Wednesday, October 15, 2014

War as an instrument of justice

While watching last week's episode of Sleepy Hollow, I got wrapped up in one particular line, spoken by Jeremy, the Horseman of War.

"What is war but an instrument of justice?"

Indeed! I'm close to wrapping up the first draft of The Mindstream Chronicles book 2, and need to start planning and outlining book 3. It's helpful to think in terms of theme and premise when starting a new book: what's the story about? What statement does the story attempt to prove true?

Considering the strong themes of justice vs. revenge, doing the right thing, and loyalty in the series, this question was particularly poignant to me. Many wars are about domination or greed, but some are about justice. Attacking terrorists who blow up buildings, killing thousands of people inside is one example.

Then again, is that justice or revenge?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Do not eat the godfruit.

Though Boden didn't want to say goodbye to his neighbors and friends and family, he was eager to get started on his journey.

His father hugged him tightly, and he returned the embrace with only one loose arm. "Everyone around you will eat the godfruit every morning," Gunnar whispered into his ear. "It's a mistake. Don't eat it."

Boden stiffened. His father had never spoken of the godfruit or the Tree of the Fallen God, which were at the center of the century-old conflict, though only the men who'd returned from the war knew why. No one ever spoke of them, and on the few occasions Boden had asked, he'd received only a stern glare or a warning to drop the matter.

"Do you hear me, son? No matter what the other warriors say, no matter what your commander says. Do not eat the godfruit."

Boden was unsure he could disobey a commander who ordered him to eat it. "Why? What does it do?"

Gunnar pulled back and held him at arm's length, both hands gripping Boden's upper arms. The two men locked gazes. "It will infect your soul with a foul sickness. Rely on your training, not some magical fruit. You've worked hard, trained hard. You're ready. I haven't been the father you wanted, and I—I regret that, but I've been the drill master you needed. Trust me. Trust yourself."

He cares. Boden felt like a boy again, the one who'd wished every night for his papa to return safely from war. His eyes watered and threatened to spill over, but then Gunnar let him go and turned away. Boden breathed in deeply, tamped down the boy he used to be, tamped down the years of disappointment and hurt Gunnar had saddled him with, and became another version of his father.

An excerpt from Song of the Sea Spirit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"I've got a bad feeling about this..."

Ryder sat on the cold concrete floor in complete darkness, leaning against the wall. His punishment was six hours in solitary for fighting. Dane got a harsh reprimand and sent to his apartment. Huff and Puff got off with a warning. Where was the justice?

The lock tumbler clunked, and the door swung open. He shielded his eyes from the blinding light in the hallway. Three ASP guards stood in the doorway. They may have thought their faces were obscured by the cell’s darkness, but Ryder didn’t have any trouble making them out. If that weren’t enough, he knew them by their scents: Slater, Mann, and Richardson.

“My time isn’t up yet. What do you want?” An instinct awakened. Ryder got a bad feeling about this. No, they wouldn’t do anything. They wouldn’t dare.

“Your claw punctured that little boy’s arm,” Slater said. His voice sounded unusually deep and gravelly as if he was trying to obscure the natural timbre. “Poor kid might need rabies shots.”

No mention of the fracture. “It was an accident. Someone pushed me into him.”

“You should know better than to mess with a human child.”

“You got it wrong.” Ryder climbed to his feet in case he needed to defend himself. “I didn’t mess with Jory.”

“Humphrey and Pavel say different.”

“Huff and Puff? They would. They know how to play you stupid bastards.”

He saw the blur of a nightstick.

A short excerpt from Inhuman Salvation, a science fiction thriller.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Kinshield Saga Free to Read

A few days ago, I announced that I've removed my science fiction novel, Inhuman Salvation, from sale at all retail stores except for Amazon to try the "Select" program at Amazon. This gets the book into the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, putting it in front of a new audience and making it available to read "free" for Amazon Prime members and Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

I've decided to try the same program with books 2, 3 and 4 in The Kinshield Saga (The Wayfarer King, Well of the Damned, and Kinshield's Redemption). While this does mean the books won't be available at B&N, Kobo, iTunes, or Smashwords for at least the next 90 days, you can still buy the books if you don't shop at Amazon. Contact me for details. I don't want to "strand" anyone who wants to read the books!

The Kinshield Legacy (book 1) is still available as a free download at B&N, Kobo, iTunes, NoiseTrade, and Smashwords as well as Amazon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I must be mad... mad... mad...

The auditions for the audiobook edition of The Kinshield Legacy are now closed, and a narrator has been selected. I was very impressed with the vocal talent out there on and had over 30 fine narrators audition. If the market interest in book 1 is there, I'll go ahead and have the rest of the series done too.

There were 3-4 narrators that I loved. Any of them would have been awesome for this book, but one stood apart because of the extra touches he added to bring the story to life. I can't wait for y'all to hear it!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sentenced to death

"Guilty of treason."
The words echoed through Jora Lanseri's mind with every scuffling step she took down the dank corridor toward her doom. The shackles around her wrists clanged and echoed against the gray brick walls that closed in on her. The sound of her heartbeat intensified. Her breathing grew louder.
"Sentenced to death by hanging," the justice captain said.
Her knees weakened, and she stumbled. The enforcers' hands clamped harder around her upper arms and kept her from falling. No. It isn't fair.
With a whistle, she could have summoned an ally to free her, to turn her guards to stone or put them to sleep, but the gag between her teeth made calling for Po Teng impossible.

A sneak peek at book 2 of The Mindstream Chronicles, coming soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

“Anyone else care to try that?”

“I need to question a few more innkeepers before it gets too late.” Daia stood and drained her ale. “Be ready at daybreak. I’ll find out what I can tonight, and at the very least we can ask around at the Lucky Inn.”

As she walked through the tavern toward the door, one man reached out and patted her backside. Daia grabbed the man by the hair with one hand and yanked him backward so far that he teetered on the rear legs of his chair. She slammed her other fist into his face. The fool crashed to the floor, tumbled over backward with sprawling legs, and knocked into the table behind him, spilling ale everywhere.

“Anyone else care to try that?” she asked, looking around.

The tavern was as quiet as a tomb except for Gavin’s amused chuckle. He lifted his mug to her in a gesture of respect and agreement. He might actually enjoy this mission.
A short excerpt from The Kinshield Legacy, coming soon on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Available to read free

As a writer, my goal is to write stories that people want to read. As a publisher, my goal is to get people to buy the stories I do write. Some caught on and found a wonderful audience and continue to find new readers every day. One in particular... well, it just hasn't.

I've tried new covers, new titles, putting out an audiobook, and nothing has worked to breathe life into my science fiction novel, Inhuman Salvation, despite its great reviews. The vast majority of people who read it like it -- I'm confident of that. Something about the story (or its description) isn't striking a chord and getting people to try it. But there's one thing I haven't tried: going exclusive at Amazon through the Select program, which would make it available to read "free" via the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited. (I put free in quotes, because you have to be an Amazon Prime member or pay for the KU service to get access to the library.)

What this means is that Inhuman Salvation is going to be removed from sale at all retail outlets except Amazon for at least the next 90 days. If you don't shop at Amazon and still want to read the book, you can buy it directly from me on my web site.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Lies Dragons Tell

For the past couple weeks, we've been sharing excerpts, artwork, and teases on Facebook about Book 1 of The Dragons of Kudare, but the wait is over -- The Lies Dragons Tell is now available!

If you pre-ordered before today, the book will auto-download to your Kindle. Just sync and start reading!

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
Amazon AU:

Amazon DE:


Saturday, September 13, 2014

And a glint of wet steel


Jora glimpsed movement—a man. A stranger. He moved silently into another room, but all Jora could sense were darker shadows among lighter ones.

And a glint of wet steel.


He entered another home where a lamp was burning. A woman was asleep in a rocker, an infant in her arms. Jora watched him, a shaven-headed soldier covered in blood, creep toward them.

No, Jora thought. Please don't.

She couldn't bear to watch what he did to them, but she saw his face as he did it. It was filled with madness and rage, and a perverse pleasure gleamed in his eyes.

A rag doll with yellow yarn ponytails tumbled to the floor and lay still.


Jora Lanseri has the uncommon ability to enter the Mindstream to witness any event in the present or past. After beginning her training as a Truth Sayer in the Order of Justice Officials, Jora witnesses a shocking crime. Jora begins a dangerous quest to bring the culprit to justice, but the deeper she probes, the more she learns that greed and corruption hold benevolence hostage.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Whispering Sea - It Begins...

It looks like Book 2 in The Mindstream Chronicles will be called The Whispering Sea, unless I can come up with a better title between now and December. There's still plenty of time to vote on it if you have an opinion!

Only a day after finishing the formatting for The Lies Dragons Tell, and I'm ready to start writing again. In fact, I've been sneaking in some writing here and there, and have two chapters done so far!

For me, the hardest part about starting a new novel is knowing where to begin. Not so for this story. I know exactly where to begin, and I'm thrilled with the opening scene! I can't wait for y'all to read it -- and the rest of the story, too, of course. I have lots in store for poor Jora.

< evil laugh >

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

New Release Fun -- The Lies Dragons Tell!

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Lies Dragons Tell, India Drummond and I are giving away some great prizes!

* First Place (Grand Prize): A Kindle Fire HD (8GB) and Kindle edition of The Lies Dragons Tell
* Second Place: Paperback copy of The Lies Dragons Tell autographed by both authors *
* Third Place: A $10 Amazon gift card

To enter the drawing, visit The Dragons of Kudare Facebook page ( To put your name in the hat more than once, after you enter, you'll be given the chance share the announcement with your friends. (You can share daily for more entries. When your friends sign up, you get more entries too!) Visit and Like our Facebook fan pages (India Drummond - Author and KC May Books) for two bonus entries.

Contest ends on Release Day, September 15th! Winners will be randomly selected via WooBox.

*Because the authors live in different countries, this might take a couple extra weeks to receive.

Book 1 of The Dragons of Kudare

A mysterious illness strikes down a young woman pledged to the god of the Blessed Empire. Two brothers, as helpless as the healers who say there's nothing more they can do, watch while their sister fades away.

Determined to save her, they approach a dragonborn alchemist who promises help but leads them along a path of hardship, darkness, sacrilege, and death. Impossible choices divide the brothers as their love and loyalty are tested. What price is too high to save someone you love?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A blog review for Song of the Sea Spirit

Song of the Sea Spirit got its first blog review at Juniper Grove! Like a parent sending her child off to her first day of school, I was nervous, excited, and proud. Would little Song make new friends? Would she get teased for being different?

For untold centuries, the Spirit Stones have hummed a series of mysterious tones whose meanings were long forgotten. Now, a girl arrives with a flute and a book--keys to understanding the tones and the ancient knowledge locked within. When she witnesses a heinous crime, she must stand against an entire legion to save the people she loves.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Authors and readers weigh in

Everyone who reads has heard about the Amazon-Hachette debate, at least those in the USA and probably most in the Western world. Authors have been "taking sides" for one or the other since the news broke about what was happening.

I'm on the side of the reader. I am a reader. I love books. I want to be able to afford books and to read them on my ereader. That, I suppose, puts me on Amazon's side of the dispute, because they're fighting for low ebook prices. Not 99c books, of course -- that would be ridiculous. But $9.99 is not ridiculously low for an ebook that has an extremely low cost to produce.

A few years ago, a writer friend, David Gaughran, put out a book called Let's Get Digital. I'm one of the many authors he reached out to for a paragraph or two on how the ebook industry has affected me as a writer. David has become, along with Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, and The Passive Guy, a vocal defender of indie publishing and ebooks. David has recently reposted a guest post by Ed Robertson about how Self-Publishers Aren’t Killing The Industry, They’re Saving It. Highly recommended reading.

As is this message from the Amazon Kindle team that I received in my inbox this morning.

For anyone confused about the issues, I highly recommend those two links. Or this one, written by one of Hachette's own authors, Michael Sullivan. Or this one from Yahoo Finance. To get both sides of the story, read this letter by author Douglas Preston and a few hundred of his peers.

I wrote to Mr. Preston about the issue and received this reply:

Dear Karen,
As is often the case with the Internet, not everything you read there is true. We’ve never called for higher prices. We’re not against Amazon or its indie publishing model—which I personally think is one of the best things Amazon has done. Those are misrepresentations of our position being floated about on the Internet. 
We aren’t taking sides in this dispute at all. If you read the letter, you will see that we are simply asking Amazon to resolve its differences with Hachette without hurting authors, blocking the sale of books, slowing delivery, and otherwise inconveniencing their own customers. Amazon has enormous negotiating tools at its disposal. It doesn’t need to drag innocent authors into their dispute with Hachette.
I hope that clears up our views on the matter.

All best,
I suspect that the authors who've signed the Authors United letter do not have a clear understanding of all the issues.

Hachette's contract with Amazon expired in February or March. Amazon extended it by a month to give Hachette time to review the new contract, but a new contract has not been signed. Amazon has made several offers, in fact, and Hachette keeps stonewalling. If there's no contract between them to allow Amazon to offer things like pre-orders and ebook discounts or stocking a certain number of print books in advance of orders, then what's a bookseller to do?

I had to sign an agreement with Amazon for it to sell my books. Why shouldn't Hachette? If the terms are not to their liking, they are free to choose not to sell at Amazon. They are also free to negotiate for terms they can live with, but they haven't. Amazon isn't responsible for those decisions on Hachette's part.