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Monday, August 29, 2011

Time to Start Reading Book Two

Irene may have wiped out power to me and 80% of the metro area in which I reside*, but, dammit, I'm posting the links for Lords of Kobol - Book Two: Descent!

Book One: Apotheosis was an introduction to the world, familiarizing the reader with the gods and life on Kobol, while also telling the story of the Thirteenth Tribe.  Now, in Book Two: Descent, we flash back thousands of years to see where the Olympians originated and how they came to have dominion over mankind.  We also find out about the Draco and what, exactly, Prometheus did to become so hated.  And we also set the stage for Book Three: The Final Exodus.

A few of my favorite bits: the Great Flood, Hera & the fork, Zeus' discovery of Prometheus' deeds, the chapter titled "The Olympians" and meeting Stephen Acastus.

I hope you relish it as much as I.  DOWNLOAD IT HERE!

* - Down to 60% today, but still not including my domicile, therefore I'm typing to you from a Burger King.  Have it your way.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Two Preview

About a week and change away from me putting Book Two: Descent up for everyone's enjoyment.  If Book One was the slow burn introduction to the world, then Book Two is the roller coaster that ramps everything up.  You get to see the emotional beginnings of the Lords' reign over Kobol, what Prometheus did and there's action galore.

If you've read Book One (and if you haven't, what are you waiting for?), you've already had a taste of a bunch of these things.

Like emotion and Prometheus:

"You must listen …" Leto's voice trailed off as she looked around the room.  She glanced toward the acolytes, pursed her mouth in disgust and then looked back at the bleary-eyed deity, "… to Prometheus."

"Prometheus?!"  Zeus angrily leapt to his feet and kicked a large pillow across the room.  Immediately, he stumbled, catching himself on the back of a chair.  "Prometheus is a traitor and a … Whatever fate awaits him, he deserves worse!"

Leto was nonplussed, "Zeus, please."

Somewhere on the table, a communications device began to beep.  He reached over to the table and picked up the earpiece, holding it aloft.  "You want me to tell Ares to stop?  You want me to listen to Prometheus?"

Leto's face became loving and calm.  She nodded slowly.  "Yes.  Please."  She knelt before him and took his hand in hers.  "Do it for me."

Zeus regarded her for a moment.  Her eyes were moist and wide.  Her skin was familiar and alluring.  She rubbed his fingers gently and pressed her chest against his legs and looked even more deeply into his eyes.  He felt warm inside.  A warmth unlike anything he had felt in almost ten years. 

He blinked once and then he pressed the 'off' button on the device.  He felt a gastrointestinal burning that welled into the back of his throat.  He swallowed it back and glared at Leto.  "Have you lost your mind?"

"No," she said, shaking her head as she stood.

"Have you somehow forgotten what he did?"

And action:

Smoke rose from emerald green grass.  Gleaming armor merged with dark soil and darker blood in craters.  Ares' soldiers lay about the field missing limbs.  Arrows dotted the shields of those still standing.  To the south, Zeus looked and he saw tens of thousands of men clad in armor and red cloth.  Their banners bore dragons and their faces wore rage. 

The Aetos hovered lower still and a few arrows whispered past.  Zeus pulled his sword, leapt from the wing and landed on the ground meters below.  His armor crunched and slowly he stood.  The enemy crowded around and he lunged at the first few who foolishly dared to challenge him.  His glinting steel sword tore through their armor like paper and their blood sprayed into the air.  More came toward him and he threw his blade into the chest of a large berserker.  As that warrior fell, Zeus pulled his staff from his shield and jabbed it toward three swordsmen.  Electricity arced from its tip and shook them into unconsciousness.

How about some more action?  Fresh stuff from Book Two:

“Let’s see if we can kill another one of their gods,” Kaladen said.  “Light it.”  He looked behind him and watched as a torch was brought to the tar-covered rope winding about the outside of the sphere.  Once he saw the flame take hold, he stepped back, holding the rope trigger.  “Fire!” 

With a quick jerk, the basket lifted up and tossed the smoldering shot into the air.  Two hundred meters away, he saw it land very near Artemis, where it exploded.  Kaladen and his sappers cheered as the smoke engulfed her form.  Moments later, a breeze came and blew the cloud away from her and Kaladen saw an arrow leaving her bow aimed right at him.

He froze.  A moment later, a white and golden dart tore through the meat where his shoulder met his neck.  He toppled onto the ground and he clasped the wound, looking around for help. 

“You’ve been shot by a god!” his companion said.  

And some pathos:

“You should come,” his wife said.

Polykures shook his head.  “No.  The messenger was clear.  Some should evacuate and the rest should stay behind.  We can’t allow the heathens to think any substantial portion of our people has escaped.”

She hugged him and pulled their young child toward his father’s leg.  “You’re not coming, daddy?”

Polykures bent down and hugged the boy.  “No, son.  You’re going with your mother.  And … you must remember to speak the new words we taught you, right?”  The boy nodded.  He kissed the child’s forehead and bit the inside of his lip.  He didn’t want to cry and upset his son any further.

He stood and looked at his wife.  She, too, was struggling to maintain her composure.  “May the One bless you.”

Polykures smiled and hugged her tightly.  “You, as well.  Bless your long journey.” 

She turned and climbed into the cart.  After she positioned herself against the wall, Polykures hoisted the boy with a cartoonish grunt and a tickling pinch.  He cackled and smiled.  The mother took the child and held him tightly.  Polykures stepped back from the cart and watched other families endure the same painful sundering.

The cart left a few minutes later.  He and several dozen residents of Gortyn trudged absent-mindedly through the brambles toward the town.  They all had sent some of their families away.  Many were staying behind to maintain an illusion for the invaders.  They knew it was suicide.

More answers will be provided, a few more questions posed, but, more importantly, the stage is set for The Final Exodus in Book Three.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding the Right Eagle

If I hit a writing wall, I've found that creating some sort of art or something related to that world helps unblock me.  Like a literary laxative.  (See Visual InspirationMapping Kobol or Mapping the City of the Gods.)

Also, when you're making a book, it helps to have a cover image.  I knew early on that I wanted some variation on the "eagle" seen frequently in the seals and symbols of the Colonies on BSG.

Like this one.

I tried to find a "clean" one so I could do with it what I willed.  Not easy.  Also, and this is about as anal retentive as it gets, it was important to me that there were twelve "wings" or "feathers" or whatever on the symbol.  Most of the ones you see only have ten.  I wanted twelve for obvious symbolism.

So, after much searching, I came across the PROPWORX website, which has a wealth of photos of props, costumes and more.  It was there that I found these decals:

Boom.  Right-click and 'save as.'  The fact that it's a picture of the decal gives it a texture and detail that I'm too unskilled to try and do in Photoshop.  Also, thankfully, the watermark didn't cover the whole thing.

Once I cleaned it up and got it isolated, I started changing the colors to match the themes I wanted to establish for each book.

This is for Book One - Apotheosis.  The yellow (or gold) represents the pinnacle of civilization that the gods had on Kobol.  The beginning of the book is the end of that time and the golden age will tarnish soon.

This is for Book Two - Descent (available for download in early September).  The red represents blood and boy-howdy do you get it in spades.  I can't wait for you guys to see the badassery.

This is for Book Three - The Final Exodus (due in early October).  It's gray to represent ash; after all, humanity can't escape a "Blaze" without stuff getting burned, right?

This one is blue.  Hmm.  What's this for?  Curious ...

(PS: If you're wondering why this eagle shape became a symbol of Kobol (and the Colonies thereafter), I'll give you a hint: "Aetos."  If you've read Book One, you'll recognize that.  Stronger hints will come in Book Two.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Answers, Part I

Thanks to all who downloaded the book for free HERE.  Please, go there and download it yourself.

Thank you also to those of you who emailed and tweeted me.  I appreciate the responses and will address your concerns right here.

If you haven't read Lords of Kobol - Book One: Apotheosis, stop reading this, go to paragraph one and click that link.  Feel free to come back when you've read it.

If you've read it, let us JUMP.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time to Start Reading

The day is here.  I've been waiting for it quite a while, but some of you may have, too.  The novels are all done and you can start by reading Apotheosis for free.

Yes.  Free.

Before the link, two things.  One, if you haven't seen all of the episodes of BSG, you may not want to click the link.  There are some spoilers, but mostly I believe you just won't get much of it or get as much out of it.  Two, before you start reading, get yourself into the right head space by reading/listening to the pseudo-preview video I made HERE.

Now, the book.  It's available in multiple formats at the awesome Smashwords.


Download, read it and let me know what you think.  If you like it, let other BSG fans know.  I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rejection & Release

Here's the timeline of my writing Lords of Kobol: Sep. 2009 - started, June 2010 - finished, July 2010 through Oct. 2010 - edited and re-edited, Nov. 2010 through Mar. 2011 - re-read and re-wrote, Mar. 2011 - sent it off to a publisher.

Now.  Which publisher?  Going by Amazon and other retailers, there seem to have been only three BSG "expanded universe" novels: Unity, The Cylons' Secret: Battlestar Galactica 2 and Sagittarius Is Bleeding: Battlestar Galactica 3.  These were all published by Tor Books, with the latest one being published in 2007.  Here's my thinking: only three EU novels?  Given how little I had heard about them or seen them in stores, I have to wonder if they sold that well.  This stuff is all Obstacle One.

Obstacle Two would be the fact that the show itself ended in Spring 2009, its spinoff show was canceled in its first season in Winter 2010 and I'm sending in the first part of a proposed trilogy (not even about the most popular characters) in Spring 2011?  Business-wise, it doesn't make much sense.

Obstacle Three is a long shot, but possible.  Fans of Star Wars may know that, on occasion, George Lucas will say a certain portion of time or a certain character or event is off limits to EU authors and plots because he wants to explore them himself later on.  Again, long shot, but it's possible that Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, et al, said the same thing about the ancient days on Kobol.  Also, it's possible that my ... decision regarding the nature of the Lords conflicts with some super-secret edict about them.

Obstacle Four is a simple matter of self-deprecation.  I'm a no-name, first-time author who dares think I can unravel and map out centuries of complex events that fans have pondered on their own for years.  Well, yeah.  I dared.  (Believe me, I have a damned low self-esteem, but even I think I pulled it off.)

Point being, I didn't really think I had a shot.  Suspicions were confirmed in early July when the rejection letter came in the mail.  "We are sorry to say that it is not right for us at this time," it stated in its decidedly form-like manner.

Man, this is a lot of text.  How about a picture?

Aww.  Cute lil' Hitler Kitten.

So, yeah.  Rejected.

After that, I toyed with the idea of getting an agent to press my case and get the thing in print.  I did some research, made a few pointless calls ... I dropped it.

I came to the conclusion that it would be easier and probably even better if I released Lords of Kobol on my own.  Now, I can't charge for it, lest I enrage the hordes of lawyers sitting beneath Universal Studios, gnawing on the marrow of their previous victims.  That's fine, though.  I give away these books and, maybe, when I publish stuff that is truly my own, the fans I've gathered will be willing to plop down a couple of bucks.  Maybe.

Long story short (too late), I'm publishing Lords of Kobol myself.  Tomorrow, you'll be able to download it here.