Category Archives: The Conclave

Just Some Stinkin’ Maps for You People

Hey all.  Got some new maps.  Figured you might want to see ’em.  Enjoy.

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Timeline Updates

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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.

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

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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.

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New Timeline for the Seven Signs

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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

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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.

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Major Changes Coming

Over the last few months, I’ve been working furiously to finish The Awakening Storm.  Also, because of my long hiatus from writing and the self-publishing world in general, a lot of the technical stuff that goes along with maintaining a writing career had staled and gone out of date as well.  It’s my own fault–I’ve basically shot myself in the foot.  So I’ve also had to systematically go through every aspect of my online presence and business front, and change a lot of that around, too.

Some of you may have noticed my website, book covers, and information changing like the seasons lately.

After many long conversations and some hard thinking on my part, Iv’e decided to make some major changes to my label.  Hopefully this doesn’t alienate what few readers are still around since my past success, but let me attempt to explain and bring you around to my way of thinking.  In the end, this will be better for all of us.

First off, a bit of hard truth from me to you, and to myself.  When I published The Sentient Fire, it wasn’t ready.  It was a long way from being ready.  Some of the chief criticism I get from the story is that it’s massively long–and that’s true.  I wrote that book because I thought everyone was writing tomes of 350k+ words–in short, I had no idea what I was doing.  I showed up on the scene and dropped it at the feet of the world.  I was 22 when I started that book, and 31 when I typed the last word.  The man who wrote the first one hundred pages was vastly different than the one who finished it, and it shows.

Luckily it did pretty well–but it was definitely luck.

Here’s what I have done by releasing something so big:  One, I’ve vastly widened the period of time that passes between each book release.  Most novels are around 80k words or so–mine sits at about 348k, which is about four and a half times that size.  I’ve heard that for some people The Sentient Fire was around 17,000 Kindle pages!  Let’s be honest–I’m all for a long story, but one book that size is a little ridiculous.  Instead of writing one book at a time, I’ve basically been hammering away to produce three at a time.  That’s definitely not the smartest way I could be doing this.

And The Awakening Storm just hit the 300k+ mark the other day.

Two, I’ve made the print version of the book impossibly big, which means impossibly expensive.  Even adjusted as it is now–to give me the absolute least amount of royalty possible–the book comes in at $25.  Even I wouldn’t pay that much for a paperback, and that fact also just doesn’t make any sense.

If I had been smarter about the way I’d gone about publishing The Seven Signs, there would be five books currently on the market, and the sixth one would be over halfway done.  Instead of waiting years between each book (medical issues notwithstanding) there would be about six months between each release.  You’d have 2/3rds of The Awakening Storm in your hands now.

Plus, it is much harder to find professionals to work with you when you have one massive book.  Editors and narrators basically have to take a huge risk on you, and that’s a tough business decision to make.  Both of those professions requires hours of work for each “hour” produced, so you’re asking for much more of their time–which basically means much more of their money.  Finding someone good to work closely with–the way you want to do with an Epic Fantasy series–is nigh impossible.

So.  Here is what’s going to happen.

Starting immediately, both books–The Sentient Fire and The Awakening Storm–will be split into trilogies on their own.  The Seven Signs was planned for three books at around 350k words apiece, so now it will be nine books at around 120k words apiece, but probably closer to 150k.  Still long, but also within the range of a normal-sized book.

I will focus first on getting the first two parts of The Awakening Storm ready to publish, since they’re already written.  That means that you’ll have the next book in line in your hands in a few weeks–definitely earlier than I’d planned.  The next one in line will be ready to go as well, and it will be released after.

During that time, I’m going back through The Sentient FIre and revising it into three stand-alone books.  What that means for you is that if you’ve already purchased it, then you have it.  However, the newer version will be expanded somewhat–I’ll probably have to add about 30k or 40k words to each section in order to make them stand on their own–so there will be new material there.

Once those are done, I’m dropping them all at once, like Netflix and House of Cards.  The Sentient Fire will remain where it is until the books that are replacing it go live, at which time I’ll be pulling it down.  I don’t have titles as of yet–I’m just referring to them as TSF I, TSF II, etc.  So by the end of this year, instead of two books and two possible audiobooks, you’ll have six books with extra material, audiobooks much more likely, and an all around better product in each one of them than The Sentient Fire was.

And you won’t have to wait so Gods-damned long between books seven, eight, and nine.

So, here’s what it’s going to look like when the smoke clears.

The Seven Signs will be nine books long–the first five of which you’ll have by the end of the year, maybe even six.

The first book in the series will be free–and if you sign up for my mailing list, I’ll give you the second one free, too.  I like to give free stuff to my mailing list.

Each subsequent book in the series will be $2.99.

Some of you may not like this decision, but I think it’s the most fair thing for both of us.  This way the wait is shorter, the books are more manageable across multiple platforms, and I’m also not writing over a million words into books I can’t sell.  A guy’s gotta eat.

If you’re still looking forward to any of my writing, don’t forget to join my mailing list and get all the news straight from me, and sweet deals all the time.  I care about my readers, and I hope you guys understand this decision.  If not, well…I hope to win you back one day, but this is the way it needs to happen.

Thanks for sticking with me so far.

~~D.W.

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Battlestations

My battlestation.

My Battlestation.

Yes, that is a shot from five minutes ago.  That’s my nerd-cave right there, my Battlestation with a capital “B”.  It’s blogging time again, and I thought I would fill you guys and gals in on some of the changes that I’ve made, and just give you a glimpse into what has been going on.  Give you a peek into my world, so to speak.

First of all, you may notice a few things above.  Yes, that is a full-sized, poster quality map from The Sentient Fire.  Beside it is an actual painting of Maaz given to me for Christmas by Jason Peek.  It’s true–his eyes follow me around the room, and I have to admit that the painting is one my favorite things on the planet.  Beneath the map you may notice a series of scribbled pages taped to the back wall.  That, my friends, is the hand-written rough outline for the last third of The Awakening Storm.

That’s right; I took it to the page and attacked the problem old-school style.

It’s daunting for me to realize how much has happened in the story since I left off with TSF, and just how many spoilers I would let go if I talked about it at all.  Just to show you guys, though–it is getting crazy around here.  It always does, toward the end.

You may have noticed a few changes in my little corner of the interwebs.  I’ve moved my main blog away from Tumblr and set up shop at WordPress, mainly for integration reasons.  The Tumblr blog is still active, but it is fed from WordPress now and I no longer use Tumblr first-hand.  You readers know how sporadically I use social media anyway, but now you’ll mostly find me checking my WordPress and Facebook, and maybe tooling around on Goodreads every now and then.

One thing I am excited about, though, is the new mailing list.  Head on over to dwhawkins.com and sign up for The Conclave.  Think of it more as a membership than a mailing list.  Sure, I’ll be sending emails out once a month, but more than that I’ll also be letting exclusive content, members-only deals, and giveaways go from time to time.  Every piece of correspondence you’ll receive as a member of The Conclave will be from me, personally.  You’ll know everything first and get a chance at everything first.  It’s completely free, by the way, and the only information required is your email.  Nothing gets collected and sold to any third party.  Sign up here today.  Unless, you know…you don’t like free stuff.

I’m also stoked to announce that on May 25th I’ll be featured on r/Fantasy as the Writer of the Day!  For all you fellow redditors out there, head over to the subreddit r/Fantasy and look for me on the 25th.  I’ll be answering questions about anything and everything, and I’m excited to possibly talk to fans and strangers alike.  I’ll be online during the day starting at 9am.  While you’re there, browse around the subreddit, there’s plenty of interesting links and discussions to be had.

Anyway, gang, things here are looking great.  TAS is coming along, and we’re finally getting close to the end of that long, long road.  I’m looking forward to it just as much as you are.

Then, it’ll be time for Book Three.