Thank you, mates!
Island Shifters is #2 on Epic Fantasy list in the U.K. Yes, it is free, but I am enjoying a chuckle at seeing my novel anywhere near the likes of Terry Goodkind. #arrived :)
Thank you, mates!
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/.
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!
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.
Since the release of Island Shifters, I have received many similar questions so I decided to answer them here on my blog. But, please keep the comments coming! Each and every one is a unique gift that I treasure receiving.
Is Island Shifters an epic romance novel?
No. While it is true that two of the main characters in Island Shifters do love each other (and, there is even a scene where they express that love), this is a gritty tale about survival. I never wanted to follow the young, timid boy turns hero and saves the world formula. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Tolkien and Brooks—what epic fantasy reader doesn’t?—but I gravitate more to strong, confident men. The kind who will not hesitate to throw himself between a woman and a fire-breathing dragon. I like strong women, too. The kind who will appreciate the offer, but is more inclined to push the man out of the way and take care of the dragon herself.
P.S. There are no fire-breathing dragons in Island Shifters.
Will guys like this book?
Yes! My husband, who is not an avid reader, is working his way through the book now. He never so much as glimpsed at the manuscript for three years, but has since decided he better read the book to be able to answer the questions that are coming his way.
He insists that he can’t put the book down, and—I kind of believe him. I know. Of course, he has to say so. I mean, seriously, can you imagine his life if he said any different? This would take the “honey, do I look fat?” scenario to a whole other level. But, he is looking at me funny these days as if I am a complete stranger. I will turn suddenly, and he will have this pensive, narrowed gaze directed my way. I can tell that he is trying to figure out how I came up with all of the elements to this story and is wondering if he even really knows me. It is almost as if he sees Kiernan’s sword with the sigil of Iserlohn peeking over my shoulder and is waiting for me to unsheathe it at any moment.
It is really quite weird—and hilarious.
Why do you like fantasy?
It is hard to pinpoint exactly when I decided that the fantasy genre was where I wanted to spend my free time. I believe it was after I read Terry Goodkind’s, Wizard’s First Rule, but I have devoured so many great novels since then, that it is hard to be sure. I do know that, for me, it is a magical experience that is hard to come by in other styles of writing. The best analogy comes from my family’s vacation preferences. My husband’s idea of a vacation is sitting on a beach and relaxing with a drink (or two) in hand and maybe a massage thrown in. My idea is more along the lines of Disney. Fast, exhilarating rides, lights, sounds, new experiences. I love to be entertained and will be up and at ‘em at the crack of dawn so I do not miss a single moment.
Fantasy is my thrill ride at home.
Why is the book not available on Kindle?
Amazon has assured me that the Kindle version will be available by November 4th.
Are you going to have a book signing?
I hope so. Different venues are being looked into now, and I will post on the Island Shifters Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Island-Shifters/207290402664749) with dates if/when they happen. Make sure you “like” this page if you want to keep up with the latest news.
How is Book Two, An Oath of the Mage, coming?
Very good. I will be posting an excerpt from Chapter One soon. Release date still TBD.
Book One: An Oath of the Blood has not yet hit the digital shelves, and I am already hard at work on Book Two: An Oath of the Mage. The choice is non-negotiable at this point. There is too much story to be told. Too many adventures waiting to unfold.
As most writers will tell you, the experience of writing starts with a map of ideas but as soon as you start out on the journey, the story develops legs of its own and takes off. You follow desperately, believing you know where it is headed, but suddenly, of its own accord, the tale veers off into new and unexpected directions, hairpin turns, and even off cliffs at some points.
That’s when I get really excited. Not knowing what is around every corner and facing the unknown right alongside my characters.
Don’t get me wrong. There are those days that I want to throw my laptop across the room. Some plot knots get so tangled that you think you will never unravel them in a clever and interesting way. But, just like a knot made of rope, you have to continue picking at it until it finally resolves itself.
Without giving too much away, several new and intriguing characters make their appearance in An Oath of the Mage. One is Beck and Kiernan’s five-year-old daughter. It is interesting to write from a child’s perspective, so innocent and unafraid. But, Kenley Atlan is no ordinary child. Her powers may even surpass those of her pureblood parents.
Unless, of course, Avalon Ravener, catches up to her. If that happens, even I'm not sure if it will be enough.
After more than three years of writing Island Shifters, the hardcopy proof of the novel is making its way to me through the mail. At long last, I will be able to hold and cradle the baby I have loved and nurtured over so many long days and nights.
I will finally have my proof. Proof that I actually completed this daunting epic tale. Proof that my efforts have been worth the pain. And, proof that Beck, Kiernan, Rogan and Airron truly exist. I would hate to go back to a world where the Island of Massa was still a figment of my imagination instead of fleshed out and documented for the world to get to know and enjoy. Fantasy author Greg Hamerton says it best on his website http://greghamerton.com/greg/about/ when asked, why fantasy? "Because there's nothing like it! To feel the world dissolve around you and to see a new world appear, raised from your imagination, well that’s just the beginning. To read great fantasy is to enter a world of hidden secrets, of great beauty, mystery and danger. We become involved in a struggle on a grand scale. Fantasy gives us the gift of seeing, being able to experience a world beyond our own develops a powerful imagination."
Well said, Mr. Hamerton.
The last proof for me comes from you...the readers. Proof that I did the Island of Massa and her tale justice. On September 30, I will know for sure.