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Blow By Blow

Previously I mentioned that my husband has The Tale of the Drakanox for its first reading. This is important not only to reward his support for my writing, but to pick up plot issues, just like with any critique. He’s one of those readers who likes to guess what the ending will be as he goes. It’s both entertaining — as I get to smirk and say “no spoilers” — and useful to hear his predictions.

Some of the things he’s mentioned:

A character is trying to redeem himself. My husband isn’t buying it. Okay.

A character I meant to be kind of sketchy, he thinks is fun and enthusiastic. Um?

A character you’re supposed to sorry about, he is worried. Success!

A major plot event he’s just getting too, he said “this isn’t what I expected.” That’s absolutely something to follow up on with him. What did he think would happen, how did the story move away from that, and was it a good plot twist after all? Reader expectations are important. My goal is both to surprise the reader and to satisfy their expectations. Not to say I’ll change things to fit just one reader, but it’s always good to address major stumbling blocks.

These blow-by-blow reactions are always fun, anyhow.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

What’s Happening? The first of my re-issued titles is now available. Masters of Air & Fire is a juvenile fantasy. Every family has drama, even when they are dragons! Check out the links in the sidebar, if you’re interested.

What I’m Working On. A sequel to my fantasy short story, “Mistress Henbane,” is currently under way. It’s been a bit slow, but I’m still writing a page a day, 500 words, more or less. I’ll get there in time. As for The Tale of the Drakanox, my husband has the sole printed copy. He always supports my art, so he gets the privilege of the first read. Revisions don’t begin until he’s had his input.

What’s Next? Later this month, I’ll be at RadCon science fiction convention. I’m waiting anxiously for copies of Masters of Air & Fire to arrive, so I can sell a few there. In addition, I think it’s time for new covers to go on Aunt Ursula’s Atlas. Before that, I’d like to sell out the current copies. Watch this space for more on my RadCon schedule.

Fun and Games. I’m playing Subnautica Below Zero, where my character is marooned in the polar region of a water planet. I have to survive and explore a mystery. I’m also playing Animal Crossing and Ruya when I just need to chill out.

Speaking of chill, it’s been pretty cold outside. Perfect weather for reading a book!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

I did it! I got the font to a size that Amazon’s AI will accept, and the paperback is officially ready for pre-orders. The official release is on February 1st, 2023. I therefore can present…

Drum roll please…

My latest masterpiece! Which actually is a re-issue from 2015. Masters of Air & Fire is a middle grade fantasy, aimed at readers from third to sixth grades. It’s a family drama where the family happen to be dragons, or wyrms. Three young wyrmlings are orphaned by the eruption of their volcanic home and must struggle to find their place in the world. Not only do they strive against each other, determining which of them is in charge, they also run afoul of some small, hairless, alien creatures called humans.

Some of the humans seem friendly. But do they have dark intentions toward the wyrmlings? Other humans are hostile, until the wyrmlings see them as captives with a shared purpose. Deciding which humans to trust is a major challenge of the book. The question of humans domesticating dragons is a sore point for me, and I enjoyed exploring that.

For more on this, there’s a whole post here about the early development of the project.


Masters of Air & Fire

Orlik, Romik and Yazka are wyrmlings, living peacefully on the slopes of Hot Mountain. Until the volcano erupts, and they are separated from their mother. Alone in the world, these three wyrmlings struggle to find a new home among creatures alien to them: humans!

The book is available as an e-book through Amazon and Books2Read. The paperback is from Amazon only.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Laying It All Out

The reprint of Masters of Air & Fire (in ebook and paperback) has been complete for a while… Or so I thought! Almost a week after I approved the layout, I started getting notes from Amazon’s AI that the font is too large on one exact part of the book. I’ve been patiently reducing the font size by 1 point and re-submitting. Eventually I’m sure I’ll get it right.

Meantime, I had ordered author copies as soon as I thought I was done with it. They aren’t scheduled to arrive until early February. I’m honestly curious whether my author copies will arrive with the font still in the size the AI doesn’t like, or if the shipment will be pushed back. I do hope it gets settled soon. There’s an appearance coming up in late February that I want to have these books ready for.

Work also continues on the follow-up to “Mistress Henbane,” my as-yet-unsold fantasy short story. Maybe it’s just as well the story hasn’t sold yet, because I keep discovering new bits of background info that have to be reconciled. And now, I’ll get back to that!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Results Are In

Last time I dropped in a poll about why we write (or do our other art). So let’s get to those results!

Top response: “I enjoy telling stories.”

Followed closely by: “It’s my identity.”

Trailing responses: “It’s self-care” and “I have something to say.”

People can get focused on different measures of success, like sales figures and review ratings. It’s important to remember that writing (and other arts) are pleasurable and relaxing. Life is full of stress, so relaxation is something we all need, assuming we can cut through the stress and have fun with it.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Why Do You Write?

Recently, my attention was snagged by one of those online polls. “What does writing mean to you?” it asked. A good question, but the poll gave only two possible answers: 1) My job or 2) My hobby.

What caught me was the false choice that poll presented. To me, it implied that one’s writing (or any other art) should be judged solely on the basis of whether it makes money or not. Obviously a money-making job would be deemed worthy, and a mere hobby would be something inferior, a mere waste of time.

Frankly, this is an issue that a lot of indy writers already have to deal with. Well-meaning (or less well-meaning) family members may ask if we’re spending too much money on our little hobby. With the clear insinuation that we ought to be spending our money on something else the family member would approve of.

Rather than fret about this any more than I already have, I’m going to put forth that same poll with some options that I consider more thoughtful. I’m interested in what you think!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Black Sun

For Christmas, I got a book that I’d been looking forward to. It’s Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse. I enjoyed it, and I thought I’d spread the word.

Black Sun is a true Epic Fantasy with intensive world building and a complicated plot. Roanhorse is Native American, and she turned to the great civilizations of Central America for her inspiration. It’s fun to recognize some of the geography, such as what we know as the Gulf of Mexico. There are tons of details about the people, customs, food and dress.

Roanhorse shows us many interesting creatures and legends. I don’t know enough about Caribbean and Central American history to know what is factual and what she invented herself. To me, it all fitted together well.

I enjoyed that Roanhorse had several point of view characters, a technique I favor myself. I was a little put off by some events happening out of order. Possibly it was an effort to ramp up tension, but it felt deceptive. However, that is a minor quibble. All in all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fantasy lovers.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Out of Order

The paperback layout and cover for Masters of Air & Fire are complete. Only now do I realize that Amazon wants you to do the e-book before a printed book! Ah, well. I’ll start on the e-book layout when I get done with this post.

Although Air & Fire is taking up a lot of my attention, I am still working on the rough draft of my newest short story. I felt like it was stalling out, and backed up to figure out where I got off track. The issue in this case is with the setting. I thought it would be cool to have a secret shrine hidden underneath another building. A rival religion wasn’t able to raze the shrine because of magical protection, so they built their own temple over it and tried to literally bury the old shrine. As I got into it, though, that setting wasn’t working. If you’re going to have a mystery, it helps when lots of suspects have access to the site. Today I sketched out several alternatives for where the shrine might be. One of them sprang to life for me, and I have that to push me in a new direction. Since one of my resolutions is to write more short stories, I’m glad to be working actively toward that.

The other complication is in my extended family. Our father is 94 and has been declining rapidly. Since early September, he seems to be moving from one medical facility to another. My younger sister is carrying the load on this, and then there was a huge fight over Christmas (no doubt due to stress and worry about Dad). Both sides say they aren’t speaking to each other, but they are all talking to me.

I don’t have enough oil to pour on these waters. But I do have an e-book to lay out, so I’d better get to it!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Reprints Ahoy

My first solid project of the year is to re-issue Masters of Air & Fire. To that end, I have selected cover art that can be cropped for an e-book cover and also work as a paperback cover, although with some fiddling. There’s been a lot of buzz about using AI programs to create cover art, but I’m choosing to go through Shutterstock, where I’m pretty sure an actual human is being paid for their work.

My next step will be to create a splashy title to go on the cover. Then I’ll use Canva to lay it out. Once I have something to show around, I’ll begin reformatting the text for the e-book. Another step I have to do is assigning a new ISBN. However, the Bowker system is undergoing maintenance, so that that will have to wait a day or three.

These will be the easy parts. I’m hoping to handle most of it this weekend, because the trade paper process takes longer. Someone (or another AI, who knows) has to approve it and then I wait for printed copies. Hm… Maybe I should do that first?

Anyhow! It’s time to get started on that title. Cheers, all!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

What’s Happening? I finished it! The first draft of Tale of the Drakanox is complete! Also, I’ve just had a two-week winter break that encompassed two major holidays. Getting back to work will almost be a relief. In addition, I’m starting the new year off right with a new short story. “Where Gold Grows on Trees” is in the January issue of Lorelei Signal.

What I’m Working On. The plan was to rest my brain from Drakanox for a couple of weeks, but the very next day a new short story sprang into my mind. I jotted down the first couple of pages, but then started to realize how many blanks I was leaving to fill in for later. I’m still jotting, but mostly my focus has been those background details, like the names of cities and who is in charge of what.

What’s Next? Those books I got back from the defunct small press are waiting their turn to be refreshed and re-released. I just went over the options in my resolutions, last Saturday, so I’ll avoid rehashing that. My immediate plan is for Masters of Air and Fire to be ready by February, when I have my first convention of the year.

Fun and Games. I finished my play through of Skyrim in early December. Once again I saved the Empire! I found out there was an update to Subnautica, and managed to finish a play through of it without the serious crashes I was having. Currently I’m playing yet another run of Dragon Age Origins and also keeping up with Animal Crossing. I also received several jigsaw puzzles for Christmas and those will keep me occupied nicely as well.

The new year is going to be whatever we make of it. So make it wonderful!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.