A Woman’s Scorn Now Available!

I have been out of the blogging loop for the past couple of months, but it has been for good reason. I spent the time labouring to get thnanowrimoings finalized: dotting i’s, crossing t’s and making sure the cover is just right. I even skipped this year’s NaNoWriMo to get everything done. And now, I am proud to announce the release of my second novel, A Woman’s Scorn.

Book One of the Trials of the Chosen trilogy, A Woman’s Scorn tells the story of the Munaedaar Raftennon. The wizard made his first appearance in Knightfall as a secondary character. Now his mysterious origin is told, from his earliest childhood. You will learn of Raftennon’s humble roots and what made him an extraordinary young man, even before he became one of the few Chosen by the god of knowledge and magic. You will follow him as he discovers the worlds of spells, of love and of loss. Most of all, you will witness the events that led him down the road to a destiny that has yet to be revealed.

 

He made his choice, now he will pay!

A Woman's ScornA simple fisherman’s life was not in the cards for young Raftennon. The wonders of the Arcane Arts drew him in. He devoted his life to them, mastered their secrets. Now his peers deem him one of the most powerful mages in history.

The sacrifices he made to attain his strength did not seem too much to bear—until she decided payment was due. The cost will be high and he will have no choice but to suffer the consequences.

Will he be ready for what is to come?

Can he survive what is demanded of him?

 

Published by Lupyne BooksA Woman’s Scorn is but the first instalment of the spellcaster’s spectacular journey. The story will continue in The Daemon and The Lady, which has a tentative release set for the fall in 2016. The trilogy will conclude in TwinSoul, where everything will come together.

The paperback is available for purchase at Amazon, while the e-book version can be found at multiple on-line retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, ITunes and Smashwords.

Stay tuned for the progress on my future works. I will keep the progress bars on this site updated so you know when to expect the upcoming novels. And do feel free to leave reviews, good or bad. We often need others to point out our flaws to us. And only by knowing we have them can we move forward to correct them.

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A Matter of Character

Are you ready for some football!

NFL ShieldWeek 1 of the NFL season is in the books. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to curse at the TV and wring my hands to prevent myself from throwing either my laptop or my phone across the room. If not for a few of my fantasy football players having good enough outings to make up for the atrocious play of all the others, I’m not sure I would have had that strength to save my electronic devices. It’s also a good thing I’m not an habitual betting man. Only picking 6 of the possible 16 winners would have cost me more than the shirt off my back.

I can see the rolling eyes and hear the derogatory remarks.

celebrating_football_fansI know it’s just a game. I know the players are paid far too much for running after a ball. I know, in the greater scheme of things, none of this matters. But in the here and now, for the next 13-16 weeks, it’s a big deal. There are millions of franchise owners out there poring over the numbers, fine-tuning their teams, and treating each and every one of their players as if they were in the room right next to them, able to hear their demands for better play or cheers for needed scores.

It’s entertainment, pure and simple. You sit in front of the TV, usually at the edge of that seat, holding your breath, hoping, wishing. You share the players’ pains and triumphs. You voice your frustration along with the coaches. You high-five the fan next to you because your quarterback who just threw the touchdown pass is miles away and you can’t reach him.

It’s still just a game.

Football Character CompareI’m going to make a correlation that is scarcely ever made: football players, in the scope of fantasy sports, are like the characters in a novel. You watch them as they step up to an obstacle. You see them struggle, wince when they fail and feel joy when they succeed.

At least, this happens when the author succeeds in making their characters believable and the story is well written. When the reader relates with the protagonist, they essentially become exactly like the football fan. They wait with bated breath to see what will happen next. Of course, no one expects the reader to jump off their seat and scream at the book when the hero plunges her sword into the creature’s heart after it has been hurting her loved ones for the past 10 chapters. But, as an author, I do hope the reader needs a few moments to bring his or her heart rate down to normal.

As coaches foster a relationship with their fantasy roster, so I aim to create that bond between the players in my fantasy realm and the fan who wishes to see how they fare. I want them to sit up when everything hinges on one character’s decision. I hope they fall back with a sigh when they survive a foolhardy plan that virtually promised to skin them alive. I strive to have them want to throw the book across the room when the antagonist smashes the weapon needed to destroy him before the heroes even have time to finish it.

So, it’s not just a game.

Fantasy football reaches its fans down to the core of their desires and dreams. This is a worthy goal for anyone wanting to entertain the masses. As an author, I use these intense emotions to help form my characters. I know what it feels like to will someone I’ll never meet in person to achieve the impossible. I shake my fist and hang my head with defeat when they fail.

I harness these emotions and use them as targets. If my readers experience this sort of connection with the characters in my novels, than I have done my job as a writer.

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A Question of Sanity

They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different results.

Let’s take a look at this:

10232322_sAs an author, I never pick up my novel to read it. I know that sounds bad, like a negative opinion of the story. I assure you, that is not the case. Knightfall is the only book I have read four times (on top of the writing of the manuscript). I did it from start to finish, each time poring over every single word. There was no skimming. There was no speed reading.

Sometimes I took a week off before starting the next round of edits, but I went back, again and again…and again and again…poring over the same words. I changed a few of those words with every read, so I guess I achieved a different result, which doesn’t make it that crazy. But believe me, while you’re slaving away over the same words you just read not that long ago, you can feel the madness gnawing away at you.

And this process I will repeat many times over. I have more novels to come. I am in my second round of edits of Trials of the Chosen Book One: A Woman’s Scorn, while the first draft of Meeting the Dark is done and waiting its own set of rewrites. So here lies the insanity, for the repeated process will result in the same improvements. While my writing is getting better, so is my editing, so the margin of betterment remains pretty much the same.

And then there’s this:

Authors spend their time in unreal places, giving life to imaginary people. Our stories may occur in cities known to the world, or town known only to those that live nearby. That doesn’t make it real. Read the fine print at the beginning of the book. It clearly states we writers take creative license and twist whatever fact we want to make our story work. We distort reality.

DSC00270As for fantasy authors like myself, we go miles further than that. I play God, putting mountains where I want, directing the flow of rivers along courses to please my fancy. I plop villages wherever I want, create metropolises that span hundreds of miles (I actually haven’t done that, but I might someday). I do have an ocean in Kagendur (the fantasy world in which Knightfall is set) that continually churns as if in a storm, but without the winds and the clouds. And in the middle of that impossible sea lies a minuscule island, a slab of rock that somehow survives the crashing waves when the barrage of waves should sweep it away with ease.

Novelists create imaginary friends and treat them like real people. We need to do this, or they won’t be believable. You need to find the quirks that make the characters interesting, or funny, or down right despicable.

Then we write to make others believe. Of course, we all know what we read isn’t real, but while we pore through the pages, if properly written, the impossibilities sweep us along and make us feel something.

Conclusion:

Let me recap:

  • Authors perform the same tasks over and over
  • Authors have imaginary friends and enemies
  • Authors live in their own world
  • Authors try to convince others their delusions are real

There can only be one way to describe us novelists:

We are insane.

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Questioning Ideas

In my as-yet limited fame, I still have the luxury of walking down the street without having every passer-by stopping me to drill me about every single detail of my life. All right, that is a pipe dream I know will never happen. Unless my books become blockbuster movies starring yours truly. But I’m sure the people in Hollywood have enough sense to see early on I’m no actor.

I know very little about the luxuriant life of established authors, but I doubt they have throngs of fans bothering them every second of every day. I have seen videos clips of conventions, where a panel of peers spend their time bestowing their knowledge on the avid listeners.

I have had some readers come up to me and ask a few of the expected questions. The recurring inquiry I wish to discuss in this post is probably the most-asked of them all:

Where do you get your ideas?

thinkingThis is a question I hate hearing, let alone answering. You might as well ask me why air is transparent. How do you decide what to eat for supper? How do you decide which item to buy as a birthday gift for a loved one? How do you choose a name for your pet fish?

Ideas come from the ether, not matter what they are for. Whether you’re in your office and you suddenly realize there’s a better way to perform a task, or you’re in your garage and you figure out how to squeeze more power out of your engine, you have just received inspiration from the same place we authors find the scene depicting the troll missing the knight and smashing his toe with the tree trunk he’s using as a club.

But I know this isn’t what you meant by the question. What you want to know is:

Where do you find your inspiration?

There are as many way to go about this as there are writers. I won’t go through the list, or this post will end up becoming my next novel. Feel free to visit author blogs or corner them at book signings and ask them. Just make sure to not use the word “idea.”

What I do is simple: I write and imagine. My mind is always working, whether I want it to or not. My brain likes to keep me awake at night. Every time I try to fall asleep, that’s when new ideas pop up to keep slumber away. I have forgotten more story plots than I have typed up or put on paper. But the good ones I replay in my mind so I don’t forget. Those will find their way in print or digital editions some day.

I don’t plot ahead, so my stories twist and curve and make u-turns as I write them. Another question I never answer is “what will happen next?”, because I honestly don’t know myself. As my characters dive into an argument, I get swept up in their emotions and before I know it, 500 words have somehow found their way onto my screen. And somewhere along the way, the story has told me where it needs go.

While I lay in my bed, staring out into the darkness, images of magic and dragons invade my thoughts. I envision different ways to portray these classic and stereotypical characters. This brings new plot ideas, which would don’t necessarily fit in the story I am writing, so they are shelves for future projects. I have enough basic ideas to sustain four distinct series of novels. The problem will be finding the time to write them.

What about outside influences?

DSC01343Taking nature walks may help some centre themselves and open their minds, but as far as I’m concerned, a tree is a tree. People watching helps one see the effects emotions have on our expressions and how different personalities react to differing situations. Though that does help, there are not that many brutes out there who would bludgeon you to death to make you their next meal, so finding examples to flesh out the aforementioned troll would prove difficult.

I do read, a lot. This is my equivalent to sitting on a bench in a mall or strolling down wooded trails. I see how other authors form their stories and characters. This is the only way one learns of wyverns and dracolisks, or how gods would act if they interacted with the mortals who worship them. And this is how you learn what other novelists are putting in their stories, so you can avoid repeating the same plot.

So, to answer the question, I don’t know where my ideas come from. Having the knight in Knightfall treat the elf as he did just came to me. It fit in the story. And the story dictated Ohliaman’s fate. I had envisioned it quite differently when I started writing the book. I think of basic plot lines, then let my fingers do the rest. Sometimes I’m as surprised when I finish writing as the reader will be when they read it.

Below would be a good place to tell the world where you’re inspiration comes from. Maybe I’ll even try some of them.

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Review – Kaylen’s Rising by Yves Robichaud

Kaylen's Rising by Yves RobichaudGenre: Young Adult Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0993974601
322 pages

Publisher: Water’s Edge Publishing

Available at the following locations:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Visit Yves Robichaud on the web:
His Site
Twitter


Book Description

Book 1 of the Tomes of Taria Series

Kaylen has been in the dark for fourteen years – in every sense. His people are hunted, so they must struggle to survive within underground caves. His community despises his family, taunting him constantly. His parents keep him housebound, forbidding him from wielding sword or wand.

When he is finally allowed to attend school, the harsh truth reveals he has much to learn – including a unique magical ability. Kaylen can summon and control skeletons!

With surface-dwellers threatening war, he will need every friend he can make, and to stay true to himself if he is to survive what is to come.


My Review3-Star_rating

A Fast-Paced Tale That Forces Readers To Keep Reading

Don’t let this average rating fool you. Kaylen’s Rising is an excellent story. It is fast-paced and full of action. There is always something happening, forcing the reader to keep flipping the pages to see what happens next.

What this book needs is a little more depth. The characters are a little flat and their relationships do not evolve much, save for a small few. There is a budding love story, but it goes no further than its inception. Future books will most likely elaborate on these romances (I will clarify nothing so as not to spoil the story), but this novel left me disappointed. Kaylen’s family history is revealed nicely throughout the book, however, so I was quite satisfied with his development.

The final confrontation is a little anticlimactic for me. The tension builds beautifully until the final moment, then it just deflates. The problem is resolved too easily in my view, so I was disappointed.

All in all, though, this novel was a good read. It is meant for an audience of children between ten and fourteen, and I believe most of them would enjoy this story.

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Review – Huntsman by Michael R. Wilson

Huntsman by Michael R. Wilson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

ISBN: 978-1478172352
378 pages

Available at the following locations:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
ITunes
Kobo
Smashwords

Visit Michael R. Wilson on the web:
His Blog
Facebook

Twitter


Book Description

~AD 1011 Ancient Finland~

Once upon a time…Words held more Power and dragons roamed the world.

For Eyulf, the youngest son of a minor lord, the opportunity to train with a Rune-Singer Mage was the chance of a lifetime. He is content…until he discovers a volume of Lost Words, powerful Runes forgotten through the ages. Corrupted by Magic he cannot control, things go wrong quickly.

Jaakko, a simple huntsman, returns to his home late one night to find his village destroyed by a creature out of legend. Obsessed with the monster and his desire for revenge, he spends fruitless years hunting the beast before he realizes that it toys with him and he lacks the Power to destroy it.

When Avitus, an officer aboard a Byzantine ship of war, learns that his captain’s orders are to sell their ship and abandon the crew in the far North, he finds himself a penniless outlander. When he finds work as Steward to a future king he feels all will be well…until the crippled Mage comes to court.

Aila, spurned by Eyulf in his quest for Power, has quite happily made a new life for herself without him. When he returns, and tries to claim her once more as his betrothed, her fear of the potent magic he wields keeps her from confiding in the few people she feels she can trust.

One by one, they are drawn into Eyulf’s treachery.

The Hunted Mage Trilogy incorporates a blend of History, Fantasy and Ancient Finnish folklore.


My Review4-Star_rating

A Tale Exceptionally Told

Michael did an excellent job weaving this tale. The characters are so well rounded and compelling they drag the reader along as they stumble through their troubles. I find myself unable to decide who to root for, but I desperately want to know what happens to all of them.

The book is divided into three parts, with many years passing by between acts. I found myself a bit confused with certain details at the beginning of new sections, which interrupted the easy flow of the story. But these were mere bumps in an otherwise smooth ride that is a fantastic tale.

Any fantasy enthusiast must add Huntsman to their collection. I know I have and will definitely buy the other titles to complete the set.

I simply can’t wait to see what happens next.

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A New Beginning

Back in the Saddle Again

I’ve been away from blogging for awhile. Too many things going on to distract me. That, and I’m a constant sucker who falls for the wiles of procrastination. But I have an urge, and I will indulge it. Let’s see how long that lasts.

This sudden resurgence came with my desire to update my website. The creative juices started flowing, now that I was focussing on something else. For the past few weeks, I have been mired in the editing process of my second novel. Add to that a challenge from a friend to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, it was a nice change to move away from the creation of a story.

The “Joys” of Simple Tasks 

So with renewed fervour, I finish polishing the new version of MarcLabelle.com, and that’s when the frustration starts. My hosting provider proved to be as unreliable as it’s ever been. The months since my last attempt to alter my site were not enough to temper my disappointment in their inadequacies. I did what any sensible disgruntled customer would do: I kicked them to the curb.

FrustratedOf course, they had to kick me in the shins as a last goodbye. They were courteous and  prompt with their replies, but I had to drag the work out of them. A simple transfer of a domain name turned into four days of me acting as the middle man between the two companies, getting the information for the new provider while demanding the needed information from the old one. All I wanted was one email stated everything was done. But that clearly was too much to ask.

I know my limitations, and I know what I am capable of. I am confident enough in my knowledge to create and upload my own websites. I’ve done it before. I also added my old blog without too much trouble. But it seems transferring said blog is beyond my skills. The old version somehow got lost in the shuffle. I know it’s out there somewhere, but I have already spent two days trying to get it done. I’m not attached enough to it to worry about it any longer. My last post was over a year ago. I’m sure no one will miss it.

So What Now?

Basically, here I am, starting over from scratch. I had a few pages and features I liked, so I will be adding them to this version. The rest will be new, however.

I geared my first blog toward the topic of writing. Despite not having a degree in English, or any formal training, I could convey what I have learned during my journey to publishing my first novel, Knightfall. I will still relay those nuggets I have unearthed, but they will not be the focus of Version 2.0. You will read about other trials and tribulations of mine, which may not necessarily have to do with the writing process. I might voice my opinion on how funny it is to see all these people reacting to what happened to Jon Snow (read the books and you won’t be so taken aback!). I might say something about wishing writers in Hollywood going back to actually writing a plot, instead of hashing out a movie that has already been done a couple of times. But if you’re looking for a theme, there will be one. I’m a fantasy and supernatural nut, so I will most likely gear my posts toward those genres.

I have also read a few articles on how these entries should be written. The content need to be engaging…it needs to be fairly short to more easily keep readers’ interest…and don’t forget to add pictures…and headings…and always ask the readers for their input…things like that.

I will turn this site into somewhat of a personal journal for me. I needed to vent my frustration regarding the transfer of my website, so I did.

Will the entries remain short so the readers can move on to something else fairly quickly? Just look at this post. I will write as long as I need to. If I feel like posting a novella, I will. Actually, I won’t. I’ll keep those for publication. But I won’t restrict my ranting to conform to proper blog etiquette, or mere guidelines. You can lift your chin up, though. Most of what I’ll post won’t be this long.

Will this be considered engaging content? Maybe. I’m sure someone out there has gone through a similar situation and will be gratified in knowing they’re not alone.

Will I keep adding pictures and headings? The pictures, probably, but the headings might be less of a staple. I won’t make either of them a focus, however. I reserve the right to not use any.

And asking for people’s comments, well, that might be something that falls to the wayside. I value the opinion of others, but I’m the type of person that doesn’t like asking for it. I will end my posts the way that feels right to me. That might mean there won’t be an invitation for you to weigh in. But know that I always accept comments, or even criticism. So, if I happen to not direct you to fill in those fields at the bottom of the post, do remember you are free to do so. Call me out on anything I say, or elaborate on a point I made. That’s what these blogs are for–to engage the reader.

Welcome Back!

So here is the beginning of the next stage of this site. I can’t promise when I’ll be seeing you again, but I have enough of an itch it won’t be too long.

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