Category Archives: About the Kingdom of Torrence

Been Away Too Long – By D.M. Stoddard

The Light of Ak’ron

Let me update you on the Kingdom of Torrence series – book three. Over the last year I have been working on book three of the Kingdom of Torrence series. I made it through chapter eight when I decided to scratch what I had done and start over. Even the Beta Readers are anxiously awaiting a preview.

Book three starts off with Jerrod, Amanda, and Rhonda in Trisdale Keep where Jerrod gets a premonition that Nathanial somehow survived the Battle of Dometer Plains. Amanda and Rhonda ride off to Lithlillia to ask Rhonda’s mother to provide Elves and druids to help them. Meanwhile, Jerrod projects himself to Torrence to enlist Fraum’s help and inform the king. As if things are not already complicated enough, the Queen of Witches who has been watching them is confronted by the goddess Hecatē.

The manuscripts has the return of some old characters and the introduction of some new ones. A new shadow threatens Torrence and Lithlillia and the followers of Asgard march south. I often wonder which character is liked most; if you have an opinion, comment below (you may influence the rewrite of the manuscript).

Author’s Challenges

My doctor gave me an ultimatum to get healthy resulting in an “increased” amount of time at the gym. I have also been preoccupied with home repairs and illness – all drawing time from my writing. I am often reminded that life gets in the way of plans. I have adopted a new quote for life from the movie, High Road to China.

“The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.” Patrick O’Malley played by Tom Selleck

However, for writing, I still rely upon my creative writing professor at the University of Maryland.

“Just keep writing.”

On the upside, I have increased my tweet activities. Catch me at:

Twitter: @kingdomtorrence

Facebook: /kingdom.torrence

Amazon: D.M. Stoddard

In the World of Dendür (From the Back of My Mind)

In the World of Dendür, I am writing on the manuscript of book three, The Light of Ak’ron. I am almost finished  with the first draft of chapter three. I would have liked to have been working on chapter five at this point.

The surviving heroes of the Battle of Demeter Plains (Amanda’s Quest) are in the Wilds Mountain Range seeking an on-going threat to the Kingdoms of Torrence and Lithlillia, but nothing is ever as easy as expected. The search party includes men, Elves, centaurs, and one very determined dragon.

I am finding that the characters’ unfocused search makes it harder to write. They know what they are looking for, but not where to look. As the author, the dialog is harder to construct… How would Jerrod react to this situation?  See my last post on how I was caught off-guard by Imelrinn’s history. Oh, and his torn love for Amanda and Rhonda is as confusing as ever.

While the search goes on in the Wilds, King Garrett is entertaining the Lady Mòr and her brother, Lord Ròidh, of Beinn Caladh (the Highlands). The king of Greensland might not be too found of the developing friendship between Torrence and the Highlands, and the implications for his young daughter who is betrothed to King Garrett, but the greater danger is the storm brewing to the north in Haithenbeurn. The followers of Asgard are on the march.

Felicia, Queen of Witches, returns as well. Her desire for the Dragon’s Orb (The Legend of Jerrod) is driving her to become more meddlesome in Jerrod’s and Amanda’s lives, and she is becoming confrontational with Hecatē, Olympian goddess of witchcraft.

It was such a peaceful kingdom.

Send me a note about who your favorite character is and why?

  • Amanda – female warrior and (ops.. spoiler)
  • Jerrod – miller’s son seeking fame and fortune
  • Drin – holy knight who (ops… another spoiler)
  • Rhonda – half Elven druid princess
  • Imelrinn – ancient Mountain Elve (Elf)
  • Fraum – sage and (ops… have you read TLOJ?)
  • Nathanial – wizard
  • Felicia – witch
  • Lady Lieisa – Elve (Elf) druid priestess and leader of Lithlillia
  • Sasha – large black panther or house cat, depending on the form she chooses to be in

I look forward to hearing from you.

D.M. Stoddard, author of the Kingdom of Torrence series

When Characters Takeover the Plot

In talking with other authors, I often find that some of their favorite stories are about times when their characters takeover the plot.

Full MapI was working on the manuscript for book three, The Light of Ak’ron, this week when I realized that the heroes of Torrence and Lithlillia were about to retrace the steps that most of them took in The Legend of Jerrod.  I spent a couple of days going back through the first book of the Kingdom of Torrence series, recording the timeline. In The Legend of Jerrod, Jerrod and his friends  started their adventures in Torrence, went through Lithlillia after some misadventures in the Black Forest, and then proceeded north to the Fjord of Menduran.

Empowered by my refreshed memory of the timeline, I sat down anxious to write the next scene for book three. I gathered the characters, described the scene, and began the dialog. They had already assumed that the object of interest was is the realm of the Dark Elves. As an author I prepared to lay out the dialog in which they were going to discuss traveling north to Sismen Pass, which they figured was a good starting point for their search. As my fingers began typing out the scene that I had spent more that two days preparing, Imelrinn, an ancient Mountain Elve (Elf), spoke up, “I can show you the way. I fought there once as a young man.

I had too laugh. Authors have to follow the personality of the characters and the logic of the story-line/plot. When I created Imelrinn, part of his history was participating in the Elven-Dwarven Wars centuries before. As he grew older he became the guardian of the princesses of Lithlillia. The Kingdom of Torrence series starts with Imelrinn watching over his third charge, the half-Elven druid princess, Rhonda. In The Light of Ak’ron the friends must seek out a threat to both the kingdoms of Torrence and Lithlillia, among other challenges that arise in the course of events.

 

Amanda’s Quest Manuscript & Websites Changes

The Amanda’s Quest manuscript has been submitted to my editor. I am moving forward on the cover art and maps.  I am also working on the editor’s changes. Still on line for the fall release of Amanda’s Quest.

Amanda’s Quest has all the characters that survived The Legend of Jerrod. It answers some of the cliff hangers from the first book, but creates some new questions for the future. Amanda’s Quest introduces Norse mythology and some Highlands elements as Amanda travels the continent of Ak’ron, through the Kingdom of Haithenbeurn and the U’thra Basin.

The author of An Anthology of Dreams suggested that I post some excerpts from Amanda’s Quest, which I will do shortly in a separate post. I am also going to redesign this web page and add an author’s web page. Another place to watch for information about this falls release is the Amanda’s Quest Fan Page on Facebook.

Fantasy Writing – the Kingdom of Torrence series

I remember the first time I read Lord of the Rings, laying in bed, wishing that I knew what all the characters were thinking. The narrative was wonderful; I could see the landscape and other scenes as I traversed though the story-line, but, for me, there was just something missing. And even more so with wonderful stories like Harry Potter and Hunger Games.

So often I reflect on a favored article by Charlie Jane Anders, “10 Writing ‘Rules’ We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break”. I often argue with authors from other genre that its okay to have Prologues. That fantasy (and sci-fi) readers want and need narratives. Ms. Anders even encourages “info dumps”. I know, non-fantasy (and sci-fi) genre authors/readers may be holding their breath. In the Kingdom of Torrence series (are you sitting down?) I even use multiple points of view (i.e. character hopping) to allow the reader to feel what primary characters are feeling (gasp?).

The second book in the series, Amanda’s Quest (release fall 2015) will follow the debut book, The Legend of Jerrod, in the series. While Jerrod and the others ride up Mount Thoradan toward Terrace Xul, Amanda goes on alone to fulfill the blood debt that threatens all of their lives. Leaving her only love in Rhonda’s arms, Amanda crosses the Kingdom of Haithenbeurn to “recover” an artifact for the Guild of the Crimson Pommel, but the witch queen, Felicia, and the wizard, Nathanial, each have their own agendas.

Amanda’s Quest will double the size of the map found in the Histories & Arms section of The Legend of Jerrod and offer a new map, a map from the northern kingdom’s perspective. I am currently working with a new editor to finish the manuscript and have had some discussions with a cover designer. I am not sure which publisher may manage the printing yet, but I intend to make the story available in hardback, paper back, and eBook.

Amanda’s Quest & Author Events

AMANDA’S QUEST MANUSCRIPT

I have been remiss in keeping up to date with the blog lately. A lot has been going on. I have contracted with an editor for the Amanda’s Quest manuscript, I am in discussions with the cover design, and I have been approached by a copy indie publishers about the manuscript. I have also been given approval to use the name Garrett for one of the new characters; Garrett is a young man whom I admire greatly and will be a prince in the upcoming book. So far it looks like I should make a fall 2015 release for Amanda’s Quest.

2015 NEVADA READING WEEK EVENT

2015 Nevada Reading Week with Jacci Turner

This last weekend I was privileged to share a table at the 2015 Nevada Reading Week event with Jacci Turner. Jacci has a couple special books, one of which represented Nevada at a national event. Her most recent book was a collaborative effort with local students where Jacci provided story options and the students voted on the course of the story-line. Maybe we can get Jacci to do a special interview on the process.

Jacci and I both belong to the High Sierra Writers group and passed out several flyers for HSW during the event. Richard Arbib, who is also a HSW member, attended the Nevada Reading Week conference as well.

WOOSTER HIGH SCHOOL BAND FUNDRAISER DINNER

HSW authors, Carrol Purroy, Jacci Turner, and I donated autographed books to the fundraiser’s silent auction that occurred Saturday night. The books were included in a basket which looked fantastic.

Check these links out:

  • http://www.highsierrawriters.org/ (Writers group in Reno, Nevada)
  • http://fsfnet.com/ (Fantasy & Science Fiction authors)
  • http://woosterband.org/ (Wooster High School Band)

February 2015

I have spent 2015 revising the Amanda’s Quest manuscript and submitting it to the editor. The least prepared was chapters 6 through 10, which I just delivered, and the History & Arms section. I still have a couple of maps to finish as well.

My hope is that Amanda’s Quest will be released in September 2015.

I will be attending Nevada Reading Week at the end of February. I am looking forward to meeting Washoe County School District teachers and librarians.

Amanda’s Quest Update

I have spent the last month pushing to polish the third set of chapters for Amanda’s Quest to submit to my beta readers. That has been completed and I have started the search for a new editor. I am looking for someone with experience in the fantasy genre. I hope to publish Amanda’s Quest in 2015.

In the meantime, I am designing the cover, working on enlarging the map found in The Legend of Jerrod, possibly adding a new map, and laying out battle diagrams for the truly fanatical fantasy readers, of which I include myself. I have finished the first dragon battle which is part of the chapters just submitted to the beta readers. In their current predicaments, all the characters are separated by the fates, Felicia, the witch from Cipper, has become more involved in their destinies, and Nathanial threatens the kingdom.

I anticipate that the main body of the Amanda’s Quest manuscript will be slightly shorter The Legend of Jerrod manuscript was. However, the History & Arms section will be longer, including a tactical depiction of a battle between Torrence and ….

Well, would that ruin it for you?

I love meeting and hearing from readers. Leave me a comment.

Facebook: /kingdom.torrence

Twitter: @kingdomtorrence

 

Reflections – Why do I write?

I have taken pause this weekend to reflect on what should be a simple answer. I was asked, why do I write? The answer, because I want to bring a story to readers that they will enjoy.

Since Wednesday, I have received a Gold Medal Finalist Award for The Legend of Jerrod from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, an international competition. I have spoken with two best selling authors (the first has 3 fiction/non-SciFi/Fantasy best sellers; the second is a best selling fantasy author with two books out). I have also communicated with a small traditional publisher and a self-publish publisher. Finally, I sat with two readers and had the opportunity to tell them about the book. I even gave one of them the chance to read the first part of Chapter 1 in Amanda’s Quest. Of all my experiences this last week, I think sitting with the readers was the best.

I wrote The Legend of Jerrod with a couple things in mind:

  • I wanted to write about an ordinary teenage boy with common struggles who achieves his dreams through fortitude and tenacity.
  • I wanted to have fun with the Prologue and Epilogue. The histories of Torrence are passed down by bards who sing to crowds. So, the introduction and closure of the book are presented by a legendary bard, Reginald.
  • I took the first few chapters to describe the Kingdom of Torrence, building the foundation for the series, while I began Jerrod’s story. It was my intent to be a little “Tolkienesque”. Not everyone would agree whether I was successful. The literary painting of the kingdom has worked for some and not for others.

One of the authors I spoke with this week felt the book never should have been published and encouraged me to do another major rewrite. The other said “…wish there was more dialog … you have a tendency to tell me instead of show me but you have an awesome voice…” Confused? I was.

When I spoke with the publishers we discussed marketing , trends, setting plans/schedules, and the quality of books being published. Of course, their was also some share puzzlement over Amazon. But in the end it was the thrill of the young lady if had just met who couldn’t wait to get home where her smart phone was charging so that she could order the Kindle version of The Legend of Jerrod.

It has never been about the money for me. I has been about creating an enjoyable story line for you, the reader. A follow-on questions was, how many readers? Certainly the more readers, the more enjoying the story…. and more money. I guess, indirectly, money will always find a way into consideration. Perhaps I should shoot for 10,000, but I will be happy when I pass the first 1,000 (print and eBook versions combined).

At the end of the weekend it has come down to one thing. The words of my University of Maryland creative writing professor that have been immortally etched into my mind for some time…

“Just write.”

 

Gold Medal Finalist

The Legend of Jerrod by D.M. Stoddard
2014 Gold Medal Finalist
Next Generation Indie Book Awards

This evening the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, including submissions from authors around the world, announced that The Legend of Jerrod was a Gold Medal Finalist in the First Novel (over 80,000 words) category.

I am honored, but even more I am grateful to those who have helped me get here:

Beta readers: H.K. Gilbert, E.M. McCuskey, and C.V. Stoddard

Editor: PubShelf

Publisher: C. Manjak, design & layout team, and Friesen Press