I sculpt mountains, and dig the basins of oceans, and I ever so gently set the stars in their heavenly constellations. I form worlds that exist nowhere but in my own imagination. And as enjoyable as creating worlds out of the strange, sometimes bizarre, and occasional darkness of that thing I call a brain, seeing others react to my creations is even better. The best praise a writer can hear is, "I fell in love with reading after I read your book!" There is no higher honor that can be heaped upon us. It's why we put so much effort into building our worlds, and being something of a world builder, I sometimes wonder if God might not also paint sunsets, sculpt mountains, and fling stars across galaxies and nebula for our enjoyment. It's a pleasant thought to me at least. The mechanics and rules governing creation were set forth at the moment, or so we believe, of the Big Bang, or as I call it, the Phenomenal Kablooie. For me, there is no such catharsis, no singular, infinitely dense point of EVERYTHING that suddenly explodes forth to form, well, everything. It's an arduous process of painstaking imagining and thought about details that I want to include, and I do it blind, so to speak. I was surprised to learn that many people see pictures in their mind, of memories or things conjured up by their imagination. I do not, so when I write, I have to sketch out a character or a scene or location so that I can describe it better. I can't visualize it until I sketch it out. Line by line, stroke by stroke, I coax it out of my imagination. It helps me build a more visceral world, and I envy those who can just see in their mind's eye what they want to write about. It's a time consuming process, but I do enjoy watching the world take shape on paper while I sketch and erase and sketch some more (there's far more erasing then sketching).


The opening scene of The Undying Night takes place on two great towers that stand atop the Pillars of Heaven, twin peaks at the highest point of the Sepinal mountains, but I couldn't visualize them until I drew them. This is what I was able to pull forth, kicking and screaming from my cataract ridden mind's eye.

The Pillars of Heaven, The Sepinal Mountains

The towers were easy enough, but the geography of the mountain was somewhat harder, and while this sketch served well enough to write the opening scene, I had something more majestic in mind for the peaks on which the towers stood. I wanted a place that was cold, desolate, and barren, and I fought with my imagination to create it. I never imagined that such a place existed in the real world, and then I found this...


Torres del Paine y Cuernos del Paine (Towers of Pain)

While not as ominous sounding as the Towers of Pain, The Pillars of Heaven found in the opening scene to The Undying Night, could easily be built from and on top of the Towers of Pain in Chile. I don't know if God sculpts mountains for our enjoyment, but their majesty and grandeur pierce us to the very soul, and it is things like this that make me want to build worlds for you to visit. I hope mine approaches, at least a little, the endless marvels and beauty of the world in which we all are privileged to live.

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The Rune That Binds was published ten years ago as the culmination of an experiment that began a few years earlier. In honor, and as a continuation of that experiment, I'm re-releasing (sort of) the book with new material, a new cover, and quite frankly, a better interior layout.


Back in 2011 when I first published TRTB, I really didn't know what I was doing. I was out of work, and almost out of money. I'd started writing TRTB as an experiment to see if I could write long form fiction. I'd had a moderately successful career in nonfiction, writing computer articles and doing some free-lance work, but I've always wanted to tell stories. I'd written some short stories, and even managed to sell one or two to small, local publications, but could I write a book? TRTB started out as nothing more than an attempt to answer that question, and I never intended to publish. The original premise was simple, and based on a popular motif at the time, a good vampire. The story wasn't what was important, I wanted to see if I had the ability to write a full-length novel. As I began writing, a story began to take shape, and I found myself creating something far more challenging and complex than I intended. I threw away the vampire character, and the elves, and even the dragons, though Fruur is clearly modeled after the traditional mythical creatures, he is never once called a dragon. And in truth, he would not be considered a dragon in the traditional mythical sense, but you'll learn more about his origins in the sequels. Yes, there are sequels. I know, it's been ten years, and if you had the misfortune of reading A Season of Storm, then I owe you an apology. I rushed it, and it is not very good. The bones are strong, but it is poorly written. To that end, it is getting a rewrite to make it a better story, and it is slated for release in November. I promise that this will be a better book than the one you may have read.


But back to the point of this post. TRTB grew and took on a life of its own, and the world I built fascinated me. The simplistic story of a good vampire struggling to overcome his blood thirst was discarded, and instead a complex story with a troubled young man obsessed with vengeance took its place. I began to believe I had something special, and so when the manuscript was as good as I could make it, I sent it out to publishers. TOR rejected me in a standard form letter, but DAW expressed an interest. Long story short, though DAW was intrigued, they decided not to offer me a contract. It was at this point another author suggested I put the book for sale on Amazon. I knew the book had legs, after all a major publisher had expressed an interest, so I designed a cover, did my own editing, laid out the interior and self-published.


My motives were purely mercantile. I was almost out of money, and I hadn't been able to find a job in my field, and since publishing on Amazon cost me nothing, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The first couple of months generated a handful of sales, but then something incredible happened, and I started selling dozens, then hundreds of books. I was able to pay my bills with income from sales, and the reviews were positive. I specifically asked friends and family not to review my book. I wanted reviews from actual readers.


Two things came from my experiment, which is still ongoing. One, I learned I could write long form fiction, and two, that I could make a living as a writer. Of course, I'd already done that as a freelance writer, but writing employee handbooks isn't exactly fulfilling. For the next year I made most of my money from book sales, and then I landed a job, I wrote a bad book, a family member was murdered, and for a while I just didn't want to write anything.


It's said that time heals all wounds, and while I no longer believe that, life continues to fill us, and as such we become more than the things that happen to us. We grow, the wounds remain, but we grow large enough to endure them, and eventually to accept them, but we are not healed so much as changed. So here we are in 2021, and TRTB is being released with a new cover and cleaner, interior; and A Season of Storms is being rewritten and will be released in November. It will be a much better book and a worthy sequel of the book that launched my writing career.


Many of you have been more than patient. Others have forgotten me, which is my fault. But I wanted to thank everyone all the same. You kept the lights on, the fridge stocked, and gave me a far greater gift than I gave you in the TRTB. You made me believe I was and am a writer. Thank you.