Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Cerberus is Loose!

Now available on Amazon! (Click the cover for a direct link!)

One hundred years of peace and prosperity. War changes everything.


On the world of Zaria, Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and revolutionaries trade gunfire with loyalists and tyrants.

Eadric Garrard was raised to believe that as the rightful King of Ansgar, his loyal nobles and fearful subjects answered to his every whim, no matter the cost or consequence. His decision to send his troops thousands of miles away will test that fear, and loyalty.

Raedan Clyve was ordinary until an Elven ritual involving a griffin’s heart turned him into something more. Twenty years later, he still struggles with the magics that rage through his body. His mentor holds him back from his full potential and he faces pressure to find a suitable wife and father an heir.

Hadrian Clyve has picked up where his father left off and works to expand his family’s influence amongst the Ansgari nobility. His aggressive negotiation of alliances and shrewd choice of marriage agreements has earned him respect, and resentment. When his King calls his troops to arms, Hadrian has other things in mind.

After a century of scheming and decades of preparation, Magnus Jarmann is ready to bring his family’s plans to fruition by launching a war of independence that will free his people and return his country to its rightful place among the nations of Zaria. The King’s call to arms creates an opportunity that Magnus cannot afford to miss.

In a war, little is held back; in a revolution, nothing is safe.

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Giveaway!

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Cerberus Rebellion, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a giveaway!

Here are the what and how:

What: Depending on the number of participants, I’ll be giving away some of my short stories (you can find the descriptions on the Products page).

For up to 7 participants, I’ll give a random winner their choice of short story! For 7-14participants, I’ll give the Grand Prize winner a copy of The Chesian Wars (not yet listed, this includes the 3 short stories and an additional prelude short story) and 1 other winner their choice of short story. For 15+, I’ll give away 1 copy of The Chesian Wars and 3 short story winners.

I can do these in .mobi, .epub or .pdf format, as requested by the winner.

How: all you have to do is leave a comment below. Each comment will be assigned a number and next Sunday I’ll randomly select numbers for each winner!

So leave a comment and pass the word along. The more entries, the more winners!

Poll!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to add Orcs to the world of Zaria. I’m going to have two different groups present: the first is going to be the citizens of a group of city-states (as mentioned in the above linked post).

These city-states are famous for their powerful trade barons and for the dozens of mercenary groups that call the cities home. The second half of the Orcish people will be modeled after Native Americans, particularly t he Iroquois. They’re going to live in the vast plains, farm and hunt.

I have all of that well established. Where the question arises, is that I need to decide on a mount that the Orcs favor. I was considering the stereotypical large-wolf mount, but then I thought about where I’m going to have these people live. It’s very similar to the Great Plains of America: grasslands and flat areas.

A herbivore would be  better suited to the rigors of travel across the plains. So here’s my question: go with the traditional large wolf/warg, European Bison (buffalo) or something else. It has to be large enough to support a race that ranges from 6’8″ to 7’6″ and several hundred pounds. If you choose other, please leave a comment!

 

Finger on the Trigger

I got Cerberus back from the editor and he approved of the changes that I made to improve the flow and cut down on the clutter. All I have left to do is review the 2nd pass of edits, send it back for formatting and then it’s ready to go to Amazon.

Having just released the three accompanying short stories (you can check them out at the Products page) the initial nervousness of releasing isn’t as prevalent. I am slightly nervous in that once Cerberus is released, I’m going to go into full time promo-mode.  For the short stories, I’ve limited myself to a twitter blast here and there and a couple of facebook posts. Other than that, I’ve let them sit. And it shows: their ranking is abysmal.

They were never meant to be leaders, and they didn’t cost much to produce, so if they do pick up sales off of Cerberus’ coattails, all the better.

Additionally, 10 other Authors and I recently launched the Guild of Dreams. It’s a joint-blog where we’ll be posting on themes (sometimes) and generally doing cross-promotions.

You can click the link to take a look and follow our twitter hashtag #guildofdreams.

Guild Of Dreams

Have you ever had one of those moments when you think maybe the universe is trying to tell you something? That just happened to me.

I was three- or four-hundred words into a post talking about me and about this blog–and I think I was being quite witty, to tell you the truth–when the whole thing disappeared. I’m sure I hit a wrong button somewhere, but it’s more fun thinking the universe took control to suggest I do a little rewrite.

So be it.

Welcome to our little blog site, Guild of Dreams, where you’ll find myself and 10 other fantasy authors pooling our resources to entertain and perhaps enlighten you. We’re all different people with different writing styles, but we all share a love of fantasy and a desire to reach you, the reader, so our aim is to write about things that you will find of interest. To that…

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Short Stories Live!

Over the weekend, I got the edits applied to my trio of short stories and jumped headfirst into Amazon’s KDP. After spending a couple of hours trying to feel my way around, I hit publish!

If you’d like to have a look, please visit the new Products page that I’ve set up and you can click straight through to my short stories!

Humble Beginnings

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but with my first set of Griffins & Gunpowder short stories getting ready to launch and The Cerberus Rebellion so close to publication, I thought I would revisit the flash in the pan that started it all.

This short piece of fiction was written on my phone, though I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when. It was probably during a slow point at work when I had the chance to type it out in Google Docs.

It was done in April of 2011 and for about 4 months, it just stewed. Finally, in August the story took off. So, without further ado, here is the short story that was titled “Griffin Steampunk”.

The hunting party rode slowly along the low rolling hills, buffered from the wind and light drizzle by their thick, fur lined cloaks. They had been riding in the fields and hills for the entire day and had yet to see any of the prey that they sought.

There was sign everywhere along the low hills that there were Griffins in this part of the country, but neither the party scouts nor their hunting hawks had come up with anything.

“My Lord,” one of the riders shouted from the hilltop. “Griffins, about three lengths ahead. A whole flight of them!”

“Lead the way, Alvars!” Lord Thomas Collins, Baron of Shadow Ridge, shouted to his armsman.

The hunting party turned, their large horses climbing the hill with little effort, following the scout. Armor clattered as the riders picked up speed, their cloaks flapped behind them as they road hard toward the flight of griffins that they had been tracking.

As the party neared, they slowed to a trot. Griffins were notorious for having impeccable hearing and for maintaining a keen watch when they were away from their avaries.

“Armsman, bring me a rifle!” Thomas shouted to the back of the party. While swords were the primary weapon on the planet Gregorov, rifles were the hunting weapon of choice. One of Lord Collins’ armsman dismounted and pulled the long gun from its holster at the horse’s side.

“My Lord,” the armsman handed his lord the weapon as Thomas dismounted from his horse.

“Thank you, Vance,” the baron said as he flipped open the caps on the scope.

The rifle, a meter long, weighed at least ten kilograms and was of the finest make on the planet. Thomas had used the rifle since his tenth birthday, though he had to use a mount until he could carry the weapon himself. Now, he hefted the barrel with no trouble and brought the stock to his shoulder.

The scope was high powered, it brought the beasts so close that Thomas could seen the individual feathers on each of the beasts. The male Griffins were covered in spikes, the females were smooth backed. Males were much larger than their mates, but were less valuable as trophies because of the ungainly spikes.

Thomas settled on one of the females, stalking along the side of the hill with her ears pinned back against her skull. Thomas held his breath and settled his sights on the beasts’ chest and flicked off the weapon’s safety. He braced himself against the ground and squeezed the trigger.

The rail gun thumped as it spit the the bolt of metal at supersonic velocities. It took mere seconds for the round to reach its target and Thomas could hear the screams of the other Griffins as they lifted into the air. The hunting party lowered themselves as much as possible: a flight of angry Griffins was nothing to be trifled with. The beasts circled for a few minutes before they finally drifted toward the cliffs, retreating to their avary.

“Let’s go see what we’ve got!” Thomas shouted as he handed the rifle back to his armsman. The party remounted and took off at a gallop towards where the Griffins had been.

The party had stopped at nearly a full length from the flight of Griffins, so even at a full gallop it took almost ten minutes for them to reach the corpse of the majestic beast that had been their target. The scouts arrived first, their smaller horses were faster than those of the armsmen and nobles, and they circled the corpse slowly. Even as he approached, Thomas could tell that the scouts were talking to each other about something.

As he approached, Thomas quickly realized what had the attention of the scouts. The corpse of the female Griffin had fallen where the beast had stood, but there was something else. Laying in a small stone circle were a trio of baby Griffins. Their wings were still tucked back against their bodies, a sure sign that they were not yet able to fly.

“What should we do with them, My Lord?” One of the armsmen asked.

“Griffins are dangerous animals, My Lord,” Thomas’ master-of-arms suggested. “We should put them down.”

“My lord,” Thomas’ advisor interrupted. “Griffins could be a great asset. When fully grown, they could support riders. And even if we can’t ever train them, their wings could be clipped like a trophy hawk and they could be prize animals. Imagine walking into the King’s Palace with a trio of Griffins at your heels. Everyone would respect your power and wealth.”

“Alexander,” Thomas looked to his oldest son, and most accomplished horse trainer. “Do you think that you could train these beasts to carry a rider?”

“If there is a beast that cannot be trained to take a rider, I have not come across it yet,” Alexander nodded. “They won’t be of size to take a rider for at least nine months, and in that time we could train them to be hunters.”

“Very well,” Thomas nodded. “We’ll take them back to the castle.”

And from that, the Griffins & Gunpowder universe was born. It just goes to show how far a story can wander before it finds its home in your head. Have you ever written down a quick idea and had it morph into something very different before you finally started writing it in detail?

Getting Ready

I just got my short story collections back from my editor (Nick over at http://www.everything-indie.com/) and once I get the edits applied and the stories formatted, I’l be releasing them into the wild.

The Cerberus Rebellion is still on track for an early July release, but I figured I would start the ball rolling as soon as possible and get some buzz going for it with my short stories.

Right now, I plan on releasing the 3 Stand-Alone short stories (2 @ $.99 and 1 @ $1.99) separate. After the cover is ready, I’ll be releasing them in a collection with a bonus 2k word prelude.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted! Look for my Products page to go live this weekend!

Controlling the Beast

With my previous post about a day where ideas wouldn’t stop rolling into my head, I thought I would do a post on how I keep myself on track with my target projects.

To be honest, it’s mostly an OCD drive to finish Project A. I keep a mental priority list going of things that need to be done.

Highest Priority: Get Current Major Work Done

Whatever the next step in getting my current major project completed it, I work on that. Be that plotting or outlining in the initial stages, the actual writing in the middle stages or paper-edits, working on feedback from betas or reviewing/applying edits from the editor in the final stages. Getting Project Alpha done is priority.

Priority 2: Next Step on Project B

While Project A is in the hands of beta-readers or the editor, I work on Project B. Currently that has been a collection of short stories that I want to release, both as standalones and a collection, alongside The Cerberus Rebellion. Same process applies here as above, get the next step done!

Priority 3: Next Step on Project C (if available)

Project C is listed as “Next Project A” in my mind. So when Projects A and B are completed and published,  it will become Project A until completion. Ideally, Project C is related to Projects A and B (as when working on a series with associated short stories and novellas). Currently, Project C is the novella “The Battle at Broken Plains”. It is set in the Griffins and Gunpowder universe and is intended to be a standalone novel to fill the publishing gap between my release of The Cerberus Rebellion and The Hydra Offensive.

After that, there’s a whole list of additional projects, but they don’t get any attention until Project C’s slot is empty and waiting for a new project (right now The Griffin’s Heart (a G&G novella) is high on the list as is The Hydra Offensive (the next in the G&G main-series).

I never let the list get empty, because that’s when chaos develops! With all of the projects floating around in your head, how do you keep them straight?

Zaria and Ansgar

So here are the hi-res copies of Zaria and the Ansgar map, where The Cerberus Rebellion takes place.

The Ansgar map doesn’t include the western territories due to size constraints but a future map will be made for them.

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