More Updates

I’m very excited to announce that The Princess Dragon, revised edition, should be available as an ebook within 72 hours. I’m still waiting on the final print cover files so that I can publish the print edition, but I’ve never been a patient person, so I had to go ahead and publish the ebook edition as soon as I finalized my cover with the designer. And what a cover it is! I absolutely love it!

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I sure hope you’ll check it out, and if you like it, maybe even leave a review.

I should note that unlike my other series, Shadows in Sanctuary, the intimate scenes in my fantasy novels are not graphic, so I don’t usually put the 18+ warning on them. I don’t know if that matters to some folks, but I’m sure that there are some readers who would like to know this.

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The Princess Dragon

The kingdom of Ariva has lived in the shadow of Thunder Mountain for generations, the citizens forbidden to trespass there for fear of an ancient black dragon sealed within. Princess Casiondra is convinced that magic and all things related to it—including dragons—are nothing but superstition, and aims to prove it.

When she’s cursed by a wizard and transformed into a dragon herself, there’s nowhere else she can run to but Thunder Mountain, where she soon discovers that the black dragon is all too real. Convincing Tolmac that she’s an orphaned dragon who never learned how to “dragon” properly is the easy part. Protecting herself from falling for the noble beast who takes her under his wing to teach her the ways of dragonkind might be a task beyond her abilities. As her subterfuge with Tolmac guarantees her safety with him, there’s the question that hangs over her head. Just how long will the wizard’s curse last?

When the southern kingdoms unite to conquer Ariva, Sondra must choose between the devoted knight she’d left behind and the enigmatic dragon who doesn’t know she’s really just a human princess in disguise.

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This is so exciting for me because I had republishing this book on my list of resolutions for this year. I’m also really looking forward to releasing The Scorpion’s Mate. Unfortunately, that release will be somewhat delayed due to the cover design, which won’t be completed until at least mid-February. Sigh. However, I’m really hoping to have it out by the end of February.

I’ve been rereading all of my Shadows in Sanctuary books to prepare for Uriale’s book, and I’ve also gone back to all my notes on the world. I’m eager to get started writing his story, which I’ve already outlined. It should be a wild ride. He’s always been an interesting character to me.

Usually, when I complete a manuscript in the first draft, I like to let it sit for a week or two so that I can return to it with a fresh mind for revising it. I think that what I will do this time after I finish Uriale’s Redemption, is to work on revising and editing Morbidon’s Bride. It would be nice to publish all four books by this summer so I can focus my efforts on a couple of pet projects that I’ve been wanting to play around with.

My plans are ambitious, I know. 😀 I may not meet those deadlines, but I’m determined to try.

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Moving Right Along

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I honestly can’t believe it’s already January 8, 2018! Where has the time gone?

Of course, I haven’t been sitting idle this whole time. ;D Last year was a time of writing. That’s pretty much all I did for most of the year, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t bold enough to share my work, deciding it was never “just right.” One manuscript in particular has given me so many problems that I even sought professional help (for it, not me. 😉 ) I still wasn’t happy with the advice and suggestions.

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That’s when I came to the realization that it wasn’t the manuscript, but rather me. I was trying to write to please everyone. The problem is, that’s impossible. I was going for perfect, and there’s no such thing. So I re-evaluated. Reworked it to be something that is more in line with what I like, and left in some of the things that fit with the story and character, but are stranger than I feared some readers might want to see.

The Scorpion’s Mate, Book one of the Iriduan Test Subjects Series, is in the final process to get it ready for release. I’m working on a cover now, and will hopefully be completing the final edits soon. The following is a description of my upcoming alien romance:

Claire has never really fit in with everyone around her, but she’s carved out a life for herself using her own unique style and artistic ability to support herself on the Internet. The last thing she expects is to be abducted by aliens and dropped into a research facility, where a genetically-engineered alien soldier chooses her as his life-mate.

Thrax’s pheromones are compelling, and his status as a fellow unwilling test subject makes them allies, but Claire isn’t certain she can trust someone who is convinced she belongs to him, when all she wants to do is find a way to return home to Earth—a place that her devoted alien can never follow, because there’s no way the scorpion-like alien would ever be able to pass for human.

Still, she’ll accept help where she can find it, so she doesn’t hesitate to escape with Thrax from the facility, though their time running from their pursuers in the warrens beneath the research facility will forever change Claire, and could make it impossible for her to return to Earth.

But will there be anywhere else they can go in the galaxy where their love will be accepted?

Since this book isn’t going to be for everyone, I have another title that I’ve been eagerly anticipating to re-release. 😀 The Princess Dragon is finally getting there. I heard from the cover designer yesterday, and hopefully, I’ll be getting the first draft of the cover soon. I can’t wait to see how everything comes together.

This is the second edition of the first book I ever published, and I think it’s better than ever! I’ve always loved this story (obviously), so it will be exciting to see it back on the virtual shelves, and for the first time, I’ll be able to offer it as Kindle Unlimited along with the second and third books in the series.

The Princess Dragon is a fantasy romance with a bit of a twist to the usual “princess needs saving from a dragon by a knight.”

The kingdom of Ariva has lived in the shadow of Thunder Mountain for generations, the citizens forbidden to trespass there for fear of an ancient black dragon sealed within. Princess Sondra is convinced that magic and all things related to it—including dragons—are nothing but superstition and aims to prove it.

When she’s cursed by a wizard and transformed into a dragon herself, there’s nowhere else she can run to but Thunder Mountain, where she soon discovers that the black dragon is all too real. Convincing Tolmac that she’s an orphaned dragon who never learned how to “dragon” properly is the easy part. Protecting herself from falling for the noble beast who takes her under his wing to teach her the ways of dragonkind might be a task beyond her abilities. As her subterfuge with Tolmac guarantees her safety with him, there’s the question that hangs over her head. Just how long will the wizard’s curse last?

But she soon discovers that her kingdom has bigger problems. When the southern kingdoms unite to conquer Ariva, Sondra must choose between the devoted knight she’d left behind and the enigmatic dragon who doesn’t know that she’s really just a human princess in disguise.

Those who are familiar with the original book may notice that I dropped the ‘s on Princess. This was a minor change I decided to make because it was the way the title was originally supposed to be, but the company that did the cover changed it, and I was too impatient to demand they change it back. I wanted to see my book in print ASAP, so I changed the title. (Shaking my head and my more youthful, impulsive self.)

I had originally wanted to call it The Dragon Princess, but did a Google search on that title, saw things I wish I could unsee, and decided against that arrangement. (Don’t search it. Trust me.) So I switched the words up a bit, and I liked the resulting title. The Princess Dragon works as well as The Princess’s Dragon. She both is a dragon and has a dragon in the story.

Anyway, that’s what’s coming down the pipe, hopefully by the end of this month! I will be sure to update as I publish.

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For my future releases, I’m planning on starting the first draft for Uriale’s Redemption as soon as I get these two titles published. His story has been a long time coming, and I’m eagerly anticipating writing it. I already have an outline far more detailed than my usual napkin scribbles, because I just find him to be such an interesting character. I can’t wait to turn a villain into a hero! I also can’t wait to expand further on the Shadows in Sanctuary universe. Some new details about humanity will be revealed along with perhaps more hints about the symbiont that gives the adurians such power.

And probably last for the first half of the year (but certainly not least!) I want to publish Morbidon’s Bride as an offshoot of The Princess Dragon series, which will be known as the Breath of the Divine series. For now, you can read the entire novel on my blog, but I will be taking it down, editing, revising, and then re-releasing it as a new version (hopefully, an even better version). Like all my books, it will be available on Kindle Unlimited.

As for the rest of the year, I don’t want to make any promises. There are a couple of manuscripts I’ve been wanting to bring to light, but I have to see where Uriale’s story takes me as well, because there are several other characters waiting for their stories in that universe.

I hope you all are looking forward to these releases as much as I am. I’d love to hear feedback on what you’d like to see next.

Be Bold

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It’s a New Year, the first blush of endless possibilities. For creating, for transformation, for improving the lives we already have. Like the first page of a new book, today holds the potential to lead to an amazing story, or a disappointing one. The only difference is that we have some control over how our story goes.

I’ve made resolutions every New Year’s Eve since I could write, and last night was no different. After the preceding three-month trifecta of stress, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to change how I approach the obligations and even the pleasures in my life. Organization and time management are key!

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I haven’t blogged or even looked at social media for more than a second for at least a month—maybe longer. The reason: I’m not good at splitting my attention. This holiday season was all about family, which meant my passion for writing and engaging with other readers and writers had to take the back burner, along with two books I had intended to publish by the end of the year. (Those two books are very close to done, I just need covers, but more on that on the next blog.)

I’m eager to return back to my trusty keyboard and get back to work. I was happy to store all the beautiful holiday decorations away, as I usually am by this time of year, because it means I’m starting fresh on a new chapter in my life.

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So do I keep my New Year’s Resolutions?

To be honest, not all of them. When I was young, we would write them and put them in envelopes to open the following New Year’s Eve kind of as a surprise to everyone what we had resolved to do. It was an entertaining way to pass those last hours of the old year, but not very useful to hide away your resolutions so even you forget about them.

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Thus, I took to posting them in my office where I could see them every day, figuring that daily reminder would keep me focused and motivated. Unfortunately, when you see something every day, you tend to stop seeing it at all. It becomes part of the background.

So this year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. Instead of just making resolutions, with general statements like, “lose weight, save money, get organized,” etc., I have made a plan for each resolution with mini-goals beneath that first general goal. For example, I’d like to do some home improvement/decorating this year, so below that resolution, I listed the projects I hope to get accomplished. Then I made the next, very important step. I added deadlines. Yikes! I know right? Deadlines are terrifying!

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How it feels, coming up on a deadline.

However, unless someone is paying you, you can generally ignore them, and this detailed plan of mine has as much a chance of being ignored as any previous year’s plan, so I added the last feature and put a bunch of reminders in my phone that will pop up at the appropriate times during the year to motivate me to get to work on those self-imposed deadlines.

But this year’s resolutions aren’t all about “doing.” Some of my resolutions are about “thinking.” And that is the point of the title. It’s time for me to be bold. Not that I’m a timid person by any stretch of the imagination, but as a perfectionist, I can often become crippled by my self-doubt and harsh internal critic. I tend to be overcautious in what I do and how I do it in order to avoid failure. This has led to many missed opportunities in life, and it also keeps me from creating at the rate I’d like to create. Not just with my writing (although that is the most important) but also with many other hobbies I like to pass my time doing.

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This year, I want to be bold and run the risk of failure and criticism without fear. I will publish books that I’ve worried about their reception, and take what reviews might come, remembering that any review means the book has been read by someone else besides me, which is already an accomplishment in itself.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I will put books out there that are unedited, or haven’t been through extensive revision, but I will not do as I have done up to this point and spend months agonizing over tiny things or worrying that parts of the book will put some readers off. I will share the genuine story as much as I can, and stop worrying about what people will think. And more importantly, stop worrying if it will fail.

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Even as I avoid it like the plague, I understand that failure is often as important, if not more so, than success. It is in failure that we learn those life lessons that stick with us the longest. Avoiding failure, as I have always tried to do, not only keeps us from achieving everything we’re capable of, it also means we live an incredibly boring life in the process.

So this year, I resolve to be bold, (and spicy 😉 ) like those chicken wings we had for our New Year’s pajama party. Only, I’m no chicken. Not this time. I’m changing the way I think, and I won’t let fear of failure paralyze me anymore, even if it means I have to repeat a mantra in my mirror every morning to retrain my brain on how to approach life. I’m not expecting miracles here… I’m demanding them. J

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I thank all of you for being a part of this by reading, liking, and commenting on my blog. Last year was an amazing experience for me when I started getting followers, and likes on my posts, and comments! Knowing that I have an audience forces me to be held accountable to someone besides myself, because thus far, I am my own worst enemy, and this year, I aim to change that (hopefully not by making worse enemies, lol).

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Good luck to you all in the New Year! 2018!!!! Woohoo!

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Just as a side note, I’d like to try a new tradition among my family in those hidden envelopes we used to use for resolutions. It would be fun to write a letter (in our actual handwriting) every New Year’s Eve about what went on that year for us, and what we hoped for in the coming year. Sealing that away to read on the following New Year’s Eve would be far more interesting and fun than reading a bunch of forgotten, failed resolutions.

Holiday Burnout

I’m tired.

The End.

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But seriously, the bill has come due on all this holiday stress, leaving me exhausted and in the lowest possible mood for holiday cheer. I’m not gonna lie. I have a tendency to overdo things. Which I very much regret later. (Usually around January 😉 )

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I’ve been running around a lot lately, trying to get everything done before school’s out for the winter. Because holiday shopping when the kiddos are out and Christmas is nigh is… well, have you ever seen that scene in the Lion King? You know, the stampede? ‘Nuff said.

However, I’ve gone a little crazy with decorating, and crafting, and shopping, and even squeezing in a little editing and revision. Which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time left for more relaxing hobbies…like saving the world from Dark Anchors coming from Coldharbor.

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Then of course there is the spending. I know some people really enjoy spending money. I like shopping. I like acquiring. But spending money… I start to get anxious. The more I spend, the more anxious I get. Even when I have it available to spend. I start to panic, certain I will go over-budget. Then I have to get really creative!

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Speaking of creative, my homemade gifts cost me more than some simple gift cards would have. I can never do things half way.

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Though I’m tired, and worn out, and hitting that seasonal low that seems to strike every year at this time, I’m feeling a bit of optimism too, because the light is at the end of the tunnel (I’m almost positive it isn’t a train 😉 ) Presents are wrapped, craft projects are done, the house is nearly completely decorated, and I can finally sit back and focus on how incredibly blessed I am.

Eighteen years ago, my husband and I bought our first tree together. A small tabletop tree that cost about ten dollars—which was almost the moon for us back then. We decorated it with ornaments from the dollar store, which was all we could afford. It was simple and precious to us because we were young and scared but also excited for what the future might hold. Today, I look into the eyes of my daughter and recognize that none of my dreams back then could even approach the reality of what we have now.

For everyone who is stressing this holiday season, trying to compete with your family members on nicest tree or ugliest sweater, or comparing your life to the people you follow on Facebook and Instagram, don’t forget to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday!

Do You Prologue?

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Photo courtesy of my daughter’s new hobby. 😉

When I was going the route of trying to have my first book traditionally published, there was a great deal of advice out there on what not to do, and one of the recommendations surprised me. It said, do not include a prologue because agents and editors didn’t like them.

I can’t remember where I saw this advice as this was over a decade ago, and I’m not certain if the same advice applies now, since I no longer bother myself with what agents and editors want to see (otherwise, all the niche aspects of my books would have to be cut out! No way!) Still, it made me wonder—what’s so bad about a prologue?

A poll of my writer’s group at the time gave me another startling discovery. Quite a few of them—writers themselves—didn’t read prologues! I guess I just find that strange, since my understanding of the prologue is that it sets up an important part of the story, usually by detailing an event that happened at an earlier time.

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Courtesy of Pixabay

I wouldn’t want to miss that information, but I’d love to hear what you think about prologues. Do you read them? Do you think they should be cut out of books, or made into the first chapter so they aren’t skipped by readers? And if they are made into the first chapter, when the prologue usually takes place at some distant time in the past or maybe even the future, won’t that feel jarring to the reader when chapter 2 shifts gears?

Initially, I had a prologue for The Princess’s Dragon. I cut it out based on that advice. To me, it was important to show how Sondra had lost her belief in magic and why she was so convinced it was all a lie and a hoax, but the experts were saying, “nope, we don’t want prologues.”

In this second edition, I’ve been wrestling yet again with this quandary. I’ve cut out a lot of the “fluff” so we could jump right into the heart of the story, but I’ve yet to come to a decision on whether I should include the prologue—as itself, not as a sneaky first chapter.  I’m going to post it below and see what you think. I’d love to hear any feedback—particularly if you do or don’t “prologue.” 😉 (read ‘em, or write ‘em, for the writer’s).

I think this is an important moment in Sondra’s life, so even if I cut it out of the book, I will at least have it published on my blog. 🙂

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Catch a fairy, make a wish, to be granted for a single kiss.

The rhyme Elona had told her was easy enough for five-year-old Sondra to remember, and she was so happy that her older sisters had let her come with them when they’d snuck out of the castle. Elona—her oldest sister at twelve—had even shown Sondra how to spot the glowing lights of the fairies as dusk fell.  Then she and ten-year old Sarai had left Sondra on her own in the meadow while they went into town to explore. Sondra wasn’t worried about being alone. She had fairies to chase.

With great excitement, she followed the lights as they blinked on in the sky, floating in the deepening shades of twilight. As fast as she could catch up with one, it flickered out and another would light up nearby, yet always just beyond her reach.

“Fairies come back!” she called out in her loudest voice, one never permitted by her mother within the walls of the castle.  “I just want a wish, please!”

She followed them as they dodged her efforts and remained playfully out of her reach, so engrossed in her quest that she failed to notice when the quality of the darkness changed around her. The wind song altered from a howl across open fields to a soft sigh trapped in the embrace of ancient trees. The music of the night insects died out, replaced by a muffled silence born of ancient foliage and rotting vegetation in a place so old that no human had existed at the moment of its birth to name it.

A rustle, a rush of powerful wings, and a squeak abruptly ended created a sense of unease in Sondra as she squelched her way through the loam, her soft shoes sinking into the dead leaves and rich soil. Nanny said to never go into the woods! She chewed a dirty, broken fingernail as she wondered what she should do now. She’d come deeper into the woods then she’d expected, and she wasn’t sure she could find her way back out alone.

Suddenly, a light flashed directly in front of her, distracting her from her growing fear. She snatched at it with both hands cupped around the fragile glow and was surprised when she felt the faintest fluttering against her palm, a mere tickle of gossamer wings. She’d finally captured a beautiful fairy with the power to grant her dearest wish, though she couldn’t really think of anything to wish for at the moment.

Still, just catching a fairy made her incredibly happy. She loved pretty things and couldn’t wait to see the beautiful face of her temporary prisoner. She anticipated the sight of a real magical creature right before her very eyes. She wondered how the fairy would cast her spell to grant a wish, performing actual magic—not like the silly antics of the traveling performers who pulled copper coins from her ear with great ceremony—but real magic, the kind her nanny told her about as she tucked her in at night.

Carefully, she separated her hands and a mellow glow greeted her eyes, illuminating a horrible insect with bulbous eyes, a segmented body that glowed from its backside, and nasty pincers. As she froze in absolute shock and disgust, the insect pinched her hand, and Sondra screamed in pain and fear, flinging the repulsive thing away from her. She jumped around brushing at her clothes, suddenly imagining that the once illusive “fairies” crowded her, catching in her skirts, her apron, her beribboned braids. She shrieked and swiped at her hair.

Eventually she calmed down enough to take notice of her very real predicament. She stood alone in the dark, surrounded by trees so thickly crowded that the feeble moonlight barely penetrated the gloom. Suddenly her fear of the disgusting insects seemed childish in comparison to the terror that gripped her now. She was lost in the woods and couldn’t see the central tower of the castle that normally stabbed the skyline like a spire of bone. She could barely see herself. Even the gruesome light bugs deserted her, leaving behind a darkness made more profound by their absence.

Sondra began to cry, calling out for her sisters between great gulping sobs of fear and loneliness. She heard no answer, but she did hear something else, something closer that shuffled and snuffled. Her fears took on a new terrifying dimension as she clapped her hands over her mouth to stifle her sobs and backed away from whatever monsters hunted her.

All the terrors that nanny had told her lived in the woods crowded her mind: brownies, evil sprites, horrible shriveled gnomes, and goblins that stole away little girls.

The sighing wind fell silent and the shuffling stopped.

Then a new sound reached her that evoked a fear above and beyond anything she had yet known. She heard wings, huge, rushing, swooping wings that could only belong to the most dangerous, most evil, most monstrous creature of all. The Dragon! He must have come down from Thunder Mountain when he heard my screams just to burn me up and then eat me for his supper!

Cringing and squeezing her eyes shut, she prayed that Mama and Papa and the royal guards would come charging to her rescue as the sound of wings halted just above her. She couldn’t remain still any longer. Though she feared he would pounce on her the moment she moved, she turned and spun away, stumbling blindly in the darkness between the trees.

She kept her eyes clenched shut, more afraid of seeing the nightmare dragon and freezing in panic than she was of running blindly through the woods. She could picture its hot, terrible breath, glowing red eyes, and scales blacker then the night itself.

Something caught at her and she screamed, wrenching free and tearing her dress. She heard the wings again, swooping in pursuit. The hair rose on the back of her neck as the monster neared, but she refused to crack open her eyes as she tripped and stumbled along.

To her horror, a sharp, bony claw raked across her back and caught her, this time so she couldn’t escape. She screamed and struggled to no avail, only succeeding in scratching up her back and rending her dress even more. The sound of wings halted in front of her as she struggled uselessly in the grasp of the monster. She slowly opened her eyes, determined to face down the fiend that planned to eat her.
“Who-who-whooo-whooo.” A great barn owl turned its glowing eyes to regard her curiously. It perched on a gnarled tree branch in the tangle of growth that surrounded her. Her harsh breathing and the soft query of the night hunter were the only sounds in the darkness.

Her heartbeat slowed, and she caught her breath, beginning to feel foolish when no flames shot from the gloomy shadows. Craning her neck, she saw that her dress was caught in the unforgiving hold of the half-dead branch of a tree. At some point, a part of the branch had snapped, leaving a pointed edge that had gouged out the scratches that even now stung her back.

Seeing nothing behind her but shadows and broken vegetation, she tore her dress free—avoiding the sharp point of the branch that had tormented her—and collapsed on the ground. She had no tears left to shed. Her eyes, itchy and red from the earlier torrent, remained dry. Freed from her heavy braids, her hair fluttered around her face.

She felt nothing but exhaustion and a deep sadness unnatural to her before this night. As she gazed without really seeing the owl—who returned her stare, unblinking—she felt that she’d lost something else tonight besides her way, something special. Too young to examine the puzzling feeling of grief, she slumped against a twisted tree trunk and fell into a deep slumber.

 

The following sunbirth touched a day filled with desperate searchers from all over the kingdom. They frantically scoured every corner of the capital city, the castle, and the grounds. At the castle, Sondra’s mother and father hid their concern behind their state masks, dealing with the business of running the kingdom.

Elona had been the one to tearfully confess to the king and queen about leaving Sondra in the meadow, surprising Sarai, who’d been paralyzed by her own deep guilt and worry when they’d returned to the meadow to discover Sondra missing. Their furious parents had confined them both to their rooms, despite Elona’s pleas to be allowed to join the search. Now, Sarai worked despondently at her embroidery, her usual perfect stitches suffering from her distraction.

She stabbed herself with the needle when a relieved cheer sounded from the castle courtyard below. Tossing aside her work, she jumped to her feet and scrambled to the window without her usual grace. Her ladies-in-waiting shrieked in surprise at her sudden movement.

Searchers poured through the open gates, escorting a stooped old man wearing a dusty robe the color of autumn leaves and carrying a plain wooden staff, little more than a long twisted branch. His astonishing white beard dragged through the dirt, and he appeared to tramp on it frequently, stopping and gesticulating each time he did as though he talked to it or to himself. His hair continued the concealment of his features, flowing down his face and back and dragging for a ways behind him through the dirt which never seemed to soil the brilliant strands.

Sondra limped beside the old man, her dress torn and dirty, her stockings filled with holes and twigs, and her hair a ratted mess around her moss-streaked face.

Sarai watched as her parents moved out into the courtyard, visibly struggling to maintain their decorum in the face of their relief and desire to snatch up their youngest daughter. The nanny suffered from no such constraints and intercepted the strange pair to grab the child to her bosom and weep all over her brambly hair.

Sarai also rejoiced within herself, but she couldn’t help noticing that something seemed to be missing from her little sister. Some indefinable thing that Sarai always took for granted and that had once seemed to glow from within her sister’s tiny body as if it could barely be contained.

Updates

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I may have been a bit too optimistic about getting two books out before the end of the year. Final edits for The Princess’s Dragon are going okay, but I still have yet to complete all of the necessary steps for pre-launch, and I have no cover to speak of. I really don’t want to reuse the old cover, as awesome as it is, since this is a new edition, with new content, I wanted a fresh, updated cover.

As for my other book, the alien romance, I just don’t feel like it’s ready. I’ve been working on it until I’m about to lose my mind! It just wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to. I finally decided to seek professional help. (No, not that kind, but after all this, I might need some of that too! 😉 ) Because of that, and schedules, and the revisions I know are going to be necessary, I’m definitely not going to get that book out by the end of this year.

So this update isn’t a very positive one, sadly, but I intend to keep working on both of these titles to get them ready for launch, hopefully very early next year. I’m not setting any hard deadlines yet, though. I just don’t want to rush them out without making sure they are the best they can be. I know, it’s my perfectionism kicking in, but in this case, I think it’s important to give it a little bit of a say. As I’ve said in the past, The Princess’s Dragon is a very special book for me. Not only was it the first I ever published, but it brings back so many good memories. I want the re-release to be a good one.

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As for my alien romance, I want to love it as much as I love my other alien romances, and I’m just not there yet. We’ll see if a content edit will help with that. 🙂 (I love the characters, already! They just need a better story.)

I will be continuing updates as I have more news to share.

On a more positive note, the holidays are coming, and I’m very excited to get the opportunity to visit with family that I rarely get to see during the year, what with everyone having their own busy lives to attend to. This is always a busy, and crazy, time of year, but it’s worth all the work and effort to have the chance to reconnect with people. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season during whatever holidays you celebrate.

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

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When I started out writing Lilith’s Fall, it looked a great deal different than it does now. One of the biggest changes I made was in switching from first-person Point of View (POV) to third-person POV. There is a distinct reason that I chose to make this change.

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I should mention one of the big advantages to first-person POV is that the reader spends most, if not all, of the book in the head of the main protagonist. This has the tendency to build a deep emotional bond between the reader and that character. As opposed to watching things happen as if we were following along like observers maintaining some distance from the characters with third-person POV.

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Sometimes third-person can feel a little distant.

I personally believe that both methods work equally well if they are applied properly, but I am most comfortable with third-person POV, which is why I abandoned first-person for Lilith’s Fall (among my other many, many changes). I felt that third-person allowed me to explore other characters (for which there were more than just the Hero and the Heroine). First-person usually feels too restrictive for the type of book I was going for.

As a matter of fact, I’m so uncomfortable writing first-person POVs that Lilith’ Fall was the first manuscript I’ve ever attempted for it. And it turned out to be the last. (Weeeellll, maybe not the absolute last—turns out I have one or two more attempts that didn’t get past the early chapters. About halfway through the manuscripts, I decided I just couldn’t do it, and I switched back to third-person.

Despite my own comfort level with writing in third-person over first-person, I wouldn’t say one perspective is better than the other. Some stories are best told in first-person, where the reader is carried along almost inside the head of the main characters. This can create such a strong feeling of full immersion for a reader that they never want to leave.

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Oh yeah, I’m immersed.

In fact, in some cases, I find third-person to be a little more clinical. However, I like to write limited third-person, which can still bring so much of that heart a good story needs, despite the distance between the reader and the main characters. The beauty of third-person POV is that it allows me to build a world filled with differing perspectives that aren’t seen in first-person, especially in romances where sometimes first-person POV can become somewhat claustrophobic.

Of course, probably the biggest reason I struggle with first-person POV is to not author-insert. It’s a dangerous tightrope to cross, writing in first-person but making sure that person whose head you’re in doesn’t start to sound like you. I can manage to do this for short works, but the longer the work, the more of a problem of my own personality sneaking past my internal filters. Then I start bossing around the characters, instead of having them write their own story.

This little bit of cut-content below is from the earliest draft of Lilith’s Fall (don’t worry, the book has gone in a completely different direction). Those who have read it will notice a major change. This is how I write in first-person.

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“Lil, enforcers incoming!” Stacia whispered.

I could feel the tension ripple through the mall plaza and the food court and wondered that I hadn’t noted it earlier. Stacia was always a better sensist then I. If even I felt the shiver of other people’s fear like crawling ants over my skin it must be drilling into Stacia’s mind.

It didn’t take long for the steady babble of shoppers and diners to fade into a heavy silence as people took notice of the silver-clad enforcers. I heard the sound of an infant’s angry cry abruptly cut off as somewhere a mother desperately tried to avoid attracting the notice of the enforcers.

The enforcers moved swiftly enough that soon they passed our own small café table. Our frozen smoothies sat half-emptied, and we didn’t dare to move a muscle to stir the melting slush. The silver helmets turned to regard our table, nothing visible beyond their blank visors, and then the enforcers moved on. This time, they took no one with them.

Several moments after their exit, the babble of shoppers started up again, although this time there was an undertone of frantic and false cheerfulness to the din which suggested that we were not the only ones whose shopping trip had been ruined by the reminder of the regime we lived under.

I hate them. I would never voice the sentiment out loud, though there were those who did. No one really knows what happened to the ones that were overheard. Enforcers never physically harmed someone in public. Instead, they simply escorted an offender away, out of sight, never to be seen or heard from again.

What made them so awful was that you never saw one unless they were sent to find someone.  In the beginning, when the Elders announced that the people of Artura IX would no longer be ruled by a tyrant dictator and the last dictator was cast out, the pact made with the Lords of the Outlands seemed like a blessing. Artura IX prospered and freedom led to innovation. Then, the enforcers came—servants of the Lords—and people began to disappear.

“Come on Lil, what are you sitting around moping for? Your smoothie is totally melted, and I still want to stop at Shonna’s before we leave. They have the cutest jumpsuit. Would you believe it’s made entirely of moonfloss?”

I followed Stacia to Shonna’s, studying the line of stores we passed. Music blared from an audio shop and children screeched merrily as they played in the neighboring toy store where a frantic clerk pleaded with parents to reign in their brood. A serious older couple stood outside the twisted branch archway of the Exotic Plants shop, arguing the merits of the plants beckoning from the window.

I paused longingly at the boot shop, but Stacia continued on to Shonna’s. If I didn’t follow she would leave me behind in her eagerness to reach her moonfloss jumpsuit, and I would lose my ride and be forced to take the subterranean crawler back to my dome.

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It seems like every book I read lately is written in first-person POV, and I’ve often wondered whether I shouldn’t go back and revisit that perspective for new manuscripts. It’s possible that I’m missing something by not exploring this perspective more fully. At the same time, I wonder if the casual reader even notices the difference. Or cares.

What do you think about the different perspectives? Do you have a preference for one over the other? Have you noticed a trend of one type or another? I’d definitely be interested to hear some feedback on this.