Friday, September 23, 2011

Main characters & first news update

     In this post I want to talk about two things….some of the main characters, and the progress of my publicity campaign.

     First the characters:

     The main character is Chryslan, a young dwelfling living with his family in the treetop village of Oakfield. Only in hindsight did I realize the similarity between his name and my own. It was never my intention to write a fantasy version of my own life…in fact I never once felt any sense of identification with the main character of my book as I was writing it. The circumstances of Chryslan’s life are quite different from my own…. I never had a sister, and I never felt any pressure from my parents to marry, have children or carry on the family business. We even look different…. maybe on a subconscious level I was identifying with him, but I don’t believe that to be the case.

     Oddly enough, one of the other main characters (and one of Chryslan’s best friends) also has a name which closely resembles that of a lifelong friend of mine. This was again unintentional…only years after completing the book did I realize that the character Leistern has a name which resembles Lister (my real life friend). But here again the similarities end…. Lister is one of the greatest guitar players to have ever lived. Leistern the dwelfling never exhibited any musical or artistic tendencies. And they look quite different and speak quite differently.

   Besides the similarity of the names, the only thing that the two book characters have in common with the real life individuals are the fact that they are long time friends who have known each other from childhood.

     The lead female character (thankfully) has a name with absolutely no possible connection to my own personal history….Heidi, the orchnid girl. Here I did draw on my own fantasy version of the perfect female – she is stunningly beautiful, with an irresistible blend of innocence and mischief. She is decidedly feminine and yet has an adventurous spirit. She is also quite comfortable with her ability to turn heads.

     Chubba, another dwelfling, is also one of Chryslan’s lifelong friends. Chubba is a nickname which his friends gave him because he was overweight. But he has the heart of a champion, and ends up giving his life for his friends.

     The other characters will be discussed in later posts. There is much more to learn of the dagons, edelites, dwelflings, orchnids, forest nymphs, mirror people, felonians and swamp folk. In future posts I will also reveal more about life on Magnatus, and some of the other creatures who make it their home.

     Now for the marketing campaign updates:

     After 4 weeks my publicity campaign with Smith Publicity has now officially ended. The short term results weren’t as earth shattering as I had hoped….just a handful of new book sales. But the long term effects may be much more far reaching…I’m in the process of following up with a list of interested media contacts, and it looks as if I’ll be getting quite a few credible book reviews over the next two months. I’ll keep you posted.

     I also joined the Author’s Book Review Exchange on FaceBook this morning, and I’m excited to see where that leads. Here’s the link:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introduction and background

     In March of this year The Sword Of Magna was published by BookBaby, and is now available for download from all the major online ebook retailers. This is the culmination of a quest spanning two decades, and it really feels great to finally be able to share my book with the world. Now for some history….

     I was initially inspired to write this book after reading The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien back in 1980. This was life-changing for me – I had never before been so completely engrossed in any book. Originally from South Africa, I was surprised to learn (many years later) that Tolkien had gained much of his inspiration for The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings from a writer’s retreat he once took in a magical and idyllic area of the Eastern Cape in South Africa (an area that I had driven through a couple of times – and also felt inspired by). This served to make me feel much more connected with his work.

     I can easily picture Tolkien walking around the misty Hog’s Back mountain trails on the Garden Route, taking in all the natural splendor of an immense ancient coniferous forest, complete with rugged mountain vistas, majestic waterfalls, and breathtaking cliff top views overlooking the raging surf far below. The only sounds to distract him would have been the sound of the wind and surf, and the calls of a large variety of indigenous bird species. He would have enjoyed all the quaint little eclectic communities full of artists, musicians, poets, writers, craftsmen, backpackers from Europe, mountain bikers, and hang gliding enthusiasts. For his lodging he would have had a huge selection of picturesque hostels, bed and breakfast establishments and cabins to choose from. To this day, many internationally acclaimed authors take their writing retreats somewhere along the Garden Route.

     I first wrote the manuscript for my book in the early 1990’s on an old fashioned typewriter, and I secured the copyright sometime in the 1990’s. In the early 2000’s I scanned in all the pages and saved my book as a Word document. Then I began to slowly edit and refine it, adding some new chapters and characters. Realizing that my book had evolved a bit from the state it was originally in when I first got it copyrighted, I decided it might be a good idea to submit this new version of my book to the copyright office. I secured a second copyright in the mid 2000’s.

     Then I had a near death experience on Thanksgiving Day of 2005, and after I came back to this world I realized that if I was ever going to get my book published I needed to do it NOW! I made a few more minor edits and started sending out manuscripts to traditional publishers in the US and UK throughout 2006 and 2007. Of course the unanimous rejections came as no surprise…every best selling author or platinum recording artist has had their fair share of rejection letters from “experts” who just couldn’t see their potential.

     I hadn’t given up the fight though, and I kept making a few minor edits to my Word document until 2009, at which time I had manipulated the book into its present form. I immediately applied for and secured a new copyright. I then made one last attempt to find a traditional publisher, but of course my efforts were again met with unanimous rejection letters/emails (I’m quite certain that many of them never even read a word of the materials I had mailed/emailed them).

     Then I took a break while I pondered my next move. I was becoming aware of the increasing popularity of ebooks, and the proliferation of Kindle readers and the like, and I started contemplating releasing my book as an ebook. I ruminated on this for a year or so, watching the trends in ebook sales and popularity.

     Early this year I decided that the time was ripe to publish my first book as an ebook only. I found an ebook publisher ( and within a few short weeks my Word document was converted into ebook and Kindle formats and available for sale online at the Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Apple I-bookstore, and Sony eBookstore websites. It feels really gratifying to finally have my book out there.

     I recently recruited the services of Smith Publicity, and we are scheduled to launch my publicity campaign on Monday, August 8th. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I’ll keep you all updated with breaking news and more info about the book.

     Here are some places where you can pick up a copy: