Seven years ago, I was very excited to commission my first custom illustrated cover art, for the Daughter of the Wildings series. My artist, Mominur Rahman, did a fantastic job and I still love those covers even though at the time I hadn't learned very much about what makes a really effective, genre-appropriate cover image for romantic high/epic fantasy.
Now, seven years later, Daughter of the Wildings is the foundation of my growing career as an indie author, and I've decided it's time to refresh the covers, to bring them more into line with the growing romantic high/epic fantasy genre. I was so excited to get Yuriko Matsuoka, who did the art for the Defenders of the Wildings and Mage of Sea and Storm covers, to do the new Daughter covers, and even more thrilled with what she came up with for the covers of Beneath the Canyons and Bad Hunting!
I'm starting with new covers for those two books, then, as finances permit, I'll get new art for the rest of the books. The wonderful Colleen at Ampersand Book Interiors did the same cover treatments as on the old covers for these first two books. Then, when I get the rest of the series done, I'll re-do all the design treatments on the Daughter series and the Defenders series so they match.
I'm in the process of uploading the new covers. It may take up to a week or so for them to go live on all the stores. If you've already purchased Beneath the Canyons and Bad Hunting and want the versions with the new covers, sign up for my email list and watch for a future newsletter on how to get your hands on them!
Oh, and my newsletter subscribers already got sneak peeks at the Mage of Sea and Storm cover art! (It's amazing!) Sign up to see the cover reveals first, or watch this blog.
Welp. It's been an eventful *counts on fingers* six months since I last posted. Pandemic and quarantine - hope you're all well, we're fine so far - plus we moved. We downsized to a house more than 1/3 smaller than our old house, the house where we lived for 27 years and raised our kids. So much stuff to get rid of! And all the places where we would normally sell or donate things were closed, and even if having a yard sale wasn't a really bad idea during a pandemic, we just don't have the energy or interest in doing that kind of thing. In general, moving during a quarantine is not recommended. I hate moving anyway, but we had the perfect opportunity to get the perfect house for us in the area where we wanted to be - rare new construction in our established neighborhood - so we went for it.
In other news, I'm now on revisions of book 1 of the Mage of Sea and Sky series. This is actually the second of 4 books; I've already done the big revision on the prequel. I wrote the entire series, beginning to end, in draft before starting the revision process, which is good because yes the whole thing exists, and so many things changed from beginning to end (for example, what was originally the major impetus for book 3 is now just a side note if it still exists at all, and my understanding of the hero has changed drastically since I first started writing) that this way I can make the major changes and get everything consistent before I start publishing.
I'm also working with my wonderful cover artist, Yuriko Matsuoko, on the covers! Subscribers to my newsletter are the first to get sneak peeks at the cover art and excerpts from the book. Sign up to get the scoop before I post it on my blog! Also, subscribers will get Red Jade, the prequell novella of Mage of Sea and Sky, free!
Okay, so it's been three months since my last post and the release of Mages' Uprising. I figured maybe it's time for a progress report (though if you're subscribed to my newsletter, you've been getting progress reports all along, hint hint). So what have I been up to since October? Basically, this:
This is the complete first draft printout of my next series, tentatively titled Mage of Sea and Sky. I finished writing the draft on November 15. Four books (prequel and books 1, 2, and 3), 289,000 words (which will increase as I revise), 949 printout pages. That's book 3 sitting on top of the binder; it wouldn't all fit in my jumbo binder, so book 3 needed its own binder. Now I'm taking the series through my revision triage process, based on what I learned in Holly Lisle's How to Revise Your Novel class. This is where I read the whole thing through, making extensive notes on what needs to be fixed, getting the characters and worldbuilding consistent, checking for plot holes and subplots that go nowhere, and all that kind of stuff. I have a specific protocol I go through with each scene to make sure I hit all the different possible problem areas. So far I've done 366 out of 949 pages. It's kind of a grueling, tedious, time-consuming process, but when it comes time to actually start making changes to the books, I'll know I've identified the major and minor problems and figured out in advance how to fix them, and I can get everything consistent throughout all the books.
I'm really excited about this series. The idea and the main characters have been in my head for a long time, decades, and now I've finally found the right setting for them. This series takes place in the Mardavian Islands of the Wildings world, where Silas's Island mage ancestors came from, and the end of the series leads into the beginning of the mage migration to Granadaia. Some Venedias ancestors may be among the characters; I haven't identified them yet. So, although this takes place in a different time and place in that world, I hope readers who've enjoyed the Wildings books will also enjoy Mage of Sea and Sky.
Just as a teaser, here's a character list from the prequel, which takes place 12 years before the main series:
Esavas Daruvias (the hero), age 19, youngest son of a highborn mage family; an awkward, bookish, misfit young man.
Master Kahusun, a Master of the Higher Order of Magecraft and Scholarship (aka the Tower).
Amavas Daruvias, a highborn mage, Esavas's demanding, hard-to-please father.
Rayaluna Daruvias, Esavas's lovely, flighty older sister.
Pirazina Uyadias, age 17, a highborn mage, a beautiful young woman whom Esavas has adored since childhood.
Valazan Buradias, a highborn mage, the best student in Esavas's training cadre.
Orpajin Valentias, a highborn mage, the second-best student in Esavas's training cadre, a bully.
Master Arbasy, instructor in magical and martial arts for Esavas's training cadre.
Master Lanijan, weather-master for Esavas's hometown.
Mahuras Lamodias, a highborn mage, an acquaintance of Esavas's from school, an enterprising young man who is not especially concerned about the legality of his business ventures.
Watch for more info about Mage of Sea and Sky as I make progress! This series is quite a long way from being ready for release, but I can tell you that new and existing subscribers to my newsletter will get early access to a free download of the prequel.
As for other projects, for those who are sad that there are no more books in the Wildings series, never fear! A new Wildings series, Children of the Wildings, is next in the book pipeline. Right now I'm just gathering ideas (dragons! and what are the Vendine kids up to 15-20 years later? Despite their best efforts to avoid it, will trouble find Silas and Lainie yet again?) and I'm a long way from starting to write it; for the time being, I want to concentrate my energy and brain power on Mage of Sea and Sky. We also have a house move coming up the first part of March (only half a mile away, but we're reducing our living space by 1/3, so lots of decluttering to do before then) and my husband and I are also planning another trip to Germany this fall. But life and health permitting, I'll continue making steady progress and be able to begin Children of the Wildings once I start publishing Mage of Sea and Sky. Hopefully before the end of this year, but I really can't say. Stay tuned for updates (which will hopefully come more often than every three months)!
I am very happy to announce that Mages' Uprising, Defenders of the Wildings Book 3, is now available! Through Oct. 14, it's at a special release price of $2.99; after that, it goes up to the regular price of $3.99. Here's the scoop:
Once, Silas and Lainie Vendine, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages, had a home and ranch of their own and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors. Then the mage-hating Chardonikans came and drove Silas and Lainie from their home.
Now, Silas and his children have been captured by the Chardonikans, who are intent on spreading their despotic rule through the Wildings.
On the trail of Silas and the children, Lainie and her companions approach the Broadgrass, territory of the hostile P'wagimet people, in search of the Chardonikan stronghold.
When the true extent of the Chardonikans' plans in the Wildings is revealed, Silas and Lainie must somehow work together, even though they're separated by the enemy, to defeat the Chardonikans, reunite their family, and protect the freedom of all the people of the Wildings.
Mages' Uprising is available at all ebook stores, only $2.99 for a limited time!
AU | CA | UK
Barnes & Noble
iTunes | Kobo
Phew, okay, yes I'm still here! I've been up to my ears in final edits on Mages' Uprising, book 3 of Defenders of the Wildings, and I'm happy to announce they're finished! The book will be coming out later this week, I need to do the formatting and uploading and write the blurb, arg. I'll release it at a special price of $2.99 for a few days, then it'll go up to the regular price of $3.99. To make sure you don't miss out on the release and the special price, sign up for my email newsletter.
And in the meantime, here's the cover! (Newsletter subscribers got to see this a month ago, hint hint)
Art by Yuriko Matsuoko.
If you've read Mages' Exile, book 2, and you're wondering, this may or may not be a literal depiction of something that happens in the book. However, that may literally be Silas and Lainie's house in the background (sorry about that, you two!)
Also in the meantime, to keep you entertained while you wait, here's a sneak peek at the first chapter:
RATTLING AND BOUNCING, the rail wagons sped across the prairie. From the bench where he sat, shifting uncomfortably on the hard red leather upholstery with Vera curled up next to him, Silas watched the grasslands blur by. The smoke drifting in through the open windows made his lingering headache from the heavy aura of Regulator energy on the boat worse, and his arms, bound behind him with chains infused with Regulator power, ached and burned.
The wagon jolted and Silas’s stomach lurched. He closed his eyes and forced back a surge of sickness.
“Do not worry, Mr. Vendine,” said Dorbiza, sitting across the aisle from him. “That is a common reaction to one’s first ride on the rail wagons. One soon gets over it. Are you in need of a bucket?”
“It’s okay if you throw up, Pa,” Blake said from his seat towards the front of the wagon. “Mama says it happens to everyone.”
Silas fought back more nausea. He’d be damned if he disgraced himself in front of his children and his enemies any more than he already had, letting himself be chained like this. The memory of what had happened at the dock, when his six-year-old son had felt compelled to defend him and Dorbiza had threatened the boy, made him burn inside. One day, no matter what it took, even if it was the last thing he did, he would send that sheep-humping son of a bitch to stand before the gods to answer for his sins. “I’m fine,” he growled at Dorbiza.
Despite the open windows, the inside of the wagon was hot and stuffy. Vera lay asleep, her head heavy and sweaty on Silas’s lap. Lulled by the heat and the constant, steady sound and motion, Silas started to doze off as well.
He caught himself, jerking his head up. It wouldn’t do to fall asleep when he and his children were in the hands of the enemy, being taken to gods alone knew where – if the gods even knew. If he fell asleep and the children were taken from the wagon, he wouldn’t know what had happened to them. Yawning, his head pounding, he forced his eyes to stay open.
At last, with a loud screeching and grinding, the wagons slowed down, then stopped. “We have arrived,” Dorbiza said. “I am certain, Mr. Vendine, that is the fastest thirty leagues you have ever traveled.”
Silas shook his head, trying to clear it. Thirty leagues? How long had it been? Not long enough for him to start feeling hungry or for the boys to announce that they needed to pee; an hour, or maybe a little more. In that short time, he had gone nearly a full day’s journey. No doubt, these rail wagons would be a great thing for the Wildings, allowing people and goods to cross the vast distances in a matter of days rather than ninedays or months.
But the price the Chardonikans were asking was far too high.
Watch for Mages' Uprising, Defenders of the Wildings Book 3, coming later this week at your favorite ebook store. And don't miss out on these special offers:
Beneath the Canyons is free at all stores at least through December, or maybe longer.
Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3 box set is on special for only $2.99 through this month, maybe longer if I continue to be happy with the sales it's getting.
And through October 31, get Mages' Home, book 1 of Defenders of the Wildings, for only 99 cents!
Ok, yeah, so I've been home from our latest trip for a couple months now. :D I've been trying to recover, but this summer has been full of this and that and the other, and in between I've been working hard on the books.
I'm down to the final rounds of cleanup and polishing edits on Mages' Uprising, Book 3 of Defenders of the Wildings. It's at 99,000+ words, by far the longest of the Wildings novels. I always hesitate to announce release dates because stuff *always* happens to delay them, but I think we can look for this one to go live in late September/early October. As always, to make sure you don't miss out when it's released, sign up for my email newsletter. And watch for the cover reveal, coming soon! (Newsletter subscribers will get the first look!)
I'm also almost done with the first draft of book 2 of a new series, set in the Islands where Silas's ancestors came from, shortly before the mage emigration to Granadaia began. I'm having a lot of fun with these characters and the different setting. There's still book 3 to write, then all the revising and editing, and I'm saving up for covers, so there's a long way to go until these are ready for release. The prequel novella will be free for subscribers to my email list!
Anyway, I'm making progress, even if it's in fits and starts.
And now, some photos from my trip to Scotland!
Doune Castle. Parts of Monty Python and the Holy Grail were filmed here, along with scenes from the Outlander and Game of Thrones TV shows.
Standing Stones of Torhouse. About 4000 years old. It's amazing how evenly they're arranged, and in a perfect circle.
A mysterious castle near a seaside hotel where we stopped one rainy afternoon to get something to eat.
We spent our last day in Germany in the third of three beautiful medieval town: Rothenburg. Like I said in the previous post on Nuremberg, by this point in the trip my brain was pretty fried. So I don't remember a lot of specifics, but I do have some pretty pictures to show.
So Rothenburg has lots of pretty medieval buildings:
Down one of these streets we found a shop with like a hundred different kinds of sausage displayed in the window.
Speaking of food, my husband and I ate lunch at this really cool restaurant:
And we saw this church. The highlight is the Altar of the Holy Blood by famed woodcarver Tilman Riemanschneider, but it also has some other cool stuff in it.
And this beautiful park at the top of the town (the town is a fortess town built on top of a hill):
And then it was back to Frankfurt and our hotel by the airport, and home again the next day. In a few days, my husband and I are off on our next adventure; I may get a wrap-up post put up before then. Or I might not. Stay tuned for more of Kyra's Excellent Adventures!
(The adventure starts here)
After we left eastern Germany, we went to the second of the major medieval towns we visited, Nuremberg, aka Nürnberg. There was quite a bit of discussion in the car as we were driving there as to whether Nuremberg and Nürnberg are the same place. Opinion was divided, but according to Wikipedia, they are one and the same, Nuremberg is the Anglicization, Nürnberg is the German form.
To be honest, by this point in the trip I was pretty tired and everything was pretty much a blur, so I'll just share some photos and what highlights I can remember.
We saw some cool Gothic churches, with amazing carvings on the outside and beautiful artwork inside.
And some other cool medieval buildings, including the Albrecht Dürer house, which we did not stop in at. We were heading up the (steep) hill to the castle, and were on a schedule to depart for our next stop later that day. Maybe next time.
This statue is in the marketplace where a famous Christmas market is held every year. We visited the market when I was 8 years old, and I still have and use a Nativity scene I bought there.
And here's the castle, which was an important center of the Holy Roman Empire government.
And we ate at this restaurant, Nassauer Keller, which is down in a cellar. Right inside the door is a fairly steep flight of stairs. The decor includes full suits of armor. If you look at the menu, my husband had the Nürnberger Rostbratwürste, and I had my usual favorite, Schnitzel "Wiener Art." Also in Nuremberg we finally found the elusive Spaghetti Eis (Ice cream), a favorite treat from the years when we lived in Germany. Vanilla ice cream pushed through a spaghetti press to make "noodles," topped with strawberry sauce and coconut flakes for the "parmesan cheese." My mom had especially been craving it, but for some reason it was really hard to find until we got to Nuremberg.
Along with being a center of learning and culture, Nuremberg does have an ugly history of persecution of Jews and as a major center of the Nazi government. It was extensively bombed during World War II. Most of the medieval buildings have actually been rebuilt since the war, and as we visited the city we got a strong sense of learning from the evils of the past and moving forward focusing on lessons learned and the good and beauty to be found in humanity.
So, one more stop after this, Rothenberg, and then it's time to fly home! But before I end this series and head out on my next adventure, I'll also hit a few other miscellaneous high points.
Kyra's Excellent Adventure, Part 9: Going Medieval, part 1: Regensburg
Time to finish up my blog series on last year's trip to Germany (here's Part 1) before my husband and I head off on our next adventure, later next month. Stay tuned to find out where we're going!
We bookended our trip into eastern Germany with stops in three beautiful medieval cities. The first one was Regensburg, which is especially known for its cathedral. I remembered the cathedral from when we were in Germany in 1978-79; in June of 79, my best friend from back home came to spend the month with us, and she and I went all over the place on the train. Regensburg was one of those stops. I was excited to see the cathedral again this time. It's very squeezed in among a lot of other buildings and a good chunk of it was covered in scaffolding, but we still got some great views of it. Here it is lit by the sunset:
That evening, we all went our separate ways for supper. My husband and I found ourselves in this square near the cathedral. The yellow building was the site of the Perpetual Diet. From Wikipedia:
"The Perpetual Diet of Regensburg or the Eternal Diet of Regensburg[nb 1] (German: Immerwährender Reichstag) was a session of the Imperial Diet (Reichstag) of the Holy Roman Empire that sat continuously from 1663 to 1806 in Regensburg in present-day Germany.
"Previously, the Diet had convened in different cities but, beginning in 1594, it met only in the town hall in Regensburg. On 20 January 1663, the Diet convened to deal with threats from the Ottoman Empire (the Turkish Question). Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the Holy Roman Emperor had been formally bound to accept all decisions made by the Diet. Hence, out of fear that the Emperor would disregard the Diet's role by not calling sessions, it never dissolved and became a perpetual diet."
With the obvious jokes, my husband and I grabbed an outdoors table at a small restaurant on the square, the Hofbräuhaus Regensburg, and ordered Abendsbrot, delicious breads and cheeses and a selection of interesting wursts. This was the view from our table:
This square was really pretty busy with people coming and going, eating ice cream and hanging out with friends, and we had a wonderful, relaxing time sitting and eating and watching the world go by. This was one of our favorite restaurants in Germany. Actually, they were all our favorites, but we had a really nice time here.
We spent the night at a nice hotel, in an old building but renovated with an elevator! At this point I was getting kind of tired of lugging my suitcase up and down narrow stairways. The hotel was on the Street of the Happy Turks, in a very hip and happening part of town. Lots of people out enjoying the town at night, lots of fun.
The next day we set out to do our sightseeing, including a return trip to the cathedral.
The inside is just as spectacular. We got there just in time to enjoy the short noon service, organ music and a brief sermon (in German). A nice, peaceful break from all the touristy running around.
The Danube River runs through Regensburg. My husband and I walked across this bridge with this cool medieval gate tower and got a great view of the city, with the cathedral and interesting medieval buildings.
March 22-27: Get your fantasy boxed sets here at the Towers of Fantasy Tomes event, hosted by Romantic Fantasy Shelf. Binge on fantasy reads for 99 cents, free, Kindle Unlimited, and more!
March 20-25: If you're an international Kobo customer (I'm not sure if this sale is good in the US), don't miss the March 40% Off Box Sets sale! All three of my box sets, Love and Magic, Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3, and Daughter of the Wildings: The Complete Series are part of this sale, in the Fantasy and Science Fiction section. Use promo code 40MAR.
I'm also running a 40% off coupon on these box sets on Smashwords. Buy Love and Magic, Daughter of the Wildings Book 1-3, and/or Daughter of the Wildings: The Complete Series with the on-site coupon code and save 40%! Deal expires March 25.
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