Dusting off and starting over.

Current Reading:  Edge of Eternity – Ken Follet

Current Listening: World of Final Fantasy OST – The Sending/Hymn of Fayth [Extended]

Hello, my friends.  Forgive my absence. Going forward, I will not be going so long between posts.  Life has been well, life–a hot mess of crazy sandwiched between work and family life. I have barely had time to create and I’ve been feeling the lack.

To address this, I have started a writer’s group called Ink &Quill that will feature daily writing prompts,  encouragement and humor.  In that vein, it is my hope to get myself back into some measure of regularity.  I also hope to help other writers further their craft.  Whether their end goal is publication or not, or if they just want to enjoy some good creative fun.  I look forward to hearing from you if you’re interested. Feel free to drop me a message if you would like an invitation.

With that being said, Ink & Quill’s writing prompts can be a variety of things from words to music to images.  I do a vague, fun post and a more guided post for those that need a little direction. The purpose is for all types of writers to get their feet wet,  have a little fun and create something that was not there before.  With that being said, here is our vague prompt for the week:

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So, with this image, I was struck by the starlight and the way it flowed around the woman standing in the dark.  With that, came a new character idea not for the book series but merely for my own amusement. I have touched on the idea of a modern day realm before….Ladies and gents, please meet Sarina Jacobs.  🙂

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Starlight glittered across her skin as she took this moment to rekindle her strength.  Dr. Sarina Jacobs was one of the precious few left who understood Fate and her gifts. In a world of modern miracles, the miracle of magic stood forgotten. The lifeblood of their realm begun to fade. Here, among the land,  Sarina could feel the pulse of their world.  Beyond the city’s constant buzz,  constant noise, she could feel that heartbeat struggling to breathe.  Ages ago, Duty fulfilled its song.    Emma Jacobs was a woman of legend among her family.  She began the family tradition of never marrying.  The reasons,  Sarina understood, were unclear.  Not a whisper of scandal surrounded the woman’s name.   Clearly the family line continued through her or she would not be standing here beneath the night sky.

With a flick of her will, she brushed the thought away.  Medical school stood a blur among her teenage years. She was considered  a pioneer in her field.    The youngest woman in Maeselorian history to graduate from medical school,  she puzzled her peers.  Her record was impeccable.   These communes with the night sky served to ground her.  The starlight glittered white on her skin as she stood staring at the heavens around her.  “Fate bless thee.” She whispered a prayer older than her body, perhaps older than her spirit.  She never lost a patient and many assumed that was simply her gift. So many of them refused to see how her hands glowed white in the operating room. Her manipulation of magic was so finite that no one would have seen the blessing for what it was.

More than fifty years ago, a government was born that stripped the power of the royals and shared it with the people. The ruling body, the Siteni,  cautioned those royals that still remained to be wary of using their talents. By this time, so few of her kind remained that no one could know who carried a royal bloodline and who did not.  The world had changed,  or moved on if one preferred. Many argued, what use did the modern world have for stories of ages past?  The only lines that seemed to ring true anymore were hers and Queen Adrianna herself. The Morningstars, the consummate politicians, remained.   The monarchy remained like a comforting old blanket.   Their protectors, the Redwynds remained but of the clan, only one remained by the Queen’s side. Of the Jades, the fabled protectors of the realm, no one lingered.

Still, she drew on the blessing of the land and sky around her. Fate beat beneath her as she stood drew.   Her dark hair tumbled to her bottom in a careless disarray of curls.  The wind tousled and toyed with the mess.  Her hazel eyes flecked gold as she focused the skills that were so discouraged by the Siteni.  How could such beauty, such life be wrong? How could those in power not see these gifts as they were?  Her thoughts meddled with her focus. Beyond her wards a darkness throbbed.   In the city, that constant felt like an open artery.  The night air was crisp this Adryn.  Isean would be upon them soon, as would the snow and rush of winter.   Sarina stretched her magical wings.  No one would sense her.  No one existed that would care. In that, she felt utterly alone.  Magic tides within her bloodline had risen and fallen over the years.  Even her mother said she had not seen a talent like Sarina’s in many years.

“So,  the Starson line does live on.”  A voice startled her from her thoughts.  The scream died in her throat as a man stepped out of the shadows.  Knowledge and power echoed in his sapphire eyes.   He was a stranger to her.  Or was he?  He knew her. She could see it in his gaze. “At ease, I bring no harm.”  At least, he supposed,  she could not blast him from here to kingdom come.

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Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Those of you familiar with the realm at large MIGHT know who our mystery man is.  Stay tuned for more and whatever else may suite my fancy in the weeks ahead. Nanowrimo is right around the corner and so is book six of the Maeseloria series.

Duty’s Song

Current Reading:   Winter of the World – Ken Follet

Current Listening:   World’s on Fire – Sarah Mclachlan

Business before pleasure, they say.  Forgive my radio silence,  illness and writer’s block are craptacular combinations.   Writer’s block is a rarity for me but when it arrives, it goes whole hog.  Book 6,  Guardian’s Redemption,  is wanting to start writing itself before its appointed hour. (Read: November 1 for those of you unfamiliar with my writing habits)  I’m also trying to give myself time to appreciate that I just published my –fifth- book.    I did not think in 2012  when I published Birth of Light that the series would have a longevity like this.  I published my first book just to see if I could.  Just because it sounded like a good idea at the time.  Still, here we are.  That is, in part what I think the release party is about.  Celebrating the moment as much as the new book’s release.  FIVE books, holy shit.   What is your favorite “Oh, hell, I did that” moment?

With that being said,   I hope to see the lot of you on my author page on October 1 at 7:30 EST for the Shadow’s Journey cover reveal.   We are now 21 days from release day and preparations may become a madcap hurry. Illness has a way of delaying our best intentions. I am happy to say though I’m on the mend.  I hope, also, to see you at the release party at Gathering Volumes on October 15 from 2-5.   The little bit below is for a character you all will meet Guardian’s Redemption.    By the way   readers,  brownie points to anyone who can tell me who that title MIGHT be about.  You have met her on the blog and this is a continuation of her story.  Ladies and gents,  Emma Jacobs.

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Duty’s song was as relentless as her brother’s pursuit.  Emma reflected with a forlorn smile.  Below her, fire stood stark against the darkness.  Their childhood home was gone. Through tears, she watched the house burn.  Hues of orange, white and red lit the night sky.

Her dreams as of late remained persistant. IN a way those dreams saved her life tonight.  She was awake for their assault.  The idiots tripped the wards at the edge of her land.  Those wards served to warn her  but,  in truth, she had no offensive magic in her arsenal.  Her hazel eyes flashed fire as she watched the structure collapsed.  Emma had enough time to gather her wits, provisions for her journey and her family dagger.  She knew she had to run but the thought saddened her all the same.

Her horse was saddled and she was off before the men even realized their quarry was gone. They thought to flush her out in the blaze.  Perhaps now,  Emma mused, she could finally have peace.  Emma doubted the truth to that thought. The men could report that she died in the fire but her brother would know. Her twin would know.  “Did you send them Edward?”  She whispered as her heart bled.  In her heart, she felt like her whole life had just been upended.  “Did you cause this chaos that has destroyed everything we have ever known?”  A cool night wind dried her tears. She ached to open the mental door between them.  Fate above, she missed him more than she could put word to. Yet,   that dark pulse still lingered in the south when she opened her sense.  Duty called her and, at some point, she suspected she would reunite with him. Fate could only hope he had not destroyed whatever chance they had of rebuilding their lives.

Madryn’s book bled through the Mornesse. Even at this distance,  Emma could feel it like a dark stain upon the realm.  The magic pulsed through the land. Emma scowled. Why did her fellow royals leave the book when they ended the war?  Her hazel eyes shadowed.  The answer was simple because her question belonged to a child who knew nothing of Fate’s grace.

“Because our world, like all things, must have balance. The pulse you feel through the land is because the Light has left us.” Her grandmother’s teachings rang through her ears.  Emma could almost feel the  gentle rap of a walking stick against the back of her head.  Sarina Starson  favored the stick later in life as age crumpled her slender figure.  Emma pushed the thought away and wiped her eyes.

With strength to the east; Duty will guide thee home  Duty lay to the east, her heart to the south.  “What good has Fate’s balance brought me and mine?”  She growled and turned her horse from the scene below her. The ridge had offered her cover and time to say goodbye.  Now she must get on with what the Light called her to do.  She just watched her home, her life go up in flames.  She supposed she had nowhere to go but up.  She could no longer hide so perhaps it was time to fight.  Her reluctance lingered for but a moment.  “Ignoring it will not change Fate’s requirement of you,  Em.”  Her grandmother murmured again. This time she would swear she felt the rap of that blasted stick.

Emma kicked her horse forward.  Fate guide me.  The blessing left her mind laced with the light of holy.  The power flex was minor but Edward would hear.  In that moment, the wall between them faded.  Her eyes flashed gold as his head snapped up.  Fate bless thee, Edward Jacobs.  The whisper and power’s push was minor. Enough to make him aware of her survival and to remind him of what waited.  Their mother blessed them in this manner every night.  Emma added the warmth of her love for him before she closed the door again.  Soon enough, she suspected, she would blow the wall between them to smithereens. Duty called her. What lay ahead she could only guess.

 

Autumn Leaves

Current Reading:  The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by – Simon Sebag Montefiore (My library check out expired before I could finish it. I am a sad panda)

Current Listening: Lindsey Stirling – Something Wild ft. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (From Disney’s Pete’s Dragon)

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So, I have been a little shy about updating the blog these last few weeks. Life has been busy.  We have been getting back into the rhythm of life after vacation and school starting.  I blinked and we are five days into September.  My sixteen year old is now seventeen and time keeps plodding away. To me, the best news is that fall is right right around the corner.   What is your favorite season and why?

Am I the only one who prefers the crisp air of autumn and the crunch of dead leaves to summer’s heat? I love the bite of cold (or hot) apple cider and the creepy feeling that always accompanies October”s arrival.  I love corn mazes and hay rides and do not do anywhere near as much as I would like to in the fall.  Perhaps we can change that this year.

Oh and…in case you are not counting:

FOURTY DAYS UNTIL SHADOW’S JOURNEY RELEASES!!!!

If you would like to attend the cover reveal for Shadow’s Journey,  please drop into my Facebook page and the event to let me know you’re coming.   I can’t wait to share the cover with all of you.  This was a new type of design for my books and may lead to a new look for the series as a whole in the distant future.  I like the covers where they are for the moment.

I have a challenge going on right now.  My Facebook page is up to 93 likes.  Help a girl out if you like what I do and follow the blog.  I’d love to hit 100 by release day.  Release day is October 15. So please, if you could. Like my author page, share it,  comment on it. I’m always available for questions or comments. Drop me a message. I don’t bite.

 

 

No sleep…til GenCon…

If you sung along to that in your head, bravo.  Anyone in my immediate family who reads this is completely aware that I will actually be sleeping the next  day or so.  I’m kind of a pita with no sleep.  (Just ask my husband.)

No current listening/reading today because this is just a quick note to you lovely folks that I will be on hiatus from tomorrow morning through August 24th. No blog updates, photos when I get back. I am going to leave you with the latest teaser from book 5, Shadow’s Journey.  Let me know what you think. Until then later, gang. Take care. 🙂

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Turn and face the strange.

Current Listening:  “Eternal” – Evanescence

Current Reading:    Catherine the Great : Portrait of a Woman – Robert K. Massie

So, a few housekeeping updates for those of you that have not poked around the site.  Yes,  I updated and rearranged a little.   On the right you can now see my twitter feed and click to like my Facebook page.  So I made it a little easier for those of you who follow this blog to see what else I am up to.   Also, for those of you that have not subscribed to the newsletter and may be interested in Nicholas’ story, current events and a fun little thing called Sandra’s Corner,  I have added the newsletter archives to the top menu above.  Go check it out.  If you like it, click the subscribe link up top.   Please feel free to contact me with questions or feedback on the new design.

Also,  a few countdowns of note:

3 Days until Vacation

8 days until GenCon 50

67 Days until Shadow’s Journey release party.

Now, for those of you itching for the cliffhanger with Lily Eisen,  by all means…here goes.

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“Easy Lils.”  Jaylor’s voice crooned in her ears as he caught her and eased their descent.  He shifted his body so he would protect her from gravity’s inevitable impact.  “Go for your emergency gem.  Calm…that’s my girl.” He murmured as a patient parent would to a child facing a difficult lesson.  “Focus. Trigger.”  Jaylor’s tones were gentle and soon enough the weight of her body against his was gone.   Emergency gems ,  when activated,  all were created to send the users to the same place.  With a flex of his element, Jaylor slowed his descent with the night wind and then vanished before he hit the ground.

Marcus Jade was pacing the room when Lily appeared in his sister’s chamber.  Alexandra tutted his overprotective streak and guided the shaken woman to a chair before her brother pounced upon her person to assure himself of her safety.   Alexandra settled before Lily, meeting the girl’s green eyes with her own sea-shaded gaze.  Lily trembled and before she voiced her first thought, Alexandra assured her on gentle tones. “Jaylor will join us shortly. All emergency gems are built to bring their users to me for security and healing if needed. He knows where you are.”

That soothed the woman who,  during her entire existence within the Guild, had never had someone so openly attempt to take her life.  “Good.  Let the watchdog go before I explain what happened.”  A grin tugged at the corners of the Sorceress’ mouth as she stepped aside.  As soon as she did,   Lily found herself  enveloped in the warmth of Marc’s arms.  He murmured his fears and his heart all at once.  His gentle concern broke her in the face of what was a terrorizing affair.

The force of his emotions surfaced in his eyes. That depth brought tears to her own. “I am fine, Marc.” She murmured.  “I told you I would.”  She spoke as those tears drifted down her cheeks.  “Trust, remember?”  He nodded and that was when the delicate clearing of Jaylor’s throat stilled the moment.   “I was pushed.”  She responded to the question her favorite Shadow had not voiced.  She pushed from Marc’s arms and approached Jaylor.  When his arms closed around her,  she finally relaxed.   “Thank you.”

“You’re part of the world I need to keep safe. Anytime.”  Jaylor promised then released her.   Marc felt the spike in her emotions. He understood Jaylor could get to her faster. He was in Mornesse, Marc was in the capital.  Lily’s panic was what struck him first when he reached for her.  “Tell me what you remember.”  And with that, they settled in to figure out what happened on that Mornesse rooftop.

Updates of unusual size…

Current listening:  Live for What I’d Die For – Jess Mills

Current Reading:  The Tommyknockers – Stephen King

Hello!  After much back and forth with Amazon,  Shadow’s Journey is complete! I have a few advance copies in my hot little hands.  I have held the book in my hands, looked through and just..amazing. It truly never gets old.  I don’t know about any other author but I look at the cover and I think to myself  “Hey, I did that…”

74 days until release day,  if I can math tonight.  October 15, I can’t wait! Correct my math if I’m wrong.  Also, the teasers on my Facebook page are still being posted and will continue until release day.  Please head over, check them ought and if you aren’t a follower of my page,  sign up and share, share, share.  I am planning a digital giveaway of Light’s Guide before the new book’s release.

So,  I had a nag at the back of my head with the song above. Hope you enjoy the little snippet below. As always, feedback is welcome.

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Be soft but hide it well Lils. At the time she did not realize it was the last lesson she would ever give her. Lily watched the haphazard streets that were Mornesse’s inner city. For a moment, Lily Eisen’s mind was caught up in the past. That softness she hid in the core of her. In her time with the Guild, many had tried to beat that out of her. In a way, they tried to beat her femininity out of her. Tonight, she walked the rooftops to see what she could see. A few nights straight, patrols were whispering of returning to the castle with one less man than they left with.

Under normal circumstances this would not be cause for alarm. Death in combat was not a truth unfamiliar to her or any man who patrolled the city. However, five men in the course of a week was unusual. Unrest still lingered even in light of the current regime’s agenda. To her credit, Jocelyn wanted to see her people fed, housed and happy. She wanted them to heal. People who detested peace existed every day. Many of them belonged to the Guild. Lily’s emerald eyes shined in the in moonlight as she watched the patrol pass below. When she heard the distant clatter of their armor fade, she knew it was time to move on. Dark confidence echoed in her every movement as she followed them. She could outwit patrolmen any day of the week. They were easy prey for one such as herself.

Marc Jade should have been easy prey. A small, fond scowl curled her lips. Her quarry moved on through the city streets. Easy prey, right, and a Kindred to walk in sunlight. Lily thought as she moved with silent grace through the darkness. To this day, she wondered where in the Light blasted world the Guild had gotten their information about the man. The men below rounded the corner and she followed, moving from rooftop to rooftop. She found hand holds in places most men would never have. She swung from each point like an acrobat. Her skill was part her favorite Shadow’s teaching and her own inherent grace. Lily had none of the blessing the royal families had. In that sense, she supposed she was a bit of an outcast.

Lack of magic did not stop her from beating his lordship’s ass on a regular basis. She thought with a satisfied grin. Lily was born for the hunt. Though there was no prey to capture tonight, there was always a hunt. Always a purpose to track. Only once had she ever deigned to lower her standards and hunt alongside nobles that were of her rank. Her excitement at the prospect lasted all of five minutes when she realized none of the “ladies” were going to participate in the actual hunt. Their sole purpose was to stroke the lordlings’ egos and be pretty little ornaments. Lily had declined every invitation that arrived for that particular activity after that single incident. None of those simpering twits would ever understand the honor of the hunt and the satisfaction of a clean kill.

Her eyes flickered to the group below her. So far, no harm had come to those patrolling tonight. What was the purpose of picking off patrolmen? “Why, to attract little ragmuffins…” A voice taunted two hand connected with her back and sent her tumbling from the rooftop. The ground was coming too far to fast for her to adjust or reach for a handhold without dislocating every joint from shoulder to wrist. Her grasp would not hold her whole body weight. She did the math seconds too late. The tactic was meant to flush her out but who would be so foolish? Just when I had a life to fight for…

 

Elusive inspiration

Current listening:  You guessed it,  Linkin Park  =P

As writers we all struggle with blocks,  we have times when our muse gives us the middle finger and takes a hiatus.   I read a blog a few days ago that describes this so personally, so clearly that I had to share it with you.  Thank you to Mia Sutton for allowing me to share it with all of you.  Go check her out! She’s amazing.  She’s funny and candid. I think that’s what appeals to me most.  You see her struggles and her honesty about life, motherhood and just everything shines through. Here’s the post:

When Inspiration Strikes: An Ode to My Muse