Shadows of Our Fathers Update 2

I have received a copy of the novel back from Derek at Homunculus Editing Services, and I am working on the 2nd level of story and line edits to the draft. The content should be ready by the first quarter, but I’m still needing to locate a cover artist to help me finish the series.

There are two options, really.

  1. Hire a new cover artist who can match the style that Christopher Steininger did for the first two novel covers in Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion. This has been a rough job trying to find someone who can do this. I’ve had estimates between 500-1200 dollars, but the styles have clashed a bit with the first two books. How important is consistency in the series covers for readers?
  2. Go with someone like Damonza to redesign the entire series covers for 1500-1800 dollars. This is a huge investment on top of all the other costs of this final novel (story and line editing a 110k+ word novel is a big expenditure), but if it is the best option, I really don’t have much choice.

Anyway, regardless of which path I take, the novel is almost ready. Beta readers are appreciated, so let me know if you would like to take a look at the 2nd draft when I’m done. Your feedback would be welcome! Also, if you have any opinions on cover artists or redoing the whole series covers, let me know!

Shadows of Our Fathers Update

I’m going through the 2nd draft process for Shadows of Our Fathers, and I’m currently on Chapter 20 of 24 in my deep readthrough. If you’re not familiar with Shadows of Our Fathers, it is the 3rd book that completes the Primal Patterns’ initial trilogy (I’ve been calling the first trilogy “Lucifer’s Fall” for a while now, as it catalogues Jehovah’s and Lucifer’s battles across the heavens). The book is due to my editor on November 10th, and I have every intention of making that deadline. So, if you’ve been waiting for Shadows of Our Fathers, then that is good news.

However, there’s still a lot to do–even more so than was left to be done with the first two books. My cover artist is non-responsive to requests for a cover, so the look and feel of the series is going to have to change. And while I’m at it, I might as well redo the back covers and lay out the purpose of the series a little better there.

The latter might take a while. I am currently looking at potentially soliciting services from Damonza for book covers and formatting and potentially looking into a marketing service. You guys have suggestions? Feel free to leave comments.

Shadows of Our Fathers drafting completed

I recently went on a trip to Italy for some invited talks and posters, and while I was there, I did a lot of writing. I’m happy to say that Shadows of Our Fathers is through the first draft at just under 100,000 words. The number of words are more likely to go up than down, so this concluding chapter of the first Primal Patterns trilogy should be the longest book, and probably by ~10k words over The Goblin Rebellion when it’s finished.

Anyway, there is a pretty funny story about how this book was finished. There was a seven hour flight from Frankfurt to Newark, and I had decided to push through the final three chapters. Nearly 10,000 words were written on this flight (that’s a lot for me in a single stretch). The 10,000 words were effortless, in that I knew what I was going to say. I’ve known exactly what was supposed to happen in these final chapters since before I finished the first draft of Lucifer’s Odyssey, nearly 6 years ago. So, there was no writer’s block. However, that doesn’t mean the drafting was continuous. There were frequent breaks.

What for, you might ask?

Crying like a little girl.

So, imagine a middle-aged white man, sitting in the exit row, next to the bathrooms where basically every person on the flight ends up at some point during this long flight. You’re waiting in line to relieve yourself, and you’re probably irritable. You’re cursing under your breath at the people in front of you, just because they’re there and you’d like to pee. Beside you, in the exit row, there’s this guy with a laptop. He keeps wiping at his eyes, staring into space for a while, and blowing his nose.

I’m frequently laughing because I realize how ridiculous this looks and is. The guy next to me, we never said a word to each other. I didn’t even want to know what he thought about what was going on. I have no idea if he was ever looking at my bright laptop screen and reading along. I’m sure he would have appreciated his flight more though if the guy next to him wasn’t tearing up and crying for at least 2.5 hours of the 7 hour flight.

Anyway, I still have to find a cover artist for all three books (Lucifer’s Odyssey, The Goblin Rebellion, and Shadows of Our Fathers) since mine completely flaked out. I also have to reread this book along with all of the others to check for any continuity problems. Then the book will be shipped to an editor. So, I’m still sticking to my original estimate of October for this to be released.

What a long, strange trip it’s been!

My apologies for the lack of updates. Life has been busy for my wife and me as we have been purchasing our first home. My job is going great, and there’s a lot of responsibility there with leading a large group of researchers and students.

I plan to get back to work on writing. Actually, an email from a fan named James started me back up into the editing process for the 57k words currently in Shadows of Our Fathers (feel free to thank James :D). In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting the first three chapters of the draft, as they become “ready”, and you can feel free to comment on them. Believe it or not, I take comments very seriously. I’m still learning my craft, and suggestions I find on Goodreads, Amazon, and other places often find their way into me honing my skills. For this reason, Book 3 of the Primal Patterns is going to be different–as are the other two books I’ve started for the Winter Phenomenon series and the book tentatively titled Our Criminal Future.

Why different? Well, it’s been pretty obvious that the way I had been going about writing was flawed. Even after paying for deep story edits of my book, Lucifer’s Odyssey was fatally flawed by lack of description, internal thought processes, and direction that held back and ultimately thwarted readers from being engaged in the series. The reviews and comments on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, and other places bear this out. The upvoted Amazon reviews that every reader sees (and ultimately result in fewer people purchasing the book or entering the series) have killed almost any chance of the series gaining traction, and the premise of the series (an alternate history of Lucifer and Jehovah) was perhaps too controversial to even be attempted in a first book, before any reader could trust me to deliver a good story. And the truth is that I probably wasn’t ready, as a writer, to bring that story the light it deserved and needed in order for it to have a chance to become more popular. I have zero friends who have finished the book (even friends who loved Zelazny and sci-fi). Even my wife can’t complete the first book. And this means that there has been no one I could really trust to help me become a better writer, so that I can write this kind of epic story properly.

So, I put down Shadows of Our Fathers and focused on other stories. Some of the shorter stories like Elves and Goblins: Perspectives of a Father’s Rebellion were not only attempts to highlight social issues like segregation and universal healthcare, but they were also my attempts at applying what I had learned from comments on Lucifer’s Odyssey, The Goblin Rebellion, and Angels and Demons. Other stories like the one in the Pride Collection were more emotion, expression, description and an attempt at a more understandable story that might reach audiences better. This continued into Hallow’s Ween to try to connect with readers better–though at this point, all of them have stalled as far as sales. But despite these setbacks, I appreciate the comments and harsh words because they help me realize that what I’m doing right now is not good enough. For those who have enjoyed the work I’ve done so far, don’t worry. I’ll keep working at it. I enjoy writing too much to ultimately quit it. My other career requires a lot of technical writing and that has been it’s own reward, but fiction is something I’m very passionate about. I love story telling. I just know that I’m not where I need to be in my fiction-writing ability.

The downside of that rationale is that I realize I have done readers somewhat of a disservice by putting out Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion before they were ultimately finished–before my skills as an author had been honed properly. The thousands of dollars I had put into editing and artwork were not enough to save those inadequacies and that’s a truly sobering thought–that no one, even someone who specializes in fixing authors, can save the work but myself at this point. Which means that, ultimately, I will probably have to redo most of Lucifer’s Odyssey or simply move on to other projects. The compromise at this point is to complete at least the first trilogy of the Primal Patterns to give readers some closure.

Of all the stages of the writing process, editing is by far the most arduous. You’ve put your ideas out on a medium, and like taking an idea out of Plato’s Forms, the implementation is flawed because you, the instrument, are flawed. And because you are the instrument of that realization of the idea, you are hopelessly inept at seeing and fixing the flaws. You almost have to have another expert come by and fix your instrument–the mechanism for which you bring idea to reality–or, and more likely in my case, you have to learn how to fix your own process of realization.

Anyway, I’m back to editing right now. The next step will be continuing the story of the Primal Patterns, closing up the trilogy, and moving on to a different story–hopefully one that has some chance of reaching a broader audience.

Upcoming Anniversary Edition of Lucifer’s Odyssey

Lucifer's OdysseyAt the end of August, Lucifer’s Odyssey will have been published for a year. I’m sure we can all agree that birthdays are a time of giving, and I think that the anniversary celebration of Lucifer’s Odyssey shouldn’t be any different. Coincidentally, Lucifer’s Odyssey is also coming out of its exclusivity arrangement with Amazon via the KDP Select program, which means that the electronic versions of Lucifer Odyssey will soon become available on all major online outlets–just in time for its birthday. Rock on!

But that’s not all. I have bigger plans for Lucifer’s Odyssey’s anniversary bash this year–after all, this is a special day for my first novel.

I have drafted a prologue for Lucifer’s Odyssey that describes the Crown Prince touching down on Earth, falling into Jehovah’s trap, and seducing Eve with knowledge. Before I release Lucifer’s Odyssey to all outlets, I will be adding this prologue to the book–meaning that Lucifer’s Odyssey will contain even more cool stuff!

Now, here’s the real kicker. Since I am no longer exclusive to Amazon, and I want to celebrate the first anniversary of my first novel, I plan on making Lucifer’s Odyssey free on all outlets! This may take time to percolate throughout the vendors (especially Amazon), and it may not be a permanent situation. However, I do hope this allows more people to enjoy Lucifer’s Odyssey and join me in celebrating its first birthday!

Cheers all!

Update: The anniversary edition is now available on Smashwords and Amazon.

New Edition of Lucifer’s Odyssey

Lucifer's OdysseyAs I’ve mentioned several times, I listen to readers. I do read your reviews and emails, and I try to respect what each of you has to say about your impressions of my fiction. When one of you is frustrated by your experience, I mull your words over, and I do my best to grow as an author so that one day, you and I can enjoy a relationship together–one that doesn’t drive you up a wall.

For the most part, that means that in future works, I keep your advice and criticisms in mind and try to use that to improve my ability to connect with you. However, there have been 4-5 reviews across LibraryThing and Goodreads that expressed some very specific frustrations with Lucifer’s Odyssey that I felt I should try to address with a re-release, including changes to the paperback (which can be expensive).

So, let’s outline a few of these problem areas, and I’ll relate the changes that were made and why.

Problems as stated from the reviews:

1.) Being thrust into a situation that is hard to piece together in the beginning, and a strange setting that is so different from established canon of Lucifer and Jehovah that it is jarring and difficult to follow.
2.) Tonal and humor problems, generally associated with Sariel.
3.) The quick romance between Lucifer and Anne.
4.) The number of creatures that die in the story, and how it shows lack of literary skill, seemingly because good authors can do more with less deaths.

What I’m doing to address these

Problems 2 and 3 are covered in my blog post here. The third stands as/is in the novel. It’s a fast courtship, but these are royalty who are bred/raised for that purpose. I think that the real problem with this started earlier, and I believe it specifically began when my editor and I decided to show instead of tell throughout the first chapter.

In the original draft I pitched to my editor, there were lots of flashback and backstories in the first chapter. Beelzebub’s attempt at leaving Earth and the annihilation of Lucifer’s legion were all given sections at the very beginning, which interrupted the action of the first chapter. Derek and I had a bit of back-and-forth about it, but he encouraged me to do far more showing than telling in the chapter, and I rewrote it according to his suggestions. He was definitely right, btw, but I think readers are also right that with a story this different in setting, it will help readers come up to speed with a bit more explanation (certainly more than is done in the Author Note concerning the primals and their projections).

Below, you’ll find the additions I’ve made to this edition. They represent a very small portion of the overall story, but I hope they may help new readers immerse themselves better in the story.


From Chapter 1: An Earthly Imprisonment. I’ve emboldened the changes.

“So, what brings you to Nashville?”

“Lookin’ for the devil,” Michael said after downing another swig from a Yazoo pale ale.

Adrian, the bartender, leaned in close enough to whisper. “How will you be able to tell him from the rest of the room?”

“Horns, red body, the usual …”

“I would have remembered that kind of guy,” Adrian laughed as he sloshed a wet rag down on the polished wooden bar, picked up some left over pilsners, and wiped away the condensation rings. “But this is Music City, and we get people slinkin’ in from all over.”

Michael watched four males enter The End of the Line bar and recognized each of them immediately. His brother Lucifer and uncle Batarel cast sidelong glances at the TVs as they looked for four open seats, while his runt of a brother Sariel bumped into just about every woman at the bar, offering apologies and the promise of a drink to make up for it. Azazel, Lucifer’s bodyguard, looked directly at Michael, causing him to divert his gaze for a moment.

“Toss me another beer,” Michael called to the bartender.

“You got it.”

The demons wore leather jackets, t-shirts, and jeans, but their human disguises couldn’t fool Michael. Lucifer came so close to him that Michael could have run his hands over his brother’s stubbly brown hair, and Sariel came even closer as he managed to press a woman into Michael during his search for a number. A couple of the women pulled at Sariel’s long, wavy brown hair, but he made excuses and caught up with his brother.

Batarel’s shaved head and assorted facial scars attracted a lot of looks and even a few praises from drunken men for his service to their country. He smiled and nodded in return but followed closely behind Lucifer, as did Azazel, who was wearing a baseball cap and eyeing everyone around him warily.

The demons weren’t the only ones incognito. Michael knew that none of his family members would recognize him without using pattern magic. Jehovah had raised Michael from the Hall of Souls into the body of a forty-year-old human, so he looked nothing like he used to. But this was no ordinary body; it had all the strength of his old demon form, and he could feel the tendrils of his wings moving under the skin of his back.

(CHANGE 1)He looked around at the many humans who drank and partied, unaware they were in the midst of a civil war—a conflict rooted in millions of years of disagreement, politics and strife between parents, siblings and cousins.

“The Apocalypse is almost here,” Lucifer said, draping his arm around Sariel and grinning from ear to ear. “Just one more year until we’re out of here.”

“Keep your voice down,” Batarel said, shaking his head.

“Yeah, Luke,” Sariel said, pointing down at a large belt buckle that said Everything’s bigger in Hell. “Subtlety, brother. Subtlety.”

Lucifer put Sariel in a headlock, gave him a noogie, and pulled him toward the back of the bar. “After 200,000 years of being trapped on this rock, I can’t help but be excited. We’ll finally be able to look our father in the face and tell him that we avenged his son’s death.”

Michael laughed. His brothers hadn’t avenged anyone—least of all him. Michael was alive and well, reincarnated through the Hall of Souls, and everything was going according to Jehovah’s plan.

(CHANGE 2) Yet here his brothers were, once again, over confident in their abilities and mouthing off about their success in thwarting Jehovah. The last time they had bragged about besting him, Lucifer had inadvertently released all of the shadows of the Order Primal into Earth’s stratosphere. Of course, it was Jehovah who had the last laugh when 25,000 demons of the First Legion burned to dust when they tried to leave the atmosphere and hit that supernatural shadow barrier. And in the blink of an eye, Michael had been joined by the confused spirits of thousands of new recruits in the Hall of Souls.

He wondered if Lucifer would have that same bewildered, shattered look when he realized Jehovah had beaten him again. He imagined Sariel’s smirk vanishing when the assassin grasped that this armegeddon the demons had launched would be the harbinger of Chaos’s doom. He chuckled at the thought of his brother sobering, but then he remembered that Sariel was a lost cause.

If his younger brother wasn’t plotting to kill someone for the Council, Sariel was almost assuredly drinking and taking liberties with the wives and daughters of important, dangerous demons in Alurabum. That had been his life for almost a million Chaos years before getting himself trapped on Earth. Since then, Michael had watched him cavort with the wives and daughters of unimportant, impotent humans instead. In truth, Sariel was as eternally corrupt and devoid of responsibility or righteousness as Jehovah was unerringly meticulous and tenacious.

And just as no demon was as pampered and coddled as either of his brothers, no one was more brilliant and calculating than Jehovah. Soon, the other sons of Ostat would have another refresher course in humiliating inadequacy—lessons Michael knew only too well. But even as much as he resented the favor and prestige that Lucifer had always enjoyed as the Crown Prince, this was one time Michael didn’t want Jehovah to fully succeed. Chaos was still his home, even if he never planned to return.

Batarel caught him gawking, so Michael nursed his drink and pretended to look elsewhere. His scarred uncle motioned the others to a nearby table, and Lucifer shook off a couple of seating suggestions before pointing to a table at the far corner of the bar.

Between Lucifer’s group and Michael were a dozen patrons, all of whom were oblivious to the fact that four demons and an archangel were within feet of them. CHANGE 3: Along with these humans, trillions of creatures throughout the universe would be collateral damage when the apocalypse hit. As an immortal, he steeled himself to the losses as they all did. In a universe where a common supernova tended to destroy multiple solar systems, trillions of deaths were the norm.

“Doesn’t matter,” Michael said to himself. “They’ll be back again soon enough anyway.”


Explanation for changes and what I hope to convey

CHANGE 1: Michael looks around himself and pities the humans who don’t realize they are in the middle of a civil war amongst the Kadingir clan. Hopefully, this simple “tell” sets the story up a little better. It tells the reader two things: 1) this is fiction and should be read as such (it’s certainly not replacing the Bible), and 2) we need to change our perception of the war and relationship between Lucifer and Jehovah a bit to become comfortable in this fiction.

CHANGE 2: Michael sees his brothers as pampered and in need of lessons. It also makes clearer his motivations in revealing the assault on Chaos. We previously showed this through interactions between the brothers in the 1-3 chapters, but this should help the reader, with little telling, understand what’s going on in this family dynamic and give a good indication that Jehovah is more than capable of handling the Crown Prince in counter-strategy. It should also help establish Michael’s mindset better about why he’s fighting against Lucifer and Sariel. Lastly, it introduces the reader to Sariel and the type of depravity and carelessness with which he approaches eternity. I hope this last focus will help with the majority of the tonal problems and the problem some people seem to have with finding Sariel believable–that immortals could exist and still act juvenile. Sariel is definitely a complex character, and he definitely frustrates people around him–especially Lucifer, who is often a target of Sariel’s mirth.

CHANGE 3: This hopefully addresses the problem at least one reader had with number of deaths. The story doesn’t kill off millions because I believe such numbers will produce more sympathy with a reader. The story killed off millions because a catastrophic event, one that mimics the scale of a supernova but interdimensionally, happened, and the reader needs to get as used to this scale of death and destruction as immortals would have to be. It’s quite common for an ER doctor, for instance, to become numb to most death and dismemberment after seeing it frequently. It’s a coping mechanism. By telling readers that this coping mechanism exists, hopefully the reader will be more prepared for it when we “show” this mechanism at work later on during the Battle of Bulger’s Pass and the Uldram catastrophe. In the universe, death happens and it happens at scale–unfortunately. Killing only one or two characters instead of millions would not fit with the scale of events I foresaw in the series (or the universe in general–e.g., supernovas, hypernovas, and gamma ray bursts).

Older copy turn-in

If you’ve purchased Lucifer’s Odyssey and Amazon will not let you exchange your copy for the newest edition, please send me the edition at rexjameson at gmail.com, so I know you purchased it, and I will send you a new edition at no charge within the next 30 days. Any proof of purchase is acceptable, even if you’ve returned the book to Amazon. Some type of receipt, for instance, will be just fine.

Goblin Rebellion Released

The Goblin Rebellion, book 2 of the Primal Patterns series, has been released to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, and I’m super excited. The Goblin Rebellion continues the tapestry of plots from Lucifer’s Odyssey and really ups the seriousness, mayhem, and heartache. I’m slating the third book Shadows of Our Fathers for release in November.

So, what is The Goblin Rebellion about?

Well, the Uldram Catastrophe destroyed a lot of immortals. The elf Routan, former head of the most powerful corporation in Arnessa, is the sole survivor of the Shevarash family, and he’s been driven mad by visions of his ghostly children. Meanwhile, shadows come through the terrible opening and wreak havoc on neighboring elven galaxies, spreading more woe and destruction. King Elandril continues to search for a peaceful coexistence with the demons, and King Lucifer commits whole galaxies from Chaos to the task of sealing the rift at Uldram.

The grieving Routan finds a willing sponsor for his military research in Jehovah of Order, and together, they make sophisticated weapons with the intent of stopping the demons from forming a permanent bond with the elves. Jehovah continues to hold Lucifer and Anne’s son Christian in the heart of Order, and Gaea begins having nightmares about the destruction of planets in Order as her husband Jehovah raises a genetically-engineered army of immortals led by the archangel Michael to annihilate any elves foolish enough to side with Lucifer.

Within Chaos, the Agalal family plots another assassination attempt on the Kadingir family, and as Lucifer and Sariel are the only remaining Kadingirs, they must keep one eye on their clan enemies while the other focuses on harvesting the Chaos libraries of all of their formerly forbidden knowledge, so the demons can protect themselves against the coming onslaught from Jehovah.

The scale of The Goblin Rebellion is bigger, and Archimedes interacts with the demons more to help explain the foundations of the primals and the universes around them. Did I mention the mechanized suits, shallow ziplines, and arc lightning? I guess you’ll just have to read to find out :D!

Are you doing giveaways like you did with Lucifer’s Odyssey?

I’m going to be doing a Library Thing giveaway for The Goblin Rebellion in 2 weeks. So, sign up on Library Thing if you haven’t already and enter for a chance to win a Kindle copy of The Goblin Rebellion.

I don’t see a paperback. Are you releasing one?

Yes, but it may be a month or so before the paperback will hit the shelves. I’ll be sure to update everyone when that happens.

%d bloggers like this: