With the launch of The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer
just a week away (OH SO EXCITED!), I can't help thinking back about the journey this book has been through. A quick summary:
Came up with the rough idea over 10 years ago
Fleshed out the idea and turned it into a comic book script while visiting my brothers in Canada in 2013
Changed it into a novel in early 2014
Finished the novel and prepared it to publish in late 2014
Picked up by JEA Press in early 2015
Published now in mid-2015
I've talked to a lot of people about my book, and I've always talked about the creative process that I went through to come up with the story. I know Blade of the Destroyer is an amazing novel, and the feedback I have gotten backs that up.
But how much of it can I really take credit for? I may have been the guy to put pen to paper, but I'm willing to admit that the creative process has been shared by A LOT of others. And none of those others are ever going to get the mad props they deserve, other than in my acknowledgements. I feel that they don't do the subject justice, so I want to give a few special people the credit they deserve:
I don't know anyone who has read more fantasy and science fiction novels than this man, my best friend. Since we met a few years ago, no one has been more supportive of my efforts to write. He has hacked and slashed my work from the beginning, and he's one of the alpha readers I sent my book to in order to dissect plot and the overall tone.
Just last week, he called me and told me that the entire second-half of Book 3 is totally crap (he said all this in a good way, of course). Because of him, I have to re-write the damned thing, and figure out how to get the Hunter where he needs to go.
But this is the kind of feedback that EVERY writer needs. Imagine if he hadn't caught that, and I had published the book with that inconsistency. Talk about TERRIBLE! No one deserves more praise for the success of my book than this guy right here.
My little brother is one of the most cynical people I know, which is what makes him the perfect alpha reader for this character. He has always been willing to take time out of his busy schedule to read my works, and he has never pulled his punches. He has hacked and slashed the character of the Hunter to bits, but by the time I've finished reading over his comments and notes, the Hunter is a much more well-rounded, complete character.
I don't remember how E.J. and I met (a few years ago), but I am INCREDIBLY glad we did!
Since she agreed to read over a rough draft of Blade of the Destroyer, she has proven and invaluable part of my writing process. She's patient enough to read over the first drafts of the book, tell me where things are inconsistent or the pace is off, and give me all the critiquing I so desperately need. I could not ask for a better beta-reader, and the day that she says, "Sorry, I'm too busy to read for you" is the day that the quality of my work starts to decline.
I love Vicki! She has been the most patient, kindest person with my writing. She is the one who catches all the silly little grammar, punctuation, and word errors. She's the one who explained to me why I should be saying "as" instead of "like", and why you "stanch the flow of blood" instead of "staunch".
I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my syntax, but Vicki always finds the errors I miss out on. She's also NOT a huge fan of violence and graphic scenes, so when she says, "I enjoyed this", I know that I have done it right. No one I've worked with has better attention to the details than Vicki, and it's thanks to her that everything is as correct as it is.
Rosie is the perfect complement to my beta-reading team. Instead of focusing on the nitty gritty, she deals with the bigger issues: the personalities of the characters, the kind of things they'd say, and the "showing instead of telling".
Thanks to Rosie's comments (and comments from the other beta-readers), I had to re-write an entire THIRD of Blade of the Destroyer (the last third). But it's thanks to her comments that the Hunter is the complete, relatable character that he is now, instead of a cold bastard that no one could ever identify with.
Peter and Marie Story
These two people (my sister and her husband) have been an invaluable help from the very beginning!
Peter, without realizing it, inspired me to take up writing once more. How did he do that? By writing a book. (I'm a bit competitive…) When I saw that he could do it, I figured I could too. He has offered feedback and advice on everything I send him, but more than that, I've benefitted from his advice on marketing and the more difficult aspects of being an author. We're going along this journey at the same time, so it has been a huge help to have someone to bounce these things off of.
Alvi is the reason that Blade of the Destroyer is going to be such a success. That eye-catching, jaw-dropping cover is the "hook" that is going to interest people in reading the book's blurb and finding out more about it. Anyone who sees the book is going to be viewing Alvi's handiwork, and it's because of that impressive artwork and creative vision that the Hunter will find his way into people's homes and hearts.
Without these people, Blade of the Destroyer would suck! Thanks to them, this author (me) has a shot at reaching his dream.
THANK YOU ALL!
I can't complete this without a nod to the awesome editors, formatters, and behind-the-scenes people at J. Ellington Ashton Press. They took my product and helped me polish it and make it the amazing thing it is, so I am highly appreciative.