Molting Season

When an average office drone’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder leads to an odd malady, he undergoes a physical and psychological metamorphosis.

Molting Season is an original new psychological horror short story that can be found on the Kyanite Press Online.

Warning: This story is not for the squeamish!

A Month of Worldbuilding

As December rolls up on us, I have a very exciting project that I am about to embark upon. World Anvil has a huge event this month called WorldEmber, and I’m setting a goal for myself of writing 50,000 words.

For those who don’t know, World Anvil is a worldbuilding site that provides a place to organize and display worldbuilding projects. It is geared towards both tabletop RPG gamers and authors. More than this, it is home to an amazingly welcoming and cooperative community.

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe.


WorldEmber is the big worldbuilding event of the year, and can be compared to NaNoWriMo. It is a challenge to the entire community for each writer to produce 10,000 words in their worlds. In addition, there are stretch goals at 25K, 50K, 100K, 150K, and a whopping 200K! 

There are also a number of prizes involved, totaling over $1,000 in value. I am proud to say that Kyanite Publishing and I are sponsors of the event; with two copies of The Ravencrest Chronicles: Omnibus One – Premium Hardcover Edition being offered as raffle prizes for those who meet the 10,000 word minimum.

Again, I will be participating in the challenge with a personal goal of 50,000 words, which meets the “Novel Achievement” goal for the event. I will be working on one world as a focus for the event, and am using this opportunity as motivation to work on a project i have had simmering in the idea fire for quite a while now.

The Eldaran and the Drakhari have been at war for eons. In a desperate gamble to turn the tide, a powerful Drakhari wizard develops a spell that can tear apart the very fabric of reality. In doing so – he also discovers a way to create passages from the Faewylde to the mortal realms.

Caught between these two armies of immortals is Liam, a simple city guardsman just hoping to make it through his mandatory years of service peacefully. When an Eldaran named Sira comes to him for help, he discovers how little he actually knew about not only his own world, but also himself!

This is just part of the world of Istaria, the setting for a project tentatively titled The Faewylde War. I am planning – at a minimum – a trilogy of full-length novels in this setting. This will be an epic medieval fantasy series with magical forces, political intrigue, personal moral dilemmas, and a number of other themes explored. This is my most ambitious project to date; and I am very happy to have World Anvil as a platform to not only assist me in organizing the development of this project, but to also share with you everything about the world as it grows! If you click on the map above or here, you will be taken to the home of this world and be able to watch it develop over the coming month.

Please be aware that while I will still be working full-time on my duties at Kyanite Publishing during this month with the usual level of maximum effort, I will be devoting more time to this project. Response times to messages, emails, or other requests may vary as I commit to blocks of writing time. I will still have regular dedicated office hours Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from  8am – 12pm CST, in addition to being available at many other times that will vary as the workflow demands. 

I hope to see many new faces join us over at World Anvil. Don’t forget that the challenges are all based on page likes on that site, so be sure to sign up for a free account and hit the like and follow buttons if you think I’m doing a good job with Istaria!

Everything ‘Punk!

Our article on the ‘Punk genres, such as cyberpunk and steampunk, is now availbable.

CLICK HERE to read the full article!

Like a mechanical octopus rising from the deep, the various ‘punk genres of speculative fiction can be surprising, amusing, and frightening!  The ‘punk genres often blur the lines between different types of speculative fiction.  They also share a lot of common themes, such as antiauthoritarianism and disestablishmentarianism.  The commonality of these themes is largely responsible for the use of the word “punk” in their names.  The views expressed in early cyberpunk works – which birthed the entire movement – reflected those of the punk subculture of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Image result for steampunk art

Also, don’t forget to check out my articles exploring the history and sub-genres of fantasy literature HERE, and be sure to follow the page and myself for updates on my upcoming series on the science fiction genre!

Follow me on Twitter here!

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The Burning Sands: Cressus

Cressus is the southernmost city on the northern peninsula. Situated near the Cressian Oasis, there is a sufficient water supply to sustain the city. Surplus water is still imported from Shem, and then traded to the lands of Kosh in the south.

Cressus lies near the edge of The Great Sand Sea and is plagued by regular sand storms. Outlying villages near the city are also subject to raids from the nomadic orcs of The Burning land to the southeast, although they rarely venture so far north.

The city itself is walked and features mostly simple sandstone architecture. The wealthier district is dominated by large palaces with towers topped with brass minurats that shine in the sun. The wealthy traders of Cressus trade lumber, food and water from the north for precious metals and gems from the Emerald Coast beyond Koth.

The government of Cressus consists of a council of the wealthiest merchants in the city called the Circle of Gold. Each of the twelve merchant princes controls their own private army. There is no organized military if the city itself, and the council must work together to police and defend their interests. Corruption is rampant within the government, and quarrels between the merchant princes often lead to small civil conflicts.

Most of the common people live in a maze of small homes clustered around the outside of the city walls. Most of the poor barely survive, and while work inside the city would afford them a better life many cannot afford the tax simply to pass through the gates.

YouTube Interview

My interview with Jesper Schmidt on Fane of Fantasy is online!

Click here to see it now!

We discuss applying the concepts of sociology to fantasy world-building. Come take a look! Don’t forget to like and subscribe.  Jesper has a lot of amazing and informative videos on his channel about world-building and developing aspects of your fantasy writing in general.  This channel is a wonderful resource for any new or experienced fantasy author.  Even for those who do not write, it is informative and entertaining!


Global Tensions

Missile contrails over Damascus, courtesy of NBC news.

Given that this website is a platform for my career as a fiction author, I tend to avoid speaking out about current events.  Considering the gravitas of today’s events, however, I feel that opening dialogues about what is happening is the only responsible thing to do.

For those who may not be caught up, I will briefly overview the events leading up to our current crisis.  Syria has been embroiled in a civil war for seven years.  The official government, referred to as the Assad Regime, has been fighting against political rebels.  Also, Kurdish groups in the North of Syria have unofficially split off and declared independence.  Finally, ISIS has been fighting to carve out their own “Caliphate” in lands traditionally held by Syria and Iraq.  Backing the Assad Regime, Iran and Russia are involved.  Turkey has also backed some rebel groups, but also has taken military actions against the Kurdish faction.  Backing the rebels, the U.S. has been a major player.  On April 4, 2017 there was a chemical weapon attack on the rebels by the regime, which elicited a military response from the Trump administration.  For more detail, the video below (c/o Vox) is a great summary of the events up to that point.

Fast forward to March 4, 2018.  A former Russian intelligence officer and current British spy was attacked in Salisbury, England.  The method of the action was use of a nerve agent called Novichok, a chemical weapon developed in the soviet era U.S.S.R.  The government of the United Kingdom made claims that the Russian government was involved in the attacks, and as a result they expelled Russian diplomats from the U.K., supported by similar actions by 28 other nations.  Russian officials denied involvement.   Read more on this here. (c/o Wikipedia)

On April 7, 2018 another chemical weapon attack took place in Syria.  This event occurred in Douma, near the Syrian capitol of Damascus.  Over 70 people have died in the attack, with many more ill or injured as a result.  Testing of the victims has revealed a mixture of nerve agents and chlorine gas were used.  The event in Douma has been condemned by the international community.  Russia has alleged that Great Britain orchestrated the attack in response to the Salisbury poisoning to manufacture justification for action against the Assad regime.  British officials have denied these claims.

Following these actions, several resolutions were put forward in the United Nations Security Council in the interest of establishing independent investigations into the attack in Douma.  Russia used their power of veto to deny any such endeavor.  The security council consists of 15 member nations, five of which hold permanent seats.  These are held by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, China, and the Russian Federation.  Only these five nations may exercise the power to veto a security council resolution.  The other ten seats are elected positions held for two-year terms.

This morning, a joint strike was carried out by military forces of the United States, Great Britain, and France.  Russia was warned of the strikes before they happened, although they were not given information on specific targets.  Russian and Iranian forces on the ground in Syria were specifically avoided by the strikes. This combined strike involving missiles launched from naval platforms  and manned aircraft struck out at three targets considered to be involved in the research, production, storage, and distribution of Syrian chemical weapons.  Over 100 cruise missiles were launched against these targets.

U.S. officials, including President Trump, have claimed that the attacks were a success.  Both Syrian and Russian leaders claim that the majority of the missiles were intercepted by an air defense grid installed by Russia on Syrian soil.  According to the Syrian government-sponsored television station, three civilians were killed by a missile strike that missed it’s intended target.  An alleged chemical weapon research facility in the capitol of Damascus was one of the targets, but this is being referred to by the Syrian government as an education and research facility.   More on all of this can be found here, c/o The Sun.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the allied air strike on Syria.  This meeting is to take place at 3pm GMT at the U.N. in New York City.  What happens next in regards to this crisis depends upon the events of this meeting.  The world in which we live may very well change over the next few hours.

As a former member of the United States Army Chemical Corps, I have received thorough training and education involving chemical weapons.  I can say that the effect that chemical weapons have on the human body is nothing short of horrific.  Experiencing such an attack can be considered among the most frightening and painful experiences imaginable.  Any use of such an indiscriminate and inhumane weapon is an atrocity, and this is a fact that no sane person would argue against.  Be it against a military or a civilian target, the use of chemical weapons has been condemned by the international community as a criminal action since the end of World War I.

There is no doubt that some sort of reaction to the chemical weapon attack on Douma was required.  Whether the action that occurred this morning was the best course of action, or the only option, is still under debate.  What consequences will occur because of this retaliation is left to be seen.  The end result of the crisis in Syria may only be determined by future historians.  As of now, we can only hope for a peaceful resolution.