So if you read my last blog entry, you know I'm pretty excited about the new magic system I conjured up in the car one day. Well, here's the update:
Shadowlith (still a working title) has officially become my next expected full length release. I'm currently about 30% through writing the novel and I (realistically) hope to finish the first draft by the end of January, 2017. So, to give everyone a little taste, here is an unedited excerpt:
Alster nearly fell to the ground. The shade from the archive, or whatever it truly was, stood in the doorway to the record room, a towering black menace of twisting shadows.
A host of incomprehensible screams poured from Elsey’s mouth as she tried to scramble away. Her feet tangled as she jumped, and she hit the ground hard, but the lantern did not go out. The closest horse kicked at its stall door, rousing some of the other creatures from their sleep.
The shade moved directly over Elsey, filling up almost every inch of the darkness between the lantern’s partial light.
Suddenly exploding in a flurry of action, Alster did the only thing he could think to do. He ripped Alistair’s dagger from his belt and lunged, losing his balance completely. In the small hallway of the stable, his accuracy with the blade was irrelevant. As he fell, Alster gripped the dagger as tightly as he could and simply held it above his head, letting his momentum do the work for him.
Alster didn’t fully understand what he heard when he crashed into the ground. The shade yelled, the voice a mix of shock and pain, and then evaporated, leaving behind a cool mist like a cloud of fog.
As quickly as it had begun, the stable was once again calm, though the horse behind Alster seemed intent on breaking its stall to escape.
When Alster pushed himself up to his knees, he felt something tingle inside his stolen gauntlets. It felt warm and comforting, whatever the sensation was, and Alster found himself grinning from ear to ear. With one hand against the doorframe for balance, Alster stood up fully and brushed the dirt from his clothes.
Mixed with the flickering lantern light, a soft reg glow emanated from the filigree on Alster’s gauntlets. He turned his hands over in wonder, half of his mind expecting some dazzling display of magic and the other half not believing his own eyes.
“Did you see that?” Alster whispered.
Elsey collected herself and righted the lantern, though her body shook with fear.
“I think I killed the shade,” Alster said, never taking his eyes from the gauntlets. After a few more seconds, the red light faded and the gauntlets returned to their mundane state.
Deep in Alster’s chest, he felt something begin to stir. He felt stronger. He felt more alive than he ever had before. His grip on the dagger tightened, and he thought he felt the newfound energy pulse within his very bones.
“I,” Alster began, but he didn’t know how to describe what took place within his ribcage. “I think… I consumed the shade,” he said after a moment.
“I think I drank it,” Alster said. “You know the feeling when it is cold so you drink something warm and the heat spreads from your chest through your whole body?”
Elsey nodded, her eyes wide with some emotion Alster could not pinpoint.
“The dagger killed the shade,” Alster continued. He slide the weapon back into his belt and unclenched his hand, relaxing the muscles of his arm. “When the shade was dead, I drank it,” he concluded.
The Goblin Wars Part Three: Rebirth of a God
Firstly, thanks for doing an interview! Tell us a little about yourself and your book, The Scissors and the Sword.
The Scissors and the Sword arose from my own experiences living in both Japan and the UK - both island nations, with proud histories, superstitions and quirks. I've always felt that the two nations have much more in common than most people realise.
The story is an urban fantasy. The main character, a scene-of-crime officer, investigates a murder that provides her an "in" to a world of the supernatural that she would never have previously believed existed. I don't want to say too much more for fear of spoiling the plot, but I hope people will enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Your bio states that you're into anime and gaming. What makes your favorite anime series so good? Do any of those elements find their way into your writing?
The book draws on a series I've always loved, Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin isn't particularly supernatural, but it has a main character who lives almost to spite the expectations placed upon him (he's an assassin who now refuses to kill people).
In many stories, samurai characters follow a stereotype. They are honorable, strong and fearless. This often extends to how foreigners perceive the Japanese people in real life (stoic, unfeeling, driven by loyalty and familial honor) - naturally this is an outdated stereotype. Beneath that exterior, they're a people who are as kind, emotional and passionate as anyone else.
I wanted a samurai character who was impetuous, and driven by his feelings - and this would not be his "downfall". Instead, it's part of who he is. It's part of what makes him strong.
Do you play any games with a dark atmosphere of mystery similar to your book?
Strangely enough, for a novelist, I'm a peculiar sort of gamer. I prefer games with an arcadey feel, with short play-durations. I'm a big fan of fighting games, for instance, or Nintendo's recent Splatoon for WiiU.
I occasionally get into an RPG, or the latest Resident Evil or Silent Hill, but I always come back to bright, colourful experiences with fast gameplay.
There can be huge disconnects between writing a mystery movie script and writing a mystery book. How do you capture suspense without the aid of background music, lighting, and other theatrical elements?
I'm a big believer in the scene>sequel approach for novel writing; namely that you divide all of your plot threads into scenes that represent either an action or reaction.
Action scenes tend to involve a very pro-active movement on parts of the characters, and usually end with a discovery or a disaster.
Reaction scenes tend to involve the characters reflecting on a prior experience, and using their new knowledge to form a decision.
When you have three plot threads, you can quite easily go "Action A > Reaction B > Action C > Reaction A > Action B" etc., jostling back and forth. This means the reader is always waiting to hear the result of another thread.
This is only a small part of the picture, but I think it's a good example.
What do you have planned next in terms of writing? Any sequel?
The Scissors and the Sword is intended to be part of a series. I intend to write & publish book 2 before the end of 2016, and make a start on book 3.
Which famous writer, if any, compares best to your writing style? Is there any particular style of voice you try to showcase?
Readers have, in the past, compared my work to Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher. That being said, I don't think this is necessarily about my writing style or "voice", but rather because they are giants in the Urban Fantasy field.
One reader compared my work to Rumiko Takahashi, particularly Inuyasha, which was interesting to hear.
I don't consciously try to emulate any particular author, though naturally, like all writers, I'm a product of what I personally have read.
As a self-published author, is there anything you would do differently if you could? What is the best advice you could give to an aspiring author?
The best advice I could give is to make mistakes - at least, don't be hesitant. Writing and publishing are both complex and you're going to make many mis-steps on the way. It's difficult, but you need to strive through those or you're never going to get anywhere. I spent several years worrying about this, when really I should've got started in 2011.
Lastly, where can we find your work?
My work can be found in many places:
Details about The Scissors and the Sword:
Tumblr and blog: http://by-ethan-fox.com
Mailing List: http://by-ethan-fox.com/mailinglist
Check it out! TJ Redig, a very talented man, was kind enough to give me a second interview on his podcast, Scrivener's Soapbox. As always, it was a lot of fun. We discuss everything from fantasy and writing to guitars and metal.
Give it a listen by clicking here.
I've read a lot of posts around the wonderful interwebz that talk about book trailers: short little video clips that summarize a book's plot in about a minute.
Personally, I've only ever watched a few, and they were mostly for books I had already finished. I liked a few, I disliked a few.
Has anyone ever watched a book trailer and then bought the book specifically because the trailer was that good? Has anyone ever watched a trailer and decided against a book they were previously interested in? What makes a good book trailer?
Do you think your book trailer has the right stuff to seal the deal and bring about a sale? Post it below and I'll embed it in this post!
Probably the best book trailer I've seen:
I'm not sure if this trailer is for a hardcore erotica or a crime-noir thriller, but regardless, I'm interested. Very good production quality as well.
Another solid noir style trailer. Not as good as the two above, but certainly effective.
Pretty sweet trailer from a new author
Very well made book trailer that captures the tone of the novel perfectly.
I plan on giving the book to my fiance, Anna, who loves YA and supernatural fantasy, and who also does book review videos for YouTube. I can't wait to see what she thinks of Into the Aether. It really is a fantastic book.