Archive for August, 2015

Well after bashing my head against the keyboard repeatedly, I’ve decided that the problem with getting back into Book 4 (probably to be titled WAR MAGIC) is that I just need to give myself a break. I need to let my creative battery recharge.

Because, let’s face it, if I’m not enthusiastic about what I’m writing, that’s going to show. It’s not that I don’t love the characters, world, and story of the DUAL MAGICS series. It’s that I’ve been living with it 24/7 for at least two years. And the story has been running around in my head for much longer than that. (This is the third version. The first book had been written in full twice, once very badly, once in a misguided attempt to make it YA. And the second had been written all the way through once, again, very badly. It took two complete rewrites of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE and one of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY before I felt they were ready for the world to see them.)

Even during breaks–like while a manuscript was cooling before revisions or while it was out with my beta readers–I’ve mostly been working on either the tie-in short stories or the next book in the series. Or just giving another editing to pass to something I’d written earlier and formatting it for Amazon, like DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, which was actually written just before I started on the rewrite of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

Sometimes, you can recharge by taking a vacation. That’s probably something I need to do. It’s a great way to get inspiration, among other things. But it’s not going to be this year. Or probably next.

But there are other ways to recharge the creative batteries. Fortunately, one of them is to allow your mind to play with other toys. So, even though I don’t have a first draft, yet, Book 4 does have a cover. (Well, except for the title, etc., anyway.)

WarMagicBlankAnother way I’m going to recharge is by playing in another sandbox for a little while. So I’ve given myself permission to spend a little time in the world of my next epic fantasy series. Not for long. But it’s amazing how much more writing I can get done on something new. I need to bring that “new” energy back to the final book of the DUAL MAGICS series. Maybe this is the way to do that.

This new series doesn’t have a name yet. I’m playing with THE GODDESS’S OWN, but we’ll see. It’s either a trilogy or a duology. The first book is currently titled BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING. We’ll see about that, too. It’s sort of a Hercules story, turned completely–or almost completely–upside down. (Hint: The hero’s not the son of the sky god (like Hercules’s father, Zeus), but of the mother-earth goddess.)

So, Book 4 is coming. But I think it will actually come faster–and better–for just a little break to let my imagination play with other toys.

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Okay, so this week I’ve mostly been trying to get back into the first draft of the fourth book in the DUAL MAGICS series, likely to be titled WAR OF MAGIC or possibly WAR MAGIC. Maybe WARRIOR OF MAGIC. (But maybe not any of those if I get a better idea. Titles are hard.)

I posted before about the necessary shift in mind set from editing to writing a first draft. The first draft is just to get the story down. I’m not supposed to worry about whether I’ve got the right word or even whether a sentence is awkward. Or whether I’ve put in enough description or too little. Or whether, at the start of the fourth book, readers have enough of a re-introduction to the characters and setting. And a million other things that I worry very much about when I’m revising or editing. Which, of course, is what I was most recently doing–revising and editing the final draft of BEYOND THE PROPHECY.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’ve had more trouble than usual getting started again with this story–and it’s because I made a mistake.

When I stopped work on this first draft to do the final revision and polishing edit on BEYOND THE PROPHECY, I didn’t stop when I had a good vision of what would happen in the next chapter, as I should have. No, I stopped at a place where I had to make a time jump (over some boring bits) and I had only a vague idea of what came immediately next. That was a very bad idea. It made it doubly hard to start building some momentum.

I have to keep reminding myself that this draft doesn’t have to be good–or even complete–so long as it gets the story down so I can fix it.

I have–finally–gotten one chapter down. (Though even then, I had to just put a note in saying “More here” and move past a spot that had me stopped for a day.)

Now, I’m going to start getting away from the planning and more into that war promised in the (probable) title. Hopefully, that should let me build up some momentum.

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First good thing: Beyond the Prophecy is available right now as a paperback.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Of course, it’s a lot cheaper if you pre-order the ebook for only $0.99.

Second good thing: Two of my book are still available on Wattpad, BLOOD WILL TELL and the sequel BLOOD IS THICKER.


Someone read both of them in what must have been a marathon and commented on just about every chapter how much they were enjoying them. That just makes an author’s day. And it made me go back and look at those two again. I’d forgotten how much fun that story was. Someday, I’ll have to go back and write the third installment of that series.

I’m going to let those two good things win out over the one bad I’m still struggling with. More on that later–maybe.

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While I’m trying to transition my brain back into first-draft mode, I updated the cover of FIRE AND EARTH. Admit it, the old cover was kind of boring:

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

The new version is more dramatic:

FireAndEarthNewestIt’s one of the great things about e-publishing that it’s so easy to change a cover.

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Final draft uploaded for pre-order. Print files formatted and the proof ordered. (The print version will go live as soon as I’ve checked the proof and made any adjustments necessary.) I also have to get busy setting up some promotions and maybe trying to get a few early reviews.

So, now it’s time to transition back from revisions and edits to the first draft of Book 4 (likely to be titled either WAR OF MAGIC or MAGIC’S WARRIOR). This will be the last book of the DUAL MAGICS series.

This transition always takes a few days because it’s a complete shift in thinking. I have to stop worrying whether that’s the precisely right word. Even stop worrying about getting the details right. The first draft is to get the story down. Nothing else.

It always takes me a few days to make that shift. Right now, I’m reading through what I’ve already written (while BEYOND THE PROPHECY was with my beta readers). That’s necessary, but the temptation to edit and revise is still strong.

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I am just shy of 80% done with the polishing edit on BEYOND THE PROPHECY (which is up for pre-order at only $0.99.)

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????After I upload the final version, that’s not the end, of course. I still have to check the upload. And format the print version. And do something more about getting the word out.

And then I can go back to the first draft of the fourth and final book of the series.

Meanwhile, when I start to go cross-eyed from the edits, I’ve been letting my creativity out in planning an update to the cover of FIRE AND EARTH and starting to think about the cover for that fourth book in the DUAL MAGICS series.

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The third book in my DUAL MAGICS series, BEYOND THE PROPHECY, is now available for pre-order.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And the pre-order price is only $0.99! It goes live (and the price goes up) on September 8th.

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Here’s the third and final blog post about Vatar’s unique relationship to the magic of the world of the DUAL MAGICS series.

Acquired Magic:

Having been born and raised among the Dardani, Vatar is a fully initiated member of the Lion Clan. As such, he can sense the presence of lions and tell whether they’re resting or hunting. That’s normal for him.

However, the two kinds of magic interact. The first indication Vatar has of this in THE VOICE OF PROPHECY is when he accidentally sees through the eyes of a hunting lion. His Far Speech is also accompanied by the shadow of a lion. And, more dramatically, his Transformation into his avatar—a white lion with a black mane and tail tuft—is much too large, about twice Vatar’s actual size or the size of a real plains lion. That breaks all the rules of how Transformations are supposed to work.


When Thekila was initiated into the Eagle Clan, similar things happened to her. There is the shadow of an eagle in her Far Speech. She can see through the eyes of eagles. And her avatar—a white eagle—is the size of a normal eagle and able to fly. Thekila’s younger brother, Theklan, was also initiated into the Eagle Clan, with the same effects.


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Continuing the blog posts about the magic of the world of the DUAL MAGICS series and how it affects the main character, Vatar.

The last post was about his inherited magic. This one is about the ways that magic is enhanced by his bond with his wife, Thekila.

Because of their marriage practices, Valson couples have a tendency to become bound through their magic. A condition that links the couple in a way that makes it impossible to hide emotions from one another. Thoughts can also be shared, but that requires an effort of will similar to Far Speech, though the connection is more intimate. This has been known to happen to Fasallon couples, but much more rarely. Something similar may happen to twins in both groups. Vatar and Thekila chose to magically bind themselves, which was happening slowly anyway, during THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.


One aspect of Vatar’s inherited magic depends on his bond with Thekila, who is a Valson. Their bond allows him to project an invisible shield. But the shield draws its power from her, which makes Vatar leery of using it.

The Valson have very similar Powers to the Fasallon. However, they have one Power that the Fasallon don’t, the ability to move objects without touching them (distant manipulation). Though he doesn’t possess it himself, Vatar is able to borrow this Power from Thekila through their bond. (And, in BEYOND THE PROPHECY, she will be able to borrow some of his rarer Talents, too.)

Among the Valson who can perform a shape change into another form, it’s usual to choose one form, an avatar. So that these avatars can be easily identified (someone whose avatar is a stag wouldn’t want to be hunted by mistake, for example) the avatar is always white or black or, occasionally, both. Having learned most of his magic from the Valson, Vatar adheres to this practice. His avatar is a white lion with a black mane and tail tuft. Thekila’s is a white eagle.


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