Category Archives: Sarya’s Song

Weekend Sneak Peek 4/26: Sarya’s Song

Welcome to another weekend sneak peek! In this scene from Sarya’s Song, Adan is being punished for attacking Master Uldo over something that Uldo did to Sarya, and Sarya has come to offer moral support:

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Adan was kneeling in the center aisle before the altar, wearing only a pair of knee-length linen underdrawers, chanting the tropes of repentance in an undertone. Sarya looked at his lean, muscular back. His skin had a natural light bronze tone, and there was a dusting of freckles across the tops of his shoulders. She wondered what his back would feel like under her hands. Then, appalled, she scolded herself. The man was in Penance because of her; she was here to offer support, not to lust after him. She was only having those feelings because she was slightly – just very slightly – drunk and she had never seen his bare back before.

Carefully turning her mind to more virtuous thoughts, she examined his back for signs that he had been lashed too hard. In the low light, she couldn’t see any sign of lashing at all. The Hierarch must have been smart enough to not put Master Uldo in charge of Adan’s Penance. That would have been a disaster.

She tore her eyes away from Adan’s back. “Idiot,” she said. “You didn’t have to go and get yourself in trouble on my account.”

He stopped chanting. “It’s no trouble.”

“Why did you do it?”

“If you don’t know, there’s no point in me trying to explain it to you.”



Sarya‘s Song is available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Apple | Smashwords | OmniLit

For more sneak peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.


Couple Interview: Adan and Sarya

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Here are Adan and Sarya, from Sarya’s Song, to tell us a few things about how they met, what they see in each other, and more about their relationship:

1. How did you meet?
Adan: The day she arrived at the Skola in Sucevita, she caught my eye. She was standing all alone in the courtyard and looked like she needed help finding her way around. So I helped her.

Sarya: I don’t think he was doing it just to be helpful. I think he had an ulterior motive.

Adan: *looking innocent* Ulterior motive? Me?

2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
Adan:
The look on her face, completely lost and scared and completely determined. And her hair, the color of sunshine, and the music I heard when I looked at her.

Sarya: He was the most handsome boy I’d ever seen, and I could tell he was rich and popular. I couldn’t believe someone like him would take the time to help someone like me. He seemed really nice, then something happened that really wasn’t his fault but I blamed him for it anyway. Everything went wrong, then, but I’ve realized since then that was more my fault than his.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
Sarya:
Ha! Him and me? A mining town debt orphan and a rich boy? No way.

Adan: Yes. Or, I hoped so. From the moment I first saw her, I knew there would never be anyone else for me. If I couldn’t have her, I would be happy to remain a singer in the Service, unmarried, the rest of my life.

4. What do you like best about the other person?
Adan:
Her beautiful hair – like sunshine. Her beautiful voice, the songs she writes, that loveably hapless yet muleheaded personality of hers, her strength – she pulled herself up from nothing with just the force of her own will and abilities. And, well… but that’s private 😉

Sarya: His voice, before… things happened. And now, even though it’s different. That smug grin of his. The fact that he loved me for so long even though I kept pushing him away. And he really cares about other people – I never would have thought that a rich man would care so much, so genuinely, about people not of his station in life.

5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
Adan:
She taught me how to sing again.

Sarya: Singing together. And he’s just fun to be with. Just talking with him makes me laugh.

6. How has the other person changed you?
Sarya:
He taught me to be less prejudiced, to see people as they really are instead of by the labels I put on them. He also taught me that by guarding my feelings too tightly, by building those walls of pride around my heart, I might have been protecting myself from getting hurt but I was also preventing myself from having any happiness in life.

Adan: I learned that it’s worth making some sacrifices, reining in your appetites and giving up your indulgences, to gain the respect of someone you care about. She’s also helped me to find real ways to help people who are less fortunate than I am. Caring about them is one thing; actually doing something about it is something else.

7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?
Sarya: He’s the handsome, talented, popular heir of one of the richest families on both continents – Msaka Dolna and Msaka Ras. I’m an orphan from a mining town in the Burnt Hills. Because of those differences, we might as well have lived on completely different worlds. The difference was important to me – I knew I could never have a place in a rich man’s life, or, at least, a place that was acceptable to me. I could have settled for being a mistress, but I promised myself many years ago I would never devalue myself like that. I also didn’t want anything to do with anyone from the upper classes, the people who destroyed my family and my life when I was a child. It took me a long time to realize that Adan was different, that he was his own person and not anything like the labels I put on him and the preconceived ideas I had about him.

Adan: The differences never meant anything to me. And I was willing to wait for her to decide they didn’t matter to her, either.

8. What do the two of you have in common?
Sarya:
Besides music, not very much.

Adan: We love each other. Isn’t that enough?

9. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
Sarya:
Mainly my prejudices against him, and my unwillingness to open up my eyes and my heart and see him as he really is. I still regret the years we could have had together, that were wasted because of that.

Adan: Then, after she finally accepted me, things… happened, and I was afraid her spirit had been broken and that I’d lost her. We were both badly hurt, and had a lot of healing to do. In the end, though, we were able to use that to grow closer together instead of apart.

10. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?
Sarya:
I lost my family when I was a child, but I think they’d be pleased that I did so well without having to compromise myself 🙂 Adan lost his family, too, but judging by him I think his parents must have been good people.

Adan: I never knew Sarya’s family; she lost them long before we ever met. What happened to them happens to too many people, and that’s why I’ve decided to try some different ways of managing my properties and business interests, to try to change the way things work. So no more children will lose their families the way Sarya did. As for my family, Sarya might not be what they would have expected for me, but I think they would have trusted my judgment and accepted her.

11. What role does magic play in your relationship?
Adan:
“Magic” is a superstitious term. But I know what you mean. We met at the Skola, where singers and musical arrangers are trained in the art of using tropes and chants to influence the natural world and human affairs. If it weren’t for our talents in those areas, we never would have met in the first place.

Sarya: Also, it was Adan’s ability to hear my “trope,” the natural song associated with me, that bound us together and kept us from being torn apart forever.

12. What are your plans for the future?
Sarya:
To raise our family. If I’m not able to have more than one or two children, or even if I am, we plan to adopt some children as well.

Adan: Like I said before, I’m also exploring new and different ways of managing my properties and interests to eliminate the kinds of unjust practices that have destroyed so many families like Sarya’s. I’ve also founded a couple of orphanages, one in the Burnt Hills to care for children like Sarya was, and one in Sucevita, to care for the orphans left after the recent disasters.

13. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” How is this true for the two of you?
Adan:
Well, we did save the world, so there’s that ;D

Sarya: I’m a lot less bitter and close-minded than I used to be, and he’s found a positive outlet for all his energy and caring and passion. We’re both better people for being together, and I think that together we can make the world a better place.



Sarya’s Song is available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Apple | Smashwords | OmniLit


Weekend Sneak Peek 4/19: Sarya’s Song

Welcome to this weekend’s sneak peek! Last week, Sarya had a bad day at the office; this week, the physician, Master Baroda, has decided she’s just suffering from overwork and needs to rest, and Adan uses all his manly wiles to try to convince Sarya to spend a few days in the infirmary:

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“You can’t go on like this. Just a day or two, all right?”

“Don’t order me around, Muari.”

In answer, he took her face in his hands and kissed her again. It was a good thing Sarya was already sitting down because her legs turned to water at the touch of his mouth on hers. The kiss was warm and insistent, and she felt her lips parting beneath his though she tried to will them not to, and she couldn’t decide if she was mad that he hadn’t asked first or glad that he hadn’t asked because if he had she would have said no –

He pulled away, leaving her gasping for breath and stupidly wishing the kiss hadn’t ended. The physician was gazing off to the side, an amused expression on his face. Sarya reminded herself that Adan was an arrogant, overbearing ass and that she didn’t want him kissing her. “That might work on other women, but it won’t work on me, Muari.”

He gave her a smug smile. “Good luck, Baroda.”

“I will mostly likely need it,” Master Baroda said.



For more sneak peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.


Character Interview: Adan

PictureIntroducing Adan Muari, from Sarya’s Song:


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

My name is Adan Muari. My name doesn’t have any specific meaning, though we are one of the older and more prominent families on Msaka Dolna and Msaka Ras.

2. How old are you?

I am 26 years old.

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

I’m the oldest of my parents’ eight children; I have four brothers and three sisters. We’re very close; much closer than most families of our social station usually are. I believe this is because of how our parents raised us (and are still raising the younger ones). They’ve been much less indulgent with us than people of our class usually are with their children. I spent my fair share of nights hungry in the toolshed, for playing pranks and being irresponsible.

My father also makes us work in the fields on our lands, so we can learn what’s involved in producing the goods that give our family its fortune. Even at my age, even though I’m a full working member of the musical Service, I’m still expected to spend the month working our lands when I visit my family every summer. I think it’s paid off in more ways than one *flexes muscles* But mostly, because of that, I understand a little better what life is like for those less privileged than me, and I’m also used to the fact that sometimes life can bring discomfort and hardship.

When I was younger, this was the thing I liked least about my father – what boy likes being sent out to the toolshed without any supper, and having to work when his friends don’t have to do anything but amuse themselves? But now I’m grateful to him for raising me this way, and should I leave the Service and marry, I intend to raise my own children the same way.

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

Um. I’m afraid I don’t remember. There’s been a lot of kisses since then. There’s one first kiss that if it ever does happen, I know I’ll always remember it.

5. What is your occupation?

I am a singer in the musical Service in Sucevita, and the baritone soloist in the Great Choir there.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

My best qualities are my voice, both in aesthetic quality and in its power as a True Voice. I’m friendly and easy to get along with, at least for most people. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I have more compassion for the less fortunate than a lot of people of my station in life. I’m also good-looking, and an excellent swordsman – in *ahem* more ways than one. *grins*

I also don’t believe in false modesty.

My worst qualities? I’ve often been told by someone whose opinion I respect that I’m an arrogant, overbearing ass who has no morals. So there’s that. Members of the Service are encouraged to be celibate, though it isn’t strictly required, but I’m just not any good at celibacy. I’m also not much of a scholar, but that doesn’t really bother me.

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

She has hair the color of sunshine, a loveably hapless yet stubborn personality, a beautiful voice – though it isn’t the type of voice considered suitable for the choirs. She Arranges and composes the most glorious music you’ve ever heard, and thinks that I’m arrogant, overbearing ass who has no morals.

Oh, wait – this was just supposed to be a theoretical question?

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

My second favorite thing to do is sing. My favorite – um, see what I said above about not being good at the celibacy thing.

I also enjoy swordfighting and other athletics (and no, that’s not the same as not-being-celibate).

9. What is your greatest fear?

Losing the people I care about – my family, my friends, and Sarya. Not that I have her in the first place, but losing what we do have, and all hope of anything more.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

My voice, and my friendship – or whatever you want to call it – with Sarya.



Sarya’s Song is now available at:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Smashwords | OmniLit

Coming soon to other retailers and in paperback.


Weekend Sneak Peek 4/12: Sarya’s Song

Welcome to another sneak peek into Sarya’s Song. Here, Sarya hits a rough spot in her search for the mysterious music she’s been hearing:

PictureFlames burst out of the book and engulfed her. She screamed in terror and in pain at the searing heat, and beat at her face, her hair, her arms, trying to put the fire out. But it blazed even more fiercely, burning, blistering, turning her hair and clothes and skin to ash –

“Sarya!” Adan’s voice cut through her screaming and the roar of the flames. A pair of strong arms caught her up and carried her through the wall of fire and upstairs, where he set her down on a bench. He crouched in front of her. “What in the Hells of Torment happened in there?”

Once she was free of the flames, Sarya’s screams had died away, but she was still shaking badly. She looked at her hands, her dress, her half-undone braid hanging over her shoulder, expecting to see them burned away. They were completely untouched, with no sign of burning at all. She glanced towards the stairwell; smoke should have been pouring up from the basement, but there was none. “There was a fire –”

“No, there wasn’t,” Adan said.

“There was. The book – fire came out of the book when I opened it – I could feel it burning me –” Her teeth started chattering in spite of the day’s heat.

“There was no fire, Sarya. Everything’s all right.”



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For more Sneak Peeks, visit the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.


Character Interview: Sarya

Sarya’s Song is now available! Through April 13, it’s only $0.99 (comparably priced at the international Amazon sites) at: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Smashwords | OmniLit

Picture Introducing Sarya dyr-Rusac, the title character from Sarya’s Song:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
My name is Sarya dyr-Rusac. That just means I’m the daughter of a man named Rusac; I don’t have a proper family name.

2. How old are you?
I am 24 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father was a miner in the Burnt Hills, and I had a mother and several older siblings. I lost my family when I was eight years old, when my father fell into debt and they were sold off as debt-slaves. I was too young to be worth paying for as a worker, so I was left to fend for myself. Sometimes I resent my father for falling into debt and letting our family be destroyed that way, but the way things work in the Burnt Hills mining towns, it’s almost impossible to avoid.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
I would rather not talk about it. I was far too young, and the man involved was no one I care to remember.

5. What is your occupation?
Until recently, I was an Arranger in the musical Service in the city of Sucevita. As an Arranger, I arranged tropes, which are melodies with magical properties, into pleasing musical numbers for rituals such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies. Something went terribly wrong with a wedding ritual I Arranged, and I was forced to leave. Now I’m trying to earn my way as a traveling minstrel, but with the bad conditions lately, people everywhere are struggling to get by and there isn’t any extra money for traveling musicians.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m a hard worker, and intelligent, and determined. My worst qualities are that I’m stubborn and sometimes I have a hard time looking beyond my prejudices and pre-conceived notions.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
My options in that area are extremely limited, even if I was interested in finding someone. Which I’m not.

But, if it was a possibility, I would like someone who loved music as much as I do and who would respect my independence, and who understood that life is hard for a lot of people and cared about the less-fortunate.

…Well, and I do have to say that I’m partial to auburn hair and baritone voices. For whatever that’s worth.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Anything having to do with music. Singing, playing my lute, Arranging, writing songs.

9. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is falling into debt-slavery like happened to my family.  I made it out of the Burnt Hills with my freedom, and I would die before I would give it up.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My lute, and my freedom.


Love & Magic Sneak Peek: Sarya’s Song

Wrapping up Love & Magic Week with sneak peeks into two of my to-be-published works, Sarya’s Song and Daughter of the Wildings. First, here’s a look at Adan and Sarya’s complicated relationship from Sarya’s Song (please keep in mind this is still not the final draft!):

Picture As she tried to make her way through the press of people back to the door that led outside, the last voice she wanted to hear called out, “Sarya! Sarya dyr-Rusac!”

Panic drove her to push her way faster through the crowd, but Adan caught up to her and grabbed her arm. “Where have you been?” he asked. “Have you come back to stay?” There was an urgency in his voice as though his questions were a matter of life and death.

She tried jerk her arm away from him, but his fingers dug harder into her arm. “It’s none of your concern. I just need to speak to the Council of Masters about a bit of research I need to do, and then I’ll leave again.”

“You left without a word to me or anyone–”

“I didn’t realize I needed your permission to leave.” Around them, people were stopping to stare. Sarya tried again to pull herself free from Adan, but he refused to let her go.

“I didn’t know where you were or what had become of you. I didn’t even know if you were alive or dead!”

“What does it matter to you? You said yourself I don’t belong–”

“Damn it, Sarya!” He pulled her close to him and pressed his mouth to hers.

Sarya’s legs nearly went out from under her. His mouth was warm and hungry against hers; his upper lip and chin were scratchy with late-afternoon whiskers. She told herself she should push him away or something, anything but melting against him like she was doing while he kissed her as though he were starving and she was his banquet.


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.