All posts by kotadmin

Been Away Too Long – By D.M. Stoddard

The Light of Ak’ron

Let me update you on the Kingdom of Torrence series – book three. Over the last year I have been working on book three of the Kingdom of Torrence series. I made it through chapter eight when I decided to scratch what I had done and start over. Even the Beta Readers are anxiously awaiting a preview.

Book three starts off with Jerrod, Amanda, and Rhonda in Trisdale Keep where Jerrod gets a premonition that Nathanial somehow survived the Battle of Dometer Plains. Amanda and Rhonda ride off to Lithlillia to ask Rhonda’s mother to provide Elves and druids to help them. Meanwhile, Jerrod projects himself to Torrence to enlist Fraum’s help and inform the king. As if things are not already complicated enough, the Queen of Witches who has been watching them is confronted by the goddess Hecatē.

The manuscripts has the return of some old characters and the introduction of some new ones. A new shadow threatens Torrence and Lithlillia and the followers of Asgard march south. I often wonder which character is liked most; if you have an opinion, comment below (you may influence the rewrite of the manuscript).

Author’s Challenges

My doctor gave me an ultimatum to get healthy resulting in an “increased” amount of time at the gym. I have also been preoccupied with home repairs and illness – all drawing time from my writing. I am often reminded that life gets in the way of plans. I have adopted a new quote for life from the movie, High Road to China.

“The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.” Patrick O’Malley played by Tom Selleck

However, for writing, I still rely upon my creative writing professor at the University of Maryland.

“Just keep writing.”

On the upside, I have increased my tweet activities. Catch me at:

Twitter: @kingdomtorrence

Facebook: /kingdom.torrence

Amazon: D.M. Stoddard

Interview by Kasper Beaumont

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, which I really enjoyed. You can read the entire interview at:

Amazon:

http://huntersofreloria.weebly.com/kaspers-ramblings

Fandri's Eventful First Kiss - Kasper & Bailey BeaumnotKasper’s is the author of the Hunters of Reloria series and has just collaborated on a new short story spin off, Fandri’s Eventful First Kiss.

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Eventful-First-Kiss-Hunters-Reloria-ebook/dp/B01HIBCWNG

Kasper is also very active in the Fantasy/Science Fiction Network (not friendly to all cellphone settings) where she has hosted the interview.

 

Guest Blog by Celeste Leon

Guest Blog
Celeste Leon

In 1944 my father, Ramón León, won the lottery. $18,000, a fortune! ($500,000 in today’s money.) To say that it changed his life and the lives of others is a gross understatement.

His story has become such family lore that ten years ago, I decided I must tell it. “Why do you want to write about me?” my father asked when I said I was writing a book about him. His response shows his humility. What he accomplished is extraordinary, though he’d never admit it.

Maunabo Puerto RicoRamón León grew up in the remote seaside town of Maunabo, Puerto Rico. From the age of seven, he carried trays of pastries on his head into the nearby sugar plantation to sell to field hands. He saved every penny he earned. At 19, he had a premonition – a vision. A number flashed across the sky: 14007.  “Guillermo,” he said to his friend, “I need to play that number in the lottery!” He felt it so strongly that for the first time, he bought a full sheet of tickets, something only the very wealthy did. And he won. Going from poor to rich in a heartbeat caused as many problems as it solved. He struggled to use his winnings to stay true to himself, ensure family and community harmony, and fulfill his dream of being a healer.

Years before, a dentist known in his village as “El Humanitario” had cured Ramón’s abscessed tooth. Since that day, Ramón dreamed of helping others as he’d been helped. Puerto Rico had few dentists and no dental school in 1944, so, though he knew no English, he attended Michigan State University. Although it was far from easy, his winnings allowed him to live his dream and ultimately return to Puerto Rico to carry on the work of his beloved mentor, “El Humanitario”.

Weeks before my novel inspired by his story was released, one of my dad’s old patients read my story, A Lucky Man (2006). She posted it on our town’s Facebook page. Testimonials from Dad’s former patients poured in, 25 years after he’d retired. “Best dentist I ever had.”  “One of a kind!” One patient told how Dad saw him on a Sunday after a terrible car accident. Recognizing the serious nature of the young man’s injuries, Dad referred him to the nearest hospital. Dad made house calls, and if someone couldn’t pay, he bartered for services.

My father showed respect to everyone without question, and in turn, earned it. These lessons and values shaped the person I am today in my work as a physical therapist and author. In sharing intimate details of his life as I wrote Luck is Just the Beginning, he revealed a humble heroism.

Life has come full circle. His dream came true and, with the publication of my novel, so has mine. Readers have told me how the book inspired them, how they rejoiced during the good parts and cried during the bad.

I share this story in honor of Father’s Day. From selling pastries on sugar plantations to a career as an acclaimed dentist and healer, with a big boost from the Puerto Rican lottery, my father’s story is truly amazing.

Alina Sayre Guest Blog & e-Book Giveaway

Welcome BannerAlina Sayre

Alina Sayre

The Illuminator Rising, is the third book in The Voyages of the Legend series. See her guest blog below.

e-Book Giveaway Rules

1) Subscribe to the Kingdom of Torrence webpage (including email),  and
2) add the following to the comments in Alina’s guest blog:

  • your name and
  • a comment on another section or post on the KOT website.

If you have read one of Alina’s books, a comment about that book would be appreciated. The winner will be randomly selected and checked against the subscribers list. Alina will send the e-Book directly to the email the winner provides. Good luck.

Guest post

Insanity-Free Revision

My writing process makes me what they call a “pantser.” I create a vague, skeletal outline of my book plots in advance, but then I start writing and see where the characters take me. Sometimes they are stubborn, and I end up with a tangled-up manuscript at the end. That was definitely the case with my latest book, The Illuminator Rising. 76,000 words is a lot of tangled manuscript. So if you’re going to be a pantser, it’s crucial to be a good reviser. Here are some of the hacks I’ve developed that help me tackle huge revision projects without going insane along the way!

  • My revision process starts with my amazing team of test readers. After doing two complete drafts of a manuscript in complete solitude, I send the rough product to them for their hard, honest critique.

Since they’re a mix of middle-grade readers, young adults, and parents of middle-graders, I get a whole range of comments, which is exactly what I need! I compile their feedback into a comprehensive spreadsheet. Seeing it all together on one page helps me to identify trends and recognize the manuscript’s biggest weaknesses—like that the early draft of The Illuminator Rising had 28 named characters, most of whose personal arcs got lost halfway through the book. Oops.

Once I’ve got the comments spreadsheet together,

  • I divide the book into sections and assign each one its own color of post-it note. (I couldn’t write anything without post-it notes. I should put them in my book acknowledgments.) Each thread of revision—each shallow character, dropped plotline, or half-baked theme—gets its own sticky note.

The Illuminator Rising had a lot of sticky notes. Then I can work chronologically through the book and check off each sticky note as I address it. In college writing classes, I was known to physically cut up my stories with scissors so I could visually rearrange the pieces and fix structural issues. That’s virtually impossible (or at least a really messy idea) with a 75,000-word manuscript. So for this book, I went digital instead.

For one messy section,

  • I digitally highlighted each logical section in a different color. Then I grouped the bits and pieces together by color, which allowed me to quickly see where the material was, how long the sections were, when I finished a section, etc.

It was a lot of staring at screens, but I think it helped me sort the material into a much more logical flow!

All in all, Draft 6 of The Illuminator Rising looks very, very different than the draft I sent to my test readers. (As in, different people die in this draft. Surprise!) I hope it makes for an exciting read!

Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising
Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend
 

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the 

Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world? 

 
Advance praise: 
“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”
-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

Alina Sayre is also on Goodreads

Guest Blog by Alina Sayre & Blog Tour

JUNE 15, 2016
It is a privilege to announce that Alina Sayre will be writing a guest blog for the Kingdom of Torrence. It will be posted on June 15, 2016, as part of her blog tour (schedule below) for her soon to be released novel, The Illuminator Rising, Alina will provide an e-book give away to her tour stop at the Kingdom of Torrence . (Rules at the bottom)
Alina Sayre
AUTHOR BIO:

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, 

The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Book two of the series is titled The Illuminator’s Test.
Author’s Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:
 

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the 

Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world? 

Blog Tour Schedule:
June 8: Jenn Castro (jenncastro.com)-Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover
June 9: Margaret Bloom (webloomhere.blogspot.com)-Book 1 review, Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover, giveaway
June 10: Publication day!!! Announcement on alinasayre.com
June 11: Angela Wallace (angelawallace.wordpress.com)-guest post
June 12: W.R. Gingell (wrgingell.com)-guest post
June 13: Rabia Gale (rabiagale.com/blog)-Book 1 review, Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover
June 14: A.R. Silverberry (arsilverberry.com/blog)-guest post
June 15: D.M. Stoddard (kingdomoftorrence.com)-guest post – requested e-book give away
June 16: Intisar Khanani (booksbyintisar.com/blog)-interview

June 18: Caleb Fong (geekosupremo.wordpress.com)-radio interview

June 15, 2016, e-book giveaway: 1) Subscribe to the Kingdom of Torrence webpage (including email) and 2) add the following to the comments in Alina’s guest blog: your name and a comment on another section or post on the KOT website.  If you have read one of Alina’s books a comment about that book would be appreciated. The winner will be randomly selected and checked against the subscribers list. Good luck.

Dare to Dream – Why I Write

2016 NGIB Award Finalist in Fantasy - Amanda's Quest (preliminary copy)

Amanda’s Quest
2016 Finalist in Fantasy
Next Generation Indie Book Awards

I am honored that Amanda’s Quest was recognized in the Fantasy Category. It is a privilege to be included with such impressive past and present authors who submitted books to the competition. To some, competitions are scary; to many, competitions challenge personal confidence. To all, the out come of competitions are uncertain.

In Letters to Juliet,  screenwriters José Rivera and Tim Sullivan set a scene in the middle of a wedding ceremony where Claire, played by Vanessa Redgrave, reads a letter about the possibilities of love.

“’What’ and ‘if’ are two words as none threatening as words can be, but, put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you the rest of your life. What if. What if? What if. ….”

For me, it’s a moving scene empowering the viewers to believe. What? If? I am very honored to be recognized as a finalist. What if I had not submitted Amanda’s Quest for the competition. You never know what the results may be. But, over the last few weeks, I have reflected on why I writing. Its purpose. It meaning.

In Hamlet, Act 1, Scence 3, Polonius says to his son, Laertes:

“This above all: to thine own self be true, …”

I love to write for the readers to enjoy my stories. I loved to tell my children impromptu bedtime stories about forest animals. I loved to design AD&D campaigns with surprises to keep the players guessing, hoping to increase their enjoyment. And I enjoy writing for you.

Please subscribe. You can comment on posts or email me at:

kingdomtorrence@aol.com

 

Interview with Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

Jacci Turner Interview

Date: May 15, 2016

Jacci Turner image 2016-0515
Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

Jacci, welcome back.

A quick introduction:  You have 10 books on Amazon, including 2 series; you are the Director of Education for High Sierra Writers; you’re an Amazon bestselling author of young adult and middle grade fiction and your book, Bending Willow, was selected to represent Nevada at the 2013 National Book Festival in Washington D.C. Now, your YA book, Cracker, just received a Red Ribbon Award from The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Have I missed anything?

Answer: Haha! Nope, that about covers it, Dennis.

Tell us about the Red Ribbon Award? What is it?

Answer: The Wishing Shelf Award is kinda cool because it was started by an author, Billy Bob Buttons. He is from the UK and does a lot of work with school kids. So, he gets 16 kids to read each entry and rate the books. Even if you don’t win, you still get the feedback, which, to an author is gold.

How did all that come about? How did you find yourself as an author?

Answer: I think of myself more as a story teller. When I was five I used to charge the neighborhood kids a nickel to come watch my plays. I was in theater in high-school and even have a degree in theater! But, if you’ve ever done a play, you’ll know that they take a LOT of time to prepare and as life got busier, I just couldn’t commit to the rehearsal schedules. So, I thought what can I do that’s creative but doesn’t take all my time? I have always enjoyed writing. I have a book and a screen play that will never see the light of day. But it wasn’t until I turned fifty that I had the discipline to do the necessary revisions a good book needs, so that is when I started writing for publication.

Before we dive into it, what advice would you have for a beginning author? What is the one thing that might be the most meaningful thing then could hear?

Answer: For me, the key is getting into a writer’s group where you can have the support and encouragement of other writers. That is so important. The one I’m involved with brings in monthly speakers and each month I feel like it’s the kick-in-the-pants I need to keep writing. The critique groups we are invaluable. Keep learning, let people read your work, keep growing as a writer and don’t’ give up.

Okay, you write for young adults. Tell us about the genre?

Answer: I love Young Adult, which is for ages fourteen and up. I also write for kids age eight and up, that’s called Middle Grade Fiction. I think what draws me to these age groups is that with kids, anything is possible. They still believe in magic and have incredible imaginations.

Why the YA genre? What motivates you? What inspires you?

Answer: Kids today have to face some pretty rough realities, yet I’m constantly amazed by their spirits and creative minds. I have great hope in the upcoming generations. Those two thoughts are put together for my website tagline which is, “Infusing Reality with Hope.” I want to write about the real challenges of this world, but from a hopeful place, not a dark place.

I read your latest book, Cracker. It has an intense message. What inspired you to write that story?

Answer: My hope is that Cracker will encourage people to have a conversation about race. It is a topic that people are afraid to talk about because it sometimes feels like walking on egg shells, like you might say the wrong thing. Cracker turns the conversation upside down. The white people in the book are an oppressed minority, the black people have power and privilege. This causes white people to experience, through the main character, the micro-aggressions and injustices that people of color face every day. It comes with a study guide to help further the discussion. I think being able to talk about race is the first step in learning to heal the racial divide in our society.

From a literary standpoint, without spoiling it, how did you come up with the idea for the setting twist?

Answer: I was reading Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? And other conversations about race, and I thought, “This is important stuff, how can I get white people to think about it? And the idea for Cracker was born.

If we can, let’s get a little deeper into your messages. You’re dealing with some intense issues. I know in your non-author life you work with hospice and have a spiritual background. Where are you pulling these stories from?

Answer: Well, my spiritual director would say they all come from parts of me, like I’m working out my issues! I guess it’s cheap therapy. But you’re right: I do have a deep faith and I do work with people that are dying and that gives me a unique perspective. I also worked with college students for thirty years and love, love, love them. They keep my mind sharp and keep me up on – you know, technology! J

What are you working on now/next?

Answer: Speaking of technology, I’m working on a book about, “Snapchat gone wrong.” I read this article about how young girls are being objectified by boys on Snapchat as the boys are pressuring them to send pictures of their bodies. If the girls say no, the boy might post a naked picture and say it was her, but if the girl sends the picture, she is labeled a whore. It puts girls in an awful situation. In my research for this book I learned that the average teenager is sending snaps (Pictures) 200-300 times a day! It’s crazy.

Authors develop characters, including odd traits or idiosyncrasies to make them more interesting. If you were a character in a bestselling novel, what is the one thing the author might share to make your character more interesting?

Answer: Wow, that is an amazing question. Probably my stunning good looks and razor sharp wit! Just kidding. I guess I’d like to be the character that is full of surprises. People are often surprised when they know me for a while and then learn something they didn’t know, like that I got my black belt in Karate at age 43 or that I jumped from an airplane at age 52. I love adventure and that would be my odd trait, “The grandma that is full of surprises!”

Anything else you want to share?

Answer: Sure Dennis, I’d like to share that I’ve read both of your books and I’m a fan. I hope you fantasy lovers out there will rush out and buy the Kingdom of Torrence series! Thank you so much for all of your support and friendship.

Jacci, thank you for your time. Can we share your contacts?

Amazon’s Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Jacci-Turner/e/B006D3187M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1463279953&sr=1-1

Personal Web Page

http://www.jacciturner.com/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/JacciTurner

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Jacci-Turner-162842543809329/

 

 

Continue reading Interview with Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

In the World of Dendür (From the Back of My Mind)

In the World of Dendür, I am writing on the manuscript of book three, The Light of Ak’ron. I am almost finished  with the first draft of chapter three. I would have liked to have been working on chapter five at this point.

The surviving heroes of the Battle of Demeter Plains (Amanda’s Quest) are in the Wilds Mountain Range seeking an on-going threat to the Kingdoms of Torrence and Lithlillia, but nothing is ever as easy as expected. The search party includes men, Elves, centaurs, and one very determined dragon.

I am finding that the characters’ unfocused search makes it harder to write. They know what they are looking for, but not where to look. As the author, the dialog is harder to construct… How would Jerrod react to this situation?  See my last post on how I was caught off-guard by Imelrinn’s history. Oh, and his torn love for Amanda and Rhonda is as confusing as ever.

While the search goes on in the Wilds, King Garrett is entertaining the Lady Mòr and her brother, Lord Ròidh, of Beinn Caladh (the Highlands). The king of Greensland might not be too found of the developing friendship between Torrence and the Highlands, and the implications for his young daughter who is betrothed to King Garrett, but the greater danger is the storm brewing to the north in Haithenbeurn. The followers of Asgard are on the march.

Felicia, Queen of Witches, returns as well. Her desire for the Dragon’s Orb (The Legend of Jerrod) is driving her to become more meddlesome in Jerrod’s and Amanda’s lives, and she is becoming confrontational with Hecatē, Olympian goddess of witchcraft.

It was such a peaceful kingdom.

Send me a note about who your favorite character is and why?

  • Amanda – female warrior and (ops.. spoiler)
  • Jerrod – miller’s son seeking fame and fortune
  • Drin – holy knight who (ops… another spoiler)
  • Rhonda – half Elven druid princess
  • Imelrinn – ancient Mountain Elve (Elf)
  • Fraum – sage and (ops… have you read TLOJ?)
  • Nathanial – wizard
  • Felicia – witch
  • Lady Lieisa – Elve (Elf) druid priestess and leader of Lithlillia
  • Sasha – large black panther or house cat, depending on the form she chooses to be in

I look forward to hearing from you.

D.M. Stoddard, author of the Kingdom of Torrence series

When Characters Takeover the Plot

In talking with other authors, I often find that some of their favorite stories are about times when their characters takeover the plot.

Full MapI was working on the manuscript for book three, The Light of Ak’ron, this week when I realized that the heroes of Torrence and Lithlillia were about to retrace the steps that most of them took in The Legend of Jerrod.  I spent a couple of days going back through the first book of the Kingdom of Torrence series, recording the timeline. In The Legend of Jerrod, Jerrod and his friends  started their adventures in Torrence, went through Lithlillia after some misadventures in the Black Forest, and then proceeded north to the Fjord of Menduran.

Empowered by my refreshed memory of the timeline, I sat down anxious to write the next scene for book three. I gathered the characters, described the scene, and began the dialog. They had already assumed that the object of interest was is the realm of the Dark Elves. As an author I prepared to lay out the dialog in which they were going to discuss traveling north to Sismen Pass, which they figured was a good starting point for their search. As my fingers began typing out the scene that I had spent more that two days preparing, Imelrinn, an ancient Mountain Elve (Elf), spoke up, “I can show you the way. I fought there once as a young man.

I had too laugh. Authors have to follow the personality of the characters and the logic of the story-line/plot. When I created Imelrinn, part of his history was participating in the Elven-Dwarven Wars centuries before. As he grew older he became the guardian of the princesses of Lithlillia. The Kingdom of Torrence series starts with Imelrinn watching over his third charge, the half-Elven druid princess, Rhonda. In The Light of Ak’ron the friends must seek out a threat to both the kingdoms of Torrence and Lithlillia, among other challenges that arise in the course of events.

 

The Road to Publishing – On the Street (Part III)

Wow! I have my manuscript edited, the self-publishing is finished, and now….  what do I do with my book?

If you are going through a vanity press or other self-publishing service, it is a little easier; they do all the “leg work” for you. If not it is just a matter of creating accounts on the various distribution channels (websites) and uploading the book that the formatting service should have prepared for you. The sites that I am currently using are:

CreateSpace and Ingram Spark will distribute your books to a variety of sales points, including Amazon and Barns & Noble On-line. This is important because, according to one publisher’s content editor that I recently heard speak, Amazon currently sells over 70% of all books.

Once you have your book uploaded it takes as much as a couple of weeks for the cover to appear, but the text and opportunity to purchase the book is quicker.  So, where are you?  You are now on the edge of the marketing cliff. The lake is deep so jump in… you can’t just wade around in the shallow spots.

Marketing P bulletsTraditionally, marketing included product, price, placement, and promotion, but the internet, social media, and spamming ads are changing that approach.  Unknown, image downloaded from Google. I intend to write more on marketing in the future.

 

Everyone should agree, the key is making the connection with readers. It is easy to get lost in the crowd, but you cannot ignore Amazon if the speaker I heard is correct. There is a lot of debate how effective social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, etc, are at 1) reaching readers, and 2) encouraging sales. There are also genre specific author coops like FSFNet.com who specialize in Fantasy and Science Fiction authors/books. Recently, I submitted an article to LeRue Press‘s paper, What’s the Story. Lastly, plan on going to book signings; other than Amazon, getting in front of readers is essential. Word of mouth promotions is always a good thing.

I would encourage you, the writer/author, to use as many of the above channels as possible, time allowing. Keep in touch.