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What do you think?

Recently I was at a meeting of diverse authors (members of this group write everything from poetry to hard science-fiction to romance, middle-grade to adult). It became clear to me that we all approached the process of writing differently. One is a complete discovery writer, while another uses a spread sheet to keep track of details, and others are scattered in between.

I’m one of the “in-betweeners.”

I like to know where I’m going when I’m on a road trip. I want to know which series of exits I’m supposed to take to get where I want to go. But when I’m writing I’m less focused. I like having a general idea of where I’m going when I start, and the map gets more specific as I progress. I can’t do much research before I start because I don’t know what I need to know until I get to each fork in the road.

Sometimes I realize I’ve taken a wrong turn.

I’m almost half-way (I think) into The Christmas Village and I recently decided that I wanted to change the location of the past that my heroine goes back to from 1845 New England to northern England or Scotland.

Is that a good idea?

I don’t know for sure. One of my beta-readers said the change makes her happy.

Now I’m wondering about the time period. I enjoy reading a lot of Regency era romance, but the Victorian era has a lot to recommend it as the “destination” for a time-traveling heroine. What do you think? Do you like the Early Victorian era or the Regency period better? Which pond should I throw my “fish-out-of-water” into? 

Please let me know what you think in the comments.


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It’s The TusCon Time of Year!

Just a quick note to let fans of science-fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance know that this weekend (Nov. 12-14) TusCon, the local convention for readers, gamers, and film aficionado’s, is back and in person in Tucson, Arizona. Jennifer Ashley is the Author Guest of Honor and I’ll be interviewing her on Saturday. Other Special Guests include Jill Bauman, Weston Ochse, and Linda Addison along with many other authors and artists.

Be sure to check out the linked website above and come on down!

I hope it puts your mind somewhat at ease to know that Covid protocols will be in place and enforced, Proof of vaccination or a recent negative test will be required, and masks must be worn in all indoor spaces.

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Silent No More

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I’m sorry I’ve been silent so long, but now it’s time to catch up.

In May, our fully vaccinated family got together in person for the first time in seventeen months to celebrate Mother’s Day and my mother-in-law’s 85th birthday. It was wonderful to be together again! But that long hiatus had a big impact on my current project.

While progress has been slow, I have been writing the next Vinlanders’ Saga book, which is Fender’s tale. The working title is Shadowed Talents, but that could change. Family, its influence and importance, is a big part of the story.

In the meantime, I’ve made Veiled Mirror, Betrayed by Trust, and the Celestial Affairs series widely available. (I’ve also made Lightbringer perma-free.) You can now buy them as ebooks at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple in addition to Amazon. And from now on, the links I include will be universal, so readers in most countries will be referred directly to your preferred online stores once you declare your preferences.

Veiled Mirror

Speaking of Veiled Mirror, you might be interested to know that it’s set within 75 miles of where I live in the southwestern U.S., but in the fictional Saguaro County. It takes place at this time of year, when not just murderers, but also the heavy monsoon rains can be deadly.

Happy Reading!

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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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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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