Jak Phoenix Update

Jak Phoenix Paperback and Ebook Cover Art

So it has been quite a while since I touched base with the kind souls who might be paying attention to Jak Phoenix-related info. It has been an extremely busy year for me with major changes and a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, the writing of the next Jak Phoenix novel was something that had be slid (temporarily) onto the back-burner.

I was heavily into the writing of Jak Phoenix 3 when some pretty big changes in the way I make a living took place. I left my job of 14 years to work full time on my business. It has consumed every waking moment of my life (in a good way) and so JP3 just had to wait.

The crappy thing was that I was totally consumed with writing this book. I know every author says their latest installment ‘will be my best work’ but I really do feel like this will be the strongest, funniest, most dramatic, and longest Jak Phoenix novel yet.

So I wanted to touch base to make sure anyone who checks knows it isn’t dead in the water. As I gain back a few minutes per day I will be picking right back up where I left off with JP3′s creation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this book series. Have a great 2014!

Matt D. Williams

Author of the Jak Phoenix Space Adventure Series

http://jakphoenix.com/2014/01/04/jak-phoenix-update/

Tracy Falbe – Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour – An Excerpt from Love Lost

FRFblogtourFantasy author Tracy Falbe stops by again with an excerpt from her epic, Love Lost. Read on, my friends…

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Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe presents an excerpt from the fourth novel Love Lost.

In this scene Amar is traveling into the mountain realm of the rys with the army he has mustered for Onja.

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The pouring rain was warm. Swift muddy rivulets rushed down the dirt lane of the Temulanka village nestled in the foothills. Amar observed the shower from the doorway of the home he had occupied to wait out the storm. Kym, Demdin, Urlen, and Khage sat at a table in the small house’s main room while the man of the house stood by nervously. His wife and children were peeking at their dangerous guests from a back room, wondering if they were going to get their throats cut.

The men at the table were too accustomed to power and privilege to pay much heed to the fear of their hosts. Demdin was confounding Khage with a guessing game involving three cups and a dried bean. Khage banged a fist on the table after another wrong guess. Demdin lifted a cup to reveal the bean’s actual location and Kym and Urlen chuckled.

LL-cover-600Upset with the teasing from the older men, Khage said, “You try guessing.”

“All right,” Kym agreed charitably. He knew how the cup game worked but he doubted that he could follow the moves of the deft Podubwa fighting master.

Demdin held the bean up for everyone to see and then put it under a cup with a flourish and started moving the three containers. Steered by his agile hands, the cups glided across the coarse table planks. When they stopped, Demdin regarded Kym expectantly.

“It’s in one of your hands,” Kym said.

Demdin opened his hands to reveal empty palms. Frowning, Kym reluctantly selected a cup. Demdin lifted it to reveal the bean. Genuinely surprised, Kym and Urlen burst out laughing and Khage gaped incredulously.

“How did you know?” Khage asked.

“I didn’t. I thought it was in one of his hands, but then I guessed,” Kym said.

“Why would you think it’s in his hand when he puts it under a cup?” Khage demanded.

“Remind me to never lend you gambling money,” Kym said and got up. His sword and mace clanged against the bench as he moved away.

“Show you,” Demdin offered and shifted the cups back in front of Khage, who studied the moves of the fighting master intently.

Kym joined Amar at the door. A curtain of water streamed down from the eaves.

“The mud will slow the supply wagons,” Kym said.

“They’ll catch up,” Amar said absently.

“Has Onja spoken to you lately?” Kym asked.

“Yes,” Amar said and his hand went to his chest. Deciding not to make Kym badger him, he drew himself out of his innermost thoughts. “Onja awaits the hosts of her faithful. She will appear to us during the blessing ceremony at the mustering place,” he said.

Kym reflected upon his first meeting with Onja and how she had recast his destiny. All things with Onja were a wonder.

“The rain will be done soon,” Amar said. Over the lowlands the sun sliced through the breaking clouds and a full rainbow arched across the Temulanka Domain.

“This is a nice village,” Kym commented as he appreciated its fine view of the lowlands.

“It should prosper now that it’s on the route to Jingten,” Amar said. The village had been only a poor remote place with stony fields until the coming of the Goddess. Its people were still not used to the sudden traffic of armies and tribute caravans.

The rain tapered off, and Amar leaned out and looked up and down the lane. He signaled to the Kezanada in the other doorways that they would get going soon. Despite the delay, they would still reach the mustering place in the village pasturelands well before sunset.

Amar went to the table and picked up his helmet. The tabre hair hung shiny and black from its crest. As he settled it onto his head, the other men picked up their gear and prepared to leave. Khage took one last look through the larder that he had already plundered and happily found a small jar of honey that he had overlooked.

The men filed out of the house, except for Kym. Amar noted the troubled look on his lieutenant’s face and asked, “What bothers you?”

“Lord Amar, are you sure we should both go?” Kym said.

“What do you want to do?” Amar asked back.

“My guts tell me I must go make the Nufal men pay for killing Cybar and Vame,” Kym said.

“Then we both will go,” Amar said, patient with the now familiar discussion.

“But our interests here will go neglected,” Kym worried. He understood the fragility of Onja’s newly imposed peace. The world was squirrelly with possibilities right now.

Amar said. “The Brotherhood can survive our absence for a time. Pender Ruke will work diligently, and we have left enough Kezanada to secure Do Jempur. We will set right any problems when we get back. And all the resources of the kings and Chupabat are with us serving Onja.”

“True,” Kym granted. They had gone over this before.

“Come,” Amar said. “In this war I shall want you close.”

Kym locked eyes with his Overlord and accepted finally that on this campaign his place was with Amar. The distant cities of Nufal awaited punishment.

When they left the house, Amar looked back just as the homeowner sighed with relief. The playfully feline gaze of the dro-shalum made the man jerk back against the wall. Amar smiled. He had been gentle with the people of the west compared to what he wished to do to Onja’s true enemies in the east.

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Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.

Start reading Rys Rising for free and enter the prize drawing. http://falbepublishing.com/braveluck/feel-real-fantasy-blog-tour.html

Enter to win a $25 Etsy gift card and complete 4 book Rys Rising series right here - http://falbepublishing.com/braveluck/feel-real-fantasy-blog-tour.html

Tracy Falbe – Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour – Meet Amar

Fantasy author Tracy Falbe decided to go out on another blog tour and she happens to be starting it off here at mattdwilliamsonline.com. Tracy has been a great supporter of my space adventure series, Jak Phoenix, and I just love getting a chance to share information about her writing. It seems to me that she pours her heart and soul into her stories, so check out her guest post below…

Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe introduces readers to Amar, an outlaw, a warlord, a lover, a friend, and the nightmare of his enemies.

Tracy Falbe fantasyMeet Amar. He’s neither hero nor villain but certainly bad ass.

Age: early 20s
Physical appearance: dark skin, black hair, brown hair, average height.
Special skills: Endurance running, sneaking into buildings, weapons training, dueling, leadership, unconventional strategies
Magical items: Enchanted sword, enchanted armor, enchanted crystal orb that connects him to Onja

Amar is a man of extremes. He attains prestige and authority at a young age. His anger is to be avoided, but he is not without humor and kindness. No woman who loves him ever thinks she can change him. Those loyal to him love him for his generosity. And his enemies will never find him stingy with his vengeance.

More than simple ambition drives him. He was redeemed from a bitter death by the unexpected intervention of Onja. She is a young and powerful rys, a deviant among her kind, but she recognizes that her magic can gain her great influence among the human tribes. Amar becomes her devoted servant and will dare any deed to maintain her favor and support her cause. After surviving a grueling initiation, he rises quickly among a notorious outlaw brotherhood. His brutality and cunning earn him respect. And magical assistance from Onja enhances his mystique until he gains the title dro-shalum which means “curse demon” among the Sabar’Uto Tribe.

Guided by his magical rys benefactress, he becomes a great warlord as the epic unfolds and battles the magical enemies of Onja in distant lands. Victory and glory are the same as his own flesh and blood, and whole kingdoms learn to never defy him. He is not troubled by his bad deeds. He is the servant of greatness and knows that every day of his life is a privilege.

Author’s insights about Amar

Amar was tremendous fun to write. I wanted to create a man meant to be a legend in his own time. Hopefully readers will enjoy sharing Amar’s boots. He wins a lot. He gets to have two girlfriends and they’re OK with it. His trademark cockiness is a pleasure to experience. He’s not a man ruled by his feelings but he’s not above indulging them. He’s strong and smart. And most importantly he’s not a hero in the conventional sense. Amar is meant to make you want to follow him and not care if his cause is good or evil.

From Rys Rising: Book I

The Kez warriors stepped away. Urlen and Amar were left with their blocks at the water’s edge. Amar finally looked at Urlen.
“I’ll be waiting for you,” Amar said.
Then without any hesitation, he bent down and pushed his block with his bound hands. With a scrape and a splash, it yanked Amar into the water. It would not be said that Amar had hesitated at the test of the waters.
A great shout went up from the crowd. Urlen cowered beneath the noise and stared in horror at the radiating circles on the water. Amar was gone.

From Savage Storm

Amar listened carefully to the translation, and his eyes lit up. This was progress.
“Will you face my test?” Moto goaded.
Amar naturally wanted to ask what the test was, but such quibbling hesitation would show weakness.
“Of course,” he answered.
Moto looked over his shoulder at the hunters seated behind him. A tall man rose like a bear out of a berry patch. The thick muscles upon his long frame looked as hard and smooth as the granite upon which he stood.
“Only the spirits can help you against Bifolomo,” Moto said gleefully as his magnificent hunter moved forward. He looked like he could wrestle an elk to the ground. His eyes sparkled with wolfish intensity as he eyed the outlaw born under a roof.
The onset of danger thrilled along Amar’s nerves. He should have expected trial by combat from these primitive people and he embraced the mad freedom of the struggle. The life and death contest made everything simple and he deemed Moto a wise Elder indeed. Amar nodded respectfully to the bent Elder whose solution saved many arguments and much time. Amar would either live and gain glory, or an overdue fate would claim him and he would die.

Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.

Start reading Rys Rising for free and enter the prize drawing. http://falbepublishing.com/braveluck/feel-real-fantasy-blog-tour.html

Enter to win a $25 Etsy gift card and complete 4 book Rys Rising series right here - http://falbepublishing.com/braveluck/feel-real-fantasy-blog-tour.html

Pinterest Presentation: The Art of Jeff Thomason

A new feature I’m starting today is the ‘Pinterest Presentation,’ where I’ll be showcasing work from great authors and artists. As always, if you want to be involved, contact me. I am always looking for someone new to promote either in this feature or in my ‘Checking in With Other Authors series.’

Today’s Pinterest Presentation focuses on the art of Jeff Thomason, who has done some great art for my space adventure series, Jak Phoenix. Have a look and follow me!

Check out the board here: http://pinterest.com/jakphoenix/the-art-of-jeff-thomason/

I’m on Pinterest!

I decided to open up a Pinterest account to post about my Jak Phoenix novels and about all the stuff I’m into. Look for future postings where I’ll showcase some of my favorite indie authors, among other things.

You’ll find my boards at www.pinterest.com/jakphoenix

Come and follow me. I hope to see you there!

Matt D. Williams
Author of the Jak Phoenix space adventure novels.

Using Words and Pictures to Tell a Story – A Guest Post with Jeff Thomason

Today, artist/author Jeff Thomason has provided me with an amazing guest post. You might remember him as the artist who designed the Jak Phoenix character art you’ve seen as well as the cover artwork for my book Jak Phoenix 2: The Markazian Deception. Check out this great read about the illustrated story and how he is making it work for him…

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Using Words and Pictures to tell a Story

I love reading stories. I love telling stories. And there are many ways to do it using a variety of tools. Two of the most common are words and pictures.

Words can be spoken, written, or read. The auditory section of your brain does the processing and interpreting, even if you read black text on a white page. Using words is telling a story (despite what your English teacher said about showing and not telling). There are many advantages to using words and telling including clarity (say exactly what you mean) and economy (cover large periods of time quickly).

Stories can also be told with pictures. The visual part of the brain does the interpreting here. Pictures have the advantage of showing what is happening, whether it is an action or emotion. They also save time by showing a scene and avoiding a lengthy description. The disadvantage is everyone sees something different in an image, so this approach lacks the clarity of words. And the economy—you can’t move as quickly through time nor as effectively with just visuals.

People have tried combining words and pictures to exploit the advantages of each and minimize the disadvantages. Sometimes the words dominate like in boys’ adventure books such as Hardy Boys or Treasure Island. Sometimes pictures dominate as in children’s storybooks like Morris Goes to School or Where the Wild Things Are or in silent films that occasionally show title cards while letting the picture carry the narrative. In both of these cases, the words and pictures essentially tell the same story. Usually you can remove the subordinate element and lose very little. This is called parallel storytelling. And it just doesn’t apply to uneven mixes—early adventure comic strips such as Terry and the Pirates or The Phantom took readers to exotic worlds with equal parts words and pictures. But they still relied on parallel storytelling, basically repeating what was said with what was shown. But it’s not the only way to skin a cat (or tell a story if you don’t like all that clawing and screeching).

Words and pictures can be put together in ways that create synergy meaning the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Common examples are advertisements where the words say one thing, the picture another, and the combination of the two make a third, more powerful statement.

So why can’t this be done with stories? Answer, it can, and it has, but it’s hard so not everyone does it. But luckily, there are a few who do whether it be on the screen, the stage, or the page. Watch a classic movie like Big Fish, pick up a great comic book like The Elektra Saga, or download an illustrated novella like The Caveman Conspiracy (a Wandering Koala tale) and you’ll see what I mean.

I see you scratching your head. The Caveman Conspiracy? What’s that? It’s my attempt at creating a new genre I’m calling an illustrated novella (but I’m not in love with the name so I may change it). You see, words and pictures both have different strengths. There are times when words can say it best, times when a picture is worth more than a thousand words, and times when a combination of the two is the ticket. But most forms can’t smoothly or easily switch between the three. Comic books come close, but the format requires more pictures than are necessary. The illustrated novella, however, can.

So am I the first one to try this? No. Others have done it before, but they called it a graphic novel. Will Eisner’s A Contract With God, Dave Mazzuchelli’s Asteryos Polyp, and Kyle Baker’s I Die At Midnight have all done this and done it well.

So why don’t I just call mine a graphic novel? Three reasons. First, most people think of a graphic novel as nothing more than a long comic book bound so it can sit on a bookshelf. Will Eisner did more than just create a long comic, but most people missed what was really going on, so now graphic novel is a misnomer for trade paperback. Second, all three examples I cited rely on panels, a unique element to comics, although Will used them sparingly. The panels always bothered me, so I got rid of them. And third, I hate word balloons.

So far I’ve created one story in this format and am working on a second. And I absolutely love it! It’s given me the freedom to tell the kind of stories I want to tell in a way that as unobtrusive and unobstructive to the reader as possible. After all, my goal is to make the story as easy for the reader to get lost in as possible. That means using the right tool for the right job with nothing wasted. An illustrated story doesn’t use enough pictures, and a comic book uses too many.

So are you curious what this new concoction looks like? If only there were a way you could sample it. Wait! You can! You can download the first half of the story for free from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or many other fine retailers or you can read it online at http://www.wanderingkoala.com/s_caveman.php. If you like it, pick up the second half. See how it ends. I’m pretty sure it won’t be what you’re expecting. And then get ready for The Green Bull (that’s what I’m calling the next one). It starts in a seemingly innocent … but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you.

By Jeff Thomason

www.skyfitsjeff.com
@Jeff_Thomason on Twitter
Jeff On Facebook

Connect with me on Goodreads.com!

I’ve had an author page on Goodreads.com since mid 2010, but recently I decided to start paying a little more attention to it. I really enjoy the site and the fact that it encourages the enjoyment of literature, letting you list books you’ve read, plan to read or personally wrote. If you’re an avid reader, joint the site if you haven’t already. All my books have pages on Goodreads and I have an author profile there as well. Please drop by and become a fan or friend. I’d appreciate either.

Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4591308.Matt_D_Williams

My Books on Goodreads:

Matt D. Williams

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