Saturday, April 20, 2013

Unused Concepts

During the creation of On the Backs of Dragons, Shawn came up with a lot of things that were either rough drafts of what ended up in the book, or ideas that would end up scrapped. Rather than let them go totally to waste, I thought I'd share some of them here for kicks. There is much more where this came from - hope you enjoy!
Early concept drawing of Akari "on the back of a dragon." It just works on so many levels! ;)
 The logo looks pretty sharp here, but the color scheme just didn't feel quite right to me. So we went a little more plain with just black and white.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book For Sale!

Get it while you can! Limited edition! If we run out... we'll print more!

Here are a few outlets to pick up On the Backs of Dragons, the sensation that is sweeping the continent. Or something.On the Kindle, I have NOT enabled DRM, which means it can be transferred to other e-readers, shared, etc. Give it to anyone who might be interested. If you like it, leave a good review on Amazon. If you hate it, lie, and leave a good review on Amazon!

Kindle version

Paperback on Amazon

Paperback on CreateSpace

If you've ever wondered about self-publishing, I pretty much get the same whether you buy it on Kindle or paperback on Amazon due to printing and shipping costs, which is about $3 at this price. For CreateSpace, I make about double that, but it's a far less convenient option compared to Amazon, where every single person in the world has an account.

Anyway, thanks for your interest, and I hope you like it if you choose to check it out!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ordering On The Backs of Dragons

First off, if you are considering ordering my book - thank you! It is something that I have really enjoyed writing, and I really hope that you will enjoy reading it. I'm very new to the whole publishing thing, so we will be gradually rolling it out to different platforms, but in short order, there will be a few options if you would like to order it.

The easiest and best option: Amazon. If you are old school like me and would like a paperback, it will be available there in a couple of days (I hope Tuesday). Or if you're in this century (I am not) and want it for your Kindle, we've got you covered there, too. I anticipate that these options should be available on Tuesday, but there may be a lag time, especially on the Kindle version. (I would really recommend buying it on both, that way you are protected from power outages and so forth. It just makes sense... ;) )  I believe it will be $14.99 on Amazon and Kindle will likely be $4.99.

The one that will earn me the most money: the CreateSpace site. CreateSpace is a division of Amazon that is setup to help people who would rather self-publish than go through the publishing rat race. They also provide authors more generous royalty rates when it is ordered through the site, but that is because they charge you the list price AND for shipping. Look, I'm just happy you're interested in my book - Amazon is the better deal and if you're enrolled in Prime or purchase over $25, you get free shipping, too. So for a plain hard copy, that is the way to go. But if you've got a few extra bucks laying around, by all means go with CreateSpace... ;)

The others: Still working on Barnes and Nobles (online), Apple, SmashWords, etc.

Signed copies: Shockingly, a few people have inquired about getting a signed copy. Hey, if you want to pretend along with me that I am an author, that's fine by me! In this case, I am going to order a bunch of copies to have on hand, and if you would like one signed, I can mail it to you or we can work out another arrangement. I will have exact pricing shortly, but the goal would be to keep it around the list price with shipping, and if I get it you another way, then it would of course be even cheaper. There certainly won't be a charge for my signature - once you see the scrawl I call a signature, you'll clearly understand why! :)

I do plan on placing my first order of copies on Tuesday, April 16th, so if you would like to get in on the first printing, send $15 through Paypal to before then and that will cover the shipping costs and book price. If you do not want me to inscribe the book to you, or if you would like me to inscribe it to someone else, please let me know in the description on Paypal, or e-mail me as well and I'll make it happen. All orders should be mailed out by April 22nd.

As far as sampling before you buy, I have posted Chapter One here (I apologize for the lousy format, it is hard to convert to a decent reading style on a blog) and I will have more shortly. Amazon does allow for previews inside, but it can take up to six weeks for those to become active so bear with me on that one. I'd love to e-mail you a sample in Word if you'd like something before then, which would be in book format.

Thanks so much for your interest, and wish me luck in my self-publishing adventure!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blame Kevin Costner

This shot is still cool.

Blame Kevin Costner. And Alan Rickman. And Morgan Freeman. And while we're at it, might as well blame Christian Slater and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and whomever played that creepy witch. And I suppose you should include the directors, writers, and producers too.

It's because of them that I ended up writing an adventure-fantasy novel some twenty years after seeing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I freaking loved that movie. Loved it. Robin Hood action figures? Yeah, I had them - every single one. The video game? My brother and I went in half with our post-Christmas loot and played it until we were ready to drop (unlike most tie-in games, it was quite a bit of fun, too). The classic books? Read them, cover to cover.
My eleven-year old self is dying inside right now, pining for the Sherwood Forest playset.

But the movie was the best part. I can't tell you how many times we watched that video tape, but we loved every second of it, from the opening prison escape to Robin Hood getting his butt kicked by Marian to the wackiness of Alan Rickman all the way through "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams, which featured a summary of the movie in the video to really drive home what we just saw (I'm still bitter that the video has been excised from the DVD releases. It just doesn't feel quite right without it). The finale, featuring the hangings and an epic sword duel between Robin and the Sheriff, is still amazing, and Sean Connery's cameo has to be one of the greatest cameos in movie history.

Top of the line graphics in the early 90s.
As far as what's wrong with the movie, I didn't care then and I don't care now. Robin Hood being played by an American, one who makes no attempt to have a British accent? Don't care. The insertion of a Moorish character played by Morgan Freeman into the legend? Don't care, and what's more, it worked exceedingly well. The lack of tights? Yeah, I really don't care about that one! Keep on complaining, movie geeks, but I still love it, and I know there are many out there like me.

So when I talk about what influenced me to write an adventure story, one that I could someday read to my daughter and future child of undetermined sex, I can sit here and talk about "credible" influences like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Count of Monte Cristo, and even the original Robin Hood legends, and it would all be true, but at the end of the day, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was what set me on this path. Give it it's due, and if people are still bitter about Costner's lack of accent, well, England has it's shot at revenge this summer with the casting of British actor Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The First Chapter

Here is the first chapter from On the Backs of Dragons, my first novel. There is a prologue that takes place before this in the chronology of the book; it's probably necessary to read the book, but not this first chapter. Hoping to have a publication date for the book set very shortly....

Chapter One - Thirteen Years Later

s that all you ever do Caroline - read?” Jonas was once again pestering his older sister in that unique way that little brothers seem to take so much pleasure in. Jonas was thirteen and acted it, while Caroline was sixteen and acted anything but. So she ignored the question and continued to lose herself in her book, sprawled out on the deck near the river, enjoying the day. Of course, that didn't deter Jonas, it only encouraged him to continue.
“So, what'cha reading?” He bent his knees and leaned down to look at the book's title. “Akari the Dragonslayer.”  That again? You know our uncle's not going to rise from the dead just because you keep reading that book, right? Akari is long dead.”
He then held his arms out straight and walked stiff-legged, as if his legs were sticks -- imitating the way he imagined a dead person would act upon returning from beyond the grave.
Caroline rolled her eyes. “Yes, I am aware, thank you Jonas. Don't you have anything better to do? Why don't you go finish up your chores before dad returns.”
“Don't have to. I made a bet with Mouse and he lost, like usual.” Jonas walked onto the dock and plopped down in a sagging chair beside Caroline. He gestured with his thumb, pointing toward a wooden building with a thatched roof - their father's workplace. “He's sweeping up the foundry now.”
He took a handful of small stones from his pocket and started flinging them one by one into the nearby Great River, acting as if he did not have a care in the world. Caroline found this very obnoxious. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Matter of the Back Matter

All right, here is the description of my book On the Backs of Dragons that will appear on the back cover of the paperback edition. I think this thing has been harder to put together than some of the chapters of the book!

Life can get awfully complicated when you make promises you intend to keep.

So says Akari, and he speaks from experience. A simple promise he made to his sister leads him to faking his death, living with dragons in a live volcano, and using all of his powers and skill with magic and warfare to overcome the ruthless army of Azoria. Eventually, he realizes that only he can bring a costly war to an end – with the Fate of three kingdoms at stake.

It is only with the help of Akari’s niece Caroline and his nephews Jonas and “Mouse,” who travel great distances down rivers, through caves, swamps, oceans, over mountains – and in the air, with the help of a stray dragon or two. They all must show courage they didn’t know they had so that the island of Ambrosia can be saved from the menacing King Maldazor.

Sasquatches, ruthless Barbarian invaders, the wild and free men of Mulvaria, a Cyclops that enjoys the taste of rat meat, and nasty little cave creatures known as “In-Betweeners” all play a part in their adventures – either helping them along the way, or doing whatever they can to thwart their plans.