Friday, April 28, 2017

help an indie author eat

Greetings and salutations.

Being an indie author can be a thankless job.

It's tough to get reviews. Tough to make your way onto blogs. Tough to be considered for awards.

But the thing I've loved most so far is the connection with those who've been reading along. Those of you who say hi on Twitter or Facebook, you've often made my day. Every review on Goodreads or Amazon has tickled my ego and motivated me to keep going. I can't thank you enough for that.

As part of an experiment to see if there's any way I can increase my output, I've decided to look at trying to experiment with such places as Patreon. I'm unsure what kinds of things anyone's interested in, though. So, if you've got some ideas of the kinds of rewards you think are worth getting from a writer through such programs, let me know. Please. Hop onto Twitter or Facebook and hit me up.

Another way you can really help show your support is popping by my new website. It's had another upgrade and I've added the first of the maps! This one was done with a World of Warcraft flavour. True to form, the puns and pop-culture will find themselves into the maps...

Also on my website, you'll find some links for you to Tip the Author via PayPal. If you enjoyed the series and would love to buy me a coke, please consider it. These little gems are helpful in many ways. So, consider helping a struggling indie author eat. Show your support any way you can. I promise everything is appreciated.

Regards,
Lucas

prologue to nysta #7: assassin of dragonclaw

Nysta #7: Assassin of Dragonclaw is finally up for Pre-Order! Read the prologue below and then hit up Amazon for some pre-order goodness!

 ************************** 

“The Warp has been breached. We’ve got to get out of here. Now!”
Words absorbed by Hjalmyr’s ears, but didn’t quite reach his brain. He lifted his head, dazed. Blood streaming from a cut ripping deep into his brow. Black worms writhed inside the wound.
He could hear dull thump of battle outside.
It echoed through the castle’s solid interior.
Something else. He could hear something else.
Whispering in his mind.
Vandre grabbed his shirt. Pulled him close so she could hiss; “Hjalmyr! Snap out of it! Fucking mitgerians have taken the perimeter. You hear? Zeg’helvya has ordered retreat. We’ll be stranded if you don’t get to your feet. Come on. Can you open a gateway?”
 “Retreat?” His eyes tried to focus. He shifted his arm across his stomach. Rubbed at the inside of his wrist. Felt worms bubbling inside the joint. Something was broken. But they’d fix it, he thought. They fixed everything. Almost. “Gateway? No. I don’t think so. I’m sorry.”
A tremendous boom shook the ground.
Chips of stone tinkled from the ceiling in a wash of dust. He wiped at his face with gauntleted hand as Vandre tugged him to his feet. Smearing blood down cheeks.
“It’s over,” she said. Couldn’t hide the bitterness. Didn’t even try. “We’ve lost. They came too fast. There were too many. Dreygr’s skivin were massacred. He saved what he could, but there’s not enough to stand and fight with. My tower has fallen. And Raezla says they’ve taken Fannon’s Roost and Scarcore. We’re done.”
“Your tower? Did they get-?”
“No. But I had to burn the library. I burned it all, Hjal. Everything we’ve collected. The last of the Sangerd Grimoires were in there. Lok’sul’s diaries. Everything.”
“I’m sorry.”
Another quake rocked the room and Vandre looked to the door.
Closer than before, the thunderous blast made her flinch. “They’ll be here soon.”
Air shivered in front of him, motes of violet sparking into life. Light which swirled. Flickered. Formed a face the two recognised.
Narrow. Gaunt cheeks. Thin eyes.
“Nid Skaroth,” Hjalmyr said. Unsure if he should be happy to see the man. Felt a brief wrench of tension before speaking again. “We seem to be overrun here.”
“You’re not the only one. Raezla has confirmed Fannon’s Roost has fallen. He’s leaving Scarcore now. Also, we think Skrypi has been taken. It’s a mess, Hjal. I expected to not get through to you. Thought I’d be too late.” Soft voice. Crackling as energy flickered through the light.
“Skrypi?’ He struggled to comprehend what had been said. “Taken? How?”
“It’s unclear. We believe he’s been put on a ship to Touer Moth. Chogreth has a fleet rushing to intercept. It’ll be close.” Licked his lips. “Can you get to the Gate?”
Vandre answered; “I don’t think so. Mitgerians are everywhere. They’ve taken the city. A dragon just flew overhead, and there’s at least one volkyrja on her way. We need help. Anything you can give us.”
“Vandre.” Nid Skaroth’s eyes widened as he heard her voice. “We thought you’d been lost. Your tower has been destroyed.”
“I know. I destroyed it.”
He hesitated before speaking. “You might not believe me when I say it, but I’m relieved to see you’re safe.”
“Thank you, Nid. And if you can get us out of here, I’ll forget you ever said it.”
 “I’d appreciate that.” Dry smile. He looked sideways. Cocked head as he listened to something out of view. Looked back. More serious. “We can’t send any more troops through. The jy’tin are stretched as it is and we can’t afford to lose them. We’re taking heavy casualties and you can understand securing the Warp is our first priority. Our only priority.”
“You can’t leave us here!”
“We’re not going to.” He licked his lips. Hesitation made him wince. “Zeg’helvya is turning her Eye. Don’t leave the room for any reason. Prepare yourself. It could come at any moment.”
Hjalmyr couldn’t repress the shiver which slithered up his spine. “There’s no other way?”
“If you can think of one, Herald, I’d be happy to pass it on.”
“Fuck. You’re right. It’s a fucking mess.”
“Hold as best you can. We’ll try to give you warning. But you know how these things go…”
“Hurry, Nid,” Vandre said. “We’re running out of time.”
“Time is eternal. You should know that, Sorceress.”
Flicker of light as Nid Skaroth’s face disappeared.
Lost to the ether.
She eyed the blistering motes choking on dust. Stomped on one when it hit ground. “Smug bastard.”
Hjalmyr could hear shouts from the corridor.
Screams.
His soldiers. Dying. Giving their lives for a few precious moments. He wondered why this bothered him now. He’d never cared before whether they lived or died.
They didn’t even have names. They had numbers.
He looked to Vandre, whose grim expression made him sigh.
“I’m not dying here,” she said. Almost under her breath. “I’ll kill myself first.”
“That’s the spirit.”
He wished he could feel her defiance. Instead, felt weary. Perhaps because of the blow he’d taken to the head.
Something roared overhead, making stone walls shudder. Scream of its passage cracked one of the windows.
“Dragon,” she said.
“Yeah, you didn’t have to tell me that.”
Through the window, light flashed. Pulsed in rapid bursts bright enough to make him squint.
The Dragon shrieked again, swooping castle walls. Fire engulfed watchtowers. Consumed stone. Ate flesh. Melted bone.
His fists trembled.
“You can’t do anything,” she said. Brushed his shoulder with fingertip. “Just wait. Nid will get us out of here. And when he does, we’ll have our revenge on them. Their suffering will be glorious.”
“You trust him?”
“Right now? Yes. Tomorrow? No. Tomorrow, everything will be as it was.”
“You seem fairly sure of that.”
“I am. Zeg’helvya won’t let us die here.”
“She’s getting weaker, you know. That’s why we’re losing everything. No one wants to talk about it. But you can feel it. Can’t you? Tell me the truth. You feel it, too.”
The sorceress opened her mouth to speak, then threw herself sideways as the windows were blasted. Glass shattered, sending shards spearing through the room. Some hit, and Hjalmyr let out a roar as they shredded his left arm before he had time to react.
In the wake of the explosion, five dark shadows spat deftly into the room.
White light shooting from their hands.
Light as hot as the sun.
It should have killed him. But the worms inside had been triggered by glass penetrating flesh. It whipped through his body, murmuring soft whispers into his brain.
He let out a wordless growl as darkness gushed from expanding pores and covered skin in a thin film of solid shadow.
The first bolt hit his hand and was absorbed by darkness.
Second punched into chest, sending him reeling back with the impact, but was also absorbed. Third shredded the air beside his face before burying itself into stone. Melted deep into wall before sizzling out of existence.
Vandre held both arms out. A solid wall of black energy formed between her and the attackers. Bolt after bolt of white light smashed into her shield.
The mitgerian troops moved closer, ceaseless in their barrage. Hoping to overwhelm her barrier, or work to getting around it and cutting her down.
Hjalmyr took a few more hits.
Couldn’t take many more.
Wouldn’t need to.
With a snarl, he leapt on the closest trooper. Hands alive as shadows danced around his forearms.
Snatched throat. Smashed fist into face, obliterating skull.
Fist cushioned against brain before he tore wet hand free to grab a second by his shoulder.
Threw his first kill aside.
The body crumpled in a bloody heap.
The mitgerian shouted something. A blur of words Hjalmyr couldn’t quite make out. The darkness had covered his ears, muffling everything.
A wave of green energy rippled at his back.
Whispers in his head.
He kept hold of his prize and leapt again as Vandre loosed magic on the remaining three.
Skin. Meat. Bone.
All disappeared into a mist of red which hung in the air for a moment before spitting back at the window from which they’d come.
Hjalmyr swung his trooper by the arm.
Body hit stone.
Red smeared grey.
Swung again.
And again.
Blind with rage.
“Hjal?”
Swung.
Smash.
“Hjal.”
Red.
“Hjalmyr!”
Everywhere.
He stopped, realising he was holding the mitgerian’s arm and nothing else. There wasn’t anything left. The trooper was paste against the wall.
A few mounds of gore puddled at Hjalmyr’s feet.
Trooper’s severed head had rolled away. Lay, staring at the window. Any last thoughts were just echoes of electricity firing through dead synapse.
Vandre leaned against the wall. When she’d dropped her shield to blast the troops, she’d taken a bolt to her chest. High. Red poured from the open wound.
“Ah, shit.” He swept to her side, pressing hand against the steaming hole. As he did, shadows retreated from his arms and face. “Shit.”
“I’ll be okay,” she said through teeth. Arched her back as agony pumped through nerves. Black worms began to fill the hole in her body, but he could see plasma surging in her flesh. Pinpoints of light flickering as they burned. “But I can hear them coming. They’re nearly at the door. And, Hjal? There’s a volkyrja with them. You’ll need to kill her first. Kill her first. I’ll try to help, but I don’t think I can do much.”
“I’m not a warrior,” he said.
“You’re nifljean.” Eyes blazed fierce. Wrapped cold hand over his fist. “We are all warriors.”
The door shattered. Reduced to splinters as it was kicked open.
A volkyrja sauntered into the room. Tough and arrogant. Looked at them with bright yellow eyes. Long ears jutting like spearblades from her skull. Thick dark hair knotted and tight. Body armor gleaming.
Ready for war.
Twisted mouth into an ugly grin.
“Finally found your little hiding place,” she said. “I knew you were around her somewhere. I could smell your fear. Your kind are cowards at heart.”
Hjalmyr, Herald of Chaos, stood tall. Let the darkness seethe across his flesh as it returned to his arms. Vandre was right.
He was a warrior.
“If you smell fear, then it’s the fear of those who stand with you.”
“Bah.” She rolled her shoulders. Powerful. Like a wolf. Bunched and predatory. “They always stink of it. They’re mitgerians. Shit. If it weren’t for us, they’d be whinging like dogs at your feet. Them, I understand. But, you? Look at you. Frightened to death. You’ve spent too long hiding behind Zeg’helvya’s power. We’ve cut you off now, though. Your ships are being carved to pieces. Your armies are dead. You’re alone. What’ll you do, nifljean? Will you fight? Or will you beg for your life like a mitgerian slave?”
“Come find out.”
“Brave words.” She crouched, ready to spring. Arm coiled in front of her. An arm which slowly and impossibly began to seep darkness across flesh. She grinned at his shock. “Yeah. See? You’re not unique anymore.”
 She moved.
And light flashed.
Bloomed bright in a blast so tremendous it consumed everything it touched. Apocalyptic roar as shafts of darkness punched into the castle like black lightning from the sky. Into the city. Flowered outward, impacting the ground to tear solid stone into splinters.
With a heart burning for destruction, the dark reached from the abyss and swallowed the city in fire and hate. It pulsed again and again. Beating at the city’s bones in a frenzy.
Splitting earth wide to reveal vast chasms and craters.
Hammering stone to dust.
Wind blasted outward. Hot and thick with ash. Its exhale melted rock.
In the aftermath, the ground heaved. Earth rumbled in throes of agony. Wounded and blackened by fire and ash.
The broken city’s walls lay strewn in all directions. Every building flattened and charred. A monolithic corpse ravished. Torn to pieces.
Above, the sky roiled. Clouds racing as they churned into each other. A stew of dark grey and getting darker. As if the shafts of darkness which had assaulted the city now worked to smother the sun.
When silence finally returned, nothing moved.
Nothing breathed.
Not even wind.
Dead eyes bore witness to the first snow drifting to crust the city’s carcass.
First flake touched ground.
And the Night Age began.



 

Saturday, April 08, 2017

pre-order nysta #7: assassin of dragonclaw now





i haven't updated in a while, but that doesn't mean i haven't been busy.


my work has, of course, melted my brain and time. but i've still forced myself to struggle through the creation of nysta #7, and you can see it's up for pre-order on amazon now.

this book continues from nysta #6 in that nysta has now arrived in dragonclaw and is working to cement her place in this new city. it's a city of gangs, led by power-hungry thugs. a city where the rich elite use the gangs as  pawns in their own games. and a city where an assassin like nysta might just be rewarded for her skills.

or wind up dead.

i was also working on a new website and it's now up and looking pretty. very pretty, i think. check out amir's amazing art and, if you like it, check out his other work.

he's an amazingly talented artist and if you're looking for someone to do your fantasy or scifi covers, you really should hook up with him. i've found him to be extremely flexible and bursting with ideas. with my own covers, i never tell him what i want. i give him some basic ideas and he just brings me back solid gold genius.

i don't have much else for you right now, but i plan on adding a few more book reviews shortly because i've read one or two things i feel like sharing.

don't forget to hit me up on facebook, too. i'm more commonly found there.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

some awesome indie fantasy reviews for the end of 2016

i bought a kindle a few years back and haven't really read much in the way of traditional published since. i've popped a few comments sometimes in threads asking for indie reads, but i recently read a big old bag of them which were more impressive than most, and i really really really want to share because these don't get much love and deserve to.

first, the wielders novels by max anthony. they star a character whose name strikes fear in the hearts of his enemies. his name is tan skulks. and he's a wielder. which is kind of like a wow rogue on crack. some of you are rolling your eyes already. i know. i would if i were you, too. but what's great about this series is its tone. it's humorous to the zip.

some comparable reads might be the hawk and fisher series if they were edited by terry pratchett while he was writing out a few episodes for s.c.u.d the assassin. that was an obscure comic. look it up. it's worth it. you might also like this if you were a fan of the vlad taltos series and have perhaps dabbled in some robert rankin.

next up, i was reading an assassin's blade by justin depaoli. i really liked this series. again, there was an overriding humour combining with a roguish assassin, but this one was a little more serious and could possibly more be described as swashbuckling. there's definitely a lot of swash in this one.

a lot.

so much so that errol flynn is turning in his grave and really irritated he can't play the lead in a movie adaptation. you'd like this if you were enjoying joe abercrombie but figured it needed a little bit more robin hood if robin hood was a hitman in a level of earthworm jim. that was a silly game. look it up.

it's worth it.

next: the destroyer series by michael-scott earle. definitely more for those who love barbarians running in and beating the bejeezus out of everything while smirking and being racist towards elves. because who likes elves? well. i do. but that's beside the point. it begins with an ancient being woken from slumber and possessed of an almighty amount of amnesia and a question both he and his companions are doomed to face: is he the saviour or the destroyer?

this series gripped me like one of those ghosts in a horror movie which grab one of those token teens and then drags them into a pool before drowning them. the series was tightly-written, though i will admit to wanting more.

you'd like this if you liked dune, but thought it was too political and could do with being more pulpy.

i also read a touch of iron by timandra whitecastle. this is probably the most world-buildy of the books i've read and definitely the more mature. having said that, it's action-packed, which is what i like. this is one for those of you into a more traditional approach and might be a little afraid of just throwing yourself into the deep end of indie fantasy. it's something easily publishable by harper.

in fact, it's books like this which make me wonder what publishers are doing these days if books like this have to publish themselves.

then i read a series called king's dark tidings by kel kade. this one was similar to the destroyer series mentioned above in many ways. this one has a warrior of awesome uberness who's been sheltered and taught how to deal death. and that's it. on being unleashed into a strange world, he has no real people skills. this is both hilarious and interesting.

this is for you if you like godmode on skyrim, snacking on choc-coated licorice while reading, and always wondered what would happen if people talked all steampunky in a fantasy setting.

finally, i picked up bunduki by jt edson. i mention this here because it's not an indie. it's a pulp novel. kind of tarzanny. i mention it here to warn you. stay away from it at all costs...

have a great christmas everyone, and if you're feeling brave, try some more indie reads. like any genre, they're worth exploring.

lots of love,
lucas
i bought a kindle a few years back and haven't really read much in the way of traditional published since. i've popped a few comments sometimes in threads asking for indie reads, but i recently read a big old bag of them which were more impressive than most, and i really really really want to share because these don't get much love and deserve to.

first, the wielders novels by max anthony. they star a character whose name strikes fear in the hearts of his enemies. his name is tan skulks. and he's a wielder. which is kind of like a wow rogue on crack. some of you are rolling your eyes already. i know. i would if i were you, too. but what's great about this series is its tone. it's humorous to the zip.

some comparable reads might be the hawk and fisher series if they were edited by terry pratchett while he was writing out a few episodes for s.c.u.d the assassin. that was an obscure comic. look it up. it's worth it. you might also like this if you were a fan of the vlad taltos series and have perhaps dabbled in some robert rankin.

next up, i was reading an assassin's blade by justin depaoli. i really liked this series. again, there was an overriding humour combining with a roguish assassin, but this one was a little more serious and could possibly more be described as swashbuckling. there's definitely a lot of swash in this one.

a lot.

so much so that errol flynn is turning in his grave and really irritated he can't play the lead in a movie adaptation. you'd like this if you were enjoying joe abercrombie but figured it needed a little bit more robin hood if robin hood was a hitman in a level of earthworm jim. that was a silly game. look it up.

it's worth it.

next: the destroyer series by michael-scott earle. definitely more for those who love barbarians running in and beating the bejeezus out of everything while smirking and being racist towards elves. because who likes elves? well. i do. but that's beside the point. it begins with an ancient being woken from slumber and possessed of an almighty amount of amnesia and a question both he and his companions are doomed to face: is he the saviour or the destroyer?

this series gripped me like one of those ghosts in a horror movie which grab one of those token teens and then drags them into a pool before drowning them. the series was tightly-written, though i will admit to wanting more.

you'd like this if you liked dune, but thought it was too political and could do with being more pulpy.

i also read a touch of iron by timandra whitecastle. this is probably the most world-buildy of the books i've read and definitely the more mature. having said that, it's action-packed, which is what i like. this is one for those of you into a more traditional approach and might be a little afraid of just throwing yourself into the deep end of indie fantasy. it's something easily publishable by harper.

in fact, it's books like this which make me wonder what publishers are doing these days if books like this have to publish themselves.

then i read a series called king's dark tidings by kel kade. this one was similar to the destroyer series mentioned above in many ways. this one has a warrior of awesome uberness who's been sheltered and taught how to deal death. and that's it. on being unleashed into a strange world, he has no real people skills. this is both hilarious and interesting.

this is for you if you like godmode on skyrim, snacking on choc-coated licorice while reading, and always wondered what would happen if people talked all steampunky in a fantasy setting.

finally, i picked up bunduki by jt edson. i mention this here because it's not an indie. it's a pulp novel. kind of tarzanny. i mention it here to warn you. stay away from it at all costs...

have a great christmas everyone, and if you're feeling brave, try some more indie reads. like any genre, they're worth exploring.

lots of love,
lucas


i bought a kindle a few years back and haven't really read much in the way of traditional published since. i've popped a few comments sometimes in threads asking for indie reads, but i recently read a big old bag of them which were more impressive than most, and i really really really want to share because these don't get much love and deserve to.

first, the wielders novels by max anthony. they star a character whose name strikes fear in the hearts of his enemies. his name is tan skulks. and he's a wielder. which is kind of like a wow rogue on crack. some of you are rolling your eyes already. i know. i would if i were you, too. but what's great about this series is its tone. it's humorous to the zip.

some comparable reads might be the hawk and fisher series if they were edited by terry pratchett while he was writing out a few episodes for s.c.u.d the assassin. that was an obscure comic. look it up. it's worth it. you might also like this if you were a fan of the vlad taltos series and have perhaps dabbled in some robert rankin.

next up, i was reading an assassin's blade by justin depaoli. i really liked this series. again, there was an overriding humour combining with a roguish assassin, but this one was a little more serious and could possibly more be described as swashbuckling. there's definitely a lot of swash in this one.

a lot.

so much so that errol flynn is turning in his grave and really irritated he can't play the lead in a movie adaptation. you'd like this if you were enjoying joe abercrombie but figured it needed a little bit more robin hood if robin hood was a hitman in a level of earthworm jim. that was a silly game. look it up.

it's worth it.

next: the destroyer series by michael-scott earle. definitely more for those who love barbarians running in and beating the bejeezus out of everything while smirking and being racist towards elves. because who likes elves? well. i do. but that's beside the point. it begins with an ancient being woken from slumber and possessed of an almighty amount of amnesia and a question both he and his companions are doomed to face: is he the saviour or the destroyer?

this series gripped me like one of those ghosts in a horror movie which grab one of those token teens and then drags them into a pool before drowning them. the series was tightly-written, though i will admit to wanting more.

you'd like this if you liked dune, but thought it was too political and could do with being more pulpy.

i also read a touch of iron by timandra whitecastle. this is probably the most world-buildy of the books i've read and definitely the more mature. having said that, it's action-packed, which is what i like. this is one for those of you into a more traditional approach and might be a little afraid of just throwing yourself into the deep end of indie fantasy. it's something easily publishable by harper.

in fact, it's books like this which make me wonder what publishers are doing these days if books like this have to publish themselves.

then i read a series called king's dark tidings by kel kade. this one was similar to the destroyer series mentioned above in many ways. this one has a warrior of awesome uberness who's been sheltered and taught how to deal death. and that's it. on being unleashed into a strange world, he has no real people skills. this is both hilarious and interesting.

this is for you if you like godmode on skyrim, snacking on choc-coated licorice while reading, and always wondered what would happen if people talked all steampunky in a fantasy setting.

finally, i picked up bunduki by jt edson. i mention this here because it's not an indie. it's a pulp novel. kind of tarzanny. i mention it here to warn you. stay away from it at all costs...

have a great christmas everyone, and if you're feeling brave, try some more indie reads. like any genre, they're worth exploring.

lots of love,
lucas




i bought a kindle a few years back and haven't really read much in the way of traditional published since. i've popped a few comments sometimes in threads asking for indie reads, but i recently read a big old bag of them which were more impressive than most, and i really really really want to share because these don't get much love and deserve to.

first, the wielders novels by max anthony. they star a character whose name strikes fear in the hearts of his enemies. his name is tan skulks. and he's a wielder. which is kind of like a wow rogue on crack. some of you are rolling your eyes already. i know. i would if i were you, too. but what's great about this series is its tone. it's humorous to the zip.

some comparable reads might be the hawk and fisher series if they were edited by terry pratchett while he was writing out a few episodes for s.c.u.d the assassin. that was an obscure comic. look it up. it's worth it. you might also like this if you were a fan of the vlad taltos series and have perhaps dabbled in some robert rankin.

next up, i was reading an assassin's blade by justin depaoli. i really liked this series. again, there was an overriding humour combining with a roguish assassin, but this one was a little more serious and could possibly more be described as swashbuckling. there's definitely a lot of swash in this one.

a lot.

so much so that errol flynn is turning in his grave and really irritated he can't play the lead in a movie adaptation. you'd like this if you were enjoying joe abercrombie but figured it needed a little bit more robin hood if robin hood was a hitman in a level of earthworm jim. that was a silly game. look it up.

it's worth it.

next: the destroyer series by michael-scott earle. definitely more for those who love barbarians running in and beating the bejeezus out of everything while smirking and being racist towards elves. because who likes elves? well. i do. but that's beside the point. it begins with an ancient being woken from slumber and possessed of an almighty amount of amnesia and a question both he and his companions are doomed to face: is he the saviour or the destroyer?

this series gripped me like one of those ghosts in a horror movie which grab one of those token teens and then drags them into a pool before drowning them. the series was tightly-written, though i will admit to wanting more.

you'd like this if you liked dune, but thought it was too political and could do with being more pulpy.

i also read a touch of iron by timandra whitecastle. this is probably the most world-buildy of the books i've read and definitely the more mature. having said that, it's action-packed, which is what i like. this is one for those of you into a more traditional approach and might be a little afraid of just throwing yourself into the deep end of indie fantasy. it's something easily publishable by harper.

in fact, it's books like this which make me wonder what publishers are doing these days if books like this have to publish themselves.

then i read a series called king's dark tidings by kel kade. this one was similar to the destroyer series mentioned above in many ways. this one has a warrior of awesome uberness who's been sheltered and taught how to deal death. and that's it. on being unleashed into a strange world, he has no real people skills. this is both hilarious and interesting.

this is for you if you like godmode on skyrim, snacking on choc-coated licorice while reading, and always wondered what would happen if people talked all steampunky in a fantasy setting.

finally, i picked up bunduki by jt edson. i mention this here because it's not an indie. it's a pulp novel. kind of tarzanny. i mention it here to warn you. stay away from it at all costs...

have a great christmas everyone, and if you're feeling brave, try some more indie reads. like any genre, they're worth exploring.

lots of love,
lucas

Sunday, October 16, 2016

nysta #6: sea of revenants - behind the scenes

The sixth book in the Nysta series is out now. I've had some great comments on Facebook, some cheerful waves on Twitter, and the reviews are starting to drop onto the Amazon site.

If you've been enjoying this series, please consider picking a prong on the old social fork and letting people know. Word of mouth is the only real way for us Indies to get ahead.

That aside, I thought I'd tell you a little more about the book from where I sat writing it.

It was, of course, influenced by Lovecraft and Zatoichi in equal measure. In particular, Zatoichi in Desperation. But there were some other heavy influences. This book was actually written a lot of years ago and the original scene had Nysta riding a ship as it slowly sank. The ship had been victim of pirates with her as the sole survivor. She then dove into the water and swam through shark-infested sea with the darkness within giving some assistance to her passage before being rescued by an ork.

In a rowboat.

Because Rockjaw in the original was a fisherman.

In a rowboat.

I liked that scene, but then something happened.

Pirates of the Caribbean came out. And Johnny Depp stole Nysta's entrance. I'd also used more pirate themes, with a small gang of goblin pirates and the entire island ruled by a Pirate King. Naturally, I had to throw all of that out for now. We still need some breathing room before I can continue with that tack.

I decided, then, to take more influence from Norse sources. Why not? I love them, and the Fnordic Lands is mostly built around it. I read a lot about the kinds of raiders who nipped at Britain in the early days, touring the coast for booty to take home to their families. I liked that idea, and ran with it. I read a few history books for the journey, too. Mostly The Northmen's Fury by Philip Parker and The King of the North by Max Adams.

For a fictional aesthetic, I dabbled in reading some of The Executioner series by Don Pendleton. I still love pulp fiction, and have turned a little into crime during the writing of this book. I have found a particular love for Chester Himes, and if you can find some of his books you'll be doing yourself a great service by reading them. There's some near-absurdist scenes in them which are magical and he has a way of bringing alive a truly seedy underbelly with anti-heroes of the finest ilk.

Music also plays a big part for me when I'm writing. I usually slap on my headphones and pick a genre of music for each book. Some writers find sound distracting when they create, but for me it's almost like I'm writing with a soundtrack.

For this book, I listened to a lot of stoner instrumental metal. My top five bands for Nysta #6 were;
Spaceslug
Yuri Gagarin
The Spacelords
Mother Engine
Jagannatha

I found these albums extremely helpful when trying to conjure the more Lovecraftian imagery. There's some gorgeous guitarwork from all these bands and the pace and tempo of their songs inspired me greatly. Some afternoons, I kick back on the couch and plug myself in to just let my brain spear off into another world thanks to this music.

No drugs required. I like my brain as it is.

While writing, I was thinking a lot about Nysta #7, and how to lead into that from Nysta #5. She's in the Fnordic Lands now and needs to move back into what could loosely be described as civilisation. This book, then, shows that bridge by drifting from the more isolated landscape of the sea to the more urban imagery of a seaside town. I also added more characters to try and fill it up a little more. Give her a few sparking attempts at relationships.

Given things changed so much from the original vision of this book, I thought I'd give you a quick list right here of some of the more interesting pieces which didn't happen:

* The original book had no draug or Lovecraftian entity as a major character.
* Rockjaw didn't play any real part of the original draft.
* The Pirate King was having problems with a town on the other side of his island. That town was where the action was going to be focused, with Nysta discovering it as a springboard for the Caspiellan spy network into the Fnordic Lands.
* Nysta originally only meets Lux after rescuing him from those Caspiellans at the end of the draft.
* Her main companions were goblins. I felt I didn't want to overdo my favourite little critters, so didn't use them for this book.
* Lux was originally a lot more friendly and somewhat zenlike. He chuckled a lot.
* The ending of that book involved the Caspiellan using an old pirate artifact to raise a cthulhuesque entity from the deep who ended up going a little crazy and killing everyone. Including the Caspiellan leader.
* The goblins in this draft had been written prior to Nysta #3, so Quietly was a character in this one. Quietly died in this draft by being picked up by the cthulhu entity and flung so far into the distance that no one heard him land. Presumed: splatted. Reality: didn't.

As you can see, a lot of things can change when you write drafts. This book was once where I thought the Nysta series would begin. With her coming out of nowhere, fully formed and ready to fight. My problem was I felt I had to keep explaining pieces of her past and how she got to the island. Why she was travelling. Why she hated Caspiellans. All that.

It was easier, then, to go a few steps back.

And, speaking of going back, those of you reading will no doubt have noticed there's a lot of threads which SEEM to go nowhere or not get overly explored. In Nysta #6, one of these gets exploded in your face. This is because I consider every book to be a garden. And every garden works well when you seed it for the future rather than just work on making it look neat for today. I am lucky enough to know exactly where I'm heading with this series, so seeding these bombshells involves a healthy amount of sadistic glee.

Trust me. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Nysta has a long journey. It has only just begun.