Friday, March 1, 2013

Announcing "The Breaking World"

First of all, I would like to take this moment to announce the big news of the day. My good friend David Dalglish and I have signed a publishing deal with 47North, an arm of Amazon Publishing. The deal is for three books, all co-written by Dave and myself. The series will be titled The Breaking World, and will chronicle the birth of humanity upon Dezrel, the world in which all of Dave’s many, many novels take place, and the war between the two brother gods around whom a great number of his plots center. To say we’re both quite excited about this would be an understatement. For information’s sake, the books will be as follows:
Dawn of Swords (sometime in January, 2014)
Wrath of Lions (TBA)
Blood of Gods (TBA)

It really is quite fitting that I post the announcement on this particular blog, which has gone criminally underused for the past year. Because it was in this very space that the groundwork for the friendship that would eventually result in a rewarding collaboration was laid.
Three years ago, after much frustration, I decided to take the plunge and begin self-publishing The Rift, a series of post-apocalyptic novels I’d been working on for years. I entered the Kindle publishing world, which had just begun to make headway and gain a name for itself. Reviews were difficult to come by, as I was one of thousands to take the plunge at about the same time. I saw many of my brethren having the same difficulties, and so I dusted off this blog, which had been languishing for some time, and decided that I would pitch my services as a reviewer to the countless self-pubbers who frequented a site called Kindleboards. A great many authors added their names to the list, and my side career as an amateur reviewer began.

This is where Dave Dalglish enters the picture...but first, a bit of background. As far as being a reader goes, I’m really not as well read in genre fiction as a lot of folks out there. I dabbled in the classics a lot when I was younger, but as I grew older, I ended up limiting my reading material to pretty much horror and horror only. In fact, as far as genres go, the one I pretty much ignored was fantasy. I hadn’t read a book featuring swords and sorcery since I picked up RA Salvatore’s The Crystal Shard back in high school. (Which, trust me, was a long time ago.) That was about to change.

So on this list of books to be read and reviewed appeared The Weight of Blood, a dark journey starring a couple disenfranchised half-orc brothers written by a lithe redhead named David Dalglish. I absolutely fell in love with the book. Was it perfect? No, of course not. However, there was so much there, deep stuff, philosophical stuff that I just couldn’t overlook, whether Dave intended them or not. It was the second work of fantasy I’d read since starting the reviews, and I was hooked. A new love affair had begun.

Every book Dave wrote, I devoured. (In fact, The Cost of Betrayal, the second Half-Orc book, I still consider to be one of my favorites ever, in any genre.) We began chatting online, and a friendship was struck. During his later books, he would call me to discuss plot ideas, and I’d like to think that I was able to be of some help. I became enraptured by his world, almost to a scholarly level. So immersed was I that I began to understand Dezrel and what happened within it as much as I understood what was happening in my own writing.
One thing that always intrigued me was the Gods’ War, which many of his books reference. I’d often ask him if he was ever going to write it, and he said he had no plans to. (In the interview linked at the bottom of this post, Dave himself describes his feelings on the subject.) I thought that was a shame, as the storyline had so much potential, but at the same time a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. If he didn’t feel inspired by the material, best not to pen it or you’ll come out with a substandard product.
Fast forward to 2012, when I was putting the finishing touches on The Summer Son, the last of the Rift books. Dave asked me what project I planned on doing next, and I told him I was wavering between ideas at the moment. “Why don’t you write the prequel books with me,” he then said. “You know, the war between Ashhur and Karak.”

I just about fell out of my chair.
Full disclosure here: For a long while, I had actually hoped this offer would be made. During my many hours spent reading Dave’s novels, I’d developed a mental picture (and even quite a few written notes) of what life would be like in early Dezrel, hashed out a few storylines that needed telling, and stashed them away as maybe something to give my friend if he ever decided to start the project, or, gasp, maybe wanted me to help write them. And then there it was, falling right into my lap—the opportunity to not only write in a world I loved, but write with a man I admire and who has come to become one of my closest of friends, one with whom I share a great deal of values and beliefs, though we come from vastly different backgrounds. Not only that, but I knew we would work well together, since probably the best short story I ever wrote, The One that Matters, which appeared in his Land of Ash compilation, was a tale I had no confidence in until Dave cleaned it up, removed unnecessary filler, and helped make it what it became. That’s when I knew that the two of us working together could create something great.

I had an outline ready for him almost immediately (an easy task given my previous note-taking), and after his enthusiastic approval, it was off to the races. I worked on the rough draft, constantly calling Dave to keep the storyline consistent and fix quite a few aspects of the plot that I couldn’t find resolutions to. Then, when the hulking manuscript was finished, Dave took it and began a round of heavy edits. What ended up coming out when all was said and done is a book that is far and away the best piece of literature I’ve ever had my name attached to. See, that’s the thing with this collaboration; areas I struggle in Dave is expert at, and visa versa. Balance, people. Celestia would be quite proud. (Anyone who knows Dave’s work will appreciate that statement.)
And in the middle of all this, something wondrous happened. Dave got out of a bad representation deal and, all of a sudden, he had a deal with big-six publisher Orbit for his Shadowdance novels and our collaboration was going to have Amazon’s mighty sword behind it. A book that had been a labor of love, that had been slated to be self-published, was now going to find a home with a real, live publisher. Now, I will freely admit that just having Dave’s name on a project pretty much guarantees it success (and I lucked out greatly there), but this was beyond my wildest dreams. I even got hooked up with uber-agent Michael Carr because of this, one of the nicest and hardest-working men I’ve ever come across, who obviously deserves a great amount of credit for these deals being completed.
So there you have it. Really, though I put a ton of work into the project, it’s Dave who deserves the lion’s share of praise here. He was the one who believed in what I had to offer, his rewriting skills were on-point, and hell, he was the one who created this whole wonderful backdrop in the first place! Without Dave Dalglish, there’s no Dezrel, there’s no Half-Orcs, there’s no Shadowdance, and there sure as hell isn’t any Breaking World. I owe him so much, not the least of which is being a great friend when I needed one most.

So thanks, Dave! Not like you don’t know this already, but you’re the greatest, as a man as well as an author. And thanks to 47North as well, for taking a chance on these books. We’re going to do awesome things together, I guarantee it.

To read a fascinating interview with Dave on this subject and a whole lot more, visit the following link: