Happy Book Birthday! Get Riwenne Now!

Since 1997, I’ve been writing and talking about this book. And today, it’s officially published. (In ebook. The paperback has hit a roadbump but I’ll try to get it out soon.)

I haven’t felt prouder or more accomplished of a novel that I’ve written, ever. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Exclusive on Amazon

When the gods came calling, she was the only one who answered.

In a utopian floating city, Riwenne dreams of serving the gods as a priestess. Then she gets a message from the sea goddess urging her to become a warrior. Mechanical beasts are attacking innocent people on the streets at night. Armed with the power of the goddess, Riwenne must learn to fight. But if she wants to save the city, she will need to decide who is a friend and who is an enemy—and the wrong choice could have deadly consequences.

Posted in Writing

Preorder Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts!

It’s almost that time again! My new book is finally ready and we have our date:

January 24!

If you want to get the ebook downloading the minute it’s available, exclusively on Amazon, just follow this link–

Preorder on Amazon!

The paperback will be ready somewhere around that date as well. I’m sure you’d like to hear more about the book and see the Awesome New Cover, right? The waiting is over! Daniela of MV Covers has knocked it out of the park again with this awesome design.

When the goddess of the sea chooses a young girl named Riwenne to be her champion, can Riwenne fight for what she believes?

In a utopian floating city, Riwenne dreams of serving the gods as a priestess. Then she gets a message from the sea goddess urging her to become a warrior. Mechanical beasts are attacking innocent people on the streets at night. Armed with the power of the goddess, Riwenne must learn to fight. But if she wants to save the city, she will need to decide who is a friend and who is an enemy—and the wrong choice could have deadly consequences.

I’m so excited for you all to finally read this book after I’ve been writing it for literally twenty years! Book 2 is already in the works, and I’m also writing a prequel short story as an exclusive gift for my newsletter subscribers. So, if you’re not already on my mailing list, now is the time to join. You’ll get the prequel novella for A Flight of Marewings right now (which will be replaced with the story) and then the new short when it’s available.

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And stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at the making of the new story. It’s changed a lot of over the last two decades, so I’ve got lots of old material to share.

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Looking Back on November

I’m happy to announce that I’ve finished NaNoWriMo and my novel! The above image shows the final sentence of Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts. This was my eleventh time participating in NaNo and my fifth time finishing. The final draft ended up being 83,270 words, of which over 50K were written during November. It’s been a great month and I’ve had a lot of fun.

In another exciting development, The Mighty Pens team has blown away our fundraising goal! We were aiming for $10,000 but as of writing, we just hit $15K in donations and the number is still rising as we finish off the final hours of November. That’s a huge amount of money for the Malala Fund, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. Together, we wrote over 2.5 million words and raised lots of money for a worthy cause.

Thank you to everyone who helped us out and cheered us on this month: family, friends, and online supporters. Kat and Sooz of The Mighty Pens did a great job of keeping the team motivated, and there were other wonderful team members who also helped run word sprints and encouraged us online. Thanks as always to the NaNoWriMo team who run an incredible event every year. And thanks to you, my readers, who followed me on this journey.

Today, I’m already starting the editing process. I’m aiming for an early 2018 release date for the novel. Keep an eye out here for updates as I make progress. I will probably get it onto online retailers for preorders once things have solidified. If you’ve been following along with my updates on social media, you could have seen some of the lines from this novel and I hope you found them exciting. (Of course, some of them may change in editing.) I’ll share longer snippets on this blog in December.

I’d also like to share some of the behind-the-scenes info I’ve got for this novel. I’ve been working on this idea in one form or another for twenty years, so I have a lot of material. I won’t subject you to the entire (terrible) first draft, but I’ll show you some of my earlier scribblings. It’s transformed a lot over the years. I have sketches of characters, maps, a complex language, poetry–so I’ll pick through the best of these and show them here to you.

I’m really excited to finally be bringing this novel into the world. I think I started and stopped so much because I wanted it to be perfect. It’s not perfect, but all of the time I spent practicing and writing other novels, I’ve learned a lot. And I believe this is the best novel I’ve ever written. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it the most. Hopefully, you guys have as much fun reading it as I did creating it!

Posted in Blog, Writing Tagged with: , , , ,

NaNoWriMo: Ahead of Schedule & Fully Funded!

Guess what, everyone! I have some incredible news. The Mighty Pens team has already reached our goal of raising $10,000 for the Malala Fund. This is amazing! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far! Right now, we’re helping give temporary housing to girls in Oaxaca who were affected by the earthquake in September so they can continue going to school, as well as providing tutoring and scholarships to disadvantaged students around the world. It wouldn’t be possible without your support.

But it’s not too late, since we are still accepting donations through November 30. If you believe the Future is Female and you want to help me bring education to girls around the world, please follow this link. And then don’t forget to contact me so I can send you a free copy of Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts when it’s finished!

Riwenne is going along great, ahead of schedule. I’m 80% of the way through the first draft and having a lot of fun. I’m really excited to be sharing this book with you next year, and I think it will continue as a series. I’ll be posting more information as I nail down the schedule.

And a quick note, A Flight of Marewings is on sale this week through November 27th. Grab the ebook for 99c at any retailer.
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Enjoy this holiday week with your loved ones!

Posted in Blog, Writing Tagged with: , , , , , ,

6 Sentence Sunday: Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts

I’m writing up a storm right now for NaNoWriMo! I’ve been sharing snippets on social media as I go, but I thought you might like a bigger excerpt today for 6 Sentence Sunday.

First, an update on my progress. I’m ahead of schedule with currently 22,602 words written in November and 52,602 on the whole draft. I’ve written almost every day, except for last Friday, when I was spending time with family. I’m sharing daily updates on my progress and short snippets on social media. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram.

The Mighty Pens have also done an awesome job in raising money for the Malala Fund! Right now, the team has raised over $7800! We are really close to our goal of $10K for this really important charity, and I can’t believe how well everyone is doing. We’re still accepting donations all month long, so if you can give anything, here’s my donation link. Remember, if you donate in my name, please let me know so I can send you a free copy of Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts when it’s finished!

By the way, The Mighty Pens award badges for us writers as we reach certain milestones in our word count. I’m up to the Silver Pen badge for 15k words! Kat and Sooz, who are running The Mighty Pens, sent me some interview questions about my book and featured it on their site. You can read a little about my experience this NaNo on their blog here.

And finally, here’s what you’ve been waiting for, the 6 Sentence Sunday feature from my Nano novel. I usually have a hard time writing fight scenes, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with this book, even the fighting parts, so I’m excited to share part of one with you today. In this scene, Riwenne is fighting a giant mechanical bird when she sees that there’s a young man trapped in its claws, and she has to act fast to save him.

“Hang in there, we’re coming for you!” I called to him, but he was just hanging there limply.

With a cry, the bird crashed into the side of a building and plummeted toward the ground. What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. I unslung my rifle, fired at a spring in the bird’s foot, and saw the man falling free. Somehow, I managed to drop the gun in time and opened my arms. A heavy burden landed on me and I collapsed to the ground only a moment before the bird crashed just a few feet in front of me.

What happens next? Hopefully, you won’t have to wait too much longer to find out. At this rate, I should have Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts ready to publish early next year! Stay tuned for a publication date in January!

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This NaNo, I’m Writing For Charity

It’s that time of year where National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is about to start. This will be my eleventh time to join, but it’s going to be a little different. I’m writing my novel for charity.

I’ve joined up with an amazing group of writers called The Mighty Pens. Together, we’re working to raise money for girls’ education around the world through the Malala Fund. I’m really excited because I think education is really important to help the world improve and it’s wrong that many girls don’t have access to it. Malala Yousafzai is an inspirational young woman who works really hard to help girls get the education they deserve, and I want to help her. Writing is what I do, so that’s what I’m using–and without education, I wouldn’t be a reader or a writer.

Don’t worry, this won’t take away my focus from writing–it’s actually really simple. It’s like a charity walk, except instead of walking miles, I’ll be writing words. You can pledge to donate money based on the number of words that I write. For example, pledge $2 for every 10,000 words. If I reach my goal of 50,000 words by November 30, you would donate $10. Or you can just donate $10 at the start of November to show your support! Whatever you can give will be appreciated. I think the minimum donation might be $5, but check the fundraiser to be sure.

This money doesn’t go to me, you donate straight to the Malala Fund. You can use my donation link or donate to the fundraiser and mention my name. Then track my progress on my NaNo page or watch for updates here. And make sure to let me know, because I’ll give a shoutout to everyone who donates AND send you a free copy of my novel when it’s finished!

Important: The Mighty Pens has asked for you not to submit donations until November 1, because they want to track everyone on the team and they want us to start at the same time.

What’s the novel that I’m writing? I’ve actually already started (although I’ll only be counting words that I write in November). It’s a new series, a steampunk fantasy YA novel based on ideas I’ve been working on for decades. The current working title is “Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts” and it’s planned as a series of at least three books. I’m really excited to finally finish this novel! Check out the temporary cover and a short synopsis:

Riwenne is an enthusiastic girl who dreams of being a priestess to serve the gods. When she discovers that the gods themselves are threatened by a new kind of power, she must become a sacred warrior and gather her friends to save everything she believes in.

Sound like fun? I hope so! Stay tuned for more updates when November starts and those words come rolling in!

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One Project on Hiatus, Another Book Resumed

Hello, everyone! I know that I’ve been a little scarce recently. I’d like to explain a little about what’s been going on.

So, last year, I finally published the second Wyld Magic book. My plan after that was to immediately write and publish the third book in that series. In fact, it was my 2016 NaNoWriMo project. I got off to a good start last November–and then came to a screeching halt after the outcome of the election on November 8.

Now, I realize I’m far from the only creative person who took a hiatus after that day. I had many friends who struggled after that event for months and some who continue to struggle today as our lives continue to be impacted by the changes in the U.S. I took some time to focus on the things that mattered the most: my friends and family. They reminded me that there will be setbacks but we will keep supporting each other and fighting to make the world a better place.

Then I tried to go back to writing Wyld Magic 3, but I couldn’t pick up the thread of the story again. I came back to it many times over the past six months. I have a substantial portion already written and most of the rest outlined, but I wasn’t making much progress. I just wasn’t having fun.

I finally realized that the Wyld Magic series is just too political for me right now. I see way too many stories about politics in the news every day–stories that frustrate, scare, anger, and sadden me. I tried to channel those feelings into my writing, but it didn’t work. Politics are the last thing that I want to think about. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to pick up Wyld Magic 3 again, but it probably won’t be for a while.

On to better news! I wanted to write a project that I could have fun with, something that sparked my enthusiasm for writing again. So I dusted off an old draft of Riwenne’s story, the most recent version of which is a YA steampunk fantasy novel. And I’ve been having fun again!

I don’t know what the title is, I haven’t written out the book blurb, and I don’t know when it will be finished. (Hopefully before the end of the year, but we’ll see how busy I get when my kid starts school again tomorrow.) But I can tell you that it involves a steampunk empire, a floating city, gods, magic, friendship, a talking animal mascot, and Saving the World from Certain Destruction. Also, there should be some tasty food along the way. If you liked Small Town Witch, then hopefully, you’ll like this book, too!

Stay tuned for more news about Riwenne’s story and future excerpts of the first draft here on the blog!

Posted in Blog, Writing Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

New Release: A Pride of Gryphons

After two years of writing, I’m very happy to announce that I’ve finally released the sequel to A Flight of Marewings. I hope you’re ready, because here comes the next book in the Wyld Magic series!

sam-gryphonsA Pride of Gryphons

Gryphons are deadly in small numbers. When wyld magic calls them to attack in great force, they could be strong enough to level a nation. And now they’re coming for Kyratia.
Korinna saved her city from a dangerous cult and became the new duchess of Kyratia. But ruling brings a whole new set of challenges and this time, she won’t be able to fight her way through.
Monsters are attacking Kyratia again, but her husband Galenos warns that the law forces all rulers to retire from fighting so they can’t join the battle. Korinna is frustrated by the slowness of politics, but riding her marewing could threaten her new pregnancy.
A sinister power lurks behind the monster attacks, calling gryphons to swarm the countryside in greater numbers than there have ever been. Korinna will have to find a power of her own to confront them, or everything she’s won so far could be destroyed.

 

Posted in Blog, Self-Publishing Tagged with: , , , ,

Excerpt: Korinna defies Galenos

I’m working hard on finishing the second book in the Wyld Magic series, A Pride of Gryphons. It’s been a little rough, since there are multiple characters and plot threads to keep track of, and I admit that I’ve had some false starts. (Don’t ask me about the dead end I wrote, or how fixing it meant removing all of the words I wrote in July.) But I’m still moving forward and on track to publish this fall.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming. Korinna and Galenos are both struggling to rebuild the capital city of Kyratia and figuring out their new roles as duchess and duke. They start out as partners, working together, but when gryphons attack the countryside, they disagree on how to handle the situation. Things escalate, and that leads to this scene where Korinna chooses to defy Galenos’s concerns and act on her own:

As she walked out the door, Korinna heard Galenos shouting for the guards to stop her, but she knew that they would never reach her in time. All she had to do was make it outside.

There was a secret entrance to the building near their private chamber, and Korinna moved quickly through the winding halls. Its secrecy meant it went unguarded, so she was unchallenged when she pushed open the door and stepped out into the sunlight.

Galenos had finally built a paddock behind City Hall for their marewings to meet them in the morning, but then they went back to the military compound to graze with the other marewings for the rest of the day. If it had been within hearing range, she could just whistle for her marewing. But the government buildings were in the heart of the city, a full mile away from the Storm Petrels’ outpost.

However, Korinna had been practicing her communication with Sungold. She felt as if she could sense the marewing sometimes, even when they were separated. Since she wasn’t allowed to fly in her current condition, she’d gradually experimented with that sense over greater distances. Today, Sungold was on high alert ever since the messenger arrived, and Korinna sensed that she’d been waiting for the call.

She could hear guards hurrying to follow her down the hallway, but she ignored them. She stepped away from the building onto the grass, closed her eyes, and concentrated on calling Sungold to her.

In moments, a shadow passed over her. Korinna looked up. A golden marewing came gliding in and landed on the street, folding in her wings to avoid the nearby buildings.

There was no saddle or bridle, but Korinna had managed without them before. It took extra effort to hoist herself up onto the marewing’s back—she was grateful that Sungold was smaller than average. Then she wrapped her legs around the marewing’s middle and wound her fingers into the pale white mane. At a signal, the marewing took off galloping down the road, building up enough speed to launch back into the air.

Behind her, the guards burst out of the door, followed by Galenos waving his arms. “Korinna, stop!” he cried, his voice breaking.

It broke her heart to hear the pain in his voice, and she almost told Sungold to turn around and go back. But she’d already made her choice. Beneath her, the marewing gathered her haunches and jumped. The hot air rising off the city streets carried them swiftly up into the sky, and her pursuers were left behind on the ground.

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Review: They Mostly Come Out at Night from #SPFBO

theymostlyHe locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!

Author: Benedict Patrick
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is one of the more original fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time, with a mixture of high fantasy, mythology, and religious beliefs. There is an ostracized peasant boy, Lonan, who lives in a village plagued by monsters in the night; but he dreams of the hardships of a prince, Adahy, son of the Magpie King who must learn to follow in his father’s footsteps as a hunter of the monsters. Woven between the main story are folk tales and myths which provide hints to the secrets behind the story. It’s all deftly written and captivating with vivid characters.
The mythology in particular is interesting because it’s a combination of European and Native American influences into something totally new. At first it seems like these folk tales are just world building or a distraction from the main story, but they actually provide important clues and become more closely involved with the plot as time goes on.
All is not what it seems in this story and the twists surprised me in several places. Yet the ending feels inevitable when it comes. I almost wanted to look away from what was happening but I had to keep reading until the last page, hoping against hope that things would turn out better. One character, the Pale Lady, had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.
This book is a prime example of dark fantasy, not in the newer sense of “grim dark” that dwells on explicit violence and gore, but in the classic sense that straddles the line between fantasy and horror. There’s an oppressive tension throughout the book, a fear of what could be out there in the dark, horrors brought on by both monsters and men. It starts with the promise of the beautiful cover and the ominous title, and doesn’t fail to deliver from there, right up through the bittersweet ending. It’s sad but fitting to the rest of the story.
It’s part of a series, but it’s a complete story arc on its own. A peek at the second book in the back hints that it will be a new location with different characters, so I think they’re intended to be stand-alones in a shared world. Either way, I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book. This is an amazing debut from the author and I want to see more of his writing.
I’d recommend this book to fans of Tanith Lee, Charles de Lint, and Terri Windling. If you like dark fantasy with a new take on fairy tales and folklore, you should definitely check this out.
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Books

Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts
Riwenne 1 cover Divine Warriors #1
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A Flight of Marewings
A Flight of Marewings Cover Wyld Magic #1
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A Pride of Gryphons
A Pride of Gryphons cover Wyld Magic #2
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Small Town Witch
Small Town Witch cover Fae of Calaveras #1
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Witch Hunt
Witch Hunt cover Fae of Calaveras #2
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Witch Gate
Witch Gate cover Fae of Calaveras #3
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The Voyage of the Miscreation
Voyage cover Season 1
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Kristen S. Walker's books on Goodreads
Small Town Witch Small Town Witch (Fae of Calaveras, #1)
reviews: 18
ratings: 30 (avg rating 3.97)

Witch Hunt Witch Hunt (Fae of Calaveras, #2)
reviews: 3
ratings: 6 (avg rating 3.67)

A Flight of Marewings A Flight of Marewings (Wyld Magic, #1)
reviews: 5
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

The Hedge Witch The Hedge Witch
reviews: 1
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)

Midsummer Knight Midsummer Knight
reviews: 4
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.00)

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