8 January 2024

by | Jan 8, 2024 | Random Thoughts, Writing | 0 comments


Today is… interesting. I was so damn tired last night that I only fought it until around 1am or so. I have no idea when I went to sleep… not precisely. And I was awake around 8:16. Slept the whole night through. Considering that I’ve been on the ‘4am to noon’ sleep schedule lately, that struck me as unusual. If I want to ‘fix’ my sleep schedule, I normally have to push all the way through the day so that I’m getting sleepy at my preferred time. I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but I honestly hope it continues. ‘Midnight to 8am’ would be a much better schedule for me.

I’m already 900 words into my writing day, but I wanted to type up this opening before these thoughts fell through the cracks of the day. I’ll knock out the last 600 words before moving on to other projects. I was going to publish Dawn of the Sorcerer tomorrow, since new titles always released on Tuesday for decades… but… I’m tired of waiting.

Finishing Hyperion claimed so much of my mind the first days of January that I’m not sure I could have diverted the necessary resources to publish Dawn sooner. But now that I’m past the feverish writing stage? Yeah… it’s time and past time. I’ll even put the first chapter of Dawn below as an excerpt, just like I did for The Shepherd.

Right, then… back to writing!


I finished writing at 9:53am this morning, and I’ll get to the stats in a little bit. I have not even touched the audio for The Shepherd today. I’ve been too busy publishing Dawn of the Sorcerer or setting it up for pre-order. The eBook and audio are live on Knightsfall Press. I linked the book page above, and here is the actual store page. The pre-order is already live on Amazon, but it’s still in progress on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Apple Books as of this writing. I will update the book page with more links once I’m able to get them.

I have also uploaded the audio to ACX (Amazon & Audible, plus a few others) and Findaway Voices (which is how I get to everyone other than Amazon & Audible), but I’m thinking of changing my audiobook aggregator. Findaway has been buggy as all hell today. As of this writing, Findaway Voices still refuses to save my changes to the default distribution list (I want to remove Amazon/Audible from the list). It could be my internet connection, I suppose, but no other sites have given me problems… which makes me think it’s not Starlink.

I still have two or three places left to publish Dawn of the Sorcerer, but right this second, I just don’t give a damn. I’ve been chasing this in one form or another since at least noon. I’m tired of fighting with it, and I just realized I’m hungry on top of it all. I will correct that as soon as I post this.

I’m going to give it a week-ish before I publish The Shepherd. I need to focus on proofing that audio, and I’m not all that wild to subject myself to this multi-hour marathon again so soon. Oh… and I haven’t even touched IngramSpark yet, which is the print-on-demand distributor I use to reach brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries.

This is the downside of my intent to reach 1.2 to 1.5 million words a year. I’ll have to publish all of it… or hire someone to publish all of it.

In terms of publishing, I like the instant-live on Knightsfall Press while being a pre-order everywhere else (once they finish processing it). If I’m successful at writing most days in 2024, I think I’ll make direct sales the focus of 2025. The major reason direct sales are better than via retailers is that those creators you choose to support directly get a higher percentage of the sale. For example, if you buy Dawn somewhere other than KFP, I’ll see $3.49 of that $4.99 or less (Amazon likes to take as much as they can, while everyone else sticks to the 70% for eBooks.). However, if you buy direct from Knightsfall Press, the company receives somewhere in the vicinity of $4.79 after payment processing fees.

This is why I wish more of my favorite authors had their own online stores. I would happily bypass the retailers and buy direct from them. Unfortunately, a lot of the authors I like to follow are in KU, which means their eBooks are exclusive to Amazon. I started out with my eBooks exclusive to Amazon, but that track is simply too unsound financially. Amazon’s bots have disabled people’s accounts or outright deleted their KU page reads and all manner of other chicanery. No one sane should base their business on that. Now, I’m sure Amazon would say those actions were warranted, but I’ve seen too many author posts in groups to believe all of it is warranted. I think it’s simply bots being stupid.

But anywho…

Aside from being stuck in publishing hell, it’s been a fairly good day overall. I have my annual optometrist appointment tomorrow, but since I’m watching myself type this and can read what I’m typing, my eyes can’t be too bad.  🤣

Alrighty. I think I’ve rambled on long enough. You can find Chapter 1 of Dawn of the Sorcerer below, as an excerpt.

I hope the day has treated you and yours well. Stay safe out there.

Daily Word Count: 1,614
January Word Count: 17,904
2024 Word Count: 17,904
Writing Days: 6 (out of 8 total)
Days Remaining: 358

Dawn of the Sorcerer — Chapter 1

Regional Field Office
The Harpocratic Society
New York City, USA
26 June 2000


The smell of old paper, books, and scrolls pervaded the underground level given over to the Archives, and Gianna trapped her foot on a dense mass in her futile search for the light switch. Her right arm windmilled as she caught her glasses with her other hand. Fall averted, she stopped and took a deep, calming breath. She closed her eyes and pictured herself communing with the structure. Oneness with the brick-and-mortar edifice achieved—or so she thought—she slapped her hand to the wall where she knew the light switch to be. It wasn’t there. Frustration charged the gates of her serenity, but the defenses held, valiant and steadfast.

“Three paces into the room along the right wall,” Gianna muttered the memorized location of the switch. “I’ll just back up to the door and re-orient myself.”

A half-step back. A second. Her confidence swelled. She took a full step, and… she backed into something at knee height, then sat heavily on a crate. Had the room been lit, Gianna would have seen an epic mushroom cloud of dust rising into the air from her nuclear-grade failure.

Not for the first time, Gianna cursed her supposed mentor’s oddball criteria for advancing her novitiate. Find the Archives light switch without a light… while on an assigned search.

“I’d like to see him find this never-sufficiently-damned light switch,” Gianna growled as she fished a tiny flashlight out of her pocket. A quick click of a button, and the palm-sized modern torch illuminated a circle in front of her. She swung the light around and gaped at the distance to the entrance. She sat on a crate over twice as far into the Archives as she thought she was.

For just a moment—no longer than two heartbeats—she gave into frustration and allowed her shoulders to slump. But after that moment… she stood, tromped to the switch, and flicked on the lights.

The Archives of the New York City Field Office didn’t quite rival the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it was a near thing. She had yet to pace out the basement level, but just looking down the rows and aisles of shelves filled to bursting with crates, tomes, grimoires, scrolls, and countless other items, the space appeared to be at least twice the size of the building’s exterior footprint.

She turned off her flashlight and returned it to her pocket as she examined the note that Master Gregory gave her. “Benedictine collection, Box 57.”

She went to the index that was slightly more accurate than a card catalog assembled and curated by a blind drunk and sought the entry for the Benedictine collection.

“Ah, ha. Aisles 76 through 99, part of the Italian Relocation during World War II.” Gianna closed the index with care—lest another explosion of dust assault her senses—and marched off in search of her quarry.


A short time later, Gianna lugged the wooden file box into her mentor’s office and tried not to drop it on his desk. She failed. It must’ve weighed close to thirty pounds.

Master Gregory looked up from his newspaper and smiled. “Excellent work, Apprentice. Your next task is to comb through that box for any reference to a blood-red moon. I remember something about a blood moon being important, but I can’t recall why. I do know I read it somewhere in the Benedictine collection.”

“It’s amazing you remembered which box it was in. The collection looked like it had hundreds of these things,” Gianna remarked, her tone betraying how impressed she was with her mentor.

Master Gregory blew a raspberry and shook his head. “Perish the thought. There are one-thousand-seventy-three boxes in the Benedictine collection, and I have no idea where I read it. I just like to start my searches with box numbers that match my age. Proceed as you like if your search takes you past that one.”

Gianna clenched her fists around the box’s carry handles and lugged it across the room to her meager desk. She contemplated whether she had sufficient provocation for justifiable homicide. Surely, no one in the Society would miss him… right?


Three days, several paper cuts, and the occasional splinter later, Gianna sat cross-legged on the floor of the Archives, working her way through Box 94 of the Benedictine collection. Box 94 seemed to contain half the collected writings of Silas, a monk of the Carthusian order of Benedictines in the 1300s. What his surname was—if he had one at all—appeared lost to time. What’s more, he must’ve been some kind of vintner for the Carthusians, because every document seen thus far held at least one wine spot. At least, she hoped they were wine spots.

The sheaf of writings that held her current interest chronicled Silas’s work to translate a writing brought to him by a monk from Rome. The writing defied every attempt at translation up till then, and Silas was renowned for his translations… in his own mind, anyway.

Gianna couldn’t make heads nor tails of Silas’s narrative, as she hadn’t learned Latin yet, but it seemed someone had. A crumpled note occupied a corner of the box, and upon inspection, it revealed someone had enjoyed him- or herself translating Silas’s Latin.

Hark, ye hapless souls, as I forewarn.
One day, another Titan shall be born.
Know ye the time of birth is nigh
When shade devours the sun on high.
Yet eclipse alone doth not the birth foretell.
The child comes within a fortnight; mark ye well
The night when hangs a blood moon o’er the dell.

 Gianna stared at the wrinkled paper. It looked old, maybe late 1800s or early 1900s, and the verse was an assault upon the senses. Still, she dare not discount it. It was the first mention of a blood moon she’d found thus far.

Hope swelled within her soul, and she collected both Silas’s Latin narrative and the crumpled paper before returning Box 94 to its place on the shelf. Now, to see if she was finished with her despised search.


“Master Gregory?” Gianna asked as she approached her mentor’s desk. “Sir?”

He snorted himself awake and dropped his feet to the floor, angling his chair upright. “Yes, Apprentice? Have you found something?”

“Yes, sir.” She presented the documents for evaluation.

Master Gregory looked at the rag paper first. “Ah, good old Silas. Some of his documents are so wine-soaked we have no idea what he wrote.” Then he eyed the crumpled note and snorted. “Yes… yes. This abysmal verse. This was what I remembered. Apprentice, do you know why I set you to find this?”

“Because of the blood moon the night of the twenty-first?”

“Very good, child. And why might that blood moon be important?”

Gianna wracked her brain for something besides the moon shining red as blood for a whole night. Her eyes shot wide when she connected the dots. “The total eclipse at noon a week ago!”

“Excellent. I have high hopes for you. Take these with my compliments to Headmistress Selene, if you please.”

Gianna collected the rag paper and crumpled note from her mentor and turned. Before she counted her tenth step, she heard snoring behind her.


The Office of the Headmistress looked as though someone decided to cram a library and tea parlor into the same physical space. Every flat surface groaned under the weight of many tomes, papers, and scrolls. Deep pile carpet stretched from wall to wall, and the smell of a citrus tea struck Gianna when she crossed the threshold.

Headmistress Selene sat behind a massive handmade oaken desk that bore the crushing weight of its uncounted years in subtle dignity. Wavy hair the color of driven snow cascaded past the woman’s shoulders, though her unwrinkled skin belied her age. When the leader of the field office betrayed no awareness of Gianna’s presence after several minutes, the young apprentice rapped her knuckles on the doorframe.

Selene’s head shot up, and she peered at her visitor over pince-nez glasses. “Yes, child? How can I help you?”

Gianna approached the desk and held out her delivery. “Master Gregory asked me to bring these to you. He seemed to think them important.”

The older woman erupted out of her seat and charged around the desk. She snatched Gianna’s cargo and perused it at speed. When she read the crumpled paper, her shoulders slumped.

“Damn and blast.” Selene stalked back to her seat. “Our order’s greatest labor has begun.”

Gianna frowned, then spoke. “I’m sorry, ma’am? I don’t understand.”

“Did you read what you carried, child?”

A rueful chuckle escaped Gianna’s self-control. “Carried, ma’am? I scoured the Benedictine collection for three days at Master Gregory’s behest. I did more than read them, though I haven’t learned Latin yet.”

The headmistress leaned back in her seat and plucked the pince-nez off her nose. She held one end between her finger and thumb while she bit the opposite corner of the frame. After several moments of evaluation, she broke into a smile.

“By all that’s holy, child, you have a fire about you. I like that. You’re wasted on that lazy git Gregory. The Harpocratic Society does not just catalog and preserve documents too valuable to be lost to time. Our order evolved into that mission when our primary task showed no signs of beginning after several centuries. A task made all the more difficult by the modern age. Do you know how many children are born—on average—every day? Three-hundred eighty-five thousand, and that is doubled, because the blood moon shone on both the twenty-first and the twenty-second. That’s seven-hundred seventy thousand babies we must watch and evaluate, because one of them is the first Titan to be born since ancient times.”

“Please, forgive me, ma’am. I still don’t see how Greek Mythology connects with all this.”

Selene tossed the pince-nez to the top of her desk and gave Gianna a patient, understanding smile. “Because the Titans and Olympians of Greek Mythology were not gods, though they seemed as such to the common people. Tell me what you know of the classes of crafters as delineated in Rasputin’s Ruminations on Crafting.”

Gianna fought to keep her surprise from showing. “Uhm… the weakest crafters are warlocks and witches. They possess no affinities to any of the Arcane Spheres and can only work rituals and use imbued items triggered by command word. Next are the Divine crafters. Through True Faith and Belief, they can channel their chosen deity’s power on Earth; they are very rare, but their power is limited only by how well their deity favors them. The third group are Druids. These crafters possess a hyper-affinity to Nature, which is a subset of the Life Sphere. Inside their chosen groves, they are like gods, but beyond those spaces, it’s rare for them to be more powerful than any other single-affinity crafter. The fourth and final are the Mages. These crafters possess affinities to one or more of the Arcane Spheres, with more affinities meaning a more powerful mage. Mages with one to two affinities are common. Powerful mages have three to four and are rare. Legendary mages have five, and multiple sources claim Merlin had six.”

“Very good,” Selene complimented, “but you’re missing one group: the sorcerers.”

“Nothing I’ve read thus far mentioned such a group, ma’am.”

Selene threw back her head and laughed. “I’m not surprised. The Parthians killed the last known sorcerer somewhere around 36 BC. Every group of supernaturals feared the sorcerers. Every. Single. One. Thankfully, they were always rather rare, for they possess affinity with all twelve Spheres.”

The room spun around her as Gianna contemplated the headmistress’s words. Affinities for all the Spheres? How was that possible? Merlin—the most powerful mage ever known and founder of the Magocracy—possessed five affinities that were well-documented, though many scholars argued he possessed a sixth. What could a crafter do with twelve?

“And that, dear child, is why the ancient Greeks called them Titans.”


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