A Free Christmas Story

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading a lot of HEA fiction over the last few months. Regency, Victorian, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense—I’ve read it all, and I’m still reading because the hits just keep on coming. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve also been writing the next happily ever after installment Vinlanders’ Saga.)

If you’re “comfort reading,” too, I’ve made my Francesca Rose novella Yeti Yuletide FREE through Friday (the thirteenth!) to make getting in the holiday spirit a little easier. It’s Victorian, little paranormal, and full of Christmas values like generosity, kindness, and finding one’s true family. Download your free copy today!

And BTW, if you’re also a fan of science-fiction, fantasy, or horror in any form, TusCon 47 is virtual this Saturday, and all events are FREE. Just go to the website to register.

Stay safe, and happy reading!

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Virtual TusCon is Almost Here!

TusCon 47 is virtual this year, and it’s FREE. The Committee has put together an online experience that will take place on Saturday, November 14. There will be panels, author interviews, and the always popular “Tales from the Set.”

If you enjoy science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in any form, get the code to access this FREE event at TUSCON47.EVENTBRITE.COM.

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Is Piracy “Free Advertising?”

I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought much about book piracy in the last few years. In the early years I sent out a few “cease and desist” letters when I came upon a site that was stealing my work, but I doubt they paid much attention. And then I read that some authors felt that those free copies were essentially advertising, and that they didn’t do much harm to their bottom line. I stopped thinking about it much.

I just read this Facebook post by Maggie Stiefvater that puts the lie to that. Please read it. Repost it. If you care about reading more work by your favorite authors, buying their books from legitimate retailers can make the difference on whether their publishers give them a new contract. It can determine whether you see more of their work, or not.

Unlike Maggie, I’m an Indie Author. What I write isn’t dependent on whether a publisher thinks I’m making them enough money, but it does mean that every pirated copy is a book I don’t get paid for. No publisher is giving me a big (or small) advance. I pay for my covers and professional editing myself. I like the freedom and independence that gives me. But I don’t get paid until you, my readers, decide to take a chance on one of my books. And believe me, I’m grateful for every one of you!

I don’t think you’re part of the piracy problem, but I’ll bet every one of us knows someone who downloaded a .pdf for free. Please let them know, gently, that doing so hurts authors. Thanks!

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Exploring the Tewakwe

Those of you who are familiar with the Vinlanders’ Saga, will remember that the Tewakwe have had prominent roles in the first two books of the series. Tiva’ti and her people will return in the next (still untitled) book. (That’s why I asked my cover designer, Jaycee DeLorenzo, to put petroglyphs on the new covers.) I’ve reread the earlier novels and have been refreshing my memory of the research into their background. Hopefully that will keep me from making any obvious errors! (Yes, authors do sometimes forget what they wrote in the earliest books of a series.)

How does one research a people who live in a fantasy world that’s associated with  Norse mythology? Well, like the Nuvinlanders, the Tewakwe are transplants from our own past. The Anasazi built elaborate cliff dwellings and places of worship, and disappeared from the American Southwest in the 13th Century. Their thriving civilization seemed to just vanish, giving rise to many speculative theories about their fate.

In the Vinlander Saga I imagine that the Anasazi were brought to Alfheim, or the Fifth World as they call it, by Spider Grandmother. I renamed them the Tewakwe, because the word “Anasazi” is actually a Navajo word, sometimes translated “ancient enemies.” They wouldn’t call themselves that, so I made up a name that they might have identified with.

As for their customs, I was inspired by the Hopi, a descendant tribe who still live in the northeastern part of Arizona. They are a very private people, but we do know that their underlying values are compassion, humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship. I’m trying to let this guide me as I develop my characters, while still remembering that they are flawed human beings—just as we all are.

Just in case you missed it last month, Dangerous Talents is free today (Thursday, 9/24). Download a copy, or give one to a friend if you haven’t already.

Stay safe and happy reading!

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A Fish-Out-of-Water

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!

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New Covers for the Vinlanders’ Saga Series!

While staying indoors during this very hot summer, I’ve been working with my cover designer, Jaycee DeLorenzo of Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs, to update the look of the Vinlanders’ Saga books. Jaycee actually did the work, I just told her what I was looking for and she did all the hard stuff. Here’s the new look:

What do you think?

Since we were changing things up, I’ve also added large print versions of the books, since I know there are still folks who prefer paper books but who, like me, find larger font sizes easier to read. (Search for “Large Print [Title].” They have the big gold sticker on the front.)

I hope you like the new covers. I’d love to know what you think.

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Ups and Downs

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.

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TusCon is Almost Here!

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.

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APOSTATE is Live!

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 CA.Apostate_600x900redemption, 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!

Frankie

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Reading for Fun

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.

Happy reading!

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