Dusk Mountain Blues Release Date

Dusk Mountain Blues

March 24th, 2020 on Amazon

The Caldwells have one goal in life: to be left alone. They’ve been living on the backwater planet of C’dar for years, smuggling and scavenging their way to a comfortable life on their Homestead. But you know the saying about all good things – they come to an end. The Civilization wasn’t content with falling apart the first time and has finally caught wind of the ol’ boys and girls on their little rock in the middle of nowhere. Ain’t nothing much they can do about that, though…except fight ’em.

It all comes down to three generations of Caldwells— Luke “Drifter” Caldwell, Woodrow “Appetite” Caldwell, and Cassie “Kindle” Caldwell—as they fend for everything they call home. What is isolation worth?



Blog Post (12/4/2019) Write what you want in your world (an author of color problem)

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about hard lately. I feel like there’s often a stigma where authors of color are pigeon-held into just writing about main characters of their own skin tone. It’s something that has bothered me for quite some time while being in different circles within the writing community. I’ve been often teased and scoffed at because the main character of my books isn’t my skin tone—or they are entirely made up like a fantasy race. I believe that’s not quite a fair thing to say or assume about my book or me as a person. So, I wanted to talk about it.

I’ve said the before: authors can write about any protagonist they want to write about. I’m a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, and Elder Scrolls. That has in turn instilled a lot of world-building involving fantasy races. I tend to use those as a coding of some sort to talk about topics that are close to me. Also, I just like writing about orcs, elves, dwarves, giants, firbolgs, etc. I don’t feel like there are enough people of color writing about those things in their fantasy worlds, so I wanted to write about it myself. That doesn’t mean that I’m ashamed of my race or that somehow, I’m not representing myself accurately.

There’s plenty of people of color that are represented in my world.  One of the main things I wanted to have is people of color in major authority positions. For example, the main royal family of the Empire is dark-skinned and most if not all the Dukes you see within the story are people of color (aside from the Great Northern Families which are based on Norse and Celtic). I feel like that’s a good way to show representation outside of having a black main character within an afro-centric world.

Let me clarify though. I enjoy these stories. Black Panther, Rage of Winter and Children of Blood and Bone are some of my favorite stories to ever grace pages. But it bothers me the people expect me to write something similar because I’m black (this especially the case with fellow people of color). There are plenty of ways to represent your race within your story but also the fact that you’re writing a novel anyway is representation enough. You can write whatever you want if it’s tasteful and respectful to people.

So, I’m challenging more people of color to write outside of what they think they can do or more importantly should do. If you want to write about an African princess with magical powers, go for it. We need more powerful black characters in the world. But also, if you want to write about Vikings or dragon people that live in trees, go for it. Don’t feel like you must be forced to write these things because of the color of your skin. I’ve seen amazing Asian or African inspired books written by white men or white women. You’re allowed to step outside of your comfort zone and write what you want to write (given that you have research or in the case of fantasy, appropriate world-building). You, as an author, are representation enough.

Blog Post (8/29/2019) Main Characters (And how they aren’t the only characters in your story)

There’s a thing I’ve noticed with newer or inexperienced writers. They tend to not to have secondary or even minor characters at all. I didn’t realize how much of an issue this is until I realized in a few fan fictions and novels that I’ve been reading that something was missing. Secondary and minor characters are important to the world itself. They fill the world up with people that the main character will interact with, even if they only appear for a scene or two. It gives the world some meat to the potatoes that is the setting.  Without it, the main characters feel like they are the only people in the world and the world completely revolves around them. No one wants to feel like the only thing that the author wants to show off is the main characters.

So, what exactly is a secondary character or a minor character?

A secondary character isn’t quite the main characters, but they have importance within the story itself.  Often, they would appear more than once or have some significance to the plot. A good example of a secondary character is often the mentor character that disappears (or dies or something) midway through the plot. They are an important secondary character. They drive the plot forward without being the main characters that you’re always around. They are often reoccurring and sometimes can be upgraded to main characters easily given enough scenes.

A minor character is a character that holds very little significance at all and just shows up as a character for the sake of the scene. These are tricky and very often come up on the fly. Sometimes, they don’t even need to have names. They do, however, need to portray what you want them to in that specific scene without looking wooden or a cutout. You can have fun with these. Some of my favorite minor characters have been eccentric or awesome for a single scene, only to never be seen from again. Some never even get a line of dialogue (like the guards of a Queen or a bartender of a tavern).  They are there to give some depth to the scene and remind the readers, hey, this a world with thousands upon thousands of people that you aren’t going to be able to meet.

Then why are they important? Like I said before, secondary and minor characters bring depth to the stories. Main characters have their own drives and ambitions and the center of the plot. The setting gives them somewhere to stay, walk around in, converse around, and do battle in. However, none of that matters if there’s not more than the main characters they can talk to sometimes. Sometimes, you need to have nameless characters for your main characters to fight. You need to have them go somewhere and gather information. Secondary and minor characters can give you that without compromising what you want the main characters to experience. Also, they are easy to make for the most part.

Secondary characters usually have more depth. They take time to mature (however less than the major characters) and they often have names and personalities in every scene they come across. Take your time with these. For minor characters, you can very often just think of a name or personality on the fly that fits your world. Give them a job or a purpose for their minor role within the scene and keep moving. You’ll be amazed by just how much add a few soldiers, a few patrons, or a few random city folks within a scene can change how your readers will see the scene in their heads.

I hope that this helps. Keep making characters and write those stories.

See ya next Thursday,

Deston J. Munden

Blog Post (8/22/2019) Post First Draft Syndrome ™ (I’m both excited and tired)

So, if you’re following me on any social media, you’re probably aware that I’m now finished with yet another first draft in Duke’s Brand. It has been quite the wild ride, filled with a lot of hard work and late nights but I did it again. I wanted to talk a little bit about my first drafting experience since quite a few people have asked me about it. For me, it has felt like I took forever on this draft. For everyone else, it looks like I blitz through it at the speed of light. Either way, I’m suffering what I have officially coined as Post First Draft Syndrome ™.

What is Post First Draft Syndrome ™? It’s both excitement and sadness after finishing a first draft. It starts as complete excitement. You did it! You finished your first draft! Hurrah! Then, it slowly goes into mild paranoia. You start backing up the first draft everywhere in existence, realizing the editing work that’s going to have to go into it, start collecting beta readers for the next draft, worrying about every flaw in the first draft ever that you can think of off the top of your head!! etc. By the end of the first few hours, your exciting experience of finishing a first draft is now a conflicting war of emotions where you as the author feel like you’re being torn asunder. So, now I’m here, blogging (sorry for the lateness because I’ve been working obviously) talking about it.

So, how do I deal with it? As you know, I’m…. a bit of a workaholic. When I’m not doing anything productive, I get kinda angsty thus the beginning of my Post First Draft Syndrome ™ to settle in at full power. If I have anyone else like me, I have a few tips to help you get through it. The first being relax! You just finished a first draft, dude, celebrate. Kick back, enjoy yourself, give yourself a vacation (even if it’s a week or so). Don’t jump into editing or writing another draft. Just relax. Give yourself some time to recharge. The work is going to be there when you get back. You have a lot to do already. It’s better to just chill and enjoy your accomplishment.

After that, if you’re anything like me, work on something other than writing on or after your vacation. Work on your social media platforms, read your TBR, catch up on some other media such as video games or anime, just try to recharge yourself. Your mind is still going to be in work mode. Already today, I opened the file and remembered I’m not working on it anymore. I gotta force myself to sit down and enjoy the time I have off.  Yes, this is my job, but I gotta keep myself at top shape going forward. It’s time for me to enjoy other things for a while before jumping into the next project. So, right now, I’m focusing also on working on my health and getting my mind back centered.  It’s the best I can manage to do right now.

Thanks for all the support I’ve gotten for Duke’s Brand and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I love writing it when it’s finally released.  I’m going to go watch some anime now. I hope you guys have a good day and I see you guys next Thursday.

Have a wonderful week,

Deston J. Munden


Book Progress

Blog Post (6/24/19) Reviews and Contests (Scary Things, I know)


So, if you’ve been following me on social media, you know that I’ve joined two contest this year: the Epic Fantasy Fanatic awards (the EFFys) and the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO 5).

It got me thinking about a lot of things (among those being how nervous I am just thinking about it). But it also got me thinking about publicity in general and how it’s a risk just to try some of these things out.

It took a lot of convincing for me to even try either of these things. It was a terrifying experience for me considering that I’ve never tried anything like this before. I thought, even now, why should I even try where there’s plenty of books out there that will probably be a thousand times better. It wasn’t a mindset that I wanted or needed to be in. You see, everyone has those reservations. To you, your book isn’t worthy of being placed in contests or being up for review by a blogger. You’ve already so acquainted with your story that you see its flaws and only see the best in the people you’re competing against.

I took the entire day when I joined the SPFBO looking at all the fellow contestants, especially the 30 within my chosen blog. There are quite a few big names in my chosen blog, so I convinced myself that I didn’t have a chance. It ruined my day. It took some friends convincing me that that act that I’m even trying is enough. And the more I think about it, it’s true. I wouldn’t have even tried this before. I would’ve convinced myself well before the contest even started that my book wasn’t even worthy to at least try either of these. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there and take these risks. You’re going to be criticized and honestly, some people aren’t even going to like your book. That’s fine.  But you need to try. You don’t know what you can do or who you might meet along the way.

Reviewers and contests are as much of a networking tool as self-promotion and marketing. In a way, they are bound tightly together. Reviews and contests give you an audience that may have never found your book otherwise. That alone is a reason to try.  Your book needs to find eyes to read it. Like I’ve said before, you can’t expect people to find your book on their own. You must be willing to put your book in awkward situations. Find people that will want to read your book, who offer legitimate promotion services or publicly display your books to an audience. Remember that you’re not alone in this.

On the topic of fellow contestants in a contest, reach out to them. They are not your enemy. Yes, you’re competing against them (FOR WAR AND GLORY). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends with them or get to know them too. You’re in a contest with sometimes upward of hundred, two-hundred, or three-hundred other people. Don’t be afraid to meet them. Read their works and learn from them.  Also, don’t be jealous (as best as you can) while reading their works. Again, the grass is greener on the other side. Reading your fellow contestants works is not only supporting them but also showing good sportsmanship. It’s all a learning experience.

So, I’ll suggest anyone to at least give a contest a try. You might win. You might lose. But in the end, you might be surprised by the results either way.

Have a good day,

Deston J. Munden

Book Progress

If you want to nominate me for the EFFys to make it to the next round, there’s a link below!


Blog Post (6/13/19): Traditional vs Self-Publishing (what I’ve learned so far)


My buddies at the Indie Street Marketing had a meeting not too long ago about indie vs traditional publishing and the difficulties that involve when you don’t have a traditional book. I wanted to throw my two cents into the mix since I couldn’t make it to the meeting that day so allow me to ramble for an unallotted amount of time until my heart is content. Ready? If you’re not I’m starting anyway, GOOOOO!!!!!!

I’m going to start off by being completely real, self-publishing is amazingly difficult, especially when it comes into the marketing department. While it has its upside such as creative freedom and control over what goes in and out of your book, it has one major downside. You’ll see it once you have your book published. You must get the books into readers hands. You gonna have to start marketing. What that means is that you’re going to have to learn to take (reasonable) risks and a lot of time and error getting your book up the charts in Amazon, generate buzz through social media, and learn things like Amazon or Facebook ads.

In traditional publishing, you have a juggernaut to help you with these parts. Self-publishing, this is all on you. You’re going to have to spend some of the money you earn (even very small amounts) on learning what works and doesn’t in your marketing scheme. But, there’s also plenty of other ways to make marketing easier for yourself without spending money. Develop a marketing plan. There are plenty of things that you can do to get yourself out there other than ads. You will have to learn how to network with other writers and readers. That means having a blog, having a website, frequent use of Instagram and Twitter, developing videos on writing and drafting, etc.  And you’re going to have to do some of these things every day. If that means making a tweet or Instagram post or even working on a video, you’re going be marketing at least one thing every day (it’s not even trying to sell your book most of the time). That brings me to my biggest point: your book isn’t always going to be the thing that sells your book, often than not it’s the author. You are what makes you marketable.

People are going to have to see you as an author. That means developing a brand for yourself. You’re going to meet people along the way. You’re going to talk to them, learn more of the craft, get yourself into the thick of it. I get it, we aren’t the most sociable bunch us writers. But as a self-published author, you don’t have the luxury of sitting back and having people stumble over figuring out who you are. There are sometimes you are going to get lucky and find a bunch of potential readers. There are going to be times where you’re going to have a dry spell.  But the main thing is that you’re going to connect with other people. Find people that you enjoy talking to whether those are reviewers, fellow authors, readers, and fans.  Have a good time doing this, make friends within your industry and genre. Remember, you were a fan of these genres before you were an author (well at least I hope). Talk about works you read, works your jealous of (I’m looking at you Jonathan French and Nicholas Eames), fine-tune your writing craft, and get to know people.

Traditional publishing puts you into this mindset automatically. Often than not, they share editors, cover artists, agents, etc. They swap ARCs back and forth; they get buzz around their books by meeting with their fellow authors. Indie authors are going to have to learn to be sociable to succeed. You’re going to have to meet with your fellow authors, give out blurbs, leave reviews for your author friends, have writing days with them. Over this week alone, I’ve seen several traditional published writers meet each other and just talk and chill with their fellow writers. Indie authors should do the same. After you spoke with them for a time (to make sure they aren’t axe murderers), ask them for a writing date or just chat. Learn more about people.

Back to the marketing itself, a good suggestion that I have learned with the ads is to start off small and learn keywords that will draw in your readers. Find authors that are like you or are within the same genre as you. As a fantasy author, that was easier said than done. I had to take the broad fantasy genre and chip it down until I found the exact genre that my book. Learn keywords that you would search on Amazon or look at targeted fantasy book ads that you get on facebook. Learn bits and pieces of what works and what does with a small amount of budget, then work your way up. If you’re serious about this process and already spent money on editors, cover artist and formatting, you’re also going to have to spend money on your marketing to keep up with the traditional publishing. Don’t put yourself into debt. Remember there are other ways to market your book first.

All in all, the marketing (and the self-cost of everything) is the biggest difference in traditional versus indie publishing. A lot of work falls on the author themselves when you’re self-published. You’re going to have to develop a street team for yourself, get friends and family involved, and learn more and more about how the genre works.

If you want to learn more, please join the Indie Street Marketing discord (https://discord.gg/mtfM2qP) and talk with me there. I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and brainstorm with my fellow indie authors about getting more eyes on our book. I’ll be happy to hear from you. I would like to thank @bettsican @ginnyzero @jaimistoryteller @sixstepsaway on tumblr for bringing this topic to my attention.

See you guys on the next blog post,

Deston J. Munden



Blog Post (6/6/2019) Birthday Sale (and progress)

It was my birthday on Tuesday! As a celebration, I decided to put my book, Tavern on sale for the week. It’s been a wild ride this year. I’ve done things that I didn’t think that I would ever do in my life. All thanks to you guys. So, consider this a thanks for all you have done for me. The old man (though not as old as I would like you guys to believe) is grateful for every person that has bought, talked about, and spread the word of my books to everyone they know. I can’t thank you enough.

On to the progress! We are closing on the end of Duke’s Brand. I only have a few more chapters and I’m steadily hammering away words for it. After that, it’s the Dusk Mountain Blues editing. That one is going to be very interesting (also I hate editing so there’s that). I will have a progress report outlining all of that as it comes on. We have also thought of the name of the next two Dargath Chronicles books. I will reveal them when we get closer to release Dusk Mountain Blues.

Other than that, there’s not much else to say. The details on the sale will be posted below as well as some progress on my book. I hope that you have a wonderful day. I hope to have a blog post topic soon.

See ya on the flip side,

Deston J. Munden




Book Progress