Meanwhile, deep in chapter five . . .

Just to reassure folks that George R.R. Martin I am not. Progress is being made and I should have the book out in plenty of time for inclusion in the mini-series. This has not even been proofed yet so don’t judge me too harshly; the ink is still wet.


Ver-4---Cut--200x300---The-Queen-of-Deceit-CoverHe had just passed the outer barbican when he saw the returning patrol. They were eleven riders, lightly armored and armed, and at their head rode his twin sister, Llewellyn.

Llew started and almost panicked before he realized he had little to be concerned with here. If she recognized him then he had nothing to fear, but if, as seemed almost certain, she did not, then that was only as according to plan. He would be just another nameless stranger on the road. With his head up, making no attempt to hide, he made to ride boldly past her as closely as possible, given the patrol following her.

The princess had evidently been deep in thought for she only looked up as he was already fairly close. Her eyes widened in shock when she saw him and Llew got a bad feeling. She stared a moment longer at him while he endeavored to hang on to his anonymity, even going so far as to dip his head and tug a forelock at her.

Then she found her voice. “Seize him!” she screamed, and drew her sword. Llew’s heart quailed in his chest. Never mind the patrol that accompanied her, there were few things in life he was willing to admit, even to himself, that he was frightened of, but Llewellyn’s blade was certainly one of them.

And Survey Says?

ToT-Alt-Cover-Cut-400x600pxFinally deciding less is more, this is the one I went with. My original thought was to have vast numbers of opponents on both sides (at least a dozen) but not only is that hard to show in silhouettes (and I wanted to keep to the same style as the The Forged Prince cover) but, on a cover, it seems like simplicity is more important. More than three elements plus the background is confusing and most often seems jumbled.

A cover should state genre and attract interest, or so I am told. An armored figure with undead should say epic fantasy and the simple Welsh valley backdrop should betray the setting somewhat. As always, the protagonist is accompanied by a black bird, denoting nature, armed combat, and mystery.

In the end I even took away Helgar. The barrow warriors are naked skeletons–although one is wearing a helmet and another is wearing boots (which got cut off)–rather than armored zombies because silhouettes of zombies would have shown little of their supernatural nature.

A lot of books these days just put a sword or medallion or something on the cover and call it good to go. There may be something to that. If I finish the series and sales don’t pick up to where I feel they should be, I might have to give it a try and purchase or commission some.

Tip of the Iceberg?

iceberg5-200x300pxFound an iceberg graphic I made once. The surface water and the sky were taken from two separate photos I took in Florida in the summer time. I’m using it here because The Torc of Tethera got its first Amazon review yesterday and I am, ahem, hoping this is just the tip of the iceberg. Among many other nice things, perhaps the most heart-warming to a new author is, “Really enjoyed this book, read it on unlimited and liked it enough to also purchase it as I think I’ll be reading it again.” They also went on to say that it was better than the first in the series (which isn’t doing badly at all). I thought this was significant because, while I was (and am) happy with what readers have to say of The Forged Prince, as soon as I finished The Torc of Tethera I felt it was a better book and this was the same feedback I got from my alpha and beta readers. Really puts the pressure on me for The Queen of Deception!

The Forged Prince for Free this Weekend

My canny marketing director finally convinced my pinch-penny Scotsman soul that, with The Torc of Tethera now published, it was time to use the maximum time for the free promotion that Amazon allows me (5 days) and make The Forged Prince available without cost (3/10/2016 to 3/14/2016) . Response has been amazing, especially considering I didn’t plan any way to notify people of it in advance. As of this morning I’ve actually given away more copies (Arggh, the pain! My precious!) than I have sold. Correspondingly, in the two categories that Amazon allows me (Epic Fantasy and Historical Fantasy) The Forged Prince is now sitting at number 13 and number 2, respectively, in Amazon’s Top 100 List for Free Books. And I have four more days to go? Heck, I suddenly find I’m competitive enough that if I’m not getting paid I want number 1 in both!

The Torc of Tethera is Up

And we are now live with the ebook edition of The Torc of Tethera (Book Two of the Chronicles of Tethera). It’s a bit wilder ride than the first. Check it out if Welsh-myth-based-alternate-timeline-fantasy-adventure might work for you.

Paperback version should be up in a day or two if anyone still reads those, I noticed on my last book that the ebooks sold way, way better.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CN0YLB8

How do you say “rockstar?”

How to say rockstar without actually saying rockstar? As I work on the second in the Chronicles of Tethara I am trying to do just that.  Seems like it takes a lot of words when I could otherwise just say that they treated him like a rockstar–except that I can’t do that.

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For himself, Llew had spent the previous afternoon making the rounds of the castle and the village. He did not hold court; there simply was not time and Slow Tomos seemed to have domestic matters well in hand. Instead, he merely made himself available.

Isolated as Caer Mallcoedwig was, it was remarkable. Word of his deeds, and those of his comrades, had arrived quickly. With little else to occupy them, the residents had then spent most of the past year telling and retelling those stories amongst themselves. They were anxious to see him, and not merely because he was now their prince. Llew had experienced this phenomenon at Caerleon as well yet, in his experience, there really was no other parallel. In their eyes he seemed to be some high ideal made manifest, glorious and bright against their everyday lives, and all who came into his presence might somehow share in, for at least a few precious moments, what he represented to them.

Caer Mallcoedwig was not a huge place. Having grown up there Llew knew virtually everyone by sight, even if he could not quite put a name to all of them. They remembered him, too, first as just a virtually nameless spratling who was kept about the stables, then later as one high in the favor of their dread ruler, Queen Moriganna, someone to be treated with some modicum of respect and, as much as possible, avoided. There had been none of that avoidance this visit. They had all dropped whatever they were doing and came crowding to see him wherever he went, bringing out their children, even holding the smallest ones up so they could better see him.