Sunday, December 29, 2013

Alinor's Shard Excerpt

Here's a small excerpt from Alinor's Shard.  This is only Section 1(in a Word document), but you can also read part of Section 2 if you click on Look Inside on the Amazon book page.

Alinor's Shard Release!

After a couple delays, Alinor's Shard, my new novelette is out!  For now, the e-book is available for Kindle on Amazon for $0.99, but it will be available for free on Monday 12/30!  Before the week's end, I'll be posting a couple more free days and getting the print version put together.  Updates on those two things will be posted on my Facebook page(

So, a little bit about this novelette.  It started out as one of four short story ideas that I hoped to get on paper and release in a compilation.  However, once I became entrenched in The Forgotten King and nearly rewriting the entirety of The Dragon Gem, those plans kind of fell to the wayside.

One day, I was looking back at Alinor's Shard (titled Aftermath at the time) and another short work I'd written for my abandoned short story collection.  Slightly longer than a short story, something about Alinor's Shard kept me from just filing it away for  future use.  As I went back through it, I realized just how proud I was of it, as well as how much fun I had writing it.  Yet, as such a short work, I didn't really want to release it by itself.  Though I have paid for and read a lot of shorter works from short stories to novellas, I just didn't feel comfortable releasing something that could be breezed through in an afternoon.

But then I had an idea.

I contacted Janette Ramos(the cover artist for my Korin's Journal novels) to see if she'd be interested in doing some interior artwork for Alinor's Shard in addition to the cover.  The protagonist, Fillon, is an artist, and I felt that it would be neat to have some sketch-type drawings peppered throughout the story in connection to that (despite the fact that in all truthfulness, he wouldn't have been the one to draw them due to his place in the story).  Anyway, having this addition to the story gave it that little extra something to make it suitable for a stand-alone release.

Story-wise, Alinor's Shard wouldn't exist if it not for Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy.  In this trilogy, Sanderson's world is one in which the typical fantasy adventure hero actually failed to save the world from the evil that threatened it in the past, putting the reader immediately into a ruinous world suppressed by that evil.  I LOVED the concept, and if you like fantasy and haven't read the Mistborn trilogy, please, please do.  They single-handedly turned Sanderson into my all-time favorite fantasy author.   The point is, Alinor's Shard takes place in the world of Yalis, similarly lorded over by an evil god.  Yalis has become a dark, ruined world under this evil god, its peoples broken and enslaved under his oppressive rule. The story revolves around Fillon, once an artist and now a slave, and his opportunity to help free Yalis from its decaying state.  It's a darker story than I would typically write - not necessarily in the way of violence, but the overall tone.

Now, I'm a little late on releasing this.  I made the idiotic assumption that putting some finishing touches on it after JJProofing's proofread and formatting it for its Kindle release would be an easy thing to do over nearly a week of traveling home for the holidays(my wife and I live about 8 hours away from our families).  Of course, this didn't work out so well.  I was going to get it out before the weekend . . . then on Friday with hopes of offering it free on Saturday and Sunday.  Instead, thanks to my awesome wife allowing me a 45 minute stop at a Starbucks to use their wifi on our way home, I got it submitted Saturday afternoon.  Since it went live that evening, I planned to still offer it free Sunday.  Of course, when I tried to do so from my phone, I kept getting an error message every time I tried to set up the free day.  When we got home after midnight, I wasn't allowed to use Sunday as a free day(which is really kind of strange since I'm on Eastern time and the Amazon promotions follow Pacific . . . ).

So, now it's free on Monday with a couple more days to be announced soon.  Also, I hope to get the print version together as soon as I can.

I'm really proud of Alinor's Shard and would love to get some feedback, so if you pick it up, please let me know what you think.

And, I know I tend to ramble with some of these blog posts, but in this case, I've been on the move almost constantly for the past week, spending countless hours in a car, 8 hours today alone.  So forgive me if this is peppered with poor grammar, rambling nonsense, or any other such drivel.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Brian Beam

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Word of Thanks


My two days of having The Dragon Gem available for free on Amazon was A LOT more successful than I'd hoped.  I had double the downloads of my most successful free days with the first edition.  I didn't do a lot of advertising about the free days - $10 bucks to boost the Facebook post.  I'm sure the new cover art deserves most of the credit (Another thank you to Janette Ramos for that!)

Anyway, The Dragon Gem had never been the # 1 anything.  Until now.  Well, the #1 free fantasy book on (Germany).  Still . . . # 1!  In the US, #21 in Fantasy, #3 in Fantasy/Epic, and #3 in Fantasy/Swords and Sorcery at its peak.  I know tons of people snatch up freeD e-books, but still, I was stoked to see those numbers.

Now, I'm not so delusional as to think that all these downloads will be read.  Not even half.  Maybe not even a quarter.  But for those who do give The Dragon Gem a read, thank you for giving it a chance.  I sincerely hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your thoughts(good and bad).  For those who don't, thank you for helping bring up The Dragon Gem in Amazon's free Kindle downloads rankings so that more people could see it. To the one person in Japan and the one India who downloaded it, congrats, you are theoretically the only people in your respective countries to own The Dragon Gem :).  That goes for the three in Australia as well.

And to the few that also picked up The Forgotten King, thank you for the vote of confidence.

I would also like to announce that the print version of The Dragon Gem is available for purchase now as well.  It's also a couple dollars cheaper than it used to be.  I was forced into a higher price the first time around due to having it available in expanded distribution.  I forwent that route this time.  I'd rather it be available for less.  Yes, doing so comes with sacrifices, but again, for now, I'd rather it be cheaper.  For any who pick up print versions of The Dragon Gem or The Forgotten King on Amazon, you get the Kindle download for free!

Thanks again to each and every person who downloaded The Dragon Gem and/or The Forgotten King this weekend.  It means the world to me.

Now my next project is getting the Alinor's Shard novelette finished.  I'm now 84% finished with my initial revisions before having it all sent to the proofreader.  Still hoping for a pre-January release, but with the holidays coming up, it may get pushed into early January.  As of this moment, though, I think the pre-January thing is most likely.  I'll be having some free days with its release as well.  I also plan on having some giveaway offers shortly after.

All right, back to Alinor's Shard editing.  Woo!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!


Monday, December 9, 2013


Whew!  It took me the better part of a year, but the 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem is finally complete!

Lessee . . . there's been a bunch of changes:

  • New Cover Art
  • Major grammatical editing
  • Major rewriting(though no significant plot changes)
  • About 10 - 15,000 words of new-ish content, much of it tying the book in to the sequel a bit more
  • Restructuring of chapters and adjustment of chapter breaks
    • This one is due to my personal distaste for extremely long chapters, something I was highly guilty of in the first release of this book.  With no major story changes, the chapter count has gone from 26 to 47!
So, my plans for spending a couple months doing a thorough grammatical edit kind of veered into vastly different territory.  However, I am incredibly happy with the results!

Now, the update has been submitted to Amazon, and is currently for sale in ebook format.  I have contacted Amazon to ensure the update becomes available for previous buyers.  The process for that can take up to 4 weeks (hopefully shorter, though).  Should they deem the changes significant enough, an email will be sent out to anyone who downloaded the book before.  If not, the update will be available, but you'd have to A) manually update it by going  "manage your kindle" under your Amazon account options, find The Dragon Gem, click actions on the right side of the screen, and then hit update, or B)set your kindle up under "manage your kindle" to automatically update books.  I'll let you know the moment I hear back about how they plan to handle it.

For anyone who has not downloaded the book before, it will be free for download on Amazon on Saturday and Sunday (December 14/15) to celebrate its release.  Besides, who needs monetary compensation for a labor of love . . . Hm . . . actually, maybe I need to revisit the price point on the ebook.  

I have submitted everything for the print copy on CreateSpace tonight, so as long as the proof copy looks okay when I receive it in the coming weeks, it'll be up on Amazon soon as well.  I'm hoping to have some giveaways once all is said and done, probably in January.  

As for what's next on my plate, I am working on my Alinor's Shard novelette, giving it a good run through before sending it JJProofing  and will hopefully have it available for download before Jan. 1 with print copies shortly after.

I plan on using January as my NaNoWriMo (since  November was dedicated to my rewrite of The Dragon Gem ) to get the first 50K words down on the first draft of Book 3 of Korin's Journal.  My wife and I are expecting our second son in March, so no telling if I'll be able to pull this off or not.  We'll have a lot going on in the beginning of the year!

For now, though, with the rewrite out of the way, I can get back to writing without it feeling like  chore.  I've almost forgotten what that feels like in the past couple months.

I'll update soon on the availability of print copies of The Dragon Gem, when those who have downloaded the Kindle version already can get the update, info on giveaways, and info on Alinor's Shard's release. 

So, to end this up-way-too-late-at-night/too-early-in-the-morning post, I give you the front and back cover for The Dragon Gem rewrite, as well as the front cover and a sneak peak of one of the illustrations for Alinor's Shard.  Enjoy!


Brian Beam

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Writing is hard

Writing a book is hard.

Rewriting a book is-as I've experienced over the past several months-damn near impossible.  Okay, not impossible, but really really difficult.

After releasing The Forgotten King, I realized that I was more than a little unhappy about the quality of The Dragon Gem.  As I've mentioned at some point in this blog before, The Dragon Gem was not written to be published.  It was a pet project done in secret while I was a stay-at-home dad to surprise my wife.  At some point, when looking for a print on demand company to get a few copies printed for my wife, friends, and family, I came across Amazon KDP and thought, "What the hell?  Why not publish it on there so that my friends can download it if they want?"

And then, people started downloading it-some free, some not.  Not a ton of people necessarily, but way more than expected.  And that's when I started to treat it as a true, published book.  So, when I went into The Forgotten King, it was with a completely different mindset.  And thus, I was much happier with the results.  The only problem is that I became unhappy with The Dragon Gem.

That's when I decided to do a major edit.  After only a couple chapters, that major edit turned into a major rewrite.  I was naive enough to think it would be simple.  I mean, the entire story was there.  I just had to make it sound better.  Easy, right?


Thinking it would be a semi-quick process, I thought I could release it with the release of The Forgotten King in May.  Nope.  Maybe July, then.  Nope.  Surely August.  Nope.  September.  Nope.  Okay, surely I can get it out by October 31 so I can devote NaNoWriMo to the first 50K words of book 3.  Sadly, nope.

Now, I'm not going to be too far from the newest deadline of October 31.  The Dragon Gem Reloaded(okay, that's not the name, but it just sounds cool in true cliche Hollywood fashion) will be out by November 7th, barring any unexpected diversions.   And still, it will be released as an update so that anyone who has downloaded it before can just get the update once I've gone through the process of emailing Amazon to get it set up for prior purchasers do so.

The point of this whole rambling mess of a blog is that even though it's taking a ridiculously long time, The Dragon Gem will be out semi soon, and I'll be giving up a chunk of NaNoWriMo to make sure it is.  It'll be worth it.  I promise.  I'm still going to try to get my novelette out by the end of the year, but it may be pushed into early 2014(January early), but I'll post about that later.  Although, I do have all the artwork for it now, and am excited to get it all put together.

So, to end this blog, I must first apologize for its rambling nature, as well as the probable lack of proper grammar(gonna put the time it would take to read over it into working on The Dragon Gem).  Also, for those who do not know, my wife and I are expecting our second child in March. I've posted about that here before, but now we know what we're having and it's gonna be a ....  Boy!  I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of good story idea during the sleepless nights to come :).

Hope anyone reading this is doing well, and I hope to have The Dragon Gem Reloaded(I promise that won't be on the new - and incredibly awesome - cover) out soon!  Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: Old Bony Blue Eyes

Book Review

Old Bony Blue Eyes
A Clockpunk Wizard Story

Lita Burke's Old Bony Blue Eyes is an entertaining story set in a richly inventive fantasy world. Though this is the third entry in Burke's Clockpunk Wizard series, it is admittedly the first I have read. Thankfully, Burke has done a wonderful job of making the story accessible to newcomers to the series.

The story starts by plunging the reader into an exciting fight between Bright, wizard Kadmeion's half-elf clockworks magician assistant, and a Goon sent by Lady Betrayal to collect on a favor owed her by Kadmeion herself. After traveling by airship to meet with Betrayal, Kadmeion, Bright, Furgo(Kadmeion's weredog), and the airship's crew(including a host of fey)are sent on a quest that will pit Kadmeion against Death himself, Old Bony Blue Eyes, in a game of chance. Will Kadmeion win access to the item Betrayal has sent him for, or will he spend the next five years of his life in servitude to Death?

The story moves at a brisk pace with very few lulls along the way. Burke displays a mastery of witty humor and dialogue, giving her writing a fun, lighthearted feel. However, she also proves she can adeptly pull a complete 180 and go straight for the heart when necessary. I especially enjoyed all dialogue involving Kadmeion. His personality bears a perfect blend of sarcasm, wit, and obliviousness. For having no concept of how humor works, Kadmeion provides plenty of laughs.

Burke also is amazing at keeping the story from becoming bogged down by details, giving the reader just what they need to imagine the world she has created, a trait highly lacking in many modern fantasy books. That's not to say that she hasn't created a fully realized world; Burke has obviously taken her time to create a unique world full of interesting characters and proves to have a solid grasp on how things work in it. She just has the whole "show, don't tell" concept down pat.

When I first started Old Bony Blue Eyes, I felt it mainly targeted younger readers, namely young adult. However, the further I got into the story, I began to see many of the more adult themes and concepts woven throughout Burke's prose, making the story appropriate for a wide variety of ages while still keeping it entertaining for adults(well, for me, at least).

There are a lot of unique ideas in this story. Casting magic through song is a novel spin on typical fantasy magic systems. I love the concept of an island-filled world that is traveled by airship, though I wish there were more instances of exploring this aspect(to be fair, maybe the first two books have more of this).

I feel that the end of the story could've used a greater sense of danger for the protagonists, especially after the deadlier threats faced earlier on in the book. Part of this is because Kadmeion has a tendency to recognize opportunities that may present themselves if things do not go as planned. The climax is clever and fun, but it lacked a little in tension for me.

But don't get me wrong, Old Bony Blue Eyes is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to any fans of the fantasy genre looking for a fun, exciting adventure. Burke has created an amazing world that I will definitely be visiting again soon when I have time for the first two entries in the series.


You can find out more about Lita Burke on:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

News, Reviews, Woos, and a New Muse

Hello everyone,

First off, I believe the title of this blog post just may deserve an award for "most lame attempt at cleverness through elementary rhyme scheme."  If you happen to know of any blog awards with this category, please keep me in mind.

Okay, with that out of the way, I suppose I should offer an update or two, given I haven't written a blog post in . . . *runs out of fingers* a while.

So, news.  Still chugging along on the edit/rewrite of The Dragon Gem.  Hoping to be done at the end of the month(currently at 75%).  That pushes my novelette, Alinor's Shard, into October-ish.  November's NaNoWriMo will then be dedicated to beginning the final volume of the Korin's Journal trilogy.    

I'm hoping to do some giveaways around both the re-release of The Dragon Gem and the release of Alinor's Shard, so be looking out for news about that.  I'll also be letting you know when Amazon has the updated 2nd edition of the Dragon Gem available for those who have already downloaded the original book.  In my experience, that process takes a little bit of time, but I'd rather go about the 2nd edition as an update as opposed to a separate release.  I don't expect anyone to read The Dragon Gem 2nd ed if they've read the original, but it'll be worth updating your digital copy for Janette Ramos's amazing cover art alone(though, the book's content will have a much higher level of polish). 

On to reviews!  There's a couple reviews of The Forgotten King out there.  Feel free to give them a look (warning: SPOILERS) at and at

Hmm.. and the woos(because I needed a word to rhyme, though it does kinda fit), here's the cover art for Alinor's Shard: 


And the biggest news(in my lil' ol' opinion) is the announcement of my yet-to-be-titled-sequel to 2010's highly praised Jonas Beam, coming March-ish 2014!  Or, in less confusing terms, my wife and I are expecting baby #2 next March!  Hence, a new muse :).  

Our lil' peanut

And with that, I wish everyone a wonderful week!

Brian Beam

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Chapter Four Commentary

Alright, Chapter 4 of the Dragon Gem, How I Met My Magic Talking Wizard Cat(an obvious play off a popular sitcom you may or may not have heard of) further introduces the character of Max, my absolute favorite character to write.

*Possible Spoilers*

I had several goals for Max's purpose in the series.  If you have already read the current edition of The Dragon Gem and/or The Forgotten King, you know he plays a MASSIVE role in the story.  Aside from plotting aspects, though, Max serves many functions.  He balances Korin's impulsiveness,  helps keep Korin grounded(and generally just lets him know when he's being stupid), provides comic relief, adds a bit of mystery to the story, and kicks some ass when warranted.  And honestly, being a tad sarcastic myself, I absolutely love writing his dialogue.  Max doesn't care what anyone else thinks, pretty much always believes he is right, and has very little patience for stupidity(of which his standards on intelligence are a bit unrealistic). 

For anyone wanting to know why I chose for him to be a cat(all zero of you), it's because I like cats :-P

*Definite, MAJOR Spoiler*

And, as for his real name, he's named after my son.

*End MAJOR Spoiler*

So, usually I make a list of fun facts about the chapters, but this chapter really just serves as an introduction to Max and Korin's history together. Progress is going well on the rewrite, and I hope to have it out by mid-Septemberish(finger's crossed). 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: The Veil and the Void

Book Review

The Veil and the Void
Book 3 of Hollenguard

The third entry in the Hollenguard series is an engaging adventure that will certainly please fans of the fantasy genre. With an amazing talent for world building, action, and dialogue, S.Arthur Martin once again has crafted an incredible story that grabs hold of you early on, and doesn't let go until the last word.

The story picks up right after the events of Half of Forever, introducing us to a couple of interesting new characters and catching us up on the fate of Kamil and co. after the end of the last book. After these introductions, the action picks up, and it doesn't let up until the end. Along the way, several new allies and villains are introduced, each completely unique. I especially enjoyed the complexity of Picket and her character growth, as well as Pensato, the Cadence hunter(I also had fun learning why he is called a Cadence hunter)

Just as with Hollenguard and Half of Forever(the first two books in the series), S.A Martin has a way of bringing the lands Valice and Denshire to life, drawing you into the world he has created. The desolate lands beneath the veil were vivid in my mind throughout the story. S.A. Martin has proven his skill at writing exciting action scenes that can literally get the reader's heart pumping. I did feel a little removed from the story on a couple of occasions due to the plethora of action scenes, but given that The Veil and the Void involves a massive clash between the Roukon and those striving to bring life and light back to the world, there's obviously going to be a lot of action involved.

I can only recommend starting this series from the beginning. Though The Veil and the Void does a decent job of catching the reader up on prior events, newcomers to the series would probably find themselves lost during several portions of the book. However, those who have read the first two entries in this series are in for an exciting read that will leave you wanting more. S.Arthur Martin mentions in a note at the end of the book that this is the conclusion to the story, but he has created a world that begs to be further explored, and I hope that we get to see more of Kamil and his friends, as well as the lands of Valice and Denshire in the future.


You can find out more about S.Arthur Martin on:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alinor's Shard Cover Teaser

So, the always incredible Janette Ramos has sent me the first sketch of the cover for the Alinor's Shard novelette I'll be releasing later this year.  As I've mentioned in a previous blog, there will also be a couple sketch-like drawings peppered through the story as well.

Let me know what you think!

Brian Beam

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Chapter Three Commentary and Novelette Announcement

Sorry, this has been a long time coming.  I've been busy chipping away at The Dragon Gem 2nd edition and injuring myself one body part at a time(sometimes even two!).   Anyway, this blog post will mainly focus on a couple fun(or not so fun depending on how you look upon such things) facts for Chapter Three of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed: Walk of Shame.  Or, if you want to hear about the novelette(read: really long short story) I'm planning on releasing this year, just skip to the bottom (and I'm just putting this here because apparently I'm all about parenthetical notations today). 

*Possible Spoilers ( Unless you've already read The Dragon Gem)

*Chapter Two: Counts and Contracts was the first chapter of the rewrite to have a name change, but this is the first to not only have a name change, but exist where a chapter did not before. This is actually what used to be the second half of Chapter Two.  It's been a goal of mine to cut down these chapter lengths.  Without altering the overall length of the book, the 2nd ed. is nearly ten chapters longer so far, and that's with me only about 48% through!

*This is actually my least favorite chapter of the book, just as it was in the original release.  The main reason is it comes off as a major info dump.  Sometimes a little info dumping is necessary, particularly in sci-fi and fantasy books where entire worlds are being created, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about writing one!

*The main reason behind the thorough explanation of Contracts is that they were originally going to be a driving plot device when Korin's Journal was still planned to be a series of novellas.  *spoiler* If you've read The Forgotten King, you know that after playing a small role in the first third of the book, Korin's Contract has absolutely no role in the story(though its history does . . . ).  Book 3 won't even have the word Contract in it.  It's amazing how different Korin's Journal has become compared to my original vision!

*For a VERY brief time, I considered making Caralys a bigger character. She was going to be one of those cliche sheltered-her-entire-life-and-now-wants-to-join-an-adventure characters.  I'm not against cliches(I know I use them as much as the next writer), but for a main character, I thought it would make her a little boring. 

*I'm a cat lover, which is the sole reason Max was written as a cat.  He is my favorite character to write dialogue for.  It's fun to write the words of a smart-ass.  I tried to find a good balance between his sarcasm and his serious, caring nature.  Hopefully I pulled that off. 

*Max was originally short for Maxus.  First of all, it seemed a little unnecessary, and also, it would've needed an apostrophe as Til's and Sal's names.  At some point in these commentaries(probably when Til' is first mentioned) I'll explain the (probably overcomplicated) use of an apostrophe after certain names.  For now, the point is that had I left Max as Maxus, he would've been Max' throughout the story.

Now, onto my novelette announcement.  You may have noticed a new progress bar on here for Alinor's Shard.  Originally, I planned to have a collection of short stories that I'd release this year.  I already had two stories written, both of which fell into more of the novelette category than short story.  However, with the decision to do a massive edit/rewrite/cover art change for The Dragon Gem, I knew I wouldn't get to work on short stories for a good while. 

However, I really liked Alinor's Shard(at one point called Aftermath) and wanted to have it available for readers.  As a small work, though, I wanted to do something a little more with it.  So, right now, Janette Ramos(the artist who did The Forgotten King's and The Dragon Gem's(for the 2nd edition)'s covers is working on not only cover art for Alinor's Shard, but a couple of illustrations that will be placed within the story. 

I'll put up some more info about the story  in the very near future, but it will be my focus after The Dragon Gem 2nd ed. and a short story for an anthology being put together for an awesome cause (Bikers Against Child Abuse).  It will definitely be out well before the end of the year, though. 

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Brian Beam

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: Crimson and Cream

Book Review

Crimson and Cream

Crimson and Cream is the debut fantasy novel from author, C.M. Skiera, and a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an exciting series.  

The story begins with Flotsam and Jetsam, twin orphans nicknamed for the water they were pulled from after fleeing from the men who killed their parents. Their parents had been killed for being sorcerers after the king outlawed magic.  On their birthday, they sneak onto the grounds of the king's castle at the behest of the headstrong Jetsam, in hopes to procure fruit from the abundant orchard there.  After being spotted, the twins are sent into a dangerous chase, one that serves as a catalyst for the adventure to follow.  

This seemingly innocuous beginning turns into a quest to discover the secrets of the twins' past while being hunted by a bounty hunter whose sole motivation is to cement his legacy, no matter the cost.  Intense battles with trolls, being abducted by a group of men with questionable motivations, fleeing from a vicious bounty hunter, and encountering a massive beast out of legend are just a few of the exciting situations we find the unlikely protagonist thrust into.  And let me tell you, it's an intense, fast-paced ride until the end.

One thing that really struck me with Crimson and Cream is the massively emotional whack over the head that  C.M. Skiera introduces fairly early into the story(sorry, not going to spoil anything here).  Although the story doesn't quite reach the same level of emotional impact afterwards, the scene is bold, and is plays a pivotal role in character growth throughout the book.

The story is very well written and plotted.  C.M. Skiera has a wonderful talent for description and dialogue, and his characters are unique and interesting.  The story introduces several original concepts, though also treads familiar fantasy ground, mostly in Tolkienesque fashion(completely meant as a compliment).  Though having Book One included in the title of this book, you can't help but be a little disappointed as the last page ends, leaving many unanswered questions.  Hopefully we won't have to wait long for the answers!


You can find out more about C.M. Skiera on:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Chapter Two Commentary

Commentary from The Dragon Gem Chapter 2 - Counts and Contracts


-This chapter introduces Galius Firmon, the count that employed Korin to find a stolen gem.  Originally, he was going to play a much larger role as a villain when I still thought of Korin's Journal as a series of novellas. His reason for wanting his stolen gem returned so badly was because he planned to use it to blackmail the dragons into helping him take rule over the entire kingdom. In this version of the story, dragons were not banished, but were an endangered species who Galius assumed would do anything for the gem.  Not only did I make major changes when the idea for a trilogy coalesced, but I though that the story was a bit weak.

-Two details foreshadow the gem's power that is revealed later on.  The first is that Galius, a completely detestable man, was elected to his position.  Despite Byweather being full of corrupt politicians, the fact that Galius, basically a whiny child in a man's body, was elected indicates that there is something else behind his position.  The second is that Galius's thugs leave him to work for a man with lower political rank.  Such an action would be unheard of in a city where money and power is everything.  Later on, these two events can be linked to Galius's loss of the gem.


-After the lighthearted feel of the first chapter(if a tavern brawl is lighthearted . . . ), I wanted to ensure with this chapter that the reader realizes just how much Korin has at risk.  Korin is not some super human.  He is vulnerable and the stakes he faces are high.

-Korin's nicknaming Galius's thugs Thug One and Thug Two is a not-so-subtle reference to Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat in the Hat :).

-If you find it strange that Korin can remember the details he does of his birth parents when he'd only seen them as an infant, you'll get your explanation at the end of The Forgotten King.

Okay, so I feel like there's a few more points I wanted to make, but given my mind isn't completely back to reality yet(just coming off a vacation), it's not coming to me.  Maybe they'll get thrown in with the next chapter.

As of now, I'm projecting a late Aug/early Sept release for The Dragon Gem 2nd Edition.  Afterwards, I plan on releasing a novelette in September that has some awesome things in the works for it.  I'll share more soon, I promise!  I'm really excited about it, though, and can't wait to share!

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there and to all the mothers who fill the same role!

Brian Beam

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Chapter One Commentary

Alright, I don't have a ton of time for this with my family vacation coming up tomorrow, so I'll pretty much do what I did in the last blog and post some little facts about the Dragon Gem, this time pertaining to Chapter 1: Come on, It's Only a Game.

  • I wanted to start the book out with a little action to draw the reader in, but also give the reader a good feel for Korin in the first few pages.  Korin's obviously the hero, good, but flawed.  I wanted that to come across naturally by putting him in a dangerous situation (Nothing pulls out a character's personality more than great loss or danger in my little ol' opinion).
  • Korin was also the name of one of the protagonists of my first novel(the unfinished The Secret of the Kolari: Book One of the Broken Cycle Saga).  He had a twin in that novel.  Korin was planned to die at the end of the first book after appearing to be the good guy and his twin, Kris, the bad guy.  I guess I used to have a little George R.R. Martin in me . . . on a much smaller scale.
  • The story begins in the city of Geeron, the same name as the village that The Secret of the Kolari started with.
  • Brennor was originally intended to be a recurring character, almost as comic relief.  He was going to show up through the book several times, bumbling his attempts to retrieve the gem back from Korin.  I quickly scrapped that idea; it was a bit sitcom-y and though I try to put a decent amount of humor in the book, I thought it was going a bit far.  Therefore he only makes one more appearance, albeit in a more realistic and logical fashion.
  • At first, the chapter was written with Korin chasing after the black-cloaked gem thief, chapter 2 consisting of a chase through the city.  I scrapped it in order to move into the story a little quicker.  I felt that two major action pieces in the very beginning with no plot progression would make this a Michael Bay movie . . . er, would lose the reader's attention.
This chapter was a lot of fun to write, and with it under my belt in the 2nd ed., I really like how it flows (the 2nd ed. version can be found here.   I'm nearly a fourth of the way through the 2nd edition edit/rewrite now, so progress is being made, even if slowly.  I also have a new project that I'll be releasing later this year which I'll be announcing very soon.

Hope you've enjoyed these little tidbits, and if not, here's a cute picture of my son to make up for it :)

"Daddy says buy The Forgotten King!"
Note: Jonas never actually said this, but feel free to imagine he did.

Brian Beam

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Behind the Scenes

Working on the 2nd Edition of The Dragon Gem(a much slower process than anticipated), I have realized that it could be fun to talk a little about the chapters as I make my way through them-a commentary, if you will.  My favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, has done this with nearly all of his books, giving insight into his writing and providing a little behind the scenes information about the story.  So, starting next week, I'll start doing this for each chapter, posting a couple chapters worth of commentary each week. 

To kick things off, I'd like to list a couple general facts about The Dragon Gem(well, really the Korin's Journal trilogy as a whole)

* The series was originally going to be a series of novellas, each one focused on the individual Activated Contracts Korin takes on as he travels.  Each would add a piece to a larger story, while allowing for pretty much as many smaller stories as I wished to write.  However, just a couple chapters into the first book, something bigger took shape in my mind and inspired me to shift to an epic trilogy.  Trust me, it's better this way.

* The name of the land that the Dragon Gem takes place in, Amirand, is a not so subtle nod to my wife, Miranda :).

*  I actually prefer not to write in first person, but Korin's character was just begging to be expressed in such a perspective.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Now, back to editing/rewriting/revising The Dragon Gem(Now 20% complete)!  

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Dragon Gem 2nd Ed . . . A Work In Progress

Well, I've gotten the edit/partial rewrite of The Dragon Gem up to 13% over the weekend.  That may just be a result of my wife and son being on a trip to our home state to visit family.  A pesky little thing called work has kept me rooted here at home.  Apparently teaching would have been a better field to go into, a point that I will continue to have driven into my mind over the next three months of my wife's summer break.

Back to The Dragon Gem.  So one thing I'm trying to do with this edit is decrease the chapter length.  Case in point, I'm up to Chapter 7 which actually begins with the original book's Chapter 4 midpoint.  Did that make any sense?  I'm tired enough to not be able to tell.  The point is, I've added 3 chapters to the book's total and I'm only 13% in.  I believe this version will flow much better with this change.

This will be the only book I ever do this with.  Being the first book I ever released, I was a tad naive and a little careless(or a lot naive and ridiculously careless).   Again, this will be a free update for anyone who has already downloaded The Dragon Gem, so it's not some underhanded way to try to get people to buy my book twice.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  As for me, back to editing!

Brian Beam

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Forgotten King is Here!!!

So, after over a year of blood, sweat, and tears, The Forgotten King's finally released for Kindle.

Okay, so I'm being a little overdramatic.  There was no blood, sweat, or tears.  Well, there was almost tears twice: once when writing a certain part, and once when editing it.  Oh, and I guess there was some sweat when I thought up a lot of the story when jogging . . .

But I digress.

The Forgotten King grew much bigger than I'd anticipated, which is part of the reason it took me a little longer to get it out.  I am incredibly proud of it though, and hope that any of you who read it have a great time experiencing Korin's next adventure.  There's tons of people I'd like to thank for helping to make this possible, but I'm too tired right now to even try to list them without forgetting someone.  You likely know who you are.  A general thank you to everyone who read The Dragon Gem, however.  You've made this journey more than worth it.  I can't begin to express my gratitude for your support.

Alrighty, so my next step is getting the book on Smashwords this weekend, and in print through CreateSpace within the next couple of weeks.  Now, you may notice that there won't be much marketing done for this book, and I am keeping it that way deliberately for now.  As you may have read on here, my next project is a massive revision of The Dragon Gem.  I'm not changing anything story wise, but I'm going to bring it to a much higher level of quality so it can stand proudly next to The Forgotten King.  Also, I have some awesome new cover art for it(which has been posted on here not too long ago).  I plan on having The Dragon Gem 2nd ed. out by the end of the summer.  And then, with the definitive versions of both books completed, I will tout the heck out of The Forgotten King.  Think of its release today as an advance release for previous readers of The Dragon Gem.

And then, I'll be getting out a little book of short stories, and will start the final volume of Korin's Journal towards the end of the year.  I've got some big plans for it.  At some point towards the end of the year, a couple other projects may pop up on my nifty progress bars on the right side of the screen here.

Again, thank you to everyone involved in making The Forgotten King a reality.  If you're reading this, you're probably one of them.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart(you probably deserve better than that cliche . . . I'm sorry).

So check out The Forgotten King!  213K + words for the low price of $4.99!  That's like . . . an incredibly small decimal amount per word that my caculator won't compute for me.  

You can pick it up on Amazon!

Plus, a certain someone has big plans for his share of the profits . . .

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just a quick update

So, for the past two weeks I have skipped putting up a book review on here.  I also probably won't be putting up preview chapters for the next two Fridays either.  Yes, I know it's lazy, but getting the Forgotten King ready for its May 10 release has taken a bit more time than I'd planned, so the next couple weeks will be 100% focused on it.

In addition, I just realized that the deadline for the Reader's Favorite Book Contest which I entered The Dragon Gem in last year is coming up on May 1st.  Since I had planned on entering this year, I really need to get the manuscript ready before then.  Thankfully, they will take it in manuscript format(Word, PDF, etc.) and not necessarily the finished ebook or printed book.

Anyway, just wanted to get that update out there.  Once I get the book out, I'll be diving into the 2nd edition of The Dragon Gem.

Hope all are doing well!

Brian Beam

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Reviews: Joe Cafe

Sunday Reviews Week 9

 Joe Cafe

Joe Cafe surprised me on so many levels, in a good way.

A grisly murder at Joe Cafe shakes up an otherwise quiet town.  We meet Michael, the police officer investigating the murder, the task sending him into a downward spiral that makes him question his life, and possibly his sanity.  The story also follows the murderer and his hostage, Sara, who gives him his first reason to consider changing his ways.  To round out the story, we have Dogan, wanting Sara back and enlisting the mob to help him do so.

Yeah, it all seems a bit crazy. And it is.  And it's incredibly fun.  Dark, gritty, and violent, but fun.

JD Mader is a master of delving into the minds of his characters, each one unique and full of inner torment. The characterization takes the forefront in Joe Cafe, though the common story between the characters will pull you along this twisted journey, making it hard to put down. What appears to be a typical crime drama or mystery in the first chapters quickly turns into something much more.

Following these characters as they are thrust into a situation that makes them question everything they've done and everything they are makes this an enjoyable read from beginning to end. You never quite know where JD Mader is going to take you in Joe Cafe, but you can be sure it is somewhere dark and twisted in the minds of this book's varied cast.

I 100% recommend Joe Cafe (unless you can't stomach a fair bit of language, violence, and a writing style that pulls no punches.) 


Joe cafe is available on Amazon.

Find out more about J.D. Mader:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Dragon Gem 2nd Ed. Cover Art Reveal

So, even though the 2nd ed. of the Dragon Gem is a few months off(I'm hoping June/July-ish), here's the new cover that will accompany the re-edited book.  Again, when I do release the 2nd ed. this summer, it will be as an update as opposed to a re-release so that anyone who has purchased the ebook will be able to download the updated version for free(after Amazon decides to make the update available at least . . . )

Oh, and another shout out to the wonderfully talented Janette Ramos for the beautiful covers for both this and for The Forgotten King! Give her webpage and DeviantArt profile and check out some of her great artwork!

So, what does everyone think?  

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Brian Beam

Friday Preview: Chapter 3 of The Forgotten King

Well, here I am late with this again.  This may need to change to Saturday Preview . . . anyways, here's Chapter 3 of The Forgotten King: Book Two of Korin's Journal.  This chapter, along with a couple others in the first third of the book is written from a different P.O.V.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Reviews: The Cascade Annihilator

Sunday Reviews Week 8

The Cascade Annihilator

Chris James has once again created an exciting sci-fi adventure in his follow-up to The Dimension Researcher.  The story picks up shortly after the Dimension Researcher ends with Lucas Hunter back in action with The Second Internet Cafe, travelling to alternate realities and researching how the world could have been if certain events from the past had played out differently.  The only problem is that his old "pal" Dietrich is starting appear once again.  This time, however, Dietrich claims to have a device that threatens Lucas's home reality/universe.

In the meantime, the threat that Dietrich poses has the rest of the world wanting the Second Internet Cafe shut down for good.

Part of the story focuses on Lucas as he tries to save the world from Dietrich's threat.  We are also treated to a set of new characters who are struggling to keep the Second Internet Cafe.  This is all going on with the looming threat of a military strike on Europe for their activities with dimension research.

Chris James further proves his talent for writing a complex yet entertaining story with great characters and unique ideas. I love the alternate realities James creates, and his strong grasp on history helps make those realities come to life realistically.  One of my favorite new characters is Paula, a woman with an amazing ability(I don't want to give it away here.)

The Cascade Annihilator starts with a bang(almost literally) and doesn't let up until the last page and still leaves you wanting more.  If you haven't read The Dimension Researcher, you may want to start there, but both are incredible books with unique concepts and thought-provoking plots.  Well done, Mr. James!


The Cascade Annihilator is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Find out more about Chris James at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Preview: Chapter 3 of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed

Here's Chapter 3 of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed.  This, along with the 2nd ed. Chapter 2 used to be one chapter.  I'm wanting to split up/pare down some of the longer chapters to keep things flowing a bit more smoothly.  Enjoy!

TDG Chap 3

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Reviews: Twisted Souls

Sunday Reviews Week 7

 Twisted Souls

Twisted Souls is an amazing supernatural/suspense/mystery by N. Lee Parish that reeled me in from the beginning and didn't want to let go.

The story starts with a man named Adam on his way to meet his brother and sister to settle up on how to take care of their recently deceased mother's estate.  However, on the way to meet them, Adam finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings on a road he's been down many times before.  Thinking himself lost, Adam pulls down a road leading to a town called Appelton. Appelton, as the book's blurb states, is "A town that Adam would soon discover he couldn't leave.  Ever." 

Now, I don't want to give away any of the brilliantly crafted plot, so I'm going to have to just leave it at that and just say that the trip into Appelton is definitely worth your time.  The atmosphere of Twisted Souls draws you in and traps you in much the same way that Appelton does to Adam.  The town is full of intriguing characters, each a little spooky in their own right.  The town itself is its own character, full of mystery, charm, and good old fashioned creepiness. 

Honestly, at first I thought I knew exactly where Twisted Souls was going, only to have the rug pulled from under me a half dozen times or so.  The mystery builds, layer upon layer, leaving you wondering what is real and what isn't.  Are the townsfolk of Appelton benevolent or sinister?  Why was Adam drawn to Appelton?  Will he ever escape, or is his fate tied in with the mysterious town?

N. Lee Parish has really created a unique story with Twisted Souls, one full of interesting characters and unexpected plot twists.  This is a fairly short novel, and given you won't want to put it down, you'll find yourself at the end before you know it, wishing you could have spent a little more time in Appelton. 


Twisted Souls can be purchased at Amazon.

Find out more about N. Lee Parish at: