Monthly Archives: October 2012
So, since this is going to be my 100th post, I figured I’d go through and see how far I’ve come since I started blogging.
First Post: 11/1/11
Total Pageviews Since Starting: 2,359 (928 on Blogger and 1,431 here)
When I started blogging, I was working on my novel “Live! At the Front”. Gunpowder Fantasy was just a thought rambling around in the back of my head without a lot of substance to it.
It’s been nearly a year and I’ve come a long way. What started as “Griffin Steampunk” has blossomed into the Griffins & Gunpowder world, including a series in progress, three more planned and a whole variety of short stories and novellas.
I hit publish on three short stories, a collection of short stories and my first novel, The Cerberus Rebellion.
I’ve gone on a month long blog tour and I joined the Guild of Dreams, Fantasy Collective.
Thanks to everyone that has bought or downloaded The Cerberus Rebellion; shared, liked or commented on my posts here and provided feedback on my works-in-progress.
Here’s to another 100 posts!
Now in Wider Distribution – The Cerberus Rebellion!
Good news for those of you without Kindles: The Cerberus Rebellion is now available in all e-reader formats from Smashwords. Hop on over and take a look here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/246079
From Smashwords, The Cerberus Rebellion will be distributed into all of the major ebook retailers.
As I work on The Hydra Offensive, I’ve run into a problem. I originally had planned to have 6 total POV Characters, including return characters Raedan, Hadrian and Eadric from The Cerberus Rebellion and three new POVs. There would be 2 sets of 2 POVs that would follow basically the same plot lines and then 2 independent POVs with their own plot. Those 2 wouldn’t get a lot of time until mid-way through.
Well, one of the plot lines (2 POVs) has grown into a lot more than I originally planned for it to be. According to my initial outline, I should be at around chapter 12 or 13. I’m at Chapter 23. I’m finally approaching the point where the 2 independent POVs should start getting more time, but I’m beginning to worry about the end size of Hydra if I put them both in.
If I do put both of them in, I can see Hydra ballooning to over 120k words, and while that’s not as big of a concern as it may have been before, I’m more concerned with running into the George RR Martin problem of diluting the focus of the novel.
I’ve looked at it and I can reasonably push one of the subplots into the next novel, tenatively titled “The Centaur Campaign”, but if I do that, I worry that I’m going to run into the same problem until I run out of novels to push storylines to. Cutting the proposed storyline won’t either because this is a major character who features prominently in the series going forward.
Funny enough, and on a related note, I’m actually going back through my novella “Battle for Broken Plains” and adding in a new major POV. This character got some time later in the story, but I think that things will flow better, and avoid as much infodump, by adding the character in earlier in the piece and slowly introducing the content.
Have you ever had to push a character into the next book to make sure your novel doesn’t get fat?
Marketing From the Niche
When I was in the middle of world-building the Griffins & Gunpowder Universe, I ran into a dilemma. I had a solid idea of what I wanted to do with this universe: I wanted it to be an epic fantasy but I wanted to bring gunpowder technology into it. The problem was that I couldn’t for the life of me find very much in the way of previous examples of how this was best accomplished.
So I was debating dragging the whole universe back to the standard-fare medieval world, or taking it into a full-on Steampunk world. After some internal debate, some twitter chats with other authors and some googling, I decided to go ahead and make the world that I wanted to make in the first place.
Now that I’ve released The Cerberus Rebellion and plowed into the Gunpowder Fantasy subgenre full speed, I find that it’s rather difficult to find marketing venues for it. The Griffins & Gunpowder Universe is between two worlds; not quite Traditional Epic Fantasy but definitely not Steampunk.
So I’ve tried to reach out to the few other authors that write in the sub-genre and build a network of Gunpowder Fantasy authors.
A.S. Warwick’s Commonwealth Chronicles (his website is here) would definitely fall into my definition of Gunpowder Fantasy, though he doesn’t go quite as far down the gunpowder/steam technology path as I do. Where Griffins & Gunpowder is set in the mid-19th century with muskets being phased out, rifles common and the beginning emergence of cartridge-based revolvers, the Commonwealth Chronicles is set in a late 18th-century to early 19th-century setting. Muskets and smoothbore cannon are the dominant firearm in Mr Warwick’s world; rifles are rare, slow to reload and cumbersome.
Another author whose world falls into Gunpowder Fantasy, though again on the earlier stages of the technological tree, is William King. His Terrarch Chronicles make heavy use of muskets and, from what I’ve read so far, very much include heavy magic use.
The last author, and the one that I’ve had the most interaction and cross-promotion with, is Harry Vossen from A Way With Worlds, a world-building how-to. I had the chance to read some of his yet-to-be-released novel, Under a Burning Sky, and I was impressed. His work is definitely the furthest from my own; through the first few chapters (I haven’t had a chance to read through the full novel) Under a Burning Sky uses very little reference to gunpowder. In fact, Harry’s world is probably the closest of these selections to traditional Epic Fantasy. To the point I reached, muskets weren’t used and the only gunpowder weapons seemed to be cannons loaded aboard ships.
The point of this post is to say that no matter how small you think your subgenre is, with the expansive nature of the internet and the booming eBook market, there is likely to be someone else writing something similar enough to your own works that you can draw parallels between the two worlds and help each other through cross-promotion.
With The Cerberus Rebellion approaching the end of its term in the KDP Select Program, I ran a Free special earlier this week and I have to admit that I’m happy with the results overall.
Over the course of 3 days, without features by the major free-promotion sites (Ereader News Today, Pixel of Ink) I was able to garner a grand total of 1,009 total downloads (967 US, 31 UK and 11 German).
The Cerberus Rebellion reached #301 overall in the Free Store, #1 for Free Historical Fantasy and #5 for Free Epic Fantasy.
I want to thank everyone for the shares, likes and retweets that helped me break the 1,000 line.
Guest Post – Bones of the Earth
Free today and tomorrow: The Bones of the Earth
Scott Bury’s first novel, The Bones of the Earth, is available free on Monday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 9 from Amazon at (http://www.amazon.com/Bones-Earth-Dark-Age-ebook/dp/B006PI0NRG/).
The Bones of the Earth breaks many rules of the fantasy genre. Set in the Eastern Roman Empire during the Dark Ages, it tells the story of Javor, a social outcast from a remote Slavic village who encounters mythical horrors and has to find the answer to the riddle: what are the bones of the earth, and why has the earth itself turned on humanity?
The story blends mythology from the many cultures : Greek, Roman, Slavic, Teutonic, Sarmatian, Celtic and more.
The following is from the beginning of Part 3 of The Bones of the Earth; Javor has reached the Roman port of Constantius, on the Euxine Sea, which we now call the Black Sea.
A half moon had just risen. Low grey clouds, just shadows against the purpling evening sky, flew ahead of a chill wind from across the Euxine sea.
Javor shivered and drew his ragged cloak closer around his throat. He tried not to make noise as he hurried. He thought he could see his destination in the failing light: a rickety shed at the end of an even more rickety dock, teetering on long poles over the water, separate from all the other buildings in the harbour. In the shadows it looked like a great water-bug perching near the shore, waiting for … something.
He knocked on the door, which was only a cracked and weathered plank. It rattled under his knuckles and opened into blackness. He heard a faint repetitive creaking and a laboured breathing over the gentle sounds of the water below his feet. A musty odour came out. Javor scowled and stepped in hesitantly.
Inside, he could see only dim shapes in the faint light from the open door. There was no fire, yet the air was warm and stuffy. The repetitive creaking came from the far corner. Javor gradually made out a figure squatting on the floor, arms wrapped around his knees, rocking back and forth.
“Hello?” said Javor. “Are—are you … umm, Paleologus?”
The figure stopped rocking and raised his head. Javor could now see that he was wearing a hood. A blanket was wrapped around his legs. “Who are you?” demanded a raspy, aged voice.
“My name is … Janus,” Javor answered. He didn’t know what prompted him to use the name that Photius had given him at the Roman fort, but it seemed somehow safer in this dilapidated city filled with strange looking and heavily armed people.
“Janus,” repeated the croaking, old voice, and the figure resumed rocking. “Janus,” it rasped again. “So, Photius sent you?”
Javor was shocked to hear the old magus’ name.
“How did you know?”
“From the ring on your finger. What do you want?”
“Photius said you might have answers.”
A strange croaking and wheezing came from the figure. Javor realized it was laughter. “Answers. No. Only questions. There are no answers. There never were, never will be,” the figure rasped. He stopped rocking and lifted his head. Candles flared to sudden life, the light chasing shadows into the corners of the shed. Javor started. I should be used to that old trick by now. Photius used it often enough.
“He is dead, then?” Javor nodded, then gasped as the candlelight illuminated the figure’s face: it was a woman, an old, old woman. Her white hair hung long and limp. Her thin face was all long vertical lines: long, deep shadows dipping below high cheekbones, lines leading from each side of her long nose down to the corners of her mouth, vertical lines like a row of spikes along her upper lip, lines leading down from the corners of her mouth to her chin. There were more deep lines on her neck leading under whatever clothing she was wearing. Yet more lines criss-crossed her forehead. Her eyebrows were mere darker shadows. Her heavy eyelids drooped to almost vertical at the sides.
But her eyes were lit by a piercing intelligence that flared in the shadows. They searched Javor’s eyes for something, some truth, that Javor could not say. Finally, her eyes dropped away and she looked sadly at the dirty floor.
“You knew him well?” Javor asked as the silence thickened like smoke.
The woman nodded. “We were lovers once. Many years ago.” She started rocking again. “What did he tell you about me?”
“He told me to look for Paleologus, or rather, ‘old wisdom,’ in Constantia. He said you would be in a place like this, in a wooden shed over the water. No one here knew that name, but finding this … house wasn’t all that hard. It stands further out over the sea than any other place.” He shivered as the wind found a way in through cracks in the walls.
“Paleologus,” the old woman laughed sadly. “Yes, that would be his idea of a joke. ‘Old wisdom’ indeed.”
“Then what is your name?”
Still looking at the floor, she answered “Once, I had the nerve to call myself ‘Sophia.’ The true wisdom. Oh, what a foolish girl I was. But I was strong then, and beautiful, and Photius loved me …Oh, he made many bad choices. He chose the wrong side.”
She sighed and looked at him. “The gods are at war, as never before. Sky once loved Earth and together they brought forth life and many beautiful and horrible things, but they were all alive. Now, Sky has turned away from Earth, and seeks to suppress her … and all the great civilizations have turned away from her, too—Rome, Persia, all now worship Sky and call Earth evil. They despoil her soils, pollute her waters…”
This made no sense to Javor. He lost his patience. He put his knife and amulet into Sophia’s hands. “What do these mean?”
Sophia’s eyes grew wide. She held the dagger and medallion under the candlelight, which flared brighter. “Where did you get these?”
“They were my great-grandfather’s,” Javor answered, shielding his eyes from the candles which burned even brighter now as Sophia turned the knife and amulet over and over, examining them closely. “He was a soldier in the Emperor’s army. He brought them back from the Caucasus, where he defeated a giant.” Sophia shook her head and whispered in a language that Javor did not understand. “What do they mean?”
Bang! A gust blew the flimsy door open and the shack filled with moaning wind. The candles flickered and died, no longer stoked by Sophia’s will.
“They are coming,” she whispered.
“What? Who’s coming?” Javor pushed the door closed.
Sophia pressed the knife and amulet into Javor’s hands. “Take these, Janus or whatever your name is. Keep them with you, but watch over them. They alone can protect you. You must run, you must go to Constantinople, but show these to no one else.”
“I know, I know, they protect me. But how? And from what? What is chasing me, and why?”
“Find our old Order at the Abbey of St. Mary of Chalkoprateia. From there, you must seek the four hundred. Only the four hundred can end this war.” The wind got stronger and Javor could hear strange noises in it.
“What are the four hundred?”
“There is no time,” Sophia said. “They are coming!” Sophia wasn’t looking at him, but seemed to be looking through the wall. “To Constantinople! You must go now!”
The Bones of the Earth is available in e-book form exclusively from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Bones-Earth-Dark-Age-ebook/dp/B006PI0NRG/) and in print from Amazon and other bookstores.
The e-book version FREE until the end of Tuesday, October 9, from Amazon.
The Cerberus Rebellion – Last Free Run
Starting today, The Cerberus Rebellion will be starting it’s last KDP Select Free Run. It will be free until 10/10 (Wednesday) so if you’ve been looking to pick it up, now is your last chance. Download it here or click the cover below!
For those of you who don’t have a Kindle, I’ll be putting Cerberus up to the other major eBook vendors!
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.
A Novel of approximately 90,000 words.
No One Searches by Tags
Sneak Peek: Battle at Broken Plains – Prologue
Below is the Prologue for Battle at Broken Plains, a novella that tells the story of Raedan Clyve’s rise to power as the Baron of Broken Plains. It’s currently going into Alpha Editing phase so I’ll be printing it out and taking the red pen to it. Hopefully, this should be out by the end of the year.
Auberon Strait rung his hands and paced beside the bed of Lord Rendall Garand. He had cast every spell that he had learned in his short time studying as a life-giver, but the Baron of Broken Plains was sick beyond his skills. Auberon doubted that any but the most skilled life-giver would have failed to bring the Baron back from the brink of death, but he still wondered if he could have done more.
The room was one of the largest in Garand Castle. The ceiling was twenty feet above the floor, tapestries adorned every wall and large windows let in sunlight during most of the day. Lanterns burned bright in their sconces along the wall and a fire blazed in the hearth.
Auberon ran a hand through long red hair and rubbed the back of his right ear. He had inherited many of his father’s features, the red hair, the sapphire eyes and the elongated ears. Auberon had also followed his father’s choice of occupation and had served as the advisor to House Garand for nearly two hundred years. He was sad to see the once proud dynasty coming to a close.
Lord Rendall Garand had married the sister of a Frantan Clan-Lord, but she had been barren. As the only son of an only son, Rendall was the last living Garand and would leave his lands to another family when he passed. Auberon had been ready for the death of his lord: he had been studying the family trees of the local nobility for more than a year.
Lord Hadrian Clyve would be the heir to the Broken Plains Barony under the laws of Ansgar; he and Rendall shared a great-grandmother. Auberon had wondered, briefly, whether Lord Clyve would be allowed to take control of another barony. Aside from the North Griffin Cliffs, Hadrian stood to inherit the South Griffin Cliffs when his father-by-law passed. There were some in the Ansgari nobility that believed Hadrian was not qualified to hold two baronies, much less three.
Auberon believed that the Clyves were the best option for the continued existence of the Broken Plains Barony. The Broken Plains and North Griffin Cliffs Baronies shared a border with each other and with the territory of Clan-Lord Jared Terrell, the brother of the late-Lady Garand.
Clan-Lord Jared Terrell had already claimed his right as the rightful heir to the Barony, despite his lack of claim in any Ansgari court. In Franta, the eldest brother of any woman was automatically considered the heir to the territories which her husband claimed if no viable heirs were born of the marriage. He had visited the Barony three times in the last year and had made his position very clear. Auberon believed that was one of the reasons that Rendall’s condition had deteriorated more quickly in the last year than it had in the five years prior.
Rendall coughed violently and Auberbon frowned.
“Steward!” Auberon shouted. A small man scurried through the thick wooden door. He was a small man, he had gone bald years before and his green eyes were downcast. He shuffled across the stone floor with short, stuttered steps that betrayed the limp he worked so hard to disguise.
“Prepare a horse,” Auberon ordered, “and supplies to get me to the Overlook.”
“At once, milord.” The steward bowed and hurried out of the room.
Auberon knew that leaving the barony so soon after the passing of its noble would be risky, there would be no one of authority to command the guards or try to negotiate with Jared Terrell, but it was his responsibility to tell Lord Clyve of Rendall’s passing and inform the Baron of North Griffin Cliffs that he was the rightful heir to the territory.
Rendall began coughing so violently that he hunched over in his bed, then was suddenly silent.
“My Lord?” Auberon moved to the bedside. He pressed his palm to his noble’s chest. Rendall Garand did not breath.
I plan on putting Battle at Broken Plains up for Free, so keep an eye out for links!
So I’ve hit a bit of writer’s block on The Hydra Offensive.
This is partially due to the fact that my teenage sister and ailing father are currently living with us. I’ve become responsible for getting dad to and from his appointments so my sleep schedule has been massacred and a lot of my spare time has been eaten up.
I think it’s also partially due to the fact that I’m in the middle of Hydra. I seem to get heavily bogged down whenever I get past the first third of a novel. I thought that because I had several POVs to work with, I’d be able to skip over any slow downs and work around them. But for some reason I’m just not feeling it right now.
So I’m shifting gears. My novella, Battle at Broken Plains, has been sitting on my “Waiting to be Edited” shelf for about 3 months. It ended up at approximately 18K words but it was missing something. So while my mind works through my writer’s block, I’m going to do some work fleshing out Battle by adding a new POV. I’ve already got a cover ready for typography so I just need to flesh out the writing and put it through its editing paces.
I’ve also got a cover ready for another novella, The Griffin’s Heart, so I’ll be working on that as well if the writer’s block doesn’t clear up.
Once Battle is finished, I think I’m going to put it up for Free to try and draw in some readers.
On a side note, I recently put up The Chesian Wars on Amazon and it’s slowly filtering out from Smashwords onto the other sites. The Chesian Wars includes my three previously published short stories (The Sithean Betrayal, The Red Dragon’s Gold, and The Gathering Storm) and an exclusive short story, The Dragon’s Prelude. You can find the links on my Products Page