A Glimpse of The Edge

Hello readers!Scribe

Last week I told you I was going to hold off on the publication of The Edge of Snow and Dust until I felt it was the best I could offer. I also explained I was going to release either the Prologue for The Edge of Snow and Dust or the book cover. Thinking about it over the weekend, I concluded the Prologue was the better choice. Anyone can create a great cover. We have all seen the movie posters and album covers out there. The dazzling images and colors draw us in, but it could be all flash and no substance. The opening scene to the movie, or the first track on the album, that can truly show you the passion behind the project. Click on the link below and enjoy the first glimpse into The Edge of Snow and Dust world!

https://rickeyjacksonjr.com/2017/12/08/prologue/

Take care and don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me what you think.

PROLOGUE

Fatal Sea - image 1

Breathe. Nothing chokes off muscles of their strength and the mind of its wit than fastened lungs. It’s what my father always taught me. Breathing can aid the heart, calm the mind, make you see the truth of the moment. Breathe while I curtsy in front of a handsome boy in the village. Breathe to stave off fatigue when grappling with a marauder in the Wasteland. Breathe when Lamont seals the deep gash in my side with the glowing red-hot tip of his blade. Breathe while I hide in terror behind this vile tree in this horrifying forest slowly devouring the world . . . Breathe.

My mask made of tough cloth swells and shrinks while I catch my breath. But I have to move. I can feel the Fatal Sea of Green’s eyes focusing on me. It has to know we are here. No matter how careful we’ve been or how well we’ve hidden, being in this place for this long; this forest has to know we’re here. We have traveled too far into the Sea in search of a relic from before Heaven’s Hail. The job was too good, the payoff too significant to not venture into this realm of vicious creatures and poisonous plants. And now that I’m here, waiting for Jolson’s signal, I can feel fear creeping up my spine like the claws of any predator here.

Breathe. I lean out from cover and can barely see my partner. He is crouched very low to the ground, behind the shadow of another twisted, corrupted, fungus covered tree. I slowly try to refill my lungs with my hand resting on the squishy moss enveloping this tree wider than I am tall. My hand suddenly sinks into the moss, and I jerk away in horror, suppressing the urge to shout and give away my position to the giant spider lurking nearby. I stare into the sinking hole in the moss, thankful it lacks the strength to keep me. With the fear dancing through my skin, I remember we already lost someone to such a trap. She had hidden from a pack of creatures when her arm and shoulder sunk into the moss. The moss fastened her to the tree, making it easy for the pack to tear her apart. Was it sheer luck the moss on this tree lacked the determination of the one that got her killed? Or does the Fatal Sea have a different punishment for me venturing in so far? I blink away the question; I have to focus.

Through a small beam of light in the forest canopy, I spot Jolson as he sprints for cover as silent as a desert fox. That seems to be the way to move. Another one of us met an end trying to fight the Fatal Sea with strength rather than cunning. We last saw him facing off against a sea savage. Jolson and I chose that opportunity to make a run for it. It doesn’t matter if your armor is infused with arcana or how big your war-ax. No one is a match for a sea savage, especially here in its domain. He, at the most, bought us a minute or so, which we’re wasting on this razor-leg spider. Stupid. Remembering another lost comrade, I pull my eyes down from the green sky of the forest and spot Jolson’s signal.

Breathe. I rush out while the razor-leg is distracted. I try to find the balance between hurrying out in the open between these two massive trees and minimizing the sound of each stride. My worn boots press prints into the moist but stable soil and kick up very little blue-green spores. The lack of sea snow is obviously the reason Jolson picked this path to get by this tall-as-a-house spider.

Halfway, I hear it hiss, and my heart pauses a beat as I look over at the spider. I notice one of its legs cut at the joint, no doubt someone else ran into this thing. How long did they survive before they were cut down by its seven other legs? It side-steps closer to me, forcing me more towards hurrying than hiding my presence. Just a couple more heartbeats away, I hear two more stomps and anticipate its gaze falling on me. I take one more wide step, lowering myself as far as I can, hoping not to silhouette myself. I plant my good foot just at the roots of the tree and pivot off it, spinning around until my back is against the squishy bark. The momentum swings my sights over my left shoulder as it bumps into something.

I inhale sharply and slam my eyes shut as one of the pods clinging to the tree explodes, showering me and everything else in its blue-green snow. My muscles tighten, my head shakes with the strain. This is it, the Sea’s punishment! I slowly open my eyes and realize my mask is still on and exhale the tension in my muscles.

A tear of fear pools inside my goggles. I had already suffered from inhaling sea snow, back when I was a child. The little bit I inhaled of the poisonous spores hardened parts of my lungs. It is because of my weakened lungs we’re hiding and not running. I was already struggling to catch my breath after fleeing the sea savage, and now my ribs feel like they’re crushing my lungs. A long sprint? Hmph! I would never make it if this monster saw us.

Jolson knew that, and that was why he was mapping our path out of here. I hear his hurried muffled claps to reach his position. I readjust my goggles, wipe away some of the spores from my mask and center myself. This job isn’t my first dance in the Fatal Sea’s snow. I must settle my nerves and . . .

Breathe. Against my lungs’ wishes, I try to rush to the next tree. I look down at my feet, making sure to leap over a thick fallen branch and miss a divot in the ground. The quick clicking of the razor-leg draws my eyes away from the dark soil again; the massive spider has finally closed in on something. I see it dipping its head, lowering its body between its seven and a half legs, down to something small. Good, something else can feel its blades.

I then feel the ground below me change in texture. As I lift my feet, the ground seems to come up with me. Damn it! I strayed away from Jolson’s path. The razor-leg came this way; its sticky web is on the forest floor. The floor anchors me while my momentum carries me. I fall and try to brace myself, but a boulder meets my ribs first. My thick, leather plated, coat of armor protects me from the rock’s sharp edge but does nothing for the jolting impact against the unforgiving object. The blow knocks the wind out of me. With what little lung capacity I have, I desperately try to suck back in the air I lost.

But the air rushed out of my mouth in the form of a painful holler and had called the razor-leg over, the sea snow flying up around me signaling my position. It turns to me, its legs cutting through the forest’s vines and branches with ease to get to me. I try to get up but my muscles lag behind without oxygen in my lungs, and I can’t break free of the webbing. Pinned behind my back is my sword-arm, so using my left hand I first reach for my helmet’s strap to free my head from the sticky soil and try to draw in more air. I quickly reach for my hip and draw the thin sword we came to recover. I cut what threads I can but my swings are slow, and the sword catches one of the thick, gummy strings.

I look up and see Jolson rushing out behind cover for me. I inhale a bit more air in a frightful gasp when I catch him plant his foot at the edge of a tree’s shadow. His toe rides the line between light and dark, and he stops so abruptly his momentum makes him stand on one leg at the very edge of darkness. Quickly getting low to the ground again, he risks exposure by stretching a hand out into the light.

“Jackie, throw it! Quick!” I hear him shout in the shadows. He wants me to throw away the only thing I have to defend myself: the prize we took from this place. I struggle to get to my knees; the sticky webbing desperately tries to keep me grounded. I’m able to barely free the sword and attack the webbing with small swings of the refined blade. One good swing frees me from several silk arms, but the blade continues and cuts deep into my shoulder. I feel a shockwave of pain down my arm before it all goes numb. No time to attend to that now, but the tradeoff is worth it as I’m able to free my shoulders enough to sit on my knees and look over at Jolson. He leans out of the shadows, his eyes hidden behind his goggles as they reflect the canopy light, an arm extended not for me, but this weapon. With the last of the air in my lungs, I shout as I hurl it at him. “Keane Village!” I remind him the prize’s destination. The blade disappears into the shadows, and suddenly Jolson is gone. I am all alone. The razor-leg monster stands over me. I’m enveloped in its darkness as I slam my eyes shut. My ears can hear the whistling of its arm swinging through the air. I try to brace myself.

Breathe.

One Chance To Get It Right

ScribeIt has been over a month since my last post. Life as it has a tendency to do, ramped up, with special occasions, urgent tasks, and everything in between popping up, demanding my attention. Between all those events and moments, I had been working hard on The Edge of Snow and Dust. I danced with the deadline of early December to release the book, sometimes I was ahead of it and other times a step or two behind it. I wanted to release it in time for the holidays.

However I have to have absolute faith that they are getting the very best for their money. That a gift given in love has the same amount of care as a hand cut gem for those earrings or the research and depth put into electronic devices packed with countless lines of code. At the end of November, or yesterday, I looked over my work and saw it had not gotten there . . . yet. I could see parts that could be tightened, or a scene that could be expanded on to tap deep into the reader’s emotions.

 

Therefore I took my pride in hand and pinned it to the pages. To save face I could have used this post to reveal my book cover, which I was fortunate enough to have created with a quality look without breaking me. And then from there hype up the book and hope the hype outdid its quality: the image of something outshining its reality. There are movies that trick you into theaters, albums that call into question the artist’s often spoken passion, and games that lack the depth promised. I see deception evident in the world today and refused to be a part of it. We see it and hear it around us, pride casting shade on the actual effort they put into something we eagerly paid for. Truth so skewed that we do not know what it’s definition is anymore.

I will speak that hard truth: The Edge of Snow and Dust, is not ready. It will be ready sometime soon, for I feel it is worth doing. And anything worth doing is worth overdoing. When I say countless hours of passion went into this story, you will feel it. When I say getting it right matters more than being right, you will see it. But I will not leave you completely empty-handed, wondering when or even if a novel will be published. Next week I will reveal the cover to my book or the finished prologue. Over the weekend, I finalize my roadmap and confirm which will be first.

This post was hard, and I hope you can empathize with what I want to accomplish. Every night when I thought about what was on my plate for the next day, I would see the date counting up to this post and had to restrain the urge to rush my writing. Then the next morning I would read what I wrote and could feel the characters telling me to give them that one devoted chance to tell their story. I hope you will continue to journey with me down this path even if it got a little longer.

 

Judging A Book By Its Cover

ScribeIt is the end of September. A month ago today I published my first post on this website. First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has joined me on this new journey. Thank you to everyone who has commented, liked on Facebook, and shared my articles. I cannot express my gratitude enough. Nearly three years ago I started writing this book. It was not until that first post and the support that poured in that I felt a swell of pride that I could do this. I hope you will continue to walk side-by-side with me towards the day I publish The Edge of Snow and Dust, and beyond! 

That said, today leaves me with a little under three months until Christmas, when I hope to have the book released. As I continue on the writing front, painting the scenes with words, I have to also turn my attention to painting the cover. The old phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is something worth noting in your daily life. There is more to everything than what you see, especially people. We have to, however, admit a lot of great books are never read because their cover does not catch the eye. A single image can convey the themes and emotions a writer has spent a thousand words writing. If those emotions can capture one reader and that one reader spreads those emotions to another, you can create a fantastic and wonderful cascade of interest in the passions of someone half a world away. All from a single image.

Therefore I am now searching for an artist to create a cover that captures the theme of the story and the feel of the land. Obviously since I am just starting out, my budget is not on par with publishers. But I am willing to work with an artist whose passion is forging out of your imagination then counting dollar signs. With that I would certainly promote you so others can find you. Then hopefully I could send some work your way with others looking to publish their books or any other project requiring a skilled and passionate artist. And if we want to super charge that hopefulness, we could pair up again as I continue my series.

So please, if you want to take up the banner to create a beautiful cover and have the same  passion for your art as I do for my writing, contact me at rickeyjacksonjresad@gmail.com 

Take Care!

 

A Life is a Story

Hello! Hope you are all well. I have nearly finished another draft of The Edge of Snow and Dust. In this version I was taking great care to ensure the characters were telling the story. Of course how I feel and what I think will most likely be felt in the novel, but I wanted to eliminate the feeling of a structure to the story. I recently watched a video on YouTube on the secret to a successful movie. Movies are moving stories so I decided to take a look. Now first off I do not think there is any secret to anything. There is no secret to a perfect relationship, there is no secret to a perfect life, and there sure is no secret to a perfect story.

The video was detailing the key elements to the three Acts in a story that will artificially hooked the audience. I watched the speaker a little stunned at the arrogance of his supposed mastery of audience puppetry. I grinned as the speaker confirmed a trend I had been noticing for quite a while; that expressions of art, music, writing, and theater, can be manufactured. If a song followed a formula it will become a hit. A movie needs these specific moments to become a blockbuster.

I truly believe some of the most memorable songs, movies, and stories; are borne out of passion not built-in a factory. And those songs and stories are often born messy. Think about a story you told, did it follow a special structure? Did you make sure the critical moment in your story was at the midway point? When a friend ask you to hear the first hint of a song, was the chorus the correct length with the right number of syllables. None that I have ever heard.

So when I reread The Edge of Snow and Dust I made sure to have a keen eye for any artifacts of myself as the writer. The people in this world, struggling to rise above the mess but still take the moment to cherish living, they are telling the story not me. Their moments do not have a special structure that would check off boxes in storytelling.

Life is a story containing endless stories. And life is messy. It is coarse and rough at times, and yet a smooth soft moment can appear out of nowhere. That I think is what makes life interesting. If life was perfect in its predictably, manufactured to mimic other lives, it could not be called life. It would be a product, and I do not what my story to be a product for you.

I want The Edge of Snow and Dust to be these characters’ stories. I want it to be their lives.

 

 

Characters Laboring to Stand

Hello again! Hope you had a nice Labor Day and a good week so far. Schools and colleges are starting back up, new chapters in a lot of lives. There are new challenges, new people, new responsibilities. And as much as we try to prepare for them, you never know if you are truly ready until you are in the thick of it, until you have that moment of “oh boy” and you are in over your head. Or you say “I got this” and know you will be all right. But really you stand between the two, murmuring to yourself “oh boy” and then finding that moment when you grunt “I got this”.

I have a lot of those moments in my life, of not being fully prepared for something. I thought I had things well in hand, that I knew myself and knew the stakes. Then once I was thrust into the situation, I realized I was not just drowning but the surface to the mess was ten feet above me. I would turn to television, video games, and movies for inspiration, to see those characters ten feet under and swim their way to the surface, climb out no worse for wear and succeed.

I felt I had a story like that, But I felt not everyone has their matters in order, they are not ready to swim to the surface. No, the challenges wait until you are already down on one knee before it drowns you. And while you’re drowning, you can hear the frantic pleas around you asking for help. You try to choke back that “oh boy” but you know you are in it.

The people in The Edge of Snow and Dust, are already wounded and down on that one knee when a challenge comes and drowns them. Journey with them as they struggle to get off that one knee, answer the pleas around them and push for the surface. Take care!

A Fantasy Novel of Enduring Inspiration

Happy Friday! First let me say thank you to everyone who liked and shared my post. I can not thank you enough. All day I kept getting notifications that someone else found my website or liked my Facebook post and that just energized me. So, now that I have your attention I should tell you what The Edge of Snow and Dust is about. See the novel’s blurb below and tell me what you think. Next week I will tell you what motivated me to tell this story.  Take care!

The world is . . . barely alive. Expanses of wastelands surround tiny beacons of civilization where life struggles to survive. Towns in the Periphery, where the young Anila lives, sacrifice freedom for the slightest aid. People like Garekk, a soldier facing not men but deadly creatures, live under the iron grip of the three last remaining kingdoms. Their people desperately try to prove their worth or risk finding themselves outside their protection. Dyeslyn, a nomad searching for a connection to the past, is vigilant of marauders lurking in the dead spaces in between these pockets of life. But most of this is moot when it is luck that a Wave of vicious creatures from the Fatal Sea of Endless Green has not engulf them, and even then, luck at some point runs out.

This is the life they have known and yet in this struggle there is still hope. Hope found in the soul’s capacity for defiance. Hope in knowing the old folktales of bold men and women standing for something bigger than them, are not stories of ancient times but are witnessed events against the abundance of threats.

However those inspiring this hope must endure the burden of keeping the tiny beacons of life shining. When the brutal Fatal Sea of Endless Green’s sudden aggression risks breaching the Periphery’s defenses and the surviving kingdoms rush to prepare for threats just as deadly but hidden from view, a small group of men and women use what might and magic they can muster to shine bright among the darkness.

Featured

The First Steps At Dawn

Hello! My name is Rickey Jackson Jr, author of the fantasy novel: The Edge of Snow and Dust (releasing this winter 2017). Welcome to my website dedicated to the series. Here I will share my journey from taking a story swirling around in my head to sharing it with the world. Each post will update you on my progress from tentative writing to tablet publishing. I have already written several drafts but like any bold venture, you eventually have to cross that line, make that leap from cautious to courageous.

 This website is that leap. Even now as I write this, my first blog entry, I am taking that first anxious step at dawn to commit to telling this story. So I hope you will join me as I walk the path of an aspiring writer!