The boy inhales a deep breath of the pine scented air and straightens up. He grips the crystal. “It’s mine!” He opens his hand and peers his light blue eyes into the golden crystal. He begins walking forward into the deep and living forest with a lusty grin reaching from ear to ear. Soon his direction becomes oblivious as the seductive crystal silently transforms him into an aimless wanderer of the forest.
“What have you got little boy?”
Few have read these words. And actually, it is pretty much the first time I’ve read them in a very long time.
The Crystal Crux is the very first story I ever wrote. I started it back in 1986. What you just read above is the opening scene. The entire story, the whole adventure, was less than 70 pages.
ORIGINAL COVER – Hand Drawn
It started with a boy in our time finding a crystal. I quickly expanded on that idea and later had him finding the crystal in a quarry. I always liked that idea but didn’t want to keep flashing back and forth between nowadays and ancient times. I figured that would be a bit much, especially for my first book.
The crystal possesses the boy’s mind, or at least it entrances him, and leads him out into the woods where it, the crystal, is drawn to a strange old man and his ramshackle cabin. The old man invites the naive boy into his cabin to hear a story about his crystal. Yes, that sounds pretty creepy now but hey, I was young when I was writing this. It made sense to me back then.
In his creepy cabin, the old man proceeds to tell the nameless boy a tale about a Tribune named Alexander (not Pero) who organized a treaty with barbarians without the help of the Governor, Luther (Gherardus). Luther had two sons, Daramuth (Rugerius) and Leonard (Talento). (I kind of wished I could have used the name Daramuth. Sounded like a good bad-guy name. Maybe some future story I’ll use it.)
For no explained reason other than jealousy, they decide to get Alexander out of his stronghold by sending him to an invented secret meeting in ‘Chesok’, a totally made up place. (And why a secret meeting?) Alexander can take two volunteers and travel by Eagles Pass. Not bad. Much of the story was here from the beginning.
Excuse me, I’m actually reading the original as I write this. Let’s see how it goes…
Alexander (Pero) goes to see his blushing English bride, Traceena, (Anthea is Greek), who tries to stop him. They both know Eagles Pass is dangerous, and they are both having dreams of bad tidings. (Only Pero is suffering visions and dreams).
They argue. He insults her and leaves. Not quite as heated as the current version. Nothing gets broken but her heart.
Before leaving the unnamed stronghold, Alexander (Pero) speaks to his centurion Francis. Ah hah! One name made it through from the original. I’m noticing I didn’t even bother to give these people surnames. SMH. My head is spinning. And Zaon is here, Alexander (Pero’s) horse. Cool. I really wasn’t sure how much made it this far. (Wonder where I got the name Zaon from?)
A servant girl, not Francis, takes Traceena (Anthea) a note of apology from Alexander (Pero). Confused yet. I hope not. It is actually pretty much the same story in a very simplified form.
Ok, evidently I had a black tiger out on Eagles Pass known as ‘Cataw’ but Pero and his escorts make it to the cabin in the woods without incident. As Pero and one escort enter the safety of the light (which is not explained) the other escort is mauled.
Pero, not missing a beat, casually approaches the old man and his family as if nothing happened. Wow. That’s cold. Amazing writing there – Not!
Oh, I finally gave the surviving escort a name, Tankov. Hmmm.
The old man is called Ebba-Taneez, Ebb for short. (Turstin)
His eldest son is Thomas (Tomas). That’s close.
Ebb’s wife is Cynthia (Druda), and the chubby youngest son is James (Dato).
I should mention, I’m only 10 pages in. In Betrayal, it takes Pero 250 pages to reach the sanctuary prison.
The original story now goes back to the unnamed stronghold and the siege. The siege actually happens in Betrayal before Pero makes it to the sanctuary clearing.
Daramuth (Rugerius) leads an attack on the stronghold, again, for apparently no reason. The two messengers open the gates for them.
Poor Francis is in Alexander’s (Pero’s) throne room and watches his family get killed by these men disguised as barbarians. He leads some of the guards to attack knowing he’ll probably die.
Lady Traceena (Anthea) arrives in the room and Francis watches as Daramuth (Rugerius) takes her prisoner. Francis is really steamed now. He knows these aren’t barbarians. They’ve been betrayed (Ooooh. The name of the first book in the series. Sweet).
One of the young guards, Antone, (this would be Guidus Salvatore now and he’s not a guard but the forsaken Provost of Parthenope) convinces Francis to flee.
The two slip through a secret door behind a suit of armor (how original). They follow the passageway, eventually coming out in the lake that evidently was on the other side of the stronghold. There is even a rowboat hidden in some reeds for just such an occasion and they row away. We are now 14 pages into the story.
Anyway, that’s all part of the original story.
It seems I kept many of my original ideas in tact. I’ll read the rest later.
So, today is officially my anniversary.
THREE YEARS AGO, I became a published author.
I remember my excitement then. I feel it even now. The idea that I completed a book was so empowering, IS so empowering.
Writing a novel takes a lot of work, a lot of research, a lot of time.
And I have to admit, I’m not the patient sort. When I found out I could self-publish my book, I jumped at it. I sent the manuscript for Betrayal out to no more than three publishers who weren’t interested. I got tired of waiting around for more replies from more faceless entities. I wasn’t a professional writer. I had no credentials or Phds or fancy awards, no base to excite anyone’s interest.
I’d still like to find a publisher one day, but if one doesn’t come along, I’m pretty sure I can keep doing what I’m doing. My books have been bought in countries all over the world now. That is amazing! I’m not really making much money as a self-published author but I have received great feedback from those who have taken the time read the books and write reviews or send me emails telling me how much they enjoyed the books.
For those of you that have done that – THANK YOU!
Every day, I look forward to writing. Working a full time job and finding time to write is difficult some days – many days. But what started as a simple idea back in 1986, the year my brother Mike died, finally got published in 2016, thirty years later.
If you weren’t already aware, I lost both of my brothers to Muscular Dystrophy and wrote an award-winning article on the loss of Mike which is available for purchase.
CLICK HERE to purchase The Grand Transition
Here’s to the future!
Hopefully I have many more books in me.
We shall see.