have an exciting announcement: I am about to release my fantasy novel Paw within the next couple of weeks, a book that combines my love of the fantasy genre with my well known fondness for cats. The edits are done. My Amazon file exists. It is around 200 pages and it is ready to go.
Publishing Paw is a big change of my original plan to release my other novel The Ghosts of Chimera first, a 600 page manuscript that was accepted by a small publisher over a year ago. I had major creative differences with my editor and I backed out of the deal so I could self-publish it as I saw fit, but I am not totally satisfied with it yet; getting all the kinks out of a 600 page book is going to take more time than I thought, so I am releasing Paw first.
Paw is about a slave who struggles to survive and protect her family as she works to escape a desert mining camp. The slave also happens to be a cat – a highly intelligent one with speech and bipedal locomotion. Actually, she prefers not to describe herself as a cat at all. This is what she has to say.
I am not a cat. I am a kat. Cats lack the ability to speak and they can only walk on four legs, while an adult kat stands proudly on two. The worst insult you can give a kat is to call her a quad, which is the generic term for beasts that walk on two legs only. Though we kats hate admitting our kinship to quads, if you look at our faces, our whiskers, and our fluffy tails, you will see a striking resemblance to our feral cousins.
Despite being about feline creatures, the story is fairly dark – much darker than I had originally intended it to be when the inspiration for the novel struck.
As is the case with my other novels, my inspiration for Paw was a video game. This story began with the role playing game Skyrim. For fun, I used visual details from the game to do a writing exercise in observation; that is, I would pay close attention to the setting and describe what I saw: soaring castles, ruined temples with stone arches, snow-covered mountains, villages full of waterfalls, bridges, and rivers. I wrote it all down.
Since my avatar was a cat creature, I wrote all my descriptions in first person from her point of view. As I wrote I discovered that she had strong opinions and feelings about what she was seeing. She experienced remorse for those she killed in battle. She saw metaphors in nature. She was curious, sensitive, and sometimes snarky. She was constantly, even obsessively, trying to understand her world.
It was during those exercises that my character came to life. I thought she had a story to tell, and I wanted to let her tell it. I am thrilled to finally release her tale in novel form; it will be my second published novel following Thief of Hades, which was published in 2001. Paw will be the first in a three-part series called the Bastis Archives trilogy.
I have already begun working on the sequel while my real cat competes with my computer for lap space. I will let you know when Book I comes out officially, which will be soon – that is, if my cat allows it. Maybe if I tell her she helped inspire it, she will tuck her paws under her belly and let me write.
If you enjoyed this post you might like my other writing. Take a moment and sign up for my free starter library. Click here. Also my story collection “Remembering the Future” is available for purchase on Amazon.