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Most of my posts will be to do with the books I write. Feel free to stop by my personal web page for how to obtain my novels.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dragon Slayers, Incorporated Novel Published!

Dragon Slayers, Incorporated 

This is my ninth published novel (tenth book), however, in many ways, it is the oldest novel that I have published.  I came up with the idea for the story over 30 years ago, and even wrote some of the first few chapters back then (though I have heavily re-written them now).

Let me start with where the story came from.  I used to do a lot of GMing for Dungeons and Dragons back in my wild youth.  In fact, I had one group that got together every week for five years, playing through one epic story.  Along the way, they named their group, Dragon Slayers, Incorporated (and yes, T-Shirts were made, I still have mine).

Now, role-playing tabletop games are meant to have the players, well, role-play.  This means that they should act like they are actually people existing in the time and world on which the game takes place, without knowledge of modern technology or pop-culture.  My DSI team really didn't do a lot of role-playing, they were more like a group of teenagers from our time tossed into a fantasy world.  Of course, tabletop gaming is meant to be whatever you want it to be, so it isn't like they were ‘breaking the rules’ or anything, and they accomplished the most important element of that gaming, they had fun.

In fact, our games were more about comedy than story most of the time.  I remember one time when I asked Colin Morgan what his character had on him, after he pulled out a 50’ foot rope, tied it to a ten-foot pole, used a hammer and spikes to attach it to a wall, and a pulley to slide down the rope.  I checked his character sheet and found he had something like fifteen 50’ ropes, six suits of armor, twenty 10’ poles, and much MUCH more.  I made him draw a picture of himself, where he had to put everything he was carrying in the image.  There was this little person, and a giant sack the size of a Greyhound bus.  Santa Claus would have been envious!

But there were many other funny moments, like when one of our team learned how to move his body through solid stone, then he ran into a giant stone golem.  So, instead of fighting him, as I had planned, he went inside the stone of the golem’s body, moved up to the head, and stuck his arm and weapon out, and preceded to smack the golem in the head, from inside its head.  This is not standard fantasy battle stuff, but it was funny.

So, I got the idea to write a story about a company from our time, called Dragon Slayers, Incorporated.  The name meant that even though dragons are mythical if you pay them enough, they will slay your dragon.  In other words, a company that claims they would take on the impossible for the right fee.

This company is then approached by an old man who wants them to do something clearly impossible and meets the price they placed.  The send a team, expecting this guy is a nut case, and end up being transported, in their Chevy Van, with all their modern equipment, to the fantasy world of Zot.

This novel is about what a modern group of problem solvers does when stranded in a wacky and crazy fantasy world.  And, just like my group of players, this is a comedic look at the outcome, not anything too serious.  The story also pokes fun at many fantasy clich├ęs, even things I have used in my own epic fantasy series, as well as doing parodies of things from Lord of the Rings, Conan, and many other fantasy works.
It is all meant to be in fun.

Finally, because the idea came from a group of friends of mine, I decided to base ALL the major characters (and many of the minor) on those friends and family.  They are called by their name, and may (or may not) have some real elements about those people.  However, as I warned all of them, these are characters, and they aren't really those people.  I took as many liberties with them as I pleased, after all, this is a comedy!

So that is Dragon Slayers, Incorporated, my latest novel, and one that has been a long time coming!  If you are in the mood for a quick, light read, in a story that doesn't take itself at all seriously, then come join the crack squad from Dragon Slayers, Incorporated on their first adventure on a fantasy world.  And just remember, no matter what, Dragon Slayers, Incorporated always delivers!  You can find the novel on Amazon, here: Dragon Slayers Incorporated

Monday, February 24, 2014

My new novel is published: zONE: The End and the Beginning

Book One in the zONE series: The End and the Beginning

Well, I've got my writer hat back on.  My new novel, zONE: The End and the Beginning is available to read, in ebook or print and there is even a full audio play for those who prefer ot listen to a novel.  The End and the Beginning is also my first (pure) Science Fiction novel.


The End and the Beginning takes place around thirty years from now.  First off, think about what has happened to technology in the last thirty-some years?  Let's take a quick trip back.  It's 2014, so if we subtract thirty years, we would be 1984, George Orwell's year.  Personal computers were just starting to get into a few homes, and were at the basic level of the Apple IIe, with green screen monitor, there were no cell phones and no Internet.  Imagine that (or if you're older, think back to that time).

In just thirty short years we went from the Apple IIe to where we are today with the Internet, Cell phones and computers in, well, just about everything.  I think there are toasters with computers more powerful than the original Apple II.

How about politics?  Remember the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia?  In 1984, thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan made the gaffe while joking with a live mic where he said, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever.  We begin bombing in five minutes."  Only seven years later, that same Super Power, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) formally ceased to exist on the 26th of December, 1991.

The First World War lasted just over four years, the Second World War lasted just six years.  These were world sweeping wars, hence the name, yet they only lasted a few years.

A lot can happen in thirty years.

And so, in my novel, zONE, subtitled, The End and the Beginning, a LOT has changed in the next thirty years.  The Internet is dead, cell phones are gone, and it was all changed by a new technology called the Zones.  The Zones are a virtual reality where they can create any environment, story, world, or even universe.  When you go in, you feel like you are in a real place.  Every famous book, movie, time period, historical setting, etc. have been recreated into Zones where you can actually go there and experience it as a living person.  In the Zones you are a Puppeteer, or 'Teer', controlling a Puppet.  What this really means is that you get a new body, of your choosing, and you travel through these worlds as that person.

You can go, do or be anything or anyone you want, and it all seems real.

Not only that, but there have been sweeping changes to the political landscape as well, there is no more United Nations, in fact, there are no nations.  There is just one world government, run by a company called Zcerebral, Inc., the company that created, and owns the secret to running the Zones.

zONE is told in First Person from the mind of the lead character, T.C. Hamilton.  The problem is, he has lost some of his memories, but not all of them.  There are just big gaps.  He is the most wanted man on Earth, and in the Zones, he is a Pirate.  Pirates are like Hackers, but these are the very few who are on the top 50 wanted list.  These are people who have figured out how to create and sail their sculpted spaceship through zSpace and illegally enter any Zone.

As the reader you get to ride along with T.C. on his adventures through an Earth run by the iron fist of a new totalitarian government, who use the bodies of their own citizens as zombie bodies for their operatives to commandeer.  If T.C. is caught before he can discover why he is the most wanted person, then his body will be donated to the Zombies, the zPol police force.

But there is much much more to this onion than just why T.C. is wanted, and he will have to travel through the various story world, like Wonderland, Hyperborea, The Jungle Book, and through other famous people's worlds, like the Harrison Zone, the Roddenberry Zone, the Lucas Zone, the Rowling Zone or the Tolkien Zone in order to find the answers, and solve a great mystery.

I had a lot of fun with this and got to pay a lot of respect to authors, directors, screenwriters, and artists of many kinds in this novel.  This was a challenge in some ways because of copyright laws.   Fortunately, due to the 'Fair Use' I can mention authors or titles of other works, which I do.  I stay away from their stories, characters and other copyrighted information.  This means a certain amount of dancing around, unfortunately, but it is their work and their rights should be protected.  However, zONE pays homage to these works without infringing on their rights.

In the case of stories in the public domain, I had a lot more freedom, like Alice in Wonderland, or The Jungle Book.  I was also able to use some of my own previous novels as worlds and did so simply because I knew I could without getting sued.  :)

There are many references throughout the book to other famous works, and this is an integral part of the story, as you will find out before the end, or was that the beginning?

As for what kind of Science Fiction, well, that's hard to pin down.  It has some science to it, though I wouldn't call it hard science fiction, and it has some fantasy to it, but I wouldn't call it fantasy.  This is mainly an adventure, with some romance and humor mixed into the science fiction.  As with all my novels, the most important part of it was to be entertaining.  It's a fun look at what might be, and what would happen if there were such things as the Zones.

I invite you to read or listen to the book and remember that, as with all my novels, not everything is as it seems.  Please find zONE: The End and the Beginning at his link.on Amazon.  Most importantly, if you enjoy the story you can really help me out by posting a review.  I've found that good reviews go further to spreading a book than anything else on the Internet (or in the Zones).  :)