Thank you, dear readers, for your understanding. Truly. I know how distracting it can be to a great story to come across typos while reading, so my sincerest apologies to all.
Then, again, I suppose it could always be worse.
|Valerie Zambito - Heroic Fantasy Author||
Heroic Fantasy Author
Yes, you know what it is. Typo. Like most authors, I take enormous pride in the quality of my work and a single comma out of place is enough to keep me up at night. Despite numerous rounds with proofreaders, a few minor typos in Angels of the Knights were recently brought to my attention and, as a result, I had the books re-edited. If you purchased any books in the series before 6/12, please make sure you download the digital update. Amazon claims they have an automatic updates feature but it doesn't (and never has) worked. Customers must do this manually. For those who purchased print copies or ebooks from retailers who do not provide updates, simply send me a message on my contact page and I will send a new error-free book.
Thank you, dear readers, for your understanding. Truly. I know how distracting it can be to a great story to come across typos while reading, so my sincerest apologies to all.
Then, again, I suppose it could always be worse.
2013. Wow, what a year! It’s 5:30 am on Christmas Eve. Presents are wrapped, cookies are baked, family is still in bed. Seems a perfect time to reflect on the year. No matter who you are, twelve months cannot pass by in this adventure we call life without experiencing both highs and lows. In a journey riddled with hills and valleys, one day we struggle with an uphill climb and the next we're running with childlike abandon down the other side.
Still, the exact route we travel is uniquely our own. No two are alike. Sure, there are footsteps all around—some in front or back or right alongside. Several walk with us for a time and then branch off in other directions. A few disappear completely and we're forced to plod ahead without them one step at a time. The path forward is often shrouded in shadows and filled with unforeseen battles, but how we choose to fight through is up to us.
My weapon of choice? I try to be a hero. Now, don’t laugh. There’s no cape or mask involved. I don’t shoot sorceress lightning from my fingertips (well, unless the kids are fighting). No, my heroic powers are much more subtle. It’s there, in the way I interact with my sons. In making an effort to embrace the positives and not dwell on the negatives. In giving back to others (even if it’s a gesture as simple as a smile). I don’t always succeed, of course. I’m not perfect. Sometimes the battle weighs on me and I get tired. My sword arm grows heavy, my patience wears thin. But, I keep trying because I know that if I fail one day, I'll still have a chance to get it right another.
Life. Is. Hard. And, it’s one of the reasons I so love writing heroic fantasy. We all need heroes. That symbolic proof that good trumps evil. The knight in shining armor. The superhero. Or, someone closer to home. The parent who chases away monsters that lurk under beds. The soldier who sacrifices all that is dear to keep others safe. The stranger who lifts people up with a random act of kindness. Heroes inspire. They keep our fears at bay. They allow us to believe in magic, even if for a short time.
This quote sums up the power of heroic fantasy for me.
“She'll kill me if she finds you in here. Can you climb trees? Tell me you can climb a tree!"
Patch grinned, "I can fly.”
― Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush
Be a hero in 2014. Fly. I'm guessing that people who think they are heroes can change the world. I know that I couldn’t fly without all of you. Writing is such a huge source of joy in my life. Your comments, your reviews, and the fact that you read my words provide the wind that keeps me in the air. Thank you for allowing me to soar this year.
Happy holidays to you and yours!
For some reason, I have spent more time than usual on knotty, little paragraphs that exist purely to drive me insane. I cut and paste and twist and turn, but sometimes the writing just doesn’t flow exactly right. If I read the chapter back and keep stumbling at the same spot, I know something is off and it prickles at me like a sore tooth.
Sort of like a Rubik’s Cube with one column the wrong color. Everything around the offending little horror is lined up perfectly, but that one area draws the eye and makes it, well…not perfect.
I have often compared writing to puzzle solving. With both, tiny tidbits of information must be gathered and meshed together to create a beautiful whole. All imperfections stand out and the process is often frustrating and seemingly impossible to solve. But, in order to see the beauty underneath, you keep at it. You analyze and pick and prod until all the pieces fall into place. When they finally do...when all those squares line up, it’s a rush like no other.
Not that I’ve ever solved a Rubik’s Cube, mind you. I don’t have the patience for that kind of thing. I prefer the conundrum of constructing Book 4 in a 400,000 word epic fantasy any day. Call me weird or call me a writer. Either fits.
It is Valentine’s Day, and I have been so busy editing that I am determined to make this an unforgettable evening for my poor neglected husband. So, I dress to the nines and make a fabulous dinner. Just as I finish lighting the candles on the table, he opens the front door.
Me: [Arm goes up] Whoa! Shut the door, the light is burning my eyes!
Husband: [Turns around in confusion] It’s winter. In New York.
Me: I know, but I haven’t been out of my office in a while.
Husband: No kidding. [Pause] You look taller.
Me: I have heels on.
Husband: What is that smell?
Me: It’s called Sweet Seduction [I purr]
Husband: It smells like salmon.
Me: Oh, that’s our Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Husband: [Walks to the table and inspects the food] Wow, it must have taken quite a few boxes for all of this food.
Me: Boxes? It’s all homemade, moron. You know what a great cook I am!
Husband: [Tilts his head in contemplation] Yes, I think I do have a vague recollection of that.
Me: Very funny. Now sit down. Let me make the toast. Happy Valen… [Whoosh…Candles snuff out and a football lands in the middle of the table. Sons rush into the room]
Son #1: Sorry, Mom. Hey, what are you guys doing?
Me: Trying to have dinner. [Icicles are warm compared to this voice]
Son #1: I thought you said we were having Pop-Tarts for dinner.
Me: No, I said you were having Pop-Tarts for dinner.
Son #2: Did somebody die? Why is Mom out of her office?
Husband: Nobody died. We are having a Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Son #3: What is this green stuff? [A pudgy finger pokes through the food on my plate]
Me: It’s called a vegetable.
Son #3: Ew, gross. I’m outta here.
Son #1: By the way, you look great, Mom. You really should come out more often.
[Sons rush out of the room]
Husband: Mmm…I agree. You do look beautiful. [Is he purring this time?]
Me: Nice try. Hey, how about we do this again in six years? By then, the kids will be grown and my writing career will be fond memory.
Husband: It’s a date. [Clink]
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.
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.
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.
_ 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.
_ For most people, making a big decision requires significant forethought, a thorough evaluation of the pros and cons, and a detailed plan of execution.
Well, I always have been a bit of a nonconformist.
A week ago, in the middle of the night, an idea for a new YA series exploded inside my head, so I jumped out of bed and wrote the outline and first three chapters before the clock read 5:00 AM. The day after, I commissioned the cover art.
Now, I have this new character and plotline bouncing around inside my head and the story is practically writing itself. So much so that I have been devoting more time to this new novel than in finishing Book Two of the Island Shifters series. Talk about a 180! I never thought anything could be more important to me than my precious first born.
I am not even entirely sure how it happened. I have always preferred a more adult, gritty read. But, the mental image of my new heroine and her back story is very compelling. I just have to get to know her better. I just have to join her on her unique and exciting quest.
Well, more exciting than the life of a mother of three anyway.
So, as soon as I do the laundry, wash the dishes and pick up some groceries, I get to help a new friend slay some bad guys. What more consideration do you need? It’s a no brainer as far as I am concerned.
Procrastination is my secret indulgence. It brings me nothing but sorrow, yet I willing embrace it all the same. It is officially defined as the act of putting off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.
Well, now, I don’t think I have ever been described as lazy. And, carelessness really doesn’t fit me either. I like to tell myself that procrastination is my inner watchdog telling me to slow down and take things a bit easier. I fall for it every time.
Of course, it has not helped that the children have been out of school for the holidays and hovering over my shoulder like little gnats. “Mom, are any characters named after me?” “Mom, if you sell a lot of books, will you buy me a go-kart?” “Mom, are you ever going to feed us?”
In truth, I have been multitasking for years, so I cannot in good conscience blame this on the children. The real issue is simply that I am at that difficult location in the story sometimes called the Sagging Middle. The first 40,000 words fly off my fingertips like a wizard’s conjured lightning and the last 40,000 are even faster. It is those pesky 20,000 or so words in the middle, when the story is building up the momentum to launch into that spine-tingling final arc that is the problem.
I call it the hump.
It obstructs progress as surely as an enormous boulder that has rolled into the middle of the road. So, there I sit, spinning my tires in front of the hump, digging myself deeper and deeper into the ruts. After days of studying the composition of the hump, I have learned that it is made up of an amalgamation of many different elements. Self-doubt, fatigue, perfectionism, indecision, fear. Fine. Maybe lazy once in awhile, but I am sitting at the computer while I spin those tires and my favorite websites are only one click away.
Paradoxically, the longer I wait, the bigger the hump grows.
As a result, whatever the cost, it must be destroyed. One strike at a time, chip by chip, the hump must be removed from existence. Only then can I move forward. Only then will I finally be able to enjoy the rest of the journey to that happy place called the climax.
If I have learned anything about publishing a novel this past year, it is that the learning curve is astronomical. When I look back at the query letters I sent when first starting out, I want to cringe. I was just so ridiculously excited at the time! I had just finished my first novel, damn it, and I was going to query every agent and publisher Google handed me on a silver plate. The only concern I anticipated struggling with was how to narrow down the offers to just one. I mean, it was Island Shifters, after all.
In my naiveté, I did not realize how hard it was going to be to break into traditional publishing. I did not realize that the market was already saturated with newbie writers like me. The problem is, now that I do understand all of the rookie mistakes I made and how to play the game better, I can't go back.
Thus, I embrace the unobstructed path before me. Self-publishing. Indie. The Long and Winding Road. There are many names for it, and I have to admit I am in very good company these days. We all know who they are and cling desperately to their success stories. Amanda Hocking did it! Yes, she was a self-publisher who made it big, by golly. And, J.A. Konrath? He spits in the face of the Big Six.
On my quest for similar triumph, I begin each morning with sorting through the online minutia, hoping to discover that magic formula. Like any good indie author (my preferred name), I contribute to forums, hit up social networks, troll for “likes”, guest blog, hold book signings, give out freebies, and promote on Twitter, Squidoo, Goodreads, Smashwords, LibraryThing, [insert an infinite number of other online sites here]. Oh, yeah, and I am writing that second book.
Honestly, I'm excited with the path I have chosen and feel very fortunate that I am able to pursue my passion in this new digital age. My wish for all of you is the hope that you find your passion as well.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!
In the Chinese language, the character for crisis is defined by two words: danger and opportunity. Well, I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis and all I can say is “look out!” For all of us forty somethings, it's the time in life when we reevaluate the road we're on and decide if we want to continue on that known, smooth path or ditch the minivan and hop in an F-250 to go off-road traveling.
I opted for the truck a few months ago and have not looked back.
There are many reasons for it. Yes, time and that sneaking suspicion that I might be mortal has been the primary contributor. But, there are others. I am older and wiser and more comfortable making the big decisions that will make me happy. My caregiver role—a role that will always be a part of who I am—is diminishing. And, I don’t want to live with any regrets. I lost my mother very unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm when she was just fifty-two and my younger sister from lymphoma when she was thirty-two and had just given birth to her first child. These losses had a profound effect on me, and after years of balancing career and family, I now find myself wondering how to manage this most precious commodity called “the rest of my life”.
So, even though I am off-road at the moment and the route is not decided, I can tell you what I will not be doing. I won’t be driving a corvette or having plastic surgery or buying Christian Louboutin shoes. No. I will spend my mid-life crisis laughing more, spending treasured moments with loved ones, writing, and trying out new and fun activities (maybe dancing or yoga?). I may even reenter the rat race at some point. Who knows?
I do know that whatever I do, I plan to live this all too short life to the fullest. So, all you other mid-lifers out there, go for it! Have fun! And, for the record? A laser facial is not considered plastic surgery. Just sayin’.
As Bette Davis once said, old age is no place for sissies.
I recently read a very interesting statistic on Irene Watson’s informative website at Reader Views http://www.readerviews.com/services_articles.html. In 2005, 282,500 books were published worldwide. Staggering, right? Not really. Not when you compare that number to 2010, in which 3,100,000 were published! Island Shifters, my big, amazing novel, suddenly seems incredibly puny. How on earth will a reader find my novel in that crowd? A novel that will not appear in any search engine results. A novel that will not be accompanied by fanfare or book launch parties or video trailers. Press releases? Amazon “best” lists? No. None of that.
I now realize that Island Shifters is a needle in a haystack. The surge in independent publishing has provided the means to allow writers to realize their dreams, but it has also unleashed a plethora of choice into the marketplace. And, not all of it is good. Anybody can write a book. Correction. Anybody can publish a book. Unfortunately, the result is that readers must sort through quite a large number of haystacks to find a worthy needle.
It goes without saying, that a writer’s work still has to stand up to public opinion. While every author undoubtedly believes in the merit of what he or she has written, the story still has to pass muster with a pretty savvy readership, and they alone will have the deciding vote. They alone will elevate the good from the bad.
I will continue to do what I love to do. Tell stories. Writers write because they love to write. Period. Still, it is enormously gratifying when a person tells me that they enjoyed reading Island Shifters. The fact that someone has taken time out of their busy life to read something I crafted, is the definition of success for me. Anything else is icing on the cake.
In the end, it all comes down to creating characters and plots that resonate with people. And, if I do it well and this leads readers to my haystack, well, that just means they are getting closer and closer to finding that puny needle.
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.
My husband will think this post is about him, but I will have to disappoint. This is about a passion for your dreams.
It is very cliché to say follow your dreams and hope they come true. Dreams are wonderful, but, for most, hope will not get us there. Hard work and passion will.
When I grew up in the 70's/80’s, nobody ever told me to follow my dreams. My grandmother, God rest her soul, and such a steadfast light in my life, always told me to work hard and get a nice “respectable” job, like a secretary. She was not intentionally trying to squash my ambition, it is just that the women of her generation thought it better to live a quiet, modest life while raising a family. Aspiration to greater things was never a part of her life or in her advice to me. She was a product of the Depression Era and was more concerned with survival and carving out a decent living than in something as frivolous as a pipe dream. So, even though I never had a dream growing up, my grandmother did instill in me a strong work ethic, and this helped me to succeed in life and to climb the proverbial ladder, gaining promotions on a steady basis.
But, I was never passionate about my career. I did well and the work was enjoyable at times, but it did not make me happy. I did not jump out of bed every morning anxious to leave for work.
I can honestly say that I have now found my dream. It lies in my passion for storytelling, and the discovery has made the quality of my life so much more exciting. Because really, that is the root of passion. Excitement. Finding out what you love to do and taking all of the steps necessary to make it a reality. Sure, I still stumble along the way, and some steps are taking longer (years!) than others, but I will never give up, and I am grateful for that drive.
My dream has not yet come true, but it is getting closer.
And, I am pretty sure I owe it all to my grandmother.
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.