Father Hal Tawndry's Guide to Ledonia Part II: The Hierarchy

A terse lesson on the history, religion and current structure of the kingdom of Ledonia for the foreign wanderer who finds himself in this bountiful and varied realm by Father Hal Tawndry, High Priest of Wic, Keeper of Knowledge, and written in the first glorious year of the reign of His Grace, King Esmond Seyerling.



In order to enlighten persons new to this great kingdom, I, Father Hal Tawndry, High Priest of Wic and Keeper of His Knowledge, have been tasked with committing to writing certain pertinent facts which would aid in the foreigner’s understanding of this kingdom, in order that he should not perpetrate any act of unscrupulous affront to any lords, ladies or immortals forbid, the King. In this way, harmony will be kept and there shall be no need for the foreigner to claim ignorance should he insult his host and instead shall be rooted out as the arrogant outsider most foreigners seem to be.

Gods be with you,

Father Hal Tawndry
High Priest of Wic
Keeper of His Knowledge

***WARNING: SMALL SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HAVEN'T  YET READ FROM THE DARKNESS COMES, I SUGGEST YOU LURK ELSEWHERE!***



The kingdom of Ledonia was once a disorganized, chaotic continent with warring factions and petty chieftains. Five hundred years ago, a woman named Leda Seyerling rose against the tyrannical marauders that had the run of the continent. Her husband had perished defending her and her son during a raid. With the aid of her brother-in-law, she united all the good people to destroy the rampant disorder and distress. When peace was gained, the people held her up as queen and anointed her son as the heir of the new kingdom. From then on, the title has been passed on to the firstborn son or next closest male kin.

Before Leda ceded Ledonia to her son, she divided the kingdom into eight, after the Divine Eight, and to ensure the continent would not witness such unrest as it had before unification. The four dukedoms are home to the most powerful of the landed nobility beneath the monarch.

To the north, the Duchy of Elderbrooke is held by the Unger family. Lord Tybalt, recently widowed, has only three daughters to follow him. While not unusual for women to inherit titles, especially in the north, it remains to be seen who Lord Tybalt will cede his dukedom to. Meanwhile, he fosters friendly relations with the Ruromanni of the north and there have not been any skirmishes between the two peoples for decades, mostly thanks to the late King Wolfred’s efforts at forming a mutually beneficial alliance with the Ruromanni during the Long War with Delphis.

To the north and west of the continent is an island that lies between the Ruromanni lands and the island kingdom of Delphis. This is the Duchy of Hildun and held by the Berger family. The late Lord Charle solidified his place in the kingdom during the Long War by marrying Wolfred Seyerling’s younger sister, the Lady Maeve Seyerling. There had been whispers he was ready to turn traitor to his king and pledge allegiance instead to the Delphisian king, but all that was quieted with his marriage into the royal family. Lord Charle and Lady Maeve had one son, our current king, His Grace Esmond Berger-Seyerling.

To the south and hugging most of the central coast lies the Duchy of Amaranta, held by the Dorsile family. The late duke, Lord Kenric Dorsile was a close adviser to the king and spent most of his time in the capital. His young wife, Lady Elinor Toers-Dorsile, gave him only a daughter, Lady Hawise, before the duke was murdered. Many of Lord Kenric’s peers believed he vied for the title of Grand Duke, a title as of yet nonexistent. The king has so far made no decisions regarding the ceding of the title and for the moment Lady Elinor holds the duchy in trust for her reclusive young daughter. No doubt, many nobles seek a betrothal with the girl, for the duchy is a rich and fertile land and built mostly on slave labour, a practice the late King Wolfred considered abolishing and a consideration which died with him and his sons.

Further south and resting along the northern border of the Kingdom of Valderon is the Duchy of Malandra, ruled by the Verret family. Through a series of unfortunate deaths, the old Lord Shamus is left with only one viable heir, his nephew Lord Emrys, a young man who cares more for horse racing and bedding women than ruling a dukedom. Because of the king’s marriage to a princess of Valderon, the border remains peaceful. Lord Shamus however, must contend with the occasional raid into the woodland country of the west by the Giscarians, a race of barbarous, loathsome men from the Giscar Mountains, a mountain chain that borders the entire west of Ledonia.

North of Malandra and to the east of the Giscar Mountains is an area known as the Marches. These border areas are plagued by the Giscarians and other barbarians wishing to come into Ledonian territory. Two noble families have been charged with guarding this large area: the Toers take charge of the Rockston territory, and the Stratemakers take charge of the far north, called the High Hills.

Lord Baldwyn Toers, Marquis of Rockston is a great general of the Ledonian Army and successfully pushed back an army of barbarians and mammoths from the border. However, he remains a widower and his only living child is a daughter, the same Lady Elinor mentioned earlier. The lord was a great and trusted friend to the late King Wolfred and is beloved of the soldiers under his command.

The Marchioness Lady Sibba Stratemaker rules the High Hills, unmarried and childless. She is said to lead her men out to battle and to drink and carouse with them. The Lady is able to get away with this unbecoming behavior only because she is so far away from her peers in the northwest corner of the kingdom. And ever more scandalous, the king is amused by powerful women and never reprimands her or appoints one of her few male relatives as marquis.

The Midlands of Ledonia are overseen by a count. The Speer family has long held this title. Lord Valamer is rarely seen by his peers and never travels to the capital to meet with the king. Some say he plots, others say he is crazy, and still others say he is busy dealing with the roving bands of marauders and deserters of the Ledonian Army. Whatever the truth, he does not suffer from lack of heirs; it is said he has eight sons and five daughters, all legitimate, and a bevy of bastards to boot. Many of his daughters are married into other noble families. Most notable are the Lady Anna and Lady Pernella, both married into the Verret family.

Finally, the Fertile Plains are ruled by a baron appointed by the king. There is no succession for this land, for the area provides much of the riches of Ledonia. In the past, the barony has rebelled and it is a fact that much of the few rebellions against the crown have started in this barony. Therefore, the king grants it to whoever is currently in his favour. At the moment, the Lord Lastur Kern retains the title of Baron of the Fertile Plains. It is said he is easily manipulated and possesses no further ambition than what he has already gained.

There are other minor nobles without land: the viscounts, most often an empty title given to soldiers for their exceptional service; the baronets, nobility who remain within the capital for no reason other than they have no land and wish to pay court to the king; and the knights, those mounted warriors in service to nobility, made noble themselves through their courageous deeds.

Of course, the king of Ledonia is the absolute and final power, though he may consult with the nobles or the priests for any number of decisions or in matters of lawmaking. The king is always a member of the Seyerling family and it is said that Leda’s husband, whose name is lost to history, was a descendant of the god of the sky himself, Seinar, and therefore every king since her son Blayve took the throne possessed the blood of a god.

Unfortunately, this does not prevent tragedy from befalling the royal family, as witnessed by the murder of the late King Wolfred, his wife Rohese, and their three sons, Wolfred, Sid, and Rhodri by his own elite bodyguards, the Blayvian Guard. Praise be to the gods that Esmond survived, for Ledonia would surely have fallen into a dark age had he not ascended to the throne.

The common folk are a varied people, most prolific the rabble of peasants who serve their betters in the fields. Slaves are bought and sold for those with the coin to afford them and thus are resented by the free folk for stealing their jobs. In the cities, there are other types of commoners too numerous to list. The priesthoods of the various gods recruit both commoners and nobility, although the nobility tend to possess the highest ranks.

She-Wolf on a Leash is here!

Now available, She-Wolf on a Leash: The Darkness in the Midst Book II.



E-book is live on Amazon and the paperback is available within 72 hours. You can read chapter 1 for free here on the blog. I hope you’ll enjoy the continuing saga of Cadda!

-Joy

Exciting Book News!

Hello!

How is everyone? I hope everything is well. I have some exciting news to share with you all. The next book in the Darkness in the Midst Series will be out at the end of the month. June 28th, to be exact. I can't wait for you to read it.



As the days go along, I will be updating the site, adding a page for the new book, She-Wolf on a Leash. I will also be posting the next part in Father Hal Tawndry's Guide to Ledonia. This part is about the hierarchy of the land.

Until then, you can find She-Wolf on a Leash available for pre-order at Amazon, right now. The paperback version will be available around the same time, but unfortunately no pre-orders available for that.

So, until the next update, stay safe, be well, and support an indie author by leaving a review! Seriously, it helps us a lot.

-Joy

The Worth of a Book: Pricing a Self-Published Novel



Creatives who go into business for themselves are often faced with a dilemma: how to price what they’re selling. A couple of months ago, I crocheted a doll for a friend. I had no idea what to charge. Too much and I would feel guilty. Too little, and I’d feel a bit cheated. After all, I’d have to factor in the cost of materials and figure out what my time was worth. I’m quite a humble person so I tend to lowball myself. I ended up charging a reasonable amount. 

The same dilemma occurs when you self-publish a book. If you look at Amazon, most e-books by indie authors are selling for $0.99-2.99, including my own. Are the measly royalties earned at those price points worth all the time and hard work you put into writing the novel? 

No. 

Not even close. 

So why do we allow this? It took me years to get to a point where I was ready to hit the submit button on self-publishing. Hundreds of hours where I could have been doing a million other things but instead I worked on my novels. Most likely, I’ll never even earn the price I paid for the covers. 

Which begs the question, are pictures really worth more than a thousand words? Yes, artists are super talented and deserve to be paid hundreds of dollars (or more) for their work. They have costs too -  digital software and tech equipment if they’re digital artists, and old fashioned paint and canvas if they’re traditional. And their time. It takes time to bring a vision to life. So why do writers get the short end of the stick? We have costs too. We have hours upon hours put into our novels. And yet, for some reason it’s okay and even forced upon us to sell our novels for cents. 

I would love to charge what traditional publishers charge for their books. Most trade paperbacks go for about $20 now. E-books by traditionally published books can go for $10. Maybe indie publishers get a bad rep? Maybe no one wants to pay that much for a self-published book? Maybe they’re scared it will be full of typos or horrible writing or whatever? Truth is, most self-published writers make sure their books are in 100% shape before publishing. Certainly I do, though of course I can’t speak for everyone. Since I am self-published I felt like I had to go with the flow and charge $0.99 for my novella. I price my novel at $2.99 because it is longer. I also had days where I gave them away for free. I’ve had more copies given away for free than sold. 

I’m not complaining, not really. My dream was to hold my books in my hands and I made it come true. I always knew I’d never make a fortune. In fact, I’m in the red. In the end, it doesn’t matter to me because I have a full time job. But what about those who don’t? Why would you give them pennies when you’d give a traditionally published author dollars? Maybe that traditionally published author will never earn back his/her advance, but at least they got an advance. 

I don’t know what the point of this post was. Food for thought I guess. I didn’t really think much about this until I saw a thread on Twitter. 

What are your thoughts? How did you decide to price your books? How much is your time worth?

Father Hal Tawndry's Guide to Ledonia Part I: The Immortals

A terse lesson on the history, religion and current structure of the kingdom of Ledonia for the foreign wanderer who finds himself in this bountiful and varied realm by Father Hal Tawndry, High Priest of Wic, Keeper of Knowledge, and written in the first glorious year of the reign of His Grace, King Esmond Seyerling.



In order to enlighten persons new to this great kingdom, I, Father Hal Tawndry, High Priest of Wic and Keeper of His Knowledge, have been tasked with committing to writing certain pertinent facts which would aid in the foreigner’s understanding of this kingdom, in order that he should not perpetrate any act of unscrupulous affront to any lords, ladies or immortals forbid, the King. In this way, harmony will be kept and there shall be no need for the foreigner to claim ignorance should he insult his host and instead shall be rooted out as the arrogant outsider most foreigners seem to be.

Gods be with you,

Father Hal Tawndry
High Priest of Wic
Keeper of His Knowledge



As with everything, all must begin with the Immortals. There exist eight gods, eight for the symbol of their divine infiniteness and the eight finest virtues all Ledonians strive to emulate in their lives: order, dignity, solidarity, generosity, courage, duty, wisdom and fidelity.

A loose hierarchy exists among the gods; however, all agree that first among them is Seinar, the god of the sky and all it entails. He is king among his kind and stands for law, order and justice; just as our own king stands for the same in the realm of mortals.

The goddess Mara is prayed to in matters of love, beauty and desire. Those hoping for marriage and family will light a candle to Mara.

Likewise, the goddess Grainne is invoked in matters of fertility in women and the earth. It is she who decrees the seasons, the harvest, the hunt and all other matters of the earth. Those involved in the healing arts often invoke Grainne, for she is the one who provides them with the herbs necessary for their art.

The domain of oceans, seas, rivers, lakes and ponds belongs to the goddess Thrella. She is a favourite invocation of sailors and fishermen. In fact, many seamen invoke her name in a rather vile way. It is best to ignore these men and not repeat what they blaspheme.

For all Ledonians chasing after philosophical truths and wisdom, seeking reason and strategy, my god Wic receives their devotion.

Others who seek more than what stands before them pray to the goddess San, who reigns over light, prophecy and poetry. If the occult is involved, San is sure to have a hand in it.

Of all the immortals, Calen is the least virtuous. The twin brother of San, he is the messenger of the gods. Thieves, merchants and liars pray to him. But he is also the god of strong drink and celebration and thus many Ledonians will offer a toast to him. Being a messenger, he also has a soft spot for travelers and the lost. But beware his tricks, for as I said, he is the least virtuous of the gods and often has no honor to speak of, a fact not blasphemous to mention.

The last of the gods, Fulke, the god of fire, is the least liked among his kind for he brings war, violence, and bloodshed. He is the immortal soldier and watches over his earthly comrades in battle. Blacksmiths as well pray to Fulke, for his blessing on their weapons is a boon many hope to possess.

I would be remiss in failing to mention the Dark Gods. These are not separate divine beings, but the shadowy, secondary essences of the infinite gods, captured and held prisoner in the underworld, a place called Hell. This chaotic domain is ruled by a shadowy being with no name or face, but often referred to by Ledonians as “The Sorrower”. At various points in time, this being gives the essences of the gods corporeal bodies often termed “demons” by Ledonians, and releases them into the world to wreak havoc and misery. It is said by some that the Dark Gods and the Sorrower are one and the same and are simply a manifestation of all the vices of the gods. But these are arguments for which no foreigner needs to hear of.

From the Darkness Comes Release Schedule!

I am pleased to announce that Book I of the Darkness in the Midst Series will be released this coming week (February18-22) in both e-book and paperback formats! From the Darkness Comes continues the story of Cadda and her search for answers regarding many questions. It is not necessary to have read the prequel, Awakening, however, it does help.



To celebrate, the first post in the Get to Know Ledonia series will also be posted in the coming week. This three part series focuses on, well, getting to know Ledonia through the eyes of an ornery old priest, Father Hal Tawndry.

I hope you'll enjoy both and remember, support an indie author and leave a review!

Follow me on Twitter for instant updates in the meantime.

Have a great weekend,

Joy


Awakening available now!

Hey everyone!

I am pleased to announce that Awakening is now available exclusively on Amazon! If you are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. But starting this Monday, to celebrate the release, Awakening will be free! This limited time offer will last for only 5 days, so get it quickly!

After that, the price goes back to the a measly $1.00 US. Oh and if you prefer reading real books, the beautiful paperback is available for $5.00 US.



I hope you will enjoy the book and if you do get to read it, please leave a review on Amazon. I would love to know what you think!

Book I of the Darkness in the Midst will  be out sometime in February. Follow my blog or twitter if you would like to stay up to date.

Stay safe,
Joy

The Darkness in the Midst series is here!

Hi there!

My name is Joy Demers and I am so excited to finally release my book into the world, Awakening, the prequel to the Darkness in the Midst series. Believe it or not, this has been almost seven years in the making! Really, I started writing this series back in 2012.



It started as a NaNoWriMo project, but mostly it started as a desire for me to get back to writing creatively. You see, I had been writing nothing but essays and research papers for years while I studied history in university. Then, after I graduated in 2010, and like many former students, was jobless, I began to think back on how much I used to love making up stories when I was in high school. Slowly, I got back into it. And yes, I wrote fan fiction for about year before I turned to more original stuff.

Then I got a job. It was horrible and writing this brand new story all my own was a great escape. I eventually left that job, and was unemployed again, but for only a few months. I got another job and continued to write. And the story began to grow and change and I kept on writing.

The story that is being published in January of 2019 is quite different from what I started out with. The core of it remains the same, but after several revisions and darling killings, I thought it was time to put it out into the world. First, I joined a critique group. They ripped it apart and tore it to pieces. It hurt but in the end it was helpful. As I continued to write and revise and continue the story into several other books, I decided I would try my hand at querying.

I read all the blogs. I read all the writing advice. I was ready. The queries were sent out a few at a time. Form rejections waited for me in my inbox most of the time, but twice, that's two times, I received requests for fulls. Sadly, both agents eventually passed on me.

Well, I grew tired of querying, though I admit I probably only sent about a dozen, maybe a baker's dozen out, it just wasn't helping me or my confidence. I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past. So I decided to just go for it. To not let my years of work sit on a hard drive, being read by no one. I took the leap into self-publishing.

Maybe this is a bad idea, maybe it's not worth the trouble. But I am ready for this journey and I am more than ready to share my writing with the world, even if no one ends up reading any of it.

I will be releasing more details in the upcoming days about publication dates and such. I look forward to hearing from anyone and let's just say, there's no better feeling than holding a book you wrote in your hands.

Until next time,

Joy.