Fall Festi-Con Fair

This afternoon, 9/24/22, I will be back in my Renaissance garb to chat about my books to anyone who will stop to listen. The idea fills me with both dread and anticipation. I always have to psyche myself up for a lot of human interaction. It is not where my energy comes from, and I continue to battle fits of shyness.

My excitement comes from all the people I have had the opportunity to chat with at other events this year. In February, I met my first fantasy fan excited to “meet the author.” Last month, people stopped by my tent to hear about my stories and ask about the world I created. The overwhelmingly positive and supportive response makes the next live event a little easier to approach.

The Fall Festi-Con Fair is hosted by the local independent bookstore, Page Turner Books, in Kent, Washington. More than a half-dozen authors across multiple genres and a local artist or two will be there. One of the authors will be giving a talk over at the bakery across the street. I will be there with a table at either the bookstore or comic shop right next door.

Deal of the Day

If you are in the area, stop by between 2- 7 pm. You can pick up both books together for a bundle discount. I will also be offering to honor the bundle pricing on the second book for anyone who picked up just the first at the Renaissance Faire. To get the Ren Faire deal, make sure to have your copy of the first book in hand! 

Call to Action

For readers who have already read through one or both books and enjoyed them, I ask that you consider going onto Amazon to leave a rating/review. Reviews are a critical factor in new authors gaining promotions, generating interest, and eventually being able to offer additional formats like audiobooks. Reviews are a simple, yet powerful way to support the authors of works you have enjoyed.

If you have the time and inclination, I’ve included the links below. You would go to the book’s page, scroll to the reviews, and click on “write a review.” It might be necessary to log in, so if you don’t have an Amazon account, Goodreads and Bookbub are additional review locations!

Final reminder: when I reach 40 total Amazon reviews, I will be adding a deleted chapter from Hidden Sanctuary to the website. I have a new webpage and some revisions in-work to get it out there. Fingers crossed that it functions as expected, but I need those ratings from you before I start the test!

As always, thank you for all your support!

Summer’s End

We are rapidly approaching what has been—for me—a whirlwind summer. Over the last month and a half, I have DMed at GenCon, gotten sick, sold at the Renaissance Fair, and hosted my brother’s family for their visit. While all this was happening, I have also been working on a significant career change.

After more than seventeen years in the corporate world, I want to explore being my own boss. While I would love for this to mean becoming a full-time author, I have nowhere near the backlist needed to make that a reality. Though, I’m working on it.

There are several options I’m exploring and putting effort into. I’m not sure where I will land, but I worked carefully for years to put myself in a secure enough position to make a change like this. It will work out. One way or another, I will do what it takes to move forward.

I also got a new “end of summer” haircut! Back to my bright red and trying out an undercut.

Reflection

If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, my answer would have been incorrect. I was heading toward the publication date for my first book, hoping it would eventually reach and entertain fifty strangers. All the research and effort were coming together for that final deadline.

Not even a year later, I have already far surpassed my conservative goal of fifty readers. I met some amazing people at live events who are eager to read my work and excited to meet me. My goals for 2022 felt daring at the start of the year, and now I believe I will surpass them despite all my lingering doubts and imposter syndrome.

If there is one thing I would add to the list, it would be doing more short-length videos (Tik Tok, Reels, etc.). A kind marketing expert who stopped to chat with me at the Ren Faire suggested I just get in front of a camera and talk through some questions. The exercise would give me some video material with which to work. I might give it a try before the month is out.

Here’s to another beautiful summer!

Elaria – Balance & Evolution

In Hidden Memory, the elves explain to Annalla the natural balance of the realm and how that balance is expressed through what they refer to as “balanced creation.” Elves versus gilar. Fairy versus vampires. Irimoten versus windani. In this post, I will share a little more about how this concept presents within Elaria. 

Good Versus Evil 

Sentient creatures in Elaria are drawn toward one side of this dichotomy or the other. While the specific definitions are difficult to pin down because of the myriad of factors that can influence a situation, these are real and tangible concepts in the realm. 

Elves are naturally inclined to act in “good” ways. They seek to live in balance and harmony with the world around them. An elf will place what is best for the whole over what is best for themselves. They are patient, thoughtful, and open-minded. Violence is not anathema to them, but it serves as a means to an end within these parameters. 

Gilar, in contrast, are naturally inclined to act in “evil” ways. They care about power and control and are driven by selfishness and greed. Individual goals, wants, and desires are the primary force behind their actions. They glory in violence and suffering and will torture their own weak for entertainment if it suits them.

So, if nature seeks balance and the elves promote balance, why were the gilar created? Because nature is messy. It evolves and changes, grows and renews. The elves, immortal and in harmony, were stagnant. There could be no more elves, and the world would not change. Essense pressed for new life, but it would not come to the elves without also bringing death.

Because nature is messy. It evolves and changes, grows and renews.

The essential forces driving life in Elaria surged in other parts of the world, seeking to balance the influence of the elves. Thus, the gilar came to be over time. They evolved, spread, and came into conflict with their elven neighbors as they sought death and destruction.

Nature of the Balances

To preserve the emergence of the initial race the balance created is always at a slight disadvantage from an individual conflict or combat perspective. The elves emerged first, and one-on-one, the elf will usually win. Despite the gilar being stronger, the elves are strong enough and have better speed and agility that more than compensates. The same is true comparing the most recent balance to emerge, the irimoten and windani. 

For the fairy and vampires, however, it was the vampires to first emerge into the world. The fairy are the balance. From the perspective of speed and agility in the air, the two races are closely matched with the fairy slightly edging out their opposite. Vampires have a sensory advantage, especially at night in the dark, and their venom is highly lethal to the fairy. 

While the elves and irimoten have no desire to press their advantage against their balance, the vampires did and hunted the fairy to near extinction. Only by leveraging their essential powers and connection to the realm were the fairy able to avoid such a fate. 

On the Dichotomy

As a final note today, I will share approximately where the races fall on the good/evil dichotomy in Elaria. 

Over the millennia, Elaria had been drifting slowly closer to the physical side of the power/force spectrum. The elves and gilar emerged earliest in history and most divergent from a good/evil perspective. As the realm drifted, the next pair emerged a little closer together. To put it in simplistic moral terms, the scope of concern of the fairy was slightly smaller than the elves and slightly larger for the vampires over the gilar. When the irimoten and windani emerged, those scopes had grown and shrunk respectively once more. 

This drifting toward the physical side is what allowed the connection with Earth and saw the humans and dwarves enter Elaria. Their presence may have kept the realm drifting in that direction, but another force was already at work. The magai connecting to and entering Elaria had already shifted the momentum of the realm. Elaria is now drifting back toward the magical side, but the movement is so gradual, that only some of the longest-lived elves might one day see the impact. 

Renaissance Faire Pt. 2

The renaissance faire was an awesome experience this weekend. Despite breathing in a pound of dirt, sweating in the hot sun, and wearing my poor feet out, I loved meeting so many wonderful vendors and fairgoers. I was floored by the reception to my book. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my tent to hear a little about me and my work.

First, I want to say another thank you to my sister and husband for working my tent with me this weekend. They showed me the ropes learned from last weekend and stuck around in the blazing sun to help make the event a success. We easily found our rhythm, and their passion for my books matches mine. Without a doubt, I could not have managed without your support.

Impressions and Surprises

The biggest surprise for me was how the day flowed. Nine hours of standing around plus two of set-up and prep sounds like it would drag on endlessly, but you move quickly through the day. An hour of unpacking and set-up, and then you have an hour to relax. Other merchants would often come over to chat with us, or we would roam around chatting ourselves. Before you knew it, the gates were opening.

Showing off my book from in front of my tiny tent!

During the first hour or so, most people were drifting around scoping out the offerings or heading to the first show at eleven. We saved our voices for later, mostly nodding to people and showing off the book. The handful of early customers helped us warm up our book summary skills and gain energy from chatting about something we all enjoy.

Chatting about books!
Signing books!

The joust would let out, and a wave of people made their way through the aisles. It was always fun to see someone perk up when they heard my husband shout out about “fantasy books.” That would be me passing by and hearing someone call out to the reader in me. I immediately had something in common with everyone talking to us, which was a relatively new experience.

From there, it was a flurry of activity and trading off lunch breaks until around two in the afternoon. The late-lunch-lull allowed us to trade another round of short breaks and reapply our sunscreen. Things would pick up again between four and five. We caught our breath then, until the final rush in the hour before closing. Then, it was time to pack up again.

With short breaks and talking about books all day, the time flew by much faster than I expected. Based on this experience, I 100% want to come back next year. I now have this dream of standing at my tiny tent in 2023 and having someone call out, “Oh good! You did get a tent again this year!” #authorgoals

Closing down and packing up after a wonderful weekend!

After Hours

I have still never been to the evening events the fair also offers at the taverns on Saturdays. Instead of attending, we joined the cast and crew D&D session Cleric Games hosted after hours. They ran a little two-hour session for people who wanted to join.

I played a barbarian for the first time. Before this, my paladin was my favorite. My style is to “run in and hit things,” so melee works for me. Barbarian might be my new favorite. I would have to give it more than two hours of play before I make that decision, but raging is very “Tiffany.”

Final Note

Welcome to any new readers checking out and signing up for my blog here after meeting me at the ren faire. If you are here because we talked about my publishing journey, click on the “publishing” tag (by the little tag symbol) below and start with the oldest posts.

If you are here because you loved the books and want to keep in touch, I encourage you to follow my blog by subscribing at the bottom of this page for weekly posts, my newsletter by subscribing on the homepage, or any of my social media accounts. You can find those via the links at the bottom of the page.

As always, thank you all for your support, and I hope to continue sharing more books with you all in the future!

Renaissance Faire Pt. 1

Despite precautions, I took ill after my trip last week. To ensure this did not pass beyond me, I remained home for rest and recovery this weekend. This post is a tribute to the massive efforts put forth by my husband and sister. When I could not attend, they stepped up on my behalf. 

Going into the Renaissance Faire, I had no idea what to expect for sales. At my first event, which was much smaller in scale, I sold seven copies. Hour-for-hour, that would put my book needs around seventy. General advice received would put the need closer to five hundred of each book, though I would need to do the math again on that. 

Either way, we all went into this with tempered expectations. Sanitized and wrapped in PPE, I pre-signed fifty-eight copies of book one and forty copies of book 2. It was not enough. 

The faire initially sold out, so they opened more capacity for Saturday. Roads were clogged, and people waited for hours to get in. Everyone crowded into the grounds excited for their next fantastical adventure. As they passed by, my husband called out to lovers of fantasy books. Then, he and my sister would introduce them to my stories. 

Family and friends stopped by to help out through the day, but it was the two of them who set up, tore down, and stood for nine hours two days in a row selling my works. They sold out both days and continued selling even after supplies ran out until the fair closed each day.

Take the kids for a day? Sure, Sis. You want to stay late to play D&D with other vendors next weekend? Of course, my darling husband. I know you both did all of this for family, partnership, and love and not for any exchange. My immense gratitude is yours.

New Readers

For all my new readers, welcome to my fantasy world! I hope you have as much fun with these characters as I do and look forward to the next installment. Rest assured, Hidden Promise is already with my wonderful alpha readers, and I’m about thirty thousand words into the final book rewrite!

See you at the faire on the 20th!