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Taking a Breather

I’m up to 3,400 words on The Renegade Count. I managed 1,000 words at one go on MLK Day. Yamaya and Berisan are headed in the direction I wanted. It’s left me feeling a bit tapped out, though. So I’m taking a breather today.

However, I did receive the happy news of a sale. Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, one of my first self-published books. It’s a collection of my short work under the pen name Lucy D. Ford. So, what the heck — here’s a link! Maybe you’re looking for a new read, after 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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Cool It, Chick!

The Renegade Count is up to 2,000 words after three or so days. That’s great progress, the plot has lots of energy, and the characters are coming to life. I’m really happy with it. But, I need to reassess.

The issue is that Yamaya is at the point of knifing Huld. The tension might build up to that by the end of the novella, but I’m only 4 pages in. This wasn’t meant to be my starting point. Besides which, my original intention was that Berisan make allies — first with Yamaya and later with the village where Huld lives. Having this level of antagonism at the outset will eliminate that possibility.

What’s happening, I think, is my fury at the attempted coup in Washington D.C. and the shameful non-apology from those who supported it. Real as the situation and emotions are, the story I’m writing needs to be separated from them.

Possibly, however, my muse is telling me that the novella is not really about Berisan making allies. It’s about Yamaya holding onto her farm. As I cool down that first conversation, more new ideas are already starting to pop.

So my job today is to step Huld back from his most inflammatory words, not trigger Yamaya’s rage, and let the plot build on a stronger framework.


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Surprise Character

No sooner did I start on The Renegade Count, than an unexpected character strutted into the scene. He actually developed from the fourth potential introduction I was working with. So — yay for my strategy!

Huld is going to be an antagonist. He is an unwanted suitor of Yamaya’s, with intentions not at all pure. This makes him pretty much a stereotype. Yet stereotypes often contain a kernel of truth. As a writer, it’s my job to make sure Huld becomes more than a negative trope.

Anyway, the obnoxious strutting is definitely permissible for such a character. It gives the plot a kick, as Berisan and Yamaya have someone actively striving against them.

Now — back to my writing!


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

A Little Push

Despite the current political crisis — or perhaps as a respite from it — I am push-starting my next novella, tentatively titled The Renegade Count. Step one is for me to find my entry point.

I’ve already been thinking about the characters and their background. Berisan is one of my Minstrels, a renegade mage who tries to bring people hope against a cruel regime. Yamaya is a peasant woman who appears to need help. Berisan has a history of protecting his brother, so naturally he falls into that mode with Yamaya. However, she has a dark past, and he’s going to find it’s not as simple as sticking around or walking away.

What I’m really working on today and tomorrow is how and where these two will meet. When I’m making decisions like this, I like to come up with at least three possible scenarios. The first one will be really obvious and full of stereotypes. The second will be more interesting, and hopefully the third will be something unexpected. In any case, it has to immediately engage the reader.

By the way, what I’m using is the Rusch Technique, taught by Kristine Kathryn Rusch at a workshop a lone time ago. So I’m not claiming to brilliantly think this up on my own.

Anyway! There are a few smaller decisions as well. Mostly names for side characters and places, so I don’t stop in the middle of a sentence to figure them out. Like I said, I hope to settle these details by tomorrow.

Wish me luck! (And to not get distracted by politics until after my writing is done.)


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

What’s Happening? Remember how I mentioned making a couple of small sales a few months ago? They’re out now! I’m happy to spotlight the re-launch of my favorite indy webzine, Lorelei Signal. The current issue is a double, and it just happens to include two of my flash fiction. I wrote the opening story, “The Atlantis Appeal,” and also “Good Old Vernon,” about midway through.

What I’m Working On. I’ve finished the first draft of a short story for that time capsule anthology. Revisions are ongoing. I need to hurry up with that, because…

What’s Next? It’s time to get started on the latest Minstrels of Skaythe novella. I expect that will occupy me until it’s time to publish the next one, in May. But actually, there is a complication to my publishing schedule. Prisoners of the Wailing Tower turned out to be such a turning point that this next one should probably be released first. So I need to get moving on it!

Fun and Games. I finished a shortened playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition, knowing that I would probably receive a couple of new games at Christmas. Which I did. The first of them required a major download, and then it wouldn’t play. Then, my Internet provider informed me that I had exceeded my allowed data. So while I wait to replenish my data, I’m doing a run of Fallout 4 for a couple of weeks. And of course, Animal Crossing continues eternally. (In a good way, though.)

That’s it for me! I hope you’re all above to get back into the swing of things with the turn of the year.


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Goals for 2021

Goals! Everyone needs them. Otherwise, why even get up in the morning? As an independent writer, having some goals keeps me motivated when I feel tired and discouraged. So here are my goals for 2021:

1) Write novella #5 in the Minstrels of Skaythe series, and possibly #6. Publish #4 and #5 in May and November respectively. This will keep up my current schedule of releasing something every 6 months, and that consistency is important.

2) Queen Titania’s Court. It didn’t seem to achieve much in 2020, but these things take time to build up. Plus, I felt like I was doing something for my career.

3) Keep blogging, twice a week. I’ve been a little shy about promoting my work regularly on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. I need to be more persistent on those platforms.

4) Submit to more anthologies. In the past, I’ve tended to ignore these invitations, unless they were something that really grabbed me. I need to look at them more closely. My friends who are doing the anthologies need to feel supported, just like me with Queen Titania’s Court, and getting submissions is a first step to that.

5) Investigate selling at a farmer’s market. This would be a way to replace the in-person selling I used to do at book stores. One of my friends mentioned on Facebook that she took her books to a farmer’s market over the summer, along with some journals. She felt it was successful. If I did that, I could bring some of my older paperbacks and offer them for $.50 to draw people in. This would be a big time commitment, and it might require financial buy-in. That’s why my goal is to investigate and decide whether it’s worth it.

How about you? What are your goals for 2021?


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” so they say. Honestly, I’m like a lot of people who can’t wait to be done with 2020. “Don’t let the door hit you,” is my attitude toward an awful lot of public figures this year. Still, I guess I’m enough of a masochist to try and salvage what knowledge I can from the unrelenting fiasco we’re all still in the midst of.

I did make some resolutions last year, so let’s review what became of them.

1) Increase my sales over 2019. It’s risky to make a resolution like this, because it isn’t under my control. So this was more of an over-arching goal, which the other resolutions were meant to support. It may not be a surprise that this didn’t go so well.

2) Write two novellas (Minstrels of Skaythe #4 and #5) and publish two novellas (Minstrels of Skaythe #3 and #4) in May and November, respectively. I was partly successful with this goal. I did publish The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh as planned. I did write Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, as well. However, it took long enough that I didn’t feel comfortable with a November publication. Instead, I combined the first three Minstrels of Skaythe novellas into a trade paperback, aptly titled Minstrels of Skaythe. So there were two publications in 2020, just not exactly the ones I had intended.

3) Host a fantasy book event, Queen Titania’s Court, across June of 2020. The response was pretty thin, and I ended up filling an abbreviated schedule mostly with authors I had personally invited. Nevertheless, I did host the book event, and it was great fun.

4) Make six personal appearances over the course of the year. This was important to me, because I sell more books when I talk to people than any other way. Due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to do any of that.

5) Send out a monthly newsletter. Every writing advice site tells you to send out newsletters as a way of building your audience. I tried really hard in 2019 and it just never worked for me. So I let this one go pretty early in 2020 and have been focused on my blog instead.

Over all, I came out 2 for 5 of my resolutions. That’s… not great. However, I’m well aware of all the headwinds we faced in 2020. For the next few days I’ll be trying to decide what goals I should set for 2021.


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Call Me King

Yesterday was Christmas, so here’s a slightly late gift from my pen name, Lucy D. Ford.


Call Me King, by Lucy D. Ford

The farmhouse door slammed open, and little feet pounded down the rickety steps. A young voice yelled out, “Call me king!”

The farm wife glanced up sharply from weeding her cabbages. Nap time was always over too soon. She watched the boy run through the farm yard. A ragged blanket flapped behind him.

“Call me king!”

Chickens scattered, squawking, as the simple-minded boy slashed at them with a large tin spoon. The farm wife sighed to herself. She’d been so careful to pick up every stick from the yard. Naturally, the brat got into her kitchen drawer instead.

“Call me king!”

A spotted dog galloped after the boy, barking madly. It nimbly dodged a swipe from the spoon. The farm wife shook her head. The boy was lucky to have such a friend, but did he care?

“Call me king!”

She knelt to dig out a particularly stubborn dandelion root. The boy spotted her. He raced up, flailing the spoon at the air. Dirt flew as he skidded to a halt.

“Call me king!” He swirled his blanket, wild-eyed, wrapped in the game. When he grinned, a gap showed where one tooth was missing.

“Stop that. You’re getting dust in my eyes.”

He ignored her protest. “I am the king! Call me king!”

Slowly, firmly, she answered, “No.”

“Call me king!” he demanded yet again.

“No.” The farm wife reached out in a half-hearted attempt to reclaim her spoon. The boy pulled away, and she ended up rubbing his curly head, instead.

“I’m tired of this game,” she said. “There’s work to be done.”

The boy grabbed her wrist, his little fist sticky and tight. “You have to call me king!”

“Let go, please. What I have to do is finish the weeding.”

The boy held on tighter. A fierce, mad spark lit in his eyes. “Go to the dungeon,” he babbled. “I’ll chop your head off. I am the king!”

The farm wife lost patience. She stood up tall and stern. “Then you must call me witch!”

A cloud passed over them. The dog cowered and whined. The boy blinked, then jumped away. After a moment’s confusion, he jabbed the spoon at her.

“Aaah! There’s a witch here!”

He darted around the yard, seemingly with no aim in mind. For several minutes, the chant of “call me king” was replaced by “there’s a witch.” Barking dog and squawking chickens added to the cacophony.

The witch fumed as she turned to weeding the carrots with extra vengeance. It was a good thing none of the neighbors lived close enough to hear. They all understood that the boy was simple-minded, but you never knew when a label like witch might stick in the wrong ear.

After some time, the boy’s racing became more of a trot. He shook the tin spoon at the cow in its shed. “Go to the dungeon! I am the king!”

By then, the witch’s fury had given way to sorrow. Five years ago, she had abandoned her oath and committed a terrible crime. She had reduced an unhinged monarch to a squalling infant and stolen away with it. The sentence for her deed was this endless watch over her victim. A simple-minded child in a quiet farmyard could do little harm, even if he managed to hit you with a spoon. But a mad king was a peril to all the world.

“Call me king,” the tiny tyrant ranted. “I’ll chop your head off!”

Softly, she murmured, “And that is why I had to lay the curse upon you, King Liam.”


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Flashback

For the past couple of years, I’ve been focused on my Minstrels of Skaythe series. In these high fantasy novellas, a group of mages struggle to resist a vicious regime without becoming vicious themselves. Today I’m flashing back to one of my earlier novels, The Seven Exalted Orders.

Published in 2012 by Sky Warrior Books, The Seven Exalted Orders focuses on a nation where magic is strictly controlled by the government. The Collegium of Magi deckares that mages have to join an Order and can only work that kind of magic. When a woman develops powers that don’t fit into any of those neat boxes, the Collegium sends some other mages to bring her back in line.

If you’re enjoying the Minstrels of Skaythe series, you’ll probably like The Seven Exalted Orders, too. It’s available in print and as an e-book through Amazon or Smashwords. Better yet, Sky Warrior tells me they hope to publish the sequel this spring.


Arkanost has Seven Exalted Orders. No more, no less. When a magus goes renegade in a far-off province, the Mage Lords demand that something be done. Ryamon is bitter and frustrated. He longs to be a Fire magus; as a Stone magus, he’s miserable. If he can bring the rogue back, he has a chance — his last chance — to fulfill his dream.

It’s a great plan until he actually meets Valdira.


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Winter Break

Yesterday was my last day of school before break. The students got on their buses at 2:20 pm and the principal came down the hall at 2:25 telling us we didn’t need to stay. All the teachers burst out of the building celebrating. In a dignified and respectful way, of course.

So I’ve turned off my morning alarms. I look forward to not taking my temperature every morning, and not having a mask on for 6 hours straight during the day.

I also look forward to completing the third draft revision on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I’m literally five pages from the end. I also have one background character that I think I gave two different names, so that needs to be straightened out. Details, details. Then, I have a short story to work on for the time capsule anthology I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The story isn’t due until May, but I’d like to take care of it so I can start working on my next Minstrels of Skaythe novella.

I hope you all get a break, too, in whatever form it comes to you.


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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.