Demesne’ New Beginning teaser

Demesne’ New Beginning teaser:

Guards she thinks, and moving around to avoid being seen, she gets close enough to the camp that she might be able to make out those that are near the fire. She concentrates and her sight returns to normal. She almost gasps out loud as she recognizes those around the fire. Dark ones. Better not hang around here. She shifts her sight back to the grayness and sees other glowing bodies moving slowly in her direction. She carefully and quietly slips back into the deeper darkness and away from the campsite. Skirting the camp, she moves more carefully now and soon comes upon a small cottage and a burned out barn. In the gray of her vision, everything looks cold and unused for quite a while. Oh no! It’s Gretta’s cottage. I am near Haulden.

Great! I have to sneak past a whole bunch of bad guys to get to the western entrance of the valley, she thinks to herself as she examines the cottage. Better not stay in the cottage, just in case the dark ones are checking out the buildings. Though they’ll probably just leave this place alone. It shouldn’t have any more interests to them since Gretta is gone. Maybe I could stay here just for the night.

Looking around carefully, Jira makes up her mind and slips into the building. I’ll stay the rest of the night here, get some rest, and see what is up in the morning. At least now I know where I am and which way I can go. Shame that I can’t have a fire … it’s going to be a cold nap … maybe there are some blankets around since we did leave in a hurry.

~ Want more take a look at

Teaser of the latest Demesne Book

Time for some fantasy with magic, a special hawk and an unusual horse, not to mention the different races of two of the two legged kind. New Beginnings is the third book in the series, published September 12, 2012. Here is a teaser from that book. I might even put another in tomorrow until the whole book is read. mmm thought about that, Don’t think it will happen. Have fun with it


She looks up at the sound of running footsteps and a child’s words echoing down the hall just before the energetic little girl bursts into her room.

“Miss Tera! Miss Tera!” Beth exclaims as she runs in and slides to a stop near her desk. “Miss Tera! Mama says that he is coming, he is coming back!” Beth watches impatiently as Aithera’s eyes glaze over, for she knows that Aithera’s mind is searching elsewhere when she gets that faraway look. Then Aithera’s eyes clear and she smiles down at Beth, who huffs and urges her, “Hurry, Miss Tera, hurry!” With a flare of her skirt, Beth spins and dashes out the door, her words echoing down the hallway. “Miss Jira! Miss Jira! …” Aithera chuckles softly and picks up her pen, yet her hand shakes ever so slightly and her heart begins to beat faster.

Yes, my life has been anything but simple, and now he returns. I can only hope that this time he will stay.

She sets the pen down, and taking a deep breath, she stands up and looks at the open doorway. She heads for the door, smoothing her floor-length, deep velvet gown and feeling the weight and warmth of the jewel resting on her exposed neckline. Just outside her door is the young man that is always present; he is like her shadow whenever she leaves her room.

“I take it,” Brodie says as he falls in at her side, “you intend to greet our guest in the great hall?”

“Yes, but I want to watch him for a moment from the balcony to see if I can sense his mood first. I can sense him, but he is shielding his emotions.”

“Shielding them in general, or shielding them from you? If he is shielding from you, then perhaps he has made up his mind, and it may not be what you are hoping for.”

Aithera glances over at him and frowns slightly, and then she looks back down the hallway. “And if he is going to leave again, are you going to tie him up and dump him into the stables until he changes his mind?”

“If that is what you wish, then I will make it so,” he chuckles. “Is that what you wish, Milady?” Aithera smiles back at him. “I do want him to stay, but not by any of your doings, and not by means of a rope. It has to be his choice.”


Demesen’s New Beginnings for Kindle a great book for that new kindle. Check our book page for other devices.

A blog about blogs

Ok, I was sitting here writing my last blog and was thinking, do I send this off to the editor to have a look see?

NO! And I know some out there in media land would say, “You are a fool, you have to have your blog edited. How are you going to be taken as a serious author if your blog is “grammatically full of errors.” Well guess what, I have some good spell checking programs that do a pretty good job of telling me my grammar sucks. As well as my spelling.

If I were to have my blogs checked, re-checked, and checked again. Then it would be other people’s work and not my work. Oh, the overall concept would be mine, but the wording would be changed to fit into what is considered the norm or “the professional look.”

I may be old, but I do not live in the past. This is the 21 first century. A lot of the “norms” that “those in the know” like to tout, are governed by concepts and rules that have not changed in a hundred years. Sorry folks, I do not ride a horse to get to the next town. The time be a changing.

Anyways, back to my rant. How would anyone get to know me, if all they ever saw in my blogs or other media places are the corrected, upgraded, and massaged statements. If I want that stuff I would hire a PR company. Our blog, per my understanding, is releasing a little piece of us, about our writing and our stories.
I am a dreamer, a thinker, a creator of places and events. And I have a really good editor that helps with the technical, correctness of the stories. But I do not have an editor translating what comes out of my mouth. So our blog is the real deal, the real me. At least as much as I will let out.

We have read that the blog should have some views other then what we are promoting for the books. Hog wash. It is a blog about our books, why would I want to put some view about world happenings in it. Some would say that ‘this’ blog is about a view other then books. Look again, this is about editing a blog for correctness. Just like what is done for editing the books. We have read that a professional author needs to have his/her blogs, professionally edited before posting.

Sooooooooooooo. Until someone brainwashes me/us, or puts a chip in the grey matter, I guess all you technically correctness folks will have to suffer with the ramblings of a dreamer.

Oh look, I complied with the 300 word rule. LOL

How Demesne’ The Challenge got started

A couple of statements were made, from the ending of the last book. The New Beginnings of the Demesne series.

“I would have liked to see character ‘A’ do a transformation. With the character’s background I thought that might happen.”

“It would have been nice to get more background of some of the supporting characters.”

So there we have the input from the third book. So we sat down and said, “OK, that might be doable. So how would we show a transformation? And what would lead up to it happening?” So we put our heads together. Thunk. Ouch. And a bottle of aspirin later, we had a nibble of an idea. After talking over the character’s background, motivations, actions, and where the character was at, at the moment. A transformation would not be in the characters make up. So, taking a cue from the comics, an external source would be needed. How about if this happened, and then something else would happen, and in short order. BANG. The big scene formed and firmed up quickly.

So now we had the scene to take care of the transformation. But it is ‘the big scene’, what the story will need to build to. This will take place near the end of the story. Now what do we do? OK, back to our method, beginning, middle, end. Well, we sort of have an end. Now we need what leads up to the end. Up to this point the series has pointed us in one direction and things are happening with the characters. For the beginning, how about this going on; a sort of continuation from the last book. So this action is going on, and that leads to this going on. Good. That will work. Now for the middle. If the characters do this, then this might happen. And then this would take place, and then this might happen. OK, that works too. All leading up to the big scene. Got it. Beginning, middle, and end. In working out how things would lead to other things, we worked in the supporting characters background and some surprises. Gave them more to do. Of course it will not give a total accounting of the supporting characters, but it will give more about them. So what do we call this mess of notes. Ah, a line from the big scene. “The Challenge.”

Now off to writing. Look at the one liner notes that were taken. This idea pops the brain cell, then another and another. Notes get line out as they are included. Chapters start forming, some re-reading and sequences take shape. WAIT A MINUTE! This is going backwards from the big scene. YUP! A story written from the end, backwards. Looked at the big scene and then our notes, and wrote the chapter before the big one. Back to the notes, and back to the chapters, oh, this one would work better back further, oh well,  on to the next.
I personally have not seen anything about this, but, I think that there has to be some authors that have done just that, it make sense to me. For some other stories or maybe most stories, going from the beginning to the end works better. Each chapter feeding the imagination for what is needed in the next.

So here we are, hopping around. Filling in holes and going backwards. Which rule am I breaking now?



What a conundrum we are in, in a world where joint accounts are going to the wayside and the word “I” is used more than “we”, Steve and I find book promoting online is sometimes difficult. We are a duo, a team, most of what we do are joint ventures.

How do we answer the questions asked?

What is your name? “We” are Steven and Detra Swem

What is your gender? “We” are male and female

What year were you born? Do I really have to answer that? Before 1970. Is that alright?
(hey I just showed my girly side)

There are generally other questions asked that are directed to a single individual.

Steve is writing “our” bio and not having an easy time doing it. I gather we are a wee bit unique these days. After 30+ years together, being we, ours, and going places and doing thing together seems rather everyday goings on. We have been up and we cling to one another for support when thing go terribly wrong but as long as we can draw on one another we will survive.

We enjoy our joint venture into this writing world, even with the occasional heated discussions. We think hashing things out helps shape our stories, and perhaps make them better. Sometimes, I am listening to something Steve wrote in and I will react by acting out the next scene. If we like it, well you know it has to be written in. So as you can see, “we” work together.

Where do we fit in the “individual”, me, I, world of writing?

Reviews of Demesne’ New Beginnings

Reviews of Demesne’ New Beginnings

Found on
5.0 out of 5 stars demesne new beginnings, 6 Oct 2012
 Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Demesne’ New Beginnings (Kindle Edition)

Aithera is off with her friends on another adventure,3rd book in the series.
I am not normally into fantasy dragons and magic but i absolutely loved these books, it takes you away from ‘normality’ for a while.
the story has some great twists to it, pulls on heart strings a little too. 🙂
Its good the way it it all comes together at the end, maybe a little open ended for another book??
Lets hope so!!!

Thats my opinion, hope it helps, go on, its not an expensive read so worth a risk!


This book is still fairly new on the market so not many reviews are available. Hope this one is helpful to you.

Reviews of Demesne’ Valley of Mystery

Reviews found on

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting pulled in., September 9, 2011
By Steven Swem (Puget Sound WA)

During editing and looking at the physical layout, I kept getting pulled in and started reading the story. I know the story, but ended up many time catching myself just reading it. I hope others find it as compelling as I did.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, September 1, 2011
 This review is from: Valley of Mystery (Demesne) (Kindle Edition)

I really enjoy the characters and their interaction. The plot line is fantastic. I’m a big fan of magic and mystery and this has a little of everything.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, September 24, 2011
 This review is from: Valley of Mystery (Demesne) (Kindle Edition)

I feel to often we ‘label’ a book, mystery, sci fi, and so forth. If you choose to not read a book because of that, this is one you would miss out on. From the very beginning it reads smoothly. Before you know it, you begin to feel that you are personally there feeling each experience as if you were one of the characters. I can’t wait to see where the journeys in the book will take me!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey of friends, October 20, 2011
Wonderfully written.
The style will be familiar to any fan of Dungeons and Dragons with fantasy abounding and adventure around every corner. There are dragons in the Valley, which are neither lapdogs nor overwhelming demons, but are a reasonable, realistic danger for the travelers. More fantastic than the dragons, however, is the connection that Aithera has with both her horse, Tinnabara, and her hawk, Chaka. Both of these animals are like an extension of Aithera, and the real magic of Aithera is her connection with them.
The characters are very realistic and three-dimensional. The book leaves you with the feeling that you have just visited with friends and makes you anticipate another visit.
Thank heavens for an author who makes a female protagonist believable, memorable, and someone to emulate.
Rewviews on this book are woefully low

Reviews of Demesne’ Aithera

Amazon US and UK Reviews of Demesne’ Aithera

4.0 out of 5 stars
Aithera (Demesne) 19 July 2012 on
By cliffy
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Bought this book after reading snippets on twitter, although not my usual read thought I would give it a go and enjoyed it so downloaded the next one too. the story gets better the more you read into it and now cant wait for the third book.
5.0 out of 5 stars
3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars
Aithera (Demesne) 13 Sep 2012
By Linda McDonald – Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Again the authors have managed to have you engaged in the story by the end of the 1rst page. The characters in Aithera are richly developed and enchanting. So far this trilogy has kept me anticipating the next book. A wonderful surprise is how easily each book stands alone also. So excited to read book 3, Demesne’ New Beginnings.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars
great read. could not put it down 31 May 2012
By Lo pow – Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Its the first ive read from this author— but I just “had too” download the next too see where our girl is going. YOU NEED TO READ THIS

5.0 out of 5 stars
Well done. Looking forward to reading more. 12 July 2012
By Brmrydr – Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Great read! Lots of very well described details of folks, the animals, and the scenery. Well done. Looking forward to finding out what other adventures await Aithere!

Reviews on

Review by: Sandra Bullock on Sep. 07, 2012 :
I really enjoyed the first book in the series and will definitely read the next one. The first person POV took a little getting used to but didn’t effect my overall enjoyment of the book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: leanna h on Aug. 03, 2012 :
Fun and full of potential!! The first book in the series really sets up the tone of the novels. It was great, but not without flaws. The first issue I held with the novel was verb tense. When a story is usually told, it is told from the narrative perspective which is in past tense. The fact that the book is written in present tense was something that was a struggle for me to get past. Another issue with the novel was that it didn’t go in depth emotionally with the character. A female character is usually an emotional rollercoaster. This young girl was thrown in some emotional distressing situation and I barely felt that. She shed tears, but nothing impacted me emotionally the way novels with a female protagonist usually do. I was like was watching everything from a distance and I felt no sympathy or joy throughout the novel, even when some characters were affected negatively. While I may have some negative things about this novel, I would not dismiss it. It was fun ride, but I wish it had more an emotional emphasis.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Reviews on

Jul 19, 2012 Marina Aimer rated it
I usually read mysteries and women’s fiction, but am glad I found this book! The characters, in all forms, were compelling, interesting, and vivid! The descriptions of place and the storyline captured my attention. Reading this book was like a gentle, insistent breeze carrying me along. The total atmosphere of the book was inviting and comforting, like coming in from a hot summer day and escaping to a quiet corner of the living room, to the soft sounds and cool breeze of the one window air condi…more

Jul 11, 2012 Jody Fuller rated it
Great read! Lots of very well described details of folks, the animals, and the scenery. Well done. Looking forward to finding out what other adventures await Aithere!

Interviews with S.F. Swem

Thought I would pop in and put a blip in. Here are links to Interviews with S.F. Swem.
It has been suggested that we put links to the interviews here and/or on the voldamar site proper. We have decided I will put them on both places for easy access.

Here are the two out so far: Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Reading, Writing and Learning – Voldamar
Voldamar is the home of the books and blog of Steven and Detra Swem. Steven writes the majority of blogs, so I posed my questions to him.

A Chat With Steven Swem; Author of Demesne Series
Posted on 02/10/2012 (October 2, 2012)
And there I was, nonchalantly strolling through the Dragon Back Valley trying to reach the gates of Dragon Back Castle. My goal was to be nearby at a convenient time to be asked in for supper. Some miles away, I bumped into Steven Swem. I’d been hoping to interview him for ages and ages…

Interviews with S.F. Swem
Demesne Series

What to read and how the choice is made

You want a new book to read:

1.  Do you go to the book store down town, or shop on line?

When searching your choice of shopping:

  1.  Do you pick up the latest trend or head for your favorite read?
  2. What is your favorite? Fantasy fiction, Science fiction, Modern fiction or something that has an ancient feel?

So many choices. Growing up I read a lot of Victoria Holts historical romances. There was so much more to them than boy meets girl. Most had a mystery going on in the background. A teacher introduced me to Walter Farley and the Black stallion series of books, then I read anything that had horses in them.

I have owned and taken care of horses. Rode with the Old Spanish Trail Riders for a summer and my horse was a stallion. In the 70’s the Texan’s told me “girls don’t ride stallion’s”, I did. When not wearing my western boots I was wearing 3 inch fashion boots. I have always been shorter then those around me, the heels gave me hight.

I have been studying other writers. Who does what and when. The consensus is, the reading we have done through out our lives tends to influence our writing. We have some lively conversations sometimes in this room about how a scene should play out. Sometimes we act it out to see if it works. We have both read the Dragonriders of Pern series and several other books in the house. We have a 30 year old set of encyclopedia we we really want to go nuts. Our books are works of pure fantasy. Like my crocheting we can weave the tale as we desire it to go, yet at the same time we want it to feel realistic as possible. Since the only gushing I have ever done is to coo at a baby and go weak at the knees around my husband, I am not sure how to write the “I will adore you forever” swooning scene, sorry.

So Back to my questions. I won’t know unless I ask them and hope I receive some answers.

What we each expect in a book is different. A girl on a farm is raised around animals and knows what to expect. For example, a farm girl may not swoon at something a city raised girl would.

2. What do you want when you pick up a book?    Laughter, weeping, drama, or lifes usual, a combination of them all?

3. If it is a period piece of long ago do you expect to see modern values and mannerisms applied?

After I post this I am sure I will have more questions. They always seem to spring to mind when I least expect it.

Let us know what you think.

Short Stories & Thoughts on writing