The Drums Are Rumbling

The Brotherhood of Dwarves - Book One
The Brotherhood of Dwarves – Book One

The dwarven invasion is underway! For a limited time book one, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, is available for $.99 on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo readers.

Here are some review snipets:

“Simply put, Adams delivers a masterful work of fiction. One that you can share with your children. One that you’ll read more than once. One that’ll leave you wanting to read more books like it.” – Amazon Review

“D.A. Adams puts together a story that I found myself reading from start to finish in less than a day”- Watch Play Read

“This story of self discovery is a fine read and I very much appreciate that the character focus is on dwarves. No cookie cutter, young, perfect characters. Real, genuine and unique.” – Jess Resides Here

“If you love intricate world-building, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. If you like action and adventure, swords and arrows and more, you’ll love it too. And if you’re eager to see those working-class dwarves take a stand, this has to be the series for you.” – Sheila Deeth Blog

“Adams takes time to craft believable characters, even though they are fantastical beings, with their own histories and cultures. This gives a great context to the characters and their decisions and motivations – often lacking from the fantasy genre. It is also tremendous fun to read.” – Amazon Review

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

This Is My Family

Humble beginnings...
Humble beginnings…

Before the big promotion gets into full song, I want to take some time to thank the people who have supported me over the years. You folks encouraged me when I was a “the self-published guy” at conventions; you picked me up when I got knocked flat, more than once; and you believed in me when no one else did. Without all of you, I wouldn’t have toughed it out and continued forward with the series. Regardless of what happens with this promotion, every single one of you has a special place in my heart, and I am eternally grateful for all the love you have shown me. If I forget anyone, please accept my deepest apologies; putting together a list like this isn’t always easy.  Also, if you disagree with your category, as some readers are friends and some friends readers, please don’t take offense:

Readers – Patty Reed, proud owner of the very first copy of The Brotherhood of Dwarves; Aaron Price, my man the guitar dwarf; Dino Hicks; Sandra Quinton Ward; Joel Gates; Shon Medley; Steven and Janet West; Robert Gonzales; Misty Kat Gutierrez-Waller; Joanna Witkowski; Jessica Lay; Jennifer Morton Perkins; Floyd Brigdon; Christy Alaska Reece Vance; Crystal Rhea, who once told me she wished she could have more children so she could name one Roskin; Chris Walker; Ashley Franks; Amy and Roscoe Crittendan; Alice Walker-Buchanan; Alicia Justice; Reanna Berry; Kristie McKinley; Kriss Morton; Jileah Sampson; Herika Raymer; Rob Kirkpatrick; Coco Rivers; Xavier Rothechilde; John Chingren; Matt Small; Carrie and Duane Collins; Alicia Gardner, who regularly interacts of my Facebook page; and Chad Johnstone. You all have stood by my work for many years and deserve back more than I can ever return.

Colleagues – Viki Rouse; Bill Clampitt; Theran Muggleston; Heather Easterly; Betsy Long; Kay Heck; John Jessel; Doug Waddell; Paulette Golden; Tim Holder; Samantha Isasi; Terry Rawlinson; Christopher Lee; Steve and Kathy Alcorn; David Atkins; Aaron Wilmon; Jason Fishel; Julianna Gregory; Rachel Cassity; Chip McClain; Jason Dixon; John Oxford; Sherri Jacobs; Sue Frazier; Denise Wood; Erika Stevens; Birgit Kuban Austin; Robin Ringer; and Amanda Barnes. It’s been a pleasure serving in the trenches with you. I’m certain I’m leaving out some of you from the Tusculum years, but again, please don’t be offended.

Writers – Cameron Judd, who encouraged me so much in the early days; Brady Allen; Bob Holton; Sean Taylor; Dan Jolley; Bobby Nash; Joe Dickerson; James Tuck; Steven Shrewsbury; Elizabeth Donald; Jimmy Gillentine; Megan Lindholm; Jonathan Maberry; Glen Cook; Selah Janel; Ed Crandell; Rocky Perry; Rick Wormwood; M.R. Williamson; P.S. Gifford; Laura Jean Underwood; Kimberly Richardson; Andrea Judy; Joy Ward; J.L. Mulvihill; Jim Gavin; Georgia Jones; Angelia Sparrow; Tamara Lowery; Allan Gilbreath; Marian Allen; Jon Edward Klement; Larry Buttram; M.B. Weston; Haley Elizabeth Garwood; Stan Mitchell, who promoted me on his newspaper before anyone else; and Andy Deane. You all accepted me as one of the gang and made me feel welcome in this crazy profession.

Students – There are literally too many to list here, and I would probably leave out someone important. If you were ever a student of mine, please know that I will always remember you, even if I can’t always remember your names. Some of you have become dear friends, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share my knowledge with you. Please, continue to interact with me on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and anywhere else we might meet.

Friends – Dagan Smith, the best friend a man could hope for; Stephen Zimmer, who believed in me when I had lost faith in myself; Philip Hopkins, a great friend AND a great editor; Christopher Rico; Christopher Koeppel; Amelia Ragland Russell; Tilman Goins; Tyrone Smith; Jack Tribble; Scott McNabb; Keith Baker; and Heath Tatum. You all have given me more than I deserve, and any person with half as many friends who are half as good would still be deeply blessed.

Family – Collin; Finn; Mom; Dad; Marsha; Marty; Breezy; Christa; Jenna; Sammie; Jackson; Aunt Jane and Uncle Leroy; Aunt Jane and Uncle Bill; Janette; Angel; Aunt Billie; Shane and Dennis; and those who’ve passed on. I love you all.

Finally, I want to thank Tracy Kinsler, who offered me friendship when I needed it, who accepts me as I am, scars and all, who appreciates the little things, and who does the little things. You are stuck with me, now.

These next few days are going to be exciting and nerve-wrecking, but hold onto your hats because the ride could get pretty fun.

PS. If I accidentally omitted you, please send me a message, and I’ll add you in.

An Eight Pound Cannonball to the Skull

Swing
A quarter of a century, that’s how long it’s been. Twenty-five years. The number staggers me. On March 7, 1989, at roughly 3:30 PM, an eight pound cannonball struck my forehead, lifting me from my feet and flinging me a few yards backwards. The blow itself felt little more than a slight thud, and at first, there was no pain, only extreme disorientation and faces crowding around asking if I were okay. I only lost consciousness for a few seconds, though had I been a boxer, I would’ve been TKOed. For some insane reason, no one called an ambulance. Instead, they called my mother and told her there had been an accident. While we waited in the locker room, I joked with the coaches about wanting out of spring football practice. Mom and my grandfather came to the school and rushed me to the ER, where I was immediately taken to an examination room.

I will never forget the pain of the anesthetic needle piercing my scalp. Nothing before or since has hurt like that, and to this day, the memory causes me to tense. As the doctor sewed up the wound, we joked about how he had shot putted in an abandoned quarry and occasionally had to dodge falling rocks. I’ll spare you the details of the procedure.

Later, in my room, as the anesthesia wore off, the headache that would accompany me for a solid year emerged. Overall, I was in good spirits until I went to use the bathroom and saw my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t recognize myself. My skin had turned ash gray; my eyes were sunken and hollow; blood stained what parts of my hair were visible around the bandage; and the image in the mirror looked more like a skeleton than a sixteen year old athlete. I freaked out and began groping at the bandage. That part gets a little foggy, so I can’t remember who all rushed into the bathroom and got me back to bed, but I do remember sobbing uncontrollably and resisting them. That’s also about the time my brain started swelling.

Imagine a balloon expanding inside your skull. It’s an unpleasant sensation. I don’t know how long it lasted, but my body went into shock. My blood pressure reached 200 over 140, and my pupils stopped dilating. It’s difficult to describe this part because the deeper into shock I went, the calmer I became. One moment, I could hear the helicopter landing outside to rush me to Knoxville and my parents freaking out and a nurse frantically begging my pupils to respond, and the next, all became quiet and still. My best description is that it felt like slipping into a perfectly warm bath. The headache vanished, and the most exquisite tranquility overcame me. There simply aren’t adequate words to describe the presence I felt, but after that experience, I can never fully call myself an atheist because I felt something.

I have no idea how long I was like that. Maybe seconds, maybe hours. I do remember the nurse exclaiming, “Oh, thank God” when my pupils finally reacted to her light, and suddenly all the sounds were back. And that headache. Oh man, that headache. No matter what migraine you’ve experienced, I’m sorry, but you haven’t really had a headache. Though not as sharp and blinding as the needle, it throbbed and pulsated and bashed the inside of my skull. To this day, it takes quite a pounder for me even to mention my head hurting.

The next couple of hours are fuzzy. There was a wheelchair ride to a CT scan, and chilly nighttime air as we crossed an outdoor area. I remember seeing fear in my father’s eyes for the first and only time. The rest is a haze.

I wanted to sleep so badly, but back then, they still believed that sleep after head trauma produced coma, so every few minutes a nurse made sure I remained awake. Other than Tylenol, I got nothing for the pain, and that was like throwing a cup of water on a house fire. All night, in the dark room, I stared at the ceiling, listening to the single beep of a monitor. Mom slept fitfully in the corner. Dad had gone home since I had stabilized and he had to work the next day. I can’t remember what I thought about through the night, but I remember the pain. I remember being simultaneously thrilled to see but annoyed by the brightness of the sunrise.

When I was released from the hospital, I had lost twenty pounds in three days, and the next few weeks are pretty blurry. I missed at least 20 days of school and failed trigonometry. Even now, I get upset that the school board didn’t grant me a medical withdrawal from that class. For five or six years, I moped about all the accident cost me, until one day I realized just how lucky I was to be alive. I still deal with several permanent effects of Post-Concussion Syndrome, but I recovered without serious cognitive impairment. Today, I appreciate each day for the blessing it is, and even on my worst ones, I remind myself that at least I’m still above ground.

So here I am a quarter of a century later. I’ve taught a couple thousand students, written four novels (five if you count that awful first one, which I don’t), and fathered two amazing sons. I have the greatest friends a person could ask for and parents who have supported and encouraged me at every turn. I also have a sister who loves me and four amazing nieces who make me smile, with a great nephew on the way. I have a woman in my life who thinks I’m pretty cool and accepts me with all my flaws and scars. In short, I’m more blessed than I deserve, so on this day, I’m grateful for every blessing that mercy granted me twenty-five years ago.

Stepping Forward into a New Future

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Over the years, I’ve gotten to have small tastes of the life I want, a life of writing, traveling, and promoting. This past weekend reconfirmed that I need to be doing this full-time for my physical and mental health. Fifteen years in the grind of education has worn me to a nub, and I’m coasting through this final semester on fumes. However, ETSU-Con rejuvenated my spirit somewhat. Conventions usually do that for me because I get to be around other creative people, enthusiastic fans, and like-minded folks. No matter how hard I work over the course of the weekend, I leave the convention feeling revived internally.

Leaving that show and returning to the college this week has not been easy. Over the weekend, I was treated like someone important by the staff of the show. Here at the college, I’m just a cog in the machine. There, I got to talk fiction and storytelling, offering two seminars on creative writing. Here, I’m going over thesis statements and synthesis for the millionth time. There, my life felt meaningful and fulfilling. Here, my presence is mostly met with glazed-eye apathy. At the very least, I know my decision to get out of education is the right one, but a lot of things still have to go right to be able to write and promote full-time. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me over the next couple of months.

A Thought on Reviews

Seventh Star Press Open House

Please, allow me to preface everything I’m about to say with a disclaimer. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to a negative review. I have no issue with honest criticism, especially from someone who digests the entire book but never connects with it. Everyone has individual tastes, and any author who expects to please everyone will soon have that delusion crushed. As an author, I accept that I am open to a certain level of criticism because my work puts me  in the public eye. People have a right to voice their opinions about products they have purchased, and if those products do not meet their expectations, they have the right to vent. Customer reviews are a fundamental aspect of free market principles, and I embrace them wholeheartedly.

What I have a problem with is someone questioning my integrity and ethics. For those who may not know, fake customer reviews are a real problem on the internet, and there are companies that make a lot of money writing them. Today, on Amazon, I got a negative review that closed with an insinuation that my reviews were not entirely “honest.” In this current climate, where fake reviews are being dragged into the light, that kind of accusation could have real consequences against me as I embark on the largest and most expansive marketing campaign of my career. So with that in mind, I want to set the record straight.

Book one was released nine years ago. My first Amazon review for it appeared on August 28, 2005. It was written by a woman I have known for 24 years, someone I consider a friend. My second review appeared August 29, 2005 and was written by a childhood friend who now works as my editor (he was not my editor when he read and reviewed the book).  In fact, six of the first eight reviews were written by either friends or family who I knew before the book came out because as an unknown, self-published author I had no audience base to speak of and that’s who read it. I never once asked any of them to say anything untrue or asked them to give me a specific rating. I encouraged them to be honest.

After those first eight reviews, the next seventy are a solid mix of people I’ve never met in person, people I met through the book itself, former students who on their own sought out the publication, blog reviewers who received promotional copies from my current publisher, close friends, and family members. To my knowledge every single review there was written by someone who actually read the book. Yes, I’ve asked everyone I’ve ever met to please write an Amazon review because I understand how important they are, but I have never made someone give me a specific rating or asked someone to say something they didn’t believe about the series. Yes, last fall I made a huge push to try to reach a hundred reviews before Christmas and pleaded for weeks on social media for everyone to write one. But I have never and would never pay someone to write a review. Are there ratings on there that maybe should be a little lower? Probably. But not because I personally did anything underhanded.

Here’s the thing the person who made that public accusation doesn’t understand: I’ve spent nine years of my life working damned hard to make a name for myself as a writer. In that time, I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, but I’ve kept pushing forward because I believe in the quality of my efforts. I have suffered, sacrificed, traveled, juggled jobs, and probably shortened my lifespan in an effort to succeed in this highly competitive field because I love storytelling and, according to most people, happen to be pretty good at it. But that one person with his one sentence of speculation could turn away untold numbers of people from my hard work all because he personally doesn’t like the opening chapters of my first book.

Again, I have no problem with him not liking my work, but I have a huge issue with him insinuating impropriety on my part. Perhaps he didn’t consider the consequences of stating in public on Amazon that he questions the honesty of my reviews. I don’t purport to know his motives, and I have no idea if that accusation will damage this promotional campaign, but it hurts me on a deep level to think that someone would attempt to undermine years and years of hard work, of struggle and sacrifice, for any reason. It’s hard enough to survive in this business as it is. It’s hard enough to be seen among the deluge of titles released every year. So here’s my plea to those of you out there who do write reviews: if you don’t like something, state your opinion and leave it at that, but please, for pity’s sake, don’t smear someone’s name with a baseless accusation. You have no idea how that may or may not affect their life and career. Only time will tell if this will have any impact on mine.

A Great Weekend

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There’s so much good to say about this past weekend it’s hard to know where to begin. First and foremost, a huge shout-out to Zack James, Nick Papworth, and all the staff at ETSU-Con for organizing such a good show. You guys did a spectacular job, and I hope you will have me back as a guest again. The event was well-organized, well-attended, and an all-around good time. Everyone involved in putting it together should be proud of what you accomplished. The university should be grateful to have such amazing students capable of running a convention of this scope. Considering that this was only the second year of the event and the first for most of you running it, I’m excited to see what you accomplish in the future.

I also want to give a nod to my fellow guests, who I would highly recommend to any convention organizer. Charles Martinet, you are a first class gentleman, and it was an honor to share a stage with you. Thank you so much for your kindness, professionalism, and advice. Hopefully, our paths will cross again down the road. Robert Axelrod, thank you as well for your kindness. My only real regret of the weekend was not getting to spend more time talking with you. Martha Harms, it was a privilege to share your first ever con appearance with you. You have such a great and positive attitude. I wish you all the success in the world for your career. Aki Glancy, you have a bright future as well, and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend across from you in the dealers’ room.

I’m grateful for this weekend and the time I got to share with Tracy. She really made it special and enjoyed her first con experience. It’s a breath of fresh air to share my career with someone who gets that I have to step into the spotlight and doesn’t attempt to sabotage that. I’m grateful to have a lady like her in my life at last. She accepts me as I am without reservation and allows me to be me.

Stay tuned, folks. There are so many good things happening right now I can’t keep up myself. The dwarven invasion is underway, and great things are just around the corner.

The adventure you've been waiting for!

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