Available on Kindle beginning 3/1/2015 Minstrels'
Prize is the third book in the Minstrels' Tale Mystery. It brings
together all that happened in books 1 and 2 to an epic conclusion,
yet leaves the reader wanting for more.
Mam had concocted a new
formula to battle my seasickness and I was anxious to test its worth. I
went to stand in the prow and took on the stance I had seen Andreas
take so many times when we had sailed before. The feel of the wind
against my face was a triumph. Joy came up in me and I threw wide my
arms, tossed back my head and laughed. The wind played through my
fingers and I felt like a bird in flight. I had often been jealous of
Andreas as he stood reveling in the sensation of flight across the
waters. I would not have to be jealous again. I blessed my mother for
the gift she had given me. She did not know how great a gift it was.
“Find your wings, Angel?” I heard Andreas ask as he came to put his arms around me.
“It feels like that to me
now. I used to hate that you could feel this and I could not. My
mother’s brew works perfectly! This is awesome!”
“Can I tear you away? I have something equally awesome to show you.”
“I don’t know what that could be, but I’m curious.”
He took me to where several
sailors were pointing at the water, laughing, and calling out in
merriment. As we came to the rail I saw a school of large black and
white fish. They were about twelve fotmal in length. They jumped in
and out of the water, following along with us, just along our starboard
“You have always been so
taken with the sea sickness that you’ve missed this before. See how the
pure white center and sides of their bodies look like wings? That and
the legends about them saving drowning sailors have gotten them named
Angelimare. In the ancient tongue it means angel of the sea.” Andreas
told me this and I turned to meet his eyes.
“Yes,” he said, “Angels seem
to be coming at us from all sides, a synchronous situation. Everything
happening seems to be connected.”
“It is an odd series of coincidence that’s all,” I said as a way of dismissing what I felt but denied—synchronous.
It was enough to start me
questioning my beliefs. Perhaps God was greeting us; giving us welcome
to a mission he had patiently waited for us to take up. I watched the
Angelimare and asked one of the crew how often this sort of thing
“They like to play in the
wake of swift ships. They stay mostly to the southern waters so it is
not uncommon, but usually it is two or three. Here we have seven. That
is the biggest flock I’ve ever seen. We sailors are a superstitious
bunch. A sea angel at the start of a voyage is good luck. We must have
very good luck ahead to have such a big flock to escort us.”
“Well they are angels and angels fly. Flock seems appropriate.”
“Yes, so it does.”
We spent the entire day along
that rail watching and laughing and wondering at the great creatures
that they were. The Angelimare were with us even as we turned north
toward the southern coast of Ahnges. Often they would chirp and dance
on their tails through the water. They made the most eerie, yet
beautiful sounds as they chattered. They seemed to have something to
say. I only wish I could have known what that was. As the suns set,
the wind died, and as suddenly, as if called home the Angelimare turned
as one, dove into the sea, and swam away.
The cook came to the deck and
banged a wooden spoon against the deck bell to call us to dinner. We
ate, then went to our cabin to gather a few instruments, then went up on
deck to play for the crew.
The ship moved through the
water propelled more by current than wind, but we were still on our
heading and the quiet seas allowed us a good audience.
We played well into morning until the spotter called out, “Land!”
with Good Editing Originally posted June 7th 2014 on ShadowPortal.blogspot.com
Editing—that tedious task that grinds on and on until it
seems that it takes longer to edit than to write.Over and over again through the same
manuscript, until you are in danger of hating your own words.Are you a struggling indie author who lacks
the funds for such luxuries as a professional editor?Me too.So, let me share something that I learned the hard way.Edit— edit until your eyes bleed and your
fingers are numb.
My first book was well accepted.Those who read it gave it good remarks and a
passing grade.All but one and that
review wasscathing.Why?Because it was poorly edited and
the reviewer was sick and tired of indies not following through with
editing.I think I broke the camel’s
back. She suggested I should have paid for a professional editor.Believe me I wanted to, but as I said that is
a luxury for me.There were other
factors in my life at the time too that caused me to rush the process, but
those factors are now eliminated and we live and carry on.In retrospect I should have waited for life
to level off. I just wasn’t sure I’d ever see it in print if I waited, so I
pushed it through.
I found it
interesting that most reviews spoke to the story saying it was a page turner
with solid plot and good character development, but this woman ripped it
apart.Some reviewersare kind and don’t want to say negative
things about a book, unless it is pure garbage.So I feel safe to say my story was good, but the editing left something
to be desired.Not pure garbage, but it
didn’t smell quite right. I was surprised at first; I was feeling good about
the book until that review, but she was right.I had some spelling errors, and misplaced commas (what I affectionately
call my identifying pen stroke), and a misused word.In the overall picture of 296 pages that
might not seem like much, but it bears on my reputation with editors, agents,
When I write I have a hard time extracting myself from the
“fan” equation.Do I write more for me
or for them?I write for the fans, including
myself, but I edit for the editors,
agents, and publishers.As an indie
author the road is rough enough; I will take the road more slowly and carefully
from now on.I may never get the
attention of a publishing insider, I am not sure I want to, but the payoff is
that my fans get a better product, and I can feelbetter about my reputation.
My second book is getting good reviews and it has been
mentioned that it has solid editing.I
am proud of that because I worked hard at it.Spelling may be the most important element in the editing process, but DO
NOT rely on spell check. I have auto correct turned off now, so I am forced to
look at each and every word without the boon of underlined words, or the bane
of wrong spelling that is not underlined because spell check didn’t understand
what I was trying to say.After I go
through once I turn spell check back on.Then I go through again to be sure we understand each other . After that I go through and check the grammar.
Since I haven’t actually said it you should know— I HATE editing.I find grammar to be a bunch of arbitrary
rules, but in the written form a misplaced comma can cause a reader to stumble,
so I have made it a priority to learn more about it, of course I still have to
write so I am learning on the fly.I am far
from a grammatical genius.My degree is
in Design, not English, so I have acquired The Norton Field Guide to Writing,
and Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. They have helped me
through some rough spots.I rely heavily
on my thesaurus, andI have posted notes over my monitor about
transitive verbs. After that I’m on my
own and rely upon my ear to tell me if the prose is flowing or rough.
These are just a few of the things I have done in an attempt
to better my craft. I hope that I have encouraged those of you travelling along
the indie publishing road without an editor to stop and really look at what you
have written.You will be better off for
it in the long run.
As posted to Amazon:
By MissyDevoursDelishReads on April 18, 2014
Gambit: A Minstrels' Tale Mystery by author Nance Bulow Morgan is a
delightful debut first in the series. I was kindly provided a
complementary copy in exchange for review. With an enthralling and
descriptive web of adventure and murder mystery, the author did quite a
fine job of hooking my interest with an interesting and eventful
journey, on both land and sea. We meet some crazy but loveable fearless
main characters willing to partake in anything or nothing to complete
their mission. They face dragons, beasts, dwarfs! This book has a lot of
creativity, enveloped with magic, and I was constantly drawn in with a
never ending adventure throughout the pages. I really enjoyed the depth
the author had with the storyline, it not only had great editing, but
excellent plot development leading up to book 2 and 3 in the series. I
look forward to continue this amazing series and see what is next in
store for characters I have grown to love. I would highly recommend for
lovers of adventure fantasy with murder mystery.
In a recent conversation with my husband he suggested that I reveal what is most important to me about my writing and my life. We thought of it as an opportunity to connect more with my readers. I wasn't quite sure how I would approach that but I knew an article wasn't the thing. An interview then? How arrogant is that?! That format intrigued me though and seemed like a good vehicle for such a thing, almost like a conversation. So here it goes:
Where did I grow up, and how does this influence my writing? I grew up in a post WWII development
that grew and became a far suburb of Chicago, Carpentersville, Illinois. I had a very 1960's upbringing. We
had old sensibilities in the face of a rapidly changing culture. It was the
cause of some angst for sure, but the family survived it and became very close
despite our differences.There was little
worry about any danger to us, except what we could cause to ourselves. I was free to play outside until the street lights came
on and was watched out for by the whole neighborhood. I had
many great adventures in the quarry, woods, or farms that surrounded the
community with my friends and even alone. Those early days gave me a sense for adventure. Many of the events I experienced then find themselves into my writing in snippets that build a character, scene, or event. When did I first start writing? Around 8 years old. I fell in love
with it the very first time I had to tell a story about a picture on the board
in 3rd grade. Thanks Miss Rholof, and please forgive me if the spelling of your name is off a bit. What is the greatest joy I get out of writing? Exploration: I get to explore
aspects of the human condition and put my own abstract spin on them. What's the story behind my latest book? In Minstrels' Gambit I wanted to
have a musical element to the story so the main characters are minstrels. I
didn't want to have a typical seek the powerful magic item story, so the items,
musical scores in this case, are actually a puzzle to a greater dilemma. You'll
have to read it to find out more.
What do my readers mean to me? Everything! I want them to enjoy
what they read and find something of themselves within the characters. I write for more
than my own enjoyment, and hopefully a few bucks. My hope is that as I evolve
as a writer that my writing can give perspectives that the reader may never
have thought of, but I want to do it in an escapist environment so that the
effect is almost subliminal. I say almost, because I still want the reader to realize their perspective came from the writing. What motivated me to be an indie author?
I worked in the print industry most
of my adult life, and I have a web design degree now too. I am reasonably adept
at graphic design. I wanted to see what I could do if I put my writing together
with that background. My first book, Legend Destinywas produced by an outside source.
Minstrels' Gambitis all mine. My first cover could be a little better, but I
am pleased with it. How do I approach the cover design? I try to convey a scene or a
composite of scenes from the story, preferably something with some emotion
behind it. Since I find marketing difficult, what techniques have worked best for me? Iinternet marketing, such as free offers, contests, free
chapter samples and discount codes. Who are your favorite authors? Every interviewer seems to ask this so...There are many but here are those
that come to me first Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, David Eddings, Clive
Cussler, Robert A. Heinlein, Morgan Llywelyn, Robin Hobb. What do I read for pleasure? Mysteries are my favorite. I
especially like those with many suspects. I still love Agatha Christie. I also
like a good action adventure story. It can have elements of fantasy in it, but
that is not necessary. Clive Cussler is a good example of what I like to read
in that genre. What are my next projects?
I am finishing the second of the
Minstrels' Tale Mysteries, Minstrels' Covenant and then I will go into the
third book, Minstrels' Prize. I have several other projects in various stages,
but I really enjoy writing the characters in the Minstrels' series, so I may
continue with that for awhile. I'll see what moves me when I finish Minstrels'
Prize. What inspires me to continue writing? I don't think I would be happy if I wasn't creating something. Writing is my favorite and most comfortable medium. When I'm not writing, I'm...? Working at creating a homestead in my backyard or hiking when I get the chance. I get a lot of scene
inspiration from places I have hiked.
Comments on this experiment are more than welcome. Too self serving, or a good tool to connect with? I'd really like to hear what you think. Thanks for your consideration.
Today Kyra Dune the host of The Shadow Portal blog site posted an interview that she conducted with me. The interview went well and was posted much
earlier than expected. Kyra has put together a nice promotional piece
for me and I am very grateful for her support.