Tag Archives: writing

Conlang—constructed language—is today’s topic for A Drift of Quills. Do we make up our own languages for our books? How? If not, why not? http://robinlythgoe.com

A Drift of Quills: Conlang (What’s That You Say?)

Conlang—constructed language—is today’s topic for A Drift of Quills. Do we make up our own languages for our books? How? If not, why not?

Pull up a chair, grab yourself a cookie or twenty, and read on to find out how the gang feels about fictional languages!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I have a kind of lazy love for language. My copy of the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style makes me crazy, but… I’m one of those readers that will highlight passages in novels that sing to me. Sometimes I copy them into a file to come back to later so I can oo and ah over them. And I did take the equivalent of seven years of foreign language in high school. (I think I learned more about English there than I did in English classes!) Then there was Tolkien. Was my experience a recipe for conlang or what? Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Conlang (What’s That You Say?)

Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!

A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?

What’s our inspiration? Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

As I near the day I push the “publish” button for the second book in The Mage’s Gift, this seems a good time to reflect on the motivation behind the story. I think it was years in the making, and I think I will say the same about all my books and stories. What does inspire me? What prompts me to set pen to paper (I really did start out that way), and then fingers to keyboard? I’m inclined to call it “magic.” Continue reading A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?

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”).


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.


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!


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!


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
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
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
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”
“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
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 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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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!