Thursday, November 29, 2012

Author Tara Maya finds inspirations from multiple cultures in world history

Fantasy author Tara Maya is on tour promoting Wing: Book Five of The Unfinished Song. Maya generously supplied an insightful essay about how her study of world history and numerous cultures led to the creation of her fantasy world.

Three Reasons I Chose Not To Set My Fantasy in a Euro-Medieval World
by Tara Maya
Here’s a shameful secret: Back when I started my Unfinished Song fantasy, I wasn’t trying to be fresh, original or non-Western. In fact, I wanted to write a “classic” fantasy. I knew I wanted actual pixies and faeries in it. I wanted it to be both epic and a fairytale—an epic faerie tale. I knew I wanted the magic to be based on dancing and color, and that the ability to dance the whole rainbow would be almost extinct in their world. Other than that, I just planned to include all the tropes of the genre. Young scion of farmers sets off on a quest, finds a magic doo-hickey, and turns out to be the only one with the power to save the world. The setting was cliché because I didn’t feel like investing the time in world-building for a mere “practice” story. My original heroine, Dindi, was a peasant girl; my original hero, Kavio, was a prince.

I wrote three chapters in this frame of mind, seat of the pants, no plan, no world-building, not really taking the story seriously. Surprise! I stalled.

It turns out I love world-building. It’s one of the reasons I read and write fantasy. Without that investment in a unique and gorgeous world, I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm I needed to write the story. I set it aside for a while.

What knocked sense into me? I don’t know. A fairy whispered in my ear that I needed to change the setting. It needed to be set in a time I had never seen a fantasy set before: with Neolithic rather than medieval technology. The Neolithic Era was a particular time period in human history, but it also refers to a stage of civilization, and I use it in the later sense. Neolithic, or “new stone age” technology means that the people primarily use flint and obsidian tipped arrows and spears. They don’t have bronze or iron. They don’t have swords. They don’t have castles. They don’t have scrolls or books or libraries. They don’t have lamps or arches or sails. They aren’t cavemen, however. They have sophisticated pottery, weaving, rugs, sewing and dyes. They smelt gold. They don’t have kings or feudal lords or priests, but they do have the beginnings of a more caste-divided society and hierarchy.

While I don’t know how this idea came to me, I do remember how it energized me. The whole story excited me again. The early time period worked for three reasons.

One, the main storyline was inspired by a Polynesian myth, so this was a tip of the hat to that non-European setting. Two, it fit my fancy that the events of The Unfinished Song were the “original” and “primordial” events which are the secret roots of all our fairy tales. We know that the story of Cinderella as recorded by the Brother’s Grimm was not the only or original story. What if it were a distorted version of something that happened during the Dreamtime of the human race, when all myths and fairytales were real? I don’t actually use the term Dreamtime in my story (which is from Aboriginal legend), but I drew on that concept in how I thought about the story.

Two, every culture around the world has gone through a stage of Neolithic level technology. Some cultures, like Asia and Europe and the Incas and Aztecs and great empires of West Africa, later moved on to more sophisticated technologies, involving iron and feudalism, but everyone at one timeused spears and swords. Every place on earth has immense, mysterious monuments made from dragging big stones around. This meant that I could easily mix and match my cultural inspiration. I could use Hopi agriculture, Celtic pig-farming and musical traditions, Zulu warfare, West African Initiation ceremonies, and so on. For the hero and heroine’s people, I drew strongly on Hopi and Zuni cultures, which has led some readers and reviewers to think that the entire culture is based on Native American history. One reviewer expressed disappointment when horses turned up. That was actually a difficult choice for me, and sometimes I do wish I had left them horse-less. However, I included it because there are so many interesting horse-centered cultures in the world, and I wanted to explore that with one of the tribes.

Three, the excuse to research obscure and exotic Neolithic cultures ignited my enthusiasm for the story, and has kept me excited about it ever since. The biggest problem with the standard fantasy pseudo-medieval-pseudo-European setting is not that it is medieval or that it is European or even that it has been done before. It is because the writer doesn’t take the time to study real history (or “real” mythology) as a model, but simply bases their own world on worlds in other fantasy books.

The result has much the same problem as cloning a clone, or xeroxing a xerox. The quality fades the more derivative your product is. The original research behind Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey or The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold, shines through, and those stories don’t come across as McClones of McFantasyLand at all.

I have a Master’s Degree in History, admittedly, so that’s a clue about how deeply I adore history. I adore research in musty old libraries and when I do internet research, it’s in JSTOR, not Wikipedia. 

I’m a glutton for eight hundred page tomes on the kinship systems of Melanesian islanders. I also love anthropology, archeology, sociology, just about any –ology you can think of. I’m a nerd’s nerd, in the liberal art’s spectrum of the Geek Rainbow.

This is not to say that there weren’t challenges in leaving the beaten path. Do you know how many times I would have a character about to open a door, or knock on a door, or slam a door before I remembered that they don’t have doors! Oy. People! Invent hinges already! It’s also hard to give my hero a truly Cool Weapon of Power when they don’t have swords. But even challenges can create interesting opportunities. I gave a supporting character a Singing Bow, which can also be made into a harp. This idea came from a historian who speculated that the first stringed instruments were actually bows that warriors plucked when they were sitting peacefully around the campfire, bored and (almost certainly) drunk.

There’s so much human history and so many different cultures to study for inspiration for fantasy which have yet to be mined. The real is so much more fantastic and bizarre than most of what is portrayed in fantasy and science fiction as exotic or alien. One of the reasons to read these genres is to stretch our imagination and our empathy. We shouldn’t shortchange ourselves by re-treading the same worn paths, but should be brave enough to follow history back along rarely explored by-ways for inspiration.

Buy a copy of Wing at your preferred ebook retailer.

If you need to start the series, the first novel Initiate is a free ebook at numerous locations. Access all her novels at Tara Maya's Tales.

Thank you for contributing to Her Ladyship's Quest. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just released in Audio: Chapters 9 and 10 of The Goddess Queen

My narrator Andrew Wetmore has delivered two more chapters of the fantasy novel The Goddess Queen. Slowly but surely this second part of The Rys Chronicles is taking shape as an audiobook.

So far 10 chapters of the 31-chapter novel have been recorded. I've set up audio episodes of 2 chapters each that sell for $1.50. Each chapter runs 30 or minutes and is formatted as an mp3.

Today I published Chapters 9 and 10.

In Chapter 9 Dreams of Empire, King Taischek throws a party and Dreibrand learns he is still in the empire building business.

In Chapter 10 Blood Bond, Shan completes the spells that enchant Dreibrand's sword before they take to the warpath.

Please access all the available episodes of this ongoing audiobook production at The Goddess Queen fantasy audiobook page at Brave Luck Books. You can also listen to a sample there. Your support will help pay for completing the project.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Coming next week: Guest post by Tara Maya author of Wing

To promote Wing, the fifth book in The Unfinished Song series, author Tara Maya is touring blogs. Next Thursday November 29th I'll publish her guest post about her reasons for not setting her fantasy epic in a Medieval European style world. Although I love that classic fantasy setting, I agree that there is no reason to limit the scope of the genre's inspirations.

In her upcoming essay, Tara Maya will explain her choice to build her novels upon Polynesian myths and also draw upon the concept of the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime.

Follow this blog so you can read her insights on fantasy inspirations next week.

Until then, you can download for free the first book in the series Initiate at a number of retailers.

To consider more fantasies set in non-European worlds, revisit my interviews with Jason McCammon and Milton Davis. These men both drew upon their African heritage to write some wonderful stories that won't leave you missing bearded Vikings or Druids at all.

Jason McCammon is the author of Warrior Quest available on Amazon.

Milton Davis is the author Meji, also available on Amazon.

I firmly believe that the entirety of world history and prehistory should inspire the fantasy genre. There are so many stories left to be imagined.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tell the UK Kindle store to price match Rys Rising to free

UPDATE 12/29: Although Amazon UK resumed price matching Rys Rising: Book I to free in November, for a Christmas present to its customers it returned to charging money for this free sample this week. Please, if you can, tell Amazon UK to price match to free this title. Or visit the store links below to get your free copy elsewhere.

For the second time in a month the Amazon Kindle store has tried to charge money for Rys Rising: Book I even though it is free everywhere else on the planet. Briefly this week the US Kindle store tried to undo price matching but it did not last long thankfully. However, the UK Kindle store is still ignoring the fact that this novel is meant to be a free sample.

I'm hoping UK readers will keep nudging Amazon to price match. You can do this by scrolling down the Amazon listing page for Rys Rising until you get to the "product details" section. Then you will see a link that says "Tell us about a lower price."

You can then inform Amazon UK that Rys Rising is free at these other UK retailers:

UK Nook

UK iTunes


It helps me very much to have the first book in the series free. It is about the way I have to attract any attention and get people to try my fiction. This discovery system generates sales of other novels for me.

I'd like to emphasize that I do not have a way to make my novel free within the Amazon system, unlike all the other retailers I deal with. Amazon requires that I sell exclusively at their stores before it will give me the ability to allow any free ebooks. I simply can't do this for three reasons: 1. It would take me weeks or months to get my products removed from the catalogs of other companies. 2. It would cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue to yank my products from other retailers. 3. It would be against my business interests to deal exclusively with one distribution company.

But Amazon will eventually price match other retailers if even people tell them.

Paperback now available for Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV

Just published in paperback - Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV

This week I finished preparing my newest fantasy novel Love Lost in paperback format. It is a 6 inch by 9 inch trade paperback and 458 pages. It sells for $15 plus shipping from the print-on-demand service Lulu.

Visit Lulu to get the print edition of Love Lost.

If you are outside the United States, scroll down to the bottom of the page at the Lulu store so you can change the country if you need to. Lulu services Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain. 

In the coming weeks I'll also release a hardcover edition. I personally like to have the hardcover for myself as a tangible representation of my creation. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Storm by Pierre Cot available in high resolution at my stock art catalog

I've been gradually adding to my stock art catalog over at my Royalty Free Vintage and Fine Art site. Over the weekend I selected The Storm by Pierre Cot for publication. This fine art image is so wonderful. The young man and woman embody teenage love. They flee in step ahead of the storm of passion that is descending on them. They are moving as one body. The man looks at her with gentle adoration and she gazes at the dark turbulent sky wondering what it will be like to feel the force of that storm.

View a larger version of The Storm by Pierre Cot where it is for sale worldwide as a high resolution jpeg image. My growing stock art catalog provides interesting images for a variety of projects both print or digital.

People who enjoy pinning can follow by stock art board at Pinterest.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Enter to win a $25 Etsy gift card during the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour

This year I completed another fantasy quartet of novels. It's the Rys Rising series, and I'm officially in promotion mode now that the saga is complete. From November 16th to December 16th I'll be touring the internet on blogs. At each blog people will be able to meet a character from the series or read an excerpt from one of the novels.

And every day during the tour people can enter the prize drawing. First place is a $25 Etsy gift card (available in the United States only) and second place is the Rys Rising complete series ebooks. That's four novels: Rys Rising, Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost. The ebook prize is available worldwide.

Today the tour started at the blog of Matt D. Williams creator of the Jak Phoenix space opera adventures.

Go there and meet Amar my bad ass not-a-hero but you'll love him anyway main character of the epic.

Feel Real Fantasy Tour Schedule

November 17th Tara Maya Science Fiction & Fantasy Excerpt from Rys Rising: Book I
November 18th The Dragon's Inkpot Meet Veta, horsewoman of the frontier
November 20th Cynthia Ravinski Wandering Around the Words Meet Demeda, princess of the Sabar'Uto Tribe and Handmaiden of the Goddess
November 23rd Daniel R. Marvello Meet Dacian, king of the rys
November 25th Anna Kashina Meet Onja, queen of the rys
November 27th Jeroen Steenbeeke Meet Cruce Chenomet, militia commander of Nufal
November 29th Art and Tree Chatter of Aquariann Meet Ajel, frontier woman and fleshmender
November 30th To Read or Not to Read Excerpt from New Religion
December 1st Disciples of the Fount Meet Alloi, most powerful tabre of the Drathatarlane Sect and twin sister of Tempet
December 3rd J.R. Pearse Nelson Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Adventures Meet Tempet, most powerful tabre and warrior of the Drathatarlane Sect and twin brother of Alloi
December 5th Scott Marlowe Fantasy Author and Blogger Meet Jafe, bodyguard of Demeda
December 7th Bookish Ardour Meet Urlen, royal scribe and then outlaw and best friend of Amar
December 8th Fighting Monkey Press Excerpt from New Religion
December 10th Matt D. Williams (again!) Excerpt from Love Lost
December 11th Free Book Reviews Meet Gehr, senior commander of the militia
December 12th Independent Bookworm Excerpt from Rys Rising
December 12th (second stop) Illusions of Intimacy Meet Loxane, Shamaness of the Kelsur Tribe and High Priestess of Onja

You can visit all of these blogs throughout the tour and enter the giveaway for a $25 Etsy gift card or my fantasy ebooks. 

Use the form below to enter the giveaway right now. Good luck and be sure to download some free fantasy ebooks while you're here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Still time to enter The Rys Chronicles book giveaway

I've been taking entries this week for a book giveaway drawing of The Rys Chronicles fantasy series. The prize is all four novels of this complete series. At midnight tonight November 10th the entries will close.

I'll autograph the paperbacks for the winner too.

The winner will receive the novels:

Union of Renegades
The Goddess Queen
Judgment Rising
The Borderlands of Power

IMPORTANT: Prize is only available in the United States.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 9, 2012

I've made some improvements to my digital download business

I've been selling downloads online since 2005. Back then my choices for affordable instant delivery of digital goods were limited, but the market has expanded, and a couple months ago I started shopping around for a new service provider. After much Googling and examining a gaggle of companies, weighing prices and features against my specific needs, I selected Digital Delivery App as my new vendor for providing my website shopping cart, integration with payment gateways, and smooth delivery of ebooks, mp3s, and images.

After spending the past month recoding all the ecommerce functions at my websites and actually using the system to sell products, I can report that I'm very happy with my switch.

If you're researching how to sell downloadable digital goods, even on a small scale, I recommend Digital Delivery App. These are its features that made me choose that company:

  • Easy to use copy and paste code for adding the shopping cart to my website.
  • Customizable shopping cart so I could make it match my website colors.
  • Ability to instantly deliver digital goods of any file type. (I sell ebooks, mp3s, and images so this was important to me.)
  • Ability to also handle orders for tangible goods. (I also sell paperbacks.)
  • Ability to let people checkout downloads as free samples. Being able to set some products as free samples is an essential tool for selling my fantasy series.
  • The system integrates with email marketing services like Mailchimp. This system lets my customers automatically decide if they want to stay on my email list or not. 
  • The system lets me offer discount coupons when I want to run specials.
  • I can bundle multiple products into packages. This was very important to me as well because I group together multiple ebooks and mp3s into bundles for easier checkout. Fairly often my customers choose the bundles.

My new digital delivery service has more features. Some I still need to explore, but for ease of use and reliability I am currently quite pleased with my choice. Digital Delivery App provides a basic free service that will let you get in there and test the system out before you have to pay. Micro sellers could probably get by with the basic service, but I needed to upgrade to a paid plan because I have many digital products. Even so I had a 30 day trial period before I had to pay.

I hope that my sharing this recommendation with you helps you make a decision about how to sell downloads from your website. There's free samples at the bottom of every page of this blog set up with the Digital Delivery App buttons if you want to see how they work.

Oh, and one last thing, the company responded quickly to my initial support requests and was actually helpful.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with fantasy romance author Marsha A. Moore

Today I present an interview with fantasy romance author Marsha A. Moore. Her Enchanted Bookstore Legend series is up to three novels now that Lost Volumes was released last week. Moore has two move novels planned in the series. 

About the series:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe. 

Marsha A. Moore lives in Florida. She is a highly creative woman who paints and draws in addition to writing. She's active in the outdoors at both land and sea.

Thank you for the interview and including Her Ladyship's Quest on your promotional tour. 

1. Because you're an enthusiastic cyclist, what kind of bicycle or bicycles do you have?

I have two Trek road bikes, one is a racing type and the other for touring. The racing bike gets the most attention, but the other is the traveler, going with us when my husband and I need bikes for short transportation.

2. Your Enchanted Bookstore Legends series ties your fantasy realm into the real world. How much of Book Three is set in our world and how much is in the fantasy world?

The title of Book Three is Lost Volumes. There are three lost magical books written by the Scribes who came before my heroine, Lyra McCauley. She must find those missing books.  Possessing the entire collection can unlock vast power to help the country she works for, the Alliance, overthrow the evil control of the Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. One of those three lost books is discovered to be hidden in our world. Lyra and her protector/lover, wizard Cullen Drake, face unique problems on that quest. She must rely more on her own abilities since he loses power when he leaves the fantasy world.

3. The love interest of your main character Lyra is Cullen, an immortal wizard. Is Lyra presumably a mortal? Have you tackled any issues concerning a romance between a mortal and an immortal? It's often a thorny situation in fiction. 

When they meet for the second time, when Lyra is an adult, she is mortal and Cullen is an immortal wizard. He gained immortal status from years of service to the Alliance country of Dragonspeir. He is dependent upon magic from that world to remain immortal. Therefore, he can only be in Lyra’s world for short periods of a couple days without risk. In this way, he operates a small indie bookstore in the human world where the two meet.

On the other hand, Lyra inherits the job of being the fifth Scribe of the Alliance. She may pass into that land only by permission of the Head Guardian, the Imperial Dragon. She enters only to perform specific tasks, using her special powers on missions that he requests. Upon her return, she must form written accounts of those journeys, imbuing magic into the texts. Those documents give strength to the Alliance. One of her primary motivations to complete these arduous tasks is that with each she is granted more immortality. She and Cullen are engaged to marry when she gains total immortality.

4. The romance in the Enchanted Bookstore Legends is about an over-30 divorced woman. Do you think writing this type of romantic lead differs from writing the classic young, coming of age maiden romance?

I had strong opinions about choosing my heroine’s age. I wanted her to have experienced enough hard times to be able to truly appreciate true love, honor, courage, fairness, all that is good. In this way, she can truly commit to whatever obstacles lie in the path to happiness. She knows herself and is determined. As the series progresses, I admire her strength.

5. You describe your daily yoga practice as being very important to your creative work. Do you sometimes see your stories unfold during meditation and while holding postures? Or do you think the release from worldly distractions during yoga prepares the mind to receive inspiration?

Great question! Occasionally, I do solve plot holes while holding a yoga pose or in the final meditative savasana. More often, it acts to clear my mind and make me receptive to my natural creative rhythms. I’ve done yoga actively for thirteen years and have enrolled in a teacher training program for all of 2013. I’m very eager to see what insights into myself and my creative process that training will unlock.

6. What are the best ways for readers to support you and recommend your novels to others?

Readers who enjoy my books can help by recommending me to their friends or through writing reviews to encourage new readers. Also, passing along information I distribute through my blog, Twitter, or Facebook is always appreciated.

7. Your marketing material for the Enchanted Bookstore Legends says that Books Four and Five are coming out in 2013. Have you already drafted or outlined these novels?

These are already outlined. I’m currently writing Book Four and still enjoying working with these characters, letting them grow and develop.

8. Any additional comments?

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Tracy. Your questions have been a pleasure to answer.

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three is currently available at Amazon

Purchase at Amazon


When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

Purchase at Amazon

Purchase Links for previous books in the series:

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two ~ available for only $1.29
Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One ~ available for only 99 cents

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fantasy Book Giveaway - The Rys Chronicles complete series by Tracy Falbe

November 3rd to 10th - Enter to win The Rys Chronicles complete series paperbacks.

Enter to win all four paperback novels of The Rys Chronicles epic fantasy series. These are the first novels I wrote and published when I started my company seven years ago. I did a small print run of every title and still have some copies left.

The prize includes:

Union of Renegades
The Goddess Queen
Judgment Rising
The Borderlands of Power

About the series

Grandiose ambitions and desperation drive this fantasy epic of colliding civilizations. The Rys Chronicles is a fantasy quartet spanning seven years and revealing the tragedies, challenges, and triumphs of a diverse cast of characters.

Although most of my readers discover me through ebooks, I realize a good portion of the reading public still needs print books. No charging necessary. No software updates.

Paperbacks are 6" x 9" trade paperbacks produced with offset printing. Novels include the maps of the fantasy world.

This would be a nice opportunity for my fans to obtain print copies of novels they loved.

If this is the first you've heard of my fantasy novels, you can read Union of Renegades for free by downloading an ebook version. (Scroll down this page to select your free ebook format.) Also see my Fan Feedback for proof that some people like my writing.

If you'd like to LISTEN to three chapters you can download the mp3 audiobook sample of Union of Renegades.

Please note that the prize is only available to people in the United States. High shipping costs prevent me from sending them out of the country for free. I'll plan some digital ebook giveaways in the future so I can reward readers anywhere in the world.

People can enter the drawing from November 3rd to November 10th. I'll select a winner through the Rafflecopter system on November 11th and contact the winner. The winner will have 7 days to claim the prize before I select an alternative winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to mention this giveaway at your blog?

Grab the Rafflecopter giveaway embed code and put it at your blog. Thanks!

Good luck everybody.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Indie Game: The Movie embodies the passion of artists

I was able to relate to this documentary that reveals the difficulties and rewards of independent game developers. Their determination and commitment to their deep artistic needs for expression were inspiring.

The world of video games is huge. The market is immense, and most of the games are produced by large media companies with vast staffs and big marketing budgets and unfettered access to high profile distribution.

And then there are indie game developers. These individuals and tiny teams labor over their creations. Do they long for commercial success? Usually, but many of them mostly want to create games without having to adhere to ideas developed by marketing teams that need to check off boxes determined by focus groups. Mostly the indie game developers need at least some success because they've sacrificed their careers and financial prospects to spend every day creating their visions.

The men presented in this documentary very much bared their feelings for the cameras. They were deeply driven to express their visions. To be honest they were obsessive as mad scientists, and I found them very validating personally. They helped me know that I am not alone in my unreasonable devotion to an artistic pursuit. They illustrated that some people are like me and want to spend their lives following their dreams.

Like them, I believe that the hardest thing about being an indie artist is not doing it. All the other setbacks, disappointments, and doubts are nothing compared to the soul-gutting horror of giving up.

The efforts of indie game developers are admirable. They make writing a novel look like almost nothing. They make me wish I had time to play games, but I don't. I'm too busy writing novels and trying to fit in other boring life responsibilities.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Release: Lost Volumes by Marsha A. Moore

The third novel in Marsha A. Moore's Enchanted Bookstore Legends fantasy romance series was released this week.
Marsha A. Moore is on tour to promote her newest release Lost Volumes. My interview with her will be published here next Monday, November 5th. Please follow this blog or her whole tour so you can catch her interview and find out how many bicycles she has, how much yoga means to her life, and when she plans to complete the rest of the Enchanted Bookstore Legend series.

Until the interview, find out more about Lost Volumes and read an excerpt.

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three by Marsha A. Moore

Genre: Fantasy romance


When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.
Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

Purchase at Amazon


From Chapter One: An Urgent Message

Lyra almost deleted the email marked urgent, suspecting some virus that might take control of her computer, but stopped when she realized the sender was her lover—a 220-year-old wizard, who rarely used a computer. She couldn’t open the message fast enough.
Alliance mortals and lower magicals are taking violently ill. I’m leaving the bookstore for a while to offer aid. DO NOT come to Dragonspeir. Stay safe in your world.
Love always,
She stared at the screen, twisting a strand of her long hair. Leaning forward, she gripped the armrests of the chair. Her breath caught when she noticed how the dragon’s sapphire eyes on her new bloodswear ring sparked from the energy of her concern. His message left her undecided, reading between the lines and weighing the choices.
Those affected—mortals and lower magicals—seemed to place her in the risk group, obviously Cullen’s concern. However, those mortals were all born in Dragonspeir, while she originally came from Tampa. Lower magicals did include members of both worlds. But as the current Scribe, Lyra possessed inherited power at least as great as high-order wizards. She just didn’t fully grasp how to command her magic yet.
She did want to help. Since her parents and dear Aunt Jean died, the Guardians, wizards, dragons, and other residents of the Alliance were her only family. Lyra’s unique powers might be useful, especially since they now lacked an alchemist.
Eburscon disappeared after he attempted to steal her scribal aura, and she’d heard no reports of him since, so he was presumed dead by many. According to Cullen, no one wanted him back. However, living without a person capable of creating remedies for a plague or widespread illness had left many residents uneasy. Some talked about trying to persuade Tarom, the Dark Realm’s alchemist, to switch his allegiance. Two centuries ago, he served the Imperial Dragon, leaving only when he couldn’t tolerate working under Eburscon any longer.
Despite ranking as the top wizard, the Imperial Sorcerer in the Alliance High Council, Cullen lacked alchemical skills. Even though untrained, Lyra possessed a keen intuitive sense in the craft. She could help him. Aries guided the fire in her scribal powers and also fueled her impatience.
Lyra checked and secured Aunt Jean’s cottage since the last gasps of late winter storms in the upper peninsula of Michigan could be brutal.
Dashing off a few emails to her college students in Florida, she gave them feedback on their independent study in the Fantasy Lit course. She was glad her leave from on-campus teaching responsibilities continued until the next fall term.
Lyra saved and printed the chronicle draft of her bloodswear quest, completed at the end of last year. It was mid-March, and she’d almost finished the written account, storing magic in her words that would empower the Alliance—her role as a Scribe. The hard copy she stuffed into a commuter bag to work on later with the Imperial Dragon and the other three Guardians. She needed to sort through their research details that had helped her kill the heir to the Black Dragon. Additional supplies could be conjured from memory.
Outside, the dock in the backyard looked weather-beaten but sound. Waves from Lake Huron lapped at its old boards. In the flower bed, the first spring perennials peeked through the packed ground and would require plenty of care soon. Lyra hoped to be back in time to maintain what her aunt had loved so much. Crocuses stood bravely against the melting snowpack—a reminder.
As she turned from the garden, a large black butterfly flitted around her head. It was the same type that had spied on her before and been in her aunt’s room when she was killed—purple spots like eyes on its wings. Suspecting it was a transformed magical from Dragonspeir’s Dark Realm, Lyra swatted at the insect. Thinking that someone watched her leave caused a chill to run down her spine.
Finally shooing it to the nearby bushes, she lifted her head high, put her bag inside her silver Subaru sport wagon, and drove straight to Drake’s Bookstore.
After parking in back, she twisted her dragon ring to unlock the back door of Cullen’s shop, no longer needing the magical skeleton key. “Sheridan, I’m using your portal,” she called out.
From his cage on the showroom counter, the cicada chirped, “I already knew it was you, sweetheart. Nice perfume.”
Lyra shook her head. Darned bug never stopped flirting.
“By the way, Sire Drake told me to not let you pass. Something about an illness in the Alliance. Don’t make me use my magic on you.”
“I’m going anyway,” she replied as she prepared herself in the storage room.
“Like I knew you would,” he snapped.
She gave her ring another twist and stated, “Pateo porta!” In response, two metal bookcases moved apart. Between them lay the connector to Dragonspeir. She stepped across. The familiar tingling sensation now felt invigorating, when last summer it had frightened her. Her jeans, t-shirt, and jacket transformed into a full-skirted gown of light blue cotton under a navy cloak.
It was her first time back since being publically honored for completing her bloodswear quest and sorcery studies. She’d have to wait to find out if her new abilities could alter the clothing she acquired at the portal.
Lifting one side of the long garments, Lyra ran the short distance along the wooded trail to the location of the old, sentry tree, Gatekeeper Cranewort. Reminding her of the shape of grand live oaks in Florida, his branches spread wide and high, taller than any nearby. His large, flat leathery leaves were turned to collect the warm morning rays.
“Hello, Cranewort,” she called ahead. “I don’t mean to disturb your sunbathing, but I need to pass to the Imperial Dragon’s lair, or to the Meadow—whichever place I can help most with those who are sick.”
“Not sunbathing, child, merely enhancing my immune functioning to bolster my health after the harsh winter. Sire Drake instructed me to not permit your passage. He and all of us fear you will fall ill.” He lifted extensions of his roots into a spiky barricade, one of his gate-keeping defenses.
“Perhaps I can help,” she maintained, hands on her hips.
“It looks to be a horrible disease—elevated fever, chills, vomiting blood. Some are dying. Please stay here, Adalyra.”
“I’m not like any from Dragonspeir. I won’t get it.” Lyra hoped what she said was true but couldn’t turn her back on thousands who were ill.
“Well…you most certainly are unique.” He folded his leaves and tipped his trunk forward to look at her directly. “The Alliance relies on your special scribal abilities to battle the Dark Realm. Losing you to illness would risk too much. Be wise and stay back.” He smoothed down his bark and held out a twigged hand to her.
She stepped beyond his touch. “The entire Alliance is my family, and I need to help them.”
The gnarled tree let out a sigh and lowered his roots. “Very well. You have your own mind, and it is one of a leader. That is your inheritance from the four female Scribes in your family. But, I expect you to use every caution available. Sire Drake is in the Meadow. Stay with him.”
“I promise.” Lyra hurried toward the crossroads, which connected dozens of trails. There she selected the short path leading to the Meadow.
Pluch trees lined the trail. Their weeping branches, active with new sap, swept after Lyra in attempt to caress her golden hair, now grown almost to her waist. Flower buds on the bell flowers peaked out. The air held gentle notes of fragrant jasmine from the vine’s first purple flowers. She took a deep breath as she sped down the familiar walk. She had missed Dragonspeir.
Along the way, Lyra thought about her action, entering the land without permission. Although she recently passed sorcery training for all crafts except powerthrowing, Lyra only elevated her immortal status. In Dragonspeir, they used the term afflationhaving received divine impartment of knowledge and strength to endure more physical hardship than a non-magical. Until gaining enough afflation to become fully immortal, she needed to be invited by the Imperial Dragon to be his guest in Dragonspeir.
As a new Alliance sorceress, the Imperial Dragon decided when he needed her. Lyra clearly broke his established protocol. But she often bent Alliance customs to suit her needs while working for the greater good. So far, she had only raised eyebrows, and no one troubled her. She hoped this time would be the same, but entering a plague-ridden land against orders was a bit different than wearing jeans or hugging dragons.

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