Welcome to the Weekend! Why Are You Awake So Early?

Man, what a week . . . Such a . . . There was the . . . Uh . . . Line!

This might be a shorter post that I realized because I’m not remember much of what happened this week.  The usually schoolwork and meetings, so there’s nothing exciting to talk about there.  Monday was gardening day for my parents and son while I was in a remote learning session.  I went out to join them later, but my allergies made that a really bad decision.  Was probably an hour before my head felt like a lead weight and my throat was itchy.  Thank you, oak trees, for your respiratory contribution.

I might have more writing than life news this week.  I’ve finished writing War of Nytefall: Savagery and have already started doing the outline for the next volume.  It was looking really rough as a penultimate, so I’ve had to add a few chapters and streamline some things.  I considered a plot twist, but realized that I had the same one for the finale volume.  So, I adjusted and will hopefully tackle this one in June/July.  I’m finishing up the chapter titles for Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Fantasy Writing Tips) and will try to make them a Sunday post next weekend.

I’ll be starting the editing of War of Nytefall: Ravenous either tonight or tomorrow.  Trying to decide on if I should do that or tackle another outline since I just finished the other book.  It’s 20 chapters, so I could feasibly edit it all by the end of May if I do my usual 3 chapters a day or 1 chapter at night system.  There are probably people out there turning up their noses at this idea.  After all, how can I trash 80% of my manuscript and rewrite it at that rate?  Well, I don’t do that.  My preparation methods are where all of that happens.  I have a general idea that I flush out with a synopsis then I do a chapter-by-chapter outline.  I do this for the entire series before tackling Book 1, so the outlines get the rewrites as I get a feel for things.  As I write the book, I adjust sections that aren’t working in my head and do that type of editing.  By the time I hit the traditional editing stage, I’m only looking for continuity and typos.  I might flush stuff out, but I go over things after I finish for that too.  It makes the horrors of editing a lot easier to handle because I feel like I’ve got a great handle of the concept before I even start.

In other news, I’ve slowed down a bit on the puzzles.  Main reason is that I’ve hit one that might be missing at least 2 pieces.  They’re edge pieces too, so I’m trying to put it together while it’s shifting a bunch.  I don’t know if I’m going to preserve this one like the others, especially if more are missing.  Unfortunately, you can’t contact the company and get the missing pieces because these things happen.  Took me this long to get one that had the issue and I know they didn’t disappear.  I made the edges as soon as I opened the box and I searched everywhere for them.  Hoping that they’re simply in the mix and I’ve been too exhausted to notice them.  It’s a Batman TV Series one too, which I thought was really cool.

Anything else to talk about?  I haven’t watched much TV.  I got Funimation Streaming, so my son and I can continue watching ‘Fairy Tail’ and ‘My Hero Academia’.  Finished a BBC show called ‘Blackadder’, which was funny.  Now, I’m slowly making my way through season 4 of ‘The Magicians’ on Netflix.  I’ll probably hop over to Hulu to watch ‘The Great’ when I’m done with that.  After that, I’ll go with another anime.  There are some massive ones that I’m holding off on until I get the smaller ones done.  Adding Funimation to the mix has given me access to ‘One Piece’, which is nearing 1,000 episodes too.  Love the manga, so that’s a difficult series to avoid.  Just not ready to give up my entire existence to it.

Well, I’m spinning my wheels here.  Seeing it getting harder to access things on WordPress at times.  I show up to a post and it has me log in to comment or like, but then it still doesn’t go through.  Been like that for a while, which is frustrating.  Social media is wearing me down anyway.  Best to move back a bit, I guess.

Goals of the week?

  1. Schoolwork!
  2. Classwork!
  3. Fun on Memorial Day with my son.
  4. Editing War of Nytefall: Ravenous
  5. Finish outline of War of Nytefall: Anarchy
  6. Chapter titles for Do I Need to Use a Dragon? (Tips to Writing Fantasy)  I’m noticing that I’m really bad at that subtitle.
  7. Watch TV and rest when I can.
  8. Try to get allergies under control.
  9. Look into releasing War of Nytefall: Ravenous in September.  Not sure how to promote it since nothing works and I’m going to be immensely busy with grad school, parenting, and work.  Can’t take 2 years off from publishing when I’m near the end of a series.
Posted in Goal Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Pet Tales from the Olden Days (D&D Games)

So, one of the reasons I came up with this week’s topic is because I remembered a few stories of when I played Dungeons and Dragons.  These are the earlier days of high school where we were goofing off and not really trying for a good story.  Somewhere along the way, three members of our group gained exotic pets.  Some of them were bought between adventures because the players thought it would be cool and one of them was gained during a quest.  In the end, things never went well because we didn’t understand what we were doing.  Here are their brief stories:

Kirnen Surdstrong and His Bear

This is the one that we gained during an adventure.  Apparently, there was an established NPC in Dungeons & Dragons who had a bear.  We met him while on a quest and . . . Kirnen the fighter kind of got the guy killed.  Of course, he had to keep the bear.  This thing was there and not there because we kept forgetting about it.  Seemed to only be remembered when we were in combat, which got confusing.  Overall, this pet caused the least amount of trouble.  The player didn’t make a fuss about him unlike one of the others you’re going to see.

What happened to the bear?  We ran into a problem with some goblins who had a ballista (enormous crossbow) behind a door.  We may have misunderstood the description and thought it was a regular sized weapon or just want to get things done.  It was a quest where a lot of stuff had gone wrong.  So, Kirnen sent the bear barreling through the door to take out the goblins.  It didn’t make it and that’s when we learned about siege weapons.

Alanik Leafellow and His Wolves

All I know is that I showed up to a game after missing one or two sessions to find that our elf had two wolves.  I don’t remember their names, but I think that got changed every time because it was never written down.  Again, we wouldn’t really notice these animals much outside of combat.  They did make appearances when we were making camp or needed to track anything down, so they had more use than the bear.  We never had any supplies for them, but we didn’t carry rations for ourselves either.  Just kind of assumed that we’d find a way to avoid starvation and dehydration even during the desert quest.  Don’t worry though.  The wolves had died before that one.

How did they die?  Well, the elf was handed over to a new player for a bit.  We were on a quest through the swamps, which would also see the death of the bear.  A big battle had happened and everyone, including all pets, had been hurt.  Except for the horses . . . The sorceresses accidentally killed them with a spell . . . again.  Now, our cleric had a healing skill that was basically first aid.  She could only do it once on a character per injury, so she couldn’t fully heal major damage.  The elf kept forgetting this and repeatedly demanded that his wolves get healed again.  The DM finally got sick of it when it was stated during another battle.  Whatever we were fighting took out one of the wolves and the other panicked and ran into a spike trap.  It was brutal and final, but we’d all become very tired of the constant request.  This was the last session that anybody had pets too.

Sentrent Pastle and his Mountain Lion

This was a monk who I used and he began with the mountain lion.  A major reason for this was because he was given to me by the DM and he started with a Ring of Weakness.  This a hand-to-hand specialist and his physical abilities were cut down immensely.  To make up for this, I was given a pet mountain lion and I commanded it very carefully.  Mostly because I didn’t want it to die and leave me defenseless.  Not to say I was great with it since I would routinely forget that it had hit points until it was near death.  Once I got rid of the cursed ring, I was able to do more of the fighting and I left the mountain lion alone to occasionally fight like the wolves and bear.  Honestly, I don’t know how we avoided getting mauled by at least one of these predators.

So, what happened to the mountain lion?  It managed to survive the game where the other pets died.  One reason is because I didn’t demand healing and also it was dumb luck that it got forgotten.  By the time of our next adventure, I had made a note that the mountain lion was left at home with a caretaker.  That was the end of our pets and their removal didn’t change anything, which proves we didn’t need them in the first place.

The Horses!

Because I mentioned it in passing, one could say that the horses are pets of the group and you could be right.  Unfortunately, our group never had ours for longer than an adventure because things would go wrong.  Off the top of my head, I can remember:

  1. A bridge breaking and all of our steeds drowning after a long fall.  This was caused by a bad roll.
  2. A few times when thieves stole our horses in the middle of the night.
  3. One time when they ran away from monsters.
  4. Dragon attack
  5. Trading them for supplies and then realizing we needed them to carry the supplies.
  6. Really disastrous desert adventure.
  7. Multiple times our spellcaster unleashed a fire or ice spell, which destroy the horses and sometimes the target.  Even when they were clearly marked on the map, the player would forget.
  8. Vampire

I’m really surprised we continued getting horses considering what routinely went wrong with them.  Still deciding on if I’ll include this bad luck when I write the series based on these heroes called ‘The Bungling 7’.  Hard to tell what I should and shouldn’t include from those crazy games.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

How to Publish with KDP: Part Nine

Story Empire

Image courtesy of bigstock.com

Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part nine in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Nine: An overview of your KDP Dashboard.

So, after my last post ( HERE), you now have a KDP account set up. Today, we’re taking a look at what your KDP dashboard looks like, and what the different options offer. Below is an image of your dashboard area >

At the very top of the page, you will see four options … Your Account, which we looked at in part eight, … English, which allows you to…

View original post 570 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 19 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

(Back to a short section.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

Fate had been searching the base for seven hours and had not found any trace of Solix or anything else that was interesting.  All he had found were several properly maintained living quarters that were no longer being used.  He is about to give up the search when he finds a room on the south side of the sphere, which is slightly smaller than the game room.  It is filled with deadly weapons of many shapes and sizes.  A group of blood red floodlights on the floor make the room look a lot darker than any of the other rooms Fate has seen.  Attached to the walls and bolted to the floor are various racks that held around twenty weapons each.  The incredible weapons ranged from medieval swords to futuristic lasers.

“What the hell is this place?” whispers Fate as he walks around the many racks and looks at the exquisite weapons.

“This is the guardians’ weapon room.  That much is obvious.  If you have a mission that requires fighting, which most missions do, then you can take any of these special weapons.  I would recommend the melee weaponry for most battles.  Planet guardians tend to get up close and personal whether they want to or not,” explains SEAS.

“Special?  What’s so special about them?  They all look pretty normal to me.  Except for the laser cannons.  Those are impressive.”

“Their special abilities cannot be seen just by looking at them.  All of the weapons are sun-forged.  All sun-forged weapons are special.  A perfect example is that the swords kept here cannot break or dull very easily because they were sun forged.”

“I’ll take your word for it.  What about this rack over here?” asks Fate as he makes his way to the center of the room where a lone rack is mystically suspended in the air.  It looks much smaller than the others because it can hold only ten weapon cases.  There is nothing unique on the rack except ten weird names on the bottom of each glass weapon case.

“Oh that thing?  That is a new rack and we have not had any time to fill it with new weapons.  Our attention has been kept on you and your friends getting prepared.  There is nothing important there,” states the computer with a nervous tone of voice.

“Then, why are there these names on the bottom of this rack and no names on any of the others?  That seems very out of place.”

“I have no idea what any of those names mean.  It must be a forging mistake on the robotic armorers’ part.  I will have to reprogram all of them immediately.  These kinds of things happen every single month around this time.  I really must find a way to permanently debug the armorers.  It is just shameful to share the same inventor as those fools.”

“Don’t give me that story, SEAS.  I would believe you if it said stuff that had nothing to do with weapons.  But since it says things like the whip of matter and the bow of scorcher arrows, I’m not buying your tall tale.  Besides, the rack has a date on it that would mean it was around during the dinosaur era.”

“That would be very close to correct.  It still looks almost brand new if you ask me.  Listen, Fate.  I cannot answer your questions, but if you go to the computer’s storage data area you will learn what you need.  It is located in the dead center of the base.”

“Thanks.  I know there’s a lot more to this than you’re letting on, SEAS.  And I will find out what’s going on.  I’d appreciate any help that you feel like giving.”  As Fate leaves the room, he barely notices that one of the ten cases on the empty rack is the same shape as Solix’s medallion.  He just ignores it and starts searching for the center of the base.

Posted in Immortal Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

7 Tips to Giving Your Heroes and Villains Exotic Pets

Drizzt and Guenhwyvar

Let’s keep the subject going because maybe there’s more to this than we realize.  After all, a character can be defined by their friends and that includes pets.  Yet, you can’t just toss anything in on a whim.  Not unless you’re being very random and think of animals as nothing more than window dressing.  Totally possible and I’m not one to judge . . . out loud.  So, here are some tips that may or may not help.

  1. The animal you pick needs to be viable for the adventure you have planned.  If there is a lot of traveling then a hamster might not be a good choice.  Traveling through a dungeon won’t do that goldfish any favors.  There needs to be a way that the animal can be in the story without getting underfoot or becoming a hindrance.  Otherwise, people wonder why they’re there and that’s really not what you want your audience to be pondering.
  2. Not every pet needs to be magical.  I know we’re talking a lot of fantasy here, but that doesn’t mean every adventurer needs a dragon, griffin, or enchanted horse.  Don’t get me wrong.  These are fun additions and you get more flexibility with their care and habits.  Much less of a chance that you’ll get an email criticizing how your hero gave venison to a hippogriff when they have an easier time digesting pork.  Still, the use of a cat, dog, etc. can create a bond with people because they can emotionally connect to those types of animals.
  3. Do not forget that the pets are there.  You might think this is an easy one to remember, but you’d be wrong.  In the middle of writing a battle scene, an author usually focuses more on the humanoids than the animals.  So, you create an issue where people imagine this animal randomly running through the battle.  How would they know where to stand to avoid a friendly fireball?  Why are they comfortable in such a noisy and chaotic situation?  If you’re going to use them in the fight then make that clear and try to think about how that would happen.
  4. If you’re going to kill off the pet for a painful moment then make sure you’ve had it be a factor prior to that.  Showing the animal at the start and then ignoring it until it’s getting killed will make the scene fall flat.  With the character not paying any attention to their pet, it’s hard to believe they will care.  This can easily be avoided by having it around and making note of it.  The hero can simply be petting the animal or giving it food while talking, but at least you see there’s a connection.
  5. When it comes to villains having pets, DO NOT have them randomly kill them just to make them appear evil.  That’s tacky.
  6. Consider if there is any gear or supplies needed for the animal.  Dogs and cats might not need much if there is a lot of wandering in the wilderness.  Yet, they need a proper place to sleep, especially if you consider predators could be around.  Medicine is another thing to think about.  Whatever the adventurers can take won’t necessarily work on an animal.  Also, don’t pretend that the healer knows how to work with all forms of life.  Magic can do that, but you need to know about the anatomy of whatever you’re working with.
  7. So, you have an animal in the group.  Does it do anything useful?  There’s nothing wrong with putting a pet in there to reveal something about the character’s personality, but you should look at it as another character.  Give the pet some quirks and think about what they can do.  Dogs can be used to track and certain breeds can fight.  A cat, while not known for being trained, can be a night guard.  Birds are messengers, snakes can be secret weapons  with poison, and so on.  Be creative and don’t forget to research the animal in question.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Teaser Tuesday: Beyond the Fog #fantasy #adventure

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

I had lot of fun writing Charms of the Feykin.  I didn’t give the continent of Ralian a lot of jungle regions, so this was a chance to explore a new region.  Just being able to describe the southern jungles was a thrill.  Small note:  I never gave the area a name beyond the Southern Jungles.  A reason was that the tribes and those outside all made different names for it, so most still to the general term.

Continue reading

Posted in Charms of the Feykin, Legends of Windemere, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Exotic Pets in Fantasy: Raise Your Hand If You Just Imagined a Dragon

Gizmo from Gremlins

Something that comes up from time to time in fantasy is heroes or villains having unique pets.  These can be real animals or monsters, but it really comes down to it being something you don’t normally see.  For example, Lost’s decrepit flying rabbit in War of Nytefall: Eradication may count as one even though we’re not sure it’s alive or not.  I mean, people do have rabbits, but this one is odd.  This brings me to one of the biggest challenges here: what really constitutes an exotic pet?

This is a really challenging question for something that could be nothing more than window dressing.  You have to factor in the following:

  • Personal experience and opinion on pets.  For some, a ferret is exotic while others think they’re rather basic.
  • Uniqueness of species in the world.  A place where goldfish are rare would have them as an exotic pet.
  • Useful on the road.  Self-explanatory here.
  • Would an intelligent creature that talks to others in various languages be a character or an exotic pet.  I’m looking at you, Fizzle.  Yes, some people have called him Luke Callindor’s pet instead of friend.

All of this needs to be considered by the author and the audience when it comes to the ‘exotic’ definition.  Not that characters say it, but it will play a factor.  I’m doing a 7 Tips post on Wednesday, so I don’t want to horn in on that one.  The point I’m making here is that this is a very versatile and flexible area.  After all, you don’t really see a focus on it and people really don’t pay full attention to a pet unless they serve a bigger purpose.  Familiars and steeds get more fanfare because of their role while a dog that follows along may be ignored.  That is unless you do one thing:

As I learned at one point, people will pay very little attention to a dog and might even forget they are around.  Once you kill the animal as a way to make the owner suffer, people go berserk.  Didn’t matter that I thought long and hard about this decision instead of doing it on a whim.  There was a long term plan, but you can learn all of that by reading Legends of Windemere.  This may be a little spoiler-y, but the first book has been out for nearly 8 years. I’ve learned to be more careful here, but it is curious that these types of inclusions are minor until you try to remove them.  I’d say pets both exotic and mundane get a secret fan-base over the course of an adventure if you put enough effort into making them.

Will I be doing a lot with exotic pets?  Some of my series will have them, but I can’t be sure of what will count or not.  I have a future character with a horse that has a strong personality and another that carries a kleptomaniac ferret around.  Familiars will be appearing for some casters because of their specialties.  Overall, I’m going to use this concept when I think it works out.  Having pets on grand adventures can be very difficult because they can be seen as a distraction or crutch.  That’s if you remember they’re even in the story.  At one point in Beginning of a Hero, I realized that I’d forgotten about Luke’s dog and it had simply disappeared from the story after its first two scenes.  This forced me to go back and add more.  So, if you’re going to give a hero a pet then you need to use it.

What do you think of exotic pets or pets in general in fiction?

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments