Tag Archives: Man in Grey

Spreading Hope: A Decision Matrix for ARW Heroes

On Independence Day 2016 I marked several milestones as the Chronicler of the Lands of Hope. Now I’m trying to entice you to celebrate with me.

Five Years at Work

TMM-croppedI was jotting and formatting, of course, for three years before that, but July 4th 2011 was the day I came out with e-books of Three Minutes to Midnight and The Ring and the Flag. I blogged about the exhilaration I felt at the time, and the memory of that emotion still pulls me along today. To soldier on, finish the next one, polish it up. So I can publish again (see below).




Coming to Paper

Back in 2011, I thought e-pub (and indie pub) was all there was to the world. But as soon as I signed on with Independent Bookworm, my often-out-there, always-right lady in charge started talking crazy. Something about splitting up my opus novel Judgement’s Tale into four novellas, and then bringing them all in paper publication. How 20th century, I thought…

Shards of Light II - 259x400Shows you what I know– now I can’t stop thinking about having books in my hot little hand, so I can sign and send them to folks who ask. And Fencing Reputation is out in paper this month, sequel to The Ring and the Flag that’s also been stamped onto recycled trees from last year. Half the Shards of Light series done and done. Plus I’m getting a better idea how and where to keep selling them locally.



A Major Tale is Completed

I gave myself the deadline of this July 4th also to complete the saga of Solemn Judgement, with The Eye of Kog. When I announced that drop-dead day, to myself in the mirror, I knew I had no chance of making it at the pace I’d been managing to that point. And I won’t claim it wasn’t close. But it is indeed done: a 195k sequel to a 200k opening novel, that is a lot of story-telling right there.  Still has to be edited, formatted, covered, and announced, of course; but my publisher knows what she’s doing. Well over a half-million words chronicled about the Lands. And I can move on now to finish the Shards of Light series, with “Perilous Embraces” and the finale, hopefully both by next Independence Day.LoHI_JT_GoC_Cover_front

So yeah, pretty big day for me.




Interested? Ways You Can Spread Hope

The “slow burn” in marketing is an attempt to ensure that each new step makes a little more progress than the last, until hopefully a critical mass builds and the effort starts to carry itself. I got started chronicling on the backs of some stalwart friends and family who gave me unfailing encouragement and support. There are dedicated fans of the Lands out there who have come back for more, and shown their support in many ways. I’m more grateful to you than I can say; my life is changed forever and I’m a happier man for it. Yet I keep meeting people who ask me about my book, because seeing my button that says “Ask Me About My Book!” was their first clue I was writing.

Now I want to ask help from everyone, all of you who know me, and people only you know.

Take a look at the Decision Framework I’ve updated. Find yourself by answering the questions (I hope they’re worth a chuckle too); then please spend some serious consideration on what may interest you and give me a boost. Oftentimes it’s not very hard to help: and you’ll find me willing to meet you half-way with loot for those who would consider entering the Lands, whether for the first time or with a new tale. More explanations below.

Lands of Hope Decision Framework


Review on Amazon

If you’ve taken the time to read one of my tales, I can’t overemphasize how much I need your review. We’re not talking about a deathless opus here. Just check into my web-page for that title, enter a screen-name and your thoughts. Two sentences easily does the job! You don’t have to write a page unless you’d like to. You don’t have to buy through Amazon to leave a review, either. And I only want your honest opinion, you can keep it anonymous and candid. And did I mention short? Just having a lot of reviews is the key; that’s when my books start to show up under that “You Might Also Like” banner. Have no fear, tell folks what you think, all honest reviews are crucially needed.

Read for Review

If you haven’t read one of my tales yet and think you might like to, I’m offering anyone a FREE e-book copy through the month of July, in return for your commitment to create a review as above when you’re done. Leave a comment below or use the Contact page to let me know your willingness and which title you would like. I can advise you on the length or ease of reading: several of my tales are quite short. Right now I need about 50 reviews on a title to get Amazon’s attention and I’m averaging around five. Everyone, please take advantage of this offer. Free book, quick review, easy-peezee.

Share with Friends

Everyone can do this, and I hope you’ll consider spreading the word about the Lands of Hope to others. Especially to others that you know, and I don’t. You can share this post with the buttons below, or maybe notify friends you’ve thought of who read fantasy/sci-fi, or who like heroic deeds with a little humor, characters to root for. This includes anybody who’s seen more than three episodes of “Game of Thrones” and is now walking around a bit shell-shocked, or shotgunning Xanax. It could be middle-school and high school kids on up to adults (and those pretending to be).

It’s easier to make a recommendation if you’ve had personal experience, so by all means Read for Review if you like. Either way, sharing the news with friends is free and I’d really appreciate the signal boost.

Be a Hero of the Alleged Real World

This is the part where you get to take action, and then in a year or so you’ll have proof that you knew me when! “Yep, I helped Will get his start, that little push you know, just how I roll.” You make me famous enough, and people will be asking for YOUR autograph.

It Figures: A New Hope

Because in the end you need to show, not tell.

I told you I would, and I did. Father’s Day weekend 2016 I marched into the local craft and game-stores, bought the gear, and laid out a space in my basement to start painting figurines again. I’m honestly quite scared.


Not who you might think. My three unpainted immortal-sized figurines are glued and ready as I showed you last time. If I am successful they will be works of art. But come now. Gotta’ take a test run.

Best practice- newspaper upside-down, or else you'll start reading...
Best practice- newspaper upside-down, or else you’ll start reading…

So I riffed my old stock, threw out 95% of the paint, all the glue, and got to the level of the old, unfinished figs. There were MANY more than I remembered: dozens of them. And most not very impressive, a few cool enough but not representative of anything I’ve seen in the Lands. I narrowed it down to a handful both relevant and curious. Then I biased back toward what was of immediate interest and not too tough to start out on. The winners:


The Bell-Ringer

Bell-Ringer2This was a can’t-lose no-brainer choice. This unearthly image from a shared nightmare horrified and nearly killed the entire band of adventurers in The Plane of Dreams. That’s a really fun tale, by the way, kind of a hit-parade of heroes from tales set in an earlier period (including Judgement’s Tale and Three Minutes to Midnight). But the cool-factor for the Bell-Ringer goes up since he’s a) larger than life-sized (easier to paint) and b) a kind of horror stereotype with little skin and big “handles” for painting (wide swatches of the same color, not as much detail). I believe I can be very successful with him.


The proud, near-manic Primara of Oncario is an important figure in The Eye of Kog and I do need to address the gender-balance whenever I can, especially when it’s an authority figure. She will definitely be more trouble to paint, lots of small detail, and I might wait until last with her. She’s seen here bearing the traditional office-staff of the Primara, not the Scepter of Law she used to grow her city’s power, and thus destroy it. I really must explore Vuthienne’s characters to reflect her better, and painting could help (two weeks to go until the book is done and her big scene is coming up).

Final Judgement

Final Judgement1I could hardly believe this figure when I took it out. I forgot I had it! The father of Solemn Judgement, equivalent to Sir Not Appearing in this Novel from Judgement’s Tale, is nevertheless an important image and influence on his son through the tale of his subsequent life. Talk about a Father’s Day surprise! That’s the same hat, cape and boots which Solemn took to go adventuring, and of course Final bears both a sword and gun he never allowed his son to hold (but the latter of which Judgement finds in the Lands anyway, and takes with him).

These three will be my warm-up attempts before I attempt Percis, Astor and Stathos.


DaysofK_rpgFor my supplies I took a run into the local game-store Days of Knights, which if you haven’t seen it is well worth a trip. Lots of places have “this store”, and around here it’s The Days of Knights: call me an apple-polisher but I think the displays just get better and better around there. I bought about a dozen bottles of paint to start my new excursion into the world of fine detail and eye strain. The folks there are terrific, there’s a game club in the back, events every week, and more. Maybe I just started up painting so I’d have an excuse to go back here more often.


I can already tell, I’m going to make big-time use of my magnifying lens. I used its light and even its magnifying power to hone in on some of the faces and detail work I wanted to

Part-way along, lots of "oops" lines
Part-way along, lots of “oops” lines

show you with these three figs. As valuable as it’s been, though, you have to be careful– the lens annihilates your depth perception, and if the lens isn’t flat over the top of the figure, I actually started to get vertigo! I used water-bottle tops to mix in new shades (wrote the formula on my newspaper in case I had to try again) and attacked the Bell-Ringer in classic “getting dressed” formula (meaning, the inmost layers first, moving to things further out on his body). I couldn’t stop thinking about Geri, the old man who fixes Woody, his arm shaking like a leaf until he starts working. Pretty much the same here! But with the fine points on my brush and the help of the lens, I was able to minimize the going-over strokes. ToyStory2_GeriMixed colors for almost all his accoutrements, the only solid shade I used was the bronze of his outer armor. I wanted him looking unhealthy and yet threatening, nightmarish I guess the best term. In the story he doesn’t carry a scythe, but a hammer which he uses to bash the bell and drive the sleeper to terror. The dream gets worse and worse the more he appears.; but the Bell-Ringer dream was rare and not shared until Nightmare came along…

I mixed black and other dark colors into my lighter wood and green shades, then decided to use grey or black washes on most of the figure to take off some of the edge of reality.

I will likely come back to touch him up in some places you can see here, but this is the essential effect I was reaching for. Let it dry, spray with matte finish, detach from the paper and the Bell-Ringer will be the first new addition to my figurine collection in longer than I care to think about. Maybe I’ll settle him on the shelf close to the Tributarians who I’m sure recall him fondly.

You rang? No, I did!
You rang? No, I did!




Next up will be Final Judgement and Vuthienne. One more shout-out to The Days of Knights for being my favorite kind of local store!