Archive for September, 2015

BookBub Partners put out a very interesting post on boxed sets this week. It’s made me think.

There’s already, sort of, a boxed set of the first two books in the Chimeria series:

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743It probably needs a new cover–or, well, at least to have this cover made to look more like a real boxed set. (There are sites to help you do that.)

I’ve always intended to do a boxed set of the Dual Magics series after I finish it. This post has made me think a little harder about exactly how I’m going to go about that.

I had never before considered the ideas of a boxed set of the first books in different series (which wouldn’t work anyway until I have another series or two out) or of doing a boxed set of unrelated stand alone novels, like my three YA stories–FIRE AND EARTH, THE BARD’S GIFT, and DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. That . . . sounds kind of interesting, actually.

There’s always another angle to think about. That’s part of what keeps this indie author thing interesting.

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I’ve made good progress on the very rough draft of BECOME, the first book of my next epic fantasy series. But I’m starting to get the itch to go back to WAR OF MAGIC, the final book of the DUAL MAGICS series.

This is exactly what I was hoping for when I took a short break to work on something else. Getting my enthusiasm for a project I’ve been working on for so long back up to the level I need to make the climax work.

I may work on the two in tandem for a while. I’ve done that before and the protagonists and stories are enough different that I think the risk of calling Vatar by Gaian’s name, or vice versa, is probably small. But I expect the momentum to carry me forward on WAR OF MAGIC before long.

Here’s a very early look at the first page of Become. This is part of the prologue. Gaian’s very first appearance shown from the point of view of one of his antagonists:

Queen Carala hung on tight to the railing at the top of the staircase for balance and scowled at the spectacle below her, clearly visible through the great doors, which had been flung wide for the occasion. A procession of priestesses, led by the High Priestess herself, climbed sedately up the broad steps of the Palace and were met by Carala’s husband of less than a year, Leradan, the Year King.

If she weren’t so heavily pregnant, she’d be down there herself. Not to welcome the priestesses, but to monitor whatever foolish promises Leradan made to them. Not that she’d have been able to sway him. Goddess knew she’d talked herself hoarse last night trying. But no one could change that man’s mind once he’d made it up. And he’d decided to let himself be thoroughly gulled about this.

Carala sighed. Much as she wanted to be there, it took two of her husband’s strongest guardsmen to see her safely down the steep staircase at this point. She’d just have to rely on her half-sister, Lady Damina, to let her know what ridiculous oaths the High Priestess extracted from Leradan.

Below, the High Priestess accepted a small, blanket-wrapped bundle from one of the other priestesses and passed it to Leradan. The infant squalled at the transfer and Leradan, blast the man, put the baby on his shoulder and rocked, completely oblivious to the effect on his dignity. Not that the demonstration that he would be a good father wasn’t reassuring. Carala placed a hand on her own swollen belly. But there was a time and place for everything. And the great hall, with the doors wide open to the whole kingdom, was not the place.

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Fall Into Reading Sale

Starts today.

Fall Into Reading Banner

Happy fall! Can you believe it’s fall already? I know I can’t. This summer seems to have gone by very quickly. As we batten the hatches and prepare for winter, are you ready to snuggle in front of a nice warm fire with a good book? Maybe you have the nice warm fire, but not necessarily the perfect book. I have just the thing for you!

A bunch of authors and I collaborated in putting together a “Fall Into Reading” sale. The first page on the website has all the books on sale categorized by genre. Some are free, and others are discounted. If you want to find other clean books that aren’t necessarily on sale, check out the second page.

I hope you have an awesome fall!

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At least around here, you never do know what you’ll find when you look in places you haven’t looked in a while. I’ve been searching for some craft materials I know I have. I actually organized my craft supplies (most of them) last year. No joy. I finally broke down and bought some more–which probably guarantees that I’ll find the stuff I already had soon.

But in my search, I turned up some things I don’t even remember. Like this:



Digital Camera

Not the best picture, I know. (It’s hard to get a decent photo of an unfinished piece of embroidery, especially really large or long ones. This is about 30 inches long.) But if you compare that to this:

dual-magics-bw-map2You’ll see that the first is an embroidered version of a much earlier rendering of the map for the world of the Dual Magics series.

Actually, that first map is for the first “novel” I ever wrote–way back in college. (Yes, some form of this story–or, at least, this world–has been bouncing around in my head that long.) That original story, however, took place a few hundred years into the future of the Dual Magics story–and involved another group of people living farther north, as you can see. And really wouldn’t fit into the current cannon.

I don’t even remember this piece of embroidery. It’s not quite finished, either. There’s a little bit of work left on the southern mountains. Maybe I decided I didn’t like it. Or put it aside to work on something else. Possibly, it was meant as a companion for this:

Digital Camera

which depicts elements of that same story I wrote back in college.

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Fall Into Reading Banner
Happy fall! Can you believe it’s fall already? I know I can’t. This summer seems to have gone by very quickly. As we batten the hatches and prepare for winter, are you ready to snuggle in front of a nice warm fire with a good book? Maybe you have the nice warm fire, but not necessarily the perfect book. I have just the thing for you!
A bunch of authors and I collaborated in putting together a “Fall Into Reading” sale. The first page on the website has all the books on sale categorized by genre. Some are free, and others are discounted. If you want to find other clean books that aren’t necessarily on sale, check out the second page.
You’ll find the first three books of the Dual Magics series there. And Daughter of the Disgraced King.
I hope you have an awesome fall!

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For some reason, it always seems to happen this way. (I think it’s just that this is the oil that gets my subconscious story factory running.)

I’m working on part of a rough draft of the next series before I go back (soon) and write the final book in the current series. So, of course, now is the time I start getting ideas for new stories. Stories that I cannot possibly write this year and probably not next.

I just jot the ideas down and file them away in my story ideas folder. Which isn’t exactly empty to begin with. Well, I’m not likely to run out of things to write for a while.

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Let me be clear. I despise cliff hangers. And not just the ones that leave a main character literally hanging off some metaphorical cliff. I also hate the ones that have only a temporary resolution of the story problem–or none at all–and basically force you to pick up the next book to find out what happens.

I’ve worked really hard in all of the DUAL MAGICS books to have a complete story in each one–some problem that starts early in the book and gets some kind of resolution at the end. Of course, middle books in series also need to have a build-up of unresolved problems that will come to fruition in the last book, which complicates the resolution. But each book does have some conflict that defines that part of the series, too.

While I’ve been taking a brief respite from DUAL MAGICS, I’ve been working on a very rough draft of the first book of what will be my next epic fantasy series. (By the way, the break is working. My subconscious has started throwing up ideas about the way things should go as I build to the series climax. I’ll be able to go back to it with more enthusiasm–and more inspiration–soon.) I think this new series will be a trilogy, possibly a duology.

But here’s the problem: right now at least, I can’t see any way that this first book can end that isn’t a cliff hanger. Oh, not that I won’t have, sort of, resolved the conflict I set up at the beginning. But it won’t be a satisfying kind of resolution. And it can’t be, not for this series.

And that presents a problem for me. I don’t want to do to my readers the sort of thing that annoys me as a reader. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m getting a start on this now. I may need to write this series all the way to the end, at least in rough draft, first. That way, I could shorten the time between releases so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

For right now, it’s still just get the story down, though.

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So by now it’s obvious that this is really a collection of deleted scenes making up most of a subplot I had to delete from THE VOICE OF PROPHECY


and couldn’t shoehorn into BEYOND THE PROPHECY.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The first parts are in this post, and this one. Here’s the end of it:

Vatar looked back over his little column of riders to where Teran and Terania rode in a zone of isolation, shunned by Thekila. Even Quetza barely spoke to them. That had been going on for three days. Vatar couldn’t help thinking of the period in the Valley, before she chose him, when Thekila had treated Vatar similarly. And how it had made him feel. Well, they’d be home this afternoon. He’d speak to her then, when they could be alone.

Vatar opened the door to the room next to the one he shared with Thekila. The twins were soundly asleep. He shut the door quietly and continued to the room at the end. Pausing to watch Thekila brushing out her flame-red hair, he sat down to pull off his boots. Without looking up, he drew a deep breath. “You should let up on Teran.”

Thekila whirled to face him. “What?”

Vatar looked up to meet her eyes. “You don’t have to seek him out, or spend a lot of time with him, or even forgive him. That’s fine with me. Just . . . return his greeting in the morning. Nod or give him a word when he speaks to you. That’s all.”

Thekila’s brows creased. “Why?”

Vatar stood up and crossed to her side. He put his hand to her face, allowing his thumb to caress her cheek. “Because I remember how it hurt, when we quarreled, before you chose me. When you shut me out like that.” His eyes drifted slightly away from hers. “You drove me to tears, you know.”

Thekila blinked. “Tears?”

Vatar nodded slightly, still not meeting her gaze directly. “Late at night, when I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to make things right between us.” He looked back into her eyes. “Don’t torment him. It isn’t necessary.”

Thekila looked up into his eyes for a long moment. “You know, if your positions were reversed, I don’t think Teran would make the same request on your behalf.”

Vatar smiled crookedly. He caressed her cheek again. “That doesn’t matter.”

Thekila smiled back. “No. Vatar, you should know. I made the right choice.” Her voice grew harder. “But don’t do anything like that again until you talk to me, first.”


Teran waited until he could get Thekila alone for a moment. She’d smiled at him that morning, but not in a very natural way. That stiff smile. He couldn’t shake the thought that she’d begun to realize her danger. That she was beginning to see the truth. He had to try again, for her sake. “Thekila, have you changed your mind? Are you starting to think—?”

Thekila spun to face him, cutting him off. “Don’t, Teran.”

Teran took a step back. “What?”

Thekila’s lips thinned. “Don’t say it. I’m speaking to you because Vatar asked me to. But don’t try my patience by bringing that subject up again.”

Teran blinked. “Vatar asked you to?”

Thekila crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Yes. He said it wasn’t necessary to hurt you. Even though he’s never liked you. Even after you tried to come between us again. He’s a better man than you in every way, Teran. And if you dare to question his sanity in my presence again, I will never forgive you. Never.” She turned and strode away. Every footstep punctuating the distance that had suddenly grown between them.

Terania came up beside him. “I tried to warn you.”

He swallowed hard. “Will she . . .”

Terania shook her head. “She’ll never turn to you, now. No matter what happens.” She sighed. “We’ll still be here and we’ll try to protect her. But I doubt she’ll ever completely forgive you.”

“Even if I’m right? Even if Vatar is crazy?” he asked.

Especially if you’re right.”

BEYOND THE PROPHECY released yesterday.

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Here’s a continuation of the deleted scene from THE VOICE OF PROPHECY I started in my last blog post.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I had hoped to fit this subplot into BEYOND THE PROPHECY, but it just wouldn’t fit.


Thekila smiled as she watched Vatar carry the twins off to their tent to put them to bed. Both had fallen asleep cuddled up to his sides almost as soon as they’d eaten. She rinsed off all four plates and started toward the tent herself.

Teran stepped in front of her. “I need to talk to you.”

Thekila looked toward the tent, where the sound of Vatar’s pipes playing his lullaby called to her. “Can’t it wait? There’ll be plenty of time to talk while we ride tomorrow.”

Teran put out his arm to block her. “I don’t think it can. Thekila, you have to face the truth. Vatar is . . . dangerous. If you are becoming bound, then you have to end it, now. While you still can.”

Thekila’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”

Teran reached out to take hold of her arm, as if he’d drag her away from her tent—and Vatar. “He’s obviously insane. Believing he knows what the lions are thinking.”

Thekila shook her head. “No. He didn’t say he knew what they were thinking. He knows what mood they are in.”

“And you believe him?” Teran asked.

Thekila frowned. Skepticism was one thing. She’d expect that of Teran. But he’d seen the proof twice now. He’d seen her sense the eagle before the others, when she couldn’t have seen it. And how did he think Vatar had known the lions were there if he couldn’t sense them? “Of course I do. I know he can feel the lions because I can sense the eagles in the same way. It’s perfectly true, Teran. He’s not crazy.”

Teran drew in his breath. “Thekila, are you pregnant with his child?”

She smiled and placed a hand over her abdomen. “Yes.”

“Then it’s that much more important that you listen to me. Staying with a mad man . . . It endangers you and the child. You have to think of that. Come back to the Valley with me. I’ll take care of you. I’ll even raise his child. But you can’t . . .”

Thekila pulled her arm out of his grasp and stepped back, out of his reach. Her voice rose. “Don’t try to tell me what I can and can’t do, Teran. Vatar was right about you. He tried to tell me that you wanted to break us up, but I wouldn’t believe him. I told him not to be jealous of you, that you were like a big brother to me. And all the time . . . Don’t ever try to come between Vatar and me, Teran. He is not insane. I could not be safer anywhere than with him.” She started to walk past him to her tent.

Teran grabbed her arm again. “He asked me to keep you safe. Even he knows that he’s losing his mind.”

Thekila whirled in one of the moves Orleus had taught her during their training sessions last winter, freeing her arm and placing herself nearer to her tent, where Teran would have a harder time stopping her again. “Vatar may doubt himself. That doesn’t mean that I will ever doubt him.”

She took another step back, out his reach, then turned and stalked off to her tent, back stiff.

Vatar looked up as she pushed aside the tent flap. His eyes narrowed instantly and he stood up from their bedroll. “What’s the matter?”

Thekila looked toward the sleeping twins and her lips thinned. “Can you come outside for a moment?”

Vatar looked toward the twins, too. They were soundly asleep at the back of the tent, curled around each other. “All right.”

Thekila walked a few paces away from the camp before spinning to face Vatar. “Did you tell Teran to try to persuade me to return to the Valley?”

Vatar’s eyes flew wide. “What? Of course not!”

Thekila nodded slightly. She really hadn’t believed that. “What did you tell him?”

Vatar reached for her, drawing her into a hug. “I asked him to try to keep you safe if I am losing my mind.”

Thekila wrapped her arms around him. “You were always jealous of Teran. Why would you do that?”

He stroked her back. “I need to know someone will look out for you, if it comes to that.”

“But why Teran? Have you changed your mind about him?”

Vatar huffed softly. “No. I’m not jealous any more—much. After all, you chose me, not him. But I still don’t like him.”

She pushed back within the circle of his arms to look up at his face. “Then why?”

Vatar sighed. “Because I know he loves you, too. He’ll fight for you, if necessary.”

Thekila bit her lip. “Arcas—or your father—would.”

Vatar shook his head. “Arcas can’t fight magic. And Father and Boreala would be trying to save me, not you.” He cupped her face with his hand. “I need to know someone will fight for you.

BEYOND THE PROPHECY releases next Tuesday. You have until then to pre-order at the special price of $0.99.

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Actually, this is a whole deleted subplot–or part of it. I’d written this for THE VOICE OF PROPHECY,

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????but had to cut it. The whole return trip to the Valley just didn’t make sense there. The urgency didn’t exist yet and it just wasn’t something Vatar would do at that point. It felt very out of character for him. I was sorry to lose it, because it set up a very nice short-term conflict between Vatar, Thekila, and Teran.

I’d hoped to fit the subplot into BEYOND THE PROPHECY,

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????but the element that really made it work–Vatar thinking he was going crazy–didn’t exist anymore. So, here’s the first part of that subplot.

This takes place as Vatar and his cohort are escorting Teran and Terania–two Valson completely unused to the plains–across the plains to Caere. Vatar’s twins are about four years old at this point. Vatar has earlier asked his former rival, Teran, to look after Thekila if it turns out Vatar is losing his mind.

They stopped at another waterhole that evening. Vatar, Arcas, and Quetza set about making camp, while Theklan took care of the horses and Thekila and Terania made preparations for an evening meal. The twins, free from their day-long confinement, ran around the campsite, releasing all their pent-up energy.

Vatar watched them for a moment. “Stay close. And don’t go near the water.”

He turned back to pitching one of the tents. Arcas and Vatar straightened at the same moment as the dogs began to bark. Vatar didn’t need to ask. Of course Arcas had sensed the lions coming down to drink at the far side of the water hole. Vatar immediately scanned the campsite. He spotted Savara pestering Thekila, but where was Zavar? He extended his Far Sight. The little boy had wandered near the water in spite of Vatar’s warnings. Much too close to the lions. Without meaning to, Vatar slipped into the viewpoint of the big male—watching Zavar as he drifted closer. He swallowed hard past the sudden lump in his throat. “Stop where you are, Zavar!”

Zavar stopped and looked back, wide-eyed at his father’s tone of voice.

Teran looked up, too. “What is it?”

Vatar strode forward and gathered up Zavar before he answered. “Look ahead of him, by the water’s edge. Behind the reeds.”

Teran squinted. “I don’t see anything.”

Arcas left the tents and went to scoop up Savara. “Look closer.”

Teran stiffened. “Lions!”

Vatar carried Zavar back to the center of the camp, shaking his head. “He’s going to be just like me. Always curious and always wandering off.”

Arcas bounced Savara in his arms. “Too bad Aunt Lucina isn’t here to tell us how she kept you out of trouble.”

Vatar set Zavar down next to Teran. “Lots of eyes, Arcas. There’s always someone told off to keep an eye on the children.” He took Savara and set her down next to her brother. “Teran, I’m afraid it’s going to be your job while we finish setting up camp. Keep them away from the water.”

Terania dropped the knife she’d been using to cut up the dried meat. “You mean we’re going to stay here? Aren’t we going to move camp somewhere safer?” Terania asked.

Arcas looked briefly toward the waterhole. “It’s safe enough. They’re already moving away. They just came down for a drink. Anyway, it’d take half the night to get to the next waterhole. That’d be more dangerous than staying here.”

“Do we set a watch tonight?” Quetza asked.Arcas snorted. “No need. The dogs will warn us of anything that approaches. That’s part of their job.”

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