La Guerre de Lonen Is Out!

LA GUERRE DE LONEN, the French translation of LONEN’S WAR, the first in my six-book fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, is live! I’m eager to see how my University French holds up to attempting a read.

If you’re in the Albuquerque or greater New Mexico area, I’ll be signing copies of THE ORCHID THRONE on Saturday, October 5, at 4pm at Page 1 Books. Here’s a nice write-up of the upcoming event. 

Finally, SEASONS OF SORCERY is on sale for only $2.49! (Down from $6.99.) Great time to grab a copy of this amazing Fantasy Anthology.

Finding Solutions to Conflict – in Life and in Fiction

Lonen's War Book Cover

I received a very interesting set of questions on Facebook from a reader who just finished reading WARRIOR OF THE WORLD. They’re such good questions that they deserve a thoughtful answer, so I decided to do that here. I hope she doesn’t mind! 

She said:

…one of the things that I feel like you do extremely well is create empathy for both “sides” of a war/ disagreement/conflict. In art, as in life I see most often empathy/sympathy being created with blame/making the other side the “bad guy”, etc. You seem to…skip that part? So this is a two part question:
1. Do you find yourself able to do that within your own life? (like are you less of a blamer, more of a solution finder – I’m working so so so hard on that with my kids and am interested in the HOW of it)
2. And two, HOW do you do it, first within yourself, and then secondarily, how do you WRITE it so that I, as a reader, don’t find myself coming down overly hard on one side – how do you make the gray the overwhelming tone, rather than the black and white?

So, here are my answers, plus a few more thoughts.

  1. I would say that I’m more of a solution finder than a blamer. I’m an INTJ and the Thinker/Judger very much plays into a lot of how I approach life. I’m pretty good at stepping back and taking an analytical, less emotional view of a situation. I think that kind of objectivity and critical thinking is key to problem-solving. It’s not always easy – and sometimes I have to wait for the initial emotional storm to blow through before I can get to that place of greater objectivity (none of us can ever be fully free of bias) – but once I can reply the situation from their point of view, then I can get closer.
  2. Part of being a storyteller is being able to tell ALL sides of a story, so that’s part of how I do this, both in fiction and in real life – I look at how I’d tell the story from THEIR point of view. In life, one my mantras is “compassion and tolerance.” I don’t always *practice* this as well as I’d like to, but if someone pisses me off in traffic, for example, I try to imagine the person driving that car is one of my closest friends, who I adore, but who is a TRULY TERRIBLE driver. Or I imagine their story – they just had a big fight with their spouse, or they’re sick and feel miserable and just need to get to the store to pick up their prescription. That makes it much easier for me to forgive their behavior and move on. One of the truths of life is that everyone is struggling with something. We may not know what it is, but we can either try to find out (not always practical) or imagine what their story might be (always an option). So, I think as a writer, what I do is give you a window into the story of the people on the other side of the conflict. I suppose that, in my heart, I don’t believe in good or evil – I think everyone does what they do for what they see as very good reasons of their own. Some of those reasons have horrible consequences for other people, but they do have them. Understanding those reasons helps us to cut off their actions at the root.

Looking at the story in WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, part of what I wanted to get was the female perspective on war. I think a whole lot of war – both in real life and in fiction – tends to be driven by male aggression. It’s not across the board, but I think it’s a strong driver, particularly in this century when so many wars have been driven by political ambitions and corporations wanting to monopolize resources. The war pending in this book is about controlling scarce resources, with those on the lean end wanting to attack those with plenty. The women in the book point out that just because one arm of a society is aggressive, however, doesn’t mean that everyone in that culture feels the same. A large part of any society gets dragged along with whatever the leaders decide – and often those being dragged along are women, children, the elderly, and those unable or unwilling to be warriors, for whatever reason. I think this was maybe different in other wars. I like to imagine the women of the American Revolutionary War and Civil War were much more involved because those were conflicts that directly impacted daily living and quality of life.

Now, men often criticize women writers for focusing on what they perceive as minutiae. Naturally, however, the person who sits down at table to consume a meal has a very different perspective than the person responsible for putting three nutritious meals on that table every day. This doesn’t have to fall out along gender lines, but it often does, particularly in the last century. When you have pretty much one gender in another country fighting a war and the other back at home, then you know which one is thinking about the daily minutiae of living. So, in this story, I wanted to deliberately draw that out and have the women of the family say, “Hey, who are you raging at? Do you think the babies and eldsters want to attack you?” They’re taking that position of recognizing the other’s story.

This is something that’s important to me as a person and as a writer, which is part of why I love the trope of enemies-to-lovers. That’s part of why I put LONEN’S WAR at the top, though I also explored similar themes in THE MARK OF THE TALA. That LONEN’S WAR cover encapsulates a great deal of that theme for me – of confronting the supposedly monstrous enemy and coming to not only understand them, but to love them. That whole Sorcerous Moons series is about two warring cultures coming together in part by learning each other’s stories. 

How’s that for a long answer?

 

Kick-Ass Heroines in the SFWA Fantasy Storybundle! (plus TWO cover reveals!)

Wow – today is a busy day! First off, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has partnered with Storybundle to produce the 2019 Fantasy Story bundle. Our theme is “kick-ass heroines” and there are tons – with all varieties of ass-kicking abilities – for your reading pleasure. It includes my own THE ARROWS OF THE HEART and 15 other books!

Here’s the scoop:

The 2019 SFWA Fantasy Bundle – Curated by Terry Mixon

Welcome to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Fantasy StoryBundle of 2019! We’re pleased to be working with StoryBundle to bring you some amazing stories this year, both from bestselling authors and bright stars on the rise.

It was a real pleasure reading the submissions from SFWA members this year and, as every year, we had a rough time narrowing the selection to just a few books. We think you’ll be delighted as there is something for everyone in this great bundle.

SFWA is over 50 years old and its membership consists of professional writers and publishing professionals from around the globe. It administers the Nebula Awards each year, and so very much more. Check out the SFWA website at sfwa.org for information on genre writing, the field, and other services.

If you want to know more about other SFWA offerings, sign up for our quarterly newsletter, which features new and backlist releases from our members in the area of fiction, games, and other offerings.

Some of the highlights in this bundle are:

The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy. What do you do when your boyfriend is an animal? Really. An animal.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet. Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer, a mostly-human woman is finally safe – if she can resist using her magic. Or can she?

The Dragon Blood Collection, Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker. A dashing Pilot, a comely Sorcerous and smart mouthed Soulsword all come together in a world intent on killing them.

• Radiance by Grace Draven. A marriage between alien kingdoms – and two “spares” who find beauty in each other, and that heroism comes in many forms.

• Ashwin by Kit Rocha. Can a genetically manipulated soldier be a hero? A healer finds a way to love a man without feelings—and fight for brightness in a dark world.

• The Raven and the Reindeer by Ursula Vernon. An enthralling remix of a classic fairy tale, with a practical heroine who follows her heart to a very different ending.

The SFWA Fantasy bundle only runs for three weeks, so don’t hesitate. It’s a great deal with a ton of terrific fiction just waiting for you click the button. We had a great time reading every book in this bundle. So should you.

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • The Twenty-Sided Sorceress – Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet
  • Ashwin by Kit Rocha
  • Blade & Rose by Miranda Honfleur
  • Amaskan’s Blood by Raven Oak
  • Genrenauts – The Complete Season One by Michael R. Underwood

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular books, plus SEVEN more!

  • Radiance by Grace Draven
  • The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy
  • The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher
  • Blood Dragon – Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker
  • Al-Kabar by Lee French
  • The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas
  • Catching Echoes – Reconstructionist Series Book 1 by Meghan Ciana Doidge

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

Also, if you get my newsletter, you’ve already seen that we revealed the cover of ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT, the long-anticipated (read: took forever for me to get to it) next installment in the Sorcerous Moons series. There’s no preorders for this one, but it should go live by Monday, January 28, 2019. We’ll send a newsletter out as soon as we know at least the Amazon link is live. If you haven’t subscribed, you can here. Or just watch my social media and I’ll try to post those retailer links as I have them.

And now, for the cover, see below!

ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT coming January 28(ish)

Finally, I’ve mentioned elsewhere, but maybe not here, that the Sorcerous Moons books will be translated into French! And today my French Publisher, Alter Real, revealed the cover for the translation of LONEN’S WAR, which has very neatly become LA GUERRE DE LONEN. And the cover is super cool.

Check it out below

Finally, there’s a fab giveaway that Rebel Base Books is running to celebrate the recent release of WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, the third and final book in the Chronicles of Dasnaria trilogy. It includes a fantastic bookend I’d love to have for myself. Check it out here.

Whew!

Collaborations and New Things

It’s starting to be spring here. One of the things I love about the early blossoms like these crocus is how they push up from the bracken, surprising me with their sudden spots of color. 

I’ve been writing a new character, the first scientist heroine I’ve had since Gwynn in Covenant of Thorns. This one is working as a scientist for her profession, and it’s interesting to get back in that head of a person who meticulously observes and understands nature. I used to be that person, back when I was working on my PhD in Zoology & Physiology. Now I’m thinking about stuff like form and function again, and how organisms fit into an ecosystem. I’ve even been pulling my books on natural history off the shelf to bring those parts of my brain out of the coma they’ve been in all these years. It’s like I’m turning on the lights in a wing of the castle I closed off long ago. The chimneys are belching smoke, lots of dusting to do – but I also rediscovering a lot of great stuff I forget was stored in there. 

This is the collaboration I’ve been working on. I’ve been pretty close to the vest about it, but it’s looking like this will happen! My collaborator is Jim Sorenson, who comes from a graphic novel/Transformers/GI Joe background. He lives in Albuquerque (an hour away) with his wife, who is a kick-ass trauma surgeon. Jim brings a whole other element of storytelling to the table, plus he’s experienced in working as part of a team, so he’s incredibly indulgent of my process. He’s also *really* good at observing world rules, so he’s become my walking story bible. I’ve often said I didn’t think I could collaborate with someone else on a book – because I like things MY WAY – but this has been a terrific experience. And fun!

It’s also been a stretch for me, creatively and craft-wise. It reminds me of when I went from writing short – essays and short stories – to writing novels, and I felt like I had to learn to write all over again. This has been a bit like that, learning to develop a story with another brain in the mix. 

So, we pitched an idea to Agent Sarah, and we’ve been working it up with her feedback. Jim has now signed with her, too, so we can run all the legalities of the collaboration through the agency. We just finished up another draft and sent it to her to read. That’s one of the “future project balls” I’ve been juggling that I mentioned in my Sunday post at the SFF Seven. Fingers crossed we can go on submission with it soon! 

In the meanwhile, LONEN’S WAR and LAST DANCE are on sale for 99 cents right now. (You can also get one of those free if you want to sign up for my newsletter.) Share that news around if you like! Last Dance

Lonen's War Book Cover

 

 

Defying Themes – and Succeeding Anyway!

The sun cresting Pusch Ridge in Tucson, spilling light through the cleft at sunrise – so beautifully dramatic. 

I came to Tucson to give the Saguaro Romance Writers my workshop on Defying Gravity: Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway. They’re a terrific group and we had a great time. 

This week’s topic at the SFF Seven is Make a Meme: You vs. Your Protagonist. And I… just can’t do this. I’m staying at my mom and stepdad’s house in Tucson, and my mom says she thinks memes (she pronounced it may-may) are silly and I should tell all of you that. 

I admit I’m not a huge fan of memes either – and I don’t really think of my protagonists as other, so I’m coming up empty on that one. However, I thought I should let you all know that the SFWA Fantasy Storybundle sale is almost over – ending November 2 at midnight ET! Last chance to buy four books for $5 or twelve books for $15! My book, LONEN’S WAR, is part of the core four books, so here’s a little excerpt of that, if you’d like to check it out!

********

Lonen had seen many strange things in the past weeks. Impossible magic and horrific deaths that would take him years to purge from his nightmares, if he ever could.

If he lived that long.

The sight of the woman in the window hit him with enough force to unbalance him. Through the blood-drenched night, he’d kept focus on one kill after the next and only on that, much the way he’d climbed the wall, except that he slit the throats of defenseless women, one after another, instead of reaching for holds. They died so easily, seeming oblivious to his approach, focusing their placid attention outward to the battle where the booming assault of the sorcerers diminished and ceased as their sisters succumbed to the blades of Lonen and his men.

The fact that they didn’t fight back, that they remained so vulnerable, sickened him, each death layering on unclean guilt that he’d ignored until the vision of the woman in the window knifed into him like an unseen blade. Maybe it was because her fair coloring was so much like the first woman he’d killed. After that one, he hadn’t looked at their faces, taking the dispensation offered by their featureless masks.

For whatever reason, the sight of her gripped him, standing in the open window, illuminated by candlelight in an otherwise dark tower that rose from a deep abyss. Her hair shone a copper color he’d never seen on a living being, like a hammered metal cloak that shifted with her startled movements. She put a hand to her throat, eyes dark in her fine-boned face. A creature from children’s tales perched beside her, staring at him intently. He would have thought it a statue carved from alabaster, but it swiveled its head on its neck to look at the woman, then back to him.

Lonen had seen illustrations of dragons in his boyhood books, but they’d been huge and…fictional. This thing looked very like those, only smaller—maybe as long as his forearm, not counting the tail. All white, it shimmered in the bright torchlight from the walls much as the woman’s hair did. It sat on its haunches, taloned feet clutching the stone windowsill, bat-winged forearms mantled. Large eyes with bright green shine dominated a wedge-shaped head with a narrow jaw and large ears. It lashed its long, sinuous tail against the stone, as a cat watching birds would.

Beautiful, both of them, and as fantastical as if they’d stepped out of one of those storybooks. The wonder of the sight swept away all the bloody horror. She was the bright face of the terrible magics—something lovely, pure and otherworldly. Something in him lunged at the prospect of such beauty in the world, a part of him he hadn’t known existed. Or rather, a part he hadn’t thought survived from childhood. That sense of wonder he’d felt looking at those storybook illustrations, long since lost to the grind of the Golem Wars. He lifted a hand, not sure what he meant to do. A salute? A greeting?

“Prince Lonen!” Alby ran up, bow in hand. “Why do you—a sorceress!” He reached for an arrow and notched it, a smooth, practiced movement that Lonen barely stopped in time.

“No,” he commanded. “Stand down. She wears no mask. She isn’t one of them.”

“They’re all the enemy,” Alby insisted through gritted teeth, resisting Lonen’s grip. “She’s seen us.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Abruptly weariness swamped Lonen. Far too soon for him to wear out, as much remained to be done. That bright bubble of the fantastic had distracted him, the shattering of that brief moment of childlike wonder more painful for the sudden loss of it. He’d have been better off not feeling it at all. “Her people are largely dead, their defenses falling around them. Look out at the plain.”

Alby followed his nod. Grienon, enormous and low in the sky, waxed toward full, shedding silvery light on the quiet field. None of the magical fireballs or earthquakes thundered through the night. The golems had dropped like corn stalks after harvest. The Destrye forces moved in a familiar cleanup pattern, groups of warriors methodically searching the field for the dying, to either save or dispatch, depending on which side they’d fought for—and if they could be saved. Other groups remained in pitched battle, but the Destrye had the upper hand. Without their magic, the Bárans would eventually fall.

For as many years as they’d worked towards this day, Lonen had expected to feel jubilation, triumph, the roar of victory. Not the drag of exhaustion and regret. Their plan had worked far better than any of them had dared to hope—and yet only bleakness filled his heart.

The copper-haired woman’s fault, for showing him a glimpse of a dream of something more than monstrous death and destruction. He’d been better off hoping simply to live to the next moment, or not to die in vain.

Hope and the promise of wonder could destroy a man’s spirit more surely than a well-wielded blade.

With one last look at the woman in the window, he turned his back on her and her false promise. “Come, Alby. Let’s find a ladder or stairway down to the city inside the walls, so we can open the gates.” One that wouldn’t plunge him into that dark abyss. “There must be stairs or ladders that the sorceresses climbed. By sunrise, Bára will be ours.”

Soon he would be done with this evil place.

Trigger Warnings – Do We Need Them?

The first SFWA Fantasy Story Bundle has been selling like hotcakes! Which…how DO hotcakes sell, anyway? Maybe fast before they cool off too much. But these stories will keep. For only $5 you get four full-length novels and for $15 total, you can get all twelve. Keep them forever and read at your leisure! A great way to discover new-to-you authors while supporting both those authors and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, who does so much to advocate for the genre and the profession. The first book in my Sorcerous Moons fantasy romance series, Lonen’s War, is a part of the bundle.

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is Trigger Warnings: When Subject Matter is Controversial. Come on over for my take. 

SFWA Fantasy Storybundle!

This is a fun thing: the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have put together a fantasy-themed storybundle, curated by our fabulous president, Cat Rambo!

This is a cool deal because you can get four fantasy novels – including my LONEN’S WAR – for only $5. You can pay at least $15 to get eight more books. All the authors get a cut either way, and SFWA gets a percentage, too, which goes toward our mission to support, promote, inform, defend, and advocate for professional fantasy and science fiction writers. 

You can read more about the books here. Feel free to spread the word! This is only available until November 2, 2017. 

 

Book Trailers and Animated Ads – Do They Work?

Lonen’s War is on sale for .99₵! If you haven’t read it – or if you’ve been bugging your friends to give it a try 😉 – this is the perfect time to grab a copy.

I’m doing this in part to celebrate my good news: THE PAGES OF THE MIND and THE EDGE OF THE BLADE are both finalists in the fantasy category of the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal (FFP) PRISM Award! It’s always a thrill to be a finalist, but with two books in there, I have my fingers crossed that maybe I’ll get one of these:

Only with, yanno, MY name and book on it! A girl can dream.

Marketing: Book Trailers, Vine Vids, and Gifs: Can/Would/Could Animated Ads Work For You? I’m also asking readers if these kinds of things work for them. Come on over to the SFF Seven for more. 

Sorcerous Moons in Print!

The first three Sorcerous Moons books are now out in print!

For the die hard print lovers among you, we’ve bundled together books 1-3 of Sorcerous Moons into a hard copy edition! That’s Lonen’s War, Oria’s Gambit and The Tides of Bàra all in one place, plus the first chapter of The Forests of Dru. It’s a little pricey, because PRINT, but it should make for a nice keepsake.

Or gifts! Makes a great doorstop for that non-reader you’ve been trying to convince to try my books. 😉

And yes, book 5 is coming soooooooon….