Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Review

The year is winding to a close, and I see many authors posting their yearly retrospections.  Who am I to resist peer pressure?  So I'd like to talk a little about writing books in 2012.

I've been writing since the 1990s, and 2012 has been a banner year.  You bought over 100,000 copies of my books this year, bringing me to a lifetime total of 150,000 sales.  I'm still amazed -- and probably somewhat smug -- that you bought so many of these silly dragon books.

2012 began with some questions.  At Christmas of 2011, I released my novel Light of Requiem, and third volume of my Song of Dragons trilogy.  After a few years of writing obscure standalone novels, Song of Dragons became rather successful, selling over 100,000 copies.  When 2012 began, I found myself wondering:  What next?

Briefly, I debated whether I should write a fourth Song of Dragons novel, stretching the trilogy out into a longer series.  I decided against it; I generally dislike series that ramble on for too long.  I felt that wouldn't be fair to my readers.

And so, I decided to write Dragonlore -- a new fantasy trilogy set in Requiem, the same world as Song of Dragons.  To keep things fresh, I fast-forwarded three hundred years and created a new cast of heroes and villains.

On hindsight, this was the right choice.  So far, the first two Dragonlore novels -- A Dawn of Dragonfire and A Day of Dragon Blood -- are doing well.  While the earlier trilogy had a strong action-adventure feel, this time around, the books are darker -- less A New Hope and more The Empire Strikes Back.  This allows me to keep expanding Requiem and also, I hope, evolve as an author.

One fun moment in 2012 came when A Dawn of Dragonfire (the first Dragonlore novel) reached Amazon's Top 100 bestsellers list.  This made it the #1 bestselling epic fantasy on Amazon, just ahead of George R. R. Martin's latest novel.  Now, this ranking only lasted for a day (and George is again running way ahead), but what a day it was!

But my favorite thing about 2012 was meeting great new people.  I loved hearing from all the readers who emailed me, liked my Facebook page, or followed me on Twitter.  I try to reply to everyone who contacts me.  If you messaged me in 2012, and I failed to answer, please try again.  Your message might have gotten lost in my inbox, but I definitely want to reply to everyone.

So what's next?  What will happen in 2013?

First of all, I'm working on A Night of Dragon Wings, the third and final Dragonlore novel.  This one will be the longest, darkest, most complex Requiem novel yet.  I hope to release it in February or March of 2013.  I can't wait to hear what you think about it.

After that, I'd like to continue expanding the world of Requiem.  I hope to write a third trilogy set in this world.  The way Dragonlore begins three hundred years after Song of Dragons, this third trilogy will also skip forward to a new generation.  It will tell a story for both new readers and old fans.  I hope that, in 2013, I can release the first of these new novels.

As a final thought, I'd like to thank everyone who helped spread the word -- whether by telling a friend, posting an Amazon review, or simply sharing a Facebook post.  These books could not exist without your support.

Thank you, dear readers, for making 2012 a success.  I hope you keep reading in 2013.  I look forward to another year full of dragons.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Eye of the Wizard -- Popular Highlights!

When reading on a Kindle, you can highlight a passage to save a quote you like.  When three or more people highlight the same passage, Amazon saves it as a "Popular Highlight".

Finding these Popular Highlights can be tricky.  Amazon will sometimes display them on a book's product page--but just sometimes, and just a few of them.  Other times, you can view them on your Kindle by clicking "View Popular Highlights" (but only, it seems, the top ten highlights--some books with a hundred highlights on Amazon show only ten on Kindles).  It gets even trickier.  Some Kindle devices show highlights on a book, while another Kindle might not--even for the same book!  For example, my novel The Gods of Dream shows three Popular Highlights on Amazon, zero on my Kindle 2, and ten on a friend's Kindle Paperwhite.  Confusing and seemingly arbitrary.   Author Moses Siregar recently blogged about the issue here.

Curious to see what my readers are highlighting, I checked a few of my books on Amazon, found a scattering of Popular Highlights there, and managed to view more by purchasing the novels and viewing Popular Highlights on my Kindle.  Since Kindles display ten popular highlights at most (and this is inconsistent between devices and accounts), I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.

However, even those Popular Highlights I discovered quite amused me.  In this blog post, I'd like to share the Top Ten Popular Highlights for my fantasy novel Eye of the Wizard!  Here they are:

"He tried to trip me!" Jamie said, wiping suds off her mouth.
     "He twied to k-kidnap me!" Cobweb said.
     Romy suddenly raised her head from the table.  "I like turtles!" she announced, then passed out again, banging her head against the tabletop.

"And Neev and I can put on a magic show!" Romy said, leaping to her feet, a smile spreading across her face.  "Neev, you'll be the magician, and I'll be your sexy assistant."  She sketched an elaborate bow.  "I am, you know, an artiste."

"Our prices are so low," Romy added cheerily, leaning against him, "you'll think we're mentally challenged."

His face was like chiseled stone, but his eyes were haunted windows, shattered.

"I don't want to hurt you," Jamie called, "but if you keep firing arrows, I'm going to cut off your head.  Okay?"

Ignorant humans,
Romy thought, sure that anyone with fiery hair, horns, and fangs is evil.

Suddenly, as Dry Bones prattled on, and as everyone was getting rather bored with his speech, a flow of lava burst into the room.  The lava slammed into Dry Bones, knocking him against the wall, sizzling against him.
     "Will you villains never learn?" Neev said, stepping into the room on goat hoofs, shaking drops of lava off his hands.  "Never spend so much time explaining your plans."

Awww... they gave me the third bed, all for me.  They do love me.  It made her feel all warm and ticklish inside.  Oh wait, that's not warmth and tickliness.  She stumbled toward the window and threw up some more.  Blech.  I am never drinking again.

She was so beautiful, that if Dry Bones had lungs, his breath would die.  She stood not a hundred yards away, shooting arrows from her bow into targets.  She could as well have been cupid, shooting arrows of love into Dry Bones' heart--or at least, into his ribcage where his heart would once beat.  Cobweb's hair seemed woven of gossamer, cascading down her back, not a strand out of place.  With his hawklike vision, Dry Bones could see that her eyes were blue as sapphires, her ears were pointy, and golden freckles covered her small nose.  It had been years since Dry Bones had loved a woman, but Cobweb stirred all those memories in him, raising fire in their ashes.  She looked like an angel, he thought, an angel sent from heaven to cure his weary heart.
     Nice boobs, too, he thought.

My god, you guys highlight the silliest things.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Five Wishes for Star Wars VII

Disney purchased Lucasfilm today and announced Star Wars Episode VII.

If you're reading this, you probably grew up on Star Wars.  You probably loved the original trilogy.  You probably hated the prequels.  You're not alone.

I don't know anyone at Disney or Lucasfilm, but like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, I have a blog and I like to vent.  So here are my "five commandments" for Star Wars VII.  If I'm lucky, somebody at Disney will find this blog and obey.

Star Wars VII should feature:

1) Real characters, whom we care about, struggling through tough situations

The original Star Wars worked so well because we cared about the characters.  We identified with Luke Skywalker.  We admired Princess Leia.  We wanted to be Han Solo.  They talked and acted like real people; they were like fictional friends.  When they struggled through tough times, we felt for them.  The prequels failed because nobody cared about Qui-Gon or Amidala (I had to Google just to remember their names).  For Star Wars VII, please:  Give us real characters we can root for... and put them through hell.

2) No (or virtually no) CGI

Star Wars always worked best without fancy CGI.  The dusty Tatooine of 1977's A New Hope seemed like a real place; the remastered version, with CGI reptiles tossed in, felt fake.  The original dance in Jabba's lair was dusty, shadowy, and creepy; the remastered version was cartoonish--something out of a Pixar movie.  One reason The Lord of the Rings movies worked so well is because they used CGI sparingly; they mainly employed miniatures, make up, and real locations.  Disney, please don't use too much CGI in Star Wars Episode VII!

3) Good vs. Evil

The original Star Wars trilogy was the ultimate good vs. evil story.  That's what audiences connected with.  We don't care about trade disputes or political debates in a galactic senate.  Please, Star Wars VII should feature heroic underdogs fighting powerful evil.

4) Grime and grit

The Jawa traders and their captive robots.  The seedy space port.  The hunk-of-junk Millennium Falcon.  The original Star Wars was grimy, rusty, and beaten up.  It felt real and worked in.  Please, Star Wars VII should not look clean and futuristic.  It should look just as dirty and beaten up as Jabba's slave pit.

5) A sense of wonder

The original trilogy had an epic scope.  It was a grand, mythological adventure.  It felt big--a timeless story.  When Yoda appeared, the story felt downright mystical.  By comparison, the prequels felt so small and dry.  Please, Star Wars VII should emit that sense of wonder--the sense that we're witnessing a majestic legend.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The dragons fly again

The new dragon book is here. 

A Dawn of Dragonfire: Dragonlore, Book 1

In 2011, the Song of Dragons trilogy introduced readers to mythical Requiem. A new dawn now rises. Dragonlore returns to Requiem with an epic story--for both new readers and old fans--of blood, steel, and dragonfire. 

Learn more.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Tonight I sold my 100,000th book.

Bloody hell.  You bought 100,000 of these silly books about dragons, swords, and spells.  You're nuts.  You also make me feel quite lucky and humbled.

It's a fun milestone, and a time to be thankful.  Thank you, fellow authors who offered advice and help.  Thank you, editors, beta readers, and cover artists who made these books work.  Most of all, thank you, readers – everyone who bought a sequel, or emailed me, or told a friend, or just quietly enjoyed a book.  Sharing these stories with you has been terrifically exciting, scary, and fun.

And keep your eyes open.  My new trilogy, Dragonlore, is in the works.  There are still dragons, knights, and wizards scratching at the door.


Friday, May 18, 2012

New Dragon Book Update

Dear readers,

It's been five months since Light of Requiem, the third Song of Dragons novel, was released.  Since then, many of you have emailed me to ask about a fourth novel.  I deeply appreciate the time you took to read the books and contact me.  Every email from you made my day!  It's now time to post a dragon update.

As you know, Song of Dragons features a story arc with three clear acts, each contained within its own novel.  At the end of Light of Requiem, the story arc is complete.  I spent a lot of time thinking about a fourth book – reawakening the characters for another Song of Dragons adventure.  The fourth book would have begun a new story arc  –  a second cycle within the same series.

Ultimately, I decided to do something a little different.  You, the readers, would be best served not by a fourth Song of Dragons book, but a whole new dragon trilogy.

This new trilogy will still be set in Requiem – the same "world" as Song of Dragons.  But it will be set years later.  It will feature a new cast of characters – the descendants of the heroes from Song of Dragons.  It will tell a new story, one independent of Song of Dragons.  I've tentatively named this new trilogy Dragonlore (a title that might still change).  I will complete the first volume this summer.

Fans of Song of Dragons need not worry.  Dragonlore will feature all the things you (hopefully) enjoyed about the first trilogy – epic battles, noble heroes, vicious villains, darkness and light, and of course... lots of dragons.  And if you haven't read Song of Dragons, you'll be able to read Dragonlore too; it will assume no prior knowledge.

Keep your eyes open for new updates.  I'll post more information over the next few weeks.  The new novel itself will be ready this year.  I can't wait for you to read it.

Thank you again, dear readers.  Your support keeps these books coming.  I'm forever grateful to you.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Requiem Map

Here's the ebook map for the upcoming (and fourth) dragon novel.  It's kept simple and clean for ereaders -- rivers, forts, villages, etc. don't show up well on Kindles and Nooks. If you remember the last book's map, you'll notice this one is zoomed out. You can see some new locations.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wand of the Witch

New fantasy novel!  Wand of the Witch is here!

Fantasy series Misfit Heroes continues with a new tale of underdog heroes, creepy monsters, and epic adventure. For all ages. 


They say an evil witch lives in the forest. They say she turns children into toads and pigs. They say her army of monsters will soon march to war. 

Only the bravest, strongest heroes can stop her. Unfortunately... only a few misfits are around. 

A couple failed squires. A jinxed wizard. A banished spirit of the forest. A childlike demon and her teddy bear. They are outcasts, failures, oddballs. Can they actually defeat the witch, or will the kingdom fall to her dark magic? 

As always, thanks for reading,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Wizard Cover

In preparation for the sequel, Eye of the Wizard (Misfit Heroes, Book One) gets a new cover! Book Two coming this spring.