Blade of Dragons New Intro Idea

Hello, my readers, quick update. I hope you are all safe. After watching some of Brandon Sanderson’s lectures (which I highly recommended) I rewrote my intro to be more engaging. Here’s the new version. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks


“I’m not a monster!”

Pepper held her ground against the shadowy figures encircling her. She caught the glint of darksteel under their cloaks.

“Yer a half-dragon,” one of the brigands said. He stepped forward. “An abomination at that.”

Pepper bared her teeth and gripped her walking stick. It wasn’t a weapon, but it would do against these thugs. Her other hand clutched a large, teardrop emerald.

“She’s Saul Slyhart’s daughter,” another brigand said. He scowled and spat to the side. “The daughter of a war hero. More like an aberration and a thief!”

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Pepper said, shaking the emerald in front of her. “This heirloom belongs to the Slyhart family. You’re the ones who stole it.”

“And yer kind savaged my family. My wife and children…eaten to the bone.” His lip trembled, but his eyes were hard, filled with bloodlust.

Bile filled Pepper’s stomach, and her face softened. The horrible acts her kind had committed. “I’m sorry.”

His left arm whirred with machinery as the hand molded into the shape of an arm cannon.   “Aye, ya will be soon!”

Pepper’s eyes narrowed. Her stubby tail stiffened as the brigands closed in. A gust whisked her ponytail about. She scanned the forest, not a few miles from home. Her throat tightened as she counted her assailants. Four. One of them had an arm cannon implant—if she could just disarm him…

“Die, tal’snak!” One brigand cried, rushing forward. His fists glowed, fingers hardening with stone-like gauntlets. He pounded the ground. The earth groaned, exploding in a wave towards Pepper.

A Shifter, Pepper realized, avoiding the shockwave and closing the distance. Spotting an opening, she pulled a feint. The thug collapsed from a blow to his stomach. Two more thugs rushed her. Pepper danced around them, her staff hitting vital points. They crumpled to the ground. Fast. Pepper wheeled around as the brigand with the arm cannon fired his weapon with a zap.

She dodged the fireball but grunted as the shockwave threw her against a tree. Blood ran down her forehead and the world spun. She staggered to her feet and examined a cut on her forearm. The emerald had slipped out of her fingers, dirt on its surface.

She clenched her teeth, staring at her dirty heirloom. “Okay, now I’m pissed!”

Still dizzy, she charged the thug, her staff aimed out. He fired another fireball. Pepper dunked under it and rammed her staff into his face. The wood cracked as the thug flew backward ten yards.

Her opponents lay motionless on the ground. Pepper sighed with relief. She discarded her broken stick. and picked up the emerald. An itchy, crawling sensation came from the cut on her arm. Already the flesh had stitched itself together. She frowned at the amazing regeneration of her body, one finger stroking the healed gashes.

She wasn’t a monster, was she?


I’m playing around with some new designs with my blog and testing them out. I’m also merging my blog with Mailchimp (still in testing). I plan to send out blog news, book promotions, and free gifts once I get it up and running! 🙂

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Blade of Dragons Update: Blurbs, Taglines, Longlines, and more!

Hello, my readers, I’m back with another update on my manuscript, Blade of Dragons! It’s been a stressful month (for all of us I would imagine), but my manuscript is approaching the end of the beta stage—at least I hope.

Anyway, I have some items to share that involve general manuscript preparation. Most any author follows this formula.

There are several tools an author uses to promote or describe a book. These include: blurbs, taglines, loglines, cover descriptions, and synopses.

Blurb

A blurb is a brief statement designed to promote the book. The blurb may be by the author, a reviewer, an editor, a publishing company, or anyone else. A blurb is designed to perk interest and add a silver-lining to the book’s appearance. A blurb may appear on the front or back cover.

Logline

A logline is a book compressed into a brief paragraph. It should be concise while packing a punch. The main character, antagonist, conflict, and any other relevant detail is included, giving the reader an idea of what the story is about.

Tagline

Short and witty, a tagline is a statement that doesn’t tell anything about the book. It’s more of a catchphrase or trademark to the author’s story.

Description

Book descriptions are like an expanded logline, often around 150 to 200 words. Besides the tagline and blurb, a description is meant to lure the reader into opening the book. First sentences are crucial in descriptions, as this will convince the reader to read the story.

Synopsis

Designed more for the eyes of an agent, a synopsis is a larger description, varying anywhere from 500 to 2000 words. Short and long synopses are both viable, but modern agents err more on the shorter side. A synopsis should mention the protagonist’s arc, showing the agent that you’ve built a complete, alluring story.

I’ll give examples of the manuscript tools I mentioned above using ones from my book. Mind, these aren’t official, nor are they polished. Still, they should give you an idea of each category.

Blurb

Exciting, hard-hitting, and exotic. Blade of Dragons is an action-packed story filled with vivid storytelling and likable characters that will hold you spellbound from start to finish.


This blurb reads promotional, coming from a reader who enjoys the story.

Logline

Pepper, a cursed farmer’s daughter, inherits her father’s sword, ancient technology that can save her planet from a dark goddess. But her draconic blood seeks to undo all she holds dear.


I kept the logline short. In a more compressed form, it almost gives a stronger punch, I noticed.

Tagline

The legend of a farmer’s daughter, cursed with the blood of dragons.


Perhaps not the shortest or wittiest tagline. Still, this one stuck with me, and it’s consistent with the other items mentioned above. It also invokes a good degree of intrigue.

Description

Whimsical Magic. Arcane Technology. Romance.

Can Pepper Slyhart use her father’s sword, a weapon with unfathomable power, to save her planet? With her childhood friend, Tarie, Pepper embarks on a dire quest. She enters a war against a dark goddess that has scoured grasslands, scorched forests, and devoured great cities.

Pepper unravels the terrible price of her sentient blade, a connection to the Ethereal Seals Gate, which powers technology and sustains her planet. 

But her half-dragon heritage seeks to betray Pepper, and Tarie may be the only one who can save her.

Are they able to fight a war on both fronts, or will the Shadow claim their souls?


Notice that I include certain keywords in the blurb. The reader will know that there are: swords, a dire quest, a dark goddess, a heroine, technology, and a dragon-like race. This suggests a science fantasy genre, the type of message I hope to convey. The beginning ‘trio-word’ technique I used is a popular strategy to create rhythm and intrigue.

Synopsis

Uhh, no, I won’t post that here—it’s way too long. Regardless, I do have a short (two page) and long (seven page) synopsis written if I need it. My synopses break down the story piecemeal, proving I have a solid and complete book. Any agent or publisher who reads it would get a good idea of what the story is about: the characters, conflict, the driving force of the story, and so forth.

Additional Items to Consider

My cover art (my own work) you can view at the top of the page. It’s still unofficial, and I may reach out to a professional to spruce it up. I included a map and glossary with my manuscript to provide additional reference material for readers.

When you design your own world, including a glossary or world map can help add depth to the story. I highly recommend it, especially for epic fantasy worlds.

Publication

I am unsure if I will go traditional or epub, but I am leaning more towards the latter. I may still find an agent to help me represent my book, as I am underread when it comes to marketing.

With that said, I hope you found this post to be informative and enjoyable. Good luck with whatever creative projects you might be working on.

Thank you for reading and stay safe out there.


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Book Review: The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Hello, my readers, I hope you’re all doing fine during the Quarantine. I finished a fantasy series a while ago, and wanted to do a review while it was still fresh in my mind.

I did a review of the first book here. While I enjoyed the first installation very much, the rest of the series was disappointing. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum.

Anyway, let’s dive in!

Premise

The first book of the Enduring Flame series started strong. There was plenty of worldbuilding, two heroes called on a wild adventure, whimsical magic, and horrible dangers lurking everywhere.

While the second book did a decent job elaborating on the first book, the third installation fell short. Resorting to mundane storytelling and cliche fantasy tropes, the book ruined everything that the first two books has built up.

By the end of the story, I was ready to shelf the book and forget about the series entirely.

Length

Each book is around 400 pages. Chapters can be long, but are broken down with several scene breaks that alternate between character perspectives. Personally, I enjoyed the many scene breaks, as it makes it convenient for taking breaks or stopping for the day.

Characters

The two main protagonists, Harrier and Tiercel, had a degree of charm. They acted as if they were siblings, always arguing in an amusing way. The third heroine, Shaiara, I found the most interesting, however, as her worldview is vastly different. This contrast in character perspectives added color to the worldbuilding and is one good thing that the series maintained.

Magic System

The magic is whimsical and unpredictable. This offered many fascinating scenarios throughout the book, but also created a variety of plot holes and asspulls from characters that seemed contrived. Overall, the magic system damaged the story by the end of the third book.

Conflict

The tension was steady and drove the prose well through the first two books. In the third book, the conflict became dull and tedious, though there still was an element of danger and risk.

The Good

The Enduring Flame Trilogy has excellent worldbuilding early on and sets strong tension with its initial installations. The characters are amusing and likable. Character’s magic is powerful and can lead to some jaw-dropping scenes, some which had me quivering with excitement. The antagonist has good backstory, weaving into the magical system.

The Bad

The prose is filled with excessive adverbs, fair dialog, mediocre characterisation, and a story that decays by the end of the third book. The magic system led to several plot holes and contrived scenarios that almost made me want to put the book down.

The Ugly

All three books have a lot of mundane “travel time” and inappropriate detours that take from the direction of the plot without adding to subplots or character growth. The main characters, while relatable, are sometimes snobbish or stupid—and not in a likable way.

The Enduring Flame series is a flower that wilted early in the season. Many of its fans from the first two books will be disappointed with the conclusion. All in all, the trilogy is nothing noteworthy, nor is it a piece of garbage that should never have been published. There are a few pearls within its pages, for those willing to look deep into the quest of Harrier and Tiercel.

Thank you for reading!


I’m playing around with some new designs with my blog and testing them out. I’m also merging my blog with Mailchimp (still in testing). I plan to send out blog news and free gifts once I get it up and running! 🙂

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Surviving Writer Purgatory

Sometimes we, as writers, need to take a break from the craft. Whatever it is, embrace it, don’t fight it. Having vacations ever now and then can improve on your long-term productivity. When you return to writing, your stamina will be full steam; this is known as the vacation effect.

Here’s an article from a fellow blogger on the very subject. Enjoy.

Lorraine Ambers

Sometimes life outside of being a writer becomes hectic, and juggling the many demands of life takes its toll. In times like these something has to give, and I’ve already cooked too many oven chips for dinner and stopped walking my dog every day.

While no writer wants to sacrifice their writing time, that precious outlet for their sanity, there comes a time (usually around doing our annual taxes or Christmas) when they simply must take a short break.

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Here’s my four top tips to help you survive writing purgatory.

Stop berating yourself, this is only temporary: By removing the addition stress of unrealistic goals, you’ll actually increase productivity, be better at problem solving and be back on track before you know it. 

Prioritize your responsibilities: Make a list of all that needs to be done and cut out the unessential. Oh how I wish the world were fair, and…

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7 Words You Should Delete From Your Manuscript

A nifty post on words you can avoid in your manuscript or article. Deleting these will give you a more concise, fluid piece. Enjoy.

The Z-Axis

As a professional editor, one of my primary responsibilities is to work with clients to polish the language in their manuscripts. Through the course of editing my own novels and working with clients to shine up their manuscripts, I’ve learned that one of the main goals of a late-stage editorial pass over any manuscript is to prune unnecessary words. In fact, there are a number of specific words I intentionally target for culling. Why? Because they’re overused and often unnecessary.

Scissors Cut.jpeg Time to get out those scissors and start pruning.

Novice writers often rely heavily on these words. Some of them come easily because they’re used often in speech; others make sentences clunky but feel necessary for clarity. But as our writing improves and we learn how to better translate our ideas into written words, it becomes apparent that these words are more of a hindrance than a help.

In this post…

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What To Blog About If You’re Not Published

Writing is a curious activity, especially blogging. To some, blogging comes with difficulty, others it just clicks or flows smoothly.

How do writers churn out their words on blogs? What do they write about? Here’s a fantastic post from a fellow blogger who discusses these questions in depth. Cheers.

K.M. Allan

While June might remind us were already halfway through another year, it is also this blog’s blogiversary month!

I published my first post in June 2017. That kicked off the 117 posts I’ve published since.

I launched my blog to extend my writer platform. I’d already begun querying agents and publishers and had been rejected, but was still two years away from signing the small press contract I was offered in January 2019. I wasn’t published anywhere and didn’t have a book out to plug.

So what does a writer who isn’t published write about?

Writing, of course! My first post was titled Just Start, which was, and still is, a life motto of mine.

While I’m still another 6 months away from being officially published (the first book in my YA series, Blackbirch, is coming early 2020), I’ll continue to practice what I preach and blog about…

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Developing Conflict and Resolution in your stories

Developing conflict is essential to a good story. Often this takes place between protagonist and antagonist. Remember to keep your readers at the edge of their seats, and they’ll keep flipping pages. Here’s an article from a fellow blogger that explains what I mean. Cheers.

Lorraine Ambers

Characters are the heart of a story, the plot is its skeleton, but the blood running through its veins is conflict. Without it, your characters have nothing to fight for, no arc will develop, and your plot will wither and die. In this post, we’ll explore the internal and external conflict to resolution elements that could be evoked to create a truly dynamic novel .

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The protagonists traits need to be carefully selected for each story. Their backstory will colour their personality, and mould their goals. It’s important to understand where their character journey starts, so that you can plan for their reactions by understand their limiting beliefs. You should know what they want, and what needs are hidden beneath.  

Within the protagonist is the delicate balance of their life’s story, and before the plots even started, there might be an internal conflict brewing beneath the surface…

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Four Ways to Structure a Novel

Building a world for your protagonist is no easy task; this is especially the case in high fantasy genres, where the author creates a realm from the ground up. Maintaining that world in a long fantasy epic is even tougher, but some guidelines can significantly help you with the process.

Here’s an article from a fellow blogger. She talks about developing the Hero’s Journey and how it relates to your protagonist. Give it a look. Cheers.

Lorraine Ambers

Every writer has a different process, a different way of creating, and every story is unique in the way it’s told. What all of them have in common are basic structure rules. In this post we’re going to explore four different types of plotting a story structure; it’s then up to you how you use them.

To develop any of these structures it’s important to remember to advance each scene so that the plot and/or character are moving in a forward momentum. You can do this by asking these questions of every scene and/or chapter: How? Who? What? Where? When? And Why? Some other things to consider are what is the Inciting Incident, what kick starts your story? Take a look at one of my earlier posts How to Plan Your Protagonists Journey, where I go into detail about stakes, conflict and their awakening moment.

pexels- ideas, pin-board, character files, novels, writingThe Three Act…

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The Incredible Power of Writing

The art of writing is a powerful tool for humanity. For good or ill, it is a complicated craft that we often see as an escape or a means to explore our deepest, darkest facets. Some use writing to heal, others to vent frustration or release pent up emotions.

Here’s an interesting perspective from a fellow blogger on the art of writing and how we can use it. Cheers.

Lorraine Ambers

Writing is an art form, and all art forms have the ability to transform, inspire and motivate. It’s much more than conveying a story because woven into the fabric of a novel is the artist’s soul, a gateway to their innermost secrets, fears, and darkest desires.

Have you ever wondered why writing is good therapy? If a novel can transport the reader into another world, another perspective, can writing heal the reader too?

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Journaling is great therapy, it allows the writer to unload emotions, to delve deeper and discover aspects of themselves that they never knew existed. It’s a private, safe place to share the shadow side of themselves without fear of being reprimanded. It releases stress. There is no right or wrong way; pen to paper, on the laptop, or making notes on your smartphone, whatever works for you. The important part is gaining access to the thoughts that…

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Creating Simple Character Profiles

Setting up an archive of your characters’ attributes is an important step for any worldbuilder. Some choose to keep profiles in text documents, while others use excel spreadsheets. If you need a template for character profiles, then here’s an article from a fellow blogger. She has some cool tips on character building and archiving your cast. Cheers.

Lorraine Ambers

We all love things that make our lives a little easier. Especially, when being a writer can sometimes begin to feel like creative chaos:

How many characters do I have?

Where were they born?

Wait!What colour did I say their eyes were?

So many questions, so little time… and how many scraps of paper, notebooks or random computer files have I used to catalogue all this info?

Fear not, to help us all become a little more organised, I’ve created some fun worksheets that can be filled in and filed away to kickstart your WIP bible.

worksheet-writing tool

If you’re confused by what a writers bible looks like, then head on over to Kate’s fantastic blog to find out why you should have a series bible and what to include in them. Her posts are a wonderful resource for any writer, full of insightful, practical writing and editing tips.

Of course…

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