Tag Archives: writing

Blood and Shadow is Now Available!

I am thrilled to announce that Blood and Shadow, the first novel in the Mage’s Gift, is now available on Amazon! It’s taken a lot longer to get here than I’d planned, but we’re finally there, and book 2 is not far behind. No, really.

Blood and Shadow: A vengeful mage. A powerful gift. A naive youth. (Join the journey today!)A vengeful mage. A powerful gift. A naive youth.

Sherakai never wanted to become a warrior like his father and brothers. Satisfied with being fourth in line to inherit title and responsibility, he wants only to be Master of the Horse. But on the eve of his sister’s wedding, a terrible gift arrives and Sherakai’s course changes forever. His magic is the key to secrets he does not know or understand, and he must learn to fight to escape a future he doesn’t believe in. Now he must use what he hates to regain what he loves.

The regular price will be $3.99, but for TWO DAYS you can pick it up for the intro price of $0.99! (This universal link will take you to your Amazon store.)

Are you hungry for a taste of what’s to come? Enjoy a short excerpt here: Blood and Shadow…

Another Update—In Case You’re Wondering!

Hello, wonderful readers!

I just wanted to make a drive-by post to let you know I’m still breathing. I’m deep into edits of Book One of The Mage’s Gift: Blood and Shadow, and I just want to say ohmygoshhowcaneditingbesoslow?!

Yeah. Like that.

I would like to give a percentage of progress. Something concrete, like I’m 62% finished. But silly things like “consistency” have me going back and forth in the manuscript until I’m dizzy.

But… I’ve got two little snippets to share with you. First, a picture of the timeline:

Blood and Shadow timeline

Yes, it’s small. Yes, some of the words look kind of blurry. You didn’t want spoilers, did you??

Second, a corner of the map-in-progress:

Alshan Map, The Mage's Gift Bk 1: Blood and Shadow, by Robin Lythgoe

One day it will be greener, the rivers won’t look weird, and the bordering countries will have names. Won’t that be exciting?

Do you want more good news? The covers (Yes, two! One for each of the set!) are nearly done! I can’t wait to share those with you.

Stay tuned! If you don’t want to miss the release of Blood and Shadow, be sure to sign up for my Book Progress email list, which will give you nothing but information about my upcoming books.

A Drift of Quills: In Search of (Writing) Time

Writers, what do you do to find time—or to make time—to write?

Readers, are you curious how the minds behind the books work some of their magic?

It’s the First Friday of the month, and A Drift of Quills is sharing tidbits on their MO (modus operandi). Ooooh, secrets!

A Drift of Quills

Time—we all need more, right? Can I have a secret extra day in the week? Or how about a clone?

In Search of Writing TimeI’m one of those blessed souls who theoretically has time. Awesome, right? Mmmmaybe…! Anyone who looked at my life would assume there are great gobs of the stuff lying around, waiting to be used.

I have plenty to do, believe me. There are the regular chores that come with being an adult and the extracurricular chores that spring up when you belong to a group or indulge in hobbies. On top of that, there are the tasks that fall on the plate of any indie author (a.k.a. “marketing”).

And there’s research (a.k.a. “rabbit holes”).

And homework (a.k.a. “reading”).

Quote-IfYouDontHaveTheTimeToRead

So for me, it boils down to making the time to write. Or rather, making myself write. I seem to be most productive late at night, but convincing myself to stay up when my comfy bed is calling and my eyelids are drooping is almost as hard as scheduling dentist appointments.

Okay, not really. I’d far rather stay up late writing every single night than go to the dentist.

But…

Structure and Goals Are Not Bad Words

If when I stick to a schedule and plunk my keester in the chair before my computer every morning, I’ve found I build up steam. I might start small; I’ve set a goal to write no less than 100 words a day. In the beginning, that hundred words can be like pulling teeth. (Ha! Pun!)

But the more I stick to the schedule, the more I write.

You’d think that with such a reward,the sticking would be easy. Inspiring. Exciting!

Quote-WithoutConsciousAndDeliberateEffort

It is exciting. It’s also challenging.

So what helps me?

  • Joining a writing challenge (x-number of words per day)
  • Having someone to be accountable to
  • Giving in to my competitive side (trying to beat the high word counts in the above-mentioned challenge)
  • My awesome writing partner, Kristie
  • Reading
  • Music
  • Letters, comments, and reviews (especially reviews!) from my readers

I don’t list these in order of how well they work, it depends on the day and it depends on my mood (and health). The more of the items I employ, the more likely I am to sit down and write.

And apparently writing about writing helps, too. Bye, I’m gonna go practice being a fictionista!

Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

 

Time in a bottle.

Time will tell.

A time to love, and a time to hate.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .

A time for every purpose under heaven.

Time flies.

The time is right.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Hey! Have you got the time?

This is the question we Quills consider with our post for July 2016.

Most would agree, I think, that there never seems to be enough time to go around. So how, in a life filled with family, friends, day jobs, and more, do we find time to write?

I recall as a child, my mother saying that it annoyed her when people asked her how she found the time to do things. With eight—yes, count them, eight—children, she was a busy woman. She always said: “I don’t have time, I make time.” I guess… (Read more!)

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How do you find—or make—the time to write or read?
What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: “Clock” via StockSnap.io is licensed under CC0 1.0
A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

Does the word “research” give you the shivers? Dark memories of term papers or visions of endless numbers and figures? Well, it’s the first Friday of June (already!), and A Drift of Quills  is here to show you what research means to fiction writers!

A Drift of Quills

“My name is Robin and I am a member of Researchers Anonymous…”

ResearchOrTreasureHunt_DoQI blame it on my mother. I read a lot when I was a little girl. When I’d come across a word I didn’t know, I’d ask Mom what it meant. She invariably sent me to the dictionary.

A hundred years later (okay, not quite a hundred…) I find myself somewhat suspicious of her motivations. Did she actually (sometimes) not know the definition? Or was that just her way of making me an independent, curious wordie?

Either way, what happened was an addiction.

Oh, it started innocently enough. Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Research or Treasure Hunt?

A Drift of Quils: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

A Drift of Quills is back on this beautiful First Friday! This month we’re talking about tough writing challenges we’ve faced, and how we’ve resolved them. And—we’ve got a guest! We’re so pleased to welcome P.S. Broaddus, who has  recently released his debut middle-grade fantasy novel.

A Drift of Quills

My partners in this month’s endeavor will probably not be glad that I’ve procrastinated writing this until the last minute (I have a laundry list of excuses reasons!), but it’s given me the opportunity to get a sneak peak at what they’ve chosen to write about.

It’s good stuff— Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Tackling Writing Challenges

Five Good Things

Five Good Things (Mar 11)

Five Good Things is such a great article to put together. I get to share some of the cool things I’ve found while procrastinating researching my own writing!

Use Scrivener to Manage Your Blog
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2016/03/03/scrivener-book-marketing/
Writing straight into your blog software (WordPress, Typepad, etc.) presents its own problems—you can’t write offline, and searching through old blog posts to find mentions on a specific subject can be difficult. Boy, has Joanna Penn got some great advice! I’m definitely bookmarking this page.

The Arcanist’s Mill – A Wizard’s Tower Map with a Twist
http://www.fantasticmaps.com/2016/02/the-arcanists-mill_a-wizards-tower-map/
Jonathan Roberts makes awesome, drool-worthy maps. Lands of Ice and Fire, anyone? Check out this article, in which he shows how he mapped “a wizard’s tower with a twist – somewhere a mage with a little bit of a steampunk leaning could hide out and experiment.”

Leftovers and Palette Gremlins
http://www.michaelwhelan.com/leftovers-palette-gremlins/
As long as we’re talking about artists, I’ve got to send you over to the site of one of my all-time favorites: Michael Whelan. I hope you recognize the name from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné books, Tad Williams’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn — and the epic Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. “Leftovers are little spur-of-the-moment doodles or sketches created from paint left over from a work in progress. Most of these quickies end up in the trash, but some are kind of cool on their own and others have lead to full scale paintings.” Go see! Be entertained.

10 Engrossing Fantasy Books Like “The Lord of the Rings”
https://www.thereadingroom.com/article/10-engrossing-fantasy-books-like-the-lord-of-the-rings/1453
“Embark on an epic journey with one of these fantastical sagas.” Oh, darn, more books to add to my TBR (To Be Read) list… I’ll bet you can hear me groaning in dismay all the way to your house. Riiiight…

Free Chains of Honor Prequel Story: A Question of Honor
http://www.lindsayburoker.com/cut-scenes-and-fun-extras/free-chains-of-honor-fantasy-story/
I read Lindsay Buroker’s Warrior Mage and loved it. I’m behind on the story now, but look! A free tale about how Yanko and Dak first met! I’m all over that.

Image: “Beach” by Ravi Pinisetti is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

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What good things have you seen in your world lately? SHARE below!

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction?

A Drift of Quills: The Purpose of Magic

Magic—what’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. Naturally, we’re talking about why we, as authors of fantasy, write about magic.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folksSince we were wee sprouts we’ve been enchanted (punny, right?) by stories about magical beans, geese, unicorns, dragons, kings, gingerbread houses, swords, ships, and all kinds of diverse things. Magic opens the doors to new ideas, exciting places, amazing people. It encourages our imaginations and broadens our horizons. Best of all, it allows us to step out of the mundane, lift our heads, and engage in wonder.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

Magic in fantasy is a feast for the eyes, a symphony of the senses. Anything is possible. Charles de Lint said something absolutely profound about magic and life:

I do believe in an everyday sort of magic—the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we thing we’re alone.

This month A Drift of Quills is taking a peek under the corner of the magic carpet. What’s the value or purpose of magic in fiction? In my book As the Crow Flies, magic plays several roles. I like the complex depths that mix offers. I like the contrasts. In Crow’s life, it doesn’t have a particularly good reputation and his opinion isn’t improved when a wizard sends him on a suicidal mission. He comes up against more “bad” magic but… he also has an experience that affects his very notion of himself. His imagination is sparked; his horizon changes.

In the Mirror, a short story, encourages reflection of self. What choices have we made in the past, how have they impacted us, and how might we change our path in the future?

The story, The High Roads, focuses on talents and responsibilities. How do we use what we’ve got?

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

Some of my earliest reading memories are of stories that included magic. I recall reading, over and over again, Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett, and Mio, My Son, by Astrid Lindgren. Also, Bewitched was amongst my favorite television shows. When Samantha’s nose twinkled, you never knew what might happen next. Those tales engaged my imagination and sense of wonder. They moved me out from my world of cares and worries (such as they were as a child) and into another realm where anything was possible.

When a story engages my emotions, I’m involved. But when it also encourages my sense of wonder, I’m hooked. This is what magic does. It creates something I’ve never before seen, heard or felt. It makes me wonder, each step of the way, “what if…” (Read more!)

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What does “magic” in fantasy mean to you?
What book have you read that best illustrates the ideal magic?
Are you an author? What is the purpose and value of magic in your writing?

Comment below—then be sure to hop over and join my 2016 reading challenge!

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#2)

Wow. This is the last first Friday of the month for this year! (Did I bend your brain with that?) Today A Drift of Quills will take you on a short visual expedition. We want to share with you pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Levin Liam (in the movie "Wolfskinder")
Levin Liam (in the movie “Wolfskinder”)

For my person I’ve gone with the obvious choice: the main character. Sherakai’s tale begins when he is a youth, about fifteen years old. As the youngest of four boys, he’s got a pretty easy life. His father and his older brothers are warriors, and although he admires that, he has no inclination to follow in their footsteps. He’s not keen, either, on being sent away from horse and home to study at the faraway College of Magic. Of course nothing goes the way either Sherakai or his parents plan…

Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr
Photo by Alvarictus, via Flickr

Sherakai’s beautiful home is located in rolling hills at the edge of the mountains. His father raises the Indimi-o per’la Tojitu there. The Children of the Wind are horses endowed with just a little bit of magic.

When Sherakai arrives at Nemura-o pera Sinohe—The Gates of Heaven—his life takes a turn down a dark path. His guardians, Fesh and Teth, look something like this:

Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry
Concept art from DMC: Devil May Cry

 

Teeth clenched, Sherakai pushed the threads away, but it hurt as though he were tearing out parts of himself. The creatures howled, and Bairith’s voice rose above them, his spell-weaving become a command. Desperately, Sherakai reversed his actions and tried to pull the threads back into himself. He had more success at that, but the creatures came to their feet, writhing as they tried to escape the hands on their heads. Their howls increased to very human screams. The guards crouched next to them, wrapping arms around the distorted bodies to hold them immobile. A third guard moved behind Sherakai, clamping a hand around his throat and applying steady pressure.

Today A Drift of Quills goes on a short visual expedition, sharing pictures of the people, places, and things from our latest works.As consciousness began to fade, the tugging renewed and the dog beasts quieted. Darkness edged his vision, but it could not blanket the helpless sense of violation.

“There,” the mage said at last. He released Sherakai’s hands and gently stroked the animals’ misshapen heads. “There, it is done. All is well. Hush, hush …”

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

As we are approaching this holiday season, with all the “busy-ness” that it entails, it seemed right to keep things a bit simple this time around. Thus, we’ve decided to share with you, pictures of our imagined people, places and things from our work.

For a picture of a person, I’m actually going to expand this definition to include a character that is not a person. That is “Bane,” from Select: The Oathtaker Series, Book Two. Bane is a wolf that Jerrett mistakenly takes for a dog. Because of his connection to the animal via his attendant magic, Bane assists Jerrett in an escape . . .

… (Read more!)

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This is how we see our stories, and we hope these pictures pique your interest in the tales!

SaveSave

SaveSave

Guest author H.M. Clarke joins A Drift of Quills as we talk about what makes us write.

QUILLS: What Makes Us Write?

Welcome! It’s the first-Friday-of-the-month again! A Drift of Quills is talking about what makes us write — and we’ve got a guest today. We are so pleased to welcome H.M. Clarke, author of a variety of books ranging from fantasy (yay!) to sci-fi, to paranormal. She writes a lot, and now we’re going to find out why!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

HMClarke_230x230H.M. Clarke
Author of The Way to Freedom series, The Kalarthri, and Winter’s Magic
Haley’s website

What makes me write?

Oh, that’s easy. The little blue imp with the electric cattle prod makes me.

Well, not really, but that is what it feels like sometimes. Especially when you are not in the mood to put pen to paper, but then your conscience digs at you to move your butt and get writing or else.

Guest author H.M. Clarke joins A Drift of Quills as we talk about what makes us write.But seriously, I would dearly like to give a flowery response that will be made into a Twitter/Facebook graphic and get posted everywhere for the next twenty years… But I can’t. What I have to say is not really inspirational or mind-blowingly philosophical. It is in fact quite the opposite.

What makes me write is determination, lots of hard work and the bull-headedness to think – ‘There, I’m doing it and I don’t care what people think about it.’ (Well, actually that’s not true. I’m a writer after all, with a writer’s ego. Please tell me you like my work…)

What makes me, and many other writers write, is the need to get stories that I actually want to read and get involved with down on paper. That is really the crux of it. What keeps me writing is the determination and hard work that I mentioned before. Determination and will power is what drags writers out from the immense pool of wannabe authors and makes then actually dry off and finish something.

Writers write; the rest talk about it.

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Robin_0123_pp_300My Two Cents

What makes me write? There should be an easy answer for that question. Something uncomplicated. “Because I must” is woefully inadequate. It only prompts more questions. I write because… I grew up surrounded by stories, immersed in stories. I dreamed them by night and played them out by day. They penetrated my blood. WhyIWrite_reason-85And I embraced them. I cannot even begin to imagine my life without writing. I am head-over-heels, passionately in love with writing. With the symphony of words, the tangle of emotions, the twist of action and reaction, the incredible possibilities of creation.

But, like any other occupation/obsession, it is not always easy.

Some days I am grateful to manage a word count of a couple hundred. On others, I fly on the wings of thousands. Some days I search my mind, heart and soul for the right words, the ones that mean something; because they are not merely words, they are articulations of hope, fear, excitement, pain, despair, love… It is exulting. It is exhausting. There is, for me, no middle ground. It would be boring if there were.

Like anything worth doing, it takes (as Hayley pointed out) dedication and will-power to make writing work. To get all the way to the end of a book — and keep going. This is not an easy path to take, but oh, how rewarding it can be…

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and the soon-to-be-released Select
Patricia’s website

My reason for writing today differs from what it was when I set out to write my first book, Oathtaker. Although I’d done a fair amount of creative writing back in the day, it had been some time since I’d taken pen to hand (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), to tell a tale. My “day job” requires that I write on a constant basis, and I’ve been at that for . . . quite some while. But legal writing is altogether different from creative writing. So, what was the impetus at the outset of my journey? Quite simply, I had to see if I could do it.

… (Read more!)

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Do you write? Why?
What other topics would you like to see us write about here on A Drift of Quills?

A Drift of Quills delves into ruling the world: What things or words can our magic worlds not include?

A Drift of Quills: Ruling the World!

Welcome to the Friday Feature of our Fantasy writers group, A Drift of Quills! I have sad news: Kristie has bowed out, but hopefully we will see her again soon. We will miss her amazing perspective, but wish her the best in all she does.

Today we’re delving into world-building trickiness:

As writers, what rules do you follow (if any) of “things” your magic world can/cannot include, or the “words” your world can or cannot use?

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

On the surface, asking about the things or words my world can or cannot include sounds fairly straightforward. I am, after all, the Grand Architect. But who knew how complicated that job would be? Perhaps the first element is easiest to address. Since mine is an epic fantasy setting (You’re surprised, right?), it won’t have guns, cars, spaceships or most things common to our modern world. Tairenth has elves, but no orcs or kobolds. I have not yet met a dwarf there, but I suppose there’s a possibility. A Drift of Quills delves into ruling the world: What things or words can our magic worlds not include?There are other strange creatures. There are dragons. There is unusual plant life. Most books of this kind seem to be based on a “medieval Europe” setting. I am trying to pull away from that, though not extremely so. What makes this really exciting for me is that my character, Sherakai, is a world traveler. I have the opportunity to stretch my virtual setting wings — what fun!

I am having a ball picking threads of one culture, changing them up a bit, and braiding them with others. In Sherakai’s homeland, where the first books of the series takes place, language is very loosely based on Japanese, the religion revolves around a thirteen-god pantheon, the climate and geography are somewhat Mediterranean.

What words can my world use or not? Again, since it is set in a time before the likely invention of guns, cars, spaceships, and such — it obviously won’t use words relating to what we view as a modern culture. But in this world there may be things our own world has no word for. One of the challenges of using languages, situations, or things is that overdoing it can become confusing to the reader. At the same time, using those very same items (when they are “foreign”) adds to the richness of the tapestry we are creating. It is a delicate balance. But these words — oh, the words! — are beautiful and amazing and so full of power. I love words and the way they can paint incredibly vivid pictures. What a wonderful creation language is!

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker
Patricia’s website

When I first started writing, I spent some time reading about what others had to say about the subject. I learned a couple of important things right up front: (1) no matter where you start, you’re in the middle—of something—so stop stalling and get started; and (2) there is nothing new under the sun, which means that even what we “create” is our manipulation of what we already know. I cannot, for example, create a new color. But, I can create the physical characteristics of new things, by changing up those things I (and my readers) already know. So, I decided . . .

… (Read more!)

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What books have you read that leave you marveling at the weave of word and setting? Share below!