Category Archives: Writer’s Journey

Harbingers of Hope Now Available

Utterly Colossal Epic Fantasy

Another Independence Day and another milestone in indie publishing. The once-and-future epic tale is now back in its original form!

Harbingers of Hope now available on Amazon

Once, It Was a Single Story

What I thought to call Judgement’s Tale when I began chronicling in 2007 was a whopping big yarn. That much, I knew. But as I reeled out the story of Solemn, Treaman, Pol, Anteris, Gareth and many more I started to worry a little. How many pages could one book hold? I made the decision to split the tale into two still-hefty novels, published the first half of the story using the title Judgement’s Tale, and then began working on the conclusion.

That of course was The Eye of Kog. Without even trying, I found I had split the baby right down the middle, as each book is just about 200k words.

But it was always a single story. I wasn’t even fully comfortable calling the second book a sequel.

And now I don’t have to.

No Plan Survives Contact… with the Publisher

The utterly unsinkable Katharina Gerlach made me an offer I could hardly understand, much less refuse, back in 2012. She has guided my publication efforts since then and I have zero complaints. She excels in cover design and remarked from the beginning that the orange-toned original covers of JT and EoK were not fully satisfactory. I kind of liked them, but then I love any present I get. And I’ll always suspect that this newest project of hers came about at least partly because she just wanted to create a new cover.

See below- pretty snazzy, huh?

Oh, and a super-cool map as well! My original efforts done on Campaign Cartographer 2 software made me happy, but the full-color design doesn’t show up in print very well, so Kat came up with a painstaking hand-drawn copy in B&W. It was fine too, but lacking maybe a bit of that Tolkienesque style. But now:

THAT is a map of the Lands, I can tell you! And it should be in the current copy when it hits paperback.

This was always THE tale, the one I felt I had to tell. Judgement never let me alone until I finished it, and yes I DO know how that sounds but it’s the truth.

Take a look and I hope you enjoy. Audiobook fans, I’m hard at work recording this summer and will certainly let you know once it’s done. Maybe I’ll do one of those progress tracker deals…

Harbingers of Hope

After two millennia of peace the relentless war between Hope and Despair flares again. With the innocent in peril, can raw unproven heroes resist immortal foes?

Treaman lives for the thrill of adventure. Guiding a group of enterprising companions, he’d put his life on the line for any of them. But when the adventurers become lost in a land tainted by the growing curse of Despair, he fears his leader’s mission is destined to end in failure and death.

Solemn Judgement will never see his homeland again. Brought to unfamiliar shores, Solemn burns any chance of return along with his boat and his father’s body, before setting out to seek his purpose. But the determined young orphan has no idea that acquiring his education could unleash the ultimate evil.

As Treaman and Judgement separately trek to seemingly inevitable doom, a prince seeks to rescue an old alliance, a mysterious fighter in black slays monstrous foes with his bare hands, and a broad cast of characters unwittingly play their part. All are hanging onto a slim sliver of Hope for their future. But even their combined might may not be enough to stop the ruthless march of a powerful necromancer and his tide of undeath …

In a world that only dreams of heroes, can they rise up against oppressive forces and prevent the Lands of Hope from descending into foul darkness?

Harbingers of Hope is an epic fantasy novel that will leave you breathless. If you like expansive worldbuilding, fierce magical battles, and monstrous enemies, then you’ll love William L. Hahn’s sweeping tale.

Read Harbingers of Hope to stand up and fight today!

Audio from the Authors: Lessons Learned

I’ve had the privilege of working with some fabulous authors in my new vocation of audiobook narration. In my recent series I interviewed some of them to give encouragement to colleagues and interest to listeners. Here they are:

Just Then and Right Now
Coming this Summer
Share and Share Unalike

I Was In on It Too

Of course I was my own first customer, and thought I would conclude this start-of-summer series with some of my own reflections. Working as a narrator is so fulfilling and interesting, I can only compare it to teaching as a source of joy. Right now, those two things are just about all I’m doing for work so you can imagine how happy I am.

Lesson One: Audition Yourself

I found the entire experience to be a dramatic endorsement for the value of reading your own work out loud. I’ve posted on this several times in the past– even if you never publish a single audiobook you need to hear your own writing. There is no better way to pick up on a host of errors invisible to the spell-checker, and the rehearsal is great preparation for DIY if you choose to go on that path. Some colleagues have told me they can’t pick out mistakes when they are reading, so they let Dragon do it for them. I suppose that could work too.

But I suspect they also just don’t like their own voice– and that was a key revelation for me, to realize this about other people. I’m such a ham, I heard myself much earlier than most folks–I got over the shock of how different my voice sounded to my own ears with a tape recorder when I was six. It’s a habit you have to form: now I’ve spent hundreds of hours listening to myself as I edit the books and I don’t notice any difference anymore.

Lesson Two: That FX Thing Seems to Have Worked Out

I still see reader reviews who mention that the sounds I put in are “distracting” etc. I’m honing my craft and certainly opinions will differ. But no question, the AUTHORS I’ve auditioned for loved them and reacted the way I was hoping. They have kindly let me know that the sounds (and voicing) add atmosphere and deepen the experience for them. I keep the FX on separate tracks for easy removal, replacement, or emendations.

Model Behavior

Let’s admit it frankly– the more I try to rely on the Per Finished Hour model (getting paid up front) it’s increasingly the author I need to please. Another aspect of moving into the PFH crowd is that I’m meeting authors with their own plans and resources for marketing. I trust they know what they’re doing.

But I bet there were times in my work, where the sounds became too much (loud, sudden, frequent). I’ve always held to the mantra that this is about the author’s words first and foremost. Now I try to open with a gentle environmental effect, like breeze or rain, as the very first chapter begins. It can’t be an unpleasant surprise if it’s not a surprise.

Lesson Three: Series Work is Like Bread

My first two forays into narration, beyond my own series Shards of Light, were with authors who either had or were just starting series of their own. I wrote out a notation sheet to double-check pronunciation of place names and jargon with them, and also jotted down my impressions of what type of voice to attempt for the major characters. Big-time payoff there! I revisited those sheets like old friends as I bounced back and forth between tales. Series work allows me to exploit my labor over several projects. So far, it’s mainly been in the Royalty Share model and those returns have been significant. The more series installments, the merrier.

Bundles are Like Sliced Bread

Most authors are aware that bundling a series of maybe three or four titles can be a great marketing tool over on the ‘Zon. But with Audible it’s even better since:

a) the main business model works with credits, so listeners get a terrific value plonking down their monthly chip on a title that has multiple tales in it, and

b) authors and narrators get better compensation than for a single title.

The exact amount is still a mystery to me, so I grumble even as I celebrate. But both for my own series and that of others, the bundle is attractive and leads to new sales. Excelsior!

Lesson Four: Always Doing, Never Done

May the Good Lord protect me from thinking that I’ve arrived as a narrator. Just in the past week I was able to make a small observation about my chief bugaboo, background noise. That amended my editing and production steps to make the final file just a bit better. I keep picking up tips on blending in effects. (God forgive me, I edited the first chapter of my own book yesterday and I have FOUR FX tracks supporting the narration!) Not a sound engineer, but I am learning how my voice works (and doesn’t). The environment I created in my basement is utterly consistent and I even get RMS and Noise Floor readings that are close to each other across the entire project. I just love what I’m doing.

And now I get to do it to myself again.

Coming This Fall, Harbingers of Hope

I’ll be spending the next 10-15 weeks heads-down and recording my titanic opus, 400k words of epic fantasy going into a single title and audio for the first time. Since I have a summer schedule with no teaching, it will only be me and the usual interruptions to my day. I hope to get a reliable impression of just how much material I can knock out in a week. Then I will be better able to return to auditioning, and put out offers with promises I can keep. I’ve been extra-conservative to date because I never want to fail of a deadline. And that’s largely been because I never knew how well I could do over a long haul. Well 400k is a pretty long haul. I hope to come out of the summer of ’21 as a truly professional audiobook narrator.

And the rest of you, don’t let the season slip by with only the grim aftertaste of hot dog and a little sand in your shoe to show for it. Get your books into audio! Don’t make me come over there.