Witch’s Curse… a release date?

witch2Remember just three months ago when I put “Witch’s Sacrifice” out into the wild and many of you had an opportunity to read it? The squeal, “Witch’s Curse”, is almost here.

I didn’t know if I could actually do it. For the last three months I’ve been working on it, and it kept growing. “Witch’s Curse” is about 20,0000 words longer than “Witch’s Sacrifice.” It had some pretty big scenes in it too. At times I felt lost, and didn’t know what I would write, or how I could write it. Now?

I do have two chapters to finish, then the editor is suppose to take over next week. But with editing, and all the formatting, a release of August 1st, exactly 3 months and one day since the release of “Witch’s Sacrifice” is looking great.

As for the third and final book in the trilogy, “Witch’s Stand”… I want to have it finished in three months as well (which would be a November release,) but no promises. It is only half finished, and I don’t have a cover for it yet. I also have to rewrite a few things that changed during the writing of book two.

Once the Witch’s Trilogy is complete it’s off to finish a few of the Eternal Tapestry books. I currently have four more planned, and will probably end up with a lot more if people enjoy it.

I also have one more project that I will be doing for NaNoWriMo. A completely new world that I can’t wait to unveil. I already have a really solid plot for NaNoWriMo, and a cover idea. However, just getting the trilogy out this year is enough of an achievement. I will be thrilled to have this new piece out at the beginning of next year.

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Updates


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Podcast Recommendations

It’s been about a year since I shared my favorite podcasts. Some of them have ended, others have been created, so I’m sharing my favorite podcasts that involve writing with you here.

Author Strong – fantastic 30 minute episodes interviewing and talking about writing.

Sell More Books Show – Five tips, and five top news stories in publishing. Quick, and to the point podcast.

Self Publishing Podcast – One of the original podcasts. Three guys discussing their journey through indie authorship. Not always safe for work.

Rocking Self Publishing Podcast – Interviews from authors, marketers, and others.

Authorpreneur – interviews with authors, marketers, and others who talk about the business side of writing.

Creative Penn – Interviews from authors from every walk of life.

Self Publishing Roundtable – usually interviews with authors who are selling a lot of books.

Grammar Girl – A girl bent on making the world a more grammatically correct place.

Literary Roadhouse – Every week they read and discuss a short story.

To Be Read – Weekly discussion of the books they are reading, and what they loved or hated about certain books.

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in On Writing


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Averaging it out

I haven’t shown my word counts in a while, so I thought it was about time. It’s July, after all, so I’ve got more than half a year behind me and a great amount of data to show improvements.


First, I am comparing similar data sets from last year and this year. (Jan 1st to July 5th.)

I had the same amount of “Zero Word Count” days in both years. This year I had whooping cough which lasted a month and kept me from writing much. Last year I had family issues that had to be dealt with before I could write, along with the normal days of laziness, or just busy with other things.

The average has gone up. 560 for last year, 615 for this year. I always write more in the second half of the year, and NaNoWriMo is coming up, for which I have another book already outlined. It will be interesting to see how the numbers shift, and if I can finally get my average per day up over 1000 by October. If I can then NaNoWriMo won’t be so exhausting.

The biggest difference this year is I haven’t had any 3000+ word days yet. Last year I only had two, but one of them was on this chart. That drove up the average quite a bit. I think the only think keeping my average up this year is having fewer days with very low (under 200) word counts. Plotting a little more when I get stuck is helping.

I’m hoping to continue the trend of working more and more till I can put out three books a year. That seems like a reasonable amount.




Posted by on July 6, 2015 in On Writing


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No Thanks!

Last night we went to the store. It was one of those big “buy anything” stores, and of course my boyfriend and I stopped at the book section and took a look.

Several of the books caught my eyes. I loved their covers, I liked their descriptions. One made me pick it up and do a double take. It was bright pink with a pentagram on it. Urban fantasy? Yes. Please. Another proved to be a science fiction fantasy series that I new I would love.

Then I looked at their prices.

Why won’t I buy a paperback in a shop like Target, or FredMyers? Because you are charging $13 for a paperback, that’s why. That is double what I use to pay. They’ve also made paperbacks into larger sizes instead of the cute little pocket editions I use to get, so they don’t match up with my selves and shelves of pocket edition books. They fit great with the hard covers, but they aren’t hard covers.

I looked the books up on Amazon. I’ve never done that before. I’ve taken a few pictures of books as a reminder that they look interesting and I might like them later, but I never looked a book up on amazon specifically to buy them before. Even then I hesitated because the prices were high and I already had a stack of books to finish reading.

There are so many good books out there. Books I’d love to buy and read, books I’d love to own to stick on my shelf. They have beautiful covers, and the stories sound interesting…but that third item, the price, also has to be right.

Maybe I’m cheap when it comes to books. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations because I bought so many of them brand new when they were only $7. Or maybe the publishing industry has changed and I just don’t like the way it’s changed. But when the ebook is $7-12 I simply can’t be bothered to buy it brand new anymore.

Part of this is probably because I’ve seen behind the curtain. I know that if I buy that $13 dollar book the author isn’t going to get much of that money anyway, but if I buy a kindle book from an indie author for $5 that author is going to make 70% of the cover price. That seems like a better bargain to me because I’m supporting the person who is actually writing the book, and the more I support them the more books there will be.

I use to listen to a lovely author’s podcast. She had some great fiction, and I liked her books. She traditionally published. At the end of her podcasts she would sometimes say “If you really enjoyed this please buy it to let the publisher know you want more. Because if you don’t buy it there won’t be more books” or something to that effect.

I did buy one when it came on sale because I do like the author and I wanted to support her. But I would have bought all of her books had the prices not been set so high buy the publisher. And it saddened me that she would abandon a really great series just because a publisher didn’t think it was making enough. She had so many followers. She would have been able to support herself easily if she had to produce more books through self publishing.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the day.

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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in On Writing


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All About That Drama

Reddit is having a melt down.

If you don’t know what Reddit is you might not understand, or care about this. But to those of us who were avid Redditors this has been an ugly couple of days.

Reddit was a bastion of free speech. While our for-fathers had underground newspapers that fought against the status quo, we had sub-reddits. We took the phones to let the FCC know we would not stand for the destruction of net neutrality. We fought to hold back SOPA and PIPA. We had the world record for online Secret Santas. We sent pizza to a two year old cancer patient. And so many more things from helping kids with homework to donating kidneys.

Over the last few months since the new CEO, Ellen Pao, took over, Reddit has been plagued with troubles. There were a flurry of bans, and while many looked at the bans and worried it was just the beginning, many of us weren’t upset because the content was quasi legal anyway.  At the same time many of us wondered why they didn’t remove other subreddits that were equally distasteful. Then came another rash of subreddit bans, this time because the subreddits were accused of vote brigades and harassment of people on and off reddit.  While many knew about and disagreed with some of those deleted (like FatPeopleHate) others knew it would eventually cause issues, and many of us believed it was a political action as some subs with less than tasteful cultures were deleted while others who are notorious for harassing people on and offline were left alone.

Reddit was started by two college students looking for a great aggregate site. They delivered. And it got HUGE. So huge that a corporate entity bought it from them some time ago. At the end of the day, Reddit is a corporation, and they have the same bottom line as everyone else. Money.

The sad part is, Reddit was a fantastic place to get breaking news. Often they had better news about events then any of the major news networks. They had live reports from people in the middle of the action, photos from people at the floods, or fires, or tsunamis. Reddit had mega-threads for the devastating tsunami in Japan so we had one place to go to find out as much as we could. That, along with so many other things, made Reddit a wonderful place.

However, with corporate interests comes corporate censorship. It has been noted for quite some time that the default subreddits ban anything “controversial”. That means they do not allow anything that would upset their corporate interests into those default threads, the largest subreddits available with the most eyes seeing them every day. So as we were trying to fight TPP they were banning all discussion of it from anyone who might see it, and even banning people from the subreddits. The same spirit that helped us con conquer SOPA/PIPA and lead the fight for net neutrality is now banned from the most visible parts of reddit.

These six companies own 90% of all the media. ALL OF IT. What we read, what we watch, what we listen to. They tell us what they think is appropriate to watch and see. They spin it the way they want to, and they don’t care if we want to see something else. In tern these agencies are paid for, and controled by other corporate interests. If their sponsors don’t like something they will pull funding. Like the case of Monsanto forcing a Fox News affiliate to change their coverage over dangerous hormones in milk. Two reporters were fired, and the court held up the right of the news affiliate to spin the news as they saw fit (i.e. they could lie.)

More and more it seems that Reddit has becoming just another corporate entity. This is devastating for the freedom of speech. The freedom to get and share ideas. The ability to simply know the truth instead of what corporate money, and political interests want us to know. There is a reason propaganda is so predominant in this country. Even today.

I am sad to see Reddit falling to pieces. I am sure it will survive in some form or another, but I know that as long as leaders of reddit seem more interested in political correctness then I won’t feel as comfortable as I once did. I’ll always be wondering what they banned this week, or who they are shadowbanning to keep silent.

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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in On Writing


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The first chapter

As I’m getting close to finishing “Witch’s Curse” (the sequel to Witch’s Sacrifice) I thought I should put up the first chapter in one convenient spot so anyone could read it. This is a bit of a prolog showing how Brother Hawk and Alistir met. You might also want to follow me on Google Plus where I will be adding short snippets from the rest of the book most Saturdays till release.

*** Chapter One ***

Blood. Sweat. Pain. Hunger.

Each new hurt layered on top of another until Brother Hawk had nothing left in his mind but anger to feed him. How long had he been trapped in the cage? Days? Weeks? Months? After centuries his perception of time was clouded, and with no window to the outside world he had nothing to go on. He only knew that he hadn’t been fed since being locked in. His feathers were dull and grimy, dragging his skin down with layers of dirt. His tongue rasped along the dry roof of his mouth, trying to find saliva and failing.

“You, fetch water,” a voice demanded outside the gray bars.

More torture, Brother Hawk thought. Not a new torture, either. Dangle the water, or the choice bit of flesh just outside the bars. Get the bird to scramble, clawing for it. Then take it away. Old. The only time he reacted to it now was when he could not claw down the savage hunger burning in his throat.

Today he could. Today he lay listless on the floor, his tongue rolling in dust. His wings spread out as far as they could in the cramped cell. Today they would find no reaction. Not until they brought the pokers, and knives.

The grating of metal on metal roused him enough to look, still moving nothing but his eyes. The door creaked open, the sound tearing into his ears. The door hadn’t been open in so long, but he was too tired to try to do anything about it. Not that a mad dash to freedom would have ended well. The curse saw to that.

A white robed figure stepped through the door, a blurry shape against the dark background, a blob of brown swinging at his side. The smell of good, clean water, not the festering miasma of rotting slime the acolytes usually brought, made his nostrils flare, but still Brother Hawk would not succumb to the torture. He fought down the urge to drink. The urge to lunge for the pail.

The white shape knelt beside Brother Hawk and slowly lifted the brown blob closer. Water sloshed inside, the sound assaulting his ears with hope.

“Drink, Brother Hawk,” the man said. “You will not be denied this time.”

Brother Hawk blinked, the figuring getting a little less blurry. A mat of thick red hair. A bushy beard. Piercing black eyes. Were they black? They seemed black in his addled state.

Brother Hawk sucked in a deeper breath, his beak clacking together as the chains rattled around him.

“Get these chains off him,” the voice said, harsh and forceful.

“But, sir,” a plaintive voice called. Halbend. The jailer. Putrid slime that he was, Halbend didn’t ever want to let Brother Hawk free. Not as long as he lived.

“What did I say?” the white robe asked, his voice hard as steel.

“Y-yes sir.”

Another figure entered the room. Keys rattled. Chains moved. The heavy weight lifted from him, then another chain slammed down on his back, a small squawk of surprise exiting his beak.

A sudden rush of movement, and a large weight slammed against the far side of the cell. Brother Hawk blinked again, clearing the fog enough to see the white robe towering over the prone form of Halbend.

“I have been sent to be keeper and master of Brother Hawk, and if any of you filthy swine so much as lay a hand on him or damage a single feather I will make sure that your last days are spent in the same cell he once occupied, carrying the same chains. Do I make myself clear?”

“Y-yes, sir,” Halbend cried, scrambling back against the bars.

“Now get a stretcher in here, and food. Fresh meat, not that filth you swine eat.”

Halbend scrambled up, bowing and scraping as he exited the chamber leaving the white robe all alone.

Brother Hawk could have attacked then. Tortured and broken he might be, but there was still some kick left in him. The curse saw to that. Never dying, yet always wishing for death.

Something about this young white robe told Brother Hawk to use caution. He wasn’t like the jailers, or even the high priest. Not prone to beat first and ask questions later. How long would that last?

Curiosity more than anything kept Brother Hawk from attacking. He wanted to know what this white robe would do.

“I was chosen to care for you,” the man said as he knelt beside Brother Hawk’s beak. “I mean to do it.”

The man began ladling water from the bucket over Brother Hawks beak. Pure water. No taint, or piss, or foul dead thing to be found. Just water. His tongue lapped at the rivulets. He wanted to dive into the bucket. Suck it down.

“Not too quickly,” the man said. “I’m sure it’s been some times since you’ve had decent food and water, but take it slow. You’ll make yourself sick. The curse can only protect you so much.”

Brother Hawk squawked, his beak clacking together as the water was taken away, but it returned, slowly dribbling down his parched throat. He stilled, sucking down the life giving water.

Something touched Brother Hawk’s head and he flinched before stealing his nerves. It was never good to flinch in front of the enemy. His moment of weakness could be his undoing. But the pressure returned, stroking his head, accompanied by soothing words and trills.

“You’ve been poorly treated, Brother Hawk,” the voice said. “I’m sorry. They have no excuse for the cruelties leveled on you. Now that I’ve been tasked with your care that will change.”

Boots tromped down the stairs. The water was taken away only to be replaced with rough hands lifting Brother Hawk onto thick canvas. A stretcher. He was hoisted up, then carried out of the jail cell under the watchful eye of the white robed acolyte. The disdain of the men carrying the stretcher radiated out from them. It ran deeper then blood, but their fear of the white robed man ran deeper.

The stretcher bounced and jostled, carrying Brother Hawk up the long flight of stairs. The same stairs that once brought him to his prison, a journey he scarcely remembered after years of being locked in the dark. The ride through the darkness gave the curse time to work on his body, using the water he’d been given to hydrate dry muscles, and lubricate joints. His eyesight started to improve giving him a clearer view of his captors. Figures swam into focus, their angry faces studiously focused ahead while the white robe led the way.

Did the journey down the stairwell seem like such a long walk? He couldn’t remember. Time played tricks with his mind, faded some memories while making other things sharp. He could still recall the dull echoes of boot heels on stone steps, their faint shuffling pinging from every surface around them, just as they did now. Still smell the blood of his jailers, ripped apart by beak and talon as they tried to subdue him.

At the top of the stairwell the large wooden door lay open. The faint scent of fresh sea air made his nostrils flair. Dim sunlight cut like a knife through the doorway, dust falling through the still air in little white streams.

As they carried Brother Hawk out of the stairwell and into the upper chambers the air seemed to lighten around him. A weight being lifted. The air lost the staleness that he had come to find normal. The feted rotten odors that assaulted his senses however long he’d been down there were gone.

The white robe did not stop in the antechambers as Brother Hawk thought he might. He kept going, into the courtyard where sunlight brightened the earth, and summer winds danced through tree limbs. Brother Hawk could see it through the windows. Smell the leaves, grass, and flowers. Taste the salt in the air. And while he wanted that, wanted the sun on his body and the warmth of the earth around him, wanted freedom, part of him balked. It was so open beyond the door. So vibrant.

The acolytes carried Brother Hawk across the threshold into the courtyard. Sunlight assaulted his great orbs, the pain lancing through his skull. He screeched, and flailed on the tiny canvas stretcher, causing the men to drop him to the ground.

“You idiot!” the white robe called. “Be more careful with him. It’s a bird not a demon.”

“They’re one in the same, ain’t they?” one of the acolytes asked.

There was a thump and Brother Hawk blinked, adjusting to the light, only to see one of the acolytes sprawled on the floor, his hand pressed to a growing bruise on his face.

“Go get him some ice,” he said to one of the men nearby, then turned to another acolyte, jabbing at him with a large meaty finger. “You start feeding him. Slowly.”

“But sir,” a plump acolyte cried, “the bird’s dangerous.”

“No more so then I am. Now see to your brother. Go, bring hot water.”

They scrambled off in different directions, leaving the hurt acolyte to crawl to his feet and wander off on his own.

The white robed acolyte came closer, kneeling beside Brother Hawk to look him in the eye.

“I’ve been told something of you, Brother Hawk. They say you’ve been bound by the blood of the kraken. That you’re a man trapped in a birds form. I think we can be of service to one another. As you see, I have some standing among the brothers.”

The acolyte withdrew a leather thong with a single green stone on it.

“As you can see, I hold your bond. The high priest left you to my charge. He’s lost all interest in your plight, but I still think you can be useful. However, I am not a cruel man. No creature deserves to be caged and tortured for years on end. Especially a creature with a gift of the kraken. Like you, Brother Hawk.”

The acolytes returned burdened with heavy buckets of hot water, towels, soap and smaller pails of fresh meats cut into small cubes.

Brother Hawk lost sense of time long ago in the deep dark of the dungeon. Now the sun slowly crossed the sky while the white robed priest washed each of his feathers in between handfuls of raw meat. Minutes stretched into hours during his careful ministrations.

Brother Hawk stretched, his wings snapping and straining against long in use. Each joint cracked as he moved, his muscles burning as the curse brought them back to health. Lighter without the years of grime and muck. Bright black feathers, glistening in the last of the sunlight. All the while he could feel the curse working to restore his withered body.

The curse. Any other creature would have died, lost and forgotten in the pitch black of a dungeon. While Brother Hawk felt the gnawing hunger, and his body slowly shut itself down over time, the curse would not allow him the mercy of death. He kept lingering, the hunger gnawing at his bones, unable to move. Unable to seek freedom.

Once clean and fed the white robe sent the acolytes away again, then sat beside Brother Hawk. They contemplated each other, black orbs of the hawk reflecting back from the dark brown eyes of the acolyte.

“We are not so different, you and I,” the acolyte said.

Brother Hawk snorted, but did not move.

“It’s true,” he protested. “We are both bound to the acolytes, bound to serve the kraken. We are both forced to do the will of the high priest, whatever he may ask. It’s true that your curse leaves you no option, but my only option is death if I fail to serve.”

Brother Hawk tilted his head to the side, blinking at the acolyte, unable to disagree, but unable to comment with more than a squawk.

“You wonder why I bother with you?”

Brother Hawk nodded.

“I think we can help one another. I think that there is much we could learn from each other. High Priest Nagiz is old, his time grows short, and no one knows who will take his place just yet. But any change in the head leaves an opening for the body to shift, yes? There are things about the brotherhood that even the most diehard adherents cannot stomach, like torturing defenseless birds pleasure. Perhaps, together, we could change at least some of that.”

Brother Hawk blinked.

The white robed man chuckled. “It is difficult to have a conversation with a bird. Perhaps it is time for us to change that. Brother Hawk, it’s time that you were set free from your prison. Be a man.”

The change grabbed a hold of him before he had time to prepare, rippling through his body like fire ants on the hunt. Muscles spasmed, pulling tight as feathers faded away. Wings shrank into fingers and arms. Legs grew, thickening and lengthening. The beak shriveled back into his skull replaced by soft skin, pale white and threaded with bright lines where he’d been inflicted with cuts and welts by his captors.

Laying on the ground, panting and shiver, the naked man that was once a hawk, gasped for breath.

“Be careful now,” the white robe said as he knelt beside Brother Hawk. “You’ve been locked in the hawks form for almost thirty years now. Take some time to find your legs again before straining yourself.”

“Thirty?” Brother Hawks voice sounded rusted and dry even to his own ears.

“Yes, thirty years. I only found out about you five years ago. It’s taken me this long to get enough seniority to take you into my care. As far as High Priest Nagiz is concerned you are my charge from now till the end of time.”

Brother Hawk looked up at him blinking with two brown eyes larger than any man had a right to have. Being cursed to be a hawk had marred his body in more ways than he knew over the centuries.

“Who…who are you?” the man, once hawk, gasped out.

The white robe smiled as he helped Brother Hawk to his feet, steadying him as he wobbled.

“My name is Alistir.”

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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Stories


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Why not both?

book vs kindleWe see it a lot these days, “Ebooks are killing print books!”

They pull up stats, and show us how ebooks are starting to outsell physical books. Physical book readers fight back and say how awful ebooks are. Then we get more stats from publishers saying print books are outsold ebooks. Back and forth like an endless yo-yo.

Why can’t we have both?

Ebooks are convenient. I love the fact that I can take my kindle filled with a thousand books anywhere I go. I can read on the bus, at the park, poolside, or just during my lunch at work. The text and e-ink are easier on my eyes then the computer screen or smart phone, and I have a paperwhite so I can read in bed with a low level of light if I really want to. If text is too small I can adjust that. If text is too big I can adjust that too.

But I have to admit that my digital collection of books isn’t as awe inspiring as my physical one. I don’t rush to see my own book on kindle, I want the paperback in my hands so I can show it off. I like the smell of old books, and the look of their covers on my shelf. I love having a non-fiction paper book that I can write notes in the margins, highlight, and fold pages. Bookmarks in kindle aren’t quite the same.

The music industry is a fantastic counter example of where the publishing industry is going. They had iTunes, then other music shops open to regulate prices. We had Amazon. They had access to iTunes, soundcloud, and other services where indies could go straight to the public, we had Amazon, then Smashwords, and others. They struggle with the same “go free or don’t go free” quandary that faces writers.

Just as writers can see a correlation with their indie writers, readers can see a correlation to their music lovers. CD’s, and even LP’s, have not faded away to obscurity because of MP3’s. On the contrary, they have become collectible, sometimes specialized to give them greater value to the listeners. While lovers of great music continually search out the new, and fill their technology with MP3’s they are also sharing, buying, and trading CD’s and LP’s.

Why wouldn’t books do the same? Print books aren’t going to disappear into the ether. There will always be those who shun technology, who can’t afford it, or simply enjoy the feel of a good book.But like music book publishers are going to have to be a little more creative in how they market, or stick to the big boys who sell the most books. As print on demand becomes easier, and even more cost effective, fewer bulk books will be available.

One of the biggest markets hit by the change in the music industry may have been music stores. Many of them failed while others changed their model, becoming more specialized and catering to specific crowds. Book stores are doing the same thing. While Boarders disappeared Barns and Nobel adjusted their business model and is surviving.

It’s nice that music lovers no longer care if it’s digital or physical. They’ve gotten past the logistic of how their music gets in the hands of the fans and just gone on to make great music. Hopefully that will soon be the case for authors and readers as well. Then we can get back to the business of writing good books, and getting them in the hands of those who love to read.

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Commentary


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