Writing

The big new year for the Dragons of Night

Again, I want to thank everyone who made 2012 my best year yet for fiction sales.  I took a pretty big gamble switching genres, but thanks to your love, help, and support, it was well worth it.

2013 is going to be a very big year for us.  Wand and Weaver: The Chain is out of exclusivity, which means it should be available on your Nook and other favorite bookstores soon.  We are even working on an audio version that will be available from Audible.com and as a podcast.

Work on book 2 proceeds on schedule, and I can't wait to get it into your hands to see what you all think of it.  For those of you who have asked, it will pick up right at the end of The Chain and go on to explore the relationship between Daniel and Lady Oban.

We have also decided to release a serial, to be called Our Solemn Hour, that will show events taking place in the wider world.  I'm very excited about the series, and hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy working on it.

In addition to all that, I have started publishing prose poems and flash fiction, as well as original artwork, in the Dragons of Night setting over at medium.com.  These are part of my daily warm-up routine, and I thought it would be fun to share them with you all.

As always, I love getting feedback from everyone.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit me up on my various social media profiles, or use the contact page to get in touch with me directly.

I hope you are as excited as I am for all of the new things coming to Dragons of Night this year.  And since I can't say it enough, thank you so much for your love, care, and support

Thank you for a great 2012

I wanted to take a quick minute to thank everyone who picked up a copy of Wand and Weaver: The Chain this year.

Thanks to you, for the first time in my writing career I've hit my book sale goal for the year. I set a rather high target and through your generosity we hit it.

I also want to thank everyone who has written a review of the book, and everyone who has contacted me to share how much the story meant to you.

As you know, the story is very near and dear to my heart. It pains me as a writer to say this, but I really and truly have no words to express how grateful I am to all of you for your kindness, love, and support.

I look forward to the new year, and all of the new things that it will bring for me to share for you all to read.

Origin of the Dragons of Night

On Tuesday, February 23, 2010, I struggled all day to come up with a new idea to write.  I had written three Space Operas, and I felt a little burned out.  I wanted to do something special, but every idea that I came up with I could match to another Book, Series, or Movie that came before.

I was frustrated beyond words.  My last book had made a splash with Horror Fans, and I couldn't get the cult success of Phara-un out of my head.  It was a limited run, and it is no longer available anywhere, but people constantly asked me about it.  I wanted to continue it.  Words wouldn't flow.  I was blocked.

That night, Brian and I went out shopping.  About half way through the store, I had an strange image pop in my head.  I sat in one of the benches in the back of the store, and opened EverNote, and added a strange note.

I could feel my skin crawling. Something strange lingered in the air. A musky bouquet wafted down from somewhere, muscling out the odors of the city.

He looked up, knowing what he would see, and there it was atop the Redd-Bishop building- an enormous black dragon perched on the pinnacle with its wings out stretched. He doubted anyone would see it. Its scales blended perfectly into the skyline. In a moment it was gone.

Relieved, he took several steps towards the restaurant before he paused and looked again at the night sky. What is a dragon doing in the city? He thought, then realized he probably didn't want to know the answer.

Hmm, there might be something there.  I titled the note "Dragon Knight- Nathan".  I rushed out to the car and tried to capture more of the idea.  It didn't work.  I ended up just reading these three odd paragraphs over and over again.

The next day, I remembered a note I had in one of my notebooks for my Space Opera Setting:

I am not going to say that it was necessarily an original idea, but it awakened a new idea in me.  The idea had merit, whether it had a future or not.

I started playing with the idea, and experimenting with new formats.

My biggest hurdle has been getting beyond the structures of the novel and the short story. I agree with H P Lovecraft that the best fiction is pulled off with the same craft as a well devised hoax. So I started playing around with ways to tell a story directly and from oblique angles. I would love to share some of these stories, but they may be included in the final project, so I don’t want to release them early.
Testing a Setting

I wrote that post March 5, 2010, and explored the idea of a Epistolary Novel, crossed with a blog and a magazine until November 29, 2010.  I still like the idea, but it felt forced and unnatural.  I even explored doing an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) for a while, but again it felt strange and wrong.

During this period, I asked myself a very important question:

To Wainscot or not to Wainscot– that is the question:

Whether ‘tis nobler in the tale to create

The beings and world out of nothing but my page,

Or to take with some of its history

And, creatively change them. To write, to make...
To Wainscot or Not to Wainscot, that is the question

To Wainscot or Not to Wainscot, that is the question

To Wainscot or not to Wainscot– that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the tale to create

The beings and world out of nothing but my page,

Or to take with some of its history

And, creatively change them. To write, to make...

Ok, that's enough at that, but as a genre writer, it is a question that crops up from time to time, and when it does, oy, what a headache.

If you don't know what wainscoting is, it is creating a paneled off world within our real world.  Think Harry Potter, or Bleach, or

  • Charmed
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Dead like Me
  • Dollhouse
  • Percy Jackson series
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • Stargate Universe
  • Underworld movies

I think you get the idea.  The basic idea is that in a Wainscot story there is a secret world which is kept from the eyes of the average person.

When you are writing a sci-fi or fantasy world you have the choice between a wainscot world and a secondary or new world.  The decision is not always as easy or clear-cut.

Could Lord of the Rings take place in a wainscot world?  Yes, it honestly could.  The only part of the story that would be changed is that the story would no longer be a prehistory, unless it was set early in Earth's history.  Honestly, if you set the story during the time of Rome, and made Mount Doom into Mt Vesuvius, then the story would be just as poignant.

So why Wainscot?

Honestly, the only reason to choose a Wainscot world over an Invented world is control.

When you create a new world/cosmos, you have total control over every aspect of the world.  You get to decide what is and isn't natural, as well as extremely precise control over the cultures and histories of the people who populate your world.

A Wainscot is helpful when you want to call up cultural, ethnic, or historical references.

Why is Harry Potter a wainscot?

  1. It is easier to understand quidditch when you can reference soccer.
  1. Rowling didn't have to explain wizarding education or politics, because she could reference its British equivalence.
  1. It was easier to hide Harry outside the Wainscot than within it.

Think about it: Terry Goodkind had to put up a magical barrier in his world to hide Richard.  That is a lot more work than dropping him off with a group of muggles.

So which is better?

It depends on your audience.  Genre readers are used to flipping back and forth from between fantastical worlds, but the average reader is not.  If you look at the best sellers charts (granted they have their own problems), you will see that most of the best seller are Wainscots.

I might be suffering from a perception filter, but it really does seem that way.  Just because it is easier to mainstream a wainscot world than an invented world is not a great reason to choose to write one, but it is something to consider?

Do you have any thoughts?  Questions? Comments about wainscot stories?  If so, leave me a comment, and I will do my best to answer them.

Testing a Setting

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of a test story for a new setting I am developing.  Wow, that was a vague sentence, but it sounded like I really said something didn't it. I liked it.  I haven't written an Urban Dark (Gothic) Fantasy since 1996.  I blame Emerian for my return to Horror writing.  I love the genre, abandoning it only after I felt trapped in the rules and requirements it puts on fiction.

After my near breakdown in November, and the many months of recovery, I realized that I am tired of playing by everyone else's rules.  I have always been bound to one system or expectations.  The world I grew up in is gone, and there is little to nothing I can do to bring it back.  I have to just pick up from the mess that exists now and move forward.

If I can be allowed a cliché: "Be the change you want to see."

A couple weeks ago, I started working on an idea.  It was strange and scared me a bit.  Unlike anything I have ever written, I didn't have a model, or genre to define it.  I am not claiming that it is original.  I am sure somewhere someone has written something like it, but it is mine.  It is the type of story I want to read.

Form

My biggest hurdle has been getting beyond the structures of the novel and the short story.  I agree with H P Lovecraft that the best fiction is pulled off with the same craft as a well devised hoax.  So I started playing around with ways to tell a strory directly and from oblique angles.  I would love to share some of these stories, but they may be included in the final project, so I don't want to release them early.

My biggest inspiration comes from comics.  I love the shared universe, and I would love to find some writers to help me out on this project.  The idea of the setting as hero mashed up with characters that readers will really care about excites me.  In the end I would like this story to spawn blogs, vlogs, and podcasts set in the world, expanding it holding to the canon.

I have never been accused of dreaming too small, LOL.

Test Everything!

If I had any advice for the writers out there it is this.  Test everything!  If you get an idea, no mater how outlandish, bizarre, or out of the mainstream.  Give it a try.  See how it comes out, then move forward based on the results.  I have found a new setting I love writing in.  Who knows what you will find.

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