I know it has been a while since I have posted anything, but I thought I would share a little something that I worked on today. This is very rough, so be kind, but it is from the next book in the Armageddon Angels series. Tell me what you think. Motivate me to get this beast finished.
Justin is a fallen Angel. He just happens to be one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Grim Reaper himself, Death. A year has passed since he remembered who he was and what he is. He is regaining some of the abilities and memories he lost when he chose to fall to earth and live amongst humans, but he has a long way to go before he can fully reclaim his title. When Justin comes across a young girl being chased by a monster, he does what he can to save her, but he soon discovers this is no normal girl, and failing to save her will change the world forever.
“Something tells me this is the place,” said Samantha.
“I think you’re right.” Justin felt the Power emanating from the place; the origin or intent of the magic cast upon the little building remained elusive.
Justin opened the door and Samantha strode inside. Her sharp business attire and well-manicured look terribly out of place in the shop filled with countless shelves filled with books and dark little trinkets and charms that hung from hooks throughout the room. She sniffed and wrinkled her nose. “It smells like a tomb in here,” she said as she picked up the desiccated corpse of a chameleon from a nearby shelf.
“I’ve smelled worse,” Justin said as he entered the room and shut the door behind him. He stopped when he stood behind her and whispered, “Human magic often requires these sort of physical components, at least until the wizard is powerful enough to eschew such trappings.”
“How…uncivilized,” Samantha said as she placed the dead lizard back on its shelf.
The Angels turned to see a man entering the shop through a doorway behind a broad wooden counter. He was tall for a human, though he fell well short of Justin’s six and a half feet. He wore a dark purple button down shirt that nearly concealed the tattoos that covered his biceps and upper chest. Thick black and grey stuble covered his shaved head. His eyes caught Justin’s attention. He saw that sort of dark fire burning within the eyes of men before. Monuments carved in their likeness and tomes filled with tails of heroism and infamy contained their names.
“Welcome to The Curious Cat. My name is Mathew Finitz, and this is my shop.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Swett is the husband of Tracy and the father of Zachary, Connor, and Kaitlyn, and could not be prouder of his family.
He lives in Statesville, North Carolina, spends his daylight hours working in IT and has done so for the past six years.
Being a fan of all things geek, he has spent most of his life reading science fiction and fantasy. He started writing in high school, but it wasn’t until he moved to North Carolina that writing became anything more than a hobby.
The hiss and clang of a door opening in the distance brought Evan’s head around. “Hanse, I think we have company,” Evan said as loud as he dare without giving away his position. “Hanse?” The sound of heavy booted feet running across the ferrocrete floor made Evan get to his feet. “They’re getting closer, Hanse,” Evan called out.
“Just hold on,” Hanse yelled back. “I almost have it.”
At the far end of the row, a pair of helmeted men in black body armor rounded the corner and jogged toward Evan. “Time to go, Hanse. They’re almost here,” Evan said as he stepped into the doorway.
“Can you stop them? You know, with your…mind…thing?” Hanse shouted back.
“I couldn’t pick up a pencil right now,” Evan said.
“Oh well, I guess this will have to do,” Hanse said as he left the room. His backpack was overflowing with all manner of materials, and his pockets bulged, but the three barreled pulse rifle he carried with both hands that made the big man smile. “Let’s see how those security goons like my new toy,” Hanse said as he passed Evan and pointed the barrels down the hall.
While this is not part of my Armageddon Angels series, I hope you’ve enjoyed this snippet of Beyond the Darkside. If you like it, please consider clicking the link below to go to my kickstarter page and become a backer.
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Last night I got a little…emotional while watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. I recorded a couple of videos and I’ll be sharing one of them here in a moment. Don’t worry, it’s not me blubbering for seven minutes. I talk about the trailer’s effect and how Star Wars is a source of inspiration for me.
On another note, I made my older son get out of bed a little early this morning so that I could play the trailer for both boys and Katie at the same time. Katie was less than impressed (time to start the indoctrination), but the boys were both very excited about it. You know it is good when Zachary is sitting on the couch looking a little stunned.
The Kickstarter is going well at this point. Six backers for $158 in the first two days is pretty awesome. Please check it out. Back me if you can. Share it if you can’t. I think you’ll really enjoy Apocalypse Rising: The Coming Darkness, and hitting my Kickstarter goal will make that happen so much faster.
Thank you for your support
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A friend requested a little preview of the work in progress that has been occupying my writing time, so I picked out a little section that I have written recently. This is from the upcoming, and yet unnamed, book 1.5 of the Armageddon Angels series. Initially it was intended to be a novella, a short book intending to fill the space between the first and second book in the series, but it is looking more and more to be a full on novel equal in size to Apocalypse Rising. Please keep in mind that this is a rough draft, but I would love to hear from you in the comments. Let me know what you think.
Things are moving along with the Armageddon Angels novella that will be out early in 2015. I thought I would share a little of the work in progress and introduce our villain.
The Angels turned to see a man entering the shop through a doorway behind a broad wooden counter. He was tall for a human, though he fell well short of Justin’s six and a half feet. He wore a dark purple button down shirt that nearly concealed the tattoos that covered his biceps and upper chest. His head was bald, but there was enough stubble remaining to show that it was by choice rather than genetics. It was his eyes that caught Justin’s attention though. He had seen that sort of dark fire burning within the eyes of men before, and their names were etched in monuments and filled tomes with tails of their heroics or infamy.
“Welcome to The Curious Cat. My name is Mathew Finitz, and this is my shop.” The man stepped past the shelves and stands with the ease of someone that is comfortable in their surroundings. There was little doubt that Matthew had spent countless hours navigating through the maze of charms and spell components. Once he stood before Samantha he gave a short bow and asked, “Is there something I can help you find?”
“Actually, there is,” Samantha said. “Tell me what you know about the Og—.”
“About your store,” Justin said as he stepped in front of Samantha. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a collection of…oddities.”
Mathew looked from Justin to Samantha and back again. “Yes, well I’m sure that is not the case.” Mathew waved his hands at the shelves and then at the front of his shop. “You see, I have enchanted the building so that normal folk don’t really notice my shop. They walk on by without so much as a blink, but anyone attuned to magic will see it and be able to come on in.” He smiled and Justin practically saw the oil oozing from the man. “If you’re standing in my shop, you’ve seen these sort of these things before.”
Samantha opened her mouth to speak, but Justin cut her off. “You’ve got us. I’ve never been in your shop before, and I never know when I’ve found a genuine store or just another person catering to the goth crowd.”
“Yes, I’ve seen such places,” Mathew said with a laugh. “Filled with cheap, over-dried crap from overseas, and those silly little prince and princesses of the night buy them and perform the silly little rituals they find in their mass-produced copies of the Necronomicon.” He turned his head and spit on the ground. “I have no patience for that sort of shit. The money is good, but I take the art seriously.”
Justin watched as the spittle on the floor evaporated before his eyes, erasing every trace of its existence. “I understand completely. You have a very impressive shop.”
“Thank you. You’ll find only the finest goods here,” Mathew said. “I can’t guarantee that your spells will work, but I will guarantee that the quality of your components and foci will not be the cause of your failures.”
“Good to know,” Justin said. “I’m pretty well stocked at the moment, but I have been looking for a few new charms and artifacts.”
“Justin, what are you–?” Samantha started to ask, but a look from Justin silenced her.
Matthew kept the smile plastered to his face. “As it happens, I have a few select choices available.” Greed oozed from the man’s pores as that potential for a big sale loomed before him. “Is there anything in particular you are looking for?”
“Summoning is what I’m interested in,” Justin said. “It’s never been my strongest skill, and I have need of some instant muscle.”
“Ahh yes, I see. I may have just the thing,” Mathew said. “Wait here.” He slipped back down the aisles and through the doorway behind the counter.
The moment he was out of sight, Samantha grabbed Justin’s shoulder and turned him around. “What are you doing? He summoned the ogres. You know it, and I know it. So why aren’t you interrogating this mortal and figuring out who the girl is or why he wants her?”
Justin picked up rat skull carved from a single piece of obsidian. He was not sure exactly what use it would be, but it felt heavy with darkness, so he set it back on the shelf. “Beating the answers out of someone is not always the best way to discover the truth.”
“But the longer we take, the further away the girl will get,” Samantha said. “We don’t have time for this.”
“Don’t have time for what?” Mathew said as he emerged from the back room carrying a small stack of intricately decorated boxes.
“Too much browsing, I’m afraid,” Justin said. “We have other stops to make today. You’re store was an unexpected surprise.”
“Well then I won’t waste your time with the small stuff.” Mathew waved the pair forward until they were standing in front of the counter. “He pulled open the largest of the boxes and pulled out a bowl of delicately etched jade. The carvings told a tale of sadness; the destruction of an empire rotted from within by a king that sacrificed his daughter in order to win a war with his neighbors. “This bowl predates the Babylonians by nearly a thousand years. It’s a lovely little device used for summoning goblins.” He traced his finger around the edge of the bowl. “Of course there is a price that comes with the summoning.”
“And what is that?” Justin asked.
“Blood.” Mathew let the word hang in the air before continuing. “Of course the blood need not be your own. The blood of animals will do if you only want a handful of goblins to aid you, but human blood will summon more, and the purer the blood, the more powerful the summoning.” He held out the bowl for Justin’s inspection. “I’ve never been brave enough to offer up more than a few drops of my own blood, but I have little need for bodyguards or underlings.”
It would be oh so easy to sit here and complain about it being Monday. My wife has the week off and our friend from Arizona is staying for the week. My little girl will be home all week with her momma and the boys only have a day and half of school this week. But am I bitter about having to go to work for three days? Yes. Yes, I am.
I’m not going to focus my attention on all of that though. I’m going to focus in on the fact that on Saturday I spent the day at the Broad Street United Methodist Church’s Christmas Bazaar. I set up my table and waited for the customers to come rolling up. And waited. And waited. Sigh.
Kathryn Reed, my friend and the organizer of the event, did her best to bring people to my table and always introduced me as, “Eric Swett, the famous author,” and some people stayed to talk, but most wandered away without making a purchase. After lunch time I was visited by someone who asked some questions and wandered off, but she came back and bought a copy of Apocalypse Rising. Sweet. A little while later I had a couple come by and ask a bunch of questions about the books and the series. They were going to buy Apocalypse Rising, but I offered up Apocalypse in the Balance at a discount and they jumped on it. Super Sweet. I used the same deal for a friend that came by and he bought both books as well. That was the end of the little selling spree I hit, but I was pleased.
So what did I learn from this, my second public outing as an author?
First, I learned that I need a button to clip to my shirt/jacket that says, “Yes, I am the author.” It was amazing to me how many times the first question out of anyone’s mouth was, “Did you write this?” or some variation on that theme. I would have thought it obvious, but I guess not.
Second, I need to be better prepared before the day of the event. I had some great little signage that I created and some flyers with plenty of information, but I know it looked sloppy in the holders I bought that morning at Walmart (the sheets of paper were too big and I had to fold some edges). I also need a little book stand or something like that so that I can better display the books. Also, an easel and larger bit of signage would have been nice to grab attention. There was one other author at the Bazaar and she had a nice big foam core board picture of her book’s cover and I was completely envious. It seems like a small thing, but theses are investments I need to make for the future.
Third, I’m a pretty good with people. I’m personable enough, but I suck at self promotion and I feel awkward talking about how awesome my books are. When the Bazaar started I felt mousy, hiding behind my tables and my fliers, waiting for people to stop in front of me long enough for me to say something. The further along the day went the more I was willing to reach out to the people walking by and engage them in conversation. I talked about my book, about what it was about, finding the points of interest that might get the book sold, and damn but it felt good. I’m a long way from perfecting my pitch or approach, but the more public events I participating, the better I will get.
I struggle with self promotion and book promotion online for the same reasons I struggle in person. I suck at talking about myself or what I have done. If I can get better at it in person, maybe I can get better online as well. I know my books, especially the newest one, are good, and the only thing holding me back is me. I’m ready to make that next step, even if it is a small one.
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Once again I find myself in that dubious position of looking at the calendar and admitting that I will not be finishing NaNoWriMo this year. To be honest, I am okay with that. I love the idea of National Novel Writing Month, but I don’t need it the way I once did. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to force the budding author to set aside distraction, editing, and all other forms of excuses that keep a novel from being written, so that they can finally get those words onto the screen.
I do that anyway.
This year I intended to take a break from working on my novella in order to participate. I could spend the time working on the second part of my epic sci-fi piece so that I would have it that much closer to ready when I finish my Armageddon Angels series. I sat down and tried to focus in on the first book, but I just could not get into the groove. There were so many errors and inconsistencies that I wanted to edit, fix and rewrite the whole mess, not jot down notes before starting the timeline for the next book. Strike One.
When the end of October started closing in I found that I was ill prepared for the November kickoff. No outline, no real concept of where to go with the story, and almost no motivation to focus my little time and effort on the project. Add to that the fact that I was running a blog tour for Apocalypse in the Balance and I was well past the point of being prepared to fight through NaNoWriMo. Make no mistake, it is a brutal fight for the writer, and poor training and preparation leaves you doomed to failure. Strike Two.
November kicked off and I decided that I would work on some of my Armageddon Angel stuff, which I already had prepared, and just not count the material written before November. I sat down on November first, stared at my monitor, place my fingers upon the keyboard, and said, “Fuck it.” Strike Three
I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to set aside my normal writing process in favor of smashing out a half done ball of crap, because lets be honest here, that is exactly what NaNoWriMo churns out. Crap. Fifty-thousand words worth of crap. There is nothing wrong with doing NaNoWriMo, but if you do nothing with the results, such as copious amounts of editing and rewriting, then all you are left with is a stinking pile of garbage that no one will want to read.
I have plenty of writer friends that participate in this fall ritual, but they don’t publish what they write until they have spent countless hours rewriting and editing the results. More power to them. There is a part of me that wishes I could do it, but I just can’t write that way. My first draft is anything but perfect, but I have found that I cannot just spew words onto the screen and hope to come back to it later. I have a hard time getting past all of the errors I make when I am taking my time writing a story, and rereading the one successful NaNoWriMo novel I finished I can only look back in utter horror. Some day I will revisit it, clean it up and edit it, but I’m not going to add to the mess by throwing more NaNoWriMo crap at it.
To those of you that are still fighting your way through NaNoWriMo, let me just say, “Keep it up. Press on. It is worth it. When you are done you will look back at what you have written and feel a sense of accomplishment that is completely deserved.” I mean every word of that. Just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for someone else or that it is not worth doing. Of course, I am also going to say, once it is done, “Set it aside. That book you just created needs a chance to simmer for a bit. No, go forth and edit it. Be merciless. Ask friends for help. Don’t be afraid to add an additional chapter or nine. It will still be your NaNoWriMo book and you can even claim it as such in the forward of your book, but for God’s sake, do not send that thing to an editor in December. Maybe next October would be a better month to send it in. Seriously. If you so much as hit send on that e-mail or put a stamp on that manuscript envelope, I will hunt you down and beat you with a stick.”
Well the Blog Tour is over, but it is not too late to take the tour and enter the rafflecopter giveaway. The Rafflecopter will be good until 11/14, so make sure you enter to win.
Here is a list of blogs and their links:
Finding the Fantastic in Fallen Places – Hosted by C. P. Bialois
An Interview by George Sirois
NaNoWriMo Preparations – Hosted by AC Elliot
A Quick And Dirty Book Review by AJ Beamish
Inspiration – Hosted by Melina Turner
Fear of the Unknown – Hosted by AJ Beamish
Inspired to Write – Hosted by Jamie White
An Interview by Todd Maternowski
A Book Review by C. P. Bialois
A Book Review by Jamie White
A Book Review by AC Elliot
Writing About the Apocalypse – Hosted by Rachel Bostwick
Driven to Write – Hosted by Kristy Carey
A Book Review by Georgina Hannan
Thank you for participating in the blog tour and make sure to visit Amazon an buy a copy of Apocalypse in the Balance.
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