Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"A Question of Boundaries" finds a home at Astraea Press

Some of you who follow this blog may remember a story I wrote called "A Question of Boundaries." The heroine is Caroline Featherstone who is searching for her father, the inventor Gideon Featherstone, whom she fears has been kidnapped by scoundrels who want to get their hands on his latest invention.

The setting is an alternate history in which Thomas Jefferson accepted the crown and became ruler of the United States. It is true that it was offered to Gen. George Washington, who refused and subsequently became our first president. What is not as well known is that a secret committee traveled to Europe to offer the crown to Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) then living in Florence, Italy. It is reported that he refused. This is an obscure historical fact, but you can look it up.

In the story, Caroline lives in an alternate world where the Jefferson Dynasty has ruled for nearly 100 years. The United States also cut itself off from contact from the rest of the world when threatened by a devastating plague that arose following the end of the War of 1812. A self-sufficient society, no one wants to re-open the borders and risk almost certain death.

There are some, however, including Nathan Llewellen, who believe the threat of plague disappeared decades earlier and want to open the borders to commerce and immigration (the labor force is getting decidedly sparse).

As Caroline and Nathan join forces, our plucky if naive heroine finds leaving her safe and boring home puts her in several dangerous situations. She also meets some strange allies and discovers that there is more to the world than she imagined.

I wrote this purely for fun, filling it with paranormal creatures and alternate worlds within an alternate world, along with some good old-fashioned fist-fights and subterfuge.

I sent it out a few times, but no one was interested. Then I received a rejection for a different story from Astraea Press. The editor asked if I had anything else to submit.

The only manuscript I had ready was "Boundaries." So I sent it in.

It was accepted. and, I might add, the acceptance letter languished in my SPAM mailbox until I decided to check it a week later.

I did a happy dance for the story I'd had so much fun writing. I hope others will place their tongues firmly in their cheeks and go along for the ride.

I'll let you know when it becomes available. Meanwhile, I am sending Caroline and Nathan to New Orleans, the capital of Floriana, where they are sussing out the political climate for King Thomas the Fourth.

And yes, Louisiana became a state in 1812 and the borders were closed in 1815. So how did Louisiana get on the wrong side of the border and why did it join forces with Florida?

That, I hope, will be in Book Two.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet Wendy Knight

Today I would like you to meet Wendy Knight. She is the author of a young adult urban fantasy series called Fate on Fire. The next book in the series, Spark of a Feudling, will be released tomorrow. The book also includes a bonus story in the back.

A little about Wendy:

     Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of the young adult series Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
     You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

Here the blurb:

     Hate can start a war, but a shattered heart can fuel it for centuries.
     Everything Ada does is wrong. She’s the daughter of a Duke but she isn’t proper or formal. She prefers the company of her servants—particularly Christian, the boy she’s loved since she was six years old, and his sister, Charity, Ada’s very best friend in the entire world.
     Ada isn’t just the daughter of a Duke. No, she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Edren sorcerers alive, and no matter how strong she is, it isn’t strong enough. Ada will give up almost everything to earn her father’s pride.
     Christian has loved Ada since the day his mother became her governess. But two societies are determined to keep them apart—the aristocracy who say a groom will never be good enough for a Duke’s beautiful daughter, and the sorcerers who say a Carules and an Edren can never be together. Christian will do anything to make Ada his—even drive himself to madness.
     When Ada suspects her father of hurting Charity and Christian in his quest for knowledge, she is torn between loyalty to him, and a fierce determination to protect them. The division tears her soul and breaks her heart.
     The pieces of her broken heart will start a war that can only be stopped by the death of the most powerful warrior alive by the hand of the boy who loves her.

 **Bonus Story –Feudlings in Peace**Join  Ari, Shane, Ada, Christian 
and everyone they love as they chase their happily ever after.

       He sprinted down the path, into the forest, leaping over huge rocks and tree roots and through streams he couldn’t see but his magic told him were there. He had no idea where he was going, but there seemed to be a tether from his heart to hers — he always knew where Ada was. He ran straight to them, nearly colliding with her father’s guards as he raced through the thick trees.
     “What happened to her?” he bellowed, jerking Ada out of Davis’s bloodstained arms.
     “She was hit, saving me,” Harrison answered. “Can you help her?”
     If there had been time, any time at all, Christian would have paused at that. How exactly had his tiny little Ada saved the giant Harrison? But there wasn’t time. He laid her on the thick grass, searching for the wound. But there was so much blood.
     “There!” Davis snapped, jabbing the air above her stomach.
     Flames roiled across Christian’s hands and he held them above her, letting the flames soothe the skin before he tried to touch it. They swirled through the air, seeping and mending the broken, charred skin.
     “Does she breathe?” Harrison asked, crouching close to put his face next to her mouth.
     Christian ignored him. He didn’t care if she breathed or not.
     She would breathe, or he would die with her.
     “She does.” Harrison sat back, relieved.
     “Can you not heal at all? Stop the blood flow from her shoulder!” Christian snapped.
     Harrison gaped at him. “We’re Edren. We don’t heal.”
     “I’m Carules and I can throw a lirik if need be,” Christian muttered under his breath, but he couldn’t argue with them now.
     She moaned.
     They all froze in shock, and then redoubled their efforts. Davis jerked his shirt off and held it to her shoulder while Christian’s blue flames leaped and danced from his hands, fighting the poison eating through her body.
     “Christian. I knew—” she whispered as her skin healed, leaving only pink burns behind.
     “Shhh. Don’t speak. You’re still very weak.” He moved from her stomach to her shoulder, pushing Davis’ shirt out of the way. It was stiff with dried blood and she shrieked when he ripped it from the wound. “Forgive me, dear one,” he whispered, his mouth near her temple, kissing the pain away. “Forgive me.”
     “I knew… you would come. I knew you… could heal me.” Her eyes fluttered open, dazed with pain, dark orbs barely reflecting the moonlight.
     “Always, Ada. Forever.”

Here's where you can find Wendy:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What gets you moving toward your dream?

What inspires you?

What is it that suddenly clicks and gets you moving toward your dream?

For me, it's being around creative people. This has been a great month for soaking up the will and confidence I need to keep going. I attended a workshop last Saturday where the speaker talked about creativity. We are all creative beings, but some, if not  most, of us lost that creative spark somewhere between toddlerhood and adolescence.

How do we get it back?

Mostly, we don't even try. We defeat ourselves by saying, "I'm not good enough."

So what? Someone is always going to paint, write, sing, compose, play an instrument better than you or me. Why should that stop us? Especially if painting  or writing or whatever-it-is is our passion.

Last night we listened to Dr. Wayne Dyer. Again, I was inspired to keep working toward my dream of becoming not just "a writer" but the best writer I can be because this is what I am meant to do.

We all get discouraged. I know I do, with every bad critique or rejection. That's when I decide not to dwell on it any longer than to absorb the lessons I need to learn. Then I look for positive reinforcement from people who push me beyond the urge to give up.

I have two more conferences scheduled in the next few weeks and I'm sure I will continue to be encouraged and supported by the lessons I will learn and the words I will hear.

What keeps you moving toward your goal?

Maybe you find inspiration in a book or sermon, or from a friend's counsel. Or from nature, or music.

I'd love to hear from you if you want to share.