Posts Tagged ‘voyage to ruin’

Pirates! Romance! Adventure! Dragons! Time travel! Possibly also the kitchen sink!

Pirates! Romance! Adventure! Dragons! Time travel! Possibly also the kitchen sink!

Hi-ho, everybody! Smashwords is doing one their intermittent promotions, so for this week only you can sail over there and get the ebook of The Voyage to Ruin for FREE! Just use the coupon code SFREE at checkout.


And if you read it, and you like it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or Facebook or your personal blog or spray-painted on a fence somewhere, or whatever strikes your fancy. It doesn’t have to be long, just a sentence or two about what you thought. Reviews from real live readers are the author’s lifeblood. (Well, that and coffee, I’m pretty sure.)


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kindle-coverIn celebration of the Fourth of July weekend, my pirate adventure fantasy with dragons and airships, The Voyage to Ruin, is free! Light up your sparklers and crack open the delicious beverage of your choice, and sail over to V2R on Smashwords for oodles of nautical adventure.

And remember, word of mouth is how indie authors survive. If you read it, even if you hate it or couldn’t finish it, think about leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I’d be deeply obliged to you!

ETA: Thanks to eagle-eyed readers who noticed the link was broken and suggested the fix. It should be working now.

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I would show what I've been working on, but, you know, NDAs and whatnot.

I would show what I’ve actually been working on, but, you know, NDAs and whatnot.

Work has been keeping me busy, which means less blogging, of course, but I thought I would interrupted my deadline-imposed blog exile for a couple of advertisements.

First, my nautical fantasy The Voyage to Ruin, chock-full of pirates, airships, swashbuckling, ancient sea gods, dragons, magicians, and countries named after food, is now only $2.99 at Smashwords and on Amazon. I am informed it is available on Google Play as well, but since my dashboard there won’t give me a link nor where to find one, probably easier to go to one of the other places. If I ever do get a Google link, I will share it. [ETA: A helpful and keen-eyed reader discovered the Google Books link for me.  A glass of rum with you, sir!] Two dollars and ninety-nine cents! It is an excellent price for over 100,000 words of intrigue, sorcery, fisticuffs, sea battles, and even a hint of romance. There is no kitchen sink included, only because none of the main characters ever set foot inside a kitchen, and ships lack such amenities anyway.

And second, TeePublic is holding its monthly sitewide sale. Like the gentleman who, when he had a little money, bought books, when I have a little spare time I draw Thor. Some of those Thor-related designs can be purchased on shirts at my TeePublic shop, and I would take it as a kindness if you would go and check them out. There is also a Last Unicorn design, for those who remember that movie with fondness.

Colorful shirts for your torso!

Colorful shirts for your torso!

This concludes our advertisement interruption; we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Oh, and happy Thorsday! 😀

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Hi guys! Just a quick reminder that the Question of Time giveaway ends tonight at midnight EST, so if you’d like to win a free e-copy of Joanne Renaud’s marvelous time travel novella, just sail on over to the giveaway post and leave a comment.

Also, if you haven’t taken advantage of the FREE pirate-airship-dragons-and-intrigue novel yet … why not?  The coupon code LS48K is good through January 6; just enter the code at checkout and The Voyage to Ruin magically costs zero dollars.

So yeah, merry third day of Christmas, everyone!  New content coming soon … ish … ly. 😀

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Captain Zeal by Joanne Renaud

Captain Zeal looks so stern because he wants you to download his book!

Merry Christmas, to all you lovely people out there–however few or many!  What is your favorite part of the holiday?  For me–well, I have a lot of favorite parts.  I love the traditional Christmas hymns, like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming,” and I’ve even gotten a little bit fond of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”  I love Midnight Mass, the scent of the incense and the beautiful vestments of the priest, the orderly dance at the altar.  I love the stockings hung by the chimney with care–and this year I even made sure that everyone’s generic storebought stocking was properly labelled, so that Saint Nicholas will not get confused about whose is whose.  And of course, I love giving presents!  (I love wrapping them too, in my ham-handed way.)

In that spirit, I give to you, my reader(s) a gift!  If you haven’t already got your copy of The Voyage to Ruin, you can visit its Smashwords page right now, and from today until Epiphany, January 6, use the coupon code LS48K at checkout to get it for free.

Here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas indeed!


P.S. And while we’re on the subject of free books, the A Question of Time giveaway is still open.  So until midnight 12/28 (that is, the midnight that 12/28 begins, not the next day), go and comment on the original post if you’d like to win a copy of one of my favorite time travel romance stories!

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The experience of writing Steel Butterfly has been one of brief, intense periods of activity (and progress) followed by long stretches of nothing at all.  My computer tells me that the last time I edited the latest chapter was February of this year: ten months.  More than enough time to bring an infant to term.  (I don’t know if other mothers think of time in this way; certainly I never did, pre-motherhood, but now I find it a useful measure.  If it ain’t long enough to have a baby in, it ain’t that long.  And of course the converse is also true.)  So, you know, a not-insignificant amount of time.  My memory, when consulted, adds the helpful rider that, when I accessed the file this February past, I fiddled around for half an hour or so, played a few hands of solitaire (probably), then felt too tired or sad or disgusted or whatever to continue, and closed the file again.

For when you're stuck...

For when you’re stuck…

I don’t believe in writer’s block per se.  I do believe that 90% or so of story-creation is instinctual and unconscious, and that whatever process governs the writer’s (or at least, my) ability to get words onto paper (screen, wax tablet, whatever) will halt unless the conditions are, like the littlest bear’s porridge, just right.  (You, hypothetical reader, may be different.  You may exert such masterful control over your unconscious processes that you can muscle through these … cessations.  There’s no right way or wrong way, so long as the words are getting written and you, the writer, are pleased with the end result.  But most of my best thinking happens when I’m not paying attention to it.)

So what are some wrong conditions?

1. The writer’s emotional state.  Seems pretty obvious.  If you are distracted by real-world problems–or even real-world joys–you probably will not be able to write effectively.

2. The writer’s physical state.  Ditto.  It doesn’t even have to be pain that distracts you.  When I was pregnant, I was unable to sit comfortably in a chair for the long stretches required to concentrate on writing.  I probably should have found an alternate solution: a standing desk (ugh, with swollen ankles and feet? Maybe not) or dictation or something.

3. The story is wrong.  Either something you’ve already written contradicts where the story wants to be going, or something you’re about to write is not going to work.  It is best not to force the story into the shape you want it to be.  If the problem happened earlier in the story, it is kind of like a dropped stitch in knitting: you will have to tear out everything you’ve done since the mistake, fix the mistake, and then do it all again.  Tedious?  Well, maybe, but presumably you enjoy knitting, or you wouldn’t have started the project in the first place.  If the problem is about to happen … well, unless a future version of yourself appears before you and gasps out, “No–not that plot development!” how can you know?

This is more challenging.  If a 3 corresponds with a 1 or 2, the time necessary to regain your equilibrium may also help to shake loose the right plot development.  If you don’t have that kind of time (maybe you are a published writer with deadlines, and not a dilettante like me), you can always do something else, something physical and repetitive and boring, to help your subconscious produce the right answer.  Taking a walk is good, or a shower.  Washing dishes, or folding laundry, or some other tedious, necessary chore, can also help.

4. You just don’t have the right words.  Everything else is fine.  You feel okay (or you are writing to purge those feelings of not-okay-ness), you have had adequate sleep and/or are adequately caffeinated, you know what happens next … and still nothing.  You sit and stare at a sterile white screen with a blinking cursor mocking you.

What do you do?  You have no idea how to go on.

Sometimes … you can just say so.

In Voyage to Ruin, I got stuck in just such a way.  Fortunately, I was writing with an omniscient narrator who liked, now and then, to interject his own opinions into the goings-on, so I wrote:

I must pause here and confess, dear readers, that I am puzzled as to how I should continue.  In fact, a part of me wishes I did not have to continue at all.  I would much prefer to leave you here, with the charming image of Captain Flynn at the helm of his beloved ship: a man in the prime of his life, rather good-looking, made handsomer still by his evident happiness—a man, it must be admitted, of no particular virtue, but in whom a certain dash and ebullience of spirit might almost have obviated the need for virtue.  I would like that of all things, because the events to come are unpleasant in the extreme, and will no doubt be as disagreeable for you to read as they are for me to relate.  However, to leave you with the impression that Captain Flynn’s story ends here would be iniquitous, vile, false.  We must remember that the service of truth sometimes requires the endurance of suffering, and if things become too frightening, we will hold each other’s hands for comfort, like children lost in a dark wood.

Wow.  That narrator had one heck of an orotund style.  But however over-the-top the words, the idea was straight-up truth.  I was puzzled as to how to continue.  I didn’t want to keep writing.  The narrator expressed them, but those were my thoughts and feelings.  And, expressing them in the story’s style helped unstick my brain and get the words flowing.

What about a story with a more limited POV? I hear you asking, assuming there is a you and I am not just yapping into a void.  After all, omniscient POV is really not popular right now.

It can still work!

In fact, the reason I am writing this now is because I used this technique, or trick, this morning, to get Steel Butterfly unstuck.  Now, Steel Butterfly is told in third-person limited with no narratorial intrusions, so instead of describing how I felt, I had to describe what the POV character was feeling.  (To make picking up the story more difficult, I had stopped right before what I thought was going to be an action sequence with a particular plot development, only to realize that the story needed a different, much more emotionally-charged development.  So I had to dive in to that without having a chance to warm up on some dialogue or scenery description or something easier.)  So I chose to describe the tension I felt, that I couldn’t just make the story get on with it already!

The moment stretched on and on and on.  Move, Aine thought at it.  Break.  End.  But it did not move, and it did not break, and it did not end.

Not a lot to it, but that little paragraph helped get the story going again.

And a little bonus tip: learn and use rhetorical devices to make your prose stronger.  The technique in the final sentence is Anaphora, the repetition of words or phrases.  It is helpful for emphasis, and also for slowing down the pace, making the moment seem even longer.

I don’t know if this technique would work for everybody, but it works for me every time.  If it works for you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Captain Drake Wants You!

Captain Drake Wants You!

Calling all book bloggers and reviewers!  I’m seeking exposure for my little book, The Voyage to Ruin.  If you are a book reviewer or blogger, especially of the SF/F flavor, I’d love for you to read my book.

Here’s the summary:

Fifty-five years have passed since the disappearance of the famed pirate Captain Flynn Freeborn, and the golden age of piracy has become an age of peace. Airships soar the skies, and friendship flourishes between nations. In these days when all wars have been fought, Captain Acheron Zeal of the Royal Navy longs for glory, adventure and promotion; his mission, to hunt down a new pirate threat, seems a godsend–but his ocean-going vessel will be hard-pressed to capture his airborne adversary, the captain of the airship Eschaton. His task is further complicated when he meets the proud and beautiful Franceline Drake, who has good reason to despise Captain Zeal–for this enchanting young woman is the very pirate he has sworn to bring to justice.

His pursuit of Drake embroils them both in peril: the wrath of a sea-god, the machinations of an ancient dragon, the ruthless schemes of a corrupt and ambitious Prince … and the bumbling interference of a man claiming to be Flynn Freeborn himself, resurfaced in the world not a day older than when he disappeared.

Sound interesting?  Fun?  Terrible?  If you’d like a free review copy (digital only), please contact me!

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