Hooblaport City Center Square – Map

I’m going over the latest draft of my debut novel, looking for any inconsistencies in the story. To aid me in this endeavor, I’ve created a map of one important location in the novel, City Center Square in Hooblaport. I thought I’d share the resulting map here with any who might find this sort of thing interesting.

If the map looks small, click the image to see it at full-size.

Hooblaport City Center Square


The map isn’t entirely to scale, though it’s close. I’ve left a few buildings off the edge of the map, where I’ve not decided exactly what’s there. Some of the buildings that made it onto this map aren’t referenced in this first novel, but they may make appearances in later novels. Time will tell.

Note that Main Street runs through Wizards Emporium at ground level. The Emporium is six stories tall. Main Street cuts through the first two stories of the building.

My Writing Journey

Ever since I was in grade school, I wanted to write fiction, and wrote a good deal of short stories before I graduated from high school, sharing some of them with classmates and anyone else who showed interest. Back then, I dreamed I would have written and published dozens of novels by the time I was 50. I’m past that age now, and haven’t published a single novel yet. I’ve published short stories and gaming adventures/supplements, but no novel. Life has a way of throwing obstacles in one’s path, and derailing large projects before completion, especially if you’re someone easily distracted, like I am.

In September of 2012, I decided that despite everything that stood in my way and everything I’d let hinder or distract me, I was going to concentrate on writing not just a novel, which I’ve actually done a few times, but a publishable novel. None of the other novels I’d written were publishable. So I dropped several other creative projects I’d been giving time to and focused on the novel, doing a bit of 3D art occasionally — as you may have seen posted here or on Facebook, Twitter, Deviant Art, or my DAZ Gallery — whenever I felt I needed a break from the novel. Sometimes the 3D art threatened to distract me, but I managed, not always without some pain, to nip new projects in the bud if they became too time-consuming or dragged out for too long.

Aim Higher

It took about a month to finish a 20,000 word outline for the novel. About three months later I had finished an 80,000 word novel based on the outline. Then I read the novel I’d written, and it was rubbish. My spelling and grammar were fine, and the plot wasn’t too awful, but the characters were more like caricatures. Some of the events of the story didn’t make sense. I’d written better stuff in the past. This novel was not shaping up to be something I’d be proud to publish or expect anyone else to enjoy reading.

Even though the story wasn’t good, it had some good ideas behind it. So, okay, I rethought some things. I considered motivations for not only the main characters, but the supporting cast as well. A better story took shape, with more realistic characters, and I wrote the story anew. I thought it might be good. I sent it to some beta readers, and asked them to be honest with me.

Gladly, they were honest, and I learned that the story had not come across to them the way I had envisioned it. I studied what they’d said in their feedback, and thought I understood what the issues were with my second version of the novel. So then I began writing the third version of it. I’d originally written the novel from the point of view of a single character, but the beta readers had trouble with that character as the protagonist. There was no one other character whose viewpoint would provide all the necessary information for the story. So I chose three of the supporting characters and made them all viewpoint characters, giving each of them a story arc.

This made me dig deeper still into the motivations and backgrounds of these three viewpoint characters. I’d had ideas in my head about them, of course, but only the bare minimum of those ideas had made it into the previous version of the novel. When I inspected these characters closer, I discovered how much more interesting they were than I’d realized, and how much more interesting they were than the character I’d originally chosen as protagonist.

Switching to these three viewpoint characters and including their stories has made it necessary to increase the word count of the novel. It won’t be 80,000 words. It will be a duology — two novels, each with about 100,000 words. I’ve finished writing and editing the first of the two books. I’m feeling good about how the story is unfolding now, and I hope that readers will like it.

At this point, I’ve set the finished first book of the duology aside and will give it a read through in a week or two or more to see if I still think it is good. After that, it will be ready for another round of beta readers. I’m hoping for better feedback this time. As long as it’s honest feedback.

I still have to write the second book. I have the story for the second book written from the perspective of the original protagonist, so I have that material to work from. I’ll be converting that material to be told from the viewpoints of the three characters, and adding new material specific to them, as I did for the first book. So even though the first draft for the second book is not done, it is a good deal more than just started.

I’m planning on self-publishing my work. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to go the traditional route, but I’d like to see my debut novel published before I reach retirement age. 🙂 That being said, I’m wondering if I should wait to publish the first book of the duology until I have written all of the new material for the second book.

One option for me would be to make the first book of the duology available for pre-sale, and release it only after I’ve finished the writing for the second book. I’d still be editing the second book, perhaps. I could then also put the second book up for pre-sale at the time the first book was released. Do you think that would go over well with potential readers?

Thank you for reading all of this, and since you’ve read this far, I hope you’ll leave your thoughts in the comments below or on whatever social media site you might have spotted this post.

[Btw, I’ve changed the name of the teen girl viewpoint character shown in the image at the top of this post from Gabriel to Gabrielle. I hadn’t thought about Gabriel being a man’s name, and actually being pronounced differently than I was saying it in my head. Sheesh.]

Judging a Book by Its Cover – 17 Typical Features of Fantasy Covers

I’ve been thinking about book cover art for fantasy novels a good deal lately. So I found this analysis of fantasy cover art trends written by Nicola Alter of particular interest.

Read the post: Judging a Book by Its Cover – 17 Typical Features of Fantasy Covers.

Or read about my muck-up:

I tried to reblog the post of the above name written by Nicola Alter on her Thoughts on Fantasy site. I don’t know why it didn’t work. I haven’t reblogged any other posts before, so didn’t know exactly how it worked. I suspect I had a problem because I hadn’t logged into my site before I tried to do the reblog from her site. Seems like WordPress would have asked me to login if necessary when I clicked the Reblog button, but it didn’t. And clicking the Reblog button again had no effect. So I messed up. Next time I try to reblog something, I hope I remember this experience and will login to my site first. Maybe it will work then.

If you’ve read my little blurb here, I appreciate it, but now, if you’re interested in the topic listed in the title of this post, please jump over to Nicola’s site. You can tell her I sent you.

UPDATE: I managed to get the link on Nicola’s site to my so-called reblog of her post to point to this page, by making the title match and backdating this post to the day I tried to reblog. Go, me! 🙂

Role-Playing and Writing: the Storytelling Intersection

Hello, friends. This time, we have a guest post from Coyote Kishpaugh, co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. He will tell us about the connection between role-playing games and writing fiction. As I mentioned last time, when his co-author, Lauren Scharhag, graced us with her guest post on creating fantasy worlds, I received an advance review copy of the first book of the O4S series (book one is out now as of this writing), and I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy or horror or other forms of speculative fiction. It also has a touch of science fiction, crime and history. I’m looking forward to further journeys in this universe they have jointly created, which has many similarities to our own, but tons of differences too. I hope you’ll give the series a try. Links to book one are in Lauren’s guest post, the link to which is at the bottom of this post.

Before we hear from Coyote about his experience with rpgs and fiction writing, let’s get to know him a bit. I asked him and Lauren both the same set of questions, and they agreed to answer them without consulting each other about their answers. Fun, fun, right? Coyote’s answers are below. A link to Lauren’s answers and her guest post are at the end of this post, so you can easily compare to see how close their answers are. Continue reading “Role-Playing and Writing: the Storytelling Intersection”

Home Sweet Universe

Today’s guest post comes to us from Lauren Scharhag, co-author of Order of the Four Sons, Book 1. Much of the story takes place in Excelsior Springs, MO, not far from where I grew up, and near where some of my family still live and work. I received an advance review copy of the book (it’s out now as of this writing), and highly recommend it to all lovers of speculative fiction. It has touches of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime and history, all wrapped up in one little package. It’s the first book of a series, and I’m looking forward to book 2 and further journeys in a universe not quite ours.

By way of introduction to Lauren and the O4S universe, I’ve asked her a few questions and posted her answers below. Following the interview is her guest post on creating believable settings for fantasy worlds and the universes they inhabit. Continue reading “Home Sweet Universe”

My Trouble With a Single Viewpoint Character

I’ve been working on my debut fantasy novel for too long. This will be my seventh and last draft. There will be beta reading and editing, but I’m never writing this thing from scratch again. Seven drafts are enough, even if a couple of them were not complete.

I’ve written 40,000 words on this latest draft. That’s half what the experts recommend for a first novel. But I’m only a quarter of the way through the story. So my novel will be twice the length the experts recommend, unless I cut a lot, and even then, what remains will exceed 80,000 words. It will be what it is, and I won’t cut so much the story suffers for it, regardless. I plan to self publish this sucker, so it’s not like I have to adhere to someone else’s ideas of what’s best.

I’d thought about breaking the book into two or three books, but some people don’t like reading a book, even one that’s part of a series, that can’t stand on its own. I’m not that way, as long as all the books in the series are available to me. If I can’t find one or if the author stops writing the series partway through, then that irks me. With that in mind, I think it best to make this novel a standalone story, even if it’s 120,000 to 160,000 words. I intend this to be the first book in a series, but I want it to be a complete story in itself.

The previous draft of the story was meant to be the one I’d edit for publication. But after it went to beta readers, I discovered they all agreed on one thing: Alonso, the male human protagonist, was not a good viewpoint character. I’d been shooting for an antihero, and that’s what I produced. He was just such an antihero that the readers couldn’t relate to him or, worse yet, root for him.

The problem I face with not using Alonso as the point-of-view character is that he’s so central to the story, whatever viewpoint character(s) I use need to know about Alonso and be able to observe his actions in so many different venues. To sufficiently cover all significant aspects of his tale, I determined that I needed three viewpoint characters: Ngozi, the shadow elf woman married to Alonso; Locket, a nearly-twenty-year-old dream walking human gal who’s been told to spy on Alonso in his dreams to help facilitate his death; and Gabriel, a teen-aged human girl with a secret or two and a grudge against Alonso from her previous life as a jackal. The tale will be told without either the protagonist or antagonist being used as a viewpoint character. Other authors have pulled off this type of story. The tales of Sherlock Holmes comes to mind, those narrated by Dr. Watson.

I’m staggering the chapters, writing one from one character’s viewpoint, the next from the second character’s viewpoint, and the next from the third character’s viewpoint. Repeat to the end. I like this approach in that it gives the reader information from different perspectives, and the reader comes to understand all that’s going on before any of the individual characters. I think this helps with the suspense, because it’s questionable whether each character will discover what they need to know in time to save themselves and those they love. Before, with only Alonso as viewpoint character, it was unclear exactly what the threat was against him — or if there was any threat — until late in the story. Without knowledge of the threat, it was difficult to root for Alonso, especially with his being such an antihero. The way the story is written now, the reader will have other characters to root for, and whether they root for Alonso or not won’t matter much.

It will now be clear to the reader from the outset that someone wants Alonso dead and for him to endure a lot of physical and emotional pain in the dying. Not all of the characters, especially Alonso and Ngozi, will know this. The reader will understand why Alonso is being treated so nicely by certain people he interacts with, whereas the beta readers of the previous draft had confessed to wondering at Alonso’s great luck in certain situations. One beta reader had even admitted to feeling a bit jealous of Alonso’s luck. That shouldn’t be the case now.

Initially I’d thought that using a single viewpoint character would be the only way I’d want to tell this story. The reader could delve deep into one character’s psyche and get to know the character well. That’s cool if the character has a psyche you want to visit for an entire novel. Alonso wasn’t like that. All of the three viewpoint characters I’m using now are likable in their own ways and more likable than Alonso. Gabriel was singled out by one of the beta readers as a favorite character. Another beta reader singled out Ngozi. Locket is one of my personal favorite characters from the story, and is suitable in the role of main character. So there you have it. Three viewpoint characters.

In writing the story from these different viewpoints, I’m finding the need to fill in some details that I hadn’t bothered with before, partly because Alonso had paid them no mind. I’m also finding that using these characters is invoking a better understanding in me of events that before had transpired in the background, but which now make sense to flesh out to further the stories of the viewpoint characters. There are times while writing this new material when I feel a flush of excitement as I realize that I am coming to understand these characters better and loving the cool new stuff I get to write because I’m using their viewpoints. There is a whole side to Gabriel that never came out in previous drafts, because Alonso wasn’t privy to it. This secret aspect of her had colored how she acted in those previous drafts, and I think it was because of this that a beta reader liked her the best, even though he didn’t know her complete backstory.

When will I be done writing this book? I think I’ll finish writing this last draft by the end of 2015. But the beta reading and editing will go into 2016. So I’m setting a goal of mid-2016 to publish. I will have to stay focused, which is difficult at times. I’m easily distracted by the lure of doing something new.

I love receiving words of encouragment from others. They really help motivate me. Got any such words for me?

New Release Alert: The Forever Girl Series, Book 2

Today I’m posting a special announcement from Rebecca Hamilton, author of the Forever Girl series, of which I happen to be a fan. Read on!

Coula Killed Me

Thanks for stopping by to view this quick announcement on Rebecca Hamilton’s latest release, COME, THE DARK, book 2 in the Forever Girl series. Although this book is the second in the series, it is a complete standalone following a completely new set of characters. And you can grab your copy today for only $0.99! Still apprehensive about reading the second book in a series? Well, you can grab the prequel, HER SWEETEST DOWNFALL, off Kindle–Always Free–and on January 9th, THE FOREVER GIRL will be free also, for the first time ever! Worried you might forget the date? Join the mailing list using the option on the Rafflecopter below and you’ll receive a reminder on January 9th to download your free copy anytime between January 9th and 13th!



by USA Today Bestselling Author, Rebecca Hamilton

Come, the Dark 2Rose desperately wants to escape the abuse of the father who impregnated her and the dark spirits that haunt her life. Being thrust from Georgia 1961 into the era of Salem’s infamous witch trials isn’t what she had in mind, and now her daughter is left hopelessly out of reach.

The only way to return to her daughter is by facing certain death to banish the dark spirits that plague Salem. If she doesn’t eliminate these dark spirits in time, they will destroy civilization and trap her in this strange new place, ages away from her daughter.

Even if she can complete the task in time to return home to save her daughter, there’s still one problem: she’s falling in love with a man who can’t return with her. Achieving her goals will force her to choose between the only man who has never betrayed her and a daughter she can’t quite remember but will never forget.

A heart-wrenching tale of a mother’s love for her daughter, this romantic paranormal fantasy underlines the depravity of both historical and modern society while capturing the essence of sacrifice and devotion.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book deals with the sensitive subject of sexual abuse.

Buy Now for $0.99




by USA Today Bestselling Author, Rebecca Hamilton


Beautiful blonde with dandelionsAt twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her.

Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she’d settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.

One of them is a man named Charles, who Sophia falls for despite her better judgment. He has connections that might help her unveil the mystery surrounding her ancestor’s hanging, but she gets more than she bargains for when she finally decides to trust him.

The Forever Girl is a full-length Paranormal Fantasy novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, witches, vampires, ghosts, paranormal mystery, and paranormal horror.

View Now on Amazon




About the Author

BeccaRebecca Hamilton is a USA Today Bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author who also dabbles in Horror and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA and has been published internationally, in three languages. You can follow her on Twitter: @InkMuse

What is a Forever Girl?

Being a Forever Girl Means

Thanks for stopping by!

Disclosure: The owner of this blog, Michael K. Eidson, is not a Forever Girl. But he greatly admires them.

A Poem for the Would-Be Novelist


I’m withering
and shrinking
in on myself,

all but a corpse,

but wanting
no death just now,

still surviving,
not yet to cease,

not to crumble
or tumble
into the abyss,

to be legend.

So why haven’t I published a novel?

Words come and flee,
free-form spirits

flown far away
on the wind
twixt my temples,

now out of mind
out of touch,
out of space bar,

all out of time,
same as I,
so soon, too soon.

I’ll not e’en be
a mere speck
within God’s eye,

not e’en a joke
or a whim,
no afterword.

Because I haven’t published a novel.

—Michael K. Eidson

Dark Light – Author Interview and Book Excerpt

Cover art for Dark Light, the second book of the Web of Light YA Fantasy duology by Kyra Dune.
Cover art for Dark Light, the second book of the Web of Light YA Fantasy duology by Kyra Dune.

The Web of Light, a magical force lost for three hundred years, has been recovered by the heirs of the land of Solice. But its return bears a heavy price. A price that will be paid in blood.

Seva and Valdor have fled to the Outlands, where an unanswered question drives them apart. And as Valdor seeks to prove his worth, Seva struggles to control the power threatening to consume her.

But the web is not what it seems and by the time the truth is discovered, it may be too late.

I love it when I give an unknown fantasy author a try and their work turns out to be a great read. Kyra Dune’s work is known to some, but I’d never read any of her books until recently, when I checked out Web of Light, the first book in the Web of Light duology, from the Kindle Lending Library. I enjoyed the read and admire how the book is structured. For the most part, each chapter is written in five sections, one section per each of five different viewpoint characters, giving the reader insights to events that none of the characters have individually. It’s a pleasure watching events unfold and interweave.

Dark Light, the second book in the Web of Light duology, has just been released, and while I’ve not yet had a chance to read it, I’m looking forward to it. I don’t want to miss seeing how everything set up in the first book plays out. Continue reading “Dark Light – Author Interview and Book Excerpt”

Love After Death – Cover Art

Love After Death cover art So here’s my first stab at a cover for my debut fantasy novel, Love After Death. Click on the image to see a larger version. I rendered the 3D portion of the cover in DAZ3D Studio using the Genesis model. Postwork and titling were done in Serif PhotoPlus X5. The title font is Showcard Gothic. The font for the rest of the text on the cover is Century Gothic.

It’s not easy picking fonts for cover art. You want them to stand out even when the cover is displayed at a small size. I think the fonts I chose will work well for that. LoveAfterDeath-5 Here’s a smaller version of the cover art, at the size you’d expect to see used in an Amazon ad or brief listing for a published book. I have to lean close to the screen to read the text at the very top of the image, but I can definitely make it out. I can read the title okay, but then I already know what it says.

What do you think of this cover art? Does it pique your interest in the novel? What kind of story does this cover make you think the novel will be? Any suggestions for changes?

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