Category Archives: Goddess’s Honor series

The slow process of craft

I think I complained in an earlier post that I’ve been slow with writing a new book because of life plus working on short stories. One of the things that I am discovering at this point in time is that I just can’t be as much of a plotter with my short stories as I can be with my novels. That slowed me down considerably in drafting the short pieces, because I found myself worrying at the characters, at the plot, at every blessed thing without getting the words down on paper–and then freezing up because I couldn’t just sit down and write it out like I can in a novel.

I’m not sure why it is that way. I tried to outline the short stories. It just didn’t work. Oh, a rough outline was fine, but I found myself adding in complexity that really wasn’t helpful. Unlike writing a novel, too, I couldn’t depend on a rough framework to help me roll 2ooo words a day through the computer. I was lucky to get 1000 words in, if that.

I finally concluded that short stories are just different, and I need to be less controlling of the story in some ways. But I also needed to sit and think a lot more while crafting the short stories. As it were, I have four short stories–well, three shorts and a novelette that I wrote in the first four months of the year. I guess that counts for something. Just not enough in self-publishing world.

The other thing is that I am now in the process of laying out the foundation for the sequel to Pledges of Honor, Challenges to Honor. Right now that consists of opening up Scrivener and making notes to myself about the interrelationships between the main characters as well as their interactions with minor characters. I’ve also started making general plot notes as well as notes about individual book arcs. I’m starting to get a grasp of what the plot is going to be, and I have a rough initial blurb written.

But!

I have NO. FREAKING. IDEA. about point of view yet. From all the backstory I’m building, this needs to be a multiple-viewpoint book. And yet–I somewhat want it to reflect Pledges with Katerin as the viewpoint character. And yet–there are things happening out of her POV which could be important. I might add one more POV, but…I’m not yet convinced it needs to happen. Katerin’s arc is going to be serious enough. She’s had a quiet eleven years since the events of Pledges. But the Gods are stirring, the Emperor-over-Sea is remembering the distant exiles who could yet challenge his legitimacy, and her role as Banisher of Shadows is going to come into play. The Red Goddess has the reddest of blood-red motives, and she does not look very kindly on the daughter of the woman who banished her from the Witch City of Waykemin.

Or the Miteal family, which means two strikes against Katerin and her daughter Witmara.

So yeah. Once I start writing on this one, it’s gonna be a ride.

But first I have to figure out if it’s just Katerin’s POV or not.

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Beyond Honor now ready for pre-order!

Beyond Honor front cover

It is live on CreateSpace as well, and I have hard copies in my hands. It’s a gorgeous book (shout out to Roslyn McFarland for a lovely design).

What’s it about?

Aireii sorceress Alicira, last magician of the house of Miteal, has escaped the clutches of Zauril, murderer of most of her family and usurper of the Leadership of Medvara. She struggles to remain free of his control, especially since her unborn daughter, Zauril’s child, may have inherited his magic instead of hers. Will she be able to find a safe refuge to rear her child free from Zauril’s influence and wreak her vengeance on him, or will the Gods interfere? Her only surviving sibling swears such a place is in Keldara. But will she be able to reach Keldara without losing all she holds dear?

Release date: July 1.

Preorders now available on Kindle, Nook, Apple, and Kobo

 

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Beyond Honor release date and cover reveal, plus Birth of Sorrows

So the release date for Beyond Honor is going to be July 1, perhaps sooner but that’s going to be the official date that it will be available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and etc. I have a lovely cover designed by Roslyn McFarland, and as of yesterday I put down the first 1000 words of the short story that is going to be featured in the Coming Soon pages at the end of Beyond Honor–“Birth of Sorrows,” a short story about the birth of Alicira’s daughter Rekaré, which follows about six months after the events of Beyond Honor.

Here’s the cover:

Beyond Honor front cover

Isn’t it a lovely little thing?

And as for “Birth of Sorrows,” well, that’s a lovely thing as well. Here’s an excerpt:

*************

It could be forgivable to assume that the shimmering of the air over the high mountain ridge’s grassland was nothing more than early summer’s heat. But edgy silence accompanied the flickering air as the midafternoon sun beat down on the broad, flat expanse. No crickets chirped, no hawks screamed. Even the camp of Keldaran and Clendan kinfolk summering on the high ridge lay mute; no children running, the camp herds clustered together, adults doing only what was urgent. Otherwise, they, too, watched as magic spread out from the large mat lodge belonging to their leaders, Heinmyets of Keldara, Inharise of Clenda, and Alicira the Outcast.

A long shriek echoed through the camp. The air on the open flat quavered stronger than ever and the strong, thrumming vibration that announced a God’s impending arrival even to the uninitiated and magicless rolled over the ridge in response to the cry. Another scream burst from the lodge, followed by sobbing gasps for air. Magic thickened around the camp, its heavy hand spreading fear even among the adults so that they signed protections for themselves and their children.

Orlanden en Selail’s fingers itched to pull his bow out of its case as he stood head of the guard around the Leaders’ lodge. He was no stranger to powerful magic, but this high sorcery of the Seven Crowned Gods made his skin prickle as if venomous centipedes were crawling all over him. His normal response to this sensation would be to prepare for a battle.

But not this time. Not when a sorceress of the Miteal gave birth to another sorceress of equal or greater potential power. Alicira the Outcast, exiled though she might be, still carried significant magical power that she had needed to put away during the last part of her pregnancy. Now, with the impending birth of this child, Alicira’s magic rebounded with renewed strength to protect her against the uncontrolled fledging power her daughter would wield in her first breaths.

What was the old saying? When sorceress gives birth to sorceress, the Gods themselves may tremble. Given that the sire of this girl was none other than Zauril the Usurper, a strong and powerful magician with aspirations to join the Seven’s pantheon by overthrowing one of them, there was no doubt in Orlanden’s mind that the Gods were trembling. No doubt that at least one of the Gods, if not all of them, would come to witness her birth.

****************

I’m thinking that I may read from this at MisCon, possibly also a snippet from Beyond Honor. Sound intriguing?

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And…Beyond Honor is done!

Just typed THE END on the first draft of Beyond Honor today. It comes in at about 44,000 words, and didn’t quite end where I anticipated it. I suspect rewrites may blow it up to about 50k, but we shall see how that goes. The last segment was a lot longer than I expected, with Alicira and the god Staul throwing chips to determine what would happen with her, her child, and her magic. That ended up being one heck of a talky session, but there were some mouthy characters who needed to say their piece.

I already know I have continuity things to fix. However I pretty much know what they are, especially if I work backward from the end to lay the breadcrumbs for the finish.

Whew. As I said before, this was a story that was over forty years in the making. I first thought of the Goddess’s Honor world when I was fourteen, and had started wrestling with this aspect of the story in a writers group twenty-five years ago. Back then it wouldn’t have worked as conceived, but without that foundation I don’t think I could have taken the framework in hand and shaped it into the story I finished today.

Now to do other stuff, and tomorrow I start doing something about the short story inventory, which is pathetic, sad, and in need of growth.

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Progress on Beyond Honor

I’m closing in on the finish of Beyond Honor. Gods, this has been a difficult novella to write. Geez, how many years have I been struggling to write this portion of the whole Goddess’s Honor mythos? Thirty, maybe?

For whatever reason, each time I’ve started to write about how Alicira comes to Keldara has been a struggle. It was actually easier to write Pledges of Honor as an indirect approach to the whole mythos through an apparently unrelated character…except then it turns out that Katerin is related. Some of this is due to a bit of stereotypic conflict building. Alicira was abused by the usurper Zauril, with the explicit intention on his part of using her magic to advance his own power to elevate himself to godhood. She escapes, but she’s pregnant with his child. Trying to write her as a powerful character with agency even when all her options are narrowing and she has little choice has been the struggle.

And then there’s the magic. BIG SIGH. One effect of the growth of gaming these days, especially for a non-gaming writer like me, is trying to figure out a magical system that holds together and makes sense. I don’t think you can easily do a handwavium magic system any more, just because there are so many readers out there who build systems as part of their gaming. That’s a good thing, really, but it requires more work on the worldbuilding. So that means figuring out the rules of the sort of magic that’s going on…which is part of the ongoing struggle with this story.

Following that is the meshing of Alicira, Heinmyets, and Inharise as a family triad who shares leadership and magic.

All of this is to say that this book is going to need some massive rewrite, I suspect. But at least I’ve laid down the bones. Much as I’d like to get it out by May, I don’t know that I can do it. On the other hand, as I work through the elements in this book, it will make working on the next book simpler.

At least that’s what I hope.

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Today’s Beyond Honor snippet

She didn’t know what woke her first, an overwhelming sense of wrongness from Narasin or Heinmyets’s yell. Alicira rolled, fumbling for bow and arrows and sword, heart pounding.

“Stop.” Inharise seized her wrists.

“Can’t you feel it? The Shadowwalkers are coming!” she screamed back, Heinmyets’s bellows amplifying Narasin’s danger. Danger. Danger.

“Stop it!” Alame yelled. “Alicira, release!” He took both of Heinmyets’s hands. “He doesn’t have control of the magic. You need to channel Narasin!”

Danger almost drove her to try to break through Inharise’s restraint. But there was something else, a sense of waters flowing around Alicira as she met the other woman’s eyes.

“You have to control it,” Inharise breathed. “He wasn’t like this before.”

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Get it while you can…

I’m publishing sections of Beyond Honor over at Kindle’s Write On boards. It’s not betaed or edited yet so you get to see what my rough draft processes look like, warts and all. I don’t even have chapter divisions done yet so this is REALLY rough stuff.

Come check it out here.

 

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And a wee story twist….

Holy cremoly. Today’s work on Beyond Honor took a twist. A big twist that at first left me muttering because I was sure that led to a major continuity error in Pledges of Honor–and then I remembered that this was something Katerin would not have been exposed to or possibly even be aware of as a healer.

But yeah. Much more magic in this story than in Pledges. LOTS more.

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Merry Christmas! Pledges of Honor Chapter 4

Blogging about Christmas and all later on….for now, it’s Pledges of Honor Chapter 4. Just got a lovely review on Goodreads by someone who couldn’t put the book down. Oops, now I need to get cracking on Beyond Honor.

So here it is, Chapter Four, in which Katerin finally gets the remembrance spell lifted and she realizes the significance of Wickmasa….

And as always, if you want to read the whole thing, the books can be found at Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and etc. Or if you’re not already signed up for my newsletter, do so today and you’ll get a chance at getting a free copy? I’m giving away two copies of Pledges of Honor and Netwalk’s Children as a part of my New Year’s newsletter. What a way to start out 2016! Message me or send an email to jrw at aracnet dot com.

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Pledges of Honor–Chapter Three

So here’s Chapter Three of Pledges of Honor. Katerin gets to the Healing House, to find out that it is indeed as Imnari says…”Wickmasa has need” is all she has to say.

Interestingly, these chapters tend to run short while Netwalk’s Children runs long. I’ve never really paid attention to the different lengths of chapter before. Funny how that works.

And as always, if you want to read the whole thing, the books can be found at Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and etc. Or if you’re not already signed up for my newsletter, do so today and you’ll get a chance at getting a free copy? I’m giving away two copies of Pledges of Honor and Netwalk’s Children by New Year’s. What a way to start it out!

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