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June 27, 2020

"It's really difficult to stop reading these books. The stories unfold like a video series. Looking forward to more books from this author." - Aleathea J

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On the Homefront
Daisy and Tilly waiting to play!

Our house has a mock Tudor front. I mention this, not to brag, but to explain the strange circumstances we found ourselves in this week. Now, to be fair, it’s not the whole house, only the peak that’s above the front door. For years, everything was fine, and then wood rot decided to set in. We dutifully pulled down the offending planks, ready to replace them and then got sidetracked. To be honest, we did manage to put up the wood that formed its base, but we never quite got around to replacing the rest of it.

Fast forward to the present. Now, with most everyone housebound, it naturally comes to mind that the house needs fixing up. Carol and I were out walking the dogs, and the topic got around to the front of our house. One of us, I can’t remember who, suggested we put siding up instead, and the other remarked that they were thinking the same thing.

Carol got on the phone with several siding companies only to discover that the earliest they could come around would be next fall. No problem, we thought, it’s only a small area, let’s do it ourselves. Carol, who is far more efficient in finding deals on the Internet, looked up the siding only to discover that the style we wanted wasn’t in stock at any local stores. Not only that, but you couldn’t even order it! Perhaps, we thought, we’re being too particular, so we widened the search only to discover that NO siding is available AT ALL.

I suppose this means we’ll have to wait for autumn, after all. Notice how sad Daisy and Tilly are about it!

Congrats to Tony for winning last week's eBook Giveaway! You, along with nearly 80% of the other readers preferred the image with the two figures. This week I would love your input on my upcoming new release, Temple Knight.

Remember, all you need to do to choose one picture below, and you will automatically be entered into the Giveaway to win your choice of any of my ebooks, even the upcoming Temple Knight!

A Book Series Versus a Series of Books

As I near completion on book 3 of The Frozen Flame, I am continually reminding myself that this is one book in a series. What does that mean, exactly? When I was younger, I loved reading stories like Sherlock Holmes or John Carter of Mars (though admittedly, the John Carter books are seriously dated). These books might be labelled a series, but in reality, they are simply separate books with little in common between them save for some characters. The mars books do a little better in this regard, but they are still individual stories.

If you ask a group of people about their favourite fantasy series, chances are that someone will mention Lord of the Rings. In this case, however, they'd be wrong. Lord of the rings is actually one story, not a series. It was only split into three volumes to make it easier to sell.

Writing a true series is quite a difficult balancing act. Each book must be complete in and of itself, but at the same time, link to the next and the previous installments in the series. For me, the trick to doing this is to slowly introduce elements that have a more far-reaching goal, that of setting up the finale to the series. To do that, I have to already know not only the end of each book, but how the series will finish as well.

A good case in point here is Game of Thrones, the TV series, not the books. Many people were disappointed in the ending, and though I found it entertaining, I understand their arguments. The issue is that hints were dropped all throughout the series about various characters, but rather than plot points, they simply became red herrings. By the last season, it was all about surprising as many people as possible as the body count grew higher.

Now, I'm sure the books will not have that problem, but it does illustrate what can happen when an author's work is taken over by someone else, in this case, the producers of the mini-series.

How about you? What are some of your favourite fantasy series endings?

Did you know Heir to the Crown has a 3 book box set?

It all begins with Gerald, an old warrior too stubborn to die.

After tragedy tears his world apart, he is seeking a new purpose. When a fateful meeting with another lost soul unmasks a shocking secret, Gerald is compelled to take up the mantle of guardian as the kingdom erupts into civil war.

Enter Dame Beverly Fitzwilliam, who has trained for this moment since she first held a sword. Swearing to protect their lives, they travel across the kingdom fighting desperate battles, all the while surrounded by powerful enemies who conspire to bring down the crown.

Their destiny will be determined in a monumental clash of forces where success can save the kingdom, but failure can only mean certain death.

Get Books 1, 2 & 2.5 of Heir to the Crown Today!
What Makes a Good Fantasy Battle

Some of my favourite works of fantasy involve battles. Whether it’s Bilbo Baggins at the Battle of the Five Armies or the Rohirrim at Helm’s Deep, I love a story that includes these types of epic fights. My love of history has led me to explore many real battles, from the mundane to the extraordinary, but one question remains, what makes it truly interesting?

The first thing in my mind is the stakes. What does each side stand to gain, or lose? If you look at something like the Battle of Waterloo, the answer is simple, Napoleon’s claim to the throne of France. But what of fictional battles? This is where the author has their work cut out for them. The reader has to understand what motivates each side in the struggle. To me, it’s annoying if all the villain wants to do is conquer the known world. Why do they seek this? What is the reason for this quest for power? Now admittedly, this might not, at first, be obvious to the reader, instead being something that is only revealed later, once the fighting is over. The old ‘hordes of evil’ descending on the known land has, I think, been done to death, though some writiers, I’m sure, can still get away with it, as long as it’s done in an entertaining manner.

Instead, I think like both sides. Did Napoleon view of himself as the villain at Waterloo? No, of course not, nor did many people in France. They likely thought of the Anglo-Prussian army as the bad guys. The same is true in fiction, or at least it should be.

I have numerous battles in my books, particularly in the Heir to the Crown series. I hope that by the end of each book, the reader understands what was at stake for each side, even if their true motives may have been purposely hidden.

Just my two cents.

My past Facebook Live was all about how an author can write themselves into a corner, and when characters drive the plot in unexpected directions.

My next Facebook Live Video will be on Monday, July 6, at my usual time of 5:30 pm EST.

Work in Progress Update

This week sees me working my way towards the 80% mark of Flames. As I approach the end, my pace is speeding up, mainly due to the action picking up. Everything has now been set for the ultimate showdown! I may even do some writing this weekend, which I rarely do.

I’m almost always surprised by what ends up sneaking into one of my books. The overall story doesn’t change, but I quite often come up with small plot twists that make it more interesting to write. I also managed to introduce a few new details that propel the overall series arc forward, not always an easy thing to do. Of course, I can’t tell you what those details are, but once you finally get ahold of the finished product, I suggest you read it carefully, even minor details could come into play in future books!

No doubt, some of you will re-read Ashes and Embers before picking up Flames. Don’t worry, your vigilance will be rewarded. There are numerous ‘callbacks’ to those first two stories, some for emphasis, others… well, you’ll just have to wait until this fall.

Until next time, here is a little bit of action from Temple Knight!

Temple Knight - Power Ascending: Book One

Charlaine, feeling a force strike her in the chest, fell back to the deck, the wind knocked from her lungs. Smelling smoke, she looked down to see the remains of her tabard burning, a scorch mark marring the armour beneath. Ripping the fiery garment from her, she cast about, finally spotting the Fire Mage who was already preparing to cast again. His men were forming a circle of protection around him when the Rizelian warriors pressed in close, as one of them knelt, holding his shield at a forty-five degree angle.

Suddenly, Danica flew by, jumping off the shield and propelling herself into the fray, a dagger in each hand.

Author Spotlight!

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases.
These authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

A Prince's Errand: An ancient war was won by a simple amulet. It brought peace, but in the wrong hands, it could spell a doom the likes of which no world has ever seen.

Over the centuries, the people of Kalda have fallen into a dark age, where elves are estranged from men and dragons have retreated into legend. 

Prince Kaescis Midivar scours the world in search of an ancient order known as the Keepers of Truth and Might, for his empire's very survival hinging on his success. Along the way, he recruits Cornar Dol'shir, an ageing warrior, longs to be home with his wife.

While Iltar, the Son of Adrin, does not join in the search for the Keepers. Instead, his search takes him to the Empire of Mindolarn, where all is not as it seems.

Dark Enlightening: An assassin, a wizard, and a man tangled up with both of them go on a misguided adventure in search of magical treasure only to come across a world-ending power...

Avic has landed himself in prison, being tortured daily. It is only after his rescue that he learns the truth of what he and his friends found a  cave was something that never should have been touched. 

Feeling responsible, Avic embarks on a journey to find a way to stop the coming doom, only to find an obstacle at every turn. Will he be the unwilling savior in the end, or will the world fall at the hands of a madman consumed with undefeatable power?

Trial of the Red Rune: What could be powerful enough to abduct five mages? Make that six when frost mage Maeve recovers from an explosion to find her leader snatched away by a teleportation spell. 

As part of the Peace Keeper order, along with Lilley, a flora fairy, she’s sworn to hunt down anyone that abuses their magical abilities. And remove the threat where necessary. 

Beneath the depths of the city, something dark is stirring. An ancient ritual set in motion to transform a disillusioned kidnapper into an unstoppable legendary being. One capable of seizing the kingdom that dared to suggest those without power were his equals. 

Can Maeve prevent his ascent to immortality? Even if she does, she’ll have to live with the cost…

A New Light:

Heros are never born... 

Before Jak became a hero, a horrible secret surrounded her birth. Witness the beginning of that secret as we follow her father while he searches for his wife, and finds more than he could possibly imagine. 

Now he's faced with a choice. Follow orders, or turn against his comrades. What will he do when his wife's safety is on the line?

Featured Book Deals & Giveaways

While you wait for the release of my next book, here are some great stories for your TBR pile!

More Giveaways & Deals!
Fantasy, Urban & Paranormal Books
Claim the Throne Giveaway
Bingeworthy Boxsets, Bundles Bookfair
Sci-FI & Fantasy Giveaway
Myth and Magic Giveaway
Marvelous and Magical Fantasy Reads!
Finding Your Strength Giveaway
Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookfair

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