Tag Archives: world-building

Changeling – Now Available!

Changeling has arrived! 😀

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

99 cents for a limited time… and free with Kindle Unlimited!

Changeling is the second book of the Huntress series, and it picks off almost immediately where the first book left off.

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“Changeling”

Huntress #2

YA Dystopian/Cyberpunk Fairy Tale Retelling

Changeling Book Cover

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When the clock strikes midnight, will the huntress become the hunted?

With President Koenigin stuck in the form of a changeling miner, Koenigin Corp is in disarray.

A new president has stepped into power, and he’s asked Verdi to trade her role of huntress for that of an ambassador to the Society for Natural Progression.

At first, Verdi is eager to accept. Being an ambassador means she’ll finally have her voice heard. Better yet, she’ll be able to spend more time with Maria Snow, the woman she loves.

But participating in social “balls” isn’t a job she trained for, and certain members of Koenigin Corp are determined to get revenge on those who pushed Koenigin out of power.

When Verdi is framed for murder and placed on house arrest, will she find a way to get to the ball and warn Maria of the rising threat?

Or will she, too, find herself trapped in a changeling body?

* * *

Step into her shoes in this Cinderella retelling… and read Changeling to find out what happens!

99 cents for a limited time, or free with KU!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Add to Goodreads

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Also, check out this cool bookstagram image one of my beta-readers made for Changeling: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxIq4uinDTo

Enjoy! 😀

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Magebane Launch Day

Magebane is here! 😀

(Today and Saturday only, grab it for 99 cents from any of the major online retailers! After that, it’ll go back to regular price.)

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

Magebane is the continuation of The Wishing Blade series, picking up where The Shadow War left off. Only this time Siklana has a larger role to play, as does Shevanlagiy.

But don’t fret! Toranih and Daernan still have their own stories to tell as well.

Find out what happens next in…

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“Magebane”

The Wishing Blade Series #3

YA Fantasy

Magebane Book Cover

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Will magebane save the world?
Or destroy it?

In Shevanlagiy’s quest to save her childhood friend from death, she has destroyed numerous worlds. Sometimes on accident. Sometimes as revenge.

She’s close to achieving her goal. Daernan is still alive.

But for how long?

When a goddess grants her a vision of a deadly substance—magebane—being shipped across the kingdom, Shevanlagiy realizes her carefully laid plans to protect Daernan are falling apart faster than she can rework them.

Daernan has magic from the gods, magic that will not only kill him if it comes in contact with magebane, but will start a terrible chain reaction that could unravel the fabric of this world—

A world she’s not yet ready to destroy.

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Delve into the danger of Magebane by reading this exciting continuation of The Wishing Blade series today!

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

Add to Goodreads

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Not quite ready to buy?

Click here to download the first five sample chapters!

Enjoy! 😀

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Meet Siklana – The Wishing Blade Series

I’ve been having a bit of fun learning Daz, a 3D modeling program. Long story short, the base program is free, but you can buy additional assets–clothes, hair, facial morphs, etc–that allow you to customize your characters.

It’s fun, because it’s been giving me freedom to create characters from my stories that I can pose and light without searching through endless stock photos. (There are other limitations compared to photomanipulation, and avoiding the uncanny valley is tricky, but each type of art has its trade-off).

A few weeks ago I grabbed a bundle on sale for face and body morphs, and it’s been giving me a lot of room to tweak characters how I picture them.

The first character I completed (face, anyway), is Siklana Covonilayno from The Wishing Blade series.

Siklana Covonilayno

SBibbPhoto - Siklana from The Wishing Blade Series

Siklana is Toranih’s sister. While Siklana plays a fairly minor role in the first two books (Magic’s Stealing and The Shadow War), she has her own point of view and plays a major role in book three… Magebane.

Excerpt from Magebane:

After Shalant paid for a room at the nearest inn, Siklana and Daernan left their horses with the local stable girl and went upstairs to a small, square bedroom that offered little privacy. Mid-afternoon sunlight filtered through a window’s canvas covering. Shalant ordered them to unpack anything important from their saddlebags into the room so he could ward the area for protection.

“Perhaps we could ward the stable instead?” Siklana suggested. The cramped room hardly had enough space for all the books and scrolls stashed in her mare’s saddlebags.

Shalant glanced up from tucking a bag of dry goods into the corner beside his bed. “The stable hand wouldn’t be able to tend to the horses.” He pushed the bag aside, stood, and then dusted his knees of dirt. The smoke from Ashan had brought a thin layer of soot to everything in town.

Siklana shared a nervous glance with Daernan. The mage would find out about the books eventually. “I doubt we can fit all your word magic scrolls.”

Shalant turned around, puzzled. “Word magic scrolls? What are you…” His sentence trailed, and from the flicker of his eyes to the door, Siklana suspected he was using scrying ribbons to see what was in those bags. He gave her an incredulous glare. “You brought my library?

She smiled sheepishly. “The books might help us find a way to bring Toranih back from the shadow realm. Besides, if Ashan has been overrun by Lord Menchtoteale, do you really want him finding your books? Imagine what Isahna could do with them.”

“You brought my library,” Shalant repeated, as if the notion couldn’t register in his brain.

She nodded. “Obviously I couldn’t take everything, but I tried to grab the ones that looked useful. There are still a few things left in your attic.”

SBibbPhoto - Siklana Full Body Render

 

This is a full-body render using only image-based lighting (IBL).

It’s the first test run of Siklana’s 3D model with her new outfit (trying to find something that reasonably fit her character, which I didn’t initially have). I need to find and fit shoes for her, too, but this is a start.

I’m still learning Daz, so more work needs to be done, but it should give an idea of her character. 🙂

Interested in seeing the development process? Let me know. I have some notes on the process, and I’d be happy to go more into it if anyone is curious.

TWB - Magic Swirl Glyph

In the meantime, keep an eye on this blog for more news about Magebane, which is coming soon.

Let me know if you’d like to see more characters rendered in the future! 😀

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A Path of Swords and Feathers – A Wishing Blade Short Story

Ever wonder about the adventures of some of The Wishing Blade’s secondary characters?

“A Path of Swords and Feathers” is a short story (10,000 words) following the character of Nihestan / Shalant (Daernan’s father) during his youth, shortly after he took on his first mission for the goddess.

If you like some of my other short stories (such as “Stone and String” or “The Wind Mage of Maijev”) you might enjoy this. It’s a mostly stand-alone story, though having some knowledge of the world from the various other stories will help. 🙂

This story got its start with the Legends of Cirena Facebook group, after a failed attempt to Photoshop a gryphon sparked ideas about what kind of immortal this new creature might be…

And this story is the result. 😉

Before the Wishing Blade was forged, a young weapon mage embarks on a journey to protect those he loves…

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“A Path of Swords and Feathers”

A Fantasy Short Story

A Monster in the Mist - Book Cover

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Before the Wishing Blade was forged, a young weapon mage embarks on a journey to protect those he loves…

He serves the goddess of the dead.

Though Nihestan longs to see his family, his duty to his goddess leads him to the far reaches of the kingdom. But once he arrives, she refuses to answer his summons.
Not without an offering–

An offering he can’t afford. 
In need of money, he freelances as a bodyguard for a family heading deep into the northern mountains. Given how happy they are together, he wonders if he should have stayed home.
If he should be protecting those closest to his heart.

But his goddess may yet have her own plans for him… 
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Explore the trials of Nihestan’s past…

Read “A Path of Swords and Feathers” today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | KoboSmashwords

Add "Wind and Words" to Goodreads

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In the meantime, keep an eye out for news about Magebane, the third book of The Wishing Blade series, coming soon!

And don’t forget, if you want to read more Cirenan short stories and help direct the actions of the characters, check out the Legends of Cirena collaborative adventure Facebook group!

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The Wind Mage of Maijev – Now Available!

Good news! “The Wind Mage of Maijev,” the first of the Legends of Cirena short stories written for the collaborative adventure Facebook group, is now available as an ebook!

This is a stand-alone short story that takes place approximately 200 years before the events of The Wishing Blade series and the Stone and String series.

 

A wind mage in a city that hates magic…

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“The Wind Mage of Maijev”

YA Fantasy Short Story

The Wind Mage of Maijev - Book Cover

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A wind mage in a city that hates magic…

Livena is a young woman living in Maijev’s southern quarters, staying ahead in life by working odd jobs. When her brother entrusts her with selling a pile of books in the undercity, it seems like another normal day.

Until she senses a dangerous storm brewing.

Most would hunker down until the storm passes. But Livena’s deplorable wind magic lacks control, and weathering out a storm inside only invites trouble.

The storm won’t stay outside where it belongs.

If Livena can’t make it home before the storm, and her magic gets exposed, it’s only a matter of time before a deadly mage hunter unravels her secret.

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Explore the magic in this exciting short story…

Read “The Wind Mage of Maijev” today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | KoboSmashwords

Add "Wind and Words" to Goodreads

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Enjoy! 😀

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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

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Wind and Words

Wind and Words - Book Cover

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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. 🙂

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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

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(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).

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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.

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Read Wind and Words today!

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

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Enjoy! 😀

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

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Haven’t read “Stone and String?”

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Thoughts on Writing – Using a Roleplay Game to Develop a Novel’s Backstory

Now that Distant Horizon is out in the world (Yay!), I thought I’d talk a little about how the story came about–specifically, how a role-play game led to the creation of the backstory of Distant Horizon. Granted, a lot of the campaign stories aren’t visible in the first book,  but they still played a role in the backstory of the world.

It started in 2010…

Actually, no. Let me go back just a tiny bit further. It started with tabletop role-playing that involved a group of friends in college. We all lived in the same dorm, so we met in the evenings to play various games with different people taking the part of gamemaster. At times we had several games running throughout the course of the week. How late they went into the night depended on how early we had to get up for our first class the next morning.

I was introduced to RP games through the Savage Worlds system, starting with a fun-though-inevitably tragic (the sacrifice of my favorite giant zombie dog, Snuffles…) zombie apocalypse. I had intended to watch the other players while completing my physics homework, but before the game began, I was intrigued by the various miniatures and the gamemaster’s premade characters. He had extras, so I asked to join in.

The rest is history. I eventually decided to run a few of my own games. After the first failure (where I’d had a whole story plotted out… which was, of course, destroyed as players will destroy any plot by not going the intended direction), my primary games were a Star Wars game (I amassed quite a few of the RPG books and had them spread out across the table or floor during these games for reference), and a couple superhero games.

For the superhero game, I, Isaac, and a group of friends brainstormed what powers we might have. We placed the powers into four categories, then rolled a D4 (four-sided die) and a d10 (ten-sided die) to determine what our powers were. We fiddled with the system a bit (the base we used was Savage Worlds), and did a bit of “winging it” when determining how the powers worked.

Soon we had a team of well-meaning but absolutely terrible superheroes who caused far more destruction than good. One of them obliterated a bank robber’s head with sonic scream. (*Sigh. You were supposed to take him alive.*) One nearly electrocuted himself at a hidden night club after attacking a dancing mech. (Your job was to buy a special edition teddy bear from a vendor there, not assume the whole place was hidden front for a Japanese mafia.) One bent reality… (And he was the most sane of the group). The other kept getting distracted because he wouldn’t stop flirting (But hey, we need NPCs (non-player characters) who can help out with questions, right?). Needless to say, they drove their team leaders crazy… once by driving their car right out the top of the Super Bureau’s headquarters.

In relation to Distant Horizon, I can firmly say that these guys are part of the reason that the supervillains were able to convince everyone that the superheroes were the bad guys. But that story arc came later.

In a different campaign that ran about the same time, the superheros were a smaller team, and rather more effective at their missions… including to the point where they were sent to recover a set of special pendants that had strange powers, including the ability to slow time when four of the five pendants were in close proximity. *Cough.* These pendants make an appearance in Distant Horizon, as the most powerful members of the Community now have them in their hands.

In a different shorty-campaign that used the same power set but was run by my husband (mostly because I’d just had my wisdom teeth removed and I wasn’t in the mood to do much talking or heavy thinking), a group of airship pirates stole an airship and went through a few too many portals in attempt to uncover a precious jar of blueberry jelly… which might not have actually been blueberry jelly. They might be the reason the Community exists in the Distant Horizon universe. There was a lot of tweaking to that story arc, though the blueberry jelly reference remains.

In most these cases, there are a lot of seemingly random events (okay, it was probably pretty random even at the time), but it provided a rough basis for a background… one which Isaac later twisted and developed as the basis for Distant Horizon.

That being said, there’s a lot of stuff from the original campaigns that are not being included in the novels for the sake of plot and consistency, but overall, the games were a lot of fun and helped to build a semi-consistent world of powers. We could see which powers were broken (a much later campaign that used alchemy/enchanting proved where that needed a lot of fixing), develop out how different factions might interact, and then extrapolate from there to consider where it might go next. And now we have fodder to reference in regards to the origins of the world which can help enrich the setting.

Now, you won’t see much of these plots in the first book. Most of the characters are far enough removed from these events that all you’ll hear is an occasional reference. Still, it helped build the power system and let me drop clues that will become more relevant in later stories and companion novels.

Once I finish Little One’s story, (a Distant Horizon prequel I plan to work on after Glitch and Fractured Skies have been released) then you’ll see a lot more references to these campaigns. I had quite a bit of fun placing in those Easter Eggs in the rough draft. But that one also has a more quirky (though dark) tone than some of the other stories set in this world.

Isaac and I have continued to use role-play games to develop stories and worlds, but I’ll have to go into more detail about that in another post. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this one. Have you ever used RPGs to help flesh out a story?

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