Once upon a time there was a Prince who wanted just one thing: to be a wizard...

Only child of the union of two great wizardly lines of the planet Wellakh, heir to a position and lifestyle considered equivalent to royalty by the people of his half-ravaged world, Roshaun ke Nelaid lives what most Wellakhit would mistake for a life of unfettered pleasure and privilege, moving apparently casually through the corridors of power and instantly being given whatever he desires.

But the one thing he wants most is the one thing not all his family's wealth and influence can give him. What he longs for more than anything (well, almost anything) is something it's beginning to look as if he can never have.

In the wake of an unexpectedly terrifying day in his family life, Rho discovers that he's wrong. Without warning he's offered the Avowal -- the Wellakhit version of the Wizard's Oath -- and sent on his Challenge halfway across the Galaxy to a place that has terrified and fascinated him since his closely-guarded childhood...

The Rirhait fixed its gaze on him. It was a progressive business, this—one eye turning its regard to him, and then the next, and the next, and the next…

Rho had no trouble holding still for this performance, partly due to its uniqueness, and partly because he was after all a prince and used to having a lot of eyes on him. What he was not prepared for was -- when those eyes were all trained on him -- to see every one of them sequentially rolled at him and shifted away in an expression of exquisite ennui.

When the eyes were all pointed in every direction that was not toward Rho, “And?” the being said.

Rho opened his mouth and closed it again, having absolutely no idea where to go from here. “Uh,” he said. Then he rolled his own eyes, for he could just hear his royal father saying, Truly, my Prince? Grunts? Shall we have it noised about that mere surprise can reduce the Sunlord-to-Be to take refuge in grunting?

Rho’s frustration tipped him over the edge, and he threw any further thoughts of caution to the five airts. “Excellent gentlebeing,” he said, drawing himself up tall, “perhaps a misunderstanding is in progress. Be it known to you that I am Roshaun ke Nelaid am Seriv am Teliuyve am Meseph am Veliz am Teriaunst am det Nuiiliat det Wellakhit, Son of the Sun Lord, Beloved of the Sun Lord, firstborn of the Sister of the Sun, Prince and Ruler in Waiting to the Wellakhit lands, and Guarantor of Wellakh.”

The Rirhait kept tapping away at the data input. Finally it paused, swung exactly one eye in his direction, and said:

“How lovely for you.”

...But he soon discovers that being dissed by aliens is the least of his problems. Shortly Rho is elbow-deep in his first true wizardry, uncertain whether all his young life's training in a stellar simulator is going to be enough to keep him and his new team from sudden death in starfire. Yet even this challenge isn't as deadly as the one that awaits him in the form of what seems the backblow from a casual good deed...

On Ordeal: Roshaun ke Nelaid is a 45,000-work canonical work in the Young Wizards universe. It is also the first of three tales of the wizardly Ordeals of major characters in the series -- each one unique (as is every Ordeal), each one revealing something unique about the person who undergoes it and comes out on the other side of the experience in possession of that singular gift that can be conferred only by the Powers that Be: wizardry

On Ordeal: Roshaun ke Nelaid is available DRM-free in multiple formats tailored to your preferred e-reader from Ebooks Direct.

Coming next in this series: Two other notable Ordeals --

Mamvish fsh Wimsih fsh Mentaff:
Once upon a time there was a lizard who became a wizard...

Ronan Nolan Jr:
Once upon a time there was a guy who took in the Sea...


Cover for Games Wizards Play

 Now available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

Every eleven years, Earth’s senior wizards hold the Invitational — an intensive three-week event where the planet’s newest, sharpest young wizards show off their best and hottest spells. Wizardly partners Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan, and Nita’s sister, former wizard-prodigy Dairine Callahan, are drafted in to mentor two brilliant and difficult cases: for Nita and Kit, Asian-American Penn Shao-Feng, a would-be sun-technician with a dangerous new take on managing solar weather: and for Dairine, shy young Mehrnaz Farrahi, an Iranian wizard-girl trying to specialize in defusing earthquakes while struggling with a toxic extended wizardly family that demands she overperform to their expectations… or fail.

Together they’re plunged into a whirlwind of cutthroat competition and ruthless judging: it’s “The Apprentice” with magic. Penn’s egotistical attitude toward his mentors complicates matters as Nita and Kit work to negotiate their burgeoning boyfriend/girlfriend issues. Meanwhile, Dairine struggles to stabilize her hero-worshipping, insecure protégée against the interference of powerful wizard-relatives using her to further their own tangled agendas. When it finally comes time for the finals stage on the dark side of the Moon, both the new wizards and their mentors are both flung into a final conflict that could change the solar system for the better…

…or damage Earth beyond even wizardly repair.

Also, for a limited time: Interim Errantry, the interstitial book that falls between Young Wizards book 9 (A Wizard of Mars) and Games Wizards Play, is available at 50% off from Ebooks Direct.

DD Q&A: Creation,self-esteem, and running your own work down

(via anartificialaspidistra on Tumblr:)

Hi Diane, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Read the YW books, Wounded Sky, and eventually the Door Into… books staring when I was a kid back in the 80s. Someday I’ll take a picture of the Hello Kitty notebook I owned circa 1984 where I wrote both Ed the shark’s name and Sherlock Holmes’ name surrounded by hearts. I was totally willing to marry either one of them. ;D

Anyway, when I started looking for more Sherlock stories after the BBC show premiered I got into reading fanfic, and eventually the amazing art on Tumblr. It was great to see someone whose books I’d always loved was right in there as a fan too.

Reading someone’s tags today, I noticed the latest example of something that makes my heart hurt a little every time I see it. The art (it was a short Sherlock comic strip) was great! Well laid out, engagingly drawn, funny, entertaining, etc. But the artist’s tags were all about how terrible it was. How she couldn’t write, how she couldn’t draw, etc. I know how hard it is to put your work (of any kind) out there and just let it speak for itself, but the prevalence of young girls making something amazing and then sharing it by saying “here’s this thing I did. It’s probably terrible,” just kills me. I can’t count how many posts I’ve seen people tag or comment that their art or they themselves are “trash”. I mean, I get that they’re self deprecating for comic effect, but…

I don’t know. Maybe learning to not put down your work before someone else gets a chance to is just something that has to be grown out of, but I also wonder if more of us older women should be saying something. I’d love to see girls say “here’s this thing I made [full stop]” if it still seems too hard to say “here’s this thing I made; I’m proud of it.” Just not tearing themselves down would make a world of difference, I think.

I guess I’m just curious if you have any thoughts to add. Thanks again for writing such enjoyable stories and building such cool worlds! May you live long and prosper.

First of all: thanks for the nice words. It's always nice to know I'm getting the job done.

Re the self-esteem problem as regards talking about one's work: I see a lot of this from girl creators too. (Yet also from the boys, until they gradually knuckle under or get pushed under the surface of the whole patriarchal never-say-anything-that-might-make-you-seem-weak crap, and get it institutionalized out of them.)

Part of the problem is that the creation of art (or indeed anything else useful) is unnerving business, because you're essentially making the invisible visible: making something out of nothing -- and even that phrase is culturally loaded. ("Don't make something out of nothing!": a classic putdown for overreaction.) Yet making Something out of Nothing is also, as it happens, what Gods do. (The classic western-culture version of this: Deity moves over the surface of the empty void, says, "Hmm. Light..." and bang! Light.)

So creation routinely frightens those who who do it -- because the actual process of mastery of art takes a long time, and in the meanwhile you may frequently feel like you're riding the tiger, only half in control, while your grip on the tiger's ears is always threatening to slip. And creation frightens more badly those who don't do it (not that you'll ever easily get them to admit that), because they see you making Something out of Nothing and that's not normal. Everybody gets a little freaked as a result, and it's probably no surprise that the responses to the act of creation by both creators and spectators can get skewed -- reactions based on fear not routinely being the healthiest ones.

(Adding a cut here, since more discussion and a brief how-to course in auctorial esteem lies below. Also, "pieces of s**t"...)

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