How and Why I Write
People always ask me, “When did you start writing?” I always answer succinctly that I started when I was 13 years old. What I don’t talk about is the why and how I started my stories. So I will tell you now. It was a really rough time in my family. My father was downsized from his job and no one was hiring. He was too experienced for most jobs or simply too old. It was a less politically correct time. He had been out of work for over a year and as the breadwinner things were really tough. We were going to lose our home and the future was very dark. Now add to this a thirteen year old boy who was severely depressed and was told by many he had a gift for writing. We lived in a condominium above a highway near Toronto Canada. I sat on my chest of drawers and watched the cars go by in the rain. I’ve got to do something or I’ll go crazy! I know; I’ll write a short story just for me. No one else needs to see it. During this time in my life I was reading epic fantasy and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my brothers. My genre was clear. Then I needed a main character. I didn’t want a human because everyone writes about humans. I thought strongly about an elf but envisioned them as frail and generally weak. Then I thought of a half elf. I got in at least one fight every day at school because everyone wanted to be the one to beat up the American. If I was successful then they would send several people to bring me down. My father was originally Canadian and never believed Canadians would act that way, regardless of the bruises and sprains. I lived the life of a half breed and could pour this into my character. Then I wanted him to go after something of great power. Obviously I couldn’t choose a ring. Swords had been done to death. I wanted something that could have an opposite. Then I thought of gemstones. I always liked blue sapphires but I needed another color. I ran into my brother’s room (Google before we had Google) and asked him if there was a red sapphire. He explained that technically there was but they are simply called rubies. I hopped back on the chest of drawers and rested my chin on my fist as I thought. There had to be a way to make this work. Then I came up with the idea for the great sapphire Prism of the Cosmos of which two pieces of equal power would be broken off and so on. There was always lined paper around the house. I started writing an outline and I soon found that I had the makings of much more than a short story. I was writing a book. The more I wrote, the more ideas came to me. And that is how a 13 year old started his series of novels.
It's All About Business
I started writing like most authors. I had dreams writing my stories, getting them published and becoming a famous author. That could still happen but I discovered there was a huge element I never considered; business. Writing is about business. Give the reader what they want. They don’t want 500 page books. They want books with strong female protagonists. They want sex scenes. They want books around 200 pages. They want romance. I reflected and found my books had almost none of these factors. So I continued to write the books the way I planned. It was too late to change something I’ve had planned for 30 years. Then promotion came into it. There were blog appearances to make. Summaries to write, interviews to do, and people to find to do reviews. Fantasy is not the most popular category right now because its fans often would rather play a video game than pick up a book. I do not fault them for that. I just have to draw their interest for my books. The business part isn’t all bad. It’s exciting to see yourself in a blog or read a positive review on line. But make no mistake about it, the business end is what it’s all about and it’s hard work. Your publisher will give a certain amount of help but in the end it’d up to you how badly you want to succeed.
Wednesday Excerpt, "Repercussions"
Mandrean became flustered and stood in front of his throne. “If he cares so much for you then where is Grithinshield?”
Anvar stood straight and tall in front of the emperor. “You said it yourself. He must have been delayed in a manner of which we are unaware. One thing I am certain of, though, is that Linvin will come if there is breath in his body. He may not make it in time to save me, but he will come. When he arrives, I would not want to be you. He will be sure to finish you this time. Bringing Linvin here will be the last mistake you ever make.”
“This fight will be different. I have you as a hostage.”
Anvar leaned forward and said, “Suppose he doesn’t care. He knows you will kill me regardless. Why surrender to your threats? What else do you have?”
Mandrean began to stammer and sat down. “I have the Blue Sapphire.”
“You had it before and Linvin beat you. What else do you have?”
“I have the staff for it now.”
“That only makes your magic equal to his and as you know, they cancel each other out. Therefore, it doesn’t matter. What else do you have?”
“I have an army.”
“Linvin killed nearly seven legions almost entirely by himself last time you fought and still had strength to defeat you. What else do you have?”
“I have my superior fighting skills.”
“The same skills Linvin faced while half dead and still was able to stab you and leave you for the buzzards? That’s your last line of defense? You had better make sure Linvin is more tired this time.”
Mandrean felt where the scar had been on his abdomen. “Linvin only beat me because my armor was not fitted properly and left a gap. This time I have a new set of plate mail made by the finest Dwarven craftsmen. With my family’s sword, I will defeat him once and for all.”
Anvar quickly pictured how a slow-moving, overweight man like the emperor would fare against the nimble, quick lightning attacks of Linvin in his dragon scale armor with Falconfeather at his command. He decided not to give too much away prior to the fight. “That will be a sight to behold.”
Mandrean practically leapt out of his seat and began to circle Anvar. For his part, the prisoner looked unimpressed and showed no signs of being intimidated. “Look at you,” said Mandrean. “So smug in your belief in Linvin. Well he has abandoned you. While you toil in prison, he goes on about his life without you. Perhaps my agents were wrong about his feelings for you. He went without a mother or father for most of his life. Why would he care what happens to you?
“After all your posturing, you’re just scared to die. Every day you must look at that cell window and see if there’s frost on the bars. What are you afraid of? You’ve lived a long life, Old Elf.”
“I do not fear death.”
“Of course you don’t. You fear being the cause of Linvin’s death. Your bluffs will not fool me. Linvin adores you like a father and in that twisted mind of his he’s going to think he can save you two. If only he knew my plans, he would see that it is just not meant to be.”
“You, on the other hand are far too confident and sure of yourself. It is time to remind you that you are a prisoner. Guards.” The four goblins Acreas had sent as an escort came forward and stood behind Anvar.
“I want him to suffer and suffer mightily,” Mandrean ordered. “Do not puncture him, however, we would not want him to expire too soon.”
The emperor placed his hands behind his back and began shuffling toward his exit. “This exercise is about power, Anvar. It takes power to inflict pain. You and your nephew have been the cause of a great deal of pain to me. It is time you saw my power and learned what real pain was like.”
This may not be my most popular blog of the year but it reflects how I feel. Too many people are going around calling themselves “Experts” when their claim is built on weak credentials. According to the dictionary, “The definition of expert is someone who is very skillful or has advanced training and knowledge in a particular area or field.” I constantly get emails from people who have published a book and want me to pay them to help me write one myself. Not to brag but I have 4 books published. Why do I need their help? And of course, they all call themselves experts. I freely admit that I learn something new with each book. If you aren’t learning even when you reach that golden plateau we all dream about, then you are just kidding yourself. I learn from other authors and editors. I learn from fans and try to remain humble. But I couldn’t stay silent anymore after 4 more expert emails today. It’s like someone making a cake once and then going on television and telling people they’re an expert cake maker. There just isn’t enough evidence to support the claim. I can’t help it. I don’t like the word “Expert” being thrown around by people highly unlikely to deserve it at this point in their career. That’s my rant. Peace, out.
Wednesday Excerpt, "Repercussions"
What really drew his attention was a broadsword in an ornate scabbard attached to a sash-like belt meant to go over the shoulder and rest the sword against the back. Argentoe was drawn to it and found himself pulling the gear from the sack first. He gripped the leather-wrapped handle and drew the blade. Suddenly he heard a voice in his head.
Finally, you awaken me, Master. I had slept in that scabbard so long I thought some terrible fate had befallen you. No matter. I’m just glad to feel the air against my blade again.
Argentoe was terrified to near panic. There is a voice in my head and I think it is coming from the sword I am holding. This is impossible.
What are you talking about, Master? Of course I’m talking to you. I am your sword after all. Whatever is the matter with you?
How can you be talking to me if you are a sword? And why do you keep calling me ‘Master’?
Master, I am your sword, Falconfeather. Whenever I am out of my sheath I am awake. If I am in your hand our minds are joined as one. So we can hear one another and read the other’s thoughts.
Yes; I can feel you. There were two things I felt were missing from my life. Your consciousness was one of them.
Correct, Master. The Red Sapphire is the other. Let me see. I am reading your mind now and the picture is becoming clear to me. You have almost no memory at all. It is like a blanket has been thrown over your memory with small holes every so often so bits can come through to you. That is the reason you don’t remember me or the staff with the Red Sapphire. Once you have that back, I’m sure it will clear up all this memory business.
One thing to straighten out now is your name. I have no idea who this Argentoe person is, but your name is Linvin Grithinshield. It is one of the most revered names in the entire world, so I don’t want to hear any more of this Argentoe business. Your name is Linvin. Understand?
Linvin answered, Yes. I understand. My name is Linvin Grithinshield and I am your master.
For now, my predatory senses tell me we are about to be attacked by a pack of Trogoandras. I can smell them on the air.
How wonderful. It will be like the old days. Just you and me will take on and crush all of them. Oh, what a glorious fight we will have. I can almost taste their blood on my blade. I see you remember a good deal about them. That’s excellent. It will help us in the fight. Let us prepare quickly and then talk strategy.
Tuesday Excerpt, "Repercussions"
She looked up and saw him bobbing just off the ground with a red glow surrounding him. “Falconfeather is a most incredible sword,” she said. “She was just telling me about your uncle and the special bond you two have. He sounds like someone I would like.”
Linvin disrobed and cast a layer of red magic around his bandages to keep them dry. Then he immersed himself in the water and began the painstaking job of washing the Trogoandras blood off him. “Anvar would have liked you as well. It is unfortunate that I do not think you will ever meet.”
Corilon stood and began pacing with Falconfeather in her hand. Every time she looked like she was going to speak, she would stop herself. Finally, her frustration overcame her and she spoke plainly. “So let me see if I have this right. Mandrean has your uncle. If you don’t go, he will kill him. It is so late in the year he might have already killed him. So you feel your duty is to sacrifice yourself when you know Mandrean will certainly kill you both. Am I correct in all these statements?”
Linvin hovered out of the water and over to his clothes. “I believe now is the part where you tell me there is no point in going at all. But if you know all of that, then you know I cannot forsake Anvar even if there is the most remote chance that I can save him.”
Corilon placed her hands on her hips and stated angrily, “You forgot the part where I remind you that Mandrean doesn’t want Anvar. He wants you. Going there is exactly what he desires. You will not survive. Falconfeather is the most prideful, arrogant entity I have ever known and even she expects you to die. So why, why must you go?”
Linvin had just pulled on his trousers and addressed her harshly. “Because I am his only chance. I love you, but you are not in danger. I love him and he is in danger. For that reason, I must go. He would not be in this danger if not for me. That is another reason. Did Falconfeather forget to tell you I have a knack of making impossible situations work?”
“So you have a plan?’ Corilon asked.
“I have nothing set as of yet, but I assure you I do not intend to go quietly into their trap. I am going in with the mindset that I will bring both Anvar and myself home alive. Then I could take you home with me to Sartan. You would not want for anything.”
“And my family? What would happen to them?”
Linvin finished dressing. He shrunk the staff and stuck it to his back. Then he recalled Falconfeather and put her to sleep in her scabbard. “I will buy them whatever farm they want in Sartan. They can live in safety and prosperity for generations.” He hovered over and picked up his wife, kissing her. At first she kissed back and then began pounding him in the chest with the bottom parts of her fists.
“No, no, no. You’re living in a dreamland. If you leave now, I will never see you again. I know it. You said only moments ago that you didn’t think Anvar and I would ever meet. That means you believe it as well.” Then she turned away for a moment and hid her tears. Her voice became resolute. “I could stop you from going, you know.”
The famous blog, “In the Harem” was kind enough to post my information. Check it out at http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/in_the harem/2016/10/repercussions-abound-by-.html It was really well done. I want to thank them for finding room for me.
Wednesday Excerpt, "Repercussions"
Argentoe exhaled a deep breath and spoke. “May I speak?” The table fell silent. “I was up nearly all of last night and counted at least seven different Trogoandras voices. Those are just the ones I heard. There could easily be others that came with them who did not signal. They called all night to relay their positions and coordinate. It was also their intention to sew fear in our ranks. There has been a strong northern wind and that delivers all our scents into the forest. They smell the fear in our party. They know we are ripe to be plucked. As such, they will rest during the day and then strike after dark when their numbers will be disguised. You see, the danger has not dissipated. It has become critical. A great attack is coming and we need to be prepared.”
“What makes you so sure of all this?” Stynard asked skeptically.
“For one thing, I listened to them last night and can pick out the different voices as surely as I can all of yours,” Argentoe began. “For another thing, I have knowledge of these creatures and their hunting styles. They would not mass so many if they did not plan to attack. They are too selfish in nature to share a prize they thought they could gather alone. I am right about this and we have until sunset to prepare.”
Stynard did not like being told he was wrong, but a quick look around the table clearly showed Argentoe had the full support of his family. His only choice was to go along with Argentoe and hope he was mistaken.
“Very well, Argentoe. We will follow your lead. If you happen to be right, then what would you have us do?”
Argentoe picked up on Stynard’s cynical tone and pounded his fist down. “I am right. So the first thing you can do is wipe that smug look off your face or I will leave you to face those demons alone.
“Now as I see it, they will use one of three possible strategies for attack. They never attack in a group without a plan. The first plan is to go for the easy pickings in the smokehouse. There is almost no chance of bodily injury and they could make off with quite a bit of smoked meat.
“The second plan is to storm the barn. They know we will have the cattle penned up in there. Once they deal with any defenses we put up, they will have all the meat they could want without even having to chase it down. It would take a large pack to pull off such an attack.
“Their final option is to attack and kill us first and then ravage the barn and smokehouse at their leisure. They do not respect humans as adversaries by themselves and would seriously discount our threat when they are in a pack. Trogos are kings of the forest, so after they slaughter the herd they need not worry about other predators honing in on their kill.
“I spent the better part of last night going over the merits of each plan and have made my conclusion. They will not try the first plan because dried meat has little appeal to wild carnivores. It is a last resort they would eat out of necessity like we would with salted biscuits.
“The third plan would tend to make sense, but they want to limit their exposure to injury as much as possible. They may not respect us, but that does not mean they want to sacrifice several members of the pack for their victory. People facing annihilation will fight harder than those who can run and hide. They smell our fear. That smell is strong. If I were them, I would disturb our sleep with constant howls, which they have done, and spook the animals throughout the day. By the time I attacked at night, I would expect the petrified farmers to offer little or no fight so long as my pack left them alone. I would have my victory with no loss to the pack.”
The table was quiet as the faces looked at one another. After a great deal of mumbling and hand gestures Stynard spoke for the group. “Your argument sounds plausible. What actions should we take?”
Argentoe rubbed his chin and began walking around the table.
“There are two options. We can let them have access to the animals and they will surely leave us alone. Or we can fight. To do so against an unknown number of Trogoandras could bring death for some or all of us. The choice must be yours.”
News On Repercussions
Repercussions Abound continues to sell well on Amazon. Many people are shocked by what transpires. Some of the events make the readers sad while others make them excited. There is a little something in this for everyone including the return of an old character who is funny as anything. I have been inundated with questions about how the book ends. The funny part is that it was supposed to answer their questions. In the end, it answered all the questions hanging out from the first three books but created new ones. That’s alright though. I love leaving cliffhangers for my readers. After all, the book isn’t called, “No More Repercussions.” If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good read for $2.99 on Kindle. Here is the link. https://www.amazon.com/Repercussions-Abound-Sapphire-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01LX8VHGY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475603729&sr=1-1&keywords=repercussions+abound Give it a shot even if you haven’t read the ones before. There’s a section to catch you up to speed.
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...