Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Preorders for Mynidd open THURSDAY!! I’m stoked. Seriously, stoked. And, to celebrate, I’m letting you all read my favorite scene from the new novel, so you’ll be even more excited to go over and click that beautiful preorder button at the end of the week.

Check out the excerpt, below!


{Rani D.}

Mynidd: People of the Hills

(excerpt, ©Copyright RAD Writing, 2018)

I remember hearing someone call my name.
 I couldn’t tell who it was, and I didn’t know that I actually wanted to go to them. I was surrounded by icy water, and I couldn’t breathe—but I often felt as though I couldn’t breathe while my body was out of my control. Maybe it was all in my mind, something my imagination decided to throw at me.
 But then I was falling, and I knew what I felt was real.
 My eyes opened, and I watched as I fell from the top of the cliffs down toward the lake below, unable to even cry out. Rocks rushed past my head, my legs, my outstretched arms, but still I couldn’t move. My body was still beyond my control, and I could do nothing to save myself. I couldn’t count the times I almost hit one of the rocks, and was somehow pushed out of the way. I wanted to hit one of them. I wanted to die in the air rather than drown in the lake below me. I didn’t want to feel water in my lungs and be unable to cough it out. I wanted my spine to break and my consciousness to fade, my entire mind to leave me before life was stolen from my body. More than anything, I wanted someone to catch me. I wanted Feo to be down there in the water, holding his arms out, ready to catch me. But I knew that it would never happen. Feo was gone; he couldn’t save me from this.
 No one could.
 As I reached the bottom of the falls, I tried to scream. I tried to let someone know where I was, to help someone find me and catch me, and bring me back to the surface.
 I didn’t want to drown.
 I’d heard stories of drowning, of people who’d almost drowned and been brought back to life. It was painful. It seared lungs and broke hearts. That was the last thing in the world that I wanted to experience. And yet, I found myself there, once again surrounded by water. This time it was warm. It flooded all around me, and I sank into its depths. There were other bodies down here. I knew that. I’d watched Karyn’s body sent down here, into the lake. Sasha had seen others—dozens of them. Every human who had died in the war and had not been brought back to our village was down here, rotting in the depths of this lake.
 All I could do was join them.
 I felt as though I would never reach the bottom. I forced myself not to inhale, to hold my breath until I died. If it was the last thing I did, I was going to prevent myself from drowning. I could suffocate myself, couldn’t I? Surely I could make sure that I died of something other than drowning.
 But Sasha would still say that I’d drowned. They’d all still believe that I’d fallen down here and drowned to death. So what did it really matter?
 As I lay near the bottom of the lake, my control over my body came back to me. I could move my head, swing my arms, and kick my legs: but I didn’t know how to swim. None of it would propel me toward the surface, and it only made it harder for me to hold my breath. I wouldn’t last more than another few seconds. I’d been able to hold my breath for around two minutes while we were in battle, to keep my heart rate slower and my mind focused on the task at hand—but that was nothing like this. Finally, I couldn’t take it. I opened my mouth, and my instinct was to inhale. The liquid rushed into my lungs, searing through my body. I shook violently as I tried to purge the liquid from my system, but the more I tried the more water I swallowed and inhaled. My mind spun, and I madly kicked my legs and swung my arms in an effort to reach the surface.
 The word echoed all around me, through my very soul. I trembled in fear of it and looked around for the source. As far as I could see, in the dark depths of the water, I was the only one there. I felt the life starting to leave my veins, and I closed my eyes. I saw the face of the man I loved. Of course I loved him. I’d always known that, hadn’t I? I wanted to cry, shout his name, but I could not—and even if I had, I wouldn’t have known, surrounded by all that water.
 Again, I inhaled the water: only this time, I exhaled it as well. It still seared through my body, causing my insides to quake and turn in pain—but I breathed it. I did it again and again, inhale, exhale, until I found myself surrounded by a great beam of light.
 My eyes opened to find that I now lay horizontally, my arms spread wide and my back arched as though I was held within the grasp of a giant hand. The light flooded around me, and the word echoed once again, “Breathe.”
 I did as it said, keeping my eyes fixed on the surface of the water above me. I shouldn’t have been alive. It should’ve killed me. People couldn’t breathe water. People drowned in water. I knew that for a fact. So this wasn’t possible.
“Aeronwen,” the voice said. I swallowed hard. I’d never heard anything like that voice before in my life.
 At that moment, held there in the water, I cried. I felt tears pouring down the sides of my face, even there beneath the waves. I stared up into the light, and the sight of it brought me to the brink. It was beautiful and perfect, caring, compassionate. No matter what went on in this world, it was love. To everything. I knew that, as I looked up into that bright light. I don’t know how I knew it. I don’t even know what I saw. I never knew. But I saw love. That much, I understood.
 Just as quickly as it had come, the light faded. My feet gravitated back down toward the ground, and when I landed my hand was enveloped within the grasp of another.
 “Now you understand,” Hythdor said, her glowing blue eyes staring straight into mine.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Hey guys! Today I have something really fun that I want to show you. If you’ve joined in for the fun over in Divine Reads, then you’ve seen a little bit more of this, but I really wanted you guys to see what it’s like when you’re world building. It’s more than just creating a set of characters and a setting in which for them to live—I also had to create the world itself, which meant creating a map for my druids and humans to live out their lives.

It all started when I was writing Cedwig. I realized that I had no idea what this world really looked like, in terms of a map. I didn’t know where everything was, in relation to the other. I knew Coetir took place on an island, but what existed beyond that? Obviously, there was more. The world couldn’t only have one tiny little island as its only land. That wouldn’t do. Besides, Cedwig was already in the works. Dwr was conceptualized. There was more to be done!

So, I opened up the Paint program on my laptop, and I made this: 

My mother refers to it as a turtle going in for a piece of lettuce. Some of the information on it isn’t even correct, and nothing is to scale. It was only a way for me to remember which direction everything was, and to not confuse myself when it came right down to it.

Well, then I took up drawing. I even worked on the map for AC Schafer’s The Wraith and the Wielder, after a while. But this was what I got, the first time I started working on my Druid World Map:

Again, I had scale issues. Part of the world, part that I really need to be there, didn’t fit on the page. But I was also drawing on a smaller size paper than I probably should’ve been.

See, Anialych needs to fit on the bottom there. There’s a whole book based on those people, but their land didn’t even fit on the page. How rude of me. And I really hated drawing trees like that. After a while, my hand cramped, and I decided that there had to be a better way. (check out Schafer’s map, if you want to see what I eventually landed on doing)

Here’s what I ended up with next:

Well, at least the scale is mildly better. Nothing else really is. Things aren’t in the right places, the lake looks like a bean, and I went color happy with my markers. Things aren’t done with the right pens, and some things just don’t make sense the way I drew them, when you take the stories into account.

Oy, more work to be done.

And I’m still not finished, if I’m being honest. I still need trees, and I screwed up a cluster of mountains on my latest version, and I *still* haven't fixed the lake. But hey, the mountains are a more appropriate scale and the islands look good. Besides, I’m a work in progress too, and I don’t need the map to be completed for another year. It's just been a fun project for me to get into when I need a break from staring at a computer.

I just thought you all might like to see how something goes from an idea to a scribble, and from a scribble to a halfway completed project, something like this:

I'll get better at this, I swear.

Stick with me and I’ll show you the final before its released to the rest of the world, but if you want better updates, don’t forget to join in the fun at Divine Reads!


{Rani D.}

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Reading and Writing

Well, good Tuesday to you!

I don’t think that’s a thing… but it is now. Good Tuesday. Every Tuesday is a good Tuesday, wouldn’t you say?

And today, I want to answer yet another of your questions. If you’ll remember, this month is our catch-all month, of the topics too short to be focused on for a whole month, and basically all the little ideas I got in 2017 and couldn’t talk about because they wouldn’t make a cohesive series. Well, take that! It’s not cohesive at all, and I planned it that way!

…I digress…

If you follow me on Goodreads at all, you’ll know I have a fairly… eclectic reading list. I’ve been reading everything from Agatha Christie to the Witcher novels, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. But there’s something a couple fans have noticed, which I thought I should take a little bit of time to answer.

“Why don’t you read in the same genre you’re writing?”

First off, if you check my Goodreads out right now, you’ll think I must be joking. It says I’m reading Artemis by Andy Weir and Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brian, and you all should know very well that I’m currently off the fantasy kick and writing in good ol sci-fi these days. But Artemis is sci-fi. So… that confuses things.

So I’ll just say that though Goodreads says I’m reading it, I haven’t actually made it past page one, primarily because every time I pick it up I get an idea for my book, and every time I pick up M&C I’m enthralled and can’t put it down.

But, I do not generally read books of the same genre in which I’m writing. It’s something of a rule of mine, and I stick to it almost exclusively. I very much dislike when I’m reading a book in the same genre of the book I’m currently writing.

Which is probably part of why it’s been hard to get past page one on Artemis as well…

Here’s why, though:

I don’t like to be distracted. I like to maintain a certain level of focus on the books I’m writing, and somewhere along the way I started to blur lines between reading and writing. That means that from time to time, what I was reading would find its way into what I was writing. And it happened not infrequently if the genres were the same. 

So right now, I’m writing a space epic and reading a nautical fiction from the 70s. The two have very little in common, and I like it that way. There’s no way for me to blur the lines and cross over from one to the other, so it’s safe—and actually, I tend to enjoy my reading more, if the genres are different.

If I’m reading the same genre I’m writing, sometimes it all feels like work.

Remember, if you want to keep a better eye on what I’m reading, or want to keep in touch with what I’m doing as a writer, be sure to join in on Divine Reads and follow me on Goodreads!


{Rani D.}