Announcing a New Andarian Publishing E-Commerce Site!

After much work and many delays, I’m pleased to announce that Andarian Publishing now has a new, e-commerce enabled website to support my upcoming book releases and related IP! In addition having a new and improved design, it can also accept direct credit card payments and deliver purchased e-book content as part of a seamlessly integrated process.

I have new books that will be released on it in the coming months, so check in there for further announcements!

Visit the New Andarian Publishing E-Commerce Site

World Anvil

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a very interesting event: ProWritingAid’s Fantasy Writers Week. ProWritingAid is a terrific piece of software that describes itself as “a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.” Not only is it all those things, but it actually does them well. I used it to edit the upcoming re-release of my novel, and found it so valuable that I decided to invest in a lifetime license.

Good as it is, though (and I recommend it to any serious writer), it’s not the focus of this post — so let me get back to that. Fantasy Writers Week was “a week-long series of events all geared towards fantasy writers and world-builders” — and, of course, how they can use their software to do what they do more effectively. Some of the sessions were extremely informative, and I took pages of notes.

The single most useful thing that I learned from it, though, was the existence of an amazing tool for authors and gamers like me: World Anvil. In the creators’ own words:

“World Anvil is a set of worldbuilding tools that helps you create, organize and store your world setting. With wiki-like articlesinteractive maps, historical timelines, an RPG Campaign Manager and a full novel-writing software, we have all the tools you’ll need to run your RPG Campaign or write your novel!”

That’s a pretty ambitious set of claims for any tool. Half an hour into their presentation I realized with a shock that they weren’t exaggerating. After I picked my jaw up from my desk, I spent the rest of the session drinking in everything I could, and brainstorming about what I could do with it.

Imagine a huge wiki, structured with sections tailored precisely to provide logically organized information about an entire world — from flora and fauna to characters, traditions, and rituals. Something practically designed for someone who loves to immerse him or her self and get lost in a new world, and all the things.

That’s what World Anvil is like. And one of the most exciting things I realized in playing with it is that I have a lot of notes and information about the saga that wouldn’t work particularly well in a novel, but would be ideal for this kind of “world exploring” experience. All it’ll take to provide it is a little organizing and a fair amount of cut and paste.

There’s a lot that I could say about it, but I honestly think it’s better understood by experiencing and playing with it. So click the link and check it out for yourself — and while you’re at it, check out the nascent page I’m now building there for the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. And let me know what you think!

Prologue to Chaos: Free Download

I’m pleased to announce that the re-written sixth edition of Sanctum of the Archmage: Prologue to Chaos is now available as a free download:

Click the cover image above to get it now.

Prologue to Chaos introduces the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. It will be followed by Hell Gate (a full length novel), and a sequel novella, Aftermath. Hell Gate and Aftermath will be published as soon as I can get new covers done for them, and plan a release schedule. I’m hoping to make the next book, Wrath of the Peregrine King, available this fall.

Winterhawk99 — a well-known member of the Neverwinter Nights modding community — agreed to read Prologue to Chaos and an advance reader copy (ARC) of its sequel, Hell Gate. His very gracious review is now available on the Harvest Moon Consortium for anyone who may be interested.

Book Review: Tony Andarian’s Prologue and Hell Gate

Randia in Adobe Fuse

Here’s the face of a model I created in Adobe Fuse for Randia Killraven (aka Robin Blackwing), the protagonist of the Sanctum saga. It’s pretty close to how I pictured her. Not a bad piece of software!

I recently started a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, and have been working slowly to build up the Photoshop skills I’ll need to support my publishing work. To my delight and astonishment, I discovered that CC includes a “beta version” of something called Adobe Fuse, and that Photoshop has a whole set of really awesome features for including and rendering 3D models and content.

I can’t draw, but do I have a decade and a half of experience in laying out 3D scenes. That got me to thinking about what I could do with tools like this, such as developing character portraits. I’m going to include this one the re-release of the e-book as an illustration. Maybe I could do a few of the other characters while I’m at it…

Fuse will also generate riggable models that can be brought into Photoshop and animated with its (pretty awesome) 3D tools, so I might be able to use it to actually prototype or even generate scenes for illustration. Stay tuned for the results of some experiments!

Sanctum Game Videos Now Available!

I’m pleased to share a newly created page featuring video clips from my Sanctum of the Archmage game modules.

The Sanctum modules are highly story-based games that emphasize plot, world building, dialogue, and character interaction. In addition to being teasers for the saga, these scenes are intended to showcase my skills as a writer, storyteller, and role-playing game designer.

Videos from Sanctum of the Archmage Chapters 1 and 2: The Sight and The Quest
(Currently Available)
Videos from Sanctum of the Archmage 3: The Miracle Worker – Mission to Rayche
(In Development)

Prologue to Chaos, 5th ed.

The all-new 5th edition of Prologue to Chaos is now available as an e-book on Amazon and Kobo!

This new release is part of the major edit and restructuring of my first novel, Dawn of Chaos. The first three chapters of Dawn have been heavily edited and moved into Prologue. Along with a new, never-before published second chapter, Prologue to Chaos is now a novella-length introduction to the Sanctum saga.

The next twenty chapters of Dawn will be re-released later this year as a new novel, titled Hellgate. The last few chapters of Dawn will then be released (along with several new scenes) as the novella Aftermath, which will set up the story to be continued in Wrath of the Peregrine King.

Prologue to Chaos on Amazon

Prologue to Chaos on Kobo

Enter the Black Magus

From Sanctum of the Archmage: Prologue to Chaos, by Tony Andarian. The newly edited and expanded fifth edition will be available as a free download in late 2020. In this scene, we meet the villain of the series: Emil Zomoran, Lord of Westreach — soon to be known as “The Black Magus.”

Gerard shook his head. “It doesn’t have to end like this, Professor.”

“Yes, it does,” Zomoran said. “Because I’m done with you. Done with years of trying to bring wisdom and progress to this intellectually barren kingdom. Done with appealing to fools, aided only by a handful of friends who understood — who saw the kind of brilliant society we could engineer, if only we could order things as they need to be. Done with writing and speaking to classes of empty minds, who lack the inspiration and courage to see and dare the truth.”

His gaze came to rest on Aron, and a strange anger blazed in his eyes.

“Done with puppets of the ruling class, too busy tiptoeing around zealots, and dancing on the strings pulled by an old man behind the scenes. The only other great mind in this entire besotted nation, but without the ambition to guide it into the embrace of history.

“Oddly enough, I may owe Salmanor Hardin a debt for opening my eyes today. I see now that this society is decadent beyond redemption. It is time for it to be purged in fire and rebuilt from the ashes.”

The princes stared at Zomoran in amazement. Aron’s eyes hardened as he returned the magus’s acid glare.

“The people of Carlissa are not toys or machines, Zomoran,” he said, “to be ‘engineered’ to suit your view of the way things should be. They are individuals, with rights and dignity. Too often in the past have we made that mistake. It’s time to try a better way.”

Zomoran shook his head and laughed again.

“So parrots the puppet,” he mocked. “Your grandfather’s ideals are a delusion, boy. A nation of sheep cannot govern itself. It needs to be led, by those with the knowledge and spirit to understand what is best for them. Or do I truly have to lecture a princeling of the realm on the meaning of noblesse oblige?”

His free arm reached behind him. He drew the woman with the bloody hand into a protective embrace.

“Would a great man allow his best minds to be given over to torture and the threat of a heretic’s fire?” he demanded. “For the mere crime of thinking bold thoughts? Or would he lead and protect them? And if others lacked the wisdom to follow of their own accord, would he not shepherd them? By force, if necessary? For their own good?”

“A great man doesn’t concern himself with his own greatness,” Aron replied firmly. “Empty minds, you say? I was more attentive to your lessons, Professor, and to your example, than you realize. You stand there, sheltering a colleague whose devotion feeds your vanity, and you leave a trail of dead and broken bodies in your wake to do it. And you presume to lecture me about the meaning of noblesse oblige? Whose needs do you truly serve, Lord of Westreach?”

Zomoran regarded him icily, but with a look of sudden wariness.

“You are clever, princeling,” he said. “More so than I gave you credit for. You’re stalling, trying to keep me talking and arguing, while you wait for reinforcements from the palace. Yes, I know that the Archmage is there. And as much as I would relish the opportunity to test myself against him, that is not my plan for today.”

Re-Release Coming Soon!

Big changes will be coming soon to the Sanctum of the Archmage project! I wanted to give everyone a heads-up that I will be temporarily taking Dawn of Chaos down from the Kindle store, probably by the end of the October. It will be re-listed after the new releases of Prologue to Chaos, Hellgate, and Aftermath, as an anthology combining them, and as both e-book and paperback.

I’m also getting ready to create a Patreon page. Stay tuned for that announcement, coming shortly!

Dawn of Chaos: Edit and Re-Release

My first novel, Dawn of Chaos, suffers (especially in the earlier chapters) from the fact that much of it was written while I was still honing my writing skills. It also has an unusually long introduction and denouement relative to the core of the novel’s story. Modern readers, however (and I think with some justification) expect a book to quickly draw them into the story, and have less patience with the level of exposition and “stage setting” that I was used to from many of the classics of the past. In the e-publishing world of readers who use the “look inside” function to decide if they like something enough to buy it, authors really need to put their best, tightest, and most gripping work forward at the outset.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to restructure Dawn of Chaos and to give it a ruthless edit. My current plan is to separate the introduction and denouement into two novella-length works that “sandwich” the main story. The first was easy to do by editing and moving the initial three chapters of the novel into Prologue to Chaos. The revised Prologue still opens with the conflict and action of the saga’s seminal confrontation, but now also includes a much tighter introduction to the novel. Along with an additional new scene, I think it will be a more effective lead-in to the series, especially since I will also be making it available as a free download.

The novel itself (after a short synopsis of Prologue) will lead right into the action with the start of the invasion, ending shortly after the climax in the chapter The Last Stand. I’m currently planning to release it as a new book under a new name and with a new cover, titled Hellgate. The last several chapters (along with an added scene or two to help further introduce the next novel, Wrath of the Peregrine King) will then be released as another novella, titled Aftermath. After that, all three books will be collected into a single compilation volume and re-published (as both e-book and paperback) under the original title, Dawn of Chaos.

Going Wide

After careful consideration, I’ve also decided to end my participation in Amazon’s KDP Select program. What that means is that although my books will no longer be available in Kindle Unlimited, I will also no longer be required to publish them exclusively on Amazon. That will let me release them on other online bookstores such as iBooks and Kobo, and even sell them from my own website. (In the indie publishing world, we call this “going wide.”) Setting all of that up will take a bit of time, but I’m very excited at the prospect of making Sanctum of the Archmage available in all of those new venues in the coming months.

Summer Sanctum Projects

Here’s an update on recent and upcoming projects in the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga!

RP Game Modules for Neverwinter Nights

Sanctum of the Archmage: The Sight and The Quest, EE Version was published on June 6th! This v5.0 release includes a number of new features, including major custom content updates and re-writes to the XP and crafting systems. The beginning in the forests of southern Carlissa has also been re-built using the excellent Wild Woods tileset, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This release will only work in Beamdog’s Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, although I’m planning an update that should work in NWN 1.69 as well.

A Steam release of the EE Version is also planned for later this year. When that happens will depend on how long it takes me to work out how to re-package the modules for it, and/or to get permission to re-post the required custom content projects on Steam. Some folks at the Neverwinter Vault are developing a one-click install solution that would draw directly from its archives, and if I can make that work from Steam that would be the best and easiest solution. I’ll post updates as I learn more. I’ve had information that players are increasingly checking only the Steam workshop for new EE modules, though, so it’s looking increasingly important for me to get Sanctum on it as well.

After that, I’m planning to resume development of Sanctum of the Archmage 3: The Miracle Worker. How much time I’ll be able to devote to it, though, will depend on the level of interest in the re-release of Sanctum 1 & 2. If they do well and there’s a growth in the player base for NWN:EE, then I’ll definitely try to put more of my (sadly limited) time into that effort. If not, then I may need to switch more of my focus back to resuming work on my novel writing projects. And speaking of that …

The Sanctum of the Archmage Novel Series
Indie publishing, as I’m learning, is really hard work. Being successful at it (especially today) requires mastering a host of cutting edge book marketing skills and practices.

This is a painful lesson that I learned from last year’s launch of my first novel, Dawn of Chaos. Without the right promotional work, you can write and publish a book, but next to no one will notice (let alone buy) it. It’s also easy to fall into the many pitfalls of modern indie publishing, such as the curse of the polluted also-boughts (which, of course, I did).

I’ve been devoting a lot of my spare time in recent months to correcting those oversights by reading and listening to dozens of books, articles, and podcasts on indie book marketing and publishing. A review of my first novel has also helped me recognize some opportunities I have to improve them. So I’ve decided to make a thorough edit of Dawn of Chaos my next writing project before getting back to finishing my next novel, Wrath of the Peregrine King.

For more on my plans to edit and re-release Dawn of Chaos, please see here.
New Facebook Group

Sadly, thanks to the changes made by Facebook to its algorithms this year, the ability of Facebook pages like mine to reach fans has been steadily (and notably) diminishing. Since a shift to Facebook Groups rather than pages seems to be the becoming the advised way to stay in touch with fans, I’ve gone ahead and created a Sanctum of the Archmage – Facebook Group. If you’re on Facebook, please feel free to visit and join!

That’s all for now. Thanks again for your interest and attention, and stay tuned for upcoming announcements!Sincerely,

Tony Donadio (aka Andarian)