Tag Archives: Tehovir

Heir of Tanaris Now Available!

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I am very happy to announce that Heir of Tanaris is (finally) available at the following retailers:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction |

The ebook is only 99 cents through October 19; after that, the regular price will be $4.99. The paperback will be coming in a few weeks, probably.

Here’s the description: As a young boy, Davian was sold into slavery at Source Makarsk, a corrupted magical wellspring. Over the years, he has risen in the ranks of the slaves; still, he knows he will never be anything but a slave until an elderly wizard, a prisoner at Makarsk, tells him he can be something more and gives him an astonishing gift. Desperate to find the destiny the wizard promised him, Davian risks his life to escape from Makarsk.

Isamina, a talented young healer at Sharan, a Source of healing magic, loves caring for patients and has a special gift for soothing their fears and pain. But her parents, the Master and Matron of the Source, and her betrothed, her former teacher, doubt her abilities and have their own plans for the path her life should follow. And the kind of healing Isamina most wants to do, mending broken minds and spirits, is strictly forbidden at Source Sharan.

When a badly-injured runaway slave is brought to Sharan, Isamina is captivated by the man she senses deep inside and risks everything to try to heal his tormented spirit, damaged by the evil Source that still holds him prisoner. And Davian, hunted by Makarsk’s fearsome Guardian, must find a way to defeat the powerful magic that binds him to Source Makarsk so that he can become the great man he longs to be and win the love he yearns for, the love of his healing angel, Isamina.

Romantic high fantasy for adults [for some reason, people get the idea that my books are YA, which they most definitely are not]. Contains violence, mild to moderate sensual content, and disturbing themes.

You can read the first chapter here.

Heir clocks in at 100,000 words, by far the longest of my novels except for Lost Book of Anggird, which is in the neighborhood of 130,000 or so. Still only 1/3 to 1/4 the length of your average fantasy doorstopper, but long for me. Which is why it took so long to release it; I’d forgotten what a challenge it is to work on such a long book, and just how long it takes.

Next up, some fine-tuning of Beneath the Canyons; there are some things about the execution of it that I’m not really satisfied with. At the same time, I’ll be continuing with revision prep for the Defenders of the Wildings series.

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Heir of Tanaris Cover Reveal!

With Heir of Tanaris in the later editing stages and (hopefully) still on track for release at the end of September, it’s time to reveal the cover. I have been so excited to show this off!
And here’s the full spread for the paperback:
As usual, Mominur Rahman did an amazing job with bringing my characters to life. And the magical tree is pretty cool, too. That was the first thing my husband said when I showed this to him – “Cool tree!”

Here’s the short blurb, in case you haven’t seen it yet: “When Davian, a badly-injured runaway slave from a corrupted magical Source, is brought to Isamina’s healing Source, Isamina must find the courage to heal his damaged spirit, while Davian must defeat the evil within himself to become the great man he was meant to be and win the love he yearns for.”

Some fun facts about this cover:

Davian’s gloves weren’t in the original character description. But I liked them so much I added them into the book, and they became an important detail in the story.

Also, Kaniev (from Source-Breaker) and Davian are from the same region of Tehovir, the northeastern fiords, (and, I don’t know, Kaniev might even be Davian’s great-great-grandfather or something) so I gave Mominur the same reference photos to work from, featuring the same model. Here are some closeups; you can see the resemblance between the two characters, but also how the artist captured their different personalities.

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Davian from Heir of Tanaris
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Kaniev from Source-Breaker
Finally, here’s some of my mood music for the book, from the album Haven by Kamelot. The whole album is really awesome, and pretty much makes up most of the playlist for the book.

My Therapy (this is how Davian sees Isamina):

Under Grey Skies (the love song for Davian and Isamina):
Watch for Heir of Tanaris coming at the end of September (knock on wood). To make sure you don’t miss out on the release and the special low introductory price, sign up for my email newsletter.

Heir of Tanaris Story Grid

I think I mentioned before that I’m studying The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, a really cool editing method that takes you deep into how a story’s theme and structure work together. The approach it takes really struck a chord with me, so I gave it a try with Heir of Tanaris. This might be more interesting for writers, but if you’re an avid reader and like seeing how the sausage is made, so to speak, you might find it interesting too.

Heir had already been through one major revision and was out with the beta readers while I was working through the Story Grid book, but I felt like I hadn’t gone deep enough into what the story is about. This is a novel that has given me a hard time for years, trying to really get a grasp on it. So I decided to take Heir through the process, which involves making a spreadsheet of different sets of info about the story and a 1-page summary of the story then putting it all together into a grid.

Here’s a screen shot of part of my spreadsheet for Heir:

Because spreadsheets are awesome, and doing this helped me start to clearly see the patterns of the story.

My “1 page” summary kinda turned out to be a lot more complicated than that. The Story Grid summary is based on a 3-part structure, beginning – middle – end, while I myself am more partial to a four-part structure, beginning – middle 1 – [midpoint reversal] – middle 2 – end, and Heir actually falls more naturally into 5 parts. But the basic principles are the same, each section consists of complications rising to some sort of crisis and climax, and I eventually got that beaten into shape.

And then the fun part, making the actual grid. You do this on actual grid paper with actual pens (it is possible to do it on a spreadsheet, but it would be a lot harder unless you’re a spreadsheet virtuoso, and the examples I’ve seen are hard to read); I used my new set of Tul colored gel pens 😀 which was fun. And here it is:

The boxes above and below the center line each represent a scene. The Story Grid method evaluates scenes based on how the story situation changes, from bad to good (negative to positive) or good to bad (positive to negative); you can also have bad to worse (which is fun) and good to better (use sparingly). Scenes that move in a positive direction go above the line, scenes that go in a negative direction go below the line. The tricky thing, and the thing that really helps you strengthen the theme of the story, is the direction the scene goes in has to relate to the overall storyline. For example, if the villain gets something he wants, that’s positive for the villain but negative for the overall story. So that scene goes below the line.

​Trickier is if one of the good guys gets something he wants that he shouldn’t want, because he’s trying to overcome a character flaw; that is also a negative turn for the story, even though it’s temporarily positive for the character. Or if the character has to make a sacrifice in order to achieve their goal; negative at the moment for the character, but positive for the storyline. It can especially get complicated if you have two conflicting goals. A scene can be positive for one storyline and negative for the other. For example, in a romance, if the hero passionately kisses the heroine even though he’s got no business kissing her at all right now, that’s positive for the romance but negative for his moral development. Heir of Tanaris has a lot of that conflicting stuff going on, so this helped me get a firmer grip on all of it.

I had fun with my colored pens 🙂 The blue boxes are for scenes where we’re in Davian’s head, pink boxes are for scenes in Isamina’s point of view. Imaginative, I know 😛 Brown boxes are for the villain. The colored lines going up and down represent the rise and fall of the different storylines. Blue is one of Davian’s storylines, green is the other, pink is Isamina’s, and orange is the romance storyline. That line, for example, goes down when something happens to keep Davian and Isamina apart and up when they’re together and their relationship progresses.

Now, over on the right hand side, not all the way to the right but kind of in the middle of the right side of the graph, you might notice a problem. That’s right, hardly any scenes with a negative turn. Almost all the action is above the line. This means everything through here was going very smoothly for our hero and heroine. Which is nice for them but makes for a boring story. That was a huge flaw in the story which was really made clear by the grid. So what I did was go back and evaluate the story conflicts in each of those scenes, the larger-scale problems the characters are facing throughout the book. What problems did I solve too easily? Where do the characters need to struggle harder?

Another problem is all the way to the right, near the end, there’s one scene that stretches both above and below the center line with a bunch of lines zooming up and down and up and down all within that one scene that takes place over maybe an hour of story time. What that showed me is I was trying to do too much in that one scene and the climax of the story was rushed. So there again I had to deepen the struggle, and also spread it out over more scenes and over time within the story.

I just finished the revision incorporating everything I got from this and also the beta reader feedback, and I think it’s made Heir of Tanaris a much stronger, deeper book. I’m going through a modified version of the process with the first draft of the Defenders of the Wildings series, combining it with Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel method, in hopes of nailing all the major story issues in one big revision instead of two. Which hopefully will help me get those books out faster.

To learn more about the Story Grid, visit the Story Grid website. Most of the content from the book is also available for free on the blog, and you can also view story grids that Shawn Coyne made for Silence of the Lambs (the book he uses as the example throughout the blog posts and book) and Pride and Prejudice.

Anyway, Heir of Tanaris is currently on track for release in late September. To make sure you don’t miss out on the release (and the special limited-time low introductory price), sign up for my email newsletter. Subscribers will also get the first peek at the cover, before I do the cover reveal here on my blog. So excited about this; Mominur Rahman’s art for this book is gorgeous!


March Progress Update

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Looks like it’s time for a progress update. Two big projects are occupying my time and (limited) brainpower and energy right now. The major revision of Heir of Tanaris is under way; I’m about halfway through. As always, scenes I thought didn’t need a lot of work are getting totally rewritten (just finished a long one that I decided at the last minute to change from Davreos’s point of view to Isamina’s). But I’m really happy with how this is coming together so far. The soundtrack for this book is mainly the album Haven by Kamelot. Give it a listen if you want to get a feel for this book, the next book in the Tehovir world.

I’ve also started the triage phase of revision on the Defenders of the Wildings series, the follow-up to Daughter of the Wildings. I was going to wait until the big revision on Tanaris was done, but decided I couldn’t wait that long. And I think (hope!) I’ve got readers waiting for it too. So I started that, revising the whole series like it’s one big book (which it basically is, much more than Daughter, which divided itself up neatly into separate novels), and I was going through book 1 and it was going fine, highlight these characters more, move this to this other scene, combine these two scenes, dum de dum, HEY WHERE’S THE PLOT???

Yes, I forgot to put a plot in book 1. Which probably explains why this “novella” is only 38 double-spaced pages long. My excuse is that I decided that what was originally book 1 needed to be book 2, so I took some stuff from the original book 2 and wrote some new material and stuck all that in front to make the new book 1, just so I could get the general scaffolding of the story in place. I know what the plot is supposed to be; a thing happens, as often does in novels, and this thing has potentially dire consequences for Silas and Lainie and their livelihood, and they talk about doing something in response. Well, then, other things happen and we get to the end of book 1 and they never did the thing they talked about. So doing the thing they talked about is the plot of book 1, and now I just need to actually write it. Fortunately, it fits in well with the other stuff happening that I wrote.

There are writers who claim they can write a complete, organized, well-structured story in one draft, with only needing to clean up the typos to make it publishable. I am not one of those writers. 😛

So, anyway, that’s where things stand. No idea yet on release dates; to make sure you don’t miss out, sign up for my email alerts to get release news, special offers, the occasional freebie, newsletter-exclusive sneak peeks and trivia quizzes, and other fun stuff when I can think of it.

One more note: a very talented young writer named Cristian Mihai is in dire need of dental work that is far beyond his means to pay for. He has a condition that leaches all the calcium from his teeth, with the result that he has a mouthful of crumbling teeth, which causes him a great deal of pain and makes him unable to eat or speak normally. His writing is best described as literary fiction, which you may know is usually not my reading material of choice, but his stuff is really good. Anyway, if you can make a donation, or buy a package of reblogs on his site if you have a WordPress blog, buy one of his books, or even just share on social media, every little bit helps.


Character Interview: Ardavos

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Here’s an interview with Ardavos, the antagonist (it’s really kind of hard to think of him as a villain) from Source-Breaker:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Lord Ardavos, Master of Source Vadaerna and seeker after knowledge. You may simply call me Lord Ardavos, or “my lord.”

2. How old are you?
Age has no relevance to genius. However, I do worry that I don’t have enough decades of life left in which to complete my work.

Well, if you insist, I am 46 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have not had contact with them since I left home in my youth to begin my training as a healer, but my parents supported my ambitions and I believe they would be proud of what I have accomplished in my life.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
*turns red* My lady Sivael is the first woman I ever kissed. Fifteen years later, she is still with me, so that must mean we both found it pleasing.

5. What is your occupation?
As I said, I am a seeker after knowledge. By training I am a sorcerer; my original training was in the field of healing. Since then, I have turned my attention to finding improved ways to store and use Source-power. One of the great limitations on the use of magic is that only one kind of Source-power can be used at a time, and the magic practitioner must either be at a Source in order to draw on its power or carry a limited amount of power with him, either within himself or in a special, magically-prepared container. I seek to take the practice of magic far beyond what is possible under current restrictions and practices.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I am dedicated to my work, to improving the practice of magic for the benefit of mankind. I am talented in developing theorems and making precise calculations in order to predict the results of the experiments I will carry out. And I am methodical and orderly in my work.

I have always had difficulty in developing relationships with people. Very few people understand me, though some have suggested that it is I who does not understand them. However, this is an insignificant thing; I have surrounded myself with people who are grateful and loyal to me, and I feel no need for any other company.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
*turns red again* I had never given any thought to such a thing – it always seemed unimportant compared to my work – until I met my lady Sivael. After I healed her of life-threatening burns, and you can see that she has not so much as a scar from her injuries, I had a sense that she would be the one person who would understand and appreciate both my work and myself. I had a sense that… this is very hard for me to put into words, but I had a sense that if I accomplished nothing else of note, saving her life and healing her injuries would make all my work and sacrifices worthwhile. I knew that even if I never had anyone else I could trust, who could understand me, if I had her, it would be enough.

Sivael has no magical ability, but she is well-educated and does a superb job of keeping the records of my work. And she is unfailingly kind and patient with me. Even when I become excessively absorbed in my work and short-tempered, she reminds me that my work is not the only thing of value in my life.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Studying magic. Experimenting with different ways of using Source-power. Learning and expanding our knowledge of what is possible.

9. What is your greatest fear?
That I will not live long enough to be able to make the results of my studies widely known, or that something else will happen to cut my work short.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My magical abilities, and my lady Sivael.


Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage, Part 5: Kaniev

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A few years ago, I did a series of blog posts called “Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage,” comparing the heroes of my books to those popular romance tropes. This ended up being a pretty popular series, although a lot of the views came through the search term “bondage boys.” Somehow, I have the feeling that a tongue-in-cheek look at how my fantasy heroes stack up against the romance tropes wasn’t what those people were looking for and they probably went away disappointed. The popular trends in romance have moved on to include such things as mixed martial arts, rock stars, and motorcycle clubs, but billionaire bad boys who are into bondage seems to be a classic, and anyway I’m having too much fun with this concept, so I decided to update the series with a look at the hero of my latest book.

So here’s Kaniev, the Source repairman from Source-Breaker, and how he stacks up on the Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage index. (You can follow the links back to the older posts for more detailed explanations.)

Billionaire factor: Kaniev, like many skilled tradesmen who are in high demand, has made a pretty good living for many years at his trade. He’s good at what he does, not to mention he’s the only one in the world who can do it, so he can command pretty much whatever rates he wants for his work, and he doesn’t come cheap. As he says to one client who tries to short him in their bargaining, “You have no idea how much my services cost, do you?” As is the custom in certain societies and periods of history, he converts his money into more practical and portable items, namely, expensive black leather clothing and lots of silver jewelry. It serves as a calling card, showing that previous clients have valued his work enough to pay him generously. And he knows it looks good on him 😀

Unfortunately, the last six months, he’s run into a string of bad luck in the form of a number of Sources with problems he just isn’t able to fix. Whether it’s something weird going on that he can’t figure out or his skills are starting to slip, the results are the same: if he doesn’t fix the Source, he doesn’t get paid. He hasn’t been paid in six months and has had to start selling off some of his jewelry. If things don’t turn around soon, he’s going to be in a tight financial bind.

Billionaire rating: 3

Bad Boys – Inner Torment factor: Kaniev is a pretty easygoing, well-adjusted guy. He had a happy childhood back home in the fiords, although his uncontrolled talent for magic got him into trouble a number of times. When the previous Source-Fixer found him and wanted to take him on as his apprentice, Kaniev, who was not looking forward to becoming a fisherman like all the men in his family for generations (boring), and his parents happily agreed. He loves his work, and he loves traveling and meeting new people. Lately, though, he’s starting to get frustrated with his failures and just wants to go home and (oh, the irony) take up fishing. About now, boring would be good.

Inner Torment rating: 2

Bad Boys – Jackassery factor: Again, Kaniev is a pretty mellow, easy-going guy. He likes people and generally gets along pretty well with them. He especially likes women, all kinds of women, and he’s a terrible flirt. He knows he looks good, especially for his age, and he never misses a chance to show off. (Fransisa’s over to the side, rolling her eyes.) But it’s all in good fun, and he doesn’t mean for anyone to get hurt, though every once in a while, someone takes him more seriously than he wants to be taken and ends up disappointed. He does feel bad about that, but can’t seem to restrain that flirtatious urge.

Jackassery Index: 4

Bondage: Yes, Kaniev likes the ladies. And the ladies like him, mostly (more eye rolls from Fransisa). He isn’t looking for anything permanent, just a good time, and he certainly doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Despite the black leather, he has no desire to dominate (or be dominated); while he enjoys all kinds of women, he especially likes being with a woman who can keep up with him as his equal. Not that he’s averse to a little fun and games, but that’s all it is, fun and games.

Bondage rating: 0

So, out of a possible 40 points, Kaniev comes in at 9. So it’s a good thing he didn’t try out for any hot tormented bilionaire romances but landed in my quirky fantasy novel instead. I think Fransisa’s glad (even though she’s stil over there rolling her eyes). Though with the black leather, he might fit right in in a motorcycle club story. (He likes this idea!)


Character Interview: Fransisa

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Introducing Fransisa, the formidable Source-priestess from Source-Breaker.

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Dama Fransisa Cortadella, of the duchy of Cortadella Fira in the Kingdom of Pacetino, one of the Independent Kingdoms. In my capacity as a priestess of Source Chaitrasse, I am known as Sera Fransisa.

2. How old are you?
They say that one should not ask a lady her age. That being said, I am forty years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My father is a duke of the second degree; however, my family is more highly connected, to a ducal family of the first degree, through my sister’s marriage. I also have three brothers. I have seen my relatives less than once a year since I came to Source Chaitrasse, and we are no longer close, if we ever were. Still, I have done my best to do my familial duty and be a credit to them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Now that is definitely not a question one should ask a lady. Anyway, I prefer not to remember it, for various reasons.

5. What is your occupation?
I am the senior priestess, after the High Priestess Sera Valara, at Source Chaitrasse. As Sera Valara is quite elderly and in frail health, I am also the acting managing priestess. I had expected to be the next High Priestess, until a young girl came to Chaitrasse less than a year ago, who is Chosen of the Source and therefore the natural heir to the position of High Priestess. Among my responsibilities are to teach and train her, to prepare her to step into the position.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I have an aptitude for organization and administration, which allows me to keep everything running smoothly at Chaitrasse. I’m quite skilled in magic.

I know that many people think of me as a harridan, a battle-axe. I suppose I do have a tendency to be stern, strict, overbearing, and impatient. I do what’s necessary to ensure that the affairs of Source Chaitrasse are conducted in the proper manner.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
As an avowed servant of Source Chaitrasse, I am under a lifelong vow of celibacy. But were I free to marry and had the opportunity, I would prefer a man of excellent breeding, manners, and education, of intelligence and refinement, who would attend to his duties in a conscientious manner and be a credit to our families.

As long as I’m daydreaming, I suppose I will add that if he were kind and honest and did not trifle with my feelings, I would appreciate that very much.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
There have been times when I have felt discontent with my lot in life, and using Chaitrasse’s magic is a great source of happiness and comfort.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Being useless and unwanted; having no place where I belong.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My ability to use magic and my affinity to the magic of Source Chaitrasse.


Source-Breaker Now Available

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I’m happy to announce that Source-Breaker, the newest novel in the Tehovir world, is now available as an ebook at all the stores I sell through. The paperback edition will be coming in the next few weeks. The regular ebook price will be $3.99, but right now it’s at the introductory price of only 99 cents, and will go on 99 cent promo a few times over the next few months. It’s available at:

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

This was a fun book to write. It’s a little more light-hearted than a lot of my work (though still with a good dose of angst and some serious themes). Unlike a lot of fantasy which is coming-of-age stories, in this novel I decided to feature two characters who are facing midlife crises. Kaniev is all of a sudden a failure at the trade he’s worked in for 27 years, and Fransisa has had her expectations of career advancement pulled out from under her in favor of a much younger Chosen. I also enjoyed telling the story of the villain, Ardavos, and his mistress Sivael. I’ve written some backstories for Kaniev, Fransisa, and Ardavos and Sivael; they need a little editing, and then I’ll make those available.

So now it’s on to the next book, Heir of Tanaris, also set in the Tehovir world. Unlike my usual habit of working on two projects at once, I’m going to focus exclusively on Heir, at least until I get the revised draft out to the beta readers, and see if I can start getting stuff done faster. I want to get to the revision of Defenders of the Wildings, so I’ll start on that while the beta readers are having at Heir. I love all my books, but Heir of Tanaris is one of those that just won’t leave me alone and it’s a story I feel deeply compelled to tell. I’ve already got the cover art for it, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I’m hoping to release it early this summer. Watch for the cover reveal and more information coming up this spring!

In other news, if you’ve noticed the disappearance of the OmniLit links from the site, OmniLit and its parent site All Romance eBooks suddenly closed in December, owing a lot of money to a lot of authors. (They offered a really insulting settlement of 10 cents on the dollar, ostensibly to help them avoid having to file bankruptcy.) I didn’t sell much there, so I’m not losing more than a few dollars, but some authors are losing thousands. Anyway, as a result, I’ve decided to replace the old OmniLit links with the GooglePlay links for my books. GooglePlay is a relatively large, um, player in the ebook world, and I should have been promoting my books there more. If you use Android and the GooglePlay store, now it’ll be easier for you to find my books there.

If you did buy any of my books at OmniLit/ARe and are now unable to access them (readers were given about four days in the middle of the holiday travel season to download and back up their purchased books; I’m hearing of readers who lost hundreds or thousands of books in their ARe libraries), contact me with some sort of proof of purchase and I’ll set you up with replacement copies.

The ARe debacle has also emphasized how important it is for authors to not become too dependent on one company. Which is why I’m trying to cast my GooglePlay net more widely, and I’m also looking into setting up to sell books from my own site. I know which service I’m going to use if I do this (PayHip); now it’s a matter of sorting out tax licenses and stuff. I do know that if I have to get a city business license in addition to a state sales tax license, I’m not going to do it because the two licenses together will cost more than I anticipate making in sales from my website. 😛

Anyway. So I’m adding new links to the site, and getting the Tehovir section more put together, with information and reading order on the books and things like that. Watch for more Source-Breaker book extras coming up; I’ve got interviews scheduled with Fransisa, Ardavos, and Sivael, and I’ll be revisiting the notorious Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage blog post series with a look at how Kaniev fits into those popular romance tropes; that should be fun.


Character Interview: Kaniev

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Introducing Kaniev the Source-Fixer, one of the main characters in Source-Breaker:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
Kaniev Orvig’s-son. (It’s pronounced KAHN-yev)

2. How old are you?
Old enough to know better, too old to care 😀 Seriously, though, I’m 40.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have a mother and a father and several brothers and sisters. The men in my family have been fishermen going back generations. I haven’t seen my family since I left to begin my apprenticeship when I was 13, but I had a happy childhood in the fiords and have fond memories of them. The only thing I didn’t like was the prospect of being a fisherman like my father and grandfather and great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather and so on. I thought it sounded boring. Right about now, though, the way things are going, a little boredom sounds pretty good.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Her name was… It’s been so long, I don’t remember. Pretty girl in my village. I was 12, she was a little older, maybe had already turned 13. It was the first of many kisses, and I’ve loved every single one of them.

5. What is your occupation?
I’m a Source-Fixer. Or, THE Source-Fixer, since I’m the only one. I repair magical Sources that aren’t working right. Or try, anyway; lately, I haven’t been having much luck. It’s hard to believe I’m getting too old for this and my skills are starting to slip. My master was 60 when he found me and nearly 70 when he finally retired. But something’s wrong, and I need to figure out what before I run out of money.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m very good at what I do. Or was, anyway. I’m pretty easygoing and even-tempered; I suspect some people think I’m annoyingly cheerful. I tell good stories. And I’ve kept myself in good shape, which comes in handy if I’m trying to get to a hard-to-reach Source, and the ladies certainly appreciate it.

On the other hand, I have a bad habit of flirting with every female who crosses my path – only the ones of age, of course. I’m not that shameless. But there have been a few women who thought I was after something more serious than a good time together, and I ended up disappointing them. I do feel bad about that.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
I love all kinds of women. But I’m especially drawn to strong, smart, spirited women who can challenge me to keep up with them.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Ah. Well. Reading the answers to some of these questions, you can probably guess.

But also, I love my work. I love using magic and my unique talents to figure out what’s wrong with malfunctioning Sources and put them back the way they should be. It’s always interesting and challenging, and every Source and problem is different, a puzzle to figure out, and putting them right again is almost a work of art.

9. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my magical abilities. They’re part of me; I wouldn’t be who I am without them. Even when I was a young boy, before my master found me and took me on as his apprentice, working magic came as easily to me as breathing. Which got me in trouble more than once and is why my parents were so willing to let me go.

I also worry about failing to fix a Source I’ve been hired to fix, which has been happening a little too often lately, and someone getting hurt or killed or some sort of serious damage occurring as a result. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. Yet.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My magical talents. My good old horse, Mai. My Source lodestone, handed down through generations of Source-Fixers; it’s the only one in the world and I couldn’t do my job without it. And my freedom. Other than my responsibility for keeping the Sources functioning properly, I have no obligations, no duties, no one I have to answer to.


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Changing the World

My fantasy world, that is. Or at least the name.

Yes, Estelend, the world of Chosen of Azara, The Warrior and the Holy Man, and my two upcoming novels, Source-Breaker and Heir of Tanaris, is getting a name change. A long time ago when I first started developing this world, I just called it Source-World. Easy, and it made sense – the world is based on the idea of magic coming from Sources that are natural features, such as caves, springs, trees, etc. Not a terribly original idea, but it’s a lot of fun to work with and offers a lot of possibilities for conflicts and stories, and for characters who are involved with these Sources in one way or another. When I was still doing this writing thing just for fun, Source-World worked fine as a name. But when it came time to start putting these stories out in public, I realized that Source-World wouldn’t work because the people living in that world wouldn’t think of it that way.

PictureSo I went looking for another name. I don’t remember the exact process by which I came up with Estelend, but I do remember it involved consulting the etymology section at the back of my trusty vintage American Heritage dictionary. Anyway, so I came up with Estelend and it seemed okay. I wasn’t wild about it, but it was better than Source-World. But I’ve never really liked the sound of it, and I think it looks funny, and that’s been bothering me more and more. Another thing I don’t like about it is that, to my ear, it seems a little reminiscent of Westeros, the world of Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire. I’ll just say that I’m not a fan of those books and I really don’t want to have any suggestion of association with them, and I don’t want people to think I’m trying to invoke them.

I put off doing anything about changing the name, because it seemed like an awful lot of work and would involve making (admittedly minor) changes in work that’s already been published, including to the covers. But I was disliking Estelend more and more, and realized that with two more novels set in the world about to come out, it’s now or never – if I don’t make the change now, I’m stuck with Estelend.
Picture

image from Bulbapedia

So I chose the words that express the idea of this world, magic or power and source, and went to a site that lists what words are in lots of different languages. “Magic” is pretty much the same in most languages, and I didn’t want something so identifiable, so I also looked for words for “power.” I tried out lots of different combinations, then did some Googling to make sure I wasn’t using something that was someone’s name or had an unfortunate meaning. One of my possible names, when I Googled it, Google didn’t recognize it and suggested “Gardevoir” instead. Gardevoir is a Pokemon, and a very cool Pokemon, but I don’t want something else coming up should readers Google for the name of my world.

PictureAfter all this, I finally settled on the new name for Estelend, Tehovir. It means “power source” in a mashup of a couple of different languages, and looks cool; it fits with a lot of the other names I’ve invented for this world. How to pronounce it? However you want, since it’s not a real word 😀 In my mind I say it “TAY-hoe-Vir” (short i). But really, you can pronounce it however you want. Right now I’m in the process of making the change on the covers (fortunately, I do my own lettering and save everything in a Photoshop version so it’s easy to go in and just change one word) and doing search-and-replaces in the books and stories set in that world. The publishing services at a lot of the stores I sell through are closed/on reduced hours for the holidays right now, so I’ll wait until I’ve got everything switched around to start uploading. In the meantime, I’ll start changing the old covers out on the site and also create a new Tehovir blog category and a page for the series. Because the week before Christmas, trying to get the next book out, what I need most is another task like this 😛 But it’s really a relief to not have that nagging at me any more, hating the name Estelend and wondering if I should do something about it.

In the meantime, if you really want to help make a small change in the world for authors struggling with health or financial difficulties, head on over to the Help an Author Christmas promotion. (Read more about it in this post.) You can browse (full price) books by authors who have donated to the assistance fund, and even make a donation yourself, if you want. The Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3 and Love and Magic box sets are in the promo, and for each copy of those titles sold during December (whether through the promo or otherwise), I’ll make an additional donation to the fund. Thanks for your support!