The Influence of Female Authors…

I can’t remember how I got to this article; more than likely one of my author or reader friends probably shared it on FB…

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-fantasy-female-writers-politics-influence/

…But it got me thinking about all the authors on my shelves. I mean any one who has been coming to this blog for longer than a month can probably work out that I love Sir Terry Pratchett’s works or that it was David Eddings who inspired me to start writing Fantasy.

But there are a whole slew of other writers that come up when I really think about all the books that have influenced my work and the majority of them are on my shelves at the moment.

The first author that I ever collected was Enid Blyton and I started with the world of the Faraway Tree; it was the series that inspired my first attempt at Fan-Fiction at the age of 8!
The next one to come along was Diane Wynne Jones – I fell in love with Chrestomanci and read every single book of hers that I could get my hands on; at this point I had discovered the wonder of Libraries…

When I started earning my own money at the age of 13, I started buying my own books. I was a little obsessed with ponies and riding so a lot of the books I was getting from the Library were about horses, but when I bought my own books, I discovered that Here Be Dragons… and that you could ride them!

Yup, I had discovered Anne McCaffrey and the Dragons of Pern.

Between library books and the bookshop over the last twenty years, I have read a slew of authors, male and female, always either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Anne McCaffrey, Diana Wynne Jones, David and Leigh Eddings, Terry Pratchett, Katherine Kerr, Elizabeth Moon, Janny Wurts, Raymond E.Feist, Sara Douglass, Jack Vance, Ursula Le Guin, Anne Rice, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Tolkien, J K Rowling, Gail Carriger…  and that’s a small proportion of the books that I’ve collected and read over the years.

They’ve all influenced my own work, some of them more obviously than others. The fact that a lot of them were female never crossed my mind; they were just books that I enjoyed a lot, so I bought them.
Another thing that I have only just realised, is that Mr & Mrs Eddings may have ignited my love of epic fantasy, but Anne McCaffrey and Diana Wynne Jones are the ones that showed me that I could write too, and not have to hide behind a male pseudonym.

So here I am, following in their footsteps and hoping that I have created my own books well enough that young readers are going be inspired by them in turn… maybe if they read that I enjoyed certain authors as a kid, they will search their books out and enjoy them too.

* * * * * * *

I’m very bad at blowing my own trumpet and marketing my own work; but that all has to change, so I am going to start doing so today. We’ll go back to my roots as a writer and feature one of my Short Story collections…

51voyr2br8al

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes.

This little collection of short stories contains some of my favourites from the beginning of my apprenticeship as an author. With each story is a little anecdote from my writing life.

It’s available in ebook and Print formats and from a variety of places including:
Amazon 
Smashwords
B&N

If by any chance you’ve already read all of my books… could I possibly persuade you to pop into my Patreon Page and become a Patron?

The thing is, unless I sell more books or get more Patrons, I won’t be able to produce any new books!!

Feed an Author

 

 

 

An Author’s musings on the Past and the Future…

I’ve been looking back at my publishing career to date, in an effort to decide how to proceed with the next few years. I started writing seriously in 2008 and had a few short stories published in various anthologies. I didn’t start publishing my own work until 2011.

One of the questions I get asked from time to time, is how many books I publish a year. I never actually knew the answer to that – once a book is out I tend to forget about it, unless I am actively promoting it.
I used to say that I made about £30 a year… putting me firmly into the “Hobbyist” section of Independent Authors.

I’ve got the new KDP dashboard now… doesn’t look like too bad a system, but I wish I could see which books have sold as well as in which formats / countries etc.
Using the historical tab and a bit of head scratching, I have figured out that I shifted a grand total of 319 books in 7 years. Only 110 of those were paid books. My best total year was 2012 but that was due to a free promo I did that year. The best year for paid books was 2016.

The most popular paid book is currently at an even heat between “Heir of The Dragon” and “Blossom and Kitsune” with “TTATE: A Beginning” close behind.
Kira Morgana is definitely the more popular of my pen names, but that’s probably because she’s published more books!

I’ve sold an average of 16 paid books a year (not including free books because they only occur in one year)… It’s positive that I have actually sold books… but I thought I’d sold a few more than that…
Doesn’t include anything sold on Smashwords though… hmm.

*wanders away to check figures on Smashwords.*

So, having deciphered Smashwords’ reporting system, I find that I have sold a total of 32 paid books in 7 years. Adding those to the KDP ones, I have a grand total of 142 paid books, giving me an average of 20 paid books per year.
Obviously the figures I’m quoting are all my self-published books. Anything published with the Small Presses I’ve been with or my collaboration with Maria K., I don’t have the figures for.
So, am I a successful author? Depends on the measure of success that you use…

What am I going to do?

Well I’m not giving up on writing; it’s often the only thing I can do that keeps me sane – my craft hobbies aren’t child friendly in the same way… and besides, I do have a few fans or I wouldn’t have sold 142 books in the last 7 years!
So I have a duty to get some more books finished and published.

However, this is where I run into a Catch 22 situation.

As an independent author, I am responsible for the whole process of publishing my books; there’s no publishing company vetting it or giving me an Editor / Proof-reader / Cover Artist / Illustrator / MS Formatter to work on getting it out to my Fans.

That’s a hindrance in a lot of ways, because it means I have to do or source all those things myself. Which means I have to have money to pay for (at the very least) an Editor and a Cover Artist. I’ve been incredibly lucky up until now in that I’ve got some incredibly talented and lovely friends who have helped me get this far. I also have a group of lovely people who beta read for me, which helps immensely.

Sadly, my current financial situation (in real life) is rather difficult. I don’t have the spare money to pay for the things I need to continue to publish my work, and the books I have out at the moment don’t bring in enough money to pay for it.

So I have some decisions to make.

I currently have 10 books that are complete first drafts in the Beta Reading Pile, 2 that are in the Formatting Pile and 5 that could be published as is, but that I am wanting to add to, so they are in the Re-Write Pile. There are another 9 that are in the Work-in-Progress pile.

I’m not even considering the ones in the Idea Pile.

So that’s another 26 books to add the 9 that are currently published.
Obviously the order I need to work on them is:

1) Formatting
2) Rewriting
3)Work-in-Progress
4) Beta Reading

Before I even CONSIDER looking at the Ideas!

However, before I can publish any of the books going through Beta Reading, I need to run them past an editor and get a cover for them…
Which brings me to the crux of the matter. I would be able to publish more if one of two things happened:

a) I sold a LOT more of the currently published books
or
b) Those of you who believe in me and like my work support me through the Patreon system.

(Or I win the lottery, but we all know the odds of that one!)

I’ll be working on getting (a) sorted out, but one of the best things that will influence it, is getting another book into publication. So the Formatting and Re-Writing piles are going to the head of the work queue (with one WIP at a time being worked on).

One of the best ways that you, the reader, can help me, is to write a review of my books that you’ve read (no matter where you got it) a review on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, Apple, Kobo or Nook can help me to sell books.
Another way, is to recommend my work to friends who are looking for something to read, be that by real life conversation or virtual conversation on Social Media.

If you want to take route (b) and support me through the Patreon System, I will be incredibly grateful and shower you with perks…
This is my page is – https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana
Pop over and check it out!

Oh and if you got all the way to the end of the blog post, whatever you decide, I want to thank you for reading it!

The Eye watches…

Nightbringer 300x200

And we finally arrive at the final book in the whole of “The Tower and The Eye” series. Unlike the previous four, this one never actually got published until Blue Hour Publishing released the whole series in one book!

This is a full size novel. It’s the culmination of the overarching storyline, bringing the whole story to a close…

The Midwinter Solstice Beacons snake across Quargard as the Aracan Katuvana plots his next move. The surviving Heroes of the Dungeons gather to plan his demise. The Gods watch the Heroes and wait.

Behind it all the Jar completes its designs, setting into motion a conflict that is intended to set the Dark Gods free once more.

Who will prevail? Not even the Gods can tell…

I searched through the book looking for an excerpt that didn’t spoil the story… and failed! So here’s a snippet featuring a character that has been mentioned in every book, but hadn’t yet appeared…

Lady Eliethoriellina stretched before she turned to the next page in the grimoire she studied.
Some of the books in the Magi Library had been collected by the elves since the beginning of the kingdom of Alethdar; others had been brought in more recently after she arrived in the guild. Still others had been looted from libraries in the dungeons of the Aracan Katuvana and were considered too dangerous for any, except the most powerful mages to use.
It was one of these tomes that she was currently employing in her research, and it had thrown up some interesting, if not entirely virtuous areas for her to incorporate into her latest project.
She scribbled a few notes onto the scrap of parchment she was using and shut the book, wrinkling her nose at the dust which puffed up from the pages.
“I’m going to have to speak to the Shelfkeepers about the state of these books again,” she muttered as she hefted the volume and slid it back onto the shelf behind her desk. She ran her finger along the thick layer of dust on the exposed wood and shook her head. “They’re getting lazy.”
“Talking to yourself again, Lady Eliethor?” a voice startled her out of her reflective reverie.
She turned to find the tall, handsome form of Aranok standing in her doorway. Beside him stood the impossibly beautiful cleric he seemed to have become responsible for.
“No more so than usual, Aranok. Welcome to the Magi Library, Lady Kalytia. How may I assist you this evening?” Eliethor gestured to the chairs in front of the desk. “Please, be seated.”
“It’s morning actually; and you have to eat something. The Shelfkeeper on duty upstairs said you’ve been down here since Midwinter night without refreshment. That was three days ago.” Aranok looked pointedly at the bell pull beside the door. “Or would you rather I did it?”
Kalytia smiled at the severe expression on the half elf’s face and seated herself in one of the chairs, pulling a small book out from under the cushion behind her.
“Ah, I’ve been looking for that. It’s Nidin’s ‘Theory of Good and Evil’.” Eliethor took it from her. “I’m working on a spelled cube that will define the degree of beings of either orientation for the Temple of Espilieth. They need some help with the yearly examination…” she placed it on the shelf, still murmuring to herself.
“Eliethor. Do you want something to eat and drink?” Aranok asked again.
“What? Oh, yes, refreshments would make this a wonderful visit. Maybe your cleric friend can help me with the device I am working on for the temple of Espilieth.” Eliethor nodded rapidly as she sat down, almost falling off her chair as she collided with the desk.
Aranok sighed ruefully and rang the bell. After a moment, a novice mage appeared at the door. Aranok gave him an order and the novice ran off, pelting up the stairs as if a dragon spawn were after him.
“So how can I help you, young Aranok? Where’s your sister got to? She was supposed to report back to me after you went to Valdier.” Eliethor was surprised when Aranok’s eyes filled with tears. “Oh dear me. What’s happened? Do you want a handkerchief, my boy?” She rooted around in a drawer in her desk and pulled out a piece of soft white linen, which she passed across the desk to him.
He wiped his eyes and steadied his breathing. Kalytia laid a gentle hand on his arm and whispered something. A light surrounded his head and sparkled before disappearing.
“Oh my. That’s a calming chant.” Eliethor frowned and her lips moved silently as she ran back over what she had said since the two of them had entered the room. Then it hit her. “Arianadrialla didn’t return from Valdier did she?”
Aranok shook his head. “We were caught up in a dungeon raid on Grof and she tried to use the Tear of Espilieth. The goddess saved her spirit before it was sucked into the stone, but she died.”
“The Tear of Espilieth? Where did she find that?” Eliethor asked excitedly. “That’s one of the few objects of true power that could destroy the Ara…”
“Lady Eliethoriellina, please.” Kalytia interrupted her. “Where she found the gem isn’t an issue. Aranok brought it to me in Galivor and we travelled to Alethdar together as Espilieth ordered us to.”
“You have it with you? Can I see it?” Eliethor sounded like a child at Midsummer, hoping for a present from Fiorna.
Kalytia lifted a pendant from under her robes. At the end of a blue-silver chain shone a cloudy white gemstone, with all the colours of the world writhing in its heart.
Eliethor sighed. “Only the Ruby of Kaela Mensha can rival that gem’s power; and only the chosen adherent of Espilieth can wield it. I knew it was gone from the Library’s vault almost as soon as Ariana left. It brings a kind of peace to the books, especially those which detail evil magic.”
“She took it because she was fated to, Lady Eliethoriellina.” Kalytia tucked the gem back into her robes. “She was meant to bring it to me in Galivor, as Espilieth intended. However, she and Aranok went to Grof before My Lady Goddess could inspire them to travel north.” She sighed unhappily.
“What exactly is going on, Aranok?” Eliethor’s voice became as sharp as the penknife on her desk. “The Deities of Light are forbidden to meddle in mortal affairs. Why did you go on this Dungeon Raid?”
Aranok looked down at his feet like a scolded child.
He was saved from answering by the novice who chose that moment to enter with a tray of food and drink, enough for three. “Lady Lianadriella sent a message, Lord Aranokkinadiel.” He said to the half elf as he placed the tray on Eliethor’s desk.
“Oh?” Aranok hastily wiped his eyes as if dust had got into them. “What does the Princess wish of me?”
“She told me to tell you that Vox had returned and your party will be leaving the day after tomorrow.” The novice laid out plates and poured wine into cups. “She also said that you were to bring Lady Eliethoriellina to the palace with you when you leave here, as the Queen would like to consult with her over dinner.” The boy finished his task and stood back. “Is there any return message?”
Aranok shook his head. “No, thank you.”
Eliethor handed the novice a small red wooden token and he slipped it into his pouch as he bowed, and left the room as quietly as he had entered.
“What is the token for?” Kalytia asked.
“It is his payment for the service he rendered up. It allows him an hour’s lesson with the Guild Mage of his choice, or he can save them and exchange them for gold once he has a hundred.” Eliethor sipped her wine. “Most novices use the tokens for lessons beyond their scheduled ones, of course.”
“That is an excellent idea.” Kalytia mused.
Eliethor nodded enthusiastically. “It was my idea. Before, the parents of the student had to pay for extra lessons; now they earn them. Makes getting menial tasks done a little easier.”
“Ladies, can we please get on with the reason for our visit?” Aranok interrupted what seemed to be turning into an educational meeting of minds.
Kalytia smiled at him. “Sorry Aranok.”
“We have a mission that requires us to enter the tunnels under the Heart Mountains,” Aranok said. “We were hoping you might have a map or two, seeing as you come from Viraldin”
Eliethor beamed. “Oh yes. I have maps from all over Quargard and at least ten of the tunnels alone.”
“It would be helpful if they were fairly recent,” Kalytia told the excited mage.
“I have just the one. From the one hundred and third year after the tower was created. I brought it with me from…” she tailed off looking at the two suspiciously.
“What’s wrong?” Aranok asked, taking a slice of dried apple and wrapping it in ham before taking a huge bit out of it.
“You’re taking the Tear into the Tower, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
“My Lady Goddess is sending us into the tower, yes.” Kalytia tilted her head. “Is there a problem with that?”
“I came from the Undercity, not Viraldin,” Eliethor replied slowly. “The temples there are all dedicated to the Dark Ones and I remember hearing a story when I was very small. All I remember of it now is a single line…” the mage squinted into the distance.
“What was it?” Aranok asked.
“A drop gleams against the dark, light consumes the body foul,” Eliethor recited. “I was always told that it was a teaching tale to do with the crystals that connected the dungeon to the Tower and how they turn those who touch them, but now I’m not so sure.” She looked at Kalytia. “As I said, the Tear is as powerful as the Ruby of Tzeentch. It may help you.”
Aranok snorted. “The maps would be more helpful.”
Eliethor pushed herself up from the desk. “Of course. I’ll get them for you.”
Aranok and Kalytia watched Eliethor mutter and sort through a pile of folios in the corner of her office. She picked up one massive one and moved it across to a table. As she flipped through the maps inside, her voice quieted.
“Here,” she said, almost in a whisper.
Aranok stood and moved to the table, peering over her shoulder.
“It’s a maze and a half down there then? Are there any short cuts?”
“These are the original tunnels.” Eliethor traced the red lines. “These are ones that were added as the Undercity expanded. The city itself fills the whole of the valley underground and expands past these mountains into Viraldin.”
Kalytia joined them. “How did you get out?”
Eliethor prodded at a mark on the map in the Viraldin side of the mountains.
“A hole developed in the ceiling of the cavern and I levitated myself out.” She blinked rapidly. “My family has… property in this area of the Undercity and the walls of our house were close to the cavern ceiling there.”
“Does that hole still exist?” Aranok sounded thoughtful.
The Archmage shook her head.
“No. My exit disturbed the mountain side and buried the gap. Reddalia tells me that the cavern roof collapsed inside and buried several guards on the walls.”
Aranok looked disappointed. “No easy entrance then. Hmm.”
“What are these tunnels?” Kalytia pointed to a green line.
“Those were the latest ones to be dug. They would probably be the busiest ones at the moment.” Eliethor’s fingers lingered over the map near the spot where her life had changed.
“May we have a copy of the map, Lady Eliethoriellina?” Kalytia said softly.
“Call me Eliethor, my dear.” The Archmage looked up and smiled. “Aranok is obviously your mage protector, so that puts us on more casual terms than normal.” She paused and rummaged around in the bag of holding attached to the sash at her waist. “Now where did I put that…” eventually she came up with a black velvet bag that contained a flat clear crystal stone, not much bigger than her palm and as thin as a small book.
“What’s that?” Aranok reached for the stone.
“Oh no you don’t, young man. The last time I loaned you a magical item it didn’t come back.” Eliethor used her free hand to slap his away and placed the stone on the map at one end. She murmured an incantation and the stone moved slowly across the map.
When it reached the opposite end, Eliethor ended the spell and picked it up. “Take this Mapstone, Kalytia. It has the map stored in it, along with a few others of that area and Quargard. To work it, tap it twice slowly and say Entula a’ moinayamen’. To find the map or page that you want to use, slide your finger across the stone until you find the picture you want, then tap it once. To turn it off, just tap the stone twice rapidly.”
Eliethor demonstrated the stone, then turned it off and slid it back into its bag, which she handed to Kalytia.
“Thank you, Eliethor.” The cleric put the Mapstone into her own bag of holding on her belt.
“Come on Eliethor. The Queen wishes your presence at the palace for dinner.” Aranok’s patience was eroding rapidly. “You can talk to Kalytia all you like at dinner.”
Eliethor closed the folio of maps and picked up her staff and cloak. “Uuma dela, Melloneamin. We’d better hurry if we’re to make it back to the Palace for dinner.” She strode out of her office with Kalytia and Aranok following, bemused expressions on their faces

*****

 

There are two places that you can read more of this story and find out how the rest of the book turned out. The first is in the ebook:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nightbringer-Tower-Eye-Book-5-ebook/dp/B01H4G2J4W

The second is in the Omnibus Book which is available in both print and electronic forms:

Buy Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tower-Eye-Kira-Morgana/dp/1326421301