Beta Read Completion & Other Big News

I know one or two of you have been waiting patiently for news on Book 2 and what it’s name is going to be, when’s the cover reveal and all that.  Well… it’s on the quivering cusp now.  So load up your squee cannons and get ready to fire.

1. Monday morning, the Beta Read ends.  I’ve gotten some good feedback.  The story is generally recieved better than ALRDW, and some VERY eagle eyed picky readers found a ton of errors.  To which I thank them, profusely.  I’m not a good technical writer, but I seem to have a knack for emotion, story and plot.

2. Book 1 is getting a Re-issue!
Yep.  I’m going to be re-issuing Book 1 “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.  Why?  It needs to be brought into line with what the series is going to be moving forward.  I’ve simplified the language, so the number of hard words has been reduced, and it will be re-titled.  The series name is going to be “Akiniwazisaga” going forward.  The subtitle will become “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.

3. The Subtitle is down to a final two candidates.

I will hope to do a reveal of that in the next couple weeks along with the second cover.  Yes, I’m hoping by middle November, I will be able to reveal it, and it’s new titling.

I know I’ve been absent a lot, but life is really in a lot of turmoil right now, so I’m doing all I can to re-edit book 1, get book 2 ready and then deal with my job (yes I still have one cuz book sales don’t pay for it yet.  Maybe after book 4 comes out… oh the dream) and other issues are conspiring to drive me insane.

So that’s what’s coming up.

The goal is still a December release and barring a disaster, we should make it.

action adult athlete build

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Advertisements

Busy Bee. That R Me.

July has been kinda crazed in many ways for me.  Hence why so few posts.  Books 2 and 3 are done.  I just finished the Story Grid edit of Book 2 yesterday, and the week before that, I was at the Realm Makers Consortium 2018 Conference for 5 days.

pexels-photo-261453

A blast was had, and I learned I neither suck at writing, and I have so much more to learn.  Seriously, the classes were phenomenal (with one exception that for a Christian Speculative Fiction Conference was a seriously sour note… but easy to forgive.  I keep thinking of the Niles and Frasier Crane definition of a perfect meal, where everything is perfect, except for one small flaw to pick at for the rest of the evening.

I will be going back, barring the apocalypse or some other minor but inconvenient tribulation.  :cP

No I don’t have pictures.  I don’t like pictures of myself.  I look like a couch with a goatee and an arm brace.  Who needs that kinda pressure?

That’s been July.  Busy editing, learning and generally finding things to fix in my book.  Hoo boy, it’s going to be an interesting edit.  I’m now scheduling two more passes through the book on my own where I do an out loud read through as well as another pass to get it looking nice and polished before I send it over to my editor.

My editor and I had dinner last night, and we talked about what scene to use for the cover.  Originally I wanted to do a triptych for the next three books, but alas, I do not think it’s going to be.  So I’m going to just be happy that I found a scene that portrays Brother Finn and Bergamot I like.  The other four scenes I seriously considered just all had fundamental flaws for how to portray the book best.  Also, you didn’t get Brother Finn like on the ALRDW cover.  I probably should contract the artist soon, if this is going to be a November release.  Yeah, it’s looking like that’s possible.

Still don’t have a title though.  Just the working title, which is going bubye.  Need something more fitting for the aesthetic.  I may wait till my Beta Readers get back to me.

Ohh!  That reminds me!  Beta Readers!  I’m going to put out an open offer for some people to get involved in the beta reading process.

What does this mean?

Ideally I would like to get between 10 and 20 beta readers.  I know that seems like a lot for some authors, but well, I like getting lots of feedback to consider.  I am writing something I want, but it also needs to satisfy you readers.

It will be for the month of September with a hard deadline of probably the last week of the month.  The date is not settled on yet.  I’m going to be a bit more strict this book, but I would love to get some of my fans involved.  I will also consider creating a Discord channel for us to be able to discuss the book.  Or perhaps we can set up a discussion forum on the blog here, or through Minds.com.  Again, haven’t decided but that will firm up, depending on participation from you guys.

Of course that means you will be rewarded with a free Ebook for your participation if you get in and provide the feedback I need once the book releases.

As a consequence of the conference (say that 3 times fast), I will not be doing a pre-order.  I found out Amazon changed their algorithm and it now screws over rankings for those who do pre-orders.  So if I do, it’s going to be less than 5 days if I do it at all.  So thank Amazon everybody.  Speaking of which, I’m probably going to go Amazon Exclusive for these next three books and see how that improves or hurts my sales.  See what Kindle Unlimited will do for me.

Lastly, I have a hardcover here that I am wondering what to do with.  It was supposed to go with me to Realm Makers, but showed up a few hours after I had to leave.  That means I have no current plans with it but the ideas are simmering.  I’m sure there are people out there who would like an autographed copy of the book.  But what to do for a contest for it?  I was thinking about fan art.  Be a shame to throw a contest and nobody came.  So if you like the idea, best let me know.  Something fun for a run up to Book 2’s release.  So, thoughts?  talk to me now for this is the time.

Well, that’s all for now.  The plan is:
August: editing
September: Beta Read
October: More editing, cover and formatting
November: Final polish and release (Late Nov publish date most likely)

Repeat process for an April Release of Book 3.

Repeat process for a November/December release of Book 4 (if all goes according to plan).

So there you have it.  Hope you like it.  Let me know what you think!

gray framed clock photo

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

First Draft of Books 2 & 3 Complete! FREE EXCERPT

That’s right!  I have finished adding back in that plotline and setting up for Book 4, so I’m going to turn my focus over to get you books 2 and 3 as soon as possible.

Many decisions are yet to come, and I look forward to what shows up in the editing process (which is going to take a few months of course) but if I can keep things on schedule, I hope to do a pre-release for Christmas, if not an actual release this year!  Nice huh?

So what’s it currently look like right now?  Well here’s some stats as it sits:

Akiniwazisaga : Book 2 (Working title – “A Land In Peril”)

Word Count: 81,096
Page Count: 222
*Without Encyclopedia Akiniwazi

 

Akiniwazisaga : Book 3 (Working title – “Into The High Places”)

Word Count: 101,238
Page Count: 282
*Without Encyclopedia Akiniwazi

Therefore the last chapters added in are:

83. A Fray Lost, A Trap Set
87. An Odyssey Ends
88. A Bittersweet & Complicated Farewell

These last chapters required a lot of extra care and swings to hit them out of the park.  Thank God for my Alpha readers giving me great feedback for when the story went awry.

It seems to be the pattern that the closer to the end I get, the slower the process becomes as much consideration is given to how to best end the story, and what would be a good and satisfying end for you fans.  I may write these books to soothe my own creative itch, but part of that balm is telling an entertaining and engaging story that brings you back for the next tome.  I like happy readers.  What can I say?

Now I’ve been trying to find something good that wasn’t going to require you to know a plot twist or give a spoiler.  That has been a challenging task to find.  So here’s what I decided.  Till Book 2 is officially released, this is the last free sample.  Just everything else is too entwined and relying on spoilers I don’t want to show yet.  So here’s the last freebie, unless something changes.  I hope you enjoy.

As always FIRST DRAFT, so lots of exposed nails and rough framing.  Things may change significantly in later drafts as I find better ways to tell the same story.   (Glossary Provided at the end of the sample.)

25. Ten Lashes

“My back,” Mirjam whispered, voice strained in pain.
“I warned you this was not a good choice on where to hide,” Solveig chided back. Whoever heard of hiding in barrels? Not even in the Sagas were people so foolish.” It was impossible to keep time in the hold, let alone in the two empty barrels the girls hid inside.
“It has worked so far.” Mirjam said, insulted, forgetting that every word said was another chance to be caught too soon.
“It has been only an hour or so since the engines started. I would not say this has worked yet.” Solveig criticized.
“Are you trying to get us caught? Shut up and try to sleep!” Mirjam commanded. Worry that her plan may fail had begun to torment her.
Solveig descended into a sulky silence.
Mirjam’s back had begun to cramp and her feet were now numb. If she could only sleep. A good long nap would help the time go faster, and the longer they could remain hidden, the better chance they had of not being sent back home to be punished. If only she could stretch her legs.
After counting to a thousand several times to the piston stroke of the engine, Mirjam fell asleep.

“Get out here you lousy tambakkji skipgut!” a rough voice shouted. Solveig was grabbed by her shoulders and thrown bodily out of the barrel and struck her head on what she did not know. The world spun and filled with sparks. She lay on the floor holding her head in agony, never before having felt such pain in her life. Only a low groan escaped her lips.
“Get up you lazy, good for nothing!” The man bellowed again and a rough boot struck Solveig in her gut, leaving her to cough. “Hide down here and shirk your duties? The Baatsmann will flay the tender skin right off your back, you hrodinefr! The cook has been looking for you and here I find you hiding and taking a nap. We shall see about what the Kaptein wants to do with the likes of you!”
Solveig’s breath would not come, and now dark spots danced with the sparkles from the blow to her head. The wroth man looked into the barrel again and saw the sea bag in the bottom.
“A thief too? Stealing the Kaptein’s kit? Oh you will pay for that too, boy!” Her captor fished the bag out and slung it over his shoulder
“Get up,” he ordered but she did not respond. Wheezy rasps came from her as she fought to get her breath back. Her stomach hurt and burning lungs came back to life in ragged hitches and coughs. The man who had disgorged her from the barrel hauled her up by her armpit, setting her on her unsteady feet.
“Come on. March!” he ordered. She stumbled hard onto the deck, for her strength was gone and head still swam with the blow. The Sjomann hooked under the armpit, and all but dragged her up the stairs toward the Kaptein’s cabin. As they passed through the hold and into the aftcastle, other sjomenn seeing the lazy skipgut already having received a taste of the punishment to come began laughing at the young boy’s predicament.
“First voyage out, and in trouble before the day is done,” one said shaking his head.
“He will learn the hard way,” another chided.
“You caught the fubrande, Herr Snekker?” still another asked.
“Jah. Caught him snoring in a barrel. Never even took the Kaptein his property, he answered shrugging the sea bag for emphasis. The door to the hold closed.

In the quiet that followed, Mirjam peaked out of her barrel like a mouse looking out of its burrow. No one was there, so she stood, back crackling in the process. She saw Solveig’s barrel overturned, the lid flung to the side. Although she had heard the scuffle, it was only a theory till the truth was seen.
“Oh dear God!” she whispered. “No, no, no, no, no!” The panic grew as she realized the peril her sister… that both of them were in! If the crew did not know them in disguise, they could be killed!

~~~~~

Glossary

Baatsmann  : [BAHTS-mann]  Boatswain, head of the deck crew

Fubrande :  [foo-BRAHN-deh]  An insult; literally means “arse log”, and was also used to describe a piece of wood used below the draft animal’s tail to prevent a certain type of sleigh from slipping to far forward when going downhill.

Herr :  [HEHR]  Mister. Polite form of address to a man

Herre : [HEH-re]  Master or Sir. A polite form of address towards a man of superior position but unknown status or a Huskarl

Hrodinefr : [ROWD-ih-NEH-fur]  Snotnose

Sjomenn : [SEEOH-man]  Sailor or Seaman

Skipgut : [SKIPS-goot]  Cabin boy

Snekker :  [SNEK-kur]  A carpenter

Tambakkji : [tam-BAHK-yeh]  A cheap alloy.  Used to describe a person you dislike.

What’s next?

July : Editing Starts

End of July:   I will be attending the Realm Makers Consortium Conference in St. Louis.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll see some of you there.  Always happy to chat.

August: More and more editing

September: Beta Read and contact the cover artist.  (Also begin first draft of Book 4!)

October: Editing, final proofing and formatting.

November:  Release?  (this is the ideal hope)

Answers to some expected questions.

Will there be a pre-order?  Yes, but I won’t know details till I’m more firm on when I will be done with editing and ready to format.

Where will the book be offered for sale?
Amazon for all formats (Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook)
Smashwords and Kobo/Rakuten (ebook only)

Will there be an Audiobook?  As of now, no.  The cost is too high and I’d rather hire someone good to make it.  Someone who speaks Norwegian, Swedish or Icelandic so they can get the terms right.

When will Book 3 come out?  As the Magic 8-ball sez… “Ask Again Later”.

There you have it.  One big update with lots of extras.  Allow me a short break to rest up, get my brain straight and then start editing so you can have goodies for Christmas!  Huzzah!

 

Gratitude and Progress

So far it’s been a wild week for writing. Six chapters in 6 days including one that freaked me out and made me go “Well, this ain’t for kids anymore.  Nope nope nope!”  Then it’s never been my intent to write YA fiction, but for you hardy, sturdy fangirls and boys of fantasy and good storytelling.  Huzzah!

I think as a “stay-cation” this has turned out far better than expected.  I have another week like this coming up, so I will be getting busy with outlining the final chapters.

pexels-photo-397096

Being the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning here, soup bubbling away on the stove for my post holiday work week and stomach bracing for the onslaught tomorrow in carb laden goodness, (My pancreas curses me, but I think eventual forgiveness will come) I thought I’d bow to peer pressure and say thank you.  To all of you who have bought my book, lent your support and follow this blog, I am grateful.

This is I guess a contrast to the degree of ingratitude I see in the world and how it makes people terminally unhappy to the point in which they desire nothing more than sharing their misery.  I don’t want to be that guy.  I don’t always succeed, but generally no.  It is not my desire to be the monster I sometimes pretend to be in attempts of self depricating humor or currying compliments.  (yes, we guys and writers do it too from time to time.  Human weakness, sue me.)  But in an effort to start the ball rolling in your own reminiscence, here’s what I have to be thankful for.

I am grateful to my alpha readers who have been helping me in my writing, giving me honest critiques and picking me up when the bull throws me and dances on my head for a day or twenty

I am grateful for my job, despite all it’s myriad foibles that drive me crazy.  It keeps me focused and desiring to keep writing if not from a suffering point of view, but from a financial desire PoV.

I am grateful for my health as it is.  I know it is far better than what it could be if I had not started paying attention to it two years back, and although the improvement is slow, I am still glad for what I have.

I am grateful for my friends, the couple I have IRL and the dozens I have online and in my gaming guilds of the Seraphim and Angels of Eternal Destiny.  To that end, I am grateful to have known my buddy on the other side of the world in Guild Wars 2, Flowerypants who passed away this year.  He helped me to realize how fortunate I was for both my life as well as the chance to share deep things around my book in a way I will be forever remembering him.

I am thankful my sister and her family survived Hurricane Harvey and are on their way to full recovery.  Despite all the material loss they suffered (see almost everything) they were all safe, including their cats.  It has been such a warm feeling to see the outpouring of family and friends to pull together and help them in this terrible crisis too.  I mean just staggering.

I am grateful, most of all, for my salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.  The gifts that he has given me from the night I chose to follow Him, back in 1997.  Well surprise surprise.  It’s been 20 years since I became born again!  I did not realize that till now.  Now that is an odyssey down memory lane.

There are so many more things for me to be thankful for in private, and I hope that most of all I keep remembering to be grateful for them throughout the year, and not just on one day, which when things are going sour is very hard, but the most important time to do it.

So that’s how I feel right now.

Thanks.

pexels-photo-235648

Now, as for what’s been going on with the book.

Pages 339
Words 110739

I’m still suspecting that this book will end up over 150k words, 4-500 pages, and I may just have reached the end of my middle build, or will be in a chapter or two.  Not quite sure yet.  I thought I did, and felt I had a good denouement for what would have been Volume 5 of the series, but now, I am not so sure if I should finish this part of the adventure before considering it such.  Meh, we’ll see.

And the new chapters…

44. Among the Wolves

45. A Dangerous Trade

46. Twelve Fingers

47. Sacrifices

48. Reforging the Iron

49. Hope From Afar

I hope these tantalizing little tidbits are enjoyable for you.  I kinda like dropping the teasers and keeping you in the know as to what the progress looks like.  These have been incredibly intense chapters for me to write, and I’ve been waiting literally months to finally get to this point.  And now that I’m there, I’m taking the deep breath before the plunge, as it were.

Also, I’ve started working on a new map.  Much like what you can find in the first book, you will be able to track a goodly portion of the adventure’s trek through the wilds.  Partially because I think you will enjoy it, but also because I need it to keep my understanding in place to the directions and locations our heroes are visiting.

No teaser draft this time though.  I do that too much and it won’t be special anymore.  😉  You understand.  We’ll see what happens.

Till then, it’s back to the Ondeandkurvfjell for me.

pexels-photo-90597

 

A Surprise Is In The Works

As a build up for book 2 as I push towards completion, I’m going to be announcing some changes and a nice little surprise in the next week or so.  So keep watching this space!

Also, thank you to those who have been leaving such wonderful reviews on Amazon.  These really help me, and pick up my spirits when I struggle.  Don’t forget the star rating or it will give me a “1” despite the comments.

file_554276

What Not To Expect

pexels-photo-54377

I have hit my third big landmark as an author: The first bad review.

It was 2 stars and it left me wondering why?  Sure this is only the third review I got from someone who knew nothing about me beforehand and had no bias one way or another. So I wanted to understand what the person meant and I analyzed it and talked about it with a close friend and I got a better understanding of what I’ve done as a writer.  It wasn’t a bad review, but it wasn’t a good review and from it, I learned something about my readers and possibly what to expect in the future from my work of art.

One.

The criticism that it was unnecessarily wordy and complicated.  Definitely a taste criticism, and valid.  Some people love the complexity.  I’ve had one beta reader who wanted it even more ‘crunchy’.  It definitely goes to show this is not a book for a person who does not like complexity and deal with a new lexicon.  Totally understand that.  I wondered too if I was going overboard at times, and worked to find a balance where the language and names struck a good balance.

In fact, the whole reason created the glossary and didn’t dumb down the names to English surrogates was to follow a style idea I first experienced with Richard Adams and his classic book “Watership Down”.  Now, I’m not sure how complex that story really is to some readers, but I definitely thought it.  I could have done a footnote method, but it never felt good for the whole flow of the story.  Also, I have had a reviewer state that they preferred the complexity and worldbuilding I put into the Glossary into the text itself despite it slowing the pace of the story.  Again, it was a compromise that has had some who love it and others not so much.

Two.

The book was not whimsical or magical like Narnia, Middle Earth or Hogwarts.

Completely fair on many fronts as we all compare works against the best.  This is also an accurate assessment.  I never intended it to be like any of those books.  Narnia is an allegory which they never really delve into the miraculous magical things that happen. It is just accepted that Santa Claus can show up and that the magical beings that exist are generally happy fairy tale style creatures for the most part.  Sure, you get much scarier things in Middle Earth, and its a grittier setting, but that is offset by the Hobbits and Shire.  There is a certain level of whimsy to it, and because of those two series, I suspect people who see “Christian Fantasy” expect more the high fantasy, light-hearted adventure or fairy tale inspired adventures.

In response to this, I’d have to say I never tried to show my book as one of those outside of it being an adventure epic.  In fact, I go so far as to portray this series as low fantasy where it is based more on real world spiritual warfare/exorcism, medieval church politics, and what it means to be caught in a world where devils and angels actually manifest and go to war around you.  It is not meant to be whimsical for it was never written for children.  It was written, believe it or not for nerds and fantasy geeks who liked grittier fantasy novels, the same way some people love cyberpunk, and hard science fiction.  Although children as young as 11 and adults who are into fine literature have read this book and loved it, they were not the target audience but aspects of it spoke to them.  So yes, It is not a whimsical book, though it will have whimsical moments.  This is more Jack London’s “Sea Wolf” than the Don Bluth Studio’s version of “Balto”.

Three

This is the criticism that I think was the most revelatory, and I thank the reviewer for giving me the opportunity to address it.  The statement is made that he is a Christian that believes in spiritual things.  Good…  Seriously.  I am as well and this is a basis for part of why I even tried to write fantasy like this in the first place.  It is further said that this comes too close to the line.  Now I’m not sure what line this is, but if it is the line between reality and make-believe, then this is right on the nose.  It is supposed to mirror the Christian spiritual paradigm.

The magic and miraculous in Akiniwazi is based on the teachings of deliverance ministries, exorcism, eye witness accounts and scripture as best as I could.  The only thing I tried to do was crank the special effects to 11 to enter into the realm of the fantastic.  That means those who can do the miraculous are in direct contact with divine beings, be they Angels and the Holy Spirit or demonic forces.  There is no ‘neutral’ form of magic in the book.  If a ‘spell’ is cast, there is an angel or demon behind it in some form or another. It isn’t the individual’s personal will or power or gift.  Just like Samson’s strength, it came from God.  Just like the prophetic slave girl Paul drove the demons out of, that power came from satan.  Magic is not something that is dug out of the ground like coal, or manufactured like a microchip and is spiritually neutral.  This is a staple trope of fantasy, but one I chose to throw out at high velocity.

There are going to be many people, particularly Christians who will find this extremely uncomfortable because it will hit close to home.  The book will touch on how demons can infiltrate people’s minds, and the whole idea of legal spiritual rights.  It is intended to be conversation starters and fodder for people to question the spiritual war that I believe is going on around us right now.  Again, not something some Christians will agree with or enjoy but others will.

Anyway.  This is also not a book about having a strong or perfect faith.  In fact, most of the characters are strongly flawed failed people that do not have instagram perfect lives, and God still uses them.  It deals a lot with failing and picking yourself back up again.  How rejection by others does not equal rejection from God, and the difference between religion and faith is no respecter of person, privilege or group identification.  It’s you and God together in the end and how you walk with Him.

Now, hopefully I wrote the book well enough that if you’re not into that kind of stuff, you can just ignore all that as window dressing the same way people do with Narnia and it’s blatant Christian allegories, or say Umberto Eco’s “Name of the Rose” does not preach religion at his audience, but it is everywhere in the book.

As for the last point of being poorly executed… ::: shrug ::: not sure how to help there.  🙂 Matter of taste I guess and that’s fine.  I did the best I could, and learned a lot.  I still see stuff I wish I would have worded better, but it’s out there now because I’m not going to spend 4 years editing it.  I’d say give book 2 a try when it comes out.  I know, like most book series, only improve over time.

Thank you for reading the book and leaving a review.  It helped me consider my work better, and keep some thoughts in mind moving forward.

If anyone would like to discuss the book or anything about it, please, send me an email, or post a question/opinion here.  I’ll be glad to discuss my work, particularly if you are confused about anything.

 

Sampler Platter #4 “For the Greatest Good, They Leave Home”

Chapter 4 is now posted for your reading pleasure.  Please feel free to drop by and leave comments.

https://www.wattpad.com/361577151-a-dark-light-rises-in-a-dark-world-4-for-the

alrdw-title-page03

Beta! Beta! Beta!

11c551f45b9dab56abb7265a935779c6

You talkin ta me?

Ha ha… made you say “wut”?

I’m such a weirdo.

Okay, here’s the deal.  I am looking for Beta Readers.  I have a few confirmed, but I would like a small, comfortable herd of interested parties who would be willing to read and fill out a questionnaire (plus whatever other criticism they may have) on my latest edit of Reimarsoga.  Remember, this is going to be a critical read, not just a fun read.  (well okay, it will be fun if I have my druthers.)

Details! (I will provide final instructions in the email)

  1. Start Date: No later than Oct 27th, 2016.  (Date is currently pending the completion of latest edit, finalization of the map and questionnaire.  It may come early.)
  2. End Date:  No later than Nov. 21st, 2016.  (I need time to make changes before I send it to the editor for a January release).
  3. Provided Materials:
    – 1 Copy of “Reimarsoga: Subtitle Pending” in PDF (including map and glossary)
    – 1 Questionnaire with specific questions by chapter and as a whole.
  4. Bonus Treat:  Participants who complete the beta read will be eligible for a FREE COPY once the book is released currently planned for the 1st week of January!  (I know, right?)
  5. Space is limited, so please don’t be disappointed if you do not get in… Book 2 is right around the corner!

That’s it as I see it.  If you have experience with editing, I am very interested in your input.  Enthusiastic fans of Fantasy, Steampunk, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction are strongly encouraged to apply.

To take the plunge, please reply the Contact page (extra linkypoo) and send a request through the email you wish the files to be sent to.  If you do not receive a confirmation email, you have not been selected, or I did not get it.  If that’s the case, try again before Oct 27th… cause I gotta put a hard deadline somewhere… and we’ll get it cleared up.

Once November starts, I will be focusing on my next Akiniwazi novel…la?  I’m doing NaNoWriMo, so its goal is 50k words and the faster I finish that means bonus stuff for y’all.

Thank you all for your interest!

 

 

 

Writing Playlist

Yes.  I have a writing playlist that I use to put me in the mood.

ardalpowell-theflute-p-45

Many people listen to music while writing.  Others do not.  Some can even do it with the TV going and other distractions.

I like writing to music.  Tea at the ready in the wee hours of the morning.  I seem to not get really rolling till after 4am lately.  This I think has more to do with working nights, but I prefer to write when its dark out.  Just the way I am in my inconsistent manner.  So what do I listen to?  Here’s a list of songs and artists I have in my playlist.  I wish I could put up an actual playlist so you could all enjoy, but hopefully you then have enough information to look on your own if you are interested.

Okay, maybe some samples will show up if they are on youtube or something.

The “Official” Akiniwazi Playlist (exerpts)

Two Steps from Hell

  • Moving Mountains
  • Heaven Hell
  • Nero
  • Norwegian Pirate
  • Heart of Courage
  • Strength of 1000 Men
  • Breathe
  • Cry
  • El Dorado
  • Ocean Princess

Vangelis

  • Conquest of Paradise
  • Monastery of la Rabida
  • Light and Shadow
  • The Bounty

Mychael Danna:

  • Phoenix Anastasis
  • Nakawe
  • Visions of Bernadette

Loreena McKennitt:

  • Prologue
  • Marco Polo
  • Night Ride Across the Caucasus
  • Dante’s Prayer

James Horner:

  • Jack Dawson’s Luck
  • On Hallowed Ground
  • The Oglala Sioux
  • Proud Nation
  • Thunderheart

Dead Can Dance

  • The Host of Seraphim
  • Ascension
  • Circumradiant Dawn

 

Hans Zimmer:

  • Progeny
  • The Emperor Is Dead
  • Reunion

Other Cinematic music from:

  • The Civil War
  • The Fog
  • The Island
  • Schindler’s List
  • The Passion of the Christ
  • Hannibal
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • The Professional
  • The Crow
  • Prince of Egypt

Various Medieval music, both classical, modal and re-envisioned:

  • Hildegard Von Bingen “Illumination”
  • The Empire Brass: “Passage”
  • Gregorian Chants from the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos
  • “Sing We at Pleasure”
  • Native American Flute by Coyote Oldman’s “Thunder Chord”
  • Nordic Roots Albums

Classical classics like:

  • Faure’s Requiem
  • Night on Bald Mountain
  • Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition”
  • Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” plus a re-envisioned version.
  • Hall of the Mountain King  (you just knew it was going to be in there, didn’t you?)

And several dozen from various artists I found for free on Soundcloud and other sources.  I shall leave you with a favorite of mine.  I use all three “versions” out there.  The full, acappella and instrumental:

 

The Strange Dichotomy I Stumbled Upon

Akiniwazi is a complex project.  It’s roots are based in some big philosophical questions:

  1. Can you make a Christian based “magic system”?
  2. What would the world look like if the Vikings discovered the New World
  3. What would a civilization look like if it discovered steam power but not gunpowder?

Number two and three have been possibly some of the most fun while number one has been the most trying.  When laying out the rules of the world in my mind, and on many scraps of paper (I tell you if this thing becomes a blockbuster, there are going to be so many scraps of real source material floating around for collectors after I die if I don’t burn them).  The biggest, even before I realized the alternative history aspects that are many of its roots is that this is based on the philosophy of what I call the “War Behind the Veil”.  The idea that there is a war between God and his rebellious creations following Lucifer and the effects it has on the physical world.

file_183552

Now, originally, this was to be a complete fantasy world with nothing in common to Earth and the world as we knew it.  But… I hit upon a huge problem:  How can you have Jesus and Christianity in truth, if you tamper with the the world and make it all fantasy.

I was stuck!

I realized you could not have that if there were any changes done to the “Old World” of Asia, Africa and Europe.  I had to leave them be, untouched and historically the same.  That single realization was a terror to overcome.  How could I have this setting I envisioned with the world being exactly as it was historically?  Then I stumbled upon it,

The New World can be totally different!

iceland-volcano-eruption-2011-8

The map was mutable.  I could make the new world and have it all the way I wanted, save for one last issue:  The Skaerslinger.

It is painfully obvious that I have taken heavily from Native American cultures.  The names of the lakes are taken from corrupted translations of Ojibwa words, for example.  But something I want totally divorced from this is to make the Skaerslinger anything like the actual indigenous people.  While the old world medieval Viking culture and related materials have to be at least honestly researched (maybe not perfect, but darn good enough to satisfy all but the biggest nerds/experts who will pick at this), I needed to abandon the same level of research and historical accuracy to the Skaerslinger.

I can’t do this, because I am not going to be accused of hate speech or racism (though some might try it anyway) because they want real world accuracy on their cultures in a fantasy novel.  So there is a big reason why I have thrown historical research for all New World cultures out the window and thrown in multiple influences into the mix from Celts, Cossack to Zulu to Aztec and Inca.  Plus many other ideas I have that make for a good ‘spice palette’ of the culture as it develops.

There are some very strong black and white lines because that is the nature of the novel, but I do not want to have anyone claim I’m saying “insert Native American culture is Satanic”.  I’m not, and will not.  But there is a reason for the structure, what I have to say and what is to come. It will be illustrated throughout the entire series.

So that’s the strange dichotomy.  All things in the old world and before the discovery of Akiniwazi are going to be considered as truthful and attempts will be made to make it accurate.  The New World, its people and geography and events there are a rapidly diverging splinter timeline and world from the base because it is fantasy and it MUST be.  This gives me freedom to create from raw cloth as well as just spice things up a bit from time to time, or even take interesting aspects from those cultures and use them as a template.

Many of these things will not really come about till book 3-4 I think, but you’ll see hints as we go.

fishing_village_new_france

BTW, I am toying with releasing another sample chapter as it passes through the third or fourth edit.  Let me know below if you want to see another chapter out of the book!