Runners & Riders Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth.🙂

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Runners & Riders

Companion to the Treasure Chronicles

A young adult novel of gangs and love in a steampunk world.

Runners & Riders - Book Cover

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

 

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

 

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

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RUNNERS & RIDERS is available now on Amazon from Curiosity Quills Press.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Runners & Riders Banner

Can’t wait to read the next installment in the Treasure Chronicles world?  Check out the first chapter:

A figure ducked behind the work shed where the glow of the back porch gas lamp didn’t reach. Jonathan shielded his eyes so he could see more clearly through the bedroom window, but the backyard lay still. The white sheets the maid had hung fluttered in the evening breeze.

 

His uncle would have a ghost story to tell about those.

 

Another dark shape bolted across the yard; this one crouched in his mother’s flower garden. It might have been one of the boys from school come to throw pebbles at the pale blue siding until Jonathan sneaked out, but they seemed too tall for eleven-year-olds. The one in the flowers crept closer to the house.

 

Movement in the woods drew Jonathan’s attention farther across the yard, where two more shapes lurked. They had to be grown men. He gulped as he crawled away from the window to the hallway where the light from the living room glowed up the stairs.

 

“Found you.” The maid grinned from his parents’ bedroom, a stack of table linens in her arms. “When we play hide-and-seek, you ain’t supposed to come out till I call for you. We gotta practice the rules again? I was gonna come looking soon as I put these cloths away.”

 

He grabbed the railing. “There’s people out in the yard.”

 

Her eyes widened before she clicked her tongue. “Ain’t nobody out in this cold. I’m dreading my own walk home. Bless your father if he gives me a ride.”

 

“I saw them. There had to be ten, at least!” Jonathan took the stairs down two at a time.

 

His uncle sat in front of the living room hearth, the fire crackling to stave off the autumn chill, with Jonathan’s sister nestled in his lap. “The old king rose up tall as that old oak out by the water pump, and he waved his scepter as if he was a wizard.”

 

“Uncle Henry,” Jonathan interrupted. “There are people out back.”

 

“What’s that? You get to bed already?”

 

“What?” His uncle never made them sleep as early as his mother did; they usually got to stay up until their parents came home from the opera house.

 

“You must have had a nightmare.” Uncle Henry chuckled, and the little girl giggled from his lap.

 

“No, I saw them. They were slinking through the yard.” Jonathan pointed toward the rear of the house. His uncle would appreciate “slinking,” as if the word had fallen from one of those mystery novels he read them.

 

Uncle Henry glanced at the clock on the mantle. “Your parents shouldn’t be much longer. It must’ve been them you saw.”

 

“There were a bunch of people. Lots of them. Fifteen at least!” Jonathan’s heartbeat increased. Some of the natives – those Bromi warriors – from out west might have crept across the country. Pirates might have invaded from the sea. His parents whispered about those when they read the newspapers.

 

“Fifteen, huh? Well, you keep an eye on them for me. If they come too close, we’ll build a fort around the house.” Uncle Henry adjusted the pink afghan wrapped around the toddler.

 

The doors were locked, but the enemy might break through the windows. Jonathan’s father kept the guns sealed in a case, but he did have an emergency pistol in a box under his bed. They’d be proud if he protected his family.

 

As Jonathan reached the top of the stairs, someone knocked on the front door. He froze, one sock-clad foot on the landing and the other on the top step. Pirates and natives didn’t knock. They invaded; they were evil.

 

The maid swept past him, lifting her ankle-length brown skirt. “I hope that’s my dear papa come with the pony cart. He won’t let his little girl walk home in the frost.” She winked at Jonathan, but he gulped. She wouldn’t know to be afraid. Even though she played games with him, she was sixteen, old enough to think the world was perfect. Only he knew enough to find danger in shadows.

 

“If that’s your father, invite him in for some coffee,” Uncle Henry called.

 

“Will do, sir.”

 

Jonathan crouched beside the railing and clutched the rungs. If he bent his head enough, he could see the front door. The maid wiped her hands on her apron before she opened it.

 

“Oh, hello. Can I help you?” Her final word fell away in a scream as a man shoved her inside. His black coat buttoned to his chin and a black knit cap covered his head.

 

Jonathan’s own scream strangled in his throat.

 

“This the Montgomery residence?” the man barked. Three more men shoved into the foyer, all of them dressed in full black. The tallest of the bunch seized the maid by the shoulders and slammed her into the wall.

 

“Y-yes, sir,” she stammered.

 

“What’s going on here?” Uncle Henry burst in from the living room while two more assailants stepped inside. Jonathan’s sister started to wail.

 

One of the men drew a handgun from his belt and aimed it at Uncle Henry’s chest. “Where’s the laboratory?”

 

“Get out of this house,” Uncle Henry said. Jonathan had never heard him speak with such calm finesse, the laughter gone from his voice.

 

Jonathan’s hands trembled where he gripped the polished wood. His uncle would handle everything. Take that, bad guys.

 

“Well now,” the attacker drawled, “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.”

 

“How about you, girl?” the man yelled at the maid. “Take us to the lab.”

 

As soon as the man released her, she sank to the floor, her shoulders shaking with sobs.

 

The man crouched in front of her to grip her chin. “What’s your name, girl?”

 

“R-Rose.”

 

“You the scientist’s daughter?”

 

Jonathan stiffened. Uncle Henry would protect them, and if Jonathan needed to, he could leap over the railing onto the man’s back.

 

“N-no, sir. I’m just the maid. It’s a common name here. Rose. We have that rose festival and all. We have the famous rainbow-colored rose.”

 

He slapped her across the face and jerked her to her feet. “Shut up, bitch. Get us to the lab or you won’t be making no more noise.”

 

“You’ll release her now.” Uncle Henry lunged forward, and a crack split the air. He staggered, rasping, and dropped to his knees. Blood appeared on his chest, the circle growing, morphing into something that dripped and twisted without pattern.

 

“Mack, what was that? You shot him.” One of the men chuckled.

 

“No,” the maid shrieked.

 

Jonathan squeezed his eyes shut. Perhaps he had fallen asleep waiting for Rose to find him. It had to be a dream. Uncle Henry is fine. Were all fine.

 

When he opened them, his uncle lay on the hardwood floor in a pool of red paint. Red paint. No, not paint. Blood.

 

The men stomped through the house toward his father’s laboratory off the kitchen, and the maid’s sobs mingled with his sister’s cries. He had to protect his sister. He’d get the pistol, grab her, and he’d run for the neighbor’s farm.

 

Jonathan ran for their bedroom, the door still open from when the maid folded away the tablecloths. With only the light from downstairs, he crawled to the bed and lay on his stomach to reach the box. Nothing should have invaded his perfect house, with its two chimneys and dark blue shutters, with the flower garden and those ghost sheets flapping on the line.

 

He pulled out the box and flipped the hook on the lid to remove the pistol. He’d seen his father polish it, but he’d never known it could be so heavy. How do I hold it?

 

A door slammed below him. He would have to point the gun and pull the trigger, like what the villain had done to his uncle. The bullet would save him and his sister. It would save the maid. If he found her, she could use it better.

 

He crept back downstairs, but the commotion came from the laboratory. Glass smashed and heavier things crashed. Another gunshot seared through the house.

 

Jonathan ran for the armchair where his uncle had left the toddler. “Rosamund, be quiet.” Her pale hair stood out against the seat’s green velveteen. “Please, Rosamund.”

 

“Well now, who’re you?”

 

Jonathan twisted around and did his best to aim the silver weapon at the man lounging in the doorway. He couldn’t be much older than the maid; how could someone so young do such evil? Jonathan couldn’t picture the boys at his school shooting anyone with anything more than a slingshot.

 

“Get out.” Jonathan’s voice squeaked.

 

The young man chuckled. “I reckon you’re the man of the house now. Good luck with that.”

 

“Get out!” Jonathan pulled the trigger.

 

The pistol clicked, but no bullet ripped through the villain. Jonathan cocked it again, his heartbeat echoing in his ears.

 

The man laughed harder. “That thing’s out of bullets, kid, but don’t worry, we’re leaving. Runners don’t mess with kids.”

 

Jonathan pulled the trigger again, but only that click answered him. Tears burned his eyes as he threw it down.

 

Runners. Next time he met one of them, he’d have a pistol full of bullets.

 

#

 

Jonathan rested his elbows on his knees and sighed. The sun shouldn’t be so bright and the few leaves that had begun to change to gold shouldn’t glow so much. At least the crimson leaves fit his mood.

 

He gazed at Rosamund as she sat beside the few marigolds that hadn’t given up on summer, petting her kitten’s gray head. She looked so happy, with her hair in two short braids. They’d let him dress her in white – black made him shudder now.

 

The Runners wore black.

 

“What do you suppose will happen to the house?” Mrs. Rogers’s voice danced through the open kitchen window. Airing out the rooms wouldn’t help banish that lingering stench of blood.

 

“I don’t know,” Miss Lea answered. He’d always loved his teacher, but she hadn’t said much more than a few sentences, as if she didn’t know how to console.

 

“I don’t suppose anyone will want a house where two murders took place. Shame, since this place is so pretty. Biggest home in all of Rosedale.”

 

Jonathan scrunched his eyes shut. How could they stand next to the laboratory where the maid had been shot? How could they even bear to be inside?

 

“All for that invention,” Mrs. Rogers continued. “You really think a motor for a ship is worth all the trouble they went to?”

 

Trouble. As if murdering his parents in their steamcoach on the way back from the opera house counted as trouble. Trouble meant forgetting to study for a spelling test.

 

“Who knows what those Runners think.”

 

“Blasted Runners. Don’t they care about the suffering families? Couldn’t they have spared all those folks?”

 

Jonathan clenched his hands into fists. He’d hunt them down. They couldn’t take his family away and laugh about it.

 

Miss Lea mumbled something he couldn’t hear.

 

“Are you going to keep the two mites?” Dishes rattled. Jonathan’s mother had never trusted Mrs. Rogers; he had a feeling he would never see those porcelain plates again.

 

Who cared what happened to the belongings?

 

“The neighbors will take him now that their daughter’s so far away. The Ashers are good folk.”

 

Jonathan jerked his head up. The neighbors, that old man and woman who never smiled much? Why would they want the Montgomery orphans, as Mrs. Rogers had dubbed them? He expected they’d live with Miss Lea since they didn’t have anyone else.

 

Miss Lea is nice enough; she’ll take care of Rosamund.

 

“It might do that old Rider a favor having some sprites around,” Mrs. Rogers said. “Come help me wrap up these teacups. Wouldn’t they look darling in my china cabinet?”

 

Jonathan plodded to the water pump to see if he could spot the neighbors’ barn through the trees. Riders hunted down the Runner gangs that plagued the east coast. If he got to live with a Rider, he might learn some tricks.

 

Jonathan sneered.

 

Runner beware, for the mark of the Rider will shine.

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Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth became obsessed with steampunk while working at a Victorian Fair.  Since then, she’s read plenty of books and even organized a few steampunk outfits that she wears on a regular basis (unless that’s weird, in which case she only wears them within the sanctuary of her own home – not!). Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, BORN OF TREASURE, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  RUNNERS & RIDERS is her fifth novel with Curiosity Quills Press.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

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In honor of RUNNERS & RIDERS, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Contest runs from August 22 to September 1.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

 

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Thoughts on Writing – How A Deleted Scene Turned into A Short Story Idea

Hello, again! I realize I’ve been silent for awhile, and I thought I’d give a quick update. See, I’m sort of between projects. Distant Horizon is being read by a proofreader, and I’ve gotten notes back for The Shadow War… and I apparently have a few plot holes that need to be addressed before  I can make much progress. That, and I finally finished the beta-reading project I’ve been long overdue on!

But that left me in writing-limbo. It’s not like I don’t have a bunch of projects to work on. (Trust me, I’ve got plenty of rough drafts begging to be polished). But I didn’t want to start anything big until my two main projects were finished.

And, well, I’ve been reading a lot about short stories and the concept of short stories and then I kind of decided… why not write a short story while I’m waiting?

It started with edits to The Shadow War. One concern had to do with the numerous point of view shifts. There are two characters in particular who had scenes, but, upon second look, I realized might not add much to the story itself (Never mind that I thoroughly enjoyed them).

My first thought was to take one of those scenes (since I rarely delete anything, I copied them into a separate document before removing them from the book) and flesh it into a short story from the point of view of one of the antagonists or semi-antagonists.

Problem with that was two-fold. First… spoilers. All the spoilers. There would be no way around it with the scenes I wanted to write. Second… background details that I wasn’t ready to explore. There’s a highly-detailed world behind The Wishing Blade, and not all the details have been worked out. The ones pertaining to the main plot are mostly in place, but some of the ‘how did this character get here‘ have not.

So I pushed those ideas out for now (Someday I want to write a novel or novella that looks at the antagonists of the series. I could have so much fun with their stories).

Instead, I started looking at areas in the world which interest me, but have nothing to do with the main story. Or, well… are only vaguely related. In this case, the Cantingen Islands. Remember that word magic conlang I’ve been working on? It features heavily in the rough draft of the third book, but from an outsider’s perspective. But I’ve wanted to do more with it, and actually take a look at their mythology and culture.

Enter the short story idea for Stone and String (tentative title). My goal was to write a short story between 5,000 to 10,000 words, with a cohesive beginning, middle, and end. And that goal has been achieved, completing the story at 8,000 words!

The story takes place in the Cantingen Islands, around the time of Magic’s Stealing but not tied to any of the main characters. It explores word magic to a degree, but focuses heavily on their afterlife, as the main character is a young girl who trades her death magic for a chance to see her little sister after an accident kills her.

The story is off to beta-readers now, but I’m hoping that edits go smoothly and I can publish it here in the next couple months. Hopefully it will tide readers over until I can finish The Shadow War.

If people enjoy it, I may write more short stories following the particular character. If not… well, it’s a stand-alone, so it won’t leave anyone on a cliffhanger.

Now, the caveat is that I plan on releasing the short story through Kindle Select so that it can be placed in Kindle Unlimited. Which means, at least for a few months, it won’t be available outside of Amazon. I’m curious to see if it might bring new readers to the series.

But the main books will continue to be available through multiple channels, as I prefer not to have all my eggs in one basket.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you tried using Kindle Select, or had luck writing stand-alone short stories?🙂

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for the monthly Infinitas Publishing status report!  (Doesn’t seem like that long since the last one, does it?)

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl ~

Distant Horizon: This has been handed off to our proofreader! The ebook edition has been formatted. Print book over-formatted (I’ll go back and make fixes after I get it back from our proofreader). I’ve been discussing marketing options and I have a plan underway. I need to complete the wrap-around cover, create a book trailer (I’ve been collecting the videos/images I need), and create promotional ads for social media. I’m also planning a cover reveal (details on that coming soon!) and have a tentative release date. Once I know for certain that date can be met, I’ll announce it.😀

The Shadow War: Got feedback from a beta reader who pointed out a few major plot holes that need to be addressed. So… I’ve got to go back and make those edits. I’ve got a few ideas, though, so I’m hoping that won’t be too difficult. I’ve also got a good chunk of the rough draft for the third book written. Not complete, but it helps me see a few points in the second book that need to be adjusted.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: Currently on hiatus. I’ve still been thinking about the blog series, but I’ve been focusing my attention on other projects.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished another couple covers, and I’m about to continue work on a formatting project that was previously on hold.

Beta-Reading: Progress made! I’m nearly two-thirds of the way through.

Video-Blogging: I still plan to finish reading Magic’s Stealing aloud, but I want to finish the current beta-reading project first.

In other news, Isaac and I turned in an application for an upcoming street fair, where we hope to sell Phalanx and Magic’s Stealing, and promote our other products. More news on that soon if we get accepted.🙂

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl ~

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

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Under A Brass Moon – Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth.🙂

UNDER A BRASS MOON

A Steampunk and Science Fiction Anthology

Under A Brass Moon - Cover Reveal for Jordan Elizabeth

This anthology includes twenty-seven short stories intended to enchant.  Enjoy the works of Jordan ElizabethG. Miki HaydenBenjamin SperdutoD. J. ButlerChristine BakerLorna MacDonald CzarnotaJessica GunnLorna Marie LarsonQuinn SouthwickJames WymoreTerri KarstenW. K. PomeroyAshley PascoJeremy MortisGrant EagarAmberle HusbandsNick LofthousePerry McDaid, and S.A. Larsen.

Here are just a few of the amazing stories you’ll find in UNDER A BRASS MOON:

Maiden in the Clock Tower by Jordan Elizabeth: A young woman is trapped in a clock tower to be used as a pawn in an evil merchant’s scheme. Can she escape to her true love?

The Queen of Cobwebs by Jeremy Mortis: Something is hunting people in the foggy streets, and the professor and his assistant are about to meet it.

Vacant by Nick Lofthouse: Where does a dreamer fit into a world where ideas are a finite resource from any one person? Could free thought be our savior, or just a sweet distraction from the inevitable?

Hour of Darkness by Ashley Pasco: Carissa Upton is just your average Victorian street urchin – little does she know that her life is about to change forever. Not only is her entire life a lie, but her future is uncertain.

A Connecticut Yankee in Queen Victoria’s Court by G. Miki Hayden: Engineering professor Dr. Alice Alante doesn’t believe in time travel. But when she’s sent to Queen Victoria’s Windsor castle in a strange machine, her only choice may be to help build a dirigible to defend the crown.

Lucky Escape for Goldilocks Girl by Perry McDaid: On a new world structured to reprise all the patriarchal and elitist notions of the Elizabethan era, a young girl promised to an old but influential suitor chooses to rebel by masquerading as a Knight of the Road … or Highwayman.

Calliope by Terri Karsten: Roscoe Gordon dreams of bringing back his dad’s Steam Calliope, but he’s hindered by a pair of prank-loving ghosts. With their help, will he lead the parade or blow the whole thing up?

The Balloon Thief by Jessica Gunn: Adeline has made a name for herself as Beltham’s Balloon Thief for stealing high-priced jewelry items and leaving only a balloon in their place, setting sail for finer lands on her steam-powered hot air balloon. Adeline has been told the stolen rings and gems open a door on the mysterious Leikei, the temple in the air where she thinks her friend Colin is stranded. On her last robbery attempt, she’s arrested and forced to place her trust in the museum owner’s daughter who has her own reasons for wanting to get to Leikei. If she can trust her, Adeline just might be able to rescue Colin. If not, it might be the end for them all.

Ethereal Coil by S.A. Larsen: A new sin eater’s refusal to do her job of keeping balance between good and evil awakens Wrath, one of the Seven Deadly Sins, endangering those closest to her.

 Fritz Finkel and the Marvelous Mechanical Thing by Lorna MacDonald Czarnota: Every era has to begin sometime, and every inventor starts someplace. For Fritz, it is the opportunity to impress the “apple of his eye,” the lovely, unobtainable Greta Spielmacher–the toymaker’s daughter.  Fritz wants to be a toy designer, but he’s the janitor. Will his special toy be the key to winning his lady love?

Henry the Tailor by Grant Eagar: Henry is a tailor and inventor of flying machines. Sophie is an agent for the English secret service. Henry and Sophie live in the alternate, steam powered world of Victorian England. The country is at war with Count Von-Friedrich and his horde of mercenaries. The spies of the count are killing and kidnapping the English scientists and inventors. Sophie’s job is to root out the spies and she uses Henry’s inventions as an enticement.

Talking Metal by W. K. Pomeroy: Five years after piloting a zeppelin to the other side of the world to find the spark, Saskia is on the verge of inventing greatness, but her old professor appears to have beaten her to the patent office, or has he?

The Women of Lastonia by Lorna Marie Larson: Earth’s best team must learn why a distant planet won’t join the Interstellar Alliance. Diplomacy is key, but the closed steampunk society has some primeval ideas on how to treat the fairer sex.

UNDER A BRASS MOON is available now from Curiosity Quills Press.  Grab your copy from Amazon and make sure to check out reviews on GoodReads.

Help us celebrate the release with the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

 

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Behind the Scenes – M.O.B. (Mean Old Bastard)

I based the style of this cover on the Matt Helm and Travis McGee series per the author’s request. While I still tried to modernize it, I applied several illustrative effects to the pictures using photoshop filters and layer styles. Originally I looked on Dreamstime and Shutterstock for stock photos that fit the main character of the novel, but they weren’t hitting the mark, so the author sent me a picture of his own (that he was free to use), as an example. I liked the look and asked if I could try working that photo into the design of the cover, and this is the result:

SBibb - MOB_Cover_Blog

MOB - Wraparound Book Cover

Photo of the man on the motorcycle provided by the author. Other stock images are my own.

I also formatted both the print and ebook editions of the book. For the ebook edition, I decided to use the silhouette of the man on the motorcycle as a break between section (whereas the print edition has extra line space between sections, and uses the silhouette as part of the chapter title). Since I wanted to try matching the title font to the chapters, I created all the chapter titles as images and used those in place of the typed titles in the ebook. However, the current previewer for Kindle wouldn’t render a transparent GIF properly in the iPad/iPhone option (rendered them as black, illegible boxes), so I created them as JPGs. They might look a tad bit funny if on a background color other than white (such as cream), but at least all the main devices should be able to read them. I plan testing a PNG file for transparency on a future project, but I wanted to make sure that the current file will be readable for everyone until I can test the file formats separately.

Buy M.O.B. for the Kindle or as a paperback.

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Thoughts on Writing – Fixing a Derailed Plot

While working on the third book of The Wishing Blade series (I’m writing the rough draft for Camp NaNoWriMo) I ran into a snag. I knew how the book should end, but I wasn’t sure how to get it there.

Without getting into too many spoilers (since the second book isn’t even out yet!) I can say that the three main characters have been split into two groups (not by choice). Toranih’s off dealing with the shadows directly, while Daernan and Siklana are trying to get to Soralsyn (a place where magic doesn’t like to play nice). They’re following Nihestan, a mage they don’t really trust, in hopes of getting glass-stone, a precious material that might help them defeat the shadows. But Nihestan decides they need training first–whether they want it or not.

Now, this whole training thing was running too long. Siklana was attempting to learn word magic and getting nowhere because Nihestan doesn’t trust her, and he is actively trying to slow her progress. Then Kirse’Ve, an immortal companion tagging along with them (who isn’t quite as blind-sided as Nihestan), decides to take Siklana to Soralsyn on his own, in hopes of clarifying some of his own suspicions.

In the meantime, Daernan is stuck learning how to use magic’s lure from an uppity god of wine and merriment. Since the god decides that the best way to make someone who doesn’t want to use magic’s lure is to use magic and force him to practice, the concept was starting to run too similar to another story line I’m working on. That… and the god of wine and merriment was starting to feel just a little too similar to the trickster god.

With those arcs in place, the plot was getting nowhere.

I discussed the problems with my husband, Isaac, who pointed out two things that helped me make the necessary changes.

  1. Don’t have Kirse’Ve take Siklana to Soralsyn so early in the plot. Since it’s supposed to be difficult to get to Soralsyn, having him fly there on a whim cheapens the danger. (Plus, having him refuse to take her earlier, on the grounds they aren’t prepared, raises the tension as she tries to convince them to go).
  2. Make it clear that Nihestan doesn’t plan on reuniting Daernan and Siklana with Toranih (quite the opposite, he thinks she’s the enemy and needs to die). This raises further tension between the characters.

Both concepts were important as I tried to run through a mini-synopsis in my head–especially when I came to the point where, (yay, pantsing), Daernan and Siklana decide they’re going to sneak off without the mage and go to Soralsyn on their own.

Bingo!

At that point, I realized a bit of rearranging would help the plot. Kirse’Ve isn’t going to take Siklana to Soralsyn on his own, thus leading to more frustration and the final decision that they need to leave.

The earlier plot point I had regarding Daernan’s training is also going to be changed. His trainer isn’t going to force him to use magic’s lure (at least, not directly), but he does show such a disregard for mortals that Daernan is absolutely ready to leave the moment Siklana suggests they go off on their own.

Since Nihestan seems dead-set on killing Toranih, now they have a ticking clock because they need to figure out how to fight the shadows before he does if they even want to get close to her.

And perhaps, once they get themselves lost in Soralsyn (because it is supposed to be difficult to navigate), Kirse’Ve, who’s a bit wiser in how to treat them, comes to their aid–but not without a price. He’s on the same side as the mage who wants to kill Toranih, and he sees the means to do so based on what our heroes learn (but hey, they aren’t lost anymore!).

Now it feels like I know how to get the story on track, and I’m ready to move on to plotting what’s happening with Toranih.

With a little rearranging and a few tweaks to how the plot plays out, you might find that it’s easier to get a derailed plot back on track than you might first think.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you ever run into a derailed plot that was fixable with a few tweaks?🙂

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Behind the Scenes – Night of the Hunter

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted a dark, sinister tone, and the author asked for the demon-like creatures to be staring out of the darkness. To achieve the appearance of the demon, I used a base image to start with, then used various layers in Photoshop to apply the red glow, which I then smudged and liquefied to match the model’s facial features.

Since the author said the main character is supposed to be a reincarnation of the main character from his other books, I used the same model, but with a different hairstyle.

This is the result:

Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Back of Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-young-vampire-man-shirtless-gesturing-to-camera-portrait-showing-his-torso-chest-abs-looking-dark-background-image60136451 – demon

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-fog-smoke-background-image69643118 – fog

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dangerous-man-gun-sunglasses-standing-abandoned-house-image65411957 – black shirt

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – aimed gun

Head image from Dollar Photo Club

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Filed under Book Covers, Uncategorized