How You Say What You Say

Dialogue doesn’t just reveal a character; it reveals their world.

Dragons of the Ashfall takes place in a steampunk world of gears and coal. I wanted the vocabulary the characters used to reflect the setting, so I invented a number of idioms. “I’ll be out in a gear’s turn,” means the person will be out of the bathroom quickly, for instance. In context, you can figure that out, but the words themselves also reveal the world they live in.

Now, I could come up with a number of turns of phrase that fit that setting, but they all hinged on coal and gears when I tried. What that meant was I started getting relatively repetitive, and no one wants that. So what’s a writer to do?

Were you aware that most writers need to do research, even when they’re creating fictional worlds?

Continue reading “How You Say What You Say”

Dragons of the Ashfall

It wasn’t always a novel.

Once it was a short story. One of the first that was published that bore my name. It premiered in Wings of Change. Its title: “A Dragon Bigger than My Stories.”

It was about a girl in a clockwork city. She was ground down. She longed for solitude.

And then she found a dragon egg.

The girl’s name was Manda. She fed her dragon stories. He grew until they could finally leave the city of coal and smoke… until a threat meant that Manda sacrificed herself to save everyone else. Because that’s what heroes do.

Ah, but I loved that setting. Manda’s story was done. There was no more to tell about her.

But that setting…

So I went back and reread what had been published. And I read it again. What other stories did these characters hide? What stood around the corner from their orphanage or the grindery? What would come of their city after Manda’s sacrifice?

And so a novel was born.

Oops. Sorry. I was wrong.

And so four novels were born.

Monday you can preorder the ebook of Dragons of the Ashfall, the first book of The War of Leaves and Scales. What happens to a clockwork city after the clockwork stops? What happens when a people worn down by gears discover that there are dragons?

And do the orphans left behind matter at all?

I’ll be sharing more about the creation of this novel and continue talking about the writing process, but for now, I just wanted to talk just a little bit about what’s coming. Thanks for your patience and your interest. And remember, you can preorder the ebook Monday. The physical book will be available for order on December 1!

Publish or Perish

Publish or perish.

When you work in the academic world, thou shalt publish paper after paper to prove that thou art worthy of thine position. It’s not just the academic world, though.

When I was younger, I thought Stephen King was slightly insane. Most people I read, like Robert Jordan, produced maybe a novel a year. But then here comes Stephen King with how many books a year? Who can live at that pace?

Well, it looks like a lot of indie writers do. Not every single one, mind you. Every author needs to move at their own pace. But here’s a simple truth: Readers normally read far faster than writers can write. If you can write more than a novel a year, well, do it. Keep writing! Your fans will read what you produce and enjoy it!

And that’s what I’ve been learning. Over the last few years, I grasped a simple truth: Once you have a story out on submission somewhere, don’t wait to hear back about that story. Get working on the next one! If you’re rejected, fine, just send it out again quickly. Soon you’ll have a bunch of stories out at once, increasing your chances of getting published somewhere.

And now I’ve learned that it’s not just true of short stories. Why complete one novel and then wait for a publisher to bite? Why not get to work on the next one right away?

Continue reading “Publish or Perish”

The Least of Men

What happens when what is right and what is honorable clash?

Prince Badani longs to become a great man, a man of honor, a man who does right. In the desert sands of Parvia, as he trains under the wise, the cunning, and the warrior, Badani must learn for himself what it means to be a man. But he will need to learn quickly; the Patriarch of Lies is ready to strike.

Return to the world of the novel The Keeper of Tales with this stand-alone serial novel. Journey to a nation of honor and sword dancers and learn what it means to be the least of men. “The Least of Men” is available now on Kindle Vella.