The Last Whisper of the Gods
According to legend, there was once a time when wizards walked the lands of Ayberia. With powers so mighty that even kings bowed to them, they existed outside the common laws of men. But a thousand years ago, the gods, angry at their creations for giving adulation and worship to wizards, withdrew magic from the world. The wonders of a lost age faded from memory with history giving birth to myths and children's stories...Continue reading...
This is a time of transition. As the three volumes comprising The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga fade in the rearview mirror, I have turned my attention to new stories, new worlds, and new characters. After having spent so long with Sorial, Alicia, Azarak, and Myselene, it isn’t an easy transition, no matter how much I like my new creations: Janelle, Samell, Backus, and the others.
I learned a lot during the writing and publication of The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga - things I hope to put into use when I start publishing The Elusive Strain Chronicles. One thing, for example, is that if I decide to publish the books in paperback format, to do it at the same time as the e-book versions. That was a mistake I made with The Last Whisper of the Gods. Originally, I had intended to wait a year after the e-book publication to release the paperback. However, 11 months later, sales have cratered and there’s no business case.
Second, rushing a book to meet a self-imposed deadline is a bad idea. Lingering Haze (Book One of The Elusive Strain Chronicles) has not been an “easy write.” The primary reason is that, for the first time, I’m writing something from the first person perspective. It took me a while to find my voice (or should I say, “Janelle’s voice”) and that means sections of the first half of the book are going to need rewriting. To accommodate that, I have pushed back the projected publication date of Lingering Haze to February 2017. After that, the books will arrive at nine-month intervals. I would rather slow down the pace than sacrifice quality. The story I have in mind is more ambitious on a number of levels than The Last Whisper of the Gods.
Before I leave behind my first series, however, I want to give it one last promotional push - a chance for those who, for whatever reason, have thus far ignored it to be incentivized to give it a shot. So, for the first anniversary, I’m going to put the whole thing on sale. The trilogy will be available for $2.98. Book One (The Last Whisper of the Gods) will be free. Book Two (The Curse in the Gift) will be $0.99. Book Three (Shadow of the Otherverse) will be $1.99. The fourth book, Stories from Ayberia, will also be free (mainly because I really like the sequel short story and want people to read it without worrying about buying a bunch of other stuff they’re not interested in). This will be a three-day-and-done sale. After that, I have no plans to put this on sale again in the near future. In fact, all my efforts will turn to the new books (although The Last Whisper of the Gods and its sequels will continue to be available, obviously). The exact sales dates are in flux but I’m targeting mid-November, depending on which dates work best for my promotional partners.
Addressing common complaints… The “annoying” pop-ups may return to advertise the sale, but they’ll only be up for the three days when it runs. They will then not return until Lingering Haze is available for pre-sale. As for book content, the new series will be tamer than The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga in a few areas - it’s a switch from “R” rated material to “PG-13”. No sex (at least not of the explicit nature - there will be some romance - even Casablanca has kissing). No swearing. No graphic violence, although death remains a constant companion for the characters. I pay attention to complaints in the amazon.com reviews and, although there’s nothing I can do about the books that are already out there, I have taken these things to heart for future works.
After this post, I will begin providing updates on Lingering Haze. One of my pet peeves with authors I follow is that a lot of them don’t like communicating about progress to their readership and this leads to frustration. I understand that things happen and delays occur. All writers encounter rough patches and real life frequently interferes. My policy is to talk about these bumps in the road. I can’t help but wonder if George R.R. Martin was more transparent whether his readers would be more forgiving.
At any rate, the first draft of Lingering Haze is 2/3 finished. That’s about 67,000 words out of a projected 100,000. It may end up running a little longer but I won’t know for sure until I’m done. I expect to finish the first draft around Thanksgiving (U.S. - that’s late November) then do revisions and re-writes through December and into January (keeping in mind that the flood of end-of-the-year movie releases will relax by mid-December, giving me more time to write). The finished text should be done by January 31. It will then be submitted for publication, a process that takes a few weeks. My current expectation is to make it available in both e-book format and paperback at the same time. Watch this space for more updates.
Readers become attached to characters. We gasp in horror when our favorites are killed. We smile and cheer when they're happy. We commiserate when things aren't going right. For authors, however, it's more extreme. The writer becomes attached to his or her characters more intensely than a reader ever will. The world in which the book takes place - whether it's a realistic facimile of a modern-day vista, a futuristic vision of a space-faring age, or a quasi-midieval magical society - lives within the mind of an author. Maybe we're all a little mad because we tend to view our creations as vital, evolving individuals, not merely constructs. We think about them. We develop background details that never make it to print. And, in terms of passing time in a real-world sense, it takes us about 20 times as long to write a page as it does to read it. So if a reader spends a few good nights getting to know a character and his world, the writer probably spent anywhere from a half-year to a full year in the same environment.
The Last Whisper of the Gods is a trilogy. There's no getting around it. It has a beginning (The Last Whisper of the Gods), a middle (The Curse in the Gift) and an end (The Shadow of the Otherverse). It was always planned that way. So what to make of the fourth volume, Stories from Ayberia? Is it a cynical "money-grab", an attempt to milk a few sales from an established series? Ah, were that it was so easy or that I had put so little time into its writing. In fact, I spent about four months compiling the book - cleaning up the "deleted scenes", rewriting the prequel stories, and (most importantly) writing the all-new sequel novella, "The Prelate's Legacy." I don't expect this book to sell many copies (100 would make me happy). This was done not for love of lucre but for love of the characters and their world. You can call it self-indulgent but I believe some of my best writing can be found in this volume.
When I finished Shadow of the Otherverse, I wasn't quite ready to let Ayberia go. It had been a part of my life since 2007, when I first started tinkering with an outline that became The Last Whisper of the Gods. That's eight years of my life - a journey that began before I had any children and ended with a five-year old reading words on the screen as I typed them. (Makes you very careful what you write when there's a youngster in the room.) I knew then that I wanted to write something else in this world. Once I made that decision, the time period wasn't difficult to identify - I wanted to re-introduce the survivors of Shadow of the Otherverse at a slightly older point in their lives. Thus was born "The Prelate's Legacy."
This novella, with a paperback length of about 80 pages, is designed to be read in one or two sittings. There are a few noticeable differences from the trilogy that spawned it: it's driven more by characters than plot and (proving that I listen to my critics) it features no sex scenes and little or no profanity. If The Last Whisper of the Gods was rated "R", this one's "PG-13." This was an intentional artistic decision; "The Prelate's Legacy" forms a bridge of sorts between The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga and my new series, The Elusive Strain, which is epic fantasy with a YA flavor. If the "safe age" for The Last Whisper of the Gods is 15 or 16, it lowers to about 11 or 12 for The Elusive Strain.
I don't foresee a time when I'll return to Ayberia although, as they say, "Never say never." Once I finished writing "The Prelate's Legacy," I felt like I could move on. I got a chance to say a proper goodbye to Myselene, Rexall, Sorial, and Alicia, while saying hello to an important representative of the next generation. I had an opportunity to delve into the truth underlying the "official history" as presented in the epilogue of Shadow of the Otherverse. The experience was cathartic and allowed me to shift properly to my next project. I'm now as immersed in this new world as I once was in Abyeria. Characters like Janelle and Esme and Samell have as much meaning to me as Sorial, Alicia, and Azarak did when I started writing their adventures. New worlds, new stories, new energy.
It's nice to think that, if I wanted, I could go back to Ayberia. The epilogue is replete with opportunities to tell tales of a society whose "magic" transitions from elemental to technological. As for Sorial... I have an idea. But I'll let that percolate for a while as I tell another story. Hopefully, those who have read and enjoyed The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga will give The Elusive Strain a try when it debuts in November (the first book will be called Lingering Haze). Until then, thanks for sticking with me for my four volume trilogy (and enduring the 15-second popups).
How can a trilogy have four books? An interesting question.
The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga is a trilogy. The three books - The Last Whisper of the Gods, The Curse in the Gift, and Shadow of the Otherverse - form the entire story: beginning, middle, and end. Those who have read all three can testify that the story concludes. Nevertheless, there will be a fourth book.
The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga: Stories from Ayberia is not "mandatory" reading for those who have explored the trilogy. It's a supplemental volume. It offers new material but it's meant to enhance the experience of reading the other books, not drag them out. So consider this book to be for fans only. What does it contain? There are three sections: deleted scenes, prequel short stories, and a sequel novel.
There will be six short "deleted scenes" - self-contained sections of chapters that didn't make it into the published novel for one reason or another (usually because cutting them improved the pacing). It was fun to go through and resurrect some of these scenes. Although none of them would improve the saga if re-incorporated into their original volume, they represent opportunities to revisit some old friends.
For quite some time, this website hosted eight short story prequels that were intended to introduce interested readers to the world and some of the characters of The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga. Those have since been taken down. I'm now in the process of revising them. Some will be longer, some will be about the same. But they'll all be collected in one place in a more polished format. They are: "The Priest" (about the priest Valdemar, who wandered into the stable in Chapter One of The Last Whisper of the Gods), "The Virgin" (Ponari, a.k.a. "Mrs. Warburm"), "The Knave" (Justin), "The Warrior" (Vagrum), "The King's Man" (Langashin the torturer), "The Serving Wench" (Annie), "The Iron King" (Rangarak), and "The Spymaster" (Gorton). These can be read prior to The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga to provide background and color. They can be read afterward to expand the backstories of some of the characters who have played a part in the tale. They are relatively spoiler-free.
For those craving something new, there's "The Prelate's Legacy", a 70-page novella sequel. Transpiring 15 years after the last chapter of Shadow of the Otherverse, it expands on an event mentioned in passing during the epilogue. The novella features some new characters and old favorites. This is not spoiler-free. It openly references the end of the trilogy and therefore is best read afterward (although it is, for the most part, self-contained).
Stories from Ayberia is currently in the development stage and will be released in ebook form for $2.99 in late June. I don't have a final publication date but June 20 sounds about right.
The only other Last Whisper news is that plans are afoot to publish the trilogy in trade paperback format toward the end of the year. November looks like the most likely date. All three books will be published simultaneously. Despite my desire to hold down costs, I have discovered that the overhead on limited run paperbacks is pretty steep and tied to page count. These are pretty long books. I had hoped to offer them around $10 each but that's unrealistic. I would lose money. So it looks like they'll be $15.99 (Last Whisper), $17.99 (Curse), and $19.99 (Shadow). Those aren't final.
In a future post, I'll start talking about my next series, The Elusive Strain, which should see the publication of Book One before the end of the year. Books Two and Three will arrive in 2017 with Books Four and Five in 2018 to round out the five-book series.
Today I introduced the cover for Book 3 of The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga, Shadow of the Otherverse. The book has been submitted to Amazon.com for pre-orders. Assuming things go about as they did for the other two volumes, it should be available for pre-ordering tomorrow or Tuesday. The release date is March 7. If you’re interested in getting a pre-release copy for reviewing purposes, contact me.
The cover is once again by Jacob Atienza, whose work on the previous two books was phenomenal. I think this is the best of the three covers. I won’t describe the scene in detail because of spoilers but you don’t have to look far to find it. Jacob, by the way, is putting the final touches on the cover for the final Last Whisper-related book, Stories from Ayberia. That volume will have three sections: short stories (newly edited versions of the eight prequel stories that are available on this site), “deleted scenes” (a selection of segments edited out of Book 2 to improve pacing, and a new novella, “The Prelate’s Legacy.” I’m having a lot of fun writing that medium-length piece. It’s a true sequel in that it takes place after the events of Shadow of the Otherverse and should not be read until the trilogy is finished. However, since it is a stand-alone piece, it’s not mandatory reading for those who have completed the three novels. Stories of Ayberia will be published in June or July. (I haven’t settled on a final date yet.) As I previously indicated, the short stories will be removed from the website prior to the publication of Shadow of the Otherverse.
Another new contributor for Shadows of the Otherverse is Jack O. Gibson, who has taken my amateur map and done a professional job with it. Still the same Ayberia but looking a lot better. Jack’s contribution can be found on the website if you want to check it out prior to its availability in Book 3. (At some point, I will probably go back and replace the maps in Books 1 & 2 but that’s not a priority.)
I view the release of Shadow of the Otherverse with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. It is by far the most ambitious of the three books and, as such, the potential for failure is much higher. I take a lot of risks. My goal with this series was always to begin in safe, familiar territory and gradually transport the viewer through a series of increasingly challenging narrative twists. Those who have read The Curse in the Gift probably have a sense of what I’m talking about. It’s not nearly as conventional as The Last Whisper of the Gods. Shadow of the Otherverse is another step beyond. It’s also the longest of the three novels, about 50 pages longer than The Curse in the Gift and a full 100 pages longer than The Last Whisper of the Gods.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have another series in the works but I’ll talk more about that after Shadow of the Otherverse/Tales of Ayberia are out. No sense getting too far ahead of myself.
One final thing: an apology to those who are offended by the pop-ups I use to advertise the books around the time of their releases. I try to be judicious about these but they are the best way to make casuals visitors aware of what’s going on. (If you jump to ReelViews from Rotten Tomatoes, you go directly to the review page, making it highly unlikely you would be aware of the book’s existence.) Shadow of the Otherverse will get this pop-up treatment for three weeks (Feb. 29- March 20). Sorry, but there are some inconvenient things I have to do.
Update: Shadow of the Otherverse is now available for pre-ordering (that was quick!). The link is http://amzn.to/1oexhrr
When I write “What’s Next”, I’m referring to my book plans not my movie reviewing plans.
Two down, one to go. With The Last Whisper of the Gods and The Curse in the Gift both now available, I have turned my attention to the third and final volume of the trilogy, Shadow of the Otherverse. It was without a doubt the most difficult of the three books to write. Yesterday, I put the last touches on the final rewrite. It’s ready to be submitted to amazon.com for publication.
The release plan is straightforward. The cover illustration will be revealed in two weeks on Valentine’s Day. Shortly thereafter, the book will be available on amazon.com for preorder. (Since it’s longer than either of the previous titles, the price point will be slightly higher: $3.99 instead of $2.99 - still a lot cheaper than a movie ticket.) The book will be published on March 7.
After that, I won’t quite be done with The Last Whisper of the Gods universe even though the main storyline will be complete. In the June/July timeframe, I plan to release The Last Whisper of the Gods Saga: Stories of Ayberia. This will be comprised of three elements. (1) The eight prequel short stories currently available on this website will be revised and expanded. (They will also be removed from the website soon - probably within the next few weeks.) (2) Several “deleted scenes” - chapters or pieces of chapters that were written but edited out of the final version of The Curse in the Gift - will be reworked into short stories. (3) A new sequel novella, “The Prelate’s Legacy,” is being written. This will be connected directly to Shadow of the Otherverse and uses a cryptic phrase from the epilogue as the jumping-off point. It is expected to be a rather substantial endeavor - not as long as the novels (and not “required reading”) but hefty enough to allow for some character development.
Then it’s on to something new. Currently, I’m planning to launch a new, five book fantasy series with YA overtones before the end of the year. I have been told by several people that, if I edited out some of the sex and violence in The Last Whisper of the Gods, it becomes YA. So that’s what I will be doing with the new series - less (overt) sex and violence. Book One, The Elusive Strain, is scheduled for an October/November release. Book Two, The Malignant Earth, will be before mid-2017. Books Three, Four, and Five will follow at 4-6 month intervals. I am considerably faster than George R.R. Martin when it comes to writing novels.
A final note of thanks to those who have taken the plunge on The Last Whisper of the Gods and The Curse in the Gift. If you get a chance, please take the time to write a short review at amazon.com for one or both of the books. There are promotional opportunities that are enhanced by large numbers of reviews. As a film critic, it feels odd to be asking for reviews, but there you have it…
Thanks for reading!
First, as a thank-you to those who took the time to review The Last Whisper of the Gods, I have gone through the reviews at Amazon.com and randomly chosen three. The writers are eligible to receive a no obligations advance copy of Book 2, The Curse in the Gift. I'd love it if everyone getting an early copy of the book would take the time to pen a review once Amazon allows it (on the publication date of January 4) but this is not a requirement. Reviews are important to authors - there are some promotional opportunities that are only open to us if there are 5 or 10 or more reviews. It's also a good way to get feedback to me because I read every word of every review and I take seriously all the criticisms. I don't dismiss bad reviews out-of-hand unless it's clear that the reviewer has an ax to grind.
For obvious reasons, Amazon does not allow authors to contact reviewers directly. So I can't e-mail the recipients to let them know they can claim their copy. The best I can do is post their Amazon ID's here and ask them to drop me an e-mail. What do I need to get you a copy of The Curse in the Gift? A valid e-mail address and an indication of whether you'd like your copy to be in .mobi or .pdf format. I can also deliver a copy directly to a kindle but that's a little more involved. If you'd like that option, let me know and I'll tell you the additional steps needed.
The recipients are: Steve D, Michael Burnyeat, and Halaja. If you're one of those three people, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and identify yourself. (You'll get your copy within 24 hours.) Thanks to those three and the other five who took the time to write a review. It's deeply appreciated. If anyone is interested in receiving an advance copy of Book 2 for reviewing purposes, drop me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do (as long as you're legit and not trying to scam a free copy, I can accommodate you).
Today started a limited, one-week sale of The Last Whisper of the Gods. I have discounted the already low price of $2.99 to $0.99 for the period of December 20-26. This is to capitalize on the pre-Christmas and post-Christmas market. More importantly, however, it's an opportunity for those who haven't read the book to get a copy in advance of the release of Book 2. On December 27, the book will return to its normal $2.99 price.
One question I occasionally get is whether I get paid for those who borrow the book for free using the Kindle Unlimited program. Yes, I do. Ironically, I actually get more for a borrowed book than I do for a sale (primarily because $2.99 is pretty cheap).
If you have any questions about the book, e-mail them. I'll post them with an answer here. With the end-of-the-year movie rush, it's a busy time, but I'm never too busy to talk about The Last Whisper of the Gods. For those of you who have started or finished the novel, I hope it has drawn you in. For those who haven't, it won't get any cheaper than it is now. If you have any interest, now's the time to nab a copy.
Although the first book of the Last Whisper of the Gods saga has only been available for 3 1/2 weeks, it's time to look forward to Book 2, which carries the title The Curse in the Gift. It will be available for sale at amazon.com starting on January 4, 2016 (with preorders starting shortly before Christmas 2015). This is a bigger, more ambitious book - 50 pages longer and throwing in some (hopefully) unexpected developments.
In the weeks to come, I will do with Book 2 what I did with Book 1. The first four or five chapters will appear as free samples on the website. I will write several longer "Whispers" to discuss the book in detail. To start with, I have provided Chapter One as well as Jacob Atienza's cover image.
Meanwhile, let me take this moment to heartily thank everyone who has read The Last Whisper of the Gods. It's difficult for an independent author (even one with a website) to get a book noticed so I rely heavily on word-of-mouth. So if you liked the book, please let others know about it. If you didn't like it... thanks for giving it a try.
I received the following question from a reader by e-mail:
"Mr. Berardinelli... Your new book isn't my kind of thing but I think it might be my son's. He's 14 years old. Is it appropriate for him?"
Tough question. In my opinion, 14 years old is a gray area for The Last Whisper of the Gods. It was written with an adult audience in mind but that doesn't preclude younger readers from potentially enjoying it - if they're mature enough and their parents are on board with the content.
The book contains: profanity, sex, violence, and nudity. It's R-rated if you want to think of it in movie terms. That doesn't mean much. The sex, which is likely to cause the most raised eyebrows (at least in the U.S.) is not graphically described. This isn't erotica. I don't spend sentences and paragraphs explaining in lurid detail what's going on. But it's pretty apparent what's happening and/or what people are referring to. This isn't "entry level" fantasy like Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Lloyd Alexander, or David Eddings. But it's also not as graphic as George R.R. Martin (for example). It's somewhere in between. Is that appropriate for a 14-year old? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on the individual.
My advice: skim through the book. I won't be hard to find the passages that some would deem to be objectionable. Then you can decide.
I have added Chapter Six to the list of available chapters. This will be the final sample chapter available at the site. If you're interested in reading more, you'll have to buy the book, which goes on sale Monday (November 2). [Note: If you're an amazon prime member, you can "borrow" the book for free.]
In Chapter Six, Sorial once again encounters Alicia as the two wait out a violent thunderstorm. After that, Sorial receives a visit from a mysterious stranger - and it won't be the last time these two meet.
For those who have preordered the book, you have my thanks. Hopefully, you'll enjoy what comes your way on Monday but, whether you like it, hate it, or are indifferent, please let me know.
This is the penultimate sample chapter I will make available on the website. Hopefully by now, those who have read what has been posted have made a decision about ordering the full book.
Chapter 6 will be available tomorrow.
This is around the time of the story when the romantic aspects are beginning to assert themselves. The book is a bit of a slow-burner in terms of ramping up to action. There's eventually a lot of that - and quite a bit of death - but not at this stage. Hopefully, until then, you enjoy the interplay between the characters as well as the hints at where the story is going. Yes, the immediate trajectory is rather obvious (and intended to be so) but there will come a point when it will begin to go in unexpected directions. For now, though, it's about Alicia and Sorial getting to know one another as Sorial starts to ponder who he might be.
Chapter Five, "Cooling Off", begins: "The night after the pivotal conversation with his mother, sleep eluded Sorial; for hours, an overactive mind denied his tired body rest as he tossed and turned on his lumpy straw bed. The next few days were days spent in a sullen funk. He did his chores but avoided contact with others, including his friends. Even the sunrises failed to provide their customary comfort. His mind churned, trying to figure out how things connected. But the evidence was too scant for him to piece together the fragments of a puzzle that would answer the most basic question of his existence: Who was he?"
I have just posted Chapter Four, "Hints of the Past." This is where the plot starts kicking into gear. Readers will have already guessed that Sorial is destined for greatness but this is the chapter when he begins to question his past and future. It also provides the second (of many) encounters with Alicia as it begins to interweave their lives. None of this should be surprising to fans of Epic Fantasy. The early chapters are all about setting the stage and getting readers comfortable with the world.
I still intend to upload six chapters prior to the book's publication on November 2, so Chapter Five will probably be up on Thursday or Friday and Chapter Six on Saturday.
Details for pre-ordering can be found elsewhere on this page.
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his own petar'
To the degree that I have a reputation, it was built largely by reviewing the work of others. So the time has come for the tables to be turned, so to speak. Now that I have something available other than reviews, I open myself up to criticism. I view this prospect with anticipation - I don't dread reviews, even the bad ones. Inevitably, there will be those who write negatively because they have an ax to grind. They are easily dismissed. However, those who identify legitimate flaws and problems do an invaluable job. I like to think that my reviews have improved over the years in part because of some criticism I have received.
I look forward to seeing how The Last Whisper of the Gods is received and, more importantly, to understanding why it is received as it is received. A comment stating: "This book sucks" is not terribly helpful, but a review that follows that three-word judgment with an explanation is both welcome and useful. Of course, I prefer positive reviews (who wouldn't?) but I don't ignore the negative ones unless it's clear that they deserve to be ignored. Which brings me to the contest...
If you like the first book and want a free, pre-release copy of the second one (called The Curse in the Gift), simply go to the amazon.com page for the book and rate it/write a review. In mid-December, I will choose what I feel to be the most clever/useful/fun/intelligent/whatever reviews and send out copies of the book to my two or three or four favorites. (I'm not going to specify the number of pre-release copies because I want to allow myself some freedom. If there are no reviews, no copies will be sent out. If there are dozens of reviews and I like many of them, I may send out more than four copies.) Pre-release copies can be sent as either pdfs or mobis - your choice.
What's the process? Get a copy of The Last Whisper of the Gods and read it. When you're done, go back to the amazon.com page and enter a review. It doesn't have to be elaborate. In mid-December, once the second book has gone through its final proofing and is ready for publication, I will pick the winners. Since there is no direct way for me to contact an amazon reviewer, I will publish the amazon "handles" in this blog. The winners can then contact me with an e-mail address I can send the advance copy to.
The third sample chapter has been posted. Called "The King's Conscience," this deviates from the main plotline started in chapters one and two and introduces readers to Azarak, King of Vantok. It begins this way: "Why couldn’t he cry? Why wouldn’t the tears come? He touched her gently - the supple flesh still pliant, warm yet cooling to the touch. She hadn’t been dead long, and her passage from life had been peaceful - far more gentle than he expected for himself when his last hours came. For her, it had been an unawareness of slipping away, a quiet slide into final darkness. She had no reason to suppose that her husband would lace her bedtime drink with a lethal dose of poison for which there was no known antidote."
The fourth sample chapter, which will be posted toward the middle of the week (around October 21), will return to the Sorial/Alicia storyline.
The book is now available for pre order. Click on this link to go to the direct order page at amazon.com.
Over the years, I have received occasional e-mails from readers wondering if there was a way to send donations in order to support the site. Although I have always apprecated these offered, I have steadfastly rebuffed them, opting instead to rely on advertising revenue to keep ReelViews going. (The degree to which that has succeeded, especially of late with ad rates crashing through the floor, is the subject for a future ReelThought.) However, for those of you who would like to donate, the availability of The Last Whisper of the Gods offers an opportunity. If you pre-order or buy a copy at $2.99, about $2.00 of that ends up in my bank account. Plus, it's not a straight donation - you get something in return. Hopefully, it's something you'll read and enjoy.
Really, though, this isn't about money. I don't expect The Last Whisper of the Gods to become a big seller. I lack the marketing expertise to be able to "get the word out" (so to speak) which limits the audience. I wish I had the time and knowledge to market the book but with only 24 hours in a day (seven of which are wasted sleeping), there's only so much I can do: seeing movies, writing reviews, writing books, spending time with my family, doing my day job, etc. The Last Whisper of the Gods was never intended to be a money-maker. My sincerest hope is that it will break even. For me, it's more about getting the story out there so people can delve into this world and spend some time with the characters. I have such fond memories of losing myself in books back when I had the time to indulge myself. My freshman year in college, I could spend six or seven hours straight devouring the fantasy that was available at the time. The thing that excites me is that there may be a few readers who, upon finishing The Last Whisper of the Gods, will be eagerly anticipating Volume 2.
The book is now available for pre order. Click on this link to go to the direct order page at amazon.com.
The book cover image will soon be updated to link to that page as well.
It begins thus: "Sorial lay in one of the inn’s beds, ordered by a healer to 'convalesce' for a minimum of three days before he could return to light duty. The right side of his face was heavily bandaged and the wound had caused his eye to swell shut. His chest hurt where the intruder's boot had held him down, although the healer proclaimed he hadn’t broken any ribs. Warburm was unhappy about the temporary loss of his best stableboy. Visnisk was even less happy since he now had to work double shifts, giving him perhaps six hours off each day. Not having seen the incident or its aftermath, he believed Sorial to be a malingerer."
After several months in which Chapter One has been the lone exposure to The Last Whisper of the Gods on-line, Chapter Two has now joined it. I will post one chapter per week until the book's publication, marking at total of six. Approximate post dates will be: Chapter Three - 10/18/15, Chapter Four - 10/21/15, Chapter Five - 10/28/15, and Chapter Six - 10/31/15. If you're sufficiently interested/invested in the story by that time, you'll have to buy the book to read the rest.
While Chapter One introduced Sorial and several of the book's characters, Chapter Two continues to fill out the roster. The most notable addition is Alicia, the daughter of one of Vantok's most influential dukes. Vagrum, who was introduced in the short story "The Warrior", also makes appeareance, as does Sorial's mother. The chapter also resolves the cliffhanger ending of Chapter One.
Links to Chapters One and Two can be found to the left. Enjoy!
Although The Last Whisper of the Gods isn't currently being readied for a paperback release, here's the blurb that would be on the back cover (and will be used as the description in the e-book listing at amazon):
According to legend, there was once a time when wizards walked the lands of Ayberia. With powers so mighty that even kings bowed to them, they existed outside the common laws of men. But a thousand years ago, the gods, angry at their creations for giving adulation and worship to wizards, withdrew magic from the world. The wonders of a lost age faded from memory with history giving birth to myths and children's stories...
For one common stableboy, Sorial of Vantok, wizards are no more a real concern than the other long-gone creatures of legend: elves, wyrms, dragons, and trolls. There is only the immediacy of keeping the straw clean and the animals fed to avoid the wrath of his master, the innkeeper Warburm. But Sorial's mysterious past is about to impinge on his present. The secrets surrounding his birth are set to collide with a heretical theology decreeing that the gods are no more. With assassins lurking in the shadowy recesses of the stable, a relentless heat wave turning Winter to Summer, and a duke's daughter showing more interest in him than is proper, Sorial discovers that the "safe" world of his childhood is under assault. His destiny will not allow him to merely observe the disintegration of the social order; he must uncover his past so he can act to safeguard the future.
One thing The Last Whisper of the Gods has taught me is that the process of publishing a book is nearly as time consuming as writing it. One of the niggling things about pubishing electronically is that not all e-readers format text the same way. So something that looks perfect on, for example, a Kindle, may not look nearly as good on an iPad. So there's been a lot of tweaking source html and so forth. It's a pain in the ass. But it's finally done.
So all the pieces are now assembled: the fantastic cover by Jacob Atienza (visible on this page), a revised map (which looks better than the previous iteration but still isn't great - I'm a writer, not a cartographer), and the text. The book checks in at about 160,000 words, which is roughly comparable to a 450-page paperback. I like to think it's an easy read although I haven't intentionally dumbed down my vocabulary. I think one of the metrics I ran it through pegged it at somewhere between 10th and 11th grade reading levels.
It will officially be submitted before the weekend and should be available for pre-sale early next week. That's when I'll start marketing it to the best of my meager ability. I admit to being bewildered about how to get the word out beyond plastering my website with little thumbnails of the cover. Is anyone intrigued by them? My impression is that only about 10-20% of those who visit the website are aware of The Last Whisper of the Gods, and even fewer are intrigued by it. I'll see how things go but I admit my sales expectations are modest. I think there's an audience for the book but the problem is making that audience aware of the book's existence. It's a little like on-line dating.
Is it appropriate for kids? Or, to put it another way, is it YA? My intention was never to write something targeted for teenagers. It's too limiting. PG-13 is too often a source of frustration. The sex and violence in The Last Whisper of the Gods is neither cute nor neutered. It's R-rated without a question. I think I'd be comfortable with an "average" 15-year old reading it. Younger - depends on the child. I can tell you I won't be reading this to my son as a bedtime story anytime soon.
Sample chapter #2 (which is book chapter #2) will be available before the end of the week. Feel free to comment on it or ask questions.Writers enjoy feedback even if it's profoundly negative. It's too late to change The Last Whisper of the Gods or its sequels now but this won't be the last fiction I write and I take criticism very seriously. Some of the harshest critics of my reviews have (I think) challenged me sufficiently to make me a better reviewer. I would hope the same will be true for me as an author.
The final draft of the first book is completed and will be submitted to amazon.com shortly. At this point, it will only be available in e-book format. A print version will only be released if electronic sales are strong enough to warrant it. The price will be $2.99 (USD) with an availability date of November 2, 2015. The book will be open for pre-sales in another week or two. I don't know the exact date yet but I will announce it when it's known and the cover image (on this page) will link directly to the page on amazon.com. The book will be available internationally, so it may require a little extra effort to get to the local amazon if you're not in the United States.
To support the release, I will be providing one sample chapter per week for the next five weeks (for a total of six chapters). After that, if you want to read more, you'll have to buy the book.
Also, to limit frustration for those who read the first book and want to continue, the wait between books will be only two months. Books 2 and 3 are completed but are not yet in final publication form. However, there shouldn't be any difficulty getting them ready for January 2016 (Book 2) and March 2016 (Book 3).
If you plan to wait until the entire trilogy is available to start reading, I would still encourage you to buy the first book when it becomes available. Early sales are important for a variety of reasons.
One final note: the book will not be DRM protected. I made the decision because of a strong bias I have against DRM. This is a personal decision. My hope, however, that is that if you are interested in reading the book, you'll spend the $2.99 to get it. Thanks.
In addition to unveiling the revamped corner of ReelViews devoted to Last Whisper, today also marks the revelation of the cover. The artist who brought this scene so vividly to life is Jacob Atienza. He has also done the covers for Books 2 & 3 and, if anything, they're more spectacular. I gave him some challenges and he was up to them. I won't say much about the cover of Book 1 because doing so would constitute a spoiler but, if you read the novel, you'll recognize the scene when you get to it (although a little artistic license has been taken)
"Whispers" are entries in a new blog I have created exclusively for subjects related to my non-review writings. At this time, it will be focused on The Last Whisper of the Gods and its sequels but, in the future, it may branch out to other writings since I don't intend for this trilogy to be my final foray into fictional writing. Unlike "ReelThoughts", which is highly structured, this will be a series of shorter posts. Some entries may just be a few sentences.
I'll use "Whispers" to make announcements, to answer questions, and to make (sometimes random) comments. Once the books are out, I may discuss why I chose to take the story in a particular way. I may post "outtakes" (there are a lot of those) or discuss backstory elements that didn't make it into the final versions. Mainly, though, this is an opportunity to communicate. "ReelThoughts" is formal; this will be informal. I like the idea of being able to sit down and throw together a post in a few minutes. (The shortest ReelThoughts posts take hours to assemble and edit.)