With Heir of Tanaris in the later editing stages and (hopefully) still on track for release at the end of September, it's time to reveal the cover. I have been so excited to show this off!
And here's the full spread for the paperback:
As usual, Mominur Rahman did an amazing job with bringing my characters to life. And the magical tree is pretty cool, too. That was the first thing my husband said when I showed this to him - "Cool tree!"
Here's the short blurb, in case you haven't seen it yet: "When Davian, a badly-injured runaway slave from a corrupted magical Source, is brought to Isamina's healing Source, Isamina must find the courage to heal his damaged spirit, while Davian must defeat the evil within himself to become the great man he was meant to be and win the love he yearns for."
Some fun facts about this cover:
Davian's gloves weren't in the original character description. But I liked them so much I added them into the book, and they became an important detail in the story.
Also, Kaniev (from Source-Breaker) and Davian are from the same region of Tehovir, the northeastern fiords, (and, I don't know, Kaniev might even be Davian's great-great-grandfather or something) so I gave Mominur the same reference photos to work from, featuring the same model. Here are some closeups; you can see the resemblance between the two characters, but also how the artist captured their different personalities.
Finally, here's some of my mood music for the book, from the album Haven by Kamelot. The whole album is really awesome, and pretty much makes up most of the playlist for the book.
My Therapy (this is how Davian sees Isamina):
Under Grey Skies (the love song for Davian and Isamina):
Watch for Heir of Tanaris coming at the end of September (knock on wood). To make sure you don't miss out on the release and the special low introductory price, sign up for my email newsletter.
Time for another monthly progress report, one week into August.
July was busy with family reunion/vacation and some other stuff, so I didn't get as much writing done as I hoped I would. I did finally figure out the follow-up Wildings series, which now also has a name, Defenders of the Wildings. I solved the story problems (I think); the events of book 1 make the most sense coming in the middle of book 2, which means I'm splitting book 2 in half and putting book 1 in the middle, with much attendant reworking of the two books. The story seems to be working better now, but what it means for the series is that this series won't be structured in nice, neat novel-length episodes like Daughter of the Wildings. I can't tell yet if it's going to be one large, disjointed book (my least favorite option), two short and somewhat less disjointed books, or a series of shorter serial-style episodes. Right now I've got book 1 (now the second episode) rewritten and I'm constructing episode 1 out of the first part of the old book 2. The whole thing is roughly outlined, and I added a concluding episode which wasn't in the original plan, to tie up the story in a more satisfactory fashion. (I also had to do this with Daughter of the Wildings, which first I thought would be five books, then I realized I needed a sixth book.) I'm also getting ideas for another follow-up set of books, called Children of the Wildings, starring, well, I'll let you guess!
I've also been working on edits of Tales of Azara, now titled The Brilliant Career of Sajur Golu and Other Tales of Azara. See my hopefully-not-too-lame cover I made for it above. If you've read Chosen of Azara, you may remember Sajur Golu as the evil, corrupt priest. This collection of short stories contains the story of his rise to the position of High Priest of Source Dar and of the Madrinan Empire, along with other background stories, character vignettes, and alternate points of view of scenes in the book. I'm looking at releasing it sometime before the end of August, in conjunction with the debut of a new cover for Chosen of Azara. Getting a new cover for Chosen of Azara was a very difficult decision; I love the current cover but it just isn't quite right for the genre and while it represents the characters of Sevry and Lucie very well, it doesn't really convey a sense of the story. None of this is the fault of the artist; I love Design by Katt's work and highly recommend her for beautiful photomanipulation covers. Rather, it's the difficulty in finding base photos to work with that are right for the book. Also, with two more novels in the Tehovir world scheduled to come out later this year and early next year, I wanted to re-brand the Chosen cover to fit with the others and with The Warrior and the Holy Man, which is also set in Tehovir. So I commissioned Mominur Rahman, the artist who did the amazing Daughter of the Wildings covers and also the new covers for Urdaisunia and Warrior and the Holy Man, to do these next three covers. I got the final art for Chosen today, and it's gorgeous. Watch for the cover reveal, coming soon!
So I've hinted at some exciting things coming up, and new cover art is one of them. The others I still can't talk about, but they're really cool. Stay tuned for news!
And finally, since it's Music Monday, here's a video for you. This is "My Therapy" from the album Haven by Kamelot, which is the theme song for my character Davreos from Heir of Tanaris, one of my upcoming Tehovir books.
Another Music Monday and a new project means it's time to make a new playlist! Part of the fun of working on a new novel is putting together a playlist for it. I wrote the first draft of The Source-Fixer without really having a playlist in mind, but now as I'm planning the revision, it's started to come together.
The Source-Fixer (this may graduate from working title to actual title) is about two people in the middle of life (Kaniev is forty; Fransisa won't admit to her age but, just between you and me, she's also forty) who lose everything that's given meaning and purpose to their lives up until now, then find new life and hope in a place they never expected. And yes, it's a fantasy-romance (I am who I am), but kind of different. So with that in mind, here are my songs for the book:
For your listening enjoyment, here's the playlist on Spotify. (click link to listen directly on Spotify)
Finally surfacing for air after recovering from getting For the Wildings ready to release and diving into the next projects on the list. It's still hard to believe that Daughter of the Wildings is complete and published (except for the paperback; I've just started working on that). It started as just an experiment about 4 1/2 years ago, then that one book turned into a 5-book series, then 6 books, and turned into a story that I felt absolutely compelled, driven, to publish. There was a time, a little over two years ago, when I was honestly afraid I might not live to finish it, but the problem turned out to be relatively mild and self-correcting and *knock on wood* I hope I won't have any more similar problems for the foreseeable future. I do need to try to get back to the better health habits I was working on before.
Anyway. So, yeah, Daughter of the Wildings, the project of my heart, my obsession for the last few years, is out there now, and it's time to move on to other things. Next up is The Source-Fixer (still trying to think of a different title, and not having much luck). I'm nearly done with the triage phase of the first big revision. This book started out as a project I abandoned many years ago, then I figured out how to finish it and wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo in 2014. Now that I'm reading through it, I'm seeing things I love about it and also some major issues. Nothing unfixable, though.
I've also initiated the process of getting cover art for Source-Fixer and Heir of Tanaris, and a new cover for Chosen of Azara. Since these are all set in the same world, I want to re-brand Chosen with a cover to match the other two books. I love getting new cover art, and I'm so excited to see how these are going to look!
In other news, as a result of my commitment to write 1000 words a day/250,000 words this year, I have a bunch of short stories waiting to be published. I'll be releasing the first collection of five soon (finishing up the final edits on them). Email subscribers will have the opportunity to get the collection for free :)
And also, as part of writing 1000 words a day, I now find myself nearly 7500 words into book 2 of the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings. I finished the draft of book 1, then was wondering how to get to the next major plot point in the series story arc, and realized what I needed was a range war! So I did some reading up on range wars in the Old West, and book 2 just kind of came together. Daughter of the Wildings may be finished, but I'm not done with the world or the characters quite yet.
Last month I planted some vegetables in my new raised gardening box. Let's check in on how my little green things are doing:
A reminder: if you read For the Wildings, don't forget to go to the link at the end of the book to download a free Silas and Lainie short story, "A Good Example"! The story has major spoilers for the book, so don't read it before you finish For the Wildings :)
Finally, since it's Music Monday, I'll leave you with the video of Insomnia from Kamelot's album Haven.
Taking a break from final proofreads on For the Wildings for another Music Monday! This week I'm featuring Haven, the most recent album from one of my favorite symphonic/progressive metal bands, Kamelot. This is another album I've been enjoying a lot lately, and it's a heavy influence on one of my upcoming books, Heir of Tanaris.
It's hard to say what the strongest point of this album is, but the vocal performances are definitely a highlight. Tommy Karevik (the more-than-worthy successor to Kamelot's previous singer, the extremely talented and classically-trained Roy Khan) has a powerful sound, amazing range, and virtuoso phrasing and vocal shadings that make each song an incredible listening experience. I'd have to say, among a lot of amazing singers I'm a fan of right now, he's my favorite.
There's some great songwriting on the album, both musically and lyrically. The instrumentals, played with the skill and polish of a longtime professional band, combine serious headbanging metal and beautiful string arrangements. The members of Kamelot are masters of their instruments and definitely know what they're doing. As well, there are a lot of memorable melodies, some of the most beautiful melodies I've heard in metal. The bonus album contains the instrumental tracks of all the songs, which stand up well by themselves, as well as orchestral arrangements of some of the songs.
And then there's the lyrics. A lot of authors who listen to music as they write prefer music without lyrics, so that those words and their words don't get mixed up, but I get a lot of inspiration from the right lyrics, and when I start a new project I spend a lot of time carefully choosing songs that fit the overall plot and mood of the book as well as for specific scenes and characters. Lyrics matter to me, and I love the lyrics on Haven. They have a somewhat dystopian feel to them, and center around a loose concept of being torn between personal desires for good and evil, longing for power on the one hand and love on the other. At least that's my read on it, and the theme fits perfectly with Heir of Tanaris, about a man torn between the evil that's been instilled in him for years and his longings for personal power and domination, and his newly-awakened desires to be a better man and to be worthy of the love he's found. The first six songs on Haven - Fallen Star, Insomnia, Citizen Zero, Veil of Elysium, Under Grey Skies, My Therapy, and a song from further down, Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy), form the core of my writing soundtrack for Heir, and I must have listened to it hundreds of times over and over and over while I wrote the first draft, and never got tired of it. My Therapy is especially appropriate; the female lead character in Heir is a healer, and Davreos, the male protagonist, looks to her to heal him not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually with her love.
To give you a taste of this amazing album, here's the official lyrics video for Veil of Elysium, one of the most beautiful metal songs I've ever heard:
So I hate it when I want to write a blog post but I have no idea what to write about. There's only so much I can say about my own writing before it gets boring, and unlike a lot of writers, I'm not interested in blogging about writing. But thinking of interesting stuff is hard. Then it occurred to me, I like music, so maybe sometimes I should blog about music. And I hate cooking but we gotta eat anyway, so maybe sometimes I should blog about stuff I like to make that's easy, especially on a busy day (like a long day of writing). And some other stuff. So I came up with a list of themes for blogging, Music Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Throwback Thursday (not original with me, of course), Friday Five (which I already do sporadically), Sneak Peek/Snippet Saturday. All alliterative, because alliteration makes everything easier. And author spotlights on Wednesday, but I couldn't think of a way to make that alliterative. So this is just a loose framework, don't look for a post on each of those topics every week, and I reserve the right to post on a different topic on any day when I feel like it. But when I want to write a blog post and have no idea what to write about, this gives me some ideas.
Anyhoo, for the inaugural Music Monday, here's a look at my most recent album purchase (yes, I buy my music by the album, instead of streaming or only buying individual songs. I guess I'm just old-fashioned that way. Though I mainly buy MP3s), Legacy, the brand new album (their 4th, I believe) from Tunisian progressive/symphonic metal band Myrath.
Myrath combines the metal rock, symphonic arrangements, and big, dramatic melodies and lyrics of symphonic metal with the rhythms and melodic hooks of North Africa and the Middle East for a sound that rocks hard and is musically gorgeous and unique at the same time. Along with the usual instruments you'd find in a metal band, they also use traditional instruments. The lead singer's vocal stylings might sound a little unusual and take some getting used to, because again they draw heavily from North African and Middle Eastern musical traditions. The songs on Legacy (really a self-titled album, since "Myrath" means "Legacy") integrate these traditions more heavily than on the previous albums that I've heard (Desert Call and Tales of the Sands), but it's still very listenable. The songwriting and musicianship show a band that is gaining depth and maturity with each album. The lyrics are positive, on subjects like the desert, adventures, facing life's challenges, and a good portion of love songs. With my own love of the desert and of writing fantasy set in the desert, Myrath's songs are a great fit for my books, and of course I always love a good love song. I've used a couple of their songs on playlists for my books, "Silent Cries" (from Desert Call) on the Urdaisunia playlist, and "Silent Cries" (again) and "Madness" (also from Desert Call) on the playlist for The Lost Book of Anggird.
Me being something of a musicology nerd (I got my Master's degree in music history, though I never got into ethnomusicology), I love coming across music that's unique and powerful and draws on long, deep tradition. I see symphonic metal as being one of the latest evolutions of classical music, and the addition of North African/Middle Eastern music traditions to the mix makes Myrath one of the most fascinating bands I've come across. I recommend you give them a try, especially if you like symphonic/progressive metal. Even if you don't, sometimes it's good to take a chance and try something new, anyway :-D
To give you a taste of Myrath's sound, here's the video for "Believer" from Legacy:
J.J. DiBenedetto, author of the paranormal suspense Dream series (which I highly recommend!), did something fun on his blog today. He wrote a little about the research he did for one of the Dream books, and invited other authors to comment about interesting or unusual research they've done for their books. I talked about some of the research I did for To The Gap, then I decided to expand on that here.
Fantasy usually requires less research than, say, historical fiction, but there are a few things fantasy authors need some knowledge of, like horses, how different weapons work, and a basic understanding of social structures, economics, and forms of government. But Daughter of the Wildings, being set in a world loosely inspired by the American West of the 1880 (and thereby dipping its toe ever so slightly into historical fiction), needed a little more research than that.
Take Silas and Lainie's guns, for starters. I know nothing about guns, so I did a lot of research into them, especially six-shooter revolvers of the sort that would have been used in that period. Not to the extent of naming specific makes and models, which of course wouldn't exist in a fantasy world, but enough to make what the characters do with their guns realistic enough that the gun enthusiasts among my readers (hopefully) won't laugh at me and then stop reading. My search history now shows a lot of Googling for sites that sell authentic replica guns and ammo, as well as Youtube searches for videos about shooting and quick-draw techniques. (My rule of thumb for writers: if your Google searches don't put you on a government watch list, you're doing it wrong :-D)
I also researched clothes of the period, mostly when I was working with my cover artist, Mominur Rahman, to develop Silas and Lainie's look in the cover art. Wild West Mercantile and Western Emporium are two great sites to look at for replicas of authentic western clothing of the period (and maybe buy yourself a little something, too!).
One thing I did a lot of research on was wages and the cost of things in the 1880s West. Money has to come from somewhere, and there has to be a rational basis for wages and prices, and this seems to be something that not a lot of fantasy authors pay much attention to. One of the most useful sites I looked at, that listed prices on items from canned goods to a new house in Deadwood, South Dakota, in the 1880s (based on newspaper ads of the time) is now, sadly, defunct. I was also able to dig up lots of information on other sites, too. This site, How Much Stuff Cost Long Ago, was really useful for calculating prices. So I did a lot of research and calculating and converting from dollars into the currency used in the series, and filled sheets and sheets of paper working out stuff like how much a meal would cost and how much a trail hand would earn on the cattle drive. Maybe it doesn't really make much difference, but I hope it gives a little more authentic feel to the world.
And then there's horses. Horse lovers, I've learned, are as particular about accuracy as gun buffs are. And I have the same amount of real-life experience with horses as I do with guns, which is to say, none at all. Fortunately, I have a number of online friends who know and love horses, who have also served as test readers on my books. They've given me a lot of information and corrected a lot of inaccuracies. And of course, there's always Uncle Google, for when I have questions like how far can a horse travel in a day (I already know a horse cannot gallop 90 miles in one day), and what's that horse color called? Do horses even come in that color? And how much does it cost to board a horse in a stable?
When it came to the cattle drive in To The Gap, I was really at a loss, because I knew nothing about cattle drives except they involved herding large numbers of cattle from here to there. So I set out to find some good, accurate information about cattle drives in the late 19th century - not the fictionalized, and sanitized, versions we see in fiction and movies. Luckily, I came across The Log of a Cowboy, by Andy Adams. Adams was a working trail cowboy in the 1880s. Some years later, he became disgusted with the inaccurate portrayals of cowboy life in the popular culture of the time, so he wrote Log, a fictionalized account of a cattle drive based on his own experiences, which was published in 1903.
From Log of a Cowboy, I learned how cattle drives worked, what cowboys did on them and what daily life was like on the drive, how cattle behaved, and, best of all, what kinds of things could go wrong on a drive. I learned about river crossings and dealing with flooded rivers - and why most cowboys had a deep fear of drowning, the effects of bad weather on the cattle and the work, dealing with stampedes and rounding up the cattle after a stampede, tactics used by rustlers, and all sorts of other fun stuff. If you're interested in learning about that period of history, The Log of a Cowboy is available free online at Project Gutenberg and AmericanLiterature.com, and in various editions at Amazon. Keep in mind that it wasn't written for 21st-century sensibilities, so some readers might find some of the content offensive, even though it was perfectly acceptable for its time.
Some other helpful resources for Daughter of the Wildings research were the blog Wild West History, Legends of America, and Google Earth, which is great for researching physical settings.
Of course, Daughter of the Wildings isn't meant to be a factual account of life in the American West in the 1880s, and the heart of the story is not the research but Silas and Lainie's magical and emotional conflicts and journeys. But I hope that my research makes their world a more authentic, believable place and will help readers have a richer, more enjoyable experience.
Plus, I learned that cows can swim :-D
Well, what do you know, it's a week into June already and I still haven't done the monthly wrap-up and look ahead. Basically, most of what I'm doing is still working on edits of To the Gap, book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings. It's going really well, and so far everything's on track for a release in the first part of July. I know I've blogged about this before, but here's a rundown of my writing/editing workflow:
1. first draft
2. deep, major revision
3. out to test readers
4. 2nd major revision
5. refine dialogue, descriptions, action, pacing, flow
6. fix mistakes, awkward sentences
7. proofread on paper
8. proofread on Kindle
A lot of times, if the manuscript is really a mess, I do a second copy edit between steps 6 and 7. But so far, on step 5 on To the Gap, I'm not finding a whole lot of changes to make. So hopefully I won't have to do that extra step.
On days when I finish my editing quote on time, I've been working on outlining the Healing Tree, a novel set in my world of Estelend. Should be ready to start writing soon. I found the perfect soundtrack for it, the new album Haven by Kamelot. Here's a video of one of the songs from the album:
I'm still reading from A to Z. Up to V now; the end is in sight! For a while there I kept finding books that I couldn't finish. I'm not going to say what they are; this indie author gig is tough, and taste is subjective, and I don't want to be the one putting down a fellow author. Instead I'll just focus on the books I do read all the way through. I've been discovering some amazing reads; watch for another roundup soon!
I keep telling myself I need to start thinking about what comes after Daughter of the Wildings. At the moment I have three novels in draft awaiting revision, a fourth about ready to be written, and a binder full of short stories related to Chosen of Azara and The Source-fixer. And I've started developing ideas for a follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings; I know the basic series conflict and the basic plot of the first book. I've been so deeply absorbed in Daughter of the Wildings it's hard to focus on anything else. But at least I know I won't be running out of things to work on any time soon!
For this Friday: Five fantasy books/series (well-known and not so well-known) that influenced me. (links go to Goodreads, to first books in series. Covers shown are the editions I own.)
1. The Prydain Chronicles, by Lloyd Alexander. The first epic fantasy series I ever read (that I can recall, anyway). A great starter series for kids, and also entertaining for adults. The struggle between good and evil, the colorful characters, the adventure, and the love story between Taran and Eilonwy (even as a child, eight or nine years old, I loved love stories) all caught my imagination and made me want more.
2. The Earthsea Trilogy, by Ursula K. LeGuin. My parents gave me a nice boxed set of this when I was 11 or 12, for my birthday or Christmas (they're close together). Magic and adventure on the oceans and islands of Earthsea with Ged, one of the greatest fantasy characters of all times. Ged was one of my book crushes when I was a tween (of course, I'm far too old for that sort of thing now *coughcough*). This introduced me to the idea of the wizard dedicated to that life (and to the concept of schools of magic), and contributed to my thinking that it wasn't fair that wizards didn't get to fall in love and if they did they could never do anything about it. Naturally, I was intrigued by what could have been the romance between Ged and Tenar. The relationship is finally continued in the 4th Earthsea book, Tehanu, but I had a lot of problems with that book, especially feeling like Ms. LeGuin changed her characters almost to where they were unrecognizable to suit the political/philosophical points she wanted to make in the book. So, for me, Earthsea stops with book 3 and I let my imagination take it from there. (I actually have three different sets of this series. The cover shown here is from that original boxed set. Down at the bottom you can see another cover that I have, and one I definitely do NOT have. Or want.)
3. The Riddle-Master Trilogy, by Patricia McKillip. Gorgeous prose and dripping with magic in a world where riddles hold the keys to ancient, lost knowledge, no one thinks there's anything strange about rulers who are hundreds of years old, ghosts and spirits walk the earth, and magic isn't a discipline, it's the fabric of which the world is made. Morgon, the farmer-prince, is another of the greatest fantasy characters ever (and another of my teenage book crushes), and the relationship between him and his betrothed Raederle is another great love story. (The cover on my original copy of book 1 is hideous. Get the very nice omnibus edition instead.)
4. Crispan Magicker, by Mark M. Lowenthal. I'll say it right now, yet another of my teenage book crushes. There are a lot of problems with this book, but the character of Crispan makes up for them. He's a wizard dedicated to the Order, naive and honorable, who has to go after his teacher Vladur who has become corrupted and put a stop to his evil plans. Along the way he is tested and tried and stretched, required to become a military commander and take lives, and ultimately has to risk losing everything that matters to him in order to protect the world. Really an awesome character. This book again brought up the themes of wizards dedicated to the practice, and to a formal order, and also risking losing everything you have and everything you are in order to do the right things. And again, why don't wizards get to fall in love and do something about it? There's a tantalizing hint about "a woman by an unknown sea", and Crispan clearly has a lot of adventures ahead of him, but no sequel was ever published. Which makes me sad. Long out of print, which also makes me sad, but used copies are available. I would love to see Mr. Lowenthal (also a prominent figure in intelligence and national security circles) get the rights back, republish independently, and write some sequels.
5. The Apprentice, by Deborah Bickmore. Yes! Fantasy with a real romance in it! Jaimah, the young apprentice/servant of the powerful sorceress Shayna, is drawn to and terrified by Corwyn, Shayna's mysterious and powerful new apprentice. When it comes to a showdown between Corwyn and Shayna over a powerful, dangerous spell, which wizard will destroy Jaimah and which one will save her? The kind of book I love to write (and love to read if I can find them), where the fantasy and the romance are in equal balance. This book was out of print for a long time, but now Ms. Bickmore has indie-published it in Kindle and paperback editions, hooray!
Addendum: As you'd expect with a book that's been around for more than 45 years, A Wizard of Earthsea has been through a lot of covers, good, bad, and indifferent. Here are two that stand out:
Guess which one I like better?
My vision of fantasy-western (or, if you prefer, western fantasy) and how and why I got the idea to mash up the two genres. (This is based on two different but similar posts I wrote for Derek Alan Siddoway's blog and the Speculative Fiction Showcase. Since other people's blogs can come and go, I decided it's best to have something this important on my own blog as well. Also be sure to check out the other versions on those sites!)
Out of the dusty desert hills he rides into town, the nameless stranger astride a horse as toughened with hard experience as he is. The wide brim of his hat conceals his eyes and unshaven face in shade; his long brown coat, much patched and mended, blows open just enough to reveal the six-shooter holstered at his hip. He seems to be just another wandering gunfighter, but that gun can do things no regular gun can do, and, on a silver chain hidden beneath his shirt, a ring set with a blue stone glows with the strength of his magical power.
This is no ordinary gunslinger.
Meet Silas Vendine, the hero of my fantasy-western series Daughter of the Wildings. The fantasy half comes from high fantasy, which I define (and I know everyone has their own definition) as fantasy set in another world, with a heroic storyline, where magic is an essential element of the story.
The western part of fantasy-western comes from the traditions of the classic pulp westerns: the wide-open, lawless frontier, confrontations between good and evil, self-reliance, individual freedom and responsibility, the struggle to survive, and characters who are trying to make a new start in life or find justice, revenge, redemption, or just a ton of riches.
To me, fantasy and western were made to go together. There are so many places where the traditional elements of the two genres can come together to enrich and expand each other. Desolate and mystical landscapes; the struggle between good and evil; characters who don’t fit into ordinary society, epic journeys where simply surviving is a victory – you’ll find all of these elements and more in both fantasy and westerns. Silas Vendine, the gunslinger who is also a mage, fits into a long tradition of both fantasy and western heroes: the mysterious man with extraordinary skills and strengths, a loner, who has his own mission in life and his own moral code that doesn’t necessarily fit with the accepted conventions.
And it isn’t just the similarites between the two genres that inspired me to combine them. The contrast between the down and dirty struggle for survival that was life in the Old West and the otherworldly wonder of magic, and between the rough technology of the late 1800s and the traditions of magic and fantasy, are ripe with storytelling possibilities. In Daughter of the Wildings, I wanted to put the familiar western elements into a world that isn’t ours, where magic is pervasive and well-known. Gamblers play cards in the saloons – but the cards have names like Moon Mage and Star Dragon. The A’ayimat, the indigenous people of the Wildings, have blue-toned skin and golden eyes, and can understand any language that is spoken to them. Clocks with numbered hours, eyeglasses, and guns are the products of foreign science and are forbidden in the civilized, mage-dominated land of Granadaia. Cowboys herd cattle out on the open range while man-eating groviks – think furry alligators with rabbit-ears – roam the mountains. And on the night of the dark of the moon, when the eight gods hide their faces from the world, that mournful howling you hear could just as easily be a coyote, a demon, or lost and lonely spirit.
The landscapes of the West are another inspiration. I was born and raised in the West, and still live there. I love to set my favorite genre, fantasy, in the wide-open landscapes I grew up with, the snow-covered peaks, evergreen forests, grassy rangelands, and rugged desert hills and dry riverbeds. Mountains and deserts especially play an important role in my writing. Mountains are places where the earth and the heavens meet in a mystical joining, while in the desert, things are hidden, buried, waiting to be revealed by an angle of the light, a rainstorm, or fortuitous digging in the right place. Both mountains and deserts hold deep secrets and power and history, and demand the utmost in skill and courage of those who journey or live there.
Come join Silas Vendine and Lainie Banfrey on an exciting western adventure set in a world of fantasy and magic – or an epic fantasy adventure in a world of cowboys and gunslingers.
For availability and more information about the books, go to the Daughter of the Wildings series page.
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