The One Where Joey and Monica Argue Over Who's the Best Beatle

I'm going to just off-the-bat admit that I'm not a huge fan of either Friends or the Beatles (nothing against either of them), but that title was probably the most clever one I could come up with for the topic I wanted to write about.

I tweeted out a couple days ago that I was having a lot of thoughts about ensemble casts, and that I was maybe going to write about those thoughts that night, which is naturally why I'm writing about them today. I probably should be writing the third act of Collapse of Kingdoms right now, but here we are.

I think a good place to start is maybe to properly define what I mean when I'm talking about an ensemble cast. I think that this can oftentimes be confused by something with a large cast of characters. By and large, most fiction has a single main protagonist, maybe two. The key to an ensemble cast isn't the number of characters, but the number of them directly related to the protagonist and their goals; sub-protagonists, if you will, whose own individual character arcs happen to, in some way or another, inform that of the protagonist.

The easy fantasy example here would be Lord of the Rings, which was the prototype for the adventuring party. Every member of the Fellowship had their own reason for being there, and (to lesser or greater degrees) their own character arcs, and yet the story wasn't about Gandalf's sacrifice and resurrection, or Aragorn's ascent to the throne, despite those being significant plot points, and major events in the lives of the respective characters.

I think that's probably at the core of what makes ensembles so appealing. Everyone loves the Hero's Journey. Everyone, at their core, wants to see good prevail over evil, to see the conflict resolved. Everyone wants to identify with that, to feel a connection with it. In works with a solitary protagonist, it becomes a bit problematic: does one write a well-defined character that only resonates with a fraction of individuals, or make a character a blank slate onto which one can project oneself? The former can result in a protagonist that can be disliked, even hated, by an audience, and the latter can result in a bland character met with indifference. Ensembles present a variety of characters prominent enough in the story that anyone can have their favourite. People like having a favourite - Ringo, Legolas, Chandler, Sir Gawain.

I mean, Ringo was never really anyone's favourite, but you get the idea.

Just look at Overwatch. I have neither the time nor the computing power to run the game, but through sheer cultural osmosis I can tell you that I'd probably main Tracer if I did.

So what about the other side of the coin? What about writing ensemble casts? I feel confident in saying that the Four Kingdoms books are definitely ensemble books, and with that I definitely want to add the caveat that I am by no means an expert on the subject. That said, I think there are some key points to writing ensembles that I've unintentionally cribbed from some of my favourite media, the latter of which I'll probably toss in at the end.

  • The Protagonist is the protagonist for a good reason - Whatever the central conflict of the story, the protagonist has to be at the centre of it in such a way that no one else in the cast could be. It's pretty easy to fall into Chosen One territory here (which, if that's your thing, cool), especially in genre fiction, but it's tantamount to making the story make sense.
    Footnote: No, the Eagles couldn't have just dropped the ring into Mount Doom, the same way the RAF couldn't just go and bomb Hitler.
  • The ensemble works because the characters are diverse - This should be a bit of a no-brainer, but no one would have watched Ocean's Eleven if every character was Brad Pitt, or Don Cheadle et. al acting like Brad Pitt.
  • Every character has a story, but not one so prominent as to detract from the main plot - It's easy to fall into the trap of finding your own favourite character as you write an ensemble, often not your protagonist. While each of the characters having their own personal conflicts adds dimension and depth, be careful not to let their stories overshadow the main plot. It will end up being a mess, not unlike the final season of How Barney Dated Robin and WHOOPS! I Forgot The Story I Was Trying to Tell.
  • Conflict within your ensemble is natural, but don't forget the resolution - Spend enough time with the same people, and personalities will clash. That said, your ensemble is also an ensemble because they have something in common, be it friendship, a common goal, or even blood ties. While 100% antagonistic relationships in any of these scenarios are not completely unheard of, actually think about your own family/friend group/workplace, and whether or not everyone therein would be able to function if there was nothing but toxicity between even two members - they probably wouldn't.

Like I said, I'm far from an expert, but I think these are some solid foundation points. I'll also add that, while I think I do a good enough job writing an ensemble cast, I have a few examples of various media that I've looked to for inspiration, so feel free to get into them and geek out with me about them!

  • Patrick Weekes' Rogues of the Republic
  • Final Fantasy IX (I didn't play VII, and this one is magical)
  • Love Hina
  • Erin M. Evans' Brimstone Angels
  • Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

What are some of your favourite stories featuring ensemble casts? Who are your favourite ensemble characters? If Ringo Starr played Overwatch, who do you think he'd main?

Probably Agent 76, right?

'WriMo Wrap-Up 2016 or My Brain is Fried Right Now, and I Can't Conceive of a Better Title

Okay you guys, I'm going to start off the top with this:


October 28th was mine and Deanna's seven-year anniversary, and we celebrated by taking the trip to Walt Disney World that we had been talking about taking for the last two years. Because Deanna is a lifelong Acolyte of the House of Mouse, the setup was perfect. We arrived at Magic Kingdom just after dawn, when the sun was only high enough that the stars couldn't be seen. I was insistent that we get a picture in front of Cinderella's Castle before the crowds show up.
The photographer on site snapped a few photos, and immediately after, with my heart threatening to burst out of my chest, I took the ring box from my pocket, got down on one knee, and asked Deanna to marry me.

There were lots of tears of joy. I still get giddy recounting it. If you really want, there are photos on mine and Deanna's various social media, and even a video Deanna posted to Facebook that was taken by a lovely stranger, who then emailed it to us.




I know you all didn't click on this to hear me gush about that. You're here because of NaNoWriMo. It's December 1st, by my watch, and boy do I have a lot to talk about.

For the uninitiated: NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an annual even that takes place every November, wherein participants are challenged to write 50,000 words of a single fiction piece in thirty days.

I've mentioned on numerous occasions and in various interviews that The Summerlark Elf was a NaNo book. One, I should add, that I was successful in completing in the allotted time frame. That was three years ago, and between then and now, a lot has changed for me. A lot.

In 2014 and 2015, I forewent taking part in NaNo for a number of reasons. The most prominent of these reasons was that, following that first NaNo, I started working full-time consistently. As I spent the bulk of 2014 working on The Missing Thane's War, I found that the days when I was able to write 1500+ words (the daily NaNo goal is 1667) were fewer and fewer, and as any author will tell you, nothing cuts into your writing time quite like life.

Besides, by the time November 2014 came around I was getting ready to release Thane, and figured I'd have plenty of time to write The Council of Tymenthia, so why try to stress myself out more than I needed to?

2015 came and went in a whirlwind. My brother got engaged, Realmwalker happened, people were starting to take notice of my work. I spent nearly a year working diligently on Council, and I believe that it is the best thing I've written and published so far. I had a second draft out to my beta readers by that October, and was getting ready to work on Collapse of Kingdoms, the final book in the saga.

After a year of work, I had less than 40,000 words to show for it.

For any number of reasons, my work on Collapse was glacial, and by the end of the summer it was finally starting to irk me that it was taking so long. I was better than the person who was satisfied pecking out maybe 500 words and calling it a day. I lit a fire under myself in October, trying to get back into the habit of writing 1000 words per day. It's a good number, and when you maintain it you feel the progress.
Halfway through the month, I committed to doing NaNoWriMo 2016, if only for my own good. As of time of writing, December 1st, I wrote 33,000 words in the month of November.

I didn't win. I wasn't able to beat the challenge.

It wasn't for lack of trying, and if we're being perfectly honest, about 40 to 45 percent of the whole first draft for Collapse was written this month. I wrote an average of 1100 words per day (nearly 4000 of which were, admittedly, written in the last 24 hours). I'm proud of what I accomplished, even if it wasn't enough to get the job done 100%.

Among other things, NaNo 2016 was a fantastic opportunity to reflect on who I was when I wrote Summerlark vs. who I am now. So, I figured I'd list off some of the major then/now differences I've come across over the last 30 days:

  1. I am so much busier!
    I think this is just part and parcel with myself and my siblings all being of the age where great life changes are happening. As I mentioned above, my younger brother got engaged in 2015, and was married this past June, shortly before my sister got engaged, which was just a few months before I got engaged. Weddings and the like can really affect your average day-to-day, you guys. Add this to my aforementioned full-time job, and you find that the finite number of hours you have in a given day begin to feel a lot more finite than you're used to.
  2. Beginnings are easy. Endings, on the other hand...
    Summerlark was my first book, and the first in a series. I'm notoriously what a lot of writers like to refer to as a "pantser", or someone who tends not to outline a book before writing it. This works great for a first book, when you can write completely off-the-cuff. Collapse, however? This is the last one. I'm playing for all the beans, and story threads that I wantonly flung about three years ago need to come together. Like it or not, the further into a series you get, the more planning each new book requires, and that takes time, time that could be spent writing. This, however, also ties into my next point...
  3. I have become much pickier about my own work.
    This is something that I feel I can take pride in. One of the key components in any writer's evolution is moving past the point when you can't tell if what you're writing is any good, to recognizing that what you are writing is not terrible, this sort of self-criticism state of nirvana, where you can both recognize your flaws without being crippled by them, and recognize your strengths without being blinded by them. The development of such self-arbitration, however, comes with the price of maybe being a bit more cautious with the keys in some circumstances.

Now, aside from the comparative realizations I've come across this past month, there were some discoveries I made that, in many ways, I needed NaNo 2016 to show me. The most pointed of these is also the reason I am probably most thankful I gave NaNo a whirl again this year:
I have the ability to write 1700, 2000, even 3700 words in a day, but it's okay if occasionally I don't.
More than anything else, I needed NaNo this year to get me back into good writing habits. I hate to admit it, but I spent a lot of this past year telling myself that I was too tired to write today, or that the words just weren't coming. Writing can be like rolling a boulder down a series of hills and valleys. Getting started can be an obscene amount of work, sometimes for a bit longer than you'd like, but unless you keep pushing, that boulder will never move.

Oh, and by the way, I should have the first draft of Collapse finished in the next couple of weeks now.

Walk Down the Street and Sing a Happy Song, To Make the World Better

I'm going to forewarn you all now, this post is going to be somewhat meandrous.

I've had a long, exhausting day. I've had a lot of them lately, and I'm sure many of you reading this have been or are in a similar boat as mine. It's hard to muster up the energy to do anything come the end of the day. Heck, half the time it's hard to muster up the energy to do anything by the time the day's half over. It's easy to let it get to you. For a while I really let it get to me. When I released Council, I did a guest blog post where I talked about the tricks I used to maximize writing time. Last October I tweeted that I had started working on Collapse, and nearly a year later I don't even have a finished first draft to show for it.

At some point, I lost my way. I started only writing during the hour at work when I should ostensibly be feeding myself, and maybe relaxing. I would get home and vegetate. Five hundred words a day became a pat on my own back.

Some nights, though, I would suddenly become talkative. Some of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen my late-night ramblings about music as I spend hours going down the rabbit hole of YouTube punk rock cover songs. Other than that, my nights have, of late, been relegated mostly to catching up on podcasts, watching the odd goofy YouTube show, or idly logging more hours on Skate 3 than probably the rest of the world combined has managed in the last three years.

Somehow, it didn't click with me until tonight, going from feeling like my extremities had all been lead weighted to gaining a burst of energy that came way too fast for it to have been the few sips of coffee I'd managed. Deciding, on a whim, to pull up a few YouTube videos of Toronto punk rock darlings Pup.

I have, since my teenage years, written almost exclusively to music. A part of me always saw it more out of habit than necessity, though. I mean, yes, writing a politics paper while listening to NOFX is certainly apropos, and I admit I wrote Summerlark listening to Bach more or less the entire time, but in those and every other case, it was a means to serve an end. If I'm writing, I need to concentrate, and in order to do that I need to tune the rest of the world out. How better to do that than by listening to music?

The truth is, music has informed my storytelling since I first started thinking of stories to tell. I've been storyboarding daydreams since I hit the age where music began to mean something in my life. Heck, if I'm being totally honest, I'm sure I could think of a few times in my life when I actively tried to score my own life with the soundtrack I chose.

So here I am, making full use of my Spotify account, and somehow managing to write my second blog post in the last month despite wanting nothing more than to find the nearest soft surface and drift into complete torpor not three hours earlier. I suppose I'd better get back to writing Collapse before the magic wears off.

The lead singer from the mid-00s Brampton punk band Bombs Over Providence once wrote lyrics speaking of "when my heroes spoke through headphones, and my victories all had soundtracks", as though it was a time long passed. I think that for some of us it's important that we hold onto those times.

Now if you'll all excuse me, I plan to use NaNoWriMo to help me finish off this book, and that involves me getting back into the kind of shape that lets me write 1,700 words a day again.

Cue up that training montage.

Ad Astra 2016

It has been a crazy week here at Dragahold, and we're only at Wednesday!

I have been crazy promoting the guest blogs I've been doing, which, if you're looking for an aggregate for them:

I want to once again offer my sincerest thanks to all those guys for offering up space for me to post on their sites and plug my books - it's a huge honour, and I recommend you go check out their work, too!

I've also been going nuts trying to get all my ducks in a row For Ad Astra this weekend, and I'm thankful that I can finally share my full schedule with you all!

Official Ad Astra 2016 schedule!

This is, of course, only the official programming schedule, and doesn't include the following:

  • Deanna and I will both be at our table in the Dealers' Room all weekend whenever we aren't otherwise predisposed with panels etc. Copies of The Summerlark Elf, The Missing Thane's War, The Council of Tymenthia, and Dragon in the Doghouse will all be available, as well as copies of Wealthy Merchant (The official Four Kingdoms card game), Build Them! (Deanna's all-ages deck-building game), as well as several of Deanna's art prints will be on sale!
  • After-hours, you can expect to find Deanna and I doing all sorts of social industry-type things. I'll keep everyone posted via Twitter or some such.
  • Sunday morning at 10am, I'm going to be DMing a D&D game for Deanna, and our fellow Ad Astra guests Aaron Lenk, Agnes Jankiewicz, and Professor Morbius. Location is TBA for that, but keep an eye on Twitter and/or Facebook and Instagram, and drop by and say hello!

This is going to be, far and away, the biggest con, activity-wise, for both Deanna and myself to date, and we're both so looking forward to it. Please, if you see either of us there, don't hesitate to come up and say hi!

SFContario 2014, or a Study on the Effect of Polar Opposites on the Self-Published Writer

When I first opted to self-publish The Summerlark Elf, I'd like to think that I approached the endeavour with decidedly realistic (read: low) expectations. To be honest, I was expecting to be met with little, if any, attention from the fantasy community, nothing but negative feedback from those who did take a chance on my book (because the internet), and an absolute dearth of opportunities to promote myself and my writing past spamming social networks. What I did not expect was to have several local stores graciously offer to put my books on their shelves, to have been embraced so warmly by the fantasy community (readers and authors alike), to have received several positive reviews, and to have been allowed the opportunity not only to promote my work in Chapters, but at FanExpo. As a little indie guy who decided one year ago to start work on a multi-book fantasy series with zero credentials going into it, I am proud to say that I think I've done decidedly well so far.

So well, in fact, that I think I really needed SFContario this past weekend to make sure I wasn't getting carried away with all this good luck.

I had only ever attended a few different conventions leading up to my working FanExpo, so perhaps my expectations going into this convention were somewhat skewed. I want to be clear before I continue, however, that this post is not meant to dump on SFContario; the show's organizers were friendly and helpful, and truly seemed to have their hearts in the right place. The convention is still young, this being its fifth year, and I believe that with time and perseverance the con is capable of becoming much larger and much more recognizable. All this being said though, I would be lying if I said that my experience this past weekend wasn't a bit... underwhelming.

I arrived at the hotel where the convention was being held on the Friday afternoon. The dealers' room opened at 4pm, so I had thought that arriving at 2:30 seemed like a good idea - plenty of time to find my table, get set up, etc. I was met by what seemed like a somewhat surprised liaison, who accompanied me to the roughly 30" x 20" hotel conference room that would serve as the dealers' room. Seven tables were set up around the room's perimeter, with two more tables set up in the hall outside.

"Well, here we are." the liaison, an older gentleman, announced simply. "Seems you're the first one here, so you an have first pick of the tables." (excepting, of course, those booth spaces where two tables had been secured). I opted for the middle spot along one of the walls perpendicular to the door, and he left me to set up while he no doubt attended to other matters. I had been dealing with an unusually high number of unfortunate happenings in the thirty-six hours leading up to that point, but as I began to set up my books, signage, etc, I began to relax. Sure, the dealers' room was small, but that could only be to mine and Deanna's benefit, as shopping traffic would have a difficult time not passing by our table. Plus, as the other dealers began to arrive, it became clear that I was the only traditional fantasy author there, and that Deanna and I were the only ones with a picture book, so we had both those corners of the genre covered.

The bright outlook Deanna and I had going into the weekend, unfortunately, darkened considerably as the weekend progressed. The dealers' room was vacant more often than not, and the majority of people who did pass through were panelists, friends of dealers, or decidedly disinterested in traditional fantasy and picture books. There were two instances that really capped the whole thing, though:

1. I was talking with an attendee who seemed to get openly offended when I referred to science fiction as "Sci-Fi", and not simply "SF". Her reaction really confused me, and I tried to be polite about it, humourously excusing my faux-pas, though the whole time I was simply baffled. "Sci-Fi" is apparently not a thing you should say. The whole interaction really smacked of a kind of elitism that really gets under my skin, especially as someone who writes the type of fantasy that's generally not considered fashionable right now. I'm sure I'm not the first person to touch on this, but I feel like there are way too many people who want so badly for fantasy and science fiction to be "taken seriously" that they forget that the genres are supposed to be fun. So, I'm sorry that I devalued a genre by using the wrong diminutive for it, I'll be more careful next time.

2. Robin Hobb was the fantasy guest of honour at the con. I am well aware of who she is, and how well-respected her works are in the fantasy community. I didn't have any time to read up on any of her work leading up to the con because my reading time is limited, I was in the middle of the Riyria series, and I genuinely didn't expect to be in the same room as she was at any point that weekend. Wouldn't you know, she decided to saunter into the dealers' room on the Saturday and circuit through the tables, talking to each dealer.

"It figures." I whispered to Deanna, "I made a point of brushing up on Elminster for FanExpo, and never once even saw Ed Greenwood. Now I'm about to meet Robin Hobb, and I haven't read any of her stuff."

"Relax, it's not like she's going to ask if you have." Deanna whispered back "That'd be really snobbish and stupid."

Thankfully, Robin didn't ask me if I had read any of her books. She didn't even talk to me, actually, nor Deanna. After talking to the author at the OnSpec Magazine table to our left, she walked past our table, briefly glancing at the books atop it, and proceeded to stop at the table to our right, where a really nice guy named Chad was selling wind-up steampunk automatons.

Now, I don't want to say that Robin was being intentionally rude, that she spitefully avoided Deanna and I or anything, but at the time, it was a huge, driving all the wind from my sails, slap to the face. it made me feel like the kid from the school newspaper trying to cover a story amid "professional" journalists, like any sense of validation I felt prior was false. It felt like there was a clear message being stated: "Self-publishing does not a real author make", and it really sucked.

Past that, I can't say that there were any more overtly negative experiences that weekend. We didn't sell many books, but we did have one person cold-purchase the picture book, which, as Deanna iterated, was her highlight of the weekend. We also made some pretty cool con buddies in Chad (who goes by "Simon Dalek" on Facebook), and fellow author/artist couple Kit Daven and Sean Chappell, who helped us make the decision to try and make it out to Ad Astra next April. Go google them and buy all their stuff.

All in all, SFContario was an experience worth having, as it gave me some insight into exactly what kind of depth and breadth the convention circuit contains. It was a great networking experience, and although I'm not sure if I'll be back as strictly a dealer for 2015, I wish the organizers all the best in the future.

Wouldn't it be kind of ironic if I would up as a panelist?

To Thine Own Books Be True

I've been listening to a lot of Michael J Sullivan audiobooks lately. Binge listening, if you will. For those unaware, Michael wrote the Riyria Revelations series, the prequel Riyria Chronicles books, and is currently in the midst of authoring the First Empire series, which predates the events of the initial books further still. Since September, I've listened to the audiobook versions of the Riyria books almost exclusively. Prior to that, I listened to the two free Riyria short stories offered on Audible. I've talked briefly with Michael himself over Goodreads, Twitter, and Reddit, all three of which he is an active member of. As an author who made a success of his series through self-publishing before signing on with Orbit Books, Michael is kind of a folk hero among self-pub fantasy authors.

I guess you could say I'm kind of a fan.

During FanExpo, I worked through the awkward art of pitching The Summerlark Elf to complete strangers. During the pitches, I tried to think of more popular and familiar fantasy series' that I could use for comparison. Having listened to the Riyria short stories, which featured sell-swords, witty dialogue, and mention of dwarves and elves, I figured I wasn't unjustified in likening my books to Michael's in some respects. Right now, I'm roughly a quarter of the way through Heir of Novron, the last book of the series (I listened to the prequels first), and I have, over my span of time with Riyria, realized that I cannot, in good faith, ever liken my books to Michael's ever again.

The Riyria books are meticulous and masterful in their depictions of a medieval/Renaissance-esque world, so much so that I can honestly say that I think I've learned more about certain aspects of European history from these books than I had from my textbooks when I studied history in university. Everything from the Church of Novron to the treatment of mir (the half-elves of Elan), feels so well-planned that it feels like an alternate-reality earth. My books are... less so.

For a couple of days, this fact bothered me, and dredged up a bit of a case of imposter syndrome within me. What kind of paltry stuff am I writing? So much of my world feels patchworked, fast and loose by comparison. There are so many nuances of medieval warfare, of the social hierarchies of nobility, that I haven't put thought into. How will people enjoy my books if they aren't as believable?

Here's the funny thing, and it's a thing that I'm glad I realized sooner rather than later. My world isn't as thoroughly premeditated as Elan because I am not Michael J Sullivan, and that's okay.

It's very arguable that I write fantasy that's distinctly more "light" than a good number of other books on the market, but I don't think that fact is to the books' discredit. I have received a number of very positive reviews of The Summerlark Elf, and recently of The Missing Thane's War. Heck, I was recently compared to Terry Brooks! This doesn't mean that I've fooled myself into thinking that I'm some kind of master crafter of epic tomes that will be lauded for their contribution to the literary world, but at the same time, I'm proud of what I create, and the fact that it resonates with people on some level. Sometimes people want fun, and light, and I'm more than happy that I have produced (and continue to produce) books that allow people to scratch that itch.

Seriously, though, my books are pretty short, and I've only just started the third. Go read the Riyria books in the meantime. They're awesome.

In Which I Write Some Words, Preen About Said Words, and Eat Other Words

It's done, you guys. The Missing Thane's War is finally finished.

Well... not entirely finished per se... the first draft is finished, which, to be fair, is still a 61,500 word gorilla off my back. I still need to do a bit of editing on some things that I realized needed tweaking in hindsight before I ship a beta draft out to be pored over, but I took the day off from my manuscript today (I've been working on it more or less consistently since April, I figured I could take a day).

Part of what I did to preoccupy the time I otherwise allocated to this next book was to pore over the new fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook.

Yes, I know... I just finished complaining the other week about how Wizards of the Coast unceremoniously abandoned my edition of choice, but I did maintain that I'd keep an open mind about 5e. Well, last weekend I started running the 5e starter set adventure The Lost Mines of Phandelver with five players, two of whom had next to no DnD experience. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed running the game (which included five pre-generated characters) so much, that this past week I caved and bought the PHB, having all available character options now gloriously at my disposal.

I wanted to see how character creation felt with the new system, even though as a DM I really have no reason to roll up my own characters, so I decided to see how well one could customize a character by rolling up the four protagonists from The Summerlark Elf.

Rolling up Enna, an elf wizard, took me longer than anyone else, in part because she was the first character I created, and in part because any class that has spells to choose will inherently take longer to create. It took me about ninety minutes using just the PHB and the form-fillable character sheets provided on the DnD website, but after rolling up one character it was easy to get the gist of it, and I was able to roll up O'doc, my final creation, in about forty minutes.

It was a fun exercise, and I have to say I think I was able to create pretty good representations of my characters. I wanted to share the results, so here they are! Feel free to print them off for your own group, and see what kind of messes you can get my characters into (and out of)!





A Much Better Welcome Post, and Some Book News

Hey All,

For those of you who saw the site at its outset, you can see that it has already undergone some substantial aesthetic changes, and looks all the better for it. Huge thanks are in order for my girlfriend Deanna, who took care of all the lovely artwork, and all the lovely photographs (You should really check out her Tumblr Page for more of her lovely artwork).

Many a goings-on to report on the whole "me as an author" front (which, I expect, is why you are here). Book One of the Four Kingdoms Saga, The Summerlark Elf, has been available for just over two weeks through Amazon and CreateSpace, and as of Thursday this past week, readers in the Greater Toronto Area are now able to purchase a hard copy off the shelves of actual physical stores! For anyone on the lookout, you can snatch up a copy at Bakka Phoenix Books, the Silver Snail, and Hairy Tarantula. One hopes that this list will increase, and you can be sure that I will keep you, my lovely readers, informed.

In further authoring news, I am well into the thick of the first draft of Book Two of the series. I won't lie, it has been substantially slower-going than the first, for all manner of reasons, not least of which are less time to write, and a book whose scope is significantly larger. Fear not, though, dear readers, I am remaining diligent, and will keep you all abreast on my progress.

Finally, Deanna (my aforementioned girlfriend and lovely artist) and I are drawing ever closer to a project we have been working on for quite some time now. I am incredibly excited to get this project out there, and I think a lot of people will be very into it.

Well, fine readers, that's all for today. Until next time, I leave you all with a pointedly underwhelming closing.

- Brandon