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Posts from the ‘Last Book of the Kings series’ Category

9
Jun

Lost for Words

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.

reminder_cover

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23
Aug

Soul’s Gate – Print Version – Now Available!

The final proof has been approved! Soul’s Gate (print version) is now officially available in paperback. Purchase it from the CreateSpace store  now, or find it on Amazon presently.

8
Aug

Now Available (Kindle edition)!

The newest volume in the Last Book of the Kings series, Soul’s Gate, is now live on Amazon Kindle for only 99¢!

23
Jul

Soul’s Gate blurb

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

21
Jul

Coming Soon…

Soul's Gate cover art

31
Jul

Summer Sale!

The month of August begins with a Kindle Countdown Deal for both Liar’s Sanctuary and Man of Destruction! Here’s how it works: starting Friday, August 1 these two Kindle titles begin at just $.99! Every few days, the price will increase by a dollar, until both titles return to their regular price on August 8. In other words, the best deal goes to those who buy early! Spread the word, and don’t miss out on this summer sale!

28
Jun

Last Book of the Kings series: Volume 4 now available!

The fourth installment of the Last Book of the Kings series, Man of Destruction, is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book formats on Amazon! (This story is roughly concurrent with Liar’s Sanctuary, the third volume in the series. If you have not yet read that one, you might want to hold off on this one until you do.)

Description:

The Keeper royal house has a dangerous enemy: Dakhar son of Turhan, young sovereign of the Kavahri empire. Many deride him, call him monster and shun him because of his otherworldly traits. Others worship him as the foretold Man of Destiny who will unite the fabled five kingdoms under one banner. In Keeper lore, he is the Shepherdless, the man who will destroy the world. But who is Dakhar? His military genius won him the throne, but there is more to this Conqueror than the average warlord. No mere ambition for power drives him to conquer the world– no, Dakhar seeks to gain control over the unnatural powers that seek to devour him. His war against the Keepers may provide him with the knowledge he craves, or it may destroy his last hope. Much depends on the actions of one woman: Ramonda Sakti Unn Cala, daughter of the Keeper general Jarod Kohanan-son. Will she win over the Conqueror, or will Dakhar fall into destruction?

MoD cover (thumbnail)

 

28
Sep

Be-be-be-beep! News Update! Be-be-be-beep!

If all has been quiet on the blog front, it is because things grow noisy on the writing front. The last of the Last Book Of The Kings series is well into its first draft! Not to forget, the third volume of the Makkarios series will soon enter the publication process. Further bulletins as events warrant!

20
May

“Slowly I Turned”: Brewing a Book, or Back to the Beginning

I’m not allowed to drink coffee for health reasons, so I only have this knowledge second-hand. A friend told me recently that you can get a smoother, richer flavor if you cold-brew the coffee rather than boil it. Cold-brew methods take longer, I’m told, but my friend assured me that the results were worth the wait. I may never have tried it with coffee, but this idea crept into my mind while I was working on my current writing project during my lunch break.

Time is a big deal in writing. Books take time: time to plan, time to write, time to revise, time to edit, time to publish. Writing is anything but an instant-gratification activity. That’s why you’ll meet an endless number of people who have “always wanted to write a book” but very few who went ahead and wrote one. As with any genuine priority, it isn’t so much a matter of having time as it is making time. A writer moves other demands aside to create a space for the writing project. The project follows the writer through every other activity of the day– and sometimes the inactivity of the night, as anyone knows who has heard me talk about one of my many peculiar dreams. This is why writing is often described by writers not as an activity but as a state of mind.

I’m conscious of time more than ever because this project is special. I’m working on the last installment of the Last Book of the Kings series, the first book of which I began writing nearly twenty years ago. Ending a multi-volume project is always an interesting experience, but this one more so for me because I entered a lengthy hiatus between books three and four, and an only slightly shorter gap between book five and this project. In the interim, I worked on other unrelated projects. For instance, between books four and five, I wrote the entirety of the Makkarios series. That one went by really fast– five books in about three years, not counting revision. By comparison, the LBoTK series seems to have taken… well… almost  twenty years.

It makes me want to demand, What’s the deal? How could one series develop so quickly and the other so slowly? That’s one of the curiosities about my writing life: no project “happens” in the same way as another. Which reminds me, I’m on a tangent. Back to the point: I began by saying that this project is special. The Keeper House Unending may not have been the first story I ever wrote, but it was my first serious attempt at a novel-length work. It was the first story in which I did not intrude. Before KHU, I wrote fantasies of a very adolescent kind‡, where one of the characters was always me in scanty disguise. That type of story is easy enough to write. It was harder to develop the other type, the story that had almost nothing to do with me except in conception and execution. I had already developed a method that allowed me to absorb myself in the story’s details before I sat down to write– or rather, in the case of KHU, to type on my new and trusty electric typewriter, which was such a thrill after writing everything else longhand in spiral notebooks until then. An Electric Typewriter!

Sorry– temporary lapse into nostalgic geekiness. Won’t happen again.

A method, I said. Lest you assume I had gone to great lengths, climbed Himalayan heights and sought hairy gurus in order to become a writer, I must correct the mental image that the word “method” conjures. By method, I simply mean a habit that I later found useful for writing. What was it? Complete inactivity. No, I’m not joking. I used to assume the horizontal, usually on the scratchy old brown couch in the basement TV room, and go completely dormant. I think bears do much the same thing in winter. In that semiconscious state, I would wander through books I had read, inserting myself as an extra character and interacting with the characters accordingly. Yes, I know it sounds weird and a little esoteric, like something you might hear from a character in sackcloth on a mountaintop, but be fair: I was a bright kid in a dull village, home-schooled and bored out of my wee mind. I wanted friends who didn’t look at me cross-eyed when I used polysyllabic words like “polysyllabic.” Not finding any nearby, I made my own, not unlike country girls of an earlier era who cut paper dolls out of magazines to pretend about high society. I cut friends out of other people’s books. Or you might say I cut myself into other people’s books. As you might imagine, there were limits to this form of entertainment. The next natural step was first to insert myself into my own stories, and thence to stories that did not need me in them at all. I never looked back after that step. Without realizing it, I was teaching myself (albeit clumsily) how to be a fantasy novelist.

Fast-forward now to 2013, to the end of the project I began while hibernating on the scratchy brown sofa in the basement of my childhood home. I have spent so much time away from this series, working on projects that wrote themselves faster than I could type, that I feel a little alienated from my firstborn. This one won’t happen like wildfire. There is too much history, too much detail, and I don’t want to slight any of it. I need to spend time with it. So, can you guess what I did last Saturday? I didn’t get out of bed until half past eleven. I haven’t done that since… I honestly can’t remember when. Not in the last five years, certainly. Possibly not in the last twelve. I wasn’t sleeping. I was lying dormant, getting acquainted with my new main characters. I only wish I had more time to do the same. It reminds me of a time when I looked differently at the writing life, when it was more truly life than it has become in recent years. Going back to the beginnings from time to time can be a good thing. After all, history is a story, even little histories like mine. And you know I’m a sucker for a story.

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‡Naturally, because I was an adolescent. I was still a high school student when I began KHU.

3
Apr

Small Disappointments

I received my author’s copy of Liar’s Sanctuary today. Oh, but she’s a big baby: the shipping weight was just under four pounds, but the book itself is probably just under two pounds– which is only to be expected of a story that covers 669 pages. She’ll do to keep.

However, it saddened me just a little to find that the map of Sanctuary (Kol Afiz) got washed out almost entirely in the printing, though it was clear enough in the embedded file. To make up for it just a little, I shall post the original file here, in case any of you really wish to see it. As a reader, I’m not a map person, but I know some are. Enjoy!

Sanctuary Map

27
Mar

Liar’s Sanctuary now available to order

The paperback format is now available to order through the CreateSpace e-store! An additional 5-7 days from now, it should also be available on Amazon.com, and after that, at book retailers online everywhere! (Kindle e-book format is coming later today or early tomorrow, if all goes according to plan.)

25
Mar

Liar’s Sanctuary – New Cover

New cover image for book three in the Last Book of the Kings series!

New cover image for book three in the Last Book of the Kings series!

19
Mar

Quick Update: Liar’s Sanctuary, coming soon

What have I been doing, you ask? Mainly, I’ve been avoiding doing any work lately. Spring break is coming, and the children at my school are on the verge of breaking loose in many ways. But! by the end of March, whether or not spring comes, we will have our spring publishing re-release of Liar’s Sanctuary, complete with minor revisions and a map. By the end of this week: a peek at the new cover art. That’s a promise.

30
Oct

“Slowly I Turned”: The (Nearly) Forgotten Series

I was notified today that, due to a mildly disgruntled comment on this very website, OakTara has chosen not to publish any more of my Keeper series. Since I was waiting for them to respond one way or another, I’m glad to hear this, but I have this ominous premonition that I’m blacklisted as a troublemaker in the sight of all publishers everywhere. Oh, well. I’ll wear the label proudly, if wear it I must, and stick with self-publishing.

To search for a new publisher or not to search is a perpetual question at the back of my mind. Self-publishing isn’t a road to wild and giddy success for someone with my personality; I’ve accepted that fact. I’ve already discovered that I was mistaken about the nature of working with a small publishing house. Big publishing houses, where one expects to fall between the cracks, are shut tight against long-shot stories like mine. One might say I’m writing for a select audience, and for the task of entertaining that audience, the parameters of self-publishing are adequate.

Enough about the discouraging world of publishing. Have you heard of the Keeper series? More properly, it’s called the Last Book of the Kings series. If you want to categorize this series, it falls somewhere between Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and the Narnia series on the fantasy fiction spectrum. Each book chronicles a different piece of the Keeper ruling family’s history, beginning with Owen and the aged queen mother Morena in The Keeper House Unending.  The next  generation takes over in The King’s Brother, though Owen and a few others from the first book still have a role to play. Third in the series, Liar’s Sanctuary, which has been out of print for a few years now, is currently in revision for an early-2013 release date. It takes up the problems between the Keepers and some of the ruling aristocracy from other clans, left unresolved at the end of The King’s Brother, with the burden of resolution falling on the third generation of the royal family and their companions.

But who are the Keepers? They acquired their name because of an ancestor, chosen by a powerful immortal to preserve the knowledge of the Other World in the mortal realm. Every Keeper has a court seer, and from time to time a special champion endowed with immortal powers will emerge to guide the Keeper kingdom through increasing troubles. An overwhelmingly evil immortal has laid traps throughout the world, preying upon the unwary. His insatiable hunger drives him to seek to devour all the  world. It falls to the Keepers with their ancient knowledge of the Other World to defend the human race against him, even as this same immortal struggles to break out of his prison.

Have you read part of the Last Book of the Kings series? Leave a comment below, telling us what you think of the stories!

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