Archive for February, 2015

Yet another COLD month!

Winter has really been hard this year. I went through to look at a comparison to last year and yes! It is colder. I have been wrapped up in blankets and not being a good writer the past few weeks. I have been reading instead. Reading, that thing I hope everyone does.

Now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put up an excerpt here. I don’t have a new cover of course. While I have covers for the upcoming collections I have posted them all ready. I don’t even have a new drabble for you this time and I am still working on the new Loralil book. So just what should I post this week? I missed last week and I really owe you wonderful readers something. But what to put up? I was going to post up some of the reviews I have received but my computer is being difficult and not letting me do that. So I will give you a part of chapter two from A Fragile Peace: Found. This book will have two parts…found and broken…let me know what you think!

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Chapter Two

While the Elf woman did not return to the coma-like state of the past few weeks, she refused to speak. She slowly joined in with the day-to-day chores of living. From cleaning up after meals to taking care of the horses that the others had brought back. She would occasionally play the harp that the Priestess had left her but never were anyone could watch. The music would drift out on the air from the stable, wordless tunes of heart breaking clarity, but as soon as anyone went near, she would stop and walk away.

It seemed that animals were all she desired. Levy watched her from across the paddock as she worked. This woman was tragedy walking. From the massacre in her early life, to the death of her uncle, she was the center of too much pain. For years after losing his wife, Katlin, he had silently blamed the girl. He knew it was wrong; after all she had been put through so much. By the time Mika had finally found her, she had been through so much that he had been surprised she had survived.

Age and experience had taught him much. The headstrong young mage who had set out on the quest with the others was gone now. When he had gone back to Mer’Beryl to tell Katlin’s family of her death, they had turned him out of the city, blaming him. They refused to accept their son and it was the years of raising Jason alone that taught him that blame was a poison that he did not need. He had let go blaming the girl and turned it toward the being that it belonged to. When Jason had slipped off to hunt down Elvenbane he had been angry, but swiftly realized that his son was just following in his own footsteps.

He smiled as he thought of his son. The boy was amazing blend of himself and Katlin and raising him brought home just how important family was to the elves. While the High Elves of Mer’Beryl refused to see half breeds as Elven, the people of Karleen’s village did. The women had cooed over the small boy who had lost his mother. They circled close and the boy had grown up much like himself. Magic was strong in them both, as was attraction to elf maidens it seemed.

Jason led his own horse toward Loralil. While Levy had been ruminating on his past she had finished up with his horse and sent it into the paddock to graze. He shook his head and smiled watching as once more Jason tried to get the silent maiden to talk to him. She simply looked at him, stepping back to allow the horse come between them. Once more his son was trying to get her to speak. Using every bit of the charm that he had, yet she continued to ignore his overtures.

“It as been months, Karleen. She still refused to interact with anyone other than the horses.” Levy turned to look at the healer as she walked up behind him.

“I know,” Karleen sighed. “I have done all I can with her, my friend.”

“Then you agree?”

Karleen nodded. “I spoke to your son this morning. He plans on heading out tomorrow. The Healers at Tal’sin should be able to bring her back fully, if anyone can.” Tears filled her eyes as she watched Loralil ignore Jason. “When I try to reach her there is such a strong wall between her and the world. This is not what he would have wanted. She might be here, might be reacting, but she is still lost.”

Levy reached for his friend and gently wrapped her in his arms. “I know. You have done much, much more than I thought you would, but we are not Elves. I truly believe that only another Elf will be able to reach her and help her live with the guilt that she is carrying.”

Karleen studied his face closely then. She knew that for a time he had carried a similar pain. She had spent a long time helping him deal with his wife’s death at the same time that he was healing from the physical damage that cost him mobility for a time. She reached with her gift and found his heart truly had healed and that he held a hope for the niece of his old friend; the hope that the right type of healer would help her find a way to come back from her own deep well of emotion.

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I have a lot of plans for this novel and I hope that it comes out even better than the previous two tales have. Loralil has the most partial stories on my hard drive right now. With nine partial tales waiting to be told, fans of Loralil will have stories to read for years to come. When I get to them of course! Well back to work!

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Using character death in Science fiction and fantasy

Now generally I give you pieces of my work in progress but I thought I would comment about this bit of writing. A lot of times when a writer receives reviews one of the things that are complained about is the amount of death in the novel. Now if you think about it writing in these two genres you should expect some. After all quite often these are strongly action/adventure tales with wars or monsters that must be fought and defeated. Expecting every character, no matter how minor, to survive is more a faerie tale than a Disney movie.

Now looking over my novels, I thought it might be a good idea to count up the number of good guys versus bad guys who don’t make it to the end of the novel. The numbers are of course no where near the numbers you get in the average George RR Martin book, but they are not non-existent.

Starting with Endings, the one I have gotten nasty emails about over the past decade it has been up in some form on the net I had six good guys and none of the bad guys going down. Now for a novella length piece this might seem like a lot, but I remind you that this is a dark fantasy piece. In dark fantasy you have to expect character death. From the death of the main character’s parents to losing four of the characters who went on the rescue mission, the deaths were just a part of the story.

Now the biggest complaint was that I had one killed during a battle in a way that one reader said was too offhand and random. Lets understand folks that people die and not every death will be plotted and significant. They happen and being in the middle of a random battle of swords, well things happen. The other death that bugged people was the death of a character off screen. I felt at the time that there was enough on screen violence and did not want to write of a character taking their own life to get away from torture on screen.

When I moved onto the sequel to Endings, Revenge, the numbers change. In this book there was only really one character death on the good guy side. It was an important one of course and to be clear there were a number of important bad guys that bit it in Revenge. From the madams that owned Loralil to the snake mage, I think I dealt with those deaths well.

Moving from those two dark fantasy novels let look at my attempt in the end of the world novel style. Fall Into Nightmares is of course dark and filled with monsters, so there has to be death right? When not counting the unnamed monsters and people who of course are fodder I have a relatively small dead count. With four named characters on the good guy side and three on the bad guy. Now in dark urban end of the world fiction death is not always the end of a character as we know. From the death of the sensei to the final heroic death of the Native american lawyer, each one was important in what happened and motivating the other characters to become heroes.

In To Save Face or Family things were a bit different. More of a spy fantasy in my head, while there was a lot of violence, dark dealings and prophecies, there was not as many character deaths. Only One really died on the good guy side and a few more on the bad guys. This novel dealt more with legends and myths than death.

The Traveler was a typical fantasy. With mostly the bad guys dying and true love conquering all the deaths don’t come till the last chapter. I hope I made them the way people understood. For sacrifice was important to the tale.

And finally for Escape, my science fiction tale. I had only a few deaths in this novel. Bad guys got what they deserved and the good guys survive.

So while character deaths are controversial with many readers, we need to look at the story over all. If you are expecting a fantasy to be light and Disney like…then you are not reading my work.

Whether a character dies as a plot device, a grand sacrifice or simple for being in the wrong place, they happen in both fantasy and science fiction. As a writer you need to weigh the effect that having a good or bad guy die on the story and not so much on the reader. As a reader we have to realize that death is always a part of the story. Death makes the story deeper and more real, when done well.

Unpublishing short stories

As of this morning I will start taking down from Amazon the short stories that are a part of the my collections. Since I have collected the Guardians of the Gate City, Death Walks Through, Echoes of Elder Times and Mythos of Love stories in one volume I decided i need to take down some of the titles. While it is fun having over 90 titles up on Amazon I think it is time to clean up things so I have a leaner field of titles.

Now don’t worry, I will not take down everything. Like a smart author i will leave up the books that have reviews, also the first tales of the series will stay up as a tease. After all we need a tease right? And of course those tales that are not yet in a collected book will stay up. Yes, i will be putting out Worlds Apart and Beyond Realities some time this year but for now dont expect new titles in either of those. Same with Magic and Nightmares and my other series.

So if you read any of the tales and can’t find them to put up a review for (please do review!) You can put up your reviews on Goodreads, B&N, Kobo, Itunes and other places that I will be leaving those titles up. It is just Amazon that I am cleaning up.