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That Time of Year…

…when you don’t really get anything productive done.

This year, I’ll be working part-time at Best Buy (Black Friday was absolutely crazy) and working full-time at UPS for the Christmas Season.

Unfortunately, my writing is going to suffer and I’ll probably be posting very little.

However, I did manage to finish Battle for Broken Plains and I’m getting ready to send it to a couple of Beta Readers. It clocked in at just over 27,000 words, about twice as long as I originally expected.

My plan is to put Battle up for free across all of the major distributors and advertise it as much as possible to garner readers.


I’m going to try to get more work done on The Hydra Offensive, which is currently sitting at a sliver under 44,000, with the goal of having it completed and published before June. While 2 books a year isn’t the pace I’d like to keep, the rigors of life are such that it’s going to have to suffice.

Creating a Culture

When I decided to add Orcs to the world of Zaria, I decided immediately that they would be different from the stereotypical “hulk smash!” Orcs that are so common throughout most of the Fantasy genre.

I had already developed the concept of a group of city-states that had once been a republic. I knew that these city-states, or at least some of them, would be places of high culture that were also home to mercenary legions.

So when it came time to develop my Orcs, I decided that they would be the core to these city-states. But that wasn’t enough.

I decided to add a couple of wrinkles to the Orcs and so I created the colonies of Thayer and Galten across the Vast Sea, nestled in the mountains near the nation of Ansgar. But now I had another problem: these colonies would have been separated from their homeland for so long that they would have culture all their own.

Right now, I’m working on Battle for Broken Plains, the story of how Raedan Clyve came to be the Baron of Broken Plains, and as I write, I find myself creating the culture for different parts of my world that haven’t been explored as fully elsewhere.

The challenge is to create a culture that clearly descended from the established culture of the City States, but at the same time has its own aspects. The Orcish colonies have lived near the brutish Nordahrians for so long, they have picked up on some of their traditions.

It’s one of the things that I like so much about Fantasy: the worldbuilding of a culture that mixes mercenary instincts with fierce clan loyalty and a culture of marauding.

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!