As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot. I am very excited andthe author of
Godsknife: Revolt & Godsknife: Lineage
NOW! and ON SALE!
So go get your copies!
by Timothy C. Ward
I believe it was the Creative Penn Podcast where I heard that the authors of Dead City, a zombie thriller, mentioned having low sales, and part of the reason may be because zombie fans weren’t getting enough of the tropes that make them comfortable reading zombie books. While the authors were excited to throw a twist on the genre by mixing in a political thriller plot, it turns out that the zombie aspect was too distant for the main audience to remain excited about the read.
This has me thinking along a couple different paths: first, what is the balance for us as readers between tropes and fresh takes on our favorite genres? And second, as an author, am I sacrificing crucial tropes that will keep my targeted audience in an effort to throw enough twists to keep the story fresh?
This is all subjective, of course, but when I return to my favorite genres, my hope is in finding a similar experience to the one that made me fall in love with them in the first place. For me, Fantasy caught my eye in the novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. The tropes I admired most were the different magical abilities of the characters, mixed with an Arthurian feel to the setting, both in terms of knightly honor and the fight against evil rulers. They had to go on an adventure through new territory conquered by that evil empire, and along the way, their weaknesses would force them to grow closer together or perish under the next threat. We learn more about their gifts in equal parts with the strengths of their enemies.
I read a review that criticized a novel because the elves were too regular and the story too safe. I thought this was funny because that author’s strengths are more along the lines of a deep rooted mystery set in a family friendly fantasy setting.
I recently read that The Vagrant is post apocalyptic fantasy. I haven’t read it, but I want to just in hearing it mention that genre. I wrote a book, Godsknife: Revolt, that is a modern day apocalyptic fantasy, but is almost more horror than fantasy, partly because I let the monsters loose, and the ghost they meet in the Abyss is haunted school girl creepy.
The interview on Creative Penn made me wonder though, if Godsknife stretches the realm of comfort reading with too many ideas. While there is good reason, my first chapter starts out a bit too far outside of comfort fantasy, with an initiation ceremony into Order, a magic system that uses numbers to dominate a worm that could eat the host if they fail. It goes from there to seeing our main characters in an everyday setting, partly intended to give the reader a break and ground them in reality. In this version of our world, magic has been hidden so long that most people don’t believe it ever was. This underworld element was inspired by Mike Shevdon’s Court of the Feyre urban fantasy. Not long after that we get into our cushy post-apocalyptic thrills and survival efforts as giant praying mantises wreak havoc on Des Moines. Credit my love for a good zombie series, but not wanting to write zombies.
I give those three elements because while this book is inspired by many different books, and I loved writing it, I wonder if I’m narrowing my reader audience by mixing too many elements of fantasy and horror. Some might find it fresh, such as Lori on Audible, “Wow…how to describe this book? This is one of the most creative, unusual, entertaining, and original books I have read in a long time. What a great start a series.” and others might agree with Stardrifter’s review “An insect-filled romp of weirdness” where after four chapters, she finally had an, oh, I get it moment, followed by “Buckle my weirdness safety belt though, because I’m in for a ride.”
So, while some may call a book creative, others will say it’s weird. To each their own, and write what you love. But it all makes me think about what I look for as a fan and reader, and then how well I’m writing for that ideal audience.
Godsknife: Revolt is now on sale for $0.99, and $1.99 on Audible if you buy it together. In fact, all of my novels are 99 cents, so if you look for Timothy C. Ward on your favorite ebook or audiobook retailer, you’re bound to find a deal.
Partly inspired by this second guess on how I could have started my series, I wrote a short story in this world that gives a little backstory on one of the side characters. Godsknife: Lineage is coming out soon. My newsletter subscribers will find out first. http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/
Thanks for having me!
Timothy C. Ward is a Hugo nominated producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing, who has been lost, broke and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world. He now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer he released two novels: his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant; and Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.
Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more: http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/.
He can be found online at http://www.timothycward.com
Hugo Nominee and Former Producer / Editor at Adventures in SciFi Publishing
The rift between Iowa and the Abyss is thinner than it seems. Modern society meets the power and reality of myth in the new war between Chaos, Order and Maker. A priestess of Order seeking godhood unleashes a virus to mutate and enslave the human race. Those who survive will face the height of her power, but will they bow before it?
[Horror, Dark Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller]
A fleet of enlarged praying mantises has invaded Des Moines, Iowa. Swarms of cicadas are turning survivors into winged soldiers. Orchestrating the warzone is a priestess of Order, who’s pursuing godhood, and the nation of followers who’ll get her there.
Caroline’s new friendship parts the veil between reality and myth, as a recruiter of Order needs her to hide him from capture. In their escape, the boss she’s loved like a father reveals his elevator into the Abyss.
In this new world, Caroline finds a usurped god and an angry ghost eager to make her their getaway back to power. What if the person her friends will need is heartbeats away from becoming the real threat?
A handshake and folded flag do little to console the child left behind by a parent lost to war, yet when a new enemy crashes into his world, James must find the courage of his father.
[Dark/Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller, Horror, Short Story]
On the day that changes everything, James wakes up to his usual struggles: school, basketball aspirations, and the reminder of his father’s death in service to his country. An unlikely friend will challenge him, offering a different perspective on the legacy left by those who’ve loved us, but whom we’ve lost. James doesn’t understand how one who loves you could leave you behind, but if the answer is courage, then he doubts he has what it takes to make the same kind of decision.
Yet as a new enemy rises to the surface of their world, he must use the example set by his father, and take full advantage of the life and lineage that his father saved, and he must rise to his own challenge.
Godsknife: Lineage is a short story prequel to the novel, Godsknife: Revolt, set during the events preceding that epic story. It can be read as a stand-alone, or as an introduction to the life and world surrounding one of our beloved survivors in Godsknife: Revolt.