Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Two weeks ago I brought up several stories which I call my favorites, and that naturally brought me to the idea of influence. You hear the phrases bandied about often by any creative types–“I consider such-and-such my greatest influence”, as in “As a composer, I find Mozart and John Williams to be my greatest influences” for an example, or directors cite earlier movies that formed their interest in the silver screen.

Certainly, as a writer, I count many, many authors and stories among my influences. All writers generally do–after all, that initial exposure to tales that transport us to other worlds or realities far from our own personal experiences engender the desire in some readers to craft our own. Fredrik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Harry Harrison, John Haldeman, Doyle, Tolkien, Lewis, Shakespeare etc. all count high on my list of literary inspirations.

But… what about other influences, such as music? Take my first example, with music above. I frequently listen to music while writing, matching the mood/tone with whatever I am trying to write. Umbra (and all of its previous iterations) came flying from my fingertips with an ample dose of Alice in Chains, early Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden pounding in my ears. For my darker fantasy stories like “The Falconer and the Wolf“, one of my favorite bands to get me in the right atmosphere is Dead Can Dance. When sketching notes for The Light of Liberty, I turned to Barry Phillips and his version of “The World Turned Upside Down” along with other American Colonial period tunes.

Are there any more? Of course there are. Many people have incorporated their likes and hobbies into their writing. Some cozy mysteries, for example, are based around knitting. My character Ennid the Havoc and his escapades are influenced by my love of MMA (that’s Mixed Martial Arts for those not yet initiated into its primal awesomeness). My interest in genetics features heavily in Clones are People Two. Even if the things we like aren’t at the forfront, we sometimes insert it in small ways. I love goats (Casey, from Umbra), I think rhinos are awesome and I smith silver (both of which will appear in The Opal Necklace, release date TBD) and I’ve an interest in raptors and falconry.

It’s all very simple–EVERYTHING can be an influence on our creativity, and EVERYTHING should be. It’s from these somewhat disparate ideas and influences that some of our richest “juices” flow.

 

 

Clones are People Two The Opal Necklace

 

CLONES ARE PEOPLE TWO is on the virtual shelves, at least on Smashwords and Amazon.  Others will be added shortly.

Now that CLONES is out, I have another story which I’ve been planning for NaNoWriMo.  It’s the same basic premise as the novel I had done two years ago for that same organization, but a lot more thought has gone into it, and a whole other subplot which necessitates a major re-write.  I also am planning to have this thing published some time early next year so I can get started on the second Umbra novel.  Please note that this is a “working cover” for The Opal Necklace.

Ennid BotB Cover

Ennid the Havoc in “The Belly of the Beast” – available in multiple formats for your reading pleasure!

Amazon (.MOBI)

Smashwords (Everything Else)

Working on one of my stories much longer than I anticipated, but that dreaded black hole called revision has sucked some of my wordcount into its impossible-to-break grasp.

BUT…

(And anyone who reads knows that the interesting twists come after the word “but”)

I have been working on the blurb. It’s a nice little tool –sorry if the title of this post threw you off– to really hone the story down to its essence.

So I present to you the blurb for your reading pleasure, and certainly, for your tidbits of sage advice:

The world quaked in chaos. Landbound kingdoms waged war over the precious few resources found among the small continents and scattered islands. Pirate fleets swarmed the oceans, pillaging trade vessels and sinking one another as they vied to command the waters. Powers angelic and demonic performed their dances martial just beyond the veil of human sight.

Ennid the Havoc couldn’t care less about any of that.

Three things drove him onward – his mare, his next meal, and his next match. In that order.

He roamed from town to town, sampling the wares and finding someone brave enough to challenge him for the thrill of the fight (and a share of the purse). But when a couple of kids knock him from the saddle and steal K’zirra (that’s the mare), he follows them to a town lacking not only coin enough to buy her back, but nary a young man to fight.

In fact, no young men at all walked among them.

Only when an exotic woman invites Ennid into her world and tasks him with retrieving a rare gemstone does he hope to earn his fortune, buy back his horse and leave the town.

But first… first he must face the Beast.

Oh, and I have updated the cover, again…

Ennid BotB Cover

So… go for it!

Short post here.

Working on The Adventures of Ennid the Havoc: Belly of the Beast. I anticipate unleashing the Beast early next month. I’m also trying to run it through the Smashwords wringer in order to release it to as many platforms as possible for all of my readers.

Back to the keyboard…

So I recently had the question posed regarding my inspiration. Now I could take the shortcut and say that so many things inspire me that I can’t list them all. This is partially true – one, because if I sat and listed all those things, I would be wasting time better sort writing and two, I do mind-mapping when looking for ideas, and it hardy looks like a list by the time I’m done with it. Heck, sometimes it doesn’t seem useful at all, the ideas being very disparate ones. Occasionally, though, some of those weird things start tying themselves together in a rather novel (pun intended) fashion. The latest, as an example: (okay, not necessarily the latest, since “he” has been bothering me for a few years) I like fantasy stories, I love Monty Python, I love the video game Diablo (since the first one, and no, I am not a milkmaid), I love MMA. How could these come together? Ennid is how. Years ago I came up with an idea for a Diablo-based story (can’t even call it fan fiction since it never got beyond the idea) but it faltered and fell back into the idea box. Years later, I get hooked on watching UFC (except for Joe Rogan. Cannot stand that guy, and Dana White should just find someone else for Goldberg to flirt with). One if the things I simply love about MMA fights is that, more often than not, I get to witness a brutal, primal beatdown between two alpha males who look like they’re about ready to kill each other, but as soon as it’s over, they shake and hug and congratulate one another. I’d like to believe that all of them are really good guys in and out of the octagon (especially you, Clay Guida!). That inspired me to create a tough guy with a gentle heart who gets himself into trouble more often than not because he isn’t willing to take the easy way out of his problems by bashing heads in. Instead, he’s got to use his brains and heart before his brawn. And, of course, he’s a sucker for a woman in trouble, which is where most of his trouble starts. There’s a lot of story around Ennid to play with, and I think I’m going to have a lot of fun going back to his world from time to time.

I’ve been stumbling around a bit with the choice of my next project. I didn’t have this problem earlier in the year, when I sat down to calculate which projects I wanted to work on, with deadlines and tasks defined. However, I got word of an upcoming class on writing a series offered by Holly Lisle (if you love to write, you should check out her offerings here. Lifechangers. Seriously.), I decided to shuffle my schedule in order to accommodate the stories which I had not entirely fleshed out the concepts and characters. Using her method, I could define all of that around the basic idea floating in my head. I shuffled the projects around to get that particular universe into place, but the class hasn’t been moving fast enough for my schedule, so I decided to take on another project and work simultaneously. I’m hoping it doesn’t mess up the quality. Because of that, my next published project is going to be:

Ennid Cover I Take Final

A novelette revisiting Ennid from the short story “Food For Thought” in the Morsels flash fiction anthology.

He’s going to be around for a little while, as I have an arc of novellas planned for him.

(And, for anyone curious about the project I’m working on alongside Holly’s class, it’s SHARC, space opera military fiction.)

I made the top of Amazon’s Daily Deals in Science Fiction & Fantasy!

At first I thought it some kind of double notification that my work has been made available, since the title of the email itself is The Falconer and The Wolf, but was ecstatic to see what the content actually was. Although, come to think of it, it’s kinda funny that Amazon is trying to sell my own book back to me…

20140220-154519.jpg

And the actual link to purchase the story online!

I live not far from a parcel of land that hosts a Renaissance Faire, and on several occasions have visited with family members. Years ago, while attending, I encountered a young man in period dress toting about an owl on his wrist. He talked about his raptor, named Ulysses, and informed us about an exhibition that afternoon. I was already fascinated and since I brought my mother, who has loved the owl decades before they became trendy, we decided to attend.

Crowds gathered as the young falconer displayed the rudiments of the falconry discipline and the hunting prowess of his birds. Everyone watched in rapt (pun intended) wonder as these feathered predators spread what seemed to be massive wings and swooped from seemingly impossible heights to dive down accurately on a minuscule target. At one point, a lucky volunteer (unfortunately, not me) was presented with the opportunity to snap a photograph from beneath the bird’s takeoff just as it’s wings stretched the furthest.

I hadn’t gone back to the Ren Faire since then, but that exhibition and the idea of falconry sparked a few ideas that didn’t quite get the flames rolling. In my mind’s eye I could see a young falconer, living in the woods alone with his bird. Questions arose – why was he living out there all alone? Falconry is the sport of nobles, and it’s unlikely some woodsman in the middle of nowhere would just have the bird and know-how. And a falconer in the woods… interesting concept, but concepts do not a story make. Some other ideas floating around in my head eventually coalesced (a wolf who was more than an ordinary wolf but not the tired idea of a werewolf), and I found the right conflicts and plugged them in. I’d liked to say it was a “voila” but that’s rarely how it works. The story didn’t simply write itself, and as I struggle with “Perfect Never Finishes,” kicking the story out of the nest at all is a small accomplishment.

The Falconer and The Wolf is available on Amazon.

Melange and Morsels have both made their way to virtual print on Amazon!

Melange is here

…and…

Morsels is here!

Enjoy!