I uploaded the files this morning to CreateSpace for The Crownless King. Now it's a waiting game. They should be back with me via e-mail in the next 24 to 48 hours to let me know if the files are in order or if I need to tweak anything. After getting the go-ahead on the files, they'll ready a proof copy to send to me.
Very exciting stuff.
The Crownless King is actually my third completed novel, though my second to be published and my first ever without a coauthor. I should probably warn any interested readers that this novel has absolutely nothing to do with Chaos Reborn or The Chaos Chronicles. The sequel to Chaos Reborn is The Sixth Sword and, though it's currently in the stages of putting the final draft together, seems to be on an indefinite delay due to the fact that Devan and I have radically different schedules and are having difficulty in getting together to put it in its final form.
Crownless isn't what I would call a true fantasy. In this book, you won't find any magic, elves, dragons or anything of that nature. I did create my own world simply because it's much easier to play in your own world than it is to play in this one for a story like this. It's the story of one boy who turns into a hero, but whose story isn't what history stacks it up to be.
I started out early by wanting to create a hero that was at once as human as I am and still bigger than life. I found Sam in the recesses of my imagination and put my pen to work. I've often wondered how much of the history that we studied is actually true and those ponders begged the question: How many heroes never did the things that the legends tell us they did? How many heroes were only doing what they needed to do to survive and somehow got wrapped up in matters more complex than they ever dreamed?
With these questions in mind, I discovered Sam's story. You may think it odd that I say I "discovered" the story, but that's closer to the truth than saying I created it. Sam's story is, in part, my own. A great deal of Sam's character comes from my personality and some of his experiences come from my own life. There are some who think it arrogant to create a character and story like that, but what are our creations if not reflections of ourselves?
A great deal happens to Sam that never happened to me. And again, there are things in there that have. It's a very personal novel for me, but I believe that grounding my character so strongly in reality gave me a connection with him and gave me the ability to make him a human being before he made himself a hero, however unintentionally. It is my hope that my readers will connect to Sam on that level and therefore be more inclined to follow his story.
Here I have to say a few words about my illustrations. The first time that I ever saw a character I'd created brought to life in a portrait, it blew me away. Well, to keep a marked difference in this novel and The Chaos Chronicles, Heather Gladden handled the illustrations for me. She did an amazing job. Not everything she drew for me will make the book and it's a shame, because she did great work. I'd love to cram them all in there and let you see them, but she did five pieces that really hit hard with the tone of the novel so I kept it down to those five. I'll post the others up here as I get them ready and provide you with links to her blog. She's a talented artist and photographer who will have a long career ahead of her if she keeps this up.
I'll keep updating the blog as I know more about the official release of The Crownless King and hopefully it will be on the shelves very, very shortly.