Tag Archives: short stories

Wind and Words – Now Available!

I’m thrilled to announce that the second book in the Stone and String series is now available! (And 99 cents for a limited time!)

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Wind and Words

Wind and Words - Book Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

YA Fantasy

Wind and Words is a novella, 23,000 words compared to “Stone and String’s” 8,000 words. I had a lot of fun exploring more of the Cantingen culture, word magic, and string magic. I hope you enjoy it, too. 🙂

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Life magic is not meant to be alone.

 

Everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death.

 

When Edyli escaped the land of the dead after saving her sister, the goddess of death removed Edyli’s death magic. Without that string, Edyli is unbalanced, a “monster” who cannot sleep, cannot die, and without care, will slowly go mad.

 

Banished from her home for refusing to make amends with the goddess, Edyli is surprised to discover a child without life magic deep in the jungle—a child her remaining magic is drawn to, because those who are unbalanced are inexplicably drawn together.

 

Terrified of what might happen if the two of them touch, Edyli seeks answers about the mysterious child. If she can recover the child’s life magic, she might earn back the goddess’s favor and become whole again.

 

But one mistake, and Edyli could live forever in insanity.

You can grab your copy today for only 99 cents! (It’ll go back up to $2.99 in about a week).

Amazon (US) |Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

Add Wind and Words" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

(UPDATE: As of 6/2/2018, all the links should now be working. 🙂

Note: My apologies if you’re in the UK, India, or Germany, and use Amazon. I’m still waiting for them to create the page for Wind and Words there. However, all other links should be working).

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Here’s an excerpt:

A flash of movement caught Edyli’s eye. The hairs on her arms prickled under her wet sari. There were predators in the jungle, and though such creatures would not approach the nearby villages, they might attack a young human who was alone. Since it was night and the sky dark, the predator could be a tiger or other creature that she could not defend against without being able to see. She could, perhaps, use word magic to discern if the creature was a threat or not, and where it came from, but since she could only rest through meditation, she did not desire to use what focus she had.

 

But something about the creature was strange.

 

Normally she would have heard the rustle of leaves or the scratching of claws, or the snap of twigs under the creature’s weight. But what she heard was silence. Utter silence. It was deafening, as if the silence drowned out the sound of the wind.

 

“Who goes there?” she asked, forcing her voice to be loud. Perhaps, if she sounded threatening enough, then whatever was out there would not force her to use magic. “Reveal yourself!”

 

A tiny form stepped out from behind a scraggly tree.

 

Edyli blinked. “Akymi?”

 

The child was the same height and size as Edyli’s little sister, but her skin was a lighter shade of brown and her hair a straight, coarse black that fell below her shoulders. She wore a ragged, plain tunic, long enough to reach her ankles but clearly oversized, as if it had been lent to her. She stared at Edyli, her posture stiff, her hands at her side. Her dark eyes seemed to stare through Edyli, her expression dead. Her black hair fell across her face as she tilted her head, and then she turned her head again so that her hair cleared away.

 

The emptiness in Edyli’s chest ached, pulling her toward the girl as if something tugged at her, calling for her to move closer, to touch the girl’s tiny hands and to make her whole again. The girl raised her arm and stretched her fingers toward Edyli. A whimper sounded in her throat. Edyli tried to step back, fear mounting inside her, but she couldn’t move. The forest around her dimmed, centering on the child. She was the only thing in Edyli’s vision, and the rest of Edyli’s vision was a black, swirling mass, as if she had fallen into a seething whirlpool made from the night sky.

 

Shadikryl fa illdratethdruv shomagi drateth noram.

 

Life magic is not meant to be alone.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Read Wind and Words today!

Amazon (US) |Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! 😀

Sican naketonia quisé das vegra.
(May the gods grant you good fortune. – A saying from the Cantingen Islands)

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Haven’t read “Stone and String?”

No worries! You can read it for free when you sign up to The Wishing Blade Universe newsletter.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Weekly Book Promotion Highlight

For this week’s book promotion highlight, I’m featuring the Shorts of All Stripes giveaway and the Daring Damsels and Warrior Women giveaway!

*

Looking for something short to read? This giveaway has a huge variety of short stories in multiple genres to choose from!

Shorts of All Stripes - Ebook Giveaway

*

Looking for ebooks with a strong female protagonist? Look no further!

Daring Damsels and Warrior Women - Ebook Giveaway

*

(Note: These giveaways are hosted through Instafreebie and Book Funnel. Authors will usually ask for your email address, and in most cases, the author will collect these addresses for their newsletters.)

* * *

I hope you find a good book to read. Let me know if you would like to see more of these posts.  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Blog Tour – “Kissed By Literature” by Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, Kissed by Literature! 🙂

Read on…

* * *

KISSED BY LITERATURE

A Collection of Short Stories

Kissed by Literature by Jordan Elizabeth - Blog Tour Book Cover

(Cover art by Rue Volley.)

Enter worlds of steampunk and terror, where you’ll meet ghosts that will raise the hairs along your arms. Among the tales, you’ll encounter a serial killer stalking a country road and a vacation destination riddled with evil. This collection of short stories explores the different writing styles and genres of Amazon bestselling author Jordan Elizabeth.

KISSED BY LITERATURE is on Amazon from CHBB.  Get it for 99 cents for a limited time.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

* * *

Check out the start of the short story “Evil that Walks Tweed Road”:

I slid the manila folder into the cardboard box, careful to keep them alphabetized.  My brother might tease me to death over my organization habits, but not once had I fumbled during my presentations.  Each photograph, newspaper article, and information sheet had a home.

“Excuse me.  Annie?  I’m Patrick.”

I glanced up, the final folder in hand.  A man with gray eyes stood in front of the table.  I’d studied those gray eyes during my lecture while he sat in the back row of the library’s meeting room.

“Yes?”  I double-checked the words on the folder before placing it into the box.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Tweed Road.  I grew up near there, and as kids we always wanted to see the ghosts.  Swear we saw a couple of them.”

I nodded, my ponytail sliding over my shoulder.  “I’ve heard plenty of those ghost stories, but I don’t really believe in ghosts.  If a serial killer gets you, do you really want to hang around for all eternity?”

He chuckled.  His teeth had to have been professionally straightened and whitened to gleam like that.  “What got you into giving talks on Tweed Road?”

He couldn’t be flirting with me… but maybe he was.  “Well, I got my Masters in history and then I got a job as a professor here.  I started looking up local history, and this area is famous for the Tweed Road killings.   It was mostly all legends and kids daring each other to walk along the road at night, so I wanted to tell everyone about the truth.”  I smiled.  I sucked at flirting, but I could sure smile, even if my teeth didn’t look half as nice as his.

“Do you think telling everyone about this will help them finally catch the killer?”

“Life is never that simple.”

Patrick leaned toward me and lowered his voice.  “I know who the serial killer was.”

I lifted my eyebrows.  At every library or historical society where I gave my presentation, someone always had a theory.  My favorite suggestion had been Jack the Ripper.  “Who are you thinking of?”

“My grandfather.”

That was similar to “my ex-husband,” which I heard a lot from elderly women.  “Why do you say that?”

“He confessed to me before he died and he showed me the spot where he did the killings.”

The bodies had all been found dumped in the swamp, but no one had ever discovered where their hearts and livers had been gouged out.  I frowned.  “Who have you told?”

“I, um…just you.”  The young man wiped his hand across his face.  “I don’t know if I should go to the cops.  They might just laugh.  Do they even care about the case anymore?  It’s all more of a legend now.”

“A lot of families would have peace of mind.”

Patrick closed his eyes and sighed.  “Can I show you the spot?  I think I’d feel better going to the cops if you went with me.  You know all the facts about the killings and I just know what my grandfather told me.”

I shifted my stance.  “Don’t let me put words in your mouth.”  I had studied the Tweed Road serial killer for three years and it had all been paper, nothing I could walk on.

“Will you go with me?  I’ll drive.  It’s about fifteen minutes out of town.”

It might become my stupidest decision, but…  “Let me just put my box in the car so we don’t hold up the library from closing at nine.”  If the spot was fifteen minutes away, they wouldn’t make it back by then.

* * *

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.


Jordan Elizabeth - Author Logo

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

New Release – “Stone and String” is Now Available!

Remember that short story I was working on a couple weeks ago?  Well, “Stone and String” is now available! 😀

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Stone and String Book Cover

 

Blurb

In the world of The Wishing Blade, everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for this ability during their first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as a mage. But when Edyli’s little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses magic to return Akymi to the living. As a result, she finds herself in a land of web-like strings… the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister’s first rites. With the help of a mysterious immortal and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of Madia, the goddess of the dead.

 

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Buy Now on Amazon (US)

Buy Now on Amazon (UK)

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

“Stone and String” is a short story based in the universe of The Wishing Blade series. Though the stories are related (“Stone and String” takes place at the same time as the events of Magic’s Stealing), “Stone and String” stands alone. While Magic’s Stealing takes place in Cirena, and focuses on ribbon magic, “Stone and String” takes place on the Cantingen Islands and focuses on string magic and word magic, with a healthy dose of the Cantingen language.

I’m currently testing out KDP Select, so the ebook is only available from Amazon. But since it’s enrolled in Kindle Select, that means it can be borrowed if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Enjoy! 😀

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Writing – The Omniscient POV

For most of the stories I’ve written, I prefer a deep point of view. I like being right next to the character, getting their thoughts and feelings as they see it. Most of the time I choose either first person (Distant Horizon and Glitch), or close third (Magic’s Stealing and The Little One). While I might swap point of view characters between scenes, those scenes stay distinctly in one person’s head.

And then I started working on The Multiverse Chronicles.

The Multiverse Chronicles is pseudo-steampunk fantasy that consists of a series of short episodes (each around 1,000 to 2,000 words long) that will posted weekly on a blog dedicated to the series. My husband, Isaac, writes the rough draft, which I edit.

At first, editing an omniscient point of view drove me nuts. I wanted one person to follow, and I wanted to stay with that person. (This despite toying with the omniscient POV in The Little One, where one of the characters is a fourthwalling telepath). All of those rules about not head-hopping? They kept poking me while I tried to edit. But once I finished editing the first episode, I tentatively took it to the writing group we attend. To my surprise, they didn’t have a problem with the point of view.

Okay, cool. So I just need to keep up whatever we did with the first episode, right?

I started work on the next episode. I initially wrote with the expectation that I was writing from the bodyguard’s point of view, but then I realized she wouldn’t see the scene in the way we’d written it. In this particular episode, the bodyguard is grudgingly attending a ball in which the man she loves is about to be formally engaged to a snobby princess who looks down at her.

But what I’d embellished focused on the splendor of the ball… not the dark side of the festivities.

Let’s take a look at the current (rough) intro for this episode:

The grand hall of Britannia’s castle was adorned with ornate, stained-glass lanterns. Their yellow arc lights depicted the glorious reign of the Dragon Dynasty across the cream-colored wallpaper. Flickering images of gold and crimson dragons danced among pink-tinted clouds at sunrise. Further down the grand hall, these lanterns revealed the proud history of Britannia. The first Dragon Queen sent her dragons to battle an unkempt hoard of miscreants, and later, she stood with her proud chin high as she morphed into the form of a glistening dragon, uniting her subjects into an unshakable empire for the past two-and-a-half centuries.

 

Beneath the lanterns, diplomats from across the continent mingled, tipping crystal goblets at each other with brilliant smiles as they eagerly awaited the announcement from the current Dragon Queen, Queen Catherine V.

Not exactly the reaction I’d expect from a scorned bodyguard.

However, it did match the mood of the queen, who is pleased with the arrangement of her daughter to the prince.

Suddenly, it made sense. I needed to write part of this scene from the perspective of the queen. Because we’re writing this in omniscient, I could bring in her point of view, even in the same scene, allowing us to see the contrast between the two characters and sense the rising tension.

For example, compare the queen’s thoughts about the bodyguard with the bodyguard’s thoughts about the royalty:

The queen had to admit that the prince was bit relaxed, slacking on the formalities she’d worked so hard to instill into her daughter. But he would come around, just as her Ramón had.

 

Her telepaths had assured her that the prince was faithful, even if his doting bodyguard was something of a slob. She rapped her fingers on the armrest’s dragon head, exhaled in time with the methodical orchestra, and returned her attention to the guests.

Now, for the bodyguard:

“Indeed, this has been a marvelous party, fit for the First Queen, and now, for my daughter.” The queen cast a loving gaze to Princess Cassandra, who beamed with pride.

 

As if she was ever anything but prideful.

 

Alia kept her face blank, but her cheeks burned at the thought of that snooty, high-horsed princess being anywhere near Alfons.

 

Not that there was anything she could do about it.

 

“Over these past months,” the queen continued, “I have been thrilled with the courtliness of Prince Alfons, crown prince of the house of Egilhard, who has treated my daughter with the utmost respect that can be expected from a man of his station.”

 

Because anyone who isn’t raised like some prude isn’t expected to be respectful, right? Alia clenched and unclenched her fists, but Alfons was too busy fawning over his princess to notice the queen’s slight.

Neither queen nor bodyguard like each other. Since we’re in an omniscient point of view, we get to see inside the heads of both characters.

The question I pondered, then, was how to make sure the transition was smooth. The danger of omniscience is head-hopping, a disorienting feeling of being thrown from one person’s point of view to another.

In order to avoid that problem, I decided to make sure that whenever a transition occurs, that transition must be clear. Our focus subtly shifts to the new character with a few cues, such as naming the character and quickly getting into their thoughts with a thought that is clearly not the thought of the former character.

As I considered the topic, I realized we could model this concept after movies and TV shows. Different camera shots let us see what different characters are up to, even in the same scene. (Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Agents of SHIELD and Once Upon A Time). Without leaving the scene, the camera subtly pans to a character with an ulterior motive. We see their reaction, whether it be a malicious smile or a sad lowering of the eyes. We don’t hop heads, but we do switch point of view.

Let’s take a look at the current draft of The Multiverse Chronicles, in which the point of view switches from the queen to the bodyguard.

The queen’s telepaths had assured her that the prince was faithful, even if his doting bodyguard was something of a slob. She rapped her fingers on the armrest’s dragon head, exhaled in time with the methodical orchestra, and returned her attention to the guests.

 

Amongst the rigid guards and the pristine diplomats, amongst the proper dukes and the swirling, bejeweled duchesses who danced at their side, stood a lone, blue-uniformed soldier.

 

Alia Behringer, the prince’s favorite bodyguard. She was tall, especially among this crowd, with wheat blond hair and a lean, muscled body.

 

Alia cast a furtive glance toward the Dragon Queen, caught her glower, and looked away. She remained stoic as the redcoats, but unlike her counterparts, her blue-eyed gaze returned to the prince.

 

He was her charge, and she would defend him with her life.

 

She avoided the queen’s heavy gaze and gave her attention to the prince. Months ago he would have been joking at her side, not perched on miss high-and-mighty’s ‘graceful, endearing, and oh-so-lovely’ arm.

This scene could still use some tightening in terms of point of view, but we can see the switch from the queen to the bodyguard. The queen focuses on the bodyguard, we get a bit of information about her, and then we start seeing her thoughts, things she would know but the queen wouldn’t. Calling the guards redcoats, for example, or noting that she would defend the prince with her life, or how she calls the princess ‘high-and-mighty.’

The queen would not think in these terms.

The Multiverse Chronicles is still very much a work in progress. But the beginnings of the omniscient point of view is there, slowly unraveling itself and making itself useful.

I’ve tried taking cues from other books that feature an omniscient point of view (Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, for example) but I’ll admit, I haven’t read many stories with an omniscient POV that I remember, though I know I’ve read them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you had much experience in reading or writing omniscient points of view? 🙂

Further reading I found on the subject:

http://io9.com/5924661/how-to-write-an-omniscient-narrator-if-youre-not-actually-omniscient-yourself (A really nice explanation of omniscient narration, and how to make it work)

http://www.scribophile.com/academy/using-third-person-omniscient-pov (Explains the difference between subjective and objective narrators, and potential pitfalls with an omniscient point of view)

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

A Burning Hope – Book Cover Reveal

This is another cover for Melange Books, for a fantasy short story.

SBibb - A Burning Hope - Book Cover

 

The author and I went through a few slight variations, debating how to get the swamp to look right and where the best place to put the fire was. I also tinkered with lighting to create the mood we wanted. One thing to keep in mind when doing covers is that lighting, and using strong color contrast, can help attract the eye to the image.  Another trick to keep in mind when looking for stock photos is that you might look for something that already has some photoshop done to it, then tweak it further to suit your purposes. In this case, I found the ‘monster’s’ eyes already partially edited. But, because the monsters are supposed to be blind, I did additional photoshop to create the final look.

Stock photos from: Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-floating-fishing-village-image26604324
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-boat-fog-image12261557
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-fire-image16068630
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-horror-blindness-image20380689

2 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Photo Illustration

Ashes – Short Story Now Available on Kindle

“Ashes,” my prequel short story to “Socks” (1000 Words project) is now available on Kindle. I’ve been meaning to upload it for some time, but never did. Until now! So, not only can you find it on Smashwords, you can also find it on Amazon for 99 cents. 🙂

A 7,500-word young adult, post-apocalyptic romance: When rebels attack the city, two teens race to save the last existing library before it is destroyed.

Find “Ashes” on Amazon

Find “Ashes” on Smashwords

 

SBibb - Ashes Cover - Blog

An Excerpt:

The sky is darker than I remember, and a shape forms above me, blurry. “Matthew?” I ask. My head smarts. I cough, tasting acrid smoke, and my fingers touch a sticky warmness on my forehead. There’s a cut there; I don’t remember why. The gray metal of a helicopter glints in the fire from the building a block away. The warning system is playing repeatedly, but for the life of me, I can’t tell what it says. A firm hand grips mine and then it’s Cory who yanks me to my feet, not Matthew. “Come on!” he says. “We’ve got to get inside.”

What else is there to do? He half drags me into the lobby of a restaurant. Traces of fresh pancakes and hot maple syrup and pungent coffee smells mix with the ashy gunpowder odor from outside. The place is astonishingly empty for the morning hour. We navigate past upturned chairs and coffee stains, broken mugs lying forgotten on the floor.

Then we’re in the kitchen, where thick ceramic tiles block out the sounds of chaos. Cory grabs the handle of the bunker and twists it, praying for it to turn. He pulls me to him, holding me tight as another explosion rattles the foundation. My head against his chest; his heart beat competes with the explosions like a drum.

“You okay, Serena?” he asks.

I’m not sure. “What happened?” I can’t seem to remember why Cory is here. All I know is that I trust him more than Matthew, and there’s a sickness in the pit of my stomach at the thought of the other.”

 

“Socks” is available on Smashwords for free

Enjoy. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing