The Romance Review's Reader's Choice Awards

Waking-the-Dragon-thumbI have some big news to share today. Waking the Dragon is a nominee in The Romance Review's Reader's Choice Awards! (You may have already heard this, I've kind of been posting it everywhere.)

I'm up to 41 votes, and I need 50 to make it to the next round. I would really, really appreciate it if anyone had the time to go and vote for me.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

Dragon Ruins: Karla and Taurian's Complete Story

Dragon-Ruins-Complete-thumbSince Karla and Taurian's story is now complete, I figured I'd package up the whole serial in one book for easy access.

I've really enjoyed writing in the serial format though, and getting to share each part of the story as it goes. And don't worry, there are more dragons coming. Lisa's story will be next, followed by Bruce. Then after that, who knows!

You can grab your copy of Dragon Ruins here.

If you want to make sure you don't miss the next Rian Clan Dragon story, make sure you sign up to my mailing list above!

Dragon Ruins is Complete!

The final episode, Mating the Dragon, is finally here! Grab your copy now.

mating-the-dragon-thumbTaurian's clan believes that his union with Wayrian can save them- if he can go through with it, knowing that he loves Karla. With his arch enemy Ultrima's claw on the scales, he doesn’t dare risk backing out now. Not with his clan in immediate danger.

Karla has accepted that he can never be hers. As a prince, he must put the needs of his clan first. As painful as watching the new couple beginning their life together is for Karla, it's better than risking leaving while Ultrima’s dragons wait outside. Ultrima himself offers her a way out, but she can’t possibly leave Taurian and his clan to be wiped out by Ultrima. She has to do something to help them. If only she could figure out what.

How do you defeat a dragon who has every other dragon scared?

I've added a suggested reading order page, to help you figure out where to read the prequel, Bringing Christmas to the Dragons, if you haven't already read it, or are new to the books.

I'm hoping to add some more extras to the extras pages in the next week or so, so if you aren't already on my mailing list, sign up now so you don't miss out! Extras are only available to mailing list subscribers, and include exclusives like character bios, deleted scenes etc.

And don't be too sad that it's over. The story will continue with 2 novellas this year, and the beginning of a new serial. Check the Upcoming Releases page for more details.

Thanks for reading.

Ending with a Bang!

Sorry I've been quiet lately. I'm so busy trying to get the final part of Dragon Ruins just right. So many ends to tie up. But I'm getting close now. In fact you can preorder Mating the Dragon, the 6th and final part in the Karla and Taurian's story, now.

Here's a little snippet, just to tide you over until it's out.

mating-the-dragon-webWayrian blushed. “Will it do?” She echoed Karla’s thoughts.

She looked beautiful. The outfit might be nothing like anything Karla would have worn as a bride, but it was stunning none the less.

And it just rammed home the fact that this young woman was about to marry the man Karla loved.

No, not just marry, mate with. And in dragon terms, that meant even more than marriage. The ceremony would tie Wayrian and Taurian together with a magical bond so strong they would even die together.

Taurian would forget all about the human he had cared for so briefly.

Okay, that might be a little dramatic. He’d remember who she was, and the things they had done together. He might even be able to remember that he’d felt strongly for her. But those feelings would be gone, never to return.

For him, anyway. Karla wasn’t sure that the things she felt for him would ever fade. Would she ever be able to conjure up a memory of his face without a resulting stir in her heart, like the one she was experiencing now?

Would time release her from this pain, or would she feel this forever? She wasn’t sure which she wanted. Life would be easier if this memory of loving Taurian faded, but right now, she wanted to feel the pain. It reminded her that it was real, that she had felt something so amazing that it would live with her forever.

It made it more important, more meaningful.

She heaved a sigh. She could ponder those deep and meaningful things later, when the adventure was over. Right now, there was still more excitement and danger to deal with before she had that luxury.

“It’s perfect,” she told Wayrian. “Ultrima will be totally convinced.”

In case you missed it, since I haven't posted recently, Denying the Dragon is out now. You can find the links in the sidebar.

Denying the Dragon is available for preorder!

Dragon-Ruins5bPart 5 in the Dragon Ruins serial is now available for preorder! I'm editing it now, and hope to have it out before the end of January.

When Taurian’s clan contacts them, Karla knows that her time with Taurian is coming to an end. He doesn’t need her any longer, and even though he still seems keen to make things permanent between them, she’s not sure she’s up to the commitment.

Taurian expected his desire for Karla to fade once he as back with his clan. Instead, it only intensifies. He’s determined to convince her to be his mate—despite his clan having a mate already picked out for him.

But there may be no time for love and mating, when Taurian’s enemy is still after them.

Preorder your copy now!

 

Serials – What are they, and why am I writing one?

Some of you may have noticed that I've been playing around with something different this year. Instead of writing my usual full length novel series, I've been writing a romance serial.

How is that different to a series? Well, typically, they're shorter. The parts/episodes in my Dragon Ruins serial are around 15-20,000 words each. That's about a quarter to a fifth of my full length romance novels. The other noticeable difference is that the Happily Ever After doesn't come until the last part in the serial. Rest assured though, that it will come.

So why am I writing like this? Well, a few reasons actually.

1. They're faster. I can publish a serial part ever month/6 weeks, and thus you have something new to read sooner. It also puts me on the hot new releases list, which means more people can find my books.

2. They're more concise. Because they're shorter, I can focus more on getting the flow  and pacing just right. I feel this makes each episode tighter and more readable.

3. Because I like to try something new. Don't get me wrong, I love writing full length stories, but writing this serial has been an experiment to see if I can write short. And it seems I can. Which means I'm thinking of adding some novellas to my other series. There are a few characters in the Barren Planet series who could do with their own stories, but not quite enough for a full length book. Who'd love to hear about Yasmyn and Glesin's reunion? Or Nelor and Brenda? Or Jaimma and Beren? Anyone else I haven't thought of? If so, let me know in he comments below.

NaNoWriMo – Catching up with you're Behind

PrintThis morning I crossed the 50,000 word finish line for NaNoWriMo. I just missed this goal last year, so this year's win is doubly satisfying. It was a close call there again this year, because as usual, I missed three days in a row and fell behind in the first week. My daughter's homeschooling report is due on the 7th of November each year, and no matter how much I say I'm going to get it out of the way early, I never do! So I nearly always miss those same three days.

But in spite of this, I made my goal, and I now have 50,000 new words on Reckless Remedy.

So how did I do it? How did I catch up those missed 5001 words?

I'll let you in on a little secret. You don't have to catch them up all at once, or even over the course of the week. If you've ever done NaNo before, you'll know that the graph gives you an average daily goal of 1667 words a day, but at the bottom of the stats page, it also tells you how many words a day you'll have to write to win, given where you're up to now. Make sure you check it before you enter any words for the day though, because it goes down as you add your wordcount during the day.

nano2

See that ‘Words Per Day To Finish On Time' section? Yeah, that one. If you write that many words a day, you'll still win, even if you're behind. And even missing 5k at the beginning of the month is only a few hundred words a day extra. As you can see, I remained behind the entire month, until the second last day. And you know what? It didn't matter. I still wrote 50k in the end.

I think I had an average of 1900 words on my highest days, but since I aimed for 2k most days, I slowly and surely caught up over the month, until I only had to write 1250 words on the last day.

That said, even if I hadn't technically won, I would still count it as a win. All words written are a win, because you can't edit a blank page!

New Release: Sugar, Spice and Shifters Box Set

I'm so excited to share this new release with you. I have a Christmas story! And it's part of the Sugar, Spice and Shifters box set, with 14 other awesome authors. Not only that, but this story is a prequel to my Dragon Ruins serial. Find out more about the mysterious golden eyed man who sent Karla after Taurian.

*** This box set is finished now, but you can still grab my story from it below! ***

12196265_1615907342005868_2236774852591309936_n

Ring in your holiday season with all-new holiday shifter stories from today's hottest paranormal romance writers.

From the sweetest of mating claims to the spiciest of holiday wishes come true, this set has a perfect present for every reader. Whether you've asked Santa for wolf shifters, werebears, or dragons, this box set of ALL NEW holiday tales from bestselling authors gives the best gift any lover of paranormal romance could want: a little naughty n' nice with a whole lot bringing-christmas-to-the-dragons-RDof sugar n' spice.

All fifteen holiday tales are available exclusively for a limited time!

*** This box set is finished now, but you can still grab my story from it, Bringing Christmas to the Dragons, for only 99c! ***

Just in case you're not already convinced, here's an excerpt from Bringing Christmas to the Dragons!

No time for second thoughts. Jayrian’s legs trembled as he walked down the long passageway to the elder’s chamber. More to do with the exertion of the long ride than nerves, he was certain.

The sight of all five elders, one from each of the different types of magic except lightning, in full dragon form, made him catch his breath. It was rare for the dragons to shift these days. Jayrian had only done it once or twice himself. They were too afraid the humans would see them. But here, deep in the dragon’s lair, they were safe to be what they truly were.

“You wish to see us, youngling?” Kyrian boomed inside Jayrian’s head. The metal dragon’s scales glinted silver in the firelight. The dragon’s strength and age gave him an unofficial leadership of the group of elders.

After weeks in the human village, the dragon’s telepathy took some getting used to.

Jayrian swallowed. “Yes, elder. I have news from the human village, and it is not good.”

“Well spit it out,” Mesrian prodded. “We’re not getting any younger, you know.” An encouraging smile removed any sting from her words.

Mesrian’s impatience mirrored his own. Not surprising given she was a fire dragon as he was. And her matter of fact words, helped Jayrian calm himself. He couldn’t afford to upset the elders. He couldn’t risk them continuing to delay making a decision. They had to act now. Before it was too late.

“The humans are going to mine the Dragon Scales. They’ve found a coal vein there,” he blurted out.

The only sign of surprise Kyrian gave was a slight widening of his eyes.

The other dragons rumbled in alarm.

“This is a concern,” Mesrian said slowly. “When?”

“I don’t know. Soon, in the next few weeks, but not until after New Year,” Jayrian said. “They do nothing until then.”

“That gives us time,” Kyrian said. “Do you have any more information?”

This was Jayrian’s opening. He took a deep breath. “Edtrima still guards the Mesmer chamber entrance, but I know the perfect human to send instead. She’s a…”

“Enough,” Kyrian raised a claw. “We have already listened to, and decided against, this plan of yours. Before the princes entered their Mesmer sleep, they ordered us not to divulge our existence to the humans. This is not sufficient reason to disrespect their wishes.”

“But if you’d just listen…” Jayrian said desperately.

“No. Do not speak of it again. Return to the human village, but keep your distance. You are there to observe them, not make friends. Remember that. If you find any further information, return immediately. You are dismissed.”

Jayrian stared at the faces of all five elders, but each looked impassive and determined. Like old, weathered rocks. Mesrian looked sympathetic at least, but that didn’t mean she was any more likely to be swayed than the others. He’d tried before.

His shoulders slumped as he walked slowly back out of the elders chamber, down the corridor, and past all the human form dragons. They watched curiously, but no one attempted to stop him as he headed back out to his bicycle.

He didn’t see his parents, and right now, he didn’t want to. They would act sympathetic, but they never meant it. They agreed with the elders. Everyone always agreed with the elders. Wait until the princes wake, then they can make the decisions. That’s why they’d lived their entire lives in hiding, unable to even transform into their natural form for fear of being discovered.

Jayrian scowled.

He could probably find out when the mining was due to happen if he searched around a little, but what was the point if the elders weren’t going to do anything? His plan might not be foolproof, but it was better than anything anyone else had put forwards. He even had the perfect person to wake Prince Taurian, but they didn’t even want to listen.

Prince Taurian’s Mesmer chamber would be discovered when the mining started. There was no way around it. Then humans would be involved in dragon business, no matter what the elders wanted.

All because they were too stubborn to do anything differently. Because they were too afraid of disappointing the mystical prince none of them had ever met.

If they kept this up, they’d never meet him. No one would.

With time running out before his clan’s prince is discovered by mining or killed by enemy dragons, dragon shifter Jayrian needs to convince the elders to accept help from the humans. He hopes that the clever librarian, Gretchen, might be able to help him with that. He didn’t count on falling for her—that wasn’t part of his plan at all.

Gretchen longs for adventure outside of the books she reads in her job as a small town librarian. But not the kind that involves her moving to the big city to take the promotion her Aunt Mary offers. The cute guy who’s been hanging around the library seems far more exciting—there’s just something about him that draws her—so on impulse, she invites him to her family’s Christmas celebration. When a dragon lands on the front of her car on the way there, she wonders if she’s gotten more than she bargained for.

Together they must find a way to save his prince and clan, without sacrificing who they are, or their budding relationship.

You can't turn this Pantser into a Plotter

I've written before about the face that I'm a pantser not a plotter, but as NaNo approaches, and I know I want to get the rough draft of Reckless Remedy out as quickly as possible, I've been listening to the lure of plotting.

It has a lot to recommend it. I know I can always write a scene faster when I know where it's going. Even better if I have a clear picture of it in my mind. I know that I nearly always get stuck on a story around the 20k mark, when I run out of all those initial scenes that have been burning a hole in my brain. I know that my stories would need a lot less editing if I didn't spend so much time waffling on my way to figuring out where the story is going.

5100lvZ-OqL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_So I gave it a go. I really did. A lot of writer friends have been talking about this book, Take off your Pants, by Libbie Hawker. She's a writer on a forum I visit, and I find her posts insightful and inspiring. So I downloaded it and gave it a go.

Let me just say that the first half is mind-blowing. It helped me realise that my biggest problem, and the biggest cause of revisions, is not fully understanding my character's flaw, and how that relates to pretty much everything in the story. Her step by step process of working through this, and getting it down on paper, is going to make a big difference to my stories I think.

After reading through it, I had to sit down and try it out. And I've already gone through it for Reckless Remedy. So today I sat down and read through the rest of the book, and tried to write a more detailed outline for NaNo.

Should be easy, right? I have a step by step guide.

But nope. I tried it, and it just wouldn't gel. I tried to just sit down and write the scenes I could see happening. I made it to chapter 9, which by my reasoning would be about 25% of the way through the book. About where I usually hit my block. And I'm stuck.

No matter how much I push, I just can't seem to get a whole outline for a novel length book. (Though I can for my shorter serial episodes and novellas, go figure.)

I can only guess that I need more than that general outline. As I write out full chapters, the characters and the intricacies of their situation will begin to emerge. Details that I don't know, or can't even guess yet. Those will help me shape the story, and help me figure out that remaining 75%.

I don't think I can take a shortcut. Looks like I have to do it the hard way.

I think though, that what I have done, exploring the overall character arcs, will make it easier, and hopefully faster.

NaNo is going to be a busy month!

2015 in Review

2015 has been an… interesting year.

There have been some difficult spots. in February, my dad died after an 18 year battle with cancer. In March, my mum came to live in a granny flat at our place (that needed a LOT of renovating).

And as if that wasn't enough, the stock photography company that was a large part of my income changed some rules that cut my income dramatically. I opted out of their exclusivity program, and began uploading to other sites. This was a huge time sink, and has only been a minor increase in my income.

Needless to say, I didn't manage to write much at all in the first half of the year. A lot of my writing projects, especially ones that required a lot of thought and concentration (like Reckless Remedy), were put on hold.

I did mkae some progress on writing related endeavours. In March, I made Reckless Rescue permafree, and that helped my publishing earnings climb a little. Buoyed by this success, I made Twin Curse permafree in June. It's been less successful, probably because it's a more complete book, with less need to read the follow up.

In July, I published Waking the Dragon (now free as well!) the first instalment in the Dragon Ruins serial. It's doing reasonably well, though it's still early days in the series. Because these episodes are shorter (less than 20,000 words), I can write and edit them more quickly, which helps keep me motivated.

I know it's early in the year for a wrap up post, but I feel like now is the time to write this. I finally feel like I'm coming out of the fog that I've been in most of the year. I feel like I can set (very flexible) deadlines, and have a chance at meeting them. I feel like I can take on a bigger project, and actually achieve it.

In fact, this month I managed to get two manuscripts completed and ready to upload. Bedding the Dragon, part 3 in Dragon Ruins, and a surprise project, that I'll be announcing to my mailing list soon.

Next month, I'm finally tackling Reckless Remedy for NaNoWriMo! You can watch my progress on my NaNo Author Page. If you're doing NaNo too, feel free to buddy with me.

I'm hoping that for the rest of the year, and into next year, I'll be writing a lot more, both on my stories, and here on my blog.

And thanks everyone for your patience.