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5min – Rutines 

I’m trying to get into a new routine to make editing and writing work for me. 

Edit one chapter in the morning before work. A bit of writing on a different project after work. Another chapter of editing after writing, if I can. Even with one or two chapters edited a day I should get this first book finished and edited by the end of the week, which is when I need to get it to my editor. 

This project has been a lot more challenging than the first trilogy. Partly because I’m building an entire world from scratch, including how the mythos of creation and the magic system works. There are no elves, no dwarves, no other races in this series except humans, dragons, and ifrits. The magic is still elemental based, but works more like alchemy than  it did in my other series. 

It’s been fun to design a whole new world. I can’t wait to share it! 

And that’s my five. 

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Review: Marked by Magic by Jasmine Walt

I just finished the fourth book in the Baine Chronicles, Marked by Magic, by Jasmine Walt, and I just had to share it.

I love this series. So many parallels to the real world, and yet still firmly rooted in it’s own magical world. A lot of action, and some romance, with a lot of mystery and political maneuvering. From the ending I think there might be more political intrigue in the next book as certain people try getting in between the main character and her romance. Looking forward to that as well.

This is quickly becoming my favorite series to read this year. Without coming out and saying it directly, Miss Walt manages to talk about difficulties when different races, religions, and political beliefs clash. By using a person that has never quite fit into any of those spaces, and suddenly gets thrust into the world that she has been taught to despise her entire life, Miss Walt is able to show the ugliest parts, while also showing that there are good people out there too, and most of them are just trying to feed their family and get by.

The world, itself, is fascinating, too. Magic, steam power, and the budding influence of technology. They have electricity, but they don’t have automation. Steam cars, and air ships, but guns and minting actual gold coins is illegal. I love the way she builds this world, and balances the three races of human, shifter, and mage.

For this specific book in the series Miss Baine has a target on her back, and has to get to the bottom of the renegades before someone gets to her first. While there is romance, this book is more about Miss Baine learning to control herself, and her actions than it is the romance.

All in all a great book, and series. I’m glad I picked up the whole set.

 

You can pick up the first book in the series, Burned by Magic, for 99 cents!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Dragon’s Flame – Chapter 1

The first chapter of Dragon’s Flame, book 1 in the half blood sorceress series.

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Winter descended from the mountains, a cloak of ice wrapped about his shoulders. A living force of nature, his very presences consumed all before him.

A blanket of snow and ice spread out at his feet, the earth crunching beneath his foot falls. A shroud of mist hung with baited breath behind him, waiting for his invitation to slip down into the valley and consume all before it.

Even the sun, once bright and warm in its track, cast a cold glow upon the frozen landscape. Brittle ice caked outstretched tree limbs, weighing them down and snapping off the fragile ends. Dark rich earth and pale green grass gave way to a blanket of cold crystals as he passed.

Silence enshrouded the unnatural winter as birds fell from the sky, and rodents scrambled into dens, never to emerge, their blood frozen. No being could come near to the vision of ice. For miles nothing ventured beyond the grip of winter. No sound. No animal. And no man. Nothing save the wind, and footfalls of the one carrying ice in his very soul.

Word spread of winter’s passage, and villages fled south in terror. But few men lived in the north near the mountains, and fewer in the path of winter’s fury. The great leaders of the cities to the south did not see the danger creeping steadily closer to them. They could not feel the cold of winter, or hear the fury of the winds descending from the mountain.

To the south where men slept peacefully in their beds, ignorant of the danger approaching.

~

C-1 Mother

 

Soft light fell in a dappled pattern across my mother’s bed, like lace made from sunbeams. I hung the lace curtains for her just two summers ago when the sunlight had become too much for her weakening body.
I sat on the edge of her bed, taking her hand in mine. So thin. It was like clutching a skeleton with thin paper wrapped over her birdlike bones.

This was my mother, or what was left of her. Only thirty-eight and she was succumbing to a wasting disease that no cleric could seem to heal. Not that there had been many clerics visiting our small village.
“It won’t be much longer,” she said.

I had to lean forward to hear her words, like crushed leaves on the breeze, cracking and popping as she spoke.

“Don’t say that, mom,” I protested, clutching her hand just a bit tighter. “You can’t go yet. You haven’t even given me away at my wedding. And what will dad do without you? He needs you. We both do.”
She reached up with her other hand and patted me. “You’ll do just fine, Sybel. You’re stronger than you think. You’ll be ruling the world in no time.”

I smiled, I couldn’t help it, even at this stage. Mother always had an odd sense of humor. Ruling the world? From the back of a plow horse? A farmer’s wife didn’t rule much more than her kitchen. I might not have been a wife yet, but I knew it would come soon, and all the stories of mages and dragons mother shared with me would be replaced with babies and laundry.

“And dad?” I asked.

“Don’t be too harsh on him, Sybel. Your dad’s been through a lot more than he’s willing to admit. He’s been there for us, more than I had any right for. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself. Things might get difficult for you after I’m gone, but remember that somewhere inside him there is love.”

I didn’t understand it then, but my mother already knew what would happen when she passed onto the other side. She had been married to my father for twenty years, and knew all too well his temper. I knew it too, and had been on the wrong side of it more often than not. I tried to brush it off, to remind myself that he loved me, but it had gotten harder to do so since mother took ill. He’d been rougher than usual.

I’d done my best to hide the bruise on my arm where he’d gripped it a bit too hard. It wouldn’t do to upset mother on her deathbed.

I didn’t want to admit that it was her deathbed, but there was no denying it anymore. She was dying and there was nothing I could do. No wizard to call. No demon to summon. My mother was going to slip into the next world, and it would be soon.

What would I do afterward?

“I’ll remember, mother,” I said, and leaned down to kiss her on the forehead. Her skin was warm beneath my lips, and smelled of sour elderberries. It was the smell of wine, and sleep, something she’d been imbibing in far more lately. I couldn’t even try to be upset with her, I could see how much pain each movement was causing.

The wasting disease had come on two summers before, slowly creeping inside her. First she couldn’t stand for very long, and took to working the farm from a chair that I carted around for her. Then she couldn’t stay awake for long periods of time and started taking naps throughout the day. At the beginning of the spring when others were out sowing the seeds for the next harvest my mother couldn’t rise from her bed. Her muscles had atrophied, leaving behind a husk of the woman I’d known. The strong jaw, and quick smile had been replaced by a skull covered in thin parchment.

The sicker mother became the angry father seemed.

“The garden just hasn’t been the same without you,” I said. It sounded hollow, even to me, but I had to say something. Didn’t I? Tired platitudes about getting well seemed out of place. There was no getting well, not anymore, and we both knew it.

“I’m tired, Sybel. I think it’s time I rest.”

The finality in her words sent a shiver down my spine. But there was a smaller part of me that was glad. Mother had been in pain for so long, I just wanted her pain to end. If that meant letting her go then I would do it. No matter how much it hurt.

I kissed her forehead again, and let go of her hand.

“Did you want father to come in and kiss you goodnight as well?”

The way I said goodnight, it sounded like the end of a long journey to me. Perhaps mother heard it because she sighed and gave me a wan smile before shaking her head. I couldn’t blame her. The way father had been acting it wouldn’t be a good way for her to go into the long sleep. I think she held on as long as she did because of him, but now the wasting disease was too much. She was ready.

I smiled back, and patted her hand.

Then I slowly stood, and turned my back on her, walking away.

It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. It felt like I was giving her permission to die. After all the years she had held on for me and my father, it felt like the right thing to do. She was hurting, and staying would do nothing for her but cause her more pain.

I could handle myself, and father if need be. But at that moment we didn’t matter any longer, I could only think of her failing strength, and the relief that seemed to emanate from her at that moment.

I left, knowing it would be the last time I would see my mother alive. And I didn’t look back.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Fire and Ice

I’ve been working on the new cover for the first book in “The Half Blood Sorceress” series. Book one, Dragon’s Flame, is finished. Well, the first draft is. I have a few things to clean up before sending it off to the editor, but I am hoping to have it out soon (in relitive terms).

The back of the book:

A tragedy. A secret. A journey to find the truth.

Sybel watched as her mother burned on a funeral pyre, but she never expected her father to push her into the flames. When Sybel survives the pyre without a single burn she’s banished from the village for reasons she doesn’t understand.
With more questions than answers, Sybil’s only hope is to make a treacherous journey to find the wise mages of Kemoor. As she ventures out beyond the edges of her village she finds a world filled with dangers; massive creatures, vindictive humans, and an ice cold wind blowing from the north. A wind that is far more sinister than anyone suspects.
Now the girl who would not burn must trust in unlikely allies to save her life, and discover the truth…

And the best part is I’ve already written most of book two. I’m hoping to have books one and two out this year, with the third one next year some time. I have at least a five book arc for this series.

The Half Blood Sorceress is not part of the same world as my Witch’s Trilogy. In the Witch’s Trilogy there are many sentient creatures created by the elements. In The Half Blood Sorceress series there are three races; humans, dragons, and ifrits. The world building of these two series was so completely different. Peyllen (the world of Witch’s Trilogy) took years to flesh out. But because of all that world building the mythos of Peyllen is an entire series of it’s own that I’m still writing.

The Half Blood Sorceress is different in a lot of ways, and so is the experience of creating the world, and writing the stories. I honestly can’t wait to get it out and hear what others have to say about it.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Stories

 

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Free Books

Just a quick note to let you know that I have two free short stories this weekend.

Twilight Tales has three short stories, and The Camera is about a  young boy that finds a camera with an unusual ability. It’s inspired from an old Stephen King short story.

There will be two more short stories available for free each weekend for the rest of April.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in On Writing

 

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The beginning is often the hardest story to tell.

A few weeks ago I announced on the Bradbury Challenge that I would be finishing, and publishing, Witch’s Sight. I finally finished writing it tonight, now it just needs a bit of an edit. However, I wanted to give everyone here a quick peek behind the scenes. You get to read it before anyone else.

As you probably know, the Witch’s Trilogy is now finished. While finishing up the last book in the series I started thinking about the origin of the Little Mother, and how she made her own escape from the acolytes. That tale is here, in Witch’s Sight.

I love this world, and I’m going to keep coming back to it with new books down the road. It is such a wonderful world to write in. However, the other stories I have planned for the world of Peyllen don’t take place in the Sea of Tears. They are in the far distant realms beyond the edge of the sea. I will eventually be making a website specifically for Peyllen with a timeline, maps, and some more information about the world at large.

For now, I’m off to write in a different direction, taking a short break from Peyllen to see what other mischief I can get into.

And, as promised, here is Witch’s Sight.

***************

~~Witch’s Sight ~~

Katrina sat in a sea of people, all of them moving at once. They were big as trees, towering over her. Though she clung to mama’s hand, Katrina shivered. The big people were screaming at someone, shouting and calling names. Names she’d never heard before. But she didn’t need to know what they were to know they were bad. Just the way they screamed them out told her so.

The bodies pressed in, jostling her against mama, and she clung with all her might as the sea of people tried to sweep her away.

“Mama!” she screamed, but no one could hear her above all the voices, the screaming. The crying.

Mama grabbed her, and pulled her up into her arms. Safer, Katrina sunk down into mama’s embrace, feeling mama tighten her grip, keeping her safe from the crowds.

“Look away, Katrina,” mama cried. “Don’t look!”

It was an order. Mama gave so few orders, and Katrina tried to obey them all. She did now, shutting her eyes tight as she lay her head against mama’s shoulder. But the commotion outside her mother’s embrace was too enticing. Katrina wanted to look, wanted to see what the people were yelling at, and wanted to see what angered them so.

She blinked, catching glimpses of people towering over a small figure at their feet. Another blink, red blood covering the small figures face, hair a mess.

It was a girl with short hair lying on the ground. The girl tried to scramble to her feet, slipping on the wet stones. She wasn’t much bigger then Jamie, Katrina’s neighbor who came to watch Katrina when mama was in the fields. But Jamie was always smiling and happy, this girl was crying. Dirty tear tracks ran down her face, and she pulled herself away from the crowd, clawing at the stone to get away.

“Why are they so mad, mama? Did she do something bad?”

“Look away, Katrina. You’re so young. You shouldn’t see this.”

Mama pushed through the crowd, elbowing people to get out of the way. Katrina watched as the tiny figure got swallowed up by the crowds, and still she could not understand why they were hurting the girl.

****Join the mailing list for the full story.***

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Magic Systems

Another FAQ from reddit.

I’m not very experienced in terms of magic systems. So I thought about going sort of Final Fantasy (black, blue, red, white) classification. Can I use latin names for my spells? Is it tacky? I can’t think of imaginative ways to name my spells rather than that. Will it sound too Harry Potter-esque?

Spells have been done in all sorts of unique and interesting ways, from ingesting pieces of metal in the Mistborn series, to land magic in MTG, transmutation alchemy in “Full Metal Alchemist” and energy magic in Krynn.

The most common magic system is based on the mind and/or elemental magic. The red/blue/red of Final Fantasy is one of them.

For a magic system of your own you can borrow from the classics and adjust it, or you can create your own and make up your own names for it. Latin is perfectly fine and has been used before. It is not tacky, though some might think it’s over done. (Besides, “tacky” is in the eye of the beholder and I happen to love several series where the wizard yells out a spell word/name to cast. Like Dresden.)

To create your own magic system I suggest starting with these questions: 
What does it cost to cast?
How is it cast? (words, items, gestures, etc.)
What does it feed on?
What does it effect?
Who can cast?
What is the negative side of the magic?

This should get you on the right track.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in On Writing

 

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