Flood thoughts

Sorry for the long quiet. I’m continuing to devote most of my writing time to my science fiction romance series. More about that later. But recent events in Houston have got me thinking about Tevenar, so I thought I’d share a little with you.

My family has been lucky enough to stay high and dry during Hurricane Harvey. But this isn’t the first time many of my friends and neighbors have been affected by floods. I think that’s why natural disasters tend to work themselves into my fiction. Events like Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricanes Rita and Ike inspired two portions of the Tevenar books in particular. The climax of The Fuller’s Apprentice takes place during a flood. Into the Storm centers around a hurricane. Both stories feature heroic efforts by the wizards to protect and rescue the people of Tevenar. If you’ve been watching the news out of Houston, you’ve seen plenty of the sort of real-life heroics that inspired me to write them.

So in the spirt of Elkan and Larine, I’d like to do my small part to help. If you need something to read, Into the Storm is currently available free to everyone here. In addition, if you comment below or contact me here and let me know that you’ve been displaced or otherwise affected by Harvey (or Irma, or the fires on the west coast, or any other disaster), I’ll send you a free ebook copy of The Fuller’s Apprentice. If you enjoy it and your finances don’t allow you to purchase the other books in the series, let me know and I’ll send them to you free.

For the rest of us, make a donation in any amount to the relief organization of your choice (I recommend my church’s fund, which will go 100% to helping those affected), comment below or contact me to let me know, and I’ll send you a free ebook copy of The Fuller’s Apprentice. Volunteering counts, too! Make a donation of $100 or more, or volunteer for two or more days, and I’ll send you ebooks of the whole series. If you already own the books, I’d be happy to send copies to anyone else you choose.

In my opinion, everyone who contributes time or money or goods to help their neighbors should consider themselves honorary member of the Wizards’ Guild. We may not have familiars or be able to use the Mother’s power, but we can all do what’s within our ability to serve our community.

Weekly Update

I’m settling into the school year routine. Bethany is back at college, and Gareth is at school all day. I love having large unbroken chunks of time to work on my writing. For the next couple of months Gareth has marching band rehearsal until 6:30 every afternoon, so I’ve got even more time than the rest of the school year. I’m going to try to put it to good use.

I’m working with a cover artist and beta readers on Nothing But the Truth, so expect to see it soon. I’d like to leave around a month between it and the Noblebright Fantasy boxed set release in October.  If people get back to me quickly, I may be able to get it out by mid-September.  Otherwise look for it in November.

Other than that, I’m focusing on my sci-fi romance.  Once I choose a pen name and get a new website set up, I’ll link it here.

PS: I’m running a quiet free sale of The Fuller’s Apprentice this week. I’m testing out Facebook ads, playing around with targeting them to different audiences. I expect most people reading this will have a copy already, but now would be a great time to recommend it to a friend you think might enjoy the Tevenar books.

Weekly Update

Hello, everyone. Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. Remember the part in my “About the Author” where I say that one of my hobbies is performing in amateur musicals? That’s what I’ve been doing. My church staged a production of “Mary Poppins,” and my whole family took part. I played Miss Smythe, the bank chairman’s secretary, as wells as singing in the chorus. It was lots of fun and lots of work, and we’re all happy and exhausted.

Gareth and Bethany both go back to school next week, so I’ll be back to writing full time. I’ve got a lot of different projects in various states of completion, and I’m still deciding which I’m going to focus on first. A high priority is going to be finishing the rough draft of Book 2 of my science fiction romance series, so I can start Book 3 in November for Nanowrimo. Those will be published under a pen name, because they’re definitely not YA, and I think it’s best to keep them separate. I’ll link to it here, though, so those who are interested can find them.

Some photos from the show:

Gareth, Bethany, Rachel, me, Anthony


The bank employees celebrate “Precision and Order.”


The grand finale: “Anything Can Happen.”

“Anything can happen if you let it,

Life is out there waiting, so go and get it,

Grab it by the collar, seize it by the scruff,

Once you’ve started living life you just can’t get enough.

Anything can happen, it’s official,

You can choose the super or the superficial,

Sally forth the way we’re steering,

Obstacles start disappearing,

Go on chase your dreams, you won’t regret it,

Anything can happen, anything can happen,

Anything can happen if you let it.”

Weekly Update

Hi, all. Sorry for the irregularity of the updates lately. Summer is in full swing and my schedule is crazy, with lots of travel, events, and activities for all the members of my family.

The Tale of Gurion Thricebound is out and available for you to buy or borrow. I hope you give it a try; it’s got some of my favorite characters and story arcs that I’ve written. It covers a lot of territory. I considered breaking it into four books, because it’s made up of four distinct parts, each of which could have stood on it’s own with a little tweaking. Ultimately I decided it worked better as a single volume. But it’s like you’re getting four books in one.:)

Right now I’m working on Into the Storm. I’m very close to finishing all the editing. It’s going to be part of a multi-author box set coming out in October. More details will be forthcoming soon!
I’m helping my daughter launch a beta reading/editing business. While she’s gaining experience her rates are very affordable! If you have a project you need feedback on and don’t have the time to swap critiques with another writer, give her a try: https://www.fiverr.com/lexterre/beta-read-and-proofread-5000-words-of-fiction

Weekly Update

Sorry I missed writing an update last week. I’m busy getting settled into the summer (lack of) routine. My family is involved in a production of the musical Mary Poppins at our church, which is going to take lots of time for rehearsals and set construction. And next week we’ll be leaving for our annual vacation to visit my parents in South Carolina.

Before that, this weekend I’ll be a guest at Comicpalooza, Houston’s big comics/science fiction/fantasy con. I’m going to be speaking on three panels, at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm on Friday, and at 7:00 pm on Saturday. Plus I’ll be attending lots of others. You can find out more about it at http://www.comicpalooza.com. Hope to see you there!

And here’s a special announcement just for those who have read this far. The Tale of Gurion Thricebound, a prequel to The Chronicles of Tevenar, will be released on July 1, 2016. If you’ve read the Tevenar books, you’ve heard a lot about Gurion, but there’s much more to his story. Now you get the chance to hear it in his own words. It will be on sale for $0.99 for a limited time only, so be sure to get your copy right away.

Tuesday Update

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day long weekend. I’ve got the comments on Gurion Thricebound back from my beta reader, so this week will be devoted to making revisions. This will be the last pass before I send it off to Createspace and get a proof copy, which I’ll use for the proofreading pass. I really hope to have it ready to release at the beginning of July, so I can include it in Patty’s July promo. Her promo back in September helped Fuller’s Apprentice get off to a terrific start, and I’m hoping to do something similar with GT.

Speaking of Patty’s promo, there’s another one coming up this weekend. This one is all free books – some which are always free, some which are only free for a few days. Calling is included this time. Also, this time there will be links to other retailers, like Apple, Nook, and Kobo, as well as Amazon. I’ll be posting a link on Facebook like usual. Liking, sharing, and/or commenting on my posts helps get them out to a wide audience. Even if you’re not interested in lots of free books, your friends may be!

Monday Update

Into the Storm is off for beta. I’m working on various bits and pieces of things while I’m waiting on Gurion Thricebound stuff to come back. I ordered two new maps but haven’t heard back from my artist yet. Haven’t yet heard from my cover artist either. I’ll need to touch base with both of them and make sure it will all be ready on time.

I’m kind of frustrated with Hero’s Journey right now. It’s such a good story, but it’s got a few problems I know are there but I haven’t figured out how to fix. And there’s research I’ve intended to do for a long time and need to actually get out there and do. That’s the problem with writing a portal fantasy that partially takes place in the real world – I can’t just make everything up. Val, the main character, is a police officer, and I want to get at least the basic facts correct. I have a lead on an actual female police officer I can talk to, but that means I have to set up a meeting or at least e-mail her, which is hard for my introvert self. I also want to take a beginner handgun class at a gun range, since I realized exactly how little I know about how guns actually work as I was writing it. I ought to at least know how it feels to fire one, as well as how to reload.

So to avoid working on HJ I’m taking care of whatever other little things need to be done. I’m trying to write a blurb for Gurion Thricebound, which is difficult since it’s got such a wide scope – it’s got four parts that could be separated out into four different books, though I wrote it all as one story. So I’m focusing the blurb on the first part while trying to hint at the whole thing. And it’s in first person, so I’m trying versions in both third person and first person. Both need more work before they’re good enough. I might hire someone to help me with it. At least I already have a killer blurb for Hero’s Journey ready for when I need it. Blurb writing is strange for me – sometimes I’m just in the mood and the words flow, other times it’s like beating my head against a wall. I have to keep coming back to it, because I never know when will be one of the good days, but if I work for a little while and nothing’s happening I might as well leave it and work on something else, because more time won’t help.

Monday Update

I’m going to start doing my Monday Updates here on my blog, then sharing them to Facebook, instead of posting them to Facebook directly. We’ll see how that works.

Last week and this week have been a little crazy, because we’ve been getting painting and tile work done on our house. It’s looking great, but there have been workers in and out all the time, and access to the kitchen and living room have been cut off at various times. I leave the house to write anyway, so it hasn’t completely disrupted my work, but I’ll be glad when they finish and I can go back to my regular routine. Of course, we’re already shifting to a summer schedule. Bethany is home from college for the summer, and Gareth will be finished with his freshman year in high school in a couple of weeks. I usually get less work done when the kids are home all day. But now that they’re both old enough to take care of themselves and maybe even get jobs, I hope I’ll be able to continue to get in 3-5 hours most days.

I’m continuing to work on revising Hero’s Journey. I’m also going over Into the Storm one more time before sending it of for betaing. Whenever the edits on Gurion Thricebound come back, I’ll drop Hero’s Journey and go to work on the final revision pass for GT. Then I’ll format it for print so I’ll be ready to order a print proof as soon as the cover art is ready.

Win a free paperback copy of The Fuller’s Apprentice

I’m running a free book giveaway on Goodreads. The winner will receive a trade paperback copy of The Fuller’s Apprentice. You can enter from now until September 29. Follow the link below to enter the contest!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Fuller's Apprentice by Angela Holder

The Fuller’s Apprentice

by Angela Holder

Giveaway ends September 29, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Excerpt from The Fuller’s Apprentice

Chapter One

Master Sef stretched the wet woolen cloth to its full extent. He walked his fist, thumb and little finger spread wide, across the fabric from one selvage to the other, measuring its width.

“It’s coming along well. Give it another five hundred strokes, lad, then come fetch me.” He scowled at Josiah. “And mind you don’t go off into one of your dreaming fits. There’s a representative of the Wizards’ Guild coming to check on their order, and we need to show him our best work—not cloth beat full of holes because a lazy apprentice couldn’t keep his mind on his task.”

“Yes, Master Sef.” Josiah gathered the loose end of the bolt of cloth and returned it to its place, bunched in even folds against the back of the long, low box. When he moved clear, Master Sef scowled at him for a moment, then pulled the lever that set the fulling mill in motion.

With a creaking groan the gears engaged, and the six stocks began to move. The heavy wooden heads crept back and swept down. They slammed into the folds of wet wool, sending spray flying. The mill beat the newly woven cloth rhythmically, binding the loose threads together, shrinking and thickening the web into a dense, warm fabric.

With a pointed look at Josiah, Master Sef left the room. Josiah grabbed a bucket and went to the open arch to dip it in the millrace, just below where the great water wheel turned the massive drive shaft. He returned to the box and walked its length, pouring water onto the wool to replace what the pounding stocks threw free.

“Thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine…” Josiah chanted under his breath. Five hundred more strokes. That should be just long enough.

Pushing his unruly mop of brown curls out of his eyes, he glanced around furtively. He was alone in the main room of the mill. Through the arch, past the wheel, he could see only the river and rolling hills beyond. On the other side, a window looked out over the tenting fields, where journeymen stretched bolts of cloth fulled this morning on drying frames. But they’d never see him, even if they happened to glance his way.

Gold light from the westering sun streamed past the wheel and through the arch in the stone wall. It shimmered into rainbows as it passed through the stocks’ spray and cast a glowing semicircle on the far wall, swept by shadows of the turning spokes. Josiah examined where the sharp curve of light lit a series of tiny scratches.

He’d begun making the marks from idle curiosity, searching for some distraction during his long hours tending the mill. He’d watched the sunlight creep across the wall and wondered if he might use it to measure time. That was how the shadow-clock in the square outside the Mother’s Hall worked, wasn’t it? The steady beat of the stocks provided a measure, and he’d whiled away a whole afternoon marking the edge of the sunlight every fifty strokes. With mounting excitement he’d realized that the scratches could free him from the drudgery of counting strokes, his least-favorite task.

Josiah counted out nine scratches and smudged a bit of dirt to mark the place. With a sigh of relief he released the numbers from his mind, though the racket still pounded in his ears. He returned to the end of the row of stocks, breath quickening and heart racing.

Ever since he’d come up with the idea, weeks ago, he’d been waiting for a chance to try it. The space between the stocks and the box was small, but as each stock pulled back, just enough room opened up for a skinny boy like Josiah to slip through. As the stock reached its full height and began to fall, the next space formed. With careful timing, Josiah was sure he could make it through.

He watched the stocks. Every other one rose as the cam shaft turned and caught their pegs, drawing them back until the pegs slid free and the stocks crashed down. At the same time, the cam caught the alternate three and lifted them up. He glanced at the beam overhead from which the stocks hung, pivoting back and forth like children’s swings. He looked down at their heavy heads. The dull points slammed into the wool and slid under it. The curved and serrated upper surfaces lifted and turned the wool as they withdrew. The stocks would crush him if he made one wrong move. He pictured his body, beaten and broken, pounded by the relentless hammers.

If his old friends were here to watch, he wouldn’t hesitate. They would be impressed by the danger of the stunt, awed by his daring, elated by his success. But they were apprenticed to other guilds and Josiah barely saw them anymore, except on the occasional Restday. Master Sef’s other apprentices were years older than Josiah and far too busy learning the finer points of their craft to be interested in the antics of their newest guildmate.

He had to decide soon. Master Sef didn’t leave him alone with the mill very often, and he might not have another chance before Springtide. After that, with any luck, he’d be free of this place.

Josiah was going to request a transfer to another guild as soon as he summoned the courage. It wouldn’t be easy. Everyone would know he’d failed at his apprenticeship. People would talk, his friends would laugh, his parents would be disappointed. But not doing it would be even worse. He couldn’t face spending the rest of his life at the fulling mill.

He wiped sweaty palms against his tunic and looked around again, almost hoping to see his master or anyone else entering the room. But it remained deserted. The sunlight was well shy of his mark. He breathed deeply, trying to slow his racing heart and still his shaking hands.

This was it. Now or never.

The first stock crashed down and began creeping back. As it cleared the edge of the box, Josiah stepped forward.

In front of him, the second stock fell, and began to rise. Wait, a little farther, a little farther…

Josiah stepped again. Behind and before him, the stocks swept down. The breeze of their passing tickled his neck and lifted his hair. They slammed into the cloth, sending droplets of water splashing over him. No going back. He wobbled, caught his balance. Ahead of him, the next stock lifted.

Step. He was deep into the gauntlet. His feet felt sure on the slippery wet boards of the floor. The stocks to either side fell, caging him. The cam turned; the way opened.

Step. The rhythm felt as natural to Josiah as his own heartbeat, as the rise and fall of each breath. There was no room for fear, or even excitement, just an intense awareness of the moment.

Step. Crash. Ahead of him the final stock crept back, revealing freedom beyond.

Step. His pulse thundered in his ears. He stumbled forward and collapsed in a heap as the sixth stock thudded home.

He panted, staring back at the swinging stocks and the course he’d just walked. He’d done it. He’d faced his fear and overcome it, kept his composure and performed as he’d envisioned, and made it through an obstacle most would deem impassable. He had done it.

A wild surge of elation surged through Josiah, and he laughed. He glanced at the sun on the wall. Plenty of time yet.

He barely hesitated before stepping in a second time. The crashing stocks and opening spaces were like a dance he moved through with confident steps.

One, two, three, four, five, six, and he was at the far side, turning to enter again without pause. The danger and the rhythm and his skill blended into a heady brew. Why had he worried? This was easy.

After a few more passes, his exhilaration calmed enough for caution to intrude. How long had it been? He should stop soon and check. But not yet. After the next time through, or maybe the time after that. Reaching the far side, he turned and stepped back in.

He was at the fifth stock when it happened.

“Josiah!” his master bellowed.

Josiah’s head jerked up and his foot slipped. He teetered, arms flailing, desperately trying to regain his balance. Before and behind him the stocks crashed down. The stock to the rear brushed his backside and knocked him sprawling into the box.

Find out what happens next: http://amzn.to/1PXfRHP