Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Acknowledgements Page from The Secret Empire:
I finished the first draft of what has become The Secret Empire in 2002. Ten years later the book is finally coming out, though this version bears little resemblance to the manuscript I wrote back then. The story is roughly the same, but I’m a much better writer now, though I know I still have a lot to learn. It took me years to become a good enough writer to break into publishing, and in 2006 I sold book one, The Golden Cord, to John Helfers at Five Star Books, which came out in 2008, followed by book two, The Dragon Hunters which released in October of 2009. There has been a two year and three month gap between book two and three coming out.
Traditional publishing is a rough business, and despite The Golden Cord becoming Five Star Books bestselling fantasy of all time, their fantasy/science-fiction line was not doing well overall, and they cut that whole segment of their business. The publisher tried to keep me alone, and finish the series, but upper management said no, as one book could not make enough money to keep an entire line open. So, I was orphaned in late 2009, with no publisher for the rest of the proposed five book series of which I had manuscripts already written, and plenty of fans who wanted to read them.
I soon learned that the major publishers will not touch orphaned series, and all the small presses I spoke with offered me very little aside from long wait times to hear back from them, which is normal, and awful contracts.
I went from being ecstatic after book one was so successful, my very first published novel, to very depressed when I heard my publisher was stopping all fantasy publications. It’s been a rough three years for most everyone, (2009-2011) as the U.S. and world economy has taken a dive, and the worst I can say is that my 401K lost some money and I lost my publisher. Some people lost their house, or their lifesavings, and so I do not have a lot to complain about.
Fortunately for me, the paradigm of publishing has changed in the past couple of years. Electronic books are making huge gains, and print on demand services like CreateSpace by Amazon.com have become part of publishing that will never go away. I finally chose an outlet for the Iron Dragon Series and in late 2011 decided that I would put the rest of the books out myself, with the help of my published writer/editor friends and Amazon.com. The need to get the books out there became an obsession, and after years of little progress I was sprinting to get the manuscript I’d had for years, rewritten and edited.
I was fortunate to have the editorial help of Bradley P. Beaulieu, the acclaimed author of the Lays of Anuskaya series from Nightshade Books. Book one, The Winds of Khalakovo}, and book two, The Straits of Galahesh are both incredible fantasy novels, and Brad is a far better writer than I will ever be. He helped me improve this book tremendously, and I know that Brad would be a fabulous editor for any major publisher. I’m fortunate to have him as a friend, and next time I promise I’ll give him a lot longer to look at the manuscript, as I really wanted to get this book out there, and made him rush. His ideas were gold and I did my best to implement his thoughts in this final draft. The mistakes are mine alone, and the awesome ideas mostly come from Brad and the other big influence on this book, Pat.
Patrick M. Tracy, my college roommate and best friend, has been the most influential person on this book, my life as a writer, and the whole series in general. Pat suffered through this manuscript back in 2002 and earlier, and has helped me craft and shape this story more than any other. He and I have spent hundreds of hours talking about these books, and he’s been patient and kind the whole way. I need a lot of hand holding sometimes and Pat is the best guy ever to brainstorm with. I come up with an idea and he makes it nastier. Pat and I have been going down this author path together for years and I’m so impressed with his skill as a writer and poet. Find his short fiction and you’ll see what I mean. Some of the best lines in this book are Pat’s. He helped keep me going during those tough times after my books were orphaned and I could not ask for a better friend.
My loving and beautiful wife, Tammy has been extremely supportive as well, and allows me to write and keep crazy schedules. I read her all the proof pages out loud and she’s put up with this story the longest out of anyone. We’ve been together since 1995 and soon after that I was thinking of the world of Ae’leron and the Dragon King. Tammy has been the most important person in my life, and I am blessed with a lot of great friends and family, but without Tam, nothing would be possible.
I also want to acknowledge the amazing cover artist, Ciruelo Cabral, whose images have graced the covers of the Iron Dragon Series. His yearly Dragons calendars are stunning, and please find them every year, as they are available in all the stores. He inspires me a lot and his work is perfect for the Iron Dragon Series.
I want to thank my amazing fans all over the world who pushed me to get this book out there, and especially my readers in Utah where I live. Thanks to Jordan Stephens, Jason and Natalie Wilson, Cheryl and Chris O’Malley, Katrina Miller, Glenn Lee, Barbara Webb, Seth Warn, Rebecca Shelley, Adam Davies, K.C. Anderson, Craig Lloyd, my parents, my friends at the hospital where I work as a cardiac nurse, and all the writers, librarians, and teachers who have inspired me to follow this dream.
Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy reading The Secret Empire.