Monday, September 26, 2016

An Event and September Ends

Special Note for Facebook People:
I will be hosting one hour of Patricia Loofbourrow's book release party for Queen of Diamonds, the sequel to her exciting steampunk Jacq of Spades book.  Please come by and keep me company!  I'll even be giving away an ebook or two of my own!  There will be lots of other great authors joining in as well, so stop by and see what's going on.

Sign up and be ready to join in:

October 1, 2016 Schedule of events (US Central time):

(Other authors may be joining in!)

9 am -
10 am -
11 am - Erin M. Hartshorn hosting
12 pm - Lee Brown hosting
1 pm - Nan Simpson Bach hosting
2 pm - Live posting from The Queen of Diamonds book signing at Half Price Books in Oklahoma City (I-240/Penn)
3 pm -
4 pm - Lazette Gifford hosting
5 pm - Rie Sheridan Rose hosting
6 pm -
7 pm - Margaret McGaffey Fisk hosting
8 pm - Tommy B. Smith hosting

And now my regular blog!
This is already the last Monday of September.  The month went too fast -- and now we're facing down October, the last month before NaNoWriMo.  I am not ready, but I think October should give me enough time for the next big outline I want to get done.
That will only happen if the story idea for the second Raventower book comes together.  I have finally had ideas, though, and I see an underside to the original story that is going to be really fun to play with since I have two minor characters who are not what they appeared to be.  This makes me VERY happy.  They're going to be so much fun -- just as soon as I come up with an actual plot.  I have some scenes.  I even have the end.  I think I have the opening scene.  There's just that 100,000 other words between that I need to consider.
Also, I think I need to change the location of something in the first book.  Not a difficult change, but I can work something in later if I do this.  So, a good thing I haven't tried to rush Raventower 1 out.  I knew that I wanted to consider things for the next book before I made any final decision.
Raventower was my 'experiment' for the year.  I try to do something different every year.  Sometimes that's working with a new type of character or a new genre.  Other times it is how I work.  This year Raventower took two different paths.  One was attempting a steampunk-ish type tale and the other was to see if I could write, edit, and publish a novel in one year.  Usually, I write a first draft and let it sit for a long time, often more than a year.  With Raventower, I started the novel on January 1, 2016.  I let it sit until May when I did a quick read-through edit, making notes and changing some of the more obvious things.  Then I left it alone until late August and spent most of a month rewriting, editing, and adding.  The book that started out at about 115k is now over 130k.
I have only a few more notes to do over to get it where I want it.  Will I have it published before the end of October?  I might.  However, I am also working on notes for the second book.  I want to make certain there is nothing in the first novel that I might need to change based on what I've already considered for the second one.  With luck, I'll have the first draft of the second one done during NaNo and be able to release the second book in early to mid-2017.

I still have one other book to put out this year.  I want to get the third Summerfield novel released.  Since it is Winter Warning (the first two are Summer Storm and Autumn Winds), I'm coming up on the right time.
So much to do.  I should have the time, but somehow it keeps getting away from me!
I hope to see you on October 1 at the Queen of Diamonds Release Party!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Flash Fiction # 217 -- Saving Everywhere, Part 1: Home

This is the third and final part of the Surviving Elsewhere trilogy of flash fiction serials (Surviving Elsewhere, Escaping Somewhere Else, Saving Everywhere).  Sometime in 2017, I hope to edit the entire series into a single book. You do not need to read the previous 86 episodes (45 for Surviving Elsewhere and 41 for Escaping Somewhere Else) to enjoy this story.  Just know that the MC has only lately learned he's half fae and he's been fighting in other realities only to suddenly find himself (and friends) dropped back home.
Oh, and there's Edmond the talking (and now flying) cat.

I stared at the cars driving on the road below.  Someone jogged by with his dog.  A few blocks away, I could see the high school where I'd been right before this madness started.
"We're home," Maggie whispered.
Lightning flashed in the sky behind us.  Trouble was still on the way. 
Sunset.  A storm brewing, but it wasn't a normal storm.  I had to fight myself to look back over my shoulder at the door that had mostly closed behind us, but I knew that our enemies, Darman and Potillia, were coming after us and we were not ready to face them.  A quick look around showed that Maggie and I were not alone, at least.  Davis was there, frowning at the street below us.  So was Lord Cayman, who was also my fae father.  Powerful. Good.  Lord Snow, the large snow leopard, was beside him.
And Edmond, of course.  Edmond slinked through the shadows with his wings folded and all four feet on the ground.  I could see the cat's eyes turn my way and catch a glint of the golden sunset.
"Where do we find help here?" he said and sounded worried.
With good cause.  I could feel the power of the others growing, and they were going to burst through at any moment.  The battle would be bad enough, but the effect of such a confrontation on good old, non-magical Earth would be far worse.  Maybe I had picked up some of Edmond's ability to see the future.  It looked bleak.  But then, from the look on everyone's face, I wasn't the only one who thought we were in trouble --
Maggie spun, looking back at the forest.  "The gate to Elsewhere is still out there.  It's open.  We need to get there!"
Lord Cayman was the one who nodded first.  "Yes, you're right.  We can't do battle here."
"Edmond --" I said.
"Right with you," he said and wound around my ankles, almost tripping me as we started to retreat from the edge of the woods and back to where we weren't as likely to be seen.  I guess he was more like a normal cat than I realized.  If nothing else, Lord Snow was conspicuous, to say nothing of Maggie with her bright blue hair and the wings she, like Edmond, had acquired somewhere during her own magical adventures.
I was still me -- except that I was also now a Sanctioned Protector which gave me very strong magic to protect others.  The problem was that I had never been taught magic so much as had it stuffed into my head and I was still trying to sort it out.  I kept thinking that if I could have just a few days of peace I could figure it all out.  That hadn't happened yet.
The storm roared suddenly over us.
Nope, not going to happen anytime soon.
We reached a bridge over a small stream.  I had dropped a gun in there when I first ran from home.  I shuddered a little remembering how I had killed Tommy Creston -- or what had been his body since he was already a were-creature.  His father, Sheriff Creston had come after me, but not for the reasons I'd assumed.  The sheriff was really a fae named Darman, and he was my father's brother.
I looked away from the waters and kept going.
Lord Snow stopped and hissed.
The sound of a snow leopard hissing is not exactly the sort of thing you want to hear in the darkening woods on a day when not much has gone right.  We all stopped.  Lord Snow backed up, his tail twitching and his ears laid back.  I could sense that Darman and Potillia were not quite in this reality yet, but they wouldn't be far away.  I had to hope they came after us rather than bothering the humans.
But why had Lord Snow stopped?  Why was he carefully backing up -- and what was it I could now sense in the woods and hear the furtive movements.  No sounds of birds, either, despite the last light of the day.  Something was not right here.
"Were-creatures, everywhere in the woods," Lord Snow said with a soft growl.  "There must be hundreds of them, which would be bad enough.  However, it will be worse when Darman gets here and takes control of them.  They are his creations."
We had all begun to back up now.
"Edmond," I said and leaned down. He wasn't slow to leap into my arms, either.  There would be no safe shadows, though he might be able to fly to a tree and safety if it came to it.  I hoped he would go.  Sometimes Edmond did odd things when he thought others were in danger.
I sometimes did the same.  I was trying to find the best way to hand Edmond off so that I could get past Lord Snow and maybe do something to save the others.  Protector: The compulsion to make certain the others were safe had me looking frantically around for the place to make my stand while the others were searching as frantically for a way to escape.
I was the first one to see the soldiers coming up behind us.  I was glad to see them, even if I didn't think we were safe with their rifles aimed our way.  For a moment, I considered trying to pretend that we were just people wandering in the woods -- but two things stopped me from even attempting that tale.  First was Lord Snow.  One didn't go walking in the woods with Snow Leopards.  Second, though, was the fact that the soldiers were here and looking for trouble.  I had the feeling things had changed --
That's when the were-creatures attacked.
To Be Continued
Words 970

Monday, September 19, 2016

History and Whales

I read a great deal of history.  For me, it is the touchstone for most of my fiction.  I'll mention this often and probably repeat myself as I line out some of the things that have inspired me.  Some little piece of the real world's past will work into my brain and twist and turn until I have an idea of my own.  One of my favorite biographies is Disraeli: Portrait of the Victorian Age by Andre Maurois (translated by Hamish Miles -- other translations are not as good).  As soon as I had finished reading the book the first time, I knew that I wanted to write about someone like Disraeli, at least in one aspect:  I wanted someone who rose to power but who should never have had such a chance.
So I wrote Silky about a young slave who makes a choice to help someone else and changes his life.  It is probably my most popular book.
Almost all the nonfiction books I read are filled with little flags that mark some line or another. 
Their Babylonian neighbors, in fact, regarded Elam as especially the land of witches and of demonic creatures.... -- Cambridge Ancient History Volume II, Part 2 The Middle East and the Aegean Region c. 1380 to 1000 BC
That little bit gave me a wonderful piece of background for Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper.
And then there are the things that I would love to use but are far too much tied to the real world and would be recognized.  Take, for instance, an amusing incident at the time Alexander was crossing the Gedrosian Desert.  This was actually something that happened with the fleet, under Nearchus, which was supposed to sail along the shore and provide support.  The Monsoons (which the Macedonians didn't understand at all) held the fleet up at the Indus delta.  Eventually, Nearchus sailed, though several months after Alexander had taken part of his people into the horrible, inhospitable country.
Somewhere out in the ocean, the fleet spotted a pod of whales.
Whales are not found in the Mediterranean Sea. The largest sea creature the Greeks and Macedonians had dealt with before this was probably the friendly porpoise.  Now they found this group of monsters breaching and pounding into the water.  Nearchus decided there was only one thing to be done.  He had his ships -- about 30 triremes -- line up and ... they charged the whales.
The whales must have been amused.  They dived down, swam under the ships and up again on the far side.  Nearchus called it a win.  Ships and whales sailed away.

Who knows?  Someday I may find a way to work at least the absurd aspects of this encounter into a story.  It's just too good to ignore.
Ideas can come from anywhere but I do enjoy going out in search of them.  Learning more about the world opens up new worlds of fiction for me.  I'll never be able to write all the ideas, but that's not going to stop me from the joy of finding more of them.  There are just far too many fun ideas out there.