Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z = The Final Step of Writing a Novel and the End of the A to Z Challenge

Z is for the end, both of writing a novel and this blogging challenge. It's been an interesting ride this month (and this is the only time I've ever completed the challenge). Camp NaNo ended up derailed so I wrote less than 1/10 of what I had planned to. But at least I'm excited about going back to my novel again so the end should be written soon.

I hope all of you have enjoyed reading the various posts linked throughout the month. And the giveaways have been fun (you've got until midnight to enter for Angel Eyes). I'll probably not be quite as active over the next two months due to all the logistics of moving to another country to start my job, but that's life.

Enjoy the last article and please do click through to M J Wright's website to read the rest of the article.

One of my favourite writing tips is so well known it barely needs repeating. When you’ve written your first draft manuscript, stick it in a (metaphorical) drawer for a month and don’t look at it.

The idea is that you come back with fresh eyes.
The other problem is that it’s too easy to re-awaken the old ideas – to lock back into the old thinking. Sometimes the ‘novelty factor’ lasts about a page and a half. Sometimes those old thoughts can creep up on you without you even really noticing.It sort of works, but like all cliches there are two problems with the idea. One is getting that month, especially if there is a deadline and the work has to be juggled between half a dozen other writing projects, along with all the impecunious demands of everyday life.
But there are ways around it. Try this. Print the manuscript off and look at isolated pages, making sure you don’t start with the first one.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Y = A Map to the Land of YA Publishing

The people over at YA Highway have created an interesting visual map of the publishing process complete with links to articles on various subjects. Click the image below to view the full map on their website.

YA publishing map

Click here to enter the Angel Eyes Giveaway! Only one day left!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 10

Read part 9 here.

Even out on the street people pointed and stared. Some even clapped or called out, but I dodged away before any could attempt to waylay me. I set my course for the northern gate, deeming my report incomplete until I found out what had happened the previous night. I also was curious to know upon whose side the green giant had been.

Upon reaching the northern gate I observed a large number of workmen clearing away piles of rubble. The enormous wooden gate lay to one side, twisted and broken. A group of workmen labored to repair it. Curiously, I didn’t observe any bodies from the fight the previous night.

I caught a passing workman, a carpenter by the look of his tools, and asked, “What happened here?”

His face twitched as he frowned in concentration. “H-he r-ripped off th-the g-gate.”

“Who did?”

“Th-the giant from th-the Rusty D-dragon,” he replied. His stutter made him difficult to understand. When I looked puzzled he explained, “Th-the c-cook.”

“He’s the cook at the Rusty Dragon?”

He nodded.

“Ok, thanks.”

It looked like I came to the wrong place for information. It was time to seek out the gigantic, green cook at the Rusty Dragon. At least that explained the apron and the hat from the previous night.

I headed back that direction, intending to seek him out, but something distracted me. I paused as I saw the halfling, Shoanti, and Breuvial leave the Rusty Dragon together. Curious, I followed along behind. As far as I knew, we were all strangers, so why were they joining together as friends outside of the necessity during battle?

The halfling led the way across town to a short building whose windows were filled with curios. The sign over the door said ‘Brodert Quink’. The name was the same as the one on the job listing I’d read. Maybe they were here to apply for it?

She knocked on the door. I crept closer to listen as the door opened to reveal a short man, who looked to be of asian descent.

“What do you want?” His voice rang out sharply.

The halfling handed him a sheet of paper. I strained my ears to hear what she was speaking. I caught something about “drawings of the animal” on the sheet. I edged closer but Quink had the sheet now so I couldn’t see what was drawn on it.

“Sure, sure. It looks like a sinspawn. No I don’t know what kind. Maybe rage. Maybe not. I got job. You want to do it? I pay gold.” He looked around at them eagerly. “You go there you might find out what kind of sinspawn.”

I jumped into the conversation at that point. I’d been considering applying for the job anyway. Casually, I walked closer.

“What kind of job is this? I saw your notice at the Rusty Dragon and it sounds interesting.”

“The halfling and Breuvial looked surprised at my appearance but the Shoanti spearwoman didn’t.

“Of course it interesting. I want you to go to lighthouse ruin and look for writing to bring back.”

“What about this sinspawn? Why should going to the ruin help?” the halfling persisted.

“And what is a sin spawn?” Breuvial asked.

“Are you accepting job?” he asked.

“Yes.” The halfling nodded.

“Then come inside and we talk over tea.” He retreated into his house and we followed.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X = 7 Reasons Agents Might Give Your First Chapter an X

The dreaded first chapter, or even the first paragraph of your novel. That's all the time you have to impress an agent into asking for more. So here are some tips on what not to do, unless you like seeing how fast an agent can lose interest in your novel.

Previously, I attended the Writer Idol Event at Boston Book Fest. It was not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to brave public ridicule, it was a great way to get helpful feedback.
This is how it worked: An actress picked manuscripts at random and read the first 250 words out loud for the panel and the audience. If at any point a panelist felt he would stop reading, he raised his hand. The actress read until two or more panelists raised their hands, at which point the panel discussed the reasons they stopped, or in cases where the actress read to the end, they discussed what worked. Helene Atwan (Director of Beacon Press) and agents Esmond Harmsworth, Eve Bridburg, and Janet Silver (all from Zachary Shuster Harmsworth) served on the panel.
These panelists were tough! I’d say less than 25% made it to the end of the passage. Here are some of the common reasons panelists stopped reading.
1. Generic beginnings: Stories that opened with the date or the weather didn’t really inspire interest. According to Harmsworth, you are only allowed to start with the weather if you’re writing a book about meteorologists. Otherwise, pick something more creative.
2. Slow beginnings: Some manuscripts started with too much pedestrian detail (characters washing dishes, etc) or unnecessary background information. 
Click here to read tips 3-7 at Writer's Digest.

Click here to enter for a chance of winning Angel Eyes until the 30th!

Friday, April 26, 2013

W = 13 Ways to Scare People Away from your Website

Website building is not my forte, nor that of most writers. We try many things to create a website which looks good but keeps people coming back. However, here are 13 ways to make sure no one ever comes back, courtesy of Author Media.
This can be a scary time of the year.
Here at Author Media, there is nothing that scares us more than bad author website design.
Here are 13 proven ways to scare people away from your author website.

1. Music

Many people surf the web while listening to Pandora, Spotify or iTunes in the background. If your website starts music when someone arrives, it will create chaos in their headphones as two songs play at the same time. For bonus points, hide the “pause” button so the only way to stop the music is to leave the website.
To turn your website into a horror show, make the song restart every time users load a new page. This way you can bludgeon your readers over the head with the first few bars of the song.

2. Focus on Yourself

People don’t care about you, they care about them. So, focus on yourself. You are the author after all. Fill the website with photos of you and your family. Talk about personal details of your life that have nothing to do with your book. Blog about irrelevant topics. Avoid giving away any helpful information.
Avoid the things in our list of what readers want from your author website.
Click here to read tips 3-13 at Author Media.

Click here to enter the Angel Eyes Giveaway!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V = Victory at Last!

Well, at least for one writer. His story and perseverance are amazing! Most people would have given up long before then.

If your novel has been banging on agents’ doors for years and got nowhere take heart from Berwick Coates, an English author who this week nailed down a $130,000 deal and a two-book contract at age 80.

His historical thriller The Last Conquest was snapped up by one of the world’s largest publishers Simon & Schuster after Coates had failed to impress agents with several previous novels. “They were clearly not being read,” he said.

A retired history teacher, Coates succeeded only when he caught the eye of agent Jim Gill, who was recommended to him by a fellow author. Now Coates is finishing his second novel The Last Viking and can hope to see both in book stores at an age when most authors might have given up or resorted to vanity publishing.
Click here to continue reading his heartening success story at The Writing Village.

Click here to enter for a copy of Angel Eyes!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U = US Tax Treaties for Writers

Taxes. Yes, even writers have to deal with them and they only get more complicated once you throw living out of country into the mix. I've been sniffing around for information related to this due to my going overseas soon and I thought I'd share the information I found with you, my readers.

Thank you Stina for allowing me to take over your blog today. I hope that I may bring some knowledge to those who plan on doing business in the U.S., but may reside elsewhere.

When I was paired with an illustrator on an anthology project, I had no clue where Maldives was located, but I knew I needed to work with Rimi no matter the consequences. Working with others who reside outside of the U.S. requires knowledge of certain tax laws.

Are you thinking of publishing in the U.S., but live in another country? Maybe you are working with someone else in another country on a collaboration, perhaps even a business partnership? Regardless of whether you plan on self-publishing or going the traditional route, if your work will be published in the U.S., you’ll need to understand certain aspects of our tax laws.

The U.S. government requires companies to withhold 30% of royalties made in the U.S. and paid to entities residing in other countries…unless the U.S. has a tax treaty with your country. 
Click here to continue reading at Stina Lindenblatt's blog.

Click here to enter for a chance of winning a copy of Angel Eyes!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T = Twitter: How on Earth do you Become Successful?

Twitter is a powerful social media tool for sharing your writing (you might even have come to this post via my tweet about it) but it can be difficult to figure out how to grow your following. Here is one writer's experience on how to attain a massive following.

I wasn’t planning to write this post. It more came to be as a matter of chance. It all started a few days ago when author, editor and blogger, C.S. Lakin (@cslakin and @livewritethrive on Twitter), contacted me via my website to ask, “How did you get so many followers?” As I’d done in the past with a few others who asked, I emailed C.S. and explained my process. In response she came back, suggesting this should be a blog post and even offered to put my email into blog format, leaving me with only whatever fine tuning I desired. I said, “Cool,” she said, “Here you go,” and voilà, here it is, I’m coming clean about my Twitter success.
When I joined Twitter in August 2009, I went with the simple logic that the more followers I had, the more people would learn about the thrillers I wrote. With that in mind, I got busy with an easy process requiring little account management time which I’ll now share with you. The basic plan was to follow people, some of whom would follow back. Those who didn’t, I would unfollow. All I did was repeat this process over and over again. It obviously works because I now have almost 250,000 followers.
Click here to continue reading at Live, Write, Thrive.

Click here to enter for your chance at winning a copy of Angel Eyes!

Monday, April 22, 2013

S = Scene Writing

As a special treat, here are two articles (instead of one). One on scene transitions and the other on writing dialogue within a scene. Make sure to follow through the link to the whole article and maybe comment saying where you came from on their site? We writers do love comments.

As writers we spend a lot of time talking about plot, character, setting and description. We learn how to put all of those together into scenes and how to show character motivation with sequel. But then when it comes time to stitch it all together we often stutter… uh… okay… and then after that some other stuff happened and now I’m going to tell you about it.
Okay, hopefully, your transitions aren’t that bad, but frequently writers do spend way too much time on the stitches when they should be kept clean and simple.
How to do that?
Click here to read the rest at The How to Write Shop.

A writer friend had feedback which said that her novel suffered from "ping-pong dialogue". Had any of us heard of this particular ailment, she asked here. None of us had, but the example she posted did suffer a bit from something I've seen a lot over the years, and no doubt I've been guilty of too; in fact, I'm rather grateful to have a name for it. It's not that the dialogue in itself is badly written; rather, it's a combination of things. Have a look at this:
"How long can you stay?" he asked.
"My bus doesn't go till six," she said. She slung her jacket over the back of a chair.
"Would you like some coffee?"
"Only if you've got decaff, thanks."
"Yes, I've got some." He put the kettle on to boil.
"You've cut back the hedge," she said.
"It got shredded in that storm. Had to do something," he replied.
"Ah, yes."
Roly began to scratch at the back door and whine.
"I'll just let him out."
"Does he still come upstairs and bark if you stay in the bath too long?"
"No. He only did that to you." The kettle clicked off.
"No milk, please."
"Right you are."
He put the mug on the table.
"Did you get my letter?"
Now, there are various things going on here, all of which could be contributing to the ping-pong effect. First, it's not actually that briskly alternating lines of dialogue are a Bad Thing, but more that there isn't enough else going on. The dialogue has got detached from the other kinds of action in the scene: we've got speech-action, but not much physical action, or mental action and so on. 
Click here to continue reading at This Itch of Writing.

Remember that I'm giving away a copy of Angel Eyes! Click here to enter until the 30th!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 9

Read part 8 here.

Day 2

The noise from downstairs woke me, the sunlight having failed to do so. Even though my body protested, I sat up and stretched. My roommate, Breuvial, still lay sleeping. Quietly, I reached into my pack for pen, ink and paper. I set it all down on the flattest surface, the floor, and began writing. I recounted the previous day’s events up until this point.

The dancer is still sound asleep as I write. It is best if she remains ignorant of my identity for a while longer. Something strange is going on in this town and I feel I ought to investigate further before sending back this report.

My roommate stirred as I packed away my writing implements.

“Good morning, sleepyhead.” Carefully I closed the flap of my pack with a special lock. With a pickpocket in the room it wouldn’t be wise to take chances.

She grunted in response and rolled upright, blinking her eyes..

“Hungry? Lunch appears to be in full swing downstairs, or so my nose tells me.” I shoved my pack underneath the bed and waited for her to get up.

“Definitely hungry,” she mumbled, standing up. Though most certainly not awake, she did amble out the door once I opened it. The door had no lock which irritated me, so I jammed it shut, hoping that would be enough to discourage light fingers.

On the landing we encountered the other two from the previous day. The Shoanti nodded in welcome. The halfling didn’t look too well though with deep, dark bags under her eyes.

“You didn’t sleep well?” I asked, falling into step with her.

“No. A nightmare kept waking me.”

“Bad luck.” I tried to stay quiet but my curiosity prevailed. “What kind of nightmare?”

“None of your business.” She grimaced, then muttered, “Drowning.”

“Drowning? I can see why that would keep you up.” She ignored me and increased her pace.

The dining room was the opposite of the previous night. Guests of the tavern and townsfolk crowded around the tables in the sunken dining area, eating and talking and occasionally throwing trash into the roaring fires.

I spotted the young man from the night before and pointed him out to the others. Once we came in full sight of the diners, they broke into a storm of cheering. The noise attracted the young man’s attention. He rushed over to address us.

“Good afternoon! I must thank you again for saving me yesterday. Please, join me for supper. I’ve rented the whole tavern for a celebration feast. I’ll provide for everything including a main dish of roast boar!”

Before we could do more than nod, he rushed off, leaving us to wade through a sea of well-wishers to the bar for food. The noise hurt my ears, so I grabbed something to eat and wandered over to the board I’d seen the night before. There weren’t as many people over there.

There were only three listings on the board. The first read:

Brodert Quink requires the services of a hardy party of adventures to explore and catalog a local ruin. Service will be well compensated as well as a rewarding sense of accomplishment in aiding the cause of science and silencing the voices of idiot men who have gone to their dotage.

Reward 200GP - 500 GP
Interested parties please inquire at number 8, Tower Street

It sounded the most promising but I read on.

A local merchant requires a descreet investigation team for some top secret information gathering and branging a brigand ta sweet justice! Call at the Hagfish, ask for Blanche. Reward Nahgoshable.

I didn’t care for the misspellings in the second one but I still noted it. No reward listed though. The third read:

Gorvi need strong brain to find what happened to stuff. Govi pay good yellow gold to know what happen to stuff so Gorvi can break theefs face! Find me at Hagfish.

I could barely read it the drunken scrawl and only noted it as it had the same location of inquiry as the previous one.

My stroll over to the board hadn’t gone unnoticed though and people kept coming up to talk to me. I smiled politely and nodded my way out of the crowd and out the door. I was not looking forward to the amount of people at the feast that evening.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R = Random House Contract Missteps

We all know about Random House, one of the huge publishing companies which puts out a huge number of books each year through all it's various imprints. But it looks like Random House is trying out a new tactic: mimicking vanity presses. And this is not good news.

This week, Random House generated controversy among writers over the terms of their contracts for two of their new digital-only imprints: Hydra, which focuses on science-fiction/fantasy genre and Alibi, which focuses on the mystery and thriller genres. These imprints were launched last November, along with Flirt, which publishes college-age stories. Loveswept, an ebook-only romance imprint, was already in existence.
The controversy became more widely discussed when leading professional organization Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) declared that works published by Hydra (which is not to be confused with Hydra Publications) would not be considered eligible as credentials for membership.
Click here to continue reading at Huffington Post.

Click here to enter the Angel Eyes giveaway!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q = Rejecting Agents You've Queried

Is it even possible to think of such a thing happening as having to reject an agent? It seems like it's usually the other way around with the rejection letters streaming in. But, once you have an offer of representation you do have to let the other agents know. Here's how you can do it politely.

Congratulations! You’ve received an offer of representation!!!

But there are more agents considering. Possibly agents you submitted to at midnight on a Friday after a glass of wine or two and noticed your rejection pile was growing and your submission list thinning and good GOD you need to GET IT OUT THERE MORE AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF AN OFFER JUST TO KEEP UP THE HOPE….!

I.E: definitely not dream agent material, but worthy of settling for.

Yeah, yeah; maybe I should have rose-colored glasses on here and say that EVERY agent an author submits to is TOTALLY his/her dream agent but…I know better. And it’s ok; this business is so subjective, just as not every author is right for every agent, not every agent is right for every author. Doesn’t make either party less awesome – just not the best professional fit.

So what do you do when you receive an offer and (as you should) want to be fair and notify any other considering agents to give them a chance…but don’t necessarily WANT to give some of them that chance, or KNOW that even if one of those agents you were being fair to offered, you wouldn’t go with them?

Maybe this is just a problem in MY eyes; I certainly can’t fault an author for wanting ANYONE to read his/her manuscript and fawn all over it, even if s/he doesn’t really intend to go with that agent. But truly, it’s a waste of time; and it really sucks to let an agent possibly fall in love with your manuscript if s/he doesn’t stand a chance.

So what’s the best approach?
Click here to continue reading at Adventures in Agentland.

Click here to enter the giveaway for Angel Eyes!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P = How Not to Kill Your Story in the Opening Paragraphs

The beginning of a story or novel is one of the hardest parts to get right. I know I've agonized over many a beginning. Did it have the right punch? Was the hook sufficient or even present? But here are a few tips to help you along the way (make sure to click through to whole article to read the rest of the tips).

Ever driven a car round a bend and seen another one heading straight at you? At 60mph? It happened to me last week. I swerved into a ditch and it clipped my wing mirror as it bulleted past. Not a good way to start a day but a great place to begin a story…

Why do so many writers get their opening paragraphs wrong?

Here are five big mistakes new authors make - and how to avoid them - based on my experience of judging 3500+ entries to date in the Writers’ Village story contest.

Mistake #1: A start that has too many characters

Good opening passages typically involve just one or two main players. Don’t bring in a cast of thousands or tell the whole history of Renaissance Florence before the action begins.
The UK crime writer Ruth Rendell typically has more than 30 named characters in every novel. Too many? Yet her novels are successful. Why? She limits her characters to just three per scene and makes each character highly memorable the moment she introduces them.
Slip in your minor characters and details of back story naturally, a fragment here and there, as the story proceeds. Limit the cast list at the start!
Click here to continue reading at Writer's Village. 

Click here to enter the giveaway for Angel Eyes until the 30th!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O = Over-utilization of Character Names

We all use them constantly, have to, but character names can be sorely over used. I've discovered this problem plagues my 1st person POV writing. Here's a literary agent's perspective on the problem.

A common, first-manuscript-page mistake: referring to what your protagonist is doing so much that your first page soon reads like (if you have a female protagonist named Jane):
  • Jane didn't like Mondays.
  • She rolled off her bed.
  • She had already eaten all of the cereal.
  • Because it always had mold, she disliked her shower.
  • She toweled off and put on her shoes.
  • She thought shoes were the most important part of an outfit. 
  • Today, Jane wore gladiator pumps. 
  • She was looking forward to meeting her boyfriend. 
  • After turning off the light, she picked up her bag, and left her house.
  • She got into her Prius, gunned the engine, and promptly flattened a squirrel.
  • She disliked squirrels.   
  • That said, the homeowners' association, of which Jane was a member, would not be pleased about scraping squirrel off the asphalt. 
  • She frowned. 
  • Reapplying her lipstick, Jane screeched over the center dividing island--after all, what else was four-wheel drive for?--and pulled into her favorite parking space. 
It's not even that so many sentences begin the same way--or that many are of similar length and rhythm, which is another thing to avoid--it's that your fictional world will automatically be fuller if you describe things without always attaching them to the protagonist. (That is, without doing the fiction equivalent of writing "I think" before every statement in an essay.) No bueno.
Continue reading at AgencyGatekeeper.

Don't forget to click here to check out and enter the new giveaway for Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N = The Final NaNoWriMo Spotlight: Lady Arwen aka River_Song

And for the letter N, please welcome Lady Arwen to the blog as the final interviewee of my NaNoWriMo Spotlight series. You can find her on the boards under the name River_Song where she audaciously attempted a NaNo novel in french. But she'll tell you all about that in the interview. Click here if you'd like to read her interview from last year which continues to be one of the most popular posts on my blog. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for Angel Eyes here!

Who are you?

I am a college student, a double major in Anthropology and History. I have plans to go into Irish Archaeology, but Linguistics is another favorite of mine. I am bilingual, speaking English (my mother tongue) and French, and have recently begun studying Spanish, which I hope to master in the next year or so. Outside of scholastic challenges, I am a hopeless nerd/geek, and an aspiring makeup artist (I’m currently working on creating a full Silurian costume for myself, makeup and all). I’m also single, 5’10” and always keeping an eye out for an adventure.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November?

Honestly? I didn’t want to feel left out when all of my writer friends were working on theirs. I was taking an insane number of units last semester, so I never even pretended to aim for 50k. I think my personal goal was 10k or 15k. And I could write off the hours as time spent “studying”.

This was my second year officially doing NaNoWriMo, and I loved it, as usual. This year, I took a rather unusual route for my Nano, as I’m sure you will discover shortly.

What’s new since I interviewed you last year?

Well, I’ve discovered some new techniques in the moulage (crisis makeup) business, had a birthday, and visited Kansas.

What was your novel about this year, and why did you pick that?

My novel for this year, Balafre de la Bête, was designed as a French project, meaning that the entire novel is in French. The story was originally based on Beauty and the Beast, but slowly grew to become a sort of fractured fairytale. The original concept had the Beast, or Balafre, as the female character and Beauty as the male, but that quickly devolved when I began adding in little seasonings of Dracula (Beauty is also a vampire), Robin Hood (Balafre reforms her character before she meets Beauty, and robs from the evil queen, who is also her evil step-mother), Snow White (see the evil queen bit) and Sleeping Beauty (Beauty is awakened from his vampire state by a kiss from the curious Balafre).

The novel was inspired by studying storytelling in French. I started with the idea of writing a novelette in French, and then began hunting for a classic French fairy tale to base my story on. And thus Balafre was born.

What is your typical writing process like?

This year, I spent a lot of time sitting with a dictionary. Writing in French cut my writing speed by about 60%, and the project definitely broadened my vocabulary. I wrote almost everything on the computer, and I had to re-read what I had already written before I could pick up writing each day. Obviously, this slowed me down considerably, but I think the end product made more sense.

How did your month go?

It went very quickly. I only wrote about a third of my goal, and my brain nearly exploded. It was a lot of fun, though, and I’ll definitely keep working on the story.

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

No story is simple. Due to my limited proficiency in my second language, I had hoped to keep my story simple, and just tell Beauty and the Beast as a gender-swapped story. There was no way to stretch the story that much—it was too simple to hit even my very low word count goals. As a more complex story, I definitely was challenged in my language skills, but I find the characters adorable (as well as my sorry attempts at writing fiction in French!).

Where else can we find you online?

A couple different places. www.taintedloves.blogspot.com is my makeup and costuming blog, but I’ve been a bit lax on posting there. I’m also a member of www.theteaspitters.blogspot.com which is a blog that actually grew out of last year’s Nano. I’m Wren/Gunpowder Organic on that blog. Be forewarned that it can sometimes be a scary place to visit.
Lastly, I’m working on launching a new blog and showcase for my work at www.wrenaissancewoman.com. There is nothing up there right now and I don’t expect it to be ready for launch for another month or so, but if you think of me this summer, stop by and see what projects I’ve put up!

Monday, April 15, 2013

M = Military Mistakes and a New Giveaway!

Hello and welcome back to the third week of the A to Z challenge! I suppose you'd like to know who won the book giveaway? The lucky gal's name is Lia and she won by becoming my 50th blog follower! Congrats, Lia!

But, onto the next giveaway. The next one you say? Yes, because I planned two back to back. This time you could win the fabulous "Angel Eyes" by Shannon Dittemore! Again, I reviewed it this past January. Click here for my review. Scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway and to read the blurb. You've got until the 30th to enter (and there are daily entries too!).

And on with the post of the day: the letter M!

This article is by Joseph Zieja.
I’m an officer in the United States Air Force, and I’ve been wearing the uniform for ten years.  I also write.
I’ve had pieces appear in Daily Science Fiction and some other anthologies across the web and in print.  So I have a tiny bit of writing clout to back up my military experience, and you can lean on that when I tell you that there are a lot of mistakes in the way that writers portray the military in their fiction.
I therefore present to you the Top 5 Biggest Military Mistakes in Fiction, According to Joe Zieja.  I’ll try my best to keep it­ to speculative fiction, since I know that’s who my audience is, but these mistakes extend to all genres.
One last warning:  I’m from New Jersey.  Hold on to your self-esteem.
1. Yes, You Should Have Thought of That Before:  Misuse of Technology
No one is as desperately misled as Hollywood when it comes to military technology.  Movies take a lot of poetic license, but they’re expected to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of explosions and entertainment.  But seriously, if you can’t make a cell phone call while driving in the Lincoln Tunnel, you probably can’t fly a satellite-controlled airplane through it.  That’s all I’m saying.
Click here to continue reading at MythicScribes.com.

"Once you've seen, you can't unsee. 

"Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She's come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can't seem to shake.
Jake's the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what's going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 8

Read part 7 here.

On the way I asked the others what had happened to make them exit the building through the drain with an additional person. The halfling volunteered the information first.

“As I said before, I’m familiar with this town and I know the healer, Hannah. When I didn’t find her on the first or second floor, I checked the basement. She has a small altar to Gozreh down there. The moment I reached it I knew something was wrong because despite the fire, the basement was ice cold. I heard a loud crash and hurried forward to open the double doors. I found the bear lying amidst broken wood, his fur on fire. I quickly healed him.”

I raised my eyebrow but made no mention of her skill. She must have been the one that had healed us in the water and in the fight with the goblins.

She continued. “When I looked around I saw a blood trail and bloody footprints of some gigantic monster leading to the chimney. Also, the poor of holy water was boiling from contact with some type of evil.

“I looked first up the chimney and found Hannah injured. I think she may have tried to escape whatever it was. This good woman,” she gestured to the Shoanti, “appeared then and helped me to get her down. I knew the fire was too great for us to escape that way so the pool was the only option left to us.

“I have some talent in blessing evil things, so I blessed the pool and returned it to its holy state so it would stop boiling. She cast an air bubble for Hannah and herself and we set off swimming at which point we met up with you at the grate. You have my thanks for unlocking it. Otherwise we might have drowned.”

“You’re welcome. But that is quite the tale. You think, then, that the fire wasn’t caused by normal means but by something evil?”

“Aye. By whatever monster attacked my friend.” She looked sad.

We arrived at a three story building made from gray stone. “Here is the Rusty Dragon.” She pushed open the door.

The late hour meant that the Rusty Dragon was nearly empty. A huge tapestry dominated one wall with a large dragon curling round a fiery town. The walls were cluttered with various items and trophies and on one wall there was a huge board with notices. The few people there slumped over their cups in front of the small flames in the huge fireplaces. There was no sign of the owner but I could see the top of a head behind the bar.

We headed for the bar and the short person came into view. He was a tiny goblin and he sat upon a barrel of pickles, idly munching on pieces of food drawn from the barrel.

When he spotted us, he asked, “Whatcha want to drink?”

We looked sideways at each other. The halfling stepped forward first and ordered a pint of Lunchard ale. The Varisian ordered a half and half of Rio cider and wine. I preferred to stay on the safe side, not being familiar with this tavern, and ordered wine.

The Shoanti, however, slapped her hand down and said, “Surprise me!”

The goblin chuckled appreciatively and came back with a tall mug, the smell of which make be gag. She lifted it and chugged it down on the spot. A second later she collapsed to the floor, unconscious. The bear cautiously sniffed her mug, drank the rest and soon he had joined her on the floor.

The goblin just chuckled. Rather than continue to watch the pathetic pair, I asked him about the young man from earlier, Aldern.

“Him? Yeah, he’s staying here, but he’s already gone to bed.” His hand darted forward and the next thing I knew he was fiddling with my Pathfinder compass. “You an explorer?”

“I get around,” I replied, deliberately vague. I held out my hand and he tossed my compass back.

“I suppose you’ll be wanting rooms.” We nodded. “Being adventurers, I can give ‘em to you for free. I only have two though. Mind sharing?”

I looked at the others. I hadn’t seen anything to prove they weren’t who they said they were, but I still wasn’t sure about the strange halfling or the bear.

“I’ll share with you,” I said to the Varisian. I at least knew what she was capable of. “If you two,” I glanced at the bear, “or three wouldn’t mind sharing?”

The halfling glanced at the slumbering Shoanti. “I don’t mind. But the bear’s sleeping outside.”

“That’s settled then,” the goblin said happily. “I still have some leftover porridge if you want free food?” He proffered a bowl of gray goop.

“No, thank you.” I backed away from the nasty stuff. It didn’t look like porridge to me.

“Your choice.” The goblin disappeared behind the bar and reappeared to lead the way a moment later. “Follow me. I’m Ick, by the way. If you need anything, just ask.”

We murmured our assent and followed him upstairs. I and the Varisian took the first room and the others took the second, the bear having gone outside to sleep.

I slung my pack onto the bed and sat down facing my roommate. “If we’re sharing a room, we ought to introduce ourselves. My name is Kagerou and I’m a traveler. And you?”

She bowed slightly. “My name is Breuvial. I’m a dancer who dabbles in magic.”

“You are quite talented on both those points.” I lay down on the bed. “And also quite the talented pickpocket.” I smirked at her startled expression. “I have eyes and I was watching before the fight broke out. Don’t worry. I won’t turn you in. But you’ll be sorry if you try the same on me. Just a warning. Good night, Breuvial.” I turned over and gradually drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L = Local is the New Buzzword!

When it comes to marketing your book, have you covered your bases in your most important area? You have the greatest impact in the area that can claim you as a local writer.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, everyone loved George Bailey, the ultimate hometown hero–but George didn’t realize it. He felt intimidated by his friends who had gone out of Bedford Falls and made names for themselves. George wasn’t inferior to them. He just thought he was.
Authors can fall into the same trap. It’s easy to get discouraged when your book doesn’t make the best-seller list or the Amazon top 100, (or even top 100,000).
In the day of the internet, it’s easy to forget the power of local.

It’s time to think like George Bailey.

Read on at Author Media.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway! You have until midnight tonight to put in your final entries.

Friday, April 12, 2013

K = Kagerou's Journal 7

Today's post is brought to you by the letter K and these following spons- Just kidding, just kidding. But this is the post themed around the letter K - an extra dose of Kagerou's Journal! I hope you enjoy it and you can read part 6 here if you missed it or you could start from part 1 if you are new to this story.

The Varisian swam up close beside me and kicked the lock. Finally it broke, though the gate was still rusted shut. The bear propelled itself forward to ram the grate so I backed away. I had no wish to be run over. But the bear rammed into the Shoanti instead, knocking her into the wall of the tunnel.

The little halfling attempted the feat as well and failed so she retreated back to the bundle they’d brought along. The Shoanti pushed the bear off of her and vainly tried to push the grate while the Varisian failed to remove the broken padlock. The bear prepared for another ram and this time wedged it open a little.

Finally, I saw how to do it and swam forward. Deftly, I removed the lock at about the same time I felt the pain from my burns vanish. When I looked around, the Varisian’s burns seemed to have vanished as well.

Now that the lock was gone, the others easily pushed it open and we all desperately swam for the surface. I was completely out of breath and the open air was heavenly. We dragged ourselves onto the waterfront. The girls of the brothel had quit the bucket brigade and the house was very nearly finished burning. Instead, they were clustered around the girls I and the others had saved from the upper floor. All were pregnant and one was writhing in pain from labor.

With huffing and wheezing, the priest, Father Zantus, arrived. I was too tired so I let the others explain what was going on. I thought his face whitened with something like fear once he saw the person the halfling had dragged from the water. Her bundle turned out to be a woman who was unconscious. Her stomach was covered in blood. I guessed from the exchange that she was the healer Hannah and the owner of the house.

The halfling explained how she’d found her in the basement next to a desecrated alter to Gozreh. The priest’s face paled even more when he heard about the footsteps in the chamber and the boiling pool of desecrated holy water.

He left us and knelt down next to the girl in labor, beginning to chant a purification spell over her.

“I hope I am in time to save them.” The priest looked even more worried.

I pulled myself up and walked over to him. “Why are you so worried?”

“Five years ago, this town was nearly burnt to the ground. A woman was pregnant at that time and later she gave birth to a demon.”

“And you think the same might happen now?”


The loud cries of the girl in labor distracted both of us. We looked up to see her giving birth to a baby which didn’t look human. The baby made no noise and lay still. It had been born dead. The priest rose quickly.

“Come, we must take her, the baby and Hannah to the Cathedral.”

Some of the bystanders picked them up and followed the priest. The halfling looked longingly after the priest. She, along with the rest of us, was soaking wet.

“Shall we go change into new clothes?” I asked. They nodded. “Where to?”

The Shoanti asked, “Didn’t the young man from earlier mention an inn or tavern? He promised us free food.”

“The Rusty Dragon, wasn’t it?”

“I know where it is,” the halfling said. When she looked at her, she continued. “I’ve been in this town for a while.”

“Lead on.” I gestured for her to go first.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J = Job News

To continue the break from writing tip posts, I wanted to post a bit of news about my new job (which might lead to some interesting blog posts in the future).

I've just recently accepted a position at a school for teaching kindergarten and elementary students English. The catch? It's in South Korea! Yes, I will be leaving sometime this summer for that country which has been all over the news recently what with all the commotion their northern relative has been making.

Look forward to blog posts about Korean stuff later this year! I may even try my hand at writing articles featuring various places around the city I'll be living in (which isn't Seoul though it is located just south of it). But the best part ought to be the pictures.

Don't forget to click here to check out the giveaway for The Eye of the Sword. And make sure to check back on Monday for a new giveaway. I wonder which book it will be! Heehee. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I = An Interview in the Works?

Why yes, one is. It's more of a guest post with a predetermined prompt/topic though. But I'm not telling you who's interviewing me though! You get one clue and the date. No more than that.

The clue: I've interviewed or featured this person before on my blog.

The date: April 15th

While you're waiting around to read my guest post (and to find out who I'm talking about) why not check out some of the interviews on my blog? 

Try the NaNoWriMo Spotlight for the interviews from this year. 

Or, try the NaNoWriMo NW Feature for the interviews from last year.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H = How to Spot Contest Scams

Writing contests are a way for writers to get their stories and their names out there. And most contests with a decent payout have an entry fee. But, how do you know that the contest you just submitted your story and your money to is legit? It's hard to tell, but there are a few red flag you should know about.

Have you ever been scammed by a writing contest?
I run a short story competition at Writers’ Village, so I have an interest in asking. We attract around 1200 entries each year, and with total prize values of £1500 ($2400), we’re edging into the big league. So I get angry when I hear about contests that don’t play by the rules and give all story awards a bad name.
Here’s a recent example.
One of my contestants told me he was about to submit an entry to a contest that we’ll call GeeWhiz Stories (not its real name). The contest announced total prize values of £4000 ($6400). That’s top money! At a £10 ($17) entry fee, it would need to attract 400 entries just to cover its prizes. Yet with low page rank, its website couldn’t be getting much traffic. Nor did its name appear in the web’s top contest directories, like Ask About Writing, Places For Writers, or Compete Around The World. So how did it attract over 400 entries annually and fund its prizes?
It didn’t. GeeWhiz was a scam.
Read John Yeoman's five tips for spotting rotten contests.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

Monday, April 8, 2013

G = What in the World is Google Authorship?

You know those words you’ve been writing? The ones on your blog that you’ve spent countless hours carefully crafting?
Yeah, you don’t own those.
Not really. Not according to Google. This may be the biggest thing you haven’t heard of…yet.
Before you get upset, let me tell you a quick story.
Last year, David Cohen, a brilliant marketer, SEO, and mentor invited me to a small Google+ Hangout with other writers interested in SEO and Authorship. He also asked if he could use my personal website as an example during the meeting.
I said sure. Who doesn’t like free feedback from an expert?
But while we were on air, he said something that wrecked my day.
“Caitlin,” he said. “According to Google, you didn’t write any of these posts.”
Snap. I was mortified. Embarrassed. And more than a little bit angry at Google. Over 300 blog posts and none of them mine? That just wasn’t right.
I’ll never forget the day I first learned about Google Authorship.
Read more at Author Media.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 6

Read part 5 here.

I whipped around in time to see the large shape of the bear crash through the floor of the first floor room. I flicked my eyes up and saw the last woman still hanging out of the window.

“I knew the bear was too heavy,” I muttered. Turning, I yelled. “Madam! Come and help move these girls away from the fire. Please!”

I trusted the Madam to grab the girls and ran to stand underneath the window. The woman was precariously balanced. The Varisian managed to catch her before she fell and handed her down to me. Before I could lower her to the ground, a flash of movement caught my eye inside the building. A man had snuck in the other door and was busy stuffing bottles and boxes into a bag.

Reflexively, I dropped the girl, drew my crossbow, and shot at the thief. Unfortunately the heat haze threw my aim off and I missed. He jumped, startled, and darted aside. He picked up a bucket of lamp oil and held it threateningly while continuing to back away. He kept his eyes fixed on me. Hence he didn’t see the Varisian as she jumped off the roof. She only narrowly missed flattening him because he jumped aside at the last minute.

Before he could regain his balance, I fired again, this time hitting the bucket of lamp oil. The oil began to leak out on the floor at his feet. However, his eyes remained on us and he didn’t notice the trickle drenching his shoe and puddling on the floor. With a nasty grin he threw the oil at myself and the Varisian who had come in behind me. The oil combusted as it passed through some flames, drenching us in liquid fire. Unfortunately for him, the fire ignited the oil at his feet and he caught on fire as well.

Yelling, the Varisian sprinted towards the water barrel. I didn’t stop to see whether she was alright. I solely focused on getting to the ocean to put out my own flaming clothes. With a running jump, I dunked myself into the sea. The salt water stung so much I scrunched my eyes shut. However, the water, once it stopped stinging, felt cool and soothing on my burned skin.

I opened my eyes to guide myself back to the surface, but a curious sight met my eyes. A short distance away there was hole like a drainpipe, except it was barred by a padlocked grate. Something drew me to it and when I approached I saw that the plants didn’t look well around it. Nor did the burned bits floating out.

A back door to the house!

The house hadn’t looked like it had much time left before it collapsed so I thought to open the grate just in case. Upon closer inspection of the lock, I realized it was rusted shut. I fished the right size pick out of my kit and poked it in there. I must have gotten it stuck or used to much force because after a minute it snapped clean in two leaving part of it in the lock.

My air was starting to run out now. I twisted around, looking for help and saw the Varisian swimming towards me. I guess she’d wondered why I hadn’t resurfaced. I gestured towards the lock and she seemed to understand. She stretched out her hand and mouthed something. Air bubbles streamed out and I felt a stream of cold pass me. When I turned back to the lock it was frozen solid.

I picked up a rock and banged on it. Nothing happened. On the other side the Shoanti appeared with an enormous air bubble around her head. She rammed into the grate but it barely budged.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F = The Financial Reality of Being an Author

The reality of writing is that authors don't make a lot of money. Oh sure there are the successful, rich authors but they make up only the tiniest fraction of actual published authors.

If you have dreams of selling your science fiction, fantasy or horror novel and getting filthy rich, you need to adjust your expectations. We’ve collected three testimonials from genre writers below to help aspiring writers to maintain realistic expectations.
Horror novelist Brian Keene gave a speech at Towson University’s Borderlands Boot Camp recently, laying out some frank statistics for aspiring genre novelists. Here is an excerpt:
The average advance these days, for a genre fiction novel, ranges between $2,500 and $10,000. That’s right. The novel you spent a year working on only earns you between $2,500 to $10,000 at first. When the book is published a year later, that advance will have long been spent. And you probably won’t see a royalty check until another year AFTER your book has been published (provided enough copies have sold to earn out your advance). So it will actually be two years from that advance check before you get paid again.
Read more testimonials at Media Bistro..

Enter The Eye of the Sword giveaway until the 14th!

Friday, April 5, 2013

E = Excel is Your New Best Friend, Self-Publishers

After the writing, editing, layout and publishing in general is done, the sales begin. Hopefully, that is. But let's assume that you're selling a few here and there at least. But you're a self-published author without a sales or marketing department to keep track of your sales. What do you do so that you have a track record to show to literary agents, convincing them you're a best seller in the making? Why, you make best friends with that helpful tool known as Excel!

I’ve discovered that in general, authors are not numbers people. They tend to have vague idea of sales and revenue earned. In fact, most authors probably don’t scrutinize their royalty statements like they should (with a few exceptions of course). And I get it. Authors are creative folks. Math uses the other side of the brain. But if you are digitally self-publishing, then you are your own publisher. And given that, you should be generating your own royalty statements in an excel spreadsheet. Here’s what you should track and why.
1) All Price Points – sales especially
2) All editions — including audio/shorter works
3) Copies given away for free
4) All distribution venues where editions are available
5) Percentage splits/royalty
6) Cumulative totals
Continue reading to find out why at Nelson Agency.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D = Deadbeat Clients and One Freelancer's Solution

Let's face it. All writers are, in a sense, freelancers even if we don't actively run a business with that as the focus. But what happens when we get the short end of the money stick?

It started out innocently enough. A potential client liked my work, and had one of his employees contact me to see if I’d be interested in meeting to discuss some potential projects he wanted my help on. Several weeks after the initial meeting, he contacted me needed some emergency last-minute work done. He told me the terms over the phone and asked to meet in person the next day.
I’d had some misgivings about the client in the first place for various reasons, and a second red flag was when I learned he’d fired the full-time employee working on the project. My third red flag was when it took him five hours in our in-person meeting to explain what he wanted, and all I had walking out of that meeting was an outline I’d created myself. Start-up companies are often very disorganized, but this was excessive.
Still, I proceeded against my better judgement. I created a shared Google doc so that he could observe my work in real time, due to the time crunch, so that I could immediately make corrections. We didn’t have the luxury of a prolonged revision process.
I spent six hours putting together the manual, as requested, based on the outline I’d painstakingly compiled amidst a chaotic environment with constant interruptions. And I got feedback asking for more pages of information, though I had no idea what else to include, and for images, though copyright was an issue and we’d never discussed procuring images in our scope of work meeting.
My concerns and questions were never addressed, but were instead greeted with hostility. And so it was that midway through the project, the client decided to complete it himself. I was actually relieved at this point, and let him know that I’d simply bill him for the work I’d completed up until that point.
His response was, ”Bill? Are you kidding? For what? You did not provide me with any services. Good luck with your bill-sending exercise. All further emails will be automatically deleted.”
Continue reading to hear how he fought back at Yael Writes.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C = Authors as Assistant Cover Artists

So Camp NaNoWriMo finally started for me yesterday. I had a rough start and am still very much behind at 727 of 30k but it is a start at the least. And it constitutes at least one more blog post worth of material for the Kagerou's Journal story. Yay for getting ahead!

Every book needs a cover and the cover design process starts with the author. But what of those of us who aren't good at art or Photoshop?
Have you ever designed your cover in your mind? I used to design covers in sidewalk chalk while my preschool-age children drew flowers and monster faces. They were about as good as you'd expect with sidewalk chalk, which is to say about as good as I'd be able to produce even in a professional art studio with the entire contents of Oil Paintings And More at my disposal. I'd splash my title across the top and my name along the bottom and then some stick figure bit in the middle.

Then the rain would come, and the world was thankfully spared my artistic genius, assuming anyone even recognized that as a drawing in the first place.

You can't tell a book by its cover is the truism, but of course we judge books by their covers all the time. It's the face your work presents to the world. Your book cover is the introduction you're making to a potential reader.

My first novel's cover arrived in the mail one day. I was given no opportunity for input, but I thought it was okay (it grew on me later). Since then, working with small presses, I've had the opportunity to design four covers, and if this happens to you, you should know what to do. (Because at least one of those cover artists probably put a picture of me on a dart board.)

First, your book is a multifaceted work filled with interlocking meanings and chained symbols overlaid over a theme and a mood. And before you step any further, you need to know: a cover won't capture it all. You thought a 250-word query letter was insufficient? You're going to be longing for those 250 words.

What that means is you can't ask the cover artist to cram every bit of meaning in the book onto the cover. I've seen covers where the author and aritst seem to have plotted out every molecule of space: We'll put the main character here and the love interest looking in the opposite direction over there, and we'll superimpose that over the image of a rose, and beneath that we'll have the images of a locked treasure chest and a kitten, and in the background we should have an old Victorian house with birds flying overhead.

(I pulled that out of thin air, by the way. If I accidentally nailed your cover, my apologies.)

The problem with a cover like that is while you might think your book cannot be encapsulated without the rose and the kitten and the treasure chest, someone else's brain can't process it all in a glance. We don't know where to look first, and we don't know what the story is about.

So back up. The most important thing you can keep in mind when working with your cover artist is that the cover art is a selling tool.

 Continue reading at Query Tracker.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B = A Side Perk of Blogging

Fact one: Blogging is time consuming. (I see all you fellow bloggers nodding your heads in agreement.)

Fact two: Blogging on your personal blog is not connecting with a paycheck.

Shouldn't time + writing = more than just something to put on your resume?

They say the way to make a small fortune in publishing is to start with a large one. But not for everyone. Some authors get more money from their blogs than from their royalties.
Here is how they do it. 
Step One
Before you can start to monetize your blog you need traffic. You need thousands of visitors coming to your blog each month before you can expect to make money. If you sign up for our free Author Tech Tips newsletter you will get a free ebook on how to boost traffic to your blog.
The equation is simple: more traffic = more money.
 Read more tips here.

Enter The Eye of the Sword Giveaway until the 14th!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A = Announcement of a Giveaway!

Welcome, welcome, one and all to the start of that crazy time known as April. Why is it crazy? Firstly, the A to Z challenge commences upon this date and runs through the end of the month. Secondly, the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo has been moved to April this year. And I'm doing both. At the same time. Yes, yes. I know I'm insane. (But I'm not the only one attempting this craziness!)

To celebrate me losing my mind, I would like to present....drum roll please...my first ever giveaway! I know this is highly belated but the time has finally come for you, my readers, to test your luck in a giveaway. Below you will find the widget by which to enter. And there are methods by which to enter daily so check back each day to improve your chances! You've got until the 14th to enter as many times as you can.

And what is the prize? Why, a copy of the fabulous YA Fantasy "The Eye of the Sword" by Karyn Henley! Some of you might remember my featuring "The Eye of the Sword" all the way back in August of last year for the CSFF blog tour that month. Need a review? Click here to read my review of the book!

Where angels walk the ground and the future is told in song, does a man of low rank have a chance at love with a princess?

In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.
Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NB: I'll only be shipping to the continental US cause I've very little to spend on shipping costs. See the terms and conditions for full details.
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