Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 2014

Hello.

I'm still working and I'm about half finished with Ancient Science: Book One of Mathematics and Magic.

I am really, really happy with how the novel is coming along. It may be my finest writing to date, and I know you're going to enjoy it very much.

This novel is the return of Iounelle and it is really shaping up to be a kind of wonderful.

When will it be ready? You know the drill. I should be done with a first draft mid-April. It then takes a month each for a second and third draft, and a couple of weeks for a polish.

So let's say, between June and July, look for Ancient Science to be available. Just in time for Summer reading season.

Then I will start immediately on Berand Brave, which should be ready by the end of the year. 

Possibly, sometime in the Autumn, The Tiger's Mouth may be released. I worked on that novel last year, writing about half of the first draft. I hit a wall, And realized that I had to write these other books, before I could get to that one.

You will understand why when you read Ancient Science.

Anyhoo.

I'm working. Good stuff is coming.


Kurt

.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Monday, June 24, 2013

Berand Fool

Well, the book is out there, going through processing and soon will be available on all publishing platforms.

I have to say that I am feeling very emotional right now. I had no idea how deeply attached to this book I was.

I feel like I'm sending out my baby for you to take into your home.

I am very proud of this novel. It was an immense joy to write. It really meant quite a lot to me.


My wife had said that she thinks that I have written myself into the character of Berand. I don't disagree. A little of me is in every character I create. How could it be otherwise? But, maybe a little more of me is in Berand than any other character.

This book started off as a question I asked myself. Why did Berand Torler create the Sun and Moon swords? Combined with the Lhal√≠i and the Ar, the four objects create the Heaven's Key, a machine of almost limitless power. Why did he do it? 


The story began to form in my mind and I took a little notebook with me wherever I went. You can ask Annette, I would stop in the middle of the grocery aisle, whip out my pocket sized notebook and start scribbling notes.

Organizing the outline was simple. The story, by the time I had jotted down all my notes, was obvious.


The thing that surprised me was the writing. Characters leapt off the page, and did things that surprised even me! Every day I was filled with an eagerness to get to work and write what I began to suspect was quite a special novel.  

Close to five hundred pages of the first draft were completed in only three months! This novel burst out of me. And the time spent writing it was like a limbo. I would sit down in the morning, look up after what seemed like only five minutes, to find it was nearly time for dinner!

The story of a character who finds courage and direction is timeless. This is my contribution.

Please go and enjoy.

cheers,

Kurt


.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How it happened

   When I wrote the first novel, The Last Elf of Lanis, it was purely for me.
   I wrote for my own pleasure and distraction. I wrote to satisfy a burning need to express myself both artistically and emotionally.
   The book has some flaws, and the structure may be a little more complex than it needs to be. But, I wrote what I like. This is what I enjoy when I am reading: stories with characters that are emotionally invested; story lines that unfold and fold back on themselves; and fantastical, fully realized realms.



    The Archer From Kipleth was for you. I was so surprised by the overwhelming acceptance of the The Last Elf that I knew I had to complete the series. So the Archer was written wholly with the reader in mind.
    That is probably why it is my favorite book. Everything about it is selfless. From page one to the last page, every word was written with a conscious consideration of the reader.



    I wrote the third book, The Lord of Lightning, to compete the task. I knew how the very last scene of the battle would unfold and I knew I had to get it out there. Actual thousands of readers had uploaded the first and second book, and I wrote with an awareness of my responsibility to complete the story for them.


    The fourth book, Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale, I wrote for my sanity. As I was completing the first three books, many other stories, related to the principle narrative, came into my mind and needed to be written. Then, the whole began to take shape as a novel of interlocking stories. 
     The ideas were like a haunting. I knew I wouldn't sleep at night unless I exorcised these stories from my mind. Then, when it made up a good novel, I was happily surprised. So in one sense, the fourth novel was similar to the first in that I wrote primarily for myself, but not for pleasure.


    The fifth and soon to be released novel, Berand Fool, is more like the first in every sense. I wrote purely for my own pleasure. But, now I had the framework of a complex world all ready for me. I wrote the rather lengthy novel in just four months because it was such a joy to write. 
    I would get ready at my office at 9am, and then when I looked up, it would be 4pm. I had written thirty pages and it seemed to me that no time at all had elapsed. It was total immersion.
   The difference with Berand Fool from the first four novels is the narrative structure. The plot primarily follows Berand Wendralorn. I wanted to do something different from the other books which split off many character lines. There are one or two chapters that follow other characters in Berand Fool, but the preponderance of the narrative is Berand's.

   It was not a chore to follow this character. I have to tell you, I love Berand. I love everything about him, the way he sees the world, how he reacts, what he does. I truly wish I could hang out with him every day. And, he changes, he grows, he resolves conflicts in his mind and soul. So many characters in books, film and TV are one note, played over and over. Not this guy. I am very excited for you to meet him.

cheers

Kurt

.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

meaning

I don't blog nearly enough. But, as we all would agree, my time is best served actually writing my novels. So...

I'm very close to finishing my fifth novel Berand Fool. I am very pleased with it. In many ways I think of it as my first novel. With this book, I have been in control of every aspect, and at the height of my skills. With the first notion: "Why the heck did he make those dangerous swords?"; through months and months of notes; to shaping up the structure; to the fevered months of writing, and then the months of rewarding rewriting, I have arrived with something I feel very happy about.

As some of you may know, I am a pretty good poet. I would go so far as to say that I am a better poet than a novelist. But, what with poetry paying less than actual debt, I don't spend much time at the feet of Erato or Calliope. When fledging poets hear me read, they almost all ask the inevitable "How do I get good at writing poetry?" or the wiser "How can I become better?"


The simple answer is 'work'. No one seems to like that answer, but there it is. The second answer and the one that seems more appealing, but is deceptively much more difficult to master is 'meaning'.

When an artist infuses a work with meaning, it makes all the difference. Often we, as consumers, may not even comprehend the artist's meaning. I could go round and round with the most scholarly about the meaning flooding from Van Gogh's paintings, and both of us could be way off. But it is there. You can't help but feel it.

Meaning is something the human mind senses, even when it doesn't comprehend it. It is like a smell. We know it is there, and we love it when it is something that we savor and need, like the scent of baking bread, it sets us to salivating. 

Rather than go too deeply into an examination of meaning in art, I'd like to pull back the curtain and simply tell you what was my intention, what was my 'meaning' when I wrote my books. 

I think a novelist has an obligation to be clear, much more than any other type of artist. I have been such an adherent of this maxim that the ignorant has constantly accused my writing of being simple. One public reviewer called my work suitable for middle schoolers. Well, okay, but I'm sure that the reviewer meant it as a slight. I don't care.

Clarity is vital to me. Those who know have called me the Hemingway of Fantasy. That tickles me, because I write the least macho characters imaginable, but I think the notion is apt because of the sparseness of the prose. And I accept that idea as highest praise.

So. The meaning, the clear intention behind my novels is as follows:

The Last Elf of Lanis was about the heart-breaking maturity that comes with loss. I think that is pretty obvious to anyone that didn't just scan the novel.

The Archer From Kipleth is about accepting your situation and doing something about it. Again, simply clear for anyone who bothered to do more than turn the pages.

The Lord of Lightning is a little more complex. This novel is about LOVE. LOVE in capital letters. What does it mean? What are you willing to sacrifice for love? Are you willing to give your life for love? How much love is enough love? All those big ideas. I think I came pretty close to doing a damn good job with that one.

Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale is much more difficult to explain. My intention with this novel was to explore the ideas behind cause and effect. A bloodless thesis I admit, unless you approach it under the structure of family, genealogy, and the rise and fall of nations. I personally think I did a fine job with a very elaborate concept that is fraught with many traps. We see where character's lives  came from and where they were going. It was a difficult novel to construct and execute, but I am happy with the results

Now, my upcoming novel:

Berand Fool is about authority, obedience, rebellion and personal responsibility. A really tough concept to write about in fantasy. But, then why should it be? I've had a couple of reviews on Amazon where the reviewer looks down her nose sniffing, "Oh, your books are okay, for fantasy." As if Fantasy Literature was any less a collection of fabrications than plain 'ol Literature with a lonely capital 'L'. Hey lady, all lies are equal. 

Or are they?

Fiction rises and falls with the depth of meaning. What do you take away from this novel? I will admit that much of Fantasy Literature is sword clanging, magic spewing gallantry. Simple diversion from everyday life can be very satisfying, and sometimes necessary. We call it a guilty pleasure as if we somehow should not be reading such shallow fiction.

But, even 'genre' fiction can be much more. Any book can ultimately become a work that changes your life. I have read a few of those kinds of books. I love those kinds of books. I aspire to write those kinds of books. And, I think I have moved ever closer to that kind of book with Berand Fool.

I hope you agree.

cheers,

Kurt

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Last Elf - How many books in the series?


The statistics here at Blogger show the search strings, so I know that someone looked up "The Last Elf - how many books in the series?"

Let me break it down for you.

The Wealdland Stories - this is where it all began for me as a writer.

Book One - The Last Elf of Lanis
Book Two - The Archer From Kipleth
Book Three - The Lord of Lightning
Book Four - Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale

now quite honestly, you don't have to read book four. The story of the war for the Heaven's Key wraps up in book three. If that's where you want to leave it, good for you.

But...

Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale answers a lot of questions that the reader may have once they've finished The Lord of Lightning.

And...

You will understand much better what is going on once the next series begins, which is -

Mathematics and Magic - this series (yet to be written) follows Iounelle, the last elf, into human history.

Book One - Ancient Science (I hope to have this ready around December 2013)
Book Two - Future Magic
Book Three - Present Horizons
Book Four - A Cold Night in Oslo and Other Unverified Gossip (in which Iounelle takes down Hitler!)

Meanwhile...

The Berand series, also called The Chroncle of the Elf Human Wars, will begin shortly and it is going to be AMAZING, if I do say so myself. In this story the reader will understand how Wealdland came to be as it stands at the beginning of the Last Elf of Lanis.

The Chronicle of the Elf Human Wars - this takes place three thousand years before Iounelle.

Book One - Berand the Fool (I'm working on this one, and hope to have it ready by April 1, 2013)
Book Two - Berand the Brave
Book Three - Berand Torler

In addition...

In the middle of 2013 you will, if all goes well, begin to get the Ostigris Saga. The story of that strange time traveller who shows up in The Lord of Lightning and Conniker's Tale.

The Travels of Ostigris -

Book One - The Tiger's Mouth
Book Two - The Serpent's Venom
Book Three - The Eagle's Talon

On top of all that...

All the story lines and characters will be tied neatly together in a science fiction series I guarantee will be unlike any science fiction you have ever read before, because it is going to blend fantasy with historical fiction. Weird right? I cannot wait to write this series.

The Planets -

Book One - Mars
Book Two - Venus (remember Holdang and Carond?)
Book Three - Mercury
Book Four - The Sun In All Its Glory - this will include many stories from many timelines and take us to Iounelle's eventual departure from this mortal coil.

So eighteen books in all. Four have been written. Hopefully you'll get three a year until the whole intertwined narrative concludes sometime in 2017.


Cripes. I better get to work!

Cheers,

Kurt.


Monday, January 7, 2013

2500 year old tattoos

A mummified Siberian Princess was found with strange tattoos.

But the animals aren't strange to readers of the Wealdland Stories.


It sure looks like she's got a stauer on her wrist and a kaprik-uushuu on her shoulder, maybe Josr, the female!

click here to read the story.



cheers,

Kurt

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kindle version of Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale is available!

Here's the link for the Amazon / Kindle version of the fourth book in the Wealdland series.

click here for Kindle link to Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale

Book Four of the Wealdland Stories

It has been a long time coming.

Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale has been published.

You'll understand, when you read the book, that it wasn't the size of the book (it's average in length) but the complexity. Many, many things had to fit together just so.

And, it took me a lot longer than I anticipated.


So, I apologize for the delay, but not for the book as a whole, which I am very, very proud of.

So what's in this book? Several short stories you might have seen before, but completely rewritten. And, you'll see now how those short stories fit into the overall world of Wealdland.

There are the two novellas: Legends of Haergill, which I am personally quite fond of; and Conniker's Tale, which is a little mind bending. But, the few who have read it have understood what I am trying to do, and actually got quite excited. So, that's good.

There are two poems, one in Miranei, with its translation, that tell the story of Iounelle's parent's fate. The other poem is the Ballad of Sehen, which Yulenth mentions a couple of times in The Lord of Lightning.

And lastly there are a couple of short stories that set up Iounelle's continuing story in Mathematics and Magic, the next series, of which Ancient Science will be the first book, probably ready about this time next year.

In the mean time, early next year (I am very excited about this) you will get Berand Fool, the first book in the Chronicles of the Elf Human Wars. Trust  me when I tell you that the Berand stories are going to be great. These stories take place three thousand years before Iounelle, and are going to be very unusual, to say the least.

In the middle of the year, if all goes as planned, you'll get the first of the Ostigris series: The Tiger's Mouth. This series fits in with the other series, but I can't explain how. You'll understand once you've read Legends of Haergill and Conniker's Tale.

enjoy

cheers,

Kurt

Friday, November 30, 2012

A comment from a reader...


This is a comment I felt the need to share:


I'm in the United States Navy and while I love being a sailor, going underway is always hard. When your work day is done and you go down to your rack alot of the time its hard to sleep just for how much you miss home and your family. I talked to my dad about this and he told me that when he was in he would read and it would give him for just a couple of hours a place where you weren't sad or lonely. Reading gives you a chance to take a vacation any time you want inside yourself. Saying all of this i found the last elf about two weeks ago and could not put it down, now im on to the archer and i just wanted to say thank you and tell you how much i appreciate your work. its a quiet place to lose my self and thats worth way more than the price for the books.

V/r,
CTMSN Spence USN


(The original post and my response can be found here. click here )