Tag Archives: The Ring and the Flag

Cover Reveal: The (New) Ring and the Flag

It would be hard to get more excited than this.

The classic novella of military command, intrigue and monstrous foes is now back with a fabulous cover and a new direction. Look at the progression this tale has taken, judging a book by its (several) covers. I first published back on July 4th 2011 and this story was one of two tales I put before the readers in e-book format only. I did the cover myself, can you tell? Oh, the humanity…

Old (duh)


OK, it’s a dud, chalk it up to the excesses of the self-publishing craze. But I was evoking a nice moment from the tale itself, as Justin recalls his talk with Commander Hansen:

Justin could almost see the map in Hansen’s office, catching fire and filling his waking vision with smoke. 

Yeah, but a smoky singed map doesn’t really stand out as a cover. I get it. My sincere thanks to Kris Moctezuma for her assistance with this first effort.


Tell you who else gets it, my publisher, who pursued a branding remake for my tales almost immediately. She developed the second-generation with elements you can see on all my covers now. I thought it was downright spiffy:

Less old (ding!)

See the Hope symbol in the upper-right? Nice consistent font, good contrast and a simply excellent landscape that really evokes the hill region where the crucial action takes place:

(Justin) could not have designed terrain more suited to an ambush if he were making one of those battle-scenes in a box they used back at the academy. He could picture his men as the miniature figures they used, and his imagination peppered the forest with bandits, shifting around his flanks, closing off his retreat. 

Pretty good, huh? Where did I get the idea to suggest figurines, I wonder… just writing genius I guess.


What more could a guy expect, you know? I went on happily writing new tales , including getting into paperback (fully out of self-publish/e-book mode now). Then I got an offer I could hardly believe, much less refuse; a marketing review of my work from a bright young lady who wanted to get into that business, and offered to use me as a guinea pig in return. Her marketing plan was terrific, and she suggested something I hadn’t thought of. Don’t try to sell the Shards of Light series into bookstores– they’re too short among other things.

Sell them to game stores.

Think about it– lower price, younger readers, and the heroic fantasy flavor of both The Ring and the Flag and Fencing Reputation are well suited to role-players, figurine painters, the strategy gamer. I thought it was a great idea. And my publisher, the absolutely inimitable Katharina Gerlach agreed. But not with those covers you don’t, she said.

What, again?

Ooohh yeah. Again.

THAT, my friends, is what we call a cover. How much more does the image pop? And Kat’s design is intended to evoke the CCG imagery of games like Magic: the Gathering, a task at which I think it succeeds brilliantly. Wait’ll they get a load of this down at the Days of Knights and wherever else I truck it.

The Ring and the Flag is available now at Amazon with its spanking new cover for your reading pleasure: you’ll have to provide your own clamp to keep it from leaping off your shelf and into your hands, but I can’t solve all your problems.

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.