Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, November 24, 2014

New book release: Paladin Pawn by Michael Young

Today, I want to let you know about a new middle grade fantasy by my friend Michael Young coming November 28. Congrats, Michael! I hope you'll give it a look.

Introducing Paladin Pawn


When nerdy Rich Witz unwittingly becomes a Paladin, a white knight, in training, he is thrust into a world where flunking a test can change the course of history and a mysterious bully is playing for keeps with his life.
 Rich’s grandmother leaves him with one thing before disappearing for good: a white chess pawn with his initials engraved on it. The pawn marks him as the next in an ancient line of white knights. He must prove himself in a life or death contest against his Nemesis, a dark knight in training, all while dealing with math homework and English projects.  With the ghost of an ancestor for his guide, he has seven days to complete four tasks of valor before his Nemesis does, or join his guide in the realm of the dead.
 As Rich rushes to complete the tasks, he realizes the chilling truth: his Nemesis is masquerading as someone at school and will stop at nothing to make him fail. As the tasks grow ever harder, the other knights reveal to him that his failure will break a centuries-old chain and bring the Paladin order to ruin. If he fails, the dark knights win the right to control the fate of the world, a world without hope or the possibility of a new dawn.  So this is one exam Rich has to ace, with no curve and no extra credit.


Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Western Governor’s University with degrees in German Teaching, Music, and Instructional Design. He puts his German to good use teaching online German courses for High School students. Though he grew up traveling the world with his military father, he now lives in Utah with his wife, Jen, and his two sons. Michael enjoys acting in community theater, playing and writing music and spending time with his family. He played for several years with the handbell choir Bells on Temple Square and is now a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
 He is the author of the novels The Canticle Kingdom Series, The Last Archangel Series, and the Chess Quest Series.  His also authors several web serials through BigWorldNetwork.com. He publishes anthologies for charity in his Advent Anthologies series. He has also had work featured in various online and print magazines such as Bards and Sages Quarterly, Mindflights, Meridian, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign.

Follow Michael . . .
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelyoung
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mdybyu
Blog: http://www.writermike.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mdybyu

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Letting Go~Moving On~Starting Over

I have two calendars. One in my bedroom and one in my writing room. They both have pretty artwork and inspirational sayings each month.

This month my bedroom calendar told me to Trust My Heart.

My writing room calendar taught Live then or now. It's impossible to be in two places at once.

As soon as I saw those, I knew this month would be a meaningful one. (As opposed to September's really lame sayings which told me nothing...) I started the month trying to write a steampunk space opera Christmas story. Sounds fun, huh? I thought it would be, but about 5 pages into it, it just wasn't speaking to me. I trusted my heart and let it go. I was feeling a little bad, because I have given a Christmas story to my family and friends for Christmas for 19 years, and it looked like it wasn't going to happen this year.

The next day I was broadsided with a new idea. Rarely have I been hit so hard with an idea that I just couldn't wait to write. I was (and still am) a bit nervous because this is a much more character driven story than what I usually write. Also, it's coming out in a much more literary style. And it's not technically a Christmas story. But I am trusting my heart and writing it.

Or at least, I want to. I am having the hardest time actually sitting down to write! This is writer's block like I have never experienced before. The story is ready. I know what happens all the way through. I'm excited about it. But when I sit down to write, I just...can't. I have made a little progress. I am probably half-way through it. That's great, but I still can't find it in me to give more than a minimal effort to writing each day. It frustrates me.

But this weekend my heart told me something else. Remember the second bit of calendar wisdom? Yes. It has become clear that I must stop dwelling on the past. It's time to let go of the dream that didn't come to pass. It's time to move on. It's time to start over.

So.

I unpublished my books. All but the one I don't hold the rights to.

Was it hard? Yes.
Does it hurt? Yes.
Am I sad? Yes I am.

But I learned reading this post yesterday, that sometimes you have to let go of things you love in order to move forward.

So, I am. I am letting go. I am trusting my heart. I am living now and not then. I am starting over fresh. And I hope that someday, when the grief fades a little, I'll find out I've been living my dreams all along.

I still have a lot of stories left to tell, and I hope by letting go of what wasn't working, I'll be better able to tell them.



Monday, October 13, 2014

A Legitimate Author

Three things happened this weekend. (Well, a lot more happened than that, but three writing related things.)

First, I got a royalty check from my publisher! My first one, believe it or not. It was for less than $10. (I took a picture of the check, but I'm not going to post that online.)

Second, I went to a book signing, had a ton of fun, and didn't sell a single book.



Third, I got a dreadful two-star review on Amazon.

Surprisingly, these three things lifted my spirits instead of bringing me down. I guess they made me feel like an honest-to-goodness legitimate author. Weird how that works.

Anyway, book news!

Spirits Bright, a collection of four inspirational sci-fi Christmas stories is coming soon!

I will be down in Kanab, UT on the 24-25 of this month presenting at the Kanab Writers Conference. It's beautiful down there, and they have some great classes lined up. If you're anywhere nearby, check it out!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vulnerable



One cool perk of having my husband in a rock band is that I am getting to know all sorts of truly awesome local bands and musicians. Here is one of my new favorites, My Fair Fiend. This one, "Just A Song" hits me right in the chest with that breathtaking vulnerability of being an artist of any kind. Here are some of the lyrics (written by Callie Crofts):

But I'm so guilty of wearing my heart like a scarlet gown
Sparkling in the lights for everyone to see
And this undivided audience
You know too much, you know too much
This guitar's gone and got the best of me

And who can I tell it to?
Not you, love
Not anyone
No, some things are better left
Just bottled in the bottom of my soul
Or I could write it in a song
And all the crowd will sing along
And they might wonder if its written from experience or not


It's the same with books. We bare our hearts and souls out there for everyone to see, whether the audience realizes it or not. And, really, that's the way it should be. All truly great creative works must come from the heart.

But it sure is scary sometimes.

Go ahead and watch the video and let me know what you think. And if you like it, check out more of My Fair Fiend's stuff!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con!

Stan Lee called Salt Lake Comic Con the best comic con in the world. High praise. I had a blast. I sat on three panels: Geek Parenting, Shakespeare and Fantasy, and Monster Songwriting. I even sold a few books. I didn't take as many pictures as I should have, but here are a few.

Our "Table of Awesome"

Friends and fellow authors JoAnn Schneider and Berin Stephens at their own table of awesome

Dave Butler and Jayrod Garrett. So fun to see friends!

A few of the authors at the Table of Awesome

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dark Dancer Release!

Congratulations to my friend and one of my favorite authors, Jaleta Clegg on the release of her magical steampunk fantasy, Dark Dancer. I can't wait to read it!

Here's an excerpt:


Katie held her arms out, twirling inside the ring of mushrooms like a small child. She laughed, lifting her face to the sun. Lavender mist crept around her feet, rising in the center. Flowers dropped to the grass under her bare feet. The mist swirled and spun with each step of her dance. A round window formed in the center, hanging in the air. Katie danced closer.
 

"Don't touch it!" Vague images of a dancing rabbits and a man with pointed ears teased Sabrina's memories. Cold sweat trickled down her spine.
 

Katie brushed the edges of the window, her dance growing more frenzied. The air reeked of ozone and lay heavy as if a thunderstorm brewed in the clear skies. Power crackled through the lavender mist.
 

Katie stretched into the window. Her scream shattered the peace of the quiet meadow. She fragmented like stained glass shattering. Wind blasted across the flowers, tossing the shards of Katie through the window. 

The mist dissipated, thin tendrils falling back to the grasses inside the mushrooms.
 

Sabrina stared in shock. Voices echoed in her head, whispers of warning from her mother, from a strange older man with slanted green eyes and gray-streaked hair. She shook herself free of the memories.
 

"Katie?" She crossed the meadow, breaking into a loping run.
 

She stopped at the edge of the mushrooms. She remembered her mother crushing the mushrooms under her foot. Strange words echoed in her mind, a language she'd never spoken. She watched a last streamer of lavender mist fade into the fairy circle.
 

She sank to her knees. She had to get help, but what would she say? My cousin vanished inside a fairy ring. What would Aunt Dianna say? She couldn't go home, not without Katie. She gathered Katie's sneakers in her arms, rocking back and forth.
 

She had to get Katie back.

Dark Dancer is now available in ebook and print!
Smashwords (all ebook formats)
Kindle 

A strange prophecy haunts the Seligh lords, rulers of the Fey and controllers of all magic in the Summerlands, a prophecy that foretells their fall.


A banished Seligh lord rules the Winterlands with an iron fist while his pets, the balmorae, patrol the borders against all intruders, guarding the secrets hidden beneath his icy lair.



A young woman rediscovers her heritage, a gift of magic and dancing that opens portals between worlds. She holds the fate of their world in her hands. All who live within the lands of the Fey must choose where they standbeside the Dancer or opposed to her.
 

Jaleta Clegg loves to tell stories ranging from deep space to magical worlds and everywhere in between. You can find a complete listing of her work at www.jaletac.com







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Monday, August 25, 2014

Good Advice

Now here's some writing advice I can get behind!




It's only 4.5 minutes and well worth your time. (And, hey, that's my book on his desk! Heehee)

Do you have any great advice for writers?