Wednesday check-in

Here’s a quick update on Clary Books and me. Into the Rift is live and has had its first free days on Amazon. So far there has been one sale and fewer than 50 free downloads. Which means no one is paying attention to it and that is sad, though I have received a lot of lovely support from friends and family. I’m not worried because Rift is only the first stop on this particular journey. Onward into the future then.

Rift will be free again on Nov. 29, and then one day in December and one in January. After that, the story is leaving Select and will be published to all my other distribution channels. My other short story, Last Night, gets regular downloads on Smashwords and some of the sites they distribute to (mostly the Apple store and Sony), so I look forward to watching Rift in those channels. (Barnes and Noble occasionally sells one of my garden books, but has never moved a single copy of Last Night).

In the meantime, I am working on the next tale of Tahylam. The working title of the sequel is Faolan, which is the name of the young mage at the heart of the story. To begin, I sketched out a rough sequence of events and related notes. For the first time I used Scapple, brainstorming software designed by the creators of Scrivener. I love Scrivener and so far Scapple has been a good tool to help sort out my thoughts, which as usual are muddled.

WhatThe other tool I’m working with now is a book that I recommend to everyone, whether you’re a writer or not. It is called What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank, written by Krista D. Ball and published by Tyche Books, a small Canadian press. It’s subtitled “A fantasy lover’s food guide”.

This book is a delightful look at the historical record of food and drink as it applies to fantasy stories. How much food does a traveling army need, and where does it come from? What can your small group walking cross-country reliably expect to forage at different times of year? If they’re riding, what do they feed their mounts, and how much food can they carry? How do you keep the food from spoiling? And how long does it really take to stew a rabbit, or dress a deer?

Now that I write fantasy again, I struggle with the amount of world-building that must be done to flesh out the details behind every story. And these small questions of food reverberate across the culture. If a band of warriors steals food, that’s one kind of relationship to the people around them. If they expect tribute, that’s a different relationship entirely. If they stay at inns or buy food from farms, there must be certain class and economic structures in your world.

So thinking about the food and farms in Tahylam helps me understand the culture Vanessa lives in, and the customs and conventions of the Ranks. The funny part is that most background details are never shown in the story. But food (and drink) are always around and knowing where they come from affects everything you write, the whole arc of your story and the constraints of your world.

Krista’s book is great fun to read too, which is why I recommend it for readers as well as writers of fantasy. It is full of historical references without being academic or dry in any way. You’ll learn a lot, and see the worlds of fantasy with a deeper understanding.

As much as I love ebooks, you really should buy What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank in print because it has by far the loveliest cover of any reference book in the world. The book is not only intellectually but physically delicious. Try it.

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to writing.


Into the Rift free on Amazon for two days

On October 30 and October 31, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, my newest short story Into the Rift will be free. I haven’t decided yet when the next free days will be, but I’ll post here and on FB when I know.

So if you like sword and sorcery short stories, please grab a copy this week and let me know what you think.


Into the Rift is live!

Into the Rift coverInto the Rift is now live in the Amazon US store. I’ll add links to the other Amazon stores on the fiction page as they go live, too.

For three months (roughly, to Jan. 16) the story will be exclusive to Amazon’s Select Program. This allows me to use five free days over that period, so I can introduce the story to a somewhat wider audience. I’ll announce those free days here on the blog, and also post to my email list and on the Clary Books Facebook page. If you want to hear about new releases without the need to monitor my kind of random blog posts, please join the list! It is for announcements only, and we never use your email address for any other purpose.

After three months, I’ll publish the story at B&N, Smashwords, and through Smashwords to the Apple store, Sony, and other distributors. If you need a copy in .ePub format before it is available there, my email address is on the “About Clary” page. Just let me know.

The ability to publish your own work so easily and have it distributed to the world is a complete thrill for me. I’ve enjoyed working on this story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.


Yes, this week

Into the Rift coverInto the Rift is finally in its finished state, or as finished as it’s going to get anyway. I have to fiddle with formatting, TOCs, and back matter, but later this week I’ll upload it to the various Amazon stores.

I’ve decided to put the story into Select for three months, which requires me to keep the story exclusive to Amazon for that period. So it will be months yet before it gets published to the Nook, or into Smashwords for wider distribution. My hope is that having a few free days will gain some visibility out of the gate. But I don’t want to stay exclusive to Amazon for long, so after that first 90 days I will publish it elsewhere.

I’ll definitely post here when the free days are, so if you want to pick up a copy for free, please keep an eye on this space. Or, you can sign up for the Clary Books mailing list, and I’ll send a notification right to your inbox.

At any rate, the story will be available soon. I am a sadly slow turtle, but I do get there eventually.


Next week

So I’m working with Into the Rift a bit more after Mr. J delivered a second round of suggestions. And I’ve contacted an editor for a final line edit/proofreading run next week (maybe two. whatever). That means a new publication within a week from today. I’ll be glad to move on; I’m ready to be done with this story.

I’ve already begun the next story in the Tahylam series. The working title is “Faolan”, which is the name of the young mage at the center of the story. It feels good to be creating new words again. This series will be five stories, as I’ve envisioned it so far. Four more short stories will easily take up the rest of this year.

More news as I get it.


“Last Night” now free on Amazon

Last NightMy short story Last Night is now free in the Amazon U.S. store. I’m very happy to make this short fantasy freely available to Amazon customers at last.

If you are in another country or need a different format, you can download the story free at Smashwords, where it is available in all formats. If you have a Kindle though, and a U.S. Amazon account, it is much easier to download through Amazon’s own site.

I am still working through the edits and cover for another short story, Into the Rift. I’ll post here and to the mailing list when that story goes live as well.


Editing update

I am sorry to report that the edits Mr J returned to me were excellent and useful. This unfortunately means I have more work to do on this story. So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next few days. I hope to get back to new words by the end of the week. Fingers crossed on that.



No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.
- attributed to H.G. Wells

Yes, the story is off to Mr. J to edit. He so loves getting his hands on one of my stories.


Monday report

Last week was taken up with my husband’s computer dying unexpectedly. We had to rally around to get a replacement ASAP. We’re still dealing with finances and paperwork from the surgery he had recently as well. He’s my best editor and beta reader, and I haven’t sent the story to him yet. But now the computer is all in place, so this week we’ll do a round on the editing.

I’ve already got a general outline of the follow-up story, so that’s up next once this is published. Then I have to get back to the novel. In the meantime, we have tomatoes! Four kinds of tomatoes, along with two kinds of peppers and bunches of eggplants. I’m carrying in baskets of fruit once or twice a week. Last night Mr. J baked pans of tomatoes in his own way that makes them all caramelized and sweet. Very yummy.