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N is for Nykar

Nykar is a rough and tumble guy with a no-nonsense attitude and some pretty useful skills, such as sneaking, eavesdropping, looking intimidating, being intimidating, and generally being the most excellent bodyguard a princely type could ask for. He could also be a poster child for loyalty, as he doesn’t seem to have many goals in life beyond doing anything that Prince Rakyn of Darkynhold asks of him. Of course, he absolutely loves his job, especially the more nefarious and possibly not-so-legally sanctioned portions, and he is very well paid for his services, because he does the job of three or four normal royal “servants”. Rakyn relies upon him for just about everything, including seeking out information, delivering messages, imparting justice, and keeping tabs on the political machinations of his twelve warring brothers. It’s no wonder Nykar has no time for anything else.

Nykar

You don’t want to meet him in a dark alley. Or even a well-lit alley.

Nykar has a wicked (if sometime inappropriate) sense of humor, which balances nicely with Rakyn’s tendencies toward grim introspection. They have a complicated relationship and Rakyn frequently wonders why Nykar continues to put up with him instead of running off to Bodor and settling down with a sturdy hut and a nice fruit orchard. (When asked, Nykar stated that he wasn’t very fond of fruit, and why live in a hut when he had a comfy set of suites in the palace, and what kind of stupid question was that anyway?) Rakyn did not bring it up again.

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M is for Morgyn

Although Morgyn is the chieftain of his Redolian tribe, when his brother goes missing after an impulsive plan goes awry, he drops everything and goes looking for him. When he is unable to locate Toryn (or find his dead body lying in a ravine) he decides to track down the Falaran that Toryn meant to kill, hoping to find some answers, and possibly finish the job that Toryn started if the news is unfavorable. What he least expects to find is his brother following the Redolian heir around like a trained lapdog. Before he can quite wrap his head around the concept, they are embroiled in action and Toryn disappears yet again. What is a good brother to do except head for the nearest watering hole and drown his annoyance in alcohol?

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Even though he was far from home, he managed to locate a kindred soul in the form of Knight Commander Montyr, who shares his vision of correcting most of life’s little problems by cracking skulls. It is through his friendship with Montyr that Morgyn begins to realize that even though it is easy to hate someone to which you have affixed a label (Falaran, southerner, foreigner, heathen) it is far more difficult to despise them once you are forced to see the person beneath the label. He grudgingly admits, if only to himself, that there might be more to Brydon Redwing than meets the eye.

And to be honest, the southerners make superior ale.

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L is for Lyryn

It was more fun that I’d expected adding a stubborn little hoyden of indeterminate age to the regular cast. Although I find her nearly as annoying as Toryn does, I have to admit it’s pretty fun writing her. She rarely sits still and her calculating brain is constantly concocting plots to get herself what she wants. She sometimes seems like a younger version of Alyn, but I think even as a child Alyn exhibited more maturity than Lyryn seems capable of, although in reality she is quite capable–she just doesn’t want to grow up. It’s boring, and not even her unrelenting crush on Toryn can persuade her to stop behaving like a selfish child.

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She is wary of Brydon and treats him with respect, possibly as gratitude for his willingness to allow her to accompany them in exchange for her assistance. She doesn’t quite know what to make of him and seems to know–as children often do–that there is something about  him that is different. She prefers to wait and watch before deciding if his other-ness is a good or bad thing, and will ultimately decide when she can weigh it on the scale of what he can do for her.

(Photo of Thylane Blondeau gakked from the internet without permission and holy hell was it hard to find a tween girl that wasn’t gazing seductively at the camera or made up to look fifteen years older. Quite horrifying, not gonna lie.)

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J is for Jace

I know it’s been like a million years or so since I posted, but I really want to continue this, so here we go!

Jace is one of my favorite characters in the Gauntlet Series and one who undergoes the largest transformation. He is a very solid character in the first book, secure in his belief, knowing his purpose in life, and having an easygoing, friendly, and unstressed world view. When Brydon first meets him, Jace is the full-fledged version of what Brydon hopes to one day be: a knight-priest with no doubts in his faith or his own abilities.

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In the second book, Jace has an experience that no only shatters his faith but also completely alters his personality. He learns that even the strongest foundations can be shaken, and he becomes almost unrecognizable to his friends. Although they stand by him, they long for the man they once knew and hope for his eventual return. As the third book progresses, it remains to be seen if that is even an option.

 

 

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I is for Inconsistent

I was doing so well posting weekly until I failed one week and then it all went to hell. I either need deadlines or competition to accomplish anything, apparently. Even so I managed to motivate myself into finishing something by resisting the urge to work on a NEW THING until at least one of the OLD THINGS was done.

Anyway, I finished a book which has no title yet and it’s off to a few pre-readers for pre-reading prior to sending it off again for editing. But at least the initial writing part is done! Woohoo!

The new thing is a young adult horrorish book that was inspired by my daughter. It’s very fun to write!

And I really need to finish the Gauntlet series. Whyyyyy is that one eluding me?

My laptop died earlier this week. Thank goodness for Dropbox or this would be a post of bitter, bitter tears of woe. As it is I don’t think I lost anything. At least nothing novel-related.

HALLOWEEN IS COMING!!! ARE YOU EXCITED? I AM!

EVIL PUMPKIN!!!

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A – Z Blog Challenge

Since I utterly, utterly fail at regular blogging, I’m taking part in Tonia Brown’s 26-week blog challenge. I’m gonna put the rules here so I don’t forget them:

1) You must blog once a week for 26 weeks beginning Sunday February 1st and ending Saturday August 1st.
2) Each week starts Sunday 00:00:00 and ends Saturday 23:59:59. You will use your own time zone. You may blog any time in that week, as long as it is before the Saturday limit. (ex. You can blog at 23:58 Saturday night, then also blog 00:10 Sunday morning and cover two weeks. It’s a cheesy and sneaky way to do it, but it is allowed.)
3) Each blog must total at least 500 words. To give you an idea of how many words that, this list of rules is words.
4) The theme for this blog challenge is A-Z. You must include a letter of the alphabet in your blog, starting with A and ending on Z 26 weeks later. The blog doesn’t need to be entirely about the letter. Just use it as a prompt for the blog. The title, the ending, a slight mention, as long as you include it you will satisfy the rules.
5) You may employ guest blogs to fill out your weekly requirement. In other words, you can trick someone else into writing a blog post for you, or use an interview or even a feature about someone else’s work. As long as the posts are 500 words and include the letter of the week.
6) This is limited to one blog. You cannot carry the week to week across blogs. Please announce the blog you are going to use on under the “What blog are you using” post on this page.
7) You may also make a new post here about your blog, but only post once about your blog. Don’t flood the group. If you want to keep us updated, please use the comments section to post your links to your own blog under your own post header. This isn’t required. Don’t tag everyone in the group if you post it on other pages or places.
8) If you fail to post on any given week, you must announce your withdrawal. There are no passes. Learn to use your blog tools to prepare for vacations and the likes. If you must withdraw for personal reasons, please feel free to message me and I can announce your withdrawal if you’re unable to deal with it.
9) At the end of 26 weeks I will issue three levels of digital prizes.
a. A “Participatory” badge for you to display on your blog. These are for everyone who participated.
b. An “Almost There” badge. These are for folks who completed over half the challenge.
c. A “Winner” badge. These are for everyone who completed the challenge.
10) As a bonus, I will include all of the “Winners” into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. There is only one gift card and everyone who finishes the challenge will be eligible.
11) This is a self policed challenge. The only time I will check up on folks is when I draw the wining gift card. I will go through the winner’s page, and if they failed to meet the rules, I will discard their entry and draw another.
12) Have fun! If you aren’t enjoying, then what is the point?

Now, let’s see if I can do this thing. *FISTPUMP*

I plan to write about characters and places in The Gauntlet Series, with hope that it will motivate me to get off my arse and finish the damn thing. I have been working on it, just slower than Frodo’s trip to Mordor, apparently.

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Tagging Time!

Xina Marie Uhl tagged me in a blog hop and although I’m late, I figured I would get on with it and then prod some fellow authors because this is fun.

1) What am I working on? Well, this is a terrible question because it makes me feel guilty. I should be working on part three of The Gauntlet Trilogy, but I keep getting sidetracked with new ideas. I took a bit of a hiatus and sketched out some plot ideas for about six new novels. I’ve also been in something of a writing slump where the internet is shiny and writing feels like work. I skipped the scene in The Choice of Weapons that was bogging me down and although it’s been plaguing me, I think once I get back to the meat of the story that I can go back and fix it. In the meantime, I’ve been getting a few random ideas on how to rewrite that section to make it more interesting for the reader, and thereby more interesting for me to write.

Not procrastinating at all!

I also just got back from Norwescon where I sat down and did my first out loud reading ever. Wow, was that an eye-opener! I really need to read all of my books in front of an audience because it becomes glaringly obvious where things need to be cut. In the middle of an action scene, one shall not wax eloquent about what the characters are wearing. *facepalm*

2) How does my work differ from others of my genre? That’s a tough question because I fully admit that my fantasy novel is rather cliché. However, I wrote it because I love cliché novels of heroes on epic quests and having adventures, and I tend to get bored with authors that constantly try to inject new ideas in order to be fresh and original. While I do enjoy unique concepts, I find that I can handle just about any tried and true formula if I love the characters. I have a habit of adoring my characters and developing complex subplots and motivations for even the minor characters. Ninety percent of their backstory will never make it into the books, but the fact that they all have their own lives and motives make for more interesting characters, I think.

Seth’s neighbor’s house?

3) Why do I write what I do? Somewhat selfishly, I write because I am rarely satisfied with the books that I read. On very rare occasions I will locate a real treasure–a book that I love and will read over and over. Those, however, are few and far between, so when I was a youngster I started to write stories that I wanted to read. As a bonus, I discovered that other people wanted to read those stories also, and so I just kept writing.

4) How does my writing process work? I open a blank document and I write. That pretty much covers most of my writing. There are occasions, however, when I will make outlines, character sketches, timelines, and spreadsheets, but for the post part I just sit down and start cranking out the words, with pauses here and there for research. I also tend to shut everything off and write the next scene in my mind (usually before I go to sleep) and hammer out any inconsistencies or try several variations. Then I’ll get up in the morning and write the scene. Yes, I get annoyed when I can’t always remember the perfect line I’d come up with the night before. No, I don’t get annoyed to the point where I bother to turn on a light and write it down. (Except on sporadic instances when it’s too perfect to let slip away.)

NEEDS MOAR SPREADSHEET.

And that’s about enough blathering. Time to tag three other authors, so I’m going to go with the lovely people below:

Jennifer Douwes – Her awesome blog is awesome and although she doesn’t have a book out quite yet, we plan to keep pestering her until she does. 😀

Nicole Delacroix – She has a paranormal romance novel, Glimpse of Darkness, available here, and she is made of excellence. Do follow!

Mara Alten – If you are a fan of werewolves, the paranormal, and twisty mysteries, be sure to check out her various books in progress on her site!

Authors, remember to tag three others after posting to your own blog! And happy writing!

 

 

 

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Character Interview #1 – Brydon Redwing

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Killing Those Who Annoy You – A How-to Guide

Remember your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend? The controlling Narcissist that called you seven hundred and fifty times a day to make sure you weren’t flirting with the cute sales rep at your office? Or think about that boss you had who made every working hour torture with her micro-managing soul-destroying decisions (that she would conveniently forget were her idea the moment everything went to hell).

Now, think about the minor characters that your protagonist encounters. I say minor characters because those jerks don’t deserve a starring role. Now, imbue their (evil) souls into those pesky, rude characters that lurk in your novel and then kill them in horrible, tragic, and epically satisfying ways. Need someone to randomly die from drinking poison? How about that obnoxious bouncer that won’t let your character into the club? He looks just like the jerk in the Lexus that nearly ran me down last week. Knife-fight, anyone?

You’ll never convince me that George R. R. Martin didn’t create Joffery in the image of every seat-kicking little monster child that inhabits every airline ever, whining for treats and talking about super-irritating crap (my Gameboy died and I’m boooooored) well into the fifth hour of a delayed flight.

It can be hard to pull off this feat if you write romance or stories with less violence, but it’s still possible. Fiction is always better with a red-herring antagonist or some minor character that needs to die in order to move the plot along. Feel free to kill off that upstairs neighbor you had – the one that played the same seventeen notes on his electric guitar at three o’clock in the morning, trying to perfect his “moves” for his upcoming gig. Remember that guy? I just pushed him off a cliff. You’re welcome.

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How to Write Action Scenes!

When I write action scenes, I like to play with toys. Not always, because some scenes are easy enough to visualize, but when I have multiple characters (such as a large battle scene) it is much easier to lay out the scene with visual aids. I prefer to use things that are fun to play with, although I sometimes get sidetracked actually playing with them…

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Heroscape for the win!

So it might be a better idea to use toys with a minimal fun factor.

But any objects will work. I’ve been on the train and blocked action scenes with coins scrounged from my purse. Chess pieces work nicely, as do dice and any small objects such as wrapped candies. I don’t like to use items that are too similar because it can be easy to forget who is who.

As an example, let us suggest we have three characters battling three other characters and a dog. I set the scene as it would be in the beginning and identify each person (or animal). I move each of them into place for the first bit of action and write it out.

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But with better dialog…

This way, you won’t lose track of a character and your readers won’t wonder if one is off picking his nails with a dagger while his friends are being slaughtered. It’s also easier to visualize what each character will do instantly without trying to conjure up the scene in your head. If Badass Girl kills her enemy, she can hurry over and attack the dog that is mauling the leg of her companion.

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You know she could have taken them all herself.

This also allows you to account for time—how long will it take her to get to her friend? Will she need to run? Will she have to hurtle a dead body to get there? It will also allow you to focus on details you might miss while trying to juggle the whole scene in your head. (Did her sword get caught on a bit of armor—or bone?) What if one character trips? He’ll be down for a minute while the others are still moving.

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You get extra points for making sound effects while maneuvering them. *gurgle*

This works with any action scene that has multiple players, even non-battle scenes. Picture a large ballroom with two characters dancing while a third tries to get to them. Blocking it out this way and using tangible objects can make the scene much quicker to write, and more realistic in the long run. It is also a lot of fun.

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He’s no Legolas, but he’ll do in a pinch.

You heard the man.

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