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All my books have involved my wife, Audrey Roy Greenfeld. She's not just my muse or a sounding board, she's contributed a significant amount of the ideas and text in all the books I've written. A small but good example is magic in the Ambria series: Audrey replaced my dull mechanical depictions of the supernatural with the wonder and beauty of the arcane. That's just the tip of the iceberg and it would be selfish of me to hog all the credit to myself.
Therefore, I've decided that it's about time to include her as co-author. She deserves it.
So going forward this site is going to transition to a combined Daniel and Audrey Roy Greenfeld destination. You'll start to see changes, and soon there will be seamless redirection to the new location.
Brightest Winter continues the story of Vetch after he falls in the Ambria River. The adventure includes serpents, birds of the dark, and more giant monsters.
If that weren't enough, Vetch also must survive a treacherous family gathering. Some of his relatives are the stuff of nightmares.
An Ambria book wouldn't be complete without battles involving magical weapons, trays of unusual desserts, and death-defying challenges, of course. Pack your best swords, finish up your enchanted vegetable soups, and join Vetch for the adventure.
Get it from your local Amazon store:
Until now, the cover of my books did not match Amazon's 1:1.6 specification for size. I fixed it for Darkest Autumn, and you can see the result below:
Astute readers may also notice a name change to the book. It's no longer The Darkest Autumn but just Darkest Autumn. That fits better on the cover and I think it sounds better too.
Take a look at the differences between the old and new versions of the cover:
I also updated the blurb to say:
The adventure begins in Book One of this epic coming-of-age series.
Vetch is training to be a knight in a magical world. But he's afraid of battle and reluctant to hurt others. He's also nervous around girls. He's kept his fears from his friends but knows at some point he'll be revealed for the coward that he is.
Led by a sorcerer, a massive army of men and inconceivable monsters attack Vetch's homeland. With no idea of the extent of the enemy's power, Vetch struggles against impossible odds to keep himself and those he cares about safe.
Can a young warrior with a too-gentle heart survive?
For starters, fans of Into the Brambles will be pleased to know that the sequel, Through the Brambles, will hopefully be out late this summer. The book is about 95% written but needs a lot of editing. For that matter, Into the Brambles could also use some cleanup.
Okay, that out of the way, the big reason why I'm working on two series is to avoid writer's block.
The beauty of working on two stories is if I get stuck, I can work in the other until the block goes away. From experience, I know this technique works incredibly well for me. For most of my life I used this technique instinctively, but starting this year I started to do it consciously. The result has been a huge increase in productivity, which explains the rapid pace of the writing of the Ambria series.
Tonight I'm reviewing the work done on the cover of The River Runs Uphill, also known as Ambria II. I'm very pleased with how it came out.
I've always been compelled to tell stories.
When I was six years old I was invited to my friend John's house for dinner. While eating the meal, I told John and his parents how I went mountain climbing in Switzerland with my family. They believed my wondrous story until the moment I brought up the lions. Yes, according to me, my family and I were attacked by mountain lions in the Swiss Alps. We would have died had not my father grabbed a lion by the tail and used it to beat off the others.
That's the first story I remember telling. When I was seven, my parents gave me a tape recorder in order for me to capture my stories. Even though I remember being uncertain about using the tape recorder for stories, I wish I had my audio tapes from that time. As elementary school progressed, my mother captured some of my stories using a manual typewriter. As far as I know, all of those tales have been lost over the course of the numerous moves from one town to the other in my life.
I did make a sale during those years! A science fiction I hand-wrote on paper when I was eight was purchased by my eleven-year-old brother for three dollars. He planned to make it into a movie. Unfortunately, that never happened, but the little boy in me wishes it had.
In middle school, I wrote adventure stories instead of paying attention in class. On at least three occasions teachers took my effort and read them to the class. I was terribly embarrassed but I remember my fellow students being pleased with what I wrote. Some of them even encouraged me to write more! I would like to think that was because my writing was good, but I suspect it's because it was funny to watch me get mocked by a teacher.
In high school I started to I sneak stories into assignments that we're meant to be stories. For example, once I was told to define the word 'Shandrydan'. Stumped, I wrote a story how Shandrydan was the name of a black-scaled dragon that spat acid. That black dragon went over well, the teacher being so impressed she read it to the class. I remember the next day was a story-writing effort inspired by my tale.
I just wanted to let you all know that a new version of my technical book, Two Scoops of Django: Best Practices for Django 1.11 is out. This is a book about the Django web framework and is meant for programmers. That said, isn't the cover appealing?
Yesterday I started on the third book of the Ambria series. Today I ended with 3658 words written for the book, which isn't as dramatic a start as the first and second book. Part of the reason for that is that while I'm working on the beginning of Ambria III, I'm cleaning up the end of The River Runs Uphill: Ambria II. The same thing happened with the start of Ambria II, where I had to go back and clean and change material in The Darkest Autumn: Ambria I to make the books work together.
Once things are in place, the words will fly faster and faster. Hopefully, I'll get down 5000 words tomorrow.
Another thing that held me up this weekend was getting the formatting right for the ebooks. As I'm not using a standard tool like Scrivener I have to adjust things on my own. I like doing it, so while it's a diversion from writing, at least it's a pleasant one.
One last thing: tomorrow my cover designer will be getting back to me with an update on the covers. The Darkest Autumn: Ambria I will be lightened and The River Runs Uphill: Ambria II will hopefully be finished enough that I can actually list the book on my site.
Years ago on a cold, rainy day, when I was in my college library, I stumbled across a copy of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Having read his Martian Chronicles and Illustrated Man and liked them somewhat, I thought I ought to give it a try. It was a short book and I figured it would be a way to while away the doldrums of a boring day.
Needless to say, Fahrenheit 451 did more than just chase away boredom. I was sucked in and didn't move from my spot until I finished the whole thing. It's a powerful book that to me is by far Bradbury's best work. When I was done reading the story, I consumed the afterward and learned something that stuck with me until today.
Bradbury explained that he sat in the basement of the UCLA library and finished the first draft in nine days. His publisher, upon reading it, told him to double the size of the draft so they could publish it. So Bradbury spent another nine days in the UCLA library and punched out a literary masterpiece. While editing process took weeks, it nevertheless amazes me that he got it done so quickly. I always thought if I could write so well and so fast, then maybe being an author was in the cards for me.
As of today, seventeen days after I started the sequel to The Darkest Autumn, the first draft is done. Certainly, the book needs to be edited and cleaned up, but what's amazing is that I did over 55,066 words in 17 days or about 3,239 words per day. I can claim I wrote faster than Bradbury! While I did have the advantage of a computer over a typewriter, and it's doubtful my work is anywhere as good as Fahrenheit 451, it's nevertheless reassuring to know that I can at least write faster than him.
It was a rush to finish another book this year. Tomorrow the editing process begins. As for the third book in the series, I'm going to take a break for a few days and let my hands rest up.