Tag Archives: Bound

Bound Nominated in Books & Benches’ Cover Contest!

Hey, everyone!

Here’s something cool: Books & Benches has selected Bound as a nominee in their cover art contest this month! Pretty amazing, right?

If you have a second to check out the nominees and vote, I’d certainly appreciate it. Books & Benches works on the honour system, which makes things super easy for you–no registration, no awkwardness, no follow-up. You just vote!

It is one vote per person, though, and multiple votes from any one address will invalidate all of them. Just a heads up in case anyone was tempted to enter more than one. 🙂

Here’s the link! There are some gorgeous covers there, but I think the work Ravven did on Bound really stands out.

Thanks so much in advance for your time! I don’t usually enter my books or covers in contests (I didn’t even know Bound was nominated until last month’s winner told me), but it sure would be fun to see this cover win something.

Kate Sparkes, Bound

UPDATE: It won!

Thank you to everyone who voted, and of course to the very talented Ravven (who gets all of the credit here)

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Sworn Cover Reveal

Yes, the day has FINALLY arrived! I’ve had this cover (created, like the first two, by the incredibly talented Ravven) since early this past summer, but wanted to save the big reveal for a time closer to the release date.

And we now have a release date. *whee, party!*

And so much exciting stuff going on, including a SALE! Yep, to celebrate this cover reveal day, the Bound ebook is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks! I don’t do this often, so if you know someone who’s been waiting for a sale to grab the book and start the series, today would be a great day to let them know about this little treat. 🙂

Visit my website here for the links.

But enough about that.

We’re here about a new book. An exciting book. A massive, twisting, thrilling, heart-pounding conclusion that some of you have been waiting rather impatiently for.

And it’s coming on Friday, January 29, 2016.

Are you ready?

Not every fairy tale ends with “happily ever after.”

The plan was simple: Find Ulric, the lost king of Tyrea, then return him to Luid to reclaim his throne from the tyrant who stole it. But though Aren, Rowan, and Nox accomplished the first part of their task, the rest is proving to be more complicated than any of them imagined.

Severn won’t give up his throne without a fight. Worse, it seems Ulric did not fare as well during his years in captivity as he’s led everyone to believe—and Rowan may not have escaped unscathed, either.

If Nox doesn’t find a cure for the king’s mysterious ailment, Aren will be forced to challenge Severn for the crown. It’s a battle Aren has little hope of winning. And if he does, it will cost him the love and the freedom he’s fought so hard to gain.

sworn_full
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Bound A-Z: Q is for Queen

Hmm. This is awkward.

I had the loveliest image I wanted to share for this topic, relating to future events in the trilogy, but I can’t find the original source to credit them. Since I don’t want to be Stealy McThievypants, we’ll have to do something else.

*shuffles through files* Queen, queen, queen…

We haven’t really heard much from them in the Bound trilogy, have we? We know Severn’s mother is the queen of Tyrea, and that Ulric hardly ever spoke to her again after Severn’s little stunt regarding Aren’s mother. We know she has no magic. Aren explained to Rowan in Bound that Sorcerers and Sorceresses can’t have children together, and the king certainly wanted strong potential heirs. The queen of Tyrea has a strong influence over her son (or she did, once), but she hasn’t showed up on the page.

I do have a little something in the works, though. A prequel novella that takes place a few decades (or a little more) before the start of Bound, and this one set in Belleisle and Tyrea. This one won’t be going up for sale when it’s finished, but will go out to newsletter subscribers as a special bonus to say thanks for supporting my work.*

So just because we’re talking about queens today, and because it’s been so long since I got to participate in WIPpet Wednesdays, here’s a thin slice of description from the rough draft of that novella.

 

A broad pile of ornate fabric and curly brown hair swept into view, an astonishingly corseted lump of woman escorted by a white-haired young man. Jewels twinkled in her hair, crowning a face that was somehow round and pinched all at once, as though a generously endowed and once-beautiful lady had caught the middle part of her face in a slamming door. The rich brocade of her many-layered skirts brushed against the floor with every tiny step she took.

 

It’s not much, I know. Can’t spoil things, though, and I think you guys are going to like this one.

Well, if you like romance and danger and forbidden love and origin stories (sort of) and seeing established characters when they were younger and very different from how we’re used to seeing them.

It’s been a bit of a shock, actually.

So there you have her, the current queen of Tyrea.

Next week: R. Hmm. If only I had a character or two whose name started with R…

*sign-ups are free here, and new subscribers get a free download of The Binding, the existing prequel short story.


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.


Paperback Giveaway!

Hey, guys!

Just a quick note today, and one some of you might be interested in.

Paperback copies of Torn are finally here! Formatting issues are all cleared up, and they look fantastic. Drool-worthy, even. A little distracting, actually.

*stares at front cover*

Ahem.

Anyway, to celebrate, and to say thanks to readers, I’m doing a signed paperback giveaway for newsletter subscribers! All you’ll have to do is watch for the rafflecopter link in the next newsletter (coming Thursday) and click through to enter. The winner will be chosen at random, and given the option of which book (or Bound audiobook) they want. Open internationally. The only requirement will be that you get the newsletter.

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Not signed up yet? No worries, there’s still time! Follow this link and enter your name and e-mail address. I don’t send out newsletters very often, just when there’s something exciting going on like a cover reveal, release news, giveaways, new project sneak peeks, and other fun stuff.

Good luck to everyone who enters!


FIERCE Novel Bundle available NOW!

Over a million words from sixteen best-selling Fantasy authors, including the legendary Mercedes Lackey…

…for 99 cents.

I know. It’s crazy. Insane. Bonkers, even. But the Fierce box set is available now, and for a limited time at this fantastic price!

FIERCE, Sixteen Authors Of Fantasy

Already grabbed your copy? Want to help an author (or sixteen) out? If you’ve reviewed Bound in the past and have a minute to copy and paste your review onto the Amazon page for Fierce, it will be a big help for the set. You don’t have to have read the rest of the stories, though I hope you will enjoy them–I know I can’t wait to dive in! Reviews help the set’s visibility on Amazon, and will help with advertising through other venues.

This is a pretty please with a cherry on top. 🙂

BIG thanks to everyone who pre-ordered!

Here are the details, in case anyone missed them when I first announced the set:

WORKS INCLUDED:

Mercedes Lackey – Moving Targets
Stuck watching over four Herald trainees on circuit, Elyn is at her wits’ end–and that’s before a town asks for help with a ghostly infestation.

Michael G. Manning – The Blacksmith’s Son
A journey to discover the secrets of his past reveals a magical heritage and embroils Mordecai in a deadly battle for the future of mankind.

K.F. Breene – Chosen
Prophecy has foretold that when war threatens the world, the Chosen will appear to help the Shadow Warriors reclaim their stolen freedom and lead them out of the Land of Mist.

Morgan Rice – A Quest of Heroes
Thorgin, an outsider and a dreamer, fights to become a warrior in an epic quest that finds him at the center of a maelstrom of royal plots and counterplots that threaten him and everyone he loves.

Michael James Ploof – Whill of Agora
When Whill learns the truth of his lineage, he sets out to face his father’s murderer, but what he learns along the way will change his life–and the realm–forever.

Daniel Arenson – Requiem’s Song
Weredragons, men call them. Monsters. Cursed ones. People who can turn into beastly reptiles. Together they will forge a nation.

Kate Sparkes – Bound
When a young woman accidentally saves the life of an enemy Sorcerer, she finds herself drawn into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever imagined.

David Adams – The Pariahs
Two sellswords–a half-elf and a half-orc–find their war over before it even begins. But trouble is stirring on the home front, conflict which threatens more than just their lives.

Amy Raby – The Fire Seer
Taya must use her fire visions to investigate a series of murders, but the Coalition of Mages has partnered her with her old nemesis, the man who used to bully her when they were young.

C. Greenwood – Magic of Thieves
In a province where magic is forbidden, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival–concealment.

David Dalglish – The Weight of Blood
When half-bloods Harruq and Qurrah Tun pledged their lives to a death prophet, they only sought escape from their squalid beginnings. Instead, they become his greatest disciples, charged with leading his army of undead.

K.J. Colt – Bear Heart
In the savage lands of Ruxdor, young Klawdia must fight the champions of four rival clans to defend her future as the first female chieftain.

Shae Ford – Poison
A bandit girl is taken from her home and thrust into a complex world of lords and ladies, where she learns that she must kill to survive.

Endi Webb – The Maskmaker’s Apprentice
Masks of legend. Masks of power. Those who dare to wear them trifle with the old powers and risk ruin and mayhem. But a young apprentice maskmaker cannot contain his curiosity, and accidentally unleashes a deadly terror upon an unsuspecting world.

Michael Wallace – The Dark Citadel
A slave boy and a young queen lead an alliance of spies, servants, and merchants to stave off the encroaching armies of a dark wizard.

Terah Edun – Blades of Magic
As an unstoppable war breaks out, a young girl enlists in the military to unravel the secrets surrounding her father’s execution.

Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks


Wednesday’s Writing Stuff

Exciting title, no? It’s been kind of a crazy week, I’m a little off-kilter, and that’s actually the best I can do.

Quick update:

  • Torn is off for copy edits and proofreading, which means I have a few weeks to freak out get back into revisions on book three, which needs some adjustments after Torn‘s big edits (and just because I’ve come up with a few ways to give the story a more satisfying conclusion).
  • We had the cover reveal for Torn on Monday. Big thanks again to everyone who helped out by sharing or posting the reveal on your blogs! It made it a great party.
  • torn_full

    So pretty!

  • Pre-orders are up, too. It feels like this is really the point of no return, but I… *looks over shoulder, whispers* I feel good about the timing on this. Still releasing in March (31st), but leaving time in case things go wrong.
  • And Bound is on sale for 99 cents this week, in case anyone missed THAT on Monday, as well.

 

WIPpet Wednesday

I guess we only have a few weeks left when I can call Torn a work in progress.

Holy carp.

As always, potential spoilers ahead. I’m trying not to give away twists or surprises (or the main plot), but if you’ve read Bound, you might guess who’s being described here.

And be happy. I can’t be held responsible for that.

2 paragraphs from chapter 25 for 2/25, from the mysterious 3rd character’s POV. She’s just met some strangers, and isn’t feeling particularly warm toward them.

I guess you’ll meet her when we do the prologue reveal in a few weeks… 😀

One look at him told me I had better not let my guard down. It would be far too easy to be overcome by his obvious charm. Skin the same color as the woman’s, eyes like the depths of a lake on a summer day, black hair that he brushed back from his face in a gesture that was somehow bashful and self-confident at the same time. His smile revealed the hint of a shallow dimple at the corner of his mouth. I glanced lower, taking in the challenge. Broad shoulders, a muscular body obvious even under layers of clothing. Big hands with long fingers gripped the reins in an awkward hold.

I’d always had a weakness for beauty. We saw so little of it in Cressia.

Hmm…

For more WIPpet Wednesday, click here. The WIPpeteers (including our host, KL Schwengel) post snippets of works in progress every Wednesday, and it’s always fun to see what they’re up to. The only rule is that the snippet has to relate in some way to the calendar date. If you think that sounds like a good time, jump in on your own blog! We don’t bite.

Hard.

 

 


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