Anyone a fan of maps? Reading them? Making them? I love fantasy book maps. I have a framed copy of the map from The Lord of the Rings on my office wall, right below my flintlock pistol (it’s a model, non-firing) and my two crossed swords (those are quite pointy). Fantasy novels are often set in worlds perceived in the mind of their authors, and as such, don’t share the same places as our world. This can make it hard to keep track of where characters are headed when they’re out and about, especially for the writer.
I knew my world of Imperium was going to be big. The continent of Pentallia, where Destiny is set, is big, too, with lots of kingdoms and places to get lost in. Having maps of Pentallia was going to be essential to tracking my characters’ movements. There are four continents in Imperium: Dracsulam, Ferox, Ignarus, and Pentallia, and numerous islands, that will get introduced later in other books in the series. Keeping track of all those places is a lot of work, but it’s fun. I enjoy making maps of my world.
Certain kingdoms in Pentallia have specific weather patterns, too. Iceflame and Frostwild are both in perpetual winter. Stormsurge is cold and rainy most of the year. WarCry is prone to a lot of thunderstorms that roll in off the Argentum Brine to the west. And some of the kingdoms, like Heartgrove and Halcyon, have moderate weather, with both rain and lots of sun. And Sceptre, home to the Shadowliege guild, is in the Swelters, a desert (which isn’t as hot as you would think with a name like that).
I will share pictures of my detailed maps I use when I’m working on The Traitors War books in a later post. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and stay safe while you navigate this crazy world of ours.
Also, points if you know what movie the title of this post comes from 🙂
Destiny has been out in the world now since Tuesday, and has three wonderful reviews (by the way, one of the best things you can do for an author is leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon, or both, if you’re feeling really inspired). So what do I do next? Take time off? Rest? Relax? Celebrate?
Relax and celebrate, for sure. But rest? Take time off from writing? Not so much. My brain and my muse (Glucinda is her name – if you know where I got the name, cookies for you!) don’t really work that way. Book two of The Traitors War is already finished and has gone through the first round of editing. I’m not ready to start book three yet, so I’m switching gears and working on another story idea, about young ladies in a secretive society who kill things during the Victorian age in England. Interested?
There are a few other ideas nestled away in notebooks in my office that I plan to tinker with on and off in-between books in The Traitors War. Most of those ideas involve fantasy elements in some way; fantasy is a substantial part of my writing wheelhouse, and I don’t have any plans to stray from it for the next ten or so years.
The Traitors War will probably (I say probably because I’m not exactly sure yet) be a run of six books in the main series, accompanied by one standalone and a duology; all three books will be continuations of the main series, and will feature some of the characters (the ones who survive, that is….muwhahahaha….) These will take, if I publish one book a year, the next nine or so years. After that, this idea I’m working on could be published, or one of my other ones. At this point, I can’t say. A lot depends on my muse and what other ideas we come up with during that time.
At the moment, though, I’m working up a first draft of the Victorian killer girls, and I’m liking what I’m seeing. The characters are telling me who they are and what their goals and dreams are, and that’s an excellent start to our relationship. It will take at least one or two more drafts before it will be what it needs to be, and before it ever goes to my editor, but we’re getting there. It’s a process. Destiny took sixteen years to get ready. We’ll see if these ladies can beat that.
Have a wonderful weekend! If you’re traversing Pentallia, make sure to take a weapon, or maybe find a Shadowliege for an escort. They’ll be fairly harmless, as long as they don’t have a kill order for you, and they know where all the best taverns are.
Good afternoon, everyone! How are you today? Is it spring yet where you live? I live in west Michigan, on the Lake Michigan side, and it’s definitely spring, if a little chilly yet.
I thought I would share some background about my new YA fantasy novel, Destiny. It’s book one in my new series, The Traitors War, and its about a group of young people trying to navigate the changing landscapes of their home kingdoms and their continent of Pentallia as war approaches, from both within Pentallia itself and from across the Argentum Brine sea to the west.
I got the inkling for this story back around 2005, and had some of the main characters, such as Lisette, Conrad and Bannan right from the get-go. Others got added in as I started a big three-ring binder and added notes and pictures of characters taken out of magazines (this was before Pinterest). As time went on, I added more notebooks and ideas, and gave up the binder, instead splitting the growing number of notebooks into ones for places and characters.
I sent a very early version of Destiny to a small agency back around 2016. The agent was very nice, but declined that story (titled Peril at Stormsurge). I set it aside when I got the idea for Lift and the Flying Ponies. It was always in the background, though, and even as I worked my way through the Flying Ponies books, I fussed with what I called “Pentallia.” I wrote two more versions, neither being what I was looking for. They centered more around Princess Anora Cardiff of Castle Frayfight (whom you will meet in book two), and I knew that wasn’t where the story needed to start. Anora was never meant to be the main character, either.
Once Spin, the third and final Flying Pony book was published (spring 2020), I went back to “Pentallia” in earnest and started rewriting it yet again. This version made its way to my husband Ryan, but it still wasn’t the story my characters and I wanted to tell. Thus, in late August of 2020, I again sat down to rewrite it (this was probably the seventh incarnation of “Pentallia” at this point). Finally, the story clicked with both my muse (whose name is Glucinda, by the way. If you happen to know where that name came from, you get two cookies!) and my characters. I finished it during late September and immediately started editing and polishing.
The book was now titled Clandestine, and it was sent to my editor at One Wicked Wordsmith in late December. From there, it went through some more editing to add in details about Pentallia. Once we were happy with that, it was sent to Kate Conway, who owns Wicked Whale Publishing, and who puts my books together for me. We decided the series should have crowns on the cover, and I actually have a water colorist who will be doing my future covers for The Traitors War. It was decided the title was too long; no matter how Kate placed it, it looked too awkward, and it was renamed Destiny.
From there the book was added into Amazon and ARCS (Advanced Reading Copies, or proofs) were ordered and a few were passed on to people for early reviews. Once corrections were done based on the ARC (and there are always corrections), the book was made ready for publication, and as of today, is now ready to meet the world.
I hope you enjoy Destiny. I hope you find yourself immersed in the story, and that you click with at least one of the characters. Book two is now done and through the first round of editing, and I’m hoping for a spring 2021 release.
Have a wonderful week!
Some visitors to this website may not know about my first trilogy, The Flying Ponies, so I thought I would do a quick post. This is the back cover copy for Lift, the first book in the trilogy:
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Flynn, moving into the heart of the Michigan woods with her family is the biggest adventure she’s ever had. A self-proclaimed geek girl with a penchant for Sherlock Holmes, she wonders if she’ll ever have an exciting quest of her own.
But when she discovers an antique carousel tucked into the woods near her new home, her life soon spins out of control. For the ponies are so much more than their faded paint portrays. Filled with primal magic, the ponies are alive, and they have been waiting for her for a long time.
With the help of a young carousel caretaker named Black, Charlotte soon discovers that the Flying Ponies are in danger from others who want to possess them and their magic. Drawn into a battle for the carousel and ultimately the entire world while navigating her first true romance, Charlotte may have more adventure than she ever bargained for . . .
The Flying Ponies are available on Amazon, as both trade paperbacks and e-books.
I realize it’s been some time since I’ve updated my website. My newest book, Clandestine, is set to release soon. It is the first book in The Traitors War series. This is the back cover copy for Clandestine:
Twenty and some years ago, on the continent of Pentallia, the Proper kingdoms waged war on the Illumini ones, destroying their monarchies and ruining their lands. Illumination – magic- was to no longer be tolerated.
Now, an underground Illumini movement sweeps across Pentallia as discontent and discord fracture relationships between the Proper rulers.
With their families and kingdoms in danger, and a new threat converging on Pentallia from over the sea to the west, a group of young people will have to forge their own paths and claim their destinies while war gears up around them.
With traitors in their midst, who will they trust?
I’m excited to share this new story with you all. I’ve included a map of Pentallia in this post to give you an idea of what that continent looks like. Stay tuned for more information on The Traitors War.
Hey everyone, I know I haven’t updated here in a long time, and hopefully, that will be changing. I plan to write up book reviews and post them here, and also talk about my writing processes and future books and series.
For those who have read Spin, you’ve likely read the first chapter of my next book, Clandestine. It’s the first book in The Traitors’ War series, and slated to release sometime next spring. I have been working on editing it, and made the hard decision a couple weeks ago to rewrite it. This means the first chapter you read (if you’ve read it) won’t be the same as what’s in the actual novel.
Rewriting can take a long time for some authors, but for me, I find it usually takes less time than writing the first version. That being said, this book has been a problem child for me. The series, actually, has been problematic, because I’ve been developing it since circa 2005, and I want it to be perfect. It won’t be, of course – I don’t believe I’ll ever get it to that point, but I want it as close as I can. I love the characters and the settings, and it’s just getting the story itself right that has been the biggest hangup.
The Traitor’s War is high fantasy, with political intrigue and drama, assassins and soldiers, and princesses. What’s a fantasy story without a couple of princesses, right? There are plenty of horses, too, and guns and swords and villains, who are only villains to others, not to themselves. They see themselves as righting wrongs and protecting Pentallia, the continent they live on. As for one of the assassins, his destiny is a little murky. I’ll be interested in seeing what happens to him.
I am not a plotter or outliner; I write completely by the seat of my pants (this is what is termed a “pantser” in writer’s terms). Because of this, I don’t generally know what’s going to happen in my stories, which is why sometimes they need to be rewritten. Lift is actually the only one of my books that wasn’t completely rewritten before publication. Perhaps it should’ve been, but I like that book. It was my first, and therefore will always be one of my favorites.
As of now, I’m currently rewriting Clandestine. Once written, it will sit for five-six weeks, and then I begin the editing stages, which look different depending on what the book needs to get ready. I hope you’ll come along for that story, and all the stories that follow after.
Hey everyone, long time no talk, yeah? Yeah. I haven’t kept this website as updated as I’d originally planned when I started it. I’ll get right to the point: life has been rough this year. I fell and broke/dislocated my right ankle way back in February, which was not fun. Lots of rods and pins had to be installed. We’ve dealt with other medical issues all year, and as of now, my maternal grandmother’s health is failing badly, and we expect this to be our last Christmas with her.
On a brighter note, I have sent Spin, the final Flying Ponies novel, to my editor and am waiting to hear back from her. It was a difficult book for me, much more difficult than either Lift or Tilt were, but maybe the last book in a trilogy is supposed to be. There’s a lot to wrap up, a lot of expectations riding on those final words. But I think it’s good. I think it’s fitting. I guess in March or April, when Spin gets released, we’ll see if the readers think so, too.
We saw Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker yesterday, and for me, it was everything it needed to be. Talk about wrapping up a series! Wow. And we know there’s more to come from Disney. My family just subscribed to Disney+ on Saturday, so we haven’t started The Mandalorian yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. My favorite fandom will always be Star Wars; my husband is a huge comic book fan, and I’m quite fond of a number of heroes, especially in the DC universe, but for me, the saga that George Lucas started back in 1977 will always be my fandom home. Rise of Skywalker was emotional for me, and I know it will be for a lot of people, just as it should be. It’s the ending of an era, and with Disney helming the franchise now, it opens the way for a new one.
I have the first novel in my next series all done, except for the crucial editing. It’s titled Clandestine, and it’s the first in the upcoming Traitors’ War series. It is set in the fictional world of Imperium, and the first book plays out on the fictional continent of Pentallia, a place where magic, called Illumination, has been outlawed. Different characters will tell the story through the series, including (but not limited to) a princess, a prince, a Shadowliege (assassin), a Knightagent (think a sword-and-gun wielding CIA agent), and an emissary searching for her place in the world. My plan is to release Clandestine in October of 2020, but we’ll see if that is feasible. The first chapter of it will be included in the back of Spin.
My goal for 2020 with this website is to update it once a week, and to talk about not only life in general, but the writing and author life. I hope to keep telling interesting stories.
Merry Christmas, everyone, or if you prefer, happy holidays. May the season bring warmth to you and yours, and may you make wonderful memories with friends and loved ones. My husband and I always wrap presents today, on December 23rd, and watch a movie while we do it. And tomorrow night, on Christmas Eve, after the service at our church, we hang the stockings and put out the presents, and then relax with a bit of Jack or maybe some rum, mixed in with Coke or eggnog. I like our traditions, and I know you all have yours, too. I hope they include Jesus, but if they don’t, know He is always willing to meet you.
Have a wonderful day, ladies and gents.
I know I haven’t posted here in quite some time, and I need to do better with that. I’ll fill you in on my issues with the second edition of Lift, the first novel in my Flying Ponies trilogy.
I ordered some second editions for an author event that I ended up cancelling out of due to family visiting from out-of-state. The first issue I noticed is that the manuscript is actually the first one from my ARCs, and not the one we used for the first edition. So there are some extra scenes in the second edition that shouldn’t be in there.
The second issue is that some chapter headings are not right. Those will need to be fixed now too.
I’m not sure what to do with the copies I have; I don’t know as Amazon will replace them, and I don’t really want to sell them. Once the issues are fixed, I will order more copies for my event in New Era, Michigan, in September.
The third book in the trilogy, Spin, has been pushed back to at least spring of 2020, instead of this December. This is due to my publisher being busy and some lack of funds. I’m hoping for late April or May at this point.
This pushes the first novel in my YA fantasy series, the Traitors’ War, back to probably June/July of 2021. I am planning to put the first chapter of Clandestine in the back of Spin so readers get a chance to see what the new series will be about.
I plan to keep this website updated more frequently, so please check back for more news and/or ramblings about writing.