• New Book Trailer

    Hi all,

    I know it has been a while since I posted. Life has taken a couple of unexpected turns, but despite what it looks like I am still in the game.  So I thought I’d take a little time out between my edits and writing for the Sons of Tyras Series to share my new book trailer for The Dragon Lord. I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and by the way, look for the next book in the series, Dragon’s Fire, to come out this summer.


  • On Sale This Week!

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    I am happy to make my recently released second book in the Sons of Tyras series available at this low price this week. It is also available on KU and will continue to be so, but here is an opportunity to have it on your Kindle as your own for just 0.99.

    I’ll be talking a little bit more about it this week and put up a snippet or two. Until then, don’t forget to head on over to Amazon and get your copy.


  • So It Comes Back Down To Voice ―A New Look At The Meaning Of Branding And Platform

    find_your_voice-_express_yourself-_creative_writingWhen I first started out as a writer, I heard often that what editors, agents, and therefore readers, wanted was someone with a fresh or engaging “voice”. Whatever that meant.  There were articles and workshops on nearly everything to teach the aspiring, young novelist how to write, accept on the subject of voice. To my young writer ears “voice” was a concept that seemed just out of my grasp. Yes I knew something of what they meant, because an engaging voice is just one of those things that you know you’ve heard it when you hear it, or when you’ve read it as our case may be. But, can you spell that out for me, please? How do I, as a writer, recognize what makes my voice unique? And how do I improve upon it to insure that you the reader are not tempted to close my book before getting past the first pages?

    Fast forward to decades later. The answer is somewhat less elusive to me, but still not clearly defined. I still do not see much instruction on the matter of a writer’s voice. But I do know that voice is something intrinsic in the way I approach the written word. I know it comes down, a lot, to what word choices I make, what tone I infuse in my stories, or strike in my articles. It is in the concepts that I express. It is more simply put, me. It is the product of all the things I bring together to write with honest expression, and preferably when I am at my best. I know that voice is subjective. One might like my particular way of turning phrases and sharing ideas, and another might not.

    But now, as the digital age rushes us along into a new paradigm of authorship and publishing, we hear new buzz words that have to do with the business of writing. BRANDING and PLATFORM.The Golden Brand

    Once again writers are trying to pin down the seemingly elusive meaning of these words. It’s all well and good to write the next best thing since Lord of the Rings, (insert your own admired favorite) but if you don’t have proper branding, they say, if you don’t build a platform, your story will disappear into the crowd of a saturated market.

    These days, getting seen is everything.

    No, getting heard is everything, because when you look closer at what the marketing gurus are saying that brand and platform mean, it comes down to two words that have been in the publishing business all along. Voice and audience.

    Let’s take a closer look.

    I have recently heard definitions for these two words that have brought me to this conclusion. Here they are:

    Branding―Branding is you―your product―and the experience your audience takes away from engaging with you and your product.

    Just before hearing this I was thinking about the way we engage with the internet. We want to hear a voice. And we all have our favorites. That’s why we are here, that’s why we read everything from books and newspapers, or blogs, or follow our friends in social media. It’s why we watch movies, news and talk shows. It’s why we listen to songs. We want to hear a voice that reflects back to us what we think, or how we feel. We want a voice with authority to teach and inform us. We want a voice with talent to entertain us, and when we take the risk of putting our voice out there for everyone to hear, we want a voice, maybe many voices, to tell us how we did.

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    And among all those voices, we remember most those who strike a chord in us, offer us the experience side of the equation that I mentioned above. We stake out our favorites and return to them again just to hear more.

    I have a voice, I put it down in books or blogs, or on social media, it offers my readers an experience whether it is positive, negative or just bores them. All of that together is my brand, for good or bad.

    But what about platform?  Simply put, your platform is the audience who returns to hear you speak, or read what you wrote, or in any other form, experience your creative work, and then looks forward to the next time you have something to share. The term is used in publishing to gauge how effective a book release will be, and these days, factors into whether an editor wants to take a chance and publish your book.

    So you see, these are not really new concepts. At least as far as I can see, but then I am still listening to what my favorite media gurus have to say on this subject.

    So then only the words are new, the concept behind branding and platform have been around for ages.juliuscaesarbrutus1

    Writers have always needed to have a voice, a product and experience to share, and an audience. But now there is the digital revolution and the way of going about getting your voice heard, the way of building your audience has changed. The way the audience engages has changed too.

    The publishing industry is different. Reader expectation is different. And the technology of word and story sharing is certainly different. All things worth reflecting on in the future. In the meantime, I hope this has helped you understand these terms better.

     


  • A Land of Legends~Romania

    East of Transylvania

    Over the wild Carpathian Mountains

    There is a land where legends live.

     

    That’s how book one, The Dragon Lord, begins. But except for that one hint, here is a fact that you will have only found mentioned in the Author’s Notes in The Sons of Tyras Series. The Hidden Lands in this series are in Romania.

    So, why didn’t I mention Romania in the stories themselves? Well first, it was not known as Romania back in 1816 when these stories take place. But more importantly to me, I wanted to spin the right balance of atmosphere in these stories without the interference of heavy handed stereotypes of the country that the name invokes.

    Okay, yes, there were scenes that drew upon the evocative atmosphere we know of Romania, because hey, it is Romania! But if there is one thing I would like for you to take away from these books about that beautiful country, it is this: there is far more to it than the stereotype we are typically shown.

    Its legends go far beyond vampires and Dracula. Its history is rich and rather interesting. And besides all of that, it is a geographical wonder, and the best place possible to bring the Sons of Tyras to your attention. Partly because I believe the myths that the Sons of Tyras are attached to, really can be argued to originate from there, and because, well you will just have to read the books to see how important a role the landscape of this region plays in them.

    So let me just start today with a closer look at that map I added above.

    Isn’t it a nice map? You will also find it in the books. The graphic in the inset comes from an old map I have in my office. I have gone to it countless times to keep me straight about where everyone was.

    Now as I said, in 1816 there was no Republic of Romania. There were the three countries that I have outlined for you on the map.

    One you know well, Transylvania. Transylvania was a not just a region as it is today, it was a country. However not an autonomous one. In 1816 it was a principality ruled by the Kingdom of Hungary. And Hungary was ruled by the Austrian Empire. Transylvania has three names that it goes by. The two others are Ardeal, which the local Romanians still call it. And Erdély, the Hungarian name for it. All three names have something to do with the word forest. Romania today is still a heavily forested land at an impressive 40%.

    Now, looking at the map, you can see the curve of mountains that divide Transylvania from the rest. To the south there is Wallachia and to the East the land where the Sons of Tyras reside, Moldavia. Those two countries together were known as the Danubian Principalities, they were governed by princes who answered to the Turkish Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Their history as a suzerain of the Turks is interesting reading to be sure.

    But I will not go into further detail on that now. Today I just wanted to begin a journey to unfold for you some of the fascinating things about the area that I discovered in my research. I hope to share more in the future though of the history, culture and mythology of this beautiful land where even many of the individual mountains have legends about how they were formed.

     

    If you would like to see more images of Romania, come take a look at my Pinterest board.

     

    Disclaimer: I have never had the fortune to visit Romania. Everything I have shared here was gleaned from extensive research. If you see that I am incorrect on some point, please drop me a polite note of correction and I will add it here.

  • August News

    August News 4

    Lord of Light, book two of the Sons of Tyras Series, is finally out! Stop by at Amazon for your copy today.

    I have looked forward to sharing this story with you. Brez Elathean is one of my favorite characters among the Sons of Tyras, and I love the challenge that Klari Marisel gives to him in this story. And not just her. Brez has her family to deal with along with a small army of her people, not to mention his own people. There is plenty of trouble to go around. As the tag line says, how can there possibly be a future for them? You’ll just have to read to find out!

    But before you go off to Amazon to get your copy, be sure and sign up on my mailing list. I finally have it up on my site. Now you can be the first to hear news on my new releases. You won’t get any heavy handed promos or pushy contests from me. Just the occasional announcement of upcoming sales and of course the information on new releases. And your privacy will have my utmost respect. Your information will never be shared with a third party.

    In other news, the third book in this series is already in the works. Lord of Fire will be coming soon, featuring Danaerus Lucthien and Aeliana Eloria. Danaerus has decided when it comes to his turn that he must choose a wife, he wants an even tempered woman who can keep her emotions contained. But Aeliana is so adept at hiding her feelings that she seems to be made of impenetrable ice. Danaerus is suddenly not sure he wants what he bargained for. Is Aeliana really that cold? Or is there some secret that she is hiding? Can Danaerus melt her icy heart? Or will he shatter it?

    Stay tuned for this and more!


  • Write Way, Just One Writer’s Method

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    Writing methods are as individual as writers themselves. But I always love to read about what others are doing for two reasons. One, I find camaraderie there, because inevitably I will see things in other writers’ methods that are the same or at least similar to mine. It’s good as a writer to know you are not alone in this bit of creative craziness.

    Two, I might come across new and good ideas to add to my method or streamline what I am already doing.

    Since there was a discussion about our methods on one of the forums I attend, I thought I’d share a little bit about it here. Besides my four books that are presently published, I have two more written and in production, and another nearly complete. So over the course of nearly seven books, this is the method I have developed.

    I start with the spark of inspiration. When I get it, even if it’s still very small, I start writing out the notes on what I have, even though I know it is going to morph as I go. Whether you want to call it stream of conscious writing or brainstorming, or just problem solving, I do it all at my keyboard which conditions me to be in the creative frame of mind when I am typing. It allows ideas to flow through spontaneous inspiration as well as just gritting through research and solving the problems of the story.

    The exciting thing about this part of the story making is you can explore all the possible options, follow rabbit holes and what if’s, try out characters, explore backstory, and of course world build.

    I have a system for note keeping and by the time a story is written, I will have a large volume of notes to go with it. These are notes, not necessarily plot, as you will see below.

    For the last four books I scheduled my rough draft writing to come during the NaNoWriMo challenges, which includes the Camp NaNoWriMo challenges. Knowing the challenge is looming before me is like having the story on a deadline. I know I have to get the story figured out before Nano arrives or I will be struggling.

    By figuring the story out, I don’t mean plot exactly, I mean, what is this story about? Who are the characters? What is their conflict? What past pains strengthen and drive the conflict? What are their goals? What are the obstacles? How do they fit into the overall arc of the series? If I can figure out what the main story question is and/or what the theme is, all the better, though sometimes I don’t know the theme until the end of the book.

    All of this is again done at my keyboard with extensive notes and research.

    Before I sit down to write, I make a list of possible scenes. By doing this I begin to see the pattern of the plot points. I don’t plot in detail so much as I figure out the points that will give the story structure. By the time Nano arrives I may have a full list of high points that will get the story told, but I know it is likely going to morph on me again as I get into actually writing the story, so I don’t hold myself to the list. It’s a guideline not a rule. Often brand new, and really great scenes present themselves during the actual writing.

    During the Nano challenge, I try to get the whole story told in a very rough draft. I don’t always get to the end. As in this last time, it is almost three weeks after April’s Camp Nano and I am still writing. But I try to tell it all together, quickly, all in one piece to keep continuity.

    After the rough is finished, the manuscript will go through several edits, which is a whole other subject for another time. Until then, thanks for reading.


  • April Writing Challenge

    Participant 2016 - Web Banner

    Sharpen the pencils and get out that fresh sheet of paper. April is here! Along with the spring weather, that means it’s time for Camp NaNoWriMo. For the next month, those of us who participate, will be focused on our writing to the exclusion of many other things. For me it means getting to write book four of the Sons of Tyras series. I will finally get to tell Carina Mircean’s story.

    If you read book one, The Dragon Lord, then you have met Carina and may have guessed there was a story to tell concerning her. You were right.

    But book four? Yes, two and three follow The Dragon Lord with Brez and Danaerus’s stories. They are both in production, with book two scheduled to come out by late May. But for now, it’s time for me to rev up the coffeepot and get going on Carina’s exciting story.

    If you are a writer and you don’t know about National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo and, now, the associated camps in April and July, then take a moment to look them up. For me, the benefits of participating in this event, gives me a set time to sharpen my focus on the prime agenda of being a writer, writing new and fresh material. It brings in the deadline pressure that keeps me from hesitating and second guessing and lets the muse do what muses do, surprising even me. And it gives me a chance to communicate with the writer community of which the official month in November draws from six continents to nearly 400,000 participants. Don’t worry, you don’t get lost in that number, because the sites are set up to encourage comradery among writers.

    Is this April’s challenge too short a notice for you? There is another camp in July. So take a look and consider adding it to your writing calendar. Okay now, time for me to get busy writing.

    In the meantime mark your calendars for the May release of book 2 in the Sons of Tyras series- Lord of Light!


  • The Cracked Mirror

    I hope you enjoyed the Raven that I posted earlier. Here is another in-depth look at  another literary reference made in Forsaken from the Judas Rose Trilogy. It came at an important moment in the story and is one of my favorite scenes that I have written. Of course the reference was to Tennyson’s poem, not Loreena Mc kennitt’s music, but what better way to present the imagery of this poem?


  • The Raven

    Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven from PoeMovies on Vimeo.

    Isn’t this an awesome take on this poem by Edgar Alan Poe? I just had to share this, because The Raven plays an interesting role in the third book of my Judas Rose Trilogy, Forsaken. I can’t tell you what it is. If you haven’t already read this book you will have to discover it for yourself. If you have, then now you can see the imagery that played in my mind as I wrote it.

    Have you noticed the raven on the cover?