Ten Things to Know about Writing Historical Fiction (Guest Post by Hazel West)

Ten Rules to follow when Writing Historical Fiction – A Guest Post by Author Hazel West

Hi all,

As part of her blog tour for her new novel, By Blood or By Bond, Author Hazel West is joining us to talk briefly about the world of Historical Fiction, something similar (but not the same) as my personal favorite genre – alternate history. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good Roman History novel. Enjoy!

Ten (Unnoficial) Things You Should Know About Writing Historical Fictionbutton

1. First off, it’s fiction. That means you can bend the truth a little bit if you want to. So if you can’t find that info you need, make it up. Or add a little alternate history or steampunk if you want.

2. The awesome things you have the chance to try out. Think of it: reenacting epic battles in your back yard (scaring the neighbors), playing around with swords, (and don’t forget jousting with your bicycle and a broom handle!) trying Roman recipes, a medieval feast, or having a traditional posh English tea. The possibilities are endless.

3. You get to write about all your favorite historical figures if you so choose! Think of it: your words in the mouth of such as George Washington, or Hannibal! Okay, that might be a daunting thing at times, but if you just go for it, I find it works out a lot better.

4. You’ll get to clear the library out of all the books on your topic, thus making everyone else very annoyed, probably. Just remember not to hurt your back carrying them all out of the library.

5. Read some historical novels about the same time period. No, not to copy other author’s work (that’s plagiarism!), but to get a feel for how things are described or how you might go about it. Smells, sounds, sights, of the time period. Also, it’s a good excuse to get a few fun reads in while you’re supposed to be doing research.

6. If possible, check out the historical sights you are writing about. If this isn’t possible, then watching documentaries or travel videos works too. Just don’t put too much faith in Hollywood, because most of the time historical films are NOT filmed on site.

7. Okay, I won’t lie, you’re probably going to butt heads with people who say your books aren’t accurate. If this happens, direct them to Number One.

8. You’ll have to do copious amounts of research. There’s going to be a lot of every day things you won’t know about when writing historical fiction. Obviously, your medieval peasant can’t just pop open a package of Poptarts for breakfast, and if you think they can, you have a lot of research to do. 30% of writing historical fiction is coming up with a story and characters, the other 70% is research, research, and more research! Do not neglect it, even if you don’t use it all.

9. As with every novel, you are going to have to do multiple edits and possibly even re-writes. But with historical fiction, comes the further fact checking. Maybe if you’re lucky, you can find a fellow writer or reader who knows a lot about your book subject too to read it over for you and tell you if everything is good and historically sound (within reason, that is). If they complain about that crucial, irreplaceable part of your book not being accurate, remember to refer them, once again, to Number One.

10. As with every book, Have Fun! Historical fiction is probably the most fun genre to research next to mystery writing (unless you do historical mysteries, of course!). I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve come up with while researching for one book and finding other things that would make fantastic novels. It might be harder work than writing something from your own time period, but I guarantee you, it’s an adventure all on it’s own and very rewarding in the end!

About the Author:DSCN1548

Hazel West lives in Florida where she spend a good bit of time writing historical fiction about brave men and women who have graced the pages of history, trying to bring more light to their legacies so readers of all ages will enjoy them.

Hazel’s favorite things/hobbies: Writing obviously, listening to and playing Irish and Scottish folk music, practicing with all eras and types of historical weaponry, GOOD COFFEE, reading of course, dark (dark) chocolate, sketching/painting, hats, scarves and boots, collecting little old-fashioned things of all kinds, buying books, and don’t forget dressing in period clothing!

You can find Hazel on her Blog, via twitter @artfulscribbler, or on Goodreads

Click onward to read a description and teaser of Hazel’s new novel, By Blood or By Bond.

Continue reading “Ten Things to Know about Writing Historical Fiction (Guest Post by Hazel West)”

Is Amazon Select Right for You?

I return to take a closer look at Amazon’s KDP Select service and discuss whether or not you think it’s right for you.

Hi all,
Sorry for the long absence, but my life has been absolutely crazy the last couple of weeks. Moving houses, preparing for school, doing grad school work, setting up new house, first week of school, etc. Anyways, I back with my hopefully-weekly-blog-posting. This week I’d like to talk about Amazon Select. For those of you who don’t know, Amazon Select is a service run through Amazon’s KDP Digital publishing platform. Essentially, the gist is that if you sign up for this service, you have the ability to offer your novel(s) at no cost for five days. It also places your book in a ‘lending library’ where people can borrow your novel and read it. The more people who borrow your novels, the more money you get. Amazon has established a fund this month of $600,000 to pay KDP Select members.

Sounds pretty good, right? I mean people pay to borrow your book. There’s some math involved (See below) but the gist is that the more borrows your book gets, the more money you make.

For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000, the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000, and your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 for that month.

So what’s the catch? Several in fact. First, your novel must be exclusive on Amazon KDP for 90 days. Three months of not being able to sell it digitally on any other site. Now you’re still free to sell it physically – i.e. paperback wise – through other sites, but lets be real here. If you write eBooks and you are not a multi-thousand copy seller, you probably aren’t selling more than perhaps a dozen hardcovers a month, give or take. You’re limited by the five free days, and with Amazon adjusting their rankings to eliminate free ‘purchases’ so that they won’t count towards the sales ranking, I’m not sure how effective this is. Sure, your book is free, but it isn’t boosting your ratings and isn’t really getting you much. If you’re using it as a loss-leader for a series, it would make more sense, but perhaps not so for a person like myself with just one book.

Of course, I’m not exactly selling tons of novels through Barnes and Noble or Smashwords and sell the majority if my books through Amazon. So I could try it out, and may be tempted to if I ever write a short story companion to Brass Legionnaire. That could be a great way to bring in new readers with the style of short fiction that is so popular right now.

So to sum up, Select is something that I’m not considering using now. I may consider doing it down the road with a companion novel to drive up interest in my Steam Empire Chronicles, but until then, I’ll stick to the sidelines. I’d be interested to see if B&N rolls out something similar to compete, perhaps offering a more impressive rate amount or additional free days.

That’s all folks, time to get back to writing Copper Centurion. I leave you with a lovely quote by your favorite rabble-rousing assassin, spy, and rebel, Corbus.

“Have it your way, Brittenburgian,” Julius’ eyebrows rose. “Ah yes, see I placed your accent. I have a special place in my heart for that corrupt, disgusting, pestilent city.” Corbus sneered wickedly. He socked the legionnaire again, and the man collapsed back to the ground.

“Send a message to the Duke, we’ve got a prisoner.”


Where and How I Write

In case you were wondering how a full time teacher manages to write, here’s a quick look inside my writing time.

Greetings all, and thanks for checking back in. I know it’s been a rather warm summer, and I just got back from a two week vacation/moving out party for my brother, who has been studying abroad in Tokyo for the last year.

English: Meiji Shrine Tokyo, JapanNeedless to say, two weeks in a country where you don’t speak the language can be both terrifying and enlightening. Just depends on whether you ordered the right food or not! (s’cuse me, I did not order the live squid with red bean paste filling, I ordered that eggy looking thing over there…. oh, that’s sea urchin ovaries? no thanks, I’ll have the rice.) Anyways, I thought that the ‘where and how I like to write’ post would be best done right now, as it’s a wonderfully quick and easy posting. Simply put, I write everywhere when I can and as much as I can – being a full time teacher during the school year, you can’t be picky, although I do tend to prefer weekends. I don’t normally set a word count per day, but a general ‘be at this many pages by such and such date’ instead.

Not specific enough for you?

Okay, I start by outlining my book in a journal/notebook that I picked up from Barnes and Noble. I find it slightly funny that something from B&N gave birth to something that is now carried in their online store. Usually I do a ‘whole book in one page’ type thing, then I go chapter by chapter. I know some authors do a lot of outlining. Outline this story arch or that. I can’t do that, nor do I have the patience to do that. I’ve done much of it in my head already. Did I mention that I tend to like writing late at night, with some dramatic music on? Personal favorites are from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack or other classical musical masterpieces. Although a few modern hits do show up from time to time. Hopefully my neighbors don’t think I’m slightly insane!

ShinkansenOnce I’ve outlined the chapters, I type them up. Sometimes I’ll refer back to my notes and sometimes I won’t. I’m fortunate enough to own both a mega desktop mac and a smaller laptop, so I took the laptop on my vacation and discovered that train rides are an AWESOME time to get stuff done. Between five airline flights, and probably a dozen train trips, I added around 10,000 words to Copper Centurion. I also sketched out the entire book in my notebook. You see, sometimes I’ll only outline the first half, then wait until I reach that point to continue the rest. I’m constantly tweaking and changing my story arcs. While the trains and planes may be loud, its loud white noise, not talking and cell phones, so I can concentrate. Otherwise, I need the music or silence to really focus on whats going onto the page.

After I finish writing this time, it’s off to the beta testers. I’ve been a lot busier this summer (even without a full time job) so I’m still only about halfway through CC, whereas last year I had finished Brass Legionnaire by this time. Goal is to finish it by end of October, and then let my beta readers have at it all of November. If you’re interested, PLEASE let me know, the more the merrier!

Oh, and I’ll be posting some lovely photos of the new digs later on for your voyeuristic enjoyment. But only if you are nice!

Five Steps to Writing Awesome Battle Scenes

Hi everyone!
As a veteran reader, I’ve read my fair share of battle scenes over the years. Now, as a writer, I find myself rereading many of those older stories and novels to see how different authors have approached battle scenes. I’ve taken these lessons and applied them to both Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion, and will continue to add on what I’ve learned in future novels!

First off, there’s a huge difference between writing ancient or fantasy battle scenes and sci-fi ones. After all, your weaponry, tactics, skills, battlefield knowledge, and technology (or magic!) all play a roll in how, where, and why you will fight. Urban combat in a medieval city will not take months to play out, as you have to fight it out toe to toe with your opponent. Not so the modern or futuristic era, where you can kill a man hundreds of yards away, then duck down through the sewers to the hidden bunker created in the apartment complex over yonder.

But what about for steampunk? How can I write a good battle scene for my novel if they include a smattering of things for all eras? Well that’s where I’m here to help!

First, remember that conflict is never about the weapons. It’s about a fight between two people/sets of peoples. Sometimes, in steampunk, we authors have a tendency to focus on the awesome gadgetry rather than the stories. Gadgets are cool, but humanity needs to be the guiding force. So show me how the character is feeling as he chops down his opponent. I want to see through the targeting reticule with him, slice off the zombie’s head with her, I want to feel and hear and taste (the iron tang of blood in your mouth! – Okay, maybe a bit gruesome, but you get the point) War is hell, it is experience. It is not some pretty dainty thing. Don’t treat it as such.

Leonidas is not pleased by your pitiful battle scene.

Second, do yourself a favor. Find a few movies that are in the time period closest to yours (or those with the closest weaponry-wise) and watch them. Not the extreme movies like 300, but rather a movie like Alexander. Think documentary over Hollywood flash. Don’t watch the newest “3 Musketeers” but find the original. Find a movie that shows you the battle panoramic style and close up. In other words – Do your research. While the weapons are not the focus of your story, they impact the use of tactics and how your army/soldiers fight. IE – My legionnaires are not going to charge a group of mechaniphants – They know perfectly well that they would get squashed. But they have created tactics to deal with them. you see the point.

Alternative – READ A BOOK(s)! Seriously – I read Julius Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul prior to writing Brass Legionnaire. If you want people to take your battles seriously, demonstrate you understand what you are writing about.

Third, try to stay focused on one part of a scene at a time. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to go back and reread a battle scene because I just didn’t understand what was happening. Sometimes, that’s the point, and the character is also lost in the ‘fog of war’ but then that should be in your writing. Jumping point of view can be a killer, and unless he is floating high above the battlefield, it’s hard to give him that ‘power’ to know what’s happening on the other flank in real time.

Fourth, your character is not a superhero. He/She will get tired, confused, wounded, exhausted, mad with rage, etc. Express that. I read a book once where a character sliced his way through half an opposing army. He had been a poor, simple, teenage farmer forty pages earlier, received no training, and then went to war. Realistic Result – Farmer dies on end of swordsman’s blade. Or runs away before hand.

I want to see growth and training. My characters may be Roman Legionnaires and have gone through difficult training, but they are still more deadly as part of a team, not as lone wolves. Besides, the idea that Conan the Barbarian will destroy the bad guy’s army single-handed is a bit overdone, don’t you think? And remember, most real battles ended due to the arrival of nighttime or one side fleeing. Very rarely did the losing side stay around to get pummeled into the ground. Terrain or circumstance forced that.

Finally, Don’t make your opponents cardboard props. They shouldn’t be dumb and flat, they should be sneaky, conniving, tricky. They should have motivation and a basic knowledge of tactics and warfare. Warlords get that way because they… go…to…war. They won’t lose all that knowledge the second they face your hero’s army. A talented opponent makes for a better story, a more engaging plot, and the chance for sequels.

Whew! There you have it! Five easy steps to writing awesome battle scenes. You can apply them to any era or type of battle, not just steampunky ones! Enjoy, and take a sneak peek of Copper Centurion below.

I’m about 20 thousand words in. For those of you keeping track, I have not, and won’t meet my goal of finishing it before the family vacation (six days or so away, no way I’ll be able to type 60k words or so!) But I promise you, I’m making progress! Copper Centurion involves a lot more airship combat and larger conflicts than Brass Legionnaire, so here’s a first look at an (unedited and un-beta-read) part of a larger airfleet combat. I’ve tried to follow all the rules listed above, but once again, this is a rough draft.

“Centurion, get your soldiers into position. They appear to be trying to double up on our airships. There’s more than we thought.” He shouted over the humming of the engines. The tempo of the large propellers had increased and Julius felt the ship move faster under his booted feet.

“Check your gear, lads. If you’ve got the grappler, remember to aim for the deck or something that can hold our weight as we cross on those ropes. Everyone else, clear the deck with your repeaters before you cross.” Julius passed on the orders from the briefing earlier. “Let’s not bring any extra things across. We go in fast, and either capture the ship or set the flares, and get off fast. The flares should do the work for us, but we have to get off before the fire spreads to the Scioparto. I don’t think the Captain would like that!” His voice felt full of false confidence as he gave the rallying speech to his men.

The enemy airships closed in tighter, from what Julius could tell. His view was blocked off to his left by the large bulk of the Scioparto’s gasbag and airship proper. Straight ahead, he could see several enemy airships closing fast on the line of Roman fliers headed straight at them. To Julius’ inexperienced eye, the airships seemed to vary little in design or shape, except that they had two airships that were as big as the Roman flagship. One was bearing down on the left flank of the Roman formation and the Scioparto.

The flagship began firing, joined by the ships flanking it to either side as the two lines clashed in mid air. The rolling line of explosions and the cacophony of battle started soft but were soon loud and immediate as the enemy airships closed in, engulfing the entirety of the formation. Julius counted twelve enemy warships, equaling their number. And those were just the ones he could see.

 From below, the sounds of metal and wood screeching came as the ship’s artillery ports opened. Julius and the men of the XIII Germania watched, anticipating the first salvo from the Scioparto with glee. A larger vessel appeared to be sliding towards them, closing the space until it was just parallel to the smaller Scioparto.

All at once, the artillery on the Roman ship fired, launching a barrage of explosive missiles at the Nortland vessel. This time, the artillery crews fired as fast as possible, joined by the smaller pieces on the exposed deck. Julius’ legionnaires tried to shield the exposed aircrews as they fired their lightweight weaponry. When the breeze blew away the smoke and fog of war that obscured their damage, Julius’ eyes went wide in surprise and he cried out in alarm.

The enemy vessel was mostly unharmed.

Introducing Senatora Pelia

Here’s a brief interview with Senatora Octavia Pelia, one of the new characters in Copper Centurion. Don’t forget to check out Brass Legionnaire on Kindle and on Nook! http://bit.ly/MU6Gv1

This is D.O. and I’m coming to you live from the halls of the Imperial Roman Statehouse here in the center  of Rome. With me is one of the youngest members of the Roman Senate, and by far it’s most unique one. She also happens to be the first major female character introduce in Copper Centurion. Thanks for taking this moment to meet with us, Senatora Octavia Pelia.

P: Can we hurry this up? I’ve got a committee meeting in ten minutes, and I’ve got to talk with the other senators about this expedition to Nortland and….

D: Excuse me, there’s an expedition going somewhere?

P: *Levels an angry glare at me and sighs* I suppose I can tell you about it since there’s no way you’d let anyone else know. Yes, there’s an expedition in the works to go north and punish those pesky Nortlander savages for their destruction of Brittenburg. That’s the official line, anyways.

D: What’s the unofficial line?

P: High command is stuck in a political battle between the career and political officers. We’ve just barely managed to get a career officer in charge of the expedition, but the vote was so close I don’t know if it will manage it in the full senate. This expedition would be a fine way for some political imbecile to truly *part censored due to language unbecoming a young woman of Roman breeding and standards*.

D: I… I never knew you felt that passionately about this…

P: My father was a career officer. I blame his death – on the field of battle, no less – on those political idiots he couldn’t remove from his supporting armies.

D: Ah, I see. So I can take it you plan on voting against whatever political appointment is proposed to lead the expedition?

P: Yes. Rumor is that they’ll try to vote through General Minnicus – As though anyone would want that man in charge after the debacle back in Brittenburg. Did you know that he nearly got our Crown Prince KILLED? By rights, that man should be in chains. And to place him in charge of the same legion that contains the primus imperio Constantine Appius again would be sheer foolishness.

D: Sounds like you’ve got a thing for this Prince.

P: *Blushes and glares at me* What is this, a drama worthy of Virgil? I’ve never even met his highness, much less talked with him. How could I have a ‘thing’ for him?

*Bell rings

P: If you’ll excuse me, a vote is being called for, and I don’t want to miss it.

D: Thanks for talking with us anyways, Senatora! And now check out this fun fan art from Hazel West. Thanks Hazel!

Writing and Life Goals for the Future, and how to Achieve them!

July Goals and a personal challenge: Also a chance to be a beta reader for Copper Centurion!

Hi all,

So I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I have excuses…er… I mean reasons! I swear!.

First, for those of you who live on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, you know what terrible storms we’ve been having. We lost power here for about 5 days, and just got it back on the 4th of July. I also just went through the whole house-buying process and am now the proud owner of my own home.

So yes, it’s been a busy week. But I’m looking towards the future now, and it excites me. Why? Many reasons.

First, Now that I’ve got a steady job and a place to call my own, I can focus on finishing up the other loose ends that I’m still dealing with. Namely, my education. I’m on track to graduate with a Masters in December. Of course, I have to make it till then! Second, I just finished up my first full month of being a published author, and it was awesome! I sold over fifty books this month. I know many people will probably think that’s lame or sad, but the way I see it, it is a small stepping stone to something bigger. I got a lot of reviews and they were all really good! So that’s something else to cheer about.

What do I have going on besides that? Why, Copper Centurion of course! Due to the power outages and such, I’ve been behind. I’m also going on vacation next week, so I’m behind there as well. Grr. But I’m sticking with my goal of completing Copper Centurion by the end of this month. Did I mention I also have to complete a huge chunk of Grad school work by then as well before I go on a long vacation again?! Yea… Looks like I’ll be living on the computer until then!

Goals: At least two thousand words for the book per day.

And at least one paper/assignment for school per day.

oh, AND one blog post per week.


How will I achieve these goals?

1.) Patience and Perseverance – I’m going to literally make myself sit and type away every day.

2.) I know what distracts me. So I’m turning off the internet – as possible. I’m actually in an online masters program, so that’s not always a possibility. However, I’ve learned a cool trick where you get rid of all your bookmarks by using a different browser than the one you normally use. I used to spend hours of time reading the Washington Post online, but after I removed the bookmark from my toolbar, I’ve stopped!

3.) Accountability – First off, I’m academically accountable, but secondly, I’m also accountable to my beta readers, who I’ve already lined up for early August. If I have to move it, then it makes me look bad (and lazy!).

Now, I hope to keep you updated on the progress of these goals, but first I must give you the starting points.

Right now, I’ve completed 17000/80000 words (that’s the end goal amount for book two)

School wise, I’ve finished 4/20 assignments.

Now, time to get to work! If you’ve got any tips or tricks to finishing up the work quicker, or eliminating distractions, let me know! Also, if you’re interested in being a beta reader for Copper Centurion, send me an email through the contact page above.

Learning from My Self-Publishing Experience in Five Steps: Part 2

Learn from my Self-Publishing Experience: Part 2 – Advance Reader Copies and Promotional Opportunities!

Hi all, and welcome to part two of my self-publishing experience post.

It’s a busy time of year here in the mid-Atlantic. School is ending and all the stuff that goes with that is being thrown together in a hurry! I’m moving rooms, moving houses, and have to balance all that with grad school and writing. Whew! When do I find time to sleep?

Here’s a quick review of the earlier post

1.) Create an online presence in advance, not when just publishing.

2.) Get some beta readers and have your book read before an editor looks at it.

3.) Make a publishing plan and stick to it. Do your work in advance so you won’t have to do it on the fly.

Here are steps Four and Five.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

4.Send out Advance Book Copies – So you’ve published your novel, but no one knows it exists. And no one is willing to risk their money on an unrated novel. It’s easy to spot friend and family reviews, so what’s an author to do? The answer: Advanced Reader Copies. Grab some people you know, but aren’t your closest friends, and ask them to take a look at your book. If you’ve already done step 1 and 2, then you probably have some people who you trust to review your book fairly and honestly. Notice I didn’t say POSITIVE. A book with a ton of five-star reviews the second it comes out may arouse suspicion, and can garner angry reviews from readers who buy it based on those reviews but find it horrible. On the other hand, a book with a mixture will most likely elicit people’s interest and will garner more honest feedback. People don’t like buying an unknown quantity, and especially don’t like getting duped. But with a few reviews, more people will be willing to try it, even if it’s a three and a half star book.

Now you can purchase book reviews through Kirkus and other websites, but it’s far cheaper and more beneficial to you to utilize your readers. A handy thing to toss in at the end of your book is a nice ‘If you liked the book, please review it online” comment. It can’t hurt, and certainly can help, even if you just get one person to review out of 10, if you sell 100 books that could be ten positive reviews! That’s a nice amount to show up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Also, don’t forget that you can take snippets of reviews and put them on your blurb or other places, like your website – especially if they are from a more recognized reviewer. Just be sure to credit where the review came from.

5. Promote, but don’t be obnoxious – So you’ve got your twitter and Facebook and goodreads account and everything is going well. Are you posting a million messages a day about your book? Hopefully not! That’s annoying and is called spam. But I know none of you would ever spam… right? It can drive your followers away if all they get are messages about your book. Be different! Write about your life and what’s happening. Limit yourself a few posts a day. Be sure to use your hashtags effectively too.

I’m not saying to never talk about your book, I’m just saying use common sense. It shouldn’t be the only thing happening in your life! Here’s a list of some other ways to get people to try your novel.

1.) Write a short story or two about your world and make it free (or $0.99) on all marketplaces. People can decide if they like your writing style. For example, I’m in the midst of something called ‘The Traitor’ about the non-assassination of Julius Caesar. Maybe it will bring in some readers. Maybe it will reward twitter and Facebook and blog followers.

2.) Use your online presence to team up with other indie authors for cross-promotion and similar things. Especially around the holidays (and right after!) deals and networking can really pay off!

Anyways, I hoped that helped. What do you all think about what I learned? I’m sure I missed a ton of other things, which I’m sure I’ll have to write about in the future!

Just a Quick Update!

Hi all!

Just wanted to send out a quick update. The editor got back to me and Brass Legionnaire is done! Obviously, I’ll have to review her changes and talk it over with her, but the biggest chunk of time and effort is past! In addition, I also heard from my illustrators that they’ll have some rough drafts for me soon. Couldn’t come soon enough! I’m so excited! Thank goodness my Kickstarter project got funded, otherwise I’d be stuck for funding soon. Well, that’s all! If you haven’t done so already, check out my youtube page and watch/listen to the first chapter of Brass Legionnaire.



The Illustration Conundrum

To Illustrate or not to Illustrate, that is the (expensive) question!

To begin, I’ve always loved chapter books with illustrations. They breathe life and culture and feeling into a story. Sometimes, I wish to high heavens that Harry Potter books had come with full page illustrations every couple of pages. Not every page mind you, even just one per chapter would have been awesome. Obviously, the style of your book has to lend itself to illustrations. Personally, I think all books could use them in one form or another.

But Wait! You cry. “I have my own created image of what this world looks like, why should someone else make it for me?”

Someone else already has, if the book you are reading has cover art. From the moment you open a book, your mind is building the world that you are reading. The cover (to me) is like the section in a library – Does it have dragons on the cover? Trigger the fantasy imagination component of your mind. Man waving a french flag with a musket? Activate the Three Musketeers and Napoleon memory centers! Illustrations in a book are a way of guiding the reader’s imagination, like mileposts or markers on an old trail. The trail is laid out for you, but you are making the journey. The markers guide you, even shape some of the world for you. But illustrations are expensive, and only the most well paid authors or those with a great amount of extra money to use, those who have won the family/friend lottery (Hey, wanna illustrate my book? I’ll pay you in pizza!) can truly fill a novel book with illustrations. Even Scott Westerfeld of steampunk fame doesn’t have illustrations on every page.


So what is a new/upcoming author to do if they want illustrations. There are a few options.

1.) Sell your firstborn (Just kidding!)

2.) Compromise – Have only a few illustrations that are super critical.

3.) Never have any illustrations and pour that extra money into cover art or extra promotional things.

Of these, option two is the best, and really the only option, that makes the best sense if you have the money for illustrations. As a visual person myself, I love having maps in my book. If your story is going somewhere, have a map! They make great interior covers, and can break up a story neatly into chunks if that is what you need. In my book, I have plans for two maps – one of the entire continent of Europe, and the other of my semi-fictional city of Brittenburg.

My plan for Brass Legionnaire is to have two illustrations that are critical to the story and really tie into the theme and idea of my world. Not only can I have them in the book, but I can get enlarged ones as posters and other things to use as freebies and contest prizes. Theoretically I could sell them eventually too, but I like the idea of having control of a limited number of them in really nice form. Those in the book would be black and white, while the promo ones would be full color.

I suppose I could lay down a pretty penny for one illustration per chapter, but maybe I’ll save that for the omnibus (in the far, far future!) Of course, if you want to make it happen, check out my Kickstarter project and donate. I don’t have much time left on it, and I’m sort of sad that it won’t likely happen, but I’m excited to still have the chance to share the book with you guys regardless!



Brass Legionnaire: Update

So I’ve finally managed to finish the entire Brass Legionnaire Novel! Hurray! It’s about 60k words, and it’s going to the editor come February! Found some great people at Scripta Editing Services to help out and others at Streetlight Graphics to help me format it and make it look beautiful. I’ve also found some help for funding these at Kickstarter, something that I hope will pan out!


For those of you who missed it, download the PDF of the first chapter (Edited, revised, and wonderful!) below!


Warmest Regards


– Daniel


Brass Legionnaire Chapter 1

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