Cover Reveal!

Many thanks to Jake over at Jcalebdesign for the absolutely amazing cover he created for The Path of the Synthesizer! Ever since I first came across his work I knew that if I eventually decided to self-publish my writing that I wanted him to be the one to design my covers.

One can argue the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing a novel, but one pro of self-publishing is that I am the publisher and, therefore, I get to call the shots. The decision as to what the cover is to look like is entirely mine. And I’ve had a mental picture of what I wanted for a long time. Jake expressed that vision perfectly. He took my words, a piece of the story, a defining moment for Yolken, and turned that moment, those words, into a work of art.

And today, I want to share that art with you.

I am, however, at the same time reminded of the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover. I think it is at least partially true that a cover says a lot about a book, especially in today’s day of digital media. I ask, however, in sharing this cover with you, that you not develop an opinion about my book. An awesome cover in and of itself will not make the words contained therein also awesome. The words, when revealed, will define themselves. Instead, I invite you to enjoy this cover for what it is: Jake’s awesome work of art.

So, without further ado, the cover for my forthcoming novel, The Path of the Synthesizer:

The Path of the Synthesizer eCover

Watching the various pieces come together (the maps are done too ūüėĀ) is getting me excited about the book’s release! If you’re interested in helping build that excitement please like and share my Facebook page!

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Igniting the Flame

A while back I happened across a contest for a 101-word microstory. Unfortunately, I didn’t happen across it until the contest was already over. I wrote the story anyways. The following is¬†Igniting the Flame, a 101-word story set in Dradonia, the world where The Path of the Synthesizer¬†takes place.

The hatchling huddled underneath her mother’s protective wing with her siblings. She peered out at the regal dragon. Its yellow scales shimmered in Solarian’s light.

The hatchling’s mother stood and folded her wings. Her mother and father moved away, leaving them exposed to the ring of dragons‚ÄĒyellow, red, blue, violet, orange, green, black, and white. The hatchling scampered after her mother and father, but the dragons blocked her path.

A great warmth, flowing from the eight, filled the hatching. A fire ignited within her and began to burn. Unable to contain it, she opened her mouth and breathed it out.

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Sneak Peek # 1



389 United Era

Drenan did not see the Overseer approaching until he was nearly upon him. The black armor the Overseer wore, which matched his own, veiled his presence on the moonless night.

“Everyone is in place,” the Overseer said.

“The tavern‚Äôs secure?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“You’re sure?” Drenan said, even though he already knew the answer. The tavern stood alone, away from the village, surrounded by four Overseers and four dozen soldiers. He had planned this mission carefully and was taking no chances. He would not squander this opportunity to rid the empire of its last real threat.

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

Drenan nodded. “Get into position.”

The Overseer turned toward the tavern and faded into a shadow after a dozen feet.

Drenan allowed the Overseer time to take up his position with the soldiers under his command, then signaled to the two assassins, wearing close-fitting black clothes, standing next to him.

They both nodded and silently moved toward the tavern.

Drenan placed his hand on the hilt of the black dagger tucked into his belt and reached out with two threads of Energy until he felt the heartbeats of the two assassins. Their pulses reflected the calm with which they moved.

The minutes passed while he waited alone in the sea of wild grass, away from the solitary building. He thought about his previous failures to kill Danavin. His fingers drummed lightly on the bone dagger. Not tonight, he thought, forcing his fingers to stop. Tonight, he would finally avenge Therese and Cara.

Unable to see anything but the tavern’s dimly lit windows, he listened. The only sounds disrupting the peaceful night were the babbling of flowing water to his left and chirping insects in the distance.

The assassins’ pulses quickened.

Drenan gripped the dagger tightly, and his other hand formed a tight fist. The scars on the backs of his hands stretched uncomfortably.

One of the heartbeats stopped.

He took a step toward the tavern.

The other heartbeat stopped.

The thought of failure forced its way back into Drenan’s mind. His hatred for Danavin compelled him to go and finish the man himself, but he clenched his jaw and ignored the urge. The plan was already set. The Overseers and soldiers were in place. He’d prepared for this possibility.

Drenan took one quick look toward the sleeping village down the road, then siphoned more Energy from the dagger. Using the heat pooling inside him, he sent Energy to the front wall of the two-story wooden structure and set it ablaze.

He continued feeding Energy to the fire and waited tensely as it grew. He forced himself to remain where he was, trusting his unit to stop Danavin from another escape. However, as the fire spread, memories of countless missed opportunities overwhelmed him and compelled him to move. He drew the dagger from his belt and strode through the grass toward the tavern.

An explosion boomed, freezing him in mid-step. “Danavin,” he said through clenched teeth. He broke into a run, the small scales of his armor permitting fluid and unrestricted movement. When he arrived at the road, the Overseer and leather-clad soldiers guarding the front of the tavern were moving around the sides of the building. “Hold your position!” he yelled, and the soldiers returned to their formation in the middle of the road. There was a stone annex attached to the side of the wooden building, and he moved quickly down the cart path between the annex and the creek.

At the back, corpses littered the ground around a gaping hole in the annex. Rubble was scattered into the distance as far as Drenan could see by the light of the fire.

The village alarm bell rang in the distance.

Drenan picked his way through the rubble and fallen soldiers. He entered the remains of the kitchen and stepped over the body of a woman lying in a pool of her own blood.

“He’s dead,” an Overseer said.

“Where’s his body?” Drenan said.

The black-armored man gestured at the door that divided the kitchen from the common room. It was engulfed in flames.

Drenan drew Energy from the dagger in his hand and, using Synthesis, shattered the door. He stepped closer to the doorjamb and peered into the burning tavern.

His eyes locked on a blackened body slumped by the stone hearth, clothes burning.


A long object lay on the floor next to Danavin, untouched by the fire.

His sword.

Drenan reached out with a thread of Energy and lifted the sword, drawing it through the flames toward himself. He grabbed it by the black bone blade, avoiding the decorative steel threads woven around the hilt to form a decorative cross-guard. He gasped at the deep beckoning force in the bone.

The bone blade felt cool in the surrounding heat. He held it up and inspected it. Light from the flames reflected from ribbons woven throughout the black bone. He knew that in sunlight those ribbons would be yellow.

Prize in hand, Drenan tucked his dagger into his belt and surveyed the damaged wall. It was imperative that no one suspect their involvement here. Time was short. “Get rid of the bodies outside,” he said. “Quickly.”

The Overseer stepped through the hole in the wall and called for the others. With help from the other soldiers, they gathered the corpses into a pile, and the Overseers used Energy to burn the bodies, reducing them to ash.

While the Overseers worked outside, Drenan picked up the woman and tossed her into the tavern. He scanned the room and found a body protruding from underneath a burning table. Nearby were two thin swords. One of the failed assassins. He retrieved the swords in the same manner as he’d retrieved Danavin’s, then searched the room for their throwing knives. He found them embedded in the wall near the stairs. After he’d collected them, he siphoned more Energy from Danavin’s sword and burned away the table and body hidden underneath. Where’s the other one? He didn’t want there to be more than two sets of remains found in the building on the morrow. Maybe upstairs? But searching up there was impossible.

“Draego’s Fire,” he swore through clenched teeth.

He was running out of time. With one more quick scan of the tavern, he decided it didn’t matter. It’ll be unrecognizable by time the fire’s out; an unlucky patron.

Drenan turned from the room and burned away the blood pooled on the stone floor where the woman had died. He frowned when he looked up at the hole in the stone wall. He hated the idea of leaving evidence behind, but the locals were on their way. He walked through the rubble, cursing Danavin for the mess, and signaled to the others that it was time to leave.

Drenan gave the assassins’ weapons to an Overseer, then led the group back to the sea of grass. At the top of a small rise, he stopped and turned around. Several torches floated down the road from the village toward the burning tavern.

A smile crept onto Drenan’s face. Finally, his wife and daughter were avenged.

He turned, sword in hand, and followed the others into the night.



Thanks for taking the time to read the prologue to The Path of the Synthesizer! If you enjoyed it or know someone who you think might, please consider sharing it!

I haven’t set a publication date yet, mainly because I don’t know for sure how long it will take for the many pieces to fall into place, but as soon as I know I will proclaim it. My goal is sometime this fall.

In the meantime, check out some of my other posts where I’ve talked about different aspects of my writing adventure. You can also keep up to date by liking my¬†Facebook¬†page as well as clicking the follow button on this website.

Stay tuned for sneak peek # 2…

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When I first started reading The Wheel of Time fantasy series back in high school there were five books in the series. Every time a new book was released I felt compelled to re-read all the previous books to refresh myself on the story so I would know what was going on. I eventually had to quit doing that because the series became so large it was impractical for me to read six, then seven, then eight, then nine, then ten, then eleven, then twelve, and finally thirteen books in preparation for the new release. And when a certain author finally releases the next book in his series made wildly popular by a certain HBO series I know for certain I will have to re-read the previous books because I have no clue what happened in the last one. I’ve simply forgotten most of what’s happened or where the last book left off.

The point I’m trying to make is that after a substantial break it’s time for me to return to Dradonia (that’s where The Path of the Synthesizer takes place). Having decided to self-publish my novels I am compelled to go back to the beginning for some refreshment. On the surface, the very thought of having to refresh myself on a novel that I authored seems a little silly but my memory really isn’t all that great. That and since the last time I visited The Path of the Synthesizer I’ve written revisions for book two and three in the series, wrote the first draft of book 4 (the ending which, IMHO, is pretty great), wrote drafts two and three of my detective novel, got a new job and crammed my head with a bunch of new job stuff, read a book or six, wrote a couple short stories, and who knows what else. The big picture stuff and highpoints of PotS are still in my head bouncing around but I am 100% certain there are details that I’ve forgotten.

So, while PotS is off for editing, I’m going to take the opportunity to read it anew. When the time comes for me to begin sifting through the editor’s notes and comments I want the details to be fresh in my mind.

I’m kind of excited. The most recent details of the story in my head are of the ending, of guiding my characters, or rather, letting them guide me, to their respective conclusions. Now, I go back to the town of Lonely Oak, to the Thornhill Tavern, where their stories begin.

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Shifting Gears

When I first started writing a book I did it with the goal of being traditionally published, that is, a publishing company liked my book so much that they would be willing to take a financial risk on me and publish it. In pursuit of that goal, as I learned more about what publishers are looking for and what it takes to get published, I had to adapt my story in order to try and fit into a mold, so to speak. I wrote at length about this in an earlier post, so I won’t rehash it all here except to say that in the end, I was never able to achieve that goal.

One positive aspect to come out of the experience of attempting to get traditionally published was that while I was trying to sell¬†The Path of the Synthesizer¬†I continued working on the rest of the story. I split my original story (part of the trying to fit into a mold thing) into multiple parts–The Path of the Synthesizer¬†being part one–and¬†as I continued working on it I realized there was more to story to tell. When I made the split I thought I was going to have a trilogy but I ended up with a fourth book instead (yikes!). And the good news is that in large part (minus some revisions and editing) the series is complete!

Another thing that happened while I tried to sell¬†book one,¬†was that I slowly warmed to the idea of self-publishing. To some the very thought of self-publishing is taboo but to many (especially in today’s day and age of ebooks) it is the only way to go. I didn’t want to self-publish, I resisted the idea because I wanted to be traditionally published. But the idea slowly grew on me.

Which brings me to my recent announcement. I am going to publish¬†The Path of the Synthesizer¬†myself. I’ve made the decision to self-publish. I want to tell my story. I made this decision in part because I feel as though I have been spinning in circles for the last several years not getting anywhere with my writing. My story was written, but I couldn’t tell it (except to the select few who read it and provided me with valuable critique). I have other ideas and things I want to write (I already have a detective novel I wrote and am very excited about) but have had a hard time moving forward without finishing what I started.

Having made the decision to self-publish, I have committed myself to provide those of you who may soon read The Path of the Synthesizer with the best product I can. Which is why it is not yet available. Currently, the manuscript is in the hands of a skilled editor. When she is done with it, I will review her work and make revisions as necessary. I am also working with a professional cover designer to make an awesome cover. Once those boxes are checked I can begin the process of converting the material into both an ebook and a print edition.

The awesome news is that when¬†The Path of the Synthesizer¬†is ready you’ll be able to purchase it from just about anywhere you want. Whether it is ordering a print edition from your local independent book store (wink wink) or instantly download an ebook version onto your favorite e-reader.

Excitement is starting to build in me as I have taken a step forward. Something I have envisioned for several years will soon come to fruition.

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Hear Ye Hear Ye


As many of you know, for the last several years I have been striving to publish my first novel. Well, I’m here to announce that in the very near future I will be publishing The Path of the Synthesizer, book one of The Blessed of the Dragon!

The details are still wrinkled and in need of ironing but I promise that as I zero in on a publication date I’ll let you know. Right now I’m tentatively hoping for early fall.

In the meantime, follow me on Facebook and this website to keep up to date with news and announcements!

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In the process of developing my world, I invented a lot of characters. Many of them are characters¬†with actual roles in the present story, and many of them are historical characters that, although they don’t specifically appear in the novel, played crucial¬†roles in the¬†world’s history. Most of them I made up as I went. One of them was inspired by a four-legged friend (who, due to his wish to prevent large crowds from descending upon his domain for autographs, wishes to remain anonymous). All of them were¬†invented as I developed¬†this writing project except¬†for¬†one: the protagonist.

His name is Yolken, and his history transcends the world in which he currently exists. The tale of his origin is a tale worthy of telling. It began more than twenty years ago with a thick-rimmed, eyeglass wearing adolescent in a small town situated in the middle of a high desert and surrounded by a sea of sage brush.

So, grab a glass/mug/stein/cup of your favorite beverage, a small snack, your favorite electronic device, and settle in for the brief telling of Yolken’s epic beginning.

Please note that what ensues is meant only to be a dramatized recreation of actual events. It’s accuracy is subject to the¬†mediocre memory of the raconteur.


It was a typical Saturday morning that began with network cartoons, “After these messages, we’ll be right back!” sung during every commercial break, and a bowl of cereal sans milk.

After the cartoons were over and my breakfast eaten, I cut across our front yard lawn kept green in the arid climate by an automatic sprinkler system to the sidewalk. I walked to the end of the block, crossed the asphalt parking lot, and joined a couple of friends at the small town high school.

I¬†pulled open the heavy doors and stepped into the unfamiliar hallway. Then, I opened¬†the first door on the left and entered a room filled with the gentle humming of two dozen computer fans. A few people–big scary high schoolers–were already sitting in front of the large, cubed-shaped monitors, clicking away on rectangular keyboards.

I sat down in front of one of the computers and connected it¬†to the NovaNET. While it’s modem squealed¬†loudly, I thought about what kind of character I wanted and what I was going to name. After¬†the modem successfully connected me to the outside world, I logged into Avatar¬†for the first time.

I followed the prompts on the monochrome screen and created my character. I chose to be a warrior, and I named him Yolken. After establishing his initial attributes–such as strength, wisdom, charisma, and dexterity–I set off with¬†my level one¬†warrior to explore the dungeon lurking below.

Using the one inch by one inch view-finder, I learned to navigate the hallways defined by trapezoid walls and slowly memorized my way through each level. Yolken gained experience points with each monster he killed. After gaining enough, he returned to the city above and leveled up. Every time he gained a level, his attributes improved and he became stronger. As his strength increased, he ventured deeper and deeper into the dungeon and fought stronger and stronger monsters.

As the weeks passed, Yolken gained many levels. He joined parties that combined their strengths and traveled deep into the dungeon together where he faced monsters he wasn’t strong enough to¬†fight himself. By¬†participating¬†in parties, he gained experience and leveled up faster than he otherwise could alone.

Traveling deep into the dungeon and back up becomes more and more time consuming the deeper you go, so parties typically had a wizard with the ability to teleport the party deep into the dungeon rather than navigating it level by level. It saved time. A lot of time. Teleporting, however, did not come without risk. The possibility existed for a wizard to accidentally teleport your party into a rock. As you can imagine, finding yourself stuck in the middle of a rock is not good. In fact, it completely devastates your character.

As a level three-hundred warrior, Yolken had become a formidable warrior. The once fierce monsters of the first several levels were now nothing more than annoying gnats. Teleporting was now a necessity. However, as a warrior, he couldn’t do it himself. With the ever present drive¬†to gain the requisite experience for the next level, I relied on others to take Yolken deep into the dungeon to the monsters he needed to face.

Then, one day, another player asked if Yolken could take part in their party in my absence. I agreed, thinking it would be free experience for Yolken. Unbeknownst to me, this seemingly innocuous decision would change everything.

I don’t remember there being anything remarkable about the next time I went in. It probably started the same as it always did–early morning cartoons with memorable jingles during every commercial break, dry cereal, and the excitement of spending the morning vanquishing evil monsters. However, when I sat down in front of the monochrome screen and logged in, I immediately knew things were not as they should be.

Rather than venturing off for another day of monster slaying, I stared at the screen in shock. Yolken’s attributes were a fraction of what they once were. I thought to myself, What happened?¬†But I already knew the answer.¬†Yolken had been teleported into a rock. Rocked. Everything I had spent countless Saturday mornings working for was gone. Yolken, for all intents and purposes, was back to square one.

I stared at the screen, unable to imagine myself doing it all over again, starting over at square one.¬†I don’t remember if I actually played that day, or if I simply logged out and left. What I do remember, however, is that I walked away from my fallen warrior, left him bleeding in the back alley of an unnamed medieval city, and never played Avatar again.


I know not what became of Yolken, but for the next twenty years, I carried with me the memory of a once great warrior.

I’ve wanted to write for a long time–I have documentation of trying dating back fifteen years–and each time I attempted to plot a story Yolken¬†was in the forefront of my mind. As mediocre as my memory is, I couldn’t forget him. I yearned to give him life anew. Then, when I started my current writing project–the only project to actually get off the ground–his reincarnation was complete. From my project’s¬†very inception, before I even really knew what the story was about, I knew Yolken¬†was my hero.

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