"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Arms

It's that time of the novel again.  I have two armies (three, depending on how you count things) about to face off in one of the climactic moments of High Maga, the up-and-coming companion novel to Eolyn. 
Those of you familiar with Eolyn-lore will be happy to know one of those armies is led by our old favorite, Akmael, Eolyn's erstwhile love, who has now consolidated his power as Mage King of Moisehén. 

The other is led by a new character in the saga, Lord Mechnes, a Syrnte prince seeking to conquer Moisehén and assert his niece's claim to the throne of Vortingen.  Mechnes is a wonderful villain, charismatic and brutal, intelligent, amoral and self-serving.  He's fond of women and music, but what he lives for is crushing the enemy.  I'm looking forward to finishing this novel so I can share him with the world.

In the meantime, I'm just a little worried as to what's going to happen when Akmael and Mechnes clash on the battlefield just south of Rhiemsaven. 

Battles are an interesting thing.  Even when we map them out as writers -- even as we come to understand the strategies and tactics of our fictitious commanders -- we cannot be entirely sure what's going to happen moment-by-moment when two armies meet.  I've spent the last few days, with the help of a friend, defining the terrain, positioning infantry, cavalry and archers, reading up on selected battles from ancient and medieval times, and now at last the two armies are poised to meet each other.  I can almost feel the tension coming off the sketch pad where I've drawn everything up.  Akmael has put together a rather daring plan to counter Mechnes' greater numbers and highly skilled soldiers.  

Daring, but will it work? 

Only in the writing will I find out.

Some very exciting events and signings are scheduled over the next few days in Kansas City, MO.  I hope that, if you are in the area, you will check them out. 

Thursday, May 24, Prospero's on 39th will host High Adventure with Hadley Rille Books, featuring eleven authors of fantasy and science fiction.  It'll be a fun evening of readings and discussions, with books available for purchase and signing. 

Then, Friday May 25 through Sunday May 27, I will be at Kansas City's own ConQuesT.  Look for me on the panels, or in the bar.  The final panel schedule is not quite up, so I will be posting updates on where I will be when through my Facebook page for EolynBut here are a few things I know for sure:

Friday, May 25 at 8pm. I will be at the meet-the-authors-and-artists reception
Saturday, May 26 at 11am.  I will be at the Hadley Rille Books panel and readings
Saturday, May 26, at 3pm. I will be at the mass signing, along with several other Hadley Rille Books authors

Also on Saturday, May 26 at 4pm, I invite you to attend the launch party for Terri-Lynne DeFino's awesome new fantasy novel, A Time Never Lived.  To find out more about the launch, please visit my post this week on Heroines of Fantasy

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Writing and Friendship

Last week I had the most wonderful privilege of spending seven days on Virginia Beach with nine other women authors, writers from a variety of genres, all persons of great talent and generosity.  Some of them have been participating in this retreat for almost ten years now. I was a newbie, and the only person I'd met as of a week ago Saturday was Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of Finder and the soon-to-be-released A Time Never Lived.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, beyond having a lot of time to write.  And I did write, about 5000 words, including new and reworked chapters for High Maga, the companion novel to Eolyn.  The new material included some of the most climactic moments of the novel.  I am beginning to witness how events have transformed my characters in deep and lasting ways; and I am coming up against the final fates of some of my favorites, which has me sad in the bittersweet sense of the word. 

I estimate I have about 15000 to 20000 words to write before I finish the manuscript; within that the final battle sequence, which for a long time has been a terribly imposing mountain on the not-so-distant horizon.  But as of last week, the dreaded mountain has been transformed into just another ridge to hike across, another piece of the landscape to enjoy.  Not because writing a battle sequence has become any less formidable a task, but because something about being with this exceptional group of women has inspired my confidence and renewed my sense of trust in the journey of writing.

A year ago when Eolyn was launched, I found myself reflecting on all the wonderful and talented people that became a part of my life as a result of writing my first novel. Now after a week of working on my second novel in the company of nine amazing women, I am once again marveling at the way friendship is born of storytelling. 

Writing is not just about word counts and deadlines. It's not even just about the story.  Writing is a path that takes us to new places, opens doors to the exploration of different worlds, in our lives as well as in our imaginations.  Most fundamentally, the journey of writing is about the people we meet. Our stories create community.  They connect us and bind us to each other, and send us toward a happier future that for all its uncertainties, promises never to be lonely.

Stop by Heroines of Fantasy this week to read Terri-Lynne DeFino's post on coming home and saying good-bye, also inspired -- in part -- by our week at Virginia Beach.