Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Nobody stares better than Ken Watanabe, and if you’ve seen Godzilla 2014, then you might have few other questions. The most popular question in my email box is, “Could Smokey handle Godzilla?”

Since the match-up is unlikely to ever happen, we’ll have to deal with this in a hypothetical method.

Godzilla is better known in most circles, so that would give him the hometown favorite advantage. He’s also one of the few creatures around that are bigger than Smokey, and not by just a little. Godzilla is what, like 350 feet tall? He might be a shade over that, depending on the viewing angle of those buildings behind him.

Smokey is roughly 149 feet long with a wingspan of 185 feet. With two heads, one that can breathe fire and the other that breathes out ice, Smokey has options not available to Godzilla. Of course, Godzilla’s no slouch. He’s got that blue-hot lightning breath, but I not sure how much range it has. For certain, it works well in close quarters.

Godzilla’s the master of the water, but I don’t think Smokey would be suckered into taking a dip. Even the MUTO’s in his recent movie didn’t fall for that. Initially, Smokey’s power of flight seems unbeatable, but if you remember, one of those MUTOs could slip the surly bonds well enough to carry a nuclear submarine with it. Godzilla adapted and overcame. Things are looking bad for Smokey, but don’t count him out yet.

Smokey was there in all three books of The Chronicles of Susah series. He saves her and carries her into battle against the ogres in book one (THE DRAGONEERS), he survives in book two (THE LOST DRAGONEER) to take her back to service, and in book three (THE LAST DRAGONEER) he stays with her all the way to the end. I won’t say anymore so as to not spoil the read but after all of that you’ve got to love Smokey.

As is Godzilla, Smokey’s a good guy who uses discernment in his killing ways. We don’t talk about it much, but sometimes it’s a good thing to kill a bad guy. In this case, we would have two good guys fighting each other; thus, ultimately a good guy would lose. So how would it go?

Smokey is at his greatest lethality is when he’s teamed with three other double-headed flying dragons pulling a fully armed chariot with a qualified crew. Of course, that would not give Godzilla much of a chance. With all things consider, the answer still depends on the rules of engagement.

Using standard Monster v MUTO Agreements (MMA) tournament rules, if Godzilla and Smokey mix it up in Vegas or San Francisco--one-v-one standing amidst the casinos and buildings--there’s a very good chance that Godzilla walks away from a dead Smokey. If, however, Godzilla tries to stand against Smokey when he's part of his dragoneer combat chariot team, using antediluvian steampunk combat tactics, techniques and procedures, which means Godzilla would be engaged with water fusion bombs from between 5000-10,000 feet, then there’s an even better chance that Godzilla’s going to wind up having what’s left of his bones picked clean by seagulls.

So it’s never really the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight that’s allowed to come out of the dog.

Thanks for reading.

Find the book and go read it. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

World Wide Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to the Antediluvian Steampunk Blog stop on your adventure. This is my debut participation in any blog tour, and I hope you enjoy your visit. First of all, I'd like to express my appreciation for Yelle Hughes, author of Aegean Chronicles series as she asked me to join in with this international blog hop. You can read Yelle's blog here and see what she and her guest authors are up to.

What am I working on?

THE LOST DRAGONEER, the third novel in my Chronicles of Susah series is finally available in a printed version here. In March, the eBook was published and made available at Amazon, but getting the format right for the printed book required more work. I've learned much since I began my writer journey, and this book demonstrated the best of me, for now. I'm pleased with the quality of this 630-page production and I think you will be, too.

My next big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) is to use my improved writing superpowers to produce a revised second edition of my first two books. Susah fans needn't worry as the story isn't changing, but the mechanical presentation will as to match the quality of what's in book three.

Fortunately, the 20,000+ who've bought the eBooks will be able to upgrade their kindle versions for free via Amazon, as is the case with all kindle eBooks. Eventually, the first edition printed version will be taken out of print as the second edition nears completion. I can't imagine those books will become collector's items within my life time, but that might change after the movies, action figures, video games, and theme park become the talk of the land. For now, my goal is to make the readers' experience from the beginning of the series consistent. Please be patience with me as I must do this before I venture onward with my fourth book, more on that later--much later.

Why do I write what I do?

I feel as though the very reason I was created might have been to write these stories. It is as if everything that happened to me in my life was to prepare me to share these stories with you. When I'm writing them, the stories come alive inside of me as if I might have lived these adventures during a previous life. As the words appear, it feels more like remembering something long forgotten than it does making up a story. That's hard to understand if you've never experienced it. I can't be the only one. Regardless, I write what I do because I can't imagine doing anything else.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My novels defy conventional classification because they blend action and emotional tension with technology and spiritual intrigue in a coming of age story wrapped in an epic adventure set in the antediluvian age. Some of my readers have called me the founding father of Antediluvian Steampunk, a new genre. Of course, that genre isn't widely recognized with book retailers, at least not yet.

Originally listed as Epic Fantasy genre, the books were transferred to Amazon's Biblical Fiction genre where they have remained on their best-sellers list ever since. I wasn't familiar with the term "Steampunk" when someone first used it in reference to my writing.
With minimal research, I discovered the term was first coined in 1987. Steampunk incorporates elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history or other branches of speculative fiction, making it a hybrid genre. Within that mix of activity, Steampunk displays anachronistic technologies or cultures--technology and/or cultures that seem out of place with the setting. 

The antediluvian world is traditionally portrayed as matching the first century A.D. in most of the stories for children: Noah carrying a shepherd crook, everyone wearing simple robes, donkeys and camels as the common conveyances. As adults, most people continued to believe that paradigm. If you consider the probabilities of a nearly perfect people developing virtually no technology over a span of almost 2000 years, it doesn't make sense. Some folks have commented that my novels might be closer to the truth than are the traditional stories. Once you read them for yourself, you might agree that there really is more to the story than you've been told.

How does my writing process work?

My Air Force career taught me how to plan. Plotting is pretty much the same thing as planning. I use a tool called the muse wheel to begin my deliberate plotting process, which provides me with a master plot to guide my writing. Each novel begins with life altering, action-driven events that propel Susah, my protagonist, toward her next adventure. Before I write the first chapter I already know how the book is going to end. The last scene is most vivid in my mind, much like a memory.

As I write, I know where the protagonist is and where she's going; however, I don't have all the little details and conversations planned. Somehow, those things come to me as I'm alone with my keyboard. Little tappings on my Mac metamorphose into the details of an epic adventure, sometimes surprising me with their message. The exact science behind how the muse translates into an organized story mostly eludes me, but I know it happens. My three novels are a testimony to that fact.

Writing a story is one thing, transforming it into a mechanically acceptable manuscript that can be formatted into a desirable book is another thing altogether. Before I bother my editors, I use a grammar checker and online proofreader called Grammarly. The service is available with an annual fee that is well worth it to me, but I my editors are essential.

My tactical editor helps me through each chapter as I write them. After incorporating her suggestions, I used Google documents to collaborate with my operational editor. From there, the edits are used to produce a final draft for a strategic editing, which proceeds much like the familiar shampoo label reads, "lather, rinse, repeat."

I suppose an author-editor team could do that forever. Each round would reveal a few more unacceptable prose errors, and somewhere in a hundred years or so the manuscript would be nearly perfect. Of course, perfect is the enemy of good enough.

With practice, we're supposed to become better at what we do. I am much better than I was when I began my writer's journey years ago, but I'm still far from perfect. In spite of the multiple rounds of improved manuscript drafts and a painstaking formatting process, I know there will be imperfections in my latest book.

I know this because I find errors in every book I read, don't you?

Thanks for reading, and now I'd like to direct your attention to some of my friends who are also authors:

Gay Ingram has been a friend of mine for years.

A little cabin in the piney woods of East Texas is where Gay Ingram has penned words for a number of years. She shares the farm with her husband of fifty-five years. She has one living son, three grand-daughters and two great grandchildren.

An interest in herbs began her long writing career resulting in articles published in national magazines. A creative writing course changed her focus and she now has five novels, a couple memoirs, and a collection of short stories now published. Her love of American History is reflected in two of her novels.

You can visit Gay Ingram's blog here.

Diane Adams Taylor is in an authors support group with me and she is a retired school administrator with over thirty-two years in the field of education. She is now working in her second career as a writer, author, publisher and lecturer. She had her first novel, Circles in Time, published by Tate Publishing in May 2012. Her second novel, The Healer of Wounded Souls, was release through Bush Publishing Company in October 2013. She writes for two on-line publications; one specifically on special education topics and the other as a contributor of short stories. Diane continues to write novels and she is currently working on three new manuscripts as well as a series of children's books and a young adult fantasy series.

You can find Diane's blog here.

My friend, Julia Phillips Smith is the author of the new superhero series featuring a Dark Ages vampire from 6th century Wales.

Julia is the author of dark fantasy novels Bound by Dragonsfyre and Vampires Saints and Lovers, available through online retailers. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic University's film program in Toronto, Julia has several scriptwriting credits in addition to her novels. She enjoys life with her husband and mom in Nova Scotia, where the rugged sea and misty forests feed her thirst for gothic tales. Coming next: Book 2 in the Dragonsfyre series takes readers further into the shadows of the Eighth Dominion. Follow if you dare.

Check out Julia's blog here.

Did you notice that all of them are wearing red? I'm sure you noticed the cover of my third novel. After all, how could you miss it? Do you really believe that was a coincidence? I've always been a lucky man, but I believe forces far greater than luck rule this universe.

Speaking of covers, Susah fans should be pleased to know that once they've read THE LAST DRAGONEER, the cover art will finally make sense. Many times, I've been advised to put a dragon on my books since I began this journey; alas, Susah's adventures are about much more than dragons.

There you have it:

A little about me and my books and some tempting information about three great authors. Before you're done, check out the blog links above so you can read about Gay Igram, Daine Adams Taylor, and Julia Phillips Smith. Who knows, you might discover your next favorite author.

If you haven't already done so, you really need to check out all three books of my The Chronicles of Susah series:

The Dragoneers
The Lost Dragoneer
The Last Dragoneer

You've never read anything like them.

"Never underestimate the power of steam." 
Colonel Rek in THE LAST DRAGONEER by C. D. Sutherland

Friday, May 16, 2014

One Day Old

Gators and Friends has something new. They're well known in northern Louisiana for their alligator park, exotic petting zoo, pony rides, and zip line, but did you know that yesterday a newborn llama was added to the herd?

Gators and Friends is one of my favorite places and their season passes are a bargain if you share my enthusiasm. Today I saw the newborn llama and captured the picture you see with this posting. I marveled at its little face and relaxed posture as we hand-fed the adult llamas standing guard. My iPhone's zoom allowed me to appear to be closer than I really was.

Yesterday was an eventful day for me also. After many months of writing, editing, editing, editing, and editing. The printed version of my third novel was approved for publishing. You read right, THE LAST DRAGONEER was published in print on 15 May 2014. Many of your already know, Susah's third great adventure has been available via Kindle since 26 March 2014, but this is the printed book. Like a lot folks, I enjoy holding a tree book in my hands.

As with most independent publishers, my books sell in much greater numbers as an eBook than as a printed version. Some publishers forego the effort and expense involved with print because of that; however, I know a few people only read books in print. Since I believe my books are going to change the world one reader at a time, I need to reach everyone.

With 631 pages, THE LAST DRAGONEER dwarfs my first two novels and so does it's sticker price. Naturally, size is a key factor for a printed book's price.

If you're interested in an autographed copy, you can contact me through many venues. A popular one is via my Facebook Fan page, which if you're interested in an autographed copy you're probably interested in giving me a "like" over there, too.

Happy birthday to the littlest llama and to the longest adventure of Susah, also known as THE LAST DRAGONEER.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's Your BHAG?

It's pronounced BEE-hag, and James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, define it as "...an audacious 10-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future." They claim a company may have an over-reaching BHAG and other short-term BHAGs. It's nice to know we're not limited. Spelled out, it stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
The USAF used the term "vision statement" to cover their version of the BHAG, though many businesses call it a strategic business statement; however, the distinguishing description used by Collins and Porras is "audacious" in terms of a goal. Often business managers establish short-term, tactical goals ion order to motivate their workers to achieve something the organization would like done. That's cool, it's their choice, but they can't call that a BHAG.
"A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines."
—Collins and Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Here's a a few BHAGs:

"Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Google 

"Every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds." Amazon 

"Tell the rest of the story." Narrow Way Press 

What’s my BHAG? I’m so glad you asked. My BHAG is coded within my books and it’s going to change the world. Really, it is.

Thanks for reading.

Here's a short video trailer of the popular novel THE DRAGONEERS, book one of my Antediluvian trilogy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Fowl For You?

I cooked these two organic, free range chickens for Mother's Day. For those who thought I might have been a vegan, I'm sorry to say I do enjoy a well-cooked bird whenever I can.

Someone told me these were too foul, and I agreed in a matter of speaking. They are two fowls, and that's no baseball analogy.

During our meal I reflected on how tasty these birds were, even though they weren't the best presented entrée I'd ever seen. As an author, that caused me to reflect on the first book of my trilogy, THE CHRONICLES OF SUSAH.

Though mostly well-received and positively reviewed, the dominate negative comment on my debut novel at Amazon is that the story is great, but the book is not. I knew that shortly after publishing my second book, THE LOST DRAGONEER, and was sorely tempted to write a revised second edition of THE DRAGONEERS back then. I shared those intentions with my readers via my Facebook fan page and the response was overwhelming against it.

They wanted the third book more than they wanted an improved presentation of the first adventure. Who could blame them? Susah's adventures are captivating, and what happens next is most desired product of any series you're following.

So that's what I did, and now THE LAST DRAGONEER is available in Kindle. The printed version of this third book is going through yet one more proof review before it will go final, which should be soon. Now, I'll be turning my writing energy toward the revised second edition of THE DRAGONEERS.

If you've already read it, you can rest assured the story isn't changing; however, the scattering of typos, grammatical errors, and formatting issues will change. What will emerge is a book worthy of being called a good book, along with being a good story. I'll post about my progress as it continues.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Big Stakes in Editing

Editing a book is something like cooking a grill load of steaks. There is so much potential for the consumers of your labor to enjoy themselves, but the odds of making a few mistakes are great when there is so much to do. Cooking a dozen perfect steaks and allowing one mistake to make it to the picnic table results in at least one unhappy consumer.

Continuing the analogy, a little posting such as this is more akin to cooking a hotdog. Care has to be taken not to over do it, but stopping short wouldn't be all that bad. I could post a picture, say something cute, and be content with having said my say.

With my third novel, THE LAST DRAGONEER, which completes the trilogy of THE CHRONICLES OF SUSAH, I wanted the mechanical presentation to match the quality of the story. My editorial team gave me tremendous support, but the reality of undertaking is that it is a lot of work.

While crafting THE LAST DRAGONEER, I used an instant grammar checker and online proofreader before sending a chapter draft to my tactical editor. The service is available with an annual fee that is well worth it to me, but it's not like having Bobby Flay mind your grill while you enjoy the sunshine. The technology allowed me to give a superior product to my editor, so that she could work at a more refined level. After incorporating my tactical editor's inputs, I used Google documents to collaborate with my operational editor. Those inputs were used to produce a final draft for a third editing. After that, the chapters were combined into a draft manuscript for an intense round of editing, which resulted in a published novel via Amazon's kindle. At the time, I thought the presentation was perfect.

With my first two novels, I made the typical mistake of publishing the printed edition too soon. This time, I ordered proofs which were used as advanced readers. Once was not enough since the "perfect" presentation proved to have many mechanical errors. A second proof effort revealed another dozen flaws and a few formatting problems, which were all corrected. Of course, I suspect there are some more yet to be discovered.

I know this because I find errors in every book I read, don't you?


Friday, May 9, 2014

My Prose is Like a Red Red Rose

Have you noticed how roses are alike and yet different? The roses growing in my garden continue to amaze me with their subtle differences. Initially, the most obvious difference is the reds as opposed to the pink blooms, but it goes beyond color. Each petal seems to have a personality of it's own. Taking a picture of one this morning, highlighted with the rain from the night prior caused me to draw the parallel between my prose and the rose, with all due respect to Robert Burns.

O my prose's like a red, red rose
That's like the others on the shelf;
O my prose's a new adventure
Even if I say so myself.

As different art thou, THE DRAGONEERS,
I've written another two:
Folks need to read them too:

Book One's from innocence to warrior,
Book Two's from warrior to leader:
Book Three the rocks melt like the sun,
And arrives the anticipated water.

If you're read my novels three
You know of what I speak,
There's more to the story than you've been told,
Susah's adventures are not for the meek.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birthday Cakes and Crystal Skulls

When I faced the blazing display of my birthday cake this year, I couldn't help but reflect on the mysterious crystal skull used by Lilith in my The Chronicles of Susah trilogy. We're all familiar with the tradition of making a wish and then blowing out the candles. In Lilith's case, she was seeking information from the powerful voice, which spoke only to her. The skull first appears in the second chapter of THE DRAGONEERS and eventually plays an essential role in the series.

Anyone who's read that first adventure of Susah, the daughter of the most noted shipwright in history, will attest to the intensity of the action. After the screaming and terror that filled the back room of Lilith's Lair, the voice gave Lilith some advice she desired to help her obtain her selfish goal of obtaining the secrets of the Garden of Eden. It takes three novels to fully develop that story element, and along the way Susah and her readers experience myriad challenges.

Sometimes we discover the things we were seeking weren't really the things we wanted. A wise woman once told me, "It's better to want something you don't have than to have something you don't want." Have you ever experienced that?

Wouldn't it be great, if when you blew out the candles on your birthday cake, you could send a message back to yourself during your last birthday. Transcending time and space, if that were possible, what advice would you give to the person you were a year ago?

While I managed to extinguish the candles with the obligatory single breath, I wondered what words of wisdom I would have said to my younger self, assuming I could. Unlike the voice that spoke to Lilith, I think some sage advice for me would have been, "Eat a little less, sleep a little more, and let those whom you care the most for hear how important they are to you."

Come to think of it, that would be good advice for this coming year.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Chronciles of Susah Book Three

Having survived her battle with the fallen angel called Abaddon, Susah faces greater challenges. Separated from all she has known, she has to deal with the advanced technology of the Cainites, the presence of myriad fallen angels, and eventually coming face to face with the one called Satan. 

Susah's devotion to duty is shaken when she meets a man unlike any she has ever known. Meanwhile, political upheaval in Sethica threatens to replace the pillars of a free society with a totalitarian oligarchy. 

All of this happens in the shadow of her father's prophecy of an impending flood. Whatever happens, this out-of-this-world, Earth-shattering story is sure to wash away some of your preconceptions about the Antediluvian Age.

You’ve never read anything like THE LAST DRAGONEER. Discover for yourself, is this the end, or a new beginning?

Publication Date: 26 March 2014

You can purchase the eBook version for $4.99. THE LAST DRAGONEER 

The printed Book version will be available for purchase later this month as it is undergoing the final formatting process.

The Chronicles of Susah Book Two

In an ancient kingdom lived a now forgotten but history-shaping warrior named Susah, who was one of the few of her race gifted with special abilities allowing her to see other people's thoughts and even communicate with animals. In a quest for self-actualization, she left her family at an early age and leveraged her gifts to become an officer in the exclusive Dragoneer Corps, the dragon-commanding fighters protecting her homeland from the encircling communities of savage enemies intent on the annihilation of Susah's entire race. As fate would have it, Susah joined the Dragoneer Corps just in time to lead the organization to its demise in the pivotal Battle of Pison.

The dragoneers repelled the invasion, but the war isn't over. Their Pyrrhic victory offers little comfort in light of the self-absorbed citizens' apathy to political corruption and faltering leadership. Most disheartening, everyone seems oblivious of an imminent danger. 

Susah may be the most talented dragoneer ever, but raw ability is not enough to sustain a military career. Rejected and feeling abandoned, Susah bitterly turns her talents toward serving her personal pursuit of happiness, but the challenges have just begun.

Abaddon, a fallen angel nearly as old as time itself, and his demonic followers were held at bay for centuries by the Sethicans' warrior spirit and their amazing technologies. After acquiring those same technologies from Sethican traitors, the would-be god refuses to be contained any longer. He is encouraged by the condition of the current generation of Seth's progeny, decadent and weak. Abaddon leads his formidable army of Nephilim into Sethican territory to wage war against an under-funded, poorly-equipped defense force led by incompetents. 

Just as Susah begins to prosper as a civilian, an old mentor urges her to return to military service. She refuses due to ambivalence fueled not only by disdain for the selfish behavior of her fellow citizens, but also by growing self-absorption. Susah's initial rejection of the recall to service challenges her mentor to find a way to convince her to abandon self-interest for the greater good. He believes Susah may be the only chance for the last pure descendants of Adam to survive. 

The Lost Dragoneer defies conventional classification. Action and combat, fantastic technology, and intriguing spiritual possibilities abound, but Susah's humanity and happiness are the real quest. This is a coming of age story wrapped in an epic adventure inside the antediluvian age.

Publication Date: January 3, 2013 

You can purchase the eBook version for $3.99. THE LOST DRAGONEER 

You can purchase the printed Book version here: THE LOST DRAGONEER

NOTE: A revised second edition is being edited this year. The new edition will be free to current owners of the Kindle version. The first edition of the printed book will be discontinued prior to the revised edition being released sometime near the end of 2014.

The Chronicles of Susah Book One


"This novel defies conventional classification: is it science fiction? biblical fiction? thriller? The story describes a world where flying two-headed dragons and ogres exist, characters with telepathic gifts communicate with both animals and people, a man named Noah builds an Ark in his backyard, and a six-fingered giant named Lilith wants to take over the world. While this collage may have been implausible in lesser hands, the author makes it work, artfully drawing readers into Sethopolis (the "center of the last human-dominated nation on Earth") and constructing an adventure with attention-grabbing plot twists. at the center of it all is 18-year old Susah, a feisty heroine with the ability to communicate telepathically. Sheltered by her father, Noah, from the evils of the world, Susah's life takes an unexpected turn when her aunt and uncle are killed by a violent street gang. Mesmerized by the soldier who rescues her and the flying dragon under his control, she decides to join the Dragoneer Corps, defenders of the Eden zone, and become a dragoneer. Lilith, aware of Susah's gifts, wants to have her killed. As Susah trains to become a skilled dragoneer, she embarks on a collision course with Lilith's army of giants and ogres as they march toward the Eden zone for the ultimate battle between good and evil..."


THE DRAGONEERS is a coming of age story about Susah, a talented young woman, who refuses to join her three brothers in helping her father advance the family business. She wants to do something exciting with her life. While this story could have been set in any time, the fantastical world she lives in amplifies each step nearly beyond the bounds of imagination.

Against her parents' wishes, Susah leaves home on a quest to become one of the dragoneers-an elite fraternity of warriors sworn to defend the ancient garden of Eden against all trespassers.Meanwhile, deep in a lair inside of Sethopolis' roughest neighborhood, an evil giantess dreams of seizing the secrets of immortality and other powers, which she believes are hidden within the walls of the forbidden garden. Realizing she can't achieve her dream with her own resources, she joins forces with a fallen angel, nearly as old as time itself.

Seemingly unawares of the dangers awaiting her, Susah faces the greatest of all challenges. With the fate of the human race depending on their performance, will the dragoneers succeed in defending the garden of Eden against the forces of evil? And even if they succeed, will Susah survive the pivotal battle of good verses evil?This adventure builds on the little we know about the antediluvian world and overlays it with a blend of technology, supernatural powers, fire-and-ice-breathing, flying dragons, giants, and martial arts to begin Susah's adventure to discover herself. Climb aboard and hang on for the ride of your life.

This 100,000+ word, Genesis-based epic fantasy will attract those interested in speculative fiction, especially about the antediluvian world, and will  also appeal to readers of contemporary fantasy as well as military fiction.

Publication Date: November 29, 2011

You can purchase the eBook version for as little as 99 cents, which is the lowest price Amazon allows us to charge for now. THE DRAGONEERS

You can purchase the printed Book version here: THE DRAGONEERS

NOTE: A revised second edition is being edited this year. The new edition will be free to current owners of the Kindle version. The first edition of the printed book will be discontinued prior to the revised edition being released sometime near the end of 2014.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What's a Dragoneer?

Dragoneer. Just a word, but words mean things.

So what was I trying to describe when I came up with the word dragoneer? Let me tell you how it all came about.

Did you know that the word dragon/dragons is used 35 times in the King James Bible? If you knew that, you probably also know the scribes used it when translating the Hebrew word tannin or the Greek word drakon.

Dragons have been characters in mythology since mankind started telling stories, in literature since mankind could write, and more recently in movies. Often times the authors would make their dragons more interesting by their possession of advanced intellect or some sort of magic. Occasionally, dragons would be either a partner or the subject of a dragon-rider/dragon-keeper of some sorts.

To me:
Dragon-keeper is to dragon as crew-chief is to airplane, much like zoo-keeper refers to the person who cares for a zoo.
Dragon-rider is to dragon as passenger is to airplane or to train.

But think of this:
What word is to dragon as pilot is to airplane? Or as engineer is to locomotive?

I needed a new word. You got it now--dragoneer.

I was still on active duty in the Air Force, and didn't have the time to write. However, I outlined the story, came up with the title, and finally bought the domain on 13 March 2006. The domain's registration is a matter of public record.

What was the title? Okay, I'll tell you: THE LAST DRAGONEER. That sounds more familiar now than it used to.

After I retired from the Air Force, I finally had time to write. I finished a manuscript in June 2006. That story took Susah from her father's garden all the way to the flood. The only problem was that it read more like an Air Force Doctrine Document or technical manual. Great story, lousy fiction. The root problem was, I needed to learn the craft of fiction writing.

After taking a couple of on-line courses, reading lots of books on writing, getting advice from a few people I already knew and rewriting the novel it swelled to 165,000 words. I submitted it to various publishers, the last one was DAW, who sent me my epiphany rejection letter on 5 Feb 2007, explaining a new writer needed a truly outstanding book and THE LAST DRAGONEER didn't meet that standard at that time. 

So what did I do? First I confessed my writing wasn't truly outstanding. Then I thought about the things I'd done to become a truly outstanding Air Force combat aviator. Therein was the solution:

Becoming a writer required a certain set of basic skills, which needed refinement to develop into a novelist. I went back to school, joined reading groups, joined writing groups, joined professional writing organizations, and talked to as many smart people as could stand to talk to me as I focused on improving my skills.

In October 2007, I entered THE LAST DRAGONEER in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest. Out of the 5000 entries, the novel made it to the top 836 but was eliminated when the field was reduced to the top 100. During that time, THE LAST DRAGONEER was exposed to the public at large. Anybody could read the title and the excerpt. Anybody.

The big problem with the novel is even though it was huge--major portions of the book were rushed. After reading comments about that, the light bulb came on over my head. The story had to be parceled into at least three books and fully developed before they'd be good enough for the world to enjoy.

In ABNA 2009, a modified version of the novel made it to the top 250 entries, this time the contest was expanded to 10,000 entries. The novel entered was the same plot as the THE DRAGONEERS, which is now published.

In ABNA 2010, yet another modified version of the novel made it to the top 50. That's a nice showing, but the manuscript still had a long ways to go. The ABNA competition was tough, there are so many good writers out there.

During this time, I'd been pushed by financial issues to return to the work force, which provide some coin but took much of my writing time. The novel was not entered in the ABNA 2011 contest for a variety of reasons, the dominate one being my decision to work with Narrow Way Press LLC, an independent Louisiana based small press with the goal of publishing THE DRAGONEERS The Chronicles of Susah Book One. That happened on 29 November 2011.

THE DRAGONEERS sold over 20,000 copies, but it still had some literary issues. The story was great, but I still had much to learn. It's a 100,000+ word novel, currently selling for 99 cents at Amazon. 
On 3 January 2013, the second novel in the series was published. THE LOST DRAGONEER is a 125,000+ novel. Along with book one, this novel has remained on the Biblical Fiction best sellers list at Amazons since shortly after it was published.
The more I learned about my craft, the more I realized I needed to write a revised second edition of THE DRAGONEERS (book one). I queried my readers, and they overwhelming said they would prefer to have the next book instead of repairing the first book. Who can blame them, everybody wanted to know what was going to happen to Susah next. The revised second editions are being worked, and when ready the kindles will be updated about the same time the new printed editions are made available. When that happens, the old printed editions will be taken out of print. We're still several months out from that happening.
THE LAST DRAGONEER was published on 26 March 2014. This 155,000+ word novel joined the first two on the best sellers list at Amazon. The printed version of the book is soon to be released. Something I've learned along the way, the eBooks are fairly simple to correct errors with, but the printed books require major muscles movements to fix. Thus, we released the eBook ahead of the printed edition. The final polishing to the eBook will happen about the time the printed book is released and all through the magic of Amazon and Kindle, the readers will all get the updated version of the kindle without any cost.
If you've read this entire post, you now know a few things you might not have known before: 
(1) Why I came up with the word dragoneer on my own, at the time I believed I had invented the word and I still suspect I was the first to use it, certainly I was the first to use it as a novel's title ; 
(2) I bought the domain in March 2006;
(3) I used the title as early as October 2007 for my manuscript in the very public international novel contest known as ABNA, and;  
(4) the title to the third book of this series, was originally intended to be the title of one book, but the story was too long to be a single volume. The three dragoneer novels are subparts of the series known as The Chronicles of Susah.

You also might have picked up on that I'm planning to publish revised second editions of Books one and two later on this year. Hopefully, I'll make good on that intention. 
Thanks for staying with me on this because we're constantly learning that there's more to the story than you've been told. 

What is Antediluvian Steampunk?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, traditionally featuring steam-powered machinery--as in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen--but not always as in Back to the Future. The key element of Steampunk is anachronism.

Anachronism is an perceptional error in chronology, especially a misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other.

Still don’t get it?

That’s okay.

Not everyone of the 60 million watching understood Elvis when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956Ed Sullivan said, “I can’t figure this darn thing out. He does this and everybody yells.”

Elvis didn’t invent Rock and Roll. As early as 1942, the term was used in Billboard magazine to describe Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Rock Me recording. While some folks find that trivia interesting, you don’t have to know that to like Rock and Roll music.

Science fiction author, K.W. Jeter is credited with using “Steampunk” in the 1980s as a variant of cyberpunk (postmodern science fiction genre noted for its focus on high tech and low life). Since then, the Steampunk awareness folks have realized many classic anachronistic science fiction conveniently fit into this genre.

Like Rock and Roll, Steampunk is here to stay. You don’t have to like it, but pretending it doesn’t exist makes you look silly.

Classic Steampunk is set in the British Victorian era or the American “Wild West” with enhanced steam-power technologies seasoning the characters interaction within the plot. Examples include: Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Steampunk expanded beyond those classic works via speculative historical, fantasy and horror works.  Along with the explosion in literature, you see it in games, television and film.  Creative tribute is given to Jules Verne in Back to the Future Part III not only by the mention of the patriarch of Steampunk, but also by adapting the time-travel technology to a steam-powered train with protagonist Emmett Brown as the engineer.

With THE DRAGONEERS, yet another expansion of Steampunk’s web of influence arrived for interested readers. No, we didn’t call it Steampunk at first. In all honesty, I was quite ignorant of the term. I’d merely written the story inside of me, and it just came out that way.

Before it was published, it placed well in a few contests under the misguided genre of “historical fiction” then “young adult fiction” then “fantasy,” all of which didn’t properly describe the novel.

I should have figured it out when Publishers Weekly said, “This novel defies conventional classification...”
When it showed up for public consumption, THE DRAGONEERS was listed under Epic/Religious Fantasy at Amazon back in late November 2011. A fan on C. D. Sutherland's FaceBook Fan Page   commented it was a new genre. While I was deep into writing the sequel, I let the idea percolate for a while. Looking at it now, I agree Antediluvian Steampunk fits better than anything else. No matter how well it fits, Amazon doesn't have an Antediluvian Steampunk category. That is probably because there's only three of them for now, so you can find my books tucked comfortably in Amazon's Biblical Fiction best sellers list.

Antediluvian refers to the novel's setting. THE DRAGONEERS opens eighty years prior to the flood described in the seventh chapter of Genesis. Just about everybody is familiar with the old story of Noah building the ark and the forty days of rain, but when we look in Genesis to get all the details, we’re left hanging, relying on our imagination, or that of the Church Lady, to fill in all the grey area between the black and white on the page.

Exactly what THE DRAGONEERS,  THE LOST DRAGONEER, and THE LAST DRAGONEER go about doing--that is filling in the grey area. After you read these books, you might revisit some of those Sunday School lessons you’re familiar with and rethink them. For instance, why does the image of Noah seem to be one that would fit in with the New Testament times? Are we really supposed to believe God created a nearly-perfect race of humans but they couldn’t figure out anything new for the first several thousand years? And what’s with those pyramids? How did they built those things anyway? Then somehow--they forgot how to build them! 

What’s up with that?

The Chronicles of Susah series is fiction, but after you read it, you can’t help but wondering if some parts of it is more reasonable than the image painted on the nursery walls at your local church daycare.
Got you thinking yet?

Well, that’s what puts the “punk” in Steampunk. Stepping out of "acceptable" thought and looking at things with a different point of view.

Why should you have to accept somebody else’s interpretation of the way things were, especially when they don’t have any evidence to support it? Let them prove your interpretation wrong, if they can. No more free rides from folks who got it wrong.

Don’t worry, these novels don't try to redefine God. God is real--we’re not disputing Him or His power at all. We’re not even disputing the smallest dot or tittle in the Bible.

But when it comes to Antediluvian Steampunk, the rest of it is up for grabs. We’ll proudly hide behind the “fiction” deflector-shield as we take you on an adventure of epic proportions in the antediluvian world. That world has forever been lost to us due to catastrophic events beyond our control.

After you’ve tasted THE DRAGONEERS and the sequels-- THE LOST DRAGONEER and THE LAST DRAGONEER, you’ll find yourself wondering if that amazing world where they had technologies as good as, or in some ways even better than ours, is really that far off the mark. Even if our version is wrong, you have suspect that there's more to the story than you've been told.

Thanks for reading.