New Blurb and Edits for Cerberus

In an attempt to cut down on the blurb for The Cerberus Rebellion, I’ve rewritten it, trimming alot of the fat.


The Cerebrus Rebellion

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.

The King of Ansgar, secure in his belief that his loyal nobles and fearful subjects answer to his every whim, seeks to gain favor with friends across the sea. But his decision to send armies thousands of miles away will test that fear, and loyalty.

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

I’ve also edited the first chapter to start with a little more action and a bit less description, to speed things up just a pinch.

First, the original:

The day was cool and dry but a stiff wind heralded a storm. Cold, the kind that would ride over the northern mountains from the tundra beyond and blanket the city of Aetheston in snow.

The wind howled outside the thick window.

His Grace Eadric Garrard, King of Ansgar and Duke of Elsdon, was deep in thought as he read a large, leather bound book.

The study was small, meant only for the king and a single guest. A long desk cut the room in two. The king’s massive leather chair sat on one side, a smaller leather chair on the other. Book-lined shelves were built into two of the thick black stone walls from floor to low ceiling and a pair of lanterns flanked the oak door on the third wall. Behind the king, a stained-glass window stood in for the fourth wall. The room was near the top of Old Keep and faced north. Sunlight filled the room from sunrise to sunset.

The door groaned open, Eadric looked up, and his green eyes narrowed. It was his steward, the only person allowed to enter without permission. The man’s leather shoes scuffed at the stone floor as he shuffled across the room toward the King’s table. The man was short, stout, and bald. He carried a silver carafe, a cup, a dome covered plate, and a folded newspaper on a tray. He set the tray on the desk and lifted the dome. Steam rose from the plate beneath; the bacon still crackled, there was some sizzle left to the small strips of steak, and scrambled eggs covered the rest of the plate. Eadric looked the tray over.

Eadric brushed a strand of chestnut hair out of his face. He saw the chunk of steak that had been cut at one end of the thick strip, and a piece of bacon half as long as the others. “It has been tasted?” he asked.

“Yes, My King,” the steward confirmed.

“You may go,” Eadric said curtly. The steward nodded and turned.

Eadric waited for the door to close behind the man, then sighed. He pulled open the small drawer at the top of his desk, reached inside, and retrieved a small round tin.

He twisted the lid off the tin with practiced ease and sniffed at the black and red powder within. Satisfied that it had not been tampered with, Eadric took a heavy pinch and sprinkled the powder across the plate, careful to get every part of the meal but waste none. Another heavy pinch went into the carafe of coffee.

Eadric spent a small fortune every year to keep himself supplied with Dragonsalt. The powder was ground from the seeds of the Dragonleaf plant, which only grew in high mountain caves and passes. Each flower only produced enough seed for a pinch of salt and each plant only flowered twice a year. By itself, the powder had a bitter taste to it, but when it was mixed with anything else it had no taste at all. It had taken years of practice and experience to find the right amount; too much and his stomach burned for days, too little and it would have no effect on the poisons that it was meant to counter.

He didn’t know if he’d ever been saved by the salt, but he wasn’t about to go without it. Every meal that the King ate was prepared and escorted to him under the watchful eyes of his guards, but even with all of those precautions, Eadric knew that poisons could make their way into his meals.

Eadric poured himself a cup of coffee. The cup was made from the talon of a particularly large griffin, another method of warding off poisons. He sipped the coffee then lifted a piece of bacon and took a furtive bite; it was still floppy, the way that he liked it. The Dragonsalt had dissolved enough that all he tasted was the grease, black pepper seasoning, and pork. He nodded in satisfaction to no one in particular and unfolded the newspaper.

A fist banged on the door.

“Enter,” Eadric called, his voice thick with irritation.

The door swung open again and his captain of guards stepped through it.

Eadric could see the handle and pommel of Kendall Shield’s greatsword Guardian over his shoulder. The guard was the perfect fit for the gargantuan weapon: he stood more than seven feet tall with massive shoulders. The blade was hereditary, as was the title of Lord of Shields and Protector of the King.

The Shield clan had once been called something else, but whatever that name had been, it had been lost to history twelve hundred years earlier when they had sworn themselves and their descendants to the protection of the King of Ansgar. From the twelve men that had sworn their service, a clan had emerged that now included more than twelve hundred men-at-arms. And chief among them was Kendall Shield. He was called Lord, but he held no lands. Only the right to be the personal guard to the king.

A much smaller man stepped through the door behind Kendall. He was olive skinned and of average height, his brown hair damp with sweat from climbing the winding tower steps. He wore a blue sack suit with the symbol of the nation of Welos sewn over his heart. He kept his green eyes focused at Eadric’s feet. A mere messenger.

Eadric stood to greet his visitor.

“Your Grace.” Kendall went to one knee and bowed his head; the man behind him followed.

“Rise,” Eadric instructed.

“Your Grace, I bring a request from Lord Wyne,” the messenger announced.

“Considering your attire, I wouldn’t have expected it to be from anyone else,” Eadric said and snorted.

The messenger frowned. “Your Grace?”

“Never mind.” The King shook his head. Messengers, after all, were not the smartest. “Well, out with it.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” The messenger’s eyes returned to the floor. “Lord Wyne and Lord Biton Savakis wish to have a private audience with you.”

Eadric’s eyes narrowed. While it was not uncommon for the ambassadors from other lands to request audiences with him, they usually did so while he held court, or through one of his council members.

“It’s still early,” Eadric pointed out with a glance at his pocket watch. “I will see them after I break my fast. I will send someone to get them.”

“Your Grace, his Lordship—”

“His Lordship,” Eadric interrupted, “is an ambassador. A visitor in my land. I will see them when it is convenient to me. You are dismissed.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” The messenger bowed and backed out of the study; Kendall stayed.

“Have my steward prepare my parlor for visitors,” Eadric said.

Kendall nodded and withdrew.

Eadric drained his cup with a single drink, picked up the newspaper, folded it, and turned for the door. Kendall waited outside with his arms folded. A guard stood on either side of the door. They stiffened when the King stepped through the doorway.

And now, the post-edits version:

A fist banged on the door.

“Enter,” Eadric Garrard, the King of Ansgar and Duke of Elsdon, called, his voice thick with irritation.

The door swung open again and his captain of guards stepped through it.

Eadric could see the handle and pommel of Kendall Shield’s greatsword Guardian over his shoulder. The guard was the perfect fit for the gargantuan weapon: he stood more than seven feet tall with massive shoulders. The blade was hereditary, as was the title of Lord of Shields and Protector of the King.

The Shield clan had once been called something else, but whatever that name had been, it had been lost to history twelve hundred years earlier when they had sworn themselves and their descendants to the protection of the King of Ansgar. From the twelve men that had sworn their service, a clan had emerged that now included more than twelve hundred men-at-arms. And chief among them was Kendall Shield. He was called Lord, but he held no lands. Only the right to be the personal guard to the king.

A much smaller man stepped through the door behind Kendall. He was olive skinned and of average height, his brown hair damp with sweat from climbing the winding tower steps. He wore a blue sack suit with the symbol of the nation of Welos sewn over his heart. He kept his green eyes focused at Eadric’s feet. A mere messenger.

Eadric stood to greet his visitor.

“Your Grace.” Kendall went to one knee and bowed his head; the man behind him followed.

“Rise,” Eadric instructed.

“Your Grace, I bring a request from Lord Wyne,” the messenger announced.

“Considering your attire, I wouldn’t have expected it to be from anyone else,” Eadric said and snorted.

The messenger frowned. “Your Grace?”

“Never mind.” The King shook his head. Messengers, after all, were not the smartest. “Well, out with it.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” The messenger’s eyes returned to the floor. “Lord Wyne and Lord Biton Savakis wish to have a private audience with you.”

Eadric’s eyes narrowed. While it was not uncommon for the ambassadors from other lands to request audiences with him, they usually did so while he held court, or through one of his council members.

“It’s still early,” Eadric pointed out with a glance at his pocket watch. “I will see them after I break my fast. I will send someone to get them.”

“Your Grace, his Lordship—”

“His Lordship,” Eadric interrupted, “is an ambassador. A visitor in my land. I will see them when it is convenient to me. You are dismissed.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” The messenger bowed and backed out of the study; Kendall stayed.

“Have my steward prepare my parlor for visitors,” Eadric said.

Kendall nodded and withdrew.

The door groaned open once more. Eadric looked up, and his green eyes narrowed. It was his steward, the only person allowed to enter without permission. The man’s leather shoes scuffed at the stone floor as he shuffled across the room toward the King’s table. The servant was short, stout, and bald. He carried a silver carafe, a cup, a dome covered plate, and a folded newspaper on a tray. He set the tray on the desk and lifted the dome. Steam rose from the plate beneath; the bacon still crackled, there was some sizzle left to the small strips of steak, and scrambled eggs covered the rest of the plate. Eadric looked the tray over.

Eadric brushed a strand of chestnut hair out of his face. He saw the chunk of steak that had been cut at one end of the thick strip, and a piece of bacon half as long as the others. “It has been tasted?” he asked.

“Yes, My King,” the steward confirmed.

“You may go,” Eadric said curtly. The steward nodded and turned.

Eadric waited for the door to close behind the man, then sighed. He pulled open the small drawer at the top of his desk, reached inside, and retrieved a small round tin.

He twisted the lid off the tin with practiced ease and sniffed at the black and red powder within. Satisfied that it had not been tampered with, Eadric took a heavy pinch and sprinkled the powder across the plate, careful to get every part of the meal but waste none. Another heavy pinch went into the carafe of coffee. The powder was ground from the seeds of the Dragonleaf plant, which only grew in high mountain caves and passes. Each flower only produced enough seed for a pinch of salt and each plant only flowered twice a year.

By itself, the powder had a bitter taste to it, but when it was mixed with anything else it had no taste at all. It had taken years of practice and experience to find the right amount; too much and his stomach burned for days, too little and it would have no effect on the poisons that it was meant to counter.

He didn’t know if he’d ever been saved by the salt, but he wasn’t about to go without it. Every meal that the King ate was prepared and escorted to him under the watchful eyes of his guards, but even with all of those precautions, Eadric knew that poisons could make their way into his meals.

Eadric poured himself a cup of coffee. The cup was made from the talon of a particularly large griffin, another method of warding off poisons. He sipped the coffee then lifted a piece of bacon and took a furtive bite. The Dragonsalt had dissolved enough so that all he tasted was the grease, black pepper seasoning, and pork. It was still floppy, the way that he liked it, but he had lost his appetite.

Eadric drained his cup with a single drink, picked up the newspaper, folded it, and turned for the door. Kendall waited outside with his arms folded. A guard stood on either side of the door. They stiffened when the King stepped through the doorway.

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, hit me up on twitter @authorjkjohnson or visit my facebook page and leave a comment.

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About Joshua K Johnson

Josh is the author of The Cerberus Rebellion and The Hydra Offensive, Gunpowder Fantasy novels set in the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. He is currently working on a new novel set in the same world as well as The Centaur Incursion, Book 3 in the existing series. He's married with a 5 yr old son and a 1 year old daughter, keeping him busy. He currently works and is a full-time student.

Posted on October 3, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Good rewrites, dude. I like the new blurb and the new chapter way better than the old ones. Tiny typo at the top of the blurb though, you spelt it ‘Cerebrus’ rather than ‘Cerberus’ rebellion 🙂

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