Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just for Fun!

Well, I decided I could give it a shot. I enjoyed doing Clei's responses during the Blogfest (over at at Elizabeth Mueller's blog) so much that I decided to do another one for his side-kick, Eti!

A little background: Eti is an ekra, a species of necromancers who are created from the discarded bones of amüli, dragons, and other creatures. When they marry, they leave their clan with their mate and search for bones to build their children with. Then they make fresh kills and use the muscle and flesh from the hunt to build the body and give muscle and flesh to their child. An ekra's horns are most often made from coral, signifying their link with the moon goddess, Ilandere-karais (as she controls the tide).

Ekra are animated through magic, but do not have vital organs, such as a heart, lungs, and guts. Rather, they have a blood-mite. Blood-mites are creatures that live within an ekra and take care of digestion and blood circulation. An ekra cannot survive without its blood-mite, because the mite does everything to keep the host alive. Mites can leave the host's body for short periods of time to fight or hunt if the host is too weak, but must return quickly so the host does not die.

Contrary to their appearance, ekra are very peaceful and deeply devout creatures. They have two classes: The hunter and the priest. The hunters can also double as warriors and fight to protect the clan, whereas priests and priestesses protect and serve the clan through divine channels. All ekra know magic, but priests are better suited to cast. Each clan has a Queen, an ekra descended directly from the goddess Ilandere-karais herself (blood-mites and souls are split and given to new ekra; in this way, the queens of every clan have a fragment of the goddess's soul within them).

Eti, from "Soul Carrier," will be answering the questions today!

Image (c) Kira McFadden a.k.a. Efirnda McDannak. To see the full image, go to The Inrugia Website.

Question 1: What is your greatest fear?

The amüli. It will always be them. The attempted genocide of my people two-thousand years ago still haunts us. Amüli are dangerous creatures, and they are spreading their territory too far. I fear for our people and for others like us.

Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?

One accomplishes only through actions. My biggest action was to teach the half-blood, Clei Vojtech, magic, so he may one day overthrow his people and save our world. He is craven, that one, and it makes little sense to me why he insists on living while his people wither, but I cannot begrudge him his choice. After all, I have little sympathy for the amüli.

Question 3: What is your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is feeling so much spite and hatred for the amüli. Few who live now know what their ancestors did to my people, and fewer still could have stopped it. They are a weak and fleshy people, and do not understand the concept of balance. Hubris and hatred have led me down this path. Ilandere-karais will guide me. She has given me a chance to redeem myself by helping this young half-blood find his way. And so, if it is her will, I shall comply.


Well, that's Eti for you. He's not as stoic as he appears to be--his people are very proper and well-mannered. I might do one for Marik tomorrow, simply because I love this. But I'm also considering an interview instead. Any thoughts?

Poor, Poor Pitiful Thing

Here's one of the 500-word skits I did a while back. I need to continue these! I was rereading some of them, and this one made me laugh, and then made me shudder, which I expect was the goal. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Also, if you can name where I got the title of this piece from (i.e., who sang it?), I'll give you a virtual cookie!


The tomb was covered in white marble, gilded with gold, and even had a few engravings along the sides and top. But the worst of it was the serene expression worn by the burial mask at the head of the casket.

King Iodus ran his aged fingers along the cheeks and brows of the face. It was his son. Dear, poor boy had been laid to rest not ten days ago. He had died in a most brutal accident. After fighting with his new wife, Prince Felen had run out into the hallway, naked. There had been a maid scrubbing the sleek floors, and the prince had slipped.

At first, the king had been mortified that his son had died in such a foolish, embarrassing way. Now, however, he felt the weight of his son’s death. The king was in his eighties and had no living heir. Even Prince Felen’s wife was not with child. There was no one to take over the kingdom. Soon—very soon, the king felt—his country would be pitched into turmoil, and a succession war would begin.

The only way to remedy this was to take the late prince’s wife to bed. Iodus shuddered at the thought. She was a pretty thing, for certain, but he wasn’t comfortable sleeping with his son’s wife. Even if it was to save his kingdom from war, he wasn’t sure he could do it.

Iodus reached up and scratched at his balding head. Liver spots decorated his body in constellations of brown and gray. Little white hairs wafted from his naked crown, and for a fleeting second, the king considered taking another wife. Many of those in his harem had died years ago. He’d never seen fit to replace any of them. He was too old to be dealing in matters of the pants.

Pristine light shattered his thoughts as the sun rose and swathed the floors in orange. The king had spent another sleepless night at his son’s tomb. Rather than stay much longer, he took up his cane. He hobbled toward the door, leaving his son behind. Whatever misdeeds his son had done to deserve such an unfavorable end, the king knew in his heart he couldn’t wait much longer. Soon he might not be able to father children at all.

And so, he entered his palace. Knocking on his daughter-in-law’s door, he was resigned to waiting for her to answer. At last, she opened the door. She wore black, just as any widow in the kingdom was commanded to. Her eyes were clear and focused, not the red puffy eyes he had expected from a grieving widow.

“Your Majesty,” she said, draping her skirts back in a curtsy.

“Hello, Lady Elga.”

“What can I do for your grace today?”

“I was thinking of my son—Felen—and how I have no heir.”

The woman’s face paled considerably as she pieced together what the king was driving at. “You would have me?”

“There is no one else to take over the kingdom,” he muttered, ashamed. “It has to be done. You cannot rule, and will be ousted the minute I’m dead. To secure your place in the palace, you must bear me another son.”

Elga’s brow pinched, her fine, pale skin wrinkling at the thought. “But…I…”

“Come, we must be quick about it. You will have a child by royal blood, and say it is my son’s.”

“Your Grace, I don’t think now is a good time…”

“If we do not do it now, then I fear I will lose my nerve.”

Her expression seemed to plead for that moment. “Very well then.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

MC Character Blogfest!

Hey all! If you haven't heard, it's MC Character Blogfest! That's where we authors have our characters answer a few questions :) You can read more about the Blogfest at Elizabeth Mueller's blog.

Clei Vojtech, from "Soul Carrier," will be answering the questions today!

Question 1: What is your greatest fear?

It's already coming true. Mostly death, but I just found out my half-soul is eating the souls of unborn infant amüli (angels). I'm half-human, half-amüli, and because of that...well... My soul isn't balanced. I'm terrified of what Marik's going to do to me. His daughter was just stillborn because of me, and I think if he had the chance, he'd bury me under the ocean. An eternity trapped down there, slowly being crushed by the pressure... *shudder*

Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?

I thought my biggest accomplishment was flying the Ridge, because, you know, I don't have wings all the time, but that wasn't it at all. I managed to find my Carrier, which is huge. She was in America, on Earth, and I ended up in Thailand. That was a long way to travel with no money, and in less than three months. Because of her, I'll live to see my seventeenth birthday.

Question 3: What is your biggest regret?

That's a big question. After everything I've done, and everything I might do, I think my biggest regret is watching my people die because of me. Because I'm so scared to die, they have to. Being craven is my biggest regret of all.


Eti, Clei's travelling companion, may come by tomorrow to answer the same questions. It's interesting to see how Clei might answer. He's a real coward, and not that bright.

If you want to join in the Blogfest, just go to at Elizabeth Mueller's blog and sign up! Answer the questions and post a comment here :) I'd love to read your posts!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who will buy your book? Examine your writing with a business-mind

For years I’ve seen masses of articles, blogs, and quips about the publishing process. Many of these articles are about querying, editing your own work, what agents want, how to build a platform, and numerous other topics helpful to authors. One thing I have not seen, however, is a quick breakdown of the publishing process from a business angle.

Most authors have a general idea of what to do—write, rewrite, rewrite, query, and then go back to the drawing board if there are no bites. But what does an author do beyond the querying process? Furthermore, with all of the blogs, articles, and other media smattering the Internet, where can an author find a quick breakdown of the publishing process from a business point of view? Look no further, because you’ve found it.

1. Drafting Your Novel to Sell

This may seem like the easiest part of the process, but for some it can be very difficult to draft an entire novel in one go. Any number of blogs and other media can help you with the finer points of outlining and drafting a novel, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is whether or not the novel will sell.

Many authors have great ideas—whether in fantasy, science fiction, art history, horror, or what have you—but few focus on the main question an agent or publisher is going to ask. That question is: Will this sell? More importantly, how well will it sell? Aspiring authors like to be creative—it’s what we’re best at. So why not create a way to sell the novel from the very beginning? While drafting your next work, take a step back and ask yourself if it would sell. Don’t get bogged down or overwhelmed with trying to make it sell. Just keep in mind that writing is a business. If you recognize and plan for the business side of writing from the very beginning, you’ll gain a leg up on the competition.

When drafting your novel, keep these questions in mind. Either answer them by writing them down, or just keep them in mind for later refining.

1. Who is the target audience?

Women in their mid-50s, tweens, young adults, or even hotrod driving men are all examples of audiences. Defining your target audience early on can help stabilize your work for the future. It can even give you direction when you want to have a solid plot or if you get lost in the overwhelming ideas you may have. Pulling a few of those ideas and refining them for a target audience is a great way to start cutting fat right off the bat.

Defining an audience also helps you keep sales in mind. Questions such as genre, who will buy the book, and what agents to look at will already be answered. This makes your job easier and streamlines the process further.

2. Why would someone want this instead of the competing book?

All genres have competition. For example, Trylle is competing with Twilight right now. Both are young adult paranormal romances. Both are high sellers, and both have the same effect on their audience. They emit the romantic aura that captures the hearts of their readers while keeping the plot interesting with battles, twisting plots, and suspense. But why did an agent pick up Twilight?

The answer may be in the business of the book, not the structure or the content. Twilight stuck to the right agent at the right time. There’s no saying why an agent will pick up a book one moment and reject a similar one the next. Simply keep in mind that the why is what will help you determine whether or not your work is sellable. Why someone may want to read your novel instead of someone else’s could define when an agent picks your work out of hundreds.

This goes back to defining your target audience. You know who will buy your book. Now figure out why. Does your book have amazing action that no one else’s has? What about gorgeous romance scenes that make your reader’s hearts tremble? When you try to research the why, talk with people in your target audience. Whether they’re friends or strangers, asking a few, brief questions to narrow down what your potential readers like could help define why your book would sell compared to the competition.

3. What makes your book successful?

Similar to the why is the what. What makes your book sellable is different from why people might buy it over the competition. In any given genre, an author should research books of similar plot, character, and with a similar target audience. Do you read a lot of adult fantasy? Then perhaps writing young adult is not your genre.

What makes your book successful is contingent on what you know about the genre you choose to write in. You are the expert when it comes to your genre, but even an expert only knows so much in the beginning. Learn about what sells in your genre. Then break down those masterpieces and find out what makes them sell. For example, if you write epic/high fantasy, who do you look to? Right now, there are many successful high fantasy authors. To name a few: Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, and Anne McCaffrey.

Read a few of their books. If you detest the work of one, ask yourself why. When you find yourself unable to put down the series of another author, again, ask yourself why. Always ask why, because it will tell you what will help you to write and define your own work from the beginning.

Once you have these questions answered, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to write and how you can sell it to potential agents, publishers, and eventually, readers.

You may finish reading this blog post at Novel Publicity, LLC.