Musings on the Art of Writing

As a child, I discovered fantastic worlds created in books. When I began writing about the worlds of my own imagination, I realized how hard authors work to set their characters free to live for our enjoyment. This blog will explore that weird and wonderful process.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

White Crane

A little late posting my final publication effort as life got in the way of blog posts.  'Twas ever thus.

White Crane is an historical fantasy set in the distant past designed for teens but could also be enjoyed by adults.

The spirits of her ancestors haunt White Crane as she fights against the traditions of the tribe.  She does not want to marry and move away.  The elders fear her white hair and her ability to talk to those in the spirit world.  When she performs a forbidden dance, they ban her from the tribal gathering.  This allows her to search for her uncle who has been kidnapped.  Joining White Crane is a young hunter called Wolfwillow who has magic of his own.  Together, they face an enemy not of this earth.

Amazon reviews:

Meghan Schmidt -- White Crane is a very fast paced, fun read for all ages.  The imagery along with the history of the tribal customs and legends makes it easy to get lost in its pages.  It also challenges traditional gender roles and would be a great read for both young girls and boys alike.  It was a truly enjoyable experience.  Highly recommended.  5 stars.

bookloverlynda -- I enjoyed White Crane very much.  The author possesses a vivid imagination and allows us to see her vision of this challenging landscape and its creatures.  The fascinating history associated with the tribal customs was interwoven nicely into a fast-paced plot.  4 stars

She stands perched on the edge of Dragon Country with a coyote at her side.  He sniffs the prairie breeze that fluffs her white hair.  She watches the black smudge on the horizon.  It roils in the wind.  Plumes of grey billow upward, mixing with the sky's fluffy clouds.  The darkness blossoms like a thunderstorm; lighting flashes within its depths.

The coyote whines as the blackness douses the sun.  He nudges her leg but she cannot move.  Fear freezes her.

Then the winds wail toward her, tearing at the fringe of her tunic.  The red bears of her mother's needle appear to flee front the onslaught.  The coyote presses himself against her legs.

The blackness twists like a giant tornado.  It twirls across the prairie sucking everything into its shadows.  She shears the scream of the gale as it descends upon her but Earth Mother holds her close.  She will protect them both as rain pummels their bodies.

Then, with wet hair clinging to her cheeks, the dark, whirling cloud swallows her up.  Wrenched from Earth Mother's embrace, she twists upward in the wind.  The coyote howls.  She opens her mouth to scream.  Her breath is sucked from her.

If you wish to read the rest of Chapter I, click here.  To purchase your own copy, click here.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Sceptre of Terran-Gayle

As promised here is the second book I've self-published.  Although this one spent many years under a literary agent's watchful eye, it only sparked the interest of one publisher who, upon reflection, declined to print it.

The Spectre of Terran-Gayle is an historical fantasy fiction designed for young adults (14 years and older).

All his life, Geri has been tormented by dreams.  This day is no different.  Upon waking, he faces the horror being a half-blind cripple, unwanted by his father, and living in a land raped by its king.  As he strikes out on his own, Geri fears the world will see him as nothing more than a beggar on the streets of Nynamarg.

"So you saw him, Isa, my love."  Her blood-red nails stroked the neck of the black falcon.  "How could my plague have missed such a misbegotten cur?"

She set the bird on a porch of twisted iron.  The bells jingled on Isa's leather jesses.  Then the woman paced the chamber, the hem of her red silk dress rustling across the flagstones.  Stopping at the window, she pushed back the leaded casements.  Isa fluffed her feathers as the crisp mountain air flowed in.  Snow still whitened the peaks around the castle.  The woman gazed down through the falling flakes to where the tower met the mountain.  Embedded in the rock face was a s small circular window, barred with a crosshatch of iron.

"You distracted me.  That why this boy lives.  May you rot in there forever!"  The word, forever, echoed back to mock her.  "Better yet--."

She drew a black wand from the pocket of her gown and pointed it at the grate.  A ribbon of ice-green magic zigzagged through its slats.  The man's wail haunted the mountains.

"He'll remember that for hours to come."

To read the rest of the first chapter, click here.  To purchase this book, click here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shelfie selfie

I love photography and in my travel blog and Shutterfly website, you can see my pictures.  I've never posted a picture here until now.  A Facebook friend of mine (also an author) suggested posing with a book you've written with a book case in the background.  I've lots of books and even have a small room designated as a library but felt it was easier to do the 'shoot' while sitting at my office desk.  I'm not a great one for being in photos nor do I do 'selfies' (pictures taken of yourself, by yourself).  What you see is my first attempt.

Taking the photo made me realize I am the worst when it comes to self-promotion, be it my photography or my writing.  Other than a few posts on Twitter and Facebook, I haven't promoted any of my books.  I've never walked into a bookstore and asked for shelf space.  I've never gone to conferences and hocked my books.  Most who meet me don't even know I'm a writer.

I think it is time to change that.  I'll begin with baby steps.  The next few posts will be excerpts from my books.  I'll begin with the first one I self-published, The Quest of Balthasar.  This is a speculative fiction novel for young adults (14 years and over).

Prince Balthasar (Tarr) of Lochnaera, haunted by the grizzly deaths of his parents, searches the galaxy for a legendary ring to bring peace to his planet and fulfill the promise made to his dying father.

Tarr groaned as his battered body smashed the stones.  Blood oozed from his crumpled nose and the pungent smoke of the dungeon cell stung his swollen eyes.

"You no good swine," the jailer cursed.  "Yah deserve to die."  The slobbering Mystragaellan guard slammed his foot onto the small of Tarr's back.  "But there is others who wants yah first.  That there Hunter has his dibs, he does."

The Hunter.  Tarr shuddered.  Always The Hunter nipping at his heels.  Now the Black Pirate had caught up with him.

A steel-capped toe flipped the Lochnaeran like a helpless turtle.  Tarr cooked his arms over his lacerated face.

"Scrofata-swine," the jailer spat.  Tarr huffed as the boot bit into his gut.  "Yah ain't good for nothing. Not stealing.  Not slaving.  Nothing!"

To read the rest of the first chapter, click here.  To purchase the book, click here.