Someone once told me that the knife-throwing game in the first book of the Son of No Man series was a great way to symbolize the Northlander War. Sure, it fit. Carsh didn't know the rules (like Tohmas not knowing the whole story about the way), and some of the victory was in how flashy the goal was achieved. And in the end, it's close, very close. So ok, I see it. The problem is, I didn't write it on purpose as a symbol at all.
I'm not sure if I do these things unconsciously, or if people just see it in places it wasn't because they are looking for it! I love when these things come together, far more than putting deliberate symbolism in and making it sound too contrived. I think that comes from my English classes in high school.
I generally did well in school, but my lowest mark was in English class for a while. Not because of the rules of writing, as I knew those, but because English required me to do something no other class did: made me interpret the MEANING of things.
That was something my poor academic head couldn't do well. There was no right or wrong answer, at least in theory. I suppose if there had been NO wrong answers, I would have done better. But it made me work hard in English class, seeking to understand the stories or poetry because I figured if I just tried hard enough, I would get it. But when I read about a horse bite, I thought it was a person getting bitten by a horse. I didn't understand the deeper meaning. Symbolism was lost on me. I kept getting things "wrong."
I eventually learned how to play the game. I figured out the patterns, and even if I didn't believe it, I could throw together a good argument. I didn't like what we read or how we read, taking apart every syllable, but I learned how to do it.
In my final year, I put those skills to work during a Provincial Exam practice. I wrote an essay that was essentially a person walking down a hallway. That was it. A man walks down the hallway, looks at doors.
I coated the hallway in symbolism.
Every door handle was unique: dented, tarnished, or freshly polished, yet seldom used. There were colours in everything. Red door frames that had been chipped where hands often passed. Blue, faded carpet. Flowers of bright, shining yellow peeling on a grey-black surface.
You're doing it, aren't you? You're reading into those details.
Dented- it's been used but not repaired. Was there violence?
Tarnished- old, worn, not replaced. Something valuable and kept well past its time.
Red frames- anger, perhaps blood.
Peeling paint of the flowers- once chipper but losing to the pressures of the real-life grey.
The specifics turned the entire thing into a perfect metaphor. Only it was a metaphor of nothing. It meant nothing. I had no message. It was just a very well-described hallway, but it got me a damn good mark.
My point is not that it's not worth putting in symbolism, but rather that, as readers, we must be aware of the bias we bring into our interpretation of things. Because it's not always about the author and what THEY meant. It's about what YOU see as the reader. It's what YOU get out of it in the end.
I feel like books are like many people I know; better face to face!
Rydan (Book 1 of Son of No Man) is here at last, in the flesh. Or at least in the paper-flesh. And it's even cooler than the images would have made me believe. I was a little on the fence about the turquoise and amber but boy, it's smart! I love the colours!
So if you'd like a copy, give me a shout! I'll ship! There's a new FORM here to start the conversation. If I don't get back to you within a few days, poke me! This may have some growing pains as I've got a new email (d.lambert at dlambertauthor.com) and I'm ironing out the kinks!
Hey! My shirt matches...
Yep! It's here! Online, at least!
Rydan is the first book of the adult Fantasy series "Son of No Man" and it's available starting NOW!!!
When I started writing "Rydan" I wanted to capture the "truth" behind the legend of the First King of Espar. I knew Tohmas Galanth was not the perfect hero. He was a legend and legends form after the fact. So what had really happened? Why did people believe in him? How were they misled?
I was inspired by history a lot in this! Check it out!
For paperbacks, check out the new form on the Contact page HERE. I've not got the paperbacks of RYDAN in yet, but am expecting them soon! Fill in the form and I'll be in touch with shipping costs. I'm not quite at the level of an online store right now, but the bonus is you can get it (or any of the others!) personally autographed!
Having just discovered this myself, I wanted to share. One part because it's hugely useful to fellow authors, and one part because, of course, FREE BOOKS!
I was introduced to StoryOrigin through one haphazard comment. I felt an instant connection solely based on the capital letters (if you've read my books, you know why!). Then I got to know it a bit and, holy crow, I think I'm in love.
StoryOrigin is the brainchild of Evans Gow who apparently had the know-how to make it happen. It's like bookfunnel, booksprout, and a social media platform got together and had beautiful new website. If those words mean nothing to you, it's a huge online program that allows you to set up pretty much all of your required links for promoting and distributing your books. You can hook up with ARC readers. You can organize promotions and deals. You can give out copies of your material. You can set up newsletter sign ups. You can set universal links.
You still need a newsletter distributor, but it integrates with the common ones (like mailerlite, which I use but is capital letter deficient in my view). I can even update it so that it tracks how many subscribers I have, which is useful when it comes to cooperation.
The coolest thing it does is help author work together. Group promotions, newsletter swaps and reviewer platforms allow other users to link their works to a single download page for maximum visibility and effect. In fact, I got involved in TWO links this week and it means I can share lists of FREE BOOKS right here and now!
These ones come with a small caveat- you have to sign up for a newsletter. But free books and unsubscribe any time! So take a look and see if anything tickles your fancy! And yes, Dragon's Voice is in there, the entire novel, for FREE as an ebook right now. Share to a friend!
So much news!!!
First off, you'll get most of it in the Newsletter! Sign up HERE to NOT ONLY get a FREE series of four short stories but ALSO be the first to know the rest of the AMAZING news coming up for August!
For now... It's official! Rydan is coming!!!
Book 1 of the Son of No Man was written over an 18 month period while I was in vet school. I assume my brain needed to push back against the enormous amount of memorization and studying. So, over five years, I wrote the entire series, starting with Rydan. I got to know Tohmas Galanth, the First King of Espar and his rather dubious upbringing. His was already a legend in Dragon's Talon and SoulBurner, but I had to go back to the beginning to see how he became the man who brought together Espar.
And the funny thing is that he did it for all the wrong reasons.
Check out RYDAN, releasing August 15th 2021 thanks to the awesome people at 4 Horsemen Publishing. Apparently, we'll be pounding the other five books out back to back to back, so it's going to be fast, furious, and fantastic!
I first met Leia Talon at a conference, where she stood out from the masses of excentric authors by wearing a spectacular green cloak. We chatted at meals, then went to the talks together, and found we had a lot in common with our styles, interests, and writing matter. Later, I was delighted to act as a beta reader for her, where I got to know her amazing characters and poetic style, which she weaves within narration seamlessly. She beautifully builds the kind of romances I enjoyed reading (to my surprise). Instead of the often-mind numbing smut out there, her tales were tender relationships. I envy her skill in telling tales of the heart!
When I read “Falling through the Weaving” I was already familiar with “Shelta’s Songbook”, so I felt like I knew Shelta a bit. I had been baffled by the mix of styles and time periods in the songbook, yet with reading “Falling”, it all became clear. A woman lost in the tempest of time, seeking control of her fate; I felt for Shelta and her plights. And, as a mother, I eagerly read Shelta’s passage into motherhood, something rarely depicted. Seeing Shelta with her child was genuine and pure, and something I related to easily.
I encourage people to take a look at “Falling through the Weaving” for an at-time heart-breaking, but soul-lifting time-travel fantasy full of music and love.
For beautiful art and poetry, check out Shelta’s Songbook too!
Poet. Musician. Lioness. Rebel. Leia Talon writes fantasy and sci-fi with romantic elements. Her lyrical style is influenced by a lifetime of turning emotions into poems and songs. Follow Leia’s blog for reviews, writing insights, and the latest on upcoming books: https://leiatalon.com/blog
We're gamers in this house.
Being a 'gamer' has a lot of different meanings these days, but most of them apply! I grew up as my brother's competition on a lowly Nintendo (original, and we had 2 games). He brought the first game console into our house, moving through Xboxes and PlayStations. Learned shooters and farming games. I ran with Mario. I flew with Spiro. On the computer, I was the master of Fury (a jet-fighter game) and I played through Diablo more times than I could count.
But more than any of these, we play games together on the dining room table .
Our family knew many card games, and we all played ramole on camping trips, betting with chips or piles of pennies. We have a cupboard of board games now. The picture above is the kid's smaller version.
Why games? It was where I learned about taking turns. I learned math playing cribbage with my parents. I learned strategy with my sister's chess board. And I learned about losing while playing games. My parents were not the kind who would let the child win. We lost a lot at first. I should have known my younger brother would be my better when, at the age of six, he beat me at chess.
But we learned by mimicking our opponent's strategies. We improved. We learned to be gracious victors.
And we came to see how all the skill in the world could be outdone by luck, yet skill paid off in the long run.
I had the chance to join a Dungeon & Dragons group in high school, and that taught me a lot. I became a Game master after that, where I organized the adventures and guided characters through. Those familiar with the game will know that 'guided' is used loosely; players have a tendency to run off in any and every direction EXCEPT the one a GM is trying to point them to. I learned improvisation. I figured out what people enjoyed in their stories, and when they got bored. I became a story teller.
Has it been a while? Is it time to pull out that deck of cards and find a friend to play?
It took a bit of elbow grease (and some helpful people down in the support community on Weebly) but I got it working!
As of now, when you sign up for the Newsletter, you immediately get access to a free anthology; four short stories from The World of Taint!
Check out the stories below, then click on the image to sign up and claim a copy!
Dragon Speaker (previously published in printed anthology Sooke Writes Again)
As Master Wizard Foran Kinotela prepares to embark upon a quest to save magic, he is the victim of a theft. Finding the stolen enchanted amulet is simple; it's around the thief's neck. But as he moves to take back his goods, the thief stumbles into a potential alliance for Foran's quest.
Will the dragons listen to him, or to the thief?
Someone (previously published in printed anthology Lucky Number seven)
Aleen took a chance and helped a stranger. But his presence upsets her world; her partner is now threatening her, they've found a theif among them, and she may attract the attention of the Lionians who rule Espar.
But now she doesn't want to let him leave.
Black Arrow (Soon-to-be published in printed anthology #8)
He was a slave with a single gift; the ability to read. When the right book falls into his hands, Maltor discovers a world unlike any he has known and begins to believe in something he had never before considered: Hope.
He will be a legend.
To Dream EXCLUSIVE: ONLY available through this offer:
Arekson is meant to be following the prescribed course of his life on Wanter; teaching magic. But rumors of a new kind of thinking drew him outside the polished existence he had believed in. The words spoken by the stranger threaten everything he thought he knew. Dare he risk it all for the chance to dream for himself?
Reading is an escape. We love to curl up with a book and a cup of tea as the rain pelts down (common enough around here!) and leave the world behind. A good book draws you in like a fuzzy blanket, wraps you up, and makes you never want to leave.
But then, it happens. The author slips up, and something snaps you right out of the world.
For me, it was a horse. Apparently, the horse was greeting a nearby person in a barn with a whinny. It kicked me so far out, I stopped reading.
Horses whinny to call to another animal at a distance. It’s LOUD. They don’t whinny to greet; they nicker. A simple word choice, and I was jarred.
If we, as authors, state a fact that is glaringly incorrect, we risk ruining that deep connection our reader had with the story. While being accurate is best across the board, here are four particular areas to pay close attention to!
I mention this first because while many people write it, but few truly know the topic!
There are more than just facts to know about any representation of military bodies in novels; there’s an entire culture. It’s how people talk, walk, sleep, and breathe. If you have not lived the life, you need someone who has lived it to read the sections relating to military affairs and check it for authenticity. Military novels (historical, contemporary, and SciFi) have a huge audience. Even if the reader has not been directly involved in the military, they probably have read enough military fiction to know what to expect and recognize when it goes awry.
If you set your fiction novel in a real place, get out the map and get it right. Anyone who has visited or lived in your setting will immediately recognize if you fudge a street name or a distance between two landmarks. Never been there yourself? Google maps or local newspapers can go a long way to add authenticity, but get a local to read it too!
There’s a lingo to every profession. I’m a veterinarian, and I talk to vets differently than I do other people. They know what I mean when I say a patient ‘smiles.’ Or if I write COHAT as a recommendation.
A plumber uses different slang for their tools than a carpenter does. A chef called that vegetable ‘shrooms.’ Don’t give a surgeon painted nails (you’re not supposed to have nail polish!!), and don’t let a hunter have a pistol in Canada. There are exceptions, but you’d better explain!
We have to be careful we don’t get so into our vocabulary that we lose the reader, but a detail or two can cinch up a character perfectly, just as incorrect use can jar the reader.
4. Body language.
It’s not just for humans. Humans are probably the hardest because they lie, but it takes an excellent con to lie with their body language. Discrepancies between body and voice add fabulous subtext, but it has to be done right. Be conscious of what the body language is saying. People tend not even to be able to explain what they know about body language, but we all pick up on it subconsciously. Use it!
And don’t forget animals. A cat who narrows its eyes before striking rings untrue; cats have wide eyes when stressed. Narrowed eyes are a kitty smile!
Animals do not often lie, although sometimes it happens!
There will be moments when you have something that appears ‘wrong’ on first pass. A dog may wag its tail while growling. Maybe it’s just happy to attack! But if there is a discrepancy, it has to be explained at some point. Larry Correia was once taken to task by a reader who pointed out that Hind helicopters could not hover in the manner he described. Before he could reply, the reader wrote back, “Never mind. Magic Orc pilot,” and the matter was closed (Correia’s orcs had specialties they were essentially supernatural with; that orc’s was the helicopter.) An explanation will diffuse the ire. Leave it out, and your readers will have every right to call you on your ‘mistake’!
What else have you noticed an author getting wrong that threw you out of the story?
Writing is a personal affair, which is a strange thing to say about something you publicly share. But ask the writer, how easy is it to show what you have written? How long did your work hide away, unacknowledged, before it got to be viewed by even a single, trusted individual?
It’s extremely hard to bring writing out into the light of day. Why?
Because the writing is a piece of the author.
Even if we don’t recognize it formally, everything we write ties into us. Some aspects of our private lives slip through onto that page and are now on display. It could be something we’ve experienced or something we believe. It might be our dreams or fears or perhaps our greatest aspiration. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was suspected of creating the amazing Sherlock Holmes as a wishlist for himself, although he was also based on someone Sir Arthur knew.
I do not often use people I know as inspiration for characters (although Cuuks from a novella of mine is a notable exception). For me, the characters are usually aspects of myself brought to extremes. Gensiana is my optimism. Cairon is my introverted-ness. Loni is my lusting side. Arnika is the loving aspect of a wife. Lania is my warrior. Akara is my faith.
All of the characters become far more than just one thing, but they were born of me and my life. It’s my heart and soul lovingly arranged on the page. I wish there was a glass case for them to go into so they won’t get dirtied or damaged from being out, but they’re out there, exposed in my writing.
It’s hard to share what you write.
This is why it’s so important to support each other as writers. We’re vulnerable, especially as we start out. A harsh word can break a blooming author. Over time, our skins thicken and criticisms have less pain, more gain. But until then, treat your budding authors as if they are orchids: Be delicate, lest they wilt. Give them just the right amount of food and water to grow and improve.
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.