By Steve Vera, author of BLOOD SWORN
There’s nothing like an exploding geyser of panic to get the juices flowing. I don’t know why I thought I had more than three months to write an entire novel from word-one, page-one—August had seemed so far away from November—but I suspect it had to do with the fact that my brain had been put on a spit and shish kabobed while re-writing and editing the first two books of the Last of the Shardyn trilogy.
By the time my brain did make the connection, as you might imagine, my sphincter puckered. Three months? It took me fourteen years to write the first one! I calmed myself by remembering that I’d increased time efficiency from fourteen years to ten months between Books I and II, Drynn and Through the Black Veil respectively. A 1400% improvement or something (I’m a writer not a mathematician, Jim!). I had this.
Of course, this wasn’t just any novel. This was the climax, the final installment of my Last of the Shardyn trilogy—a blend of Dragonlance style fantasy and Stephen King horror, mixed with a lil Tom Clancy. At least that was the plan. ;) This baby had to be legendary. I already knew how it ended, had it mapped out and plotted. My brain felt like the converging lasers of the Death Star right before it went planet-hunting. I was ready to fire, but first—venue.
I made a quick call to my dear friend Abby who’d twice offered me her father-built cabin in the woods of upstate New York. When I say artist’s sanctuary, I mean fuggedaboutit. Loft, wood burning stove, electricity, plumbing—a perfect blend of rustic beauty and functionality.
Once there, I unleashed the green lasers. Whenever my brain began to ooze out of my ears from writing fourteen hours straight, all I had to do was open the door and stare outside. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the woods at night but the dark is different there, like a presence, and would seep into the cabin rather than give way to the light. I’d step outside onto that front porch and close the door behind me, heart-in-throat. Every chipmunk rustle was a lurking Drynn. Every breeze a shadow without a body. Ten minutes proximity to primal fear was all that was needed to infuse me with another dose of inspiration and adrenaline. I’d go back in and fire it back up. Every time I did, I’d give myself a little smile. No witnesses, just me and God. Not only had I just punched fear in the face, but I’d used it. Owned it.
When I arrived at that cabin back in mid-October, I had about 40K words written. When I was done two weeks later I had 160K, cut down to 140K when I turned it into my editor (Rhonda, you were my compass). To that point, qualifying for the Pararescue Selection Team in the U.S. Air Force had been the most gratifying thing I’d ever done. Not anymore. Allow me to introduce you to Blood Sworn.
Veteran police chief Skip Walkins has really done it this time. After crossing realities to fight the onslaught of the Drynn, the spawn of the Underworld, he’s one of only a few motley survivors of an epic massacre. By his blood, he’s sworn to unite with Shardyn Knight Gavin Blackburn against the armies of Asmodeous the Pale, Lord of the Underworld and ruler of the Drynn. The two must seek resistance fighters wherever they can–even in Vambrace, among those who killed Gavin’s father.
Reformed sociopath Donovan Smith has traveled to Vambrace for his own reasons–the new voice in his head claims that there he will learn how he came to be the Antimage, impervious to the deadliest magical attacks.
Donovan’s secrets may hold the key to defeating the Drynn, but they may upset the delicate alliance of the Blood Sworn in the process. And if Skip and Gavin can’t fight together as one, the Drynn will attain total victory over Earth and its magical twin, Theia.
See how the forces of the Underworld were unleashed in Drynn and Through the Black Veil.
I hope you love it.