The End of an Era

Today marked the final day of writing for the Valerious Chronicles. Once I typed the last words for the epilogue of book three, I sat back and couldn’t move for a few minutes. How do you sum up an undertaking which has been such an enormous part of your life?

I am mostly happy. But a part of me is sad, knowing that my time with this saga is at an end. Sure, there is plenty of editing to come, but the main part, the writing, the part of this which is my true passion, is over.

I can’t begin to imagine what it must have felt like for someone like J.K Rowling, when she finished the last line of the Harry Potter series. A sense of achievement yes. But also a sense of loss.

By pure coincidence, as I finished the very last line of book three, my music playlist began to belt out “The Last Goodbye” by Billy Boyd (The final song for the Hobbit Trilogy). It was a fitting moment to mark the last day of an era.

I move now to preparing the book for its release in a few months. But before I begin I’ll make sure to take the time to really appreciate this moment. The Valerious Chronicles have come to an end.

Why Reviews Matter

 

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I had a discussion with a fellow artist not that long ago about why we do what we do. This person was not a writer, but their particular medium of art was also one where reviews are an important part of success. Our lengthy discussion revolved heavily on gaining enjoyment from seeing others appreciating our work.

Afterwards, on the train, I was looking through some of the reviews I have been lucky enough to receive and found myself feeling exhilarated. The profound truth is that though you may make a sale, or have someone download your work for free, you will never truly know whether they liked it or not unless they write you a review.

What is it that drives people to write reviews? I still don’t really know the answer. I know that I have only recently taken to writing reviews and much of that is driven by my own desire to receive reviews. I like to think of it as good fortune. If I give a little out into the world, perhaps I will gain a little back.

A review to an artist is a confirmation that what they are pursuing is worthwhile. That it means something to someone. Even if it is a bad review, we at the very least know that someone read or listened to our work. And we can learn from the criticism. This is the only way we will know as artists, what people like, and what they do not like.

So I encourage you all to take five minutes when you read a good book, listen to a great song, or watch a great film, to write a review. Or even just click a box to give that piece of art a star rating. The artists appreciate it more than you could know.

Recharging

It’s been a little while since I have posted. I have been taking a few long breaths following the crazy weeks that were the launch of The Tyrant’s Onslaught. As much as it was a terrific experience. I needed some time to relax.

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I was lucky enough to spend some time in the Yarra Valley and switch my mind off for a few days. Today I started writing again, chapter 14 of the final novel in the Valerious Chronicles, and it felt great. It reminded me that to create great art your mind needs to be at its best.

I feel that I am back in that space, where I can focus on getting the final book done. I have been taking the time to read some different things, a few comics (Saga is amazing!!) and some horror, which I haven’t read a lot of. It has been a refreshing change.

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Visiting the Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary also rekindled my love of animals and reminded me to make sure I get out of the study/office more often to seek inspiration from our furry, slithery and feathered friends.

2014-09-19 12.39.59For now, back to it. Unlike the wombats I can’t sleep all the time. I have a third book to finish!

It’s Launch Day!

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What are you wasting your time reading this for? Today is release day for The Tyrant’s Onslaught. Get your eReader or pick up a hard copy and get reading. And if you haven’t read book one of the Valerious Chronicles, well frankly I don’t know what in the world you’ve been doing!

I hope to see you all celebrating with me!

Amazon

iTunes

Paperback

 

 

The Tyrant’s Onslaught Pre-Orders available

I am excited to announce that The Tyrant’s Onslaught, Book Two in the Valerious Chronicles is available for pre-order prior to its release on the 31st of August.

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Imprisoned. Christill now faces the wrath of his King and Council. They will demand his blood, but his destiny is yet to be fulfilled. He must uncover the terrible source of the Tyrant King’s power if the world is to be saved. The guardian gods have given him strength, however, he will be forced to travel to the most dangerous part of Kovi, hunted by those he is fighting to save.

Thibalt always believed in his Scorpions, but it is a dark path the Maloreichar have set them on. He will question his actions at every turn. The war will paint his hands red. As their enemies close in around them, he will be forced to make the hardest choice of his life.

Throughout their journey they will face familiar enemies, treachery and above all the malevolence of Zephra. The truth will be revealed and sacrifices made, for the Tyrant King’s onslaught is unwavering. Hope is all that remains. Hope and two brothers.

 

The Tyrant’s Onslaught is now available to Pre-Order at the following retailers:

iTunes

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

And for those who are very eager to secure a copy the paperback version is already available for sale early on Amazon and my own store.

 

Hard at work

I am in the final stages of proofreading for The Tyrant’s Onslaught. Once that is finished I will begin the arduous task of formatting for Smashwords, Kindle and Paperback.

I am expecting Pre-orders to be available in the next fortnight and will keep you posted once they are up.

Until then, keep your fingers crossed, and send me some good vibes so that I can keep my eyes open and get the next installment of the Valerious Chronicles out to you.

 

Tyrant’s Onslaught set for release August 31st

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To all those eagerly awaiting the release of book two in the Valerious Chronicles, I have finally set the official release date.

The Tyrant’s Onslaught is set to be released across all formats on the 31st of August 2014. I am hoping to have preorders available at the end of July.

Hang in there. Not too long left.

Guest Author – Terry W. Ervin II on the experience of writing Soul Forge

Today I am privileged to provide you with a guest post by Fantasy/Sci Fi author Terry W. Ervin II. Having recently published the third book in his First Civilizations Legacy Series, Terry shares with us what he has learned in writing Soul Forge. I hope you enjoy reading his wise words and take as much away from them as I did.

Soul Forge Cover

What I Learned While Writing Soul Forge

From the first page of a first draft, of the first novel an author writes, to writing ‘The End’ for the final draft of that first novel, the author has probably learned quite a bit about writing—even if that first novel isn’t quite good enough to find a publisher (or of sufficient quality to merit self-publication). Heck, most writers, upon completing their first novel’s first draft, can see a major improvement in writing and storytelling skill when comparing the early chapters to the later ones.

While there is a learning curve, where writers learn a lot (or hopefully do) during their early efforts, established authors also learn something—maybe many somethings—during the process of completing each project. Perhaps it’s how to employ a new structure, such as creating a frame story, or figuring out how to write using a different point of view. Sometimes it’s not learning something new, but improving upon an already existing skill or a familiar technique, such as more effective use of foreshadowing or devising how to make an action scene flow just a little bit better.

For me, all of this comes from actually writing and by comparing what I’ve written with what I learn through reading and studying other authors’ works. I also learn from beta reader and crit partner comments, and from working with an editor. This type of learning requires an open mind coupled with the drive to create a story that’s better than the previous one.

Soul Forge, my forth published novel, is my most recent release. And, through the process of writing it, I believe I made significant strides in improving my writing in several areas.

Soul Forge is the third novel in the First Civilization’s Legacy Series. The stories are mainly action-adventure and focus on Flank Hawk, a farmhand turned mercenary in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting.

The first and probably the most important thing I learned was how to write the third novel in a series such that readers could pick up Soul Forge and enjoy it as much as anyone who’d read Flank Hawk and/or Blood Sword, the first two novels in the series.

Through reading and study, I’d learned how to write Blood Sword, so that readers could select it as the first novel in the series they might read. But that was the second novel in the series. Soul Forge, being the third, added a greater level of complexity to accomplish the same objective. The world in the series is extensive, with countries and cultures and history and conflicts that are built upon while being integral to the plots of each novel, beginning with Flank Hawk and moving forward. Add to that, the characters which appeared earlier in the series, and return to play a part in the third. There are even characters that died in the earlier novels, but continue to impact the characters and their actions in Soul Forge, and will continue to do so as the series continues.

I refined the use of dialogue, description, character thoughts, flashbacks, and character actions/responses to provide the necessary backstory within the context of the current story being told. It’s accomplished in such a way that it isn’t redundant, and actually reminds veteran readers of what’s happened in the series while providing additional information or insight.

Second, all of the novels in the First Civilization’s Legacy Series are written in first person point of view. Even so, characters other than the POV character (Krish/Flank Hawk) are well developed, with a number becoming the favorites of readers. In Soul Forge I worked to improve using actions, dialogue, and POV character thoughts and perception to more fully bring the characters that populate the novel to life.

Finally, I worked to improve my ability to intertwine secondary plotlines with the novel’s main plot to add depth of interest and suspense for the reader while raising the stakes for the characters involved.

An example of this was the personal duel brought upon Mercenary Flank Hawk and, although delayed until young Enchantress Thereese is revived (or dead), it’s a challenge the mercenary knows he cannot win. Even Imperial Seer Lochelle predicted that, should he cross blades with Flayzin, the captain of Supreme Enchantress Thulease’s guard, Flank Hawk will die.

Complicating the situation is the source of the conflict (the death of a prince) and the fact that both Flank Hawk and Captain Flayzin serve Supreme Enchantress Thulease. The two men must set aside their conflict as best they can while accompanying the enchantress as she seeks the legendary Sleeping Sage in a bid to discover a way to revive her dying daughter.

Why would Flank Hawk accompany the supreme enchantress, through perilous circumstances and fighting alongside Captain Flayzin, knowing that the man’s sword is destined to slay him?

That concern and many others are brought together as the story moves forward, aboard the Hunchback Maiden while crossing the Mediterranean, traversing the vast desert of the Southern Continent, and even venturing to the Mountainhold of the secretive Svartálfar.

Even as I write this article, my mind is on my next project (working title: Relic Rescue), the sequel to Relic Tech, the first novel in the Crax War Chronicles. While I’ll be using what I learned while writing Soul Forge and the other novels that came before, I’m sure I’ll improve not only in several areas of writing, but learn something new. Or at least I hope so.

First Civilzation Legacy Books FH BS SF

Terry W. Ervin II is an English teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction.

His First Civilization’s Legacy Series includes FLANK HAWK, BLOOD SWORD and SOUL FORGE, his newest release from Gryphonwood Press. Terry’s debut science fiction novel RELIC TECH is the first in the Crax War Chronicles and his short stories have appeared in over a dozen anthologies and magazines. The genres range from SF and mystery to horror and inspirational. GENRE SHOTGUN is a collection containing all of his previously published short stories.

You can purchase Soul forge at the following retailers:

To contact Terry or learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com or his blog, Up Around the Corner at http://uparoundthecorner.blogspot.com

Relic Tech Cover for Blogs

 

My Top Picks – Part Two

Part two of my series on my biggest influences covers some lesser known things that have moulded who I am today. I will continue to cover some of the key books, movies, music and shows that have influenced me.

The Call to Ktulu:

Music plays a very large part in getting my creative juices flowing. Music can stir emotions that other mediums fail to. In many ways it requires you to really utilise your imagination as there is no visual stimulus. Metallica’s instrumental piece ‘the Call to Ktulu’ is one piece of music that is very important to me. I am referring to the version presented on their S&M album together with the San Francisco Symphony.

Why is this piece of music so important to me? Because it could be seen as a trigger for my choice to become a writer. Sitting on a bus for up to 8 hours a day whilst travelling through central Australia on a school trip, I was given ample time to listen to my Walkman. Metallica had opened my eyes to hard rock a year earlier and my tape got a good workout. None more than the Call to Ktulu. As soon as this track began I was taken away from that bus. Transported to a world of clashing armies, knights and demons, magic and mayhem.

I played out scenes of an epic tale in my mind whilst staring out of the window at the endless red blanket that is the aussie outback. The music fuelled my imagination. With every repeat of the track the story grew larger, clearer. By the end of a two week trip, I had to pick up a pencil and write the tale. And that is what I did when I got home. That story became the basis for the Valerious Chronicles. I have no doubt that without the Call to Ktulu to keep me company, Christill and Thibalt’s tale would have never been told.

X-Men (Comics and Cartoon):

One of my fondest memories as a child was going with my mother to the local shopping centre and finding that a new volume of the X-Men animated series had become available on VHS. This was well before the days of the internet and the only way for me to watch the show was through waiting months for the next cassette to become available. It was shown very rarely on TV in Australia giving me little opportunity to tape it.

I shudder to think how many times I watched each episode, glued to the TV to watch Wolverine and the X-Men fight the most dastardly villains ever to grace the TV. Much can be said about why X-Men is so popular. Strong characters, relevant themes and great writing perhaps to name a few. Its popularity is still on the rise. For me it was the first fictional universe to draw me in and create an obsession. There are few things that I liked as a child that I am still passionate about now. X-Men has stood the test of time.

My brother collected X-Men comics which I eventually inherited. They opened up to me the greater marvel universe and showed me how much more there was than just the animated show. I came to realise that there were thousands of people out there who liked X-Men as much as I did. It was my first introduction to true fandom. One could say it was the beginning of my transition to teenage nerd.

Stay tuned for more over the coming weeks.