Tag Archives: Jerrod

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.

 

Holiday Cheer & the Coming Year

Amandas-Quest-300x200

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Amanda’s Quest was released on December 8, 2015, and has received its first ratings: all 5 stars from Goodreads fans. I hope that you are enjoying your copy too. Amanda’s Quest is doing well on Amazon, which will be the only outlet for the eBook format until March 2016. It is available in paperback through most distribution points. The hard back format should be available in January 2016.

2015-1227 Goodreads Ratings

I have been invited to and confirmed attending an interview on LRP’s Book Hound Radio starting at 4:00 pm on January 4th. I will update this post with information as it becomes available.

I also had a tremendous opportunity this Christmas to send out wishes with a number of other authors from around the world. You can view our video at: Christmas Wishes from Authors Around The World

My Work In Progress (WIP) for 2016 will be The Light of Ak’ron (c), book three of the Kingdom of Torrence series. The title was introduced in Amanda’s Quest by the Master of Bards, Reginald Rhinestone during the annual Bards’ Festival. I hope that Toni Rakestraw will agree to edit book three. Most certainly, I hope to continue my association with Streetlight Graphs for book formatting and cover design.

Thank your for all your interest and support. I am looking forward to a fantastic 2016. And now, off to Toys-R-Us to replace my grandson’s Moosey ….

 

 

Amanda’s Quest, Chapter 1 ©

By D.M. Stoddard

New Beginning

Amanda stood at the bow of the ship, her long blonde hair blowing freely in the wind, her feet solidly planted on the deck as it rose and fell beneath her, and her hands grasping the rail as the water of the winter sea sprayed up into the air each time the bow dove into the next wave. Her journey had begun….

Download an excerpt from Chapter 1 for free.

Blog – Amanda’s Quest Chapter 1 Excerpt

 

The Road to Publishing: The Publisher (Part II)

So, how does it feel? You have worked your manuscript through the editing process – red lines and mark ups. It is a hard, often lonely road, but you’ve made it. Again, congratulations. Now, it’s time to determine your publishing options. The question is whether it will be a traditional publisher, a publishing service, or self-publishing?

Each of these routes has its Pros and Cons, its rewards and pitfalls. The most important thing at this point is knowing what you want. Why are you writing in the first place? One of my favorite topics, strategic planning, but that is for another post…

Traditional Publishers: Fame and fortune painted in your eyes? This route typically starts with a query letter to a literary agent who will represent you with a publishing house, presumably leveraging their acquaintance with the publishing houses to get your manuscript seen. If you have chosen to pursue this route, do a Google search. There are some traditional publishers that accept direct submission. You should be aware, however, that this route offers a steep challenge.

Tara K. Harper writes an interesting article about the likelihood of being published. In short, 3 out of 10,000 manuscripts are reported published by a traditional publisher. As I understand it the publishing house will only provide about 3 months of marketing, but will probably get your book placed in brick and mortar bookstores. The cost – a portion of your royalties…

Publishing Services: This method involves hiring a professional publishing service, but you are still considered an indie author. The biggest benefit is that the service will (should) manage all of your business logistics: manuscript formatting, cover design, channel placement/distribution, and book orders. Some may even offer some marketing.

I am very thankful for Friesen Press. I was treated well and learned a lot from them about the business hidden behind being an author. My debut book, The Legend of Jerrod, won two awards and was ranked about 180,000 with Amazon. With the exception of marketing (which I was disappointed with), everything they told me was “right on the money”. I retained all rights to my book and received the royalties as they promised while they did all of the posting logistics; retaining all rights was the biggest issue for me. It was a good way to break into the business side of being an indie author (non-traditional publishing).

That said, be careful about your publishing services. When I started selecting my first publisher I didn’t know too many authors. The one I knew best told me she had paid twice what Friesen was requesting, and she had signed the rights to her book and to any movie away for 4 years. Ouch! One of the publishing services that I considered for Amanda’s Quest required me to use its editor if they were going to published the manuscript, which included some marketing. If I paid for the publishing it would have cost the same amount…. hmm?

I discovered some local favorite publishing services who would have taken some of the business burdens off my back, but they were 3 to 4 times as expensive as the true, self-publishing route.

True Self-Publishing: As I have gained experience I have met some wonderful, mutually supporting authors and mentors. I am a member of three author groups: FSFNet.com (fantasy & sci-fi authors), World Literary Cafe, and High Sierra Writer; thank you all. Based on their experience and encouragement, I am about to jump into the deep end without flotation devices.

I selected Streetlight Graphics to format Amanda’s Quest into the various formats required by the distribution channels. Streetlight was recommended by a number of authors, appears on the title pages of numerous books, and offers pricing and payment plans that were as reasonable as any others I could find. I have been very happy with their service.

The Pro to this route of publishing is that the royalties and copyrights are all mine, and the price is much less. Using Ingram as one of my distribution channels may enable me to be in brick and mortar book stores, if I chose to pursue that path. The Cons, I am taking on all the business logistics.

Recommendation: The route to publishing you select must optimize your goals. If you want to be in brick and mortar book stores or traditional publishing is the only way to be eligible for an author group, then pursue a traditional publisher. If you want to publish quickly and retain control all of your copyright decision, then pursue either a publishing service or self-publishing. Chosing between these two options depends on cost/royalties and the amount of business transactions you want to manage.

Keep in mind, in May 2014 The Wire – News from the Atlantic reported that Amazon’s share of all new books purchased was 41 percent. Amazon also held 65 percent of all new online books (in both print and digital) and 67 percent of the e-book market.  Additionally, in July 2014 The Daily Dot reported that 2013 eBook sales surpassed the number of books sold in brick and mortar book stores, although the total revenue due to price disparities were still less.

 

The Bard’s Song ©

Back of The Legend of Jerrod: Disillusioned with the thought of becoming a miller, Jerrod sets off to find fame and fortune. After prying a magical sword from the skeletal hand of a fallen knight, he and his new found friends undertake an adventure to recover the secret treasure of the Lost Kings. Accompanied by a wizard and sage, Jerrod finds himself torn between his love for a thief and his blossoming love for a half-Elven druid princess. Armed with courage, steel, and magic they battle formidable beasts as they race to reach the treasure first.

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.”

 

The World of Dendür

 

 

Full Map

The world of Dendür was created by author and artist D.M. Stoddard for the Kingdom of Torrence series. The map is found in the Histories & Arms section at the back of The Legend of Jerrod. The draft of book two, Amanda’s Quest, plans to double the size of this map, which is drawn from the Torrence and Lithlillia perspective, and to include a new map from the Haithenbeurn perspective.

Torrence is a human kingdom named after its founder, who was an adventurer. Lord Torrence sailed up a river and founded a stronghold on a river-island from which he began to clear the land of wild beast. The primary religion of Torrence is the gods and goddesses from Olympus, but a new religion, the Order of One, is growing in popularity

Lithlillia is the Elven clan of the west that joined with humans to protect the region and especially its forests. They include druids and rangers. The humans, Elves, and half-Elves of Lithlillia practice the druid teachings.

Far to the north are the followers of Odin. The Kingdom of Haithenbeurn believes they are the center of the world. Long ago Odin gave the King of Haithenbeurn a gift for his valor. That gift, the Horn of Valhalla, hangs from a rafter above the king’s throne.

Discounted price for the revised edition of The Legend of Jerrod

The revised edition of The Legend of Jerrod is now available at a discounted price.

Print copies at about cost until December 31st:

http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000001660074

eBook copies for 99¢ from December 22nd until the 29th:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00B62FHEU

 

Enjoy the story and happy holidays!