On and on into the night, they flew at a pace no horse could ever match, and Larron wondered just how large this land was and how they managed to keep it hidden for so many lifetimes. Finally, he made out pricks of light filtering through the canopy ahead. His assumption of habitation was confirmed when he felt them drop slowly toward the trees. Their descent remained easy until they reached the forest. The prince told Larron to hold on but said nothing else before he pulled up and then dove straight down through the branches.
The ride twisted and turned, as jerky as any he ever experienced flying with Annalla. Larron struggled to cling to his bearer as the force worked to pull them apart. Behind him, he heard a brief, deep-voiced shout of surprise along with Patrice’s screams of fear. The one carrying her would bear claw marks for certain after this; the cat-like irimote was not at all fond of flying.
Once below the clustered branches, where the foliage opened, there was a final jerk as the prince righted himself and slowed to fly between the thick trunks. Sturdy trees surrounded them, and Larron saw an increasing number of structures positioned among the thick branches. There was no obvious way to ascend to the buildings dangling precariously high above the ground. Thin wood planks made the basis of their visible construction, with a gauzy material stretched over the windows. Bindings lashed them to the trunks and branches, but there was no invasive external support holding them in the trees. Assuming they were as sound as he suspected, Larron felt an elvish respect for a people who treated their land with such care. To use it without destroying it took an effort many races overlooked.
They weaved in and out of buildings growing in number and size. Most remained dark within, the people here either gone home or asleep for the night. The prince pulled them up once more in front of a large treehouse and set down upon the open porch circling it. The rest of their party followed close at his heels, and Patrice jumped down from her fairy and dropped to the floor. She clung to the boards even as she murmured repeated apologies.
“Patrice,” Annalla knelt at her side, putting an arm around her as she spoke, “she speaks little of the market tongue, but tells me her skins protected her well enough. She is fine, and you will not have to fly again too soon.”
The irimote rubbed her face before looking gravely at Annalla. “I really do not like flying.”
I recently set a target of forty reviews on Amazon between my first two books. When we reached the goal, I would post a deleted chapter from book 2 for free on my website. We crossed the rating threshold in December, and I diligently added the document to my book page for your reading pleasure.
I have been thinking of doing something similar for when I hit the fifty review/rating milestone for Hidden Memory. It is currently sitting at thirty-two ratings, and I hope they keep trickling in as they have in the days since the December promotion. I’m not making promises since I don’t have anything prepared, but get me to forty-five, and the tune might change.
The whole thing has me thinking about snippets and freebies in general. I love when my favorite authors have extras on their websites and share teaser snippets. Especially when they have fun, dynamic characters about whom I love reading more into their lives. Usually, this is for the more lighthearted fare I read. I find those extra bits when looking for the next book, Google the author to find out when it is coming out, and stumble through their website.
Many who read my blog followed before I published for the first time, following my author journey, so I wonder if snippets are a draw here. Do others enjoy those freebies as much as I do? How enticing are snippets shared in a blog if you don’t already have a rabid following? Would a potential additional scene or short story related to a book you loved entice you to leave a written review rather than a rating? Do you miss my sci-fi short story installments here?
I have not received an immense amount of engagement on the blog historically, so let me know if there is something you have particularly enjoyed reading in the last couple of years. Maybe I can even figure out how to do a survey for the blog’s two-year birthday coming up! For now, back to editing this draft of Hidden Promise so I can get it to my beta readers!
Wish me luck on my path to 50 reviews/ratings, and have a great weekend!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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