Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Post on Red Dragons

You can also find this post and one on Green Dragons at the Society of Enlightened Dragonologists.

Red Dragon

Known Length– up to 88 feet
Known Weight – up to 165,000 pounds
Known Wing Span – up to 100 feet
Most Common Breath Weapon – Fire
Favorite Treasure – Anything of monetary value.  Unlike some dragons that are entranced by sparkling items, red dragons have a keen eye for things of worth.  Everything in their horde is their favorite, if a red dragon gifts from his horde, you have been extremely honored.
Habitat – Prefers caves in and around volcanoes but any mountain cave will do.
Favorite Food – Absolutely anything edible, though there have been rumor of a preference for young maidens, this has not been substantiated.  They are greedy and often consume more than they require.
Enemies – Known to be aggressive with all other dragons except white which they consider not worth their time or effort. This of course, depends upon the personality of the red dragon itself.  They are most often arrogant and see all others as inferior to themselves.  They have a distinct dislike for Silver Dragons.
Magical Skill – Proficient at magic
Parenting – The younger of the pair will stay close to the eggs and keep the nest burning.

Aggressiveness – Highly territorial in all regards. Red Dragons are fast in flight but somewhat clumsy so prefer to battle on the ground as other dragons can often out-maneuver them.   Their preferred order of attack is breath weapon first, which usually ends most conflicts before they start.  If this fails, they use their massive bodies and then and only then magic.   While proficient, there are other flights with better magical skills.  If the enemy has treasure they want, they will start with an on ground physical attack in hopes of not damaging items they are attempting to acquire.  Due to their arrogance, a red dragon will fight to the death more than any other flight once first blood is drawn;  even when they have the option of escape.  To be defeated and run is not acceptable to a red dragon.

Intelligence – Highly intelligent, calculating and patient.  Due to this extraordinary patience, red dragons often strike when their foes are completely complacent and believe all danger is past.  They often make up situations and plan attacks which they can grab in sudden conflict.  This makes them appear highly battle efficient when in truth they have probably played their tactic through many times in imaginary situations.   They are exceptional liars often believing their own fabrications of their greatness.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This Little Story is on my Wall at Work!

I have this framed with a picture I took of the ocean and a starfish.  It has guided me in many areas of my life from counseling, financial decisions and who I am as a person.  We do make a difference, even if it is just to one.

"Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
"It made a difference for that one."
— Loren Eiseley

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Transitioning to Life as a Writer

It is amazing, one year ago I had not yet attempted to publish Outcast though I was talking about it given that my first children's book was well received.  Now, almost ten months later, I have given notice to become a full time writer and stop working as a counselor.  This blip in the road with my health has been scary but not a stop to my transition.  My last day at work will still be October 2nd.

In the meantime, though there is a clamor for Bloodmines, I am working on a more adult series that will be shorter novelettes for a Chronicles series.  I needed to step away from Alador for a bit having put two novels out for him in six months.  My goal is to still have Bloodmines out around the end of the year though this health may put that off a bit. I will still have three out in a year. Not bad considering I have been working a full time career.

Things I have learned this year:
1.  Pay for a proofreader - no matter how many times I read my own work, the error blend into the story and I can't see them. Biggest negative comment I have is on grammar and punctuation despite my knowledge in this area.

2.  I have a homophone disorder when I am most creative.  When the words are flying, my fingers grab the first spelling no matter the context. Example: Ensure vs Insure

3.  The more I write, the more story is in my head to write.  Even laying in the hospital bed, unable to put words to the page due to narcotics.  ( discovered words on page with narcotics leave out whole clauses) I was till writing the next scene the next chapter in my head.  Now I just have to get home and finish this novelette. It is written, just not on the screen.

4.  That no matter the story, I will not have a consensus on my writing.  I have feedback on how wonderful my in-depth and character build is and negative feedback that not enough is happening.  I have feedback that the first book was to whimsical and not enough depth to the plot and feedback that the second was two dark.  So, what I have learned from this, write MY story. Some will like it and some will not and that is okay.

5.  I have learned how to publicize as an independent author and keep my novels in the top 100.

6.  I have learned that the author community of independent writers is highly supportive and there for you on good days and on bad.

7.  I have learned Cancer will not define me or my world.

8.  Most importantly, I have learned that fantasy is the realm in which my dreams will and do come true.  Whether it is in the writing, the outcomes or the pages themselves, fantasy is my path to happiness.

Thank you to everyone that reads and follows me. Your support during this difficult time has been more helpful than any of you probably realize.

Cheri Matthynssens
aka the balanceguide aka Dragon's Geas

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cancer Update! Impact on Book 3~

I want to thank Rebecca Hunt, one of my dearest friends, for telling me about the caring bridges site. I want to keep this blog about fantasy stuff so I went ahead and set one up for those actually wishing to follow health updates and status.  This will be my last post about that here.  This way people don't have to ask, they can check there for how I am doing and what I am doing. 

I also started a fundraising page to help meet the expenses of travel to and funds for chemotherapy.  That page is at : The tribute donations on the caring bridges site go to caring bridge and not to the page owners.  Any help to meet that goal will keep stresses down so I CAN write.

Granddaughter born day before diagnosis!
  So here is a catch up of events:On July 21st, I called in sick to work. I didn't feel well.  Later that day, I went to Russ and told him something was wrong.  He took me to the walk in clinic where I was promptly referred to Dr. Quigley, a surgeon, for a scope of my colon. On the 23rd, Dr. Quigley shared his concern for my symptoms and told me it could not wait. He scheduled the procedure for the 25th. 

July 25th I was told I had colon cancer almost completely obstructing and surgery was scheduled immediately. I had it removed on the 29th of July.  The pathology report showed it was a well differentiated tumor and only four of the thirty lymph nodes harvested came back positive. My surgeon tells me this is all good news.   I am being referred for chemo in mid-September.  Some time between now and then they will be putting a port in my shoulder because the doctor says my veins will not handle the chemotherapy.

On August 7th, I was re-admitted as the juncture where I was put back together collapsed and was obstructed.  Thankfully, some liquid therapy and meds, it reopened on its own.  The doctor said he could not explain it.  I could.. there were a lot of people praying.  I got to come back home on the 8th.

I am home today and resting.  I tried to hurry back to work but whenever I suggest it, the doctor laughs at me. *sighs*.  Writing has also slowed down. Pain is a deterrent to creativity.  Not completely though, my new book is moving but slowly.  I know many of you are waiting for Bloodmine.  My hope is to have that out by the first of the year even with this set back.  Please know this is an aggressive goal but I hope to achieve it.  The audio version of The Blackguard did get released on time, so that goal has been met. Thank you to my narrator, Paul.

My next personal goal is to find a Corgi.  I want one for a comfort pet.  If anyone knows of anyone with a baby Corgi, I am looking. I want a baby so we can bond and be tight as I go through this battle that I have been told will be at least six months.

I love you all. Thank you for your support. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why Am I an Amazon Select Author?

I have been asked this question many times since the debate with Hachette started.  Why are you an Amazon Select Author.  The truth?  Well the truth at first is that I could not afford to be anything else or I thought so at the time. I have learned a lot since then but even now I do not expand beyond Amazon.

But why?

First:  When I had no money but I had a story, Amazon published it through createspace for free.  No minimum purchase.  No upfront fees.  No inventory on hand.  Just.. here is my story.  I was working full time and knew from previous business experience there was some benefit in this as my time is also worth money.  Instead of panicking about filling orders and different sites, I could leverage my time to writing and publicity.

Second:  I have long known and agree with Amazon's position with Hachette that a lower price tag means more sales and when you leverage those numbers that it will mean more profit to the bottom line. Amazon recently released this information and I have used the same tactics when I owned a gift store.
My ebook

"E-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."

Third:  My time is worth money. Especially now that I have to battle cancer.  By not keeping track of  the many websites and portals, I have leveraged my time to free it up for more writing.  I have heard, you could have more sales if you listed your book here and here and here.  Maybe, maybe I could.  But I am not writing to be rich and famous.  Oh, I won't lie, that would be nice.  However, by having a single portal without paying additional people a share of my profits, I have freedom of time. This means more to me than a few more sales.

Fourth:  Profit: Okay, let us be honest.  Profit makes additional writing possible. The more reduction of financial stress, the more creative I am.  I am making enough profit doing things the way I am doing that I had already given notice to be a full time Independent writer before I found out I had cancer.  Even now if the face of cancer, I know if I don't stop doing what I am doing, there will be enough profit to pay the medical bills.

Fifth:  What about the new Kindle Unlimited?  The jury for me is still out on this program.  My sales immediately dropped when Kindle Unlimited came out.  Little self disclosure here:  In July, my book was borrowed 610 times in the US with a profit of $1366.40.  I averaged 2.24 per borrow prior to KDP select starting.   My book, Outcast, when sold at $2.99 only brings in  $2.00 in profit.  Assuming that the amount I receive per borrow stays above 2.00, I am actually better off if my book is borrowed. That just makes good financial sense.  However, I am waiting for the first report to come out to see what the price per borrow was when Unlimited was introduced and that will decide for me.

Lastly:  What if it changes?? What if you quit making such a good income because Amazon squeezes down the profit margins?  These are questions I have been asked.  Contracting Cancer has only solidified something I have always believed.  I can't live in tomorrow.  I can't future trip and run around panicked trying to leverage against something that has not happened.  I don't have the time or energy for such a waste of energy against something that might NEVER happen.  If it does happen, then I will take it like I live life, one day at a time.  However, for Amazon to sell books, they have to have authors.  The truth is, no great outlet ever squeezes their supplier out of existence.    But if it does happen, if the worst shoe drops, then and only then will I jump a ship.  It make no sense to me to jump off a ship that might sink some day.

I hope those of you that have bought in to Hachette's media campaign will at least take the time to read this article . Authors are not United on this issue as Hachette claim,   I have learned that over time, loyalty often triumphs diversity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Speaking of Magic by Robert McCammon

I wanted to write about Magic.  But Mr. McCammon says it far better than I ever could.  Here is a passage from Boy's Life.  It ties up in essence, all that I believe about magic.

“You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Finding One's Feet in Fantasy

Well as an update - I made it through surgery and although still tired and sore, appear to be recovering well. I find out tomorrow the stage of cancer and what it will mean for chemo, radiation, life expectancy and so much more.  Strangely, as a fantasy writer, I find these things intriguing.

Fantasy in the concepts of writing is defined as:  An imaginative fiction dependent for effect upon the strangeness of setting and or the characters.  So a new world, strange new beasts or even the use of magic or mind skills not perceived as common in our day to day experiences.

Writers have been playing with fantasy forever; for it is the realm of tales where good triumphs over evil and magic can rescue one from the hardships of life or even your own stupidity.  Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream or J.R.R. Tolkiens famous trilogy are examples of excellent fantasy.

Fantasy is a place where one can escape the trials and tribulations of day to day life and while the hero may not always win, you are given someone to root for and align with in hopes of a desired outcome.

So in the world of fantasy in which I thrive, my children and I named the cancer Bob.  Bob just had to go.  And from that slips a tale of fantasy in which our heroine is dealing with a most obtrusive and obnoxious suitor.  And though she has found ways to cut him from her life, the damages that he has left remain obstacles to overcome.  As she surmount challenge after challenge, our obnoxious suitor stays just out of sight, waiting to claim her for his own.  Will she rise up and slay him once and for all?  Will the trials and tribulations of his stalking be to much to overcome?  In that final battle, will he overcome her tenacity and stubborn resistance and claim her once and for all as his own?

See, that is the thing about fantasy... the only way out is through.  Until you read every sword clash, every monster overcome and every moment of triumph for our heroine, you do not know.  You have to read till the end.

I will see you all at the end.  Whatever it brings, we will read it together.  We will cry together. We will triumph or fall....together.

Life truly is a never ending story till the last breath is drawn and this writer plans to make sure her heroine breathes every last moment full of color, gratitude and love.  For is that not the stuff that dreams are made of?  See you at the end....


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Update - Surgery

Just wanted to update my loyal readers, I made it through surgery. Was a rough go of it for a couple days as there were complications but if all goes well, I get to go home today.  They still have me drugged enough that writing has been just out of reach. I am encouraged however, in that I am writing to you all right now.

My granddaughter, Breanna Skye, was born while I was here and so I got to hold her. I look more like I had her but it was a special moment given the uncertainty of my prognosis at this time.  I will not find out what stage of Cancer I have had removed until the labs come back. I will let you all know the outcomes when I have them.

Look, brave enough to show horrible hospital picture.  But.. she was to precious not to show

I will let you know when I am home.  Oh, The Society of Enlightened Dragonologists launched while I was out cold.  It is at  Also, Blackguard came out in Audio form.  Again, while I was out so I have had no opportunities to promote it. 

Talk to you all soon. 
Cheri Lynn