Thursday, December 29, 2011

Web Of Light

I finished the first draft of Web Of Light last night. It came out at around 50,000 words, of course that could rise or fall over the next two drafts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shadow Prince

I finished the second draft of Shadow Prince today, that leaves only one more to go. I expect to have it finished completely in January. Then Ten Kingdoms will become my main project.

Monday, November 28, 2011


So here is an update on my novels.

Flight Of Dragons - Ebook for sale at
Shadow Born - Edits complete
Shadow Of The Dragon - Still waiting for an editor and getting very frustrated
Elfblood - Waiting for first round of edits
Firebrand - Submitted
The Silver Catacombs - Submitted
Shadow Prince - Six chapters into the second draft
Ten Kingdoms- Seventeen chapters into the first draft
Dragonstar - Twenty-One chapters into the first draft
Web Of Light - Nine chapters into the first draft
City Of Magic - Two chapters into the first draft

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Good Week.

I had a good week, finished the second draft of The Silver Catacombs on Thursday and the first draft of Shadow Prince on Friday. The Silver Catacombs should be finished some time in December. I have until April to finish Shadow Prince.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flight Of Dragons

Here is the back cover blurb and an excerpt from Flight Of Dragons.

Fourteen years after fleeing his homeland, Charles Sydon lives under an assumed name, comfortable if not happy with his life as a bookkeeper. Until one night his past comes looking for him in the form of a ruthless dragon hunter.  Now, Charles must return to the Ice Ring on a deadly quest for a wild dragon, a quest that will pull him back into the world he left behind. But he’ll soon find there’s more at stake as the past and the present collide. It will be up to Charles to save his people from their past mistakes, providing he can live through facing his own.

There was nothing to do but form a search party. Athacar must be found. I insisted on going; as Athacar’s handler I had the right, despite my mother’s protests. Samantha squeezed my hand when we said goodbye and I promised I would be home soon. A promise I failed to keep.
Two months we spent searching for Athacar, slowly making our way to the Center Ring, the coldest and most dangerous part of the Ice Ring. We found not a trace. Our supplies were running low by then, but we were loath to turn back without him. It would be a terrible blow to our reputation.
Then, by chance or fate, we found him after our ship ran aground on a hidden ice shelf. Athacar retreated to a nearby cave at our approach. I took a stand as his handler and insisted on going in by myself to bring him out.
There is nothing I would like better than to affirm the stories, to claim this as a high act of bravery, but when I set out to put pen to paper I swore to myself the truth would be told and I hold myself to that oath.
It wasn’t bravery that ushered me into that cave, it was a mixture of stupidity, guilt and the brashness of youth. A deadlier combination there never was.
Athacar wasn’t far inside. He was an intelligent dragon and no doubt knew we would be coming in after him. He’d always been difficult but I never suspected he could be dangerous. I held him in my arms the day he was hatched, had spent a portion of every day since in his company, I believed we had a bond. In that I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flight Of Dragons

Flight Of Dragons was released today!!! I'm so excited. My editor had to go to a conference, so she decided to go ahead and release the ebook today. Here's the link   This is so cool. It feels more real now, you know?

Monday, September 26, 2011


I thought I'd drop in and give an update on my books.

Flight Of Dragons: I'm hoping it's going to come out around the 1st of October, but I don't know yet.
Shadow Born: First edit is finished and with my editor.
Shadow Of The Dragon: Still waiting for an editor.
Elfblood: Waiting on first round of edits.
Firebrand: Waiting for a reply.
E2 (Working Title): Eleven chapters into the second draft.
F2 (Working Title): Eight chapters into the first draft.
Shadow Prince: Five chapters into the first draft.
Web Of Light: Four chapters into the first draft.
Dragon Star: Ten chapters into the first draft.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shadow Born

I just heard from my publisher that Shadow Born (which is the first book in my five book series) is currently with an editor and is set for release some time next year.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flight Of Dragons

I found out the other day that the print release of Flight Of Dragons won't come until three or four months after the electronic release. And I thought I was so close to holding my first book in my hands. I was looking forward to doing some signings in November and December too. *sigh* I'm no good at waiting. But the eletronic version is still coming out in October, so I'm still happy about that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Draft/Elfblood Sequel

I finished the first draft of the sequel to Elfblood this morning. Now I have to find a title for it. I was going to call it The Silver Catacombs, but that title is no longer going to work and the others I've thought up haven't felt right. Oh well, it'll come to me eventually.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flight Of Dragons

I finished working on the proof and sent it off to my publisher. All that's left now is the waiting. I have another month or so to go and then Flight of Dragons will be up for sell. I wish it was October already.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flight Of Dragons

I got the proof sheet for Flight Of Dragons from my publisher today, so I'll be working on giving the novel one last go over for mistakes. I'm eager to jump right in, because this is my final step before publication. I think. I'm pretty sure. But, I know I have to give this a good look over and I tend to want to do things too quick. I hate to think of people waiting for me. I have ten days, which are more than enough, so I'm going to try not to get too excited and blur through the thing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Author Spotlight

Champagne Books is putting me on their author spotlight at some point in the near future. Which is pretty cool, I think. And my first novel is now on their coming soon page, which was way cool to see. I'm so excited. I can hardly believe that my first book will be out in October. By November I should be able to hold a printed copy of it in my hands. How cool is that?

Friday, August 12, 2011


Elfblood was just accepted for publication! That makes novel number four. (I'm counting the five book series as one book here, technically I have eight under contract.)  If only my luck will hold for Firebrand, that would be awesome. I've always wanted to have a book published by Tor.

Cover Art

Check it out, here is the cover art for my first two novels.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cover Art

I recently received the cover art for both Flight Of Dragons and Shadow Of The Dragon, so I'm having a good week. The art is beautiful and I'm very pleased. Once I get the okay, I'll post the pics.

Side note: I submitted Firebrand to Tor. Now all I have to do is spend roughly the next six months anxiously awaiting their reply.

Monday, August 8, 2011


My editor liked the changes I made to Elfblood and she sent in on to her boss with a recommendation to accept. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and watching the email anxiously until I hear word either way.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Firebrand, my newest novel, is finished. A couple of days off schedule, but it happens. I decided I needed one more chapter and so that caused a delay. But it's all finished now. So, I've added a new project to the roster, DragonStar. I'd done some work on this in the past, then set it aside for other projects. I'm eager to have a fresh look at it and see where it takes me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Current Projects

Firebrand: I'm sixteen chapters into the final draft with three chapters to go, so Firebrand is almost ready for submission. This is my main project and I've managed to write a chapter a day on it, so it should be finished on Friday.
The Silver Catacombs: This is the sequel to Elfblood. I'm five chapters into the first draft of this one. This is a secondary project, so I don't get a chapter a day done on it. But once Firebrand is done this one will move up to become my main project.
F2 (Working Title): This is the sequel to Firebrand. It doesn't have a name yet, but I expect to have one by the time I finish the first draft. That's usually how it works. I'm two chapters into the first draft.
Shadow Prince: This is the sequel to Shadow Born and the second book in my Time Of Shadows Series. I'm one chapter into the first draft.
Web Of Light: This is my newest project, which I started after completing Elfblood. I'm feeling very enthused with this project, though I'm only one chapter into the first draft.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The rewrite of Elfblood is finished and the novel has been sent off to my editor. Now, I just have to cross my fingers and hope she likes the changes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: House Atreides by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

This book is a prequel to Frank Herbert's masterpiece, Dune. In House Atreides, we go back to watch how Leto became Duke, how Shaddam became Emperor, plus backstory on Duncan Idaho and the Harkonnens and so much more. This a sweeping, complicated story, full of friendship and treachery and twisted plots. I thought it was amazing and does justice to Frank Herbert's vast universe created in his Dune books. I would suggest that anybody who is a fan of the Dune series read this book.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Once Upon A Dreadful Time by Dennis L. McKiernan

This book bored me. There was too much repetition, characters repeating things I already knew, which annoyed me. In fact, the entire book annoyed me. I felt there was too much time spent on characters riding from here to there, accompanied by too much description. Description is important, but you can overdo it. I couldn't get into the story because I couldn't connect to any of the characters. To me, characters are the most important part of the story and if I don't feel anything for them, if I don't care about them or what they're doing, the story falls flat. That's what this story did. It fell flat.

Book Review: Master of Dragons by Margaret Weis

I really enjoyed this book. The whole premise, dragons trying to create human/dragon hybrids in order to take back control of the world, was unique and interesting.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's it all about?

I'm a member of an online writing community and one day another writer asked anyone who wanted to reply what they said when someone asks them what their books are about. My reply? I mumble something about dragons, blush, and look at the floor. Not the best response, but I'm rather shy in person and when this questions comes up my mind tends to go blank. So, since I'm a better writer than I am a talker, I thought I'd take a moment to tell you what my books are about.

Flight Of Dragons: Charles gets shanghaied by a crazed sea captain and pressed into leading the hunt for a dragon, across the homeland that he fled years before. What he finds, is a past he tried to leave behind and a threat that endangers the life of every living thing in the place he once called home.

Shadow Of The Dragon: Micayta and Pytaki, two siblings whose world is gripped in an endless winter, must flee their home after a dragon's attack. During their flight, they meet a mysterious stranger. Is he an ally or an enemy? Micayta isn't sure, but she'll have to face a secret from her past and learn to trust again, or her world will die.

Time Of Shadows Series ( A five book series): The Dark God, Ryu, seeks to re-enter the world of men through a portal that's been locked for centuries, while the God of Light, Basale, seeks to stop him. Caught in the middle of this battle between the gods are the men and women of the kingdom of Phalindros. The mortals are like pieces on a chessboard, each god moves his pieces as they try to outmaneuver each other. But the humans can only be influenced so far before free will kicks in. Free will is the wild card. Will the humans walk the paths the gods intended, or will they choose their own way? The gods can see much further than the humans, but even they can't see how the game will end.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

What can I say? It's a Stephen King book, so naturally I loved it. You never know what you're going to get when you open a Stephen King book. This one is aliens. Not my favorite subject for reading, but I liked it. I think, for me, it's the characters. King's characters always seem so real. Plus, you never know who's going to make it and who isn't. In this book, the relationship between Gard and Bobbi is really touching, even after everything goes horribly wrong, and I thought the book ended perfectly.
My brother once accused me of being obsessed with Stephen King. I told him I am not obsessed, I am a fan. There's a difference. I'm not going to abduct Stephen King and chop off his feet. Even if I did find his car wrecked on the side of the road. Not being a Stephen King fan, my brother didn't get the allusion.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I sent Elfblood to my edtior at Champagne Books and she said it had promise but needed a little more work. So, once I finish my current project I'll be working on Elfblood and getting it ready to resubmit. My current project, Firebrand, should be finished within the week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: The Destroyer Goddess by Laura Resnick

This is the sequel to The White Dragon, and continues the story of Sileria and the effort to free the land from the control of the Waterlords. I loved this book. The characters and the world itself leaps off the pages. It's a complex story, filled with surprising twists and turns and plenty of strong emotion. If you're a fan of sword and sorcery, splashed with romance and betrayal, this two part series is one you don't want to miss.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: The Devil's Kiss by William W. Johnstone

I did not like this book. At all. It's about Satan's minions trying to take over a small town while a band of God's people try to stop them. Which would have been fine, if the book didn't have so many things wrong with it. To begin with, the prologue was the ending of the book. Strike one. The characters constantly call each other by name during conversations, sometimes two or three times in the same paragraph. Strike two. Now, I was willing to overlook all that and give the book a chance, but then we hit strike three. The book is nasty. The level of nasty in this book was so offensive that I could not finish reading it. Seriously, a book like this should come with a warning label. I'm not going to get into detail, but if this book was a movie it would be rated X.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book Review: Trapped by Chris Jordan

This book was okay. I liked the way the most important characters each had a secret. It was finding out the truth of these secrets that kept me reading more than the plot itself. The book is about a mother trying to find her daughter, whom she is convinced has been kidnapped. There is no mystery going on here. You see the story through several viewpoints, so you pretty much know what's happening. I thought this lessened the tension somewhat.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: The Husband by Dean Koontz

As always, Dean Koontz delivers an intense reading experience and a novel you don't want to put down. His characters are alive, they have depth. There are plenty of odd turns and surprising twists. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. The main character is an ordinary guy forced into extraordinary circumstances. A guy who has to find things within himself that he didn't even know were there in order to save someone he loves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time of Shadows

My five part series, "Time of Shadows" has been accepted for publication. The first book is "Shadow Born." I think I'm in a bit of shock. This series has been my pet project for about ten years. I can hardly believe this is happening. If I'm asleep, don't anybody wake me up.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: Ghost Story by Peter Straub

This book is strange right from the start. It bounces back and forth between different time periods in order to tell the story which, while not confusing in the least, was a bit tiring. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book even as I was reading it, but the further I went the better it was. By the ending, I was on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to come out the winner. It's a bizarre book, but also kind of creepy. I wouldn't advise reading this one late at night. If you're a fan Stephen King, I would say this is a book for you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Party Time!

My second novel, Shadow of the Dragon, was just accepted for publication by Wild Child Publishing.  I'm super excited and of course busy doing all the work that comes along with it. Shortly, I'll have two more novels ready to submit. Hopefully they'll get picked up as well. It's so cool to be able to do something you really love and get paid for it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: Running With The Demon by Terry Brooks.

I loved this book. The characters were complex and fleshed out, the storyline was well paced, and the ending flowed naturally. This book is about a young girl with magical powers inherited from her mother and a mysterious father that no one is willing to talk about. It's also about the battle of good vs evil and a man named John Ross, a Knight of the Word. An excellent book. I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy novels set in the real world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Banning Books

Warning: mini rant

I'm sorry, but I just get really agitated when people start talking about banning books. No books should be banned, none. But I think what irks me the most are the books people want banned. I mean, the number one most challenged book of 2010 was And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. This a picture book telling the true story of a chick adopted by two male Emperor penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo. And do you want to know why people wanted this book banned? Because they felt it promoted homosexuality. Penguins people, we're talking about penguins here.

End of rant.

And now a quote from a very smart lady:

"While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers' right to access and read that book," said Barbara Jones, director of the ALA's office for intellectual freedom. "As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Nathaniel by John Saul

This book held my attention, though it's not the sort of thing I usually read. There were a couple of twists that mildly surprised me. However, there was a question left unaswered; did the babies die of natural causes or were they killed, either by human hands or as the result of a supposed family curse? I don't know. That annoys me. Also, I didn't like the ending. It didn't feel to me that it was the natural conclusion to the story.

Book Review: Silver May Tarnish by Andre Norton & Lyn McConchie

This book is written from two different viewpoints, both in first person. The chapters are clearly marked so you know who is speaking, which helps to avoid the kind of confusion this sort of viewpoint can cause. However, there are some places where we see the same scene through two different viewpoints and there is dialogue in one where there wasn't in the other. I found this mildly annoying. One of the viewpoint characters, Meive, had a certain kind of relationship with bees which was interesting.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review: Phytosphere by Scott Mackay

This book was a little heavy on the science for my taste. It does get right into the main problem from the start, but it's a little slow on the action. There are three viewpoint characters, two of which are scientists. The third is the wife of one of the scientists and it's her viewpoint I liked best, because she was an ordinary woman trying to protect her kids.
There was a point where I considered not finishing the book because I got so bored, but I muddeled through and eventually there was some good action and even a few scenes that made me tear up, which is always a plus.
The writing was fine, the plot was well paced, and the characters were both believable and three dimensional, but all in all this book simply wasn't to my taste.

Monday, April 4, 2011


This short story was published by Daikaijuzine in June of 2010. I was looking out the car window at some clouds and they looked like mountains. I imagined an angel with black wings standing atop those mountains and thus this story was born.

The breathless heat grows no cooler as I climb, but at least on the mountain I have not the bones of the lost to look upon. Only gray rock around me, endless sky above. There is some fragment of a memory taunting me from the edges of my mind, but it keeps itself well out of reach.
And through it all, I feel her presence, close, waiting. I turn a corner and there she is. She stands with her back to me, black wings stark in the sunlight, staring out across the vast desert that was so long the entirety of my world. Somewhere far away is a shimmer that might be water, or merely illusion.
“Do you know where you are?” she asks.
I lick my dry, cracked lips, uncertain if words can pass through. “No.”
“This is the end of the world.”
I blink, my eyes thick with grit. “I don’t understand.”
She turns to face me, eyes blue as the sky, clear yet somehow clouded. She’s familiar yet not, like a faded photograph of a place you were before you were old enough to hold onto the memory. “No one ever made it to the mountain before. You’re the first.”
“Why me?” I ask. “I only walked, I don’t even know how this started.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re here, that’s my only concern.”
“Who are you?”
She sighs. “You humans, always needing to place a name on a thing as if that will help you better understand it’s nature. If you must call me something, call me Angel, for that is how you
perceive me.”
“Are you? An angel, I mean.”
“Hardly.” She steps past me. “Enough of this, we have much to do and precious little time in which to do it.”
She walks and I follow, no less confused.
She doesn’t even hesitate as we reach the far edge of the mountain, she merely steps out into the thin air, takes several steps, disappears.
I stand where I am, stunned, unsure of what I should do.
Her head and a single arm reappear. “What are you waiting for?”
I blink, having trouble believing my own eyes, and stutter something unintelligible.
“Enough,” she says. “Believe what you do, not what you see.”
I take a breath, then step one foot out into nothing, expecting to lose my balance and fall. Instead, my foot stops as if I had struck solid ground. So I take the risk and bring my left foot out to meet the right.
The world falls away to the ground far below, but I am suspended in midair like a tightrope walker without the rope. And without a net, should the laws of gravity choose to right themselves.
I take a few steps and find myself standing in a cave. I turn around and behind me is a stone wall. Curious, I reach out to touch the wall, expecting my hand to pass through. It doesn’t. The wall is as solid as any I have ever touched.
“Stop playing,” Angel calls from up ahead.
I stare at my hand, at the wall, then I turn and run to catch up to her.
A cave should be dark, I would think, but this one has plenty of light, though the source is a mystery. Walking beside Angel, I burn to ask questions but I hold silent. I’m afraid of her answers.
I fear this is Hell and she my guide through it, though I can’t think of anything I may have done to warrant such a fate.
The sight I see before me drives all other thoughts from my mind. A colossal cavern heaping with gold, jewels, and treasure beyond naming.
“What is this?” I ask.
“A test of a sort.” Angel never takes her eyes from my face. “You need to find something for me.”
“I don’t know.”
She will say no more than this and so I wonder in among the riches. Part of me wants to wade into the gold hip deep like a river, scoop the jewels up in my arms let them fall like spring showers, go wild.
But another part sees this with the eyes of a child and remembers stories where such places deceive you with their shine and sparkle, only to ensnare you with your own greed. If this truly is Hell, there may be fire and brimstone waiting below the surface.
I turn to speak to Angel, only to find myself alone. I thought I stayed what looked to be the main path, but it seems I must have strayed for now there is no path at all. My chest tightens, my heart jumps. Is this to be my punishment for some crime I can’t remember?
I stop and hold still, trying to grip my pinwheeling emotions. I see one treasure among many and not something I would normally give a second look. But I’m drawn to it all the same.
Strange black symbols tattoo a silver bladed sword leaning against a gold chest. The symbols dance at my approach and I’m mesmerized for reasons beyond my understanding.
I think I should be afraid of this thing, but I’m not. I reach out, wrap my hands around the hilt. The sword is much lighter than its appearance suggests and it feels good in my hands. There is a rightness to it somehow, it seems more real than the treasure surrounding it.
“You may regret that choice sooner than you think.”
I turn to find Angel standing behind me. “What choice? I only wanted a closer look.”
She stares silently at the sword for a moment, then looks at me. “Time to go.”
I expected a return to mountain when we passed back through the wall of the cave, instead I find myself in a tropical forest, tall trees towering overhead. The sun is warm, but not painfully so, and the air is filled with the scent of flowers. This is most certainly not Hell. Could it be I was mistaken about the nature of my dark Angel? I’m more confused than ever.
We move deeper into the forest. Here the stillness is absolute, not a breathe of wind, not a single insect chirrup. Yet, it’s not an oppressive silence, but a peaceful one, as if all the world is whole and content. I feel myself begin to relax as we walk. Perhaps things are not so grim as I feared.
In the middle of this amazonian forest, lies a pristine lake, water the bluest I’ve ever seen, softly reflecting the cotton ball clouds above. To the west, a rocky mountain waterfall, rainbows dancing in the spray.
“What are you waiting for?” Angel asks.
I sense she wants me to approach the lake, though I can’t imagine what for.
My reflection is sharp in the still water. The symbols on the sword shift, first slowly, then picking up speed. My reflection doesn’t ripple as the point of the sword touches the water, but seems instead to grow sharper, as if it were the real me and the me on the shore was the reflection.
The symbols melt down the blade, staining the water red. The color spreads, first engulfing my reflection, than that of the clouds. The sky grows dark as the wind picks up, chill.
I pull the sword back, but it’s too late.
Red flows up the waterfall in reverse, wiping out the rainbows. The rock crumbles, landing in the water with terrible splashing and crashing. The wind howls, pushing me back from the water’s edge.
I turn and Angel is staring at me, black hair dancing around her face, blue eyes bright. If this is what she wants of me and this evil sword I would sooner find myself in that Hell my soul so fears.
Throwing down the sword, I run into the forest. Tees bend back from the force of the wind, leaves swirl, all black now. I run blindly, heart pounding in my head, no idea where I’m going. All I know is that I want to get away. Away from the sword, away from Angel, away from this place. Maybe even away from myself.
Breaking free of the dying forest, I skid to a halt. Angel stands before me, gazing at me calmly as though I shouldn’t be surprised to see her there with endless miles of yellow grass behind her. The sword lies at her feet.
My chest is tight, my stomach sick. The sword looks evil lying there, a blade with teeth. I take it in my hand, hating the rightness of it, hating the feeling of power it gives. A power I don’t want.
Without a word, Angel turns and walks through the tall grass. I follow, the shrieking of the wind fading behind us.
There is no darkness like the darkness of a starless night. I longed for such a night as I made my way across the desert, now I fear what monsters it might bring. I have the sword, but it offers no comfort. A dark thing cannot fend off the shadows.
My eyes grow heavy and as I drift into sleep, images come to me. Faded, blurred, they come, bringing only more confusion with them.
A city in the rain, a splash of blood on my shoe. But the images are distorted, warped almost beyond recognition and they soon leave me.
I wake to Angel’s voice speaking my name. Things have changed during my sleep, the sky has cleared and grown stars, silver dots on black velvet.
“Come with me,” Angel says.
I follow her to the top of a hill and together we gaze up at the stars. It’s beautiful, all these brilliant sparks of luminance twinkling on into infinity. There is no moon that I can see, but all the world is bright with cold light.
The symbols on the sword begin to dance. I know this, though I refuse to take my eyes from the sky. I can feel them.
I lift the sword from my shoulder unwillingly, as if I am no longer in control of my body. As it was by the lake. Holding the sword in both hands, I point the blade toward the sky.
The stars shiver, their light growing in intensity until it’s unbearable to look at them. Then they begin to fall. The sound is akin to thunder but worse, a thousand bombs exploding. Amber light replaces the silver glow, streaking Angel’s face.
Stars dash to the earth around the hill, making the ground tremble until it feels as though it will tear apart at the seams. I am crying, wanting to stop this thing, knowing I can’t.
The sword falls from my numb hands and still the stars die.
When it’s over, there is only silence and the lingering glow of amber light. The sky above is cold now, vacant, dead.
Angel leaves me to myself. Once my tears are cried dry, I pick up the sword and follow.
Dawn comes broken and gray. We walk. Angel is silent, but I sense anxiety in the set of her shoulders, in the slight tremble of her wings. I can’t imagine what she has to worry over, I’m the one who’s trapped in this nightmare.
Beyond the hill lies a sparse, flat land and, away on the not too distant horizon, a city. A city of tall buildings, skyscrapers maybe, by the judge of the outline. Though I can’t imagine what sort of people might inhabit this place.
I try not to focus on this city as we draw near. It’s seems wrong somehow, and not only because it stands here amidst all this emptiness. There’s something else, a distortion, a feeling of misplacement, as if it ought to be in another place, maybe another time.
A flash comes to me. Once again, that city in the rain, but this time I’m not alone. There’s a woman there, she reminds me of Angel in a way, but she’s not. No wings for one thing, a lacking of darkness for another.
She points toward the sky, speaking words that I can’t hear. She shakes her head. Then a pain comes into her eyes, she reaches for me. The memory slips before I can get a proper grasp on it.
As I dreamed while walking, we have come up to stand in the shadow of the city. It’s cold.
Angel turns to face me. “This is the end, time to make your choice.”
I stare back of her, not understanding.
“Come now, no time to waste,” she says. “Will you choose the fire or the rain?”
The symbols on the sword are dancing again. I lift it from my shoulder and stare at the blade, seeing myself reflected in its shining surface. But there is a kind of shadow on my face and behind me, flames.
I close my eyes as the memory overpowers me.
The city is New York, the skyscrapers rising high all around us. I stand on the sidewalk with Michelle as the storm clouds darken overhead. She shivers, so I give her my coat though she would refuse. She smiles, so beautiful. Dark hair, bright eyes, she is my world.
The thunder rumbles and the rain begins to fall.
Michelle laughs, refusing to stand under cover though we must look like fools. She points toward the sky. “What’s that?”
I follow the line of her arm and see a shape there, something with wings. “A bird?”
Michelle shakes her head.
The creature circles overhead and a flash of lightning reveals it to be not a bird, but a person, a person with black wings. An angel, is my only thought.
The ground trembles as the dark day is lit with crimson light.
Balls of fire fall from the sky, the sound of breaking glass close. Michelle turns, pain in her eyes, and reaches for me.
I catch her as she falls, blood dripping on my shoes.
The memory goes and I open my eyes. Angel is still standing there, looking at me, the city behind here reminds me of New York, but isn’t.
“Make your choice, now,” she says.
For the first time in all this long journey I feel myself completely in control, my body is mine again. The sword waits on me, to do with as I choose. To become something else, something beyond this battered body that begins to feel pain, that is what Angel offers. To let loose my humanity and walk in her world.
I lower the sword and strike.
Her eyes grow wide in a face so like Michelle’s, but twisted, dark. The blood that flows from her wound is black like the symbols on the sword, it stains the ground. She stumbles toward me, breath shallow, but I make no move to catch her. By the time she reaches the earth, the life has gone from her eyes.
And as I stand over her, sword in hand, the rain begins to fall.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blurring The Lines Between Fantasy And Reality

This is the fourth and final article of mine that was published in Kalkion in 2009.

The Fantasy Genre is by nature a mixture of the fantastic and the real. Pushing the boundaries is what this brand of fiction is all about. But, though such stories are at their hearts imaginary, there are times when real world objects stand side by side with the fantastic.
As writers we put a lot of care and work into creating our mythical worlds, you should put just as much care and work into making sure the real in your story is true to life.

Weapons can be an important element of your fantasy story. Some readers may not know a long sword from a broad sword but many readers, and editors, do. As a writer, it’s your job to help your readers maintain their suspension of disbelief. Even something like not using the right terms regarding your weapon of choice can damage that.

I once attended a conference where a former policewoman turned crime novelist was telling us about a book she’d read. She said the book was good, until the writer said her lead character ‘cocked a glock.’ Up until that day all I knew of glocks were that they were guns. I had no idea that you don’t cock a glock, but this crime novelist did. She didn’t finish the book or read anything else by that author because it was clear to her that this writer didn’t know what she was talking about. She told us about this and some of us told other people and they told still more people. It’s the domino effect and it can hurt you as a writer.

Even when writing a fantasy story, you have to be careful. You have to know about the weapon you’re describing and make certain it fits both your main character and the story itself. This isn’t as hard as it might seem. When I first began writing I knew almost nothing about weapons. I had no idea there were different kinds of swords until someone read one of my stories and asked me exactly what kind of sword I was describing.

You may not go into a detailed description of your weapon of choice, but it’s still a good idea to know the facts, even if you won’t be using all of them. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with actual weapons, or even invent your own, only that you don’t want to turn your reader away by an obvious mis-use.

Search engines on the internet provide easy access to tons of information on swords. However, doing a blanket search will give you so many options it’ll make your head spin. If you go to and search ‘types of swords’ you’ll find a list of swords from various countries that you can read about and then do further research if they interest you. I don’t recommend relying on a single source for information.

This can also be helpful if you intend to create your own sword but aren’t exactly sure where to begin. Looking at pictures and reading descriptions of real swords could give you that spark you need to create your own. This is true of any sort of weapon you could think to use.

Once, I was writing a story and I wanted my character to use a double bladed dagger. I didn’t know what a double bladed dagger was, I just thought it sounded good. Once I looked it up I realized it was not at all what I had in mind, but I did find a double edged dagger, which looked exactly as I’d pictured in my mind. If I had used the double bladed dagger as I intended, with the description I had in mind, it wouldn’t have made sense to anyone who knew what a double bladed dagger was.

When it comes down to the more fantastical parts of your story, such as mythical beasts, it can sometimes be harder to know when to hold true to legends and when to alter them to fit your story. I once had a story rejected because my black dragon breathed fire. Yet, I’ve since read a published novel in which all of the authors dragons breathed fire, regardless of color. Sometimes it just comes down to an editor’s preference and there’s nothing you can do about that.

When it comes to well known mythical creatures, such as dragons, it’s best to know what’s commonly conceived as correct before you try to alter things to your own liking. But don’t be afraid to get creative, after all these are not real animals you’re dealing with, so there is much more leeway for changes.

I chose to change my black dragon into a red dragon, which traditionally breathes fire. It wasn’t a story changing move and it didn’t damage anything I was trying to say. I’ve since had that story published. But no matter what, your story is yours. If an editor makes a suggested change, think it about it hard before you make a decision and if you can’t live with the change, don’t make it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dialogue: How True To Life Should It Be?

This is my third article published by Kalkion in 2009.

Some writers can construct their character’s dialogue with ease, while others may find it more difficult. The question of how similar to real speech your dialogue should be is an important one.When writing dialogue in a fiction story you can’t duplicate human speech as it really is, otherwise your story would be loaded down with umm’s, ahh’s, pauses, and pointless chit chat.

It’s important that every line of dialogue move the story forward. Your character’s conversations with each other should serve to show your reader more about them, their relationship to each other, and the situation they’re in.

This is not to say your characters should never engage in day to day type conversations, but only that such conversation should have a purpose, not be there simply to boost your word count or to fill in empty spaces between the more important scenes of your story.

Another thing to avoid is having your characters constantly address the person they are speaking to by name.

“Hi Bill, how are you today?”

“Just fine Mary, and how are you?”

“Why, I’m just fine too, Bill.”

This will soon grow tedious. Your characters’s manner of speech and the words they use should be enough to tell your reader who is speaking.

But avoid the dreaded talking head syndrome:

“Hi, how are you today?"

“Fine and how are you?”

“Why, I’m fine too.”

It’s good to throw in a few he said/she said’s or even Bill said/Mary said, but the latter is best used at the beginning of the conversation or if more than two people are speaking. Another way to avoid constantly using he said/she said is to throw in the occasional descriptive passage or some sort action for your character.

“Hi Bill, how have you been?” Mary asked.

“Just fine, and how are you?”

“I’m fine.” She avoided his eyes as she spoke, afraid he would read the truth there.

These lines flow more naturally, they sound like normal speech. They also convey a little information about our characters. By focusing on Mary’s thoughts, we show she is the viewpoint character. We see that Bill and Mary know each other but haven’t been in contact in a while. Mary is hiding some secret and Bill must know her pretty well if she’s afraid he can tell she’s lying so easily.

Three simple lines of dialogue, yet they suggest a whole world of possibilities for these two characters. Are they estranged friends or former lovers? Do they still have feelings for each other? Did Mary seek him out or is this a chance encounter? What secret is Mary trying to hide?

Dialogue should always stand equal in importance with description and action. Much can be taken from the words your characters speak and the truth, or lack thereof, behind these words

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Planning VS Winging It

Here is another article of mine which was published by Kalkion in 2009.

Some writers sit down and plot out their entire story before writing it. They make chapter by chapter outlines, character biographies, world maps. They know most of what’s going to happen before they ever put pencil to paper (or finger to keyboard.)

Some writers simply sit down and write. They start with an idea and plunge in headfirst. Letting the energy flow, writing the first rough draft with a kind of wild abandon, not always knowing where they’re headed.

Both methods have their merits, though there are many who would extol the virtues of careful planning over free for all writing.

It’s true, preemptive planning might save time and leave you with fewer drafts to write, without the task of playing connect the dots. If you find the thought of sitting down at a blank screen with very little idea of what you’re doing so unsettling that you find any excuse not to write, you are likely a planner.

If the thought of doing extensive plotting and world building before you ever write a word makes your brain freeze up, you may want to write first and worry about detail later.

Either way, eventually you will have to deal with detail. The point is simply to choose whichever method gets the idea mill churning. If you’re a beginning writer, it’s a good idea to try different methods of writing to discover the one which works best for you.

Personally, I’ve tried the planning method, it doesn’t work for me. If I try to sit down and actually think about what I’m writing beforehand my brain becomes as blank as the computer screen.

The harder I try to think, the worse it gets. So I prefer to sit and wait for the ideas to come, then write them as they do. This makes for a messy first draft, I admit, but it’s the only process that works for me.

In the end, the finished product is more important than the path you took to get to it. So whatever works for you, be it careful organization or delightful mess, go with it. Don’t let anyone else try to influence you, find what works and stick with it.

Because if you can’t get words to paper, what’s the point?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Writing Rollercoaster

This is an article I wrote in 2009. It was published by Kalkion in 2009.

It all begins with an idea. Something that tugs at you and keeps you up at night. And you think to yourself, okay I have this idea so maybe I’ll try writing it down. And so you write.
Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, but you write. When it’s done you say to yourself, okay I wrote this thing and I rewrote it and then I rewrote it some more. You put a lot of effort into it and you think it’s pretty good.

You send it out to a magazine you like the looks of and you wait. And wait. And wait. You check the mailbox every day, waiting.

When the letter finally comes, your hands are shaking and your heart is racing and you’re thinking, this is it. So you tear the envelope open and you read, “Dear Contributor, thank you for your submission but we can’t use this piece at this time. Good luck placing it elsewhere. Signed, The Editors.”    

It’s a big letdown after how you’ve built things up in your mind over the last couple of months. Disappointment hits hard.

So you have a choice. You can either stuff the story in a box, along with the new one you started while the first one was out in the wind, or you can try again. If you’re a writer the answer is obvious.

It’s heartbreaking, that first letter, and even more so when more of the same follow suit. But you plug away because you must, it’s in your blood now and you can’t get rid of it.

You push your way through the rejection letters, the writer’s block, the nagging voice in your head saying you’re wasting your time, the looks from family members when you talk about your stories.

You smile when people say things like, “Oh you’re a writer” or “Well, if I had more free time I could write too.” You pretend not to be offended by the lack of respect for your writing time. You grin, you bear it, you write.

One day you open the mailbox or the email and you get the letter addressed to you personally, by name, and your heart leaps. They still don’t want your story, but you feel closer somehow, that handwritten signature on the bottom means something to you.

It’s not far from that to the first letter asking for a rewrite. Yes, a rewrite. Even though the letter clearly states this is in no way a promise to purchase your story, you rejoice.

Your first thought is to share this joy with friends and family. You call anyone you can think of to spread the good news. Then you write like you’ve never written before, so sure this is your big break.

The wait is even harder this time but you tough it out, using the time to gloat to all those nay sayers. You’re walking on clouds.

When the letter comes you’re so excited you can hardly open the envelope, so sure a contract must lie therein. Instead you find a letter saying they’ve decided not use your story after all. No reasons, no explanations, just thanks, but no thanks.

People you use to bore with talk of your writing are suddenly popping out of the wood works, politely inquiring as to when they will be able to see your story in print. You can only stall for so long before you must shamefully admit that your story won’t be published after all.

This is a moment to test the strongest of wills. You rack your brain, trying to understand what you did wrong, while simultaneously enduring the look of ‘I told you so’ in everyone’s eyes. 

If you make it past this point and still have the will to pound out on the keyboard, to burn the midnight oil, to wear out stacks of pencils, you are finally on your way.

And when the day comes that you actually find yourself staring with stunned delight at a real, live acceptance letter, you have permission to jump for joy. Feel free to dance barefooted in the kitchen, to laugh and cry at the same time, to call everyone you know and politely rub their faces in it.

In short, be a bit of a jerk. You’ve earned it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Fairy's Plight

Here is story I wrote in 2004. One night I was half asleep and the story played out in my mind. So, I got up, I wrote it down, and then I went back to bed. The next day I looked it over once, then I sent it off. It was published in 2005 by Kwil Kids Quarterly. My first published story.

The fairy landed on the bright yellow petal of a sunflower and sat to rest her weary wings. She turned her sapphire eyes to the azure sky, searching for the dark shadow of an ebony wing.

The raven had chased her far, a day and a night from her home, and there had been little chance to rest. Exhausted though she was, she knew there could only be a moment's respite from her flight. Even now, she could hear the hateful beating of his wings, a beating that was mirrored in her heart.

She rose to hover over the flower and saw his fiendish form approaching with the swiftness of death. Away she flew, her wings fluttering with all her strength, her body trembling in terror.

Into a wooded glen, where the shadows were long upon the earth, she flew. Here she hoped to hide herself from his piercing gaze.

But he was close behind, his shrieks piercing her soul like the cold tip of an arrowhead. No matter how she tried, she could not escape, for he was always a bare pace behind.

The sun set on the second day. Darkness fell. The fairy pushed on, too filled with horror to dare glance back. As stars filled the night sky with their cold light, she sank to the earth. She could fly no further.

As she lay upon the ground, she cried to the moon spirits for aid. Then the raven was above her, blocking the light until all she could see was the abyss of her own demise.

She waited for the fatal plunge, but it never came. A falcon dove from the heavens and tore the raven away. Her prayers were answered. Her life was spared.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Flight of Dragons

My first novel, "Flight of Dragons" will be coming out in October from Champagne Books.