Monday, December 1, 2014

Update- 12.1.2014

Welcome to the update post for December. Lots of stuff to talk about in this update, so let's dive right in.

For my A-Z bloggling experience, I covered C for Continuity and D for Dénouement.

For Continuity, I disscussed how each of the "books" of To Tread the Narrow Path harmonize in spite of any apparent discrepency.

In D is Dénouement, I talked about the upcoming finale for the novella. The end is nigh.

Speaking of the end...

Only three installments are left in To Tread the Narrow Path and it is shaping up for the last installment to drop around Christmas or shortly thereafter. This will put the novella in a position to be ready for print, and as I have been teasing over on my Facebook page in the past few weeks, I commisioned a graphic artist to come up with a more professional cover design for the print version of the book.

After only a few revisions, I am really pleased with the cover and its simplicity, and I'm sure you will be too.

So, without further preamble, here is the front cover-

New cover for the novella!

Like I said, I'm really pleased with the way that it turned out. I hope all of the readers are as well. The ebook copy will be updated with the new cover soon and this will be on the print cover as well.

In other news, as it is Cyber Monday and my birthday is this week, I am going to be doing a free ebook giveaway. Starting tomorrow (because I started the promotion too late to start today), Entertaining Angels will be available for free on Amazon.com. Check it out here, and come back tomorrow to get it for free.

If you haven't started reading the serial yet, you can buy it for only $0.99 on Amazon, or if you prefer to wait until all the installments are out or it is in print, you only have a little longer to wait.

Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed this or you know someone who will, please like, share, +1, etc...

-Anthony

Monday, November 24, 2014

D is for Dénouement

Uh oh, I'm getting fancy in here using big French words...

Don't worry, I'm not really trying to be pretentious. D is for Dénouement, just seems to fit. You know, with the end of To Tread the Narrow Path approaching.

Dénouement is a literary term that is the final part of a narrative. It is the point where all of the plot lines are drawn together and the story is brought to a close.

In our current age where we are having the final books in a trilogy turned into two part films, the concept of a dénouement may be a lost ideal. At least in the major Hollywood circles, but not in the written word.

The dénouement is the opportunity for the writer to tie up loose ends. To bring the narrative to its close. It is a beautiful thing as a reader to come to a satisfying end.

Currently, I've read quite a few books that gave an ending that felt right. The last four books all had endings that left me feeling satisfied with the time that I invested as a reader. In some cases there might be parts of the story that are sorrowful, but in the end the dénouement comes to a full and realized ending. If anyone is wondering the books I am referencing are Stephen King's 11/22/63, Eric E McClure's Touch of Life and New Found Dream, and Ken Kiser's Fifthwind. Sometimes you don't have a satisfying ending when you come to the end of a book, but I am thankful that the last four I've read brought me to an end that felt right.

That brings me to my story that I am telling in To Tread the Narrow Path. As the final installments are finishing their preparations to go live, I am finding myself looking at my ending that I am ready to release to you. One of the things that I have enjoyed about doing a serial novella is the ability to change things as the story progresses, but that is also one of the things that is hard as well. As we approach the end, I've found myself rewriting the ending (which causes it to have to be re-edited), and I have found myself second guessing the endings that I have written. I actually have multiple endings prepared, and the one that goes live is the one that I will have to live with.

I find myself looking at the ending and wondering if I have prepared a satisfying dénouement. Will it carry the reader to the finish line?

Only three more installments to go (with one set to go live this week). In the next few weeks this story will draw to a close. I am glad I've read books with such good endings recently, because hopefully I will glean some enlightenment while deciding which of my endings to go with.

If you've been reading and want to throw your opinion or thoughts at me (another benefit of the serial model), comment below or contact me here. If you aren't reading yet (Why Not?), check it out over at Amazon.

Also, a couple of weeks ago, I hinted at a new cover for the novella. I will be releasing the final full version, next week, but wanted to give a tease of it this week.




I think you will really like it, I know I do.

Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed, please like, share, +1, etc...

Thanks,

-Anthony

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excerpt- 11.17.2014

Sorry for the delay in this week's post. After polling over on my Facebook page, it seems that a lot of people want to see some excerpts from my gothic western script, Desolation. I'm trying to pick out a portion of the script to use as an excerpt, and haven't found a section I feel would be good to share just yet.

So, while I deliberate, I've decided to share another part of To Tread the Narrow Path. You can read the first two excerpts here (Part I) and here (Part II).

I hope you enjoy.


To Tread the Narrow Path
Book I: The Tale of the Little Bird
Part III: The Path Ahead

My first duty was to travel to Sciath's Reach and warn the Lord Akana of the plot against him. I believed my master’s death to be only the first step in a grand conspiracy. Travel to the heart of the kingdom would not be easy. I did not know when the nameless clan would find me again. I knew no one beyond my master and the nearby village. I convinced myself to trust no one on my journey and to travel alone.
For two days, I have traveled under the guise of a peasant. Hoping no one would take notice of me. Near the end of the third day of my journey, I prepared to rest under a nearby tree. Suddenly, I felt my senses pricking. My ears straining at sounds felt more than heard. Muscles alert and ready. My instincts warned me that my surroundings were not as safe as they appeared. In preparedness, I reached into the bundle of rags that hid my weapons, and grasped the hilt of my sword. As I tested the air with my nose, a handful of snow fell onto my shoulder. With sudden horror, I realized what bothered me. I did not feel the wind, yet the trees swayed and snow fell from the branches.
The moment I drew my sword, assassins burst out of the surrounding trees and shrubs. Attacking me with all manners of styles and weapons, I was almost overwhelmed. I held back not wanting to shed blood before I reached my Lord. I would have escaped if not for the blow from behind. I fell to the ground, the wind knocked out of me. As the boot of one of the assailants roughly rolled me over, I looked up to see a female pointing her sword at my neck. Her white mask only showed her jade eyes through two small holes. Her eyes were beautiful yet deadly.
She glared down at me and said, "What are you doing on our road, little bird?"
"I am on an errand for my Lord Akana. Why do you call me that?" Little Bird, my masters name for me. I tried to get up but she pressed the blade closer.
She said, "Are you not a little bird? Maybe a forest demon. Half bird and half man or should I say boy?" Although she laughed mirthlessly, her eyes showed amusement. She continued, "You show promise for a small one. You might have slipped our trap had your defense been fatal. Is that by accident or design?"
"I have taken a vow," I placed all the courage I could muster into my words; "I will not kill unless so ordered by my Lord. I am on the way to serve and protect my Lord."
Her eyes narrowed at me much like a cat eyeing its prey. She said, "A creature of Akana’s clan, no doubt. Who trained you, bird?"
"I am Nightwatch. My master’s sign is a fox."
She took on a suspicious look as she said, "The Gray Fox? The one who is clanless, but serves the true emperor? I know him. Why is he not on this all important errand?"
I knew she would kill me if my answers did not please her. I replied, "He is dead. Slain by the enemies of the Emperor."
Her jade eyes betrayed her shock and despair but also showed that she was still wary. "And what swordsman brought him down?"
With sadness and pride in my voice I said, "Not one. Many. Each warrior bore the mark of the Serpent Rose."
This answer satisfied her curiosity. She said, "Then you may use our road with my permission. We share an enemy. The swords of the Venom Rose rise against us as well. You are the last Nightwatch. You must deliver your master’s message to the emperor."
"Who are they? To whom are they sworn?" I demanded.
She and her companions began to slink away into the shadows like cats. She called back to me, "I know not who they serve, but they are enemies to all. We will meet again, Little Bird. You will know me by my eyes for I am the Jade Cat." With that, she disappeared into the shadows leaving me alone on the path. Always alone.
The mountain road gave way to the sea road that would lead me to Sciath’s Reach. I gave up my peasant garb. I had no desire for secrecy now. I wanted the Venom Rose to know of my arrival. Always conscious of my surroundings I took notice of the travelers I was passing; a woman with child on her back and a man carrying firewood ahead of her. I paused as my instincts quickened. I strained for any sign of ambush. As I held my breath, I heard a sighing from the trees that was not the wind. A creak of wood, the complement of a gutstring. Instinctively, I dove for the cover of the embankment on my left as arrows exploded out of the woods. Dozens of bowmen waited for me in the forest. Their hearts only held murder for me and anyone nearby. The man carrying firewood fell to the side of the road, already slain, but the mother and babe still lived. I vowed not have the blood of a mother and child on my hands. I ran across the embankment to where she stood with the child strapped on her back and grabbed her hand. I dragged her towards a small fishing hut I spied only a few hundred yards away. With waves of arrows following us, we arrived at the hut. It was too much to fight. Too much danger for the innocents. I cursed as they forced me to take shelter, whereas normally I might have eluded my enemies. The fishing hut had all the disadvantages of a trap but it left them only one entrance. That entrance I deftly covered with my bow. I motioned the mother to lie near the back and stay down.
As a plan formed in my mind I spoke it aloud, "At nightfall we can slip away," my fingers and hands were making ready an arrow, "The tide will be high and…" The twang of my bowstring snapping cut my words short. The ‘mother’ was attacking me with a knife but he had made the mistake of cutting my bowstring first instead of my neck. He thrust at me like one unprepared for retaliation. I took his thrust and redirected it into his leg by breaking his elbow. He will live. I will keep my vow. As he fell, I noticed the tattoo on his arm, the Venom Rose. A trap within a trap. Hearing a whistling noise, I intuitively moved my head to the side as two small throwing knives spun past my temples.
I turned to see the babe, a man only three feet high, bearing weapons against me. He tried again to strike me with knives but this time I was prepared. I moved in close and planted two fingers into his neck cutting off the blood flow to his head. He fell over unconscious, sleeping like the child he appeared to be. Knowing that other enemies were closing in, I pried the hut’s floorboards up and dropped silently into the water. I swam out beyond my enemy’s sight and followed the shore until I was a safe distance away.
Thoughts came rushing up to the surface of my consciousness. With a Nightwatch, nothing is as it seems. All is an illusion. Our world is a world of our own making. It is a world outside the senses. A world where trust has no meaning and truth has no place. The swords of the Venom Rose could only belong to the Warlord. That meant that Marcus would move against my Lord. I was bound to warn Lord Akana. My honor and that of my master demanded it.


-End


 


I hope you've enjoyed these excerpts. If you want to know how this ends, all current updates of the novella are available on Amazon as an ebook. Within the next few weeks, the final installments will be live in the marketplace and a print edition of the book will be available as well.


As always, thanks for reading, and if you've enjoyed, please feel free to like, share, +1, etc...


-Anthony


If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out the  copyright page.

Monday, November 10, 2014

C is for Continuity

Today, I'd like to focus on another aspect of my serial.

Continuity. I've spoken before about this in regards to comic books, movies, and TV, but what exactly am I referring to when I speak of continuity in relation to my novella?

This post actually comes from a reader that wanted to point out a continuity error to me between the narrations of the first three parts of the novella. She wanted to point out a discrepancy in a conversation between two characters that differed from one POV to the other.

As I've explained before, the novella is broken into four "books," and each book is then broken down into four parts. The books mirror each other in style, thematics, and tone while being distinct in and of themselves. Each of the first three books is told from the first person POV of one of the main characters.

Book I- Riean
Book II- Aelura
Book III- Akana

The narrative journey of each of the books weaves in and out of the others. To illustrate, I've made a basic timeline that you can find below. This should give a general idea of how each book overlaps with the narrative of the others. The first part of the novella (which you can read an excerpt of here), kicked off with the event I've marked at year zero and the other parts span the time from 26 years before that event to a little over five years after.


The entire scope of the serial

Over the course of the story different events and conversations are presented from the different POV characters. For example there is one conversation that is told from all three view points. For the most part, I've kept the majority of the action and dialog identical, but in each instance there are differences. It may be a change in the wording of a sentence. One character may have heard it differently. Or it could be in a description of the setting or the actions of others.

The reason I did this is not lazy writing. Honestly. No, what I am trying to do is be honest with my characters. In life, we all experience everything differently, even if we experience the same event. If you and I were witnesses to a crime, and had to testify, there would be differences in our testimony. There would be a general consensus, but subtle differences that would be based on what exactly we saw and how our brains processed the information from the event.

Each of my POV characters has a different take on shared events. They all tell the same general story, but the narrative is filtered through their own personal lens. So, if you are reading and want to glean some extra insight into a character, go back and look at shared conversations between the books. You might be able to see a reason a character may have heard a sentence differently or saw something the others did not.
If you are reading, two new installments went live last week. The last two parts of Book III are now part of the book. That leaves the final four segments of Book IV to come out. I hope to have the remainder out by Christmas and have it available for print by then, but we'll see. My initial goal was to have the entire novella published by its one year mark, so we are ahead of schedule so far. If you want to purchase the novella, it is only $0.99 on Amazon.

If you've got any questions feel free to comment below or contact me on the contact page.

If you've enjoyed please comment, like, share, subscribe, +1, etc...

Thanks for reading.

-Anthony

Monday, November 3, 2014

Update- 11.3.2014

Welcome to November's update post.

Big news this week, that I will get to down below, but first I wanted to say welcome to any new readers I may have picked up in the last month.

In the last month I started the A-Z blogging challenge on both this blog and on my fatherhood blog.

We covered the following last month-

A is for Akana- I presented a character examination of Akana from To Tread the Narrow Path. We explored the beginnings of the novella as a historical fiction short story based during the feudal era in Japan, and how Akana's character in a fantasy setting was influenced by a historical individual.

B is for Broken Promises- I explored the motif of broken promises and the concept of serving two masters as it relates to my novella. They are torn between the vows they take and their sense of duty and honor. That choice is part of the driving force of the novella.

You can also check out the first A-Z post on my fatherhood blog- A is for Anthony.

In other news:

I posted on Facebook asking for help in picking a new cover for To Tread the Narrow Path. I've gotten some really good feedback and I will be sharing the final cover with you all soon. I am still soliciting feedback so below are the prospective first drafts of some potential covers. Comment below with your thoughts-



wooded path, black and green, natural/earthy feel

nature feel with the leaves, earth tones, minimalistic

black is predominant color, eastern inspired mountain on cover, nature


mountain on back cover, minimalistic front cover, earth tones


nature, wooded path, dark colors, earth tones
 As far as updates on the novella go:

This week there will be not one, but two updates to the novella going live in the Amazon marketplace. I will post on social media when the link is live and the update is available. If you want to get caught up before the updates go live you can purchase from Amazon for $0.99.

Also, this will bring us to the end of Book III of the novella and will set the stage for Book IV. Between November and December, I hope to have the final four installments of the novella out and ready for you to read, and once all of the installments are ready, the book will be set for a print run (which is why I am seeking a new cover).

As I've said before once this is complete I am going to be throwing myself into my next project in earnest and I am unbelievably excited about it. You can check out my initial thoughts on Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever here.

Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed, please like, share, subscribe, +1, etc...

-Anthony

Monday, October 27, 2014

B is for Broken Promises

Welcome to the second installment of the A-Z blogging challenge.

I thought about doing another character examination, like I did last week, but instead I'm going to explore a concept that is present in my novella.

Today we are talking about Broken Promises.

As I mentioned before, To Tread the Narrow Path is split into four parts called "Books," then those are broken again into four parts. The first segment of each book is titled "The Oath." In The Oath, in each book, the character is forced to take a vow that will cause them to come at odds with their sense of duty and honor.

For example, if you read the excerpt I posted from the first part of Book I, you will see Riean, the main character of Book I, struggle with the desire for vengence and the oath of peace that his master forces upon him. His oath brings him in direct conflict with his sense of justice and desire for revenge at the death of his master.

Each character must face the same type of choice. They are all presented with a vow that runs tangent to either their own sense of morality, the code of honor of their nation, or their personal duty to their own clan. Something I play with in the narrative is the concept of "two masters." You may have heard the verse from the Bible that states you cannot serve two masters. This choice puts the characters in a posistion choosing which oath to keep; which master will they serve.

In the narrative, it isn't neccessarily a choice between good and evil. Their are more facets to the choices that go beyond morality. Each character must find the balance betwen their vows, they must walk a narrow path (reference intended) to survive.

You cannot serve two masters. The characters in To Tread the Narrow Path learn this lesson through a series of trials and triumphs. If you are reading the novella, feel free to comment below with your thoughts, but please no spoilers.

If you are not reading, you can check it out on Amazon.

If you've enjoyed this glimpse into the thoughts behind the story, please like, share, subscribe, +1, etc...

Thanks for reading.

-Anthony
Promo Image for The Tale of the Little Bird

Monday, October 20, 2014

Excerpt- 10.20.2014

It's an excerpt day.

I am sharing from the second part of my serial novella. I already shared an excerpt from Part I, you can check it out here. We are almost to the end of the story, you can read these two segments to see how it all began. I hope you enjoy.

To Tread the Narrow Path
Book I: The Tale of the Little Bird
Part II: The Path Behind

I alone mourned him.
I alone whispered the prayers that sent him to the shadow world. Each word falling from my lips in harmony with the flames engulfing my master’s body. I watched his spirit rise with the embers into the wind. As sadness began to overcome me, I turned my thoughts to the things he had taught me.
And to all the things he had not. All the questions swum just below the surface of my thoughts like a fish beneath rushing waters. The questions cast me back to the beginning. I think of the events that occurred long before my birth. Events set in motion by distrust and disloyalty. Petty emotions that would grow to topple kingdoms. Petty emotions that led to the narrow path.
My master was emperor Gregor’s Nightwatch. A spy. An assassin. A servant who kept our master’s order by secret murders. My master served and protected his Lord from the blades of his enemies. He walked the narrow path alone, nameless and clanless. He served Gregor tirelessly. Until the day Lord Gregor took ill and soon died. It was then that the rule and title of the clan fell to Akana, Gregor’s son. He was only seven summers old. When he was nine, his forces suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of a rival warlord. Those who survived the battle of the Valley of Dragons call it a massacre.
That rival is Marcus, a former general of Akana’s father. He demanded that the boy proclaim him emperor. In the face of the crushing weight of the rebel armies, the boy retreated to his ancestral lands leaving the spoils to Marcus and his armies. Marcus’ rule was harsh. He stripped most of the nobles and loyal families of their lands and exiled them. Their peasants became landless and their loyal warriors became masterless wanderers and criminals. As the boy became a man, forces rallied behind him. Nobles and Lords begged him to return the glory of his father, and fight for his right to rule from his father's throne. Akana and his armies in recent summers have managed to retake much of his former kingdom. All from the ancient and powerful seat of kings built by his ancestors. For many summers now, only Akana stood against the usurper, only the walls of his castle, Sciath's Reach, stood between Marcus’ complete rule of the land. My master, on behalf of Akana was a constant thorn in Marcus’ side. He protected the young lord from the assassins that the warlord would send. My master was alone in his efforts, without the support and protection of a clan, and he trained me to be his successor. A second generation to guard our Lord from attacks.
A Nightwatch learns to not question, but one question was more troublesome during my training than any other. The question of my ancestors. I asked my master one evening after meditation, "Who is my father?"
I could not see his eyes for his mask but I recognized amusement within them. He replied, "You have never asked this before, little bird."
"I beg to know. I want to know the names of my ancestors."
"You do not ask the right question. Ask correctly and I will tell you."
This caught me off guard. I stammered, "Do you--?"
"Do not be hasty! Consider your wording; consider what it is you really wish to understand. It is not only your father you seek to know. It is yourself. I shall answer your question when you word it properly. It is as much a part of your training as anything else I teach you."
I went to ponder his words and actions and after a time I soon forgot the question. Training consumed my life. It was a daily mental and physical spectacle. Every waking moment held a lesson for me. Lessons of agility. Endurance. Patience. Stamina. All under the watchful eye of my master and all taught with the tutelage of pain. Summers later, as I neared the end of my training, my sixteenth summer, the same questions reared their head and settled foremost in my mind.
One day after our evening meal, I steeled myself to ask again. I prepared my words carefully and listened so as not to miss any nuances within my master’s words.
I asked, "Honorable and august teacher, I still have questions."
"I will answer them should they prove worthy."
"Are you my father?"
I expected repercussions for this wording. Instead, he placed his hand on my shoulder and replied, "No. Although you would be a welcome son."
His response pleased me so I pressed farther, "Does my father still live?"
My master stiffened at this question and said, "That matters little, my bird. Your duty to him, the honor you bring his name, would be a comfort to him alive or dead."
"And--?" I was seeking more. His answers did not deter my curiosity.
"I have said enough. Your ancestors are an old and illustrious clan; you honor them as they do you." My greatest efforts could not pry more information out of him.
More seasons passed, and many attacks came upon us. As an enemy of the warlord, we were often the focus of reprisals. A day before my master fell, we sat in meditation on the front patio of our sanctuary.
"Listen, Little Bird, to the rain," he began, but stopped short and stiffened. My sensei tensed, and whispered to me in a battle language that only we share, "Rainfall on cloth."
The sentence was simple and direct but I caught all of the implications. We were about to be attacked. I raised myself into a crouched position and my master drew his sword half out of the scabbard. He made a sniffing noise and whispered, "Six men." Sweat beaded on my forehead and I heard footfalls on the thatch roof that could be mistaken for raindrops. My master reached back and pulled his mask over his face. The black cloth, with the features of a fox painted onto the fabric, always intimidated foes and allies alike. He claimed that our mask imbued the wearer with supernatural abilities; the spirits empowered us as we fought.
Our enemies chose this moment to attack. They came from every angle in a blaze and fury of weapons and fist. My teacher’s movements as he danced around the assassins were beautiful. The blade of my master’s sword became the judgment of the spirits sending four of the assassins down the narrow path. I dispatched the other two with relative ease. As we stood ready for another attack, I wondered why such a small force came to assassinate my master. After what seemed like hours, my master finally breathed normally and relaxed; relaxed as much as a Nightwatch can. He ripped the shirt off the nearest corpse and exposed the sign of their clan. The tattoo on the man’s chest showed a serpent entwining itself around a blood red rose.
Nameless warriors for a nameless clan. I did not recognize the tattoo, but surely, my master did. He gave no sign one way or the other. He must have seen it before, just as he saw the storm to come, the clouds stirring dark and foreboding. He knew the red tide that threatened to engulf our home. For it was then that he sent me away to the stream, to the salmon weir. He told me that we needed to lay in fish for the coming winter. Now, I know it was to escape the crimson rain that was to come.
As I search our hidden cave, it brings me back to the present. When the assassins found our sanctuary, they undermined the security of our home. I cannot leave it bare to our enemies lest it give up any of my master’s secrets. The fire was glorious. It consumed all. All except the Wolf’s Blade, the last vestige of my master’s family line, and the scroll, his last message to our Lord. I would need the blade’s purity and strength for the coming journey.
I understand he meant to spare me, but did he think that he also shamed me? A shame that might only be washed away by service to our Lord, to fulfill my master's oath. I vowed to choose the path of duty and honor above the path of vengeance. I would honor my master, my father, and my clan.


-End

Hope you enjoyed. If you like please follow the link at the beginning of the post and check out the novella on Amazon.

As always, if you have enjoyed this, please like, share, +1, etc...

Thanks.

-Anthony-

Monday, October 13, 2014

A is For Akana

Welcome to my first post for the A-Z challenge blogging challenge. We begin with A is For Akana.

Today, I will be discussing the character of Akana from my serial novella, To Tread the Narrow Path. To be honest, I had debated on topics. I almost went with Allison from my upcoming novel Lighthouse on the Edge of Forever, but in the end I wanted to talk about Akana. Especially since the current installment of the novella, The Boy Who Would be Emperor, is from his perspective.

If you are reading the serial, then I hope you will gain some insight into Akana's character and motives. If you haven't read it yet, I will do my best to keep this post spoiler free and provide you with some of the back story to Akana outlined in the book. If I do inadvertently give away some plot points, I apologize in advance.

Before I can get into Akana, I need to talk a little about the roots of the story itself. As I mentioned in my interview (you can read it here) with the fantastic Eric E. McClure, this story started as a short story based on Japan during the transition between the feudal era and the shogunate, circa 1600. It was only when I wanted to expand the story beyond what history tells us about the events surrounding the fall of the imperium, that I rewrote it to a fantasy novella.

Armed with the following information, you will see a bit more of the character of Akana. He is based on the historical figure Toyotomi Hideyori. Hideyori was the son of the general that unified Japan. He was around five when his father died. One of the regents, Tokugawa Ieyasu, led a successful rebellion against Hideyori's forces in 1600. Tokugawa left Hideyori alive and in an arranged marriage in hopes of mitigating any grumblings amongst the people at the downfall of Hideyori's armies. As he grew Hideyori became a presence in the political game again and Tokugawa felt the need to eliminate the remnants of the old establishment. In 1615 a final battle was fought between the armies at the ancestral castle at Osaka. Hideyori's armies suffered a huge defeat at the hands of Tokugawa.

My original draft had some fictional characters interacting with historical figures and wove in and out of the events recorded in history. When I decided to expand upon the story, I deviated from the historical account as my story grew beyond its original scope. As I evolved Hideyori into Akana, as I changed the setting from Japan to a fictional world, the character became his own person. Akana's motivations and thoughts evolved beyond the weight and pressure of writing a fictional account of a historical person. I was given freedom to develop him into a completely new person.

That's not to say that the kernel of the original character didn't still play into his internal workings. I've kept a lot of the back story. Akana is the son of a beloved Emperor and his father passes away when he is nine years old. The rebellion in my story has been brewing before the transition of power, but it is only after Akana's coronation that it threatens the empire.

Akana is driven by his desire for unification of the clans. He will do anything to ensure the survival of the Empire in the face of the rebellion. His installment in the novella, The Boy Who Would be Emperor, weaves in and out of the events of the first two pieces of the book. His tale in the novella is all about his journey and his actions to save his kingdom.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into the character of Akana. If you're interested in the story I encourage you to check out the novella on Amazon.

As always, if you enjoyed, please like, share, +1, etc...

Thanks.

-Anthony

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Update- 10.06.2014

Welcome back. This is my update post to kick off the month.
For the details of all of my current projects, you can click here to read my initial month one update. That should give you all the info you need to be up to date on my stuff.
To Tread the Narrow Path:
For details on this WIP, you can refer to my Published Works page. Book III- The Tale of the Boy Who Would be Emperor is now half way complete with Parts One and Two out for it. In the next few weeks, stay tuned for the third and fourth installments to go live. Currently the novella is available on Amazon with all of the installments up to date for only $0.99. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out.
There isn't much else to update about my works in progress, but I do have an announcement about a different direction I'll be taking with my blog, at least for a short while.
I am going to be using an idea I saw on some other writer's blogs and pages (i.e. shamelessly stealing). The extremely talented writers that I have seen do this successfully are Angel Blackwood and Angie Grigaliunas.
You can find out more about them at the following-
Follow/Like Angel Blackwood on Facebook
Follow/Like Angie Grigaliunas on Facebook and read her blog
I will be doing the A-Z blogging challenge. Angel's can be found on her Facebook page and Angie's can be found on her blog. I highly recommend giving the two of them a like on Facebook. Good things are going to come from that corner of the web. I guarantee it.
The concept is that I will take a letter of the alphabet and pick a topic that corresponds to that letter that relates to my stories or to my writing. I've enjoyed reading what Angel and Angie have been writing about and I'm looking forward to seeing what I come up with.
I will be continuing the scheduled post that I've been doing, so you will still see an update post the first week of the month and an excerpt post on the third. The second and forth weeks will be given over to the A-Z challenge.
I will also be doing the A-Z challenge on my fatherhood blog, The Dad's Eye View, but post over there will be less frequent then over here.
If you have a topic or question that you want covered during this challenge, comment below or contact me and I'll try to fit it in.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts about anything I'm working on feel free to drop me a comment here or on the fan page, or you can always message me on another means of contact.

Thanks for reading, please join me next week as we begin the A-Z challenge with the letter A. I have some ideas as to what I'll cover, but as I said above, if you've got anything that you want to see in regards to my writing, drop me a note about it.
If you've enjoyed this please like, share, +1, follow, etc…

Thanks
-Anthony-

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's About Time

I've been promising this post for almost a month, but just haven't gotten around to finishing it. All my Facebook shares about procrastination may have had something to do with the delay. I don't know...

Anyways, I present to you some of my thoughts on time travel-

I love a good time travel story.

I mean, who doesn't?

It's no surprise to me that the most popular Star Trek movies and shows are the time travel stories. At our nature time is a reminder that we are finite beings. We know that at some point our time will run out, and that is the heart of most time travel stories; the desire to manipulate time to extend our own personal time in the universe or to manipulate time to our advantage.

I'd like to talk today about time and time travel as it pertains to narrative devices. First, I need to lay some groundwork. We'll talk about theories, paradoxes, practicality, and all that good stuff.

To begin, let's start with the differing views of spcaetime. To make it simple, there are essentially two views of time that branches out into the others, but lets start with the basics.

You can either view the timeline as a constant or as a variable. That is a simplistic view of the matter at hand, but it works. Either it can be changed or it can't. Everything stems from that.
Viewing time as a linear constant lends itself to different types of paradoxes, but let's begin with the basics. Those that accept the concept of linear singular time believe that the past, present, and future are constants. The past cannot be changed because, well simply stated, it is the past. Working within this theory, you find yourself coming upon the Bootstrap Paradox (coined by the great Robert Heinlein). The Bootstrap paradox is defined as a self sustaining timeline. Objects from the future become their own precedents in the past.
The Terminator is a great example of the Bootstrap Paradox. The elements and origin of Skynet were birthed from the Terminator sent back in time. Skynet essentially created itself. Another example from pop culture is the TV show Futurama. In a time travel episode, one of the characters, through a series a misadventures, becomes his own grandfather. 
In a singular time system, there is no question about if the chicken or the egg came first. 
A time traveler in a singular timeline could not alter the past or the future, only experience it.
On the other side of the temporal coin is the multiverse, or many worlds theory. This one has been utilized by the comics industry for decades. Marvel and DC go a little overboard with it sometimes. What with all the alternate versions of all their characters running around. It's enough to make your head spin sometimes. The basic gist of this outlook comes down to every choice you can ever make actually happens, but because our finite minds we can only see one reality.
If you've ever seen the show Sliders, you have a pretty good understanding of the multiverse.
Imagine every choice that could ever happen creates a branch in the timeline. Going to the past or to the future can change the branch that you observe.
Back to the Future is another good example of divergent timelines. Marty and Doc are able to alter their branch of time based on their actions the past. 
I know a lot of what I've said in this post is simplified, but I wanted to keep it very basic. I wanted to share this as a tool for readers and writers.
Ideas and theories to keep in mind the next time you pick up a story involving time travel.
If you want to understand more I encourage you to read any of Brian Greene's books on temporal theories.
If I've made a mistake, please correct me in the comments or send me a note on the contact page.
Thanks for reading. Please share, like, +1, etc...
-Anthony

Monday, September 15, 2014

Excerpt- 9.15.2014

It's an excerpt week. Today I'm going to be sharing something from a short story collection that I am putting together. The following is the first half of a short story that will be the first in the collection. I wrote the first draft of this recently in a writing sprint with some fellow writers. It is based partly upon my years spent riding public transit in Atlanta to classes downtown.

The collection is untitled, but the short story is titled Albatross.

I hope you enjoy, and please comment below or contact me if you have any questions or comments.


Excerpt from Albatross-

I dozed as my head lay back on the seat, swaying in time with the rhythmic thumps of the train car. My evening commute from classes in downtown Atlanta each evening. Our mass transit system, may not be the cleanest, or the most efficient, but it gets me where I need to go. My route, the East line out of town to the Kensington station, usually went without incident. Only once have I overslept and woken up at the end of the Blue Line. That will never happen again.

I actually enjoy the downtime after classes on my way back to the suburbs. I get to reset and be thoughtless while a panorama of skyscrapers, tunnels, and graffiti speed past. I usually manage to get the same seat, in the same car without any other passengers to bother me. Unlike the morning commute into the city when I am bustled up against all of the worker bees pushing and fighting their way into the city. Only at night, when I'm alone am I free of that mold.

Tonight started no differently than any other. My laptop bag in my lap, the strap wound around my arm three times, because, I am alone, and this is still Atlanta after all. I woke slightly and peeked around as the train decelerated. I could tell by the buildings outside that this was only the second stop. I sat up and stretched upwards hearing a crack coming from my neck. As I leaned my head against the window, I took notice of a man dressed in a ratty faded trench coat enter the car.

Drugs or bootleg movies, I wondered. Occasionally, I would have to fend off offers of narcotics and pirated DVD's. I bought one once and quickly realized why it only cost me five dollars. I quickly assumed my "not interested" pose of looking off into the distance and refusing to make eye contact.

I swore under my breath as the man approached. He paused as the train lurched forward and started moving again. Making its way to the next station. He continued to shamble forward, gripping the handle on the seat backs, one after another, almost like he was trying to climb a ladder.

I again averted my eyes and fidgeted as I forced myself to keep from looking at the stranger. I watched his reflection in the window pane and could now see his face clearly. Wrinkles that long sense have become canyons wound across his face and around his deep set eyes. He paused at my seat and I steeled myself to refuse any offer he might come up with. As I twisted in my seat to face him, he sat down and procured a beaten and worn leather bound book from somewhere within his coat.

He knows I'm a student and wants to sell me a book in hopes that it's worth something, I thought.

"Sorry," I put my hands out and gently pushed at the book. "I'm not interested." He cackled and smiled showing at least three teeth missing.

"Sorry!?" He squinted at me with his left eye closed. "Sorry," he said again quieter, "my boy. I am in need of your help. My time grows near and I must be going soon. I have been following you for quite some time and think you are ready."

"Ready for what?" I wished I sat closer to the emergency call button, and contemplated leaping over the seat and making a run for the end of the car.

"For the book, of course." He handed me the book and I could not make out the faded inscription on the cover or spine. He grasped my hands and held them onto the book, a bit more forcefully than I expected from him. The callouses on his hands grated on my skin. "I have recorded from the tome for quite some time, but I am getting too frail to keep it at bay. You, dear boy, are capable of becoming a Cranic."

"A what?" I laughed a little, yanked my hands away, and pushed further away.

"A Cranic. It means recorder, but there is little time and we must begin soon." He pushed the book into my lap. I laughed again, feeling a dryness take hold in my throat. He seemed different than the usual crazies on the train, and he also seemed more determined.

"Okay, what do you need me to do?" I hoped I could placate him.

"Don't patronize me," he shouted as his right hand struck my face. I could taste copper in my mouth and wondered if I was bleeding. I started to stand up and put my hands on his shoulders to push past him, but before I could do so he placed a hand on the center of my chest and I felt paralyzed. Unable to stand or look away I started to feel sweat bead up on my back and the hairs stand on the back of my neck. He looked at me again with his one eyed squint and said, "Sorry, you know, for the inconvenience, but you are being might y stubborn, you know. Not that I blame you entirely. I understand that I appear a might on the loopy side of things, but I have need of you and the fate of the world depends on it."

He removed his hand from my chest, but I still could not move. He began to mumble as he caressed the cover of the book, but I could not understand any of his words. Finally, he began to speak louder, but it seemed to be to no one in particular.

"Yes. He's the one. He will do fine." His eyes darted back and forth as if there was another in the train car with us. "He just needs to be shown." His conversation apparently over with the unseen listener, he focused his attention once again on me. "Listen, my boy, there is a great and terrible world beyond our own. A world of dreams and nightmares come to life. A long time ago, this realm was corrupted by a darkness. None know the truth behind it, but this darkness poisoned a realm of dreams and awakened a deep hunger that desires to devour our world. It threatens to break through, but there are those chosen to battle it. Chosen to hold it back and keep this world in the light." He paused to take a breath and coughed. I saw specks of blood on his hand that he quickly wiped onto his coat.

"I am one of those chosen to protect the world of the waking, and I am at the end of my path. I must choose another to carry this burden for me and I believe it to be you." He tapped me again on the chest and I felt my body unhinge and coil, prepared to run. He held his hands up and leaned away from me and said, "You may refuse. I am willing to take that chance, but time is short and I will only ask two things of you. Two things only." He tapped the book with a long bony finger and continued in a whisper, "Hear my story, and open the book. Once that is done, all will be explained. Can you do that for me?"

"Sure. Just a story and a book, right?" I pressed myself back against the window, wondering if I could sneak my hand inside my bag and rummage for my cell.

"Wonderful," he smiled, "Let's begin." He placed his hand on the cover of the book and began pry it open. He grunted and strained as if pulling a massive weight until finally the book lay open before us.

"Umm, there's nothing on the page, I said. I laughed and swallowed hard to push down the lump rising in my throat.

"Not yet, my boy. Not yet. First, I've got to tell you a story." His eyes, only now did I notice the lack of color, never left mine and I found myself locked into his gaze, unable to look away. "My name," he continued, "My name is unimportant, but what is important is my story." My eyes shifted down and watched his lips move. I began to anticipate the words before he spoke and found myself rocking in rhythm with the cadence of his voice.

"I've been a recorder for many-a-year. I can't remember how long now, which was the first sign that I needed to find you. Keeping so many stories in your head will do that to you. Too many strands too keep track of. Our minds are not limitless, you know." He reached up a hand and absently wiped flecks of spittle and blood from the corner of his mouth.

"I was a young man, just like you, when I started. A man, just as I appear now, approached me and scared me to death. Jumped out of an alleyway, he did." He raised his arms and shook his hands in front of my face, before clasping them once again over the open book. "Our run in, all those years ago was not very dissimilar to this encounter, but it was necessary. Life hangs in the balance. The universe hangs in the balance. We are at a tipping point, my boy, and you are part of the machine that will keep our world in the light for a little longer."

-End


Hope you liked. I'm pulling this and other stories together and hope to have the collection out next year.

Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed, please like, share, +1, etc...

-Anthony

If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out the  copyright page.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Update- 9.1.2014

Welcome back. This is my update post to kick off the month. Not too much to share, but there is some progress on my WIPs.

For the details of all of my current projects, you can click here to read my initial month one update. That should give you all the info you need to be up to date on my stuff.


To Tread the Narrow Path:
For details on this WIP, you can refer to my Published Works page. I took a little break in between the first half and the second. I treated it like short break for the summer and I am considering it analogous to the return of the Fall TV season. The first installment of Book III just went live last week. Currently the novella is available on Amazon with all of the installments up to date for only $0.99. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out.

Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever:
I've outlined Lighthouse out to book three. Getting ready to kick into a more concentrated writing mode on this one as Narrow Path approaches the end.


In other news, I was interviewed last week by the extremely talented Eric E. McClure on his Facebook page (check it out to find the interview). Fun was had by all (at least I hope).


Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts about anything I'm working on feel free to drop me a comment here or on the fan page, or you can always message me on another means of contact.

Thanks for reading, please join me next week wherein I'm going to be talking about time and temporal theories and how they affect fiction.

If you've enjoyed this please like, share, +1, follow, etc…

Thanks


-Anthony-

Monday, August 25, 2014

Metafiction and the Cry of the Human Heart

I've written about this topic before, a long time ago, so some of my older friends may recognize the gist of what I'm going to be talking about in this post. This is a topic I love to talk and debate about when it comes to critical reading of fiction.

Metafiction

That is a cool word. The technical definition essentially states, that it is a work of fiction that the author alludes or draws attention to the work's status as an artifact.

To boil it down, it is fiction about fiction. Plain and simple.

Here are a few of my favorite examples (some may consider some of these spoilers, if you haven't read them yet, so be warned):
-A story within a story- Or in the case of Hamlet, a play within a play.
-Breaking the fourth wall- Classic Deadpool from Marvel Comics
-Characters becoming aware that their actions are being directed by a narrator- Stranger Than Fiction
-A character reading a book that becomes reality- The Neverending Story
-Characters meeting the author of their story- The Dark Tower

These are a very sparse example of metafiction techniques used in works of fiction, but average readers are usually remember the examples that bend the rules of the fictional universe and have the characters questioning the line between fiction and reality. It's those stories that I'd like to talk about today. My upcoming novel, Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever will incorporate metafictive techniques, so this is also a shameless plug for my next project.

Why do we love to read stories like this? What is it that draws us in and captivates us about these types of tales?

In his book Epic, John Eldredge talks about how humanity is drawn to fiction because we subconsciously we desire to be part of a greater story, we are all part of a great epic.

Pursuing that train of thought, I would ask, why in post modern literature, has the metafictive technique become more widespread? Especially the extreme cases in which the line between fiction and reality are bent. Why are we as readers and writers desiring to blend that line between reality and fiction.

I would like to springboard from Eldredge's concept and say that the same train of thought applies to metafiction. I believe that not only do we desire to be part of a greater story, I believe that deep down we know that we are part of a great epic. I believe the each of us knows subconsciously that we are a cog in the great narrative of the universe. I believe our desire to read about stories that bend the rules and break the fourth wall stem, from this knowledge that we exist in a story.

Now this all may just be a result of me taking too many Lit classes beating ideas into my addled brain or a result of my Christianity and my belief that the universe is a love letter to humanity, but I believe that this goes beyond beliefs and religions. I believe that metafiction is a result of a cry from the human heart. It is our desire to be part of the grand epic, the ultimate narrative.

We write and read metafiction because it taps into that part of our consciousness. The Collective Uncsiousness, as Carl Jung stated.

Like calls out to like. Art is imitating life. Or if you want to get really meta about it, just think that we are characters in a book and all the metafiction being written is just because that's the way we are being written.

Thanks for bearing with me through this.

If you enjoyed please like, share, subscribe, +1, etc...

-Anthony

Oh and here's Keanu, as promised-

Makes you think...