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Posts Tagged ‘Minstrels of Skaythe’

Coming June 20, 2021

Amid all the excitement of Queen Titania’s Court, I have also stealthily completed the editing and setups for my latest e-book, The Renegade of Opshar! It is the fourth of my Minstrels of Skaythe series, featuring honorable mages who attempt to survive in a world where sorcery runs amok.


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?

Pre-Order it now from Amazon or Books2Read!


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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That’s right, I finished the third draft of Renegade of Opshar. It still needs minor tweaking, but I’m happy with how it came out.

Of course, the next steps are many. I need to get it off for proofreading. I need to stop dithering and choose the cover art. Then I will make the title images, and put them all together. Next will be setups for the e-book, through Bowker and Amazon and Draft2Digital. Even with all that, it looks like I will be able to make it to a June 1st release. Huzzah!

While I’m working on those things, I also have a lot to do on Queen Titania’s Court. Gathering everyone’s introductions, and their questions, and their cover images. Making decisions about which author appears when, and getting to work on actual posts.

So, I’m going to be a busy bee for the next couple of weeks. But it will be a lot of fun.


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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My beta readers have returned their comments on Renegade of Opshar and I have a bit of thinking to do. It would be a spoiler to say what I have to think about. So, instead, I’m going to blather about the music I have been listening to while working on this story.

Like a lot of writers — maybe even most writers — I listen to music while working. As I get deeper into different projects, I’ll focus in on certain music and listen over and over. For instance, while writing one of my earlier novels, Too Many Princes, I listened to the Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar.

For the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas, I’ve listened to more classical-styled game soundtracks. Initially the music was from Dragon Age Inquisition, since I was sparked to write by that series. (Also, I don’t have the music from Dragon Age Origins or Dragon Age II in my library).

Partly with Wailing Tower and definitely with Renegade of Opshar, I shifted a bit to the music of Thomas Bergerson, who has done a lot of music for commercials, movies, and games. (Not for the Dragon Age games, though.) Bergerson’s music is… just big. Full orchestra, full chorus, a few additional instruments and vocalists.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here is a link to one of Bergerson’s compositions that got the creative juices flowing for Renegade of Opshar.


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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Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my title conundrum. I really do like The Renegade of Weeping Falls. However, the next novella is called already Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. Having Weeping Falls and Wailing Tower right beside each other is bugging me. I guess I could find a different title for Wailing Tower, but that title has been set for over a year. Changing it would also bug me. So I am going with The Renegade of Opshar.

That second draft is complete now, and off to the beta readers. If they don’t raise major issues, I may just make the cutoff for publication by June 1st! Spring releases are dicey, I know, but it would be perfect to feature Renegade as part of Queen Titania’s Court in June. Besides which, I never seem to get big numbers, so what’s the difference?

If I choose that, I’ll need to get busy with sales copy, finding the right cover, and other setups. Which is actually the more fun part of the process.

Speaking of Queen Titania’s Court, I’m starting to put my schedule together for that. There’s still room for more friends, though! Go ahead and e-mail me if you’re interested, cat09tales -at- hotmail -dot- com.


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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My revisions are going well (cross your fingers) and I’m within shouting distance of a completed second draft. A couple of lesser character names are still nagging at me, but I’ll get them fixed, never fear.

One major decision left is the updated title. I’m playing with a couple of possibilities. All of the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas have had longer titles: The Tower in the Mist, Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh. So I’m looking for something that will match that same rhythm and sense of place.

Some of the possibilities are:

A) The Renegade of Opshar. Opshar being the small village Berisan lives near.

B) The Renegade of Weeping Falls. Weeping Falls being a landmark near Yamaya’s farm.

C) The Renegade of Dolarus Falls. This is an alternate name for the said landmark.

This is where I ask you, my expert audience, which option you think works best. Let me know in the comments!


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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What’s Happening? At work, the issues around my negative review are more or less resolved. But as I reflect on my experience with this particular school, I recall that my district went through a wholesale reshuffling two years ago, and I was involuntarily transferred to this building at this time. If I had interviewed through the regular process, they might not have selected me. So as I continue doing my best there, I am also watching the job boards for new opportunities.

What I’m Working On. Despite the above mentioned stress and drama, second draft revisions are proceeding on The Renegade of Opshar. I know what themes I need to deepen, where I need to explain more clearly, and so forth. So, it’s going!

What’s Next? I’m in the planning process for Queen Titania’s Court, looking forward to that start of that in June. But there still is room for more friends. Do e-mail me if you’re interested! CAT09tales -at- hotmail -dot- com.

Fun and Games. Animal Crossing has been a haven from the stress at work. I’m also revisiting one of my favorite games ever, Dragon Age Origins. The developers have announced the next game for 2022, and I’m laying out a new sequence to bring me into that. Even after several playthroughs, I still find complexity in the writing, especially in the dialogue wheels. Depending on what dialogue you choose, characters will give different replies. It gives me a new level of respect for game writers.


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’m still doing a bit of work on the very end of The Renegade Count, just making sure everything fits together the way it should. While I do that, I’m also starting the first step of my revisions, which is to name or re-name a few people and places.

Names are a detail that I pay a lot of attention to. The sound of them, and how they fit together, is an important part of my world building. I want them all to sound like they come from the same place and time. Although I try to come up with a list of good names before I start the first draft, and pick from that list when I encounter a new character, there are always a few I get stuck on.

For this novella, I’m re-naming a couple of characters whose names are too similar and might cause confusion for readers. There are also a few, very minor, characters who I didn’t anticipate needing names. No big deal, I’ll just play with sound combinations until I get them how I want them.

The major problem that I have it with the title. The Renegade Count was supposed to be about Berisan accidentally being appointed “count” of an obscure village. Since the people are expecting military-style magic to defend them, and Berisan is a pacifist, I thought that would be an interesting conflict. As it worked out, though, Yamaya’s character arc took up a lot more of the story. The village didn’t draft Berisan as their protector in the way I had anticipated.

This leaves me the choice of completely re-writing the plot to force my original intention on it — you writers out there know this hardly ever produces a better story — or coming up with a new title. Guess which one I’m choosing?

So the work goes on… or begins, depending on where you count from!


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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So close to finishing up with The Renegade Count! That octopus of a plot is pinned to the matt except for the end of one tentacle is still twitching.

Basically, the last chapter is a big ol’ mess. It’s really disorganized, but in a way I can handle. There were a couple of great observations made by Berisan and Yamaya. They’re so great, I think I used them more than once. So I need to go back over those chapters, decide where the great lines should go, and generally shape the conclusion to my liking. With any luck, I’ll finish that this afternoon.

Saturdays are my day off from writing, and I have a fun thing going on where some friends are running an online role-playing game. I’m going to moderate a chat for them. But, on Sunday I should be able to start the next draft. It had been my intention to finish The Renegade Count several weeks ago, so that I can publish it in mid-May. That’s not a lot of time, which is one reason I’ve been anxious about finishing this draft.

However, the pauses to think and attention to detail usually mean that my revisions go quickly. So a May publications date looks chancy, but it’s not beyond possibility. If I have to push it into June, so be it. I can feature that book during Queen Titania’s Court.

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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I’ve been dithering a bit with The Renegade Count this week. Mostly I think it’s because my pacifist main character is about to find out he seriously hurt someone. Maybe even killed them.

As we all know, life is never totally under our control, even in stories. I like to to express that by not completely planning some things. I’ll roll dice for some outcomes. So the situation is that Berisan reflexively pushed away at some people who were attacking him with swords. They were standing on a slope of loose stones, and it started a rockslide.

What I have to decide is how badly the two attackers were hurt in the rockslide. A couple of dice rolls showed me that one attacker had 30% damage to his left arm. That’s pretty easy to describe as having a broken bone. The other one had 50% damage to his chest. This one is puzzling me a bit to interpret. Fifty percent damage sounds serious. Like multiple broken ribs, maybe? Or internal injuries? With no medical care to speak of, he might still die.

Neither attacker was killed outright, but they won’t be coming after Berisan again, either. Still, I want him to have that realization that he isn’t some emblem of perfection. His philosophy of non-violence can’t insulate him from all circumstances. Even if Berisan was defending himself, he hurt these men. It’s going to be a painful realization.

We all know writers who chuckle gleefully when they think of some torment to put their characters through, but I’m not one of them. Inhabiting this part of Berisan’s journey is going to be stressful for me, too. That’s why I often dither and delay starting those scenes.

Oh well, better get to 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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What’s Happening? I am happy to say that I got my greenhouse to stay up in the wind. We had snow last week, but I’m confident that my seeds can germinate in relative warmth. In addition, I’m experimenting with a slightly different form of online seminar, with a gardening webinar series called Cabin Fever. There are sessions on Monday and Wednesdays evenings, which unfortunately go across dinner and writing time. However, I only have to attend the ones I’m interested in, so it shouldn’t slow my writing too much.

What I’m Working On. As related in my previous post, I’ve reached 15,000 words on The Renegade Count and the complications are multiplying. Berisan has been busted as a mage, and is thinking he should get the heck out of Dodge. But that would mean abandoning Yamaya. I’m working through a gap until Yamaya gets her turn at being busted as a former bandit. Given her past, Yamaya’s turn is likely to get messy.

What’s Next? SpoCon, the local convention where I volunteer as programming director, is still hoping we can hold an in-person event next October. I’ve started the process of inviting speakers and getting ideas for what activities the convention will include. As a fund- and awareness-raiser, we’re hosting an online game in early April, which requires a few rehearsals. I’ve seen the face rigs they’ll be using, so if the players are talking to a dragon, the person they’re talking to will actually appear to be a dragon. It is going to be really cool.

Fun and Games. Right now, the only video game I’m playing is Animal Crossing. The one-year anniversary of my village is coming up, which is pretty incredible. The rest of my relaxation time has been split between reading (gotta keep up with my Goodreads goal) and building jigsaw puzzles.


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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