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Two Achievements

As we come to the end of calendar year 2021, I’m contemplating what, if anything, I accomplished in that time. Besides dodging the pandemic and just basically surviving America’s incredible political turmoil, of course.

Of course, the two obvious achievements were that I published two more novellas in the Minstrels of Skaythe series. Those were The Renegade of Opshar, in June, and Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, just last month. Renegade was delayed from its planned release in May, but it still counts!

The other major thing was that I hosted the second annual Queen Titania’s Court. Twenty independent fantasy authors were featured over the month. Since I know we’re all starving for attention, I’m really glad I was able to do that.

I’d love to hear what all of you think were your best moments of 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Two Memorable Books

It’s that time of year, when Best-Of lists, awards, and other retrospectives are released into the world. This made me think about the books I’ve personally enjoyed during calendar year 2021. According to Goodreads, I’ve read 27 books (three short of my reading challenge) but of them all, two really stand out.

The first was The City We Became, by N. K. Jemisin, which technically was released in 2020. The initial release was in hardback, and I waited for the trade paperback. The book won a number of awards, which it deserved. I enjoyed how it played with stereotypes enough that I already wrote a whole blog post about it. You can revisit that here, if you wish.

The other was The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik. This is the second book in her series The Scholomance, which is being categorized as contemporary fantasy but really I think is the spiritual successor to Harry Potter. Just think if dear old Hogwarts was an evil entity intent on devouring the students? That’s the Scholomance. Then add in a supremely powerful and snarky POV character, trying to organize her hostile and traumatized fellow students, so that they don’t all fall victim to the Scholomance’s malign tendencies.

Novik is an author who continues to grow and gain mastery with time. She’s also won a number of awards, although not for The Last Graduate. Her early series struck me as fairly ordinary, but she’s really hit her stride with her YA books, Uprooted and Spun in Silver. That’s not to say The Last Graduate is without flaws. El is the sole POV character, and she has a tendency to stop in the middle of the action to explain about things — some of which I already knew. This is one of my own flaws, which is perhaps why it sticks out to me. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the book or thinking about it for days afterward.

So, those are my two most memorable books from 2021. How about you? I’d love to hear your one or two most memorable books from this 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Same Ol’ Same Ol’

Does this happen to you? Every few years, you look at books, movies or video games, and they all seem the same. Or you hear these rave reviews, but when you check it out, the work just seems… ordinary.

I guess it’s the nature of the marketplace. Publishers and producers identify something that’s been successful, and they replicate that until it’s completely run into the ground.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too demanding, with unreasonable expectations that new work might actually contain original thoughts and ideas.

This isn’t just a complaint for me. It’s something that’s spurred me on. Back in the 1990s, I had that feeling about fantasy books. Everything on the shelves seemed like something I’d read before. Maybe more than once.

What that did was challenge me. If I couldn’t find the stories I wanted on bookstore shelves, then it was up to me to write them. And I’ve done that. My first book was a fantasy/murder mystery, The Magister’s Mask. There wasn’t exactly a ready market for this. It didn’t fit into the neat categories that publishing is built on. I did get it into print, though, in 2004.

Even today, as I work on my Minstrels of Skaythe series, it continues the project of creating the stories I want to read, vs. what the publishing industry thinks I should want. I have a lot of questions for publishers and producers. What are these stories we present? When every problem is solved at the point of a sword or gun, do those stories make the world better, or in fact do they push us all toward increased violence?

Writing outside the box isn’t always commercially successful, and people may look at me like I’m crazy when I ask for more than what conventional work provides. That’s the reality. I accept it, but I’m still writing the stories I think this world needs.


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.

Blog Visit

Today I have a blog visit with David Lee Summers. I’m talking about the roots of my Minstrels of Skaythe series. David is a good friend who has edited my novels in the past, so I hope you’ll skip on over and check it 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 web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

What’s Happening? We’re all in that “how did it get to be December?” phase around here. But, we have a lovely light snow falling outside, just in time to get our holiday tree today. That should be fun.

What I’m Working On. Getting the ball rolling with the Minstrels of Skaythe finale, The Tale of the Drakanox. As per usual, I started it off in the middle of some action, and immediately discovered that I need to back up or the action won’t make sense. I’ll find my way in soon enough.

What’s Next? I’m working on a post for a blog visit right now. That’s something to look forward to. I also have a few end-of-year chores to work in, like adding up my expenses vs. income. Big thrill, right?

Fun and Games. I’m about 2/3 through with Dragon Age: Inquisition, looking to stretch it out until Christmas because there’s such a likelihood that I will get a new video game then. In addition, Animal Crossing has just updated with a batch of new content that I’m happily exploring.

I wish you all peaceful holidays — and time for some writing, 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

An Appeal

With my latest e-book out, this is where I appeal to all of you friends to show a little love for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower.

Have you read it? A review on Goodreads of Amazon would be great. Or, just tell your friends who also read high fantasy.

Do you have a blog? I would love a chance to visit and spread the word.

Are you interested but want to know more? I’m always happy to answer reader questions.

Help a lady 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 web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

The Chopped Ending

This is something I’ve been running into a couple of times lately when reading short stories. You get to the end and it just… chops off. Literally, at the bottom of a page, there is no story left. Turn the page, and the next story begins. It left me irritated and confused. Where’s the rest of it??

This happened three or four times in an anthology I’m currently reading. The first instance, I wondered if it was a glitch of some kind. Maybe they rushed through the proofing process and didn’t realize pages had been dropped.

But it kept happening, so that makes me wonder if it’s some sort of writing fad. To just chop the ending off and, I don’t know, make the reader puzzle out what might happen next? And then they’ll think you’re all edgy and stylish? If so, that doesn’t work for me.

Has anyone else noticed this?


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.

The Day Before

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, here in the USA. (Other countries celebrate on different days, to be sure.) So there’s a lot of bustle with travel plans for many of us, and cooking ahead of time for those who are hosting. I’m fortunate enough to have the day off, and even now, there’s an apple pie calling for me to make it.

I’m hearing the first few reviews for Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, and they make me happy. Okay, just hearing that someone I don’t personally know has read one of my e-books is enough to make me happy! But, having kind reviews is always a boost. They are inspiring me as I gain speed with The Way of the Drakanox, my next Minstrels of Skaythe novella.

Holidays can be intense and fraught, so I just send you my wishes for a pleasant day (whether or not it’s Thanksgiving Day for 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 siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

New Release!

The latest Minstrels of Skaythe novella!

At long last, Prisoners of the Wailing Tower is up for sale. Check it out! Want a different format? Try here.


Prisoners of the Wailing Tower

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 vicious killers. Worse, Warden Ar-Lizelle seems intent on tracking down his friends, the Minstrels, who have devoted their lives to undermining Skaythe’s tyrannical regime.

On the outside, the renegade mage Lorrah receives a premonition of Alemin’s plight. She’s desperate to save a man she cares for, but the Larder is commanded by someone she has hated for years and can’t bear to face: her cruel sister, Ar-Lizelle. 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!

Many thanks to anyone who would be inclined to share the news, post a review, and otherwise shine some light.


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.

Updated Site

In addition to getting Prisoners of the Wailing Tower ready for publication, I’ve given my web site a full revamp. It’s something I do every couple of years, just to keep my public persona fresh.

So if you’re interested, wander on by and take a look! It’s always a work in progress, which means there’s the possibility of broken links, missing images, and so on. If you do find such a thing, I’d love to hear about it so I can make repairs.

Thank for your help!


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.