Farewell February Freebie!

"Acceptance" will be free until 11:59 p.m. PST Feb. 28. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077HWXV47

“Acceptance” will be free until 11:59 p.m. PST Feb. 28. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077HWXV47

From now until 11:59 p.m. PST Feb. 28, I’m offering Acceptance as a free e-book to celebrate the end of February and the approach of spring! If you are a fan of sword and sorcery or darker fantasy stories, definitely check out this piece. The Augur’s Rose Series #2 will be out some point this summer.

Don’t mess with the dead. Pure common sense. Necromancy gets messy — yet when pitted against Berit Gyllen . . . something or other . . . Svein is the only one wallowing in the filth when his artifact retrieval mission for the Mothers goes sideways. Perhaps he should have listened when that blasted bird told him to run.

Fun Facts About The Augur’s Rose Series

If you missed out on the Acceptance release party on Facebook, here are a few fun fact in regards to The Augur’s Rose Series.

FACT #1: I originally started Acceptance for a contest but didn’t finish it in time. It was also a more experimental piece that has morphed and expanded into what it is now. I loved the character of Svein so much that I decided I wanted to revisit him, and that is how it became an ongoing serial. It’s serial nature also led me to pursue self-publishing.

FACT #2: The Augur’s Rose Series combines Roman and Scandinavian lore and history. Svein’s name is Norwegian and comes from the old Norse for “boy.” Ironically, Vidar’s (Svein’s hooded crow companion) name means “warrior.”

FACT #3: Vidar is a hooded crow, which resides all over Europe and parts of the Middle East. They are different than carrion crows in that they are gray and black rather than straight black. Vidar shares his name with one of Odin’s sons in Norse mythology. Odin, of course, was known for his connection to ravens. Funny enough in Faroese folklore, a maiden would go out on Candlemas morn and throw a stone, then a bone, then a clump of turf at a hooded crow – if it flew over the sea, her husband would be a foreigner; if it landed on a farm or house, she would marry a man from there, but if it stayed put, she would remain unmarried.

FACT #4: I love reading a variety of magazines and online articles. When doing so, sometimes inspiration strikes — such was the case when I stumbled across this article from the Smithsonian magazine about Catholicism’s martyred saints, which are kept on eternal display. Paul Koudounaris, who is a member of The Order of the Good Death alongside Caitlin Doughty (Ask a Mortician), authored a book on these saints. This inspiration can be seen early on in Acceptance. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/…/meet-the-fantastically-be…/

Fact #5: If you don’t know what an augur is, please visit my original post on the subject at https://smwright.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/what-is-an-augur/. It involves forecasting the future and sacred chickens! And yes, there will be sacred chickens in The Augur’s Rose Series future.

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Scene Building: Setting The Pieces Into Motion

Header for scene building series

We are continuing our scene building series, which started at https://wp.me/pbN5v-jE.

We’ve discussed the pieces that are needed to build a good scene, but now we are going to dive into the actual process so we can see them in action. I will be using the very first scene in chapter one from a book I wrote in junior high — let it never be said that I’m not a good sport! At the time, I was hopped up on Tolkien and it really shows; however, it is perfect for this exercise because young Sarah was just beginning to learn the ropes. So let’s break it down. Continue reading

What Is An Augur?

What is an augur? Map of ancient rome background.

Augurs feature predominately in my upcoming fantasy series of short stories. Unless you’re knowledgeable about certain strands of history, you might be wondering what is an augur? Well, it all ties into ancient Rome.  Continue reading

Acceptance Cover And Blurb Revealed

Acceptance by S.M. Wright Cover

Acceptance arrives Friday, Nov. 24, on the Kindle. Link to Amazon coming soon.

 

After much blood, sweat, and tears (so many tears), I’m pleased to reveal the cover of Acceptance, the first story in The Augur’s Rose Series. I drew and painted it in Photoshop CS4 using my Wacom Bamboo tablet. The process included many layers,  various reference photos for the lovely hooded crow (Vidar), and a copious number of Bob Ross photos for encouragement — particularly when it came to capturing the “happy” grass. Continue reading

In Need of a Fun Read? Give ‘The Wizard’s Gambit’ a Read

The Wizard's Gambit

The Wizard’s Gambit by Kylie Betzner

I may be a little biased — having had a window-of-sorts to see this novel grow into its finished product and being friends with the writer — but I think I can safely say many readers will find “The Wizard’s Gambit” to be a hilarious, enjoyable read, plus it has Littlehammer in it!

With feuding kingdoms — they’ve been, in some cases literally, carrying axes against each other for 1,001 years — terrorizing the land, Wizard White Beard comes up with a hare-brain idea to bring everyone together: a harmless scavenger hunt. But when war has become first nature, the friendly scavenger hunt quickly morphs into something that resembles The Hunger Games. During it, misfits are brought — sometimes kicking and screaming — under the mantel of Mongrel who genuinely wants heal the wounds between the kingdom and find the wizard’s hidden trinket to win the competition.

The characters that populate this novel, truly make it worth the read. There are many common fantasy races, including ogres, elves, and dwarves; however, there is also a diverse human cast that is not just limited to those of Western Europe origin. They each come to the table with their own goals and quirks.

The main cast will provide a favorite character for any reader. Whether it is simple Mongrel who is eventually forced to remove his rosy sunglasses; feisty and completely adorable Littlehammer; the ogre of few words and lover of birds, Grrargh; Tikaani who must face her fear, which threatens to overwhelm her; and so on, there will be someone to relate to. Personally, I adore Littlehammer: her practicality, accent, and right amount of distrust and cynicism (plus a slight violent streak) wormed its way into my heart. But I have to also give a shout out to Empress Eiko who is one badass senior citizen.

The Wizard’s Gambit pokes fun at several fantasy tropes in a loving manner, resembling in someways Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Featuring clever dialogue, hilarious scenarios, and tight prose, it will keep you entertained.

So if you are a fan of the genre and are in need of a good laugh, this book is the one for you. The Wizard’s Gambit can be purchased on Amazon, in either digital format or print. It is also available at Barnes & Noble. Also be sure to visit Kylie’s blog.

The logistics of war

Americans

American soldiers during WWI.

This post is in honor of Memorial Day. Thank you to all who have served, including
those who paid the ultimate price.

Writing a novel containing a war is perhaps one of the most challenging things to do, particularly if you, due to your characters, are in the thick of the conflict, which is very different than writing about the home front. Most don’t really think about all that goes into moving an army from Point A to Point B … At least, you don’t think about it until you actually have to write about it.

Of all the conflicts that I have worked into a novel, wars have perhaps ran me the most ragged, and despite that, they continually appear in my pieces. I don’t really know why, they just grip me — perhaps it is just the history buff in me who read all-things pertaining to the Civil War and WWI. And each time I delve into the waters, I have characters who are in the thick of the action, forcing me to take the effort to make the conflict believable. And trust me, that is no simple task.

This post is intended to get you to think of the logistics needed to successfully write about a war. And really, this post is just the tip of the iceberg! Continue reading

World-building Series: Diversity

Diversity is the spice of life and has brought humanity several great things from tasty foods, fun festivals and a variety of sports to different arts and music. However, diversity can serve as a double-edged sword, resulting in conflicts, because — let’s face — it humans often have a fear of “otherness.” Whether that “otherness” is another race, culture, sex or sex orientation, sometimes it brings out the worse in other people, which is sad to see.

No matter what diversity is being used to describe — race, culture, sex or sexual orientation — it has become a buzzword in today’s world. Movies and books might very well find themselves criticized for not having enough diversity. Perhaps fearing this criticism, diversity is introduced just for its sake in a variety of creative projects, including in the adaptations of books — where not much diversity could be found — to the big or small screen. Diversity is something that is almost being pressed on writers nowadays.

Now don’t take me the wrong way, diversity is a good thing; however, writers should not feel forced to tackle this topic or even address it unless their works call for it and they as a writer feel confident to enter those waters. With that said, diversity can add flavor into a book or a completely crafted world in a work of speculative fiction. Particularly in a completely crafted world, diversity should appear in whatever form a writer chooses because it adds realism to a piece, even if that diversity is only briefly featured.

This entry will be largely geared toward those speculative fiction writers; however, writers in other writing disciplines might find some helpful seeds to take away and plant in their own works. Continue reading