August: New Digs, Who Dis?

Howdy!

This one’s a wee bit late, but at least it’s still August, so it counts. The last month has been by far the happiest, wildest, and most stressful of my life thus far. Honestly, graduating high school was more tame than moving out was. And we’re still rocking it, after a few setbacks. (I’m now in charge of the internet, for instance, because I’m the one who relies on it the most.) Here’s to hoping we’re still rocking it a month from now, knock on wood.

I’m finally finding my workflow again, bit by bit. Scheduling my work time around three other people who work different shifts is a bit… ~fun~ but not impossible. Mainly I’ve been working on catching up with my Youtube schedule – I might have to re-work the table of contents btw, because I’m really behind – and trying to deal with being the only one at home for long periods of time, meaning I’m the one who does dishes, trash, and whatever else needs to happen. I don’t mind it, but I’d rather work. On the other hand, clean dishes are a nice thing.

Gate Strider took a bit of a backseat for the last month because A) moving, and B) I’ve actually been working on two other worlds in the interim. I really should do some worldbuilding for Gate Strider as well, because it seems a bit lacking, but with Aizen not being a native to the culture he ends up in, I’m alright with broad strokes.

The other two worlds I’ve been working on are Liserna – from the plants up, I might add, a process greatly inspired by Worldbuilding Notes on Youtube – which I might actually write a proper story in at some point, and an unnamed world that my roommates and I are going to be playing around in for a short film series. Yes, I can also act. (Voice acting has been great practice.) I’ve been in charge of building up the Caldera region, a big circular sea surrounded by three land masses, populated mostly – but not exclusively – by the Calderan Ven, and I’ve spent waaaay too long on the culture and language of the area. My character, the non-binary rogue Celicay, is from the region, so my goal is to be able to ad-lib in Calderan. So far, it has a writing system and some basic grammar and vocab, but I wouldn’t consider it done by any means. It’s much farther along than Serranian, Spirit-speech, or any of the Fae languages in the Five Realms books, though. Des el vamte ex el. That’s how it is. Makes me want to write a story in the Caldera region, to be honest.

So that’s what I’ve been up to! Been a long month, but a good one. Hope that’s a similar story next month! And I’ll leave you all with this little gem from the Jenkinsverse: “The thing about evolving on a death world is that you don’t really realize you’re doing so until you get the chance to leave it.

Have a good one!
-Ej

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July: Oisinson & Other Musings

Howdee!!

Big news, friends! Oisinson, book 1 of the Raven-Friend’s Saga is now out on both Kindle AND Paperback! Because I was smart this time and actually formatted both versions at the same time. It does take a bit longer to actually get the book out when done that way but honestly I think the extra time and the ability to see text on a physical page helps a lot. So let me get the plug out of the way – fresh from the Five Realms/novels page – and I’ll continue rambling afterwards:


Oisinson

OisinCoverFrontSmol“Nobody expects the healer to die.
For most of the village, it would be a simple matter to wait for spring, making do until a new wolf-woman could travel south. For Aizen Shouni, a young dark-elf wracked with an illness that has only gotten worse with age, that wait could be a death sentence. Fearing for their friend’s life, Esper and Kaillte Oisinson begin their search for a cure, a search that leads them down paths most would fear to tread. With winter closing in and Aizen’s health deteriorating, one desperate last stand could save the dark-elf and give him a chance at a full life… or spell disaster for everyone involved.”

Oisinson is a coming-of-age story that toes the line between viking age historic fantasy and low-magic sword and sorcery, set in a world where gods choose champions and differences are celebrated, rather than scorned. A quick read that sets the stage for a much larger adventure in the Raven-Friend’s Saga and beyond.

Get it on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in Paperback!


It’s gonna be a wild ride!

In other news, I’ve firmly decided on Gate Strider being the next book that comes out – might as well release them chronologically, even if it is a spin-off – and am about 20k words into it with very little of the actual story coming to light yet. I have a feeling it might be a long one, perhaps my longest one. I tend not to write more than 70k in a book so we’ll see how that goes. I’m alright with Gate Strider being the one to break that mold if it needs to, since it’s supposed to be a one-off bridge kind of thing. After that it’ll be back to Esper’s story, long though it may be. Five hundred years builds up a lot of history!

By the way, weirdest thing of the month: my Art Appreciation professor looks almost exactly like Esper. This isn’t new, I noticed it the moment I walked into class back in June, but this last week I learned he also has an identical twin. So I’m now convinced that Kaillte is teaching me how to appreciate art.

Be warned: past here be politics.

Amazon kerfuffle. That’s not a complete sentence but ya’ll probably know exactly what I mean. If you don’t want to see more political stuff you can skip out now, which is why I put this bit at the end of the rambles rather than at the beginning. But yeah, I’m in a weird/crappy place as an author that relies on Amazon for distribution, because Jeff Bezos is Smaug and I don’t want to support him, but the platform that Amazon Kindle provides is the easiest one I’ve found to use. I’m in the same boat with YouTube right now, because YouTube is being an unholy mess about supporting the creators that use that platform. Especially small channels, which I happen to be. YouTube is pretty easy to justify for me, though. I’m not monetizing any of my Skyrim videos (or any of my videos, period) but I’m just using their platform because it’s convenient.

Amazon is a bit more finicky. A lot more finicky.  I had Oisinson ready to drop last week but purposefully put it off because I knew there was a strike going on.  It may still be going on for all I know. I don’t mind the Kindle side of publishing with Amazon, that still makes sense to me, because – as far as I know – that’s all digital and doesn’t add to the general workload for people working in Amazon’s warehouses. The paperbacks are another issue. If I had it my way, my books would just be Kindle. But ya’ll seem to like paperbacks, which is fine, I don’t sell nearly enough books to be an issue for the people working on packing and shipping them, but it’s still one more thing that someone has to deal with today. I’m very aware that there’s someone working between the end of that “buy now” button and the beginning of the “your item has shipped” email. But, I’m keeping the paperbacks up, not just because that’s what seems to be selling – which I find utterly weird and counter-intuitive – but also because I’m aware that certain visual impairments and health issues make it difficult to read on screens. So… yeh. Rock and hard place, and ultimately it’s not a problem that I alone can fix. There are bigger fish to deal with.

Fun fact: I make the same amount of money per paperback as I do per e-book. So if you want to support me and that’s why you’re grabbing the books, save yourself some money and go digital. You can read it on your phone, I get the same amount back on my end, and it’s slightly easier to write a review, should you be so inclined!

Alright, enough of this gay banter. (To steal a Colville-ism. BTW his books are really good and if you think mine are too lighthearted, his are the way to go!) Back to work with me. Two weeks till I move. *Silently screaming.*
– E.J.

June: Big News!

Howdy!

I’ve got some big dang news, both in terms of personal life and in terms of things I’m doing. We’ll do the book news first. Spoiler alert, btw: I’m not pregnant. So. Yeah. Not that kind of news.

The big news is that Oisinson, book one of the Raven-Friend’s Saga (aka Esper’s prequels), is in the final stages of production right now! I’m currently working on the art for it (I need to do a bunch of thumbnails so that the series is cohesive) but it’s all formatted for both paperback and Kindle at the moment. I’m going to set up the paperback, get a proof copy, and do some last-pass fixes and editing before I release both versions, hopefully at the same time. I’m hoping I can get that done before the end of July, but if not it’s going to be pushed to the end of August if not September. Why? Well…

I’m going to be moving out at the beginning of August. For the first time. There will be roommates. My legacy of doing things completely bass-ackwards continues. So I want to get Oisinson done and released or at least a proof copy in my wee hands before the move, so that don’t have to worry about it while I’m still trying to figure out which box I packed my routines into. Might be a weird time to release a book but to be honest, I don’t really care about optimal release time. I’m writing characters that started out as random NPC’s in a D&D game. Optimal is not my middle name, here.

Next book on the list to be written is actually two books: Gatestrider and Blackbird, the latter of which is a working title, and the former isn’t technically in the Raven-Friend’s Saga, though it does take place just after the end of Oisinson, and before Blackbird. I’m trying to figure out which order to write them in. It’s a pain. I’m leaning toward Gatestrider at the moment because Blackbird is fighting me right now. That way they’d release chronologically, even though it’d be a bit of a hiccup in the middle of trying to get a series out. I’ll workshop it.

With any luck, I’ll have more news this time next month. We’ll see! Have a good one, folks!
– Ej

April/May: Anvils, Mostly

Howdy!

It was more or less two months that slid by my face without me realizing. I managed to burn myself out once again, though I’m not entirely sure how this time. I’d like to know, so that I can avoid doing things like this in the future, but I guess that’s not happening. In light of said burnout, I’m putting the “on vacation” sign up on my illustration commissions right now. I need to do some work for me, and while I will be finishing the two commissions that I have right now, I’m not sure when the service will come back. It might be a few months. It might not come back until I’m done with my degree. I dunno. Mainly I need to work on my own work/life balance, which sounds really weird coming from someone who works from home, but it’s true. A wise dude once told me, “When you work for yourself, the boss is a jerk.”

In other news, I have a better place for my “About the Worlds” stuff! Just to keep it all organized and have a place that people can look if they start to read Revenant or one of the others and go, “WTF is a Gaoan?” Or if somehow I find that one reader who’s like me and wants to know all the things about a universe that they become invested in. I mean, I’m that way about my own books, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing in this world, but I want someone else to be, too.

But! I now have a link up in the “The Five Realms” section of the menu that leads to Omnia on WorldAnvil. I’ve been slowly chipping away at it, adding information as I feel the urge to write about it, writing what I do know about the world. I may end up doing the same with my D&D/Pathfinder campaign setting, in case I want to run a game over Skype or have players who want to join in and don’t have a clue what the world is about. Formerly, this world was called Sundamysia, but I think I like Nombrios better. I’ll come up with something, probably.

In other news, Skyrim news, We’ve almost completed phase one of what I’m starting to call either The Boundless Saga or The Dawnbreakers’ Guild. I’m thinking it may end up being the latter because “Dawnbreaker” is a pretty obvious tie-in to Skyrim, which this series otherwise doesn’t have. We’re coming up on the end of Chapter 2 of Honorless, and afterward we’ll be heading into Chapter 3 of Intonation, which I honestly didn’t think I would be able to pull off, but here we are! For those who don’t know what I’m doing with Skyrim right at the moment, I’m basically telling a “getting the party together” story within the world of Tamriel. Sometimes this means playing quests, sometimes it means doing some narrative finagling, but all of the episodes (except the first episode of Intonation) are in-character roleplay, basically as though the character we follow for each chapter is the first-person narrator. So far we’ve had two crossover events, but things will start to spiral together as it goes. Because my biggest audience now lives on YouTube (barely surpassed by the one on DeviantArt) that’s what I’ve been putting most of my effort into, lately.

That’s all for this month/two months! Be back in June, probably. Until then, have a good one!

-Ej

March: Too Many Vikings

…is actually the file name I’ve been using for test writes of All’s Well in Asgard!

Howdy!

I’m actually more or less on time for this one! Probably would have posted last week but I had some personal drama and accidentally bought a book about plot and story structure in which I have immersed myself for about five days straight. And therein lies a tale. Both of those things, though I’m not going to get into the drama.

So! Speaking of vikings, I have just finished putting a basic plot together for All’s Well that actually makes sense and works as a story rather than throwing characters into a world and hoping it works. I am, unfortunately, not a pantser. I can’t write the way my dad does, I need structure! Even if it’s lopsided, haphazard, and a little bit held together by spit, duct tape, and Loki. Seriously. It’s a long story, a weird story, and kind of an awesome one, if I can pull it off as well as I hope I can. It’s a bit like sketching a drawing in that I don’t know if it’ll work until I start shading it, which for me in writing is actually the editing process. Could be a while before we see it, but I definitely want it to be my ninth book out. For reasons. Symbolic reasons.

Which means that Oisinson and the rest of Esper’s prequel series (and Gatestrider, honhonhon) is going to be put on the back burner again for a little bit. Even though Oisinson is technically done. I say technically because I haven’t proofread it or checked it for plot holes or continuity, yet. I kinda got distracted by other things. Speaking of vikings, the town Esper grew up in is very reminiscent of a town in viking-age Scandinavia, except it’s got a mage tower off to the side like a lighthouse. Thus, too many vikings.

Speaking of Esper, the whole Tales of Esper Ravenwood trilogy is available in paperback form now, as well as Kindle! And I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m going to end up publishing All’s Well before I even get Runesong‘s cover done, much less the actual manuscript formatted. To say nothing of The Redgate Chronicles. I might actually wait on those two. There is a third (and possibly fourth) book that I want to write for that, with a slightly different set of characters, but… ehh. I don’t think I’ve sold a single copy of either since they came out. Which, I mean, I kind of expected? You can’t win them all and breaking worlds is a risky proposition, so. For the moment, I’m going to focus on our world, and Tamriel.

Oh boy, speaking of gambles in storytelling, Unblooded took some intense turns. Chapter 02 is almost done which means I need to get my butt in gear and the reboot of Honorless, which I initially envisioned about a year ago, will be coming up in roughly the second week of April. I’m excited to bring Kinua back, given that she was the one who inspired this whole venture.

That’s it for this month’s update. See you in April, hopefully!

-Ej

Jan/Feb: School and Busy Things

Howdy!

January kinda blasted by and I can’t remember a lot of what happened, except that CoSine was a blast, and also very chill! I submitted a quick bit of writing to the “slush pile” (which is a panel of Professional Editors trained to critique written works) and they managed to get all the way through with only one hand raised. It was for the word “mumble,” which I used way too often. Much like real life. 😀 So that was gratifying!

School started in January, I was worried, and now I’m not. I’m only taking one class, an English class, and you can imagine how that’s going for someone who has written eight books.

Speaking of which! I’m working on formatting and releasing paperback versions again for at least the Tales of Esper Ravenwood trilogy – which is why I have a new site banner now, that’s the cover for Revenant – and perhaps the others as well. I’d love to see the Redgate Chronicles in paper, but that’s a ways off. I’ve currently got the proof of Scourgemarked sitting on my bed, and am slowly chunking away at it between keeping up with school, Skyrim, and commissions. My goal is to get all the paperbacks out before the end of 2018, but we’ll see how that goes. Revenant is currently available, and if you want to find the link through this blog, it’s under “The Five Realms” and “Novels.”

I’m also working on a bit of a website overhaul, wherein I’m adding the “About the Realms” post as pages under “The Five Realms,” with updated information and satellite-style maps, now that I know a bit more about how climates work with air and ocean currents and whatnot. Omnia’s page is currently complete, for the most part, and Oberun’s is next, after I get a commission or two done. So if you want to know a thing or three about the setting but don’t necessarily want to dive into the novels, that’s the place to go!

On the topic of new books, I’ve kinda been working on two side-by-side, but neither of them are working? One of them was a continuation of the little snippet that got through the slush pile, and is I guess the newest iteration of All’s Well in Asgard, aka the Cursed Story That Will Not Work With Me. The other is Oisinson, which is the working title and is subject to change, which also hasn’t been working with me. I think I know why, though, and it’s because it’s an Esper Ravenwood (sorta) book that’s written in third-person rather than first. And I think Esper needs to be a first-person character for the later books in the Raven-Friend’s saga to work. Which means I have to rewrite it. Oh well. Let it never be said that authors don’t screw up sometimes.

So that’s where I’m at! There are a lot of moving parts going on right now, but my next paper isn’t due until the middle of March, so hopefully I can get my crap together-ish before then. See you soon!

Character Profile: Ingrath

Given Name: Ingrath StormsongSP - Ingrath

Alias: Caiman

Premise: Hunter; of both game and heads

Combat Style: Blood/ice magic, one-handed axe, and archery

Race: Bosmer (Wood Elf) / Vampire

Homeland: Woodhearth, Greenshade, Valenwood

Birth Date & Sign: 23rd of Evening Star, 4E 87 – Sign of the Theif

Family: None on record

Friends & Allies: The Dark Brotherhood (formerly), the Brazen Clan (formerly), Zaytest

Enemies & Rivals: Many of Skyrim’s vampire population, the Thalmor, the Silver Hand, Thorina’s Cutters

A Brief Overview

Valenwood is a land that grows three things in abundance: game, hunters, and plentiful opportunities for disappearing. A young Ingrath took full advantage of all three of those things, having learned to track and take down game from black bear to crocodile in the forests, swamps, and rivers of the Greenshade. Knowing the land so well, it was easy for him to vanish when an accident left his training officer dead, and his supervisors flailing to figure out what happened.

Ingrath showed up in Thalmor records once again after that, in the midst of the Great War. He reported for duty as a supposed member of the Scout Corps in Leywiin, and disappeared once again on a mission into the Nibenay basin. This time, the only evidence of his departure from service was, “a mangled Argonian, an unfortunate dearth of blood, and a severed eye, obviously having belonged to a mer at one point recent to their search.”

After that, he became a ghost. Nothing but a rumor, outside of Cyrodiil’s Dark Brotherhood and those that hired them. He rose the ranks to Executioner before the Bruma sanctuary was sacked in 4E 186. After that he vanished once again, finding his way into a new family in the form of a bandit clan. There, all rumor of a one-eyed hunter ceased, until the death of a Thalmor agent in Falkreath under suspicious circumstances made its way to the keen ears of Elenwen.

Ingrath’s last known location is a mystery, though some rumors mention a hooded horseman, riding by night out of the Rift, with a half-dead khajiit in his arms.