Rooting for the Bad Guy #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I was hoping you could give me a little advice on how to write perspective. The main character in my story is going to be a bad guy. When I say bad, I mean the story is going to revolve around the villain. I’m just really not sure how I can write that effectively. I mean typically you try to get people to relate to your main character and I don’t know about getting them to relate to a villain. Any thoughts?

Mike


Hi Mike,

Believe it or not, people tend to gravitate quite a bit to villains these days. Darth Vader, Maleficent, James Hook, and even Saruman of Many Colors, are all bad guys that often get rooted for by audiences.

It’s not hard to fathom, or in some cases find, stories where they are the primary character. Maleficent and Hook have their own movies, Darth Vader get’s as much screen time as anyone else in Star Wars and he has a full library of his own comics and books.

A lot of people do relate to the struggles of the villain. Why, because it’s not a huge stretch to see yourself being put into a difficult situation and either making the wrong decision or becoming the devil himself in order to protect something you care about. That’s just life sometimes.

I would just advise you to give your villain a good backstory, make them likeable in their own way, give them good vices, and then go from there. As long as you write a good character, people will love or love to hate that person. There really isn’t much more I can tell you without going into greater detail into your story.

Good luck! Readers, what do you think? Leave a comment and let’s keep the conversation going!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 3

III

 

Hours went by as Melisande contemplated her situation. She wanted to rejoin the crew, but she knew that Baltazar would never allow it. Still she was out at sea on her adventure and she still wanted to find out about her family. She at least still had that.

Her thoughts were cut off by a signal from the deck, “Sail ho!”

She immediately jumped to her feet and ran out on deck to see the other ship. Baltazar stood next to the helm with his hands at his side. He picked up his looking glass and peered through it to inspect the ship that they were coming up on.

After a few moments, he smiled and lowered the scope, “Mr. Melchior, we’ve found our spaniard. Full sail if you please.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye aye, full sail you swabs!”

Melisande walked up next to him on the aft castle, “What’s going on?”

“The reports we got were dead on.” Baltazar replied. “We’ve found our merchant and we’re going to take it.”

He turned to Gilles, who was back on the helm, “Come about ten degrees starboard.”

The ship picked up speed and began to close the distance with larger Spanish ship. Melisande shook her head, “Look at the size of that thing, you can’t be serious.”

“Size isn’t everything on the ocean, my dear.” Baltazar replied. “Speed is a far more deadly advantage, and we have the wind with us.”

He then looked over at Gilles, “I’ll take over here. Take our guest to my cabin and see to it she stays there.”

Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”

He let go of the wheel and turned to Melisande, “This way please.”

Melisande shook her head, “I signed on as a member of the crew. I’m fighting here too!”

Her words impressed Baltazar, but not enough for him to rescind his order, “You signed on under a false identity. You are entitled to nothing. Go below or I might reconsider letting Morgan hurl you overboard.”

Melisande flashed Baltazar an angry look as she turned to follow Gilles. The helmsman held her on the arm as they walked, “I never did thank you for saving my life. For what it’s worth, I’d be fine with the idea a serving with a lass.”

She smiled, “It’s nice to know someone around here wouldn’t mind. May I ask you a question?”

“By all means.” He replied.

“Why are we attacking Spanish ships?” She asked. “Isn’t he Spanish?”

Gilles shrugged, “That’s something you’d have to ask him. As long as I get my share, I could care less who we attack.”

Melisande turned away as he closed the door behind her. She thought about it oddly for a moment, but then turned her attention to what was going on outside. She opened the window and watched as the small Spanish ship grew larger with each moment. This ship was a large carrack style vessel with a high fore and aft castle. It was also bristling with guns from the hull. Baltazar must be crazy, she thought to herself.

On deck, Baltazar saw the ship enter gun range. He smiled and looked to the men at the rigging, “Raise the colors! All hands run up the guns!”

A black and red flag with the image of a demonic spirit was raised behind the lateen sail. Baltazar counted down the seconds until he was right where he wanted to be and then pulled the helm hard to starboard. The men yelled and cheered as they approached their opponent.

Baltazar nodded, “Steady men, wait for it…”

Once they were in the right position alongside, Baltazar waved his arm, “Fire!”

Smoke poured from both sides of their cannons as large explosions emanated from the muzzles. Melisande could hear what sounded like deafening thunder from the deck as the cannons blasted the Spanish ship. The cannons ripped massive holes in the side of the Spaniard. In response, she began to turn to starboard in order to fire her own guns.

Baltazar saw this, and looked up at his men on the masts, “I need more sail men! Tighten them up, don’t give the Spaniards a target!”

The men worked as fast as they could and it paid off. The ship turned quicker than the Spanish carrack could compensate for. Baltazar held the helm at hard over to starboard. The old wheel shook as the ship moved out of range of the Spanish guns. Moments later, Baltazar’s ship had made a full 180 degree turn and was now turning to port to fire the cannons on that side.

Baltazar nodded and raised his left arm, “Port gun crew, ready on my mark!”

He waited a few seconds for his ship to be positioned exactly where he wanted it and then dropped his arm, “Fire all!”

A huge series of explosions rocked the side of the Specter as her cannons unleashed a terrible volley on the Spanish carrack. Baltazar’s crew cheered as they watched smoke pour out of the side of the Spaniard. It appeared as though the ship was crippled. Baltazar kept his eyes on their flag, waiting for it to be lowered, but it never fell. Instead the ship slowly began to turn. The joy in the crews’ eyes turned to fear as the Spanish carrack brought its guns to bear.

Baltazar turned his ship hard to starboard in an attempt to avoid getting hit, but it was too late. The carrack opened up with a full broadside. Baltazar screamed as the ship’s massive cannons erupted in flame, “Hold on everyone! Brace yourselves; this is going to be bad!”

Cannon fire ripped through the deck and hull as the barrage continued. Baltazar called down to his men, “Reload, ready the guns and prepare to return fire!”

Baltazar’s men quickly responded as the hull splintered around them. Melchior jumped into action, “Move it your bilge rats! Brace the cannons, ready the fuse!”

After a few moments, Melchior looked at his rows of cannon and called out, “Guns at the ready?”

Each gun crew signaled back one at a time, “Gun ready sir!”

Melchior turned to Baltazar, “All guns reporting ready sir, except port side numbers 2, 6, and 8, they’re out of action.”

Baltazar nodded, “It’ll have to do, all guns return fire!”

Once more, Baltazar’s guns let loose a barrage of smoke and fire. The shots ripped into the Spaniard. One shot blew through the main mast, sending it toppling to the side. There was a moaning sound that came from the ship’s hull and it slowly listed to port.

Melchior ran to the helm, “Captain, the Spaniard looks to be taking on water! We must have hit her below the waterline.”

Baltazar nodded, “Aye, and look!”

He pointed to the flag aft of the mizzen mast as it slowly lowered and a white one took its place. Cheers of victory arose from the remaining crew aboard the Specter. Baltazar nodded, “Grappling hooks men, make ready to board!”

They brought their ship alongside the Spaniard and threw across several planks to create walk ways. Melisande watched as Baltazar crossed over to the Spanish ship with two men. He was met on the larger ship by the enemy captain, who was a large man with a thick mustache and a gruff expression. The two men greeted each other.

The Spanish captain bowed and held out his sword to Baltazar, “Sir, I am Captain Del Rosa of the Spanish merchant vessel Cristobal. Please accept this sword as my personal surrender, Captain.”

“Thank you Captain,” Baltazar replied, “It was a battle well-fought, there is no shame in your defeat. You may keep your sword.”

“And what do you intend to do with us now,” Captain Del Rosa demanded, “leave us to sink with our ship, or perhaps hold us for ransom?”

Baltazar’s men came across from the Specter, “Permission to transfer the cargo, captain?”

“Aye,” Baltazar nodded, “but remember, no crewman or passenger is to be harmed, and any crewman who lays so much as a hand on a woman passenger will lose said hand. Do we understand?”

A resounding ‘aye’ came from the crew in response. Baltazar nodded and raised his arms, signaling them to start working, “Get to it men.”

The crew raced over like a flood of men and ransacked the ship’s interior. Captain Del Rosa shook his head as they moved, “I asked you a question, Captain. I can’t overlook the fact that I have yet to receive an answer.”

Baltazar nodded, “Indeed, my dear Captain, forgive me. I am not in the business of murdering such honorable opponents. Even surprised, damaged, and outmatched, your ship put up a good fight. The Spanish Armada would be lucky to have such iron.”

He turned to one of the Spanish crewmen, “Lower your ships longboats will you?”

The man nodded and promptly took three men to ready the boats. Captain Del Rosa was taken aback, “You’re letting us go?”

Baltazar nodded as the Spanish captain continued, “But how will we survive out here on the open ocean?”

“Take whatever food, canvas, and provisions you need.” Baltazar replied. “You’re only a few hours sailing from shore. If you set your boats on a course directly south, you should hit land by day’s end.”

Captain Del Rosa looked south and nodded, “I’ll not forget your gallantry, Captain. I expected to meet my end the moment you came onboard.”

Baltazar’s men carried large crates and barrels out of the hold and transferred them all to the Specter. The crew of the Spanish ship quickly made their way over the side and into the boats that had been lowered. Once everyone was over the side, Baltazar turned to Captain Del Rosa, “I’ll take my leave of you now, Captain, as I assume you wish to maintain your honor?”

Captain Del Rosa nodded and extended his hand, “I’m sure you understand. This is still my ship.”

“Only too well,” Baltazar smiled as he shook the merchant captain’s hand, “Good bye Captain, and good luck.”

“Thank you,” Del Rosa responded, “farewell.”

Baltazar turned, walked across the planks, and turned to his men, “Shove off, move us away from the Cristobal, we don’t want to be dragged down with them.”

The Specter slowly began to pull away as the crew cut the grappling lines. Baltazar watched as the last of the Cristobal’s men quickly entered the boat. Once every last person on the ship was safely away, Captain Del Rosa climbed down the side and entered the last boat before it pulled away.

The crew of the Specter watched as the Cristobal slowly disappeared beneath the waves. He turned back and looked through the window to his cabin. That was when he noticed that Melisande wasn’t there. He turned back and looked at his first officer, “Melchior, where is our passenger?”

“She’s below decks.” Melchior replied. “She refused to stay in the cabin. I wasn’t going to put up a fight.”

Baltazar rolled his eyes and climbed down the ladder while his men continued to load their new cargo into the hold. What he saw on the main gun deck shocked him. There right next to the guns, was a triage set up by the ship’s carpenter.

Melisande was standing over a wounded crewman, cleaning an injury caused by the splintering wood from the Specter’s hull. Her sleeves were rolled up and her arms were covered in blood. She looked up at Baltazar with a faint smile as he approached, “That was a nice thing you did for the captain, allowing him to maintain his honor.”

“You saw that?” Baltazar asked.

“I watched the entire battle.” She responded. “I was on deck getting your casualties down here for care while you were on Spanish ship.”

He looked down at the injured crewman, “How are you Morgan, is she taking good care of you?”

Morgan was the same man who had wanted to throw Melisande over the side earlier in the voyage. He coughed lightly before speaking, “She be a living angel of mercy. The pain be manageable now.”

Melisande smiled as she worked. Baltazar nodded as he turned to her, “I don’t think anyone will want you thrown over the side now.”

Morgan’s eyes widened as he remembered his words. An apologetic look appeared on his face, “Forgive me, lass.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Melisande replied, “just rest easy.”

Baltazar turned away and headed over to the carpenter, “How many did we lose?”

The carpenter looked over his triage, “Ten dead, about sixteen wounded. Eight of them should be able to return to duty in a day or two.”

He then looked over at Melisande, “Make that ten with the way Melisande be working.”

“Ye know sir,” he continued, “none of this would be happening right now if it wasn’t fer the lass. I don’t know where she learned how to care for people like this, but she’s saved three lives so far.”

Baltazar sighed, “I know…”

He walked back over to where she was working and sat down, “The work you’ve done here is very impressive. I know Morgan appreciates it, don’t you sailor?”

The large man nodded as he passed out. Baltazar smiled, “Where did you learn how to tend wounds like that?”

Melisande shrugged, “I didn’t learn how to. I can’t explain it. I just know how to treat an injury when I see one. I don’t understand how.”

Baltazar nodded, “Well… keep up the good work.”

Melisande saluted Baltazar only half seriously, “Aye sir.”

He got up and walked back up on deck. Once there, he turned to the helmsman, “How’s our haul?”

Melchior watched as the last of the plunder was brought below deck, “We should be able to turn a good profit.”

Melchior ruffled his brow and turned to Baltazar, “Are ye still planning on giving most of your shares to the local poor house and the church?”

“Aye,” Baltazar replied, “tis the right thing to do.”

“I never understood this,” Melchior replied, shaking his head, “in all the years I’ve served with ye, the riches ye’ve plundered would have made ye a very wealthy man.”

“You don’t have to understand,” Baltazar replied, “I have my reasons, believe me.”

Melchior nodded, “Fair enough, Captain. What be our course?”

“San Sebastián.” Baltazar responded. “We should be able to part with our goods without a lot of questions asked.”

“As long as we aren’t coming under fire ourselves!” Melchior mused.

Baltazar shook his head, “Most of the corsairs that operate out of there are former fishermen trying to turn a profit. They’re not well armed and wouldn’t be so bold as to come near the Specter.

Melchior did not look as confident, “Desperate men be willing to do desperate, and often stupid, things. They tend to take greater risks.”

Baltazar sighed, “Are you questioning my orders Mr. Melchior? Perhaps you would like to take over as Captain for a while? If so, you can vote to have me deposed.”

Melchior shook his head, “No sir, I harbor no ambitions as such. I just be looking out for the good of our men.”

“As you should.” Baltazar admitted. “You’re a good man, and a close friend. Please trust that I know what I’m doing.”

“Aye Captain,” Melchior replied, “My humble apologies.”

*

The Specter sailed through the night and on into the morning. Melisande returned to Baltazar’s quarters while he slept on deck near the door. At five bells, three men approached the captain. He was slowly roused by their presence. His vision was blurred as he slowly rubbed his eyes and stood up, “What is it men, the sun has barely kissed the horizon yet.”

His eyes focused enough to make out Morgan, the carpenter, and Gilles standing in front of him. They stood silently for a moment before Morgan spoke up, “Captain, we’ve been speaking in open council with the rest of the men about the lass.”

Baltazar rolled his eyes, “I know, and I’ve taken note of how you feel. I give you my word that she will be off the Specter as soon as we dock in San Sebastián.”

The men looked at each other for a moment before Gilles finally spoke up, “That’s what we be wanting to discuss sir.”

“Oh?” Baltazar replied with interest. “Well you’re speaking to me in open council, as is your right, so speak your minds. I won’t hold anything against you.”

Morgan spoke up again, “Captain, sir, ye can’t put her off the ship.”

“Have you been speaking to the ship’s cook again?” Baltazar asked with a sigh.

“Nay sir,” The carpenter replied, “but we’ve seen her work. As a cabin boy, she worked as hard, if not harder than any man aboard, despite getting only a half-wage. The drinks haven’t been flowing nearly as quickly since she’s been confined to your cabin. Then she voluntarily took to nursing the wounded back to health after the battle.”

Morgan nodded, “I’m figuring too many of us would be dead now if not for her.”

Baltazar could not believe what he was hearing, “So now, after everything you’ve said, you want her to remain on board, as a member of the crew?”

“Aye.” Gilles replied. “The men no longer look at her as a tavern wench, and she’ll be treated as one of us. We give you our word.”

Baltazar looked Morgan in the eye, “What about the black mark and all that?”

“As we been telling ye captain,” he replied, “we don’t see her as a tavern wench anymore. She be one of us now. Some of us wouldn’t be here if not for her.”

“Okay…” Baltazar said looking at the honest eyes of his men. “Well I appreciate your input. I’ll talk to her and to Mr. Clement… I make no promises, but we’ll see where it goes.”

All three of them smiled and saluted, “Thank ye, Captain.”

Baltazar nodded, “All right… to your stations.”

The three men turned and started the morning work. Baltazar stood there in disbelief as the Sun came up over the horizon. I’ve never seen anyone earn the respect of these men so quickly, he thought to himself. There is something almost mystical about her.

Baltazar decided to sort it out later. The ships bell hadn’t rung yet, and he was still tired. His bunk creaked gently as he lay back down and fell asleep.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Characters First, Stories Second. #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I was wondering if you talk a little bit about how you create characters for your book. I’ve got an awesome idea for a story, but I’m having a hard time creating characters to go along with it. Do you have any advice?

Thanks,
Kris


Hello Kris,

In my personal opinion, you’re doing this backward. You’ve got a great story, but no characters. I don’t believe that’s the correct way of going about this. I’m sure that many of my readers will disagree with me on this one, but I think that the best way write a story is to create a set of characters first, then create the story around them.

For me, I have a library of characters written out that I have not yet used. Actually, many of the characters for some of my more recent books have come from that library. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to create characters for specific plot devices in the story, but largely, it may be better for your main characters to be an independent creation.

I have characters that are elves, half-elves, dragonkin (half-dragons), Dragons that have the ability to appear in human form, dwarves, modern humans, medieval and prehistoric humans, fantasy humans, humans from other planets that evolved differently from ones on this planet, and several different vaguely-written backstories. They are all just anxiously awaiting their chance to take center stage.

When the time comes and I come up with a new story, I go back to that library and pick out the characters that I think best fit the story. Then I adapt their backstory to the world rules I established and go from there.

Think about it for a second. In life, do you think people are pre-written for an experience or do they simply adapt as they are put through it? There’s no wrong answer here, I just tend to believe the latter.

So I would say that the best thing for you to do would be to put the idea for your story on the back burner and just think about interesting people that you know in your life. Think about stories that have peaked your interest in the past and create characters based on those. Create their backstories, their races, and their appearances. Once you have around 10+ characters, think about the story you want to write. Then go back and pick out 2-3 characters that you think would fit.

Take a blank word document and fill in the following;

What’s this character’s name?

What’s their gender?

What’s their race/species?

Where do they come from?

Describe their physical appearance.

Describe their personality.

Describe their backstory.

Both the plot and the story can be adapted so that they suit each other as you go through, so don’t worry about that.

So that’s generally how I do things, but let’s open this up to my readers and keep the conversation going. I’d love to hear about how other people create characters for their stories. Do they write the story first and then the characters? Is it the other way around? Do you just write the characters as you’re writing the story?

Let me know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, An Empire of Ashes Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

Synopsis:

Two hundred years have passed, and the Red War has become a distant memory for most. Dragons and humans now live together in peace… but one powerful woman who has been deranged by her own history unleashes her vengeance on a helpless population.

Now, the world’s only hope for survival rests with Kaori, a naïve and wayward princess of the Eastern Empire. Having been disillusioned with her mother’s rule, she discovers a dark secret about her family that will change the course of history forever. She soon crosses paths with Nayeli and Joaquim, a pair of rogues living within her borders.

Their fight for survival takes an unexpected turn as a shadow of from the past reveals that the situation is more dangerous than they know. The fate of billions of lives rests on these three unlikely companions putting aside their differences to stand against the world.


DRAKIN: An Empire of Ashes


Chapter 1

So few of us left… No matter where we go, no matter how far we run… death always follows. The fires of Old London burned brightly in the distance. They engulfed the buildings in a veil of yellow and orange. They were miles away, but their smoke choked out the stars in the night sky. A dim orange hue added a sinister touch. The pungent odor from the decaying corpses added to the dark scene.Nayeli could hear the crackle of the massive flame like a million pieces of paper being crumpled in the distance. She ignored it and scraped through the rubble, looking for something, anything of value that could be traded for food or supplies. Bodies of dragons, EastCon, and Imperial soldiers littered the ruins. Many of them had been there for years.You would think that with all these bodies, at least one bolt pistol would have been overlooked! Nayeli was familiar with the scene, she’d lived in that horror for years in almost every city along the outskirts of the Imperial Territory. This was the fate of those who dared oppose the Eastern Empire.She kept her head close to the ground as she quickly turned over another body. A relieved sigh escaped her lips as she looked at his belt, “Yes!”Her eyes flared as they focused on a black holster that had been hidden under the fallen soldier’s hip. Unlike the others she’d seen that day, this holster wasn’t empty.Nayeli’s hands shook as she quickly unsnapped the flap that was holding the bolt pistol in place. She paused as a light flashed in the corner of her eye. A massive silhouette loomed in the distance, letting off a menacing hum. Her spine stiffened as a feeling of dread overtook her. An Imperial Hunter-killer… Shit, I need to get out of here.Her left hand wrapped around the pistol and pulled it from its holster. She had no time to check out her prize. The distant hum grew louder as the silhouette approached. She quickly hid the gun under her filthy red cloak and dove behind some rubble as the patrol ship passed overhead. A blue energy beam carefully scanned each piece of rubble.Nayeli pressed herself against the remains of a concrete wall. Like everything else in the area, it was covered in black soot. Small metal pipes protruded from the sides. Where ever it came from, something powerful must have dislodged it.As the hunter-killer passed overhead, her hand clenched her own gun as she held her breath. The ground shook, dislodging small pieces of rock and dust, sending them flying. Her lungs began to ache, but she refused to breathe as she waited.She pressed her back hard against the rough concrete and waited for fate to pass its judgment. If the hunter-killer found her, it was all over. There was no way to escape one of these things. They were fast, maneuverable, and almost completely impervious to ground attack. The curved armor covering the thrusters made shooting it down a difficult task.The ship cruised overhead as though it was ignoring her completely. The debris had blocked her from its field of vision. She was safe for the moment.Her lungs felt like they were about to explode when she finally released her breath. She pulled the dead soldier’s pistol from under her cloak. Though filthy, it looked intact. She pressed the safety in and waited to see what happened. Come on… give me something.The lights on the side flickered off and on a few times. It took a moment for the indicator on the side to come to life. The meter rose out of the red, passed through the yellow bar and stopped with barely a sliver of green illuminated. Yes, plenty of power left!She carefully inspected the markings, using the little rays light that peeked over the concrete, “Mauser T-21… with half a cartridge left. Not a bad piece…”Guns had been a valuable commodity for dissidents since the UPW was forced to withdraw from Europe. If anyone had any hopes of survival, they carried one, but that’s not why Nayeli was looking for it.The right buyer would pay handsomely for a gun. Even a small pistol like the Mauser was worth a small fortune. She quickly returned it to her pocket and focused her situation.The hunter-killer she’d seen in the distance was now passing over another large piece of debris. The sophisticated trackers could sense even the slightest movement from the ground. Even something as gentle as a heartbeat could give someone away.The sleek, black, cone-shaped vehicle passed quietly over the rubble. The blue thrusters glowed as they held the craft a few hundred feet off the ground.Scree! Scree! Scree!“Shit!”Had she been detected? No, it was too far away for the sensors to have caught her movements. The craft immediately turned and headed towards another pile of rubble where a second hunter-killer was hovering.At that moment, Nayeli saw what it was going after. A female dragon and two lings had tried to take refuge in a collapsed building. They raised their hands with terrified looks on their faces.Even at a distance, Nayeli could make out the sheer horror. The eyes of the dragonlings were soaked with tears. The older one trembled with fear while trying to hide it. They were fully aware of the fate that was likely waiting for them, Nayeli was sure of it.The older one threw her hands in the air, “No, wait, plea…”The terrible robotic sound of a rapid-fire pulse cannon cut off her screams. Nayeli immediately turned away and closed her eyes. She knew what was happening. The body of the female dragon hit the ground with a loud thud.A second later, the firing ceased and was replaced by the screams and sobs of the juvenile dragons. Nayeli closed her eyes, waiting for the next shots that would end their lives, but to her surprise, it never came. The pilot had apparently decided to spare the lings, but why?Their voices were quickly overpowered by an older, far more intense one, “Don’t move or we’ll open fire!”Nayeli turned back to see that two soldiers had apparently been winched down from the hunter-killer. They were dressed in heavy black armor and brandished massive rifles. Their masks made them look like fearsome monsters.The children obeyed the commands, likely more out of terror than obedience. Nayeli reached into a second pocket in her cloak and withdrew a larger pistol with a scope and significantly larger muzzle.The rubble crumbled as she rested her stomach against it and peered into the scope on the pistol. She steadied her grip and slowly moved the crosshairs so that they lined up with one of the primary thrusters on the hunter-killer. It was a narrow slit between the armor and the thruster itself.She sucked down a deep breath, waiting until she was ready. It was nearly an impossible shot, but she had to try. A scream from one of the dragonlings prompted her into action, “Let’s see how you like this, Imp scum!”She squeezed the trigger, unleashing three blasts from the pistol. The blue bolts screamed through the air, striking the hunter-killer on the port side primary thruster. The engine sputtered and died out, causing the ship to lose altitude and pull away. Yes, got it! Oh man, Joaquim will never believe that!The startled soldiers turned their attention to the rubble where the gunshot had come from. One of them raised his rifle, “We’re under attack, take cover!”Not happening! Nayeli grabbed something under her cloak. It was a smooth, round, device with red lights on it. She depressed a small button on top. The light changed to blue as it released a high-pitched sound. Here we go!She quickly stood up and threw it. Her body was only exposed for a moment, but it was all the soldiers needed. One of them took aim and opened fire, hitting her in the shoulder before the small orb exploded in a flash of light.She yelped and collapsed behind the rubble again, nursing her shoulder. She only had moments to deal with the pain and did her best to ignore it. It’s okay… it’s just pain… just pain… it’s not bad.Her hand squeezed the wound as she turned and looked back over to see what had happened. Both soldiers had been knocked out by the concussion grenade, while the dragonlings were sobbing a few feet away. They were both shaking, afraid to move from their spot.Nayeli sucked down a deep breath before moving over to the soldiers. She quickly grabbed their rifles and sidearms and threw them in her pack.A small flicker of light caught her eye from the side pouch on one of the soldier’s hips. He was carrying four replacement power cells for the guns. She grabbed the cartridges and tucked them away. Jackpot! Having grabbed everything she could carry, Nayeli turned to leave. The sobbing of the dragonlings stopped her in her path. She looked back at them with an indifferent stare, “You should get out of here. They’ve only been knocked out.”The two dragonlings curled up together but refused to speak. Nayeli frowned, “Don’t you have someplace to take refuge? A home somewhere?”One of them shook its head.“Nowhere?” She demanded.The dragonling again shook its head, “No.”Nayeli looked at the dead dragonkin a few feet away, “Was that your mother?”The tears in the dragonlings’ eyes answered the question for her, “Oh… I see…”“They came for us in the night… they killed our daddy! He never even…”The dragonling lowered its eyes, too upset to say anything else. Nayeli clenched her fists as she looked back at the two soldiers she’d knocked out, “I’m sorry…”This was nothing new. Several dragon refugees at her camp had similar stories to tell. She had slowly become numb to them over time. However, she couldn’t leave these babies where they were.She reached out her hand to the nearest dragonling, “Come on, I’ll take you somewhere safe.”The dragonlings looked up at her in fear. They looked at her hand but didn’t take it. The smaller of the two recoiled nervously.Nayeli sighed, “What’s your name?”The larger of the two blinked as it timidly looked up at her, “Eutera, and this is Ixen…”“Eutera, those people are going to come back. If they catch you, they’ll take you somewhere that will not be pleasant. I can’t stick around and make you feel better. I’m really sorry about your mother, but she gave her life to try to save you. I can help take you somewhere safe, but you have to come with me now.”In the distance, she could hear the smooth engine of a hunter-killer. Ixen sucked down a deep breath and quivered, “They’re… they’re coming back?”Nayeli looked into out towards the crumbling buildings as a shadow passed by. The damaged ship must have sent out a distress call, “It won’t be long now.”Nayeli turned back to the dragonlings, “You have to trust me! We don’t have any time, you’ve seen what these people will do! Now, are you coming or not?”Her eyes flared as she spoke. The dragonlings looked at her oddly for a moment before Ixen grabbed Eutera’s hand and then reached out for Nayeli’s.She smiled, “Okay, good. Let’s get out of here!”Readers,Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.jimthewritingwizard@gmail.comI’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTUNote:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!
Thanks friends!Catch you on the flip side!-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 2

II

 

As Baltazar predicted, within two hours, the storm hit. Waves crashed over the deck and rain poured down on the crew. Though the ship was secured to prevent it from taking on water, they were still struggling to tie down the cannons on deck. The men had gotten the sails up and the cabins were secure, but a loose cannon could do serious damage.

Papi and Melisande were on deck trying to help out as much as they could. Mel stood with Gilles as they tried to push the number two deck cannon back into position. The cannon by itself was heavy and water crashing over it, made pushing it into place even more difficult.

Once the cannon was back on its blocks, Gilles reached out to Melisande, “Quick hand me the line and secure it!”

She struggled to reach him, but didn’t make it in time. The cannon broke loose and rolled forward, sending Gilles flying over the side. Melisande screamed, “Gilles! Man overboard!”

Every crewman who had already finished securing their lines ran to the side of the boat. Melisande watched as they tried to throw him a line, but the force of the waves crashing over his head made it impossible. His head disappeared beneath the surface every time a wave hit.

Melisande knew that he would drown if they didn’t do something quick. She called out to him, “Come on Gilles, swim, swim man!”

Another wave crashed over his head and she could hear him struggling to breath. Without thinking, she stripped off the vest that she’d been wearing, leaving only her shirt and undershirt on, and jumped overboard. Papi saw her and cried out, “Messy, no!”

He was too late to grab her as she jumped over the railing and plunged into the ocean. She swam towards Gilles as quickly as she could. It took all of her strength to reach him as the waves crashed over her.

Within moments, Melisande grabbed him by the arm and held him above the water. The dirt washed off her face and the hat that had protected her hair fell off. She pulled on Gilles as she swam, “Its ok, Gilles, I have you.”

Gilles opened his eyes and looked at her strangely, like he had never seen her before. They swam back to the ship where the crew pulled Gilles back on board and tended to him. Half drowned, he was taken down below to rest. He didn’t say anything and just lay there with a confused look on his face. As the men returned to their duties.

Meanwhile, Melisande was struggling to climb back on board. Baltazar had been called out to the deck and was watching as the group pulled his new cabin boy up. When she was finally up to the railing, two men grabbed her and pulled her over the side. She lay on her hands and knees coughing for a few moments before standing up. She was surrounded by crewmen and Papi was unable to get to her. Her clothing stuck to her skin, revealing her figure.

Gasps could be heard from the crew as they realized what she was. Baltazar’s eyes went wide and he pointed at her, “You there, stand fast!”

He then turned to the two sailors nearest to her, “Bring her astern!”

Papi began breathing quickly and struggled to get passed the crowd. Two sailors grabbed Melisande and brought her to Baltazar. He looked her over for a few moments and smiled, “Well, well, Melisande is it? I should have recognized you sooner.”

Melchior appeared next to them, “You know this woman captain?”

“Aye,” he replied with a wide grin, “she kept me from falling into a puddle of mud and I saved her from some local ruffians.”

Melisande stood in front of him with a defiant look on her face as Papi came up behind them, “Captain… sir, I can explain!”

Baltazar turned to his cook, “You can explain this Mr. Clement, I belive that I would enjoy such a story. Why is there a woman on my ship?”

Papi nodded, “Sir she lives at Mont St. Michel, she was an orphan placed in the charge of the church. She must have snuck out and travelled to Gransville.”

“I see…” Baltazar replied. “So you know this girl.”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “a long time now.”

Shouts errupted from the crew as one large man with a thick black beard and matching locks of hair called out, “Having a woman onboard is a black mark on a ship! I say we throw her overboard.”

Melisande reached behind her back with both hands and pulled out a pistol and a knife. She turned the knife on the large sailor and pointed the gun at Baltazar’s forehead, “No one is throwing me over the side!”

Scattered laughs came from the crew as she stood with her hands shaking. Baltazar narrowed his eyes, “Easy there Mel, where did you get that pistol?”

She breathed deeply, “I stole it from the hold, just in case something like this happened.”

The quartermaster came up next to Baltazar, “Sir, be careful, those pistols were loaded, I saw to that.”

“Well, looks you thought of everything Mel,” Baltazar said with a smile, “but I wonder, how do you intend to shoot me with wet powder?”

She looked at the gun and was about to respond when Baltazar grabbed it from her hand. Two crewmen grabbed her from behind and ripped the knife away from her. Baltazar shook his head, “It never work have worked anyway.”

He then turned to the quartermaster, “Put this back in the hold, and this time, see to it the weapons are secured.”

The quartermaster nodded and took the pistol, “Aye, aye sir.”

Baltazar turned back and looked at Melisande. There was a lot of worry in her eyes as she waited to hear her fate. He smiled as he spoke, “Our former cabin boy will have my cabin. We’ll set her ashore once we’ve completed our mission.”

A look of relief and gratitude came over Melisande’s face as the crew protested, “You would risk a black mark on us?”

Another crewman spoke up, “Aye, looks like the captain may have actually taken a shine to this tavern whore! I say we throw her overboard.”

Baltazar grabbed her, pulled her away from his men, pushing her towards the cabin, “And I say she stays aboard.”

Baltazar faced the angry stares of his men and drew his rapier, “Or would any man jack here dare challenge my orders?”

The looks on the crews’ faces turned from anger to fear. One by one, they slowly began to back away. Baltazar nodded as he put his sword away and stabbed the knife they had taken from Melisande into the mast, “No one, no one is going to challenge me? Disappointing… at least the tavern whore was willing to put up a fight, back to work, all of you then!”

The men grumbled as they returned to their posts. Baltazar snorted and turned his cabin. Melisande had already gone inside and shut the door. Baltazar opened it and walked in.

Melisande was sitting at his desk with her face in her hands. She was clearly upset. Baltazar pulled up another chair and sat down next to her. He grabbed a towel and began wiping her face to help her dry off, “Why the tears?”

“All I wanted,” She replied, “was a life of adventure. I was so tired of living behind the abbey walls. I wanted something more for myself. I wanted to find out about my family, where I come from, and who I am.”

Baltazar smiled, “So you escaped the abbey and came all the way out here.”

She nodded, “I was desperate to get away.”

“Was anything you told me about your family true?” Baltazar asked.

“My father wasn’t a blacksmith.” She said quietly. “I’ve spent most of my life studying and reading, that’s how I know so much. I was taught how by the church, but what I told you about them dying when I was young was true. I don’t even know my family name.”

Baltazar frowned, “I am sorry for you. I can sympathize, believe me. My family and I have a… troubled history. I haven’t spoken to any of them in years. My father denied that I was even his son. So I can understand what that’s like.”

She looked up at him, “More than anything, I was hoping to find some answers. There has to be evidence out there. I need to know where I come from.”

“Take it from someone who knows,” Baltazar replied, “sometimes ignorance can be bliss. If you keep this up, you may find out that you were happier before knowing.”

“It doesn’t matter… That’s all over with now isn’t it?” She asked sadly. “What do you intend to do, kill me?”

“Are you joking,” Baltazar replied, “you saved my best helmsman. In return I’ll give you safe passage to our next port. Once there, you can do what you want. If you want to try your luck on another ship, all power to you.”

Melisande nodded, “I thank you for that…. Captain.”

“You’re quite welcome,” Baltazar said as he got up and left the cabin.

Papi was waiting outside, “Captain, please don’t hurt her. She’s an innocent soul. I swear she never intended to hurt a fly.”

“Relax man,” Baltazar replied, “pull yourself together. I have no intention of harming her in any way. I swear it on my family name.”

Papi nodded, “Then please turn us around and return her to the abbey.”

“Put about?” Baltazar scoffed. “Have you gone mad? We’re out at sea. Going home now would not be good for business. I will set her ashore after our voyage.”

Papi looked at him concerned, “But where sir?”

Baltazar placed his hand on Papi’s shoulder, “Relax my friend, I promise you that she will be cared for. For the time being, just know that she is well protected in my cabin.”

Papi sighed, “Very well sir.”

“Thank you.” Baltazar replied. “Now return to your duties.”

“Aye, aye sir,” Papi said, not at all convinced that his captain wouldn’t defile her at the first chance he got.

Baltazar felt the rain begin to slow and looked up. The clouds were beginning to break and the storm was passing them by. He smiled and turned to the helmsman that had replaced Gilles, “Steady as she goes, helm! We’ll beat this storm yet!”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Audience/Reader Sensitivity #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I have a problem I was hoping you could help me with a rather… sensitive issue. I’ve written a book that deals with a lot of cultural issues. I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my writing as inoffensive as possible, as I want people from all walks of life to be able to read it, enjoy it, and maybe find themselves in it. However… I’ve recently been getting hate mail and negative reviews from people calling some of what I’ve written offensive. I really don’t want to get into great detail for my own protection, but I was wondering if you had any advice on dealing with accusations of bigotry and negative reviews.

Thanks,
(Anonymous by request.)


Hello,

You’re in quite the bind there, I’ll definitely tell you. First of all, there’s nothing you can do about negative reviews. They’re par for the course when it comes to putting media out there for public consumption, so that’s something you’ll most likely have to live with. If you have reason to believe that the negative reviews are trolling or someone who didn’t read the book, there are methods to appeal them with Amazon, GoodReads, Etc. So you might consider that approach.

As to your other problem… having not heard the other side, nor read your work, I’m going to be functioning on the assumption that you didn’t put anything into your book that is blatantly bigoted… or if you did, you framed it in a way that was appropriate to the story. If you basically rewrote Mien Kampf, you’re getting what’s coming to you, but again, I’m going to assume that’s not the case, given what you’ve told me.

Unfortunately, in the current climate we live in, people have a heightened sensitivity to pretty much every social issue on the planet. It seems almost completely unavoidable. Some say it’s because they were raised to believe that they were special and that the world owed them something… others say that these issues have always been around, but social media just really put a magnifying glass on them.
I personally think that the truth is somewhere in between, though I would note that the debate on political correctness vs. free speech is fairly troubling. We’re living in pretty stressful times.

This is honestly part of the reason I don’t tackle social or political issues in any sort of overt way. Yes, they make their way into my writing, but not with the intention of making a political statement. I just go where my fingers take me and people seem to like my work.

Okay, back on topic. At the risk of generalizing people… likely the people you are dealing with who are calling you a bigot are one of two kinds of people;

  1. People with heightened sensitivities and insecurities. These people typically see social problems where ever they look and if they don’t find any, they’re pretty good at creating issues for them to complain about.
  2. People looking to cause trouble. Yes, unfortunately, there are people out there that actively look to spark some kind of social outrage, usually for their own gain. Either they want to get their name out in the public or they want to get something out of whoever gets in their sights.
  3. Legitimate people pointing out a problem. Again, I’m assuming you didn’t rewrite Mien Kampf. However, maybe something in your writing is unintentionally off. Maybe you unintentionally wrote a character as a bad stereotype?

I would re-read your work and if you believe #3 is what you’re dealing with… This is a little more difficult to advise on. I don’t typically recommend revising the original work, but if you’re genuinely concerned about it, you have that option.  That being said, you might consider not changing it… again, I haven’t seen your work and I don’t know what your characters are like, but writing as an art form is supposed to challenge people, it’s supposed to move them, to anger them, to sadden them, to make them uncomfortable, and yes, to make them happy. If this is the option you go with… the best advice I can give you is to grow a thick skin.

If it’s either of the other two, I recommend ‘The Rock’ approach: Ignore it.

Why do I call it the Rock approach? Well, it’s in honor of one of my favorite actors; Dwane Johnson. Arguably one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood has come under fire recently from cultural figures, Paralympians, and environmental figures alike…

How has he responded to all of this criticism? Well, near as I can tell, he hasn’t. He hasn’t apologized or addressed it in any way. Why do I say that this is the smart thing to do? Because it takes the wind out of their sails. Look at each of these complaints. Have they gone anywhere? Have you heard of them after the initial outcry? Not likely. If you apologize to them, you’re admitting doing something wrong, even if you don’t mean to. Often times, they aren’t looking to, and won’t be willing to, accept your apology. If you try to fight back, you’ll wind up looking like the bad guy. It’s basically a power struggle, one you’ll be hard-pressed to win.

If you say nothing, do nothing, and keep your mouth shut, they’ll be yelling into an empty box and it will likely go away faster. I know it’s not an easy thing to do… take it from someone with boiling Irish blood in his veins, but IMHO it really is the correct approach.

Remember, your writing is all about you. Does it sound good to you? Do you like what you’ve written? Is your book something you’d like to read over and over? Then that’s all that really matters. Other people may like it or may not and your book sales will reflect that, but in the end, you can only write for yourself.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, what do you think our friend here should do? Should they ignore it or attempt some kind of damage control. Let me know in the comments and let’s get the conversation going.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, The Orphans of Haven, Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi



Drakin: The Orphans of Haven


Book Synopsis:

The Red War may be over, but not all wounds have healed. For Sergeant Radley Zall, the nightmares never end. After years of struggling for survival, he finds himself in a dead end job, deporting wayward dragons to the Exclusion Zone. The horrors of his past have left him a broken man, slowing killing himself in a bottle of whiskey. It’s a wearying existence that many former soldiers have been subject to since the war ended, but for Radley, that is all about to change. Throughout his life, Radley’s hatred of dragons has been unmatched until one evening when a small one shows up on his doorstep. The pathetic creature is emaciated and begging for shelter. Her appearance reminds him of his younger self, compelling him to help her. That uncharacteristic decision forces him to confront his past actions— some of which may have contributed to a sinister plot to reignite the Red War and wipe out the few remaining dragons on Earth.


Chapter 1

“Let us overcome these obstacles together, in the spirit of what our forefathers, friends, and neighbors fought and died for!”

It was a good speech… too bad that’s all it’ll ever be. I remember the cheers. I remember the savior standing off to the side before she disappeared… It was only ten years ago, but I remember it like I remember my childhood… as a distant memory.

“Radley? Sergeant Radley Zall, are you with me?”

Radley felt a gentle elbow to the midsection, “Sarge, snap out of it!”

He immediately came back to reality and nodded, “Yes, sir. I’m ready, sir!”

A gruff-looking commander eyed him suspiciously, “Are you sure, Sergeant Zall? I mean we can wait. Whatever you’ve got going on is clearly more important than doing your job. No rush, you know? It’s just a dragon after all. It’s not like the men rely on you to back them up.”

Radley felt his face heating up and was sure that it was turning red, “Sorry sir.”

“Are you feeling sick? Do we need to have Sergeant Bosell check you out?”

Radley felt the tension in the back of his neck. When Commander Miles decided to mock someone in his unit, the man would push it as far as he could. The worst part was that it worked. The officers did everything they could to stay on their toes and avoid it.

“No, I’m fine, sir!” Radley replied as he straightened himself out. He could hear a couple of snickers coming from the ten armored men standing with him.

“You sure?” The commander asked.

“Yes, Commander Miles… I’m sure.”

Commander Constantine Miles eyed Radley for a few moments. The younger officer blinked as he waited for the commander to finish. His blue eyes felt dry under his protective goggles. He could feel his brown hair matting to his head under the heavy helmet he wore.

Commander Miles had been his commanding officer since he joined the security division. The man knew him well, too well. He clearly didn’t buy that Radley was all there.

Finally, Commander Miles nodded, “Well… All right, let’s go.”

He flipped on the radio wired into his vest, “Command, this is Security Group Alpha, we’re in position and ready to move in.”

“Copy that, Commander. Proceed with caution. Good hunting.”

The group entered a massive cave that was hidden deep in the Yellowstone Canyon. The cave walls were as black as coal. The stone floor had once been molten rock, flowing outward. This gave the floor an almost organic look.

Radley carefully balanced himself on the terrain that looked like it had been frozen in time and petrified. He planted his legs between to inclines and raised his bolt rifle.

Six of the other officers followed close behind him. One, a younger man jumped up behind Radley “I thought we’d be waiting out here forever. Finally, we can get this over with.”

“You may hope you’d been able to wait even longer, Kevin,” Radley replied as he removed his goggles, revealing the burn over his left eye. “These dragons usually do not want to come willingly. Often they’re protecting a nest.”

“Is it going to attack us?”

“Hard to say. That happens from time to time.”

“Oh boy…”

“Stay close and keep your weapon ready, Rookie. You’ll do fine.”

“Cut the chatter,” Commander Miles called out from the front. “Let’s get in and out as cleanly as possible. We don’t want a repeat of your first time, Sergeant.”

“First time?” Kevin whispered.

“It’s a long story Rookie, and I’m tired of telling it. I’m sure someone will fill you in before too long.”

The group separated into two as they entered the cave. One proceeded left, while the other went right, forming a pincer. Radley led the second group, closely behind Commander Miles’s. Within moments, both groups were cloaked in almost total darkness.

A staticky sound filled his helmet as the groups kept moving. It was quickly replaced by Commander Miles’s voice, “Okay, everyone… lights on, stay sharp, and keep focus! –Command, this is Unit Commander Miles. We have confirmed the location of an illegal dragon roost. We’re moving into position now.”

The sound of the officers’ footprints was quickly replaced by the sound of throaty breathing. The sound resembled the growl of a lion, only deeper. It echoed through the cave like a shockwave rushing to the entrance.

Radley clenched his rifle as they stepped closer to Commander Miles group. He’d seen this situation play out before and it was nothing new. They’d go in, surround the dragon and take him down from either side. If he tried to fly, they’d shock his wings. If he tried to fight, they’d incapacitate him. It had all become perfectly routine.

“Member of the Dragon species, my name is Commander Miles, Western Coalition Internal Security. You are in direct violation of WestCon Provincial Edict 453, stating that no dragon shall roost outside of the designated dragon zones. This is several miles outside of the Exclusion Zone and your designated areas. You are ordered to surrender and submit to processing. Once you have been tagged, you will then be transferred to a designated holding facility for processing. Please understand, we do not wish to harm you and if you surrender peacefully, you’ll be treated with care.”

The low breathing turned into an angry growl, “The Exclusion Zones… you mean the barren wastelands that your people have set aside for us… You mean the lands with minimal food and few ideal places for us to build roosts! Lands that we have to fight cannibalistic humans for. You offer us amnesty and then force us into the worst possible living conditions!”

Miles didn’t appear to be moved, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. We gave you nearly the entire western coast of this hemisphere all the way down to Mexico. Many dragons have found ways to cultivate a living. If you can’t do something with that, it isn’t my problem. Surrender now, and we promise you’ll be treated fairly!”

This isn’t going to end well… Radley thought as he raised his rifle. This dragon is going to escalate!

“Get out of my home!” The dragon roared before a plume of flame shot past the officers, out of the cave.

The cavern walls lit up orange and revealed the large green dragon that was curled up in a small nest. There were no eggs and no sign of a mate, so this was likely a rogue.

Radley’s eyes widened, “Alpha class. Watch it, everyone! This guy is going to be tough!”

Miles dove away from the flame and hit the ground hard as a second plume passed over him, “Light him up! –Command, we’ve got a code 42. Engaging hostiles!”

The orange hue was replaced by momentary white and blue blasts that spread throughout the cavern as the officers let loose with a spray of electrically charged pulses. The loud pops from the guns echoed off the walls creating a deafening cycle

The dragon’s scales glowed as the pulses electrified them. Little beams of blue and white static outlined each scale. The dragon let out an intense scream as it immediately fell to the side. Its body trembled but otherwise did not move.

The moment the dragon’s head hit the ground, the officers gather around it. The sparks slowly died down as the group moved in. Commander Miles stood in front of its snout and turned to the man closest to him, “Get the shackles.”

“Yes, sir!”

As the man went back to the tunnel to fetch the large metallic rings, Commander Miles read the dragon the required statement of rights, “Illegal dragon, you are hereby under arrest. The charges are illegal roosting, desecration of human territory, and resisting relocation efforts.”

The dragon looked menacingly at Miles as it was shackled. The stun bolts had done their job as it was unable to even lift its head. Smoke emanated from its mouth as it spoke, “May you burn for this…”

“Not today,” Commander Miles replied as he switched on his shoulder radio, “Command, mission accomplished. The dragon has been subdued. We’re looking at an Alpha class, so you’re going to want to bring in the heavy hauler.”

“Acknowledged,” replied a staticky voice. “We were starting to worry about you for a moment. Good work.”

Commander Miles nodded, “Sergeant Radley, let’s get cleaned up here.”

Radley sighed as he turned to his group, “All right men, we’re done here. Let’s head back to the entrance.”

The rookie officer’s eyes focused on the dragon. He remained still as the others moved towards the exit. He was like a statue, frozen in place as though forever contemplating the universe around him.

Radley stopped in front of him as the rest of the group continued, “Hey Rookie, you okay?”

“It’s… it’s not what I expected at all,” Kevin replied.

“What do you mean?”

Kevin beckoned to the dragon’s eyes, “Look at it… I always thought they were giant killing feral machines, acting on instinct like a shark. Now… they actually…”

“You’ve never been up close to one of them, have you?”

“No, I mean I’ve seen pictures and all, but they always flew overhead or were at a distance.”

Radley nodded that he understood, “Right, that’s how it always is. It’s easy to take them down when they just look like mindless killing machines, but when you see them and see the life and intelligence in their eyes, all that changes. Still… it’ll pass and you’ll see them for what they really are again.”

“Really are? You mean…”

At that moment, the dragon came to life and snapped at them, “Inanimate killing machines? We are living creatures, just like you! We think and we feel things. All we want now is peace!”

Radley ignored the dragon’s words. He turned calmly and gave Kevin a gentle push, “Come on Rookie, let’s get out of here so that the relocation team can get in and do their jobs.”

“All right…”

“You can’t ignore us forever!” The dragon roared. “Someday you will pay for what you’re doing here!”

“We already did,” Radley shot back, “5.5 billion times over.”

Outside, Radley closed his eyes and sucked in a breath of fresh air. For years, the air had been badly polluted from dragon flame and an extreme reduction in plant life. When the war ended, the coalitions put their combined science teams into creating massive air filters that were placed all over the world. They would clean the air until new plant life could take over. Is this what fresh air is like? It doesn’t smell like burnt wood or like something’s being cooked… it’s actually kind of nice.

“Good job in there, Sergeant Zall! For a moment, I thought we’d lost you,” Commander Miles said in a light tone.

“Sorry sir, I just… I was thinking about everything that’s happened since the dragon horde left Earth.”

“You certainly chose an interesting time to become reflective,” The commander chuckled.

“Sorry sir, it won’t happen again.”

“That’s fine. You’ve been at this longer than most, a little backward thinking is normal every now and again. Just try to save it until we’re in a little safer circumstance.”

“Yes, sir.”

Commander miles nodded, “Good. –How about you Kevin, you were all excited about getting to see some action, this everything you thought it’d be?”

Kevin frowned, “No sir…”

“No?” The commander asked, surprised.

“I joined the force to help fight canbans and raiders… I didn’t want to be assigned to the dragon core. This was kind dropped on me by command due to a lack of volunteers.”

Commander Miles nodded, “I understand, it’s not the most appealing work. Sometimes I wonder if the danger is even worth it, but it’s work that needs to be done.”

“Does it?” Kevin asked. “Do we really need to hunt down these dragons? Is it really necessary to force them to live in sectors that are cordoned off from the rest of the world? I’ve heard stories…”

Radley scoffed. His lips twisted into a menacing grimace. He’d heard people talk about dragon rights before and it always got him heated, “Have you forgotten the war that literally just ended ten years ago or how many people they wiped out?”

“No, I haven’t,” Kevin replied sternly. “But those dragons are gone. We built ships for them and they left as quickly as possible. It’s been years since then. These dragons didn’t want to fight anymore and requested amnesty, which we granted them.”

Commander Miles nodded, “Yeah and when the new government came to power, they enacted policies to protect dragons and humans. There’s still a lot of bitterness between dragons and humans, and rightly so. This is as much for the dragons’ good as it is our own.”

“You sure about that?” Kevin asked. “I mean…”

Kevin’s eyes darted between Radley and the other men. He quickly shrank back a little, “I’m sorry sir, never mind.”

“Speak your mind, Rookie,” Commander Miles said. “Tomorrow’s too late.”

“Sir, the dragons have done everything we asked them to right up until they were segregated. It was only after we pretty much banished them to the Mojave Wastelands that they began to try to find roosts elsewhere. I’ve heard of what life is like there; it’s hot, nothing grows, and finding food is difficult.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that… maybe we’re part of the problem?”

“You think humans are part of the problem…?” Radley asked in a state of disbelief. “They came here uninvited, attempted to steal our world and wipe out our entire population. After they lost the war, we did what they asked and built them a ship to get back to their own world. We should never have allowed some of them to stay here, but we put aside our differences and allowed the ones that wanted peace. Now they’re hiding outside the designated area. They should have been a lot more grateful than that!”

“But maybe if we didn’t segregate them and allowed them to interact with humans, this wouldn’t be a problem,” Kevin shot back. “We want peace, yet we continuously take rights away from others, breeding hate and resentment! How does that make us any better than them?”

Radley clenched his teeth as he ripped his helmet off and brushed back his brown hair. His cheeks felt like they were on fire as the hair on the back of his neck bristled. He had to hold himself back from striking Kevin across the face, “Watch it, Rookie! You were only old enough to experience the ass end of the war. Watch a dragon torch a shelter for children and mock them as they burned… then we’ll talk!”

Kevin fell silent and lowered his eyes. Commander Miles stepped between them and spoke with a stern voice, “That’s enough, both of you.”

Radley nodded and stepped back, “Yes, sir… Sorry, sir.”

He flashed Kevin an angry look. It was momentary so that Commander Miles wouldn’t see it, but Kevin clearly got the message. The rookie lowered his eyes and bit down on his lower lip. Neither one of them said anything else.

Commander Miles turned and began to walk back to the other group, “Radley, head back to the carrier. The relocation team should be here any minute. It’s just about time for us to go home. You look like you could use some rest. –Kevin, I want you to wait here and go with the extraction team. This will be good practice for you.”

“Yes, sir.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 1

Book 2

The Pirate Heroes

I

The next two days were spent refitting the Specter for its next journey. Melisande worked hard to make sure that she won the acceptance of the crew. She served the meals promptlyand then helped clean below decks. She made sure to help out anywhere that she could, but made sure that no mug was empty when in the hands of a crewman. The crew appreciated the speed with which the drinks were served and refilled.

One late evening, she listened to two of the crewmen on deck arguing like they did the day she came on board. One she recognized as Melchior, the first mate. The other she had met a few days earlier. She didn’t know his name, but everyone just referred to him as the quartermaster. Judging by the sound of their voices, they weren’t happy.

“Two days it’s been.” Melchior yelled. “Where the hell be the captain!”

The quartermaster shrugged, “Last I hear tell of him, a woman had him tied up on land.”

Melchior rolled his eyes with a chuckle, “Literally or figuratively?”

“I don’t ask questions.” The quartermaster replied, “It be unsightly. That be what I was told and that be all I wanted to hear. This woman he be looking for apparently be something special.”

“She best be an angel.” Melchior replied. “If the captain be wasting all our time on this.”

The quartermaster nodded, “Heard he saved her from a gang a few days ago, he did. Now he be smitten.”

“Poor fool…” Melchior replied.

Melisande’s eyes widened as she listened in. Oh dear God, it can’t be…

**

An hour went by as Melisande tended to her chores. Papi was barely talking to her, still angry by her refusal to return to shore. It weighed heavily on her that the man she knew and loved may never look at her the same. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the boson’s whistle piping all hands on deck.

Melisande quickly dropped what she was doing and ran up on deck with the rest of the crew. She turned to the man closest to her as she watched the gangway, “Gilles, what is going on?”

Gilles, the helmsman, was a short man with no beard and thick black hair. When he turned to face her, it was as though his whole body moved, “Captain be comin’ aboard.”

Melisande’s eyes widened as she watched and waited. Suddenly, across the walkway, she saw a man dressed in a red tunic and black trousers step on to the deck. She could not make out his face as his head was turned, but she was certain that she knew who it was.

Melchior saluted, “Welcome home Captain. Was your business on shore profitable?”

“In some ways,” he responded, “I managed to pump a little information out of one of the innkeepers about a Spanish merchant ship heading this way.”

“Feel free to spare me the details.” Melchior replied. “Be not interested in where ye got the information. I be more interested in the information itself.”

“Aye,” The captain replied. “We’ll discuss this at dinner tonigh. I’ll tell you all about my exploits on land.”

Melchior rolled his eyes, “And ye wonder why I be wearing thin.”

“Ah, but tis a good look, and much healthier my friend.” The captain chuckled as he turned around. “So what do we have here Melchior?”

Melisande sighed when her fears were confirmed, “Oh no…”

“The crew be assembled Captain La Fuente,” Melchior replied. “We weren’t able to find many replacements at this lousy little port, but we got enough to make do.”

Baltazar smiled, “Very good.”

Melisande did the best she could to keep out of sight as Baltazar looked over the group of men that made up his crew. He then stepped off the aft deck and walked the line, looking at each crewman.

Melisande tried to hide her face without seeming obvious. Baltazar stopped in front of Papi. He looked the old cook over for a few moments, “Good to have you back, Mr. Clement. I’ve been greatly missing your morning biscuits.”

Papi smiled and nodded, “I have a fresh batch cooking for you in the galley. You’ll have them before the day is out.”

“Good man.” Baltazar replied as he patted Papi on the shoulder.

Baltazar moved further down the line, inspecting them men. He stopped in front of Melisande and looked down at her face. She kept her eyes narrow to prevent him from seeing her tell tale pupils while mentally saying a prayer that her disguise would fool him.

Baltazar had an odd look on his face as he watched her, “Do I know you from somewhere?”

She shook her head, “I can’t say as your face is unfamiliar to me… sir.”

“You wouldn’t be related to anyone I owe money to, would you?” He asked.

“I wouldn’t think so…” She replied.

“Good.” Baltazar said through a sigh of relief. “Would this be your first voyage, boy?”

Melisande did the best she could to alter her voice, making it sound like that of a boy’s, “Aye sir!”

“What say you then?” He asked in a stern voice. “Are you prepared to serve, life or death, so help you God?”

Melisande nodded, “Aye…”

Baltazar smiled, “Good lad.”

He then turned and headed back to the helm, “Melchior, we sail at 8 bells! Get the ship ready!”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir, everyone to your stations. Move it you dogs!”

The crew scattered across the deck. Each man headed to his station as everything came together. Baltazar watched suspiciously as Melisande disappeared below deck. He stood at the helm and turned to his first mate, “Melchior, what do you know about our new crewman? Where did he come from?”

“No idea, I’m afraid.” He replied. “We saw the boy looking lost on the docks and asked if he be looking for a ship to sign on with. He seemed anxious to sign once he came aboard. What’s more, he actually knows how to read and write.”

Baltazar nodded, “There is something familiar about that boy… keep an eye on him.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir.”

*

Melisande was below deck when she heard 8 bells chime. Baltazar stood at the helm barking out orders, “All watches on deck prepare to make way, shorten and cable. Men to the yards, aloft with you! Hands to the braces, weigh anchor, let fall the sails!”

Melisande nearly fell backwards as the ship lurched forward. She quickly found her feet and continued working. Once she finished setting the captain’s table, she ran up on deck and leaned over the railing. The cool sea breezes passed over her face and the ship began to pick up speed. Within moments, the Specter exited the harbor.

Baltazar turned one point to starboard as they reached open water. He stared out at the horizon and smiled, “Let’s have some fun.”

He used the coordinates that were given to him and navigated toward where this Spanish ship would be. Melisande decided to make herself useful and helped swab the deck as the rest of the crew prepared for action.

She saw Gilles pass by as they were priming the deck cannons, “Hey, any idea where we’re going?”

“Hunting,” Gilles replied with a smile, “we’re going after a Spaniard who will hopefully be carrying riches from the new world.”

A worried look came over Melisande’s face, “What happens to the crew?”

Gilles stopped working and thought for a moment, “Our captain is weird about that, he offers their crews a chance to join us, if they don’t, he sets them free in thier own ship’s longboats.”

“So he doesn’t kill them?” She asked.

“No,” Gilles replied, “not unless he has to.”

Melisande nodded as she finished working and went below. Papi had the captain’s next meal ready to go. He looked up at her as she entered the room, “Have fun on deck?”

Melisande nodded, “What do you know of Captain La Fuente?”

“Good man,” Papi responded, “good pirate. No one knows much about him. He avoids questions about his family and his past, but he’s quick with a joke and enjoys spending time with his crew. He gives each of us our fair share, but the odd thing is that he takes the rest of the plunder and what he doesn’t use to refit his ship, goes to the poor people and the church of whatever city we stop in.”

“Is that so?” She asked, surprised. “So he’s not like the cutthroat pirates that I’ve been reading about.”

Papi laughed, “No, he seems to be a man on a mission, but you would do well to stay away from him. His debaucheries on land are famous.”

“I know,” She replied, “I’ve met him before.”

“What,” Papi asked as a combined look of worry and surprise appeared on his face, “when?”

She lowered her eyes, “A group of ruffians attacked me as I was making my way to the docks. He stopped them.”

Papi stepped forward and took her hand, “Were you hurt?”

“No,” she replied, “he got to them before they laid a hand on me.”

Papi nodded, “He has my thanks, even though I can’t tell him.”

Melisande helped clean off a few dishes as Papi finished preparing the meal, “How long have you served him?”

Papi thought about it for a few minutes, “About five years. I served the captain before him. Captain La Fuente organized a mutiny when he was only 15. He took over command, treated his men better, and I decided to stay on.”

“I see,” she said in a rather disappointed tone, “so a scoundrel, a thief, and a mutineer.”

Papi smiled, “Yes, but an honorable one of each.”

Papi pulled the last plate out and placed it on a tray, “Bring this to the captain’s cabin. He’ll be expecting it.”

Melisande nodded as she took the tray. The boat rocked back and forth and it was difficult for her to keep everything on the tray, but she managed to make it on deck and then to the captain’s cabin. There was a strong wind blowing, but she was determined not to screw things up.

Once Melisande reached the cabin door, she placed the tray down, opened the door, and brought the tray inside. Baltazar was working on some sort of pistol as she set his tray on the nearest table, “What is that, Captain?”

Baltazar looked over at her, “Ah, Cabin Boy Mel, thank you for bringing my food by.”

She nodded as Baltazar held up the pistol so she could examine it. The hammer wasn’t like the pistols she’d seen before. Usually those had a lit match on the end. This one appeared to have a small rock wedged between a vice on the rear hammer. In front of it was a bent lever that fed down into a pan where the gunpowder would go, “I’ve never seen a pistol like this before.”

“Fascinating, isn’t it?” He asked. “We stole a box of ten of them off the last merchant ship we ransacked. The captain said they’re called ‘flintlock’ pistols. Look…”

He pulled the hammer back, pushed the lever into position and pulled the trigger. Yellow sparks flew from the contraption as the lever sprung into its open position. She looked in amazement, “So if I understand this correctly, whatever that stone is, when it strikes the metal, it creates sparks that cause the power to ignite! In other words, it can fire even in bad winds!”

Baltazar nodded, “Very good… how did you know that?”

“I…” She realized too late that she had said too much. “My father was a blacksmith. I understand these types of things.”

Baltazar crossed his legs as he began picking through the food, “Is that so? Tell me about your father, what was he like?”

Melisande shook her head, “No disrespect sir, but my family life is personal, they all died when I was very young. I don’t know much more than that.”

“I’m very sorry,” Baltazar replied, “forgive me.”

She nodded as she saluted, “It’s quite alright sir, but if I may be excused, I have other duties.”

Baltazar nodded, “Okay, you may go.”

Melisande turned to leave as Melchior walked in. She moved quickly to the side avoid bumping into him and saluted, “Excuse me sir.”

He nodded as she passed by, “Mel.”

Baltazar looked up at his first officer, “Melchior, what can I do for you today?

“Sir,” Melchior replied, “we’ve spotted a storm coming in off the port bow. I don’t think we’re going to reach the Spanish merchant tonight.”

“Bad?” Baltazar asked.

Melchior nodded, “It looks like we’re in for a squall.”

Baltazar looked out the window at the dark clouds on the horizon. He closed his eyes as the wind passed over his skin. To Melchior, it almost seemed like he was trying to read what the weather would be like from the sound of the wind.

After a few moments, Baltazar reopened his eyes, “We’ve got a few hours left… order full sail for about 90 minutes. Once it starts getting dark, drop all canvas, batten down all hatches, and go to storm procedures. I want this ship secure, mister.”

Melchior saluted, “Aye Captain, it will be done.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Choosing a Name? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim, 

I was hoping you could help me out. I’m trying to choose a name for my novel, but I can’t seem to figure out a good one. Every one I choose doesn’t really sum up anything about the story or seem to stick. Do you have any advice for choosing a title?

Thanks,
Aubri


Hi Aubri,

I do indeed. The best way I’ve found to choose a title is to choose something that really sticks out in the story. Pick one central focal point and then choose a word that adequately describes that theme. I’ll give you a few examples from my own work…

divinity9

I have to admit, this one was fairly easy for me. The whole book centers around the loss of an angel’s divinity and what effect it has on her and the people around her. Divinity was the obvious choice for the title. So let’s move onto something a little more complicated, shall we?

Drakin-Cover-Poster-Final

The series title: Drakin was a lot more difficult. What am I going to name a post-apocalyptic story about dragons falling from the heavens and waging a war of total annihilation of all of mankind? What do I name something where the focal point of the story is an accidental abomination of both dragon and human origin that had a score to settle with dragonkind?

Dragonheart? Taken.
Dragonrein? Taken.
Reign of Fire? Taken.

To figure out the title, I needed to reread the story. My eyes caught one specific word that was mentioned throughout; ‘Drakin’. In the ancient language of the drakeas (the proper name of the dragon species), drakin is their word for relative. It’s an unspecific term for ‘relative’. The dragons refer to Raiya as such because, while she isn’t a dragon herself, she is related to them in some way.
I came up with the word as a way to say ‘dragon-kin’ in a made up language.

The subtitle was actually easier. The story is about Raiya and her quest for vengeance. However, the Orphans of Haven was slightly more difficult. I started the story with a working title of ‘Qira’s Tears’, but I didn’t care for it very much. So I looked more into the story. Basically, the main mission of the characters is to save the west from restarting the war against the dragons. However, their more focused goal was to keep a special place called ‘Haven’ safe. Haven is a shelter for orphans from the previous war. Not only that, but Qira and Radley are also orphans of the war who wind up living there when they abandon their old lives.
So you could argue that the title may be describing the people that Qira and Radley are trying to protect, or you could interpret it as describing Qira and Radley themselves. I thought it was kind of a moderately clever idea so I went with it.

My only advice is to make it something that will stick out and no more than a few words. Try not to go with anything too basic or your book will get lost among several others.

I hope this helps, but let’s open it up to the readers and see if they have any thoughts or advice. As always, feel free to reach out to me again if you need any further advice!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim