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A snippet from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.

One fun snippet was not enough, so here’s another little taste from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.

What do 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 web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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A snippet from Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

Today I’m just sharing a snippet from my forthcoming novella, Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. It’s the fifth in my Minstrels of Skaythe series.

Hope you like 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve started work on the next Minstrels of Skaythe novella, which is tentatively called The Fall of Dar-Gothull. Honestly, I’m not sure about that title. It might give away too much. “Gosh, what do you think will happen by the end?”

Anyway, there isn’t much to report as yet. It’s mostly exploratory work right now.

The whole premise of Minstrels of Skaythe is that this group of renegades (so called because they reject the cruelty of Dar-Gothull’s oppressive regine) had to split up and each one used their own strategy to find safety as they could. To get going on the finale, I have to figure out where these characters were at the end of their novellas, who their allies were, and then basically claw back what they thought they had achieved.

Fun!

The other thing I need to get a handle on is who the viewpoint characters should be. After five novellas, there are a LOT of characters. It would be great if all of them could return, and we see what they’ve been up to in the several months since their last part of the story. Repeat appearances are one of the great things about a series.

At the same time, I don’t want to repeat exactly the same POVs. Those who told the story before have had their arcs and their growth. The readers already know them (I hope?). With this volume, the telling needs to continue through new eyes. These characters may previously have appeared, but they have their own growing to do.

For this while, maybe until the end of 2021, I’m going to be hopping around and exploring all the avenues. I’ll probably also do a total re-read, as well, to avoid inadvertently skipping important details. Ultimately, I’ll keep what I can use, store the rest (I never dump work if I might need it later) and start my somewhat vague process of plotting and writing the actual next novella.

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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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It’s my day on Bad Moon Rising, where I’m talking about my second Minstrels of Skaythe novella, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts. I hope you’ll wander by and check us out. Here’s the link!


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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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As previously mentioned, I’ve been working on the cover copy for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I thought I would share what I’ve come up with.

Alemin only wanted to help an innocent. Instead, he was caught by the dreaded hunter-guards. Now he finds himself flung into the Larder, where the very walls are steeped in nightmares and his fellow inmates are dangerous killer. Worse, the warden has far too many questions about Alemin’s friends, the Minstrels, and their subversive lifestyle.

On the outside, the renegade mage Lorrah receives a vision of her friend’s capture. She’s desperate to save Alemin, but the Larder is a prison for the most vicious criminal mages in all of Skaythe. They say if you aren’t mad when you get there, you soon will be.

Luckily, Lorrah is not alone. She has help from the fierce women warriors of Badger Squad. Yet even their combined forces might not be enough to get Alemin free from Dar-Gothull’s Larder!

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear about any strengths or weaknesses you spot.


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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I was just pondering what to write about today, when a terrific story came through my e-mail. Daily Science Fiction is the publication. Every weekday, they e-mail a genre short story. It’s really easy to subscribe, and the donation they ask for is ridiculously small.

Someday, I hope to get a story in with them, but not yet.

Anyhow, I loved the way the author used dialog to reveal the plot retroactively, and how funny and smart his characters are. That said, if you aren’t comfortable with teen romances and some gayness, you might want to give this one a pass.

The story is “The After Party,” by Max Christopher. Check it out 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Now that I’ve finished my polishing draft on Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, it’s time for someone other than me to take a look at the manuscript. I have one friend that I’m hoping will do a proofing run. While I wait for that, I get to start on the fun parts of self-publishing.

For a couple of weeks, I’ve been peeking in at Shutterstock for potential covers. I plan to stay with the same artist I’ve already used for the series. Having a consistent look to the covers is important. After saving everything of his that I thought might work, I’ve been slowly deleting pieces. On Sunday I had it down to four, and last night I made the final pick. The piece was large enough for a full cover spread, but I know I can crop it to fit an e-book cover. Later, if I decide to do a print book of the second set of novellas, I’ll have an image ready to go.

The next step will be to create the title itself. With that, I’ll be able to start assembling the cover on Canva. I’ll also do a couple of different sized ads that I can put on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This is one of the fun and creative parts for me, and I’m looking forward to it. The text won’t be ready for several weeks more, but that’s all right. Starting advance promotions ahead of time is all to the better.

Another exciting thing is that Teri Polen has started her book feature, Bad Moon Rising. My day is October 10th, and I’ll be featuring Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, second in my Minstrels of Skaythe series.

The slightly sad thing is that Fall Folk Fest, where I’ve been reading my stories for the past few years, has announced the cancellation of their live performances and craft fair. Like SpoCon, this is disappointing but not surprising. I do have the option of putting together a video of myself reading for their virtual concert, but I’m not sure if I really have time or the skills for it.

Anyway, that’s what I’ll be up to for the rest of the week.


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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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A long time ago, in the mid-90s, I was seriously getting ready to start my first novel (The Magister’s Mask, 2004), but I was a little bit stuck on what it should be about. It wasn’t so much that there was a specific story burning a hole in my brain. More like, every book I was seeing on the shelves sounded exactly like something I had already read.

By that point, I had already been reading fantasy voraciously for around 25 years. Maybe I’m slow on the uptake if it took me that long to notice how market forces encouraged writers to produce work that was similar to what had already been successful. Anyhow, in my youthful arrogance, I decided that if other writers were going to write the same old thing, I should be the one to write something different.

As part of my planning and exploration, I literally made a list of things that I was not going to write about. I was already seeing those too often, and remember, my goal was to distinguish myself by writing something nobody else was writing.

Among the things on my “no-write list:” vampires, werewolves, elves/fairies, quests against Ancient Evil, lost princes, chosen ones. Not that I’m knocking any of these ideas. If people still like them, more power to you. However, I wasn’t going to go there. Although eventually I did write a quest novel (Too Many Princes, 2007) and a werewolf novel (The Grimhold Wolf, 2015), I mostly stuck to my list.

I have lost that original list, but every so often, I look at the bookshelves and do an update. Now aren’t you curious what’s on it? (Or maybe you think you can guess.) Well, lucky you — next time, I’ll tell you what’s on my current No-Write List.


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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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This will be a short post, because there just isn’t much going on around here. Besides, after the last couple of posts, I figure you all deserve a break.

I’m working on those final revisions for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. I hadn’t realized I started sentences with conjunctions (and, but, or) as much as I do. Also, it’s funny, but every story seems to have one certain word that keeps cropping up. This time it’s “rickety.” It’s a fun word, to be sure, but not everything in Skaythe can be rickety. I have to find interesting new phrases for those conjunctions and all my rickety objects.

In other words, writing as usual!


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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Today I’m following up on my previous post about the contrast of characters who are Innocent or Not Innocent. For most writers, I think we understand that stereotypes do not result in very good writing. No one likes them. In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of writers want to conceal the nature of stereotypes by calling them something else. “Tropes,” for instance.

You say to-ma-to, I say to-mah-to.

However, a clever writer can have fun with stereotypes, flipping them and such. I’ve done that myself, and I find it a really effective way to get readers to question some assumptions they might not even have known they had.

One book I read recently does a really good job with this. That’s The City We Became, by N. K. Jemisin. Jemisin is a multi-award-winning author, and that’s for good reason. She uses stereotypes liberally throughout the book. In fact, every one of her principal characters is a stereotype. Before you complain about spoilers, I just want to point out that the cover copy on the book says this exact thing.

I’m speaking here of the stereotype as a character which embodies and personifies a set of ideas and actions that are closely associated. In this book, the main characters embody and personify the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island, with Jersey City playing a strong supporting role. Jemisin explores what it means to exist as a stereotype while also being an individual.

She brings in a whole lot of other stuff, too. There are queers, racism, sexual harassment, artistic fraud. There’s a strong vein of homage to a certain vintage horror author. There are a whole bunch of observations that might have made more sense if I had ever lived in New York City. The thing is, none of it felt forced or packed in for the sake of woke-ness. The book is big because New York is big.

I especially enjoyed this book because it expands the definition of what Urban Fantasy can be. Not that there’s anything wrong with vampires, werewolves, love triangles, et all. Those concepts were very successful, but they’ve all been done. Many times. The genre was overdue for a shake-up.

As writers, if we want to avoid using stereotypes, one thing we can do is to be aware of what’s current for our genre. You recognize stereotypes once you start seeing them repeated. For that reason alone, I urge you to read The City We Became. Personally, I can’t wait for the next 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 web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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