Greetings, Aenya fans! It’s 2020!
It’s finally 2020, the year of the Aenya Big-Bang, and I am very excited about all of the great stuff I have to show you in this update. First and foremost, I should probably explain a little about the literary explosion that is about to make your reading experience a world of magic and wonder. Since I was in high school, my parents pressured me into running a pizza restaurant, and for the past thirty-five years, the business has been a shackle, preventing my journeying to Aenya and bringing you along on my imaginary adventures. That’s why I spent nine years writing Ages of Aenya and another five on The Princess of Aenya. But a few months ago, the restaurant my parents built in 1977 shut its doors. That store had been given to my sister, who is now helping me sell pizzas at my location. Sure, I am taking a pay cut, but building another world is well worth it.
The biggest, most exciting news is, of course, the December release of The Princess of Aenya. I can’t tell you how enthused I am to bring you this story. And, thanks to no less than five illustrators, the cover turned out beautiful. Unlike my last book, Princess has a more straightforward plot, and wider market appeal, without all those pesky naked people in it (that’s not to say there’s zero nudity in it, I am still a nudist, after all). So if you love unicorns, magic, princesses, flying boats, windmill covered hills, or fairytale-filled adventures, you will love this one!
I have always been driven to make people feel, and possibly change their lives, the way stories like The Last Unicorn and The NeverEnding Story changed mine. The Princess of Aenya has something to say about the human condition, and about the way we treat one another. It deals with love and cruelty and the roads that lead us to those places, but also, it’s about redemption. The Princess of Aenya is the story I’ve wanted to tell all my life.
To promote The Princess of Aenya, I’ve given my author site a new look, and joined up with Allauthor. I will also be attending a lot of writing conferences and book festivals, so maybe we can meet up there.
Thelana: The Feral Girl
Next up is the Kindle-exclusive prequel to Ages of Aenya, which tells of Thelana’s early life in the Wildwood, a survival tale combining Naked & Afraid with Jurassic Park. Of course, Thelana wouldn’t be who she is if she were wearing any clothes, but as I am often reminded, that kind of titillation can attract the wrong kind of attention. There’s nothing wrong with sex in fiction—in fact—I have been wanting to add more erotic elements to my storytelling, but Thelana isn’t Jungle Girl. She doesn’t exist for adolescent boys to beat off to, so I commissioned Russian artist, Vinogradov Aleksei, for an awesome new portrait, after expressing the need to evoke an emotion other than arousal. Here we see Thelana like we never have before, a genuine person genuinely afraid.
Young, far from home, and alone in the woods, Thelana fights for survival against a tyranny of nightmarish creatures. With nothing but her bow, her dagger, and her wits, she must kill, escape from the jaws of hungry saurians, and guard her soul from the dreaded Face People.
The Children of Aenya
After Thelana: The Feral Girl, I’ll be working on my first YA novel, and third spinoff, The Children of Aenya, loosely based on the D&D campaign I am currently running with my family. Watch the sneak peek below:
Gods of Aenya
Your first novel is like your first love. No matter what comes after, you always hold a special place in your heart for your first. That is why it hasn’t been easy to let go of Xandr and Thelana. They were born out of my original ill-fated publication, The Dark Age of Enya, and they continue to excite me, being that they are, to my knowledge, of the only nudist fantasy heroes in modern literature, a genuinely unique idea, in a genre that often seems devoid of unique ideas. Which is why I am secretly working on a direct sequel to Ages of Aenya, tentatively titled, Gods of Aenya. No longer social pariahs hiding out among the unmapped territories, we will see Xandr and Thelana traveling to more populated areas, like Thetis and Thalassar, to confront kings and priests and crowd-filled bazaars, and, being true to their characters, won’t be wearing a stitch. How will society accept these intrepid naked heroes? I have long been interested in challenging social norms, so this’ll be fun to write, I think. That being said, here’s a look at Alexey’s latest masterpiece, starring my original heroes: Thelana, Xandr, Emma and Grimosse!
A Book Per Week?
To be a great writer, you have to be a great reader. But with all the latest video games, Netflix shows, and YouTube distractions, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the written word. Stephen King reads 80 books a year, a number that puts my quota to shame, but then again, he’s super-successful, whereas I am … not so. So, is the secret to a writing career lots and lots of reading? Lots of evidence points in that direction. When I think about reading, I think of Michael Phelps swimming laps, burning 8000 calories a day before an Olympic meet. That’s what he had to do, to be at the top of his game, and that is what any serious author needs to do, to be at the top of his. The more you read, the more you train your brain for the literary Olympics, firing electrical impulses along those dusty neurons containing all the wonderful vocabulary you know but just can’t seem to access.
When I visit my local Barnes & Noble, I drown in a literal avalanche of titles. Who the heck has time to read all those books, I wonder? And, if I am to be perfectly honest, I ask myself whether I would ever read my own books, if I hadn’t written them. That question nags at me a lot, not because I don’t believe in myself, but because of utter book saturation. How do you find that rare gem in a mountain of coal? And does the world really need any more stories? Probably not. But then again (this thought saves me from depression) there were certainly enough books before J.K. Rowling rode that train that inspired her to write about a kid named Harry, and more than enough epics before Martin got everyone hooked on HBO. And yet the literary world is a better place because they never let the millions of titles that came before theirs discourage them. What matters isn’t how many stories we have, but how good those stories are. And I want to give all the worthwhile books out there a chance, so that I can learn from them, and so that I do not feel like a hypocrite when I ask others to venture into Aenya.
So to get to the point, for my New Year’s Resolution, I aim to read ONE BOOK A WEEK. Can I do it? I think so. After all, I am working a lot less. But, I am going to have to take a few concessions:
1.) If the book is over 500 pages, I’ll give it another week.
2.) If I am working on a story, I will be skipping a book for that week.
3.) Titles already on my list: Orwell’s Animal Farm, Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Pressfield’s Tides of War, Miller’s Circe, Gardner’s Grendel, and Swartz’s A Girl Called Wolf.