J. Drew Brumbaugh

Author of science fiction, fantasy and suspense

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More My Editor and Me

Working with my editor is slow painstaking and seldom with anything like a complement.   I got back chapter 17 of book 3 in my fantasy trilogy, gulped back my angst and took a look.  Wow, I couldn’t believe the comment on the first page.  There, next to the first paragraph was “Nice.”  That made my day so much that I’m posting a photo of that first paragraph just to prove I didn’t make it up.  So, sneak peek, you can read that paragraph long before the book is released.  Call it a teaser though it won’t give anything away because being on page 148 there’s too much of the story missing.  For me, I’m celebrating every success.

On another note, in case anyone is interested in the first two books in The Tirumfall Trilogy, they are both available once again through KindleUnlimited.

For “Fall of the Western Kings” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JH0IKJG

For “Child of Evil” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QFS85PJ

Editors, Editors, Editors

As some of you know, I am working with my editor to finalize book 3 in my fantasy trilogy, The Tirumfall Trilogy.  I still don’t have a title, which has to be decided, and I will get there.  In the meantime, I am writing and re-writing the manuscript with advice from my editor.  And so, the progress with the rewrite is my yardstick for how the journey is going.  Recently I got Chapter 12 back from my editor.  I was really glad to see that I had two pages with zero red marks.  Zero!  I was feeling great, until I got to the rest of the chapter which really did need fixes and thanks to my editor for pointing those things out otherwise the book would not be as good as it should be.  Anyway, moving forward I turned in Chapter 13 to my editor and cringe thinking about what’s coming.  Onward.

Books In Stock

I don’t know if every author gets as big a grin as I do when I see my books on the shelf at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, but for me it’s feels great.  Currently “War Party” and “Bula Bridge” are both in stock at Loganberry Books on Larchmere in Shaker Heights.  I don’t know how long they will carry them so if you’re interested, stop over and check them out.  More importantly, there are really good people working there and they know books.  Ask them questions.  I’ve gotten some great recommendations from them, you can too.  It’s just a fun place to browse.

Here they are right in among lots of other books in the Local Authors section.

Fantasy Trilogy News

Exciting news – I just got chapter 9 back from my editor and it had very few corrections and nothing major.  Yippee!  My editor actually said I seem to be writing better than in the past and she doesn’t see nearly as many areas that need fixed.  That’s the good news, on the down side, I’m only at page 88 with the editor and right now there’s 472 pages to the book.  So, lots of work ahead, but at least I’m making progress.  One last note, I’m still searching for a title.  Right now, I have about 15 possibilities and need to weed that down pretty quickly.

Good reading everyone.

What’s Happening

The ebook version of “War Party” is on sale until the end of the month for 99 cents.  It’s been a great run with this sale.  The book jumped over 750,000 spots on Amazon’s ranking, not bad for something that’s been out for a while.  More important is the new readers that I hope will enjoy the book and look for more of Tommy’s adventures or any of my other books.

Other news:

As far as I know, the paperback edition of “Bula Bridge” can still be purchased at Carlisle’s Home in the Harbor on Bridge Street in Ashtabula.

And both “War Party” and “Bula Bridge” are available at Loganberry Books on Larchmere in Shaker Heights.

Happy reading to everyone.

Local Authors Event

Friday, January 10, 2020 I had the pleasure of attending the Author’s Night at Stella’s Art Gallery.  I had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be one of the best book selling/signing events that I’ve been to.  The place was packed and it was so much fun talking to people who like to read (most of those I asked prefer actual books over ebooks – yeah).  “Bula Bridge” generated a lot of fun discussion about Ashtabula and the Railroad Disaster because there were a lot of people from the area familiar with that tragedy.  I sold enough books to make a profit (hardly ever happens at these things for me) and handed out nearly 80 bookmarks.  A highlight for me was when I handed a young woman one of the bookmarks, she looked at it, pointed to the “War Party” cover and said, I know that book.  I just put it away at the library where I work.  Another highlight was meeting and having a nice discussion with a fellow fantasy writer.  All in all, it was well worth going.  I hope I hear back from some of the people who bought books.

My table at the event.

Support Local Creativity in Mentor

There are many good authors living in the Mentor area and it is often difficult for those same writers to get much recognition locally.  However, there are some venues made-to-order for local authors and one such event is coming up soon.  I’m excited about this event; I’ll be there and I hope many of you will join me to show your support for the arts in Lake County.

It is the Author’s Night at Stella’s Art Gallery, 8500 Station Street, in the old Matchworks Building in Mentor.  In addition to local authors, there will be various artists displaying their black-and-white artwork.  This event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and details may be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/2583219681760090/ .

Come and meet other local authors, talk to them about writing, and perhaps even buy one of their books.  (On a personal note, I’ll have copies of my latest book ”Bula Bridge” set in Ashtabula, available for your perusal.)  It should be a fun evening so stop by and say hi.  Your presence will give local artists a much-needed boost of encouragement to continue their craft.

Fantasy Book 3 and the editing process

Fantasy Trilogy News

Now that the blog tour is over it’s time to get back to editing, revising and finishing book 3 in the fantasy trilogy that started with “Fall of the Western Kings” and continued with “Child of Evil.”  I got through the first five chapters pretty well and even my editor didn’t find much that needed fixed.  I was all smiles.  And then came chapter 6.  Gutted and put on a spit!  That’s how it felt when I saw the questions, comments, and suggestions for improvement when I got it back.  I took a moment to catch my breath, read what she had to say and realized she was right.  I rewrote the chapter and turned it back over to her and now wait for her comments.  In the meantime, I got through chapter 7 and sure hope it does better at the editor’s than 6.

Soon I plan to post a short reading from book 3 as an exclusive here on my website.  Look for it.

Shaping characters and how they can/do take over the story

I think anyone who writes novels will admit that characters do take over the story.  When I start a novel I usually have a few of the main characters in mind and a general plot idea.  But as the story grows, the characters start to demand their own outcomes, their own actions, and sometimes demand to move into the limelight instead of being relegated to minor status.  For example in “Fall of the Western Kings” Dalphnia, a woodland nymph with the power to enchant men was originally only supposed to be the foil that stopped Gant from being able to go after the demon lord Varg.  Instead when he broke her spell and left she was not happy sitting on the sidelines.  She was in love (not nymphonic love that is mostly one-sided, but human love) and she went to get him back.  Thus she became one of the strongest characters in the story! Here’s a link to a short video dealing with Dalphnia.   https://youtu.be/yKjUP10isRE

And here’s an excerpt from “Fall of the Western Kings” chapter 36 where we see her putting  some of her abilities to good use.


She wasn’t far from Blasseldune when the trees brought a different message, of men camped beside the road, several of them, with a campfire (trees always took note of fires) and horses tied nearby.

Gant, thought Dalphnia, and in her excitement, she rushed headlong into the camp without asking the trees if these men carried swords of power. She stopped in the dim circle of the dwindling campfire, having run so swiftly and silently she’d passed the lone sentry without an alarm. One look around and she realized her mistake.

There were six large, bushy bearded, armed men cast around the fire like sticks dropped by high winds.  Before she could duck back into the forest, the guard shouted a warning.  Several of them leaped to their feet, coming immediately to a half-crouch, swords drawn. They had her surrounded.

“What ‘ave we got here?” roared the largest one, brandishing his sword.

“Looks like just what we was lookin’ for,” said another, and lunged at her, his thick fingers eagerly grasping for her arm.

There was no time to exert her influence on these men.  She dodged the initial rush and tried to push off a second attacker.  Before she could escape she was tackled from behind. The force slammed her to the ground, knocking the wind out of her.  She fought to get a breath.

“I’m first,” growled the leader, and he shoved the other man off of her.  Roughly he clawed at her shoulder, rolling her over to face him. Her knees came up reflexively, but he thrust his hairy arms between them forcing her legs apart.

“Stop,” she hissed, “or else!”

“Or else what?” laughed one of the men in the circle.

Trees, she thought.  I need help.  She reached out using the empathy she had with trees to the nearest oak and the 80-foot tall tree responded. A three-inch thick limb swooped down shattering the skull of the man on top of Dalphnia.  Blood and brains splashed across the carpet of dead leaves beside Dalphnia. He was dead before he fell over.

Another limb caught the man next to him in the chest knocking him over backwards. He yelped in pain and rolled away from the tree.

“What the ‘ell’s happenin’,” snapped one of the assailants.

“Th-the tree hit ‘em,” managed another.

Dalphnia was on her feet. The remaining men cowered away, their eyes glued to the trees.

“Hey, didn’t mean no harm, just ‘avin’ a little fun,” said one, his forced smile ripe with fear.

“Fun for whom?” she growled. “I suggest you learn how to treat a lady.”

“Yes, m’m. We’ll be rememberin’ that.”

“I’m sure you will.”

With that Dalphnia raced back into the woods, remembering to ask the trees specifically about swords with strong magic.