I write in basically two genres, epic fantasy and erotic romance. I’m going to finish the last book in my current epic fantasy series, and then I’m done with epic fantasy. To be honest, it’s hard to finish that last story at this point, but I know a few people (literally, a few) want to see the series resolved, so I’ll finish it for them.
It just takes too much time and effort to write epic fantasy, and the rewards are minimal. Monetarily, my erotic romances do much better. People seem to like them. My epic fantasy most be very, very niche. Only a few people (and I am so thankful for and love those people!) seem to get it. I’m participating in a review group and Under the Shadow seems to blow peoples’ minds. They don’t understand it, it has too many characters, on and on. One reviewer loved my voice, but thought the characters drifted and had no concrete goals. (It’s a character-driven story–not a plot-driven story. Grr.) The new reviewer is just lost. I’ve told him it’s okay to stop reading it. Apparently, I’m torturing people with my fantasy books.
The erotic romance crowd doesn’t seem to be having any problems with my romances. Those stories are, in fairness, much simpler than the epic fantasy series. I focus on two main characters; the goal is simply starting a relationship; there are no maps. (There are glossaries sometimes because I can’t help myself; I love fantasy and I suck.) Because of their inherent simplicity, my romances only take a few months to write. I actually spent years putting together my epic fantasy series. Years. But the romances sale and no one complains about them.
So, I’ll be retooling the website and shifting my focus to romances. I already have an m/m historical mystery romance planned as well as a paranormal romance in the works. It’s a painful decision, but I wanted to be a writer to communicate with people, to connect with readers, to have strangers read and enjoy my stories. Torturing people with my works was never one of my goals. So, onward and upward. Hello, world of romance!
Sometimes writing is hard. For me, it’s often a fun, out of body experience that rivals almost everything else I know. But sometimes it kinda sucks.
I’m releasing a short story set in the same world as my epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral, on Amazon later today. I’m going to provide a link here for my website visitors to get a free copy. I do all of this with trepidation. I said earlier in the week that I would release the short story by the end of the week, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.
However, after a comment from a beta-reader, I’m concerned there might be a message here that I absolutely did not intend. Anyone who knows me would know that. Alas, nobody out there knows me. Nobody in the wide world knows my political and moral stances (unless you follow me on Twitter, in which case you know I hate Trump and love cats.) The problem with a story is that it has to stand on its own two feet and wander out into the greater world without me there to look over its shoulder and explain it.
Sometimes you can write something and fill it with your themes, but little worms find their way into the mix. I’m a control freak, so this is aggravating to no end. I hope the story doesn’t say things I don’t intend, but I can’t change certain aspects of it because I’ve set those plot points up in other, published stories.
If you’re interested in reading the short story anyway, you can get a free copy here.
While working on the latest installment in The Astralasphere Spiral, I realized that the prologue had gotten a bit out of hand. I wonder if this happens to other writers. It happens frequently to me. This particular little mushroom is a glance back in time at the events surrounding Lycian’s birth and gives us a glimpse of Benth as a young boy. (Benth plays a key role in the next book, so I wanted to show how their lives intertwined even before Lycian was born.
Since the prologue really ran away with itself, I’m publishing it as a short story on Amazon. It should be available within the next few days.
I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to receive another four-star review from the blog, Jennie Reads. You can read the review in it’s entirety here.
This review is for Another World’s Song, Book 1 of the Astralasphere Spiral. I thought this tip was interesting:
This is the first book in the Astralasphere Spiral. I read them in reverse which is the order I would suggest – because the second book is an incredible story with plenty of action and intrigue where the first one does a wonderful job of setting up the characters and the plots that will arise in the second book.
I think this is probably true. I realized when I released Under the Shadow that it was the stronger book of the two. Hopefully, Book 3 will be even better! I learned a lot about world building in Another World’s Song–as well as how to finish a book. (You write ‘the end’ and walk away from it. I’m almost not kidding. It’s possible to spend years fussing over a work without being able to give it up.)
Get a free copy of Another World’s Song, Book 1 of the Astralaspherehere.
Just for visiting this website, get a free copy of the second book, Under the Shadow, here.
Jahern is a character in the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. In Another World’s Song, he is introduced as Lycian’s Primemaster, the first master of an apprentice. Mage Jahern was also the Primemaster of Taven, Mylinka’s father, who is the Guardian of the Astralasphere.
Stern, arrogant, and stubborn, Jahern is a hard man. He is an antagonist because he’s abusive to Lycian, but he’s complicated. In his own way, he loves Lycian. Jahern is the poster child for cognitive dissonance. He clings to his comfortable beliefs even when he’s faced with new evidence.
I don’t have a drawing of Jahern, but if I could pick anyone to play him, it would be the late, great Peter O’Toole. He had such range! If you love historical dramas and have never seen The Lion in Winter, you should really check it out.
Here’s a longish-haired O’Toole. He needs ivory horns and beige cloak.
Huntmaven Quindolyn Byronwlyth Mildargn, Curatrix of the Silver Hall, called Quin by her friends and Ahryu-yi by wolves, is a character in the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. She has many names and is many things–a warrior, a leader, a healer, a mentor. She is a survivor who bears a curse and is haunted by a dark past.
Her kindness and bravery, her willingness to see the good in others while examining her own flaws, set her apart as one of the series’ truly heroic characters.
The title for Under the Shadow comes from a song composed by a Gailfen woman named Ruvella, one of Mylinka’s friends. The motif of weaving and needlework is important throughout the series, because the major Gailfendic deity is Jairra, the sun goddess who weaves the tapestry of life. In “Loom Song,” there’s the idea that Jairra weaves both good and bad into one’s life. If you’ve ever seen a loom, you know there are fibers that are stretched vertically (I stretched them across cardboard as a kid) and these are called the weft. A new fiber is threaded through, over and under, these stretched threads. The pulled thread is called the weft (or, sometimes woof.) Like a life, the thread dips down and rises up, now overwhelmed, now overcoming, over and over.
So Ruvella sings:
“So these are our lives,
And so these are our lives,
And lo, these lives are ours,
And though these threads be tangled and worn,
The Weaver’s stitch is sound,
As under the shadow and over the light
Our lives are wrapped and bound.”
Under the Shadow tests Lycian and Mylinka. They find themselves in light; they find themselves in darkness. How they cope with the plunge into shadow reveals much about their temperaments and who they really are.
Mylinka is one of the heroes of the epic fantasy series, The Astralasphere Spiral. When we meet her in the first book, Another World’s Song, she is a mischievous Gailfen girl on the cusp of womanhood. She lives on the legendary island of Malyndor and is the daughter of the world’s most celebrated and powerful mage, Taven, the Guardian of the Astralasphere.
Mylinka wants to learn how to wield magic, but magery is, traditionally, a male pursuit. Although Taven is not a traditional mage, the Guardianship weighs heavily on him, and he doesn’t fully support his daughter’s dreams. The bulk of his thoughts are occupied by the Astralasphere–a great, magical orb from which mages can draw power. He believes the mages’ use of the Astralasphere is damaging the world, so he is engaged in a power struggle with Lord Mage Asfret. This struggle ends with Mylinka being taken far from her home.
This is where the second book, Under the Shadow, finds here. As the foster daughter of Lord Murdoth, she takes the name Teg N’guul. In this book, she is older, and her life has made her fiercer. She is pragmatic, doing whatever she believes needs to be done to accomplish her goals. In this sense, she is something of an antihero, like Han Solo from Star Wars. She is, at her core, a good person, but a difficult life has given her a hard outer shell.
Fearless, stubborn, and complicated, she is one of my favorite characters to write.
Lord Mage Asfret is one of the main characters of Under the Shadow. While Lycian and Mylinka are the book’s heroes, Asfret is one of its villains.
When we meet Asfret in the first book in the series, Another World’s Song, he is a dashing, leonine figure dressed in red velvet robes. He is angry and blustering, full of self-importance. As an adviser to Queen Livian of Khydgel, he has encouraged the criminalization of magic there–reserving its use for military purposes or in some other service of the crown.
Asfret looks a bit different when we first meet him in Under the Shadow. In the world of Cith Lor Mahl, as in our world, actions have consequences. I don’t have a picture of Asfret except in my mind. Although Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t look exactly like I imagined Asfret, I think he would play him well. So, here’s a photo of a blond Cumberbatch–he just needs horns and an entitled smirk.