Saturday, December 2, 2017

Defenders of the Wildings Story Grid, and More Stuff

Okay, so it's been a while. After I released Heir of Tanaris, I did a re-edit of the whole Daughter of the Wildings series, fixing up a few things I wasn't quite satisfied with, and also brushed up the blurbs. And Write Dream Repeat Book Design did these nifty new title treatments on the covers!
Pretty cool, huh? :) All six books wouldn't fit on the banner she made for me; you can check them all out on the series page.

To celebrate the update, Beneath the Canyons is only 99 cents until after New Year's.
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

So now it's on to updating the paperback versions and also doing the paperback of Heir of Tanaris, and the revision of Defenders of the Wildings. Yes, this is a thing, even though it's been delayed a while. The whole thing is written, I just need to beat it into shape. As part of that process, I made a Story Grid of the entire series. It's pretty long, so I couldn't fit it all into one picture. Here's the left side, from the start to the first part of Book 5 (Books 5 and 6 are a lot longer than books 1-4), partly because I forgot in the first draft to put the plot in book 1; what's in the grid is a skeleton plot that will need to be fleshed out a little more):
And here's the right side:
As you can see, I had fun with my colored gel pens :) The pacing and flow, the ups and downs of the different storylines, actually came out pretty good. I don't have to make a lot of adjustments to the story structure. The actual writing... That's another story (lol). At this moment, I'm well on the way through typing up the final revision outline and notes, and I should be ready to start marking that puppy up with the red pen this week. This revision method takes a lot of planning, but saves a lot of time and trouble later on. If I think of something I need to add, delete, or change, it's just a matter of making the changes in my revision outline, rather than having to go back and rewrite something I've already rewritten once. I'll probably have to do some of that anyway, but planning it all out ahead of time will keep it to a minimum.

So this should keep me busy for a while. I'll post updates whenever I have something interesting to report. In the meantime, I've got a stockpile of short stories waiting to be edited and posted or released for sale, when I get a chance, so watch for those.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Heir of Tanaris now available

I am very happy to announce that Heir of Tanaris is (finally) available at the following retailers:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction |

The ebook is only 99 cents through October 19; after that, the regular price will be $4.99. The paperback will be coming in a few weeks, probably.

Here's the description: As a young boy, Davian was sold into slavery at Source Makarsk, a corrupted magical wellspring. Over the years, he has risen in the ranks of the slaves; still, he knows he will never be anything but a slave until an elderly wizard, a prisoner at Makarsk, tells him he can be something more and gives him an astonishing gift. Desperate to find the destiny the wizard promised him, Davian risks his life to escape from Makarsk.

Isamina, a talented young healer at Sharan, a Source of healing magic, loves caring for patients and has a special gift for soothing their fears and pain. But her parents, the Master and Matron of the Source, and her betrothed, her former teacher, doubt her abilities and have their own plans for the path her life should follow. And the kind of healing Isamina most wants to do, mending broken minds and spirits, is strictly forbidden at Source Sharan.

When a badly-injured runaway slave is brought to Sharan, Isamina is captivated by the man she senses deep inside and risks everything to try to heal his tormented spirit, damaged by the evil Source that still holds him prisoner. And Davian, hunted by Makarsk's fearsome Guardian, must find a way to defeat the powerful magic that binds him to Source Makarsk so that he can become the great man he longs to be and win the love he yearns for, the love of his healing angel, Isamina.

Romantic high fantasy for adults [for some reason, people get the idea that my books are YA, which they most definitely are not]. Contains violence, mild to moderate sensual content, and disturbing themes.

You can read the first chapter here.

Heir clocks in at 100,000 words, by far the longest of my novels except for Lost Book of Anggird, which is in the neighborhood of 130,000 or so. Still only 1/3 to 1/4 the length of your average fantasy doorstopper, but long for me. Which is why it took so long to release it; I'd forgotten what a challenge it is to work on such a long book, and just how long it takes.

Next up, some fine-tuning of Beneath the Canyons; there are some things about the execution of it that I'm not really satisfied with. At the same time, I'll be continuing with revision prep for the Defenders of the Wildings series.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Heir of Tanaris Cover Reveal!

With Heir of Tanaris in the later editing stages and (hopefully) still on track for release at the end of September, it's time to reveal the cover. I have been so excited to show this off!
And here's the full spread for the paperback:
As usual, Mominur Rahman did an amazing job with bringing my characters to life. And the magical tree is pretty cool, too. That was the first thing my husband said when I showed this to him - "Cool tree!"

Here's the short blurb, in case you haven't seen it yet: "When Davian, a badly-injured runaway slave from a corrupted magical Source, is brought to Isamina's healing Source, Isamina must find the courage to heal his damaged spirit, while Davian must defeat the evil within himself to become the great man he was meant to be and win the love he yearns for."

Some fun facts about this cover:

Davian's gloves weren't in the original character description. But I liked them so much I added them into the book, and they became an important detail in the story.

Also, Kaniev (from Source-Breaker) and Davian are from the same region of Tehovir, the northeastern fiords, (and, I don't know, Kaniev might even be Davian's great-great-grandfather or something) so I gave Mominur the same reference photos to work from, featuring the same model. Here are some closeups; you can see the resemblance between the two characters, but also how the artist captured their different personalities.
Davian from Heir of Tanaris
Kaniev from Source-Breaker
Finally, here's some of my mood music for the book, from the album Haven by Kamelot. The whole album is really awesome, and pretty much makes up most of the playlist for the book.

My Therapy (this is how Davian sees Isamina): 


Under Grey Skies (the love song for Davian and Isamina): 


Watch for Heir of Tanaris coming at the end of September (knock on wood). To make sure you don't miss out on the release and the special low introductory price, sign up for my email newsletter.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heir of Tanaris Story Grid

I think I mentioned before that I'm studying The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, a really cool editing method that takes you deep into how a story's theme and structure work together. The approach it takes really struck a chord with me, so I gave it a try with Heir of Tanaris. This might be more interesting for writers, but if you're an avid reader and like seeing how the sausage is made, so to speak, you might find it interesting too.

Heir had already been through one major revision and was out with the beta readers while I was working through the Story Grid book, but I felt like I hadn't gone deep enough into what the story is about. This is a novel that has given me a hard time for years, trying to really get a grasp on it. So I decided to take Heir through the process, which involves making a spreadsheet of different sets of info about the story and a 1-page summary of the story then putting it all together into a grid.

Here's a screen shot of part of my spreadsheet for Heir:
Because spreadsheets are awesome, and doing this helped me start to clearly see the patterns of the story.

My "1 page" summary kinda turned out to be a lot more complicated than that. The Story Grid summary is based on a 3-part structure, beginning - middle - end, while I myself am more partial to a four-part structure, beginning - middle 1 - [midpoint reversal] - middle 2 - end, and Heir actually falls more naturally into 5 parts. But the basic principles are the same, each section consists of complications rising to some sort of crisis and climax, and I eventually got that beaten into shape.

And then the fun part, making the actual grid. You do this on actual grid paper with actual pens (it is possible to do it on a spreadsheet, but it would be a lot harder unless you're a spreadsheet virtuoso, and the examples I've seen are hard to read); I used my new set of Tul colored gel pens :D which was fun. And here it is:
The boxes above and below the center line each represent a scene. The Story Grid method evaluates scenes based on how the story situation changes, from bad to good (negative to positive) or good to bad (positive to negative); you can also have bad to worse (which is fun) and good to better (use sparingly). Scenes that move in a positive direction go above the line, scenes that go in a negative direction go below the line. The tricky thing, and the thing that really helps you strengthen the theme of the story, is the direction the scene goes in has to relate to the overall storyline. For example, if the villain gets something he wants, that's positive for the villain but negative for the overall story. So that scene goes below the line.

​Trickier is if one of the good guys gets something he wants that he shouldn't want, because he's trying to overcome a character flaw; that is also a negative turn for the story, even though it's temporarily positive for the character. Or if the character has to make a sacrifice in order to achieve their goal; negative at the moment for the character, but positive for the storyline. It can especially get complicated if you have two conflicting goals. A scene can be positive for one storyline and negative for the other. For example, in a romance, if the hero passionately kisses the heroine even though he's got no business kissing her at all right now, that's positive for the romance but negative for his moral development. Heir of Tanaris has a lot of that conflicting stuff going on, so this helped me get a firmer grip on all of it.

I had fun with my colored pens :) The blue boxes are for scenes where we're in Davian's head, pink boxes are for scenes in Isamina's point of view. Imaginative, I know :P Brown boxes are for the villain. The colored lines going up and down represent the rise and fall of the different storylines. Blue is one of Davian's storylines, green is the other, pink is Isamina's, and orange is the romance storyline. That line, for example, goes down when something happens to keep Davian and Isamina apart and up when they're together and their relationship progresses.

Now, over on the right hand side, not all the way to the right but kind of in the middle of the right side of the graph, you might notice a problem. That's right, hardly any scenes with a negative turn. Almost all the action is above the line. This means everything through here was going very smoothly for our hero and heroine. Which is nice for them but makes for a boring story. That was a huge flaw in the story which was really made clear by the grid. So what I did was go back and evaluate the story conflicts in each of those scenes, the larger-scale problems the characters are facing throughout the book. What problems did I solve too easily? Where do the characters need to struggle harder?

Another problem is all the way to the right, near the end, there's one scene that stretches both above and below the center line with a bunch of lines zooming up and down and up and down all within that one scene that takes place over maybe an hour of story time. What that showed me is I was trying to do too much in that one scene and the climax of the story was rushed. So there again I had to deepen the struggle, and also spread it out over more scenes and over time within the story.

I just finished the revision incorporating everything I got from this and also the beta reader feedback, and I think it's made Heir of Tanaris a much stronger, deeper book. I'm going through a modified version of the process with the first draft of the Defenders of the Wildings series, combining it with Holly Lisle's How to Revise Your Novel method, in hopes of nailing all the major story issues in one big revision instead of two. Which hopefully will help me get those books out faster.

To learn more about the Story Grid, visit the Story Grid website. Most of the content from the book is also available for free on the blog, and you can also view story grids that Shawn Coyne made for Silence of the Lambs (the book he uses as the example throughout the blog posts and book) and Pride and Prejudice.

Anyway, Heir of Tanaris is currently on track for release in late September. To make sure you don't miss out on the release (and the special limited-time low introductory price), sign up for my email newsletter. Subscribers will also get the first peek at the cover, before I do the cover reveal here on my blog. So excited about this; Mominur Rahman's art for this book is gorgeous!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Sci Fi/Fantasy Romance Sale

Aug. 7-13: Love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, & Sci-fi Romance? Then check out this great sale, hosted by the authors of the Dominon Rising boxed set, which releases tomorrow. Even heroes and heroines need a little romance at the end of a long day of saving their corner of the galaxy. You'll find 40+ books by the Dominon Rising authors and guest authors (including me :D ) for only 99c, for a limited time.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Want more books? Here's more books!

August 5-6: The 99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy Promomotions hosted by Patty Jansen are back. You'll find around 100 books in a wide variety of fantasy and science fiction genres, all 99 cents. This sale includes all the major retailers, not just Amazon. (Selection varies by store.) The Lost Book of Anggird is in this sale; I rarely discount this book, so if you haven't read this epic fantasy about a stuffy professor of magic, his free-spirited assistant, and the most dangerous book of all, here's your chance to get it for only 99 cents!
Aug. 2-16: The summer/winter book promotions continue with Geektastic Books' August Instafreebie giveaway! A unique selection of 17 books, plus you'll find exclusive author interviews and a giveaway to win a Fire tablet and Amazon gift card! (Please note that some of the books may require you to sign up for the author's email list in order to download them.)

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Daughter of the Wildings Box Set Cover!

You may or may not notice a slight difference in the site banner and the cover gallery over to the side - I've done a slight refresh of the cover of Beneath the Canyons, and also got a shiny new cover for the Daughter of the Wildings boxed set! Here it is in all its glory:
Write, Dream, Repeat Book Design put that beauty together for me :D

And here's my refresh of the Canyons cover:
Same awesome art by Mominur Rahman, but I adjusted the color and lighting a bit and changed the color on the lettering to bring out that magical glow thing happening around the edges of Silas and Lainie, coming off of the ore they're holding, and also cropped in a little closer on the characters so that the magic is a more prominent element.

Anyway, as for actual books, I'm still chugging along. I've been slightly less exhausted this week than I was last week, but my brain is very unfocused. I'm mainly concentrating my efforts on the second big revision of Heir of Tanaris right now; I want to get that done and edited and released. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say end of September, but I can't make any guarantees this far out.

Once Heir of Tanaris is out, I'll turn my full focus (such as it is) to Defenders of the Wildings. I've got another story/series idea I want to work on, that I think I can set in the Islands of the Wildings world, but first I'll just work on the big edit on Defenders. It's almost scary how much work it's going to need, but I'm trying out a process that I hope will let me cut my two major revisions down to one. I also have a bunch of short stories I've been meaning to get to in the evenings on days when I get my full quota of work done during the day, but that never happens. At least I'm making progress, slow though it may be.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Geektastic Books giveaway

GeektasticBooks.com/free/)
July 4-14: Check out this big fantasy and science fiction giveaway sponsored by GeektasticBooks.com! There's also a giveaway to enter, and exclusive author interviews. Here's mine :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Still Making Progress...

Whew, ok. Yes, I'm still here, up over my head in revisions on two large projects, Heir of Tanaris (the upcoming Tehovir novel) and Defenders of the Wildings, the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings. I'm making progress; Tanaris went out to the beta readers early in the month and the reports are coming back in, and I finished making my revision notes for Defenders (a couple hundred pages' worth) and now I'm trying to systematically set about making sense of it all and organizing the revision so I don't miss anything, from adding the actual plot to book 1 to characters whose reason for being in the books I'm still figuring out to what exactly that green stuff is.

I've also got some more short stories I want to put into a collection, and then there's the Source-Breaker stories, which will be a newsletter exclusive. Life's been kind of crazy for the last month, with one thing and another, but hopefully things will settle down. I'm hoping to be able to cut back on extra demands so I can recover from everything and get caught up on my writing projects.

Since I'm always trying to improve my writing craft, besides my usual revision methods I'm working my way through The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, which is basically like a big textbook about story structure and story theme and how they work together, and how to analyze them in your project. I'm doing this with the revised version of Tanaris, and it's making me look at things in a different way that's both mind-blowing and makes a lot of sense with how I think about writing. I'll definitely be incorporating it into my workflow. It might even streamline my process a little by catching more of the big issues at the beginning of revisions.

With Heir of Tanaris coming into the later stages of revision, I think I'll do the cover reveal coming up before too long. Newsletter subscribers will get the first peek, so if you're anxious to see this gorgeous artwork, sign up if you haven't already! And Sivael from Source-Breaker has been waiting to be interviewed, so I'll try to get to that next. Back to work :)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Great Deals on Chosen of Azara and More Books

April 1-2: It's the Science Fiction and Fantasy 99 cent sale! Load up your ereader with science fiction, dystopian, horror, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy romance, and even some box sets, all for 99 cents! Chosen of Azara is in this sale, 99 cents at all retailers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New Release: Darkstorm



Today I am really excited to be a host for the release blitz for Darkstorm (Rhenwars Saga Book 1), the new epic fantasy novel by M.L. Spencer. It's the prequel to Darkmage, which I reviewed a couple of years ago as part of my A-Z reading challenge. Some time after I posted that review, Ms. Spencer contacted me to very graciously thank me for the review and ask if I would beta-read the prequel, Darkstorm. Of course I said yes! Darkstorm blew me away, even in its early beta-read stage, and the Rhenwars Saga is shaping up to be an awesome series. Here's more about the book (and dig that amazing cover!):


Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a conspiracy of darkmages resolves to open the gateway to Hell. The only mages who stand a chance of opposing them are Sephana Clemley and her acolyte, Merris Bryar, along with their protectors, Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic relationship.

Will Braden and Quin be able to protect Sephana and Merris long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they fall victim to manipulation and become darkmages themselves?

Darkstorm is available at Amazon.

Add to Goodreads

And while we're at it, here's the second book (though the first written), Darkmage, with a shiny new cover:


The hope of the world rests in the hands of a Darkmage.

The Well of Tears is open and the terror of the night has been unleashed. Now, the last Sentinel left alive with the power to defend his world against the minions of the Netherworld is a man destined to be corrupted into the image of what he hates. In the name of duty, Darien Lauchlin will see oaths forsaken, crowns toppled, friends sacrificed and the land he loves desecrated. For there is a very thin line between duty… and brutal inhumanity.

Darkmage is available at Amazon.

Add to Goodreads.

About the author:
M.L. Spencer grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.

Ms. Spencer lives in Southern California. By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. She is now in the process of expanding the Rhenwars Saga into a trilogy.

Visit her at:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March Progress Update

Looks like it's time for a progress update. Two big projects are occupying my time and (limited) brainpower and energy right now. The major revision of Heir of Tanaris is under way; I'm about halfway through. As always, scenes I thought didn't need a lot of work are getting totally rewritten (just finished a long one that I decided at the last minute to change from Davreos's point of view to Isamina's). But I'm really happy with how this is coming together so far. The soundtrack for this book is mainly the album Haven by Kamelot. Give it a listen if you want to get a feel for this book, the next book in the Tehovir world.

I've also started the triage phase of revision on the Defenders of the Wildings series, the follow-up to Daughter of the Wildings. I was going to wait until the big revision on Tanaris was done, but decided I couldn't wait that long. And I think (hope!) I've got readers waiting for it too. So I started that, revising the whole series like it's one big book (which it basically is, much more than Daughter, which divided itself up neatly into separate novels), and I was going through book 1 and it was going fine, highlight these characters more, move this to this other scene, combine these two scenes, dum de dum, HEY WHERE'S THE PLOT???

Yes, I forgot to put a plot in book 1. Which probably explains why this "novella" is only 38 double-spaced pages long. My excuse is that I decided that what was originally book 1 needed to be book 2, so I took some stuff from the original book 2 and wrote some new material and stuck all that in front to make the new book 1, just so I could get the general scaffolding of the story in place. I know what the plot is supposed to be; a thing happens, as often does in novels, and this thing has potentially dire consequences for Silas and Lainie and their livelihood, and they talk about doing something in response. Well, then, other things happen and we get to the end of book 1 and they never did the thing they talked about. So doing the thing they talked about is the plot of book 1, and now I just need to actually write it. Fortunately, it fits in well with the other stuff happening that I wrote.

There are writers who claim they can write a complete, organized, well-structured story in one draft, with only needing to clean up the typos to make it publishable. I am not one of those writers. :P

So, anyway, that's where things stand. No idea yet on release dates; to make sure you don't miss out, sign up for my email alerts to get release news, special offers, the occasional freebie, newsletter-exclusive sneak peeks and trivia quizzes, and other fun stuff when I can think of it.

One more note: a very talented young writer named Cristian Mihai is in dire need of dental work that is far beyond his means to pay for. He has a condition that leaches all the calcium from his teeth, with the result that he has a mouthful of crumbling teeth, which causes him a great deal of pain and makes him unable to eat or speak normally. His writing is best described as literary fiction, which you may know is usually not my reading material of choice, but his stuff is really good. Anyway, if you can make a donation, or buy a package of reblogs on his site if you have a Wordpress blog, buy one of his books, or even just share on social media, every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Character Interview: Ardavos


Here's an interview with Ardavos, the antagonist (it's really kind of hard to think of him as a villain) from Source-Breaker:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Lord Ardavos, Master of Source Vadaerna and seeker after knowledge. You may simply call me Lord Ardavos, or "my lord."

2. How old are you?
Age has no relevance to genius. However, I do worry that I don't have enough decades of life left in which to complete my work.

Well, if you insist, I am 46 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have not had contact with them since I left home in my youth to begin my training as a healer, but my parents supported my ambitions and I believe they would be proud of what I have accomplished in my life.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
*turns red* My lady Sivael is the first woman I ever kissed. Fifteen years later, she is still with me, so that must mean we both found it pleasing.

5. What is your occupation?
As I said, I am a seeker after knowledge. By training I am a sorcerer; my original training was in the field of healing. Since then, I have turned my attention to finding improved ways to store and use Source-power. One of the great limitations on the use of magic is that only one kind of Source-power can be used at a time, and the magic practitioner must either be at a Source in order to draw on its power or carry a limited amount of power with him, either within himself or in a special, magically-prepared container. I seek to take the practice of magic far beyond what is possible under current restrictions and practices.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I am dedicated to my work, to improving the practice of magic for the benefit of mankind. I am talented in developing theorems and making precise calculations in order to predict the results of the experiments I will carry out. And I am methodical and orderly in my work.

I have always had difficulty in developing relationships with people. Very few people understand me, though some have suggested that it is I who does not understand them. However, this is an insignificant thing; I have surrounded myself with people who are grateful and loyal to me, and I feel no need for any other company.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
*turns red again* I had never given any thought to such a thing - it always seemed unimportant compared to my work - until I met my lady Sivael. After I healed her of life-threatening burns, and you can see that she has not so much as a scar from her injuries, I had a sense that she would be the one person who would understand and appreciate both my work and myself. I had a sense that... this is very hard for me to put into words, but I had a sense that if I accomplished nothing else of note, saving her life and healing her injuries would make all my work and sacrifices worthwhile. I knew that even if I never had anyone else I could trust, who could understand me, if I had her, it would be enough.

Sivael has no magical ability, but she is well-educated and does a superb job of keeping the records of my work. And she is unfailingly kind and patient with me. Even when I become excessively absorbed in my work and short-tempered, she reminds me that my work is not the only thing of value in my life.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Studying magic. Experimenting with different ways of using Source-power. Learning and expanding our knowledge of what is possible.

9. What is your greatest fear?
That I will not live long enough to be able to make the results of my studies widely known, or that something else will happen to cut my work short.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My magical abilities, and my lady Sivael.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy Sale

http://pattyjansen.com/promo/

Feb. 4-5: Don't miss the 99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy promo! Over 100 books, at all retailers, not just Amazon (selection varies by store). Source-Breaker is in this sale, and you can enter a giveaway to win paperback copies of four historical fantasy novels (including a signed copy of Beneath the Canyons!) and a beautiful hardcover journal and matching bookmark!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage, Part 5: Kaniev


A few years ago, I did a series of blog posts called "Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage," comparing the heroes of my books to those popular romance tropes. This ended up being a pretty popular series, although a lot of the views came through the search term "bondage boys." Somehow, I have the feeling that a tongue-in-cheek look at how my fantasy heroes stack up against the romance tropes wasn't what those people were looking for and they probably went away disappointed. The popular trends in romance have moved on to include such things as mixed martial arts, rock stars, and motorcycle clubs, but billionaire bad boys who are into bondage seems to be a classic, and anyway I'm having too much fun with this concept, so I decided to update the series with a look at the hero of my latest book.

So here's Kaniev, the Source repairman from Source-Breaker, and how he stacks up on the Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage index. (You can follow the links back to the older posts for more detailed explanations.)

Billionaire factor: Kaniev, like many skilled tradesmen who are in high demand, has made a pretty good living for many years at his trade. He's good at what he does, not to mention he's the only one in the world who can do it, so he can command pretty much whatever rates he wants for his work, and he doesn't come cheap. As he says to one client who tries to short him in their bargaining, "You have no idea how much my services cost, do you?" As is the custom in certain societies and periods of history, he converts his money into more practical and portable items, namely, expensive black leather clothing and lots of silver jewelry. It serves as a calling card, showing that previous clients have valued his work enough to pay him generously. And he knows it looks good on him :-D

Unfortunately, the last six months, he's run into a string of bad luck in the form of a number of Sources with problems he just isn't able to fix. Whether it's something weird going on that he can't figure out or his skills are starting to slip, the results are the same: if he doesn't fix the Source, he doesn't get paid. He hasn't been paid in six months and has had to start selling off some of his jewelry. If things don't turn around soon, he's going to be in a tight financial bind.

Billionaire rating: 3

Bad Boys - Inner Torment factor: Kaniev is a pretty easygoing, well-adjusted guy. He had a happy childhood back home in the fiords, although his uncontrolled talent for magic got him into trouble a number of times. When the previous Source-Fixer found him and wanted to take him on as his apprentice, Kaniev, who was not looking forward to becoming a fisherman like all the men in his family for generations (boring), and his parents happily agreed. He loves his work, and he loves traveling and meeting new people. Lately, though, he's starting to get frustrated with his failures and just wants to go home and (oh, the irony) take up fishing. About now, boring would be good.

Inner Torment rating: 2

Bad Boys - Jackassery factor: Again, Kaniev is a pretty mellow, easy-going guy. He likes people and generally gets along pretty well with them. He especially likes women, all kinds of women, and he's a terrible flirt. He knows he looks good, especially for his age, and he never misses a chance to show off. (Fransisa's over to the side, rolling her eyes.) But it's all in good fun, and he doesn't mean for anyone to get hurt, though every once in a while, someone takes him more seriously than he wants to be taken and ends up disappointed. He does feel bad about that, but can't seem to restrain that flirtatious urge.

Jackassery Index: 4

Bondage: Yes, Kaniev likes the ladies. And the ladies like him, mostly (more eye rolls from Fransisa). He isn't looking for anything permanent, just a good time, and he certainly doesn't want to hurt anyone. Despite the black leather, he has no desire to dominate (or be dominated); while he enjoys all kinds of women, he especially likes being with a woman who can keep up with him as his equal. Not that he's averse to a little fun and games, but that's all it is, fun and games.

Bondage rating: 0

So, out of a possible 40 points, Kaniev comes in at 9. So it's a good thing he didn't try out for any hot tormented bilionaire romances but landed in my quirky fantasy novel instead. I think Fransisa's glad (even though she's stil over there rolling her eyes). Though with the black leather, he might fit right in in a motorcycle club story. (He likes this idea!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Author Spotlight: B.R. Kingsolver


Today I'm happy to welcome B.R. Kingsolver, author of the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy Chameleon Assassin, here with Ultimate Fantasy Books blog tours.

Question: Tell us a little about yourself.
Answer: I grew up in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment, surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore. I’m a passionate lifetime skier, and our house was seventeen miles from the nearest ski basin.

After living all over the US and exploring the world — from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains — I trade time between Baltimore and Albuquerque. I have an eclectic education in history, social sciences, nursing, and biology and a Master's degree in business. I’ve done everything from painting houses to working as a newspaper editor,  making gold and silver jewellery,  to programming computers.

I currently spend my  time writing and working with computers while living nine blocks from the harbor in Baltimore. My main job is servant in residence to a very demanding cat.

Q: When did you start writing, and why?
A: I tried to write a novel when I was fifteen. It was terrible and I was so sure I was a poor writer that I never tried again until five years ago. Now, in my professional life, I’ve worked as a business and technical writer and editor for a long time, but I didn’t try to write fiction. Then five years ago, my partner and I were discussing self-publishing and I mentioned that I had a story I thought would sell. She pushed me to write it, so I did.

Q: What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
A: Chameleon Assassin, the first book in a series by the same name. The second book in the series, tentatively titled Chameleon Uncovered, is about half written and should be published early in 2017.

Q: "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
A: The book is set 200 years in the future. Environmental pollution and climate change have drastically altered the world, and several nuclear wars have damaged the environment further. The book is set in Toronto, but the climate is like south Florida is today. Major parts of the world are so hot and dry that they’re uninhabitable.

As a result of all this, large businesses have taken charge and governments are basically organs of the corporations. There are four main tiers in society, the corporate bosses, those who work for the corporations, a small set of independent business people, and the desperately poor. Many of the poor are mutants.

Q: Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
A: The main character is Elizabeth (Libby) Nelson, a tall (6’2”) 25-year-old mutant who owns a small business as a security consultant. Her main business, though, is as a burglar and assassin. Libby’s main mutation is that she is a chameleon. She can essentially become invisible by blending into the background. She can also psychically project an image or illusion of herself as being anything she chooses. Very handy for a thief.

Libby’s mother is a madam, and her father was a cat burglar and assassin before a fall crippled him. So she’s had an unusual childhood, to say the least. She’s kick-ass, takes no sass, but dishes it out. She’s irreverent, snarky, and has a cutting wit and nasty temper.

She’s also a bleeding-heart altruist who gives a lot of her money away and is fiercely protective of her friends and those who can’t protect themselves.

Q: A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
A: I envisioned the character of Libby almost a year ago, but didn’t know what to do with her. I was in the middle of writing an epic fantasy/quest novel this past August when I had a story idea for an urban fantasy\dystopian sci-fi  novel and realized it was the perfect story for Libby. I stopped writing the epic fantasy novel in the middle of a battle and wrote the first four chapters of Chameleon Assassin before I went to bed that night.

Where to find B.R. Kingsolver:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

For special deals and news about new books, sign up for B.R. Kingsolver's newsletter.

Chameleon Assassin:
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.

Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.

There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.

Chameleon Assassin is available at Amazon | Add to Goodreads
 
http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Character Interview: Fransisa

Introducing Fransisa, the formidable Source-priestess from Source-Breaker.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Dama Fransisa Cortadella, of the duchy of Cortadella Fira in the Kingdom of Pacetino, one of the Independent Kingdoms. In my capacity as a priestess of Source Chaitrasse, I am known as Sera Fransisa.

2. How old are you?
They say that one should not ask a lady her age. That being said, I am forty years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father is a duke of the second degree; however, my family is more highly connected, to a ducal family of the first degree, through my sister's marriage. I also have three brothers. I have seen my relatives less than once a year since I came to Source Chaitrasse, and we are no longer close, if we ever were. Still, I have done my best to do my familial duty and be a credit to them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Now that is definitely not a question one should ask a lady. Anyway, I prefer not to remember it, for various reasons.

5. What is your occupation?
I am the senior priestess, after the High Priestess Sera Valara, at Source Chaitrasse. As Sera Valara is quite elderly and in frail health, I am also the acting managing priestess. I had expected to be the next High Priestess, until a young girl came to Chaitrasse less than a year ago, who is Chosen of the Source and therefore the natural heir to the position of High Priestess. Among my responsibilities are to teach and train her, to prepare her to step into the position.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I have an aptitude for organization and administration, which allows me to keep everything running smoothly at Chaitrasse. I'm quite skilled in magic.

I know that many people think of me as a harridan, a battle-axe. I suppose I do have a tendency to be stern, strict, overbearing, and impatient. I do what's necessary to ensure that the affairs of Source Chaitrasse are conducted in the proper manner.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
As an avowed servant of Source Chaitrasse, I am under a lifelong vow of celibacy. But were I free to marry and had the opportunity, I would prefer a man of excellent breeding, manners, and education, of intelligence and refinement, who would attend to his duties in a conscientious manner and be a credit to our families.

As long as I'm daydreaming, I suppose I will add that if he were kind and honest and did not trifle with my feelings, I would appreciate that very much.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
There have been times when I have felt discontent with my lot in life, and using Chaitrasse's magic is a great source of happiness and comfort.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Being useless and unwanted; having no place where I belong.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My ability to use magic and my affinity to the magic of Source Chaitrasse.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Source-Breaker Now Available

I'm happy to announce that Source-Breaker, the newest novel in the Tehovir world, is now available as an ebook at all the stores I sell through. The paperback edition will be coming in the next few weeks. The regular ebook price will be $3.99, but right now it's at the introductory price of only 99 cents, and will go on 99 cent promo a few times over the next few months. It's available at:

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

This was a fun book to write. It's a little more light-hearted than a lot of my work (though still with a good dose of angst and some serious themes). Unlike a lot of fantasy which is coming-of-age stories, in this novel I decided to feature two characters who are facing midlife crises. Kaniev is all of a sudden a failure at the trade he's worked in for 27 years, and Fransisa has had her expectations of career advancement pulled out from under her in favor of a much younger Chosen. I also enjoyed telling the story of the villain, Ardavos, and his mistress Sivael. I've written some backstories for Kaniev, Fransisa, and Ardavos and Sivael; they need a little editing, and then I'll make those available.

So now it's on to the next book, Heir of Tanaris, also set in the Tehovir world. Unlike my usual habit of working on two projects at once, I'm going to focus exclusively on Heir, at least until I get the revised draft out to the beta readers, and see if I can start getting stuff done faster. I want to get to the revision of Defenders of the Wildings, so I'll start on that while the beta readers are having at Heir. I love all my books, but Heir of Tanaris is one of those that just won't leave me alone and it's a story I feel deeply compelled to tell. I've already got the cover art for it, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I'm hoping to release it early this summer. Watch for the cover reveal and more information coming up this spring!

In other news, if you've noticed the disappearance of the OmniLit links from the site, OmniLit and its parent site All Romance eBooks suddenly closed in December, owing a lot of money to a lot of authors. (They offered a really insulting settlement of 10 cents on the dollar, ostensibly to help them avoid having to file bankruptcy.) I didn't sell much there, so I'm not losing more than a few dollars, but some authors are losing thousands. Anyway, as a result, I've decided to replace the old OmniLit links with the GooglePlay links for my books. GooglePlay is a relatively large, um, player in the ebook world, and I should have been promoting my books there more. If you use Android and the GooglePlay store, now it'll be easier for you to find my books there.

If you did buy any of my books at OmniLit/ARe and are now unable to access them (readers were given about four days in the middle of the holiday travel season to download and back up their purchased books; I'm hearing of readers who lost hundreds or thousands of books in their ARe libraries), contact me with some sort of proof of purchase and I'll set you up with replacement copies.

The ARe debacle has also emphasized how important it is for authors to not become too dependent on one company. Which is why I'm trying to cast my GooglePlay net more widely, and I'm also looking into setting up to sell books from my own site. I know which service I'm going to use if I do this (PayHip); now it's a matter of sorting out tax licenses and stuff. I do know that if I have to get a city business license in addition to a state sales tax license, I'm not going to do it because the two licenses together will cost more than I anticipate making in sales from my website. :P

Anyway. So I'm adding new links to the site, and getting the Tehovir section more put together, with information and reading order on the books and things like that. Watch for more Source-Breaker book extras coming up; I've got interviews scheduled with Fransisa, Ardavos, and Sivael, and I'll be revisiting the notorious Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage blog post series with a look at how Kaniev fits into those popular romance tropes; that should be fun.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy Sale

http://pattyjansen.com/promo/
Jan. 7-8: Big 99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy sale! Over a hundred books - fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, urban fantasy, sci fi/fantasy romance, and even some boxed sets - all 99 cents this weekend. All ebook stores, not just Amazon! Sarya's Song is in this sale (with its new cover!) so if you haven't yet read this tale set in a world where music is magic, now's your chance to get it for cheap.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Tour: Rise of the Queen



http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com
Today I'm happy to welcome Aoife Marie Sheridan back to the blog with her new book, The Rise of the Queen. First, I was able to do an interview with Aoife, so you can get to know a little more about her, including what books she loves and what she's most passionate about lately!

1. How did you get started in writing?
I had read somewhere a statement that had me putting pen to paper. Being an avid reader I could never get enough, so when I read this statement “If there is a book you always wanted to read but couldn’t find it, then write it” and so I did. I started in 2012 writing my first book titled Eden Forest and since then I haven’t stopped. In total I have released five books and have two more written, and loads started.

2. Who is your favorite character?
At the present moment Abigail Thornton from The Demon Series. She’s a teenage alcoholic who hunts demons and has a horrible background, so she’s intense and tough to write which I enjoy.

3. Who is your favorite author?
I have several Maria V. Snyder, Kelly Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Julie Kagawa, Dan Brown, Suzanne Collins, really I could go on all day. Just so many.

4. Where do you usually write?
In my study, it was one of the first rooms we did up when we built our home. It was something I had dreamed of and feel very lucky to have such a beautiful space to write in.

5. Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I do have different play lists for different stories, but I will only play at an emotional scene, or a kickass scene basically wherever the emotion is high. But normally I wouldn't play music.

7. What books have most influenced your life?
Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder. It’s what got me hooked on fantasy books.

9. What are you passionate about these days?
My baby girl firstly :) [Kyra sez: Congratulations!] Writing, reading, photography and also love watching Paranormal, Dusk Till Dawn, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory and Games of Throne.

The Rise of the Queen:
FROM AWARD WINNING AUTHOR AOIFE MARIE SHERIDAN

The final Instalment of the Saskia Trilogy.

Sarajane struggles with her separation from Tristan as she moves towards the heart of Saskia to defeat Lucian. But her journey isn’t easy. She encounters The Forsaken, zombies and fights to recover her true form. But with Marcus beside her and the help of Willow she makes her journey to her final destination but nothing is as it seems.

Verona and Mirium try to understand why their visions are gone, what Prudentia is up to? and find Sarajane. All the while Tristan and Verona are at war with each other, and politics makes each decision difficult with Morrick.

Loved ones will be lost, decisions will be final, and all betrayals will rise to the surface.

Step into Saskia for the last time.

Available at Amazon

About the author:
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with Mills and Boon books given to by her grandmother. Her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife has a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen.

Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) took first place with Writers Got Talent 2013. Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and romance.

To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:
Amazon | Facebook | Website | email | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Google Plus | Linkedin | Pinterest
Subscribe to Aoife Marie Sheridan's Mailing List
http://www.ultimatefantasybooks.com

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cover Reveal: New Sarya's Song Cover

Just got this in, and I am really excited about it: a new cover for Sarya's Song! Here's the full wraparound:
And the front:

Like with the new Chosen of Azara cover, making the decision to get a new cover for Sarya's Song was really difficult. The old cover is gorgeous, and Katt of Design by Katt did a fantastic job with it. But I finally had to come to the conclusion that it didn't quite fit the story or genre. Because of the limitations of working with available stock art, it looked more like contemporary romance or paranormal romance than romantic high fantasy. I've said before, it's just really hard to find stock art that works with my particular style of story. Once again, Mominur Rahman came through with an illustration that I feel really captures the spirit of the story (even though I had trouble describing to him how I wanted the "menacing darkness" to look). I'm in the process of replacing the old cover images on the site and in the stores (along with updating everything in the newly-renamed Tehovir world - formerly Estelend - and finishing the edits on Source-Breaker and digging out from Christmas because I've been sick for a week, blarg). Sarya's Song will be on special for 99 cents this weekend; if you'd rather get it in the Love and Magic box with Urdaisunia and Chosen of Azara, that will be on special for $2.99 next week.