sword and sorcery

Writing/Publishing Roundup: A new Fatal Empire novel, PLUS a Lasniniar sale

So this update is entirely fantasy-focused… I really should have had it ready to go last month, but I got a bit sidetracked. I’ll be doubling up with a mystery-based update later this month.

Keeper of Wisdom Fatal Empire coverCelebrating a new Fatal Empire release and the 10-year anniversary of Lasniniar

Raziel’s quest for knowledge and vengeance continues in the new Fatal Empire novel, Keeper of Wisdom, plus save 50% on the first three novels in the World of Lasniniar series:

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Posted by Jacquelyn in Promotions, Publishing Updates, 0 comments

Free Fiction Feature May 2021 | Legends of Lasniniar: Trial by Fire

Fire sorcerer. Abduction victim.


The Learnéd One Lysandir bears many titles, given to him by the people of Lasniniar. But only a unique and resourceful elf named Iarion dares to call him by the most powerful title of all…


Lysandir can only hope it proves enough to save him.

A stand-alone story of mystery and adventure from Iarion’s past in the World of Lasniniar epic fantasy series by award-winning author, Jacquelyn Smith.

Now, you can read it online for free for one month only:

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Introducing the Free Fiction Feature: The God’s Eye

So what is the Free Fiction Feature?

Basically, I’ll be posting one of my short stories (fantasy or crime fiction) on this website for free each month and ONLY for that month. (The intended schedule will have a new story going up on the first Thursday of every month when the previous story comes down.)

This is an idea I’ve been toying with for awhile now… I was planning on launching it at the beginning of next year, but with everything that’s going on in the world these days, I decided to pull the trigger now instead. (I know lots of people are stuck at home, and money is tight.)

I actually got this idea from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who’s been posting a free short story every week on her website for years now. (She has A LOT more short stories than I do, lol.) So I’ll be working my way through posting all my existing shorts (many which are north of 10,000 words, along with a few novellas), and newer stories as time rolls on, until I either run out of content, or decide to drop the project.

In addition, I’m planning to run a regular ‘Behind the Books’ post that includes some additional background or fun insights about each story. These will appear two weeks after the free story is posted. (And they’ll stay up indefinitely, like regular posts.)

So with all those details out of the way, on to the first story…


The God's Eye fantasy short story cover

Raena watches the entrance of the Six Crows, waiting for her quarry to arrive.

Tales of her exploits already travel across the land in soft whispers—the finest thief in Midnight Reach.

But no one in the rogues’ tavern recognizes her in her current guise. Not even the hired men who hunt her.

…And Raena needs to tie up some loose ends.

A magic-filled, short story adventure for fans of fast-paced fantasy, “The God’s Eye” by Jacquelyn Smith won first place in the Writers’ Journal Fiction Contest (2011).

Now, you can read it for free on this site for one month only. This short story also comes in ebook and paperback formatboth on its own, and as part of the Rubicon short story collection.

You can find “The God’s Eye” at your preferred online retailer here, or buy it direct from the author. You can find retailer links to Rubicon here, or buy it direct from the author.


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Posted by Jacquelyn in Free Fiction Feature, 0 comments

It’s ALIVE! When Stories Take on a Life of Their Own

So this hasn’t always been the case, but over time, I have evolved into a ‘Discovery Writer’ (AKA: ‘Pantser,’ as in, ‘writing by the seat of your pants’ [as opposed to being a Planner]). I basically come up with a concept or jumping-off point, and find out where it leads (AKA: writing into the dark).

Sometimes, this method can be terrifying. (“Where the hell is this story going??”) But I have come to find it makes the writing process far more interesting (and fun!). It also means that a lot of times your stories or characters can end up taking a turn on you that you never saw coming.

I had this happen for all three of my most recent projects:

Legends of Lasniniar Goddess Almighty coverLegends of Lasniniar: Goddess Almighty

(Click here for product description and purchase links)

When I first came up with my list of ideas for what I wanted to do for each upcoming Legend of Lasnniar fantasy adventure over the six latest installments I had planned to write and publish in a row (this one is number four), I intended to write this story from an entirely opposite point of view.

But after writing Quicksilver, which details the first meeting of Iarion and Felara, I thought it would be much more interesting to get inside Felara’s head for Goddess Almighty. And since Felara is basically a sociopath, the story turned out a few shades darker than I had originally thought it would.

Tale of the Tape Kira Brightwell coverTale of the Tape: A Kira Brightwell Short Novel

(Click here for product description and pre-order links)

When I made my list of ideas for the upcoming run of Kira Brightwell crime fiction shorts I wanted to write and publish in a row (eight in total), I basically wrote ‘high school story’ in my notebook for this one. I also had a vague idea of Kira trying to find another student’s missing car, but that was pretty much it.

I thought this story was going to be pretty straightforward before I started. But as things moved along, other complications beyond the missing car came out of the woodwork, and really, the missing car was only the beginning.

Tale of the Tape evolved from a vague, short story idea into a short novel of over 25,000 words. (Crazy, right?)

It basically ended up being a much bigger story than I would have intentionally planned. And it was fun to have just Kira and Rob running around trying to solve things again, with Trevor in full douchebag form (much like in Under Wraps).

Legends of Lasniniar Prevailing Wind coverLegends of Lasniniar: Prevailing Wind

(Click here for product description and pre-order links)

After writing the tangling mystery that ended up being Tale of the Tape, I needed a change of pace. (Back when she was in high school, Kira didn’t have any MMA skills. While Tale of the Tape has quite a bit of action and suspense, there isn’t any actual fighting in it, and I was itching to kick some ass at this point.)

Prevailing Wind is a sideways story from the World of Lasniniar epic fantasy series that focuses on Arinwyn during the time of Storm Rider. (She doesn’t actually appear in Storm Rider, but this is one of her own adventures that occurs ‘off-page’ during that novel. She first appears in Legends of Lasniniar: Without Wings, which takes place during the time of Soul Seeker.)

This story is an evolution of Arinwyn’s character after we first meet her in Without Wings. Both her magic and her secret heritage are a continuing theme that she is forced to struggle with.

…And what better way to kick things off than with a badass battle against a dragon?

This one definitely ended up having more action than I originally had planned for an internal struggle story, but the fighting actually ended up informing that struggle, so it all worked out.


So basically all three of these stories ended up being quite a bit different than they probably would have been if I had started with a detailed plot outline in hand. Does that make them better? No way to tell, really. But it definitely made them more interesting and fun for me to write (which is what helps keep me humming along).

And I’m hoping that makes them more interesting and fun to read as well.


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Posted by Jacquelyn in Behind the Books, Publishing Updates, Writing Updates, 0 comments