Gohaldinest – the ancient city

Here’s a little story you might not know about Gohaldinest.

In Quest for the Three Books, I needed a name for a place whose streets were supposedly paved with gold. The line, “The streets are paved with gold, but I seek a richer treasure,” kept going through my head. The streets of where? 

So, of course I went about naming this city by doing what I always do: starting with a letter and seeing where it goes from there. As you are probably thinking, the name became Gohaldinest. 

The streets of Gohaldinest are paved with gold, but I seek a richer treasure. If you’ve read the Sacred Knight series, then you know this is a line from the oath of a dominus. But Gohaldinest was never meant to be a real city. It was supposed to be an imaginary place, the setting of a fable. 

We have cities like this in our own history, those that seem to have been swallowed by time. As our archaeology and technology improves, we realize that sometimes the rubble of one city becomes the foundations for another. Many towns are built from the very stones of the buildings of fallen cities. 

This is what happened to Gohaldinest. It literally wasn’t until the third book, To Birth a Destiny, when Steigan is in Dubinshire that he discovers that Gohaldinest is real and that Dubinshire was built from the rock that had once formed the older city.

Now to have walked through Gohaldinest in the shoes of three different characters (Steigan: Quest for the Three Books, Rivic: Tangled Magic & Walk the Path, and Cirvel: Palladium) just for starters is pretty amazing and wondrous. The further back I go into the history of Gohaldinest (since for some reason I have to be writing these books pretty much backwards — it doesn’t quite count since I still need to write books 5 and 6 for Sacred Knight), the more of an amazing place this city becomes. 

I am so glad this city is mine to write about.

Progress – June 25, 2018

Hail, fellow adventurers.

I don’t know about you, but last week was a bushwhacking week. Some incredible high points (so lows too, but balance in all things, right?) Whew!

Let’s see… I got my print copy of Eggs at Play. That was fun.

Some people have also already noticed that the next Loki novella, 1-800-IceBaby is up for pre-order. It will officially be available August 28th. Spread the word!

1-800-icebaby front small
Cover and layout copyright ©2018 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art copyright © Ileana – Marcela Bosogea – Tudor | Dreamstime.com, © Maglara | Dreamstime.com, © Phive2015 | Dreamstime.com

PS. That word is “mischief.”

(insert Loki’s laughter here)

Yeah, he’s a bit excited too. 

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Struggle to write or write to struggle

To those who are readers and not writers, please stay with me. I am mostly addressing writers in this blog post, but I hope it gives you a little insight, plus I have thoughts you might enjoy at the end.

While I was on Facebook within the last week or so, an ad for a writers’ conference came up. The following quote led the ad:

“I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as a dying friend. I hold its hand and hope it will get better.” — Annie Dillard

I literally stopped and sat there staring at it, dumbfounded. Seriously, people felt this way?

I went to look at the comments and so many people agreed with the quote. I really wanted to blast back with my own comment, but I refrained. (Especially since the little voice in my head said, “Don’t you have a blog for that?”)

I have struggled with books, yes. I have even struggled to write when I was at a strange season of my life (hormones?). I have ripped them to shreds and pieced them back together again hoping that no one would realize that I had created Frankenstein’s monster. But I have never had a book lie there dying while I am praying for it to live.

That, to me, is writing to struggle.

That kind of sentiment says, “Flail me now because I’m not worthy. I must be tortured and tormented. I am ‘an artist’ and I must suffer for my art.”

Here me loud and clear on this: that is a myth and if you are following it, get off the path now and go find something you enjoy!


Life is too short to torment yourself. You are meant to thrive, not survive in a bog. If you aren’t having fun writing, if you aren’t giving it your heart and soul while screaming with your hands in the air, then neither are your readers.

Now, I realize that Dillard is a literary author, but my point remains the same.

Struggling to write might mean forcing yourself to put your butt in the chair and do the work. It might mean getting through tasks so that you can sit down. For me, a lot of times, it means waiting not-so-patiently for that next moment when I get to write. I will snatch every spare moment I can. I’ve been known to write while standing in the line at the grocery store because I need to write NOW.

But writing to struggle is a whole other thing. Put your hand to your forehead and sigh. Oh, you are such a martyr. A victim. Fall to vices like drugs and alcohol because that’s what writers do, yes? I write, therefore I starve. Come, gentle reader, I will hold your hand while hoping you will recover. Aren’t we pathetic? Sob, sob. Choke, choke.

Yeah, please, lie down on the path now and let me step over you.

No, I don’t carry such ‘romantic’ ideals about writing. My vice is coffee because I like it and I like to have a cup (hot or cold) beside me while I write — it’s just a brain thing. I don’t write to be cherished forever and ever. I don’t want people having snooty discussions about the ‘meanings’ of my books (not to say that I haven’t already heard some quite inventive ones, and some of them might have been intentional). I write to tell a good story. I write to entertain, I write to give someone an escape and an adventure.

If you want to write, the choice is ultimately yours, but do know your reason for writing. Do you choose to be the drama queen who gets little done because you’re too busy letting your story be a victim to your tragic accident  of deciding to write a book? Or do you want to go from ride to ride, getting new and different thrills each time?

Readers: now I’m going to address you as I promised. Let me ask you which you think is better. Now, I do believe literary fiction can be quite fun, so I’m not going to nit-pick at literary fiction, which is usually the one that gets hauled out as an example of dramatic writing where writers are known to struggle. But, I think you know even in a genre (that’s your categories like romance, sci-fi, fantasy, western, etc.) fiction when a writer’s heart isn’t in the story they are telling. We’ve all seen flat stories. I bet you can name several. That is the novel as a dying friend where there is no hope.

Don’t you want hope?

Don’t you want people to enjoy reading the story with you?

Don’t you want to root for the characters?

I do. I also want more people to read and I think that one of the reason that people don’t like to read is because they think every book is this snooty piece with lots of ‘meaning’ to it that it takes an English teacher to decipher for them.

I, for one, want people to pick up one of my books, have a great ride, and decide they want to reach for another adventure (whether it is mine or another writer’s). It’s the story that counts. It’s always the story.

Notice in the quote that Dillard says book. Not story. That too may be a critical difference. She knows she is writing a book and I focus on telling a story (then I rip the book to shreds and put it back together – grin).

So, am I going to the writers’ conference? Heck, no! If that’s their ad, then I am better off staying home and writing my next story. The attendees at that conference can sit around and wonder why they aren’t writing. Meanwhile, I’ll be doing it.

Manifest the Magic video

Thursday, December 20th, is the official release date for the second book in my Sacred Knight series, Manifest the Magic. I’d like to share my book trailer video with you now. If you haven’t read the first book, you can get all the information for it on my publishing website along with all the links for the second book. Enjoy.