Tag Archives: D.W. Hawkins

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

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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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The Battle of Alesia

In honor of Veteran’s Day I thought I would write a blog to you guys about one of the craziest military engagements of ancient history.  Throughout human existence there have been these great moments when the courses of entire civilizations have been decided upon the courage of fighting men, the guile of generals, and the edges of swords.  One such battle was the siege of Alesia, a fortified town in the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, where Gaius Julius Caesar finally closed in on the Gallic general Vercingetorix.

For years before this battle took place, Roman legions under Julius Caesar had been ravaging the Gallic countryside, bringing the region firmly under the control of Rome.  At this time, the Roman economy had morphed into this beast that was almost entirely dependent upon foreign conquest and the subjugation of native peoples.  Romans had settled in the region, and Caesar had been squeezing the Gauls for tribute for around six years.  The Gauls, having been crushed by the Romans, were simmering at the Roman boot upon their throats.

After a tribe called the Carnutes, who had been previously pacified by the Romans, rose up and slaughtered all the Roman settlers in the town of Cenabum, Caesar mustered his legions and marched over the winter-locked alps into the province of Transalpine Gaul to put down the rebellion.  He was unaware that the major Gallic tribes had previously met and elected someone to take the fight to the Romans, to drive them from the lands of Gallia.  That man was the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, and his name was Vercingetorix.

Vercingetorix defeated the Romans in the field at Gergovia, and fought a decent field campaign against Caesar.  The Gallic cavalry was much stronger than the Roman cavalry, and Vercingetorix was famous for using his mounted soldiers to devastating effect.  After a few engagements between the two forces, Vercingetorix withdrew his army to the fortified town of Alesia.  Caesar followed him, and trapped his forces within the city walls.

Where Ceasar Crushed Vercingetorix

Alesia was a relatively small settlement by our standards.  It was built upon a solitary hill between two rivers, and overlooked a small valley that surrounded it.  There was high ground beyond the valley, but Alesia would have had a decent view of the surrounding countryside.  It was surrounded by a low wall that ran for around 5 miles, and probably had a fortified gate of some sort.  It wasn’t a very large settlement, but by Gallic standards of the time, it was a well fortified position.  Vercingetorix had some 80,000 men inside, along with thousands of civilians.

Caesar surrounded Alesia with somewhere around 50,000 legionnaires and Germanic auxiliary forces.  Imagine what a man like Julius Caesar would have thought when he looked up at the town of Alesia.  By this time, Caesar was already a seasoned military man and commander.  He was a strange figure in history, and there are famous (and infamous) stories about him in the Roman records.  Caesar was a popularis–which would have been roughly the equivalent of a democrat in Roman politics, with a definite violent twist–and he was loved by the Roman lower classes.  He was known to buck convention, and, in the words of Dan Carlin, was something of a “punk rock like figure of the ancient world”.  He was said to have moved twice as fast and decisively as other men.

Caesar was also fiercely loved by the men under his command.  He regularly ate, camped, and fought with them, and earned their respect through his deeds.  Caesar’s men supposedly loved him so much that, when they messed up in battle, they begged for him to punish them so that they could once again be in his good graces.  Caesar heaped rewards and praise upon his soldiers, and they were fiercely loyal to him–something that would bode ill for the Republic in the future.  Any one of them would have died for him without a second thought.

Caesar was also known to be a military genius, and that will become apparent during the Battle of Alesia.

Caesar knows that Vercingetorix has the advantage.  The Gallic cavalry had devastated Caesar’s own mounted units, and from the high ground in Alesia he can send his horsemen out to raid the Romans virtually at will.  Caesar has to neutralize the advantage that Vercingetorix has taken, but how to do it?  He sets his men to digging.

One thing that the Roman legions could do better than any other ancient army was build.  Every single night a Roman legion would fortify their camp.  They built walls in record speed, they brought tools and technology with them, coupled that with a fiercely industrious nature, and used it all to great advantage.  Caesar has his men dig a wide trench all the way around the city–a distance of around ten miles.  After this wide trench is dug, he has them dig another trench and fill it from the water of the nearby river, creating an effective moat.  After another trench goes in, he fills all of this with stakes, caltrops, and other nasty defensive surprises the Romans were famous for.  He turns the ground around Alesia into a killing field.

Then he sets the legionnaires to building a wall around the city, turning a defensible position into a prison–a tactic called circumvallation.

Vercingetorix isn’t stupid, and he can see all of this happening from the city walls.  He sends his best troops–that Gallic cavalry we spoke about–to raid the Romans building the wall, but the legion regularly pushes him back into the city.  Roman legions were also good at defense, and Vercingetorix was unable to break through the Roman lines.  Day by day, his sorties failed again and again.  Finally, Vercingetorix makes what many people believe to be the mistake that sealed his fate–he sent his cavalry out into the countryside to rally the tribes for help.  The move cripples his ability to harass the Romans building the wall.

Caesar, ever the clever opportunist, uses the escape of the Gallic cavalry to his advantage.  He orders his quartermasters to procure a supply of food from the surrounding countryside for thirty days, and sets his men to building even more fortifications.  With the ability to build with impunity, the legions get right to work.

They build a second wall around the first, and this one is around twenty miles in length–a line of contravallation.  It goes up without incident, and in record time.  Caesar makes his camp between the two walls and, anticipating the appearance of a Gallic relief force, prepares to be besieged while besieging Vercingetorix.  Wild, huh?  The walls that Caesar’s legion built had only one weak spot–the western side, where the walls met the river.

After about seven weeks of being besieged, the people of Alesia began to starve.  There is a small supply of beef and corn inside the walls, but Vercingetorix has seized control of the food for his men, and the civilians are running out of sustenance.  What happens next is a strange thing, to be sure.  Either Vercingetorix, or the tribal elders inside the town, decide to send out their women and children–some three thousand people–to the Romans.  Doubtless these people thought that the Romans would hopefully let them through to safety, or even take them as slaves.  Either way, from their point of view, they might avoid starvation, and the possible slaughter coming their way.

Caesar, though, turns the civilians back toward the city.  He denies them any sustenance or mercy.  This might have been a cruel thing to do, but from a tactical standpoint, it’s quite devious.  Caesar’s armies aren’t doing much better than the citizens of Alesia, as Vercingetorix had enacted his famous “Scorched Earth” policy and convinced the Gauls to burn their own crops before the Romans, and allow them no succor from Gallia’s fruits.  The legions are struggling to forage food from the countryside, and they’re in hostile territory far from their home.  Caesar knows he cannot feed these refugees, and doing so would place his own supplies in jeopardy–which might have been Vercingetorix’s strategy from the start.

What he does next speaks to that intention, because Vercingetorix turns the civilians away from Alesia, too.  He keeps the gates tightly shut.  There are different estimates of the number of women and children that were left to starve in the killing fields between the city and the Roman fortifications.  I know that this was a darker time, and these people were used to killing, but it’s hard for me to believe that the soldiers on both sides–not to mention the husbands and fathers of those left to die–could listen to the cries of the helpless without feeling some kind of sympathy for them.  I couldn’t even imagine the sight.

Vercingetorix eventually breaks, and allows the women and children back into the city.  Caesar wins the battle of wills.  Alesia is starving, Vercingetorix’s men are getting desperate, and he knows he’s on his last leg.  Caesar now has the upper hand.  It was in that desperate hour, however, that Vercingetorix gets the reinforcements he was hoping for.

His cavalry has returned, having rallied the surrounding Gallic tribes, riding at the head of a force 60,000 strong.  They are commanded by a man named Commius.  They occupied some high ground outside of the outer walls of Caesar’s defenses, screaming and beating their shields at the enemy below.  Caesar had anticipated them, though, and was prepared.

Commius immediately sends in his cavalry, covered by archers from the high ground, at the small groups of Roman infantry that were outside the walls.  They begin killing everything in their path, and Caesar sends his own cavalry out into the hills to counter the Gallic forces.  A battle ensues where the Gauls slowly retreat, drawing Caesar’s cavalry into the range of their archers, where they begin to get cut down in a storm of arrows.  Caesar orders in reinforcements, and they somehow manage to fight their way to a nearby hill.  The Romans swing around and charge down at the flanks of Commius’s cavalry.  The Gauls are routed, which leaves the archers to the mercy of the Roman cavalry.  They are easily cut down before the Romans, and Commius is forced to pull his army back, losing a tithe of his mounted soldiers and almost every archer under his command.

The victory emboldens Caesar’s men, and makes Vercingetorix even more desperate.  Caesar, outnumbered over two to one, has managed to fight off a larger force while keeping Vercingetorix easily besieged within the walls of Alesia.  Vercingetorix must have known that the help he was holding out for may not be his salvation, and it must have been crushing.  The Romans were notorious for the things they did to the people that crossed them, and it was doubtlessly on Vercingetorix’s mind.

That night, Commius and Vercingetorix launch a coordinated attack under the cover of darkness.

The Romans had withdrawn within their defenses by this point, and Caesar had stationed his men along the wall in various strategic positions.  Suddenly the Gauls come screaming out of the night from both directions, trying to fight their way through Caesar’s defenses and create a breach.  Caesar reinforces his men on the outer wall, but the defenses and traps he’d left on the inner wall are wreaking havoc on Vercingetorix’s forces.

The Gauls had to run through a field sprinkled with Roman style caltrops–called Goads–before passing through yet another field that Caesar’s men had dug with row upon row of buried, hidden traps with sharpened stakes.  If one made it through this field, they then had to cross the moat, which also had traps inside of it.  After that they had to battle through two separate trenches that were five feet deep and filled with a forest of sharpened stakes.  Only then could they attack the wall.  The entire time the Gauls would have been pelted with Roman arrows, javelins from ballistae, and stones from slingers.  The grounds around Alesia would have been choked with the dead.

Vercinetorix’s assault from the inside was suffering the entire weight of Caesar’s preparations.

The outside assault under Commius is going better.  The Gauls, by sheer weight of numbers, are putting a lot of pressure on the Romans.  The fight for the walls goes back and forth, and the Romans nearly break more than once, but the quick actions of a young commander by the name of Mark Antony saves the fight.  The Gauls are repelled from the walls and sent back into the night without the will to continue.  It was that night that won Antony the respect of Caesar, and Antony became his right-hand man after the Battle of Alesia.

The Gauls are pushed back from the Roman defenses a second time, and Vercingetorix retreats into the walls of the city.  This was a crushing defeat for the Gauls.  Vercingetorix, after having watched Caesar repel yet another attack by a larger force, must have been feeling the weight of destiny on his shoulders by now.  The Roman general has managed to spend his forces at just the right times in order to win through by the skin of his teeth, and the people of Alesia are starving.  Things aren’t looking good for the people of Gallia.  They know they have to do something soon, or their cause will be lost.

It is about this time that Commius finds the weak spot in Caesar’s wall–the one on the western side near the river that we talked about earlier.  He sends in his men under the cover of night, and hides them near the river.  The next day he springs his trap on the unsuspecting legionnaires, and a fierce battle ensues for control of the wall.  Both sides are tired from the battle of the night before, but the Romans are still outnumbered more than two to one, and have to fight more often.  They’re beginning to flag, and start to get pushed back into the space between the two walls–back into their camps.

Vercingetorix sees this from the walls of Alesia, and orders his men to attack.  At the same time, a third force under one of Vercingetorix’s cousins attacks the outer wall, and the Romans are beset on all sides.  To the west, Commius has fought his way into the camp and is pressing the legion hard.  On the eastern side the defenders are facing another army of Gallic tribesman on the outer wall, and Vercingetorix is pressing hard from the inside.  Romans are being slaughtered everywhere, and for a time it seems that Caesar will die under the walls of Alesia along with all of his men.

Caesar is standing atop a tower he’d made his men build into the defenses, watching everything happen.  He can see that his lines on the western side–where the Gauls are streaming into the camp–are starting to break.  If those legionnaires give way, the Romans will be routed and slaughtered to a man.  It’s now that he does one of those things that he’s famous for, at least in his early history.  He straps on his famous red cloak, rallies four cohorts of reinforcements, and leads them right into the teeth of the enemy, where the fighting is most desperate.

This is where you have to remember what I told you earlier about the regard Caesar’s men had for their general.  Caesar was like a combination of Patton, Kennedy, and Russel Brand to these guys.  They loved him.  They trusted him completely, and each one was ready to lay down their lives if he thought it was necessary.  He had won their respect over years of campaigning beside them, and had taken good care of them along the way.  Imagine if you saw your idol hoist a sword, yell “follow me, boys!”, and rush right into the worst of the fighting.

When the legionnaires saw their leader charge down upon the enemy, a fire must have lit along the battlefield.  Each man who was throwing javelins, or pelting the Gauls from a distance, was said to have dropped his missiles, drawn his gladius, and followed Caesar right into the fray.  Right when their lines were about to break, the men at the front saw Caesar come rushing down into their midst at the head of hundreds of reinforcements.  Suddenly their salvation had appeared, and they rallied to meet their fates.

Commius had committed his forces to a narrow strip of land where Caesar had been unable to build up the walls enough to keep them out.  He had somewhere around 40,000 men behind him, but as the numbers on the battlefield grew, the flaw in his tactics became apparent.  The Gallic infantry basically just rushed down on their enemies with swords aloft, the way you could imagine any barbarian horde might do.  The tight space they were rushing through started to choke their advance as more and more bodies filled the gap.  This was exactly the kind of fight in which the legions excelled.

Caesar pushed his advantage and tore into the Gallic lines, pushing their advance back to the weak point in his defenses.  The Romans fought for their very lives, and with the advantage of numbers neutralized, began to slaughter the Gauls right and left.  As the Gauls saw their countrymen being sliced down in droves, their attack broke, and they began to run away in fear.  The Romans pushed their advantage and routed the Gauls, pursuing them all the way back to their camp.  In one decisive move, Caesar took a full third of the Gallic army, and Commius’s forces melted away into the forests.

Meanwhile, the forces attacking the outer defenses were unable to gain a foothold.  The legions under Antony and Caesar’s other commanders continuously pushed them back.  Vercingetorix fared no better against the circumvallation lines than he had before, and was forced to retreat back inside the city walls.  Once the Gauls had learned of the destruction of their camp and the rout of Commius, the tribes retreated into the night.  By the next morning, the battlefield outside of Alesia was deserted, save for the dead.

Vercingetorix was alone.

Imagine the way he must have felt looking out over the destruction of the countryside, and the Romans camped outside of the walls.  He must have known that Caesar was now free to attack the city at will, or starve them out in short order.  The people were already dying, both of starvation and the continuous fighting.  He knew that if the Romans were forced to breach the walls, the city’s innocents would probably be raped, killed, or sold off into slavery.  I think the next decision he made was a noble one.  He put on his armor, opened the city gates, and rode out to meet Caesar alone .

The romantic version of the story has Vercingetorix being brought before Caesar, drawing his blade, and dropping it silently at his feet.  Caesar takes Vercingetorix into custody, but in a surprising move, spares a large number of people inside the city.  This was out of character for him at the time, especially on the heels of such a tough battle.  Perhaps it was a political move designed to quell the ill feelings toward the Romans at the time–after all, the local tribes had been killing Romans for awhile at this point.  Perhaps it was the beginning of Caesar’s tradition of clemency for his enemies, or perhaps Vercingetorix begged for him to spare the city.  I have a feeling that the ones left alive and free were probably from tribes that Caesar wanted as allies in the region.

Whichever thing it was that spared the people of Alesia, the same couldn’t be said for Vercingetorix.  He was kept imprisoned for five years as the political turmoil in Rome upended Caesar’s life.  During that time Caesar fought more wars against his own people, and maneuvered his way into being declared dictator in Rome.  It was after his defeat of the Senate that Caesar organized his own Triumph–a huge party and parade that was considered one of the highest honors a Roman man could be granted–where Vercingetorix was paraded out for the plebians to see.

There, after being paraded before the assembled people of Rome, Vercingetorix was strangled to death in a Roman dungeon.  Gallia was subdued, and eventually became a Roman province.  It would be around three hundred years before another uprising.   Later in the Roman history, there would be campaigns to extend citizenship to the Gauls, who had become close to Romans themselves.

It started bloody, though, as do a lot of things in history.

I hope you guys enjoyed that little story.  There are a lot of details I glossed over about the battle, and historians always disagree on a lot of details.  Feel free to google it and read up on it yourself.  It’s wild to think that this stuff happened, even in some way close to the story we accept today.  I’ll update you guys soon on Child of the Flames, and don’t forget to JOIN THE CONCLAVE, like, subscribe, and all of that nonsense.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Let’s Move Again…Again

Hello all, it’s been awhile, yet again.  You all know I’m a sporadic blogger at best, but I’m trying to get better at that.  We’ll see how this all pans out.

It’s been crazy on my end.  Some of you know that I’ve moved around like a vagabond the past few years.  From Georgia to Virginia, then back to Georgia.  After that we moved to southern Arizona, and now…Tucson.  That’s right, yours truly just moved one more time to a new place.

Tucson has really impressed me so far.  I’ve been coming here to attend school, but living here is different.  Tucson is an odd sort of place.  It’s got a strange brew of cultures and people that I’m not sure you’d find anywhere else.  Hispanic culture inundates everything here, and if the food wasn’t good enough, then the architecture will surprise you if you’re not ready for it.  My apartment building is made to look like stucco, and is painted in hues of red, yellow, and tan.  Everywhere I go there are these little villa-type houses with enclosed courtyards, and cool little tile arrangements.

Mixed in with the Mexican folks, you’ve got the hippies.  I was surprised at the community of artsy types here in Tucson.  There are artists of all sorts here, whether you’re into folky country art, or the finer stuff down the street at the University’s Fine Arts Center.  Everywhere I look there’s another girl with purple hair and tattoos inviting me to this art show or that music festival.

Now that the pot is seasoned, you toss in the Old White Folks of Arizona–OWFAs.  The OWFAs are a myriad conglomeration of people who all seem to have one defining quality:  they don’t need nothing from nobody, and they don’t need you to tell ’em jackshit, either.  It’s not uncommon to see guns on hips here in Tucson, but nobody bats an eyelash.  The OWFAs value their freedom and independence–after all, that’s probably how they found themselves here in the first place.  OWFAs come in all shapes and flavors–from hiking enthusiasts to crusty bikers and cowboys.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed about Tucson, though, is how friendly everyone is.  People talk to you here, and I don’t mean in the empty way you’d see on the east coast.  If you ask a Tucsonan how their day is going, they’ll tell you.  Don’t expect a “fine” and a walk-away-quickly-without-making-eye-contact.  People from Tucson will immediately jump into conversation with you.  Every time I go out to buy something here, I find myself hanging around with my bags in hand, chatting it up with some friendly stranger.  Yesterday I went to Home Goods to buy a tray, of all things, and ended up talking about Star Wars with the girl at the cash register for a few minutes.  Today it was a guitar stand, and a conversation about how the blues scene here in town is starting to get really good.

It took me about two weeks to get everything done–or done enough to calm the madness, anyway.  Yes, that means I lost about two weeks of good writing time, but don’t fret.  Child of the Flames is still coming along, and now that this move is out of the way, things can finally settle into some semblance of normalcy.  No major timeline changes for the upcoming releases just yet, and I’ll let you guys know.

Just a quick update to say “hi” and let all you wonderful guys and gals (and anyone else on the spectrum) know what’s going on.  If any of you guys are in or near Tucson, then shoot me an email.  I’m still exploring, and having a local guide is always great for any adventure story.  Stay frosty.

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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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The Future of The Seven Signs

Planned for January 2016

Planned for January 2016

In the wake of releasing The City Under the Mountain, I wanted to take a moment and talk with you guys about the future of the series.  I’ve blogged about this before, but I wanted to reiterate, and share the updates with you guys.  This is what The Seven Signs will look like.

I’m planning for a release date of January 15, 2016 for the entire overhaul of the series.  I’m not setting that in stone just yet, but that is what I’m working for.  Keep in mind, these five books are 90% done already.  The biggest rewrites will be done to the earlier books in the series, with the heaviest work in book one and decreasing from there.  Mainly that’s because new prologues/epilogues have to be crafted, and there’s a few parts that need to be fleshed out.  I was going to revise it anyway, so I’m going to start where anyone should–at the beginning.

Yes, The Oath of the Blade is done–it’s already in the editing phase.  I thought long and hard about letting it go regardless of the state of the earlier books, but in the end I decided that the best thing to do would be to get everything done at once and have it over with.  The most important thing is the quality of the books, as I’m sure you’d all agree.  For that matter, Book Six–as yet untitled–is 75% done, too.

The Seven Signs will start with Child of the Flames which will be FREE everyday, all the time.

The Knife in the Dark, Book Two, will be $2.99.  Unless you’re a Conclave member, then it’s FREE for signing up.

All other books in the series will be $2.99, and there are nine books planned at the moment.

On another note, yours truly starts school on Monday.  I’m pretty stoked about it, and the Creative Writing department at this school is supposedly one of the top ten in the country.  Over the next few years, my writing is going to get tempered into something better than before, and I’m really looking forward to learning at such an auspicious institution.

Auspicious, heh…that’s right.  I used “auspicious”.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and to sign up for The Conclave.

~D.W.

The City Under the Mountain is Here

The City Under the Mountain | The Seven Signs II--coming August 15th

The City Under the Mountain | The Seven Signs II–Available now!

That’s right–The City Under the Mountain is here, and it’s available for purchase right now.

I was going to wait until the 15th, but why wait?  I uploaded everything at about 3am this morning, after having stayed up all night getting everything ready.  I was going to hold back the announcement, but I’ve been getting emails from readers asking about where to get it.  Also, I got the notification that it was accepted into the Premium Catalog, so it will most likely be available on all major retailers by the end of the day.  In short, I can’t hide it any longer.

Right now you can get it HERE for Smashwords, and HERE for Amazon.

I would really appreciate honest reviews, as nothing else helps a book gain traction more than an honest review.  Stay tuned for all the D.W. Hawkins news you can stand, and don’t forget to join the Conclave, my mailing list.  It’s a great way to stay informed about all upcoming releases and get free stuff.

On to book three…

Something Serious

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Tonight I’m going to get a little serious with you guys.  I’ve recently received an email from a reader who expressed an opinion to me that I took issue with.  It wasn’t really a negative book review–I’ve gotten a few of those, and they’ve always been constructive and helpful, overall–it was an email personally written to me.  The sentiments expressed in the correspondence echoed a lot of opinions I’ve seen floating around social media and YouTube lately, and in light of a few articles I’ve read on Reddit about this sort of thing, I wanted to say a few things about it.

First of all, I replied to the email sent to me–this is not addressed to anyone in particular.  Now, on to the meat and taters…

There seems to be a culture of what I can only describe as “cultivated offense” in today’s society.  There are so many blogs/videos/books/articles written about how (x) person finds (y) offensive, which makes the purveyor of (y) a racist/sexist/whatever.  Sometimes this sort of thing is warranted, as in official policies, etc.  What is confusing me lately is that this attitude seems to be infecting artistic expression.

Whether you’re speaking of video games, books, movies, or music, there seems to be a veritable army of people ready to take up pitchforks and loudly proclaim artists to be the worst kind of hateful people in our society.  “Where’s all the black people in the new Star Wars trailer?” or “Video games are oppressive to women and GTA promotes misogyny!”.  So many people have problems with so many things these days that it’s hard to keep track.

“Your writing promotes traditional gender roles and sets women back decades.”

Ouch…and d’huh?

I wanted to try and set the record straight about this, because I see a rising tide of angry people wishing to purge anything genuine from the arts.  First of all, I certainly have never–not once–thought of myself as a misogynist, or a racist.  My writing is not intended to promote any sociopolitical ideals related to race or gender, gay or straight, or any other label people want to place on themselves.  I write Epic Fantasy.  It’s about as non-inflammatory as one can get, or I thought it would be.  These days…maybe not.

Yes, there is rape in my books.  Yes, there is murder in my books.  Hell, people eat dead bodies in my books.  Doesn’t mean I want to promote the idea of eating dead people, and the same goes for rape, murder, or anything else that turns up in the pages of The Seven Signs or anything else I write.

When I write something like a murder, or imply that someone is in danger of being raped (I’ve never actually written a rape scene…I mean, gross) it’s because I want to demonstrate something.  I want to put my characters in danger, I want to give them some adversity to deal with, some hard choices to make, some pain to ingest.  I mean, without the adversity, the story would just go like “Shawna smiled at her father and lived happily ever after.”

Nope.  Not in my world.

For me, the whole point of Shawna’s storyline is her overcoming the pain at the death of her family, giving the proverbial finger to the powers that want to take what she has, and kicking the asses of the people who have done this to her.  Her storyline is exactly about a woman in a male-dominated society who nonetheless manages to be kick-ass anyway.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if you just want to read Shawna as a classic trope against women…well, that’s your prerogative.  But it certainly wasn’t about that for me.

As you guys will find out soon, there are a few more female characters that are going to enter the story.  ‘Cuz I like writing them, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Authors need the freedom to put things on display.  Art imitates life, as the saying goes, and all of these things–rape, murder, child molestation, etc–exist in our society today.  I didn’t invent them, and I’m certainly not going to stop writing bad things into my stories.  I won’t apologize for offending anyone with my writing, because my writing is not intentionally offensive.

I also will not water down the bad things that happen to the characters in my stories, because that would make it suck, plain and simple.  I know the majority of you guys don’t feel that my writing is offensive–otherwise you wouldn’t be here–but I wanted to clarify this just in case this issue comes up again.  It is not incumbent upon me to advance anyone’s political cause in this world by changing the stuff I write about my fictional world.

And for the record, I’m actually a Humanist.  The only “anti-” anything you can describe me as would be “anti-ignorance”.  Shawna, Nalia, Bethany, and Allisondra aren’t meant to advance anything.  In the story, they’re just people dealing with adversity.  Just people, not statements.

You guys will find out about Nalia and Allisondra on August 15th.

I hope I didn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, but I had to get that out.  Don’t forget to like, subscribe, share, etc, and I will talk to you guys soon.

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