Friday, August 3, 2018

Women of Spells and Space
Aug. 3-5: From the shadows of our world to worlds of magic to the outer reaches of space, you can get these heroines onto your ereader for 99c or free for a limited time in the Women of Spells and Space sale!
Aug. 1-31: Witches exploring magical realms. Space marines finding the edge of the galaxy. Do you love female protagonists in your science fiction and fantasy? No matter where they are, you can get these heroines onto your ereader for a limited time! Find your next unputdownable woman-led SFF today in the Women of Spells and Space giveaway on BookFunnel!

July 23-Aug. 13: Have you ever seen one of those commercials that go, "Our buyer goofed, and now we have to clear out all this overstock"? Well, that's how I feel right now! I submitted three books for a sale at the Kobo store, hoping one would get accepted, and they took all three. So right now, for a limited time, three of my romantic epic fantasy novels are only 99 cents at all stores! My goof is your gain; here's your chance to get caught up on some of my backlist for a bargain price :)
Urdaisunia | Chosen of Azara | Sarya's Song

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Bargains, and Other News

Time for a quick break from the travelogue (which I'm posting on my main site; go here for the first post) to catch up with some news.

First of all, have you ever seen one of those commercials that go, "Our buyer goofed, and now we have to clear out all this overstock"? Well, that's how I feel right now! I submitted three books for a sale at the Kobo store, hoping one would get accepted, and they took all three. So right now, for a limited time, three of my romantic epic fantasy novels are only 99 cents! (except at DriveThruFiction, which is having a different sale right now.) My goof is your gain; here's your chance to get caught up on some of my backlist for a bargain price :)

Urdaisunia | Chosen of Azara | Sarya's Song
July 23-29: Looking for some 99 cent books? Check out the SFF Book Bonanza 99 cent sale! Books in a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy genres, 99 cents at Amazon.

July 1-31: It's the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale! Most of my books are 50% off with the on-site coupon code (it's right there on the book pages; just click "buy with coupon" and you're good to go), including some books that I rarely/never discount otherwise. Some books will move in/out of the sale as they go off/on other promotions. Now's your chance to stock up on my backlist!

And while you're at Smashwords, here are some other authors to check out:
 As for writing progress, I'm still working on edits on Book 1 of Defenders of the Wildings and revisions of Book 3. That's been a lot of work; I've had to add some large chunks of new material to the book. On the plus side, I've added over 14,000 words to a draft that was way too short. I think we'll be having a cover reveal for Book 1 here pretty soon. Watch for it! (p.s. my newsletter subscribers already got to see the cover!)

I also did a re-edit of Sarya's Song in preparation for these promos. Nothing huge, tightened up the beginning and added a bit of polish to the rest, straightened out a few things that might not have been quite clear, stuff like that.

Watch my main site for the last few posts about my trip to Germany, coming soon!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sale on box sets!

Ends May 28! Get 40% off the Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3 and Love and Magic box sets at Kobo and Smashwords.

Kobo: Use coupon code 40MAY: Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3
Love and Magic
Browse more box sets here!

Smashwords: Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3 Use coupon code BC88R at checkout
Love and Magic Use coupon code DV59X at checkout

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I'm Baaack, Or, Kyra's Excellent Adventure, Part 1

In my last post, I mentioned I was about to do some traveling. Well, I'm back now, got back last week from an amazing 2 weeks of traveling around Germany. I'm exhausted, still a little jetlagged, and sick with the probably inevitable airplane cold I picked up on the way home, but it was wonderful and I'm excited to tell you about it. Since I'm an author and this is my blog for my readers, I'll relate some of the experience to my writing, but mainly this is an excuse to get my journaling about the trip done, tell some fun stories, and show you some of my pictures :-D

To start with, let's go back 100 years or more. My father's father was born in Germany, in an area that later became part of East Germany. He and his parents emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1920s, but most of their relatives remained behind in Germany.

Fast forward some 50 years. My father had the opportunity to spend a year in Germany as a visiting professor, in the early 70s and then again in the late 70s. So growing up, I had the amazing experience of living in Germany twice for a year, as a child and then as a teenager.

Since then, my parents have returned a number of times to work, sightsee, and visit friends and relatives. I hadn't been back; between one thing and another, mainly health issues and anxiety issues related to travel, I figured I would probably never go back. Then last year, my parents turned 80 and decided it was time to keep a promise they'd made to my youngest brother and take us kids back to Germany, along with our spouses. (Yes, my parents are amazing that way. I wish I had their energy. A few months before this trip, they went on a cruise to South America and Antarctica.)

When my parents told me and my husband about the plan, I was excited but also terrified. I'd been afraid of flying for 40 years. I could get on an airplane if I really had to, but I would be sick with fear and have nightmares for weeks before. --> Writing note: when I write a character who has to do something hard and terrifying and they do it anyway, this is part of where that comes from.

But I really wanted to go on this trip, and I wanted to look forward to it instead of dreading it, so I set about dealing with my fears through a variety of methods - spritual, behavioral-cognitive, educating myself about flying, getting myself accustomed to the idea of flying. One thing that really helped was on YouTube there are lots of videos posted by people who travel a lot, who take videos out the airplane window as the plane is taking off and landing. I watched a ton of these for exposure therapy. The fear didn't completely go away, but I managed to reduce it quite a lot, to the point where I could manage it.

And I did it. I, along with my husband, got on an airplane and flew to Dallas, then got on a really big airplane in Dallas and flew to Frankfurt. My parents and my sister and her husband (B&M) were already there, and my youngest brother and his wife (R&C) arrived just as we did, and meeting them there was just amazing. The coolest family reunion ever. We collected the luggage and the rental cars and set off for Mainz, where my other brother and his wife (J&Y), who had come the night before from Australia, would meet us.

In Mainz, we went right to the center of town, where the cathedral is, and met J&Y there. My husband and I were starving, so we found an outdoors table at one of the restaurants surrounding the square and ordered schnitzel for lunch. In my mind, this was one of the consummate German experiences I remembered the best, eating at one of the tables that spill out from the restaurants and cafes onto the plazas. And it was as awesome as I remembered.

Once we weren't starving any more, we went to take a look at the cathedral. I loved the medieval cathedrals the previous times we were in Germany, even to the point of educating myself about the different architectural styles and features, and when I stepped inside I was struck just as strongly as before by the enormous size, and the grandeur and majesty and age, of the cathedral. It was one of those moments when reality and what I remembered/hoped for matched up perfectly. It took my breath away and left me awestruck, and it was just as great to see my husband having the same reaction. --> Writing note: the Shrine in Sarya's Song is modeled after the Romanesque cathedrals of Mainz and Worms.

The cathedral in Mainz, Germany.
Mainz Cathedral
Doors, Mainz Cathedral
Mainz Cathedral - Interior
Next time: Adventures along the Rhine, including fun with the GPS Navi.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Love and Magic coupon special

March 22-26: On Kobo and Smashwords, get the Love and Magic box set (contains Urdaisunia, Chosen of Azara, and Sarya's Song) for 40% off the regular price of $6.99!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Peek at Beneath the Canyons Chapter 2

When Silas met Lainie:

“You need any help?” he asked the girl.

“No, thanks.” She got to her feet, brushing dust off her pants. She also wore a gunbelt with a holstered revolver; Silas had no doubt she knew how to use the gun. “I better get on with my errands before they start shooting again. Hey, Gobby!” she shouted at the group of arguing men in the street. “The same thing from my Pa! He ever catches you on his land again, he’ll shoot you so full of holes you can piss from ten places at once!”

The bearded man’s face broke into a leering smile. “Miss Lainie, you tell your Pa for me that this land ain’t owned by no one an’ I’ll drill wherever, whenever, an’ –” he leered more broadly “– whoever I want.”

Miss Lainie responded with a rude gesture. Gobby went red above his beard, and the men from the Bootjack laughed. One corner of Silas’s mouth quirked up; he liked a woman with spirit.
He offered her his arm. “I’d be happy to escort you while you do your business, in case there’s any more trouble.”

She eyed him head to toe, her gaze lingering on the large revolver holstered at his left hip. Though firearms were considered anti-magical and were therefore forbidden in Granadaia, no mage hunter would last a nineday in the Wildings without one. Silas had specially modified this piece himself; mundane bullets alone couldn’t be depended on to take down a strong and highly skilled mage.

“My Pa don’t like me going around with strange men,” she said.

“Well, then. I’m Silas Vendine.” He added the usual name-slip charm as he spoke his name, to make it harder to remember, though it didn’t always work very well with other mages. Then he grinned at her. “I may be strange, but at least now you know my name.”

Want to know what happens next? Download Beneath the Canyons for free as part of the amazing giveaways below!

​Or, if you prefer, you can buy it for only $0.99 (yes, I lowered the price, but I don't know how long it'll stay this low!) at your favorite ebook store.
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Beneath the Canyons Chapter One, and Some Giveaways!

This is posted elsewhere on the site, but just in case you never make it that far into the site, here's the first chapter of Beneath the Canyons (newly re-re-edited edition):

Chapter 1
BITTERBUSH SPRINGS. FROM Silas’s vantage point in the rocky hills to the east, the town didn’t look like much, just a dozen or so wooden crates laid out in rows, brown and quiet in the hot summer sun. He reached out with his mage senses towards the town and the valley beyond, seeking the strange magic he had followed here.

There it was, strong, for him to have sensed it from several days’ distance, dark and alien, but at times mixed with flashes of more familiar kinds of power. A hell of a lot of magic for a place where no mage would dare show himself openly.

No doubt about it; something strange was going on in the Bitterbush Valley. And, with any luck, there would be a nice, big bounty in it for him from the Mage Council.

If not, some serious belt-tightening lay ahead of him. Five years of making a good living hunting renegade mages in the more settled eastern part of the Wildings had been shot to all the hells when a passel of greenfoot mage hunters flooded through the Gap from Granadaia, looking for quick, easy fame and fortune. Mostly what those amateurs had managed to do was chase away the smartest and most dangerous rogue mages, the ones who were worth the highest bounties.

With his money running low, Silas had come west to the more remote parts of the Wildings, hoping for better hunting. Rumors of a mining rush in the Bitterbush Valley had caught his ear, and not long after he set out to follow the rumors, he had sensed the bursts of unusual magical power coming from the area. It made sense; a mining rush was indeed just the sort of thing a rogue mage might try to horn in on, looking for quick riches. Though that darker power didn’t feel like any ordinary mage.

Silas surveyed the valley again. It looked like good cattle country, grassland bleached gold in the hot, dry weather, well-watered by seasonal washes and a handful of running streams. A number of ranch compounds and farms lay scattered the length of the valley from north to south, and herds of cattle and sheep roamed the rangeland. All signs of prosperity that might also provide tempting opportunities for a renegade mage.

Silas settled his hat firmly on his head, made sure his revolver was loaded, and checked that the shield inside him concealing his power was solidly in place and seamlessly camouflaged. It wouldn’t do to let the rogue mage, if there was one, know that another mage had arrived in town.

His Island-dark skin was another matter. It could give him away to both mages and mage-hating Plain settlers as a member of one of the elite Island mage families back in Granadaia, but there was nothing he could do to change that. Anyhow, his skin wasn’t so dark that it couldn’t be mistaken for a deep tan, and during his years in the Wildings, he had grown adept at passing himself off as a descendant of the servants and slaves the Island mages had brought with them to Granadaia.

With an earnest prayer to the Provider for good hunting and a fat bounty, he nudged Abenar, his big gray speckled gelding, into a walk. Keeping to the trail marked by stakes hung with white feathers, indicating safe passage through the A’ayimat-controlled hills, they headed down the pass.

As the trail descended into the valley, it turned into a road that crossed the valley from east to west. Silas followed the road into town, where it intersected with a second road running north and south, then stopped to get his bearings.

On the north side of the crossroads, two saloons, the Bootjack and the Rusty Widow, faced each other across the street like two gunfighters squaring off. Laughter and a discordant jangling of competing hammerboxes spilled out of the saloons. The Rusty Widow and the bank both boasted tall false fronts and fancy painted signs that looked brand new. In an empty lot southeast of the intersection, a large sign proudly proclaimed, Future Site of the Bitterbush Springs Grand Music Hall and Variety Theater. Towards the north end of town stood a half-built building of imposing size.

It looked like a large amount of money had recently come to town, more evidence of the mining rush – and more bait for renegades.

Silas turned right and rode up the street in search of stabling and a place to stay. Next to the Rusty Widow Saloon stood a two-story building, also sporting a new false front with Mundy’s Boarding House painted on it in elaborate letters. A big sign in the front window read, Rooms to let. 2g per nineday.

Silas let out a low whistle. Two gildings a nineday was an enormous sum for a room in a boarding house in the Wildings, especially this far west. This was going to make a bigger dent in his funds than he’d planned on.

The saloons probably had rooms to let on their upper floors as well, but those were likely to be just as expensive as the boarding house, not to mention more distracting. Not that Silas was averse to enjoying the amenities to be found in such establishments, but for now he needed to concentrate on work. And since there didn’t appear to be a hotel in town, the boarding house it would have to be.

On the other side of the boarding house stood a stable, where a boy was tossing pebbles into a circle scratched in the dirt of the yard. Silas rode over and gave the boy a penny to watch Abenar and his belongings for a moment. He took note of the smithy behind the stable; Abenar badly needed new shoes. Silas hoped getting a horse shod in this town wasn’t as expensive as renting a room in the boarding house.

He pulled on his long brown duster, which he had shed in the heat of the day and draped over the saddle behind him, then walked back to the boarding house to inquire about a room.

A crash from inside the saloon across the street caught his attention. He turned to see a big-bellied, bushy-bearded man come flying backwards through the swinging doors of the Bootjack. The man landed on his back in the street, then leaped to his feet with surprising speed for a fellow his size. A second, much thinner, man charged out of the saloon and plowed into him, knocking him down again. The two men tussled in a cloud of dust, rolling along the street until they came to a stop in front of the boarding house, the skinny man pinning the bearded man face down with a knee in the small of his back.

“I ever catch you digging on my land again, I’ll draw an’ quarter you an’ chop you up for dog feed!” the skinny man yelled. “You hear me, Gobby?”

In a blur of motion, Gobby twisted out from under the other man and dropped him with a blow to the jaw that sounded like an axe thunking into wood. “You threatening me, Redlun? Cause if you’re gonna threaten me, you better be ready to back it up!”

“Yeah, he’s threatening you,” said a man with an extravagant mustache who stood in front of the Bootjack. His right hand dropped to the holster at his hip and came up holding a six-shooter aimed straight at Gobby. “An’ I’ll back up his threats for him.”

Bullets were about to fly. Silas’s first instinct was to throw a protective shield around himself, but he suppressed it. The bullets dropping harmlessly to the ground, slowed by their passage through the shield, would give him away to any other mages who might be around and to the Plain folk of the town. He had more important things to do than deal with a bunch of Plains trying to hang him. Instead, he stepped back into the shadows of the covered wooden sidewalk in front of the rooming house and edged out of the possible line of fire. Without knowing anything about the dispute, he would do better to not get involved.

A handful of men burst out through the swinging door of the Rusty Widow, the saloon next to the boarding house, and stood clustered on the sidewalk, watching. Gobby, now also holding a gun, got to his feet and turned to face the mustached man across the street. “Well, Winnard? You think you can beat me?”

“I can –”

A gunshot exploded from the group in front of the Rusty Widow. Winnard tumbled back against the wall of the Bootjack and collapsed, blood spreading across the right shoulder of his shirt. More men came pouring out from both saloons, and wild gunfire erupted. A handful of stray bullets hit the wall of the boarding house next to Silas; he dove aside, holding onto his hat, and hit the sidewalk.

From up the street came a wild burst of magical power, panicked and uncontrolled, strong enough that Silas could feel it even through the shield on his own power. It felt familiar; he recognized it from the flares of magic that had led him to Bitterbush Springs.

He started to raise his head to try to spot the mage, then a bullet split a board in the wall of the rooming house not one arm-length above him. He pressed himself even flatter against the boards of the sidewalk as the shootout went on, praying to the Defender that the gunfire would stay away from the stables and Abenar.

Then, for no reason Silas could discern, the shooting stopped. “What’s all this, boys?” a deep, resonant voice called out into the sudden silence.

Silas raised his head. Three men lay sprawled in the street. One was writhing in pain, the other two were still. The shooters who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at the Rusty Widow. Silas turned his head to follow their gaze.

A tall man with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black mustache was standing in front of the saloon. He wore a finely-fashioned black suit and black flat-brimmed hat. Two house ladies bedecked in lace and ruffles appeared behind him, clinging to his arms and peering around him into the street.

“Redlun an’ Winnard threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ the fellas was just defending ourselves.”

Silas stood up, making sure his hat was still in place, and brushed dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadow of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.

The black-suited man turned and put his arms around the house ladies. “Go back inside, my dears. No need to worry yourselves.”

The ladies retreated into the saloon, and Carden stepped down from the wooden walkway into the street. He stopped in front of Gobby, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you went into the Bootjack again, Gobby,” he said in a genial tone. The crispness of an educated Granadaian accent underlay his informal Wildings speech. “You know damn well that’s rancher territory. You’re stupid enough to keep going in there, you deserve whatever you get.”

“When are you gonna start paying us for the ore that was taken off our land, Carden?” shouted Winnard, the wounded man in front of the Bootjack. The right side of his shirt was soaked with blood, but judging by the anger in his voice, he was a long way from dead.

“If you have a difference with me, Winnard, I’d be happy to discuss it peacefully,” Carden replied. “There’s no need for anyone to be shooting anyone else.”

Two men helped Winnard up, then they and several other men from the Bootjack walked over to Carden and started arguing with him. Gobby and some of the men from the Rusty Widow joined in. A whip-thin, bandy-legged man with a silver sword-shaped badge pinned to his shirt came over as well, but he stood back and remained silent.

Silas couldn’t make out what the men were saying, but their argument wasn’t what interested him the most at the moment. Taking care to avoid attracting any attention, he walked up the street towards where the burst of magic had come from.

If you want to read the rest of the story, Beneath the Canyons is available to download for free - yes, that's F-R-E-E! as part of these fabulous giveaways:
Or, if you prefer, you can buy it for only $2.99 (or the international equivalent) at your favorite ebook store, and help me buy cover art for the next series!
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction