Gay Characters in Fantasy

When I wrote the character of Morefield I had in mind the stereotypical Victorian British officer full of arrogance and self entitlement. I had not planned for him to be gay until I wrote his first scene and it just came out that way. I remember drawing a deep breath after writing that scene; I wondered if it was okay to have a gay bad guy. I was worried that this aspect of his character was so unplanned.

I reflected that his sexuality would actually seed a depth to his character. This came out later when we start to get hints of the abuse he suffered. His driving motivation is to be free to be himself, and to do that, he feels he needs the crown. I began to wonder if there could be a redemption for him.

In book 1 I write that ‘any abused dog will grow surly’. One theme that is important to me in all my books (published and unpublished) is that people, like dogs, can be healed with love… usually.

When my gay neighbors got married, I was overjoyed for them. It was like the jackboots had finally been lifted from their necks, and I probably embarrassed them by getting them such a big wedding present.

The idea of the jackboots being withdrawn made me think about what would happen to Morefield if he found acceptance, could he be redeemed…

Morefield and Ryandal

A look at the Reviews…

I read every review as they come in, and it has been very useful. People have been very generous and I have had a lot of feedback that has been vital in improving my work. One reviewer told me about an issue with the formatting of the paperback, so I corrected it. Another review told me about typos and grammar mistakes so I did a proofread and corrected almost 300 errors.

My Book 2 beta readers have helped re-form the overall plot, they also firmed up some plot elements. I had worried about introducing magical creatures, but reactions to dwarves, dragons have been positive. Book 3 “The Dragons Awake” magnifies everything, so I will be watching Book 2 reviews closely.

BOOK TWO – “In the Hall of the Ancients” is available for preorder

https://amzn.to/3yIMypG

The planned 5 book series may expand

I am still trying to cram all the scenes into 5 books, but book 3 is shaping up to be massive. It has 3 times the number of scenes as book 2. That would be okay if I were G.R.R. Martin and people were willing to pay $25 for the printed books.

There are some parts which could make associated novellas, but I am anxious to get book 3 out as soon as possible. i.e. this year. My goal is November.

Sales of book 1 are beginning to gain momentum, which means I can use those funds to pay for a professional proof read for both book 1 and book 2. Book 1 sorely needed it.

The numbers and types of magical creatures featuring in Book 3 is much expanded; demons, vampires, dragons, zombies, pixies, elves and dwarves. We are also introduced the realm of the beast: Hades.

DEMON!

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Book 2 – Milestone – Call for volunteers

That’s it! I have shipped the book to the editors. I want to thank my beta readers. Book 3 is well under way.

Would you like to help?

I need volunteers to get an early release (in pdf format) and provide me with an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads, in return I would offer :

  1. the audible version of book 1 (hopefully available in June),
  2. the official ebook version once published
  3. the audible version of book 2 when that is available
  4. if I ever sell a million you can have a signed first edition (but don’t hold your dragon’s breath)

How to volunteer…

Please just email me at author@abathgate.com with the subject “Stritz! Count me in!” or if you’re offended by Stritz then just “Gosh! Count me in!”

There are dragons. Big dragons. Fire breathing dragons. Stritz! I love dragons.

Reading Game of Thrones

I read game of thrones before HBO announced they were going to make a series of it. I am not sure what attracted me to it initially.

For me, it was a hard read, especially at the beginning, because there were so many introductions to characters and very slow plot development. This is not bad writing, it’s just that I am a bad reader. I had difficulty keeping all the characters straight in my head. It was not until I saw the TV series that it all made sense.

For me the plot itself was a 1 book deal. There were just a LOT of diversions from the main plot… which was [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] basically there is a zombie army coming we better build an army to defeat it.

I love and miss the characters though…

My Favorite GoT character

Does God Exist

“You will be able to go in the forecastle, the captain’s cabin, and the study,” said Violet.

            Sam felt a surge of excitement.  These had all been forbidden areas.  On their previous travels Violet had often retreated to these areas and locked Sam and Rose out leaving them to burn with curiosity.

            “The Drasti has many secrets, and I will show some of them to you,” said Violet.  “Come, follow me.”

            Sam walked dutifully behind Violet as she opened the door to the forecastle cabin.  Violet paused to indicate to Aravand that he should wait outside.

            On entering Sam was a little disappointed.  The room did not look like anything special.  There was a desk, a bunk and some stairs.  He was confused about the stairs because he could not remember seeing corresponding stairs on the gun deck below.

            “I see you’ve spotted the first little surprise, the stairs,” said Violet. “Let’s go down and see what’s there shall we?”

            Sam followed her as she descended.  They arrived at a deck that was not the gun deck, nor the tween deck, nor the hold.  Sam was very confused.  “This is not possible.”

            Violet wore a sad smile.  “This is the library.  Every book you will ever need is here.”

            Sam was breathless. “This is impossible, this deck is … it’s longer than the Drasti.  Did the icor build this for you?”

            “Not exactly, it was the singularity that built it,” Violet said dismissively.

            Sam sighed. “Listen, this does not make sense.”

            “What doesn’t make sense?” asked Violet.

            “Nothing makes sense: the singularity, the icor, Yuang, Siva, Hedon… I just don’t understand any of it.  Is the icor, the goddess?”

            “The singularity is a perfect intelligence, it knows all, it is god-like.  It ascended to a level intelligence so advanced that humans could not interface with it, so I used the icor to create manifestations that could ask the singularity questions.”

            “Like what?”

            Violet let out a long noisy breath. “Well, the first question I asked was whether God existed.”

            Sam’s confusion deepened.  “Which god?”

            “Many of the ancients used to believe there was only one God.  A God that created everything, and was all powerful, all knowing and perfectly good, and all other gods were imaginings.”

            “Wow, and this God was male?” asked Sam.

            Violet chuckled.  “I know it is hard for you to think that could be true having been brought up with a female goddess.”

            “A male God makes no sense,” said Sam emphatically. “How can a male God give birth to the universe, and nurture us into being conscious?”

            Violet shook here head. “I think assigning gender to the divine is an absurdly human thing to do.”

            “What did the singularity answer?”

            Violet’s eyes lost focus for a moment as she was lost in memory.  “It said there was a God.”

            Sam’s mouth dropped open.

            “Then when my friend Ethan asked the same question, the singularity said there was no God,” Violet added.

            Sam’s mouth closed.  “Well, that’s impossible. Either God exists or does not exist, right?”

            “Well, me and Ethan had different definitions of God.  That’s the real problem when we ask spiritual questions, we lack a spiritual dictionary.  All our spiritual definitions are subjective.”

Sam was frustrated.  “And if an all-powerful God exists then he sure isn’t doing a good job looking after the world.”

            Violet chuckled a little.  “I asked it, how can God be good if He allows so much suffering in the world, and it told me that we don’t understand God’s nature, and that we are trying to judge God as if God were a man.  God is not a man.  If a man kills a child, then that is an evil man, but if a lion kills a child, then it is just acting in its nature.  How are we to judge God when it is impossible for us to understand God’s nature.”

            “So where does Yuang, Siva and Hedon fit in?”

            Violet opened her palm and produced some icor, it changed from white to blue, to red, to purple, to green.  “Icor is like trillions of little minds and they form opinions on the most important question of all… what is God’s purpose.  Siva believes that suffering is the most powerful experience therefore it is the primary purpose for humanity.  Hedon believes that as humanity strives to minimize suffering and maximize pleasure that means that pleasure is humanity’s purpose.  Yuang believes that all the facets of experience are supposed to exist in balance.  The real question is, what do you believe?”

            Sam shrugged. “I haven’t the foggiest.”

Laumas mixes Siva and Hedon

Siva, Hedon and Yuang all have very different views of humanity’s purpose. Siva’s icor is red, Hedon’s is blue and Yuang’s is white.

Yuang is supposed to reflect all icor working in unity, but red and blue mixed make purple… so Yuang is something else. (This will all make much more sense if you read the Icor Tales)

I am imaging a moment where Laumas mixes Siva and Hedon and discovers he does not get white icor, but he gets purple … which is something else.

Laumas mixes Siva and Hedon

The Beast is Coming

There is a big beast. A final showdown. There is plenty of foreshadowing at the start of book 2.

Excerpt:

“Tell me about your dream,” said Violet and pulled her chair closer to him.

Sam hesitated. “No one likes hearing about other people’s dreams,” said Sam.

Violet looked profoundly serious.  “Dreams can be important. Indulge me.”

“Fine,” said Sam shrugging his shoulders. “There was some creature, a hundred strides high and two hundred strides long.  It was descending down a long valley, devouring entire towns.  It was impervious to spears, swords, cannon and wizards fire, and behind it… were all manner of smaller monsters: trolls, demons, vampires.  I stood next to a hundred men, all wizards, sending huge waves of fire at it, but didn’t even singe it.  It felt like it was going to eat the whole world.”

Violet looked concerned.

“It was just a dream,” said Sam, again shrugging his shoulders.

The Beast

Black Character in Fantasy – Part 2

Here is how Arden is introduced in the yet to be released Book 2 of the Icor Tales : “In the Hall of the Ancients”

BIG IMPRESSION

Abokir Bay

Arden

            Arden felt the gazes of the denizens of Abokir port as he disembarked from the clipper.  He knew he always made an impression on people.  He would never be unnoticed; he was almost two strides high and had black skin, which was a rarity on the Ceniac Island.  His gold trimmed white malgam metal armor also made a big impression.  He had adopted what some might call a big personality to accompany the big impression he made.  He always greeted people with a broad smile.  He drank heavily and sang loudly, so that no one would ever suspect that his mission was covert.

            Abokir was not the bustling port he had encountered on his previous visit, as a child, when he had accompanied his master, Netsem.  Netsem had been summoned by Bestich, and had never returned.  Arden learned that Bestich had harvested Netsem’s magic.  That memory made his return to Abokir poignant.  He could feel the icor chamber around his neck; a gift from Netsem.

            He scanned the street until he saw a building with a picture of a mug of ale above a bed. “Ah!” he exclaimed.  He rubbed his hands together and strode purposefully towards the inn.

            The inn was a beautiful example of a northern drinking establishment.  As Arden entered he noted the impacted stone floors sloped down from the bar towards the entrance so that it could be easily sluiced. There were not many customers inside.  Times were hard.  He saw them eye him up as he entered, just as he eyed them up.  None of them looked particularly threatening, so he walked to the bar.

            There were three barrels on a ledge behind the barkeep; two were tapped quarter casks and the third was an untapped firkin. “Tap me that rundlet barkeep.  I’ll take it to a table, along with some mutton and you can rustle me up some girls.”

            The barkeep seemed like he was about to object until Arden placed three gold coins on the bar. “Are there no musicians in town!” he shouted.

            A few hours later the drinking establishment was lively.  Musicians were playing, men were drinking from Arden’s barrel, and he had girls on either side of him.  Arden knew he was making the impression he needed to make.  He sang songs loudly and out of tune, he paid the girls without taking their services.  Finally, when dawn was peaking through the windows, he threw a gold piece at the barkeep, bade farewell in a slurred manner.  Everyone wished him well, and he left.

            The walk out of town was not arduous despite his affected stagger.  He could sense he was being followed and he tried not to smile.  The edge of town was marked by the start of dense woods with a small path that he knew led up the peninsular.

            A hundred yards past the edge of town he three men step out and block the path.  He looked behind him and saw three more men.

            Every town has them.  This town is about to have six less.

             “Just hand over the purse stranger,” said one of the man ahead.

            “My name is Arden,” he said without slurring.  “You would not be thieves would you? Heisters, muggers, bandits, robbers, goons and purloiners of purses fat and scrawny.”

            One of the men behind him snickered.  “Let’s just kill him.  I want that armor, looks expensive.”

            “Kill me?” said Arden, as if he was offended by the idea.  “Have I not given you beer all evening.  Poured gold into your town and given you a much-needed break.  That bar was hopping with people having a good time.”

            One of the men in front of Arden had a crossbow, the others had short swords drawn.  Arden saw the man aim the crossbow at his head and fire.

            The bolt was headed right between his eyes but bounced off the icor shield.  Arden threw back his leather cape and drew his long sword.  With one lunge and a swipe it cut the heads off those in front him and then he turned to those behind.  Two of them attacked and were sliced in half before they could get their swords in range.  The last attacker was running back towards town when the point of a dagger emerged from his throat.

            Arden walked over and retrieved the dagger he had thrown.

            “For you, my master,” said Arden.  He wiped the blood from the dagger, paused to taste it, then returned it to its sheath.  A blue light flickered in his eyes.

Black characters in fantasy

I saw a painting and it inspired a new character in my Icor Series…. and its a big character. In book 1 race is never mentioned, and I feel I might be stepping on a landmine by introducing people of color. If they are good characters then I could be accused of pandering, if they are bad then I could be accused of racism… I have gone with grey, which, of course, will be interpreted in the eye of the beholder.

What an awesome character- Artist is Randy Vargas 

I talked to the artist about commissioning some work for future novels, but he is really busy and I suspect he is out of my budget, considering my budget does not exist.

All my reviews are FIVE stars but …

I have 21 five star reviews, but my rating is 4.7 out of 5. The reason for that is that the system does not give old ratings as high a value as new ratings, so despite the fact that my first review was a five star, it is being counted as a 4 star.

I am very happy to see that so many reviews are global.

I NEED MORE GOOD REVIEWS!

Audiobook Sample – Chapter 1

Click the link to listen to the audio book version of chapter 1 of They Came By Night. The audiobook should be released next month.

Arden – A Character from Book 2

Arden: I saw this picture on the interwebs and decided to write a character around him because he just looks so COOL. IMHO

Freebie!

The audible version of They Came by Night is almost complete, and I am offering a free copy to the first 10 people who email me at author@abathgate.com with the subject “Yes I’d like a free audible copy”. You must also have signed up for the newsletter. Sign up below

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Tweaking the Cover for Book 2

I really appreciate the feedback and have responded by tweaking the front cover of Book 2 of the Icor Tales “In the Hall of the Ancients”

Update

  1. Book 2 – “In the Hall of the ancients” : I finished the first draft and I am currently doing the first rewrite.
  2. When the rewrite is done I’ll send it to editors.
  3. Then I will be adding maps and correcting typos and grammar mistakes in “They Came by Night”. It will be updated.
  4. “They Came by Night got 10 reviews, all good so far… I understand that negative reviews will eventually come, especially if I don’t fix the typos soon.

BOOK 2 Has two new types of Robots

Jarm (with 3D printer in it)
Jarp – Maintains the pods of the Ancients