The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

I had the pleasure of reading some of Tara’s work a few years back and loved it. Here is a new series out from her and I’m sure you would all enjoy it.

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DEADLY INITIATION

A DETERMINED GIRL…

Dindi can’t do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi’s clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

AN EXILED WARRIOR…

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn’t commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don’t kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father’s wars and his mother’s curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her… assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

EXCERPT

Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn’t appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

“Join our circle, Dindi!” the fae voices gurgled under the water. “Dance with us forever!”

“No!” She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, “Dispel!” but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn’t be coming up again.

“Dispel!” It was a man’s voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

“Better?” he asked.

She nodded. He was young–only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

“Good.” He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi’s hand touched skin–he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

“It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that,” he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. “What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?”

LINKS

Tara’s blog http://bit.ly/MtlSRJ

Tara’s Twitter http://bit.ly/162sCtE

The Unfinished Song on Facebook http://on.fb.me/1400mMq

Amazon http://amzn.to/15ciwYc

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/13yM5Dr

Kobo http://bit.ly/1aFhg1P

iTunes http://bit.ly/1baddhN

Smashwords http://bit.ly/17zK8Xn

 

Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

 

The Contractor Series is getting a new book :)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people asking when Ark will be coming out. For the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with a snag in the story. I finally realized that I have a choice to make. Do I stick with my outline, plow through the snag, and compress the heck out of the original story? Or, do I change my outline? This snag is not actually a bad thing, it’s been a really cool edition to the story, so cool in fact I think the story would suffer without it. The problem is that I was going to have to compress what was intended to be the last half of the book…or, I could just make the Contractor series a four book series, not a three book series, which was something that my outline originally called for. I now know that I should have trusted my gut and kept it as a four book series. It would have saved me some serious time and frustration over the last few weeks, but such is life. So the bad news: Ark will not be coming out anytime soon. The good news: I am on track to complete Healer fairly soon. Especially now that I’m not pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to make the story work :)

Another great part about extending the series by one more title is that I can do a lot of stuff in the new Ark that I was not going to be able to do with the current manuscript. So I went from one book that I’ve been concerned about over the last few weeks, to two books that should be awesometacular if I do say so myself. Thank you guys for reading the Contractor books and I hope you enjoy Healer as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Introducing Author Bump

Today I am starting a new thing. I’m calling it author bump and it’s pretty simple. Every day I’m going to tweet about a different author. Just one tweet per day with the hashtag #authorbump. I’ve looked and no one is using this tag, so I think it will work. The idea? I want to help people find new authors, and help authors find new peers to interact with. I will not be screening the work that people do. I’d love to, but that would take a huge amount of time that I frankly don’t have. So if you’re a writer and you want to be bumped what do you do? It’s pretty simple. If you and I are following each other on twitter (I follow everyone back, so this is an easy step) all you have to do is send me a direct message. Your message should look like: “Today’s #authorbump comes from YOUR TWITTER NAME AND TWEET”. You can link out to your book, your author page or a promo that you’re doing, that’s totally up to you. I’ll put your tweet in a spreadsheet then tweet it at some point in time. I can’t give you the exact day that I’ll tweet you because it will depend on how many people send me tweets. Please don’t have profanity in your tweet as my feed is family friendly. So there it is. This is something I am doing off the cuff so if you like it, great! If you don’t, sorry. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message, and I hope you have a great day.

THE NEXT BIG THING – WORK IN PROGRESS

This is a fun thing going around the internet with authors. It’s a set of interview questions that an author answers, then tags two other authors for the next week. As you can guess from the title of this post, it’s about works in progress. So here we go!

 

1.What is the working title of your next book?

Seeker.

 

2.Where did the idea come from for the book?

Seeker is the second book in the Contractor series, which takes place in Denver, Colorado. The idea for Seeker is a continuation from the first book in the series titled Pactum. Imagine what the world would be like if tomorrow magic came out into the open. Now picture yourself being a homicide detective having to work a case with magic. That’s the gist of the story world of the Contractor books.

 

3.What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy for sure, but you can also list them under thrillers or action and adventure.

 

4.What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are so many characters to decide that for. I will choose one of the main characters, Faith Penn. I think for her Ashley Greene would be perfect. And honestly who doesn’t want to see more of Ashley Greene on big screens? Don’t know who she is? Do yourself a favor, and Google her. It’s well worth your time ;)

 

5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Magic is real…and Murder is too. (That’s the tag line from Pactum, and fit’s the series perfectly.)

 

6.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Thus far, all of my books have been self published. However, I would not turn down the right contract from the right publisher for any of my works.

 

7.How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

This is a hard question. I slacked a bit while working on Seeker, and had a few other projects to get done in that time. It’s ready to go off to the editor right now, and it’s clocking in at around 95k words. If I’m not working on other projects, I can get a book done of that size in a couple of months.

 

8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Honestly, I can’t. I didn’t read any fantasy crime thrillers prior to starting this series. That being said, I can’t tell you what else in the genre I would recommend.

 

9.Who or what inspired you to write this book?

We have been seeing a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy with very strong romantic tones over the last few years. In many of these stories you will see Vampires, Trolls, Werewolves, and the likes, but the story is ultimately a love story. I think this is great. When I started working on Pactum, then Seeker I wanted to take some of the elements from these story worlds (Vampires, Trolls etc), and put them in a setting other than romance. I wanted there to be a grittiness to the story, with characters that were in over their heads. In short, I needed to meld genres. Crime and thrillers made for the perfect blend of genre’s for these books.

 

10.What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I would say if you like fantasy, thrillers or urban fantasy these books are for you. Once again, these aren’t romance novels, and as such you aren’t going to find a lot of gooey scenes with characters contemplating their feelings about another character. There is a lot of action, and there’s definitely a dark undertone to these books. In addition, readers might also be interested to know that when working on character for Pactum and Seeker, I interviewed former members of law enforcement and continue to do so.

 

Alright folks that was the post. Next week you can check out Collin Earl’s (author of Harmonics), and P.D. Griffith’s (author of the Landon Wicker series) sites for their answers to these same questions.

Learn Copywriting or starve! 5 areas you need to learn to write better copy

We live in a day and age where we can do just about anything we want without having to hire someone. Blogs and digital publishing are examples of this. We can use these things to find customers and to keep food on the table. Using social media we can now manage our own advertising and reach consumers we never could before. We are empowered by technology and we don’t need anyone to help us, like a marketing or PR rep, right? Well maybe we do, and maybe we don’t. We might not have to hire a PR rep, but we do need to at least learn some of their skills.

As an indie author I appreciate the marketing aspect around publishing, and a lot of indie authors feel the same. Bloggers and experts have been brow beating new authors about things like cover art, editors, good blurbs and let’s not forget the importance of blogging, for a long time now. So now many of us have cover artist and editors in our phones contacts, but the blogging and blurb copy? We are authors, writing is our job, we got this right? …Wrong, we don’t have this, well most of us don’t. What we have is the ability to write stories that people love and maybe even stories that inspire, but blurb copy? What I’ve been learning over the last few months is that blurbs, bio’s, blogs and all that jazz are a different type of writing than what we already do, and if we don’t learn it, we are going to face an uphill battle.

Copywriting at its core is writing compelling content. It could be an article, a blurb or a thousand other things. We’ve been reading it for years in places like magazines, newspaper articles and on the back cover of books, to name a few. Sometimes this copy can be a hard sale but it doesn’t have to be. It does however have to move the reader. Learning how to write good copy is the base of an effective content marketing campaign (like your author blog). Here are 5 areas that you need to know how to write good copy for:

1) Blogging - Your blog is one of the most powerful tools you have to find new readers and to stay in front of the readers you already have. Are you writing blog posts that people care about? An even more important question to ask is, “are people even reading my posts?”. When you learn principles of copywriting you learn how to write headlines that people are more apt to click on. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at your RSS feed. Scan down the list of blog posts there and see what jumps out at you. If you look at the posts you’ll likely find the ones that jump out at you the most, are some of the bloggers you read the most. Why is that? They know how to write a good headline and a post that is interesting, informative, inspiring or moving in someway. You’ll also likely find a bunch of bloggers that are the opposite of this, that you are subscribed to, but that you don’t truly care about.

2) Social Networks – Twitter, Facebook, Google and any other social network that are out there are a glut of information and status updates for readers. They also have different personalities. Twitter for example only allows you 140 characters, that’s all the space you have to make people want to read whatever you’re posting, be it a blog post or a new book. On Facebook and Google you have more space to use and users generally expect a bit more than 140 characters. If you aren’t writing copy for these sites, your posts aren’t being seen by as many people as they could be.

3) Blurbs – I’m in a workshop about this topic right now and it’s important! After your cover, your book’s blurb has to make that reader want to click the buy button. You can have the greatest cover in history, and still drive away a consumer with a poor blurb. A lot of authors downright suck at writing blurbs. We tend to bore readers and tell them too much, or we try to be clever with our blurb and end up confusing readers. Either way, we lose a sale, and any potential sales we could have gotten from that reader or the people that they might have recommended our book too.

4) Bios – Your author bio is crucial, it connects readers with you. Does everyone read your bio? No, of course not, but a lot of people do. If you seem like a stick in the mud then readers probably won’t care about you. They want to feel confident that you are able to write a story they will enjoy, and a story that is worth their hard earned money.

5) Ads – “I don’t want to sound like a sales rep,” authors say right before they blast their network with a request for people buy their new book. Come on, we’ve all done it and some of us do it too much. Learning how to write good ad copy will help your ads to be more effective and less annoying to people (this doesn’t mean you should constantly be plugging your book).

 

“But I don’t have time to learn another skill!”, you say and I feel you. As Indie authors we have a lot of things we have to learn, and sometimes it can be overwhelming, but this doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to be copywriting masters from the word go. I know I’m not. I’m just starting to learn about this, and how to apply it in my blog and social network habits. Here is a link to a site I found (in a blog post by a writer who knows how to write good copy). The site is called copyblogger.com and they have a large amount of easy to digest resources. Another thing you can do to help learn how to write good copy is to study those who are already doing it. That blog that you always find yourself reading because they just have such good stuff, well look at what they are doing and apply it to your own life.

There is no doubt in my mind that if you are a writer or have any other web based business, you need to learn how to be a good copywriter, or you may find it hard to put food on the table. So now here is my call to action…What are all of your thoughts about copywriting? Are there any resources that you would recommend or is copywriting just a waste of time?

 

Author Interview with Joseph Lallo

Recently I had the chance to talk with Joseph Lallo, author of The Book of Deacon, and here is what he had to say.

 

Joseph LalloWhat made you want to be a writer?

It is funny, being a writer was never really a dream of mine. Don’t get me wrong, I loved telling stories, and from a young age I’d made plans to write a book, but for me writing was mostly just something to keep me busy when there was nothing else to do. Or at least nothing I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I had written literally hundreds of pages of the same meandering story that I allowed my friends to convince me first to attempt to publish, then finally to self-publish what I’d written.

 

What is the hardest part about writing a book for you?

I suppose the biggest difficulty for me is editing. I’ve got the almost supernatural ability to read what I thought I wrote rather than what is actually on the page. I can read the same paragraph a dozen times and not see that there is a missing word in the first sentence. And don’t get me started on homophones… That said, editing is mostly done when the actual writing is over. If I were to pinpoint the hardest part of the storytelling process, it would have to be linking together two “good” scenes. Sometimes I’ll get through writing a scene that I really enjoyed writing, and I’ll have another in mind that I’m genuinely looking forward to, but to get from one to the other I’ll need a fairly standard nuts-and-bolts bit of transition. For some reason knowing that the next fun scene is tantalizingly within reach makes me downright resentful of the fact that I have to write the setup for it before I can get started. Then I get worried that if I don’t enjoy writing it then people won’t enjoy reading it, then I start to fixate. Ugh. It is a mess.

 

Can you tell us about your writing process?

I’ve gone about writing in a few different ways, but most of them share a handful common techniques. I’ll usually start with a very general idea of where I want the story to begin and where I want it to end. From there I’ll do a basic bit of character planning to cast the role of the protagonist (or protagonists). After that, if there are some big scenes I’d like to make sure happen, I’ll lay them out in an outline. Then I just start writing. I try to let the characters and the story develop at the same time. “Okay, what would he do in this situation?” or “What would she say to him if that happened?” On occasion the plot will change as I realize that the character I’ve created really wouldn’t go here or do that. Sometimes a minor, highly utilitarian role that I stuck in to guide the story in the right direction will suddenly become a stand-out favorite. In my sci-fi series, a character that began as essentially a high-tech doorbell evolved to the point that she was a main character in a subsequent book.

 

Where do you find inspiration for story ideas?

I’ve been inspired by everything from reading the works of other authors to staring out the train window during my commute, but it might be fair to say that most of my inspirations come from conversations with friends and music. My friends and I can sit down to have the most innocuous conversation, then inevitably one of us will utter the line “You know what would be cool?” and I end up taking notes. This past November an entire novel was written based on an idiotic game we’d play in which we’d try to think of the most useless superpowers. As for music, I’ve had characters, scenes, and whole books result from the images that form in my mind as I listen to certain songs. The prophet from The Book of Deacon is a result of listening to the bands Clutch and Queen. The climax of the series comes from a System of a Down song.

 

What advise would you give new writers?

Just keep writing. It seems simple, but the biggest hurdle that I’ve had to leap and the one that I continually see my friends and family tripping over when they try to write a story is simply finishing what you start. There will be times when you think you’ve written the worst piece of trash in history. It doesn’t matter, get the words out. I don’t care if no one ever sees it, every word you write makes you a better writer. Make mistakes, write cliches, botch dialog. Do whatever you need to do to get the words out. Later you can read, revise, and repeat, but only if you finish telling your story. I’ve seen people I consider to be head and shoulders above me in writing skill run out of momentum after a few thousand words. These are people who I go to for advice when I can’t untie a certain literary knot, and yet my silly little story ends up in the hands of readers and their masterpiece sits unfinished on a hard drive.

 

Oh, and once you’ve got your story told, find someone you trust to read it over for errors and for opinions. A second set of eyes is absolutely indispensable in terms of ironing out wrinkles in the plot and grammar. As a matter of fact, a third, fourth, and fifth set of eyes wouldn’t hurt either.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? If so what do you like to listen to?

I certainly listen to music before I write, for the aforementioned inspiration. When it comes to the actual writing, I go through phases. Often I don’t listen to music at all. When I do, it has to fulfill a few criteria. First, no English lyrics. If there are words in the background that I can understand, I find myself paying attention to them instead of writing. Worse, sometimes I’ll transcribe a few, which could be embarrassing considering the sort of taste I have in music. The other requirement is that the music fit the tone of what I’m writing. It is very difficult to write a heart-wrenching moment of sorrow when I’m listening to something jaunty and upbeat. As a result, I frequently find myself listening to classical music an film scores when I’m writing. Some unique instrumental bands like Rodrigo y Gabriella and the first few Apocalyptica albums are common as well. Otherwise, I write in silence.

 

Can you tell us where you came up with the idea for the The Book of Deacon?

The Book of Deacon was inspired, in a roundabout way, by old video games. When I was younger I had an NES, and one of my favorite games was Dragon Warrior. A friend and I would spend our spare moments in the schoolyard acting out little scenes based on the characters. That was back in first and second grade, roughly. We eventually grew out of the improvised fan fiction, but the story continued to gestate in my brain. Eventually it evolved into an unrecognizable mess of swapped out characters and altered plots. I started to jot down the ideas for a phenomenally cliched tale about the descendants of ancient warriors, but I quickly realized I ought to decide who exactly these ancient warriors were. Notebooks began to fill with descriptions and back stories and before long I decided that the descendants weren’t nearly as interesting as the ancestors, so I decided to write about them instead. That became The Book of Deacon.

 

What was your experience writing the The Book of Deacon?

My entire adolescence was my experience writing The Book of Deacon, really. The seeds of the story were planted in Grammar School. Any moment of boredom during high school was spent scribbling down ideas and scenes. I was literally the fat kid sitting in the bleachers during gym class writing in a notebook rather than playing basketball. That continued into college, where eventually the plot reached its end and I decided it was probably a good idea to type it up for the sake of legibility. (I actually learned to touch type at the prodding of a friend of mine just so the transcription of the book would go faster.) Once it was done, my friends started to get on my case about doing something with it, and so we entered the wonderful world of rejection letters from literary agencies, and finally the self-publishing process.

 

Who is your favorite character from the book and why?

That’s a tough one. The first thought that comes to mind is Myn, the baby dragon. She’s another one of those characters who developed to fill a need, in this case “our main character needs someone to keep her company and help her hunt.” By the end of a few pages the little beast had more personality than the rest of the supporting cast combined, and all without having a single line of dialog. She’s marvelously fun to write, a creature motivated entirely by the desire to protect her friend and earn praise… and potatoes. A close second when it comes to favorite characters is Wolloff. He’s a crotchety old wizard who, again, was extremely fun to write, just because of how abrasive he had to be.

 

Is there anything you would do different if you had to do it all over again?

I would absolutely give my book a few more revisions before releasing it to the public. There were some downright embarrassing errors. Let’s see. I misused literally every instance of prophecy/prophesy. Likewise every instance of reign/rein. I assigned dialog to the wrong characters, had contradictory statements, got my compass directions backward a few times… It was rough. The other thing I’d probably do differently is actually use chapters. The Book of Deacon has only scene breaks, no chapter breaks, and it has been exceedingly problematic for some of my readers. My more recent books finally feature chapters.

 

Are there any sequel books to The Book of Deacon?

Yes indeed. The Book of Deacon is the first book in a trilogy. There is also a novella that takes place after the trilogy, and a prequel is nearing completion.

 

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? 

Only the same thing I say at every opportunity. Thank you. Thank you for giving my  books a shot, thank you for sharing your opinions (good and bad), and thank you for motivating me to continue writing. I would have stopped long ago if it wasn’t for you.

 

To find out more about Joseph and his books please visit his website www.bookofdeacon.com

Joseph has been so kind as to offer his entire trilogy for a giveaway on the site, so if you would like a chance to win an e copy of these books, please see my giveaway section.

The Book of Deacon CoverThe Book of DeaconMyranda is a young woman more interested in staying alive than being a hero. Orphaned by a continent-spanning war that has gone on for decades too long and shunned for failing to support it, she has been on the move since she was only a child. One can hardly blame her when she thinks that the chance discovery of a fallen soldier’s priceless cargo is the moment that will change her life. No one could predict just how great that change would be. It will lead her through an adventure of rebels and generals, of wizards and warriors, and of beasts both noble and monstrous. Each step of the way will take her closer to the truth of her potential, of the war, and of the fate of her world.

You can get your copy today at…

Amazon | Banes & Nobel | Kobo

Related Posts:

Author Interview with Brian Rathbone 

Author Interview with Collin Earl

 

The State of things February 2013

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much over the last week or so, I have been crazy busy. But, fear not I will be getting back to a regular blog schedule soon. On Sunday I will be posting an interview with Joseph Lallo author of Deacon. I have planned out a series of videos showing you the features of Scrivener that I use and like the most within my basic workflow. For more about Scrivener please check out my post, “The Hammer of Writing”.

I have been making a lot of progress on Seeker, which is the second book in the Contractor series, and I had a meeting with Street Light Graphics this week in which we talked about the cover for the book. In other Contractor related news, Pactum has gotten several great reviews lately. One on Star Fisher’s site Bibliophilic Book Blog and one from Jovon Tucker over at Books 2 Buzz. Thank you both for those wonderful reviews. On that note if you’re looking for good places to find new books I would recommend checking with book bloggers. There are thousands of them out there and there are blogs that cater to every type of reader. They are a great place to go to find new reads.

Other things I’ve been working on include learning a lot more about web development, which should mean new sites for both the Contractor and Legon series. I’m not too sure what to put on these sites yet, but I am leaning towards having character profiles and other back story items. If you have anything that you would like to see on the sites or have any suggestions please email me at Nick (at) legonbook (dot) com or leave a comment. I’d also love to hear what all of you think of the short stories that I have been working on. A few of you have said that you’d like to see shorts in the Legon world and they are something that I am planning on working on in the future.

Some of you may remember my post about New Year’s resolutions. I am happy to report that I have done well with the vast majority of my resolutions, with the exception of yoga, BUT I haven’t lost my drive yet. I have been getting ready for showcase at the dance studio I go to and haven’t been able to work on yoga quite yet, but starting next Friday I am going to start going to a class :)

That’s a basic update on life and my work in general. Again, I apologize for not being as up to date with the blog as I should be. Watch for more posts to come and also keep an eye out for this months giveaway book. Thank you all and I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

 

Pactum Excerpt

Pactum Cover

Description:

Society still finds itself reeling from magic coming out into the open. As the world comes to grips with the fact that old legends are true, Homicide Detective Alison Kaur still has a job to do. After the corpse of William Lanner is found, Alison must delve into the ugly world of prostitution, gangsters and murder. All while she and her partner deal with the dangers of Mages, Werewolves, Succubi and others. Will Alison be able to track down the killer of William Lanner? Or will she become a victim herself?

Excerpt:

Gabriel Decor waited for the car to hit the ground with a grinding crash before turning to look back at the two detectives, one in awe, the other in stupefied fear. He spoke to Faith. “I’ve got this.” She nodded understanding that she was not to assist.

Gabriel turned back to the other Paladins. Tracy didn’t look all that shocked, though she did look apprehensive. Keith, on the other hand, looked appalled that Gabriel had deflected two attacks. I told you I was an Ark, he thought.

Tracy didn’t look to be a moron like her companion, but still Gabriel didn’t want the fight to last long. Keith obviously didn’t care about what he damaged; Gabriel would deal with him first.

Gabriel tapped into his Vis, power rushing into his body. He closed his eyes, feeling it infuse him, Vis saturated the air around him, too faint for the other Paladins to see, but with it he could see them perfectly. They were like silhouettes, their bodies a sharp contrast in Gabriel’s cloud of Vis. Tracy and Keith’s own Vis left a shadowy wake that Gabriel could see without effort. Had they had a Seeker, he wouldn’t have been able to do this. Stupid.

Gabriel opened his eyes letting Vis flow from his body, as he was wrapped in a cocoon of amethyst light. Tracy’s eyes hardened, her grip on Dolor visibly tightening, her corneas turned emerald and her body burst with green Vis, licking around her like translucent flames. Dolor’s edge glowed with Vis. Keith’s eyes turned orange, his body enveloping in a smaller cocoon of Vis. He can’t control his Vis output yet. Keith wouldn’t take Gabriel long and he could focus on Tracy, giving her the respect of fighting one on one.

Gabriel pushed with Vis, sending himself in the air, power gushing into Iram. He poured Vis into his body and mind, making time slow and his mind race, his limbs tensed with Vis-induced strength. His eyes and ears became stronger. Keith was rushing up at Gabriel with his sword pulled back. Gabriel swung Iram out with a casual flick. Metal clanged as the two swords glanced off each other. Gabriel twisted Iram, moving himself to the side to parry a thrust from Tracy.

Behind him, Gabriel could sense Keith, his sword’s silhouette rushing at Gabriel’s back. Gabriel waited until the last moment, Celeritate. He moved out of the way from Keith’s attack coming alongside the young man at the speed of lightning. Gabriel flexed Vis in the back of his right hand swinging it at Keith’s exposed side. “Rumpo,” he said as his hand met Keith’s side. Gabriel could feel the thin layer of wards around Keith buckle and with it the effects of his shattering spell. Gabriel’s hand didn’t even register the breaking ribs beneath his touch. Keith cried out, turning away from Gabriel and exposing his back. Gabriel brought the butt of Iram’s handle down on Keith, this time his shoulder blade making an audible crack. Keith’s orange Vis faltered a bit as he plummeted back to earth.

All this happened in the space of a few breaths and Gabriel moved out of the way of one of Tracy’s attacks, Iram catching the edge of Dolor in a block. He blocked a few more blows from Dolor before finally using Iram in an attack. Gabriel lashed out at Tracy, swinging at her left side. She barely blocked Iram and then said, “Celeritate,” becoming a green blur as her speed increased. Within the mist of Vis and using his increased senses, he again swung Iram to where Tracy would be. She tried to avoid the attack, twisting in the air. Iram cut a shallow wound into her arm. She didn’t make a sound, but dropped to the ground.

Gabriel did likewise, Tracy between him and his group. Tracy looked scared but determined. She growled, rushing at him with Dolor held high in the air. Iram rang as Gabriel deflected Dolor, both blades infused with Vis to the point of being near unbreakable. Gabriel sidestepped, still not putting much in the way of effort into the fight. Tracy twisted, swinging at Gabriel who dodged, leaving her front completely open. Gabriel brought Iram up in a slashing move to cut Tracy in half.

Vis-enhanced as she was, Tracy saw the attack coming and also saw that there was nothing she could do to stop it. Gabriel brought the sword up and looked into her eyes. He believed if you took a life you should, if possible, give the person the respect to look them in the eye as you killed them. Tracy’s deep blue eyes shone with fear, the look on her face that of sorrow. Gabriel leaned backwards. He didn’t know why he did it. He saw something in her eyes – she wasn’t ready to die, she wasn’t committed to the fight. Iram still hit her, slicing up her left side to her right shoulder.

She fell back in a gasping scream and hit the ground hard, blood spraying.

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Character Interview: Sara from the Legon Series

I knew that when I started the Legon Series that I would need characters that would motivate Legon to want to help people outside of his friends and family. Legon had to work to save himself and his sister, but he needed to feel empathy for people in the empire to be inspired to become the hero he needed to be. The main character I used for this was Sara. By freeing her from a bad situation it planted the seed that Legon could make a real impact on the world around him. Sara is here today to talk with us.

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. How has life been treating you?

Thanks for having me on the site. I have been keeping busy. Keither and I have three kids now and I have been running the main healing center in Manton for the last few years.

How have you enjoyed being a mother?

I love it! I will admit that most times I feel like I’m in over my head, but I suppose most parents feel that way.

What has life been like since the war?

It has been a mixed bag. During the war we had a sense of purpose. When I say we, I mean everyone in the Cona Republic, but now…there isn’t the same drive. There’s no longer the threat of death to unify and motivate the people.
As for me, I have been busy working in the healing centers and also working in the old Cona Empire to help them rebuild. Legon tells us it will take generations for the scars created by the war to truly heal, but we still do what we can.

Prior to the war you were in the care of the Queen. What was that like, and did it color the way you look at the world today?

Being in the care of the Queen was the most horrible time of my life. I was forced to work as a prostitute. The work was humiliating, and I knew that if I didn’t make my clients happy I would be put to death. During that time I also came to hate people. For many of the girls I worked with they lived in a numb state…they just existed from day to day and that was all they could do. I wasn’t at that point yet…so, I hated the free world, the Iumenta, the Queen, and most of all, my clients.
When Legon freed me and took my pain I was able to breath for the first time in what felt like ages. That event allowed me to see a life where I wasn’t ruled by sorrow and it was that vision that helped me to recover.
Now my time in the care tints every action in my life. I can’t help but see those in need and feel a sense of responsibility for them. I can empathize with almost anyone, and I feel a great drive to help others. I think I feel this because I recognize how lucky I am that Legon freed me.

How is your relationship with Legon and Sasha these days?

It’s bitter sweet. We are all extremely close to one another and I cherish our time together. It’s bitter in some ways because while I’m not old by any means, I see myself aging. The Elves stop aging around twenty-five. So in many ways being close to Legon and Sasha reminds of my own mortality. Sasha looks as old as she did in the war, and in some ways that keeps memories of the past fresh in my mind. At times though being around Legon, Sasha, and Iselin make me feel younger than I am, a feeling I dare say I will relish as the years move on.

Thank you so much for talking with me today. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for having me on, it’s been wonderful talking with you. I think all I would like to say to people is thank you for supporting Keither and I. We really appreciate all of you. Thank you again.

 

Related Posts:

Character Interview: Stacy from the Legon Series

Character Interview: Keither from the Legon Series 

The Hammer of Writing

Hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and tape measures. These are some of the tools of a carpenter. Wrenches, sockets, pliers and air wrenches are some of the tools of the trade for a mechanic. But what about a writer? Do we have tools that we use? Or are our tools just in our head?

I have a hard time thinking of things in my head as being tools. What I do see as being tools are my computer, and more importantly the software on my computer. Primarily the software that I’m actually writing my manuscript in. This isn’t something that a lot of new writers give a lot of thought to. I know I didn’t. Who cares what software you use to write? After all, I have Word or Pages on my computer and they do just fine. A lot of writers don’t know there are alternatives to Word or Pages, but there are. Actually there is a whole sub-market of author software out there, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

 

What is authoring software and why do I need it?

This is software specifically designed for writers. Word for example is a general writing application, meaning it’s designed to handle a lot of different writing projects as is it’s Mac only companion Pages. I’m not trying to say that software like Word and Pages are bad, far from it actually. I know a lot of people complain about Word, but when you look at everything it does, Word is pretty dang impressive. Word and Pages are designed to take care of a huge range of users and as such have a large set of tools, and their interface is built around ease and catering to the masses. But writers aren’t the masses, we have a very specific set of things we do to complete and publish a manuscript.

That’s where author software comes into play. It’s software that is completely designed around what we as writers need and do. For example, software like Word tends to get slow and clunky with large files, like say a one hundred thousand word manuscript. I would know, I wrote my first two books (Legon Awakening, and 8810) in Word, and on Legon (127,000 words) the file got really slow. Why does it get slow? I don’t know the makeup of Word but I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s because Word is such vast software that it’s hard for it to keep up on larger files, and that’s ok, it isn’t meant to work on those. Authoring software is designed to take care of the whole writing process from outlining to publishing. This means that you can have your manuscript(s), outline(s), character profiles, settings, research, and all of that jazz in one well-organized file. There’s no need to have a bunch of Word docs floating around on your computer, everything for a book or series is in one file. This makes organizing your projects and finding things for them easy. Need to look at a character profile for a supporting character? No problem, just look in the characters folder inside your project. There’s no need to go poking around your computers hard drive.

What about on the pub end of things? Once again, authoring software is here for you. Some of the general writing software out there like Pages are starting to handle ePub exports, but let’s be honest, those files aren’t always the best. Why? Simple, Pages wasn’t originally designed for publishing, it was built to be a catch all with an emphasis on layout. Authoring software was built with publishing in mind, which means exporting your ebook is not only easy but the files are much better. Most authoring software will export ePubs and Mobi files with linked in tables of content and imbedded meta data, which means all you have to do is upload your file.

So are you sold on authoring software yet? How about if I tell you that software like Scrivener is cheap too? As in $45 cheap.

 

So how did I find Scrivener?

As I said, I wrote my first two titles in Word and I didn’t really lose my mind. I had file folders with all of the information I needed to work on the books and was doing great until I got to Legon Ascension (book two in the series). There was just too much information to handle. I had a huge set of characters to deal with and along with that I had to take into account what happened in Legon Awakening. Plus, in Ascension I had five story-lines going. I was overwhelmed. Thankfully I had a listener (I was only doing audio at that time) who told me about some authoring software they’d found. The software was called Storyist. I found that I could customize everything in Storyist, and while there was a learning curve on it I soon found my writing to be much easier. The problems came towards the end of Ascension, Storyist wasn’t all that great at managing large files, by which I mean a single file with two full manuscripts in it. Also I found the software to be glitchy and save times were slow. At one point I lost the original ending for Legon Ascension and had to rewrite it. I was pissed and no longer trusted the software. This meant that every time I saved my manuscript I also printed a PDF of the whole book to keep from losing anything. I was not a happy camper.

Part way into Legon Restoration I took the recommendation of a friend and several other writers to try Scrivener. I wasn’t optimistic about the venture, I was worried Scrivener would have the same issues as Storyist. But all of the reviews I found on it said that Scrivener was great and that nothing in the market compared to it. When I downloaded Scrivener and started using it I fell in love. I have never had any issues with the software and swear by it. I even use it to manage my blog content (like writing this post) and used it’s ebook features to work on all of my clients ebooks (I used to be an owner of an ebook production company). Looking back I would have been willing to spend far more on this wonderful software.

 

What all comes with Scrivener?

I thought I’d go over some of the features of Scrivener that I like the most. I will also write another blog post soon going over how I have Scrivener setup and some of my work flows. Scrivener is pretty easy to customize and the way I do things is not the only way to work, but it works best for me. I use a Mac so the layout of my Scrivener might be slightly different for you Windows folks out there.

 

The Binder

On the left side of the screen you have the binder, this is your main navigation for your project. In the binder there are file folders for your manuscript(s), character and setting profiles as well as research sections and front matter. You can add whatever you want to this section, and I find that I add a lot of subfolders to keep my project organized. Chapters, characters, and things like that are listed as separate documents inside of your project. Moving around the binder is a lot like looking at files on your computer in Windows Explorer, or if you’re on a Mac like using the Finder.

 

View Modes

This section is at the top of the window and is three buttons. It has a basic document view, a cork-board and an outline view that’s like Explorer or Finder. I tend to use the basic view when I’m working on a document, but when I’m looking at folders I keep things in outline. I don’t really use the cork-board at all. What I like about the outliner is that you have a bunch of columns with information in them, like synopsis, word count, etc. The outliner makes it easy for basic navigation and to see if your manuscript is on target.

 

Compile

So how do you get a manuscript out of Scrivener to send to your editor or to publish? Simple, just click the compile button and a menu will come up where you can say what file type you want (ePub, Mobi, PDF, Word…etc.) you can even tell Scrivener how you want the file formatted and what documents you want to include. Getting files out of Scrivener couldn’t be simpler.

 

Compose

This is a button on the top of the window that makes the text you are editing the whole screen. This eliminates all other distractions on your screen, and it’s awesome. You can customize the compose screen to make it however you like. This is a feature I use a lot when working on new content.

 

Synopsis

You can write a synopsis for each document inside of Scrivener, like say a chapter. I didn’t start using this feature until mid-way through Pactum but really like it. This allows me to look around a manuscript and find the document I’m looking for. I don’t name chapters until I’m done with a book and sometimes I combine chapters, delete them or add new ones. Asking me what happens in chapter four will only get you a blank stare, but with the Synopsis feature, I don’t have to worry about that.

 

Notes

Scrivener has several different note sections, and they are all handy. Each document you make in Scrivener has it’s own notes. I use this for putting in chapter outlines so I have them at a glance. The notes section is right next to whatever you’re working on. You also have high level notes as well. I keep note files for each book where I put in little reminders about things I need to go back to and address. The notes section can save you loads of time and make your life simpler.

 

Word Count Target

This is a little feature that I won’t spend much time on. At the bottom of your screen you will see a little target looking thing. If you click it you can set a word count goal for a document. This is handy to ensure that a chapter is as long as you want it to be, but not getting too long. Nuff said.

 

Name Generator

This is one of my favorite features in Scrivener. It has a built in name generator. It’s under the edit menu and will create male and female names. It gives them to you in a list form and has loads of settings to get just the names you are looking for. I cannot tell you how handy this tool is. If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to hit your head on the wall trying to come up with the name of some support, this tool will save the day. Trust me, it’s awesome!

 

Templates

This is the last thing that I’ll talk about in this post. Templates allows you to create a template for documents for things like character profiles. In a profile you can add in images if you like and set it up to make sure you are coming up with everything you need for a setting or character.

 

As you can see Scrivener is great software that will save you time and sanity. If you want to know more about Scrivener or to download it you can find it here. I think they have a trial period on it, so by all means give it a try. I will try to write another post soon showing my workflow in Scrivener and how I have everything setup. As for you guys, I would love to hear what you think about this or other authoring software and what your favorite features are. Thank you and I hope you have a great week.

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