As many of you know, my newest book, and the beginning of a four book long series, was released on January 14th, 2020.
So far, I've been super pleased with its performance. Writing a book is a lot like having a kid - then sending it in the forest to fight woodland creatures... You do your best to get it ready, but you never really know how it will do. You give it a weapon and teach it which mushrooms to avoid, then you shove it out the door. Who knows, maybe it will come home with rabies and have to be put down?
However, Born of Fire and Flood has done great, and I want to thank you all for the support. I am busy chipping away at the second book in the series, and it is progressing marvelously.
I wrote BOFF with three main themes.
1. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Literally.
2. What happens when someone will do anything to anyone to accomplish a goal?
3. What happens when we get something we've wanted all our lives?
The first theme is pretty basic, and it is the foundation of the entire magic system in the book. In order to gain powers, the denizens of this fantasy world must be brought to the brink of death. Then, if they survive, they will be granted the power.
It isn't all awesome, though. Many times these people are left scarred, broken, and alone. It is up to that person to decide if these powers are a blessing or a curse.
The second theme surrounds the character Solare, Oliver, and even our heroine Jenna to some extent. I will avoid blatant spoilers here, so stick with me. I wanted to dive into what made good people to bad things. How could I take a normal person, and turn them into a murderer. What would have to happen for someone to rationalize the murder of thousands just to accomplish a goal?
Third, what happens we get something we've always wanted? I have a few strongly held opinions on this. First, nothing is ever truly resolves. There are no happy endings, because there are no endings. "Aha!" moments are always followed by more questions, more struggles. Just because the damsel is saved by the knight doesn't mean they won't have marital issues.
Likewise, when someone wants something badly enough, they place it on a pedestal. That pedestal becomes taller and more ornate the longer the desire is held at bay. Then, when the goal is accomplished, it often is a disappointment. All that hype, all that effort, and for what? A few moments of power?
This might sound depressing, but indeed it is the opposite. I believe realistic expectations are the keys to happiness. Avoid the "things will be better when I get this new job" mindset. In all reality, things will probably be the same, maybe more difficult.
This is the main conflict that Jenna faces in the beginning. She has hesitated, dreamed, and prepared her whole life for one thing... then when she gets it, it isn't what she expected. But does that make it inherently bad? Not necessarily...
Damn, I'm ranting again. Good lord...
Either way, these are the themes I was working with when I wrote the book. I think it turned out beautifully.
You are all awesome and I look forward to writing more for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions comments or concerns. If you haven't picked the book up yet, it is available on Amazon.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend some time with your family and friends. In some of Turkey/football/family induced chaos, I hope you find time to reflect on what you are truly thankful for.
The art of being thankful has been spoken of by so many cultures, religions and philosophers over thousands of years. It is a simple practice, that if done consistently, leads to success, happiness, and peace of mind.
It is important that we recognize and give thanks to all of the blessings in our lives.
It is easy to get stuck in the trap of 'I'm thankful for my family, my health, and my new car.' However, this year, I'm trying to dig a little deeper. Of course I am infinitely thankful for my beautiful family, but I'm also thankful for the way my wife is helping me raise them. I'm thankful for the other people in my families life - teachers, employers, neighbors.
I'm even thankful for the struggles. I'm thankful for that one time I lost my job - it made me better with finances and gave me some free time... a lot of free time. Damn, what did I do with all that time? I'm getting distracted.
The moral of this story - as you go about your day, take a few steps back and dig deeper into what you are grateful for. Even in the most dire of times, you can find countless things to give your gratitude.
This concludes my rant. Oh yeah, I'm still writing books and stuff. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for coming to my ted talk.
I've found myself thinking a lot about the value of being multi-faceted. I've turned my nose at the thought for years, telling myself that to achieve greatness at anything you must be laser focused. I did this with martial arts, fitness, and writing. I wonder how many opportunities I missed because of that focus... That same focus I thought would bring me success?
I don't ponder this with any kind of melancholy or distress, just the iron will to improve. While in school, I used to actively tell teachers I didn't care about whatever class I was in because I was going to go home and train karate. I would avoid hanging out with friends or trying new things - all because I didn't want it to interfere with my training.
What did that get me?
It taught me focus, sacrifice, and helped me develop a life long passion... but at what cost? Am I the next Bruce Lee? Nope. Do I run a martial arts empire? Nope. Do my knees ache after a long day? You betcha. It all seems so childish looking back.
How many people think I am a jackass because I shrugged them off for the sake of practice? Probably more than I can count on my fingers and toes. I was an ass.
I'm not one to second guess. If I could go back in time I would painstakingly recreate my past exactly as it played out - I wouldn't change my present for the world.
HOWEVER, I do reflect on the missed opportunities. My grades should have been better. I should've had more friends. I should have been kinder to my body. I shouldn't have been an arrogant little prick.
Nowadays I force myself to think bigger, and I would urge you, too, as well. There are opportunities for improvement and expansion everywhere, both personal and professional. If you find yourself fixated on one goal, take a moment to think. Why are you so fixated? What drives you? Is it ego? What opportunities are slipping away?
I'm rambling. In summary - you only see what you aim at... look around every once and a while.
P.S. I promise I'm still writing books. ;)
I hope you are all doing well. I've been busy, great, but busy. I had another kid, moved to a new city, sold a house, bought a house, planted two apple trees, and I'm pretty sure I worked out twice.
Even as I write this I can hear my daughter farting around in the bathroom. She enjoys trying to brush her teeth on her own. This will most likely create a huge mess, but I wanted to write this post. She is in no danger, and this is probably the most "free" I will be all day.
Life is amazing. I'm presented with new joys and challenges everyday. I learn a little more about myself and the world at large with each passing headache. It is a unique season of life.
Ah, how about the good stuff - I'm still writing. In fact, I have two completed books sitting on the shelf waiting to be released. Wait... what? Why would I do that?
Oh, I'll tell you why.
I have a small issue with series consistency. I like starting new stuff. As of right now, I have three separate, incomplete and unrelated trilogies available. This makes my heart hurt. SO - I am finishing an entire trilogy before releasing them all. THEN I am going to go back and finish my existing projects one by one.
How long with this take? I have no idea. Will I go insane? Too late. Am I going to make a dime from this? At least six or seven.
Well, I just heard the water turn on so I have to run! Hopefully the next blog post I make will have something impactful.
It has been a long time since a proper update.
2019 has been a reset year. I wanted to refocus on my writing. So far so good!
I have two first drafts out in editing right now: Chosen 2 and a super top-secret project that I will be sharing with you soon. I'm very excited about both. Chosen 2 is going through Waterstone Media like the first, and the second book will be self published.
That is all the news I have, really. I'm still busy planning, writing, and publishing. Things like my facebook page and this website have taken a back seat while I'm busy churning out content. After a few releases, though, I'll be posting more consistently. 2019 is going to be a big year.