Book 3 Release Date Set and Thoughts on Romance

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Alright, I’m procrastinating a bit, so figured it was a good time for a blog post.

First, I think we’re far enough along with book 3 that I can announce a release date of June 11th.

Also, I’m planning on a short pre-order period and introductory sale price for book 3 as a thank you for those who’ve stuck with me, so keep an eye out.  I’ll announce it on FB, Twitter, here, and through the newsletter when book 3 is live so pick your poison in terms of where to look.

And, finally, because I’m also starting to think about “what do I write next”, I thought I’d talk just a bit about the Rider’s series and romance.  Possible spoilers follow so if you haven’t read the series, might want to stop reading now.

Okay.  So…

There is a romance in the Rider’s series.  K’lrsa does meet Badru and they do fall for one another and they do have some challenges to their relationship that keep them apart, both big and small, and they do overcome those and get together.  (At least once…)

But, at the same time, when I was writing this series, I wasn’t writing it as a romance.  I was writing a coming of age action-adventure fantasy novel.  My focus was on K’lrsa and her growth as she learns about how different the world is from what she thought it was and how her mastery in the world she knows is challenged when she’s put in a new setting.

I wanted her to be strong, to solve her own problems, and to be the heroine, but I also wanted to explore how what made her successful in the tribes could be harmful when she was put in the setting of the Daliphana.

And I was also exploring, hopefully on a second level of the story that doesn’t get in the way of the main adventure story line, issues of women’s roles in society and how they’re treated based on where the men around them place them or how the men around them perceive them.

And, of course, I touched on other issues like grief and parental relationships and friendship and being young but trying to be a leader and (in book 3) trying to integrate people from two very different cultures and how people aren’t necessarily bad, they just have different perspectives, and on and on.

So the romance in these novels was not my focus.  I wasn’t spending most of the time on the page trying to show why these two should be together.

I do write romance novels under a different name (contemporary, not fantasy) and in those novels I take a very different approach.  Even though the characters are dealing with something else (grief in this latest one, cancer in the one before that), how the main character finds her happily ever after with the hero is the focus of those novels.  Everything else that happens in the books is just part of those two people finding one another.

That’s not the case in the Rider’s novels.  In the Rider’s novels, the focus is on K’lrsa and her journey. Badru is a very important part of that journey, but he’s not all of it.  Large portions of her journey don’t include him.  (Which doesn’t mean they won’t end up together, so if you were reading for the romance, don’t hate me…I’ve got it.  Trust me.)

Anyway.  This is my long-winded way of saying, I’m not sure which direction I’m headed yet for the next series.  I can write another one like this where there is some romance, but it’s secondary to the story, and the focus is on the main character’s journey.  Or I can write a more traditional romance structure, likely in the spirit of Nora Roberts’ fantasy novels, where one couple gets together in each book of the trilogy and you follow all three couples.

I have about ten different ideas, a few that are stronger candidates than the others.  All of that may change after this writing workshop I’m headed to which I hope will up my writing game to the next level.

But…If you have strong opinions about what you liked or didn’t like in the Rider’s series or what you like or don’t like about fantasy novels in general, let me know.  Drop a note in the comments, send an email, leave a review, whatever way works best for you.

I can’t promise it’ll happen, but knowing what my existing readers like or don’t like, helps. A lot.

While You’re Waiting

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Good news is that the third book in the Rider’s trilogy is coming along nicely and should be out relatively soon.  Definitely before mid June when I head off to a two-week writing workshop, but likely earlier than that.

Right now it’s resting between drafts so I can go back to it and see all its flaws and fix them and make it a better book.  (Okay, not all of its flaws, but some of them.)  Then it’ll go off to a couple of folks to make sure I “nailed the landing” so-to-speak.  And then it’ll be ready for the world.

Now, in the meantime, while you’re excitedly waiting for the third book (I hope), there are many many other wonderful, great books out there.  And because I’m waiting for this current draft to age, I even get to read some of them.

This week I devoured the latest Juliet Marillier book, Den of Wolves.  I have to say it’s so nice to read a master at work.  She’s a brilliant storyteller and great at writing real, vivid characters.  Fortunately for me, my mother now loves this series, too, so she bought the hardcover and gave it to me to read when she was done with it.  (She never got into the Sevenwaters series, but these she likes a lot.)

Another set of books that are blowing up my also-boughts right now are the Black Mage books by Rachel E. Carter.  I haven’t had a chance to read them but the covers are gorgeous and what’s not to love about a magic school premise?  Plus, people who buy my books seem to have also bought these books, so maybe check them out if you haven’t already.

As an author (and nerd), I also like to read some non-fiction here or there.

On the writing front I recently enjoyed The Fantasy Fiction Formula which was recommended by Jim Butcher at a conference I went to earlier this year.  (Although if you haven’t read Techniques of the Selling Writer, I’d start there.  I think they deal with some of the same concepts but Swain wrote about them first and reading his book was a real aha moment for me.)

And as a fan of psychology, I really enjoyed reading You Are Not So Smart.  I don’t remember much from my undergrad degree in psychology, but I do remember the concept of heuristics and this book talks about them so it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to see that because a while back I tried to google for the concept and nothing came up and I wondered if I was losing my mind.

Anyway.  A few ideas for those of you who don’t already have enough to read.  (I have two full bookcases of to-be-read books…Some have been there for over a decade now.  Oops.  Never enough hours in the day it seems.)

 

 

Writers and Politics (and a 99 cent sale on Rider’s Revenge)

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First, let’s get the “good news” out of the way.  The ebook of Rider’s Revenge is on a 99 cent sale through Tuesday, so if you are somehow reading this blog and haven’t yet bought it, now is the time to buy it for a nice discount.  That link above should take you to a page that will get you to any of the major stores anywhere in the world, but if it doesn’t work you can try the Rider’s Revenge page on here which also has the U.S. links on it.

Alright, now down to the topic of the day: writers and politics.  (I figure most of you reading this blog have already read Rider’s Revenge, so it’s not very nice to come on here, announce some sort of sale, and then not give something to people kind enough to support me, but if you’re sick of political talk of all stripes then carry on and apologies.)

Obviously, this past six months has led to lots of people talking about politics.  And lots of reaction against creative types who’ve poked their nose in and voiced an opinion one way or the other about what’s happening these days.

I used to have the rule that you should never talk religion or politics because it never ends well, but my personal Twitter and FB pages these days are pretty heavy on sharing and RTing political news. That started happening about three months before the election because I wanted the people I knew to be informed.

I try to keep it off my author sites, because that’s not why folks are there, but a little slips through on Twitter and for that I apologize.

But what’s most interesting to me is that it doesn’t matter if I post or tweet or blog about my politic views.  Because they are there all throughout my books.  At least thematically.  Issues like women’s rights and how women are treated based on how they dress or act.  And my belief that for evil to be done requires the support of thousands–not just the person who orders the act but those who make it happen and those who stand by and let it happen and those who go along rather than resist.  And so so many other ideas.

By writing and putting my words out there I can’t help but address politics and religion and psychology and economics (another strong theme in the Rider’s books) and how people relate to one another and all those other things that make a world real.

I’m sure there are books out there that manage to avoid those subjects (the Shopaholic books come to mind), but I’m pretty sure I’m not capable of writing one of them.  And that most authors aren’t.  I loved Tolstoy’s books when I was younger but that man had whole paragraphs in there about his religious beliefs.

And in times like these I think that will become even more prevalent for all authors.  Writing is how we tackle what’s floating around in our minds.

For example, after I finish the last Rider’s book I have a book I want to write about the different forms of resistance and how we judge one another for our chosen way to resist.  (Of course, if I do my job right, that will all be there, but for most readers it’ll also just be a good entertaining story.)

Same with movies and t.v. shows.  We live in a certain environment and it impacts where we focus our attention and the stories we choose to tell.

Anyway.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the Rider’s books so far.  Book three is coming along nicely.  Still aiming for a mid-June release.  (And need to hit it because pup and I are going to take a road trip that includes a two-week out-of-state writing workshop and then, hopefully, touring the dog parks in the region afterwards.)

Ah, Book Three…

Happy holidays!  Hope you’re enjoying the season and getting to spend time with your favorite people.  Also, a quick reminder for anyone who reads the Rider’s books through Kindle Unlimited that they’ll be rolling out of KU at the end of the month, so borrow them now or wait another six months or so before they do another spin through KU.  (And if you don’t like that, tell Amazon to not make authors be exclusive to Amazon just to list their books in KU.)

On Twitter today I saw someone giving Patrick Rothfuss (a great author, you should read his books), a hard time because his third book isn’t out yet.  Granted, the last one came out in 2013, so I get it as a reader, you want to read that next book.

(Poor George RR Martin gets a lot of that, too, and he’s written about how that kind of pressure can just shut him down in his writing process which just makes it worse.)

What I’ve come to realize as an author that I never understood as a reader is that sometimes it’s not that easy to just write the next book.

I usually alternate between pen names so after I finished the last Rider’s book in July I turned to a romance I needed to finish.  It was a second-in-series book about a woman who lost her husband and is now finding love again.  I thought it would be easy to knock out and I’d have it published by September at the latest.  I knew the character, I knew the world, I even knew the story and who she falls in love with.

But…

Writers, or at least the type of writer I am, plumb our own emotional experiences to fuel the emotions of our characters.  So, I, for example, draw upon the death of my father to fuel the scenes I write about losing someone you love.  And sometimes going to that same emotional place too many times in a row is just too hard to do.  Most people experience a loss like that and then find a way to shove it aside so they can keep living.  They don’t keep going back there and revisiting those feelings over and over again.

So after writing about grief in Rider’s Rescue, it turns out I wasn’t able to write about it again in this romance novel.  Which means I stalled out with my fiction writing and ended up writing a cookbook instead.  (Seriously.)

I’m now setting aside that romance that just doesn’t want to be written right now and turning to RR#3.  There’s some heavy lifting to do there, too, but not of the same kind.  Book 3 will have conflict but it’s about resolution and triumph this time around, so yay.

But given my process we’re probably looking at June for release of that one.  (I know, sorry.  But it’ll be worth it, I promise.  Or at least I hope.  A little early to promise anything, although I’ve been thinking about book 3 since I finalized edits on book 2 and from what I know of it, I think it’ll be enjoyable if you liked books 1 and 2.)

I’m sorry it isn’t going to be out sooner but at the same time that should still be less than a year after book 2 came out, which is better than Rothfuss, right?  Right.

And I know you’ll still have plenty to read in the meantime, because there are so many other great books out there.  (You should see my kitchen table right now.  I keep buying them even though I don’t have time to read them!  If my next story is about cloning, you’ll know why.)  For example, I recently enjoyed Thunderlord by Deborah J. Ross.

And if you are still at a loss for things to read (how is that possible, please let me know), you might want to check out this list here.  Through the end of the month it includes links to SFF books from authors who donated to help out their follow authors this holiday season so you can find a great author to read and help out someone you know helped out others.  Sort of a win-win-win.  Right?  Right.

Now.  Back to RR#3.  Because if I don’t write it, no one else will.

 

News: KU and MileHiCon

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Rider’s Revenge and Rider’s Rescue will be available in Kindle Unlimited for the next three months, so if you have a subscription and haven’t had a chance to read one or the other now is the time to do it.

And for anyone who’ll be at MileHiCon in Denver at the end of the month I’ll have a table in Authors Alley, so drop by and say hi.  There may even be candy, but no promises.

Rider’s Rescue is out!

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Available now at: Amazon, Google, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, Page Foundry (Inktera), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Tolino, and coming soon to 24 Symbols.

I’m pretty happy with it although it does a few things others might think is strange.  (Can’t say what exactly without spoiling it, just suffice it to say my world view is a bit different from that of others and so my characters make choices others might not.)

I was telling a friend the other day that Rider’s Revenge was about learning to appreciate what you have whereas I think Rider’s Rescue is very much about grief and how people handle it.  Of course, at the same time both are also meant to be fun, fast reads with lots of action and adventure, so don’t think it’s a depressing book by any means.  That’s just the deeper theme that came through for me.

I hope you enjoy it.  And, as I mentioned before, the ebook is priced at $2.99 now through the end of the month as a thank you to all you fine readers who took a chance on an unknown writer.  (And liked her enough to read the second book…)

Paperback is not out yet, but should be by month-end.

Release Date Has Been Set!

Alright!  Later than I wanted it to be, but had some cover designer woes and the book is currently being reviewed by others to make sure that it isn’t the pure dreck I always think a novel is right before it releases.

The sequel to Riders Revenge will be out on…drumroll…July 12th.  It’ll probably go up for pre-order on a few of the sites before that day, although not Amazon.  (They make you lock down the book ten days before release and I don’t want to do that.  Otherwise it would’ve gone up today.)

Should be available on all the major sites (Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, B&N, Google, etc.), but it won’t be available through KU, at least not initially.  (Sorry any KU readers, but the readers on the other sites have been waiting longer so they get first dibs and the only way a book can be in KU is if it isn’t available anywhere else.  At least, if you aren’t J.K. Rowling.  Sucks that Amazon does that, but they do.)

Also, as a thank-you to those of you who tried out an unknown writer when you bought Rider’s Revenge and are still willing to hang in there to read book 2, the sequel will be $2.99 through the end of July and then go up to a regular price of $4.99.

I will post here when it’s out, just letting everyone know where things stand at the moment.

About Reviews

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So, first, in case anyone is wondering, book two in the series is coming along amazingly well.  Cover artist is hard at work on the new cover which I hope will be even better than the first one and I’m chugging along on edits.  Well, writing and edits, because I did a pretty significant overhaul of the first draft.

Also, Rider’s Revenge is in the self-publishing fantasy blog-off and it made the first cut in its group of thirty being reviewed by Pornokitsch.  So, yay!

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

I’m here to talk about reviews.

A couple weeks ago I had a lovely woman reach out to me about Rider’s Revenge.  She’d just finished it and loved it and wanted to tell me and ask when the sequel would be out.  Which, by the way, MAKES MY DAY every single time it happens.  To think that someone read something I wrote and liked it enough to tell me about it is just wonderful.

Never hesitate to reach out to an author if you loved what they wrote.  Sometimes those little moments of encouragement are all we have to keep us going through until the release of the next novel.

(Having said that, I’m not that kind of reader, so never feel obligated.  But if the urge hits you, do it.)

Anyway. I wrote her back and thanked her and said I’d noticed that she’d left a wonderful review of it and I was so pleased with that.  She responded with a comment that sort of pooh-poohed her review because she wasn’t as good a writer as me.

So I wanted to address that for her and for anyone else who ever doubts themselves.

First, when it comes to a review, I, as a reader  and as a writer, am never going to judge anyone by how they construct their sentences or what words they choose or whether they place their commas in the correct place.  And anyone who does do that is not someone you should spare a moment’s thought for.

Because it’s not the words you choose that matter to me, it’s the sincerity of the emotion behind what you say.  Good or bad, love it or hate it, if how you really felt shines through in what you say, that’s the best possible review.

We may not agree.  I’m sure there are people who’ve hated books I loved. (War and Peace, anyone?)  But I’d rather we disagree and you put out there something real and authentic than that you don’t speak at all or write something forgettable but agreeable.

Let me also say that, as a writer, I’m not going to judge a review by the number of stars you give. You can like a book enough to review it and not think it’s five-star worthy and that’s okay.

As a matter of fact, sometimes people don’t trust a book that has all four or five-star reviews.  They think it’s just the author’s friends putting up reviews.  So put up whatever rating you want.  It’s your opinion and that’s what counts.

And for anyone who does review my book, thank you.  Not only for taking the time to read something I wrote, but for taking even more time to share what you thought about it.  I don’t directly respond to reviews, because I think that’s something for readers to share with one another, but I do appreciate every single one.

So if you ever are motivated to review a book, don’t hesitate.  Do it.  It’s valuable to the author and it’s valuable to other readers.

Where’s The Next One?

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So I figured it was time for a bit of an update on the sequel to Rider’s Revenge.

First, yes, there will be a sequel.  (I think if there weren’t a couple of my friends might disown me for the cliff-hanger at the end of book one that I didn’t realize was a cliff-hanger when I wrote it).

Second, when?

While I was originally shooting for April, life got in the way.  I was lucky enough to write full-time last year, but in November I took on some paid work and that work turned out to be more demanding of my time than expected.  Life.  It happens.

And my perfectionist nature won’t let me put out the book until I like it.  (And my mom does.  Believe it or not she’s my toughest critic, but also biggest supporter.)

So the new goal is to get the book out by the end of June.

Why then?  Because that’s when I have one of those “what am I doing with my life?” birthdays and saying “publishing a book” seems like a pretty good answer to that question.

Sorry for the delay for anyone who was hoping it would be out sooner, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

 

More of a Reader than a Speaker

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Yesterday one of my co-workers suggested that I narrate the audio version of my book.  (I mentioned how I don’t have one out yet because it’d probably run me $2,500 or so to pay for a good narrator and I’m too selfish to go the free revenue share route.)

My immediate reaction was no, because it’s challenging to get the right quality.  And it takes time.  I recorded a short story I have under another pen name about two years ago and have yet to finalize editing on it so that it can actually get published.  Recording it was fine, but going back in and getting rid of any random background noise is the challenge, and it’s a new skillset to master on top of all the others.

But there’s another reason I’d hesitate to record a 90,000-word novel.  And that’s because I’m really more of a reader than a speak.  I’m actually fairly good at talking in public, so it’s not a shyness issue, it’s a pronunciation issue.

See, I know lots of words, but most of the  fancy words I know I learned through reading not speaking.  Which means that my personal pronunciation of those words is probably very, very different from what the dictionary says it should be.

I remember when I was younger that I would read the word facade, but I never connected it to the same word I’d heard people say because my interior pronunciation was so different from the real world version.  (Think fa-kade vs fa-sade, although I’m sure a dictionary would write that differently.)  Took me about five years to realize they were the same word…

It’s rarely an issue.  Honestly, how many times do you really use oeuvre in normal conversation?  Or bon mot? But some of those words do creep their way into my writing.  And I’d hate to have some listener out there happily listening to my story and then cracking up with uncontrollable laughter when I mispronounced patois.

(Random story time.  I used to go to New York often for business.  One night I wanted to order room service.  There was a pasta on the menu called farfalle. Not pronounced far-fall as it turns out.  I asked for it and heard this dead silence on the other end of the line, so I knew I’d pronounced it wrong and the guy was just trying his hardest not to lose it.  I asked him how it was really pronounced, laughed when he pronounced it for me, and then told him I was also about to butcher the name of the glass of wine I wanted to order with it. *shrug*  Perfection really is over-rated.)

I know there’s a variety of pronunciations in the world.  Just have a New Zealander say the word six three times really fast and you’ll see what I mean.  But, really, the world does not need to be subjected to my creative interpretations of words I’ve really only ever read or written.