Ben Spencer Writes I (or is it IV?): A New Hope

Hello all.

After years of struggling to settle on the best way to develop a consistent author platform, I’ve decided to have a go at a monthly (or bi-monthly? Yeah, probably bi-montly) blog post. I’ll then share the link to the blog post on various social media outlets, where my tens of followers can read their fill.

As I’m not much for giving writing advice or engaging in soul-baring confessionals, my monthly blog post is going to touch on the same four or five topics each time. I’ll provide a writing update, divulge an interesting piece of Deer King trivia, offer the odd historical insight, recommend a book (yes, please!), recommend a song (oh no!), and then…well, that’s probably it, but no promises.

So, here we go.

Writing Update: I’m 24K words into Last of the Baronites: Novella Three of The Deer King series. I should finish up in late July or early August, and hopefully have it out in the world by late August. I’m 40K words into my novel-in-progress (does it have a title? Yes it does, but I’m keeping it to myself for now. I’m very happy with the title). Hope to wrap it up by Summer 2020. It’s contemporary fantasy, with what I believe is a novel conceit. Quite a bit different from The Deer King.

The Deer King Trivia: Edward Drey was the first Harrolander to reach Tsadanali. He forged a peace with the Torquecan people (in the name of King Charles Penrose) shortly after one of his soldiers murdered the Torquecan ruler Chineyaco in 11 A.D. The peace lasted until his death.

Odd Historical Insight: The first U.S. president to have his photograph taken was John Quincy Adams, in 1843. (It might have been William Henry Harrison in 1841, but we’ll stick with popular legend). Adams, who left the presidency in 1829, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1830, and served there until his death in the Capital Building in 1848, two days after suffering a stroke in the House chamber. He spent his latter years as a representative railing against slavery, receiving numerous death threats. As a seven-year old boy he watched cannon fire from the Battle of Bunker Hill from a hilltop ten miles away, and then lived to the eve of the Civil War. A character loosely based on a young John Quincy Adams features heavily in Last of the Baronites. Here’s the picture:

Image result for first photograph of a president

Book Recommendation: Daniel Polansky’s A City Dreaming. It bothers me to no end that Polansky’s genius isn’t shouted from the rooftops of every bookstore in the country. This particular book is a genre mashup that blows the top off what imaginative literature is capable of. So very good.

Music Recommendation: “City Looks Pretty” by Courtney Barnett. Amazing lyricist, amazing songwriter. My favorite song off her latest record. Have a listen if you’re so inclined. “City Looks Pretty”

Alright, that’s it. Until next time…

The Sundering

Before the blog post, a bit of business: The Deer King: Novella One is available HERE. The Sundering: Novella Two is available HERE.

Okay. I thought I’d use this blog post to share a little bit about my writing life, and to go into a little depth as to what I’m hoping to accomplish with The Deer King series.

It took me a long time to discover that I was a fantasy writer. My reading habits have long had a fantastical bent, but it wasn’t until five years ago that I made the leap from my early literary ambitions into the world of fantasy literature. Now, safely on the other side of a half-decade struggle to claim my writing identity for myself, I have a strong grasp of who I am as a writer, and what I want to write.

The Deer King is my attempt at creating an epic fantasy universe that feels as complex and realized as many of my favorite fantasy series, while also maintaining an independent streak that makes it feel different from what you might find at your local bookstore (or run-of-the-mill internet browsing session). By writing the series in novella form, I’m hoping to propel the series forward in interesting and unexpected ways; although every book will advance the series’ central conceit, I intend to take risks that might fall outside the normal scope of what traditional fantasy offers. If you’re looking for a straight-forward narrative with goal-obsessed protagonists, this might not be the series for you. But if you’re looking for character-centered writing that’s unafraid to branch out and take a few detours, you should give The Deer King a look.

Although not technically historical fiction, The Deer King also draws heavily from my fascination with American History and the Enlightenment. History buffs with a keen eye should be able to spot a number of interesting parallels.

One last note: My goal with The Deer King series has been to get the first three novellas out into the world, and then to start promoting it more aggressively using advertising sites like Bookbub, etc. As I’m just now starting novella three, my goal at the current moment is to garner as many reviews as I can on Amazon and Goodreads. The more reviews the series has, the more successful my promotions will be when the time comes, or so the reasoning goes. As such, if you’re interested in receiving a copy of The Deer King and/or The Sundering in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, click HERE to access my Contact Page. Reach out, and we’ll have you reading in no time.