Evolution of Quest of the Broken-Hearted

Eevee Evolutions from Pokemon

The biggest influence behind Quest of the Broken-Hearted was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.  I liked the idea of an adventure taking place in a castle full of monsters that the hero is either trying to clear out or escape from.  Kira Grasdon having a whip-like weapon pushed this a bit too.  Still, that doesn’t mean the creation of this story was easy or stable.  It actually wasn’t until 3 years ago that I locked everything in to what you’re going to see.  Prior to that, it went through a long line of transformations with emotionally Kira and Lacarsis the only constant.  So, how did this grow?

Lacarsis

Originally, the story was a one-shot that was named after the City of Evil.  It was a vast structure with only a handful of vicious beasts that were chasing Kira around while she searched for the core.  I hadn’t decided Luke’s fate yet, so she wasn’t as bad as she would become.  I figured I could change it to suit what ending I picked for the main series, so I focused more on the adventure.  This kept falling flat though because I couldn’t really rationalize Kira going in there.  I put it on the back-burner and figured I’d revamp once I locked in Luke’s ending.

Quest of the Broken-Hearted 1

This idea is where the title came from and not much changed beyond Kira’s reason for going into Lacarsis.  She wanted to die this time, but that brought up the question of why would she fight.  I came up with the idea that the main bad guy would be a demon that is posing as Luke Callindor.  This meant she wanted to die and uncover the truth, which made even less sense.  The only thing to come out of this disastrous version is the idea of a demonic ruler, which stayed through the rest of the incarnations.

The Masks

I forgot what the main title was, but I suddenly got the idea to give Kira a trilogy.  She also firmly believed Luke was dead here.  I wanted to show her fall from grace instead of having it happen between books.  So, her first adventure saw her being a vigilante in Gaia.  This was a secret identity due to being a noble and not wanting to cause any problems with her business.  She ended up uncovering a plot to destroy the Grand Counselor’s of Gaia, which was being done by a Masked group of nobles.  She would win, but at the cost of exposing herself and putting her business at risk.

The second book had her working with a young elf named Rayne who she adopted in the first book.  Learning of an item that could revive the dead without fail, Kira sets off with a few friends to find it.  The quest would end in failure and she would return to find that she no longer has her fortune or company.  Even worse, she is struck by a vision of Rayne being with a revived Luke, which drives her insane.  The two fight and the mansion catches fire while Rayne runs away and Kira is nearly killed.  That might be where this idea really went wrong because I made her go full insanity.

The finale was Lacarsis again with Kira wanting to die.  This time, she would enter the City of Evil without there being a call for adventurers and learn that the ruler runs a tournament for those who intrude.  She would be pitted against his monsters and treated much like a gladiator, which began to mimic her old lifestyle.  Kira was still angry and hurting, but every victory pushed her higher up the social hierarchy of Lacarsis.  This lead to an interesting conflict where she is among monsters, but is more accepted than in human society because she’s entertaining. Since I never wrote this version, I can’t say how it would end in terms of her mentality.

Quest of The Broken-Hearted Now

I eventually realized a trilogy was too much and I simply didn’t want to fully retire Kira Grasdon.  Once I accepted that things have to end, I went back to the roots of the original idea.  The third book was kept with its tournament, I retained the demonic ruler, and made it that Kira had been ostracized for her belief that Luke is alive.  She developed that apathy toward living, which I’ll admit is an emotional state that I was in when I did the outlining.  When Legends of Windemere in the final stages and the ending for Luke Callindor chosen, I found it easier to gauge her mentality.  There’s a fragility to her this time, but a steel core. It’s almost like the new Kira Grasdon can have her outer shell shattered while her heart manages to continue beating.

I played this up a little more like a game too in that she gets trophies from those she kills and gets a friend to turn them into gear.  These kinds of decisions also helped me develop something I’d never done.  Lacarsis itself was gaining a personality and culture instead of simply being a setting.  Kira and the City of Evil were growing with each other, which made for some interesting decisions.  Even when I got to the actual writing, there were plenty of surprises for me.  I never gave the monster champions much in the way of development, but many of them were determined to be more than beasts.  This organic growth is what told me I was on the right path too.  It’s not a large cast like War of Nytefall, but it makes up for that with personality.

So, that’s the overview of where this story came from.  Much like Kira, this one kept catching me by surprise and evolving in leaps and bounds.  It’s kind of nice to get it out into the world instead of letting it marinate for eternity.

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Are Free Promotions Still Worth It? – by Frances Caballo…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on The Book Designer:

The controversy over whether it’s worthwhile to give books away for free continues.

You work hard when you write a book. There are the costs associated with writing workshops, writers’ conferences, book coaches, editors, and book designers.

When you’re ready to publish, it’s difficult to think that despite all of your investments of time and money that you need to give your book – your baby – away for free.

I know. I’ve been there.

Continue reading HERE

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A Shift in the 2019 Plan: Ichabod and Lloyd

So, I was thinking that I would start working on The Longbow of Ichabod Brooks when August hit.  Just some night work or using days when my parents want to do something with my son.  Well, I usually count up the chapter sections and divide by 3 to see how long it will take.  I average 19-20 days, which doesn’t include getting anything done on the weekends.  This collection is going to take 32-35 days without weekends and barring any distractions.  That’s a problem since I still have to edit War of Nytefall: Rivalry and the main series should take precedence.  If I jump onto the Ichabod project then I risk setting up another 6 month of crazy work next year.  So, what can I do about it?

I can delay the book by a year and take my time writing the 13 short stories.  I can do one or two between projects or use next summer to write it.  This also feeds my most recent idea of switching between Ichabod and Bedlam for summer releases.  After all, Derailing Bedlam was written last year and only needs editing.

So, summer of 2019 might see the return of Cassidy and Lloyd as long as I’m still writing and publishing then.  I’m wondering if I should make it a bundle of the first three books instead of just the new one since they never seem to get any attention.  This would be a lot more work and it leaves me wondering what to do with the other two that people have already bought.  Honestly, I haven’t seen much movement on my Windemere bundles except for the KU free pages.  Might just stick with the the one book, but I have time to figure it out.

So, I wanted to just write about the change since I kept talking about Ichabod coming back in 2019.  Feel free to voice your opinions though.  Hope some people are looking forward to Cassidy and Lloyd coming back with a few familiar faces in tow.

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A License to Print Money

Entertaining Stories

Jim Webster is back, gang. His Lisa Burton Radio post was super popular, so today he’d like to tell you about another story of his. Take it away, Jim:

***

The first fantasy novel I ever wrote was about the adventures of Benor, a cartographer. I followed him through another novel, and then tried something different. I wrote a number of novellas about him, under the title of ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer.’

The thing about the stories in the Port Naain Intelligencer collection, you can read them in any order. It’s a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote them in a particular order, but you can dip in and out of them, you don’t need to start with volume one and work through them chronologically.

Anyway Tallis Steelyard appeared as a character in the collection, and somehow took over. Tallis is like that, but now…

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School’s Out and the Summer Begins

The last week of school was a little more chaotic than I expected.  There were a lot of errands and chores along with stress in getting things ready.  Not the least of which was helping to get some dead branches out of an old oak tree.  This had to be done and it was a two many job.  Wish it was a hired two man job, but we did have the tools to get at someone of them.  Not as many as we’d hoped, which brought us to this scenario that I should have seen coming.

We needed to set up a guide rope to make sure the branches didn’t fall on us.  This could have been done several ways, but we chose to tie a rope to a heavy screwdriver.  Then we threw it to get it over the branch and let it come down far enough that we could grab both ends.  It worked, but getting it up there was the hard part.  My dad throws it like a baseball, which makes sense.  I was hurling it like a throwing knife, which killed my already weak shoulder.  Still, it did seem to hook what we needed more often.  Of course, then we found the problem that many of the branches were too far away for the poled chainsaw to reach even with a ladder.  So, we yanked them down.  Not fun for my author hands, but at least it was over and my car is no longer at risk of getting hit by a falling branch.

There isn’t much else to say about what happened.  I’m going to be more parent than author throughout the summer.  My presence will be predominantly on my blog since I can see social media slowing to crawl already.  Has anybody figured out how to improve sales during this time without taking a loan out on your house, selling a kidney, and robbing a bank?  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I scratched my head a lot this week to see if there was anything I could do.  Came up blank, but the plus side of things is that all of my MWF posts are scheduled through September.  Teaser Tuesdays, Anxiety Journal, weekly updates like this, and whatever I do on Sunday are still open.  I’ve been wondering if there are any authors who would like to promote a book.  I can do Sundays for that after next weekend.

Speaking of the future, I should mention that I’ll be away next weekend.  Might not be the brightest idea since I’ll be releasing Quest of the Brokenhearted as soon as I get back.  In fact, I plan on hitting publish before I get on the plane home and do all the marketing stuff that night.  The reason for this is because my son starts a special summer program that Monday and I want to get the work out of the way.  It’s only a half-day 3 days a week thing, but I’d like to use the 3 hours for writing Raven’s Wrath.  That’s the finale for Dawn Addison that I’ll post section-by-section in October.  This paragraph is really coming off as a condensed version of my summer.  Well, that’s probably because all three of those things are going to hit at the same time.  So, there will be a few days of chaos.  Not to mention I have no idea how I’ll be feeling after the trip.

Quick question:  Would it be a good idea to release Quest of the Brokenhearted the Sunday I get back?  I already have the announcement post in a draft waiting for the links and I won’t be able to post anything else on Sunday.  It’d be an evening announcement, which I’ve never done before.

It’s just me and the little guy for most of the week, so I don’t know what’s going to be happening.  We have a pack of 100 water balloons and a plastic baseball bat that may cover the hottest day of the week.  Beyond that, we have the video game, but I want to go somewhere with him.  All of the nature walk areas have big tick warnings and it’s going to be a little too warm for jeans.  I know of one place that’s in a marsh area, so that might be an option.  It’s tough trying to find cheap or free things to do.  We’ve also been given a hint that ‘Incredibles 2’ needs to a family outing instead of father/son.  Maybe I’ll find a way to negotiate that into the plans.

Oh, I did stumble onto one problem with my future plans that I’m going to have to post about tomorrow.  I can already imagine what some people are thinking.  I sat down to count how big an idea was going to be in regards to the release plan. The two things didn’t add up at all.  More on that tomorrow then.

So, what are the goals for this week?

  1. Make sure Quest of the Brokenhearted is ready to go.
  2. Make final decision on pricing.
  3. Entertain the child while not going broke or insane.
  4. Possibly start writing Raven’s Wrath to make sure I finish before August.
  5. Get ready for trip.
  6. Read more of Marchen Awakens Romance and Bleach.  Think I’m juggling 3 manga series at once here.
  7. Handle dinners.
  8. Prepare posts for the following week since I’ll only have time for the Saturday post before I leave.
  9. Try to get biking done.
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Quest of the Broken-Hearted: Return of Kira Grasdon

Princess Farah (Prince of Persia)

So, I promised to reveal more about the story and how it connects to Legends of Windemere.  Well, here we are.  This story will give some level of closure to Kira Grasdon, which means I have to touch on a few spoilers.  I’m going to do my best to explain this without saying a lot though.  Since I’ve said time and again that not all of the champions will survive against the Baron, it won’t be too bad.  Besides, things aren’t even close to what they seem.

Two years after the battle, the world still believes that Luke Callindor is dead, but Kira swears that he is alive somewhere.  Keep in mind that she suffered as many personal losses as the champions, which led to Luke being one of the few connections she had left.  So, she took on this belief with rabid ferocity and this got her into trouble.  Her anger strained the relationships she had, including with the surviving champions.  She was spending money to follow every lead and not running the Grasdon Merchant House, which forced her partners to oust her from the company.  They deemed her mentally unstable and took everything from her.  Kira’s grief and anger destroyed what little remained of her old life, so she ended up on the streets of Gaia.  Found starving on the streets, she was taken in by a brothel (legal and heavily regulated in Gaia) and nursed back to health.  She’s been living there and helping out as bartender, gofer, and bouncer.

Quest of the Broken-Hearted starts after all of that when she runs into an old friend and gets the idea to challenge the city of Lacarsis.  This is a city of evil and monsters that people never come out of, but adventurers have begun trying again.  The reason is because the city has been moving more than it has in centuries, so the local kingdoms are worried that something is going on.  Kira goes in alone and finds herself in an interesting situation that I’ll get into more in the future.  This post is about her.

To be honest, I’d had this type of story for Kira planned for a long time.  She began as a background figure and evolved into a major player of Legends of Windemere.  I really wanted to see where the end of her path was going since I never felt like I was in full control of her.  In some ways, this story comes off as the inevitable culmination that I couldn’t avoid.  She’s no longer a supporting character, but the focus of her own adventure.  I keep thinking that she’s been watching Luke, Nyx, and the others in order to prepare for this time.  This is why I wanted to make sure it was an exciting and difficult challenge for her.

Kira has always depended on others while demonstrating glimmers of strength such as he battle with Yola and finding a reason to go on after the Bor’daruk massacre.  Kira has always managed to pick herself up, but I wanted to see how far down she could claw herself back from.  For that, I needed her to be alone and it ended up that she developed an apathy to her own survival.  It isn’t that she wants to die, but she doesn’t care if it happens.  This mentality turned her into a rather vicious figure who takes Luke Callindor’s daredevil style to a new level.  While he did his stunts and feared death, Kira is doing them and not caring if she takes herself out.  It even breaks up an odd question on if she’s become more of a monster than the creatures she’s battling.  Still, you can see flickers of her old self coming through at times, which shows she’s not entirely over the edge.  It was pretty difficult to write her with one foot in the abyss because I always had this urge to yank her back.

One interesting thing with this story is that this is technically my first one with a true female warrior as the lead.  Nyx was a channeler, Sari and Mab are thieves, and Dariana was an immortal martial artist.  This forced me to consider armor that goes along with her kusari-gama.  You can’t do platemail with such an agile weapon, but I didn’t want to have her in street clothes.  Didn’t help that the situation she starts in meant that she couldn’t afford good armor.  Without spoiling anything, this became an interesting evolution of gear that kind of mimicked her changing personality.  I’m actually really proud of what I gave her as final armor too, which I might mention in a post after the book is out.

Finally, I’m going to admit that this is a risky endeavor because Kira Grasdon also seems to be the most hated character in Legends of Windemere.  I actually got more messages calling her names and wishing her death than hatred towards Stephen Kernaghan.  That guy was a blatant sadistic rapist, but Kira was despised more because of the love triangle.  I know I’m going to have some comments showing this too, which is why I’m drawing it into the open.  So, I know there are people who would prefer she be tossed away and never return.  Just so happens that I’m not one of them and I want to give the story that she earned.  She’s always been a character who made mistakes and had a lot of growing to do, so she needs a better finale.  Maybe the haters will get their wish and she’ll meet her end in Lacarsis.  She’s definitely become self-destructive enough to make this her final battle.  Guess there’s only one way to find out if you wish.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #BookReviews Terry Tyler, Charles Yallowitz and Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

The next author celebrating recent reviews for her latest release is Terry Tyler for UK2 (Project Renova Book 3)

About UK2 (Project Ronova Book 3)

‘Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.’

The pace steps up in this final instalment of the Project Renova trilogy, as the survivors’ way of life comes under threat.

Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south. UK2 governor Verlander’s plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies. Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is…

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