Why some book series should be read in the order written

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Good-bye A672E92 Quintus is chronologically the first book in the Peers of Beinan Series. However it was actually written FOURTH of the six books.

I love a great book series.  From the JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon Series, I find it satisfying to stay within the same world, getting to know characters, places, and events intimately.  It’s one reason why serialized fiction is so popular and entertaining.

Like both my aforementioned literary mentors, I do not write in chronological order.  With the Legendary Women of World History series this makes sense:  each biography is a stand alone book.  The series designation signals consistency in theme and approach to historical data.  But the books themselves are not necessarily strongly connected (the exception:  Mary Queen of the Scots and Journey to Gloriana).

By contrast, the Peers of Beinan Series is much more traditional with the same cultural, historical, and environmental setting across the books.  The books were written in the following order:

  1. The Great Succession Crisis (along with its companion Data Files, now out of print).
  2. The First King
  3. The Ghosts of the Past
  4. Good-bye A672E92 Quintus (most editions integrate The First King into the text)
  5. The Poisoned Ground
  6. Princess Anyu Returns

This means that the bulk of the world building and explanations of the world building are achieved in The Great Succession Crisis and The Ghosts of the Past — much like George Lucas establishes his world building in Star Wars (A New Hope) and The Empire Strikes Back.  Viewers of Return of the Jedi and of the three prequel films are expected to know ideas like Jedi Knights and Sith Lords before viewing these films.

And so does the Peers of Beinan Series.  The result:  a chronological reading of the series as the first reading of the series is a little bit confusing.  Especially with the novellas (Good-bye A672E92 Quintus and The Poisoned Ground) I found myself not re-describing the wheel already built.  And, to risk sounding pompous, I honestly did not expect to need to do so.  These books are for young adults and adults, after all — not middle grade children like the biographies.  So I expect a higher level of education and deductive reasoning/critical thinking skills from Peers of Beinan Series readers than I do with the biographies.  After all, science fiction readers are some of the smartest and best educated of literary audiences.  As lovers of science fiction we expect our books to be factually accurate, imaginative, and thought-provoking.   We expect to be challenged intellectually and emotionally.  As a life-long science fiction fan, I wrote the books that I most want to read myself.

And so the series best makes sense when you read it in the order that I wrote it in with a chronological reading (such as you find in The Complete Series) best for the second and subsequent readings.  In that, I continue to follow the greats I love:  JRR Tolkien, Frank Herbert, George Lucas, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana,  J. Michael Straczynski, and Stan Lee.

Read these in the order I wrote them and i know you will love them too!

Love Conquers All: The Legendary Women of World History

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Welcome to RomanceFest 2015!  All month long you’ve been discovering some of the best independent romance novels available.  Most if not all of these fall into the conventional romance genres and sub-genres with spicy offerings for adults and young adults.

But romance is so much more than spice.  For me, romance took the form of ancient British legends and fairy tales.  King Arthur and his love for Queen Guinevere.  Robin Hood and his devotion to Marion.  Cinderella.  Beauty and the Beast.  These are the great romance stories, stories we share with our families from almost the cradle.  These are the timeless stories.

Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the IceniCatherine de ValoisMary Queen of the Scots web

The Legendary Women of World History Series explores the lives of women who really lived as accurately as primary sources, reliable secondary sources, and supporting social sciences allow us to know and understand them.  These are true role models whose examples are worth emulating, women of great courage, conviction, and faith who fought for what is right instead of what was convenient.  Women who loved deeply and open-heartedly.

Begin your romantic journey through time with Boudicca:  Britain’s Queen of the Iceni.  Available for kindle, Nook, and your favourite devices plus paperback and audio editions you will meet the real woman behind the legend, experiencing Boudicca’s love for her people, her husband King Prasutagus, and her twin daughters.

Next flash forward to the Hundred Years War and the famous life and loves of Princess Catherine de Valois.  A younger daughter of King Charles VI of France, Catherine grew up terrorized by her father’s violent mental illness to become the excuse King Henry V of England needed to wage his war with France and his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt.  In “Henry V” by William Shakespeare you meet a giddy Catherine wooed by King Henry.  The real story is quite different and much more interesting.  Discover the life and loves of Princess Catherine in this fascinating true story of love conquering all things.  Now available in audio edition narrated by Richard Mann.

Learn more about Catherine’s love story:

Enter to win a free copy of Catherine de Valois! Winners announced 31st of May 2015

Mary Queen of the Scots webFinally meet one of the most intriguing and poorly understood women of all time:  Queen Mary Stuart.  The granddaughter of King James IV of Scotland and Princess Margaret Tudor, Queen Mary dared to marry for love with consequences still being felt today.  Meet the real woman you thought you knew in this beautiful story of courage, love, and daring to do what is right even when it is unpopular.

Best of all:  these romances are completely family friendly and suitable for both you and your children.

Forget the fairy tales!  Get inspired and inspire your children with the best love stories of all — the ones that are absolutely true!

Character Profile: Bensin

Today’s character profile is Bensin from Annie Douglass Lima’s latest book, The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Collar CavvarchCharacter Name: Bensin

Character’s date of birth: November 1, 140

Place of birth: City of Jarreon

Book appearing in: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Profile: Bensin is a 14-year-old slave.  He’s skilled in a tricky martial art called cavvara shil, and he competes in tournaments to earn prize money for his owner.  His goal is to help his little sister Ellie escape from her life of slavery and abuse.

Primary genre: Middle Grade

Content rating: G
Does your book contain any content that promotes a religion or could be construed as promoting a religion by someone of a different faith?: Definitely not

Connect Annie Douglas Lima on twitter.

ACX publishing: Lessons Learned from Production of Catherine de Valois

Self-publishing is ever an adventure.  Just when you think you understand the mechanics of how things work, you find some new quirk.  This ever the case when creating audio books with Amazon’s audio production division, ACX.  So adding to the wisdom gleaned from production of Boudicca:  Britain’s Queen of the Iceni, here is what I have learned this time around.

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  • The whispersync label only applies if absolutely EVERYTHING is read into the book.

That includes all front matter and back matter that is above and beyond your book core content.  For example, most books have a disclaimer or disclosure at the beginning indicating that the work is fiction and no semblance to any person living or dead is intended — or the non-fiction equivalent.  This of course is BORING to have read to you.  In paperback and digital books, most of us flip past that.  The same applies to ISBN numbers and the many other sorts of credits that may be in there.  Since my books are short, I exclude the table of contents from my audio books.  As a low vision author I find hearing the table of contents on audio books BORING and IRRITATING — so I will never subject my readers/listeners to them on the Legendary Women of World HIstory books.  This means the books won’t ever have the whispersync label.  But it also means that from the moment you hit “play” on the books, you are going straight into the actual audio books with minimal credits and distractions.  With audio book prices based on length, this choice also makes the book as inexpensive as possible.  Definitely worth sacrificing the whispersync label for!

  • If you have a question PHONE ACX — don’t use the email.

There is a very specific reason for this:  email is NOT in real time and as such you can really muck up your book using support@acx.com.

Case in point:  on 30th April I emailed ACX to ask them to remind me on how to request changes to the book in the system.  When I asked I did not understand that Richard Mann had streamlined our process by uploading the files but not marking the system “ready for review.”  So the normal buttons of “request changes” and “approve” were greyed out.  This means that the files were not locked — as they normally are during the review process.  So I was confused.

Using the email created a lag.  After figuring out what to do on my own and what Mr. Mann had done in the system, I heard back from ACX.  AFTER I had approved the book (because the files were unlocked it was easy for him to immediately upload the chances) THEN ACX stepped in, said that I had not intended to approve the book, and put the whole thing ON HOLD for edits that do not need to be done.  What I want is for this book to publish NOW.

All of that misunderstanding could have been avoided by using the bloody telephone!  A two day lag on a quick moving project is just NOT acceptable.

Making this more irritating: ACX is supposed to be CLOSED on the weekend.  When did I get my email from them?  830am eastern time TODAY (Saturday May 2nd)!  So all I can do is email them back (which I did) telling them that the book IS FINAL and beg them to please continue with publication!  Yes, it’s a tempest in a teapot created by using email.  So DON’T!  Place the phone call!

  • Streamline editorial by asking your narrator to NOT mark the project “ready for review” until you’ve finished your editorial.  This is counter-intuitive, but it actually saves time!  The reason is that once your narrator hits “ready for review” the files become LOCKED; s/he cannot upload changes until after you hit “request changes.”  On Boudicca, this became a bit of a ACX cat and mouse game that wasted a lot of time.  Especially if you and your narrator are in different time zones (as is the case when one is in the USA and the other is in the UK) you really want to keep those files unlocked until you are ready to approve.  Once you have the book in final form, THEN your narrator should mark the book “ready for review” and it becomes a simple matter of your hitting “approve” to make the book final.

Though as of this writing I find myself a bit irritated because I want this book to go live quickly and I personally hate this sort of complication, I have every confidence that on Monday morning all things will be resolved and today’s issues will be much ado about nothing and life can resume it’s normal, happy course.

Owen and Catherine: the Love Story that launched the Tudor dynasty

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Just then a scream echoed in the forest.  Drawing their swords, Linet and Boudicca charged towards the sound.  By the time they reached the source all that could be seen was Prasutagus, his blood spilling into the ground – as if a year-king killed as an offering to the gods for his people.  Prasutagus looked up, his eyes blurring, “Boudicca?”

Boudicca knelt, weeping, the blood from his chest wound soaking her dress, “I am here.”

“A Roman – scout – I – surprised him.” gasped Prasutagus, trying in vain to tell his wife what happened, knowing the moment he died rage would fill her – rage against Rome.

Boudicca kissed him tenderly, “My love, do not leave me!”  Prasutagus kissed her repeatedly, his eyes fixed on hers until they saw no more.  Feeling his spirit leave his body, Boudicca wept, as if her entire life suddenly passed with him – at least for this moment.  Finally, she rose, helping Linet carry him to their chariot.  With a gentle nudge of the reigns the horses turned for home and the sad work ahead.

—————

Welcome to RomanceFest 2015!  I hope all month long you’ll discover many amazing books from some of the top independent authors in the world.

Complete Series 3D

My contribution to RomanceFest is a bit different.  Rather than offering you the thrilling paranormal science fiction romance of the Peers of Beinan Series, I decided to take a different, much more risky approach.  I decided to make my RomanceFest books CREATIVE NON-FICTION HISTORY for young readers and family audiences.

In the excerpt you just read above and audio excerpt you just heard on the youtube video, you experienced the powerful love between King Prasugasus of the Iceni and his wife, Queen Boudicca.  Boudicca is remembered every year in King’s Cross London for destroying the Roman cities of Camulodunum (originally the capital of the Trinovantes, the southern neighbour to the Iceni in what is now Essex), Londonium, and Saint Albans in the year 61 CE.  Typically she is portrayed as a vengeful shrew getting back at the Romans for publicly flogging her and raping her two daughters (aged 10-12 years old).  I took a different approach with the biography, one intensely grounded in archaeology and one taking a broader look at the cultures of ancient Britain.  Boudicca:  Britain’s Queen of the Iceni is creative non-fiction history for young readers and families at its absolute finest, one benefiting immensely from the dynamic artistry of British voice artist and actor Richard Mann (easily the best English actor you probably never heard of — yet!).

Now I would like to introduce you to Queen Catherine de Valois.  Shakespeare immortalized Catherine in “Henry V,” a play very much taking King Henry’s point of view.  The real Henry and the real Catherine were very different.  In my biography for younger readers and families, you meet the real Catherine de Valois: bright, educated, and religiously devout.  You see her in her historical context as she navigates her father’s mental illness, the French civil war between house Valois and the Duchy of Burgundy, and her brother Charles’ struggles to become king of France — with a little help from Joan of Arc.

But more importantly, you explore her relationships with King Henry V of England, their son King Henry VI, and the true love she found in Owen Tudor.  It is a beautiful, romantic tale to inspire generations of girls and women.

I am pleased to announce that in May or June 2015 Richard Mann and I will release the audio edition of Catherine de Valois on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  So take a listen to the above audio book excerpt, then download your copy of Catherine de Valois on Amazon.com, Barnes/Noble, Smashwords, or Ibookstore.

 

Enter to win a free copy of Catherine de Valois! Winners announced 31st of May 2015

The Human Touch: Thoughts about the Teachings of Esther/Abraham Hicks

I am really into the Law of Attraction.  I believe in and the power that our thoughts make on our reality and what comes to us.

negative emotion is

One of the best known lecturers on The Law of Attraction is Esther Hicks who is allegedly channeling a group of beings collectively known as “Abraham.”  While the advice given is generally sound, I do confess a certain unease at the whole channeling thing; it smacks of a scam, especially given there are books, DVDs, CDs, cruises, seminars, and so forth for sale in great abundance.  People pay lots of money for an audience with Abraham and to get a personalized reading of sorts from them in the hopes of turning their lives around.

In such a context it becomes a bit of a minefield as one searches for truly helpful affirmations and advice from all the clutter.

Abraham Hicks emotionKey to the philosophy taught is that emotions are on a sort of hierarchical scale ranked from good to bad.  These are allegedly arranged by vibration — a high vibration emotion is certain to attract what you really want in the LoA while a low vibration emotion is said to greatly hinder you in manifesting it.

In  general there is a measure of common sense to it.  Obviously if you are hateful and vindictive, you are not going to attract love.  Like attracts like.  So hate bring more hate.  This really is common sense.  It speaks to the core of the law of attraction — you reap what you sow!

But a side effect inevitably comes when you rank order your emotions:  you repress the ones that you judge wrong or inappropriate.  That is to say you still have the emotions because they are part of the human experience. They make us Sentient spiritual creatures.  There is no capacity to love if there is absolutely no capacity to hate as well; the capacity for BOTH is what defines each on both a psychological and practical level.

So to love you have to also be able to hate.  To trust, you have to be able to not trust.  To be honest, you have to possess the ability to lie.  This is also what I find troubling and unrealistic about the ways that Christians talk about God.  If God is ONLY LOVE, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS, ETC and CANNOT experience those other things as well then is God truly a Sentient and living being and therefore objectively existing at all?  No wonder it is easy for atheists to argue that God was created by humankind and not the reverse!

And so we are brought back to this organization of emotions.  What happens to you psychologically when you tell yourself “I’m only allowed to feel THESE emotions?”  Answer:  you repress the other ones.  This in turn means you put up walls within your mind and spirit which, intentional or not, naturally grow into walls between yourself and other people.  You end up FEELING LESS.  Empathy wanes.  You lose the ability to understand and relate to other people.  This in turn makes you LESS LOVING, LESS COMPASSIONATE, LESS HAPPY.

In cutting yourself off from the emotions Abraham says are bad for you, you ultimately destroy your own humanity and the best parts of yourself. This in turn makes it easier for you to harm yourself and harm others.  It is, after all, the person who feels the least, who is cut off from her or his emotions that is most capable of destructive behavior — to self and others.

permission to walk away

And this is the danger point with Abraham and why it would be perhaps correct to label them as demons or manipulative spirits.

That is not to say that they are completely wrong.  But each assertion needs to be thought about and weighed for its value with a focus on balance.  Instead of arranging emotions from “good” to “bad” recognize that all emotions all important.

I am no longer a Christian, but I see the wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Abraham would have us believe that if we experience both sides that we are harming ourselves.  In reflection I disagree.  We are only harming ourselves if we 1) repress emotions instead of embrace them or 2) focus our energy on hurtful emotions (and therefore attract more hurt to our lives).

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There are many sources of wisdom and inspiration.  The human experience has no limit to these.  Balance comes from applying wisdom from MANY sources of inspiration — from Christianity, from Judaism, from Islam; from Wicca, from Buddhism and Daoism, from Shamanism, from Asatru, and a thousand voices from across time and space.

Embrace your humanity.  Feel your feelings.  Keep your focus on what you want and always phrase everything positively.  Look honestly at your life and think about what barriers your mind projects between the direction you choose for yourself and achieving it.  Believe and have faith and confidence in your ability to achieve and reach what you focus.  Say “I WILL” instead of “I want.”

The law of attraction is powerful. It is common sense. But even as mindfulness about it offers the potential to bring great good and joy in our lives, how we go about it also makes a difference.  For when we wall up part of our emotions in our pursuit of happiness we ultimately destroy our ability to feel, to connect, and therefore be truly happy.

Name Your Own Price Comes to the Peers of Beinan

Complete Series 3DThe Peers of Beinan Series is my epic medieval social science fiction series focusing on the adventures of Beinarian nobles and royals from the Gurun dynasty.  It is a six book series with a Legacy of Princess Anlei Trilogy edition and a Complete Series volume.  There’s also The Complete Data Files reference book and The Lost Tales companion book for a total of ten total book titles.

 

Effective the 12th of April 2015 all regular Peers of Beinan series books are now name your own price on Smashwords.  The two books that are staying regular price are the two you expect:  the Legacy of Princess Anlei Trilogy edition and The Complete Series volume because these contain multiple books at already low prices.

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Name your own price is only available on Smashwords; on all other retailers such as Amazon, Barnes/Noble, and iBookstore the books are all at their regular prices.

 

View and purchase the entire Peers of Beinan series on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/2371.