"Why isn't this Elder Empire?"
--My friend Ian
"My favorite part was when Lindon bonded with Sophara, finally allowing him to undertake the Path of the Double Dragon."
"Still not enough fighting."
"The tournament does not get interrupted by the Dreadgods."
"This book would have been more fun if it were part of an elaborate simulation game."
"Why isn't the next one out yet?"
--You on September 27th
"I was initially skeptical about the introduction of sexy vampires, but the supernatural love triangle really sold me."
--You on September 26th
"Why don't you just skip to the bloopers? In fact, don't write anything but bloopers."
angry bell noises
Did you guys not know that I put out my pumpkins, skeletons, and cobwebs on September 27th? I call it "Scary Day."
I can see now how it might have been misleading to suggest that the book will be released before Halloween, but to be fair, this is before Halloween.
The Uncrowned pre-order is now live and with it the official release date, so go and pre-order! ...if you want to!
Otherwise, follow this and my other sites as the pre-order period unfolds and we gradually release news and content in celebration!
Emriss Silentborn, Memory of the World.
Tiberian Arelius, the fallen Patriarch.
Akura Malice, Queen of Shadows.
Seshethkunaaz, King of Dragons.
Reigan Shen, Emperor of Lions.
Luminous Queen Sha Miara.
The Eight-Man Empire.
The Monarchs, the most powerful sacred artists on Cradle, rule with unquestioned authority. They are mysterious and distant, and catching a glimpse of one is privilege enough for a lifetime.
Now, they have all gathered in one place, bringing their heirs and greatest students together for a competition to determine whose successor is the best in the world:
The Uncrowned King tournament.
Here, for the first time, I reveal to you the cover of Cradle 7: Uncrowned. Take a moment, scroll down, and bask in its glory. Bask, I say!
Once you're done basking, scroll back up, because I have news.
This coming Thursday, September 5th, the Uncrowned ebook will be available for pre-order! (We're hoping to have the audio version releasing at the same time as the ebook, but audio pre-orders are weird, so it won't go up for pre-order at the same time.)
To celebrate this launch and of course DragonCon (which is where I currently am, by the way), there's a sale for 10% off all Cradle merchandise now through September 7th! Grab that Orthos T-shirt you didn't know you needed in your life!
Is that enough? No, it isn't. So Cradle: Foundation will also be going on sale for free tonight for five days! Let the sky rain Cradle!
...and you'll notice that there's one key piece of information left out of this blog: how long is the pre-order? When will the book actually be released!
Good question! Find out soon!
It's been a while since you've heard from me on this blog.
Do you know why? You know why. It's only ever for one reason: because I'm writing.
But now the writing has ended. The time is nigh. The countdown has begun.
And no one knows about the secret machinations that have eaten up my time for the past several weeks in addition to my normal writing frenzy.
Now that the frenzy has ended, prepare for a slew of announcements from me over the next few weeks. The first of which is this: I just arrived at DragonCon in Atlanta!
For those of you at the convention who would like to meet me and complain in person about the inadequacy of my storytelling, I'm having a fan meetup on Saturday afternoon!
When: 5:00-6:30 PM on Saturday, August 31st.
Where: The courtyard of the Hyatt Place (which is not the main convention Hyatt; it's a smaller hotel about two hundred yards down the road). This one. If it's raining or way too hot we might meet in the cafe just inside the doors, but you won't miss us.
What: Typically this is an informal meet-and-greet thing where we just meet up and talk about the books. Last year we had about a dozen people, so it's not a big thing. Just chilling and talking and meeting you guys.
Who: Me and anyone who cares to show up.
Why: Because conversation with me is a non-stop thrill ride.
If you're at DragonCon, I hope to see you there!
If you're not at DragonCon, then brace yourself, because I will have news coming soon. Perhaps even very soon.
Though I've spent much of my time working on Of Kings and Killers, I know (from the 8,761 emails and messages and comments I've gotten on the subject) that what you guys are really waiting on is Uncrowned.
So, since Uncrowned didn't come out yesterday (as I jokingly suggested it would in my April Fool's post), when is it coming out?
Before skeletons dance
Before pumpkins swallow candle-lights
Before bats hang from rafters and cobwebs paint the corners
Uncrowned will haunt you first
See if you can crack that master-level riddle, Batman!
A devious person might suggest that, to make any comment such as this, I must have already written some percentage of Uncrowned as well as Of Kings and Killers. Well, indeed I have written a measure of both.
Here's one line (out of context) from Cradle 7, Uncrowned:
All right, how about a second line that is actually included in Uncrowned. Get ready to have your minds blown that I would include such an original line:
Over the past week or two, we've snuck a few new Cradle designs onto our merch store.
Check them out (click Read More for the rest):
Over the last weekend, I had the privilege of joining approximately fifteen other independent authors at the home of Michael and Robin Sullivan, where we did nothing but discuss business for days on end and definitely did not throw knives at anything or anyone.
As you probably know, I spend most of my time either writing or curled up in my carapace, so it's unusual that I ever exchange words with others and see the sun at the same time. But I really had a blast; it was awesome to meet up with a cabal of these fellow independent writers and find out that they're all such great people. It's a rare treat to be able to talk with my peers and exchange notes on books we're reading, marketing strategies, and the current location of the secret Story Idea Shop where we buy all our ideas.
Who was there? That's a great question--allow me to provide you with a list of the other authors in attendance, some of whom you may have read before, and others I'm sure you're about to go read right now:
Michael Miller - Battle Spire, the Dragon's Blade trilogy, and Portal Books
Miranda Honfleur - Blade and Rose and Dark-Elves of Nightbloom
Davis Ashura - The Castes and the OutCastes and The Chronicles of William Wilde
Dyrk Ashton - Paternus: Rise of Gods and also your dreams.
Luke Chmilenko - Ascend Online and A Mark of Kings (with some other guy)
Bryce O'Connor - The Wings of War and A Mark of Kings (with some other guy)
Alec Hutson - The Crimson Queen and its sequel
Phil Tucker - Godsblood, The Chronicles of the Black Gate, Euphoria Online
K.S. Villoso - The Agartes Epilogues, Annals of the Bitch Queen
Quenby Olson - First Position, The Firstborn, The Bride Price, and many others.
J.C. Kang - The Dragon Songs Saga, Scions of the Black Lotus
A.C. Cobble - Benjamin Ashwood, The Cartographer
Andy Peloquin - Defenders of Legend, Hero of Darkness, Heirs of Destiny (these include a bunch of books, seriously this guy has like a million books out, he is a monster who must be stopped.)
T.L. Greylock - The Song of the Ash Tree (Books 1-3)
Now go read.
P.S. Thanks to Ethan Roscoe on Facebook for the puntheon.
EDIT: This post was written in the future tense, but it is already July 4th!
Check out the FREE books here on my Amazon page! Enjoy!
This coming Thursday, July 4th, will be Independence Day here in the United States, and we're celebrating Freedom Day this year with free books!
All of my individual ebooks will be free on July 4th. All of them.
So if there's anyone you'd like to hurl a book at, force them to visit Amazon on July 4th from 12:01 AM (Amazon time, which means Pacific) all the way to 11:59 PM. Instead of fireworks and barbecue and time with friends, celebrate with time alone reading ebooks! What fun!
The audiobooks and paperbacks won't be free (sorry--I don't control audio pricing and paperbacks actually cost something to print), but all the ebooks will be!
The ONLY titles on my page that won't be free on July 4th will be Cradle Foundation and The Traveler's Gate Trilogy Collection. Because those are collections, and the individual books contained within them will be free. So just...get the books separately if you don't already have them. They're free.
If there's a book of mine you don't own for whatever ludicrous, unbelievable reason, now's* the time to pick it up for absolutely nothing and join the bookstravaganza. The Bookening. Bookmageddon.
*(Actually not now, unless you're reading this on Thursday, July 4th, 2019, in which case yes now.)
Since I'm vanishing again this week to write Elder Empire, I thought I'd leave you guys with the answer to a question I get asked all the time: how do I come up with names?
Now, in the interest of writing a streamlined blog post, I have boiled down my process of coming up with names into an arbitrary number of steps so that it sounds easier than it really is!
Step 1.) What are you naming?
This is more important than it sounds. When you're trying to name something, you have to know not only what it literally is (a country, a character, a famous goblet) but also what its role is in your story.
When I named King Zakareth, one of the primary antagonists from the Traveler's Gate trilogy, I started off with two pieces of information: he's the king, he's not a good guy, and my characters start off thinking of him as this tyrannical dark lord.
That immediately starts me thinking in the right direction. I'm not thinking of names like "Chad" or "Thimble" or "Hyberian Thimblewinter" because those don't sound like names for an evil king.
Which brings me to the second step, which is...
Step 2.) Make up a bunch of names.
Just brainstorm. Using the guidance from Step 1, come up with a BUNCH of names. I use baby books, random name generators, darts thrown at boards, movie credits, consulting space oracles, any methods I can think of to come up with a bunch of names.
Then I start whittling down the names to my favorites. This can take hours.
I keep a running list on my phone, and whenever I run into or think of a cool-sounding name, I write it down. It gives me material when I hit this point again...but there's never enough on the list. Never enough.
I spend a lot of time on this section. After you've populated such a list and narrowed it down to your favorites, you pick one and move on to Step 3.
Step 3.) Does it sound cool?
I was tempted to put "Is it appropriate to the setting?" here, because it's more important, but you can make a cool-sounding name setting appropriate. It's harder to take a setting-appropriate name and make it sound cool after the fact.
This part is of course subjective, but it's still important. How does the name sound to you? A lot of times people get hung up on trying to find the perfect name for your character or your favorite magic sword, but at this point it's really more about sounding neat.
This is also why step one is first: more important people, places, and things need cooler-sounding names. If a country is only going to be mentioned once as "the exotic land to the north ruled by sentient flies," you can just come up with a name off the top of your head. Zenethar. It's Zenethar now.
If it's the country your characters live in, it bears a bit more thought.
But it's also not just how it sounds to you, but also how it sounds to other people. Get your beta readers to tell you what they think of the names. If some names stand out as being not cool enough or too cool (your bartender's name doesn't need to be Arondolio the Magnificent), just change them.
Step 4.) Is it appropriate to the setting?
This is very important, but it comes fourth because I usually do it fourth. If you think your character is a Senator who should have an ordinary name, you might think of something like "Steve." But that doesn't fit your sci-fi setting, so maybe "Sheev" instead (do it).
Steps 2 and 3 are where I play around with names the most, trying out variations. Since most of the Territories are named after mythological afterlives, I had the world's hardest time coming up with Valinhall's name.
Seriously, it was a huge pain. But the breakthrough came when I thought of Valhalla (that took longer than you might imagine) and then played around with variations of the name until I came up with "Valinhall."
That's a combination of Step 3 (looking for something that sounds cool) and Step 4 (making sure it's appropriate to your setting...and in this case, the setting was a world in which these magical dimensions are named after mythical locations).
Step 5.) Avoid overlap.
What else have you named? If you've got a main character named Simon, you probably don't want another major character named Saman. Or Sian. Or Sonim.
You want to make sure that your most important names sound AND look as different from one another as possible. You have to consider both how the names sound when spoken out loud and how they look on the page.
If one of your characters is named Simon and the other is named Lymann, you're never going to confuse that on the page, but you might out loud. Alternatively, Simon and Síman might be pronounced very differently, but they look almost exactly the same.
But the main mistake people make is naming too many characters with the same first letter. Harry, Herbert, Helen, Humpty, and Huxtable are very different character names that you're not going to confuse, but it gets real mixed up when they're all sharing a scene.
So anyway, that's how I do it. It's more of an art than a science, and I spend way too long on it during each book.
One final tip: your reader makes the name work in their head. They will come to associate the qualities of the character with the name over time, even if the name doesn't suggest those qualities at the beginning.
For example, "Palpatine" is not an especially evil-sounding or intimidating name.
Of Killers and Kings Progress:
"Where's the Emperor?" Estyr Six asked.
these books are really complicated guys
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