Posts Tagged ‘fantasy author’

Title: Queen Titania's Court
A magical book event.

There was a crystal pool, still as the dawn, and beside it a magnificent willow tree screened the water. Some breeze, or perhaps an unseen hand, swept aside the trailing branches and revealed a glimmering track between arched boughs.


Mayhap it was a desolate moor. A rugged path led you to a hilltop crowned with ancient stones. Standing tall, they drank in the moonlight. But in the spaces between you glimpsed a glittering cavalcade of fairy knights and ladies.

Stubborn mortal.

Was it, then, a rusty door, barely visible in the shadows of a fetid alleyway? Did the piercing rays reflected from the apex of an obelisk serve as your beacon? Perhaps you crept through a cavern dire, lured by distant music?

No matter, no matter.

Surely some vision has drawn you here, and now you cannot stray. For you have been summoned out of your mortal life. What wonders shall you see, at Queen Titania’s Court!

All during the month of June, I’m casting a spotlight on another fantasy author. They’ll share a bit about their books and answer a few entertaining questions. I hope you’ll all help us out by sharing the news and inviting your friends to my blog.

Here is the schedule for the month.

  • 6/3/20: War of Nytefall, by Charles E. Yallowitz
  • 6/6/20: Shrouded Sky, by Sanan Kolva
  • 6/10/20: Toxic Influence, by Voss Foster
  • 6/13/20: Traveler Hunted, by Adrienne Dellwo
  • 6/17/20: Honey and Salt, by David Perlmutter
  • 6/20/20: “Orange Sun, Grey Sky, by Alden Loveshade, from the anthology Exchange Students, edited by Sheila Hartney
  • 6/24/20: Dragon’s Fall, Rise of the Scarlet Order, by David Lee Summers
  • 6/27/20: The grand ball and finale

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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Today I’m sharing a snippet from one of my blogging friends, Jason H. Abbott.

Although it may seem related only to current events around climate denial, in fact, I think it applies equally to our publishing industry. In 500 years, will we think of Traditional Publishing as a “lost civilization” that failed to adapt?

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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At the start of my thread on journeys, I mentioned my publisher has had a manuscript for several years without letting me know a publication date. Actually, she hasn’t even let me know she’s accepted the manuscript. I’m sure you all know the feeling. Waiting for news, wondering if the story is so bad they don’t even want it.

It could be a woman thing. We’re told so often to just sit and be quiet and wait. Even though I tell myself I’m bold, still, I’ve been waiting two years for a publisher to notice me. Really, I think it’s an author thing. The publishers have all the power, and if we get push, they’ll just cancel the deal.

But recently, the same publisher, who is also an author, announced publication of a new series with a different imprint. This finally spurred me to ask her if the original imprint is now defunct, and if I needed to get my manuscript back.

For once, she answered immediately. No, the publisher is not defunct. And the day after that, the last editor I worked with let me know the publisher had contacted him about editing the new book, since he edited The Seven Exalted Orders.

So maybe, finally, I might be able to tell you that Trials of the Eighth Order is coming out soon. I am definitely glad that I spoke up.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Something I’ve noticed recently is how often the stories I write involve someone going on a journey. In Too Many Princes, the title characters went on a quest. In The Seven Exalted Orders, two of the characters were running away from the others. In the sequel, The Eighth Order, which the publisher has been sitting on forever, they also chase someone across the countryside. In The Grimhold Wolf, a character was abducted and the other ones went to rescue him. In Masters of Air & Fire, the characters’ home was destroyed and they had to search for another one. In The Weight of Their Souls, the characters were traveling home after a war. In The Tower in the Mist, soldiers are taking their prisoner to a special prison — on the other side of a haunted forest. In The Grove of Ghosts, the MC is traveling to break a curse.

Only in The Magister’s Mask, The Necromancer’s Bones, and The Gellboar did everyone basically stay at home and do stuff there. That’s three out of eleven tales involving some sort of travel.

I must confess, I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself with the journeys. My current WIP, Fang Marsh, starts with the main character on a journey. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m going to have her arrive at a destination and stay there. This will make some other parts of the plot easier. For one thing, the villain and her henchmen will be able to find her!

What do you guys think — am I worrying too much about this?

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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As mentioned, my husband and I went to Sandemonium last weekend. How did it go? First, you need to know that Sandemonium is very small. Maybe 100 people were there. We were surprised by how young the demographic was. For mostly high-schoolers, their cosplay was amazing. Several fur suits were walking around, which is a feat on its own considering it was 88 degrees out. Props to those cosplayers for their dedication!

We sat at a fan table and raised awareness for SpoCon by giving away old paperbacks. That was fabulous. While between guests, we taught another friend to play a game called Tsuro. I didn’t win any of the matches. Oh well.

For my panel, though? Nobody came. The organizers were apologetic, but I think I chose the wrong topic for that event. Mostly white kids in a mostly white town are not worried about harmful stereotypes. They just don’t feel it. Other panels were well attended. I think if I’d done one about magic systems or something for beginning writers, I would have drawn a crowd.

Next weekend is the MosCon Revival. I am scheduled for one panel and may jump in on others if I see an opening. You might wonder why I’m doing so many conventions in a row? Partly, it just worked out that way. Partly, I’m fulfilling one of my resolutions. The resolution was to make more appearances in support of my books. Usually I do two or three, so I doubled my goal to six appearances in 2019. With these two, I’m on track to make that goal.

Did I actually sell books at Sandemonium? No, but I got a lot of interested looks and gave people my book marks. Maybe some of them will follow up.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Yes, I won a tiny contest on Aethereal Engines, the blog of author Jason H. Abbott. It’s one of those things where the blogger posts an image, and entrants post a 100-word snippet in response. Eventually there’s a prize based on how many “likes” each winner receives. However, I’m not going to beg you all to “like” it. I’m just happy that I won. Here’s my text:

A lone soldier, walking on patrol, confronted the monstrous guardian across a stretch of no-man’s-land. To be sure, it was impossible to miss the hulking form with a furnace blazing behind its one eye.

Who had created this monstrous, ancient guardian? What was it protecting, as it made its endless round? Nobody now living remembered. They only knew it was death to cross the barrier ridge.

Fortunately, he had no need to cross. Like the guardian, he kept to his assigned watch. On impulse, he raised his weapon in salute to a fellow watchman bound by duty.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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As I’ve been mentioning, Sandemonium is coming up this weekend. This is my first time there, but they’ve been going on for at least seven years. I’m excited to know what it will be like.

My presentation is at noon, and it’s on “Ugly Tropes.” This is a topic I’ve blogged about (relatively) recently, and I just plan to cover that in a more interactive way. It’s also an opportunity for me and my husband to sit at a fan table for our own convention, SpoCon, which is coming up in August.

Finally, Daron’s mother lives in Sandpoint, so I imagine we’ll work some family time in, too. I expect that we’ll have fun no matter what.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Today I’m talking about one of my favorite online magazines, Daily Science Fiction. As the name implies, they publish one story every day, five days a week. Their stories span the spectrum of the genre — science fiction, fantasy, horror, and odd things in between. The link above is to Friday’s story, a mother’s bittersweet take on Portal Fantasies. But every day is different, you never know what it will be, and for me that’s part of the pleasure.

Subscribing to Daily Science Fiction is free, and I’ve been getting their stories for three or four years now. Yet, despite being free to the reader, Daily Science Fiction is a paying market. They pay the SFWA standard. In fact, it’s one of my dream markets. Any time I write something that might fit their length, I submit to them first. So far, they haven’t taken anything of mine, but hope springs eternal. They say you should read the publications you want to sell to, after all.

You might see a small conflict here. The site pays writers, but readers don’t have to pay. Recently, they have begun asking for memberships. At $15 a year, it’s really cheap. So I’m urging you to check out Daily Science Fiction. Come for the free stories. Maybe you’ll stay for the membership, after all.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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My first review has come in on The Tower in the Mist, and it’s a lovely one. Alden Loveshade delivers perceptive comments on his Loveshade Family Blog. Thank you so much, Alden!

I also have a minor puzzle. One of my goals for the year has been to revitalize my author newsletter and get more activity going there. They say these can be a great way to connect with fans and perhaps get them to use those purchase links in the e-mails.

So far this year, I have improved my record of putting the newsletter out on time each month. I’ve tried to have entertaining things to say. Although one person does interact consistently, which is more than I had before, I have unfortunately seen more people drop off the list each time I send one.

Maybe it’s natural, and those who were accustomed to the previous moribund newsletter find monthly contact a bit too much. It’s a little disheartening, all the same.

What’s an author to do? Keep on trying until I weed out the disinterested subscribers, I suppose. And keeping peeking back at Alden’s review to cheer myself up!

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Amid all the excitement of publishing The Tower in the Mist, I also managed a third draft revision of its sequel, which I’m now calling The Grove of Ghosts. It started out being 36,850 words and ended being 36,760. Having only a 90-odd word difference convinces me that the story is really solid at its length.

The whole exercise made me think a bit about word counts and why they matter. One factor is that the word count is a defining characteristic for our genre. The way I was taught is this: 1) Flash fiction is anything under 1,000 words. 2) Short stories are 1,000 to 10,000 words. 3) 10,000 to 15,000 is a novelette. 4) 15,000 to 30,000 is a novella. 5) 30,000 to 90,000 is the Dead Zone. No publications buy stories at this length. 6) 90,000 words or more is a novel.

Based on this, maybe you can see why I was worried that my novellas were 32,000 words (The Tower in the Mist) and 38,000 words (The Grove of Ghosts) in their first drafts. Strictly by the word count, both of them are too long for the novella format.

The word-count-as-definition trope comes from the 19th and 20th Centuries, when all publications were on paper and editors had to gauge how many pages a given story would take up in their magazine. And the calculation still holds true in print books and magazines, which require editors to balance page counts vs. price point.

However, as an author of e-books, page count is really a non-issue. With no actual book to fit on actual shelves or ship in actual boxes, I can write 38,000 words and call it a novella. I don’t have to worry that it’s in the Dead Zone. The calculation that I have to make is price point vs. value to customer. After buying my e-book, I want my reader to believe they got a fair value for what they paid. If the book is too short, they may feel cheated. It it is too long, they may suspect I padded it to inflate the word count.

What’s your thought about word counts and story length over all?

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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