Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cover reveal: Alicia by Gloria Weber

I know, I know. It’s not Monday, and that’s usually when I do promo stuff for other authors. But when a WIPpeteer requests aid, I like to help. And today is the big day for Gloria’s short story, a “contemporary romance with fantasy elements.”

Read on for details!

Alicia

Blurb:
Leon has decided it is better to remain silent and accused of Alicia’s murder than admit the truth. The truth… well that’s so unbelievable it’s crazy. Not that Detective Dorndorf believes a word that comes out of Leon’s mouth. Dorndorf just wants a confession and figures dragging Leon to the last spot Alicia was seen might just pry it out of him. Will the detective’s plan work or will the truth come out?

Price: $0.99
Expected To Be Sold At: Amazon (for kindle) and Solstice Publishing’s website (http://solsticepublishing.com/)

Author Bio:
Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. She has been writing for publication since March 2006 with over a dozen titles published. Her favorite letter is L.

Website: http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @GloriaWeber ~ http://twitter.com/GloriaWeber
G+: http://plus.google.com/107706782152210234267/posts
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GloriaWeberWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/GloriaWeber


Bound A-Z: M is for Magic

Magic

Trying to explain magic is like trying to explain life, or God. At least, it is if you’re a character in one of my books. I, on the other hand, have inside information.

And I’m going to share a little of it with you, at the request of a lovely reader.

Those of you who are reading my books know some things, with more revealed in each book (because honestly, I find it dull to have everything laid out in exacting detail at the outset, with no surprises left). There’s more to come, believe me.

Magic is a huge and wonderful challenge for a writer. We get to decide what magic is, how it works, why it works and who it works for, what it’s capable of and (even more importantly) what its limitations are.

We decide how much we’ll explain and how much mystery we leave. We decide whether characters will use spells or wands or potions or elements to control magic, whether magic obeys the laws of physics as we understand them, or whether it exists beyond them–and what that means for the world we’ve created.

This is by no means an exhaustive examination of the magic system in the Bound trilogy, but it might answer a few questions. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, and warn if they pop up.

Today we’ll look at Sorcerers and Sorceresses, and magic-users with that type of magic who don’t quite qualify at that level. I’ll be saying “he” because that’s how this sort of magic tends to skew, especially in Tyrea, but we all know that Sorceresses have the capacity to be every bit as powerful.

Again, we’re only covering the basics here, or this will become a very long post, indeed. And we’ll focus on Tyrea, because there are factors that affect things in Darmid and Belleisle.

The easiest way to think of magic is to compare it to electricity. Assuming the power bill is paid up and the house is well-maintained, you can plug a cord into the wall and get power. And it’s all the same power. Plug a blow-dryer in at a bathroom outlet, and it’s going to get the same juice as the toaster in the kitchen.

Of course, the effects are quite different, aren’t they?

Your blow-dryer’s not going to make you toast, even if you bring it to the kitchen. And you could try to dry your hair with that toaster, but I really wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like soggy roots and the smell of burnt hair.

That’s really the best way to think of natural magic skills, too, though it’s not a perfect analogy. A toaster was created to toast (I’m going to keep saying toast until it doesn’t look like a real word anymore. Toast). In the same way, a Sorcerer might have a natural skill with, say, fire creation. The Sorcerer will still have to work to develop that skill, but it will be fairly simple if he’s strong and puts the work in. It’s like walking. He has to learn, but it becomes second nature if nothing interferes.

Now, not everyone in Tyrea has natural skills. Even if many people have the ability to channel a little magic, most people won’t have the capacity to use enough to have any effect at all on the world around them. They may not even be aware that the magic is in them.

In fact, great and useful magic is rare–especially when monarchs have a tendency to off anyone who threatens them, but that’s another topic entirely. One fifty people might have middling magic, enough to make their lives easier and keep them healthier than most, but not enough to accomplish much in a practical sense, no matter how hard they try.

One a thousand might be capable of great things, IF he has training. And the greatest magic is rarer still.

So what happens when we move beyond natural skills? What about things like [BOUND SPOILER] Aren’s ability to change into an eagle? What about Severn’s mind-connection with a flying horse? These aren’t skills they were born with. They’re entirely learned.

[END SPOILER]

Going back to appliances: You could turn a toaster into a lamp by making modifications to it. It would run on the same electricity, and if the modifications are done correctly, it could work very well.

Maybe not as well as if you’d just bought a damn lamp, of course. The same is true with magic. A developed skill can be quite effective, and with more practice comes mastery. But it takes much longer to develop a learned skill than a natural one, and it’s far more dangerous and difficult (TORN SPOILER: see Aren and Severn’s respective skills with fire for an example of this). And there are some things that can’t be learned, or that would be too difficult to bother with, and this varies between individuals. One person might pick up transformation after five years, another might still screw it up after twenty, or a hundred.

Also, no one expects to pick up more than a handful of fully-developed skills (plus an assortment of unrefined minor skills) in his lifetime. You can turn that toaster into a lamp-toaster-BBQ lighter-bedwarmer-camp stove-battery charger, but at some point you’re going to find that none of the functions work properly because it’s a bit too… well, diversified.

There’s plenty that can go wrong with magic. It might be bound, and therefore present but useless. If the power supply is cut off completely, the effects can be disastrous and far-reaching. Magic depends on magic to sustain itself, so if magical plants and creatures are removed from the land, the magic begins to die.

And as stated in the books, picking up new skills has the added danger of unwanted effects. Sort of side-effects of attempting unfamiliar magic. These are unpredicatable, and can range from a slight drop in the temperature of the surrounding air (common, and thought to be related to unfamiliar magic requiring an energy catalyst), to bodily injury to one’s self or others. Even seemingly simple magic is not something to be attempted casually.

The dangers of magic go deeper than this, in ways few people have had to experience. You see, magic is a wonderful thing in many ways, aiding in healing and learning. This is actually something of a side-effect of magic protecting people from itself. Those effects mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg, and without protection…

Arrrrgh. There’s so much I want to tell you all, but this post is already getting long, and I’d hate to ruin any surprises.

We’ll get there. Soon.

Okay, this has gone on long enough. Stay tuned for a shorter post on Potioners in a few weeks!


Last Chance to Enter!

Teri Polen’s giveaway (signed paperback copy of bound, mermaid charm, sea glass, and assorted papery swag) is ending soon! She’ll be announcing the winner July 31, which means there’s only a day or so left to enter. This is a fantastic prize from a generous reader, so be sure to enter!

(US and Canada only for this one, but I’ve got something different coming up for everyone else next month)

IMG_2162

 

Click here to enter. Good luck!


The Things That Are Happening

Let’s start with a question I feel is important:

Where did July go?

Was it not just Canada Day a week ago, give or take? I mean yes, a lot has happened, but I’m honestly confused about how it can be almost August already.

Let’s think this through.

I guess there were a few weeks spent on minor revisions and edits to Sworn, getting that ready to go to my editor. That was all done at the dining room table (because my office was packed) while various neighbourhood children ran through the house hollering and distracting and FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING WOULD YOU ALL JUST GO OUTSIDE. And at the same time as I was doing that, I was also cleaning the house so we wouldn’t be too embarrassed when people came to move our furniture. There were phone calls and notes and a trip to Corner Brook to sign the papers to buy our first house. The moving stuff didn’t leave a lot of time for work, but I fit it in.

There was also something about cover art… I dunno.

I guess that explains a bit of me not noticing time passing.

Then there was last week, when we actually moved. Packing on Monday, loading the truck on Tuesday (and hours spent cleaning AGAIN), unloading in a new town on Wednesday, unpacking… well, every day since then.

It’s coming along. The kitchen was a disaster, but I fixed it. Here’s a tip for anyone lucky enough to have someone paying for your move: Don’t let the movers unpack everything in the kitchen. When they run out of counter space they have no choice but to shove things into random cupboards, and this triples the work for you.

At least.

The bedrooms are livable. The man cave is all geeked out and ready for my husband to retreat to. The living room and dining room are lacking in decoration, but they’re not completely embarrassing. The family room is… well, the TV is set up, and that’s the important thing for now.

The only room we haven’t touched is my office, because I’ve been working on everything else.

But this week. THIS WEEK, guys. We’re going to build my desk and a new bookshelf, I’m going to hang my beloved NaNoWriMo posters, I’m going to get organized, get comfortable, and get back to work.

Wait.

*checks calendar*

Actually, I’m not. I just finished formatting and spell-checking, and Sworn goes to Joshua on Friday. This gives me two weeks, give or take, without that project to work on. Normally I’d dive back into my next project, but the kids are home, the house needs attention, and there are neighbours to meet, dogs to walk, and a birthday party to plan.

Know what that means?

READING TIME! Sure, I’ll be working on brainstorming ideas for the next big project, and I’ll be getting ideas about things I really should have done with Sworn before it went for edits. There will be notes. Oh, so many notes. But for the first time since before Bound came out, I’m kind of going to be taking a vacation.

Sort of.

And like… reading and stuff.

My TBR list for the first half of August: A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Queen of the Tearling, Anna and the French Kiss, and For Love or Money (non-fiction book on advancing an indie writing career, because I can’t leave work behind completely).

You know. After I get this mess sorted out.

IMG_3220

 


Giveaway – Signed Copy of Bound by Kate Sparkes! @kate_sparkes #giveaway

Hey, guys! Teri Polen is hosting a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of Bound, so click on over and enter!

Books and Such

 

 

photo (6)

This giveaway is now closed.

My first giveaway and what a way to start – a signed paperback copy of Bound, the first book in the Bound trilogy, by Kate Sparkes!  A few weeks back, I entered her One Year Celebration Giveaway, knowing it was outside the realm of possibility that I’d win, because, well – I’ve never won anything.  Apparently, the stars aligned, the cows came home, hell froze over, and pigs flew, because I won this signed paperback copy of Bound with some extra goodies thrown in.

Since I’m already well aware of the awesomeness of Kate’s books, I thought I’d pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity to become acquainted with this utterly captivating series.  It has something for everyone – fantasy, magic, a strong female protagonist, dragons, mermaids, adventure, humor and romance.

Synopsis:  Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a…

View original post 210 more words


L is for Luid

Luid

Luid is the capital city of Tyrea, the home of the king, the cultural and economic centre of the country. It’s home to the greatest stores of human knowledge, to the land’s scholars and researchers and its most promising students. It sits with its face to the country, back facing the ocean, sloping upward from the harbour to the high cliffs where the nobles keep their…

Blah, blah, blah.

That’s what a guidebook would tell you about the city. The pretty things. The not-to-be-missed attractions. It might walk you through the gate quarter, which houses merchants and traders and craftsmen. It might outline various festivals occurring throughout the year, or might advise a visit to the temple of the Goddess, located in the inner city not far from the palace…which no up-to-date guidebook would advise you to visit without notice. Not these days. Not if you want a warm welcome.

The truth is, a city is a being in its own right, and old ones have a habit of keeping secrets. Were you to visit the city on a quick business trip or a relaxing vacation, you wouldn’t see the north end of the city, where the Despair presses against the wall, held back by magic that’s effective enough to keep it from grinding the people’s spirits to dust…most days. You certainly wouldn’t walk down the North End’s filthy streets and see the criminals sent through the gate in that portion of the wall as punishment when a quick execution is too merciful.

No, that’s a secret that the city keeps well, hidden behind twisting streets that seem to direct one’s feet back to more pleasant diversions.

And pleasant diversions abound. The people of Luid, especially the wealthy, want for little. Some say it’s made them lazy, that even those who have magical potential don’t use it as they might. To master any skill requires study and hard work, and most remain content with whatever undeveloped skills they’re born with. Those who do develop it can be dangerous, of course. Perhaps that’s why the king keeps them close by, and keeps them happy.

Every household, every shop, every citizen’s heart holds secrets. Secret fears, secret aspirations, secret desires and shames.

On the surface, everything shines. Clean cobblestone streets, bright shop-fronts, smiling faces.

Just tread carefully, visitor, and you’ll be fine.

 

 


K is for Kel

k

Raise your hand if you were waiting for this one.

Don’t be ashamed. He’s one of my favourites, too. As someone said in a comment on my Facebook page, “The struggle is real! Between he and Aren, I’m thinking polyamory is the perfect choice.”

That commenter is not alone.

For anyone late to the party, Kel is a mer man who befriended Aren when they were both children (though Kel may be a little older). Kel’s band of merfolk are secretive about the exact extent of their territory, but it definitely covers a portion of the sea in the north of Tyrea and several lakes in its interior, which they access via a magical system of caves. It was in the caves near Glass Lake that a young and adventurous Kel met Aren, who was almost old enough to be developing a chip on his shoulder. Kel was never one to pass up a challenge, though, and found the young human interesting enough that he decided to befriend him.

Aren resisted at first, but few people have ever been able to resist Kel’s charms–certainly not a kid with no friends or family willing to show him the kind of affection that Kel tends to.

I mean yeah, Kel’s physically attractive. Like… super hot. But that’s not what makes him appealing. You see, many merfolk have some level of ability to see beneath the surface of people. Not to read their minds as Aren does, but to see into what lies beneath the teeming, confusing, contradictory swirl of thoughts. He may not know what you’re worried about, but he’ll see the depth of your concerns. You may have built up layers of emotional armour, but Kel might see the fear beneath that, and see that it’s an act that you’ve been putting on for so long that you believe it, yourself.

Not all of the merfolk are as perceptive as Kel, and even those who are don’t always care what they see. Some believe that a person’s actions are what matter, not what lies beneath. Maybe they’re right. Seeking out the bright spots in a person’s soul is a dark and sometimes dangerous journey, and not one that even Kel chooses to undertake with many people.

But once in a while, he finds someone he connects with on that deep level, as though they were destined to meet. Sometimes he meets two of them in the same family, though with slightly different outcomes. And when Kel finds that connection, his loyalty goes beyond anything most of us have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

He might not be the flashy hero, bold and brave, rushing into battle–at least, not when we’ve seen him. But Kel has saved lives.

And he will affect the course of Tyrean history.

Fun Fact: Kel’s name was originally Kai, which means “ocean.” I changed it when I realized how many YA/NA books coming out right now have characters with that name. I think this one suits him a lot better, and I apologize to him for getting it wrong.

Tell me: What character have you fallen in love with for reasons other than a hot body and a cocky smile?


Bound A-Z: J is for “Jumpin’ Jehosephat”

Okay, so that title is a lie. No character in the Bound trilogy has ever said “Jumpin’ Jehosephat,” and I guarantee they never will. What we really want to talk about today is cussin’, but that doesn’t start with J.

I probably don’t need to put a disclaimer here, right?

Every author has to make decisions regarding swearing: How much is appropriate, whether it will sound silly if characters in life-threatening situations don’t swear in order to keep a “clean” rating (see the aforementioned Jehosephat). For some of us it’s not a tough decision, at least until our grandparents and people from church start reading our books.

*cough*

Others have to do a bit more soul-searching.

On top of that, some genres offer additional restrictions or opportunities. Writing middle-grade fiction? Yeah, we all know first-graders who drop f-bombs like Samuel L. Jackson (if with considerably less flair), but it’s not considered appropriate to include that kid as a character in a MG book, even as the bully. Historical fiction writers will have to take into account the historical accuracy of slurs and swears. This might sound restrictive, but judging by the insults Shakespeare’s characters tossed out, I’m guessing the research there could be rather interesting.

And Fantasy and Sci-Fi allow us a range of possibilities. This article from Book Riot has a great run-down of the options authors choose. There’s the vaguely-dirty-sounding substitution, the straight-up swear, religious curses based on the world the story is set in, and more.

Anyone who’s read Bound and Torn knows I let my characters swear when it seems appropriate for the situation. As my editor said in his comments on Torn*, “You gave more shits this time, and it worked.” He thought it felt realistic for characters to swear when everything is… well, when the shit hits the fan, so to speak, to not pussy-foot around to keep things universally palatable.

Why use our curses rather than making something fantastical up? Because everything else is translated, too. My characters don’t speak English in their world. If the words “cup,” “hunting,” “dragon,” and “love” are translated, I also translate the swearing when it works. It’s what works for me as a writer, though I do look forward to writing about species that use less-conventional oaths in the future. That should be fun. And there are cases where the world impacts choice of curses. “Gods” instead of “God” for a character who believes in more than one. “Harpy” instead of “bitch,” because that’s really the more vile insult in that world. It’s all about conveying meaning, not going for shock value.

Do some readers hate swearing? Yes.

Do some readers hate “clean reads” that seem awkwardly contrived to avoid realistic language and references to sex?

*raises hand*

It’s all personal taste, and you can’t please everyone. I’ll write what feels right for my stories and characters, as I expect other writers do with theirs. I do think swearing can be over-used to the point where it becomes irritating, or the reader becomes numb to it. I love creative curses, as long as I don’t have to spend too much time figuring them out. But used properly, a well-placed cuss can add a flash of depth or colour to a serious scene, or a bit of humour to another.

“Bad words” are one of many tools available to a writer, no different from metaphors and adverbs and varied sentence length. Just like anything else, we can choose to use them, to over-use them, or to not use them at all to create mood in a scene, establish character, or add impact to a moment in a story.

They just happen to occasionally be a lot more fun than most tools. 🙂

Fun Bonus Fact: The first draft of Sworn included what I (quite modestly) considered the most perfect f-bomb ever. It came from an unexpected character, and in context no other word would have delivered the same impact or meaning. It was absolutely perfect. I was certain my alpha readers or editor would tell me to cut it, but I had to have it just for my own satisfaction. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the story changed, things shifted around, and that moment was no longer essential to the story, so the Big Bad F-Bomb got cut.

This is what they mean when they say “kill your darlings.” Even when something pleases you as a writer, sometimes it has to go for the good of the story as a whole.

*Paraphrased, I can’t find my notes. Okay, that’s a lie. I haven’t had coffee, I’m lazy, and searching through those notes seems like a poor use of time I could be spending on getting the next book ready for edits.


Happy Belated Canada Day!

Some of you know that I have a hard time taking a day off, but there are days when it can’t be avoided. Days when the family is all free, the sky is blue (and it happens to not be giving me a headache), and adventure calls.

This past Wednesday was one of those days, and it happened to also be Canada Day.

Instead of blabbering on about the amazing day we had, I thought I’d just share some pictures. It really was fantastic. We packed up and headed to Twillingate (NL) for the afternoon, which is packed with so much natural beauty it’s almost overwhelming. We didn’t get out on a whale-watching tour (I’ll get you guys out for one of those soon!), but we did see some amazing things.

And since the landscapes in the Bound trilogy are inspired by places in Newfoundland (including Twillingate), it seems entirely appropriate to share these here.

This isn’t Twillingate. I took this the night before our adventure when I was out walking the dog. But LOOK AT IT.

IMG_2356

Bright skies and good company. Newfoundland is covered in fantastic spots for hiking, climbing every mountain (or every other mountain if you’re feeling sluggish), and relaxing.

IMG_2385

We spotted a sea monster basking near the shore. It stayed very still until we left. Must be shy.

IMG_2396

Sand is swell, but I do love a good pebble beach.

IMG_2398

And there was some climbing of rocks, because they were there.

IMG_2434

Mind that first step. It’s a doozie.

The highlight of the afternoon (okay, besides finding amazing praline-caramel fudge at a lighthouse gift shop) was watching an iceberg roll over. The only people there with us to see it were a very nice couple from Vancouver, so it felt like a private show. The berg kept making booming noises, first when a piece fell off and then as it rolled. Very cool.

This is how it looked when we came over the hill:

IMG_2466

And then a piece broke off and crashed into the water at the back, sending the whole thing off balance so that it rolled toward us.

IMG_2470

At this point I realized, hey, I could be taking video of this, so the last picture is after it stopped turning:

IMG_2473

It was fairly amazing. It took about three minutes for this massive chunk of glacial ice to flip completely.

You can find the video on my Facebook page (just scroll down)

We ended the day with a trip up to the lighthouse at Crow Head, where I found the aforementioned fudge, and we took a little walk behind the lighthouse.

It was funny last year, it's still funny now. #Maturity

It was funny last year, it’s still funny now. #Maturity

So that was it, aside from a little chilling on my in-laws’ back deck to end the day. I hope you all had an amazing Canada Day, Fourth of July, or whatever else you may have celebrated last week. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been up to!

IMG_2506


It’s My Birthday…

GIVEAWAY on a fantastic book! Click on over for details.


Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

TBN Media

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of USA Today bestselling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

Allie Potts Writes

Author, Blogger, Designer - Inventor of Worlds

Ultimately Useless Stories

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Shan Jeniah's Lovely Chaos

Finding Yessings and Blessings in Lifes Messings!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Wild Magic. Wild Stories. Wild Souls.

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

B E L I E V E 🦋Life is Never Fair

I gather strength from life’s storms -Jonathan L Huie

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories, but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night.

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

Author Jen Wylie's Blog

Welcome to my mind... Blog for fantasty author Jen Wylie