Today I’m doing a blog swap with fellow Muser, Eric Price. It’s great to have him here. Let’s find out a little bit about him.
Eric grew up in central Illinois. He now lives in northwest Iowa with his wife and two sons. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. His first short story, “Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast,” a spooky children’s tale about a haunted bed and breakfast, came out later the same year. He has published more than 30 nonfiction articles/columns, four short stories, and a poem. Three of his short stories have won honorable mention in the CrossTIME Annual Science Fiction contest. This is his first novel.
A Sci-Fi Writer Becomes a Fantasy Writer
or Why I Wrote Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud
by Eric Price
For conversational purposes, let’s say you already know I wanted to write, I took a course from The Institute of Children’s Literature, and I published some stories. You probably already know, due to your exceptional knowledge of me, The Institute of Children’s Literature offered me an advanced course, and I took it. Here’s where I’ll have to add some details, as those two courses worked together to pull from me the story that became Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud.
I do not show particular favoritism to any genre when reading. Yet, I have read a lot of Science Fiction. The same is true about my writing. I’ve written many different genres. I wrote most of my stories for contests, they didn’t win, and I’ve never resubmitted them elsewhere. Of the stories I have published, all but one was Science Fiction, and it had supernatural elements in it…so maybe it counts.
Now you’re probably asking, what does this have to do with the writing courses? For the second course, I had to submit up to three proposals for books I’d like to write, and I had to let the instructor know which of these I’d prefer to develop into a book. In turn, she’d get back to me with which one she thought I should write.
My first proposal came from the final assignment of the initial course. I had to draft the first chapter of a book. It was a contemporary story about a girl adjusting to a new town her senior year of high school. I told the instructor I’d like to write this one since I already had the first chapter completed. (This book may still happen, but now it involves an ancient alien civilization).
My second proposal was a time travel story where a boy makes a mistake which results in his girlfriend’s death. At her funeral, a strange figure offers him a chance to go back and change his actions, but with the cost of equal suffering to what he felt with her death. He takes the figure up on the offer, but his good intentions backfire. (I realize now this would make a decent short story, but I’d struggle to stretch it to book length).
I didn’t have a third proposal in mind, but since I could submit three, I thought I should. I brainstormed for a while and threw together another proposal. In it, the illegitimate son of the king wants to inherit the throne. But to do so, the king must claim his birthright on the son’s fifteenth birthday. Before he can claim the birthright, the king falls ill. The king’s wizard brews potions to keep the king alive. He also instructs the boy on a quest to find the missing ingredient to revive the king. (This has only slight similarity to the book I finally wrote).
Although I told the instructor I’d like to develop the first proposal, I started thinking more about the third story. The characters started to come to life. I could see them and hear their voices. (This really does happen. Anyone interested in writing a book should try it just for this effect). I started seeing more of their world. New characters emerged from the shadows. I wanted to write this story!
I waited to hear from my instructor, prepared to tell her I had a change of heart and I needed to write the third proposal. When I received her letter, she told me I could write about whichever story I preferred, but she urged me to write the fantasy. Well, I did.
At the end of the course, I had a completed manuscript. I sent it to some people to read. They gave me feedback. I revised it with their suggestions. And I let it sit on my computer.
I told myself I would revise it one more time and submit it for publication. But I never worked on it. I published some more science fiction stories, but still this completed book sat on my hard drive. One day my wife asked me if I ever planned to submit it. I told her I did, but I needed to revise it again. She urged me to submit it a few places to see if anyone was interested before I spent time revising it.
I started researching publishers. I found Muse It Up Publishing, and I submitted it to them. They rejected it. But instead of a form-letter rejection, I got a personalized rejection with information about what the editorial team didn’t like. They said if I’d rework it and fix those issues, they’d look at it again. I fixed them, resubmitted, and signed a contract.
With the release of Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud approaching, I’ve had more ideas about the fantastic land of Wittatun, and some neighboring lands not explored in this book. So who knows, this Sci-Fi writer may be taking a vacation from the stars and the void of space to settle in a drafty castle for a while. Of course, the stars don’t go completely unnoticed in this book, either.
An excerpt from Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud
As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.
Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.
The cool night air blew in Cedric’s face. His new beard, now reaching the neck of his cloak, ruffled in the breeze. He hoped the sound of rustling leaves and tree branches would help mask his own sounds as he sneaked behind Argnam’s cabin.
Cedric took his staff and drew the outline of a door on the back wall. He stepped away and the line started glowing faint chartreuse. Within the outline, the wall almost vaporized to dust. It piled on the ground as quiet as a phantom; the chirping crickets didn’t even break from their merry song.
Creeping through the makeshift doorway, Cedric saw the figures of a man and a woman lying in bed. The moonlight cast enough of a glow for him to recognize the man as Argnam. He couldn’t identify the woman; her long blond hair obscured her face.
As he approached the side of the bed, he raised the dagger he brought for the assassination. He took a deep breath before plunging it into Argnam’s chest.
The woman’s leg flashed out of the covers, striking him in the chest and knocking the wind out of him. She sprang from the bed. Her feet met his face in a rapid succession of kicks, topping the skill of a master fighter.
Gasping for breath and unable to stand, Cedric fell to his hands and knees and looked up at the approaching woman. The moon silhouetted her female form. Light reflected on her face, and Cedric recognized Necrose before she raised her leg over her head, and slammed the heel of her foot into his face. Total darkness enveloped him.
Thanks for visiting with me today, Eric. Your book sounds like my kind of read…so you know that means another book on my To Read list!