If you’ve wondered where I’ve been since I haven’t posted since the beginning of January, this will catch you up on my adventures since January 1st.
Suffice it to say that 2016 has definitely roared into my life. It started with the common malaise I call “writer’s doubt” where everything you’ve ever written and/or write is drek.
Apparently that wasn’t enough and the year doubled-down on its efforts to make itself memorable. It succeeded!!
I broke my arm. Which arm you ask? Well my right arm. (Yes I’m right handed.)
But it is just a broken arm, no big deal, right?
To make a long story short after 1 surgery, 3 plates, 23 pins and multiple weeks – I can once again (kinda) use my right hand and type for short periods.
So that is 2016 so far 🙂
The cruel and ruthless Chorkan, servants of the Dark God, have one obstacle in their path to conquest: a young noble in the Kingdom of Kier, Prince Kaden. Pursued by enemies and friends alike, while under a death sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, Kaden seeks sanctuary with his old weapons master.
He must find a missing princess, save his family, prevent a war and protect his kingdom, all while avoiding the executioner’s block.
[You can see a list of all the Tales of Aldura here]
Trivia Tidbit: The original Kingdoms of Alarel (the Twin Gods’ land) were: Galdona, Alliandrae, Klatinan, Vladesh, and Ryland. Although there have been numerous wars/battles between the followers of the Dark God and those of the Twin Gods, in the time of Stormhawk’s Warning of the original five kingdoms only Galdona and Vladesh have ever lost part of their territory to the Chorkan through conquest.
Below is another sketch a fan sent me. It portrays Monster from the fourth story in the Duty Series (Duty with Honor). In DwH, a wardog puppy was frequently addressed (read that as yelled at) as ‘you little monster’ by the soldiers of the Caralok Levy in the Vladeshan army because of the pup’s tendency to chew on their leather gear (shield straps, tent ties, boots, etc.). This was shortened to simply Monster. This is her interpretation of Monster’s appearance (she pictured him with much longer fur than I do). Thank you, Kathy. (You can see more of her fan art here.)
The concept of the ‘wardog’ came from the real dogs used for war in Roman times and later.
Monster was inspired by my son’s English Mastiff. We dog-sat him while our son was deployed to Afghanistan. It was an interesting learning experience.
I grew up with dogs that I considered large dogs (hunting dogs: blue tick and black & tans. There was a beagle–not large dog–that I named Lucky.) When I met the English Mastiff, I discovered the true meaning of a ‘large dog’ and what was meant by a ‘sight hound.’
Before he was one year old, he weighed more than I did, and was much stronger. From the back of the kitchen counter to the center of the kitchen table, nothing was out of his reach. For the table he just stood on all fours and stretched his neck, without even having to jump. Luckily he was a well-behaved dog and didn’t disturb items on either counter or table once he had inspected them to make sure they were safe for his humans. (He treated our cats the same way: a couple of sniffs and all was good.)
The Mastiff would walk out onto the patio each morning and freeze. Only his head moved in a slow semi-circle as he surveyed everything. Nothing escaped his notice. If he saw something new, his hackles would rise and he would stalk toward it. If he decided it was harmless to his humans, the hackles would lower. If he remained unsure, he would continue stalking stiff-legged. If it ran away (got out of his yard or didn’t rush forward toward the human), he would relax.
And so Monster was born. 🙂