Saturday, June 11, 2016

ABOUT *A TALE OF TWO HEROES* .... a work in progress ....

One quest, two heroes, two stories.

A complex machine, lost to all memory, lies beneath the town of Hawk Haven and the surrounding lands.  Constructed as a great experiment when the world was new, designed to control the flow of time and sew together the fabric of reality.  Left unmaintained for thousands of years, it was only a matter of time before something broke.

Beetle Warrior Illarytl – a loyal and brave guard of Hawk Haven.  Duty and service is her mandate.  When performers arrive in town and humiliate her, the chief guard puts her on reprimand leave.  Now she needs a way to redeem herself to her fellow warriors and townspeople, and regain her honor.  One thing is certain, she won't spend time watching the performers.

Penk- a thief specializing in the art of the fence.  Fencing goods behind his master's back is a profitable side venture.  When the master catches him, Penk realizes maybe it wasn't his best idea.  Now he just needs a place to lay low for a while, maybe let the master's head cool. Maybe find a way to get out of town for good while his heart still beats.

The malfunctioning machine splits Illarytl and Penk into two separate realities, sending them on the same quest, at the same time, but not together.  They each travel the same paths, accepting a friend's challenge to spend two nights in an ancient tomb.  Two nights when the holy comet crosses the sky and raises the dead of old from rest.  As the nights pass, Illarytl's and Penk's realities begin to overlap and they uncover the secrets of the great machine.  Can they find a way to repair it and merge realities back into one before the machine tears the region apart?  What will happen to their lives, their history, when things are fixed?

Any questions:  Send me an email or leave a comment below!

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©2016 Daniel Steeves Connaughton

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Sunday, May 29, 2016


Ever wondered how a writer comes up with and develops their characters, setting, and plot? Now you can take a peek behind the curtain and help me write my next book, A Tale of Two Heroes. Sign up here to learn what A Take of Two Heroes will be all about.

In this choose-your-own-adventure inspired format, you, the reader will participate in developing the story from start to finish. Not only that, but you'll be able to vote on what will happen next time!  Read the chapters as they develop and see how the actions you choose for the characters play out.

Simply read and vote.

The option with the most votes will be the one I write. Will you send my characters into danger or let them relax at the local tavern? Will you point them toward completing their goals or try to send them astray? Will you choose to develop their good qualities or their bad? Join me here to experience the story as it unfolds.

So, are you in?

Join my new bi-weekly newsletter to read A Tale of Two Heroes as I write it starting June 26, 2016.

Sign up for the newsletter today so you don't miss out on the beginning of the story and making your vote count. Let the adventure begin!

Leave a comment below and let me know if you are joining me on this adventure.

Until next time... *Watch out for...!*

Daniel Steeves Connaughton

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Keeper of the Bones - ABOUT

Keeper Ormund is in charge of bringing the bones of dead soldiers who died in battle home to Kettle Hill for proper burial.  When a Bone Whisperer, a cleric with the power to read the lives of the dead in their bones, joins him, Ormund fears what the readings will reveal of his own sins.  The cost of his guilt will be his soul.

As Ormund and the Whisperer make their way to Kettle Hill, each of the fallen soldiers gets their own story told through their own eyes.  In their stories, an evil forest spirit, an agent of the enemy, seduces members of the army.  Her charms and the assignments she gives them threaten not only the sanity of the Kettle Hill soldiers, but also their lives.  With each reading, the Whisper draws closer to discovering Ormund's involvement and the more determined Ormund becomes to keep his secrets hidden.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Imora - FAQ


Are there any epic battles between good and evil?

Epic battles?  Sure.  Good and evil are sort of blurred lines in this book.  Is the dragon evil for eating a village when she's hungry?  Is a warrior evil for wanting to kill a dragon for glory and fame?

Are there any noble warriors on an epic quest?

Uh.  No.  That's an old hat I'd rather not wear.  I find books like that boring to read, so I can't imagine writing one.

Are there any farm boys with world saving destinies?

Uh.  No.  No destiny.

Who is the main character?

That would be Imora, a dragon.  The entire book is told from her point of view.

What is your favorite part of the book?

When Imora is at her weakest, struggling to survive as a huge creature bound to the land and having to adapt to a new way of living without her wings.  There is a point when she is forced to find a new cave to sleep in for a hundred years and it's in a warm place, which for an ice dragon is very uncomfortable.  A hundred years later she wakes to find the landscape drastically altered into a swamp, in which she has become a feature.

Who is your favorite supporting character?

I'd have to say it is the scribe she encounters.  While she doesn't eat him (she doesn't eat everyone in the book!) she still finds a way to use him to further her own glory in a sort of selfish, but at the same time nice way.  This historian/scribe manages to meet her on a level playing field intellectually.

How does the setting relate to a place you have been?

Any New England day with LOTS of snow and ice around!

What is Imora the Ice Dragon's favorite color?

Any of the shiny ones!  You know, like gold, silver, rubies, sapphires- those are colors right?

What is Imora the Ice Dragon's favorite food?

Believe it or not, fairies are not only a very tasty treat, but extremely nutritious.

If Imora the Ice Dragon could go on any vacation she wanted, where would it be?

She would definitely go to the North Pole and spend a couple decades just lounging on a glacier and hanging out with polar bears.  She'd need a few thousand servants to supply her with a constant stream of fish.

What does Imora the Ice Dragon do for fun?  I mean, she's got decades of being awake; she must have some sort of hobby to fill in the years?

You're right.  Even Imora needs to take a break from showing off how powerful she is to the locals so they don't think they can mess with her.  Hunting takes up a lot of her time, but when she's chillin' in the ice cave with a full belly, she likes to make ice sculptures.  When she really needs to relax, she crochets with hooks made from bones and really, really, really big skeins of yarn.

Does this story have a central lesson?

If there is any central lesson, its that dragon's are not humans.  

At what point did you decide to continue writing this book?

As soon as the outline was done.  I like plotting everything out before I start writing.  I don't always stick to the outline 100%, but I like to know what's coming so I can think about and take notes on parts I know are upcoming so I'm ready to write them when I get there.

Did the book turn out the way you wanted it to?

The biggest problem I had with Imora, was trying to make sure she couldn't easily be replaced with a human character, both physically and in the way she thought or made decisions.  She had to be alien enough, that is different enough, from a human character but also be sympathetic to the reader.

Did you face any obstacles when writing this story with plot problems or character development?

The biggest problem I had was how to order the chapters.  Part One is really the middle part of the story.  Part Two is the beginning.  Part Three is the end.  The reason for this is Chapter One of Part One has the strongest introduction to the dragon, with her waking up in an ice cave after a hundred years asleep.  I struggled with this order a lot and had a hard time finding a better way to introduce her.

Have you read books similar to this?

Conn Iggulden's historical fiction Conqueror series about the Genghis Khan gives the reader a hard, stone-faced character you just don't mess with or defy.  Likewise, the main character in Bernhard Cornwell's Saxon Stories is brilliantly arrogant and sees himself as an awesome, teeth kicking warrior.  Of course, Game of Thrones gives the reader many "villain" POVs.

There are plenty of fantasy books too.  I remember reading the beginning of a Piers Anthony book that started in a goblin's point of view and the idea of an entire book told this way really struck my imagination.  I don't remember the name of the book or if I even finished reading it after it dropped the goblin's point of view. 

The Orcs trilogy tries to give us the orc's point of view but mostly could have been about a band of human mercenaries instead of monstrous, other-worldly orcs.  We really didn't get a good idea of what it was to be an orc as much as it was to be a team of mercenaries working for the bad guy.  We do get a good glimpse at other non-human characters though.

I've yet to encounter a book that gives the reader the true experience of being in the dragon's point of view- a real dragon- the kind we all grew up learning were big scary monsters.

Grab your copy today to read Imora's story and you decide, 

is Imora the Ice Dragon good or evil? 

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Sunday, February 21, 2016


Imora is a story told entirely from a dragon's point of view.  A real dragon.  You know those huge flying creatures with evil streaks that the little people run in fear from?  Yeah, that's what a real dragon is.
There are plenty of stories written from the "bad guy's" point of view, from dragon and other monster's points of view.  These quickly turn into stories about the misunderstood bad guy and worse, they human-ize the monsters to the point where a "goblin" could easily be called a "human" and the reader wouldn’t know the difference.  Even then, it seems like most books give only glimpses of the dragon's point of view while the human characters get all the attention.
With Imora, I wanted to do something different and experience what it really is to be huge, powerful, and a little evil. I wanted Imora to be a real dragon.  Real dragons don't shy away from eating humans (hey, they have big belly's to fill!).  Imora is awake for decades at a time.  She's selfish, sure, but, you know, who isn’t a little bit?  She knows she's powerful and has no problem using that to her advantage.  And it makes her, I hope, wonderfully arrogant.
The challenge was making a character like this sympathetic and show the disadvantages of being a dragon as well.  When she sleeps it's not for eight hours, it's for a hundred years.  Where can she sleep safely for that long without some monster hunter coming to kill her in her sleep?  How would you hide something the size of a jet liner for a hundred years and protect it at the same time?  Imagine how much the world changes in a hundred years.  What if you went to sleep in the year 1900 and woke up in 2000?  How would you cope with and adapt to these changes?  How can something the size of a jet liner sneak around if it needs to?  And you know those pesky good guys always have an "instant kill" weapon specifically designed to take out the bad guy.  Well, if you’re the bad guy, the monster that eats whole villages, well, that’s a problem.  How do face something like that?  How do you remind the pesky good guys you are the power in the neighborhood so they don't come knocking on your door hoping to steal all that treasure you love to horde?

How do you make a character like this sympathetic?  Well, that’s where the plot takes us.  It’s a story about a mother trying to save her son.  It’s a story of survival not just against the hordes of good guys, but against nature and time.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Imora - About

For centuries, Imora the Ice Dragon Imora has watched the fierce Dengals expand their empire across the high, cold mountain ranges.  While she works to drive them back, claiming the mountains as her own, each time she sleeps for a century, they regain their footing.  When they kill her son, she finds his heart struggling for survival in a pool of its own blood.  First, she must find a way to preserve the heart while she prepares to resurrect her son.  Her journey takes her deep beneath the mountains and to the highest cloud tops.  Forced to surrender to the long dragon sleep once again, a thief steals away with the heart.  When she loses her wings in battle, she must not only find a way to exist as a creature of the ground, but find the thief and save the heart before he uses its powers for himself.
For more information, see here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Back to paperback_ Is this the end?

For 2015, I conducted an experiment. You can read about the start of my journey here.  After several years of reading only eBooks on the Nook, I wanted to see what it would be like to go back to reading those "old-fashioned" paper books.  You remember those?  Those books made out of paper and backs. Those books that you had to actually had to manually lift the page to turn. Anyways, I knew I'd feel a certain amount of nostalgia and as the months and books went on, I started to feel the urge to get back to the Nook.  Hey, it's convenient as long as I can charge it, it’s easier to look up words in the dictionary… and be distracted by the internet. 
back to paperback, daniel steeves
Back to Paperback

However, let's just say the Nook is now merely a mobile Netflix device and mostly a dust collector.  Yeah, I'm back on the paperback wagon.
It's 2016 and I'm still reading paperbacks.  There's just something about a book...

Leave a comment. What are you reading? Is it in ebook or paperback?