Saturday, July 8, 2017

THE REVOLUTION IS HERE

I am proud to present in its completed form THE SAGA OF THE PANTHER.


SHOP HERE

This has been long in the making, but I couldn't have made this possible without Falstaff Books, John Hartness, and my editor Melissa McArthur Gilbert, who made this three years worth of work more than I could have imagined and then some. Of course I need to thank my wife who has and remains my biggest fan and supporter. Huge thanks also needs to be given to James R. Tuck, who once again turned out an amazing cover.

But beyond those I have to thank, there are those that should be remembered. I wish I could tell you that the terrible inspiration behind Manwe's story doesn't exist anymore, but we still live in a world where Philando Castile is shot in front of his little girl because...well, none of us will ever know why we let the jackboots win, but they won't win forever. I wrote this book because I wanted certain things I'm not so sure about anymore, but I remain certain the world still needs justice, and compassion, and ultimately goodness for all, no matter who they are.

Remember Philando Castile. Remember everyone that was unjustly killed, or fired from their job because they did not fit the status quo created by those in power. Remember your family, friends, loved ones, and yourself--remember that you're worth your own rights to freedom and the chance to love and be left alone.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Shimmering Scale

So two big bits of news!

First, I just moved to Denver, Colorado! My wife and I are relocating for the summer and fall for work reasons on both ends, with my distinct goal to write FIVE novellas and the first draft of a Martian-Fantasy novel. More on that when it happens, as well as announcements for THE SAGA OF THE PANTHER!

Second, I'm proud to announce that Bards and Sages Quarterly has published my Sword & Sorcery short story, The Shimmering Scale, in the recent edition of their magazine! Click on the cover's caption to check out the e-copy!

Click here!

The Shimmering Scale was initially written in the spring of 2015 when I was working on a series of four short stories centered on one of my main heroes, Jishnu the Srijati, who appears in Paper Demons, Stout, Reefer Snakes, Mask of the Kravyads, Narrows, with The Shimmering Scale being the most recent story in the chronological order I have presented. At its heart it is a rather bleak story about the struggles of PTSD in the face of having to continue to do bad things and the psychological pressures that bury us when that happens. Written much in the vein of Glen Cook's The Black Company, it is also one of the few pieces of my work that is formulated in the first person Point of View.

The plot of the story first came to me during a study of Monsanto's corporate policy of not allowing farmers in India to store excess seeds from their cotton crop for the following year's planting, which had caused many of these good folk to end up in worse poverty than they already endured--a poverty that drove many farmers to commit suicide out of shame because they could not provide for their families. I found the idea that a contract would be held in higher regard than human life so appalling that an immediate story popped into my head: Just like in The Black Company, Jishnu and the mercenary company he belongs to often find themselves having to work for villainous patrons who pay them to do things even mercenaries would despise doing. Once that premise was established the narrative almost wrote itself.

I hope everyone checks it out and there will be more updates from Colorado soon!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

WAR PIGS has been nominated for the Manly Wade Wellman Award! (+news and soundtrack!)

I am pleased to announce that WAR PIGS has been nominated for the Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction! The winner will be announced July 15th at ConGregate 2017, but in celebration I have decided to let everyone who signs up for my newsletter download the eBook for free!

Click here to DOWNLOAD for FREE!

On top of this great news, two more bits: the audio book for WAR PIGS is on its way! A talented voice artist has been working for months turning the novella into a listening format, and it should be here soon!

And before we go, I wanted to leave you all with something more to tide you over until next time. I received a lot of great responses to posting the playlist for The Saga of The Panther during the release of THIEF OF NATIONS, so I went back, did about six days of work listening to all the stuff I was listening to 

THROUGH CLOUDS OF RUIN - A "War Pigs" Soundtrack

Title Track - War Pigs by Black Sabbath

Part One - Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

Chapter 1: Ruthless by DevilDriver
Chapter 2: The Game by Motorhead
Chapter 3: Out of the Shadows/ Through The Shadows by Insomnium
Chapter 4: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

Part Two - The Dividing Line by Dark Tranquillity

Chapter 1: All That Glitters / Nymphetamine Fix by Cradle of Filth
Chapter 2: The Dead Cheer / The Revenant King by Visigoth
Chapter 3: Light Ebbs / Serpentine by Disturbed
Chapter 4: Flames Alight / The Flames of The End by At The Gates
Chapter 5: And Only Iron Remained / Man of Iron by Bathory

Part Three - Upon Darkened Paths/ A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh by Celtic Frost

Chapter 1: Resurrection BLVD by DevilDriver
Chapter 2: For The Stabwounds In Our Backs by Amon Amarth
Chapter 3: The Last of the Real by Stone Sour
Chapter 4: Dead Cell by Papa Roach
Chapter 5: Shur's Blessing / Tears by Ensiferum
Chapter 6: Apologies / Do Me a Favor by Stone Sour

Part Four - Never Again by Disturbed

Chapter 1: Twenty-one Twelve / Winds of One Thousand Winters by Mael Mordha
Chapter 2: The Essence of Ashes by Eluveitie
Chapter 3: Siege / The Siege by Eluveitie
Chapter 4: Love Beneath The Moon / Diamonds at your feet by Muddy Waters
Chapter 5: A New Word / The New World by In Flames

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Mossed Edges aka "Fangorn" by Jay Requard

A lot of stuff is happening with the blog, which is the reason it hasn't been updated. More on that when there is something to speak of. However, I'm back to writing weird fantasy poetry!

Enjoy?

The Moss Edges aka "Fangorn"
By Jay Requard

Fangorn Forest by Isidora

Northern symphonies sink within high-mind joys,
racing the green strip to stars set at sun’s tide,
endless, and endless, and endless…

I slither like the skywalkers, a shivering serpent,
smoky songs low in my throat while shadows shift,
forever the shadows shift on…

Time.

Time halts at the edge of a white bank,
the Ent’s hands grinding herbs between his bark.
He looks up from the lump he makes,
wondering how much time he wastes by the stream.

Far off the wanderer presses through the forest,
a bowl burning in his lips,
knowing that stars lie ahead on the other side.



Check out my books.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"The Soundtrack to Stealing Nations" Playlist

Invariably all things end, and when they end, it is important to pay homage to the things that inspired the work. As much as I am a devout lover of Heavy Metal, I must acknowledge that I have a deep and abiding love of Hip Hop.

I like it darker, preferably with a quicker beat and more aggressive political themes, though I also just like hearing a good story. The songs below were chosen because they inspired the writing of The Saga of The Panther. I hope you enjoy these artists as much I was inspired by them.


THIEF OF SHADOWS

The Gem of Acitus - "Point of No Return" by Immortal Technique
The Light in the Dark - "Jigga What/Faint" by Linkin Park feat. Jay Z
By The Tears - "Party Up (Up In Here) by DMX

THIEF OF SECRETS

When Shadows Walked on Legends - "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" by the Wu-Tang Clan
Loss - "Civil War" by Immortal Technique ft. Killer Mike, Brother Ali & Chuck D
The Free and The Damned - "Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre ft. Eminem, Hittman

THIEF OF NATIONS

"Design In Malice" by Jedi Mind Tricks ft. Young Zee and Pacewon
"Frontlines" by Diabolic ft. Immortal Technique
"Run The Jewels" by Run The Jewels



PICK UP THIEF OF NATIONS HERE!


OUT 3/21/2017!


Monday, March 13, 2017

THIEF OF NATIONS arrives 3/21/2017!

I've been waiting a long, long time for this moment...

I'm pleased to announce that the third and final installment of The Saga of The Panther, THIEF OF NATIONS, arrives on March 21st, 2017!

And without much ado, here's the cover!


Huge thanks for James R. Tuck for producing a third amazing cover!

New from Jay Requard and Falstaff Books in 2017, Thief of Nations is the thrilling conclusion to the blistering adventure that started in Thief of Shadows

Manwe The Panther returns in a battle for the very souls of the savannah! Following the devastating conclusion of Thief of Secrets, the greatest thief on the plains is alone. Robbed of the revolution he started by the conniving witch-doctor, Voduni Calla, the mad mystics designs have been revealed in their full horror. The dead have risen, stalking the the night at the villain's bidding.

At Manwe's back stands Cleon, the powerful Gypian sorcerer, and Folami the Songbird, a thief that stands the Panther's equal, ready to fight for a world the Manwe strove so hard to destroy. Wedged between the oncoming might of the Gypian Empire and Calla's undead, they will seek weird powers beneath the earth to save the innocent above it.

Trapped between death and destiny, Manwe will fight for liberty right on the edge of oblivion!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Building Character: Handling Emotion and Characterization

One thing I often find lacking on writing panels and at critique meetings is the discussion between writing emotion and writing characterization, as they are two very different things that are most often confused for being the same thing by new writers. Today's blogpost is a tiny, TINY (your hopes as well as mine) little lesson broken up into three sections on the differences and how you can bridge them together. Let's dig in!

Building Character: Handling Emotion and Characterization


So let's take this in three bits. I've prepared three chunks of fiction to better illustrate my conception of the differences between Emotion and Characterization. The first chunk (1A for short) is written with the Emotion of Panic.

"Where is it?" Solm asked.
Twilly looked up at him as they exited the dungeon. "What?"
"Where's the bag, Twilly?"
The small thief checked his wide-leather belt. Weighed in pouches galore and girded with a simple steel dagger, no bag of gems swung as he moved forward. Twilly stopped dead in his tracks. "Oh no!"
Solm threw his hands in the air. "I can't believe you left it inside! We'll have go back and get it!"

In 1A we are introduced to two character leaving a dungeon, Twilly and Solm, who just successfully robbed the underground vault of a bag that contains some sort of treasure that both of them value. However, it is soon revealed that Twilly left the bag inside by mistake, which results in Panic, which is the emotion I was going for. The problem with 1A is that the emotion tells us little about the characters in terms of who they are--we can conclude they are thieves that go into dungeons to get treasures, Twilly wears a belt, and he is forgetful. Solm is given absolutely no description, becoming a "ghost voice" (we don't know where the character is in relation to the point of view character, and even that is murky due to my poorly done Third Omniscient where the POV is not "stapled.") And notice the movements made--simple and disembodied.

So let's try something different in 2A. I'm going to add a bit of narrative meat to Solm by "stapling" my POV to Twilly, as well as giving our two characters actual human movements that I think are more life-like in the real world (which is subjective). I'll also remove an exclamation point because exclamation points are often misused and lazy. I'm also going to add two new layers of emotion born out of my own experiences with Panic: Frustration and Anger.

"Where is it?" Solm asked, towering over him.
Twilly froze every time the giant spoke, and emotionally shot from the rigors of the hellish dungeon they were exiting, the question halted him. "What?"
"Where's the bag, Twilly?"
In the shadow of his partner in crime, Twilly checked his wide belt. Weighed in pouches filled in both tricks and treachery, he thumbed the hilt of his simple steel dagger. The frog next to it should have had the bag of gems affixed. He sighed deeply. "Oh no."
Solm exploded, throwing his hammer fists at the sky. "I can't believe you left it inside! We'll have to go back and get it!"

What changed in 2A?

I provided space between the characters. Solm can almost been seen lumbering over Twilly as they leave what has been a tough dungeon for Twilly (who I made the clear POV character.) I also add some nuance to our POV character. When asked a question by a partner he might honestly fear, he thumbs the hilt of his dagger. What does that say about Twilly? Will he fight for himself if they come to blows? Is it a coping behavior?  I also did not have him express only panic, but frustration over the loss of the bag of gems, a small detail which gives our story a McGuffin. Now having established Solm's size, his reaction of throwing fists to the clouds turns simple panic into booming anger, which is further magnified by his size.

It is at this point that I need to stop and talk about Emotions. They are the ribbon that tie characters together, but often emotion is concretely established through movement and space. Movement gives blood and sinew to characters as much as space gives weight and contrast. That blood and sinew translates into the emotion being multifaceted while that weight and contrast helps you tell a larger story. Both partners are panicking because they lost the McGuffin, but look at what movement and space do to panic: So exhausted from the dungeon, all Twilly can do is stand still, small in the shadow of his giant who threatens when he speaks, and sigh. Solm, in Twilly's perspective, reacts to panic with brutish anger, throwing his fists at the heavens. Their movements, added to the emotion, provides Characterization. We want to see how characters/people react under stress in stories. The stress they carry against the plot is the foundation of what readers want to see worked out in resolving the epic I aim to tell involving this classic odd-couple scenario.

So to point it in the simplest terms possible: Emotion is a part of Characterization, not Characterization itself.

A lot of submissions that come across Falstaff's editorial desks often feature a lot of 1A writing instead of 2A writing. Publishers want 2A because 2A can be refined into something better (let's call it "publishable"), while 1A is amateurish.

The reason why 2A works so well, however, will reveal itself in 3A, which features the benefit of a rewriting the dialogue. Words from the characters should always reveal character as much as their movements and space.

Let's keep things how they were: same paragraph structure, sentences, but this time we're going to change the dialogue and remove all the exclamation points, which aren't needed if you know what you're doing. Dialogue is a key part of great characterization, because changing what is said by the characters can completely redefine them. For example:

"Do you have them?" Solm asked, towering over his shoulder.
Twilly froze every time the giant spoke, and emotionally shot from the rigors of the hellish dungeon they were leaving, the sudden question halted him. "What?"
"Did you have that bag of gems, Twilly?"
In the shadow of his partner in crime, Twilly checked his wide belt. Weighed in pouches filled in both tricks and treachery, he thumbed the hilt of his simple steel dagger. The frog next to it should have the bag of gems affixed to it. He sighed deeply. "Nope."
Solm exploded, throwing his hammer fists at the sky. "I can't believe... ugh, we'll have to go back inside."

Here I completely made Panic malleable into multi-faced characterizations, and it all came because I changed the dialogue and made them new characters.

Twilly is still our POV, but he is presented in more grey terms. He doesn't seem small anymore next to the still-gigantic Solm, who speaks in a more collegiate tone, upfront and to the point. His words are markedly more concerned, expressing keen focus on a McGuffin he and Twilly clearly wanted to take from the dungeon they endured.

Twilly has gone through a subtle but telling change as well--now that Solm is not a threatening giant, Twilly checking his dagger with his thumb might make us wonder about Twilly intent. Is he the kind of thief that would stab Solm in the back, using the tricks and treachery lined on his belt? But there is another turn because of the change in dialogue--the same words and movements were used, but instead of a downtrodden panic of "Oh no", Twilly simply says "Nope", admitting openly their failure. Is he aloof? An asshole? Has this happened before? The entire way that character responds to panic after a hellish dungeon is dulled to a fine point--what did they just walk out of?

Back to Solm--where the giant once thrust his fists to the sky, shouting about his obvious Anger, I clipped it with the ellipses and turn it into Resolution by Solm, casting him as the move active character in the paragraph, who meets Anger with a quick burst he forces down before he resolves what they will do next. Is he still the murderous giant dwarfing the helpless thief we saw in 2A?

Writing emotion is easy, but showing your characters handle them for themselves is what makes storytelling rich. The mastery of it, which I am in no way claiming, takes time and effort to create for oneself, but it can be done by considering different methods. Perhaps the one I present above may work for you--perhaps it won't. Either way I hope something is gained from this. Feel free to ask questions below or make comments!