The Stone Seekers
The Settlements clung precariously to a hostile shore where the very ground opposed them. The people, fleeing a vicious tyrant, had crossed an ocean to get here, and had nowhere else to go. They bore with them a parting gift from a powerful mage, the Wellstone, an artifact that could locate clean water among the vile poisons their new land offered. When it is stolen in a raid by creatures of the surrounding forest, there is no choice but to go in pursuit. But with who? The entire combined militia of all the towns haven’t the power to overcome the forest denizens, so a skilled tracker and a savage warrior are sent to achieve through stealth what cannot be accomplished by force. What possible chance could two people have?”
The Stone Seekers, under its original title The Wellstone Chronicles, was the last manuscript that I sent out into the world to do battle with the traditional publishers. Like the four novels before it, it was wildly successful in its quest for rejection, and I eventually put it on the shelf with the others as something it would be fun for my grandchildren to find after I was gone.
But then came the modest success of the self-published Beyond the Rails series of steampunk adventures in colonial Africa, and a dangerous thought began to grow in the dark corridors of my mind: What if The Wellstone Chronicles really was a good story, and it just hadn’t found the right acquisition editor? This year marked the 15th anniversary of its writing, and I decided to celebrate by dusting it off, polishing the prose, changing the title to one more accurately describing the plot, and subjecting it to the same self-publishing process that made me an icon of the steampunk world… well, a court jester, anyway!
Process completed, it has been for sale on Amazon since the end of April, and garnered its first review last Monday.
Can there be anything new in epic fantasy? Tolkien casts an enormous shadow. Well, the answer is: yes!
Jack Tyler has given us a new world. One that is refreshingly different. There are no orcs, or dwarves, or elves here. But you won’t miss them. Not at all.”
Thus begins said review, and it goes on to describe a bit of the plot and style of the author while deftly avoiding spoilers of any kind. The entire review can be read at Amazon.com, and as long as you’re there, why not drop 99c US, and pick up what one reviewer has called “a yarn worth reading.” Could be a buck well-spent!
View from the Blimp
As well as the epic review referred to above, Beyond the Rails also pulled in another five-star notice yesterday. I write in a style gone by, and it amazes me no end to see first-hand how well it is received by the reading public. Perhaps those avant-garde authors that overwhelmed the trade in the ’60s ushered out a style we weren’t quite finished with yet. Now, if only I had the cash to promote my work as much as I wish I could…
In Other News…
I have often mentioned a friend in my discussions here and elsewhere, and I’m going to do it again. His name is Richard Schulte, and he is one of the most giving people I’ve ever encountered. He is best-known for his photoblog, Cool San Diego Sights, where he has posted to date well over 15,000 quality pictures of San Diego and its surrounding back country. He has recently announced that anyone who wishes may use any of his photographs as a book cover or illustration for no charge beyond crediting him in some form, usually on the book’s acknowledgement page. That’s one of his photos that graces the cover of The Stone Seekers.
But Richard’s true love is writing, specifically short stories, stories so short that we writers give them their own subcategory, Flash Fiction. He doesn’t sell his stories, but collects them, free for all to read, on his other website, Short Stories By Richard. The man just wants to share, and if you take guilty pleasure in slices of life delivered in bite-size wafers, you very much should pay my friend a visit. He’s a most accomplished observer, whether with pen or camera!
And that’s 30 for this issue. Join me Monday for a discussion about fear, and its place in literature. Until then, read well, and write better!