From an early age I enjoyed reading fish-out-of-water stories. Among my favorites are The Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis, Red Moon, Black Mountain by Chant, and Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series. Even McCaffrey’s Dragonflight was a fish-out-of-water story—and it had romance!
So when I started writing the Vinlanders’ Saga, it made sense that I would follow that path. At first I was just telling myself a story. Who were these men that rescued Celia from the desert? Why were they out there? What did they think of her? What misunderstandings might they have? As I answered those questions I realized they were the descendants of people who had, themselves, been transplanted into this strange new world.
In Dangerous Talents I followed Celia’s stumbles and mis-steps as she navigated the unknown, sometime creating the world just a few steps ahead of her. But as Robert Frost observed, “way leads on to way,” and as Celia explored, Alfheim was established. The landscape became solid and real.
I’m still discovering new things about Alfheim and developing the characters alluded to in previous books. Right now I’m refreshing what I know about the ancestors of the Tewakwe, because they’ll feature prominently in the next book. (I’ll share more about that in another newsletter.)
In the meantime, Dangerous Talents is Free for the next few days. As you probably know by now, I like to open the door to Alfheim once or twice a year, and make it easy for readers to discover the Vinlanders’ Saga. This is a great time for you to give it a try (if you haven’t already) or give it to a friend. Because, heck, it’s Free! And right now seems like a good time to escape into another world.
Stay safe, and happy reading!
I hope this Juneteenth finds you well.
I’ve been silent on this blog for far too long. I hope you enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving, Yule, New Year, and Valentine’s Day. After that, it gets harder. Most of us were in self-isolation by St. Patrick’s Day. And since then a lot of miserable history has been written.
Since you signed up for my blog you’re either a fan or a writer, or both. And like me, you probably dive into a book to take a break from the news. My recent books have included Mimi Matthews The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter, and the first two books of Hazel Hunter’s The Immortal Highlander series. I’m currently reading Grace Burrowes’ A Lady’s Dream Come True. (Burrowes is one of my auto-buy authors. Reading her books is like eating comfort food, but without the calories.) When I finish with that, I’ll take a break from historicals to read a romantic suspense by Fiona Quinn.
What books have you been taking comfort in?
If you’re looking for an exciting paranormal romance (or you know someone who is), the first book in my Celestial Affairs series, LIGHTBRINGER is Free right now.
This coming weekend, November 8 – 10, is the 46th TusCon, Tucson’s local fan-run science-fiction, fantasy, and horror convention. I’ve written about it here before, (pretty much every year at this time) so I hope you’ve attended before and have already bought your memberships. But if you love movies, art, games, and books in these genres and have never attended a TusCon, you’re in for a treat. It’s low intensity (by comparison with a Comic Con) but there is no lack of interesting things to do. And one of the best things about it is that you have plenty of opportunity to chat up your favorite authors. It’s that kind of party.
This year the author Guest of Honor is Jonathan Maberry, the artist Guest of Honor is Chaz Kemp, and our Toastmaster is Weston Ochse. All very talented and friendly people.
The convention is being held this year at the Sheraton on Grant Rd. and Rosemont in Tucson (duh). Panels start about 2:00 pm on Friday, movies even earlier. There’s fun stuff to experience all day Saturday and until late afternoon on Sunday. I’ll be there all weekend. Come and say hello.
At long last, APOSTATE, Book Three in the Celestial Affairs series, is here! It took me rather longer, ahem, to finish this book than I’d intended, but now it’s done, revised, edited, and available on Amazon.
In addition to being a romantic suspense with lots of paranormal thrills, it’s also about redemption, forgiving yourself and others, and being forgiven.
I’m offering APOSTATE at a discounted price for a short time to say thank you to my readers. Get it now, because the price will be going up soon.
And please review it. Amazon pays attention to such things and more than that, sharing your honest opinion can guide other readers to a book they might enjoy.
Thanks, and Happy Reading!
Over the years, I’ve heard several authors say they don’t have time to read anymore. That always makes me sad, because a love of reading is usually what got us into this business. It’s easy to see how it happens. Life is busy, and there’s a lot of pressure to produce new words faster. And if you’re an independent publisher too, you have all that work, as well. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
About six months ago I started putting “Read for fun” on my daily to-do list. I was doing it anyway (I’m self-indulgent that way) but by making it an action item that I got to cross off, I acknowledged it as something that is important to me and a worthy use of my time. At the end of the day it’s a high priority item and an escape from all the ought-to-have-dones. It gives me a chance to learn from other writers, too, but mostly, I read because it’s part of who I am and I refuse to give it up. The hardest part of my recent cataract surgery was not being allowed to read for a WHOLE DAY! (I watched Hallmark movies instead.)
So I hope you’re able to make time for reading in your life, and that my books are at the top of your TBR pile. (Of course!) 😉 And if you’ve already read all my books, I encourage you to check out Teyla Branton’s Imprints series. It’s more mystery than romance, with the heroine using her newly developed psychic abilities to solve crimes.
Last weekend I attended the Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB). I heard some great speakers including Michael McFaul, Dan Lyons, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Marsheila Rockwell, Jeffrey Mariotte, Geoff Notkin, and Melissa Koberlein on topics that ranged from “Democracy and the Free Press” to Vampire Wars to cover design.
I also had great conversations with historical novelist Kris Tualla and paranormal romance author Deena Remiel. And then there were the chance encounters with strangers. One man told me about the family history he was writing, another discussed her mystery series featuring disabled detectives, and a third told me about the burgeoning cannabis/hemp industry in Canada.
TFOB (the 3rd largest book festival in the US) gets better every year and it shouldn’t be missed–even if it is a bit like trying to get a drink out of a fire hose. It’s always held during the University of Arizona’s spring break so be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!
I’m participating in an ebook Giveaway with over 25 paranormal romance and mystery authors. And one lucky reader will win a copy of all the books! This contest closes on March 4, so sign up now.
I’ve planned out 2019 and the writing has resumed on APOSTATE, book three in the Celestial Affairs series. One of my recent tasks was writing a product description for the back of the book and the online store.
What do I think about when I compose one of these?
- Who is the story about? This may seem obvious, but sometimes secondary characters want to shoulder their way onto this tiny stage. Don’t let them. (In this case, Dave carries a significant subplot, but I don’t think he belongs in the product description.)
- What are the emotional stakes? Make them relatable. Why should the reader care?
- Is the language strong and powerful?
- What’s the main conflict or challenge?
- Is the genre clear? (If this description doesn’t say “Paranormal Romance” then I failed.)
Here’s my first go at the blurb for APOSTATE. How well did I do?
Kellan’s job as an Enforcer for the secretive U’dahmi isolates him from other Celestials. He’s hidden thousands of years among humans who never knew who or what he really is. But when his partner disappears, Kellan must let a mortal woman with powerful psychic skills join him on the hunt.
An occult dynasty stole almost everything from Tasha. Her parents, her career, her friends. All she has left are her newly discovered abilities and the unexpected connection she has with a vampire-like U’dahmi. Dangerous or not, she’s not going to let him leave her behind.
Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror the gift giving season has officially begun. If you’re like me, you have a number of friends who prefer reading on their tablets and phones. Did you know that you can give them ebooks as gifts? It’s easy on Amazon. Just go to the product page of the book you want to give and click the button that says, “Buy for others.” Amazon will ask you to sign in, and then take you to a page where you can tell them who you want to give the gift to. They’ll let you schedule the gift for a particular day and even give you a place to write a note.
To make giving that gift a little easier (including to yourself), DARK WINTER’S NIGHT will be available as an Amazon Countdown for less than a buck through the 10th. (Sadly, Amazon’s Countdown feature is only available in the US and the UK. I’ll plan something soon that will be available to all my fans.)
DARK WINTER’S NIGHT is a short novel set in the Vinlanders’ Saga universe, but it stands alone. It was inspired by one of my favorite fairy tales, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” but I’ve put a Vinlanders’ Saga spin on it. If you’ve been wanting to read more about the Elves, or if you like grown-up fairy tales, this book is for you. (It has scenes meant for adult readers, so it’s not for kids.)
As always, thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration surrounded by the people you love, and that the new year is a happy one.