Giving Thanks

So, I should preface this by stating my wife’s name is Jessica. If you’ve looked at the dedications page of my books, you’ve seen her name.

If it weren’t for Jessica, you wouldn’t have read or be reading Ancient RuinsSpells of Old, or anything else of mine. Every time I’ve started a story, Jessica has encouraged me. When I was working as a cashier, in the bakery, or even when I was unemployed, Jessica encouraged me to follow my dreams. She was the one who bought me a Kindle as a Christmas present a few years back, and which led me to realize that self-publishing was even possible.

When I come up with ideas for stories, Jessica is my sounding board. I talk to her about the ideas, and she shoots them down, or adds depth to them. I can’t think of a single character in my books who’s had more than a token appearance that Jessica hasn’t influenced. She complicates the plot lines, and I shoot down the more insane ideas. I tell her my ideas, and she shoots down those that are too horrifying to others (I’m brutal and cruel to my poor characters). Without her, the books would be a good bit more shallow.

When I first wrote Ancient Ruins, Jessica read through it, and gave me vital feedback on the opening chapters. They were… not good. I keep being tempted to put up the prologue just to let people see the difference, but I keep shying away. She read the book no less than five or six times, telling me what she thought was good or bad in any section. Then, as a Christmas present she offered to pay for artwork for the book, and I went to Jackie Felix for it. I truly believe that without the art, the book likely would have flopped and died.

The two of us are an odd pair, too, reversing many gender roles in most ways. I’m the baker who does well with desserts, breads, and the like, while she’s the one who’s good with grilling and the like. I like sewing and handicrafts, though I’m not very good. She’s the one who fixes broken machines around the house. She’s also a Network Security Engineer, and I wouldn’t know where to begin doing a tenth of the things she does. Still, the two of us work well together.

So, I want to thank Jessica publicly for helping me get my ass in gear and actually write books.

I also want to thank all of you readers for reading my books. When a book vanishes into obscurity, it tends to take the wind out of a person’s sails. Instead, you gave me motivation to keep going. I really appreciate that.

Ben

13 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

  1. Hi, I would first like to thank you and your wife for doing such a awesome job on my current favorite series, Ancient Dreams. However I will also ask what has become of her idea to write a novella and how’s that going because I liked the concept you posted she was thinking about.

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    1. Not a problem on working on it!

      As for what she’s working on… I’ll leave that to her to try and answer. She’s currently paralyzed with indecision on what to say. We’ll see if she answers.

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  2. I’ve been working on background information and have a few different files with parts of the world, how things work, races, and some of the characters, as well as a bit of the beginning written. I’ve also been talking with Ben quite a bit on different ideas and things to sort out elements, making things familiar but different, if that makes sense. We work well as each other’s sounding boards, I think. That said, I’ve also been looking for work, studying for new certifications, and trying not to let my anxieties get the better of me.

    Benjamin has always wanted to be a writer. Most of my writing in fiction has been for characters in games. Admittedly some of those were exceedingly detailed short stories unto themselves, but I’ve been doing a lot more technical writing the last few years than fiction. Firewalls don’t care about a good story, nor do routers and switches, as much as many seem to think they operate on magic.

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    1. Hello, thank you for sharing. It sounds like a full plate, and it seems like we both suffer from thinking too much on what to say and how to say it. About firewalls and the others maybe they do want a good story. Ben said about month ago that there might be genius loci in space so one could be a program or the like, and it could be only accessible via a game. But then again I’m not a robot…or am I 😉

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      1. Jessica’s not anxious about the possibility of letting her writing out into the world, honest… >_>

        Joking aside, Jessica is a good writer, but she hasn’t done lots of long-form fiction in a long time. I know she’s a good writer because she once wrote something like a 30 page character background for a D&D game I was running, back about a month after we met, and it wasn’t finished. It never did get finished because she was swamped at work, but it gives a bit of an idea.

        FYI, we’re going to be leaving on our trip in an hour, so any responses will be sporadic for a week-ish.

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  3. Hi. I would like to say that I have really, really enjoyed Ancient Dreams series. And I want to ask; when is the next book out??? It was great learning about you Benjamin and Jessica.
    I acquired both books and read them one after the other. I couldn’t stop until they were done. I marvelled at your imagination! I love to read and have so much respect for writers, I could never do what you do. Thank you, thank you for this series! I can’t wait for the next book.

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    1. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the two books so far!

      As for the next book, I’ve got it at what I’d guess is 40-50% complete. I can’t be certain until it’s closer, so I’m going to give my goal. My goal is to have Halls of Power out by October 3rd, this year. I think I can get it out earlier than that, but I won’t know until I get the first draft done.

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      1. hi! I will be counting the months, lol. I wanted to commend you for allowing Isane to have justice over Aric. I loved it, lol! I would also like to ask if there’s a special reason most of the humans are male and most of the elves are female?

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      2. Halls of Power is very likely to come out before that. I cannot guarantee it, so I’m being a pessimist. I figure it’s better than disappointing people. As for Isane and Aric… Aric deserved what happened to him, far more than most people in Kelvanis. At least in my opinion.

        As for the elves and humans, there are two logical reasons, and one subconscious one, I’ll explain all of them.

        1) The elves are largely female. This mostly comes from the fact I originally intended the priestesses of Medaea as prime targets (with Kelvanis preferring women), and the Princess having an all-female guard. This heavily tilted things toward women, and I wasn’t even thinking about how it would look when I wrote Ancient Ruins, and you may have noticed me trying to balance the scales, as it were, in Spells of Old. I didn’t want to work too drastically, though, as that would look distinctly unnatural for the story. Besides, the main characters were always intended to be female.

        2) For humans, the vast majority of those who’ve been interacted with have been soldiers and warriors. In a relatively primitive world, human men have an easier time building muscle mass and maintaining it, so this heavily weights the army toward men. Now, Kelvanis is actually fairly open to female soldiers, like Lady Marigold Marath, but only about one in five soldiers are female, and a perception that they’re more empathetic toward others has led the leadership of Kelvanis to keep them more in defensive positions than offensive.

        3) This is a more subconscious part of writing the books. For me, when I think about elves, they’re more ephemeral and frailer, and I instinctively lean toward female characters when I’m creating an elven character. Similarly, when I start creating a human character, I skew heavily toward male characters. Unless I’m actively thinking about it, I’ll guarantee that 4/5 elven characters will end up as female, and a similar percentage of humans will end up male. It isn’t intentional, just a habit I normally try to fix as I write. However, when writing Ancient Ruins I wasn’t in any mood to think things like that through. I was writing primarily on instinct (and a hint of burning rage), which led to a much more skewed story than I’d have preferred. Still, it turned out well, for the most part.

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      3. I just wondered as I did catch where Phynis’ mother alluded to their daughters being an awkward method of uniting the two countries during her communication with Diane of Yisara, lol.

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      4. I totally understand. It was an interesting issue, there… but honestly, it was more by happenstance. Interestingly enough, there are ways for two men, or two women, to have children via magic, but they aren’t terribly common.

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      5. Don’t you mean weird? >_>

        That being said, it’s magic performed by the priesthood of the god(dess, the character swaps genders fluidly) of love, and it requires a woman at some point. Men will require a surrogate, basically.

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