Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blood Master by Kirsten Campbell

Blood Master (Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series)
By Kirsten Campbell
Genre: Urban Paranormal Fantasy

Blood Master Link on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nzFYet

The Story

2052: Two-thirds of the human population have been killed by the Great War, the Clover Virus and the Death Plague. Only one man survived the Death Plague, an albino man named Griffin Storm. He’s the only albino in existence. No one knows what happened to the other albinos, but most believe the rumors that they were eliminated by the Guild Faction’s deadly experiments.
Griffin is hiding out in Underground Atlanta. He has special abilities. He can manipulate crystal and glass. He uses these abilities for good, raiding warehouses and old buildings for food and medical supplies to give to the abandoned children that live in the Underground. While on a raid he meets Tassta Vinetti. She’s a resident of the legendary Brotherhood Fortress. Griffin is taken to the Brotherhood and chaos ensues as Tassta, her twin brother Penn and her Uncle Lerin Sanctobous keep their new visitor and his untold powers secret. They can not disclose that the only albino in existence is now at their fortress or they could all be in great danger.
Fact is the Guild is hunting Griffin. He is the only survivor of their deadly experiments and his survival will have dynamic consequences. The Guild believes Griffin will transform into a G.O.D., a Genetically-enhanced Omni Dimensional being. If he transforms, he will have inter-dimensional doors within his body, doors that lead to heaven and hell. Griffin will become a Blood Master and he’ll be able to control the demons from the Dimension of Blood.
Will Griffin save the children of the Underground from their tragic life? Will he transform into a G.O.D. and become the Blood Master? Only time will tell…
My Review of Blood Master
Blood Master is set in a post-apocalyptic world in our near future after 2/3rd of the population has been killed. This idea has been done before in movies such as I am Legend, The Postman, and Waterworld, as well as in video games such as Fallout and The Last of Us, with each having their own take on what the world is like after some kind of devastating event takes place. Until now, such movies and video games were my only experience with such an idea. In those movies and games, the visuals are given to us, but they don’t always impart the emotional depth of a book – at least, not to the same level that a book can.

Blood Master was my first book foray into the genre, and I was not disappointed. Between the book’s description and other readers’ reviews, there’s no need for me to repeat any of the storyline, or what has already been said by others for the most part.

I will say that the descriptions were virtually flawless, giving me a clear picture of everything as I read. The amount of detail and the way things were described made me feel that although I’ve never been to Atlanta, were I to visit I’m quite certain that I would feel as if I had been there before, having read this book.

The characters were well-developed, each with their own personalities. Penn was a favorite character for me simply because he brought a lightness to a devastated world, and the main character Griffin was as well because of his need to help the children. Among other things (which I don’t want to mention and give away spoilers), that humor and compassion being shown in such a setting is what sets Blood Master apart and makes it shine.

While the story did feel a little slow in the beginning, this is perfectly understandable as it provides the needed background for the rest of the book. In fact, as the story progresses one is grateful that the author took the time in the beginning to give that background, as it adds a depth to the story that movies and games set in the same type of world simply don’t do.

The other thing I will add is that after reading the author’s bio, it’s clear that there is an emotional depth beyond what the story tells, and that the author incorporated part of herself into it. Authors often times do this, and while it isn’t always apparent to a reader when an author places something personal to him/her within the story, it makes Blood Master shine even brighter.
This is a book well worth the read, and I highly recommend it.
About Kirsten Campbell
Kirsten Campbell is the author of several short stories and poems that have been published in Bewildering Stories, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Ascent Magazine, The Fairfield Review, Poets-Artists & Madmen, Interracial Voice, Beauty Talk, The CoffeehousePress Journal, The Write Gallery, Sagazine Online, COBRA, and several other magazines.

Her novel, Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series is an Urban Paranormal Fantasy novel that is currently available on Amazon.com in Adult and Young Adult version. Blood Master hit the Amazon Top 100 List. The second book of The G.O.D.s Series, Blood Rage, will be out by the end of this year. She is also the author of Darkness Calls, a book of Paranormal Short Stories. Her websites are www.kcampbell-gods.com, which is the site for all things Blood Master, and her Author’s Website, www.kirstencampbellbooks.com. 

She has two chapbooks that were published; one by Ladybug Press (Poetry from the Covert Bourgeoisie), and the other by Puddinghouse Publications (The Abandoning Kind). She is also the author of Perfect Chaos, a book of poetry that is currently on Amazon.

Website: http://www.kcampbell-gods.com/ & Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GODsSeries

Thursday, October 15, 2015

To See Once More Through Innocent Eyes

This coming Sunday will mark the hardest day of the entire year for myself and my family. On that day five years ago, our lives were forever changed when the youngest member of our family passed away.
I've spoken before about Cameron, but never really talked about who he was. To most people, he's nothing more than a name that until now, you've never heard. But Cami was, in the most honest way I can say, my greatest teacher.
Like most people, I took things for granted. Mostly the little things, like how on a clear night you can just gaze up at the stars and truly appreciate the beauty of them. Or the simple sight of seeing a butterfly flutter past on a warm afternoon.
In grade school and junior high, I loved to read and discovered I had a natural talent and a love for writing. But I didn't realize then I had been given that gift for a reason. As I grew older, it was set aside and forgotten, left unused and gathering dust.
There's the old saying that goes 'when one door closes, another opens.' Sometimes I guess the door that closes has to slam in your face and break your heart before that other door opens. It certainly did for me.
I heard more than a few people during Cami's wake attempt to offer me comfort by saying 'he's in a better place' and 'God needed another angel.' I understand people tried to help by saying those things, but in all honesty, those words only made the grief deepen and for a time, turn to hate. What better place? What better place could there possibly be for a three year old boy than with his mother who he loved and adored more than anything in the world?
I know Cami loved us all, that was the type of person he was, but he and his mother had a special bond that was stronger than anything imaginable, and it was severed, suddenly and unexpectedly. There was no better place for him than right beside her, watching Thomas the Tank Engine or snuggling up with her on the couch. And the other one, that 'God needed another angel' saying... that only makes God sound selfish, putting his needs above anyone else.
So I grieved. I was angry. Yes, I even hated. And when I'd suffered through every emotion possible... that other door opened. It was opened by a three year old boy who through his loss, not only opened my eyes to what was truly important in life, he reminded me that I'd been given a gift, one that I was meant to use. A gift that could not just entertain others, but one that I could use to pass on lessons that needed to be taught. Lessons that it took losing a piece of my heart for me to learn myself.
That is what the Exiled trilogy is about. Underneath the simple covers, past the strong language and the few steamy scenes (it is a paranormal romance trilogy, after all), there's a deeper meaning. Lessons within the story. Lessons that took loss for me to find, but was meant to pass on.
The trilogy wasn't truly done until I had overhauled it several months ago. Perhaps it's just coincidence, or fate, or maybe it was something more - because this year Oct 18th happens to fall on a Sunday. I don't know what to call it. The trilogy has angels within it, after all, among other things. But it's not just a story. It wasn't written just to entertain, but to teach. To pass on lessons. It was written for a purpose.
People still tell me from time to time that Cami is an angel in Heaven now. If that's the case, then Heaven is right here, because I see him every day in the way our family dog, Jaena, greets my wife at the door, and how she clings to her just like Cami did. I see him in Jaena at night too, when she snuggles up to my wife just like Cami used to. I see him every time a butterfly flutters by, because it makes me think of a part in the first book of the trilogy where humans are compared to butterflies - that the energy within us that most people like to think of as their soul is wrapped around by our bodies like a shell, and when we die, that energy becomes something more beautiful, like a butterfly emerging from its own cocoon. I see Cami in every small act of kindness one person gives to another.
And I see him in what I do. This isn't just a hobby for me, like some people think. What made Cami my greatest teacher was his innocence, his unconditional love toward others - because his light hadn't been darkened by the greed, the lies, the negativity that the media constantly reports on, and the selfishness that blankets our world today. He radiated outwards, not inwards. And as long as I'm writing, as long as I refuse to give up this job that focuses out to others like he did, Cami is alive in me, too.
In honor of my teacher, who through his loss showed me what is truly important in life, this Sunday on Oct. 18th, I'm running a promotion and marking all three books in the trilogy down from their regular $2.99 price to $0.99 each. Life is about what we can do for others, and I want to do this for all of you.
The books are The Exiled, The Exiled: Continuation, and The Exiled: Infinity. Below are the links for the first book, and the other two can be gotten to from there.
US -  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L9NO5U8 (In Memory of Cami Promo begins at 12am PST)
UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L9NO5U8 (In Memory of Cami Promo begins at 12am GMT)
"To learn what's truly important in life, all one needs to do is look in the eyes of a small child - one who still looks upon the world with innocent eyes - who has not learned about lies, hatred, and selfishness, but knows only the emotion of love. It is they who are the real teachers. They are the ones we should strive to learn from, and be more like. If we could learn to see once more through innocent eyes, imagine how beautiful our world would become."
                                                                                            --- Scott A. Borgman


Friday, October 2, 2015

A Deeper Meaning

One of the things that every author hopes for is that readers enjoy the stories they write. This is no different for me. I love following along with the characters in Tal'Avern, writing down their experiences, their struggles - both physical and emotional, and I hope that readers not only enjoy the story as it continues throughout the books, but that they really come to love the characters.

But while the Chronicles are written purely to entertain, the Exiled trilogy rides on a different track. Besides being in a different genre (18+ Paranormal Romance rather than YA Epic Fantasy), the trilogy was written for a purpose... not just to entertain, but with a far deeper, more real meaning within the pages of the story throughout all three books.

So while I certainly hope that the Chronicles entertain, it's been my hope from the moment I started writing the Exiled trilogy 3 years ago that along with an interesting story, the deeper meaning within those books would be seen and felt. That was the purpose, and the reason they were written.

Recently, I received two reviews from the first book in the trilogy, which is simply titled The Exiled, which I wanted to share - not to brag about the 5 star rating they both gave the book, but because both readers sought to relay what the book was about. That may seem like an easy task, but it's far more difficult to write a review when you're trying not to give away any spoilers.

***** Reeling and left in awe
 on September 27, 2015
I almost cried when this book was over and then I remembered it was only book one in a trilogy. I am looking forward to the next two books. The cover first caught my eyes with the black background and piercing green eyes, which are a representation within the story. Then the words: Hunted by one side. Sworn to be protected by the other. Truly, I was looking forward to the battle ahead just at the mention of those words.

The beginning of this story was very gripping. It made me catch my breath and wonder what was going to happen next. And with a twist I wasn’t expecting, it kept my attention and I didn’t want to stop reading. Curse us for the need to eat, sleep and work that prevented me from reading this book all the way through in one setting.

The rest of the story followed with action turning pages. You have characters that you loved and loved to hate others. I struggle to find the words to describe this book without giving away spoilers. There is an emotional depth to this story that touched me and left me having “wow” moments.

I highly recommend this book and will leave you with a quote from it:

“Nothing else matters except the one thing that is before you, the one goal that you’re reaching for. When you doubt in yourself, you create the one barrier that is impossible to overcome. The only thing that can stop you from reaching your goals is yourself David.”

(If there is only one book that you read this year, make it this one. Yes, it is THAT good.)
***** This book is beautifully crafted, brilliantly written
 on October 2, 2015
I finished The Exiled by Scott Borgman this morning and I have been thinking of what I wanted to say. There are literally pages where I underlined every word, so many, that flipping through them is a sea of orange.

This book is beautifully crafted, brilliantly written, and contains so much thought that I can hardly find words  to express my feelings properly. The eternal struggle between good and evil is portrayed with more understanding than you would expect from an author Mr. Borgman's age. His hope for humanity shines throughout the story and I found myself crying at the end, which rarely happens. I remember my son asking me when he was only five years old, "Mama, if Satan asked God to forgive him, would he?" The only other comment I will make is to say read this book for yourself to experience the journey into the soul of man. It is worth every minute of your time, if not more.

Outstanding, Mr. Borgman. The Exiled is one of my top books read in quite a while, and I am excited because there are two more books in this trilogy that I look forward to reading.

If I could give it a higher rating, I would, but I do give it the highest that I can. 5 stars.
If you'd like to check out The Exiled, here are the links for both the US and UK:
Thank you for your support, everyone. I truly appreciate it.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Power of Words

Forewarning before you read any further, I'm going to bitch. And swear. Because I need to get this off my chest - not only for me, but because I'm sure there are more than a few who can relate to what I'm going to say, who know exactly how I feel.

My day started out pretty good today. I'd had a terrible Writer's Block issue for several days, and early this morning around 2am I was FINALLY able to break through it. By that time, I was getting tired, so I got a little bit written in my latest WIP, which will be the 4th book in my Tal'Avern Chronicles series (epic fantasy), before calling it a night, thinking to start fresh in the morning.

When I woke up, I was ready to go. I was excited to get back to work. Let me repeat that. I was excited to get back to work. And then my day was completely shot within a matter of minutes - by a single phone call.

It's hard enough trying to fight through the stigmatisms that Indie author often face. We've been referred to as '2nd' or '3rd rate' writers at times. Why? Because we choose to be Indie authors? Because we choose to have the freedom to write what we want, when we want, how we want, instead of conforming to traditional ways, instead of giving up that freedom (and our rights to our work) if we were to sign a contract?

I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I fucking hate those terms: 2nd and 3rd rate writers. They're degrading, insulting, and completely lacking in any human decency whatsoever. And they've been flung at Indie authors on more than one occasion.

My guess is it's because of our very nature - we write what we want, which offers readers more than what traditional publishers tell them they want. That's just my opinion. But as long as I'm bitching, I'll say that Indies have opened up new doors for readers, who now have a limitless range of works because of us. Personally, I think maybe the traditional publishers feel a bit like we've taken that power of God out of their hands and given it to the readers, where it belongs. The trads can't dictate what readers have available to them now by what they choose to publish, which has less to do with reader desires and more to do with what really matters to the trads: fucking money.

Now readers have been given that freedom of choice through Indies, something that wasn't possible before we came along, if you think about it. At least, from my point of view. That's how I see it. And while I digress from that phone call which fucked up my day, this needs to be said as well.

As Indie writers, we write for the sheer love of writing and because we want to entertain readers. Sure, we all dream of being able to make a career out of it. But realistically, we know that by choosing to be ourselves, to have that freedom to write whatever we want, whenever we want, and however we want, it may very likely chain us down and keep us from that dream.

It's not because we're 2nd and 3rd rate writers. It's that there are Indies who write a book just to check it off their Bucket List, who read it through once and hit that publish button because the excitement of being able to call themselves a published author overshadows the greater need to edit, edit again, and edit a third time... who think that their first draft was 'good enough.' No first draft is ever good enough. Even the greats will say so.

There are ones who toss together a cover they made using clip art that looks like a 6th grader created it, once again, with the words 'good enough!'

Those are the ones the trads point at and say 'Look! Poorly edited, weak looking cover, typos all over the place... this is what you get with Indies!' Picking out the bad apples and lumping every Indie in with them. It's like a constant smear campaign that we're fighting against.

But there are those of us out there who are never satisfied with our work - we're the Indies who have no Bucket List book. That's our debut book, and other books will follow. There's no 'one and done' with us. We're in it for the long haul. We edit our books three, four, five times, and each time we find something that could be written a little bit different, improve a scene a little bit more by adding a few lines here, taking a few sentences out there... until we reach a point where we grudgingly accept the fact that while we will never be satisfied, readers will enjoy the book we've written.

We pour our hearts and souls, our blood, sweat, and tears into every book. From the writing to the editing, to designing a cover (either done ourselves if we have that artistic ability as well or working with a designer if we don't) that we hope will help catch a reader's eye and arouse their curiosity about the book, and the promoting once it's published, the hours accumulate quickly.

Throughout those hours, which can reach into the thousands, we've sacrificed more than anyone will ever know for the single reason that we want to give readers our very best. For us, 'good enough' means 'sit your ass back down and go over it again!'  That phrase does not exist for us, because with our readers foremost in our thoughts, there is no such thing as 'good enough.' There is only 'make it better.'

Certainly, we hope our books will receive rave reviews and rise high on the lists, which will get them noticed more, that's a given in this business. Everyone wants to see their books hit a #1 spot. Not everyone gets that coveted spot. That's the nature of the beast.

As Indies, we have to work harder, put in more hours, and sacrifice more because we're fighting against those stigmatisms which have been set upon us. We don't fight back against those childish name calling tactics by slinging mud, though. We're better than that. We fight back by doing what we do best: giving readers the best damn stories out there, many of which blow some of these traditionally published 'best sellers' right out of the fucking water.

And yet, despite all of our hard work and all of our efforts... despite all of the sacrifices we willingly impose on ourselves so that we can entertain readers, we're not machines. We're like everyone else, and we need support. We need our friends and relatives, our husbands and wives, our parents and our children to support us. We don't always get that support.

As a writer, I know damn well what kind of power words have. That's my forte, after all - writing in such a way that the story forms a picture in the minds of my readers and brings out their emotions. That's the power words have.

How many hours have I worked over the past three years between writing, editing, and promoting the 6 books I have out right now, and now working on writing the seventh? Around ten thousand hours, to be honest. Yeah, work that out on a calculator. 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 3 years. And I'm not even joking. Some of those days were longer. Some shorter. But on average, it's accurate.

This morning, I was ready to get back to writing, to keep the story going, to see what happened to the characters next. And then my cell phone rang.

In two minutes, that excitement was completely destroyed. That desire to see what happened next in the story... gone. My day started out looking great. In two minutes, it went to shit when I was told in a blunt, almost disgusted way: 'you need to be working.' As if I've been sitting around with my thumb up my ass for the last three years.

'Working' wasn't being referred to as working on my next book, or in reference to any of the previous six that I've had published. Those thousands of hours spent apparently don't constitute as 'working.' Those three, four, and five times editing each book because I'm so fucking critical of myself that I expect nothing but my very best for my readers doesn't constitute as 'working.' Because I'm not in a factory, or flipping burgers, or working at some other 'traditional' job, I'm not 'working.'

What pisses me off about this whole thing is that I have been working. I've been working my ass off. For me? No. For my readers. I don't give two shits that my job isn't 'traditional.' If I wasn't meant to be a writer, I would never have been given the gift to begin with.

Anyone who thinks that it's easy to just pop out a book has never tried to do it. I mean something more than a 5,000 word short story. I'm talking about an actual book, a novel: 50,000 words minimum qualifies as a novel. Believe me, it's not easy by any means. In fact, it's the hardest fucking job I've ever had. I write epic fantasy, which pushes that number up to 100,000 words minimum. And that's just the writing part of it. That's not even considering the editing, the cover design, the promoting. Tack on countless hours to those things too, and one begins to get a bit better picture that there's far more to being an Indie than just writing a book.

I'm not out there fast talking someone into buying a car that I know they can't afford, but that I'll talk them into buying anyway just so I can get the commission for the sale, knowing damn well they'll probably get it repo'd in six months because they can't make the payments.

I'm not sitting in Congress looking at the minimum wage, knowing that the cost of living has skyrocketed to the point that a person has to hold two full time jobs just to make ends meet, and instead of insisting the minimum wage be increased to help out the masses, voting to give myself a raise instead.

I'm sure as hell not working at a job that I swore an oath to do then turned around and refused to do when the law changed, claiming it went against my beliefs while not even allowing those under me to do their jobs... and getting paid for not doing my fucking job instead of being impeached out of it on the spot no less.

I'm working at a selfless job that is focused on others, not myself. It may not be bringing in 'the big bucks', but it's more satisfying than any other job I have ever had before because it's focused on others and not on me. I'm writing because I love to write and because I want to bring others enjoyment. There's nothing more satisfying than knowing my readers enjoy walking alongside the characters I've written about.

Ten thousand hours in three years. Ten thousand. But someone said I need to be working. Even without saying it, the message was clear: That's not a job. Even unspoken words have power. That power turned my day to shit in two minutes.

But you know what? I won't go down that easily. My day may have sunk down for a few hours, and I may have questioned, my resolve may have wavered... but writing this, getting this off my chest... I'm climbing back out of that fucking hole. I may have been knocked down into it, but I am far from out of this fight. I was given this gift of writing for a reason, and I'll be damned if I'm going to give it up. This gift has given both myself and my readers experiences that no factory job, no burger-flipping job, no car selling job... no other job period can give.

Readers and I have stood beside angels and old gods. We've fought both against and alongside Lucifer. We've become close friends with thieves, Shadow Walkers, mages, and elves. We've cheered for them, cried with them, felt fear alongside them. We've seen things and done things that can only be done within the pages of a book. I won't give that up, because if I do then I'll be disappointing my readers by not writing any more. That is a line I wont allow myself to cross. My readers are worth fighting for. I won't disappoint them.

I know the kind of power words can have. Spoken or written, they can have a profound impact. They can be positive or negative. They can lift us up and they can break our hearts. They can bring a smile, or bring tears to our eyes. They can make us laugh or make us weep. They can instill hope, fear, joy, and rage. Words have a power unlike any other.

A few words today claiming that what I do wasn't 'working' struck deep. It hurt. Words can bring pain too, and those stung like a thousand tiny knives piercing my heart. For a while, they made me feel like I hadn't done anything worthwhile in the last three years.

And then I went to my Amazon page. I looked at the reviews that I've gotten from some readers. One reader in particular, who had gone through the three books in the Chronicles and then moved on to the Exiled trilogy had posted reviews for each book. I read the first line of the latest review she had posted from the last book in the Exiled trilogy: 'I have become a big fan of Scott Borgman's writing.'

Words can lift us out from the darkest depths and give us the strength to carry on despite the opposition, too. Those ten thousand hours have not been wasted. I may not have millions of fans, but there are people out there who truly enjoy my books, and that's why I write. For other's enjoyment.

Five words brought me down earlier. Now, I have five words in response: I have work to do.

Scott's Amazon page: www.amazon.com/author/scottborgman

Twitter: www.twitter.com/scottborgman

Facebook: www.facebook.com/saborgman

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Family in Need

Anyone who has visited my blog knows I'm not much of a blogger. I tend to blog only when I feel very strongly about something. So let me get right to the point. I want to ask you for your help.

Karli Rush has recently suffered one of the hardest things that life can throw at us. She has lost her husband. Her children have lost their father. This particular story strikes me very close to my heart because I know exactly what she's going through right now. I'd gone down a similar road almost 5 years ago with the loss of my youngest son. Because of my own personal experience, my heart is literally crying for her and her family right now. The link at the end of this blog will detail her story and situation.

Anyone who has ever gone through something like this knows what I'm talking about. I don't need to detail any of the emotions, nor speak about the literal waterfalls of tears that I know from experience, Karli has already shed - or the countless others that have yet to fall. I've shed more than a few tears already after hearing about what's happened, and I don't doubt I will shed many more in the coming days for her and her children.

Five dollars. That is what I'm asking for Karli. Five dollars from you, donated to the giveforward fundraiser that has been set up for her.

Five dollars in itself may seem like a drop in the pond, a tiny ripple that makes no difference. But add another drop. And another. And another. Add a thousand drops, two thousand, five thousand.

A single drop may cause merely a ripple, but enough drops in the pond can cause a flood. It's a combined effort. Each little drop adds up. It's giving up very little, nothing so much that it will truly be missed, in exchange for helping out a complete stranger.

I don't know Karli. I've never met her. But she's a person who has lost someone close to her suddenly, unexpectedly. Like the rest of us, she's a human being, which makes her family to each and every one of us. And family helps each other out when they're in need.

Below, you'll find the link to the giveforward fundraiser for Karli. I'm asking you to please go to the link, click on the DONATE button, and in the box, donate five dollars (the minimum amount)... more if you are able to, but at least the five dollar minimum.

Five dollars CAN make a difference, if enough drops go into that pond. The goal for Karli is $5000. I think we can do much better than that, if we all work together as a family and each donate even the minimum amount.

Life isn't about what you can get, but what you can give. It's about holding each other up through the worst of times and being a single drop of water in the pond that adds with others to create that flood. Five dollars will not be missed by any of us, but together we can help Karli, and take away some of the monetary worry that she's facing while she tries to come to grips with her loss.

To Karli, if you ever read this, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that in some small way, I have been able to help, and that others will add their own drop to the pond as I have done.


Scott A. Borgman

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I wanted to take some time this morning to share a few things. First, a very heartfelt and sincere thank you to those who have read my work. I've had other jobs during my life, but none ever made me as happy and content as being an author does. I truly love being able to delight and entertain others. There is nothing more rewarding than bringing others joy.

One thing about writing (which isn't always apparent) is that often times, even in the most fantastic of stories, the author incorporates personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings into the story. The reader may not even be aware of it, but it's there. It could be a character, or a house that the author remembers or even grew up in.. pretty much anything. For me, it was a butterfly.

Why do we do this? I'm sure there are several reasons, but the main reason is to honor a memory, or perhaps a person. In my case, the butterfly scene in The Exiled was in honor of my son, Cami:

*   *   *
“You’re confusing me again,” David said, a twinge starting in his temple. The sword disappeared back into her jacket and then Celeste walked over to the side of the mansion and knelt down. Along the wall, flowers of purple and yellow that had been planted were in full bloom. Resting on one of the purple flowers, lightly fanning its wings was a blue butterfly.
“Here, look at the butterfly. Was it born looking like this?”
“Of course not, it started out as a caterpillar,” David replied. Celeste nodded.
“And when it was ready, it wrapped itself in a cocoon, a shell that covered and protected it while the caterpillar was changing into a butterfly. When humans procreate, a piece of energy from the mother and father combine and form a separate energy. That energy wraps itself in a protective shell – your body. When you die, that energy is released. Like a caterpillar emerging as a butterfly from its cocoon.”
“So you’re saying we’re all like butterflies?”
“It’s a simple way to explain it, but yes. The point is that Frank was no longer ‘Frank’ at the apartment, merely the shell that had been left behind. My brother Raphael was the one who was responsible. The weapon that he used was created for the sole purpose of forcing the energy out of its protective shell,” Celeste explained. “Once it was released, the shell – Frank’s physical body – was left behind. Raphael was then able to fill that empty void inside with his own energy. It may have looked like Frank, but only on the outside.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever look at butterflies the same way,” David commented. Celeste smiled.
*   *   *

Cami's favorite color was blue, and so the butterfly in that particular scene was blue. The meaning behind that scene actually came from a poem I had written shortly after Cami had passed away.

*   *   *
I heard the other day a talk,
Of butterflies and wings.
Of hopes and dreams, and feelings,
And many other things.
For some reason I didn’t understand
Butterflies were in my head.
Curiously, I grabbed the thought
And this is where it led.
As I lay in the darkness,
Drifting off to sleep,
A voice spoke up inside my head
Warm, gentle, and deep.
“You all start out as angels,
But each one needs to learn.
And so you are brought to earth,
Until it is your turn.”
“Each one of you I gently wrap
Inside a human shell.
You live, and laugh, and love,
And when you’re ready, I can tell.”
“Sometimes it takes a while,
And sometimes it goes fast.
Sometimes others feel hurt and loss,
For others that have passed.”
“But understand, and take comfort,
For when that shell shatters,
Each one of you spreads Angel’s wings,
And that’s what really matters.”
“So when you see a butterfly,
Remember it is a sign.
It’s just my way of telling you,
That each one has their time.”
“Each one of you are angels,
And you don’t really die.
You simply come out of your shell,
And spread your wings, and fly.”
It was then that I awoke,
And thought of what I’d heard.
And suddenly it all made sense,
Every single word.
So though we feel loss,
And our grief is hard to bear,
Our angel has simply shed his shell,
So he can fly up there.
*   *   *
I love writing about the Tal'Avern fantasy world and the characters that live within it. But the Exiled trilogy has a special place in my heart where a blue butterfly sits, gently flapping its wings.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Reason for Simplicity

There's the old saying that goes: you can't judge a book by its cover.

And yet, that's not entirely true. Often, our initial impression comes from that book cover. It's the eye-catch that piques our curiosity and draws us to it. That is what it's supposed to do, after all.

There are exceptions to this, of course. An author that we're familiar with doesn't need a flashy cover with neon strobe lights pointing to it. The name is enough for us to pick up the book. But if the author is someone you've never heard of, well... that flashy cover is pretty much required.

So when I finished overhauling my Exiled trilogy, I had to make a decision. Go with flashy covers to draw attention to the books, or keep them in a simpler form. Now, I'm no Stephen King by any means, so for me, right now I should fall under the 'flashy covers required' category.

I chose not to.

Oh, I could have. The opportunity was there. I should have leapt at the chance and had those neon strobe lights all over them, right? So why didn't I?

Because I wanted the covers to reflect the deeper meaning within the overall story. A flashy cover, in this particular case, would have been the wrong choice.

I mentioned it before in my blog about the 'rebirth' of the trilogy, but I'll say it here again. There is much more to the trilogy than just a story. I'm not saying that just to pique a curiosity, I'm saying it because there truly is a deeper meaning within the story that one will discover. There are several points with the books, in fact, but the covers reflect one of those, something which could not have been emphasized in a flashy cover. It would have taken away from it, completely negated one of the key deeper meanings.

Granted, the overall story has to be interesting, and I believe it accomplishes that in the way I wanted it to. Sure, there's strong language, there's some violence and horror elements, there's even a few steamy scenes in each of the three books. Steamy. Not over-the-top explicit graphic scenes. But unlike a lot of today's movies where they toss in a shower scene for no other reason than to show some skin, those steamy scenes aren't thrown in there just for the hell of it.

The covers for all three books don't fall into the 'flashy' range, and for good reason. They reflect one of the deeper meanings within the story: often times, what we see on the outside is far different than what lies underneath.

So the question is, does one judge based only on what they see, or does one look closer and see what lies underneath?