While I have been waiting to hear back from my agent about book 4 in the “Sapphire Chronicles”, (“Repercussions Abound”), I have started developing characters for book 5, “The Thief Master of Ravensburg”. This is going to be a radical departure from the first four books. The characters are nearly all different than the ones you are used to and Linvin is not in it at all! Now, those of you who have followed me for years are going to say, “Wait a minute, he plans his stories out ahead of time.” That is true but new characters still need to be developed. That is one of the most fun parts of writing. Taking a wisp of an idea and forming it into a full blown person. It is so exciting. Then you get to create scenes that display this person’s attributes. They interact with one another to grow them even further. Then I get to add a new backdrop to the story. The city of Ravensburg is like nothing I have ever written about before. The geography of the city is different. The people are different. And the main characters are very different. We have thieves, a blacksmith and a messenger boy to name a few. There is a strong female character who drives the story as well. If that doesn’t peek your interest, an old character who became central in “Repercussions Abound” is falsely accused of murder and must clear his name in order to have any chance of a future; let alone living. We will be going from the country to the city and it will leave you speechless. First I must publish the current book but then the next boo will be ready to write. It’s hard to wait. In a way it’s like waiting for your children to be born.
On the desk, Linvin found the orders to which the goblins on the bridge referred. Linvin already knew most of the message. One point of interest came at the end when instructions were given to shoot a flaming arrow into the sky if Linvin’s party was spotted. Then they were ordered to retreat and hide while the ‘main body’ of the army drove them to the sea and would annihilate them there.
The news was ominous to Linvin. Even if his plan was successful and they left the depot unnoticed, he was in a race to the sea. If the Mandrean armies arrived there first, he would be in for a fight he wished desperately to avoid.
He left the barracks and checked the other three buildings to make sure there was no one lying in wait for them. Once he was confident the compound was secure, he left to summon his party.
As Linvin hurriedly strode down the center of the road, the General in his brain began to formulate a plan with benefits and risks taken into consideration. Though the walk was short, the time was sufficient for the decisive leader to crystallize his orders.
When he saw the bridge appear at the end of the road with the goblins still sleeping upon it, he stopped and called out. “It is safe. Come to me.” His four companions walked their horses out of the trees and eagerly waited for news about the depot. Linvin was quick to respond. He put his arms behind his back and began to pace in front of the others like he was addressing his soldiers.
“Just ahead there is in fact a small base and storage depot,” Linvin began. “There are five buildings in the compound. On the left are a barracks and stable. On the right are three storage facilities. I have seen to it that the Sergeant on duty there does not wake before the others. He is sound asleep in the barrack. Do not enter that building.
“Rander, find a branch in the woods that has already fallen. I do not want evidence of a freshly broken tree limb to raise suspicion. As we advance, use the branch to grate the soil on the road and hide our tracks. When those guards awake and return to the depot I want them to believe no one has been down this road.
“It will be tempting to take our time at the base. We cannot afford to do that. It is part of their messenger network with a crossroad in the middle of the compound. We must go in, get what we need and leave quickly without leaving evidence of our presence. Only then will my plan work.
“So you possess the kind of power that Linvin is seeking?” Rander asked.
“Both are magic,” Anvar answered, “but the difference in the level of power is beyond compare. It is similar to comparing a lake to an ocean. The Red Sapphire will bring Linvin far greater power than I could ever hope to channel. Aside from the power the gem harnesses, it also is Red Magic.”
Seeing their reaction, Anvar decided to continue so that he might answer some of their questions before they formed.
“Magic is very color-specific. For example, I am an orange magician. This means that when I use my power, I emanate it in an orange color. Among magicians, there is a hierarchy based on color. Each color has an opposite, which is equal in power and cancels out its counterpart. Different pairs of colors have different strengths as well. The most powerful magic is either red or blue. A red magician and a blue magician would not be able to destroy each other, because their powers are opposites and cancel each other out. However, they can still do harm to one another, provided the opponent does not block the incoming magic. They simply can’t completely destroy each other with magic.
“As I said, there is a hierarchy. Red and blue are the most powerful and rare. No magic can stand against them when the magician is prepared. The next tier down of opposites consists of orange and yellow magic. Again, they cancel each other out and are not as powerful as red and blue. This level is more common, but still not widely found.”
“The final level is made up of violet and green. It is likely those magicians, you refer to Rander, being at fairs and the like. Their power is relatively weak. Such places of amusement however, are the only places where they may display their gifts without being persecuted. Violet and green magicians are the meekest of the six but also the most prevalent. While magicians as a whole are rare, there are far more of the lower orders than the higher ones.”
Well, it’s done. All the marketing materials for my next book are finished. That means I can send it to my publisher as soon as I hear back from my agent. At long last I will be able to send my manuscript in for editing (somewhere in the lineup). The next step in the process is to send it to my agent. She will present it to the publisher and they will accept or reject it. Since my contract owes them 3 more books, I think they will accept it. Then they will put it in line to be published. When the time comes, several months later, an editor and an illustrator will be assigned to the book. Then we will have the back and forth of what must go and what must stay in the manuscript. It’s like a tug of in a sense and can be easy or very difficult. Once the edits are approved we work on the illustration. My experiences have been very good with this part as the illustrator often sees my vision quite clearly. When that is all done it is sent through to finishing. Then you are sent you new, crisp, clean book. Then your work really begins. You have to promote it. That means appearing on blogs and getting people to review your book. There might be contests and if you’re lucky, book signings. This is your baby. If you don’t sell it, no one else will.
“It would seem that I have chosen a battle I cannot win with
this leg of mine. You do remember the lesson about that, don’t
“Yes, school master…Fight no battle you cannot win. It was the
second lesson you taught me. It followed the one about never
underestimating an opponent. I never forgot.”
“You may not have forgotten, Lad, but you have paid them no
Mandrean jerked his head over at Gramlick who knew he had
special privileges at that moment. The emperor’s teeth ground
together, and his face tightened.
“Tathbar knew the rule and deliberately broke it,” Mandrean
fumed. “And Grithinshield will pay for all the trouble he has
Gramlick’s vision was failing so he paid attention to the
direction of Mandrean’s voice to maintain the illusion of sight. “I
think you give the Sartanian too much credit. Our troubles are not
“How can you say that?” Mandrean erupted while coming to
the bedside. “You know what happened. That man humiliated me.
He destroyed my palace…annihilated my elite guard, crushed
entire legions, and left me for dead in a pool of my own blood. Oh,
I give him credit. I credit him with creating this foul climate
throughout the empire. He has wronged me in the worst possible
ways, and he will pay for it. All will see that no one betters Lord
Mandrean and lives.
“He must die, to be sure, and his death will renew the people’s
confidence in me. The army’s morale will improve, and the
impotent group I met with earlier will pour the glory upon me like
a shower of golden raindrops. Forget the grain. The death of
Linvin Grithinshield will bring me all I desire.”
Gramlick was completely blind by the end of the oration. His
time was short. Mandrean had finally voiced his opinion, and
Gramlick had little time to get his point across.
“Boy. Grithinshield did not make the crops fail or the
conquered territory rebellious or the roads crumble or the Goblin
Nations fight. You credit the man for too much. His death will not
solve these problems. Most have forgotten the incident in the
mountains. The only person keeping this issue alive is you. You
seek revenge. That is an expensive thing that a wise emperor
knows he cannot afford.”
Mandrean was so self-involved that he paid no heed to the
faltering voice of his mentor. “I will have that revenge no matter
“Child, you have tried for a year to kill him. How many
assassins have returned—how many soldiers?” Gramlick began to
shake and start convulsions.
“Stay with me, schoolmaster,” Mandrean pleaded as he clasped
the general’s hand. “I need you.”
Gramlick fought to speak as his body contorted.
“There…is...more you must know. Acreas, Betrimpia and
Necromancer…. Don’t trust them.… They all want you dead for
their own…” Gramlick’s body stopped fighting and collapsed on
Rander wanted to run but could not move. He could not look Linvin in the eyes. Instead, Rander looked down and spoke in a quivering voice, “I don’t believe a word you said. You’re all talk.”
Linvin looked down, noticing Rander’s soiled trousers and gave a wry smile. “Your body says otherwise. It's finally time to see which of you is right.”
As Linvin reached for Rander, Anvar gave a shrieking scream. “Do not touch him!” Linvin paid no heed. “Linvin!” Anvar yelled again. “Harm him and I am leaving. You must show better control than this.”
Linvin paused, but did not look at his uncle. “He insulted my father and me.”
“For that, you would kill your cousin?” Anvar reasoned.
“It sounds like a good idea at this moment,” Linvin stated firmly.
“Well, I wish I had brought diapers, because the two of you are acting like babies.”
“Linvin, how can you gain the Red Sapphire and accomplish all that you must if you cannot control your temper with a pathetic little parasite like Rander? You are bigger than this. Attacking out of anger? Letting pride cloud your judgment? That is not the person the gem wanted. Deep down, the staff knows how good you are. It takes hard work to be that man. He is in you. The question is whether you will grow into the man inside you, or continue to let these petty disputes lead you astray. If you choose the latter, then go ahead and kill him.
If you do, though, then I would have misjudged you and I would leave you immediately.”
Linvin felt the burn of the scathing words in his very soul. They cut deeply and brought about shame over his actions. As his head cleared, he knew Anvar was right. Killing Rander would solve nothing, though the passionate part of him would argue the point.
Rander watched Linvin process the information. As the anger dissipated from his cousin, he smiled and looked to exploit the weakness. It was at that moment, that Anvar briskly strode over and slapped him across the face with the back of his hand. Despite his age, Anvar delivered quite a blow. He repeated the move, this time hitting the other side of Rander’s face.
“And as for you,” Anvar snorted in the face of his younger nephew, “were it not for the stench you have doused yourself in, I would put you over my knee and take a switch to you!”
“I’m too old for that!” Rander fired back. “I am a man now.”
“Then try acting like one!” yelled Anvar. “Inciting Linvin is no way to prove anything, other than the fact that you are a rotten little child with a death wish. If you are as smart as I actually believe you are, then you know that Linvin is not your enemy. When things get dangerous on this journey, as I am sure they will, you will be glad to have him by your side and not opposed to you.
“As for Linvin’s credentials, I can vouch that all he has told you is true, but do not ever let me hear comments like that from you again.”
Have you ever been in a situation where no choice was a winner? No matter what you did, the outcome would be bad. That’s the situation my protagonist, Linvin Grithinshield finds himself facing in my latest book, “Mandrean Revenge.” The closest person to him in the world is his Uncle Anvar but he has been kidnapped by the evil Emperor Mandrean and his Necromancer. Linvin is given an ultimatum. He must either surrender to Mandrean for execution before the first frost or Anvar will be killed. Linvin knows they will kill Anvar anyway but he feels he cannot abandon his uncle. He must try to save Anvar. All the advice he is given is to stay home and not fall for the trap. Linvin knows Mandrean will hold Anvar as leverage to make Linvin surrender without a fight. Filled with no hope of victory, he sets off for the Mandrean Empire and his date with destiny. The funny thing about destiny is it never happens just as you plan. Linvin runs into all sorts of adventures along the way and his path changes. The story is full of excitement, intrigue, betrayal and of course, action. This is the third installment of the “Sapphire Chronicles”. In the first two, “Quest for the Red Sapphire” and “The Sapphire Crucible” Linvin, Anvar and the twin cousins Bander and Rander first meet up with the Mandreans when they are looking for the Red Sapphire. There is plenty of action to be had and lessons to be learned as Linvin becomes worthy of the gem and its power. Now it seems in the third book, Linvin is paying for any successes he had earlier. So the question remains, what would you do if you were him?
Though his eyes were captivated by the luminance of the stone, Mandrean’s mind felt a resurgence of energy he hadn’t felt since he served in the army. The energy sparked the most diabolical and wicked parts of his character. He felt a bond with the gem like an appendage that was missing and had been reunited. Evil thoughts of murder and conquest raced to his consciousness. At long last, he had the power to reform the world, as he wanted.
As the others in the room collected themselves Mandrean cast a cunning glare at the map, which had been left unobstructed by furniture or people. His eyes glazed over as a frenzied speech left his lips.
“Romadon will fall with ease. Let the Goblin Nations dare to interfere. I will leave their bones for the buzzards. Sartan is weak and unprepared. They too will fall with ease. Valia and the countries to the east will beg for mercy before the end. They will get no such satisfaction. Those who survive the slaughter will be my slaves building the Empire to which I am entitled.
“However, before my plans can be put into action, I must find and kill that weakling half-elf who escaped my clutches today.”
“He burned your capital and nearly killed you,” Necromancer added. “Remember?”
“I remember,” Mandrean said firmly. “His tale is about to end. Necromancer, I can feel the power of the Blue Sapphire but sense no way to use it.”
The Magician answered, “The gem said it would give you the power through the Path of the Blue Sapphire. I told you one use of the staff Linvin carried was to find the chest. The other seems to be as a conductor of the stone’s power. In order to use the full power of the Blue Sapphire, you would need to insert it in the afore mentioned Path of the Blue Sapphire, or Blue Staff.”
“Alright then,” Mandrean acknowledged. “Where is the Blue Staff?”
“I have no idea,” Necromancer answered plainly. “You have had us searching for the Red Staff and key for the chest. The Blue Staff could be anywhere. When you consider how long it took to find the Red Staff, it could be some time before we locate it, if ever.”
“Then I have all this power in my hand and I cannot even use it!” Mandrean screeched.
Necromancer held out his palms in an appeasing manner and said, “Let me think for a moment.” He looked closely at the Blue Sapphire and rubbed his chin. “I believe I could create a substitute until the real staff is discovered. It would allow you to harness most of the gem’s power and still be an even match for Grithinshield.”
“An even match?” the pompous Emperor roared. “I will be more than that. I will crush his throat with my very boot. How long will it take you to fashion the device for me to use the gem?”
Again Necromancer rubbed his chin and looked at the Blue Sapphire. “I would say it would take about two days. After that, I can explain to you how to use its power.”
“You can teach me on the road,” Mandrean replied. “Go to your work area and commence construction immediately.”
“Is something wrong?” he asked. Linvin’s face was red and his eyes stared fiercely at his uncle.
“Why did you not tell me we were goingthere?” Linvin demanded. Anvar sighed. “Just hear me out,” he pleaded with his palms outstretched. “I did not originally plan to go there, but when I found out we were headed this way anyway, I realized it was a good opportunity to get some help that we could trust.”
Linvin fumed, “Help? Trust them?”
“They are family,” Anvar implored.
“Family does not treat one another as they have treated me!” Linvin snarled.
“Linvin, much time has passed and you are all adults now. Do you not see that the odds of either one of us returning from this quest are low? Two extra swords will double our chances.”
“They will double our chances of being stabbed in the back!” corrected Linvin.
Now Linvin could see why Anvar held back the information. Had he known where they were headed, Linvin would not have come.
“So you just expect me to forget about all the years of fighting with them?” Linvin yelled as he pointed down the road. “All the comments they have made! All the vile things they have done to my parents and me! You are asking me to forgive those who terrorized my childhood. You are asking me to forgive those who would never forgive me.”
Anvar put his hand on Linvin’s shoulder and replied softly, “Yes I am,Linvin. I am asking you to be the bigger man. I am asking you to look at the bigger picture and let go of your hate. I am asking you to offer them your hand in peace, knowing full ~ 202 ~
well what has transpired between you. Like it or not, you need them. The master of the Red Sapphire will need to know how to swallow his pride for the greater good.”
“What you ask is not as simple as blowing out a candle,” Linvin stated as he looked into the distance to disguise a tear. “They never gave me a chance. I was never treated fairly. You were there. Do you not understand why I hate them?”
Today is a question day. I just have some questions swimming around in my head. My first question is: why do all people look better in sunglasses. Have you ever noticed that? I am not photogenic but in the few pictures I feel I look good in I am wearing sunglasses. You can look at celebrities or normal people. If there is a picture of them with and without sunglasses, they always, always, always look better in the shades. Why is that? It was a point brought up to me by a friend years ago about Billy Joel. She said she thought he was handsome, but only when he wore his sunglasses on stage. Therefore I have decided to name this the “Billy Joel Effect.” Are we intimidated by other people’s eyes? Back in school I took a Persuasion class. (Yes, it’s a class.) One of the things I learned was that humans are subconsciously attracted to wide eyes. That is the reason turning down the lights in romantic situations is so effective. If I extrapolate, it could be said that the Billy Joel Effect is caused by what look like big eyes. I admit it’s a stretch but it’s the best answer I could figure out. Next. When you fill out an application for something and it asks what sex you are, it usually says it doesn’t have any bearing on the result. If that is so then why do they ask the question? If it doesn’t matter that I’m a man, then why go there? There must be a quota or government benefit we aren’t told about. It just seems like an odd question if it has no meaning. Moving on. Can anyone describe that new car smell? Why is it so intoxicating? Admit it. When you get in a new car at the dealer the first thing you do is breathe in deeply. That smell just makes you want to take the car home. A friend who sold cars told me they actually spray that scent in the cars. So what is it? Is it some pheromone attracting us on a subconscious level? Perhaps it triggers an effect of excitement? Whatever the smell is, it is there on purpose and I can’t even describe it to you. Lastly, when you’re out for dinner, why do women go to the bathroom together? Men NEVER go to the bathroom together. I wrote a paper in college hypothesizing that there is actually a bar in the lady’s room and tables for massages. After all, I don’t go in the lady’s room so I don’t know. There could be a whole different world in there men don’t know about. Or maybe they just want to talk about us. I like the bar idea better.
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...