"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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Plans and Prospects

Nothing pleases a geek more than
a fresh set of bookshelves!
Classes have started now at Avila, and wow! We have hit the ground running. New offices, new labs, new faculty, new students, new textbooks, new courses, and soon in my house - out of necessity - a new air conditioner.

Sometimes it seems the whole universe has gone into renewal mode. Not surprisingly, I am inspired to follow suit.

Setting up my new office and labs at Avila has been thoroughly exciting. The space is so much more comfortable than what I had before, with a big desk and proper bookshelves, and most important, space to receive and meet with students. The first time I walked into my office, I thought, "I could have a party in here!" In a sense, I will be hosting a party, an academic party focused on supporting students in their journey through the exciting and challenging field of biology.

Maybe I'll inspire a few of them to write, too.

Having new digs on campus has pricked my skin a little, and now I want new digs on line, too. I've been thinking a lot these past few weeks about new and better forums for engaging with fans of Eolyn and readers of fantasy.

Typically about once a year I remodel my blog, and that will almost certainly happen again between now and December. But I would also like to set up an entirely new 'virtual' office. So I am in the process of designing a proper website, a domain that carries my name and that will serve as a central gathering point for readers interested in the kinds of stories I have to offer.

Konza Prairie is the destination for our new interdisciplinary
course, Ecology Through the Writer's Lens.
There's no tight deadline on the new web site, but as a loose goal I intend to have something up and running for the World Fantasy Convention at the beginning of November. It may happen before then, depending on time and inspiration.

For those of you who follow this blog, Eolyn Chronicles will continue to be my place for weekly posts. The website will include links to this site as well as to Heroines of Fantasy. 

What do I want from my new web site? I want it to be cosy, exciting, inviting. I hope that, upon arriving at the site, my visitors will feel welcome, and that they will have the sense of standing on the threshold of a great and magical adventure.  To that end, I'm working on banner ideas, text copy, and so forth. As the web site comes together, I will probably make changes here and on my Facebook page to have continuity between the different platforms.

This is the start of the exciting news - there is more to come. This fall I will be welcoming guest authors and hosting giveaways and special offers. We are also looking forward to the release of an audio edition of High Maga before the year is out. And of course, work continues on Daughter of Aithne. 

Those are the updates for the moment. Have something new in your life right now? I'd love to hear about it! Let the fun begin.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I've had to hit the ground running after an amazing and intense summer with the Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience (NAPIRE) Program in Costa Rica.

With classes starting on Wednesday at Avila, I am working hard to organize syllabi and lectures.  I have one brand new course plus two courses with new edition textbooks. So there's a lot of work ahead in the coming months, but also a lot of excitement.

The new general biology lab at Avila University.
As if preparing for class weren't enough, we have brand new installations in O'Reilly Hall. Offices and labs were gutted last summer and completely remodeled.  I have a beautiful office complete with shiny new furniture and REAL bookshelves. I also, for the first time since joining the faculty at Avila, have my own designated lab for personal and student research.  Setting up house in the new digs this week has been a real joy, but also a real distraction. At this point I'm not sure just what I will have ready for my students by the time classes start on Wednesday (save for my bright and happy smile), but I've been in this business long enough to know that somehow it will all get done.

Speaking of that "somehow", while the NAPIRE experience was unforgettable, and while I am so very glad I participated in the program as co-coordinator this year, it is true that the decision to work at Las Cruces meant some sacrifices in other parts of my life.

My niece with Grandpa, Dad, and cousin Gary at the
King Tut exhibit, Union Station, Kansas City, Missoui.
One of those sacrifices was time with my family, most especially my husband, but I also missed a valuable opportunity to see my brother when he came through Kansas City with my nieces, ages 3 and 6, this summer. He and his family live in Hong Kong, so every moment they spend with us in the States is precious, especially with the girls growing up so fast.

The other sacrifice was my writing. Summer has traditionally been a time to get a significant chunk done on the WIP (work in progress), but with the level of dedication required to keep NAPIRE running, it just wasn't possible to move forward that much on Eolyn's final adventure in Daughter of Aithne. 

That being said, I can't really complain. While I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, I did complete the revision of the first 70,000 words of the manuscript, which began last January. During the course of eight months, I threw out major chunks of material, rewrote entire scenes and chapters, and tightened up everything that I decided to keep. And while the word count ticker didn't moved that much, I am approaching the 80K mark on this project. I guess that's nothing to sneeze at.

All things considered, this is where I wanted
to be this summer. Everything else would
just have to wait.
I also at last finished my short story submission for the Faelon Anthology, a special project of DGS Games and the Dead Horse Society. Will they accept it? I don't know, but at least I managed to write a short story, and one that I am proud of.

Those of you who follow my blog may be aware that short stories are my nemesis. I have a couple out there floating around, but for the most part it's hard for me to confine my story telling to something inside 5000 or 10,000 words.  The Faelon short, for the moment entitled "Lamya of the Sea" clocks in at around 6500 words. I started it last November and finished about two weeks ago, which puts my average on this one at 650 words a month.

Sometimes I despair at how little writing I can get done with all my other commitments, but if the Faelon project has taught me anything, it is that the old saying still holds true:

Slow and steady wins the race. 

With the fall semester just starting, you can look forward to regular posts on this blog again. Many thanks to everyone who followed me during the summer as I blog hopped during Eolyn's Amazing Audio Book Tour.  High Maga is scheduled for release this fall, so be looking for another blog tour and giveaway not too far down the road.

My other family: NAPIRE 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Winners of Eolyn's Audio Book Giveaway

Many thanks to everyone who participated in Eolyn's Amazing Audio Book Tour and Giveaway! We had so many Rafflecopter entries that I decided to be extra generous and give away seven free copies instead of five. (Many thanks to my publisher Hadley Rille Books for being amenable to this idea!) The winners are:

Keri Rison
Elliot Waugh
Blair Smyth
Zoe Blair
Lora Madera
Rob Finney
Lucki Grrl

If you are on the winner's list and you haven't heard from me by email, drop me a line at eolyn.of.the.south.woods[at]gmail[dot]com. I will get your download code to you right away.

Thank you again, and enjoy the adventure!