I am pleased to announce that Sword of the Feara is now available for pre-order as an Ebook on multiple vendor sites! I am still formatting for print, but expect to have it ready for print pre-order in the next couple of days. The following universal link will allow you to choose your preferred vendor. I do know that a lot of people like to buy on Amazon, but the book will not be available there until its release date on September 21st, 2023.
If you're interested in pre-ordering, just click this link!
I am proud to introduce the cover for my debut novel, Sword of the Feara!
So what are you looking at? Well, as you may guess from the shield shape, it is a coat of arms, one that is introduced and described in Chapter 1 of the novel. But there's also a little thematic twist to it that the reader can ponder as the main character and the story develop.
The cover was created by Alex Albornoz, whom I found through the site 99designs. Alex is an extremely talented artist who gave me things in this cover that I didn't even know I wanted. She was also immensely patient and very easy to work with. AI may be a cheaper route for getting a cover done, but a computer can't replace the quality and imagination of living breathing creative professionals like Alex. I hope you are as pleased with the results as I am!
I love a good Latin phrase, and the title of this entry is my favorite. It translates roughly to “I shall find a way or make one.” The words embody determination in the face of adversity; seeing something through, come Hell or high water; succeeding by any means available. It is the battle cry of the underdog, of someone with a tough road. So, what does that have to do with me and my debut novel? A lot, it turns out.
About six months ago, I finished writing Sword of the Feara, the first of what will become a series. After reading through it for the umpteenth time, I believed I had a damn good novel to sell. I eagerly plunged into the process of querying for an agent. To be “traditionally published” by a publishing company (large or small), one almost always needs the services of an agent. Some writers talk about their “dream agent,” or venerate them like they’re rock stars or something. In fact, they’re basically just headhunters for publishers. So, I started querying, hoping that my pitch letter and first ten pages would get picked.
As the polite rejections of my initial queries trickled in, I began to look deeper into traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. I learned that self-publishing would be a much faster route to seeing my book in print, and that it was really the only way I would get to design my own cover concept. I also learned that the traditional publishers still expected the authors to do most of the marketing… literally the one thing I was trying to get traditionally published to avoid. Other depressing facts I learned was that getting an agent was far from a guarantee of getting published, and agents could drop you after a while if they couldn’t sell your idea.
So, after about 30 or so queries sent, I decided traditional wasn’t the way for me. I worked too damned hard on my novel to put it into someone else’s hands, so instead of looking for a way I decided to make one and go the “indie” route. I keep all rights to my work. I decide when the book gets released. I design my cover concept (with a good deal of help from immensely talented artist Alex Albornoz). My novel will be published on my terms and on my timeline.
Some people still look down their noses at indie books, an outlook that I suspect the traditional publishing world quietly encourages. To be fair, I’ve read some very rough indie published works. But there are great indie books out there and they are gradually changing the public's perception of self-published work. I hope my novel comes to be known as one of them.
I got another polite rejection last week from a small publisher that doesn’t require an agent. This editor kindly praised my work, but it “just wasn’t what they were looking for to round out their 2025 lineup.” That’s okay. I didn’t want to wait that long anyway.
Next post: Cover Reveal!
“What does that mean, Sword of the Feara?”
“It was a title. The Arovorians once named great men by their tools. A gifted musician might be named Harp of the Elves, or an accomplished sea captain would be Sail of the Empire. Your ancestor, a Feara, earned recognition with his sword.”
Welcome to my site, and thanks for reading my inaugural blog post. You probably saw the announcement on the main page for my upcoming debut novel, Sword of the Feara, so I’ll take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about it.
Sword of the Feara is an adult fantasy novel set in a high fantasy world of swords and sorcery. What sets it apart from similar works of fiction is the focus on a more realistic and relatable set of protagonists than you’re used to seeing in this kind of heroic fantasy. Bereft of Conan’s might or Gandalf’s wizardry, these are people who must use their heads if they wish to keep them.
The setting is high fantasy. There are different sorts of magic, monsters from legend and my own imagination, gods who act through their faithful, and other races sharing the world with men. The world itself has its own unique history and geography. The main setting for the first series of novels is Skara, an island kingdom wrested from the dryads by a people called the Feara, who were subsequently dominated by and liberated from sorcerers, dragons, an elvish empire, and an empire of men that followed.
What do I mean by the first series? Well, Sword of the Feara is the first book of the Skara Trilogy. Two more books in this setting will follow. Then I have plans for more books set in other very different parts of this world. How fast I get these out will have a lot to do with the reception of Sword, but I’m aiming for about a year between releases.
As a final note, I’d like to briefly address the “adult” nature of the novel. I wrote it with the intent that adults would enjoy the book, but depending on maturity, I think this is one that a lot of young adults will like as well. My son (13) has read and enjoyed it. It contains implicit but not explicit sex and has very sparse profanity. There is drinking. The villains are cruel. The violence is frank and realistic, but I do not wallow in gore. You know what you can handle, and if you have kids, you’re the best judge of what they can handle.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be updating this blog periodically with news about Sword of the Feara and future projects, as well as other musings about writing in general and indie writing in particular. A cover reveal is coming soon. I hope you’ll come back and check in. I would love to hear from you either in the comments here or by e-mail in the Contact section of this site.