Dan Melson: July 2019 Archives

Got caught in the finishing crush for Setting the Board, the third book in Preparations for War, after Preparing The Ground and Building The People Climactic scene got a little draining, then I finished the working draft Saturday night, spent Sunday on the story checking and editing pass, and sent it off to the Betas. It's kind of scary how much I like it, so the betas will probably remind me of something obvious I missed. I had hoped to finish the necessary happenings in the story of Joe and Asina with Setting The Board, but it was not to be, so there will be a fourth book in the series. Look for Moving The Pieces after I've finished the next project - I may have to write it at the same time as Politics of Empire 3 (tentatively: The End of Parenthood)

Started The Monad Trap - sequel to The Fountains of Aescalon. I was going to write The Bubbles of Creation next, but I decided that story would be better told after this one. Here is the first line as I have it written now:

"Somehow, I always thought there was more for a god to do."

I haven't read your book. But kill any idea that a blurb is a synopsis. Stake that sucker right through the heart, burn it to ashes, and bury them at a crossroads.

A blurb is a sales pitch.

A *short* sales pitch. No more than 30 seconds read aloud in a conversational voice. Shorter if you can.

Keep in mind two rules:

KISS: keep it short & simple. Make it to the point. Don't confuse the reader with multiple threads at this point. Pick the easiest or best and sell that plot or subplot.

AIDA: Attention Interest Desire Action. You have their Attention. Grab their interest *fast*. Stir a desire to tell more of the story. And then tell them how to take action to fill that desire - usually implied or indirect, rather than 'buy this book to find out!'

Remember this and you'll write good blurbs.

Tales of Magic and Destiny Amazon link

Begins well, falls off at the end, still four star material overall

I'm generally hesitant to read multi-author short story anthologies, because so few are worth reading, but I was asked to accept an Advance Review Copy of this one. and was pleasantly surprised as the stories near the beginning were solid stories with decent twists and characters who think.

Stars Above Shadows Beneath by Maria Haskins - a guardian awakened. Little bit of a rocky start as it was kind of deus ex machina, but kept me reading.

The Rogue of Averrath by Tom Jolly - puzzle solver who turns magic back on the wielder, very enjoyable

Chanter by Tawa Wood - A student's plan to overcome his shortcoming fails, and doesn't. A teacher helps surreptitiously.

Virtue's Blade by Rob Edwards - Cute little short about accepting a charge laid involuntarily and the difference a willing choice makes.

Fortified by Hall Jameson - AN uninvited guest earns a welcome.

Wolf Scout by Jeannette O'Hagan - tale of forbidden romance. A little long, but enjoyable.

Out of the Dust by Leo McBride - A desert village, a sandstorm and a very dangerous man.

A Sword of Bone by Aaron Emmel - disappointing. A natural talent discovered - and discarded.

The Fearsome Lambton Worm by Kerry Buchanan - This was where quality took a nose dive. Mary Sue squared.

The Heroine's Journey by Brent A. Harris - A sidekick steps out from the shadow of her heroic partner. Enjoyable enough.

It's Always Sunny at the Fortress of Bones by Jaleta Clegg - Nothing remarkable here. Okay, yet derivative.

Asherah's Pilgrimage by Ricardo Victoria - An original story yet I had trouble feeling sympathetic for anyone, and the smart-aleck dragon with a modern attitude kind of spoiled any chance the story had to attain a real mood or point.

Just then he moved. And I don't mean lazily like he'd done with the gangbangers last night. I think this was really the best he was capable of. "Ahhh!" I started, frightened, but bit down on my tongue. I actually did poop my panties a little, it was so sudden and so fast. I wasn't even certain of the direction he'd moved, but my guess was correct. The sword I'd seen last night was in his hand. I saw a blue swirl start to form over the dining table, three dimensional, the dirty ugly dark greyish blue you sometimes see between small gaps in storm clouds when it's getting to be really late in the afternoon. By the way ScOsh reacted, I could tell the gangbangers were a day at Disneyland.by comparison. A body started to coalesce, a body like nothing seen on Earth except maybe drawings from some demented horror artist somewhere. It stood mostly upright, and it was kind of symmetrical but that was where any semblance to anything Earthly ended. It had five arms, three on its right side and two on its left, and they were offset by apparently random small amounts from the line you'd think of as the appropriate 'side' - as if a man had an arm sprouting from near his nipple, and another from back near the shoulder blade. It had four legs, but the arrangement wasn't anything like square or rectangular pattern of Earth animals. It was more like a trapezoid, large side to the creature's right. Each arm had a different arrangement or implement or both on the end, and most of them were large nasty-looking claws. As far as I could see, the legs were solid and club-like, no toes or hooves or even feet. There was no neck and the head was weighted heavily to the creature's left. The ugly blue that had marked the swirl was its primary color, shading to a sandstone reddish color at the end of the limbs, with ridiculous bright green fluorescent tufts of something that looked like a cross between feathers and hair here and there based upon no scheme I want to figure out. I'm pretty sure I screamed somewhere in there and finished the job I'd started in my panties, and I'm not at all ashamed of it. You think you can do better in equivalent circumstances, be my guest, but don't get me involved. Then it opened its mouth - a gaping maw that hadn't been visible before then at the bottom edge of its head - and I saw a nightmare of teeth and I'm not sure what. It stood a bit taller the ScOsh and about five times his mass, by which I mean it crushed my dining room table without me even having a chance to hope it would trip over the pieces. It made the start of a noise that can only be called a scream crossed with a roar at about 160 decibels. ScOsh stood waiting behind it until it started moving, then calmly and without wind-up cut it into two from side to side just above mid-"torso", then reversed his cut and cut through the head in a downwards motion, pulling out when he met his first cut. As I have said, he was fast when he wanted to be. The thing just about had time to realize it was dead as it crumpled, bleeding two colors, the ugly blue and an equally ugly color that reminded me of a dull forest green.

I was standing there mesmerized by the spectacle trying to process what had just happened and ScOsh said, "The rules of the game just changed"


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The Man From Empire
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A Guardian From Earth
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Empire and Earth
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Working The Trenches
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Rediscovery 4 novel set
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Preparing The Ground
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Building the People
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Setting The Board

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The Invention of Motherhood
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The Price of Power
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The Fountains of Aescalon
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The Monad Trap
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The Gates To Faerie
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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dan Melson in July 2019.

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