This episode is nothing more nor less than what it seems: a stand-alone story about a "fallen star." While it allowed me the opportunity to explore the culture of the nomadic tribes in the "Unclaimed Territories," and flesh out some of their own perceptions of themselves, and their interactions with the "civilized" nations of Lufilna, it really wasn't supposed to have a lot of character development, nor huge impact on future episodes. All of which means that while the start was a little slow to write, it ended up going pretty quickly, and after the first two thousand words were written, I finished the rest of the episode in just a few days. Which is good, because I fully anticipate the next episode, In Contempt, being quite a challenge to write.
For once, I actually managed to write a true short story; this particular piece comes in under six thousand words (barely), unlike most of the Blood Magic "short" stories, which hover around ten thousand words. It was a quick write for me, and will probably be a quick read for you. There aren't even any section breaks, and all of the action takes place in a single day. It's very much a read in one sitting kind of piece.
Either I forgot, or I thoroughly repressed just how bad episode four was. At least, I hope it was one of those two, because I would hate to think that as either an author or a reader I ever looked at this episode and thought it was good. When I went to start revisions on this episode, I floundered around, looking for some way to start, because I thought that it was so bad that no amount of revision could help. I was very nearly tempted to throw out the entire original text and start over again, and the only thing that restrained me was that I'm still nominally calling these revisions, and have promised to be somewhat true to the original episodes. That meant, unfortunately, that I was stuck with the silly plot involving some thieves, some poison, and some gold.
I am very excited to present to you the first episode of a brand new season of Blood Magic, the short story series that I've been publishing for over a year now on IGC Publishing to minimal fanfare. If you're not already familiar with it, I encourage you to go over to the main Blood Magic page or any of my myriad posts on the subject to learn more. Better yet, I encourage you to start at the beginning, and read the first episode. We even have a newly revised edition here on the site, newly re-released for 2021.
I've determined to re-release The Grounds Warden in the new format. No longer do you have to go to the page, pay, and download the PDF. Instead, you can just click here, and you will be taken directly to the page with the whole story. So if you haven't read The Grounds Warden before, I encourage you to head over and give it a read. You can find a lot more details on it in some of my older posts. This is actually one of the first stories that I wrote on which I received more than just "that's nice" kind of feedback, and I was able to turn it into something that I think is quite interesting.
Below, you'll find a preview for Blood Magic. Remember, the first episode is set to be released in January or February of 2020. If you're exciting about the series, leave a comment on the series or about the preview in the comments below, or on the Blood Magic Forum page.
There's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I've made two drafts of the world map, but it still needs refinement: mountain ranges, river systems, political boundaries...you know, the little things. I also have a preliminary symbol for the series, which you can see on the main Blood Magic page. Expect me to start releasing previews for the series in the coming weeks...hopefully they'll drum up some reader excitement.
Halloween is perhaps one of the best holidays for creative writing. Something about the holiday makes it more acceptable than usual to write about ghouls, ghosts, zombies, vampires, spirits, and various otherwise overused specimens of the paracosmic domains. Now, I'm definitely not a horror writer - my demons tend to be too misunderstood, my vampires too noble, my ghosts too sarcastic, and my ghouls too diligent - but I do enjoy occasionally dabbling with these subjects.
One of the distinguishing features of the speculative fiction genre in its published form is the maps. Avid readers of fantasy and science fiction are known to pour over the maps included in the books they read, maps describing fantastical worlds and universes in vivid detail. It was perhaps inevitable, therefore, that I would at some point be obliged to create maps to go along with the stories I've written or am in the process of writing.
There are really some interesting considerations going into this Blood Magic project. Since it has this episodic nature, the project as a whole requires a great deal more pre-planning than I tend to do. Not that I don't plan out my writing; I just tend to do it in my head, and then revise my plan as I write. Fo'Fonas, for instance, began as a single chapter exploring an idea for a magic system I liked, which blossomed into my first, complete novel (it's now in the review process).