So, three short stories centered around an Elven Aquamancer, coupled with various table-top campaigns and maps, single-subject notebooks filled with notes and concepts loosely jotted down, and I had the stirrings of a fantasy world to work with.
Stephen R. Donaldson, author of the much-celebrated Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and White Gold Wielder, had and has been my hero since I first read Lord Foul’s Bane. Well, mayhap ‘hero’ is not quite the right word here. Back then, I utterly worshipped the man. His prose brought me fully across the threshold and into a love affair with the genre of fantasy that has lasted to this day (and will likely last the rest of my life).
By reading avidly his works, and the works of Terry Brooks (the Shannara series mostly), I started to adapt my style to more closely resemble something of a blend of all three narrative voices. I did this by working on more short stories set in the realms of Tamalaria every time I could for my Poetry and Creative Writing class. That only worked for about a month, though, because I wanted more practice. So, I just started writing them on my own free time, instead of hunkering down to my Playstation every day after getting home from school.
I carried on that way for over a year and a half, going beyond my class and, after my brief stint in the military (I’ll not go into that in detail of any sort), I found myself turning to writing stories and drinking as my primary off-work pastimes. Again, just going to sort of gloss over that period of my life, wasn’t pretty.
It was, however, months after sorting myself out, at the age of twenty-one, that I decided it was time to finally start trying to write a full-length novel set in the world of Tamalaria. I wanted my hero to be someone/something dark, something damned, much like Thomas Covenant. I wanted him to be potent with both the blade and with magic and tactics, like the Druids of Shannara or the Lords of Covenant’s ‘The Land’.
I must admit that part of the reason that Byron of Sidius became that first hero was also because I’d been playing a game called Medieval for the Playstation, and he was an undead skeletal knight. I pictured that protagonist in my mind, and wondered what he might be like with a Clive Barker-esque facelift. Once I had the visual in my mind, it was merely a matter of conjuring up and writing down some notes about how he got that way in the first place.
A basic outline for the tale that would become ‘Freedom or the Fire’ (working title at that time: ‘Saga of the Dark Hero’, pretty lame, right?) was scrawled in a newly purchased marble notebook, and after trading my newly acquired Playstation 2 to a friend in exchange for his Tiger II laptop, I got to work on fashioning from my notes, roleplaying experiences, beloved books and outline, the first attempt at a full-length novel set in the magical realms of Tamalaria.
Three and a half years later, the finalized version I’ve posted on this blog for your consideration was complete. It would be another year, year and a half until Mr. Robert Preece of Booksforabuck.com would pick it up, offering me my very first publishing contract.
You may wonder why I decided, dear readers, to pull the Tamalarian Tales from commercial sale. The answer is somewhat complicated, but can be boiled down simply to this; I am a storyteller. I’m not a good business man, and I wasn’t doing very well at marketing myself or my works. Sales never reached high enough to afford me more than a couple of hundred dollars every few months from royalties, and there were plenty of quarters where I didn’t even break one hundred bucks between all of my books.
My love of the craft lies in sharing the tale, dear readers. Money or no, I’d rather you enjoy my offerings and share them with others than try to sell you something. Sharing the story is its own reward.