Remnas Rogues Gallery #1: Desh Might River

Tick tock. Only two weeks to finish edits on Flower on the River. Preparing to launch a new release is always a hair on fire experience. No matter how early I start or how much time I give myself, I always go down to the wire. In honor of the new book, I want to talk a little bit about the villains of the Remnas series. A hero is only as good as his foe. There can’t be a dragon slayer with a dragon.

Let’s briefly look at one of the villains from Flower on the River. This upcoming novel continues Rekki and Arshé’s journey to conquer all the ogre territories and establish one united kingdom for his kind. After unifying the Wildlands, Rekki has moved onto the River Kingdoms and managed to establish a base in Doranell, the country that borders the Wildlands.

Doranell’s monarchy was a mess. After provoking a war with Rekki, the king abandoned the capital as soon as the Wildlands’ ogres starting making headway against his younger brother, General Desh Might River. King Alden gets thrown from his horse and breaks his neck and the leaderless government all but surrenders to Rekki. General Might River, who would have taken over as king if he weren’t fighting a desperate rear guard action against the invaders, has no choice but to take what’s left of his loyalists and flee the country.

The General is a severe man who venerates war and holds honor about all else. He is a harsh and pitiless soldier, but he holds himself to the same unforgiving standards as his men. When the government all but capitulates to Rekki, Might River is completely crushed. He gave his all for his king and his homeland and their surrender to a foreign invader is the ultimate betrayal of all the principles he hold dear. The Doranites for the most part are happy with Rekki. The Might River Dynasty has long been oppressive and neglectful and their new king and queen bring much needed reforms that benefit the common folk. But there are many among the nobles who want to bring back the old monarchy and would conspire with the exiled prince.

Prime Motivator for Villainy: Spite and revenge.

Desh is a man who clung hard to his values, fulfilling his duty to the realm even at great cost to himself. What happens to a man when his all his principles collapse and he can’t believe in the honor of others? He does not take it well. General Might River spends his time plotting and planning to retake Doranell in exile in sympathetic allied nations. He cannot forgive the country that turned its back on him, believing that the nation is soft and indulged. Little do the Doranite traitors who would invite him back know that the General returns not as a liberator but a destroyer. He aims not to rule but to punish everyone who bowed knee to Rekki from the lowliest peasant to the most powerful lord.

Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 9 – She’s Just a Girl Who Said I am the One

Just joining in? No problem. You can catch up on this deep dive of all the Red River volumes by visiting the archive.

With Yuri’s face mashed against the floor by the fake Ishtar’s guardsmen, she threatens to punish Yuri again if she doesn’t give in and apologize. Yuri refuses and claims that she is the real Ishtar but no one believes her. Yuri is dressed like a kitchen wench and covered in spilled food and has to be gussied up to look her best. The faker, on the other hand, has a va-va-voom figure that won’t quit. Fake Ishtar has Yuri sent to the ‘Valley’ as punishment.

Continue reading

TGIF NSFW: Tess of the U’bervilles Re-Imagined as Schlock Kindle Romance Blurb

This post is not safe for work. Please enjoy responsibly.

The response to my parody blurbs has been so overwhelmingly positive that they will be regular weekly feature. Today I’m rolling out “TGIF NSFW,” in which I will be reimagining one book per week in the style of a schlocky kindle romance blurb. The bad boy/ alpha/ billionaire romances typify this style of marketing pitch.

Hat tip to Vicki Stiefel to suggesting I expand to the classics and other well known books.

This week I’m doing Tess of the U’bervilles. The fun starts below the cut.

Continue reading

Flower on the River Reminder (It’s coming Soon)

I am neck deep in the editing process for Flower on the River, polishing this stone until it sparkles. My team is on target for hit our 9/4/17 release date. I’ve always thought that the final phase of editing process is the true test of if you have a good book or not. If you can go through the same manuscript three or more times in a row and come back not hating it with every fiber of being, even if your eyeballs are bleeding from reading so closely, you know you have something good.

And I think Flower on the River is something good. To celebrate Flower on the River’s release, I will discount all the prior books in the Remnas series (Flower Among the Ashes, Flower in the Gale and When the Crow Smiles) at least 50% during the first week. More details to come but this will be some of the series’ best pricing ever.

Won’t you take one more look at that beautiful cover?

river with lily final ebook cover actual size 6-27-17

Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 8 – Walking Across Egypt

Catch up on the previous installments of the in-depth Red River read along you might have missed by clicking here to go to the archive. I’ve collected all the links in one convenient place for anyone just joining the party. As always, I’m talking about these old manga volumes in detail so spoilers ahead.

In the last volume, Queen Nakia’s henchman slaughtered the caravan taking Prince Zannanaza to meet his promised bride in Egypt. They flee into the desert thinking that they will be rich men when they report back to Hattusa that they killed both the prince and Yuri. However, Yuri, despite taking an arrow to the back, still clings to life. Unable to speak or move, she watches helplessly as the sands slowly shift and bury her and Zannanza. She laments his death as it takes with him all hope of lasting peace between the Hittites and Egyptians. Aslan, Yuri’s scarily intelligent horse, is badly injured but gets to his feet and gets Yuri onto his back. Together, they brave the harsh desert.

Continue reading

NSFW: More Book Blurbs Re-Imagined in the Alpha/ Billionaire/ Bad Boy Romance Style

This post is not safe for work.

My first NSWF post is the most popular thing I’ve ever written. As it turns out, I’m not the only fan of alpha/billionaire/ bad boy blurbs out there. Many people appreciate the ability to work in at least eight veiled references to “bits and pieces” in a two to three paragraph marketing write-up. Some members of my writer’s group wanted to offer me a chance to re-write their blurbs in that style.

Challenge accepted, ladies. These blurbs are re-printed here with the permission of the authors of the original work. They are totally unrepresentative of the books’ actual contents.

Continue reading

NSFW: Remnas Blurbs Rewritten as Alpha/Billionaire/Bad Boy Romances

This post is not safe for work.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but getting you to crack open the cover and take a look inside is an art unto itself. Everything – from the cover design to the blurb – is carefully designed to catch and grab the interest. The sad truth is that a mediocre book in brilliant packaging will outperform a brilliant book in mediocre packing nine point five times out of ten.

Continue reading

Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 7 – Stand by Your Man

In the last volume Yuri nearly brought down an empire with her courage and clever thinking only to be overpowered by Prince Mattiwaza’s roofie incense. We now return to the attempted rape in process. Yuri struggles to no avail but she’s saved at the last minute by a conveniently timed palace coup. The Mitanni are on the verge of starvation and revolt against the royal family in a last ditch attempt to end the siege.

They have already murdered the king and think if they show the Hittites proof that all the royals are dead, they will spare the Mitanni common folk. They attack Mattiwaza and he puts up a fight. A naked Yuri regains enough mobility to try to crawl from the fray but a soldier notices her. Mistakenly thinking she is the prince’s lover, he tries to kill her but Mattiwaza leaps in front the sword.

Continue reading

Manga Read Along: Red River Vol. 6 – An Independent Woman

I am moving right along on these recaps. I’ve realized at 28 volumes, Red River is a very long series and I need a way for everyone following along to keep up in case they are just joining me or missed a post. For that reason I’ve created this master list of all my Manga Read Along posts in one handy place here.

When we last left off, Yuri accepted Prince Mattiwaza’s devil’s bargain to live in his seraglio as his concubine. As one of his servants leads her to her chambers, she tells Yuri that she is his 29th kept woman, one for almost every day of the month. Between them, the women of the seraglio have over 200 servants. Yuri expresses dismay at this but the twins tell her that Mattiwaza’s harem is nothing unusual for a man of his rank.  In fact, Kail is outside the norm in that he has neither wife nor concubine before Yuri.

Continue reading

Reflections on Remnas #3: Flower in the Gale

This is a revised essay on Tales of Remnas Book 2 that I thought for a book event:

Flower in the Gale is book two of the Tales of Remnas. In this one, we follow Rekki and Arshé as they return from their mission to Rekki’s ogre clan. Now that he has recovered the legendary armor of the long dead ogre king, his reputation soars but not everyone is prepared to give him a hero’s welcome. There are many that fear Rekki because they stand to lose their established power if he consolidates the clans of the Wildlands. Chief among them is Ragnar, the reigning chieftain of the clan who views Rekki as a threat to keeping leadership confined to his family line.

With tensions rising, Arshé struggles to establish herself among the ogres. She is determined to protect her mate from his external enemies but the greatest threat might be to their own relationship. Passion brought them together but can their bond survive adversity as Rekki rises to power?

Flower in the Gale was written differently than the rest of the Remnas books. In Flower Among the Ashes I discovered very quickly that I needed a chapter by chapter outline to keep the story on track as it takes place over the course of several years and goes through several distinct arcs. I knew that I needed a way to keep the story from getting too big and starting to ramble all over the place. I even had a draft where I started the story earlier in the time line but I junked it after a few chapters and started over. My idea for Ashes was keep each act within a certain word count and, since each act could have been a whole novel by itself, it was key that I couldn’t have any scenes that would constitute ‘fat.’

For Flower in the Gale, I prepared an outline but instead of, detailing it chapter by chapter, I broke the book into three acts and very briefly described what would happen in each. This actually made Gale very hard to write as I had to make up more as I went along than I normally do. Surprisingly, I don’t think you can tell that everything wasn’t meticulously planned from the beginning and I had a lot of doubts about how it would be received. I thought readers might feel it was sloppy and lacked focus. Luckily, it got the thumbs up from my beta readers. I didn’t get any of the criticisms I thought I might.

The process taught me two things. First, it is much easier to write when you have a detailed chapter by chapter outline. You are forced to focus and plan before you ever set the first word to paper and that helps keep you from writing yourself into a corner. My outlines know run about twenty-five to thirty-five pages. Second, I have to put away a draft for at least six months before I feel like I can honestly access it. There are times you are going to feel like you are writing the worst thing ever because some scenes are just more a struggle to get out than others. Because you know where the warts are, that will make you more critical of your own stuff. If you tuck it away for a bit and come back to it, you might be able to say “Oh, this scene is actually pretty good” instead of saying, “Blah! This was such a bear to write. It took me three days to write more than a thousand words.”