Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

Book 1 of 6 - Initiate looks like an awesome teaser. I haven't read it yet, but I fully intend to. Here's a little more about it:

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya


Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

"Better?" he asked.

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"

Tara’s blog
Tara’s Twitter
The Unfinished Song on Facebook
Barnes and Noble

Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

You can expect a review on this book in the future.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

K.M. Weiland

When I first started writing, I knew right off there were lots of things I didn't know. The number of little squiggly green lines down my manuscript said that. I mean, I've been talking all my life, and my mom made sure I spoke well, but that's different. Back then, my learning resources was my computer (of course) and a dictionary (the old fashioned kind). When we finally got internet, I searched high and low for help. One of the blogs I stumbled upon was K.M. Weiland's and I have subscribed and hung on her every post ever since.

Facebook being pretty much the center of my online presence, I found her and friended her there, and I also follow her page. I fully enjoy her question of the day as well as the awesome quotes she finds. As a person I seriously look up to, I was totally surprised as well as honored to be asked to read her newest book, 'Structuring your Novel'.

Where was this book when I started out way back when? I learned a lot. You'll be hearing more about that later. Let me introduce my favorite writer.

K.M. Weiland is the author of the epic fantasy Dreamlander, the historical western A Man Called Outlaw and the medieval epic Behold the Dawn. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her website Helping Writers Become Authors, her books Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, and her instructional CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration. She makes her home in western Nebraska. 

Enjoy this interview, and by all means check out her books. I do believe they will be well worth your time.

 Tell me a little bit about yourself, and books you've worked on/published:

Thanks for having me! I’m a very stereotypical writer chick, hibernating in my make-believe worlds, most of which are either historical or fantasy. I’ve published three novels A Man Called Outlaw (western), Behold the Dawn (historical set during the Third Crusade), Dreamlander (fantasy), and the non-fiction writing how-to books Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success and Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story.

Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story just came out. Tell us a bit about this book and how it can help writers.

I am so excited about this book. When I first learned about story structure it absolutely blew me off my feet. Writers are always dragging themselves through painful revisions, because, deep down, we sense something is wrong with the story. But we’re just running off gut instinct. An understanding of structure helps us see our stories, where they’re working, and where they’re not. Structure has revolutionized my approach to writing. If I can’t share with others anything else about writing, then I’ll be happy just to share structure.

Care to give a teaser tip?

Structure just knocks my socks off—every single day. Even years after I first learned about it, I still can’t get over the fact of how much it has changed and eased my writing process. And it’s one of those rabbit holes that goes ever deeper. Every time I think I have it figured out, I learn something new and fascinating. Probably my favorite aspect of structure is also the most basic: that of splitting a story into four distinct parts, divided by three plot points. The first quarter is the setup, the second is the character reacting to the first plot point, the third is the character beginning to take action, and the fourth is the climax. It’s all much more detailed than that, of course. But even just that can help us make so much more sense out of how a story works and which parts go where.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Locations, real life “characters”, other books, music?

I like to say that “inspiration is everywhere”—which is a bit disingenuous, since I’m really not very likely to find a new story idea by staring at my pencil. But, hey, you never know! All of the influences you’ve mentioned have certainly played a part in inspiring my stories. For Outlaw, the genesis was a song, for Behold my original idea came from a children’s picture book, and for Dreamlander the idea was actually given to me (or maybe “forced upon” would be more accurate!) by my brother. My two current WIPs were inspired by a dream and a movie, respectively. So, see, inspiration is everywhere!

What is your favorite part about writing and the writing process?

Ooh, that’s hard! I love every part of the process, even the parts I don’t love. Okay, no, I take that back. My favorite part, easily, is the conception stage—when the story is full of perfect color and wonder in my imagination. Stories are like butterflies and when we pin them to the page, we lose a little of that life and vibrancy. As for the actual work part of writing, I probably enjoy the outline most, since the possibilities are endless and my inner editor doesn’t yet have an opportunity to carp at my prose.

What are your own personal and professional goals as a writer?

I’m actually not big on long-term goals. Succeed, I guess you’d say, is my only long-term goal and that, of course, is pretty subjective, even within my own perspective. My biggest goal as a writer was to be able to support myself writing full-time, and I was able to start doing that in 2011. So, of course, one of my biggest goals right now is to maintain that.

I prefer to focus on short-term goals: deadlines, etc. I keep an eye on the long-term vision, but when the little goals are being met, the rest falls into place. I always have projects underway that I want to see finished and readership that I’d like to see increase.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Idea I had

I had this idea a while ago. This is how I construct a story.

Here is my character: I figured I'd take this macho marine who happened to like playing such parts as King Arther in small town theaters wherever he was stationed, he was also was a fair farrier and filled his free time with one or another of his private passions.

You are all aware of how close a Recon team can be, so I figured his team mates would be close secondary characters, but these guys have yet to be created.

Then, I thought I'd have my guy suddenly disappear. Of course his pals would go through all sorts of things in order to try to find him (there's a serious lack of information to fill this out though)

In the mean time, my guy would wake up in what seemed like the fifteenth century, lock stock and barrel. He'd be dressed properly (like a land-owner knight) and his castle would be fully staffed with whomever (not sure yet). Heck, I might even give him a league lord and all the rest of the trimmings.

Of course he'd be going nuts trying to figure out where he really is and how to get back, and in the mean time he'd be saddled with responsibilities and decisions to make, and of course the people are going to think their lord is going crazy.

Now I figure all these extras would be actors sworn to secrecy, or maybe people who just like to live that kind of life (haven't really decided yet).

Anyway, aught to be fun, but as you can see, this one needs a lot of research. I'm familiar with military (Army) but not with Marines per se and I'm sure there is some terminology differences to say the least.

Any suggestions would be most welcome

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Guardian

By popular vote on my website, you all have decided that The Guardian will be my next book. I have already submitted it to my publisher and he likes it. This is my initial pitch, though he now has the entire manuscript. At this point, no further talks have gone forward about it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The war with the bug-like Cerfcum was dragging on, but we were gaining ground. We were pushing them back - slowly, but only because we had captured a young queen and were able to learn how to turn their magic back on them. Eventually, the volunteers learned the right words to make the magic work, and soon they became known as Guardians. Guardians of the weak. Guardians of the helpless. Guardians of humanity. Guardians of our very existence.


Reed Meyers was one such volunteer. Reed was determined to follow in his father’s footsteps so he graduated from the Mercenary School at the top of his class. When he heard of a call for volunteers to become Guardians, he went to see. It was there that he learned of his father’s real career – and death – as more than just a mercenary, but a Guardian. He could do no less. The sacrifice he had to make in order to do his father proud was the memory of that – of his father, of his loss. The next best thing was to tell himself that. He poured it all out on a videodisk, and it became one of his most treasured possessions.

With steadfast determination, Reed worked hard to bring about the end of the Cerfcum. Eventually, he was instrumental in bringing about the death of the Queen Mother, thus bringing down many of her youngest queen daughters and ending the war. But the death of the Queen Mother wasn’t the end of the story. Oh no. From the heart of the Queen Mother’s hive, he brought away a human toddler. At least, he was human in every way except his lime green eyes. No, they hadn’t seen the last of the Cerfcum. Adam was proof of that.


Adam grew up with Reed’s own son. They were very close, but though registered as twins, the two boys couldn’t possibly have been more different. When the boys reached the age of twelve, the Reed household was forced to make some adjustments. Adam’s Cerfcum heritage was asserting itself and Reed could no longer put off telling the boy about himself and where he came from, and what his future might hold.

With a strong affinity for flying, Adam couldn’t get enough of the simulators, and it wasn’t long before he earned the moniker ‘Stress Test’, but the moniker was the beginning of trouble; it was also the beginning of being noticed. By the time he had graduated from the Air Force Academy hiding what he was became impossible. With the end of the bug war, the guardians had become obsolete, so what was there for the Queen Mother’s youngest son?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Story that Bubbles

So I've been working at a new lodge since Monday. Turns out the chef there has actually written a story. He said it was around 1200 pages or so, and that's handwritten. Once typed up and properly formatted it would be an average book, maybe five or six hundred pages. Quite an achievement when you consider some of the other things he's told me.

The story simmered and welled ever since he was a kid.

He'd spent years writing it down.

He also gave me the name of a book or two by an author I don't remember now (sorry). From the sound of it, it will be an awesome tale. It might even be one of those big ones, IF he ever gets it past the handwritten, stuffed in a drawer, stage. Maybe I can get him going on it again. Trouble is, he's here and it's there, wherever there is. He's going to need to type it onto a Word document so it can be worked with; I know some people prefer to work with the hard copy, but that still would be best typed out and double spaced. Ah but there's time. The future will tell. You can bet I'll be working on him a little.

Have you ever had a story just bubble in there between your ears? I've frequently heard people say, "I wish I could write." Or some version of the same. I even had an email through Yahoo Answers asking if a memoir of around 900 pages would be interesting.

I'm willing to share all I've learned, but you gotta ask first. I won't be beating down your door. Good luck all you wannabes.