Friday, June 18, 2021
Monday, June 07, 2021
So, now that a bunch of you have read it and yes, provided some valuable feedback, I thought I'd mention a few things about the story.
First, it was written before any of the Portals of Infinity books were written. By several years. The idea came from part of a graphic novel I saw, that was still in it's infancy, when helping a friend bind magazines (he ran a small press). There was a story (that I suspect never got finished) about two characters who'd grown up as friends and were now at odds (though one of them was completely clueless and didn't know it).
I found the idea interesting, though I had a different take on it. I also had no idea where that story was going to go (and never found out, I sincerely doubt it went more than another few pages past what I saw - a lot of artists in small press never finish their stories). So it got written, and re-written a few times, then I decided to publish it back in 2015. I had another story in the same world (I think it's at about 30K words?) that I was going to finish and follow up with.
But Lost Souls completely bombed. So I shelved that other (unrelated) story in the same world and more or less gave up on it. Maybe I'll put it up on my patreon / subscribestar one of these days, we'll see. I may still have some of the notes on the world / story floating around, but back then I kept a lot of plot ideas in my head, so I don't remember what the resolution was on the second story. Or a fair deal of what was to take place in the second part of the book.
As for why I wrote it? Well I wanted to 'diversify' I wanted to have a broader appeal, and back then I was thinking of being a more 'mainstream' kind of fantasy author. This is why when I wrote Shadow and then Valens, I created a pen name. Part of what killed Lost Souls was that it wasn't what people wanted to see from me back then (I got several emails about that). Though now looking back at the cover, yeah, it was too romancey. I'm gonna throw something simpler on it — that or I may just pull the book completely from the shelf and unpublish it.
One of the things I was told the most about it, back then, was that people didn't like a hero who was so loyal, that he followed orders from his leaders and never disobeyed them. That he'd ride off to exile, even though he knew it was just politics and that he was being 'thrown under the bus' for political gain.
The thing is, that's life in the military. You can be 'thrown away for political gain' and you're expect to suck it up and accept it. It's called 'falling on your sword' and it's a part of life in those worlds and this hero was so loyal, that when he got blindsided, he never saw it coming and didn't know how to react. The thought that people had lied and were engaged in far more nefarious plots never occurred to him. His enemies played off of his loyalty and so he accepted his banishment at face value.
Now he's coming back, older and wiser, and a lot more knowledgeable about corruption, greed, backstabbing, conspiracies, and other such things. Now his loyalty is flavored with not just doing his duty, but doing it in ways that don't leave him holding the bag. Not just blindly running off and doing as he's ordered in the heroic and self-sacrificing way. He's not just a pawn on the chessboard. Sure, he'll take out the 'king' and win the game, but he's not going to play by anyone's rules but his own. Because the truth is, he's playing for himself now.
So that was the story I was trying to tell. How well I did *shrugs* you can be the judge on that. For my first real fantasy novel that I wrote, I guess I didn't do too badly, and I've learned a lot since then. Like I said, it was written before I wrote the first POI books, I think I wrote it in 2003? But in either case, it's done now, and I doubt I'll ever revisit that story again.
So, just a little background, in case anyone was interested. Thanks again to all of you who read it and gave me feedback, I did learn a few things.