Due to an upcoming work schedule conflict I will need to take about a week long vacation from blogging. Don’t worry, fans, I will be back at it soon. I’ll talk to you then. Rival
I was reading an article by Stephen King yesterday that was most interesting. He made a couple of points that he said contributed to his success. One was to write every single day; 365 days per year. In theory that sounds great. After all, I love to write more than anything else in the world. In my life, however, there is a substantial day job and my family to consider. Then there is promotion for your books. I’m sure Mr. King has people who promote for him but the rest of us authors have to do it ourselves. That takes time. I know these sound like excuses but it is not easy to find time to write every day. It’s hard to sit down and work on the new book when the last book needs more publicity. Next he said not to use big words in your writing. He said readers should not need a dictionary in order to read your book. I completely agree with him on this point. There has been some science fiction I have tried to read that had so many technical words that I gave up after 2 chapters. It was too much of a headache. That being said, I expect a certain intellectual level from my readers. I write Epic Fantasy and use a lot of archaic words as well as made up ones. On occasion readers have told me they didn’t know what a word or two meant but they were isolated incidents. Finally Mr. King talked about using single sentence paragraphs. He said it flowed better like a regular conversation. I think he is both right and wrong on this point. If it is short dialogue you are writing then I think you can use the one sentence paragraphs. If, however, you are writing description, breaking up the paragraphs just confuses the reader. It’s kind of like those people who go comma-crazy. It’s just too hard to read. Overall I enjoyed the article and learned a trick or two. Writing is like anything else, it is different for everyone. What works for Stephen King may not work for you or me; but it’s good to hear his point of view.
Linvin looked in both directions across the sand but saw no sign of anyone or anyplace. They appeared to be completely alone. Even that gave him no comfort. He’d already planned for the scenario. Like a general with his troops, he issued orders.
“Everyone lead your horses to the water and let them drink all they can handle. While they drink, we will fill our water skins. When all is complete we will stake the horses on the grass between the hills where they can graze out of sight. Then we will eat.”
No one spoke. They simply followed Linvin’s orders. The parched animals were most appreciative of the water and drank with great eagerness. Meanwhile, each party member filled his or her water skins. The water was frigid and all but the sweaty horses tried to avoid entering the lapping surf. Before long the skins were filled and replaced on the saddles. The horses meanwhile continued to drink.
At last the exhausted riders fell upon the beach and stretched out to relax near their steeds. Linvin found lying on the shrunken staff and Falconfeather to be uncomfortable and removed both from his back. He laid the staff on the ground along with the scabbard for Falconfeather. Linvin withdrew the blade to clean it against his cloak. No one spoke. They were simply too tired.
Miri was to Linvin’s right and the Greenliths were to his left with Anvar the farthest away. They’d raised their hoods on their cloaks to act as a barrier against the abrasive sand. Other than that, they laid completely flat. They were exhausted and were reluctant to even take nourishment.
After a while, the horses stopped drinking and looked around. They became restless and began to stammer back and forth. “Looks like they have had their fill,” Linvin noted. “I will take them back to the grass while you all rest here.” Stabbing Falconfeather into the sand, he marched to the water where he took the reins of the increasingly spooked animals. The horses bucked wildly as Linvin struggled to control them. One thing they did not fight him about was moving away from the water. Linvin could hardly keep up as the horses led him back inland. So focused was he on the animals he did not notice the water stirring nearby in an unnatural manner.
When they were well off the sand the beasts slowly calmed. Linvin found several bushes near a drumlin and tied the animals but gave them enough of a leash to graze as they wished. Though he expected the horses to begin eating at once, they chose instead to move as far away from the water as they could and stand with their backs to the lake. Well that has to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen, Linvin thought.
Suddenly there was screaming from the beach. Linvin turned to see a ghastly sight. Thousands of small tentacles no wider than a finger had sprung from the water and had entwined the other party members by the legs. They were winding their way up the bodies of their victims.
“I am not going in there!” he said while turning to face the others.
“What’s wrong now?” Anvar demanded as he rode along beside his nephew.
“That is Thornhaven Forest,” Rander noted. “It is infested with sharp branches and plants that can slice you up as sure as a razor. People entering there are rarely heard from again. There could be any number of creatures in there just waiting to prey upon us. My vote is not to enter.”
Linvin joined the conversation. “You knew when we left, that we would be leaving Sartan. This is the border with the Unclaimed Territory. We must traverse this forest in order to continue our quest.”
“You mean your quest, don’t you?” Rander rebuffed. “This whole trip is for you to find some gem, and what have we done so far? We’ve been attacked by wolves and we’ll probably die of exposure while we look for some prize for you.”
Linvin did not want to be drawn into another argument with his cousin. “You were not forced to come on this journey, but since you have come and you agreed to follow my leadership, you will continue through the forest with us.”
Rander recalled his earlier pledge and wished he could retract the statement. Since that was not an option, he chose a different path. “Then why not go around the forest? Unless you think you will find what you are looking for within those trees, there is no reason to expose ourselves to further danger.”
“That’s absurd!” Anvar interjected. “The forest runs the length of the country. It would take months to bypass.”
“What does it matter?” Rander quibbled. “We don’t even know where we are going. What difference does it make where we get lost?”
“We are not lost,” Linvin corrected.
“You’re right,” Rander agreed. “In order to be lost you must know where you are going. We are aimless.”
“You are wrong again,” Linvin corrected. “I know that we must head north, and north means we go through that forest.”
“Just how do you know this?’ Rander said tauntingly.
“I just know,” Linvin answered.
“That’s not going to be good enough anymore!” Rander spouted. “Do you just wake up in the morning and say, I think we’ll ride north and look along the ground until a magic gem shows up? There is no plan. You don’t know what you’re doing and now you want us to follow you in there? You must think we are as big fools as you. Well, I have had enough. Come on, Bander, we’re going home.”
Rander gestured to his brother who reluctantly followed him back down the path. Linvin bit his lip hard as he watched them. After what felt like a lifetime he called out to them. “Wait! I know where we are going and how to find the Red Sapphire.”
The twins stopped and turned to face him. “We’re listening,” Rander chided.
Linvin let out a deep breath before speaking. “The staff tells me where to go.”
Today I want to talk about “Mandrean Revenge.” It is the third and most recent book in the Sapphire Chronicles. It has been over two years since Linvin returned from his life-altering quest to recover the Red Sapphire. With the gem firmly in his possession and its power at his command, Linvin is feeling nearly invincible save for the constant assassination attempts he continues to thwart. His world is about to come crashing down. Lord Mandrean the 13th managed to survive their fight. Still smarting from his wound, he seeks vengeance on his enemy. Mandrean sends his Necromancer to kidnap Linvin’s dear uncle Anvar. Linvin is left with an ultimatum. Either he must surrender to Mandrean for execution before the first frost or Anvar will take his place. Of he does surrender, Anvar will be released. Linvin knows they will kill his uncle regardless of his actions but he cannot just sit there and do nothing while they execute the man who has been like a father to him. He has never believed a situation was hopeless. With that bit of optimism he sets out for the Mandrean Empire by way of the Unclaimed Territory. Along the way he runs into one problem after another which slows his progress. Then something unforeseen and catastrophic happens that throws everything off course. Will Linvin be able to rectify the situation in time? Is there a way to truly save Anvar and possibly himself from the terrible fate that awaits them? Or is this really a no-win situation? Linvin is in trouble and the frost is coming…
Today we look at the second book in the Sapphire Chronicles, “The Sapphire Crucible.” When “Quest for the Red Sapphire” left off, Linvin, his uncle Anvar and his cousins Bander and Rander were overcome by swamp gas with Mandrean goblins bearing down on them. “Crucible” begins with the four in a prison wagon headed for the capitol of Marinhalk. Once there they are imprisoned. The question becomes whose prisoners they are. Do they belong to the twisted, maniacal Emperor, Lord Mandrean or to his evil court magician simply called Necromancer. While imprisoned they become acquainted with the prisoner in the next cell. She is Princess Mirianna from Romadon. At last the two are separated. Linvin and his party are taken to see Lord Mandrean while Mirianna will be sent for her final and fatal torture. Much is disclosed in the throne room and Linvin finds a clever way to escape. I won’t spoil it for you but Linvin and his family get away and save Mirianna. They flee south. Along the way Linvin finds the Red Sapphire and must master its powers quickly. But there is a secret Linvin did not know before. There is a Blue Sapphire with all the power of the Red one which chooses Mandrean as its master. Now the hunt is on with Mandrean and his legions desperately looking for Linvin’s group. Along the way Linvin and Mirianna fall in love but must hide their feelings. There are fights and hiding but it all builds to a climactic scene in which a great deal of blood will be shed. After searching so long, will the Red Sapphire be of any help against the Blue Sapphire? Will his cousins finally prove their worth? Will the plans of Mandrean or Necromancer bear fruit? What role will Mirianna play? Linvin’s party will face impossible odds and even his training as a general may not see them though this.
I have posted excerpts from my books for a while now but recently stopped and considered my readers. Many of them don’t know what the books are about. They see a small teaser but it doesn’t tell them the concept behind the story. For that reason, I have decided to do these next 3 blogs as short descriptions of the books. This will help you follow the blogs easier and lead to more sales so you can check out the entire story. The first book in the series is “Quest for the Red Sapphire.” Young Linvin Grithinshield is sent from his home in Sartan to the far off nation of Valia to train under Sedemihcra, the Master Trainer of Warfare. Linvin gains valuable experience in the Valian Army and achieves the rank of Commanding General by his mid-twenties. After a brilliant military victory, he learns that his father is missing and his mother has summoned him home to take over the family merchant empire. After returning, he finds home is not what he remembered it was. His family has become exceedingly affluent and he finds people are more interested in him for his money than his personality. To gain space he moves out on his own. Then word is brought by his uncle that his mother has been assassinated and they are coming for him next! He is given a staff and a gold key. His Uncle Anvar tells him he must take up a quest to find the mystical Red Sapphire. With little choice, Linvin takes up the quest. Not only must he find the gem, but along the way he must grow into a person worthy of being its master. That will be tested as they take on Linvin’s cousins, Bander and Rander who despise Linvin. The trio fights at every turn and often need Anvar to separate them. Their trek becomes ever more perilous the further they go as they mix with giant wolves, barbaric men, goblins, bandits and much more. It is not only Linvin being tested. Bander and Rander must prove they can handle themselves and be more than just a liability. If you like action, there is plenty to go around in this book. The characters are also developed in depth so that you can actually feel what they are feeling ay a given time. This is an exciting, well received book that will have you turning pages to see what happened next. It’s a fun read and is available at Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/1npYd0S
Mandrean held up his palm and the women in the pool stopped splashing. “Ah, Fendri. There you are. You are not intruding. The ladies just finished servicing me. I have worked up quite an appetite. Would you like to see a trick, Master Fendri?”
“If it pleases My Lord,” he said in response.
Mandrean turned to one of the concubines and said, “Number Nine, go bring me the Blue Sapphire.”
She bowed her head and answered, “Whatever you ask, My Lord.” Though still in her childbearing years, Number Nine was far older than the young concubines Betrimpia verbally abused three days before. Nevertheless, her unclothed body was an exquisite site to behold as it stepped out of the bath and strode confidently over to the bench holding the stone. Fendri bowed his head as if in her honor but the truth of the matter was he did not trust his eyes not to fixate on her mesmerizing attributes.
When Number Nine reached the bench, she casually reached for the gem her master requested. The moment she touched it, the Blue Sapphire released a bolt of lightning in the form of Blue Magic that shot her across the room like a catapult. She impacted the far wall and then fell to the ground. Fendri set down his tray and quickly rushed to her aid. He placed his fingers on her neck but could feel no pulse. He hung his head in sadness over her charred body.
Silence in the room was broken by laughter from Mandrean. He could not contain his enjoyment. “Did you see that, Fendri? She struck that wall like an insect being swatted. How is that for a trick?”
Fendri stood tall, pulled himself together and turned to look at his Emperor. “That was an impressive trick, My Lord. Am I to understand anyone touching the Blue Sapphire beside you will receive a similar fate?”
Mandrean beamed like a child with a new toy. “I haven’t tried it on everyone,” he laughed. “I think it’s safe to say it will only serve me.”
“Well then,” Fendri began. “I will have one of these trays removed.”
“Do no such thing,” Mandrean ordered. He began to emerge from the water. With a snap of his fingers the second concubine raced to fetch his full length white bathing robe. He stood on the marble with his arms held parallel to his shoulders. She dried him first with a towel and then wrapped the robe around his body. Once he was secure, she retrieved her own robe and dressed herself.
“I told you I had quite an appetite this morning,” Mandrean told Fendri. “I will now have two breakfasts.”
“If you desired more food, Master,” Fendri said as he picked up his tray. “I could easily have had the staff prepare any additional amount you would want. There was no need to sacrifice one of your concubines.”
“Where is the fun in that?” Mandrean asked as he placed the Blue Sapphire in a pocket of his robe. “Besides, Nine had become a little too old for my taste. Now bring the trays to the main floor where Fifty-Six and I will eat.”
Fendri and the slaves followed Mandrean up the stairs and placed the serving trays on tables by the pillowed furniture. Mandrean leapt onto a cushion and uncovered two of the trays. He brought all the plates onto one tray and began to eat. Once he’d begun, Fifty-Six reluctantly started to eat as well.
“Look what I found,” called the lumberjack with the lantern.
“What’s their story?” called one of the bearded men from a table.
“Been chased by Trogos, they have,” the first man explained. “Darn near got eaten.”
The men grumbled at the naming of the wolves. They were clearly no greater fans of the monsters than were Linvin’s party.
“May we shelter here from the storm?” Linvin asked most earnestly.
“Do ya tell good stories?” called an indiscriminate voice from the group.
“We have all kinds of stories,” Anvar interjected.
“Can ya hold your liquor?” called another voice. In unison, the men reaffirmed the question by yelling “Ya?”
Bander stepped forward in an unexpected move and cheerfully pronounced, “Put the drink in front of us and see!”
The men cheered at the acceptance of the challenge. One handed his mug to Bander, who drank the contents in one long swallow. It was harsh liquor that did not completely agree with his empty stomach. Still, Bander kept it down as promised. He slammed the mug down on the table. The men jumped up in celebration and patted him on the back.
“Get some blankets and drinks for our new friends,” called the man with the lantern.
The lumberjacks treated them like younger siblings coming in from the cold. They peeled thewet clothes off their shivering bodies and hung them on branches near the fire to dry. There was no room for modesty among the woodsmen, who knew all too well the illnesses that could set in from exposure. They wrapped the elves tightly and placed them at a table of prominence near the fire. Each was handed a full mug of whiskey.
At first the rye drink was bitter to the tongue and hard to take. Gradually, as the effects blended with the merry disposition of their hosts, the beverage became more palatable until it was consumed with ease and even enjoyed.
Obviously cut off from outside news, the men begged for stories. Linvin did not want their quest revealed and thought he should be the one to tell their story. He explained that they were headed for the Unclaimed Territory when the wolves began stalking them. As the story brought them into the moment, the men began to mutter curses about the beasts to one another.
“The King needs to do something about those mongrels!” cited one of the men.
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...