Looking Forward to a New Year

This year has been crazy and exciting and heart-wrenching for me. Return to Royalty was published, I created my own publishing company, I did a handful of book signings, made some new writer-friends, participated in some blog hops, went to some comic cons, and lost a dearly loved member of my family.

 

 

 

This month I’ve been dealing with the loss of Daisy, while trying to prepare for the holidays and finish my writing projects. Unfortunately, the cancer finally got the better of her and we had to put her to sleep on November 17, 2017. I didn’t want to see my best friend go, but she was in pain. It still doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m thankful for all of the time we had together over the last eight years. I’m thankful that such a kind and loving soul was entrusted to my care. Saying goodbye is hard, but I have lots of pictures and happy memories to help me through it.

Daisy’s illness and death completely derailed my NaNoWriMo, and The Time – Traveler’s Cat has been shelved for the moment. I’m planning to finish book two, the sequel to Return to Royalty, and I’m really pushing for it to be available for purchase in March 2018. Some days I don’t feel like being creative, but I know it’s almost finished. It’s the last little stretch before the finish line, and sometimes that last little bit is hard.

Book Mock Up RtG

 

Despite having such a not-so-great November, I’m hoping that December and 2018 bring new adventures and more happy days. I’m anxious to see what will happen next year and what I will accomplish. When I look back, I’ve actually done a lot this year, which is very surprising to me. I hope to do just as much, and more in 2018!

What did you do during 2017? What are you hoping for in 2018?

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The Time – Traveler’s Cat

Today I want to share with you guys an excerpt from The Time – Traveler’s Cat! We’re three days into NaNoWriMo and I’d have to say it’s going great! I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you’re doing so far!

PROLOGUE

The sky was black. Shadows danced between the trees that surrounded Piper as he dashed through the brush. He could feel brambles and twigs grabbing at him, as if they were gnarly fingers, trying to trap him. Panic was filling him as he struggled through the dense forest. He could smell smoke and he finally caught himself around a tree, turning to look at where he’d come from.

A tall machine was leaning precariously, sitting in a small crater in the earth. The trees around it had been smashed and broken, and Piper stared at the door. Inside, bright lights flashed, a siren sounding loudly, echoing throughout the forest. The machine didn’t fit at all in the wooded background, and neither did Piper, his white lab coat protecting him against the bitter wind.

He drew a ragged breath, trying to decide where the hell he was. Had his machine worked? He looked around the forest and lifted his eyes to the sky, astounded by the number of stars in the black night.

Piper wiped sweat from his brow. He definitely wasn’t in Crystalline City anymore, and this definitely was not the year 3088.

A sudden screech made him jump, and he held tighter to the tree he hid against, swinging around. Unfamiliar sounds began to echo through the woods, making Piper tremble. He glanced back at the machine, knowing that he had two options: stay and die, or run and maybe survive. He chose to run.

Dashing like a madman, Piper ran through the tangled mass of trees until his lungs burned and his legs felt like lead weights. It felt like he was running in circles, all of the trees looking the same. Finally, unsure of how long he’d been crashing his way through, Piper staggered toward a fallen tree, collapsing on it.

He let his head fall into his hands, his breaths haggard and wheezing, tears filling his eyes. How was he going to get out of this?

 

CHAPTER ONE

The smog was heavy today. From the fortieth-floor window, Piper could barely see the lights of the other city buildings. He sighed as he sipped at his drink, grimacing at the taste.

“What the hell is this?” he asked, turning to look at his girlfriend as she flitted around the kitchen.

She paused, her long auburn hair falling over her right shoulder, teased on top and flipped to the side, the left side of her head buzzed in the latest trend. She pinned him with an annoyed look. “I told you, baby,” she said, her voice pitching to an octave that Piper found irritating. “It’s a nutritional shake.”

Piper scowled as he set it down on the coffee table. “What was wrong with plain old coffee?” he griped, walking back into the bedroom. He stood in front of a floor-length mirror, fiddling with his tie. He looked up when Charlie appeared in the mirror behind him.

“Are you excited?” she asked, crossing her arms as she leaned in the doorway.

Piper frowned. “About what?” he asked. He turned when she came closer, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Tonight is our six-month anniversary,” Charlie said, pouting softly.

“Oh,” Piper said, his brow rising and his eyes becoming distance. On the inside he was kicking himself. Did people really celebrate six months together anymore?

“Don’t worry,” Charlie said, smiling mischievously. “I’ve planned it all out.”

“Oh,” Piper said more confidently, his hands resting on her hips. He watched as she twirled a strand of her hair around her finger.

“I got a little something for later,” she said suggestively.

Piper caught her face in his hands, kissing her gently. “I wish I could stay home and see it,” he said, having a pretty good idea what she was alluding to.

Charlie laughed then, stepping back from his grasp. “You should get going,” she said, nodding toward the TV. “It’s getting late.”

Piper looked at the morning news, scowling. “Shit.” Sports was on. Piper knew if he made it that far into the broadcast, he would miss his train. He grabbed his coat and his shoulder-bag, rushing to the front door. “Bye, babe!” he called as he opened the door.

Charlie poked her head around from the kitchen. “Bye, love you!” she returned as he waved and closed the door. She shook her head and laughed to herself once he was gone. She loved Piper, but he could be so scatter-brained sometimes.

*****

Piper pushed the button quickly to the elevator, sighing impatiently. He knew he was going to miss the train. He didn’t know why he was bothering waiting for the elevator. It was possibly the slowest elevator in Crystalline City, and it had to take him forty-five floors down to the train station.

He turned to look out the hall window, seeing that the smog was thickening beyond the glass. He debated on whether he should try to catch a cab instead, pressing his hand against his forehead. On days like this, when he was scrambling to decide how he could get to work on time, he wondered what it would be like to go outside and walk the few blocks to the building. He knew the idea was ludicrous; the smog was so dense and deadly that anyone in it for more than a minute would develop cancer and other horrible diseases pretty quickly. It was too bad that the city hadn’t finished repairs on the underground walking tunnels yet.

Finally, the stupid elevator dinged, and Piper jumped inside, accepting that he’d just have to wait for the second train and resigning himself to the fact that his boss would tear him a new one. He leaned against the wall as the elevator began its slow crawl downward, rolling his eyes hard every time it stopped to pick up another passenger. To try to keep his head from exploding, he pulled a small device from his pocket, pressing a button on the side to turn it on.

He used his thumb to scroll through it, finding his lab partner’s contact information. He held the phone up, hitting the record button. “Hey Daniel,” he said quietly, trying to ignore the others in the elevator. “I’m going to be late. Try to stall Bobby, alright?”

Once he was done, he hit the send button, a little swoosh confirming that his message had been sent. He drew a slow breath as he leaned against the back of the elevator, knowing there was only so much D could do to keep the Master of Rage busy. And, most likely, it would only make the Rage Monster worse when Piper finally arrived. He figured that, at this point, the only reason he still had a job was because his work was really important.

He was the lead on his team as an astrophysicist. His mother had asked once what he did all day at his job, and the best he could explain to her was that he worked on computers and wrote code, but it was a lot more complicated than that. Piper was the most knowledgeable in his field, and their most recent project was sponsored by The Free People’s Chosen. It used to sound silly and science-fictiony, but now it was really happening – Piper was helping his team build a machine that could travel through space and time.

It was still in its infancy, and it had a lot of bugs, but most of the advancements they’d been able to make were because of him. Piper had known from a young age that he was weird; he never saw the lessons in school the way the teacher or the other students did. He used to have bad grades because of it, but, over time, he realized it was a gift. More often that not, Piper saw the solution when everyone else only saw endless questions. He often wondered how he knew what to look for when his co-workers were so stumped.

The elevator finally shuddered to a stop, drawing Piper from his thoughts. He felt anxiety rise in him as the throng of people that had amassed in front of him began to shuffle slowly into the tunnel. He wanted to start elbowing people out of the way, but he clicked the button on his hand-held device, seeing the time. He’d missed the train by five minutes, and it would be another ten before the next one came.

Piper sighed shortly as he plopped on a bench to wait. He unlocked his device to open some sort of bubble-popping game, when it dinged, alerting him that D had responded. He swiped to the message.

Daniel’s face appeared on the screen, his eyes wide and his hair a mess. He normally looked that way, but this felt different. “Dude,” he whispered into the camera. “I can’t do anything for you today. Did you forget that the higher-ups were coming??”

Piper felt his heart sink into his feet, his breath leaving him in a whoosh. His ass was grass.

Series Spotlight – The Rise of Aredor & The Wildcat of Braeton

This week I’m doing something different: a series spotlight on two amazing books by author Claire M.Banschbach as part of her relaunch blog tour! In January, Claire had the terrible news that her publisher was going under, so she decided to go indie! Check out her relaunch of her first book (The Rise of Aredor) and the launch of the second book in the series (The Wildcat of Braeton)! Also, scroll down for free stuff!! 😀


 

Rise of Aredor Webcover

The Rise of Aredor

Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor’s shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin’s former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin’s path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Rise of Aredor:

“What’s going on here?” A voice demanded in Calorin.

“Corin, there’s someone out there!” Trey whispered.

“Who’s in charge here?” Another voice asked.

From inside the storeroom, Corin’s heart lifted as he heard the slurred speech of the men. They’re drunk! he realized. He grabbed a flagon off the shelf.

“I hate this stuff,” he muttered and took a deep draft. Spluttering, he took another drink.

“Corin, what are you doing?” Trey hissed.

“Keep working. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Corin clapped his shoulder. Liam and Martin watched bewildered as he staggered past them toward the soldiers.

“That’d be me,” he slurred the words. “Lieutenant Hamíd, at your service, boys!”

The soldiers looked at him through slightly unfocused eyes.

“I’m Lieutenant Zafir, and this is Lieutenant Hamzah,” one said. “What are you doing out here so late, Hamíd?”

“We were supposed to leave earlier, but they didn’t get the wagon loaded in time.” He jerked a thumb back at his companions. “You know how lazy those cavalry soldiers can be.” He took another pull at the flagon as Zafir and Hamzah voiced their agreement loudly.

“We were just going to the tavern. You should join us, Hamíd!” Zafir said.

When Corin hesitated, Hamzah clapped him on the shoulder.

“Come on! You’ll have plenty of time before these buffoons get the wagon loaded.” He took the flagon from Corin and drank.

“You’re right!” Corin took the liquor back. “There’s no reason I should have to stand out here in the dark while they work!”

“Aye, you look like you work too hard already!” Zafir said. The three of them roared with laughter.

“Don’t send someone after me when you’re done. You’ll probably take all night!” Corin raised his voice as he gave the order to the other “Calorins.”

Trey’s salute told him that he understood. Relieved, Corin draped a friendly arm around Hamzah’s shoulder as they made their way toward the tavern.

 

What is he doing?” Martin asked Trey.

“I hope he knows. Come on, let’s hurry with these.” Trey slung another bag up to Liam.

An hour passed and there was no sign of Corin. Liam scanned the street anxiously. They had finished filling the wagon almost half an hour ago.

“The sentry will be along any minute,” Martin whispered to Trey. “What do we do?”

“Wait,” Trey replied, equally uneasy.




Want a chance to win free ebooks and other swag??

Giveaway Graphic

What you could win:
The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, a set of 4 notecards of the series artwork, and the grand prize is a paperback set of the books + 1 notecard of choice!

The giveaway will run from 9/28-10/4.

ENTER TO WIN NOW




 

Wildcat of Braeton Webcover

The Wildcat of Braeton

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain – war is coming to the North!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt from The Wildcat of Braeton:

“Ranulf came here too. I would have sent men, but we were in the middle of helping the Aredorians with the Calorin War,” Laird Dandin said. “And now this Adalwulf threatens Durnian invasion if we send men. Forgive me for saying, but I think Laird Gòrdan would only see the Clans coming tae help now as an attack on him. There would be war in Braeton.”

“I understand.” Aiden hated it, but he could understand.

“So what are you really here for?  I know you don’t want sanctuary.” Laird Dandin’s look urged him to be honest.

“I have no patience left,” Aiden said. “I’m going tae stop Adalwulf. But I can’nae do it on my own. We need the Clan back.”

Dandin sat at the table. “How is your father?”

“My father…” Aiden paused. “He is controlled by Adalwulf. He banished William and has almost disowned Ranulf and myself.”

“I didn’t know it was so bad,” Dandin said.

“My Laird, I’m not asking for your help. I just need tae know how many of Clan Canich are here.” Aiden leaned forward on the table.

“I’d say around forty. You’re going tae raise the Clan?”

“That is my intent, although it never should have come tae this.”

“The men here obey the command of a man named Artair. Convince him, and you’ll have your men,” Dandin said. “But I warn you, that will be no easy task. You are welcome here for as long as you need.”

“Thank you, sir,” Aiden replied gratefully, hoping he did not require the Laird’s hospitality for long.


Cool Trivia about The Wildcat of Braeton:

Random Fact 6

Want more random facts? Visit the other blog stops for more!



Two great books, and guess what?? Today is your lucky day!

Sale pic

For THREE DAYS ONLY, get The Rise of Aredor for only 99 cents!!



About the Author:

Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.

She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

You can connect with her on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram

 



Thanks for stopping by and checking out Claire’s new books! Need more of the Aredor Universe? Try Claire’s short stories on her blog! Happy reading!

Heroic Fantasy? What is so damn appealing about it anyway? – A post by TS Adrian

We’ve talked a lot about maps and illustrations in our books, and I read this article by TS Adrian about the Shadyia Ascendant series and it rang so true! What do you guys think??

https://shadyiaascendant.com/heroic-fantasy-damn-appealing-anyway/

Finding an Author Community

Something that’s always been difficult for me is finding a community. As most authors are, I’m pretty introverted, and this makes face-to-face interactions difficult sometimes. I get anxiety when I see people that I recognize, and sometimes I’ll go out of my way to not have to talk to them. I’ve always understood that finding a group of other authors to commune with was necessary, but I didn’t realize how connected it would make me feel until I realized that I’d accidentally stumbled into a community all on my own.

My first community was online.

The first place that I actively sought out other authors was Facebook. I joined a couple Facebook groups, and it was very exciting! I was very involved and I was so happy to have a place to discuss our craft. Unfortunately, as we all know can happen with online meeting places, things began to go south.

It soon became apparent that there were two types of people in the group: the new people who hadn’t written anything and needed to do their own research, and the people who had written things and had been through the process and were bitter about how ignorant the newbies were. Soon I began to see the dark underbelly of the group, and how ugly people could be to one another.

I think hiding behind a screen and a keyboard makes people more willing to be nasty to others, and I think that’s very unfair. Some people need the truth, but most people don’t need to be trashed for their efforts. We shouldn’t be competing against one another, we should be helping and pushing and encouraging. Seeing the opposite of this really soured me to the whole group, although I was fortunate enough to meet some really awesome people in the process. I made some connections, which ultimately led to me being asked to be part of a new podcast.

My second community built itself accidentally.

Last year in September, my sister and I had a table at a local comic event. We didn’t do very well, but I happened across a group of ladies who were selling their books. I ended up striking up a conversation with them, and learned that they were all members of the Houston Writer’s Guild. We traded books and I followed them on Facebook. We’ve loosely kept in touch over the last few months, pretty much only through following their doings on Facebook.

However, this vague relationship culminated last weekend at Comicpalooza. Because I’d kept in touch with these ladies, when I saw them at Comicpalooza, they recognized me! I even had one yell at me from behind her table, where I couldn’t see her, because she was so excited to see me. That was an awesome feeling!

I began to realize that I had accidentally networked myself into a small community, with the potential to join a larger community if I ever want to join the writer’s guild. It’s a very strange feeling to realize how many friends you have in your industry, especially when it seems like our work is so solitary.

What does this mean for you?

Author communities are great, especially for beginners. It’s always great to have wiser, more experienced authors to look to and to direct your questions. However, that being said, you should always try to do your own research. It’s very demanding of another person’s time to have to try to explain every little thing to a new author, and it can cause resentment. This obviously is not the proper way to handle the situation, but anyone who wants to step into a field they aren’t familiar with should do some reading first. There are many blogs and YouTube channels out there that talk about how to start and what you should be doing, including this series from Infinity Flower Publishing.

I would also encourage you to find a community in your immediate area. Find a local group that meets, a guild, or organization that works with authors. You will find resources for editors and designers, as well as meet some amazing people and be invited to do some amazing things. You’ll pick up lots of leads for selling your books and have someone who can help you if you get stumped.

It also feels good to be part of a community! 🙂

 

 

What communities do you belong to?