So I’ve been working on my next projects (Book 2 of HotA and a few others), but nonetheless I’ve been continuing to tinker with Hymn of the Ancients, mostly just correcting grammatical errors missed in the edits. But also I UPDATED THE NEW MAP OF DEMAREST!
I’ve been using this super fun mapmaking software called Wonderdraft, it took a little while to learn but it’s so much fun. Certainly gives me something fun/productive to do when I’m procrastinating writing anything.
I decided to go with the classing “paper” version of the map rather than the color one. I think it just looks classic and cleaner, and the other version came out a little dark in the paperback, so I updated that as well.
Anyway, I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who’s been reading Hymn of the Ancients, and everyone who left a review or gave me feedback I really appreciate it! I know there were a few grammar errors that were missed in editing but I believed I’ve cleaned just about all of them up at this point. I’m really proud of this book, and it’s fun jumping into a new genre and seeing how it flies on its own like a bird leaping out of the nest.
I’ve got some more projects percolating, both fantasy and post-apoc, so stay tuned.
So I’ve been somewhat quiet ever since I launched Death in the Wastelandsand that hasn’t been on accident. I’ve been brainstorming, storyboarding, and eventually beginning a draft of my next project, one I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time.
So I won’t bury the lede any deeper. I’m currently writing a fantasy novel entitled Hymn of the Ancients. And I am so, so incredibly excited about it.
Fantasy has long been my favorite genre ever since I was a kid. I grew up reading long fantasy series and playing fantasy video games, and frolicking in those imaginary worlds gave me untold joy. Now, finally, I’m writing in one. And it feels borderline euphoric. So without further adieu, a teaser:
Leonel Anglian is a treasure hunter. At least, that’s what he likes to call himself.
Trained as a warrior by his father, Leo’s is a noble and revered house in his home country of Ellaria. His grandfather was the most revered man in the nation outside of royalty, as he was a brilliant general who led the Rolanse Liberation war to defeat the orcish tribes and exile them from the continent.
But Leo did not want to follow in his family’s tradition of war and politics. He chose to be an excavator, one of many people who travel from bustling cities to long-forgotten landscapes in search of buried relics of the Ancients–items revered by church and common folk alike–so they can sell them to the highest bidder. Unfortunately though, his companions in the Stonewright Excavation Company are neither rich nor famous, and don’t get many chances to find real artifacts of value. So they pick over cleaned sites and sell what they can to barely scrape by, spending too much of what they earn on booze. But none of this bothers Leo. This is the life he wanted.
But Leo’s fortunes are about to change, and with it the peaceful life he enjoys. One day he discovers a completely untouched church of the ancients hidden underground near the border town of River Harrow. And within it, a relic worth more than most of the fortunes of the world: a magical tome written in the first age in a language seemingly no one can read.
A relic, he is about to realize, that is sought after by many who are willing to do anything to get it. His quiet life is about to change forever.
Meanwhile, across the sea, an exiled orc chieftain by the name of Kaejic has captured Leo’s father, Daleon Anglian, in his quest to restore honor to his own father, his tribe and his people. He has one goal left in mind: to cross the sea and hunt down the last member of the Anglian family. Daleon’s son, Leo. Because his death will pave the way for his people’s return to glory and their rightful place in their homeland.
Kaejic has seen it in his visions. And he will let nothing stop him.
So it is foretold.So it shall be.
Hymn of the Ancients, coming Summer 2020!
And for all you wondering about my post-apoc exploits, don’t sweat, I have more projects in the works in the American Rebirth universe as well! I have plenty more to write in that world! But this is a passion project of mine I’ve had for a long time, and I really cannot wait to get it out there. I’m just incredibly excited about it.
I’ve been working with Jeff Brown on the cover for Death in the Wastelands, American Rebirth Origins and I’m really psyched to say it’s completed.
He’s a pretty special artist. If you want you can check him out here at Jeff Brown Graphics. It’s been fun seeing it come to life, but most exciting of it all is that it’s another milemarker closer to getting the book out there.
Getting the cover made is a big part of the story feeling like it’s coming to life. I’m editing it right now, and hopefully it’ll be ready by early Summer.
Man, I can’t wait. I think y’all are gonna like it.
I’m really excited to tell you that I’ve completed the first draft of Death in the Wastelands: American Rebirth Origins.
This book was so much fun to write. It’s something of a prequel/origin story for my trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone, or for my fans it can be read simply as an unfolding of how Rob Huntington became “Hood”.
I still have tons of editing to do, but if I can bust my ass and get all this done I’m hoping to have it done by the early summer.
I can’t wait to get it out and published and into your hands. I think you guys are really gonna love this one.
First off, to those readers who took a second to write a review for my new American Rebirth Trilogy Box Set, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is because of you, that this awesome news has happened:
I GOT A NEW BOOKBUB DEAL!!!!
I submitted the very Box Set Trilogy in question for a bookbub featured deal, figured it was worth a shot. I got my first bookbub deal last year for HOOD and it was incredible. I sold thousands of books in a day.
That’s how badass a Bookbub deal is.
AND I GOT ANOTHER ONE!
Thanks to those people who wrote the reviews. If I didn’t have reviews, I don’t get no deal. So thank you kindly.
The featured deal for the boxset will be on Nov. 29th-Dec 2nd. It’ll be on sale during that time.
It’s pretty baller. I’m psyched to get the box set rolling, it’s something I’m really proud of. Looking at all three books together just kinda made something click and I felt pretty happy while I was formatting it for release.
I’m trying not to flip out, but it’s pretty freaking awesome.
I know what you’re thinking… What’s different? Why do this? Do I have to pay for it?
You do not have to pay for it if you already own the HOOD eBook. Simply go into your Amazon, go to “Manage your Content and Devices”, and scroll until you see HOOD and press the UPDATE AVAILABLE button. Also, your kindle might already AUTO-update all books, if not you can set your kindle to auto-update under the SETTINGS tab once you’re in “Manage your Content and Devices”. If you’re using any of the other booksellers… I’m not sure how it works yet I will be updating it on other retailers shortly.
Why do this? In short, I merely wanted to take the time to improve the writing, make small changes, and just bring the overall quality of the book up. It’s not that I was unhappy with it, but it is my baby, and giving it some TLC was something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.
What’s New? So by in large the book is the same…I am not overhauling the story or anything. This is mostly just to make some small content changes but the overall story remains the same. Features:
About 1.5 New Chapters worth of content in the beginning of the book/Clearwater era! This is mostly just to set the stage more before the first plot point. I’m really excited about it though, I think it really beefs up the story.
Cleaned up the prose/diction and some of the internal/external dialogue throughout the book. Mostly little things, I wanted to trim down a little bit, replace a few others, just tighten up the prose and make it more readable. I think with a light touch of changing things, the book is vastly improved.
For those of you wondering, The ending remains the same, but I changed a few little elements throughout the book that I think make it a bit more powerful and give the reader some foreshadowing to the larger story at work throughout the series.
So yeah, I’m blessed that I have the luxury to be able to do this as a self-pub. One of the awesome perks. I love this book, and I wanted to really make sure it was as powerful and as meaningful to both myself and the readers as it possibly could be. Giving it a little love was well worth the time.
NOTE: If you look in the front matter of your eBook, and it does not read “Second Edition” in the title page, you do not yet have the updated version!
I’m really glad I did this. If you decide to go back and give it a re-read, please let me know what you think! The new content is in chapters 3 and 4.
Alright, now its back to all the thousand other things that require my attention.
So I figure I’d give you a guys a little life-update. A window into the world of Evan for just a moment.
I’m diligently working on my new Post-Apoc novel. I’ve posted excerpts from it already, it’s the origins of the American Rebirth series. It’s Rob and Taylor from when the shit hits the fan so to speak. God damn it is so much fun to write.
I’m reading Wool by Hugh Howey. I don’t know how many of you have gotten into this one. I’m very curious to see what happens… but I gotta admit it hasn’t lived up to the hype for me. I’d love to have some questions answered, and I’d love to know more about the world and the state of humanity other than the Silos, but as far as the characters go… I just have very little investment. He keeps changing who the main character is, and it’s frustrating. The original protagonist, Holston, I liked a lot and was totally on board with his desire to leave the silo and try to find his wife. But that storyline, well, it just stops. It’s well written, but I just don’t know if it’s my style.
I got a new day job teaching 11th and 12th grade English at a local high school! I’m pretty excited about it. Teaching is another big passion of mine. It fills a different part of my life then writing does, and often it gets me excited to write. So there’ s a pretty good synergy there.
I’m going up to New Hampshire with some family for some summertime lake vacation. I love it up there. I’m going to hopefully get a lot of writing done and just recharge myself. There’s nothing like raw nature and the smell of mountain air.
I’m going to Thrillerfesttomorrow (friday) in NYC! If anyone is going, stop by and say hi!
I hope y’all are having a good Summer. As per usual if any of you have any questions or want to chat, leave a comment, hit me up on twitter, or Email me at Evanpickering@Evanpickeringauthor.com
Alright everybody, I’ve decided to dish out a little more from my WIP. This short excerpt follows directly after the last one. Let me know what you think! As per usual DM me on twitter or email me at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringauthor.com
Enjoy! Hope your Summer is kicking ass.
West Crown Apartments, Washington D.C., Two Weeks Earlier
“You ever wish you’d wake up with a totally different life?” Rob said. Sunlight poured in the east window, leaving a rectangle of warmth in front of the couch that illuminated his socks. He wiggled his toes, stretching his feet.
“Nah man. We are where we’re meant to be. There’s plenty of people that got it way worse than whatever you think you got.” Desean Grant let out a puff of smoke as he loosened his tie and unbuttoned his top button.
“I know. Starving kids in Africa and all that.”
“Who said shit about Africa? There’s starving kids five miles from here.”
“Yeah, for real.” Rob slid back, sinking into Des’ couch and resting the back of his head against the cushion. He took a sip of his beer, running his thumb over the bumps of the raised lettering on the dark glass bottle.
“You don’t think we would even be friends if we didn’t sit next to each other all through school, do you?”
“Nah,” Des took a sip of his beer.
“Probably not,” Rob echoed.
“Thank god H comes after G in the alphabet.” Des said, glancing over at Rob.
Rob chuckled, holding out his beer. Des clinked it with his own, and they both took a drink.
“Thank the good lord,” Rob exhaled.
There was an appreciative silence that hung in the air as they both stared at the T.V. that flashed images of sports highlights they both weren’t paying attention to.
“All suffering is relative, though.” Des said, circling back. “Life is a concept we create in our mind.”
Rob chuckled. “You would say some shit like that.”
“How did that date go?” Des inquired lazily.
“How do you think?” Rob shook his head, trying to fight the tired feeling in his eyes. “All this online shit is weird as hell.”
“What happened?” What happened is she’s obsessed with crustaceans. Hood shook his head, uncomfortable laughter welling out of him.
“She told me she wrote a book.”
“About horseshoe crabs.”
“So I laughed. She asked what was funny. When I realized she wasn’t joking, I was all ‘ah, that’s cool, you like a scientist or something?’ She got pissed, started talking about how we’re going to have to talk about this later. Talk about it later. Like we were a couple. Like I wasn’t already willing to fake my own death to get out of the conversation.”
“Man, you gotta give girls a chance. So she wrote a book about crabs, that’s cool.”
Rob sat up and turned to face Des, glaring at him. “You serious?”
“You gotta move on, man. You ain’t gonna find another Jennifer. You gotta be open to new things in your life.”
“The fuck would you say if a chick told you she wrote a book about horseshoe crabs?”
“That’s cool honey, want to go watch Nemo at my place? You ain’t gotta be lookin’ for marriage material with everyone you meet my dude. Have some fun. You’re a good lookin’ man. Go enjoy yourself, like you used to.”
Rob furrowed his brow. “I don’t know if that’s what I want anymore.”
Des shook his head with a chuckle, taking a sip from his bottle. “You don’t even know what you want right now.”
Rob shrugged, taking a deep breath and finishing his beer.
“You want another?”
“No, I have that interview later.” Rob shook his head, standing up. “I should get going, anyway.”
Des nodded slowly, staring at Rob until he had his attention. “Get your mind right. This ain’t the Rob I know.”
Rob paused, considering this for a moment. “You don’t ever wake up wishing the world would just start over?” Rob turned to face Des, searching for some confirmation.
Des shook his head. “Nah man, I got too much to lose.”
“So do you.”
“Yeah, I know. I just want to feel worth a damn again. I feel like I’m drowning in my own mediocrity.”
Des laughed, shaking his head as he took another deep hit, exhaling smoke. “That’s the breakup talking. You definitely need to get your mind right.”
Rob shook his head. “I’ll hit you up later.”
Des puffed smoke, nodding at Rob as he turned to walk out the door.
The fresh gray sidewalk outside the apartment was thick with foot traffic. The gleaming modern structures in the distance that was D.C. proper loomed over the sunset urban neighborhood. A group of high school kids pushed past him, walking home late from school. They took over the sidewalk with swagger and casual dancing.
His feet carried him through the relatively clean streets, the sweat beginning to bead on his forehead despite his best attempts not to exert himself. Can’t be a sweaty mess for this. I hate interviews.
His eyes turned down to his phone. He tapped open messages and typed out something to Ian deftly with his thumb. Hey bro, how are you doin? I miss you.
Rob stared down at it, hovering over the send button. The last message Ian had sent was Things are crazy dude. I don’t have time for anything anymore. That was two months ago. Rob frowned, shaking his head before tapping the delete button until the message was gone.
His thumb swiped over and tapped open Instagram. First post, there she was. Looking pretty in a summer dress. Rooftop bar with friends. And that smile…
He locked his phone and jammed it in his pocket. Des is right about me. He took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. So why don’t I want to change?
He feet carried him into the bowels of the DC Metro subway system, the waffle cone concave ceiling towering above him. He tapped his foot incessantly, waiting for the train to glide into the station. The ceiling isn’t gonna collapse. You are safe.There’s nothing wrong with being underground he reassured himself repeatedly. There was a time he wasn’t scared. A time anxiety had no grip on him at all. It felt like a long time ago now.
I want to know what you think of this excerpt. It’s a prequel of the American Rebirth Series. Email me, tweet me, DM me, whatever, let me know what you think!
I need to know if you are interested in a prequel. It would cover the SHTF scenario, and go into the Clearwater era. Hood and Whiskey and Taylor in the early Clearwater days.
Your feedback is important! I have a desire to write this story, but I want to know from my readers if this is something they’d be interested in.
So here you have it. Enjoy!
Abandoned Home, South of Washington D.C., Rural Maryland.
Sunlight poured into the dusty living room. The hinges of the front door groaned as it slowed to a stop. The old wood floors flexed and creaked under each step. Rob Huntington could picture what life in this house once looked like. An old retired couple, maybe. A young family that moved out into the country. No, it was left behind too clean. No mess. No kids.
The pistol was warm in his grip. Slide locked back. Fired empty. He placed it on an antique sideboard, the weight of it clunking against the lacquered wood. I am not a killer. Rob pulled the ornate white cloth off of the sideboard, his hands still shaking. He scrubbed at his skin. The blood smudged and smeared, it wouldn’t entirely come off.
He breathed in deep, the musty smell somehow having a calming effect on him. It was not familiar. He’d never been here before. Never even been in this part of the state. But it smelled like a home. There’s no going back to the way things were.
He closed his eyes, standing in the center of the hallway. The past was dead. That was always true. You can never go back. But it meant something different now. You came in here for a reason. You need to find something else to fight with. His feet carried him through the house without thought. There had to be something he could use. The very need for this search told him a truth he did not want to face. This won’t be the last time. You will have to kill again.
Mounted on a wall in the den sat an old bolt-action rifle. There. Below it, almost shrine-like, on a mantelpiece was a trifold American flag in a wooden case, a name engraved on it. Pierce Ploman. Rob moved towards it reverently. The only sound was the creak of his footsteps and the distant carefree cries of faraway birds from the open door. Gently he reached out to touch the rifle and lifted it off its mount, the old leather strap swaying free in the air.
The rifle was old. But it was oiled and well taken care of. His eyes went from the trigger to the firing mechanism, seeing faded words stamped into the metal. Model and make, surely. He didn’t know what they meant. He ran his thumb over them, feeling the imprint in the steel. How does this thing work? Rob pulled back on the bolt sticking out of the rifle, but it didn’t move. He pushed up, and it came free to move. He pulled it back and the action slid open. Do I put each round in one at a time? The metal plate underneath the open chamber seemed separate from the rest. He pushed down on it, and it gave way, a spring below pushing it up. The rounds must go in there. Feed into the chamber. He pushed the bolt forward and locked it down. He pulled it up again and back, repeating the cocking motion until it felt smooth. He hefted it to his shoulder, looking down the ironsights. You’re going to have to use this, he repeated to himself.
He clenched his teeth, his mouth a hard line.One hand found its way to his face, covering his eyes. He rubbed his eyebrows back and forth, rhythmically.
“Rob?” Taylor called inside.
“Yeah,” He called back, standing upright and taking a deep breath.
“Are you okay?”
He nodded to himself. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“Did you find anything?”
“We need to look around for some ammo. See if there’s any food, too.”
Taylor appeared from around the corner into the den. The pistol he left in the living room was in her hand. She followed his eyes to it, holding it up in the air sheepishly.
“We’ll probably need this, if we can find more bullets for it,” she said calmly. She looked at the rifle in his hands. “Does that work?”
Rob nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Hey, are you okay?” She repeated in an even, relaxed tone that calmed him. “You can talk to me.”
“I’m good, Sis…” He hesitated, before shaking his head in disbelief. “How the hell did this happen?”
She smiled at him, a warm, familial smile. “Hey. We’re still alive.”
He flashed a smile back at her in return.
“Thank you,” she said genuinely. “For doing what you had to.”
He met her gaze. “We’ll be alright.”
She nodded toward the door. “Come on. Let’s see what else we can find.”
Rob looked down at the rifle in his hand. I have to protect her. I can’t hesitate next time.It’s either that or we’ll be the ones lying there.
His feet carried him out of the room. What about all those people that are just like us, though? Trying to survive in this fucked up version of the world?
Rob pushed a toy truck lying on the floor out of his way with his feet. God, how did we let things come to this?
It’s hard to believe sometimes. Happy birthday to me, 11,315 days of life. And there’s no guarantee i’ll get any more than that.
I’m grateful for all of them. For all the things that have gone wrong, my life has been pretty incredible. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.
I think I’ll list them here.
The people I love. Family, friends, the great loves of my life.
My books. My love of storytelling, of imagination, of history.
My health. I feel young, stronger than I ever have before, and largely unhindered.
My curiosity. I’ve been gifted with a love of learning, of enjoying new things, of reveling in growth. It’s made my life a lot of fun and painless in many ways.
My pride. I feel proud of who I am, of the light in bring into other people’s lives just by being who I am (I know that sounds arrogant as fuck) and the pride I take in the choices I’ve made and the things I have done. Even the mistakes. Even the big ones.
The world. Because it’s gorgeous, endlessly interesting, tragic and beautiful all at the same time. Getting a chance to live life is so incredible.
I was thinking today about just having the chance to live, and how improbable that is. How many people, how many bloodlines died out just to the path of history? How many near misses were there where your ancestors might have died before they could conceive the next generation have their been?
Just our very existence here is a marvel of probability, an incredible gift, a confluence of chance and love.
I don’t plan on wasting it.
Have a good one, everyone. I know I will. Happy birthday to me.