Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG: July brings book news and more signing dates

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participating writers.
Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying your summer. I've been spending my weekends outside meeting readers, which really, beats doing yardwork any day.  

This month you can find me in: 

Allendale, MI at Out of the Barn July 9-11

Ferrysburg, MI at the Tri Cities Artist Incubator July 17

Grand Ledge, MI at the Island Art Fair July 31

Book updates:

Traveling Circus at the Skeleton Key (book 3) is now available at many online retailers. This was my first go at co-writing a book. I figured why not make it interesting by diving in on book 3? If you have any young adult readers, give this fantasy series a try. Magic powers, a circus, a mermaid, and so much more!

Spindelkin is releasing to Kindle Vella, which is due to go live at some point in the next week or two. The first six chapters are available with new chapters releasing every week or so (as my schedule allows). I'd hoped to have the whole book ready to go on Vella when it opened, but then life interrupted my ambitious plans with caring for my MIL for three months, health issues with my daughter, and then me catching Covid. Things are all better now, but now I'm far behind on my self-imposed schedule. Spindelkin is also a YA fantasy, along the lines of a dark fairy tale, intended for a younger audience than my current books but enjoyable for adults as well. 

The Minor Years: A Narvan Novel completed major edits and is now in the nitpicky editing phase before getting a out loud read through and then heading off to the proofreader. This one is on track for a fall release.

And now.... This month's IWSG question: What would make you quit writing? 

Quit as in never start back up again? Probably nothing short of loosing my facilities or death. I write for me as much as for an audience.  However, there are things in life that have made me take a break from writing such as: having babies, a divorce and other stretches of super stressful situations, and illness. I suppose that's good news for those of you waiting on the Book 4 of The Narvan. :) 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June - Meeting readers and a new upcoming release!

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 Are we seriously halfway through the year already? It seems like every time I write one of these posts the

 time that has passed seems to have flown by in a blur. At least I'm back out at events. It's been great talking to people in person again. I've done a renaissance faire and two craft shows since my last post and met a lot of readers. And got sunburned, even as I sat there this past weekend on a particularly chilly day shivering after it being nearly 90F the weekend before. Ah Michigan weather.

June brings more book signings. I'll be in Charlotte this weekend, then Holland, White Lake, and finally, Muskegon at the Lakeshore Art Festival. There's also a free virtual book festival going on this month through Pages Promotions. Meet several indie authors every night and get entered to win free books just by attending. I'll be a guest on June 25.

I hope to have another book release date announcement this month. This time, I've co-authored a young YA fantasy novel, Traveling Circus and the Skeleton Key - book 3 of a series. 

And now onward to this month's IWSG question:

For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Currently, now that I've written around fifteen full novels (some of which you'll never see), I only wait a few weeks to a month between rough draft and first edit. Usually I go on a binge reading fest or hit Netflix as way to cleanse my writer brain of what I've just written so that I can review the story with fresh-ish eyes and get to cleaning it up.

That said, I also have books that are still in first draft from when they were written years ago that are waiting for their chance at a re-draft. Most of the time those books are ones that are missing something. That could be a middle or ending, have a major plot issue, or maybe just that spark that drives me to dive back into the story and clean it up with the first edit. I'll get to them eventually.

Overall, I'd say writing lots of books helps refine your process so you churn out a cleaner first draft, know how to productively approach your redraft/first edit, and learn just how much time you need to read that first draft objectively.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

IWSG: May brings book signings!

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
 As usual, time is flying by and I missed my post by a day, but I'll squeak this in anyway because that's how life is going right now. Life beyond writing is highly interrupted, drama-filled, and hectic. As you may imagine, that's having an effect on writing things keeping up with blog posts. 

In lighter news, festivals, craft shows, and book signings are finally happening again! Hooray! You can find all the places I'm going to be along the side bar over there ---> In addition to those, I'll be at the Bluestocking Bookshop in Holland, MI this Saturday with my newest books: Not Another Bard's Tale and Bound In Blue - Book 3 of The Narvan. June will also be super busy as I'll be taking part in the Pages Promotions Reading Regatta along with 50+ other indie authors. If you like winning free books and meeting authors (virtually), stop by and get all the details.

And onward into this month's IWSG question: Have any of your readers responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? 

I can't say as I've had that come up yet, but I have had a few amusing comments here and there. One interaction that comes to mine is from a young woman I met at a book event early last year. She'd purchased one of my books and then turned up grinning at another event later that year to tell me that she'd loved it. It was dark just like I told her it would be. Unfortunately, that didn't narrow anything down for me as to which book she'd purchased because they all have a dark side, but I'm always happy to hear readers enjoy my books, no matter which one it might be. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Release day: Not Another Bard's Tale

Not Another Bard's Tale sprang to life during NaNoWriMo in 2008. The story languished on my hard drive for several years without a middle and then for many years after it was finally complete due to the lack of time to devote to applying the finishing touches and editing. Guess what? It turns out a pandemic that causes pretty much everything to be canceled for a year offers a writer a lot of unplanned 'free' time.

Look for a lot of new books in 2021. Authors have been busy typing away in their socially distanced writing caves. Not Another Bard's Tale is the second of five books on my schedule to release this year.

Inspired by my teen-love for Monty Python's Holy Grail, and later enjoyment of John Moore's book Heroics for Beginner's, Not Another Bard's Tale leans heavily into the fantasy parody genre. 

Bruce Gawain has been between knightly quests for longer than he’d like to admit. In the town of Holden, he meets a seer who tells him where he can finally find his destiny. All he has to do is travel to the distant Wall of Nok in Gambreland. With only three coins to his name, Bruce isn’t getting much further than a barstool at the town’s inn.

As luck would have it, the innkeeper’s beautiful daughter Svetlana and her flock of troublesome god-gifted sheep need an escort to Gambreland. With a paying job, everything seems to fall into place for Bruce’s quest… except for Svetlana’s killjoy bodyguard sister, an evil overlord with looming prophecy issues, and a dragon threatening to eat the townspeople until its stolen treasure is returned.

Bruce sets out with his pan-wielding companion Mydeara and the negligibly talented bard, Harold to seek out the Wall of Nok. Will they find Bruce’s destiny, return Svetlana safely home, and save the people of Holden from the vengeful dragon?

Available in Paperback on Amazon and Ebook: Amazon / Smashwords / B&N / Kobo / Scribd

Bruce glanced toward the docks where several ships were moored, their masts bobbing madly as a sudden rush of heavy wind buffeted the sea-side market. Horse-drawn carts raced by and shouting came from the next street over. He gripped the rough wood of the stall and squinted against the blowing dirt to read the poorly painted sign: Holden’s famous Herman! The great seer of the West!

A hunched man in a faded blue robe adorned with what may have been golden stars and moons bared his scant teeth. “I see an auspicious future for you, knight.” He held out an age-spotted hand. “But the details require payment.”

His past hadn’t been all too profitable and presently Bruce was in a state he preferred to call ‘between quests’. If a single coin could give him a push in a better direction it would be well spent. He dug into the coin purse he wore under his armor. He placed a chipped copper disc with a hole in the middle onto the seer’s palm. “That’s one of my last. You better tell me something worthwhile.”

“You listen to old Herman now, my visions always be true.”

People hurried past, glancing over their shoulders. “Get on with it then. The day’s almost done and I need to find the inn.”

Herman cleared his throat with a great hacking cough, followed by a hesitant wheeze and another cough, slightly less phlegm-filled than the last. “Show me your palm.”

Bruce held out his hand, wondering what the old man hoped to see in the fading light. He probably had his prophetic line of mysterious words already on his tongue; the palm was all for show. He scowled, already wishing he’d spent his coin on dinner or a pint of ale.

“All right then.” Herman traced the lines on his palm with thin, wrinkled fingers. “What you seek lies at the Wall of Nok. You must travel far and the way will not be easy.”

A shadow passed overhead, like a brief sampling of nightfall, but then it was gone. Something crashed at the other end of the marketplace. The ground shook. Screams filled the air.

What a load of dung. Bruce yanked his hand away. The evening air grew warm, almost unbearably so within his armor.

The shaking of the ground became more intense. The wooden stalls creaked. A host of people ran by. Shopkeepers watched them. Several abandoned their wares and joined the running crowd. Herman eyed the coin with determination as it bounced about on the quaking counter of the stall.

Bruce made a grab for his coin.

The surprisingly spry seer snatched it up. “When you reach the wall, you will find—”

A giant, green-scaled head atop a long neck lined with wicked black spikes loomed over the booth. Two great golden eyes surveyed Bruce and then locked on to the old man. The dragon’s jaws gaped open to reveal two wicked rows of teeth.

Bruce screamed like a little girl.

The dragon snatched up the seer and chewed with what appeared to be great satisfaction. It swallowed and then picked at one of his dagger-length teeth with a claw. The copper coin fell onto the counter.

The dragon’s rancid, hot breath blasted over Bruce. “You wouldn’t happen to know where the nearest lake is, do you? I always find mystics a bit dry.”

Bruce pointed to the far end of town with a shaking hand.

“Thank you.” The dragon flapped its wings, knocking flat the booth and all of those surrounding it, sending the goods flying in all directions.

As the dragon lifted into the sky Bruce’s reflexes finally kicked in. He drew his sword. Another rush of people, scattered in their efforts to pick a direction in which to flee, flooded through the decimated market.

A young man stopped, gazing up at the dragon and then following its line of ascent to Bruce and his sword. “You scared the dragon off! You saved us all!”

“I don’t know about...” Bruce glanced at the sword in his hand. If he meant to change his fortune, he was going to have to up his advertising game. “Yes. Yes, I did. Fearsome beast, but no match for a knight like me.”

“Behold, our savior!” the man called to all who passed by. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IWSG April: Upcoming Release - Not Another Bard's Tale

It's April, the weather is awesome. It's finally warm! And there is sunshine! Why am I inside??? Oh yes,  must work to pay the bills. 

Spring is busy doing it's springy thing around here. there are flowers, I've got the itch to finish out my flock with a few new chicks and my ducks are now a year old and are busy being happy ducks. I've also been writing. Well, editing, mostly, but that still counts.

April also marks the upcoming arrival of my next book, Not Another Bard's Tale. NABT was first drafted in 2008 as my third NaNoWriMo novel. It's gone through some significant revisions over the years and sat in the cold dark of my hard drive for long spans until finally Covid shut everything down for a year (and then some) and hey, I had far more 'free' time than usual. So I was productive and did a lot of writing as well as editing to get several books ready to release this year. 

Not Another Bard's Tale is a comedic fantasy novel following Bruce, the not-so-esteemed knight, his plucky side kick Mydeara, and the negligibly talented bard Harold as they journey to a far off land to find Bruce's destiny. Along the way they face an evil overlord with looming prophecy issues, a hungry dragon, and a love-sick troll. This adventure through fantasy tropes will be out at the end of the month! 

If you're not familiar with 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
Funny that this months' IWSG question is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Because yes, I do like to experiment with different things with my novels. That's the nice thing about doing stand alone novels and short stories, they're far easier to try out new POVs and styles than delving into an entire series. 

Not Another Bard's Tale is different than many books as it's told through a progression of POVs. Each of the characters get to carry the adventure for a chapter. Some of the core characters repeat in the second half of the book, other do not. The chapter lengths also vary greatly, but are geared toward giving everyone the part that best conveys their character's part of the story.