Friday, March 21, 2014

Wake The Dead Free This Saturday!


Wake the Dead is live on AMAZON and exclusively available through the KDP Select program. It will be going FREE this Saturday, 3/22/14 all day! I hope you enjoy it and if you happen to download a free copy, PLEASE try to leave a review!

(Again, this book is intended only for mature audiences)


When Alex's idyllic life becomes hell on earth in the face of a zombie apocalypse, his survival skills keep him one step ahead of danger. With the companionship of a lone wolf, Alex begins to accept this cruel existence, struggling at times to keep a moral compass, and setting out on a new quest of hope where he not only wants to survive, but also seeks to thrive in a world besieged by the living dead.







Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  & my SMASHWORDS PAGE!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

WOTHLONDIA RISING FREE

FREE on SMASHWORDS!
I have taken the great plunge into Smashwords and all of my books can be found there now. Soon enough they will flow out to Sony, iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc.

And the cool thing, is that WOTHLONDIA RISING IS NOW FREE! Indefinitely!

Yes, the anthology of short stories that introduces you to my world, its history, my protagonists, having them face off against demons, undead monstrosities, giants, ogres, rogues and blood rot zombies, is available to you for free!

I feel that if you give these a read, you will have a rather intimate knowledge of both the world, the characters and their motivations. And when they come together in Covenant of the Faceless Knights, you will have met them already, establishing a rapport as they move along on their quests. It makes for a natural and organic transition into the first novel, I believe.

I have also placed samples at WattPad , including the entire Wothlondia Rising book, if you prefer reading it there.

http://bit.ly/18IvgFS
So, when you finish with WOTHLONDIA RISING, feel free to check out my books on Smashwords. or click the links on the right side of my page to check out the kindle versions. If you haven't indulged yourself in them yet, they would make a great gift for any lover of epic/high fantasy with character-driven action.

Enjoy and have a great holiday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shadewraiths...

Hey everyone,
Here's a bit of news for you. I am currently finishing up the cover artwork for my short story Shadewraiths over Pandaria. This story was originally published in the Skulldust Circle anthology book called A Gathering of Dust. Now it will be available on its own. The tale takes place roughly 40 years before Book 1 of In the Shadow of the Black Sun. Within this story we discover the truth behind the character Trune. Were all of his wild claims lies? Most think of him as the town drunk. Was that always the case? You'll never know unless you read it.
I highly recommend that you read A Dream of Storms before delving into Shadewraiths. The settings and circumstances of the story are developed within A Dream of Storms and many of the characters/places that are referred to assume that you have encountered them before. Most of all, I hope you enjoy this peek into the past and how I have fleshed out Trune's history. 
In regards to Book 3 of In the Shadow of the Black Sun (currently entitled Mournenhile), I have written 176 pages of the novel and it's moving along nicely. I can't really say how soon I will finish or how long the actual book will be, but it very well may complete the series. We shall see if  I can get everything in there that I want. 
If not......
Walk with the Wind,
William

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Covenant of the Faceless Knights Re-Release! (kind of)


As a writer, artist, musician, or whatever it is that you do for work, hobby, fun, torture, etc...there comes a time when you find your stride. It is something inexplicable and as mysterious as the cosmos. But, when it happens, suffice to say, you will know it. The reason I am bringing up the topic, is because I believe I have finally hit a stride with my writing. It is just coming much easier to me these days and with fewer drafts/revisions. As my writer friends might empathize, that stride occurs when your voice takes the jumbled mess in your head and spits it out on the page in a cohesive way that makes you say: 'yep, that's what I meant to say!'

And I could not be more excited.

I had been working my 4th manuscript in the series over the last year, entitled Tower of Torment. This was in between medical issues, starting a new career and other nonsense, but I have since finished it up. I have an editing procedure in which I read my written word out loud. (not gonna say how or go into details to bore you) Anyhow, I wrote it, listened to it one time, did my edits, and am happier than a pig in...well, you know what.

William Kenney's artwork, unimpaired by words!
For those of you who do not partake in the often torturous and typically flighty mistress that is independent writing, finding your voice is something to be achieved and somewhat expected...hopefully. Spending less time editing is just a boon! Independent writers more so than any other author, can relate to this arduous task. I liken finding your voice to when a musician identifies a note clearly for the first few times, or an artist sees the image inside his or her head so vividly, that the image comes out with ease, clearer and more vibrantly than ever. All writers hit their stride at some point in their career and I feel that I have recently hit mine.

Let me clarify something. That is not to say my prior work was poor, it simply means that I can say what I meant to say a few years prior with a bit more clarity and ease.

So, I have spent the last few weeks painstakingly re-working Covenant of the Faceless Knights, my first written work, and have made some changes, edits and other things. The content is much the same, but the minimal changes in sentence structure, dialogue and action, I would hope are worth another (or perhaps an initial) look! This is something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but could not find the time or patience. Now I have a publisher that may or may not be interested and decided that this was the right time. I was going to do it anyway, so this was as good a time as any after finishing the 4th manuscript in my Realm of Ashenclaw series.

Also, as a one time courtesy, if you have purchased the book before, and would like the updated version free of charge, please contact me with a DM on Facebook or twitter and I will gift you a copy! Or email me your contact info at the address below.

The almost-chosen blue background!
And for those of you who haven't read it yet--and you know who you are!--I am giving away up to ten free copies in exchange for reviews. All you have to do is comment below using the tag, 'give me my free book!', and then send an email to info@ashenclaw.com with the same subject line and body text. That's it! It’s that simple! The first ten to place comments below are the winners. First come, first served. PLEASE understand that I would like the review! I have given away work in the past and have yet to receive the promised reviews, (some) so please keep this in mind.



Cover art to Wothlondia Rising
And in celebration of this accomplishment, I am reducing the price of Wothlondia Rising: The Anthology back down to 99 cents indefinitely! Get all of my previously released short stories that build up our favorite heroes together in 1 tome! Plus the never-independently-released tale of our favorite half-ogre barbarian, Orngoth, entitled REFLECTIONS.

Ever wonder what a sets a hero  on his or her path? Wonder no more! Grab your copy today!

Thanks for listening to my rants and pitches as usual, and please feel free to comment on how you may have found your own writing voice or artistic stride, or musical ear, or whatever it might be that you do well!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The new Hobbit film

 So, how does everyone feel about the new Hobbit trailer? C'mon, you've got to have an opinion. As for me, I love seeing the world again. Being a huge fan of fantasy since boyhood, anything dealing with magic, Elves, Dwarves and dragons gets me amped. On the other hand, the trailers seems chock full of Legolas, who is a cool character, however..... Legolas is not in the book. Tolkien did not write him into the story. Is it right to throw him in just because he's popular?

It makes me wonder if my family would be pissed if Hollywood changed my stories were they to be made into movies. In addition, Peter Jackson has created characters that never existed as far as I can tell. Tauriel I believe is the name of the new Elf girl played by Evangeline Lilly. Where did this character come from? An appendix?












And where did the White Orc come from? Admittedly, I haven't read the book in some time, but I really do not remember this bad guy. Thorin's ultimate nemesis? Huh? Since when? Am I missing something? So, I suppose if I take the movie as a separate entity, I will enjoy it.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Disturbing the Dust....

When I decided to put together our little writers group, I wanted to create a place where readers could find a treasure chest full of great stories, a place that readers could belong to. I put the idea in the ears of a few writers and we began to build our brand. What would be a good name? What would our logo look like? Who would be invited to join?

And we definitely created a presence on the internet, without a doubt. Readers have heard of us and they know that regardless of which author you decide to try, you will get a story of excellent quality. The bottom line is that each of us cares deeply about what we create. We go over our story lines, characters and settings intensely. We have frequent discussions about what you, the reader, will think of this or that. We do our best to market ourselves. We are all over the different social media outlets, promoting ourselves and really supporting other independent creators out there.

And it's a struggle. No doubt about it.

Each of us has a day job and most of us, children. To find time to create these epic tales with sweeping landscapes, tension, romance, intrigue while balancing real life... well, you can imagine. We still get it done. I write during my lunch break at work. I write by hand in a spiral notebook and after a few days, I type what I've handwritten into my computer. I draw ink sketches in the margins of the characters. My mind is constantly working on plot and character development, going through the possibilities. Which road do I take the story down?

I'm a musician as well, so all of that crap is swirling around in the ole noggin as well. Strong structures, melody ideas, lyrics, guitar parts, etc. Seems like it would be a chaotic soup of nonsense, no? No. Somehow I manage to pull it all together into a cohesive whole, something that is hopefully pleasing to someone out there.

On top of that, I am an artist as some of you know. I draw, paint, work in CGI. Another outlet that I am pulled toward. Needless to say, I constantly shift things on to the back burner and then back again. I make these things because I want them to be seen, heard, experienced. I do these things because I have to. It is part of who I am. It's intertwined in my DNA.

I search for an emotional response to the things I create. Each of us do.

It's amazingly difficult to get noticed and it sometimes feels like no one cares.  We have our moments of doubt. We are human after all. If sales are down, it bothers us. Bad reviews bother us. But none of us are quitters, trust me. We are in this for the long haul. We each have a distinct voice and we have something to say.

If you read our tales, you will see that.

William


Sunday, March 3, 2013

There and back again and again and...

First of all, an apology. It’s been over two months since my last confession, sorry, blog post. You know how it is—xmas, work (the one that pays the bills), some writing/editing/proof reading. And I’ve been a little unfaithful to this blog, seeing another blog or two on the side....

Anyhow, happy new year. And to kick off this year’s posts where better to start than The Hobbit. I saw it with the kids in the Xmas holidays at our brand new cinema in Halifax, in glorious 2D (as watching films in 3D when you already wear glasses is little better than watching a dodgy bit-torrent version with Arabic subtitles and little silhouettes walking across the bottom of the screen). Now I should declare that there was no way I was not going to like this film. Seriously it could have been just a 180 minute still of Bilbo with Sting and Gollum and a caption saying ‘Eggsies’ and I would have soiled my seat. I’d been awaiting this film since before LOTR, since I was 11 and read the book for the first time (not least because LOTR pre-Jackson had a great film version already in the shape of Ralph Bakshi’s cartoon).

Yet just before I went to see it, the powers of the Necromancer (Sauron for kiddies) had already worked their wicked way on the public. Little mutters of desecration, alteration, new material, ‘untrue to the book’ expanded into ‘milking the fantasy cash cow’ (and what a gargantuan cow it could be in a fantasy world... a 15HD AC2 monstrosity with udders that imitated a Beholder’s twiddly eye stalks). So I was a tiny bit nervous when I watched it—I felt almost protective of the film, like they were insulting my mother in some strange Scorsese type-way (‘Waddya say about my mudder? Huh? Huh?’). After all, Peter Jackson is the Creator in my eyes—he who has brought forth majestic films for all to see (and I include ‘Bad Taste’, ‘Meet the Feebles’ , ‘Heavenly Creatures’ and ‘Brain Dead’ in that statement too).

And I was content. Because he didn’t screw it up. And I know there’ll be dissenters who were probably the same ones who lamented the loss of Tom Bombadil, the barrow wights, and were irritated by that whole Osgiliath diversion in Two Towers, but I loved all the modifications. Well, I could have skipped Sylvester McCoy as Radagast with his Bunnies of Protection +2, but the rest was perfectly pitched. I thought back to the book, which is after all a kids’ book, and wondered how it could have been done differently. Part of the problem is that there are some great scenes in the book that would be a bit naff if directly translated to film—the Trolls, the scene with Golem, even the Spiders. They would be rather twee if left as they were, and I considered Jackson did a good job of making the first two feel far more dramatic and not so silly. The sub-plot with Thorin and Bilbo was perfect—the characters had to make a journey within a journey or the film has no drive: after all, what is a story if nothing evolves, nothing changes?

The extra material with the White Orc gave a great finale, which came just right after the escape from the Goblin caves. The alternate would have been bringing the goblins out onto the mountains, which wouldn’t have seemed as dramatic to me—less personal for Thorin, less opportunity for Bilbo’s bravery.

Similarly the meeting in Rivendell was well done, if a tiny bit slow. The Hobbit is a prequel to LOTR whichever way you look at it. The dialogue was engaging enough, and I also liked the more sympathetic treatment of Saruman before he becomes swayed by Sauron and the Palantir. You do kind of want to slap them and shout, “Duh! How can you not know who’d hiding in Mirkwood?”

So like many I’m eager for the next film, not least to try and predict where they’ll cut it. Will it culminate in Smaug’s death, or will they put that in film 3? Will they focus on the battle of the Five Armies in film 3 or what? Or more linking material?

And it’s that extra material that is really irking folk, as it did to a lesser extent with LOTR. But why? What is so sacred about Tolkien and his work beyond the devotion of fantasy fans? I adore the books, but I’m happy to see the alterations in the same way I was happy with the ‘modernisation’ of the CS Lewis books for film. They’re good films, after all. I see adaptations that are dire, especially of comics—the League of Extraordinary Gentleman is shocking, despite the brilliance of the comic; Wanted is an OK film, but bears a minuscule resemblance to the comic version. There’s a school of thought that considers all art to be adaptable, changeable. When we see the twentieth interpretation of Great Expectations, or Pride and Prejudice, we don’t kick back over the alterations, the omissions, when the key plot points and most memorable dialogue remain. And that’s all that has happened with The Hobbit at the moment—the plot is still the same, the idea of Bilbo Baggins making a journey both physically and meta-physically, with the great quotes and the great songs, a bunch of dwarves (undoubtedly cooler than any Elf softies) and a dude in a grey hat.

For me the thrill of seeing such works on film is second to none, and the same applies to the adaptation of comics such as Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, X-men and Avengers. I adored the originals, but they could not be replicated panel by panel on the big screen. And the kids these days don’t know how lucky they are to be seeing such awesome stuff at the cinema!




So happy new year, and I promise it won’t be as long until I post again. And I’ll kill the time to Hobbit 2 by playing the fab Lego Lord of the Rings, which has Radagast and Tom Bombadil in it!!!