Elaria – Elven Woodlands

I previously shared some general information about the elves and their society. You can find that post here. In it, I highlight how crucial the royal line is regarding the elves’ connection to their Woodlands. For today, I will be sharing more about the various woodlands. 

As the elves slowly explored Elaria, they made additional connections to the land. While each Woodland was by no means homogenous, the elves drawn to each place often had similar physical characteristics. This frequently helped elves who did not feel the same depth of connection to their birthplace find their home Woodland from among the others. 

Auradia 

The Auradian Woodland was the first, the origin of the elves. Centrally located on the continent, it bordered the Claw Mountains to the north, savannah to the west, plains to the east, and forest to the south. Elves spread to explore those nearby lands. Their presence made the natural foliage grow strong and lush, and the elves lived plentiful lives. 

Initially, the elves only had skin in tones of gray with dark hair and bright eyes of blue or green. To this day, most Auradian elves have gray skin with undertones of green or blue. As the first Woodland, however, it has disproportionately more diversity than the others. The Auradian elves also see more spontaneous diversity in their children. They have a larger population and bear more children than the others, and more elves leave the Auradia Woodland to find their true home than the number entering.

Gray of skin, blue of eye.

Considering these factors, some elves believe that if the Auradia Woodland were lost, all the elves would eventually fade from the realm.

Derou

The Derou Woodland was the first to be founded by elves traveling from Auradia. It is to the northwest of Auradia, bordered by forest, mountain, desert, and savannah. The warmer weather near the desert made the Derou a veritable oasis with plant life variety unmatched elsewhere in the world. With this bounty, the Derou became the source of several medical discoveries and advancements in their initial years and beyond.

The first to strike out on their own.

Elves initially drawn to the Derou were those with dark gray skin trending toward reddish undertones. Over time, this distinction became more pronounced. Most Derou have skin ranging from very dark to light brown, often with red or gray undertones, and hair and eye colors within a similar spectrum.

Satersa

The Satersa Woodland was founded just after the Derou in lands to the south of Auradia. The new Woodland sat nestled among rolling hills leading toward the ocean. They produced strong wood and fabrics.

Satersa elves had skin tones ranging from blue-gray to yellow-green and had hair colors as diverse. Some called them the “river elves” based on their coloration. These tones have since returned to the Auradia or gone to the Palonian, shifting with the destruction of Satersa.

When the gilar emerged in Elaria, they did so in the southern part of the continent. As they spread across the coast, the Satersa faced an unexpected enemy. They were quickly overwhelmed. The Heartwood was desecrated by the gilar, the royals died in the conflict, and refugees fled to their kin.

Lost. Gone from the realm.

Despite mounting a counterattack, the Heartwood was never reclaimed. The surviving Satersa eventually began to age and die. Children with a direct lineage to another Woodland sometimes survived by making another essential connection to their secondary ancestral land. Since the tragedy of Satersa, the elves have taken precautions to protect and defend the Heartwoods and the royal line of every remaining Woodland.

Travelers, elves who feel drawn away from their homelands, frequently have features drawing back to the Satersa. Blue or green eyes or skin undertones are some of the most common features shared among these elves. The prevalent theory is that these individuals would have belonged to the Satersa Woodland had it not been lost.

Palonian

The Palonian Woodland is the youngest of the four. Its founding was barely a couple of thousand years before the vampires and fairy emerged in Elaria. Situated to the northeast of Auradia, the Palonian sits between two major rivers with plenty of farmland amid the scattered forests.

Last to emerge. Strongly influenced by their predecessors.

Palonian elves have skin tones like oak or maple wood with red or yellow undertones. These pale tones often came with brighter hair and eye colors. Bright red, blond, or chestnut hair. Jewel-bright blue, green, or hazel color eyes. Most of the initial Palonian came from either the Satersa or Derou. These origins still show in the greens and browns prevalent in the appearance of many Palonian elves.

Common

Despite the differences in appearance and distance between them, there is little difference between their societies. They share people and resources in need and work together as stewards for the lands between and around their Woodlands. As more races emerged, the elves did their best to welcome or defend against them as their nature allowed. Though the land under their influence shrank, the elven core remains strong and steady.

You meet some of the Derou in Hidden Memory and explore the Palonian Woodland in Hidden Sanctuary. Also, if you love the books, don’t forget to take a moment to go to Amazon to leave a rating/review. Thanks for your support!

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!

Another Milestone

This week was full of writing milestones for me across multiple books. All of these are in preparation for upcoming events. 

Hidden Sanctuary 

On Tuesday, the proof copy of the paperback version arrived. With the same font settings as Hidden Memory, the second book came in at about 450 pages and felt a little heavy in my hands. I’ve decided to drop the font down a size to reduce the page count and a couple of other minor changes. 

If it were only the little adjustments, I would have proceeded. However, the font change is big enough that I have a second proof copy on the way. While the proof processed, I worked to finalize the digital formatting. The copyright is submitted, the book is listed in all of my accounts for reviews, and I have put out the call for ARC readers. The first ARC email went out on Friday! Once my second proof copy arrives – hopefully looking amazing – I will move up the release date so I can order author copies for my booth at the fair! 

Hidden Promise 

Hidden Promise is the third book in the Hidden Series. The preorder for the eBook is live on Amazon, with a release date scheduled for June 2023. I know it is a long preorder, but I can always move it up if I want to later.

Books three and four have not gone through as many iterations as the first two did before I decided to publish. I’m becoming a better writer, but I do not want to rush things. Thursday I officially passed the draft to my alpha readers, so we will see what they say. While they work, I will start on the major rewrite of book four!

Side note: to reward my fans for joining me early, Hidden Promise will be $3.99 for the eBook during the preorder period! 

Coming Soon

A couple of other changes will also happen once I push for Hidden Sanctuary to go live. I spoke of it before, but I decided recently to put my work into Kindle Unlimited. Hidden Memory will switch over as soon as the request processes, and Hidden Sanctuary will shift over about a month later. The delay is to give all of my preorder supporters a month ahead of the pack as thanks for purchasing my book. 

If you are in Washington State in August or September and are interested in purchasing a signed copy of my paperbacks, you will have several opportunities! I will be at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire on August 13, 14, 20, and 21 in a little 5×5 booth selling and signing books. Then, on September 24, I will be back at Page Turner Books in Kent, WA for a book signing event they are holding with several local authors. It is called Fall Festi-Con Fair

I hope to see some of you there or see more great reviews popping up on Amazon! I have a chapter cut from Hidden Sanctuary I will post on my website once I hit 40 total reviews/ratings between the two books. Hidden Memory is currently at 17, and I’m hoping the additional release and KU will push this even higher. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Faire Booth Preparations

I mentioned recently that my application for a booth at the local Renaissance Faire was approved. This weekend, I planned to go shopping for additional items for an outdoor booth dressed in the necessary theme. I hoped to have ninety percent of the materials and do a test run in the backyard. I would take some pictures of how amazing it looked and share them with you to bask in the glory of my creative use of limited funds. 

As you can imagine, little of my shopping today went according to plan. The canopies we have are too big—my booth space is only 5×5—and none of the stores we stopped at had any options smaller than 8×8 or a 7.5-foot circle. Looking for decoration accents was also a bust. The craft stores were too DIY for my skill/time, while Party City’s merchandise was too modern. 

Fortunately, our most important stop of the day paid off and made the shopping headache worth it. Looking into suggestions for decorating a Ren Faire booth, there were many recommendations to use old sheets to wrap modern supports to make them look more like a medieval cloth tent. 

We went to Goodwill to search the linens, picking up a number of sheets to cover the tent, table, and chairs. I plan to use our twine to tie it all to the supports for that billowy tent feel. On a pass through the decorations, we also found another picture stand and a wood box to replace some of the more modern items we used at my first book signing in February. 

This was the table at my first signing. I will use most of this again in August.

The rest will need to wait for delivery, as it had to be ordered online instead. I should have most of it before the end of the month to do a trial run. In addition to the tent, I ordered more sealing wax for more wax seals, some cute butterfly hair clips for potential giveaways with books, and some bookmark charms shaped like swords and other old weapons. Along with the advertising flag I ordered, I think my booth is going to look marvelous, and most of the supplies can be used again in the future!

Books at the Faire

I have seen a lot of advice on how many books to bring to events like this, and it still feels like I am stumbling in the dark. Some say 20 per 1,000 attendees at the event (I’m not sure if this is for each book or total), which would mean about 600 for this event for me. Another person recommended 50-100 of each book for a two-day event, depending on size. This would put me at about 400 books for this two-weekend event. I have decided to order 250 more of my first book, which will give me around 280 available. I’m debating between 150-200 of the second book, which I hope will arrive before the first weekend. The books will not go bad, so hopefully, my guesses will not be a massive overspend. 

As for my second book, it has been with the editor for a couple of weeks now. This one is about 30k words longer than the first, so it is taking a bit more time. She expects to have it back to me by next weekend. Over this next week, I want to finalize the cover, frontmatter, and backmatter so it is all ready to upload to quickly order a proof copy. If that first proof looks good, then I will have about six weeks for a large order to be printed and shipped in advance of the event. 

This also means the book is likely to be released ahead of schedule! I need the paperback to be live to order author copies on KDP (yes, I know there are other options). Sign up to follow my blog here or for my newsletter on the homepage to hear when Hidden Sanctuary officially goes live. 

As a final note today, thank you to all the new readers leaving reviews for Hidden Memory. I am now up to 16 ratings/reviews! Reviews are amazingly important to new authors, and I appreciate all of you for taking the time. 

Have another great weekend!

My First Book Signing

One of my goals for 2022 was to do at least one book signing this year. Whether that was the Rennaisance Faire for which I applied, a local convention I somehow managed to get into, or partnering with a local bookstore for a spot for a couple of hours, I was going to make something happen. I thought it would take most of the year to reach this point. With a little luck and a lot of initiative, my first ever book signing event happened yesterday evening. 

Preparation

Much of my preparation was researching what other authors’ booths have looked like and finding the stories they have shared about what works well and advice for other authors (like me!). I also had to adapt to my budget, which is minimal at the moment. Here are some of the key items along with some of my takeaways: 

  • Books: The general information I found was 50-100 of each book for one (day) event. 
    • This was a smaller event, and I am still unknown. I brought 50 and did not come close to selling out. 
  • Signage: Big, eyecatching, genre-specific. 
    • I got an 11×17 foam board of an image I created using my cover art and review quotes. It worked well for the space given to me. 
    • I might add a cloth banner to go on the table cloth and hang down in front. 
    • I will add a picture of me to the foam board when I upgrade to a larger version. Many people were surprised I was the author…which surprised me, so lesson learned. 
  • Giveaways: have some, and have something that includes your author info on it. 
    • Fairy wings are my logo, so I had butterfly stickers for the kids and some simple bookmarks with a cover image on one side and my logo and info on the back with a QR code for my ebook link. 
    • The wax seals were also a draw. I sold those 2 for $1 and gave one for free with each book sale. They are more supply- and labor-intensive, so I decided not to give them away for free. 
  • Booth buddy/transportation: recommend having a booth buddy and hand cart if possible. 
    • Books are heavy, so are tables and chairs and all the other stuff you will bring. I borrowed my dad’s collapsable hand cart.
    • My husband came with me as my buddy. He is better with people than I am, so he helped me get started with the whole “interaction” thing. He also covered for breaks and completed purchases while I signed the books. 
    • My niece also came as my cashier. Taking notes on my sales and helping make change. She stuck out the entire four hours too!

Check out this cute frog my niece made for me!

Meeker Street Nerd Party

The event itself is still pretty new and growing. I think it started with only one or two businesses on Meeker Street in Kent, WA doing a “nerd party” for their patrons who love fantasy, sci-fi, retro, comics, and other great nerdy things. It has grown to include most businesses on the street with special guests, exhibits, and events. There was cosplay, legos, trivia, artists, authors, and a couple of power rangers (actresses) doing autographs and photos!

While my niece was with me at my table, my nephew checked it out and enjoyed himself. It had pretty good traffic for most of the evening, and people had fun dressing up and participating, as well as patronizing the various businesses. I hope I can attend again and build a partnership with the bookstore. 

Execution

Now you are asking, “If you didn’t get close to selling out, how did you do?”

“Pretty good, I think,” is my answer. 

My guess and target for sales were two, so my bar was relatively low for this first event. I exceeded my target by a fair percentage, selling two in about seventy minutes, with my best hour coming in the middle. I appreciate all the support for local artists from the people stopping by my booth and others!

I practiced my stump speech the two days leading up to the event, so I only stumbled over it a little instead of constantly and stayed out in front of my table nearly the entire time. I consider that a victory in itself with my people-nerves. 

Me with wings on and holding some of the little cakes from the participating bakery. Thanks for sharing them with me, family!

The experience and learnings were also invaluable. I’ve done it once; next time won’t be so scary. I also know what I need to work on: 

  1. Push for sales more. It is not “pushy” to tell them that I’m offering to sign any books they purchase at the event. That is, in fact, a great way to let them know they are talking to the author. 
  2. Push the newsletter sign-up. I forgot to do this too often, and those contacts are important. I need to offer this to every person who seems even remotely interested. 
  3. Put my card/bookmark in each book I sell. I started doing this later in the day. It is a great way to get my website and other such info into the hands of people who will hopefully be enjoying my book soon and might consider following me at a later date. 

My Favorite Part

It happened early into the evening with my first sale of the day. A young lady with her family stopped to talk with me, and my book was in her genre. She was interested in the book and got so excited to find out I was the author and would sign it for her. I ended up suggesting we get a picture together because this enthusiasm means so much to me. I wanted the picture as much as they did, if not more. I’m never sure about preferences for me using names; I will call her “B” here. 

Hi, B! I hope you enjoy the book!