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Cover Art for next fantasy book

The next Aegis of the Gods book is almost ready. There’s something to be said about good covers, and I have worked to try come up with covers that will draw my reader in. I hope my fans appreciate the effort. Covers have always been a drawing point for me, even now when I read primarily on my tablet. When browsing, I always go cover first before I read the blurb and a sample. I just feel the cover is important. Not as important as the contents of the book, as you truly can’t judge a book by it’s cover (sorry, I had to), but a good cover might tell you that the author or publisher cared about what his book looked like to his potential reader.

having said that, here’s some early work on my latest cover.

 

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Notes from the Founders

From the notes of Jenoah Amelie – First of the Exalted

Prelude to War

I must make these notes before the voices call to me again. Of late, I cannot tell which of the essences they are. Is it light or heat? Or gods forbid, the shade? Does the earth beneath my feet speak to me? Is the very air around me whispering in my head? Or the water I drink? Maybe, it is not the essences within the elements of Mater at all. Maybe, it is all my imagination.

What they promise is so overwhelming. Twice, I have almost given in to their call. Is this what the others experienced when the madness took them? I must defend our actions while I am still capable of coherent thought.

Some would argue that the formation of the Pathfinders was a desperate act, that the men and women who make up their ranks are nothing more than murderers. Some would say we think of ourselves as gods for doing as we did. What were we supposed to do? Sit back and watch the world burn? Again? Did not the war between the gods and the Eztezian Guardians destroy enough of the world?

We, all Matii, are appointed with protecting and saving the people of Denestia first. The same mandate the gods gave to the Eztezians when they created them. When we use Mater—the very essences and elements that drive our world—to destroy, we are betraying the sanctity of our forefathers, and blaspheming against Ilumni himself. We realized the fear of insanity and eventual death when wielding Mater is not enough to deter those who crave power. A more definitive action needed to be taken.

The formation of the Tribunal has worked well for a time. However, the volatile change in Mater has brought about a rift with our brother and sisters. We once held all the descendants of the Eztezians who form the Matii we know today: the Ashishin, the Alzari, the Namazzi, the Svenzar, the Skadwaz, the Desorin, the Rendorta, and the Toscali, under our roof. They each had a position and title of honor here from which they could govern.

But they have not agreed with the need for harmony. Thus, they have broken away and ventured off to form their own kingdoms, the majority of them across the sea in Ostania. We fear nothing good will come of this.

Already the separation and those dedicated to individual gods and religions are beginning to show. Wars have been declared. Crusades for one religion or another have sprouted. We, the Ashishin, must a find a way to sever ourselves from this strife.

 

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Fantasy Glossary for Aegis of the Gods

So after resisting for a while and being told by some that they understood most things about my world, I gave in to some who didn’t. I want each reader to grasp the majority of how my world works, and though I’ve worked hard to not info dump and to show my world and how the magic works, some might find certain things hard to grasp. I am partially to blame for this because I do drop quite a bit of the world’s names early in the story and more often than not, the explanation comes in the subsequent chapters. Does every book need a glossary? No. But I have now agreed with some of my readers, that some parts of my world is so involving, and that I use much of that within my world early enough in the book, that a glossary would only help rather than hinder. With no further ado, and thank you again, readers and fans. Here’s the glossary so far for the Aegis of the Gods series. It has been included in the newest edition of the book as of last night.

If there’s something you would like to see added. Please drop a comment. I’ll see what I can do.

GLOSSARY

Alzari – Matii who wield mostly the Forms, strongest in earth essences and metal. Ancestors of the Setian.

Amuni – One of the gods of Streams, specifically, shade. Brother of Ilumni.

Ashishin – Matii who serve the Tribunal and often represent the god Ilumni and the Streams, specifically light and heat. Most of the Granadian peoples are descendants of the Ashishin. They often bear the title of Shin or High Shin.

Astoca – A kingdom within south central Ostania. Their people, the Astocans, are cousins to the Cardians. (See Namazzi)

Bana – A kingdom in eastern Ostania. Their people are the Banai and worship Humelen and the Forms.

Bastions of Light – Towers along the Vallum of Light and located at strategic points within Granadia that can be used to send warning of an impending attack to the Tribunal.

Cardia – A kingdom far south in Ostania. Their people, the Cardians, are related to the Astocans. (See Namazzi)

construct – A sentient entity created from essences.

Dagodin – A Matus who cannot Forge but can wield items imbued with Mater called divya.

Darkwraith – A type of shadeling created by merging the sela essences, spirit, and shade of a Matus.

dartan – A massive beast of burden, bigger than any horse. It has 6 legs, hardened skin, and a shell into which it can withdraw its legs. It also has a long snake-like neck and is a meat eater. Originally created during the Luminance Wars.

Deathbringer – A type of Matii used by the Felani and others, said to be already crazed Matii. Only the Felani know how they’re controlled.

Denestia – The world where this story takes place, said to have been the crowning achievement of the god Ilumni who defeated his brother Amuni for its possession.

Devout – A priest who serves Ilumni and goes on pilgrimages to do the Tribunal’s bidding, often preaching the word of Streamean worship and its virtues.

divya – An item imbued with Mater.

Dosteri – A race originating in Everland who later inhabited Granadia.

Elements of Mater – The completed essences that make up the Flows, the Forms, and the Streams. (See Mater)

Erastonia – A kingdom in Everland.

Erastonian – Powerful warriors from Everland, specifically from a place called Erastonia. They possess some of the strongest Matii within the known world. Their main task is defending the Great Divide and killing any shadelings that happen to escape from the prisons contained with the Divide.

Essences – The individual strands of power that make up the elements of Mater.

Everland – The northernmost continent in Denestia.

Exalted – Mythical leaders of the Tribunal.

Eztezian – The Eztezians were the descendants of the gods. Great warriors and the most powerful Matii to grace Denestia. They were tasked with protecting Denestia from the shade and from itself. Driven mad by their overuse of Mater however, they almost destroyed the world. They created the Great Divide, which brought about the shade’s defeat. Then they turned on the gods, sealing them in the Nether to prevent future wars and the creation of more creatures like the shadelings.

Felan – A kingdom is western Ostania. Their people are known as the Felani.

Flowic – The religions named after the elements of Flows and its gods.

Flows – The combination of two essences—primarily water and air that make up liquids known as the Flows. There are other variations that involve other essences. E.g Water and cold to form ice. Heat, air, and something flammable to create fire.

Forger – A Matus who can Forge essences of Mater

Forging – See Materforging

Formist – The religion named after the elements of Forms and its gods.

Forms – The combination of three essences—earth, metal, and wood, that make up solids known as the Forms. There are other variations of solids that can be enhanced by using other essences, as well as other essences not in this umbrella that can be used to form solids. (See example in Streams.)

Gerde – Stoneform beasts with eight-legs that bear similarities to crabs, but were the size of ponies.

Granadia – The Western continent of Denestia. Have been at conflict with most of Ostania for millenia.

Harna – A kingdom in northern Ostania. Followers of Formist religion. Descendants of the Sven.

Humelen – One of the Gods of Forms, specifically earth.

Hydae – A world formed by Amuni when he lost to his brother Ilumni.

Ilumni – One of the gods of Streams, specifically, light. Brother of Amuni.

Imbuer – A Matus who can imbue properties of essences into an item to create divya.

kinai – A special plant that draws on essences, used in many healing formulas and potent drinks. Said to enhance the user’s strength, stamina, and agility.

Luminance War – An ancient war when shadelings escaped the Great Divide and swept across Ostania.

Mater – Mater is the core elemental power which exists within everything. It makes up the three elements the gods represent and their individual essences. Mater drives all worlds. The three elements are the solids of the Forms, the liquids of the Flows, and the energy of the Streams. Those are further broken down into separate essences. For instance, earth, wood and metal are a part of the Forms. Heat, cold, light and shade are a part of the Streams. Water and air are a part of the Flows. Finally, there’s sela essence, a combination of life and death which sits outside the three elements and is required for anything to live or die. (See Streams, Flows, Forms.)

Materialize – Ability to Forge a portal between two places for travel.

Materforging – The act of wielding the essences or elements of Mater.

Matersense – The ability to open up one’s mind to be able to sense or see nearby essences within the elements of Mater.

Matus – One who can sense Mater (Plural – Matii) Not every Matus can manipulate or Forge Mater. What essence a Matus is strongest in is often determined by bloodline. However, one can train to become adept in other essences. It is difficult and takes powerful Matii to wield essences from two separate elements simultaneously. It is considered to only be an ability of the netherlings or gods to wield all essences within all three elements at the same time.

Mystera – Schools built throughout Granadia for the purpose of teaching and recruiting Matii.

Namazzi – Matii who wield mostly the Flows, ancestors of the Cardians and Astocans.

Netherling – Primordial beings from the Nether, said to have been the ones to bestow their power on the Eztezians in order to save the world. This act was part of their revenge against the gods for their experiments.

Ostania – The Eastern continent of Denestia. Have been at conflict with most of Ostania for millenia.

Pathfinder – Powerful Matii, trained by the Tribunal, who have passed the ultimate tests of control over their emotions, which ensure they will not succumb to the temptations of the power the essences promise. They are used to hunt Matii who break the laws governing the use of Forging or those who go insane. They often accompany Ashishin to protect the Ashishin from attackers and from themselves.

Raijin – An elite assassin corps within the Tribunal.

Sanctums of Shelter – Similar to the Bastions of Light but more powerful and arrayed along the mountains in Northern Granadia to protect from any direct incursion by the shade through the Great Divide.

Scorpio – A massive crossbow–type weapon that fires large metal projectiles.

Senjin – A sport played with a leather ball, featuring 14 combatants, 7 per side, on a field spilt into 6 parts, with two halves. The team to score three times first, wins.

Seti – A kingdom in north western Ostania. Their people the Setian are descendants of the Alzari. (See Alzari)

Shadelings – Creatures created in the God Wars, primarily by the god Amuni, and his followers by experimenting with netherlings and the essence of shade. The effects of the couplings can be seen within some of the strange beasts within Denestia.

Shin – The respectful title given to Ashishin Matii.

Shunyata – A place within each person where they can separate and control their emotions. Also the place where sela essence is stored within any living being. Also known as the Eye.

Streamean – The religion named after the elements of Streams and its gods.

Streams – The combination of four essences—light, heat, cold, and shade that make up energy. The energy can be used in the forming of the other elements e.g cold is needed to form ice which is part of the Forms and part of the Flows.

Sven – The earth elemental peoples that inhabit the Nevermore Mountains in north eastern Ostania. Descendants of the Svenzar.

Svenzar – Form elementals that reside in mountainous areas. Their power resides in earth, metal, and wood.

The Aegis – Said to be a power or a person who would help either protect the gods or defend against their resurgence.

The Chronicles – Said to be sacred tomes written by the Eztezians themselves and their descendants, dictating the past and the future of the world.

The Disciplines – A set of rules and pointers on how to govern and lead soldiers.

The Eye – See Shunyata.

The Great Divide – A massive rift in the land created by the Eztezians to defeat the shadelings. It runs from north to south across central Everland, and is guarded by the Erastonians.

The Iluminus – Named after the god Ilumni, it is the central city, learning hub and home of the Tribunal and its Matii.

The Nether – A realm between the worlds thought to be the origination of Mater, the gods, and netherlings.

The Stone – The great hidden city where the Svenzar and Sven live in northern Ostania.

The Unvanquished – Stefan Dorn’s elite troops in Ostania.

Travelshaft – Tunnels developed by the Svenzar using the Forms, where time is slowed and speed increased to allow travel between large distances in a small amount of time. Said to somehow be constructed between the Planes of Existence.

Tribunal – The founding society of Ashishin among the Matii. They determined what was needed for the Matii as a whole to function in their proper roles as protectors and mediators. Eventually, the different Matii split apart due to conflicts in ideals, philosophies and religions. The Tribunal rules in Granadia. They left Ostania where most of the other Matii fled, to fend for themselves.

Vallum of Light – A massive wall imbued with Mater and erected by Eztezians within the Tribunal to separate Ostania from Granadia.

Warping – A Forging by powerful Matii, using the sela essences of something recently killed, to twist the essences in a specific area, thus rendering them unusable for a period of time.

Wraithwolf – A type of shadeling using a combination of wolf or other canine type beast, as well as the sela of a person, and essences of shade.

Zar – The respectful title given to Alzari Matii.

 

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Epic Fantasy – The Shadowbearer – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Several hours later, after Mensa and the Zar Selentis left to return to the capital, Stefan sat at the table in his pavilion. Two candles in glass holders occupied the table’s center, their perfumed scent overriding the odor of sweaty men. Illuminated by flickering light, the map before him displayed his forces. He removed the pins representing the Alzari Matii. By now, they were well on their way back to Benez under Mensa’s command. Men were going to die because of the King’s order. A great many. In the days to come, the first to perish would mainly be Astocans. Some might say their deaths weren’t much of a loss. Eventually, his own men would number among the dead. A sense of helplessness crowded over him, and he sighed. Yet, he harbored no regrets for his announcement. Somehow, some way, he needed to stay true to his word.

“So what now?” Kasimir asked.

“We do as we have always done … save as many of the enemy as we can,” Stefan said.

Garrick grumbled a protest under his breath.

“I know how you feel about them, Garrick.” Stefan recalled the sight of Garrick’s mangled body and face after his torture by the Astocans. “But this was the one thing King Nerian, myself, and the High Council agreed upon: We would be different from other conquerors and choose to save most of those we defeated, give their people choices. This way, the common folk won’t think of us as tyrants—a lesson history taught us.”

“Use force as necessary for victory and compassion when the battle is won,” Kasimir said. A quote from Henden’s The Disciplines of Soldiering.

“Exactly.”

“I understand.” Garrick let out a resigned breath. “I still don’t like it.”

“What I don’t get,” Kasimir shifted in his seat and peered at the map, “is why the King ordered us to kill them all and now has withdrawn our Alzari menders.”

Stefan nodded. “Yes, I wondered the same myself. I can’t remember Nerian changing plans without conferring with me in person. So why now? I swear … I feel as if something is amiss back home. I don’t trust Mensa. Any man who is so quick to do anything without questioning motives often has his own plans.”

“You think he had a hand in this?” Garrick scowled.

“Not likely,” Stefan said. “The man barely knows the ass end of a horse. Someone else may be using him, or he’s smarter than any of us suspects. Anyway, unless I speak to Nerian himself, I’m not changing how we do things. We’ll mend as many Astocans as we can.”

“How are you going to accomplish that without our Alzari?” Kasimir leaned back in his chair, armor creaking as he did so.

Read more of Chapter 2

 

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Epic Fantasy – The Shadowbearer has a cover.

Here is the cover for my latest book.

Image

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Announcements, Epublishing

 

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EBook Reviews, the Author, And you

What makes an author get all warm inside? A good review. Today, I received my first review from one of the bloggers I sent my books out to. When I read Jackie Miller’s review at http://mytowerofbooks.blogspot.com, A smile spread across my face. so much so that my daughter asked “Daddy, are you happy?”

It’s the reviewer, the reader that’s most important to me. You let me know that I created a world you enjoyed, characters you felt, plots that kept you reading. Dialogue that was engaging. I want to keep taking my work to the next level, honing this craft so my readers can lose themselves in the worlds and characters I create, knowing that when they see my name, they can live another life simply by opening the pages of my books and reading.

That is a goal well worth the effort.

In this digital age, there’s nothing so important as the review to the author. Now, I’ll say that applies in general. As an author there’s no greater feeling than knowing a reader enjoyed your book and reviewed it, expressing that pleasure.

That has become even more important with ebooks. There’s no storefront to walk in to. There’s the ebook, the internet and the reader. There are a ton of things to do to increase visibility. Social media rules in that aspect. But what about getting readers to actually read your work?

The first answer would be to write a compelling story and write it well. So now we’re past that part. You have this great book. However, you’re part of the great unknown. You contact bloggers, forums, website owners, other authors and whoever else you need to. You do giveaways.

Your main goal? To get those reviews.The review is often the tipping point to purchasing. Your sales in the long run will be directly affected by those reviews. So will all your future work. Your name is your brand. Write a good book, get good reviews and you will be well on your way.

That’s what your average reader looks at. Whether it be Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes&Noble.  They can be elusive and it takes great patience to shop your work around and then wait for the reviews but if you wrote a good book, it’s well worth it.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Announcements, Epublishing, Personal, Reviews, Writing

 

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Epic Fantasy Novel, Etchings of Power released.

What a journey.

So, I sit here numb. Why? Well, today my book officially published.

I actually clicked the publish button yesterday and wasn’t sure how I felt then.  Well now I can say I’m so elated that I’m numb. Someone pinch me, please.

This started in 2001, when I was working at Verizon. My best friend Hughey and I always got together and talked about the books we read. We both felt there were so many great authors out there, but for some reason, we couldn’t always find the books that moved us the most. You see, we love magic, action, wars. And while we love characters also, those three things are what appeal to us the most. It’s why we loved Jordan, Sanderson, Butcher, Lumley just to mention a few. So my journey began.

After years from when I was in primary school in Barbados to high school here, people told me I had a knack for writing. English Lit and Lang were my best subjects. Along with History, I enjoyed those immensely. Then there was my love for wild life. Couple that with my love for fantasy fiction, this route seemed the most plausible.

I started building my world, and I started writing short pieces. Then I began to seriously look at what I needed to do if indeed I wanted this as a serious future, to be published in any form. I rented and bought books on writing, from Elements of Style to How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, to everything inbetween, constantly learning the craft. I joined groups online. This eventually led me to the Speculative Collective Group here in NYC. A group of wonderful writers and aspiring novelists, who work in many different fields. And I learned.

Critique after critique, some more brutal than others, I learned. I still remember the first meeting when my work got beat up. But I took that in stride and knew what I needed to do to get better. So I worked on those nuances, and I’m still working on them. From there came a process of refining and rewriting even while my life tended at times to be a mess around me. But in those dark days, I found a love, a passion. This, writing. Creating worlds and peoples and characters wrapped up in their own trials and tribulations and watching as they lived their lives. It’s such a great joy that I cannot begin to describe.

So here it is, Book 1 of Aegis of the Gods, Etchings of Power. I hope you enjoy. And i hope I can make the next one even better.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Announcements

 

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