Category Archives: Child of the Flames

Proof-Filled Pudding

In the world of indie publishing, there is a metric ton of advice out there for authors on everything from crafting a professional manuscript to “gaming” the algorithms of Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and on into the sunset.  Much of it is good.  That’s the great thing about indie authors–they tend to offer a hand down to those climbing the proverbial ladder once they’ve seen a measure of their own success.  Check out the nonfiction section of Amazon and you’ll probably see a lot of titles about marketing ebooks, or how to leverage this site or that to push your titles to the next level.  It can be very confusing, especially considering that there are lots of people out there who offer the “tried and true system to push YOUR books to the next level!”

I’ve read a lot of it.  But me being me, I’ve never been able to keep a long list of tactical tricks in my brain for marketing purposes.  Keeping up with the changes in Amazon’s business models, or the way that Facebook pushes your author page to people, has never been my strong suit.  I’ve never been a PR wizard, or an SEO specialist.  I’ve never worked at any internet firms or anything like that.  I’ve been a mechanic, a musician, an artist, a soldier, a writer–but never anything PR-related.  I abhor social media on general principle, and don’t spend enough time on any website to get a deep understanding of the way they work.  Maybe I’m kind of a dinosaur.

I can barely manage my website.  Yes, it’s that bad.

When I first published back in 2011, I adopted every trick I could find.  I was new to the scene, and had no idea what I was doing.  I got easily bogged down in minutiae, and taken in by the advice of this writer, or that.  Some good, mostly bad.  My first book (with no comments on the horrible quality) did alright, but fell eventually into the mists of internet obscurity.

When I decided to revamp my writing career, I didn’t count on having any great amount of success.  I decided that instead of listening to the endless parade of advice from authors who were offering it, I would instead adopt a few simple principles, and take a page from the books of some of the great generals in history–Strategy is by far more important than tactics.  A tactic is a short-term thing designed to get you through the moment.  A strategy is a plan of action for the long haul, and I made mine simple.

Concentrate on writing good books, get good-looking covers, and worry about the bullshit later.

I thought about the way that I look for a new book when I want something to read.  I don’t listen to Facebook or Amazon, don’t click on ads, don’t participate in giveaways or contests (though I know some people do).  What I do is probably what most of you do–I ask my friends.  I read descriptions, I read reviews from other readers.  I figured that for my own work, the best thing to do would be to try and write a good book.  If it was good enough, people would want to read it and recommend it.  It’s true that this is a more slow-burn type of strategy than landing an ad somewhere, and it might not net me a million downloads in a few days, but the people who did discover it would probably enjoy it more than if it had been shoved in their face by a pop-up on some random website.

I decided that I didn’t need to be the next George R.R. Martin, I just needed to write something that a few people really enjoyed.  I wanted to be accessible as much as possible, and treat people like people instead of assets to push a product, or ticks on some line graph.  What I wanted was a small group of fans with whom I can talk, joke around, and have a good rapport.  I just don’t have it in me to be anything but generally irreverent, snarky, and completely unprofessional.  I’m just a guy with tattoos.  I could never be some untouchable, suit-draped elitist who looks down on others as a waste of his time.  It’s just not me, and never could be me.  When I think of authors doing book signing events, or live book readings, etc, what I would much rather do is just go out to a pub and have a beer with people.

I never counted on having much exposure, or a legion of fans.  I figured a few people would like what I was doing, but it was probably going to be a niche crowd from the get-go.  Since I changed my business model, so to speak, I’ve not purchased any ads, done any podcasts, promoted posts on Facebook, or joined Twitter hashtags.  The closest thing I’ve done is Fantasy Writer of the Day on Reddit, but that’s totally free on my part, a niche crowd in itself, and it’s an AMA-style interaction between me and subscribers to the subreddit rather than an ad campaign.  Which, by the way, I will be doing again on July 24th.  Look for me there on that day if you want to ask questions, or just hang out and bullshit with me.

Somehow, along the way, the books have picked up some steam on their own.  I say it’s down to you guys–the readers.  You’ve read, recommended, shared, or whatever it is that you’ve done, and slowly but surely something pretty awesome has happened.

When I logged in to check my numbers this morning, I saw this.  I was floored.  There’s a lot of jostling that happens in the Amazon bestseller rankings, and they change from one minute to the next.  One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that all three of my books have slowly clawed their way into the top ten.  For the last six months or so, Child of the Flames and The Knife in the Dark have stuck there consistently, and since The Old Man of the Temple‘s release, it’s been right there beside them, and featured in Amazon’s “Hot New Releases.”

So thanks.  Thanks to all of you who have shared, recommended, talked about them with your friends, or left me reviews.  Thanks to those of you who haven’t, but have purchased and read them all the same.  The past two years I’ve worked hard on them, especially this past year, and it’s wild to see them climbing to where they are now.  I can’t even describe the feeling, and it’s all down to you guys.  I should be studying for my finals next week right now, but I’m cracking a Guinness Nitro for all of you out there who are riding this train with me.  All I did was write them.  You guys did this, and I fucking love you for it.

Much Love and Respect to you all.

~D.W.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom

I see you guys out there.  You’re all awesome.  My gratitude is yours.

Guess I’d better get cracking on that next book.  Much love and respect to you all.

~D.W.

Child of the Flames is Here

Available now at Amazon

Available now at Amazon

So Child of the Flames is now available over at Amazon.  Head over today and get your copy–or you can borrow it for free as a Kindle Unlimited member.  Also, you can lend it to friends and family for up to 14 days, even if you’re not a member.

Head over and check it out right now.  Like, now, Carl.

Git to it.

When you’re done, feel free to leave me an honest review, tell your friends, and subscribe to me somewhere.

ML&R

~D.W.

Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Child of the Flames

Coming August 1st

Coming August 1st

Child of the Flames is coming this Monday, August 1, 2016.

It will be released on Amazon at $0.99.

It’s a story of revenge, of tragedy, of triumph.  And it’s got blood, swords, and magic.  What more do you need for a good story?  It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.  I know you guys are just as excited about it as I am.

I know a lot of you have already read up to The City Under the Mountain, and may not want to start back at the first book.  However, Child of the Flames is not The Sentient Fire.  It’s a new book through and through.  While many of the same things happen (you can’t revise and not hit the plot points) they happen a bit differently, and to characters who are much more three-dimensional.  In short, The Seven Signs is maturing a bit for it’s relaunch.

You can certainly just pick up at The Oath of the Blade when it comes out if you want, and you won’t miss anything, nor will you be confused.  But, if you’re like me and you re-read the entire Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, every time a new book came out because you forgot a lot of the story…

Child of the Flames will be enjoyable for you.  It’s like re-reading, only with new writing 😉

(You guys should know that I love you–that’s the first time I’ve ever used an emoticon, after years and years of refusing to do so.  I broke my prohibition for you, ‘cuz I love ya)

So look for Child of the Flames on Monday.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Timeline Updates

allbookcovers2015

Time to send out a quick update to let you guys know what the current timeline looks like for the release of the upcoming books.  As you may have realized, they’re not coming out at the end of this month.  That was a tentative date anyway, but it’s not getting pushed too far to the right.

Tentatively, again, look for the books to drop around the end of June.

Here’s my logic behind setting the date for June.  First of all, it’s obvious that this project was going to take me a little longer than I had anticipated, especially with the portions that required heavy rewriting.  Child of the Flames is now finished, and that means that the lion’s share of the work is done.  I’m currently working on The Knife in the Dark, which won’t require nearly as much rewriting.  Basically, I’m taking the amount of time I think it will take me to finish the next two, and doubling it.

One reason for this is simply to make sure I give myself enough time to do this right.  Another is that my school schedule is ramping up as the middle of the semester rolls through, and I have a full schedule of classes.  Failing them is just something that I won’t do, and that means I’ve got to dedicate a little more time to them when needed.  College is expensive, and my G.I. Bill is fairly limited.  One has to maximize one’s time.

However, if you just don’t want to wait for Child of the FlamesThe Knife in the Dark, and The Old Man of the Temple to publish on their regular date, you can JOIN THE CONCLAVE.  I’ll be leaking advance copies of the first two books to the mailing list as they become ready for market.

The going plan is to have six books out by the end of the year, the audiobooks ready before Christmas, and possibly to make a few changes to the blog.  I plan to start blogging more regularly once The Seven Signs is back on track, mostly about nerdy stuff, but not always.  You all know of my general disdain for social media, but maintaining that in today’s world is virtually impossible.  It might be time to shake hands with the devil.

Anyways, back to The Knife in the Dark.  I’ll be posting here to talk a little more about Child of the Flames next week, and how the story is changing, and how it isn’t.  Stay frosty.  Remember to bring disgrace upon your enemies.

~D.W.

theknifeinthedark01

 

World of Eldath: Magic, the Blessed, and the Learned

Layout1

Many scholars throughout the years have attempted to discern exactly what magic is and where it came from.  Its effects have been studied by the School of Magical Arts, the Conclave in the Sevenlands, and even the Minsdurim Academy, upon occasion.  There are multiple books on the subject, the foremost among them being Garland’s Song of the Fabric of Creation.  Still, at the time that this report is being written, this scholar has found no invention, scientific method, or even a magical device that can test the essence of magic and tell us what it really is and where it came from.

The accepted view by most laymen is that magic is the “fabric of creation” or the “material of creation” left over from when the Gods forged the world.  Such a simplistic explanation can be credited to the Epics of the Gods and the mythology that most religious texts perpetuate.  The general idea, explained by a Devlan Devotee, is that Evmir shaped the world and everything we see from a magical base material.  The phrase so often repeated is that he  “commanded the world come forth from the ether”.  When asked exactly what magic is, or what the “ether” is, most religious explanations fail to satisfy, as they so often do.  If one wants to learn of magic, one must go to a wizard.

According to representatives of the Conclave of Wizards, children who are born with an inherent connection to magic, referred to as “Blessed”, begin to show signs of the power between the ages of seven and fourteen years.  This range is not as accurate as it could be; the Conclave admits that some children may go for years using magic undiscovered by their scouts or their parents.  The manifestation seems to correlate directly with the children aging into sexual maturity, though there have been cases which seem to show no correlation.  Sometimes trauma has been shown to be a direct factor as well, though those cases are rare.  Findings from the School of Magical Arts directly support the information from the Conclave.

Magic is described by wizards as having an empathetic nature.  It apparently responds to emotions felt by magic users, and those emotions can either intensify, confuse, or entirely null the effects of their intended spells and evocative castings.  By their own admission, the use of magic can be a very dangerous undertaking.  Wizards have been known to lose control of their powers and kill themselves–or others–because of the emotional factors at play, though the Conclave assures me that such things are rare and easily controlled and prevented through proper training.  Strenuous mental discipline is the best deterrent, according to those who traffic in the use of magic.

Magic apparently responds to outside stimuli as well.  It has been shown to resonate differently with different materials, such as brass, stone, various gems, and even water.  Mathematical and geometrical formulas seem to evoke a response from magic, as do certain shapes in nature, the most common of which is the circle.  This scholar had heard rumors of a great circle constructed in the bowels of the Conclave called the Crux, but any reference to it, or request to see it, was met with denial.

The most interesting magical reaction seems to be with music.  Apparently musical tones have an intense effect on magic, and the Conclave has studied the phenomenon for a long period of time.  They have found that the most interesting reactions seem to come from entire compositions of music rather than individual tones, as if the music produces an emotional response from magic, as ridiculous as that sounds.  The theory seems to hold water when compared with the earlier knowledge that magic responds to emotions from those who use it.  The two phenomenon seem to be intertwined somehow, though sufficient time and effort would be needed to study it further.

Magic seems to be able to perform almost any action the wizard can imagine, though the boundaries of such power are blurry and undefined at best.  Most wizards seem to operate on their own preconceived notions about nature, and such a thing can be a serious deterrent to studying magic’s full potential.  Some of the more mundane uses for magic, such as moving large objects or producing a small light from nothing, can be as simple or as complicated as the mind of the wizard wielding the power.

This scholar personally listened to two different explanations on how one would move a rock with magic.  One wizard preferred to simply seize the rock with his “Kai”, as he put it, and move the thing a small distance.  He explained that in his mind, he pictured carrying the stone in a large, invisible hand.  The second spoke of an invisible force holding the rock to the ground already, and he simply pictured himself coaxing the force to let go for a small amount of time while he moved the rock.  The results were the same, though the methods were clearly different.

Wizards do seem to have a limited amount of endurance for using magic.  Each person would appear to have a different threshold for holding a certain amount of power, and it has been determined by the Conclave that every wizard grows slowly stronger over time.  Exposure to the power also seems to lengthen the lifespans of all wizards, though it is said that most older magic users retreat from society in order to better commune with the strange energy.  It is also said that wizards heal faster than normal people, and are more resistant to disease, though the factor by which this happens is minimal.  It has been demonstrated to this scholar that magic also cannot heal any ailment with reliable results.  The two things may be connected, and that subject may warrant further study in the future.

It is possible for those born without the ability to touch magic to gain it through careful study and training.  In the Sevenlands they call those wizards the “Learned”.  The differences between Learned and Blessed magic users stop at the method by which they gained use of the power.  There appears to be no correlation between the method of training and the final ability and strength of any wizard in question.  This would suggest that physical properties and breeding do have some effect on these phenomenon, though those effects have yet to be studied.

From A Treatise on Magic and its Effects, by the Magister Sir Umril Genhardt, of the Tauravon Archive.  Written in the year 1066, archived in 1067.

Hope you guys enjoyed that little tidbit about the setting.  I’ll be uploading little blogs like this to help flesh out the story for you guys, as the World of Eldath will be an ongoing setting for stories long after the Seven Signs is finished.  More news on this to follow, and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

Like | Follow | JOIN THE CONCLAVE

New Timeline for the Seven Signs

allbookcovers2015

Alright folks, it’s time to hammer down the official timeline for the re-release of The Seven Signs.  I’ve been plugging away at it hard for the past few weeks, and looking out over the upcoming landscape, I’ve got a much better idea about how to go about releasing it.  Here goes.

First of all, much to everyone’s disappointment I’m sure, the date has to move to the right.  Not by much, though.  Let me go ahead and let you guys know how this is going to happen.

The first three books in the series, which will replace The Sentient Fire, will be released at the end of March 2016.  It’s not January, but it’s not too much later.  The bottom line is that in the process of revising this thing, I’ve had to chop and rewrite huge sections of the first book, Child of the Flames.  It’s taking me much longer than I had anticipated.

The good news is that the next two books, The Knife in the Dark and The Old Man of the Temple will need much less in the way rewriting.  In reading ahead and figuring out how much I’ll need to revise, it is very clear that the second two books in the series are already much closer to being complete than Child of the Flames is, at least in it’s original form.

Child of the Flames needed many sections completely redone, it needed lots of new material, and entirely new POV characters and sequences.  Essentially I’ve been going through it and rewriting the entire book line by line, which is something that the next two won’t need.  Child of the Flames will be a very different story than the first part of The Sentient Fire was.  The next two will have lots of new stuff too, but the revision process will go much faster than this one has.

Right now, Child of the Flames will be finished on January 2nd.  From there, I’m giving myself a month each to finish The Knife in the Dark and The Old Man of the Temple.  This includes the editing process.  Those three books will be ready for the market by the end of March.

From there, I’m going to put The Oath of the Blade up for preorder, and set the release date for July 1st.  That will give everyone enough time to read the books again if they wish, and ensure that the book isn’t rushed through the editing process.  Going any faster at this point will sacrifice quality, bottom line.  Plus, it allows the newly revised series to gain a little steam and get some exposure.  Releasing all the books at once will cut it off at the knees, so to speak, and I’m listening to a little advice from other writers on this one.

The sixth book, which will be called City of Cages, will be released January 15th, 2017.

The next month is going to be a little crazy for me.  I’m writing ten pages a day, every day, until the middle of January to get this stuff done.  That includes Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I’m basically shutting myself away and going monk-mode until this is done, and right now it’s going swimmingly.  I’ve got the time away from school, no commitments until the middle of January, so I’m maximizing that time for effect.

Since this is the last update you guys will get from me until next year, I’d like to wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Saturnalia, or whatever it is you celebrate this holiday season.  Enjoy your leave, and I’ll talk to you guys next year.

Much love, and JOIN THE CONCLAVE.

Child of the Flames

childoftheflames02

The Seven Signs, book one. Coming in 2016

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog.  I recently started school again, and my life has been pretty hectic since.  If I’m not working on overhauling The Seven Signs, I’m writing something in APA format.  The neat little schedule I worked out for myself while finishing The City Under the Mountain was pretty much thrown out the window.

So, what have I been doing, you might ask?

I’ve been working on what will be the new Big, Bad Book One:  Child of the Flames.

What’s changing?  Well, let me try and explain.  During The Sentient Fire, I really felt like I could have dived into the story a little more than I did.  There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes during the first book that I never illuminated, so I’m illuminating some of them.

Also, Shawna’s part in the story is getting more of an overhaul.  Earlier today I finished writing the opening scene to the book, and it’s about ten times more exciting than before.  A large part of the first book was her flight from the Red Swords, yet she got little “airplay” in the original book.  She’ll get more this time around, and you know it’s going to be bloody.

I may have mentioned my original intention to give the book a stylistic polish, and that will be happening as I go, as well.  It’s weird returning to this story so many years later.  Sometimes I read parts of it and cringe at the writing, but I guess that’s the way it goes with art.  You’re never really happy with it, but it is kind of fun to go back and rewrite some of the parts to give them a little more punch.

So far, January is still a good date for the release of the overhauled series.  As the date gets closer I’ll keep you guys updated, but as of right now I’m sticking with that.  Don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and all of that.  Check me out on Facebook if you’re so inclined, or follow me on Twitter.  To get the updates as they come straight from the source, join my mailing list, the Conclave.

Talk to you guys soon.

Join The Conclave

Join my mailing list for FREE stuff today!