When Writers Block Means to Dig Deeper

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is: “The most difficult scene you ever wrote and why.”

I’m guessing that’s why was it difficult, not why we wrote it. Though I do think the why we wrote the scene in the first place is relevant.

There’s a school of thought among writers and writerly-advice givers that if a story becomes difficult – if the writer hits a block and grinds to a stop – then that’s an indicator of Something Gone Wrong. I see this advice a lot. Writers will say – often in response to questions about how they handle Writer’s Block – “When I hit a block, I know I’ve done something wrong, taken a wrong turn somewhere, so I go back and rework the plot.”

You all have heard a version of this, right?

Makes me cringe every time. I’ll tell you why. But you have to go to the SFF Seven to find out. 

NEW RELEASE: THE FATE OF THE TALA

THE FATE OF THE TALA is out in the world!! You can order it on all the retailers. If you preordered (or still want to order!) a signed print copy, I’ll be sending those out by February 14. (I should have them by February 13, so it could happen!) A nice Valentine for us all. Once I send those, I’ll get the print versions uploaded on the retailers, too.

Also, as a super fun thing – if you subscribe to Pikko’s House Book Lovers Box this month, a limited number of subscribers will get the first book that started it all, THE MARK OF THE TALA, for free!!

 

 

The exciting conclusion of the story begun in The Mark of the Tala

An Uneasy Marriage,

An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

 

NEW RELEASE: THE FATE OF THE TALA

THE FATE OF THE TALA is out in the world!! You can order it on all the retailers. If you preordered (or still want to order!) a signed print copy, I’ll be sending those out by February 14. (I should have them by February 13, so it could happen!) A nice Valentine for us all. Once I send those, I’ll get the print versions uploaded on the retailers, too.

Also, as a super fun thing – if you subscribe to Pikko’s House Book Lovers Box this month, a limited number of subscribers will get the first book that started it all, THE MARK OF THE TALA, for free!!

 

 

The exciting conclusion of the story begun in The Mark of the Tala

An Uneasy Marriage,

An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

 

 

Writing Through the Cycle of Despair

Happy Groundhog Day! In celebration of this (dubious) holiday, we here at the SFF Seven will be discussing that THING we find ourselves doing over and over in our books. If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.

Just last weekend I did a video chat with an author friend, because I asked for her help with some brainstorming. We also chatted about our current projects and deadlines. Now, she’s had multiple books on the NYT Bestseller list and commands enviable advances. She has a large and passionate fandom. But she was at the phase of her current book where she doubted *everything* about it.

I said, “the phase where you’re certain the book is not only TERRIBLE, but the one that will destroy your career forever?”

And she said, “YES!”

This is an inevitable Groundhog Day cycle for me. Come on over to find out more – and how I get through it. Also for news on THE FATE OF THE TALA!

Now Available in Print!

Because you asked! The four Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms shorts and novellas that weren’t available in print are now combined into two print volumes! The prequel short story, NEGOTIATION, can be found with THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN, and the shorter novella, THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN, is in a volume with HEART’S BLOOD. Just go to the book detail pages for THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN and HEART’S BLOOD, to find those print copy purchase links. If you order the physical copies direct from me, I’ll sign and even personalize them! Happy reading!

THE FATE OF THE TALA has a cover!

 

Coming December 15, 2019! Preorder here

An Uneasy Marriage,
An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

Cover Reveal! THE FIERY CROWN

The cover of THE FIERY CROWN is being revealed at Tor.com today! This is book two in my Forgotten Empires trilogy – out May 26, 2020 – following THE ORCHID THRONE, which is out now.

Here’s an article about the book launch signing. (I kind of love that Kamala Harris is smiling over my shoulder like a beaming guardian angel of goodness.)

There have been so many lovely reviews and wonderful feedback for THE ORCHID THRONE that these last couple of weeks have been an E-ticket Cinderella Ride. (I know the Disneyland reference is dated, but Julie Brown will never go out of style. I’ll plant a flag on that hill.) I particularly love this review on a BookBub recommendation.

If you’ve been missing Rhysand and Feyre, the Night Court, and the realm of Fae, The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy is for you! To say I loved this book is an understatement. I devoured it! This book has something for everyone and is a must-read for fantasy fans. Following the story of two very different people, The Orchid Throne sets up the world of the Forgotten Empires, hooking the readers with its lush fantasy, political intrigue, and steamy romance.

As a fan of Rhys and Feyre, myself, I totally preened over this!

Otherwise, I’m deep into working on THE FATE OF THE TALA. Those of you who listen to my First Cup of Coffee podcast will know that I’m keeping the protagonist of this one a secret, which means I haven’t been posting snippets as I’d like to. But I have the (incredibly gorgeous and powerful) cover in hand, and we’ll do a reveal sometime in the first week of November. Then ALLLLLL will be revealed! Because of course, in the grand tradition of The Twelve Kingdoms and The Uncharted Realms, the protagonist is on the cover. I hope to have the book out by Thanksgiving, so we’ll see!

And for those of you who’ve been asking… yes, Jenna/Ivariel will make an appearance. 🙂

 

Retelling the Fairy Tale

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is which fairy tale would you pick to rewrite and why?

It’s kind of a funny question for me, because it’s starting to be more accurate to ask me which fairy tale I *haven’t* rewritten yet. Come on over for more. 

 

Answers to Reader Questions

These rainy days and chilly evenings have made for a cozy autumn. So lovely to build a fire, put on a warm robe, and read by the fireplace. 

I sometimes get questions from readers – for the most part through my website contact form, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter – and usually I answers those questions where they’re asked. The other day, however, I received an email via the website contact form, with enough questions and enthusiastic thoughts, that I asked for permission to share it here. Pretty much the fun version of asking the question so the whole class can hear, because other people probably have the same question. 😉

Here’s the email from Ellen: (I added the handy links)

Hello! First of all I have to say that I’m a huge fan! I recently discovered you through another favorite author of mine, Grace Draven. I started with “The Mark of The Tala” and then literally binge read every book in your entire 12 kingdoms universe in a matter of weeks. I absolutely loved how you tied in all the stories and I’m so excited to see what happens next, especially with war on the brink! That being said I do have a few questions I was wondering if you can answer (if not I totally understand!)

I always try to answer questions! Plus, I love to hear what readers love and what snags their curiosity. So here are some answers!

1) many of your Dasnarian characters use the term “cvan”, however I can’t find a definition for the word anywhere in your books. What does it mean? (On a side note it might be cool if future books had a glossary of terms. Just an idea! )

That’s a great idea to include a glossary of terms and Assistant Carien is on it! I don’t always define terms in my books unless I can find a way to make it a natural part of conversation. “Cvan” is a Dasnarian word that I made up, working off Old Norse – which is the springboard for all of my Dasnarian language – and means essentially “my lover.” Because that’s meant in a very sexual sense, there’s rarely opportunity to work into conversation a discussion of the term!

2) I understand both of Ami’s twins can shift, due to the barrier expanding, but what does it mean that only Stella has the “mark”? Before I thought the mark meant that she had enough magic to shift, so now I’m just a bit confused as to what the mark means. Is it in reference to her magical gifts? Like Andi with the foresight and Stella with emotions?

Aha! This is still somewhat mysterious and will not be explained until the final book. There are lots of guesses out there, and it’s nothing that people probably haven’t already intuited, but it’s not surprising that you’re confused since I’ve never come right out and explained. You’re on the right track – that it has to do with the magical gifts.

3) Will we ever find out the significance of Salena’s sea shells and the connection of them with Rayfe’s mother?

It’s funny, Carien had to go look for this for me, to remind me of the reference. For those wondering, the scene Ellen references comes at the end of THE MARK OF THE TALA, in the vision Andi experiences. Really there’s not much significance to this. Andi tells Rayfe’s mother, Garland, about the seashell because it’s part of showing that it truly was a message from Salena – something only Salena and Garland knew about. It was simply a memento of their friendship.

4) I can’t wait for “Seasons of Sorcery,” after that will there be any more “Uncharted Realms” releases? I’m so curious to see what future POV characters will take the main stage!

Right now I’m planning one more book in The Uncharted Realms series, which will tie up all the current threads and reveal some answers to questions posed back at the beginning of The Twelve Kingdoms. I haven’t publicly announced this anywhere yet (I think) because I was still noodling it, but that book will be called THE FATE OF THE TALA, and if all goes well, it will be out in May of 2019.