So, you've made it this far, have you? It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
As a reward, I present to you five new ways to immerse yourself within this novel. Some of it is insightful, other aspects of it is meant to make you laugh and smile. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll be eager to explore the book if you haven't already, or take a moment to read through it once again knowing what you do now.
“I don’t feel like being a mage is all that special at the moment considering I’m staring at a dragon right now.” – Max
Say Hello - The Cast of Emerald Intrigue
“Why is it the one time you’re right about something, it’s going to kill us?”
“Dragon, powerful mage, and now a goblin. I can now die happy, for I’ve seen everything now.”
“I hate the word cyborg. It makes me feel like I’m more machine, than human. To exist like this abomination becomes too much for me to handle some days.”
“The dead are notorious for being rather tight lipped when it comes to providing any additional information that may aid me in discovering who stole from me.”
“I’m not one to be threatened with death. Pain to me is a form of pleasure.”
“When I return to my home deep within the Rockies where I belong, I plan on murdering my entire family. I’ll make it a bloodbath!”
“I know, I’m more handsome in person than you ever imagined, I’m sure.”
“Awe… His first metamorphosis. He’s so cute in this form.”
“Creating something takes time and being careful to do it right requires a focused mind. Destroying something is easy. All it takes is brute force and no care or concern for what is being taken away from the world.” – Nick
“The ancient world is filled with stories, folklore, mysteries, and mythology. I’m living proof that many of those narratives told over a warm fire for entertainment of others, were rooted in truth, although such details have been largely exaggerated and misunderstood.” – Jinx
In college I wrote the first of what was to be a mash up of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, with a semi-contemporary setting of our world set into the future. This was the first of those novels. The original concept was that people would leave in the middle of the story and someone could pick up another novel to see where that story went. That... Was confusing, so Erik leaving in the middle of the story with one of the eggs never panned out.
Despite starting this story first, I didn't finish it, being drawn into what eventually developed into Blood Oath. That, of course, becoming the first of the series. Then came what developed into Arcane Inheritance and finally I came back to this story. The original draft that I wrote several years ago, was a radically different concept that went through several major re-writes before reaching the final version that was published.
"Twinkie?" That is how the story first began, Max finding an old, gross looking Twinkie in the depths far below the city. Originally, Max, Jenna, and Liz were thieves. They were the ones who originally broke into Silvermane's complex and stole what was originally four eggs. They broke in, connected with an artificial intelligence running the facility that had gained consciousness and tired of working for the vampire nation. So, somehow Liz was able to download this A.I. Into her computerized brain after it helped them succeed with the theft. How any of that was possible was largely glossed over and not truly explained well at all. One of many elements I felt needed to be fixed in a re-write that did occur down the road.
The Three Thieves
Mother and Child
In the first draft, upon returning home with the collection of eggs, one hatches forcing them to give only three to buyer. Originally the dwarf, is a middle man for the elf who orchestrated the whole theft. He gets access to three eggs, but keeps two and lies about only one being found. The scene with Erik taking the by train is one of the few scenes that remained form the original version. Although, he was supposed to reach Haven starting his own story. Obviously that concept never worked out by the time I returned to the story and so I intrigued Emmanuelle to stop him. Until then, I hadn't thought about parents. Also, in the original draft, dragons were born to lizards, and developed human level intelligence. A lot changed.
The confrontation between Silvermane and Emmanuelle remained the same between the original and the final version of the story.
AT one point Emerald transforms into an adult human male, uses magic like he's a mage. It was weird.
The geomancer and winged man from the previous novel were in the first draft alongside Jinx and Nick.
There was an entire sub-plot involving Silvermane hiring a group of mercenaries, Murdoc being the only one out of the group to make it into the final version. The cast of the first draft was enormous, dozens of individuals throughout a 600+ pages book. It was insane.
There was another sub-plot involving Aturez, Azul's brother, dealing with the woman who in the orignial draft of Blood Oath, had helped kill and take over Azul's positoin on the council. Of course, in the re-write of the first book, none of that happened. She was written out of the story. So, in the first attempt to salvage of the original story, that was removed compltely.
Next on the chopping block? The A.I. that was in Liz, talking to her like a voice in her head and eventually got his own android body. That felt too much like Parallax from the Sunfire Chronicles so he was cut out.
What else? The entire group of mercenaries which involved a series of scenes as to their involvement, fate, including Greven from the first book. All of them except for Murdoc were eliminated. It was just a giant mess at that point forcing me to realize I needed to start all over.
I remember sitting at a table at my day job, writing down notes on what I wanted to keep and how to restructure the entire novel form the ground up. I knew I wanted to keep Liz, Jenna, and Max. I liked Nick and Jinx but found a reason why the other two were gone. I kept the elf and dwarf since they were too vital to the plot but made them as buyers. Also, chose three eggs instead of four.
Portions of the original story survived, certain scenes were kept but altered slightly. Like Lyuben replaced "Tarot", a man who could see in to the future, to maintain certain scenes and plot elements from the original.
I had some experience with the three act structure ever since the novel, Dearly Beloved. My new approach was introduce everyone, have the eggs handed off, and end the first 100 pages with Emerald emerging. I took out all of his shape shifting abilities until the very end to accent he was Human Born like his parents, which was another change from the original. Dragons are Human Born. Even then he along with his sisters are limited to their age in human years reflecting their human form.
Second act or 100 pages would involve eliminating the three buyers and focusing on the mother, Emmanuelle, collecting her children and getting captured. The last third being resolution to what occurred. Originally Kaida was a male dragon that shapeshifted into a female, the abilities of dragons to take any form was unlimited originally. However, in the scene where he approaches Emmanuelle as a prisoner, instead of changing into a male body, I thought, "No... Keep her as is. This is a female/female couple." That's what led to the introduction of my first lesbian couple which I loved having that in my book.
Working Murberec into the storyline helped resolve so much of my plot hole issues. He was someone who had the resources, knowledge, and a capability to steal from Silvermane. Tying him to Murdoc reflects the twist ending that it was originally Murdoc's daughter in the suit, so that worked out well in bringing in Murberec's daughter from the first book back into the storyline.
“Congratulations, you’ve proven your point. We are in a room full of psychopaths, murderers, and people as crazy as you are. No wonder you like this place.” – Derek
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
The Shadow Realm
Silvermane is inspired by and modeled after Maximillian Pegasus from the Yu-Gi-Oh animated series.
Aturez is Azul's brother, Azul being the main antagonist in the novel: Blood Oath.
The North American Union is a hypothetical concept that combines Canada, the U.S., and Mexico into a single nation.
On page 18, "7-13-7" is three dwarf references. The first is Lord of the Rings: 7 rings were given to the dwarf lords.
On page 18, "7-13-7" is three dwarf references. The second is from the Hobbit: 13 dwarves went with Bilbo on his journey.
On page 18, "7-13-7" is three dwarf references. The third is Snow White and the "Seven" Dwarfs. 7 Dwarves once again.
Theadore is named after Theodore Daveler, the first recorded patient involved with a brain surgery in 1887.
On page 36, the "trophy hunting" alien race refers to the "Predator" movies and comics.
On page 38, the bus driver mascot driving the vehicle is modeled after a taxi driver on the movie: Total Recall.
Target one nine eight seven refers to 1987, the release date of the movie: The Lost Boys.
The murdered vampire, Marko, is named after a character from the movie: The Lost Boys.
Delora sleeps in a Queen-sized bed since she sees herself as a deserving of the title of Queen.
On page 62, the file "E-One" refers to Elf One.
One page 71, everyone exiting the restaurant is inspired by a scene from the movie: Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.
Elizabeth Yudovick Calvin, her middle name is the same as Isaac Asimov, a science fiction author known for his robotics.
Doctor Susan Calvin is a character in the movie: I, Robot. I gave Liz the same last name.
To be Loved
The name, Lyuben, means “loved”, which hints at the larger role that he plays.
By the Creed
Murdoc being connected to a clan of assassin’s dating back to ancient Egypt refers to the game series: Assassin's Creed.
On page 91, Lorelei says "As you wish." which refers to the movie: Princess Bride.
On page 92, the object that Silvermane wishes to show Lorelei is the Lance of Longinus.
On page 150, the word “evoltseraed" is first mentioned in the novel: In a Heartbeat.
On page 134, Murdoc uses a code: 6291920. This refers to 6/29/1920, the date of birth of Ray Harryhausen.
Jinx wearing brass-colored shoes refers to the folklore of Jinn/genie living in of lamps.
On page 148, Liz growing up in a small mid-western town, refers to where I grew up in Indiana.
In Chapter 9, specifics on train speed given relate to the fastest moving train currently in existence, the Shanghai Maglev.
On page 196, the name "Renfield" refers to a character in Bram Stoker's Dracula novel.
Prescott is named after James Prescott Joule, a scientist led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics.
One page 219, Andrea is mentioned. She was introduced in the novel: Bood Oath.
On page 227, Alva is named after Thomas Alva Edison.
Code one zero seven point eight six eight translates as: 107.868. That is the atomic mass of the element, Silver.
On page 233, Nick stopping a necromancer occurred in the novel: Arcane Inheritance.
Steve is named after Steve Irwin, a man well known for caring about animal life in all forms.
On page 284, the three rules Jinx gives concerning wishes is from the genie in Disney's Alladin.
Jinx speaking in reverse refers to Zatana of DC comics. She invokes magic by saying things backwards.
Jinx says the phrase "Mecka-lecka-hi mecka-heinie-ho" (backwards) referring to Jambi the Genie from the TV show Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
Lyuben refers to a knight of sword and sorcery, hinting that Emerald will grow up to become Mythos, a Tagonist Knight.
And now... My Favorite.
When I first started writing, the first non-fanfic story involved an illusionist, a type of court jester named Jinx. Later, I would adopt a cat and named her after this character. When I first wrote Arcane Inheritance, I named the jinn after my cat Jinx. At the end of this book, she makes a reference to my cat, who had sadly passed away before completing the re-write of Emerald Intrigue. In memory of my special kitty, the final thing Jinx the jinn says is a nick name I had given my cat. Backwards, of course. She says, "Long live Jinxi-poo-honey-bear."
“Thing is, you get to be sad. You get to feel bad about your situation. Just because something else, maybe worse, maybe just a different kind of pain happened to someone else, doesn’t make yours any less valuable.” – Nick