Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free for limited time - Award-winning Chest of Souls Book One

For a limited time (5 days):  28 Nov 2012 - 3 Dec 2012 - you can get my second edition (new cover) for FREE! on Amazon. Happy Reading!  Great Christmas gift for the Epic-Fantasy reader in your life. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Commissioning art work for your novels

Here are Brenna and Talon, the main characters in my Chest of Souls epic fantasy.  They are standing in the garden on the other side of time.

The artist:  Daekazu

As an Indie author, I am responsible for finding artists that can do covers or draw renditions of my characters. 

In this case, I already had covers, but I needed to kick them up a notch.  Let's face it, books are judged on their covers.

First, I decided just to see if this artist could follow direction.  The answer:  yes and no.  English is a second language for him, but I LOVE his work.  It is not a perfect rendition because I ran out of money. 

If you ask me if I really got what I paid for?

Let me put it this way:  My favorite part of this picture is the dress.

Talon's face is EXACTLY how I pictured him in a happy moment in his younger years.  However, Talon is 7 1/2 feet tall and immensely strong, so that part was completely wrong, but this rendition gives the reader something nice to look at.

In my opinion, the dress is so good, it upstages the woman wearing it.  I designed Brenna's dress by gathering pictures of dresses I looked at - the top was from one dress, the bottom from another I saw on Daekazu's art site.

The background was good - magical swirls, green to give it life.

I knew it would be hard to find an exact match for Brenna because as THE most beautiful woman in the universe, I would need to comb through every woman in the universe (not happening).  Also, her hair is brunette with blonde streaks, not the opposite.  Brenna was a disappointment in this picture.

At some point in the future, this portrait will have to be redrawn and when it is, it will be even more awesome!

I know of other author's that use Pinterest to find their artists.  If I need to find someone else in the future, I'm going to consider going there.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Where am I?

For those of you that are waiting for a new release, I'm afraid the wait will be longer.  I've been traveling to Utah and back once a week to help take care of my ailing mother.  Toughest job I've ever had.

I'm still writing, but the pace is excruciatingly slow right now.  Please be patient.  Here is a rough draft of the back-of-the-book blurb for one of the books I'm working on. 

Sky Signs Book One:  Islands in the Sky

Rill is unusual.  When he was born, his father went to the Council in Ushrin to demand they recognize Rill as a Child of Lightning.  They refused when he failed the basic test.  The spark of potential, which is apparent at birth in all future Masters of Lightning, only shows in one of his eyes - an indication he is an aberration and should be destroyed.  Because a war rages among the Islands, they decide to let the untamed power kill him.

They missed their chance to cast him to Earth.

Rill, the youngest of seven sons and the most powerful of them all, is free to embrace his power.
Or he would be, if it weren't for the Queen.

The Queen of Ushrin knows that Rill is her only hope.  She has seen what he can do and knows that he is a living legend.  If given enough time, he will destroy the Islander way of life, but he will save her daughter. 
It's a price she's willing to pay.

UPDATE:  I'm working on this and several other books, but decided the characters from Chest of Souls Epic had more to say.  In particular, those known as the "Ancients".  Therefore, sometime in June of 2013, I will release the first of four prequels I've planned.  The first is waiting for final edit and the cover.  The name:  Five, the Power Rising.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:  There will be 5 prequels, not 4.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Editing - the Crucible for writers

Crucible is a great test or trial.  For writers, editing can be.

One of my college-days favorite authors was Jack Weyland.  I'll paraphrase and say that he has been quoted as saying he's not a good writer, but a good rewriter. 

Re-writing is a four-letter word:  Edit. 
On the bright side, as an Indie, you get as many chances as you need to correct mistakes.  If a fan writes to me and tells me they see the word 'there' used as their or they're, I get to rectify my mistake and be grateful, not embarrassed that it was there in the first place (notice I used the correct version of there?). 

As an Indie, I rely more on my fans because the editing process is not perfect, not even for big houses.  In the last ten years, I've read more books with grammar/punctuation errors than I've ever noticed before.

One of my fans pointed out that I shouldn't worry, no one would notice in today's world anyway, the average citizen is illiterate and poorly educated.  Another asked what was the point of editing so much if no one can spell anyway in this text-crazy world.

Well, if someone is illiterate they won't read my novels anyway, and America is in love with electronics on all levels so I can't really do anything about texting.  

Maybe some of my fans are right, perhaps the 'average' citizen doesn't keep a dictionary handy to look up odd words that stick in your mind like bubble gum on hot cement.  The point is I am committed to giving my readers the best I am capable of in all writing departments.  As an Indie author, I will correct errors when I know they are there.

As an avid reader, I understand it DOES make a difference how many mistakes you have in your prose.  My eyes get snagged by the odd spacing or wording...and I'm  not the only one.  Those who read regularly are more observant about grammar/punctuation/editing errors.  It's something you can count on. 

I write because I love to write, and if I'm not writing, I'm gathering material to write about.  I am constantly observing, picking up funny sayings, noting oddities about life. 

However, I'm not in love with editing and I'm not a perfect editor so, to those of you that let me know about the mistakes, thanks.  For those of you that ignore those mistakes and keep reading, thanks.   Both are valuable to me.    

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chest of Souls Fan Art

I like fan art.  I think it a measure of success when people draw your characters because they think so much about them their hands beg for a pencil/paper (in this case a Bamboo pad) and the creative juices flow.


Hadasha Ryn, the sister we love to hate

Loni Ryn, the sister we all love

And Mari, Hi-Sha of Eyes, the sister devoted to protecting her daughter no matter the price

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fans - Kindred Spirits

Fans can be found in the most extraordinary places.  I was in touch with someone that saw my genealogy blog and our conversations were usually limited to family history.  She is a bus driver in Wyoming (ironically, Wyoming is the setting for one of my books - Pic Jump)

To my everlasting delight, she purchased two of my books - Chest of Souls (Book One) and Klaus.  When I found out she finished COS Book One, I wrote her back and asked what she thought.

This is her answer:

"Although it isn't the type of story I usually enjoy, I found myself stealing time to read it.  When I got done driving school bus, I would park in front of Albertson's on the way home from work and read until dark.  The stories in the  book captivated me that much.  The magical and mystical elements added an interesting twist.  I loved to like the good characters, and loved to despise the bad guys."  
Is that awesome or what? 
I have the best fans ever!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Loose Ends

When you have loose ends, you need a twist tie. 

One of those twist-ties has been the confusion that occassionally erupts when I tell people about writing 12 in 12.   Some people assumed I meant that I started every one of the books from scratch during the year I released a book a month.  This did not happen

I want to burst into hysterical laughter at the thought.  Perhaps there are authors out there that sit down at their computer without a firm idea percolating in their head and produce a book a month for a year. 

I am not that author.

For instance, Pic Jump, my 12th book, had three lines for an outline/plot and Pic sprang out of leftover ideas I had for 5 Blanks, my post-apocalyptic thriller.  Klaus was written because I love Christmas.  Honestly, it isn't hard to write about characters who only need to be tracked through one book. 

Chest of Souls, my Epic Fantasy, was originally an idea when my oldest daughter was in grade school (she is now in her 30's).  Because I was telling the story especially for her entertainment, the concept revolved around a girl her age, a cat my daughter wanted for a pet, an elevator, a skeleton (the better to scare her with), a necklace with unidentified power, and, for my daughter who was struggling with self-esteem, the feeling of not belonging.  The idea, which never took root, was to take it to the next level and introduce a time-travel scenario.  It never happened.

That's when Chest of Souls started.  It became a NINE book series - the bulk of what formed my 12.  It became a literary hydra.  Whenever I thought I had a plot covered, two sub-plots presented themselves.   

It took a miracle to finish the books in the time I had allowed myself.

BUT  I consider the true miracles the things that have happened since November of 2012.  After returning from another state where I spent most of last year, I had new goals. 

Chest of Souls Book One was given a new cover, re-formatted to html, and re-released.  We had the promotion mentioned in this blog last November - along with a peek at the new book.  The artist is currently at work on another cover.  Hopefully, we will receive it soon and give the stories a much-needed push.

Ummm....except, well, now there will be a four-book prequel and a possibly six book sequel.  I did not plan to do this, but the juiciness of the plots and the tantalizing glimpses of the distant past and fatal future of the characters you met in the first nine books were too much.  When I get that kind of call, I have to answer it and so, the first of the prequels should be released as soon as the cover is ready.  I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Release: Hallow's Gate

It has been an enjoyable vacation from the pressures of writing day and night, but I'm back in the saddle again and the first ride is Hallows Gate, my first paranormal romance/murder mystery.  I don't know if it will be my last...my talented muses take me through many fields of ripe fodder to enrich my books.

They aren't always useful fields of ripeness - like last night.  I had a dream which would now allow me to write a book entitled 'Dead Dogs in the Basement' if I wanted to.  However, I don't care for the title because it sounds like horror and I can't do horror; actually, I probably could, but it evokes dark thought processes that leave me feeling hollow.  I may put my characters through a lot, but I ultimately want a happy ending.     

For those that don't want to click on the image to make it big enough to read the blurb here it is:

New Year's changed Angelina's life
She got lost and fell in love - with a ghost
Now she needs to save him by becoming his wife
The problem?
If she succeeds, she frees him, but loses him forever
Love is more complicated than she thought
And that doesn't include the elves