Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rangers of Ryallon

In which Pelya and Tina have a discussion with a ranger and trapper

This is an excerpt from chapter 16 of "Liquid", Book 2 of the Wyvern Trilogy.  In it, the characters discuss the Rangers of Ryallon and the gods that guide them.  It is a world-building conversation relevant to the story.



Note:  This is a 1st draft version that has not received editing yet.

Excerpt

“Don’t the rangers follow Wutare, the God of Nature?”  Tina asked.

“No.  The rangers follow Enowl, the Goddess of Exploration who is the twin sister of her brother Kexlor, the God of Knowledge.  We explore the world, constantly striving to learn and discover.”

“I wasn’t aware of that.”  Pelya sipped her wine and allowed herself to relax some for the first time in days.  Their mission was urgent, but she needed to take a breath and mentally regroup.  “To be honest, I’ve never met a ranger or had dealings with your guild.  Could you tell me more about it if you have time?”

“Of course.”  Ledwid brightened at the question.  “The Rangers Guild has been around for millennia.  Enowl, the honey haired goddess, loved roaming the world of Ryallon.  She rode a stallion of the whitest white that could leap oceans to travel to any continent.”

Tina raised a suggestive eyebrow.  “Was she naked while she did this?” 

“No, of course not.  She preferred wool and leather to protect her from the elements.”  He shook his head in disbelief at the question.  “Rangers still wear brown and green as she did.  It’s best for camouflage in most areas, though white and brown are preferred in mountains and winter.”  Ledwid tugged at his own leather vest.  “At least once a year, she would visit Kexlor in his library fortress.  She brought him books and items of magic and fascination.”

“And was he naked while he read?”  Tina tried to ask the question seriously, but snorted halfway through, drawing more booming laughter from Murton, a grin from Pelya and a dirty look from Ledwid.

“Enowl begged Kexlor to explore with her, but his legs had been weak since childhood and he preferred the safety of his books.”  Ledwid was doing his best to ignore Tina.  “Yet he wanted to see the things she did while she wanted his guidance and knowledge as she discovered new things.”

Murton whispered loudly to Tina while using a hand to shield his words from his partner.  “This is the creepy part.”

Ledwid turned to him.  “Excuse me?”

Murton attacked him with a kiss before assuming an angelic expression, which caused Tina to snort and giggle.

Ledwid tugged on his vest and recomposed himself.  “Enowl of the green eyes and Kexlor of the blue exchanged their right eyes so they could see what the other saw when needed.”

“See?” Murton said.

Tina covered her eye with a hand.  “Oww.  No thank you.”

Ledwid ignored them.  “They were able to communicate with each other from that time on, but to this day, Enowl still visits her brother in his fortress every year.”

“Doesn’t Kexlor hoard his knowledge and keep it from others?” Pelya asked.  “I remember reading that he charges a fee to the other gods for any information they want.”

Ledwid’s expression turned to stone.

Pelya realized she had just offended him.  “I’m sorry.  I meant no criticism.  I’ve studied the gods throughout my life and find them fascinating.  Kexlor and Enowl are Van Gods, both powerful.  For some reason, I never made the connection between Enowl and the rangers.  It makes sense though.  Enowl carried a bow that fired arrows of insanity made by her brother.  He filled each arrow with so much knowledge, the victim’s head would flood until they screamed and died.  The rare few who did not lose their sanity became disciples of Kexlor.”

Tina shuddered.  “That sounds like a painful way to gain divine favor.”

Ledwid relaxed.  “No offense taken.  You are a surprising young woman, Miss Jornin.  A ranger’s primary weapon is the bow.”  He gestured to his in the corner.  “My arrows don’t cause insanity, but I know how to place them anywhere on a body to kill or incapacitate.”

“I hate bow and arrows,” Pelya admitted.  “I’d rather face a wizard than an archer.  Unless you’re in a large group, the archer has the advantage and usually hides on rooftops, or in your case, I’d imagine in the trees.”

The corner of Ledwid’s mouth rose in amusement.  “It’s not easy to shoot from a tree.  Given enough time, I can usually find a perch that grants me enough leverage for medium range shots.”

“That makes sense.”  Pelya turned her wine glass by the stem while she spoke.  “So are the rangers really priests for Enowl?  Did she form the guild?”

“We’re not priests,” Ledwid said.  “As Enowl explored the world, she found companions to travel with her.  She taught them much of what she knew.  Those companions became her disciples and formed the guild.  There are guild houses on every continent of the world.  We rangers are encouraged to explore at least two continents in our life and are welcome at any guildhouse.”

“That’s fascinating,” Tina said in genuine interest.  “What about the forests though?  Rangers explore wilderness everywhere, but Druids protect the forests.  Aren’t Druids and rangers allies?  You both use bows.”


“Choice of weapons does not determine allies.”  Ledwid frowned.  “Rangers and Druids have always gotten along, but there is mistrust there.  The Druids do not like rangers exploring in their forests.  They refuse to let us establish guildhouses in them.  They treat us with respect though and in many cases ally with us.”


In conclusion

This information applies to more than just this book and gives the reader a little more insight to the world of Ryallon, its people and its gods.

All my best,

John H. Carroll



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas sale on Demented Children

Demented Children, 50% off!!!

Hmmmm . . . That doesn't sound right . . .

Please buy my books.  They're awesome.  Just ask me.

errrrr, that's a bit desperate . . .

A Collection of Stories, Volume 1 and 2, both 50% 0ff at Smashwords!  Merry Christmas and stuff!

Hello,  I've created coupons over at Smashwords, I'm running a Christmas sale on my Collections for Demented Children!

Type in code AF69R at checkout to get Volume 1 at 50% off. :)
Type in code UC57C at checkout to get Volume 2 at 50% off. :)

The coupons are good until January 31, 2015.

Volume 1



Smashwords  50% off til January 31, 2015 - Coupon code - AF69R
Amazon
Print
B&N
Apple
Kobo

Five odd stories for children combined into one collection. Follow the tales of anti-heroes through misadventures and mishaps. Emo bunnies, zombies, rainbows, an unholy cow and sugar plum fairies share adventure across the pages. These stories are not for the sane of heart.

“The Emo Bunny that Should”

Emo the Bunny preferred gloomy days, walks over a cliff and misery. One day he discovers a conspiracy the likes of which no child would ever suspect!

“Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy”

Zachary Zombie finds a lost boy in the forest and agrees to help getting the boy home. Things are bound to go wrong when they meet a magical stag, a pretty woman at the edge of a cliff, a party in the cemetery, and torch-wielding villagers along the way.

“Drippy the Peg-Legged Rainbow”

Rainbows have existed throughout the universe since shortly after its inception. All are beautiful, although many beings in the universe think them to be evil bearers of bad tidings and illness.

This is the story of one rainbow, neither ancient nor young . . .

“Unholy Cow”

Opal has never been trick-or-treating because her parents think Halloween is evil and candy is bad for children. Meanwhile an unholy cow by the name of Runyx has decided to change Opal’s life.

“Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies”

The Sugar Plum Fairies are tired of dancing for nothing. The North Pole is freezing, they have to wear skimpy outfits and their tiny legs get worn out quickly. When the Elvin Labor Union formed, fairies were left out of any sort of fair bargaining agreement. The time has come for all of that to change.

Volume 2




Smashwords 50% off til January 31, 2015 - Coupon code - UC57C
Apple
B&N
Kobo

Five odd stories for children combined into one collection. Follow the tales of anti-heroes through misadventures and mishaps. Nanoworms, zombies, a panda, a phairyphant, and Steampunk animals share their adventures across the pages.

“Phairyphant”

Mystical phairyphants have existed since the days of wooly mammoths and mastodons. Phairydust allows them to fly on gossamer wings while they sniff the air for opportunities to make the world a better place for elephants. This is the story of Elly, one such phairyphant.

“Naughty Nanoworms”

Life on the streets is generally peaceful for Albert, but one day Albert walks his way into trouble. Will he keep his shopping cart? Will Meezer the cat come up with a plan to destroy the world? Can a shopping cart and a skateboard ever get along?

“Zachary Zombie and the Wicked Worm”

Zachary Zombie has been sent to find the magical Dagger of Gik, accompanied by three fellow zombies. What dangers await the rotting zombies? Who will lose the most body parts? And who, what, or where in the world is Gik?

“Steampunk Roo”

Steampunk animals roam the wild Outback of Australia, but horrible news has come that someone is destroying water stops that keep the Steampunk animals running. It’s up to Steampunk Roo to bring an end to the terrible destruction!

“Pow the Panda, The Case of the Rainbow Dragon”

In the fantastically roaring year of 1925, business is good for a hard-working private eye in Chinatown. When trouble shows up, a girl named Opal, a gorilla, a bear, a bed and bunch of bad puns join it. Pow is left with the Case of the Rainbow Dragon.



All my best to you and yours.  Enjoy!



John H. Carroll





Saturday, December 13, 2014

Excerpt from "Liquid" Chapter 8, Wyvern Trilogy

Liquid, Wyvern Trilogy, Ryallon Series

This is an excerpt out of my current work in progress, "Liquid".  Pelya and Tina enter a shop and speak to the proprietor.

While reading this, please keep in mind that this is the first rough draft and has not received the multiple rounds of editing I will put it through.

 Chapter 8, excerpt

The person sold me a cup that was made by the Rojuun.”  Tumera reached under the counter again.  The cup she handed them was orange with an etched painting of a river all the way around it.  “The water seems to move.”  She handed it to Tina.

“What material is it?”  Tina held it in her hand, weighing it.  “It’s light, but feels sturdy.”

“I don’t know.”  Tumera put her hands on the edge of the counter and stretched her back.  “I would say clay, but it’s too light.  It’s just as fine as porcelain, but I made the mistake of dropping it and it didn’t even chip.  It’s extremely strong.”

“Who did you buy it from?”  Pelya ran a finger over the side of the cup still in Tina’s hand and marveled at the texture of the river.

“A woman with a thick accent I’ve never heard.”  Tumera picked a figurine from the shelf behind her and began cleaning it with the cloth while she spoke with a cadence befitting a bard.  “I have a talent for getting people to talk and it didn’t take long before she was telling me about her entire life.  ” She winked.  “Her name was Yvilla and her people lived in the Pacivakai Fens in the northern part of the Iynath Empire.  Her parents were part of a rebellion against the empire when she was a child.  The people of her village were captured and taken across the empire as prisoners to the Caaldith Mountains.”

“It’s common for prisoners to be taken to mines,” Tina said.  “Most don’t survive the experience.”

“Yes, but they weren’t taken to mines.  They were given to the Rojuun as slaves.”

The news twisted Pelya’s gut.  “The Rojuun want to enslave us?”

“Yes.”  Tumera’s voice deepened with the gravity of her words.  “From what Yvilla told me, that is exactly what they want.  Rojuun believe that humans are here on this world to serve them.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Tina growled.

“I’d like to believe so,” Tumera agreed.  “Yvilla’s tale is fascinating.  She was eight when her people descended below the Caaldith Mountains.  The men were separated from the women and younger children.  Yvilla stayed with her mother working in caverns where they tended odd six-legged beasts and harvested plants that glowed.”

“Didn’t they try to escape?”  Tina’s rigid stance and folded arms made it clear how angry the situation made her.

“Yvilla told me a few did, but they were never heard from again, so whether they succeeded or failed was unknown.”  Tumera leaned one hip against the counter, her story taking a life of its own.  “The caverns they worked were vast.  Entire villages and even cities fit in some.  Other cities took up multiple caverns.  Yvilla didn’t see the cities when she was a child, just the farm caverns that were extensive too from what she said.  She lost track of time while down there, so she doesn’t know exactly how old she was when they took her away to another Rojuun city far away from her mother, though she thinks her age was around fourteen or fifteen.  Yvilla doesn’t know where her parents or any of her siblings are, or if they’re still alive.”

“That’s terrible,” Tina said in despair.  Pelya felt much the same way.

“I agree.  From there, she was taken to a city to work as a servant to a family of Rojuun.  After a year or so, she was exchanged to another family.  After six or seven more exchanges, she finally saw the sky again in a Rojuun city named Puujan on this side of the Caaldith Range.”  Tumera talked hypnotically while concentrating on the details of the figurine.  “The Rojuun placed wings on all the buildings that flutter in breezes.  Yvilla called it the Winged City.”

“Why would they put wings on buildings?” asked Tina.  “Do they fly?”

“No.  From what Yvilla said, the Rojuun are artists.  They sing, paint, sculpt, recite poetry and anything else that has to do with art.”  Tumera pointed at the Rojuun cup.  “Even their dishes are beautiful.  The Rojuun consider the wings to be art.  The part I found most interesting in her stories is that the caverns extended from one side of the Caaldith Mountains to the other.”

“That’s a lot of distance.”  Pelya considered the maps she’d seen in her life.  Commander Brynin’s dragon globe showed the most, but Pelya had never proper time to study it in detail.  “No one’s ever been able to map the range.  It’s too vast.  You said there are entire cities of Rojuun?”

“Yvilla couldn’t tell me exactly how many or how big they are, but she said there has to be tens of thousands of Rojuun in the caverns.”

“That’s a problem.”  Pelya hadn’t believed there were more than scattered groups of them.  “Did she say if they have armies?  I know some are wizards.”

“I don’t know that they have armies.”  Tumera finished cleaning that figurine and picked up one of a forgotten king.  “Yvilla mentioned that they all carry long knives and know how to use them as weapons, though they rarely fought amongst themselves.  The warriors that captured her village were human soldiers of the Iynath Empire.  She did confirm that Rojuun practice magic, but they don’t have wizards.  It sounds more like a natural ability.”

“So a race of knife and magic wielding slavers.”  Tina rubbed her forehead.  “If she’s telling the truth, they’re a bigger problem than we realized.”

“And because they hide underground, none of the kingdoms realize it.”  Pelya drummed her fingers on the counter.  “How did Yvilla escape?”

“Puujan is in the Willden Forest,” Tumera said.  “The Rojuun believe that humans get killed by Druids and built a wall to protect it.  During the day, they let humans go out to forage and hunt.  When the humans disappear, they just get more humans to replace them.”

Tina grinned.  “The Druids rescue the humans, don’t they?”

“Yup.”  Tumera winked.  “Yvilla was foraging one day and saw a Druid in the distance.  The Druid smiled, but made no move toward her.  When Yvilla approached, she was offered freedom.  They brought her to the edge of Swelth, gave her a few supplies and set her free.  The items she sold to me were basics she had in a pack while foraging.”

“I’ve only read about Druids,” Pelya said.  “Aren’t they dangerous in their own right?”

“Only if you threaten the forest,” Tina explained.  “I’ve met a few in my youth.  Tipimn is on the edge of the Willden.  The forest is beautiful as long as you don’t go far into it.  It’s haunted on top of all the other dangers.  I even saw a ghost wandering through the trees once when some friends and I camped there.”

“Now I want to go explore.”


Tina rolled her eyes.  “Every time you hear the word ‘danger’, you say ‘oooo, let’s explore’.  The more dangerous, the more excited you get.”


Progress

I'm currently on chapter 12 of the book, getting close to the halfway mark.  Writing this is fun and there are some plot twists I didn't expect.  The characters are interesting and I'm really starting to wonder how they're going to react to what's ahead.

I'll try to give you another update soon.

All my best,

John H. Carroll


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Four years published - Self published sales information

Happy Anniversary . . . (s)

So, on November 24th, I celebrated (completely forgot) my 4th anniversary of self-publishing.  On November 30th, I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with my wife. Fortunately, I didn't forget that one.

Self Publishing

I decided to finally get around to writing a book in January of 2010, just as I had planned to do 20 years earlier.  2 things got me to finally do it.  I discovered Smashwords and decided I'd give self publishing a try, and I turned 40, at which point I realized I needed to accomplish something instead of making excuses why I hadn't.

I'm addicted to writing books to the degree that I now become anxious when I haven't written for a few days. It's the second most important thing in my life after my family.  I intend to do it for the rest of my life.

In these four years, I've written 24 original works (8 novels, 2 novellas, 4 short stories, and 10 children's books).  I've published 29 titles (4 compilations and an illustrated version of the Emo Bunny that Should)

2014 is the first year I haven't published a book. Difficulties in life have hampered my writing and all other aspects of being a successful self-publisher.  However, things have settled to a large degree and I'm writing more again.

Success

As far as success, I consider that I became a successful writer after I finished my first book, "Rojuun".  As for professional success, I've sold over 13,000 books in the last 4 years.  That makes me a low-level midlister in the self-publishing industry I believe.  It's hard to say. There's not a lot of sales info in the publishing world.  All the companies and most authors believe that sales are a matter of national security *sigh*.

I've decided to share my sales with anyone who's interested.  I've broken it down by book and by sales. There are others who have sold far more, and many who would love to have half this number.  I can tell you that it's taken a crazy amount of work to do this well, and if I had done more work I would have sold more.

If you are writing your own book, you can look at these numbers for information, but keep in mind that they are just the numbers of one author.  If you write, I hope you do it because you enjoy it and not to measure yourself against anyone else.

Sales by book

Rojuun (sales)
380
Anilyia
2853
Kethril
2441
Willden Trilogy omnibus
1092
Dralin
586
Ebudae
1312
Pelya
1146
Wyvern
770
Liselle
461
Rain Glade
224
Alien Coffee
292
Emo Bunny Illustrated
91
Collection
401
Collection 2
14
Wings of Fantasy
597
Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend
117
Test Pilot
217
Don't Ever Change
105
Storage Room in the Grey Void
13
Emo Bunny that Should
149
Zachary Zombie, Lost Boy
221
Drippy, Peg-Legged Rainbow
27
Unholy Cow
72
Attack, Sugar Plum Fairies
176
Phairyphant
27
Naughty Nanoworms
20
Zachary Zombie, Wicked Worm
8
Steampunk Roo
24
Pow the Panda
8
Grand Total - Sales
13844
Rojuun
52968
Dralin
15272
Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend
34386
Test Pilot
34186
Don't Ever Change
37393
Emo Bunny that Should
96090
Zachary Zombie, Lost Boy
40569
Drippy, Peg-Legged Rainbow
28544
Unholy Cow
29862
Attack, Sugar Plum Fairies
58936
Phairyphant
8
Naughty Nanoworms
9
Zachary Zombie, Wicked Worm
1754
Grand Total - Free Giveaways
429977

 Sales by store

Store
Total
Amazon
8742
Smashwords
527
Apple
2464
B&N
1707
Kobo
250
Sony
43
Createspace
61
Blio
8
Library Direct
16
Oyster
6
Grand Total - Sales
13824
Amazon
233720
Smashwords
50180
Apple
97707
B&N
45680
Kobo
3361
Sony
2831
Blio
82
Library Direct
4
Oyster
4
Diesel
43
Page Foundry
14
Grand Total - Free Giveaways
433626

Disparity in numbers 

There is a slight disparity between the total sales by store and by book. I would estimate that there is a 1% total error margin in the numbers. With 29 titles available through 15 distributors over the course of 48 months (I could show you the number of sales of each book by month in each store, but there’s not enough room here)  I haven't sorted out sales by country, though that information is available to a degree.  I'm also on Wattpad, but I haven't added the download info from there at this point.
What to expect in the future 
 Currently, I'm 30,000 words into Liquid, the second book of the Wyvern Trilogy.  I hope to be done early next year if I can strangle enough time to write.  After that, I have hundreds of books in my mind waiting for their turn.
The project that I'm truly excited about is that I've submitted "Dralin" to be published as an audio book.  If that goes well, I intend to make the entire Ryallon series into audio books and possibly even the Demented Children's stories.


*** 
Well, thank you for reading my books and allowing me to share my demented imagination.  I wish you all the best.
John H. Carroll