Category Archives: Daughter of the Wildings

June 2015 Roundup, What’s Coming in July

PictureTime for the monthly roundup and look ahead:

June was, again, all about working on revisions and edits on To the Gap. This book is longer than books 2 and 3, (over 60,000 words, while Bad Hunting and The Rancher’s Daughter are under 50,000) so it’s taking longer to finish it. I also finished the A-Z Reading Challenge (see the previous post for the final installment) and I’m now back to reading whatever I feel like. Finally, the month ended with a bang with a bunch of dental work. My mouth still hurts, but at least we addressed the problems before they got bad enough to require root canals.

Coming up in July: the release of To the Gap, though probably a little later than I had anticipated. A week ago Sunday, our older son and his fiancee informed us that they’ve moved their wedding up from this fall to the middle of this month. They aren’t having a big huge fancy deal, but there’s at least one wedding-related event in addition to the wedding we’ll need to be at, and it’s all out of town (though only 100 miles up the freeway), which means a couple of road trips. So that has thrown a slight hitch into my work schedule, but I’m working as hard as I can to still get the book out as soon as I can without compromising the quality. I know there are at least a few of you waiting for it, and I don’t want to keep you waiting too long! Of course, we’re thrilled and delighted for our son and his fiancee, and excited to have our family grow. Maybe best of all, she has an absolutely precious 2-year-old daughter, so we get an instant grandchild out of the deal 😀

All other projects are on hold while I get through this busy time and try to keep to my release schedule.

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Writing Progress Update

Picture I seem to have found myself caught up into the Writing Process Blog Hop again, having been tagged last week by the lovely and talented Teshelle Combs, whom I’ve featured her here a couple of times. My writing process hasn’t changed much in the time since I did this before, but I figure it’s time for a progress update.

The first major revisions on books 1-3 of Daughter of the Wildings are done and out to the test readers, and I just started on book 4. It’s taking a lot more rewriting than I thought it would. Not that the plots have changed so much, but some major issues with the magic are different, and also some character issues. Plus a lot of what I wrote was me just trying to figure out what happens next! I like to plan my stories in advance, but a lot of Daughter of the Wildings resisted any kind of advance outlining. So I’m cutting lots of stuff, and adding lots of stuff, and changing lots of stuff.

Saturday I spent working out the money system a little more. The amount of money Silas and Lainie have is an important plot point at this point; they just got a big payout for services rendered to wealthy rancher Brin Coltor (one of my favorite supporting characters in the series), and it had to be enough to make taking on the job he hired them for worth the risk. On the other hand, there’s something Silas wants to do that’s going to cost even more than they have. Balancing the money in and money out to keep it all in proportion took some sitting down and calculating. I think I’ve finally got it figured out.

So there’s that, and since it’s been a long time since I wrote anything new, I’ve decided to participate in July Camp NaNoWriMo (because I’m just not busy enough :P). My goal is 500 words a day for a total of 12,000 words for the month (not much, but should be doable on the heavy revising schedule I’m on), and my project is Tales of Azara, a set of short stories to go along with Chosen of Azara. Some readers have mentioned to me that they’d like more background on the characters in the novel and more stories from that world, so that’s what this is for.

And I’m doing COYER Summer Vacation! So when I’m not writing and revising, I’ll be reading and reviewing. Should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

This week’s other stop on the Writing Process Blog Hop is Madhuri Blaylock; go check her out!


#Luckyseven Snippet – The Rancher’s Daughter

Picture Here’s something fun – I’ve been tagged by Isabella Norse to play #LuckySeven Snippet. Here’s how it works: In your current manuscript, go to page 7 (or 77), count seven lines down, and post the next seven lines. Then tag seven other writers to play along!

So here’s my seven lines, from The Rancher’s Daughter (adjusted to make complete sentences) [note: Silas is left-handed. I don’t know why; he just is]:

* * *
He itched to have it out with Storts, but getting in a gunfight with someone who appeared to be one of the town’s wealthiest citizens was not a good way to lay low. And he didn’t want Lainie to get caught in the middle of a shootout. He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders, as much to keep his hand away from his gun as to comfort her.

“Damn it.” Lainie’s voice was muffled by her arms. “He cheated! Everyone would have noticed if he’d played the Fire Dragon that early in the game! I would have noticed! How stupid does he think I am?”

* * *

Hm, who to tag now? How about T.F., D.A., M.H., A.L., Zoe, Lauren, and Mindy! (None of them know I’m tagging them; it’ll be as much a surprise to them as it is to me!)


Daughter of the Wildings Book 6 Cover Art Reveal!

Welcome to the reveal of the cover art for For the Wildings, Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings! I’m really excited to show this one off. I love all the cover art for the series, but I think this one just might be my favorite. I tried really hard to end the series on a strong note (I hate it when series fall flat at the end), and I think this art really shows the intensity of the epic final battle that Silas and Lainie face. Many thanks to the awesome Mominur Rahman (me-illuminated) for the amazing cover art!And now, here’s the full wrap-around version for the paperback:

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Mominur Rahman me-illuminated.deviantart.com
And the ebook version:
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Mominur Rahman me-illuminated.deviantart.com
And now, a sneak peek from the first chapter of Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings (this is not the final version, but pretty close). Silas has come to the town of Bitterbush Springs on the hunt for a rogue mage, and finds himself in the middle of some excitement:

PictureSilas reined in his horse in front of the boarding house and looped the reins around the closest hitching post. As he headed inside to inquire about a room, a crash from inside the saloon across the street caught his attention. He turned to see a big-bellied, bushy-bearded man come flying backwards through the swinging doors of the Bootjack Saloon and land on his back in the street. The man leaped to his feet with surprising speed for a fellow his size, then a second man charged out of the saloon and plowed into him, knocking him to the ground again. The two men tussled in a cloud of dust, until the second man pinned the first one face down with a knee in the small of the back.

“I ever catch you blasting on my land again, I’ll draw an’ quarter you an’ chop you up for dog feed!” the second man yelled. “You hear me, Gobby?”In a blur of motion, Gobby twisted out from under the other man and dropped him with a blow to the jaw that sounded like an axe thunking into wood. “You threatening me, Dinsin? Cause if you’re gonna threaten me, you better be ready to back it up!”

“Yeah, he’s threatening you,” said a man with an extravagant moustache from the covered wooden walkway in front of the Bootjack. His right hand dropped to the holster at his hip and came up holding a six-shooter aimed straight at Gobby. “An’ I’ll back up his threats for him.”

The gun was also aimed straight at Silas. Silas stepped back into the shadows of the covered walkway in front of the rooming house and edged out of the line of fire. A handful of men from the saloon next door, the Rusty Widow, came trickling out to see what was going on. Gobby stood up slowly, turning to face the moustached man with the gun. He was now also holding a gun. “Well, Winnard?” he said. “You think you can beat me?”

“I can –”

A shot fired from right next to Silas. Winnard tumbled back against the wall of the Bootjack and collapsed. More men came pouring out from both saloons, guns drawn. Holding onto his hat, Silas dove aside as gunfire exploded from both sides of the street.

And then — a wild burst of magical power, panicked and uncontrolled, and close by. The rogue mage? That power didn’t have the same flavor, the same feel to it as the brief flares of power that had led him to Bitterbush Springs. Silas started to raise his head to look around, then a bullet split a board in the wall of the rooming house not one arm-length above him. Throwing up a protective shield would slow down the bullets enough that they would do little harm, but it would also give away his presence to any other mages who might be around, so Silas pressed himself even flatter against the boards of the sidewalk. He lay flat against the wooden walkway, praying to the Defender that the unwritten law of the Wildings that it was an even worse crime to kill a horse than a man would keep Abenar safe.

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

Now Silas raised his head. Three or four men lay sprawled in the dirt of the street, unmoving. The fighters who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at a man standing in front of the Rusty Widow. He was tall, with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black moustache. 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 got to his knees, made sure his hat was still in place, and stood, brushing dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadows of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.

“Dinsin threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ my friends was just defending ourselves.”

“Go back inside, my dears,” the black-suited man, Carden, 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 stood 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.

“When are you gonna start paying us for the ore that was taken off our land, Carden?” Winnard, the wounded man in front of the Bootjack, shouted. The right shoulder of his shirt was soaked with blood, but judging by the anger in his voice, he was a long way from dead.

“If you have a difference with me, Winnard, I’d be happy to discuss it peacefully,” Carden replied in the same friendly manner. “There’s no need for anyone to be shooting anyone else.”

Two men helped Winnard up, and they and several other men who had come from the Bootjack walked over to Carden and started arguing with him. A small man with a silver sword-shaped badge pinned to his shirt came over as well, but he stood back and remained silent.

Silas couldn’t make out what the men were saying. He looked around, wondering who had been responsible for that explosion of magic. Further down the street, towards the east end of town, in the direction the burst of power had come from, he spotted a boy hunkered down behind a barrel, arms wrapped around his knees. Silas walked over, taking care to avoid attracting the attention of the angry men.

When he reached the barrel, he saw that what he had taken for a boy or youth was actually a small, slender young woman wearing men’s clothing — brown canvas pants, a green plaid shirt, boots, and a straw hat with a curved brim like those favored by cowhands. A long braid of light reddish-brown hair trailed down her back from under the hat. She had her face buried against her knees and she was shaking badly.

“I think they’re done for the day,” Silas said. “It’s safe to come out now. You okay?”

Abruptly, as though startled, she raised her head and looked up at him out of wide hazel eyes, set in a delicate, pale face with a dusting of freckles across her nose. Slowly, she took a deep breath and seemed to relax. “Yeah,” she said. “I’m okay. I just hate it when they start shooting like that.”



When Silas met Lainie… And the rest, as they say, is history 😀


Love & Magic sneak Peek: Bad Hunting

One last post for Love & Magic Week! Here’s a sneak peek, with some romance and magic, into Bad Hunting, Book 2 of Daughter of the Wildings (first draft) (this is in the aftermath of a harrowing battle, and something has happened that’s going to make things even worse for Lainie and Silas):

Picture “I’m sorry,” she wept. “You got yourself stuck with me, and now you’re in trouble–”

“Lainie, darlin’–”

“It’s all my fault. You had to–”

“Lainie, look at me.”

Sniffling, tears running, she looked across the shallow cave at Silas. Blue light danced in his left hand. “I’m a mage, Lainie. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.”

“But–”

“I could have sent for someone to come and take you back to Granadaia if I didn’t want to deal with you myself. I didn’t have to try to think of another way. I didn’t have to hang around Bitterbush Springs after we were done with Carden, trying to think of what to do with you and worrying about if you would be okay. And do you really think that your Pa could have forced me to do anything I didn’t want to do?”

“I…” She looked at the mage light in his hand. Sometimes she forgot exactly what and who he was–what and who she was dealing with. Even after a couple of months together, even knowing what she was capable of, the thought still frightened her. “No, I don’t think he could have.”

“I’m in this with you because I want to be. I wouldn’t have turned you over to the schools in Granadaia, to be chewed up and spit out or turned into something you’re not. And I wouldn’t have dishonored you in your father’s eyes–at least not any more than I already had–by taking you away with me unmarried.”

“Is that the only reason why you married me?” she asked, feeling very small and not sure she wanted to hear the answer. He might not have been forced to marry her against his will, but she also didn’t want it to only be out of a sense of obligation.

“Why do you think those other things mattered so much to me? I love you.”

He had said it many times before, but she had never been quite sure whether or not to let herself believe him. “Why?”

He gave a brief laugh. “Too many questions, darlin’. I’m starting to run out of answers. Why do I love you? Because… Because. I can’t not love you, that’s why.”


Manuscript E.R.

Been working hard on revisions to Sarya’s Song and Daughter of the Wildings, and thought I’d come up for air and show my readers a little of the process I use to take a manuscript from not so great to, well, maybe not great but a lot better than it was!

I’ve learned revision through many years of revising novels, but the best method I’ve learned has been Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course. Ms. Lisle worked as an emergency room nurse for many years, and this general approach to revision can be likened to taking care of a patient in the E.R. When the patient first arrives, you don’t start just randomly doing surgery on him. First you have to figure out what’s wrong (and also what isn’t wrong, so you don’t end up removing a perfectly good spleen or something), then you make a plan for fixing it, then you take him into surgery and start cutting. Likewise, in this approach, you don’t just start crossing stuff out in your manuscript right away; first you figure out what’s wrong with it (and what’s right), then you make your revision plan, THEN you get out the red pen and start making your corrections.

So, here’s an overview of what goes into bringing you another fine Kyra Halland fantasy novel 😀

1. I write a novel. This is a whole different process, and one I’ll talk about more another time.

Picture2. When the first draft of the novel is finished, I print it out on three-hole-punched paper and put it in a binder. This revision method will not work if you’re working from a computer screen. Here’s the printout of all six books of Daughter of the Wildings. My husband saw this and said, “That’s a big binder.” Of course, what he meant was, “Wow, I’m really impressed that you wrote something that long!” (This picture was taken right after I started the analysis or triage stage of the revision; I’m now about 2/3 through that stage.)

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3. I make sure I have plenty of my trusty Tul Needle Point Fine Black Gel pens on hand. Then I start reading through the novel, making notes of problems I find with various aspects of the novel, such as characterization, plot, worldbuilding, patches of really bad writing, and so on. I also analyze each scene in the novel for structure and to make sure it really serves a purpose in moving the story forward. This analysis (or triage) step condenses approximately the first nine weeks of the HTRYN course into one step.

4. Once I’ve gone all the way through the manuscript and made my notes, I get out a bunch of index cards (index cards are key to this method, and I’ve developed something of a fetish for them :D). I make an index card for each scene as I want that scene to be (not as it is now), giving a one-sentence summary of the scene and what the scene is supposed to accomplish, story-wise. Then, referring to my sheaves of notes, I write a summary on the back of each card of the changes I want to make in each scene. Finally, I color-code each card with a post-it, showing approximately how much work each scene is going to need. Neon green means I’ll be changing up to about 25% of the scene, bright yellow means 25-50%, neon orange is 50-75%, hot pink is 75-100% or a completely new scene. (I love post-its. Along with 3-hole-punched printer paper, Tul pens, and index cards, they’re one of my essential non-computer writing tools.)

Picture5. Once I’ve got my plan in place, I start marking up the manuscript. This can get pretty messy (like a good bout of surgery). I use red pen for corrections, and I’ve also learned to keep a blue pen handy to un-correct, that is, to mark where I’ve made changes in red and then changed my mind and decided to keep the original. Where it gets really interesting is where I’ve marked out a correction in red, and then decided to keep it, so I’ve got my changes circled in blue to not change them… Or something. It all makes sense when I’m doing it. To illustrate, I took some photos of pages from the current revision of Sarya’s Song. (Warning: not for the squeamish.)

Here’s a marked-up page; if you look closely, you can see where I circled something in blue that I had crossed out and then decided to keep. I make use of top, bottom, and side margins, and the arrows pointing off the side show where the new writing spills over onto the back.

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And here’s another one. You can see I’ve got stuff going all over the place. It looks like the poor page has been savaged by rabid weasels.

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This picture shows some of my notecards. This page isn’t as marked up, but you can see where I’ve circled chunks of text and drawn arrows showing where they should be moved to.

 

And, finally, here’s the back of a page with new stuff written in. I’m about halfway through this revision of Sarya’s Song, and so far I’ve added about 3000 words to the story.Picture

6. Strictly speaking, you’re supposed to wait until you’ve marked up the whole manuscript before you start typing in the corrections, but I’m afraid I’ll forget what half of my arrows and cryptic scribbles mean, so I type up each day’s revision when I’m finished.

I do this process twice, once on the first draft and once on the second draft after I get the feedback from the test readers. After that comes a revision to fix up any leftover bits of bad writing and continuity mistakes, then a line edit/copyedit, and then some rounds of proofreading. And, voila, a finished novel!

Update: while we’re on the medical theme, I’m happy to report that after a lot of tests (including a stress test which I rocked, working out hard with absolutely no symptoms), I had an appointment with a cardiologist today and got good news (or, at least, better news than I was afraid it would be). I have a small to moderate amount of fluid around my heart (pericardial effusion), which apparently has been there for a while. It isn’t causing any serious problems, except for some occasional discomfort. We’re going to keep an eye on it to see what it does, if it gets worse or stays the same or goes away. In the meantime, the doctor suspects that it was caused by inflammation/autoimmune activity (which would also be consistent with my chronic fatigue syndrome) and so the next step is to see a rheumatologist. Hopefully we can pin down the underlying cause and treat it, which will control or eliminate the pericardial effusion.

***If you’re a writer, I highly recommend the How To Revise Your Novel course. It’s a brain-wrenching, gut-wrenching five months and costs about $250, but if you want to publish your writing, it’s the best 5 months and $250 you can spend. The link is my affiliate link; I get a commission when someone buys the course through that link. But I don’t promote the course because I’m an affiliate; I promote it because taking it has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing.


Looking Ahead at 2014

Picture I’ve been thinking about this post since reading Dean Wesley Smith’s post on setting writing goals for 2014. This year got off to a rocky start for me; I had an abnormal EKG a week before Christmas, which was kind of alarming, and I’ve been dealing with tests and a lot of anxiety since then. Everything is still inconclusive so far, but right now it looks like we’re not dealing with anything immediately dangerous; most likely it’s nothing serious, or we’ve caught something more long-term serious in the early stages.

Getting this glimpse of my own mortality had the contradictory effects of making it hard to make future plans and goals (who can make plans for the future when they’re afraid they’re going to drop dead at any moment?) (seriously, I’m a terrible hypochondriac) and making me really zero in on what I want to accomplish in my life. The main thing I realized, besides wondering who would make the Christmas fudge and homemade dinner rolls at our house if I wasn’t around (getting alarming health news right before Christmas really sucks) is that I would be extremely bummed out were I to shuffle off the mortal coil before getting Daughter of the Wildings out. I’ve instructed my husband that should something happen to me, DoW is to be made available however seems best at the time – put up for sale, or just posted for free, or whatever. The problem is, as it is right now, still in rough draft, it kind of sucks. It’s not terrible, but there are parts that make me cringe or that are just wrong, and I really don’t want it to go out into the world this way.

So, with that as my focus, and now that I’m not quite so convinced that I’m going to drop dead at any moment *knock on wood*, here are my plans and goals for the coming year.

Although Sarya’s Song is the next book scheduled to come out, I’m going to be spending most of my work hours on the initial revision of Daughter of the Wildlings. DoW is a huge project, nearly 300,000 words, and if I’m going to get it released on any kind of schedule, it needs to take priority. This shuffling of priorities will mean that the release of Sarya’s Song may be delayed a bit. I’m hoping for a February release, but it may take until March.

My target for releasing the first DoW book, Beneath the Canyons, is June, though that may be a bit optimistic. The plan is to get all six books to where once I start releasing the series, a new book can come out about every other month.

Once Sarya’s Song is out and DoW is well under way towards being released, there are a couple of different areas I’m thinking I’ll turn my attention to. One is a couple of partially-written novels set in Estelend, the world of Chosen of Azara. I also had a reviewer say they wished Chosen was a trilogy instead of one book, because they wanted more backstory on some of the characters and events. Rewriting Chosen as a trilogy isn’t going to happen – I just don’t feel it that way – but I’d like to do a set of stories giving some of the backstory the reviewer mentioned they’d like to know more about. Maybe I’ll make this a Camp NaNo project in April or July. And the very first novel I ever wrote, Prince of the Trozdozh, and its sequel are sitting on my hard drive, calling out to me. I think they’re probably salvageable, so I want to run them through my revision process and see it they really are something I can release to the public.

As far as production goals, right now I can’t really set a word count goal. By the end of the year I aim to have released 5 novels (Sarya’s Song and the first four Daughter of the Wildings novels) and at least one short story collection (the Chosen of Azara companion stories). I had five releases in 2013, so six releases in 2014 sounds like a good progression.

And, onward. Happy New Year, everyone! May it be happy and productive and with a minimum of unpleasant surprises.


November: NaNoWriMo and More

Picture It’s been almost a week since my last post, a couple of weeks since releasing The Lost Book of Anggird, and I’m still a little ways out from my next major release, which will be Sarya’s Song. So how am I entertaining myself (and trying to stay out of trouble) in the meantime?

First of all, it’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo). Last year I wrote the draft of Sarya’s Song (finally finishing it after a number of false starts), but this year I’ve returned to my tradition of pounding out a fanfiction during November. I got off to a good start, then took a few days off to finish the draft of Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings, then just couldn’t get motivated to work on the novel I was doing for NaNo. So on Nov. 8, I decided to set aside the novel I’d started and work on an idea I’d been toying with for a few years. Starting over again from zero words more than a week into November means a lot of catching up to do. I set a minimum quota of 2500 words a day, and I’m almost caught up. Things are looking good for my 5th win in a row! (Note for those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the object is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. It’s a self-challenge rather than a contest where you’re competing against other people, and everyone who verifies that they wrote 50,000 words or more is a winner.)

Also, as I mentioned, I finished the 6th book of Daughter of the Wildings, which means that the whole series now exists in complete form. The whole series is printed out and sitting in a very large binder, resting for a while until I’m ready to start the revision. So, for those of you who hate waiting years between books of a series, and who wonder if a slow-publishing series is ever going to be finished at all, take heart – Daughter of the Wildings is complete, if still something of a mess. I’m even giving my family instructions that should something happen to prevent me from editing and publishing the whole thing, they’re to just put whatever hasn’t been published yet online. Not that I plan on anything happening to me, but you never know. (My husband is a wills and estate planning lawyer. That sort of thing kind of rubs off on you when you live with it.)

A couple of stories I wrote last March during my pre-Camp NaNo challenge have still been waiting around to be edited. “The Tale of Haveshi Yellowcrow” and “The Tale of Latan the Scholar” (original titles, I know) are linked together and are also loosely related to Chosen of Azara; Haveshi and Latan are mentioned in passing (and not by name) in the novel. I decided it’s time to get these fixed up and published, so I’m working on the revision of those after I finish my NaNo quota each day. With some luck and a lot of hard work, they should be ready in a week or so. I’m thinking I’ll post them on the site for free for a short time, then put them in the Kindle Select program for 90 days.

I’ll start on the next revision of Sarya’s Song once I’m done with the Haveshi and Latan stories.

Finally, The Lost Book of Anggird has been getting some very nice reviews. I installed the Goodreads reviews widget for it on the book page, so you can read the complete reviews there, or check out highlights on the Lost Book reviews page.


Lainie-isms

PictureI’m working on book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings. Book 5 and this first part of book 6 have been interesting to write. The series has two main characters, Silas and Lainie, and through the first four books I divided up the viewpoint more or less equally between the two of them, maybe leaning more to Silas. He’s a fun character to write, and seeing the world through his eyes is an interesting experience. Because of this, even though I was also spending a fair amount of time in Lainie’s viewpoint, I hadn’t really developed her as much, and most of the quotable quotes from the books were coming from Silas.

Starting with book 5, due to circumstances the story has been entirely from Lainie’s viewpoint, so it forced me to look deeper into her mind and personality and find out just what she’s capable of. And I’ll tell you, it’s pretty impressive. She may be a Sweet Young Thing, but she’s also pretty badass, and smart too. So here, to balance out all the Silas quotes I’ve posted, are some Lainie-isms:

Heading off on a possibly dangerous errand:

Lainie didn’t like it. This was the perfect setup for an ambush. She checked her gun yet again, then climbed down. “Wait here,” she said to the carriage driver.
“But, madam, my instructions were–”
She cut him off by pulling a ten-gilding piece from her pants pocket. “Wait here and count to three hundred. If I haven’t come running out for my life or if you haven’t heard me scream by then, you can go.”

Seeing a ladies’ fashion magazine for the first time in her life:

Lainie found a seat on a couch just the right size for two people, and picked up an oversize, floppy book–all paper, with no hard covers–with a big picture of an elegantly-dressed lady on the front. ‘Ladies’ Fashion Monthly,’ it said on the cover. Lainie flipped through it; it had lots of colored and black-and-white pictures in it of fancy clothing, fancy houses, fancy children, fancy food, fancy dogs, and short articles–like in a newspaper–about how you could go about achieving all that fanciness.

It’s a trap!

She pushed her gun a little harder into the man’s back. “What in all the hells is going on?”
“I don’t know what you mean–everything seems to be going to plan so far–”
The end of her revolver went to the base of his skull. “The next lie you tell me is going to be the last thing you say.”

Facing off against seven enemy wizards (actually eight, since the one she already shot won’t stay down):

“I’m not the one who picked this fight,” Lainie replied. She drew Silas’s gun into her left hand. It was big and heavy, too big and heavy for her, but it made her feel stronger, like Silas himself was fighting at her side. “Show me what you’ve got.”

Getting her first good meal in a long time:

She made her way to the kitchen, which was just as big and shiny and beautiful as the front parlor. The first thing her eyes alighted on was a pie–apple, she thought, smelling it–set out to cool on the counter. She moved towards it, wondering if Mr. Coltor was rich enough that he could afford to hire someone just to bake pies and cakes and cookies for him, like the people who read that ‘Ladies’ Fashion Monthly’ book she had seen at the hotel in Sandostra. She hoped so, because that pie wasn’t long for this world.

Picture So, it’s been lots of fun getting to know Lainie a little better. Book 6 is coming along; I’m getting to that terrifying point that I’ve encountered in all the other books of this series, where I know how it’s going to end but only have the vaguest idea of how I’m going to get there. I’ve picked up some good plotting techniques from Holly Lisle’s books and courses, which so far have seen me through. (btw, that’s my affiliate link for her store. I’m proud to recommend her books, workshops, and courses because they’ve worked wonders for me.) Once this draft is done, the whole series will go through the first big, deep, major revision as if it was one book, so I can get everything consistent from beginning to end, then it’ll go out to the test readers. If you’re wondering how long that’s going to take, I can’t say, but I’m hoping to start releasing the series late spring/early summer 2014.

Also if you’re wondering, I’m estimating that the whole series is going to come out at around 300,000 words, or approximately the length of one George R.R. Martin book. So I won’t be asking you to spend the rest of your life reading big long honkin’ books and waiting years for the next installment. Once I’ve got the series ready to start releasing, it will (hopefully) only be a few months between releases.

And a final note, I got a look at the sketch for the cover of book 3 a few weeks ago, and am hoping to get the final version any day now. It’s gonna be so cool! Stay tuned for cover art reveal news 😀


Progress Update: Lost Book, Sarya, and DoW5

 

Been working hard; time for a progress update.

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The Lost Book of Anggird is on the final line/copy editing round. I’m about 1/3 of the way through. After that comes the proofread and formatting, and I anticipate being able to release it sometime during the later part of October. Watch for previews and book extras as the release date draws near!

The first major revision of Sarya’s Song is a little more than halfway done. I’ll start scaring up some test readers for it soon, and plan to be able to send it out to them later in September. It’s hard to say for sure this far back, but I’m probably looking at a February release for that one.

 
The draft of Book 5 of Daughter of the Wildings is getting close to finished. I should be able to wrap that up this week, then get right to work on Book 6. As I’ve said before, the plan with this series is to get all the books written, then revise them all as one unit to get the storyline and everything consistent throughout. When I first wrote Beneath the Canyons, I didn’t intend for it to turn into a series; I’d always thought of myself as a writer of stand-alone novels. But at the end of that book, even though the storyline was resolved, Silas and Lainie were in worse trouble than they started out in, so of course the story had to continue! The series has developed in some ways I wasn’t expecting – some things I thought were important early on have turned out not to be so important (so far, at least – we’ll see how things go in Book 6), while other things I didn’t think were important have turned out to be major parts of the overall series storyline. So, there’s still a lot of work to do there. Can’t say for sure, but I’m hoping to start releasing the series in Spring 2014. At that point all the books will be written and will have been through the first major revision and the test readers, so I’m hoping for no more than a couple of months in between releases of each book in the series.

(And yes, if you’re counting, I’m working on three novels at once right now. I think I’m probably out of my mind.)

Also, I just got a look at a preliminary version of the cover for Daughter of the Wildings Book 3, which is now titled The Rancher’s Daughter. Thrilling, I know, but it has more layers of meaning than it looks like. I reserve the right to change it if I think of something better. This cover is going to be super cool.

While I’m on the subject, I want to say that of all the fun, awesome, cool things about being an independent author, working with my two amazing cover artists has been one of the funnest, awesomest, coolest things of all! Design by Katt and me-illuminated (Mominur Rahman) have both been great to work with, and I highly recommend them to other authors looking for custom cover art.

And a reminder, to be informed of new releases and if I have a sale or free coupon or something, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter! I’m too lazy and too busy to spam; you’ll only get emails when I release a new book or am having a special on my books.