I talk much about how I came to develop Corvus Rex in the afterword of my first book, The Substance of Darkness, so I do not aim to rehash all of that here, but I do want to discuss other elements, decisions I made along the way, etc. without much in the way of spoilers.
Book one is, essentially, an origin story and something of a slow burn. Our hero is born, grows into a warrior, goes through a horrific transformation, and establishes an arch nemesis.
He also happens to be having a conversation with a young H.P. Lovecraft.
This element, which I have discussed elsewhere, is not new in terms of general concept, but it is a matter of how I’ve done it that will be different from other authors using Lovecraft as an historical character or elements of his works. To that end, I decided early on that I would not read any further stories set in Lovecraft’s overall mythos (Dream Cycle or Cthulhu Mythos) by modern authors, even those by my beloved Neil Gaiman, though there is one exception that only visits the mythos occasionally and even then it is almost more to spoof it than anything. Some day, when this is all over, I will go back to reading some of these newer, brilliant authors and enjoy their takes on H.P.’s works.
However, for now I will read Lovecraft’s contemporaries, those to whom he wrote many letters and encouraged to play in his universe, such as Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, or Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), and I read some of Lovecraft’s inspirations such as Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert E. Chambers (The King in Yellow) to name a few, because these have some historical bearing on my story.
This decision was partly because I did not want to second guess myself on some of my plot devices. I didn’t want to find myself saying “Well, so-and-so already did that,” or, “But that’s like (insert plot element) in (insert title).” I also, to a certain degree, stopped sharing my story plans with friends. This all goes back to the old adage that there is nothing new under the sun. It’s true, and there are no new ideas, but I could shield myself from feeling derailed before I got to what made my presentation different from all of the others. In the past, if I shared an idea, ultimately a friend who had read some other novel would say, “Oh, like in such-in-such,” and I would say “No, this is not that.” People have an instinct to compare elements, and that’s not a bad thing, really, but you can’t convince them of the differences without sitting them down and having a come to Jesus talk.
I have to say that taking this course has been quite a break-through, and I’ve felt more free to explore this world I’m playing in and share my interpretation without too many stalls. Now, almost the entire series is developed, with a few holes to fill in and questions to answer, but it is a relief to know where it is all going and how it will get there.
Corvus Rex: The Substance of Darkness will finally be available in print this weekend in a gorgeous 6×9 matte copy, and yes, it is an independent publiscation. This print version has been run through the proverbial wringer in terms of proofing and the Kindle copy will be updated to match this quality and prior Kindle purchasers can access these updates in their Amazon libraries. I believe in honesty, and I would be remiss to not admit that stuff was missed when I published the ebook. In fact, I right drove myself crazy the moment I discovered just one typo in the Kindle version… and then another… and then… What happened? I asked myself. It is possible that I uploaded an incorrect file, or Word failed at some point to save one of my comb-throughs. Whatever the case, I’m happy to say that it’s fixed now and I’ve actually stumbled upon a great method to edit from now on for both me and my other proof readers, and it is this method by which I will operate with the next four books.
Is it unprofessional for me to admit to these mistakes? I don’t think so, honestly. I’ve read professionally published works that were full of missed typos (once even encountered a publisher who had left a partial paragraph from another novel accidentally pasted into the wrong work). When I commented on my typos to one of my proof readers, she was surprised and said, “Well, it goes to show that we were more caught up in the story than catching typos.”
Okay, I’ll accept that. As long as I’ve presented a good story that people are enjoying, that makes me very happy indeed.
The Substance of Darkness trade paperback goes live this Saturday on Amazon, and I am pleased to say how proud I am of it even after stumbling over a few stubborn booboos.