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 too...like 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


Excerpt: 
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.



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Release Day: Bound In Blue • The Narvan • Book 3

Release day for Bound In Blue is finally here! 

Join Vayen as he returns to the Narvan to clean up the mess left by those who took over while he was away in the third book of this space opera series. He's advised the Navan before, pulled the government and economy out of a tailspin while dodging bullets, and dealt with the manipulative High Council. It should be easy to do it all again, right? 

Plagued by PTSD, a lack of lucrative income, and dealing with a partner who's got his own ideas and another he can't stand make things tough. Then his worst nightmare shows up. Can he protect the Narvan, his family, and retain what little hold he has left on his sanity? 


Excerpt:

“I hate to complain boss, but it’s been eleven days since anyone has tried to kill you. No one’s even threatened. I’m getting bored,” said Neko. He’d been my ever-present shadow since Stassia and I had decided to bring our family back to the Narvan six months ago.

“Sorry, I doubt the Premier is going to make things any more exciting for you.” Granted, he was five minutes late for our meeting, but I wasn’t going to get aggravated over that quite yet.

The door opened, allowing the Artorian Premier’s secretary to bustle in. “Please accept our most sincere apologies for the delay, Advisor Ta’set.”

He bowed and sat in the chair to the left of the Premier’s desk. The Premier joined us a moment later, his usually crisp and pressed shirt appeared rumpled and his thick silver chain of office hung askew. He wiped at a stray grey hair on his lined forehead and gave me a tight nod.

“Do we have a problem?” I asked.

“We need more funding. All this scrambling and juggling is going to fall apart any day. Work will grind to a halt and protests will spring up. It’s all downhill from there.” He shook his head and took his seat. “Your designated replacement drained us dry.”

“He has been dealt with.”

Merkief. The stench of burnt flesh made me gag. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“And I appreciate your advice on recovering our losses, truly, but it’s not enough.” His hands fidgeted on the desk. He licked his lips. “We’re going to need a loan.”

“A loan is only a bandage. We need to address long-term solutions.”

And I had no credits to loan, not after financing Jey’s reclaiming of the Narvan from Kess and then relocating my family during my imprisonment. Stassia’s income on Pentares had given us a little cushion upon our return, but on a good day, with a couple years worth of Kryon payouts thoroughly and wisely invested, I would have been hard-pressed to hand over the amount that it would take to bail out an entire planet’s financial problems.

“We’ve already addressed those solutions. Progress is being made, however, it’s not working fast enough.” He licked his lips again.

I rested my oversized grey replacement hand on the desk, mere inches away from his. His gaze darted to the ugly black nails protruding from the thick grey fingers. Stassia had suggested that I get a more fitting replacement now that we were back home, but I’d grown used to this mismatched one. It fit me just fine.

“You’ve enjoyed a long term of office,” I said.

He sat back in his chair, nostrils flaring. “This isn’t my fault. We did what was asked of us.

We’ve always given what you and your people ask for. Always. Because you’ve treated us well. You’ve helped us recover and grow and expand faster than we’d thought possible. I’m asking this one thing, this one time, for your people. We need this loan.”

Damn all the High Council manipulation and infighting between Merkief, Jey, and Kess. They’d created a hellish mess of the tidy and productive package I’d left behind. Jey had been making strides to set things right during my long absence, but there was a lot of damage to recover from. The Premier was right. It wasn’t his fault, and my people shouldn’t have to suffer for it.

I sighed. “I’ll need details, where the credits will go, what you’ll lose if you don’t get them. On each and every damn program potentially affected. Got it?”

Hopefully, Stassia could help me figure out how to pull credits out of nowhere. When we’d destroyed the High Council, we also destroyed our source of lucrative income. Jey and I had been strategizing for over a year before I’d returned to the Narvan, trying to figure out how we could generate the income we were used to having at our disposal. Neither of us had come up with a sustainable answer.

The Premier nodded and then gave me a look like a man about to ask how I meant to kill him. “And the terms of the loan?”

“Will be discussed when I give you my answer.”

He stared at the desktop. “And when—”

“When I get to it. This might be my homeworld, but it’s not the only planet in the Narvan.”

He stiffened. “Thank you for your kind offer, Advisor Ta’set. I’ll get that information to you shortly.”

I stood.

“Where to next?” asked Neko through our linked connection.

“Home.”

Hopefully no one would want to kill me there either. Neko might be bored, but I’d had enough of dodging bullets for several lifetimes.


Available in E-book and Print at all your favorite online locations including:

Signed paperback direct from me:

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Upcoming Release: Bound In Blue

The third book in The Narvan series is nearly here.

Bound in Blue is available for pre-order!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble Kobo

Or buy the paperback direct from me and get a signed copy shipped to you.

Release day is Feb 20.

Vayen’s quest to keep the Narvan at peace has left him scarred both inside and out. Struggling to hide his hallucinations, memory loss, and flashbacks from everyone, he’s been advising the Narvan on a consultant basis from the distant colony of Pentares, but he longs for the comfort of home.

When Anastassia thinks she might again be able to host a link, she’s eager for them to return to the Narvan. Stepping back into the advisory position they’d both left behind, now side by side, is a dream come true. Except home doesn’t offer the ease Vayen had hoped for. Surrounded by reminders of Merkief and the High Council, his PTSD becomes impossible to ignore. He’s falling apart inside.

The Narvan is attacked by an enemy Vayen prayed he’d never face again. His nightmares come alive as havoc spreads across the system. Now he must face his darkest terror before everything he loves is ripped away.