Best Fantasy and Science Fiction

Prisoner of the Crown

The first book in my Chronicles of Dasnaria series, PRISONER OF THE CROWN, is up for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book at Fresh Fiction! You can go there and vote for your favorites in multiple categories. I’m super delighted that this book was nominated. It’s up against tough competition, so I don’t expect it to win, but getting the nod is so gratifying.

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is “Spinning the Spiderweb of Complicated Plots.” Come on over for my thoughts!

The Arrows of the Heart Is Out!

Just in case you missed the news, THE ARROWS OF THE HEART, sequel to THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE, and the fourth book in The Uncharted Realms series, is out in the world! 

 

A STRANGER’S FAITH

As the Twelve Kingdoms and their allies are drawn toward war, a princess cast aside must discover a purpose she never dreamed of…

Karyn af Hardie behaved like a proper Dasnarian wife. She acquiesced, she accepted, she submitted. Until her husband gave her a choice: their loveless, unconsummated royal marriage—or her freedom. Karyn chose freedom. But with nowhere to run except into the arms of Dasnaria’s enemies, she wonders if she’s made a mistake. She wants love, security, a family. She can’t imagine finding any of it among the mercurial Tala.

Worst of all is Zyr. The uninhibited shapeshifter is everywhere she looks. He’s magnetic, relentless, teasing and tempting as if she’s free to take her pleasure where she wishes. As if there isn’t a war rising before them, against a vile and demanding force far stronger than they. But with Karyn’s loyalty far from certain, Zyr offers her only chance to aid the defense—a dangerous gambit to seek out a land not seen in centuries, using clues no one can decipher. Together, they’ll have every opportunity to fail—and one chance to steal something truly precious…

The RITA® Award – 2018 Scores

This morning I got a new comment on an old post, which is always interesting. When I saw which post, I totally got it. Last year I put up an article on my blog: The RITA® Award – Is It Worth Entering? Right away I knew why that post, because we all got our scores from the 2018 RITA® Award contest. 

That’s me above, by the way, at this year’s RITA ceremony, with my fantastic agent, Sarah Younger, and one of her newest clients and Golden Heart finalist, Alexia Chantel

I won’t reiterate everything I said last year about the contest, except to say that I still believe in everything I said then, 100%. Even though I didn’t final with either of the books I entered this year. And I’m going to share my scores again, because so many people said they appreciated that I did so last year. 

I entered two books, The Shift of the Tide in Paranormal Romance, and With a Prince in Short Contemporary Romance. 

My scores?

The Shift of the Tide: 9.6, 9.5, 8.9, 7.9, 5.9 – Final Score: 8.7666666667
With a Prince:  9.5, 8.6, 8.3, 7.9, 7.2 – Final Score: 8.2666666667

The Final Score is figured by dropping the highest and lowest scores, then averaging the other three. Finalists in each category are the top 4% of scores, unless there are fewer than four or more than ten, in which case it’s adjusted. 

I’m super pleased with these scores! The average for The Shift of the Tide is second only to that for The Pages of the Mind, which finaled and won last year, so score! And I’m pleasantly surprised by the consistent scores on With a Prince

One interesting trend, the score for the Top 25% in the Paranormal Romance Category has been going up. (25% of all entries had final scores equal to or above that score.) In 2015, it was 8. In 2017, 8.23. And in 2018, 8.3. That indicates to me that overall scoring is higher, and the field even more competitive. I don’t have the 2016 data when I entered The Talon of the Hawk. Maybe I didn’t get my scores that year? Or maybe I deleted the email in a fit of pique because I’d been so hoping it would final. (It won best Fantasy Romance from RT that year after all!) I seem to recall a judge marked it “Not a Romance,” which also happened with The Mark of the Tala. Happens to all of us. 

I also haven’t really tracked the trend in averages for Contemporary Romance, as it’s not my primary genre, but I can tell you the Top 25% score was 8.36, even higher than for Paranormal. Very competitive!

So, onward and upward. You bet I’m entering again for 2019. 🙂

 

Prisoner of the Crown – #1 Best Seller!

So this happened. Super exciting! I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve hit #1 Best Seller on Amazon on my own. We did with AMID THE WINTER SNOW (which is no longer up for sale, though the individual stories are – mine is THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN). Much of the credit goes to Monday’s BookBub ad and the .99 cent sale, but still! And the sale continues on all retail sites, so you can still grab PRISONER OF THE CROWN for that fantastic price. It should go back up any minute now, so hie thee on over for the clicky goodness!

Otherwise I’m working on a fast-turnaround new project. I know, I know – so many OTHER ongoing writing projects for me to be working on, but this one isn’t my fault! an opportunity came through Agent Sarah and it has a Movie Thing attached. I’ll tell you all more if it becomes an Actual Thing rather than an Exciting Possibility. Once I get this out, I’m back to THE ORCHID THRONE, and after *that* I’m definitely for sure finishing THE ARROWS OF THE HEART. I greatly appreciate your patience in this. I never dreamed it would be a year between it and THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE.

Where has the time gone???

I promise I haven’t been lying about eating bonbons and watching daytime television. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with that… 😉

 

 

Reviews Are for Readers – Or Are They?

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is on our calendar as “Reviews – I’m rubber, you’re glue.”

Which gave me pause, I’ll admit. The phrase comes from US playground taunts among children (do other countries have this one?) where the teased child will reply “I’m rubber, you’re glue. What bounces off me, sticks to you.” In other words saying that any insults hurled at us bounce off and stick to the the one flinging them. Come on over for my take. 

Most Unlikely to Write

I found this great ceramic Dia de los Muertos doll a couple of weeks ago. It’s difficult to tell from the pic, but she’s made entirely of ravens. I would have bought her in a heartbeat if she weren’t so expensive. For those of you who’ve read THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE, there’s an aspect to this doll that reminds me of Moranu with her many faces. Even the cover of that book is reminiscent of the same images for me. Do you all see that? 

There’s a key difference, however, between the two – and that links into this week’s theme at the SFF Seven , which is the genre we are mostly unlikely to write. Come on over to find out what I mean. 

Zynda Is Here!

Today’s the day!! THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE is free in the wild, something Zynda would greatly approve of. She’s my shapeshifter sorceress heroine, who loves freedom above all else. Until she discovers there’s more to life than that. 

I really loved writing Zynda’s story – far more than I expected to. I’m not entirely sure I can explain why, either, except that there was a certain untrammeled freedom to her way of thinking. She’s brutally honest and her time spent as various animals has changed the way she thinks and sees the world. I also totally fell in love with Marskal. I love all of my heroes and heroines, but these two really got under my skin. A phrase Zynda would laugh at. 

The early feedback I’m getting confirms that you all feel the same – so woo hoo!!! Reviews are just going up on Amazon, etc., so if you feel like popping one up, I’d greatly appreciate it. 🙂

The links are all live:

Buy the Book

 
The official blurb:
 
A QUICKSILVER HEART
Released from the grip of a tyrant, the Twelve Kingdoms have thrown all that touch them into chaos. As the borders open, new enemies emerge to vie for their hard-won power-and old deceptions crumble under the strain…

The most talented shapeshifter of her generation, Zynda has one love in her life: freedom. The open air above her, the water before her, the sun on her skin or wings or fur-their sensual glories more than make up for her loneliness. She serves the High Queen’s company well, but she can’t trust her allies with her secrets, or the secrets of her people. Best that she should keep her distance, alone. 

Except wherever she escapes, Marskal, the Queen’s quiet lieutenant, seems to find her. Solid, stubborn, and disciplined, he’s no more fluid than rock. Yet he knows what she likes, what thrills and unnerves her, when she’s hiding something. His lithe warrior’s body promises pleasure she has gone too long without. But no matter how careful, how tender, how incendiary he is, only Zynda can know the sacrifice she must make for her people’s future-and the time is drawing near…

Writing a Series vs. a Standalone

This week’s topic at the SFF Seven is apropos for me, as THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE releases on Tuesday! 

It’s the third book in The Uncharted Realms series. Or the sixth in The Twelve Kingdoms, depending on how you slice these things. For some people these lines are more definitive than they are for me. Our topic is: Working in a series as opposed to working on a standalone book. What are the differences and how much do you plan ahead? Come on over to find out my take.