Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Walking Dead

Yeah, we're watching it again. In fact, I just ordered the last season - season 6. I like it, but it bugs me at the same time. I like the characters and how they develop, how they go through the different stages of dealing with a world gone to shit, quite literally. That's the best part - the characters. Did you know that Rick - what you hear in the movie - is not what he really sounds like? He's very good imitating a southern accent. I didn't know that until I watched one of his interviews. Even the tone of his voice is different. haha It was rather startling.

What really bugs me is the timeline involving the walkers. At first Rick got shot and he went to the hospital. The world was fine at that point. Sometime shortly after that things went to hell in a handbag in like the blink of an eye. Here's my reasoning behind why I say that.
  • A wound takes roughly 10 days before the stitches can be removed. 
  • It takes 3 days to die from lack of water.
  • When Rick finally woke up he was real thirsty, and real sore, but he never bled. 
These facts tell me that Rick's IV bag ran out, I'll say 2 days prior. I'll also guess that he woke up somewhere between one week and ten days after his surgery. I say that because when he met that first man who helped him, Morgan, he felt the need to change his bandages, meaning that maybe his stitches weren't quite ready to be removed yet.

So this world-wide epidemic wiped out 99% of the human race in less than ten days. That's a pretty awesome accomplishment for a bug, don't you think? Of course, in the series, there is never any hint as to what caused the epidemic, nor is there anything that might indicate how it spread so fast. Of course, the whole movie isn't about the bug even a little, it's about the people and how they deal with it all.

My next gripe about the timeline is how long these walkers are 'living', or remaining animated. So far the movie covers at least 18 months. We know this because of a nine-month pregnancy and a baby who is somewhere around 8 months old - she can't walk yet, so she's less than a year old.

I wasn't sure so I looked it up, and this is what I found:

How Long Does It Take for Body to Decompose?

  • Timeline
What Happens
  • 24-72 hours after death
Internal organs begin to decompose.
  • 3-5 days after death
Body starts bloating. Blood-containing foam begins leaking from mouth and nose.
  • 8-10 days after death
Massive decomposition of organs in abdomen accumulate massive gas; body turns from green to red because of blood decomposition.
  • Several weeks after death
Nails and teeth begin to fall.
  • 1 month after death
Body starts to become fluid.

So Rick found out at the CDC that everyone was infected (who knows how that happened so quickly either), and we have learned how if someone dies from any cause, they turn into a walker in a matter of hours, so I'm sure walkers will be generated constantly to a certain degree, however the biggest population of them would have degraded to liquefied goo in a month or two at the most since none of them sought shelter from the weather, unless it was by accident.

And bloating - I never even thought about bloating, but have you noticed how none of them are even fat? Let alone bloated. So they should have been completely beyond mobility in a relatively short amount of time.

And the eating: Why give them a drive to eat? Biting I can understand. That would be a means for the disease to spread, but to eat when there is no means for digestion. I mean, once what they consume has been shoved beyond the throat and down into the belly, what then? I never saw one pair of pants loaded up with whatever might pass for crap.

So anyway, things like this is why I will never buy a zombie book. I'll read and review one if it's given to me, and people do give me books to read and review, but I won't spend money on a zombie book. And so far, no one has offered me a zombie book to review. I do have a rule though. I will always give an honest review, no matter what I'm asked to review. Not a fan of romance either, and even less so of erotica. It doesn't matter though. I will give an honest opinion, for only an honest review will truly help the writer be a better writer, whatever they write.


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Sales Conundrum

I learned from a friend today that she'd told a friend of hers about my books or that I was an author (no idea which), any way, this other woman's son bought a kindle edition of The Guardians. Good news for me, but it got me wondering. Why don't I get more such sales? Why is it that so few of my family's friends buy my books? Or maybe they do and I just don't hear about it.

Anyway, I wonder if it's because it sounds kinda cheesy when you say, "My sister is an author. You should check out her book(s)." or something similar. Does it? More than once in meeting people at work, when the subject comes up that I have written books, say how cool it is to meet a real author, and that's whether they buy any of my books or not. Not everyone is into reading, and only a fraction of those enjoy what I write, but I usually sell at least one or two books to staff every year. I was thrilled when my boss offered to display my books at the lodge. I mean really, they have nothing to do with Alaska or with fishing. They went up too late to get many sales this year, but they'll be there all summer next year, and with a new one to be added to the list. Keep an eye peeled right here. I'll be putting up a post all about it sometime soon.

So, how are your sales? Do you get more sales through family, or through strangers like on Amazon or whatever other platform you publish on?


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summer Sales

This summer I sold 19 books from here. Or maybe I should modify that a little - six of those books I sent out of here were a gift to a wonderful online friend who has trouble collecting the necessary funds all at once to buy a book. I couldn't resist, and her reaction when she got them was a sweet reward.

This book is my first book - first published - first written - and soon to be the first to be turned into a script (one of these days). As a first it will always hold a special place in my heart, but as a first it also has a few issues. As a first, this is the book that was where I did all my learning and made all my mistakes, and I'm talking about publishing mistakes. Not that I know it all, but it's rough when your first baby ventures out into the world and it's not treated with the care you think it should be. That is why I will never recommend a subsidy publisher to another writer; they don't care about the book, they want the money. Don't worry, this story isn't completely dead. It's still available from me under this cover, and will be until I run out.

At first, when it was all alone, having 50 books on hand was really cool. Knowing this box sitting in the corner held a book I wrote was an amazing thing. I mean, really, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I never imagined I'd write a book let alone publish it and people would buy and read it, and above all, enjoy it. Even though it has issues that bug me, I never got a bad review, and this is the book with the most reviews.

As I published more books, I was slow in learning the lesson about how many books to order. Through a mailing mishap, I started out with 100 of this books. When I published The Fortunes of Magic, another first in that I did it all by myself, I ordered 50 just because it was a nice round number. In the mean time, getting the books of my trilogy was hard, but I ordered 25 of the first book. It wasn't until much later that I could get the other two. When I published The Speed of Dreams, in order to make the book available in paperback, I had to order 50. By now, I was accumulating quite a stack of book boxes. But I did learn my lesson. When I discovered I was running out of my last two books, The Trials of the Youngest Princess and The Guardians, I only ordered 10 each. I have a stack of book boxes in the corner of my room that is waist high. My days of ordering 25 or more per book are over.

I still have over 30 of King by Right and Speed of Dreams, and more of Fortunes of Magic, but the rest are down within manageable numbers. Perhaps it's time for another give-away. I do love my readers.


Friday, March 25, 2016

The Mighty Series

Or so everyone is lead to believe these days.

Of late, I've certainly seen a lot of them. Of course, that might simply be due to the waters I'm swimming at the moment. It seems everyone has, or is working on, or is planning a series. I see it like this: Picture the ocean. Each little ripple across that vast expanse of water is a book. The occasional hill or gentle roll of water contains the multitude of series - the bigger the hump, the larger the number of books in said series. Those smaller humps that might gently rock your boat consist of series number 2 to 4 books. The medium size humps, the kind that might make you hang on in your boat, or catch a cup sliding off the table, are made up of series numbering 3 to maybe 4 books. The big humps, the scary kind that might make you secure the hatches or simply get the flock out of there, are made up of those series of say 5 to 10+ books.

Now lets look at sales: When these waves make it to shore, they all swish up on the sand with a certain amount of foam or bubbles - those equate to sales. Most of those little ripples will generate some foam as it scrapes up on the sand, but not all. A series might curl over in a breaker, and then crash against the sand with a lot of foam and bubbles, but then they're spent too soon after. Now those big waves, the kind that attract surfers from around the world, those make an even bigger splash, but they also might scare some people off the beach - I do know I wouldn't want to hang too close to something like that, though I might be inclined to watch.

My point is, if I see an advertisement for a seventh book, and I don't find it interesting enough on it's own, I'll probably stay away from the entire series.

If you're writing a series, more power to you, but you never know who will find book X before they come across book 1. I look at the blurb, and if that's intriguing enough, I might take a look inside if I can. Given that sample, if I'm left wanting information from a previous book, I won't buy it, and I probably won't go in search of that first book. For me to do that, I have to be really intrigued.

My trilogy might be guilty of this very thing, but it was written as a single book that happened to fall into three parts. What did I know? At first it was over a thousand pages long, and that was just the text part. At the time, I was still in search of a publisher, and I was told that no publisher would take on such a large project from a newbie writer. So, still leaning on the experience of others, I offered the book as a whole, but conceded that it could be separated into three books. Book one made a pretty good splash. Book two, less of a splash, but then it was published in less locations. Book three was pretty much of a bomb. That is the last time I will publish a series one year between books.

I have another series in the works that is plotted out to be 16 books, but since most of them are really quite short, I think I'll only offer them as eBooks (kindle editions). I thought I might offer the book as a whole for paperback, but I'm thinking it might be too big. The biggest CreateSpace will handle is 828 pages. So if I do decide to go paperback with this book, I might release all books at the same time and sell them as a boxed set. Depending on ultimate page count, it might end up being three books. I'm working on book 10 at the moment, so I have a ways to go yet before I need to worry about any of that.

But enough about me.

What I'm getting at, is make each book of your series a stand along story, more or less. It's fine to have each story farther along in your character's timeline, but if your reader can't understand why Prince Caspian is staggering through the woods, going out of his way to avoid his guards, you might lose your reader as he drowns in questions.

Like I said, my series didn't do this. But I'm willing to learn from my mistakes, and above all pass along what I've learned, or at least my opinion of it all. The best series I've read did just that - each book told its own story, and while development might have occurred along the way, and book two is better for having read book one, book two and even book three were just fine on their own. I used to have the Tarzan series once. I don't even remember how many books there were, but they all stood alone. In fact, I think some of them were written by different authors, but I didn't pay attention. It was just another story, another adventure. I'm willing to pick up a book if I know it's the next adventure. Maybe that's why my trilogy doesn't sell so well.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Once was the time when I could churn out ten pages of writing a day. Doing so piled up nearly a dozen full length books and even more short stories, though I personally don't care for short stories. In my drive to tell stories, some of them simply ended after like five pages. For the life of me, I have no idea on how to make them longer - so, they will stay short, and someday I'll publish a book of short stories. Who knows, maybe I'll do that next. Hmmm now that's an idea.

But I digress - I seem to do that a lot lately.

Anyway - about editing. Since my writing has been mostly taken over by editing, it has become something of a habit. Even when I read a story on my kindle, I frequently see things that should have been treated differently somehow. A lot of the time, putting away my editor in order to enjoy a good book, is really quite hard. That doesn't keep me from recognizing a good story when I see one, and I've seen many.

Recently, a friend of mine posted in an FB group I belong to. She was concerned about mediocre reviews she'd received on her book. I offered to take a look, and since it was my offer, I wasn't about to charge her. I know - I'm never going to make a living by editing if I keep doing it for free, but really, I'd much rather see a good story made better than earn a buck. I'm a long way from earning a living this way anyway.

I was especially dismayed when I learned that my friend had already paid for an editor. I understand that many editors charge different prices for different levels of editing. I found a good page that describes it all here. I charge $1 a page, which puts my price range among the lowest on that page. However all I have is my passion for a well written story that doesn't raise any questions as I read along. So I guess I do most everything mentioned on that page short of the rewrites mentioned there. I have done a few ghost writes though.

What troubled me was that it seemed like her editor did little more than look for the cool little red and green squiggly lines. And while I leaned heavily on those when I first started writing (I learned a lot doing that), an editor really does need to give a manuscript a careful read-through in order to find those pesky little typos that aren't misspelled. I did find a couple of those that would have been easily caught if read. I wasn't looking for typos so much yet. I wanted all those questions answered first. In my book, first comes the story, then comes the mechanics.

I want the story to remain yours, so any questions that arise as I read along, I ask. My asking tells you that you missed something, just as any changes I make say the same thing. My goal is to help you develop your story to a point where it is a clear movie inside your reader's head. Only then can a reader truly enjoy the story. Questions and jarring inconsistencies diminish a good story.

Freelance editors abound of recent years, or maybe they were always around and I just wasn't around enough to run across them. And checking their credentials isn't all that easy, which is why I do ask for a comment on my website. I don't ask for a good review, it is important to me that I get an honest review. For any editor you want to hire, you need to make the effort to look into their credits. I don't have any education to support my editing. All I have is a passion for good writing, and what I've learned on the internet from other writers who are more knowledgeable than I am. When I go through a manuscript, all I have to offer is my opinion, and the hope that it helps. I find it frustrating that other editors seem to think only of the dollar.

This isn't the only time I've read through a book that had already been edited. The first time, I told the guy he needed to ask for his money back. I have no idea if he ever did, but he sure was embarrassed by the major mistakes I found. Whole plot holes and typos - that was years ago now and I don't remember what all I found in that book, but I do remember that it was pretty bad. I didn't know how to use the track changes feature back then, all I remember was that I would send him an email every time I ran across something, giving him page number and telling him what I found. I was sending him an email or two every day. It was still rather astonishing to me that he'd actually paid an editor for what I was reading. I've come across this a few times since. I find it rather sad really. Sometimes, I feel like I'm alone in my passion for good writing - good writing wherever I find it - not just my own.

Well, it's time to get back to my passion and my obsession. Happy writing, people. Remember to do your homework when hiring that editor. Now, I think I'm going to head over to my personal blog and write a post there. Check it out. Every day is an adventure around here. Well, almost every day is. :D


Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Evolution of a Blog

My very first post was on September 15th, 2009 - That's six years of blogging - wow. I never would have imagined.

Today I had reason to look back through my posts and I was really amazed by how it had evolved. At first, when I was so shy about writing online, the only thing I could think of to do with a blog was to post samplings of some of my writing. I could only do that for so long though before I started to repeat myself. Then, on the 19th of February, 2010, on the advice of others online saying I should be willing to give something away, I created a blog novel. You'll have to be patient with the structure of a blog to read this book, but I tried to make it easy. There is a table of contents. Thanks to a donation through this blog, I was able to buy the shown cover and then on 5th of January, 2013, I published it through CreateSpace. That was almost the very first thing I did with Amazon, and it has become my preferred publishing platform.

But I digress - I get ahead of myself.

Not long after starting my blog novel, thanks to a very non-writerly rant on this blog, I came to realize that I might be able to use a personal blog as well. So, on the 14th of June, 2010, I created Anna of Alaska, named after a book a friend of mine wanted me to write. I tried, but I just can't write about myself in book format, so this was something of a compromise.

That makes three blogs to maintain. It might seem like a lot, but somehow I managed. The last chapter of the blog novel was posted on the 20th of April, 2012, which made it a little over three years old. Other than keeping side panels updated, there is nothing more to do there. I do have a wordpress blog, but I almost never post there.

Over the years, this blog evolved to being my interpretation of writing techniques, usually in response to some book I read or something I saw online.

Over the years, I too have evolved. I've gone from a non-stop writer, tucking book after book under my belt to a blogger and platform builder. I think I've done pretty good on that but my writing has greatly suffered. Now I edit more than I write, and I'm talking about editing my own books mostly, because I still have some to get out there, but I've also taken on some paid editing jobs, and most recently, a ghost writing job.

At work over the last three years, with about +/-3 hours of free time during the afternoon, I took my computer to work so I could continue working on whatever I was working on, be it editing or writing. During the summer before this last summer, my boss kept worrying that I wasn't getting my job done. So, last summer, I decided not to take my computer to work at all. Instead, I took my kindle and was either on Facebook or reading. With an 11 hour day, I was in no shape to do anything by the end of the day.

I ended up allowing the whole thing to get to me more than I thought it would, and I've been off my game ever since.

My new year's resolution was to climb back in the saddle. I'm pretty sure I can hang onto the saddle horn because I also quit that job for a job across the river and much closer to an 8 hour day. Plus I get to dig back into the garden I'd spent 14 years developing. I missed that garden. But that's for some other post, probably on my personal blog.

So, though distractions abound, and they always will, I'll buckle down and get on with my writing, in one form or another. Be patient with me.


Friday, January 1, 2016

A Story Told

New Year's resolution: No more letting discouragement and distraction get in the way of my writing. That means I'll be trying to avoid FB until evenings - at least most of the time.


Now on to the reason for this post:

Last night I finished an awesome story. If I were to rate this book on the story concept and the telling of it alone, I would give it five stars and wish to give it more. HOWEVER, if I were to rate the writing, it would be one star with the added comment of 'amateurish'.

Don't get me wrong. As far as I could tell there was nothing wrong with the writing itself. No typos jumped out and slapped me in the face. No careless sentence rearrangements. Not even any unclear sentences that maybe could have been put better. That kind of thing was all good.

The problem is

It was a story TOLD

Let me start at the beginning. Like some movies, this book zoomed in from outer space in a way. It started with an explanation of the world. This world was a large island with five major cities - four coastal cities and the capital in the center. World economics would indicate that there were probably some outlying villages and farms but they were never mentioned.

Closer in we are introduced to the people. There were three races and it was stipulated that though they freely intermarried, there was never a child from such a union. Adoption was never mentioned either. One of these races was human and no outstanding description was given of them so I'm left to assume they were your average white man. Another race was blue-skinned and they cast fire and ice (and other magics, which were only hinted at once) from their hands. They were also heavily inclined toward learning and logic, so they were the teachers and lawyers/judges of the society. I also learned at the end of the book that the king was from this race - of course. The last race were the fighters. They were taller and stronger than your average human, but other than being slightly darker, they were very nearly indistinguishable from humans. They also had near-superhuman endurance and durability. They were the peace-keepers and police of the society. Since nothing much was said about the humans, I guess they were the working class.

Zoom in down to street level, we come across a couple seventeen-year-old boys. I think they both belonged to the warrior race. Both of them have dreamed and trained to join the city guard since they were first allowed to pick up their wooden practice swords. I have no idea how young that is.

It took me a few pages to figure out if the story was going to be about both boys or primarily just one, and which one, but other than that they seemed to be very normal teenagers. One of them, our hero, Nick by name, fell for a pretty girl but was too shy to speak to her. The first time they spoke, the two boys had rescued her from being raped, and while the friend ran for the peace-keepers, Nick and the girl waited at the scene to be questioned. They didn't say much, and neither of them did anything but wait. Just sit and wait? Missed opportunity to pull some heartstrings here. She could have been shaking and in tears, and maybe Nick would find the courage to at least be a shoulder to cry on, but no. On with the story. Many things skimmed over. The next time they meet, Nick is brave enough to ask how she's doing and is totally thrilled when she gives him a peck on the cheek. There's a little more in there, but you don't need a blow by blow. The third time they meet was for their first date which isn't discussed other than to say it was great. Budding romance in place.

This book is written in third person limited for 90% of it, so a step-away to Nick's father is out of place, and really quite odd. Nick's father is a sword-smith and he prides himself in making the best swords and knives he can. It is his calling and his life-long passion, though we never see him actually working. One day he goes to his shop which is filled with all manner of swords and knives - the best ones, the most expensive ones, are hanging on the wall behind the counter. What makes this day so special? A man come in shortly after opening and wants to buy a couple knives, "for hunting" he says. Apparently having customers this early in the morning is out of the ordinary, but he does sell knives, so he goes over to the table that holds all manner of knives, picks out a couple and offers them to the man. We are told that he is uneasy about this customer, but we don't know why. Premonition? Who knows? Maybe.

Later that day Peace-keepers come in to verify that the knives were indeed bought there that morning. Why this information would be important to them I have no idea, unless this society subscribes to the notion that the weapon did the dirty deed, and therefore perhaps the maker might share some responsibility for the crime. This doesn't appear to be the case, but it is a means of telling Nick's father that his knives were used for murder. This information was too much for the man. He could handle that his knives and swords were used for self defense and for the protection of the innocent, but not murder. He's so broken up about it that he decides that he's going to close his shop and never make another blade. Now I'm going to assume that this family is at least upper middle class, but it's not discussed. Anyway, he decides he's going to take his son out to dinner and tell him the news (there is no mother; she died of some illness). What will he do next? No idea.

They pick a table near the back of a busy tavern so they can have a little privacy for their discussion, so no one really sees what happens next. After Nick's father breaks the disturbing news, and before Nick can properly protest much, they are disturbed by a stranger who asks to verify who they are then, despite their protests he joins them at their table for a moment. This writer isn't comfortable with writing fight scenes so things get a little fuzzy here, but somehow the man goes from sitting somewhere at their table to standing behind Nick's father, slicing his throat, pulling him to land on the floor, and then pinning his brain to the floor with his sword. Nick is taken so much by surprise that he is unable to react until it's too late, but he then tackles the man and pulling a hidden knife from his boot maybe (not sure where he kept it, but did know that he had one) and proceeds to pour all his anger and frustration into killing this man. Now is the only time anyone notices anything out of the ordinary in the back of the inn - maybe, but I wouldn't think so, but that's the story so we move on. Peace-keepers are summoned, and because witnesses now deemed Nick uncomfortably dangerous, he's hauled off to jail to await his trial.

Some effort is put in here in Nick trying to figure out his defense. Without witnesses, he has little chance of proving his innocence. The case starts off with Nick being responsible for both deaths because apparently no one knows that the one man was Nick's father. I mean, if he was such a fine sword maker, he should have been known, but I guess not. It ended up that because the sword fit the other man's scabbard, Nick wasn't responsible for that death, thus shortening his sentence by half. They couldn't see justice in the other killing though, even though Nick claimed fear for his life. Seventeen stab wounds was too much overkill for that, so it was a two-year sentence in the arena for Nick.

Some discussion was devoted to the arena too. Murderers and rapists went to the arena for a fairly standard sentence of two years. Who knows how other criminals were punished; it was never mentioned. As we get to the arena, we learn that every fight is to the death; break this rule and both combatants are killed. Pretty much a sentence to the arena is a death sentence because very few actually make it the whole two years to be released back into society.

Now the arena is another thing where the writer was seriously lacking. Even though all the details of running a business may never make it to the book, it should all be clear in the writer's head, but not in this book. All we have is a commissioner who is sloppy rich raking in winning from betting on the fights and from sales of food and drink, I guess - no idea. The arena could have been so much more. He could have allowed patrons to shower their chosen fighter with gifts of money, jewelry, and food. While prison food kept a fighter from starving (barely), gifts of food might have kept him in top form and thus winning more fights. The loser's accumulations of gifts could have been added to the commissioner's coffers or given to the winner. In the book, some prisoners could buy influence within the arena from whatever wealth they had outside, but someone outside had to be willing to handle such transactions, and prisoners are thoroughly cut off from the outside, so you see my problem. However with gifts flowing into the arena, bribes could abound and things could get interesting - but no - too complicated maybe.

Fights within the arena are another thing skimmed over. Like I said before, I don't think this writer is very comfortable with fight scenes. Early on Nick found a mentor whom he fervently hoped he'd never be paired up against; only one of them could come off the sand alive. However, every fight on the sand could be a learning experience too. The first fight was pretty good. The second one was okay too, but it could have been better, I think. However, after it was discovered that Nick was a member of a supposedly extinct fourth race, his fights in the arena were hardly worth mentioning other than to say they were a piece of cake.

More on this fourth race: They were a people that looked and fought a lot like the peace-keeper race, but they could also cast fireballs and ice (and presumably other things) like the blue-skinned race. Apparently some previous king had deemed them too dangerous and had ordered them wiped out. Hmmmmm Obviously at least two escaped that genocide.

Back to managing the business of the arena for a moment. Since we know that every fight means one dead at the very least, managing the population is important. How often are these fights? They should be organized to happen on every Saturday for instance, though there is no mention that there is such a day of rest in this society. Having fight for only one day a week would give time for new blood to enter the arena at a steady trickle, but any new guys are seldom mentioned. I get no real idea of how many men and women are in this arena, but it feels like at least less than a hundred. We do learn that the arena in the capital holds a population of a thousand though so who knows. Lets say that each fight lasts an average of fifteen minutes to half an hour, and your average fight day stretches from say 11:00 to around 4:00 in the afternoon. If they allow half an hour for every fight, that's 10 fights with plenty of time between for the buying of food and drink. 10 fights means 10 less people to fight so to maintain a steady population, the commissioner has to hope for at least 10 new murders or rapes in the city per week. Eh, maybe, maybe not. When the population gets low, the writer should allow for the trading between arenas of prisoners upon occasion. Maybe in one of the other cities the population is too high and they can't house them. Any a sudden influx of new fighters could change up the game within the arena once in a while, just as lining up for something of a lottery to be chosen to go to another arena a possibility. These kinds of things need to be known by the writer so this kind of fullness of world can be added to the book.

Back to the fights: Even though Nick now has the ability to fight with a sword as well as cast fireballs, doesn't seal the win on every fight. Just as he once won a fight against such magic, experienced fighters just might give him a run for his money. Each and every fight needs to be a learning experience as he hones his skills, but all this is skimmed over and Nick is the darling of the commissioner.

Things take a turn when a new guy shows up as a prisoner, only we're told there's some significance to the man, but not what. Hmmm man of interest - why? Late one night, this man manipulates the locks on his own and Nick's cell doors and takes Nick to a storeroom to discuss a few things. He wants Nick to escape with him and join his team. This man also has a little information about why Nick's father was killed. Supposedly it was by order of the king, and he want's Nick to help him kill the king. Nick, however, can't bring himself to believe him, so he runs to the arena guards for help. Some die but the other guy gets away anyway.

Story foreshortened, Nick manages to get a message to the king to warn him and the king sends men to retrieve him from the arena. He is taken the two day trip to the capital where he is bathed, shaved, and made presentable to the king, then he is asked to join in the king's defense after he proves he is the last member of this long lost race. Suddenly word comes that someone broke into the arena here at the capital and all the prisoners have been released. What does this king do? He sends all his strength to help corral the prisoners, even after he's been warned that someone is after his life. He even sends Nick, a man he doesn't know and at this point has no reason to trust. Yes, he's a good and staunchly loyal man, but that's beside the point. Plus, it appears as if he has no house guard. All he has are a few council members who are apparently the best of the very best in what they do, which he just sent away all but two. Apparently running a kingdom is another thing this writer needs to think on. Where are all the functionaries? The halls should have been crowded with the goings ons of royal business, but the palace was empty even of door guards with the exception of a couple here and there.

Anyway, needless to say, one man of this team of five usurpers was enough to create mayhem at the arena while the other four captured, and in front of hundreds of people, killed the king. All in the name of freedom, or so he claims. Do I believe him? I'm not sure.

There is a book 2 and I guess book 3 is in the works. However, though I'm tempted, because I do like this story. I don't think I'll be buying either of them. Too much telling for me. Just as I get into a moment, we're sloughed past it to the next point. Sigh