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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

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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.
It is interesting when the two chapters line up. In both cases, the protagonists of each series had just gotten through an action scene. It isn’t always true, but these are both followed by an introspection chapter where they deal with the consequences of their choices in the previous fight.

Sand and Blood 19: Humiliated

In the previous chapter, poor Rutejìmo peed his pants and watched Chimípu save his ass from a warrior of the night. All of his dreams and hopes crushed in a single moment. This is the chapter at that point, when the full weight of his weakness is brought to bear and he realizes that he will never be a good as he hoped.

Plus Pidòhu starts to manifest his powers but from a different spirit. Tateshyúso is another bird spirit like Shimusògo, but in a much different category. Think Pokemon with the different types of creatures. Actually, in this world, spirits are categories not unlike Pokemon that identifies how their powers are used: Shimusògo runs in front of his clan and they gain their powers mimicking him; Tateshyúso is driven by the will of her clan and the shadows show how they are using her power.

I don’t go deeply into the relationship between Shimusògo and Tateshyúso in any of the Sand books. It is kind of a spiritual marriage. The two spirits work together for protection and company and their clan does the same. About half of all the clans are part of that type of relationship with the other half (such as Kosòbyo and Wamifūko) being single and no long-term relationships. There is also a smattering of triads and quads, but they are relegated to the fringes of society because there is a strong “either be single or married” belief in the desert.

Read Sand and Blood 19: Humiliated at http://ift.tt/29hMi5F.

Flight of the Scions 24: A Trade

This is an interesting chapter. It is a bit weak, but it does bring a lot into the story. The most obvious is how telepathy works in my world. Kanéko is considerably more proactive than Rutejìmo and her request to learn it is a reflection of that. Of course, it could be because Damagar is invading her thoughts at the beginning of the chapter… but, who knows.

We also get to know a bit more about Ruben: why Damagar wants him dead, the part of his name that is part of a third language in my world, and also his desire not to talk about what makes him a threat to every telepathic creature in the known world.

I was thinking about italics when it comes to conlang names. I decided to keep the Miwāfu names italic mainly because this book has plots related to languages and I use notational translation frequently. I’m still waffling over the italics for Sand and Blood but I stuck with italics there until at least Sand and Bone.

Read Flight of the Scions 24: A Trade http://ift.tt/29hMDVL (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.

Patrons can also read the work-in-progress of the final book of the series, Sand and Bone. Everything up to chapter fourteen is now up.

Sand and Ash progress

The print version of Sand and Ash has been approved and it is now winding its way through the distribution channels. This is a fantastic moment for me, mainly because I have a second book out. The ebooks aren’t quite ready, I’m juggling just a few too many things to get it publish but I’m hoping in a week or so it will be ready.

The biggest distraction is the author signing on July 16th. The signing is going to be fun, there are going to be thirty authors or publishers (including three from Broken Typewriter Press) showing off their books.
This week, the chapters actually deal with the same topic: fighting in the dark. There is something about blind fighting that appeals to me. I got lucky in my early years by having fairly good night vision. It help compensate for the poor vision that plagued me until my mid-twenties when I got surgery. However, the appeal of seeing in the dark has remained with me and this chapter reflects that.

Sand and Blood 18: Quiet-Voiced Threat

In general, I don’t like the idea that the night or moon clan is “evil.” I don’t like the idea of evil at all, but it is easy for someone in the sun clan to view the moon clan as evil. I break that notion pretty quickly though since Mikáryo, one of my favorite characters, doesn’t slaughter the group. Instead, her attitude will set the scene for her and Rutejìmo’s relationship until the end of the last book of the series.

Most warriors, both sun and moon clans, can see in the dark. It is needed since their opponents are functional in the one time they are weakest. Likewise, I see the warriors as capable of storing up energy to fight when their respective spirits are below the horizon. This is why Desòchu and Chimípu can use their speed at night through the next book but Rutejìmo can’t.

This chapter is also a chance for Chimípu to show off and begin to explore the powers that only warriors have. The little fighter girl is capable of fighting in darkness with only their powers lighting up the combat. Of course, Mikáryo is a seasoned warrior and Chimípu has only had her powers for a few weeks. And there is only one thing a warrior of the night could do when a young woman of the day clan has been defeated.

Read Sand and Blood 18: Quiet-Voiced Threat at http://ift.tt/29aP4xP.

Flight of the Scions 24: Fight or Flight

As I mentioned before, healers are pretty rare. Outside of the story, they are a crutch. Inside the story, they have far more powers than closing up a wound or setting a bone. This chapter shows some of those additional spells which were inspired by the physical adepts of ShadowRun. Kanéko gets a chance to see what it is like to be boosted.

This chapter also begins to explore the sheer amount of information that Ruben deals with on a daily basis. Now days, I would say it would be a knock-off from the TV series Sherlock, but I’m still sticking with it. He sees the world in quantifiable metrics and I like that aspect for him.

(In a recent Fate game, one of the players had the power of Hyperanalysis which let her see things like measurements and distances in real time. The hard part is that I had to limit that power because it can be too helpful, as long as it isn’t overwhelming.)

This is actually one of my favorite chapters: Kanéko gets boosted, Ruben shows off, Maris learns how to use magic, someone gets to fly, my conlang has a plot-related event, and Pahim gets the crap beaten out of him again. And that whole conversation about red balls is just a setup for this chapter.

Read Flight of the Scions 24: Fight or Flight http://ift.tt/29aP2pK (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.

Patrons can also read the work-in-progress of the final book of the series, Sand and Bone. Everything up to chapter fourteen is now up.

Sand and Ash progress

I got a round of edits for Sand and Ash and I have integrated them. I’m asking for one last round of editing but I should have it by the end of the month which means I’ll be ordering copies for the author signing on July 16th in the beginning of next week. The signing is going to be fun, there are going to be thirty authors or publishers (including three from Broken Typewriter Press) showing off their books.
Both chapters this week deal with the interplay of differing personalities working together. I didn’t intended it to line up, but it was interesting that it did. I like cooperative stories. I love it when people work together instead of infighting or going their own way. That is reflected in some of my writing, more so with these two “three character” novels that I apparently wrote but didn’t realize it until I wrote this.

Sand and Blood 17: An Evening Run

One of the topics I haven’t seen frequently in novels is the idea of addiction. These teenagers (or young folks) gain these super powers and can do tremendous powers. Excluding the ones that just turn evil right away, there isn’t much about what it is like to have these powers. Most of the time we get a short montage training session and then they are off.

In my world, stronger powers are addictive since there is a rush of power and an euphoria that comes with it. For the Shimusògo, the surge comes from running at high speed and having the power of the clan spirit flowing through it. A long time ago, I once was a rather obscure anime about a bunch of girls who raced down a ramp and performed long jobs. One of the major themes in that story was this burst of light as they lost themselves into the run and they had a “perfect” sprint. While Rutejìmo will (probably) never experience that rush, that anime drama does make its mark in this chapter.

This is also the point where “Shimusògo Run” became the clan motto. I may have used it earlier, but this was the first time. They run, it is the only thing they do to touch their spirit and that brief touch with a god-like being is addictive. They find peace in running. If you look through this novel and the next, you may notice that every Shimusògo runs when they are stressed or need to calm down. That is all tied into this idea of joy of running (something I personally never have experienced).

Oh yeah, and Rutejìmo learns how to throw fireballs using a rocks.

Read Sand and Blood 17: An Evening Run at http://ift.tt/28RO5hW.

Flight of the Scions 23: Midnight

There is a lot in this chapter, but one I can’t talk about until book four of this series. There are a lot of little hooks with the rest of the series throughout this book, I have all four planned, but they are (hopefully) subtle ones that won’t be obvious until later. We’ll see if I’m that awesome in three years.

So, you may notice the casual healing in this chapter. It was right before I read a book on RPG design that explained how magical healing was a crutch. I had already established that Virsian has magical healing and decided not to change it. Instead, healing became one of the rarest of magical talents (right up with folding) in my fantasy world and the dalpre is one of those rare individuals. Actually, that ended up leading me into an idea for another book, Her Hidden Claws, which if I write it, would be her story as a little girl finding out about her powers.

This is a world-building chapter in that it talks a bit about dalpre. In my world, they are a crafted race of humans that were spliced with animal features. There are some other traits encoded into them, much like Mercedes Lackey’s Black Gryphon, which I adored. Some of them are obvious, some less so. The biggest is that the child of a dalpre is always a dalpre. They are also vulnerable to mental domination (seen in the “red ball” chapter from earlier) and orders.

This chapter also gives a hint of Kanéko’s compassion when she worries about the horse she injured a few chapters later. The hardest part is that she is a teenage girl, she doesn’t always do the right thing, but she means well. In many ways, she is more heroic than Rutejìmo, but she also treated her weakness as a challenge instead of something to accept.

Read Flight of the Scions 23: Midnight http://ift.tt/28MsiLz (subscribers)

Italics

So, this little micro-conversation showed up on Twitter.

@bbeaulieu I agree with it. I just didn't with my books because I have language dependent plots and use notionally translated pretty heavily

— D. Moonfire (@dmoonfire) June 19, 2016

I never really thought about it before, obviously, and I went back and italicized all of the conlang words in Sand and Blood. Because of that, I didn’t want to go back and remove all those words (though it required a lot more effort on my part). Also, in Flight of the Scions, the language is very important to the plot and I use both notationally translated (“you bitch”) and untranslated words (barichirōma) rather heavily. After a bit of thinking, I decided to keep the italics in place because it was a visual indicator that a different language was being spoke.

The reason I decided to leave it in the Sand series (because everyone is speaking the same language) was consistency with Kanéko’s story.

The hard part is deciding what to do with the telepathy. I foolishly included a lot of that in this novel also and there are times when I have all three languages being used in the same chapter (though I don’t think in the same paragraph). I know that I’m going to use guillemet for telepathy, such as «You can hear this in your mind.» I originally got the idea from Diane Duane’s So You Want To Be a Wizard series which I absolutely adore. She used parenthesis in there but I drifted slightly from the original idea.

Now, the other difference was that when I originally wrote it, telepathy was sans-serif while the rest was serif. That changed two years ago when I wrote Journals of Fedran because I used sans-serif for out-of-world elements and serif for in-world. I’m inclined to keep that convention, which means I’ll probably leave telepathy italicized and serif.

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 progress

I ordered the proof of the new Sand and Blood with its shiny cover. I’m also waiting for the editor for Ash. Once I get that, I have a little bit of page shuffling to add some extra cruft at the back (for its license and advertising of the other books in the series). It’s taking a while, but I’m almost there and that excited me.

Missing Files

The electronic copies of the files are still missing, I’m obsessing about getting the books out and I don’t think I’ll have the recovered until after July 16th.

Why I go to WisCon to be uncomfortable

Yesterday, I posted about trigger warnings in my book. I had some short conversations on both Ello and Facebook. The Ello ones were typically against what I was doing, much in the same vein that Jim C. Hines’ post brought up there were people against it. The Facebook ones were more personal (e.g., direct friends). Shannon Ryan pointed out that an author writing a warning was more of a courtesy than censorship because I’m choosing to do it instead of someone warning a reader off. It was an interesting observation and one I agreed with.

The Ello conversation triggered some thoughts, though. This one line in specific called to me:

[…] in our generation we think being alive is an invitation to being uncomfortable with ideas that we find disturbing.

I do think literature (and whatever I write) should be uncomfortable. I think what I write in Sand and Blood and its sequels are probably uncomfortable for a number of people. There is bigotry, abuse, and personal struggles. They aren’t stories of glorious heroes running around saving the world (I break some of that with Sand and Bone). Some of the other stories I want to write will also be uncomfortable for some readers.

I think that is great.

I also don’t think that giving a warning in the front of a book diminishes from that. There are readers who will have triggers toward a specific scene, but they can handle it if they are mentally prepared for it. I’ll use miscarriage for example. It still haunts the women in my life who had lost unborn children. Some of them will never read Sand and Ash because of it. Others will know it is there, prepare mentally, and read it anyways. Knowing that it is there doesn’t mean I’m censoring any more than anyone who struggle with those things will not read it just because they are there. I know at least one rape survivor who read Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, they just skipped chapters.

Side note, I haven’t found a good way of identifying themes on a chapter basis that wouldn’t ruin the plot. That would be the equivalent of “skipping the scene” in a movie, but I don’t know a way of doing it smoothly. Plus some of the themes cover many chapters. In *Ash, the miscarriage is spread out across three chapters but it influences the character until the end of the book, nine chapters later.*

I realized that I seek being uncomfortable in more than a few instances in my life. The most recent is my attendance at WisCon. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am frequently depressed on the last day of WisCon but I keep coming back.

This discomfort is important. I honestly don’t think you can really look into yourself without a mirror. And no physical mirror can really reveal the heart. Instead, the mirror has to be others around you.

Take for example, cultural appropriation. I thought about doing a post about it, mainly because I didn’t see why it was a bad thing or even that it was an issue. But in the process of planning that post, I realized the fact I couldn’t see “why” was actually a problem with my thinking. It was an issue but my blindness toward it was the problem.

As an apparently cis white male, I’m in the majority for this country. Even though I don’t really see myself as having a specific culture, I do. But I couldn’t see it any more than most people don’t realize that every aisle in the grocery store that isn’t “ethic” is the majority culture. We don’t label the aisles as “non-ethic” or “everyone else”, but that is there.

Needless to say, I didn’t write that post. Instead, I have this uncomfortable spot in my head with a sign that says “you are missing something” but no real answers. I don’t have them, I don’t know how to fill in that gap. Events like WisCon that at least let me know they exist. Years later, I might figure it out, but it takes a while to first find the hole and then to fill it up.

One way of filling in that gap is simple, listen. For the most part, I go to WisCon to listen to others. To see the world in a different way than I see every other day of the year. To hear things that haven’t intruded in my reality for over four decades simply because I wasn’t in a position to experience them.

When I hear something that makes me uncomfortable, I fight that initial urge to ask questions or argue against it. It is there, I hate that it is there because there is so much in me that wants to say its wrong, but I know it isn’t. I don’t want to minimize the experiences and observations of others simply because they are just as true as my own. When someone is aggressively ranting against whites or males, they have have something to say and it is just as important for me to hear without responding as it is for others to listen also. I know it is personal but not at the same time.

When that happens, I focus on remembering what caused me to disagree and set it aside to look at it later. To plan but never write a post about it, to use it as inspiration for a story to help me understand something I have a blank spot for, or simply to learn how to fill in those gaps in my thinking.

The reason I get depressed coming home from WisCon is not because it wasn’t fun or because no one loves me, but a simple side effect of listening to others and integrating their views into my own. These are things that aren’t figured out in an hour or a day, it takes a long time. Sometimes it takes years to fill in the gaps and see the world outside of my own senses.

Another reason for depression is that I realize I’m doing something wrong. Either one of my unintended microaggressions is revealed or my reasons for doing something may be well-meaning but ultimately insulting. I’m sure including Kanéko in my story will probably insult someone as will the Japanese/French/First Nations influences I used to create the desert culture.

Some of those revelations change my life. I used to greet almost everyone while walking on the sidewalk. I don’t because someone showed that some women suffer from being greeted simply because they are female. Since I don’t have the ability to say “I like everyone”, they just see yet another guy trying to talk them up. And that’s an honest problem, I only did it because I hated the anonymous work crowds in Chicago where everyone desperately pretended not to be surrounded by others. It is a minor thing to me, but it could ruin someone’s day.

I honestly would say I’m not an ally, a feminist, or anything else. I’m just fumbling through life, trying to be as open and welcoming as I can be. As such, that requires me to go into the uncomfortable places to learn where I have failed.

I love WisCon because it makes me uncomfortable. I like listening to people talk about their lives and reveal something I can’t ever understand. I love when I feel the passion and fire, not only because it scorches my own basis of understanding but because it is a story I haven’t heard. I because it makes me uncomfortable, it changes me, and it helps me fill in the gaps to (hopefully) grow into a better person.