Apropos of nothing, I thought I would share with you something that has been lurking in the back of my mind for several years now. I’m sure that every fiction writer dreams of his/her stories being adapted to either small screen or big screen, but I’m not sure how many of them daydream about possible “extras” to put at the end of the final credits, for the benefit of those who stay all the way to the end.
I am one of those few. Since the Makkarios series was initially envisioned as an anime, this is what I had in mind for the end of the credits of the second installment: the men of the team as a band, performing “Eli’s Coming” (for obvious reasons). Rai would be the lead vocalist, of course, with Lavi as second vocalist and keyboard player; Tru would be on electric guitar and vocals, Damek on bass, and Ronin on drums. It amuses me now that, whenever I hear the song “Eli’s Coming,” this is the scene in my head. For those of you who have never heard the song, I refer you to the Youtube clip below.
Now that the Makkarios series has been made available on the iBooks platform, I have turned my attention to the same for the Last Book of the Kings series. Several years have passed since I last revisited the first volume of this series, The Keeper House Unending — the first of all my novels, in fact. Now that I’m looking at it again, I’ve discovered that I have a problem.
[So embarrassing!] It is terribly obvious that a seventeen-year-old wrote this. I can hardly read it without flinching. Or squirming. Or both, to be honest, though I’m not sure how that actually works in physiological terms. It is almost as bad as the time I rediscovered the spiral notebooks of my actual first novel, which will never see daylight unless in those few moments while I try to get the match to ignite against the matchbook cover. Those I wrote when I was fifteen and, though technically they qualify as plain teen fiction, are far more of a fantasy than any speculative fiction I’ve written since then.
So I find myself wondering the following: does this mean that I have grown as a writer? Or have I just grown as a critical reader? One can recognize literary rubbish without being able to write good stories, after all, just as a music lover can detect bad pitch without being able to sing a note. And so the natural contemplative’s eternal process of self-examination goes on…
But in the meanwhile, for those of you who have an active life outside that of the mind, I have begun an experiment in nonfiction. It is called the One Word Devotions series and will consist of brief “exegetical” devotions, intended to instruct as well as to give fodder for the meditative processes. You may find it here on Amazon; it will not be made available in ebook format, because that defeats the purpose of the book.
We have begun! Now The Genesis of Max Variel and the first two books in the Faerie Tales for Travelers trilogy are available for purchase on iTunes!
Reggae Rope Monster: A True (?) Story
I had an urgent noontime appointment to keep and only just enough time to get there from work without any delays when I noticed the car ahead of me, a red hatchback. The hatch stood wide open, revealing a bewildering jumble of items crammed into the back of the vehicle. All that restrained the mess was a length of yellow nylon rope tied so slack that its middle waved as much as its loose ends did. That is so useless, I thought.
The upper end bounced and bobbed, an untidy clump of rope-ends like dreadlocks around the heavy knot that anchored them. Longer ends, maybe three or four of them, danced around the middle, flying upward with every bump in the road. Their undulations looked so free, so carefree, that I felt mesmerized.
One piece of the jumble slid toward the open hatch. I stepped on the clutch, ready to slow down and avoid the debris, but it never came. I accelerated with caution, thinking the object was just delayed in falling, but when I got nearer, I could see that everything was in place as it had been. Peculiar, I thought.
The traffic signal ahead turned red. We slowed to a halt in tandem, the hatchback and I. The dancing nylon rope sank into fitful rest, but an occasional ripple ran through it when the wind gusted. I rolled down my window to catch some of the chilly autumn breeze. From the red hatchback ahead of me, I heard strains of reggae tossed here and there by the wind.
Then the traffic signal turned green. The hatchback rolled forward, dislodging two or three objects from the jumble. This time, I was near enough to see the waving rope-ends gently tap each item back into place, always maintaining the buoyant reggae rhythm. One rope end waved at me.
The driver behind me honked irritably at me, and I remembered to drive through the intersection. My appointment took me to the next right turn, which I almost missed because my attention still clung to the strange dancing rope creature that guarded the open hatchback. I have almost no recollection of the meeting I attended that day, but every time I hear a strain of reggae or see a red hatchback on the street, I remember that curious creature, the Reggae Rope Monster.
If you read your books on iPhone, iPad or Mac, just click here for the iBooks edition of Faerie Tales for Travelers! (Apple ID 1151215308)
The novellas and The Genesis of Max Variel are taking rather longer than anticipated to post to the iBooks platform, but the free novella ‘Dominion’ is now available for Apple users to download to iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Want to read H. M. Snow stories but don’t want to mess with the Kindle reader app? Well, now matters have so arranged themselves that we are presently uploading all these stories on the iBooks app! The first entry out of the gate is a freebie— a novella called ‘Dominion,’ part of last year’s short fiction writing challenge. Yep, that’s right: a FREE novella. Watch for the entire library to appear on iBooks within the next several weeks.
A new generation of the Keeper royal line is coming to adulthood. Unrest is growing once again in the Second Kingdom, now under the governance of the new Senate. Dakhar leads the Senate as a seer with bornsight, but the only other members so far gathered are Bredin, a genius healer who denies his powerful healing gift, and Magnis, a bard with the gift of heartsight crippled by constant conflict with his beyah, Valeryn’s elder daughter Seliyah. One more man in possession of a great gift has been discovered: a strange young man with the rare gift of dreamwalking has appeared in Dakhar’s dreams. No one knows where he lives, only that he is a prisoner in lands farther east than any Keeper maps have yet documented. Now his beyah has arrived in the Second Kingdom, looking for help in her search for the dreamwalker, and she turns out to be Dakhar’s illegitimate daughter.
If that were insufficient reason to for his journey, Dakhar also receives word from Valeryn and Lucien that the Pamirsi patriarch Liam secretly asks his help. Liam’s heir Rasmus disappeared twenty years previously after the death of his young wife. Part of the kingdom’s unrest is caused by the fact that Liam’s only other heirs are Lucien’s twin sons Xander and Xavier. If Rasmus could be found alive and persuaded to return as heir, Liam reasons, the moderate factions in his clan could regain control over the extremists.
For the peace of the kingdom and the strength of the Senate, then, Dakhar must assemble a company that must leave all known lands and venture into the ancient east. With no route but that provided by his own and his daughter Haidee’s instincts, Dakhar must seek these two missing men. Along the way, he and his company will face Umbrya dragons and strange immortals, subterranean paths and long-lost kingdoms of forgotten history. Their greatest danger is not so much that they will lose their way as that they might just lose their very selves.
Anticipated release date: August 2016
And everybody who’s even a little Irish knows that March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. In honor of an early (non-Irish) Christian missionary whose biography ended up plummeting over the brink of speculative fiction posthumously, you’ll find Makkarios: Come Together offered FREE on Kindle! This giveaway only lasts until March 17th ends, so come this Thursday, wear a little green and save a little green by grabbing your Kindle copy of Makkarios: Come Together for FREE!
Really, I just wanted to say that, just once. I’m too obsessive-compulsive to quit anything once I’ve made a beginning, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like. So sometimes I daydream about quitting as a writer. I daydream about it quite a lot these days, for various reasons. It always disheartens me even more than… well… everything else does. It isn’t until I start thinking about what life might be like as a non-writer that I realize just how much of my identity is bound up in writing. Granted, I usually end up wondering if anybody would even notice if I did quit writing, but that’s a different matter. Whether anybody notices what I write or not, I am a writer.
I haven’t been able to write for a while now. (Depression; I don’t want to talk about it here.) It’s unhealthy for me, not only as a writer but as a person. Like I said, a good deal of my identity is bound up in the act of writing. I have heard people liken the act of giving your writing to someone else as almost on a par with being stripped bare in public. It isn’t quite that bad, especially once one gets accustomed to letting one’s imagination out into the world where anyone might see it. When one gets to a certain point, it’s actually worse to go unnoticed than it is to be under the searchlight. Think about it: if one’s identity is deeply invested in a certain activity, and that activity is ignored for the most part, one easily falls into some serious existential issues.
Anyway… I’m trying to resolve these issues as best I can. In the meanwhile, I am planning for the summer at this point. My new multiple-novel project has gotten too dark for my own good, so I have put it to bed for a little while. Like I said earlier, I’m too obsessive to quit anything I’ve begun, so I’m working again on the Last Book of the Kings series. This poses its own set of problems, including another set of overlapping novels. I suppose that I’m writing this post in order to ask a favor of friends and readers: please cheer me on. I don’t ask things like this often or easily, but I don’t want to give up on this part of my life. Those of you who have read / enjoyed the Keeper stories especially, I’m looking to you for reminders of where this series has gone already as I attempt to bring it to completion.
It starts today! Faerie Tales for Travelers is FREE from now through Friday (February 5th, 2016) on the Kindle platform. Don’t own a Kindle? You can download a free Kindle reading app for tablets, computers and smartphones here. Free app, free book– what more can one ask?
For five days in February, Faerie Tales for Travelers is FREE on Kindle! (Offer runs Monday, February 1 through Friday, February 5 on Amazon.com!)