On June 30th, I published A Destiny of Dragons. I spoke a lot about it leading up to the release date, but then went quiet after it came out.
Part of that was because I immediately needed to turn my focus on to The Long and Winding Road, which came out five weeks later.
But the bigger reason was because the story of the destiny of Sam of Wilds isn’t over. I knew the next book, The Consumption of Magic, was only a few months away, and I didn’t want to take the chance of spoiling anything. I typically do a post-release discussion of a book, but there’s so much ahead, it was hard for me to pick and choose what to focus on, so I remained vague.
I’m going to talk about it now.
If you haven’t read A Destiny of Dragons, this is your warning: full spoilers ahead. I do not spoil events of the next book.
When I decided to actually sit down and write the sequels to The Lightning-Struck Heart, I knew I was going write them back to back (to back, as it turned out–it was supposed to be two more books, which turned into three). I knew the story was going to end on a cliffhanger, and I made myself a promise a while ago that I wouldn’t end a story on a big cliffhanger without having the next book written.
So I spent the majority of 2016 and the first part of 2017 writing Destiny, Consumption, and the last book, A Wish Upon the Stars. I’d never done something like that before: writing books in the same series one after another. It was…trying. I did take breaks every now and then to work on something different (Olive Juice, BOATK4), but for the most part, I was in Verania for a year. It gave me greater insight to these characters–their strengths and flaws–but it took a lot out of me.
I knew going into Destiny that in addition to making fun of the the trope THE CHOSEN ONE WITH A DESTINY, I was also going to be delving into the backstory of Morgan and Randall. If you look back in Lightning, there is one brief mention of the name Myrin. Sam talks about him as an aside, a little detail that was mentioned when discussing cornerstones. Can I say I was clever and planted that seed when writing Lightning, knowing full well Myrin was going to be the Big Bad in the sequels?
Nope. Absolutely not. In fact, Myrin wasn’t going to be anything at all. I had plans for a ridiculously over-the-top villian who was more stupid than evil. He initially showed up in Lightning; or, at least a discussion of him when Sam met the fairy king Dimitri in the Dark Woods. Much of that scene was scrapped because it added nothing in the long run to the fractured fairy tale I was telling in Lightning. There are hints left, of course, of something bigger, but it didn’t have to mean anything.
So there I was! Planning this stupid villain, deciding he was most likely going to take the attributes of a fucking idiot named Donald Trump who was never going to be president no matter how much he tried. Right? Who in their right mind would vote for someone who only needed a handlebar mustache to twirl to actually become a cartoon villain?
(2016 Tj would not believe what the future would hold.)
But then it happened, as it sometimes does, where I had a random thought: Huh. I wonder what would happen if it all came down to cornerstones?
Which led to: Who was Randall’s cornerstone again?
I had no idea. I had to go back and find the scene in Lightning. I actually thought I’d written more about it, to be honest. There was just that single mention, one name.
I don’t know how the story would have turned out had I not done that. But I did, and immediately began to think about how fucking tragic it would be if Myrin would the Big Bad. How hypocritical would it be of Randall to push the idea of a cornerstone on Sam without giving–
And, oh my god, what if Myrin was Morgan’s brother? How fucking EPIC would that be? I could–
OH, OH, OH, WHAT IF MORGAN KNEW ABOUT SAM’S DESTINY BEFOREHAND FROM VADOMA AND AND AND AND–
This is, essentially, how my thought process went. Caps and all. Being in my head is often loud and offensive.
I scrapped a lot of my previous outline.
And began to put together a new story, one of brothers and great loves, of cornerstones and betrayal. I knew I was going to run the risk of alienating some readers of the first book. Lightning was cotton candy laced with crack. Destiny was still going to be that too, but it was also going to get flambeed. Did I hesitate? Maybe a little. But I reminded myself that I don’t let others dictate what I write.
So I ran with it.
(Lady Tiny DeSilva became my Trumpian villain. Fits her perfectly, I think. Fuck Donald Trump.)
There is a specific scene in The Consumption of Magic that I began to visualize all the way back in 2014 when I first started writing Lightning. It didn’t fit in Lightning at all, but I thought about it a lot. When I decided to continue the story, I knew I was going to get to include it. I was so damn excited about getting to this scene, so much so that I thought about breaking my own rule and skipping ahead and writing it. I balked, though, instead letting it be a reward for myself once I got to it. And when I did get to it, I wrote it all out in one day, and it was one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever gotten to write. It’s so damn cinematic that I absolutely need a movie studio to pick up the rights to this series, give me at least 500 million dollars for the budget, just so I can one day see this specific scene on the big screen. Much like Sam’s demonstration of just how strong he is in Destiny with the sand mermaids at Zero’s lair in the desert castle, this was another chance to show what he’s capable of. I will say this: it involves Sam, Kevin, and a certain ancient white dragon. It is bonkers.
You met Zero, the teenage emo snake dragon monster thing. He was an absolute joy to write. The idea of a 1400 year old dragon having the mentality of a 14 year old emo kid is so fucking dumb, and I love it.
He’s not in Consumption.
Instead, the focus shifts toward…others. After all, there are still the northern dragons, right? And they’re…well. They’re not going to be what Sam expects, that’s for sure.
Ruv. Ruv, Ruv, Ruv.
Man, I was surprised at how many people felt sorry for Ruv. I had people telling me they wanted Sam and Ruv to actually be a real thing. (No way, no how. HaveHeart for life, motherfuckers.) I wasn’t expecting that. I will say this: I do have plans for Ruv. I don’t want to say anything more right now, but you haven’t heard the last from him.
(And no, he will not be fucking Justin, you weirdos.)
And from Ruv, you have to go to Vadoma. She is…complicated. I think she got pulled into something much bigger than she ever thought. I don’t like her, but I do feel sympathy for her. She still has a part to play.
A few other points:
—Yes, Gary will get his horn back. I’m not going to tell you in which of the remaining two books, but it happens.
—Yes, the bard will be seen again, he of Cheesy Dicks and Candlesticks. In fact, he might even have a new song that I wrote while keeping a certain narrator in mind. That won’t happen until the last book.
—Yes, Sam has kept many secrets–especially from the people he’s closest to–and that’s going to have to come out sooner rather than later. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it will be sooner. And he is going to find himself in the exact position he put Morgan and Randall in when he accused them of doing the same thing. Hypocrisy, thy name is Sam.
—Yes, there will be another cliffhanger in Consumption, but fear not: A Wish Upon the Stars is written, in edits, and will be out Feb/March 2018. I will say though that this isn’t so much as you hanging from a cliff as me putting living grenades in your pockets and then shoving you off the cliff. It’s big, and it changes quite a lot.
—Yes, when all is said and done, there will be a happy ending. The kind where everyone is happy and cheerful and maybe the sound of wedding bells ring far and wide throughout the kingdom.
A Destiny of Dragons is about just that: destiny, and whether or not we have the power to fight it. If, in the end, we have a choice in the matter.
The Consumption of Magic is about power, and how much is too much for one person to wield. Myrin has plans for Verania. Sam must find a way to stop him. And that little patch in the Dark Woods burned away when Sam brought the bird back to life will loom over them all.
Just because you have the power, does it give you the right to use it?
(But there is still all that cotton candy laced with crack, so no worries. These are comedies, people, even if they might sting a little.)
In the next couple of months leading up to the release of The Consumption of Magic on November 20th , I’ll be discussing more having to do with Tales from Verania, including one big task I had: making Prince Justin into a likeable character, because I love the absolute crap out of him and will make him Sam’s best friend 5eva no matter what.
(And also because I wanted him to have his own book one day.)
(Which he will.)
I hope you’re ready!