Friday, November 21, 2014

Teasing Your Reader

Today's question: "This one may sound silly, but I am curious. A while back you posted a Friday Tidbit about Teasing Your Reader and gave an example for beginning a story this way. My question is, does the same process apply, let's say, in the middle of the book, when all the characters and things are established? How do you compensate? What are some things to think about? In other words, how do you do it?"

Because I don't want to recover ground we've already covered, here is a link to the original "Tease Your Reader" post. I just re-read it to make certain I still agree with what I said back then. (I grow and change in my writing the same as the rest of you!) But I think it's still quite a good, valid point.

The basic premise is this: Your readers want certain things out of a story. Your job as the writer is to dangle the possibility of satisfaction in front of their faces but not to give it to them right away.

The original blog post focuses simply on the opening of your book, but the concept holds true throughout your manuscript. A good story must always have unanswered questions and suspenseful puzzles to keep the reader turning pages, right up until the very end. And even once you reach the end, it's often a good idea to leave a few enigmatic threads dangling, particularly if you're writing a series.

In answer to the above question, this process absolutely applies to the middle of the book. If you are not teasing your reader in the middle of the book you're going to run into middle-of-the-book-sag, a common plight for many novelists and one of the most common symptoms of a manuscript headed for the dreaded Manuscript Graveyard.

Your characters and story lines should be established by the middle of the book, but does your reader know everything about them by this stage? If so, what's left to read? What's left to discover? The same is true with your plot threads. You've got to continue pulling the reader along with questions and a desire for resolution.

I'll use Dragonwitch as an example. That book is full of classic "teasing the reader" moments. Partly because there are so many separate plot lines in motion, and the reader doesn't learn how they all connect until quite late into the story. Look at the Dragonwitch's ongoing monologue initiated in Chapter 1. How long does it take until the reader discovers to whom she's speaking and under what circumstances? That's got to be close to the last quarter of the book! In the meanwhile, the intrigue of the character and the suspense of the story she tells continue to tease and intrigue all the way.

That is but one example. You've also got the suspense of "Is Alistair's prophetic dream going to come true or not?" "Will the Chronicler prove to be the foretold hero or not?" "Will Mouse repent of her betrayal or not?" "Will Leta discover the secret of the House of Lights or not?" Plenty of storyline teasing.

My editors once told me that they feared I "played my cards too close to my chest." They felt I should give away answers and solutions in the first half of Dragonwitch so that readers wouldn't ever have to be confused. Then I should simply focus on the action for the rest of the story.

This I absolutely refused to do. And I'm glad I did. Because yes, I did withhold information. Yes, I did withhold solutions. Yes, I did withhold the futures of the characters. But only to make the payoff for each of these so much more significant, so much more satisfying.

A good writer doesn't write for the stupid reader. A good writer trusts her reader to be intelligent enough to follow her teasing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where's All the Guys?

The question I'll be answering today is: "Have you ever visited or lived in England/UK? If so, which were your favorite locations?"

Why yes! I have lived in England and traveled all over--up into Scotland, over into Wales, even across the Channel to cavort about France. I have seen Jane Austen's house, Robert Browning's house, the Globe Theater, and any number of monuments to the great authors I love and revere. I have seen Tintagel whereat King Arthur reputedly held court, and the Hastings battlefield whereat Earl Harold was shot through the eye with an arrow thus losing the crown to William the Conqueror. I have hunted monsters on Loch Ness and (I swear to you) seen Nessie herself (though no one believed me). I have drunk more pots of properly English tea and devoured more scones smothered in Devonshire cream than any young lady should be allowed to boast.

Problem is . . . I was nine when we moved back to the United States. So my memories of these various events are possibly not . . . well . . . Let me just tell you some of my favorites.

When my family was preparing to take a trip out to Hastings, location of the famous last stand between Harold and William in the 1066 invasion of England, my mother wanted to be certain that my big brother Tom and I had some understanding of what we were about to see. So she purchased a little picture book with exciting illustrations of Harold (whom Tom picked as his favorite because he had a beard) and William (whom I picked as my favorite because he did not have a beard). I was quite delighted as she read me the story, because William won, which meant I had picked the right hero. Tom was so mournful for poor slaughtered Harold, that must constitute a victory for me.

Yeah. Hastings was going to be awesome.

So we drove out there on a quintessentially drizzly English day, hopped out, and started wandering around the fields. They look like this:

That's right. The Hastings battlefield looks like . . . a field.

And I, confused, turned this way and that and demanded in a voice of petulant frustration (which my father absolutely caught on  video for posterity): "But where's all the guys????"

I mean that picture book was showing me men in armor, and Harold with his beard, and William with his no-beard, and it was significantly more interesting than this! A walk through Battle Abbey did nothing to appease my disappointment. Nor did pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry or placards talking about the Domesday book, or really anything else that entire trip had to offer.

Because, seriously, where's all the guys?

 Fast-forward a few years . . . and we went on a trip to visit Jane Austen's house! This was supposed to be something really quite wonderful according to my mother. She showed me big grown-up-looking books on her bookshelf and explained to me all about how Jane Austen had written these stories about grown-up people talking about grown-up things, and kissing, and talking some more, and probably talking about kissing, and really, was anybody interested in reading this stuff?

I certainly wasn't. I was all about Marguerite Henry books at that time. For those of you who might not be familiar with the literary wonder who is Marguerite Henry, she wrote the classic horse stories for young people, including the phenomenal Misty of Chincoteague, which was all about wild ponies and races and really interesting things like that (and there wasn't a kiss to be found anywhere within those pages).

But fine. Mummy was super excited to go see this grown-up person's grown-up house, so we all piled into the van for a road trip. And I read Marguerite Henry books all the way and pretended that I had my own very fast pony hitched to the front of the van, pulling us along down those quaint English roads.

And then we got to Jane Austen's house. And it looked kind of like a house. But across from the house was a field, and in the field was . . .

A PONY!

A beautiful, white, adorable, wonderful pony who probably had never moved fast enough to either win a race in a Marguerite Henry novel or to pull my family's van. But that didn't matter because it was a pony and it was beautiful. And I named him Misty, because what else could he possibly be named? He was white after all! And I fed him grass that was exactly like the grass on his side of the fence, but he ate from my hand anyway because he was perfectly wonderful, and I felt my little heart soaring with--

Oh. What? You mean, we've got to actually go walk through that house? Um. Why?

I have no memory of Jane Austen's house. I couldn't tell you what it looked like, not if you paid me to. But I absolutely remember that pony. (And I always will.)

Anyway, you get an idea what touring overseas was like for me. I could tell you plenty more stories . . . like, how I decided not to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower but chose to eat ice cream down on the lawn beneath it instead, and got chased off by a furious Frenchman who was probably asking me if I hadn't read the "Keep Off the Grass" sign--which I had, but it was in French, so it meant nothing to me.

Or the time we went to Beatrix Potter's house, and I was so delighted to see the rocking chair that Tom Kitten's mother sat in in one of my favorite illustrations, I slipped under the cords and sat in it myself, rocking it so far back it crashed into the table behind, scaring everyone in the room, and earning me a scolding. (But hey, I sat in the same rocking chair as Tom Kitten's mother!)

I could tell you about the time we visited Eileen Donan castle in Scotland, which looks like this . . .

. . . and how I grabbed pill bugs and ran out onto that bridge to toss them over into the water, only I couldn't toss them far enough, so they landed in the grass, not in the water, which was terribly disappointing. (Yes. That's my primary memory of Eileen Donan.)

I could tell you about Leeds Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in all of England . . . only, I really couldn't tell you much about the castle itself. But I could tell you all about the amazing peacocks that roamed the grounds, including the glorious white peacocks which were too beautiful for words. And how I dreamed for months afterwards that one of them fell so much in love with me that it climbed onto the roof of our van and rode all the way home with us. And I kept it in my backyard and took it for walks down the street on a peacock-leash, and we two were inseparable friends forever, because that's what happens with peacocks.

So basically, yes. I've lived in England. I've toured the UK. But I'm probably not the best person to ask about key spots to visit while touring.

Seriously, someday I'm going to go back, and I'm going to go to Jane Austen's house, and I'm going to find that magical white pony and visit with it for hours while Rohan walks through that stuffy old building. And I'll probably get me a peacock at Leeds too . . .

Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview Feature: Gillian Bronte Adams!

Dear Imps, today I have the pleasure of featuring a talented new voice in the realm of Christian Fantasy! Many of you may have already encountered her charming blog, Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant, which is a wonderful refuge of all things fantasy and magical. Now her debut novel has released, and you have the prime opportunity to delve into the wonderful worlds of her imagination. I give you . . .

GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. Her love of epic stories and a desire to present truth in a new way drew her to the realm of fantasy.

And here is the description of lovely new novel:

Who Will Keep the Song Alive?

  Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one. When Birdie's song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power. Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.

Grab your copy of Orphan's Song today!

 Gillian is here today for an interview, and she is also offering a print copy of Orphan's Song for one lucky winner! So enjoy learning more about this exciting new voice in Spec fiction, and be certain to enter your name in the drawing.

INTERVIEW

Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Gillian! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Gillian: What to tell … well, I’m a sword-wielding, horse-riding, adventure-loving speculative fiction writer from the great state of Texas. Coffee is my life line when work gets busy. I brew a pot whenever I’m facing a long to do list—it’s my signal that now is the time to focus on work and distractions everywhere should flee in terror. That’s the general idea at least. 

What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing? 

Gillian: I started inventing stories at a young age just for fun. A lot of them I ended up playacting out in the backyard with my siblings, resulting in all sorts of hilarious scrapes. But I didn’t take writing seriously until I participated in a NaNo-like challenge at the age of sixteen. After managing to whip out 50,000 words in thirteen days, I realized that I really liked this writing business and started researching ways to make a go of it.

I’m a bit of a dreamer, but publishing wasn’t even on my radar in the beginning. The more I researched and the more I learned about the writing craft, the more I realized that being published wasn’t completely impossible—unlike my other dreams of captaining a pirate ship, becoming an actress, or fighting with the knights of the Round Table.

So I spent the next several years studying both writing and publishing, making mistakes and learning from them, and writing … writing … writing … until I signed with a literary agent and then a publisher! 

Tell us a little about your work! Orphan's Song is your debut novel, right? How did this story come about? 

Gillian: Yes, Orphan’s Song is my debut novel. I started writing it four years ago with little more than a few character names, a thin plot thread, and my love for fantasy and the written word. By the time I finished the first draft, I knew the story needed a major overhaul, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that it had potential, unlike so many of the manuscripts I’d relegated to the “forsaken and forgotten” pile in the past. Four hefty re-writes later, Orphan’s Song in its final form was born. 

Is Orphan's Song part of a series? How many more tales do you hope to set in this exciting world? 

Gillian: Orphan’s Song is the first book in a fantasy trilogy called the Songkeeper Chronicles. I’m currently working on book two, while book three is simmering somewhere in the back of my brain.

Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel? 

Gillian: I always have a hard time with this question because my favorite character generally happens to be whichever point-of-view I’m writing at the time. Orphan’s Song is written from the POV of three main characters—Birdie, Amos, and Ky. When you boil it all down, I guess you could say I love Birdie’s depth, Ky’s heart, and Amos’s strength of will.

What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration? 

Gillian: I gather inspiration from a lot of things: a beautiful turn of phrase in a book, an image from a movie, a word of truth in a sermon or a verse that sticks in my head and won’t let go, or epic adventure-inspiring music. But there are times when inspiration feels like a well that’s run completely dry, and when that happens, I nearly always saddle my horse and go for a ride. There’s nothing like the rhythmic drumming of hooves, the breeze in your face, and the glory of movement and speed to clear your head. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process? 

Gillian: My favorite part of the writing process is brainstorming, character development, and story breathing at the beginning. I love when a story just flows from my soul onto the page. Not that there aren’t tough times, but you can’t beat writing when the story has so seeped into your consciousness that it just spills out your fingers into the keyboard.

I’m not sure what my least favorite part of the writing process is. I enjoy editing but waiting for edits to come back from an editor always makes me extremely nervous!

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be? 

Gillian: You mean forced … like at gunpoint? Otherwise, it’s a little hard to narrow it down. But if there was a gun pointing at me, I might blurt out “Tolkien” as a distraction before employing my mad Dunedain ranger skills and taking down my assailant with an epically heroic-looking move that would make any fantasy character jealous!

What are you actively writing right now? 

Gillian: I’m actively writing the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles … soon to be followed by the third book. At least, that’s what I’m writing on my laptop. But there is a completely different fantasy series that’s writing itself in the back of my head, making it very difficult to focus. Currently the ideas span a total of at least six different books, complete with characters and major plot points, and they won’t stop badgering me.

I suppose you could say I’m suffering from an acute case of multiple novels disorder. But at least I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be writing once I’m done with the Songkeeper Chronicles!

 Would you share a short snippet from Orphan’s Song?  

Gillian Sure! Here’s a little bit from inside the first chapter…

EXCERPT FROM
ORPHAN'S SONG

Birdie ran. Past the barn, across the dusty inn yard, and out over the hills surrounding the Sylvan Swan Inn. Autumn grass crinkled beneath her feet. Blazing orange fire flowers burst as she brushed past, exploding into wild puffs of floating petals that drifted away on the wind. She ran until she gasped for breath and stumbled to her knees in a wide open space. Sobs rose in her throat, smothering her anger, and she flung herself flat against the cool brown earth and cried into her arms.
Deep below, a sepulchral rumbling from the depths of the earth, a distant melody rose to greet her. Warm as a summer sunrise, the song caught her up in its embrace. The tears dried on her face. Her sorrow eased. The song was familiar—she had known it all her life—and yet new and wondrous, something too great to be fully known or understood. It spiraled upward, carrying her soul to reach for the sky. Then, it stopped abruptly and the melody faded away.
She sat alone on the hillside; the only noise the ordinary sounds of an autumn afternoon: whispering of windswept grasses, trilling whistles of the Karnoth birds winging northward to the ice and snow ere Winter Turning, and the peaceful munching of herds of sheep grazing in the troughs between one hill and the next.
 
Disappointment settled over Birdie. Always it was the same. Every time she heard the song. Five notes without resolution. A beginning, constantly repeating, without an end. And yet the five notes were so beautiful that her heart ached at the sound and every fiber of her being yearned to hear more.



____________

Thank you, Gillian, for a fun peak into your mind and creative process! Orphan's Song looks really beautiful, and I know readers are going to love stepping into the world you have created.

Speaking of . . .

Take a moment to enter your name in this giveaway, dear Imps! And, while you're at it, feel free to leave a comment for Gillian. Do you have a question for her? Are you already a fan of her work eager for another story? Are you curious to pick up Orphan's Song? Go ahead and tell us!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Five Enchanted Roses -- Deadline REMINDER

Dear aspiring authors all . . . I just wanted to post a reminder for those of you who are planning to submit stories for the Five Enchanted Roses creative writing contest.

YOUR SUBMISSION FORMS MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 16.

This is different from last year, when your forms simply had to be postmarked by Dec. 31st. We want to receive all of the submissions themselves no later than the 31st, which means the forms need to be in much sooner.

So please, please, please don't forget! I would hate for your story to be disqualified because you missed this deadline. It is one month from today.

If you need to, you can recheck all the rules by clicking here.

Looking forward to reading those submissions! Best of luck with your writing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Plot and Approach

The blog today is written in answer to this question from one of my readers: "Not sure if you're been asked this before, but are you a pantser or outliner?"

For those of you who may not be familiar with the jargon, "pantser" is shorthand for "seat of the pants," and refers to a writer who comes up with the plot, characters, and progression of events in her story as she goes along. A pantser may have a handful of notes and ideas, but for the most part will sit down to a rough draft completely fresh and simply discover where the story and characters will take her.

I am definitely NOT a pantser.

I used to try to be. And I have, upon occasion, attempted it again here and there. But I found this approach to story and structure never fails to lead me on wordy rabbit trails that go nowhere very quickly.

Thus I have become a consummate outliner.

I didn't start outlining until I wrote the rough-draft of Heartless. Then my outline was extremely simple--seriously little more than a sentence or two giving a summary of what I thought might happen in each chapter. The purpose of the outline was simply to provide a road map--I needed to know that the plot was specifically going somewhere and that events from the previous chapter would always lead to the events of the next chapter. No rabbit trails!

This system worked quite well for me. I learned that I loved a good outline--and I also learned that a good outline is a flexible outline. There is always room to expand or contract, to shift gears slightly, to add in new threads.

As the Goldstone Wood series progressed and the stories became increasingly more complicated and intertwined, my outlines became more complex as well. Using the outline, I can juggle multiple story lines at once, able to see in a "bird's eye view" how various character arcs were intersecting and augmenting each other. I can also see the general shape of the action leading up to the final climax. I am able to predict much of what will need to be foreshadowed and thus insert proper foreshadowing during the rough-drafting phase, laying all the groundwork for thematic threads and building on them as I go.

If I were to "pants" it, I would spend so much of the rough draft simply figuring where the plot was going, I couldn't begin to concern myself with foreshadowing, thematic threads, and I would find it extremely difficult to balance the multiple story lines, not to mention the series' story lines. I probably would not write in the omniscient narrative either. It would be too difficult to handle well if I didn't know where each scene was heading in the long run.

Now the thing about outlines that often scares away writers is the notion that they kill spur of the moment inspiration. And that may very well be true for some writers (not all of us are meant to be outliners). How can you be truly spontaneous and creative if you're simply writing along, filling in the blanks, so to speak? Some writers feel that if they've outlined the story then they've already told it and, therefore, they are too bored to go on and actually write it.

While I understand this perspective, it's never been my experience. For you see, there is such an enormous difference between plot and approach. Plot is something you can outline. You can lay out for yourself the flow of events, the rising and falling action, the character threads. That's all very basic, really.

But you cannot outline approach. The manner in which you handle each scene. The style, the mood, the shape. The point-of-view. All of these things are spontaneous creative decisions.

This is where I find plenty of room for the "see where the story takes me" side of writing. I know where the plot is going. I know the events that will take it there. But I don't know the how. I don't know the approach, not ahead of time. And in my opinion the telling of the story is equally important to the story itself.

This is why it often takes multiple drafts for me to finish a complete manuscript. If I get the approach wrong in even just a handful of scenes, it can throw off the entire book. But it's not something I can map in advance.

Honestly, I can't imagine trying to figure out both plot and approach at the same time. Seat-of-the-pants is an intimidating technique to me. I remember I tried to write Dragonwitch that way, and what a dismal failure that was! (Many of you have heard of the five different Dragonwitch beginnings, 40,000 words each, all of which had to be dumped before I finally found something that worked.) I felt as lost as Alistair wandering in the Netherworld. I doubt very much that I will ever try that technique again.

How about you? Are you a pantser or an outliner? Or have you done both? If you're a pantser, why does this approach work better for you (so we can hear the flip-side to my own perspective)?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Doings at Drakenheath

Well, first things first! Many of you are here to discover whether or not you are one of the six winners from the Golden Daughter Launch Party Extravaganza Giveaway! Check the lists below . . .

Four autographed copies of Golden Daughter will be sent to:

Nathan Manning
Kaitlyn
Gwen Moeller
Sarah Pennington

Congratulations! Email me (aestengl@gmail.com) with your mailing address, and I will be popping your prizes into the mail.

And the two bonus winners--who get to pick for their prizes either Starflower, Dragonwitch, or Shadow Hand--are:

Kailin Richardson
Jasmine Augustine

Congrats to you as well, bonus winners! Again, email me (aestengl@gmail.com) with your mailing addresses and the title of the book you would like to receive as your prize.

Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway, sharing links and letting the world know about the release of Golden Daughter. You made my seventh novel's first 24 hours on the market a smashing success!


And now Golden Daughter is off into the world, and my attention must turn to new and exciting doings. Of which there are a great many, you may believe me! Let me see, what else are we up to at Drakenheath these days . . .

Well, for those of you who missed it, Untitled Book 8 is no longer Untitled, but has officially been christened Poison Crown:
(This banner depicts a nighttime scene of a lone swordsman standing in the battlements of a high tower, overlooking the rooftops of a complex castle and the rough landscape beyond. In the sky, in the middle-distance, is the dark silhouette of a dragon . . . The text reads--Poison Crown: A Princess Gone Mad. A Queen Obsessed. A Kingdom Succumbing to Poison.)

Now that the title is released, the pressure is on to get this book written. And Lumé, am I ever feeling the pressure! This story is by far the most complex thing I have ever undertaken to write. Not cosmic proportions like Golden Daughter, but a different and more difficult form of complexity. This story is another epic with quite a large cast, perhaps reminiscent of Dragonwitch (four major protagonists, two male, two female). But their story lines are all part of a twisted political intrigue involving a civil war, a clash of worlds, and a uniquely frightening villain . . .

I am currently a few more than 80,000 words into the draft, and according to the outline I'm not even halfway there. This is a bit concerning, since I always try to write my stories as tightly as possible. But it might very well be that "as tightly as possible" still means a significant word count in this instance! We shall see.

The further I'm getting into the story the more certain I am that I want to restructure much of what I have already done. The outline is solid, and the plot progression is there. But the structure . . . eh. Not so much. I think my second draft is going to need some rather enormous reconfiguring.

In the meanwhile, I am setting aggressive daily and weekly word counts goals--4,000 words a day, 16-20,000 words a week. This way, I am forcing myself to explore deeply into the manuscript, learning its secret workings along the way, even though I don't feel entirely prepared. The current result is possibly the worst rough draft I have ever composed (though that would be some pretty stiff competition!). But the end result should be a manuscript I can work with and refine into something pretty . . . well, pretty spectacular! If I can make it look like what's in my head.

Anyway, my hope is to get this draft written by Christmas . . . which means no Christmas read-along this year! Sorry, imps. I really wanted to read Moonblood with all of you, particularly since I haven't revisited that story in such a long while. But the drafting is more important, as I know you will agree.
I am starting to look ahead to Five Enchanted Roses reading! As most of you know, I am not reading the first wave of stories coming through for the contest, which are instead being reviewed by our panel of readers. But . . . I get to peek at them as they come in! It's fun to see these tales and begin to daydream about what the collection might look like.

It's still entirely up in the air, however! So be certain to send your stories in for us to enjoy.

Let me see . . . I've got some small doings involving the Super Secret project. Nothing major, particularly not while I am hard at work drafting Poison Crown. But the project is not forgotten by any means! We are spending quite a lot of time discussing the future of that project and where we want to go with it. For the moment, it's resting . . .

I have a formatting project coming up in the next few weeks--not a huge project, but I have the pleasure of doing the interior formatting for The Cendrillon Cycle, Volume 1. This awesome story (which I have had the pleasure of reading in advance) is releasing on December 21, and you don't want to miss it! Seriously. It made me cry and gasp and laugh out loud . . . Everything you could possibly want in a short novella. And really, it's not as short as all that! This one is double the length of A Cinder's Tale (published in the Five Glass Slippers collection), giving readers even more of this intriguing universe to sink their teeth into.

I am really looking forward to putting some cool, fine-tuning design work into this piece. And then I'm looking forward to buying it and reading the final version. And then I'll start looking forward to Volume II . . . 

Don't forget to add this story to your Goodreads lists and help spread the word!

Really not much other news to report. Drakenheath is still in a state of disarray, for I've been so consumed by Poison Crown drafting, I have hardly been able to turn my head to unpacking and arranging. But we have all the most important spaces pretty comfortable--the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, my study. Everything else . . . It'll get there someday!

I have been putting myself on a more active schedule since we've moved as well. I'm trying to take Milly for a run every other day at the least . . . which is good for both of us! The writer's life is such a sedentary one, and this year, with all the extra writing I've been doing, has been more sedentary than usual. Time to get the blood moving again! So we are enjoying running through our beautiful neighborhood out in the beautiful country, observing all the lovely autumnal colors. And we're both, Milly and I, starting to build up a tiny bit (a tiny wee bit) of endurance! Here's to being a healthy writerly-type.

Keep your eyes open in the next month or so for the Draven's Light cover reveal. We still have that to do, plus I hope to see it go up for pre-order quite soon now. So many projects, it's hard to keep them all straight sometimes!

Anyway, congrats again to the fortunate winners, and ENORMOUS thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to help launch Golden Daughter properly. I've got a whole bunch of blog posts scheduled for the next several weeks, continuing to answer your various questions (all of which have been quite interesting!), and I have lots more to come.

So tell me, what are your November doings? Any of you doing NaNoWriMo? How are your Enchanted Roses stories coming along (if you're doing them)? Any other exciting things you're plotting or planning?

Monday, November 10, 2014

GOLDEN DAUGHTER!

Today is the day, dear Imps! The culmination of two years' worth of tremendously hard work. Golden Daughter is now available in both print and ebook for readers across the world!


It's a little hard to believe, I'm not going to lie. I began this story with such an enormous concept in my head, there was a small piece of me that wondered if I could possibly have what it takes to write it. And I will be the first to say that this book would never have come about were it not for the tireless efforts of two very important people . . .

My mother, Jill Stengl, who read every single draft, every single iteration, offering helpful critiques in those early drafts and professional editing in the later drafts. Not to mention spending hours of her time on the phone with me, brainstorming, discussing, and encouraging me that yes, I do know how to write a novel, and no, it's probably not the worst literary disaster that ever got spilled onto a page. (These conversations are important to the development of all good fiction.)

My husband, Rohan de Silva, who, as always, put up with the creature that is me-in-the-midst-of-a-manuscript. And managed to love me anyway! He patiently listened to endless rambles about this project, brainstormed certain plot-points along the way, and offered insightful critiques on character and consistency in the later stages of drafting. When all else failed, he brewed me the perfect cup of Ceylon tea. He is, as always, amazing, and I couldn't do what I do without him.

Now the story is launched, and I have only to wait and hope that all of you will very much enjoy the journey of Sairu, Jovann, Sunan, and the cat!

Please do come visit at the chat party tonight:

You can find all the details by clicking here. It's going to be a ton of fun, and I would love to see you there! Even if you feel too shy to comment, do come and read along with the discussions, see the fan art, and get an exclusive glimpse at the sneak peeks . . .

You can start preparing to get your name entered in the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Golden Daughter by sharing one of the many ad-buttons created by the Rooglewood Press marketing team. You may see them below, along with their purchase links! These can be shared on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs . . . basically all of your social media outlets.

Purchase Link for Goddess Tithe

Purchase Link for Print Edition

Purchase Link for Kindle Edition
Purchase Link for Kindle Edition
You may not think it, but each share makes a big difference for me and my marketing efforts. Remember, the Tales of Goldstone Wood series can only continue if the books sell. That may sound simplistic, but it's absolutely true. And the only way books can sell is if folks know they exist! So do take a moment to share the buttons and the links. You are a vital part of my career, and your enthusiasm can dynamically contribute to the success of a new book's launch. (Plus, for every time you share an image, you can get your name entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Golden Daughter for your bookshelf!)

And now that task is done. I'll say a prayer, hoping that the story lands in the hands of those who need it most, and I'll move on to the next big project. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement, dear Imps! You are the reason I keep on writing, and I hope this story (and all those to come) will delight your readerly hearts!