Mind = Blown.

You ever get that feeling, in the middle of a project, that you’re missing something? The same one that grinds your progress to a halt while you think about how you can try and fix it? I’ve been stuck with that feeling for awhile.

Unfortunately that same feeling has been striking Crimson Sands and the entire series that it starts. It’s made the story feel hollow and lacking any real direction. It’s hindered my progress with the story, making penning even a few words seem like an ordeal.

Until now.

I had a little epiphany the other night which has set the Dark Stars universe on fire. The introduction of a single character, along with expanding the role of another from a later book to throughout the series, has turned the entire idea upside down. It makes a formerly subtle storyline become much more prominent, along with helping change the role of the two protagonists.

This simple idea has changed my outlook on the Dark Stars universe, along with the New Horizons series (the arch that follows Jacob and Vaerys) within it. It excites and invigorates me, but it also requires me to sit back, stop the proverbial presses and think about how this change will truly shape Dark Stars. With that, I’ll be stepping back for a little while I plan my way through this.

Hell, I think a bloody flow-chart might be in order for this. The codex is also gonna get a bit fatter in the meantime.

In the meanwhile, I got a couple other story ideas I am kicking around that I’ll see about working on while I brainstorm Dark Stars. Not everything will be grinding to a halt, you understand. Particularly since my couple of days of vacation where I sat on my backside and didn’t pen a single thing.

Yeah, violating the golden rule of writing, “Write something every day.”

Either way, I’ll keep working and keep you folks updated as things progress. For now, it’s back to plotting my dominance and/or demise while working on random one-off shorts.

Remember, remember, (the fifth of) November …

You might be wondering why I decided to throw in a V for Vendetta quote. It was simply the fact that mentioned November, so I went with it.

Now for why you’re here!

I’ve recently signed up on NaNoWriMo with the intention of entering this November. If you want to check out my profile over there, I’m going to be writing under “James Darrow” over there. Shocking, am I right?

For those that aren’t aware, NaNoWriMo – or “National Novel Writing Month” – is both an event and a non-profit organization (under the name “The Office of Letters and Light”).

As a non-profit, NaNoWriMo helps bring creative writing software, supplies, writing ideas and lesson plans to classrooms from kindergarten through high-school. If you want to help, you can make a tax-deductible donation or buy items such as T-shirts, mugs, ect.

As an event, run by the same non-profit, it is the equivalent of a literary marathon. From the crack of dawn on November 1st till midnight on the 30th, participants are tasked with writing a 50,000 (or more) word novel. The average to beat the requirement is 1,667 words-per-day.

What is the prize for crossing the finish line? A printable certificate of completion, some badges you can put on your blog/site/ect, a coupon for 50% off a copy of Scrivener (already own it), and another coupon for five free prints of your story on the CreateSpace platform.

Plus, you know, the satisfaction that you’ve basically written a whole damn novel inside of thirty days.

I’ve already got a story in mind that I am mentally piecing together. It’s got a working title of “Under A Falling Sky”, and will be a SciFi Fantasy mix. By “Scifi Fantasy”, I do actually mean “Guns and jets mixed with magic and spells”. ‘Tis a rare genre, but one that I love.

I won’t be penning a single word of this story till November, so it’s driving me mad as it is. It does, however, give me more time to work on Crimson Sands, which is advancing at a solid pace.

I’ll keep ya’ll advised as to what’s going on as they come up, but for now, it’s gonna be a hectic and chaotic period.

What’s new for the readers?

A Debt of Lead is released, the Prayer to the Exiled has since been posted. We’ve managed to get lots of action, hopefully a bit of exposition for the Dark Stars universe, and gotten our first taste of Jacob Wilkens.

So what’s next?

I’ll be very forward here, I have big plans for the Dark Stars universe. I made it as a sandbox that I could take a wide variety of stories and character, then place them inside and tell their tales. As such, I’ve even managed to conceptually adapt a number of my older stories that didn’t quite work, and fit them in the Dark Stars setting.

How many story ideas does this sandbox leave me with, you might wonder?

Eight novels, at least. Yes, you heard me right. And yes, ambition might be playing against me, but I don’t care.

I have, at least, two series planned right now that fit into the setting. The first is a consistently growing series about two mercenaries – Jacob Wilkens and Vaerys Tyrus Dirion – and the jobs they work. The second is firmly a trilogy about a unique TAC (the main human government) SpecForce team.

So what’s in the oven right now?

Crimson Sands, the first full-length novel in the Dark Stars setting, is being started. This novel will follow the events of A Debt of Lead, and will star the aforementioned mercenaries and how they begin to work together.

It will also be the first time that a Vashari – in the form of Vaerys – has ever been a main character in the Dark Stars universe, so the idea of showcasing her and her culture is very exciting for me.

So stay tuned, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the show has only just begun.

New releases!

A new day, a couple new releases!

First out of the gate, we have A Prayer to the Exiled, a poetic prayer amongst the Vashari in the Dark Stars universe. This piece is exclusively being posted on her website [link], with the full piece posted right … here. The link to this piece has been added to the Published Pieces menu on this website for future references.

This piece gives a little insight into Vashari culture, along with offering a small glimpse into one of the two protagonists for my upcoming works, Vaerys Tyrus Dirion. I hope you all enjoy this piece, just as I enjoyed writing and sharing it.

Second, A Debt of Lead has been released! It is currently available [in pdf, mobi, and epub formats] in the downloads box to the left on this page. Alternatively, there is a direct link to the zip over on the Downloads page.

This story is the debut of my second protagonist, Jacob Wilkens, for the Dark Stars universe. In this story, he’s got to fight his way up through a casino that operates as a front for a stim cartel. If he doesn’t, the cartel’s henchmen will kidnap and kill one of his associates, something he can’t let happen.

These works, combined with Dawnstar, form the beginning of our exposure to the Dark Stars universe. This new universe is a place filled with pirates, massive corporations, stim cartels, aliens known as the Vashari, civil war amongst mankind, and more.

Here’s hoping you stick around and enjoy the ride.