Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gods of Eldath: Devla

DevlaAnd now it was that Devla, daughter of Light and Shadow, she of the Eternal Cycle and source of life, looked down upon the creation of her husband, Evmir.  “I see your mountains,” said she.  “I see your lakes, your rivers, your storms and snow.  But your creation is not yet whole.”

She hummed first a lullaby, for the world was a babe in the Void.  Devla passed the world thrice through the flame, warming it with the Light of her father.  As her song was hummed to the world, it began to awaken from it’s barren slumber.  All things green and growing rose from the dirt, awakening to her song.

She then went down amongst the mountains, lakes, rivers, and the sea, and everywhere she went, she danced to her wild song.  She swam through the ocean, and all the fish sprang forth from her, to swim alongside.  From there she went to the land, and danced among the fields and forests, giving birth to the beasts of the hunt.  So mad was she with ecstasy for the dance that she rose into the sky, and birds came tumbling from her hair.

She danced for a thousand ages, until all of Eldath was seeded.  It is the reason Devla is called Mistress of Beasts, Lady of the Hunt, the Eternal Mother.  The world was no longer a babe, but had bloomed as the rose in spring.  Now the other gods saw her beauty, and came to give their blessings.

~From The Epic of Creation, stanzas 12-15

 

New Site

So, I got this done.  It all looks pretty nice now, and we’ll be doing some cool stuff.  Cool stuff.

More coming soon, I’ll be updating this tomorrow to make sure everything works.  This is just a test post, and you’re still reading it.  Still reading it.

Still reading it.

I’ll blog at you guys tomorrow, and we’ll talk about the upcoming release of Child of the Flames.

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

 

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.

What Does it Take to be a Writer?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on how and why I started writing.  Believe me–some days that thought is in more of a desperate tone.  When it’s three in the morning and I’m thirty pages into revisions on my second run through a manuscript, I have one of those movie moments where I think “Why the Hells did I ever start doing this?“.  Sometimes it’s not so desperate, such as after I finish a passage or scene that I just know is the literary equivalent to a punch in the kidneys.  So–how and why did I start doing this?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’ve always been into storytelling one way or the other.  It all started in third grade–though it took me awhile to remember this.  Some of my old friends may be angry with me for drudging up these embarrassing tales, but oh well.  My first foray into writing happened then, when I drew a comic book in collaboration with a few friends of mine called “Killow”.  It was just a stick-figure comic book about a group of friends (those of us who were writing it) who were ninjas and basically got into random karate fights for absolutely no reason at all.  We didn’t care that the title was a mutated form of “Willow”, or that the storyline was copied from “Ninja Turtles”.  We still got into huge “karate fights” on the playground, and it was good fun.

Fast forward a few years and you’ll find a fifth-grade version of yours truly hard at work on a story assignment for school.  We basically had to write a book and bind it with laminated paper.  Mine was a harrowing tale of a space captain who rescues some damsel from…something, I can’t remember.  I was not going to half-ass it, though.  My story was illustrated on every page with comic-esque drawings in colored marker.  I can’t remember what it was called, though my teacher was really impressed with me.  I got a good grade on that one, and it was all downhill from there.  After that, you’d find me tucked away in the corner of my house, scribbling away with markers.

It was around that time that I started concentrating hard on drawing and learning to play guitar.  I would spend hours drawing pictures with my cousin, and playing the guitar until my fingers sometimes bled.  No joke.  There was a period in my life where my fingers were in a constant state of peeling and healing–for years, I mean.  When the guitar became too painful or boring to play, I would be drawing comic books.

When I was fifteen or so I started drawing another comic with a separate group of friends called “VHIII”.  This one had everything a young teenage boy could love–vampires, epic battles, lots of blood and gore, and of course, scantily-clad women.  What can I say?  I was a kid.  By this time our artwork was passable, and over the years I’ve been a little impressed with some of it after I dug it out of boxes to ride down nostalgia lane.  At this point, the story was just a backdrop for the artwork, so I still knew nothing about plot lines or anything like that.  But hey–in those years, the only thing I could think about was girls, which is a struggle all teenage boys know well.

Between those years and my first years in college, I concentrated mostly on songwriting.  I was in several different bands over those years, but one in particular that I played with for a very long time–well into my army years, actually.  Some of you may not know this, but I’m a beast on the guitar.  All those years of bleeding fingers paid off in dividends.  I went to music school, learned about song structure and key signatures and all the musical terms you could want.  I was second in my class at music school, and I loved every minute of it.

Then the war happened.

I actually started writing my first book as a joke.  I wanted to write a funny story that featured friends of mine; something they could read and laugh about.  I started in fits and spurts, never getting past the sixth chapter.  The story slowly changed into something serious during all those rewrites, though.  It went from a funny tale to the story of a guy who finds his wife in bed with his friend, and kills them both.  I have no idea why the story turned so dark, but perhaps it was a symptom of my world doing so.  I still couldn’t get past the sixth chapter, and it was during this time that I left college and marched off to war.

The book stayed on the proverbial shelf for a couple of years.  I went to Iraq, came home, traveled around Europe a bit.  I met people, partied, and saw some history for myself.  I guess you could say I spent a few years just absorbing the world around me.  I didn’t start writing again until my second deployment to Iraq, and that was when The Sentient Fire was born.

So what does it take?  In my case, something of an obsessive personality.  I’m one of those people that will hammer away at something until I’m either satisfied, or too tired to continue.  I couldn’t just write a story–I had to create an entire world, write a history for it, specify the mechanics down to the number of days each season officially takes to pass.  I read my stuff over and over, obsessing over the placement of this comma or that word.  It gets crazy sometimes.

Also–and this is going to sound horrible–I think you need to have some pain in your life.  You need to get out and experience things.  Get your heart broken, lose someone, see something awful happen.  You need to experience the swell of victory in your chest, and know the pride that comes with achieving something you never thought you could.  You need to experience utter defeat.  How will you ever write about heartache unless you know how it feels?  If you decide to write about war, will you understand what it feels like to be there?

You also need to understand people on a basic level.  You need to know what drives them, what motivates them.  You need to have a good idea of what a particular character might do when faced with an impossible situation.  The only way to gain a rudimentary understanding of that is to observe the people around you.  You need to become a student of humanity.

You also need to read.  Read absolutely everything you can get your hands on, even if you don’t think it would interest you.  A good place to start is history.  The saying “truth is stranger than fiction” holds a lot of water, and if you delve into the sordid tales of the Romans, or the conquests of the Mongols, you’ll find a lot of grist for your writing.  Fiction is also good for growth, no matter what anyone says.  Believe it or not, you do absorb things unconsciously.  If all you’re reading is internet gossip, your writing will start to take on that style.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Your brain is a muscle and it needs more exercise than your body ever will.

I think it goes without saying that you need a basic understand of the English language.  If you can’t form a correct sentence, then there are countless things you need to learn before tackling a book.  Everyone makes mistakes, but you do need a foundation to build upon.

I think that’s enough for this week.  Don’t forget to JOIN THE CONCLAVE and follow me on Facebook.  Tweet me if you want, and feel free to follow this blog, too.  Also, look out for The City Under the Mountain on August 15th!

Join The Conclave

Join my mailing list for FREE stuff today!

The Thousand Names

I usually don’t like to jump into a new series while I’m in the middle of writing my own stuff.  It tends to muddy the waters a bit, but after a friend recommended this book to me, I decided to give it a shot.  I was not disappointed.

The Thousand Names isn’t like your normal sword-and-sorcery fantasies.  It’s part of a growing sub-genre lovingly referred to as “flintlock fantasy”.  That’s right–it’s got cannons, muskets, and magic.  I thought that it would be hard to get into, but I was wrong.

I got this one at Audible, and the audiobook was really good.  The narrator did a great job of bringing the story to life, and the book itself instantly grabbed my attention.  I love a good military element in my fantasy stories, and Wexler did an amazing job of making this sort of combat gritty and interesting.  On top of that, the magic in his story is a little darker and different than I was used to, which ended up being awesome.  Every point of view character was really well written and interesting, and the story itself was awesome.  This series is right up there with The Gentlemen Bastards for me, so I thought I would rave about it and recommend it to you guys.

Also, I was wondering if you all could make some recommendations to me.  I’d like to read a good indie sci-fi/fantasy series, and who better to let me know where to find them?  Anyone know of any hidden gems?

The Awakening Storm

The Awakening Storm Cover

The Awakening Storm

Well everyone, the cover art for The Awakening Storm is here, and I’m pretty stoked about it.  In my last post you guys may have noticed that I said that TAS is within 100 pages of being done, and it’s chugging right along toward the end.  It has been a wild ride for me, as this book has stuck with me through some of the most challenging times in my life.  I must admit that it’s been a love-hate relationship, and that now I know the challenge of attempting to conquer the “great muddled middle” of the fantasy series.

I’m expecting to be finished with this bad boy before I start school at the end of August, and I’m pushing harder than ever to make that happen.  I’m to the point now in the story where all the dominoes are set, the course is ready, and the only thing left to do is to tip them all over and see where everything lands.  The way things are looking, The Awakening Storm will be the same size–or even larger–than The Sentient Fire, as a lot of things still need to happen before I can brush off my hands and call this effort finished.  As anyone who read book one can probably imagine, the thing is already titanic.

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has waited way too long for this book.  I know that it should have been released years ago, and you have no idea how much I appreciate your patience with me over the last while.  I published a blog post a few months ago explaining the reasons for the delay, and I won’t go into detail about the medical and personal issues that have plagued me since 2011, but things are looking up now and you’ll have this bad boy on your devices (or in your hands if you still prefer print) very soon.  I’m super excited for you to read it.

The Awakening Storm is a little different than The Sentient FIre.  It has loads more action, and a ton of things are going on in the world in the wake of Dormael and D’Jenn’s battle at Orm.  The Galanian Empire is ramping up it’s war of conquest once again, and a whole new group of characters will enter the story to play their parts in the larger drama.  Maaz and Maarkov are still on the scene, working to further Maaz’s goals–or did you think that they would sit idly by while the companions raced around the globe outwitting them?  Not likely.  The companions are now fugitives from justice, and have to adjust their tactics accordingly.  There’s war, political strife, romance, naval battles, and more magic than the first book had on its best day.

Oh; and Bethany gets to kick a little ass, too.

In short, it’s time to start checking up on my progress periodically if you’re interested, because the final draft is nearing it’s final keystroke.  Next week I plan on setting the book up for preorder through Smashwords, so check back often and order your copy soon.  When it’s published, you can just up and download it at your leisure.

Much love and respect to you all, and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

~~D.W.

The Last Days of the Sony Vaio

She was a good computer.  Fast, with a dedicated graphics card and lots of software.  We had many adventures, R.I.P.

So yes, my computer died the digital death recently.  I was right in the middle of trying to update my website, and it had a fatal error.  I’m fairly sure it was a problem with a power converter or something–the thing would only draw enough power for the HDD to spin up.  It wasn’t the end of the world, though.

I had my writing backed up, of course.

I took it as a sign that it was time to upgrade.  We’re now back in business, with a new computer and an entirely new operating system, too.  It took me forever to get Windows 8 to behave, believe me.  Many of the features on this thing just make me wonder “why?”, but I figured it out soon enough.  Despite the catastrophe, The Awakening Storm is now within 100 pages of being finished.  A few more chapters, and it’ll be time for editing.

I also wanted to announce the possibility of having TSF and TAS produced as audiobooks.  It will be later this year–after the release of The Sentient Fire revised–but there is a plan in the works to have the books, or at the least the first one, on Audible by Christmas.  Maybe sooner.

Hope you all are doing awesome.  Don’t forget to subscribe, like, share, all of that stuff, and if you feel so inclined, then head on over dwhawkins.com and subscribe to my mailing list, The Conclave.  They got some free stuff today, just to let you guys know.