Tag Archives: The City Under the Mountain

The Knife in the Dark

theknifeinthedark03Some of you might have noticed that Ye Olde Websyte was down for a few days.  Wordpress pushed out it’s update, and said update decided to break my website’s legs, apparently.  The old girl was down for a few days while I got it figured out, but everything is back to normal.

Just in time, because The Knife in the Dark is dropping this Thursday, September 1st.

I just wanted to remind you guys, maybe hype things up a bit.  So get hyped.

Woot woot.

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

 

Gods of Eldath: Eindor

eindorAnd his brother Eindor, the Wise God, he who won the Staff of Secrets by giving up his eye, the source of wisdom and Father of Magic, saw what Evmir was doing.  Eindor looked out over the world, at what his brother had wrought, and knew that it was incomplete.

“Brother, let me add to your grand creation, for nothing so beautiful should be without secrets.”  And so Eindor went down among the valleys, he walked over the barren rock and stood atop the highest mountains.  There, he whispered secrets to the world.  He told tales to the stone.  He sang songs to the sea, and storms grew in his wake.

So it was that the world was imbued with magic, and the stars all turned to see.

It is for this reason that Eindor is called the Father of Magic, because all magic comes from him.  It is for this reason that Eindor is also called the Whisperer, the Wise God, the Patron of Secrets.

And now the world had magic, but still it was incomplete.

~From The Epic of Creation, stanzas 7-11

 

Gods of Eldath: Evmir

evmirBefore the world was, the aether was formless, without sight or sound.  There was only the Void–black, deep, and unknowable.  For cycle upon cycle, infinite in number, the darkness remained.

There came a time, though, that the great god Light grew restless, and called his wife Shadow to his side.  They danced through the emptiness, and Light took her out in the great expanse.  He filled her with uncountable children, and Shadow gave birth to the stars, each one a child of their union, each with its own name.  The stars were many, and unknowable.

When the two came to the end of their dance, Shadow asked her husband to grant her a child that she may love for her own, instead of scattering them to the corners of the Void.  Light so loved Shadow that he granted her wish, and gathered her close.  Their dance was so vigorous that Light gave Shadow not one child, but five.

These are the five older gods–Evmir, Eindor, Devla, Neesa, and Aeglar.

Evmir was first to come forth, with a battle cry that shook the aether, and a storm of lightning.  So it was that Evmir was called the oldest, and the kingship of the aether fell to him.  For his father and mother–Light and Shadow–wished to sleep, so to better hear the dreams of all their many children throughout the Void.  Light forged for Evmir a great hammer, a parting gift from father to eldest son, and took Shadow into the vastness of the Void.

So it was that Evmir looked out across the vastness of the black, and knew that something must be done.  He took up the Hammer of Light–the gift from his father–and smote it down upon the aether.  He did this many times, over and over, until the world began to take shape beneath the blows of his great hammer.  It was in this way that Evmir forged the world.

~From The Epic of Creation, stanzas 1-6

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 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.

And JOIN THE CONCLAVE

The City Under the Mountain–15 August

So, let’s get right down to it.  I sat down to write today to let you know that the second installment in The Seven Signs will be here soon.  Here’s the deal:

It’s called The City Under the Mountain, and it’s coming out on August 15th.

To clear things up, I couldn’t very well call this next book The Awakening Storm when it no longer fit the story…so yeah, all the books are getting new titles.  It will happen slowly, don’t worry–I’ll keep you posted.  I also posted the new cover for The Sentient Fire.  

Like, share, subscribe, tweet–spread the love.  Don’t forget to sign up for the Conclave, my mailing list, and get all the news first, plus free stuff.  See you guys soon.

~D.W.

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

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

New cover...oh yeah...

New cover…oh yeah…