This sale runs all through the weekend of 12/15/2017. Remember, it’s the holidays and books make great gifts!
Finally, I’ve completed volume 3!
I know it took longer than expected due to health issues and my surprise baby, but man does it feel good to finally have it done! As of the first draft it has twenty-six chapters, and is roughly one-hundred and four-thousand words long. This will change as editing starts and beta feedback is received, but so far that makes it almost twenty-thousand words longer than volume 1–and I actually ended it early. That’s right, in the timeline it was slated to go on for at least five more chapters but the thing was getting massive. I scaled back, folded the remaining events into volume 4 [Yes, there is a volume 4 planned!] and ended it in what I felt was a good spot.
In the beginning there wasn’t really a plan for a number of volumes. I completely “pantsed” my first book, [This is a valid writing term, I swear.] deciding to just write and see where it went. I thought maybe it would be a standalone, but by the time I reached the end of volume 1 I realized there was a lot more story left and drew up a more concrete timeline of events. Together, the first three books deal with Achine’s rise to the throne and make a decent trilogy. I didn’t plan it that way, it was just a happy accident.
We are going to be moving soon, so this couldn’t have come at a better time. I have hopes that this year I might be able to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever because I have plans for a new series–one radically different from the fantasy feel of the Atlantis books–and I’m hoping to put out volume 1 of it as a NaNo effort. From there I am hoping to alternate between the two series, possibly working on them in tandem at some points. Until then I am going to take a break from writing [except for edits] because there are plans to release physical versions of the first three Atlantis books, which I am really excited about! But it is going to take some time and work to get them revised and properly formatted for print.
As of this posting the digital version of Atlantis: TVC volume 3 should be released this Winter, while the print editions for all three books will be available closer to Spring 2018. [This is subject to change without notice.]
It’s here, it’s here! It’s release day!
I am absolutely floored that I got it done on time. I didn’t hit my original end of summer deadline, but I did make my fall one, and it feels good. I hope you all enjoy volume #2!
As for me, I’m taking the rest of the holiday season off to rest and spend extra time with my family, then start on volume #3 in the new year. I’ll still post here, so don’t worry about that!
I’m wondering if there is enough time left this month for me to kind of half-assedly participate in NaNoWriMo. [I keep swearing I’ll do it, but I never have time.] Maybe I can do it for real next year…
*coughs* Anyway, I wanted to say thank you all again for your support and patience. An author is nothing without readers, and I truly appreciate all of you.
[Volume two can be found here!]
One of the awesome parts of self-publishing is the ability to manage everything yourself. One of the horrible parts of it is the ability to manage everything yourself. So, you have to own any awful decisions you make.
The original cover of Atlantis: TVC volume #1 was a debacle. I originally made my artwork too small, and since it wasn’t vector it didn’t scale up well. I was in love with the concept of past and future Achine standing back to back and I didn’t want to let it go–nor did I want to start over from scratch. I compromised by scaling up the colors, and re-traced the lineart to be larger in Illustrator. The end result was what I launched the book with. It looked okay from far away, but close up… it was a mess.
When it came time to make the cover for the second volume, I tried to use the same template and the graphic designer part of me revolted. She threw up, then proceeded to mentally beat me until I learned what I had done wrong. I did learn, and I set out to redesign the cover template from the ground up. Once I finished my shiny new template I was forced to admit that the old concept for the first volume not only looked awful, but it was probably hurting sales, and needed to be changed.
Yesterday I rolled out the new cover in anticipation of the release of Atlantis: TVC volume #2 later this month. I have to say, I am really liking both the new template and the new image for the cover. It is leaps and bounds better than the old cover, and will hopefully give a boost to sales since volume two is coming out in a few weeks.
Speaking of which, here is the new volume #1 cover side-by-side with the cover for volume #2. Sneak peek!
If you missed it the first time around, volume #1 is available to read for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime account. If you don’t have either of those, it will be free for everyone for a limited time this weekend! [November 7th – 8th, 2015] You can find it here.
This is an excerpt from volume #2 of Atlantis: The Visionary Continent — Awakening
Please be aware that this is a sample from a late draft, and may not be the exact text available in the final book. Volume #2 is due out in Late Fall/Early Winter. [Exact release date still pending.]
Everything she did was suspicious.
Her knowledge, her actions—even the way she kept denying that she was a friend of Achine—it was all suspect.
She was one of the few people who knew her true identity. She had shown up just in time to stop the assassination attempt on the Royal Mage and Commander Li at Davidian’s funeral, conveniently revealing the cloaked archers and allowing the Honor Guard to dispatch them. She then somehow weaseled her way into being—what did she say—Achine’s magic tutor? That made no sense. Wouldn’t a member of the Honor Guard be superior to some mercenary sorceress who wandered in from off the road? How in the eight continents did she manage to get so close to her so quickly?
He stared at her back as they rode. His side ached, but he remained lost in thought.
She had a ego the size of both Eastal Coasts, yet she didn’t seem like a narcissist. She had come to him to make things easier on Achine when she was unable to speak or comprehend Atlantian. She was here now, spearheading the search to find her. But if she cared for her, what would be the gain in hiding it?
If he thought about it for too long, his own motivations were suspect as well. His volunteering to travel with Eruni was partially out of suspicion of the sorceress, and partially out of duty; but there was another reason, one he didn’t even like to admit to in the privacy of his own mind. He wanted to save her from both the kidnappers, and herself.
In the few months that he had known her, she had unknowingly forced him to confront things about himself that he had hidden away. If she continued pushing people away like she did, she would end up like he had. He had been able to suffer the distance between himself and others, but that was before she had arrived. Now, despite how much they pushed against each other, he felt like she had become a friend, even though he realized yesterday that it was one-sided.
He shook his head, his helm shifting slightly with the movement. Yesterday. Was it really only the morning before that they had that discussion? It seemed so far away now, as if it had happened several months ago.
The ears of his mount jerked sharply to the right, and it raised its head with a snort. Varanis guided it to the left and pulled up alongside the sorceress.
“Lady Temaius, I—” he began.
“I know. I felt it a little while back.”
“You felt it?”
“I was hoping it would leave us alone,” she sighed.
“What exactly is it, then?”
“I don’t know.”
He was silent inside his helmet, thanking the gods for the mask it lent him; otherwise she might have actually seen his face contort in frustration, and he didn’t want to give her that pleasure.
She cocked her head to the right and leaned slightly in the same direction. Her horse objected and started to pull left, away from the unknown threat.
“Stop that,” she chided the mare, guiding it back toward the right. It lowered its head and snorted, same as his horse had done earlier.
“Its frightened; you need to be more confident or it will bolt!” he whispered harshly.
“You don’t think I’m trying to do that?”
He could hear something moving to the right of them. It sounded at least human-sized—possibly several people moving at once—traveling slowly, but steadily; keeping in line with their movements.
They had to be roughly two hours south of Eenabu by now, and deep in the eastern Cresentia Highlands, one of the eight territories that the continent was divided into. The area they were in was a plain, awash in tall grasses with the occasional hill, or small scrubby trees.
There were a few large boulders about fifteen yards to the right of the path they were on, and about fifty feet ahead of them. It would be the perfect spot for an ambush.
“If it’s bandits,” he whispered, “those rocks would be great cover.”
She turned her head sharply towards him, her brow furrowed.
“This is most certainly not bandits. I don’t know what this is, except that it is giving off a large amount of Aethric—no, Calcitic Mana,” she breathed, her eyes wide.
“More Manaology?” he sighed.
“I wouldn’t joke about this,” she warned, gripping the reins tight, “This might not be a problem you can solve with a sword.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I brought an axe, then, isn’t it?” he said, sliding the weapon off the back of his saddle.
“Yeah, that’s just… great.”
There was a loud, grunting snort of a growl, and they both looked up at the boulders.
“It sounds angry,” he said.
“Since you’re wearing the armor, I think you should go on ahead, and lure it out,” she told him slapping him on the shoulder. One of the thick silver bracelets she wore on her wrists hit his shoulderguard, the metallic sound ringing out across the dark valley. A challenging roar erupted from the vicinity of the stones, and a dark streak exploded onto the path ahead of them, its giant paws skidding in the dirt before it.
Varanis’ head snapped forward, and he kept a tight grip on his warhorse with his knees as he tore the cloth wrapping from the head of his axe. The creature was revealed in the light of the nearly full moon—a burly, hulking beast with wide, rounded ears, a tapering muzzle, and a long, bushy tail that curled over its hindquarters.
They were nocturnal creatures, but usually shied away from humans. On all fours it was nearly as tall as his horse, and its normally golden eyes were glowing a strange blue-white color. The dark fur on its body was broken up by what looked like luminescent channels of light that wrapped around it.
The sorceress’ mare was very close to spooking, and he drew his own closer to calm hers down.
“This isn’t a normal feldival, right?” he asked her, resting the haft of the large, single-bladed axe across his shoulder. She nodded.
“Absolutely not. Someone has infused it, and it’s gone mad,” Eruni growled.
“Can we… do anything about it?”
It stood up on its back legs, standing a full ten feet high. It let out a slavering roar, foam spraying from its jowls.
“Other than kill it?” she replied, looking at him askance, “No.”
Atlantis: The Visionary Continent — Volume #2 will be available exclusively on Amazon in Late Fall/Early Winter. Thank you for your support!
Note: Another entry into a contest. The prompt was to write a tavern-based fight scene in 1,000 words or less. It’s tough for me to stay within a word limit and still keep things understandable, so this was a challenge!
Note: This was written for a contest. The theme was “Summoning” and the entry had to be a short story under 2,000 words. It did not place, but I received good feedback and edited it accordingly. This is the revised version.
The realization trickled slowly over it, its coming like icy tendrils creeping across its existence. How long had it been since it had last been in this place? Centuries? Millennia? Aeons?
They were preparing. It could feel them even though it was not fully awake yet. They were coming.
What kind of world would greet it now? The last time it had been awake, there was water, and curious creatures wrapped in plates of metal, brandishing shining sticks. A robed creature with a grey beard had greeted it when it woke, and it was the last thing it remembered seeing before returning to slumber.
There was a faint light now, but it was too far off. They would have to do more, same as the others had.
What had it been before this? Every time it was awakened, it tried to remember, and each time it was able to recall less and less.
The light faded.
That happened sometimes. It did not know why, only that it usually preceded the final release. No one had ever explained it; they always seemed be in a hurry, barking orders and making harshly spoken demands. It was never in a position to question. Only to obey.
It drowsed a bit in its semi-aware state. Time continued on, swirling around it, and at the same time part of it.
The light returned, brighter this time, forming the sigil that it knew so well.
Who would be on the other side, and what would they want this time? Riches? Fame? Maybe love, or even power—those were common requests.
The last one sent a ripple through its awareness. It never liked that one, though if that was the request, it had no choice but to comply.
Glowing lines appeared in the air now, their paths crossing over and over in an intricate design. It felt itself being pulled toward it.
The Door of the World.
The lines and runes seemed to move within the symbol, spinning slowly as they formed, but gaining speed as the summoning spell was cast. The whole thing became a great whirling blur as it felt itself move through it, its pure consciousness coagulating into a form the creatures could comprehend.
The air here was warm, and it looked upwards through its mask, seeing a sky full of dim stars. It bent its temporary neck, and there were tall pillars rising up from the ground below, forming a forest of glass and concrete.
It lowered its gaze. The Door appeared to have been drawn on the flat top of one of these pillars, and gathered around it were five of the strange creatures it had come to expect. These ones were different from the last—they appeared young, and wore strange clothing. There were others, dressed in black, lying on the floor, not moving.
“I AM TANIRE, THE BLUE STARBOUND,” it thundered, the words it had been cursed to say emanating from behind its blank humanoid mask, “SPEAK YOUR NAME, BEARER OF THE STAR KEEPER, AND I SHALL GRANT TO YOU YOUR ONE DESIRE.”
A woman wearing a flowing green skirt and a white tank top walked towards the towering faceless deity they had summoned. She had wavy black hair that faded to a blue color at the bottom, and in her hands she was holding a silver object that still shone, despite how old it was.
The Star Keeper.
It was a silver bowl resting on top of a long central pillar, with filigree coming up to support it from the thin, flat base. There were sapphires set into the scroll work, and ancient binding spells had been engraved on the rim of the bowl. It had seen the vessel many times before, but it had never looked this worn.
“Tanire!” the girl called out, holding the relic above her head, her long hair blowing wildly in the wind, “I am Mia, bearer of the Star Keeper—and my one desire is to set you free!”
Its mind reeled, and it let out a long, keening sound as it felt itself being compressed. It had never had a command like that before, and it did not know what was happening to it.
The emotion smacked it, and the sound grew louder. Memories flooded back as it curled in on itself, attempting to obey both curse and command at the same time.
“Is this really how it’s supposed to work?” a male voice shouted over the din, “Because this doesn’t sound like it’s working!”
“This is what the scroll said to do!” Mia yelled back, holding the artifact up higher, as if putting it closer to the thrashing entity would change what was happening.
It clutched blue, luminescent hands to its chest.
She used to be a woman. A woman named Tanire, who was to be married off to a rich noble’s family. Instead she had been abducted. She remembered being taken while walking home from town. They used her as a sacrifice in a ritual—there had been others! There was magic involved…
She felt like she was dying, her essence being shredded and cast into the winds.
“We did it wrong,” a female voice called out, “I translated the texts wrong—we have to destroy it once we wish to set her free, or she’ll be torn apart!”
“Dammit Kate, I thought you majored in ancient languages!” A gruff male voice chided. A red-haired girl in glasses was holding a battered, leather-bound book against her chest as she tried to read it in the high winds.
“I did, but there are words that mean the same things, and—”
“We don’t have time, just tell us how to destroy it!” the first male yelled.
“I know exactly how to get rid of that damn thing,” the second man roared, striding forward and pulling a pistol from his belt holster.
“No, Sam, I have to do it!” Mia cried, pulling the vessel close to her, staring at it.
She seemed to be in several different places at once. She was simultaneously here, in the past, and amongst the stars. Though she did not recall having eyes anymore, she remembered now what tears were, and she felt them form in the empty sockets of her mask as she felt pain for the first time in thousands of years.
“Mia, hurry! She’s breaking apart!”
The woman named Mia took one end of the Star Keeper in one hand, and the other in her opposite hand. She bore down with a cry, and snapped the silver object in half.
The wailing ceased, and the flat, blank mask that covered Tanire’s face shattered, turning into sparkling dust in the air; revealing the woman beneath it. Her naked body fell from the sky, and Sam leapt forward, catching her before she hit the roof of the building.
The lines from the summoning circle faded as the group crowded around the large man and the girl. She rolled her head and groaned, her brown hair spilling down his arm.
Consciousness? Already? Didn’t she just… No. This was different.
Tanire’s eyes fluttered and she opened them, the gesture feeling foreign to her. She raised her hands and felt her face for the first time in millennia. She was… alive?
She was alive, and finally free.
Sorry if you saw the front page of the site doing weird things last night… I was updating and a table broke. It’s all fixed now!
Anyway, I fully intended to do this over Easter weekend, but it didn’t update until today, so… uh…
Easter Weekend Spring Special!
The first volume of Atlantis: The Visionary Continent is only $0.99 cents right now! This deal is available at Amazon until 11:59 CST on 4/12/2015.
Happy Spring, everyone!
Volume #1 rolled out worldwide this morning, and I couldn’t be happier. Just in time for the weekend!
You can check it out, sample it, [though there are sample chapters here too, ha ha.] and if you love it, buy it! [and recommending it to your friends doesn’t hurt, either!]
[That links to the US Amazon site–if you are outside the US you’ll have to search for it on your local version. Sorry about that!]
Thank you everyone for your support. I hope everyone enjoys the story and is eager for volume #2. [I know I am!]
It’s out, it’s out! It’s finally here!
So much work has gone into this–sleepless nights, long days banging my head against a wall during editing, and hours spent staring at blank pages. This is only the first step, as I am not done with Atlantis yet, but it’s a huge milestone for me.
Thank you all for sharing in this journey with me, and here’s to many more steps in this adventure!
[Also, I didn’t intend to release it on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s just that books release on Tuesdays, ha ha!]