Mother to Katira, the main character in Stonebearer’s Betrayal, and companion to Jarand, Mirelle is both a nurturer and councilor. In sticky situations, she is the one most likely to stay rational and calm and keep the other characters from making rash decisions. This works well because both Katira and Jarand both tend to let their emotions guide their actions.
From her youth, Mirelle has been passionate about the healers art. It came as no surprise that when her powers manifested, her strength and talent aligned with this passion leading her to join the Order of Healers. She is unique among healers with the power, as she also has gathered a wealth of information regarding medicinal herbs. This knowledge is put to good use in the small town of Namragan, where she lives with Jarand and Katira and works as the town’s healer.
Among her peers, Mirelle is considered one of the best Stonebearer healers, second to Master Firen the head of the healing arts at Amul Dun, the mountain fortress of the Stonebearers.
Katira grew up watching her mother work healing the sick, tending to the wounded, and preparing salves, tinctures, and other medicines, all with an expert hand. Katira admired her mother so much in this ability to make people feel better that she begged to learn the healing art as well. As soon as she could lift the heavy mortar and pestle she pulled up a chair and worked alongside her mother. When Katira was old enough to announce her trade as a young teen, she proudly declared she would follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Want to learn more about the cast of Stonebearer’s Betrayal? Check out these posts:
Magic, the final frontier, these are the voyages of… Wait a minute, wrong franchise. But seriously, let’s talk about the different kinds of magic that appear in Stonebearer’s Betrayal.
In the world of Roshnii, a choice few are born with magic in them. Despite the historians efforts to link it to lineage, it appears at random. Those blessed, or some believe cursed, with the magic are fated to live abnormally long lives and die violent deaths. This magic is formally known as the power of the Khandashii.
To earn the title of Stonebearer one must survive training and pass through the fires of testing. A proper Stonebearer has the right to carry a motherstone which allows them to more accurately use their powers to manipulate the world.
There are those born with the power who escape the attention of the towers are referred to as wielders. They are considered highly dangerous. Most don’t survive long, as the magic kills those who can’t control it.
The magic is granted by the Stonemother and she chooses those she believes are destined to have it, for good or for ill. She shows her mercy by keeping the magic dormant until a child is strong enough to command it. The longer a child lives without it manifesting, the stronger their magic is. Those who have used the power for decades develop markings along their arms, necks, and backs.
The magic is divided into five abilities. Each of these abilities has it’s own order and headmaster. While a Stonebearer in theory can work each ability to some degree, they have a natural affinity toward one far stronger than the rest. This determines what order they belong to.
The magic manipulates the physical nature of the world through a series of symbols and glyphs. The energy needed for the magic to perform a task is taken from the Stonebearer and if they use too much, it can kill them. Using an ability they don’t have an affinity for requires a prohibitive amount of energy.
The Five Orders
Travelers – can manipulate the location of objects, including themselves, and instantly move them up to the distance they can walk in a day. They enable communication over long distances and are also excellent spies, especially when pared with a seeker.
Guardians – can alter the physical strength of an object, making it either stronger or weaker. They are tasked with keeping the peace and most train to be expert fighters.
Seekers – can locate both items and knowledge in the immediate area. They are responsible for documenting the history of the world and also keeping track of magic powered artifacts. Some can see glimpses into the future.
Benders – can change the nature of an object by manipulating its particles into new formations. While it is strictly prohibited, some can even change how people think and act.
Healers – can repair what is broken and restore what has been corrupted. Most will formally train to heal people and become town and village doctors.
Katira, the main character of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, begins the story believing the magic is nothing more than a legend, a story told to children at festivals, or to scare them in to staying in their beds. She discovers, much to her horror, that the magic is indeed real when one of those storybook monsters attacks her. The world is not as it seems, it has never been. If she is to survive, she must fight against those who want to use her as a pawn in a much larger game between a dangerous demon and the entire society of Stonebearers.
I believe I’ve said it here before, but creating a book is a lot like having a baby, morning sickness and all.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had several people want to hear about my journey of what it’s been like to publish a book. Last year, I wrote a post about my experience with querying and finding a publisher. Ironically, that post was immediately preceded by one talking about rejection and accepting yourself as you are, proving that this industry is indeed a roller-coaster ride of emotion.
What a year it’s been!
If my book “pregnancy” officially began the day I signed the contract, then the morning sickness set in when I started work with my editor. Women suffering from morning sickness will tell themselves it will all be worth it in the end as a way to cope with the misery. During the editing process, I kept telling myself that the nauseating discomfort of learning about all the weak parts of my book had to be a good thing as well. My editor at one point in the process may, or may not, have compared my main character to Bella Swan from Twilight. Ouch.
Editing is hard work. Each chapter, sometimes each page, takes long hours of intense focused thought to bring it to the next level. When I’ve done my own rounds of polishing and editing it’s taken months to work from cover to cover. Under contract, I’m given thirty days to complete an editing pass. Fun fact – if I spend one hour per page, editing the book would take over 300 hours. That’s THIRTY ten hour work days back-to-back with no breaks. Which is why it really wasn’t fair for my kids to be off-track during the first crucial editing pass as I transformed my main character Katira away from being a passive Bella and into a strong, capable protagonist.
Deadlines are aptly named. If you aren’t feeling half-dead with exhaustion as you slide your edited manuscript back, you probably have better time management practices in place than I do. In the first pass, we cut away almost 15,000 words of dead weight and replaced them with hundreds of small additions sprinkled through the book like salt. I learned quickly that one of my writing weaknesses (besides poor Bella) was not tagging dialogue in a way that added motion and life into a scene. After spending days of work inserting more action into my dialogue sequences, I think I’ve learned my lesson.
This process is repeated until both editor and author agree the book is as good as it can get, or can’t stand to look at it again. I’m still not sure which. Morning sickness fades into a period of waiting, preparation, and sheer terror contemplating the vastness of all that should be done. There’s waiting for the proofreader to finish, waiting for the cover artist, waiting for formatting, waiting for proofs, waiting for digital copies, waiting for early reviewers – so much waiting.
At this point self-publishing starts to look good. While I’ve loved having the support of a company to help me through this process, especially since it’s my first time, the waiting and not knowing what’s happening – or if anything is happening – can drive anyone a little nuts.
Just like a first-time mom, a first-time author (despite all their research, and best efforts, and fellow author friends who try to show them the way) experiences so much uncertainty with the whole process that the stress is unbelievable. Looking back, I could have done so much more with this waiting period to prepare for the books release, but I was naive. Now I’ve been through it I know what really needs to be done, and when I go through this again I’ll have a much better plan.
Launch day is literally a book’s birthday. It is pushed out into the world and is on display for all to see, warts and all. All the early teasers, quotes, articles, and efforts that happen before the launch are the same as showing people ultrasounds. As the author, I can see the cute little nose and the tiny precious fingers, and all that amazing potential inside because I’ve studied it – but to everyone else it’s just another static filled picture.
There’s no way to feel truly prepared for launch day. Some authors do hundreds of hours of prep and set up and marketing and a blog tour – the options are dizzying. Some moms fill their freezer with weeks’ worth of meals and create and fill a schedule for people to come help them.
The results are the same. The book still comes, the baby is born. The family and friends that planned on supporting and helping the author still show up. Sometimes friends of friends are dragged in as well.
Unlike a baby who demands care, feeding, and endless love and attention, a book won’t demand anything and immediately starts fading into obscurity unless the author continues to push and work to keep it in the public eye.
This is where I am now. My book has entered its infancy where it still doesn’t know its place in the world. I’m working everyday, trying hard just to keep it alive until it can start building momentum on its own. Just like a real infant, the work keeps me awake at night and requires a steady stream of care and feeding for it to thrive.
It’s exhausting, but worth it.
My family will tell you that this process has changed me. I believe it. I’m a stronger more confident person than I was before. I’ve learned how to squeeze the most out of short periods of time, and utilize every moment – especially when I’m under a deadline. These skills have transferred into home life as well. Putting off doing something I don’t like doing, like creating a meal plan, only serves to prolong stress. Get it over with. Having a messy house won’t kill me, but it doesn’t help me find peace either. It’s important to seek out ways to feel centered, even when lots of crazy is going on.
While I wrote the book because it was one of my life goals, it has helped my kids see that they can reach hard goals as well and that anything worth doing takes real work. I love hearing the pride in their voices as they tell their teachers and friends that their mom is an author.
Hopefully they don’t mind too much that this book baby might be expecting a little brother in 2020…!
Interested in checking out my book baby? It’s a great read for fans of Wheel of Time, appropriate for ages 12 and up (although my 11-year-old loved it too!) Here’s a handy link to Amazon to learn more.
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Tonight is the launch party for Stonebearer’s Betrtayal and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to have family, friends, and fantasy lovers come and enjoy food and fun together.
At 7pm, I will be reading a selection from Stonebearer’s Betrayal followed by time for those attending to ask questions. The signing will begin immediately afterwards. Books are available on site for purchase. There will also be a sword display courtesy of Wasatch Historical European Martial Arts, and prizes.
Come join Us!
Tonight, Friday November 16, 2018 from 7-9pm at:
The Printed Garden
9445 S Union Sq, Ste A, Sandy, Utah 84070
(closest intersection: 700 E and 9400 S)
5×7″ Leather journal with rosewood pen
4×6″ Leather journal with rosewood pen
Earthenware mug with patterned cloth wall hanging and custom pendant
Earthenware mug with patterned cloth wall hanging and custom pendant
This is it, the day I’ve been waiting and working for since I started this blog ages ago. I’m so excited to share this moment with you.
Stonebearer’s Betrayal is now available for purchase on all major online book retailers.
There, I said it! Squee!
Last night, my 12-year-old finished reading it. He came up to me and said the best thing he could have possibly said.
“Mom, this is amazing!”
Yes, he’s a little biased, but he also reads plenty so I value his opinion.
So, what is Stonebearer’s Betrayal about?
At the very adult age of eighteen, Katira had her life figured out. She knew her place, understood her path, and was destined to be the best healer in the northern Panthara mountains, just like her mother.
That all changes when monsters from legends step into her real life, throw her world into chaos, and threaten to destroy both her and her family. To survive, she must accept that her world is far different from what she ever imagined and she must fight to protect what she loves.
Stonebearer’s Betrayal is a fast-paced coming-of-age story fueled with action, adventure, and danger suitable for readers 12 and up. It’s the perfect holiday gift for the fantasy lover in your family.
A few weeks ago we discussed the main character of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, Katira. That discussion can’t be complete without also learning about her father, Jarand Pathara.
Jarand wants nothing more than to live a peaceful life as a father, husband, and blacksmith, hidden away in the remote village of Namragan. He wants to raise his daughter and teach her the wisdom he’s gathered over the long years of his life. He knows it can’t last, there are forces at work that will put an end to this peace, but at the start of Stonebearer’s Betrayal he refuses to dwell on the changes that will come.
He chose Namragan for one reason alone, it is the least likely place his enemies would look for him and the best possible place to keep Katira safe. Jarand’s history stretches back further than a mortal man, he wasn’t always a simple blacksmith. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know immortals play key roles in this story. Jarand is one of them.
Jarand is an oath-bound Stonebearer of the Khandashii. While his immediate concerns are to protect his family, his larger duty is to protect the people of the world against dark creatures escaping from the mirror realm. If you’d like to learn more about what it means to wear the stone, there’s a blog post about that too.
Amidst the Stonebearer society, there are five orders that stem from the five distinct types of magic. Jarand is a guardian and well-trained in warfare. He survived the great wars when the world turned against those who could use the power.
I mentioned in the blog post about Katira that in the early days of writing Stonebearer’s Betrayal, Jarand used to be the main character. I loved writing about him because I loved what his character represented. In the end, it wasn’t his story to tell.
His creation is a result of my own wish fulfillment. I took the best traits of all my favorite characters and allowed him to grow from them. In Jarand, we find the wisdom and fierce protectiveness also found in Doctor Who. We also see how time has worn him down. He is a world-weary tired warrior, much like Geralt of Rivia. He holds his oaths dearly and for that there is a feeling of nobleness to him, much like Ned Stark. I promise, I’ll let Jarand keep his head.
The 11th Doctor
Geralt of Rivia
The big question is – do I see Jarand as the perfect man? My answer is no, simply because there is no such thing as a universally ‘perfect’ man. He is a good man and something all men can strive towards. He is caring, selfless, and hard-working. He’s also had hundreds of years to learn from his mistakes and discover what brings him the most fulfillment, which for him is the safety and happiness of his family.
Join the conversation! Who is your favorite “noble man” character? Brownie points for sharing why they are important to you.
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Each phase of the publishing process brings with it a mix of excitement and carefully controlled terror. Excitement springs from completing another step and coming that much closer to bringing your book baby into the world. Terror lurks around each turn, because there is always the possibility of something going wrong.
Whoever compared creating a book to having a baby is absolutely right. Each month of a healthy pregnancy is cheered, each milestone celebrated, but disaster is unpredictable and always a heartbeat away. Until the baby is born, all mothers understand the fear of something going wrong as they carry their child. I know I did with all three of my pregnancies. I’m doing the same now with my book.
But, you can’t allow fear to stop you. In fact, if you aren’t doing something that scares you from time to time, then you aren’t stretching to meet your potential.
Allowing myself to trust my cover artist to create an image that represented the entirety of a project I’d been working on for years was scary. Really scary. I’m glad I did. She did amazing work.
So, here it is. The moment I’ve been teasing about for the last few weeks.
A secret society of immortals, tasked to protect the world.
A demon bent on revenge.
A girl brave enough to fight for her family when the two collide.
Archdemoness Wrothe stirs the ashes from a long dead war, rekindling a fire that threatens to burn the world. Only the legendary Stonebearers of the Khandashii have the power to stop her, if they catch wind of her plans in time.
Katira didn’t believe the legends. She didn’t believe a person could alter the fabric of reality or live forever. She didn’t believe in the dark mirror realm or in the dangerous creatures prowling there either.
That was before the first shadow hound came for her.
Release date for Stonebearer’s Betrayal is November 13th, 2018. Available at online retailers where books are sold.
Mini Blog Tour
Two awesome friends from the Twitter #DarkLitChat offered to help spread the word. As a thank you I encourage you to go check out their blogs, not just because I wrote mini articles there, but because they went above and beyond for me to help with my cover reveal.
Katira Pathara is the daughter of Jarand and Mirelle, two respected members of the small mountain guarded community of Namragan. Mirelle is an herbalist and medicine woman, while Jarand works the village forge and sits on the town council. Katira has been studying medicine and healing under her mother’s tutelage since she was old enough to lift the heavy mortar and pestle. As the story begins, she is on the cusp of entering her formal apprenticeship when she turns eighteen.
Katira is levelheaded and willing to try things that are difficult. What I love most about her is in this book is she grows to overcome fears that are holding her back. She learns she can be fearless when it really counts.
In the beginning of the journey to create this world and this story, Katira wasn’t the main character. That role I assigned to her father, Jarand. Of all the characters in Stonebearer’s Betrayal, he is the only one to fall onto the page fully formed and demanding I share his story. Most authors have one character archetype that they adore to use and I’m no different. I love strong silent fighters who are world-weary, caring, and once you’ve earned their respect, willing to sacrifice. In the end, this wasn’t his story to tell which was something that took me years to figure out. We’ll talk all about Jarand in another post.
Katira, like many teen girls, made me fight and work to understand her and even now, I’m not sure of what she’s going to do next. She’s uncertain of her place, and desperate to be accepted and respected in the same way she sees the people of her community treat her mother – although she’ll never admit it.
I know what you are thinking, Katira is secretly me. Yes, and no. She’s tiny parts of me. But, on that note so are all of my characters. You can’t create a fictional character without drawing from your own experience. Katira loves the science behind how things work. She genuinely wants to help people. She’s logical. So am I.
Arya Stark from Game of Thrones
Confession time, I was watching lots of Game of Thrones during the refining editing passes where the finer story points of Stonebearer’s Betrayal and its characters took shape. Arya Stark is such a cool character that I wanted to capture some of her struggle and spark in Katira. Katira shares her dark eyes and dark hair and both grow into something that when the story starts they would never have expected. Does Katira go off assassinating the enemies who betrayed her family? No. But she is willing to do what it takes to ensure her survival in what looks like a hopeless situation.
Let’s talk! Share your favorite “strong girl” main character in the comments. Bonus points if you share how that character has influenced you in your life.
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For the longest time I’ve struggled with a perfection complex. If it’s not a perfect fit with what is “supposed” to be done, I get crazy anxious and most of the time end up not starting. This might explain why this novel has taken so long, and why I don’t post here as often as I should. Go figure. It’s my stone to push, which leads me into what I’d like to talk about today.
The other reason I haven’t posted for a while is that, until recently, I haven’t figured out what my message is, or in industry speak, my brand. Thanks to the amazing and talented J.H. Moncrieff and this years Quills Conference hosted by the League of Utah Writers, I finally think I get it.
If you like noble but dark stories, beautiful Gothic architecture, interesting history tidbits, magic, and finding the best in the worst circumstances – you’re going to like it here.
Today’s history lesson
Within the boundless reaches of Greek Mythology (Greek! – sorry, inside joke) is the story of the sinner Sisyphus who was condemned to push a boulder uphill only to watch it roll back down day after day. Sisyphus was a cunning trickster during his life. When he died, Hades came for him. Instead of going peacefully, Sisyphus “tested” his new handcuffs on him and tossed him in a closet for a couple of days. I’d be a bit peeved too.
Shenanigans ensued. No one could die because Hades had gone missing. When Sisyphus freed Hades, the cunning trickster was promptly ordered to go to the underworld for his eternal assignment. But – he had another trick up his sleeve. Through a series of bureaucratic loopholes involving a missing coin and an improper burial, Sisyphus managed to sweet talk Persephone into letting him return to his wife and set things straight – and then cheated death until Hades hauled him back to the underworld a number of years later.
For his crimes, and for royally annoying Hades, he was sentenced to to hard labor of the most frustrating kind – rolling a boulder up a hill for no good reason for eternity.
To this day, when people have a frustrating and/or pointless job to do, the story of Sisyphus comes to mind.
What is a Stonebearer?
In the Stonebearer’s Betrayal universe there is a society formally called the Stonebearers of the Khandashii. These are the magic users. Simply put, those belonging to this society possess a power that enables them to manipulate the world around them and grants them relative immortality. They can still be killed, but they will not die of old age or disease. The term “Stonebearer” comes from the stone they wear that enables them to use their power safely. The Khandashii is the name of the power itself – and is a brilliant topic for another post.
Having the power means enduring the responsibility of being a guardian of mankind, regardless of the prejudice and superstitions mankind have curated to hate any one who demonstrates supernatural abilities. This, paired with a centuries long life, is often more of a burden than a blessing. Like Sisyphus, to many it seems like an endless frustrating punishment.
What are some of the frustrating things you’ve had to do? For me, it’s got to be trying to make a bed when a toddler wants to play on top of it. Or laundry … there’s ALWAYS more laundry, it’s never done! Or … working with flaky people who don’t know how much they don’t get it.
Share your frustrations down in the comments!
Stonebearer’s Betrayal is entering the final stages of production and we’re steadily getting ready for its November release. Currently we are refining the details on the cover. I can’t tell you how excited/terrified I am to reach this point. Everything is so, so real.
Other publishing news – If you like dragons, I will be part of a dragon themed YA anthology coming out earlyish next year. If you’re at FanX, one of my flash fiction pieces will be read at the Immortal Works Flash Fiction Friday LIVE podcast, Friday, Sept. 7th at 6pm (255a).
Stonebearer’s Betrayal comes out November 2018 through the amazing people at Immortal Works Press and will be available on Amazon.
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A little over a year ago, in November 2016, I decided it was time to find a forever home for my book baby, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, and started looking for either a publisher or an agent. Sounds easy, right? Nope. Lemme explain.
A lot of research goes into selecting the right place to submit a manuscript. Think of it like this – Submitting a manuscript is the same as applying for a job. The company needs to be respectable and be able to provide services to the author that will convert their vision into a marketable product. Because a partnership between author and publisher can last years, both parties need to be comfortable with each other.
Just like a job, the best companies are the hardest to get a foot in the door. Enter months and months of rejection, insecurity, and moving on.
Fast forward to June 2017. At this point, I had searched for several months without many leads. While never easy, I had grown used to the sting of the endless string of “no”. I submitted to local Utah publisher Immortal Works. I knew authors who had worked with them and been happy, they had some of my favorite people on staff, and they attended all the conferences I liked attending. Seemed like a great fit.
Double bonus – my book has immortals in it. Working with a press called Immortal Works seemed like a special kind of karma.
Months go by and I hear nothing. While it’s not unexpected to have to wait, it is uncomfortable, like a splinter. In September I heard back. They wanted to read the whole manuscript. SQUEE! Finally, someone saw potential in my manuscript. A full manuscript request can still result in a rejection, but for the first time in ten months, I dared to hope a little.
More weeks pass and that splinter has grown into a toothpick. I couldn’t go a minute without thinking about it and wondering and hoping. In early November I learn the Senior Acquisitions Editor has recommended my book for acquisition by the company.
SO MUCH SQUEE, I’M GONNA DIE!
Still, there is a chance they come back and say no. If they are already working with similar titles, or the market is saturated, or they feel it’s not a good fit they can reject a project. It’s an understood part of the business. And the uncertainty sucks.
I might as well have a 2×4 strapped to my head at this point. My family has been super supportive of the publishing process and have patiently listened to all my many ups and downs, but there’s a limit to how much they want to hear about the nitty-gritty of querying and submissions. I stop talking endlessly about it. In fact, talking about it might jinx the whole thing.
The void space of waiting for the final yes is surreal. For so long the golden ticket of having a book published was reserved for more awesome, more deserving, and more talented writers. Having the possibility of my “yes” so close, that golden ticket of validation was nearly mine.
At a time like this, you can’t help but start dreaming of the future and what might happen. So many doors open when an author transitions from short story projects to having their own novel. Invitations to book clubs, speaking engagements, signings, and conferences come easier when you have your own book.
Late November, while chilling watching TV with my hubby and after the kids were in bed, the email comes. The notification jumps up on my phone with a fragment of the message. Not enough to know if it’s a yes or a no, but enough to have a micro heart attack.
It’s a yes.
And a contract.
And I’m like –
And now the real work starts to make this book as awesome as possible. Stay tuned for more updates!
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