Did You Hear?

Hi Readers,

How have you been? Sadly, our pc troubles aren’t resolved yet. But the Newsletter-Dragon didn’t fry anything else, so nothing else is broken. That we know of…

If you see our Newsletter-Dragon, please tell her this is her last chance to admit any other crimes she’s committed against computers.

Thank you. I knew I could count on you.

While Melinda’s pc is on its last legs and swaying drunkenly as smoke pours out of its ports, we’ve been experimenting with AI narration for the fun of it (on Melinda’s smartphone).

Why do that?

Well, we are fictional, and every attempt we’ve made to record our voices has failed. Your technology can’t capture us. It might have something to do with magic.

We live under a mountain deep in an enchanted forest, so we’re kind of saturated with magic.

Before falling down this rabbit hole, we tried to get actors to play us, but they wanted a lot of money, and they wouldn’t accept the glowing rocks that are plentiful under our mountain home as payment.

We’re not sure why those lumir crystals weren’t acceptable. We told the actors those rocks will glow for centuries, thus cutting down their electricity bill, but they weren’t interested.

So I told them to sell them. Someone will want glowing rocks. Who wants to pay for light when you can have it for free?

I guess they did because my sales pitch didn’t interest them. Oh well. I hope they’re not planning to visit our home country because glowing rocks are our currency of choice. 🙂

Anyway, the Newsletter-Dragon, in one of her nicer moods, showed us this service that turns text into speech. It’s a cool idea, but it seemed like a lot of work because you have to do each voice separately. But we enjoyed outputting audio files of our story to listen to an AI read it while we read along and edit it.

(We’re fictional. We need all the help we can get!)

If you or someone you know would be interested in an AI-narrated audio version of one of our books (with different voices for different characters), hit reply and let us know.

It seemed like a lot of work to do the different voices because each voice has to be processed separately, so we’d have to stitch a lot of smaller files together when there is a lot of conversation.

We tested that with a chapter from His Angelic Keeper Fallen, and it sounded cool to have different voices for each character in a conversation-heavy chapter. (They were arguing.)

But if there is some interest, we’ll look into doing it. Otherwise, we’ll just keep it as a step in our editing process and let one voice speak for all the characters because that’s faster to process.

Speaking of His Angelic Keeper Fallen, its first draft is nearing completion. So that’s exciting, and we’re thinking of trying something new with it.

More details on that next week when we’ll (hopefully) have gotten the Scribe to agree to our crazy plan. I think she knows something is up. She keeps glancing over at me while I’m composing this newsletter.

This is Ran, by the way, the son of the best hero, (in my humble but biased opinion), the Curse Breaker, Sarn.

And now, it is my great pleasure to bring you some more of our favorite chapters in Spell of Shadow & Light before the precious PC overheats. The keyboard is getting rather warm.

Spell of Shadow & Light

A Curse Breaker Prequel

Chapter 2 (part 2)

“He’s with Nulthir,” Thing said, reading her mind.

“You’re certain?” Amal veered around a flying buttress that had been carved to look like a beaming angel as Furball mind-called again. This time, she caught a glimpse through Furball’s eyes of a figure sprawled on the ground. That must be Nulthir. What could have possibly happened to him? He was a strong young man and quite magical, in his own way.

“You saw?”

“Yes, where is Nulthir now? On his rounds?” Amal veered left to fly around a grinning gargoyle and pumped her wings to fly even higher, so she could hug the glowing mosaic that covered the ceiling. The makers of this place, the Litherians, an ancient race of stone mages, had strange notions about decor.

Pedestrians sometimes looked up at the artwork, but birds were a common sight since the outer ring of every level above ground was an open arcade leading to a wrap-around balcony that encircled the mountain. All kinds of birds skipped the whole flying south for winter bit and nested on the flying buttresses that held the ceiling aloft. But none of them were birds of prey.

“Yes, he’s at work.” Beside her, Thing jinked to avoid a carved devil brandishing a pitchfork at the passersby far below. A nest made of grass and thread crowned the marble devil’s head, and two brown birds poked their heads out and squawked at Amal and her family.

“Shut your beak. We’re leaving.” Amal put on a burst of speed to prove it. Really. Those birds acted like they owned this airspace. As if.

 “How did he get out?” Crispin asked as he flew even with his parents, but his glare was meant for Yarn, his sister’s mate, who was bringing up the rear. Yarn was supposed to be watching Furball when the little one had disappeared. Crispin had asked a valid question.

One Amal wanted an answer to, and so did her mate. Thing’s curiosity was palpable and more than a little edged. Furball couldn’t fly yet. His wings were too small. Nor could he open the door or walk far on his stubby little legs. But that was the only way out. So, how had Furball left Nulthir’s flat?

Yarn didn’t have an answer, nor had Amal expected him to. Yarn was a bit of a dreamer. His attention had probably wandered, and that’s when Furball had somehow left.

“Did anyone see him leave?” Amal asked, not expecting an answer.

“No, I sent a message to Dale, and he says the same thing. No one saw Furball leave. No one even knew he was missing until he called for help.” Crispin dropped back to fly even with his very pregnant mate.

Hopefully, he’d convince her to turn back. Thistle didn’t need this kind of stress this close to her due date. But that was one decision Amal wouldn’t get involved in. Instead, she concentrated on reaching Furball psychically and physically.

Amal dodged flying buttresses carved to look like chubby cherubs and shot into a dark spiral staircase. None of those glowing crystals had been left to light this stairwell, but that was fine with her. The darkness would hide her family from prying eyes. There was only one problem with that. Her eyes weren’t as sensitive to light as Thing’s. Her mate had more great horned owl in him then she did, but her mage sight was better—it was almost as good as Nulthir’s—and this place was riddled with magic.

The Litherians had wrapped every square inch of the city they’d carved inside the cone of Mount Eredren in layer upon layer of spells for strength, stability, and a host of other things—some of which Amal couldn’t read as she spiraled down the stairwell at top speed. Since there were no obstacles here, she made great time hugging the central pillar the staircase wound around.

But there was still no sign of the frantically mind-calling Furball. Where could he be?

***

To be continued next week as we continue our special presentation. Get your copy of Spell of Shadow & Light now.




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