Self-Publishing Fundamentals with Mark Dawson & James Blatch (The Self Publishing Show, episode 329)
How did you first find inspiration for “KIRINS: The Seer Of Serone”?
The Seer of Serone is the sequel to my KIRINS trilogy but I wrote it to be enjoyed as a standalone adventure, too. I made the characters and their world small because as a child I loved and collected miniatures, and I have always loved fantasy and science fiction. I set out to write a fantasy in the classic tradition: epic storyline, an immersive, all-new world, great characters, powerful and mysterious magic, action, plot twists, an immediate threat, romance, and heroism. And the books are suitable for readers 10 to 110. No vampires, zombies, gore, drugs, or post-apocalyptic landscapes. No obscenities or erotica. No superheroes, just heroes.
Why did you decide to have this fantasy series take place on modern day Earth?
Most fantasies are set in a mythical world or in the past or future. I wanted to challenge myself to write a fantasy set in today’s world.
When writing a series with a unique, fictional civilization, how did you create the backstory and details for this world?
To set the series in today’s world, I had to create a backstory that would explain how a rich, unrevealed fantasy world could exist all around us on present-day earth. My writing nook overlooked a serene lake and woodland. I visualized a fantasy civilization that might populate that landscape, living joyfully just beyond the reach of human senses. I imagined that those creatures—kirins—were once friendly with humans. But humans, being human, came to treat kirins cruelly. Kirins dissociated and intentionally concealed themselves from humans using magic that both races once shared but humans have long forgotten. Still, there has been a persistent longing within many kirins to reunite with their old allies, human beings, while ancient memories of kirins persist in every human culture through myths about magical little people—faeries, leprechauns, menehune, and the like.
What inspired you to stay committed to creating this series over the span of many years?
I love writing and creating, and when you love doing something you never want to stop. But most importantly, I wanted to see my stories come to a satisfying ending.
You were working full time when you began this series and describe writing as “a second career”. How did you balance these careers?
I was practicing medicine full-time when I wrote the original trilogy, and it took four years to complete. I wrote early in the morning, at night, on weekends, and on holidays. I was never happier than during those four years when I was writing, having a busy, fulfilling medical practice, and spending time with my family. Someone once asked my wife how many hours a week I wrote. Her answer surprised even me: forty, she said. I never kept track of the time because it never felt like work.
James D. Priest, M.D., majored in English at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He studied English in the masters program and received a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Minnesota. He spent three years in Japan as a physician in the Army of the United States caring for casualties from Vietnam, and four years in orthopedic residency at Stanford University. He practiced orthopedics in Minneapolis for twenty-one years. He has authored or co-authored approximately thirty medical articles, and received the Minnesota Medicine Outstanding Writing Award.
THE GRAINS OF TRUTH
Why is it so hard to embrace weakness
when we were born with it?
Small and helpless beings utterly
dependent upon the hands of another.
With no strength to feed, drink, or nourish
our bodies with sustenance.
Why is it so hard to embrace weakness
when it allowed us to be loved and cared for?
What is strength without first knowing
the pangs of weakness?
What is nourishment without the knowledge
of dire hunger?
It was weakness that first allowed us to know
the comfort of assurance.
It was weakness that allowed us to grow,
become strong and resilient.
It was weakness that allowed another to
embrace our needs until we were mature.
But yet maturity means to reject our
Maturity means we dispel others who seek
to embrace our most basic needs?
It means we reject the weakness that
seeks out the flood of unborn tears.
It means we actively suppress the nature
that makes us passionate human beings.
It means we scurry away from the weakness
that brought us all the vigors of life.
Yet real maturity means we embrace the
brittleness that is—the essence of life.
It means we open to the oppressed well
of tears, and embrace the fears of flowing.
It means we grasp the grains of truth,
reject the lies that keep us from knowing—
That we are not truly weak.
We are just human.
© Benjamin Thomas
THE WEIGHTLESS KISS OF TRUTH
There’s a misbegotten truth,
weighing heavily on the tip of my wings.
Impeding the ascent to the height—
the cumulus flight to bigger, or better things.
Whispers of resistance, continue, in the
soft echoing of resilient wind it seems.
Companies of snow-capped mountain
ranges now break upon my sight.
Arises now a forgotten strength, and
defiance—to engage in a bitter fight.
Suddenly a pang of thought, rushes to
mind, and its presence was just right.
I bear no burden, I need no wings, the truth is
weightless—instantly I am light.
I am lighter than the restless, ageless wind.
I am lighter than the veiled, open air known to men.
Lighter than tenfold painful lies.
Lighter than the unheard strangled cries—
For the swift healing of crippled wings.
Or laments that the mourning dove always brings.
Lighter than the feigned beast, we call doubt.
Lighter than the wicked, weighted world of pout.
Lighter than the futile, hurled exercise of hate.
I just evaporate.
For I am lighter than the lightest of them all.
For I’ve become the Paraclete, unsung molecule,
Even until this very day.
No one knows the mystery, so they say.
Who wrongly assumed a premature victory,
in the gist of a weak, fledgling history.
But you’ll never know where I’ll be.
Perhaps, when you round the corner—
There I’ll be.
But don’t be surprised when you see…
The weightless kiss of truth—
© Benjamin Thomas
COMFORT IN WHAT I AM
I am a mist of ravens.
A gale of pink petals.
the weight of precious metal.
I am a gallop of wind.
A heart of granite.
A dollop of passion.
I am the naked truth.
A season of change.
A flock of dahlias.
I am a camp of crows.
A clique of swans.
A gang of falcons.
I am a barren land.
A helping hand.
A crown of stars.
I am the woodwind.
I am the violin.
I am the taste of gin.
I am a song of shadow.
A chant of praise.
I am the rays.
I am me.
what I need
© Benjamin Thomas
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Author page of JR Handley, a veteran who writes military science fiction to excise the demons of his time spent fighting in the Late Unpleasantness in Mesopotamia.