Release of TERMS Episode II: Terms of Defilement

Terms of Defilement - Master Cover

We’re two for two! November was TERMS Episode I: Terms of Derangement and now for December, I give you TERMS Episode II: Terms of Defilement, with an even better cover, I think, than the first book!

Seriously, this cover has a story. My cover artist was trapped in a house without electricity for days, pushing back the project by a week. It wasn’t a little storm, we’re talking act of God type storm, just under hurricane in some parts of his state. So I tried not to be nervous and sat on my hands. But he came through! I am not joking, this is a fully original work, based on several scenes in the book. He mixed up Hollywood style blood and then used a highly dangerous heat gun to raise the temperature of the glass. Afterwards, he dropped the vials in buckets of ice water to make the cracks, then broke them until he got one right. I do not pay this guy enough. The next cover, for TERMS of Denouncement, involves fire. Considering my cover artist has a fascination for the element, I’m hoping there’s video of the photo shoot. Maybe, maybe not!

So, here’s a little about the story.

Far from the coal smoke and rain of his queen’s capital of Saxony, Lord Enforcer Jarvis has fallen. His only friend is Telos, the snow leopard shifter he saved from certain death, at risk of his own life. And they are surrounded by the Night Children that Lord Jarvis is sworn to fight, vampires, werewolves, shifters, genies, and witches. Desperate, Telos begs the vampire queen for Jarvis’s life.

There is more at stake than one man’s life. In Jarvis’s blood run secrets, about to be exposed. There is a new enemy. The world of progress and the gods of the past are about to meet.

For Telos, though, the world is simple. He craves survival for the man who rescued him. Even if he can find clemency from the vampire queen for the Saxony lord, he may still not be able to save the man he has come to love, from the most dangerous enemy of all, Jarvis’s own soul. Meanwhile, Telos himself is not whole. His mind, cruelly tortured by a warmongering warlock, is a walking Pandora’s Box of terror. Yet Telos is still determined to risk it all.

For Jarvis, it is a choice, between his loyalty as a lord enforcer of the proud Saxony empire, or a daring and uncertain future on the wrong side of his code of honor. And more than his life, or even Telos’s life may depend on the decision of his heart.

That’s all for today, everyone! I’m going to go put my nose to paper for Episode III.

Posted in Fantasy, Publishing, Terms, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

This Should NOT Have Happened

Yesterday afternoon, as I was getting ready to wrap up at my office, I heard a shriek. Someone said, “There’s been a mass shooting, in Paris.”

I put my head back down and kept working. I think a lot of us did. On the other side of the ocean, for something that had already happened, there wasn’t anything we could do, right that moment. We continued. Not as if nothing had happened, but because that is the requirement of life, continuing.

Reading the news this morning, I feel horror and resignation that this is going to part of my life time, standing against intolerance and the seeing the world fight over it’s future narrative. I want to write some sort of response, to talk about how reading novels promoted my own tolerance of difference or express about the fact that the IS is NOT necessarily the true representative of the Islamic religion, as I have met it among my friends, students and classmates. That’s all true.

For now, though, I will take a moment of silence, in respect for those for whom this is not academic, but horribly real. It hardly seems sufficient.

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Published: TERMS of Derangement is on Amazon

Cover Design by Noah Flaherty

TERMS of Derangement is published on Amazon. What more is there to say, other than thank you, to all my beta readers, those who have been reading each week online and my wonderful team. This is a story of intrigue, religion clashing with race, shape shifters, steampunk AU on the edge of the industrial revolution, and vampires. I hope you enjoy reading about young were leopard Telos and Enforcer Jarvis as much as I enjoyed getting to know them and telling their story.

It’s been a long week: new job, great family news and I’ve been setting up to publish all week. I shall now pour myself some spiked eggnog, put up my feet and go to sleep.

Well, actually no. I’m in Starbucks, drinking coffee, working on TERMS of Defilement and TERMS of Denouncement and writing to my street team, and readers that yes, the day is finally here. The first episode of Telos and Jarvis’s story is officially published in book form.

Here’s the synopsis. Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed the earlier versions:

The Royal Enforcers protect the land of Saxony from pirates, vampires and the like. Their strict code of loyalty to the Crown includes executing any Night Children found within the empire. Lord Jarvis, a Royal Enforcer driven by justice, is grateful to the Crown and the Church for saving his life as a child. However, his years of service to both have left him with more blood on his hands than peace in his mind.

Telos, a young feline shape shifter, is tossed on a Saxony beach by a warlock. As he hides in the cobblestone streets of the capital, he fears for his life, being what he is – a Night Child, a creature not entirely human. Discovered by Lord Jarvis, Telos is given a choice – a death to end his miserable existence or begging for mercy from a man known as a mass executioner.

Faced with both Telos’s innocence of spirit and the Queen’s brutal command, Lord Jarvis must fight with more than his sword to maintain a remnant of his soul.

While I’m being grateful, I need to pass on a note of thanks to Michael Stackpole. Reading his books inspired me as a young person to tell stories and listening to his podcast taught me how to tell a story to the end, properly. Also, sincere regards towards the Self Publishing Podcast with Johnny, Sean and Dave. They’re my kind of crazy and have taught me so much.

All right, enough of author notes. Go enjoy Terms of Derangement and please, leave a review, either on Amazon or Goodreads.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Publishing, Terms | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading Recommendations: Bonds of Fire

Bonds of Fire

I’ve been playing on Wattpad lately and enjoying it immensely. It’s probably not very good for my sleep habits. I wanted to share this story that I recently finished reading. It’s novella length and well edited.

Here’s the synopsis from Wattpad:

Drekken is a dragon warrior. Bonded to his dragon, Miri, together they lead a squadron of fliers. His fliers respect him, his enemies fear him, his reputation precedes him. Yet, nothing in his life could have prepared Drekken for his greatest challenge: babysitting.

Stranded after a deadly battle, separated from his squadron and Miri, Drekken finds himself the only hope for two young empaths and their nursery group of hatchlings. He must lead them all to safety and, along the way, discover some truths about himself.

While reading this, I found myself appreciating Drekken’s point of view, his struggles and fell for the two young empaths as he did, step by step. Also, who can resist cute, baby dragons who really, really need parents!

So, there’s my recommendation. I saw that the story didn’t have many reads and thought it was a shame. Let’s change that!

And no, the author doesn’t know I’m posting this. I’ve never spoken with her, though I’ve left her a comment on Wattpad. This is an entirely unbiased post…wait, no, it’s not unbiased. The presence of baby dragons and a plausible threesome….hm….I’m definitely biased.

Enjoy! 

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The Cover: Terms of Derangement

It’s here, the cover for TERMS of Derangement. And I couldn’t be more pleased. Noah Flaherty, my cover designer, was very patient with me and even learned new techniques and made excellent suggestions to help make this vision a reality. Publish date is set for November 7th, 2015.

To get a reminder of when the book goes live on Amazon, sign up for the mailing list.

Cover Design by Noah Flaherty

Cover Design by Noah Flaherty

 

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Publishing on November 7th, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I will be publishing TERMS of Derangement, the first episode in the TERMS series, on Amazon, on November 7th.

Here are some of the reviews I’ve gotten back from readers who have been following chapter releases on adulfanfiction.org for the last month.

“I love the depth you have put into an obviously expansive story/universe. I hope for my own desires that things get dark but to be honest I am loving that you are writing with eloquence and beautiful fluidity so much that I will continue reading this no matter which direction you take. Thank you for your art.” – Jay

“I really love your Story! Can’t wait for more! Poor Telos! Really want to know What happens next! Thanks for sharing!” – abhila

“Thanks a lot for sharing your fabulous story. This is as good as Pegasus King. Even better with the kitty cat … ^_^ He is soooo adorable (hearts, hearts, hearts) I can’t wait for Fridays to read more :)” – Roya7

If you have been reading TERMS of Derangement here or elsewhere online, please drop by on November 7th and help promote the book on Amazon. Buys would be amazing and positive reviews are gold. I’ll put links up here when they go live.

Thank you for all the support and encouragement. It’s humbling to have such excited readers and I will do my absolute best to continue to excite, create, torture and generally assist in the pleasure of escapism!  The second episode in the TERMS series, TERMS of Defilement, has been put into the hands of my alpha reader and is on schedule to be released in early December.

Posted in Publishing, Terms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Telos is in Trouble: Lucy the T-rex and the Snow Leopards

Telos is in trouble. Telos usually is, you may say. This time, though, it’s not in the pages book were an author can be persuaded to rescue him. Telos is a snow leopard. He’s also an MC of my current book. So, naturally of late, I’ve had an open eye for reports and anything else related to snow leopards.

What I read this afternoon reminded me of my recent visit to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Right outside the long, detailed and wonderful section of the museum on evolution and the 6 mass exterminations in the earth’s history was a case with a taxidermy of a beautiful snow leopard , in eye shot of Lucy, the massive and well preserved fossil of a T-rex. It must be an ill omen or a not so subtle hint.

Accord to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund, more than a third of the snow leopards’ habitat is in danger of being destroyed by climate change and climate change related events. According to the museum information placards, we are loosing species everyday, even species we don’t even know were existing beside us.

Much of the snow leopards natural territory is in Central Asia.

Map Credit: Found on http://www.snowleopard.org

Because of the geopolitics of today, for example, the war in Afghanistan or China’s militarization of Tibet, it is difficult to create a strong protection plan linking the multiple countries contributing to the snow leopard’s demise. Some of the destructive behavior is fueled by poverty and greed in terms of illegal hunting. The market in China for tiger bone, used by some practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, remains active and snow leopard has become a replacement for those who cannot obtain actual tiger remains.

Not only is illegal practices in Chinese traditional medicine doing away with snow leopard populations, but grazing grounds shifting higher as snow melts in the Himalaya and revenge killings by farmers and ranchers also in-roading on the populations. The World Wildlife Fund estimates there are only a little over 4,000 snow leopards left in the wild and the species is listed as endangered.

I hate reading and writing about topics when I feel I can’t change anything. It’s not in my psyche to just stand around and watch tragic events happen.

So, if you’re like me, here’s a site to get involved. www.snowleopard.org/give.

Meanwhile, I’m off to write a short blurb and add it to the back of Terms of Derangement to raise awareness that it’s not just Saxony out to kill Telos, it’s also global warming, pouching and poverty also out to get him.

Photo Credit: found on Worldwildlife.org.

Posted in Terms, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Writing Product Descriptions is NOT for the Faint of Heart

Genre Map

For the last four weeks, I’ve been posting chapters from Terms of Derangement both here and adultfanfiction.net. Last year, I posted the entire book Pegasus King two chapters a week to adultfanfiction.net as well. I think readership in my genre area may be going down, partly due to more quality stories being self-published and never appearing on the free sites anymore. But that’s for another post. I’ve been quite happy with the reception for the free chapters, the feedback from my developmental editor Lorelei Logsdon and my alpha reader Lady R.

So, I’m going ahead with my plans to publish on Amazon. There’s been a lot more feedback and preparation for this release than I did for Skere. Actually, I’ve learned so much about marketing since June 2014 when I had Skere on Amazon, that I’ve not only pulled it from the shelves, but also decided to entirely rebrand it, retitle it for future marketability and keyboarding and go in new direction with the marketing.

While I have a lot more to learn, I know I have to go ahead, make some more mistakes and publish again. And for those of you who have been asking about Pegasus King and the sequel, yes, that story is near and dear to me and will be published, just not this month and probably not till after the first of the year. I hear you! And thank you for asking.

So, I’m currently trying to pen a perfect product description for Terms of Derangement. I’ve done my research, read a lot of descriptions, read Gotta Read It! by Libbie Hawker and asked some friends who’s word crafting skills I respect.

Here’s what I have so far.

Version 1:

Lord Jarvis lives his life by a strict code of loyalty; however, his years of service to the Crown have left him with more blood on his hands than peace. Entrusted with executing all Night Children found within the empire, Lord Jarvis is required to kill any shifter, vampire, unchurched witch or fay that he finds.

Telos, a young feline shapeshifter, knows that his life forfeit after he is tortured and tossed on a Saxony beach. Discovered by Lord Jarvis, Telos must choose between death or seeking pity from a man who is said to have none.

Faced with Telos’s innocent spirit and the Queen’s command, Lord Jarvis must fight with more than his sword to maintain a remnant of his soul.

_____________________

Version 2:

The Royal Enforcers protect the land of Saxony from pirates, vampires and the like. Their strict code of loyalty to the Crown also includes executing any Night Children found within the empire.

Lord Jarvis, a Royal Enforcer driven by justice, is grateful to the Crown and the Church for saving his life as a child. Still, his years of service to both have left him with more blood on his hands than a peaceful state of mind.

Telos, a young shapeshifter, is tossed on a Saxony beach. As he hides in the cobblestone streets of the capital, he fear for his life, being what he is – a Night Child.

Once discovered by Lord Jarvis, Telos has a choice – a death to end his miserable existence or to beg  for mercy from the man known as a mass executioner.

Faced with Telos’ innocence of spirit and the Queen’s command, Lord Jarvis must fight with more than his sword to maintain a remnant of his soul.

_____________________

Version 3:

Lord Jarvis lives his life by a strict code of loyalty to the Crown of Saxony, as a Royal Enforcer, entrusted with executing any Night Children found within the empire and protecting Saxony borders from pirates, vampires or unchurched sorceresses.  Driven by justice and a yearning need to render back gratitude to the Crown and the Church for saving his life as a child, Lord Jarvis’s years of service have left him with more blood on his hands than peaceful dreams.

After he is tossed on a Saxony beach, Telos, a young injured shapeshifter tries to hide in the cobblestone streets of the capital city, well aware that his shapeshifter status will mark him as a Night Child. When he is discovered by Lord Jarvis, he must choose between a death that would end his miserable existence at last or seek pity from a man who is known throughout the world as a mass executioner.

Faced with Telos’s innocent and helpless question and the queen’s command, Lord Jarvis must fight with more than his sword to maintain a remnant of his soul.

________________________

If you have a thought, please leave it in the comments. Or you can just laugh and enjoy. Words never seem to come out right the first time, especially copy writing!

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Relationships: Holding Them Together

I had an exciting text from one of the teenagers in my life this past week. She just starting going out with her first boyfriend — they look so cute together!

                         Picture Credit: via Wikipedia — Author: Alarob

The truth is, young love isn’t always built to last. Being a thoughtful young lady, this teenager asked for relationship advice.

What do you say? It’s one of the more important questions anyone can ever ask and I treated it with the relevant seriousness.

I’d never hold my fiction up as dating advice, though lessons I’ve learned have ended up on the page. Frankly, this teenager hasn’t read my writing yet! It should be labeled as anti-dating advice. My characters don’t date! They end up in the middle of wars, trapped together, enslaved to each other, half-dead more likely or not, or cursed.

My real life relationship is atypical. Knyght, my husband, is my first and only boyfriend. Ten years later, two years into legal marriage and I still date him, with hopefully man more years to come.

                           Picture Credit: via wikipedia by Candida Performa

And that, is my best advice on relationships. Talk, pursue, seduce, never, ever take the other for granted. Communicate and strive to be selfless. That is what has kept Knyght and I together, despite everything that could have torn us apart, from coming from difference racial backgrounds, being separated by oceans, multiple times, or spending the last six months bouncing around from place to place, unemployed since our company in China suddenly shut down and we lost our visas. It’s vital to continue to learn about our partners, even after we’ve been together for years, perhaps especially after we’ve been together for years. People change. I’ve certainly changed. Today, I went back and read some of my old writing. Seriously, I used to be quite religious! That’s not me, anymore. If Knyght still assumed I was religious and ran our relationship on those assumption, well…let’s put it this way….sex would be nowhere near as much fun.

Just think though, this means you’re not stuck with the same person your entire life! It’s the same wonderful memories and shared vocabulary and history, but a new person that keeps evolving! Seriously, ladies, find your heels and diamonds, or your combat boots and cargo pants and get out and dirty with that special someone again. Guys, iron a shirt once in a while, dust off the leather shoes or whatever else gets your special someone hot and bothered and both of you, go do something together!

Everyone has their own style of relationships. Some people need to yell, or so it appears, and have stormy fights and then amazing make-up sex afterwards. If I could find a way to have the amazing make-up sex without the fight before hand, I would! However, the thought of fighting with Knyght is incomprehensible to me. It would be like shoving a blade in my own flesh. To be honest, I don’t see the point of fighting. It’s very rare that people disagree completely. It’s more likely to be a rough day, a difficult decision. Your partner should be the one in your corner. If they are not, you have something else to be talking about, and it’s not the grocery list or where little Sally is going to go to school. I love the fact that Knyght plays video games. All his aggression and frustration goes straight into snapping off bogies and when he’s finished, I get this warm, cuddly guy afterwards. For me, when I become agitated, Knyght will just quietly suggest that perhaps I should be writing. Leaving it all on the page usually takes care of my issues, at least the ones that want to spout all over the place and make grumpy little monsters in the room.

                              Picture Credit: http://www.warrenphotographic.co.uk/

Coming back to my teenage mentee, or anyone asking for relationship advice, I really cannot say it enough. Talk. Talk about the whether, talk about you childhoods, talking about you dream, do things together and then talk about what you did. Don’t assume and never take for granted. Those are the things you can control. Jobs, the tides of politics or economics, most of us can’t effect very consistently. But our choices and our words, we can. In Terms of Derangement, Telos speaks very little. That’s one of the reasons that his relationship with Jarvis moves so slowly. Without communication, very little can happen!

But definitely don’t take dating advice from my characters Telos and Jarvis. They both have issues. Their issues have issues! It’s fantasy! Which is also fun in relationships, but that’s an entire different post.

Posted in People, Relationships | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Mars Chastises Cupid

Mars Chastises Cupid (image obtained from wikipedia.com and labeled for reuse.) 

People have not been, historically, completely repressed. The more I learn of human history, the less I believe in the “good old days”. That’s not to say it was all bad! Actually, the best parts of humanity seemed to be scattered over the centuries, as if they cannot coalesce into one place and time, all together.

Knyght and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. There was so much that we did not have time to see, but we certainly enjoyed the painting above, “Mars Chastising Cupid”. Indeed, I believe Knyght’s comments may have slightly burned the ears of the matronly lady beside us. If you are reading Terms of Derangement, I can only suppose you know in what directions my thoughts were running. And evidently, I’m not the only one.

Frankly, when I turned around and saw this gorgeously colored work of art on the wall, I was rather surprised to see it hung in public. It is large, at least five feet tall and three feet wide. The placard on the wall had some statement eluding to Mars pushing Cupid for making him have an affair with the woman in the painting. I had eyes only for Cupid and Mars, however. In person, the women in the left hand corner rather fades from sight, when compared to Cupid’s glowing skin and the raw energy of Mars.

So, my dear readers, I ask you, what do you see? If you go over it carefully, does Cupid look like he is being punished? Is he struggling? Do you see his hand, nearly relaxed in Mar’s grip? Does Mars actually appear that angered or is he enjoying himself?

I saw a piece of beautifully kinky homoerotic art.  What do you see? Do you agree with some viewers as quoted in the Chicago Tribune?

Out of all the old paintings, this was definitely my favorite of the day. And I do not apologize! Please share, if you have a favorite piece of old art that has been sanctified by time.

Posted in Art, Fantasy, Mythology | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments