Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fourth Queen? What about the other three?

Sometimes people come to me confused about the title. Is this the first book in the series or the fourth?

It's the first. The fourth book is going to be titled The First Queen. Confused yet?

The Empyrical Tales starts where two sisters, Zandria and Olena, enter the story. It is called The Fourth Queen because one of the sisters is destined to become the fourth queen. Get it? There are four queens that rule over Empyrean. One of them goes missing and that one, the fourth, has to be replaced.

The queens are not always celebrities. It happens that in this rotation, the other queens are Snow White, Cinderella and Isis. Part of the essence of Empyrean is that folklore, fairytale and mythology from all over our world combine and take on a new existence there.

The idea came from what might happen to Snow White once her happily ever after finished? She grew old didn't she? Well, in Empyrean, a girl with her background is more likely to become queen. Then I had to decide who the other queens would be and they needed to be representative of their homelands, the four realms of Empyrean. Snow White rules over the Northern Wood. Cinderella comes from the west, a land of castles, mountains, royal balls and opulent gardens. Isis, the goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility, comes from the south, a land of Egyptian mythology and dinosaurs.

So, as the story opens, we see the aged and powerful Snow White approaching the castle in great haste.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Giveaway! 3 FREE AUTOGRAPHED copies!

Three lucky readers will each win their own autographed copy of The Fourth Queen: The Empyrical Tales Book I.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited (sorry, Tennessee)*

I'm trying to drive my social media sites, so here's how to play:

1) Go to
     a) Become a Fan (if you're not already)
     b) Recommend the page to as many people as you want
     c) Once the Fan Page hits 200 Fans, one winner will be picked at random

2) Go to (you might already be there)
     a) Follow my blog
     b) Recommend my blog to as many people as you want
     c) Post a comment
     d) Once the blog hits 100 followers, one winner will be picked at random from the posted comments

3) Go to
     a) Watch the book trailer (it's only 1 min)
     b) Recommend the video to as many people as you want
     c) Post a comment
     d) Once the video has 100 views, one winner will be picked at random from the posted comments

Sounds easy, huh? So what are you waiting for?

*Only kidding, Tennessee. You can play too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The story starts here...

Zandria and Olena are sisters. They live in Empyrean.

More about both of those later.

The first chapter is really about two other characters, the horses. Like any good fantasy, there has to be anthropomorphism. So, in Empyrean horses can talk. Birds, tigers and monkey-like Quzzaks can as well, but in this post, it's all about the horses. Friesians to be exact.

I needed a unique horse that had to represent both the characteristics of it's homeland and be a warrior.

Empyrean is divided into four kingdoms and Friesians come from the Northern Wood. I wanted things in Empyrean to be familiar, so that land shares many similarities to the real world. The Northern Wood is a rustic interpretation of European folklore with beautiful forests and charming villages.

The horse had to be of European descent. I wanted this horse to be strong and impressive. When I saw the first picture of a Friesian, I stopped looking. Thanks to Dawn at Horse Feathers Farm, I even met one in person and I have to say the Friesian is truly magnificent. With some research, I learned that Friesians were actually used in battle for their strength and endurance, even by Kings, Princes and Barons. There is a lot of great info at the Friesian Horse Association of North America (

Perfect. I've got my horse. Now what to do with him?

One part Butch & Sundance, one part Jinn & Kenobi, meet Wrath & Fury. Wrath is the experienced veteran. He's calm, wise and dedicated. Fury is the bright-eyed youth, ready to spring into action with little thought to the consequences.

They are impressive animals, so they needed an impressive introduction. Racing across an open plain, pulling a carriage toward a mysterious castle set a tone of urgency and suspense. The endurance of these tireless horses established their unique qualities right away. Fury also provides some of the comic relief to break the tension.

I'm not a "horse person", but I did make an effort to get lingo right. I didn't want them to be trotting when they should have been galloping. I also threw in a few others like Fury repeatedly calling Wrath an "old dam". This is the equivalent of Fury sarcastically saying "yes mother". Wrath takes those slurs in stride, accounting for Fury's inexperience. He even gets in his own "gelding" jibe. Still, they have a stronger bond than most buddy-cop movies.

Friday, September 3, 2010

From the Beginning

I sat down with the purpose of writing a story for my children.

Thus, Empyrean was born.

Kinda made that last sentence sound epic. Sheesh, writers can be self-important sometimes.

Actually, I don't remember exactly from where the idea came. I think I had the idea of the final battle first, then had to figure out how the characters got to that point. Then it changed and grew, then changed some more. I wanted the main characters to be identifiable to my children. So, there is quite a lot of both my daughters in their Empyrical counterparts. My boys are in there, too.

There I was, finishing the climactic ending. The Fourth Queen was complete. I wanted to write a few pages at the end to give a sense of closure. Suddenly, Zandria heard someone crying. I know it was a little sadistic of me to leave such a cliff-hanger, but maybe that's my darker side trying to push it's ideas on me.

With that ending, a simple journey turned into The Empyrical Tales. As I write this, I know there will be eight stories. I have the titles to prove it. I have basic outlines and a through-story. Then it really will be epic!

My kids loved the story. I loved writing it. I submitted it. And submitted it. And submitted. Then one day, I got a letter from a little publisher in North Carolina. Comfort Publishing said "YES".

So, that's the beginning. Everything else comes next.