Reviews of Ohlen’s Arrow from Amazon.com

I would like to quote the following reviews of Ohlen’s Arrow, posted to Amazon.com:

“I enjoyed taking this journey with Ohlen and his friends. The balance between action and character development was perfect and the story was easy to follow. That can’t always be said of a book in this genre and as a reader, I appreciate it. I’m happy to hear the author has begun the sequel, and I’m anxious to find out what’s next for our hero.”

“I was waffling on how many stars to rate this work. Since this was Mr. Williamson’s first publication I decided to round it up to a 5 because I think his book is a great read and rounding down meant taking away a well deserved extra 1/2 a star which seemed wrong. His characters felt true to themselves and their environment. Their interactions were complex but fresh and not contrived. Mechanically it is a good story but it was the character development that made this first book such a great read. Most writers do not have Mr. Williamson’s dexterity at crafting such realistic characters. I do not think this is the end for Ohlen and his friends. I look forward to seeing where Mr. Williamson takes this group next – especially my favorite character the one we last checked in on before the story closed – talk about a delightfully complex character construct.”

Excerpt from Chapter 10, “The Dead Man Speaks”

As Merrick Stonehorn stood in the back of the crowd gathered in the courtyard, he watched Hadrick Burgoyne emerge onto the wooden dais erected before the Keep’s main entrance. An entourage of sycophantic advisers and attendants surrounded the fat, grey-haired man whose clothes were needlessly regal beyond the occasion. Despite Burgoyne’s physical size, Merrick considered him to be the smallest man he’d ever met.

The ruler began speaking to the assembled crowd – it was a monthly ritual. His speeches were flowery and puffed up civic decrees that had little substance but were intended to remind the citizenry that he was still in charge.

Merrick sensed someone was watching him. A short, wiry man with brown, expressionless eyes emerged from behind a food vendor’s cart, stood next to the giant innkeeper, and said, “His speech is especially interesting today, don’t you think?”

Both men kept their eyes toward the fat man on the dais as they conversed. The big man shrugged his shoulders and said, “‘Interesting’ isn’t the word I would choose.”

Rinn discretely glanced around to make sure no one was within earshot. “I’d say he’s doing a good job for a dead man.”

 

“I don’t like the guy, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him dead.”

“Too late.”

Merrick gazed nonchalantly toward the shorter man standing next to him. He caught a glimpse of a rare smile from the rogue.

“We need to talk. You know where,” Rinn muttered before fading back and disappearing amongst the vendor carts.

How edits feel

Elmore Leonard once said, “Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.” This is a good viewpoint to hold when you’re a writer, because when you give your work to a copyeditor and they take their red pen and bleed all over it, you can’t take it personally.

Otherwise I would have stabbed myself in the heart with a rusty nail weeks ago.

As I’ve received edited chapters from my copyeditor, I got a brief sense of panic when I noticed the sheer volume of suggested changes. It makes me feel like I just started learning English a month ago. I also wonder what went through her mind as she reviewed my work. “This guy thinks he can write a book? What audacity!”

It has helped me to realize that this is part of the process. No writer, no matter how skilled or successful, produces flawless prose on the first try or even the 30th. As Elmore Leonard pointed out, it’s not really the writer’s job to do so, either. Focus on the creativity, the tone, the emotion, the description. Get the basic mechanics of your writing down, then allow someone else to do the editing, to put in the commas and shit.

I only have three more chapters to review from my copyeditor, then I need to read through Ohlen’s Arrow, cover to cover, one more time before I put it up for sale. I’m very excited about this as you can imagine, but it has been a very long, tedious process. The editing and revision phase of a book project is far more difficult and tedious and time-consuming than actually writing it; I am really looking forward to getting it finished.

Ohlen’s Arrow character study: Mella

This is the next installment in a series where I introduce key characters from my new novel, Ohlen’s Arrow. Rather than doing the predictable thing — focusing on Ohlen, the main character — I’m introducing the other key participants, his friends and enemies.

Mella and Ohlen grew up together in the village of Tarun. Whereas Ohlen was orphaned at a young age, Mella had a wonderful childhood growing up with her twin sister, Ranael, until tragedy struck. At the age of six, Ranael went missing without a trace.

Perhaps because of this, and in general because of the harsh nature of living in a remote village with all the dangers that presents, Mella grew into a strong-willed woman nearly fearless in her devotion to her husband, Scarn, and her two children, six-month old daughter Mirra and nineteen year old son Therran.

Mella has deep brown eyes and long, straight sandy blonde hair unlike most residents of Tarun that have dark brown or black hair. She stands 5′ 6″ tall and has a fit body. She has a ready smile and a joyous laugh, but can also take on a stern and no-nonsense demeanor when she or her family are threatened.

Most adults in Tarun learn to use at least one weapon because of the constant threat of attack from cru’gan, and Mella excelled at the use of a bow. She’s not quite as accurate as Ohlen, but few people are.

Mella is intensely loyal to those she loves, and being a mother, is also capable of great tenderness and kindness.

Trip reports and revisions to my book

I just got back from two separate motorcycle trips, one up through British Columbia to southeast Alaska, and the other down to the northern California coast. When I take trips such as these, I carry a paper journal and write notes about what happens on a daily basis.

Upon returning home, I compile these notes into ride reports that I post on my other blog, Two-Wheeled Astronaut.

Once I was back home and settled, I got cracking on revisions to Ohlen’s Arrow and was able to get them completed. The next step is to hire a professional editor to go over the manuscript. My goal is to get the book back on the e-shelves by the end of August.

If you know of a professional editor — that means it’s their day job, not just something they do on the side — please drop me a line.