World Map Unlocked!

Or found rather! On my hard-drive. This is a few years old at this point, leftover from my Lodestar campaign. Some of the names have changed in Spell/Sword, and the locations shifted slightly [mainly because a lot of them are from other stories and intellectual properties. Some from homage, some just because I was lazy.]– but for those of you wondering what else is out there in Aufero, here’s a reasonably accurate peek.

Artist - W. Steven Carroll
Artist – W. Steven Carroll

Click to see real honkin’ big version.

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Michael’s Blurb

 

My fandom is very small. A hardened band of adventurers, rogues, miscreants, and malcontents. AKA mostly my friends and the few poor strangers who’ve stumbled into the books online. They are not a forgiving sort – what they like they tell me. What they hate they INSCRIBE IN THE DARK BOOK OF TORMENT. [The Dark Book of Torment is my anxiety riddled ego.]

But among this rabble, there is one person that I truly answer to. My Core Demographic, as a refer to him. It should come as no surprise that My Core Demographic is an eleven-year-old kid.  When others complained about the lag waiting for ‘The Riddle Box’ to come out, I ignored their pleas. When Michael took me to a nice dinner of hot wings and soda to take me to task for my sloth, I was shaking in my boots. In desperate panic, I gave him what I had – the first three chapters of Book Two. I waited by the phone, by my email, by the window to hear his response. If I ever lose Michael, I might as well pack-in this whole silly affair.

At last he has responded!

mikeI was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the first three chapters of The Riddle Box. After reading Spell/Sword, I was looking forward to finding out where Rime and Jonas’ journeys would take them next. Adams did not disappoint! After a long trek, we catch back up with Rime and Jonas at the home of Lord Bellweather. Their arrival coincides with a murder at the home, and Rime and Jonas set about trying to unravel the mystery. The first three chapters kept me engaged and curious. I was drawn in by the very first page. One of my favorite aspects of Adams’ writing is the way I instantly care about and am interested in the characters’ fates. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time wondering which paths Adams will take with these characters. If you love fantasy or mystery – or if you’re just in the mood for a good, fun read- The Riddle Box is for you!

Michael Niedzwiecki-Castile, age 11

Now that’s a freaking blurb! With better grammar than I usually muster!

I am beyond relieved that Michael enjoyed the first three chapters – and I understand he received the full book as a Christmas present and has already devoured it. I can only hope that I will be summoned to another eldritch feast in his court to discuss his thoughts and responses to the entire novel.

Spell/Sword and The Riddle Box can be found on Amazon for purchasing with money. They are .99 on Kindle, substantially more for paperback. Free [!] on Kindle Unlimited.

End of Year Shareholder Meeting 2014 – Location: My Head

shareholder

[The following is the transcript of a recording smuggled out on the person of half-orc/goblin J.J. Smith. Mr. Smith did not intend to record the proceedings. He had a new phone and thought he was playing Peggle, but actually activated a recording application. Some of the recording is garbled due to Mr. Smith’s unfortunate habits of humming to himself, prolonged burping, and atonal flatulence.]

G. Derek Adams: Okay, everyone take a seat so we can — so we can get started.

[milling around noises, wooden chair legs scraping on floor]

GDA: Okay, are we all settled?

Izus Torrossian: I don’t want to sit down. It’s too far away from the doughnuts.

GDA: Goddamn it, Izus. Would you please just sit the fuck down?

IT: Here? Or here? Is here good?

GDA: Just sit. Sit. Sit! NO. In the chair, don’t spin it around like you’re Fonzie.

Rime Korvanus: I don’t think Fonzie ever sat that way.

GDA: Not … literally. Okay. Okay, fine. Sit however you want.

IT: Thank you, m’lord.

Brian Cactus: Heh, heh.

Jonas: That guy is cool.

Xenon: Meh.

IT: I am, like, so cool.

Sideways: Ironic high-five!

[A loud smack of palms. Various laughter and groans from the assembly.]

GDA: This is it. This is my nightmare. It’s like teaching high school all over again. I’m going to take a breath and then we’re going to get started.

Linus: I hope [XXXXgarbledhummingXXXXX] the severity of this meeting. It has been a long year. I have concerns. I know the rest of you do as well.

[Awkward coughs. Shifting of wooden chair legs. Mr. Smith burps.]

GDA: Thanks you, Linus. Okay. I’ve called you all together here to talk about the past year. Things we accomplished, problems we encountered, and goals for the next year.

RK: [inaudible]..problems.

J: Rime, c’mon.

GDA: AND there will be time where you can just piss and moan at me, but now is not that time. I would especially expect those of you who’ve had a big launch this year to [XXXXXXXXXXXX] back and at least hear me out.

Mallora Crandall: We are listening. You are waving your arms around a lot. This is not a witch hunt—

[Sudden uproar of voices raised in alarm. Heavy feet pound across the room.]

MC: What? What?

BC: Oh yeah, you’re new here.

J: Never ever say – you know – the ‘w’ word.

S: [from a distance] Door’s still locked. I think we’re okay.

IT: Yeah, I think we’re good. She must be occupied elsewhere. We caught a break.

GDA:…[audible gulp]…okay. Okay, good. Don’t stress out about it, Mallora. I can explain a little better after the meeting.

J: Or I can explain it! I’m..uh…really good at explaining. Things.

RK: [audible facepalm]

GDA: Moving on. Look, I think I already know what some of your concerns are. I really didn’t put many of you to work this year. We bought a house, I was really focused on editing ‘The Riddle Box’.

RK: You bought a PlayStation 4.

GDA: That…is…true.

RK: You also spent how many hours at your desk? Just scrolling through the internet? How many hours on your couch watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer?

GDA: I hadn’t seen it before! It was, uh, ‘cultural research’.

RK: You also watched Angel at the same time.

GDA: Uh.

RK: You found a site on the internet that told you how to watch them in the ‘correct’ order. You made a chart to make sure you did it correctly. A chart.

GDA: Well.

RK: [scrape of chair leg, presumably the speaker stood up] And even worse? How many  nights did you lay in your bed, just staring at your phone? Just numbly scrolling. Not interacting or communicating, just moving your thumb? How many?

J: Rime. Ease up, okay?

RK: No. It’s not okay. We have one avenue, one port of entry into this world. And it’s this guy’s head.

S: Not the best head. 6/10. There are better heads out there.

RK: This one breaks a lot. It gets distracted. It always crammed full of sleep and noise. It’s always right on the point of fucking dissolving.

IT: And the drinking! The drinking! Have you given any thought to the drinking? WHY ISN’T THERE MORE OF IT?!?

RK: And don’t think I don’t know why my head is like it is. It’s because you used this dump as a model. This twisty, useless place that–[XXXXXXgarbledflatulenceXXXXXX]..only way. He owes us more.

GDA: Okay. Okay. Point made. I don’t know why I kept expecting someone to have some sympathy or take my side.

L: You only make villains, son. We have our own weight to bear.

GDA: Fair. Look. You are right. I could have done better. I can do better.

J: Yeah!

[awkward silence followed by snickers and hoots]

GDA: Uh, thanks. All that is fair, and I hear you. I will try to do better. But let’s not wallow in it, okay? We’ve done some good work together this  year. We’re chipping away at that wall! I know it’s hard when we only have a few hammers working from this side – but there are more and more people working on it Earth-side. You are in people’s heads! As weird as it sounds, people other than me know about you. Well, most of you.

MC: Hmph.

GDA: That’s how it works. Each person on the other side is like a tiny point of light. Each light a beacon. And slowly as we find new readers, more and more light.

J: Wait, are they hammers or beacons? Because–

All: Shut up,  Jonas!

GDA: And just think, if we keep plugging away. One day you all could be as real as Harry Potter, or Kvothe, or Bilbo Baggins!

X: Or..some goddamn female characters?

GDA: Hermione, Aerin, Arya, Lyra, Lisbeth Salander! Look, I’m working with the same head that you all are. The fact that we made it this far is pretty goddamn amazing. So. Get off my nuts about it is what I’m saying. Rime.

RK: Hey!

GDA: Most of you are going to work on ‘Asteroid Made of Dragons’ – well except you guys who are technically dead. I’ll throw you some work, but you’ll have to disguise yourselves. The rest of you I can at least work on some short stories – give you all a test drive.

Sasparilla O’Shaugnessy: What about me?

GDA: Oh Sasparilla. I think you know that you’re going to be riding the pine a long, long time. Oh Sasparilla!

[Sarcastic laughter from assembly]

GDA: Okay, I think we’re all on the same page now. I know you are the best characters for the job.  Which brings us to the last question: Is it weird that I talk to you guys like this? I mean, it can’t—

[sudden knock at the door]

GDA: Shit! She’s here. Sideways, you get the door. Be polite.

S: Why do I have to do it?

GDA: She likes you!

S:That is a fucking lie. Fine.

[pained silence, the almost silent pad of feet towards the door]

[another knock]

S: Yes? Who is it?

[muffled response]

S: Are you shitting me?

[sounds of door being unlocked]

Dayjen Moore: Oh, hi guys! I thought this meeting was at 2. So! What are we talking about? Hmmm? Oh, I brought sandwiches..but, not enough to share. Unless someone has a knife? We can cut them into tiny sandwich-slivers!

GDA: Jesus Christ, we are fucking doomed.

JingaJang Smith: *BUUURP*.

End of Transcription

Spine of the World

Here it is. The tiny Post-It that keeps my universe knit together.

worldspine

I actually found this when tidying up my desk, I thought I had lost it. It’s not a lot of information, but I wasn’t looking forward to digging through the Lost Scrolls to recreate this. The next book I’ve got a new ‘scholar’ character planned that’s going to finally dish out all the crunchy world information that the kids be craving. There is an internal consistency to the narrative that is very important to me – even though it looks like I’m ignoring it most of the time.

That space in the middle there? That’s where it all goes. The Riddle Box and Asteroid Made of Dragons and however much more I can squeeze in there. Don’t worry, I’ll write small. [on the Post-It.]

I Need Help

front_cover

I need help.

You are my people. You are my ragtag band of adventurers, wizards, lawyers, normal humans, and mutants. And I need your help getting my art out in the world.

Tomorrow is release day for my book, THE RIDDLE BOX. It’s the sequel to that other book I won’t shut up about, SPELL/SWORD. I’m extremely proud of it. Enough so that I’m able to compel myself to do this. To unabashedly ask for help. I’m an indie writer. My books are completely self-published, leaning on my artist friends and my word friends to get me much closer to the professional quality level than I ever could alone. After that I’m the salesman, the marketer, the head of the fan club.

I’m really bad at it. Or rather I’m incredibly eccentric and inconsistent at it. Which amounts to the same thing.

Tomorrow I need your help. If you’re buying the book, I need you to make noise about it. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Ello, on Tumblr. I need you to pester other nerds and readers and reader-nerds. From what I learned on the first book, tomorrow will be the biggest sales day this book may ever have – and the higher we can get in the Amazon rankings, the more it will show up in stranger’s searches and get suggested to other customers that like manticores.

And after that I need you to do more. I need you to write a review. On Amazon, on Goodreads, on your own blog. Anywhere online or in print. The couple of dollars I’m going to get from you for buying the book is FAR outweighed by the value of a review – EVEN IF YOU HATE THE BOOK. it’s a funny thing that whatever made you hate the book may be the very reason that someone else will love it. I love getting 3 star and 4 star reviews – it seems like you are giving me legit criticism, and when outsiders read them it hides the fact that you are all my marauders.

Please help me. My art is weird. I know if we keep at this eventually we’ll tumble into some sort of larger presence on the web and in the genre – or at the very least some literature-archaeologist is going to stumble across the oddest of diamonds in the far flung future.

There are sample chapters of both books here: https://spell-sword.com/buy-the-book/

And the money link to Amazon for the ebook and paperback is here:http://www.amazon.com/Riddle-Box-Spell-Sword-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

[As a reward for reading this far, I’ll let you in on a secret. You can order the Paperback right now. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow if you don’t want to.]

So thank you. I assume you will all now follow my whims like automatons, but thank you anyway. Thank you for reading this far. In this post, and in the books. It means so much to me when I see you guys posting nice things about the book, or commenting on my book related posts, or sending me cool pictures of you and the book in France. Anything and everything you do that shows support is deeply appreciated.

Let’s do it! Please?

Take This Book From Me

pow-hi

I’m giving away 5 free copies of the paperback on Goodreads! The contest ends on release day of 11/26 so get in there now if you’d like a copy. You do have to be a member of Goodreads to enter -but why aren’t you already you book nerd, you?

Feel free to share this around – this is one of the best ways to get some easy publicity on Goodreads and have people add the book to their queue.

Click the cover to go enter!
Click the cover to go enter!