Categories
Fantasy Novel Ways of Camelot

Road of Waters- Book 2 of the Ways of Camelot series

 

Road of Waters

ROAD OF WATERS, book 2 in the Ways of Camelot series, continues the adventures of Thomas, the magician-in-training.

Beware the glowing Road of Waters, for it changes course throughout the night. It is a fickle Road that can drown its enemies.

Thom doesn’t like traveling by river galley, but he has no choice. The Guild council has sent him to help Keeper Weston- at least they claim that’s his assignment. He soon learns that all isn’t as it seems. One of his companions is shape-shifting, mermaids find a dead wizard, and sorcerers are hunting King Arthur.

Thom must fight, using the magic he hasn’t yet mastered. And this time, his enemies are some of the most powerful sorcerers in the land. As the Road of Waters goes wild, Thom must rescue the king, protect his friends, and avenge his master.

ROAD OF WATERS- Book 2 of the WAYS OF CAMELOT, a fantasy trilogy.

Title: Road of Waters
Series: a Ways of Camelot novel (Book 2)
Publisher: Reader Hill
US Suggested Price: $2.99 e-book/ $14.99 trade paperback
Available from major book retailers, including:

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Road of Waters

Looking for Book 1 in the Ways of Camelot series?

This series starts with ROAD OF LEAVES.
Click here to learn more about book 1.

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Categories
Fantasy Novel Special Deals

Road of Leaves- Fantasy Novel on sale

Road of Leaves coverLooking for a fun novel to read? Try ROAD OF LEAVES. This Arthurian Fantasy is on sale this weekend at Amazon for only 99 cents as an e-book. (August 21- 24, 2014).

This is the first book in the Ways of Camelot trilogy. The second book, ROAD OF WATERS, will be released in about one month. The third book, ROAD OF CLOUDS, will be out before the end of the year.

ROAD OF LEAVES is a great tale, set in Arthurian times, where you will follow a magician’s apprentice named Thomas as he faces scheming sorcerers, magical beings, and an enchanted road gone wild.

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What is ROAD OF LEAVES about? Well, here’s a short blurb on the novel:

Magic, Mayhem, and Mystery

There are no simple roads to Camelot. Thomas is a magician’s apprentice who must travel to the Camelot guild house for his master. He takes the Road of Leaves, an enchanted tree-lined way that shifts every night as the winds move its leafy route. He joins a walking party that includes a monk, merchants, a troubadour, and an old woman.

Thom expects a pleasant hike along the Road that was crafted by the great wizard Merlin. Instead, he staggers into murder, magical warfare, and romance. While trying to make his way to Arthur’s capital, Thom fights natural forces, a sorceress, and a pair of ornery goats.

Not only must Thom struggle to use magic he barely understands, but he also has to face an enchantment that is far beyond his comprehension. An enchantment that fights back, for the Road of Leaves will defend itself.

Buy it today and start reading ROAD OF LEAVES on your e-reader, computer, tablet, or smart phone.

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What about those of us in the UK? For our readers in the UK, this novel will be on sale from Aug 22-24, 2014.

AmazonUK buy button

 

Thanks for you interest in my books. Book 2 of this trilogy, ROAD OF WATERS, will be coming out in about one month.

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Categories
Fantasy Novel Special Deals

Fallen King novel on sale from July 11 to 17

Fallen King cover5For those who may be interested in getting an e-book copy of FALLEN KING, my epic fantasy novel, it will be on sale at Amazon through July 17, 2014 for only 99 Cents

 

Get your copy today, and read it on your Kindle, computer, tablet or smart phone. Need the Kindle app? It is free from Amazon.

FALLEN KING, a fantastic tale of heroes, demons, and a desperate heir. This epic fantasy is over 580 pages in length.

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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGDYQ68

 

Categories
Fantasy Novel Work Projects Update

Road of Waters book cover sample

For those who might be interested, here’s a mock-up of the cover for Road of Waters, book 2 of the Ways of Camelot trilogy. The book is over 90% done. Just about another week of writing, then its on to editing and polishing. The book should be ready for release this summer!

Road of Water cover

Categories
Fantasy Publishing Work Projects Update Writer Struggles

Summer Challenge: week two

This summer, I have challenged myself to a rigorous writing schedule. To help stay accountable, I will be publishing my daily numbers here.

DAY 1, Week 2 (Monday June 16th)

Fiction word count: 2,828

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

DAY 2, Week 2 (Tuesday June 17th)

Fiction word count: 2,078

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

DAY 3, Week 2 (Wednesday June 18th)

Fiction word count: 3,006

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

DAY 4, Week 2 (Thursday June 19th)

Fiction word count: 2,018

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

DAY 5, Week 2 (Friday June 20th)

Fiction word count: 2,047

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

DAY 6, Week 2 (Saturday June 21st)

Fiction word count: 848

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

WEEK 2 TOTALS

Fiction word count: 12,825

Non-Fiction word count: 0

Editing work completed: 0

Publishing work completed: 0

Marketing work completed: 0

 

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Categories
Fantasy Special Deals

Arthurian Fantasy for only 99 cents

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to share that my latest novel, ROAD OF LEAVES, has gone on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents for the next five days. This price is for the e-book version.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GY8CPNM

If you don’t have a Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet, then you can get the free Kindle app and read the book on your smart phone or computer. Thanks for letting me share. See your phone’s app store or go to the links at Amazon for the free app.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kinh_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

 

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Categories
Fantasy Fantasy Fridays Story Lines world building

I love fantasy books

Today being Valentine’s day, it seemed appropriate that I should talk about my long-time love for fantasy novels. No, its not the same kind of love as I feel for my family or dear friends, but fantasy worlds have been a part of my life for decades now and I love it. Some of the fantasy books that are the dearest to me aren’t necessarily the ones that I would call the best written or the ones with the grandest world building. I think it more has to do with where I was at in my life when I first read each of these books. Now, when I go back and re-read them (which I do every few years), I think I get a little taste of those memories mixed in and it makes each book that much more satisfying. So here are some of the novels that I have most dearly loved over the years (in no particular order):

1. Lord of the Rings trilogy–  You can’t get any richer than Tolkien’s Middle Earth, with its imagined languages and grand sweeps of history. It is a land that can swallow me whole. I’m not as enamored with the Hobbit or the Simarilion, but LOTR is a true fantasy classic. What do I love the most about LOTR? Well, I would say the various enchanted lands (Shire, Minas Tirith, Rivendell, Lorien, Fangorn ), the humble hobbits and their camaraderie, and the terribleness of the evil. It is a black-and-white world where I certainly know who to cheer for. I’ll admit that I will sometimes skim through some sections (you have to be in a certain mood to appreciate Tom Bombadil), but it is such a great adventure overall.

2. Riddle-Master trilogy– This one is a little harder for me to explain. For some reason, I have found Patricia McKillip’s word to be haunting with its powerful, chaotic sea people and the struggling Prince Morgon who is trying to understand what is happening and looking for a way to resist these frightening attackers.

3. Wizard of Earthsea trilogy– This trio of thin books by Ursula LeGuin are magical. Somehow, she succeeds in entrancing me while keeping the writing sparse. She makes Ged very real, with some deep flaws but also some wonderful traits. I love the many islands with their unique cultures, the wonder of the wizard school, and the awfulness of Ged’s shadow.

4. Dragonsong trilogy– Another trio of thin books, this one from Anne McCaffrey, has caught my imagination even more than her more-sweeping Dragon Riders of Pern novels. Maybe it is because I get to become so close to vulnerable Menolly, but for some reason I find that I have re-read these three (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums) far more than her other books.

5. Saga of Recluse– This huge series of books by L.E. Modesitt Jr. is one of the few large series that I will re-read. Because each book is its own story, I can jump around and pick up the one that I’m in the mood for at the time. Most other series, like Jordan’s Wheel of Time,  just become tiresome in their size. The story never seems to end. There are many such long series that I haven’t even finished because the tales became bogged down in their side-stories. However, Modesitt wisely made each of these books independent of the others, so you can jump around without losing the story-line.  The Recluse world isn’t the richest or most- sweeping, but it builds with each new book and develops into quite a fantasy tale.

Are these five the best fantasies ever written? I’m not arguing that at all. I think there are some tales that are far grander. However, I do find myself going back to these five more often. It might just be because of where I was at in life when I originally read them, but they each have a special place in my heart and I’m thankful to the authors who wrote them. These authors have brought me with them into some fantastic tales.

I hope that my own novels will someday entrance readers in a similar way.

What are your favorite fantasy novels? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Categories
Fantasy Fantasy Fridays Future of Writing

Is there something wrong with Epic Fantasy?

Recently, the website SFSignal posed this question to numerous writers, including Robin Hobb, Martha Wells, and Melanie Rawn. I thought it was an odd question- at least certainly a loaded question. The headline for Andrea Johnson’s article was even more confronting: MIND MELD: What’s “Wrong” with Epic Fantasy?

Some, like Marc Alpin and Teresa Frohock, saw no real issues except an overload of choice and maybe some wrong expectations. Others, like Martha Wells and Melanie Rawn, mentioned the tendency for epic fantasies to get weighed down from having so many viewpoint characters. Robin Hobb felt that readers sometimes couldn’t find what they really wanted in the glut of books offered. Each person’s reply is worth reading, so follow the link and read it yourself.

The various respondents gave decent answers, but I had some qualms with who was asked.

Let me explain. I though it was a decent article, but I’d rather hear more from the readers than from fellow writers and other insiders when it comes to any issues with a genre or sub-genre. As a writer, I want to avoid themes that are getting tired or predictable. However, the “experts” can get jaded from overexposure to insider things, like professional film critics do, and start nitpicking at stuff that most would never notice. As long as my readers are happy with my books, then I’m satisfied.

Are there things in the genre that I dislike? Yup. I’ll not go into all of them because much of it is a matter of personal taste, but I have written about  some of the ways Fantasy Series can fall short (Why Read the Whole Fantasy Series?). I will refrain from ranting on my other pet peeves though. Instead, I will try to write more novels that entertain. I want the readers to enjoy a good read and maybe have something to ponder afterwards. If I can consistently accomplish that, then I have found success.

 

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Categories
Fantasy Fantasy Fridays Novel

Road of Leaves- an excerpt

Today I thought I would share a short section from my latest fantasy novel, Road of Leaves.  This snippet comes from the middle of the book, providing a humorous side story. Our main character, Thomas the magician’s apprentice, has just survived a harrowing journey through the first leg of the Road of Leaves. Thom and Francis, a monk from his traveling party, are trying to relax for the night on the Travelers’ Field, when another of their party shows up.

Road of Leaves cover

* * *

Thom looked to where the monk pointed and saw Geoffrey trudging onto the traveler’s field, appearing dejected. The youth looked around the meadow, spotted them, and headed their way.

“He’s coming to us,” said Thom with a slight frown. He had no desire to put up with that silly rooster.

“We’re the easiest to spot, being away from the crowd. You should have hid among all the others if you didn’t want to be noticed,” said Francis cheerfully. “Just be glad it’s not Iago coming over to sneer and insult.”

The noble’s son walked near but then stopped, apparently unsure if he would be welcomed.

“Lord Geoffrey, this is our camp,” said Francis. “If you come as companion and fellow camper, then welcome. You may come and join us. If you are looking for servants to order around, then find some other group because we are freemen.”

“I am simply looking for a place to sleep,” replied Geoffrey, raising both hands in protest. “Have I ever tried ordering either of you? I do not expect to be waited on. I just don’t want to be alone.”

The monk strode over and put a welcoming arm over the youth’s shoulder. “Then join us, my son. Set your saddlebags down and find some soft grass to cushion your blanket. You will have a more comfortable bed than most in that overcrowded inn, though maybe not as fine a dinner.”

Geoffrey dropped his bags and all three settled in to eat a cold meal, sharing what they had. Afterward, an awkward silence settled on them until Francis made a suggestion. “Why don’t the two of you go visit the pixie gathering? Tonight promises to be a boisterous one with such a large crowd of travelers. I will stay and watch our camp.”

Thom wasn’t certain he wanted to go carousing with a noble.

However, before he could demur, Geoffrey spoke up. “That is a wonderful idea. Always before, I have traveled by the Road of Waters to Camelot but this time I wanted to see a Pixie Eve. The other boys speak of it so highly. Let us go, Thomas.”

“Have fun,” said Francis. “I will enjoy some quiet for my prayers. But be wary of the Pix Ale, for its potent enough to make a bear drunk, let alone young fellows like the two of you.”

Geoffrey headed off, now excited, motioning for Thom to join him. The apprentice felt he had no choice but to go along.

“Oh, and one more thing, Thomas,” said Francis as the two left. “Pixies are drawn to music and to magic, so if you don’t want them pressing in on you, avoid crafting any enchantments.”

“No matter how hard anyone begs, they’ll get no magic out of me tonight,” said Thom. His ability to hear magical elements still had not returned, but he didn’t want to say so in front of the nobleman.

Francis gave him a frowning nod, apparently understanding what he meant.

* * *

The walk helped to clear Thom’s head, the dizziness fading. However, he was still deaf to magic. He tried his best to ignore that loss, concentrating on the darkened village they were passing through.

Sometime during their walk over to the Pixvale green, Geoffrey started treating Thom like a fellow squire. He shared his excitement of intermingling with pixies and experiencing their native customs. “I heard from David that a pixie girl’s kiss is as soft as a puppy’s fur but will set your lips to burning.”

“Don’t try stealing any kisses,” urged Thom, imagining the young noble angering the whole assembly. “We are in their land now and not your father’s.”

Geoffrey giggled nervously. “I would not be so bold a thief even at my father’s court. Do not worry, Thomas. I will not molest any pixie’s lips, though I will certainly not refuse any kiss offered.” Again he giggled with excitement.

Thom heard more outrageous stories about the powers and proclivities of pixies, all sworn true by various squires of the court and not one of them believable. As Geoffrey bantered, Thom listened without much comment. By the time they reached the commons, Thom was convinced that the Goat Woman was not disguised as the young noble, for he doubted anyone could keep up such an act.

On the community green, the pixies had already started their evening competitions. Thom heard music, singing, and laughter. Tall torches stood everywhere, giving the area an abundance of light. He saw pixie men sitting in a circle for some sort of drinking game. Apparently humans were welcome, for three men sat among them, towering over the smaller folk. A pair of pixies marched around the outside of the circle carrying a large pitcher and, whenever the singing stopped, they grabbed the nearest sitter and pulled his head back, pouring a dark, foamy beverage into his mouth.

“Look! A Draught Circle. Jacob claims to have won at that last year, winning a keg and a pixie’s kiss.”

Thom sensed that the squires of the royal court spent as much time dreaming about cuddling a girl as they did dreaming about becoming a knight. He had no such luxury. He was still just an apprentice and of no interest to any woman looking for romance. Following a few more years of total poverty, he had another decade as a journeyman. The only women trying to kiss him wanted something, be it money or a potion to curse their enemy. When they learned he had neither to give, they quickly lost interest.

As they stepped onto the grasses, Thom noticed a line of canopies where the visiting nobles congregated. “Do you want to go over there, my lord?”

“Me? Not likely,” said Geoffrey, frowning. “I would be spending the whole night running errands and fetching drinks. I might be a squire at Camelot, but here I would be just another lad to order around. Besides, some of them are the louts I was traveling with when my horse faltered. They denied me aid when I needed it, so I have no desire to be in their company. I am a gentleman, but they might provoke me to call them out for their boorishness.”

Thom doubted that a mere squire could demand a fight from his betters, but he was no expert on noble customs. Frankly, he gave Geoffrey’s words little hearing, for he was distracted by one of those walking among the canopies. She moved gracefully through the crowd, carrying a full flask of wine but spilling not a drop. She took it to a middle-aged woman reclining on a campaign chair under the middlemost tent. The maid poured into a waiting cup, expertly anticipating her mistress’ tendency to jerk the target as she watched the festivities. When done, the maid stepped back out of the way to await her next order.

Thom remembered her face, her smile, her vibrant personality.

Adele.

(Buy your own copy of Road of Leaves and enjoy the whole tale)

Road of Leaves cover

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

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Categories
Fantasy Fantasy Fridays Story Lines world building

Why Read the Whole Fantasy Series?

One of the wonderful things about Fantasy noels is that many of them are part of an extended series of books. I love being able to dive into a new world and staying there for an extended period of time. It is one of the things I look forward to creating as I write more books for each of my two fantasy series (the Cirian War Saga and the the Ways of Camelot novels). With multiple books, there is the opportunity to discover so much more about a new world and to watch as characters grow and change. Done well,  a lengthy Fantasy series will gain my loyalty.

However, there are quite a few series that I have failed to finish. Some of them I really tried to enjoy but just couldn’t. I have the third book of a trilogy sitting on my nightstand right now that I have been trying to finish for months but it just cannot hold my attention. I greatly enjoyed the first book and I really wanted to like the whole series, but I found that it just became stale. The story couldn’t sustain itself over that many books.

Personally, I can think of five reasons:

1. Delays in Publishing. The longer the delay the greater the odds of readers moving on to something else. Whether the delay comes from a publisher wanting to space out their release dates or from an author being slow to produce, the result is the same.  Who wants to read a book when the next one could be years away from release?

2. Repetitive Stories.  I have abandoned numerous series because they start feeling like a summer rerun. I will leave when a story drags on, seeming to loop back to repeat similar quests or battles or wars. Life can be a repetitive drudgery; the books that I read shouldn’t be.

3. Stunted Characters. When the main characters never change or mature, then a series will start feeling like a soap opera: lots of words and fake drama but no real advancement in their life story. After ten years of sword fighting, your guy should be a changed man (older, more experienced, hardened, disgusted, crazed…  something, anything)  Trauma should alter a character’s actions, emotions, and life-goals.

4. Stuck in Glue. There are some great Fantasy series out there that have become bogged down in details. The forward motion of the main story arc almost stops. I get disappointed whenever an author writes a whole novel that is only a side-trip. Maybe the houses are nicer looking on a cul-de-sac, but you certainly aren’t going to get very far driving down that dead-end street. Get the main story moving! Leave off all those side stories that don’t really get us anywhere.

5. Betrayal. This is more of a complex issue. Whenever I feel that an author has set me up, then I will be hesitant to ever trust him or her again. I have had authors create worlds and then mock those creations (and me for naively believing in them). I have had authors lure me into caring for characters and then wantonly kill them off. I have started series where the first book creates a certain mood and then the author (maybe out of boredom) decides to do something completely different with the sequel. Radical change is fine for stand-alone novels but not within a series. Labeling that book as part of a series means that you (author) are promising to uphold the ambiance, the mood, the characters, the brand of the previous book(s).  A television series doesn’t shift from romantic comedy to police procedural to nature show each week. The TV show doesn’t alter its main characters halfway through the season. That TV show holds to a similar feel from episode to episode. Your Fantasy series needs to do likewise.

I love reading a good Fantasy series. I often reread the better ones. Sadly, though, there have been many trilogies and sagas that I have never finished just because the author failed to hold my interest over the long run. I don’t desert stories lightly, but I also cannot stand it when a Fantasy series fails to be entertaining or to be loyal to the world the author crafted in book one.

When it comes to my own Fantasy series, I will strive to be respectful of my readers and do my best to avoid the five shortcomings I mentioned above. Will I succeed? I hope so.

🙂

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