Son of a Dark Wizard cover reveal

This is still technically a mock-up, as I might do some minor tweaking to the lettering, but the final cover for Son of a Dark Wizard will look something like this:

Son of a Dark Wizard cover

For comparison, here is the rather crude illustration I drew to let artist Jonas Akerlund know what I was going for. My drawing is bad, but all the elements are there: the main character, his raven, the owl, the moons, the castle, the airship. The awesome artist Jonas was able to take this and a written description and turn it into the fantastically epic illustration above.

Cover Sketch

I’m currently eyeing January 2nd, 2015 (two weeks from today) as the release date.

Son of a Dark Wizard gets an illustrated cover!

I recently commissioned an illustration for my forthcoming book Son of a Dark Wizard from artist Jonas Akerlund. I’m not revealing the cover illustration in this particular blog post, but I’ll post it here soon; I just have to work on the title lettering for it. You can rest assured, though, that it looks appropriately mysterious and fantastical. I’m very excited to have it as the cover! I’m hoping it will generate some “hmmm-that-looks-interesting” thumbnail clicks. Since this will mark my first foray into wildly-competitive world of indie-publishing, I’m hoping it will help make a good first impression with book browsers.

The book itself will be officially released some time in January. (It’ll be mostly the same as the draft posted now on Morrowgrand, with some minor edits. I’ll remove that draft when the book’s released, though, especially since the whole Morrowgrand website needs to be redesigned. As it really only needs to host product information pages, I don’t think a full-blown WordPress installation is necessary.) As I’ve said before, as the first of a series, the book will be free. (Well, at least free on Smashwords; Amazon’s Kindle publishing won’t let you make it free.) My intent with this novel is not so much to make a profit as it is to help me start building an audience. I know earning a regular income from indie-publishing will take time.

As for the accompanying soundtrack, it might take a bit longer. I have all the main themes written, but I want to do more experimentation in terms of harmony and orchestration and really try to expand my musical palette. Not sure how successful I’ll be, but I figure it’s worth taking my time on.

So check back soon to see the cover! In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season!

Son of a Dark Wizard release

I have started posting my upper middle grade fantasy novel, Son of a Dark Wizard (previously referred to as The Dark Wizard) over on Morrowgrand.

Summary: Thirteen year old Prince Sorren may have survived the vicious attack on his castle, but the young wizard’s life is left in ruins. His father’s been assassinated, he was forced to flee his castle, and he lost his left arm. But after using his powers to build himself a fully-functioning mechanical arm, he’s ready to take back his throne. He doesn’t care if his father’s assassin is a boy believed to be the Chosen One, or if the prophecy that foretold his father’s death also calls for his own death at the same boy’s hands. He steals an airship and sets sail in search of the boy, eager to battle the Chosen One face to face.

But when he’s almost killed by the weapon the Chosen One possesses, Sorren realizes even a dark wizard’s powers are no match for what he’s up against. Pretending to be a powerless traveler, Sorren explores a forest called Owl’s Grave, where lives the small community of outcasts that raised the Chosen One. With the Chosen One determined to fulfill the prophecy by killing Sorren and taking over the kingdom, Sorren will have to look beyond his power if he’s to have any chance of defeating the boy who destroyed his life. And the answer he’s looking for is probably right under his nose, there in Owl’s Grave, if only he can find it before the Chosen One finds him.

I don’t expect many (if any) readers to actually read the novel as I post it to Morrowgrand, but if by chance anyone does and finds any typos, grammatical errors, continuity issues, etc., it would be awesome if you could email such feedback to me at seanthebest(at)gmail(dot)com. If you do, I’ll acknowledge your name in the ebook / physical book, and mail you a free copy of the physical book along with a CD of the score as a thank you (when they’re ready for release).

My current plan is to release the entire novel on Morrowgrand, chapter by chapter. Then I’ll release a free ebook to places like Smashwords, followed by a companion musical score, which I’ll upload to bandcamp and release a physical CD (probably through Kunaki or a similar low-run CD replication service). Finally, I’ll release a physical copy of the book through CreateSpace.

I will post a chapter on Morrowgrand every day until all 27 chapters are posted. So the last chapter should be released on Saturday, December 6th. I’m going to try to have the companion musical score ready to release at that time, but it may take some extra weeks. (I just got a new part time job, and I’m putting in an application for a full time job, so I’m not sure how much free time I’ll have. Plus, November to December is holiday and birthday season here.)


The Dark Wizard, update 12

Just a small update here. I have almost finished a second draft of The Dark Wizard. I only have a to do a few more passes to make sure I am consistent with some minor details, but I expect I will finally begin querying potential agents this week, perhaps even tonight. Then I will be excited to move on to some other writing projects while I search for an agent. Wish me luck!

The Dark Wizard, update 11

I have finally finished the first draft of my middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard. The final wordcount came to about 42,100, which is just about what I was aiming for. (As I mentioned in a previous post, the midpoint wordcount was 21,000, so I was hoping for the final wordcount to work out to 42,000 and I hit my target rather nicely.)

I still have plenty of weaknesses to work on with a second draft, and a query letter to hammer out, so those are my next steps before beginning another agent search.

The Dark Wizard, update 10

My main struggle in this month of February has been my wildly fluctuating sleep schedule. I just can’t seem to get it on track. My circadian rhythm seems to really want me to sleep from about 9 or 10 AM to about 6 PM, which just doesn’t work. I’m trying to force it back into some range of normalcy by staying up for periods of 24 hours or more, but it hasn’t been working. Not sure what else I can do though.

Anyway, it’s slowed my writing, making it hard to focus on projects that take concentration. So I’m not finishing the first draft of this middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard, quite as quickly as I’d like.

But I’m almost there. The novel’s wordcount is now at about 38,000 words, and I have three chapters left to write. So close, I can taste victory in the air. I’m tempted to rush it, so I’ve been forcing myself to write in a notebook with a fountain pen. It further slows my progress, but it also forces me to take my time and think. You can’t rush art!

The Dark Wizard, update 9

I finally finished the tedious chapter 19 of my middle grade fantasy novel, The Dark Wizard, early this morning. It was definitely one of the most difficult chapters to write. Some very important things happen in this chapter, and I really struggled figuring out with what spirit to approach it. After finishing, I continued on and wrote about half of the next chapter as well, so I have about four and a half chapters left to write. The novel’s wordcount (still doing my part to make this an acceptable compound word) is now at about 35,300 words. As I’ve stated before, by aim is for around 42,000 words, if possible, so that’s roughly 7,000 words for four and a half chapters. I think I will at least come close. If anything, I’ll probably get a bit too wordy. But it’s only a first draft. Anyway, I feel like I’m in the homestretch now. The scenes remaining still have their challenges, but I think the most difficult chapters are now behind me. It shouldn’t be much longer until I wrap up this first draft!

The Dark Wizard, update 7

I finally finished writing chapter 16, which was definitely the toughest chapter to write thus far.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t know if it’s only because my perfectionism decided to rear its ugly head, or because it was just difficult figuring out how to approach it.  But finally it’s done.  Whew!

I did some more chapter restructuring, adding a new short chapter and splitting another, so my current plans now call for 24 chapters in total, of which I have finished 16.  (It may end up being 25, because there’s an earlier chapter that I now think would work better split in two.)

The novel now stands at about 28,500 words.  Getting there slowly.  I think I’ll definitely finish this month at least.  Maybe even this week if I can stay focused.

The Dark Wizard, update 6

Progress on The Dark Wizard has been slow for the past month.  At first, I was having trouble figuring out how to approach the chapter I’m on.  Then I fell into debilitating perfectionism, in which it’s hard to write because I’m irrationally afraid that what I write won’t be good enough, and I procrastinate.  And then I got a nasty cold and could hardly focus on anything because I was coughing with every other breath.  And then Christmas and its busy-ness came along.

Anyway, I finally figured out how to approach the chapter I’m on, and taking some time to brainstorm ideas for other stories helped me slide out of my debilitating perfectionism, so I’m slowly but finally getting back into the groove of writing without fear.

I’m currently on chapter 16, and I’m now thinking there will be 22 chapters in all.  The current draft’s wordcount stands at 26,400 words.  Onward we go!

Oh, you’ll probably also notice that I re-themed the blog.  Even if this is a popular WordPress theme, I think it’s refreshing.  The last theme was really starting to annoy me for some reason.  I like this one better.  If I ever make it to a professional writing career, I’m sure I’ll hire someone to design something special for me, but no need to worry about that any time soon.