Continuing with my March challenge, today I’m to write about my March Goals.

March Writing Goals

  1. Complete the March Challenge
  2. Complete reading the proof for Scattered Stones, book 2 in the Castle Keepers series and release it.
  3. Begin editing Beyond the Myst, book 1 of the Mystical series
  4. Continue to write every day. Currently, I’m writing book 2 in the Mystical series. As of yet, I haven’t found a title for it. Perhaps that will happen this month.
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I’ve accepted a March Challenge on Instagram, but I’m not on there often, only once-a-month often, so I thought I’d do the challenge here on my blog. The challenge is to write on a particular subject each day. On March 1st, I’m to introduce myself.March Challenge

Introduce Yourself

I’m Diane Lynn McGyver. I’m a fantasy writer. I was a teen in the 80s, so I’m a fan of 80s rock, but I also love country music, Newfoundland music (yes, it’s a thing), Scottish music and Gaelic music. What is my favourite song? That’s a tough one. There are many. At the moment, my favourite slow song is “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. My favourite fast song is “Drinking Again” by Luke Bryan.

That’s me on the left in a place that has always felt like home.

I can’t remember when I started writing; I’ve always done it. In elementary, I filled Campfire Notebooks with stories. I wrote my first full novel in my late teens by pencil in a coil notebook. I still have it. It was horrible, so I pulled it out about 15 years ago and did major rewrites. Not much of it survived. It turned into Shadows in the Stone, book 1 of the Castle Keepers series.

Why do I write fantasy novels? Fantasy contains many elements I admire: magic, swords, sorcery, thieves, honour, castles, horses, dwarfs, hauflins, quests, travel. Anything can happen in a fantasy story, and I get to control it.

My books contain many elements and my characters meet many challenges, but the overall theme of all my novels can be boiled down to two things: home and true love.

Home has always been special to me, and while I sometimes live where it doesn’t feel like home, I always know where true home is.

I don’t want to believe in true love, but my soul mate keeps reminding me he’s there, regardless if we are together or not.

Besides writing, my favourite pastime activities are hiking, boating, fishing, camping, playing cards, and hanging out with family and friends just shooting the … breeze.

Where would I like to be in ten years? Living near the ocean with my soul mate, writing a little each day and admiring the completed Castle Keepers and Mystical series sitting on my book shelf. Yeah, that sounds like a good destination.

Winter, or as they call it in the Land of Ath-o’Lea Forstig and Wintertide, is a rough time to be travelling The Trail. The group wakes up covered in snow on more than one occasion, and the wind whips into their face while they’re riding.

While writing a scene, I always have to be aware of the weather. The big question is: Is there snow on the ground? It can change everything.

For example, a scene in Revelation Stones, book 3, has Isla wearing a cape that makes her invisible. She arrives through a portal and steps outside to learn where she is. The snow complicates things:

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On Friday, I wrote the final words to the fourth book in the Castle Keepers series. Healing Stones came to 142,169 words. Obviously, it won’t stay that count; editing and revisions will change it, but not drastically. If all goes as planned, the book will be released in September 2019.

Healing Stones focusses on the remaining members of The Mercenaries after the brutal battle at the end of Revelation Stones. They set out to find Liam Jenkins, Isla’s friend from her youth, the boy who she pledged to unite with when she was only twelve years old.

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Family Christmas meal

The table with only the three youngest kids. That’s me with a fork in my mouth.

I come from a large family. Let me size it up for you. I’m kid number 10 of 11. My parents have 29 grandkids. While my mom’s family is small (she has only 4 siblings), my father’s family is immense. He has 16 siblings and almost all of them had at least 2 kids. To say I had many cousins doesn’t do it justice. We live in the same province as my dad’s family, so we visited each other often.

At my family’s peak, we had 12 people living in a small (think very small) home. Mom was an excellent cook, and everything was made from scratch. We were a boisterous bunch, and we weren’t forced to eat in silence. By the time I got into double digits, some of my older siblings were married and had kids of their own.

My siblings, their spouses and their kids came to my parents’ home for Christmas day. That meant the kitchen table was always full and we filled the living room and flowed into the hall and closets to find a place to eat when the eating time came.

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Travelling Food

At the moment, my characters in Healing Stones (Castle Keepers Series: Book 4) are travelling through Yikker Wood. They left Inglenook about two weeks ago, and they won’t reach a settlement to buy supplies for another three days.

This means they must carry all their food in packs or saddle bags on their horses. They could hunt, and they may resort to that, and they’ve picked mushrooms along the way to add to their dwindling supplies.

Starting Out

For several days after they left Inglenook, they ate biscuits, bacon, eggs, bread and meat, but those perishable goods are gone after 14 days. This is the point where I scramble to find food for them to eat, so they won’t starve.

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I’ve played cards all my life, first as a child playing simple games like Go Fish, then as a teen playing Rummy and Poker. I’ve taught my kids a few games, Playing Cardsbut they aren’t the player I used to be. We didn’t have electronic equipment to occupy our minds when I was a kid, so if we were inside and wanted entertainment, cards or a board game was it.

Cards fit easily into a back pocket, so they travelled everywhere with us: to school, the playground, the camp, the woods. Everyone knew how to play at least one game, and most of my family and friends could play a dozen.

The characters in my epic fantasy series are often travelling. The most mobile entertainment for them is a deck of cards. Cards didn’t appear in my first two books, but they did in the third. With four teens gathered around the fire in book 4, Healing Stones, there’s going to be more card playing because it feels natural.

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