The End is Near …

I know, I know. That’s some title for the first blog post of the year. But it’s true! The end is near. The end of my fantasy series is near. I can see the finish line–I know how the story is going to end. I know who is going to live and who is going to die. I know exactly what the last battle looks like.

I just need to figure out how to get there.

Winter’s Light is the final book in my Winter Queen Series, which will wrap up the lives of so many characters I’ve grown to love. They’ve surprised me in so many ways over these last three years. And while I don’t consider fantasy to be my primary genre, I am going to miss writing about the land of Nfaros and its rulers. Excited as I am to begin focusing more on my historical fiction WIPs, I am going to miss the Sundragon sisters more than I thought I would.

Looking back over the progress of these novels, my heart soars over how they came to beWinter Queen. Winter Queen was born from a little idea I had during a very bad bout of writer’s block. I was stuck in the middle of another story, so I decided to simply write ‘for fun’ for a little while. And that is how Winter Queen came alive. It started with an image of two young princesses fleeing their city accompanied by the idea of a queen who could command an entire season. From there, it developed into something I never expected. Soon, there were ice fairies, dragon folk and a world full of strange and extraordinary people.

Have I ever told you The Winter Queen Series was originally a seven book series? When I realized how many characters I wanted to be involved, I thought there was no way I could do this in a trilogy. So I split the storylines into seven different books. Until the day I realized they might actually be published! On that day, I cut the stories down so they could fit into a four book series.

But even having done that, I worry. These last few days of writing with the story jumbling about in my head in bits and pieces, I start to wonder if I should’ve added more of the storyline to Dance of Shadows or Crown of Flames. I second guess myself about how I ended the second and third books of the series. I wonder if there was another place I could have ended them. If I could have tacked on a bit more so this last book RGB_Dance of Shadows (1)would have been easier.

But then I realize, stressing over what I might have done is useless. All I can do now, is write. I look back at the difference between writing Dance of Shadows and writing Crown of Flames and realize it is no different than what I’m going through now with Winter’s Light. Will this fourth and final book be longer than the others? Most likely. From the Jandry Siblings to the Sundragon Sisters to the Malaki family, I have a lot of characters and storylines to wrap up.

And one of the most difficult parts of that is deciding exactly how these stories will end. Will there be tears? Well, if you’ve read my books, then you probably know there will be. I can’t seem to write without throwing in some emotional trauma.

For my part, I know I’m probably going to cry. Not necessarily because of what happens to my characters–I’ve been preparing myself for the end of this series for a while now and have known a few things about the conclusion since the first book was published–but more because the stories themselves will finally be complete.

I was so excited when Crown of Flames was released last year in June! As the writer, I think this one might be my favorite of the series so far (we’ll see how Book 4 comes out COF - 1;)). Crown of Flames not only introduced even more characters, but brought our favorites to a crucial point in the plot–a climax in a way. Two major battles were fought and whether they were won or not is up to you to find out.

I’m so proud of Book 3, the ending giving me a perfect opening into Book 4 as well as lighting the way to several conclusions. Whether you caught the hints of certain characters’ fates or not, I promise I won’t spoil anything. But I am so excited for you to see everything come together.

As we entered Awards season at the beginning of the year, I hesitated to enter Crown of Flames, simply because sometimes I feel the harder I try, the less results I receive. But then I realize–as I always do–that not trying won’t get me anywhere. So I entered and am looking forward to seeing the results. And if there are no results, then what did I lose? Nothing. Because either way, people saw and read Crown of Flames, simply because it was entered to begin with.

Oh, and by the way, if you wanna help a girl out … Crown of Flames is eligible for a nomination in the INSPYs awards. If you want to nominate it, click here.

Now, who wants a sneak peek? The final book of The Winter Queen Series should release later this year (as long as I get to writing like crazy!). So here’s a little excerpt from Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen Series, #4) to hold you over until then …

“In fear they are here.” Jhaedra raised defiant eyes to Haileah. “If they saw Gwylan Almandreya, run to her they would!”

Haileah grabbed Jhaedra by a handful of her hair, yanking her close. “Do not speak that woman’s name!”

“Why? Because more powerful than you she is?” Jhaedra grimaced, a small smirk shining through the pain of Haileah’s grip. “Able to hold the Novices for long, you will not be. If run to wait out the war they do not, run to the Sundragons they will.”

“Let them! We do not need their pitiful strength. The Intermediates are all we need.” Haileah shoved Jhaedra away, sending the woman into a heap in the snow. “And if you do not remember your place and hold your tongue, I will soon have very little need of you as well.”

With a twirl of her cloak, Haileah spun back toward the camp. Jhaedra remained on the ground, watching until the woman disappeared among the tents. Then she looked up, peering directly through the tree branches at Taleah. The Frostling held her breath, unable to restrain the flurry of snowflakes falling from her wings any longer. A shower of them fell upon Jhaedra, making the Quintarian woman smile.

“Tell Adlae Sundragon,” Jhaedra murmured. “If survive Haileah’s wrath, I do, I will rally the Novices to her side.”

Jhaedra!” Haileah shrieked, her voice bouncing among the trees.

“Fly, Frostlings! Fly!” Jhaedra hissed, struggling to her feet.

“Come dear ones,” Taleah said, grabbing both M’kela and Ilicya’s hands as she watched the Eventide Sister stumble away. “We must deliver this message and pray the Creator show mercy on Jhaedra Randeryn.”

In a flash of snow dust, the three Frostlings vanished into the sky.

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