Princess of Amathar – 1,000th Copy Sold

Princess of AmatharThe week I’m celebrating the sale of the 1,000th copy of Princess of Amathar, my first book.    I started writing Princess of Amathar many years ago– about 1986 or 87.  Like everything I was writing back then, I set it aside and didn’t touch it for many years.  After I started teaching, I pulled it out and started in to finish it.  That was about 1996.  It took me a year or so to finish and then a year to edit.  Then I spent several years trying unsuccessfully to get it published.  Then I set it in a drawer.  One day a friend and colleague suggested I publish it myself, and pointed to Lulu as a place I could do so without a large initial investment.  I published it in paperback in 2007.  I sold a copy to everyone I know– about 69 of them.  The following year, I discovered Smashwords.  I published His Robot Girlfriend first, and then Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess— both of which were free.  Then I decided to publish Princess of Amathar.  This was early on in the Smashwords story (Princess of Amathar was the 2,287th Smashwords book).  Since then, it has sold moderately well as an ebook.  In many ways, it is my weakest book, and I think I’ve grown as a writer since then, but I still have a fondness for it.  It is after, the book that started my writing career, and it’s a book that I wanted to read.

You can purchase Princess of Amathar as an ebook for $1.99 wherever fine ebooks are sold.

P.S. I’ve also sold my 16,000th book overall this week.  I’m pretty jazzed about that.

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Princess of Amathar – Chapter 16 Preview

Princess of AmatharThe shrine took my breath away. Not because it was big, though it was that. Not because it was carefully inlaid with precious stones and highly polished gold and silver, though it was. It quite knocked the breath from my lungs because the symbol on the great shrine was an A. I don’t mean it was an Amatharian A. It was an honest to god, Greco-Roman, American English, Times font type A!

“That’s an A!” I shouted.

The entire population of the hall turned and looked at us.

“That’s an A.” I said.

“Show some respect, knight,” growled Vena Remontar. “Keep your voice down.”

“That’s an A,” I whispered.

“You are correct, knight.” A voice came from behind us.

We turned to see an older Amatharian man dressed in the brown robes of the templars, and wearing a large silver medallion with the letter A on it. Vena Remontar bowed low, and I followed suit.

“I am Kurar Ka Remiant Oldon Domintus,” said the man, identifying himself as an overlord.

“I am the High Templar.”

“It is an honor to meet you, I’m sure,” I said. “That is an A?”

“Yes, you are quite correct. That is an A.”

“Well. How did it get here?”

“Before we answer any of your questions,” the Overlord said. “you have a great many things to do for us.”

Oldon Domintus turned and led the two of us across the great hall to a doorway opposite that through which we had come. Beyond the chamber was a great long corridor. This hallway was lined with pictures painted in the bright colors: pictures of Amatharian knights engaged in battles, pictures of templars performing rituals in the great plaza, pictures of great buildings being constructed in Amathar. The High Templar maintained the image of a man showing friends around his home.

“Has Vena Remontar told you about our temple?”

“I’m afraid she has not yet had time.”

“This temple was built three hundred generations ago. Construction was begun under the direction of Amath himself. He envisioned a monument to his people where they could look for guidance. It was built here beside the Garden of Souls, so that those feeling the draw of their souls, could reflect.

“You felt no need to reflect before entering the garden?” he asked me.

“I’ve always been a pretty spontaneous fellow,” I replied.

“So it seems,”

Princess of Amathar – Ecos

Princess of AmatharThe story of “Princess of Amathar” takes place in the world of Ecos. Notice I said takes place “in”, not “on”, for Ecos is a Dyson Sphere. There is a lot of information on Dyson’s Spheres on the web and quite a bit relates to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I however set Princess of Amathar in a Dyson Sphere long before that episode was shown, having read about it in a role-playing magazine (for the Traveller RPG).

Ecos is a giant hollow ball, about 180 milliion miles in diameter, with its sun in the center. The people walk around on the inside of this great sphere. Though the Ecosian sun is slightly smaller than ours, you can’t tell because it is slightly closer to the surface of Ecos than ours is to Earth. This vast shell provides a surface area that is billions (with a B) of times larger than the surface area of any normal planet.

Ecos was created ages ago by a race of beings known as the Elder Gods. They also populated Ecos with dozens, perhaps hundreds of alien races, who then developed their own civilizations and societies. No one knows what happened to the Elder Gods, but the many races of Ecos continue to thrive.

Princess of Amathar – Chapter 15 Excerpt

Princess of AmatharAs I said this, I swung down. I knew that were we really engaged in battle, her sword would have glowed with power, and sliced through the mundane metal of my own, but for now, the soul was asleep, and we were on equal terms. Actually, I had an advantage of superior strength. She blocked my swing, but was unprepared for the added power, and it knocked her from her feet. Without hesitation, she swung toward my knees. I jumped up, and the blade passed harmlessly below me. The young knight rolled to her feet.

I could see by the half smile on her lips that she was enjoying herself. With a flick of her left wrist so quick that I almost didn’t see it, she whipped her short sword from its sheath and grasped it like a dagger. I chopped down with my blade in an attempt to catch her off balance, but she wasn’t off balance. She blocked my blow with the shorter blade and began to attack with the longer. Then she attacked with both swords, forcing me to defend, and I am sure, hoping to wear me down. Unable to attack for the moment, I began to leap quickly to either side, and then to the back, forcing her to chase me. I knew that it was I who would be able to wear her down first, and after several dozen parries, I could see in her eyes that she was coming to the same realization.

Here was the advantage I needed. I rained a series of blows at her head, then swung with power at her side. Like she had before, Vena Remontar spun around with her back to me and swung her sword, tip down, outward to meet mine. I expected to have a quick shot at her exposed back and left side, but even as she blocked my attack, she had with her left hand, driven her short sword straight back under her arm, and into my stomach.

“Umph!” I grunted in surprise. I expected that I had been cut through, but the tip of her sword merely pricked my skin.

Vena Remontar wiped the tiny drop of blood from her sword tip onto her tabard, then sheathed her sword. With the drawing of first blood, the contest was over.

“I’m satisfied,” she said. “I thought that perhaps Norar Remontar was being overly generous. But you are quite skilled.”

“Still, you defeated me,” I said, still holding a hand over my wound.

“It could have gone either way.”

Princess of Amathar – Chapter 13 Excerpt

Princess of Amathar“Yes, and my name is Nicohl Messonar.” She arched an eyebrow. “It is impolite not to use both names. That is only for husbands and wives, sharing an intimate moment.”
“Well, that’s certainly good to know,” I said, looking sidelong at Malagor.
“There are a great many things you will need to know, if you are to continue to live among us,” she continued. “That is why Norar Remontar requested my help in tutoring you.”
She reached into her bag and removed a square touch pad, and handed it to me. Across the front of the device, were displayed a collection of the Amatharian letter, many of which I remembered seeing in the book on the shuttle train.
“Do your people have a written language?” asked Nicohl Messonar.
“Of course.”
“Do they use a phonetic writing, or a pictographic one?”
“It is a phonetic system of writing,” I explained. “though we have some anomalous words that maintain forms from long ago.” Looking at Nicohl Messonar, I was reminded of the word “tough”, which sounds nothing like the way it is spelled.
“Good,” she said. “That also precisely describes Amatharian writing. In your hand, you have a display of our alphabet. There are thirty six letters. Press that one with your finger.” She indicated the figure that looked like a predatory animal. Almost all of the Amatharian letters resembled something recognizable. I have heard that the letter “A” is based upon the shape of a cow’s head, though I have never been able to see it myself. Here were animals, and clouds, and mountains, and a sun, all clearly recognizable for what they were. I pressed the letter.
“Buh.” The touchpad made the sound of a letter “B” in English.
“You will memorize the sounds of the alphabet and decipher these simple texts,” the teacher handed me several plastic pages of Amatharian writing. “Have it completed by the time I return. I will be back in 10 city-cycles.”
“City-cycles?”
It was then reminded that, in spite of Norar Remontar’s assurances that there was no such thing as a uniform length of time, that the Amatharians did have a measure of time. Nicohl Messonar explained the system in more detail. Long ago they had discovered an electro-magnetic pulse that reverberated through Ecos. Later they had determined that it was a result of the artificial gravity in this created world. The Amatharians had digital time pieces throughout the city– there was even one in Norar Remontar’s main room– which were all tied together and maintained a uniform measure of time. They used this time measurement for allotting work details and making appointments. However once outside the city, it meant little to them. The real difference between city-cycles and hours on Earth, were in how they were perceived by the people. If all the clocks of Earth were to go blank, hundreds of scientists would work weeks or even months, to find the correct time down to a fraction of a second. In Amathar, if the city-cycle were to fail, someone would take their best guess as to how much time had passed, and start it up again. As near as I have been able to pin-point it, the city-cycle is somewhere between two and four hours long. The Amatharians don’t even believe that it is a regular interval, though I suspect that it is.
So, after promising to, or rather threatening to return in ten city-cycles, Nicohl Messonar left. I was somewhat put off by her attitude, but then I recalled that upon first meeting, Norar Remontar had been somewhat stern, but in the interim, we had become good friends. In any case, I threw myself into an examination of the Amatharian alphabet.
Since I already knew the spoken language fairly well, the sounds produced by the letters were familiar. They were the same sounds found in English, though they were represented differently. For instance, the sound of the letter “N” as it would be used in “north” was represented by one letter, while the sound of the letter “N” as it would be used in “song” had a different letter. I was so engrossed in my little toy, that I didn’t notice that Malagor had left until he returned bearing a large meal for both of us. By that time, I was beginning to master the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.

Princess of Amathar – Chapter 12 Excerpt

Princess of AmatharThe transport dropped lower as Bentar Hissendar guided in to a landing at a large installation just within the wall of the city. On a large tarmac, surrounded by several buildings, sat a dozen transports just like the one in which we were flying. When our craft came to a stop on the ground, a crew of Amatharian men and women ran out onto the field to service the vehicle. They were wearing bodysuits very much like those the knights wore, though these were light blue rather than black, and they were worn without the tabard over them. Bentar Hissendar turned and spoke to one of them.

“Send word to the Kurar Ka, that we have returned with his grandson,” he turned to Norar Remontar. “It is best to send word before you go showing up at the door of your home. Give everyone a chance to realize you are alive.”

Norar Remontar replied, but I was too busy looking around to pay much attention to their conversation. The wall over which we had passed to come to this airfield was about two hundred feet tall, and was constructed or at least covered by a copper-colored metal. It looked to be thick enough for a truck to drive over. If fact, as I stared at it, some sort of vehicle running slowly along the top of the wall, passed by. The way it sat on the top, hugging the sides, reminded me of the monorail at Disneyland, though this vehicle was a single unit rather than a train, and had no windows, so therefore did not appear to be a passenger craft.

“That is the automated sentry,” said Norar Remontar, breaking into my observations. “Come, you have much to see.”

Malagor and I joined the returned son of Amathar, as he walked across the tarmac to one of the buildings at its edge. Inside, we were greeted by more Amatharians wearing bodysuits in a variety of colors. I asked Norar Remontar about the difference in clothing, and he informed me that different occupations within the city had traditional colors associated with them. Among those colors were black for soldier, light blue for mechanic, white for food preparers or servers, grey for doctors, and red for record keepers. The tabard was essentially an Amatharian uniform, worn by none but soldiers.

I was still thinking about this system of color coding, when the familiar black suit with white tabard appeared before me. A young woman, dressed in that very garb, stood with arms folded beside a desk just inside the terminal building. Her tabard bore the same crest that Norar Remontar’s did– a flaming sun with wings. When I looked up into her beautiful flawless face, for a moment I was in shock. She was my princess, rather I mean, she was Norar Remontar’s sister. But the impression lasted only a moment. This young woman had much shorter hair, a slightly smaller nose, darker skin, and larger, rounder eyes, that made her look much less serious. Admittedly the only time I had seen the Princess was during the height of battle. When the female knight saw Norar Remontar, she smiled broadly and reached out to grasp his hand.

“Word of your return precedes you, kinsman, though not by much,” she said, in a melodic but surprisingly strong voice. “I have just heard the good news, and here you are.”

“You are as beautiful as ever, Vena Remontar,” replied my friend. He then turned to Malagor and me.

“This is Remiant Vena Remontar, my cousin.” He used the word for mother’s sister’s daughter.

“I am soon to be related to you in other ways as well,” the young woman said. “I have agreed to let Tular Maximinos announced our intention to marry.”

Princess of Amathar – Chapter 11 Excerpt

Princess of AmatharMalagor, Norar Remontar, and I stepped out of the elevator and into a room lit just like the one from which we had left. This room had no geometric video controller in it however, and it was triangular in shape, with the elevator opening in the middle of one of three equal sides, and an open doorway on the wall to our left.

“This is peculiar,” said Norar Remontar.

I nodded my head at the understatement. “I would be willing to bet that this elevator, these rooms, the lighting, and the controls for the video images, are all artifacts of the Elder Gods, or whomever it was that created Ecos.

“I am inclined to agree,” said Norar Remontar.

We looked around this new room for several moments, but found nothing of interest. Finally Malagor voiced the opinion that we really had no other alternative but to head down the hallway and see where it led us. I was toying with the idea of suggesting that we try our luck one more time in the mysterious elevator, but I decided that Malagor was probably right. It was time to continue on our way. That is just what we did.

The dark hallway beckoned us like a gaping maw, but I tried not to think of it that way. It really doesn’t take too long to adjust to continual daylight. I think it would be much harder to adjust to continual darkness. Norar Remontar turned on his small flashlight; I unsheathed my sword, and the three of us with a quiet look between us, started down the long hallway. This time the hallway continued straight for what must have been five miles before opening into any type of room what so ever. At last it did, and as soon as we stepped into the room, I knew we were in for trouble.

A sudden wave of stench assaulted my nostrils. It was the smell of several dozen bodies which had not seen a bath in a long time, mixed with the smell of bodily waste accumulated over a period of several generations. I wasn’t the only one to smell it. Malagor immediately began coughing and gagging, to the extent that I feared he would pass out. A look of disgust crossed Norar Remontar’s face, but otherwise he remained characteristically stoic.

Malagor had just regained his own composure, when a horde of creatures burst screaming toward us from the dark. There were a score or more of the short, bipedal, four armed rat-like creatures, and they attacked using stone axes and razor sharp teeth. Screaming like banshees, the Kartags literally fell upon us.

I skewered the first creature to reach me on the end of my sword, turned, and threw my shoulder into the next one, sending it flying backwards into its fellows. At that moment the entire room was lit up by the incredible brightness of the Amatharian sword unsheathed. It sizzled and sparked as Norar Remontar used it to cut through the bodies of three of the Kartags. At almost the same moment, Malagor let loose with a burst of light rifle fire which cut a nice round smoking hole in the chest of another rat. This display of destruction was all that was necessary to convince most of the beasts to retreat. I quickly lopped off the head of one who apparently was having difficulty making that decision.