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Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I made the leap and am writing madly toward the conclusion of The Tale of the Drakanox. As I’m pulling the threads together, there’s one thing I didn’t really consider before I got to this point. Will all of my characters survive the experience?

In previous posts, I’ve mulled over how authors decide whether characters should live or die. Sometimes a character is “bad” and needs to be “punished,” so they die in the end. Or they’re “good” and deserve to live by whatever contrived means. (Thinking of all those movies where it seems like a character is dead, but then they start breathing again.) Sometimes the author is looking for a juicy twist. Sometimes, they seem to feel that victory must have a cost. These can all be valid reasons, or they can be manipulations.

Or, both. As they say, two things can be true at the same time.

What I’m thinking about here are three main issues. First, as a pantser, I follow the most logical outcome of situations. If a character dying is most logical, then I should let it happen. Unless I need that character for later in the story. Then I will revise the situation so escape is more logical.

Second, I consider the reader’s reaction. Will they be disappointed if nobody dies? Grieving for fallen characters is a thing that some readers seem to enjoy. Other readers may be upset if the “bad guy” lives to tell the tale. Should I bump off a character to satisfy those readers?

Third and perhaps more important, I consider the underlying theme of the work. With the Minstrels of Skaythe series, it’s resisting a vicious regime through non-violence. If I end the series with a major bloodbath, that would undercut my own point and I’m certain it would disappoint readers who value my theme.

Before I go farther, I’ll probably make up one of my charts that lists all the possible outcomes. Just looking at them all laid out like that sometimes gives me a knee-jerk “yes/no” reaction that helps me. I might even roll dice for some of the choices.

Looks like I have some decisions to make!


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.

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Yes, I’m nearly there with The Tale of the Drakanox. I have just the big finale to complete the first draft. Huzzah!

What has me hesitating is the scale of this last part. A huge force of mages is converging on my dauntless renegades. How will they survive without giving up their pacifist beliefs? There’s so much to remember, drawing on the endings of previous novellas, the fates of all my characters, not leaving out anyone/anything… It’s a lot! And I know it will take me until the end of the year to finish up.

But… but… that’s only two weeks! And there’s holidays and stuff at the same time!

I know I can do this. I always hesitate in this part of the book. I’ll leave you with a famous line from Dragon Age II, where the witch Flemeth gives advice to the hero, Hawke. “We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment… and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.” (The voice of Flemeth is Kate Mulgrew, by the way, in an outstanding performance.)

Flemeth always knew what she was talking about, so I guess I’d better leap!


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.

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Lately I’ve been re-reading some of the paperbacks on my shelves, checking in on authors whose work inspired me in the past. The author I’m revisiting at the moment is Barbara Hambly.

Hambly was an important author of the ’80s and ’90s. I used to watch for her and buy any new books I saw. But around 2000, I guess there was a change in tax law that led to a lot of publishers slashing their lists. Hambly any many others were simply dropped and have faded from public attention. She does continue to write and appears to be self-publishing novelettes in many of her series.

The series I’m currently revisiting is Sun Wolf and Starhawk, but Hambly wrote several series and trilogies. Her work is fantasy of the darkest kind. Apocalyptic invasion, demonic possession, political machinations — not to mention a dose of feminist comment on the patriarchal assumptions of fantasy.

Every author is a product of their time, and stories resonates differently in new eras. I find that Hambly’s work holds up well, 40 years on. If you get the chance, you should seek her out.


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.

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At last, I have some publication news to share! I was able to reach the publisher at Wolfsinger, the small press that is taking up some of the contracts from my previous publisher, Sky Warrior. It looks like Seven Exalted Orders will be reprinted sometime in spring of 2023 and The Grimhold Wolf in fall of 2024. If all goes well with those two, there will be a sequel to Seven Exalted Orders the following spring.

In addition to that, we agreed that my middle grade fantasy, Masters of Air and Fire, is not a good fit for Wolfsinger. The full rights are back with me, and I’m planning to release a second edition of that when my schedule allows. Just another reason that I need to hurry up and finish the first draft of Tale of the Drakanox, so there’s room for other things in my schedule.

A lot could happen in that “if all goes well” frame, but that’s the plan right now.


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.

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