Sunday, May 19, 2019

Reminiscing and writing

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's post. Baxter Black was a rare treat when I was growing up. Where I live, we had Rodney Nelson as our local cowboy poet. I recommend anyone looking for a good story and a laugh look up more on Youtube.

So, what else have I been up to, besides reminiscing? Working at my day job for one.

Buddy with his new saddle after a long trail ride.
And training Buddy. It's that time of year when ranchers in my area brand, vaccinate, and castrate calves. (Don't want a bunch of little bulls running around.) Buddy is ready to help round up cattle now. He's becoming a real cowhorse, as I posted a couple of weeks ago. The big test is coming up. All the commotion and comraderie of neighbors gathering to help each other becomes a working party. It's a simple life well lived. But for a horse, it can be a bit frightening initially. We'll see how he handles his first branding roundup this spring.

And I'm excited that my brother and his family will be home for the branding also. Farm families are some of the closest knit families you'll ever meet. We rely on each other. Granted, like my brother and his family, who live in another state, I don't actually live on the farm/ranch anymore, but it's still in our blood. My sisters still live and work on the farm with their families, and my brother and I both wish we could too. Alas, our lives have taken different routes, but home is home. There's a peace about the open country where the closest neighbor is a mile or two away. There's real freedom in that, and it's a balm to the soul. Getting back to my roots has provided the greatest healing for me.

It's that peace that lets me regain my writing focus. The long drive to and from the farm of my youth gives me lots of time to think and clear my head. I've been using that to work out details of whatever story I'm working on. Because of that, the writing has been going well on #4 of Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds. Yes, #4 already! I like being two books ahead of the one I plan to release. And the shorter lengths keep me from getting bored.

I am really enjoying the way this series is going so far. The first draft of #4 (title TBD) is halfway done already. As I mentioned last week, I met a new character in this one who really intrigued me. He was exactly what the series needed, and I plan to keep him as a regular character from this point forward. I have a working title and a cover image, but I'm not sure if the title will fit by the end of the story. If I was as sure as I was with Vault of the Celestials, I would announce it here, but it looks like that announcement will have to wait until the end of June. Ironically, VotC (SA:FW #3) was an easy title and cover but a hard book to write; now, #4 is pretty easy to write but difficult to title. That's writing.

Speaking of June, THE RULE OF YONDER will be available June 20th. I'm going into final edits on that this week to have it ready in time to go out to all the retailers. I hope you're as excited as I am!

Despite their narrow escape from the Issan, Zaer's starship, the Da'Nelgur, was severely damaged. Vel and Shen have tried to fix the hyperdrive, and Nya is sound asleep. Their only chance to repair the ship to continue their journey to Ethal is a crime-syndicate-run remote city in interstellar space.

Yonder Station is not a place where anyone with sense wants to stay long, but it has its advantages. A home to salvagers, dealers, hustlers, and assassins, it is also a valuable trading post for the fringe of the galaxy, especially for information. The latest news is the Da'Nelgur's involvement with the Issan and the mysterious portals.

When Zaer is taken by one of the crimelords seeking what she knows about the portals, it's up to Nik and Nya to rescue her. But that same crimelord wants them too. To rescue Zaer, they'll need to avoid being captured while tracking where she might have been taken. What they discover could get them killed, or it could gain them powerful new allies. What could go wrong?

Pre-order your ebook copy today from major retailers:

Barnes and Noble
and many others

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A laugh for today

ps--makes me hungry!

pps--I remember watching Johnny Carson late at night, back when we could laugh about anything. Ah, the good old days!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Forgotten Worlds #4 progress

I'm currently working on the fourth installment of the Starfire Angels: Forgotten Worlds series. After massive edits on Vault of the Celestials, it was difficult to get my focus back on the writing side of things, but I eventually got there. And I needed that time to figure out the story.

Then I realized where else could I pick up except where the final scene of VotC left off? I don't yet have a title for #4 of this series, but I do have a cover design based on the world where Zaer has a connection with a special delivery. Once I got going, the story picked up speed to where I had written over 4,000+ words this past weekend. It slowed down since but only because I need a breather--that was quite the pace for me. Part of that strong pace was the inspiration of a new character mysteriously appearing and gaining development.

I love new characters, but this one took over my imagination. He's interesting is all I can say at this early stage, but I already have big plans for him.

I'm only 10K words into this, or about a quarter of the expected length. I generally plan around 40K words on each of these, give or take a couple thousand. It's actually an awkward length but so much easier than aiming for 100K novels. And I have more fun because I can switch up adventures more frequently. That keeps me going.

I hope it keeps you going too. I have a cover mostly ready for #4. I just need the title, which will come at some point.

For now, you can start this exciting new science fiction series with the first book, A NEW BEGINNING. The second book, THE RULE OF YONDER, will be available on June 20. The third, VAULT OF THE CELESTIALS, will be available in September. This fourth book you can expect sometime soon after Thanksgiving (U.S.).

Friday, May 3, 2019

I have a cowhorse

Yay, Buddy! He's finally getting there. This winter changed him. Well, it wasn't just winter, but how he lived this winter and my care through the winter. The experience changed him for the better. The farm has been exactly what he needed to get over his nerves. He was always a smart boy and clearly has some foundation Quarter Horse, based on his conformation, even if he doesn't have registration papers. That should equate to a calm boy. Unfortunately, he hadn't had the experiences that he needed to start accepting new things and getting over his fears.

Buddy has come so far since I took him out to my family's farm. Being around cattle and all the big tractors, Rangers, pickups, trailers, stacks of round bales etc. has taught him not to be afraid of every little thing. And my regular handling has taught him that he's okay without his herd nearby. He's FINALLY carrying that through under saddle now, not just when I'm on the ground with him.

Last fall, we helped sort calves for weaning with him in-hand for that first experience. He started out nervous, but by the end was excited to go after the cows. Today, we rode with the cows for the first time and, except for a moment when he wanted to buck and play instead of canter (easily corrected, because he's not mean-spirited at all), he enjoyed it! He was even walking on a loose rein. I like to do some dressage work, but I've been trying to let him go off the contact and encouraging him to relax. The only time he started to get anxious for his friends was coming over the hill back to the farmstead. That was the first time he whinnied during our whole ride, which means he was pretty occupied with our ride up to that point and not worried.

The lead is free and he's completely at ease as long as he has yummy green
We didn't focus on dressage today, except to correct him from dropping his shoulder, but focused on western riding in our new saddle. (A special pad with back shims and using the special Circle Y 7/8 cinch position were the answers to freeing his shoulders) He'll be ready to join the big boys rounding up cattle for working calves in three weeks.

And after our ride, I took him to the grass for a treat. I was able to drop the lead rope and let him graze while I played with the dogs. He didn't look around anxiously for his friends like he used to do. I could barely get him to enjoy the grass last fall--he was always worried about where his friends were. He's never worried about stepping on his lead, which doesn't phase him in the least. He just moves his hoof until his head is free. I have an awesome horse who just gets better and better with time and training.

Tuff wanting me to throw the rock
Gunner taking it easy...finally

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

I am not on social media

You will not find me on Facebook (quit a year ago) or Twitter. I have also closed my Instagram account. Google+ is closed. MySpace is dead, as is LiveJournal. I haven't had any other accounts that I can recall, except blogs. Social media is the virtual wild west, too abusive, and too time sucking. I'm done with it. I am only hanging out online in private groups.

If you see someone masquerading as me on the primary social media hangouts, it is NOT me. Please let the platforms know if you find anything like that. I can be found here, on my blog. (I don't consider groups like Goodreads to be social media since it's more like a forum; although, depending on your definition of social media, a forum could fall under that heading. I just don't group it in with social media because it isn't quite the same.)

Now, back to your reading enjoyment.

edit 5/4/19: There is still one account that I mostly ignore. I get bothered by the company so much I may close that down too.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

cover art

I love showing off covers just as much as I love creating them. I've been wanting to put together a boxed set for the Luriel Cycle but could not grasp a concept for a cover. If I can't come up with a concept, there would be no way an artist could.

It may take a while, but eventually, I get there... I got there. The same thing can happen in writing. Sometimes you just have to push through the creative block.

At last, I have a cover for the boxed set of The Luriel Cycle: the Complete Trilogy, which will be available soon...

Edit 4/28/19: I started looking at the previous cover and saw a Disney movie. Not good. This is not a Disney-audience friendly book. Loved the cover model, but she looked too young. I went with a modification that took the model out.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cat pic spam

We have four cats in our house. They keep us smiling, and you'll see why.

The three musketeers - (left to right)
Suki, Jack, Dargo

The boys are BFFs

little miss tortitude cleaning her belly

Dargo is a big baby and a goofball

"My towels!"

Our geriatric Siamese, Padme.

The two Siamese and oldest of our kitties - Dargo and Padme