A reluctant prince determined to be a better man than his father, the king, has ever been, Jeodyn spent his last year alone in the wild studying the banned art of manipulating the Myst, an act of rebellion but more in remembrance of the old ways. Now, everything he learned and everything he’s ever known about himself will be tested, when he’s called to do what his father should but never will: defend their family.
Noirlok, Lord of the ShadowLands and Father of the Night’s rebellion, knows no man will stand between him and his revenge. He'll either have the love he defeated the heavens and waited an age of the world to reclaim, or he'll destroy the House responsible. Since overcoming a mortal death and taking charge of the dark legion known as Shadorym, he has vowed to see the Blood of Vallyn pay for taking that love, and his life, from him.
When Jeodyn's sister, Jynn, disappears, the fight to defend what they all have at stake begins.
Buy A Prince from the Shadows on Lulu.
My Story, in its Infancy…
The story of Erthlynd and the bloodline of Vallyn began in 2004. I’d just finished (almost finished) my first “novel,” the Lord of the Rings had blown up the theatres and won an Oscar, and I knew I wanted to write something bigger (bigger than my first book, not LOTR, though I firmly believe a little ambition goes a long way). I knew I had a story to tell; I just didn’t know what that story was.
At the time, I wasn’t a writer, I was a musician/a poet/an artist; I was anything but a writer. In fact, the thought of writing more than a full page scared the bejebus out of me. I had a friend who was a writer. He always had so many good words, and he always knew what to do with them. He was the writer; I played guitar and drew nice pictures.
Then the time came, when I finally decided, whatever it was, I had a story to tell. And when it did, I kept going back to the one thing my friend had told me: write what you know. He was always trying to write and trying to find his story, and that was the only piece of direction he let guide him. Write what you know.
He ended up writing about the Civil War; apparently, growing up in Fredericksburg, VA and reading all about the Gods and Monsters who once walked the same hills we grew up on significantly improves the well of knowledge one knows about that particular subject. But I grew up in Caroline County, VA, and not much historic happened there.
Needless to say, I had a hard time getting over the fact that when it came to “write what I know,” it turned out, I didn’t know anything.
But I stayed with it. I thought about what I did know, and eventually the story came to me.
What I knew, more than anything I’ve ever known, was the life I was living at the time. I was young and on my own (living alone pretty much for the first time). I hung out with my friends every day, partied every night, and every day I went to work, I envisioned ways of conquering The Man and breaking the changes keeping me bound to his cubicle/PC of life-draining torture.
Every day, I’d fight, and he’d win. And every day, I’d get up to fight again.
It felt like The Man was trying to steal my fire, and knowing how desperate it must be to lose one’s fire, I fought with all I had to keep it burning. I knew that desperation and the exhaustion of fighting it every day. I knew without my friends there to help, I’d have succumbed to it all a long time ago and conceded to climbing the corporate ladder. And I knew that such a surrender would be the end of ME as I had envisioned it.
Giving up that fire inside me to The Man who wanted it would equal death. I knew that more than anything else at the time.
Then I saw my story. I found it, based in the very spark of life and the endless fight to control it.
Then the landscape of the world surrounding that spark took shape. It eventually took the name Erthlynd, and the more time I spent there, the more I saw the story living in it. Of course, that cold, dark evil was always lurking out there, always getting closer. But my friends were with me. When Erthlynd came about, Jeodyn was already there, and when I found him, he had Leye and Raab with him. They were all three different characters, and all three fighting for the same thing in their own way. Their commitment to that fight made them closer than family, and I knew the three of them could lead my charge against that ancient evil gathering beyond the Eastern Fall.
Now, putting this all in context to A Prince from the Shadows… my story was originally about this outside force invading Erthlynd to steal the spark of life within it (The Man trying to control me and steal my fire), and it still is about that. But there were some other twists and turns along the way. One of which was me learning what a novel is and how to write one.
When I first set down to write, I’d spent about six months outlining my world and my characters, their backstory, the history of Erthlynd, and the present drama unfolding. Not knowing the natural arc of a novel, I sat down and wrote the entire story of Erthlynd, from the “coming apart of all things” and its re-creation to the very end of the original drama I set for Jeodyn from the beginning. I’ve since learned the difference between a novel and a story, but I still look back with pride at that original, 700pg, SINGLE-SPACED monster (it was 5inches thick, and I still have it. Ha!).
The two major parts of that manuscript are the history of Erthlynd leading up to Jeodyn and what has now become the trilogy of his Rise to the Helm (Bk1 in the trilogy is the next book in the series, set for release in the not-so-distant future). But there was another part, (about 175 of those 700 single-spaced pages) which told the start of Jeodyn’s trek out into the distant East, the unknown he’d dreamt of seeing all his life.
This story was about Jeodyn’s sister, Jynn. It was originally meant as a set-up for the primary drama in the main narrative, but it grew into a story all its own. At the encouragement of my book doctor, I “fleshed out” the story of Jeodyn’s sister, Jynn, and her mysterious lover. Part of me wanted to scrap it altogether (my story was about “supposed” to be the Rise to the Helm trilogy). But one thing I’ve learned along the way is that the story is the story, no matter what we have to say about it. It’s there already, and we have to immerse ourselves in it as deeply as we possibly can to see that and let it be.
Spending time in Erthlynd (those long, quiet minutes before you fall asleep are great for hanging out in fantastical places), I came to realize Jynn’s story was part of Jeodyn’s story. It as a part of his life, so of course, it was a part of his story. He (Jeodyn) kept telling me: “I see this other stuff going on, and I want to get into it, but I have to deal with my sister first.” I literally got that feeling from him, every time I tried to work on anything other than resolving Jynn’s predicament. By the end, he wouldn’t stop going on and on about it.
Eventually, I listened and here we are. A Prince from the Shadows is done, as it should be. All my characters are accounted for. Their tales are told. And because of that, they are all ready to venture into this next part of the story together, ready to see it to the end. As am I.
Without every one of its characters completely committed and along for the ride, no story can exist, at least not in the truest sense it was meant to be. I’ve learned that too on this long, strange trip. As writers, we spend so much time searching our characters, asking them who they are and trying to get to know them. We give our characters voices to speak for that very reason; we owe it to them and the stories they have to tell, to at least listen to them.
Especially when they won’t shut up about something… that’s when we should listen the most.