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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Enchanter Final Kindle Edition Live!

Find it right here:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

The edits remove at least 70%of the typos!

Also find special bonus section in the book, "A History Of Gramary By Master Ulin of Setria" . . . 

. . . and a new, never-before-seen short story, "Checkered Past".  

Also now available on Kindle Unlimited.  As is Hawkmaiden, for the first time:

Sales of the Beta were strong - thank you!  I'm going to be taking most of July off from Sevendor, but I'll be cranking around the first week in August on Hawklady.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Enchanter (Beta) Spoiler discussion thread

If you've grabbed a copy of Enchanter and want to vent, here's where you can do it.  If you haven't read it yet, don't read the comments here, because they will be laden with spoilers.

Sales have been stellar of the Beta version.  Enchanter debuted at 1054 on the total Kindle sales list, and jumped up to 662 before I had my coffee.  That's nice, because I'm feeling poorly after my transmission fiasco.  Good news on that is it might be a $20 fix, not a $2000 fix.  Gotta figure out which divinity specializes in transmissions so I can thank them properly,

  Some more artwork in process: a selection of traditional cummocks, the standard tool of arcane medical practice.

Go ahead, discuss.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Enchanter Beta is up!*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Feast, my friends.  Hope it doesn't suck.

Considering a Beta release . . .

Okay, I'm down to the annoying Finishing Touches stage of the process, but I've still got outstanding art, maps, and corrections coming in.  The book itself is more or less done, and I'm pretty confident that the changes coming will be minor, Maybe this is the wrong crowd to seriously consider me postponing release until it's "perfect", but as it stands I have a book essentially ready to publish.

I know y'all are used to me doing a beta release, and most of you have come to see my grammatical and editorial errors in an affectionate light - I'd like to think it was part of the unique charm of witnessing the growth of a fantasy world, but that could be a complete rationalization.  I've improved my craft and used two outstanding folks to improve the final quality of the prose.  It's my ultimate goal to get to the point where I release a ready-to-read book up to professional publishing standards.

Thing is, I'm a self-publisher, and while my professional aspirations are high, this format is an emerging art.  I'm willing to take advantage of the ephemeral nature of electrons to release a Beta product and correct and augment it for a hard release come July 1.  During that beta release, Enchanter would be available for sale only, at a slightly reduced price ($4.99 as opposed to $5.99) and would not be eligble for KDP Select borrowing until July 1.

That's just under two weeks of having to suffer an imperfect product.  I don't think that's unreasonable, and anyone who wants to wait for the finished result can do so.  There's also risk in that.  The book might suck, and early reviews could tank it.

So what do you think?  And just to give you something else to stare at, here's the basic plan of Minalan's new gatehouse.  It's unfinished, yet, as the final exterior hasn't been designed, but this is what the structure is planned to look like, peeking over the shoulder of Sevendor Castle.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I'm teasing you to death . . . here's the cover blurb for Enchanter.

I'd say "Spoiler Alert", but I don't think that's fair to do with cover blurbs.  They function to give you some hint about the plot, which has been the subject of a tremendous amount of speculation lately.  I'm almost reluctant to show y'all this, simply because it will end the discussion about what it might be about, but the fact is that I'm at that point in the process where it's time to release the draft of the cover blurb.

Before we get to that, however, a note about the genre known as Epic Fantasy.

As most of you are familiar with the great examples of the genre, as am I, you might be growing impatient for the great battle between Sheruel and the Spellmonger.  That is by design.  The purpose of Epic Fantasy isn't to portray an action movie, it's to establish the epic (and episodic) nature of story development.  The plots for good Epic Fantasy should not resolve themselves quickly or easily (or Tolkien would have had Frodo and Sam ride the Eagles to Oroduin over the heads of a million orcs in the Fellowship, and ended the story there) and they should be as complex and as sophisticated as real life, in my opinion.  One of my goals in writing this series is to explore the long-term, gradual transformation of the young punk Minalan into the sage, wise, and powerful Spellmonger.

This will not be a quick process.

Part of that is because I like long stories that explore all the nooks and crannies of the world.  Part of this is because I think it's fascinating to watch a character grow and evolve, subject to the same sorts of issues and problems that most people have.  And part of it is because the Kindle format encourages such episodic, long plotted narratives to keep you guys happy and me paying my mortgage.

The downside of this is that you will have to wait a good long while - at least another 10 books, if not more - before the last epic battle.  The upside is that by the time we get there, your entire perspective on that battle and the combatants will have changed, if you can hang on that long.  And the process of getting there will be, I think you'll find, a fascinating study on the development of Minalan as a character.

Enchanter goes places that few, if any, epic fantasy novels have gone before.  We get inside Min's head in a way that we never do with Aragorn or Gandalf or even Harry.

That's not to say that it's overly bloody and exciting, and some of my more action-oriented readers will likely find themselves bored.  I understand up front that I'm going to be criticized and even lose a few readers over this.

But I found the exploration worthwhile, and that's the direction I plan on going.  If you're looking for an endless body count, you have at least two more books to wait on before we get there.  Indeed, much of the major plot points in Enchanter happen to other people off-stage, adding to Min's level of frustration.  It may well add to your own.  There is a WHOLE lot of world-building in this book; in a way, it's a direct sequel to Magelord.  There is war and battle, but that's not the focus.

Beyond the plotting and the psychology, this book was difficult in another way: I had to contrive an entire magical terminology for the process, technical discussion and culture of Enchantment.  That might sound like a fairly easy thing, but I don't do things like that lightly.  The result of my research efforts will be included with the book, a glossary entitled "Minalan's Thaumaturgic Orismology of Enchantment", more than 12 pages long.  There are a LOT of arcane and re-purposed words in this collection, which might lead to some confusion without the glossary.  I look forward to seeing how it is received.

In any case, you've been patient long enough.  Here's the Blurb.   I'll be posting a few more items of interest as we get closer to publication, trying not to get too spoiler-y with it, but y'all deserve to know what's going to be in Book 7 of the Spellmonger Series:

Minalan The Moody
 Meanwhile, back at the castle . . . Minalan the Spellmonger faces the boredom of house arrest after being confined to his lands by Prince Tavard for his defiance with the Wilderlands refugees.  The Alka Alon have returned to their seclusion, dealing with their own crisis, the Dead God is being quiet within the Umbra, and Min’s plans toward re-establishing a functional Duchy of Alshar are progressing. 
Min sees his punishment as a unique opportunity to indulge in thaumaturgical research.  When the Sevendor Magic Fair brings a tide of enchanters eager for snowstone, irionite, and opportunity to his door (as well as the newly-formed Arcane Knights of Nablus, the successors of the Censorate in Merwyn), Minalan uses his wealth and position to invite them to stay on in Sevendor over the winter and focus on the developing art of Enchantment. 
He forms the first Bouleuterion, a conclave of enchanters dedicated to producing and researching the creation of magical items, since the fall of the Magocracy.  Such notable enchanters as Lanse of Bune, Taren, and Masters Andalnam and Cormoran arrive to help Minalan and his staff of experts push the frontiers of magical science as far as he can.  Even Lorcus, Tyndal and Rondal help out.  His secret mission is, of course, to fathom the complexities of the secret Snowflake of Sevendor, the enigmatic pseudo-molopor created from Minalan’s fevered subconscious . . . but not before they improve the lot of the peasantry by creating a wealth of labor-saving (and potentially socially revolutionary) devices.
But enchanters and former Censors are not the only ones to arrive at the fair: Baron and Baroness Greenflower,  Magelords Dunselen and Isily, come to Sevendor as well . . . and the results are explosive.  Before they depart Minalan’s entire life is thrown into doubt.  Especially when a new divinity appears to make him an offer the Spellmonger just can’t refuse. 
As Minalan works through his psychological issues by obsessively focusing on his craft, he must also nimbly maneuver his way around an inevitable war between Sendaria and Sashtalia, protect his vulnerable domains, deftly negotiate his course through the tangle of feudal law and obligation in the Bontal Vales, and contend with his troubled marriage. 
His frustration, guilt, and doubt are soon revealed to be authored by a secret plot against him.  The return of an old enemy and the revelation of new foes challenges his position as head of the Arcane Orders and puts his entire family in jeopardy.  Could it be that Is Minalan’s new eleven-year-old apprentice, Ruderal, the only one capable of seeing through the deceptions in time to save them all even as he struggles with his own guilt about his role in releasing Korbal the undead Demon God from his tomb?  Or will their fates lie on the whims of a former lover who has ambitions of her own for Minalan? 
It’s hard for the Spellmonger to be forced to stay at home and quietly tend to his own business.  But then Minalan never let such things impede his plans before . . . why would he now?  With the Snowflake of Sevendor, a mighty cadre of powerful magi, some inspired vassals and the assistance of a few friendly gods, Minalan realizes that the only real way out of his personal and political mess may lie with an ancient intelligence of a long-extinct race . . . and his ability to become a master Enchanter!

BONUS: One of the maps from the book!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My first fan art! And a quick book update...

This lovely picture was created and sent to me by a reader from Italy, Giorgia, and I just had to share it.  It's a beautiful rendition of Lenodara.

Also wanted to do a quick update on the book: I'm half-way through the re-write, but I'm not quite going to be done by the 12th.  I'm just getting the first chapters to the proofreader, back from the editor, If everything goes well, Enchanter should be out sometime next week.  

Fingers crossed . . . 

EDIT: Wanted to point out that the hold up here is ME, not my editor or proofreader.  They are both magnificent about getting my stuff back in a timely manner - compared to other authors, I've got a NASCAR pit crew working on these books.  It's the nut behind the wheel who keeps making revisions and additions and holing things up.  Just wanted to be clear about that Emily and Tim are outstanding.  It's me who sucks.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Just finished the rough draft of Enchanter

40 chapters, plus I'll be doing an Epilogue when I finish the rewrite.  Over 200,000 words.  First 15 chapters have gone to the editor, and I've done the rewrite of the first 2.

It's a big book.  Stuff happens.  But some people might be bored.  Just sayin'.

Everyone else, though . . .


“The fundamental goal of enchantment is to root the effects of a magical spell to reside within a physical object to improve its utility.  It is among the greatest achievements of thaumaturgical skill to accomplish even the most elementary of enchantments.  Once constructed and understood, the art of the enchanter can only improve with practice and repetition.”

The Florilegum of Basic Thaumaturgy