Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Year Later

     It’s been a little over a year since Magician Prince, the finale to The Magician Rebellion Trilogy was released. Since then I have taken a step back from writing. That is not to say that I have stopped writing, far from it. I just have not made it the sole focus of my life that it was while I worked on The Magician Rebellion. After spending two years writing non-stop in my free time to produce three novels, I was pretty well burnt out. Instead I have chosen to spend more of my time with my family, friends, and if you know me, then you know I am an avid gamer, so a lot of that too, in an effort to recharge my batteries.
     Like I said, that does not mean that I have not been writing and since this little sporadic blog is all about my forays into writing, then you can guess what I want to discuss: What I’ve been working on for the last year.
     I’ve been working on three projects at once and that, too, is part of the reason why I have not been able to release anything since last May. Logically, I know that it is best to work on one thing at a time, but I am also trying to allow myself to write naturally and that means moving back and forth between projects right now. So without further ado, here is a glimpse into what I’ve been up to.

Rising Sun (working title)

     Rising Sun takes place in a world that is one part fantasy and one part steam punk. It is about a teenager in the middle of the awkward years between being a boy and a man who finds himself with nothing when his father is executed for crimes against the king and how he pulls himself up and moves forward with his life. Beyond that I don’t want to get too deep into the plot, but I will say that there will be all sorts of fantastic things including airships, strange creatures, ghosts, smugglers, sexy cat-women, and of course a massive conspiracy in the making.
     One of the lessons that I learned from The Magician Rebellion is not to do the end of the book cliffhangers. This can be disappointing to readers who want a complete story and puts additional pressure on me to finish those stories in a timely manner. So Rising Sun will be a completely self-contained story. However, it is a universe that I really enjoy and could not help plotting out a seven book arc, giving it a lot of room to grow if it turns out that people other than me like it too.
Most of my time has been spent on this book and the first draft is about 65% complete.

Vampire Country (working series title)

     Remember how I said that I’m a gamer. Well I bet you can guess that I like games with a lot of deep story and character development. So it is little wonder that I became a fan Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us series and I have really enjoyed the episodic nature of their stories and thought it would be fun to do an episodic series along those lines that when complete will be the length of a full novel.
     I’ve also been into the post-apocalyptic genre recently, but zombies have been done to death (pardon the bad pun). Vampires have also been popular in recent years, but I am not into the myriad of handsome, sexy, twinkly vampires that make the whole idea of becoming a vampire seem so appealing. Vampirism is supposed to be a curse and vampires are supposed to be monsters and should be treated as such.
     In Vampire Country, people suddenly start transforming into the vicious monsters without any warning and this series focuses on a group of Chicagoans as they deal with this unexpected and serious threat.
     Where this differs from most post-apocalyptic tales is that it is not truly post-apocalyptic. Most stories focus on one person or a small group all alone and while that might be how the first “episode” starts out subsequent chapters will reveal that there are whole communities of people that are finding ways to not only survive, but find some sense of normalcy amidst the devastation.
     Vampire Country will be broken up into a set of six short novella-length stories that I plan to release in two month intervals after the first one comes out. Each story will be self-contained with one possible exception being the penultimate volume.
     Vampire Country is about halfway done with the first “episode” or volume, if you prefer, but I plan to have the first two or three completed before releasing any of them, so that I can meet the bi-monthly schedule.

Magician’s Apprentice (working title)

     First, sorry this is not the start of a new trilogy in The Magician Rebellion universe although I do plan to do another series in that world at some point. Like Vampire Country, this story takes place in our world, but it is more of a fun short story. It is about a young man who becomes an apprentice to an eccentric stage magician who is known for his death-defying act. The apprentice realizes that something is not quite right with his new boss and sets out to find out what.
     Since this is a short story, I am considering submitting it to a science fiction/fantasy magazine, because it would best fit that format.
     This story is very early in its development.

      Well I hope these projects have gotten you excited and if so, let me know which one you are most interested in. It may just inspire me to work a little harder on your choice and get it done that much faster.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Last Chance To Get "Magician Prince" at $2.99

As I mentioned in a post following the release of Magician Prince, I have been planning to raise the price to $3.99. Now that Magician Prince has been out for for nearly two months and all of the fans of the series have had an opportunity to get their copy at the $2.99 price, it is almost time for the new pricing to take effect. The new price will go in effect on July, 8th 2013. That give you four more days to get your copy if you have not done so already.

It may seem like an odd idea to raise the price, but I am going to couple this with a price drop on the first book in the trilogy, Rogue Magician, to $0.99. It is my hope that by lowering the price point of the first book that more people will be willing to give it a shot.

Overall, it will be a $1 drop for anyone that buys all three books beginning on July 8th. However, I did not implement the price change with the initial release of the third book, because it would have meant that those who supported me previously with the first two books would end up paying a $1 more and that seemed like a poor way to thank those people. So if you are a current fan and have yet to pick up your copy of Magician Prince, be sure to do so soon before the price goes up.

Link below for the US:

and the UK:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

To Be Or Not To Be: Making the Leap to Professional Publishing

This week, I'd like to a minute to discuss the pro's and con's of traditional publishing from an indie author's perspective. So far I've published three books as an indie on Amazon and Smashwords with some success. I hear from other authors via Twitter and blogs about how great being an independant author is, but I can't help wondering as I move forward with my own writing career if traditional publishing might be the better way to go.

There are certain advantages to being an indie author. I am the captain of the ship. That means I get to make all the decisions and reap all of the rewards. That means I also have to make all of the decisions and incur all of the costs, which are honestly not that bad. The ability to set pricing, have the final word on editing, and make changes to already published works can not be overstated.

Royalties are much larger as an indie, usually around 70% versus a traditional author who, I've heard, makes between 3-7%. This allows indies to underprice traditional books and still make more money for the author on a per book basis.

However, the biggest advantage to being an indie has to be the speed of publishing, which can be done in a few evenings once a novel has been finished or even quicker after the first few books as you get acclimated to the process. These things allow the indie author to do in months what takes a publisher two or three years to do. For example, if I would have gone the traditional route and submitted my first book to an agent, then a publisher and was published it would only be coming out now if I was lucky. In that same time I published an entire trilogy on my own.

Those are some compelling reasons to be an indie. So what are the downsides? Well, in my case I am stuck working on an island, because I don't have any writer friends to bounce ideas off of or to look at my work in progress. That can make putting a book or series out in the wide world a scary proposition as I have know idea how people are going to react. As a traditionally published author, there is a world of people who know the writing industry and can assist the author in navigating it.

There is also the problem that indies are considered to be inferior authors by some readers and they generally do not have large audiences due to this reason and a lack of marketing. This is the area that traditional publishing provides its largest benefit by being able to get a book out in front of more eyeballs. However, I have also heard that traditional publishers don't do much marketing for unkown authors preferring to throw their money behind the more established names. So there may not be an advantage there.

In the end, the question becomes is it worth it to give up control to attain a potentially larger audience and will that larger audience be greater than ten times what would be possible as an indie from a financial perspective? For me the question is still out. I am happy as an independant author, but as I start work on a new book, I can not help wondering what if...?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magician Prince - Now Available

     Last week the final book in The Magician Rebellion Trilogy entitled Magician Prince was released wherever ebooks are sold. The conflict between magicians and the kingdom will finally come to a head and the ending is not to be missed.
     Currently the selling price is set at $2.99, but I am planning to raise it at some point in the coming weeks. So if you have the first two books, be sure to pick up the third one soon. It might seem odd to be planning to raise the price not long after the initial release, but trust me I've got a good reason for it and I'll probably get around to explaining the method to my madness in another post soon.

     In the meanwhile if you have yet to get your copy, here is the link to Amazon:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Prologue

Final revisions and editing have been completed on Magician Prince and that remains is to properly format it for the various electronic versions. I'm expecting that that will be done and the book will be published for all to see on May 18th.

In the meanwhile, here is a preview of the prologue. As you may recall, Rogue Magician's prologue was a recitation of the story of creation by Tomlin, and Fallen Magician's prologue was a letter written by Byrn to his mother. In keeping with that theme, the third prologue is a journal entry from a dwarf that crosses paths with Byrn on his journey back to Aurelia.



The first time I met the sorcerer called Byrn was when I caught him stalking about in the lower reaches of Cardamon. Humans were not a terribly unusual sight in the underground city, but my mother did not raise a fool and it was plain to see that this tall human was following me about town. To be fair, I was being overly cautious of those around me, because I was sneaking about too and that may have played a role in my success at identifying my pursuer. I thought I was being particularly clever with the spell I had draped over me like a coalman’s coat. My disguise was that of a handsome young dwarf. I suppose it would have been wiser to pose as a more mature and less striking looking fellow, but it is the province of those that are very old like myself to want to relive their younger days and I must admit that I do enjoy the lingering glance and smile of a young lady sporting a full beard on occasion.
I digress, this human had seen fit to follow me and I had to get rid of him before my rendezvous. At first I tried to lose him in the twisting corridors of the city. I assumed he was a newcomer to Cardamon and thought that losing him would be easy among the cramped streets and twisting passageways, but every time I thought him lost the human turned up a few minutes later. Finally, I had no choice except to confront him or miss my appointment and I was not about to miss the magi convocation.
After a few more sharp turns I managed to lose the human for a minute and circled back behind him. I drew my fisher’s knife. I had no intention of using it, of course. I just thought to scare this nosey human a bit and get him to leave me be, but when I jumped out behind him and shouted, “Ah ha!” he whipped around like lightning and with no more than a glance at the wall beside us a small block of stone shot out and hit my hand, knocking the weapon out of my grasp. My yelp was like that of a ratting-dog and the human laughed at me, but it was not a cold or callous sound and I found myself apologizing for coming at him with a knife. He was a likeable human and I quickly learned that this Byrn was a powerful sorcerer with a particularly unique ability. He could see magic and not just the spectacle of a fireball or the shimmer of a ward, but he could see the subtler magics and its natural flow around him and in that way he could manipulate that flow to serve his will. That was how he began following me, because he caught a glimpse of my spell and it was unlike any enchantments he knew in his homeland of Aurelia across the Great Sea. It was that ability that prevented me from losing his tail despite all of my craftiness, because he could always track my spell even if I was out of sight. As intriguing as Byrn and his peculiar talent was I still had a commitment to keep with my magi brethren and had to bid the human adieu, but we agreed to meet up the next evening at my favorite tavern, The Shaving Axe.
The next evening could not have come soon enough for me to meet with this master of magic. The cogs turned in my head as possibilities danced before me. What could I learn from a magi like Byrn? He obviously seemed interested in learning more about the differences between our culture’s magics and I must admit that the more I thought about it the more I found it difficult to contain my excitement at the idea of some scholarly discussion with a magi from another culture.
I had been waiting for no more than a few minutes when a burly dwarf sat down across from me. He landed in the chair with a harrumph and demanded a rock-ale loudly from the tavern matron. My illusion was not active and I drank with my usual aplomb as a grey-haired, old dwarf, “That seat is saved, friend.”
The burly fellow looked at me with a sidelong glance and actively ignored me. His fingers strummed on the table as he waited on his drink and he gladly took it from the matron. “Put it on his tab,” he said and gestured to me with a cock of his head. I was about to object when he took a drink of his rock-ale and immediately gagged on it. “This is awful. How can you drink this?”
“If you don’t like it, the door can hit your ass on the way out,” declared the tavern matron, but I thought that I had the game figured out and told the matron that my friend would behave himself.
“Byrn?” I asked, incredulous. He nodded. He was wearing an illusion cloak just as I had done the day before. Apparently he was able to analyze just about any magic spell that he saw and replicate it!
For the next week Byrn and I met every day. We traded stories and discussed magic with such frequency that those days were a blur of intellectual stimulation. Byrn came to Cardamon with a group of elves seeking passage back to his homeland, but with winter being in midseason there were no ships sailing from the overdocks and as powerful as the sorcerer was he was still going to be stuck in my fair dwarven city for the next three months. He had been away from his homeland for nine months already and was desperate to get back to Aurelia and to his woman. To hear him speak of her, Alia Necros was a goddess come to earth. It was clear that he was in love with the woman and that only fueled his need to get back home.
Byrn also told me of some great troubles facing his homeland. Human magi were being imprisoned without cause and magic collars were being used to control them and thwart their wills. Worse, a friend of Byrn’s called Sane, who was once a royal sorcerer, was now a slave and in need of rescue.
It was then that I decided to impart some sad news to my new friend. Aurelia was in a state of turmoil and civil unrest since he left. Every day until the ships stopped sailing due to the coming harsh winter there were stories abound of their magi attacking all over the human kingdom and the populace was living in terror as the fighting grew worse. If I thought that this news would dissuade Byrn from going back to Aurelia, then I would have been dead wrong. If anything the news only served to make him more adamant about returning as soon as possible.
We also spoke of the troubles facing magi in Ghant and more specifically in Cardamon. Unlike the human kingdoms that have notoriously treated their magic wielders harshly, the dwarven kingdoms generally took a more cooperative approach to their magi. Our magi were adept at enchantments and used our skills in the creation of magical goods that were sold all over the world. However, our noble families and elected representatives wished to pay us so poorly that we would be akin to slave labor so that they would get rich from our work while we lived in poverty. They thought that they could get away with it, because we were such a small segment of the populace and no one would care, but we went on strike and not long after they started rounding up all of the dwarven magi and imprisoning us or slapping the wealthier among us with hefty fines under the threat of draining their family fortunes.
 I don’t recall how exactly we got on the subject of myths and legends one semi=drunken night, but I told Byrn and his elf companion of the firehawk, a dwarven heroic figure from the old tales. The elf was a tall woman with no chin hair to speak of that always made me think of a newborn baby, but Sari was congenial company and never refused a drink. The rest of the elves that traveled with them had left for their forests, having delivered Byrn safely to our fair city. Anyway, we got to talking one night and I told them the story of the firehawk- a bird born of fire and magic that gave its life to save the dwarven people from our ancient orcen enemies. It was said that the firehawk would rise again one day when the dwarves were next presented with a crisis too great for them to face alone, but that day never came. Byrn told me that there was a similar bird in Aurelia called the phoenix, but that they were supposed to have all been destroyed hundreds of years ago as they were believed to be the servants of magicians.
Then Byrn had an idea that would change the fate of magi in the dwarven realms. He spent days studying bestiaries and going above ground during the daylight hours. When I asked him what he was up to he would reply that he was “bird watching” or “working on something new.” Working on something new? I’ll be honest and admit that I was excited to see what Byrn was planning. It seems so obvious looking back on it now, but at the time I could only wonder at what this magician, who seemed to have near limitless energy and could replicate any spell that he saw, was trying to accomplish.
Finally, Byrn came to me and announced that he had something to show me. I watched him with rapt attention as he bent down, bracing his back for what was to come. It happened nearly in an instant as a bright red burst of fire shot from his back. I literally fell out of my chair as I watched the flame grow, then take shape. The fire spread out to either side of him at twice the length of a human. At first I thought that something had gone wrong and his spell was out of control, but the flames began to coalesce and take a definite shape before solidifying as a fire construct. Byrn had made himself a pair of fiery wings. He flapped them experimentally and looked to me with a grin that reminded me of a child that had just learned his first spell.
“The firehawk,” I stammered, flabbergasted.
Even having seen it, I did not comprehend what Byrn was intending, but the full gravity of what he planned became apparent a day later when he broke into a work camp and freed a dozen magi that were arrested for peaceful protests. Among them was my son, Nikare. During their escape Byrn donned his fire wings and masked his appearance with my illusion cloak before declaring from atop a building in a most dramatic fashion that he was the firehawk and that the magi had his favor.
The city was in an uproar over the news and in the weeks to come Byrn played the role of the firehawk at every opportunity to promote magi rights. He never set out to hurt anyone. That was not what our protests were about, but his appearances brought attention to our plight with the commoners and more importantly it got the attention of the governing council, but I always got the feeling that Byrn was always thinking about his home in Aurelia and the woman he left behind.

-An excerpt from the journals of Tire Goldennaire, Council Magister

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Magician Prince Teaser

Here is the teaser/synopsis that will be posted on various book sites when Magician Prince is released next month. Besides being the longest of the three books, it will also be the most exciting and will keep you guessing right up to the very end. Don't miss it.


A year has passed since the events in Fallen Magician and Byrn has returned to Aurelia to find the kingdom in distress as the confrontation between the Collective and Aurelia’s massing army heats up.

Following the widespread revelation of Byrn’s status as a prince, the kingdom at large believes him to be a potential usurper of the throne, and the Collective thinks he is a traitor who has abandoned them. Now Byrn must decide where his loyalties lie and figure out whom he can trust when it appears that he has no allies left to turn to.


Don’t miss the epic conclusion to the Magician Rebellion Trilogy.


The battle lines have been drawn.

Armies will go to war.

Dragons are returning.

And one supremely powerful man must make a choice:

Magician or Prince.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Magician Prince Cover: First Look

Here is a first look at the cover to the third book in the Magician Rebellion trilogy, Magician Prince. Enjoy.