Sapphire the dolphin visits some faraway friends. The Sejong family is well-read and always enjoys hearing Sapphire describe life under the sea.
A new review of “The First Sacrifice” is up! Erica Woolridge at Sift Books has awarded it four stars out of five, writing:
The First Sacrifice is a wonderfully written short story brimming with enough conspiracy and action to easily fill a full length fantasy novel.
Head on over to check our her full review!
Writing a blurb is harder than it looks! But, less than a week out from the start of NaNo, here it is:
The worldâ€™s greatest empire is no more, its last champions cast adrift from all for which they’ve fought. But one woman amongst them could change the course of history.
In service to the empire, Tian Risa has walked with ghosts, harnessed wondrous new fuels, built the world’s first flying machine. Now commanding the sky frigate Windrider, she leads her followers across the sea in search of allies to reclaim their home. Vultures, villains and the valiant will clamour for the power of her ship, and only when history enters its judgment will it become clear which is which.
A novel of adventure, courage and conflict; great opportunities and the burdens they bring; doubt, hope, despair and triumph.
Working on my novel outline in preparation for NaNoWriMo, I discovered this gem of a site: FILM CRIT HULK. Don’t be fooled by the Hulk-speak — the actual content is deeply analytical, and the three posts I’ve read apply to writing in general, not just movies:
Well worth checking out for an aspiring writer. (For myself, I’ll be reading Parts 2 and 3 of the Hulk’s write-up on action scenes once I’ve had some sleep!)
As a bonus, here’s a singleton scene I wrote a little while back, set close to 1,000 years after “The First Sacrifice”. (If you’ve read “The First Sacrifice”, you’ll recognise one character who appears here.) One day, I hope to expand this, but for now, enjoy the snippet!
Fiat justitia et pereat mundus. – Let there be justice, though the world perish.
The Vermilion Empire has endured for hundreds of years.
But now, the conquered nations grow restive.
The emperor lies dying. He has no heir.
There is but one man, Grand Duke Koh, acceptable to all.
If anything should happen to him…
Conjuring up Nemesis: The Scholar Tian Kizo
Tian Kizo met the spirit in a desert, under a blazing hot sun. The ruins of battle surrounded the two men: swords and bows and guns, discarded shirts of mail glittering so brightly they hurt his eyes. Though he still reeled from the vision heâ€™d seen, it was the other manâ€™s words that were his focus now.
â€œYouâ€™ve seen my story,â€ the spirit â€” Artorius, that was his name â€” spoke. â€œYour turn. What do you want of me?â€
â€œJustice.â€ For all Kizoâ€™s rehearsal, all his careful thought, the words came tumbling out. â€œMy son is dead. Murdered. Iâ€™m no warrior â€” but you are.â€
â€œYou have no magistrates in your empire?â€
â€œHah!â€ It was a short, bitter laugh. â€œNone who would arrest the greatest lord in the land.â€
â€œAh.â€ That was all Artorius said. He folded one arm across his chest, the fingers of the other tapping on the hilt of his sword.
â€œPlease. Help me.â€ Kizo could hear the desperation in his voice. â€œYou ended your mortal days when you were betrayed. Murdered. Your wife, too. You must know how I feel. Donâ€™t you want to deliver justice?â€
â€œJustice.â€ Artorius stretched out the word. â€œAt what price? The world is not a fairy tale.â€
â€œIf it were, my son would still be alive!â€
Artorius held up a hand. â€œListen to me. What will happen if I kill your empireâ€™s greatest lord?â€
Kizo breathed deeply. He had to stay calm, convince the spirit with his logic. â€œI have a plan. With your help, I can summon another spirit â€” the Phoenix Prince, the founder of the empire. No matter if one lord dies â€” the people can rally to the Prince.â€
Instead of replying, Artorius gazed off into the distance. Kizo felt sick. He could not tell what Artorius was thinking, not under that hard veteranâ€™s mask. This was by far his best chance for justiceâ€¦
â€œThe world is not a fairy tale,â€ Artorius repeated. â€œIâ€™ll be damned if I make it worse. All right, Iâ€™ll help you. And the name of this man I should kill?â€
Let Kizo never again look forward so much to another manâ€™s deathâ€¦ â€œGrand Duke Koh.â€
Itâ€™s been a little over two weeks since â€œThe First Sacrificeâ€ went live, and in that time Iâ€™ve been promoting it through friends, family and social media. And Iâ€™ve been tremendously encouraged by the response so far. I already have my first Amazon review, which gave me four stars out of five. To my delight, people like the cover (I am very happy with how I went about putting it togetherâ€“ stock photo websites offer some truly great content available at very reasonable prices). And, most importantly, Iâ€™m selling a steady trickle of copies, including two in the last couple of days! Itâ€™s not a lot of money, but itâ€™s better than nothing.
Rome wasnâ€™t built in a day, of course; writing and releasing a novel will require plenty of hard work, far more than it took for â€œThe First Sacrificeâ€. But now Iâ€™ve experienced the freedom and the fulfilment of self-publishing… and best of all, the thrill of having a work out in the open.
I look forward to where this road will take me.
I’ve been writing fiction as a hobby for years, and like many other authors, I wanted my short stories to be published by an established magazine or website. For most of that time, to say self-/vanity publishing carried a stigma was an understatement. Sure, if you were a crank who claimed that Elvis revealed himself to those wearing tinfoil hats, you might self-publish. But if you produced Real Writing, you sweated it out, researching markets on Ralan.com or Duotrope.com, sending out your manuscripts, waiting months in the slush pile, all in the hopes of $0.05 a word from a professional market.
Well, I sweated it out. I researched markets. I sent out those short story manuscripts that I thought were worthy. At the last place to which I submitted a manuscript, I waited nine months in the slush pile — only to receive a form rejection slip.
I had two choices, it seemed. Spend months more working my way down the list of magazines to those that pay little or nothing, or let my stories die in obscurity on my hard drive.
Instead, I opted for a third choice. Self-publishing.
Several factors drove my decision:
I didn’t pull the trigger straight away – it took me months to iron out a structural issue with the manuscript that I most wanted to publish. But other than that, the process was remarkably straightforward:
Once I had formatted the manuscript, added a cover, etc., it was time to upload it! Amazon takes around 24-48 hours to send the ebook live, and as I write this, it hasn’t yet gone live on the Kindle store. However, it appears after only a few minutes on Smashwords. And so, I present…
Artorius of Cairbrunn hates being dead.
In life, he was a hero, protector to emperors and scourge of the barbarians, before he was betrayed and killed. Now, hundreds of years later, he’s been summoned back to the world of mortals — and telling hero from villain is not as simple as he once thought.
A heroic fantasy short story about right and wrong; fallen kingdoms and rising upstarts; love, loss, and the lengths to which we’ll go for those we care about.
I hope those of you who check out the story will enjoy it enough to recommend it to your friends. And if you’re thinking about ebook self-publishing, I hope you’ll have found this thread useful!