Kayleigh Nicol's Blog: The Broken Wing

November 30, 2019

Happy Sales-Giving!

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I'm sure we all appreciate saving some money, and with this being the biggest shopping weekend of the year, I'd like to share some 99c/99p sales on independent fantasy books with you all!

First, my novel Sorcerous Rivalry will be 99c/99p in the US and UK on Cyber Monday (11/30/19) so if you don't have your copy yet, or you have a friend who you think will love it, pick up here!

Second, one of the SPFBO finalists for this year, Fortune's Fool by Angela Boord will be 99c through Monday as well, so pick up your copy here.

Or if urban fantasy is more your flavor, check out Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach for 99c through Monday here.

And on Reddit, the esteemed Rob Hayes has compiled a list of many other discounted--and some FREE!--independent fantasy books this weekend, so so go take a look!

I hope you find something new to love, or find a perfect gift for the holidays. Happy Shopping!
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Published on November 30, 2019 13:38

November 11, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019 and Catching up!

Hey! It's been awhile and there’s a lot to catch up on. I’ve been keeping busy but I haven’t had much time to write, so I didn't feel as if I had very much to say. Let me catch you up and if you have any questions for me, drop them in the comments!

First, as you must know: It's November! That means another month of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I've committed to begin a new project this month and get at least 50K words written before December 1st, so this is currently taking up most of my focus and time. What project am I working on? Well, as I always like to begin something fresh for November's NaNo, I've actually begun writing book two of the tentatively titled "Great Mage Hunt" trilogy. I know, I haven't even begun the first round of edits on book one, so I've promised myself that once I get to 50K words on book two, I'll have fulfilled my commitment to NaNo and then I can go back and focus on cleaning up book one. It's an exciting story and one that I'm anxious to share, but it's a bit more, ah, delicate than the Mage-Born books and I have to take care to tell it right.

In other news, I attended my first book fair as a seller last month! My fellow indie author and friend, D.P. Woolliscroft, invited me to share a table with him at the Doylestown Book Festival in Pennsylvania and as that's only a paltry three hour drive, I decided to give it a shot. I'm a bit of an introvert, so putting myself out there was a little difficult, but I didn't expect to have quite as much fun as I did! I met other independent authors of all genres, some fantasy authors I had only ever interacted with online and I was able to meet the estimable Josiah Bancroft of the Books of Babel. It's such a beautiful series, full of unique characters and stunning prose. I simply cannot recommend the Books of Babel enough; if you like a steampunk-vibe with your fantasy, you need to give these marvelous books a try.

Let's see, what else has been going on? I finished the rough draft of third for Reshi and Kestral adventure, but it needs to undergo a good deal of edits before it's worthy of being called a book. We meet some interesting new characters in this book and tie in some hints from the anthology, so if you haven't picked up your copy of the anthology yet, you may want to consider adding it to your Christmas list!

As to books I am currently reading, I had been meaning to begin Robin Hobb's body of works for some time now and I'm delighted to announce that I have, in fact, begun reading the Farseer trilogy! Fantasy fans around the globe rave about these books and I am loving all the court intrigue mixed in around the magic and the animals. I'm only on book two, but it can be difficult to tear myself away from the page in order to focus on my own writing. I can't wait to see where this elaborate story is going!

And so far, the biggest news and the greatest drag on my time: I'm moving! Yes, just recently I learned that my family would be moving from Long Island, NY to Texas of all places! It's a big and exciting change, one that I am equal parts excited and nervous for. For starters, I am not going to miss New York's winters (Brr!) but I will miss the places and people I have come to know here. Also, I don't love all the packing that comes along with moving, but that, unfortunately, cannot be avoided. So my November is pretty busy, with starting a new novel, editing two others, reading a new series and preparing the household for to move. I will try to keep you informed of my writing progress, however as this move gets closer, I may fall into radio silence once again. But when everything is set up on the other end, I will be sure to let you all know!

Thank you for catching up with me. I'd be happy to chat about any of these topics or answer any questions in the comments.
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Published on November 11, 2019 04:13

August 2, 2019

Book Bingo Personal Recommendations

This year on r/Fantasy's book bingo challenge, one of the squares is to read a book personally recommended from the r/Fantasy subreddit. I requested books with LBGTQIA protagonists and received so many excellent recommendations, that I couldn't choose just one, so I read them all! Below are a few mini-reviews of the ones I enjoyed the most, so if you're looking for new fantasy books to read, I hope one of these may catch your interest.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I'll start with my favorite because I loved this one so unexpectedly much!  I had seen this book recommended before, so it was on my radar, but once I found out it was urban fantasy, I had pushed it to the back-burner. This, however, was not the typical urban fantasy I was expecting. At least, not so far--there is a whole series which I will be reading quite soon. I suppose whenever I hear "urban fantasy" I start thinking about sexy vampires and brooding werewolves and furtive magic that needs to be hidden lest the "normal" people find out about it. Instead, this is more about a few eccentric teens who believe in psychic powers, ley lines and an ancient king who, when awoken, will grant a wish to the one who wakes him. That all should sound hokey, but it's actually highly engaging. The characters felt real, with depth and growth and rough edges and realistic issues like having to attend school while solving a supernatural mystery. And the writing was just superb--beautiful prose, wonderful use of metaphor. I was hooked sooner than I thought I'd be and I couldn't put it down. If I have one complaint, it would be that in my Reddit rec request, I had asked for LBGTQIA protagonists and at about 80% into the story, I realized I hadn't actually seen any representation at all. Perhaps it comes in later books? Or actually, if Gansey turns out to be ace, that would be amazing. I suppose I don't think that's likely, though, based on some of the visions Blue was having. Thank you, Megan Dawn, for turning me onto this series!

American Hippo by Sarah Galley

This has such a bizarre premise that I was instantly intrigued by it. It's an alternate American history based on a supposed real proposition to introduce hippopotami to the Mississippi river for both vegetation reduction and as an alternative to beef. Obviously, this never came to pass, but...what if? The best way for me to describe this book is to say that it's like a wild west story, except with hippos instead of horses and swampy marshland instead of wide open prairies. That may sound strange, but it was riveting, fast-paced and brutal. I couldn't put it down for a second.

One thing that concerned me at the outset was the fact that it was obviously an animal story and I tend to be very picky about those, but this one did it just right. Not everyone knows how deadly hippos are--they aren't anything like docile livestock. They are fast, intelligent and deadly. Sarah Galley did an amazing job capturing both the grace and brutality of these creatures and told an amazing story of human-animal compassion alongside an action-packed gunslinging, riverboat caper (operation, sorry) main plot.

The other thing I really loved in this book was the representation. In my request, I asked for books with LBGTQIA protagonists and WOW did this book deliver! And even better, no one's sexuality or identity was ever questioned, it was just accepted as unremarkably as the fact that everyone rode around on hippos. And while there was a romantic relationship or two, they never took over the plot and just occurred naturally in addition to the hippo riding, knife fighting and dam-blowing escapades. I can't recommend this enough to people who love a good alt history story with animals and LBGTQIA rep.

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

This was another book that had been on my radar for a while, so I was glad to finally have the perfect opportunity to read it.  I love classic swords and sorcery, with rogues and bards and the whole classic adventure-fantasy feel, so this was a lot of fun for me.  If I had one complaint, it was that it actually felt like two completely different stories mashed into one book.  In the beginning, the protagonists steal something that didn't seem too important, then get chased across the country for a while by bad guys who even get their own POV chapters, so the reader can see the lengths these guys are willing to go to to get their trinket back.  Then the heroes get back to Seregil's home, and that plot line almost vanishes.  There are some hints towards it, but we don't go back to the bad guys from that plotline.  Instead, we're introduced to a world of magic and politics and end up chasing down an entirely different goal (or maybe the plots ARE related to each other, but tie together in later books?).

But all that aside, I did enjoy both plots of this book and I'm intrigued enough to want to continue with this series.  Really looking forward to some relationship development between Seregil and Alec!

Death by Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold

In my r/Fantasy request, I had said that I enjoyed The Magpie Lord trilogy and this book was recommended as being similar to those, and I have to say I absolutely agree. It's historical fiction, but with the fantasy element that magic can be learned and credited in school--just like a law degree or an engineering certification, which was a fun twist I haven't seen too often before. The story centers around a murder mystery that was carried out by an enchanted object, while the two main characters--one a licensed magician who occasionally helps the local police with magical crimes, the other a private investigator who sometimes works with petty criminals--come to terms with their feelings for each other in an era where "love who you love" is definitely not a thing. If I had one quibble with this, it was that I had guessed the "whodunit" fairly early in the story and was frustrated that the main characters didn't even consider that person a suspect until it was nearly the end. I would have liked to have my suspicions challenged a bit more, I think. Otherwise, this is a great one for anyone who likes historical fantasy fiction.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Having never read a fantasy of manners before, I didn't really know what to expect.  I thought it would feel a little slower paced, but actually this read fairly quickly.  I really loved how the two main characters played off each other--Richard the patient yet badass swordsman who can take on any opponent and win; Alec with his wits and sharp tongue, who likes starting trouble.  There was a lot going on, with complex background characters and political intrigue.  While I enjoyed reading this one a lot, I feel like it could really benefit from a reread, just to nail down anything I missed on the first go-through.  This book was enjoyable and a complete story in its own right, but what hit me the hardest was the final short story the author included at the end.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I wept.  Definitely an exciting and fun read, especially if you're looking for something with some lower stakes than usually found in high fantasy.

I hope there is something here that tickles your fancy and leads you to discover something new. I'm always on the look out for fantasy books with good representation, so if you have a favorite that I haven't read yet, please tell me in the comments!
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Published on August 02, 2019 05:53

July 26, 2019

Book Bingo Win

I've mentioned before that I participate in r/Fantasy's annual Book Bingo (if you are unfamiliar with what that is, you can read about it here) and while I've enjoyed discovering new authors, new series and new worlds because of it, I simply have to rave about the one I just read.

The bingo square is called "Read an Author Local to You" and since I live on Long Island and NK Jemisin resides in Brooklyn, I decided to pick up The Fifth Season for this square.

Dust, rust and ashes, what an AMAZING book this is! I've already ordered the next two books in this series because I cannot WAIT to find out what happens. Everything about it was engaging, vivid and visceral. It starts with tragedy on two fronts and then just drags you under so slowly that you don't realize you're sinking. To me, the world-building was Sanderson-esque, where it's not really handed to you, but instead you let your eyes slide out of focus and experience the world through the characters. Not every single detail was explicitly explained, so if you don't make intuitive leaps while you're reading, you might miss something. As a deep reader myself, I found myself going back over certain passages again and again, seeking deeper meaning and broader understanding and even after finishing it, I know I missed some things, but that only makes me more excited to finish the series so I can reread it all over again.

I am going to be screaming about this book for a long time to come and already plan on throwing it at my entire family, friends, strangers and through fast food service windows. Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!!!
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Published on July 26, 2019 06:39

July 5, 2019

Mistress Mage Audiobook Released!

Mistress Mage is finally available in audio format! Pick up your copy here! Once again, I had the pleasure of working with narrator Scott R Smith who has done an amazing job bringing my characters to life and helping me bring this duology to its end. But if you love Reshi and Kestral as much as I do, then good news! I'm currently working on the rough draft of book three, so stay tuned for details!

In other news, the NYC Pride March was amazing! (Full disclosure, though, I had no idea it was a FULL DAY event!) So many amazing floats and speakers and messages, it was just so much fun! I can't wait to go back next year. And I have to give a huge shout out to everyone marching in heels--you the real MVPs! All the respect to you, stiletto and platform wearers! May your balance always be perfect and your blisters few.
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Published on July 05, 2019 04:56

June 28, 2019

Mistress Mage coming to audio format soon!

Exciting news! Mistress Mage, book two of the Mage-Born Chronicles, has completed recording and will be available on Audible some time in July! If you're an audio book fan, keep your eyes peeled for this new release! I had the pleasure of working again with narrator Scott R. Smith, who did the wonderful narration of book one, and really brought my characters to life! If you are an audio book reviewer with a website, I'd love to give you a free code to either this book, or my first novel, Sorcerous Rivalry! Please feel free to reach out to me at ByKayleighNicol@gmail.com.

In other news, I'm excited to announce that I will be attending my first PrideFest in NYC this weekend! Super psyched and hoping to meet a ton of cool people, eat some great food and party!!! Look forward to my blog post next week about my rainbow-filled adventure!
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Published on June 28, 2019 08:41

June 14, 2019

Fantasy Mash-Up Musings

Earlier this week, someone on r/Fantasy posed the question: Could the Gentleman Bastards (The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch) successfully rob Casterly Rock (A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM). In my opinion, yes, absolutely they could, especially if they only had to get past Cersei or Jaime. Tywin or Tyrion might pose a bit of a problem, but I bet the Gentleman Bastards would have some complicated plan in place that involved part of their scheme being "uncovered" and use that as the distraction for the robbery and the get away. (You can find the reddit thread here.)

I think the real question is: Could the Gentleman Bastards rob Gringotts (Harry Potter by JK Rowling)? I'm not sure they could. I think they could sweet-talk their way past the goblins to get into the vaults, but I think finding what they need and then getting out again would be the hard part. Even if they had the whole crew together (Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo, Sabetha) they come from a sort of low-magic world, and I think the magics that protect the vaults would end up stymieing them. How would they get around the doubling charm, for instance? And even if they could, I have doubts that any of them would think to steal a dragon to escape--that's a little high profile for them.

Following that query, could the crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo successfully rob Gringotts? I think in a perfect merging of the two worlds, they might get away with it. [WARNING: Mild Six of Crows spoilers ahead!] Wylan comes from a prominent family and could get them access to the high-security vaults and Jesper, as a Durast, could break into a vault without setting off any alarms or charms, Inej would secure an escape route, Matthias and Nina would run any interference needed and Kaz would top it all off with a snarky one-liner. I would read the hell out of a story like this one!

Any other fun fantasy crossovers you'd like to share? Tell me in the comments!
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Published on June 14, 2019 08:25

June 7, 2019

Real Life Update

I've been a little quiet lately, mostly because I wasn't ready to share this yet, but I recently lost my grandfather. He was 90 years old and lived a full, rich life and was beloved by all who knew him, and while I know I should be thankful for all the time I had with him, I still miss him. He was an amazing source of positivity and love and the world is lesser without him in it.

One thing my grandfather always loved was board games. Every time my family visited, we expected to play Sequence, RummyQ, Parcheesi, Yahtze or any number of card games and I think the best part of the healing process for me was playing a board game with my brother and sister--a fantasy board game, of course.

If you haven't played Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, I highly recommend it! It's a cooperative deck-building game and it is as fun as it is complex. You play as one of four characters (Harry, Hermione, Ron or Neville) and build a deck to beat a variety of villains as you progress throughout the school years--so the game is different based on what school year you're in. Now, my siblings and I grew up with our share of squabbles--especially when playing board games (I KNOW you hid that Park Place card that one time--you know who you are!) but what makes the Harry Potter game so great is the cooperative play. Everyone is supportive and helpful and when you win, you all win together. Not only did we enjoy playing together, but several of our family members were engaged in watching us play and were excited with us when we won. It was a great game and a fitting tribute to my grandfather, who always encouraged team work and good sportsmanship.

Thank you for everything, Grandpa!
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Published on June 07, 2019 05:21

May 17, 2019

A Thank You to You

Today, I simply want to say thank you. Thank you to my readers, to the reviewers and to all of my supporters on r/Fantasy. Without all of you to help spread the word about my books, I probably wouldn't have sold more than three copies. Thank you so much to everyone who took a chance on my work and found something new to enjoy and promote. Leaving a few stars or a few words of a review may not seem like much, but they mean the world to indie authors like me.

As a small token of my appreciation, the Mage-Born Anthology ebook is on sale for 99c/99p on Amazon this weekend, so if you haven't already pick one up today!

And as always, Happy Reading!
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Published on May 17, 2019 10:17

May 10, 2019

Works in Progress Report

In case you were wondering what I'm currently working on...

Great Mage Hunt Book One
The first draft has been reviewed by my alpha team and requires some work in regards to characters, timelines, and plot. My plan is to begin revising this work by mid-June and hopefully have the second draft completed before the end of summer.

Mistress Mage audiobook
Scott R Smith, the narrator of Sorcerous Rivalry, has agreed to narrate Mistress Mage! Production should begin by the end of this month and hopefully have this title available on Audible by mid-summer!

Mage-Born Chronicles #3
Yes! It's happening! Another Reshi/Kestral book! I'm about halfway through the rough draft right now and hope to have a completed draft to present to my alpha team in the first week of June. If you read the anthology, you may have a small hint of what's in store for book three!
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Published on May 10, 2019 13:02

The Broken Wing

Kayleigh Nicol
Come in, sit a spell, enjoy a drink or two, but beware what gifts you accept from fairies!
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