The Rolling Writer

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 107- Kendryk

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

From Winter of the Wolf: After leaving Kendryk in the lurch last week, I figured it would be mean to leave you hanging too. So here’s some more of the desperate fight with the soldiers who’ve attacked his camp. And don’t forget to check out the cover below!

Someone pulled on his leg and he slid sideways off his horse. He kept hacking away, and whoever had grabbed him vanished.

A huge fellow appeared before  him, a grin revealing blackened teeth. He stood a head taller than Kendryk, but Kendryk hoped he was faster, and jabbed his sword at the giant, then backed up quickly as the big man swung a huge mace down. Kendryk sprang aside as the mace crashed into the ground next to him.

He wondered where Anton was, but couldn’t look away from his opponent. The mace came down again, and Kendryk jumped away. But then someone grabbed him and pulled him into the dirt. Too late, Kendryk reached for his dagger. His arms were pinned to the ground, and ropes tightened around his legs.

Read more ›

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Light in the Darkness: Mini-reviews, Round Two

The Light in the Darkness boxed set is now live everywhere. Get it now for $1.99. The price goes up to $2.99 on Sunday! I was hoping to review at least four more books in the set by now, and managed three. Which is still pretty good, I think. The first four reviews are here.


sixcelestialswordsI’ve had my eye on Six Celestial Swords by T.A. Miles since before it came out. That cover caught my eye, and that alone landed it on my TBR pile. Being in the boxed set put it at the top. A fantasy version of China, the kingdom of Sheng Fan is under a severe threat. In order to avert disaster, the court official and sorcerer Xu Liang leaves home on a quest for four magical blades that will combat the rising dark forces. On his way, Xu Liang assembles many and varied companions, dwarves and elves among them. If this all sounds very Tolkienesque, well, it is, right down to the lush language and sometimes languid pace. Once you get past a few difficult early chapters-mostly because of the many Chinese names- you find yourself in the middle of a splendid adventure that takes some fascinating twists and turns before it’s done. I really didn’t want it to end, but fortunately, the next book in the series is already out and there’s another one coming!

Read more ›

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 106- Kendryk

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

From Winter of the Wolf. At the end of Hammer of the Gods, Kendryk received a nasty letter from Teodora, telling him she’d had his whole family killed. He suspects she’s lying, but won’t feel good until he knows his family his safe. So he and Anton decide to go look for them.  They don’t get too far from Kendryk’s headquarters before their camp is attacked and set on fire.

“We’re surrounded,” Anton said, “we have to fight our way through.”

Kendryk pulled out a pistol, though he saw no one in the smoke and darkness. He urged his horse forward at a walk, following Anton, who now held a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other. Shadowy shapes moved through the smoke, and then someone shouted, “There he is! Two hundred Kroner if you can take the prince alive.”

A fog suddenly lifted when Kendryk realized they were talking about him. “Never,” he said through gritted teeth. He would never go back to being a prisoner. He loosened the dagger in his belt, vowing to use it on himself before he let them take him.

After spending four years in Teodora’s dungeon, you really can’t blame him!

Previous snippets are here.


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Fantasy #FreebieFriday on #Instafreebie


So, I’ve got some freebies for you, in case you haven’t noticed.  🙂 This time it’s 20 Fantasy books, all available through Instafreebie. From J.L. Hendricks’ blog:

Wow! Do I have a list for you this week!!! There are over 20 books in this Fantasy on #InstaFreebie post! Get ready, because you are going to go on a wild adventure! We have Epic Fantasy, YA Fantasy, YA Dark Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, did I mention this week was all about the Fantasy on #IsntaFreebie? Well, it is! So get yourself comfortable and prepare to enter new worlds of imagination!

Click here for details.

For those of you who are indie authors, Instafreebie is a great new way to build your mailing list. I’ve had over 1000 signups in two months, and a lot of people are doing much, much better than that. The signups are quality too- with a low unsubscribe rate and great engagement. While you’ll get a steady trickle of new subscribers doing an Instafreebie giveaway on your own, your best bet is to join a group giveaway. You can start by joining Facebook groups like this one or this one, and look for giveaways you want to join.

You’ll need to sign up for the plus plan, which is $20 per month, but you get the first month free. Sync to your Mailchimp list, set your giveaway to public and require email address and let the subscribers roll in. As of today, I’ve spent less than 2 cents per subscriber, which if you’ve been doing Facebook ads, is clearly a fantastic rate. And no, Instafreebie isn’t paying me to say all this Though maybe I should talk to them about that!


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Over 100 Free Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books!

Recently, indie authors discovered Instafreebie as a particularly great way to give away books. So a bunch of authors got together to do a huge joint promo, featuring over 100 books.  Just click here or on the image below and start browsing! Giveaway ends October 18.


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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 105- Maryna

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

It’s just occurred to me that I will probably have Winter of the Wolf ready for publication sometime in November. That’s next month! So I’d better start teasing y’all a little more, right?

If you’ve read Hammer of the Gods, you know that at the very end, Natalya Maxima took 13-year-old Maryna-Kendryk and Gwynneth’s oldest child- to visit her Uncle Arryk in Norovaea. Natalya believes Teodora is trying to overthrow King Arryk, and hopes to use Maryna as bait to flush out those conspiring with the empress. Maryna sets the deception in motion:

When they reached the corridor outside the throne room, elaborately liveried royal guards gathered around Maryna and someone opened the door. “They’re ready, Your Grace,” one of them said to her.

Maryna took a deep breath and stepped inside, remembering to hold her head high and keep her shoulders back. The room was packed with all of the most important people in Norovaea, but she had to pretend they weren’t here if she didn’t want to start shaking from nerves. She walked over to her uncle with measured steps, and he rose to meet her, taking her by the hand.

“I’ve called all of you here today because I’ve received shocking news,” he said, his voice deep and solemn. “The Empress Teodora, bound to us in good faith and by treaty, has betrayed me. She has murdered my sister and heir, Princess Gwynneth.” His voice quivered, and Maryna did her best to look sad. “By the grace of the gods,” the king went on, “her eldest child, the Duchess Maryna managed to escape and has come to us for refuge.”

Unfortunately, Arryk and Maryna have bitten off more than they can chew, as is often the case when dealing with Teodora.

Previous snippets are here.

I’m looking for a few beta readers for my next project, since all my regular ones are tied up on Winter of the Wolf. It’ll be a 65k prequel to the Desolate Empire Series and I’m looking for a 2-3 week turnaround. Last week’s snippet provides a small sample. It’s especially helpful to me if you haven’t read the main series, since I want to make sure I’m describing the world clearly enough. I’m happy to do a swap, too!



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Last Chance at a Deal, Plus Giveaway!

Due to some technical issues, we have to raise the price on the Noblebright boxed set on the 8th. So today is the last day you can still preorder for 99 cents. Click here to get it. You can read more about the set here, and see some mini-reviews here. With twelve full-length novels and six short stories, it’s an incredible deal!


In addition, today kicks off a great giveaway. Check out the October Book Spotlight to see a selection of free and discounted books. If you scroll to the bottom, you can enter the giveaway to get a chance at a 48-book ebook bundle. If you win, you’ll get the books pictured below.


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Book Review: Amber Sky by Amy Braun- plus a giveaway!

amber-skyAnyone who follows this blog knows that I love Amy Braun’s work. I’ve previously reviewed the Cursed series here, but have since fallen behind, since she’s frightfully prolific. So when I got a chance to read the prequel to her Dark Sky series, I jumped at it. Amber Sky provides the background story for Nash, who I assume is one of the main characters in the main series, and let me tell you, it’s one heckuva background.

After a catastrophic storm, followed by attacks from frightful creatures called Hellions- huge bloodsuckers who swoop in to attack from an airship- humanity has been decimated and forced underground. Teenage Nash lives in a series of subterranean passages with the Dogs, a gang of marauders who like to fight each other in an arena for fun. Nash is a great fighter, which has its pros and cons. He’s getting by until he’s forced on an unpleasant mission, where he meets Sawyer, another important character of the main series.

Like all of Braun’s books, Amber Sky is nonstop action adventure. The story opens with a bang, in the middle of one of Nash’s arena fights, and the pace barely slows all the way to the end. As always, the fight scenes are incredibly detailed and exciting. While Nash is an engaging character, and clearly a good guy in spite of his difficulties, the real star of this book is the dystopian world he lives in. Braun’s descriptions are so vivid, I sometimes felt like I was there, which didn’t make me particularly happy, since it’s truly awful. But it’s a great backdrop for some heart-pounding adventure, delivered in spades, as always. I also enjoyed getting to know Sawyer, whose personality is an interesting counterpoint to Nash’s. Read more ›

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Weekend Writing Warriors 104- The Forsaken Crown Sneak Peek

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

Hey, I missed you guys last week! Had bronchitis, which wasn’t much fun, and the medication was even less so. But now I’m back, mostly all in one piece.

While my beta readers suffer through Winter of the Wolf, I’ve been working on something else. The Forsaken Crown is a prequel, taking place about ten years before Rise of the Storm. It’s all about Kendryk’s rise to power and will be on the short side for me- maybe 70k words or so. It’s a little odd writing a story with only two POV characters, but I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit. Besides Kendryk, the other main character is a young cavalry officer, Sonya Vidmar. When the story begins, she’s in another country, fighting as a mercenary. She’s been sent on a special mission to capture one of the enemy’s top officers, and has grabbed a hostage before breaking into her target’s tent. Creatively punctuated.

Sonya pushed through, the prisoner in front of her. “Try anything and he dies,” she growled, just loudly enough for her voice to carry through the tent.

“I’m unarmed,” a surprisingly soft voice said.

Sonya turned herself and her hostage toward it, asking, “What’s your name?”

“Igor Kolnikov, Major in the imperial army of Pyotr, our Immortal—”

“Yes, yes,” Sonya snapped, “You must come with us,” she said in a rush, looking over her prize. A man sat at a camp desk, both hands laid flat on the surface; he’d been writing a letter, but had dropped the quill at the incursion.

“Threatening that man is quite unnecessary,” Kolnikov said, even as he stood, “please let him go.”

“Once you’re in our custody, maybe,” Sonya said.

“You’re making a big mistake,” Kolnikov said, “since the war is over.”

If the war is over, Sonya might be in several kinds of trouble. But that’s where the fun begins!

Previous snippets are here.



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Can Tragedy be Noblebright?

tragicThis is a guest post I wrote for C.J. Brightley’s Noblebright blog. I was feeling a little bit cruel after finishing the first draft of book four, and beta readers are confirming my cruelty. Here’s my justification:

I finally had to come to the conclusion that much of the series I’m writing can be called tragedy. Far too many characters will have no happy ending, and a great many others will have to endure a lot of hardship before finding peace, if not happiness. Since it’s based on a truly horrendous event (30 Years War 1618-48), it’s even possible I’m not creating enough tragedy to accurately reflect reality.

And I won’t lie, I really dig tragedy. Nearly all of my favorite Shakespeare plays- Julius Caesar, Macbeth, King Lear-are tragedies, and I adore classic writers like Hugo, Tolstoy, and Dickens, all of whom are masters at reducing their readers to gibbering, sobbing messes at various times.

I think it’s fairly easy to make the case that tragedy is noblebright when it involves sacrifice, when beloved character deaths have a greater meaning. But what if they don’t? What if the deaths are just pointless and well, tragic?

Read the rest of the post here.

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