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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Noble Houses of Valdaran

Descended from the greatest warriors of the original six clans which made up the Valdaran people, the Noble Houses of Valdaran have become miniature clans unto themselves in the modern day. The majority of the Houses require that the head of the House be an active Wyvern Knight, though knights who have retired from active duty retain great influence and prestige within their Houses.

While every Wyvern Knight is a noble, not all of the knights are of noble birth or even belong to the Houses. The Allking sponsors a tournament every five years to allow commoners of exceptional talent to demonstrate their abilities for members of the Houses. The winners of the tournaments often are adopted or sponsored by one House or another, becoming squires to prominent knights belonging to the House and eventually earning a Proving of their own to become a new knight.

Rather than describe every House in Valdaran, here are some of the major Houses whose members either have an impact on the story of Laeryk's Proving, or are names of note in the setting.


House Wyverncrown is not, technically, one of the Houses, but no one would dispute the noble status of its members. The Wyverncrowns are the royal family of Valdaran, tracing their heritage all the way back to the original Allking, Korvaft. Each Allking must be a Wyvern Knight, though customarily each Allking takes their own heir as their squire, violating the tradition most Houses have of fostering their children with other Houses as squires. Currently, Wodan Wyvercrown is Allking of Valdaran. His son, Ragnar, and his daughter, Freya, are the only other living members of House Wyverncrown. Flying in the face of tradition, Ragnar Wyverncrown, heir to the throne, has become betrothed to Elsebet du Lemaigne of Deldanare. This has caused some concern among the leaders of the Houses, who feel that Ragnar will be polluting the lineage of Korvaft with the blood of an outlander.


House Whiterose is the most powerful House in Valdaran, second only to the Wyverncrowns. The Whiteroses can trace their lineage back to one of Korvaft's brothers, which makes them a "Cousin" House. While any trace of familial connection has long since vanished, the two Houses remain close. Whiteroses are often considered suitable candidates to marry the Allking or their heirs. The Whiteroses also maintain many of the wyvern aviaries in Valdaran, establishing a connection with the wyverns that make many of the other Houses jealous.

The Whiteroses have a strong military tradition, boasting the largest number of active Wyvern Knights in their ranks in all of Valdaran. Whiteroses have been Wing Lords and have held places of honor in each of the five Wings. The current Wing Lord of Silver Wing is a Whiterose. Each Whiterose competes to distinguish themselves from both their ancestors and the other children of the House, resulting in many stories and legends of the exploits of famous Whiteroses. Perhaps the most famous of the Whiteroses is no longer considered a member of the House, having been banished from the House for treason (see House Thorn for more information).

Currently, Vikar Whiterose holds the most influence within House Whiterose. Though he was forced to retire from active duty as a Wyvern Knight after suffering an injury that nearly killed him, Vikar Whiterose's ambition has led him to acquire tremendous political power within Valdaran. This power and influence allowed Vikar Whiterose's son Gavain to be raised closely with the Wyvercrowns, to the point that Ragnar Wyverncrown and Gavain refer to each other as cousins.


Another of the "Cousin" Houses, House Icehart once held a controlling interest in the mines of Valdaran, but their fortunes have waned of late after disease killed off the majority of the House's members. The most prestigious member of the House currently is Arngrim Icehart, who only passed his Proving two years ago but has earned prestige during several missions as a member of Bronze Wing. Some wonder what the fate of House Icehart will be, while other worry at the sudden interest Vikar Whiterose has taken in the ailing House.


House Wyvernclaw is a new House, founded when Wing Lord Garon Wyvernclaw passed his Proving. Garon Wyvernclaw was a commoner whose family sacrificed nearly everything they had to earn their son a chance to compete at the Allking's tournament. Garon won the competition and Cradden Thorn had offered to take Garon as his squire. Garon went on to become nearly family with the Thorns, and best friends with Cradden's son, Derris. Garon's potential was evident to everyone, and it came as no surprise when he was made second in command of Steel Wing, and eventually Steel Wing's Wing Lord. Garon took the name "Wyvernclaw" as an homage to owing his success to the opportunity the Allking's tournament afforded him. House Wyvernclaw has earned a modest income, though nearly all of its influence is due to Garon's position as a Wing Lord. Having never married, Garon Wyvernclaw has no heir.


While it lacks the prestige of many of the other Houses, no House is as well-known as House Thorn, the House born of treason. Valdaran had been invaded only twice since its founding, once by the Morkavian Empire, and once by the vile, inhuman Naelfarn. While Valdaran repelled the Morkavians, the Naelfarn managed to reach the capital of Wyvernholme and nearly destroy it, all thanks to the treason of one man: Jellik Whiterose.

Jellik Whiterose had been second in command of Silver Wing, and one of the most renowned Wyvern Knights of his day. Each of his sons was a Wyvern Knight, and anyone fortunate enough to become Jellik's squire was certain to earn great prestige upon passing their Proving. No one would have suspected that such a renowned knight would betray Valdaran, but at some point Jellik Whiterose made contact with the Naelfarn and agreed to help them attack Valdaran under the condition that Jellik be made the new Allking. Jellik recruited a surprisingly large number of Wyvern Knights to join him, while the Naelfarn used foul magic to keep the rogue knights' wyverns under control. All of Jellik's sons joined him except for one, Allynder Whiterose, who tried to convince his father to abandon the mad scheme. Allynder's words fell on deaf ears, and the young knight was unable to stop his father from killing the Allking during the invasion. Allynder was able to stop his father from killing the heir to the throne however, fighting a duel with his father made famous in song. Allynder slew his father, and offered both Jellik's head and his own to the new Allking in penance for his failure to alert the Wyvernthrone of the danger his father had posed. The new Allking spared Allynder's life in exchange for Allynder uniting the remaining Wings to stop the rebel knights. After Allynder had crushed the rebellion, Allking Tyrnan granted him his pardon, but included the condition that Allynder step down as a Wyvern Knight. Allynder agreed, but House Whiterose was unsatisfied with the gesture. They declared that neither Jellik nor any of his sons were members of the House, but had become "thorns" in the side of Valdaran.

Proud to the end, Allynder decided to accept the name, and encouraged his own children to strive to become knights. Allynder Thorn lived long enough to watch one of his grandchildren pass their Proving and establish House Thorn.

The Thorns have remained a modest House throughout the years. It retains a stigma from the actions of Jellik Thorn, though few who have served beside a Wyvern Knight from House Thorn can dispute their commitment to the throne or their fellow knights. In recent years it had looked as though House Thorn was on the verge of finally shedding the dark cloud hanging over its reputation, but the death of its most recent leader, Derris Thorn twelve years ago brought everything to a halt. Derris Thorn's son, Laeryk, was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in House Frostwind, and the modest coffers of House Thorn were drained by the greedy Frostwinds. Thorn Manor was sold to the crown to pay for House Frostwind's taxes. While Laeryk Thorn was squired to his uncle, Belok Frostwind, he has spent the last twelve years without earning a Proving from his uncle, and many doubt that he will earn one by the time of his twenty-first birthday, when he will become ineligible to become a Wyvern Knight, ending House Thorn completely. There are some who look at the darkly intense gaze of Laeryk Thorn and wonder if this would be such a bad thing...

Next Time: A discussion about magic in Laeryk's Proving!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Setting Overview: Valdaran Part 2

In my last post I started to talk about the history of Valdaran, the homeland of Laeryk Thorn and Gavain Whiterose, two of the main characters in my upcoming book, Laeryk's Proving. Today I'm going to continue with the history of Valdaran, and how it became one of the military powers in the world.

If you'll recall, the Allking of Valdaran had formed the Wyvern Knights to serve as a way to unify the noble Houses and heal the rift that still remained after the clan wars which had troubled Valdaran in its earliest days. To solve the shortage of supplies that the Valdaran people faced every winter, the Wyvern Knights were sent to raid the neighboring kingdom of Deldanare.

Under the rule of the Valdaran's second Allking, Hrothnir Korvaftsson, the raids into Deldanare increased. The five Wing Lords and many of the Valdaran nobles advocated invading Deldanare and annexing some of its farmlands. Allking Hrothnir resisted this idea, feeling that the rugged nature of their mountainous Valdaran homeland kept the Wyvern Knights from growing as soft as the Deldanari. The debate raged on until something happened which startled the Allking's entire court.

Princess Elouise du Lemaigne, eldest daughter of the king of Deldanare, came to the Valdaran capital of Wyvernholme to request a meeting with the Allking. Hrothnir was impressed with the bravery of the Deldanari princess, and granted Elouise the audience she requested. Princess Elouise spent days eloquently pleading that Hrothnir call for the raids on her homeland to cease, begging for an alliance between the two nations. She even went so far as to suggest a marriage between herself and Hrothnir to cement relations between their nations. Hrothnir's response was to order the princess taken captive and sending a ransom demand to her father.

The demand never arrived. Far to the south, the Morkavian Empire had begun a campaign to conquer the known world. Their armies had marched forward and conquered the city-states south of the Wastes, and then continued their march into Deldanare. The Deldanari military had been weakened by the Valdaran raids, though it is questionable whether they would have been strong enough to repel the Morkavians even without the assaults from the Wyvern Knights. King Franc du Lemaigne fled east into Valdaran, demanding asylum from the Morkavian invaders. At first Hrothnir laughed at the proposal, but word from the border quickly changed the Allking's mind.

While the Deldanari had been unable to resist the raids by the Valdarans, the Morkavians were a different matter. The Morkavian military possessed power siege weapons which proved a threat to even wyvern-mounted warrior. For the first time ever, the Wyvern Knights' raids were stopped. To make matters worse, the Morkavians even began making incursions through the low passes that led into Valdaran itself.

Incensed, Hrothnir agreed to aid Franc du Lemaigne in reclaiming his throne, though he kept Princess Elouise as a hostage to ensure the good behavior of the Deldanari king. With the aid of the Wyvern Knights, Franc du Lemaigne was able to rally his people into resisting the Morkavians. Supported by ground troops who concentrated on destroying the Morkavian siege weapons, the Wyvern Knights quickly routed the invaders, restoring Deldanare to its people. The nations of Valdaran, Coribhal, and Fardan united to drive the Morkavians back to their own borders, liberating all of the land the Empire had claimed, and shattering the remnants of the empire into the nations of Morkav, Haddar, and Nadyss.

During the last days of the fighting, Franc du Lemaigne fell in battle while saving the life of Allking Hrothnir. Honored at the sacrifice the Deldanari king had made for him, Hrothnir released Elouise, whom he had grown fond of, and placed her on the throne of Deldanare. He would have considered her request for marriage, but the Wing Lords forbade it, warning Hrothnir not to dilute purity of the Valdaran royal line. Hrothnir coneded to their words, but struck a new treaty with Elouise. Henceforth, the second sons and second daughters of both royal families would marry every five generations. Deldanare helped supply Valdaran with the resources its people needed to survive the harsh winters, while Valdaran agreed to send its Wyvern Knights to defend Deldanare from any attacks on its sovereignty or its people.

Kickstarter Update: The Laeryk's Proving project page will be going live on the Kickstarter website within the next week, possibly sooner depending how long the approval process takes. I'll post an update as soon as it is available.

Next Time: I'll discuss the noble Houses of Valdaran, and the origins of House Thorn.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Setting Overview: Valdaran Part 1

Last time I said that I would talk a little about the setting of Laeryk's Proving. Today's post is going to talk about Valdaran, the nation where two of our protagonists, Laeryk Thorn and Gavain Whiterose, hail from. Valdaran plays a central role throughout the series.

Records of the earliest days of what would come to be known as Valdaran have been lost to prehistory. No Valdaran can recount when the first humans crossed into the mountain range called the Wyvern Peaks and first encountered the wyverns. Nor can even the most venerable of Wyvern Knights now recall the stories which tell of how man and wyvern came to form an alliance with one another. What is known, is that in the oldest days, the people of Valdaran were split into six large clans, each allied with the wyverns.

The early Valdarans were constantly at war with one another. The Wyvern Peaks dominated the landscape, leaving few fertile valleys for growing crops and grazing animals. Survival was a constant concern for the Valdaran Clans, and each sought to claim the supplies of their rivals. Allegiances were made, broken, and forged anew as the clans struggled against each other.

Korvaft, the Jarl of the clan with what were arguably the strongest ties to the wyverns whom the Valdarans depended upon for their raids, eventually became aware of the wyverns' growing distress at the warring clans. He realized that while the clans' warlike natures were sated by the bloodshed, the wyverns mourned the actions their alliance with humanity was driving them to. The wyverns had no desire to fight one another, nor did they want to pick a single clan to support. Korvaft realized that if something wasn't done to stop the clans' wars soon, the wyverns would abandon their human allies, dooming all the clans.

Korvaft called the other five Jarls to a meeting and presented his concerns. At first the Jarls scorned Korvaft, believing that their wyvern allies would never abandon them. When Korvaft offered his solution to his concerns, however, the Jarls took immediate note of it. Korvaft suggested that the Jarls battle one another personally. The winner of this melee would be declared the strongest Jarl, and become Allking over all six clans. Each Jarl agreed to this contest, each believing himself to be the strongest.

When the fierce battles came to a close, Korvaft stood triumphant. The Jarls honored their words, and bowed before the first Allking. To their surprise, Korvaft announced that he considered each of the Jarls to be like brothers, each only slightly below the Allking in rank. The honor Korvaft showed them helped to salve the bruised egos of the Jarls, allowing Korvaft to gain their support for the next part of his plan. Korvaft knew that if his people were allowed to remain in their clans it would only be a matter of time before the fighting started again. Instead, Korvaft commanded each of the Jarls to bring their finest warriors to him. Once the warriors were assembled, Korvaft ordered each warrior to found noble houses which would help to oversee food and supplies for his people, now called Valdarans.

Korvaft's plan worked, though relations were still tenuous between the noble Houses, particularly those whose founders had once belonged to rival clans. Resources were still scarce in Korvaft's kingdom of Valdaran, even with everyone pooling their supplies together. Seeing no other way to survive, Korvaft set his gaze to the lands surrounding the Wyvern Peaks. To the south lay the Wastes, a desolate, dry wasteland contained within a bowl-like recess in the earth, a reminder of humanity's earlier wars against the inhuman Naelfarn which had once dwelt there. The Wastes would provide nothing to the Valdarans, and the lands to the south of the Wastes were too far for raids, even with the wyverns' aid.

To the west, however, lay the land of Deldanare. Full of fertile land, abundant with crops and livestock, Deldanare was ripe with the resources the Valdarans needed to survive. The people who dwelt with Deldanare, the Deldanari, were less than imposing to the Valdarans, who were among the largest of people in the world, while the Deldanari were, on average, considered somewhat short. Korvaft knew that the Deldanari would never be able to stop raiding parties from the Valdarans. Indeed, the largest threat to the raiding parties were the rivalries that still existed among the Valdaran Houses.

Developing another plan to bring peace to his people, Korvaft summoned the leaders of the noble Houses, including the former Jarls to his court. There, Korvaft announced that he was creating a unified military force for Valdaran, one which would fly on the backs of wyverns. He would split this military into five different "Wings," and each Wing would be commanded by one of the five former Jarls until such time as these new Wing Lords chose to step down and promote a replacement. Each Wing would focus on a different specialty. Further, Korvaft declared that the Wing Lords could counter the commands of the Allking if they voted with a single voice, giving his former rivals true power within Valdaran again. The new Wing Lords accepted their positions, but expressed concern for Korvaft's plan. "How," they asked him in private, "is this any different from the clans you worked so hard to end?" Korvaft ordered them to create their Wings from different Houses than the ones which had originally been in their former clan, so that the Wings would consist of members of each of the former clans. After that, Korvaft assured the Wing Lords that placing emphasis on the different Wings' specialties would create a sense of shared pride which would encourage the ranks of each Wing to work together, while ties of blood would keep them connected to the members of other Wings.

Though still dubious of the plan, the Wing Lords followed the command of their Allking and formed the Wyvern Knights as he had commanded. Korvaft's wisdom is recognized in modern Valdaran, where the old clans are barely remembered now, but the Wyvern Knights and the five Wings and Wing Lords still command the respect and devotion of the Valdaran people.

The newly founded Wyvern Knights began their raids into Deldanare, which were as successful as Korvaft had hoped. The raids kept his people strong, while also providing the Valdarans with an outlet to express their warlike natures. Unbeknownst to Korvaft, however, the raids into Deldanare would have a greater impact on the future of Valdaran than he could have ever imagined, though the change would not happen until the reign of his son, Hrothnir Korvaftsson.

But that is a story for another time...

Next Time: More information about Valdaran and the impact of its raids into Deldanare.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Status for Laeryk's Proving

My last post rambled on a bit longer than I'd intended, so I didn't get the chance to post the current status for Laeryk's Proving.

The manuscript for Laeryk's Proving is complete, coming in at approximately 147,000 words. I've actually compiled the book in epub and mobi formats. Technically, it is ready to be released for sale.


But as any book seller will tell you, the pages inside a book aren't what makes a potential buyer stop to look at the book. They lack the ability to grab a passer-by's collar and "Hey, I'm damn good, READ ME!!!" And if they could, who would want to go inside a book store? I already feel like my shelves groan enough just from the weight of the books; their potential collapse and the resulting "landslide" is more than enough threat for me, thank you very much. So what makes us stop and give that book a first and then a second glance?

The cover.

Beautiful, glossy images boldly declaring the author and title of the book, and offering us a visual scene which may (or, seemingly just as often, not) have something to do with the book's contents. These are the things that make us stop and glance at books we might otherwise never spare even a cursory first look.

One of my favorite authors that I've read over the last few years is Brent Weeks. If you haven't heard of him, Brent Weeks wrote the Night Angel Trilogy and the second book of his Lightbringer series releases today (if you want more information, check out - you won't be disappointed!). My first encounter with his books was in the local Borders Books before it closed. His books were a staff pick, and had been given a place of honor on an endcap. The cover for the first book, The Way of Shadows, is fairly simple, but eye-catching. A black-cloaked an stands partially visible on the cover, set against a white background, his weapons drawn while streams of purple mist or fog rise from his body. The font for the title is nothing fancy, and a single tagline "The perfect killer has no friends - only targets." helps grab your attention immediately. The other books in the trilogy are similar in style.

I walked past them. Twice. They caught my eye each time. Finally, I stopped to look at the back of the book, where I read about a boy named Azoth who gets trained to be an assassin by the greatest killer in his city. I put it back on the shelf. Assassins aren't really my thing, so the idea of reading a trilogy dedicated to them wasn't appealing. One of my best friends, however, loves assassins. I wrote the title of the book down so I could recommend it to him, and ended up checking the book out at my local library so that I could give him an informed opinion. That was when the words inside the book grabbed me, shook me around a little, and left me wanting MORE. And thus, I became a Brent Weeks fan.

But it all started with a cover that caught my eye.

His books were displayed on an endcap. Three smart covers, each roughly 4 inches by 7 inches. How could I not have noticed them? I'll tell you how - if they were just thumbnails on my screen. Which is what I'm going to be dealing with. Thumbnails are small, and depending on your eReader device, possibly done in grayscale. They need to be eye-catching, but simple. "No problem," you might think. "There are plenty of talented artists who can produce that for you!" Indeed there are... but you need the money to pay them.

It's possible to design a cover without hiring someone to do it. You need the right software; fortunately, GIMP is 100% free, and something I've used for simple projects in the past. But you need images to do anything with GIMP. I'm no artist, at least not with visual images. I can scratch out something that people will interpret to be a face (it's really a chicken - I'm that bad at drawing!) but I can't produce anything worth putting on the cover of my book. My wife is actually pretty talented at drawing, but she's got her plate full with schoolwork at the moment. Which has left me look for royalty-free stock images I can use to create my cover, which is taking longer than I'd thought it would.

Beyond getting a cover (which I've devoted most of this post to talking about), I still need to acquire the ISBN numbers for my book, and I'd really like to run my eventual cover design through a professional graphics designer to make certain it's eye-catching. All of this costs money, money, and - you guessed it - more money. With a family of five, money's always in tight supply, so I'm looking for sources of outside funding.

Which leads me to my plans for trying to raise the funds I need for Laeryk's Proving through Kickstarter. If you're not familiar with it, Kickstarter is a program which allows people to pledge money toward a project. Various entrepreneurs create a project on the Kickstarter website ( and offers certain incentives for individuals who pledge at certain levels toward their project. If you've ever listened to your local NPR station during their fund drives, you've heard of this concept. It's just like when the NPR station offers you a gift for your donation of $100, or whatever dollar amount they've assigned to the gift. In most Kickstarter projects you have a scale of gifts; Get x for a $5 pledge, y for $25, z for $50, and so on and so forth. Each project has a set amount of money it is looking to raise, and Kickstarter only takes pledge money once the goal is reached, though it is certainly possible for the goal to be exceeded.

I'm determining my incentive levels and how much I feel that I need to raise now, and I would like at least a mock concept for the cover before I post, that way I can help grab the eyes of potential pledges. I feel like a contestant in the Hunger Games. Quick, someone set me on fire!

Once the Kickstarter project is up, I will post the address. Until then, I'll keep posting updates about the cover, and maybe an image or two once they're available!

Next Time: I'll present some information about the setting of Laeryk's Proving, specifically the nation of Valdaran where our hero hails from!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Laeryk's Proving: What It Is, and Where It Is Going


Today I'd like to talk about Laeryk's Proving, my first novel, and how I conceived of it.

The seeds for Laeryk's Proving first came to my mind as part of a scene which popped into my head one morning. I visualized a group of fantasy characters in the midst of a climactic battle with a horrific monster. The main character, who was little more than a random image in my head, was charging headlong into battle with the beast, while a supporting character flew around the monster's head, riding on the back of a wyvern and shooting crossbow bolts at the monster from a crossbow mounted to the gauntlet on his right arm. It's been so long now that the original scene is fuzzy and hazy. I don't think I can accurately describe it any more, so you'll just need to take my word on this: It was a really cool action scene.

This scene grabbed my attention and demanded that I figure out the story which came before it. I went to work trying to piece the story together. I decided that the best place to start was that central hero charging the monster. Who was he? Why was he fighting this monster? What made him interesting? What were his goals?

To this day, I have no idea, because I never solved any of those questions.

See, my mind refused to focus on what I thought of as the "main character." It centered on that wyvern-flying knight. What was up with the wyvern? The crossbow on his arm? What did he want? Was he part of a knightly order? If so, what were the goals of his order? So on and so forth my thoughts went, until I realized the reason why.

The knight was the main character, not that other, nameless guy.

That was when Laeryk Thorn was conceived.

Flash forward a bit. I'm a Star Wars geek. I love the movies, I love the games, I love the roleplaying games. The books... well, let's just say that my Expanded Universe is a little more "conservative" than what the literature would say is cannon. Anyway, that aside, I was watching a lot of Star Wars with my kids. They were getting into the Clone Wars cartoon and I was showing the films. One day we were watching Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith back to back and I realized something.

I fundamentally hate the way Lucas turned Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. I hate it. I loathe it. I cannot believe, for an instant, that no one on the Jedi Council didn't recognize that Anakin was completely and totally damaged goods. I can't believe that Obi Wan was supposed to be SHOCKED by Anakin's transformation. Maybe it was the acting. It wasn't... well, let's just say that "range of emotions" does not describe that character. I found it hard to believe that there was anything ever worth redeeming about Anakin Skywalker, which really upset my love for the original movies.

"There has to be a way to show the fall of a hero that makes the audience sympathize with the villain he or she becomes in a way that they don't feel the villain needs redeemed," I thought. I didn't want an anti-hero. I wanted a villain, a bad guy, unrepentant, unashamed, firm in his conviction. I wanted someone an audience could root for while simultaneously wanting him to lose.

Meet Laeryk Thorn, a guy whose destiny does not end in anything resembling "nice." But how will the audience sympathize with him? How will they think that he's anything but a jerk who needs to be taken down by another hero?

By making him a hero first. By showing the readers and the audience why he was a hero and why he fell from grace.

That was when Laeryk's Proving started taking shape, as well as the rest of the Saga of Thorns. This will be a story told over four books which will show Laeryk's rise to being a hero, and his fall into villainy. But more on all of that later.

Next Time: The current status of Laeryk's Proving, and what's going to happen next!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


A warm welcome to everyone who finds this site. My name is Grant Hoeflinger, and I am a writer.

As the little bar off to the left says, I've wanted to be a writer since some time in the second grade. The form of writing has gone through changes and permutations over the years. First, I was going to go into journalism. Then I wanted to do screenwriting. For a while, I thought about trying my hand at writing for advertising. No matter what form my goal took at any one time however, I always had one clear goal that I was striving for:

I want people to read, and enjoy, my stories.

For a time I expressed this desire through roleplaying games, designing and running stories for my friends to play through. As much as I love the hobby, it never completely scratched the itch I felt. I wanted more. I wanted to write books. I would finish reading a book from one of my favorite authors and think, "That was great. I want to be able to do the same thing for others."

(OK, so maybe I didn't think those EXACT words, but I'm sure you get the sentiment.)

As often happens in life, the realities of the world seemed to always stand in the way of my writing. You need money to pay the bills, and between work, trying to socialize, and developing a family, there never seemed enough time to sit down and actually work on anything. I always said things like, "Once things are calmer, I'll be able to get started."

Folks, my family consists of myself, my wife (Lisa), three kids ranging from the tweens to the just-out-of-toddler, and three pets. Things are never "calmer." Never.

Then life provided me with an opportunity. You know that old saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?" My lemon ended with me staying at home watching our youngest child. The job market stank. I went to interviews, but couldn't seem to land anything. My brain kept pumping out scenes and ideas to grab my attention and think "wouldn't these make great stories?" Then I had a sudden realization.

Things weren't calmer, but I had time. Lots of it. I needed to take advantage of the time I had. I sat down and started writing...

... and writing...

... and writing...

... and -- you get the idea, right?

Now, after what seems like forever, all that writing has culminated in what will be both my first book and also my first attempt at self-publishing. There's only a few more things to do before Laeryk's Proving is ready to go out on the market, and I'd love for everyone to take that journey with me, one step at a time.

Next Time: My next post will discuss Laeryk's Proving a bit more, and the steps I still need to take before it will be available.