The Black Bag

Publication Announcements

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a good week. Mine went fast but progressed well. Revision of the Cursed Mage series (formerly Reformed Mage) manuscript was completed and sent to my editor who begins work on it today. I should have that back at the end of the month after which I’ll begin working toward publication. During this month, I’ll continue work on a host of projects but I’m narrowing down my publication schedule for the next several months as follows:

Curses Dark and Foul is almost ready and should be posted on Amazon within a few days so that date is this week as soon as possible. There are several previous posts about this anthology which can be found at the following links:

The Next Step: Curses Dark and Foul

Curses Dark and Foul – More Background

Curses Dark and Foul – A Personal Story

Curses Dark and Foul – Blurb Reveal

Those should catch anyone up on the book background and the cover. This has been a fun little project to work on recently.

 

The White Arrow print edition should be ready on Amazon about mid-September if all goes well. I’ll update this with a specific date when I have one. This will complete print for the entire three-book series and round out the main formats being available (eBook, print and audio).

The Changeling Incident, which is the prequel for the first Reformed Mage novel, should be released in October, possibly by mid-month. That is part of the current editing for the full novel so it is a priority when the manuscript is back in my hands. There should be a pre-release link available soon.

The Feral Name is the opening novel of the Cursed Mage Case Files series and my hope is to release it between October 26th and November 16th depending on how much work will be done on the final version. I’ve contacted my artist about a cover and should have that within a few weeks to share here. I will have a pre-release link available as soon as possible. I’m going to print from the start with these novels in addition to ebook. Audio is a desire and I’ll approach my publisher with the manuscript and pre-release sales to see if they are interested in the series. Audio is not immediate release expectation. but I hope to add it quickly after the first book is published and possibly release this format with the subsequent titles if that works out at all.

Otherwise, I’ll begin work on the next book in the Cursed Mage series this month to complete that revision for hand-off to my editor during October or November. Book three of this series should be right behind that and the hope is to release these two books in early 2021, February and April being the respective timelines. My expectation is to complete dictation of the last three books over the interim and possibly release the untitled fourth book during late 2021.

One more series is targeted for initial release during 2021 which is under the working reference of Black Glove. This first in series novel is ready for editing now and I’ll get it on the editing schedule if I don’t give Inkshares a submission with it. It’s my plan to quickly plan the entire series so I can dictate the next several books in the coming months too.

The Broken Shield series and the sequel series for The Bow of Hart Saga are also in the works, the former already having a completed rough draft. I have one other completed rough draft for a fantasy named All Things Forgotten and I hope to plan a full series for it as well during August. I should be busy with all the revisions and planning for dictation this month, but I’ll be ready to pivot to my main title of the year when the time arrives.

That’s all for today. Look for the release announcement of Curses Dark and Foul within a few days. Thanks for stopping by today and reading about the latest updates.

 

Fantasy Friday! Cavernous Kingdoms Aren’t Real – Or Are They?

If there’s a common fantasy theme that’s almost a trope it’s dwarven kingdoms of huge proportions. All those dwarven kingdoms hiding beneath fantasy mountains couldn’t exist though – right? There are no caves that long or deep. People don’t live like that out of the sun. That’s right isn’t it? It’s just the stuff of fantasy and that’s fine if you can stand that well-worn trope once again.

Or isn’t it?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Here are some real-life underground, caves and dwellings that defy your understanding of what’s possible and where people have – and do – still live.

Cavernous Kingdoms 1First, let’s talk about caves. Most of us think of the tight places of tales and local legends and maybe visited a few pretty amazing caves with some pretty amazing formations. I’ve been in a few over the years and some provided quite a trek. But fantasy books come up with some pretty outlandish settings that just can’t exist – right. Wrong. There are some places underground around the world that have never been fully explored because they are so enormous. Some were lived in by numerous people on a daily basis. Let’s visit some:

First, here’s a list of the deepest caves in the world from Wikipedia. The deepest of which, Krubera, was explored in a National Geographic special.

But what about those massive caves described in some books which go on for who knows how long? Yep, those exist too. Case in point – Hang Son Doong in Vietnam which has some mind-blowing proportions and has never been fully explored.

Next, let’s discus cavernous dwellings because everyone knows that while people have taken shelter in caves for thousands of year there just aren’t vast dwellings out there. Well, there are some examples.

Derinkuyu – this underground city in Turkey is actually the largest of numerous, ancient underground cities in the region. This place could hold thousands of people – and animals.

NCavernous Kingdoms2abateans/Petra – is an ancient city built into a mountain which is famous from movies. The Nabateans were able to store and control their water supply in cisterns with a system of channels. This location became the main stopping point along caravan routes which meant the inhabitants collected lots of money in taxes. He who controls the water controls the gold.

What about those vast mines dwarves are always making? Yep there are several. One excellent example is Wielczka Salt Mines. This mine was open for about 700 years in Poland and runs for over 170 miles. It is adorned with statues and chapels and is now a major tourist attraction.

Cavernous Kingdoms 3So when reading fantasy and those incredible dwarven kingdoms are part of the plot, they have some basis in reality. Whenever there’s a major underground trip in a book, it may not even rival what exists in the real world. Authors would do well to research many of these caves, cities and mines as they provide excellent source material for describing them in any work of fiction, especially fantasy. Take a look around on the internet and you’ll find that people still live in underground complexes all over the world so don’t rule out books because you think of this as a well-worn trope in fantasy literature – it’s already well-worn in real life.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photos via morfile.com free section

 

Fantasy Friday! Traipsing through the Tropes

Courtesy MorgueFile.com

Courtesy MorgueFile.com

The falcon soared on the morning wind. It spied two figures around a fire and dove. It circled the pair of men talking about their fire.

An old man stirred the pot that hung over the fire. “When we reach the city we can find help and re-gain your kingdom.”

The young man scratched his head. “Funny to think a poor orphan like me is heir to a kingdom.”

The bird of prey alighted on a branch and cocked it’s head. “A common trope lingering in this wilderness? I must hear more!”

The orphan-prince and others are common in fantasy. From Tolkien onward it’s almost prerequisite to use the trope in epic fantasy – so much so that many readers are turned off by it. Many have fled to gray fantasy were there are no clear delineations between good and evil, right and wrong.

But why is the notion and others like it used so often? A missing heir or one who was usurped is excellent for conflict. Likewise, the orphan elicits sympathy through perceived weakness. It likely roots much further back in history to many tales of fallen nations and city-states. One such example is that of the Princes in the Tower during the Wars of the Roses.

Courtesy MorgueFile.com

Courtesy MorgueFile.com

This plot element has some basic uses for writing in fantasy the main one being conflict. The political or ethical conflict behind this trope and others like it are the grist of many a fantasy. These constructs have ready-made rivalries so it’s easy to use when writing.

Is the average tale of winning back the kingdom for the old family’s sake worth telling? In my opinion yes – but only as necessary. I think a writer must ask themselves the question, “Can it be told differently?” If the answer is no then the author should use this trope – or any other common one.

However, to use a common trope, one must do so with care or risk turning off readers. Some twisting is necessary so be inventive. If I want a well-worn path for my reading, I’ll just pick up my copy of Tolkien.

But if the answer to the question above is yes, then start re-plotting your outline. What the story can bear in being unique in the marketplace is most important.

Whichever way you go consider your presentation. Don’t follow in someone else’s footprints. Forge off the beaten path – trope or not.

The young man lifted his arm and balled his hand. “I’ll win back the kingdom!” His sleeve slid and revealed his forearm.

The old man leaned forward and squinted. “Your arm – there’s no mark.”

“Of course not. What are you talking about?”

The elderly fellow commenced packing his things. “You’re not the one.”

“What do you mean? You said I was.”

“I was wrong.”

The falcon screeched. “Looks like they have a twist. How far will it go.”

The old man hefted his pack and marched away.

“Wait! What will I do now? What does this mark look like?” The poor orphan grabbed the old man. “Maybe we can do this anyway.”

Just because the trope has been used is no reason not to use it. While readers may assume much based on the trope and reject the book out of hand there is no edict against using the basic concept of a common trope – just use it well and communicate with your blurb that you usage is different.

The Bow of DestinyWhat tropes bother you? Have you got a common trope that you’re using anyway? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.