Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Catherine L. Vickers

Introducing Catherine L. Vickers, here on her blog tour with Saskia Book Tours. Don't forget to enter the giveaway down at the bottom!

New author and Indie author of Fantasy by night. Sell vintage and antique items via e-commerce by day. Four grown up children and 2 wee grand children. Three dogs (now two as I lost my oldest companion to cancer) and and a very curios cat who follows us on dog walks. 

*Guardian Dragons, Book 1 on Amazon in kindle version and paperback.
*Flight of a Changeling, Book 2 on Amazon as Paperback.

Love to write but if I'm honest I don't much enjoy the computer work I have to do as an Indie author, it is very time consuming. So many other things I'd much rather be doing. But, there you go, it has to be done so I'd better get working on it.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I was born and continue to live in West Yorkshire in the UK. Most of my working life has been spent with the Local Authority in an administrative position. I also work full time for myself which means you have to put in double the hours of a regular paid job. I have 4 grown up children placed all around the world. Plus I am a grandmother and love every minute of it. My favourite time of the year is Christmas when my family do their very best to get together.

Q. When did you start writing, and why?
Started reading seriously as an adult in my 30s when I was studying. Went on to do a Creative Writing course which led to my creation of the fantasy world of Aarabassa series. I gave birth to this story in France on a very wet camping holiday. Without any electricity I needed to occupy my mind with something other than constant reading. Hence the Aarabassa world was created.

Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Book 3, Blood Bride, of the Aarbassa World fantasy series, has just been released as a paperback. I will release the e-version on 1st December. Whilst I am in the middle of writing Book 4 of this series I am also going to publish an omnibus edition of the first three books, very shortly.

So it will consist of:
Book 1 Guardian Dragons; available at Amazon
Book 2 Flight of a Changeling; available at Amazon
plus the latest released Book 3, Blood Bride; available at Amazon

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.

Aarabassa is a planet that has one half in constant darkness (Darklands), and one half in constant sunlight (Lightlands). Around the middle is a Magic Wall which stops either side from entering the other side. The series is about the Darkland creatures wanting to destroy the magic barrier and take over the whole world. Within this world the reader is introduced to many creatures, cultures and cities, including underwater cities. Because their is no night and day, I have created two moons and time is ruled by whichever moon is high in the sky.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: The protagonist is a young mage girl named Heather, who is also a Changeling. Around her are three princes who have grown up with her. They are our main heroes of the tale and live within the Lightlands. Emperor Morte-Bielz is the antagonist who rules within the Darklands and wants out. He is attempting to build up an army of vamplins (vampires). However they are not the traditional vampires that we know. They are quite a gentle race. Along the adventure the reader will also meet fairies, dwarves, centaurs, mer-people, lizard people and ant people, plus a few others thrown in here and there. It sounds chaotic but there is a civilised order to the lands and its creatures.

I cannot pick out a favourite character as I love them all. Whilst I am writing about a particular character in the setting, I feel I am that character so therefore I am them all, good and bad.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.

I have created a website around the world of Aarabassa whereby I am indexing all the details for any reader of the series to look up. The world is complex and needs referencing. On this website I am also attempting to put pictures of characters to give the reader an idea of what was in my head when I created them.

Q: Blog/site link:


Guardian Dragons (Aarabassa World: Divided Realms, #1):

Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands.

Only the Guardian Dragons and the Changeling can pass through the Magic Wall. When the dragons over hear vamplins plotting to attack the Darklands, the dragon Queen seeks the Ancient Mage for help. 

Three young Princes have grown up alongside the Changeling a female mage. Their world will soon change as they are destined for different adventures.

available at Amazon

Flight of a Changeling (Aarabassa World: Divided Realms, #2):

Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark and the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands.

Prince Raphael is taken on a pilgrimage to heal his illness, by Rikka the herbal nurse, but all is not as it seems.

Prince Amos and Prince Leon depart on separate quests to invite various races, including dwarves, centaurs and merpeople, to the Lightlands Council to ready for battle with the creatures of the Darklands

Heather, the Changeling is journeying to the Guardian Dragons lair, meeting with the Forest Keepers on her way. Her final destination, to meet with the monshaad Emperor on the other side.

available at Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway not run or sponsored by Kyra Halland/Welcome To My Worlds

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Review: The Princess and the Paladin

The Princess and the Paladin, by Hiram Webb

World-building: * * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Story: * * *
Characters: * * *

(I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)

The Princess and the Paladin takes readers on a journey through the great Empire of NaRasch at a time of impending revolution. Gail, the youngest of the old Emperor's multitude of children, is given an unexpected gift: a kingdom of her very own. When the old Emperor's oldest son takes the throne, Gail is suspected of treason and imprisoned. She's rescued from her imprisonment by a warrior in the thrall of a mysterious sword - the Paladin, which begins her adventure through the lands of the NaResch Empire.

Fantasy novels can often be loosely grouped into character-based, plot-based, and world-based novels. The Princess and the Paladin reads very much like a world-based novel, in which the main focus is on the history, geography, and political tensions in the Empire. As Gail is handed off from one group of people to another, we get an extensive tour of the land and learn a lot about its history, including the tensions that are now leading these various groups to join together in rebellion against the Empire. There's some spectacular scenery and exciting action along the way on Gail's dangerous journey. I particularly enjoyed where she is taken white-water rafting (or canoeing) along a river through the mountains. There's also dragons and some other cool creatures.

The weak point of the story is Gail herself. We follow her on her adventures, and she's the central character of the story, but we know very little about her personality or what she's thinking or feeling or, especially, what she wants. She also doesn't really make any of her own decisions; she's just taken from one place to another by the other characters. This lack of ability to determine her own fate is an issue that comes up a few times - she objects from time to time over not being given any choice in what she does or where she goes. The others tell her that she does have a choice, but the choices she's given are really no choices at all, and she just goes along with what everyone else tells her would be best for her to do. According to the author's notes, The Princess and the Paladin is the first part of a longer work, The Fall of NaResch, so I assume that later on, Gail moves into a position of having more control over her life and her choices. She does start to come more into her own as she begins to master the magical sword Maroward, and has a lot of potential to become a powerful character later on.

The Paladin storyline and the rebellion storyline don't seem to be connected to each other, but I assume they tie in together more later on in The Fall of NaResch.

Besides Gail, there are a number of other characters in the book who are brought to life quite vividly. I especially liked the three young Pirates (who are the ones who take Gail on her white-water canoeing adventure). The writing is clear, with well-done descriptions that bring this vast, magical land to life. There's a lot to like about this book, and it will be interesting to see how the threads of the story laid out here develop later on.

Book Review: Rey de Noches

Rey de Noches, by Sean Torres

Story: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Imagination: * * * * *
Writing mechanics: * *

In the world of Noches, where no sun ever shines, a young man named Ruiz dedicates his life to the dangerous quest to become Rey de Noches - King of Nights.

This is a review of the revised edition. I first started reading the original edition and contacted the author privately with some concerns, and he advised me that a revised edition was underway, so I decided to wait and read and review the new edition. A number of errors in the original edition have been fixed, but the writing is still problematic. In particular, there are problems with tangled-up sentences, incorrect verb tenses (the correct use of "had" is something that a number of writers seem to have trouble with), redundant words, and dialogue punctuation. These are all things that can be learned and improved as the author continues to learn and practice the craft of writing.

What is more difficult to learn, that Mr. Torres has in abundance, is imagination and storytelling instinct. Noches is a fascinating and original fantasy world, based on Hispanic history and culture. In spite of the tangled prose, the world is colorfully and vividly described. The worldbuilding is remarkably consistent in terms of there being no "days" in this world, only night - the world "day" is never used, and magic is common in this world as the people living there need it to keep their bodies warm in the absence of sunlight. The magic in general is very cool and has some spectacular uses, and the rules for its use are carefully laid out.

Rey de Noches introduces us to a cast of varied and colorful characters. The main character, Ruiz, seems a little thin at first, but he gains dimension and interest as he goes through his tasks and gradually learns what his true destiny really is. Along the way he meets with bandits, mystics, and an orphaned little girl whom he takes under his wing.

The story is gripping and intriguing, and well-paced with both exciting action and more contemplative scenes; every scene serves a purpose in moving the story forward, and I was never bored. I do have to say that the ending was of a type that I really don't care for, but that's just my own personal taste, and I'm sure other readers don't mind that kind of ending, or may even prefer it.

On the whole, in spite of the problematic writing, this is an exciting, entertaining, and imaginative novel. My overall rating comes out to 3.75 stars, but I'm rounding it up to 4 because Mr. Torres is a young writer of clearly huge talent, who simply needs to continue working to improve the technical aspects of his writing.

Book Review: Bane of Souls

Just catching up on some book reviews :)
Bane of Souls, by Thaddeus White

Exciting traditional fantasy. Horst is a newcomer and misfit to the tower and school of mages - his people believe that magical gifts are a curse. An evil spirit is terrorizing the city, and when the spirit's malicious actions strike too close to Horst, he vows personal revenge.

This book has enjoyable characters; I especially liked Horst and Rufus, Horst's fellow "barbarian" who is also a mage and one of his mentors. The magicians training and living in the tower are mostly portrayed as a well-rounded and diverse group of people. The crimelord Thaddeus is also a fun character; the bane of the city law enforcement's existence, he's too useful for them to seriously think about putting him away.

I also enjoyed the nature of the evil threat in the story; much more frightening and insidious than an army. The evil spirit has its own agenda, and it's ruthless and sneaky in going about its business. The magic in the story is also quite cool.

The novel felt a little unbalanced; a lot of attention was given to things that didn't seem quite as important to the story (they may prove to be more important in later books), while other, more important, events felt like they were skimmed over or skipped completely. Because of this, sometimes it was kind of hard to tell what was going on.

But mostly Bane of Souls is pretty well-written, and a fast-paced, entertaining read.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sneak Peek 11/17: Chosen of Azara

Here's a peek inside Chosen of Azara. Sevry is working as a guard-for-hire, and the caravan he's guarding is about to come under attack:

Sevry ignored Odigar and the confusion he was causing. The last of the largest enclosed wagons started up onto the ridge. The raiders came close enough that he could count them; there were eleven of them to his nine, plus the wagon and camel drivers. The pounding of their horses’ hooves grew louder. Sevry waited, sword drawn, his heart beating hard, his horse dancing beneath him in nervousness and excitement. At moments like this, all the times in his life when he’d waited, sword in hand, for the enemy to come blended into one. He was twelve years old again, holding his first sword, awaiting the invasion of the Royal Holding at Yiz by the Madrinan army; he was twenty-three, watching as the Madrinans approached the Convent of Azara; he was a mercenary, a guard, in countless skirmishes against countless, forgotten foes.

The last wagons were still trying to get into a secure position on top of the ridge when the raiders charged up the slope and barreled into the guards without checking their horses’ speed. Sevry and the other mounted guards were forced back against the wagons by the raiders’ onslaught. Sevry’s horse slipped a few feet down the gravelly slope; he brought it under control just in time to strike at a yellow-haired raider whose sword was swinging down towards his head.

A knot of fighting men on top of the ridge jolted the last wagon in line, just above Sevry. With a heavy thud, the wagon’s load of smuggled jade shifted. Sevry heard the sharp crack of the wagon’s front axle as it broke, but he didn’t have time to move out of the way.

Dragging its horses with it, the wagon tumbled down the slope, crashed into Sevry and his horse, and landed on its side with Sevry’s legs trapped beneath it. Excruciating pain exploded through his legs, and his scream drowned out the noises of the fight and the cries of injured horses and men.

In spite of the agony flooding his senses, he remained conscious throughout the rest of the battle. Finally, the few surviving raiders turned tail and rode away, and Sevry’s men were free to turn their attention to him. He was glad to see that none of them had fallen, though most of them were injured. They freed the horses from the broken wagon and put the poor beasts, along with Sevry’s badly-injured horse, out of their misery, unloaded the jade, then moved the wagon off of him. Bliss at the disappearance of the crushing weight nearly made Sevry forget about the pain for a moment. Speaking to each other in harsh, urgent whispers, the men carefully lifted Sevry and laid him down on some blankets. Each movement brought further waves of fresh agony. He tried to bite back his cries, but they tore their way out of him anyway. One of the men poured herbed wine into his mouth. Desperately thirsty, Sevry swallowed it.

Even the strong sleeping herb in the wine barely won out over the pain. Sevry dozed uneasily, only to be jolted into consciousness by new pain as his crushed lower legs and raw, scraped arms and back were being cleaned and bandaged. Finally, his caretakers finished their tasks, and he was able to sink into undisturbed darkness.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November: NaNoWriMo and More

Picture It's been almost a week since my last post, a couple of weeks since releasing The Lost Book of Anggird, and I'm still a little ways out from my next major release, which will be Sarya's Song. So how am I entertaining myself (and trying to stay out of trouble) in the meantime?

First of all, it's November, which means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo). Last year I wrote the draft of Sarya's Song (finally finishing it after a number of false starts), but this year I've returned to my tradition of pounding out a fanfiction during November. I got off to a good start, then took a few days off to finish the draft of Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings, then just couldn't get motivated to work on the novel I was doing for NaNo. So on Nov. 8, I decided to set aside the novel I'd started and work on an idea I'd been toying with for a few years. Starting over again from zero words more than a week into November means a lot of catching up to do. I set a minimum quota of 2500 words a day, and I'm almost caught up. Things are looking good for my 5th win in a row! (Note for those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the object is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. It's a self-challenge rather than a contest where you're competing against other people, and everyone who verifies that they wrote 50,000 words or more is a winner.)

Also, as I mentioned, I finished the 6th book of Daughter of the Wildings, which means that the whole series now exists in complete form. The whole series is printed out and sitting in a very large binder, resting for a while until I'm ready to start the revision. So, for those of you who hate waiting years between books of a series, and who wonder if a slow-publishing series is ever going to be finished at all, take heart - Daughter of the Wildings is complete, if still something of a mess. I'm even giving my family instructions that should something happen to prevent me from editing and publishing the whole thing, they're to just put whatever hasn't been published yet online. Not that I plan on anything happening to me, but you never know. (My husband is a wills and estate planning lawyer. That sort of thing kind of rubs off on you when you live with it.)

A couple of stories I wrote last March during my pre-Camp NaNo challenge have still been waiting around to be edited. "The Tale of Haveshi Yellowcrow" and "The Tale of Latan the Scholar" (original titles, I know) are linked together and are also loosely related to Chosen of Azara; Haveshi and Latan are mentioned in passing (and not by name) in the novel. I decided it's time to get these fixed up and published, so I'm working on the revision of those after I finish my NaNo quota each day. With some luck and a lot of hard work, they should be ready in a week or so. I'm thinking I'll post them on the site for free for a short time, then put them in the Kindle Select program for 90 days.

I'll start on the next revision of Sarya's Song once I'm done with the Haveshi and Latan stories.

Finally, The Lost Book of Anggird has been getting some very nice reviews. I installed the Goodreads reviews widget for it on the book page, so you can read the complete reviews there, or check out highlights on the Lost Book reviews page.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lenore Sagaskie

Introducing Lenore Sagaskie, author of The FourSworn series.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a Canadian living in self imposed exile in Michigan. I served in the armed forces and achieved the rank of Sergeant before releasing. I am a free-lance writer and was a staff writer for the Emmett Village News, a local monthly paper.  I am also an artist and I like to create in pencil, pen & ink, metal-smithing and mixed media. Currently I am loving Steampunk, and not only am I creating steampunk accessories, I do cosplay at conventions with my friend who is an insanely talented costumer. Her skills won us tickets to Costume Con 32, an international costumer convention that will be held in Toronto, Ontario in April 2014.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I started writing when I was in elementary school.  By the time I was nine years old, I had read all the Nancy Drew books, the Hardy Boys and The Tales of the Arabian nights. When I realized I could tell stories of my adventures, I started to write. I have been writing in some form or another ever since.

Q: What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? A:  I am currently writing urban fantasy novels. I am working on The Four Sworn: Summer Solstice, Book 2 of The Four Sworn series, as well as an urban fantasy/horror novel and a non-fiction novel.  I am also working on two urban fantasy short stories for anthologies. I love creating characters and seeing how they interact with each other. Sometimes when I write, I feel like I am watching a dream and taking notes. I love that feeling!

Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: My latest release is an urban fantasy novel, The Four Sworn: Spring Equinox. It’s about four artists that become elemental vessels who have to harness their powers and use them to prevent the veil between the human world and the fairy realm (Feyland) from being lifted. They have to fulfill their destiny as they battle to prevent the two worlds from tearing each other apart. It is the first in a series. Book 2 will be released in 2014.

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
A: The story begins in Harmon, a fictional town in Michigan. It begins with Abby and Sara preparing for an outdoor art show. Abby encounters a mysterious man who vanishes and then their elemental powers begin to manifest. The book moves between Michigan, England and Feyland where the final battle goes down.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: Sara is the Air vessel. Her medium is acrylic paint.  She is an airbrush artist. She is not your stereotypical blonde. She is interested in a lot of things and learns everything she can if the topic interests her. She is very likeable and friendly. She has tendencies to be a little flighty and sometimes has problems grounding herself. She is eager to explore and harness her powers and does so with ease.

Joe is the Earth vessel. He is a clay artist and creates sculptures and pottery. He is a Native American man who is a high school art teacher. He was raised by his mother after his father mysteriously left the family. He reconnects with his spiritual legacy and learns more about his background as he explores his new found abilities. Joe is a shy man and this makes him awkward around some women, in particular, Sara.

William is the water vessel. He is an English watercolor artist. He is the only one of the four that has had his powers most of his life. He uses water to scry.  When he puts his hand in a lake, he sees future events which he then paints. He hopes to someday be able to decipher these predictions to prevent disasters from happening. He has a Fey friend that meets him at the lake, an Undine (a type of mermaid) named Rhysdale. William is the eldest of the four, in his 6th decade.

Abby is the fire vessel. She is a metal-smithing artist. She is a very passionate person who has control of her life and is completely devoted to her loving husband Dan. She is overwhelmed by her powers and has the most difficulty harnessing them. The fire element makes her quick to anger and she is the most reluctant of the four to use the powers. She worries she will be consumed by the fire or hurt someone by accident when or if she loses control.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: Many of the secondary characters are real people, artists that I know. I l enjoy making real people characters.

Blog/site link, and where your book is available:

My book is available on:
Itunes Connect | Createspace | Amazon

You can read sample chapters on my website

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Author Spotlight: J.L. McFadden

Introducing J.L. McFadden, the author of the Guardian Series: Guardian, released, Adela, release in September, Choices (forthcoming in December), Adela’s Lost Guardian (forthcoming in March), and more to be named at a later date. Don't miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post! Also, it's his birthday, so Happy Birthday Jamie Lee!

J.L. McFadden spins tragedy and romance into all of his stories with picturesque descriptions that vividly paints and melts the scenes into your pleasure cortex that is a valid and important part of every readers mind. ;) Jamie Lee was born in a mixed Celtic and Slavic family in the river valleys of Pennsylvania, in his earlier years he played in bands in New York and ended up working his way into H.Q of the largest musical retailer in the world Guitar Centre; while working at the store level he managed multiple departments at once and handled all the stores merchandising logistics. He has explored the world and became the first American to be excepted into the Interregional Federation of Aikido Aikikai of Crimea & Sevastopol, where he enjoys learning from great masters from around the world, where he has developed his himself. He explains that the people rich and colourfully different people he has met spawned a lot of his characters.

Question: Tell us a little about yourself.
Answer: I was born in backwoods America and eventually ended up in the hoods of Buffalo N.Y, not looking for street cred, I just think living in such diverse areas gave me a chance to see the world through wider eyes. A little after a year, I moved to up state N.Y and played guitar in group after group, club after club. I moved back to P.A into a mountain town and worked in a lumber mill for about three years to be close to the family and bounced to Hollywood. I worked my way from a sells job, to managing multiple departments and handling the merchandising logistical reports of the store at Guitar Center. My Last location at G.C was at the corporate office. I was a general manager at a moving company before I moved to Ukraine.

Currently I am writing for a Ukrainian site from time to time and participating in their International Aikido group. I love to read, write and learn new languages. I try to understand people as well as I can, but at the current time I am trying to improve my skills as an Author.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I have been writing since the 6th grade and even the Liberian of the school that found my notes was trying to get me to pursue it, but I wrote and burnt, wrote and deleted book after book. I have had teachers and friends always encouraging me to publish and for some reason I just never did until this year.

I have written for a few blogs in the past always about business or history, but never spun a fictional tail for anyone. I think as a person we all have different times that we are supposed to blossom and grow into what we were meant to be.

Q: What is your latest book or series??
A: Adela which is really the first book the series and the Guardian would be the second. Next Spring I will be releasing Choices and there are more to come on this series, but I have another book that will be released in the Fall.

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.A: The Guardian series is about love, tragedy and triumphs; every once in a while, a Guardian is born and is connected to a female vampire, which is where he would get his strength. Between these two is always an incredible bond, but the ancient vampires hate this creature and always do their best to snuff them out. They Hate the bond for one real reason, the Guardian gains strength and skills way faster than a vampire and is the only thing that can stand against an Ancient in a rather short period of time. There is a hitch, if the vampire that the Guardian is connected to dies, he dies shortly after.

There is one Vampire who has just become an Ancient in the Guardian and she herself had a Guardian that was murdered, but she is doing everything in her power to protect and train the new one that belongs to a girl in her coven.

I believe everyone should start from the book Adela, because it shows how it all began with her and gives a better look at how and why things happen in The Guardian.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them? A: Adela took on a life of her own in The Guardian, which is why I wrote Adela to explain who she was and why she had such a character to herself. I had received a lot of questions about her and even a request for a book about her earlier life as I was in the middle of writing that very book. Writing her as a human was a challenge due to her being the strongest out of a group a vampires, how to strip her of all of her powers, but make you see her persona as a human was the tricky part. She is like a queen as far as she holds herself, but at the same time as a flirtatious energy to her that attacks everyone to her. Her personality and fairness even as a young woman made people want to obey her and trusted her to protect them. Her father was a wealthy duke in the 12 century. The love from the people actually drove another character mad, because one he wanted her and two he could not understand how people could want to follow a woman.

Lord Roth would be the bad guy, charming debonair and always manipulating his way with his vampire charm until Adela. Her being the first person that his vampire charm did not work on drove him even more over the edge.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.A:  Besides no animals being hurt in the making of Adela, I actually ended up dating the model that did the cover of the book. She is in no way like the Character that I wrote about, but a great woman.

Blog/site link:
My website
Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo

Adela, by J.L. McFadden
Adela is the earlier story of Adela, giving a deeper look into the coven leader herself.

Adela is a beautiful young woman of a very wealthy family in Eastern Europe who is fending off advances from an older aristocratic German business man that has an evil presence about him. She falls madly in love with another man to see her father and his followers come under the attack and clutches of this barren try to use the enslavement of her fathers land and people to force her to be his own.

BUY LINKS: | Smashwords
a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Giveaway not run or sponsored by Kyra Halland/Welcome to My Worlds)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Lost Book" Journey, and What's Next

Picture The Lost Book of Anggird has been out for about a week now, and I've been really happy with the response! It's been my most successful novel launch yet, and the feedback from readers has been very positive :) I extended the introductory price of $.99 through this weekend (Nov. 3), so there's still a day or two left to get it at that special low price at Amazon and Smashwords.

It's amazing to think that Lost Book is finally finished and available for readers to buy. I started writing it about 15 or 16 years ago, in a spiral notebook in pencil. I have no idea why. I got up to what is now about the 55% mark, and it was just getting weirder and weirder and I really had no idea what I was doing with it. So I stopped writing it. But the characters wouldn't leave me alone, and I finally realized I had them all wrong. In the original version, Roric was truly insufferable, instead of just, um, let's say "idiosyncratic," and Perarre really was in love with the guy back home, which qualified her as TSTL (too stupid to live; one of those technical writing terms :)) And the relationship between them took a *lot* longer to get off the ground.

The big breakthrough came when I finally got a handle on Roric and Perarre's true characters. It's funny how it works with characters. For me, and a lot of authors (not saying this is true for all), you don't just assign a name, an age, a gender, and a menu list of phyical characteristics and personality traits. My characters come to me as an already-existing entity, and then it's up to me to discover who they are. So I listened to Roric and Perarre and let them tell me about themselves instead of trying to impose my own ideas on them, and learned that they were very different people from what I thought at first. Especially Roric; when he told me about his past, I was shocked. But it all made perfect sense, and really explained why he was the way he was and why he did the things he did. Oh, and by the way, he and Perarre felt like the relationship needed to move along a little faster.

After that, everything started to fall into place. I had to figure out exactly how the magic in the story worked, since that's a major element of the plot, but once I had a clear idea about the characters I could see their world a lot more clearly too.

And then it was time to write. At first I had tried typing out my old handwritten version, but quickly gave up on it since 1) it was so eye-gougingly bad and 2) there was very little of it I was going to be able to re-use. So, instead, I rewrote the whole thing from scratch. It took probably 3 or 4 months (slow for me, for a first draft, especially since I started doing NaNoWriMo), and just kept getting longer and longer as I tried to find the right ending. The original ending, with Roric and Perarre returning in triumph after totally #&%$ing up the world's magic, made no sense at all. Finally, though, I found my ending.

Then I took my 139,000 word manuscript and started revising. And revising, and revising, and revising. Some of the revising made it much better, and some of it made it worse. I got it down to 105,000 words, then realized I'd taken out a lot of stuff I actually wanted to keep, so I added a bunch back in. Then, when it came back from the test readers, I had another heart-sinking realization - the writing had been "polished" into bland, boring mush. So a couple more rounds of revision, fixing some problems the test readers had pointed out and "un-revising" the prose into something (hopefully) more lively and interesting to read.

Then the proofreads (where I was still actually adding in some significant things I'd left out/taken out earlier) and then finally I decided that was it. It was done. The final version is about 130,000 words. The formatting and putting up on Amazon and Smashwords only took a couple of days (the paperback version is now also done and waiting my approval of the proof copy), and now it's done. It's hard to believe, after all those years and all that wrestling with it and all the seemingly-endless rounds of revision, it's done, and out there, and people are buying it and reading it and liking it.

So, what's next? I'm getting the feedback on Sarya's Song back from the test readers, so as soon as I finish the draft of Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings I'll start on that revision. Sarya's Song will be my next novel coming out; I'm aiming for Feb. 2014, though it could be March instead. Overall reaction to the book is positive, but it does need a lot of work. In the meantime, during November I'm also doing National Novel Writing Month. I'm writing fanfiction (another post for another time), which I haven't done in a couple of years. December is when I'll start on the big gigantic revision of Daughter of the Wildings. Also in the meantime, I've got a couple of stories loosely related to Chosen of Azara that are kind of halfway through being revised, that I'll finish and put up for sale.

Lots more stories to come! To stay informed of new releases and special offers, sign up for my email alerts. No spam, I promise!