During the next five weeks, The Birthday Present will be available as part of a review promotion for fantasy books. Free copies of 30 books are available for you to download and help out the authors (and potential readers) by sharing your opinion. Reviews are most important for authors and one of the hardest things to get, so if you'd like to participate all these authors would be grateful! Here's link to get started browsing.
This is a limited-time promotion. I have also created a permanent "Review Copies" page on my website where you can find review copies for Victoria: A Tale of Spain, Bellevere House, and This Merry Summertime, along with perma-review copies for The Birthday Present. I encourage you to check it out--just remember that there is an obligation to put up a review for these books if you take the review files. Nobody likes hit-and-run reviewers who download books and then evaporate.
Reviews are hard for authors to feel comfortable with sometimes, but I've grown to appreciate them. I enjoy reading reviews for a variety of things and it's a great feeling to have real people speaking about the product and expressing how they feel. They are all such individuals it's like having a window into a person's mind and in addition to adding some buzz about the item at hand (such as a book, for example) it just shows the diversity and transparent humanity of who's getting involved. And books are meant to be human, after all. They are about human experiences!
And there will be more updates.
Digging deeper into The Test of Devotion always brings rewards, as I found when I returned to the first draft last year. It has such a great plot, in which interlocking characters pursue separate journeys with one goal in mind—what to do about beautiful, possibly out-of-her-depth, rebellious Arabella. It has POV characters for both sides of the plot, and we switch back and forth between them pretty systematically. Outside of Devotion, the only other novel where I've used multiple POV is Harrisons, but its function is merely practical for incidents that the narrators (Betty or Letty) might not be able to show if I used just one of them. In Devotion the two plots frame each other and head towards one conclusion, swirling around Arabella, as we follow two teenagers who are approaching the same story from different angles.
Viajero is a boy who is born and raised into the outlaw lifestyle, since his father is an outlaw. He also likes it pretty well and views it as a dashing role in society, which causes him embarrassment gradually as he meets new people while finding Arabella and he learns that becoming a criminal is not really an admired life decision. After he is hired by Arabella’s boyfriend to help him navigate an unfamiliar western landscape in search of her, we follow Viajero’s view on the adventure instead of Trevalyn’s.
Jenny, similarly, is a girl who is viewed as a helpful figure around Arabella and balances the Viajero/Trevalyn chapters with feminine situations in a hotel where she spends time with Arabella as a companion/assistant/friend. Her father, who runs the hotel where Arabella is staying, isn’t very popular and Jenny is self-conscious about her role in society, unlike Viajero. Although not formally hired as an attendant, she rapidly becomes one and we follow her efforts to help the attractive protagonist get out of danger.
And there will be more updates.
The Palladia series began with a small novella—which grew into a standalone book—which eventually got joined to another standalone book that had been written separately—which is now developing yet another book after it. This new book, like everything else about Palladia, is taking a direction I hadn’t foreseen and hadn’t particularly wanted it to have at first.
I posted a while back on possible ideas for this story, which included a fun, rather juvenile-feeling sort of romp in the outer-space colony of Alphea. And, as happened for what feels like the thousandth time, the story moved itself forward in a quite different direction. Towards the hidden past of the EC instead. There’s a character called Meldono who is mentioned briefly in Invaders as the “founder of the EC,” at a time that appears to be about a hundred years from now and two hundred years in the past from the time of Invaders. Nothing else is mentioned about this man except that he had been an Invader who took the side of the EC and Katia looks at a statue of him.
City of the Invaders was never really my personal favorite of my books, nor was Consuela. I enjoy working on every story at the time of writing, but like all authors it’s hard not to feel particularly fond of some for whatever reason—personal emotions, association with a family event or a special location, a feeling of achievement in showing a character or social issue, etc. As I mentioned last month about Victoria’s King Felipe, he’s a little bit a favorite character of mine. I’ve never felt that way about any of the characters in these two books. In fact, I wrote Consuela as a filler and then dismissed it as a dud. It looks a bit different now when compared to its original, silly first draft even though the story components weren’t changed very much. But the series gradually, slowly develops more on its own arc than in line with my feelings about it. It's a little bit humbling, actually.
When I draft new ideas, working on another aspect of the Palladia world is never a priority for me. It just keeps occurring to me. And the EC’s origins were not a concept that I thought of as having any mystery to them. They were just a plot device to get these kids to be in a stalemate with a majority group—so the kids have to be in a minority group, right? But once the idea appeared of Meldono possibly coming back to life and when alive he’s not much like the EC legends said he was, the third book’s brainstorming started to change. A lot. I guess sometimes you can write a story without knowing what it’s about at first—and then, more and more, you find out.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write stories about human emotions--about the journey of life. Every step of it can be meaningfully great or simply terrible and you can only reach the end after experiencing many kinds of things that make you grow. Emotional travels are the travels of life and the road of living is not one planned out in notebooks or organized in Scrivener. It is felt in love, hope, and fear and developed through an understanding of why humans go through these. And, on top of that, my stories are adventure stories. History, fantasy, and daily modern situations are all adventures as long as you don't know for sure what's going to happen when you wake up each day. Because that would be like repeating the same day over and over again and who wants to do that?
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Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.