"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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Events and Signings

Busy week for science fiction and fantasy lovers in KCMO!

I will be at the brand new INKLINGS BOOKS & COFFEE SHOP this Thursday, May 22, starting at 6pm. Join us for an evening of pure imagination with fellow author M.C. Chambers and musician Rich Tuttle, singing songs inspired by Tolkien. Copies of Eolyn and High Maga will be available for purchase and signing.

Then, starting Friday, it's CONQUEST 44!  I am so excited for this year's con. Lots of  interesting panels, and great people on them. The main event will be at the Kansas City Marriott downtown.  Here's my schedule:

2:00pm Tough Women: Heroes and Villains (Lester Young A)
3:00pm Are there too many strong women? (Lester Young B)
6:00pm Readings from High Maga (Big Joe Turner A)

11:00am Women of Ancient and Medieval Times (Julia Lee A/B)
4:00pm   Hadley Rille Books: Small Press, Big Plans (Lester Young A)

1:00pm   Self-Publishing: Taking the Leap! (Mary Lou Williams A/B)

I've got a lot to prepare, so that's it for my post this week.  I do hope to see you in the coming days though, whether at Inklings or ConQuesT or both. Let's welcome the summer in style!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rediscovering EOLYN

I have had the greatest pleasure these past few weeks of listening to the new audio edition of EOLYN.

Read by the incomparable Darla Middlebrook, this interpretation made me laugh, and then cry, in all the right moments. It filled me with joy and fear, love and heartbreak, warmth, humor, friendship and loss in ways that surprised me, given how intimately I already knew the story.

To hear Eolyn's world revealed by a professional reader was just such an extraordinary experience. I felt as if I were discovering my own story all over again, as if I hadn't heard of these characters and their world before, even though I'd written it all myself.

Among my favorite voices: Tzeremond, Drostan, Rishona, and Tahmir. I can't say that in every case Darla used the voice that I would have chosen, but in the end, the whole was so much greater than the sum of its parts. I couldn't be more thrilled with the final product, and I cannot wait to share it with the world.

Terri-Lynne DeFino, acting editor-in-chief of Hadley Rille Books, has given her go ahead on acx to move forward with the release. We are waiting on Darla's final approval, which I imagine will be forthcoming.

Once everyone has given the thumbs up, I'm not really sure how long it will take for the system to put the audiobook on the market. After all, I've never done anything like this before. But I can't imagine it will be long; I expect EOLYN will be available for your listening enjoyment by the end of this month.

Of course, as soon as it's released, I will post the purchase links here as well as on Facebook and Twitter, so please check back through the usual channels for more news in coming days and weeks.  If you haven't read the novel, this will be a great way to immerse yourself in Eolyn's world. If you have read the novel, I suspect that you, like me, will find immense pleasure in listening to this new interpretation. Any way you cut it, the release of Eolyn in audio is going to be a great summer treat for everyone.

Many, many thanks to Darla Middlebrook for the long hours she spent in putting together this fantastic recording. With any luck, we'll be able to snag her for an audio edition of High Maga as well. . .

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: DATE SHARK

Here's a fun change of pace!  Today I'm participating in the cover reveal for DelSheree Gladden's new novel Date Shark. Romance lovers, check it out!

When It Comes to Choosing Between Obsession and Passion, 

Some Lines are Meant to Be Crossed

Life as the marketing director for a popular fashion boutique is overwhelming for Leila Sparrow, to say the least. She’s not sure what ever possessed her to add revamping her dating life to her already hectic schedule. Calling in renowned Date Shark, Eli Walsh seemed like a good idea until she actually met with him. She isn’t supposed to be fantasizing about her dating coach. Leila knows he only sees her as a client, but when their business relationship becomes more of a friendship, it’s hard not to imagine what might be.

His Date Shark business was only meant to be a side-enterprise to his thriving couple’s therapy practice, but Eli Walsh knows it’s become more of an obsession. At least, it was until he agreed to take on Leila. Somehow she has stolen his entire focus. He wants to admit his fascination with her and growing romantic interest, but he knows coming on too strong will scare her away. His plan to convince her that she is worth any man’s interest by first being her friend is challenged when his tips start to pay off and Leila begins dating Luke. Will his friendship with Leila mean the end to any romantic pursuit? 

Date Shark will be released from Limitless Publishing on

May 13th, 2014!

In the mean time... Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook copy of Date Shark!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Medieval Secrets in THE DRAGON'S MESSAGE

Today I welcome author Lori Fitzgerald, who is celebrating the release of her story 'Dragon's Message' with a Magic Appreciation Tour.

Lori J. Fitzgerald lives in New York with her fellow English Major husband and their two little bookworms. Medieval literature is her passion, and she wishes she could spend more time traipsing around Renaissance Faires and shouting “Huzzah” at jousts. She was a middle school English teacher for many years and was best known for her dramatic readings of The Princess Bride. Lori is currently a Staff Writer for the website Once Upon A Fan, the popular fansite for ABC’s hit show Once Upon A Time. You can contact her by email at WhiteRaven829@gmail.com.

Following Lori's guest post about Medieval influences on Dragon's Message, we have an excerpt from the story.  Also, don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win a free copy!

Medieval Secrets in 'Dragon's Message'

Medieval literature abounds with hidden meanings, for in the landscape of the medieval mind a character, setting, object or even action have both a literal and a symbolic meaning.  Many of the secrets in The Dragon’s Message are couched in medieval terms. There are references to the Code of Chivalry, such as curtesye (courtly manners) and trouthe (integrity). The coats of arms of both the protagonists, Sir Gwydion and Lady Rhiannon, are also keys to the quest in the story. Medieval heraldry began as practical badges of recognition, so that armored knights could be identified in battle.  However, the symbols, or charges, also represented the qualities that the knight and his family held important. Sir Gwydion’s coat of arms, in medieval heraldic terms, is Azure, a unicorn passant reguardant Or, a chief embattled Or, file Azure. This means the shield has a blue background, in the center of which is a gold unicorn with one front leg reared and its head turned to look behind it. The unicorn symbolizes extreme courage, virtue, and strength. The top part of the shield is a gold band shaped like the top of a fortress turret, which symbolizes protection…or fire. On this gold band is a blue “file” symbol (it looks like an “E”) which is the symbol of the oldest son. This is how Rhiannon recognizes Gwydion in his full battle armor when he first approaches her castle, Caer Idris. The gold (“Or”) symbolizes generosity and elevation of the mind, and the blue (“Azure”) symbolizes truth and loyalty. The tapestry in the main hall of Caer Idris unlocks the meaning of Rhiannon's coat of arms. And even the runes that the dragon messenger writes with “its red-gold ember breath in the darkening sky” hold multiple interpretations, because dragons “do not speak in as simple or as many words as we do, for their throats are clogged with embers. So each rune has many meanings, and can be interpreted in many ways, often depending on the other runes that they are with.”

I invite you to enter the world of the Dragon Tome and learn its secrets!

-Lori Fitzgerald, Author

Excerpt from Dragon's Message

Gwydion quickly handed her a cloth to catch her tears with.  His brow furrowed in concern.  “I did not mean to make you upset with memories.  Of course your father’s liege knights were intent on capturing Maelogan and the rest of his lackeys.  I myself almost had him in the lists but ran afoul of the mud.  His treachery was…most unexpected.”

Rhiannon nodded, and then looked closely at the cloth he had given her.  “Oh!” she exclaimed shakily.  “This was mine!” She held up the red scarf with crooked gold stitches forming a sleeping dragon in the middle.  “This was one of my first embroidery attempts.”  She looked up, smiling incredulously although her eyes still shone from her tears.  “I gave you this at one of the tournaments…and you’ve kept it all these years?”

“Ah…” he grinned a little sheepishly, “I liked it.”  Rhiannon laughed, pleased, and traced the uneven stitches on the dragon’s folded wings. 

            “Rhiannon,” the knight hesitated, and gestured at the ruins around them.  “Why are we here? And why is your book,” he pointed at the pack next to her, “so important?”

            Her lips twitched but she kept herself steady, not wanting to reveal the slight measure of triumph she felt from his questioning. Another step ahead, she thought, and her palms gave a tingling pulse as she pulled her book out from its pouch onto her lap.

            “This is a book of secrets that my mother bequeathed to me as my birthright.”  She spread the red cloth out onto the grass before her and the stitched dragon caught the strong light of the western sun.  “Gules, a dragon dormant Or.  Our family’s coat of arms is actually passed through the female line.”  She arched an eyebrow at Sir Gwydion’s dumbfounded expression. “Don’t tell my father that I told you that. That’s one secret,” she said slyly.  “You know there have been dragons sighted on our lands for centuries.  This book,” she said, as she ran her palms along the leather, “deciphers the language of the dragons.”

About Dragon's Message

A dragon writes a cryptic message with its ember breath in the evening sky...

Lady Rhiannon watches from the turret wall with an ache in her blood. She's the only person who can decipher the message as the sole keeper of the Dragon Tome. When an old enemy threatens the castle, her father charges his knight with escorting her to a safe haven—the same knight Rhiannon had a crush on as a girl. But she must now convince him to change his plans, for she has her own sacred charge to fulfill...

So begins a journey to hidden ruins where magic slumbers in the stones and love lies in the heart, waiting to awaken.

As Rhiannon and the knight face seemingly insurmountable odds, only the dragon knows if they can fulfill their destiny...

The Dragon's Message, a Dragon Tome Novelette, available now for only $1.99 
on Kindle and Nook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 5, 2014

What people are saying about HIGH MAGA

'Tis the season of Bel-Aethne. May all of you enjoy the rites of spring.

Here in KC, the transition from April to May was marked by a cold front and some severe storms, but the sun is out now and the fine spring weather has returned. The grass is growing (a little too fast), the trees are budding, and the tulips are in full bloom.

The semester is wrapping up at Avila. We have just finished the last week of classes; now we are getting into finals.  I am also in the process of packing up my office, as much of O'Reilly Hall will be gutted and remodeled this summer.  

Preparations are in full swing for this summer's NAPIRE program. About a week ago, Coordinator Barbara Dugelby and I hosted a workshop for home mentors and incoming research mentors. Right now, we are hammering out the final details of the schedule. We have a great group of students and faculty coming into the program this summer; I am really looking forward to it.

High Maga is one month old, and reviews from readers are starting to come in. Here's what some of the my readers have to say:

"I loved experiencing the lives of both characters [Eolyn and Akmael] and watching them change through the story. The story of their love and all the difficulties they face is absolutely breathtaking."

"Darker. Bleaker. Different. . . . A great read, and in some parts some may find it harrowing."
"This is a finely wrought story of love and deception, of reunions and disappointment."

"The characters are deep and real with complicated desires and needs that lead them in paths you cannot anticipate."

You can read the full reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.

It's great to get so much positive feedback on this novel, which is such a different story and presented very unique challenges compared to its predecessor.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or elsewhere. This is a great way not only to express support for the author, but to help other readers decide whether High Maga is the right story for them.

Last Monday, I had a guest post on Heroines of Fantasy where I talked about war and violence in High Maga, and what inspired me to write such a dark sequel to the decidedly brighter Eolyn. I hope you will stop by to read it, if you haven't already. The post was written from the heart, and brings to light some of the formative experiences of my own youth.

Eve Brackenbury is opening a new store in historic downtown Blue Springs, called the Inklings Books and Coffee Shop.  She's invited me to do a signing there the evening of May 22nd. Author Mary C. Chambers will also be with us, and Rich Tuttle will be playing music inspired by Tolkien. The fun starts at 6pm; see the flyer below for more information.

ConQuesT 45 is on its way, and I am very excited! We'll be at the Marriott in downtown Kansas City on Memorial Day Weekend. If you'd like to attend my panels and readings, see my schedule for ConQuesT 45.

That's the news for now. I hope you are in for a great week.