Stonebearer’s Betrayal Launch Party

Launch PartyTonight is the launch party for Stonebearer’s Betrtayal and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to have family, friends, and fantasy lovers come and enjoy food and fun together.

At 7pm, I will be reading a selection from Stonebearer’s Betrayal followed by time for those attending to ask questions. The signing will begin immediately afterwards. Books are available on site for purchase. There will also be a sword display courtesy of Wasatch Historical European Martial Arts, and prizes.

Come join Us!

Tonight, Friday November 16, 2018 from 7-9pm at:
The Printed Garden
9445 S Union Sq, Ste A, Sandy, Utah 84070

(closest intersection: 700 E and 9400 S)

Prize preview:

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5×7″ Leather journal with rosewood pen

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4×6″ Leather journal with rosewood pen

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Earthenware mug with patterned cloth wall hanging and custom pendant

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Earthenware mug with patterned cloth wall hanging and custom pendant

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Stonebearer’s Betrayal Release Day!

This is it, the day I’ve been waiting and working for since I started this blog ages ago. I’m so excited to share this moment with you.

Stonebearer’s Betrayal is now available for purchase on all major online book retailers.

There, I said it! Squee!

Last night, my 12-year-old finished reading it. He came up to me and said the best thing he could have possibly said.

“Mom, this is amazing!”

Yes, he’s a little biased, but he also reads plenty so I value his opinion.

So, what is Stonebearer’s Betrayal about?

At the very adult age of eighteen, Katira had her life figured out. She knew her place, understood her path, and was destined to be the best healer in the northern Panthara mountains, just like her mother.

That all changes when monsters from legends step into her real life, throw her world into chaos, and threaten to destroy both her and her family. To survive, she must accept that her world is far different from what she ever imagined and she must fight to protect what she loves.

Stonebearer’s Betrayal is a fast-paced coming-of-age story fueled with action, adventure, and danger suitable for readers 12 and up. It’s the perfect holiday gift for the fantasy lover in your family.

Get yours today!

Head on over to Amazon to order your copy –

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OR – If you’d like a signed copy, head over to my online store

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Utah Locals – There is a release party this Friday, November 16th from 7-9pm at the Printed Garden in Sandy (9445 S Union Square Suite A, Sandy, UT 84070)

I’d love to see you there!

Join me for an exclusive reading, Q&A, get a signed copy, prizes, a sword exhibit, and food! Books available for purchase on site.

Meet the Stonebearer Cast: Jarand Pathara

A few weeks ago we discussed the main character of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, Katira. That discussion can’t be complete without also learning about her father, Jarand Pathara.

Jarand wants nothing more than to live a peaceful life as a father, husband, and blacksmith, hidden away in the remote village of Namragan. He wants to raise his daughter and teach her the wisdom he’s gathered over the long years of his life. He knows it can’t last, there are forces at work that will put an end to this peace, but at the start of Stonebearer’s Betrayal he refuses to dwell on the changes that will come.

He chose Namragan for one reason alone, it is the least likely place his enemies would look for him and the best possible place to keep Katira safe. Jarand’s history stretches back further than a mortal man, he wasn’t always a simple blacksmith.  If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know immortals play key roles in this story. Jarand is one of them.

Jarand is an oath-bound Stonebearer of the Khandashii. While his immediate concerns are to protect his family, his larger duty is to protect the people of the world against dark creatures escaping from the mirror realm. If you’d like to learn more about what it means to wear the stone, there’s a blog post about that too.

Amidst the Stonebearer society, there are five orders that stem from the five distinct types of magic. Jarand is a guardian and well-trained in warfare. He survived the great wars when the world turned against those who could use the power.

I mentioned in the blog post about Katira that in the early days of writing Stonebearer’s Betrayal, Jarand used to be the main character. I loved writing about him because I loved what his character represented. In the end, it wasn’t his story to tell.

His creation is a result of my own wish fulfillment. I took the best traits of all my favorite characters and allowed him to grow from them. In Jarand, we find the wisdom and fierce protectiveness also found in Doctor Who. We also see how time has worn him down. He is a world-weary tired warrior, much like Geralt of Rivia. He holds his oaths dearly and for that there is a feeling of nobleness to him, much like Ned Stark. I promise, I’ll let Jarand keep his head.

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The 11th Doctor

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Geralt of Rivia

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Ned Stark

The big question is – do I see Jarand as the perfect man? My answer is no, simply because there is no such thing as a universally ‘perfect’ man. He is a good man and something all men can strive towards. He is caring, selfless, and hard-working. He’s also had hundreds of years to learn from his mistakes and discover what brings him the most fulfillment, which for him is the safety and happiness of his family.

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Join the conversation! Who is your favorite “noble man” character? Brownie points for sharing why they are important to you.

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Cover Reveal – Stonebearer’s Betrayal

Each phase of the publishing process brings with it a mix of excitement and carefully controlled terror. Excitement springs from completing another step and coming that much closer to bringing your book baby into the world. Terror lurks around each turn, because there is always the possibility of something going wrong.

Whoever compared creating a book to having a baby is absolutely right. Each month of a healthy pregnancy is cheered, each milestone celebrated, but disaster is unpredictable and always a heartbeat away. Until the baby is born, all mothers understand the fear of something going wrong as they carry their child. I know I did with all three of my pregnancies. I’m doing the same now with my book.

But, you can’t allow fear to stop you. In fact, if you aren’t doing something that scares you from time to time, then you aren’t stretching to meet your potential.

Allowing myself to trust my cover artist to create an image that represented the entirety of a project I’d been working on for years was scary. Really scary. I’m glad I did. She did amazing work.

So, here it is. The moment I’ve been teasing about for the last few weeks.

My cover reveal.

(Squee!)

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Isn’t it amazing?

A huge thanks to Ashley at Strange Devotion Designs for creating a magical cover for me.

Here’s the back cover copy:

A secret society of immortals, tasked to protect the world.

A demon bent on revenge.

A girl brave enough to fight for her family when the two collide.

Archdemoness Wrothe stirs the ashes from a long dead war, rekindling a fire that threatens to burn the world. Only the legendary Stonebearers of the Khandashii have the power to stop her, if they catch wind of her plans in time.

Katira didn’t believe the legends. She didn’t believe a person could alter the fabric of reality or live forever. She didn’t believe in the dark mirror realm or in the dangerous creatures prowling there either.

That was before the first shadow hound came for her.

Release date for Stonebearer’s Betrayal is November 13th, 2018. Available at online retailers where books are sold.

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Mini Blog Tour

Two awesome friends from the Twitter #DarkLitChat offered to help spread the word. As a thank you I encourage you to go check out their blogs, not just because I wrote mini articles there, but because they went above and beyond for me to help with my cover reveal.

Elesha at E’s Writing Journey

Rae at A New Look on Books

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Love staying in touch? So do I! Let’s connect. Pick your favorite platform, either here on WordPress, or you can also find me on  TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

 

Meet the Stonebearer Cast: Katira Pathara

It turns out that it’s unexpectedly hard to create a post about the main character of Stonebearer’s Betrayal without giving away some of the disastrous things that happen to her in the story.

I’ll do my best.

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“A Strong Girl” by schattenlos 

Katira Pathara is the daughter of Jarand and Mirelle, two respected members of the small mountain guarded community of Namragan. Mirelle is an herbalist and medicine woman, while Jarand works the village forge and sits on the town council. Katira has been studying medicine and healing under her mother’s tutelage since she was old enough to lift the heavy mortar and pestle. As the story begins, she is on the cusp of entering her formal apprenticeship when she turns eighteen.

Katira is levelheaded and willing to try things that are difficult. What I love most about her is in this book is she grows to overcome fears that are holding her back. She learns she can be fearless when it really counts.

In the beginning of the journey to create this world and this story, Katira wasn’t the main character. That role I assigned to her father, Jarand. Of all the characters in Stonebearer’s Betrayal, he is the only one to fall onto the page fully formed and demanding I share his story. Most authors have one character archetype that they adore to use and I’m no different. I love strong silent fighters who are world-weary, caring, and once you’ve earned their respect, willing to sacrifice. In the end, this wasn’t his story to tell which was something that took me years to figure out. We’ll talk all about Jarand in another post.

Katira, like many teen girls, made me fight and work to understand her and even now, I’m not sure of what she’s going to do next. She’s uncertain of her place, and desperate to be accepted and respected in the same way she sees the people of her community treat her mother – although she’ll never admit it.

I know what you are thinking, Katira is secretly me. Yes, and no. She’s tiny parts of me. But, on that note so are all of my characters. You can’t create a fictional character without drawing from your own experience. Katira loves the science behind how things work. She genuinely wants to help people. She’s logical. So am I.

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Arya Stark from Game of Thrones

Confession time, I was watching lots of Game of Thrones during the refining editing passes where the finer story points of Stonebearer’s Betrayal and its characters took shape. Arya Stark is such a cool character that I wanted to capture some of her struggle and spark in Katira. Katira shares her dark eyes and dark hair and both grow into something that when the story starts they would never have expected. Does Katira go off assassinating the enemies who betrayed her family? No. But she is willing to do what it takes to ensure her survival in what looks like a hopeless situation.

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Let’s talk! Share your favorite “strong girl” main character in the comments. Bonus points if you share how that character has influenced you in your life.

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Love staying in touch? So do I! Let’s connect. I’ll follow back. Pick your favorite platform, either here on WordPress, or you can also find me on  TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

To Bear a Stone

For the longest time I’ve struggled with a perfection complex. If it’s not a perfect fit with what is “supposed” to be done, I get crazy anxious and most of the time end up not starting. This might explain why this novel has taken so long, and why I don’t post here as often as I should. Go figure. It’s my stone to push, which leads me  into what I’d like to talk about today.

The other reason I haven’t posted for a while is that, until recently, I haven’t figured out what my message is, or in industry speak, my brand. Thanks to the amazing and talented J.H. Moncrieff and this years Quills Conference hosted by the League of Utah Writers, I finally think I get it.

If you like noble but dark stories, beautiful Gothic architecture, interesting history tidbits, magic, and finding the best in the worst circumstances – you’re going to like it here.

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Today’s history lesson

Within the boundless reaches of Greek Mythology (Greek! – sorry, inside joke) is the story of the sinner Sisyphus who was condemned to push a boulder uphill only to watch it roll back down day after day. Sisyphus was a cunning trickster during his life. When he died, Hades came for him. Instead of going peacefully, Sisyphus “tested” his new handcuffs on him and tossed him in a closet for a couple of days. I’d be a bit peeved too.

Shenanigans ensued. No one could die because Hades had gone missing. When Sisyphus freed Hades, the cunning trickster was promptly ordered to go to the underworld for his eternal assignment. But – he had another trick up his sleeve. Through a series of bureaucratic loopholes involving a missing coin and an improper burial, Sisyphus managed to sweet talk Persephone into letting him return to his wife and set things straight – and then cheated death until Hades hauled him back to the underworld a number of years later.

For his crimes, and for royally annoying Hades, he was sentenced to to hard labor of the most frustrating kind – rolling a boulder up a hill for no good reason for eternity.

Hades gif.gifTo this day, when people have a frustrating and/or pointless job to do, the story of Sisyphus comes to mind.

What is a Stonebearer?

In the Stonebearer’s Betrayal universe there is a society formally called the Stonebearers of the Khandashii. These are the magic users. Simply put, those belonging  to this society possess a power that enables them to manipulate the world around them and grants them relative immortality. They can still be killed, but they will not die of old age or disease. The term “Stonebearer” comes from the stone they wear that enables them to use their power safely. The Khandashii is the name of the power itself – and is a brilliant topic for another post.

Having the power means enduring the responsibility of being a guardian of mankind, regardless of the prejudice and superstitions mankind have curated to hate any one who demonstrates supernatural abilities. This, paired with a centuries long life, is often more of a burden than a blessing. Like Sisyphus, to many it seems like an endless frustrating punishment.

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Discussion

What are some of the frustrating things you’ve had to do? For me, it’s got to be trying to make a bed when a toddler wants to play on top of it. Or laundry … there’s ALWAYS more laundry, it’s never done! Or … working with flaky people who don’t know how much they don’t get it.

Share your frustrations down in the comments!

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Writing Update

Stonebearer’s Betrayal is entering the final stages of production and we’re steadily getting ready for its November release. Currently we are refining the details on the cover.  I can’t tell you how excited/terrified I am to reach this point. Everything is so, so real.

Also, awesomeness has been happening over at my blog for writers. (Seriously though, go check out the suite of presentation notes I’ve been creating, they rock.)

Other publishing news – If you like dragons, I will be part of a dragon themed YA anthology coming out earlyish next year. If you’re at FanX, one of my flash fiction pieces will be read at the Immortal Works Flash Fiction Friday LIVE podcast, Friday, Sept. 7th at 6pm (255a).

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Stonebearer’s Betrayal comes out November 2018 through the amazing people at Immortal Works Press and will be available on Amazon.

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Resources:

Achievement Unlocked – Book Contract!

A little over a year ago, in November 2016, I decided it was time to find a forever home for my book baby, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, and started looking for either a publisher or an agent. Sounds easy, right? Nope. Lemme explain.

A lot of research goes into selecting the right place to submit a manuscript. Think of it like this – Submitting a manuscript is the same as applying for a job. The company needs to be respectable and be able to provide services to the author that will convert their vision into a marketable product. Because a partnership between author and publisher can last years, both parties need to be comfortable with each other.

Just like a job, the best companies are the hardest to get a foot in the door. Enter months and months of rejection, insecurity, and moving on.

Fast forward to June 2017. At this point, I had searched for several months without many leads. While never easy, I had grown used to the sting of the endless string of “no”. I submitted to local Utah publisher Immortal Works. I knew authors who had worked with them and been happy, they had some of my favorite people on staff, and they attended all the conferences I liked attending. Seemed like a great fit.

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Double bonus – my book has immortals in it. Working with a press called Immortal Works seemed like a special kind of karma.

Months go by and I hear nothing. While it’s not unexpected to have to wait, it is uncomfortable, like a splinter. In September I heard back. They wanted to read the whole manuscript. SQUEE! Finally, someone saw potential in my manuscript. A full manuscript request can still result in a rejection, but for the first time in ten months, I dared to hope a little.

More weeks pass and that splinter has grown into a toothpick. I couldn’t go a minute without thinking about it and wondering and hoping. In early November I learn the Senior Acquisitions Editor has recommended my book for acquisition by the company.

SO MUCH SQUEE, I’M GONNA DIE!

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Still, there is a chance they come back and say no. If they are already working with similar titles, or the market is saturated, or they feel it’s not a good fit they can reject a project. It’s an understood part of the business. And the uncertainty sucks.

I might as well have a 2×4 strapped to my head at this point. My family has been super supportive of the publishing process and have patiently listened to all my many ups and downs, but there’s a limit to how much they want to hear about the nitty-gritty of querying and submissions. I stop talking endlessly about it. In fact, talking about it might jinx the whole thing.

The void space of waiting for the final yes is surreal. For so long the golden ticket of having a book published was reserved for more awesome, more deserving, and more talented writers. Having the possibility of my “yes” so close, that golden ticket of validation was nearly mine.

At a time like this, you can’t help but start dreaming of the future and what might happen. So many doors open when an author transitions from short story projects to having their own novel. Invitations to book clubs, speaking engagements, signings, and conferences come easier when you have your own book.

Late November, while chilling watching TV with my hubby and after the kids were in bed, the email comes. The notification jumps up on my phone with a fragment of the message. Not enough to know if it’s a yes or a no, but enough to have a micro heart attack.

It’s a yes.

And a contract.

It’s real.

And I’m like –

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And now the real work starts to make this book as awesome as possible. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Inspiration Online

With everything else going on in my life, chances are I’m not going to be able to take a flight around the world anytime soon to seek out inspiration from places that are similar to the settings featured in my book. Medieval castles and villages are hard to come by here in the West.  The oldest things around here are indian cliff settlements which while fascinating, aren’t what I need.

I’m lucky in some ways, mountains and forests do feature prominently in by book and I happen to live within one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the US. They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains for nothing.

For everything else I’m stuck with the wonders of the internet and I have to admit I’m getting pretty good at finding pictures and videos that help me better envision the places my characters find themselves.

If you would like to check out a few of the things that inspire me, check out my Inspitation for Writing Pinterest board.

Here’s one of my favorite finds:

Hambye Abbey

Hambye Abbey – I love the pillars and the play of light across the grass.

 

Waiting for Perspective

I am now two weeks into a self imposed six week break away from my manuscript and random scenes and characters are still wandering through my head.  Taking a break between drafts is important because it helps me regain needed perspective and distance. While writing I get too close to the story and can no longer see what’s on the page as compared to what’s in my head.  The best way to overcome this is time away.

800px-Sharpened_PencilTaking a break doesn’t come without a downside. The other night one of my characters brought up a plot error, an action that didn’t make sense for the character in question. I wanted him to be wrong and ignore the problem but he wouldn’t let me alone. I didn’t pull out the manuscript, I know that’s what he wanted, so over the course of the day I mentally worked over the problem until something clicked. If I didn’t, I know he wouldn’t let me sleep.

Even with random characters haunting my steps, being away from the book has been a welcome change. I’ve finally had the time to work on some of my smaller projects and see progress there. The one short story I’ve been editing is only a few pages from turning itself into a novella if I’m not careful. My goal is to have it finished and submitted to a few markets for publication before I return to work on the book. 

For the next four weeks I’m looking forward to continuing work on my short stories and taking a bit of a break before diving back into the gritty process of refining and editing the manuscript. After this draft it will be ready for beta readers! As much as if terrifies me, I’m looking forward to getting some real world feedback.

Writing Update – July

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As expected, July turned out to be hot and busy. Between plenty of family activities and long days home with kids, it was hard to consistently find time to work on my book.  Even with these challenges the word count rose from around 57,500 words to 72,000 words – a net increase of 14,500 words or about 60 pages, and that deserves a happy dance all around. A good part of these words were salvaged from an earlier draft and edited to fit the new needs of the current draft. The rest are new scenes written to round out the story.

These pages contain both the action climax and the emotional climax of the book, and have been a bear to work on. I owe my family an apology for the days I was mentally withdrawn as I worked through some of the emotions myself.  Part of me feels bad about what happens to my characters, I have put them through the wringer and there’s not much I’ve given them as a reward.  During future editing I’m going to have to make sure that the payout for completing their quest is enough or my readers might end up throwing the book against a wall. 

I’m excited to have reached this point in writing Stonebearer’s Betrayal. At this pace, I should finish this draft during the month of August and be that much closer to publication. After this, I’ll begin the more detailed and painstaking work of filing down the rough edges and filling in gaps and holes, of which I already know there are many.  

Between this draft and the next, I’m looking forward to taking a break for a few weeks and working on some short fiction to submit to magazines and contests.  I’ve collected a few fun ideas that I hope will turn into some great fiction.  

Until next month,  happy writing!