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Posts Tagged ‘Minstrels of Skaythe’

What’s Happening? Things are going well at work for once. I feel comfortable the teacher I report to and I’m forming good bonds with the students. It’s a relief after so much tension at my previous school.

What I’m Working On. I’ll bet you can guess. If you said The Tale of the Drakanox, you are right! I’m up to about 98,000 words, which is definitely into novel territory as opposed to novella. I hope for a complete first draft by the end of the year.

What’s Next? October’s going to be busy for me. There’s Bad Moon Rising, a book event run in the month of October by horror author Teri Polen. My feature is The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh and it’s coming up fast. At the end of the month is the SpoCon science fiction convention. It’s nice to be this busy.

Fun and Games. I’m still playing Subnautica, but it’s become a struggle. There are an awful lot of glitches that corrupt my saves so I have to start over. One time I bumped my mini-submarine into a boulder and all the land disappeared! I’m still trying to finish a playthrough, but also looking around for my next game.

We’re coming up to the spooky season around Hallowe’en. Have fun, everybody!


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? The school year has officially begun, and my schedule is in disarray. I’ll get a handle on it soon, I’m sure. The other thing is, we’ve been lucky with the wildfire smoke, but now it’s arrived in force. That will be a challenge to my schedule if I’m not able to ride my bike to work as I had hoped.

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox, of course! Sometimes it feels like I’ll never finish. That’s the thing with not having a firm plot. I’m not sure what’s going on — but in a good way, if that makes sense. It will look like everything is falling apart at once, that’s all I know.

What’s Next? I think I mentioned writing a short story, “Mistress Henbane,” earlier in the spring. A follow-up is nibbling at my mind. I’m also looking forward to a busy October, with Bad Moon Rising, a book event run in the month of October by horror author Teri Polen, and the SpoCon science fiction convention.

Fun and Games. I’m still playing Subnautica. I finished the first play through and am replaying at a higher difficulty. As part of the game I built a sweet undersea base, and that has been fun. As mentioned above, SpoCon is coming, and I’m preparing an Animal Crossing treasure hunt for that.

The summer never lasts long enough. I hope all is well for you as we move into the final third of 2022.


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Naming your burden will give you some control over it. But a think you will not name has power over you, instead. The Tale of the Drakanox.
A snippet from The Tale of the Drakanox, by Deby Fredericks

Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been writing. Tisha, as usual, comes up with deep philosophical thoughts.


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? My cel company was bought by another company, which required me to switch to their system and also buy a new cel phone. So I’ve been jumping through their hoops and getting the new cel phone set up. I was worried that it wouldn’t get here before I travel, too. Fun in the modern age!

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox is over 80,000 words and it feels like I’m reaching the top of the mountain for both main plot threads. Then I can get to the conclusion! The work seems so slow, yet I’ve added over 12,000 words in the month. You’d think by now I would trust myself.

What’s Next? I do travel this month, giving my sister a respite from taking care of our elderly dad. My niece is going to have a baby, and my sister deserves to be there. Guess I’d better set up a couple of posts to cover while I’m gone.

Fun and Games. I’m playing a game I was very curious about, Subnautica. Your character is a space worker suddenly marooned on an ocean planet. You have to find survive until you can be rescued. But of course the rescue becomes complicated! So far it’s been an enjoyable challenge, although I went easy on myself with the survival settings. I also enjoy Animal Crossing for quieter moments, of course.

The summer is heating up but I hope you can all keep cool. And if you need something to read… Look, it’s right over there in the side bar!


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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It isn’t as nice as making a sale, but this week I actually got in on a submission window for a publication I’ve been really interested in. Here’s hoping!

Today’s character is new to the Minstrels of Skaythe series. I wasn’t expecting her, but my philosophy is to try and incorporate every idea that comes in the first draft. If it ends up not being important, then I’ll trim it later. Anyhow, I realized early in The Tale of the Drakanox that Countess Ar-Torix, from The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh, wasn’t going to be traipsing around Skaythe in person. She needed a minion.

This is where Nyette comes in.


“An explanation that explains nothing,” Ar-Torix mused. “Now why would Meven feel the need to defend herself, if she has done nothing wrong? This requires further exploration.”

“Shall I send for your horse, Countess?” Hurth asked.

Pearls gleamed in the countess’ hair as she considered. “Not yet. If this is some sort of trick, I’ll not rush into it. Ar-Selviss.”

The instructor quickly stopped the match and bowed. “My lady?”

Ar-Torix went on, “I believe it was Nyette who won the bout just now. In your opinion, is she ready for a different sort of challenge?”

“An excellent suggestion, my lady.” Ar-Selviss smiled obsequiously. “The arena does not always prepare our students for conditions in the field.”

The student in question was already on her feet. She was tall, and Shonn had the impression of an athletic build beneath the stiff brown robe. Black, curly hair fell to her shoulders, where it was cut off in a straight, hard line. Two dainty hairpins, shaped as butterflies, held it away from her face.

“Command me, Countess!” she cried.

“No need to get so excited.” Ar-Torix laughed, a silvery sound that drew every man’s eye to her. “I merely need you to venture into Fang Marsh along with my friend from the water-folk. Examine the ice wall with a mage’s eye, and report back to me. Simplicity.”

“I will make it so.” Nyette’s gaze was intense, in contrast to the childish note of the butterfly pins.

“Yes, yes.” Ar-Torix looked past her and signaled Ar-Selviss to begin the next match. It may have been Shonn’s imagination, but he thought the countess didn’t want too much attention on a younger woman. Not that she needed to worry, as alluring as she was.

Hurth tapped Shonn’s shoulder, breaking Ar-Torix’s spell. “Come on.”

Reluctantly, he tore his eyes away from the temptation of the countess and followed Hurth back into the stuffy building. Nyette stopped in the reception area, where a narrow staircase led upward.

“I’m going to pack a few things,” she announced in a brittle imitation of Ar-Torix’s confident tone. Hunter-guards at the counter looked around at those words. To Shonn, she said, “I assume you don’t want a troop of them escorting me.”

“No,” he immediately agreed. One passenger might fit on his raft, but not a bunch of them. “We’ll want to move quietly through the swamp.”

Wryly, Hurth asked, “Shall I explain that to them?”

“I’d appreciate it.” Nyette hurried up the steps.

“This is more than I had planned on,” Shonn complained, but Hurth was already walking away.


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I got a bit of good news earlier this week. My short story, “There Gold Grows on Trees,” has been accepted for the October issue of Lorelei Signal. Woot!

Now to a teaser on one of the “stealth characters” who popped up in Tale of the Drakanox. Elldri was a minor actor in Prisoners of the Wailing Tower, but with this novel her destiny comes to the fore.


“Meditation again?” Duessa raised a sarcastic brow.

“You remember that we were trying to communicate through the tower, right?” Alemin said. “If we get to know each other well, we can hear each other over longer distances.”
Lorrah nodded. “That’s how I knew where Alemin was, and it’s how we’re trying to find Tisha.” When they all didn’t jump at the chance to meditate, she got irritated. “Well, if they don’t want to,” she complained to Alemin. He laid a calming hand on her shoulder and looked to Duessa with compassion.
“It’s all right if you need more time. We have to start building trust somehow. What if you just watch, for now?”
“That sounds pointless,” Bettain said.
“Maybe I’d try it,” Duessa said after a moment. Bettain groaned again, but Elldri was scooting a bit away on the bench. When she saw Duessa looking at her, she shook her head vigorously.
Bettain was immediately concerned. “What’s wrong?”
“No, I can’t,” Elldri whispered between the fingers that covered her mouth.
“Casting? Sure you can,” Bettain scolded fondly. “I know we weren’t supposed to, back in the Larder, but everybody did. Sneaking it in was part of the fun.”
Elldri shook her head again, her gaze focused inward. What she saw there must have been terrifying.
“I never saw her work a spell,” Alemin said.
“Just go slowly and build your strength,” Bettain advised.
“Sure.” Lorrah jerked a thumb over at the guardswomen. “They’ll tell you how many times I tried to summon fire and only made this vile fume appear.”
At the stove, Razeet laughed. “It was pretty bad.”
Zathi called sternly, “I don’t want her casting wild spells around here, if she’s out of practice.”
“We’ll only be meditating,” Lorrah called back.
Elldri’s arms were trembling. “I don’t want to.”
“Well, then how do you plan to defend yourself?” Bettain’s worry made her voice harsher even than usual.
Duessa watched them for a moment. Except for that worst day in the Larder, when the former warden tried to slaughter them all, Elldri had never been this closed in. Duessa didn’t understand it, but she wouldn’t let her friend be bullied.
“She said no, Bettain,” Duessa spoke firmly. “That’s that.”


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Every writer has had this happen. You’re going along with your characters and plot, developing everything, and suddenly a new character emerges. It isn’t that they’re demanding to be a POV. You just know that they have an arc and will be important to the over all story.

So far, I’ve had two of these stealth characters show up in The Tale of the Drakanox. There’s always a temptation to push them aside. They aren’t part of the plan, and I already have four POVs as it is. However, I always try to listen to my muse . The story is always richer and more complex when I work new ideas in. So don’t take this as a complaint!

What I’m finding useful is that both these characters are not having a POV. Thus they will remain inscrutable for a lot of the story. Even though we writers go to great lengths to create engaging main characters and make sure the plot events are clear to the reader, sometimes it’s good to keep things mysterious.

We hope readers will be engaged with characters when they can “see” their needs and goals, but it can be equally intriguing when they don’t know what’s going on with a character. This brings an element of unpredictability to the tale. In both cases, the stealth characters seem to be allies, but because they aren’t POV characters, we don’t know for sure.

So who are these stealth characters? Check back on Wednesday and I’ll introduce them!


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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The big excitement for me today is that we’re having air conditioning put in. The spring was relatively cool and mild, but our typical summers have us over 100 degrees by now. (And I know for many of you it’s been well over 100 for some weeks already. My sympathies.)

Anyway, we’ve been getting by with window box air conditioners, but it was evident we needed another. We already have three and it seemed silly to have four of them. In the interest of energy efficiency and probably lowering our electric bill, we decided to not be ridiculous and just get the main one put in.

This isn’t as much of a stretch as it sounds like, financially. We saved up $20,000 for roof work last summer and didn’t use it all, so this is a way of continuing to upgrade our home. I’ve retreated to the upstairs so I won’t be in the workmen’s way, and by lunch time they hope to be done.

That means I’ll be able to work on The Tale of the Drakanox at the time I usually do. I finished the big set piece with Ar-Lizelle’s and Duessa’s groups clashing. Now I’m over to Shonn and Piyaro finally connecting with Meven, Berisan and Yamaya in Opshar. Time to find out how their uprising is going. Will Piyaro end up as their enemy or ally, and will Shonn be able to make amends with Meven? Also, what are those bandits up to in the mountains?

Should be a fun bit to work through.


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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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It’s that time of year — cherry season! My tree is heavy with bright red fruit, and all down the block you can hear the robins and starlings coming to the feast.

This is a good time to bring up my fourth Minstrels of Skaythe novella, The Renegade of Opshar. One main feature of this novella is that Yamaya, the bandit-turned-farmer, has an orchard of cherry trees on her land. When she hires Berisan as a farm hand, he spends a lot of time helping her pick, dry and pack them for the market.

There are no bandits around my house, but here’s to the cherries, and to The Renegade of Opshar!


The Renegade of Opshar

All Berisan wants is a place to hide. The insignificant village of Opshar seems like a perfect haven. Disguised as a beggar, he can lie low and evade the brutal hunter-guards. But Berisan isn‛t the only one with secrets.

Widowed and pregnant, Yamaya struggles to hold the farm she and her husband built, but she can‛t escape her sordid past. In desperation, she hires the one person who hasn‛t taken a side in Opshar‛s murky politics — the beggar, Sand.

Common sense tells Berisan to walk away, but his code as a minstrel compels him to help Yamaya if he can. Soon he faces a decision that challenges every principle he holds. Will he give up the safety of his secrets, or allow another to suffer in his place?



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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Summer break! I’ve been catching up on yard work, house work, and other projects. I’m also closely watching certain Congressional hearings, with varying disgust and despair. It’s my duty as a citizen to listen to the evidence rather than what I think I know. I just wish it wasn’t necessary. And don’t get me started on the train wreck the Supreme Court has become.

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox is still top of my list. I’ve just completed a major turning point. The text is rough and needs to be filled out, but the total word count now is around 67,000.

What’s Next? There’s a possibility of some summer travel. Also, my cherry tree is about ripe and I believe there is jelly-making in my future.

Fun and Games. I’m working toward the conclusion Hades, and enjoying it. I’m also still playing Animal Crossing, although I’ve completed most of the main collections, so I can slow down a bit. Not sure what I’ll play after that.

Honestly, with so many setbacks for our democracy, I feel like this summer break is breaking me. Gotta just keep writing. My kids’ teen drama didn’t take my art from me, and neither will all of… 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 websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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