SHIFT Cover Reveal

After the four amazing covers for my Blessed of the Dragon series, deciding to continue working with JCalebDesign for my upcoming Fletcher Wise novel, Shift, was a no-brainer. He does great work and is always able to capture the exact scene I wanted to depict.

Jake specializes in Fantasy and Science Fiction covers, which meant I threw him a bit of a curve ball when I described to him what I wanted for Shift. I’m calling Shift an urban fantasy mystery novel. I wanted more of a mystery feel to the cover but didn’t want straight mystery because that would leave out the fantasy spin on the story. I also didn’t really want a typical fantasy cover. I wanted a mystery feel with just a hint of fantasy. And that’s exactly what Jake delivered.


I’d like to do two things:

The obvious is to show you the cover to Shift

But I’d also like to briefly introduce you to Fletcher.

So, first… meet Fletcher.

Fletcher Wise is a detective at the Prescott Police Department. He’s just an ordinary guy with a last name the other officer’s use to incessantly mess with him. It’s all in good fun, but then when you-know-what hits the fan, they all turn to him for guidance–as if having the last name of “Wise” somehow makes him smarter or better at solving crimes. It doesn’t. Truth is, he’s just another guy who thought he had his life put together but in fact did not. So, after a particularly bad day in his personal life, he just wanted to bug out of the station a little early (was that really too much to ask?) and go to his favorite pub for a drink. The last thing he wanted was to stay late and investigate a murder. And he certainly wasn’t interested in interrogating a suspect who was spinning the yarn of all yarns.

Now that brief introductions are out of the way shall we get to the reason you probably came here?

Here it is!

The cover to my upcoming novel, Shift!

Presently, I’m planning to publish it in late May or early June-ish. So stand by for another announcement once I have the date nailed down. Until then, check out my Books tab for information on the other books I’ve written. The entire Blessed of the Dragon series is available on Amazon in print as well as e-book formats. It’s also available to order from your favorite bookstore, including your favorite local indie bookstore!

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Illustrated Book Formatting Guide

Hello! And thanks for being interested in my illustrated book formatting guide. The guide is intended to be used with Microsoft Word and will walk you step-by-step through formatting both print and e-book versions.

It is still in “beta mode” so I am asking if you download it that you please leave me a comment with feedback.

Are the instructions clear? Did you run into any problems along the way?

Please give it a test run then leave me a comment with your experience. You can also contact me directly at with any comments or critiques!

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The End

“Every great story should have a dragon.”

That’s how The Blessed of the Dragon series began a little over seven years ago. It was the very first thing I jotted down when I decided that I was going to write a book. It’s obviously not a true statement, there are tons of great stories, even within the fantasy genre, that don’t have dragons. But it is the first thing I wrote. And I had decided that the book I would write would have a dragon in it.

And now, four-hundred thousand plus words later, after mind-numbingly endless revisions, I have at last written the great THE END.

I have a habit of teasing my daughter–who is a voracious reader–by reading to her the last word in whatever book she’s reading (the The End being excluded). Of course I make sure it isn’t some sort of a spoiler, but if it is something mundane like “them” or “was” or something like that I read it to her. She always rolls her eyes at me but it’s just one of those “dad” things I do. I, of course, wouldn’t do that here because the last word(s) might actually be a bit of a spoiler. And nobody likes a spoiler. It’s like reading the last words of 1984 to someone who has never read it. Okay, not quite like that but sorta.

The guess the point is, the series is finished. And in less than two weeks, all those who have graciously been with me since the beginning will have the opportunity to join me in the THE END.

For better or for worse, The Blessed of the Dragon series is finished.

In the seven years since I jotted that first note and wrote the final THE END a lot has happened. I went from wanting to write one book to deciding to split the story into a trilogy–which subsequently became a quadrilogy. I’ve written about this journey previously but the gist of it was after I finished the first iteration of the story and started thinking about publishing it I learned a very heard truth: publishers have very specific requirements for first time authors. Namely, they expected books from first timers to be between 80,000 and 100,000 words (with an additional 20,000 words allowed for fantasy). My book as it was, was almost 280,000 words. The odds of getting your book published are already pretty low but if you don’t conform it drops even more. So I decided to conform. I split the book. And boy I’m glad I did. Honestly, the first iteration sucked. Or at least it was less than complete. Fortunately, I had pretty good spots to split the story, ala the Lord of the Rings style–one story in three parts. But then when I split the story the story grew. There were things I wanted to write in the story but ultimately opted against because I knew the book was already getting too big. But once I split the book I no longer felt that constraint. I wanted one of my favorite characters to get the ending I felt she deserved. And when I made that decision the three books became four. And for that I’m not sorry.

After splitting the books I polished what became book one, The Path of the Synthesizer, as best I could and started shopping it around. While I shopped it, I worked on books two-four. I learned all about unsolicited manuscripts and how publishers (for the most part) don’t want them. Unsolicited meaning you can’t just send your manuscript directly to them; you have to go through an agent. The trick is landing an agent. I learned how to write a query letter (if you think writing a book is hard, try condensing your book into a query, or summary, or blurb for that matter). I even went to a book convention and personally pitched my novel to two agents. Talk about a stressful situation. Both agents eventually declined to represent me. In the end, I sent query letters out to nearly a hundred agents without success. Turns out its pretty hard to get representation. But while I was striking out left and right, I was slowly warming to the idea of self-publishing.

Everyone in the writing group I was in was self publishing their novels. I sort of went through this period of jealousy (or envy) whenever I saw their books hitting the market while I felt like I was spinning in the mud, not making any progress in my writing goals. But then a year and a half ago I finally made the decision to self publish. But deciding to self publish came with some caveats. 1: I wanted my books to have professional covers. 2: I wanted my books to be professionally edited. 3: I needed a professionally made map. And 4: I wanted my mother-in-law, who own an independent bookstore, to be able to sell my book (should she chose to do so) without having to pay Amazon a dime.

First caveat: I found an amazing cover designer, Jake. He came as a recommendation. And every single cover he designed for my books were exactly what his website advertised: badass. He really brought pivotal scenes in each book to life.

Second caveat: I also found my editor through a recommendation. Elayne did an excellent job whipping my average grammar skills into great shape. Her side commentary was hilarious and and times heart-warming.

Third caveat: I needed a map. And Zach turned my hand drawn maps into real works of art.

And fourth: Amazon is by far the largest market for self-published authors. I don’t have anything against Amazon, in fact my books are available on Amazon in both print and on Kindle, but I wanted my mother-in-law to be able to sell them without having to pay Amazon, who just so happens to be her biggest competitor, a dime. So if I was going to self publish I needed a way to cut Amazon out of the loop. And I found a company that does that very thing. They just happen to be the biggest distributor that bookstores use to stock their shelves. Using them allows my ebooks to be available on Kobo, Nook, Apple, as well as Kindle. But more importantly, any bookstore–indie or not–can log into their ordering system and order my book for their stores.

So, caveats satisfied, I decided to press forward with the whole self-publishing thing.

The last year and a half turned into a sort of whirlwind of scheduling dates with the cover designer and editor, whipping each book into as great a shape as I could with pre-edit revisions, then post edit revisions, then proofreading proofreading and more proofreading (I also had a couple of great proofreaders, for which I am very grateful). Oh, and don’t forget learning how to format. Both the print and e-book versions require very specific–and different–formatting. Anyone need any formatting done? I kinda have a little experience now. There was a lot of trial and error involved, but thanks to YouTube, I got ‘er done.

And now it is all done.

All that’s left is to sit and wait with bated breath, hoping that those of you who have been with me since the beginning, find the ending satisfying.

But even if you don’t I will walk away from this experience satisfied. Writing turned out to be harder than I ever imagined it would be. But I did it. My prose is not anything to write home about, but it is mine. I’ll be honest with you: I sort of hate writing. I don’t consider myself to be especially creative, and the very act of writing sometimes feels like it grinds against my very being. But at the same time I often find it very satisfying. I can’t stop myself from doing it. Which brings me to my final point.

What’s next?

Well, I already have something else on deck. A few years ago I went through this period of just plain ol’ being sick of my fantasy series. I needed a break. It just so happened that at that time I had an inkling for a detective novel and decided to run with it. I took a break from the Blessed series and wrote a novel altogether different than what you my have previously read from me. It’s an urban fantasy (that is a fantasy that takes place on earth as opposed to a made up world like Middle Earth or Dradonia). And I’m really excited about it. I’ve had several readers and it seems to be getting great reviews. Over on my Books tab I’ve dropped a little teaser that goes something like this: Detective Fletcher Wise thought he’d seen and heard it all. That is until he interrogates the primary suspect of a murder and finds himself listening to an alibi that defies the very laws of nature.

Look for Shift: A Fletcher Wise Novel in the spring of next year!

And let’s not forget about Dradonia. Even though The Blessed of the Dragon series is finished, I have lots more ideas for this world. I’ve been thinking about several stories that take place before the Blessed series. One of which will be part of a series called The Adventures of Danavin or Danavin’s Adventures or something of the sort. Danavin being Yolken’s father, he has a LONG history that spans three eras and is ripe for lots of adventure. Plus I’d like to write a book or two about the origins of the Dragon King and how he came into power. I’m also thinking of writing a middle grade story that takes place after the Blessed series. My daughter is really intrigued by my writing (we’ve talked about it quite a bit) but she is only ten and won’t be able to read them for some time yet. So I’ve thought about writing something she can read now. And she LOVES dragons. I also have an idea for another book (or possibly series) that takes place after the Blessed. I may or may not have planted some seeds. 😉

But then again, I might hang up my proverbial hat. I don’t know. 🤷‍♂️

In closing, I’d like to say that I am thankful for each of you that have supported me throughout my writing journey, and I’m not just talking about those of you bold enough to buy my books. But those who have lent me an ear, or read horrifying early drafts, or fished out last minute typos. I owe each of you much gratitude and wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

Happy reading!

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The Death of the Sun: BEFORE


Previous Era

Marcin lay on his back in the tall blood-soaked grass, staring up at the sky. A lifetime of service to his king, and this was how it ended. A part of him had always known that sooner or later his life would end the same way he’d ended so many others.

Death was imminent. There was nothing to do but wait. Thankfully, no one was left to drag him back to Crenalin because the healers wouldn’t be able to save him. All they’d do was prolong his death, which meant more pain. He’d witnessed it happen too many times. It was a horrible way to die. Death on the battlefield was the best that a knight could hope for. And that was what he’d been granted. He was thankful Aliza wouldn’t have to watch him die.

While Marcin waited, he tried to focus on the peacefulness above instead of the pain. A sort of calmness existed in the clouds floating slowly by, occasionally shading him from the sun. He tried to remember what the sun felt like shining on him on a crisp spring morning, but all he felt was pain.

A dragon soared into view. It glided serenely in and out of the clouds, high in the sky, barely discernible. Spotting a dragon wasn’t unusual; they were often seen soaring about. What was unusual was talking to one. As far as he knew, no human had ever interacted with a dragon. They avoided humans like deer avoided wolves. As the beast soared overhead, Marcin reflected on the recent conversation he’d had with a dragon. That he could remember. Who could forget talking with a dragon?

His horse had almost thrown him when they’d rounded a bend and found the dragon blocking his path. It was just lying there, waiting. It was the closest he’d ever been to one. He’d spun his horse to flee, but the dragon spoke. It asked him to stop. So he did. Its deep, sonorous voice was calming. It wanted to know why he killed—why humans killed. The strangest part—stranger than a dragon talking to him; stranger even than the dragon knowing Marcin’s language—was that it admitted to watching Marcin. But what it never said was why. And then it left, leaving Marcin wondering what had just happened.

In the weeks since, Marcin had reflected on that strange meeting. What was the purpose of it? And why him? He was nobody. He’d never told Faran about it, and he never kept secrets from his king—he would never have become First Knight if he had. It didn’t matter now, though. If Faran wasn’t dead yet, he likely would be soon.

And Aliza… poor Aliza. He hoped she was safe. She didn’t deserve to die. He hated that he had brought her into the middle of a war, but their marriage had been vital to a treaty with her father. And it had worked: Varias had sent his knights to help defend Crenalin. But in the end, the treaty had come too late. Barely a week had expired, and Marcin was about to make her a widow. She should be back in her home, safe in her father’s castle. Instead, she was far from anyone she knew or loved, alone in an unfamiliar kingdom. When the enemy sacked Crenalin, she would be killed… or worse. And he wouldn’t be there to stop it, to protect her like he’d promised he would.

The dragon still circled. Strangely, instead of gliding out of his view, it remained overhead. The clouds changed as they drifted by, but the dragon remained stationary, high above. As Marcin watched the dragon, darkness slowly enveloped him. It started at the edges of his vision and moved inward. He’d lost consciousness before, so he knew what was happening—only this time, he wouldn’t wake. The end had come.

Before long, all Marcin could see was a small circle of sky at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Then, in the little window of blue that remained at the far end, the dragon tucked its wings and dove like a hawk diving for prey. The dragon grew in the tunnel until it was all Marcin could see.

He never imagined a dragon would be the last thing he saw when death took him.

But instead of death, he felt warmth—the warmth of the sun. It wasn’t the warmth of a crisp spring morning; this warmth permeated him throughout. It dulled—no, stopped the pain. Marcin’s vision returned. He felt as hale as he ever had. He would have stood and run to Crenalin, to Aliza, were it not for the dragon’s muzzle looming uncomfortably close, its breath incredibly hot.

“In exchange for life eternal,” the dragon boomed, “you will end the wars.”

Pain exploded in Marcin’s chest before he could ask the dragon what it meant.

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The Astronomer – Part III


295 UE

Drashon stood before the gold-plated doors of the throne room. He stared at the dragon emblems emblazoned on each door while he awaited entrance. Huge tapestries hung on either side of the doors featuring the once common dragons soaring among the clouds. He resisted the urge to pull out his time piece and check the time. He knew it was a nervous tick and he didn’t want to betray his emotions to the guards standing on either side of him.

The captain of the guard emerged from the throne room and, after he closed the heavy door behind him, said, “Chancellor, if you would permit a search of your person.”

Drashon unclasped his coat and held out his arms. The captain signaled one of the guards to search him. The guard patted him down and checked the pockets of his coat, inside and out, looking for dragon bones or Energy powered Machines. The guard found the rolled-up parchment in his inner pocket and briefly examined it without breaking the wax seal. There was nothing suspicious about it, so he returned it to its place. The guard then found his timepiece, took it out of its inner pocket, and showed it to the captain.

“I’ll need to keep this until you’re finished,” the captain said.

The guard handed it to the captain and then, finding nothing else, returned to his place at Drashon’s side.

“Thank you, Chancellor. You may enter.”

The guard to Drashon’s left stepped forward and opened the door.

Drashon took a deep breath. Meeting his father here instead of in his personal quarters made him uneasy. He let the breath out and stepped through the gilded doors. He passed through the entryway with stairs on the left leading up to the viewing area, into the throne room.

At the far end of the room, up the stepped dais, his father sat on his throne, illuminated by the sun. Drashon’s step faltered when he saw that his father was wearing black armor. The dragon statues perched above the throne looked toward him ominously. He forced himself to approach the dais where his father clutched the Dragon Scepter. A golden dragon clutched the scepter, its tail winding down the gilded bone. He wished desperately to fill himself with Energy, but he couldn’t. The shields over the glass ceiling blocked the sun from reaching him. Even if he had access to Energy, it would be a mistake. Watchers would undoubtedly be keeping an eye on him from the balcony.

When he arrived at the foot of the dais, he knelt on one knee, bowed his head, and waited.

“You may rise,” the emperor said.

Drashon stood and clasped his hands behind his back.

“No point in delaying the matter at hand, Chancellor. I’ve waited fifty years for the astronomer to finish. Do you have his report?”

“Y-yes, Your Blessed Highness,” Drashon said, matching the formality his father chose to utilize. “Though, I don’t think you’ll be pleased with his conclusions.”

“Did you take care of the astronomer’s… needs?”

“Yes, Your Highness. The astronomer won’t be sharing his discovery with anybody. The only person that knows what’s contained within his report is me.” Drashon reached into his overcoat and drew out the rolled-up parchment sealed with wax. He held it out and said, “May I?”

The emperor gestured with his hand in a sweeping motion toward himself.

Drashon climbed the steps and squinted when the sunlight shined directly into his eyes and handed the parchment over. As he stood in the sun, he briefly considered filling himself with Energy, but abandoned the thought just a quickly. Instead, he stood helplessly before his father.

The emperor took a few moments to study the report. He looked up and said, “This is much worse than I’d imagined, Drashon.”

“Indeed, father,” Drashon replied, matching his father’s drop in formalities.

“It’s been almost three hundred years since I first sat on this throne, Drashon. And it wasn’t until now that I finally understand the full ramifications of the war.” He paused for a moment and stared blankly at the parchment. “I’ve often wondered why my father surrendered. We fought for thirty years, neither gaining any significant advantage over the other. And now, I think I might understand why.” After another pause, he added, “Perhaps his way would have been better.”

Drashon look at his father, confused, “Father, the war was necessary. What grandfather proposed was—”

“Yes,” Drakonias said. “But this,” he said, shaking the parchment, “proves our actions weren’t worth it.”

“It would be treasonous for me to agree…”

“Son,” the emperor said, eyeing Drashon pensively. “It seems that everything we fought for was for naught. Unless this problem is remedied—if that’s even possible—we’re all going to die.” Drakonias paused again before continuing. “You understand how vital it is that this information not leak out, don’t you?”

Drashon nodded.

“Imagine the wide-spread chaos should this ever escape this room.”

“I agree,” Drashon said. He hadn’t wanted to kill the astronomer, but he understood why it had been necessary.

“I simply cannot allow what’s contained within this report to ever get out.”

“Word of this will never—” Drashon stopped when he felt a familiar warmth enter his body. He looked at his father, confused. The emperor was directing Energy into him. “Father? I-I’m not due for Regeneration…”

“No,” Drakonias said, “you are not.” He rose from the throne with the Dragon Scepter in hand and said, “But this is necessary.”

Drashon panicked when he realized what his father was doing. He turned and stumbled down the steps of the dais as his body filled with Energy. He’d grown accustomed to the sensation from the many times his father had restored his youth, but this didn’t feel quite right. Normally the intense heat dispersed as the Energy wove through his body, undoing the ravages of time, but the heat didn’t abate. It was building. He ran for the doors, pulling the Energy into his Core, but it was building too fast. The heat overcame him, and he stumbled. He fell to the floor a dozen paces short of the exit. He dispersed Energy into the marble floor, but it was too late. The acrid smell of his burning flesh filled his nose.

Drashon writhed in pain. He forced himself to lift his head with the little strength he had left and looked toward his father. He reached out with a hand, pleading for mercy, but screamed as his body burst into flame.

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