What’s New Wednesday

November is just a week away. Not sure how that happened! I’m starting to feel like those old ladies from the wedding scene in Muppets Take Manhattan. A little group of babies sings, “days go passing into years,” to which a group of old ladies responds, “years go passing day by day…” It can’t just be me, right?

Anyway, November means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Authors are challenged to write 50,000 words over just 30 days. I’ll never make anything close to that in a month–I have too many other obligations between work and family, not to mention I’m more of a slow, deliberate writer by nature. The closest I’ve ever gotten is I think 35,000.

But that doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t worthwhile. It’s a good motivator to set aside time alongside many thousands of my fellow authors to make my work-in-progress come alive, one word at a time!

Right now that work-in-progress is a novella I’m writing about Broguean the Bard, a character who appears in Ancient Voices, Visions of Light and Shadow, and in one of my short stories called “A Bard’s Tale.” I’ve got about a third of it done already, so I wouldn’t even need 50k to finish it off. My cover artist has nearly completed the artwork for it as well, which is very exciting. With any luck, I’ll be able to get this novella done in 2018 and have it ready to publish in early 2019. Read an excerpt from the first chapter below. Want to read the entire first chapter? It’s at the end of the Visions of Light and Shadow ebook.


The sun hadn’t quite gone down yet, but the tavern at Westfalle was nearly full and Broguean’s head was starting to spin. With some satisfaction, he noted that it was getting harder for him to tell if there was one mug or two on the table in front of him. So long as he aimed for the middle, his hand managed to find the handle easily enough. The truth was, he had learned to function quite normally in such a state. It was as comfortable and familiar to him as a good pair of walking shoes—not to mention it usually made everyone around him a fair bit more interesting. He took a long, deep draught from his mug, draining it until he could see the bottom.

He had traveled extensively over the years, sampling many different brews from throughout the realm, but the uniqueness of this tavern’s ale was by far his favorite. He savored the sweetness and the spices, encouraging them to linger on his tongue as the warmth coursed through him like liquid joy. He wasn’t the only one who appreciated this tavern’s signature flavor. The establishment was overflowing with both travelers and men coming in off the fields, which made it a good place for barding. He hadn’t paid for a drink yet, and his coin purse was actually heavier than it had been when he’d walked through the door. He sighed with contentment, then raised his hand to signal the tavern maid for another.

The poor woman was more harried than usual as she weaved through the crowded room wielding a heavy pitcher of ale. She made an art of refilling empty cups with one hand, while sliding coins off the table into a pouch with the other. Languid strands of her dark hair had slipped from their covering, causing her to frequently brush them back in annoyance. Her cheeks were flushed with heat, and perhaps a bit of indignation as well. The boisterous fellow several tables over couldn’t seem to keep his hands on his mug when she came by to refill it. But if the tavern maid didn’t decide to poison his drink, there were plenty of others in the room who just might. He’d been boasting all night of his adventures in the depths of the Crevasse. He had just made his way from that wretched place, he said, having bested many Beasts, and trolls, and demons in forms too grotesque to describe.

“And then suddenly a scaly creature rose up from the pit, with two heads and snakes for tongues that spit poison,” Broguean heard the man bellow to those around him. By now he was too inebriated to realize how loud he’d become. “I cut off one of its heads with a single stroke, but then two more grew back in its place. I knew I was in for a tough fight, but then the Crevasse is no place for the faint-hearted.” He took a long drink while keeping his eye on the tavern maid, who made a wide circle around him to serve another table. “If you ever encounter such a creature,” he advised, raising an unsteady finger to signal he wanted more ale, “aim for the snakes.” Broguean rolled his eyes. He doubted such a creature existed beyond the confines of the man’s imagination. Though he’d hoped the story was finally concluded, the man droned on. “Mind you, this was after I’d already bested two ogres and a lich—nasty things those are…”

Why not throw in a wyvern or two for good measure, Broguean thought with irritation. Or perhaps the Shadow himself. The ridiculousness of it aside, his person showed no signs of recent battle. There were no lingering stains of blood or sweat. No bruises, scratches, or flecks of mud from the road marred his perfectly groomed appearance. Not even a hint of fatigue haunted his expression. This man was no hero fresh from the depths of the Crevasse. Broguean had known real heroes, real warriors. He had seen what such men looked like after battle, and he knew the toll it took on them well afterward. This braggart’s lies belittled their very real sacrifices, made with pain, and with blood. The man was begging to be cut down a bit, and Broguean didn’t need a blade to do it.

Through his inebriated haze the words began to form. Some of his best work was done on such nights, when the ale had successfully removed all of his cares, leaving just he and his craft to wrestle with one another. As the words came, the tune did also, blending together in his mind as one perfect and inseparable being. His fingers strummed a few cautious notes on his lute, then grew stronger in confidence with the encouragement of the tavern’s patrons. It was a bold and powerful tune, one befitting the epic ballads of ancient heroes. He was quite familiar with the style, though he did not often use it. The people wanted entertainment—they would get it. More of it than they expected by the time he was through, he imagined. Broguean smiled wryly and moved close to the boastful man’s table, looking him square in the eye and nodding. The man steadily returned his gaze, sure that the bard’s attention had been sufficiently captured by his impressive tales of glory.

Broguean continued to strum, adding more complex harmonies to the tune as he cleared his voice and began to sing with all the seriousness he could muster.

“To the Crevasse our champion went,
With might and strength of heroes old;
Fierce through the Shadow Wood he rent,
To fight the ancient evils bold.

“Thanks to the Ancients for our fierce champion,
to whom belongs the victory.”

The man was now nodding and beaming, raising a glass, not to the song, but to himself, for of course, who else could such a song be about? Broguean could barely contain his amusement to maintain the somber and haunting lilt of the song. Had his head not been so full of ale, he might have thought better of what he was about to do. But all were expectant now, and some rolling their eyes at him, wondering how he could enshrine such a fool in song. Broguean gave them a quick wink that said, just wait, and kept singing.

“Forward he charged, with sword raised high,
The challenge raised so all could hear;
‘For Glory!’ was his battle cry,
His foes before him fled in fear.

“Thanks to the Ancients for our fierce champion,
to whom belongs the victory.”

The man was really getting into it now, his chest expanded well beyond its due. Broguean had to strum an extra refrain to maintain his composure as the next lines slipped into his mind, and laughter threatened to spill past his lips.

“Down he plunged, but something was wrong,
Or else he’d made an error steep;
T’was not the wicked place from song,
This mighty Crevasse was but knee deep!

“Thanks to the Ancients for our fierce champion,
to whom belongs the victory.”

Broguean could hear low chuckles and cautious snickering lifting up all around the room, while the man’s chest deflated somewhat and his face flushed with confusion. Something was definitely amiss, but too much drink was making him slow to grasp precisely what.

“No stench of death for him to meet,
Nor grotesque monsters he did find;
Fleeing the crack before his feet,
Were vermin of the rodent kind.

“Thanks to the Ancients for our fierce champion,
to whom belongs the victory.”

Light chuckles erupted into more pronounced laughter, and the man’s red face began to harden with anger. He stood to his feet, placing his fists on the table and glaring at Broguean threateningly. Broguean made sure he was well out of reach, but he had one more verse to unleash upon the arrogant fool.

“Across his path the Shadow rose,
A foe most worthy to dethrone;
Alas, despite his forceful throes,
The shadow was his very own…”

The arrogant warrior snarled with rage. He clambered over the table to get at Broguean, knocking over drinks and shoving patrons out of the way as he went. Broguean, now laughing heartily and barely in control of his own limbs, stumbled backwards and fell just as the man’s fist whistled through the air where his head had been. It found an unfortunate target instead—the face of another man seated on the bench behind him. He too was laughing, and so didn’t see the swing coming until it was too late. Knocked down and bleeding, his three drinking friends rose from their places at the table, none too pleased. From there chaos ensued as a lively brawl began. Broguean, still laughing, held tight to his lute and crouched below the fray, working his way across the room and out the door.

He stumbled into the shadows of a narrow alley beside the tavern. The only light left now was a deep crimson rim around the edge of the sky. The moon was still young overhead, and the stars had only just begun to peek out. Through the walls he could hear the uproar in the tavern. His only regret was that he’d left a full mug of ale sitting on the table, but he dared not go back for it. He shook with laughter as he recalled the range of expressions on the man’s face, from boastful, to baffled, and finally to boiling rage. He laughed so hard that tears rolled down from the corners of his eyes. He deserved it, that conceited cox-comb, Broguean thought. Crevasse indeed! If he holds his own in that tavern brawl it’ll be more than I expect of him…

 

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What’s New Wednesday

There are a lot of free book promotions going on this month. I usually only share these with my newsletter list, but today I thought I’d post them on my blog for What’s New Wednesday. Click on the images to check them out and fill your e-readers with some free books.



 

Have you Noticed the New Look?

You may have already seen the changes on my website, or at your favorite book retailers (which are still gradually rolling out). The Wind Rider Chronicles has brand new custom covers! Artist Alfredo Pachicano and Cover Designer Kathryn Jenkins of Magical Designs have done a great job giving my series a unique, cohesive, and more professional look.

Today I’ll introduce the new cover for Journey to Aviad, which is being featured on Instafreebie’s blog today. You can download it free, no strings attached, through Instafreebie and most other ebook retailers.


Elowyn lifts a strange silvery object from a woodland stream. Is it a medallion? A coin? Looking about curiously, she also finds a helm, a bow, broken arrows…and blood drenched soil. Something terrible has happened in this usually peaceful wood. Her world—the whole world—is about to change forever…

 

My New Book Has Finally Arrived!

visions of light and shadow

You’ve been waiting patiently, and now it’s here–book 3 of the Wind Rider Chronicles!
Get a discounted price by buying direct   |   Amazon  |   BN   |  Kobo   |  Other  


It has been six months since Cailean’s death, and Elowyn can’t get his special clifftop in the mountains out of her thoughts…or her dreams. Something is drawing her there, despite the danger, and time is running out. The new spring growth is threatening to cover what’s left of his foot trail forever, but getting there is going to be more challenging than she imagined, especially with the thieves still lurking along the mining road.

Morganne is having difficulties of her own. The monks are making plans to send the tomes away, Braeden’s tax demands are increasing yet again, and Morganne’s once prosperous shop has been noticeably empty. On top of that, the Kinship is getting ready to leave Minhaven—seemingly for good this time.

With political unrest building, and the Black Shrine still intact, Glak and Bane want the girls to go with them. Elowyn is eager to leave her sorrows behind, certain that Aviad is calling them to follow the road beyond Minhaven, but Morganne isn’t so sure. She’s not ready to abandon everything they know for an uncertain future, and Elowyn finds herself at a crossroads. Will she be able to convince Morganne that it’s Aviad’s voice she is hearing, or will she be forced to go on alone?

Get it today at your favorite ebook retailer. (Print copies will be available soon.)

 

 

Sweet Victory!

I know it has been a while since I posted anything on my blog (or any social media for that matter). I apologize for disappearing, but I hope you’ll agree my temporary hiatus was for a good cause. During April I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is always a great motivator for me to get lots of writing done. Sometimes I don’t get anywhere near my goal. This time I blew right past it. I managed to get over 35,000 words written during camp, and an additional 10,000 written in the first week of May. It is the most successful camp I’ve had to date, and I’m extremely excited to announce that have finished yet another book!

The first draft is now off to beta readers for review. I don’t have a specific publish date in mind yet, but stay tuned. For those who have been patiently waiting, the Wind Rider Chronicles will be growing again very soon.

In the meantime, I’ll work on bringing some life back into my blog. Thanks for being patient!

New Release: Monster Huntress by David Wiley

Track down Your New Favorite Fantasy Heroine today!

Do you love saucy red-headed fantasy heroines? Then you will absolutely adore Ava Evenstar of David Wiley’s Monster Huntress, book one in the Young Huntress Series which released April 21st.

The world tells Ava she’s just a little girl who should know her place, but Ava wants a sword not a crown.

Ava and her father are following in her mother’s footsteps, hunting monsters in the 13 Kingdoms, seeking revenge for her mother’s untimely death. Little do they know that the monster responsible is building up a dangerous force. When The King requests the help of Ava’s father in exchange for her becoming a princess, Ava is not pleased. Can Ava escape her fate and the obnoxious prince of Harborg to live the life she’s always known, or will the dark plans of the monster catch her in his trap.

David Wiley combines the action of Tomb Raider with the fantastical elements of The Witcher to create the exciting world of The Young Huntress high fantasy series.

Track down Monster Huntress today and slay your need for good fantasy.


Want a sneak peek into the story? Here you go!

Ava woke up a few hours before dawn. She already had a horse loaded up and saddled. She slipped into the traveling clothes her father had bought for her, a green tunic and brown breeches. She strapped Seraphina to her back and grabbed a light brown cloak before heading out the door.

The whole village was still asleep as she mounted up. Ava’s mind raced as she thought about all of the adventures she had heard about. She imagined all of the exciting quests that were waiting for her outside these village walls. It was a new day, a new start to the next chapter in her life. Even though she would miss this old life, she knew she was ready to become an apprentice monster hunter. She had dreamed of this day for years and she knew her father would finally agree to train her when she caught up to him. He had to.

She urged her horse into a slow walk, not wanting to wake anyone with her departure. She reached the western edge of the village and stared out at the vast expanse of desert ahead of her. And then Ava heard a shout behind her. She turned in the saddle and spotted Edgar a little ways back, leaning heavily on a thick staff, waving. She smiled and waved back. She was going to miss that boy but she had a feeling they would meet again someday. Ava urged her horse into a trot and rode off into the distance knowing that Edgar would still be standing there, in spite of the pain, waving until he couldn’t see her anymore.

Join the Monster Huntress tour for more of the adventure!