Tag Archives: prequel

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


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.


Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

The Writer Within

Inside the world of author AnnMarie Wyncoll

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

Are You Finished Yet?

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

life, love writing

Heartwarming, Authentic, Inspirational Contemporary Christian romance

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

Doorway Between Worlds

Communication tips with a creative twist

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

J.R. RASMUSSEN

new epic fantasy for old-school fans