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Posts Tagged ‘solstice shadows’

Nine years ago, something happened in my life. For most people, they’d wonder why a D&D character would make any sort of impact in real life. Perchance I was a bit TOO connected to her. The thing is, that group of friends had been meeting every single Saturday for about 2 1/2 years. We too these characters from game infancy (level 1) to fully fleshed out characters with personalities.
 
When the group wrapped up, in rather unexpected and bad ways (we were all killed or imprisoned), we mourned the loss. We were bitter, hurt, and felt cheated.
 
Out of that experience, my muse was unlocked. I finally started to write ‘Daughter of Hauk’. And I got encouragement from friends and family that gave me the confidence to keep at it.
 
Without that party wipe, I wouldn’t be writing now.
 
As such, I’ve got a certain fondness for The Raven Chronicles and Arwenna’s story. That was my character, after all. I invented her, borrowed (with permission) other people’s characters from the group. Threw in a few of my own imagination. Changed a few things so the makers of D&D wouldn’t sue me. And used writing Arwenna’s story as a way to deal with some of my own issues.
 
So, yeah, it hurts when it goes months without a sale. Because it’s more than a good story. It’s my baby. I’ve written other stories that may be better told, or more engaging, but that trilogy will forever be my favorite. For very personal reasons.
 
What makes things nice is that the wait and patience is paying off. I’ve seen pages read or sales for all 3 books for 3 months running now. Even the fan fic has gotten some love.
 
Will it ever be on the NYT best seller list? Probably not. But my baby’s getting a little bit of love right now from readers. And I’ll take that.
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Okay, I need your help. Each and every person who follows this blog!

‘Guarding Charon’ is up for Preditors & Editors Best of 2016 as a scifi/fantasy novel. Right now, it’s sitting in 3rd. It’s hit the top spot off and on during voting, so I know it’s close. Which means every single vote counts.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to this site: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml
  2. Vote for ‘Guarding Charon’. It got listed twice, so be sure to hit the first one so we don’t split the votes.
  3. Enter your name, email address (you can vote once per email address), and do the captcha to prove you’re human.
  4. Go to the email you used and click on the link to make your vote count!

Solstice Publishing is in the running, too, for best publisher! Please help!

I’m done groveling and begging now, so here’s the teaser for the week!

Guarding Charon-001

“Mr. Dixon, is this a safe place to talk? After what happened with the limo…” her voice trailed off.

“Very secure and safe, I assure you. No one would’ve been allowed to come close enough to the plane to put any sort of devices on the exterior, let alone gain access to the inside. Bruce will not be listening in.” He smiled. “If you like, you can call me Larry. Mr. Dixon is extremely formal. ‘Stuffy’ is what your great aunt called it. We will be working closely for the next several months, getting the estate transferred to you. There is no reason to be formal when we’re alone.”

He leaned back, his face taking on a more serious appearance. “Grace, this is a hard thing to ask right now, but it must be discussed. You have the chance now to reinvent yourself, disappear in some ways. Amanda knows what Bruce tried to do, and how he was forcing you into a corner so you’d have to marry him. She was making plans to bring you to her home herself, when she passed away. If you want, everything is in place for me to create a new identity for you. A new name, new social security number, new driver’s license. We can get the paperwork started now, have it all in place by the time we arrive in Cavendish. I only need your permission, and a name you’d like to be known by.”

She stared at the bottle in her hand. To truly disappear, become someone else, would guarantee Bruce would never find her again. Even if she didn’t stay in Maine after her six months were up, he would never find her.

“What about my parents?” Her voice was hushed.

“They accepted a check. Enough to guarantee your father can retire; their debts are paid in full if they choose to do that. But the money is conditional that they tell no one where you went. They know it is likely they’ll never see you again, and traded the money for contact with you.”

Grace slouched in her chair. Her entire body shook. They abandoned her, cut her out of their lives forever, for money. She knew she should be shocked, upset. But she felt numb. “I think I need a drink,” she whispered.

She kept staring at the bottle of water in her hands, fascinated by the motion of the water as the tremors continued. Distantly, she heard ice hitting the bottom of a glass, followed by liquid being poured. It appeared on the edge of the table.

Shaking, she put the water on the table and grabbed at the glass. Amber liquid swirled around a giant ball of ice. Before she could stop herself, she downed the scotch. It burned as it traveled down her throat, numbing her stomach to match her emotions.

If they were ready to be done with her, then she would be done with them. “Let’s do it.”

“Very well. What would you like your new name to be?”

She stared at the glass in her hands. “Did she have any family with her last name?”

“No. She was the last Cross. Her sisters took the names of their husbands, and she had no brothers.”

“That’s it, then. I’ll be Amber Cross.” She raised her glass. “Here’s to new beginnings.”

He raised his as well, “To new beginnings, Amber Cross.”

Swallowing some more of the alcohol, she began to try and adjust to the new name. “So, this house. What’s it like? And why’d she choose me?”

myBook.to/guardingcharon

BB

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Hey! It’s election day, so I hope you’ve voted. Don’t need to know who you voted for…this is a politics free zone! LOL! Just hope you made sure your ballot was cast!

For Teaser Tuesday, I give you an excerpt from ‘Alaric’s Bow’!

Kai stuck to the shadows, avoiding the revelry of the wedding feast. A sense of dread had encompassed him since the arrival of the bridal party the day before. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t put his finger on what.

Kaerdan and his new wife, Jenny, sat at the head table, their fathers flanking the happy couple. Her blonde hair shone in the candles illuminating the hall. Kaerdan did have a preference for fair-haired ladies. In that, he would be happy.

It was his mother, however, that drew his attention. She rarely left her rooms any more, claiming illness. Tonight, though, no sign of sickness decorated her pale face. If anything, it glowed in triumph. And why shouldn’t it? Her firstborn married, ready to continue the family name. Soon, he would be King.

His father rose from his place, chalice in hand. “Today was a glorious day! A wedding, a new treaty, and a successful hunt! Kaerdan is truly gifted and his prize sits radiant beside him. To the happy couple!”

Kai shifted through the people near him. Gifted, indeed. The only thing his brother had ever been able to do was take credit for someone else’s deeds.

He needed air. The hall was nauseatingly sweet, between the overabundance of the beeswax candles to the boar—his kill—roasting on the spit. Winding his way through the drunk wedding guests, he made his way to the upper gallery. Outside would’ve been preferable, but he knew better. At some point, he’d be expected to go forward and pledge his loyalty to his father and brother. Not that the words meant anything to him. He stopped believing in the vow after seeing how little they meant to Kaerdan.

“Where’s the Historian?” his father’s voice boomed through the arched hallway. Kai smiled a little. The recitation of the family line would take a good deal of time. Tradition, yes. But it also gave him enough time to breathe some air not saturated with sweat, ale, and food.

“Kai,” Holly whispered from a recessed doorway. “Do you trust me?”

He blinked at her, puzzled. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? It’s not like you can lie to me.” He flinched at the anger that flashed across her face. She didn’t need the reminder of her status.

“You need to come with me. Now.” Reaching out, she pulled at his hand. Her voice tumbled over the words.

In the back of his mind, he heard the Historian drone on. He was covering the family fast. The old Amari had been with them since he was an infant, and was tasked with remembering each birth and death. Every family on the island kept a Historian to prove noble birth.

“Holly, I can’t. As soon as Old Josiah is done, I have to go down and make my pledge. If I miss that, Father will have my hide.”

She licked her lips, her gold eyes darting past him. “Kai, there won’t be any way around that. Once Josiah is finished, things are going to go bad for you. Quickly.” She pulled on his hand once again. “Please, I beg you. Come with me now while you can still run.” Her eyes welled up with tears.

“Run? What am I running from?”

The hall below became silent. Too silent. He heard his father’s massive oak chair slide across the floor. “Josiah, you forgot one of my sons. Why did you not add Kai to the list?”

Tearing his arm from Holly’s grasp, Kai turned and looked down. Something knotted in his stomach. Whether it was fear or apprehension, he didn’t know.

“I am Amari,” the old man croaked. “I cannot lie. You asked for a recitation of the legitimate line. I have given you that.”

Susana, his mother, spoke across the chamber. Her voice snapped with irritation and fear. “No, Josiah. Kai is true born. He should be on your list.”

“Prince Kai is son of his Majesty, yes. But not by you, my Queen. He was begotten on an Amari brought over after a raid. You traded your own stillborn son to his mother so he might live. His only saving grace being his eyes were that of his father, not his mother. Kai is half Islander, half Amari.”

The assembled guests broke out in a fury of voices. Kai staggered back against the wall, stunned. He was half Amari? Kaerdan’d have him in chains the moment he saw him.

Something pulled at his wrist, hard, insistent. He looked, afraid it was a guard. Already he could hear his brother demanding both Kai’s attendance and a blacksmith. Holly stood next to him, her face full of compassion. “Kai, please. We have to get you away from here, now. Before it’s too late!”

alaric%27s-bow-option

myBook.to/alaricsbow

BB

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Everyone give a warm welcome to author S. C. Alban!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

My most current release is A Life Without Living. A paranormal romance, it’s the first book in The Strega Series. The second installment Barely Living Alive is currently in contract and undergoing edits. It will be released later this year.

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

I like writing paranormal because I love the unexplained. I am a huge believer in the improbable and am fascinated with the realm of the unexplainable. I love how this genre pushes one’s imagination past everything that is known to be true in the current world.

3. What do you like to read?

I am a huge Anne Rice fan. I love her witch series and, of course, her vampire stuff. I love Richelle Mead, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Stephen King, but mostly, if it’s a good book, I’ll read it. This includes YA, SciFi, mystery, contemporary fiction, and straight up romance (including historical).

4. Favorite movie?

I am a HUGE movie fan and I love everything from slapstick comedy, to documentaries, to horror. But, there are two movies that I can watch over and over and over again. The first is Chocolat (2000), and the second is Cousins (the 1989 film). When it comes down to it, they’re both really about relationship intricacies, so, I suppose I’m really drawn to those types of films that focus on that.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I pop on the headphones, crank up the music and just flow. Other times, I need total silence. I try to write something everyday. When I’m trying to finish a novel, I give myself a word count goal. When I’m working on a script I give myself a scene goal. It really just depends on what I’m doing that day and where the deadlines are.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

I think that would definitely be when I was scheduled to do a book signing at a pretty popular bookstore in my area. When I arrived, there was a huge sign out front that said “Author Signing Today.” My first thought was, “Great. I’m supposed to be signing here today, too. Why would they put two of us here on the same day.” I was a bit bummed. Then, the friend I was with informed me that I was the author, that the advertisement was for me. It all kind of hit me at that moment. I realized that I was an author, and everything that went along with it. It was definitely surreal.

7. How can readers find you?

Readers can find my all over social media. I also have a website. The links to my contacts are below:

http://www.scalban.com

http://www.facebook.com/scalban

http://www.twitter.com/muchasfloras

http://www.instagram.com/s.c._alban

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

The number one thing I wish I would have known before embarking on this journey was to start a blog way before I actually did. It would have given me such a better understanding of how things work and I wouldn’t have felt that I was learning it at the same time as I was trying to get my book to publication.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

Actually, I often have to be reminded to eat when I’m working, and I work with a water bottle by my side. But, occasionally I’ll have something crunchy like popcorn or pita chips. Nothing too greasy though, I like a clean keyboard. 🙂

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

I always have a candle burning while I write, I don’t know why, it just is nice. And, lately, I’ve been keeping a few crystals/stone within reach as fidgets…. Something for my hands to do when I’m thinking about how I’m gonna write myself out of the mess that I inevitable create.

Thanks for stopping by, S.C.!

BB

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Hey.

It’s Wednesday, not Monday. And I haven’t exactly been on the ball each week with posts here.

I did a big push and wrapped up “Emile’s Blade” earlier this week. It’s with my beta readers now, and should be under contract/with my editor at Solstice Publishing shortly after the first of September. Now I’m starting to connect all three Amari stories (Fin’s Magic, Alaric’s Bow, and Emile’s Blade) into a single book that we can release in both ebook and print formats.

I’m working with two different cons now! I’ll be a guest at Renton City Comicon in October, and a panelist at RustyCon in January. Love that these new opportunities are starting to open up to meet readers. And help authors.

There’s been other things going on, though, beyond the books. I’ve had some real issues lately with feeling like I have too many balls in the air. Work, writing, house, college (oldest heads that way in a few weeks), high school swim practice for the youngest, promoting, doctor and dentist appointments, vehicle maintenance, and about a dozen other things. It’s led me to spend more time just sitting and not wanting to participate in much of anything over being excited for the future.

A lot of this is related to my parents both passing away within seven months of each other. My dad’s death hit me really hard. When I was there the last time, I brought home one of his sweaters just to have something that still had a bit of his scent on it. My mom was morbidly obese. So am I. And I won’t die the way she did, so I’m looking into having surgery.

Our insurance won’t cover it, so I need to sell some books. LOTS of books. We’re looking at $20,000 to get this done.

So, yeah, things haven’t been the best. I never set out to lie to anyone reading this blog. If anything, I wanted to be brutally honest. To live past the age my mom was, I have to do something now. And current book sales aren’t going to get me there.

Still, it’s moving forward with the planning. It’s getting the preliminary testing and visits done now so, when the money is there, we can do this.

Oh, and I’m going to take a dream trip to Scotland when it’s done and I’ve recovered from the surgery.

Ever so slowly, the door on my past is closing. In some ways, I’ve kept it open for far too long. I don’t think I’m done grieving, which is one reason why I had to force myself to finish up ‘Emile’s Blade’. When you read it, and I hope you will, you will understand why. I’m probably going to have bad days ahead of me. When the desire to call him and give him some exciting news will remind me that he’s not able to answer any more. And there will be days where the juggling act I do will want to come crashing down. But I hope, and feel, that those days will be farther and farther apart. That the good will outweigh the bad, the memories give me more smiles than tears.

The stories that still need to be written will come to pass. The surgery, and Scotland, will eventually happen as well. And maybe, possibly, hopefully, the future I want won’t be as far away as it seems.

BB

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Hey! I know, I’ve let things slide for a few weeks. It was a combination of a lot of stuff. Vacation, real life, and a half dozen other things that had to be done before we got to relax.

This past weekend, at the end of our vacation, I traveled to eastern WA. Partly to help my sister with estate stuff. Partly to lay our parents’ ashes to rest. And partly to attend my 30th high school reunion.

Yes, I AM old enough for a 30th reunion. LOL.

Now, I wasn’t one of the popular crowd back then. I had a few friends, yes, but we weren’t the ‘in’ crowd. I got picked on some because of my weight, I was ‘too smart’, etc.

There were two official gatherings. Things started to be odd the first night. Part of it could’ve been because we’d buried our parents earlier that day, but I wasn’t in a huge mood to be social. I went with the intent of staying put and seeing if I could actually recognize people over planning to work the room.

Someone I remembered as being nice but not much else got all excited when she saw me. She insisted that I ‘don’t go anywhere’ as the husband of a classmate had been dying to meet me since he found out I was going. Apparently, this guy is big on Goodreads. Found my books – and my photo – and went nuts because he remembered seeing me in her yearbooks!

That’s how it started. I had more and more classmates coming up Friday, all excited about me writing books. One of the organizers told me to bring them with me to the gathering on Saturday (I had brought the limited stock I had as a friend wanted to buy my newest one).

Saturday night, I sold books. Several books. Sold out of 3 titles, plus a copy of one other. And the one thing I heard over and over, even from those who didn’t get books, was that they’d been wondering who the ‘class celebrity’ would end up being. The one person out of almost 400 graduates who truly broke free of that town and did something famous/memorable/immortal. And that it was me.

I spent my time in high school living vicariously through them, imagining their lives to be so much better than mine. Now, they’re thrilled to have a published author come out of their graduating class.

Yeah, I can live with that.

BB

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Good morning! Everyone please give author Francene Stanley a warm welcome!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

Karm Currents, released on March 16 th is the fourth and final novel in the paranormal Moonstone series. set in the little village of St. Ives, Cornwall, England. Each book is a story that stands alone. In Karm Currents, Liliha continues her telepathic sojourns where she whispers advice to strangers. But, Liliha is an ordinary woman, separated from her teenage daughters in Australia. Her youngest daughter, Alissa, arrives to live with her, and brings her grandmother. As if that interference isn’t enough, Liliha’s ex turns up to take their daughter home. And then there’s the love interest, Harry.

https://www.amazon.com/Karm-Currents-Francene-Stanley/dp/162526349X

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

I love the work out possibilities that lie beneath the surface of everyday life. Perhaps we’ve lived before. If we have, we might have known each other in a previous life.

3. What do you like to read?

I read everything I can, although some of the novels are not as engaging as others.

4. Favorite movie?

Movies that contain hidden possibilities fascinate me. Labyrinth with David Bowie, all The Lord of The Rings, Chrysalis with the bunch of old-uns who moved to a higher plane … so many. However, I watched The Bourne Conspiracy Four last night and thoroughly enjoyed the plot, the action, and the way the characters assisted each other against the bad guys.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

I like total silence when I’m writing. At the moment, I’m working on the first section of my memoirs, which covers the forties to the seventies. Any noise distracts me from my train of thought.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

My most surreal moment came when the local paper sent a photographer after the launch of my first book. What shocked me was my change. Instead of the calm woman who took everything in her stride, I became a shaking wreck, unable to speak without a quiver in my voice or form a proper sentence.

7. How can readers find you?

My author page at Amazon shows a little about my varied life experiences and lists my books. Link: http://amzn.to/1ljAdMf

8. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

On the shelves above my writing desk, I can gaze at photos of my three children (two deceased), an embroidery of wildflowers, my singer/songwriter brochure, photos of myself and my sister as children, my grandmother’s bible, a woven Indian headband and some preserved ginger in a jar from my German co-writer. They remind me of who I am and how far I’ve come.

Thanks for stopping by, Francene! Best of luck with your writing!

BB

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