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Sand and Blood is finished!

And we are now at the end of Sand and Blood. For those who have read it, thank you. It has been a very long journey for me, mostly filled with self-doubt as I tried to write a story that I wanted to see on the page.

The entire novel has now been made public on the website and I consider it fully a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licensed novel. When I first decided to publish it under Broken Typewriter Press, I remember sitting in the living room as I struggled with two versions of the legal page: one that had All Rights Reserved and the other which had the Creative Commons license. It was important to me, mainly because I believe in the gift societies, It took me hours of staring at the two before I went with the All Rights Reserved. I felt like a coward when I did, but I figured when the book went into the black, I would switch it over.

I ended up jumping the gun on that when I decided to make Sand and Ash open. That was the result of weeks of introspection and discussions. Of course, if I was smarter, I would have started with Sand and Blood, which is the first book of the series instead of the second, but… that’s life. Now, I can resolve one of those problems.

The other one was that Flight of the Scions wasn’t the first one. That will never be resolvable but I’ll just have to make that novel even more fantastic.

Exposure

One of the things that pushed me to accept Creative Commons was Cory Doctrow and a panel he did at ICON some years ago. The link has a summary of what he said.

For me — for pretty much every writer — the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity (thanks to Tim O’Reilly for this great aphorism). Of all the people who failed to buy this book today, the majority did so because they never heard of it, not because someone gave them a free copy.

After the first dozen readers’ feedback, I suspect that Rutejìmo’s story would be a difficult sell because of my obscurity, the complexity of the world, and the atypical protagonist.

I still feel passionately for the story but I decided to use this series as a lead for Flight of the Scions, which I think will fit a more classical fantasy YA adventure (and maybe get more people to get caught in my little fantasy world).

It is also a tie-in for the patrons that lets everyone read the novel now and, if they like it, help me with the next one. Sand and Bone is almost ready to go out the door, I just have a few final steps before it will be done. It just requires that pesky “money” thing and I’m pretty open about where I am with these things.

Sand and Bone

I’m planning on serializing Sand and Bone starting as soon as I finish talking about Flight of the Scions in my weekly posts. That will give me a little bit of time to handle some outstanding things and start on my other obligations.

Sand and Blood 30: One Year Later

I never wrote the scenes between this chapter and the previous one, but I consider them important to be ultimately important for Rutejìmo’s evolution but not dramatic or significant for the reader. I strongly believe it takes time to evolve as a character. Years actually, but this chapter is only a hint of the man that Rutejìmo will become in Sand and Ash.

This is an epilogue, it ties up the biggest question left over from the novel. No real revelations or cliffhangers. Actually, I really hate novels that end in cliffhangers and I won’t do that to readers. When you get to the end of the novel, it should be the end of a novel not a teaser for the next one.

Read Sand and Blood 30: One Year Later at http://ift.tt/2d7mteG.

Midnight Flight

My submission for the Hath No Fury call is almost done. I’ve sent it through the writing group and integrated their feedback. I think it is a pretty solid story, but contains a ton of spoilers for Sand and Bone.

Sand and Blood 29, Flight of the Scions 34

This is a week where we talk about teenagers being unprepare for the world. I’m sure there is a deep seated introspection on my own life, but none of these teenagers are really “ready” for the adventures they are on. I consider that fantastic because it forces them to grow and this story will shape them for future stories (and novels).

Sand and Blood 29: Rescue

With this chapter, we are now at the climax of Sand and Blood. Unlike Sand and Ash, this is a violent ending. Actually, I like to think this is a visceral one between untrained teenagers with aggressive powers and high-strung emotions. In many ways, I took some of the rawness from Lord of the Flies as inspiration for this, these are teenagers who are thrust into a violent world. Three of them embrace the culture of brutality and death, one of them did not.

It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone that Rutejìmo ends up being sickened by the violence, even in the rush of surviving the fight. It is one more way you can see him growing into his pacifism. Part of living in an isolated valley is that he doesn’t have a lot of books or education on non-survival topics, such as philosophy. He doesn’t really know what pacifism is, actually he never calls it that in any of the three books, but I like to think I show him realizing it on his own.

Read Sand and Blood 29: Rescue at http://ift.tt/2cvy01T.

Flight of the Scions 34: Distant Threats

I spent a fair amount of time thinking about Damagar. For a giant, telepathic toad, it is fairly powerful. In fact, it is one of the “dragons” in my world, an intelligent being capable of nearly infinite amounts of magic… if it was awake. At its full power, Damagar should have been able to kill these three teenagers and probably a couple hundred miles in all directions.

The biggest question is why didn’t it? Mostly, it is Hunger. Because of its size and power, its personality is broken into separate specialized fragments. The various organs and limbs are up but they don’t much influence on Hunger. On the other hand, the shards (for a lack of better word) such as Observation, Strategy, and Stubborness are capable of setting off Hunger.

In the story before this (which I never finished), Damagar was severely injured by a pair of armies fighting over it. The “spirit” of a dragon is a hotly contested item, mainly because it has such a high source of magical energy it is worth changing ones resonance to take command of it. It is also why, in this advanced magical age, almost every dragon is actually just a corpse or force shoved into an artifact (such as the Puzzle King’s castle). There are very few “free ranged” dragons, as it were.

Of course, that leads into why Ruben is such a threat to Damagar. It changed slightly but it leads back to the “telepathy as the internet” basis. Ruben is, for a lack of a better word, a virus. (With hindsight, I think he’s a personification of the GPL, but that’s beside the point.) His mental framework means that he absorbs and integrates other psionic thoughts into his own. This is what happened to Lopidir.

For a purely telepathic creature, such as Damagar and Ruben’s father, this means almost brain death. It only takes a moment for their minds to connection for Ruben to infect and tear apart the other mind. He isn’t conscious of this ability, it is a flaw due to the natural evolution of vomen (which is an article in itself).

Damagar’s inability to see Ruben is not invisibility, it’s fear. It knows that it will be harmed by connecting to Ruben, which means it can’t really think about it (much like how Kanéko saw Ruben in her mind when he was searching for her).

This does mean that Damagar has to work through agents to get rid of Ruben. Since Ruben has no conscious control over his ability, that means the only way to truly keep Damagar safe is kill Ruben.

Now, Kanéko wouldn’t kill her new friend without major incentive. When Damagar was in Kanéko’s head, he got enough to see her deep-seated desire to prove herself to her parents. It was also that obsession that gave the toad something to threaten Kanéko with: killing her parents. Also its copy of the memories were before Kanéko really connected with Ruben, so the relationship wasn’t as tight when it made its plans (you know, plotting is really hard?).

That leads Kanéko into a difficult question: save her parents from a rampaging telepathic toad and kill her new friend; or risk losing her parents for Ruben.

The other part of this story is the theme for this week: this is a teenager. A sheltered teenager (seems to be a trend) that hasn’t experienced being manipulated by any means, including fear. She is poorly prepared to handle Damagar’s threat which means… she may make some painful decisions that an adult reader would want to slap her for.

Read Flight of the Scions 34: Distant Threats http://ift.tt/2cdDP6Y (subscribers)

Hath No Fury

I really like female protagonists and point-of-view stories. I associate with them more, which is why I was always sad that Sand and Blood was my first novel. That meant when I saw the Hath No Fury kickstarter, I had to join in. I also decided to write and submit a story for their open call. I haven’t had a lot of luck on these submissions, but I also wanted to write Chimípu’s side of her later scene in Sand and Bone (which should be the next novel being serialized).

Patrons

The final versions of my novels are available for a free download from my fantasy website, Fedran. If you like them, consider helping me by: commenting on social networks about my book, buying a print copy, or becoming a patron.
In both of the weekly serials, we have a lot of introspection and interaction between different characters, establishing roles that will carry through beyond both of these books.

Sand and Blood 28: The Offer

Throughout this novel, Tsubàyo embraced his anger. From Rutejìmo’s point of view, he is turning evil. I originally planned on the novel to give the impression that the night clan was the reason for Tsubàyo’s brutality but then Mikáryo ended up being a balance for that. There really is no true idea of good or evil in my world (all because of Reader’s Digest). Tsubàyo might be a bully and an asshole but he ends up a good man in later books. He is rage-prone and aggressive, something that his book might show, but in this moment, he is a complete and utter asshole willing to sacrifice Rutejìmo to save his own ass.

This chapter also shows some of the influence I get from panels. In my first WisCon, I went to a panel about injury, death, and fantasy. Rutejìmo had a concussion in the previous chapter. However, he was semi-consciousness before he regained his senses, something that Tsubàyo complained about. I love those panels. :)

Read Sand and Blood 28: The Offer at http://ift.tt/2cmU6Wn.

Flight of the Scions 33: Being Alpha

I grew up with dogs. My mother bred a number of dogs and she made sure I had a good understanding of pack dynamics. I also grew up with a number of different breeds and personalities: Alaskan Malamute, Collie, Long-Haired Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, Keeshond, Elkhound. There were the other breeds that friends and family also had, I remember a lot of them while I was growing up. Each one was very distinct but there were some commonalities that my mother taught me and I observed that helped me with raising my own dogs.

I like to think that pack dynamics is an integral part of Maris’ life. How she plays ball, her loyalty and affections are all part of the dogs I grew up with. The way the pack interacted with each other (a cut scene, sadly) but also later scenes in this book at the mill are all closely tied into it.

This chapter is a curious chapter in this regard.

Maris tugged on Ruben’s ear. The vomen groaned and flailed at her hand, but Maris just rested her wrist on his arm to hold him down. “With dog dalpre, we always know where we are compared to others. You are either above me or below me. The elders are usually above me and my daddy is the alpha at the mill, the one in charge. And if he says do something, I do it.” She took a deep breath. “And now, your daddy is my daddy’s alpha. And so… I guess you are in charge of me,” she looked up at Kanéko with an anxious smile, “you’re my alpha.”

Maris doesn’t have Kanéko’s intelligence, creativity, and self-control. This is despite her rather impressive powers (wind magic). Ruben has self-control but doesn’t have passion. This is despite his powers of being “mounted” by spirits (an idea I got from voodoo actually).

Kanéko has no magic (and never will) but she has one thing that neither of these high-powered characters has: charisma. She is a leader. She will make mistakes, she struggles with her actions, but when push comes to shove, she moves. She makes decisions, leads by example, and drives herself to demonstrate exactly what she hopes others will do.

In other words, she’s the alpha.

Read Flight of the Scions 33: Being Alpha http://ift.tt/2czFkxp (subscribers)

Patrons

I got into an interesting discussion with my father about patrons. From his point of view, a lot folks get into it and then spam the link everywhere. I’m curious to see what other things about me mentioning it on the bottom of my weekly emails (but rarely anywhere else). I don’t think I’ve mentioned it outside of this post on Twitter or Ello.

I give away the digital version of my books on my website. This is for you to read and enjoy them. If you like them, please consider supporting me by becoming a patron, review it, or just telling me you enjoyed it. You can contact me on many social networks networks.
Mistakes are awesome. One of my beliefs is that no one learns from succeeding. When they only win, then there is no reason to strive to better themselves. In some ways, the second-place person has the easiest time, they have something to strive for. I’ve seen in business a lot, the first company pays the price for implementing a Great Idea™ but then the clones (relatively) easily duplicate the result.

I’ve screwed up a lot of things in my life. Some of them were pretty serious while others were relatively minor. I’ve learned and improved but those painful moments are just as integral to me as the moments when I succeed beyond my expectations.

I wish I could teach my sons that. My eldest already is focused on winning when it isn’t the medal or the goal that is important, it is how you get there. It’s a lesson I don’t know how to communicate other than to demonstrate my failing and how I improve. I think that is one reason I want him to get into video games. I’ve been playing most of my life, I am good at most platformers but I chose not to be when he is watching. I jump into pits and blow all my lives. Right now, I’m playing Ori and the Blind Forest again with him watching and, more than once, I’ve jumped into spikes and had to start over.

“Daddy, you died.”

“I’ll do it right the next time.”

It isn’t just one attempt and then I succeed, sometimes it takes me a while. Sometimes I’m honestly missing it (like the elemental stages) and other times I’m deliberately missing. When I first started playing fighting games with my wife, I did the same thing. Well, until she found Button Mashing For Fun and Profit™ and realized she could spam me to death. That’s okay, it became an honest fight then.

I think TV shows should show the iterative success/failure loop more often. EDM loves Power Rangers and I see that a lot.

Bad guy shows up.

The rangers use their current powers and fail.

They talk or work out their problems.

They gain new skills, abilities, or Zords.

Defeat the bad guy, usually with the phrase “these new powers are great!”

Go back to 1 until end of season.

I like that the show demostrates failures, but I don’t think I have ever seen a sequence that involved the rangers losing, improving, losing again, and then improving even more.

Iterative failure is critical in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). My philosophy in coding is Fail Fast which is why there are so many version of Author Intrusion and none of them are done. Each one is an improvement but I’m still learning how to write the tool that I continue to think is critical. At work, I code and build quickly so I can break it; unit tests are awesome for that.

In the end, it is the failures that really count.

Sand and Blood 27: Pabinkue Tsubàyo

We are down to the last few chapters of Sand and Blood and this is the fourth to the last. It isn’t quite the climax, we have one more introspection chapter before that happens, but this is where Rutejìmo tries to fight and fails. And he fails more than once throughout the chapter as he struggles to defeat a warrior who had already had a better understanding of his powers.

Looking back, one of the twists of this chapter is a little heavy handed. I created a constructed language for naming characters in this book. It went through a number of iterations before I decided on the grave and acute accents to describe gender. It just made sense that there was a minor plot item related to that gender marking.

Read Sand and Blood 27: Pabinkue Tsubàyo at http://ift.tt/2bTI0Vv.

Flight of the Scions 32: Exhaustion

This is an A-team montage but with failure. Like most of my chapters, there is quite a few things in here that move the plot forward. The biggest is how Kanéko puzzles out how to build something she had only read in a book. I love that exploration while building something. It really adds to the depth of her characters because she is capable of solving problems that others don’t see.

The one part I’m not entirely sure about is how I present Lopidir and Stubborness. I need Ruben to be able to take on the spirits inside him (that’s his power along with telepathy) but it seems sudden because Kanéko doesn’t know what is going on in Ruben’s head. I’m curious to see what patrons think about it.

Read Flight of the Scions 32: Exhaustion http://ift.tt/2bTGva1 (subscribers)

Sand and Bone

I just got back Sand and Bone’s edit from the development editor. I haven’t had a chance to look at it, but I’m hoping to have it integrated with the online version within a week or so. Just as a reminder, Patron-4 subscribers can read it as I edit it.

Patrons

I give away the digital version of my books on my website. This is for you to read and enjoy them. If you like them, please consider supporting me. It can be something as simple as sending me a quick email or contact me on social networks. Feedback is sometimes the only payment I get. If you want to do more, consider reviewing my books or becoming a patron.
This week, we have doubt in many forms. It is something that has inflicted my life in many forms but, like my depression, it is something that I’ve learned part of who I am. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t show up in my stories because I like to show a reflection of my own world.

Sand and Ash

I’m looking for reviews for Sand and Ash. It has been out a month and I’m not sure if anyone has read it. It would be nice to have a few reviews, this is the first time I’ve released a book as Creative Commons and didn’t charge for digital copies. If you are interested, please consider reading it or Sand and Blood, it would really help me.

Sand and Blood 26: Preparing for Battle

Violence is an addictive concept. Once it is used as an answer, it is very difficult stop using it. You need something like the Cold War and MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) to give us the Long Peace (and New Peace) that we are currently enjoying. But in some ways, WW2 was just the continual escalation of violence from hitting each other with rocks.

This is actually a point where Rutejìmo is caught up with the violence. He’s been attacked, his friend has been kidnapped, and the only thing in front of them is revenge. What he doesn’t know is that this is also the point where he realizes he doesn’t like violence, it sickens him. The actual epiphany never happens in any of the novels, he just gradually fell into the role of a pacifist.

Later, he will look back at this point and hate himself for it. By the time Sand and Ash comes around, he has acknowledged that he is a pacifist but doesn’t have a name for it. Actually, he never gets a name for what he is, he just knows that he has no stomach for violence despite everyone around him willing to accept it as a simple fact of life.

Chimípu is actually that that “common sense” of the desert world. She knows that her life is going to be dominated by violence. She will kill hundreds in her life to defend her clan because hundreds are going to attack them. They are going to try to interrupt the treaties by killing the delivery person, or slaughter the messenger of some critical mission. There is no doubt, in her mind, that the answer is violence.

Mikáryo is the same way (she is also a warrior). Both her and Chimípu’s language is about attacking and winning. At least I tried to write that aggression from the beginning of both characters. It is a subtle contrast against Rutejìmo’s language which is always less aggressive and more accepting.

The other party I really love about this chapter is Chimípu’s hesitation. Even though she’s accepted being a warrior and probably dying by the sword, she still has a doubt. There is fear that she may not be doing the right thing. There is also the fear of dying, something she hasn’t accepted quite yet. That isn’t something I see that often in fantasy books, going into the final climax without having confidence. There are some stories, but it seems to be glossed over and I really like the idea of doubt being one of the enemies.

It is hard to remember that these three are still teenagers. She’s a few years older than him, but all of them were kept innocent to manifest their powers and then thrown into a violent world without direction or guidance. She has never killed anyone and I don’t think it makes sense that she would be eager to do so.

Rutejìmo’s brother, on the other hand, was eager for death in his novella, Raging Alone. I’m hoping to get that out this year but… things aren’t looking good for that until I get a few more patrons.

Read Sand and Blood 26: Preparing for Battle at http://ift.tt/2bMHLtt.

Flight of the Scions 31: New Plans

I had forgotten I wrote this chapter. I know we are quite a ways into the book, but I thought it was good to remind the readers about what happened with Kanéko and her father. Originally, there was a chapter before this where Ronamar was struggling with his own doubts by visiting his first wife’s and son’s grave. That chapter was cut for the single POV plan, but Kanéko doesn’t understand what her father was going through.

Ronamar was married near the end of For Glory. He was happy with his beautiful wife who was a combat mage. Between For Glory and For Revenge, they had a young boy who had a strong talent for magic, a “proper” successor for Ronamar’s power. I never really wrote up the details of the boy’s talent, but he was probably going to be an earth archmage with a talent for folding (teleportation, pocket dimensions). For Revenge is when his wife and boy were assassinated by the same powers who are trying to kidnap Kanéko in this book, not that he knows it.

That was also a cut scene, the Big Bad. Actually, the Big Bad was completely written out of the series by the time I changed it to single POV and had to “fire” a number of antagonists. He’s still there, he just doesn’t have a name or face because it wasn’t that important to Kanéko’s story.

Because Ronamar lost his son who had all the talent and he now has a daughter with absolutely none, he is treating her like a china doll. Except that he isn’t. He doesn’t know what to do other than he loves her so much that he would be willing to risk his lands, fortune, and title for her.

Of course, Kanéko doesn’t know that. I considered writing For Family as the third book of the series which talks about Ronamar’s struggles during this book but I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in it. I really want to write Cow first before I go into Ronamar’s story.

Kanéko just wanted to prove herself to her father. Her father wants to protect her but doesn’t know how. Neither are sure what to do, so there is a lot of doubt and stubbornness that is getting in the way. That, on the other hand, does get addresses later in this book. I just hope it does in a satisfying manner.

Read Flight of the Scions 31: New Plans http://ift.tt/2bxfoA3 (subscribers)

Sand and Bone

Sand and Bone is currently with the first editor (I’m going with a development editor and a copy editor). I had this in my Facebook notifications lsat week.

I just finished reading Dylan R. E. Moonfire’s upcoming book, Sand and Bone. It was amazing.

I really think Sand and Bone is one of my best stories so far. The hard part is getting it out and encouraging readers to read it to see if they agree. Regardless, I’m really excited about getting the trilogy out.

The current plan looks like beginning of next year for that book. Mainly because I’m getting a small PR set up but also because Novembers and Decembers are usually pretty rough. The exception is if I get more patrons, they help me produce books faster. :) And patrons will be able to read it before it comes out (it is on my site now).

Patrons

I give away the digital version of my books on my website. This is for you to read and enjoy them. If you like them, please consider supporting me. It can be something as simple as sending me a quick email or contact me on social networks. Feedback is sometimes the only payment I get. If you want to do more, consider reviewing my books or becoming a patron.
We are getting near the end of both of these novels. It has been a fun journey but there is still a lot more to happen before the conclusions.

Sand and Ash

I’m looking for reviews for Sand and Ash. It has been out a month and I’m not sure if anyone has read it. It would be nice to have a few reviews, this is the first time I’ve released a book as Creative Commons and didn’t charge for digital copies.

Sand and Blood 25: Lessons Taught

We are rapidly heading into the climax of Sand and Blood. There is only thirty chapters in the novel but one is an epilogue.

This is also a rather packed chapter… for Sand and Ash. I didn’t really know it was going to be when I wrote it. I had also never written a sequel before so I was making everything up as I went. Originally it was just supposed to be a proper romance, but this chapter stuck with me and these scenes ended up becoming Rutejìmo’s obsession with Mikáryo which would later lead into conflict of the story.

I also love how this is a scene where Chimípu experiences the struggle of being the greatest warrior of the clan but we only see it from his eyes. Another premise was this story was the main character with the guy next to the Chosen One. Chimípu is the Chosen One, I love that she is the most powerful warrior in all three of these novels. She is faster, stronger, and more powerful. Her final scene in the series is… one of my favorites where she really shines.

This is also a beautiful chapter for a young man who spent his entire life being sheltered from everything that would make an adult. This is really the first time he saw a woman as something other than “just another person”. In a way, it is Roger killing the pig during Lord of the Flies, a symbolic moment where he started to grow up and enter adulthood.

It would be ten years before he actually has sex.

I love romance novels but I don’t always want romance in my stories. Later, Chimípu will offer to have sex with him, but turns her down simply because of the memories that came from this chapter. They shape him in a way that will be with him until the day before he dies.

such an influential chapter for that book, I had never written a sequel before. But this created the perfect tension for seemed like the perfect start of the tension that would eventually lead him into the

Read Sand and Blood 25: Lessons Taught at http://ift.tt/2bxeX94.

Flight of the Scions 30: Detour

Like in Sand and Blood, we are heading into the conclusion of Flight of the Scions. All but one of the players have been set on the page and the final race to the climax has started. There is a lot there, but I love this chapter because decisions are made, Maris is adorable, and Kanéko gets a chance to show her leadership skills.

I ended up rewriting almost the entire chapter. While I love this book, it triggers much of my discomfort. I know it is a good story, but it is missing something. I don’t know what it is, I can just feel the sensation in the back of my head while I’m reading it. It could be grammar, pacing, or characterization. Something is wrong, I just don’t have the skills or tools to identify it.

Read Flight of the Scions 30: Detour http://ift.tt/2bxfoA3 (subscribers)

Sand and Bone

This week, I started the process of getting Sand and Bone published. It will be a slower publication; I’m aiming for the end of the year. So far, the editor has publicly announced that he thought it was fantastic. I can’t argue with that, it gives me hope that this series will end properly.

Patrons

I give away the digital version of my books on my website. This is for you to read and enjoy them. If you like them, please consider supporting me. It can be something as simple as sending me a quick email or contact me on social networks. Feedback is sometimes the only payment I get. If you want to do more, consider reviewing my books or becoming a patron.
A coworker asked me about teachers today. After an almost instant rant about how politicans are usually cutting funding for teachers in general and poorer areas in specific, I realized it was one of my hot buttons. I always thought teachers should be paid more, simply because they are responsible for every single student’s success. My teachers helped shape me over the years, though I sadly couldn’t thank them in time before they scattered to the five winds.

To my surprise, both chapters this week are about lessons. Much different lessons, but still lessons framed as such.

Sand and Blood 24: Alone in the Dark

This chapter of Sand and Blood is a formative chapter for the next book. There are important plot points that apply to this book, but looking back, I can see that a lot of Rutejìmo’s thoughts were shaped by Mikáryo in this chapter. The most obvious is his attraction to her, this is the first time he thought of anyone as being sexual. Part of this is the enforced innocence the clan uses to manifest larger powers but also because I originally planned on having him be asexual. That didn’t work out (you know, the entire plot of Sand and Ash) but that doesn’t mean he’s going to instantly fall for her.

Not all my novels will have romance. I love reading romances but remarkably I don’t really want them in every single one of my stories. One of my main desires for the upcoming Wonder Woman (besides finally having her on the big screen) is that there isn’t a romance plot. I’m sure it will, but I really hope it doesn’t. You don’t have to have a female protagnoist that is obsessed with some male.

Rutejìmo tensed up, feeling like prey. There was something in her green eyes that forced him to stare into them. It was a sultry, smoldering look that brought a heat through his body. It sank down into his groin, and sudden thoughts blossomed in his head. He blushed hotly and turned away to hide his expression.

Mikáryo chuckled and relaxed. “Don’t worry, boy, you have a long way to go before I consider riding you.”

It will be a long time, exactly ten years and one novel.

There are other interesting parts to this novel. One is Rutejìmo’s fear of the dark. Which is strange given that he becomes a priest of the dead in the next novel and treats both the day and night clans equally. But, the idea of sitting in the dark and suddendly having the enemy sitting there cooking a hunk of giant snake is just a great image.

Read Sand and Blood 24: Alone in the Dark at http://ift.tt/2aYp5rk.

Flight of the Scions 29: Cabin Fever

We are in a lull for this chapter of Flight of the Scions. I like quiet chapters, mainly because it is a chance for introspection before things get really complicated. It is also chance to have a little training montage with Maris in the background learning how to fly and Ruben asking Kanéko to give him a personal lesson on imagination.

Sometimes, I feel guilty about having quiet chapters. Or having time pass in the middle of the story. In this case, I just wanted to advance the clock a few days, give Kanéko and the others to recover, and basically slow things down. There are so many novels where it feels like there is non-stop action. There isn’t a reasonable time to recover from exhaustion, heal wounds, or even recover from stress. When there is no break, the characters should be cracking or snapping, or at least passing out.

Read Flight of the Scions 29: Cabin Fever http://ift.tt/2aYpCtr (subscribers)

Patrons

My books are free to download and read. If you like them, consider buying a print version or become a patron. You could also review them or just send me an email, all of those are ways of supporting me. I have more options than just Patreon, if you are interested in an annual payment.

Forum

I’ve set up a little forum at http://ift.tt/2arCx65. Mostly I did it for last week’s question for patrons about what I should work on next. I have three of them at the moment but only one through Patreon so I can’t ask only there.

As usual, feel free to ask questions.
This is an interesting set of chapters. In both cases, we have some very strong emotions (anger in Sand and Blood and fear in Flight of the Scions). How the individual character respond to them, however, is a much different story.

Sand and Blood 23: One Mistake

One of the questions I ask myself about characters with powers is how they use them when they aren’t fighting. In this case, what does a girl who can run hundreds of miles an hour do when she is anxious? Well, there is a lot of short, unsatisfying sprints from one side of the camp to the other. But, when you can run so fast, a small camp isn’t enough time to really enjoy the rapture of running at high speed for any length of time.

This chapter leads to the two events that will completely haunt Rutejimo in the next book. The next two chapters are also my favorite chapters of this book, mainly because they strip Rutejìmo down to his base insecurities and fears and show how he confronts them.

Read Sand and Blood 23: One Mistake at http://ift.tt/2arBF19.

Flight of the Scions 28: Blindspot

With this weeks’ chapter of Flight of the Scions, our final antagonist gets a little bit of screen time. Originally, Damagar was supposed to be a western-style dragon, completely with wings and flame breath. Of course, that is back when we had Sinmak, Cobin, Damagar, and immortal elemental ogre, and a clay monkey all going against Kanéko and her friends. Over the years and iterations of this novel, I’ve slowly dropped one and then the other until we only have Sinmak and Damagar left. Cobin is in this story, but only tangentially since he is actually Gareo’s nemesis.

I originally wrote this novel for a friend who wanted a story she could tell her other friends about. It ended up not working, mainly because she didn’t like Ruben’s (he was called Dyfan then) bear shape-shifting plot. Her sister really didn’t like the idea that I would kill a dragon. Since I was still trying to please both of them, I swapped out the dragon for a giant toad.

The toad is actually from one of my Dungeons and Dragons game. We were just starting third edition and one of the players was looking at the mages. “Oh, toads give you +2 CON.”

Now, most of you don’t know me, but making an announcement that you are picking something purely for the mechanical benefits is just asking for trouble. Actually, giving me a NPC to play with is asking for trouble, but this was worse. I had a lot of fun with Parks (named after Ray Park who played Toad in the X-Men movie). Beyond giving him a foot fetish, he ended up taking on a spirit of a dragon, becoming an eighty foot toad, and briefly was a god. There was destruction, laughter, and a lot of tears when he finally died.

Sometimes, the journey I got to writing this novel was almost an adventure in itself.

Read Flight of the Scions 28: Blindspot http://ift.tt/2aONthE (subscribers)

Patrons

More so in the near future than the past, my writing is supported by patrons and donations. Releasing the books as Creative Commons means you can read it before you buy it. If you like it, then consider donating money or subscribing to have access to all my drafts and published novels.

Forum

I’ve set up a little forum at http://ift.tt/2arCx65. Mostly I did it for last week’s question for patrons about what I should work on next. I have three of them at the moment but only one through Patreon so I can’t ask there.

Related to that, if you have questions, please ask them.
This is a rather long post about superpowers, being the weakest, and learning secrets. There is a lot here, but there really is no unifying theme between the three chapters posted this week.

There are two chapters from Sand and Blood to make up for me skipping last week because I was overwhelmed.

Sand and Blood 21: From the Shadows

One of the reviews I got for Sand and Blood was scope of the individual’s struggles and what powers they gain. While Rutejìmo is going through a journey of self-discovery, the others are gaining phenomenal powers. This and the next chapter are a good example of that. Rutejìmo is struggling with self-doubt with his poor showing at the fight with Mikáryo when he finds out that Tsubàyo can teleport through shadows on a horse, Chimípu can burst into flames when she flights, and even Pidòhu is capable of summoning the shadows of a wind spirit.

As I have stated, this was a story about being the guy next to the Chosen One (Chimípu). It is about learning to accept weaknesses and find out that there is life in not being the greatest, strongest, and fastest.

Some of this is pulled from my own life. While some people think I’m good at things (programming, obscure knowledge), I am very weak in some critical skills in life. The two obvious ones are my inability to know what emotion I’m feeling except through inference and my inability to recognize people.

That last one has caused me a lot of trouble over the years, not to mention a lot of mocking. My ability to identify someone is fragile enough that makeup is enough for me to not recognized someone. When a coworker dyed his hair last week, I spent three hours struggling with this feeling that he was a complete stranger.

This came into the foreground during the author signing on the 16th. My table mate was an older man who still recognized and remembered his teachers and friends from grade school. And a number of them came up and they talked about the good times while I sat quietly remembering how I couldn’t even recoganize my own son just because he had a growth spurt. Or the guilt I feel when I’m going on a date with my wife and shes put on makeup; I think I’m having an affair. Intellectually I know that it is the same person, but it still feels wrong.

For years, I had another coworker who had this amazing ability to remember people. He could remember their names, their histories, and their families. It was practically a superpower for me because I was happy when I remembered his name after a week. He chided me “just to remember” but the techniques he’s given, the ones I’ve read, the years of trying haven’t produced that much. I am trying, I just don’t recognized anyone.

This isn’t diminish the sheer amount of stress that I went through on my trip to visit the family a few years back. I honestly was terrified I wouldn’t recognized my own aunt when she picked me up at the airport. Thankfully, she called and told me she was pulling up… that helped a lot.

I’ve tried to break through this but it is a major struggle. While others are steadily increasing their writing skills and fan bases, I’m trying to recognized my son’s teacher. This is kind of what I tried to write with Rutejìmo’s struggle with himself while the others are gaining all these powers; it’s a humiliating experience and downright depressing.

As another side, I remember smells and voices a lot better. I can’t understand words a lot (a different problem) but I usually identify actors on the TV by their voices more than anything else. And I have this really strange sense of smell that has helped me a lot, even when folks change their cologne or perfume, it is a really strong mnemonic for me.

There is also a darker tone to this chapter: when Chimípu and Rutejìmo talk about growing old. Chimípu points out that there is only one warrior in the clan who ever “retired.” The rest were killed, usually from a fight. This is actually a nod to some events in Sand and Bone.

Read Sand and Blood 21: From the Shadows at http://ift.tt/2awqIvG.

Sand and Blood 22: Shadows From Sunlight

I like stories with power discoveries, as long as they aren’t repeated constantly (Spider-Man and Superman both come to mind). I always felt that Rutejìmo’s powers came really quickly (the day they were abandoned) but earlier post talk about how forced ignorance actually helps with the this process. He was left specifically in an infantile state just so he would manifest the strongest powers possible. Of course, we don’t find out that one reason he was weak was because he actually has the powers of two spirits.

Pidòhu, on the other hand, knew exactly what was going on. So it has taken him this long to even get a hint of power from his clan spirit, Tateshyúso. Having the second spirit was an interesting challenge. While Shimusògo grants the ability to run at high speed, throwing fireballs, and kinetic transfer, I needed Tateshyúso to be complementary but still powerful. Most of her powers don’t show up in this book but they have wind control and wind form. Their biggest strength is the ability to take on a elemental-like form that travels in the wind and lets them keep up with the Shimusògo runners.

Of everyone in this book, Pidòhu is actually the second most powerful character. He’s the “priest/mage” if I was writing about a gaming group. Chimípu is closer to a paladin/holy champion if you went with the idea of being a champion of a specific god/spirit. But for all his power, he still starts weak and growing in power over time.

Read Sand and Blood 22: Shadows From Sunlight at http://ift.tt/2auy863.

Flight of the Scions 27: Change of Clothes

On the other side, in Flight of the Scions, Kanéko learns about the villain that I fired from this book. When I first wrote the book, there were two major plots woven together, hers and Garèo’s. Since I switched to a single point of view novel, Garèo’s part has been deferred until his own book, Kin-Killer. It will be a few years before that book every has a chance to be revealed.

But until then, Kanéko is learning that her annoying instructor killed his own family, had a major bounty on his head, and someone wanted him to stab him with an unnamed sword.

This chapter also introduces one of the antagonists for the next book, Pack Daughter. Again, in the original version of Flight, I actually identify “Las” with a couple scenes with Sinmak. But with Kanéko’s limited point of view, the reader actually doesn’t know who they are until it is revealed later.

Read Flight of the Scions 27: Change of Clothes http://ift.tt/2awpVLh (subscribers)

Patrons

More so in the near future than the past, my writing is supported by patrons and donations. Releasing the books as Creative Commons means you can read it before you buy it. If you like it, then consider donating money or subscribing to have access to all my drafts and published novels.

Sand and Ash

Speaking of releasing books, Sand and Ash is now out! The entire book has been completed and posted, along with EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions. It is also on various online stores, in print, and generally spread out to everywhere but a single vendor (Smashwords).

Some of them charge $0.99 for a copy because I couldn’t make it free, but there is a free version on the link above. Please read it and tell me what you think. If you like it, then buy a print version, become a patron, or throw me some dollars. If you don’t want to spend money, please review it.

This is a terrifying point. As the last few years of Sand and Blood has pointed out, I don’t have a lot of readers. There are a few awesome folks who have read it and reviewed it, but I’m lucky to get a book sold a month after a peak of less than twenty books on month. So many other authors talk about making dozens or hundreds of sales a month. I’m happy to have one.

Making it free doesn’t mean I skimped on it. I paid for two editors to go through the books and had a dozen people reading it. I’ve worked on this novel for years and dropped a large hunk of change on it to make it the best possible book I could produce. I just hope that I wrote something moving enough that it will bring someone joy (and tears) in the end.
These two chapters are about lessons, though only one is phrased in that manner. Regardless, the main characters learn a thing or two as they prepare for their further adventures.

Sand and Blood 20: Shimusogo Karawàbi

For a long time, I insisted that Sand and Blood was not young adult despite having teenagers. But recently I realized that I had written something that would appeal to me as a teenager. Maybe it is young adult, at least this one.

That said, it has been a struggle since the next novel, Sand and Ash, has a lot more adult topics such as losing a child, suicide, depression, and isolation.

This chapter is one of those reasons I struggled with the classification of this novel. It also is a nod toward one of my favorite books as a teenager, Lord of the Flies and one of the inspiration for this novel. It is a more violent chapter and also points out one of the risks that Rutejìmo and the others face on their adventure.

There is death in this chapter along with a rotting corpse, if that bothers you.

Read Sand and Blood 20: Shimusogo Karawàbi at http://ift.tt/29CLsRI.

Flight of the Scions 26: Life’s Lessons

On the other side, Flight of the Scions is less about finding dead people in the wilderness and more of a shortened training montage, an explanation of how telepathy works, and even the starting lessons of using magic.

This chapter is important because it helps establish that the trio is acutally improving their skills. All of them are important to the rest of the story including Kanéko’s archery, Maris’ magic, and Ruben’s telepathy. Interestingly enough, so is speaking Miwāfu.

I like training montages because they also advance time. It takes a while to learn. What I don’t like about montages is when the trained character is somehow an expert. These kids won’t be, but they will be better prepared to handle the trials before them.

Read Flight of the Scions 26: Life’s Lessons http://ift.tt/29C2GCL (subscribers)

Patrons

More so in the near future than the past, my writing is supported by patrons and donations. Releasing the books as Creative Commons means you can read it before you buy it. If you like it, then consider donating money or subscribing to have access to all my drafts and published novels.