The Last of the Ageless Acknowledgments

This novel’s journey spans nearly fifteen years, so buckle up—this is going to take a while.

First and foremost, let me thank my supportive parents and the large and loving Loudin family for never thinking I was crazy for wanting to write a novel. Of course, my siblings Sierra, John, and Case knew I was crazy, but they told me to keep going anyway. Sierra was one of my very earliest alpha readers, back when this novel had nothing at all to do with any Ageless. Thanks, sis!

I owe the term transmelder to my father, an avid science fiction fan who read me H.G. Wells as a child. I remember many joyful trips to both town libraries with my mother over the years as I progressed from the children’s section, to the young readers’ section, and finally into those vaunted adult shelves. My mother also helped me finally settle on Dalan as the main character’s name.

Huge thanks to Lindsay Hurley for providing feedback long before I started writing what would become the final incarnation of this novel. She helped me brainstorm who the antagonists might be and why they might conflict, even with each other.

I’d especially like to thank Liz Fidler for getting me back into writing during a three-year lull after college. If she hadn’t jump-started my creativity again, I’m not sure I would’ve had the fortitude to give this novel one more chance.

Throughout my childhood and early years as a young writer, various teachers and professors both encouraged me and gave me the tough love I needed. Though they often tried to expand my writing horizons outside the genre as well as into short fiction, it turns out I really am a genre novelist. Thanks goes to Dolores Boyles, Melissa Cupp, Dr. Kathleen Ochshorn, and Dr. Mary Jane Schenck for all the writing advice, to Dr. Martin Favata for expanding my cultural horizons, and most of all to Dr. Richard Mathews for letting me take his science fiction course twice so I could keep writing to my passions.

Many thanks to the talented writers I met in various writing groups. Daniel Evans, Nathaniel Lee, and Rocky Williams for encouraging me to keep going. Blair Peery, Dan Gallagher, and Erin Ryan for finding the good in very rough draft and helping me realize this story needed more than a dash of scifi to go with its fantasy. Darin Kennedy, Jay Requard, and J. Matthew Saunders for slogging through the early chapters of my first completed draft. Their insights proved invaluable in shaping the final novel.

Big thanks to everyone from Charlotte Writers, coffee and pastry lovers that they are, for keeping me motivated to write. Special thanks to John G. Hartness for his off-the-cuff publishing and marketing advice.

This novel wouldn’t be nearly so awesome without the help of my fabulous beta readers, Terence S. Thomas, CM Stewart, Crystal Loudin Jones, Chuck Loudin, Nelly Micholt, Beth Hufnagel, Joelle Karout, and James Todd Haney. Special thanks to Terence for his guidance through Goodreads, and Crystal for reading this monstrous novel from start to finish twice!

A special note of appreciation goes to Nico Paloceropalo, Paul McNeil, Lorena Lombardo, and @AskSpanishBoss for help on Soledad’s Spanish.

I’m grateful my developmental editor, Annetta Ribken, helped me realize Zen needed to be even more of an antagonist. She helped me strengthen so many aspects of the novel that I can’t possibly list them all. DongWon Song went above and beyond to spot continuity problems and even a lingering developmental issue or two.

And the biggest thanks of all goes to my loving husband Dorian, who always kept me going with encouragement and assurances through round after round of revisions. I’m looking forward to many more adventures together.

Thank you, everyone, for all the encouragement and support.

ConCarolinas 2016 Recap: Part 2

Fantasy Authors Calandra Usher and Traci Loudin at ConCarolinasWelcome back! This is part 2 in my ConCarolinas 2016 series. Go back to Part 1 for a summary of my second ever author reading, the writers and mental illness panel, Marvel on the Small Screen, Mystic Pregnancies and Magic Babies panel, The Author Dating Game, Epic Questing and Sharp SF. Next week I’ll also share some of my own reflections on where my author career is going.

Let’s dive right into some awesome writing advice on trilogies, brilliant marketing tips, and ideas on how to write a satisfying ending!
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ConCarolinas 2016 Recap: Part 1

As usual, ConCarolinas was awesome. I learned a ton of fantastic writing and marketing tips from my fellow science fiction and fantasy authors, and even took part in a Rapid Fire Reading with the Broad Universe! I read from page 10 of The Last of the Ageless, when Dalan first gets himself into trouble…

Because this post will be long, I’ve decided to break it into two THREE parts. Part 1 covers most of Friday and parts of Saturday. Part 2 contains notes from panels on planning a trilogy, marketing, and how to end your story. And Part 3 will be my own reflections.

Part 1 Table of Contents


Rapid Fire Reading

Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading ConCarolinas 2016When Calandra Usher invited me to the reading and then reminded me it was at 9 pm Friday, I got the jitters. But Cali is awesome and she helped me pick the right scene for the reading!

I’ve only done one public reading before at my old high school. So this was pretty exciting for me, and what I hope is a taste of things to come.

Each member of the Broad Universe went down the line and read 3 minutes’ worth of goodness from their latest work in progress or published novel. And when my turn came, I don’t think I tripped over a single word. Or if I did, I probably skipped it.

Everyone had something awesome to read. Next year we’re going to provide a list of works or pass around some sort of mailing list so people can find the stories they liked best.

I was just super stoked to see my name on a piece of paper with all of these fine folks. Big thanks to the Ardent Alliance for supporting my writing career and giving me the funding for membership with the Broad Universe!

Broad Universe logo

The Broad Universe is an organization dedicated to the support of female science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. That doesn’t mean Broad Universe is strictly limited to female membership, however, and in fact we had male-identifying authors read on Friday. All speculative fiction authors who uphold the Universe’s mission can join. See the FAQs.
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Second Draft Complete!

Yesterday I finished the second draft of my still untitled epic fantasy, codename Cast Beyond. So I need YOUR help picking the best title for this book! Take the survey:

Choose the Best Title


It now stands at 97,000 words. During the second draft, I:

  • deleted 10 scenes
  • added 15 scenes
  • revised 36 scenes

I’ll have more work to do once my critique partners get through it later this summer. I already plan to add back in about four scenes based on their feedback. I’ll also need beta readers this summer, probably in August, if you’re interested.

Here are some teasers about the book so far!

Ekanen is a good soldier, but when his entire battalion is slaughtered by invading enchanters, he can do nothing to stop them. A lone enchanter throws him from the battlefield, leaving him the sole survivor. Now he must reconcile his people’s desire for vengeance with the knowledge that the enchanters aren’t all fighting on the same side.

With no one to trust, he finds himself drawn deeper into the enemy’s plot as he unravels the truth behind the unwarranted attack. Ekanen must find a way to prevent the next world war, a war that will leave the planet Renjian defenseless against the ancient enemy that waits in the depths of space.

Other Important Characters

In her twilight years, the summerborn enchanter Ilienka longs to retire to the mysterious unexplored continent to the north. But when her apprentice intervenes in the coming battle, she finds herself pulled into a conflict the world isn’t prepared for.

Dreaming of freedom, Heiduan and her sister escape from slavery in their homeland. The two winterborn enchanters hope that crossing the rift will save them, but they’re denied passage and exiled to a hostile land. When an enchanter army conscripts them, they find themselves fighting for their freedom again. Only this time the outcome may determine whether the army starts a new world war.


Great geysers shooting pure magic from the core of the planet divide the world into fragments, or continents. Enchanters can cross the thinnest of these rifts, but wider rifts may hide undiscovered lands.

Enchanters born in summer become casters, able to cast spells. Enchanters born in winter become makers, able to craft charms that others or they themselves can use until depleted.

Help me pick the right title for this book!