Update on my Book! (01/22/21)

by Wes Penre, January 22, 2021

It’s time to give you an update on how my progress. I really enjoy writing this book, and it’s going very well. As of this morning, I have written 290 pages or 83,000+ words of the first volume. I am soon done with the main plot, but I am also inserting a few chapters of subplots that will be significant in volume 2.

After that, the first draft is finished. Then it’s time to edit, make changes, and rewrite. That’s the tedious part. First draft means that the author is just writing the storyline down as it comes out, unedited. It doesn’t matter whether there’s inconsistencies, spelling errors, or grammar errors, etc. It’s just a matter of getting the story down on “paper.” When that’s completed, the real work starts. When I have edited the book myself, I need beta readers and a professional editor go through it, as well.

So, it’s difficult to say when the book will be ready to publish. Because this is my first paperback publication, I’m learning as I go along, but I will keep you updated.

Thanks for your interest!
Wes

Excerpt from the “Book of Secrets,” Chapter 15 (first draft)

by Wes Penre, December 25, 2020

This is a short new excerpt, still from my first, unedited draft. Five travelers are approaching what is remaining of an ancient town, which has been abandoned for thousands of years and is now in ruins.

A few miles from Kirbakin’s tree house, the hills transformed into lowland, and the forest ended. The gnome had steered them back to the path winding north, out of the forest. The land, now surrounding them, consisted of sparse trees—mostly hickory and elm—rising like proud guardians over green and brown plains with short grass and occasional sections of wildflowers in yellow, white, and blue. Although the scenery was bringing back early childhood memories of meadows sprinkled with the fragrance of wild rose and hyacinth and everlasting summers, it likewise gave them a strange feeling that seemed out of place: the wind was chillier than before Dreamwood, as if the seasons shifted quickly here. It was still summer, but it felt more like crispy autumn. The sun was blazing but appeared lower in the sky than what was normal for the time of year—and the light was dimmer. A wind blowing from northwest pierced them with intermittent arrows of chilliness, which forced them to wrap the garments tighter around their bodies.

The gnome stopped for a moment and turned around. Behind him was the forest and the hills that had become so familiar to him over the last centuries.

“Here ends my domain,” he said, “and with it many of my innate powers. Now, indeed, I need to consider the counterforces in the world around me. It’s been so long…”

The others could feel it, too—the lightness of heart they had experienced while still in Kirbakin’s home, now replaced with a dark heaviness. Only this time, the weight seemed more intense than ever before.

“This is Yongahur’s land,” Kirbakin said. “And the farther north we travel, the colder it will be—particularly where his and Azezakel’s domains meet.”

In the late afternoon, they could see buildings ascending in the distance. It appeared to be a town, taking shape like an oasis would in a desert—or perhaps like a mirage. When they came closer, they noticed it was not a populated town—it was a town in ruins.

“Skeleton of a long-lost empire,” Kirbakin said. “In the Age of Twilight, this was a flourishing place, once stretching all the way north to the Eccasion River. This town belonged to good-hearted, peaceful people, who were drawn into wars their hearts did not desire to fight. Their civilization was destroyed, and the few survivors fled. I don’t know whether there are any descendants left in the world. It was so long ago.”

Once they reached the ghost town, they realized why it had withstood the wheels of time. These ancient people had been skilled stone masons, and what had not been destroyed in battles was still standing—proudly raised buildings and towers, bricked with such finesse that it was sometimes difficult to see where one building block ended and the next began. The streets were of cobblestone, mostly overgrown but still intact. As they were walking through, the eeriness of no one there was impacting them—the town was completely desolate, except for a few cawing crows, watching the travelers from rooftops and windowsills, while the wind was whistling as it passed through the alleyways. There were no signs of tools, ciphers, or evidence anywhere of former human inhabitance—time had consumed it all.

“The town of Elchamar!” Kirbakin said. “The world still remembers your name, whilst your people are since long forgotten!”


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Excerpt from “The Book of Secrets,” Chapter 8 (First Draft)

by Wes Penre, November 27, 2020

This is from the first unedited draft. When we enter the scene, Holgar Stronghand, who is one of the side characters in a subplot, is visiting the city of Ringhall in the Divine Kingdom of Norfold to join the military. He has just ended a visit with the Prince of Norfold and is reflecting back on when he first arrived in Ringhall..

Holgar had never been to a big town or a city before. Compared to Eldholt, Ringhall was gigantic! When he first entered, he had been greatly impressed. In the midst of the city ran a river called Falluin—raging forcefully in certain places while being tantalizingly calm in others. Fishing was important in Ringhall, and as Holgar had been allowed to pass through the guards by the moat, from first having to walk across a long bridge intersecting the river, being escorted passed the iron gates, he was met with a fantastic scenery.  The buildings were sometimes huge, and from Holgar’s perspective, they reached to the sky. Almost all of them seemed to be built of yellow and white gold and marble. Even the streets were made of shining marble, exquisite yet massive, and when the light was precisely angled, he could see his own reflection bouncing off the street. Some buildings rose toward the sky, looking like towers, while certain houses were built on top of each other, with some of the upper houses reaching further out, so the tenants could get an exclusive look at the river below.

The river split the city in two. Holgar got a vision of some gigantic God, whom with his or her mighty hands had put a model of a city upon a river, divided it in two, and moved each part to either side of the water. In fact, he was not too far from the truth. Upon the river, fishermen and other citizens were paddling up and down the water—some of them to catch fish, while others seemed to use it to move faster from location to location within the city.

However, the most magnificent was the palace. When Holgar saw it for the first time, he thought he was dreaming. In the middle of the city, a huge royal building made of crystal was rising, higher than any other structure. Multiple stairs were ascending to an overhanging bridge, built fifty feet above street level, leading toward the crystal building. The railings were decorated with pure yellow gold and various symbols, also made of gold. As Holgar had approached the palace, the sunbeams, reflecting on the crystal building, created a prism, which made it look like it was constantly shifting in all the colors of the rainbow. Holgar was told by one of the guards about a legend saying that both the palace and the city were created by Angels long ago, in the Age of Twilight. The guard told him this was the reason why their country was called The Divine Kingdom of Norfold.

After having left Prince Xandur’s office, Holgar was escorted in the opposite direction from which he had entered Ringhall. They descended through many sets of stairs, until they reached a level closer to the river. From there, they took off in an eastly direction, until they stopped before a massive wall with a ten-foot gate, guarded by watchmen, sitting in towers on either side. The approaching escort was expected, however, and knights from the inside opened the gates and let them into the military facility. This was the last day of Holgar’s former life and the first day of his journey into the unknown.”

If you feel inclined, please leave a comment below, and tell me what you think. Let me know if you like it, and if you have any constructive criticism for me, it is also much appreciated!


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Excerpt from “The Book of Secrets”

by Wes Penre, November 16, 2020

This is a short excerpt of the first draft from Chapter 1 of “The Book of Secrets,” the first volume in the trilogy called “Ismaril’s Journey.” Book 2 has the work title “Journey through the Underworld,” and Book 3 will possibly be called “The Final Battle.”


It was extremely discouraging to see this small group of Wolfmen boldly approaching their village with a larger legion waiting behind, greatly outnumbering the poorly armed villagers. Their leader, riding in front of the Wolfmen, was even scarier in his manner than they were. He was not a Wolfman, and he was riding on the back of a tall and shaggy Giant Boar. The beast looked like something coming straight from a nightmare, and almost half of his fur was missing, exposing big, pink areas with black spots. The beast alone, even without its rider, was scary enough to make any decent person want to run for their lives. It was anything but tame, although it still seemed to abide to its master’s will. Just like the Wolfmen rode bareback on their Ulves, so did this Boar rider.

The people of Eldholt were usually rather tall, but the man who rode the Boar was at least a foot taller than any of them. His entire presence emanated strength, entitlement, and grandiosity. He was dressed in a silver-colored armor, and a brown cloak hung from his shoulder. Not wearing any headgear and with his hood tossed back, his long, sandy hair was flowing with the wind. His face was clean shaven, and the steel-blue eyes were frosty and completely emotionless.

The small troop was slowly riding into the village without paying much attention to a group of unarmed villagers standing by the roadside, giving leeway to the riders, who stopped about twenty yards from the armed crowd of Eldholtans. The Ulves were growling and showing their teeth, and the Giant Boar was unpleasantly restless. The man on the beast looked at the crowd and started to talk with an authoritarian, derogatory voice.

“Listen up, citizens of Eldholt! We come with a request, and if you meet it, you have nothing to fear. We will then leave your peaceful land alone. Who of you is in charge?”

Llodaim stepped out a little bit more from the crowd and approached the leader, being careful not go get too close to the Giant Boar.

“I am the Chief,” he said, straightening his back, trying not to show how intimidated he was.

“Very good, old man,” said the leader with a smirk. “Then you are the one I need to talk to!” As he spoke, Llodaim noticed that the man held a thick branch in his hand.

The Council Chairman took a deep breath to be able to keep his voice steady.

“Who are you, and what is your errand here in our peaceful village?”

The rider of the Boar looked amused, while penetrating the old man with his cold eyes.

“How rude of me.” His voice was soft but slippery like grease. Llodaim got goosebumps. “You can call me Yongahur, and I am the Captain of these merry men. I am here in business. Accept my business deal, and you will suffer no harm.”

“What are you proposing?”

“We are looking for a young man, whom we know is here among your people. His name is Ismaril Salandruin. Where can I find him?”

If Llodaim was frightened before, the stranger’s request nearly made his heart stop. How did he know his name? he thought. Does this have something to do with Ismaril’s earlier soldier career? I am glad he is not here right now, but how can I protect our people from these villains? I don’t know how, but I need to somehow be clever and diplomatic. Our people don’t know how to fight an army like this, and I know they all count on me to help them out of the dilemma.

“Why would I tell you the whereabouts of any of our people?”

“Because you seem like a wise man, and wise men tell me what I want to know. I reward compliance, so I will give you a choice as my part of the deal: you tell me where this young man is, and we will take him with us. In exchange, no one will get hurt and we will have no more reason to return to this…adorable village.  However, if you refuse, many people will unfortunately die before this day is over.” The stranger, who had called himself Yongahur, bent forward, and his piercing eyes alone told the Village Chief that he didn’t accept any nonsense. His voice got harsher. “And don’t play games with me, old man! We know for a fact that Ismaril Salandruin is of this tribe, so don’t complicate things!”

Llodaim hesitated. “What do you want from this supposed Mr. Salandruin?”

Yongahur sneered. “I told you I’m here in business. My business with Ismaril Salandruin is between him and me! The deal between you and me is different!”

“If you are going to take one of our men with you against his will, you can rest assured it’s my business, too!” Llodaim said.

Yongahur’s voice turned deep and monotonous. “You don’t know who I am, and if you did, you would understand that I get what I want—one way or another. So, how are we going to do this? Are we in business or not?”

Llodaim pretended to resign, and he let out a big sigh, which also released some tension inside him. “Ismaril Salandruin is not here. He has left the village—”

“Where did he go?”

“I don’t know. He didn’t say—he rarely does.”

Yongahur showed his teeth. “You’re lying!” he spitted. “We had a talk with your friends down in Exióne, and after a little argument, they told me that Mr. Salandruin lives here these days! And you know exactly where he is! You can’t fool Yongahur and trying is not a healthy thing to do!”

“I don’t know what else to tell you…Yongahur!”

“Very well then, you have made your choice, but you’re a liar. You know where he is, and you won’t tell me.”

“We are not defenseless,” said Llodaim, using all his willpower to face up to Yongahur. “We are armed, too!”

The Wolfmen who accompanied Yongahur started growling, showing their yellow teeth, reaching for their swords and crossbows.

“You’re making my friends here impatient,” Yongahur snarled. “We are not afraid of you people. Defenseless prey is what you are. Pathetic!”

Llodaim knew the stranger was right, and his heart sank. He is accompanied by a couple of hundred warriors, who certainly have been in battle many times, he thought. They are at least twice as many in numbers and four times our strength, while we are ill armed and without fighting experience. May the Goddess have mercy on us—for they intend to kill us all! I know most of our men expect me to tell Yongahur where Ismaril is to save the village, but I know this evil pack. They are incapable of compassion and mercy. These savages eat their own women and children—and they are known to eat their enemies alive, too! Even if I tell them where Ismaril is, they will catch him and still kill us—it’s their nature. My people, if some of them survive, will never understand my reasoning because they don’t know these monsters.

“We won’t fall for your threats, Yongahur!” Llodaim said, now in a more authoritarian tone. “However, you are correct on one point: even if I did know Mr. Salandruin’s whereabouts, I wouldn’t tell you. Why? Because I know the nature of your kind, sir. You will kill us either way!”

Yongahur sat quiet for a moment before he replied, “You have my word.”

“…which means nothing!”

“Don’t challenge Yongahur!” His Boar seemed to feel his master’s rage and started to squeal eerily, eager to attack the crowd of villagers.

“And don’t project your own lies on me, stranger!” Llodaim added. “You are the liar here!”

Yongahur turned around and signaled to the army waiting further down the road, and the entire legion started charging. “For Eldholt!” Llodaim shouted and drew his sword. The rest of the villagers drew their weapons, too. “May our Goddess help us!!!”


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The Book of Secrets

Cover reveal coming soon

Ismaril lives in the peaceful village of Eldholt. In the recent past, he was a soldier in the Kingdom of Norfold army, fighting against the notorious Wolfmen. Something happened in the war—something Ismaril is ashamed of and won’t tell anybody about. It’s his dark secret.

In the war’s aftermath, all he wants is to live in peace with his beloved family, but this is not his destiny. A tragic event forces him to go on the road. His mind is full of anger and revengeful plans against those who make his world a challenging and confusing place to live in.

Having started his journey, which is supposed to be short, more events prevent him from achieving his goal of the life in peace he so much wishes for. This makes him reconsider the purpose of his life. His choices take him on a new, much longer journey, where he has to encounter the many dangers in the world of Taëlia. He determines to face and fight a greater evil lurking in the shadows—much greater than the Wolfmen.

Ismaril begins a tumultuous physical journey, but how physical is it, really?

Excerpt, Chapter 1 (coming shortly)

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