Song of the Fairy Queen – New Cover

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in News | 0 comments

Song of the Fairy Queen – New Cover

When last I posted, I didn’t know what the new cover would look like. I loved the old cover and wasn’t sure what to expect from the new cover. I didn’t know if that cover I loved so much could be matched.
It was not only matched, it was exceeded, and I’m not the only one who thinks so! What do you think? Isn’t it incredible?

I said then that I would name the cover artist when I saw the new cover.

Major Kudos to the folks at Damonza.com!

You can find the new edition at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004774N2S

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Song of the Fairy Queen – New cover?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Song of the Fairy Queen – New cover?

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

So, like most writers, that’s what I did. 
I love fantasy but I’d run out of books I wanted to read, stories of action, adventure, magic and – yes – passion. Something between Stardust and Game of Thrones. I love Gaiman’s mix of adventure and romance, and I loved G. R. R. Martin’s political intrigue and action. What surprises and puzzles me is the criticism I get for putting moments of positive romance/sex in my books, but no one has a problem with Martin’s incest/rape storylines. (I understand why he did it, btw.). 
What I didn’t want were helpless heroines who needed to be rescued. I wanted strong, capable heroines like the Queens in real life. No one could say that Elizabeth I was a shrinking violet, that Catherine the Great didn’t earn that honorific, or that Victoria wasn’t able to lead her country through difficult times. Or Elizabeth II for that matter. And while some did it alone, others found a partner to stand beside them.
I wanted to write about the price of rule, the sacrifices good rulers have to make for the sake of the people they serve.

I wanted to write about people who struggled to find balance, who succeeded or failed, the repercussions of their actions, and – for one character – his redemption.

In other words, people you could know or relate to, people you could care about. Or hate.

That’s what I wrote. Whether I succeed or not, I’ll let you decide.

What inspired me to write the book? The statues of Nike of Samothrace and another called Night Descending – it was as if she was coming to a landing – and suddenly the first chapter was there in my head. I had no idea what would happen next, I just followed that winged muse until the story was written.

So I gave it to an editor and went in search of cover.
Old cover
At that time, it was difficult to find a good cover artist – so I made my own. I once was and still am a portrait artist, but with so many selfies, there’s less demand. Apparently, I was a good enough cover artist, my first cover for Song of the Fairy Queen won an award. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite convey Kyriay’s sheer badassery, her strength and courage.
By that time, the Coming Storm fantasy series and Song of the Fairy Queen were doing well enough that I could afford to invest in professional covers. So I hired a company to do one. Their covers were amazing, including a few by other writers I knew. It was a lot of money for me at the time, but once I saw what they created for me, I knew it was worth it. That cover was perfect.
Current cover

So, imagine my sinking heart when, after nearly seven years, someone told me that the same image was on another cover. I knew it was stock art and anyone can buy stock images, but mine had been chosen for this book and the other cover was almost an exact copy except for the title. In a way, it’s a compliment to my good taste in covers, but it might explain some of the confusion about elements of the book – the other author writes for a younger audience, or at least that book was.
I was heartbroken. That cover was so good. And I’d paid what was for me, at the time, a lot of money for it.

All that aside, the person who’d brought it to my attention asked if I or the cover artist knew the image had been used on another book and was it proprietary?

I thought the cover artist had the right to know so I emailed them. I explained to them that I would understand if it was a stock image.
They told me it was, but if I wanted a new cover they would create a new one for me for a discount. 
Now that’s class and professionalism. (I’ll name them with kudos once I see the new cover.)
At first, though, I have to be honest and say I resisted. I loved that cover. It’s so good, so right for the book.

The quality of their work, though, is incredible. (They’ve come up with some other covers for me since then.)

Given that quality and that they offered a new cover at a discount, made it impossible to turn down. 

Now I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time!
Song of the Fairy Queen  – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004774N2S
For all my books – https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Douglas/e/B0036POJZI

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History and how it should influence fantasy writers

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

History and how it should influence fantasy writers

When I began the prequel to The Coming Storm/A Convocation of Kings some of the research I’d done on Egyptian society for the Servant of the Gods series – particularly how influential the Nubians were – came into play with
some major characters. I knew there had to be other African cultures I hadn’t learned about – especially knowing how much native history tended to be overlooked by European nations. (Forgive me for taking some liberties with those societies, not with the essentials, but combining them to further the story.)

It was a fascinating study. The architecture was astonishing and the art incredible. As luck would have it, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., did a wonderful program for PBS  ‘Africa’s Great Civilizations’. If you get the chance and want to know more about ancient African societies, check out – http://www.pbs.org/weta/africas-great-civilizations/home/

Keep an eye on this space for when the prequel becomes available.

The Coming Storm – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004WLOBG2

Servant of the Gods – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XMAOP6

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In keeping with Valentine’s Day – who is my favorite fictional couple?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve probably had dozens over the years, as a teenager I read a pretty diverse mix of books from the classics to science fiction (which, if they featured women at all, they made them male sex fantasies) to fantasy (Tolkien’s mentioned Arwen only briefly, but Eowyn was stellar) and a few standard romances (which were pretty unrealistic prince/millionaire types).  The old classical writers knew a relationship was essential to a story – Anne, Constance, and Milady De Winter were essential to The Musketeers.  Later novels seemed to lose some of that. (George R. R. notwithstanding – he wanted to show the abuse of women of a given time period, and went a little overboard.)
Fortunately, the depictions of relationships grew and improved.
F’lar and Lessa from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series, a realistic depiction of a relationship with the inevitable ups, downs and conflict. It was the first time I’d seen relationships portrayed that way by a popular fantasy author.
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s vampire Saint Germain and his relationships, especially his love/friendship with Madeline de Montalia, is another great couple.
In romance novels, Cameron Quinn and Anna Spinelli – no alpha, just a relationship balancing careers, responsibilities, and life – from Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay books, as well and Eve and Roarke from the J. D. Robb books. 
In my own writing, I tend to prefer relationships/couples as an essential part of any story – each is different, some are intense, some are more low key.
For more information:
https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Douglas/e/B0036POJZI
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There are those who say writers shouldn’t insert politics into their writing…

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are those who say writers shouldn’t insert politics into their writing…

To those folks I say, “Oh please! I blow raspberries in your general direction”.


Have you read Charles Dickens  A Christmas Carol? He was using his writer’s bully pulpit to bring attention to the poor, and how they were kept that way through ignorance (lack of public education). Or on the opposite side, Tom Clancy – a known conservative whose political views informed all his writing.

To find myself the subject of a political ‘intervention’, though, was more than a little shocking. After all, in this country, your political party and vote are supposed to be a matter of personal choice, one of our freedoms.

Yes, I said an intervention. I walked into the kitchen of my ex-husband’s parent’s home to find his family blocking all the exits, and his mother – the local chair of the party in question – holding a change of registration form. It seems they needed someone to represent my district and they decided I was it…at least until they discovered I was a registered independent. (I had supported my father in his multiple failed campaigns.) To say that I was not amused would be an understatement. Apparently, they thought I was malleable. (They clearly didn’t know me very well.)

So, they staged an intervention, and they weren’t going to let me leave until I changed my registration. (Of course, they didn’t consider that I could change it back again.) In any case, the one thing it did successfully do was make me more aware, as well as making me research politics to understand the way it worked.

*Grins* Being a writer, of course, I wove that experience and knowledge into my work, both in a more serious way – the results of political policies on those caught by those policies in the political thriller Nike’s Wings – and in a romance on a seemingly lighter, more personal level showing politics on the local arena (with a kind of strange prescience of what would play out on the national stage in recent times) with Dirty Politics.

Everything we do, every part of what we are, informs us as writers…and it will show. We must be true to ourselves, and our readers

If you need an escape this weekend, escape with into the political thrills with Nike’s Wings or into a romance with Cam (and her sexy DA Noah) in Dirty Politics.

Nike’s Wings is available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GHE94K

Dirty Politics is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005318DNW

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