Tag Archives: fantasy

Booked

stacks and stacks of books

My latest novel, If Dreams Can Die, launched just last month, but I’m already elbow-deep in The Big Shiny New.

No, that’s not the name of a new book, but an umbrella term for the myriad projects and events currently on my plate. I’ll go into more detail in the months ahead, but for now, here’s an overview of what’s coming next from yours truly.

(Note to self: consider the title The Big Shiny New for a future work.)

Projects

Magic’s Daughter

Who: For fans of sword-and-sorcery fantasy, especially folks who enjoyed The Renegade Chronicles, with a possible skewing toward a female demographic.

What: A novel set in Altaerra before and during The Renegade War starring Selena Nelesti, a young noblewoman who proves knowledge is both power and peril.

When: Magic’s Daughter will be released as a serial (i.e. chapter by chapter) via the Radish app starting in Fall 2019 and as a paperback and e-book in 2020.

Where: https://radishfiction.com

Why: Partly because I want to explore a new revenue stream and partly because the story and intended audience lends itself to the medium.

‘Sir Larpsalot’

Who: For YA readers, especially males age 13-15.

What: A humorous adventure about teen larpers (live-action roleplayers) who must work together to rescue their friend from an all-too-real fantasy realm. Think Galaxy Quest meets D&D.

When: I hope to have my outline done this fall and complete a first draft by the end of the year. Release date could be as early as 2020 but more likely 2021.

Where: the paperback and e-book will be available at Amazon.com.

Why: Sir Larpsalot started as an idea for a comic book character, but over time, the concept evolved into a book with a full-fledged cast of characters (including Elvish Presley and Tom Foolery). I’m looking forward to writing a book my kids can read and enjoy.

New Website

Who: For present and future fans of my fiction.

What: A complete overhaul of this website, courtesy of BrownBoots Interactive (where I work as a content specialist).

When: Sometime later this year.

Where: david-michael-williams.com

Why: My current site is 7 years old, which is equivalent to 97 in website years. I need more functionality than an out-of-the-box, WordPress-hosted website offers—and can’t wait to be rid of the stupid ads that pop up everywhere!

Events

Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market

Who: Fond du Lac members of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin: Mark J. Engels, Thomas P. Ramirez, Christopher Whitmore, and I.

What: We’ll be selling and signing our books at the local farmers market.

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15.

Where: In front of the Gallery & Frame Shop, 94 S. Main St., Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Why: The Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market is very well attended. Hopefully some of the marketgoers appreciate good books.

Books Books Books Books (Books)

Who: Friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who loves books!

What: Instead of a traditional book release event, I’m combining the celebration of my new novel with a rummage sale featuring hundreds of used books, fiction and nonfiction, across a variety of genres—all for 25 cents apiece. Earnings support my future writing and publishing endeavors.

When: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

Where: Outside my home, 1122 Carriage Circle, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Why: Cover art, Library of Congress registrations, barcodes, ISBNs, proof copies, miscellaneous marketing efforts—these things cost money, which means I must sell more books.

I’m booked for a few more gigs farther out. The new website will have a page devoted to events, but for now, you can find details on Facebook.

Busy is good. Although I feel fully booked right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more events appeared on my agenda before year’s end.

The writing is on the wall.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

If Dreams Can Die is available now!

Promotional graphic for If Dreams Can Die

The grave could not contain her grief

Annette has devoted her life—and afterlife—to reclaiming her departed family, no matter the cost. To stop her from destroying the dreamscape, former enemies must unite and declare war on the so-called Lady of Peace.

But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?

If Dreams Can Die depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters sworn to defend the collective unconscious.

Where to buy:

Reviews:

In case you missed it:

5 Comments

Filed under Writing

Q&A: If Dreams Can Die

As we creep closer to launch day, here’s an in-depth look at Book Three of The Soul Sleep Cycle:

What is If Dreams Can Die about?

Cover of If Dreams Can DieLife and death, love and hate, hope and despair, dreams and reality, identity and illusion, friendship and rivalry, faith and doubt, damnation and redemption—these are all themes found within The Soul Sleep Cycle and If Dreams Can Die especially.

But the back-cover blurb sums up the story much better:

The grave could not contain her grief.

Annette has devoted her life—and afterlife—to reclaiming her departed family, no matter the cost. To stop her from destroying the dreamscape, former enemies must unite and declare war on the so-called Lady of Peace.

But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?

If Dreams Can Die depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters sworn to defend the collective unconscious.

Who is If Dreams Can Die about?

The book focuses on Annette Young, a woman who lost her husband and daughter early in life and never fully recovered from the emotional trauma. She takes matters into her own hands, making compromise after compromise in the pursuit of what she perceives as a happy ending for everyone.

It’s up to the reader to decide whether Annette—as the so-called Lady of Peace—is a hero or a villain.

Characters from the first two books also carry the story at various points, including Milton, a dream-drifting pioneer recovering from a coma; William, a brilliant but dangerous fugitive; and Allison (a.k.a. Syn) a CIA-sanctioned dream drifter. If Dreams Can Die introduced a new point-of-view character as well: Brynhildr, the valkyrie commander of Project Valhalla.

Where does If Dreams Can Die take place?

That’s a tricky question since many scenes take place in shared dreams. Real-world action is split between the East and West Coasts in the U.S., while various dreams and memories will take readers all across the globe, including China, Russia, and maybe even Antarctica.

And then there’s the tumultuous space between dreams, the setting of the series’ climax.

Who will enjoy this book?

I’d love to say anyone can pick up If Dreams Can Die and enjoy it, but that’s simply not true. Although I think the story is strong enough to stand on its own, newcomers to the series would lack necessary context to understand the full extent of the plot.

Readers should definitely read If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep before diving into Book Three.

As for the series as a whole, fans of speculative fiction are the most obvious audience. The Soul Sleep Cycle contains elements of several genres, including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and suspense. The series could also be categorized as dreampunk, a subgenre that raises the question “What is real?”

However, anyone who loves rich characters and unpredictable plots can enjoy the series.

What is If Dreams Can Die “rated”?

The suggested audience is age 18 and older. While If Dreams Can Die lacks the explicit sexual content of its predecessor, Book Three nevertheless contains course language and explores mature subjects, including infidelity and suicide.

What does the title mean?

I established something of a naming convention with the first two books, If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep. I’ve always liked using “if clauses” for the series because they inject a sense of suspense.

I decided on the title If Dreams Can Die very early in the project. Dreaming and death have been prevailing themes throughout the series, and then there’s the ambiguity. Are all dreams on the chopping block or just one woman’s vision? The alliteration didn’t hurt, either.

Does Book Three pick up where Book Two left off?

Yes, it does.

Whereas the first two books were parallel novels, covering roughly the same time span from different sides of the saga, If Dreams Can Die begins immediately after the events of If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep.

How difficult was it to write Book Three?

In some ways, it was more difficult than I had anticipated. I knew, broadly speaking, where the series was headed. I knew how it had to end. But how I was going to tell this story changed throughout the planning phase and from draft to draft.

The greatest challenge was choosing the right narrators. Book One, by and large, was told by three point-of-view characters; it was Vincent’s story, as told by Leah and Vincent himself, with Milton’s scenes providing hints at the bigger picture. Book Two centered on Allison/Syn, with chapters from William’s and the Wolf’s perspectives sprinkled throughout.

I knew Annette had to tell her story in Book Three, but what other voices were needed? I struggled to find the best support narrators. In the end, I decided not to artificially restrict myself to only three p.o.v. characters.

Milton, Allison, and William return to provide their perspectives for a handful of chapters, and Brynhildr also steps into the spotlight to reveal more about the dynamics within Project Valhalla.

Is this the final book of the series?

I honestly don’t know.

I do know If Dreams Can Die spells the end of the story I set out to tell when planning Book One. But I’d love to return to the dreamscape someday. I suspect Daniel’s daughter has an interesting life ahead of her, for one thing, and the future of Project Valhalla surely contains some twists and turns.

If there is enough interest—and if there are enough sales—to justify it, I’d love to add a fourth book to The Soul Sleep Cycle.

For now, however, I’m excited to pursue something new. I’ve been working on this wonderfully weird series, on and off, for 12½ years, so there’s a backlog of stories I’m eager to tell.

Where did you find inspiration for this book?

First and foremost, I wanted to provide a satisfying resolution for the series. I’m not one to tie up storylines with tidy, little bows. Yet the first two books posed a lot of questions, and I felt it necessary to answer the most important ones before the end of Book Three.

If Dreams Can Die is largely Annette’s story, a tale that started decades ago when she lost her family. What makes Annette remarkable isn’t her ability to dream drift, but her single-minded determination to defy the natural order of things to accomplish her goal—no matter the sacrifice.

It’s a stark contrast to the Vincent’s actions at the end of If Souls Can Sleep

And while I didn’t set out to write a book about grief and hopelessness and the value of life, I have seen the impact of depression firsthand. Even though I write books with fantastic elements, I believe it’s important to ground my stories in reality, which means writing believable characters grappling with relatable problems.

What is your next project?

As mentioned earlier, I have no shortage of ideas.

Staring a new series sounds like too much of a commitment right now. Maybe I’ll try my hand at a stand-alone novel, something for a slightly younger audience so that my kids don’t have to wait so long to read it.

I’m also flirting with the idea of releasing a new novel set in Altaerra—the same setting as The Renegade Chronicles—as a serial on the Radish app. I’d love to transform The Soul Sleep Cycle novels into audiobooks to reach a wider audience.

All I can say for certain is that I’m far from finished with this crazy thing called being an author.

When will If Dreams Can Die be available to purchase?

If Dreams Can Die will be available in paperback and for Kindle at Amazon.com on May 21.

 


 

Only one more week to go! Plenty of time to catch up on anything you might have missed:

Psst…could you do me a favor? If you’ve read If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep, please leave a quick review at Amazon and Goodreads!

5 Comments

Filed under Writing

Meet Annette Young of If Dreams Can Die

Some of my favorite villains are those who see themselves as heroes, and Annette Young falls wholeheartedly in that flock.

I tend to create character profiles for my point-of-view characters because I need to know as many facets of their personalities as possible. Typically, this happens before I begin the first draft of a book, which means my initial impressions of a character doesn’t always match up with the final product.

portrait of Annette Young

Of course, I had gotten to know Annette quite a bit by the time the third book came along. She quickly became one of my favorite characters—not only because there’s a dearth of middle-aged-housewives-turned-deities in fiction, but also because I sympathize with her to such a high degree.

Is Annette two-faced or simply a woman divided? I’ll let the reader decide.

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt* from the character profile I penned roughly three years ago.

*Warning: if you haven’t read both If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep, you will encounter spoilers!

Annette Josephine (Ringgold) Young

Appearance

Annette was a big woman in the later years of her life. She was of average height for a Caucasian woman (5’5″) and weighed more than 300 lbs. She had dark brown eyes and long brown hair, which she typically wore up in a bun or some other conservative up-do. She would wear a ponytail at home or in casual circumstances where she knew her companions well.

When she was younger, she spent a lot of time outdoors, and living in the South, she sported an attractive tan throughout the year. After the car accident that claimed her husband’s and daughter’s lives, she became more of a shut-in, and her complexion lightened.

She has no tattoos or any other body modifications; she finds such things crass. Her ears are pierced with one hole each. Annette has dimples and a few chins.

Annette always took great pride in how she looked and was wont to wear fancier clothing and accessories than the occasion strictly called for. She prefers dresses and ostentatious jewelry, such as a bejeweled owl broach. Her favorite fragrances are of the floral variety, especially roses. She wears a lot of makeup—some might say too much eyeshadow.

In the dreamscape, however, Annette has reverted to the very thin frame she boasted prior to marrying Herbert (before love “fattened her up”). As the Lady of Peace, she wears her long hair in braids and sports a simple, shapeless white dress. She also goes about barefooted. The only jewelry she wears are golden hoop earrings. She appears to be in her mid-twenties, though everything else about her resembles a picture of her from her First Communion.

Attitude and Behavior

Annette consistently conducts herself with an air of propriety. She has excellent manners and insists that others show the same courtesy to her and others around her. While she takes pride in her looks, she doesn’t come off as haughty. When angry, she might snap and come off like a scolding schoolteacher. Even when she is upset, she tends to hide her feelings behind a mask of civility.

Others might mistake her for being naïve or simple-minded because she tends try her best to get along with everyone, but she is a very intelligent woman.

Since her mother used to scold her for fidgeting, Annette tends to fold her hands on her lap or in front of her (when standing) so that she isn’t tempted to play with the fabric of her clothes, tap her fingers against surfaces, and so forth. But despite her best efforts, she has been known to shake her wrists to make her bracelets clatter when nervous.

Annette has a thick Texan accent, and sometimes she uses expressions associated with the Deep South. But her drawl comes off more like a Southern aristocrat’s than a redneck’s. She can be sarcastic at times, but it’s subtle because she prefers to be positive when she speaks. She doesn’t swear and scolds other people when they do. Her body language also conveys how she feels: she might frown or sigh or click her tongue or fold her arms or wrinkle her nose to express displeasure. Her smiles are very warm.

History

Her childhood was very structured and, one might say, old-fashioned. She was a debutante, and proper etiquette was stressed her house. While her parents weren’t particularly wealthy, she was a little spoiled because she was an only child. She lived with both of her parents, who if they weren’t passionately in love, seemed to get along well enough. Her entire youth was spent in Berryville, Texas, and after she married Herbert Young, she moved to a larger city nearby.

She liked spending time outdoors, socializing with family friends. Some of her favorite activities included playing cards (bridge mostly), croquette, and other lawn games as well as swimming. For a short time, she even competed in swimming. She also dabbled in various crafts, including painting and sculpting, but as she got older, she turned to more utilitarian pastimes, such as quilting and needlepoint.

Annette has fond memories of her youth and young adulthood. She wanted for nothing and was generally treated well by those around her. She has always been an extrovert who prefers to surround herself with friends. Most of her best memories center on special occasions and large gatherings, including religious milestones, holidays, and her wedding. One of her favorite memories was when she met Herbert at the Henderson County Fair. He won her a goldfish, which he named Annie Fishgold—a sort of play on words for Annie Ringgold, the name Annette went by when she was young.

Hobbies and Interests

A couple of Annette’s favorite past times are baking and eating. While she once played tennis and other outdoor party games, her poor physical shape prevented her from doing much of that after she put on so much weight. Playing cards while gabbing or discussing just about any topic over a nice meal are her ideas of a good time. She also dabbled in floral arrangements (her favorite flowers are marigolds). She enjoys traveling and adding to her decorative spoon collection.

Although she wasn’t much of a reader in her youth, her thirst for knowledge on certain topics made her a voracious reader as an adult. Most of her books have to do with dreaming, coping with grief, and religion—particularly New Age concepts, such as astral projection, lucid dreaming, prophecy, and anything that pertains to the afterlife. She might watch horse racing on television, but most other sports are too barbaric for her, including football. She likes dramas and romantic comedies with happy endings. She has been known to read the occasional bodice-ripper too.

Annette is a big fan of Frank Sinatra and other crooners from the Big Band era. She feels as though there’s a certain classiness to the music. She also likes older movies and musicals. As with TV shows, she prefers a certain level of romance in her stories, and happy endings are a must. Annette has a healthy sense of humor and likes to laugh. She has a somewhat sophisticated sense of humor and isn’t a fan of slapstick or jokes at others’ expense.

Beliefs

Honesty was an important virtue for Annette growing up; lying was not tolerated in her house. She tries to be honest whenever she can, but as her plans have evolved, she has leveraged deception on a more and more regular basis. So while she abhors being lied to, she has had to “bend the truth” and keep secrets from those around her—regrettably.

Most of her crimes, she feels, are imperative and that the ends justify the means. Her desperation would prompt her to kill—and woe be to anyone who gets in the way of her reuniting with Herbert and Deirdre.

Annette is not proud of her vices. She tells herself that all of her misdeeds will be overshadowed by the good she is doing. Her biggest fear is failing to reconnect with her lost loved ones—and damning her soul if it turns out God is real.

Despite the fact that she grappled with depression while grieving for her deceased husband and daughter, she remains an optimist. Everything she has done since The Accident is out of hope that she can reconnect with her family. She used to believe in fate, but now she believes an individual must make her own destiny.

Annette was raised Catholic. From a young age, she was captivated by the idea of the spiritual realm—praying to the departed souls (saints), the idea that there were angels flitting between Heaven and Earth, and the realms beyond death: Limbo, Purgatory, Hell, Heaven. She took most of the teachings of the Bible very literally, and she mostly lived her life in accordance with the tenants of Christianity.

For as long as she could remember, she had very vivid dreams. She hoped, at first, that it meant she was a modern-day prophetess, but her parents scoffed at the notion (they were Catholic, too, but more as a habit than anything else). Her priest tiptoed around her questions, but when (in private school) she was caught reading about dream interpretation, she was told that such notions were ungodly—one step away from Ouija boards and fortune telling.

When Herbert and Deirdre died, it shook her faith to its core.

Relationships

Annette loved Herbert dearly. She once felt as though she had been blessed by God and thanked Him for bringing them together. When that love was taken away from her prematurely, she devoted her life to reclaiming it.

Annette was a virgin when she married Herbert. He is the only man she has ever been with, and their sexual habits were rather ordinary. It wasn’t the most important aspect of her marriage, though she was sexually attracted to Herbert, who wasn’t a traditionally handsome man. He’s the only man she’s ever been with.

She loves children—her Deirdre most of all. Annette always wanted a big family, and she surrounds herself with mannequin children in the dreamscape, finding peace in their play.

She has few friends, but those she trusts are very dear to her. They include Levi Nathan (first and foremost) as well as other members of PEACE, some of whom are dream drifters while others attend to the real-world administration of the organization. Two of her closest friends were Milton and William, though her relationships with them have become strained in recent years, and she worries that both men now see her as an enemy.

Annette doesn’t really hate anyone. She is disappointed by William’s betrayal, and even if she sees Project Valhalla as an obstacle, she doesn’t have anything personal against its members.

 


 

More extras are still coming your way!

Help an author out. Please rate If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep at Amazon and Goodreads!

7 Comments

Filed under Writing

BOOK GIVEAWAY: The Soul Sleep Cycle

All three covers of The Soul Sleep Cycle series

In celebration of the release of If Dreams Can Die on May 21, I’m giving away signed copies of all three books in the series.

Enter The Soul Sleep Cycle Giveaway.

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Kelly!

And don’t miss out on all the other extras coming your way:

I need your help! Please rate If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep at Amazon and Goodreads.

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

COVER REVEAL: If Dreams Can Die

It’s with great joy that I present the cover for Book Three of The Soul Sleep Cycle:

 

The grave could not contain her grief.

Annette has devoted her life—and afterlife—to reclaiming her departed family, no matter the cost. To stop her from destroying the dreamscape, former enemies must unite and declare war on the so-called Lady of Peace.

But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?


If Dreams Can Die depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters sworn to defend the collective unconscious.

 

Book Three will be available in paperback and for Kindle on May 21.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the talented Mary Christopherson a huge shout-out for all of her hard work on the series’ covers. I can’t wait for the new paperback to join its predecessors on my bookshelf.

And because 35 days is a long time to delay gratification, I’ll be posting weekly updates on this blog as a countdown of sorts:

Did you like If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep? Please leave a review at Amazon and/or Goodreads!

4 Comments

Filed under Writing

Renegade Chronicles coming to tabletop RPGs

After playing a one-shot Dungeons & Dragons adventure over the course of three days, I’ve decided to transform my sword-and-sorcery trilogy into game modules.

The decision comes after diving headfirst into the world of D&D last year. I estimate it’ll take me 3.5 years to transpose Rebels and Fools into a tabletop RPG and another 8.25 years to prepare the other two books as well as at least one bonus adventure that explains what the heck happens in Port Town after Klye’s band of rebels leave.

I could’ve jumped into writing a new novel, since The Soul Sleep Cycle is all but done, but it’s just easier to repackage something old than come up with new.

Features of The Renegade Chronicles games will include:

  • Every natural 20 will summon an army of drunken midge who cast random Level 9 spells on your enemies.
  • Every natural 1 will summon an army of drunk midge who cast random Level 9 spells on you and your party.
  • During every short rest, Scout will regale you will useless facts about the island. (Did you know that the best mutton in Capricon can be found in the village of Aron?)
  • All NPCs will be romanceable—except for Opal.
  • You can import your characters from other tabletop games, though dragonborn, tieflings, and any other races not native to Altaerra will be automatically converted into boring Level 1 human fighters.
  • Druids will be able to turn into Shek’s two-tailed scorpion, Ranfir (and only Ranfir).
  • You can recruit powerful NPCs to your party, including Father Elezar, Albert Simplington, and that one guy who leads the band of highwaymen in the second book.
  • Everyone gets 1 luck point, regardless of class, whenever Klye says, “I don’t believe in luck.”
  • Avoid TPKs by using time magic to kill Dark Lily when she’s still a kid.
  • If at any point you find yourself dual wielding the vorpal sword and Chrysaal-rûn, you win.

The D&D-inspired Renegade Chronicles modules will be available on eBay.com and Facebook Marketplace after I’ve play-tested them a bunch. So as not confuse the game with the book, the first campaign will be called Fools and Fools.

(Happy April 1st, everyone!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing