Tag Archives: at any cost

WIPpet Wednesday: Calm Before the Storm

I have nothing planned for this week. But since my new project isn’t quite ready for WIP snipping, and Sworn only has a few more weeks as a work in progress, we’ll stick with it.

For anyone who has no idea what I’m rambling about, WIPpet Wednesday is when a bunch of authors share a snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the date. Then we link up, read each other’s stuff, comment, party, yadda yadda. It’s good times, and always open to new WIPpeteers.

Okay. 1/13/2016… *maths internally* We’ll go with chapter 14 (1+13), nine short paragraphs (2+0+1+6)

There could be minor spoilers if you don’t want to know anything about who’s in the story, and if you want it to be possible that the POV characters were massacred in the first scene (you monster). But this is a pretty safe one.

Aren’s POV this week. They’ve been going through some tough times and facing an unreasonable amount of reality, so quiet moments alone have been few and far between.

I reached out to touch her hair, which the morning light had lit like a fire. She turned to me and smiled, and the warmth in her gray eyes spoke to something deep inside of me. I felt myself opening. Relaxing. Letting go of the pressure I’d been under since my father’s rescue.

“This is perfect.” The words were out of my mouth before I realized they were coming.

She wrinkled her nose. “You think so?”

“I do. Not your problems, of course. But look at what we have right now. No Ulric. No pressure, no looking to the future.”

It couldn’t last, but we could make the most of it while it did.

A smile curled the edges of Rowan’s lips, as though she were reading my thoughts, and she stepped closer. “We might have to wait a while for Florizel.”

She gasped as my fingers tangled in her hair and I pulled her toward me. She grabbed the front of my jacket and drew me into a deep kiss that burned through me as the world around us faded to insignificance.

Even if I live a thousand years, I will never wish for anything but this.

“Excuse me?” inquired a small voice.

…can’t let the nice moments last too long, can we? Authors are so mean.

If you’d like to see what the other WIPpeteers are up to, here’s the link. Thanks again to Emily Witt for hosting.

In other news… The Bound trilogy prequel novella At Any Cost is now available on Amazon and Kobo, with other retailers dripping in as they approve the book for sale. It’s still available as a freebie for newsletter subscribers, but if you don’t like signing up for newsletters (or just like paying for books, which is amazing), it’s now out there for you. Reader response to this one has been fantastic, so it’s definitely worth picking up one way or the other to tide you over until the 29th. If you’ve read and enjoyed it, reviews would be most appreciated!

OH. And I’ll soon be posting about the Sworn release party (January 28, Facebook)! That’s definitely going to be a good time. If anyone is interested in getting your (Fantasy) books in front of my readers by doing a giveaway, just let me know. Or if you have days to fill and feel like posting about the book during the week after release, that would be great! Any help is wonderful, and of course I’m happy to return the favour.

Guess that’s it for now. See you all soon! I’ve got to get back to work on this new thing…

At Any Cost - Ebook

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Bound A-Z: U is for Ulric

“You know, your father was a hard, cold man, but there were a few years when he wasn’t so.”

“Because of my mother?” My heart skipped, though I couldn’t say why. Anything I thought or felt about that part of my past had been long since walled away. It didn’t matter anymore.

“Hmm.” Xaven turned his attention back to me. He seemed troubled. “You know about their situation?”

“Little enough, I suppose. Were you there when she lived in Luid?”

“No, I never met her. I heard things later, some from your father. He cared for her quite a lot.”

“If he cared for her at all, he wouldn’t have killed her, would he?”

Aren does have a point, doesn’t he?

Stories and characters are such strange things. In both, there’s a lot going on beyond and beneath what we see on the page. There’s the history of events that came before the story. Important things, but perhaps not relevant enough to warrant taking up space in the book. There’s everything happening off-page to characters who aren’t featured in a scene, whether that be what the villain is up to while the heroes are dealing with something else, or minor characters who may only have a small part to play in the plot, but who have full stories of their own.

And then there are the people and events who shaped the characters.

Or their parents.

Ulric (King Ulric, technically, at least for the moment) is Aren’s father. I thought I knew everything I needed to about him. Hard, occasionally cruel, especially when it suits his goals. Driven, and never one to let sentimentality get the best of him.

But there’s always more to the story, isn’t there?

You might think you know a character, and then you get the bright idea to do a prequel. You meet a character as he was almost 30 years ago, before the greatest tragedy of his life. You learn that he has reasons for being the way he is that go way beyond “he’s a dick” or “good king, bad father.”

You learn the depth of his regret and fear, how he hates himself for the weakness that once brought him a few years of joy.

And you realize that this stiff, cold guy was actually super hot at one time.

*cue discomfort in the author*

It was a story that needed to be told, but Uric’s not the kind of man to be able to put his feelings into words, or to want to open up old wounds just for the sake of gaining sympathy. The story of his romance with Magdalena wasn’t one he was going to tell us properly.

We needed to hear it from her.

And so you shall.

I’ve mentioned this project a few times, but we’ll call this the official announcement:

At Any Cost, the project I’ve been working on while Sworn is away for edits, is the story of Aren’s parents. How they met, how they fell in love, the challenges they faced so they could be together.

It’s a romance, of course. And though it ends before the worst times, it’s a tragedy. When you’re writing a prequel there’s not much you can do to change the future.

Here’s the cover copy I’m working on:

“How can a woman with no magic enchant a Sorcerer?”

Maggie Albion grew up in the shadow of great people. Sorcerers from across Belleisle came to her father’s school for training, and she watched them blossom while she remained as she was born: ordinary and unexceptional. Now she loses herself in history books, dreaming of being one of the great people. The ones who change history.

It seems that Maggie’s dreams of greatness are not destined to come true–at least, not until a chance meeting with a soldier from an enemy nation changes the course of her life. Though she knows he’s the last man in the world she should want, the powerful connection between them feels more like fate than a decision she’s free to make.

Even with her heart bound up tight, Maggie still has a choice: a life of safety and peace, or a chance to follow her heart and change the world.

Sound interesting? I have good news. As part of the lead-up to the release of Sworn (Bound Trilogy Book Three), this novella will be available FREE for newsletter subscribers. It’s my way of thanking everyone who has supported this story and my work over the past year and a half.

Click here to be connected before what should be a December release on this one. You’ll also get a free download of The Binding (the first prequel short story), plus more bonus content in the future.

(author’s note: this prequel can be read at any point in the series, but my preferred reading order places it between Torn and Sworn. What lovely timing!)

AAC cover test 3


WIPpet Wednesday: New Beginning

Hello again! It’s time for WIPpet Wednesday, the day when adventurous authors from many a genre share a snippet form a work in progress that relates in some day to today’s date.

Today I’ll be sharing again from my not-yet-being-ripped-apart-by-my-editor WIP, a prequel novella to the Bound trilogy. Today I’m going to keep it simple in context, if not in math: 15 sentences (9+1+6 for 9/16, minus one for clarity) from the beginning of chapter one.

A perfect party, Maggie thought as she retreated toward the food. If only I deserved it.

A lavish spread of desserts covered the table so that not even a hint of the rich mahogany surface beneath showed between plates of tiny cakes, fresh fruit, spun sugar candies stacked into a glittering castle, and wine that flowed as though from an unending spring. Music filled the air, the notes laughing their way through the crowd of students and guests, mixing with hushed conversations and the soft rustle of dresses on the dance floor.

Maggie reached for a glass of wine—her sixth of the evening—and let her focus soften as she watched the party go by. Her father, headmaster of the finest school to ever teach young Sorcerers and Sorceresses, had spared no expense for his only daughter’s twenty-second birthday celebration. The dining hall had been transformed. Literally, in some respects, thanks to one talented young Sorcerer’s gift with illusion, and another’s skills with light. The lamps on the walls, filled for the night with rare dragon oil, burned brighter than Maggie had ever seen them, casting an ethereal glow over every face, every gown.

A birthday party fit for a queen, or perhaps a Sorceress. Maggie brushed a hand over the skirts of her dress, smoothing the deep red folds, and wondered whether that made her an imposter for playing along with it, or merely a fool. She was no queen, and never would be. The island nation of Belleisle didn’t even offer the position. And she certainly was no Sorceress. Though she’d lived her life surrounded by magic, she’d never felt the faintest hint of it in herself.

And then nothing else interesting ever happened to her, the end.

PFFT.

Not quite.

Want to get in on the WIPpet Wednesday fun? Post your date-related snippet on your own blog, link back to the fun-filled link here, be sure to stop by and comment on the other WIPpeteers’ posts, and… actually, that’s about it.

Big thanks to KL Schwengel who is a fine author and a kick-ass beta reader. Literally. She will kick your ass. It hurts, but it makes you stronger.


Sworn Update (and an exciting bonus)

Hey, guys!

I know you’re patiently waiting (okay, some of you not so patiently) for a release date for Sworn. And I’m here to tell you…

That I don’t know yet. *ducks rotten eggs and tomatoes*

I had planned to make the announcement early this month, and to have the book out by Christmas. I planned this based on the fact that I expected it to be back from editing by now. But due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, my editor couldn’t take the book until last week, and I’m not sure when work started. It’s a big book, and I don’t have guarantees on when it will be back.

So first, the bad news:

  • I can’t make promises until it comes back and I see how much work it needs. I’ll never give my readers anything but my best work, and I learned on the last release that setting a release date too early = rush and stress, and I don’t want to risk it turning into a situation where I cut corners to meet a deadline. I’ll tell you that you’ll have a book to cozy up with in the depths of this coming winter (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere), though. The delay won’t be that huge. It might just mean no Sworn in your stocking.

I know. I’m at least as bummed about that as you are. I’m looking at the opportunities here and staying positive, though, and there is a lot to be positive about (grey hairs are pretty, right?).

The good news:

  • My kids are now able to stay at school for lunch, which gives me a little extra work time every day. Once Sworn comes back from my editor, I’ll be working on that and nothing else.
  • Cover art is ready to roll, formatting shouldn’t be a big issue (knock on wood), and I’m in the process of lining up beta readers who can get this thing back to me quickly. That will cut down on my production time, and hopefully get the book into your hands sooner.
  • I’m keeping release plans, including pre-orders, flexible. I won’t do anything that might delay getting the book into your hands.
  • The book is going to be amazing, and absolutely worth the wait. And I will have a release date for you in the next less-than-a-month. Promise.

And one other thing.

I mentioned last week during my WIPpet Wednesday post that this delay has given me time to work on another little project. That project is a prequel novella for the Bound trilogy that takes place a few decades before. It’s the story of a Sorcerer king and the young woman with no magic who nonetheless enchants him, an ill-fated romance if ever there was one. It answers some questions for readers of the trilogy, and will make for an excellent read while you’re waiting for Sworn. I’m in the process of finding an editor for that one.

And the best part? To say thanks for your patience, this book (when it’s ready) will be available FREE just for subscribing to my newsletter. If you’re subscribed, you’ll get it automatically, and new subscribers will get it (and The Binding) as well.

I’ll keep you updated on that one.

Thanks again for your patience. I assure you that the wait is every bit as frustrating for me as it is for you, and I can’t wait to share the conclusion of this story with you.

-Kate


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