Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

I am now about half-way through the polishing edit for WAR OF MAGIC. Expect to have it done in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, this fourth and final book in the DUAL MAGICS series is now available for pre-order at a special, limited time price.


And, after a few formatting headaches (mostly surrounding images), the boxed set of the first three books, plus the short story “Modgud Gold” is now available, too. DUAL MAGICS Books 1 – 3

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed SetNow I just need to finish the polishing edit and format the print book. Oh, and schedule a few promotions. Then I can get back to work on BECOME.

Become 5

Busy, busy.

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And about half way through the clean-up round of revisions on WAR OF MAGIC.


So things are moving forward. Looks like probably September after all, though probably mid- to late September.

And I’ve started formating a boxed set of the first three books in the series.


So, progress is being made.

Also, a brilliant new cover for “Heart of Oak” by Victorine Lieske.


Isn’t it beautiful?

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I’ve reached the point in WAR OF MAGIC,


where the plot line intersects with my already-published short story, “Becoming Lioness”.

Becoming Lioness Cover 2You’d think that’d make this section easier, because I’ve sort of already written it. And in some ways, it will. But it’s also going to be . . . interesting to manage, because there are some noticeable differences between the two, as I’ve blogged about once before. I realized there’d be an issue back then, but now that I’m up to the actual writing of that part, the problems are a little clearer.

Some things are just minor points that changed between the time “Becoming Lioness” was published three years ago. Mostly small things, some of which I can fix with minor adjustments to “Becoming Lioness”.

The birth order of three siblings has changed in the interim, for example. That’s not a huge deal. I can just leave the second brother out altogether. That’ll mean deleting all of one or two sentences.

One thing that’s changed won’t be quite so minor: how a character whose ability to use her magic was blocked, gains the use of her magic after all. That’s not necessarily insurmountable, but it’s sure going to be interesting to deal with.

I’m already planning a revised version of “Becoming Lioness” to deal with some of this, but I’ll eventually want to put together a boxed set of the DUAL MAGICS series. And if I include the couple of tie-in short stories already published, plus a couple that I haven’t pulled together yet–well, that’ll put the two versions side by side.

And that’s an issue for all of the short stories. Because the main thing I have to change to make the short stories work at all is to reduce the number of characters. The cast appropriate–and necessary–for a four-book series of epic fantasy novels is simply unmanageable in a short story.

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Here are my 2016 Writing Goals:

  1. WAR OF MAGIC: Complete first draft, revisions, get critiques, revise again, polish, and publishWarOfMagic5
  2. Revise the already-published “Becoming Lioness” and publish the new edition. Pull together the tie-in short stories, “Hunter and Huntress” and “The Seeker”. Put them through the same revision process.Becoming Lioness Cover 2
  3. Publish a boxed set of the DUAL MAGICS series.
  4. MAGE STORM: Rewrite this as an epic fantasy. Same revision process as above. Try to publish in 2016 or early 2017.
  5. BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING: Get a first draft done.
  6. Planning, world-building, etc. for some of the other stories on my back burner:
    1. Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING.
    2. A set of fairy-tale retellings I’ve been playing with.
    3. The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series that explain how the world got that way.
    4. The sequels to MAGE STORM.
    5. My Weird Oz story.
    6. The last novel in the Chimeria series.
  7. I would dearly love to be able to get to a writers’ conference somewhere in there, but that will depend on both time and finances.

I think that should keep me busy.

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For 2015 my writing goals were:

First: BEYOND THE PROPHECY (Book 3 of the Dual Magics series): Finish the first draft. Revise. Get critiques. Revise again. Polish. Format. And Publish.



Second: Tie-in Dual Magics short stories: “Modgud Gold”, “Hunter and Huntress”, possibly “The Seeker”. These stories expand on the events of the novels. Some things that there just wasn’t room for in the novels. Often from the point of view of side characters.

Of those, I only completed “Modgud Gold.”

Modgud Gold Cover New

I guess the other stories will just have to get pushed to next year. Honestly, any time I have to decide between working on a novel-length story and a short story, the novel is likely to win. They’re just more fun.

Third: MAGE STORM: my middle grade adventure fantasy. There’ll be at least two periods when I need to let BEYOND THE PROPHECY rest so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. During one of those, I want to go back over this story. Possibly change the age of the main character. Then give it a try with a small press.

Yes, but no luck. Middle grade is a really tough market, whichever way you try to go with it. I have a different plan for this one now. And its three sequels.

Fourth: DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING: This one is complete and ready to go. I’ll query it for a little longer, but there’s also a good chance I’ll just decide to go ahead and publish it myself.

Yes. I did decide to just go ahead and publish it.


Fifth: BOOK 4 of the Dual Magics series (No title yet): Start the first draft for publication likely in 2016.

Yes. And it now has a title–WAR OF MAGIC. And a cover.


Sixth: At some point, I’m likely going to need to go play in a different sandbox for a while to keep things fresh. That will likely mean work on either DREAMER’S ROSE or that weird Oz story that’s been tickling around in the back of my brain for a while now.

Yes. What was DREAMER’S ROSE is now BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING. Weird Oz is still fermenting.

I guess I did pretty well against my 2015 goals.

Here’s hoping I do as well next year. I’ll be setting those goals in the next few days.

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I do my own cover art. That’s something that’s often not recommended. And for good reason. I’ll show you one. This is my original cover art for my novella, “The Music Box”:

MusicBoxCoverNow, let’s just be honest. It’s dreadful. Frankly, I’m surprised I ever sold a single copy. To be fair, this was only the third cover I ever made. And it was during a period when I couldn’t really afford to spend anything on cover art. Which is why I started making my own covers in the first place.

And I’ve made a concerted effort to get better at it. I actually enjoy making my own covers now.

This was the very last of those original, very bad covers left. And it’s past time I replaced it. But my problem was that I just couldn’t find an image I liked for this story. I finally turned up this one:


It’s a nice image if a little . . . gray. Book covers need to pop. So, I bought the image (the right to use it only cost $8.15. I really probably could have afforded it (if it had been available then) in the first place, but I wouldn’t have known what I needed to do to make it work.

Then I added color to the background and went ahead and added the title and my name:

Music Box In Process 1(Those funny little dashed lines are because I snipped this while I was still working on the cover. I knew I wasn’t finished and I didn’t want to save because that would have merged the layers, like the text. You’ll see why in a little bit.)

Okay, but now I wasn’t happy with the white costumes. Hmm. So the next step:

Music Box In Process 2(See how I changed the color of the text for my name? I couldn’t have done that if I’d let the layers get merged too soon.)

But now I don’t like him in white, either. And what is likely the final version:

Music Box NewThough I haven’t uploaded this one yet. I may want to do just a little bit of clean up first.


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I’m closing in on a section of WAR OF MAGIC that was also written–several years ago–in the short story “Becoming Lioness”.


Now “Becoming Lioness” tells this part of the story from the point of view of a different character than the one who will be the focus in WAR OF MAGIC. But that’s not the only difference between them.


Becoming Lioness Cover 2

Some of the differences have to do with “Becoming Lioness” being a short story. (Actually, it’s a novelette, but that’s kind of an inside writing term for a long short story–not a short novel, which is called a novella.) Some characters that will be present during these events in WAR OF MAGIC were left out of “Becoming Lioness” because they got in the way of telling the smaller story in a streamlined way, for example.

“Becoming Lioness” was published in 2012, almost two years before THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. And it was written well before that.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In other words, it was written before the current version of the DUAL MAGICS series, though I had proto versions of what became THE SHAMAN’S CURSE (actually, that was always the title of the first book) and THE VOICE OF PROPHECY (which grew up under the pseudonym THE IGNORED PROPHECY). And some fairly major things changed in the rewrite of those first two book in the series.

  1. The birth order of some of the sibling or half-sibling characters changed. In the original version, Fenar was only a little more than a year younger than Vatar (the main character). And Kiara (who is the main character of “Becoming Lioness”) was the baby.Fenar ended up not having as much to do as I’d originally thought and Kiara’s age caused some problems for a major subplot, so I switched their birth order and made Kiara several years younger than Fenar originally was. “Becoming Lioness” still reflects the original birth order–Vatar, Fenar, Kiara–instead of the new one–Vatar, Kiara, Fenar. Now, that would be fairly minor to fix in the short story–if it were the only problem.
  2. Now, there’s something about the birth of the youngest sibling–no matter which of them it is–that potentially affects that character’s magic. And “Becoming Lioness” assumes that this explains Kiara’s unusual relationship with her magic. In WAR OF MAGIC, there’s another explanation for this. Again, I could probably fix this and bring the short story into better congruence with the series.
  3. But there’s one I’m going to have to work on–how she learns to use her magic. Now, maybe I’ll be able to keep that more or less intact in WAR OF MAGIC. Maybe not. I’d like to, but I’m not there yet and it might not make sense when I do get there. If I can’t, there basically isn’t any reason to fix the first two.

And there will be readers who won’t like the two stories not lining up. Actually, there will probably be some who don’t like the streamlining changes, either. In any case, there are already almost a thousand copies of “Becoming Lioness” out there.

So, I’m going to do some thinking about whether and how much to revise this short story now that the “real” (in the novels) version of these events is going to be available, too, sometime next year.


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The covers for the Dual Magics series (so far–the release of BEYOND THE PROPHECY is planned for September):

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The covers of the two tie-in short stories:

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????You see the problem, don’t you? The two short story covers don’t look like they belong to the same series.

Heck, the covers don’t even telegraph that they’re fantasy stories. “Becoming Lioness” could be something about an African safari for all you could tell from the cover. Well, except for the subtitle. Dual Magics might give you a clue.

“Modgud Gold”, again, except for the subtitle, could be a gold rush story.

In my defense, “Becoming Lioness” was released long before I had covers for the series. I have no excuse for “Modgud Gold” other than the image is a really good representation of a scene in the series. But, see, that’s not what a book cover is supposed to be. It’s supposed to entice a reader and give them some idea what kind of story to expect. This one fails.

I think I need to do a couple of new covers.

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First, the Dual Magics tie-in short story, “Modgud Gold” is now available on Amazon.


Changing his apprenticeship from the Smiths’ Guild to the Merchants’ gives Arcas a second chance. Not just for a career that suits him far better, but also to prove himself worthy of the lovely Elaria.

But to accomplish that, he must leave his seaside city—and Elaria—for a year. In that time, he travels among the barbarians, hoping to find something to trade for that will be worth the hardships and dangers.

Something like gold.

“Modgud Gold” takes place during the first half of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. If you ever wondered how Arcas knew enough about the Modgud to recruit help for Vatar during the Ordeal, here’s your chance to find out.

Second, today I’m officially back working on BEYOND THE PROPHECY.


It hasn’t had quite as much time to cool as I’d planned, but I’ve finished all of the other things I intended to do during this break from it, so it’s time. I’m starting with some of the bonus content.

  1. The Map, because this story travels around more of this world than the previous two did.dual-magics-bw-map2
  2. Vatar’s extended family tree and/or a cast of characters.
  3. A glossary of the different groups/cultures involved in these stories.
  4. And a vastly shortened summary of the salient events of the first two books.

All of that will be at the back of the book, at least in the e-book. (I may move the map and the family trees up to the front in the print edition. Plenty of time to worry about that later.) That way, they won’t be the only thing a potential reader sees if they look at a sample of the book.

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I had three goals for this few weeks when I need to let the first draft of BEYOND THE PROPHECY cool before starting the revisions. I’m doing well on all three of them.

  1. “Modgud Gold”: This is a tie-in short story to the Dual Magics series, about what Arcas was doing during the events of the first half or so of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE and explains, among other things, how he knew enough about the Modgud to get help for Vatar. I’ve been through the manuscript once and I’m halfway through the second pass. In this revision, I’m primarily deleting an unnecessary character. Yes, Kiara would be there if this were part of the book, but she’s just window dressing in the short story. She has no real role to play. One more pass, concentrating primarily on some descriptions that may not be needed and it’ll be ready to go.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  2. DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING: I had decided to e-publish this one after all. It only needed a quick read-through and some formatting. It’s available for pre-order now and releases May 18th.???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  3. MAGE STORM: This is my middle grade fantasy. I’ve finished a read-through of the story, making very few changes. I need to do a little work, changing the query and possibly polishing up the synopsis. (I hate synopses.) And then send it to a publisher. Middle grade is still very much of an uphill slog for e-publishing. (How many ten- to twelve-year-olds have an e-reader–or a credit card with which to buy their own books? The answer to the first question is an increasing number. The answer to the second isn’t. So it’s much more necessary to find a way through the gate keepers–parents, teachers, and librarians–with middle grade fiction.)

I expect to have “Modgud Gold” done within a week or so. Then I’ll be ready to get back into BEYOND THE PROPHECY and turn it into the story I know is in there.

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