s Saphira and Narnia’s Aslan just to name two. Their loyalty just seems so much more poignant to me, their wrath so much more fierce.
In this third book in the Island Shifters series, there is going to be great conflict with the Draca Cats of Callyn-Rhe when another challenges Moombai for the sovereignty and the ploy results in bitter divided loyalties. The tensions increase even more when the besieged Kenleys call on the Dracas to stand by their oath of protection and not all feel honor bound to heed the request. When these mystic battle creatures come out of hiding and take their war inland, will anybody in Massa be safe? How will the shifters react to the oath breakers?
To be honest, I’m not even sure yet! But, I can’t wait to get back there to see what happens.
So, even though I will take more time to spend with my family this summer, I will also be sneaking in some writing every week, too. After all, someone has to feed the cats.
Wish me luck!
Oh, the joys of a good old-fashioned book club! Let me introduce the Surf & Turf Book Club of Livingston County.
These gracious women invited me to participate in a group discussion about Island Shifters, and I was beyond honored.
We started the evening off with cocktails and hors de oeuvres, and then proceeded to enjoy an amazing dinner, dessert, and coffee. As one woman put it, “we love to eat, drink, and read!” And, they had the best of all three there.
After dinner, we moved into the living room for the discussion.
I will admit that I was a tad nervous. Not to discuss my favorite subject, of course, but I wondered. Would there be those that did not like the book? Would I have to endure hecklers? Dodge thrown tomatoes? After all, this was the toughest of all crowds. Avid readers. Professionals. Teachers.
But, I need not have worried. They loved it! I felt like Sally Field in that moment as my grin moved from face to face and I clutched my book to my chest. “They like me! They really like me!”
Their questions were smart and engaging and lively. Starting with, “How did this all get started?”
I really can’t explain adequately the thrill of discussing Island Shifters in detail with readers for the first time. We laughed at humorous sections. One member told me how sad she was that a particular character died. We even talked about the actors that would play the parts in “the movie.”
It was a lovely, lovely evening that I will not soon forget, and in the end, I learned something new. Books clubs are so much more than a group of readers getting together to review books. They are about laughter, spending time with friends, and forming bonds that last a lifetime.
Thank you Surf & Turf!
Happy Mother’s Day to all, whether you are a mother, have a mother, or are honoring a mother now departed.
<--------- My husband and three sons spoiled me rotten all weekend long, and I loved every minute of it.
But, this is a bittersweet holiday for me. Sweet because it is a time to celebrate this crazy love journey called motherhood and bitter because my mother is no longer here to share it with. She passed away unexpectedly at the age of 52, and I miss her dearly. She taught me many things about life, but an appreciation for humor and laughter were her greatest gifts to me.
So in honor of mothers everywhere, a few "Momisms" we all can appreciate...
My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
My mother taught me LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."
My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don't come running to me."
My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident."
My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
:) Miss all your "isms", Mom, but don't worry, I am making up new ones for your grandchildren every day. ♥
Happy Mother's Day!
5.1.12 - If you are looking for fantasy authors to follow on Twitter, check out Brian Rathbone's new list! Mr. Rathbone is the author of The World of Godsland fantasy series, and I want to thank him for taking the time to put together such a great list and including @vzambito in the Indie section. Thank you, Mr. Rathbone!
I have a confession to make. I have struggled for months on how best to name this particular page on my website. Because, in all fairness to the phenomenal bloggers out there, I cannot in good conscience continue to call this a blog. So, why do I have one? Well, at every turn since self-publishing, experts have warned that Indie authors can't attract readers without maintaining a blog.
Heck, I want readers. So, I thought, hmm...what can I blog about?
How to succeed in self-publishing? No. Not there yet.
Ordinary stuff? I hate the mundane, that’s why I write epic fantasy.
Book reviews? I am a reader, not a reviewer.
Guest posts? I have not yet built up the kind of traffic that would warrant other authors wanting to spend their time filling out my dreaded question and answer piece.
Industry trends? Interested in reading, yes, but not writing. After all, people are not clamoring for my opinion. Yet.
I find myself spending more time thinking about what to blog than in devoting to writing. It left me thinking that perhaps publishing another book might help garner more readers than this blog. Just sayin'.
Believe me, I have all of the respect in the world for the bloggers who do it well and can name quite a few that I follow on a regular basis. But, here, you will just find updates to my writing and some humorous anecdotes, and maybe a few personal photos.
Wait! I know! Maybe I should just call a spade a spade and refer to this page as my online dating profile. Let’s face it. The parallels between publishing and dating are unmistakable with all of the singles/authors vying for dates/readers. I can see the ad now.
“TIA (Trolling Indie Author) seeking fantasy reader with an adventurous spirit who enjoys well-developed characters and stimulating dialogue.”
If you answer, I will assume that you liked the cover and have peeked inside. Okay, game on. It’s a date. During the appetizer, aka Chapter 1, I will try to charm with coy innuendo. When the salad comes, aka Chapters 2 & 3, I will attempt to entice you with my conversational prowess in the hope that you will want to get to know me better. By the main course, aka Chapters 6 through 20, I plan to have you howling for more. And, if we really like each other, while dessert is being served, aka the Epilogue, we will be married.
All right, I guess I should come up with something a little more creative. So, while I continue to try and find a suitable name for my non-blog, please keep visiting. As of now, I am still single in the datingandlookingforreaders realm. Just don’t tell the husband in the marriedwiththreekids realm.
One of the most important elements to any story is the pacing. It is the very heartbeat of the novel. A pace that is too slow can fail to hook a reader’s interest early on and, conversely, a frantic pace can leave the reader feeling forced along without ever really becoming invested in the characters. Why are they acting this way? What is motivating them? These questions must be answered in order for characters to achieve a sense of depth and for their actions to feel real. As a writer, you want the pacing to pull the reader through the events of the novel so that they want nothing more than to continue turning those pages while also building a gradual understanding of each character’s individuality.
There can be no doubt that the pacing of An Oath of the Mage is very fast. Simply put, I write the way I like to read. An editorial review from the team at Createspace summed it up best with their critique of An Oath of the Blood: “[The author] has done a great job of mixing in a complicated mythology and an original world context that actually enhances the story, rather than suffocating it in detail and exposition."
It's true. I ruthlessly cut all superfluous dialogue or detail that does not have an easily definable reason for being there. But, I'm also very conscientious about creating well-developed characters that are believable. I want their pain to be the reader’s pain. Their joy to be the reader’s joy. Because while pacing is an important element to story creation, character development is the most important element. Think about your favorite novels. What do you remember most? The plot? The location? Or the character themselves?
But, as is the nature of all things, some people will like the fast pace of An Oath of the Mage and some will not and that is okay. To my way of thinking, people, including me, are very busy these days. If someone takes the time to read the Island Shifters series, I want to take them on a journey they will not soon forget.
"The reader has certain rights. He bought your story. Think of this as an implicit contract. He's entitled to be entertained, instructed, amused; maybe all three. If he quits in the middle, or puts the book down feeling his time has been wasted, you're in violation." - Larry Niven
Tell me. What is your pace? Do you like a long, leisurely reading experience or heart-pounding excitement? I would love to hear from you.
Book review by Yankee Doodle Sweetheart. Thank you, Breanne Tennant. Your honest critique is very much appreciated.
Amazing book review by book blogger You Wanna Know What I Think? Thank you Krista Ballard!