Monday, June 24, 2013

Why this means so much!

In 2008, I was carrying a back-log of story ideas inside my head.  These were stories that I wanted to create music for, I wanted to write the musical scores for these 'ideas' that one day, somehow, some-way, a screenwriter would have magically written the identical stories, offering me the opportunity to score music(yes, I was really that short-sighted). Problem was, there weren't any screenwriters banging at my door suggesting that we work on our similar musings.
     But then, one day, something rather 'strange' began to take place. You see, prior to this I had been working on a little 'screenplay' about this guy who helplessly watches his wife dying from cancer.  I didn't think much of this 'tinkering'.  The way I saw it, in order to understand writing a 'film' score, one had to be somewhat familiar with a 'script'. Right?  But little did I know that this 'tinkering', would lead to the genesis of my very first novel.
     Let's face it!  I had NO idea what I was doing. This was painfully evident in the very rough version of the notes I had been taking on "Blindfolds". But in those 'badly' put together notes, was the catalyst of this stirring deep within my heart. The slow awakening of a long lost childhood dream. Becoming a writer.  I remember the look on my then girlfriend's beautiful face when I, ill-advisedly made my plans known to her.  I should've known better.  Most people's ideas of writers are that there are long periods of no money, struggling to pay bills, and always the promise to our loved ones that it'll get better.  "You just wait and see", I said. Besides the way I saw it, I was already 'struggling' just to maintain my one bedroom apartment with the job I had.  It couldn't get any worse, right?  BOY WAS I WRONG!!!  But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  Anywho, there I am slaving away at the first draft of "Blindfolds", and I must admit, it was HORRIBLE!   It was GOD FREAKING AWFUL!  THE CHARACTERS, THE PLOTS, THE TWIST AND TURNS!  YUCK!!!  So, I did what any rational writer would do in a situation like this, I considered taking my girlfriend's advice and become a Personal Trainer.  I mean, hey, its what I enjoyed doing for free.  Why not get paid for it?! But "Blindfolds" had other ideas.
     The damn story wouldn't leave me alone. It followed me on my runs, whispered in my ears at work, hell, it was even popping up in my dreams.  "I'm not a writer", I kept telling myself.  "I don't know what I'm doing".  "This was a stupid idea.  No one is even going to read the damn thing." The way I saw it, my chances of ever getting published was slim, to none. Sooo, after giving it some thought, I considered allowing "Blindfolds" to "sleep with the fishes". But then, one day while out on a run, something literally 'clicked' inside my head.  I had an idea. A different plot, from the one I had so badly mangled.  This new plot was 'smarter' and involved a great deal of imagination.  Quickly I raced home to begin anew.  But after months of trying to fashion this new plot into a 'reasonable' line of logic, it wasn't happening.  However, something else had began to take place. I noticed, my writing, had gotten better.  My characters, were actually becoming more interesting. But after 3 drafts, it just wasn't happening.  But in 2011, some changes in my life would allow me to have laser like focus on my writing.  I lost my place, my 3 year relationship was on the verge of crumbling, and I still hated my job.  At this time, I had all but giving up on "Blindfolds".  I had began to write other stories.  Some lead to novels, others became short stories.  One, was even published. In the course of a year, I had managed to write 3 novels, 3 short stories, and a novella.  All in a single year.  You see, I may have began "Blindfolds" in 2008, but in 2011, I had become a writer.  It was time to give my old friend one more look, before totally ignoring it.
     I worked on it some more, but again, it just wasn't there.  I knew the type of story this novel could be, but I wasn't seeing it in my writing. It just wasn't there.  In September of 2012, my short story, "Evelyn Thayer" was published by Etopia Press.  Excited, I had hopes of having more than just my short story published.  But after sending manuscript after manuscript, I got nothing.  I was growing frustrated. Then in January of this year (2013), I made myself a 'promise'.  I was going to have a novel published by June, 2013.  I didn't have a clue how this was going to happen, except, I was becoming more acquainted with 'self-publishing'.   I found a great editor to work with(Melissa Gray) who quickly got to work on the novel "Sword of Billum", which was the novel I had chosen to be published on my own imprint. After SOB had been proofread and edited, I was certain I was ready to dive into the full pool of self-publishing.  But then Melissa asked me a question, that would literally change everything for me.  We had spoken before about the troubles I was having with "Blindfolds".  She informed me that she had an opening coming up, and if I wanted to, send her "Blindfolds".  Now even though I had agreed to do so, in my heart, I knew that it wasn't ready.  But I figured, what the hell?!  Maybe she could work some sort of 'magic' on it.  However, her 'magic' wasn't required at all.  While going through the manuscript, I was still being greeted with the same frustrations.   But this time, something was different.
     You see, I could actually 'see' the problem, the source of my great frustration with this novel.  I have a tendency to pace around as I'm musing.  I literally stopped in my tracks, as the solution to this almost 4 year dilemma, bullied its way to my attention.  "He says, "No!"  Yep!  That was it!  This was the solution. Now armed with a new fire in my belly, I got to work on the 5th and final draft of "Blindfolds".  It only took me two whole days to complete it.  Instead of allowing my small 'beta' readers have a look at "Sword Of Billum"(Now titled, "Hand Of the Warrior Priest") I gave them "Blindfolds".  It would be the first time, anyone had read the complete story.  I was humbled by the reaction it received.  People actually 'loved it!'   Quickly, I made some adjustments.  "Sword of Billum" was pushed aside, and now, "Blindfolds" would be the very first published novel. But here's the thing: I knew this, two years ago.  I felt this two years ago, even before I understood how to resolve the issues I was having with it.  The timing involved in making the publishing even possible, is truly hard to figure at times.  Had someone told me back in January about "Blindfolds" being released in June, I would've laughed at them.  Had someone told me, that the avenues that weren't available to me then, would literally come out of nowhere, making publishing "Blindfolds" even possible, although plausible, I would question their confidence.  I sure didn't have any.  This novel, I believe, is just the beginning of some amazing writing I'm looking forward to doing. Bottom-line, you have to believe, even when it doesn't seem possible or even, feasible to reach for dreams that others may feel aren't within your reach.  You have to believe in yourself, don't wait for others to believe in you first.  And when everything seems to be working against you, that's when you have to dig down the deepest.  Tape your feet to the pedals and keep pushing. Grunt it out!  Don't lose focus.  I'm expecting 'big things' from "Blindfolds", because I'm expecting 'big things' from myself. Like the birth of your first born, you're expectations for them are set much higher than those for yourself. On  June 11th, My first born took his first steps and now, I can't wait to see when he begins to take large strides.  Leaping high into the air, and with the majestic beauty of an eagle, begins to soar, higher and higher.  RET :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Mythology of the "Legend of Twells" series. Part 1: "Land of the 12 kings".

Millions of years ago, in the days before the The Throne created the Houses of the Golden Scepter, this period was known simply as The Wake. Because time had not been invented, no one is sure how long this period lasted.  The High elder, Fallon, after cursing mortals with the blood and incantations that gave birth to Vampires, Wolf and Cat creatures known as The Shattows, led a revolt with half of the 1,000 elders and half of the angelic like creatures known as  Myathians  against the Throne.
     The Throne was disappointed with Fallon and sought to have him removed from his seat of power which set next to the very Throne.  But having learned his power from the Throne, Fallon was proving to be more powerful than once believed to be.  In an unprecedented act never since repeated, The Throne removed himself from his seat of power to take hold of Fallon and cast him into the deep blackness of the Abyss. The Throne then called for the destruction of the elders and Myathians who fought alongside Fallon.  However, three elders had chosen not to side with Fallon or the Throne.  For this reason, the Throne spared them.
But chaos was upon the land of mortals as immortal creatures sought to gain power over them.  The Throne recognized that mortals were more than capable of having rule over themselves, but the Stellars, what the immortals became known as by the Throne, were to always be ruled by the occupants of the first of the three houses of the golden scepter.  But who would be suitable to have authority over the Stellars?  The throne left this decision with the chief Warrior Priest over the second house, known as the House of the Warriors Priests.  His name was Billum, and was chief over the six Warrior Priests who ruled over the house.  Billum allowed the Stellars to form their own Kingdoms, but only within the boundaries of their nation.  This nation was known as The Dark Nation. But after searching many years for one to rule in the first house that would bear their name, he turned his attention to a place that was always the target of the Dark Nation.
Twelve kings had made a bound to stand shoulder to shoulder against the Dark Nation.  Their Kingdoms were among the first to ever be established upon the earth and combined, had a citizenship of over 3 million citizens.
The kingdoms involved were: Menia, Pru, Vestige, Lutz, Twells, Placia, Dirks, Raison, Wull, Xen, Flanders and the chief among them all, Gorin.  King Gorin was a strong warrior who commanded an army of a million soldiers made up from the armies  of the other kingdoms.  Gorin put fear into the hearts of the Stellars.  But a vampire from the Dark Nation fell in love with the beautiful wife of Gorin.  Soon she found herself hopelessly in love with the very handsome creature.  Listening to her heart, she became a vampire and left to live among them in the Dark Nation.  Heartbroken, Gorin swore vengeance and launched an all out war to win the love of his life back into his arms.  But it was futile.  Gorin's army had been surrounded, soon leaving Gorin to stand alone against hundreds of hungry vampires.  After his fall, his son became king.  Billum was impressed with the wisdom and strength of the 12 kings, appointing them all to rule over the first house, coming to be known as The House of the Twelve Kings.  In return for the heavenly rule, Billum promised to personally watch over their kingdoms and its people. After thousands of years, Twells would emerge as the last kingdom to remain standing as one of the original kingdoms that made up the land of the Twelve Kings.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Legend of Twells series. BOOK ONE:"SWORD OF BILLUM"

It was knocked from the hands of the great Warrior/Priest, Lord over the house of the Warrior/Priests in a simple challenge waged high up in the heavens. It landed and was buried near the land ruled by a great Warrior/King. However the impact its legend will have over the lives of a banished Prince, a beautiful and wise Princess who becomes the last Queen of her Kingdom and a young maiden believed to be the daughter of a mystical people, will set the stage for a war that will endanger the lives of both mortals and immortals in an all out struggle for power.

Excerpt of the week: "Prince Darben of Onus":

Even his cry was unusual. It wasn’t the reflective, forceful wail that announced his arrival into the world, but an unbearable, high-pitched protest, which proved difficult to tolerate. Queen Dedra seemed to refuse the instinctive nature of all mothers to cradle the crying infant close to her bosom, but rather was holding the babe dressed in swaddling cloth in her weary hands like a heavy, burdensome stone, falling inside herself as if into a deep well rummaging among relics for a treasure chest of compassion. Unfortunately, the well of her heart didn’t run very deep.
She was pained with disappointment.
Searching for something within as she beheld the ‘stained’ face of the cursed cherub, hopeful her eyes could find something to adore. Had she been born a poor citizen of Onus maybe she would feel differently. Not all women were fortunate to have children, and of those who could, many died in the act of giving birth. Frail, young, malnourished bodies unable to withstand the trauma of childbirth being to blame. She would be angry with the ‘gods' had she believed in them. But she wasn’t a peasant born of low grade, she was a queen, and kings don’t marry beautiful princesses for beauty alone, but also in hopes of having handsome and beautiful heirs.
Without so much as a look at her servant Louisa, the truculent queen slowly placed the crying infant back into her unsuspecting arms. Unsure of what to make of the Queen’s actions, a baffled Louisa held out hope for her queen. She just gave birth , she thought. Surely she suffers from stress and great fatigue.
Your Grace, he is still a babe; there is time still.”
But the naive smile of a young woman considered too old for marriage, only fit to remain in servitude to the crown, couldn't possibly understand. None of them could. Peasants! So critical of the The King and Queen. Try once to walk in the constrictive attire of Royalty.
She recalled the well-pleased smile of King Omron after the birth of Prince Omron II, and the jewelry he so graciously bestowed around her neck, commemorating the happy occasion. She recalled also the night he paced anxiously outside of her chambers at the arrival of Princess Octavia. His eyes couldn't drink deeply enough of her beauty. Now, it appeared his eyes had had their fill, at least that’s how it seemed. Maybe his eyes had had their fill of her as well. Absent this night was the sound of feet pacing outside of her door.
They could never understand what it was like to be a beautiful queen.
Despite Louisa’s words, the queen held to no such lofty delusions.
Remove him from my presence,” she ordered curtly. Louisa’s gentle smile receded into an awful sadness as her eyes slowly fell upon the face of the child whose crying had subsided. The babe was now silent, and the queen observed with envy the comforting arms of Louisa wrapped around him. If there was a young maiden more suitable to providing loving care for her child, it was Louisa.
The young maiden’s sheer beauty only rivaled her own. But it was the order of things. She was born into servitude, and her common blood was never to mingle with that of Royalty. Beauty had many advantages, but overcoming servitude wasn’t one of them.
You can never marry, Louisa,” the queen whispered, staring out into the blackness of night. “No children shall ever pass through your womb. However, this night, I have given birth in your place.” Her bottom lip quivered. “Maybe my heartache will bring you joy,” her voice cracked.
With her eyes, Louisa questioned those of the midwives, who were just as dumbfounded as she. Had the child been as handsome as Omron II or as lovely as Octavia, would the queen have been so generous with the fruit from her very own womb? Charity from the King and Queen was never expected, but charity of this magnitude was unheard of. She wasn’t a nurse, just a simple servant performing her duties to the crown. While holding the child close in her bosom, an obvious question came to mind.
Your Grace, the child will need care. Seeing that I have never given birth, how shall I handle such a delicate matter?”
The raging storm outside the lofty walls of the Castle of Onus mirrored the storm of bitterness that swirled just as unpredictably within the queen’s own heart.
Find him a breast to suckle upon among the peasants, and he shall be placed under your sole care,” she said. With her eyes, she beat back the judgmental glares of the two midwives. Old, silly women. Who were they to judge her?
However, because his blood is Royal, he shall be treated as such. Is that understood?”
It appeared that even charity was conditional. Rolling over onto her side, her back faced Louisa holding the child.
Now you all may leave me; I need rest,” she ordered.
The two caregivers mournfully looked over at a bewildered Louisa before bowing to the Queen and exiting the chambers, followed slowly by Louisa, cradling the newborn in her small arms, when suddenly she was struck by something and turned back.
Your Grace, bid me to trouble you once more, yet, what shall we call the child?”
The madness of gods and old folk tales. If they were true, this night, they had cursed the queen. A flash of lightning illuminated the simple tears that ran down the face of the most beautiful queen as she silently gazed out into the night sky. She closed her eyes.
Name him 'My Misery,’” she whispered. Now the gods shall be responsible for his care.
Louisa’s heart sank within her. She grabbed the lantern before bowing, slowly leaving with the child from the chambers.
She arrived at her quarters just down the hall from the queen’s. Maybe the queen will have a change of heart by morning, she thought. She placed the child on her humble bed. Louisa held the lantern close to the infant's small face, examining the scar more closely.
It’s not so bad,” she whispered. The sweet face was interrupted by a scar from the bridge of his nose to his forehead, on the left side. She lay next to him on her stomach, slowly placing a kiss upon his ‘darkened’ cheek as her long, brown, curly locks covered the face of the babe. Her eyes weighed the pitiful things around her rather quaint quarters. She felt embarrassed. Not even the queen herself had ever been inside her quarters.
Surely, such meager accommodations were not befitting of a prince. Her face hovered above the infant's. “My lord,” she whispered softly, “I have very simple things, and my means are not much. But to you, I shall give my all.”
The sleeping child appeared to stir, responding to her voice. “What shall be your name?” she pondered greatly as she watched him sleep.
Usually the King himself would announce the child’s name, which would have begun with the letter O. But this was no longer meant to be. But what difference did it make what name she gave to the child? If the queen did not approve it, she would have to change it. Suddenly, a name came to mind. It was the name that belonged to someone she had once cared for dearly, but whose blood was much too rich to be mingled with that of a servant girl.
She softly rubbed his darkened cheek with her index finger. “My Prince, I shall hereby name you, Prince Darben of Onus.”