Looking for something to read this weekend? Check out this SF & Fantasy promo. Over 80 participating authors have reduced their book prices to $0.99 on Dec. 5-6. Island Shifters – An Oath of the Mage is included in the list! Hope you enjoy.
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.
Because the cover art for an An Oath of the Mage did not include a close-up image of Kenley (Beck and Kiernan's daughter, and a prominent figure in Book Two), the illustrator offered to create a portrait of her. Good illustration breathes life into characters, and it is so amazing to have this rendition for inspiration. Kenley is already a living, breathing person in my world, but now I get to share a piece of her with you.
The amazing artist is Anna Christenson and you can see more of her work at http://www.annaeatspaint.com/
Thank you, Anna…
_ Is there a happy dance for writers? You know, that ridiculous hopping motion that overtakes your body when you are so excited about something that you cannot control yourself? It is usually reserved for small children, mothers on the first day of school, animated penguins, and Richard Simmons.
Right now, I am doing my own version of the happy and all I can say is, do the names "Elaine" or "Seinfeld" ring any bells?
If my neighbor peeked in the window right now, she would call 911.
If my husband walked in the room, he would question my sanity.
If my children came home, they would start bawling.
But, if another writer saw me, he or she would know exactly what this is all about.
Book Two is complete!
The twists, the turns, the tears, and the tendonitis. All proof that Book Two is done. Well, minus the countless hours in editing. But, who cares? I am happy, folks!
So very happy.
2012 is almost upon us, which means that the optimistic are frantically preparing their new year goals and resolutions. Fortunately, I jumped off that bandwagon long ago. For me, 2012 will be like 2011 just as 2011 was like 2010. The only variable in my year is the number at the top.
It goes something like this.
January - Vow to exercise more and eat a healthier diet.
February - Convince myself that I look fine the way I am.
March - Kick myself for falling for that dastardly lie because vacation is now right around the corner.
April - Spend time on vacation with family and friends covered in black layers.
May - Dust off the summer clothes and wonder if I ever really fit into them.
June - Pray for one of those cooler than average New York summers.
July - Take on an orangish hue as I rival Jersey Shore’s Snookie in spray tans.
August - Promise to celebrate my birthday without worrying about aging. We all know that the wrinkles merely indicate where all the smiles have been. :)
September - Perform the ritual and liberating back-to-school happy dance. This is what it looks like if you have never seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3z17rUDWEc
October - Embrace October because I get to bundle up in those baggy clothes again.
November - Let go of my feelings of guilt and decide to enjoy Thanksgiving and forget about watching what I eat for the next two months.
December - Vow to exercise more and eat a healthier diet.
Alas, it all ends as it once began.
Kidding aside, I do have very real goals for 2012. Professionally, my hope is to finish writing and then publish Island Shifters - An Oath of the Mage by late spring. The story is developing an amazing life of its own, and I love where it is headed. On the personal side, I think I will keep it simple: Laugh more, worry less, write more, procrastinate less, give more, take less.
Love to you all and best wishes for a spectacular 2012!
As always, thanks for reading…
I am so very excited to share new concept sketches from the illustrator for Book Two - An Oath of the Mage.
Click on the image for a larger view. Sketch #3 is my favorite so far. What do you think?
Book Two is coming along steadily, and I will go out on a limb to say that it will be released well before the published date. Of course, a lot could happen between now and then, but I am feeling optimistic. An excerpt from An Oath of the Mage has been posted under the "More..." tab if you feel so inclined. More later…
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.
Fall is fast approaching. The air is getting crisper, football season has begun, the heat is back on in the house, and the Halloween decorations are already making their appearance on neighborhood homes and in stores. But, the most obvious indicator of Fall for me? The quiet.
With three young boys in the house, this summer has been a veritable barrage of noise and activity. Banging doors, four-wheelers, paintball, sleepovers, amusement parks, concerts, cook-outs. The list goes on and on. Now that school has started, the house is unusually quiet.
The quiet was something I was actually so looking forward to because I wanted to transport back into the Island of Massa and get a nice jump on Book Two: An Oath of the Mage. What I have discovered is that amid all of the distraction and chaos of summer, I also managed to write 8,000 words. But, now, as I sit in the quiet and stare at the computer screen, I am finding it difficult to get my creative juices flowing. Suddenly, I start to panic. Maybe I was only good for one epic novel? Maybe I do not have what it takes to produce another? Then, I quickly shake my head. No. I just think that I am one of those people that operates best around turmoil. I think that maybe noise is my calming effect. Noise tells me that my children are home. That they are safe and healthy and having fun. That is when I am the happiest and most at ease.
Oh, I have no doubt the inspiration will come. It always does.
I just wish I had some noise to go along with it.
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.