Book Launch: Revelation Stones at Dartmouth Book Exchange

Tomorrow, Saturday June 15th, between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, I launch Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series at Dartmouth Book Exchange, 1187 Cole Harbour Road, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. I spent the first 29 years of my life in that community and return often to visit family. While I’ve not lived there since 1996, it still feels like home.

I’ll also have paperback copies of Shadows in the Stone (book 1) and Scattered Stones (book 2), as well as book 1 in the Mystical series, a series within a series, Beyond the Myst.

This is my first event in a book store, so I’m going in with no expectations; my goal is to have fun, meet readers and sell a few books.

I laughed out loud when I thought of the fun that could be had if that’s all that’s expected. It’s a good goal in life. I think I’m going to milk it.

If you’re in Cole Harbour tomorrow, pop in, have a chat. The Dartmouth Book Exchange has thousands of used books; you’ll find one you love.

A Hard Lesson Learned

Hard Lessons LearnedAlthough it’s tough to admit it, six years ago, I made a horrible mistake in my publishing journey. After publishing the first book in my Castle Keepers fantasy series, Shadows in the Stone, I should have buckled down and completed the draft to the second book in the series, Scattered Stones.

However, feeling the pressure to get more books on my publishing shelf, I wrote a few short stories that were not in the fantasy genre. They were quick writes, quickly edited by my editor and quickly published. I soon had four books on my shelf. It looked impressive.

I was following the advice of those who believed the more books on a shelf, the more a writer gets noticed because they have a larger footprint.

However, those giving advice didn’t stress the vital fact that the books written should all be in one genre. Readers sometimes stick to one genre, so those who loved my fantasy novel might not like my contemporary stories about death, domestic abuse or a cranky neighbour.

Sigh.

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Nova Scotia – Life Near Water free eBook – Last Chance

Castle clouds cropped02This is the last chance to download Nova Scotia – Life Near Water, my first collection of short stories, for free from Kindle. I’ve decided to not run anymore for this book, and possibly others in 2014. When the Select Kindle period ends this time, I’m removing this anthology from the program and releasing it on other platforms (such as Smashwords, Chapters and Sony).

The promotion for Nova Scotia – Life Near Water will run for two days. It began a few hours ago and will end Friday January 3rd, at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time. The regular price is $2.99. Canadian residents can download it here, and those in the United States will find it here. It’s available in other countries too by visiting the Amazon page for that particular country.

Thank you for your downloads.

The two short stories in the Castle Keepers Tales series–Destiny Governed their Lives and Blade of Truth–are available for free through Smashwords and other outlets, but I had to put a 99 cent sticker price on them at Kindle to get them listed. At Smashwords you can pick up the Kindle-formatted version.

These books will remain free for another year or so. Once all three books in the Castle Keepers series are released, I’ll gather these short stories, add a few others I’ve written and release them all in a collection.

About the Castle Keepers Tales

I began the Castle Keepers Tales to share extra stories about the characters who appear in The Castle Keepers novel series. Each is a stand-alone story, often telling a tragic event that happened in the past, before the first book, Shadows in the Stone. Through these stories, readers can better understand the characters and appreciate a little more of why they act as they do. We are all products of our past and pivotal events shape us into whom we are. These stories are not spoilers for the books, but enhance them. If a story does prove to undermine the enjoyment of a book, I’ll make note that the book should be read first. Otherwise, enjoy these tales without worry.

Enjoy and Happy New Year

NS Life Near Water candle

My First Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads GiveawayWhen I first learnt about Goodreads Giveaways, I thought it was a great idea, a wonderful way to get your book into the hands of new readers. So far, I still do see it as a wonderful avenue for writers to explore.

If you’ve never participated in this option in Goodreads, let me share my experience (so far) with you.

Only paper copies of books (hard cover, paperbacks) are permitted in giveaways. I didn’t mind this restriction since I had planned to release a paperback version of Shadows in the Stone. Obviously, paperback giveaways cost more to do than eBook giveaways.

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Goodreads Giveaway of Shadows in the Stone ends October 31st

Shadows in the StoneThree signed paperback copies of the first book in the fantasy series The Castle Keepers—Shadows in the Stone—are up for grabs at Goodreads.

The giveaway ends on Wednesday October 31st, midnight. For a chance to Win a Copy of this Book, visit the Giveaway Page.

Good luck.

Snippet from Shadows in the Stone:

Bronwyn caught her studying him as he regained his breath. Besides her frazzled appearance and cut below her right eye, she seemed fine. Her deep breathing caused her bosom to gently rise and fall, drawing his eyes to the soft hollow between her breasts. A button appeared to have broken off in the scuffle, revealing soft curves of delicate skin. His blood warmed and the tiny hairs on his ears pricked. He swallowed hard, realising his gaze had lingered too long. He quickly looked at the stone wall. “Thank you for casting the spell to protect me.” His voice sounded gentler than he expected. He looked back at her. “You risked your life for mine.”

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Making of a Book Trailer

Book Trailer - Shadows in the StoneOver the past few months, I’ve been gathering pictures and ideas to create a book trailer for my fantasy novel, Shadows in the Stone. I’ve watched about two dozen trailers of various degrees of quality to get an idea of what others are doing. Even the poorest was interesting and held my attention, which meant they worked. The high quality trailers were elaborate with a cast, unique music and played like a movie trailer.

My hope is my trailer falls somewhere in the middle; it’s my first, and although I see a few things that need to be changed, I don’t have the experience to fix the problems…yet.

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Lost in Ath-o’Lea; I Need a Map!

With plans for the paperback version of Shadows in the Stone underway, I realised today that I need a map of my fantasy world: Ath-o’Lea!

I’ve already completed the initial sketches and the second draft, decided on place names, compass position and various other things I want to add. Still, I don’t have it print ready; just the draft. I need to hand-draw the sea dragons and decide on the final design of the compass rose and Key.

Here’s what I have so far. I created it on paper, scanned it and plugged in the extra items and place names. I’m not happy with the font, so I’ll have to find something more fantasy-like. This was done with the Ulead program, but for my final version, I’ll use Power Point.

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Ebook Giveaway with Shadows in the Stone Launch

I’ve finally heard word from Smashwords: Approved!

That means Shadows in the Stone, the first book in The Castle Keepers series, has passed inspection and is now available for purchase through Smashwords’ website.

Smashwords offers several ebook formats of the fantasy novel, so you’re bound to find the format most comfortable for you. They include formats for Nook, Apple iPad/iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, home computers and a few others.

If your favourite reading device is Kindle, visit Amazon.com to purchase Shadows in the Stone.

Within two weeks, the book will appear in catalogues specific to these devices (Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc).

And now for the giveaways.

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Exclusive Interview with Bronwyn Darrow

Bronwyn Darrow is one of the main characters in Shadows in the Stone. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to him. This interview takes place in the same time frame as the opening scene of the fantasy novel. It provides a peek into Bronwyn’s world before the action gets underway.

Diane: Welcome to my farm, Bronwyn. I hope you don’t mind sitting here in the barn to talk; I don’t want to miss this beautiful day.

Bronwyn: No, I don’t mind. I love being outside. (pulls up a hay bale, sits and leans against a stall gate)

Diane (grabs her own hay bale, plops it against the opposite side of the six-foot aisle running through the barn and sits): Great because I also love the smell of this place.

Bronwyn (grins): Me, too. I love being around horses. It makes me feel free. (tosses his chin toward the pasture where our pony grazes beside the miniature donkey). What breed is that? I don’t think we have that type in Ath-o’Lea.

Diane: It’s a Haflinger.

Bronwyn: He’s a stalky creature. Gelding?

Diane: Yup, about five years old. The breeds supposed to be sure-footed, great for mountain trails.

Bronwyn (flashes his dark brown eyes at me): Can I ride ‘em when we’re done?

Diane: Sure, as long as you don’t take him on the road. He’s not wearing shoes.

Bronwyn (his face lights up): Promise, I won’t. He looks like he loves to run.

Diane: Do you ride a lot in your position at Aruam Castle?

Bronwyn: I do. Learning to ride well is part of a soldier’s training. We spend at least two hours a day working with horses.

Diane: How long have you been serving the castle?

Bronwyn: I’ve been a soldier in the reserve for about two years.

Diane: So you’re not a castle guard? (He shakes his head). What’s the difference?

Bronwyn: The soldiers are a reserve for the castle guard. When a guard retires, dies or is injured to the point he can’t fulfil his duties, his position is filled by a soldier. This means the castle guard is always working at full capacity with well-trained men.

Diane: What duties do you perform as a soldier?

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And the most popular cover is…

I had a lot of feedback on the sample book covers I posted yesterday through comments and messages. I also printed off the samples and showed them to everyone I met in the past 24 hours.

One suggestion was to lose a fantasy novel and add Debut novel by a Nova Scotia author, so I applied that advice. A few people said they liked this background and it fit well with the theme, but the text needed to be more dramatic. Of all the images, this one was favoured by the majority.

Taking the suggestions and comments into consideration, I’ve created a new cover. It’s a mix of the samples plus a bit more.

Below is the almost official cover for Shadows in the Stone. I’m certain I’ll tweak it here and there, but not too much.

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Which Cover Works Best?

Things aren’t always what they seem to be in a small town in the Land of Ath-o’Lea. Magic creeps in the shadows, waiting to pounce…

Corporal Bronwyn Darrow vows he’ll never fall victim to love again after the woman he adored betrays him. He directs his energies to rising in the ranks of Aruam Castle, aspiring to one day command as captain of the guards. Although he treasures his home and family, he is blinded both by his desire to succeed and a mysterious magic lurking in the shadows of the ancient castle.

Alaura of Niamh, a half-breed enchantress with a deadly past, takes refuge in Bronwyn’s hometown. When the two meet, the spell which binds them is stronger than their fears of falling in love. As Alaura’s secrets threaten to separate them forever, outside forces attempt to shatter the security of Aruam Castle and eliminate Bronwyn. When an orphan weaves their lives together, they embark on a journey destined to either destroy or deliver them to the passion living in their hearts.

Above is the back cover blurb I’m working on for Shadows in the Stone. Below are several book covers I designed this week. Which grabs your attention the most? Do you like one image but prefer the font of another cover? Please, share your thoughts.

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Shadows in the Stone Update

The Shadows in the Stone manuscript has now been purged of passive words (Part I) and edited by me (Part II). It took a little over a month to complete the 42 chapters in Part II. The word count currently hovers around 127,000, about 3,000 less than I anticipated.

While completing this edit, I learnt I have 65 named characters and 38 place names. There are still two fellows I need to find last names for, but I’ll do that this week.

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Two Busy Days NOT Writing

Nice weather forced chores into my schedule, reducing my time to write over the weekend. Needless to say, I’m not quite finished with editing my fantasy novel, Shadows in the Stone, before I send it to the editor this week. I hope to get the last few chapters completed today.

I might say I’m an anxious person, someone with little patients or a race to the finish line kinda writer because regardless of the project I’m working on, once I get to the last few chapters, I tend to open them all up. With four chapters left to go, all are completed in some way, so it’ll take very little time to knock them off the to-do list. Then it’s off to the editor with them. I’ll talk a little about finding an editor and working with one in an upcoming post.

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Write What You Know

The six legs of the ladybug moved in unison across the leaf. They carried the red bug to the base of the foliage where it joined with the stem. Tiny white aphids worked there in the axil, sucking sweet juices from the plant and creating sugar the ants would harvest. The ladybug feasted on the succulent aphids until a robin swooped down, snatched it and flew off to feed its young.

The rush of wings pushed a breeze across the face of the dwarf lying on the forest floor nearby. A soft wind entered his air passages and began to awaken his senses. Gentle but persistent prickles inside his nose and throat roused him further. He breathed deeper. The first dry swallow forced him to generate spit.

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