Why Daydreaming Increases Productivity

Our topic at the SFF 7 this week is: Dreamzoning (term from Robert Olen Butler’s book From Where You Dream): Do you daydream on purpose?

I’m not familiar with this book, but I absolutely daydream on purpose! I call it The Dreamthink. Come on over to find out more!

 

Cover Reveal: DARK WIZARD!

So, yes – I do have another new release coming soon! And, yes, it is also Book One in a new world, magic system, and series. I’m introducing you all to Bonds of Magic. The first book is DARK WIZARD, which you may have heard me talk about before this.

You guys, I’m so excited about this book and series!

DARK WIZARD is a story I’ve been mulling for a long time. Last summer, I went to write the beginning of the book, so we could submit it on spec to St. Martins for my option book on the Forgotten Empires contract. The story seized me by the throat and wouldn’t let me stop writing it. I ended up writing the whole thing, loving every moment. Even better, my beta readers LOVED it! They’re calling it their favorite book of mine. (Well, Grace Draven still likes THE PAGES OF THE MIND best, but that’s because she’s such a Dafne fangirl. Now DARK WIZARD is her second favorite.)

St. Martins reluctantly passed and – instead of submitting it anywhere else – I decided to keep this series for my very own precious.

So, for those of you asking how I can be coming out with two series pretty much simultaneously, that’s why. The timing just worked out.

You can preorder DARK WIZARD now, for a low preorder price – this book is longer, so the price will go up after release – at the buy links below or on my website!

Available at these Retailers

  

Lord Gabriel Phel wants one thing: to restore his shattered House to its former station in the Convocation’s complex and arcane society. Fortunately, through a wild chance of birth, he was born with the magic of a powerful wizard, the first in his family in generations. If he can obtain a familiar to supplement his skills, ideally one who is a highborn daughter who can also be his lady wife, then he’ll be that much closer to restoring House Phel. And to exacting his ultimate revenge on the Convocation that destroyed his family.

Lady Veronica Elal doesn’t have many choices. To her bitter disappointment, she will never be the powerful wizard she and her father hoped she’d be. Instead Nic is doomed to be a familiar like her mother, a second-class citizen in the Convocation, and one destined to be bonded to a wizard, serving his purposes for the rest of her life. Her one hope lies in entering the Betrothal Trials—and choosing a wizard from the Convocation candidates that she can manipulate. Whichever one of her suitors impregnates her will claim her as familiar and wife, and she can use her wiles to rule her wizard master, and the House she marries into.

But Gabriel throws a wrench into Nic’s careful scheming, by seducing and fascinating her. When she finds she’s pregnant by the rogue wizard she can never hope to control, Nic does the unthinkable: she runs.

Kicking That Sitting Habit

Happy 2021 everyone!!

First things first: If you haven’t yet read Book One in my Forgotten Empires trilogyTHE ORCHID THRONE ebook is on sale for only $2.99 all month. This is a great opportunity to start the series, as Book Three, THE PROMISED QUEEN, comes out in May!

We’re kicking off a new year here at the SFF Seven and we’re talking writer fitness. If sitting is the new smoking, what are the perils of a sedentary art and how do you counteract it?

That means it’s time for my regular evangelistic sermon on the many virtues of my walking desk!! Come on over to find out more. You know you want to.

How I Gave Myself a Fire Lizard

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is the item from your books you most want to own and why. In mulling this topic, I’ve come to an interesting realization: I rarely have interesting “items” in my books. But let me tell you what I *do* have and long for! Come on over. 

Kill the Rabbit: Death to Plot Bunnies

THE PROMISED QUEEN has a cover! I just love how those jewel colors pop off the screen. This is book three in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, out May 25, 2021. But you can preorder now!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is all about those Plot Bunnies: How/where do you corral them? How much room do you give them to grow? Find out why I think plot bunnies should die.

Being Aware of Gender Bias in Stories

A reminder that St. Martins Press is hosting this amazing sweepstakes for Romance Awareness Month! It goes through August 16, 2020, so jump over there to win this awesome collection of romances in a variety of subgenres!

A bit ago on the podcast, I was discussing how “we” – as a culture – tend to give active roles in a story to the male characters. In a story where the male and female protagonists have equivalent roles, or even when the female protagonist has a greater role in the overall story, it tends to get described in terms of the actions he takes. This tends to be unconsciously done, and not intentional – but it IS a reflection of our overall culture and deep programming.

As an example, I mentioned reviewing the catalog copy for THE PROMISED QUEEN. This is book 3 of the Forgotten Empires (THE FIERY CROWN in the sweepstakes is book 2) and for those of you who’ve been reading the trilogy so far, you know that the story is evenly split between Queen Euthalia (Lia) and Conrí (Con). If one of them has more emphasis in my mind, it’s Lia. But when my editor, Jennie Conway, sent me the catalog copy (this is what goes to bookstores for ordering, etc.), the story sounded to me much more like Con’s. Here it is:

Conri, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has claimed the hand that wears the Abiding Ring, but the prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled. He and his bride, Lia, Queen of Calanthe, are safe on her island kingdom – for now. But Calanthe isn’t the haven it once was. Now that blood has been spilled on the island, the truth of Lia’s powers—and her deep connection to Calanthe—will be revealed. As the threat of Emperor Anure intensifies, Conri and Lia will have to put their trust, and love, in each other to stop the emperor once and for all. In the thrilling finale to the Forgotten Empires trilogy, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Con, Lia, and their allies sacrifice everything to save their kingdoms.

Now, there is a hard limit for characters and spaces, but can you see the subtle ways the copy points to Con having the most active role? One flag is the reference to “He and his bride.” Why doesn’t it start with Lia and mention her consort? Then Lia’s powers are revealed – but it doesn’t sound like she has anything to do with that. So, I revised it to read:

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, claimed the hand that wears the Abiding Ring, but the prophecy remains unfulfilled. Queen Euthalia of Calanthe returned to her island kingdom, but broken in mind and body. With the blood of war unleashing ancient terrors, Calanthe isn’t the haven it once was. Lia must use her magical bond with Calanthe to save their people while Con fights to hold off the vengeful Emperor Anure and his wizards. Con and Lia will have to trust in each other—and in love—to fend off ultimate disaster. In the thrilling finale to the Forgotten Empires trilogy, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Con, Lia, and their allies sacrifice everything in a final bid to destroy the corrupt empire.

See how I gave both characters equal weight in the actions of the story? Editor Jennie loved this version – and I’m so appreciative that she gives me the opportunity to make these changes. I think if we all become more aware of these unconscious biases, we can begin to rid ourselves of the programming that created them.