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Posts Tagged ‘Minstrels of Skaythe’

I made the leap and am writing madly toward the conclusion of The Tale of the Drakanox. As I’m pulling the threads together, there’s one thing I didn’t really consider before I got to this point. Will all of my characters survive the experience?

In previous posts, I’ve mulled over how authors decide whether characters should live or die. Sometimes a character is “bad” and needs to be “punished,” so they die in the end. Or they’re “good” and deserve to live by whatever contrived means. (Thinking of all those movies where it seems like a character is dead, but then they start breathing again.) Sometimes the author is looking for a juicy twist. Sometimes, they seem to feel that victory must have a cost. These can all be valid reasons, or they can be manipulations.

Or, both. As they say, two things can be true at the same time.

What I’m thinking about here are three main issues. First, as a pantser, I follow the most logical outcome of situations. If a character dying is most logical, then I should let it happen. Unless I need that character for later in the story. Then I will revise the situation so escape is more logical.

Second, I consider the reader’s reaction. Will they be disappointed if nobody dies? Grieving for fallen characters is a thing that some readers seem to enjoy. Other readers may be upset if the “bad guy” lives to tell the tale. Should I bump off a character to satisfy those readers?

Third and perhaps more important, I consider the underlying theme of the work. With the Minstrels of Skaythe series, it’s resisting a vicious regime through non-violence. If I end the series with a major bloodbath, that would undercut my own point and I’m certain it would disappoint readers who value my theme.

Before I go farther, I’ll probably make up one of my charts that lists all the possible outcomes. Just looking at them all laid out like that sometimes gives me a knee-jerk “yes/no” reaction that helps me. I might even roll dice for some of the choices.

Looks like I have some decisions to make!


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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Yes, I’m nearly there with The Tale of the Drakanox. I have just the big finale to complete the first draft. Huzzah!

What has me hesitating is the scale of this last part. A huge force of mages is converging on my dauntless renegades. How will they survive without giving up their pacifist beliefs? There’s so much to remember, drawing on the endings of previous novellas, the fates of all my characters, not leaving out anyone/anything… It’s a lot! And I know it will take me until the end of the year to finish up.

But… but… that’s only two weeks! And there’s holidays and stuff at the same time!

I know I can do this. I always hesitate in this part of the book. I’ll leave you with a famous line from Dragon Age II, where the witch Flemeth gives advice to the hero, Hawke. “We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment… and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.” (The voice of Flemeth is Kate Mulgrew, by the way, in an outstanding performance.)

Flemeth always knew what she was talking about, so I guess I’d better leap!


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? Welcome to December and the mad holiday season. We’ve had almost a foot of snow already. Believe it or not, this isn’t a complaint. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me if we don’t get snow.

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox. Yes, still! The current total is about 102,000 words. New bonds are being forged, and old ones are being broken. I’m at the beginning point for the ending, if that makes sense. There’s just nothing else that needs to develop, plot-wise. Completion within the month is possible.

What’s Next? My next firm plan is to revise Aunt Ursula’s Attic, my short story collection under the Lucy D. Ford byline. Aunt Ursula was my first effort at self-publishing, and I’ve learned a lot since then. The e-book is probably ok, but I think I can make the paperback look better. If I have enough new short stories, I may even come up with a second collection. That’s something that requires further exploration.

Fun and Games. Skyrim is my main game, with Animal Crossing and Ruya as more casual backups. I often get new games for Christmas, so we’ll see what turns up.

The holidays are hectic, so I hope you’ll have at least some time to chill. Take care, 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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Work proceeds on The Tale of the Drakanox. Many of my characters have been traveling in various directions through the story, and I’ve managed to get most of them to the point they were aimed at. This week has seen a lot of interruptions, but my last group has finally arrived.

They’re back at the tower in the Hornwood where The Tower in the Mist reached its conclusion. A big emotional scene is coming and I can’t wait to dig into it. I even managed to bring in the giant badger from that same volume. Fun times!

What are you guys working these days?


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? 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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