Posts Tagged ‘The Martlet’

What is a trunk novel? The Story of The Martlet

So after posting about The War Ender’s Apprentice last week, I got a few questions and specifically the one I am going to answer is What is a trunk novel? (Or more specifically: why the hell did you keep a decent novel in your back pocket in the days of self publishing?)

The definitions of a trunk novel are: 1) a non-publishable novel the author finished early in their writing career (2) a novel they never sold.

The original The Martlet novel was both. It was inspired by a short story I wrote while I was waiting to hear back from publishers about Other Systems back in 2011. I sent it to a literary magazine who rejected it, but gave me a long feedback letter. They loved it, but felt like it was part of a novel. Specifically they loved the idea of the central character: a person who stops wars before they get started and they loved the relationships that I showed. So I sat down and wrote the novel using my drafting process.


Original Character Sketch of Lord Roark 

I originally thought this was a swashbuckling adventure book with mass market appeal so I sent it out to publishers. The rejections started piling up from big and small publishers–including 48Fourteen who published Other Systems. Only one small publishing company showed any interest, but I hesitated and the opportunity was gone.

I sent The Martlet to beta readers, the overall feedback I got was that everyone loved the characters, but felt the A plot and B plot was overly complicated. Thinking there was something wrong with the beginning, I wrote a new beginning. And I tried to smooth out the A Plot, by adding shorter adventures so the characters could solve things while continuing to work on the big plot which takes years. (Yep, I literally made it even more episodic!)

SIDE NOTE: if The Martlet was my only project I might have come to the conclusion to break up the novel earlier, but during this time, I also finished the third book in Faminelands, the final episodes of Out for Souls and Cookies, I wrote and 48Fourteen published The Light Side of the Moon, I wrote and self-published The Grove, and I spent six months collaborating with Jennifer Brozek on the graphic novel version of her short story The Prince of Artemis V for which we’re shopping for a publisher right now

However, The Martlet kept calling. Between projects, I’d work on it. Try to see if I could clean up the prose or add a chapter here or there. I added a frame story at one point. I sent it to other beta readers.

I couldn’t turn away from the central cast of characters, especially Roark. I wanted to publish it so it would stop haunting me, yet I knew I would regret publishing it too early.

With every project under my belt, I learn another lesson and The Martlet was now screaming at a fever pitch in the back of my mind. So I started fresh. Now I don’t want to give too much away, but I noticed there was no inciting incident which starts Roark on his path, because it happened when he was much younger than he is in the original novel.

These two points are from Roark’s Background:

Age 13 – 19: During Roark’s apprenticeship, he sees his master [Alana] pulled two ways. Her Martlet vows and her War Ender vows. Personally, he is tired of her do-gooding, when she is breaking laws to do it. 

Age 16: Alana rescues Eohan from a slave ship due to “one of her more idiotic” visions.

This is from Eohan’s Background:

Age 18: Alana rescues [Eohan] from a slave ship. Though unsure about Alana’s methods and Roark’s instincts, the young men become friends.

I started asking myself about other things readers would want to know, like why/how were Eohan and Kian enslaved. If slavery exists: what does that mean for the societies in this book? And where do the War Ender’s come in? Why would a society stop wars, but turn a blind eye to the atrocity of slavery?

Now if these pieces were additions to a novel, The Martlet would become another longer work. As an author and artist, I am always trying to challenge myself. If the problem is that it’s episodic, then I should turn it into interconnected episodes!

What might be a good novel might become a series of epic novellas!

The War Ender's Apprentice copyNow that The War Ender’s Apprentice is out, I have a little more to do with The Assassin’s Twisted Path before I send it to the editor in early January.

Long story short: Though I tend to be a “let’s get it done” type author, sometimes just getting it done isn’t the answer. I needed time to explore the work and discover it’s potential. I’m glad I took that time.

If anyone is pushing you to publish a work, you know isn’t ready, don’t listen. Stick it aside, and work on another project.  Or stick it out and figure out what’s wrong.

The War Ender’s Apprentice is HERE!

As many of my readers know I have had a trunk novel for an embarrassingly long amount of time which I LOVE called The Martlet.  Now with a few books under my belt, I can see how episodic the entire story is. I see now why though I got a lot of great feedback it wasn’t ready for publication.

Over the past six months, I decided to break up the novel in to a series of novella-length stories. Each story is approximately 150 to 200 pages. If you like epic sword and sorcery fantasy with a bit of necromancy, this series might for you.

The first novella is The War Ender’s Apprentice and comes out today! 

The War Ender's Apprentice copy

In the chaotic universe, many intelligent species are on the brink of war, but the Guild holds the violence at bay to foster peaceful trade. The most renowned War Ender is Lady Alana of House Eyreid. Alana hopes to train her beloved nephew, Roark, in her vocation.

It was supposed to be a simple training mission aboard an Interrealm slave ship. However, when Alana find her people enslaved, she murders the crew and rescues every slave—whether criminal, dishonored, or stolen. A fleeting vision of Roark’s future tells her to offer the newly freed Eohan a War Ender’s education.

For her vision to come true, Alana must rescue Eohan’s young brother who was sold in the last port and lost somewhere in the Realms, but first, they have a war to end.


Clouds rolled in, casting the Realm in deep shadows. The last sun dipped into the ocean. They pushed away from the shore on an unlit boat painted black as pitch. The sea was calm enough for Alana to steer the rudder and Roark to row without hindrance until they drifted into the current behind the larger ship.

At twenty-five paces, they dove into the water with a length of rope. As instructed, Roark carefully tethered the rowboat to the stern. Alana edged along the wooden hull. Wearing spiked gloves, she climbed to the upper deck.

Goddess, it stinks. A horrid mix of feces, bodily odors, vomit, blood and greasy pottage filled her nostrils. Over the hatchway stood the overseer holding a scourge of nine twisted thongs. His ill-fitted, ragged clothes looked as if they might rip any moment. His white hair was cropped short, but unwashed and ashy patches of skin flaked off his knees and elbows. She might have felt pity. However, a slave’s moan sang out into the air; the overseer hit his whip upon the grating. His eyes expressed eagerness to apply it upon the flesh of his victims.

Alana’s deceased aunt reminded her conscience, “We don’t kill for vengeance, Alana Mira Eyreid.” But her mentor was dead; she was the Guild Master now.

Alana slid to the deck, removed her metal spikes, hid them in a lifeboat and waited for Roark’s signal. He slipped aft to find the purser. Alana crawled into the captain’s night compartment — a dank, private room one deck below.

In the dim twilight, Alana observed an emaciated Fairsinge woman loosely chained to the wall. Her neck was restrained by a tight iron collar. Her once smooth white cheek branded and ebony hair cropped to her scalp. Upon closer inspection, her body did not look as fully formed as a woman’s, but Alana did not know if that was malnutrition or age. Her eyes were crusted with dried tears, and her reddened nose had left a trail of snot to her mouth.

Knowing the sheer stupidity of such an action, Alana knelt before her and pulled off her face mask and exposed her three-pointed ear.

A hint of life came back into the girl’s eyes.

“You must be quiet and hide.”

The girl mumbled and nodded in agreement.

Alana picked the lock. Once freed, the girl scampered to the far corner and pressed her branded face into her hands.

Replacing her mask, Alana glanced in the dirty mirror to ensure her auburn and silver hair was still covered.

As her dossier said was his habit, at eight bells, the captain entered alone. He undressed. Ribs and knobby joints were stretched across his mottled flesh.

He pulled at the girl’s chain. Holding the other end, Alana leapt from the shadows.

His last words were: “What in the devil?”

She tackled him and clamped his ankle in the iron, then shoved a dirty sock in his mouth. Alana could have killed him quickly. Instead, she pierced one lung and let him gasp.

Alana knelt on his chest and whispered, “You should not brag you don’t pay your debts, Captain. The Guild does not allow malingerers to engage in Interrealm travel. It’s bad for business.”

Alana grabbed his wrist and, using her saber, chopped off his hand which she placed in a tarred sack on her belt. Bleeding and gasping, the captain clutched his stump closer to his chest as she stood.

She opened his desk and found a small box of coin, though not nearly the amount needed for the debt. She opened the ledger. Damn me to the lowest Realm!

Her dossier had suggested the northernmost port in Daouail would be the ship’s first stop for the arena trade. Unfortunately, the ship landed in Dynion’s Port Denwort where several children, aged ten to thirteen, had been sold as house slaves. She pressed her hand to the ledger. Unsure if she would ever be able to right the wrong, she ripped out the page and shoved it in her emergency sack.

She unlocked the captain’s sea chest and dug for money and other valuables. She found a vial of perfume from the Fairhdel province of the same name, but little else.

“No wonder they made an early stop. The ne’er do well probably holds a debt in every Realm.” May he be resurrected as a toad.

Alana threw the branded girl a linen shirt from the chest and a wool blanket off the captain’s berth. The girl didn’t respond, even as the fabric landed on her.

Pressing her finger to the girl’s lips, Alana tried to prod her out of the corner. The girl was frozen. Alana put the linen shirt over her head and covered her in the woolen blanket. She still didn’t budge.

Alana stomped on the captain’s torso. She punctured his other lung and scabbarded her blade. With the hope his gasping was gratifying to the girl, Alana hoisted her up in her arms. In seconds, the dead weight aggrieved her aging shoulders, but she crept up the ladder and sternwards to the first of the four lifeboats without fail.

“Hide here until we free the others.”

Shivering, the girl lay at the bottom of the boat, covered in the woolen blanket.

Moving silently, Alana redrew her saber and slid behind the overseer. Seeking a faster death than the one she gave the captain, she stabbed him in the jugular. Blood sprayed onto the decking. Below the wretched creatures — elfkin, human, and dwarves — shouted, clapped their hands, and shook on the metal grating as he collapsed.

Approaching footsteps. Four sailors raced towards her with clubs and ropes, ready to beat back any slave uprising. They did not expect a Guild War Ender. Alana’s saber twirled towards her first opponent, the telchine sailor. She cut towards hir chest, seeking the earthen heart. She found her mark. The telchine crumbled back to the clay from which sie was formed. Alana always found the sort of clean, yet ostentatious death throe of the telchine, gnomes, giants, and dwarves particularly satisfying.

A rope slashed across her forearm, ripping the weave away. Ignoring the pain, she drew her offhand dagger and rotated towards the next sailor, a human. Her first cut was smooth as it sliced the flesh of his arm, the second hit an artery, spraying more blood on the deck and his earthen colleagues.

Roark appeared from the shadows, the head of the purser held high. He threw it to the surviving sailors who stepped back from the sight.

Alana did not pity them. Her two blades struck their flesh; the sailors fell quickly. Blood and earth spread across the decks.

Grabbing the keys off the overseer, she unlatched the first hold.

A young man pushed on the grating from below as she undid the chains. His face was hidden by a long, tangled mane of black hair, but he wore no beard, not even fuzz. He was at the edge of adulthood, his shoulders still slender, but with the promise of muscularity. Though he spent months in chains, he was not faded, his posture was still erect. No doubt bound for the arena.

The slaves made a wild scramble to the weather deck. They reached towards the sky, embracing their freedom as if it were a physical entity. Alana noticed the young man again, searching the crowd. “Ma! Kian!” he called.

She threw the young man the keys to the lower holds. “There are more below!”

He raced down the ladder.

Alana signaled Roark to prepare lifeboats and went below to where weaker slaves were kept. While those bound for the games were kept healthy, less valuable slaves were so emaciated they could barely stand.

Many hung their heads in hopeless dejection; mothers lay unmoving, cradling babes covered in filth. A closer look revealed these children were already dead or dying.

The young man she had given the keys wept over a middle-aged woman’s corpse.

“We must move quickly.”

“My mother …” He stared at the corpse with red-rimmed eyes.

Alana took the keys and unlocked the chains. “I’m sorry for your loss, but get those who still hold life. Once safe, we mourn the dead.”

Withered women struggled to rise and climb to the upper deck still clutching dead offspring.

The young man didn’t move. “I can’t leave her here. I can’t leave my brother.”

“What’s your name?” Alana asked.

“Eohan, Son of Aedell.”

“Eohan, would Aedell want you to die with her corpse when I abandon this ship to the depths?”

The youth sniffed. “No.”

“It would bring your mother honor to know her son saved these other mothers. Get them to the lifeboats.”

“Lifeboats.” As if the young man came out of a daze, Eohan leapt to his feet and unchained the nearest woman who clasped her dead baby. The woman moaned as he cradled her in his arms and tore out of the hold.

Alana grabbed another woman unable to walk and carried her to Roark who organized the five lifeboats and lowered them one by one into the sea.

She was proud her nephew had the good sense to organize each boat with a mix of healthy survivors and weakened ones. Some slaves dove into the sea and grasped the sides of the boats and other survivors, unwilling to be separated from their families again, clasped each other. Just as well, there wasn’t enough room on the lifeboats anyway.

Four more trips to the bowels of the ship, before she and Eohan were able to save all of the survivors. Every bunk, every corner, every chain, Eohan shouted, “Kian, Kian!”

Once the last survivor was out, Alana grabbed his arm before he went below again.

“My brother…”

“We have to go!”

“My brother … He’s a kid!”

“Children were sold in the last port, if you ever want to see him again we must go!”

He glanced toward the hatch.

Alana grabbed an oil lantern off its hook and smashed it across the deck.

“Come on!”

The boy didn’t move, but screamed, “Kian!”

Alana almost left Eohan to the flames, but heard Alana Mira! Somewhere deep in her mind, through the smoke, she witnessed an adult version of Eohan tossing a squealing auburn-haired child into the air and catching her.

Damn it. The boy was destined to become a man. A man with a child. 

The vision of the child turned to face her. The resemblance to Roark was unmistakable, but she saw something else deep within the blue eyes. Something wild and violent. She was unsure if her vision was literal or figurative representations, but somehow Eohan was bound to the future of House Eyreid. Damn me to the lowest Realm!

“Ki–!” Eohan choked as smoke filled his lungs.

Flames rolled closer to them, eating the decking.

Alana rammed her left index and middle finger into a pressure point deep within the boy’s shoulder and gripped his ear with her right hand. “Move.”



Want to read more? The War Ender’s Apprentice is available at Amazon in Paperback and on the Kindle! 

What do I do while waiting to hear back from publishers? I start a new project!

I admit it, right now, I’m feeling vulnerable about the fact that I have a ton of things up in the air…

ECCC is coming. It’s my biggest event of the year. I’m not even going to pretend that doesn’t freak me out.

mug_FluffOut for Souls & Cookies #5 is progressing a page a day just like normal. In fact I should be done by March 1st on my current schedule which will work fine, since that is when Maria will come down to Seattle to take a look at it prior to ECCC. And for everybody else…I hope you come back on March 1st for the cover reveal.

The Martlet is at Angry Robot. No word.

The Light Side of the Moon is at 48Fourteen.

I’ve three short stories out in the ether, I’m waiting to hear back from. One at Flash Fiction Online, another at Lightspeed and another at Analogue.

As always I’m crossing my fingers, but that doesn’t quiet the anxious voices. So what should I do? That’s right, go through the queue and find a new project!

On Monday, I started a new project from this idea:  Is the life of one worth the life of billions?


Dalya Hayes and her husband Oliver Fisher are locals who run a Museum of Oddities and the Visitor Service Center in the small town of Sitka’s Quay. They watch the summer crowds. Some visitors are just families out for an all-American vacation, but some visitors seek to restore their magic in the grove and lake outside the village.

One day, a visiting sorcerer, Jonah Leifson, comes to town. He believes these old Gods will bring back peace and prosperity to the world. Jonah gathers other sorcerers with the same political motives…..

Now for the rest of the blurb, sorry but you’ll have to wait. I don’t want to give away too much, especially if I change the plot half way through or something. 😉

Finished the outline, and wrote the first two chapters which right now I am calling Sitka’s Quay.

As I said, the protagonists are married…so I began writing. The rough draft of the first few chapters has been written. I started it with them in their museum. The antagonist enters.  They give him a map of the grove but wife senses the danger. 

So I think this book is off to a good start. I’ve researched some ancient Sumerian Gods, ancient ceremonies, running a search party, and small town life.

Note: I think the heat level is still sweet. Way more kissing and sensuality than I wrote for The Light Side of the Moon, but certainly not erotica. I would be embarrassed to write anything much more risqué. Seriously, not only am I known for comics, but my mom reads my stuff.

Blog Hop! The Next Big Thing: The Martlet

We are taking a break today from the Faminelands talk so I can be part of this Blog Hop! First I want to thank the talented author Dan Thompson for nominating me to  be part of this blog hop. His next project, The Caseworker’s Memoirs, will be released in late Spring 2013, but his feature length YA Fantasy novel, The Black Petal, has no release date as of yet. Check out his post about The Next Big Thing: The Black Petal.

What is the working title of your next book?

My very next release is a graphic novel entitled Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse which comes out in ten days at Emerald City Comic Con, but I am going to focus on The Martlet because it is my next written novel.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

First of all, I love epic fantasy and horror, especially vampires, elves, and other mystical long-lived beings. One day, I thought about what if a being with a life span of a 1000 years might decide that it is just not enough time. And I came up with a character than was supposed to be in Faminelands an elvish nobleman who turned into a vampire. But he never fit. So I had to cut him and consider I would write about him another time. This character became Lord Roark.

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Then I began thinking, what if the spirit is eternal, but the Universe is random. Though most inhabitants of the Universe believe otherwise, the prior life has no bearing on Resurrection. It is chance in this Universe. Your spirit might go to any one of twelve diminsions which are referred to as The Realms. Roark decides he likes being a Fairsinge nobleman, so he does not want to Resurrect.

Then Roark’s story began to develop into Kian’s story. Kian is Roark’s consort. I did know it would be a homosexual relationship, but I felt that Kian was a good counterpart to Roark. Kian and Roark love each other, so much that they would never be parted, not by death.

Them the book began to shift as the other characters came into view…Mira and Eohan. Mira is Roark’s neice and someone he can teach and love as a parent loves a child. Eohan was a colleague and Kian’s protector first and the men became friends after Roark named Kian his consort.

Then I knew it wasn’t just this one insane guy, there was four people. Four people can make anything seem almost normal…

Lady Mira as a grown woman. 

What genre does your book fall under?

I consider this epic fantasy, but there is some horror and science fiction involved.

Who would play your characters in a film?

Hugh Jackman would play Eohan. His looks are similar to how I imagined him and how he played Wolverine and his relationship with Rouge is similar to how Eohan looks at Mira during her adolescence. He is her weapons master, yet even when tasked to be a “parent”, he is still a friend.

Now the rest of the actors would have to dye their hair in tones of auburn, but Ryan Reynolds can play someone who cracks jokes while killing vampires so I think he could play Roark who cracks wise while Kian experiments on the corpses. He too can joke around with a child in the dangerous scene as he did in Blade 3.

Kian is a hardest role to fulfill because young actors are generally pretty and who ever would play him would be losing a lot of weight. Maybe Zac Efron.

For Mira we would need at least two actresses, maybe three. (She begins the novel as an infant, five year old, a prepubescent child of eleven/twelve, and then a young woman between 18-23) Emma Rigby would be a good choice as the young woman. She definitely has the look. My mom mentioned Jennifer Lawrence.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The Martlet is an epic tale of friendship and betrayal about four assassins who play with necromancy on the side.

Will your next book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Choice C: Neither. I don’t have an agent, but I would like it to be traditionally published. I have sent it to 48Fourteen as they published Other Systems. It has not been accepted as of yet.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

1 month. All first my drafts take 1 -2 months, but they are in horrible shape. My entire process takes seven to nine months before I send it out to a publisher.

What other books would you compare this story to in the genre?

RA Salvatore’s The Sellswords Series: Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King and The Road of the Patriarch follow the wily drow mercenary Jaxele.

Andrazej Sapkowski’s Witcher Series deals with some of the same issues, but in a completely different way.

Stan Nicholls’ Orcs books and and have about the same level of violence and humor.

Though it is horror novel: Anne Rice’s  Interview with a Vampire shows the immorality of their lifestyle pretty well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Aistiu_spaceIt wasn’t a who or a what. It was a when. As I said, I had this idea for awhile. However I wrote The Martlet after I finished Other Systems and had a rough draft of Other Systems #2. Other Systems is a cerebral adventure. Abby and the crew of the Revelation is simply a survey team, not warriors. They don’t get into battles. (Readers may remember the crew runs from danger more than once.) In Other Systems #2, Ellie uses her mind to keep her from getting in trouble. Also Other Systems really deals with “good but flawed people.”

So I wanted to write a book that was a swashbuckling adventure with a quest to defeat death. The main characters kill people and steal bodies. They drink blood in order to stay young. Avarice defines them.

I wanted to see if I could write evil characters that people loved as much as they loved the characters in Other Systems. It would be challenge and I love to stretch my skills with a challenge.

So to make characters that people might want to read about, they need to be more than just cold blooded killers. The quality that they share with the readers is love: romantic, filial, and fraternal. The other attribute Roark and Mira share is a sense of duty to their family. Roark is the third born and in noble Fairsinge society the third born generally vows to live by valor to improve the reputation of their Plas (House) with deeds of service and gallantry. And since Roark’s morals are off, that is how he sees himself. He believes if he defeats death his Plas will be safe forever.

The story begins with one of Roark’s experiment gone awry. Wanting to see if it is possible, Roark, Kian and Eohan to direct a soul into the body of his elder sister’s new baby.  Orla wants to keep the baby, but her husband who has no interest in eternal life, thinks the child should be drowned in the Expanse. In a moment of sentiment, Roark suggests that he raise the child to be a Martlet to take the place of the third born son that Orla lost in battle. He does not give Orla or her husband time to argue. He takes the newborn with him and demands yearly child support payments for her upkeep.

Roark, Kian and Eohan might be evil, but they are not sadists. They are not abusive to her or anyone else–because that wouldn’t be fun to write. They dote upon her. They make it clear she must become a Martlet in order to have a place in her family. If she does not, her mother’s husband will probably kill her. This is a real threat to her well being. Mira is going through puberty before she ever steps in her Plas to take her vow as a Martlet. He believes she should join the Guild as he did and become an assassin so she can live a better life than a poor knight errant scraping by on the pitiful allowance they receive as Martlets. However Mira has seventy-five years of warrior/assassin training before her uncle allows her to do a job without himself or Eohan beside her.

The reader understands Mira’s want of love from her mother and her devotion to the uncle who raised her. And most importantly they will see why when Roark dishonored by the Guild and Eohan is turned into a zombie, Kian finds the knowledge in order for Mira can save them. They are a family unit.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Martlet has so many things that personally I think are fun: assassins, big ships crossing the Expanse, pirates, slavery, misdirection, zombies, helpful demons, elves, uncaring universe, true love and dimensional physics.

Check out The Martlet Webpage and/or LIKE The Martlet Facebook Page for updates!

Now for the next participant in the Blog Hop, I’m going to nominate Author, Candace Knoebel! Her award winning debut novel, Born in Flames, has had wonderful reviews and Book 2 in the Series in on its way. Check out her blog next!born-in-flames-final

The Martlet is finished!

I have finished my next novel, The Martlet an epic tale of friendship and betrayal about four assassins who play with necromancy on the side. Though this book does follow many of the tenants of epic fantasy, the story is full of rich characters that the reader will love to hate. I’m sending the novel to 48Fourteen first. While I do not know if they will be interested in this title since it is a different genre than Other Systems. Also it has four protagonists and they are all villains. Still I am curious to see what they say.
The novel opens with Lady Mira on a job to clean up a situation.
“Dressed in loosely woven flax rags and careful to keep my weapons covered, I stepped out of the Expanse into Vodnik Territory, and looked across the dusty port city. While I watched the on-goings of both commoners and nobility, clothed as I was, the populace ignored me. I meandered towards the Great House. I heard no rumors of the scandal I had come to set right.Good.”
She has enough to do, but runs into her uncle Roark who has been drinking blood of the living in order that he might have eternal youth. His presence effects her more than she lets on.

“Though his footfalls were inaudible, I felt his presence leave my side as he walked back towards the banquet hall. Outwardly I was serene, but inwardly confused and fuming. Lost memories inundated my mind. I wanted to laugh and keen at once.

When I was little, Roark used to tell me he read my developing mind in his sister’s womb and loved me before I was even born. Of course, like all members of the Guild, Roark is a born liar. Still I loved my daughter while she grew within my womb, so maybe he’s telling the truth. Part of me hopes he is.

Regardless, it is a mistake to trust him. It always has been.”


Lord Roark and his companions Kian and Eohan, seek life eternal. After all, a Fairsinge only has a thousand years to live and that is simply not enough time. Their latest attempt is to direct the spirit of their  fallen comrade Lady Elana into Roark’s new born niece. When it is obvious that the experiment failed and the babe was nothing more than any other child, it is suggested she should be drowned in the Expanse. However as a Martlet, Roark sees victory even in the darkest failure. In an uncommon fit of remorse, Roark takes the child whom he names Mira and trains her in both the way of the Martlet and the Guild. Mira grows into a gallant warrior, however in their quest for eternal life, Roark and his companions plays fast and loose with Guild Law. When Roark is dishonored and Eohan is turned into a zombie during an experiment, Kian rushes to save them while Mira journeys to Underworld to bring back one of their own before he resurrects.

Pet Peeves: Writing Stupid Scientists

I am going to get this out of the way first, If you want to read a science fiction book, filled with scientists who explore planets on a survey team who act like *gasp* scientists…and FYI they NEVER put their face in a new species, take off their helmets in questionable atmosphere, or any other such nonsense… then check out Other Systems which is available on AmazonBarnes&Noble and Kobo. Yes I just plugged my own book in the silliest way possible.

Last night, I watched When World’s Collide, 1951. It is an extremely good movie. The scientists are smart. Non-scientists get angry due to the fact that they speak in theories as they work to create a rocket before Zyra and Earth collide. It is fantastic to see them work out the problem. The characters are smart. They are determined and they are survivors.

However, the reason I have been thinking about it is because of the Martlet. I didn’t realize that I would be writing another book about the scientific process, because it is about a group of people making hypothesis and testing those hypothesis with a variety of experiments, in this case, assassins who want to live forever so they play with necromancy on the side. The main plot involves the team losing their liquidator, Eohan. Then Roark and Mira go to the underworld before he resurrects in order to claim his soul.

While that is still the plot of the novel, if I am honest, I found the plot line  lacking. Something was missing. When I reread it, I realized the draft wasn’t a book I wanted to read…so I set it aside and considered what might be missing. That was when I realized, it played out like a movie I would enjoy. The story was good, I enjoyed the characters, but it lacked the depth that I enjoy reading…I believe my readers want that too.

The battle is for knowledge and a friend’s soul. The problem was the lack of science. I admit it is psuedo-biology mixing with what we would consider alchemy and witchcraft. This group was supposed to be the best, they are supposed to be smart. So I am going back and filling in the gaps now. Mira is running all over the Realms in order to gather what she and Roark will need to make a trip into the Underworld. Kian and Roark are running experiments with life and death.  They are all stealing bodies. (Thank you, Knifeman by Wendy Moore for giving me detailed explanations on how that actually worked!) They screw up. I am a bit worried about the pacing because like Other Systems, I ended up adding a few early chapters for context in order to answer the “why” questions.

Why is Eohan important to these people?

More importantly, why do they just assume this trip to the Underworld will work? No, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is not required reading in the Assassin’s Guild.

Anyway, I realized that I hate writing stupid scientists. I also hate reading stupid scientists and seeing them in movies.

So if there is going to be scientists, I make them smart!

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