I was asked to put together a list of my top ten favorite fantasy novels for today’s stop on The Dragon’s Brood Cycle audiobook tour. Spoiler: I cheated. Check it out on Jazzy Book Reviews 📚
My thanks to Valerie Ullmer for hosting week 2 of The Dragon’s Brood Cycle audiobook tour! I enjoyed writing this guest post for her blog about my literary inspirations. 📚
y thanks to Turning Another Page for their review of Haven Lost as part of The Dragon’s Brood Cycle audiobook tour! 📚
Question: How do you manage to write such vivid descriptions in your books as a blind author?
I’ve been asked that question so many times over the last few years that it seemed like I should write a blog post about it to point new inquiries to. It isn’t that I mind answering or find the question offensive or upsetting in any way; it’s only that the places where this question generally comes up (e.g. on Twitter) don’t lend themselves to thorough or satisfying responses. So, for the record, here is the best answer I can give.
First, I didn’t lose my vision until I was six-years-old, giving me a strong foundation of what the visual world is like. I won’t deny this has helped tremendously, but it is not the main or only reason I write the way I do. I think anyone can write compelling visual descriptions; some have more of a knack for it than others. Plenty of bestselling authors can spin great stories without being very good at visual descriptions at all—Robert J. Sawyer comes to mind. Other authors thrive on describing the world they are building in rich detail, like Anne Rice.
Second, you’ll notice that in the paragraph above I was very specific about visual descriptions. The fact is, descriptions should be wholly immersive for your reader. There are at least five senses you can pull from, and all should be used in your writing at appropriate times to “draw” a picture of the setting you’re creating. Many readers won’t even realize that you’re doing this if you’ve snared them with your story. A character noting the smell of a flower might conjure the image of a rose in your reader’s mind; the feel of the steam upon their face will make them “see” the rich dark brown of the coffee. The point is, don’t get hung up worrying about the visuals. They should be there, but play to your strengths when you need to.
I credit a lot of my style of descriptive prose to Anne Rice, who is often praised for her ability to place the reader into preternatural situations and making them feel like they’ve actually lived them. She is the master of exploiting all the senses and drawing pictures, not just with words, but with experiences.
Next, I’ve always been a particularly visual person in general. Everything I touch, hear, smell, or taste acquires a color, texture, or picture in my mind. When i use an app on a computing device, I build a visual map of its interface in my mind. This is something that happens naturally for me, but it’s also a technique that can be learned. Build “pictures” in your mind as you experience the world around you. If those pictures need to be more tactile than visual, that’s fine. Imagine the sun as a (very hot) basketball, or the moon as a buttery croissant. (Damn, now I’m hungry.)
Looking back at the initial question, I can’t help wondering if I really answered it. I certainly can point to signposts along the road that have led me to where I am as a writer, but, as many writers will tell you, we mostly don’t know how we do what we do. So much of the creative process feels like magic as it’s happening.
If you’re an aspiring author who happens to be visually impaired, the best advice I can give you is to read as much as you can and, most important of all, just keep writing.
If you have a blog or podcast that is book related, or just want to chat about the creative process in general, I’m available for interviews, guest posts, etc. Feel free to reach out here or via my website.
I did an author interview for today’s stop on The Dragon’s Brood Cycle audiobook tour. It was fun! 📚
Today’s stop for The Dragon’s Brood Cycle tour included a review of Haven Lost by the Book Addicts Reviews. I’m so happy that so many readers are enjoying my books! 📚
Wow! I’m so flattered by this review of Haven Lost by Crossroad Reviews! 📚
I’d also like to thank Jazzy Book Reviews and the Book Junkie Reads for hosting the audiobook tour over the weekend! 📚
The audiobook tour for The Dragon’s Brood Cycle continues with another stop which, among othero things, includes character profiles of three of the series' protagonists! 📚
Day two of the audiobook tour for The Dragon’s Brood Cycle brings a Dream Cast if it was ever made into a TV series/film. This was fun! Who would your choices be? 📚
Here’s a fun little character interview with Emily Haven, hero of The Dragon’s Brood Cycle. It’s also appearing as part of the audiobook blog tour. 📚
I’m so excited! It’s day one of the blog tour for the audiobooks of my fantasy series! First up, a review of Haven Lost 📚
I’m happy to have been able to spend a little time contributing to Eamon Remastered, a modern version of the classic text adventure and RPG game series. I ported Eamon #37, The Quest for the Holy Grail. I stayed mostly faithful to the original, but made a few additions and changes that, I hope, improve the game. Among other things, the game no longer assumes that the player’s character is male. It also includes some additional logic, characters, and puzzles.
I really enjoyed working on this little diversion, and I plan on contributing more to the Eamon Remastered project in the future.
Harmony’s Song: A Dragon’s Brood Tale is now available on Audible worldwide, and just like the other audiobook entries in the Dragon’s Brood Cycle, it’ll shortly be available on iTunes as well.
Harmony’s Song is a prequel short story that centers around Daniel, the street urchin boy whom Emily befriends in Haven Lost. Familiarity with the other books in the series is not necessary to enjoy this story, but it is designed to enhance your enjoyment of the series as a whole.
The audiobook is narrated once again by the marvelous Reay Kaplan and includes a song composed by yours truly. The song is performed by my lovely wife, Molly, and was remastered for the audiobook by the fabulous Cara Quinn.
Life is hard for Daniel and the other kids who struggle to live on the streets of Ravenhold, a seaside city allied with the sorceress Marianne and the kingdom of Seven Skies. There is seldom enough to eat, and the nights are cold, but Daniel finds warmth and friendship when he meets the enigmatic Harmony. Their special bond, coupled with the mystery of Harmony’s past, sends Daniel from his life on the streets to the wider world beyond in this short-story prequel to
Haven Lost and the Dragon’s Brood Cycle.
It’s been a while in coming, but Haven Divided: The Dragon’s Brood Cycle, Vol. 2 is finally available on Audible! worldwide!
You can hear the first sample in the Media section of the official website, and more samples will be coming soon, as well as the audiobook edition of Harmony’s Song.
If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting it by picking up this audiobook and leaving a rating or review. I couldn’t do what I do without you, dear readers, and I’m infinitely grateful to all of you. 🧜♀️🐉
Christie Stratos, an author I admire and who wrote the fantastic Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, gave a fun interview recently, which included an incredibly flattering surprise!
MR: You are an avid reader. What is your favorite underappreciated novel?
CS: It would have to be Haven Lost and the whole Dragon’s Brood series by Josh de Lioncourt. He is a brilliant fantasy author, and a lot more people should discover his work. It’s written just as well as any traditionally published fantasy author’s work, including excellent pacing, great twists on lore, in-depth character development, and loads of action. The first time I listened to one of his books on audio, I was blown away!
She’s a great author, and Anatomy of a Darkened Heart is absolutely worth your time if it sounds like something you’d enjoy. You will not be disappointed. I’m so flattered by this coming from such a talented writer.
On Halloween night, 2013, I sat down at my MacBook, determined to begin writing the novel that had been kicking around inside my brain for twenty years. I was streaming the Penn State Women’s Hockey game, handing out candy to costumed kids with my then girlfriend (now wife), and pounding away at chapter one.
That all seems like a very long time ago.
I’d promised myself that if I finished chapter one that night, I’d continue writing the rest of the book throughout the month of November as a NaNoWriMo project. As it turned out, I did finish chapter one. The next day I wrote chapter two, and by the end of November I had nearly sixty thousand words, fifteen chapters, and about one-third of what would become Haven Lost written in first draft. At the time, the book was tentatively titled Haven 21. (The first person who has read the book and can figure out the significance of that original title, get in touch via Twitter, Email, or Micro.blog and I’ll send you an autographed paperback. 😉)
Five years, two novels, and one short story later, it’s amazing how many stars aligned that first night, and how many of them would go on influencing the whole Dragon’s Brood Cycle. The Penn State Women’s Hockey team offered a ton of inspiration for Emily’s character; Halloween and related themes have played heavily into the story, particularly in volume 2; and I’m still using the lessons learned from my first NaNoWriMo experience—most importantly that I could, indeed, finish writing an entire novel.
To celebrate this milestone, Haven Lost and Harmony’s Song are both available for free on Kindle for the next few days, and Haven Divided is on sale as a Kindle Countdown Deal. If you haven’t given them a chance yet, now’s a great opportunity, and I hope you enjoy them.
I want to thank all the readers who have been so supportive of my work. It has been amazing, flattering, and wonderful to share these stories and characters with all of you. I couldn’t do what I do without you, and I am eternally grateful.
A safe and happy Halloween to you all, and a magical Samhain! 🖤🎃🕷🧡
No better motivator for an author’s current WIP than a glowing review on an existing book. 😍📚
For those who were waiting for it, the paperback for Haven Divided is now available! 🎉📚
The audiobook for Haven Divided is in production. 🍾📚🎧
Sneak preview of the audiobook cover for Harmony’s Song 😍
The audiobook of Harmony’s Song sounds amazing! I cannot wait for fans to hear it. Narrator Reay Kaplan once again did a marvelous job bringing my characters to life. 📚🎧
Many have asked about audiobooks for Haven Divided and/or Harmony’s Song. I’m happy to say that we are working on making both a reality very soon. If you want to continue to see audiobooks produced, consider picking up Haven Lost on Audible and rating/reviewing it. 💜 🐉⚔️🧜♀️
Writing in a new genre is a lot of fun—in the same sense that some people find free falling in the Tower of Terror at Disneyland fun. 😱 But I do enjoy the former…not so much the latter.