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.


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