The picture is to pay homage to one of the books that most inspired me to be a horror/epic fantasy writer: The Shining by Stephen King!
Jack and friends have come out to celebrate with me on MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY writing my blog!!
I am super thrilled to celebrate and mark this occasion. It certainly doesn’t feel like I have been doing this blog for a whole year! What an incredible journey it has been — in a good way filled with a lot of personal growth and accomplishments that I didn’t think were possible.
Just a few stats that I would like to point out. Since July 17th, 2016:
Been an unbelievable year and I am ecstatic to see what the next year will bring! Thank you for being with me this year and enjoying the ride with me. You are all my favorite passengers! ha!
Now back to work….
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A DULL BOY
Top Winner will receive $100 Amazon Gift Card, 8 EBOOKS (2 Best Selling Fantasy Ebooks and an Ebook copy from each of the 6 above-listed authors.)
Runner up will get a $25 Amazon Gift Card and 1 Best Seller and an Ebook copy from the 6 above-listed authors.)
Four other winners receive Ebook Copies from the above-listed authors!!
CLICK HERE TO ENTER: FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY ENTRY
All you need for the contest entry is to subscribe with an email address to these authors’ mailing list.
AUTHORS & BOOKS:
KM WEILAND — Dreamlander
DEREK BARTON — Consequences Within Chaos
SUSANNE LAMBDIN — Seeker of Magic
NESA MILLER — Alamir
NATALIE WRIGHT — H.A.L.F: The Deep Beneath
LS O’DEA — Lake of Sins: Escape
(Click on their name to see their Amazon Profiles and Book Collections!)
EMILY R. KING — The Hundredth Queen
JOHNATHAN RENSHAW — Dawn of Wonder
Get extra giveaway entries when you Commenting on Facebook, Sharing this Ad on Facebook and Commenting on Twitter about the Giveaway!!!
PLUS IF YOU REFER YOUR FRIENDS, YOU GET UP TO 10 EXTRA ENTRIES INTO THE RAFFLE!
D O N O T M I S S O U T !!
I have gotten some inquiries on the progress I have had on certain projects (especially concerning my sequel, The Bleeding Crown) so I thought I would send out a quick update.
THE BLEEDING CROWN — At this time, I am almost a quarter to half way through the first draft. I spent a lot of time organizing, structuring the story line and developing the characters along with their backstories. My projected goal is to finish the draft around September or October.
On a side note, I have been kicking around the possibility of a third novel in Wyvernshield, making this a trilogy. I have some interesting paths I could go down, but I have not fully decided one way or another. And since I am not done with the second novel’s first draft, it is too early to start plotting out the third. One thing that is definitely making me hesitate is that I want the series to have a complete whole overall story and not two complete stories and one disjointed story thrown in the mix. If that makes any sense.
CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS AUDIO BOOK — A sad development here. My voice actress had too much on her plate at this time and just could not dedicate the necessary time to get this done within the time frame I was looking for. So… I have submitted a proposal on Audible.com and I am waiting on audition proposals. My goal was for the end of July, but with this delay I am not sure it will happen that soon. Audible states that once an actor has been chosen, it could be done in 3 to 8 weeks give or take the size of the novel. My book is estimated to be 11 hours recording. Keep your fingers crossed with me!
CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS COLLECTIBLES — I cannot yet go into too much detail on this, but I have made some inquiries, connections and working relations with several sources in an effort to create some character collectible items. A calendar set, magnetic bio cards, foil posters and a designer deck of poker cards may be on the horizon!
GOODREAD GIVEAWAY AND A GREAT INDIE BOOK CONTEST — I have been promoting the Goodreads Giveaway a lot, but I am also working out a big contest with at least one other independent author. More to come by July, but I am getting pretty excited about what we can offer and what I have in store for you guys!
A NEW HORROR BLOG SERIES — I am working on a new story line and series for you, my horror lovers! Inspiration struck and it won’t stop haunting me. And since I need blog ideas, I have decided to work this out through the blog like I did with In Four Days.
Plus I am still working on the horror novel with my father T.D. Barton; be on the lookout for sneak peek chapters of that as well.
IN FOUR DAYS AUDIO BOOK — In current talks with another voice actor for my novella.
As you can see, I am truly working hard this year! hahaha
Last note, as July is approaching I am astounded and thrilled to realize that this blog and website will be celebrating its ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! Thank you all for your continued support and helping me grow this dream each day!
Lots of things in the works and more to come — exciting times!
Talk again soon!
Here is a tiny morsel… A free grocery market sample of a chapter in my rough draft of The Bleeding Crown. Enjoy!!
Taihven rapped his knuckles upon the wooden door. It was more formality than anything. He opened it before Captain Ruessard could answer it. The young soldier sat facing outward, scanning the horizon as he always seemed to do.
“I have your Brulla, Rashad. And with that northerly wind coming in today, I went ahead and added a touch of Candock Whiskey to them.”
Rashad turned around, sporting a wry smirk upon his face, “Well, who am I to debate with my king. It does have a bite of frostiness in the air this foremorn.”
He had touches of premature grey at his temples. He also had his late father’s hazel eyes and a spattering of freckles under his eyes that forever made him younger in appearance than his actual age.
They fell into a comfortable silence in the high guard tower which overlooked the docks. Each young man lost in his thoughts. Over the last two months, this had become an odd routine that they both grew to appreciate. During the Viestrahl Siege, they both lost cherished family members and were thrust into new positions of responsibility. It took them time to adjust, get settled in their roles and a friendship had developed naturally from this upheaval that they shared in common.
“You would not have known this by looking at him nor by the life he lived, but my father’s heart always belonged to the sea. Before the Wyvernguard had demanded more of his time, he and I would spend early hours like these fishing from a broken-down skiff he salvaged.” Rashad said wistfully looking out at the crashing waves. “There is something enchanting about the color of the water, the soothing roll of the waves and the thrill of watching the lightning storms in the distance…”
“Hmmm. You are right, I did not know that about the good captain. To tell you the truth, Bardun Ruessard used to scare the color out of my face!” Taihven laughed. “It took a long time for me to not be nervous around him. The man was as near a legend I had ever been close to.”
Rashad joined him in laughing and said, “You were not alone. It was rare any of my friends would dare to visit me. He was not a hard man, never laid a hand on me or my sisters, but I guess he had a different side to him ‘on duty’.”
Again, silence settled over them. Taihven’s own father and mother were entombed together only the prior month. He had lost everything that truly mattered to him. The new king felt that sacrifice each moment of the day and restless night.
A flash of memory interrupted his reverie. Letandra’s mace lying abandoned in the courtyard sand…
He grimaced and shook away the image. Then, he tried to take in the rays of sunlight with his eyes, drink it up and feel the spread of warmth over his chest — over his ice frozen heart.
“I am sorry, Rashad. He died a hero though and you honor his name well.”
He did not reply and took a deep drink from his mug of Brulla. Taihven continued to scan the waves of the bay himself. He took note and tracked a procession of five ships which had slipped around the Eastrock Lighthouse Island. They bore the flags and colors of the Trade Merchants of Ansony.
“That is welcome news.” He pointed to the fleet approaching the docks. “The plague has been keeping many of the supply caravans away. They still believe there is an outbreak within the outside edges of the villages. The Court Scribes and I were scheduled to work out letters for the Envoys. Requesting that word be communicated that we have stamped out the Viestrahl plague, but we were now dealing with shortages.”
“Yes, now it appears that will not be necessary…” His words faded and he squinted against the dawn sun. “Seems odd that Ansony would send five ships though.”
Another row of ships, these branded as Premia fishing vessels abruptly appeared, coming in from the west.
The first of the Ansony fleet floated alongside the docking posts of the pier. Taihven wondered aloud, “And now we have another six?”
Rashad stood up and unhooked a ram’s horn from its cradle set upon a wall shelf. He held it as the two men studied the docking merchants. The boats aligned two on one side, three on the other pier. No one had exited, yet dozens were gathering on the ship decks.
The Premia boats cruised into the bay. Yet, they were not approaching and were lowering their barnacled anchors. Men rushed in chaotic errands to and fro on their decks as well.
“Captain, this does not strike me as normal.”
Three dock guards strode out to the moored ships as per normal protocol. Taihven and Rashad noticed the dock guards were alert and had their hands on the hilts of their swords.
At the same instant the dock guards called out a greeting, a volley of fireballs launched from the decks of the Premia ships. They arched in smoky trails through the sky These were arcane evocations.
“It is an attack. Sound your alarm!” Taihven growled and he yanked open the tower door, but the young captain grabbed his wrist.
“You cannot go out there yet, lord! Wait for the Royals to escort you.”
Rashad pierced the stillness of the morning calm with a shrill series of warning notes from his horn. Hooded men in black leather armors charged from the Ansony boats waving hatchets and scimitars.
The invaders overwhelmed and dispatched the unfortunate band of dock guards.
Four Royalguards appeared and without word swept both of them into their circle of protection. They scrambled as a unit down the wooden steps.
An eruption of thick sheets of ice formed a few feet above the guard tower. The sheets drove through the shingles, imploded the guard room and pulverized most of the winding tower stairs into splinters.
“Take him to the Vaults!” Rashad demanded of his men and then broke from the circle. He head straight to a rank of Wyvernguard sprinting toward the docks.
“TO ME! CENTER TO ME!”
As Taihven was man-handled toward the castle, he glanced back over his shoulder in time to see a bulging, black-blue wave of sea water as it cascaded into the bay. It washed up and over the pier. The wave retreated leaving behind a colossal, ivory beast unlike anything he had ever witnessed. It extended its gelatinous, spiked belly in rolls as it thrashed a long split-tail over the boards. Guards and enemies alike were flung head-over-heels into the air and sea.
Rashad led the charge of a shield phalanx, lances and polearms bristling from it. They advanced upon the creature and the mob of invaders.
The beast’s hooked snout opened and several spear-like tongues erupted from it, impaling and dragging several victims back to it.
Screams of agony and echoes of snapping bones filled the air as the Adventdawn Vault door slammed behind him. The Royals hauled Taihven away from the dock carnage.
IT IS TOO SOON! Taihven’s thoughts screamed in his head as panic gripped him. WHAT CAN I DO? WE ARE STILL SO WEAK FROM THE DISEASE AND HORDE MARCH! HOW CAN I STOP THIS ALL ALONE?
Please let me know what you think so far. Comments are always welcomed!
Ara Turas – Homeland of the Duradramyn; their lands exist of grassy plains and rolling tundra. Duradramyn are a simplistic, tribal people that rely heavily on ritual or spiritual magic. While renown for their agriculture, they are also dedicated to existing with nature, living among animals and preserving the environment.
Aviytoss – Homeland of the Flohki; sprawling wetlands and dwarf tree swamps. Flohki are half-bird humanoids that tend to be xenophobic and very territorial. Their technology, militant personalities and scientific knowledge has fostered them several large cities and coastal fishing industries.
Bre’Avat — Vast jungles and volcanic mountain ranges. The continent does not have a known race or humanoid culture, but is home to original species of Mammoth Bats, Khortha Lizards and Reaxes which are massive beetles that live within lava pits. Abandoned ruins of an intelligent race have been found there, but no survivors or descendants are known.
Cordavail – Homeland of a small human kingdom. They are very isolated in a ring of high mountains and rarely reach out to neighboring lands.
Dorminahz – Homeland to the Thettes and Brohmn Giant races. These two clans are very war-like and have often battled in bloody and costly civil wars. They live barbarian lifestyles, but the Thettes are nomadic and follow after migratory animal herds. The Brohmn claim permanent residences and dig out immense structures in mountain sides and subterranean caverns.
Ele Tessis – Territory to the shadow race of Bal’Avals. These mystical creatures tend to have sadistic desires and evil tendencies. Little contact has been made with them; they protect their lands violently and will not suffer any trespassing.
Fhey Rhas – Homeland of the Yuul; their home is a ring of seven islands. The Yuul are a feline/human race that dedicate their lives to the study of magic. Political sciences and government organization are also key concerns to their culture.
Huuscia – Endless miles of desert wasteland; suspected to be unpopulated, but few explorers have ever returned from their expeditions.
Mescarne – A heat-blasted, barren plain; at its center is the legendary Quartz Tower. The Tower is believed to be the key focal point for the magical energies and ley lines to the entire world of Aberrisc. Few have found it and been able to return to describe the structure. Some propose it is of ancient origin by a long-forgotten race. No one has ever been able to describe the interior.
Peht Glacier Flats – Ice wasteland; unpopulated by humanoid creatures due to its weather and unstable lands and climate.
Rya – Desert dune lands cover most of this continent. However, there are also long stretches of glass fields that mar this sand expanse. Ancient tales and folklore describe the region as a homeland to a once noble and powerful race, but they unleashed a doomsday cataclysm which formed the glass fields and ever growing dunes. No evidence of such a race has been discovered to date.
Utakraas – Homeland of the Balshazras; these lands are made up of sprawling swamp areas, deep lakes and enormous rivers. Balshazras are reptilian, but have a high intellect that matches their natural gifts with arcane and elemental magic. The unique creatures can continuously reincarnate and thus are seemingly immortal.
Yamtolak – Homeland of the Eulocths. These vile lizard humanoids have very base, selfish desires and often make raids upon other lands for food, treasures or to take slaves. They exist in linked clan villages that all answer to their tyrant king. Their biggest strength and weapon is in their sheer numbers. With a mob-mentality, the Eulocths do not fear anything or anyone.
There are a lot of debate on whether maps are a hindrance or a benefit to your story. I think that like any other writing tool or technique that a writer can use, it should be considered carefully for each story, thought out thoroughly and done on a case by case basis. Not every story will warrant a map.
The first important question to consider is: will it add to the story for the reader? Do you think that there may be too many names floating about in your prose or do you feel that the layout of your places are pretty straightforward for the reader to follow? When I read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, I had to often look at the maps to keep the story straight in my head. For that matter, he had so many characters going all over the place and working with so many different characters, I even made an Excel Spreadsheet to keep the names straight! But Mr. Martin has such a great talent and incredible story that I forgave him as a reader and put in the extra effort.
Another question: Do you feel that the map is going to help you as the writer? Will it guide you in keeping all the facts straight and keeping an accurate idea of where each character might be? Or will a map also give you inspiration or show you where you have room to grow?
When you do decide, you will also face the dilemma of where are you going to get it? Are you going to draw it yourself and if so, do you have the right amount of cartography skill? If you are not taking up the challenge to create it, then what resources do you have to get one? There are a ton of “free map images” out on the net, but then you may have to make concessions or even possibly alterations to your story. Perhaps you might be wise to invest on getting it professional completed. There are also many websites that will provide map-making services or websites like Cartographers Guild that has a forum for questions and/or advice.
Overall, the questions surrounding the “to map or not to map” debate really comes down to time, resources and whether or not it will benefit you as a writer and/or the readers.
For myself, I have started my sequel and I think it will be a positive addition for the readers to see where the lands are and maybe help give the readers a better perspective of all the key lands that are involved in the story. My plan is to make a map of both worlds detailed in the books. And yes, I do plan on designing the maps myself. I designed several in my old Dungeon & Dragon days and found that it really provoked ideas and plots (usually evil plots to mess with the players!! haha)
I will keep you all in the loop and hopefully share my maps soon!!
When I started my first novel, Consequences Within Chaos, I fell into an almost obsessive “plot mode” and wrote a rather long, bulleted outline of my story (60 pages to be exact). However, for the battle scenes, I skipped past with a lazy wave of the hand and just wrote a line “insert battle scene here.” Not giving the battle scene its proper respect was not only a big mistake as far as outlining, but it also became a huge stumbling block for me when I attempted my first drafts.
Well, when it came time to write these epic battles, I found I had no real idea where to start. Instinctively, I knew that there was a lot riding on capturing this part to my story just right. I had lied to myself and naively thought that this would “all magically be revealed and come naturally to me”.
Suddenly with all that sitting upon my shoulders, I put off writing the first one; even postponed and put aside the book for months. I wouldn’t categorize this period as writer’s block, but maybe a weird version of stage fright? If I didn’t write the scene (didn’t walk out upon the stage), then I wouldn’t screw it up (I wouldn’t show how bad I was at this) and embarrass myself (fall flat on my face in front of the audience).
It took me a lot of research, experimentation, rewrites and some sheer will to get the battles done for the book. They’re not perfect, but I am happy with them overall. Will I do better nowadays? I sure hope so!
To save you from my pain, here are the critical factors you need to answer when using a battle scene (this includes all types of fights – barroom brawls, ambushes, street assaults and all the way to the epic, five army battles!):
Every scene is a platform for your character to level up and grow in the direction you need them to in your story. Their triumphs or losses are the very ingredients that make up who they are. Just like us in every day life – if we don’t experience ups and downs then we do not grow from them or learn from the journey.
Writing a battle scene can place your character under intense scrutiny, pressure to succeed and motivate him or her to excel – without this extreme moment of their life they would not have achieved anything your story wants and needs them to accomplish.
For us as writers, battles are waged and won with swords and words!
Here is another sneak peek at an upcoming character for The Bleeding Crown, sequel to Consequences Within Chaos.
Character Profile Questions:
What is their name? Only known as Scars. He lost his birth name in battle and will never use the real one again.
How old? 48 years old (He is one of the species called Flohki which live on average to 110 years old. Their upper torso features are mainly bird, the rest humanoid.)
What does your character look like? White feathered head, broken beak, scars running down left cheek and multiple scars along the top and back of his head. He has the muscular body of a weightlifter and the head features of a seagull and icy blue eyes.
Where does he live? During an ambush along the Flohki borders, he was captured and enslaved by a roving Thette Giant Clan. He is the personal slave of Korba-Tarn and bodyguard of the giant’s mate, Frest-Alae.
Where is the character from? Scars grew up in a fishing community called Maxnen Vale. The Flohki continent called Cammiana consists endless grasslands surrounding lush swamps. The Flohki are divided in a civil war with the Pesha-aar due to territory and nesting land disputes. This disorganization has made them very vulnerable to the Quietus Army and the Ebon Throne.
What kind of childhood? Through his first decade of life he was happy and worked hard alongside his older brothers on the docks and the fishing boats. When times got tough and his family had misfortunes (a typhoon destroyed their small fleet of boats and home), the parents were forced to turn there children over to the Elder Leaders of the Ledatd Nest. Conscripted as “Bre-ox-da” which means “battleborn”, he and his brothers learned and trained in military combat. The Bre-ox-da are navy warriors that protect the coast lines. They were expected to serve for life as an “honor”. The Flohki don’t believe in allowing anyone to be homeless, however they do require some form of restitution. The parents would not be able to feed the boys and themselves so the Leaders took the boys and the parents were given shelter and food for their remaining lives.
What does the character do for a living? Scars was rising in the ranks as a military bodyguard and escort for officers of the Ledat Nest. He was also reknown for his horse combat skills and martial arts. Between assignments he trained many of the new Bre-ox-da in hand-to-hand fighting and military strategy.
How does your character deal with conflict? He has a knack for observation, studying enemy patterns and movements and uses patience to gather information for when he does strike or make a decision. Methodical and full of purpose. Being reduced to a slave and being dishonored, he is broken and submissive to the Thettes.
Who else is in their life? He has no contact with his race or family. A pair of Duradramyn survive enslaved in the slave pens with him.
What is your character’s goal or motivation? He knows that he should escape, but he also feels so lost and without direction, he has not yet discovered any reason to leave.
Their Status: Surrendering in battle means you lose your title and name forever. On a mission to escort his assigned officer, they were ambushed by the Thettes. As the unit leader, Scars surrendered as a sacrifice to allow his unit and brothers time to escape capture or death. Scars cannot ever regain his status and knows he will be ostracized by his race. Part of him feels that being a slave is almost proper punishment for not dying in battle.