The Q&A Video

Since I sort of buried the link, here’s the video I recorded!

And here are the notes I took on the answers.

Zachary (via Email): What books are you planning to release this year?

What a useful question, since I would have brought this up in the video anyway. I’ve declared this year “The Year of Six”. The Book of Deacon, Free-Wrench, and Big Sigma are all five books deep. I’m hoping to put out Book Six in each of them this year. Those probably won’t be my ONLY releases. For one, I’m hoping to put together an anthology of the first year of Patreon stories so that you good folks who like my stuff but don’t like patreon can finally read them. There’s also the outside chance I’ll do a FULL collected edition of one or more of my series. I’m not super sure about that one. We’ll see how I feel in a few months. Four book releases is about as good as I’ve been able to do in the past, but there are a few long term projects which are likely to be nearing completion this year, so they might get thrown onto the pile of releases too! These include the very likely to be completed “Squee Goes For A Ride,” which is an illustrated children’s book about everyone’s favorite funk. There’s a somewhat less likely completion of a Myn children’s book called “Myn’s Family” which has sort of fallen into hiatus thanks to some life difficulties for the illustrator. I’ve not been able to get an answer from her regarding the status of the story, but it’s paid for, so hopefully we’ll see that sooner rather than later. There will also be at least a dozen short stories for my patreon, and… well, listen to some more of these answers for other hints.

April (From Goodreads): Will there ever be a follow up to Structophis?

Technically there already is a very small one in the form of the short story “Blodgette’s Big Day” which was released to my patrons a while ago. I really enjoyed that story, but it’s become something of a legend among my author friends as the worst case scenario in terms of book marketing. It’s not in any well-known genre, it has an off-the-wall premise, and it has a difficult to remember/spell name. I stand by the content of the story, but actually getting anyone but diehard fans to buy it was an uphill battle, and I don’t know if I’ve got it in me to write a full sequel. … Although I’ve made similar mistakes before…

Greg (From Facebook): Will you write more [in the Shards of Shadow Series]? More from Blot’s perspective or even before from her world?

Remember a minute ago when I talked about Structophis being hard to sell? In theory, Shards of Shadow should have been the easiest book to sell. It’s as close as I’ve come to writing a book to market, as it was an Urban Fantasy. But I made a couple of critical mistakes in the launch of the series which not only caused it to fall flat on its face, it also wrecked my finances in a way I’ve yet to recover from. The time I took to put that series launch together meant I had no major releases in my other series for nearly a year, which meant the sales on those series slid, and thus ALL OF MY INCOME slid. If I end up getting a day job for a while, it’ll be primarily because of how badly I botched Shards of Shadow, on the business side.

That said, like most of my stuff, I really enjoyed writing the story, and if you’ve read it, you know the story isn’t nearly complete. I’d plotted it to have five books, so in theory there’s two more on the way. I’ll probably still write them. But given how poorly the first few did, they’re not high on my list of priorities. I will say this, though. If you think the battle-form of the Shades are intense, wait’ll you see what the glints look like when they finally throw down.

Gin (From Facebook): I’m curious where you got the inspiration for Entwell Num Garastra. That was quite a trek for Miranda and friends to reach!

A long time ago, I read an anthology of short stories called “A Dragon Lover’s Treasury of the Fantastic.” It was, as the name would suggest, largely filled with short stories about dragons. There was a story in it, it may have been called “The Ever-After” that was either in ancient Japan or in an Ancient-Japan-Inspired fantasy setting and it involved a man going to face a foe inside a cave and instead finding only the previous man sent to face the foe. I really liked the idea, and adapted it to a whole village of mystic and martial warriors, plus the mystic dampening nature of the cave and it’s periodic flooding.

Dave (from Twitter): Where did the red shadow get the cloak that made him appear to be just another human?

I’m going to (probably) go into greater detail with this in the eventual Rise of the Red Shadow 2, but the cloak was given to him by Desmeres after he left Entwell to find him. Desmeres does not have any formal mystic training, but he’s pretty good with potions and other enchantments that can be produced with runes and alchemy. So given enough time, he can produce something with some impressive effects, including a sword which can render its user super fast, or a cloak that can obscure their true face.

Ngoc (From Facebook): How were you inspired to create the characters in The Book of Deacons? I love that they are so complex with their own unique personality.

Different answers for different characters! Let’s go through a few of them.

  • Desmeres Lumineblade was a character named and very loosely based on my friend Cary.
  • Oriech was named for my friend Sean.
  • An upcoming character, Buka, was named for Sean’s dog.
  • The Chosen Five were technically created to be the ancestors of the characters in a book that I wrote first but never released.
    • Myranda Celeste is essentially my take on the standard epic fantasy hero. She checks all the boxes for that pretty nicely. Orphan, hidden past, the works.
    • Lain was inspired by my desire to have a character who was immediately untrustworthy and fearsome, who we then learn is actually noble, who we then learn is actually just as monstrous as people fear he is, who we then learn is still noble anyway. That informed everything from his beastly appearance to his past, to his job, to his skills. Even the fact he’s foxy in appearance fed into the the big pile of “dubiously heroic” tropes.
    • Ivy was based partially on a doodle in a pad when I was like 9 years old, partially on my desire to have an emotion-powered creature, and partially by my desire to have an innocent character thrust into power and heroism without really knowing the world beyond such things.
    • Ether was almost a shameless ripoff of the T-1000 from Terminator 2. She also pulls a lot of inspiration from an old game I would play with my friends called “The Elemental Rangers” which was itself a pretty shameless ripoff of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Captain Planet.
    • Myn was inspired by the fact that dragons are cool and I like them. I also tried to make a character who was entirely driven by the desire to please her friend/caregiver, which it turns out is basically a dog.
  • Some other characters who I can recall the inspiration for:
    • Epidime was heavily inspired by the antagonist from the movie “Fallen”
    • Oriech, aside from being named for my friend, is inspired by some minor characters from both the Aladdin and Conan animated serieseseses.
  • Most of the rest of the characters are basically just crafted to be the right shape to fit a gap in the story I found as I was writing it.

Joseph (From Facebook): How many more books in The Book of Deacon series do you have plans for?

That’s a complicated question, actually. The Book of Deacon Six (which is probably going to be called “The Coin of Kenvard”) is intended to be the last chapter in this “Era” of The Book of Deacon. The Book of Deacon, books 1-6, plus The Rise of the Red Shadow stories, The Story of Sorrel, The Redemption of Desmeres, and a handful of shorts are collectively referred to in my notes as “The Perpetual War Era” or just “The Perpetual War”. There may be more short works with these characters, but unless I change my mind, this will be the last hurrah of a novel for these chosen in this Era. That doesn’t mean I’m done with the setting, though. If you’ve read ALL of my stuff, you’ve already gotten some sneak peeks into the next batch of books. Jade, Halfax, and the short story The Stump and the Spire are all parts of “The Age of Ignorance” Era of the setting. There will be at least a full trilogy dealing with that era, Technically the first chapter of the that pile of books is already written and edited, under the confusing working title “Second Trilogy Book 1”. There’s actually a THIRD era in my notes that has a name that would spoil the endings of stories I haven’t even written yet, so we’ll just call it “The Third Era,” which would have at least one big book. And The Rise of the Red Shadow 2 is still in the works. Plus The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy could easily continue, and that’s technically in the Book of Deacon setting. So the short answer is “There will still be lots of Book of Deacon stories” and the long answer is, “This will be the last one, except for the whole other sub-series that is just starting, and then all the side stories and whatever comes after.”

Sean (From Facebook): When is Oriech getting his own story?

Sean is the guy I named Oriech for. Sean, Oriech will probably get a Patreon Novella one of these days. Plus I’m sort of thinking of naming the “Age of Ignorance” era of novels “The Book of Oriech.”

Various: Which of your stories is your favorite?

Oof. Difficult question… The Book of Deacon main series has a special place in my heart because it’s what got me started. Of the series, I’d have to say either The Rise of the Red Shadow or The D’Karon Apprentice are my favorite. The Rise of the Red Shadow is probably my most… let’s call it “literary” book. It’s a reasonably complete story, and it is likely the most through and subtle piece of character building I’ve done. The D’Karon Apprentice was just a fun story that got to show how the characters of the Book of Deacon Trilogy had grown. But if I REALLY dig deep, I think Between might be my favorite thing I’ve written, just in terms of the amount of creativity I poured into it and the variety of characters.

Various: How can I get one of those cool coins?

Okay, now for the meat of the video.

I’m thinking of doing a Kickstarter for 10th Anniversary Hardcovers. Here are the potential details. Thoughts?

Goal: $500

Reward Tiers:

  • $5 – eBooks
    • Digital version of the hardcovers (with whatever format enhancements they end up having.)
    • The Book of Deacon: The First Ten Years eBook (a digital omnibus of every Book of Deacon story from 2010-2010)
  • $10 – Kenvard Coin
    • All digital rewards
    • A physical Kenvard Coin
  • $15 – Triple Coin
    • All digital rewards
    • Three physical Kenvard Coins
  • $25 – Single Hardcover
    • All digital rewards
    • A Kenvard coin
    • A Hardcover Copy of The Book of Deacon
  • $75 – Hardcover Trilogy
    • All digital rewards
    • Three Kenvard Coins
    • Hardcovers of all three books of the Trilogy

Stretch Goals:

  • $1000 – Illuminated Initials
    • The hardcover edition will include small illustrations at the start of each chapter, illuminated manuscript-style.
  • $2000 – Additional Coins
    • Silver or Copper Kenvard Coins will be added as options.
  • $5000 – Illustrated Edition
    • Several large illustrations will be added to each hardcover.

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