Friday, February 24, 2012

The Trials of the Youngest Princess - Soon to be Published

Yeah, go back up there and read that title again. Soon to be published, that's what it said. That makes number three coming out soon, probably sometime early next year. Here and I thought I'd be doing good by getting one out a year and I was a little worried that I might not get all my stories published by the time I kicked it. That's why I pretty much stopped looking for an agent.

Let's just recap. I still find it very amazing.

Making of a Mage-King trilogy
-> Prince in Hiding - coming out very soon
-> White Star - coming out in a year
-> Mage-King - coming out in 2 years

The Speed of Dreams - coming out sometime likely early next year

The Trials of the Youngest Princess - just recently promised though not officially signed yet. I'm guessing it'll come out early next year. Might be earlier though. I'll be sure to keep you all informed.

At this rate, I'll be putting up a shopping cart on my website. Anyone interested in buying a book directly from me? Mailing would be a bit tricky. If you'll read this post -> I've Got Mail - Maybe <- you'll understand why I likely won't do much mailing during the winter. That's not to say it won't happen. We always get a plane load of supplies and a plane load of fuel. There might be another flight of some sort, maybe more than one load of fuel or maybe a trip to town. I happen to be going to town tomorrow morning for a week to do some shopping but most importantly, to mail out a few books to people who sent me a check in the mail.

Well, it's late folks and I gotta get up early in the morning. I promise to do better next week. Let me know what you think about ordering books from me directly. They'll be available online at Amazon I'm sure. I really wanna know. Thanks.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Publishing Today

In the various orbits of the writing world, everyone is all abuzz about the future of publishing. Why are the big six clinging so hard to what has become the old tradition of publishing physical books? Personally, I think there will always be a market for books one can line up on a shelf to look at and treasure, and perhaps read again over and over. However, owning an eReader is all the rage these days, and I have no idea how many apps there are out there for all the different little thingamajigs everyone has these days. If it's not a phone that does absolutely everything, it's a pocket-sized computer that can act as a phone, and I'm sure there's just about everything but the kitchen sink in between, and there's probably all manner of apps for all those owners to choose from, but lets keep this subject on books. Why don't they embrace the technology of ePublishing? They think it's all a fad. To be honest, I did too at first, but it doesn't appear to be so any more. One thing they do do that I really like is audio books. Last spring I bought a disk player so I could listen to the books I have while I work. Those people who drive long distances to work could do the same if they wanted. Maybe some do.

People are far more mobile and busy these days than they were 50 years ago. It's common to see people commuting many miles just to go to work. They hop a train or drive, some even fly from one end of the country to the other many times a week. Many of these people still read and many of them are avid readers. Are they supposed to pack a bag full of books? Buy one at every stop? If things don't get any worse then they already are, I'll be going to town tomorrow for about a week. I'll be taking a book. I don't own an eReader of any sort. I'm not all that interested in getting one. It's an expensive little gadget that will serve very little purpose in my life. But since I'm a writer, and since I'm aware that many people do have these little gadgets, there's no reason why I shouldn't provide what the people want.

Real books, however, to me, are still a must. I can't very well hand my neighbor a program to read, especially if they don't own an eReader either. And further more, my boss displays my book on a shelf at the lodge where I work. She told me she will also display my next book as soon as it's published. It would be impossible for me to have such exposure if the only thing I published was eBooks. EBooks are great in their way. They are easy and quick to download; you don't have to wait for the mail to reach your house, wondering if maybe it got lost somewhere along the way.

There's another thing to consider about eReaders. Not only do people commute to work long distances, but they frequently move entirely from one end of the country to the other, or at least from city to city, if not state to state. Packing a library of books would be so much simpler if they were all in this little thingy that fits in your purse. But then, I shudder with horror at the thought, what if it broke? I don't mean the battery ran down, I mean irreparably broken. There's all those nice digital books just gone. That's almost as bad as a house fire.

Lets change the subject and get back on track.

There's another thing about ePublishing that has me confused. Why are authors selling their books for only a dollar or less? Sure, something so cheep, who can resist? Sales go through the roof. Visibility is high. Search engines are flooded with it all. But what are you making, fifty cents? maybe? No, I don't write to make money, but my work does have a value to me. If I want to give my book away, fine, I'll happily give it away, but in truth, there is a profitable reason behind it - so sue me, I'm selfish. I never denied it. What digs me is my book on Amazon is listed for next to nothing and at those prices, I'm not making a dime. Ah well, it's been listed for four years; I don't think sales are going to be improving any time soon. When I get book 3 of that collection finished, all three of them are getting a whole new life, or at least that one will, the other two will be getting a first life. That is, unless someone comes along and shows me a different way to do it between now and then.

The big six dragging their heels has caused an explosion of small publishing companies to spring up; those people passionate about writing and writing well, and about getting other deserving writers published. It seems I've hit the publishing scene at the perfect time. Two small publishers eager to publish my work and another very young publisher looking to take on another of my works, maybe. We're talking. Wow, that means I'm half way through all my manuscripts. Looking good at the moment. Will I be a successful author? Will my name become a household name? Only time will tell. What do you think?

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Collection of Three

When I wrote King by Right of Blood and Might, I originally titled it Quest to become King. I also tentatively planned two more books to go along with this collection. Since King by Right took place along the east coast, I figured it was only fair that the second book take place in the mid-west somewhere, and then the third book would take place along the west coast.

Long before I published, I wrote the second book. It ended up ranging between Chicago and The Salt Lake and Yellowstone; I had a lot of fun writing that book, titled at the time Quest to Become Whole.

Shortly after I finished that book, Quest to Become King made the trip to the publisher who's editor advised me to change the title. Well, there went my 'Quest' collection, but I didn't really realize how much trouble that simple change would cause.

Book 2 could no longer be called Quest to Become Whole - In an effort to keep with the rhythm of King by Right of Blood and Might, I changed the title of my second book to To Become Whole in Land and Soul. I don't really care for it but it sorta matches.

That all led up to the yet unwritten third book. What I've come up with so far is, A King Gathers from Land, Sea and Heart. I do believe this is one of the reasons the third book is being so stubborn. Currently, I have three ideas to plug under this title, or at least in this world, which is the main thing holding these three books in a collection.

Recently I learned that it was possible to unpublish from AuthorHouse, and if I did so, I could go back to my original title(s), which would make my third book Quest to go Home. It fits so well with one of my ideas where two of it's main characters have been cast out of their separate homes. It lacks the 'Become' in the other titles, but it's close enough. Plus, somewhere down the line, when books are listed under my name it might look like this:

The Quest Collection

  1. Quest to Become King
  2. Quest to Become Whole
  3. Quest to go Home
The Making of a Mage-King Series

  1. Prince in Hiding
  2. White Star
  3. Mage-King

Other Works by Anna L. Walls

  1. The Speed of Dreams
  2. The Fortunes of Magic
  3. The Guardian
  4. The Trials of the Youngest Princess
  5. What Future, Slave
  6. To Reclaim the Throne
  7. Lord of the Land
  8. Are You Brave Enough, A Book of Short Stories

I kinda like the look of that, don't you?

Friday, February 3, 2012



Harris O’Aidyn was the prince of Pennland, his standing handed down from father to son for a thousand years, ever since the sun returned to warm the land and allow the people to begin to prosper again. But Harris didn’t really understand what it meant to be a prince. He was sixteen years old and he didn’t have a clue. His father, the king, disappeared into his office every day to do whatever it was a king did and his mother, the queen, seldom came out of her rooms on the second floor.

The rest of the people in the palace went about their duties, just as they had done every day of his life. Fredric, the librarian, virtually lived in the library; from him, Harris learned to read, though that was mostly because the man refused to read to him after he started asking for the books by name. Balion, the arms master, taught him his sword lessons, but he also made it something of a mind game, and succeeded in teaching his young student to go beyond planning each move and fight on instinct - a feat few could master - a challenge Harris couldn’t resist. Duff, the stable master, saw to it that Harris could ride any horse in the stable, but he was an irascible man and Harris never liked him. The cook merely chased him out of the kitchen with threats of hard labor, and when that didn’t work, it was with a heavy wooden spoon.

Aside from that, no one made Harris do anything he didn’t want to do. No one ever told him that whatever he did do was good or bad for himself or anyone else. There were times when his father mentionedthat “he ought to do this” or “he should know that” and for the most part, Harris usually ended up doing whatever his father suggested, if for no other reason than to alleviate the boredom. As a result, he was pretty good with a wide assortment of weapons and had read a good deal of the house library’s collection. But still, if he wanted to spend the whole day staring out the window, no one bothered him.

His efforts to leave the palace grounds and go into the town were a different matter. Every time he tried, no less than four bodyguards would materialize as his shadows. If he told them to go back and leave him alone, they would simply say “Yes, my Lord,” and continue to follow him wherever he went. The king’s word obviously carried more weight than his did with the palace guard. And sneaking away - well, that’s why there were four of them - the war marshal had learned years ago that Harris could lose one or two guards far too easily.

Harris understood the definitions of his father’s title, his mother’s title and his own title, but he couldn’t understand how it applied to his life, so one day, after exhausting every other source of information he could think of, he asked his father. “Father, I needed to learn how to read the books in the library. I needed to learn how to use a sword. And I needed to learn how to ride a horse. What do I need to learn to become a king?”

King Aidyn just laughed and said, “And you’ve learned a lot, I know. But becoming a king is simple. When I die, you will be king. There is nothing to learn.”

Harris was crestfallen, that was even less informative than the library. In an attempt to learn the answer for himself, he decided to get up early and watch his father be king. He went into his father’s office and perched himself on one of the windowsills. It happened to be on the east side of the palace, and the morning sun was warming his bones nicely. He stayed there all day. His father greeted him when he entered the room, but otherwise ignored him. He could have been a house cat for all the stir his presence caused. He totally missed the fact that his father had shuddered when he looked at him perched on the windowsill; it never occurred to him that his father never went near those large windows.

Throughout the day, the secretary came and went at spaced intervals, and the king signed whatever paper the man set in front of him, after hearing a brief explanation as to its significance. Interspersed between these visits, the occasional townsman would appear, escorted by a gate guard. The man would present some grievance like, “My neighbor’s dog killed my wife’s cat,” or “So-and-so started a fight in my inn and won’t pay for the damages.” The king issued some order on the grievance, and that was all that happened, all day long. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, when the secretary stopped bringing in papers and there was no one waiting to see him, the king rose to leave.

Harris was just as confused now as he had been that morning. He jumped down from his perch and intercepted his father. “Father, what were all those papers that you signed today?”

“Oh, nothing of real great concern, Harris. You were there; you heard what my secretary said. They were just the tedious things that happen every day - reports, requests, acquisitions, expenditures and such.”

“But Father,” said Harris, “when will you teach me how to decide these matters? I know you will live for many years yet, but how else will I know what is best if you don’t teach me?”

“You don’t really need to know anything special,” said Aidyn as he draped an arm around Harris’s shoulders. “You know right from wrong. The people who come to you will tell you what is best for their particular problem, and if there happen to be two sides, just do as your advisers suggest or make some decision.”

“But Father,” continued Harris, “you didn’t read a single one of those papers. You could . . . You could be waging a war and not know it until the enemy was pounding on our very gates!”

“My war marshal keeps me informed on such matters. The barbarians to the north - ever quarrelsome among themselves - do not bother us. Our trading vessels on our coast are undisturbed, there is no crossing the mountains to the west and our neighbors to the south have their own problems. As a matter of fact, I received a message from them a few days ago; they are seeking a treaty with us. So you see, all is well.”

“What do our neighbors to the south want?”

“They want aid against the desert nomads to their south, of course. I want nothing to do with it.”

“But Father, shouldn’t we placate them somehow, lest they turn on


“They’ll never turn on us, son. The nomads are too much of a problem for them to invite trouble on yet another border. Besides, they were offering one of their daughters for you to marry. You’re not looking to get married already, are you?”

“No, Father, I don’t even know any girls. How could I marry one?” Harris’s stunned horror was obvious to his father.

“Yes, well, I think we’ll have to remedy that problem.”

Stunned, Harris had nothing else to say, and the king disappeared up the stairs chuckling to himself.

Harris was still confused, though. By definition, his father was a sovereign over a larger group of people but he had trouble identifying the larger group. There was the cook, who also made sure the three housemaids and four houseboys got their work done; there was the arms master, the librarian and the stable master; and there was the war marshal, who commanded a dozen palace guards, who also oversaw the town’s peace. Then there was the town’s populace of about seventy- some odd people. Harris even climbed up on the roof of the palace to see if there was anything else he had missed, but there was nothing in sight. It didn’t quite fit with the hints he had gleaned from the library, but if this was it, then this was it.

One day, King Aidyn summoned his son to his office. It was an unusual enough occurrence that Harris responded quickly. He found his father and the war marshal entertaining three strangers. Having never met strangers before, Harris was struck by the way his father and these men were so very different. Though two of the strange men appeared to be older than his father, they were quite trim and stood very straight, and the lines on their faces were heavily accented by the sun, whereas his father was overweight, balding and pasty-looking. Even the war marshal looked like he hadn’t sat in a saddle for several years, though he

had at least seen some sun. The thought made Harris realize too that he had never seen the war marshal anywhere near a horse; nor had he ever seen his father step outside of the palace doors, whereas these strange men looked like they seldom stepped down from a saddle, let alone into a building. The youngest of the three looked just as hardened, though all of them were dressed fine.

“Harris, here you are, boy,” greeted his father. “These men are from Carolinas. I told you about them.” He waved his hand toward each man as he named him, starting with the youngest. “This is His Highness, Prince Jonathan, third son of King Carroll, Lord Jasper, the king’s ambassador, and Lord Leonas, high advisor to the king.” He introduced his son in the same manner. “My Lords, this is my son, Prince Harris. Harris,” continued Aidyn, “King Carroll and I have agreed that both you and his young daughter are too young for marriage, and the ties that would accompany such a joining are too all- encompassing at this time. Instead, we have agreed to a mutual fosterage. So Prince Jonathan will stay here, and you will go in his place to Carolinas where you both shall remain until you reach your majority at the age of twenty. Go now, pack your things; you will be leaving the day after tomorrow at dawn.”

Deliberately given no opportunity to speak, Harris knew he could say nothing without sounding like a child, so he bowed a brief greeting to the visitors and left.

After a minute or two, he heard running footsteps behind him and was surprised to see Prince Jonathan running to catch up.

“You didn’t know this was going to happen, did you?” said Jonathan.

“No one tells me anything around here,” said Harris. “I hope you don’t mind being bored; nothing ever happens here.”

Surprised at Harris’s cynicism, Jonathan could only say, “No lessons?”

“You can find any lessons you want, if that’s what you like; just go to the library. Fredric’s always there to teach you whatever you want to learn or answer any question you may have if it comes from a book. If you like weapons practice, go to the armory and Balion, the arms master,

will see to it that you get lessons in whatever weapon you like. Or go to the stables, if you want to go riding. You can do anything you want; no one will bother you with anything else.”

“Why?” Jonathan was incredulous.

“That’s just the way it is. Is it different where you come from?” They arrived at Harris’s room. “This is my room.”

“Nice room. It’s bigger than mine,” said Jonathan as he poked around at the various items in sight and tested the view from the windows.

“Really,” said Harris as he flopped down on his bed. “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Restlessly he rolled off his bed and opened his clothes cupboard. “What do you think I should pack?”

Jonathan curled up on the corner of the bed. “Just clothes, I guess, unless you have something especially made for you or something that you are particularly partial to. I have two older brothers and four sisters.” He sighed, “Girls are such a pain. I bet you’re thankful our fathers decided against marriage.”

With surprise, Harris pulled his head out of the cupboard and asked, “Why?”

Equally surprised, Jonathan said, “Oh, you know. All girls ever talk about is dresses, colors, flowers and such. The only girl I really like is Sorsha; she’s my older sister. She’s eighteen and in the military with my brother, Aiken; he’s twenty.”

“A girl in the military? I never would have imagined.” Harris tried to imagine one of the maids dressed in armor and holding a sword. He dived back into his cupboard to hide his grin.

“Yeah, well, she ranted about it until Father finally made a deal with her. If she could satisfy the officers that she was good enough to pull her own weight, she could join. Father made sure they didn’t cut her any slack, either.”

“Which one was supposed to be my wife?” Harris asked, half- afraid all the girls in the family were like this Sorsha.

“That would be Kandice, but she’s only twelve, so you don’t have to be worried about her for a little while yet. Mother hit the roof when Father told her about the offer. Father couldn’t offer Sorsha now that

she’s in the military. By our laws, she can’t marry until she is twenty. She can’t even be betrothed without her consent.”

“Um, Kandice doesn’t want to be in the military, does she?”

“No, she’s too shy. Sorsha tries to teach her something about fighting anyway. She says, ‘No sister of mine will be totally defenseless.’ Kandy is so tiny, though, that she may be defenseless, no matter what. I didn’t see any girls around here. Do you have any sisters?”

“No sisters, no brothers,” replied Harris. “The only women around here are the housemaids; you won’t see them much. Mother has a personal maid too, but she’s older. Come on, I’ll show you the way to the stables. We can see the horses I’ll be taking. How many horses will I need, anyway?”

Jonathan was surprised that his new friend would need to ask such a question. “Have you ever gone anywhere at all?”

“No, just into town, or out riding once in a while, but never far,” said Harris.

“Wow! Do you even know where the other lords in your kingdom live or what they do?”

“What other lords?”

“Well, all I can say is, ready yourself; boredom will be the least of your worries. Your saddle sores will keep you too busy.”

“Saddle sores? I don’t understand,” said Harris as he closed his now-empty cupboard. “I know how to ride. I haven’t had saddle sores since I was little.”

“That’s good, because you’ll be covering a lot of miles in the saddle. One of my responsibilities was to visit all the holdings. I keep all our lords loyal by knowing them and knowing what they need. That way, they can’t take advantage of Father too much.”

They both laughed at that. They were well on their way to becoming good friends. Harris was looking forward to stretching his wings and getting involved in what he could not imagine, while Jonathan was already planning to stick his nose where none had been stuck before.

At the entrance to the stables, Harris called out, “Duff! Duff, where are you?”

“Coming, my Lord,” called a scratchy voice from the back. When the wiry old man entered from the back of the barn, he bowed as the rank of his young visitors dictated. “What is your pleasure, my Lord?”

“Duff, my father tells me I’ll be traveling to Carolinas, and Prince Jonathan will be staying here. I would like to see the horses I’ll be taking on the trip, and I would like to show Prince Jonathan the horses he will be riding while he’s here. They must be strong and durable; I think Jonathan will do a good deal more riding than I ever did. He also tells me that I’ll be doing a lot more riding than I ever have before.”

“Your father has already sent word of your coming journey, and I have selected these three chargers for you to ride. Each selected for tractability, endurance and their high-quality bloodline. I also picked out these two sturdy horses for packing,” Duff explained as he indicated the horses in a separate corral. “How much gear will you be taking?”

“Certainly not enough to require two pack horses. Some clothes, my armor, my weapons is all. Now what will Prince Jonathan have to ride?”

“I’m sure Prince Jonathan brought his own horses, but he will be welcome to try out any of Lord Aidyn’s stock that happens to be in the paddock. Will there be anything else, my Lord?”

“No, that’ll be all, thank you, Duff.”

Once out of hearing, Jonathan said, “Those are fine horses. How many does your father have?”

“I never really counted,” said Harris. “I suppose there’s about twenty or twenty-five all together in the paddock out back - minus five now.”

Jonathan was perplexed. Twenty or twenty-five horses? His father had several hundred under his personal brand, and that wasn’t even counting those used by the military. Harris didn’t seem at all concerned about the lack of knowledge about the districts under his father’s crown, or were they under Aidyn’s control anymore? He would have to find out.

Throughout the rest of the day and the next, the two boys cemented their friendship as they explored the different points of interest in the palace. Both of them were hungry, in their own way, for a friend who was more than just a peer.


Would you buy this book?