Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Rancher’s Daughter Progress Report

Picture*Phew* Was buried all week last week in the last large-scale revision of The Rancher’s Daughter, cleaning up the last messy plot points, fixing descriptions and dialogue, and making sure everything flows well. The big battle scene took a while; in that scene, Lainie has three different enemies and one unreliable ally (not Silas; he’s temporarily indisposed), and the battle is happening on both the physical and the metaphysical planes. I could only do a few paragraphs at a time, then I had to go rest my poor tired brain. *sigh* Lainie keeps getting herself into these situations, and then I have to figure out how to get her out of them.

Anyway, it’s on to the final edits and proofreading. If everything continues to go as it has been, The Rancher’s Daughter will be out by the end of April. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from the book:

A rustling in the forest undergrowth several measures away drew her attention. From the shadows, a narrow pair of glowing, dark orange eyes stared at her. Below them, Lainie could make out a long, furry snout with sharp fangs poking up and down out of the sides of the mouth. Behind the head stretched a body the length of a man, covered in gray fur and set close to the ground on short, thick legs. Even in the dim light, Lainie could see the curving claws, longer than her fingers, that tipped each enormous paw. Two long ears stood straight up atop the head and twitched towards her as a thick tail, the length of the creature’s body, swished back and forth through the litter on the forest floor.

Lainie bit back a scream and fought to keep from making the slightest movement or sound as her heart thundered in her chest. This was the first time she had ever seen a grovik as anything more than a shadow in the distance. Now, as she stared at this one only measures away, all the terrifying stories about the beasts, how one grovik could strip a man — or a tied-up woman — down to the bones in a matter of minutes, came rushing back into her mind.

The grovik took a step towards her. Cold sweat broke out all over her body. She squeezed her eyes shut, tears of terror leaking down her cheeks, and prayed as hard as she could. If nothing else, she hoped it would be over with quick. She braced herself for the tearing of enormous, razor-sharp teeth and claws into her flesh.

Book Review: One Crazy Night

PictureOne Crazy Night, an anthology by Nightshade Reads

Eight paranormal, fantasy, and urban fantasy authors have put their heads together and come up with this anthology of stories on the theme of how lives and even worlds can change in a single crazy night. Some of the stories are standalones; others are more like prologues or teasers for the authors’ longer works, but all are exciting and enjoyable. They range from the lighthearted YA humor of “Love Magic” by Louise Nicks, where two teenage sisters wreak havoc on a high school dance with an ill-made love spell, to the reflective “The Recruit,” by Sara Furlong Burr, in which an alcoholic firefighter, broken by his brother’s death, tries to find the wherewithal to move on and do something about it, to the horror of “Bellona,” Aoife Marie Sheridan’s look at the backstory of the villainess from her Saskia trilogy. And lots of other great stories – the undersea paranormal “Elements” by M.H. Soars; the poignant dystopian paranormal “The Keymaker” by Teshelle Combs; frightening YA nightmare “The Lady in Black” by R. Holland; Emma Faragher’s chilling legend “Necromancer Lineage”; and Sharon Stevenson’s engaging and slightly creepy urban fantasy “Reanimator.” (Though the anthology contains some YA selections, some graphic violence and horror content and minimally graphic sexual content makes it more suitable for older teens and adults.)

A highly recommended sampling of some fresh and exciting new voices in these genres – and the proceeds go to a very worthy cause, leukemia and lymphoma research. Definitely worth reading!

Find out more about the authors of Nightshade Reads and this anthology in this post.

“One Crazy Night” and One Good Cause

One-Crazy-Night-V2_ebookToday I’m pleased to feature a special book for a good cause:

Nightshade Reads presents their debut fantasy anthology, featuring eight of the genre’s freshest up-and-coming independent authors. Get ready for One Crazy Night, packed full of magical encounters, dark secrets and shocking revelations.

Get a glimpse into a powerful queen’s dark and brutal backstory in Aoife Marie Sheridan’s Bellona.

In Louise Nick’s Love Magic, a homemade love spell goes disastrously wrong for two amateur teen witches.

A young woman is captured by beautiful, dangerous creatures in M.H. Soars Elements:
Elements quote 1
A teenage boy falls in love, but things quickly become complicated in R. Holland’s Lady in Black.

Sara Furlong Burr brings a broken man’s troubles to light as he is offered a solution by a mysterious stranger in The Recruit:

The Recruit quote 1

Emma Faragher spins a dark origin tale of sisterhood and magic in Necromancer Lineage.

The kindness of a stranger takes a homeless young man by surprise in The Keymaker by Teshelle Combs.

Sharon Stevenson’s Reanimator brings death and magic together to change the fate of one young man’s life:
Reanimator quote 2
All proceeds from sales of this anthology will go to The Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Organisation.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:
Nook UK:

Other Important Links:
You can add this book to your TBR pile on Goodreads here:

You can like our facebook page here:

You can find out more about the charity this anthology supports here:

Author Links:

Sara Furlong Burr:
Teshelle Combs:
Emma Faragher:
R. Holland:
Louise Nicks:
Aoife Marie Sheridan:
M.H. Soars:
Sharon Stevenson:

About the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Charity:

This charity was chosen as it is one that is close to all of the Nightshade Reads author’s hearts. Researching blood cancers and the prevention of these illnesses, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research believes that everyone should be able to live their lives to the full. They have been working for over 50 years to beat blood cancers and donations really do make all the difference to their research.

You can find out more about this charity and the wonderful work that they do here:
Nightshade logo FINALAbout Nightshade Reads:

Nightshade Reads is an independent author collective and One Crazy Night is their debut short story anthology. Eight authors who write YA & NA novels in the fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian genres make up this collective. These authors have worked hard to bring together a collection of exclusive stories that are all set on One Crazy Night, and they decided that all proceeds from sales of this book will go to the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Charity.

You can keep up with the works of this collective here:

Kyra sez: This is a cause that is close to my heart, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help get the word out about this anthology. Nineteen years ago in April, my good writing friend Shiori lost her battle with leukemia. We met in a science fiction/fantasy workshop at our local community college, and eventually split off into a smaller workshop/critique group with one other person. We would meet at Coffee Etc. one night a week (where, since I don’t drink coffee, I would indulge in the yummy German chocolate cake and raspberry lemonade) and talk about writing and other things, laugh, and support each other in our writing and our lives. Shiori was a talented and dedicated writer of Star Trek fanfic, even though everyone in the workshop laughed at her and pointed out that she couldn’t publish it. Sadly, she died just before or right at the dawn of the great age of Internet fanfiction. She was 42 years old and left an 8-year-old son.

I was pregnant with my younger son during the last months of her illness. It was a difficult pregnancy and I didn’t touch base with her for several months until shortly after my son was born. I was shocked when she died a few weeks later, and at that point I learned from our other writing friend that Shiori had refrained from telling me just how sick she was, because she knew I was already stressed out with my pregnancy. It was her gift to me, the only gift she was able to give me in the end stage of her illness – that and a card, which she bought during her last expedition out of the house and sent to me. I still treasure it.

One of the books I workshopped with Shiori and our other friend is the book that eventually became Sarya’s Song. A big turning point with that book came when they laughed at the love scene in the original version. Not to my face, of course, but while they were reading at home, and they were very apologetic when they told me about it, but it had to be said. It stung at first, then I realized they were right to laugh. Not only was the scene all wrong, but so were Sarya and Adan’s entire characters. It’s because of Shiori that Sarya’s Song is the book it is today, and it’s dedicated to her. I wish she could have read the final version, and it’s my hope that proceeds from the sale of One Crazy Night will help more cancer patients enjoy more books, more cake, more laughter, and more years with their friends and families.

Watch for my upcoming review of One Crazy Night; so far it’s lots of fun!

Living in a Pokémon World

I really should post more often so I don’t fall off the face of the Earth, so I thought I’d do some posts about what I do when I’m not writing. Yes, sometimes *cough* I do things that aren’t writing. My brain gets tired, or I get stuck, or sometimes I just need to get away from the words for a while.

For Christmas, our two young adult sons (who do this great video game/anime/manga/nerdstuff podcast) put their heads together and gave me and my husband his-and-hers Nintendo 2DS’s (like the 3DS except it’s in 2D instead of 3D and it’s a flat device instead of clamshell, but it plays 3DS games) loaded with some Pokémon games and MarioKart. My husband likes the MarioKart game because of the cool race cars, but I’m a Pokémon fan from way back, so I dove right into Pokémon Y.

One of the cool things about the DS is it has a camera that can take in-game pictures, so I can share some of my adventure here. This is me (or my Pokémon me) early in the game, in front of the Battle Chateau, which is a great place for level-grinding and winning lots of Poké money. (We call them Pokébucks.)

PictureBack in 1998, when Pokémon first hit North America, my boys were ages 2 and 9 – in other words, the ideal target audience. We watched the show religiously (which is what launched me into anime fandom, which is what got me writing fanfic, which is what got me writing again after a long dry spell with my original fiction, so in a sense all those books over on the sidebar owe their existence to Pokémon), bought the cards when we could find them – back then, Pokémon cards were like gold, and about as expensive – and when my older son got his first job that summer, taking care of the neighbors’ dog while they were RVing across the country, he spent his earnings on a GameBoy Pocket, a GameBoy Color, and the first Pokémon games released over here, Red, Blue, and Yellow (featuring a Pikachu that follows you around). We bought the toys and went to Burger King for their Pokémon promotional toys and saw the movies and bought the collectors’ magazines. Over time we added about every Pokémon game ever made, a complete set of VHS tapes of the first season, Pokémon manga and novelizations, and about eleventy billion Pokémon cards. I played and beat Pokémon Red a few times, but after that the games started getting more complicated. I didn’t play again for a long time, but of course I had to try out my shiny new Christmas gift.

Me at Geosenge town, before makeover:

PictureThey have night and day, and different weather, and you can grow Berries with different properties (some more useful than others) and leave a Pokémon or two at the daycare and when you come back for them sometimes they’ve produced an egg (I think there’s a shortage of chaperoning at the Pokémon daycare!). And you can buy different outfits and even get a whole new hairstyle!

Me at Geosenge town, after makeover:

PictureSo anyway, after way too many hours spent playing when I probably should have been doing other things, I made it to the Pokémon League and beat the game:

PictureSince there are way too many cool Pokémon and I tend to get emotionally attached to every one I catch but you can only have six on your team at a time, what I do after this point is take more teams back to the Pokémon League to challenge the champions and beat the game again. My goal is to get every Pokémon I have into the Pokémon League Hall of Fame. Because, you know, you gotta have a purpose in life.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Pokémon games notwithstanding, edits on The Rancher’s Daughter are proceeding apace, and I’m still on schedule for a release in May (possibly sooner, but I don’t want to make any promises at this point).

Character Interview: Arbrey Carden

PictureTime for another character interview! Here’s Arbrey Carden, the man of mystery from Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings. I don’t have a picture of Carden to display, so here’s his first appearance in the book, as a bit of introduction:

All at once the shooting stopped. “What’s all this, boys?” a deep, resonant voice called out from nearby.

Now Silas raised his head. Three men lay sprawled in the street. One was writhing in pain, the other two were still. The combatants who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at the Rusty Widow. Silas turned his head to follow their gaze. A tall man with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black mustache was standing in front of the saloon. He wore a finely-fashioned black suit and black flat-brimmed hat, and had a lace-and-ruffle-bedecked house lady clinging to each arm.

Silas stood up, making sure his hat was still in place, and brushed dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadow of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.

“Dinsin an’ Winnard threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ the fellas was just defending ourselves.”

“Go back inside, my dears,” the black-suited man said to the house ladies. “No need to worry yourselves.” The ladies retreated into the saloon, and Carden stepped down from the wooden walkway into the street. He stopped in front of Gobby, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you went into the Bootjack again, Gobby,” he said. “You know damn well that’s rancher territory. You’re stupid enough to keep going in there, you deserve whatever you get.” Though the words were harsh, the deep voice was genial. The crispness of a Granadaian accent underlaid his informal Wildings speech.

And now here’s Carden to tell us a little about himself:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

My name is Arbrey Carden. It’s a highly respected name among those who are privy to such knowledge.

2. How old are you?

I am 34, in the very prime of my life. I enjoy both the wisdom, experience, and sophistication of years, and the good looks and vigor of youth.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?

They’re quite prominent, of course, and quite respected among certain exclusive circles. I’m sure you probably wouldn’t have heard of them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?

I believe it was Lorinda… Something. Her family had a townhouse and a seaside estate next to ours while I was growing up. She’s long been married to someone else, but she did give me quite the taste for feminine companionship.

5. What is your occupation?

At present I am involved in overseeing the acquisition of a certain ore of unusual and interesting properties. I’m sure you’ll understand if I say that my employers require the greatest discretion and I am not presently at liberty to reveal their identities.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

Among other talents, I am a bold and savvy businessman, skilled in the management of money and labor. The fruits of my labors are of great benefit to whatever locale I’m presently working in. I’m also quite good at persuading people to do things that are in their best interests though they may not realize it at the time.My worst qualities, well *fake self-deprecating laughter* I’m afraid I’m an adamantly confirmed bachelor. Although I suppose it’s arguable as to whether that’s bad or good.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?

I like a woman who is elegant in appearance and manners and can pass as well-bred (though she might not be in reality), but who is also free of silly, over-nice inhibitions in matters of pleasure.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

Well, aside from keeping company with the sort of women I described above, I enjoy making money, whether it’s through an exciting new business venture or a well-played game of Dragon’s Threes.

9. What is your greatest fear?

What could someone in my position, with my abilities and resources, possibly have to be afraid of?

10. What is your most treasured possession?

I value having the money, freedom, and position to make my way in the world independently, as well as belonging to that elevated circle of people who have the means and intelligence to enjoy the more refined and sophisticated pleasures of life.Beneath the Canyons is available in ebook and paperback at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit | Smashwords | CreateSpace | DriveThruFiction

Read the first chapter here.

February 2015 Look Back; What’s Ahead in March

PictureTime for another monthly review and look ahead. The main thing in February was the release of Bad Hunting, Book 2 of Daughter of the Wildings. It had a great launch, and the series has picked up new readers! Which I’m really happy about. I also wrote a guest post on fantasy-westerns for The Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog that promotes science fiction, fantasy, and related genres by independent authors.

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been tough, but I’m managing to establish more or less regular work hours and also to stick with an exercise routine that’s within my capabilities. Both of these seem to be helping my productivity quite a bit, especially the regular work hours.

On the A-Z reading challenge, I got sidetracked on H, reading the entire Tormay Trilogy, by Christopher Bunn, that started with The Hawk and His Boy. Highly recommended. Now I’m on I. The only “I” book on my Kindle that I already owned is a contemporary political thriller, which sounded pretty good but it turned out to be a lot more political than I’m in the mood for. So I bought a book I had a sample of, Iron Flower, by Billy Wong, book 2 of the Legend of the Iron Flower series.

In March, the main thing I’m working on, of course, is revisions and edits on The Rancher’s Daughter, Daughter of the Wildings Book 3. This one doesn’t seem to need as much work as some of the others, but it seems like I say that about every book. 😛 It does seem to be true this time, though. I’m saying a release date in May, though I’d love to be able to release it in April. We’ll see how things go.

There are a lot of other projects waiting in the wings for me to get to them. Preparing Tales of Azara for release, revision of The Source-Fixer, writing The Healing Tree (working title), planning the sequel to Urdaisunia, looking at my very first novel and its sequel to see if they can be revised to release-able quality (I think so, but it’ll take some work), planning a follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings… Right now I’m totally focused on Daughter of the Wildings, but I’m hoping that as I get more into the routine of the work hours I set and find other ways to be more productive, I can choose a secondary project to work on.

There are some publisher chores I need to get to, as well. Reworking the Books page on my site to make it more streamlined and comprehensive now that I have eight titles out and more on the way; looking at some additional sales platforms; redoing the promotional matter in my books. The to-do list never ends!

So, that’s what’s keeping me out of trouble this month.

In the meantime, through March 7, all my books are 50% off (except A Cure For Nel, which is free!) during Read an eBook Week on Smashwords! Use the coupon code on the book page to get the sale price at checkout.

Read an eBook Week on Smashwords!

PictureMarch 1-7: It’s Read an eBook Week on Smashwords! You can get A Cure for Nel, and Other Stories for free, and all my other books are 50% off with the sale coupon code! Kyra Halland’s books on Smashwords. Lots of other books are on sale too!