Tag Archives: Michael DeAngelo

Dragonspeaker has released!

Hey folks!  It’s new book day, and it’s a very special one for us today. This marks the first step into a new journey.  While all the books that came out in Tales of Tellest (as well as the Tellest Legends campaign’s Lord of Thunder) focused on established characters in the Tellest brand, this newest adventure introduces a brand new set of characters from a continent that we’ve heard of but never seen.

Not only that, but it allows us to explore a race that was only witnessed in short stories or deleted scenes.  The kaja are one of the first anthropomorphic races I’ve written about—we haven’t had a chance to play with centaurs or minotaurs, but we did have a story about kobolds.  In any case, this is definitely the longest tale I’ve told where an anthro character is the star of the show.  Kaiyonani is an awesome character who is only going to grow as we give her and her dragon companion some meatier stories in the future.

Kaiyonani knows what it’s like to be a cat of the Kehara desert. The harsh sands around her tribe’s oasis are hot and savage, and there are enemies abound throughout the region. The one thing her people had to rely on was their fierce dragon ally, Iraneth.

But now, the dragon is dead.

Kaiyonani’s grandfather fulfilled the role of dragonspeaker. It is a title that is passed down from one kaja to the next, though it usually changes hands because a mortal has died—not one of the majestic winged creatures they call friend. The next dragonspeaker has been named, and to everyone’s surprise, it is Kaiyonani who is destined to take up the mantle. She must venture across the desert, to lands unknown in order to make the bond with her own dragon companion,

But can she survive the cruel wilderness and dangerous creatures that call Saveon and the Kehara Desert home?

Dragonspeaker just released today, and it’s available for the low introductory price of just 99 cents.  You can’t beat that!  Why not check it out on Amazon today?

Interview with Michael DeAngelo

Hello there folks.  We’re busy busy busy this month, but we’ve finally got some time to talk about a few things.  First off, we’d like to formally welcome Erika Castro to the Tellest team.  She’s going to be our social media guru.  As of right now, she’s the reason our Twitter page looks as delightful as it does.  She’s also taking on a new responsibility today as she sits Michael DeAngelo (that’s me!) down for an interview on all things Tellest.

Let’s give her a warm welcome as she joins this wonderful team!

Without any further adieu, here’s an interview that’ll give you some insight into the vision for Tellest in the near future:

 

Erika Castro: First of all, thank you for the opportunity.  It’s going to be a lot of fun working with Tellest and all the people who make it awesome.

Michael DeAngelo: Well we’re definitely very lucky to have you here.  You’re going to fill a role that I’ve been lacking in lately, so we’re very grateful to have you as part of the crew.

 

EC: I hope I’ll prove myself as we move forward.  Should we move forward with the interview?

MD: Take it away!

 

EC: What made you first interested in writing? 

MD: When I was younger, I was always making up stories to be a part of, but they originally started as pipe dreams for games.  I fantasized about making these big sprawling games like Final Fantasy, because Roleplaying Games were always a big part of my life.  I used to tell people I wanted to be a software engineer, because I heard it and didn’t yet know the term “game developer.”

For the longest time, I always thought that writing a story from front to back was out of reach for me.  Those were for far smarter people than me—it was beyond my capability.

It’s silly but letting go is probably what gave me the opportunity to really dig into writing.  I was lucky enough to work fairly quickly in school, and we had 90 minute classes.  During a math class, I ended up finishing a test ridiculously early.  I knew that Baldur’s Gate II was coming out soon, and I knew that you could develop a character biography for yourself.  I started writing one for the character who would eventually become my original main character, and the rest grew out of control from there.

 

EC: Why fantasy? 

MD: Fantasy has always scratched a particular itch for me.  I’m not sure why, exactly.  It’s just always been a part of my life.  I learned to read and write playing King’s Quest on the Apple II.  My favorite movies growing up were Willow and Princess Bride and Goonies (a pseudo-fantasy, if ever there was one).  And I’m a huge fan of videogames, as I said, with Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy and the Secret of Monkey Island being huge influences in my life and in my writing.

While my Dad had always been a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi, it was my aunt who I think really planted the bug in my brain.  We used to play a very simplified version of dungeons and dragons when she would babysit me, and I think that was probably what got me started wanting to build worlds.

 

EC: How old were you when you wrote your first story (not published)?

MD: I believe I was five or six when I wrote some incoherent mess about a shark that didn’t want to eat fish… he wanted to be their friends.  It’s very possible that Pixar used this wonderful book as inspiration for the sharks in Finding Nemo.

 

EC: Is there a particular author that inspires you?

MD: R. A. Salvatore is the storyteller who speaks to me the most.  It wasn’t until I read about Drizzt and Wulfgar and Bruenor and Regis and Catti-brie in The Thousand Orcs that I really go the push into storytelling.  That book was also given to me by the aunt that imparted all that love for fantasy in me.  I received that on my seventeenth birthday, right around the time Baldur’s Gate II was coming out, and it just happened to be the perfect storm of creativity and intellect to get me going.

 

EC: Was there a particular book/story you wrote that made you think that you had something going here?

MD: I think that’s both the blessing and the curse of being someone who continues to write books.  When I wrote my first book, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.  I was very impressed with myself, but if I go back and read that, I’m appalled.  It’s horrible!  But at the same time, I’m glad that I believed in myself back then.  If I had started writing and immediately found disgust in my work, I don’t know that I would have ever continued doing what I am.

There’s a trend with my work, too.  I’ll go back to a book I wrote five years ago and be disappointed with it, and I have no doubt that something that I write this year will feel a tad undercooked five years from now.  But I feel that it also shows that I’m growing as a writer and a storyteller, and for that I’m grateful.

 

EC: Is the character Kaos Kreegan based on anyone you know?

MD: He is, and while other people might be ashamed to admit this, I’m just going to own up to it.  Kaos is an obvious straw man.  Kaos was supposed to be someone that I could aspire to be—maybe not the fighting prowess and the treasure hunting and all that jazz, but certainly his values. 

We spend three books with Kaos where he’s this white knight willing to do all these things, but we never really see him break.  He sticks to his guns, so to speak, for better or worse.  I can tell you this though: writing a straw man character gets kind of boring, especially if you aspire to be the best you that you can be.  When we see Kaos again in the future, we’re going to really work at breaking him a little bit!

 

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EC: Where does the name Tellest come from?

MD: To be perfectly honest, I cannot tell you how I came up with the name after all these years.  I’d like to think that it just came to me in a whisper, but back then, I was developing names for cities and characters by looking at everyday objects and reading them backward.  We had a poison called red nib that we developed just because we happened to be looking at a binder.

It’s probable that we were thinking of creating this world where you’d be telling this insane amount of stories over a broad history, and we thought, “hey, Tellest sounds a lot like ‘Tell Us,’ let’s just roll with it!”

 

EC: Who is currently part of the Tellest team?

MD: Tellest has grown a lot from those days when I was writing after math tests.  We’ve got five people who have officially developed stories for us, and among them, four of them have been published in our anthology.  We’re in the middle of courting a few other writers right now as well, but it is slow going as we try to organically build.

Meanwhile, on the other media front, we have a group of around four or five artists who consistently deliver content to us.  By the end of the year, I’m hopeful that we’ll have over 100 pieces of commissioned work to show off on the Tellest site.  We’ve also got a pair of very dependable narrators who we use for the Tellest audiobooks, and we’re just wrapping up work on the last two Tales of Tellest novellas.

And then of course, we’re starting to expand elsewhere, which is where you come in, Erika!

 

EC: Where do you find your writers and artists?

MD: Most of the writers that I work with are local.  I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who share the same love of storytelling and fantasy, and I’ve been able to share Tellest with them in a way that you don’t often see with other written worlds.  They’ve surprised me every step of the way, and I’m proud of each of them.

We also experimented about two years back with hosting writing prompt contests on our website.  That was how we connected with Aaron Canton, who ended up being one of our more prolific writers.  We’ve been talking internally about opening that up again as a feature.  When we did them before, it was almost laughable because we didn’t really have a large web presence.  Only two or three people would submit at a time!  Now, and especially as we move toward releasing another big set of books, maybe we’ll have a bigger internet footprint.

Regarding the artists, I was lucky enough to find most of them on DeviantArt or through Reddit.  With Leo, our main cover artist, I happened to see his work on another writer’s book cover, and I tracked him down and convinced him to do a commission for Mageborn.  We loved working with him so much that he’s done just about every cover since then!

 

EC: Out of all your novellas, which is your personal favorite? 

MD: That’s such a tough question.  I’m a fan of all my books for different reasons, but there are two that are a little closer to me. 

Awake was almost an experimental piece for me that explored what PTSD would look like in a fantasy world.  I had to do some real research with that, and actually reached out to a friend I grew up with to get her opinions as both a modern day warrior and as a woman.  That translated to some real inspiration for the character of Venathryn, who has evolved tremendously since her original inception about sixteen years ago.

As much as I love Awake, I think my favorite actually has to be The Fall, however.  It truly speaks to the way Tellest itself was kind of dreamed up—as a world that lets different genres play together.  The Fall is the tale of Icarus redressed for fantasy.  And the best part is it’s told in such a way that it could in theory be what actually inspired the mythology.  The Fall is also the first story that I told in such a distant part of the timeline from the established books in the series.  We look at what the world looked like over three thousand years ago!  And of course, I think with such an event—the end of the world for some people—gave me the chance to make some strong emotional choices that I really hope resonated with people after they were done reading it!

 

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EC: You have a second Kickstarter coming up, tell us about that. 

MD: So, what we’re trying to do is raise $2000 to offset the publishing costs of releasing at least six new books.  These are going to be five sequels to the Tales of Tellest novellas, but they’ll each be consistently longer than their predecessors.  We also have a collection of short stories once again—this time we’re aiming for two dozen in the compilation!

The money that we raise from this campaign will help us with editing, and it’ll assure that each of these stories has gorgeous front-and-back book covers.

 

EC: How did the first one go?

MD: I wouldn’t have even dreamed of coming back for more if our last Kickstarter hadn’t gone so well.  We were absolutely blown away to have been fully funded by the end of the first day.  For a fantasy brand that really had no internet footprint, that was an awesome feeling.  I was floored by the response.  And then, through the rest of the campaign, we managed to double our original goal, and ended up with some interesting bonus content.  We wrapped up reconciling all of our rewards just a few months ago, and I hope that everyone who played a part in bringing this volume of Tellest books to life felt great having those books in their hands.

 

EC: What are some of the goals of the Kickstarter? 

MD: First and foremost, it’d be nice if we could fund these initial books.  Because they’re longer, this set will require more stringent editing than the last set, which will obviously increase the cost.  And going with double-wide covers essentially doubles the cost of the art as well.

Kickstarter is also great for developing an audience that you might not otherwise have access to.  Not only that, but you’re essentially pitching to people who are specifically there to look for projects like yours.  We have the opportunity to show people that Tellest is an accomplished fantasy brand—we’ve already ran a successful campaign and delivered on our promises.  It can only go up from here.

 

EC: What would you do if you surpassed your set goal of $2000?

MD: I’m hopeful that we will.  I mean, I’m cautiously optimistic.  You don’t want to count any of your chickens before they hatch, but I’m always prepared, just in case.  Besides these big five sequels, we’ve got a handful of other longer stories waiting in the wings.  For every $500 we raise beyond the initial goal, we’ll be able to publish another book.  And the best news is that everyone who pitches in at one of our very affordable levels—$29 for the first 100 folks, and $45 for anyone that doesn’t get in when the getting’s good—is going to get all those eBooks added to their order for free.  If we raise $4000, that’s 19 books for as little as $29.  I think that’s a pretty good deal.

 

EC: What is something you want people to know about you and about Tellest that are new to the scene?

MD: We want to make Tellest an inclusive fantasy world.  We want it to be something that compels people to come back, and make it feel like home.  The idea of our fantasy brand is that you’re always going to be a part of it, and that we’ll always have new content driving us forward.  It’s already grown quite broad in the five years since I first published, and if we’re as successful in the next few years as we were in the past few, you’re bound to see some incredible things right around the corner.

 

EC: Excellent.  I think that’ll about wrap it up.  Thank you for taking the time to talk about all this.  I know you’re busy with the Kickstarter, so this was very nice.

MD: Not a problem at all.  I’m glad for the opportunity.  I’m usually on the other end of the interview, so it was a nice change of pace for me!

Bixby Alladocious and the Lady of Life and Death, Part Two

Bixby Alladocious and the Lady of Life and Death
A Story by Michael DeAngelo
-Part Two-

For all the fire he left behind in the Nexus, Bixby was sure that he had taken some with him.  He could feel his body becoming corporeal, and warmth the likes of which he never felt coursed through every muscle, every bone, and every inch of his skin.  He would have reflexively cried from the pain, if his body was whole yet.

That searing pain ripped through him like a thousand daggers, and fleeing into his own thoughts was the only way he could muster the strength to endure.

And I thought dying was bad, he pondered.

When it was over, a dull sting permeated his body.  A cool breeze flowed through the area, and it almost felt like a brand new sensation.  His fresh skin had never felt the cold, and that zephyr that whipped by seemed to drive nails into his flesh.

Just as Adessa said, though, that agony was fleeting.  He would remember it forever, but there was almost a feeling of emptiness when it had passed.  Without the pain, his vision returned to him, and he arched his eyebrow.

Bixby had returned to where it had all started: Bowry Cemetery.

The gate still swung to and fro in the breeze, a subtle creak echoing into the air.  He had left it unlatched in case he needed to make a quick getaway.  Rumors at the town swelled that the place was haunted, and while he was fairly certain they were just that, he didn’t want to be caught unaware because of his pride.

He thrust that iron gate out even farther, considering what he knew.  Ghosts were real, and he had seen them.  “In fact, I suppose I am one,” Bixby whispered.

As he made his way through the cemetery, he took special care to avoid the graves.  The magician never considered himself a superstitious man, but maybe that was due for a change.

A distant rumble of thunder rolled over the area.  Bixby drew his overcoat in closer, and the subtle movement caught his attention.  His soul had repaired his outfit as well, a nice little bonus that he hadn’t considered when Adessa had explained his so-called gift.  All the better, he supposed.  It wouldn’t do to go crypt-diving naked.

After only a few more moments, he arrived at the tomb, where the stone slab that was supposed to keep in the dead was left slightly ajar.  The magician wanted natural light in that eerie place.  While the claims couldn’t be substantiated, he had been warned countless times throughout his career that the dead gave off an invisible, volatile gas.  The last thing he wanted to do was blow himself up with an ill-conceived fire spell.

When he slipped inside the tomb once more, he nearly leapt back out of the building, convinced that the rumors were true.  For there, at the forefront of the corridor, a body sat propped against the wall.  His brow furrowed at the truth of it, though: it was his body.  Just because his soul recreated a vessel for him, it did nothing to erase the old one from existence.  It wasn’t every day that a man could see his own corpse.

If there was any doubt—if there was even a shred of a thought he had just dreamed his time in the Nexus instead of actually experiencing it—it flittered away in that moment.  Bixby was immortal, just as Adessa had said.  Triumphantly, he strode down those first steps into the corridor.  He held his head high as he proceeded down the path, his eyes fixated on that golden statuette destined to be his prize.  His steps were firm and confident and—

How could he have forgotten?

The sound of the pressure plate sliding into place once more was beyond familiar.  Before, it was hauntingly final in its cruelty, and yet, in that moment, it sounded like nothing beyond a cruel joke.

Bixby tried to leap out of the way, but the curved spikes were too fast.  They sheared into him just as before, though they didn’t strike so high.  His lungs were spared, at least.

The pain wasn’t as bad as before, he considered.  But when he looked down at his torso, he saw the damage was significantly worse.  He bled from three times as many places as before, thanks to his ill-timed leap.  That rapid blood loss sent him to his rump before he realized it.

“How foolish am I?” he wondered aloud.  Again he rolled to his side before he crawled from the place that had doomed him.  He gnashed his teeth together and shook his head, more disappointed with himself than whoever designed the sinister trap.

He was so weary that he didn’t realize where he was at first.  But when he looked up, he saw his favorite boots.  Bixby guffawed at the grim coincidence.  Killed twice by the same trap, even though he knew where it would strike the second time around.

The magician hoisted himself into place beside his corpse.  Blowing out a sigh, he could sense his life force fleeting away from him.  The darkness was coming back to him, and quickly at that.  He dared not set his sights on that golden statuette again, the reminder of his failure.  Instead, he turned the opposite way.

As macabre as it was, Bixby used the last of his strength to drape his arm over his corpse.  He grasped his far shoulder and propped himself a little higher.

“How you doing there, good looking?”

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

She could sense the fissure opening and awaited the arrivals with a reinvigorated mirth.  Since she could direct her new champion back to the land of the living, there was a revitalized confidence that Adessa carried.

All that mirth was gone the next moment.

Bixby held up his hands, placating the woman before she could say a word.

“I know.  Whatever you have to say, I swear, I know.”

Though her jaw had dropped at the sight of the magician, the lady who walked the line between life and death couldn’t suppress a giggle.  “Just getting a little practice in, are we?”

“Had to make sure it wasn’t a fluke,” Bixby said.  When he turned around, he summoned those same violet flames that had opened the fissure before.  It roared to life, as it had earlier, and the magician marched toward it without trepidation.  “I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot more of me,” he surmised.

With a smile on her face, Adessa offered a nod.  “I look forward to it, Mister Alladocious.”

Without another word, Bixby pressed through the fissure, returning to Tellest once more.

Bixby Alladocious and the Lady of Life and Death, Part One

Bixby Alladocious and the Lady of Life and Death
A Story by Michael DeAngelo
-Part One-

He gasped for air that would not come, and while the rest of his body felt as though it had been wrapped in a cowl of ice, the warmth that trickled down his lip informed him of his fate.  There was no getting around it: he was dying.

Crawling as far as he could, he determined that struggling to breathe was a pointless labor.  He would use the rest of his energy to lift himself to his backside.  If he passed on in that dark and morbid place, he would at least die with some dignity—not on his belly like some gutter rat.

That lack of air soon became more than he could bear, and he opened his lips to try one more raspy breath.  There was nothing, though.  No sound, no burning in his chest.

The initial pain of that spike tearing through his chest was like a bolt of lightning.  It wasn’t something he was unfamiliar with, that shocking agony.  But he didn’t expect the damage that had been wrought to be so final.  As he reflected on that injury and his shaking hand navigated to the hole in his sternum, he thought that he would have rather endured the lightning.

Perhaps that was just the thought of the unknown, though, he reasoned.  The pain had subsided almost immediately.  And though he had an impossibly large hole bored into his chest, there was almost a feeling of reverie.  While he had failed his quest, there was relief in the finality of it.  No one would be disappointed in him; he died trying to help, after all.  There was no better way to fail.

He turned his head—or maybe his strength had failed him and he could no longer hold up his own weight—and his sight went down the length of the corridor.  The spike withdrew back into the wall, leaving nothing to obscure his view of the golden idol he sought.  Though he was sure his eyes were opened wide, he was surprised to see the sudden darkness encroach on his vision.

His time had come, he supposed.  Better luck to the next fellow who tried to apprehend the golden statue.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

There was almost a new clarity to his sight.  There was something sobering about death, for he saw colors more vibrantly, noticed the finer details in the path before him, and was more attuned to the strange oddities around him.

“Wait a minute,” he said.  “I thought I died.”

The sound of his own voice startled him, and he looked down at his body, astonished to see that he was unmarred—as though a dastardly spike hadn’t torn right through him.

He couldn’t focus on that for long, though, for another fellow passed him, so close that he could feel the chill aura emanating from him.

“Whoa there, friend.  Respect my personal space.”

As soon as he spoke those words, he felt a wave of cold wash over him, more frigid than anything he could recall in his entire life.  He nearly spilled to the floor when he saw another person pass through him.

“What in the name of…” he whispered.

“You did die,” he heard beside him.  When he turned, he saw a beautiful young woman who wore a mischievous smile.  “But that won’t be a problem for you, Bixby Alladocious.”

He arched his eyebrow at the strange woman, surprised to hear his name on so fair a set of lips.  “How did you know my name?”

“I’ve been waiting for you for quite a long while, Bixby.  Your appearance here was foretold over thirty years ago.  Of course, it’s the same with everyone else here.”

“Everyone here was fated to be here since thirty years ago?”

The woman smirked at the fellow.  “No.  This one was forty-three years ago.  That one was twenty-two.  That one was just under one hundred years ago!”

“They were fated to die,” Bixby said.

“Since they were born,” she confirmed.

“Isn’t that the same way it is for everyone?”

“Almost everyone,” she clarified.  “And even then, not everyone arrives here in the same state.  Take you, for instance.  You’re here, aware, completely attuned to your surroundings.  No one else here has made that mental journey yet.  This place is too big to wrap their heads around.”

Bixby spun about, taking in all the odd sights, where an eerie purple sky seemed to wrap itself all the way around wherever they were and a multitude of walkways weaved this way and that like an odd spider’s web.

“And where, pray tell, is here?” he asked.  “And for that matter, who, pray tell, are you?”

She smiled at the most recent arrival and extended her fair hand to him. He felt compelled to oblige her.  “My name is Adessa, and I am a…helper, of sorts, to some of the people here.  As for where we are, it goes by many names.  Some call it the final court, some call it purgatory, and some call it limbo.  I prefer to call it the Nexus.  It’s a world between worlds, where the dead are given a final influence and are ushered to whatever fate they’ve earned in life.

“But you, Bixby,” she cooed.  “You are different.”

He looked around at the lost souls who wandered through the place.  “I’ll say.  I’m much handsomer than any fellow here.”

“And humble, too,” she teased.  “There’s more to it than that, though.  I’ve taken special care to pay attention to you, because you’ve been given a gift that I’ve yet to encounter in this world or any other.”

“Is it you?” he wondered.  “That might make a nice consolation out of this whole dying thing.”

“Poor thing,” she said.  “I belong to another.  But you may find me to have been a paltry gift compared to what power you have inside of you.  Bixby, do you know why you and I can converse like this while all these other dead men and women pass by, not giving either of us a second glance?  It’s because your soul is infused with magic the likes of which no one on Tellest has ever seen.  It’s impervious, indestructible; it is unprecedented what you can do.

“You can leave this place of your own free will, and your soul will repair the damage done to its body.  In some manner of speaking, you are immortal.”

“Immortal?” he asked.  “I felt my chest cave open.  And you say this is a gift?  You mean to tell me I’ll go through that again?”

“Only if you want to,” Adessa revealed.  “You can relent and go down to where the master of this domain serves his judgment.  Do you think that the life you’ve lived so far has earned you a place in the highest heavens?  Or do you yet have work to do?”

Bixby swallowed away the tension that built in his throat.  Had he really been as good a person as possible?  Could it be said that his life’s work balanced more on the side of light than the side of darkness?

“And what am I to do, exactly, with this impervious soul?”

Adessa smiled at him.  “Well, as I said, your soul will begin to repair your body when you are no longer in the Nexus.  When the dead arrive here, they enter through what we’ll call a fissure—a doorway into this realm that isn’t apparent to those that are alive.  The closest fissure that you’ll find is always the one that is attuned to where you died on Tellest.”

“So, if I go through the nearest fissure, I could resume my quest,” Bixby surmised.

“Or you could choose to give it up entirely.  What you do with your life is up to you.  I shouldn’t be made to sway you either way.”

He nodded and brought his fingers to his chin.  “And how do I find this fissure?  I see nothing of the sort.”

“You’re a magician, of sorts,” Adessa ribbed.  “Figure it out.  Read between the lines.  If nothing else, you’ll find that the ether more closely blends into this realm than it does the living world.  Since you have the cognizance to use your magic, you could be quite proficient here.”

He nodded and lifted his hand, extending it as though he could feel the energy that pulsed through the Nexus.  His fingers swayed in the otherworldly breeze, brushing up against an invisible veil.  That shroud was magic made manifest, and it ignited upon his hand.  Violet flames danced to life on the ends of his fingers, though they didn’t produce heat.  Bixby studied those odd illuminations so intently that he didn’t notice the same colors roaring to life ahead of him.

Adessa gave him a light tap on the shoulder and pointed to the opened rift.  “It looks like I did well to put my faith in you.”

Furrowing his brow, Bixby passed a glance at the woman.  “So what is in this for you?  Why bother telling me any of this?  You could have just as easily let me wander in front of whatever judges would send me to what’s next.  Why give me another chance?”

A beaming smile was the only reply she gave for a few moments.  “Wouldn’t you say that life is a series of gambles?  Isn’t it possible that you only get a few opportunities to make a difference—a real difference?”

“Perhaps,” he conceded.

“I was given an opportunity when I learned about you, Bixby Alladocious,” she said.  “While I spend much of my time here, Tellest has always had a special place in my heart.  I’d like to see it thrive and become the place of providence that I’ve always dreamed it could be.  And Bixby, my wager is that you can help it be just that.”

“So your gamble is on me,” he said.  “And what if I let you down?  What if this gift isn’t all that we’re making it out to be and I fail you?”

“Then I’ve wasted a few decades holding out for a hero,” she replied, that smile still on her face.  “There will be another eventually.”

“No pressure, huh?” Bixby mumbled.

“Are you ready to return?” Adessa asked.  “It’ll only hurt for a moment, and then you’ll be ready to follow whatever path you desire.”

He exhaled an anxious sigh and stepped forward.  “Thank you…for not keeping this to yourself.  I’m glad I’ve got another chance to make things right,” he admitted.

“I look forward to meeting you again, Bixby.  May this journey have given you wisdom and understanding, and may your extra time on Tellest be used for righteousness, however it is you decide that.”

The magician continued forward and reached into those bright flames.  When he felt nothing—no pain, no heat, no sensation at all—he pushed through that fire, and once more, he was left with darkness.

NaNoWriMo, Patreon and Tales of Tellest

Phew, now that was exhausting.

As many of you may know, I participated in NaNoWriMo this year.  It was a completely new experience for me, since most of the writing I’ve done for Tellest thus far has been pencil to paper in a notebook before it’s transferred to the computer.  In that way, I end up editing my book twice as I write it.  For NaNoWriMo, I knew that I was going to have to leave that kind of writing to the side, or I would never make my target word count in time.

50,000 words in 30 days is something that seemed a little beyond my skills, but as of today—with one day to spare—I’m proud to announce that I was able to meet that lofty goal.  I’m a NaNoWriMo 2015 winner.  Heart of the Forest is well on its way.  At that word count, we’re at about 100 pages written, and I’ve just started the twentieth chapter.  It’s still a long way to go, but I’m committing to a new task going forward, as a result of this first NaNoWriMo experience.

From now on, I’m going to write at least one chapter of a story per week directly on the computer, just like I’ve done throughout this November.  It’ll be my writing in its rawest form, so it won’t necessarily be the best display of my ability, but it’ll fulfill my promise to you that there will always be more content from Tellest that is ready to read.

Now, this will go on to serve two purposes.  First, it’ll mean that there will be more stories to read at a quicker pace.  My guess is that Heart of the Forest will be around a forty chapter story, so I’m about halfway there.  At this rate, I’ll have it done by the end of April.  At that point, it’ll be time to sit down with it and throw in some heavy edits to make sure that it’s a story worthy of your attention.

That brings us to our second purpose.  Writing in that style gives me the golden opportunity to bring my stories to you a lot quicker than the way that I currently do.  The Tellest Patreon page is the place where chapters of Heart of the Forest are currently being uploaded every Wednesday.  You have to be a patron to get early access to those snippets, but I’m announcing today that you only need to spend $1 a month to get that access (it used to be $3).  And here’s some even better news: even if you’re not a patron, there’s a chance you’ll see some of our exclusive early content there.  There’s a 1-in-3 chance you’ll see the art we commission early, and there’s a 1-in-10 chance that you’ll get to read Heart of the Forest early.

And I guess that kind of serves a third purpose then.  The more people that we know we’re working for, the more diligent we are.  If you know anyone who wants to be a part of that, let them know.  Tellest will only grow because of it!

Last but not least, I wanted to let you know about Tales of Tellest.  We started this campaign a long time ago (it’s almost been two years!), but it’s about time that it’s wrapping up.  In the next couple of weeks, all five novellas will have been released, as well as all twelve short stories that we committed to.  At that point, we’re going to be releasing the entire collection on Amazon, followed shortly after by a paperback release.  I wanted to personally thank everyone who has been so patient with all of that, and we’re looking so forward to bringing you that piece of Tellest.

Here’s hoping for more frequent updates in the future.  With NaNoWriMo just about wrapped up, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled broadcasts!

Cheers,

Mike

Touched, Part One

It’s not common knowledge, but I work in a facility that caters to individuals with special needs.  The community is beautiful, and it’s a great place to know that what you’re doing is making a difference. What people may not know is that a lot of the people that I see day in and day out make a difference in my life as well, even in the subtlest of ways.

I wanted to tell a story that spoke of those special people.  We might not always understand their needs or their wants, and we surely don’t appreciate all that they go through day after day.  What we do understand is that they’re beautiful in their own rights, and I wanted to express that in this story.  Because everyone has a little bit of hero in them.

Touched
-Part One-

 

A swirl of grey and blue on white, the art upon the canvas began to protrude with each substantial layer.  Over and over, the brush was set to the hemp, each bristle gently laying down the color.  It was as if the artist was merely holding the brush, letting the paint dictate the course of the expression.

The boy didn’t notice when the strangers arrived at the farm or when the mule that pulled their cart brayed with evident fatigue.

His father, a rugged man who had been greyed by years of toiling in the field, swept the sweat from his brow with his wrist and let go of the plow he was dragging.  He clapped his calloused hands together and wiped them on his britches as he began away from the field to meet the unexpected visitors.

“Morning,” the man said.  If he was exhausted from his labors, they did not show.  “You’re a long way from civilization.”

“Aye, that we are,” the well-dressed man of the pair with the wagon agreed.  He seemed far more beaten by the travel than the farmer was by his work, and his eyes begged for sympathy as the men converged on the same spot at a fence that penned the field.  “We’ve been traveling a while and thought that Sungarden was much closer.  It’s our first time this far west.”

“You boys from Raleigh?” the farmer asked.

A nod shook the man’s head.  Streaks of silver were apparent in his dark hair, and his brow was weathered with lines.  “Business has been slow these past few months, and I thought a change of scenery might help with that.”  A moment of silence the merchant was uncomfortable with passed between them, and he swallowed away his disgrace.  “I’d hate to ask this, but we are without food or drink.  I was hoping—”

The farmer was already nodding before his guest had finished speaking.

A weary smile crept to the merchant’s face.  “That’s a relief.  The kindness of strangers isn’t something I’m akin to on these roads.”

“A long way from roads, I’m afraid,” the farmer said with a knowing dip of his chin.  “We’ll settle you in for the day, and in the morning, we’ll set you in the right direction.”  He turned and waved, leading the strangers toward the farmhouse where his son still sat.  The merchant and his traveling companion were separated from the farmer by the fence, but they walked beside each other.

“Is it just you and your family here?” the merchant asked.

“Just me and my boy,” the farmer replied.  “His mother left us a while back.”

“I’m sorry to hear—”

“This your lad?” the farmer interjected.

The merchant turned, looking at his companion, a stout fellow still barely in his youth.  His thick brow and scruffy face were offset by his closely cropped hair, and he seemed altogether displeased with the conversation, the travel, and perhaps everything else the world happened to offer.  The older fellow still managed a smile.

“Not mine, no.  Just another down-on-his-luck trying to see if he can change his fortune.”

The lad huffed when mention of him was complete, shaking his head and averting his gaze from either of the two older fellows.

“Afraid you’ll not find too much luck out this way,” the farmer said.  “The nobles of Sungarden have been a little ignorant of domestic wares.  They’ve been preferring goods from overseas, places like Astranar or Lustra.”  The lines on the visitor’s face were more prominent then.  He shook his head.  “I’m sorry.  I don’t even know what it is you’re selling.  You can tell I’m a bit weary of that city.  They haven’t exactly been good to my boy and me in recent months.”

Cracking the widest smile he could, the merchant tapped his hand on the fence.  “It’s all right.  I shall pray for a drought in the other continents.  You’ll have your crops sell again, good sir.”

The trio of men arrived just before the farmhouse, the mule and the wagon behind them.  The boy was acutely aware of their presence but gave no indication he knew they were there.

“Afternoon there, young fellow,” the merchant spoke.  When he received no response or even an acknowledgement, he turned toward the farmer, who was subtly shaking his head.  “Doesn’t take too kindly to strangers, does he?”

“It’s not that,” the farmer said.  “It’s just–”

“No matter,” the merchant said with a wave of his hand.  “He has his reasons, and I shan’t press the matter further.”

The farmer nodded and left it at that.  “After we get your carriage over to the barn, we’ll get you set up in my room.  I can spend the night with my son.”

“We couldn’t put you out like that,” the merchant said.  “If the barn is good enough for Tess, it’s good enough for us, too.”

“Nonsense.  It can get plenty cold here in Daltain at night.  Those walls in the barn let the chill in.  We’ll see you’re well taken care of.”

The merchant squared his jaw and nodded again.  “You’re far too kind.  Do you see a lot of folks that lose their way and need a hand?”

“Not particularly.  Don’t see much of anyone these days.  Getting my boy to town is a bit of a challenge, so we mostly just make ends meet with what we have on the farm.”

“Well, there are worse ways to earn a meal, I suppose.”  The merchant patted the mule on the side of its neck.

“That old girl all right to be in the barn?” the farmer asked.

“Only if we won’t be imposing.  I don’t want to put out your livestock on account of her.”

Shaking his head, the farmer made his way to the gate that opened into the field.  “No livestock to speak of, unfortunately.  Our last cow was taken by the heat last year, and I haven’t had the money to get to market, let alone purchase a replacement.  It was good eats for a few weeks anyway.”  He struggled with the latch for a few moments, tugging with all his strength to no avail.  “Galvan, be kind,” he spat, evoking the god of crafts.  “This bolt won’t budge anytime soon.  Would you mind waiting here while I gather a mallet?”

“Patience is the least we could offer you in repayment,” the merchant said.

Leaping up the stairs, the farmer pulled the door open and disappeared within.

His visitors left the mule by the fence, content to graze while the merchant and his apprentice ascended the steps of the farmhouse.  The merchant wiped his brow and swept his gaze about the fields.  “This is a good life,” he said.  “Self-sustaining, no one to lord their opinions over you – much better than what we deal with.”  He leaned on the railing and watched the farmer’s lad continue to paint.  “This place must keep you quite happy, eh, son?”

The boy kept painting away, only a fleeting breeze returning any sound to the merchant.  He looked at his companion and raised his eyebrows, a weary shrug and a crooked grin explaining there was no sense worrying about the lack of acknowledgment.

“What do you think?” he asked his apprentice.  “Might not be a bad place to settle for a while before we head home.”

He didn’t say anything either, dropping to his rump on the stairs.  Leaning against the opposite railing, he stared off toward the cart.

“I can’t be the only one around here who speaks,” the merchant laughed.  “What a miserable existence that would be.”

“I don’t want to go home,” the apprentice finally returned, rubbing his shoulder.  “What’s waiting for me there?”

“What’s there for us on the road?”

The lad squared his jaw and stared off down the path they had just walked, the wagon’s wheels having flattened the grass in long stretches.

“So what is it then, young fellow?” the merchant asked again.  “Would you say you enjoy this place?”

Again, faced with silence, the merchant just shook his head.  He rose from the steps and made his way down to where the grass met with the railing, just beside the beaten dirt path.  He plucked an emerald blade there and eyed it intently.  He straightened it between his thumbs and brought it to his lips.  After a pair of awkward attempts, he blew out a shrill whistle, the grass shuddering between his fingers.

The farmer’s boy turned his head, and for the first time, the merchant could see his icy blue eyes.  They didn’t quite land on him, but when he made the grass sing again, the lad brought his hands to his ears, crooking his neck as if trying to locate the sound.

“I don’t ever want to go home again,” the merchant’s apprentice said.  When he was met with only the braying of the donkey in response, he cleared his throat.  “I’m sure there’s money to be made out here.”

The blade of grass, soggy and tattered by its use, was discarded to the dirt path.  The merchant made his way back to the top of the steps and braced himself against the pillar that held up the roof.  “I admire these bouts of optimism,” he finally said.  “But maybe we’re in the wrong business.”

“We can’t give up now.  Not yet.”

“Well, let’s ask the boy.  If he says not to, we won’t go home.  But if he’s as quiet as he has been, well… it might be best if we heavily discount our wares.  Let’s make enough money to buy provisions for a trip home.  What do you say?”

The apprentice said nothing, his lips curling into an uneasy scowl.  His eyes were fixed on the path, tracing every step back from where they had come.

Walking beside the porch, the merchant let his hand slap against the weathered balusters, the white paint giving way to their natural color.  He reached the corner of the building, peering up at the boy and his craft, the painting obscured just enough by each post that he couldn’t see the details.  Back on the stairs, his companion had perked up, observing the interaction with building anticipation.  He stood and braced against the railing.

“What do you think, boy?” the merchant asked.  “Is there any reason for us to stay in this area?”

The farmer’s son kept painting for a moment, but sensing the proximity of the guest, he turned his head, looking out the corner of his eye.

The merchant arched his eyebrow, waiting for the first real interaction with the child.

But there was none, and the silence was deafening.  The child turned back to his easel and continued to paint.  The merchant looked to his companion, a defeated grin upon his face as he shrugged the slight away.

“Hey,” the young apprentice snapped from the stairs.  “You just been spoken to.”  When he wasn’t acknowledged either, he started forward a bit faster.

“Calm yourself, lad,” the merchant warned.

His companion was not prepared to heed those words.  “You deaf?”  He reached out and touched the young man, spinning him about.

The farmer’s boy was about the same age as the apprentice, but there was innocence about him.  He looked untouched by the elements, unburdened by the troubles of the world.  Averting his eyes immediately, he still remained silent, but he rocked back and forth in his seat.

“What’s wrong with this one?” the visitor said, a toothy grin stretching his lips.  “Too frightened to even look at me?”

“Leave him alone, lad,” the merchant called out.  “Get back here.”

With a harrumph, the apprentice nodded.  Before he began away, though, the farmer’s son turned back to his painting.  A cone of silver was prominently displayed atop a mismatched background of varying blues and darker purples.  A sliver of green was painted at the top of the canvas.

“What is any of that supposed to be?”  When he wasn’t answered, the apprentice scoffed and shoved the canvas off the easel.

The boy froze, his lips parting before his work had even landed upon the wooden porch.  With a smug grin, the apprentice strode back toward the merchant.

“Fall down,” he heard, as quiet as a whisper behind him.  “Fall down!”

He didn’t even have time to turn toward the farmer’s son before he fell upon him with all his weight.  Struggling against that attack, he could feel the boy grasp him at his shoulders.  Smothered into the wooden planks of the deck, the apprentice groaned.  “Get off of me!”

The door to the farmhouse swung open, and the boy’s father rushed outside.  “What’s going on out here?”  He leapt over the merchant’s apprentice and hoisted his child away.

“No,” the boy said.  “No, it’s not done!”

Setting the lad down by his fallen canvas, the farmer stood between his kin and the new arrivals.  His son sat beside his work, rocking back and forth, avoiding eye contact with anyone after that but whispering again and again, “It’s not done.  It’s still here.  It’s not done.  It’s still here.”

The merchant swallowed away the tension in the air and offered up a miniscule nod.  “We’ll be happy to stay in the barn.”

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

Before the merchant had reached the dining table, his mouth was watering.  Aromas mixed together into a delightful medley the likes of which he hadn’t enjoyed in some time.  As he rounded the corner, he saw just how bountiful the meal was.

Bowls of berries and vegetables were scattered across the table, flanked by warm breads and hearty meats.  The merchant detected the gamey scent of venison, which explained the heaping portions of food on the plate.  Set before each chair was a dark drink as well, a tangy waft emanating from each mug.

“I was beginning to think you were going to hide out in the barn until morning,” the farmer said.

Pulling out the wobbly chair, the merchant sank into it.  “The thought had crossed my mind.  I’m sorry for what happened out there.  It’s not often—”

“Water under the bridge.  It wasn’t the first time that happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.  My boy is… special.  His mother said he was touched.”

“That’s why he’s so quiet.”

“He stays invested in his paintings.  It’s one of the few things I’ve found that keeps him calm and collected.  Sometimes I can get him to help me with a few chores on the farm, here and there, but more often than not, I’m just trying to find a way to keep him occupied so I can finish them on my own.”

“I take it the boy’s mother didn’t pass away.  She simply left?”

The farmer nodded.  “Guilt, I suppose.  She thought she was responsible for his condition and disappeared one night.  She didn’t even leave a letter, but all the signs were there.  The restless yearning, the declarations of wrongdoing I hadn’t seen.  Her mind had already brought her far away.  It was only a matter of time before her heart took her there as well.”

The merchant looked to the lad, who scraped a metal fork across the ceramic plate, separating his vegetables and meats into smaller and smaller piles.  Once they were apart, he ate only the meats.  “You could have done the same, you know,” he said.  “But you didn’t.  You’re a good man, and though he probably doesn’t speak his gratitude, I’m sure he shows it to you on countless occasions.”

“There are good days and bad days.  Sometimes I could swear I’m getting through to him.  There’s a way he tilts his head or looks at me when I’m sure he understands every word I say and what I mean when I say it.  Other times it’s those paintings and nothing else.”

The boy’s chair squealed as he pushed himself from the table.  “You’re not done with your dinner,” his father declared.  If the boy was concerned with that notion, it didn’t show.  He was already on his way out of the room.  “As I said, some days are better than others.”

“There’s certainly more to him than meets the eye, though,” the merchant said, tearing off a hunk of bread.  “He knows what he likes.  He made sure he ate every strip of meat, but those vegetables are still there.  Berries, too.”

A resigned chortle rattled up from the farmer’s chest.  “If only that could help on the farm.  He has a knack for certain things, though.  Sometimes he’ll pull me inside before a rain I didn’t even know was coming.”  He pressed his own plate away and crossed his arms over his chest.  “How about your apprentice?  He seems a troubled lad.  He’s not punished, I assure you.  How could he know my boy was touched?  No need to hide away in the barn.”

“I think he’s more embarrassed than anything.  If not by his behavior, then surely by how easily he was throttled.”

“Nothing to be ashamed of there.  I’ve lost my own battles with my son.  The older he gets, the harder he is to keep rooted and out of trouble.”

“I think my lad’s problem is he’s used to being beat,” the merchant sighed.  As he spoke the words, the revelation of why his apprentice was so vehemently against returning home hit him, as though a veil had been lifted from his eyes.  “He’s not had as compassionate a father as your boy.”

“That’s a tricky spot he’s in.  The life you’ve given him is better than what he had, no doubt.”

The merchant nodded.  “But still not the life he wants.  “He wants to go home, but he doesn’t know where that is.”

Both men reflected on their respective wards, finishing their meals in relative silence.  When the food was gone from their plates, the farmer set aside one for the guest who had not come to dinner.  The merchant followed him to the kitchen, sinking his flatware into the wash basin.  They looked out the window, the afternoon sun obscured by dark clouds.

“About time we had a decent rain out this way.  Maybe we’ll even get some water in that dried up well,” the farmer said.  “Crops have been slow to grow this season.”

“And goods have been slow to sell,” his guest added.  “Could it be as we’re getting older, we’re losing our touch?”

Though the notion was bitter, the farmer noted the merchant’s intentions were not.  “We should get out there with your lad’s food before we see a downpour.  No doubt it’s time to bring my boy’s latest masterpiece inside as well.”

As they made their way back through the dining area, he passed the leftover plate to his guest.  Together, they walked through the house, the windows on that side offering considerably less light.  When they emerged on the porch, the farmer’s son was nowhere to be seen.

“Hmm, now where’d that boy get off to?” he hummed.  He glanced over at the far end of the porch, noticing the easel and the canvas were still present.

“Does he do this often?  Disappear without warning?”

“Not particularly.  He usually stays wherever he’s most comfortable: in his room or right here.”  He narrowed his eyes as he reached the canvas, though, kneeling down for a better look.  The silver cone had grown darker, and the rest of the picture became clear.  A wave of realization washed over him, and he flipped the canvas.  “We’ve got to find him and get your lad.”

State of Tellest, September 2015

Hello folks!  It’s been four months since we last talked about the future and what’s being planned for the months to come here at Tellest.  It’s the perfect time, right before a busy Fall schedule to really get into the thick of it.

 

Tellest Art

Alright, this is a tricky one.  We told you back in May that things weren’t looking good, but we’ve actually been doing pretty well.  The Tellest Patreon has a few more patrons,  and we’ve been able to continue some collaborations with some of our favorite artists. With luck, as of right now, our current setup will carry us through the end of January—though you will see the curtain drawn back on one of our other projects.

 

Our Other Projects

So, over the course of the next several weeks (probably starting around the middle of November, really), you’ll start to see these other projects taking place.  They’re smaller pieces to the bigger puzzle that is Tellest, but I think they’ll add to the overall tapestry, and make it a lot more cohesive and fun to venture to.  It’ll be the first step in a few new directions for the universe, and I hope it appeals to a whole heck of people.  In any case, stay tuned for that.

 

Kickstarter and Tales of Tellest

We’re at the point now where we are just about done with our commitment to the fine folks that backed us on Kickstarter so very long ago.  I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to get everything out this year, hopefully by Christmas, but we’re still wrapping up the last three stories:

Touched‘s first draft is complete, but I have it in the hands of an expert right now who is working on verbiage and dialogue that would be suitable for this particular story, which happens to deal with someone who is on the autism spectrum.  I want it to be tasteful and entertaining, and this professional is doing me a huge favor by lending her hand to the world.

Midwinter Requiem is Rhianna’s first big writing dabble in the world of Tellest.  She’s telling the story of a dwarven people who have been mentioned before in the series, the Coldwhistle clan.  She’s nearly complete with her draft, and then we’ve decided that I’m going to take it and throw my own touch on it before sitting on it for a week or two, finishing it up and then sending it to our editor.

Finally, we have Keeper of the Void, a kind of cohesive set of bookends that loosely ties all of the stories we told during these last two years together.  It deals largely with time and space, and we’re working this into one of those side projects we talked about earlier. I just finished this story this morning, so it needs to be typed up and edited before it’s good to go.

I’m really hopeful that these stories will be ready to go out before the end of the year.  With luck, about 98% of our Kickstarter backers will receive their rewards—we have one big holdout, being the audiobook version of The Fall.

 

The Future of Tellest

Those few months ago, I told you that the plan for the future of Tellest was to continue with both the novellas and the feature length novels that follow the huge ensemble that we have in place. I’m happy to say that everything is going according to plan.

The first feature length novel was a slow burn to start—I was starting with some fresh characters for a prologue—but now we’re roaring forward since we’ve stepped back into familiar territory.  I’m going to try to keep these books to a reasonable length, as well.  The Enemy Within was over 800 pages before we culled it down, and even in its finished form, I think it’s a bit much.  Not to mention, there was a lot of time invested in that story, and in that time, a lot of attention disappeared from the first two books, which had already been released on Amazon.  As of now, the plan is still to do about five books in this “series,” but I’m going to play it by ear as best I can.

As for the novellas, and what I’d probably end up calling Tales of Tellest, volume two, they haven’t had their “official” start just yet, but they’re coming together a lot more decisively.  I have a whole rainbow of notebooks in my desk that are just waiting to be scribbled in, but the notes are taking shape on my computer.  I know where the characters are going, I have some rough ideas of what the titles will be, and I know the breadth of this second volume of stories (hint: there’ll be more than five novellas this time around).

With luck, since I’m picking up the pace again, we’ll be able to really put pencil to paper on these stories relatively quickly.  It’s easy to get discouraged, but I’m thinking positive again.  The stories should flow fairly well since they’re familiar, and I’ve been getting some really good vibes about the direction I’m taking.

 

The Tellest Community and the Mageborn Audiobook Contest

I’d also just like to say how happy I am that the Tellest community is growing so well.  In the last several days, the amount of newsletter subscribers went up quicker than I could have imagined.  I’d like to welcome all the new fans—I hope we give you a lot of entertainment for years to come!

Finally, there’s the matter of the Mageborn Audiobook giveaway.  I just wanted everyone to know that the winners have been chosen. We sent out messages to those who did win.  If you didn’t get a message, don’t be discouraged—we’re going to try to hold these contests about once a month.  There’s plenty of cool swag to go around!

 

That’ll about do it for this State of Tellest, but as you can see, things are really beginning to come together.  Keep an eye on us and be prepared for some awesome new things to happen here at Tellest!

State of Tellest: September 2014

Hello there everyone!

We’ve gone nearly half a year without an informed blog talking about what our plans are, and I thought we needed to remedy that today.  Between writing, planning updates, working on side projects and personal enrichment, you’d think that there wouldn’t be much time to talk, but oh, you’d be wrong!

Let me address just a couple of the things that are going on in Tellest.

 

Continuing to Evolve

Once again, we’re constantly switching up our presentation.  Recently, Paul Davies spruced up our header, and Kevin Gallagher gave us a video that much better demonstrates our values.  Now that we have higher quality art constantly on display, it makes sense to have a more beautiful look for ourselves.

We’re still going to make tweaks and adjustments, especially as the new book covers continue to roll in.  When we have The Enemy Within, As Darkness Falls and The Fall spruced up with new covers, we’re going to make a new content trailer that will help get the word out about Tellest somewhat.

And of course, we’re going to continue to invest in great art that demonstrates crucial environments, characters and races of Tellest.  That’s what we’ve found to have made one of the biggest impacts this year, and we don’t want to stop doing that, even if we have to slow down.

 

Tales of Tellest ,The Child of the Stars Trilogy and Beyond!

The Tales of Tellest is nearing its end – at least for the first volume.

We’re going to continue putting work into the Child of the Stars trilogy, so that it can be the best fantasy series ever.  We want the quality of The Bindings of Fate to be on par with the new stories.  The Tales of Tellest is a great entry point for the universe, but we want Kaos’ first adventure to be just as alluring.

While we work on the rewrites for Bindings, we’re going to work on new Tales of Tellest stories on the side.  The novellas are a great way to keep interest in the world at a fair pace, but we have other stories that we want to tell as well.

The Tales of Tellest: Volume One stories that we’ve told had a lot to do with characters we’ve had some familiarity with.  The next group of stories is going to focus on new characters instead.  In the meantime, we’re also going to try and take a few steps back and see some prequel material for Kaos and Mathias.  Our goal is to make sure that you always have something to read, with a minimal amount of time between stories.  Whereas this first run for the Tales of Tellest has been relatively non-stop, we’re going to have larger gaps for our next run.

 

 

Encyclopedia

What we’ve decided to do is consider every big flow of encyclopedia entries a season.  We had the initial 25 entries that we released, and then we moved into another 50 items, which we are considering season one.  Now, season one is coming to a close, and we’re going to take some time off until Season Two begins.  What we’ll do in the meantime is freshen up some older encyclopedia entries with new pictures and links so that it feels like a wiki.

In the future, when we have more authors working on stories concurrently, these encyclopedia entries may have smaller gaps, but for now, the quality cannot be undermined by the quantity, so we hope you understand.

 

Heart of the Forest

We’ve got one more bit of news that reflects our need to take time into consideration.  Heart of the Forest, the game that will focus on Steel Tip, is being put somewhat on hold.  This is because the main part of development has transitioned over to programming, which is a very expensive part of the plan.  We’d need about $2000 before we could have a very basic demo in place.  Unfortunately, with a wedding coming up, I can’t be throwing my money into this project as much as I want.

That said, you never know what could happen.  The books could start selling three hundred copies a month like they did back in 2011.  With what equates to another paycheck each month, I could probably bring Heart of the Forest back into the forefront again.  For now, it’s just taking a much needed reprieve while we focus on the books that have become so important.

 

 

Besides those things, we’ve been keeping our nose to the grindstone.  The Fall is coming along nicely, as are some of our short stories, and you’ll have more to look forward to in the weeks to come.  We’re nearing the end of our banner year for Tellest, and I have you to thank for it.  You’ve been incredible, and I hope that these books are a well earned reward!

Mageborn Released on Amazon

The day is finally here!  We’ve been throwing the story together up here on a weekly basis, but Mageborn is officially available on Amazon.com!

Mageborn took a lot of effort from a lot of people, and it’s the first story that really pushed us forward into our Tellest renaissance, so to speak.  I’m really excited to have it available to folks, and I hope you check it out, and enjoy it!

Next week, we’ll begin releasing our next Tale of Tellest novella in serialized format, like we did with Mageborn.  It’s been a busy year so far, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Everyone has been so incredible so far, and it is the best way I know to give back.

Cheers!

-Mike