Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If you don't know how to drive in the snow...

Ok, seriously, we live at over 6000 feet above sea level. No matter how dry it is here, we are still going to get snow. It snows every year, and often MUCH worse than it did today. If you don't know how to drive in a single inch of snow, YOU'RE LIVING IN THE WRONG STATE RETARD!!!

So, my brother's car has broken down, and like the lazy tard that he is, he's taking his sweet time finding a new one. He's had loan money sitting in his bank account for over a month now, and still no car. So it falls to me, as his room mate to drive him to and from work. Normally, this drive takes 10 minutes either way, for a round trip of 20 mins despite rush hour traffic. But, oh, god forbid there should be a SINGLE INCH of snow on the ground. Oh dear god, what do we do, what do we do, how do we deal with this!?!?! Well Aparently people who have been living in this state their entire lives and drive those big 4WD SUVs they can fit their 17 children into, handle a SINGLE INCH of snow by driving 4 MPH.

What is normally a round trip of 20 mins took THREE AND A HALF HOURS!!! Why? For many reasons. First of all, I don't think my spedometer went above 5 MPH the entire time. Second of all, everyone was being WAY overly cautious. Did you know that when you're at a red light, and it turns green, and you take your sweet time getting started because you're afraid of a little snow, the sensor on the light automatically decides that there's no one at the light and it changes to red again within less than a minute? Well, it does. And while some jackass is taking 73 years to press down on the gas pedal, he is ensuring that he and only he will get through the light when it turns green. This backs up traffic at EVERY SINGLE TRAFFIC LIGHT IN THE WHOLE VALLEY by at least 5 blocks, with people sitting at each and every light for 20mins+ just to get through because people who have been living and driving in the snow all their lives can't handle a SINGLE INCH of snow on the ground, adding OVER THREE HOURS to my trip. That wasted my ENTIRE day, because guess what, the second I got home, my brother calls for his ride home and I had to go out and do it again, the second time taking 2 hrs and 45 mins. I had a full tank of gas when I started out today, now it's almost empty. That is an entire $40 that I really didn't have to spare, completely and utterly wasted for no other reason than that people who have been living and driving in the snow their entire lives don't fricken know how to drive in a SINGLE INCH of snow. WTFx3billion people!!!

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!! If you can't handle driving in a SINGLE INCH of snow, DONT FREAKIN DRIVE AT ALL!!! Do everyone else a favor and JUST STAY HOME!!! Better yet, move to a state where it doesn't snow at all because you're too retarded to live here in the winter!

Exile chapter 31 draft 4

Finished with the fourth draft of Exile chapter 31 and it can be downloaded here.

Not many changes here, just a few small continuity issues, and one or two stupid things I wasn't really thinking about when I wrote them apparently. After editing this chapter I think that if I ever actually decided to break this story up into two parts, this would make a better ending for the first, there's a bit more closure to things.

One small thing that was added to this chapter in the third draft was a bit with Fayt Nightfang watching from Avalon as the Samirreh conquer Nothengard. That small part would make the perfect epilogue if I were to split the story, but the better thing to do by far is just try to get it cut down as much as possible before i really put thought into splitting it. It's a very short part, only a handful of paragraphs, and really, the only thing it serves to do is remind you that there is an antagonist in this story, and he's still there, still evil, still up to no good, and he's on the verge of winning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Exile Chapter 30 Draft 4

So, after sleeping almost two days straight, I'm back to work on Exile again and the fourth draft of chapter 30 can be found at the bottom of this page.

This chapter was new to draft 3 and is another chapter about Patrick and Weasel. This chapter is very long, as all chapters about these characters are, and it is nearly all action. We've got a large battle, a smaller ambush, an epic duel, and the two storylines finally meet when Aaron and Anna show up to save the day.

Despite the fact that this is basically only the second draft of this chapter, I did a really good job on teh first draft of it. There was very little that needed editing, and the things that did were just small things like bad grammer and the need for more punctuation.

For a while I had been considering cutting this story into two volumes rather than going through and chopping it down to size. This right here would have been the breaking point between the two books. We've got climaxes in both storylines and a quick epilogue would tie things up in a nice bow to set up for the second volume, but then i decided I was just being lazy and not wanting to do the work of chopping it down, something that the story itself really needs so i decided against doing it. Beides, as my Agent says, it's much easier to sell a standalone than it is to sell a series.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.

It's over. Thank God, it's over. December always nearly kills me. I really kinda hate it. By the way, never make the mistake of driving past a Walmart on Christmas Eve... I was stuck in the traffic trying to squeeze into a parking lot that could squeeze no more cars into it for almost 45 mins just trying to go one block down to get onto bangerter, because of all the retarded last minute shoppers. I mean seriously... you see it coming. It happens on the same day every year. It's not like it jumped you from a shadowed alley and stole your wallet at knife point. Couldn't you maybe have, I don't know, thought ahead and, you know, SHOPPED LAST WEEK OR SOMETHING!!! I will NEVER understand the mentality of someone taht leaves christmas shopping until 6 PM the day before Christmas. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I mean... WHY? Why would you a.) leave it until there's likely nothing left in stores worthwhile to buy and b.) even want to be anywhere near the crowds of like minded retards like yourself? Hell, I hate christmas crowds so much I do the majority of my shopping online so i just don't have to deal with it.

It's no great secret that I'm not exactly a people person, but I have this thing with loud, noisy, pushy crowds of people. They make me want to climb to the top of the nearest tower with a sniper rifle and start taking pot shots. I have this thing where I hate when people block my path. Especially when they appear to be doing either nothing, or having a conversation with someone else right in the middle of the flow of traffic. It drives me crazy. Normally I have a sort of intimidation factor (which I still find strange because i'm not exactly a very imposing figure and prefer to blend nto teh background rather than be noticed) that usually makes people avoid me, leaving a clear path, but in a crowd there's nowhere for them to go. I do not understand why anyone would ever willingly subject themselves to that sort of insanity. Data does not compute!!! And you know what? If you're stupid enough to leave your Christmas shopping until 6 PM on December 24th YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING YOU ARE FORCED TO ENDURE!!!

So, anyway, Merry Christmas to all, and good riddance to the horrid season for another 11 months. And let me tell you, 11 months is all too soon.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Exile Chapter 29 Draft 4

Finished Chapter 29 of the fourth draft of Exile last night but fell asleep on my computer before I could post it, woke up with waffle face and 300 pages of j at 2 AM and said I'll fix it tomorrow and went to bed. Oh how I suffer for my art . . . well, not really, I'm an insomniac, I don't sleep much anyway. Anyway, the un-J'ed version of this chapter can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Just a few changes to the text here to make things more clear, and to give Silmera more realistic things to say while confronting the being that utterly destroyed her mother and used her to nearly exterminate the human race. I've also put in a few more hints that Silmera may be falling for Mal, and how ridiculous the idea still seems to her.

Anyway, whenever I start putting a story together I always approach it in three parts, like a three act play, because that is a very good model for a story to follow. The first act introduces the characters, the setting, the rules, the conflict and all of that. The second act tests your characters. Everything that can go wrong does, and the bad guy seems on the verge of winning. The third act the good guys overcome their adversity, made stronger by it, and use what they've learned to triumph over the bad guy.

Take, for example, the original star wars trilogy. Star Wars introduced the characters and their conflict, rebels vs. empire. The antagonists Vader and the emperor, and the setting, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Empire has our heros fleeing for their lives from the empire out for retribution for the events of star wars. Everythig that can go wrong does. People are captured, luke loses a hand and finds that the man he hates with all his heart for murdering his father actually IS his father. They can do nothing but limp away to safety, leaving a fallen friend behind to his fate. In Jedi, the rebels regroup and gather their strength after licking their wounds for a final offensive against the empire, and Luke comes to terms with the truth, using it against his father to force him to choose redemption and death over remaining a slave to the dark side. The emperor dies, the empire falls, everyone is happy, the end.

In Exile the first act introduces us to our heroes, Silmera and Mal, and the supporting characters, Aaron, Anna, Lilia, Patrick, Weasel, and so on. Our antagonists, Fayt Nightfang, Fayt Stain, the Samirreh as a whole. The setting, the four kingdoms a thousand years after an apochalyptic war. And the conflicts, people of the Four Kingdoms vs the Samirreh, Mal vs. the voice in his head, and Silmera vs. Fayt Stain. The second act sees everything that everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong. Mal loses control of hte Dark God and destroys his village, killing or maiming many of the people he's grown up with. He and Silmera are badly hurt, and banished from teh Hidden Valley forever. They're attacked by a Fayt and Mal is actually turned into a Samirreh by his dark magic. Patrick is sent to take command of the allied army but is greeted with scorn, apprehension and refusal. Silmera is captured by the enemy and Mal learns that he can either save himself and let the world burn, or save the world and walk the rest of his days as a Heretic for his reward. In the end Patrick gets control of hte army and leads it to victory. Mal rescues Silmera and she defeats Fayt Stain. Mal triumphs over the Dark God, removing the curse from himself forever, defeats Fayt Nightfang and foils his plans. Everyone is happy except for most of the main cast who have either died, given up their lives, or been close to someone who has, the end.

I really like the three act format because it gives a very strong structure to a story, and a bit of a roadmap of how the story is to progress as you're brainstorming and putting things together. It gives everything that you need for a good story, Eposition, Conflict, and Triumph, and in all the right order. As one of my english professors in college liked to say, "That Shakespeare dude really knew what he was doing." He followed the three act format religiously, and most of his work is still considered to be very good even after four hundred years.

P.S. the Tron remake was better than it looked. that is not, to say that it was a great movie, it just wasn't as awful as I thought it would be. Still, if you've got the money to see it in the theater, it was fun to watch at least once, especially if you liked the original.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I wash my hands of this weirdness...

So, here it is, the day before the day before the day before christmas... and I get home from work at 2...? wtf... Something seems very strange about that. Anyway, I finished chapter 28 of the fourth draft of Exile last night, but it was late so I went to bed without posting it. You can download it at the bottom of this page.

there were only a few minor changes in this chapter, mostly having to do with what Mal does with the Dark God's power and its effects on Silmera. I dunno what I was thinking the last time around with this chapter but it seemed a little more than a little naughty to me this time through, so I changed it to be a little less icky, and a little more cool.

Anyway, this chapter brings some muuuuuch needed action to the story. Things started out with a bang, but then I went through a very, very long process of building the characters and the world around them without much in the way of action. The time for character and world building is over now, and all the exciting things can happen. And unlike anything Michael Bay has ever produced, you know the reasons, motives and emotions behind all of hte characters' actions so you actually care what happens to them rather than being dazzled by cool explosions and flashy things like that, which distract you from teh lack thereof. (not a Michael Bay fan, in case you were wondering, it doesn't take a genius to make a good transformer's movie, yet he somehow managed to mess it up... twice... buttmunch) All of the set up in Part Two was necessary so that you feel attached to the characters as their lives are turned upside down, and they're fighting for their lives.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Bah humbug!!!

...Whatever that actually means.

On the seventh day of Christmas...

My supervisor gave to me... a day off on the week of Christmas. That was unexpected, but not unwelcome. So I used my time to finish up the fourth draft of Exile Chapter 27 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Ok, this chapter had some really major changes made to it. First of all, and most notable, I removed the drinking contest and replaced it with a part of Mal asking if there is any way to be freed of the Dark God without dying or setting it loose. Now, as amusing as that drinking contest was to my insomniatic mind at four in the morning, it really doesn't fit into this story. It was silly stupid humor, and really had no place here. It really only served as a plot device to remove Aaron from the coming fight. I found another convieniant plot device for that, which is less stupid. I thought te drinking contest was a great idea when I first wrote it, and I was a little iffy on the third draft but decided to leave it in as it was the only place where you get to see first hand how dirty Silmera's sense of humor is and how little she cares about propriety. However, I decided this time around that the story itself is better served without it. Instead I lay the foundation, which was somewhat missing in previous drafts, for the major leap of faith that Mal makes in the end.

Other changes that I made include a lot more introversion from Mal as he tries to sort out his emotions, and decide what he really wants out of life from here on out. He's starting to realize now that seeking revenge will only turn him into a monster and might lead him down the same path that Marael took, but he still feels the desire for vengeance. On top of that he's marrying a girl he doesn't love soon while the girl he's beginning to realize that he DOES love is soon to walk out of his life forever and there's nothing that he can do about it. I'm trying really hard to focus on his emotions in this draft and his inner struggle, because without either he's a very flat and boring character and his sacrifice at the end is completely meaningless. If you don't care about him, and sympathize with him, what's the point?

This chapter is really long, and there is not a whole lot of dialog in it, which can sometimes make it hard to get through, but I think that with all of the high emotion running through Mal at this time, it wont be too bad for someone to read through. Most of this chapter is about Mal trying to sort out his feelings, who he loves and why, and what path he should follow from here on. He's basically taking his first steps into being a man instead of a boy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hooray for days off

The one nice thing about working at the post office in december is that I get paid hourly instead of salaried, and overtime during this month is triple pay instead of time and a half, and so to avoid that, I actually get off on my scheduled days off. Something that rarely happens. So, anyway, since I had this lovely day off I thought I'd do something I enjoy, like work on something I'm writing. And so the Fourth Draft of Exile Chapter 26 is done and can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There was one major change to this chapter in the third draft, which is a part with Fayt Nightfang watching Silmera. I wanted to give the impression sooner that what Silmera did will have consequesnces, and I wanted the antagonist to make another appearance so you remember that he's there, and up to no good. This was a little hard because I don't want to give away too much as to his identity, or his plans at this stage of the story. I did drop a few little clues as to his identity, but nothing really solid. Still, an observant person could probably figure out his identity from this chapter alone, especially when you combine the small part from his point of view to Silmera's thoughts earlier in the chapter about Parth.

Other additions to this chapter were Silmera's memories of Parth and Torren, two things that will come back to haunt her in the ending. Also I added a bit of her fantasizing over what it would have been like to be a normal girl in a little village like Areina. This serves two purposes for the story, it makes Silmera seem more real and makes the reader more sympathetic towards her, and it also shows that even though she thinks that it's ludicrous, she's actually starting to fall for Mal. In the second draft she just sort of thought, well, I guess I'll take him because he's all i've got. When in actuality she's been developing feelings for him all along, and as such things are so alien to her, she just doesn't realize it until the end. Also, added was some dialog and thoughts on the Northern Sage's sacrifice of giving his life to eternal servitude just to have his wife back from teh dead. This is very important to the story, because this is the reason Mal gives up his own life at the end.

The idea of giving a life for a life needed to be introduced earlier in the story so that the seed of it could be planted in his mind. This is a bit of a spoiler for what will happen in the last book of Beyond the Lost Horizon, so if you don't want to know details, skip the rest of this paragraph. Temari will die rescuing Raven from the Black Tower, and the Witch of the North will offer to bring her back for him if he will take her place, because she was mortally wounded fighting one of the Covenant. Keeping with the whole dead is dead and no one comes back from it theme, she is like the Oracle. Her physical body died, but her Demon Core remained, needing a human body given willingly to inhabit, just like the Oracle. The Witch of the North offered her own dying body to bring Temari back from the dead in return for Raven taking her place for the rest of eternity. Raven agreed and the Witch thrust Temari's core into one of her wounds, and Temari was reborn, her regenerative abilities repairing the damage to her new body.

A couple continuity errors were fixed and some language cleaned up to make it more readable, and I've continued with changing speech patterns for all of the main characters to give them more personality

Exile Chapter 25 draft 4

I've finally found the time to finish the fourth draft of Exile Chapter 25 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is the beginning of Part 3: Exiled. Four years have passed to the day from when the last chapter ended. Again, I split the story into parts to prevent confusion on the time jumps. You have a break in the story where it says end of part two, beginning of part 3 4 years later, to tell you that this time has passed, and a short bit of Silmera thinking back on what has happened between chapter 24 an chapter 25. The reason for this is very simple, nothing interesting happened in them, and the story is already too long as it is. Silmera tells you everything that you need to know about what happened during the time that I skipped over.

This chapter needed quite a bit of work, as there were many things that were very vague that needed to not be vague. One of those things is Mal's skill with a sword. I never actually said how good he is in previous drafts, and then all of a sudden he whips it out and is epically awesome with it out of nowhere. He was trained extremely hard by a supernatural being so his skills are a step above those of someone trained by a human because he had to adapt to her greater speed and strength, and find ways around them to make beating her possible for someone of his phyiscal abilities. Silmera tells us this in this draft so there's no confusion about his skills. He's not the greatest swordsman in the world by far, as is proven in the ending when he fights a Fayt, but he's good enough to give all but a handful a good fight.

There were several other really vague things that were clarified and such, from here on there are going to be a lot more edits because this is where the storylines start to come together, and there were a lot of continuity errors created by that.

On other news, my Agent has given me a deadline of the end of march to finish Exile, and I'm pretty sure I can make it. He is extremely pleased with the changes I made in the second and third drafts and thinks that he will have a much easier time selling it than he is having selling Beyond the Lost Horizon. The biggest difference is that Exile is just a much better written and thought out story, with really good pacing, some things that were not so apparent in BTLH. Plus he says it's usually easier to sell a book that doesn't have a happy ending to a publisher because it's something that goes against the norm, and publishers like to see that every now and again. So, aparently I'm getting better at this whole writing thing. Hopefully I can get good enough to start selling some books and quit my craptastic day job. not that it's really all that craptastic, it's just not what I really want to do with my life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Never been a really big fan of christmas. Sure, the christian meaning of the holiday is cool and all, celebrate the birth of the savior of mankind and such. However, the comercialization, the obligations to buy gifts or cards for people you barely know and couldn't care less about, the crowds everywhere you try to go to shop, the traffic, the decorating, the people spending money they dont have on gifts their friends and family don't need, and the general hostility of pretty much everyone you meet on the street during the weeks before christmas annoys the crap out of me. What does ANY of that have to do with any of the other things that Christmas has come to stand for? I say come to stand for because it used to be a pagan holiday back in the day, but was adopted by the catholic church when rome made it their official religion and tried to integrate it into their society.

On top of that, work at the post office is HIDDEOUS during december. Normally a mail route will have 10 packages, maybe up to 15 per day. In december it's 60-100. Normally you'll have 6-7 trays of mail to deliver, in december it's 10-15. So yeah, I've really come to dislike Christmas as it has become. I haven't even got a christmas tree for my apartment. Not only do I have nowhere to put it, I've ALWAYS hated decorating. I always got forced to do it for every holiday that you can imagine when I was young because my parents were always really big on slave labor, (why do something when you can make your kids do it for you?) and it became a hated chore rather than a fun activity. The only things I hate more are carving pumpkins and coloring easter eggs. It's kind of like how my family didn't own a TV until I was like 10 (not because we couldn't afford one, but because my parents didn't want us spending our lives sitting in front of it watching) and all we had to do before then was play board games for entertainment, giving me a rather deep dislike of board games that lingers to this day.

And, of course, I had a goal to finish the fourth draft of Exile before the end of the month, but because work has been so incredibly horrible I get home after dark, take a shower, maybe eat something, then drop dead of exhaustion on my bed and do it all again the next day. So yeah, I hate christmas, not because I'm against what it supposedly stands for, but because I hate the current day society's bastardization of it. I suppose I could do the whole, well the world can do what it wants, I'll celebrate in my own way sort of thing, but really, that's too much effort and totally not my style. my style is to complain loudly and bitterly, piss and moan, piss and moan, and generally be unpleasant to be around. I'm surprised I don't get punched more often... I can darken the mood of any party with the best of them BWAAHAAHAA!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

End of Exile Part 2

I've finished chapter 24 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter marks the end of part two, as I said before I split this story up into parts, each break being when a period of time passes "off screen". The break last time was 14 years, this time it's 4 years.

Chapter 24 was one of the chapters that was almost completely rewritten from scratch in the second draft, and didn't recieve much attention in the third as I was focusing on different things in that draft. Also, it appears taht this was one of those chapters I wrote in the middle of the friggen night when i couldn't sleep, because a lot of things like sentence and paragraph structure were pretty messed up and sloppy in this chapter. It was screwey to the point that I had to completely rearrange several paragraphs and fit in new ones to make sense of what I'd already written. That is the reason for the delay in getting this chapter done, it needed some deep overhauling. Also I had Mal doing some things that completely contradict his attitude later in the story, so I had to change that to make Lilia the aggressor, which actually takes less work than you might thing, strangely enough. There's a chapter later on that was from Silmera's point of view in the first draft but was changed to be from Mal's point of view in the second with very little change to the actual material.

Anyway, so the story is skipping ahead 4 years from here, because really, nothing happens in those years worth mentioning that isn't mentioned later. Pretty much all you miss is Malcolm Thatcher: The Emo Years, which we can all do without I think. Plus, this story is long enough as it is. The fourth draft is currently at 303,499 words, and at least 1/3 of that needs to go in the next draft. To do that I will first look at the story as a whole and say to myself, all right self, what here does the story absolutely need, and what here can it get by without. Then I'll go through it pretty much line by line and do my best to say the same thing in fewer words. That cuts out more than you might think. I cut 90k words out of Beyond the Lost Horizon, and I really only chopped out two chapters, one that was basically a retelling of something that had already happened earlier in the story, and the other a running gag that I decided was a little too stupid to remain in the finished manuscript. The rest was just rewording things so that it said the same thing in fewer words. Well, that and I rewrote huge chunks of the ending because it was a little too drawn out and frankly anti-climactic. After the final climactic confrontation, people don't really want 3 chapters of resolution, they want one at most, so things got way compacted and the story is much better for it. And Exile will be too, once I start chopping. Everything I cut out is better off cut out, and most of it isn't even really cutting, just rewording.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exile chapter 23 draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of Exile Chapter 23 and you can download it at the bottom of this page.

This chapter was new to draft 3 and is the first chapter from Patrick's point of view. You get to see his stress over the war, his frustrations with his impotently small army, and his troubles with trying rather unsuccessfully to court Weasel. This chapter is pretty important as it establishes Patrick's feelings toward her, and it also lays the groudwork for something extremely stupid and uncharacteristic that he does in the end. I'm trying to go with a sort of love in the absolute worst of times sort of theme with this storyline.

This chapter needed a crapton of work since this is basically just the second draft of it, which is why it took me so long to get through. And, like all chapters with these characters it's rather long to fit a huge amount of material into a single chapter so as not to break up the main storyline with Mal and Silmera too much. Sometimes I look at something I've written and it makes no sense at all and I scratch my head and wonder wtf I was trying to say with it. Sometimes I can't even get the context from the rest of the paragraph around it it's so bad XD.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gas money ftw

Sales for the Beyond the Lost Horizon E-book are AWESOME, it's sold a whole 20 copies from the amazon kindle store since July. soooooo, what's $20 divided by the five years that it took me to write it...?

/sarcasm off

Seriously though thanks to the people who bought it... all 20 of you... you got me 2/3 a tank of gas, which is awesome.

Needless to say, I'm not quitting my day job quite yet ~_^

Friday, December 3, 2010

Exile Chapter 22 Draft 4

And yet another chapter of te fourth draft of Exile is up for download at the bottom of this page.

There have been some significant changes between the second draft and the fourth draft of this chapter. Mostly these changes have to do with the addition of Patrick Eamon's character, and things that he has done in his chapters, namely discovering the symbol that the Samirreh are carving into the Four Kingdoms. I've also delved a bit deeper into Silmera's feelings on having and needing to have a child so that she'll have a reason to live again. She's desperate, grasping at straws. It was no coincidence taht I had her relate a story of a man clinging to a root that would not support his weight over a cliff. I had her relate that story not only because it illustrated her point to Mal, but also because it illustrates how she feels now to the reader. She's barely holding on, clinging to something that wont hold her weight, praying for someone, anyone to reach down and give her a hand.

Also a little explanation on the words that Silmera uses as curses. She is a Heretic, basically my version of a vampire and a werewolf rolled up into one, with a tad bit of Japanese demon tossed in just for the heck of it. I will admit that I got the idea from watching the movie Underworld, so sue me. Anyway, her life revolves around blood. She needs to drink it periodically or she'll die the most horrible death imaginable. Her own blood is deadly poison to anything that isn't a Heretic, and she has to live her life with extreme care not to bleed on anything or anyone that she doesn't want to die the same horrible death that she would if she doesn't drink blood. Since blood plays such a large part in her life she uses it as a curse, bloody this, bleeding that, blood cursed whatever and so on. I didn't just toss it in because it's the least offensive way of swearing I could think of, there's a real reason that she uses these words as curses.

In my experience, people tend to use words that describe what is most dear to them as curses. Someone who uses the word f**k in excess is normally someone who is mostly preoccupied with f**king. Someone who takes the lord's name in vain is typically religious, or was raised in a religious home and uses the curse for shock value or as a way of putting himself aside from his roots. To someone who is deeply religious, using the lord's name in vain is a far more potent curse than saying f**k. So, in wiritng, when you want to have someone swear, you first have to figure out what is most important to that person, then you can come up with curses that revolve around it. It makes the curses seem more real if you do it that way. One of the largest parts of Silmera's life is blood, either seeking blood to drink and put off a gruesome demise, or keeping from bleeding on anyone or anything by accident and killing them. It's her curse that she has to live with it, and so she uses it as a curse.

I hate editing

I've finisehd the fourth draft of Exile chapters 19-21 and my brain is about to melt from it. You can download them at the bottom of this page.

mostly minor changes, I did add a bit of humor in to emphasize Aaron's excentricities and lighten the mood a bit. This story is really rather dark, and there's not much to break it up. I have no idea what I was thinking when I started writing it, but really, very little that is good for the characters actually happens in this story. I mean, they learn and grow as people, but a lot of them meet horrible ends, or have their lives irrevocably destroyed in some way or another by the ending. There's a very tragic ending to this very dark story, and I've been trying to put a few things in to lighten the mood, but there's not much I can do. I must have been super depressed when I wrote this thing, or in the mood to watch someone that wasn't me suffer. Which is somewhat stupid because there is a little of me in all of my characters, so i'm bsically making myself suffer in making others suffer but whatever. And now I'm rambling incoherantly because my brain is melted from all the editing work I did today.

Editing work + ADD does not mix, just FYI. I mean, there's the whole, this is my story, wow I did a good job writing this, awesome, aspect of it. And then there's the whole I've been sitting here for hours with nothing else to do but read something that I've not only read 12 times before, but also played out in my head 300 times before actually sitting down to type out aspect. It's really driving me crazy, but I've got my agent practically breathing down my neck and I think that if I don't actually produce something he can sell quickly he's going to drop me. Sooooo not much choice but to keep going and pray I don't go insane and murder someone over the nex few weeks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Exile Chapters 17&18 draft 4

I've finished the fourth drafts of Exile Chapter 17 and 18 and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Again, not many changes to these chapters, just a few small edits here and there, which is why they're done so quickly. It's my goal to finish this draft by the end of the year. I'm about 28% finished now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exile Chapters 14-16 Draft 4

I've finished the 4th draft of Exile chapters 14-16 and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

soooooo, these 3 chapters of Exile needed very minimal edits, which is why they are finished so fast. In fact chapters 14 and 15 have not changed very much at all since the first draft. Nice to know I at least got SOMETHING right on my first try. I sure didn't get much else right. In fact, the first draft is so incredibly bad that the word count has nearly trippled between draft 1 and a partial draft 4. The first draft was 117k words and at about 23% completion the fourth draft is just under 300k, officially the longest thing I have ever written, beating out the Ark of Zarathustra by 6k or so, and I'm not finished yet, I expect another 10-15k words added before I'm done. I am not looking forward to chopping it down to size. I want to cut 40%-50% of the word count, but I'm not sure if it's possible. I might only manage 30%, which is the best I could do with Beyond the Lost Horizon without damaging the integrity of the story.

Anyway, Chapter 14 is one of my favorites in this story. It tells all of the backstory of the world. One way that writers tell you about the history of their worlds without making it seem like a stupidly boring history lesson where none of the characters are involved in any way shape or form is to have one of the characters tell a story, so you've got a story within a story that your characters can add comments and questions to rather than a massive block of text that's not hugely relevant to what's happening. Anyway, Silmera tells the story of the Demon Queen Marael, which is a story that I wrote in high school called Heretic Twilight. Like I said in previous posts it was basically my version of what I thought the star wars prequel trilogy would be like before they came out. And seriously, George Lucas should take some lessons from ME, because that story, as badly written as it was with my incomplete high school education was a thousand times better than his crappy, mostly animated movies. It's been a long, long time since anyone said "no" to George Lucas, and someone really, really, really needs to.

So anyway, we've got this story within a story, where Silmera tells basically all of the events that happen between the third book of the Beyond the Lost Horizon trilogy until the end of Heretic Twilight. These stories are all connected because I like the idea of many different stories taking place in the same universe. in fact, that's where a lot of Spires of Infinity came from. There's always another story to tell. I have a massive explanation of this on my website so i won't go into it here. The purpose of having this chapter here is to satisfy myself in putting in a retelling of one of my better story ideas, and also to show how Silmera views her mother and wishes to be viewed by people. And she is something of an attention whore, though she'll vehemently deny it if you accuse her of it. This chapter also explains who Marael is and why people hate her so much. In the end of her reign there were a little over a hundred and forty thousand human beings left alive in the entire world because of her. Silmera does not go into this in her story, because she is trying to focus on the tragedy of how Marael's life was destroyed, not all of the horrible things that she did.

This story is one of the biggest reasons for the cautious way in which Mal deals with the Dark God. He's completely terrified of turning out like her. It's also what makes his decision in the very end to merge with the Dark God so hard. Mal needed to know the reason Marael did what she did so he could have the fear necessary to make his decisions regarding the Dark God that much harder. He knows how Marael was destroyed by the Dark God, and he knows what the Dark God did using her body after he'd taken it from her. He also learns later on just what the Dark God is capable of doing if he gains even temporary control over his body. He doesn't want to become another Demon Queen Marael, even though everything he finds on how to be rid of the Dark God forever tells him to give in to teh Dark God and let it take him. His fear is a necessary part of how his character grows to the point that he's able to make the decision that ultimately saves every life in the Four Kingdoms. Without conflict stories are boring, so he needed something that would give him the inner conflict to make his coming to that decision exciting. If there's no reason or conflict behind a huge decision like that, then people reading the story don't care what happens, feel gyped out of their time, and generally want to kick the writer for messing it up.

The other two chapters there's not much to say about. pretty much the only thing that was changed were the ways that Lilia and Silmera talk, and a few little tweaks here and there to fix text that was unclear, didn't make much sense, or had contradictions in it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

She says she's perfectly sane... but I beg to differ... a lot... seriously...

Ok, sooo I was recently in a relationship with someone who I kinda liked, and would have liked to persue further. We'd been dating for two months, maybe three. Then, all of a sudden, she just dumped me for the most retarded, completely insane reason on earth, and I'll tell you all about it.

Ok, so, I'm no stranger to the whole dating thing. I've not had many relationships in my time, but I've been in enough to know when she's just not that into me. I met this girl Claire at a bookstore, we were looking for the same book and I asked her if she'd like to go get dinner. Not exactly the smoothest of moves, I know, but it got the job done. We seemed to really hit things off. She actually understood my sense of humor, which few people do. She even thought my scruffiness was sexy, and threatened me with bodily harm if I even thought of shaving more than once a week.

We probably went out once a week for a couple months, did a lot of e-mailing an texing stupid little hearts and xoxo's to each other as retarded people in relationships often do these days, and I was really starting to think we might be going somewhere. She likes Anime, all the same book series I like, she holds American Idol and Twilight with the same contempt that I do, and as a plus, she is incredibly attractive on top of it all. She even read some of my stories and thought They were pretty good.

Now, for as long as I can remember I have always--ALWAYS--hated musicals. Any and all musicals, it doesn't matter what they're about, if I like the music or not, if it's got the most epic story ever, I just cannot stand to watch them. They drive me crazy. They're so completely and utterly pointless and I don't even know a word to describe how much I utterly despise them. I hate them so much that it actually hurts to watch them. I dunno, the part of my brain that translates song to dialog must be broken because I have a very hard time following a story when all of the characters are prancing around and singing rather than just freakin talking to each other like god intended. If I don't like a song I usually just tune it out and 99% of songs in musicals are complete and utter crap. THere are a few I like, such as Phantom of hte Opera, Les Mis, and a few others, but I still have the same problem when i try to watch them. When I do like a song I listen more to the music than the words. I've always been like that. I like to pick out the different chords and melodies and harmonies and crap like that. Yes, I know I'm weird, you don't have to tell me. How do you think i am able to play the piano by ear? I don't know a thing about reading music, but I understand music itself, if that makes any sense. So I focus more on hte music than the words and miss what's going on.

Annnnyway, Claire LOVES musicals, which is fine with me. She's allowed to like the things she likes. She hates video games, but I rather enjoy them every now and then (though much much less than I once did these days) We don't have to like ALL the same things. Well, she kept talking about her favorite, favorite movie of all time, The Musicman, and when I said I'm not really into musicals she basically forced me to sit down with her and watch it, convinced that if I saw it I'd like it. Well, guess what, I've seen it and it is a musical. Musical = hatred. But I really like her and so I was willing to suffer through it to make her happy so long as she realizes how hard it is for me to sit through things like that and keeps it to a minimum in the future.

Now, I have moderately sever ADD. When I'm doing something that I enjoy like writing, playing a video game, watching a movie that I find entertaining, I'm usually pretty good about forcing myself to sit still and pay attention. When I'm faced with something that bores me to tears I'm not so good. I tend to constantly fidget, and move around, tap my feet, drum my fingers against something. There's just something about being able to move that makes sitting through something incredibly boring bearable. Unfortunately she was all snuggled up to me, effectively keeping me in place. now, most men when they have a very, very attractive woman leaning into them are thinking something along the lines of "SCORE!!!!!!!!!" but, all I could think about was how awful that movie was, how incredibly bored I was, and how I was effectively pinned in place. It's hard to describe the pressure that builds up in a person with ADD that is forced to sit still and watch something that he is completely and utterly disinterested in watching. You can feel it building up inside of you, and it actually starts to hurt, you feel like your muscles are on fire and that you're going to explode if something interesting doesn't happen RIGHT NOW, Minutes stretch out and you swear that time is flowing at a tenth it's normal speed, and finally you just can't take it anymore and you need to stand up and move around.

I tried, rather unsucessfully, to explain how much pain I was in at having to sit still and watch her movie, and of course she took it personally. I'm not really very good at putting things into words during conversation. I get this deer caught in headlights look and kinda fumble and mumble and just don't do a very good job of explaining. But I did manage to get across to her that I was having an extremely miserable time of watching this movie. I asked if she would mind if I maybe read a book while the last hour of the movie was on and she freaked out. My neighbors are probably still talking about how she screamed at me. She kept saying how selfish I was, and how I wasn't even giving the movie a chance, and how she could never marry a man that couldn't even sit through her favorite movie with her. I sat there in sheer agony for 90 minutes just because I wanted her to be happy, and I was being selfish and not giving a movie I've already seen twice before and hated a chance?

She now refuses to answer the phone when I call. She sends her room mate out to send me away when i stop by to try to talk to her. She doesn't return any e-mails or texts. Just because I can't stand to sit through musicals she's going to throw away what might have been the most promising relationship I've ever had with a girl.

Now, the obvious answer to the question "why?" is that she just wasn't really all that into me and was looking for an excuse to break up, but she didn't give any signs beforehand. One minute she was hugging my arm like we'd been married 20 years and the next she was screaming and throwing things at me and never wanting to speak to me again. I've known some really crazy women in my time, but that's a little more than a little wierd in my experience.

Luckily, her mom really likes me and she called me to get my side of the story yesterday. Hopefully she can beat some sense into Claire and we can resolve this. I mean, I'd understand her reaction if i'd punched her cat or something, but I just said I needed something to do during a movie that was boring me so much it actually hurt. I don't get why that would be such a huge deal to anyone. I swear I've torn out half of my hair trying to figure out what the real reason for her flipping out is, because it can't possibly be the stupid movie. Why does every girl i meet have to turn out to be a freakin psycho? I mean, I should have met at least one by now that was sane by sheer probability. I've been basically just laying around all depressed all week long because of this. She was going to come to thanksgiving dinner and meet my parents, and now she won't even talk to me. It's enough to make a perfectly crazy guy like me sane. I just want to scream in frustration... but the neighbors got enough of a show last week.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Exile Chapter 13 Draft 4

I've finished the Chapter 13 of the Fourth Draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is the second chapter in the sidestory of Patrick and Weasel. It's pretty long, like all of their chapters will be. There is a lot of material that needs to be included in these chapters to basically make is so people care what happens to these people by the end of the story, but I don't want to take too much attention away from the main storyline with Mal and Silmera. So I decided that I would do 5 or 6 really long chapters and put them into likely places in the main storyline where things are a bit slow to jazz things up with a switch between locations and characters rather than 10 or 12 normal sized chapters that pull you away from the main storyline and are more of a distraction than a good subplot. That's sort of the definition of a subplot after all, something going on in the background that's somehow important to the ending, but doesn't take attention away from the main storyline.

So, anyway, this chapter was new to draft 3, and as that was basically the first draft of it, it needed a crapton of work in this draft. This chapter is entirely from Weasel's point of view, and shows the turmoil in life between grief and anger at her husband's murder, and her dead son, and her loss of ability to procreate, replaced by her need to kill Samirreh as brutally as possible, stabbing them repeatedly so she can watch the light go out of their eyes and feel their blood on her hands. The need sets into her and she has to kill or it actually physically hurts her. She's starting to lose control of herself and her darker urges, and having fond thoughts of killing not only her enemies, but also her friends as well. The only things that can calm her are cutting herself and focusing on the pain, or being near Patrick, which she still sees as a betrayal to her dead husband. There are so many comflicting things bouncing around inside of her that it's literally driving her mad. She's a really fun character to write because she's just so incredibly messed up. It almost seems that a character this crazy is too far gone to ever find redemption, which only makes it that much better when she does in the end.

Anyway, since we don't have much time with these characters I almost have to overexaggerate their personalities in order to get across who they are and what they're doing so you don't forget between this chapter and the next about them. It's kind of a thin line to walk between overdoing it, and enough to get the point across.

In this chapter we see a lot more of what it's like living in the Samirreh occipied Four Kingdoms outside of the Hidden Valley. People huddle together in hidden villages and pray that the Samirreh don't notice them, or that the army they supply will be close enough to help them if they do. Disaster can strike at any moment, and they live constantly in fear of being discovered, because if they are, they'll meet a very brutal end.

Also, in this chapter I've had Patrick be the one to discover what the Samirreh are doing in conquering the Four Kingdoms in such a roundabout, indirect way rather than just sweeping straight across and slaughtering everyone. They're carving a magical symbol into the land in blood, which Fayt Nightfang will use at the end to become a God and bring his beloved dead wife back from the grave. I thought that it was important for someone other than Aaron to figure this out, because Aaron, for all his good intentions, is not very bright, and he never completed his training as a Wizard. He's something of an underachiever, only doing as little work as he possibly can and still get by, hence the reason he didn't press Mal's father for the right to teach Mal to control the Dark God, and why he caves in so easily to Silmera's manipulations. He doesn't have the patience, motivation, or intelligence to do more than he's already doing. Not to say he's a complete lazy idiot, he's just got all he can handle on his plate already with trying to coordinate between hundreds of bands of soldiers scattered across the whole continent and come up with a feasible plan to defeat the Samirreh. Plus, I wanted to show that Patrick is a lot smarter than the average farmboy. He's a genius, and it's not just war and strategy he's studied. He studied just about any subject he could get his hands on, desperate to find something, anything, that would get him away from his father's farm and his destiny to spend the rest of his life working on it. So having him see a pattern that the Wizard missed emphasizes that he is a genius and Aaron is not.

Also, i show in this chapter that for all his genius, patrick is only human. He is completely and utterly exhausted, so much so that he didn't even notice Weasel was there talking to him. Being a legendary general and keeping one step ahead of the Samirreh is taking a lot out of him, and he doesn't really have any way to relieve his stress. Markus, though a reasonably good friend, holds him with the same sense of awe that the rest of his army does. The only person that doesn't do that is Weasel, and she refuses his every advance, which only frustrates him and adds to the stress he's already got. He needs someone that will listen to him, care for him, and hold him when he needs it, and she's the only likely candidate, but she's got so many of her own problems, including not wanting to betray her dead husband by being with another man, that she is trying desperately to hold him at arm's length, which is kind of her only lifeline. They both want and need each other, but her dead husband is continually standing between them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Urge to kill rising... rising... snuffed out by a cupcake...

Ok, soooo, you're driving along and up ahead you see police lights flashing to the side of the road. Some poor sap got caught doing what you were probably doing before you saw the lights. You'd love nothing more than to leave the flashing lights behind because they're strobing into your soul, which is rather uncomfortable, but you can't, because all of a sudden the people in front of you have slowed down to 15 below the speed limit, blocking all 3 lanes of traffic.

I can't even begin to count the number of things that are wrong with this picture, but I'll try.

First of all, and most importantly, the police officer is ALREADY DOING SOMETHING, and he isn't going to look up, see you drive past and dive into his car to pull you over, nor is he going to call on the radio to another officer to come after you. They work in a grid sort of pattern, the cop you see is the only one in the area until you cross into another cop's area unless there is an emergency or someone calls for one.

Second, HE'S NO GOING TO PULL YOU OVER FOR GOING THE SPEED LIMIT!!! A police officer is not going to pull you over for going the posted speed limit even if he isn't already busy pulling someone else over. It is against the law for him to do so.

Thirdly, If you are going more than 10 MPH below the speed limit when there is no obstacle in your path it is considered reckless endangerment which is a misdemeanor in the state of utah. (thank you to my uncle John the not so friendly highway patrolman for giving me the info ^^V) By going slower than the rest of the traffic around you you create a hazzardous obstacle to the other drivers. If you were to be pulled over for this, you would be required to make a court appearance, and depending on the judge you could actually serve jail time FOR GOING TO SLOW. Guess who's gonna be his bunk mate's... mate. Definitely not the dude in for assault and battery, it's the guy who's in for driving too slow. The minimum punishment if you are found guilty of reckless endangerment is a pretty hefty fine.

Fourth, if you're slowing down just to get a better look at someone else's suffering, you're both an idiot and a dick. What if a little old lady decided to cross the road while you're not paying attention and BAM, you've got little old lady splattered all over your windshield? What then? You just killed someone because you're an idiot and a dick. How do you feel now?

So, if you see someone pulled over, don't be a retard and slow down to 15 MPH below the limit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

yada yada yada and a carp in a business suit

Sooooooooo, day after thanksgiving... I hate my job sometimes... *dies*

Anyway, I got my hands on the sequel to I am not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells, titled Mr. Monster, and he's managed to pull off something that few writers ever do. The unplanned sequal capitalizing on the success of the original is actually better than the first one. The main character is even creepier and frightening as he struggles with the monster he unleashed in himself to hunt down and kill the supernatural killer that was murdering people in his little town in the middle of nowhere. Now that he's let it out of the box he's found that he can't put it back in, and all his careful rules to keep himself from hurting other people and becoming a serial killer himself aren't helping, his dark side is just too strong, but luckily another supernatural killer has found his way to the same town looking for his old friend only to find him dead and has started his own rampage in order to lure out the one that did it, giving him a conveniant target for all of his dark urges and needs.

What made this book better than the first one is that there is a whole lot more internal struggle in John, the protagonist and the one telling the story, you can see him suffering and living every moment in terror over what his dark side might do, and watch as the dark side slowly takes over from being a voice in the back of his mind telling him to do things and leaves him the voice of reason in the back of his mind desperately trying to stop himself. The moment when they change places is really creepy, it was awesome. It's really well done, and the fact that the killer is a supernatural being doesn't hit you like a brick like it did in the first one because it's already been establihed that these things exist before. So, if you took my recomendation on the first one and liked it, the second one is better and i recomend it even more.

Also, as I've said many times before, I was highly dissatisfied with the star wars prequel trilogy. I've found a website run by a dude that reviews crappy movies that ruin previously awesome franchises. He has a star wars episode 1 review and a star wars episode 2 review with a star wars episode 3 review forthcoming. They are both rather long, a little over an hour for the first and an hour and a half for the second, but they are completely and utterly hilarious, and the dude puts into words the burning hatred for what George Lucas has done to one of my favorite movie series almost exactly as i would have had I done movie reviews on them. He mirrors my thoughts so perfectly I could almost swear I'd written the reviews myself and forgotten about it. Check them out if you've got the time, they're great for more than a few laughs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Exile chapter 12 and Thanksgiving

I've finished Chapter 12 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Very little has changed in this chapter, just a few more graphic details of what Heretic blood does to a person, and a few small things about the Hidden Valley a thousand years ago as compared to now.

And of course, Happy Thanksgiving to all, except the Canadians, because they act all superior to Americans because their thanksgiving is three months earlier in the year. Screw you Canadia! That's right, I said Canadia instead of Canada. It's only a matter of time before Glenn Beck decides, in his infinite stupidity, that you're the 51st state anyway and you'll have to celebrate thanksgiving on the 3rd thursday of November like civilized human beings. Just you wait, you've only got crappy healthcare and watered down beer to look forward to for all eternity, and your snotty french people can kiss our sombreros, because Spanish is the language spoken by third class citizens here biatches! (note, that was a joke in poor taste about how horribly hispanic immigrants are treated in the USA, not a statement of fact)

P.S. mmmmmmmmmmmm pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Exile Chapter 10&11 Draft 4

I've finished chapters 10 and 11 of the fourth draft of Exile and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There are some moderate changes in these chapters from the last draft posted. Mostly these changes have to do with Silmera's motivations and suicidal thoughts. In my effort to make the characters into believeable people I've delved much deeper into Silmera's reasons for doing what she's doing. An english professor of mine always used to say that to write a believeable character you have to first know what their secret is. Everyone has a secret, and most of the time it helps to define who they are as a person. Silmera's secret is that she wants to die. She knows that this is wrong, so she is desperately seeking a reason to keep going. She's had a whole thousand years of fruitless labor and people still hate her for who and what she is. She can't take it anymore and just wants it to end.

I've also thrown in a few references to how different the world is now from the way it was when she was a child. She gives the impression from her thoughts that the world she grew up in a thousand years ago during and just after the War of Zion is much like our own modern day.

The story that the War of Zion is based on takes place in a world that is a blending of sci-fi and fantasy, there are laser guns, floating cities, and flying cars, but there is also magic and people who still use swords as a ceremonial weapon rather than a practical one. It's kinda like star wars without space travel, which is kinda what I was going for when I wrote it. After the war the technology began to decline rapidly because so much of the population had been killed in such a short time that few people remained that could build, repair and invent new technology. By the time Silmera was 20 years old things had degraded enough that all of the sci-fi technology had pretty much disappeared and was replaced with things like you would find in our world and time, and that is what she is fondly, and not so fondly, remembering.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Exile chapter 9 draft 4

Sooooooo, after weeks of procrastination, and working on Splitplane Saga, which is has drawn me in because it is just so very awesome, my agent has given me a swift kick or three and told me to get my lazy butt back to work on Exile. I suppose that it's kind of his job to keep me focused, so I didn't grumble too badly over it. So I've finished Chapter 9 of Exile draft 4 and you can download it at the bottom of this page if you are so inclined.

There are no major changes to this chapter in draft 4, but there were some significant ones in draft 3. In that draft I added a to Silmera's spiel before the village. She talks about Patrick Eamon and one of his recent accomplishments to soften the blow of the news that the South has fallen to the Samirreh, and now only the north remains free of them. This was a necessary addition to tie Patrick's storyline into the main plot, and make sure that the reader knows that even people in the far corner of nowhere have heard of him and his deeds. The other big change is Silmera telling about the boy who made her swords for her, who, if you've read the second draft, turns out to be Fayt Nightfang in his much younger years. This needed to here to give a subtle clue early on as to the identity of the antagonist, and let the reader know that when his identity is finally revealed that I didn't just pull that plot twist out of my back pocket and say "look at this flashy bit of storytelling, bet you didn't see THAT coming BWAAHAAHAA!!!".

Other than that I've continued changing dialog for each character to give them more personality and distinctiveness and continued cleaning up text to make it easier to understand.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Books of the recommendation variety

Normally I do not like books written in first person. There are several reason for this dislike, the biggest two being first, that it gives an extremely narrow view of the world and the events since you can only see through the eyes of one character, and can only know things that that one character knows, sees, and thinks about. The second reason is because the vast majority of books that I have read written in first person have been horribly mangled by the writer trying to give first person a bit of a flair that it really doesn't need. Anything written by Anne Rice comes to mind, her books are AWFUL. Usually, my rule for first person books is there is not a single book written ever in first person that would not have been 100% better in third person. First person is fine while a character tells a story for a paragraph, a page or two, or perhaps a chapter, but an entire book is usually stretching it more than a little too far.

However, I've recently found two books written in first person that are excellent, the first probably would not have even worked unless it was told in first person, and the second, though it might have been better told in third person, it was still a very good and well written book.

The first is "I am not a Serial Killer" by Dan Wells. This is a rather short book, but very entertaining. It is about a young boy, a diagnosed sociopath, whose family owns a mortuary. He's been fascinated with serial killers since a very young age because of all of the similarities between them and himself, but is deeply afraid of becoming one himself because he has many of the tendencies displayed by serial killers. He has given himself a set of rules to keep hiself from becoming a killer like the ones that he studies. When a serial killer strikes in his own little town he's ecstatic over the chance to observe a real serial killer up close and personal, but soon finds that this is no serial killer but a monster killing people for organs to replace faulty parts of its own body. In order to stop this monster he must become what he fears becoming, thinking and acting like a serial killer, and throwing his carefully crafted set of rules to keep himself in check away.

It's a really interesting idea for a story, and the writer has obviously done a whole lot of reasearch to make it accurate. I liked the protagonist quite a bit because he and I are a lot alike in the ways we view the world, though I am nowhere near as creepy and removed from humanity as he is. The writer did a very good job making a very creepy and disturbing person who normally would never be thought of as a hero into a hero. "I am not a Serial Killer" was short enough that I read in in one sitting in a few hours, and was well worth the money I spent on it. I've also found that there is a sequel that I have not been able to find in stores yet called Mr. Monster.

The second book is "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the first book in a trilogy, the second installment being released next march. I recieved this book as a birthday gift, and unfortunately put off reading it until this week because there were so many other books that had come out that were ahead of it in the queue. Looking back I probably should have gotten to it sooner because it was very good. It is about a man who is basically a living legend, sitting down with a writer to tell his story and give his reasons for doing the things that he did. This book tells the story of the earlier part of his life, growing up as part of a traveling acting troupe where his genius is discovered by his mentor, to living on the streets after tragedy strikes, to university in search of the answers, skills, and knowledge that he needs in order to seek his revenge.

Though being in first person for the vast majority of the book, this story is well thought out and written. The world is realitic and the magic used is a strangely believeable mix of actual real-world physics combined with mental tricks. There is a good ballance of humor and seriousness, and though there are two more forthcoming books the ending is satisfying. I very much enjoyed it and am very glad I recieved it as a gift as I probably not have picked it up until it was in paperback otherwise (I had heard of it from other sources prior to getting it).

So yeah, if you're looking for something to read, I would definitely recomend picking up "I am not a Serial Killer" by Dan Wells, and "The name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ridiculous of the Day.

Wanna hear the most the most ridiculous thing that happened to me today? Too bad, I'm gonna tell you anyway.

So there I was, delivering mail, as I tend to do 5-6 days a week in order to not have to live with my parents, which is cruel and unusual in nature, and a horror worse than death. It's not the most exciting job in the universe, but it pays the bills, and I don't typically have to talk to anyone to do it. I'm not big on talking to people, never have been, and probably never will be. I'm plenty articulate when I have time to write out my thoughts and such, but not so much when I don't. That and I have recently found out I have some sort of anti-social disorder thingy *shrug* I s'pose there's some sort of drug that I could take for that, but the last medication I took for long term made my hairline recede and messed with my short term memory something crazy.

So anyway, there I was, delivering mail. I was at a community box unit, (or CBU for short) one of those big gray plastic things that has all the mailboxes for a single street in it. I opened it up, and started tossing letters into boxes, hopefully the correct ones. When you're lost in your thoughts sometimes you tend to chuck things into the wrong boxes. It was taking a while because the volume of mail has started its holiday climb into insanity. I was there a good five minutes or so, absorbed in the audiobook I was listening to on my iPod (Deathstalker Honor, dramatized *some sort of dramatic sound effect*) I was just about to finish up, only had two or three boxes left to chuck letters into, when a shadow fell across me.

This often happens. People will see the mail truck and come out to loom over you while you're trying to work even though when asked about how they feel when someone is looking over their shoulder while they're trying to work they'll say they feel uncomfortable... hypocrites! This time it was not a person, but a horse. Yes, a real, actual, horse. It was all saddled up and everything, with no rider anywhere in sight. Mr. Ed proceeded to nose his way into the mailbox and try to pull the mail out of my hands with his teeth. He soon let go when he realized that paper tastes like crap, but I do not envy Devin Garret the horse slobber he will have to deal with whilst opening his social security check.

The horse and I looked at each other for a few seconds. I wasn't exactly sure what to do about it. I mean, a stray dog is easy to deal with, give animal control a call and there you go, but what do you do about a stray horse? The horse nosed me a bit, obviously wondering why I wasn't being very friendly, then wandered off and began grazing on someone's lawn. I figured that was good enough for government work and went on my way.

And, believe it or not, that is not the only ridiculous thing that happened to me today. I have another story to tell as well.

So there I was, delivering mail, as I tend to do 5-6 days a week in order to not have to live with my parents, which is cruel and unusual in nature, and a horror worse than death. It's not the most exciting job in the universe, but it pays the bills, and... well, you know that part already.

So there I was, delivering mail. I was at an apartment complex. If you've ever lived in an apartment, you know how the mailboxes work. If not, all of the mailboxes for the entire complex are typically in one central location. Some apartments have CBUs, others have custom multi-unit boxes (CMUBs for short) which areusually just a huge wall of mailboxes, divided into sections of 30 or so.

I have learned, in my 8 years of being a mailman, that if you bundle all mail for a CBU together with a rubber band and set it on top of the box that it goes to when there are more than one at a stop, it keeps people from asking you if you've delivered their box yet or not, because they can see that either, yes, there is no mail on top of my box so he must have finished, or no, there's still mail there so i'll come back later.

This particular apartment complex has 20 CBUs all lined up in a line. I got out, set all my 20 bundles of mail atop the boxes and started delivering starting at the left of the line. I was about halway through when a young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties walked up.

Now, I know that it's a bad thing to judge a person at a glance, but don't lie, we all do it. This guy had a ridiculous haircut that he likely thought looked cool with enough grease in it to make a Big Mac sigh in envy, and his pants wich were at least seven sizes too big for him were practically sagging down to his ankles. His face was covered with patchy, sparse stubble that he might have actually convinced himself into believing was a beard and had the strutting sort of walk of someone who is too stupid to realize how stupid he looks. My first thought upon seeing him was, something along the lines of "what's up, brain doner; walking funny because your pants are down or are you just happy to see me?"

This young man came to a stop before the very last box in the row. He looked at his box, then to the mail on top of it, then to the mail truck, then to me. He repeated the ritual a few more times. I was too amused by his behavior to say anything to him, so I kept working and watched him out of the corner of my eye. I finished with one box, closed it up, and moved to the next box to my right. I clear sign to anyone that missed the mail atop the boxes as to which direction I'm working in.

The young man stood there looking completely dumbfounded. I could hear the rasping of his fingernail as he idly scratched the line of his jaw, considering what to do with all the intensity and determination of a second grader working out his very first multiplication problem at school. slowly, hesitantly, he reached out with his key and opened his mailbox to find that it was empty. No big surprise to anyone with half a brain, but it was obviously not what he was expecting.

He stared in confusion at his empty box, then up to the bundle of mail atop the CBU, to the mail truck, to me working my way slowly toward him, and back to his box again. Again I heard the rasping of his fingernails on stubble as he idly scratched at his jaw in concentration. I could see a realization building in him. He was almost there, sooner or later the clouds would part and the sun would shine through.

But it was not to be. My faith in his ability to figure things out on his own faded away to nothing when he turned to me and asked, "hey, dude, have you delivered to this box yet?"

I gave him a flat stare that he obviously found to be rather intimidating. I'm told that I can be intimidating at times, which I have always found rather odd because I'm not exactly very tall. I attribute this to my times in grade school when, to avoid the mockery of bullies, I learned to keep my face completely expressionless, which in turn began to frighten some of them away, so it worked out awesomely for me then. The problem is that once you start keeping any and all emotion from your face it is very hard to stop, and most attempts seem really rather awkward to those around you.

Anyway, I gave him a flat start that seemed to intimidate him. He took a step back from me with a bit of fear in his eyes. I'm not a fan of stupidity, but I also remember what it's like to be afraid of someone who wants nothing more than to make you as miserable as possible for no other reason than that they can. I don't particularly enjoy frightening people. My solution to this, raise an eyebrow. As I said before, I'm not exactly articulate on the spot, and it was the only expression I could summon on short notice.

"Seriously," I asked him. "You seriously can't tell?"

The young man shrugged uncomfortably and asked, "well . . . have you?"

"What does it look like," I asked. I do not believe in indulging stupidity. If someone is acting like a complete and utter retard I'm going to make them suffer for it, and maybe come up with the right conclusion on their own while they're at it.

"Well, it's box 11D, right here," he replied, pointing to the box, "I guess it's kinda rectangular and, you know, a mailbox . . . like the rest of them . . .?"

He made it sound like a question, as if he wasn't quite sure that his mailbox was, indeed, a mailbox. I wonder what he thought it might have suddenly become, a portal to another universe perhaps? An all you can eat buffet? A shopping mall?

If my hands weren't full I would probably have facepalmed at that. He thought I meant what his mailbox looked like? Seriously, how dumb can a person get? The problem was, that he was still standing there, and still too stupid to undertand that I had not delivered his mail yet. So how, exactly do you go about resolving this problem? Tell him right out and indulge his stupidity? That's not my style. Let him just stand there like the retard he is and ignore him until I get done and drive away? That course of action has its merits, I suppose, but then you have to have him watching you while you finish up, which is decidedly annoying. You can't just tell him he's too stupid to live and you wonder how he conjured up enough brain power to breathe, that sort of thing can get a person fired. So how, then, do you resolve this?

Well, as I was pondering how to tell him he was retarded in the least insulting way possible, he just sort of wandered off like a cat that has suddenly lost interest in whatever it was doing, leaving his mailbox hanging wide open.

And the moral of this story is, don't do drugs, drugs are bad, m'kay?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Splitplane Saga Preview

So, during the seemingly endless work of editing Exile, I find myself wanting to beat my head against a wall. I don't know how it is for other writers (or wanabes like me) but I can only take so much of editing before I start to have fond thoughts of punching baskets full of kittens. Whenever this happens I am typically working on something else and can just switch over to that for an hour or three and then return. Unfortunately, I'm not working on any other projects at the moment that are in the writing stages. All of the things I have on my plate right now are editing work. So, in the need to get something on the side going when I can't stand to edit anymore, I've started some early work on Book 1 of Splitplane Saga. I've posted the prologue of this book on my site as a preview, and it can be found on this page

This book, when it eventually gets written, will eventually be called:

Splitplane Saga
Book 1
The War of Echoes

The page itself has a pretty good description of the project, and the preview, so I won't repeat myself. I'd just like to say that this project is not, at this time, reciving dedicated work on it, and I'm only using it when I get so sick of editing that I have to do something else. Finished chapters of it will be few and far between, and likely not written in chronological order either, therefore I'll not be posting any of it except the preview for a good long while. I do have several incomplete projects needing extensive editing work before I can really start some real work on a new project.

One thing about this story is that it makes a bit of a deviation from my previous writing style in that I am now including the exact thoughts the person through whose eyes you're seeing is thinking. It gets you deeper into their character and the way that they see the world, and is also much harder to write because there's a lot more work you have to do on a person's personality to make it work. I'm trying it out in hopes that I can start getting people's personalities and distinctiveness down much earlier in my writing process.

Anyway, hope ya enjoy it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Towers of Midnight

Woohoo, another year gone by and another Wheel of Time book comes out... only a year... it's only been ONE year... Something seems veeeeery wrong with this picture. These books haven't come out one a year since like, book 6. Not that I'm complaining, as it is one of my favorite series. aaaaanyway, after finishing it I have to say it's one of the better books in the series because a lot of things that were really kind of annoying were resolved. Perrin seems to have found where he misplaced his balls 7 books ago, which is good, and Rand has FINALLY gotten over his emo streak. The end is finally coming. There's only one book left. And I figured out who Mesaana was when book 5 came out 16 years ago, and was ridiculed for my ideas ever since on message/theory boards on the net, so to those who didn't believe, HA!!! I was right and you were dumb BWAAHAAHAA!!! so =P I also figured out who killed Asmodean after reading that book 16 years ago too, however that has yet to be reveled, but it's perfectly obvious when you know what to look for. Robert Jordan gave you everything you need to figure it out in book 5.

I'm not sure how to feel about a book series that I've been reading and eagerly awaiting new volumes of for twenty years now coming to an end. That's two thirds of my life I've been looking forward to an end to this story, but now that it's within sight I kinda want it to keep going. Of course I want to know how it ends, it's been killing me for twenty years, but I also don't want it to end. I remember when I got the first book, it was the christmas after it came out, I had christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, and it had an awesome cover. Little did I know how freakin' long this series would turn out to be.

So yeah, Towers of Midnight was awesome, and if you gave up the wheel of time series because it seemed like nothing was happening, that does eventually end and stuff starts going again in Knife of Dreams (book 11) and has been going strong ever since.

Cover flap text ftw:

"The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight. The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way - at long last - to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways - the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn - have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm ba~ck

You know... the bahamas are not quite so fun when your mother wakes you up to do things at what would be before 6 AM in your home time zone... What is restful and relaxing about that?

Oh well.

While I'm postificating, I might as well talk about some of the history of the world of Exile. Exile is actually based on a story that i wrote during highschool. It was something I started as a school project and then when it turned out to be really really long I kept going on my own time until I finished it. it was horribly written and glossed over a lot of the more epic scenes that i imagined in the effort to make it short enough to turn in as a high school english paper.

I have plans to eventually go back to this story and write it out as it is a really good story in my opinion. I called it Heretic Twilight, and having gone back and read my highschool work on it, it makes a somewhat good summary of what will likely become a trilogy of books, which I will keep the Heretic Twilight name because it sounds pretty freakin sweet.

This is a story about a girl whose parents are murdered in front of her, and she retaliates with latent magical abilities to literally tear the attackers to shreds. She is taken in by an old hermit and taught to control her power. There is a darkness in her soul from the very beginning, something that she struggles with during her formative years as she grows to become a powerful sorceress. When she is brought out of her seclusion back into the world she sees that the ideals she's been brought up to believe are no longer considered important to those who rule over those with magical abilities and that sets her on the path to ruin. She literally gives up her soul and her body to become the Demon Queen and hunts the human race almost to extinction until she is finally defeated by her former teacher and a girl that was as close as a sister to her. She truly believed that the human race had become so corrupt that the only way she saw to cleanse the world was to slaughter every single one of them so that things can start again, and she was willing to give herself completely to the Dark God in order to do it. It's a story of how the brightest shining star of a generation, and greatest hope for the future, can become the greatest evil that the world has ever seen. I give a pretty good summary of this story in one of the next couple of chapters.

Where I got the idea for this story were actually rumors of a second star wars trilogy coming out sometime in the near future. I thought to myself, what would happen in this new trilogy that tells of the fall of the Jedi and the rise of Darth Vader. And I started to think of what would make a character that is so good and pure and powerful fall away to become so evil and corrupt. So basically, you could call this story my version of how the star wars prequels SHOULD have been. It's got the same mix of sci-fi and fantasy, because at the time I had just discovered the star wars expanded universe novels, and final fantasy 7, and they really influenced my writing in those days.

in a way Heretic Twilight is a much better story, and I try to refer to it as often as possible in Exile, without making it overshadow it. The reason that Exile got written and Hereic Twilight has yet to be, is because of the simple fact that it's a much SHORTER story, and as I have yet to be published, that is what I'm looking to sell. A shorter book that is a single novel long rather than the beginning of a trilogy or a longer story. Exile meets those needs, so that is the story I'm working hard to complete. While I would enjoy writing other stories that are frankly more original and more entertaining, what I REALLY need right now is a well written, standalone novel that is under 150k words. My agent is trying hard to sell beyond the lost horizon, but he thinks that unless I get something like Exile out there first it's never going to happen. He's pretty optimistic with Exile, which is a good thing, and it was at his suggestion that I have been working hard on completing it rather than finishing Spires of Infinity, which is the one that I really want to do.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Exile Chapter 8 Draft 4

I've finished chapter 8 of the fourth draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

The first half of this chapter was new to draft 3 to help explain part of Mal's resolution in draft 2. The second half is the first meeting of Mal and Silmera, where not much work really needed to be done. Basically the only thing in the second half that changed was the wording in a few places and Silmera's speech patterns. She talks kind of like this brittish dude I work with who manages to fit the word "Bloody" at least once into every sentance, and half of the time talks very proper, except for the cussing, like he wants us to think he's a proper brittish person, and the other half of the time like he grew up on the street.

The dream in the first half of the chapter deserves a little explanation. The girl that Mal is dreaming about is Queen Cora after the War of Zion is over. She left a message in the Exile's Curse for every future generation that would repeat in the Exile's dreams every 6 weeks until the Dark God errodes away the Exile's ability to overcome his power by sheer force of will. She's telling the future generations of Exiles how to absorb the Dark God fully into themselves and basically become the Dark God themselves as Mal does at the end. This needs to be here so that Mal can be pondering over the meaning through the entire story so that he doesn't just pull his triumph over the Dark God out of where the sun don't shine at the end. He needs to be thinking, and trying very hard to find a way to rid himself of the curse or else the triumph in the end is meaningless. A protagonist needs to basically be raked through the coals on their journey to triumph over the antagonist, and learn and grow as a person before finally triumphing over evil just as they were about to be swallowed up by it. They can't stumble over the answer by accident or it's completely meaningless.

This is one of the reasons that I have such a hatred for Star Wars Episode 1. At the end, little Anakintard wins completely by accident. Throughout the entire ending he fumbles his way through by randomly pressing buttons and smiling like, well, a 9 year old child, when big flashy things happen because of it. He didn't suffer to find any answers. He didn't grow as a person and a character. He didn't learn anything. He did everything completely and utterly by accident, and there's no satisfaction whatsoever when he gets that not so hard won victory in the end. If everything is handed to you on a silver platter how can you ever learn and grow as a person? you can't. That's why you see so many rich celebrities completely falling apart, because they're skipping the needed life experiences that teach a person how to deal with the strain of real life.

And with that, I'm on vacation, cyall in a week BWAAHAAHAA.

And don't forget to celebrate Get Hit by a Bus and Knocked Clear the Frick into an Epic Battle Between Good and Evil at the End of the Universe Day tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oi vey!!!

Not to kick a dead horse or anything, I stopped by a church halloween party with a date (yes, I do occasionally find a girl willing to look past my skanky looks and endure my personality) and I heard two little old ladies (my ward is full of little old ladies) talking about terrorists. One of them actually said, and I quote, "I really hate Muslims, I wish Heavenly Father would just wipe them all off the earth."



This coming from someone who is probably old enough to have walked west with the pioneers to settle in the salt lake valley, enduring severe religious persecution all the way?


Now, I've seen quite a bit of hypocracy in my time, and sadly dealt out some of my own on occasion, but HOLY CRAP lady, WTF! You are a member of a religion that was persecuted, hunted, hounded, harassed, and chased into a area of the world that, at the time, was literally hell on earth, it being the one place on earth no one else wanted, and you turn right back around and throw that BS at other religions? I would think that Mormons especially would be more sympathetic toward Islam and the many good, law abiding, peaceful Muslims whose names are being tarnished by the actions of a handful of zealots. I mean, come on, We're one of two groups of people (the other being native americans) in the history of the USA that actually had a government authorized extermination order put out on us, and you want to do that to other people now?

I'll tell you one thing, lady, hell is bursting at the seems with those who murder the innocent in God's name like the terrorists that you keep hearing about, but there's also a special little place for those who persecute the faithful, and that includes you. Just because they do not believe the same things that you do does not mean that they should be exterminated, and anyone who thinks so should be extremely ashamed of themselves. Yes, your religion is the one true faith, but guess what, they believe that theirs is. They've been brought up to believe that. They typically show a whole lot more devotion than most christians ever will to their faiths. And they deserve to die for that? They deserve to die because a few psychos with guns and bombs want to destroy everything the USA stands for?

There are 1.5 BILLION muslims in this world. That is an entire quarter of the world's population. Do people actually believe that 25% of all people on earth are terrorists? Are people REALLY that stupid?

There's really only one word that can describe people who believe something so ridiculous and retarded.



And one last time.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

going on vacation

I will be gone from 10/31 to 11/6 on a lovely cruise to the bahamas. This is my christmas present from my parents this year so I don't have to pay for it at all BWAAHAAHAA. Anyway, this is my first vacation in 11 years, so I'm going to be doing absolutely nothing that I don't have to on it, including writing... mostly because I expect that if I bring my laptop I likely won't be returning with it. In my experience housekeeping peeps are rather sticky fingered with expensive objects. I plan to breathe, eat, sleep, shower occasionally, possibly go on a tour or two, and maybe snorkling once or twice, and generally nothing else whatsoever, except to win a boatload of cash at blackjack, gogo card counting. To quote the governator "I need a vacation".

Friday, October 22, 2010

Exile chapter 7 draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of Exile Chapter 7 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

This chapter is freakin massive, and unfortunately there's really nowhere that I can cut it either. It needed a crapton of work too since this chapter was added in draft 3 and this is basically only the second draft of it.

This chapter was added in draft 3 to begin a storyline explaining characters added in draft 2. It's about the characters Patrick and Weasel, mostly about WEasel since it's from her point of view. She was a Samirreh captive and went through some extremely horrible things at their hands, including repeated rape. In putting together her personality I did some reasearch on psychological issues that rape victims develope and, not to sound insensitive or anything, chose the most entertaining ones that fit into the story. I forget what her particular disorder is called, but it is where a woman who has suffered rape will develope a fixation with stabbing things. It starts off with stabbing things like vegetables, or raw meat, and progresses to stuffed animals or dolls, sometimes pictures, and in extreme cases, to pets or other small animals, and even other people. They will sometimes also cut and/or stab themselves. The act of stabbing things becomes a sexual experience for them, and often becomes the only way that they can slide into home so to say. The reason behind this disorder is not very well known, but is thought to stem from the combination of two factors. First is a desire by the woman to understand why a man would ever so something so evil to her. She will try to put herself in his place, and try to feel what he felt while violating her, using a knife rather than a weewee to peform the unwanted penetration. And the second is the desire for vengeance. Weasel has developed this disorder, as well as heavy alcoholism as a result of what was done to her, and the only time that she feels alive is when she's eviscerating Samirreh. She's very bloodthirsty.

To make matters worse she has a whole mess of other problems having to do with her dead family, and another man that has an interest in her now, and feelings of being worthless as a woman because she can no longer have children, which, to her, is a complete loss of identity. In short, she is extremely messed up, which makes her rather fun to write, hence the chapter being 11k words long.

Anyway, this chapter takes place on the same night as Silmera's fight with the Fayt, and Mal laying on his roof watching the moons, and introduces the rest of the main characters of the story to you. There are a few other minor characters you've yet to meet, but now you've got all of the major players on the field.

The reason I added this storyline is not only to give back story on characters taht show up at the end and do some extremely cool things. I also wanted to put a face of evil on the Samirreh. In the first and second drafts they're just a vague threat somewhere else that you hear are evil without actually seeing for most of the story. I wanted to put a storyline in of people outside the shelter of the Hidden Valley down in the thick of things, fighting for their lives, their homes, their families, and their freedom every single day against an enemy far more powerful than they are. I really want readers to hate the Samirreh, not because I tell them to hate them, but because tehy read about the things that they've done and make up their own minds about how evil they are. It makes them more of a real threat, and helps readers connect more with the characters' fears over the Samirreh.