Monday, August 12, 2013

Better than Ever

Well ladies and gentleman, we’ve got the new site up and running. To honor such a momentous occasion, the price of The Bindings of Fate is now officially being lowered to 99 cents. I’m hopeful that with the lower cost, more people will be able to enjoy the world of Tellest. If you can, please spread the word. Also, now that the website is going to be the hub for all your Tellest news, blogs will be written directly to – adjust your bookmarks accordingly. I’ll still continue to use blogspot occasionally for non-Tellest news, so keep your eye on that from time to time as well. Thank you for being fans!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dreams on Distant Horizons

Over on the KDP Community forums, someone posed this question:

"What would really happen if you hit it big as a writer?"

I find it humorous that I'm sitting here daydreaming about this now, while my website falls steadfast into the "under construction" territory of the internet.

But if money were no object, and I continued to be able to pursue this dream, what exactly would I do?

The Entertainment

Most of the people who've read several of my blog posts likely know that the greatest joy I could find is through entertaining people.  I've tried my hands at video games (and failed so far - but I'll get it right eventually!), as well as acting, way back before there were cameras.  My biggest problem with both of those areas is that I don't really have the skill to adequately perform the tasks at hand.

But with a steady income, I could at least pursue the first one a little more fervently.  From the ashes, I would rise like a nerdy phoenix.  While I don't believe I'll ever be a code-monkey, I could definitely work on a game from a designer/producer role.  My imagination has always had the better of me, and it flows in much the same unyielding manner when I'm daydreaming about games as it does for the book series.  If I had a little more cash to lean on, I feel like that would be a dam that would burst on a nearly monthly basis.

I'd like to eventually have my own video game development house.  We'd make smaller, intimate titles that would focus on my series (plural).  I prefer to think the quality of independent games have been better than most of the big publishing houses lately.  It would help me to tackle some of the individuals within my universe that don't get enough time in the spotlight.  And I think that it'd really put a smile on some faces.

My long-time friend and I have always had the idea to have a kind of conglomerate nerd haven set up somewhere out here in Bucks County.  It'd be space themed, and go hand in hand with the sci-fi novels I'll be putting out in the future.  Inside, you'd have arcade games, a comic store, a commissary, and the main attraction, a laser tag center.  We've got a couple laser tag places around here, but I'd want to really knock it out of the park with mine.  I'd develop it so that it was part of a story, and there were multiple arenas.  It would flow with the novels that I'd written, leaning on that plot for substance.  I imagine a scenario where before every match, you let the players vote on which arena they would play in.  Then, during special events, you'd open all three arenas up to each other, and have massive battles.  Again, my imagination gets away from me sometimes.

I wouldn't mind making a few licensed mini-golf courses.  Seeing some of my brands on the putting green (in my mind) looks fantastic.  And then that would lead into the long, off-in-the-distance make believe goal I have: building a Tellest based theme park.  This is the dream that will never come true, unless I win the powerball tonight.  Somewhere in PA or NJ, there would be these tall, artificial mountains - they'd house maintenance tunnels, staff rooms, etc., and they'd also surround the park.  Inside, you'd see sweeping dragon rollercoasters, foreboding castles and worlds of magic.  Outside the park, a permanent renaissance faire would sell their wares.  It's such an amazing dream, that even if though it will never come to fruition, it still has a very special, very real place in my mind.

The Education

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a wasted education.  However, it is very easy to waste your time.  Because I don't have the most glamorous of day jobs, and my current degree is not very impressive, it has been a very slow crawl up to lower-middle class for me.  Even if I made a little bit more money, I could pay off the debt I have, and I'd feel a lot more comfortable with going back to school.

The great thing is, nowadays, there are a lot of jobs that don't care what degree you have, as long as you have it.  I'm in Information Systems, and my degree is actually in Journalism.  If I went back to school, I'd try for a BS in English.  I feel like my writing could always have a bit of improvement (compare my first book to my third one).

Beyond that, I have to look far into the future.  Eventually, there will be little Michaels and Rhiannas running around.  They're going to need an education as well, and I'd like to be able to offer them the best, even if that's not what they want to do with their life.

The Philanthropy

One of the greatest feelings that there are in life is the notion that you have, even in some small way, made a difference in someone else's life.  I try to be charitable when I can.

My family, and friends of my family, have had diabetes, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, and so forth and so on. It would be nice to be able to put forth a more substantial effort to affront terrible diseases.  If I never have to watch a loved one die from illness, that day would still be too soon.

Going back to education, I wouldn't mind setting up a scholarship some day.  Somewhere out there, there's a bright kid who doesn't have the money to go to college, and he's skilled in so many ways that he doesn't understand yet.  I'd like to give an opportunity to the people that need them.

I say this as though you can't make a difference without some massive stockpile of cash, but that is of course not the case.  Anything that you can put toward helping your fellow man is a wonderful thing, for both parties involved.  There's always going to be someone out there with less than you, and as I said before, there is no greater gift than that of giving.

There are plenty of other things that I would do if I was financially liberated.  Weddings, house renovations, a new car... even the rich somehow find ways to spend metric butt-tons (that would be the opposite of imperial variety) of their money.  But those are tales for another time...

What are your dreams?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ever Changing, Ever Growing

We live in a world where inclusiveness is a rapidly growing necessity.  Social wildfires have been set ablaze on websites like Kickstarter, where the people ultimately decide what is worth their time, their money, and their interest.  The majority of these successful products and projects give back to the consumer in ways that were atypical before the jump in popularity.  The idea of somehow collaborating with creators to modify or expand on content is an idea that is so brilliant, its a wonder it hasn't been done more often.

Novels and the written universe should not abstain from this transition.  There is a place for other people within our worlds, and we'd be foolish not to embrace it.  We're already seeing it with programs like Kindle Worlds, which rewards fan fiction for both the original creators, and those authors who want to empower the existing writing with their own concepts.

Tellest is growing.  I can't sit by idly and stifle that growth.  The world is expansive - what readers have seen thus far only scratches the surface of what is available.  There are other continents, other planes of existence, other realities.  When I set out all those years ago to create Tellest, it wasn't a personal playground for myself to seclude myself within.  It was an open invitation to anyone with a bright imagination, to anyone with a need for escapism.

There used to be a motto that I embraced for Tellest that was quietly swept aside because I didn't have the means to adequately describe it.  In days like this, when the third book is out, and people will more readily understand the notions of my - nay, our - written universe, perhaps that description will come more easily.  The World is in Your Hands.  Explore Tellest.  Play in it.  I fully welcome you to try your hand at crafting tales within the boundaries of the universe that is in place.

After all, there are already others who have begun down that path.

I am not the only writer of the Tellest series of stories anymore.  It has been slowly expanding for months, though the foundation has been laid out for far longer.  There are small stepping stones that lead to the path, like little whispers drawing you into a place you never realized you stood beside for so long.  In only a short while, I'll be able to share these wonderful yarns with you.

The landscape is changing, but in that change, there are exciting new possibilities.  What started as a passionate way to entertain people is transmogrifying into a way to let people entertain themselves, and others.  Those of us that are standing in the background can see those gears slowly beginning to turn.  Tellest is a clockwork beast that is just starting to wear into its grooves.  When it is churning forth and full force, it is going to be a monster to be reckoned with.

Though the world is ever expanding, I refuse to step aside.  Tellest is a universe for the people, but it is also a piece of me.  It's a representation of my imagination.  It's a intrinsic part of my being.  Tellest may be able to function without me some day, but I could scarcely function without it.

That said, I'd like to take the last few moments of this post to share where my journeys have taken me. 

Earlier this month, The Enemy Within released.  It's slow going compared to when The Bindings of Fate and As Darkness Falls arrived in 2011, so if you can, please share the book with your friends and family who you think would like the kind of adventure and fantasy that the Tellest universe provides.

I'm still plugging away at the novelettes, which are, (somewhat predictably) growing.  The Adelia story is going to be finished within the next month, if I keep to pace.  At that point, Adelia's saga is going to be passed to a worthy successor.  If you recall, Adelia first shows up on the scene in The Bindings of Fate, when Kaos returns home to collect some of his magical antiquities.  It was never divulged why Adelia had returned home, though it had been alluded to.  It will be the mystery writer's job to connect the dots, and help people understand what has transpired between the novelette and the first novel.  Kaos' sister starts off as a very innocent, naive, and anxious young lady - a far cry from what we see when she confidently strides onto the stage in Bindings.

The other novelettes will follow shortly after.  I try to work on the Bolt short simultaneously, but I like to separate my stories as best I can.  For these two, they are sequestered by their geography.  I spend my time on Bolt when I'm away from home, while Adelia's story is typically crafted when I wake up and in the evenings.

I couldn't keep one of the larger stories from beginning to form, however.  I don't like to let stories sit around for too long - I may not be the best writer, but you can see where my style has evolved from the first book to the third.  The story demanded to be written, however, so the first lines of the pentalogy have been written, waiting for the time that they will be read by attentive fans.

For now, I'll descend back into the shadows, peeking out from time to time while I try my best to craft the novelettes in time for a November release.  In the meantime, please enjoy The Enemy Within, as well as the books that have carved the path for it, The Bindings of Fate and As Darkness Falls.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for the first story not told by me.  That should be releasing in September, barring any unnecessary hiccups.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Enemy Within is Out

Finally, after much delay, The Enemy Within has finally been released.

It's always exhilarating to get your brain baby out into the world, but this achievement has been especially liberating.  The first trilogy of mine is now completely finished, and available to the world.  It's been a long and sometimes arduous journey, but I'm glad that I'm standing at the bridge that leads me forward into my next set of goals.  I can turn around, look back, and smile with pride at my accomplishments.  But I couldn't have done it without you.  If you're reading this, thank you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Far We've Come and How Far We're Going

Well ladies and gentlemen, the time is quickly approaching.  I am actually counting down the days, because we are likely within one month of a publication at this point.  It has been a long time, but the trilogy is likely going to be complete by this time next month.

It's not set in stone just yet, but my editor was intent on trying to get me his final edits this weekend.  If that's the case, all I'll have to do is look at his changes and approve or deny them.  That might take a week or two if I'm really diligent.  After that, I do one final read through the material myself, give it the go ahead, and publish.  The artwork is already done - you've seen it if you looked at the Kickstarter we ran a couple months back.  The only thing I would have to do after that is begin resizing the artwork for a paperback release - maybe around November of this year.

Meanwhile, I haven't just been sitting around, twiddling my thumbs.  I've been working on my short stories, in an effort to tide over anxious fans once The Enemy Within has been released - the fact that nothing has been set to paper (digital or not) since November of 2011 is a sad thing indeed.  I want to try and remedy that going forward.

I've been working on two of the stories simultaneously - and I've been treating them as gifts for two of the people closest to me.  Adelia is a fan favorite of my wonderful artist and girlfriend Rhianna.  When you get a chance to read that story, you might notice a more playful, whimsical approach than the Child of the Stars trilogy presents.  The other character is Bolt - he's the one I started with, regarding these shorter tales - and he's dedicated to my brother.  I'm noticing as I spin these yarns, they're growing bigger than I expected.

Allow me to drop some history on you.

When I first started writing the Tellest mythos back in 2001, it was such a miniscule idea.  Tellest wasn't part of the name.  Tellest wasn't even an idea.  It was just supposed to be a short biography for Kaos Kreegan. 

At the time, it was being written in the Forgotten Realms world - essentially just some heavy fan fiction.  The profile was for a character I was making in Baldur's Gate II.  Subconsciously, certain facets of that game series even made their way into my long term writing - Duke Eltan, as I came to discover long after I had written my original Kaos story, was a character from Baldur's Gate.  I think that even the last name Kreegan was probably subconsciously pulled from the Heroes of Might and Magic series.  They were the series' devils and demons. 

Of course, I didn't even realize that those name choices had been made.  In 2001, my imagination was still stretching slowly over time.  Kaos' original name would have been Kaos Brightblade - for the sake of a videogame profile, that would have been fine.  I don't think Wizards of the Coast would have come after me for that.  But Kaos, and the world around him continued to evolve.

What was originally just a two page biography that I wrote in math class stretched and pulled until much of what you see in Bindings of Fate today was written (although in much cruder fashion).  From there, 140 pages evolved to close to 300 when I added some solid backstory for Kaos.  You'll get to see the natural growth of that original tale when "The Veil of Mists" comes out in 2014/2015.

What I'm noticing, though, is that Adelia and Bolt are experiencing the same manner of growth.  I don't think I can call their solo tales short stories at this point.  They're more like novelettes.  By the time I'm done with Adelia's tale, I know I'll be close to 20,000 words.

Of course, with a slightly longer length comes a slightly longer wait.  These short stories aren't going to be coming out until liikely around November of this year (and even then, on a weekly basis for each chapter).  But, I figured, I have a good amount of writing done thus far, and much of the content is unlikely to change.  So what do you say?  Would you like an introduction to the first 1,000 words of the first short story?



The bluebird’s song was familiar.  It sat upon the stone windowsill, mere inches away from the jars of ancient substances.  Looking at the nearby dried roots, it would hop toward it quickly and then abruptly back away.  After each cycle, it would tweet its song as though it was trying to remain discreet.
A sweet-smelling spring breeze turned a page in the large nearby tome, and the small creature hunched low, considering a hasty flight.  The man who sat at the desk began to whistle.  His song seemed to soothe the bird – perhaps because it was identical to the earlier tune.
Gaston Camlann was known for such precise observations.  He was a man of great renown, gifted in many arts, both ancient and modern.  It was a wonder at all that he was able to excel at so many things.  He was, after all, human.  They didn’t live forever.
The sage, who fancied himself more a scholar, was beginning to show his age.  His once attractive features were replaced with wrinkles and rosy cheeks.  He wore a long, dark grey beard and moustache to hide most of his weathered face.  Long, wavy locks had been stricken a little brighter by the sun, nearing the color of snow.  He hid that indicator of his age underneath a wide green hat.
Though preferring to wear the tall, pointed head piece back somewhat, he had learned much earlier on in life that the hat and his glasses often fought for a place upon his ears.  During his studies, those thin frames took precedence.
As he whistled a second verse to his winged companion, a series of knocks upon the door played the percussion in their song.  Gaston was so engrossed in his studies that he was ill suited to notice, even when the rapping on the door became louder and more frequent.
More aware than the sage, the bluebird hopped off of its stone pedestal, diving into the northern wilderness.  Gaston was shook from his task at that sight.
He chortled to himself.  How easily Homer has trained me, he thought, recalling how often the bird returned to him.
Another series of knocks on the door had his full attention, then.
“Yes, come in,” he pleasantly permitted.
The sturdy slab of elm slid open, and a well dressed man walked in, his polished boots tapping across the floor.  To his left, a laze feline lay peacefully, its tail floating to and fro as the visitor was seen.
After removing his leather glove, the man reached out, petting the cat on its side.  Rolling over, the feline gleefully accepted the attention.
Gaston placed his quill down, then, and turned to acknowledge his guest’s arrival.
“Ah, Edric,” the sage said, standing quickly, and slamming his legs into the desk.  He winced, but worked at ignoring the pain.  “It’s been some time.”
Preoccupied with the animal, it almost seemed that Edric would not find the focus to reply.  The black cat had wrapped its arms around the man’s wrist, and was contentedly licking his knuckles.
“That it has, my friends,” the visitor said, giving a quick, rough little scratch to the cat’s belly before retrieving his hand.
“And what brings you to my dusty old closet on this beautiful day?  It’s not often that a White Knight of Gardone visits a meager hamlet like Forsynthia.”
“Forsynthia is anything but meager, and I believe it has evolved from a hamlet some time ago.  Also, my time in a white cloak has long passed.”
A smile crossed Gaston’s face.  “Just as always, you focus on the corrections while you ignore the questions.”
“Anything to gain a few extra moments to speak with an old friend,” Edric said.  “One of Jonathan’s birds came through.  Apparently, your pupil had just arrived at the toll road.  I don’t think she’ll arrive too long after I did.”
“And depending on the driver, the poor girl will be arriving without a coin in her pocket.  What a foolish idea those roads were.”
Edric paused for a moment, considering how to react.  A moment later, he was shaking his head while smiling.  “You know the countryside better than most, Gaston.  Between the beasts and the brigands, all of Daltain is a dangerous place.  But with paid patrols on watch… well, you know what Lord Kerrigan says.  ‘Good roads b –’ ”
“Build a better country, yes,” the old sage finished.  “And there’s quite a bit of wisdom there, too.  Far more than this wizened old wizard cares to admit often, anyway.  And I’m sure those pampered, spoon-fed princes from Sungarden were happy to keep the hands out of their pockets.
“Ahh, but I’m rambling again,” Gaston said.  “Are you staying for some time?  Can I offer you some tea?”
A weak frown could just barely be seen upon the retired knight’s face.  “Alas, my friend, I haven’t come to Forsynthia just for reprieve.  I’m moving a caravan of weapons up to the Basalt Flats.  Lydick should be awaiting me in the armory if he’s been properly advised of my arrival.”
Gaston nodded.  “Always too short, these visits.  No matter.  It will give me some time to stretch these old legs in preparation to meet the young lady.”
“And I’m sure there are a great many surprises you have prepared for this one,” Edric mused.  “I’m staying in Forsynthia for the night.  If my task is kind to me, perhaps we can meet for the tea later this evening.”
“I should like that very much,” the sage said.
Following a polite bow, Edric turned and began out of the room.  He stopped beside the black cat, and gingerly scratched beneath its chin.
“Farewell, Dell,” the retired knight said.  “Keep your master from falling too deeply into those tomes of his.”
Once Edric had gone from the room, Gaston turned to his pet, glee etched upon his face.  “Worry not, my old furry friend.  You’ll have a new companion to play with.  There will be time for books later.”
Dell let out a contented meow, but remained on his side, even as his master stepped clear of the door, and drew it mostly closed.


It's a very brief intro, but I think it gets the point across.  Dell, the cat, is likely going to be renamed, but I want to be careful to give him some anonymity for now.  His real name may give a little too much of the central Tellest stories away.  Now, how could a cat's name ruin that for anyone?  That's my secret for now.  The title will be tweaked once I get a feel for what the most important facet of the tale is as well.

I hope you liked that little tease, and I hope you're excited for The Enemy Within.  I went through all the emotions with that one - but I'm at a point now where I think it's one of my better works.  The epic conclusion to the Child of the Stars trilogy is nearly upon us, and I'm glad to have you along for the ride! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Small Ripples Leading to a Maelstrom

Over the next month and a half, things are going to be slow on the release front, but not behind the scenes.  My editor is still plugging away at The Enemy Within, and I'm still working on some ancillary content for the series.

I've talked about those materials before, but I'm willing to go a little more into detail now.

The big project from here on out is the novella I've spoken about.  It's going to focus on one of the gods of Tellest, and give readers some insight on what it means to be one of those immortal beings.

Then, before I get back to the main characters - with a Kaos prequel, in which you see his youth all the way up to his first quest - I'm going to do five short stories as part of an anthology.  The game plan is to complete them entirely, and then begin releasing them on a week by week basis on this blog.  When everything has been revealed, they'll be packaged as the aforementioned anthology.  I know what four of the stories are going to revolve around, but the fifth one is still a little bit elusive.

I'm not going to sit on that information forever, though.  Without any further wait, here are the brief, casual synopses of the short stories I'm confident about.


Kaos isn't the only Kreegan, and I'm aiming to show that.  When Tessik and Elly Kreegan were viciously murdered, Adelia only barely managed to escape with her life.  Her survival instincts and magical intuition gain the attention of one of Tellest's most renowned wizards, Gaston Camlann.  Over time, Adelia develops her power while learning to curb the fears that she has been living with since the destruction of her family.  All the while, Gaston is studying her.


The Knights of Virtue are a sect of powerful champions, most whom helped to develop the glorious city of Atalatha.  But, as tough as they are to defeat, their story is even harder to infiltrate.  While their most fabled journey is still a ways off (I'm also undecided what medium I want to use to tell it), one man in particular has garnered special interest.  Maximus Xanders somehow has the instinct to create amazing things, such as the clockwork steed, Equinicus.  But how exactly did the Knight of Virtue gain that ability?  And at what cost?


The first of the as-yet unpublished characters in the short story collection is a side character from what was originally going to be a Steel Tip prequel from long, long ago.  Icarus is an elf that lives on Arthica in the archipelago of Ippius, from where Steel Tip hails.  He is one of the oldest beings on Tellest, and has a lot of interesting tales to tell.  One thing that sets him aside from most of the other elves of the region is his temperament with humans.  It is typical for most elves to shy from humans, if not openly detest them.  Icarus had aligned with Jason Dactyls, the king of Ippius, and agreed to train his young son to be a protector of the kingdom.  Along the way, though, one of his own famous tales is told.


In The Enemy Within, readers will be given some insight to a new character with an interesting power.  Bolt's backstory, perhaps, is even more intriguing, however.  Raised by dwarves, yet not one of them, this hero has dealt with a backlash of the people he grew up with.  Along the way, though, his adopted father never strayed far from his side.


Those are the big four right now.  I still have to figure out what I want to do with the fifth one, but it's important to know that each of these characters will somehow play a part in the massive pentalogy that I'm developing over the next few years.  Somehow, each of these folks will be part of the growing loom that is the Tellest mythos, and these prequel materials will help to give some insight into what makes each of them tick.  By the time the anthology is ready to be released, they might be joined by other stories, but these ones are mine alone, and now you know the reason.

You may wonder why you haven't seen your favorite character in the above list (a lot of people seem to gravitate toward Dirk).  While I would love to write something for each of the people who help to shape the Tellest series, there just isn't enough time to devote to everyone.  That isn't to say that we won't see their backstories.  I'm always talking about trying to expand the Tellest universe.  Maybe soon I can discuss those plans a little more.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Road to Recovery

Good afternoon everyone!

Though it may seem that the failing Kickstarter was a signifigant nail in my proverbial coffin, I can assure you, that is not the case.  Tellest has dealt with much worse obstacles over the past thirteen years (not the least being my first few years of "writing").  If the only problem the world must endure is a lack of financial resources, we'll be just fine.

In the hands of my able editor, I'm assuming the book will be completed by the end of July.  I cut a massive amount of first draft, and I think it leaves you with a much finer taste of what's going on.  It may be my best work to date.

At this point, though there are some administrative efforts that need to be ironed out with The Enemy Within, I'm essentially done with the Child of the Stars trilogy.  I've never been one to rest once a project is done, however.  This completed task has been no different.

I'm currently working on three different stories going forward. 

One of the projects is a novella, which I'll release here, and on the website in a weekly episodic format.  As the weeks go by, I'll slowly start to remove the chapters from the web, in preparation of a more financially sound release.  In 2014 (or perhaps 2013, if things move quickly enough), I'll release the trilogy in one cost-effective package, with the novella as an added bonus.  Or, if you've already been a supporter of the Tellest books, you'll be able to pick up the novella as a standalone item.

Additionally, two more projects have taken shape.  When they are finished and edited, I'll release them here in a similar format to the novella.  These will be short stories, however.  You haven't met the main focus of one of the stories, but I can reveal that Adelia Kreegan is the focus of the second story.

Kev and I have discussed the concept of expanding the brand, and what we'd like to do is try and make a series of these short stories available for purchase eventually.  If my writing pace is anything to go by, we're likely looking at a 2014 release for a collection of ten of the tales. 

We may acquire other storytellers along the way, in many different formats (writers, comic book artists, musicians) - if you're interested in the world of Tellest, let me know.  I want to turn Tellest into a medieval Marvel eventually, and that means expansion.

For now, sit tight.  I'll let you know definitively in the next few weeks when The Enemy Within will be released.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Day Will Be Swiftly Upon Us

With only seven days left for The Enemy Within's Kickstarter, I have to be ready for the project to go anywhere.  It could find success, and it might not.  As I've said in the video, in either case, the book will find release. It's just a matter of when.

The point of the Kickstarter was to bring The Enemy Within to people a little sooner, and to offer up some cool rewards that aren't easy to deliver to people in smaller batches.  There's no reason to despair, however, if the Kickstarter doesn't reach $2000.  Barring some unforeseen personal financial crisis, I should be able to pay the editor out of pocket by the middle of July.  Until then, it's locked in his possession   If I were to try and get it early, he'd bite off my ankles like an angry leprechaun.  Whatever the case, I'll keep you apprised of the situation through these updates.

After that, I'll be working simultaneously on the Kaos and Mathias backstories, which will be released in episodic content on the website, and on this blog.  I'm still not 100% sure of the format.  It may be bi-weekly, or it may be monthly.  I'm trying to make sure that the Kaos prequel material is ready by the time I'm ready to publish his prequel novel, but it's hard to gauge that sort of thing.  We'll see what happens, in either case.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

On the Horizon

No matter how the Kickstarter campaign goes, I have to look to the future.  Those nearest to the project with me had various talks about Tellest to that effect, yesterday.

Once The Child of the Stars Trilogy is completely released, I'm going to briefly take a moment to focus on one of the most powerful beings in the the Tellest universe.  The king of the gods, Mathias, has a very interesting backstory, as you'll learn if you read The Enemy Within. 

The more I thought about it, however, the less it made sense for his story to be released as a book.  I'm about 15-20% done with his prequel "novella", and I'm learning that most of his tale is told as the more defining moments in his life.  For someone who is practically ageless, writing an actual book about his entire existence would be too tall an order for me to adequately try to tackle.

With that said, I've decided that it may be better for me to release that information in another format.  Once I've got a signifigant amount of that material suitable for release, I'm going to release that in a bi-weekly basis, here on the blog, and on - it'll be a serial story that probably lasts an entire year.

Now, that's not to say that I won't turn around once everything is up and running, and put it on Amazon in eBook format.  Once I collect everything into one novella, I'll release it at a fair price, and also include it as bonus material once the first trilogy is bundled.

Some of you may already be aware of that information.  I believe I mentioned that before.  But it directly helped to influence my thought for the next step as well.

My original plan for the future was to get The Enemy Within published, focus on the Mathias prequel, and then pump out a Kaos prequel before going forward.  That plan is going to be amended slightly, for much of the same reason.  Kaos' formulative and early years are important to the overall arc of his story, but for about seventeen years, his story is fairly bare bones, from an objective point of view.

Yet, people who are really big fans of the fan service may not want to miss that opportunity.  It's in those seventeen years that he meets Alicia, David and Zachariah.  It's in those seventeen years that he learns how to fight, and develops an affinity for treasure.  It's even during that period of his life that the name Kaos actually begins to take meaning.

However, it isn't until he turns seventeen that his story is robust enough to tell in its own novel.  The Valley of Mists, where Kaos was when his parents were murdered, will be that story.  It will be around the same length of The Bindings of Fate, and it will essentially be my Hobbit.  The focus will be on Kaos in a different time of his life, when his most popular allies, Steel Tip, David, etc., are not involved.  It will help to shape him as a character, and it will definitely give his life a new direction.

Again, I'm not prepared to ignore those years that precede that huge event in his life.  Instead, I'll be following the same format as the Mathias prequel, and release the younger Kaos years in a serial format on the blog and the website.  Once The Valley of Mists is released, I might package the pre-book material in there as a bonus of some sorts.

The wonderful thing about this decision is that there should always be a steady stream of Tellest related material for fans of the series to become invested in.  In addition to the Mathias and Kaos short stories that are on their way in, my best friend and longtime collaborator, Kevin Gallagher, has also expressed interest in going a step further for the series.  He's going to be taking it in a new direction, developing a new character from the ground up.  With his help, Tellest will have the capacity to grow even more.

As you can see, there are a lot of things happening in and around the world of Tellest.  Today, we only talked about the literary side of things, but the world is growing with every passing day, and I cannot wait to see where the next few months take us!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kickstarter Wows, Whoas and Woes

One of the things that I wanted to make explicitly clear in my Kickstarter video was that I have been truly blessed by those close to me.  The Tellest series has always done fairly well, and beaten my expectations thanks to friends and family who help to spread the word, and believe in the material.

Even in spite of that knowledge, it still blows me away to have $843 pledged already in less than a week.  At this point, it's almost a sure thing that enough money will be raised to be successful.  At some points over the last few days, the project's projections surged past $6,000!

Still, there are some things I've learned about this campaign.

First and foremost, Tellest is so out of left field that I can't possibly result to mimicry to try and emulate someone else's success.  Do a search for medieval superheroes and you might find some pictures of the Avengers re-imagined in period-piece armor and costumes.  This makes it incredibly hard to promote the Kickstarter project.  It is nice to know that the Tellest books are pretty much one-of-a-kind though.  Seriously, why has nobody ever thought of this before?

Second, it is really hard for a publishing project to find any traction on Kickstarter.  Seriously, I picked the wrong hobby!  While indie gaming projects are raking in high 5-figure numbers (and sometimes low 6-figure), I'm scrounging for what I consider to be on the low end.

Whereas friends, family, and people who are already keen on the Tellest books have graciously given their time and their contributions to the Kickstarter, the real challenge is finding the people out there that don't know they're fans yet.  The Enemy Within was popular on Kickstarter for a day or two before it got buried on the site.  The only hope at this point is some kind of grass-roots campaign to try and pick up the pace.  Maybe, if I'm extremely lucky, the Kickstarter staff will reevaluate my project and feature it at some point over the next week or so.

In the meantime, I'll just keep chugging along.  Every now and then I'll blow up Facebook or Twitter, trying to get that one extra person that might be toeing the line.  There's still a whole lot of time for the pace to go either way.  Who knows?  The project might nosedive at this point and never find its feet again.  In any case, this has been a very interesting learning experience.  It'll be something I'll remember either way.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kickstarter is Live

Sorry for all the real quick, concise updates over the past week.  Without further adieu, I present to you the Kickstarter for The Enemy Within:

Tons of people have shown their support over the past (almost) two years.  If you can't pledge any money, don't feel bad.  But, if possible, please pass along this project.  I'm sure there are some people out there who will thoroughly enjoy the Tellest universe, and the stories therein!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On your marks, get set...

Just a quick update today.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting another post before the Kickstarter project went live.  The video production portion of the campaign went a little longer than I expected, thanks to a late winter illness.  Now, all we're waiting for is Kickstarter's approval.

If you want, you can see the video that we put together on the Kickstarter page.  We're still expecting to put a few tweaks on it here and there, but that's the basis for moving forward.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Day is Nigh

Just over a month ago, I let you know that I was planning a kickstarter campaign for The Enemy Within.  That time is getting ever closer.  If all ends well, we should have it live by Friday of this week.

With that in mind, I'd like to invite you to preview the campaign as it stands so far:

The most important piece of the puzzle, the video, is still in limbo.  I was under the weather last week, and could barely breathe let alone speak with a normal voice.  In fact, I'm still not 100%, but I'm committed to bringing this project to life sooner rather than later.

There are also small touches that I'd like to add to the kickstarter page this week as well, such as pictures of the artwork that Rhianna has been toiling away at.

What I'd like you to do is take a look at the rewards, and make sure I'm being fair and honest.  If something seems out of place, please bring it to my attention.

In the days leading ahead, this project won't be live.  This is just for your perusal at the moment, but when the campaign is live, I will most likely be reaching out for your help in promoting it.  I am only as strong as my network, and all of you have been wonderful every step of the way.  If you could help me through this latest stride, it would mean the world to me.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Comes Next?

While the third book is coming along nicely - including the Kickstarter campaign - there are other Tellest books on the horizon that remain at the top of my priorities.

The first of those things is a Mathias-based prequel novella of sorts.  I've been working on this story at a rapid pace, but it has struck me that it differs quite a lot from my typical novels.  Beyond just the unfamiliar style, it jumps forward in time quickly, as opposed to the minute details that the Child of the Stars trilogy.  As such, I think it's important to present the story in a different way.

While the production style of the book is going to be maintained - I'll still write it, set it aside, and have it edited - the release will be slightly different.  I'm going to provide each chapter of the story in weekly updates, kind of like an online serial.  If it does end up released in eBook format, it will be a free release, or potentially a bonus feature in one of the more robust novels.

Though the as yet untitled Mathias story is important to me, and to the Tellest universe as a whole, it isn't the project I'm most excited for.

The Veil of Mists is going to put a face to Kaos Kreegan's childhood.  One of the things that worries me about that novel is that it's going to put me in a territory that some fans may not be happy with.  While Kaos is my flagship character, he is only part of an ensemble, and that ensemble is not going to be present with him in this prequel.  There will be some overlap.  You'll see David Garus, Alicia, Dirk, and of course, Adelia.  You won't be privy to seeing some of the other fan favorites, however.  Steel Tip and Christopher are not seen in that novel, not even alluded to.

Instead, the focus is on Kaos.  The Child of the Stars' biggest problem is that he was too honorable.  He was too good.  I'm glad that the first story that I told for Kaos was the one where he was pretty much a White Knight, because his character interactions in all the other work should be more interesting.  In his youth, he's a little bit more rambunctious.  He's sure of himself, even when he shouldn't be.  And he's an idiot from time to time, as we're all prone to be.

Also importantly, you'll see some of the more intriguing moments of his life.  You'll understand why he is called Kaos.  You'll see the moment he meets the brothers Caista, or David Garus, or Alicia Mane and her father.  You'll see how he happened upon the Heart of Ariyas.

Of course, this prequel story also gives me the chance to delve a little deeper into the past of other characters that he's met.  The reader already knows, by the time they are done reading As Darkness Falls, that he has some history in Fostervilla.  What isn't offered so casually is that he's also spent some time in Viscosa, the capital of Raleigh.  He's met lifelong friends there, and he's spilled blood beside them, and it should be interesting to share these new characters with you.

After that, we take a little trip down south to the sea, where the next pentalogy (that's five new books) unfolds.  We'll see some old friends and enemies, some new heroes and villains, and of course, for Steel Tip, the return to his home, Ippius.  Gonna be some good times.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kickstarter Incoming

Though the Enemy Within has been firmly planted in a desk somewhere for the last few weeks, I cannot possibly pretend that it hasn't been on my mind.

I'd like to officially announce that I'll be running a Kickstarter campaign for the third book beginning in March.  I'm asking for pledges to help offset my administrative and editing costs, which should be around the tune of $2000.

I haven't even gone live with this Kickstarter yet, and I can tell you, it's one of the most intensive projects I've ever worked on.  With the books, I have the freedom to work at my own pace.  I probably could have finished The Enemy Within in a year or less, but the stress of that might have hindered the quality.  I have an ultimate deadline for Kickstarter, and not all the pieces are in place yet.  Once it is up, every day is going to be painfully busy.  If people are going to be pledging to me, I am going to make a pledge to them to stay in contact throughout the entire process.  From the opening day of the Kickstarter campaign to the last day of reward fulfillment (and beyond), I'll be available.  It'll be over a month of constant updates, accounting and advertising, but I'm cautiously optomistic that it'll work out.

I'd like to give you a sneak peek at the rewards that I'm considering.

Obviously, some of the pledge rewards are the products themselves.  I'll have various types of the books available to acquire, some which will be unique to the Kickstarter.  For instance, there will be a limited run, numbered hardcover edition of each of the first three books of the Tellest series.  You'll also be able to get autographed copies of the work I've put my heart into.  Plus, exclusive first looks at some of the not-so-distant happenings in Tellest.

Then, there will the swag that you could end up getting, including custom bookmarks, buttons and magnets. 

I'll be working with Rhianna to bring you some awesome art, including charcoal prints and special Tarot cards featuring the characters.

For some of the higher pledges, I've got some really cool rewards lined up, including dedicated short stories and artwork for characters that you inspire.

I'm very interested in this Kickstarter campaign, and cannot wait to see where it ends up, but I also have to keep in mind, not everything is in place just yet.  I still have to record the campaign video, for instance.  Like I said earlier, though, I'm cautiously optomistic that everything will fall into place.  Hopefully I can balance the heavy workload of editing the book and administrating the campaign.  If not, it'll just be another learning experience.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fully Typed; Keyboard on Fire

Going into the last part of The Enemy Within, I knew that I was running on a short deadline.  February is my month off (for the novel, not the series), and then I'll pick everything back up in March.  I was also well aware that this Thursday and Friday, I'd be unavailable.

Last week, I worked as diligently as I was able to.  I managed to hastily type 131 pages over the course of six days, and brought the unofficial total of pages to 503 (compared to Bindings' 268 pages and Darkness' 306).  There is most likely going be a small amount of material removed when I do the final sweat of the novel in March, so it may not be over 500, but you also have to keep in mind, when I do my typing, it's typically on the 8.5x11 paper.  When the book releases in paperback, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if it ends up hovering close to 750 pages.  This novel is massive, which explains the long wait in getting it to market.

I remember starting The Enemy Within in September of 2010.  I had just finished typing As Darkness Falls, and likely had it in the hands of my editor already.  With every intention of leaving Tellest to the side for a moment or two of respite, I headed down to Florida for a vacation.  Hot off the heels of the second book though, I couldn't think of putting the series down.  I wrote at least a chapter of the third book on my vacation, and that zeal has been with me since those first few words.

The Enemy Within has a few missteps that I still need to work out.  It suffers from one of the same problems the first book did, but with very little reason.  An unnecessary treasure hunt leads to an artifact that would have simply been lost to the main character a few chapters after he acquired it.  I knew that the segment was a mistake before I finished it, and the treasure was never mentioned after that.  All I have to do now is take off the tourniquet and actually treat the wound.

Other than that, I think this is probably the best book I've written.  The characters that readers have grown accustomed to are introduced again almost immediately.  The lore and backstories for individual people is as strong as ever.  The action sequences and set pieces are energetic and intriguing.  And also, the new characters that are introduced have interesting stories and strains.  The Enemy Within comes together as my most impressive work thus far, and I can't wait to show it to everyone.  Once the final edits are done, I'll begin putting together some excerpts.  Until then, just be patient a little while longer.  May is closer than you know!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Dragon is Slain!

I already mentioned this on facebook, but it's been some time since I had any big details to reveal here.

The Enemy Within, the third book in the series, has been completed, after much delay.  I originally thought I was going to be able to have it on virtual shelves last year, but it looks like we're still on track for a May 2013 release.  This massive conclusion to the Child of the Stars trilogy clocks in at 518 pages - so far.  As some know, my writing is ridiculously tiny.  When the book is completely typed, I wouldn't be surprised if it hit around the 550-600 page range. 

So what's next for the third book in the series, and Tellest in general?

Well, I've got to get it typed up.  By January 31st.  That means that between now and then, I have to type about 6 pages per day.  I felt bad not blogging for the last two weeks, but I'm likely going to do that again.

In February, I need to make The Enemy Within the farthest thing from my mind.  I want to have as objective a view as I can when I go to make my reviews and edits.  To try and distance myself, I'm going to be focusing on getting the paperback version of As Darkness Falls prepped at CreateSpace.

In March, I will begin making my preliminary changes to The Enemy Within, with intentions of getting it in my editor's hands by the beginning of April.  I'll also be doing something a little different.  With the trilogy complete, I am going to turn to KickStarter to try and get the third book's administrative costs funded.  There will be a bunch of swag available to people who want it, as well as other rewards, as is the norm for KickStarter projects.  I really believe in the community there, and I think it's also a great way to get some attention for Tellest.

At the end of May, it'll be The Bindings of Fate's second year anniversary.  I'd like to get The Enemy Within released around then, in honor of that.

Between June and October, I see very little happening with the Tellest series books on the release front.  However, as of today, I begin working on the next project.  This will be a novella that takes a deeper look at the gods.  I am under the impression that this will be significantly shorter than most of my work.  With that in mind, I'm hopeful to have that completed by 3rd quarter 2013.  After my editor gets a crack at it, I'd like to release a discounted eBook publication that contains all three books, the novella, and perhaps some other extras as well.  I think that will be a nice way to tide people over until the fourth novel in the series is released.

Before, I had said that I was working on having games as an important part of the Tellest series.  This has not changed.  However, the books will always be paramount, and as such, the games have slid a bit to the side.  One the Enemy Within is published, I'll be able to focus a bit more on Devour again.  I'm still hopeful that it will release this year.

That said, there's still plenty of work ahead for me.  I'm happy to be able to report that everything is looking up, but I've got to get my nose back to the grindstone.  Thanks to everyone for their support!