The Beast is Coming
There is a big beast. A final showdown. There is plenty of foreshadowing at the start of book 2.
“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.
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”
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.
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: I saw this picture on the interwebs and decided to write a character around him because he just looks so COOL. IMHO
Chapter 1 of In the Hall of the Ancients
Link to below… Feedback welcome firstname.lastname@example.org
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India Needs Help
A friend of mine is trying to buy an oxygen concentrator for a rural village in India. Chip in if you can.
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”
In the Halls of the Ancients – Cover Reveal
- Book 2 – “In the Hall of the ancients” : I finished the first draft and I am currently doing the first rewrite.
- When the rewrite is done I’ll send it to editors.
- Then I will be adding maps and correcting typos and grammar mistakes in “They Came by Night”. It will be updated.
- “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
Sam’s Character revealed by plot
People often talk about a character arc plotting the changes of a character because of what happens to them. I prefer to think of plot as not changing the character but revealing it.
We see Sam’s character when he is presented with the opportunity to join the pressers. He refuses because he knows his father, mother and siblings need him to tend the farm. Imagine a teenager presented with the offer of freedom, independence, and more importantly, the chance of getting a girl. Sam has to turn away from all of that to face a life under the thumb of his father, working the fields, and without any hope of meeting a girl. That is character. From day one he thinks of others and does what he thinks is right.
Of course, he changes: he loses his innocence, he sees battle, he sees death, and he is not a superhero. But these changes are really just the light shining on a different facet of his humanity. We need to see he is a human, not Captain Marvel. Death scares him. The idea that a horde of Northman want to kill him, makes him so scared he can barely get out of the privy. I like that glimpse of his humanity. But what is important is that he rises to the challenge. He does his duty. Scared to his bones but willing to fight as best he can.
Everything that happens to him reveals another facet of his character. He was always a hero, even when he was just bent over his father’s knee getting a spanking. Nothing changed but the light shone on him. To see a character we need the light of circumstance to shift so we see hidden facets glimmering. We see Sam when is powerless and when he is powerful. We see him tempted, hurt, experiencing sorrow and joy.
He seems incorruptible. There is a moment when he has done well, earned respect, he has status, but then he trips over his tongue when confronted with a beautiful girl, and he falls tearfully into his mother’s arms without any thought to how people will view his manliness for it. Of course, all humans are corruptible… but that’s more of a book 2 thing.
The big news is the first draft of book 2 is now complete
What I do now is take a couple of weeks away from writing before hitting the first rewrite. In those two weeks I need to do some artwork for maps, and for the cover. I also have two other books I am writing. These are non fantasy related but have been pulling my heartstrings for a while.
- The Hills of Orinda – Is a Romantic Comedy about a realtor in an affluent town in sunny California.
- Who writes the scripts – Is a dark dark mystery thriller which is a partly true story. It is a very uncomfortable read because it has scenes of violence, child abuse and murder.
Sales of “They Came by Night” have been up and down like crazy. I will need to spend some time working on promoting it.
I have been working with an actor on the audible for They Came by Night. It is coming along nicely and soon I will provide a sample on this very site.
So please sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t alread…
I just need more hours in the day.
Metamind, Siva and Yuang
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There are philosophical concepts which play out in the Icor tales.
The Metamind : I started thinking about this as a teenager and it has deeply influenced my philosophy and is the backbone of the Icor Tales. The concept is this. Our minds are made of neurons, each neuron in itself has a pitiful amount of information but when it is brought together into a subsystem network it becomes gestalt i.e. it is greater than the sum of its parts. It seems incredible that something as simple as neurons can create minds. In the 1980s I used to build neural nets as part of an anti missile missile guidance system and I was always shocked by how such a simple technique provided powerful results. What was even more interesting was when I combined neural nets to create nets of nets. The results were spectacular and I could not get my mind around how it worked. I used a system called MOPS (Memory organization packets) META-MOPS and TAUS (thematic activation units). My system could read a scientific paper and truly understand it such that you could ask it questions on it and it would respond intelligently or it could paraphrase it, simplify it an even find logical errors.
Human minds are recursive nets of nets, but what most people do not understand is that the physical and logical neural net does not end with the brain matter…
Imagine a man is sitting under a tree. The sun heats the air, that moves the clouds so the heat hits the ground and causes the air to expand and form a breeze which shakes the tree’s branches which causes an apple to drop and hit the man on the head, the pain signals hit the brain and bippity boppity boo he discovers gravity. Now ask yourself where the thought process began. Our thoughts are part of a process that goes on in our environment all around us, and we only become aware of it when it enters a tiny portion of our brain.
Icor is about this concept of a greater mind, and of what consciousness really is.
To be continued…
#1 Best Selling Fantasy Novel on Amazon
“They Came By Night” – Andrew Bathgate was the best selling Fantasy Novel on Amazon over the weekend.
What a ride these last five days have been. This was the last five days of the vital 28 day post publication period. I had to drive my rank up or be forgotten by the Amazon algorithms forever.
To put this in perspective, all I wanted to break into the top 100 For Epic Fantasy. I never dreamed of #1.
Also to put this in perspective, this was a free promo, and Monday morning it will be paid purchasing only so my rank will tank. There are now thousands of people reading my book, and with any luck they’ll like it and recommend it. It is all word of mouth from here on.
It was a great first battle
I just finished writing the first great battle scene of Book 2, and I am very proud of the result. It will of course go through two full rewrites and then a developmental edit followed by another rewrite and then final proofing, but its bones are done. It’s just 1,785 words but packs a punch.
I am about ready to offer it to beta readers.
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Today I start the Conclusion of Book 2
The Hall of the ancients has arrived at its epic three thread conclusion. It’s an exciting moment for me as an author. So many revelations happening.
If you’d like to ask me questions I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Promo goes wild
A lot going on. The promo for a free kindle version was very successful. Thousands of downloads. I have people getting in contact saying they really enjoyed the book, and that is wonderful.
When the promo is over I am going to price the book at 99c and leave it at that price. I will lose money, but that’s okay. The audible should come out in a couple of months, and if I have developed enough reviews and following then maybe … just maybe, I can make some money on that.
Then in September I will release book 2. And book 2 is going to be AWESOME! The characters deepen. The plot thickens. And greater world becomes an issue.
In the meantime I have to get heads down and write write write.
P.S. Someone asked me for an autograph today. My first one. That’s nice.
The Kindle Version is free until April 11th. Get it while you can!
#3 Fantasy Book on Amazon
The Free promo pushed it up the best seller list!
I should note I am spending a lot of time doing the last marketing push for Book 1.
Book 2 just passed the 30k word count. I really think it is my best work yet.