Monthly Archives: July 2013

Daughter of the Wildings Series Overview Posted

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I finished the draft of Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings the other day, at around 41,500 words – a good bit longer than I thought it would be. Since I tend to “write short,” I’m sure it’ll end up longer after revisions. I’d had the ending of that book in mind for a long time, even before I knew exactly what that installment would be about; I knew where I wanted it to hit on the overall series story arc. It was fun to finally write that scene. I’ve also had the first few scenes of Book 5 worked out for just as long, and now I’m developing the rest of that book. Should be ready to start writing soon. The series has developed in some surprising ways since I wrote Book 1, which I didn’t even intend to be the first book of a series; I’ve always written stand-alones, and it was supposed to also be a stand-alone, but it didn’t work out that way! Anyway, I’m kind of pleased and surprised by how well all the different story threads are pulling together in my planning, and it seems like every day I get a new insight into how everything in the series works together.

Of course, these are things I didn’t have in mind when I wrote the first couple of books. So once the draft of Book 5 is done, the plan is to revise the entire series as a single unit, as though it was all one book, to go back and make sure all those different bits of story are the way they should be early on. That’s an advantage of writing the whole series before you start to revise or release any of it; you can let the story develop how it wants to and then after you get to the end you can go back and make the earlier parts match up with the later parts, why certain things happened, what’s going on in the background, and things that turned out to be important that you didn’t think were all that important at the time. I’ll go back to the beginning and bring it all together so the whole series is solid and consistent and hangs together.

Now that I’m planning Book 5 and have a pretty good idea of what actually happens in it, I’ve written quick blurbs or teasers for every book in the series, so you, my readers, can get an idea of what’s in store. For now, it’s on the Still to Come page, but I hope to soon be able to get Daughter of the Wildings set up on its own book page.

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Daughter of the Wildings Book 4, 5, and Beyond!

Updates on Camp NaNo progress with Daughter of the Wildings Book 4:
I crossed the 30,000 word mark yesterday with still a good chunk of story left to go, so I raised my word count target to 35,000, just to keep it interesting. After today’s writing, I’m at 31,902/35,000 words.

Like I keep saying, this series has been incredibly fun to write. Silas and Lainie are probably my favorite characters ever – I love all my characters, but there’s something special about them. And I never thought that writing about a cattle drive could be so much fun, either, but it is, especially when you throw in a little magic and a little romance. So I’m coming up to the end of Book 4 and starting to plan Book 5, and feeling both a little excited and a little sad because I don’t want to be done with Silas and Lainie. And then while I’m figuring out the central conflict for Book 5, which is the main conflict that the whole series has been driving towards, I get an idea for a follow-up book, or maybe even a series! I don’t want to make any promises right now; the idea will need some story development to see if it really has the potential to go anywhere, but the central story question of Book 5 brings up some interesting issues involving the larger world that the series is set in. It would also veer somewhat into steampunk-ish territory, which is a genre I haven’t read a lot, except for the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker (which I highly recommend!), so I’ll need to add some to my ever-growing reading list.

I’m also getting near the end of the analysis phase of the first major revision of Sarya’s Song. After some close plot and world-building analysis, I’m pleased to say that the Plot Hole of Doom, which kept this story in limbo for 18 or 19 years, has indeed been successfully eradicated 😀 In the words of another one of my favorite writers, Scott Lynch (author of the Gentlemen Bastards series):

“Some errors can be rectified with the Painless Scalpel of Minor Adjustment. Others require the Burning Sword of Righteous Rearrangement. This particular knot in the story will have to be handled by the Sherman Tank of Paradox Eradication.”

And so, onward.

Author Spotlight: Lana Axe

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Introducing fantasy author Lana Axe:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Missouri native who grew up strongly influenced by Mark Twain. All of my life I’ve been an avid reader. I even won a scholarship based on the number of books I read in high school. I studied literature and foreign languages in college and eventually fell in love with all things fantasy. I’ve been stuck there for quite some time.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
Many years ago I fell in love with the fantasy worlds featured in video games, on television, and, of course, in books. I started writing fan fictions which were eagerly accepted by internet communities and eventually, I started creating my own world rather than writing about someone else’s.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write high fantasy, sword and sorcery novels. I love escaping from reality and delving into the minds of my characters. I get to follow along as they learn and grow and experience a whole new world through their eyes. Above all, I write because I love it.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My first published novel, A Story of River, is part of my Tales from Nol’Deron series. Each book stands alone, but features some of the same characters. My next book, War of the Wildlands, is due to be released this fall.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Welcome to the world of Nol’Deron, where magic and adventure await. There are three separate races of elves: Wild Elves, Westerling Elves, and Enlightened Elves. The Wild Elves are creatures of the forest. They live in separate clans throughout the Wildlands. The Westerling Elves live at the base of the Wrathful Mountains on the banks of the Blue River. They are gentle, good-natured elves who have a care for all living creatures. Among them lives a powerful water elemental. The Enlightened Elves live on the islands and prize learning and magical strength above all else. Also in Nol’Deron are three different kingdoms of humans: Na’zora, Ra’jhou, and Al’marr. Dwarves are also present, living high in the Wrathful Mountains and keeping mostly to themselves. All manner of fae live within the Wildlands, surviving unseen by human eyes.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Aelryk is the king of Na’zora. He is a loving sovereign who will stop at nothing to protect his people. As his kingdom falls under attack, he enlists the help of two Wild Elves: Mel and Thinal. They are two young elves with opposing personalities. Thinal is bright and happy while Mel is cynical and distrusting. They journey together to the Westerling Vale to find River, a mysterious water elemental.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
It has taken me 8 years to finally put it together and release it to the public.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
http://lana-axe.com/

My book is available in all ebook formats as well as paperback. It can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords. Links to purchase are available on my site at: http://lana-axe.com/a-story-of-river/


Author Spotlight: Steve Cypert

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Introducing Steve Cypert, here on his blog tour with Saskia Book Tours!

Steve V Cypert was born in Los Angeles, California.  At twenty-four he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where, two decades later, he continues to live. At age 34 he found and married his beautiful wife, Katie. Today, at age 40, he and his wife still live in Utah with their toddler and Shih Tzu. Steve graduated from the University of Utah in 2003 where he graduated with a 4 year degree.

For as long as he can remember, Steve has loved to come up with creative and far-fetched stories. In 2011 Steve finished his first novel, a work of historical fiction. He wrote Port of Errors in just three months. However, it took him ten years of research, editing and putting the missing pieces together.  In 2012 he wrote a second novel, the first in a series of four. Though, this time it was a YA paranormal fantasy. The title, at first, was The Son of Nicholas Namely, but Steve soon changed it to Scapemaker, which is also the name of the 4 book series. As of January 2013, the outline for the second book in the series was completed.

Steve loves photography. He shot weddings for a few years, but loves wildlife and landscape; he also loves volleyball and hiking; he has a mountain bike, but never rides it; finally, he is a self-professed indulgent and fanatically addicted big screen movie junkie. His favorite color is green. He loves steak and prime rib – medium rare or rare. His “lucky” number is 4. His favorite ice-cream is mint chocolate chip. And he loves horseback riding and country swinging – which he is very good at… sloppy, but good!

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Matthew is the son of Mr. Nicholas Namely, a local high school teacher. But unbeknownst to Matthew, his father is a dreamscaper whose classroom is connected to the dream-world. From his classroom, his students enter the halls of Scapemaker, a dream-world high school for young dreamscapers.

Following a couple of heartfelt tragic events, Matthew is compelled to investigate the unbelievable mysteries surrounding those events and is propelled into a whole new world. Matthew and his mother, Mae, are soon coerced into moving across the country for his father’s strange medical needs. While attending his new school, Matthew comes to know the secrets that Daedree, an annoying girl from his former high school, has locked away. Matthew also meets Amber, a beautiful enigmatic girl who leads him to Mr. Xoner’s classroom. While there, he learns the art of dreamscaping (which has been in the Namely bloodline for thousands of years).

Matthew will come to know of Nox Celare, otherwise known as The Sandman, who is after a special element called Magineum. Neck deep in skinwalkers, sandsleepers, zombies, soul feeders, ghosts, dream-world criminals known as “night terrors” and more, Matthew learns he is in over his head. Matthew must not only solve the mysteries surrounding those tragic events, but he will also have to protect the Magineum with his life and find a way to be with the one girl of his dreams. Filled with secrecy, mystery and a forbidden tangle of young love, this new life will lead Matthew to unbelievable characters with the most extraordinary abilities he could never have imagined.

Scapemaker will keep you grounded in the real world while at the same time make the fantastical world around it that much more possible and enduring. This tale of young adult paranormal fantasy will keep you guessing and wanting more.

Available at:
Amazon.com
Smashwords

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Sarya’s Song Cover, and Silas Quote of the Day

I now have in my hot little hands (on my hot little hard drive?) the cover illustration for Sarya’s Song. I think I said something once about “luciously dark and romantic,” and oh my, it is! It’s gorgeous! I’ll reveal the cover on Saturday; watch for it!

For my Camp NaNo project, Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings, I’m up to 23,252/30,000 words. Like I’ve mentioned before, the drafts of these books are fairly short, but I tend to “write short” in my first drafts and then fill in when I revise, so I expect them to end up in about the 50,000 word range by the time I release them.

Silas is always good for a quotable quote, and here’s today’s:

“Lainie, wait.”

She looked back at him, anger in her face.

Silas didn’t know what to say that he hadn’t already said. That however badly the Mage Council might want him, whatever they might do to him if they ever got their hands on him, they would want her even more and do even worse to her? That he was going to drag her to safety by her heels, kicking and screaming? “Do whatever you want,” he finally said. “But if you get yourself killed, I’ll hunt you down through all the heavens and all the hells, and then give you the whupping your Pa would want me to give you for getting yourself killed.”

She grinned now, a hard, challenging grin. “Same to you, Vendine.” She heeled Mala in the sides, sending the mare galloping back to the camp.

Now, I really hate it when in books there’s some kind of dangerous situation that has to be faced, and the man says, “I am the man and you are just a girl and I must protect you and keep you from going into danger because I am a manly man, and I don’t care that having you along might actually be helpful or that you’ll feel as bad if I get killed as I’ll feel if you get killed.” And the woman says, “Silly man, you can’t tell me what to do because I Am Woman and no stupid man can tell me what to do even if it means I put myself in danger unnecessarily and make things harder for you because then you have to worry about me in addition to yourself.”

I mean, I really hate that.

But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Lainie and Silas are both in a pretty precarious situation with the law (as represented by the Mage Council), and a dangerous confrontation with some other mages is coming up. Lainie believes that Silas is in just as much danger as she is, plus she has certain skills that can really help in a situation like this (that is, saved his butt more than once before), and yes, she would feel just as bad if he was captured or killed as he would feel if something happened to her. On the other hand, Silas has reason to believe that Lainie has seriously underestimated the danger to herself, and that any display of these special skills will only make her situation worse. He has no intention of getting himself killed; he just wants to deal with this situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then take Lainie and get the hell out of Dodge (if Dodge City existed in their world). She, however, has equally compelling reasons for not wanting to run away.

Anyway, I was trying to come up with a satisfactory way to top off this argument, and that quote from Silas kind of came out of nowhere (as Silas’s best quotes usually do), and I like it, along with Lainie’s rejoinder at the end – she can give as good as she gets. So I really really hope I’m not doing that thing that I hate.

Author spotlights coming up Thursday and Friday, and then don’t forget, the Sarya’s Song cover reveal on Saturday!


Book Review: The Metaphysical Detective

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The Metaphysical Detective, by Kirsten Weiss

Kyra’s star ratings:
Story: * * *
Characters: * * * *
Writing: * * * * *
Emotional engagement: * * *

The Metaphysical Detective is kind of two books in one. It starts out as a noir-ish paranormal murder mystery in San Francisco, with Riga Hayworth as a magically talented PI who has her own mysteries (HOW long has she been hired to house-sit for?!?) trying to untangle a series of seemingly-unrelated but way too coincidental deaths. I love the atmospheric descriptions of San Francisco (a city I’ve only visited twice but loved it both times) and the increasingly intriguing mystery. Riga’s mysterious admirer, Donovan Mosse, is pretty awesome in an arrogant-but-he-deserves-to-be-so-arrogant way, and I really enjoyed the parts with Brigitte, Riga’s gargoyle friend and companion.

Then, when things are really getting interesting, the action switches to Mt. Olympus and Greek mythology and a locked-room murder mystery in Zeus’s palace. That part was fun too, and the gods were pretty entertaining. This is also where Vinnie, a minor character from earlier in the book, really comes into his own, and I found myself liking him quite a bit.

But the two halves of the book just didn’t seem to fit together. There’s an explanation of how the gods (who exist as Archetypes) found avatars in the mortal world and were playing out their dramas among humans, but it still seemed like two completely different stories. They were both very entertaining and well-written, but it was kind of jarring switching from San Francisco noir to Mt. Olympus cozy mystery/divine soap opera. More foreshadowing of the importance of Greek mythology in the first part of the book would have helped, as would matching the tone of the two halves a little more closely.

I still recommend this book. The prose is excellent, and the characters are intriguing enough that I was willing to follow them through this adventure and will certainly be checking out Book 2 in the series.


Author Spotlight: Miv Evans

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Introducing Miv Evans, whose soon-to-be-released book How I Exiled My Inner Bitch I reviewed not long ago.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m British and relocated to LA in 2005. I’m a freelance journalist and write film reviews for Entertainment Magazine and Yahoo!

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing in 1990. I was the only female car dealer in the UK, and the male car dealers made me the butt of their humor. I started making notes and a few years later I wrote a TV comedy drama titled The Metal Movers which I sold to BBC TV.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I have written two TV shows, six screenplays, 200+ film reviews and now a book. I love the fact that an hour seems like five minutes when I’m writing. I would call it a state of bliss.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My debut novel is How I Exiled My Inner Bitch.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
My novel is about an anti-social woman who tries to hide her imaginary friend from her boyfriend and his hormonal daughters.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
The main character is the (inner) bitch. She says what’s on her mind and, as acerbic as she is, she’s truthful. The male character lives in denial, and I have witnessed that so many times it feels therapeutic.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I haven’t exiled mine.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available. www.howiexiledmyinnerbitch.com

Progress Update: Camp NaNo and Other Projects

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I guess it’s been a whole week since my last Camp NaNo report; been busy with author profiles and book reviews and of course the reveal of the amazing cover art for Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings. Anyway, progress is being made; I’m working steadily through the last major revision of The Lost Book of Anggird, still hoping for an October release date, and the first major revision of Sarya’s Song. Hoping to get that out to the test readers in, hmm, October or November? Sooner would be nice, but don’t know if that’s doable.

Here’s the report on this week’s Camp NaNoWriMo production (I’m writing Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings):

7/6 – 1369 words; 8609/30,000
7/7 – day off
7/8 – 1475 words; 10,084/30,000
7/9 – 1523 words; 11,604/30,000
7/10 – 1741 words; 13,321/30,000
7/11 – 1712 words; 15,033/30,000
7/12 – 1888 words; 16,921/30,000
7/13 – 1328 words; 18,249/30,000

Silas quote of the week (being taunted by some very offensive people who accuse him of cowardice because he says he isn’t big on killing people):

“I don’t like killing people, because I’ve usually got better things to do,” Silas said. “But it happens I’m bored right now.”

And now, time to get back to work.


Book Review: How I Exiled My Inner Bitch

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How I Exiled My Inner Bitch, by Miv Evans (watch for an interview with Miv coming soon!)

Kyra’s star ratings:
Characters: * * * * *
Story: * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Emotional engagement: * * * *

(I received a free advance reader copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)

How I Exiled My Inner Bitch is, hmm, I’d call it a chick lit (in a good way; some people seem to see the term as derogatory, but to me it conjures up breezy, hip, fast-paced tales of young women making their way through the tangles of relationships and careers in the modern world) with either a fantasy twist or a psychological edge, depending on how you look at it. Since the age of ten, Dionne, neglected by her mother and bullied by her older sisters and everyone else, has relied on Lionne, her imaginary friend, to get through life and protect her feelings with an attitude of, well, bitchiness. Lionne is very real to Dionne (and to the reader), and has her own distinct personality and style, but no one else can see her, which leads Dionne to live her life without allowing herself to get too attached to anyone or anything else. Until she meets the perfect man – then she’s forced to choose between living her life Lionne’s way, as she’s done until now, or taking the chance of getting hurt, and learns that there are more ways to live life on your own terms than by pushing everyone else away.

All the characters are distinctly and vividly drawn, even Dionne’s three triplet sisters, and I found myself loving or loving-to-hate all of them, or even, in a few cases, going from one to the other as the character grew and changed, or even both at once. I really wanted Dionne to find a way to find real happiness in her life, and was particularly affected by her growing relationship with Georgia, Greg’s (her boyfriend) troubled younger daughter. Lionne came just to the edge of being annoying enough that normally I’d be tempted to put the book down, but apparently Dionne had come to feel the same way about her at that point and that’s when she started to take control of her own life.

The writing is crisp and fast-paced. The author has a background in screenwriting, and the book reads in a very immediate way, as though it’s playing out on a screen in front of you. For my taste, it got a little breathless at times, and the pace made it a little hard for me to really get absorbed into the book. Otherwise, though, the writing style is very clear and polished.

How I Exiled My Inner Bitch is a quick, fun, well-crafted read with an uplifting message that in order to really live, you have to be willing to take some chances.


Author Spotlight: Kirsten Weiss

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Introducing Kirsten Weiss, author of the Riga Hayworth paranormal detective novels. I’ll be reviewing her book The Metaphysical Detective soon.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I had a long career doing overseas aid work – microcredit, specifically. And it sent me to a lot of out of the way, weird places. It was an interesting career, and I’m glad I did it, but after over a decade of it I decided I wanted a more normal life and came home to California. Unable to figure out what else to do (how does one transition to an office from aid work?) I fell back on my childhood ambition: writing mystery novels.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing when I was just a kid. Later, in my twenties, I tried my hand at mystery writing – great plotless sprawls which did not deserve to be published. I gave up for a time, then came back to it, a bit older and wiser, and hopefully a better writer.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I love mystery and adventure and humor and romance, and I try to combine them all in my books. But what really gives my books their “seasoning” are the paranormal elements I bring to them. I’m writing books that I want to read, which makes writing a pleasure. But of course, ultimately I want other people to read and enjoy them, too.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My latest book is The Infernal Detective, book four in the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels. It’s an urban fantasy, set in Lake Tahoe. The heroine, metaphysical detective Riga Hayworth, is on the verge of getting married, but obstacles – living and dead – are getting in the way. And right now I’m working on book five in the series, tentatively titled The Elemental Detective.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The Riga Hayworth series are urban fantasies, so they’re set in the real world with paranormal sort of hidden in the shadows. Without giving too much away, Riga loses her grasp of magic at the end of the first book, and throughout the next three books she’s trying to figure out how to – or even if she should – get it back. But I discovered that it’s a lot more fun and suspenseful reading about someone’s magic going haywire, or occasionally failing, than reading about Riga as a superhero. She’s fallible. She doesn’t win every fight. And I think that makes her more likable.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Riga Hayworth is a no-nonsense metaphysical detective, who’s actually a skeptic about magic even though she uses it. Basically, just because she believes in some things, doesn’t mean she believes in everything. What I love about her is she doesn’t care what people think about her, and she’s very confident. I’d like some more of that myself.

Her sidekick/familiar is a stone gargoyle, Brigitte, carved centuries ago in a French ghetto. She is also very “tell-it-like-it-is.” Sometimes a bit too much for even Riga’s comfort. Brigitte is the comic relief.

Riga is romantically involved with Donovan Mosse, a casino owner and self-made man. He can be a hedonist, and I use a lot of very primal imagery around him to express that sensual side. He’s tough, but he’s also an honorable, responsible person who cares about those around him.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Each of the books in the Riga Hayworth series explores a different type of magic practiced today.  The first focuses on the archetypes, the second on alchemy, the third shamanism, and the fourth necromancy. And yes, necromancy is practiced today! Originally – i.e. in ancient Greek times – necromancy simply meant communing with the dead in order to ask them about the future. That’s still done today, with some modern day necromancers (or witches) using spirits of the dead to help fuel their magic spells. There are some darker aspects as well – sacrificing small animals or using one’s own blood to fuel magic. Book five features Hawaiian magic, which I’m still in the process of researching.

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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
You can find me at http://kirstenweiss.com and I also have a Tumblr at http://kweiss01.tumblr.com/. The Infernal Detective is exclusive to Amazon through August 15th, after which you’ll also be able to find it on B&N and Kobo. The other three books are already available on all three platforms.

Book trailer for The Infernal Detective: http://youtu.be/kRNYxh2Pf44