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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy fiction’

The Tower in the Mist is basically set up as an e-book. The pre-order link is active. But there’s still a mad rush before publication. Currently, I’m writing a handful of blog posts to publicize The Tower in the Mist, making bookmarks, and so forth.

At the same time, I’m preparing for an in-person presentation to Idaho Writers League, which will be tomorrow at 6:30 pm, at the Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d’Alene, ID. My topic is “Readings, Signings, and Book Parties.” I’ll cover how to set them up, the planning and preparation. If time allows, people will have a chance to read in front of the group and practice their technique.

Honestly, I didn’t plan to be doing this presentation in the middle of the pre-publication rush. I requested a date in March, but it didn’t work out. At least I’ll have my bookmarks and such to show off at Idaho Writers League. I know that most of you are not near North Idaho, so you can’t attend. But if you want the address in Coeur d’Alene, please drop me a comment!


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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my cover choices! I’m pretty much settled on Option 1, with perhaps the subtitles moved around.

This brings me to the cover copy, and here’s what I have so far: “As a hunter-guard, it’s Zathi’s job to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into the accursed Hornwood. Together, warrior and mage will battle deadly beasts and face decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten power. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.”

This description packs a lot in, but it may go on too long. My question, bluntly put: would you want to read this book? If not, what would tip the balance? As ever, I look forward to your advice.

One of you sharp-eyed readers also noticed that I’m still trying out variations on the series title. The gist is that these people live in a world after the evil overlord, Dar-Gothull, has triumphed. The mages are trying to bring back hope, and this makes them renegades.

Their powers are based around light, hence I’ve been calling them Light-Bringers, but that title has already been used for a couple of recent series. They travel in disguise as a troupe of minstrels. The name of their land is Skaythe. They spend a lot of time in a dark forest called the Hornwood. So I’m boiling it down to Minstrels of Skaythe or Minstrels of the Light.

What do you think? I really like Minstrels of Light, but I have a hunch it’s already been used by a Christian band somewhere. I also like The Hornwood Series, but I understand there is a Hornwood character in Game of Thrones, and I don’t want to create confusion. More searching to follow…


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I mentioned that I’m searching for key words and phrases in The Tower in the Mist and The Bitternut Grove. I was thinking of using something like “light bearers” or “light bringers” as a series title, but it turns out there’s some folklore there. Who knew that Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) is sometimes called a “light bringer?” Doesn’t that seem like the opposite?

Anyway, those have both already been used. In fact, “Light Bringers” or “lightbringers” has been used a couple of times. So that’s still in progress. I may just call it the “Skaythe” series, after the setting, and leave it at that.

Mostly, I’ve been working on my cover layout using Canva. I usually make between three and five designs, to try and find the perfect image. The Tower in the Mist will be the first of a series, so I hope to come up with something that will readily be adapted. Then each e-book will look like part of a whole.

I’m finding a limitation with Canva, though. I can’t seem to make those really big, dimensional titles that will pop from the cover. I’d love any advice you have about other programs that can make that big title for me. Something I can save and then upload to Canva would be perfect.

Thanks for all your ideas, and thanks for reading my blog!


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I’m still kind of wiped out from RadCon, so here’s an article from 2017 about Common Writer Problems. Some of the thing they list are:

  • I can’t remember how to start a book.
  • Typos.
  • What is character development.
  • Does anyone actually like my story???
  • What if I’m a terrible writer.
  • Tyops.
  • Is this too slow? Or too fast?
  • I don’t even know what genre this is.
  • Does my book suck, or is it just not right for that person?
  • TYPOSSSSSS.
  • Plot holes.
  • Procrastination.
  • help

But she left off an important one: I should be working on my blog!


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This snippet is from the most recent book I read, How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, by Jane Yolen.

The passage really speaks to me about the nature of fantasy, and perhaps all story telling. How much is meant to be taken literally? What truths do stories hold, even without an objective basis in fact?


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As I work through refocusing my outreach, one puzzle is how to describe my books when people ask about genre. I try to push myself beyond easy categories and stereotypes, but here’s where it bites me in the butt.

Starting with the broadest definition, I write fantasy. That’s a no-brainer. My books are full of magic and magical creatures. From there is where it gets foggy.

There’s High Fantasy, which involves the great and powerful with their big wars and political intrigues. But there’s also Low Fantasy, which involves the small and powerless, and is often humorous in nature. In Swords and Sorcery, individual warriors struggle against malign magic and corrupt empires, while they themselves are no angels.

Then there’s Urban Fantasy, where mythical creatures/monsters interact with people in the modern world. There’s often a strong element of romantic tension. Last but not least, there are Fairy Tales. People are always re-imagining beloved fairy tales.

So where do my books fit in? I’ve written somethings in almost all of these sub-genres. Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, for example, is contains several stories in the fairy-tale style. The Gellboar is a form of Urban Fantasy. The Weight of Their Souls is Swords and Sorcery. But most of my books are much harder to pin down.

Take The Seven Exalted Orders, for example. It’s High Fantasy because it ponders political and philosophical questions like who decides how mages use their power. It’s not High Fantasy because the protagonists aren’t among the ruling elite. This would make The Seven Exalted Orders a Low Fantasy, except that it lacks broad humor. Calling my books Medium Fantasy just sounds boring.

For those of you out there who have read my books, I’d love your perspective on this question. What should I call my genre in order to attract readers who are likely to enjoy my work? High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, something else… And I’d love to hear your reasoning.


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What am I doing, since I’m not blogging? Besides completing the first draft of my latest novella, that is. Reading! Reading, to me, is a way of “refilling the well.”

A friend recently told me she felt that she was reading too much. She ought to be writing, but instead she was reading. I can sympathize. In 2018 I definitely felt like was taking too much time playing video games. True confession: I got into Dragon Age at the start of school in 2017 and it sucked me in completely. I stopped even trying to write in early December, and every inch of my writing mind was jammed until the middle of May 2018. There were times when I was afraid that my writing career was over!

By the way, it isn’t just me. Dragon Age is notorious for sweeping players off on grand adventures. A different friend of mine said that you think you’re going to Texas for Spring Break and six months later you’re in Honduras wondering what happened. So true!

But, guess what? My career didn’t come to an end. At the end of May, I started a novella. It wasn’t fan fiction, though you can see hints of the situations in the games I’d been playing. Presently, I’m about to finish a second, linked novella and have hopes for a third. Between them all, it should be about 100,000 words — and that’s a novel!

At some point, I’ll have to figure out publishing these three linked novellas. A good problem to have.

If you’re making resolutions and have been scolding yourself to write more, I would urge you to stop and think. Don’t resolve to write more because you feel guilty. You won’t create your best work. (Unless you have a contractual obligation — that’s different.) Instead, look at some of the stories that are absorbing you. See what elements you can bring into a new project.

Reading time or video game time or Netflix time or whatever… It doesn’t have to be time wasted.


Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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