February 2020 Newsletter

by Jan 31, 2020Wonderings4 comments

This is going to be a standard newletter, so if you were hoping for an interview, I’m going to have to disappoint you. However, I do have some that are upcoming with Michael Manning, author of Blacksmith’s Son, and Dryk Ashton, author of Paternus.

A funny thing about this year’s holidays. I cancelled my cable back in the summer, which means I have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. However, none of those services have commercials (other than Hulu, but I paid for the service that doesn’t have commercials). As a result, there were no specific shows for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas. There were no ads for any of the holidays either. As a result, the Christmas and holiday mood was just, I don’t know, lacking in some way. It’s weird, but I think the advertisement community has trained me well. I’m like a Pavlovian consumer, lol.

Look at that? I just inserted a text shortcut (lol) into a normal letter. It’s strange how the language changes and culture is so different among the generations is so different. For instance, my children don’t watch TV. They watch stupid Youtube. So for them, not have holiday ads was par for the course. I wonder how they’ll feel about the seasons as time goes on.

There were a lot of movies released over the holidays. My favorite was Ford v Ferrari. It’s about men building fast cars cause they like to drive fast. It’s about guys who want to lay down some smoke and dust the competition. Simple as that. And as soon as I was done, I wanted to jump into my car and go racing. Sometimes I really wish I could drive fast and put it on the edge, but I know it would also be kinda stupid. But still, it sure would fun to do at least once. Maybe I should go to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and take one of those driving experience courses they offer.

My favorite movie I’ve seen in the past few months (and years) is 1917. It’s a WW1 movie about two men who must deliver a message to a British brigade who is about to attack the Germans. But the Germans are planning an ambush. The movie is utterly gripping, beautifully filmed, acted, and the script is tight. It is a fabulous movie, and if you at the end, it doesn’t leave you reflective and appreciative of what a masterpiece you just watched . . . well, I don’t know what to say. It’s simply magnificent.

I re-read a really good fantasy book called Rage of Dragons, by Evan Winter. It’s out in hardback and is absolutely worth the price. It’s a military school training novel with African beats infusing the worldbuilding. In that aspect, it’s unique but still quite accessible. I loved it, and some of what I enjoyed about the book helped solidgy my own work in progress. There are many other books I’ve read, but most of them are progression fantasy (a type of Chinese fantasy) as part of research for what I’m working on.

Speaking of my work in progress, I finished the first draft of A Testament of Steel this week. It’s clocking in at around 160,000 words, but with editing changes I already know I need to make, it’s going to probably be around 190,000 words when it’s done (or more). It’s a big book, and hopefully the rest of the books won’t get much bigger. If they do, I’m sunk.

The story is set in my universe, the Anchored Worlds. It’s about a man named Cinder Shade, who is killed by a tiger, but doesn’t realize he died. Because he wakes up in the bottom of well, injured but alive, but with no memory of who he is. He’s a cripple, his left leg is withered. He’s weak, unable to defend himself, or even put in a hard day’s labor. The village in which he lives is impoverished. They can’t care for him, so he’s sent to the capital, to an orphanage that is willing to take him in.

Along the way, his leg slowly straightens, strengthens, and heals, and once in Swift Sword, the capital city, Cinder realizes he possesses a peculiar gift, one in which the motions of combat speak to him, a language only masters of the sword possess.

Cinder embarks on a journey which will see him travel to train amongst the elves and battle amongst the deadly spiderkin. And every step will be fraught in turmoil and danger, and Cinder will be tested as few men ever are. For rumblings echo from the north, whispers of a legendary emperor reborn, the coming of a mythic heroic warrior, whose arrival is feared, and maybe something else. Something worse. For the spiderkin, the aether-cursed, and the forces a long-dead demonic god are stirring.

That’s a long blurb, and I’ll have to tidy it up. Other publishing stuff. I’ve shown some of the in-progress cover art for my work in progress. It is getter ever more beautiful and slick. I’ve also hired an artist to do a cover for a William Wilde omnibus. This image will be pure epic fantasy with no hint of YA, which I think is why so few readers of the Castes and the OutCastes went on to read William Wilde. I am also going to eventually retitle the books and maybe the series name itself.

Gosh. That was a long NL.


  1. Shane Kirchner

    Hello Mr. Ashura, I’m a big fan of the Castes and Outcasts books and also the William Wilde series. Just wanted to say that I’m really looking forward to your next books about Cinder Shade. I really hope you can get Nick to narrate them for audible.

    • Davis

      Hi Shane,

      Thanks for reaching out to me and for the kind words. I have Nick on speed-dial to do the audio for the next series, the one with Cinder Shade, but my goodness, Nick is in high demand, so I imagine the ebook/print editions will come out before the audiobook.
      And in terms of when the first book will be out, I’m looking at a July release. Fingers crossed on that.


  2. Chris Allen

    Dr. Ashura,

    I’ve just finished up the William Wilde series, having completed Castes and Outcastes some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed both!

    I have come to realize that in world building, an author has to rely on a healthy bit of obfuscation to keep readers intrigued. You almost have to write your Silmarillion before your LOTR so that you can casually drop references in dialog that leaves the reader salivating over who the hell the Numenoreans are and how Olorin ended up with Narya.

    That being said, I want to know everything! Who came over to Earth from Arisa with Rukh and Jessira? Is Shet’s daughter Mistriss Arisa, or did they encounter her after the C/OC story ended? Is there a connection between Dar’El and Shet (gardenias). SHEkTon?? And a thousand other questions that I know you’ll RAFO me on. Will there be a series set during the time where the Arisans (first?) came to Earth? Or will those mysteries be cleared up in the series that is in progress now?

    And lastly, I’d like to say that I appreciate how this world has piqued my interest in learning more about the Hindu and Buddhist deities.

    Thanks for all you do!

    -Chris Allen

    • Davis

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for reaching out and being so passionate about the books. Tolkien is and will forever be the standard by which epic fantasy is measured, and it’s quite humbling to be mentioned in the same breath as him. Thank you for that.

      I didn’t write the Silmarillion (who does?) before I started the Castes and the OutCastes, but I did start out with about two hundred pages of background material. That expanded to well over five hundred by series end. It was single-spaced, typewritten notes written in shorthand, so who knows how long with would be if it was properly formatted.

      I will neither confirm nor deny who Shet’s daughter is and whether she has a relationship with Mistress Arisa. However, I can say that Dar’El and Shet have no connection. Shet is the basis for the Egyptian god, Set. There will be more series in the Anchored Worlds shared universe. Right now, I’m working on the story of Cinder Shade and Anya Aruyen (you know who they really are). It’s how Cinder came to be and the events leading up to and after William Wilde book 5. Then I’ll get back to Arisa and how/why Rukh and Jessira ended up coming to Earth with their Kesarins. No one else made the journey. I’ll also dig into the Realms of the Rakshasas and catch up with William and Serena. They aren’t done with their problems. There are few other things.

      Again, thank you for reaching out, and please don’t hesitate to ask away with whatever questions you have.



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