Fantasy Dreaming!

Remembering dreams has never been a problem for me. At the age of 14 I taught myself the art of lucid dreaming. This came about after a few years of constant nightmares and a day off school watching TV, but I digress, that’s a story for another time. Over the past few months I’ve had, what I can only describe as, a voyeur of my dreams. I have become slowly aware of being watched! Too many Stephen King novels, I hear people say. You can never read too many Stephen King novels so I kicked that idea right out of the water.  Anyway, I’ve not had much time to read as of late so I know that wasn’t the answer.

Instead of being frightened of this visitor I was very curious. He became more visible over time or maybe my awareness of him gave him more substance? I can’t see his face yet I can feel the pull of his personality. At first I thought it was my husband as he shares personality traits with him, one of which is how he watches me, taking in what I do. It sometimes maddens me how I think he’s not paying attention but he is. It’s as if I’m the centre of his world and he needs every memory of me to store away for when we are not together. That’s how intently this figure watches me but he’s sad, disappointed and sometimes he walks away into the shadows of my subconscious.

This has gone on for over a month, not every night as a lot of the time I don’t dream. However, every time I do, he’s there. One day last week I noticed he wasn’t alone. Others had come along with him. I couldn’t make out who they were. Some were nothing more than dark shadows, some I could tell if they were a man or woman but never a face, only the feeling of loneliness and disappointment. They never conversed with each other, they simply watched. If I approached they would walk away and out of sight. Until the other night!

You know how odd dreams can be, flitting through one scene to another in the blink of an eye. Yep, the usual stuff. I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific until I found myself heading towards the people on the periphery of my mind. Their now familiar feelings stuck to me like mud, slowing my movements and collecting a heavy fog around me. I remember shaking my head and saying out loud “no”. The lucid dreaming trick I learned all those years ago began to work and my dream drifted back to the random flicking through my thoughts.

I must have gone into a deeper sleep because the next thing I was aware of was someone gripping my wrist! I was in a dense forest. The sun, somewhere up above gave a week glow through the trees and mist. The callused and weather worn hand gripped mine hard. For a fleeting moment I was afraid to look. His hold slackened and he stepped back. His dark clothes gave nothing away; I didn’t look up but followed his hand as he pointed to the trees. Amongst the spooky trunks and twisted branches I could see the people again. I felt I had been given an invitation to figure them out so I looked closer. I began to recognise them, not family as I had first supposed, no. Their clothing was straight out of a fantasy book! My fantasy books! I looked back at the man who had grabbed me. I knew only one such character who would have the audacity to do that to me.

He stood tall, over six feet, his wavy blond hair fell over his shoulders, his cloak hid his clothing but I could see the hilt of a sword, one I had written about many times. He said nothing as he stepped away towards the trees and waiting figures. It was Stewart, the warrior I had created to support Lynwen in Dark Magic Rising. His story was not yet compete. I looked closer at the figures in the trees. Sash’ha dropped her sword on the floor, her expression burning into me! I know her pain, I know the significance of the dropped sword and I knew the answers, they were written in pen, still waiting to be typed up! Faces of other characters drifted through my subconscious; Ayva, a young Clah’hen sister, Faith’hane of the Royal guard and Rosh’hane! The first figure I’d seen had been him, a key character in Your Embrace and the Alhanassa Chronicles. He tilted his head and pleaded with his eyes. His quiet but compelling personality once again hit me hard! I’d left his story half finished. I knew how his story panned out. I knew of his trials and his accomplishments, his joys and the heartache he so often felt. Just like Kohinora, I began to fall into the depths of his green eyes.

I woke with my heart pounding in my chest. I sat in the dark thinking of the people I’d created, their back stories and their future. I felt responsible for their well being! Turning the light on I sat and thought of what I’d seen and felt.

Since the release of Dark Magic Rising I’ve given my attention over to many other projects and only now and then choosing to visit the world I created. Why was I not writing? The main reason is simple. I had lost my voice! Or so I thought… But it’s not my voice I need to write about; it’s the characters I created and their lives, their future! I hope the next time I see them in my dream, they will be smiling.

Vamping up the Facebook page!

 

Yes, it’s that time again. The seasons are moving on and it always makes me want to change things. I’ve been busy with work and the family over the summer holidays and now it’s time to get back into my writer head!! Here is the link to Tales of Alhanassa facebook page, feel free to drop along and like it 😉

https://www.facebook.com/Alhanassa/

We have a great new banner on there that shows off the covers of my books. You may notice a change or two leading up to Christmas. I’m having both the covers looked at and revamped. I am aware the images look a little fuzzy on here but on facebook they look fine.

May Day Bank Holiday Sale. 

✨MAY DAY SALE PRICE OF £0.99/$1.27 TILL 7th MAY✨
☆‿➹⁀☆*Dark Magic Rising – The Sisterhood Trilogy – Book One*☆‿➹⁀☆

BUY FROM :-
Amazon UK – http://tinyurl.com/mtto6rm

Amazon .com – http://tinyurl.com/loxb2v6

Smashwords- http://tinyurl.com/n6r8nyn

Kobo – http://tinyurl.com/z6klywl

B&N – http://tinyurl.com/h3vpu3a

IBooks – http://tinyurl.com/zej833m

Follow Lynwen and her colleagues as they try to unfold the mystery of the one who allegedly, will reunite the divided nations. They discover the fallen god who plans to wreak havoc on their world. Lynwen fast realises that magic is no match for this new foe and the reunifying of their people will have to wait. Romance flourishes amid a battle for their lives as the beasts created by the fallen god tear their newly formed trust apart and send them hurtling into a trap. Will this new found unity be enough to save them all?

Work Smarter Not Harder!

Today I was given this advice by a friend who helps me and several other indie authors to promote our work – she said “We need to work smarter not harder – We can do it.”

For a while, probably since the release of Dark Magic Rising, my concentration levels have been low to none existent!! I’ve lost count of the hours I have squandered away watching pointless TV. I used to spend a lot of my spare time reading but haven’t had the enthusiasm for it. Mind you, I have thankfully got over that phase and found several new authors and enjoyed reading their work.

From today I am making a new start. My first step was to move my laptop. I’d got it in a handy place so I could curl up on the sofa and use it while watching TV. This was bad for two reasons the first being lousy posture!! Sitting with my legs under me and the laptop resting between knee and sofa arm was the cause of several bad cramps and dead legs!! Second reason was the TV distracting me from what I was supposed to be doing.

So the laptop is now back on the desk where it belongs. My nice expensive keyboard is plugged and the elevated position of the screen (laptop is on a raised base) makes for a much more comfortable and hopefully productive session. Apart from a few photos, a couple of desk lamps and the much needed candle holders, I have all my notebooks and ‘stuff’ at hand. We don’t have the luxury of having a room we can turn into an office. One of my children still at home would have to move out for that to happen.

From being a teen, I would schedule my time to get the most out of my day. I’ve been called a control freak plenty of times for trying organise others, however, the past few months, probably since Christmas, I’ve stopped doing it. Nothing other than the essentials have been done. I needed a swift kick up the arse and my friends dedication and advice today has given me that.

If I leave it until Monday this new schedule will not get done. Procrastination is going out of the window and getting replaced by determination and smarter work ethics. I have some ideas I want to do with this blog and I need time to research and put it all together. Putting time aside for study is an important step I want to add. Figuring out how to market my own work should be at the top of my list, along with getting my head around all the social media that is out there!

SO…. here’s a huge thanks to my friend and her kick up the arse. She has worked tirelessly to help promote Dark Magic Rising and Bodelia’s Anguish, made promo images and pimped the hell out of them on Facebook and Twitter. Every so often she would send me a link to a book blog that was looking for authors to interview and even got me an author takeover on Whispered Thoughts Book Blog. That was so much fun to do.  Having someone that dedicated to YOUR work while you sit back on your arse isn’t fair on them or you….

My Editor and I! An update on Dark Magic Rising.

We finally have a release date for Dark Magic Rising, which we will share with you very soon. My editor and I have been working very hard and now feel we can work to a deadline.

Dark Magic Rising’s original release date was back in November last year (2015). After undergoing surgery on my spine in May of that year, my editor and I decided to push the date back but never gave ourselves a new goal. This year my editor was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which gave a reason to some of the health issues she couldn’t overcome. Things started to make sense, however, her health has not improved and due to fatigue and brain fog the editing was at times very slow.

Working alongside someone with fibromyalgia  has taught me patience and a little understanding into living with a chronic illness. I could have taken the work elsewhere for a quicker result. But it’s never been about the speed and is more about the relationship I have with my editor. She not only puts me right when I forget about punctuation or get the words to a sentence muddled up and so on, she injects something into my work that wasn’t there before. We are a team that works well, even if I nag her a little when she is having a low week.

We are planning on hosting a cover reveal within the next few weeks and have decided to put the book up for pre-order from the cover reveal event. This was a huge decision for us and in some sense is a little daunting. We aim to put our best foot forward and simply do the best we can because this is about supporting someone and not just looking them over because they don’t fit in with your time table.

hand-cr-soon-expendable

☆‿➹⁀☆COMING MARCH 2017
*Dark Magic Rising*, the first book in The Sisterhood Trilogy. ☆‿➹⁀☆

Follow Lynwen and her colleagues as they try to unfold the mystery of the one who allegedly, will reunite the divided nations. They discover the fallen god who plans to wreak havoc on their world. Lynwen fast realises that magic is no match for this new foe and the reunifying of their people will have to wait. Romance flourishes amid a battle for their lives as the beast created by the fallen god tear their newly formed trust apart and send them hurtling into a trap. Will this new found unity be enough to save them all?

☆‿➹⁀☆In the mean time, enjoy the introduction to the series with a FREE E-copy of Bodelia’s Anguish!
It’s a short story containing a little over 4,000 words. It also contains a teaser for Dark Magic Rising. ☆‿➹⁀☆

Download from:-
Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/hm7hbds
B&N: http://tinyurl.com/hytrcqr
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/hd4aydh

☆Connect with SD Stevens☆
Facebook Profile – http://tinyurl.com/qfoc9bt

Facebook Page – http://tinyurl.com/ho2o6oa

Celebrating Nicky Charles

Nicky Charles is my favourite independent author and I am lucky enough to call her my friend. After reading her second novella, The Keeping, some years ago I started to follow her on Facebook (then went back and read her first book in the Law of the Lycans series, The Mating).   She would often interact with her fans and appeared friendly and approachable. As she wrote more and her popularity grew a fan page on Facebook gave her readers another way of interacting with her.  She always joins in the discussions and the fun stuff that Law of the Lycans page organise.  I was invited onto Nicky’s street team about a year ago and enjoy letting others know about her books.

11193266_748982681867525_8729811774156296068_n

Nicky has been very busy lately reediting her books and preparing them for paperback and hardbacks. The Law of the Lycans series books have new covers and look amazing in physical print…. I know because I’m lucky enough to have the full set of paperbacks of ALL her books, gifted to my by Nicky and Jan Gordon (Co-writer to In The Cards and Nicky’s editor).

To celebrate the release of the physical books Law of the Lycans page are throwing a party!! There will be a chance to win a signed copy of Nicky’s books. All you have to do is come along to the event and join in.  So click HERE to join in and meet Nicky Charles, Jan Gordon, the lovely ladies that run the Law of the Lycans page and Nicky’s Lusty Lycans (Street team).

Here are the buy links.

PAPERBACKS:

TM link:
https://www.createspace.com/4718119
TK link:
https://www.createspace.com/6170696
TF link:
https://www.createspace.com/6170714
Bonded link:
https://www.createspace.com/6170723
Days of the Rogue link:
https://www.createspace.com/6159001
Road to Redemption link:
https://www.createspace.com/4714295
For the Good of All link:
https://www.createspace.com/5457616
Forever In Time:
https://www.createspace.com/4668842
In The Cards:
https://www.createspace.com/6018772

HARDCOVERS:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/NickyCharlesHB
B&N: http://tinyurl.com/nickycharle

Here’s a little note from Nicky about buying her books.

If at all possible, please buy paperbacks through Createspace. Here’s why:
Createspace sets the minimum price I can charge based on production costs plus the profit margin they want. Amazon then adds on their profit margin. Other stores, such as B&N, require a discount (between 30-50%) before they will carry the books. In the end, I earn about 3% royalties (e.g., 50 cents) on books purchased from B&N or other stores, 15% on books bought at Amazon and 30% royalties on books from Createspace.

Open University- Broadening My Education Part Two

My eight week course has come to an end and I must admit I have learnt a lot. Not just about developing characters and plot but also about me as a writer and where I want to go with it. I am better equipped to analyse my own work and to put things right.

Reading will never be the same again. Though, I must admit it hasn’t been the same since I started writing. I have learnt to find inspiration from almost anything around me, sound, sight, touch, taste and smell. Where imagery is one of my strong points, there is always room for improvement.

I had one final piece to write and share. A character that I have been working on for some time but because of this course I feel she has more depth. A 1,000 word story! I dislike doing short stories…. well that short anyway. I also don’t do first person, which this one is in. The subject of this piece is a huge factor in the characters personality and drive and for me, answers many questions about her behaviour.

Where do I go from here with my education? I’m not sure but I would like to take it further. Having a job doesn’t help but I’m sure I will figure something out. Anyway, here is the piece. I hope you like it.

The Wraith

Since adolescence, I had been angry and envious, I felt my family had failed me. The other sisters in the Order had at least one sword passed down through the generations. Being the first of my family to make it this far in the Order I had no such heirloom and it became the focus of my anger.

“I don’t know what impressed me the most, the princess herself or the sword she carried.” I commented to my good friend, Lynwen, as we sat around the fire in a darkened room reminiscing over the past few years. Taking a sip of the drink I cradled in my hand, I let the burn kick in before swallowing.

“When did you first meet Princess Brigantia?” Lynwen refilled her glass, her hand steady for a woman of advancing years.

“I was sixteen, she was sitting crossed legged under a willow tree in the sanctuary, singing  a childhood ditty and I was drawn towards the sound. I wasn’t supposed to approach but couldn’t help myself.

“Patting the grass at her side, Princess Brigantia asked me to approach. Sitting beside her, I stared in awe at her beautiful face. I’d never seen eyes so blue before, they were alive with light, reflecting a power I could not understand. It was like she held me under a spell.” Leaning back into the chair, I lost myself in memories as I revealed them to Lynwen.

“The next time I saw the princess was much different. Sister Dawn had entrusted me with a message to be delivered directly into the hands of the commander of the royal guard. I was informed she was in the garrison hall, so I headed in that direction.

“The room was full of soldiers in training attire who all stood like statues. I made my way through the crowded room until I could see what kept them enthralled. Princess Brigantia and her brother Prince Adam where sparring. She was dressed in tight, black breeches with a white drawstring vest tucked into the waistband. The royal guard insignia adorned her belt – a triquetra and the sun – a mark of the Leian royal family. Her golden hair lay over her shoulder in one long braid, that brushed the embossed buckle as she moved from one foot to the other.

“The crowd cheered as the siblings readied their stance. That’s when I first saw the princess’s sword, The Challenger. Its gold and steel snake-shaped blade was as distinct as Brigantia’s beauty. She deftly swung the blade, loosening her shoulders. When she prepared to strike the amethyst stone on the pommel came into view. It was the most magnificent blade I had ever set my eyes on and it triggered a knot of jealousy in my gut. Even when that sword was swung in my defence my envy never faltered.”

Shaking my head, I took another sip from my glass. Lynwen, nodded slowly, understanding written on her face. I had no blade of any reputation, only a simple specimen from the Order’s armoury. There was no honour in such a possession and it had eaten away at me for a long time. It made me feel inadequate.

“Now I know why you took all the extra training.” Lynwen’s voice held a touch of disapproval.

“Well, it didn’t rid me of the disgrace.”

“You are known for a great many battles, Sasha and your philosophies on the Order’s mandates are profound.” Lynwen lifted an eyebrow at me. She was right, as young as I was my achievements were impressive.

I leaned forward when Lynwen’s expression changed. Her teasing aside, something sad dwelled within her features. “What is it Lyn?”

“This whole mess with the Order is driving me insane. It’s a job for those much younger than I.”

“What are you saying?” It wasn’t like Lynwen to be downhearted.

“Retirement.”

A few moments passed before I realised what she’d meant. Lynwen had been my mentor, my friend. When Mother punished me, Lynwen was the one I would go to. Now, when I was being prepared to take over the leadership of the Order, my rock was about to crumble. I looked at her lined face and the grey streaking her hair. She did look tired. Guilt washed over me as I admitted my selfishness.

“Don’t give me that look, I’ve been at this far too long. I will always be here, your common sense, on your shoulder.” She laughed and I joined in.

“You’ve talked me out of some very strange and nasty situations.” I chuckled.

Retrieving her scabbard from the floor at her side, Lynwen drew the steel from the black leather. The well-honed blade caught the light from the fire, the diamond-embedded pommel reflected tiny stars on to Lynwen’s face. “I have something for you.” Resting the tip of the blade on her left hand and the pommel in the right, Lynwen offered me her sword.

The gravity of the moment held me in shock. I stared at the offered blade before transferring my gaze to my mentor.

“I never had a child of my own. You’re the closest thing to a daughter I will ever have.” Lynwen whispered.

“I can’t accept such a gift.”

“Why not Sasha? I want you to have Wraith.”

My heart pounded with excitement yet my mind thought of a thousand reasons to talk Lynwen out of retiring. She reached a little closer, imploring me to take the offered gift. “Lyn, I don’t deserve it.”

“I know, I had to put up with your moaning!”

We laughed together, remembering the times I’d complained. With trembling hands,  I took the sword. I knew its weight, the feel of the leather that cushioned the grip and the strength needed to wield such a weapon. “I could never thank you enough.” Pride dissolved the envy that had been my companion since my adolescence. Owing to a friendship forged by blood, tears and loyalty, I felt lighter, honoured and at long last, whole.

 

Bodelia's Anguish has been available for a year! How time flys

A year ago today ‪‎Bodelia’s Anguish was published via ‪smashwords‬. It has had an average of 37 downloads a month. I know that would look a little different if they were sales. However, I am more than pleased with its performance and I now have higher hopes for Dark Magic Rising.

If you’re interested in fantasy, it’s a short story of a little over 4,000 words. It also included a small first draft of the prologue and chapter one of Dark Magic Rising, that has a proposed publish date for this November.

Bodelia’s Anguish – The fury of a goddess betrayed is about to be unleashed on those she once loved. Will Alhanassa, the world she created, survive? Will the Immortal Council be able to sway her desire for revenge? The exciting prologue to a gripping new series.

Alhannasa, a land of beauty and diversity, created by the Most High Goddess, Bodelia. She planned that her ‘children’ those which will inhabit the world she’d made, would rule the land now the time had come for her to leave. The Immortal Council grew restless with her long absence, she knew her duty could be delayed no longer. Yet she wouldn’t completely abandon that which she had made. She would leave the Lesser Goddesses, her sisters, to watch over Alhanassa. With the aid of their magic, the mortals would surely flourish.

But even the plans of a Goddess are no match for evil. When an act of betrayal shatters Bodelia’s heart, will she be able to control the need for revenge? Or will the inhabitants of Alhanassa suffer the dire consequences of her wrath. An enthralling new series filled with action, magic, lust and love!

A huge thanks to everyone that has helped promote Bodelia’s Anguish.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475887image