Archive for the ‘My Stories’ Category

Quiet? Not So Much.

September 18, 2019

Reference Notebook, Recorder, Leather Tag

I should really give up planning on quiet weeks.  That’s what I intended for last week.  Quiet artistic meditation so I could mentally sort through the details as I moved into the final stages of Wolf’s Soul, the sequel to July’s new Firekeeper novel, Wolf’s Search.   The week didn’t work out that way.  Mind you, why it didn’t work out wasn’t bad…

I knew in advance Monday would be busy.  Not only did I have my usual Monday Chaos, Scot Noel and I were interviewed by the Sci Fi Saturday Night podcast.  We talk about a lot of things, including DreamForge magazine, projects to come, and my life in the desert.  It was a lot of fun.  You can tune in at http://scifisaturdaynight.com.  You’ll want talkcast 423.  Bonus: You can see a great older photo of me…

Tuesday I turned the tables and interviewed Hugo Award-winning artist Elizabeth Leggett over coffee, chocolate, and cats at my house.  The reason for the interview is that I’m writing her program bio for MileHiCon.  However, there was so much great stuff that I couldn’t fit into the program piece, I decided to transcribe the whole thing.  Since we talked for an hour and a half, the transcribing took a while.

By Wednesday, though, I had enough material to write the MileHiCon piece, which I did because…

Thursday, Jim and I had promised ourselves a full day at the State Fair.  We did and had a wonderful time seeing more animals, more art, and eating a weird variety of food not good for you. We hit one of our favorites—the “Home Arts” aka “Hobby Building”—after the schoolkids had gone home.  This led to my having made for me the magnificent leather tag you see in the picture.

The tag was made by artist Paul Q. Starke.  Before you sniff and say “So what?  I did leather stamping in grammar school!” let me tell you that just the wolf took at least twenty really hard strikes with the mallet to create that deep impression.  Lots of the lines—including the moon­—were drawn freehand with hammer and chisel.  I was absolutely awed.

Thursday we also ended up having an impromptu dinner with our friends Yvonne and Mike, which got us home rather later than planned.  And in the mailbox what should I find but…

A big fat envelope containing the contracts for three new Star Kingdom books featuring Honor Harrington’s ancestor, Stephanie Harrington, a lot of treecats, intrigue and adventure.  For those of you who don’t know, there are already three books in the series: A Beautiful Friendship (written by Weber solo, but with me in the background as consultant), Fire Season, and Treecat Wars.

The new novels don’t have titles yet, but we’ll be picking up with Stephanie at sixteen, shortly after the events in my yet unpublished short story, “Deception on Gryphon.”

Would you be surprised if I told you I was so keyed up I had trouble sleeping that night?

So, instead of Friday being a quiet day to meditate and maybe do some crafts, I ended up reviewing and signing contracts, then sending Weber e-mails to continue the discussion we’ve been having on and off these last few months.

This week I’m not even going to pretend is going to be quiet.  I have that interview to finish transcribing.  I have another interview to get started.  Doubtless Weber and I will refine details on Stephanie’s next adventure.

And, no, I haven’t forgotten.  I need to finish writing Wolf’s Soul, so that you can dive into the complicated tale of exploration and intrigue begun in Wolf’s Search.

I’d better get to it!

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Creative Coolness

September 11, 2019

Creativity Takes Many Forms

This past week was special because it brought two of my favorite opportunities to immerse myself in cool creativity: the New Mexico State Fair and the third issue of DreamForge magazine.

DreamForge readers, no worries.  I’m not going to provide any spoilers, but I am going to remind readers that this issue contains the first ever Firekeeper short story.  It’s called “A Question of Truth,” and is set shortly before the events in the newly-released Firekeeper novel, Wolf’s Search.

As with all DreamForge stories, “A Question of Truth” is non-dystopian.  As with all Firekeeper stories, the perspective is Firekeeper’s own.  What a wolf thinks is right or wrong can differ greatly from what a human would.  Moreover, Firekeeper and Blind Seer are very unusual wolves.  Part of my joy in returning to writing about them is considering how they’ve changed while keeping their own strong assurance of who they are.

DreamForge is available only by subscription, but you get a lot for that subscription, including  the option to sign up for a free digital subscription to Space and Time magazine.  Details are available at the DreamForge website.

I know that for a lot of people the words “State Fair” conjure up crowds, carnival rides, and overpriced junk food.  For me, the State Fair is closer to the harvest festivals of old.  I rarely make it onto the midway at all and, if I do, it’s to look at the carousel.  While I’ve been known to try some of the food weirdness (a deep-fried Snickers bar, for example), I’m more likely to be indulging in a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade pie at the Asbury Café, a long-time tradition run by a local United Methodist Church.   This year I had blueberry-rhubarb.

When I go to the Fair, I’m there to look at animals, plants, and art, in no particular order.  If I was absolutely forced to choose a favorite building, it would be the hobby building.  This is where you can find arts and crafts ranging from woodworking to needlepoint to rock collecting to photography to baking and canning to quilting and sewing to doll collecting to Lego constructions to leather work to stained glass to beading…  Well you get the idea.  These are all on display under one roof.  Often there is someone there to tell you all about their particular favorite or to give a demonstration.

Wait!  Maybe my favorite thing is the rabbit and poultry show.  The bunnies and chickens have a new building this year.  We walked all over until we found it.  (For some bizarre reason, there were no signs telling visitors where to go!)  It’s down at the western end of the dairy barn, inside the barn, in case you’re wondering…

Then there’s Sheep to Shawl, where you can watch a sheep being sheared, see demonstrations on how the wool is cleaned, carded, spun, dyed, and then transformed by a wide variety of techniques including knitting, weaving, crochet, and felting into everything from hats and gloves to toys and, of course, the promised shawls.

Then there are the art shows…  Not one or two, but at least five, if you count the school art, which I absolutely do!

I could keep listing, but lists don’t really capture how wonderful it is to be on the fairgrounds, surrounded by creativity in its many and varied forms.  I come away every time impressed and awed and just generally happy.

We’re going back on Thursday to see what we couldn’t manage on our first trip.  I can hardly wait!

Crystals of Stories

September 4, 2019

Mei-Ling Researches Bats

Last week, when I mentioned I was reading about the extinctions of various paleo mammals, someone said, “So, shall we expect a story with mammoths and saber-tooth tigers soon?  Or are you going to be writing about mass extinctions?”

I have to admit, I was flummoxed.  I was reading the book (End of the Megafauna by Ross. D. E. MacPhee, with marvelous illustrations by Peter Schouten) because I’d seen a review and it seemed interesting.   But during the discussion that followed, I was reminded of a comment made the previous weekend at Bubonicon during the GOH interviews.

Somehow, research came up.  Alan Steele answered first and his answer was well-balanced, thoughtful, and very scholarly.  He researched both before and during a project, often for years in advance. Then it was Ursula Vernon’s turn.  She laughed and said (I may misquote, since I’m doing this from memory), “I don’t really research.  I write Fantasy.  I can change things to fit what I want.”

Well, that didn’t fit my impression of her books.  Since first meeting Ursula some years ago, I’ve read a lot of her books, both those written as Ursula Vernon and others published under her pen name of T. Kingfisher.  One of the things I love about her books is that underlying the rollicking stories is a lot of cool information about a wide range of topics.  A good example is Lair of the Bat Monster from her Danny Dragonbreath series.  You come out of this book knowing a lot more about bats than you ever knew there was to know.

Later, when we were chatting privately, I chided Ursula for underselling the amount of work that goes into even the most apparently lightweight of her books.  Her response was, in its own way, as thoughtful as Alan Steele’s.  She said: “But I don’t really research.  I just draw on what I’ve read and thought was fascinating.”  She then started telling me about a nifty book she’d been reading about perfumes, and we got sidetracked from there…

Often when both readers and writers think about “research,” we think about it in terms of schooldays of yore, of immersing oneself in a specific topic of more or less interest in order to produce a specific product.  That sort of research absolutely has a place in fiction writing.  I’ve done that, both before writing a project, during the writing, and then after to make sure I have specific points right.

But the other sort of research is probably more valuable.  Why?  Because you probably won’t even have ideas about new and thrilling topics if you never read outside of secondary sources and your existing interests.

I think this is why so much literary fiction deals with college professors and academics.  I’d also argue that it’s one reason why some writers start writing about writers and the business of writing.  In both cases, their interests have narrowed to what they are doing on a daily basis.  Becoming too immersed in a single field is another research issue, one that leads to some writers creating stories that are more and more specialized variations on a single theme.  That’s great if that’s what they want to write, but I’ll admit, both in my own writing and in my reading, I’m more eclectic.

Roger Zelazny routinely read up to five books at one time, dipping into each on a daily basis.  These included a volume of poetry, a biography, something non-fiction (often science or history related), something specific to a project he was working on or contemplating, and one or more volumes of fiction.  My reading is much the same.  Those of you who look at my Friday Fragments get part of my reading, but I don’t even try to itemize the articles I read,  nor short fiction.

Without my eclectic tastes, the “Breaking the Wall” novels never would have been written, because I wouldn’t have known enough about Chinese history, characters, and mythology to find myself asking the question that triggered the idea that led to the story.  The same is true for the varied cultures featured in the Firekeeper novels and elsewhere.  They’re not cultures from our world with the serial numbers lightly filed off; they’re evolved from the ground up based on what I know about how environment, politics, and religion (to name just three) have to do with how cultures are shaped.

My next read is likely to be a non-fiction book about a relatively minor historical figure.  Do I plan to write about him?  Not necessarily, but what I learn will definitely bubble up in some strange and wonderful way somewhere in the future.

Weirdest Thing I Heard

August 28, 2019

The DreamForge Panel At Bubonicon

The weirdest thing I heard at Bubonicon this weekend weren’t Ursula Vernon’s tales of potatoes and her of exploration of the Dog Skull Patch.  It wasn’t even Alan Steele’s heart-stopping account of the fearsome Psycho Chicken, although that one (complete with sound effects) was pretty strange.

No, the weirdest thing I heard this weekend was this: “There’s a new Firekeeper novel?  I hadn’t heard!”

Now, before you think I’m a mad egoist who thinks that everyone spends all their time talking about me and my books, let me clarify.  Bubonicon is my hometown con.  Most of the people I heard this from were fans who regularly show up each year to buy my latest.  Many of them even are friends with people I know have bought Wolf’s Search.

So, set to the tune Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs,” “Here I go again!”

There’s a new Firekeeper novel out.  It’s called Wolf’s Search.  Yes.  It’s somewhat shorter than the Firekeeper novels of yore, but I explain the reasons why this is so hereWolf’s Search does have its own story arc, and if seeking to find one thing led to finding another thing, well, the way I see it, that’s how life works.  If you’d like to know more about where you can get Wolf’s Search, here’s a link to my post of about a month ago.  And here are a few of the FAQ that have come up since.

I’d really appreciate your help in pushing out the word that Wolf’s Search exists.  The help of Firekeeper’s Pack will keep me jazzed as I work on getting Wolf’s Soul ready to put in your hands.  Here’s how even the shyest of you can be part of the effort.

Weirdness aside, it was a fun Bubonicon.  Our friends Scot and Jane Noel, of DreamForge magazine, came out from Pennsylvania.   Our Saturday morning panel on DreamForge (which in addition to us included Emily Mah Tippetts, Sarena Ulibari, Lauren Teffeau, and Elizabeth Leggett) was amazingly well attended.   Someone told me we had sixty or so people in the audience!

I lucked into a programming schedule that, while busy, gave me time to wander around, chat with people, visit the art show, and tour the Dealer’s Room.  A special bonus event was when Jim and I were interviewed by Kevin Sonney for his highly popular “Productivity Alchemy Live” podcast.  I’ll let you know when that’s available.  It’s a rare interview in that both Jim and I are featured.

This weekend we also let our new kitten, Mei-Ling, have the entire spare room to herself while we were gone.  Monday night, we let her join the household.  She promptly discovered the cat tree on the porch and after valiantly battling the toys hanging from it (including hanging from her teeth in mid-air after biting into the felted fish Rowan made for our cats, then losing her balance), she tucked herself into the little cubicle where she could watch both indoors and out, while feeling secure.  To our amusement, two of our other cats, Persephone and Keladry, took turns babysitting Mei-Ling through the night.

However, this morning, Mei-Ling has apparently wandered off to another dimension.  Before I get back to work, I’m going to go see if I can find the secret portal so I can call her back for lunch.

Then it’s off to writing.  I did manage to get back into the flow of Wolf’s Soul last week before the con took over my life.  I’m looking forward to getting back to it today.

Carrots, Tree Rings, And A Question

August 21, 2019

Kuroda and Black Nebula

I want to ask your opinion on something but, before I do so, there’s a horticultural experiment I forgot to report on last week.

This involves carrots.  The Black Nebula variety have proven magnificent.  They carry their dark purplish-black color right to the core.  Sometimes even the “greens” should be called “purple-blacks” instead.  The first time I noticed this, I was very startled.  For one worried moment, I thought we’d discovered a strange new virus.

Even when the Black Nebula greens stay green, they’re purple at the base, which definitely makes distinguishing which carrots are which a lot easier.   The guinea pigs fully approve of “purple-blacks,” which is a good thing, since we grow the carrots partly to share with them.

Our other new (to us) carrot was the Kuroda, which we tried because it’s supposed to be very good at handling heat.  So far, that’s proven true, and the carrot itself is quite tasty.  The greens (which are green) are more delicate than those of the Black Nebula.  Ziggy O’Piggy shows a slight preference for these, while Dandy likes those “purple-blacks.”

One thing I definitely learned this year is that what most catalogs mean when they say “handles heat well” is not the sort of heat we’ve been getting in New Mexico lately.  We’re still routinely hitting between 99 and 100 daily in our yard, dropping to 59 to 61 at night.  Forty degree temperatures shifts are confusing our plants to no end.

We tried four types of beans that were all supposed to be good with heat: Purple Queen (bush), Dragon Tongue (bush), Rattlesnake (pole), and Red Noodle (pole).  Only the Red Noodle, which are a liana variety, have thrived.  The rest have either refused to grow at all or have given up.  I think next year we’ll go with the Red Noodle or another liana variety, and skip bush beans entirely other than the tepparies.

This week we had to take down most of a catalpa tree I planted soon after I moved into the house.  Even with us watering it regularly, the stress of the increasing duration of hot days was too much for it.  It is trying to come back from the base, so we took it down in the hope that, without the rest of the trunk to support, it will make a comeback.  There are types of trees that do this and, as this is not a graft, we’d get the same variety, not the rootstock.

Although taking down a tree that we’d had for over twenty years was hard, doing so provided an interesting data point.  The tree rings showed conclusively the results of the hotter, dryer summers we’ve had lately.  Given that some of the inner rings (which are from further back in time) reflect before we were routinely watering the tree, this proves how much less useful rainfall we’ve experienced the last ten years or so.  By “useful,” I mean rain that the tree could draw upon.  Our soil is very sandy so, while a gully washer may give us a lot of moisture, much of it runs off or drains away before the plants can use it.

Catalpa Tree-Rings

Hmm…  I’ve gotten carried away here and nearly forgot to ask my question.  This week is Bubonicon, right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  My first item of programming is Friday at 5:00 p.m., and it’s my reading slot.  I was thinking about reading from Wolf’s Search.  It will have been out only about six weeks by then, and I’m hoping that those in the audience who have read it wouldn’t mind.

Does that seem like a good plan?  I have a few short stories I could read, but I’m so immersed in Firekeeper and her world right now, that I’m eager to share this novel.  Copies will be available at the convention, so you won’t be left hanging.

Bubonicon’s schedule is now available on the web.  I hope I’ll see many of you there!

Wolves, Gardens, And Cool Stuff!

August 14, 2019

Zinnias Uncaged!

This week, in addition to getting back into the storyline for Wolf’s Soul, the sequel to July’s new Firekeeper novel, Wolf’s Search, I did some work on another project (which I will tell you more about when the contracts are signed), saw a new depiction of Firekeeper (sneak peek below!), and assessed my garden.

As you may recall, Jim and I did a variety of experiments in our garden this year.  Now that it’s August, I’m trying to decide what worked and what didn’t.  Complicating matters were the depredations of a baby rabbit we dubbed Frippery Wigglenose Scamperbutt.

For those of you who have been in suspense, we did save the zinnias out front, and they are now looking marvelous.  As I suspected, once the leaves were large enough to get coarse and prickly, Frippery lost interest.   A greater availability of the wild plants that are a more usual part of his diet doubtlessly helped.  We’ve seen both him and PF “weeding” our front area’s gravel for us.  Nice to have helpful wild bunnies.

We tried several new varieties of beans this year.  Most didn’t really do well.  I think when catalogs say “good in heat,” they don’t mean New Mexico heat, and especially my yard.  However, a new variety of liana did great and we’ll definitely repeat.  Not surprisingly, given that they were originally bred by the indigenous peoples of Arizona, all three varieties of teppary bean have done fine and are beginning to set pods.

Well, except for those Frippery got to.  Those are a bit behind, and part of one row never did recover.

Our eggplant is doing pretty well.  Our squash (mostly zucchini) is thriving, so we’re giving up on what “everyone” told us to do, and will go back to planting in the early spring and simply praying the squash bugs don’t bother us.  Our peppers have been very slow.  I blame cooler than usual nights early in the spring.  However, some are finally coming on.

Tomatoes are mixed.  We’ve lost quite a number to curly top virus, but have enough to begin to decorate our salads.  And give the guinea pigs.  Ziggy’s new favorite food is tomato.

I’ll replant chard and arugula when daytime temperatures settle in the mid-nineties, rather than spiking over a hundred.  That should be coming soon, and hopefully we’ll have autumn greens.  The herbs are doing very well.  I have made the cats happy with lots and lots of catnip.  Soon I’ll be clipping basil to freeze for later pesto.

Speaking of growing projects of another sort (how’s that for a clever transition?), my friends at DreamForge magazine have announced a really cool new contest.

The topic is whether the current wealth of data that surrounds us is a good thing or not.  You can find more details at the link, but I’ll tell you right off: there is a cash prize, and the winning story will be published in the on-line edition of DreamForge Magazine.  Don’t forget, this means it will be accompanied by a full-color illustration, something increasingly rare these days.

This is also a good time to remind you that the first ever Firekeeper short story, “A Question of Truth,” will appear in the new issue of DreamForge.  The story is set before Wolf’s Search, so there won’t be any spoilers, but if you read it, you’ll know something that only Firekeeper and Blind Seer know!  It’s illustrated by Elizabeth Leggett, who gives her own twist to how the now early twenties, slightly more civilized, Firekeeper might look…

Elizabeth Leggett’s Illustration in DreamForge 3

DreamForge is only available by subscription.  They offer a variety of options including their lush print version, a combined print/digital version (for those of you who can’t bear to get fingerprints on your beloved magazines), and a quite affordable digital version.  Details are available here.

Now I’m off to pull out my colored pens and continue working on the reverse outline for Wolf’s Soul.  I got a bit worried last week that I wasn’t speeding along fast enough.  Then I realized I was tinkering and tightening along the way.  I can’t wait to start writing the thrilling concluding chapters.  Tune in next week and I’ll tell you if I managed!

FAQ: Wolf’s Search

July 31, 2019

Blue Wolf With A Blue-Eyed Wolf

Wolf’s Search, the seventh novel in the Firekeeper Saga, has been an official release for two weeks now.  In those two weeks, I’ve been repeatedly asked several of the same questions.  Here are both Questions and Answers.

1) Will I be able to order a signed copy directly from you?

The answer to that one is “Yes,” but the details are complicated.  Read on!

At least for now, Wolf’s Search will not be on my website bookshop’s list of available titles.  I am considering revamping the form I’ve been using, because—as some of you already know—it has quirks.  Until I have the time and money to mess with the website form, this book needs to be ordered via e-mail from jane2@janelindskold.com.  (See below for more about this.)

Price will be $18.99.  This includes shipping via Media Mail, handling, and autographing, including personalization upon request.  (Hey, lots of fans pay extra for movie star autographs.  It’s worth thinking about.)

You can pay via personal check, but I will hold the order for two weeks from date of deposit to give time for the check to clear.  You can also use money orders, cashier’s checks, or PayPal.

If you use PayPal, any refunds will have PayPal fees deducted from the return.  Send PayPal payments to jane2@janelindskold.com.

As indicated above, my business e-mail is jane2@janelindskold.com.  Please note: My web host has been having difficulties, so your e-mail may not get to me.  If you don’t get a reply within a couple of days, e-mail again or Message me on Facebook or Twitter.

I will get your book in the mail as quickly as is feasible, but I usually reserve one day a week for trips to the post office.

2) Can I order other of your books directly from you?

Yes, you can.  Most of my books are available via my website bookshop.  When possible, I offer hard cover first edition, first printing.  However, not all of my books are available, nor are they all hard covers.  Check the details.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

As above, shipping is included in the price.  See above for other details.

3) What if I already have bought a copy?  Can I sent it to you to get signed?

Yes.  You can, but you need to include return postage.  Also, if you want to send a large order, be sure to let me know.  I am not equipped to handle massive boxes.  If you want me to sign your entire collection, consider attending a convention or bookstore event.

Package the book in reusable packaging (because I firmly believe in “reuse, recycle.”  Enclose the book with any instructions for signing (Ex. “Signature Only” or “To Jessie.”).  You can also include a note saying something like, “This is a birthday present for my spouse, Chris.  Can you say something special?”

Include an address label for the package addressed to you or whoever you want to have the book.

Remember to include return postage or your book will have found a new home with me.

4) Is Wolf’s Search available as a hard cover?

No.  However, I’ve been asked this often enough that at some point I may produce a limited edition hard cover version.  If so, I will probably do a Kickstarter to judge how serious interest is.

5) Is Wolf’s Search available as an audiobook?

No.  This is not because I am not interested.  As a devoted audiobook junkie, I most definitely am.  However, I have not been approached by any vendor who is interested in doing the work.  If you want a Firekeeper audiobook (or any of my works as audiobooks), I suggest you contact the vendor or vendors of your choice and alert them to your desire.  They actually listen to purchasers!

6) Is it true that there is going to be another Firekeeper book?

Yes.  The working title is Wolf’s Soul and it picks up close after Wolf’s Search.  I haven’t quite finished writing it, and then it will need to be polished and proofed and produced, but the nice thing about my using indie publishing is that as soon as it’s ready, I’ll put it in your hands.

7) Now that you’re writing sequels, are you going to write another Artemis book?  Or “Breaking the Wall” book?  Or athanor book?

Maybe.  I talked about plans for the future last week.

8) I’d love to have you do a signing near me.  Is that likely?

It’s more likely if the bookstore contacts me and offers to defray my expenses.  The same goes for conventions.  I don’t live where I can just hop in the car, drive a few hours, and come home again.

9) As of this moment, there is no Number Nine.  Feel free to ask, though, and I’ll answer either in the comments or next week!

Want More?

July 24, 2019

Keladry Lounges With Blind Seer

When I decided I was going write a new Firekeeper novel, I’ll admit, I was scared.  Not about writing the novel.  I was ready and eager to return to Firekeeper and her world.  What scared me was the investment in time and expense I was going to make in the hope that people would buy another Firekeeper novel.

When I shared my apprehensions with a variety of people, I was amazed at how many said something like “You should do a Kickstarter” or “Sign up for Patreon or Drip.  Everyone is doing it.”

I’ll admit it.  I balked, but not because I didn’t think I would finish the novel.  I’ve written many novels based on a proposal or even just a verbal pitch.  As long as I have an idea I’m enthusiastic about, I will write the story.

No.  I balked because I didn’t have any idea how long it would take me to write the novel. Asking people to fund me for an indefinite period of time didn’t seem fair.  I’m relatively new to indie pub, but the one thing I’ve learned is that, if you’re going to do a good job, the process takes time.  Indeed, as I revealed back in January, the writing of Wolf’s Search didn’t follow the path I thought it would.

So now Wolf’s Search is completed and is available for sale.   You can acquire the ebook at the following on-line retailers: Amazon; Barnes and Noble (Nook); Kobo; Google Play, and iTunes.  The trade paperback is also available at Amazon.  I talked more about the story itself last week, so I won’t repeat myself here.

What can you do if you want more original works by me?

Buy Wolf’s Search.  Don’t search around for a pirated copy.  Don’t pirate.  Let me know if you find someone who is selling or even just giving away a pirated version.  Pirates are only romantic and dashing in the movies.  In reality, they are just petty thieves.

Don’t buy one copy and share it with your five closest pals.  Sure, I appreciate the compliment, but I can’t make a living from shared copies or used copies.  This may be a shock to you, but libraries don’t pay me when you take my book out.  I only get paid for the one purchase – and institutions usually buy at a discount.

What else can you do?

Write on-line reviews and post them at the vendor of your choice.  Although many people think it is disgusting when writers request on-line reviews, while writing is an art, publishing (which enables writers to make a living) is a business.  Especially when a book has been independently published, the author doesn’t earn a single penny until you buy the book.

Still with me?

Tell your friends about Wolf’s Search.  Feature it in your book club. Word of mouth—or of electron—is still considered the best way for the word to get out about a book

Another thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is sign up for my mailing list.  That way you can be first to hear about special offers, contests, or get a sneak peek at the cover art for forthcoming works.  You can sign up from my website or by using the link on the left side of my Facebook page.  I never share my mailing list information, and I post only occasionally, so you don’t need to worry about weekly spam.

Let me be completely honest.  Whether or not I can afford to publish more novels, as well as how quickly those novels become available, is in your hands.  With your backing, I can afford to concentrate on writing, because I can hire help for the mundane business details.  Without your help, there’s only me acting as writer, editor, marketer, art director, and all the rest.

Not a fan of Firekeeper?  That’s okay.  Some of you have asked if I’ll be writing more novels in some of my other universes, such as that of the “Artemis Awakening” series, the “Breaking the Wall” series, or the athanor series.  I definitely have some exciting new sequel projects planned.

Even better, I also have some new, never before published, works in progress.

However, whether I can afford to pursue these projects, as well as how quickly they become available, depends on you and your support.  If you don’t want to buy a Firekeeper novel, then consider buying one of my other novels or my short story collection, Curiosities.  Have all of them?  Buy one of my books as a gift.

Don’t buy used.  My website bookstore offers many of my novels in hard cover first editions.  The bookstore page will be undergoing revision and expansion, but you can always e-mail me if you are wondering about the availability of a certain title.  Contact information is on my webpage.

Many of my older titles are also available as e-books.  More will become available as I have time and finances to produce them.

Thank you for your enthusiasm for the Firekeeper Saga and my other works.  I hope you’ll be part of making sure that my stories – both your old favorites and new material – remain available in the years to come.

Now, off to do some business stuff, but soon I hope to be running with Firekeeper and Blind Seer again soon.

Take Flight With Wolf’s Search

July 10, 2019

Back and Front Cover!

As you’ve probably guessed, the image accompanying this post is the official cover for Wolf’s Search.  The art is by Julie Bell, who gave her talents to the art for the first six books, and let me use her “Andre” for the cover of Wolf’s Search.

Many readers of Fantasy and SF are already familiar with Julie Bell’s art, but did you know that doing the covers for the Firekeeper books brought her to doing wildlife art as well?  You can read all about her journey—including the ups and downs along the way—here.

If you’re interested in seeing the original of “Andre,” here’s a link to the proper page on Julie Bell’s site.  You’ll see that her image is just a little different from the one on the cover, but it’s still magnificent.  Even more fascinating, Julie Bell’s painting actually perfectly fit something I’d planned for the book long before I started looking for art.  There is such a thing as serendipity.

Wondering what Wolf’s Search is about?  Let me spare you trying to read off the photo and give you the blurb here!

Transformative Journey

Blind Seer has run at Firekeeper’s side since the wolf-woman first crossed the Iron Mountains into human-held lands.  Now it’s her turn to run alongside the blue-eyed wolf as he sets out in search of someone who can teach him how to use his magical gift—on his own unique terms.

The pair’s search will take them to the far side of the world in the company of allies who include a young woman scarred by war, a falcon who believes himself a traitor, and an old friend… or possibly enemy.  Together they will fight battles from before they were born, climb mountains, cross badlands, eventually unveiling a threat that will reshape not only Blind Seer, but his belief in what he most desires.

As I write this, I’m waiting for the print proof for Wolf’s Search to arrive.  It’s scheduled to get here tomorrow.  Proofing that is the final Big Step before the book is ready for release.  Depending on whether any new errors cropped up in printing, Wolf’s Search could be available as both e-book and trade paperback within a few weeks.

I’ll announce when Wolf’s Search is available as a Wednesday Wandering.  If you can’t wait even a moment, sign up for my Mailing List, since I’ll post the information there as soon as it becomes available.  You can find a link to the mailing list at my website.  My mailing list is only used for important announcements, and I never share the list, so you don’t need to worry about being inundated except by the sort of news you want!

Now, off to see if the proof has arrived.  I know it’s a day early, but I’m very excited!

Storyteller, Not Only Writer

May 22, 2019

Past Adventures In The Court Of The Faceless Tyrant

People—especially other writers—often ask me why I run a roleplaying game (and have been for many years) when prep for the game takes up some of my writing time. Last Sunday’s game demonstrated one reason.  I’m still grinning at the memory as I type this.

Sunday night I sprang a plot twist on my players. It was terrific watching eyes widen as, one by one, people caught the implications of what was unfolding.

Dominique, the unwitting foil for my revelation, did a brilliant job of playing her part as Persephone who, daring to hope for a very special Midwinter gift from her long-time crush, instead realizes that he’s proposing to her – in the form of inviting her to join a conspiracy.

I had no idea what Dominique/Persephone would do or say.  Being ready to react appropriately was definitely an adrenaline high.  She gave me a lot to work with.  After everyone left, Jim said he half-expected Dominique to really burst into tears. It was improv theater at its best.

My fiction-writing self usually waits years to see how a novel will be received. Often, I never hear.  Worse, when I do hear, most responses are not about what I wrote, but about what I didn’t write.  By contrast, my game master self gets to see the response in real time.

Running my weekly game jazzes me for my daily writing, maybe because my players are such excellent collaborators.  Nonetheless, I have no desire to reveal a novel until it’s done. Why?  Different type of storytelling, I guess.

I often define myself as a storyteller, not a writer.  I realize that’s not precisely true.  I am a writer.  I love the process of finding the right words to portray a character or describe a setting.  I love refining these elements until they’re as close to perfect as I can get them.

My earliest stories were told aloud, mostly to my two younger sisters.  Later, I daydreamed elaborate plots with only me as an audience.  My current two favorite forms of storytelling are descendants of those early experiences.

Now I’m off to be my prose writer self, who has been busily scribbling all over the manuscript of Wolf’s Soul in a quest for the perfect words and cadence.  Nonetheless, my oral storyteller self is already anticipating next week’s game when…  Well, we’ll just need to see!