Arata’raya (Fragment Alpha-10)

Dustin finally stepped through the city gates after hours of wandering through the desert. His skin was dry and irritated from his journey so he made his way to the nearest inn that he could find and paid for a room and as much water as he could afford.

“You’re lucky you didn’t die out there,” the innkeeper remarked. “The heat today has been dreadful.”

“I normally don’t wander the desert, but I was looking for a town that doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Well, you’re a long way from the So’raya crater.”

It was only natural that the innkeeper knew exactly what Dustin was talking about. The sudden destruction of that city still unnerved people even years later. It wasn’t the type of thing to be forgotten and left unmentioned in daily conversation.

During Dustin’s first visit to this world he had fought a great battle that had consumed the whole of So’raya. Having ended up in this same world again, he felt it would only be appropriate to return to the crater and pay his respects to the people that had lost their lives because of him.

“I have no idea where I am,” Dustin admitted with a weak smile. His entire body was fatigued and his mind was weak.

“This is Arata’raya, far to the north of the crater.”

“It was foolish of me to even try to go back there. That would just bring me feelings of sadness and failure.”

“You wouldn’t be the first to dwell on the past. That never ends well. The tragedy of So’raya unfortunately coincided with the disappearance of the evil gods. There are some who think the city was sacrificed to them in exchange for protecting the rest of the world. I think that’s a little disrespectful, but there are new rumors like that surfacing all the time.”

Dustin hadn’t imagined such a legend would spread. It certainly made sense that people might suspect that, but he agreed that it was disrespectful.

“The Corruption has taken human form,” Dustin said. “If he’s defeated, the world might be healed.”

“Now that’s a story I’ve never heard before. Where did you learn about that?”

“From talking flames. I’d like to think they were telling the truth.”

“That desert heat might have gone to your head…”

“It’s taken a toll on me, that’s certain. I think I’m going to go to sleep now. Which way is my room?”

The innkeeper guided Dustin to his room. Once inside, he closed the curtains to block out the sun and sat down on the bed. The blankets were a little rough, but softer than he’d expected. Dustin wrapped himself up in them. Thanks to the water and the relief of finally getting out from under the sun, being wrapped up in fur blankets felt comfortable to him despite the true temperature.

Within minutes, he had descended into the world of dreams. He dreamed of his conversations with the Black Flames and the knowledge they gave to him. He remembered their talks of his birth and his divinity.

And as he descended deeper into sleep, he remembered his time as the leader of the Blood Masters. He had rescued those he deemed to be good and given them power. Then he had abandoned them and failed to protect them.

They awaited his orders no longer. Those who wanted to continue fighting had joined the Archimedes Alliance while the majority dispersed uninterested and dispirited.

It was the biggest failure of his life, the Blood Masters project, and it still haunted his unconscious mind.

Perhaps for good reason.

Perhaps not.

Wrapped snugly in a small room in the middle of a desert, far from his quest to save the world, Dustin slept peacefully.

Writing Update: It’s May Now Edition

Back when I first started writing, I had lots of posts about different ideas and things that I was eager to share. These days I try to keep everything a secret and so I end up not posting as much, so please forgive me for this.

Sooner or later, I’ll reveal the title for Memory Blood 2. While the second installment was originally referred to by just a number, that’s not very descriptive, is it? The name reveals a lot about the book so I don’t know that I want to reveal it just yet, but I’ll likely put MB2 up for pre-order on Kindle so the description and title will be available then along with some cover art that may or may not be temporary.

I think the writing and editing for MB2 has been going very well so I’m confident it will be out on time. The first time it got delayed was because I chose an inferior direction. The second time it got delayed was because I wanted to give myself extra time. I’ll use the remainder of May and the next few months to make sure everything is as it should be. I created some tough situations in this book, but everything is really coming together and anyone who liked Memory Blood should enjoy MB2 even more.

That said, there is a shift in focus. Memory Blood focused on Mara and Dustin while Memory Blood 2 expands out a little bit. Rather than the relationship between two people, there are multiple characters this time around and so balancing the characters relative to one another is one of the biggest challenges this time around.

Writing Update: Good Progress Edition

This week I came up with some cool new ideas for Creswood Part 2 that have pushed me into the second half of the story. The difficulty level is climbing and I’m hoping to think of even more difficult tricks to include. It’s tough writing tricks for a story that’s already been “solved”, but that’s part of the fun of this extra super difficult scenario.

Speaking of which, I’ve decided to make both Creswood Mysteries and its successor available for free at the end of the month! You’ll be able to purchase the Kindle or iBooks edition for 99 cents if you choose, but if you’d rather not spend the money then feel free to stop by and get both for free. The final story will also be made available for free, but I might also gather all three stories and publish them together as Creswood Collection or something like that as well.

There’s not much else to say this week, but just to summarize my current plans:

End of April 2015 – Creswood 2

Summer 2015 – Memory Blood 2

Winter 2015 – Creswood 3

2016 – Memory Blood 3 and 4 (end of the series)

Writing Update: February 2015 Edition

Memory Blood 2 surpassed the 50% completion mark a while ago and right now I’m determining the shape of the third story. I’ve been very open to changing the plot and character arcs, but now that most of those have fallen into place the shape of the remaining stories is something I don’t have to worry about too much. The characters are on a certain trajectory that will take them into the finale of Memory Blood 2 and the plot complements the journey of our cast this time around and I’m very proud of the work I’ve been doing. I’ve said it before, but I think Memory Blood 2 will manage to surpass the first novel in terms of quality despite how much I love the story of the first book. This is something that is very important to me and the major reason why I delayed the novel to April of this year. In a worst case scenario, I think Memory Blood 2 will release this May although I’m still aiming for April.

According to the current plan, Memory Blood 3 will be released later this year as well but I’m open to changing things around and doing what’s best for the series. I think Creswood’s sequel will definitely be released this year seeing as that’s a smaller project, but Memory Blood 3 could be replaced by a different work and delayed to 2016. As much as I love trying to schedule things, my inability to write full-time means that I’m severely limited in that regard. If my focus is on other work most of the time then it can be difficult to force time to be creative and deliver the best stories that I can. While I used to take this personally in the past, I’ve come to accept the reality that until I’m writing full-time there’s not much point in creating a writing schedule (I’ve learned a lot about what I would do if I were writing full-time, however). I still have targets for various things, but I’m not too concerned about missing those targets if it means delivering the best work I can.

Ideally, the ad campaigns I’m working on right now will bring Memory Blood and my other books to the attention of more people and allow me to allocate more time to writing without worrying that I should be working on something more profitable. I know that this will happen one day, but I’m doing my best to ensure it starts happening now.

Writing Update: September 2014 W3 Edition

Memory Blood 2 is now at about 12k words and the ideas for each story have been solidified. At the moment, there are 5 stories just like there were in the original. They all have a unique flavor to them as well, but I’m approaching the ongoing plot a little differently this time around. I don’t want to give away anything about the plot so there’s not much that I can say other than confirming that it’ll be a little bit different (which is probably a useless thing to confirm to begin with).

The tone this time around is a little more prevalent and can be seen throughout all of the stories. In the first book, Mara and Dustin’s relationship was at the center and so all the stories were very focused on those two characters. This time around, the situation isn’t focused on a relationship between two people. Even though I’ve given away nothing I feel like I shouldn’t say much more so that concludes this week’s Writing Update. In the future I might give away some sort of tangible detail about the new book so I’ll stop talking for now.

Writing Update: September 2014 W2 Edition

The word count for Memory Blood 2 has now reached ~9500. I had wanted to get to 10k before posting this, but I feel I’ve already written a good amount today and I didn’t want to force anything. This time around I’ve been thinking about the plot and jumping around whilst writing rather than spending months and months planning and resisting the temptation to write.

The character arcs arose very naturally and tie in well with the main plot. The elements I was unsure about during the production of the first book are all falling into place and I’m enjoying the process. One of the only things I don’t really know just yet is the number of stories that will be included. I expect the word count to be around the same as it was for the first book, likely a little higher, but I’m not too worried about that right now.

Writing Update: September 2014 W1 Edition

This week I deleted the content that I knew wasn’t going to be kept and wrote the next 1,000 words of Memory Blood 2’s first story. The general ideas for all of the stories and the arcs of each character have been decided upon. From here on out, the writing won’t be slowed down by my being uncertain of things. This is the type of planning I used for the first Memory Blood and it went very well and it felt right then and it feels right now.

Writing isn’t just thinking of things and writing them down. It’s about exploring and learning about things as they happen and so planning should be limited to direction and important ideas or topics. This is how I’ve always enjoyed writing and the only time my writing has ever suffered is when I arbitrarily decided on things and didn’t take into account the actual act of writing and the need for freedom.

I’ve spoken about this balance between planning and writing many times before, so I apologize if it seems redundant at this point. At the very least, this update can serve the purpose of informing the reader that I’m still using this style.