Tag Archives: The Orc War Campaigns

Writing What Came Before For What Is Yet To Come

Featured Image by http://geistig.deviantart.com/

Hi everyone!

With the launch of The Orc War Campaigns only a week away (check out The Sword of Dragons.com!!) and as I continue to write the series, I’ve found an interesting challenge in writing what is, for me, essentially a prequel to Burning Skies.

http://www.theswordofdragons.com/about-the-orc-war-campaigns.html
http://www.theswordofdragons.com/about-the-orc-war-campaigns.html

While Burning Skies isn’t due out for another four months, I finished writing it in 2014, and until I started The Orc War Campaigns, I was heavily steeped in development of the 3rd novel.  So to go back to Cardin, Sira, Reis, and Dalin where they were before Burning Skies has turned out to be an interesting challenge.

It’s also exciting!  By the end of book 1, Cardin had just been thrust into his new role as Keeper of the Sword and was only at the cusp of learning his new powers.  But how did he get from there to the confident, or perhaps over-confident point he will be at in the beginning of Burning Skies?

And Sira, while having been a prominent member of the Warriors’ Guild at the end of book 1, is an established leader by the beginning of book 2.  What was her experience leading her team, and for that matter leading Cardin?

There’s also the state of the world.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are some pretty shattering changes to the entire world by the end of Burning Skies.  So I had to take myself back in time, so to speak, to where Halarite was after book 1.

The challenges also include, as I just mentioned above, not spoiling what is to come.  There is a big reveal about the orcs in Burning Skies, but will it be diminished if I let the reader in on some of that secret in the series?

The Exciting Opportunities

For all of the challenges, there are also soooo many exciting opportunities to develop the world on a deeper level!  How was the economy affected by the events of book 1?  How was the average citizen affected by it?  How are they affected by the war against the orcs?

Image Source - http://digital-art-gallery.com
Image Source – http://digital-art-gallery.com

What of those who became prisoners due to the Prince’s now-rescinded laws?  How do they pick up the pieces of their lives?

And that is why I chose not to focus on the central characters from the novels.  While they are included, especially in the initial three episodes, this won’t be Cardin and Sira’s story.  This will be Amaya’s, and Zereck’s, and Arkad’s.  These three will provide a totally different perspective from what readers have already read and will read.

Amaya’s Adventure
Once released from prison, Amaya doesn’t quite know where to go or what to do with her life, until she’s given an opportunity she can’t pass up.  Now she, and her former team from the Warriors’ Guild, answer directly to King Beredis, and will be assigned some of the most difficult tasks, where they must make life-shattering choices for the entire war effort on the fly.

This means that she will not only see the front line of the battle, but she’ll go beyond the front, and be tasked with doing with her small team what normally requires an army to accomplish.  Where will her adventure take her?

More than that, I wanted to connect to Amaya on a far more personal and emotional level than I have past characters.  Sometimes, the most difficult choices in life are not about whether to parry or thrust in a fight.  Sometimes it’s about who you trust, and the person you want to become…

Zerek’s Tragedy
Young Zerek wants to be a Warrior.  Unfortunately, he’s not a Mage, and comes from a family of miners and smiths, and looks doomed to a life of swinging a pick axe.

Image Source - pinimg.com/
Image Source – pinimg.com/

Until tragedy strikes, and everything he knows is taken from him forever.  Now living within the walls of the First City, Archanon, Zerek must find a new way in life, and not get swept up in the romance with a gorgeous thief.  Can he realize his dreams of becoming a Warrior if he becomes involved with her?  Does he even want to become a Warrior anymore?  Is it worth it?  Did I mention that she is gorgeous??

Arkad’s Honor
Even the bravest and strongest of Warriors fears the giant orc.  Wielding an enchanted double-axe, Arkad slaughters all who stand in his path, and even stands up to the Keeper of the Sword.  All come to fear him, and the only reason the orc line isn’t broken is his strength, courage, and leadership.

But who is he?  Where did he come from?  Is he really just a mindless killing beast, or is he far more intelligent than the Allied forces given him credit for?

The mystery of the giant orc will be unraveled, bit by bit, but what the Allies discover, and the implications, will redefine everything they thought they knew about their enemy, and the universe in which they live.

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That’s all for today, intrepid readers!  Keep your eyes open and be ready, January 19th is only a week away.  :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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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

First Glimpse at The Orc War Campaigns!

Hey everyone!

Ready for your first glimpse at the upcoming Sword of Dragons web series, The Orc War Campaigns?  Today is your lucky day!  Not only do you get an excerpt from the first episode of the series, you also get to see the titles of the first three episodes!  So without further ado, here they are!

Episode 1 – Invasion
Episode 2 – Counterstrike
Episode 3 – Assault at Ironwood

These 3 stories form a beginning trilogy that will kick things into high gear right from the very start!

Now, I am very excited to show you all the first excerpt from the new series!  A bit of background on where the scene is to get you started:

After receiving reports of invading orcs attacking a mining encampment in the Ilari Mountains, Cardin Kataar and his companions are dispatched to scout out the numbers and strength of their enemy.  Reis, an experienced scout, had successfully spied the encampment, but was discovered and chased by the orcs’ sentries.

After a narrow escape through Dalin’s portal, the group recovers and learns a startling truth.

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Dalin turned to where the portal had been, and sighed. Not one orc had made it through after them.

With a huge sigh of relief, he stood up tall and nodded for Cardin and Sira to release him. When he looked ahead, he saw the gates of Archanon, welcoming them in.

Then he glared at Reis. “Did you really have to bring the entire enemy force down upon us?”

Reis used a cloth to clean the blackened blood from his sword. He glanced at the Wizard and shrugged. “What? It’s not my fault.”

Dalin rolled his eyes, and mumbled, “Best scout, indeed.”

Cardin and Sira sheathed their weapons, and then turned to Reis. “Well?” Sira asked. “What did you see?”

The innocent grin on Reis’s face faded, and for the first time since Dalin had met the Warrior, he looked completely serious. “It’s worse than we feared.” He looked at each of them, and then focused again on Sira. “There are thousands of them. It’s an invasion army, and the Relkin Mine is their beachhead.”

Dalin felt his heart sink. He exchanged worried looks with both Cardin and Sira. She grimaced and looked at Archanon. “Then they are in the perfect position to march upon Archanon.”

Cardin nodded. “It sounds like a new Orc War is about to start.”

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By The Numbers

Back when I was actively writing Chronicles of the Sentinels, I used to post excerpts along with a tally of page count and word count.  With the completion of the first 3 stories, I thought I’d post those numbers here for curious minds :)

Episode 1 – Invasion
Word Count – 12,369
Page Count – 37

Episode 2 – Counterstrike
Word Count – 11,918
Page Count – 36

Episode 3 – Assault at Ironwood
Word Count – 14,113
Page Count – 42

Although I don’t know yet how many episodes there will be in the series, I am shooting for 9, the same number my old Fan Fiction series used to have per-season.  At this rate, these stories will easily combine into a novel-length anthology, which is my plan at the end :)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!
-Jon Wasik

Writing Is Only Part of the Battle

Hi everyone!

When I was a little kid and first dreamt of becoming a writer, I never could have imagined how there is sooooo much more to it than just writing.

Don’t get me wrong, writing is very important.  I’ve spent 20 years honing my craft, and I intend to never stop striving to be better, no matter how good I become.  If I somehow become the #1 best selling fantasy author in the world (if only) I will never stop trying to one-up my writing style, my stories.  I want to be better.

Cover Sword of Dragons DigitalBut 7 months after publishing The Sword of Dragons, one thing has become very, very clear to me – writing is only part of the job.

Let’s pretend for a moment that I had published via the traditional method: found an agent, who found a publishing house, who paid me up-front for my work and helped with a lot of the ‘other stuff.’  That still would have left me with a lot of work to do.

As the author of my novels, I am the one best qualified for promoting it, and I believe that rings true for all writers.  You know your target audience.  You know your novel.  You know its strengths, its highlights, what makes it worth reading.

But promoting it, and building a platform, is in and of itself is a full-time job, I’m discovering.  And right now, I still suck at all of that, lol.  Seriously, I would never have gotten this far if it hadn’t been for the advice and help of people like Wayne Adams, M. H. Lee, and Christian Michael.

But there’s still so much more to do, so much more that can be done.  As I prepare to launch the Orc War Campaigns web series, my shortcomings are becoming even more apparent.

Challenges of the New Series

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

The story is turning out beautifully, in my opinion (hopefully my beta readers will agree :) ).  Where it is now, where I plan to take it, it will make an excellent addition to the SoD universe (not to mention free to read!)

But how do I build up anticipation?  I’ve tried to do so here on my blog, but I feel like I’ve fallen short.  I’ve wanted to put more about it on the SoD website, but I’m struggling with how to present it there.  And I need to do at least something to help present it graphically on the website, but once again, I’m struggling.

The first three stories are pretty much ready to go.  Some final tweaks, that’s it.  In fact I consider the first story, “Invasion,” completed and ready for public consumption!  But presentation is important.  I can’t just put it on a file upload and say “here ya go, folks, enjoy!”  It deserves more than that, and so do the fans.

Which is why I made the decision (but never officially announced it until now) that the web series will not be launched this month.  I am instead aiming for early to mid January.  Nebulous, I know :(  But with the first 3 ‘episodes’ all but complete, my focus for the next two weeks is creating a platform from which to launch :D

Not All is Lost

While I’ve struggled considerably with the ‘business side’ of writing, it has not been a complete failure.  Sales are up!  :D  Almost all have been eBook, but there were even more print sales this month than the prior 4!

And this is the coolest part – it is safe to say that I have fans.  :D  Fans who are supportive, excited for the series, and bugging me almost every week for updates on the release of book 2.  (For the record, I love being bugged about that, it inspires me to keep moving forward!)

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

So in light of all of this, and in light of the fact that I have achieved more than enough sales to be considered a member of RMFW’s IPAL (though I must now put in the paperwork for that), I am comfortable in calling the release of my first novel a success!  And while I cannot yet live off of writing, this has turned out to be a giant step in the right direction.

And you know what?  I have all of you, those who have followed my blog, read my book, and encouraged me, to thank for that success.  Thank you everyone for a successful, life-changing first year!!

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

-Jon Wasik

(Note: this will not be the last blog entry of the year.  Stay tuned for more!)