War of Nytefall: Savagery On the Horizon!

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Feels like it’s been a long time since I prepared for a new release.  Actually, it was early September and that had to be a decade ago.  Now, I’m preparing to release War of Nytefall: Savagery in about a month.  So begins the posts about Dawn Fangs and the upcoming story.  Hopefully, it gets people interested, especially since this a book where a lot of things happen.  Supporting characters get more attention, Mab’s issues take a turn, a frightening new villain appears, the miracle of un-life is seen, and Clyde is driven right into a corner.  That’s a long list of things to accomplish, right?

This was a difficult book to write.  It’s the 6th of the 8 book series and it went through many changes.  The main villain who turns up is another third party who threatens Nyte and Nytefall, but he’s different in one important way.  He’s as strong and vicious as Clyde, which means this isn’t a problem that can be overpowered.  It’s truly a battle of monsters, but that can only go for so long.  Total boredom if it’s 200 pages of these two having a slugfest while the others watch.  That’s why it was tricky to work on.  I had this great battle in mind, but it could only be done once.  So, what was the answer?

Readers will see Clyde do something he’s never done before in the series.  He’s going to have to get some training, which was awkward.  How do you have a guy get stronger when he can already split a mountain with one blow?  Where would he do this too?  I had to create an isolated land with an intricate background for him to go through a series of challenges.  Originally, this was going to be a ‘Twelve Tasks of Hercules’ type of thing and you can see it remained.  I’ll get more into this on the 17th when I talk about the challenge of having Clyde train.

I also had to keep the new villain busy, which was originally going to be Mab’s job.  Only I gave her the drug addiction in the previous volume, so the chances of her being able to handle this wasn’t very good.  This guy would know her weakness, so he’d pounce on her right away.  This meant that I had to hand the job of toying with him to the rest of the cast, which included the villains this time.  To be honest, I’m rather proud of how I fleshed out a handful of characters who hadn’t had many spotlight moments.  The only one I can mention here without major spoilers is Kai Stavros.  I’ve been tormenting him for a while with him becoming mortal, hyper-aging, and then barely getting that under control while staying mortal.  His loyalty to Xavier Tempest has been a surprise strength that I finally get to show along with how cunning he can be.  If I had to pick a secondary hero in this volume, it would be him.

Does it sound like I’m excited to unleash this volume?  I really am because it’s one of the ideas that I’ve had stirring since the beginning.  Clyde vs this new villain was part of the original concept.  Those who have read Ravenous already met this character briefly, but there isn’t much known about him.  I don’t even know how much I can talk about since he’s a big spoiler in my mind.  Not until I get closer to the release date.  With this book getting published, I only have the penultimate and finale volumes left.  Having finished them last year, my mind is already moving on to the next series, so I kind of want to just blurt out everything.  Especially here because I think this guy came out better than I imagined.

So, enjoy the month of promos and we’ll start seeing some Teaser Tuesdays for the book coming soon.  If anybody wants to help announce when the book is live then let me know.  I can either send you the standard ‘book is live’ post or write a special one if you have a topic that you know will appeal to your audience.  Thanks.

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Expansion Pack: Comedy wrap up

Hi, Gang. Craig with you once more. This time I want to wrap up the mini-series about writing comedy. In the previous two posts, we gave a list of …

Expansion Pack: Comedy wrap up
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Future Work: Sutyra . . . Again

Succubus from Castlevania

Who is Sutyra?

This is a character I designed in college and keep wanting to use.  She’s half lust demon and half something else.  I originally had her a demon-conquered Earth and she is freed by a human who she travels with.  Angels, demons, and humans began fighting again with her in the middle.  Sutyra used two magical pistols and loved causing trouble while getting drawn into bigger events.  Then, I moved her to Windemere . . .

What happened in Windemere?

I couldn’t figure out what to do.  She’s a fun character to write since she’s uninhibited, impulsive, and lacking in any ambitions beyond having fun.  Sutyra embodies so much freedom.  Yet, I could never figure out where here story could go.  I can’t have demons conquer Windemere since that wrecks all the other stories.  I can’t give her the guns because that technology doesn’t really exist.  Well, it does within a specific, highly regulated group, which she can’t join.  I tried her in a political thriller and she balked to the point where I tossed most of it.  I tried her in a short story series, but she was too directionless for that.  It was frustrating, so I shelved her.

Why bring her up now?

I was going through my ideas to organize them since I’m close to jumping to another notebook.  The Legends/Nytefall/Slumberlord book was done and now The Ether Thief one is nearly completed.  I could go with Mylrixians, Windemere history, groups, or kingdom builders.  Sutyra was sitting among that last category even though most of the stuff was crossed out.  All I could do was stare at the name and feel bad that a character I loved the design of couldn’t be used.

Or could she?

I think on problem was that I kept taking her away from the original structure, which was a trilogy.  If I think of her as a 3 act character then I feel more comfortable.  Parts of her different adventures can be added too.  I came up with this:

  1. Book 1–  A boy wanders into the Chaos Void and awakens Sutyra who protects him while they search for a way out.  This expands the Chaos Void as a location.
  2. Book 2–  They find themselves in Windemere and wander around while being hunted by a variety of enemies.  Demons want Sutyra returned, paladins have been called to destroy her, and there’s a mystery group.  They’re helped by a demon who has been trapped on Windemere for years and stumble onto an enclave of more masterless demons, who don’t want to go back to the Chaos Void.
  3. Book 3–  Sutyra and her friends have to protect the enclave while her true nature causes trouble.  I don’t know where this goes . . .

That’s where I start having trouble.  I want Sutyra to evolve, but I’m also not sure if I should have her settle in any way.  Can I have her continue to wander and be free after major events?  Is there a middle ground?  What do I give her for weapons?  I think I switched those to giant tonfas or kamas at some point.  Guess there’s a lot that I have to figure out here.  Any of this sound fun and interesting?

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Chest in a Vise Week

There’s no other way to describe it because my week ended with me feeling like my chest was stuck in a vise.  Drama in every direction.  This is coming off a break, so I might have had my defenses down.  Still, I didn’t expect to get so wrecked that every night was a struggle to stay awake long enough to get a little me time.  I wasn’t always successful, which resulted in me falling asleep and then waking up earlier.  That continued the cycle, but I got to sleep in a bit this morning.

Most of what happened can’t be talked about here.  Just a combination of getting back to work, my son getting back to school, interacting with people, and a sense of feeling both lost and forgotten.  Beyond work, there wasn’t much in the way of socialization even last weekend because things didn’t work out that way.  I couldn’t even tell you what I did beyond laundry too.  Everything is a blur from the stress.  Before anyone suggests relaxing, I did that and it seems to only tee me up for a blow to the head.  Pretty sure this is where many people will stop reading and jump to the comments too.

Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Fantasy Writing Tips) is in limbo for now.  I’ve been unable to find any beta readers or an artist to do both the cover and a few inserts.  Tried my best, but nothing happened and I have to barrel forward with both work and getting War of Nytefall: Savagery ready for an April release.  Need to do the blurb and a final editing run on that, which might start this week.  Things are definitely getting more difficult since I can barely keep myself afloat on the blog and writing.  Doubt the will change any decade soon. I think that realization added to the stress because I have no idea what to do with Do I Need to Use a Dragon? and I refuse to put it on the blog for free.  I spent 2 . . . 3 years working on that one during lunch breaks, free periods, and whenever I had some extra time.  So, it’s on the shelf until I can get beta readers and an artist.  Those internal pictures are the reason why I can’t go to 99designs even though that isn’t always the best option either.

The only other thing I did was outlining, which led to the completion of a short story collection set up.  Realized I had enough space in the notebook to squeeze in a 6 book spin-off series of a Windemere character that was influenced by James Bond.  Not a huge amount of core characters there and I think I’m only going to do 14 chapters per book to keep things simple.  Much of it depends on how he comes off in the series he debuts in since he wields a six-shooter.  Every time I mention him, people start struggling to explain how the technology can be abused and why it shouldn’t exist.  They bring up methods to undo it that go against the Windemere rules, so it’s almost like the appearance of a gun in fantasy triggers something in people.  It’s weird and has me nervous about using him in general, but he’s a character that I’ve been tinkering with since high school.  I think he’ll work out fine.

Well . . . I don’t really have anything else to talk about since last week was all work, little play, and massive stress.  Think seeing politics appear from corners that I never expected them caused me to pull back too.  Watched another live-action ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ movie and an anime called ‘Vandread’.  First thing was fun and I learned right afterwards that they’re making two more, so watching the third doesn’t mean it’s the end.  The anime was . . . eh.  Really old-school and corny, so I faded in and out.  Oh, and I watched ‘Murder Princess’ too, which was only 6 episodes, but fun and to the point.  Haven’t picked out another series yet either.  I might just go down the queued list, which means it will be ‘Scrapped Princess’ and I’ll go through the motions.  Not touching any major outlining until I’m out of this funk, so there may be some anime sacrifices to my mood.

Next week is all work and maybe some play.  Really need a haircut.  I have my son for part of the week too, so I won’t attempt anything big while he’s here.  If anything, I’ll start editing War of Nytefall: Savagery for neatness and typos.  That might take me a week and a half, which puts it in perfect position for release in April.  Yeah, I’m not that interesting right now.

Goals of the week:

  1. Work
  2. Parenting
  3. Finish scheduling April posts.  Any May topics?
  4. Outline series
  5. Final edit for War of Nytefall: Savagery
  6. Blurb too
  7. TV?
  8. Puzzle time to help relax
  9. Haircut
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Poem for the Stars

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Sparkles in ink
Perhaps ever changing
Though we will never see
How many have ceased?
And we still receive their glow
Carving pictures
To tell our tales
Or using them to guide
Helpful to our people
Evoking dreams
And calm
From infinities away

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Immortal Wars: Light, Blood, & Tears Part 7

(Disclaimer: A warning to those who continue.  This is a sequel to a previous story.  Both of these were written in the mid-1990’s.  While the first one was slightly edited and vanity press published, this one has not been touched in over 20 years.  I figure I should do something with it and people may get a laugh or fright from how I used to be.  Every author comes from somewhere, so this is part of my origin.  To that end, I am deeply sorry for whatever nightmares I will inflict on the literary world and the American English language.  Enjoy?)

PREVIOUS ENTRY CLICK HERE

Soon after the four villains had left for Earth, Mindtrigger had dragged Kilanus to his lab.  The ninety-foot square room is filled with computers, chemicals, and alien bodies that are being dissected by small robots with treads.  Attached to this room is another room of the same size.  One large computer is in this area as well as several pieces of unique, high-tech workout equipment.  A small table with a pile of magazines is next to the door.

“Don’t worry, Kilanus.  I don’t need too much of your blood.  Only four or five pints.  They’ll be back in your system within two minutes at most,” says Mindtrigger, who has an empty syringe the length of an adult’s arm.

“There really is no need for this.  I feel far beyond perfect.  So, just put the big needle down,” laughs Kilanus as she backs away from him.

“Don’t be such a wuss.  It won’t hurt at all after the first few seconds.  You’ll only feel a very big pinch.  I promise.”

“Seriously.”

“Yes.  Try not to pass out though because then we will have to do it again.  Hold very still.  I don’t want to miss or put the needle through you.  That would be messy and my cleaning drones are being upgraded to clean faster.”  The scientist plunges the tip of the needle into Kilanus’ left arm and spends the next ten minutes dealing with a thrashing teenage super weapon.

“There we go.  I need this in order to study your DNA and find out about your full power potential.  How do you feel, Kilanus?” asks Mindtrigger as he puts the blood in a thick, metal container.  He puts the container into a compartment that resembles a small microwave, which is in the center of the computer.

“I’m fine.  But will somebody please stop the room from spinning.  This kind of thing happens to me way too often.  And why can’t I feel my legs!” yells Kilanus in a dizzy voice.

“Hmmm.  It would appear that your body’s recuperative enzymes are still working on some minor internal injuries.  I had hoped that you would have recovered faster than this.  So, the blood will be back in a minute or three.”

“What internal injuries?”

“Some of your organs are still somewhat damaged from the atom smashing missile that hit you two days ago.  It probably took a lot of power for you to pull yourself back together so quickly.  Honestly, I’m surprised you were able to pull yourself back together at all considering the mess you made on the space bar walls.  That should teach you to pick a fight with a Dorian mercenary while she has any weapons with her.  Feeling any better?”

“Yeah.  Why are we having this surprise examination?”

Mindtrigger stares at his computer for a while before saying, “Since your psyche was been fixed, you have changed physically.  The changes started immediately and finished appearing last week.  The obvious changes are that you have become taller, leaner, and your body is more . . . mature, to put it bluntly.  I’ve been wondering if there are any changes in your powers and abilities.  Adriana has been keeping me so busy with pointless anti-guardian projects, so I have not had a chance to examine you.  But when she was here, I finally talked her into permitting these tests.”

“Tests?  As in, more than one test.  How many are we talking about?  Why don’t you just copy Fate’s abilities?  Our DNA is similar.”

“Fate?  I tend to ignore that minor fact, since I have noticed some genes in both of you that have managed to mutate every week.  Both of you have DNA that remains unstable and never stays the same.  This allows for your immunity to the guardian weapons.  It is only a rare and, I hate to admit this, unexplainable coincidence.  Now, which piece of data do we want first?”

“The blood sample.  Definitely the blood sample.  Gives me more time to figure out how to get out of this.”  The young blond carefully makes a fist-sized ball of green energy and starts bouncing it off the walls like a rubber ball.  The evil scientist doesn’t realize the flying emerald sphere until it nails him in the back of his head.

“What the hell is that, Kilanus?”

“This?  I think it’s some of my excess life force.  Neat trick, huh?  Now, I don’t have to wait for someone to die.  I can store these things for five months.  After that, they automatically get reabsorbed into my body.  Is this a problem?” she answers as she catches the ball by blindly raising her hand.

“No.  But now the blood test is completely useless.  I was going to use it in order to find any changes in your birthright powers and for a better explanation of its applications.  If you had told me about this trick, I would have used the smaller syringe and you would not have been hurt.  Step up to the machine over there, please, and we’ll continue the tests.”

Kilanus steps up to a bulky piece of equipment with a bright red number screen on the top of it.  The front of this machine is in the shape of a large, multi-limbed alien with a big sensor pad in his stomach and chest.  A low hum rises from the machine’s coolant system once Mindtrigger pushes a few hidden buttons.

“This is to test your muscle strength.  Hit the sensors as hard as you possibly can.  Use each of your limbs in a clockwise cycle, so I can properly gauge each one’s physical power.  The average for an immortal is five hundred and forty pounds of force for every two square inches.  I doubt that you’ll be able to beat Draveon’s one thousand pound record.  Left arm first when you begin and try to go slowly,” explains Mindtrigger as he fine-tunes the sensors.

“Do you think my mom’s plan actually work?” asks Kilanus as she begins to punch and kick the sensor pads.  She does about five cycles before Mindtrigger even looks up to speak to her.

“Depends.  The forces of luck are truly impossible to predict and I never expect anything to go exactly the way that Adriana plans.  You can stop now.  Seven hundred for both arms and seven-fifty for both legs.  This means you can crush rocks with your legs and hands if you decided to use all of your strength.  Of course, the bones and organs of any healthy immortal can usually deal with impacts of, at most, eight hundred pounds of force.  We also tend to pull our punches unless we get very angry.  Unconscious control of one’s abilities is just another joy of being an immortal.  Get on the funny looking treadmill and start running.”

“What do you think can possibly go wrong?”  Kilanus begins running, but after three or four minutes of doing her top speed, something in the machine burns out.  The speed testing treadmill simply stops in the middle of the test and the blond girl runs into the wall.  As she gets to her feet, Kilanus looks at the dent in the wall that is shaped just like her.

“That had to hurt.  I knew I should have put more than a forty mile-per-hour limit on the treadmill.  We have about two more tests before I do what your mom really wanted.  Hurry up.”

“You didn’t answer my question,” says Kilanus.  She is put into a large, glass box that is pulled up to the ceiling by a pulley system.  Hundreds of tiny lasers are on the box’s surface and once Mindtrigger hits a blue button, the violet lasers start firing inside the box.  To make things even worse, the violet beams bounce around for a little over a minute before disappearing and being replaced by another one.  As time goes on, the lasers become more numerous and faster.

“Let me answer your question.  Your mother never puts much thought into her plans and this one is just a way for her to release some of her pent up anger.  She doesn’t really care if the planet guardians win or die during this mission.  As long as she hits something very hard, and she can hit very hard, your mother will be happy.  Are you doing okay in there?”

“I’m fine.  What is this box supposed to test?  How long before I get pissed off and break something?”  She is busy bouncing and dodging lasers like a demented kangaroo on a sugar rush.  As soon as the violet beam gets an inch away from her body, the immortal quickly jumps, ducks, or twists out of the way.  When the tight, ebony garbed girl has finally had enough of the exercise, Kilanus smashes through the box’s floor and lands gracefully on the ground.

“Not bad.  Your reflexes and flexibility are astounding.  I’d take a guess that you could dodge super sonic attacks and practically bend your body in half.  That’s better than anybody unless in the Black Tower.  Adriana would find some real use for that particular move if she could accomplish it,” says the scientist while a small, three-legged robot begins to clean up the shards of glass.

“That’s something I never wanted to know about,” mutters Kilanus as she leans against the wall and takes in a deep, strong breath.

“Sorry.  I thought you knew everything about her . . . hobby.  Anyway, your flexibility is slightly above average, which proves that Fate’s connection to you is next to nothing.  He’s very agile, but not as flexible as you are.  We can skip the durability test if you would tell me how long it takes for your left big toe to grow back.  I’ll just mention the durability test deals with many hammers and knives.”

“I don’t want to know.  It takes approximately two and a half days to grow my left big toe back.  Is that a good or bad thing?”

“It’s average.  For some reason, the left big toe heals slower than every other part of an immortal’s body.  Your limbs would take up to an hour and your other body parts would take around one day.  This is without putting any conscious effort into the healing factor.  Now, let me just lock the doors and we can finish the examination.”  Mindtrigger starts pulling out normal medical equipment from a drawer while a cushioned table rises under Kilanus.

“Don’t worry about a thing, dear.  I will be as gentle as I possibly can.  At least, you’re not as nervous as Hellax because panicking only makes the examination long and rather difficult.  Now, lie down on the table and take off your clothes.  Please.”

“What the hell are you talking about?  My clothes are not coming off, you ancient pervert!” yells Kilanus.  The table clamps down on her limbs, but she eventually breaks free and tries to run through the door.

“Just calm down.  Adriana asked me to do a full medical check up on you.  I am a skilled physician as well as a talented scientist and I won’t do anything that would be considered unprofessional.  Now, take off your clothes and get on the padded table like a good little patient.  Just leave your underwear on.”

“That could be a problem since I’m not wearing any.  I’m out of here,” says Kilanus.  She knees Mindtrigger in the stomach before two large robots enter the room and they attempt to get her ready.  Both robots are beyond repair after a few minutes, although they do manage to get most of her clothes off in one piece.  Only her shirt has been ripped into shreds because of her constant thrashing about.  Throughout the entire examination the blond screams and complains like a five-year-old.

“On days like this I think that I should have listened to my mother and become a dentist,” thinks Mindtrigger before a quick, bare foot hits him in his nose.

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Poem for the Moon

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Trying to light our path
In the midst of darkness
A glowing orb
That casts shadows
And dreams
Taking several forms
As it circles our lives
Even vanishing
Though we know
It shall return
To play games with those
Who roam the night

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Music of Legends of Windemere: Path of the Traitors

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

The penultimate post and volume!  Legends of Windemere: Path of the Traitors was a slight deviation.  I don’t know how people came to it because things were cooling off in general around this time.  Instead of following the champions after the horrors of their previous adventure, this focused on Queen Trinity and other former villains.  The goal is to help the champions and it sets up where many of them end up for the final book.  Prior to creating this volume, I didn’t think of that and they just appeared when needed.  That wasn’t good.  So, I made this book about determination and working for redemption.

This song made me think of Trinity.  The mention of darkness and isolation connects to how she grew up.  Speaking of someone taking everything from a person is Baron Kernaghan and what he did to the chaos elves.  Trinity standing up to the monster who has enslaved and controlled her people for centuries made this one a no-brainer.

This is another one that I can imagine a character rocking out to.  Can’t fully explain why this makes me think of Trinity, but it’s probably because it deals with being free.  There’s a bluntness to the song too.  Thinking about it, other characters show that they are trapped and work towards freedom in this story too.  It comes in different forms, so not everyone sees freedom the same way.

This is a song I’ve loved since high school.  It was one that I went to and tried to think of where I could fit it in.  It landed here because of Trinity’s journey throughout the entire series.  I can’t really put into words how this song makes me feel and the images that it conjures.  Though, I should probably listen to it more often because they’re definitely on the positive side of things.

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Poem for the Sun

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A blazing ball
That would kill us
If we dared approached
Scorching worlds
Or leaving them to freeze
Yet we get its gift
Heat to stop the chill
Light to see our path
It ebbs and flows
Beating down on some
While merely visiting others
A fickle provider
Of what we need to live

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Holistic Reviews

Hello S.E. readers, Gwen with you today to discuss a familiar topic — book reviews. If you’ll journey with me, I hope to spark a smile or two. …

Holistic Reviews
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