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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my title conundrum. I really do like The Renegade of Weeping Falls. However, the next novella is called already Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. Having Weeping Falls and Wailing Tower right beside each other is bugging me. I guess I could find a different title for Wailing Tower, but that title has been set for over a year. Changing it would also bug me. So I am going with The Renegade of Opshar.

That second draft is complete now, and off to the beta readers. If they don’t raise major issues, I may just make the cutoff for publication by June 1st! Spring releases are dicey, I know, but it would be perfect to feature Renegade as part of Queen Titania’s Court in June. Besides which, I never seem to get big numbers, so what’s the difference?

If I choose that, I’ll need to get busy with sales copy, finding the right cover, and other setups. Which is actually the more fun part of the process.

Speaking of Queen Titania’s Court, I’m starting to put my schedule together for that. There’s still room for more friends, though! Go ahead and e-mail me if you’re interested, cat09tales -at- hotmail -dot- com.


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.

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My revisions are going well (cross your fingers) and I’m within shouting distance of a completed second draft. A couple of lesser character names are still nagging at me, but I’ll get them fixed, never fear.

One major decision left is the updated title. I’m playing with a couple of possibilities. All of the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas have had longer titles: The Tower in the Mist, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. So I’m looking for something that will match that same rhythm and sense of place.

Some of the possibilities are:

A) The Renegade of Opshar. Opshar being the small village Berisan lives near.

B) The Renegade of Weeping Falls. Weeping Falls being a landmark near Yamaya’s farm.

C) The Renegade of Dolarus Falls. This is an alternate name for the said landmark.

This is where I ask you, my expert audience, which option you think works best. Let me know in the comments!


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.

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Submissions are now open for my summer book event, Queen Titania’s Court!

Coming up in June, this humble blog will host Queen Titania’s Court, a celebration of fantasy books. 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.

This invitation is for any and all fantasy writers, especially independent authors. Each day in the month of June, I’ll feature one author’s book. Pick ONE character from ONE of your books to attend the Midsummer Ball.

This is the second year I’m hosting this event. It was really fun to do, and hopefully helped some fellow authors draw attention to their work. There was room for more guests, so here’s where I appeal for your help. If you are a fantasy author, you are welcome to participate. Or if you know some fantasy authors, I hope you’ll suggest it to them.

***IMPORTANT! You have to e-mail me in order to take part. You can’t just comment on a blog post! ***

Check out this page if you want all the details. My e-mail is there, too. To see some of last year’s gala, start here.


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.

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I’m still doing a bit of work on the very end of The Renegade Count, just making sure everything fits together the way it should. While I do that, I’m also starting the first step of my revisions, which is to name or re-name a few people and places.

Names are a detail that I pay a lot of attention to. The sound of them, and how they fit together, is an important part of my world building. I want them all to sound like they come from the same place and time. Although I try to come up with a list of good names before I start the first draft, and pick from that list when I encounter a new character, there are always a few I get stuck on.

For this novella, I’m re-naming a couple of characters whose names are too similar and might cause confusion for readers. There are also a few, very minor, characters who I didn’t anticipate needing names. No big deal, I’ll just play with sound combinations until I get them how I want them.

The major problem that I have it with the title. The Renegade Count was supposed to be about Berisan accidentally being appointed “count” of an obscure village. Since the people are expecting military-style magic to defend them, and Berisan is a pacifist, I thought that would be an interesting conflict. As it worked out, though, Yamaya’s character arc took up a lot more of the story. The village didn’t draft Berisan as their protector in the way I had anticipated.

This leaves me the choice of completely re-writing the plot to force my original intention on it — you writers out there know this hardly ever produces a better story — or coming up with a new title. Guess which one I’m choosing?

So the work goes on… or begins, depending on where you count from!


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.

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So close to finishing up with The Renegade Count! That octopus of a plot is pinned to the matt except for the end of one tentacle is still twitching.

Basically, the last chapter is a big ol’ mess. It’s really disorganized, but in a way I can handle. There were a couple of great observations made by Berisan and Yamaya. They’re so great, I think I used them more than once. So I need to go back over those chapters, decide where the great lines should go, and generally shape the conclusion to my liking. With any luck, I’ll finish that this afternoon.

Saturdays are my day off from writing, and I have a fun thing going on where some friends are running an online role-playing game. I’m going to moderate a chat for them. But, on Sunday I should be able to start the next draft. It had been my intention to finish The Renegade Count several weeks ago, so that I can publish it in mid-May. That’s not a lot of time, which is one reason I’ve been anxious about finishing this draft.

However, the pauses to think and attention to detail usually mean that my revisions go quickly. So a May publications date looks chancy, but it’s not beyond possibility. If I have to push it into June, so be it. I can feature that book during Queen Titania’s Court.

Onward!


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.

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Coming to the end of The Renegade Count has turned out to be sort of like wrestling with an octopus. There are so many arms, and they’re kind of slippery! I have good stuff written, but I’m struggling to get it in the proper order.

As I start the chapter, the two viewpoint characters each have a big question left to solve. The thing is, Yamaya just solved Berisan’s problem for him. And her solution makes so much more sense!

I think that I’ve mentioned Berisan stepped in to help some villagers being menaced by bandits. Then the village headman drafted Berisan to protect the village if the bandits come back. Berisan isn’t a fighting mage, but the Headman won’t listen to his protesting.

Returning to the village a few days later, Berisan intended to negotiate some other arrangement with the Headman. Yamaya just marched in with knives on her belt and said, “Leave my employee alone.” End of problem.

I love this approach and how it avoids so many unnecessary words. It’s just that it leaves Berisan without much to do for the rest of the story. If I could, I would have him turn around and solve Yamaya’s problem for her. Fair is fair, and again would be a surprising twist. But it doesn’t quite work.

Yamaya’s remaining problem is that she’s being courted by a sort of arrogant guy who might actually mean well. Since Berisan is not in a relationship with Yamaya, it would be really awkward for him to tell Kinson, “Leave my boss alone.” Yamaya needs to make her own romantic decisions, and besides, she can’t do all the lifting at the end.

I know I’ll figure it out. It’s just really confusing right now. Sort of like wrestling with an octopus!


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.

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Endings can be tricky for writers. Not just The End, the conclusion of the story, but the many small endings that come between chapters and sections within chapters. These are a couple of different ways I like to handle these.

End with a hook. This ending makes it clear something else is going to happen immediately, and it makes the reader anxious to continue reading. For instance, “The squirrel went sprinting away from the dog.”

End with a point of tension. Rather than physical plot actions, this implies the character has or will experience emotional growth. “The door slammed and Jeff wondered if he had driven Jan away forever.”

End with a point of resolve. The opposite of a tension point, a point of resolve is where a character commits themself to a goal. “Princess Leonfalla would save her people, no matter what it took.”

End with a temporary pause. It’s clear there is more to the story, but things have reached equilibrium at least for the moment. “Everything will be fine, as long as nobody walks past the wishing well at daybreak.”

End with a point of rest. Similar to the above, this allows the reader a break to do other things. Eating, showering, going to work… “She wasn‛t a bandit! Not any more, and never again.”

For those of you who are fellow writers, what kind of chapter endings do you like to use?


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.

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I’ve been dithering a bit with The Renegade Count this week. Mostly I think it’s because my pacifist main character is about to find out he seriously hurt someone. Maybe even killed them.

As we all know, life is never totally under our control, even in stories. I like to to express that by not completely planning some things. I’ll roll dice for some outcomes. So the situation is that Berisan reflexively pushed away at some people who were attacking him with swords. They were standing on a slope of loose stones, and it started a rockslide.

What I have to decide is how badly the two attackers were hurt in the rockslide. A couple of dice rolls showed me that one attacker had 30% damage to his left arm. That’s pretty easy to describe as having a broken bone. The other one had 50% damage to his chest. This one is puzzling me a bit to interpret. Fifty percent damage sounds serious. Like multiple broken ribs, maybe? Or internal injuries? With no medical care to speak of, he might still die.

Neither attacker was killed outright, but they won’t be coming after Berisan again, either. Still, I want him to have that realization that he isn’t some emblem of perfection. His philosophy of non-violence can’t insulate him from all circumstances. Even if Berisan was defending himself, he hurt these men. It’s going to be a painful realization.

We all know writers who chuckle gleefully when they think of some torment to put their characters through, but I’m not one of them. Inhabiting this part of Berisan’s journey is going to be stressful for me, too. That’s why I often dither and delay starting those scenes.

Oh well, 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 web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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It’s rare that my blog gets as much of a response as my post last Saturday, “This Never Happened.” I enjoyed the discourse very much. To thank you, especially my new followers, I’d like to reward you by sharing a Time Travel short story.

It’s not one of mine, though. Sorry.

“For the War Effort,” by Rachel Rodman. was published just this last January in my favorite online magazine, Daily Science Fiction. As the name implies, they present one short story every weekday. Mine come by e-mail, but there are other ways to subscribe. Their fee is ridiculously low, too.

Anyway, I hope you’ll take a look at Rodman’s somewhat horrific tale of a war in time.


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.

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This is a pet peeve of mine. When an author or screenwriter takes their characters through an ordeal of suffering, loss and growth… but then at the end they erase it all. Everything is sunny. None of that Bad Stuff ever happened.

There are a couple of common mechanisms authors fall back on. Probably the most notorious is the Dream Sequence, where someone goes through all sorts of Bad Stuff but then they wake up and it was just a nightmare. For me, the only way it could be right is if one of the characters then sees something that could be a hint of what is to come. The Dream Sequence becomes a premonition, and they can try and take steps to prevent the Bad Stuff.

Speaking of premonitions, that brings us to the other significant means to erase story events, which is Time Travel. Characters in genre movies, especially, are constantly traveling through time to “fix” some sort of Bad Stuff. But there’s no end to the paradoxes with Time Travel. Villains can be killed (not a heroic thing) before they do Bad Stuff, so then why would the future characters Time Travel? They can start relationships that they have to abandon (not a heroic thing) or try to stay with someone they had lost, which means abandoning everyone they know with the Bad Stuff still going on. It’s just a mess.

Wishing/Miracles is another common way to erase Bad Stuff and revert to the status quo. This is more a fantasy thing, obviously. Somewhere along the way, the characters encounter some form of magic that grants wishes, or a deity that can literally wave their hand and make it all go away. Maybe it seems that everything is restored without the Bad Stuff, but tampering with reality itself? Never a good idea.

I suppose that for the writers, it feels like having your cake and eating it, too. Tell the dramatic story, bring your characters into dire peril with the Bad Stuff, but then wave a magic wand and fix everything. But really, it’s an insult to the readers/viewers who were invested in the story and then had it snatched away.

Don’t do this. Just don’t.


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.

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