Tag Archive: Writing

Tolin’s Journal #4

My Dear Ilanna,

Know that I was among the final defenders of your castle the day it fell. While you remained safely hidden, I took my instructions from Lyanis to heart in hopes it would be your salvation. If only my sheer will could have saved you, we would have left that death trap together. However, as you know, the powers working against you were too great for your guard to bear.

Still, it was all for you that I raced down those stairs. My fear threatened to hold me back, but I wouldn’t let it stop me from defending your home. What little valor your guards had, they expended in barricading the doors to the keep. As I made it to the bottom of the stairs with my torn parchment in hand, I saw them failing to hold back the evil on the other side.

I laughed inwardly, knowing none of them had long to live. Death comes for us all, but some you can just tell are easier targets. Holding up the spell written by Lyanis, I concentrated on the runes, allowing them to form in my mind. Speaking the activating words, light shone out all through the room. Crimson lines traced out a pattern below me that I recognized all too late.

Held in place by the symbol surrounding my feet, I watched the guards fly away from the doors. Wooden splinters flew out to either side of me ahead of the armed soldiers storming inside. Confronted by the very same force that had destroyed me village, I screamed in all my fury and conjured what I could. Nothing happened. I stood powerless as your elven guard fell all around me at the hands of those rushing inside.

Blood spilled across the floor and covered the attackers’ blades, but still no one touched me. I reached out to stop the soldiers from advancing up the stairs, but I couldn’t lift my hands from my sides. Again, I was helpless and forced to watch everything around me crumble. Screams poured down the halls as the soldiers charged through them. My greatest fear was only that you, Ilanna, had been killed. I struggled even harder to free myself, but got nowhere.

The battle rushed past me, leaving a strange silence behind. Mountain air blasted through now broken entrance and pushed me to the ground. I found my feet rather quickly and ran to find you. That was when I heard the feet scrambling down the stairs. I looked up and saw Lyanis gliding down with a small entourage in tow.

I yelled out to ask him what was happening and he turned to me with a worried look. I was about to demand answers when I saw you, Ilanna, hiding underneath a cloak in the center of the group. You must remember pulling back your hood to acknowledge me for the very first time. Your eyes were the most terrifyingly beautiful I had ever seen. Surely you felt our connection in that perfect moment.

For the briefest of time, I forgot the peril we were all in, but soon came back when you thanked me for my sacrifice. Confused, I just nodded my head in a stupor as you continued walking outside. Lyanis was the last one out and turned back to me, baring my exit. He explained the castle was now mine and I was the only one who could contain the evil within.

I ignored his crazy ramblings, and pushed around him to move outside. A jolt of pain snapped me back into the castle. Lyanis explained I wouldn’t be able to leave because of the scroll I had cast. If I left, all the evil now trapped in the castle would follow me. I screamed at how wretched of an elf he was and reaffirmed my hatred of his kind.

He disappeared with you down the mountain, leaving me to watch your escape from above. I knew how short-lived it would be as the attacking horde stood around the base of the mountain. For hours, I stood watching until you were captured and brought before whatever twisted general hunted you. I wept when they bound your hands in chains and shoved you in that prison cart.

When they set off, carrying you away from me, I tried once more to leave the castle, but still I could not. I was trapped in my own prison as they drove you unto yours. That was the moment I vowed to seek you out and free you from your captors. I live by that vow in this very moment that I pen these words as fervently as I made it that day. Those who imprisoned you will suffer at my hands.

I never make vows lightly. I will come for you and I will rescue you.

Tolin Naihim
Death’s Neglected Son


All Hail the New Year!

And here we are at the top of a crisp, fresh new year full of potential that so often goes untapped. Well, I intend to fully tap my year and use the resources gained to bang out some awesome writing projects. I’ve given some serious thought to this and have created a very modest plan that should excite all my readers.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of planning out impossible goals for myself, but not this year! I’ve kept my planning in the realm of true possibility and have shocked myself as to what I’m going to accomplish.

The Supremacy Universe

This will be the year that I take baby steps into expanding Supremacy into what it needs to be – a fully developed, scifi universe. This is my master work, and I’ve not been able to properly convey the enormous scope of stories I have planned. The Reformation series is only the first glimpse into a universe as diverse and complex as Star Wars or Warhammer 40K.

Speaking of Reformation, I’ve been lagging behind with my episodes, but not to worry. This year I will finish the first 10 episodes, finally completing the first volume. Volume I will end with such a showdown that you’ll be screaming at me to start writing the next one!

However, before I start Reformation: Volume II, I will be writing a YA science fiction novel set in a new part of the Supremacy Universe. Yes, that’s right, you’ll get a peak into what is outside the Second Order! I’ve had a great idea for a while, and it will be demanding my attention this year. I don’t have any more detail than that, so you’ll have to wait for the full premise when I’m ready to release it to the public!


This is also the year that Shadeskin officially turns into a series. You didn’t think we were really going to leave you guys hanging like that forever did you? Well, expect the sequel this year!

And, of course, there will be more after that. We’ve already been sketching out ideas for the next few books, so strap in for a wild ride of Southern UF at its finest.

2013 – At a Glance

And because I love lists so much right now, have one with my projects for 2013:

  1. Supremacy: Reformation – Volume I (Episodes 1-10)
  2. Supremacy YA Novel
  3. Shadeskin 2

2013 – It’s going to rock!

Save Fiction Day

July 31st is the first annual Save Fiction Day. A whole day for you to set out and buy something new and adventurous. You see, bookstore shelves are full of tiny hostages held for ransom and it is up to you to rescue them. Drag your friends to your local bookstore and comb the shelves until each of you have found a new story worth taking home. In doing so, you will have saved the life of that poor, defenseless book.

Don’t limit yourself to physical books though, because thousands more are stuck in the internet begging to be downloaded to your Nook, Kindle, iPad, or phone. Think of all the stories lying at your fingertips on whatever device you are reading this post on. They need a chance to be free and you are the only one capable of paying their ransom and saving them.

I’ve put together a hostage list that I think you’ll enjoy rescuing, depending on the genre. All of these recommendations may be purchased in at least one of the major ebook stores and by special order from your local Barnes & Noble. Now get out there and rescue some fiction!

Science Fiction

This is my favorite genre, and if you’ve never given it a chance before, use Save Fiction Day as your excuse. I promise it isn’t as nerdy as it sounds.

Supremacy: Reformation by Myself

Cast down and imprisoned in the age past, the gods left their creation to survive without guidance. Two brothers now struggle to unite the last of the ancient Orders. One rules as emperor, taking up the divine mandate bequeathed him. The other questions his brother’s loyalty to the gods, declaring he has supplanted them. With the rest of the galaxy shrouded in darkness, the Second Order stands as humanity’s last bastion of hope until the gods return. Will they survive?

Buy it from: Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Void Voyage 1: I Shall Not Rest in Peace by B. L. White

Haru has inherited a Solar System on the brink of war. He aims to repair it, planet by bleeding planet. Mars is his first stop. Upon the heights of Olympus Mons lies the cloner cults and their arcane ways. One of their slaves, a beautiful clone christened as Leena-58, is to be sacrificed for peace. Haru has come to save her and others of her kind. She must choose though, to live and fight for true peace or be murdered for a false one.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Jak Phoenix by Matt D. Williams
Jak Phoenix is a pilot who would rather kick back with a cold drink than stick his neck out to save the galaxy. But, as we all know, life often gets in the way of these ‘big dreams.’

Jak and his longtime friend Baxter once again find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. A last minute salvage mission delivers more than they bargained for when Jak’s old enemy shows up and steals their haul out from under them. When it is revealed the cargo is more important than any of them realized, Jak decides, against his better judgment, that a retrieval is necessary. His pursuit leads him right past his enemy and into the hands of the most feared pirate in the galaxy.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon


These aren’t your typical fantasy reads, so look elsewhere if you need elves.

Way of the Black Beast by Stuart Jaffe
In a world destroyed by the abuse of magic, one woman fights all odds to survive and find the answers behind her mysterious past.

Despite the challenges — crazed magicians, guitar-playing assassins, mutated beasts — she pushes on with a single-mindedness that may destroy all she holds dear.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Eden by Matthew C. Plourde
When an earthquake plunges the world into darkness, Alexandra Contreras struggles for survival and seeks answers. Guided by a mysterious, scarred man, she braves the wasteland in search of humanity’s mythical birthplace: Eden. Once confronted with her tragic destiny, she must make a decision which will alter the fate of the world.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Urban Fantasy

And now for something completely different…

ShadeskinShadeskin by Myself, B. L. White, and Amanda White
Lurking beneath the veil of reality, a supernatural war threatens to consume the city of Shreveport, Louisiana. The Illumin, messengers of light, strive to protect the city’s human inhabitants from the vicious Shades. Banished from their natural world, the Shades carve out a restless existence among us. The powerful Raven family stands between the warring Shades and Illumin, struggling to maintain a delicate balance while ensuring that everyone else remains unaware.

An Aztec relic makes its way into Matthew Gillard’s hands, unlocking an evil with the power to bring back the dead. Impossible to control, the relic bends him to its will. Now Raven, Shade, and Illumin all desperately seek this nerdy kid from the nearby town of Wheelbarrow Creek.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Paranormal Romance

I don’t regularly read this genre, but many people enjoy it.

Blood Lust by Zoe Winters
It’s all about the blood…

Comprised of three novellas, Blood Lust gives readers a snapshot look at the world of the Preternaturals Series. (Future installments of the series will be novels.)

As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.

For a vampire, Anthony isn’t a picky eater, but he’s drawn to Charlee’s blood more than any other. Like a fine wine saved for a special occasion, he’s denied himself this pleasure. But one night, high from the potent magical blood of another, he claims his prize and loses control. Ashamed of almost killing the one woman who means anything to him, he wipes her memory of the event. When Charlee awakens with complete amnesia, Anthony is the only one who can clean up the mess he’s made.

Because of the vampiric blood that has run through her veins since birth, Jane has been a target for vampires who resent a human being “kindred.” She’s forced to disguise herself as a vampire groupie to appease them and safeguard her life. When she’s abruptly given to Cole, the leader of the werewolf pack, to satisfy a gambling debt, she discovers the blood running through her veins has a far greater impact on her destiny than she ever imagined.

Buy it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Telling Stories the Digital Way

The digital revolution has permanently transformed the world of publishing and given us access to novels from nearly every electronic device thrown our way. Whether you choose to read on the Nook, Kindle, iPad, or smartphone, you have untethered access to a mountain of unassailable content. How can you even find time to finish just one?

While the art of the written word will always have the novel, I think a new approach is needed for this new age of digital reading. Everyone loves a good story, but few really want to put in the effort required to sit through an entire novel. Well, I have the solution.

About a year ago, my good friend B.L. White came up with an idea of breaking down an epic story into smaller, self-contained episodes that would be quicker to write and get out to readers. This may not be a new concept, but it is one that should be revived since the digital platform is perfect for it. Why wait for a whole novel to be finished when we, the authors, can write the same story inside episodic bites for you to digest throughout the year?

I Shall Not Rest in Peace is the first episode in White’s Void Voyage series. Clocking in at around 33K words, it will take the average person about three hours to read. That is much more manageable for a time-constrained reader than something like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. Plus, you still get the benefit of an epic storyline as more episodes are released.

I’m not quite as wordy as White, so episodes in my own series, Supremacy: Reformation, average 10K words, allowing you to read each of them in about an hour. Now, I’m sure everyone has an hour to spare this week to enjoy a good story. Besides, what else are you going to do? Watch a couple episodes of Teem Mom and Jersey Shore?

Void Voyage and Supremacy: Reformation can both fit into your hectic schedule. Just grab your digital device of choice and download them!

Buy Episode 1 of Supremacy: Reformation:

Buy Void Voyage 1: I Shall Not Rest in Peace:

Congratulations on finishing your book!

I know you are an excited Redditor who just can’t wait to shout out to the depths of the internet that your book is available for consumption, but hold up for just one minute. Your first inclination will probably be to promote yourself on Reddit. It makes sense: you are an avid Redditor, fellow Redditors should appreciate your work for that fact alone, so why not? Well, it doesn’t really work like that and here is why:

First of all, Reddit is a quirky community of hipster-hating-hipsters that are so self absorbed in their parents’ basements that they will take any excuse to downvote you. So, when they see some post about another Redditor who has self-published a book, they just roll their eyes and immediately click the upside-down arrow in hopes that all your beloved dreams will be crushed just like theirs.

Let’s say, for instance, you have finished a book called, I don’t know, Supremacy: Reformation. Let’s even say that you intend to tell the story in episodic bites that only take an hour to read, giving those with the busiest of schedules an opportunity to participate in an epic science fiction story. Well, Reddit won’t care, even though they could be reading the first episode while they ride the tram or other strange, non-US types of transportation.

They won’t even care that they will be directly helping the plight of a 99%er since they will be giving their entertainment dollars directly to you instead of some jerk, 1%er publisher. No, all they will do is make some comment about, “here we go again…” or “400th repost this week…”. So, the first thing not to do is make a post on Reddit.

Another great temptation will be to submit one of your own blog entries about your book to Reddit. This is another classic recipe for disaster for nearly the same reasons I stated above. No one here cares about your blogspam and submitting your own blog entries seems kind of desperate, anyway. So, don’t do it!

Actually, I don’t think there is anyway that Reddit could be used to promote your book. Maybe you could set up your post as an Imgur link, because everyone blindly clicks on those. Other than that, though, nothing will even remotely work. You will be permanently relegated to the bottom of the Reddit barrel.

So, in short Reddit hates you and your book. Have a good life.

TL;DR Don’t make posts like this one to promote your book unless it’s on imgur.

Announcing – Supremacy: Reformation

Gather ’round one and all for I have a story to tell! It begins with a little fifth-grade boy who dreamed of becoming a writer. He spent his childhood day-dreaming of the surreal, collecting whatever flew through his head as doodles across his notebooks underpinned by scraps of writings. Eventually these seeds grew into fantastic tales that he bottled up inside his head waiting until the right time to release them.

Well, today is that day! My fifth-grade self has waited patiently until this very moment to unveil his first foray into the world of independent publishing! May I present,

Supremacy: Reformation Series 1

Cover art by Robin Ludwig Design


With most of the galaxy shrouded in darkness, the Second Order stands as humanity’s final bastion of hope until the Gods return. Its citizens cling to their emperor as he rules with the divine mandate bequeathed him. Bladicos, the emperor’s own brother, sees through this guise of selflessness and plots to wrestle control of the Order away and give it to the people. Humanity must decide its own fate before the Gods are resurrected.


The Reformation series will be the first journey into the Supremacy universe. Series 1 is comprised of 10 episodes that focus on Bladicos and his plan for the Second Order. Each episode should take about 45-60 minutes to read and will be individually available for purchase on all e-reader platforms. An omnibus edition will also be available that will be updated with each of the 10 episodes as they are released.

I do not have any firm release dates quite yet, but expect this soon!

Story Planning: The Crucial Step

Tonight I sat down to continue planning out a novel idea I am currently working on (‘planning’ being the key word here). Picking up where I left off on the plot, I uncovered an important subplot that needed to be weaved into the main plot. It perfectly connected major portions of my story and added another layer of depth. I was overjoyed at this revelation and reveled in my sheer genius. After thinking about it for a minute, I had another revelation of the importance of planning out a story before actually writing it.

While I am not yet published and cannot claim professional writing experience, I am a professional programmer and in the programming world, those who do not plan their code out will almost never fix all the bugs in a timely fashion. The resulting program will mostly work, but not as well as it could have. The same principle applies to writing stories, no matter what their length.

Some authors out there think they can just dream up a good story and immediately begin to bang it out in raw, literary form. I don’t doubt there are savants out there who can write this way, but I have never read advice from professional, established authors who encourage this type of writing style. Laying out even the most basic story plan will even aid the savants in focusing their creative energies.

If I had taken this ‘cowboy writing’ approach with my current novel, I would have written almost half of it before discovering my awesome subplot and would have been forced to meticulously go back through and force in elements to properly set it up. That would have taken a long time and would almost certainly have ended up with the story having blatant holes in the plot. Since none of the story has been written in literary prose, I am free to go back through my notes and chop them up however I need to make sure this subplot is fully entrenched without worrying about leaving holes or missing deadlines for drafts.

So, there is my $0.02 on the topic of story planning. It has already saved my story and it can save yours too.

I use The Anatomy of Story by John Truby as my religious text when planning out a new story. His methods have already aided me in crafting some wickedly awesome short stories (that I hope to unleash soon) and are invaluable to me as I plan out my very first novel. Try it out and see if it works for you.

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Michael A. Stackpole, original fantasy and Star Wars author, has issued a challenge to everyone who wants to give Michael A. Stackpolefull creative control over to authors. Traditionally, authors have been shackled by big New York publishers with restrictive contracts that dictated how an they could craft their novels. However, with the rise of digital self-publishing, authors can now cut out the middle-man and sell directly to the fans. Stackpole has championed this new method of publishing.

His fantasy novel, Talion: Revenant, was a huge hit when it was first published. In fact, he receives more requests for a sequel than any of his other works. Unfortunately, writing for big publishers and getting them on board is no easy task, so fans were forced to wait for a sequel that never materialized – until now.

He has recently re-released Talion: Revenant in ebook format and has issued a challenge along with it: if he can sell 10,000 copies of the digital format of the book, he will use the profits to write the much-anticipated sequel. Now that is a challenge I can get behind. If all authors seriously considered the opinions of their fans, novels would be so much better.

The idea behind this challenge is a huge step in the right direction. Publishers have no right determining the direction of authors. It should be solely between the author and the fans. We are the ones reading and supporting these artists, so it is only right that we be given the opportunity to connect with them and let them know what we want to read. And the best way to show our support is to buy directly from them via digital self-publishing.

The digital form of this book is indeed self-published by Stackpole, so you are buying directly from the man himself. Get out there and show your support!


Kindle Apps (for those of us not cool enough to own an actual Kindle)

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