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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.