Editing

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?

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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.

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Fantasy Friday! 5 Additions to The Bow of Hart Saga Over the Years

It goes without saying that a fiction project morphs in many ways as it is written. However, The Bow of Hart Saga was a project that lasted several decades so the changes in it have been ongoing throughout that time. Here are 5 additions to the series:

1. Spark – this character was added very late in the writing process of The Bow of Destiny and then into the following two books, An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow. Spark began as a suggestion from my daughter so the character would not have been in the series at all without her input. Interesting since I didn’t even know my wife when I started the series just out of high school, let alone have a daughter!

  1. A larger cadre of villainous characters – one of the characters added was Paugren, Corgren’s brother. He arrived before The Bow of Destiny was completed, but mainly in Trading Knives which is a prequel story that reveals Corgren’s past along with his brother who is an integral part. Paugren takes on a larger role as the series moves forward.

  1. A different writing style – in 2014, at the suggestion of several other people, I changed the essence of the writing style for The Bow of Destiny (and the series) to that of deep point-of-view. It’s a different technique that I had to learn but I think it helped the series tremendously because of the nature of Athson’s story.
  2. More back-story about Withlings – as I prepared The Bow of Destiny, I knew there would be lots of questions about Withlings and the mystery surrounding them. Sometimes wonder-workers, sometimes mystics, these characters are quite different in nature so their story needed to be developed. For that, I turned to a short story entitled, What Is Needed, which refers to the common saying among Withlings.

  1. Ralda’s deeper characterization – this giant of a character had a makeover – again at my daughter’s suggestion. Before her suggestions, I had added that Ralda used a supplemental sign-language common among his people. Also, Ralda’s back-story about his brother took on a deeper meaning as something which motivates him. But at my daughter’s suggestion some appearance changes were added. Ralda (and giants) use a set of tattoos on their hands and fingers to augment their signing was one of the main details that came from the make-over.

There are many other details that I added along with some that were removed. Check back next week to find out what I removed.

Thanks for reading today, please leave your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can. If you want to know more about The Bow of Hart Saga, please see the series page.

A Look Behind the Curtain: My Expected Publishing Schedule

Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by the website today and reading about some of my updates. I’ve been going right along this last week and making some plans about a few releases, so I’ll mainly focus on those today with a little bit of Reformed Mage news mixed-in and a concluding publishing schedule.

Project Updates:

An Arrow Against the Wind Print

As I mentioned last week, An Arrow Against the Wind print edition is very close to being completed. Well, it’s no longer close. It’s finished and ready. The print edition has been approved and I will set my official release announcement for next week. Since the book has been out for three years, there’s not much reason to do a massive release, but I will schedule some blog visits just to get the word out some.

Work has already begun to create the print format for The White Arrow. Depending on availability and time to create the print cover, the last of the three books should arrive in print during the summer, most likely late June or early July.

Anthologies

Created by Brosedesignz

Moving on to the next item on the list, is my first short story anthology, entitled: Curses Dark and Foul. This is a small project for me, one that already has content available so I expect to move through it very quickly as I mentioned last week. It will comprise three short stories. I’m currently working to brush up the stories with some additional editing since they have been completed for a while. My expectation is to release this anthology later in May, possibly early June. I just don’t want to step on the print release of An Arrow Against the Wind. The basic cover I’m using without the title is shown for reference only and created by warrendesign.

Regarding additional anthologies, I have plans for a total of four editions. The second edition already contains three completed stories while the third one contains three stories in various states of completion. The last anthology contains three stories which I have either begun or planned loosely. Those latter two anthologies will require some dictation to complete some of the stories, but my hope is to release them further into the year. It is my intention to release the second anthology during the summer, possibly during July or August.

Reformed Mage

My main project for the year is the Reformed Mage series. I’ve been working consistently with revising the first novel. As I mentioned last week the prologue to the first book will be also published as a prequel short story entitled, The Changeling Incident. I’ve completed dictation on that short sub-project and hope to edit as quickly as possible for a release during the summer. You can see the cover from warrendesign. Work on the prequel release means that I’m loosely targeting the release of the full first novel series in late September or early October. I’m creating a new page for the book on this site soon with more details as I progress through the work.

There’s quite a lot to complete, but I’m feeling fairly confident that I can meet that schedule but I can slide the novel back to November as necessary. The main issue is completing the revision soon enough to hand-off to my editor. Of course, there still remains the need for a cover and formatting as well as the outside possibility of it going directly to audio. I also plan to release it in print at the same time. I’m also considering whether to release individual cases as books and then bundle them which makes for a more brisk publication schedule and creates the need for more covers. Something to consider and which I’ll cover in detail in a later post.

There are two other books already in rough draft for this series, so my goal is to revise and release those as soon as possible after the first book. Both book two and three will also have a prologue which will also be released as a prequel short story before each of these two novels are launched. Dictation is my main tool at the moment to create additional content, but once these additions are completed, I’ll shift to short story projects for later anthologies, then begin additional novels for Reformed Mage, Black Glove and other books in my two other series that are waiting their turn.

The main goal is getting Reformed Mage content to my editor as soon as possible so that I can release them fairly close together while I’m writing the fourth book in the series. I might also mention that there are least six books planned for this series already.

Black Glove

Also sitting on the back burner is the first book of the Black Glove series. That one is largely ready for editing so I’m considering exactly what I would like to do with it. One of my holdups is actually developing the entire series so I’m a little hesitant to move forward with it just yet. The other consideration is whether I want to submit it to InkShares to be hybrid published or if I would prefer to self publish it early in 2021. That’s the big question and one of the pros for submitting it to InkShares is that I would be doing something with the manuscript while I’m working on all these other projects. The con to using InkShares would be a lower royalty rate. The other main pro to using InkShares is it’s more likely to reach retail bookstores since it would be published almost like a traditional book. It also would likely debut in audio.

Upcoming Schedule

Beyond all of that, it looks like I’ll be able to attend the SFWA convention at the end of May which will now be online. I wanted to attend a science fiction and fantasy convention at a local library which is usually well attended. There was also another local one for the same genres, but I’m not sure either of these conventions will actually be held as scheduled this year so I’m waiting to see what can happen with those. It looks like I’ll have some print books available, so the two events would be excellent for talking to readers in person.

It looks like I’ll have a busy release schedule this year after all. Here’s the run-down:

  • An Arrow Against the Wind will be released during May – target date 5/11.
  • Curses Dark and Foul, my first anthology, will be in late May or early June.
  • After that my plan is to release the print edition of The White Arrow during July.
  • By August, my hope is to release the prequel, The Changeling Incident for the first book of Reformed Mage.
  • After that, is the release of the first book of the Reformed Mage Casebook series during the fall, September, if possible.
  • A second anthology will be expected during the Summer or Fall if my publication schedule for Reformed Mage falls behind.
  • Beyond that schedule it is my hope to quickly follow up the first novel with material from the second book of Reformed Mage. My main goal at that point is to possibly release the prequel of Reformed Mage #2 before the end of the year and the entire novel just after the new year.
  • From there the schedule gets a little more murky as I may release an anthology or be ready to release Reformed Mage three. That will come clear as soon as I make considerable progress on everything, but it certainly fills up the calendar nicely.

Thanks for stopping by today and catching up on the latest news and my plans for the rest of the year. Next week, I’ll be back with the specific release information about An Arrow Against the Wind print edition. Please leave your thoughts in the comments and share or reblog this post. I’ll reply to comments as soon as possible.