Tag Archives: orcs

100 Posts and Big News!

Hey everyone!

Wow, so today’s blog article is definitely going to be something special!  Why?  Included in this article will be big news for both The Orc War Campaigns and for Burning Skies!!!!  But first, there’s something else…

This is “A Writer at Heart’s” 100th post!!!!

Image source - ericsson.com
Image source – ericsson.com

It’s taken me 18 months to hit that mark, but I couldn’t be more excited :D  What have I learned about blogging throughout those 100?

For starters, regular updates are key…which I’ve failed to do twice.  Each time, I lost a lot of readership :(  I completely understand, too, it would be like me writing a couple of novels in a series, stopping for a few years, then picking up the series again.  Without ever explaining why.  Unless your novels are best-sellers, you’re going to lose readership doing that.

I’ve also learned how important it is to participate in the blogging community at large, something I slacked off on in the latter half of 2015.

The blogging community is amazing!  There are some truly wonderful people out there, and a lot of fantastic articles to read and participate in!  But if you don’t participate…how do you expect to get the word out about your blog?  More importantly, how do you expect to learn and grow as a blogger?

All in all, I had no idea what I was doing when I started.  That’s only changed a little bit in 100 posts ;)  But I have enjoyed it all.  I enjoy the feedback I get from everyone, and every time I see a new like or a new follower, it puts a smile on my face :D

Thank you to everyone who has tuned in during the first 100.  I hope you enjoy the next 100 :)

Launch Date for The Orc War Campaigns

The next big news is that I have finally set a launch date for the new Sword of Dragons web series, The Orc War Campaigns!  When is it?

January 19th!

Artwork by Tsabo6 from DeviantArt http://tsabo6.deviantart.com/
Artwork by Tasbo6 from DeviantArt http://tsabo6.deviantart.com/

In less than two weeks, the Orc War begins, leading into the next chapter of the epic Sword of Dragons saga.  I haven’t even announced that on the website yet, so you, blog readers, are the first ones to find out!

Also big news, I’ve found an artist who will be creating character sketches for the web series!  I don’t believe they will be done in time for the series launch (especially since I haven’t even sent him the character descriptions yet….doh!) but I am so excited to see what he comes up with!

Speaking of art…

Burning Skies Cover Art

Yes, that’s right, I have a cover in work for the next book of Sword of Dragons, Burning Skies!

Who’s the cover artist, you might ask?  Well, funny story.

It started when I found a piece of artwork that I thought would be perfect for the cover of Burning Skies.  Actually, funnier story still, I’ve used that piece of artwork in a blog article one year ago.  Here it is:

Artist - treijim.deviantart.com
Artist – treijim.deviantart.com

In fact it fit so well that while I waited for the artist to respond to my request to purchase rights to use it, I broke out my old graphic design skills and started working on making a cover with that artwork.  And it turned out incredibly well!!!

And then, the artist replied and declined to sell the rights.  :(

But then I started thinking…I used to do a lot of graphic design as a hobby.  I used to be pretty good, and making the cover with that artwork inspired me.

Cover by Christian Michael www.christianmichael.org
Cover by Christian Michael www.christianmichael.org

I was also reminded by a friend that I had intended to make the covers of the Sword of Dragons saga simple, more symbolic, more theme-based rather than traditional fantasy artwork.  That’s why the cover for book 1 was made the way it was.  Simple, but oh-so beautiful, thanks to Christian Michael’s talent.

With book 1’s cover as a baseline (thank you to Christian for setting the standard,) I started working on it…and while I am not yet ready for a cover reveal, the results have turned out better than I could have ever hoped!

So much so that I have ordered the first proof copy of book 2!!!!!!  The first physical copy of Burning Skies is expected to be in my hands next Friday :D

pilgrim-waits-for-package

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That’s all for today, but that’s a lot!  I look forward to being able to share new stories, and eventually, a new cover with all of you :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Trials and Triumphs – Looking Back at 2015, Looking Ahead to 2016

Hi everyone!

In about 10 hours where I live, 2015 will officially be over.  And what a year it has been.  It was one of the most exciting years of my life, and simultaneously one of the most difficult.  But rather than spend an entire post reminiscing on the past, I want to only briefly touch on it…and then look forward.

For that is what many consider to be the best part about a new year: starting with a blank slate.  Leaving the past behind, and marching courageously into a brave new future.

inspirational-happy-new-year-quotes-book

2015 – The Year I Became Published

Cover by Christian Michael
Cover by Christian Michael

Without a doubt, my greatest triumph this year was publishing The Sword of Dragons.  My first published novel!!!  :D  Even now, it feels almost unreal.  I’ve been writing for nearly 20 years, so to finally have a book out there…it is just an incredible feeling.

While sales did not end up being what I hoped, they have begun to pick up again as word is finally starting to spread.  And I end 2015 with more copies in the hands of readers than I anticipated!

gamefest-jokeOther highlights this year included reaching over 100 followers, attending the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles (and meeting fellow author Lily Gunning!), being interviewed on Show X from VtW Productions, attended VtW’s Gamefest (totally incredible, and sooooo looking forward to the next one), and started the brand-new Orc War Campaigns series for Sword of Dragons.

All in all, so much good happened this year.  While heartbreak overshadowed much of the 2nd half of the year, even that has subsided, and I am glad to say that I am in a happy relationship with a wonderful, gaming-geek, sci-fi/fantasy loving, gorgeous woman :)

Triumphs were made, hard lessons were learned, but in all, I look back at 2015 in awe…

Braving 2016

Image source - earthlightacademy.blogspot.com
Image source – earthlightacademy.blogspot.com

While 2015 saw the publication of my first novel, I am stepping up my game a bit for 2016.  Coming in January, I am going to start releasing, free of charge, a series of short stories set in the Sword of Dragons universe called the Orc War Campaigns.  These stories take place right after the first novel, and will lead into the 2nd novel, Burning Skies.

As long-time readers of my blog know, Burning Skies is already written and proofread, all that’s missing is a cover.  Which brings me to another goal I have for early 2016 – crowdfunding for book 2.  More details will be coming on that soon :)

galaxyfestOther goals: I am looking into attending more conventions, including possibly getting a booth at them to sell my books.  I also am looking into a book signing at one of my favorite coffee shops in the area :D  and I also wish to start getting The Sword of Dragons on actual bookshelves, via consignment.  Local to Denver, the Tattered Cover supports local authors in this manner, and will also host book signings :D

And finally, something I have slacked on for over a year – I wish to focus more on the blog community.  While I’ve tried to be consistent on getting content onto my own blog, I have not participated in many other blog communities like I did in 2014.  There are so many incredible and wonderful people out there that I met in 2014, and I wish to regain contact with them, and meet more!

The hard part will be time, all of this will require so much time, and that has been my biggest bane this year.  My life has become increasingly busy, and I’ve had to make sacrifices in areas that I wish I had not been forced to.

In a way, I wish we still lived in an era of patrons of the arts.  Hey, anyone out there want to become my patron, so I can quit my I.T. job and write for a living?  ;)

That seems like a lot of big goals, with a lot of work ahead of me.  Whew.  But I’m determined, and with clear-set goals, perhaps I can reach them.

Final Thank You To All of You!

To anyone who is reading this, thank you for following my blog, for any past comments, and for all of the encouragement so many of you have given in 2015.

See you all in 2016!

-Jon Wasik

The Orc War Campaigns – Character Reveal

Hi everyone!

Only a few days ago, I finished writing the 2nd story of the new Sword of Dragons web series, The Orc War Campaigns, and I realized something.  The story is not going quite where I expected.  The reason for this?  The characters.

Even though most of the characters in this series are new, I’ve somehow already reached a point with them where they are telling their own story, and I just seem to have the happy job of being their scribe ;)

The ones you already know from The Sword of Dragons are in it, and in fact are playing a bigger role than I originally planned in the initial trilogy of short stories.  In fact in the 2nd story, there is an incredible scene involving Cardin as he continues to develop his new powers from the Sword.

However, their part in the story will become much less important as the new characters take center stage throughout the series.  And I am most happy to state that one of the new characters is a strong female lead :)

Image Source - www.forwallpaper.com
Image Source – http://www.forwallpaper.com

As I’ve noted in a previous blog entry, men and women on Halarite, which is the world central to the Sword of Dragons universe, are truly equals.  While there are other forms of discrimination explored and to be explored in TSOD, I wanted to show everyone a world where gender does not determine your future, and no one is shunned or judged for being either a man or a woman.

That trend will continue.  And so, without further delay, I present to you the new characters of the upcoming web series.

Characters of The Orc War Chronicles

Amaya Kenla: A former lieutenant in the Tal Warriors’ Guild, Amaya and a small team she had commanded on a botched mission was imprisoned for disobeying one of the Tal Prince’s new laws enacted during his father’s illness.  Now, several months later, she and her team have been pardoned by King Beredis.

Hailing from the small town of Everlin near the Saran border, Amaya is a strong-willed leader who has gone to great lengths to earn her place and rank in the Guild.  She struggles with the anger she feels towards her former Commander, whom she believes set her and her team up.  With no proof, and a new war with the orcs looming, she fears she will never be able to prove it.

Her skills as a Mage and a leader do not go unrecognized, however, and instead of rejoining the Warriors, Amaya is offered a place with the elite guard of Tal, whose name is only whispered in the dark corners of the castle: the Guardians.

Zerek Betanil: An apprentice miner, 15-year-old Zerek has worked and lived with his father for as long as he can remember.  But that is not where his heart lies.  At night, he dreams of running away to join the Warriors’ Guild, so that he may take up the sword and fight off the enemies of Tal.

When tragedy strikes and Zerek’s life is ripped away from him, he must struggle to find a new place in life.  He has no choice but to take up a job as a courier in Archanon, where he watches the Warriors march by, day by day, wishing one would take him to the Guild to be trained.

Until he meets a young thief on the streets of the First City who steals his heart, along with his most prized possession.  Now he must find her to take back what was stolen, and somehow convince her to fall in love with him.

Arkad: Shrouded in mystery, this giant of an orc has taken command of the Wastelands in the wake of Klaralin’s defeat.  With an intelligence far surpassing any orc previously seen on Halarite, he commands the loyalty of all of his lesser kin, and maneuvers their armies into a multi-pronged attack that takes the four kingdoms by surprise.

He has made it his mission in life to return his people back to the cultured, intelligent, and strong people they once were before they were downtrodden by the despicable humans.  The only way he believes this can be accomplished is to make a new home for them outside of the Wastelands, in the lush, life-filled lands throughout the western half of Edilas.

But where did he come from?  How did he gain the loyalty of the tens of thousands of orcs that overfill the Wastelands?  These and so many questions surround him, as he gains a reputation on the battlefields for being ruthless and nearly unstoppable.

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I hope you all enjoyed this glimpse into the new characters of the Orc War Chronicles.  I do not yet have an initial release date for the first story, but it is my goal to have it out by December :)

This is a long shot…but are there any artists out there who would be willing to take a crack at character sketches?  Both for the new series and the novels?

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

TSoD – The First Short Story is Finished!

Hi everyone!

I seem to have trouble finishing blog posts this week.  But you know what I didn’t have trouble finishing this week?  The first story of the new Sword of Dragons web series!!  :D

Image Source - www.tech.co
Image Source – http://www.tech.co

For those who haven’t heard yet, due to the delay in the release date of book 2 of the Sword of Dragons series, Burning Skies, I am going to be release a series of free-to-read short stories online for all to read!

Bridging the six-month gap between when books 1 and 2 take place, this new series will follow not just Cardin and his friends as they fight against the invading orc horde, but also will follow several new characters as they try to find their place in an ever-changing world.

The Orc Campaigns

Image Source - moviepilot.com
Image Source – moviepilot.com

Without giving away too much of a spoiler, book 2 picks up at the end of the campaign to hunt down and end the orc threat for good.  But that is only at the beginning of book 2.  What happened during the war against the orcs?  Why did the kingdoms decide to invade the Wastelands and hunt down the orcs?

That question and many more will be answered in this new series.  Answers I could not adequately give in book 2, as it immediately sets off in a new direction, story-wise.

And quite surprisingly, several people have asked me to go into more detail about the orcs, their culture, who and what they are.  So that is an aspect I actually intend to spend at least one entire short story exploring :)

Image Source - http://darkskies.wikia.com
Image Source – http://darkskies.wikia.com

Also, what of supplies for the war?  Weapons and armor?  The Blacksmiths of Halarite have quite a job ahead of them to keep the Allies’ war machines going.  But how does that work?  How does magic work with the weapons and armor?

That was actually a question that came specifically from Wayne from VtW Productions, and is one I am looking forward to exploring a bit in the stories :)  (So yes, I actually do pay attention to and respond to comments and questions from readers :D lol.)

Would You Like to Know More?

(Kudos to anyone who gets the Starship Troopers reference there ;) )

Image Source - nitehawkcinema.com
Image Source – nitehawkcinema.com

I’m debating whether or not to post little character bios for the new characters to the series.  Is that something you all would like to see as a prelude?  I don’t yet have a date for when I’ll start actually releasing the stories, whether or not I want to finish them all before I post the first one or release them as they finish.  So it could be a little while yet before the website is up and the stories posted…

This does mean, of course, that I need to design a website for the stories :)

PS: do you think it’s time for me to redesign this blog webpage?

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

A Powerful Beginning – The Sword of Dragons Web Series

Hi everyone!

I am so excited to announce that I’ve finally begun writing the new web series for The Sword of Dragons!  Yeah!  :D

Image Source - background-kid.com
Image Source – background-kid.com

I don’t have a GOOD title yet, but the working title is “The Orc Campaigns”.  But what I really love about this beginning is how much it surprised me, with how powerful it is.

Yes, me, the writer who was planning this story, was shocked by how I started it.  It happens.  I love it when a story I’m working on takes me in wonderful, unexpected directions :D

cardin2Although the key characters of TSOD (or should I write it out as TSoD?) are Cardin, Sira, Reis, and Dalin, I didn’t plan on focusing all of the new series on them, and so I actually start with a brand new character, one whom isn’t seen in books 1 or 2 (but I am definitely bringing him into later novels.)

And I’m about to introduce a second new character, one of those wrongly imprisoned by new laws set in place by Prince Beredis (for reference, see chapter 12 “Not Yet King” in The Sword of Dragons).  I think she’s going to be a fun character to write, too.  Don’t worry, more info on just who they are will be coming soon :)

The Importance of the Beginning

I don’t know about all of you, but for the most part, once I start reading a story, I have to finish it.  But only if I get past the very beginning.  That very beginning has to hook me somehow, whether through simple curiosity or by exciting my imagination.  One of my favorites:

“Man,” said Terl, “is an endangered species.” – Battlefield Earth

But the stories that really hook me at the beginning?  Those that create powerful emotional reactions in me.  Those that stir feelings – the stronger, the more likely it’ll hook me.

Image Source - www.stargate-sg1-solutions.com
Image Source – http://www.stargate-sg1-solutions.com

The beginning of the 2009 Star Trek movie, for instance, or Guardians of the Galaxy.  Well, Guardians did it in two ways, first with the emotional beginning, and then with the comical follow-on.  I LOVE stories that mix the two well (Stargate SG-1 anyone?  :) )

So I’m hoping the beginning of this new story will hook others in a similar way.  As the writer, it has me hooked, and that is just as important, if not more so.  I’ve noticed that stories I write only because I have to (IE: back when I was in college) were never very well written, because I didn’t care about them or the characters.  But when I am invested in the characters…I think that’s a recipe for magic :D

Your Turn!

When it comes to the beginning of a story, whether a novel, movie, TV show, video game, anime, what ever your choice, what are your favorite beginnings?  Please leave your favorites in the comments below!  :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Good News and Bad News – Exciting New Direction!

Hi everyone!

I’ll come right out and say it: the release of Burning Skies, book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, has been delayed.  Originally slated for a Fall 2015 release (October was my goal), the release will now be delayed until a likely Spring 2016 release.

This is unfortunately due to funding issues. The manuscript itself is completed, formatted, and ready to go!  And it pains me to have to delay its release.  I’ve so looked forward to getting the next chapter in this saga out to all of you, especially after the purely positive feedback I’ve received from everyone who has read The Sword of Dragons.

But unfortunately my recent, unexpected relocation cost too much, and I no longer have the funds to pay the cover artist, Christian Michael, at this time.  I will recover and be able to afford the cover in due time, but I am still pulling myself back up from the move.

A Brand New Story on the Horizon

I didn’t want to bring you all only bad news, so I came prepared with some exciting news!  As I’ve been hip-deep in development for book 3, I came up with the idea of creating a series of short stories to bridge book’s 2 and 3, to lead up to the events of book 3.

Today, I thought “Why not do the same for book’s 1 and 2?”  And immediately, countless story ideas came to mind!  :D  Well, okay, I needed some prodding from a friend.

masterharper-of-pernInitially my idea was to have the series cover only the major characters and major events.  But then my friend (you all know him from my interview, Wayne Adams from VtW Productions!) started telling me how much he loved stories that covered characters, organizations, and events outside of the main story, such as the novels that feature the Harpers from Dragonriders of Pern.

That was when I started coming up with ideas.  A way to flesh out more of the universe of The Sword of Dragons, to see more of the characters and places that were only glimpsed in the novel.

Kate from A Knight's Tale
Kate from A Knight’s Tale, another great blacksmith!

For instance, what about Veral Adas, famed blacksmith of Daruun?  After all, if there is a renewed campaign against the orcs, weapons and armor will be needed, right?  What of other guilds, beyond just the Warriors and the Wizards?

And what about the orcs?  I’ve thought about possibly developing them more, so that would be an interesting challenge to develop their society more.

Of course, I’m not one to write a story just for the sake of the story itself.  I love when stories intertwine amongst each other, so this isn’t going to be a quick and easy “write this story, write that story, there we go, there’s content.”

The series will require its own development cycle.  Certainly shorter than my usual cycle for novels, otherwise it’ll take me forever to get the series out.

This is still a very fresh, new idea, so I’m not even 100% sure what direction I want to take the stories in.  But I want to give you all something to hold you over until book 2’s release, and I want that something to be truly meaningful.

So tell your friends, tell your family, the Sword of Dragons universe is about to get a whole lot bigger :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik