Wednesday, July 3, 2024

#IWSG The Naming of Books is a Curious Matter

 

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop! Can’t speak for the others, but yup—insecurity is my middle name sometimes 😉.

Once a month writers gather online to share, cheer, and lament this writing world we’re in.


 

Today I’d like to talk about a topic currently near and dear to me—naming books. The book that launched in January, had its title for years—Destruction of Chaos (Following Essence of Chaos and Division of Chaos in that trilogy.) That was easy peasy.

But, I’ve got three projects currently—and until a few days ago none of them had titles. Oh, they had placeholders, and two still do—FAERIES 2024 and JINN 2024. The one that has its title now was VAS 2024 but is now Keeper’s Tempest.

So, how do I name my books?

Each series has a unique pattern within the series and is different from the other unrelated series.

The first six Lost Ancients (Fantasy) were all named after a part of a broken relic staff that my characters needed to find, whether they wanted to or not. 

The Glass Gargoyle, The Obsidian Chimera, and The Emerald Dragon were the first three. For the continuation of that series, I needed new items as we’d dealt with that staff in the first six books. The Seeker’s Chest, The Finder’s Crown, The Hunter’s Chalice, FAERIES 2024….okay, that last will get a title….anytime now 😉. I'm only about an eighth of the way done with the draft, it'll come to me!

The space opera series is currently at book 6 (there are two trilogies—don’t ask). Warrior Wench, Victorious Dead, and Defiant Ruin are the first set. All three are names of starships but also say a bit about one or more of my main characters. Similar style, but slightly different in tone, the next three are Traitor’s Folly, Destroyer’s Curse, and now, Keeper’s Tempest. Again, starships and reflections of the stories.

Probably one of my most fun trilogies (so far 😉) to name have been the steampunk ones—A Curious Invasion (aliens and vampires in Victorian London), The Mayhem of Mermaids (fishy people aren’t all good), and An Intrigue of Pharaohs (Egyptian trouble makers back from the dead!)  These books have a different feel and pace than my other series. Still action and adventure, but a bit slower pace. The titles worked to show that (in my opinion-LOL) and also tell a bit of what’s going on inside.

The other trilogy that was fun to name was an Urban Fantasy thriller. The Girl with the Iron Wing, An Uncommon Truth of Dying, and Through a Veil Darkly. The tone and length of the titles are different from the other series but consistent with each other. These books are a bit darker than my other books and so are the titles.

Our covers and titles are the first thing we have to catch a potential reader’s eye and give them a reason to look into buying our books. They don’t need to be perfect, but ideally, they should reflect the tone and genre of the book and series.

How do you create titles for your stories?

Happy IWSG DAY!!!

 

 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

TWO DAY Free ebook sale! Over 200 books!

 


FREE EBOOKS!


Join over 180 fantasy, SF, and more authors in this special two day sale. These ebooks are available world wide!

If you haven't read my The Glass Gargoyle or Essense of Chaos, they're in there too!

Grab your books quickly!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

#IWSG--it's always changing

 Welcome to another episode of How the Book Turns--a blog run of authors across the globe as we wail, gnash teeth, and generally love what we do--join us!



The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!


Today I'm looking at changes in our writing world and how they are the one constant we have.

Way back in grad school, I knew what to do. Take the courses, write the papers, design, propose, and defend my thesis, and then get my degree. Easy, peasy. (Ignoring the massive amount of work—the work was hard, but the path was easy 😉)

Sadly, writing doesn't work that way. Oh, the writing part is the same, more, or less, kinda sorta. Read some books from 50 years ago in your genre. Some are classics, some make you wince. Writing styles and preferences change with time.

But it's the business end and getting the elusive readers and sales that can be soul-crushing, confusing, and maddening.

There isn’t a nice clean go from point A to B to C to success. And even when you have some success (whatever you define it—we all have our own valid success metrics) the next month, week, or even day, it can crumble.

The graph for most writers is an insanely swirling line that goes up, down, sideways, backward, and sometimes into a black hole.

So, how do we cope?

Good question!

The first thing I’d suggest is to sort out what success means to you. You don’t need to tell anyone. Just you. That success can change, and doesn’t need to be related to numbers—aka “Sell X number of books” or “Make X number of dollars”. It can be as general and vague as you want. And it can and should change as you work your way through this writing path.

Secondly—don’t change everything because a successful author said to do things a certain way. Yes, they might have succeeded doing exactly what they are telling others to do. BUT- unless you have the same books they do, the exact same skills they have, your situation will be different.

And their way might have worked six months ago, or longer, but not now. I’m not saying don’t listen to other authors—do! 😊. But listen to what they say carefully, pluck out the parts that resonate with you, dump the rest, and move on.

The biggest thing is EXPECT THINGS TO CHANGE. I’m definitely a “prefers a nice clean path of what to do and what my results will be” gal. Sadly, I’m a writer and that option doesn’t exist. I’m now working on accepting that and pivoting way more than I used to.

What about you? How do you deal with change in the writing world?

Happy IWSG Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thursday, May 9, 2024

FREE ebooks! May 9th!

 This post is short and sweet--


There are a bunch of free Urban Fantasy ebooks available today!



Grab them here!


Start a new series today!!




Wednesday, May 1, 2024

#IWSG Getting past the distractions

 Welcome to another monthly blog post about writers and the mayhem we get into!



JOIN US!

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html


    

Today I'm going to talk about distraction. To be fair it was this month's suggested question but it hit home, so I'm running with it ;).


Everyone in every field has to deal with distractions. It's part of life. But, for writers, who sometimes are writing-avoidant (aka most of us at one point or another) distractions can be a serious danger.

Whether you're a plotter a pantser, or somewhere in between, staying focused on the world you're creating is important.

Family members, pets, roommates, and total strangers can all throw that off.

Not to mention to lure of social media.

Even with no one in the house, aside from a sometimes pushy cat, I can get massively distracted by social media.

The urge to get that little hit of dopamine from an interesting or engaging post--or a comment or post from a friend, is hard to avoid. “Just one more check,” we say as we hit the pellet bar again. Even when we know there’s nothing worth being pulled from our work, we have to make sure.

There’s a reason why when people study rat behavior that the random reward creates the most clicks on that pellet bar. If we’re never sure when something good will be there—we keep clicking over.

So, distraction is bad.

How do we address it? I’ve heard of ways to lock out social media on your computer for a period of time. I haven’t gone there yet, but might eventually.

Right now, I use my progress to determine when I can have a distraction break. X number of words done (or chapters edited), and I get a break.

I also break up my writing with stretches and eye breaks (looking off into the distance for 20 seconds).

And I’m starting meditation which, while not specifically aimed at distractions or writing, does help build focus.

I recently lowered my daily word count goals, but am finding the less I give in to distraction—the more I can accomplish. Who’d a thunk it!?

What about you—how does distraction impact your writing? What have you tried to help with it?

Thanks for coming by and happy IWSG Day!


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

#IWSG --Sometimes it feels like Sisyphus had it easy.

 Welcome to the monthly clearing of the minds also known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Writers from near and far join in on the first Wednesday of the month to share our worries and tales of writing life.

 





Join us!https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html


Folks, this writing business is hard. I'm not going to lie.

You're plunking along, doing your writing, marketing, etc--and something just hits you between the eyes and pushes you down.

Then it seems like everyone is doing better than you, just to kick you in the teeth.

I know logically that we're all at our own pace--and success for one is not the same as for another. AND that looking for external validation is a step toward madness. (That Master's in Psych loves to point these things out. ;))

But when you're feeling like you keep pushing  a boulder up the hill, you see a light at the top, and then it rolls right back down, it sometimes takes a bit to shake it off.

I know it will be okay. Logically.

This has happened before--many times--and might happen again. I'll sort it out eventually.

But, my point is for everyone--this happens.

I saw a new writer in a group (not IWSG) run into some issues and were unhappy about the response to their only book. So they were pulling their book and throwing in the towel. After a few weeks.

They left before anyone could respond.

Writing is the most wonderful, amazing, maddening, soul draining, intense, and slow-moving field.

Don't expect to hit it out of the park on your first try. Or your fiftieth. You might never make it.

I'm not trying to be negative--but if you're writing for the right reasons (whatever works for you as long as $$$$ or fame aren't attached--not saying money is bad, I happen to really like money. BUT it probably shouldn't be the only reason you write. Just sayin')--you've already hit it out of the park.

Part time, full time, an hour a week--you are doing what your heart wants. You could become someone's favorite writer someday.

There will be downs. And ups....and more downs but kind sorta in the middle of up and down.

The point is, even when that boulder chases you back down the hill--believe in yourself to be able to deal with it.

How do you deal with your frustrations in the writing world?

Happy IWSG day!










Wednesday, March 6, 2024

#IWSG-- Never give up, never surrender!

 Hello!

Welcome to the monthly clearing of the minds also known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Writers from near and far join in on the first Wednesday of the month to share our worries and tales of writing life.

 





Join us!https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

 

The title of this blog is from a movie (wanna guess?) but it also sums up a writing career.

Definitely sums up MY writing career.

I just released my twenty-sixth novel--add three novellas--and this is #29. 

I'm proud of this book and the series--and SO extremely glad that it's OUT there now!

But I've never had as many problems with any book as I had with Destruction of Chaos.

1) The book just wasn't working and last fall (when it was supposed to come out) I stopped and cut out one hundred and fifty pages.

2) That cost me my preorder privileges from Amazon for a year and blocked the book (didn't know about the blocking issue until I went to release it--good times).

3) Ended up with a MASSIVE book for me. Most of my books are in the 120,000-word range--this one was 167,000. Even after a lot of editing.

4) Had to work with Amazon when I went to put it up--that whole "blocked" issue. The nice person in the chat said that they fixed it. I asked about the series number since it kept showing the original failed fall attempt. They promised it would be fine.

5) It's not fine. My trilogy all says there are four books in the series--one being the invisible blocked one.

6) I tried to set up the print version...sigh. Amazon has the ISBN for that one as already being used. On the blocked version. I might end up losing that ISBN.


7) Goodreads, since it is owned by Amazon, had that book blocked as well and I'm still fixing it.

BUT...I kept going. This book was late when I started it, so it's been two years since the prior book. Then add in all the issues and whatnot.

I could have just left that one hundred and fifty pages in, slapped on some half-assed ending, and been done.

I'm too stubborn for that. There are a lot of talents that writers need. I'd say that tenacity is the most important. All you have to do is get back up one more time than you get knocked down ;).

What about you? Where have you stuck with the fight and completed your work?

Happy IWSG day!

 













Wednesday, February 28, 2024

NEW RELEASE! Destruction of Chaos--Books of the Cuari-book three is ALIVE!

 Hallalu!

This was a work of love, pain, and tenacity. Plus a few stupid human tricks along the way ;).


BUT it is live!  Available on Amazon and it is in Kindle Unlimited as well.


By the way--Amazon now has all of these books in this TRILOGY listed as being part of a four book series. Even though they told me that wouldn't happen. SIGH.


THREE! There are THREE books!


Enjoy and thank you for reading!



Destruction of Chaos


Monday, February 26, 2024

Chapter two of the Destruction of Chaos!

 Okay, still aiming to get this out this WEEK!

BUT, if you've read the other two Chaos books,  (AKA Books of the Cuari) then scroll down and keep reading!

If not, run away!!  NOW!

There be spoilers ahead!













SPACE......



Storm and Jenna are still apart. Jenna was Chapt one-- here's Storm! Yeah, sorry about the paragraph spacing. 


Chapter Two

 

 

Storm swore as their ship finally moved forward to dock. The town of Erlinda was swarming with activity, but little of it pertained to getting ships into dock. Mostly it was simply people panicking and running about.

News of the death of Prince Resstlin, and of the fall of Lithunane, had spread quickly. Erlinda was part of Traanafaeren at the extreme northern end. If an attack came from outside, they would be one of the next to fall. And the citizens of the town knew it.

Considering what he and his companions had faced in Craelyn, he didn’t blame them.

Talia yelled to the few dock hands still working and helped them secure the lines to their ship. Her brother, Diath, watched with a grin. He was still injured, there hadn’t been a way to heal him on the open sea. But he looked grateful to be alive. And amused at his guard captain sister handling his ship.

Few people faced a demonspawn and lived to talk about it. Let alone facing two. Diath hadn’t said much about his fight and spent most of the week’s sea travel resting.

Under Talia’s orders.

The trip from Craelyn to Erlinda normally took a few days. But they’d barely escaped the town and hadn’t used regular sea channels to do so. Not to mention, not knowing who or what might be after them meant going far from the coast and taking a longer route down.

Keanin tried to push them harder, using his own depleted magics to fill the sails when he could. There was a ship with demonspawn ahead of them. Those on board included odd creations that had tapped into Keanin’s genetic and magical self and found a way to reproduce demonspawn hybrids. They needed to be destroyed before they gave birth to the abominations they carried.

His focus changed when they got the notification from Garlan that Lithunane had fallen. Keanin was raised with the royal family, and while he wasn’t any fonder of Resstlin than Storm was, his loss, and that of so many others in the palace, hit him hard.

He stopped pushing the sails after the second day unless asked.

He’d mostly recovered from massively overusing his magic in Craelyn, but Storm was concerned at the way Edgar, also a magic user, watched him carefully. Even now, while they were all on deck and mundanely securing the ship.

Storm shook his head. That was another item on a growing list of things that would have to wait until they got to Irundail. He turned to Talia. “You all might want to ride with us to Irundail. I don’t know how long it will take King Philia of Khelaran to recover his strength, nor how many of his soldiers he lost. He might not have much control over the traitors still in his midst. If our enemies come down from there, this town will be a primary target.”

“I need to stay and defend Erlinda.” Talia looked more like a city guard than a pirate now—her more recent look. “But I think Diath, Hon, and Flini should go with you. You need to get to the new capital.” She knew who Storm and his friends really were.

“I’m not leaving you. Or this town.” Diath shook his head and turned to Storm. “Thank you for helping to rescue me, but I’ll defend this place.”

Talia narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. “You’re injured.”

“Not having this argument.” Diath walked down the plank empty-handed. Any of his belongings were long gone.

Hon and Flini shrugged.

“Sorry, but we’re staying too. The guards can’t be the only ones defending this place.” Hon tipped his head to Storm, Keanin, and Edgar, and followed his friends to the dock.

“I would stay to help you.” Keanin’s beautiful golden eyes appeared conflicted. He’d fallen hard for Talia, but Storm was like a brother to him. Not to mention the rest of the royal family.

The tall blonde woman smiled and took his arms. “I believe you would. But while we will have our own battles here, the larger ones will come to Irundail. It is a powerful refuge, or so I’ve heard, but nothing is unbreakable. When it falls, they’ll need you.” She looked up at Storm and Edgar. “All of you.”

Storm lifted his pack as the rest of them left the ship. “I also wish we could stay. But you’re right about the threat. Lithunane was never as secure as Irundail, but it had impressive hidden defenses. That it fell so suddenly is terrifying.”

Edgar watched the dock—and the ships leaving. “They don’t care where they’re going. I thought the ships heading south could only leave at night.” Long-lost magic users had changed the coast along Erlinda in the distant past. Getting in and out was difficult except during specific times.

Judging by the ships leaving, they were willing to take their chances as long as it got them away from Erlinda.

“None of them are going north. Why would they think Khelaran would be a threat?” Keanin joined his friends watching the surrounding ships. “There wasn’t any proof of who led the attack against Lithunane, was there? No one here would know what happened in Craelyn, right?”

Keanin and Edgar had cleared out a group of demonspawn poised to take over the Khelaran capital. Or rather, exposed them for what they were, which made them weaker and easier to kill.

Craelyn had gone through hard times long ago—hence the controlled waterway access—and also a nearly impassable land access along the coast. Had anyone come down from Craelyn with news of an attack within the past week, they would have faced the same issues Storm and his companions did.

“That’s a good question.” Talia nodded to the two guards as they left the dock. “But feelings about Khelaran have always been tense here. Many felt there should have been a stronger presence from Lithunane here in the north. Irundail is only a few days’ ride, but we never see people coming from there to check on any of us along the northern coast.”

Storm nodded. “I don’t disagree. And right now, I truly wish that there had been a royal presence here. We’ll still need to travel incognito, thank you for keeping our secrets. I’d like to get out of town before night falls. Edgar? Can you get us horses? Cost is no limit. I’d hoped to be in Irundail days ago, but let’s get there as quickly as possible.”

Edgar nodded and shook hands with Talia, Diath, Hon, and Flini. Then he vanished into the crowd.

“I’d like to speak to Talia alone?” Keanin gave her a serious look.

“Come this way. We can secure food for your travels. Even a few days of travel are better with something in your stomach.” Talia led him down toward the food vendors and the crowds swarming around them.

Storm nodded to the remaining three. “Guard each other well, and if the chance arises, come to Irundail. Mention my name and give the guards this coin. They’ll escort you all to me.” He handed them what looked like a normal coin, but it flashed even though there was no sun hitting it.

“I finally meet royalty and it’s not a beautiful princess.” Diath laughed, took the coin, and shook Storm’s hand. “But thank you for helping rescue me.”

“I’m glad we got to you in time.” Storm put his eyepatch back on. Thanks to the type of dye Edgar had used on his face, he still had the facial markings of a Crailian sell-sword. Might as well take advantage of the disguise. It was more important than before that no one knew Prince Corin was roaming the countryside.

“Just remember, if things get bad, get your sister and your friends, and all of you come to Irundail.” Storm shook his head. If he could, he’d bring this entire town to Irundail. But they didn’t have time to convince them all to leave. Ships were fleeing, but more came in with supplies. The ones staying were settling in for a siege. “I’ll have Prince Res—Justlantin send over troops to help support your efforts.” That slip hurt. Storm and his brother Resstlin, late heir to the throne, had never been close. But it was still hard to think of him as gone. Especially so soon after losing their father.

Diath clasped Storm’s shoulder. “Thank you.” He nodded behind Storm, where Edgar came up with six horses loaded with expensive looking full tack. “Your friend is exceedingly quick.”

“There looks to be only three of us.” Storm raised an eyebrow toward the extra horses.

Edgar shrugged. “Aye, but the one selling these wanted to sell them all together. So, I figured, since coin was no object, might as well.” His grin lit his dark face. “Not to mention that we can rotate the horses as we ride. You’re not the only one who wants to get to Irundail quickly.” His smile vanished.

Anyone who’d lived in the palace in Lithunane had lost people in the slaughter. No one knew how many friends they’d lost as communications, even with the taran wands, were jumbled.

“I’m an idiot.” Edgar shook his head and handed the cord with the line of horses to Storm.

“It wasn’t a bad idea.” Storm continued focusing on the surrounding crowds.

“No, we need to find a place to reach out to our friends with the wands. Or at least try. I don’t think all the communication disturbance we hit was just from the ocean.”

Hon and Flini said their goodbyes and vanished into the crowd.

Diath watched Edgar, then nodded. “Your tricky stick thing. I can find an alley that shouldn’t be occupied. And will allow for your herd.” He laughed as he walked past Edgar’s horses.

Edgar held the taran wand but kept it out of sight as he, Storm, and their horses followed Diath.

Edgar knew horses and he’d done well. All six were in excellent shape and followed without question. Storm kept an eye out for Keanin as they walked.

He knew his friend was having a seriously difficult time leaving Talia, but she was a guardswoman and took her duty seriously. Keanin had duties as well, some he didn’t even know about. The issue of him being a missing Khelaran royal was something best dealt with when they were safe.

And when they had a place to lock Keanin up if he tried to run when he was informed of it. Keanin’s parents were killed in the Markare when he was a baby—they were scientists investigating the area around the closed portal. Keanin was the only survivor.

While he’d been raised by the royal family of Traanafaeren, he might not be happy to find out he had a connection to the Khelaran royals. And that his parents hadn’t been who he’d been told they were.

The alley was as Diath said, and he moved to the far end to give Edgar and Storm privacy. Everyone on the ship knew of the taran wand, but as it didn’t work on the water well, they hadn’t seen it work often.

“I wish we’d been able to give one to my mother. Or someone else in Irundail,” Storm said. “I don’t know that anyone from Lithunane has made it there yet.” The ride between the two cities was normally a few weeks. A single rider with spare horses could make it in a week, but they would be hard-pressed to do so.

Hopefully, some of the far-speaking mages living in Lithunane survived the attack and got the word to the Queen and the rest of the royals in Irundail.

“True and true. Shall I try Ghortin first?” Edgar’s smile said he knew what Storm was suppressing since they fled to the ocean.

The woman he loved, Jenna, was somewhere outside of Strann. They’d found out that she and the others survived, escaped, and had the third cuari book they’d needed, but no further communication could be made.

“Yes. Please.” He didn’t hold out his hand, but it was twitching.

Edgar grinned and called Ghortin on the wand.


 







Monday, February 19, 2024

First chapter of Destruction of Chaos--book 3in the Books of the Cuari trilogy

 We're getting closer! The beast book, aka The Destruction of Chaos is in final edits! Finally!

See the pretty cover? Just a girl and her kraken out for a stroll!



Thank you all so much for your patience with this one--I really hope you love this final adventure! (For now, but the trilogy is done).

In honor of it getting closer to release, I'm doing two things--

1) Book one-- Essence of Chaos-- will be free in ebook format  Feb 20-22! Sooooo, if you haven't started reading the trilogy-- you can dive in! (Or give as a gift to someone who you think will like it ;)).

2) I'm posting the first chapter here! There are spoilers so, if you haven't read the first two....look away!

Sadly, Amazon has dropped me from doing preorders for a year--sooooooooo follow me here, FB, my newsletter, or on Amazon or Book Bub to be told when it goes live!

As always all of my ebooks are in Kindle Unlimited, and THANK YOU so much for joining me on these adventures!




Space before chapter one


More space


Still moooooorrrreeee space--spacing is funky in the sample



Avoid spoilers-- look away NOW!









Chapter One

 

 

Jenna swore as the carriage they’d bought—the third one since they left Strann—shuddered as its left front wheel wobbled dramatically.

Their prior carriage lost its right wheel after a few days. This one only lasted a day.

“And again, why is it that we need a carriage instead of riding our horses? They were fine for the way in.” Jenna would be the first to admit the carriage was less jarring than hours and days of being in the saddle, but this way was slower. Even without constantly stopping for repairs or replacements.

She knew that Storm, Keanin, and Edgar would probably make it to Irundail before them, regardless. Unless there was more fighting in the north than they’d heard or problems at sea. But she still wanted to rejoin them as soon as possible.

Lithunane had fallen.

That news was unbelievable and terrifying at the same time.

Someone murdered Prince Resstlin before he was crowned as king. More of the royal family weren’t killed in the attack because they weren’t present when Lithunane fell. Most remained in Irundail in the north.

 Last week, she’d been happy for stopping Ravenhearst and slowing down Qhazborh’s followers, but that joy was short-lived as they received news of Lithunane’s fall.

Information on the fall had been sporadic since then. Even with taran wands, few details were known. It could take weeks for those fleeing Lithunane to get to the safety of Irundail to the far north of the country. As far as they knew, Rachael and Tor Ranshal were traveling with Armsmaster Garlan and as many of the guards as they could gather.

Most of the guards and citizens were slaughtered before they knew the capital was under attack.

Garlan and Rachael each had a taran wand, but there was some magical interference limiting their usage. A few days ago, Rachael said she thought it was getting better the further they got from the remains of Lithunane, but they hadn’t been able to reach her or Garlan since then.

Storm, Keanin, Edgar, and their new traveling companions were at sea—something that interfered with the taran wands as well. The last update they received was that all of them were alive and on their way to Irundail but no one had heard from them in a few days.

Jenna was contemplating freeing her horse from the ones following the carriage and racing directly for Irundail alone.

“Because there could be people looking for us.” Ghortin had a hood pulled low over his head as he drove and stayed hunched over like an old man. At over three thousand years old, he was old—but it wasn’t noticeable normally. This was his attempt at a disguise.

Carabella snorted from her seat in the back. “We could outrun them. You and Jenna can still use magic. Crell is extremely talented at firing arrows from horseback. This thing is slowing us.” She flexed her long, delicate fingers toward her son, Ghortin.

Carabella was a full cuari, one of a mystical band of one hundred immortals charged with protecting the other races.

At the moment, she was the only one of the hundred still on this plane. The enemy had captured the other ninety-nine to hinder the defenses of this world. They’d been imprisoned while using magic, and so Carabella, one of the most magically powerful beings in the world—couldn’t cast even the simplest of spells without the risk that she would be taken as well.

Jenna didn’t blame her for being annoyed. Not only was Jenna also concerned about saving this new home world of hers, but she’d been told that failing to save this world would doom others. Including good old Earth and her former home of Los Angeles. Jenna was offered a chance to go back to L.A. but too much of her heart was here now. For good or ill, this was now her home. But she didn’t want Earth to be destroyed either.

The carriage continued to wobble and then stopped and tilted to the side. The wheel was broken.

“This isn’t working,” Crell said. She was riding as guard alongside the carriage, but stopped and glared at the broken wheel. Crell was a derawri. Like most of her people, she was less than four feet high but fierce. She had long red hair and a sweet face. Unless she was facing you with a weapon—then sweet was probably the last word anyone would use. She’d been a family protector for the kelar royal family of Traanafaeren for years as the children grew up. She had also most likely trained many of the guards who were killed in Lithunane.

Jenna was surprised Crell hadn’t raced off to Irundail already.

“I think you’re outvoted. Let’s abandon this thing and continue on horseback. We can keep the extra horse to carry our packs.” Carabella was already getting out of the carriage when the first arrow struck the side of it.

“Stand down, Strann scum! You’ll die here or go back to where you came from.”

Crell spun and fired an arrow back. “We’re not from Strann and watch who you insult.”

Jenna hadn’t heard a scream at Crell’s arrow. Most likely it, like the one that hit the carriage, was a warning shot.

“Crell?” A dark-clad kelar stepped out of the trees. His clothing was the mottled combination of greens and browns that Crell’s rangers wore to stay hidden in the woods.

“Filian! Damn man, you are a sight for sore eyes.” Crell swung off her horse and clasped the man’s arm. “How’d you get up here so fast? Who’s with you?”

Like many full-blooded kelar, he was tall, slender, and had sharply pointed ears, and wide-set tilted eyes. But that height difference didn’t interfere with Crell at all.

Two groups of fighters answered to Crell—her rangers were people she selected from all three races. They traveled Traanafaeren protecting people in a less formal way than the soldiers and guards. The second group was from her family ties in the kingdom of Derawri. She held the status of Ki’, a powerful commander. She could control a group of deathsworn; hardened derawri warriors who would fight until death.

She preferred her rangers. When she’d left Lithunane a few weeks ago to travel with Jenna, Ghortin, and Carabella, she’d sent her deathsworn back to Derawri. The rangers she’d asked to stay and protect Lithunane.

Ten more brown and green-clad people—three kelar, five humans, and two derawri came out of the trees. All looked to be in rough shape but were able to walk.

“We were spelled here. Well, not here exactly, but a few days’ run south of here.” Filian shook his head but noticeably didn’t put away his bow. “The palace mages were trying to get as many people out of Lithunane as possible when the attack came—whether or not we wanted it.” His scowl indicated they hadn’t chosen to be magicked anywhere. “Somehow we got caught up in a spell and ended up here.”

Crell sighed. “I note there aren’t any of our mages with you. Good intentions by those magic users or not, it would have been better had you been able to escort some of the refugees.” She nodded to the rest of the rangers. “But it is good to see you. Why were you heading toward Strann?”

“That was my idea, sorry, Crell.” A derawri woman stepped forward. Her dark hair was cut short, and she had a long scar on the side of her face. Her smile discounted her words. “I knew where you were heading and thought you might need help. Since we were stuck up here, anyway.”

“You’re a troublemaker, Sorcha.” Crell clasped the woman’s arm fondly. “Might have been a good idea, but we’re on our way to Irundail. After we dump this carriage.” She shot a glare toward Ghortin.

Jenna glared also. Ghortin might have been considering abandoning his carriage and his disguise that went with it before this, but anything new could change that.

But he held up his hands in surrender. “We’ll dump it.” He nodded to the rangers. “We might need some help to get it off the road. Make it look like an accident, too.”

“Don’t embellish. You always make lies too detailed.” Carabella climbed out of the carriage and nodded to the rangers. “Nice of you to come to help us out. No horses?”

Sorcha shrugged. “We weren’t given the option to get them. But have no fear, we can keep up. And it’s not as if we don’t know where you’re going.”

The brawniest of the rangers moved the offending carriage into the woods, ignoring Ghortin as he made it look like an accident.

Jenna adjusted her pack on her horse as Ghortin continued fussing. “I seriously doubt anyone is going to even see it, let alone figure out it was us, after two other carriage changes.”

“A job worth doing is worth doing right.” Ghortin dusted himself off, gathered his things, and mounted his horse.

“It wasn’t worth doing.” Carabella had Ghortin disguise her ears and eyes to look more human and less cuari when they’d approached the human kingdom of Strann. She tugged the fabric that covered the tips of her ears. “Do I look correct? Are your spells still holding?”

Normal cuari pupils were slitted, like a cat’s. Carabella’s dark green eyes currently looked extremely human.

“You look perfectly human,” Jenna responded when Ghortin didn’t.

Ghortin shrugged.

“Thank you, my dear.” Carabella gave a haughty sniff and continued down the trail.

Crell quickly got on her horse to follow, with Jenna not far behind. They gave the carriage horse to a ranger who’d twisted his ankle when they’d been magically flung to the north.

He’d fought against riding until Crell gave him a narrow-eyed glare.

Ghortin motioned for the injured ranger and his horse to go before him. The rest of the rangers jogged along the trail.

“Now, isn’t this much better?” Carabella held up her hands to point out how lovely things were. And that no horse would dare to need guidance from her.

Crell spoke in low tones to Filian and Sorcha, frowning at the things they told her. These were the first eyewitness accounts of what had happened in Lithunane. Taran wand communication had become so sporadic that details were impossible to get.

The rest of the rangers jogged along the edges of the road, sending off single runners from time to time to scout.

Jenna opened her mouth to tell them that no one had approached them, or even been seen on this road, for the entire week. Then shook her head and shut her mouth. Crell wouldn’t have accepted that, and neither would her people. They needed the searches for peace of mind if nothing else.

“Excuse me for being so bold, but you’re Prince Corin’s fiancée, yes?” The older derawri woman running nearest to her asked politely. In some strange way, she reminded Jenna of Rachael. If Rachael hadn’t been a kelar.

“Not really. Let me guess, you saw the farewell outside the palace?” She smiled in case any of her lingering annoyance at the stunt Storm pulled hung to her words.

When Storm, Keanin, and Edgar left Lithunane over a month ago, he’d implied that they were engaged. He didn’t want her out on the road in such troubling times and rightly guessed that his brother Resstlin wouldn’t let a royal fiancée go anywhere.

“I did, actually we all did. They stationed our group right outside the palace. How do you ‘not really’ become engaged?”

Jenna briefly filled her in on the important parts. No reason for the entire story.

“That sounds like him. Crell used to tell us stories of the wild prince when he was growing up.”

“Crell had her rangers that long?”

“I was one of her deathsworn. The first ranger, so to speak. My name is Calle, by the way.”

Jenna nodded. “I’m Jenna, which I’m sure you already know.” She laughed. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you as well.”

“Attack!” The rangers who’d been scouting in the forest raced back as arrows flew around them.


 



Monday, February 5, 2024

I'm BACK! Kinda sorta...Destruction of Chaos!


 Long time no see!

I'm sorry, life got wacka and the blog was left to linger.

But NO MORE! Mwhahaahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!

First thing, aside from me being back, is an update or two.

Since I was last here, An Intrigue of Pharaohs, the third book in the steampunk tea cozy adventure series, The Adventures of Smith and Jones, went live! If you missed it, and want some fun Egyptian adventures with Nettie and the gang-- go check it out! An Intrigue of Pharaohs.





Now on to the trouble child. Destruction of Chaos, aka the third book in the Books of the Cuari portal/epic fantasy trilogy.

There was some serious mayhem with this one. This is my 26th novel and I've never had one be so unruly.  I had to scrap one hundred and fifty pages.

Yup 150. 

The storyline wasn't working. AT. ALL.

I wasn't going to do that to me or anyone reading the series, so I cut them out and created a better version. That took time, lots of time. But I like the book much better now.

This will be the final book in this adventure, but you know me, never say never ;). There are a few tidbits in this book that might lead to future adventures!

Sadly, because I was unable to complete the book by my preorder date, Amazon will not let me do another preorder for a year.

There are a few places to get updates as to when it (and all the rest of the books coming out ;)) are live.

1) Follow me on Amazon Marie's Amazon page and follow
2) Follw me on Book Bub Book Bub page
3) My newsletter Marie's newsletter and website
4) Follow my Facebook author page Facebook page
5) Email me!  Mariehasbooks @ gmail . com  OR Marie @ marieandreas.com )




Glad to be back!