Always Roll the Map

Pentallia is a pretty big place; as you traverse it along with the characters in Destiny, it would be advisable to bring along a map of the continent. This particular map is in the front of Destiny; the ones I use as I write are much more detailed. I will share those later. This map was made by my husband, Ryan.

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 ARRIVED

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!

Capture the Ponies!

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.

War is Coming

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.

SPIN HAS ARRIVED!

I have copies available directly from me. It’s also available on Amazon, along with Lift and Tilt, as a trade paperback or ebook.

Book Issues

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.

Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

The Magic of the Carousel

The carousel horses in my trilogy, The Flying Ponies, are all based off real-life carousel horses. They are either aboard machines still in operation or in museums, where people can admire them. Some of them are on the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum; their literary equivalents debut in Tilt, book two of the trilogy.

Two of my fans (and nieces) visited the museum with their family earlier this month and took a spin on the 1928 Spillman carousel. They also took selfies with a couple of the horses; Contessa is a palomino mare and Oriflamme is a palomino armored horse (the names belong to their counterparts in my books). I was given permission to share the pictures.

I love the beauty and majesty of antique carousels, and I love the fact that these two girls were able to ride this one and enjoy it. Carousels have charm and a certain grace, and if you are able to stand quietly next to their painted ponies, you might just hear them whispering.

Magic might not exist in a literal sense, but it can be found in life. One only has to believe and be willing to seek it out in the ordinary.

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

The Middle Blues

So this is what’s going on: I’m a little better then halfway through Tilt, the second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I’m tapped out. I’m just done. The muse is sitting in her garden, sipping tea, and I just don’t feel like writing.

This happens. It happened with Lift, too. It usually happens to me right around the middle of the book; I’m tired of working on it, the story isn’t flowing, and when I open the story document, I sit staring at the screen wondering if there are any cool pins on Pinterest to look at.

It’s also known as the dreaded writer’s block. It happens to every writer, at different stages of their work. Mine tends to hit in the middle of the novel. How do writers deal with it? They each have different strategies. There are even writing books devoted to writer’s block. I’ve learned that giving myself and the muse a couple days off really helps. I also listen to songs that remind me of the story and the characters.

I really should be writing Tilt. I should be staring at that computer screen. I definitely shouldn’t be watching The Big Bang Theory, which is exactly what I’m doing while typing this. Ah, well. I know where Tilt is headed. I have a solid idea of the ending, which will lead into Spin, the third and final book in The Flying Ponies trilogy. And later on today, I’ll head into my office, boot up the laptop, tell the muse to hop to it, and stare at that screen.

And maybe, just maybe, the words will flow, and I’ll be closer to that ending that I can see glimpses of.

This image and quote are from (where else?) Pinterest.