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The Ice Witch

Despite the ongoing circumstances, I have begun the revision process for The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. My first step has been to re-work the opening. What I had was good, but it was a slow burner. Every other novella in this series has opened more dramatically. I feel like the structure needs to match, if that makes sense, so I’ve been working through that.

What I’ve come up with emphasizes Meven’s longing to be free from her cruel and oppressive society. That’s why she decides to go live in a swamp. Previously, it was more about her fear of a childhood bully. As I continue on, I’ll need to keep that theme consistent.

The other important change is that, once again, I’ve changed the name of her foundling apprentice. Honestly, I don’t usually have this much trouble with naming characters! But his name is Ozlin now. Since I hope to publish in less than a month, I think I’ll have to stick with that.

Like many of us, I’m also struggling with an overriding sense of futility. In these scary times, who even cares that I’m working on this series? At the same time, I’ve never had a very big audience. So how will this be any different?

I am a writer. I self-publish my writing. I do hope to find an audience, but more than that, I must preserve my identity. Ten years ago, my family went through some really difficult times with my son’s behavior. I didn’t stop writing then, and I won’t stop now.

This virus cannot take my art from me.


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.

I hope you’re all keeping well in this weird and wonderful time we find ourselves in the midst of. Today will just be my usual quick overview of what I’ve been up to.

“Stay home, stay safe” is what Governor Inslee says. It’s been a difficult adjustment, to say the least. Like a lot of writers, when I was first sent home, I said, “now I’ll get so much writing done!” My internal clock has not been re-set that easily. It still insists that writing time is only after dinner. I guess I’m not as flexible as I thought.

Queen Titania’s Court is my main effort at the moment. I trust you all saw the announcement last Wednesday. This is not just a ploy to draw eyes to my blog, I promise! It’s a way to repay many of you who have been friends and supporters. If any of your books can arguably be called fantasy, I hope you’ll sign up. And please tell your friends!

Prisoners of the Wailing Tower is now paused at 20,700 words. I’ve woven together my two POV characters and all their driving problems. Now I have to let the story ferment a bit. Doing this will allow me to focus on Queen Titania’s Court and on my next Minstrels of Skaythe novella, The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. That should be coming out in May.

Currently I’m playing two video games, Animal Crossing and Dragon Age Origins. That first one is brand new, although I’ve spent a lot of time with previous installments of the series. I sat through the drop with both my kids and currently share an island with my son. That means we have to take turns. When he’s using the Switch, I turn to Origins on the Xbox. Both of these games are old favorites, sort of like a pair of mangy but comfortable shoes that carry me through all that’s going on.

Anyway, I hope all of you are following Governor Inslee’s advice. Stay home and stay safe!


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.

Coming up in June, this humble blog will host Queen Titania’s Court, a celebration of fantasy books. The setup is that Titania, Queen of all Faeries, summons magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world to join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

I won’t compare myself to the Queen of all Faeries, but I do extend this invitation to any and all fantasy writers, especially to independent authors. Pick ONE character from ONE of your books. Each day in the month of June, I’ll feature one author’s book. We’ll all have fun sharing our stories.

Credit where credit is due — this event is inspired by the great indy horror writer, Teri Polen, whose Bad Moon Rising book event runs through the month of October. I sincerely thank Teri for her generosity and support when I asked if I could emulate her event.


This is where I try to anticipate your questions.

First, who can participate? If you write fantasy, YOU can join in! Children’s fantasy, urban fantasy, high, low, traditional, contemporary, dark, light, grand or grim — if you can make a case that your book is fantasy, you are welcome to take part. (You do have to have a book in print, however, or else what will I be helping you to publicize?)

Next, how does this actually work? You just e-mail me (CAT09tales -at- hotmail.com) and tell me you want to take part. Don’t contact me by replying to this post. You have to e-mail me! I have the routing all set up and everything.

I’ll send you questions, some for your character and some for you. You pick a couple of them to answer, and we’ll work together to script your character’s grand entrance to the ball. I’ll also need your book’s cover image, description, biography, author photo, purchase links, and so on. (If you don’t provide these things, then, again, how am I helping you publicize your book?)

Once I get a look at what’s being submitted, I’ll put together a schedule that keeps things interesting. I’ll let you know when your big day is scheduled, so you can tell all your friends.

Speaking of friends — My hope is to feature a different book every day in June, so please feel free to share this invitation with the other fantasy authors you know. There are 30 opportunities in all. I’ll post a new announcement here when the 30 spaces have been claimed.

If you want to sign up, or you have other questions, please do e-mail me, CAT09tales -at- hotmail.com. Again, you have to e-mail me. Don’t contact me by replying to this post. Her Majesty is eagerly awaiting your response.

So that’s it! Queen Titania’s Court is coming, and it will be even more fabulous if YOU attend the Midsummer Night Ball.


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.

Something New

Well, are you ready for something more fun than worrying about a virus? Or trying to figure out how to connect to remote meetings and webinars? I sure am!

Luckily, I have a big event to share. Starting next Wednesday, April 1st, I’m opening the eldritch gates for Queen Titania’s Court! Titania, as you may know, is one of the traditional names for the Queen of all Faeries. Her Majesty desires that magical people and beasts from every corner of the fantastic world should join her for a grand ball on Midsummer Night.

For all you fantasy authors, that means you’re invited, too. Choose ONE character from ONE of your books. This character will appear before Queen Titania sometime during the month of June, 2020. This gives you a chance to talk about your book in a fun way, and maybe learn about some other stories you’d like to read. If you know of any fantasy writers who are looking for a bit of publicity — which will be all of us — please pass the word around. More participation = more fun!

I’ll be sharing all the details next Wednesday, April 1st. See you then!


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.

Observations

A few blogs back, I mentioned how many writers will be observing the human interaction as the coronavirus situation unfolds. So here are a couple of my observations.

1. Wow, the hoarding! That started much faster than I expected. I guess some people deal with the unexpected by grabbing a bunch of something (eggs?) and hugging it to their chest like Daffy Duck. “It’s mine! All mine!”

2. So much venting! I literally see messages from people that are, “if you don’t hear from me in two days, come look for my body!” That person has severe anxiety and depression, and I was really worried about them until the next note said, “Sorry about that, I’m better now.” Others keep up a constant stream of “this will be bad, so bad,” followed by “look, this is bad!”

What can you say? Most often, I let it go by. They’re reacting according to their nature. Sometimes I tell them to calm down. One person on Twitter keeps telling me I’m not an “expert.”

So what? How much of an expert do you need to be, to reach out to people who seem like they’re in distress?

3. People get really judgmental, really fast. It’s been disheartening to see the venom unleashed upon random strangers when some image gets shown around of people going to the beach, or a bar, or buying more bread than someone else thinks they deserve.

Friends, we don’t know those people. We don’t know if they intended to be greedy, or defiant, or anything else. (Except for the guy who bought up all the hand sanitizer in his city. What a creep!) Maybe the kids in the bar were supporting a friend who works there. Maybe the person with the bread has that many people to feed at home.

We don’t know why they’re making the choices they do. In fact, it’s none of our business. Yet the human drive to meddle rages on.

What about you? Are there any surprising reactions that you’ve observed?


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.

As with many of you, the adjustment to our at-least-temporary, new normal continues. I’m slowly getting my schedule worked around from the typical rush — morning rush to work, afternoon rush home and get a few chores done, evening rush to get some writing and/or marketing done — to a more leisurely pace. I do this every year, at the transition from school to summer break, but the unexpected nature of it still boggles.

There are many financial concerns, of course. Of the four adults in our family, only my husband is still working. My daughter works retail and my son works in a restaurant, and both of those are now shuttered. Even my husband’s work has started “casually” inquiring about his resources to work from home. The big question is how long this goes on. Should the three of us look for work, or wait/hope for our employers to re-open?

For the moment, we’re okay. My kids got the new Animal Crossing game before the pandemic closed in, and we’re enjoying that together. (Although there’s only one TV, so we have to take turns.) I’m able to get started on my garden much earlier than I normally would. Pruning the cherry tree and rose bushes, plus some spring cleaning, will keep me from becoming too sedentary.

And I’m making progress on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. Alemin, my juggling jokester, has informed me that he’s carried the plot far enough. It’s time for the second POV, Lorah, to tell me who she is and what she wants. Lorah has been obliging, and I’ve started to braid her tale in with Alemin’s.

So it’s all going… somewhere. I’m not sure where, either in the story or real life. Hope you’re all able to make the necessary adjustments. too.


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.

You’ve all seen them — posts and tweets from authors declaring, “buy my book because you’re stuck at home!” I’ve also seen authors offering online workshops and boot camps, some free and some for a fee, as a special pandemic opportunity.

I must admit I have mixed feelings about this strategy. I know we’re supposed to always be pushing our books. As independent authors, we don’t have publishers to help with that. At the same time, it seems… I don’t know, a bit scammy?

“You’re out of work. You don’t know how you’ll pay the bills and you can’t find toilet paper anywhere. BUT BUY MY BOOK BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!”

What do you think? Should authors go after the pandemic market?


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.