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Archive for February, 2014

Well, I’ve got this computer mostly up and functional, if not quite as updated as I’d like yet. That’s a relief.

And I finally made good on that commitment to finish the revisions to MAGIC AND POWER (now likely to be retitled GREEN MAGIC, because M & P is going to be the title of the series.) I’ve even got the revisions out to a couple of readers.

This week, I’m spending a good deal of my time over at IndieReCon. It’s a free, online conference about writing and indie publishing. I’ve already picked up a couple of ideas I’ll be trying out in the future and I hope to garner some more by the end of the conference. Hopefully, I’ll learn how to do a better job of my next launch than I did with THE BARD’S GIFT.

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In between events over there, I’m playing around a bit with the rewrite of THE IGNORED PROPHECY (sequel to THE SHAMAN’S CURSE). I’ll start in on DREAMER’S ROSE after the conference is over, when I can devote more concentrated attention to it.

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Well, my last post was a little . . . optimistic.  Wanting to just soldier on and ignore the computer problem and actually being able to do it are not quite the same thing. Especially when the computer completely freezes. Just because this is the way the universe works, this happened on the same day that the plumbing completely backed up. (Picture me running to the neighbors’ to use the bathroom.) Then, I got called for jury duty. Yeah. I’m glad last week is over.

I spent two days trying to resolve the issue as a software problem–which there probably was. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only problem. There’s also some hardware issue that has not yet been diagnosed.

So then I spent the next few days setting up my old, emergency backup computer (on which I’d had to completely reinstall windows). That’s been fun–not. One of the little catch 22 issues they get you with is that you have to have an internet connection in order to download the driver that will allow you to connect with the internet. And they don’t seem to see any problem with that. Thank heaven for friends with working computers and internet connections.

And all of this when I should have been extra busy on the internet because last week was the blog tour and giveaway for THE BARD’S GIFT.

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I still have a lot more work to do on this computer, but it is at least mostly functional, now. I’ve even gotten back to work on finishing up MAGIC AND POWER.

It’s good to be back. Now, on to better and happier things.

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Computer Problems

I’m this close to finishing the revisions to MAGIC AND POWER (most likely to be retitled DESERT ROSE). The reason M & P may get renamed, is that I think I’ll reserve that title for the series. I’ve got an idea for a companion novel. Not exactly a sequel because the main characters in DESERT ROSE will not be the leads in the (unnamed) sequel. It will give me a chance to explore more of this world.

As soon as I finish, I get to get back to work on DREAMER’S ROSE and some actual new writing (the fun part). But my productivity over the last couple of days has been brought almost to a standstill because of computer issues. I hate that.

Now, to be fair, my computer isn’t exactly new. (It still runs Windows XP.) But it has to keep working for a while longer. I’m not sure what all is going on, yet. That may require some assistance. Hopefully, I’ve done a couple of things that will at least help. (I hadn’t run defrag in way too long, for one thing. It’s been run, now.)

Anyway, before I dive any further into computer issues, I’m going to actually try to finish MAGIC AND POWER. Back to work.

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Don’t forget to check out the giveaway for THE BARD’S GIFT over on Donna’s blog. There are some really great books available.

 

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The fabulous Donna K. Weaver has set up a blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway for THE BARD’S GIFT.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallThe giveaway will go live on Friday and run for a week, with the opportunity to win some really great books from some other wonderful writers. It’ll be on Donna’s blog and some of the others because rafflecopter doesn’t work on WordPress.com blogs.

Donna is the author of the SAFE HARBORS series (A Change of Plans (#1), Hope’s Watch (#1.5), and Torn Canvas (#2 — coming June 2014)) Seriously, you want to read these books.

The giveaway will include a New Adult Time Travel from PK Hrezo, a fascinating underwater young adult story from Holly Kelly (and a guest post on her blog), another young adult from Cindy Hogan (and another guest post), a science fiction ebook (and a guest post) from Jaleta Clegg, a fun young adult story from Jaclyn Weist, and a copy of a young adult urban fantasy from Melanie Crouse.

In addition to the above, there’ll be guest posts on these other writers’ blogs:

Bonnie Gwyn Johnson

Rebecca Lamoreaux

Lindzee Armstrong

So, this Friday, go visit some blogs and enter to win great ebooks.

And, for Valentine’s Day, use the following coupons to get free copies of some short fantasy romances on Smashwords.

Heart of Oak: NM24M

Becoming Lioness: RD33V

The Music Box: JG86Z

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THE BARD’S GIFT, of course, is an historical fantasy. I researched the Iceland, Greenland, and the way of life there in the 14th century to get as much of the background of the story right as I possibly could. But the story is mine, not based on anything that really happened.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallThere are other, sometimes less obvious ways, that fantasy and history meet. A medieval setting has become the default for second-world fantasy stories. Of course, some writers do medieval better than others. I still remember my confusion in reading a story in a clearly medievalish setting that nevertheless had private bathrooms with running water. Not that you can’t do that in a fantasy story. Just that you probably should provide some tiny explanation of the change. (Maybe it’s magic.)

The medieval default is so strong that an author has to work a little harder to convince readers that the setting isn’t medieval. I always seem to especially enjoy those stories. They’re like a breath of fresh air. And I’ve written a couple of them. MAGE STORM has a sort of settlement-era setting (like when farmers were first settling in the Ohio River Valley) and at least part of the setting for MAGIC AND POWER is modeled more or less on the desert southwest (without cowboys or the wild west aspects).

Sometimes history provides inspiration, too. In MAGIC AND POWER, I needed a reason for Ailsa’s family to be political outcasts. My inspiration for that was actually the Duke of Windsor, who was forced to abdicate because he married a divorced American woman (although the actual history was somewhat more complicated than that). So, just what do you do with an ex-king? And how would his presence nearby affect the new king? Those questions provide some of the external conflict for MAGIC AND POWER.

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Last post, I mentioned that I’m currently working on a heavy revision of MAGIC AND POWER. It’s going well and I’m loving the changes.

This is the kind of thing that can happen when great beta readers spark ideas about what should have been in the story in the first place. Of course, if you were reading this blog this time last year, you’ll know that MAGIC AND POWER had a mind of its own and refused to do what I originally intended for it.

It was supposed to be a relatively simple story about a girl from a politically difficult background who feels she must choose between love and the work she feels called to do. Probably novella length. Then this other character popped up and forced his way into the story and suddenly I was writing my very first love triangle. It grew to about twice novella length. Like I said, mind of its own.

My wonderful beta readers pushed me to look at the story differently and shed those preconceptions I’d had for the novella. Two more things are expanding in this version. I’m significantly playing up the political intrigue and bringing it in much sooner. I actually had a couple of threads that only needed fleshing out to do a lot of this.Now they’re not just hanging out there; they’re part of the weave.

I’m also adding complications to the love triangle in the form of incompatible goals and a few annoying personality traits for all three characters. This story is going to be so great when I’m done with it.

Don’t forget THE BARD’S GIFT. I think that’s a pretty terrific story, too. And you can read it right now. Just click the pretty picture to go to Amazon of check the My Books page to find other retailers.

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THE BARD’S GIFT is out in the world.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallThere’ll be a blog tour and giveaway in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’ve started looking ahead to my 2014 projects. Actually, it’s probably wildly optimistic to call all of these 2014 projects. I don’t think there’s any chance that I’ll get to all of them this year. But here’s what’s on my list:

  1. MAGE STORM (middle grade fantasy or adventure fantasy) is in the query process.
  2. MAGIC AND POWER (young adult fantasy romance) is what I’m working on right now. It’s getting a heavy revision/partial rewrite to incorporate some more elements and more conflict. It’ll be much better on the other side. I’m getting close to half-way through.
  3. UNTITLED (young adult fantasy romance) will be a sequel to MAGIC AND POWER, sort of. It will take place in the same world, but the main characters of M&P will only be supporting characters in this one. (It’s possible that MAGIC AND POWER will become the series title and M&P will be renamed DESERT ROSE.)
  4. THE SHAMAN’S CURSE (epic fantasy or sword and sorcery) has just been turned over to beta readers.
  5. THE IGNORED PROPHECY (sequel to THE SHAMAN’S CURSE) is in the queue. Like TSC, I wrote a draft of this a few years ago, but it needs a complete rewrite, just like TSC did.)
  6. DREAMER’S ROSE (young adult fantasy) is probably next up. It’s a partial rewrite of another old story, but the other part will be brand new. I’m going to have some real challenges figuring out how to weave the three character arcs together. It’ll be interesting.
  7. WEIRD OZ is still on the list. It’s just not quite ripe. I need to do a little more development before I restart on this one.

More distantly, I have :

  1. An idea for a retelling of the Little Furball fairytale.
  2. An idea for a retelling of the Welsh story Culhwch an Olwen (a less well-known part of the King Arthur cycle)
  3. My secret history idea, which needs a lot more development.
  4. And a bright, shiny new idea that came to me a few days ago.

Yeah, I think I can keep busy for the foreseeable future.

 

 

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