A Series Must Start Somewhere . . .

In my third and last post (for now) on the work of self-published author, Patrick O’Scheen, I turn the blog over to the man himself for his thoughts and reflections on the art of series writing. Take it away Patrick.

SEER guest post imageOne, two…three…four…more. A series starts somewhere. It grows from a simple story into an elaborate sequence of plots all tied together by a place, a time, a theme, an opinion, or a thread. They are multiples of the same…that are different.

Authors choose to divide a single story into a series of books for various reasons. Often the plot is too complex to be contained in a single tome, but usually it is a question of document size. Books beyond what is considered a normal word number are separated into volumes for the sake of magnitude. However, some authors also consider a cliff-hanger a way to bolster bookshelf sales.

Others tie several stories by location, time or characters to create multiple texts. Sometimes the reason is as simple as a continuation of similar plots or characters, like mysteries all surrounding a single detective. In fantasy we often create an entire world that continues in the reader’s minds long after our characters have played out their roles.

When I chose to write more than one volume in the Chronicles of Marithe, the decision was motivated by Dreamer, the first of the series. Underlying themes always spark my work, and I had left many things unsaid. Seer, book two, only begins to tell the entire story.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAA story suggested by one of the characters in Dreamer when he outlines events of the past, yields the plot for the second book. Thornton tells two children about dragons. Although he is wrong in his limited knowledge, he explains history in his imperfect capacity. Not only does Seer clarify how dragons became hunted, it speaks of betrayal on the part of a king who would have everyone believe that peace is an impossibility. Seer speaks to the heart with refrains of unconditional love and undeniable betrayal echoed throughout the story.

The second work complete, I sat back and assessed the pair. They were a good beginning, but incomplete. I added two other novels to the series…and I still have many things to say.

For several years I kept my writing a private matter. I hoarded my words like a dragon’s treasure. Within the last year, I understood the selfishness of this action and began publishing. I can promise four books in the Marithe series and possibly–eventually a fifth. This series stems from my heart. Opinions shared are those of the author…

I can only say – many, many thanks for deciding to share your work.

SEER guest post Dreamer cover                        SEER guest post SEER cover

Please check out O’Scheen’s latest offering in the Chronicles of Marithe – Seer

Star-crossed Love in the Land of Marithe – A Book Review of “Seer” by Patrick O’Scheen

SEER guest post SEER cover

This business of a seer is to see; and if he involves himself in the God-eclipsing activities that make seeing impossible, he betrays the trust that his fellows have tacitly placed in him. (Aldous Huxley)

Welcome to part two of a three post series on the work of self-published author, Patrick O’Scheen. In the first post, I linked back to a review I did of Dreamer and I reposted an interview done with O’Scheen. Today, I will share my review of Seer, Book Two in the Chronicles of Marithe.

Seer – A Book Review

Seer – Patrick O’Scheen’s second book in the Chronicles of Marithe is an exciting, page-turning read. I recommend it for those readers who love dragons, spell casters and wizards, demon kings and beautifully, exotic women who sing like angels or are prey to visions of what may or may not come to be.

Seer, takes us back in time from O’Scheen’s first novel, Dreamer, to tell a story of how a few of Dreamer’s main characters came into the world. The reader is given an insight into how the problems between dragons and humans came about as well as the origin of the morgith – neither human nor dragon, something in between. Being a stickler for continuity, I wondered why the two books were reversed. No worries, though. It only means I will now have to go back and enjoy Dreamer again.

In Seer, O’Scheen describes the settings of Marithe with exquisite detail. The cities and mountain villages come alive through the many sweeping word pictures.

For me, the major theme of this novel was star-crossed love. All the main characters seem to miss the boat when it comes to landing the girl or guy (or wizard, dragon, seer, or demon) of their dreams.

The book is stuffed with female characters, some more gripping than others. A couple of these women don’t seem particularly deserving of the strong passions the men carry for them. I was left to contrast the fickle princess Margo to Cassandra, a human woman who is mated with a demon and yet manages to remain true to her love in the face of great challenges. The reader is left to wonder if the author is making a point about the romantic delusions of men, or about the vacuous nature of some women. Probably a bit of both.

I fell in love with the wizard Talander and developed quite a liking for the demon wizard Bleak. Now that is good writing – when you can get the reader to like a demon! Again, as in Dreamer, O’Scheen rounds out his good characters with flaws and his not-so-good characters with endearing qualities.

The movement back and forth from the real world (mostly one long nightmare for main character, Xavier) and the game world is a little less seamless than what I experienced with Dreamer. I bonded right away with Magic but had a harder time with Xavier, though he is certainly a character (at least in the real world) who evokes great sympathy.

Since finishing the book, I’ve been thinking about the difficulty I had getting close to Xavier. In both Dreamer and Seer the reader experiences the main character’s life in the real world as it blends and merges with life in the game world. This movement back and forth between worlds becomes the perfect hermeneutic circle – reflections on the parts gives light to the whole and reflections on the whole feeds back into the parts – what happens in the real world is made real in a new or different way in the game world and vice versa. Magic takes aspects of his illness and the medication he is on into the game world. Xavier brings his wounds, his vulnerability and his distrust of others. No wonder it is hard to get close!

Questions remain at the end of Seer as to the connections between the real world characters of Dreamer and Seer. I have a few theories but will keep those to myself. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next time O’Scheen takes us back to Marithe with his third novel in the series – Dancer.

1920x1080 WallpaperIf you missed the first post in this series click this link to go back.

You can find Seer for purchase on Amazon.com – just click that old link.

You can also find Patrick O’Scheen’s own blog  – you got it! By clicking the link.

The Chronicles of Marithe–Dreamer & Seer by Patrick O’Scheen

SEER guest post Dreamer coverFor the month of October, I plan to be having all kinds of fun romping around with my granddaughters. I’ve also got some great things lined up for my blog readers.

I’m going to kick off the month of October with a three part series on the work of fellow self-published author, Patrick O’Scheen. Some of you may remember that I interviewed Patrick when his first book, Dreamer came out. Today, I’ll link you back to my review of Dreamer and re-run my interview.

In part two, I’ll post my review of Patrick’s new book – Seer – the sequel to Dreamer. And the third part will be a guest post by himself – the man – the author of the Chronicles of Marithe, Patrick O’Scheen. So, here we go!

Fantasy is a popular genre, folks. It has gone main-stream. Most readers have certainly put a toe in the water. (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Mists of Avalon, Harry Potter).

Wikipedia defines fantasy by distinguishing it from horror (fantasy generally shies away from the macabre) and from science fiction. (fantasy generally avoids science or modern technology)

Fantasy is about magic, imaginary worlds populated by magical creatures and mythical heroes and heroines. The fantasy writer wields the pen (or keyboard of a laptop) as if it were a magic wand, taking us on journeys of wonder.

I’ve been a fantasy fan forever. So today, I am quite pleased to present an interview with Patrick O’Scheen, the author of Dreamer, the first of the Marithe Chronicles

Me: Dreamer is advertised as the first of a series. How did you go about deciding what should be in the first book?

Patrick: Dreamer is the first of four books in the Marithe series to date and there will possibly be more. The decision of where to begin seemed simple…I began with myself and spiralled outward. The story must start somewhere. There is no right or wrong about where to begin. I could say more by telling you that the second book is about Magic’s father… but that might be too much!

Me: Tell us about your choice of the title, Dreamer?

Patrick: Magic remains a “dreamer” through everything. He believes in people, finds good in their hearts, and forgives their transgressions. He never gives up hope. The name defines him and that elusive delirium that he embraces in both stories. The use of dream walking deliberately adds a bit of confusion that mimics Magic’s mental state under the influence of medications.

Me: What can you tell us about how the relationship Magic and Scheen develop in real life affects how they play together in the game world?

Patrick: I don’t think the two places are easily separated. The man who has been stricken by illness has difficulty discerning between reality and fiction and some of this distortion is distributed to the reader. To tell his story only from one view would be deceptive—so much is revealed about his personality and relationship with Scheen through the game world. It is the interplay of reality and fantasy that defines who they both are. Scheen struggles with concepts that Magic innately understands. Their interaction on both levels brings an intimacy to their friendship that surpasses one experience or the other.

Me: Sexual expression becomes a way of exploring a number of boundary crossings in the novel, Dreamer. Sexual experiences also create triangles between the characters. Tell us how crossing boundaries and creating triangles drives the story you want to tell?

Patrick: This is a particularly difficult question given the amount of press I have received about strong sexual content. Several triangles drive the passions of the characters as well as the relationship of good and evil. Scheen and Magic are at the center of the dilemma. Scheen is a character driven by change–thrown one way and then the other by his desires and adherence to prejudicial concepts —while Magic holds to a simple faith in the world’s compassion. Their shared love for the Queen inevitably changes them both.

Me: Your female character, Umbra, is a strong woman and queen. She is capable of compassion, but is able to deal death when the situation warrants such action. This first book in your series creates quite a dilemma for her – caught between her love and desire for two men, one of whom is a dragon. In future books will we see Umbra play more of a role in the real world? Will her dilemmas in Marithe be reflected in her real life?

Patrick: Although I loved her strength, Umbra’s role in the next few stories is minimal. However, book 5 –yet unwritten—will include more about her —and Vinia.

Me: The novel makes a challenging statement about adhering to strict stereotypes that keep groups at one another’s throats, often leading to war and destruction. You also go out of your way to create situations that suggest there is good in evil and evil in good. Can you discuss how these themes weave through your work?

Patrick: We all struggle with the understanding of right and wrong. Some of us attempt to define the answers by religion, some seek inspiring words and yet others look inside themselves for inspiration. Violent conflicts seem to erupt when ideas and dogmas are challenged—the dragons and the humans are involved in just such a battle and the outcome could result in the destruction of their world.

Me: When writing a series, the author faces the challenge of choosing the place to finish one book and start the next. Can you share your thoughts on how you chose to end Dreamer?

Patrick: The pattern begins and ends with the same voices. I don’t want to spoil the ending for others. It concludes with hope and a glimmer of the future. What more could anyone want?

Indeed – one quick request before I let Patrick go – give us Book Two in the Marithe series as fast as you can. Please. (hehehehe – and he did!)

Pitcher plant flowers

You can check out Dreamer on Amazon – just click this link

You can visit Patrick O’Scheen’s blog – just click that link

And you can anticipate the next couple of posts in this series by checking out Seer on Amazon – again, just click the link