Catch up!

Well, well, well! I have got some news–good and bad–to share. We’ll start with the bad, because it’s not really that bad so much as it is me being dramatic. I have unfortunately come down with a cold. Yes, you guessed it. Sick panda has returned.

sick panda

The liiiight. It BURNS!

I’m not that bad, yet. Sadly I know it will get worse as I had the “privilege” to watch my sister go through all the symptoms. The worst day will be tomorrow, but I’ll probably be hopped up on meds for the next few days, which will make for some interesting blog posts.

But! The good news! I finished The Snow Queen and it is off to Editor #1 for the next few weeks! For those who are watching my release schedule, yes, The Snow Queen isn’t set to release until mid December. Unfortunately, Editor #2’s schedule is packed in the late fall/early winter, so I needed to write the manuscript and get it into the editing process as quickly as possible. However, worry not! My release schedule is still on time, so Endeavor from the King Arthurs series will release in November. I even have a little wiggle room at this point, something that is rare for me.

More good news: I’ve finally sent Cinderella and the Colonel to the formatters! This means you can expect to see it in paperback in September. As this time I have an inkling of what I’m doing, it should be done more quickly, so I can confidently say it will be out before the end of September, but privately I’m hoping it will be ready to go by mid September.

That’s about it for today. I intend to use my window of active brain cells to do some editing, so I need to hop off to work. Good luck to all you students and those with careers involved in the education world as you return to school. Personally, I cannot WAIT for school to start (it begins tomorrow for my area) as Perfect Dog and I always get swarmed by kids walking to school–something that greatly pleases Perfect Dog as she is highly social and thinks that I am a hermit/social leper. Until next time, Champions!

Long Live the King!

Wow! For the King Arthur Popularity Poll, Britt Arthurs had a runaway win, consisting of 163 votes! Second came Merlin with 131 votes, and Kay trailing just behind him with 116 votes. Next came Sir Gawain (38 votes) Nymue (27 votes) and Morgan (26 votes). You can check out the rest of the results in the post below, but I’m thrilled that Britt is such a resounding favorite! (She got nearly 30% of the votes. You go girl!)

So far this month I’ve managed to close out a few projects and get a few edits live. I’ve also been able to catch up on some reading, so I thought I would share a few of the books I’ve found.

Jackaby: I got this gem at the local library, it’s a historical, paranormal, mystery. It might sound like an odd mash-up, but it’s absolutely delightful! It follows the heroine who is in desperate need of employment and ends up serving as the assistant for Jackaby–investigator of the paranormal.

If you are a fan of fantasy and Sherlock Holmes, this book is meant for you. Because I know it’s a concern for some of you, I need to say it can be bloody–although not to the levels of thriller-gore as it is a YA book. It’s got more blood and death than I usually read, but the characters are so brilliant and the dialogue is fun and snappy!

Frederica: I bought myself a Kindle Unlimited subscription, and I devoured a lot of Georgette Heyer’s books. This is a sweet historical novel with a touch of romance that is guaranteed to keep you laughing! The story follows our Frederica and her efforts to launch her younger sister into London society with the help of her reluctant-bachelor-guardian-who-isn’t-really-her-guardian.

I felt like the last fourth of the book dragged a little because there was less humor and a little more drama, but it was still a charming book with clean romance and a lot of laughter.

The Emperor’s Edge: Wow, just, wow. This book can be picked up for free on Amazon (it’s the first in the series) and it is an absolute treasure. The characters in the book are hysterical and unique, and the plot is gripping. This book follows Amaranthe, one of the few female enforcers (police) in her fantasy/steam-punk world. Through a series of unfortunate events, Amaranthe is marked for death by the commanding general–who also happens to be guilty of drugging and manipulating the young emperor. For the good of the country, Amaranthe must get the general cast out of favor, rescue the emperor, and hopefully restore her honor with the help of her unlikely, motley crew.

Like Jackaby, it had more blood than I usually go for–one of the main characters is an assassin, so you can imagine how much carnage he causes–but these characters! They do the funniest things and they have some of the best conversations! I don’t know if I can give the rest of the series my stamp of approval (I’m reading book two, and so far it hasn’t been as funny, its had a few crude lines as you see the motley crew without Amaranthe there to civilize them, and it is a little worse gore-wise, although the plot is just as inventive and dynamic) but book one is definitely worth the download. (Note, for you romance lovers King’s Edge has only the tiniest smidgen, so don’t enter into it expecting a love story. The author says the romance builds as the series progresses.)

So that’s what I’ve read recently. How about you guys?

Book questionnaire

Happy Tuesday everyone! I thought we could use a break from the question/answer posts, so today I’m doing a book meme/questionnaire thing. (Hoo, wow that made me sound intelligent.) As far as MY book news goes…I am not suspiciously busy because I’ve started to work on my next book whilst The Little Selkie is off getting edited. Nope. Certainly not. Nah….. Did I fool anyone?

Anyway, book questionnaire/meme/thing time!

List the book that you feel best fulfills the description!

1. What book has the best bromance/male friendship? That’s a tie between Rogue’s Home by Hilari Bell and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.

2. The best villain? Gaaaaaah I feel like there are too many choices for this one so I can’t even narrow it down. What do you think, Champions?

3. Best main female character? I waver a lot on this one, but Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde is consistently in my top choice, so I think it’s safe to say it’s the reigning champion.

4. Book that best describes your life? The Grimm Legacy. I am constantly running around doing research on the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales, so this book feels highly applicable.

5. What book was an unexpected treasure? I have to go with two on that: Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge and The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram. (I looove Libby!)

6. Best fairy tale retelling? I obviously read a lot of these, but the series “The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” by Christopher Healy is really high on my list. It’s silly and adorable, but I love it!

7. Best friendship? Based on the first question I would assume they mean female friendship this time, but I’m going to dodge that and say Pegasus by Robin McKinley. Never mind that I am most assuredly NOT SPEAKING to Mrs. McKinley due to her abandonment of the previously mentioned series, it still is, I believe, an incredible portrait of friendship.

8. Funniest-laugh-out-loud book? It’s a three-way tie between Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones, the Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (The Tiffany Aching books are in general hilarious due to the wee free men) and Myth Conceptions by Robert Asprin. Weirdly all three of these books belong to the fantasy genre.

9. Best Romance? Pride and Prejudice is a must for me, although there are lots of other options. What are your thoughts, Champions?

10. Best girl power series? Probably The Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce. I really like Kel, and I admire how loyal she is.

Those are my answers–at this time, anyway. My mind changes a lot based on what I’ve most recently read. What do you think, Champions?

Happy Thanksgiving and NEW FREEBIE

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! To everyone else, Happy beginning of Winter for those in the Northern Hemisphere and Happy beginning of Summer to those in the Southern hemisphere! I know technically the season won’t change for a few weeks, but winter has come extremely early to many parts of America so I find it inevitable.

As I am American, yesterday I celebrated American Thanksgiving! I had a lot of fun with my family and ate waaaay too much food, but it also got me thinking of all the things I’m thankful for. I know all of my Champions are a huge blessing on my life, so as a thank you today I’m releasing the final freebie from the list extravaganza contest, a short MBRC story titled Swindler. You can read the PDF file Here, or check it out on the freebies page.

I am hopeful that I will get a pre-order page up for Rumpelstiltskin early next week! After that it’s just a little bit of housekeeping, and then I will get started on book four of King Arthurs and her Knights! So, now I’m going to roll off and consume leftover pumpkin pie. Enjoy the freebie–I hope it satisfies you MBRC fans!

Nope, not going to happen

This week I was planning to release the King Arthurs and Her Knights drabbles, but sadly that is not going to happen. I’ve been editing Rumpelstiltskin so I can get it sent off to Editor tomorrow night. There’s a deadline because starting Friday morning I’m going on a three-day-weekend holiday/vacation. (Yay!) So I MUST finish it. The edit has been consuming me, which is why I haven’t had a chance to produce the drabbles.

The good news is that next week I will have plenty of time to write the drabbles and the MBRC themed short story, so you can expect a double dose of freebies then.

As long as we’re talking about books, though, I wanted to thank everyone for their book recommendations a few weeks ago. I did get a chance to read two Sherwood Smith books–Crown Duel and Trouble with Kings. They were the most highly/often recommended by you, Champions, so I wanted to try them out. I really enjoyed them! I think the heroine in Crown Duel made that book my favorite of the two. She was a little more spirited, and I sympathized with her initial awkwardness when she was introduced into noble-society. (High school, anyone?) However, I did enjoy the feelings of loyalty the second heroine seemed to inspire in everyone she met, and I thought her relationship with her brother was a nice touch. (Typically siblings are cardboard characters set up so the heroine/hero isn’t an only child. It was remarkable that in both books the siblings played important roles!) Both books did cause me to stay up late to finish them, which is an easy way for me to judge if a book is good or not. (Early to bed? Not a good book. Stay up so late I’m a zombie the following day? It was a very good book!) So, yes, thank you for the recommendations!

The most recent piece of entertainment I consumed, however, was going to see Big Hero 6 in theaters. Omgawsh. It made me laugh, it made me cheer, and it tore my heart out of my chest and made me a snotty mess. I thought Up was an emotional roller coaster? Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been topped.

And yes, I am referring to a kiddy-movie.

Tadashi Hamada: older brother to the main character, and my favorite Disney character EVER!

Tadashi Hamada: older brother to the main character, and my favorite Disney character EVER!

I particularly loved the characters in the film (surprise!) and I feel like it was a great example of how stark characters can be created without following typical stereotypes. After all, 4 of the 6 heroes were major geeks, and the movie still made the characters unique and individualistic.  I also really enjoyed it because I loved all the references to Japanese culture. I actually speak Japanese–or I used to, I’ve lost a lot of my speaking ability although my listening comprehension is about the same–and I admire and enjoy pieces of the Japanese culture.

If you haven’t seen it, give it a chance! (Just take a wad of tissues, because seriously. So much sadness!) Has anyone already seen it? What did you think? Also, because I am a book-hoarder, do any Champions have any additional recommendations?

Sad Panda Strikes Back

Sad Panda Strikes Back-and looks quite angry.

sad panda strikes back

For the poor Champions who have never experienced this metaphor of mine, when under considerable distress I liken myself to a panda. Because even angry pandas are cuter than what I really look like, which is more similar to roadkill.

I apologize for my lack of…well…being around. As this year seems to be the year of bizzaro diseases–2014 comes and suddenly I’m a walking petri dish for the weirdest sicknesses ever–I have come down with another incredibly painful “I’m-sorry-we-don’t-have-antibiotics-that-can-kill-this” sickness, this time affecting my throat and my ears! (Because multitasking wins!)

As soon as I finish this entry I’ll be hopping off to email the wonderful Champions who have been patiently waiting for me to send them the extra chapter of Farewell to the MBRC? I just wanted to let you know I’m alive. Also I wanted to add that next week I’ll be announcing a special contest!!! I need to iron out the rules and get my links lined up, but please look forward to it. If it works it seems like you all will enjoy the outcome.

In random news, I’ve been reading romance. I’ve talked with a few Champions who have mentioned they would like to see the ending scenes be a little more romantic–while retaining my signature level of “Clean-ness,” which is now a word because I’m in pain and I can’t find any cute panda pictures. Anyway, I’ve been reading the Austenland books by Shannon Hale (a MUST READ for any Austen fans) Edenbrook-a proper romance (this book was recommended to me by Editor and is a great favorite of mine) and Jane Austen books to get a better idea of how clean romance can be portrayed. Anyone have any authors or books they can recommend? Please leave me a comment! I’m sequestered in my house for the next few days to refrain from spreading this godzilla virus, so now is the time to read.

Thank you for reading, Champions. And stay tuned for the contest announcement next week!

Crawling to the finish line

I am excited to report that I am nearly done with MBRC II! I’m at 65,000 words, and I expect the book will be 70,000–perhaps a little longer. I am HOPING I can make a mad dash to the finish line, and officially end the first draft by this Saturday. Time will tell if I make it.

Anyway, it’s been quite a while since I last did a round of questions for Who Am I? So I found a few interesting-type questions on some author interview sites, and I’m including a few questions some Champions have posed to me.

Q: How do you come up with your book titles?
A: Usually I sit around for about 8 hours, pound my forehead with my fists, and snivel on the ground before I give up and call my mother to complain. I’m half joking. With a few books I know the titles right away. (My Timeless Fairy Tale series is a perfect example of that.) Other books give me trouble. Sometimes I’ll talk it over with my beta reader, other times I’ll make a list and choose what I think is the least stupid idea. It took me over a month to come up with the Timeless Fairy Tales series title. I was being extremely indecisive when one day I was languishing on my page for Beauty and the Beast, and the series title struck me. Naming a book is a lot like getting a bucket of ice water dumped on your head.

Q: Do you have a favorite character?
A: Yes, and no. I don’t have one top favorite character, but usually I have one or two special characters per book. Also, my definition of “favorite characters” usually morphs into “the most fun to write.” Currently a few of my favorites are: Isaac Eastgate, the Director of Saint Cloud Library from Life Reader (he has the best insults, and I love how cruel he is to Daire. He says the things to Daire that I would love to say to Daire!); Seir Ringali, Tari’s mentor from Red Rope of Fate (He also has the best insults, and he treats Arion like a dog which is always funny.) Sybilla the fairy godmother from Cinderella and the Colonel (She only appears for one scene, but it is one scene of pure win!); and Lancelot from King Arthurs and Her Knights (His two-faced personality is an absolute blast!).

Q: Do you have a least favorite character?
A: Hmmm, not really. Surprisingly my villain characters are usually interesting to write, so I don’t dislike them. I find Daire of Life Reader to be insufferable at times, and more than once I wanted to shake Arion while writing Red Rope of Fate. Possibly the WORST duo I ever worked with, though, were Elle and Severin. Talk about two people who were completely uninterested in each other. I enjoyed their characters over all, but I really had my work cut out for myself in herding those two together.

Q: If you could cast a Hollywood version of The Wild Swans, who would you get to play the main characters?
A: Oohh, that’s a fun question! Jennifer Lawrence would make an awesome Angelique. William Moseley (Peter from Chronicles of Narnia) is an absolute shoe-in for Rune. Lilly Collins would be a great Elise, and I don’t know who I would cast as Falk. Any ideas?

Q: If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
A: A koala, hands down. All they do is sleep, eat, and look cute as they either sleep or eat. Talk about the perfect life!

Q: What is your writing advice to hopeful writers?
A: It’s been said it takes 10,000 hours to become skillful at something. While I don’t think 10,000 is a magic number, I do know you have to invest a lot of time and practice in order to be great at something. It’s the same for writing. Try to carve out time each week to practice your craft, and be sure to get out of your comfort zone. Even if you’re only interested in writing fiction books try writing short stories, poems, song lyrics, kids books, adult books, news articles, book reviews, everything. The more you write, the more quickly you will become skilled at writing.

That’s all for this week, Champions. I’ll update you as soon as I finish MBRC II! (Yes, I promise I will come up with the official title soon. Read the top question again for an explanation for my tardiness in that area.)

I’m baaack!

Greetings Champions. I have returned from my blessed vacation! That’s right, Panda is back!

panda is back

For those of you who don’t get the panda thing, do a search on my blog for Sad Panda. You won’t regret it!

My trip was wonderful, I visited New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. It was really inspiring to see the different geography. I have some gorgeous photos I’ll show you all in the next week or so.

I’ve got plenty of good news to go around! First up, the MBRC sequel is just shy of being halfway written. I hope to finish it this month, Editor will hack it up the first few weeks of September, and with some luck it will have an end of September release date. It’s going wonderfully, I’m really excited to see what you guys think of it. (I will openly admit that the sequel has a little more plot to it than the original.)

Cinderella is doing great–I owe all the readers who took the time to review a big thank you! I’m letting the contest/extra Cinderella chapter run a few more days, so if you haven’t had the chance to review Cinderella and email me, it’s not too late!

Finally, I’m planning to back off on my blog writing. When I’m writing a book I’ll update with a post about once a week. (Don’t worry, I’ll still update the ‘coming soon’ page so you can monitor my progress.) If I’m going through the editing process or releasing a new book I plan to update two or three times a week, though, so I’ll still be on often! The issue is when I  write my guts out for a book and then attempt to recall enough words to build a decent post it becomes border-line embarrassing thanks to the significant drop in my intelligence after writing for a number of hours. I will still be checking and responding to my email, and I really enjoy responding to comments on the blog, so if you have a question don’t hesitate to speak up!

That’s it for today! Thank you for reading, Champions; it’s good to be back!

Vacation~~

Hello, Champions! I wanted to let you know that, starting today, I’m on vacation! Horrah! I won’t be updating my blog for about two weeks while I travel. However, I will still answer my email and send out Cinderella’s extra chapter, so I am available.

brace

Until I’m back, be well and read some awesome books!

Old Manuscripts

A lovely Champion named Debra emailed me a few days ago, and pointed out something in the second Robyn Hood book I forgot to fix long ago. Debra said:

… at the last of the second Robyn Hood book, there was mention of a book coming to kindle, “Hollywood Fails: Curse the Spotlight”. But – the Amazon search bar tells me there is no such thing, yet my math tells me there should be since the second book mentioned (Princess Ahira, or perhaps Red String of Fate?) is already released. So I’ve basically come to a conclusion that this book was scrapped.”

The answer is yes. And no. I have three or four finished manuscripts sitting in a folder on my computer. Hollywood Fails is one of those manuscripts. The problem is I finished these manuscripts roughly five or six years ago at a time where I was…not quite as knowledgeable and versed in writing as I am now. The plots and characters need a little shining, but the big hurdle is that I need to redo some structural points and writing rules that I did not follow when writing these.

Each book would take roughly a month to “refurbish,” so to speak, but I doubt I would send them to Editor, as Editor is occupied enough with what I consider the current flag-pole/main event: the Timeless Fairy Tales. Out of the “rejected-until-refurbished” manuscripts, I have an urban fantasy story and its sequel that are set in the same universe as Life Reader. (You actually see a bit of Raven, Asher, and Aron in the sequel.) I also have one modern setting chick flick about a girl who gets unwillingly yanked into Hollywood. (Hollywood Fails.) And to wrap it up, I have what might be considered an Epic Fantasy manuscript. (Think Red Rope of Fate.)

My question is this: How do you, Champions, want me to prioritize? Timeless Fairy Tales are important to me, and producing those falls into my number one slot–although technically the MBRC sequel is occupying that spot as I will begin writing it next week. But what comes after that? I will continue to release Timeless Fairy Tales, but I will go batty if I constantly throw myself into that world, so I would like to have non-Timeless Fairy Tale books lined up for production. Would you rather have a Life Reader sequel or the next King Arthur Book, or one of these “refurbished-‘n-fixed” manuscripts? (The nice side-effect of dusting off one of my old manuscripts is that the turn-around time should be significantly faster than the time it takes for me to write, edit, and release an entirely new book.)

Picking individual books depends a lot on my schedule, but I would like to know what you are all most passionate about. You can contact me via the contact me page, or leave your opinion in a comment to clue me in. As always, thank you for reading, Champions!