Category Archives: Dawn of Chaos

Dawn of Chaos is the first novel in the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga.

The Headmaster’s Last Student

“You were right when you said I’ve done all I can — for now. Song and theater won’t defeat Zomoran and his horde, and Carlissa doesn’t need a ‘princess bard.’ It needs a warrior princess.”

She turned to face him. Her eyes were alight with determination.

“Teach me, Grandfather,” she said. “To fight, with steel and magic. You’re the world’s greatest living adventurer. Take me as your student. Help me to become the weapon I will need to be to defeat our enemies.”

It’s Done

The final edit of Sanctum of the Archmage: Dawn of Chaos is done!

All that remains now is a final proofreading pass, and integrating the final version of the cover (which I’m expecting from Charles any day now). The proofreading will only be for typos (of which I hope not to find any). Producing the Kindle file for upload shouldn’t take more than an hour. Barring any pre-release marketing I may decide to do, there doesn’t seem to be any reason I can’t publish by the end of the month at latest.

Work on Sanctum 2 Resumed

I’m pleased to announce that after a three year break to focus on my career and on writing my novels, I am returning to work on completing the remake of my NWN adventure module, Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Quest.

Formerly released under the name Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Miracle Worker, Act I, the second chapter of my adventure module series has been unavailable for the last two years since IGN’s Neverwinter Nights Vault went off-line in the spring of 2014. The most recent version, v3.4, was also incompatible with the v4 remake of Chapter 1 that I released in 2013. I had wanted to release a remake of Chapter 2 as well, but was forced to put that work on the shelf to focus on re-booting my career, and on writing the saga’s novels.

I have worked sporadically on the remake over the last three years, though. And there is still some additional re-work that I want to do, particularly in re-making the “flying areas” at the end using the wonderful “Sanctum Flying Skyscape Tileset” that Estelindis built for the series. But I’ve decided that can wait for a future update. And without those changes, I think that another month or so worth of work would bring it close to a releasable (or at least beta-testable) state. So I’ve decided to move forward with that as a plan.

With that said, my work on the series over the next months should be as follows. In June I expect to be finishing work on The Quest, and completing my full edit of Dawn of Chaos. In July and August I hope to get the novel out for a professional edit and to finish production, and to set up a beta test for the module remake. In September I’m hoping to be able to release both to the public.

After that, I’ll work on remaking the flying areas for The Quest, and getting started on my next projects: producing an audiobook version of Prologue to Chaos, and starting work on my second novel: Wrath of the Peregrine King.

I’m thinking that should keep me busy for a while. 🙂

Dawn of Chaos is Complete

I am very pleased to announce that I have completed writing Dawn of Chaos, the first full-length novel in the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. The final draft comes to about 143,000 words, or just over 400 “paperback equivalent pages.”

Now that the book is finished, the next phase of preparing for publication begins. I’m currently going through a technical edit of the full manuscript to identify and correct typos and misspellings, inconsistent word usage, and the like. After that I’ll do a full read-through to give the book a stylistic edit and make sure the final version is as polished as possible. I’ll also be looking to hire a copy-editor to review it. And I’ll be working with my illustrator, Charles, to finalize the cover and in-line drawings.

I’ll also be working on starting to put together a “marketing plan.” This will involve a lot of the kind of things described in the self-publishing references I’ve been studying such as the terrific Write, Publish Repeat, as well as updating my website and establishing an author platform (on Amazon at least).

So when will it be published? That will depend on how much time all of the above takes, but I’m estimating roughly three to four months. That makes my current target to release Dawn of Chaos on the Kindle store sometime this August.

Writing the Last Chapter!

Chapter 24 of Dawn of Chaos — now titled Homecomings — is complete. I’m now officially writing the last chapter, The Seeds of the Rebellion. It will finish tying up the events of the first novel and set the stage for the second, Wrath of the Peregrine King.

The book now stands at 133,754 words, or about 382 “paperback equivalent pages” (PEP). My current estimate for the final length is about 139,000 words, or just shy of 400 PEP. I’m hoping to be able to get through the editing, production and marketing activities needed over the next few months, and to publish it sometime this summer.

Chapter 23 Complete

I’ve now completed writing Chapter 23 — The New Order — of Dawn of Chaos. Only two chapters remain and the manuscript will be complete. Next up is Chapter 24, The Seeds of the Rebellion.

The book now stands at 129,373 words, or about 370 of what I call “paperback equivalent pages” (PEP). I’m hoping the wrap up the last two chapters fairly quickly. My current estimate for the final length is about 136,000 words or just shy of 390 PEP.

EDIT: I’ve decided to rename Chapter 24 “Homecomings,” and to use “The Seeds of the Rebellion” for the final Chapter.

Sanctum Summer Novel Update

It’s been quite a while since my last comment on the status of the first Sanctum novel, so I thought that now might be a good time to post an update.

The less good news is that I was sidetracked from working on it for much of the first half of the year by two other important projects. The first was to teach myself how to develop and publish e-books, and to test that knowledge with a short work by actually going through the process of releasing one. As you likely know if you’re reading this, that project was successful, and resulted in the publication this spring of Dawn of Chaos: Prologue to the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga, now available on Amazon Kindle.

The second involved an ongoing attempt to try to “fix” my day-job career as a computer scientist, which had been in a bit of a rut for the last several years. Until recently, this had been consuming an inordinate amount of my time and mental energy. Fortunately, and after several frustrating false starts, I think I’ve finally managed to plot a new and stable career path, and one that will even allow me to work with new game technologies such as Unity and VR development. (I just got a new Oculus Rift headset for that purpose last week, and it is very cool. :))

These accomplishments have finally allowed me the time and mental energy to resume work on first novel again in earnest. My recent writing has been picking up speed and momentum as a result, adding about ten thousand words over the last month for a total of about thirty thousand so far. I just finished a long passage last night that included a very challenging death scene, and have so much new material that I’m actually having to restructure the outline. Chapter 3 turned out to be nearly as long as chapters 1 and 2 combined, so I had to split it into two; I’ll be doing the same with a later chapter as well, bringing the planned total up to eight. The end result should be at least seventy thousand words, or 200 “paperback equivalent pages.” And now that I’ve “got my stride,” I’m expecting the rest of the book to come much faster.

One final thing that I’m debating (and would welcome feedback on) is my approach to structuring the series. My plan had been to write three short novels, of which this would be the first, and then to collect them as parts into a longer book when they were all finished. I’d still like to have the option of doing that, especially if I decide later on to pursue publishing the series as paper books as well. I’m concerned, though, that this approach may be overly complicated for readers.

I’m also considering using the title Crucible of Heroes for the first book, rather than saving it for the possible later collection. The End of the Beginning does capture the idea of what happens in the first book: Carlissa on the cusp of a renaissance, with that beginning brought to an end by the demon invasion. But I don’t think there’s any denying that Crucible of Heroes is a catchier title, and I think that for a first novel, it would probably be a good idea to take advantage of that.

So what do you think? Keep the planned structure of parts and books, or just write a sequence of shorter books? Use Crucible of Heroes for the first book, or stick with The End of the Beginning? Any feedback is welcome. 🙂

Update #2: E-Pub, Map, and Teaser Release

Work on The End of the Beginning continues in the time I’ve had available after my other commitments. I’ve been working recently on studying the technical details of e-book publishing, migrating my writing efforts from where I started them in MS Word to a new set of tools, giving a serious and long overdue update to the Map of Kalara, and preparing a short “teaser intro” to the Sanctum saga for an upcoming Kindle release.

I’m very pleased with the results of my recent research into e-book publishing, which have led me to start using a writing tool called Scrivener. Scrivener is a bit like a software development environment, with projects and resources that one can include in “compiles” of portions of a book for export to different formats. I’ve also started using an e-pub editor called Sigil, which allows me to fine-tune the files produced by Scrivener. Together they provide a great deal of flexibility and control over the writing and formatting, which I expect to result in a better quality result when the books are finally published.

The improvements to the Map of Kalara involving some long overdue scanning, merging, and extensive image editing of the now obsolete hand-drawn maps that I’ve been working from until now. It took quite a while, especially given that it also included the time required to teach myself how to use the GIMP image editor. I’m extremely pleased with the result, however, and I think that readers will be as well.

Another development since my last post is that I’ve decided that the first e-book will actually be a short “teaser,” consisting of the prologue to the first novel and an appendix. The appendix will feature the new, larger, and vastly improved map, as well as brief introductory overviews to the history, geography and culture of Kalara. My working title for it is The Two Princes, though I won’t spoil any more about it just yet. If all goes well I should be able to finish the appendix shortly, and get the teaser ready for a Kindle release sometime in April.

I’m also pleased to announce (or re-announce, since I think I mentioned it in a previous post) that Charles Imbro will be collaborating with me to produce pen and ink illustrations for the series — beginning with cover art for The Two Princes. Charles is an extremely talented artist, and I think you’ll really enjoy his work.