May 13th, 2010
Just last night I officially finished my 10th draft of Merlin’s Blade, and it is the best yet.
Not only have I removed a lot of passive verbs (thanks, Scott !), but I was able to improve the writing at many, many spots.
Chief among these was my prologue, which I have rewritten yet again. This time it didn’t need a total rewrite, but rather a lot of subtle changes to improve the mood, and also more strongly establish the character’s peculiar qualities.
Not only that, but I changed the prologues character from a young father in his late twenties to a young man of only fourteen.
In my former version, this character was never seen again, although his son was. Now he is the son himself, so you get to meet him later on in the book, only seventy years older.
So, take a look at my new prologue and let me know what you think!
When you finish that, I’ll let you in on a secret … you can read chapter 1 and chapter 2 here. Normally you have to sign up for our mailing list to read these, but seeing as they’ve been public on Authonomy, I thought I’d make it available here.
Still, signing up for the mailing list is encouraged!
Also, I have abandoned Authonomy.com as a way to get noticed by Christian publishers. The amount of effort is incredible, as it is a "scratch each other’s back" system and your rank is only marginally related to your novel’s quality.
The other problem with Authonomy is that, despite the claims, I have seen no evidence that the Christian publishers are looking at the Christian section of the website.
If they had, and had done so like the secular portion of the site (removing the top 5 to the editors desk each month), then my rank would have gotten to within 3 spots of the top five … and I might have persevered. But alas, this did not happen, and I don’t know that it ever will.
I do owe some people reads before I remove my novel, and I will do that shortly.
Where do I go from here? That depends on what happens with a few queries and proposals I have sent out.
I am waiting to hear back from two agents and one publisher, so we’ll see. Most likely I’ll start working on book two, MERLIN’S SHADOW, once again, but who knows?
There’s even a slim chance I’ll start working on an entirely new series of novels .
I’ll keep you posted.
May 12th, 2010
There’s been a lot of changes over here at EpicTales!
- We moved all of our websites to a new hosting company. The old one was no longer supporting us properly.
- My blog has been updated with a new design and new graphics. I hope you like it!
- My daughter, Adele, has moved her blog to www.OriginalRobinHood.com … go check it out!
- My son’s blog has been moved to www.SlyGames.net … in preparation for his futue release of Wolf’s Bard—The Game.
- My daughter, Ness, has a new look to her blog, although we might change it again since the font is so small and the link to add comments is missing!
Thanks for your patience during this messy transition!
April 28th, 2010
Sorry folks for my late start … my website was down all of Monday and most of today due to technical issues.
To be sure, the beginning and the ending of the novel hearkens to book two with its action, villains, and beastmen, but the larger middle reminds me much of book one with its careful presentation of the faults and failures of a society teetering on collapse.
Book one dealt with the fall of House Abascar and King Cal-Marcus. This novel deals with House Bel-Amica and Queen Thesera. The first kingdom appeared prosperous, solid, and likely to last forever, but it fell—with a tumultuous crash that shook the expanse.
For the second house—well, to not give away the ending—let’s just say that all the right ingredients are present for it to degenerate, nay mutate, into a nightmare. As if it isn’t one already.
In each of these houses we see echoes of our own western society—the focus on self-fulfillment, youth, power, fads, and luxury. And this is the chief danger, the primary tool that the seers use to entrap the citizens and the royalty.
While book two is filled with horrific, physical danger at the hands of beastmen, book three has the subtler, serpentine danger of the temptation to forget one’s calling, one’s history, and go with the flow, stop caring, and give in.
And the young King Cal-Raven is right at the vortex. Undertaking a mission given by the Keeper, he sees a glorious vision of his house’s future, but then loses all—beginning with his boot. Taken as a slave to House Bel-Amica, he must face his doubts, his temptations, his failures, and his past to help those who need help the most, including his lost and enslaved mother.
And in the process Cal-Raven uncovers the greatest secret of his enemies, the seers, setting up the next novel—with yet more secrets to reveal, and a climactic finish.
That is, of course, unless Jeffrey has another novel up his sleeve (rubs hands together hopefully, hee-hee).
If you love fantasy novels, then this series, including Raven’s Ladder, is worthy of your highest attention. Written with a non-intrusive lyrical quality using careful attention to craft, Jeffrey Overstreet has created a series of first-rate novels you will thoroughly enjoy.
The other members of the CSFF Blog Tour:
April 2nd, 2010
At least for me … as I didn’t make it to the quarterfinals. But I did get some free reviews of my novel, and for that you would think I’d be glad. The problem is that there’s nothing helpful in the reviews … no real action points that I can run with.
Now, mind you, the first one was very encouraging (thanks!), but the second one seems to have been written by someone who stopped reading after about 12 paragraphs.
“This excerpt seems to be targeted towards young male readers, with its opening scene of the slaughter of the deer.”
They must not have read the romance in Chapter 2 is all I can say!
Also, this scene is actually a premonition of what is about to happen to the hunter … and all of Britain! So it has a definite place in the novel and is there for a purpose.
It is also historically accurate in the sense that people did hunt back then. I know it’s hard to believe that grocery stores and Starbucks didn’t exist in the 5th century, but really … they didn’t.
As well, I’m actually quite reserved about how I describe the death and cleaning of the deer … nothing gratuitous at all, as you can read in my online excerpt.
On the good news side, Pete Peterson (yay!) moved on to the quarterfinals with his excellent book, Fiddler’s Gun! Go Pete! Go Pete! Go Pete! (say it with me now…)
Anyway, here are my reviews, for what it’s worth:
March 30th, 2010
We just released our first album, GREENWOOD GONE, and it’s now available for digital download at our first store, DigStation. Physical CD’s will be available next week for purchase at CDBaby.com, and twenty other online stores will soon have it for sale, including Amazon and iTunes.
Here’s the album description:
Traditional Scottish and Irish music with a touch of pop—Gaelic sean-nos style songs and Celtic Robin Hood ballads blend with bodhran, tinwhistle, harp, bagpipe, fiddle, keyboard, and mandolin.
Wren Song is a Celtic family band focused on the renowned Gaelic world of traditional Scottish & Irish music.
We hope you find the roots of the past as interesting as we do. If so, we’re sure you will enjoy our unique selection of songs, some of which are based on the almost unknown Celtic tradition of Robin Hood—the following possibly played & sung for the first time in hundreds of years:
- King Robin (Robin Y Righ)
- We’ll Go to the Wood (Imigh Gys Y Coille)
- I Hunt the Wren (Shelg Mi An Dreathan), and
- Shaunnie o’ Braidalaw have all been resurrected from dormant Robin Hood folklore.
Adele’s belief is that the wren-hunting rituals of Celtic Britain stem from feats of rescue by Robin Hood in the forests of a misty time not yet past recall. The Shaunnie o’ Braidalaw ballad, reconstructed by Adele, is actually a part of this story because the person rescued in it was Little John. Perhaps through our music you too, like Robin Hood and Little John, may be “to the greenwood gone.”
A special thanks to Tony Wait “Clement of the Glen” for the use of his spectacular photo of the greenwood at Burnham Beeches, England.
Album photo copyright © 2010 Tony Wait. All Rights Reserved.
All other content copyright © 2010 Epic Tales Press. All Rights Reserved.
Lyrics and liner notes for Greenwood Gone may be found at www.WrenSong.org (but a lot of this we are still filling out, thanks for your patience).
March 30th, 2010
LB Graham has released BEYOND THE SUMMERLAND for 99 cents!
This is the first book in his epic fantasy The Binding of The Blade series).
And what if paying a buck is just too much? Well … then you can get it for free at P&R Press’s website!
Help LB introduce BEYOND THE SUMMERLAND to a whole new world of readers. Spread the word!
February 28th, 2010
First of all, I announce to you that THE SONG OF ALBION will be re-released by Thomas Nelson in hardcover on August 31st!
This is fantastic news for what I consider one of Lawhead’s greatest fantasy series, and one of the best I have ever read. It has been available in softcover, but now you can get a hardcover keeper for your bookshelf.
And August 31st, 2010 will be special for one other reason…!
Stephen Lawhead’s breath-taking new fantasy, THE SKIN MAP is now available for PRE-ORDER!
Yes, that’s right, Bright Empires Book 1 is right around the corner! Not only, but the new cover is displayed to the left, and the description for the book is as follows:
“He had a sensation of being told a secret he knew to be true, but which would be far, far easier–and much safer–to ignore; all the more so since he strongly suspected that acknowledging the truth meant his life would change utterly.”
Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story–the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.
But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.
Enter the ultimate treasure hunt–with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.
Okay. You may now commence drooling.
February 25th, 2010
By God’s grace, MERLIN’S BLADE MADE IT! It is now one of the 1,000 Young Adult novels selected to go on to the next round.
Keep in mind, however, that this judgment was only based on my pitch, and not the book itself. Now Amazon Editors will read my first three chapters and decide which 250 get to move on to the next round, which begins March 23rd.
Two other compatriots also made it:
If anyone else I know made it, let me know and I’ll add you to the list!
Also, my Authonomy.com ranking has climbed during the last 3 days from around the mid-40s to the mid-20s. No, I am nowhere near the top 5 in the Christian section, but I’m a lot closer than I thought I would be! Maybe next month, or the month after that.