Only a few more hours left

This is the last lap for Layla’s Kickstarter. If you haven’t seen my million posts about it I’m surprised because I’ve been blasting my horn every where I go. I probably should apologize for being such a blatant spammer, but when all you’ve got is you, it’s necessary!

Honestly, I’ve worked hard on this issue. The book, in my opinion is even prettier than Ian’s Realm because I learned a few things. Each one should be getting better.


That being said, I’m working on the next book. Dairy of a Conjurer, and it too will have a limited edition. Did I tell you I am giving out loyalty rewards for people who pledge a physical tier for two or more of my campaigns?

Also, these LE editions will not be available anywhere else except on Kickstarter. I will have editions similar, but not with the 3D diamond covers and as many images.

Please do grab one now so I don’t have to keep ranting about it...*smiles and dodges the soaring projectiles coming my way.

Have a great week. Spring is just around the corner, if you can trudge through the snow or wade in the puddles to get there…

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The Lycan War: author Michael Timmins

I don’t write about werewolves, they never appealed to me very much. But I respect fellow authors who do and of course the readers who follow them, and because of that I’m introducing to you Mike Timmins who has written a popular shape shifter book and gained pretty impressive acclaim for it.

The series is called The Lycan War Saga. Check it out. I’m tempted to read it myself even if it isn’t my genre.

Over two millennia ago, Kestrel, a Celtic druidess, waged war against civilization. She believed that civilization was the bane of nature and needed to be destroyed. Sylvanis, a Celtic druidess who believed that civilization and nature could coexist, rose to stop her. To fight this war, they create: WEREBEASTS!

Sylvanis defeats Kestrel… but does she? Through powerful druidic magic, Kestrel has cheated death and sent her soul into slumber in order to one day return and continue her war. Sylvanis is left with no choice but to cast her own spell so that she to can return and stop Kestrel one more time.

When Kestrel awakens in our time, the ancestors of her Were warriors, whose blood still courses with lycanthropy have their powers awoken as well. But once again, Sylvanis has put herself in Kestrels way, and the ancestors of Sylvanis’ Were warriors find themselves shifting into powerful monsters as well. Will they learn to control these powers in time to stop Kestrel again?

Michael Timmins grew up in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo, where he currently resides with his wife and two sons. He became interested in writing at an early age and wrote several short stories that were never published, but were well liked among his peers. Later he honed his writing by creating modules for his friends to play Dungeons and Dragons. His first novel, The Awakening has been in the creative process for almost a decade

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And to celebrate the new year!

Some friends and I put together our BookFunnel promo for you to take a peek and enjoy these campaign.

Make 100 SF and Fantasy books on Kickstarter. Enjoy browsing through them. Mine launches in the morning 7 am Pacific time.

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Welcome 2023

Well it’s time to say goodbye to what was and move on to what is to be!
I can’t say 2022 was a fantastic year for the world, but for me, it wasn’t bad.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of watching my three-year-old grandson grow from a toddler struggling to communicate to a little fellow who actually cracks jokes and mesmerizes his grandparents with clever conversation.

I’ve been blessed with new roses this year. The most beautiful colors in my garden!

I’ve written books! Revised books! And came up with an awesome way to get my books out to the public (Kickstarter) and have made a lot of new friends in the process, readers and other writers as well.

I’ve had the opportunity to nurture friendships both online and off.

I’ve discovered AI art and have been having a fun time with it, even using my own artwork as a prompt! (Hence the New Year greeting!)

My husband continues to be cancer free.

My sons and daughters seem to be tackling their problems with less assistance from my husband and I.

And though I’ve had Covid a couple of times, I’m healthy now, losing some pounds (yay) and I’m ready to see what 2023 has for me.

Thank you so much for following my blog. My resolution this year, if we have to make one, is to try not to make this blog so spammy, but to come up with more conversational things to post.

So in all that, I hope you (and I) have a Happy New Year.

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The time is Nearing

And I’m excited to introduce Layla January 2nd 2023.

100 Illustrated LE hardcovers. “…fans of J K Rowling and C S Lewis will find much to enjoy here.” -A Wishing Shelf Book Review.

Abbi and Elisa didn’t mean to enter the Realm. It was all an accident, one which sent Ian and Elisa’s brother Brad on a dangerous journey to find them.

Fighting a dragon can leave you exhausted, in pain, and vulnerable.

After a grueling struggle with Stenhjaert the dragon at the portal entrance, Ian manages to escape, collapse in the Realm, and as a bedraggled hero, continue his quest. He stumbles upon a beautiful woman in the woods while searching for Abbi and Elisa. In the condition he’s in, it’s little wonder that this stranger’s campfire, her warm meal, and her gentle massage makes him lose touch with who he is, and why he had entered the Realm in the first place.

How was he to know the woman was a sorceress…or had a sinister agenda?


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Memories of Summer on a Cold Winter’s Day.

Just to warm your heart a little.

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I am such a late “bloomer”

Well, at least a late comer. Not sure I “bloom” whatever that means. I’ve been around more than half a century (leaning toward the century marker) and I’m just now reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. Where was I when you all were reading them?

Of course I’m enjoying the books. I just can’t figure out why I never read them when I was young. I had my nose in Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, and classics like The Last of the Mohicans, Scarlet Letter, and Count of Monte Cristo. I wish I’d gone to the fantastical worlds. Maybe I would have started writing sooner.

Then again, I wish I had taken an English major instead of fine arts. Being a painter is lucrative…for very few. But there are worlds of opportunities as writers and not just novelists.

Note to young people. Do it now!

While we’re on the subject of doing it…my editorial review from Wishing Shelf came today. A little note on this awesome organization…they have all sorts of services for writers, are very personalable, and have an annual competition. The founder, (who writes as Billy Bob Buttons) keeps in constant contact with everyone. You should check them out!

“A young adult, fantasy adventure packed full of twists, turns – and peril!” The Wishing Shelf

This is a skillfully plotted fantasy from the pen of D.L Gardner. I have enjoyed other books by this author including The Keeper which I very much enjoyed. In Layla, the author returns the reader to the Realm, a magical world full of wizards and dragons! Ian (the protagonist) and Brad (Elisa ́s brother) return to the Realm to find Abbi and Elisa. But the plan is thwarted by a nasty queen and Layla, a temptress of sorts who ́s very keen on Ian. I must say, there ́s a lot going on in this young adult novel. There ́s plenty of peril for the characters to battle through; and I particularly enjoyed Ian ́s dilemma as he ́s bewitched by Layla. The ending is also strong; the best way with an adventure story as it ́s the part the reader always remembers best.

In terms of readership, this is very much for teenagers, say 13 – 16 year olds. There ́s suspense, but it ́s never scary, and the writing style is accessible for that age group. I would recommend reading the trilogy first, just to get a grip on the characters and the fantastical setting. And why wouldn ́t you? I just checked out the blurb for the trilogy and it sounds excellent! All in all, this is a wonderful book, and I think fans of J K Rowling and C S Lewis will find much to enjoy here.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review

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First 24 hour Reward!

I’ve decided on the reward that will be offered for pledging the first 24 hours on Layla’s campaign. If you pledge a physical reward, you’ll get a print of the dragon ship and a digital copy. If you pledge a digital reward you’ll get a high res PDf of the dragon boat.

So follow now to get word of when it launches!

Lost of images will be included with this campaign!

The dragon boat is the ship that Queen Hacatine sends abroad in which she plans to have the dragon transported to Taikus in when she captures it. It will be on the back cover of the book and you can see it on the banner too.

So follow now to get in on that first 24 hours.

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The Aspiration to be Heard

It could be misconstrued to be a fault, this desire to have an audience. I’ve seen this yearning in creative types, some of us more so than others. There are those who are uninhibited with their inclinations and act out on stage, or in front of a camera, and their audience delights in what they say and the characters they portray.

Others, the more silent ones, take their feelings out on a piece of canvas, their thoughts mingling with colors, shapes and shadows. I have traveled that route in the past, but found that my story telling through visual arts is not as well received, the audience is smaller and sometimes not at all.

Then there are those of us who write.

A common idea is that non-fiction is the outlet that makes your voice heard best. I differ with that philosophy. I’m amazed at the incredible ability a fiction writer, yea, a fantasy writer has that they can give voice to an array of thoughts molded into a heart warming (or heart felt at the least) story that conveys exactly what they’re trying to say. And in so doing, the reader walks away contemplating.

I hope my books trigger my readers to think, or feel. I’m not even sure what it is I’m saying until those 100,000 words are typed, and then I, too, scratch my head and breathe a silent “wow”.

Indeed, communication is an interesting phenomena. Do we hear more than what the actor, the writer, the artist, the dancer, the musician expects us to hear?

I would hope so. Enjoy your creative selves. And while you’re at it, check out and follow my new Kickstarter campaign. This story says much, and in several different ways. The illustrated collector’s edition is slowly coming together. I’ve been formatting, designing the artwork with AI, and shaping it. I’m pretty happy with the way its taking form. I’ll tell you more later as I progress.

Follow Layla’s Kickstarter campaign launching Jan 1.

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Excited about Layla

Coming on Kickstarter

I’ve already changed the cover of Layla. And the video is made with some of the illustrations that will be in the LE edition on Kickstarter. Take a peek here and let me know if you like it. The project launches Jan 1 and will run only 17 days. I’ll have a special award if you pledge on day 1.

You can pick up the entire series on the project, eBooks, paperbacks, and hard covers plus swag so everyone can enjoy the fun.

I don’t know about other writers, if they feel the same way I do, but I have some books that should have been read a lot more than they were and Layla is one of them. Granted the original was written quite awhile ago, and I’ve revised it, rewritten and re edited it, so it’s much more polished now. Still, the story has been, and is a page turner, as there is a lot is happening in it.

I’ve combined Layla and Fallen Morning into one volume just so you can read the entire story arc.

Please follow the campaign and get notified when it launches so you can grab those first day bonuses.

Layla introduces Ian to a world dominated by women on a quest for power.  If you enjoy reading stories with: 

  • Adventure
  • Sorcery
  • Lots of Magic
  • Tall ships
  • Sea serpents
  • Wizards
  • A Magic Thief named Whomticker
  • Little computer characters come to life
  • Quests
  • Dragons
  • Humor
  • Angst 
  • Tribulations
  • And a magical world that will take your breath away

Then you’ll love Layla!

Thanks for reading!

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Let’s get them FUNDED

I’ve been watching Mythica on Amazon and man, for an indie film it surpasses a lot of what’s been streaming coming from Hollywood They have a Kickstarter project for a brand new feature film in the world of Mythica, following the events of the original epic five-movie series.

I, for one, want to see this fund. You can watch the other episodes on Amazon Prime. I just finished watching episode 3 and I’m hooked. They have $133,140 out of their funding goal of $200,000 at the time of me writing this. Having worked in Indie film I know how important funding is.

Please help out. Pledge, share, watch the series and pledge some more. They deserve all of what they’re asking for!

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What a ride!

The Kickstarter for the limited edition ended Oct 25 and was funded at a whopping 3,500! I’m so thankful for your support. What is even more fun is that in my desperation to think of a new stretch goal, I chose to record a few chapters of the next installment. Layla. Now Ian’s Realm has been on the market for 10 years and has been in the hands of thousands of readers. Layla, not so much. One reason I think is because I ended the trilogy too well. No one cared to go on even though I had some reviewers (well, one) say they didn’t want Ian to leave the Realm.

So Layla came into being. Now Layla not only continues the journey and predicament of the Realm, but it also continues Ian’s coming of age. He starts off the series as a 15 year old. In part 2 he has just finished high school and returns to the magical world, is trusted with some pretty critical responsibilities, and proves himself capable.

But Ian has never really tackled his softer-side emotions, nor the part of growing up that involves a woman. So when he returns to rescue Abbi he encounters Layla, a seductive young woman who has a mission of her own. A new trial for Ian, and we wonder will he pass?

The new version of Layla will be bundled with a book I published as Fallen Morning since both those stories are actually one story arc. Be on the look out for it.

Not only do we follow Ian’s dilemma in this book but we meet a new character named Whomticker. A little wizard who steals magic. In fact, since January is the Make 100 project month, Whomticker is going to be charitable enought to throw out some of his magic to you all.

Have a good Halloween and stay safe.

FYI The Keeper is now available to the public!

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What are your thoughts?

I’ve been reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series and this is the second series in the last couple of months that I’ve read where the author has no qualms about head-hopping. (using more than one POV without giving warning that the point of view is about to change). The other series was Frank Herbert’s Dune. I came to the conclusion that if it was so common in times past, why are instructors drilling us authors to not head hop now? New writers are cautioned to only use one point of view per chapter and never to change?

And I thought, wow!

Anne McCaffrey head hops. Continually. Her writing is pretty amazing, and understanding where every character is coming from by exploring their thoughts while they’re all in the same room at the same time makes me slow down and think. I’m actually reading the story, not just skimming it. I’m getting into everyone’s head and I can visualize the tension.

Frank Herbert’s head hopping is unique. Reading the character’s thoughts and words and whisperings of what to say and what not to say is like watching a tennis match or high stake chess game.

In a sense, to read their writing is work. Literally. Anytime you use your muscles more than what they’re accustomed to is work. And the brain is a muscle. So reading a story that is complicated is work.

So are we supposed to make things easy for our readers? So they don’t have to work?

Are we spending so much time “dumbing down” our writing to fit the general public that we are lowering the bar? That we aren’t challenging readers to stretch a little out of their comfort zone?

How often have I heard people tell me not to use a certain word because readers might not know what it means?

What? How will they ever learn what that word means if they never see the word? Anne McCaffrey uses an extensive vocabulary. A lot of words I’ve never seen before. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying the story. In fact, it pulls me in. It makes me want to read more. I don’t stop to look the words up, though I could. Maybe I should. Instead, I let those strange combinations of letters grow on me and by reading the context I begin to understand them.

So are modern-day writers lowering the standard and actually doing harm to the intelligence of the human race? It seems like a crude suggestion, but in my conversation with a friend, Jason Harris, he put it eloquently.

“If you read a letter written by a young, confederate soldier to his wife during the civil war, and compare the language and vernacular to today – you can see that the decline started a long time ago.

In the early 1900’s, Latin was a core study.

In the 1960’s, The Lord of the Rings was reading (material) for as young as 10 years old.

The decline has been notable and increasing in tempo.

We are absolutely dumbing things down, and lowering the bar.”

Something to think about.

My Kickstarter is still going on. Ian’s Realm is 10 years old this year. Come help me celebrate! So many cool rewards and this LE edition won’t ever be sold anywhere else ever again!

Ian’s Realm Magic Portal 10th Anniversary

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What’s to Come

Lorraine, or the musings of an author…

Ian’s Realm’s Kickstarter has a bundle of rewards. The LE signed, numbered hardcover with color illustrations, the illustrated paperbacks, and eBooks, some backstories, and a bundle of my fantasy work called Fables and Fantasy…but I’m cooking up some stretch goals that are going to blow you away. Especially the newest one I’ve hinted at. Granted the big stretch goal is going to give us a center foldout for the hardcover, and some foil on the cover.

But I stumbled across something I wrote a few years ago that sparked my creative juices again.

This is the story of Ian’s mother, Lorraine, the woman who died and whom Alex (Ian’s father) thinks he sees in the dragon’s lair.

Lorraine is an immigrant from Mexico and how she and Alex met is a story worth its own novel. I’ve started the story, and I will finish it. In fact, it would give me an opportunity to delve back into a sweet romance novel, as well as it will let readers know more about Ian.

Actually, when I do get around to writing the final sequel, this story will be crucial in Ian’s final character arc, especially in Ian’s relationship with his father.

It’s funny, picking up a story you shoved into the closet years ago, reading and realizing it’s quite good. I can’t wait to share it but I’ll have to finish it first.

Please visit the Kickstarter to get started on this journey.


There are dragons in Ian’s life, some he can temper, and some temper him.

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I just couldn’t resist.

Every once in a while a book will come along that you just can’t refuse to read. This group of Kickstarter authors has some really interesting books, and they’re all very tempting. But this one, in particular, whet my appetite and if I could afford it, I’d buy the entire series right now. The issue is, I don’t read on my Kindle much anymore, preferring paperbacks. But we’ll see how my own campaign goes. *scratching chin and scheming.

But here, let me show you his campaign and you tell me if this isn’t a tease.

The Claus Universe?
Some legends are forged in fire. Others are born in snow. The Christmas stories you never heard growing up.

You have to go to this campaign and watch the trailer and pick up some of his books. They sound like so much fun!

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The Witchstarter Kickstarter

Writing can be a lonely business, at least until you find other authors of like minds. I’ve been greatly blessed with a group of writer friends, all of who are slaying it on Kickstarter and who are helping each other with their campaigns.

Add to that, Kickstarter has offered some awesome specials (and seasonal) promos like October’s Witchstarter, featuring books (and other projects) that have a magical, maybe even witchy theme. Our Facebook group decided to put together a website where you can see all our magical Kickstarter projects on one page.

So if you want to check out some awesome stories in line with this month’s theme, Click Here!

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One more Dream Accomplished!

For a long time I have been wanting to put together a volume of Ian’s Realm that includes more than just the story, but some of the artwork that I’ve done for the books. I’m thrilled that this project is finally coming together. I found someone, Judah Lamey, who consented to color those black and white illustrations I did for Ian’s Realm in the first editions that were published by Hydra Publication. I hired Mario Teosodio, whose work I admire so much, to create new covers for the series, and I even found a printer here in Seattle who will bind it all up and foil the cover. So I’m thrilled to announce the

10th Anniversary Limited Editio of Ian’s Realm on Kickstarter!

I beseech you (is that still a word, I’ve been lost in another realm lately…) to click the “Notify me on launch” button so that we can give this Kickstarter project a boost when the doors open to the public!

Limited Editions will be signed and numbered, and the number of the book will be on a first come first serve basis, so if you are the first person to back the project with a LE tier, your book will be #1, and so on.

There are more rewards than just the hardcover edition of Ian’s Realm. I’ve created a hardcopy AI-illustrated songbook from the songs of the North Wind that you find in Ian’s Realm. There’s also an excerpt or two from the book. It’s really pretty and I think you’ll enjoy it!.

The audio narrated by Teresa Garcia is also being offered in this Kickstarter, and my bundle of Fables and Fantasy is an add on as well as some of my backlist.

Again, the more people who ask to be notified at launch, the stronger this campaign will become from the start and I’ll be able to add bonus rewards. And as far as the book goes, I’m excited to see it myself. It’s a dream come true that everything is coming together to create this piece of art.

Thank you!

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Author Wraps Paper over Rowling’s Stone

I found this hilarious simply because that was my first impression of the book too. What more can I say? Someone lent me the entire series and I couldn’t even make it past book 1.

*dodges the rotten tomatoes……

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Hours left so HURRY

As of this second, there are 61 hours left for my campaign for The Keeper, A fast-paced tale of monarchs and ladies – wizards and dragons – and even a teenage boy who joins forces against the miscreants of the future and their machines, to fight for the beloved tradition of the elders. Download a sample of The Keeper.

I beseech you to take a look! This is a fun book, even my editor says so and I only say it because I had fun writing it. The digital will be fulfilled by the end of September and there are so many more bonuses.

Bookmarks, character profiles, maps, short stories, #free novels. Tiers from $5 to $500

I’ve been having a lot of fun doing the character profiles. Take a look at a couple. Imagine having these as a collection that you can slip in each book of the series!

And the entire series is available in this campaign, eBook, signed paperbacks, and special Kickstarter Edition hardbound. Don’t miss out…the hours are counting away!

The KEEPER on Kickstarter!

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A shout out to Lavender Lass Books – An Enchanted Fairytale Series

I have a friend who just launched a campaign for her books and I wanted to tell the world about it because her books are imaginative and unique and she’s the nicest person!

She commissioned me to do her cover and being as they are fairy tale books, with sweet romance I had fun painting it. She’s offering prints in some of her tiers.

I would ask you to please take a look at her project. She has always been so generous with her work and these Kickstarter rewards prove her dedication to giving her readers as much as she can. Lots of back lists offerings and more. Please go take a look and consider helping her make her modest goal!

Once Upon a Rose

See it on Kickstarter
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Last Week

So many awesome perks. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Someday I will join my father in the world beyond when our broken bodies become strong again. But I can’t speak for him or the goddess. I don’t know what they can or will consent to do. What I do know is that your badgering has made things worse.” Unsettled, the Keeper spread his wings, quivered, and spat another breath of flame which lit up the air surrounding him, warming Maurice’s cheek as the sparks brushed by. –

The Keeper D.L. Gardner

FYI I noticed some of you following the workshop failed to find the last lesson. That’s because I accidentally numbered it wrong. It’s correct now and Lesson 6 so if you missed it, scroll down and finish up!

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To My Readers

The Keeper, a spin-off from Sword of Cho Nisi will be sold exclusively at my Boutique EBook Shop when it’s published. Right now you can preorder and get yours before anyone else on Kickstarter.

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Lesson 6 The Final Act! Hacking the First Draft

This is it. The final step and then it’s a GO.

Mapping out your story.

Now that you know your story’s plot, which is really fleshing out the premise, you can put it in order.

This is where you can also plan your word count. For my stories, I try to get at least 60,000 words for YA. No more than 80,000. (When I do epic I reach for 100,000 but I never get there in the first draft. That takes revisions).
I average 2,000 – 3,000 words per chapter give or take. So if I have 30 chapters at 2,000 words each I have my count. If you are doing NaNoWriMo your count is 50,000 to finish so that’s somewhere between 20 – 25 chapters.

Now make a list of 20 – 25 events that need to take place in your story.

Include a chapter for introducing the character and the world in some way. Include an ‘inciting incident’ that sparks the action. You can divide up your chapters into 3 acts if you like doing it that way.

5 chapters for the beginning: Act I.  10 for the middle, Act II and 5 for the end, Act III


Naming your chapters will help you write a synopsis. It will be a guide for you if you need to go back and add or delete or rearrange. Do not just number your chapters. This is imperative!

Now on to getting those events moving forward.

Act I Introduce the world, characters, relationships, and inciting incidents.

Chapters 1 – 5

Act II Send your MC on a journey into the darkness.

Make things harder and harder for them. If you’re writing a mystery, build up suspense. If a fantasy, show some action. Throw in a subplot with some of your supporting characters. Have the story revolve around your premise. Toward somewhere in the 8th or 9th chapter things blow up out of proportion.

Chapters 6 – 16

Act III is the climax and then the resolution. Make sure you resolve all your subplots too.

Chapters 17 –  22 or 25


Now for each chapter make a headline as if in a newspaper.  Number these.

Example: Chapter 1: Josey goes to the circus

            Chapter 2 : Josey meets Mary and learns about her being sent away to Timbuctoo.

            Chapter 3: Josey, devastated, goes to the beach and considers diving into the water.

Chapter 4: Along comes Mildred to distract him and make false promises

And so on…. all the way to your last chapter.

When you have the events that lead your character from point A to point B, his personality, his trauma, his relationship with the antagonist, more trauma, his revelation, the final confrontation, and then the resolution all mapped out, go to a word document or whatever software you use, and put each one of these headings on a separate page. You can number them now but keep the headings. Make a page break in between them.

Once that is done, go back to the first one and explain in a short summary (I usually italicize them so I remember to go back and delete them) about what should be in that scene. Develop it. Each chapter should also have a beginning, middle, and end and a conflict that builds and leads into the next one.

When you’re finished summarizing your chapters, go over them again and check for continuity. You’ll probably have to have a number of conversations and actions in each chapter to get your word count to 2,000 or 3,000 so detail it as much as possible. The more detailed the summary, the easier it is to write the chapter.

When this is finished, you’re ready to write your draft. You’ll be surprised as to how quickly and fluently it will take shape.

There is plenty of room to improvise and change things as you go. Your characters will take a life of their own now. Be spontaneous. If things change, remember you’re the one writing the story. You can adjust. If you do, just make notes in future or previous chapters of your changes.

Have fun!!!

You’ll be surprised now how quickly your story will take shape. After the draft is finished you can go back in and develop subplots, twists, and whatever your story needs but you’ll have that foundation to build on.

Let me know if you use this method and how it turns out for you!

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Lesson 5 Hacking the First Draft

Planning your story is like tilling the ground and getting things ready to plant. Think of all the things you need for your veggies to grow. Good soil, irrigation, and plenty of sunshine. Likewise, your plan for your story should have a decent premise, interesting characters, and a healthy plot.


First off, let’s discuss just exactly what a plot is.

A plot is the main group of events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence that has a beginning, middle, and an end.

In other words, your plot is your premise worked out. Remember Lesson 2? Remember that little one-sentence ditty that we wrote out at the beginning of this workshop? The one that most instructors tell you to write after your novel is done? Well, guess what? You’re three steps ahead of the game. You have your premise!

And you have your characters. So now all you have to do is figure out

1. How is your main character going to overcome their obstacles and reach their goals?

2. How is the antagonist going to try and stop them?

3. What events will take place to present the problem?

When you have those three things decided, you have a PLOT.

So let’s look at some of the details you’ll need to begin your story and this string of events.

You’ll need to introduce your characters, primarily your protagonists and antagonists, and their strengths and weaknesses in live action at some point in your story so answer these questions on a notepad for both of them

Who are they?

Where are they?

What is their relationship which each other?

How does the obstacle or crisis affect each of them individually?

How do they overcome (or are overwhelmed by) the crisis that they are faced with?

Now comes the fun part! The story. This is putting your premise, your characters, and your plot all on one page. So fill in the blanks with the instructions given for each line. You’re going to want to do this and save it so fill in the spaces.


  1. Once upon a time there was _____________
  2. who was _____________
  3. but had to ___________
  4. and then _______________
  5. but much to their surprise they ________
  6. Until finally they _________________
  1. Introduce the character.
  2. Give us a description of their strengths.
  3. Introduce us to the problem.
  4. Build the problem with the antagonist.
  5. Take us to a climax.
  6. Resolve the issue.

A good story will have some subplots going on with your supporting characters so work on their characters, but they should never take away from the main premise.

Next step tomorrow we’ll talk about fleshing this out.

Hey if you ever feel like paying it forward, I have a Kickstarter going on right now that would love some love. Take a peek!
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Lesson 4 Hacking the First Draft

Tense and POV


I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Where I live it’s supposed to be cooling off a little. But then, the weatherman doesn’t control the weather, he’s only supposed to report it, so we’ll see what happens! Aside from having a nice weekend, I hope you had a little bit of time to develop your characters, at least two or three of them. Did you give them some wants and needs? How about conjuring up a monkey wrench to throw in their game?

Today we’re going to make one more decision before we start writing.

We’re going to decide who is going to be telling the story, and what tense it will be told in. This lesson might be the hardest part of storytelling because whatever you decide, you must stick with it. As you get more comfortable with writing, you’ll be able to alternate points of view (POV). But stick with one for your first novel as practice. You can’t alternate tenses, and people who have edited my work, know this is something that I still struggle with.

Most writers have a default setting. They automatically write a certain way, be it past tense or present, first-person POV, or third person. Figuring this out ahead of time can make a huge difference in terms of rewrites, revisions, and editing.

I almost always write in the third person past. It’s how I like to read a story, and I find it more exciting because I can switch POVs easily and follow more than one character. That gives me the ability to develop subplots and create a large and detailed world. But I write fantasy and this fits well with that genre. (When we explored the genres, we might come across popular POVs and tenses that readers expect, so make a note of that.)

Only once did I switch from writing in third-person and that was with my novel Dylan, which I wrote in first-person. Why? Because what I wanted to do with the story was better told from Dylan’s point of view.

The story is inspired by my passengers on the ACCESS bus I used to drive for the physically and mentally impaired. I felt such compassion for so many of the individuals, I wanted to write a story that showed how I conceived their innermost wants and needs. I did this by diving into Dylan’s thoughts, to show how intelligent he was, but how the world viewed him as different because he lacked communication skills. There was no other way I could do that but to write it in first-person.

POV choices.

First-person:  Written from the perspective of the I. We get to learn all of the character’s thoughts and feelings this way (unless they are an unreliable narrator). It can be very immersive, but it is hard to pull off more than one POV in a manuscript like this and make them all feel unique. It can be used most effectively from one person’s POV.

Second-person: This is from the perspective of the “you.” It is sometimes used in short stories and never used in manuscript-length work in a sustained way. It is very limited and for the most part distracting.

Third-person objective: The facts of the story are reported by an impersonal observer. This can work well in short stories but is very tricky to pull off in manuscript work.

Third-person omniscient: An all-knowing narrator interprets events and also conveys the thoughts and feelings of the characters the book contains. This is more common, although still unusual. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is narrated this way.


Using present tense (is, hopes, walks), is comparatively rare, but more common than it was a decade ago. The present tense is more common in debut novels, short stories, and literary fiction. 

Past tense is more common in everything else, particularly genre fiction. Past tense is more familiar to readers and they are less likely to notice it at all. It reads more seamlessly.

Yet present tense gives you a sense of immediacy that past tense doesn’t. 

Either way, it is something to figure out when you start writing.



What is the most comfortable POV for you to write in? Write a brief paragraph in that POV.

Tomorrow we’ll begin plotting. That’s the fun part so have lots of paper ready.

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I’m adding to the I love Kickstarter posts because I have something to say about it. Please read the other ones too and VISIT THE KEEPER!

I first started following Kickstarter when Zombie Orpheus was filming their series. I was fortunate to be one of their zombies in season 3! Seriously, that was my acting debut and maybe the end of it I don’t know! We had so much fun and when I went to their Kickstarter I was blown away at the money they raised!

You see, Kickstarter is for fans to support what fans want to see. They (you) become the producers. You have an active involvement in what gets produced! Isn’t that a novel idea? To actually get a vote on the quality of products that are out there? With publishing, you are pretty much pre-ordering a product, but ONLY if the project funds do you buy it. You give Kickstarter your credit card but no money is taken until the project is over (usually 30 days from its launch) and it is funded. And you can withdraw your pledge if you change your mind.

So as an author of fantasy I’ve found an audience that likes my books wants to read them and is excited about them. Kickstarter gives me a lovely page to build, and they have a huge resource of readers and creatives that find my project through them! It’s so much more encouraging than being on the bottom of a slush pile of other retailers’ search engined. I believe I will be launching all the books I write from now on through this platform.

And by the way, be on the lookout for Ian’s Realm’s 10th Anniversary Kickstarter project. It will be great!

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I LOVE KICKSTARTER! Words from Our Friends!

I’m taking the weekend off from our Hacking the First Draft Lesson to bring some real posts from some real people about the awesomeness of Kickstarter.

When asked why these authors enjoy Kickstarter both as a patron and a creative, Here are some informative answers you might want to mull over (and take a look at their projects.)

Steve doesn’t have a Kickstarter going right now, but here’s what he has to say.

My favorite thing about Kickstarter is that it’s a great platform to pre-order books and get exclusive materials. I don’t have a Kickstarter running now, but I’m looking forward to launching my first one this fall.

Rebecca Carter says:

Kickstarter for me is the new eBay, where I can find all kinds of cool stuff. When I had a gift shop before, I went to eBay to find unique hand-crafted items to buy wholesale and re-sell. Although I don’t use Kickstarter to do re-sales, I love scrolling through the projects to find all kinds of fascinating projects I can support, even if I don’t want the rewards they are offering.

As a creator, I love Kickstarter because it offers me a chance to offer followers some of that said cool stuff. They can get so much more than simply a book that they could buy from any retailer.

This is the link to our forthcoming project (launching Sept 6), which we’d like to get followers on at the moment.:…/rone…/seababies-adventures

If you have a review for using Kickstarter, please feel free to leave it in the comments!

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Lesson 3 | Hacking the First Draft

You have your premise, and you know your genre. Now what?

Kairos the Wizard from Sword of Cho Nisi artwork by Mario Teodosio


And I’m using Kairos to escort you through this phase because he’s a wizard, and you are just about to perform magic, so I thought he’d be a good icon to inspire you.

Your premise is going to define some of the qualities of your main character. So grab a piece of paper or a blank word document or whatever program you use, and write your premise at the top. You don’t ever want to lose sight of that.

Think of a name for your MC (main character).

I have a little bit of a process when I invent names, but I write fantasy and different worlds where people’s names might need to be more unusual than in today’s world.

Now considering your premise, think for a minute.

What does your main character want? This would be the conscious goal that he’s striving for. Perhaps he/she wants to further their education, or become rich and famous, or maybe they want to get revenge for the death of a loved one. Maybe they want to make a mark in the world or be in the limelight. Or maybe they just want to live in peace. This conscious desire is going to be what motivates him. So, considering the premise that you wrote, there’s going to be a driving force within your character that moves him throughout your story.

EXAMPLE: Kairos has two things he wants at the beginning of my story. He wants to be in good favor with the king, and he wants to marry the king’s daughter.

Now! What does your main character need? This has nothing to do with what he wants. Put yourself in the place of his psychologist. Sit him/her on the couch and determine what this character really needs, especially as opposed to what he wants. Maybe he needs to put his ego aside. Maybe he needs to take a closer look at his heart. Maybe what he really needs is an awakening to the world around him. Maybe he needs to get off his duff and do something about his circumstances.

EXAMPLE: Kairos needs to be himself. He tries too hard to be who his father was (a famous all-powerful wizard whom the king loved dearly). Because of that, he fails miserably, and the king considers him inept and doesn’t want him anywhere near his daughter.

While you answer these questions, feel free to write up some back story for your MC (and for your antagonist.) This will help you and give depth to your character, make him real and by making him real you’re going to grab the hearts of your readers. He has a reason he wants what he wants, and there is an even deeper reason for what he needs, even though he might not realize it. Needs and wants will create conflict within the character. Some of their backstories can eventually be integrated into your novel. Not as an information dump, of course, but in little pieces here and there.

What characteristics make your character want the goal listed in your premise?

List 3.




What is the crisis or obstacle written in your premise?

Thinking only about your character, his wants, and his needs, (forget about the antagonist for now) answer this question.

Why is he/she going to have trouble overcoming this obstacle?

List weaknesses:

What characteristics does your MC have that will help him overcome this obstacle?

All right. Now that you’ve done that, let’s bring another person into the story. The antagonist. Not every story has a human being as an antagonist. Sometimes the thing that creates conflict can be the MC himself, or it could be a power or force against him. But usually, we’ll want to see that thing that stands against the MC personified in some way. So without considering unique circumstances, let’s look at the antagonist as if it were a human being.

Who is the antagonist in your story?

Without thinking about your MC, what does your antagonist want?

What does he/she need?

What good traits does he/she have?

What weaknesses does he/she have?

How does his/her desire put a stumbling block in front of the MC? To what extent will they go to ‘win the prize’?

Think of some supporting characters.

These people are usually helpers to either the MC or the antagonist. Sometimes they are comic relief, sometimes they are there to give a helping hand. Sometimes they are treacherous and spoil plans. List a few supporting characters you want in your story.

NOTE: Subplots will involve these people. They can have love affairs and problems of their own that hamper the MC or the antagonist. The subplots will always have to interweave with your main plot and somehow give substance to it. It is good to plan a subplot or two even if you don’t use them all.

Need examples?

Watch your favorite movie or read a good book and ask these questions as you do. It will help you develop your own characters.

That should be enough homework for the weekend. Come back for lesson 4 on Monday!

While you’re thinking, feel free to pick up some of my books on Kickstarter! I could really use the boost and there’s a special flash tier this weekend for $25.

3-Day only Sale!
the ebook of The Keeper
ebooks of Books 1 – 4 of Sword of Cho Nisi
(Rise of the Tobian Princess, Fall of the Kings, Curse of Mount Ream, and Darkness Holds the Sun
the eBook of Silver Threads 4 short companion stories to the Sword of Cho Nisi series
A Sneak Peak at the opening chapter of The Keeper.
Hurry. Ends Sunday at 11 pm July 31.
This tier is eligible for all the unlocked stretch goals.

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Lesson 2 | Hacking the First Draft

First step. The Premise! Where are you going and what might get in your way?

Through my years of writing, I’ve seen most authors write the story and then try to pull the premise out of the story. But if you do this first, you no longer have to rack your brain trying to figure out what your story is about by condensing 70,000 words into one sentence. Plus you have a blueprint, small as it is, to follow during the course of writing.

I learned this trick from John Truby’s Anatomy of Story. He calls it a plumbline. A wonderful book that I keep referring back to whenever I start a new novel. Pick up a copy if you can.

If you begin your entire writing journey by starting with the premise first, believe me, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief, especially if you ever have to query an agent or write a blurb on the back of your book. You will save yourself time and create a better end product if you settle on a solid premise before you start writing.

So… get yourself a piece of paper, and from that creative mind of yours, write a premise. It’s simple. You’ll see hundreds of different ways to do it, mostly by people teaching query writing. It’s too bad few of them tell you to do this before your novel is finished, but I’m telling you to do it first.

Here’s what you need:

  1. A protagonist in two words, e.g. young girl or a world-weary witch.
  2. A goal. What does the protagonist want or need?
  3. A situation or crisis the protagonist is facing.


When his son is swept out to sea, an anxious clownfish embarks on a perilous journey across a treacherous ocean to bring him back. (Finding Nemo)

Write a premise for your story. Copy these questions on your notepad and write a few until you’re happy with it.

Who: This will be your protagonist.

What: The character’s needs, what’s their goal?

Conflict: The obstacle that the character must overcome.

Give your character a notable description i.e. young, old, troubled, angry. You don’t need a name yet. I will talk more about creating characters a little later. Once we develop your character you might end up changing the adjective in this premise.

Remember, this is all tentative. Everything can be changed. It’s your story.

If you’re not writing fiction, but a memoir, look back on your life and focus on who you were, what your goals were as a child, and what in your life kept you from achieving those goals.

HOMEWORK: Perfect this, make it exciting enough that you want to write the story. Visualize how it might work. Get your creative juices cooking. Sleep on it tonight. Take notes. But don’t start writing yet because lesson 3 is tomorrow. Remember, we’re going through this novel-writing process step by step. Give yourself plenty of time to mull over your premise.

This is the foundation of your book. Make it strong!

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Hacking the First Draft in 30 Days

I promised I’d post a workshop on my blog to help authors so here it is. This is for people who have wanted to write a FICTION story and don’t know where to begin. And if they do begin they don’t know how to continue. I tell you I remember well being in that very place. It was overwhelming. Before I had any instructions, or read any good books on the subject, I was lost and alone. In fact, I didn’t even think there were instructions on how to write a book. I thought people were so talented that they just sat down and started typing and in a few weeks there it was, a complete novel!

Be an author if you love to tell stories!

Not so my friend.

What I’m going to show you here is a compilation of years of study. I’ll also be referring you to information online too.

Now I’ll be honest with you. I am not a best-selling author. I’ve had some of my books on the best seller’s list on Amazon but that was only because I paid a ridiculous price for ads or a BookBub deal. I make no claims to being a marketer. That has nothing to do with writing. You don’t have to write good books to be a best seller and you might write the best novels in the world and still not sell well. Those are two completely different talents and sometimes they are related by only a thread!

With that out of the way, I write a lot and I write well. I could write better, agreed, and I’m working on it. But the part of this whole business is that I love to tell stories. It’s fun. And I think that qualifies me to give you the following information.

We’ll take it in several posts. There will be assignments so be ready. I was selling this course for $75, but not anymore. I’m doing this to help you because it’s so simple and I see so many would-be authors struggling, and I’m getting old, and so many people have helped me, that I’m paying it forward.

Lesson 1

First Step to writing…sit down and ask yourself what do I want to write?

The answer will most like involve genre, which is a category of stories and you can do a search yourself on the different categories and tropes that they include. I’m not going to go into this in detail, but study up on the genres you might like to tell a story in. I do fantasy, but I also have dabbled in sweet romance and it seems all my stories end up with a mystery in them. That’s okay to cross genres. But you’ll do yourself a favor to understand what puts a book into what genre because you should fulfill your reader’s expectations.

Different genres have different expectations in terms of length, content, and even main characters.

For example, a work of middle-grade fiction has to be on the shorter side of things. The content generally can’t be too dark (there are exceptions, but there are often reasons for those exceptions), the language tends to be “clean”, and an adult character will never be a “Point of View” character.

If you know what genre you are writing in, it can also help you to read other books in the same genre.

Some rules for your genre you might want to look up. These links are from a Writerswrite workshop.

Manuscript length, character types, settings, themes, POVs (POV means the point of view. We’ll get into that at a later date), and length of description.

So as you can see, there’s a little bit of study that is required of you before you begin. If you want to do this course on a step-by-step basis, I suggest now’s a good time to look up these genres and determine where you best fit in. Do you want to write for children? Teenagers? Adults? and I’m adding one more category…seniors.

Yes, don’t laugh. I’ve always believed we older people need our own category because we have our own likes and dislikes in novels and they tend to be somewhere between young adult and adult with some literary thrown in.

So there’s your homework. Research the genres, follow my blog, and feel free to write me a note telling me what genre you want to write your story in.

I suggest you take a look at this chart and the information here to help you. Come back tomorrow and we’ll go on!

And if you want to leave a tip, please visit my Kickstarter and pick up my Cho Nisi series.

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Passing the Baton

Just yesterday I heard of the passing of a dear friend. Kim Mutch Emerson. Maybe some of you knew her or heard of her. She was an author, an encourager, a life coach, a prayer warrior, a lover, and a friend. I only knew her through the Internet. She published some of my books through her publishing company Master Koda but we became close, sharing our manuscripts that we didn’t dare show anyone else, helping me with edits and brainstorming. We joked together and sometimes we even dreamed about meeting up and spending real-time together – Maybe I’d go to Utah or she’d come here to WA. We dreamed about taking a train ride with our writer friends just for writing. We shared our dystopia stories and talked about how we were going to save the world through literature.

She added so much to my life, and with her death, that part of my being is gone.

But she isn’t. She left a legacy. Not just for her family but for the writing community. She has done SO much for us, and I’m left thinking…would I leave the same imprint?

Have I passed the baton to anyone?

Sometimes I look at my posts and I think how selfish I am always talking about my books. Half of me argues…”well no one else does, someone has to!” And the other half of me wants to just slap me. (Just kidding). But seriously, I want to help people too. I know I’ve given art lessons and seen my students grow. But I haven’t really done a lot for other Indie authors.

Some of that is because I think….well, I have 24 or 25 books out there. I should be making a living off of my work. But I don’t. I’m lucky to sell one book in three months. Who am I to teach anyone anything about writing?

I don’t believe my lack of selling books is because they aren’t good books. The few people who do read them love them. It’s mostly because I’m a lousy marketer. But maybe it’s also because I’m not contributing enough.

So I’ve decided to share a little workshop that I made up. It’s titled Hacking the first Draft in 30 days. A perfect lesson for NaNoWriMo people.

It’s really a simple procedure and I will give you the steps and assignments on my blog here starting with my next post. But I wanted you to know where I’m coming from.

I’m upset about my friend’s death, but I’m also upset that I have not done for others half of what Kim has done for us.

Remember that love is the most important thing in the world, and love is not a noun. It’s a verb.

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3 Day Special

Beginning at 5 pm today July 21 until July 24 I’m running a 3-day special on my Kickstarter campaign! The eBook Fantasy Bundle, an $80 value for $40. Here’s what you get.

eBook of The Keeper

eBooks 1 -4 of the Cho Nisi series

ebooks of Ian’s Realm Saga series (5 books)

ebook of Thread of a Spider

ebook of An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody

ebook of Hoarfrost to Roses

Posted in Darkness Holds the Son, Ebooks, fantasy, Ian's Realm Saga, KickStarter, New Release, Sword of Cho Nisi | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Free Books!

In celebration of my Kickstarter that runs until August 16 Sword of Cho Nisi Book 1 is now

FREE ONLY ON MY WEBSITE Come and grab it! (you’ll get a BookFunnel link).

And while you’re reading these free stories, why don’t you go on over to the Kickstarter page and help support the next book in the series, The Keeper.

This story is, in a sense, an analogy of how the future sometimes invades the past like a thunderstorm wrecking havoc on a quiet farm.

Just when things have quieted down in the kingdom of Prasa Potama (see the series Sword of Cho Nisi), and everyone is living happily ever after in their respective lands, invaders from another country, and seemingly another time in the future, steal the one thing that means life to the natives of Cho Nisi Island.

Their magic.

The Keeper, which is named after the ancient dragon, is a fast-paced tale of monarchs and ladies – wizards and dragons – and even a teenage boy who join forces against the miscreants and their machines, to fight for the beloved tradition of the elders.

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LIVE on Kickstarter

I would love to have you back this project.
Epic fantasy gets invaded by steampunk! Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Three Muskateers via Leonardo da Vinci style.

We have this world where there are natives on the island that use their magic to protect it, and King Barin in his kingdom on the mainland. And all the villages and river towns and Tellwater Valley where they grow the best wine in the world.

And then the northland pirates, Captain Geraldo’s men, hear about the wine. And the king of that nation, whose technology is much more advanced than Barin’s and certainly loftier than Cho Nisi, decided he could use the wine to make the fabric they’ve invented…the by-product of which can fuel their airships. So they go on a raid and hire the wizards from the Neverworld to put it all in a package for them!

But the Neverworld sorcerers have a vendetta against King Barin.

Anyway, come take a look and see what you think!

The Keeper Kickstarter Campaign

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World Views and Fantasy

With the launch of my new book The Keeper, I was thinking it’s time to talk about world views and how fantasy can grab a lens and focus on current events without them being current.

I think one of the most thought-provoking fantasy tales we’ve seen in our lifetime is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien addresses so many issues that we face. War, destruction of the environment, the need to be humble and the rewards that come from it, how evil looks pretty but leads us down a path of destruction. How loyalty serves and disloyalty ruins. One could sit and ponder on all these themes, and yet LOTR never came across as preachy.

I’m nowhere near the genius of Tolkien and I don’t claim to be. But there are little things happening in our world that I see that inspire me and that I use as themes for my novels. Ian’s Realm deals with a young man who feels abandoned by his father, and who learns that instead of being a victim he can become the man he wishes his father had been. The Cho Nisi series deals with tragedy, error, and redemption. Darkness Holds the Son is a warning for parents.

Now The Keeper, my newest release, is a bird’s eye view of how the technology of tomorrow can threaten our past, our culture, our ethnicities, and our traditions. Is it right or wrong? Or is there an answer to that question?

Themes in fantasy stories are not usually put there to persuade you toward one ideology or another. They are put there to stimulate thought.

This is why I love the genre so much. Yes, these stories take you away to another world and often let you escape the one you’re in. But when you come back, you’re a little wiser, a little more knowledgable, and a little more perceptive to what is going on around you. Sometimes you’ll see consequences for behaviors you weren’t aware of, or you’ll understand a more meaningful resolution for problems that confront you.

Who would have thought that the way to destroy the ring lay in the relationship between Frodo and Sam, for instance? The need for fellowship, for being faithful to one another and loyal to the cause, is what defeated Gollum and the ring, even though there were huge sacrifices involved.

Next time you’re invited to read a good book in the fantasy genre, take the plunge and see what comes of it!

Comments welcomed.

To follow the Kickstarter project, Click Here. I‘d love your support for this book!

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Kickstarter for The Keeper!

I am happy to bring you this exciting new story that takes place in the same Cho Nisi world but with a new and refreshing twist.


The ancient magic on the island of Cho Nisi is stolen, its tradition destroyed, and its protective shield ruined. But the destruction doesn’t end with the broken drumbeats, nor the groan of the elders. King Barin is confronted with a vengeful adversary and a new enemy whose weapons far outmaneuver his army’s bows and arrows, swords, and catapults. What have these strangers from the north come for, and will they battle for ownership of not only the kingdom’s future but also its past?

The novel launches on July 26, 2022, just a couple of weeks away, on Kickstarter. You’ll not find a better deal for the entire series in this 30-day promotion, so please click here and follow the campaign. Kickstarter will send you word when the project goes live.

I really appreciate the support. Without fans, it would be difficult to continue creating books and art. I appreciate the support.

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What Books do I Love?

A while ago, asked me to put together a list of my favorite fantasy books so I can share them with the world on their site. They published that list this morning, with my short reviews of those books and I’d love for you to come and take a look.

The theme was The best fantasy novels with characters you love getting to know because I’m a big character fan. If a book doesn’t have a character I’m pulling for, no matter how fantastic the world is or how rich the plot, I probably won’t finish reading it. So if you are the same way, come visit their website. I think they have a really cool thing going because I’m not the only author they are doing this with. In fact, that’s what they do, and they classify our lists so it’s easy to find the kind of stories you are looking to read.

FYI They have a link to my book Rise of the Tobian Princess of Amazon and I just want you to know that the ebook has been temporarily removed from Amazon because I’m running it on Royal Road at the moment looking for new readers. But you can find the book on other retailers and in my boutique shop for 25% off. Unless of course, you want to read it as a serial on Royal Road or Patreon.
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So There’s Been a Goof on my Blog

I’ve been shuffling around making stores and deleting them so often that I failed to update my book links here on my blog. See the widgets to the right…well they are all fixed now and the links will take you to my new Boutique store. So if you were looking for the links, well they are here now. Sorry about that.

Just an FYI, I have to keep the prices between all retailers the same, but if you purchase from my blog, no matter what you buy, you’ll get a coupon for 25% off (see the coupon code in the header). There are some free books there too so feel free to look around!

Posted in Books, Current Affairs, Ebooks, fantasy, Free, Ian's Realm Saga, musings, New Release, readers, Stories, writers, writing | Leave a comment

If it doesn’t work the first time, try something new!

I’m going to be trying something new with my Sword of Cho Nisi series being as nothing I’ve been doing so far is working to get readers. So as of July 1, I am unpublishing the series from Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and other retailers. I will continue to have them in libraries. After that, I will be offering them as a subscription on RoyalRoad and Patreon. This is to try and get readers who enjoy fantasy. Should I garner enough interest, I may republish them to those retailers again. My books will remain in my Boutique store without interruption.

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Once Upon a Time

Authors were paid for their work!

Courtesy of Pixabay.

Today I want to address something that isn’t much fun for us Indie authors. Pirate sites.

I used to think those sites were set up for authors that make a lot of money and have popular books but last night I found some of my novels on a “Free for the Download” pirate site. Of course, I wrote and told them to cease and desist and I’m hoping they will because I did get a letter from them saying they’ll get back to me. They also have a disclaimer saying it’s not their issue if there is a copyright infringement.

But hey! If you’re directing people to any place that is offering free books other than libraries, you are also part of the problem.

I know free is coveted by the world today. Money is getting harder and harder to come by. But think about this.

It takes a lot of effort to write a novel. Months, sometimes years are put into just writing the draft. There’s research, there are long hours of planning, and there’s studying how to put a story together so it makes sense. Conferences, workshops, and conventions all cost money. These are hours that could be spent at a day job getting hourly work, but an author sacrifices some of those hours to get a story on paper for your enjoyment.

After the draft is done there is money spent on editing…lots of money spent on an editor, a cover designer, someone to format into digital form. And if the author does the formating themselves, there’s money spent on the software to do it, which isn’t cheap anymore and most software requires a subscription these days. Then there’s cover design that an author has to pay for, and if they don’t hire someone to do that, they have to pay for software to do it.

Image by Andrew Khoroshavin from Pixabay

Then there is marketing and it’s impossible to relate to you what an author spends on ads, newsletters, websites, blog tours, and more depending on how they choose to market.

What I’m trying to say is…No one gives an author a free ride. There is no legitimate reason in the world to get your books from a pirated site. How people hack an author’s files and sell them for a subscription without paying the author a penny is beyond me.

But PLEASE do not download them. If you can’t afford to purchase a digital book much less a paperback, go to the LIBRARY. Libraries pay authors for their books, they don’t steal them. If there’s a book you want that the library doesn’t have, then request it. Don’t leave the author paying the bill.

Like any skilled laborer, authors work hard studying, applying their skills, and trying to get them to you for a reasonable price.

And if you do buy a book from a reliable source, don’t return it “just because you can”. Returns cost authors money too.

If you work for a living, you expect people to pay you. Well, authors work for a living. I’m sitting here scratching my head wondering why my books aren’t selling and then I find some easy-to-find site giving them away. And giving my friends’ books away too.

Please don’t support that practice. Thank you.

From a frustrated author.

Posted in authors, Books, Current Affairs, Ebooks, Giveaway, musing, musings, writers | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Why I take Pictures of my Garden

People probably think I’m a narcissist. I’m always taking photos of my flowers. Even of my veggies sometimes – though, I didn’t plant a vegetable garden this year…it did so badly last year. Let me clarify. I do NOT think my garden is the prettiest garden on earth and I’m a rather poor gardener at that. But when my flowers bloom I just adore them.

You see, even people with gorgeous gardens don’t always appreciate them to the fullest. I have seen so many lovely yards that no one even goes out to look at except to work in. I’m outside every couple of hours walking around looking at my flowers, veggies, or bamboo. There’s a piece of me in those beds out there. A piece that says, “look the world is really a mess right now and there are so many ugly, busy, or unfavorable things that vie for my attention. But I really don’t want to focus on them. Over here in this corner, tucked away from the world, visible by my eyes only is a lovely rose, or lily, or forget-me-not just living a simple life, growing, blooming, and fading away.”

Isn’t that all any of us are really doing?

At least, I can take a photograph and save that pretty flower, look at it, cherish it, and share its loveliness with my friends. Look now, because the time will come when winter covers us up with a blanket of snow and there won’t be naught but grey skies, and white earth.

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Cause and Effects

Sometimes I look back over my method of writing and notice things that I do unconsciously in my stories. Sometimes those are good things, sometimes they’re patterns I need to break out of. But today I was thinking about The Keeper, and the similarities it has to my other fantasy novels.

There are blunders that the characters make, and plot twists, of course, that occur because of those mistakes. In this day and age, one might wonder why anyone would do something so stupid, even though these mistakes make the story more exciting. I don’t always plan these events but they arise from perfectly genuine errors. One of the natural causes of these missteps stems from miscommunications.

Today, in our world, we are a phone call away; a ham radio, a text, or a chat that would prevent a lack of communication. But in the world I’ve created for the Cho Nisi residents, the people are miles apart. Even if they had carrier pigeons, the birds would do little good to help them. Homing pigeons would fly a message from one place to another, each place having been their home at some point in their lives. A carrier pigeon would do no good if the recipient was riding horseback across the mountain or on high waters at sea.

A human messenger could be used, but if he was on foot or on a horse, in an emergency he very well may deliver his missive too late.

No. Whoever needed help, or saw that action should be directed in a different direction than previously planned, would have to solve the problem on his own. Hence, we have miscommunication, a stumbling block of error, and a perfect setup for a new beat in the story. I love when it happens because it expands the storyline and gives me new options to pursue.

Just a side note on #writing.

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Another Great Fantasy SALE

Once again the team at EPIC is running a full month’s sale in this promo. I have 3 offerings and wanted to give you a heads up that Sword of Cho Nisi Boxed set is on sale at selected retailers AND I have a 25% off coupon for it, and Rise of the Tobian Princess on my Payhip boutique book shop (link in the promo). Come check us out!
Posted in authors, blog hop, bloggers, Book Reviewers, Ebooks, fantasy, Free, Giveaway, New Release, readers, sale, Short stories, Stories, Sword of Cho Nisi, writers, writing | Leave a comment

Life and the Children of Dune


I’m over 1/2 through book 3 of Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, having binged on the other books, and I have to say something now. It can’t wait until I’m finished reading. I’m at a spot in the book where the twins have separated and Leto II is out in the desert contemplating his planet and how it has been transformed from a rugged, yet simple environment, to a place of political upheaval.

I just read something on Twitter that was upsetting. I have no idea if it’s factual. Who knows what is fact and what is not these days. Sometimes the political arena just wants us all to live in fear. There are lies from every spectrum. No one wants us to know the truth.

Just like in Dune. So many games being played, so many forces against one another vying to be on top. All in the hierarchy with little care for common folk like you or I.

What I heard was that Medvedev on behalf of Russia’s military said in reference to a possible nuclear war: “The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are already on their way and all hope now is with Lord God the Almighty”.

So now, tonight, that quotation is racing through my mind, while the picture of the desolate planet Arrakis is unveiling its sand dunes before my eyes. And I wonder, as I always do with so many science fiction novels being prophetic, should we be taking lessons on the survival of the human race from the Fremen? Shouldn’t we be manufacturing stillsuits already?

Posted in Book Reviewers, Books, casues, challenge, Current Affairs, earth, musing, musings, nature, Reviews, science fiction, Stories, writers, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Trying something new.

Update, Vella didn’t work out.

Everything I’ve been writing lately is related to the Sword of Cho Nisi series. I just love that world and the characters. So this new Vella story is a work in progress for book 5 titled The Keeper. Yes, I plan on making a book out of it. The episodes are spaced 5 days apart and I’m going on until the book is edited and published and then I’ll probably do a Kickstarter. So Vella may or may not see the entire book, it all depends on how long it takes me to write it. But I assure you, if you’re reading on Vella, you’ll get a copy of the book but you might have to tell me because Amazon doesn’t let you know who your readers are.

The Keeper

The ancient ritual on the island of Cho Nisi is stolen, tradition destroyed, and its shield ruined. But the destruction doesn’t end with the broken drumbeats, nor the groan of the elders. King Barin is confronted with a new enemy whose weapons far outmaneuver his army’s bows and arrows, swords, and catapults. What have these strangers from the north come for, and will they battle for ownership of not only the kingdom’s future but also its past?

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Something Dark Lurks Herein

You know, I spend way too much time checking my statistics. It doesn’t even matter to me anymore how often I sell a book. This is good because not more than a handful of my books pass into people’s hands any given month (online anyway. I do well in person). Don’t get me wrong, I would love readers, I just don’t have the time or energy to beg for them.

Instead, I’m having a lot of fun spending time in the worlds I’ve created. It makes living so much richer. I’m loving the suspense and tension coming out of my stories. Like tonight for instance I’ve been writing about Anna. If you’ve read Darkness Holds the Son you’ll know that Anna is hopelessly in love with King Barin, but she’s sort of ruined it for herself having been her father’s accomplice during his time of insurrection. She tried to redeem herself in the last book, but we’re not sure if it was all that successful. Barin still hasn’t made up his mind about Anna.

Picking up where we left off, Anna returned to Kolada and found her home burnt to the ground and all her and her family’s things distributed among the villagers. They figured the baron owed it to them. One good soul, the blacksmith Benjamin, invited her to stay with him and his two daughters. Rose is hospitable to her, but Siera is full of spite and has much influence in the local pub. Needless to say, the beginning of this chapter has been a joy to write.

I’m going to be writing this on Vella and see what happens. You’re welcome to join. I’ll send you a link as soon as I get it published.

Posted in Book Reviewers, Books, inspiration, musing, musings, New Release, Patreon, readers, serialized novels, Stories, Sword of Cho Nisi, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windy and Sunny

Isn’t this a lovely time of year? The air is warm and fresh, at least here in the PNW we’re blessed with really fresh air. It’s breezy, sometimes windy, but big beautiful thunderheads float above from time to time against a cerulean blue sky. Yellow buttercups dot the overgrown grass (overgrown because it’s been too wet to mow and besides our mower was broken for a bit). I love the tall grass. It makes everything seem so wild and lovely. I suspect too soon the grass will go to seed and then my allergies will take over, but for now it’s gorgeous.

In a world that seems to be shaking itself upside down, it’s easy to lose these moments of beauty, so I challenge you to take a deep breath and step outside and try to find some pretty things about the earth. Take a photo or two and enjoy life.

My book signing schedule is now on my website. I’ll post it here as well. I hope to see you at one of these. Should be fun. More might be added so keep an eye on my website.

May 21 Spring Fairy Magic Market 10 – 7 – 6901 6th Ave Tacoma, WA. I’ll be downstairs.

​July 16, 17 Gig Harbor Arts Festival – I’ll be up the stairs by Timberline Bank

August 20 Olalla Music Festival all day. Look for my banner.

​August 24th – 28 Kitsap County Fair with KLAW, Kitsap Literary Artists and Writers. I’ll be there every day. Bremerton WA

​September 3 – 5 The Blackberry Festival again with KLAW down by the ferry terminal. On the waterfront Bremerton, WA

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Awakening of the Apprentice

Last year I had a Kickstarter for the Sword of Cho Nisi saga. One of the rewards was a short story written for the person who pledge a certain amount of money…with a character, friend, family, or themselves written in it. I had one person take the challenge, and so I wrote this story Awakening of the Apprentice. He loved the story, and up until now I hadn’t shown it to anyone. But now you can download it for free (it’s downloadable from my website too) so please do take a look and enjoy the story!

Awakening of the Apprentice

Kairos is the wizard in Sword of Cho Nisi, a rather comical fellow with a good heart and clumsy hand. Find out what happens when an apprentice from the University comes to study with him.

Artwork by Mario Teosodio
Home page of D.L. Gardner
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Looking for Healing?

The world of man has been spinning like a top lately. So many emotions flying through the roof over injustices and silly things as well. It makes me wonder why. It also makes me want to separate myself from the frenzy.

So as I find my own peace, I can’t help but scan through social media and see all these remedies from eating healthy (good choice), meditating, practicing all sorts of man-made experiments and such, that I pause to think…you know the Good Lord gave us all we need to have peace. Even my husband noticed it yesterday as we walked the beach. There’s something constant and mesmerizing, the great natural OM of the sound of the surf. A gentle rumble of nature that takes away the troubles of the world and strokes the roughness right out of you, breaking your hardness just as it breaks the shells on the beach into sand and the coarse rocks into smooth pebbles. Sit on the beach and listen, breathe in the salty air.

There have been times when I wasn’t near the ocean, but a river, a creek, or a lake can have the same effect. Water is life-giving. Not just to drink, but to heal and to bring you to a place of peace in a world that so dearly needs it.

Posted in casues, challenge, Current Affairs, earth, Free, inspiration, life, Love, musing, musings, nature, spring | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment