Writing Wednesday: Camp NaNo helped me finish a draft!

I’m so happy to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of Riwenne 2! This has been more than a year in the works, which has been difficult because of health issues. But during Camp NaNoWriMo, I not only met my word goal, I finally got to write “the end!”

I’m not ready to name a release date just yet. I will start editing soon and I’m already talking to a designer about the cover, so I hope to have a date and a preorder ready soon. I’m very excited about how this book is shaping up and I can’t wait to share it with you!

I have also gone back to the long-promised prequel, Amena’s Rise to Stardom. The ending still needs a lot of work to iron out some details and then a final edit, but it will also be coming up soon. I plan to publish it for sale on Amazon and also give it as a free gift to my newsletter subscribers. (Right now, the newsletter gets Witch Test from Fae of Calaveras and The Duke’s Daughter from Wyld Magic for free, so there would be one free prequel for each of my main series.)

Third, I have the rights back to “The Girl who Talked to Birds” from the fairy tale anthology last year. So I can publish my own copy. That got me thinking, though, could I write more short stories that tie into the Divine Warriors series and eventually make my own collection? Something to play around with!

There’s lots of exciting things coming soon! I’m just glad to finally be writing again. I have taken breaks in the past because of personal issues and I always feel unhappy when I’m not writing. It’s satisfying to finish something again.

How about we finish with an excerpt?

I opened the front door of the temple sanctuary of Damon. The vaulted hall was full of sunlight, almost blindingly bright. The stained glass windows lining the walls filtered in light in every color of the rainbow, but the clear glass at the peak of the roof let in shining, pure light, washing out the decorated temple with white. I blinked, trying to adjust my eyes, and looked up. The sun was directly overhead. This must be why we didn’t normally come into the sanctuary at high noon—it was bright enough at the ceremonies for dawn and sunset.

I started to walk forward, but then I saw that the temple wasn’t empty. A group of people stood before the altar in red robes.

Don’t let them see you, a voice whispered in my mind. Keep to the shadows.

I darted to the side and slipped behind a pillar, and my eyes immediately felt better out of that overwhelming light. I blinked for a moment, then looked back to the altar. The red robes stood out against the white marble. Junior priestesses wore red, but the color looked wrong somehow, a darker shade almost tinging on maroon. And why would a bunch of junior priestesses be gathering alone? I craned my head, trying to get a closer look at their faces, but they were all strangely wearing hoods. Priestesses always went with their heads uncovered and their hair hanging loose, something that I’d struggled with as a novice, trying to keep my long, curly pink locks untangled.

Then another figure stepped from behind the altar, and I immediately recognized her distinctive robe. White at the shoulders, flowing down into red, and ending in black at her feet, only the head priestess, Mother Lyda, could wear something so elaborate. And her head was uncovered, clearly showing her youthful face and her dark red hair that hung well past her waist.

Categories: Blog, Writing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Meet the Author: My Toy Collection

I’m not just a fantasy author. That’s my favorite thing and my lifelong dream, and even when I’m not writing, I do spend a lot of time thinking about writing, reading books about writing as well as fiction, and talking about my books to anyone who will listen. But I have some hobbies that I enjoy and I thought I would share some other things about me.

I collect dolls, stuffed animals, and other toys. Some of these, I’ve had since I was a kid, preserving my childhood favorites. But I also continue to buy them for myself as an adult. I never grew out of loving toys and my family is supportive of my collection (even if they admit that sometimes it’s creepy to have so many things looking at them).

I used to be embarrassed about being an adult collector and try to hide it. But I don’t think it hurts anyone, so what’s wrong with it? I do have to be careful about making sure I have the space to store things and don’t spend too much money on things I can’t afford. Anyone should be able to spend their money on things that make them happy. Having my toys makes me happy and I’m still a responsible adult in other ways, so I won’t be ashamed anymore. No doubt some people will make fun of me, but I don’t care about their opinions.

You can probably guess some of my favorites or you may have seen them before. As a lover of fantasy, of course I have my share of dragons, unicorns, and fairies. I have pirate stuff and Disney stuff, especially The Little Mermaid. Sharks and other ocean animals, horses, and cats. And of course, my dolls.

My favorite dolls are 18” like American Girl, although I have some smaller ones as well. I enjoy taking pictures of these dolls and setting up scenes like a story. Sometimes I take them out in public and even on vacation for photos in fun locations. I do get weird looks and the occasional comment, but I’ve never regretted bringing a doll with me and I always smile when I see the pictures. My family gets tired of me taking too many pictures of them, but I can put a doll in any pose and take as many pictures as I want!

Here’s a picture of some of my doll shelves to give you an idea:

My doll shelves

If you want to see more pictures, I have a doll and craft blog (Sailor Ariel’s Dolls) and a separate Instagram account (@minimouseears). That way only the people who are interested can see my dolls. Check it out if you’re curious (but not if you just want to criticize me).

I’ve also been making a smaller felt doll which is lighter and easier to carry around for photos. I’m calling her Witchling. You may see her pop up in more of my writing photos soon. She doesn’t represent a specific character, she’s sort of a cross between Rosamunde and Riwenne but also her own person. She’s waiting for more clothes.

Witchling felt doll
Categories: About me, Blog | Tags: ,

Health Update: Writing and Carpal Tunnel

Like many writers and other professionals who use computers, I’ve found myself experiencing a great deal of pain in my wrist. I finally managed to see a doctor and a neurologist and my diagnosis is mild carpal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, it’s not bad enough to require any kind of surgery or injections, but it does mean that I need to relearn how I use my hands so that I minimize the pain and don’t do further damage to my nerves. Along with other health issues and family problems, I’ve not been able to continue writing.

I’m currently working with a physical therapist who has taught me a number of stretches and methods for using my hands while minimizing compression of my nerves. One obstacle is that in the months after I started hurting, I just stopped doing a lot of activities that caused pain in an attempt to heal. The result is that my muscles have also atrophied some and I’ve lost a lot of strength in my hands and arms. So while I’m learning new habits and stretches, it’s slow going because I also have to regain some of my strength and dexterity.

This has interfered not only with writing (and most of my hobbies like sewing, crocheting, playing video games, coloring, photography, etc.), it’s also impacted my daily life. The pain is in my right wrist more or less constantly and that’s my dominant hand. I didn’t realize just how much I relied on my hands for virtually every activity until I couldn’t use them. Bringing these back will all take time.

The wrist pain was at its worst when I was working hard to finish Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts. I was able to finish and publish that novel, but the sequel has been much harder to write. Currently, I would say that it’s about halfway done, but I can’t guarantee how quickly I will be able to progress on that as I learn how to manage my health better. So Riwenne & the Bionic Witches still has no release date. Also in progress, I do have most of the work done on the prequel novella, “Amena’s Rise to Stardom,” and the rights have reverted to me on the short story, “The Girl Who Talked to Birds.” However, I can’t commit to a release date for these yet, either.

Fans of Wyld Magic, I’m afraid that the third novel is still on the back burner. I do have plans to return to the marewings and Korinna someday, but probably not this year.

On a final note, you may have noticed that I have much less of a social media presence these days. I’ve chosen to disable my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and of course, Google+ is gone. I do occasionally share pictures on Instagram. But the best way to get updates on my writing is to read this blog and subscribe to my newsletter.

I’m working hard on my recovery, and I hope to have new writing to share with you again soon. Thank you for your patience.

Categories: Blog, Writing | Tags: , ,

Poem for My Late Grandfather

My maternal grandfather passed away last month. This past weekend, I joined my family for a celebration of his life. I wrote the following poem to honor his memory.

How Do You Measure a Lifetime?

How do you measure a lifetime?
Count the days and years that passed
The friends, children, and grandchildren left behind
Number the gigs played in concert halls

Count the days and years that passed
When he lived in so many different places
Number the gigs played in concert halls
The music echoes in all of us

When he lived in so many different places
He was a musician, teacher, father, friend and more
The music echoes in all of us
And remembered in the stories that we tell

He was a musician, teacher, father, friend and more
To the family, children, and grandchildren in his life
He will be remembered in the stories that we tell
For all the measures of a lifetime

Richard Ley Wright (8/27/1934 – 8/17/2018)

Categories: Blog, Poetry | Tags: , ,

Tour of Ever After: About My Story

Hello, and welcome back to the blog tour for the Tales of Ever After release! I have some exciting news to start off with: the ebook is now free to download on Amazon and other retailers! If you’re intrigued by any of the sixteen different fairy tales in this collection, this is a great chance to grab the whole set.

Also, there’s still time to enter the giveaways, which you can find at the end of this post. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a launch party with even more giveaways you can join tomorrow evening, 8-10 pm EST.
Tales of Ever After Facebook Launch Party

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ever-After-Fellowship-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07FFMHM8M/

Books2Read Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bwYKry

Goodreads Listing: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40788623-tales-of-ever-after

About “The Girl Who Talked to Birds”

 

I had a lot of different ideas for this fairy tale anthology that I went through before I finally settled on this story. I knew that I wanted to feature one of the secondary characters from my Divine Warriors series, since I released Riwenne and the Mechanical Beasts a few months ago and I’m currently working on the sequel. Since the series is told from Riwenne’s perspective, I realized that Kyra is the girl that we know the least about, because she’s aloof and doesn’t easily share what she’s feeling. When Riwenne first meets her in the temple, she thinks that Kyra is a snob who looks down on her. I wanted to share something from Kyra’s past to show how she became so isolated and why it’s hard for her to open up.

My first drafts were about Kyra learning to control her magical abilities and being sent on missions as an exorcist to banish evil spirits for the temple. I based them on existing stories in fairy tales and folklore, but they came out sounding more like ghost stories than proper fairy tales. Also, it was harder to fit the complex descriptions of how the temple worked, Kyra’s magic, and other aspects into a short story. (Maybe someday I will write a novella or even a series about Kyra’s “ghost hunting” days!)

That’s when I decided to write an original fairy tale of my own and explore how Kyra discovered her magical abilities in the first place. Since she’s been blessed with her talents by Xiso, one of the animal gods of Arkia, she has the ability to talk to animals. I drew inspiration from the numerous fairy tales that involve talking animals like Puss in Boots, The Golden Bird, and The Frog Prince. It’s often a rule in these stories that animals will talk to (and help) people who are kind to them. This inspired Kyra’s story of her feeding and talking to the birds in her city because she’s lonely.

I hope that you enjoy my story and the others in the collection.

Giveaways

There’s a comment contest which is part of the blog tour which anyone can enter. Simply comment on any of the blog posts in the tour. Here’s a question to get you started: have you ever made a new friend in an unexpected way?

Paperback giveaway (US addresses only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ebook giveaway (international readers welcome)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , ,

The Tour of Ever After: My Favorite Fairy Tales

Today is the official release of Tales of Ever After, the fairy tale anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, and the start of our blog tour to celebrate all of our stories! If you want to see all of the blog posts from this tour, you can just follow this handy link: The Tour of Ever After

I have a short story in this collection, “The Girl Who Talked to Birds,” and there are fifteen other authors featured. You’ll get an introduction to many of us through this tour, fun discussions about fairy tales, and of course, prize giveaways that anyone can enter!

Today, I’d like to start off by telling you about some of my favorite fairy tales. It’s hard to list just a few because there are so many great stories out there from many different cultures. I’ve spent my life hunting down new fairy tales, ever since my mom shared her fairy tale collections with me as a little girl. But these are some of the ones that I’ve loved for a long time.

My Top Five Fairy Tales

“The Little Mermaid”
I love mermaids and the ocean, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. But there’s also a beautiful sadness in the original version of this story with the mermaid’s sacrifice. There are many trials and obstacles for her to overcome, but in the end, she has control over her fate.

“Puss in Boots”
I also love cats, and this is a fun story about a cat helping his owner. Fairy tales often include help from an animal or a magical creature for the hero, but here it seems like the helping cat is the real hero. The miller’s son just follows along with what the cat tells him to do. Fortunately, when the miller’s son marries a princess, the cat gets his own reward in becoming a great lord.

“The Twelve Dancing Princesses”
The best part of this story, of course, is that the princesses get to sneak out to a magical ball and dance every night. It sounds like so much fun! It’s nice that even after getting locked up by the king, they get to escape and enjoy themselves.

“The Twelve Wild Swans”
A princess works diligently to save her brothers from a curse. Another sweet story. It does leave me wondering what happens at the end, though, when she can’t finish all of the sweaters in time, so one of her brothers is left with a swan’s wing in place of his arm.

“The Princess on the Glass Hill”
Not one, but three magical horses? The youngest son in this story is very lucky when it comes to animal companions! Also, despite the fact that the king has set up a contest for people to win the hand of his daughter, the princess actually gets to choose the winner because she helps the son by throwing him the apples. (Otherwise, it would be a little harsh for the princess!)

Get the book

Tales of Ever After is available today at the following links:
Amazon
Books2Read

You can also find reviews on Goodreads.

Giveaways

There are three giveaways for this blog tour. The first one is a comment competition. Leave comments on any of the blog posts during the blog tour for a chance to win a collection of special sneak peeks from several authors for upcoming releases.

The second giveaway is for paperback books, some of which have been signed by the authors, and is only open to U.S. addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The final giveaway is open to international readers and includes digital copies of several ebooks by the authors.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: About me, Blog | Tags: , , , , ,

Upcoming Release: Tales of Ever After Anthology

I’ve got a short story coming out next month! I was accepted into a fairy tale anthology with other indie authors. Tales of Ever After will be available on August 3. Here’s a look at the gorgeous cover and the list of stories available in this exciting collection.

As you may be able to tell from the titles, this is a mixture of both fairy tale retellings and original fairy tales. I’ve read several of these authors’ works before through things like previous Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies (this is the fourth one), and they’re all very talented. I’m excited to be part of this collection, especially because I’m a life-long lover of fairy tales! There will be lots more info about the book coming out the week of the release, too, when we kick off a blog tour with giveaways!

Now, let me tell you about my story. It’s an original fairy tale inspired by fairy tales about talking animals. “The Girl Who Talked to Birds” is actually a prequel of sorts for my Divine Warriors series, an introduction to Kyra before she made friends with Riwenne and the others. It explains why her childhood was a little different than the other girls and how those struggles shaped who she is. This story is exclusive to the anthology.

Tales of Ever After will be available on August 3. You can preorder it now for $0.99, or it will be free to download on release. Find it at the following stores:
Kindle
Nook
iTunes
Kobo
Indigo
Angus & Robertson

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Categories: 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.

Subscribe to the newsletter

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.

Categories: Blog, Self-Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Categories: Blog, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

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