Valiant Heart is Here!

valiantheart2Well hello, all! I am so excited to announce that the e-book version of my steampunk fantasy novella, Valiant Heart, is out today through several vendors! You can buy a copy at Amazon, or follow this link to a variety of online retailers.

I invite you to swing by any of these book-sellers, take a look-see, and set forth on a journey to a world filled with magic, adventure, airships and magitech, and most of all, characters I hope you’ll love as much as I do. Thank you so much for reading, and Be Valiant!

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Return of the Light

Happy Monday, dear reader!

I am looking outside my window into a cold and snowy morning. The skies are gray giving way to still, quiet fog and the world feels muted. I have to think for a moment to suss out which way I’m facing (southeast, from where I’m sitting) since I cannot see any evidence of the sun. Though I love the quiet and coziness of winter, I miss the light.

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The winter solstice heralds the shortest day of the year though the days following the holidays can feel mighty light-less. The thing is, it’s halfway through January, racing toward February. In February, as my husband likes to point out, something wonderful happens. As each calendar date ticks off toward the spring equinox, we gain more and more light each day. Even if the air is still chilly or the ground covered in slush, I feel it–the return of the light.

This astronomical/seasonal observation brings me to some thoughts about my creative motivation and inspiration. The reason I write what I write is exactly the reason I look forward to those February skies: the light. Life can at times be heavy and frightening, stressful, wearying. What I want readers to take away from my work is a sense of lightness. I want you, reader, to feel just for a moment like there is sun waiting to burst through the fog, and that all will be well.

valiantheart2The world of Tanahr and the events of Valiant Heart (and yes, the sequels I have planned, SQUEE) are not always gentle. At the end of each book, however, I want you to walk away with the sense that there is goodness and love to be had in this and any world. Grief, hard times, trauma, and hurt are realities of existence. But so are love, kinship, victories both small and large, and beauty. This is the light I strive for in my writing.

Valiant Heart is available tomorrow…links to come! I hope you are staying warm (or cool if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, storing up the sun for when winter rolls around for you). Thank you for reading, and walk in the light!

Found Family: Friday Feel

So, I’m closing in on a week of pre-release blogging, and I’m no less excited than when I first began. If anything, I even more can’t wait to share the world of Tanahr with you!

I was thinking about what I might want to say for a Friday Feel post and what immediately popped into my head (likely because of the consonance of so many f’s) was “found family.” Found family is a concept that I come to often in my writing and world building. When I think about my favorite narratives–video games, books, shows, movies, tabletop gaming even–there is usually an element of disparate people coming together in the midst of plot drama to support one another.

Sometimes the found family is at first a simple matter of convenience or happenstance–like two of my favorite TV shows, Cowboy Bebop and Firefly. In most Star Trek shows I’ve seen, Star Fleet personnel are often forced to bond as they journey into the depths of space, or carry out duty assignments far from their homes. Many characters in found family narratives do have family of their own that they love, or that for one reason or another they cannot be close to. Many others have nobody, but gravitate, willingly or otherwise, to those who can help them in their journeys, if only for a time. And then, there are those who stick together with their now found-but-forever-families.

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Valiant Heart’s found family. ❤

I realized, in creating graphics and character lists for my Tanahr Tales series, that the concept of found family is the backbone of at least the first three narrative arcs. In Valiant Heart, Niamh and Jeron find each other in the course of duty and as they are drawn closer by the events that surround them, they not just find comfort in one another but in fellow soldiers, mages, and people they meet along the way. Many of them have families of their own but come together in the big, bustling city of Astra as a found-family of friends, lovers, mentors and even pseudo-parental figures.

What are your favorite found family narratives? There are so many out there, and I never get tired of them so feel free to share in the comments. Happy Friday, all, and thanks for reading!

For the Love: Thursday Thoughts

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Hiya, all! I hope this Thor’s Day finds you well and thriving. :3

I’ve been blogging all week in celebration of my upcoming new release, Valiant Heart–a 40K fantasy novella that opens the door to a world of adventure, magic, and characters I’ve grown to adore in the time I’ve spent with them.

I will tell anyone who asks me about the process of writing and the journey to publication the same thing: it’s hard work. Work that requires patience, time, sometimes a thick skin, and the ability to focus and stick to a schedule. More than any of that, though, I maintain (and will shout it from the rooftops whilst standing on a soapbox and waving my banners high) that writing is an act of LOVE.

I absolutely LOVE being an author. I am a creatrix of worlds, purveyor of the rarest goods, matchmaker, fate-weaver…I am having fun. There are, of course, parts of the process I enjoy less than others. Writing synopses and blurbs? Not my most beloved pastime, certainly. That millionth editing pass? Well, the love can wear a little thin. That said, I languish when I’m not writing or working toward a major writing goal of some sort.

It’s not all fun, no. But my love for writing far outweighs any challenges I face in the process. If something is going to be this much work, should it not be THAT much more fun? I do the work because I love the work…plain and simple. And if I do my job well, the hope is that readers will love my work, too.

Writers, what do you love most about the process? What keeps you coming back to the keyboard/notebook again and again? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! ❤

Wonder-full Wednesday

I see the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday a lot these days, and I love it. Stories of joy, moments of happiness, quotes for hope often accompany this tag, and I can never get enough light in my world!

With the release of Valiant Heart nearly here, I cannot help but think about how exploring the worlds we find in books, games, and TV/movies can keep our senses of wonder alive and well. If could not have played the fantasy RPG games that started me thinking about the world of Tanahr in the first place, if I had not read fantasy and fantasy romances that set my heart soaring in whole other worlds…would I have had the determination and squee needed to see this project through?

clean-21479_960_720There is a phrase I remember when I’m suffering from creativity blocks and writing doldrums: you can’t draw water from an empty well. If I don’t have an overfull sense of wonder, how can build worlds to entice my readers? How can I keep up with the difficult, if rewarding, work that writing entails?

I have to fill the well. Making time in my schedule for gaming, reading things that make me happy, talking walks in nature, watching shows that inspire me, or creating playlists that I know keep me in that writing chair once I get there…none of this is optional. I fill my well of wonder so I can create more wonder to put out into the world.

What do you do to ensure that your life is wonder-full? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and as always, thank you so much for reading!

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